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Making Levain, A Gift For Nando A New Kitchen Toy, Community Pick On Food52

I follow a lot of blogs, love them all and wish I could make every recipe on all of them. Sometimes I see a recipe and think this is something I have to make right away, usually it’s a recipe that challenges me. This is the case when I saw Ginger’s great recipe on her wonderful blog Ginger And Bread  she posted a recipe for WholeWheat Sour Dough Bread, which is baked in a cast iron dutch oven and looks so crusty and delicious I had to make it. The challenge for me is making levain, I have never made it before and a good friend sent me some that she made which I promptly killed in what can only be characterized as a slow painful death. So far Ginger’s levain recipe has proven to not only be simple but it actually works and I have not killed it. Now I did not own a cast iron dutch oven but have wanted to get one for a long time so I decided to buy one (ended up with two) I went to my favorite home goods store Williams Sonoma and found a great deal on both, a Le Creuset oval Cocette, (4 qt) in a lovely shade of green and then I saw a very reasonably priced Lodge round cast iron dutch oven, the Lodge is on back order but I got the Le Creuset today. Love it and I will use it to make this wonderful sour dough loaf.  I will post the photo’s of the bread after I make it,  hopefully tomorrow. The dough is doing a slow rise in the refrigerator overnight.

Le Creuset

Le Creuset

So here is my levain, rather shaggy looking right?  This is Day 6, my kitchen is quite cold so it didn’t rise very much but Ginger said thats ok, be patient.

shaggy levain

shaggy levain day 6

On Day 8 I put the levain in the refrigerator for 2 days, when my dutch oven arrived I took it out, fed it again (1 cup flour and 5 tbs water) and let it sit in the oven with the light on. Here is how it looked when I got it out the next day. Can’t wait to make the bread.

fed and puffy

fed and puffy

My really good friend Jocelyn (Daisey Angel’s Mom) got Nando a gift, he is blind and lately is not getting around very well and she found this amazing device called Muffins Halo. A woman with a blind dog invented this to keep them from knocking into walls and bumping their heads. Ingenious right? Here is Nando with his Muffins Halo on, he is still getting used to it but already he is not bumping his head when he wears it. This was the best gift ever.

Nando in his Halo

Nando  not happy at first in his Halo

He can drink his water with it on

He can drink his water with it on he’s liking it

Finally I was so happy to see that my recipe for White Pasta With Garlic Parmigiano Breadcrumbs was picked and photographed by Food52. That was such a nice surprise today. I love this recipe, it’s so easy and delicious. I posted this recipe a while back on the blog, had not really thought about it until I saw the contest for Best Family Recipes. This was something my Mom used to make only without breadcrumbs that was my idea. It’s so simple pasta, ricotta, milk and parmesan cheese. It’s great like that but thought bread crumbs pan toasted with butter,olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and grated cheese would be wonderful on this simple pasta dish.

Photo by James Ransom for Food52

Photo by James Ransom for Food52

White Pasta my photo

White Pasta my photo

 

82 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wow Suzanne… I din’t know if I would have the patience for that kind of recipe. But crusty warm bread is certainly an incentive!
    The halo thing is such a clever idea — and the pictures are adorable. I’m glad Nando learned to like it.
    And that pasta sounds like the perfect comfort food to end a cold day! I think i need to follow your example in that right now! Hugs! 😀

    January 8, 2015
    • Well I keep my eye on the prize and a loaf of homemade bread is so worth the effort. Thank you Teagan, the pasta is such a great dish, quick and simple and so delicious.

      January 8, 2015
  2. Congrats on your pasta highlight, Suzanne! It sounds divine. And I love the color cocotte you chose! Xo to you and Nando!

    January 8, 2015
    • Thanks Em, yes love the color too, I am loving it, Thank you so much.

      January 8, 2015
  3. Jocelyn Songco #

    cute post!!!!

    January 8, 2015
  4. That’s odd, I don’t remember the pasta dish. Love the idea of the breadcrumbs. Partly as I very seldom use hard cheese with pasta these days. Just lots of snipped parsley.
    That collar for Nando is such a good idea!
    I’ve got a recipe for a no knead white bread you make in a le Creuset. Still have to try it. Sometimes, cooking for one, I just can’t be bothered! 🙂 Actually, make that most of the time. Hope your bread turns out well.

    January 8, 2015
    • Thanks Johnny, I have seen recipes for bread made in cast iron and it all looks so good I have to try this recipe. I really like sour dough bread so I am hoping that it works out. Fingers crossed.

      January 8, 2015
  5. Wow Nice to relish crusty warm bread in this freezy weather, just waiting for my engineer to fix my oven and since two weeks facing a hectic time without my oven… Nando looks cute with his halo on… hugs and kisses to him… 🙂

    January 8, 2015
    • Oh no Chitra, you are still turning out such great recipes and without an oven. You are a wonder really, Hoping it’s fixed very soon. Thank you, Nando’s halo is a God send.

      January 8, 2015
      • Just posting those in drafts and it’s been 2 weeks for now without oven as christmas holidays were going on its taking time I guess. .. hoping for it to happen early next week…

        January 9, 2015
  6. No wonder soirdough is expensive it looks like it takes lots of patience and hard work. I wont feel so resentful about the price now.

    Thats quite a dog invention i guess its attached to the collar? Its lightweight and doesnt pull? Very clever

    Love the pasta!

    January 8, 2015
    • Thanks Justine, yes sour dough is quite laborious. It tastes so good though I think its worth it, here’s hoping I can do this wonderful recipe justice.

      January 8, 2015
  7. First of all, so happy for Nando. I wish I had had that for a blind kitty some years back. Your baking bravery is just that – good for you to persevere! Congrats on the food52 recipe.

    January 8, 2015
    • Thanks Liz, yes this little halo works so well, it’s very light it doesn’t seem to really bother him at all. I was surprised my pasta dish got a nod. Very happy.

      January 8, 2015
  8. Oh heck my stomach is groaning again. I’ve only just digested the last of the Christmas food and here we go again.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    January 8, 2015
    • Lol, David I am sorry I make your stomach growl, It is a supreme compliment though thank you so much and hugging you right back.

      January 8, 2015
  9. What a wonderful gift for Nando! I love it! And about a year ago, I was deep in making various sour dough starters from scratch. I made a gift of one of them to my step-daughter who lives in Portland (OR) and loves San Francisco sour dough bread. Very fun stuff. And huge congrats to you on your Community Pick!! I’m rarely on F52 anymore and so hadn’t seen it. The dish looks wonderful – on my way over there right now to get the recipe 🙂

    January 8, 2015
    • This is my first sour dough starter and Ginger’s recipe is really easy to follow and it does produce a great starter. Here’s hoping my loaf is good. Thanks Susan, yes I am not on F52 as often as I used to be but I still love it and go on as often as I can. Thank you so much.

      January 8, 2015
  10. Congrats Suzanne on Food52 (love that!). Oh my that sweet “Nando” looks so adorable in his new apparatus to assist him. Ingenuity at its best! Bravo! Cheryl

    January 8, 2015
    • Thank you Cheryl, Nando will do well with his halo I think. He needs to give his poor head a break, he is bumping it way too much.

      January 8, 2015
      • Aw, he and you will do better; I know this to be so. Cheryl

        January 8, 2015
  11. I hope your levain turns out beautifully Suzanne – how could it not with all the love and attention gone into it – the waiting and wondering is very exciting! I can’t wait to see the finished product! I love Le Creuset pots and brought a few back from the USA with me. I’ve never baked bread in them though, so will definitely look into that and follow your lead. Congrats on the pasta… it really does sound like a great family dish – I’m about to search for the recipe on your blog… like Johnny, I strangely can’t remember seeing this one posted :o/
    Dear little Nando, so sweet with his halo on. So pleased that it’s helping him to get around unharmed!

    January 8, 2015
    • Thanks Margot, I have always wanted a Le Creuset pot, dutch oven or coquette. So glad I got one. I read on Selma’s blog that the enamel can be marked by high temps when baking bread. We’ll see, I hope my new pot isn’t blemished. I am going to try to bake the bread tomorrow, hoping it has risen enough. Thank you so much.

      January 8, 2015
  12. Flor de Maria #

    Can hardly wait to see your bread, the picture of your dog is adorable and though it breaks my heart that he cannot see, I love that is not getting injured.

    January 8, 2015
    • Thank you Flor, I am so looking forward to the bread and seeing how it comes out. Thank you also regarding my Nando, I am so glad to have something to help him not get hurt.

      January 8, 2015
  13. Wow, beautiful Creuset pot Suzanne, and oh the patience one probably has to have for this recipe. It looks good, can’t wait to see what the finished product will be like. Have you and Selma seen each other’s posts today? She too has posted a sourdough bread. Your sweet pooch looks like he is quite content with his new gadget. awwww

    January 8, 2015
    • Thanks Loretta, it does take some patience which must say is wearing just a bit thin right now I want to make that loaf now. I love my new pot, love the color especially. I saw Selma’s post and now am re thinking using the Le Creuset, she said the high temp can mar the enamel finish and I don’t want that.

      January 9, 2015
  14. Out of this world delicious!

    January 8, 2015
  15. I cannot comment anything on bread making, because I never made breads and this one truly sounds challenging. Congrats on your recipe being picked by Food52. Breadcrumbs on top does sound a great addition. Sweet Nando in halo. At first I was wondering what was he wearing.

    January 8, 2015
    • I can’t believe you have never made bread Fae, you are such an accomplished cook. I know if you did it would be amazing. Thank you Nando’s Halo is just what he needed.

      January 9, 2015
  16. Liz #

    Yay, another Food52 success for you, Suzanne 🙂 Congratulations and well deserved. Love that you went the extra mile and bought not one but TWO new pans! Looking forward to hearing your bread stories. And absolutely, that is a cute dog and clever invention.

    January 8, 2015
    • Thanks Liz. I was really surprised my pasta dish made it, am thankful. The halo is clever right??

      January 9, 2015
  17. Well done on the pasta! It looks delicious and I’ll definitely be trying it!

    January 9, 2015
  18. I can’t wait to see the bread and the pasta looks AMAZING (and frugal :)) I’ve heard of this dish but never understood until now what it could be!

    The halo looks a great invention, hope Nando takes to it well!

    January 9, 2015
    • Thanks so much. I am really wanting to get that bread in the oven soon.

      January 9, 2015
  19. Congratulations to your Food52 success – and to sticking with the levain! I do remember that it is quite nerve-wracking when you make it the first time, as you have no idea what’s going on inside it or if you’re on the right path. Over time you’ll become much more relaxed about it, trust me, as you would with your fourth or fifth child 😉
    I am dying to see the finished loaf – the colour of your oven is beautiful! I bet it will ride to the occasion of being baked in such a beautiful pot 😉

    January 9, 2015
    • Thanks Ginger, I am bringing the dough to room temp now have it in the oven with the light on, It didn’t rise very much hope thats what it is supposed to do. I hope the bread turns out will post either today or tomorrow. Thank you for all your help.

      January 9, 2015
      • It is looking fantastic! So excited for you 🙂 🙂

        January 9, 2015
  20. I like your pic better..

    January 9, 2015
    • Why thank you, that is an enormous compliment since Mr, Ransom is a professional photographer.

      January 9, 2015
      • He has a terrible name.. Is that how hd gets away with charging for pics? Hahaha!

        January 9, 2015
      • LOL, could be.

        January 9, 2015
  21. Wow my friend, congrats on all your successes 😀
    You are so talented! This pasta looks excellent!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    January 9, 2015
  22. skd #

    Eagerly waiting for the bread pictures. Its got to be yummm… Meanwhile the pasta looks delicious 👍😃

    January 9, 2015
    • Thank you so much. I am really wanting to bake the bread right about now.

      January 9, 2015
  23. Me, too, can’t wait to see the bread! Love the white pasta, simple and elegant with those breadcrumbs – I have a similar mix and have to restrain myself from sprinkling it on everything. Fantastic, that’s going to be one supper next week. Congratulations. Nicole

    January 9, 2015
  24. Best of luck with the bread; the pasta looks incredible! I can’t believe you did not have a dutch oven. I love mine and use it all the time. It is one of my best kitchen tools! Cheers!

    January 9, 2015
    • Thanks Michelle. I have a dutch oven it’s stainless (All Clad) not cast iron. I have been wanting one for a while and finally broke down and got one/two. I love it. Thank you so much.

      January 9, 2015
  25. Woow suzanne, you have got a loot of patience for this recipe.
    That halo collar would be the best gift for your nando.
    And congratulations for the food52 recipe. 🙂

    January 9, 2015
    • Thank you so much Sadia, Nando’s gift is amazing and I know will be such a big help for him getting around the house.

      January 9, 2015
  26. Goodness, that halo for Nando is so ingenious! How interesting x

    January 9, 2015
  27. Congrats on the community pick girl. I am so loving that pasta dish and you definitely deserve it :).

    January 9, 2015
  28. Fun post! That is the prettiest green dutch oven– don’t you love new kitchen ware?? and congratulations– you are amazing Suzanne!

    January 11, 2015
    • I love kitchen ware, would rather buy that than a new pair of shoes. Thank you so much Rhonda.

      January 12, 2015
      • My two daughter’s worked at William Sonoma one year when they were in school– and their 40% discount was well used!

        January 13, 2015
      • I have often thought I would love to work at WS but am afraid my entire check would be spent on kitchen stuff. It would be fun to be surrounded by so many beautiful things daily,

        January 13, 2015
  29. I promised myself I’d start a levain this year…and here you are showing off yours! 🙂 You’ve really motivated me now…thanks, Suzanne!
    That halo Nando is sporting is ingenius! I hope he is adapting to it and getting around much more safely these days!

    January 11, 2015
    • Hi Nancy; Really recommend this levain. Just made my second loaf yesterday and it’s even better than the first. The levain left is sitting in the fridge waiting to be fed again before use. It’s a great recipe and produces a very tasty bread. Thank you so much.

      January 12, 2015
  30. If it has garlic and parmesan then it must be fabulous – good for Food52 for picking your recipe. I now follow that site. Thanks for sharing it.

    January 12, 2015
    • Thanks Cindy, I was so happy that they picked it. It’s so simple but delicious.

      January 12, 2015
  31. So many things I want to say… first, congratulations on your new Le Creuset and Lodge cast Iron! There is something special about getting a new pan like that, isn’t there? I still treat my Le Creuset as if they are honored guests in my house! Haha! I love my lodge cast iron.. and for a while last year, I was on a roll buying Sur La Table dutch ovens too!

    I love the halo. Before we lost our Mollie to a broken heart from losing our yellow lab Sadie, we woke up one morning to find that Mollie had gone blind overnight. Literally overnight. It’s called Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration. All of a sudden, Mollie and all of us were trying to learn how to live with her blindness. The hardest thing for us was to remember to push chairs in, and not to leave things laying around the house that she might trip on (like Michael with his size 13 shoes that I swear he takes off as he is walking through the house and just leaves them where they fall..) and it was hard for Mollie to make it through doorways without bumping her head on the wall. This halo would have been absolutely perfect for her, and I wish that we had something like this for her. I know just how you feel…my heart broke for her. It still does.

    And finally… this awesome pasta dish. It doesn’t surprise me, my friend, that Food52 loves you so much.. you are such a talented cook, and your recipes deserve to be featured! I’m so happy for you… it’s so exciting! ❤

    I can't wait to read about your bread.. ❤

    January 12, 2015
  32. My heart breaks for your Mollie, it is heart wrenching watching them. Nando became blind only 2 months after he was diagnosed with diabetes. He has been blind for 6 years now. He never bumped into things before or at least not that often, it is only recently, the last year or so that I have watched him deteriorate. He has neuropathy and has a hard time walking so bumps into walls or whatever is in his way. The halo is a God send. Prudy, you are such a kind and gentle soul. I can feel the love and pain you experienced with your Mollie. I had a 2 legged poodle long before the carts were made and I often think how his life would have been if he had wheels.
    Thank you, I love my new kitchen ware, it makes my heart sing when I get something for the kitchen. I love the cheerful green and can’t wait to get my lodge pan, I have their skillets and pizza pans and love their products. Thank you also for being so encouraging and kind, you really should know how your sweet comments lift the spirit. Thank you.

    January 12, 2015
  33. petra08 #

    Your pasta dish is beautiful! As I was reading I could almost smell it 🙂 Congratulations on being featured 🙂
    The halo is such a clever idea!

    January 13, 2015
    • Thanks Petra, isn’t the halo clever? Love it.

      January 13, 2015
      • petra08 #

        I think it is brilliant! 🙂

        January 13, 2015
  34. Congratulations on your Food52 feature, well deserved. The gift for Nando is so thoughtful and so useful. 😉

    January 13, 2015
    • Thank you that lovely gift is saving Nando from bumps on the head, it’s brilliant.

      January 13, 2015
  35. CC #

    I have yet to attempt sourdough! I make SO much homemade bread that this should actually be a crime that I have never made it yet! I snuck a peek at your baked loaf and it looks Amazing! Inside and out! Good for you, Suzanne-I’m impressed!

    That is such a wonderful gift for Nando-so thoughtful and useful…I’m sure you feel a ton better about him not bumping his head anymore!

    And that pasta looks and sounds absolutely fantastic! Congratulations on the feature, but let me tell you, I didn’t know the difference between your shot and the Food 52 shot, so great job! Lots of good news…I love it! 🙂

    January 14, 2015
    • Thank you Christine, the sourdough recipe is really easy, I didn’t think it would be but it is. The bread is fantastic and I highly recommend if you are ever inclined to make a loaf.
      Thank you also re Nando (so happy his head is bump free) and I am blushing that you think my shot of the pasta is good too. Thank you.

      January 14, 2015
  36. Congrats on your Food52 feature!!! I will most definitely be making that pasta dish. It looks DIVINE!

    January 14, 2015
  37. I’m loving Nando’s halo – ingenious! Also, the pasta sounds tdf – congratulations!

    January 14, 2015
  38. Congratulations! It’s a very lovely recipe. I hope Nando is liking his halo better 🙂

    February 1, 2015
    • Thank you it is really a great starter, It is still living and all I do is store in the back of the fridge, feed it 12 hours before I want to use it and then put the remainder back in the fridge again to hibernate. Nando is becoming more and more comfortable with his halo.

      February 1, 2015

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