How I Revived My Sourdough Starter

Plus: Too-Tart Lemonade, A Kale Frittata, and Two Live Cooking Demos.

Hey everyone!

Well, here we are: the last week of Donald Trump’s presidency and we’re still stuck at home, waiting to get vaccinated and to rejoin the world of the living. I’m very hopeful — especially after reading articles like this one by Ezra Klein (who, incidentally, used to be a big Amateur Gourmet reader… maybe he still is?) — that suggest the vaccine rollout is going to be much more efficient with some actual federal guidance.

If you’re anything like me, you started this quarantine with 20 pound bags of flour and a commitment to make sourdough every week. Then you gained ten pounds and realized that all of this weekly bread-making may be a bit much, so you stopped making sourdough; you put your starter in the fridge and it turned into something from a mad scientist’s laboratory.

You would’ve thrown it away, but then, as mentioned in the last newsletter, Edd Kimber told you to pour off the black stuff (which is just alcohol from the still fermenting starter), stir the starter, pour a little into another jar, add flour and water, and keep feeding (discard the jar with the gross black stuff).

That’s what I did for a few days and before I knew it, the starter was bubbly and active. It was that easy! This was a starter that I neglected for MONTHS and it completely came back to life.

I made bread according to the steps I laid out in this post and it was excellent. I treated myself to a big slice with lots of butter and fleur de sel.

That was truly one of the best things I’ve eaten in a long time.

In other news, the Meyer lemon tree that we share with our neighbors (we live in a four-plex) is in full bloom. Food writer extraordinaire Ben Mims came over to pick some lemons:

On Saturday, after Craig and I walked around the Silverlake Reservoir with Winston, he asked me to make some lemonade with lemons he picked off the tree. I juiced the lemons, added to a shaker with ice and some simple syrup and shook everything up.

I took a taste and thought it was potent but exciting. Craig took a taste and puckered more than I’ve ever seen somebody pucker. He said, “Oh my God! This is so tart. Did you add any water?” Reader, I did not add any water. It was just lemon juice with a little sugar syrup. So, chastened, I went back to the kitchen, poured the lemonade into larger glasses and stirred in some water. That was much better.

For breakfast on Saturday, I decided to use up the rainbow chard and kale in the fridge by making a frittata. I sautéed onions and the chard stems in a little olive oil until golden, then added lots of sliced kale and chard leaves with salt and a little water. I cooked everything down until it looked like this…

…and then I added six beaten eggs and put lots of grated cheddar on top. I let it cook on the stovetop until the edges were set, then finished under the broiler. Here are the slices we ate for brunch.

In other brunch news, remember that sourdough bread that I made from scratch a few paragraphs ago?

It got pretty stale, so yesterday I sliced it, soaked it in a mixture of eggs, milk, vanilla, a little sugar, salt, and a splash of brandy, and made French Toast. Served it with some bacon (cooked in the oven at 375) and fruit that I had laying around (Cara Cara oranges, pomegranates). The staleness of the bread made it extra decadent because it absorbed so much custard.

What else? I roasted a chicken with Brussels sprouts and carrots underneath, which worked nicely.

Oh, and I made Alison Roman’s potato leek soup from her most recent Substack. It was pretty phenomenal (love all that dill).

Finally, and most importantly, Craig and I have been keeping up our live cooking demos where I do the cooking and he holds the camera and adds witty commentary.

On Wednesday, last week, I made one of our all-time favorite dishes: Cavatappi with Sun-Dried Tomatoes. You can watch the whole thing here:

A post shared by Adam Roberts (@amateurgourmet)

And then, last night, I made pork chops with sautéed apples and roasted Brussels sprouts. I’m not smiling in the first second of the video because Craig didn’t give me enough warning that we started. We had a fight about it after!

A post shared by Adam Roberts (@amateurgourmet)

Is there something you’d like to see me cook live on Instagram? Let me know in the comments:

Leave a comment

Here’s what caught my attention on the web this week:

Okay, folks, that’s all for this week!

Until next time….

Your friend, Adam