Chat Leftovers: Food Processor Bread, Grieving Fare

Arlington Gay Food Fan (aka GAFF): Kim, I finally did it, and it's all your fault. I bought a full-size (10 cup) food processor. Since Saturday, I've made your hummus, a roasted veggie soup (sadly, there can be too much cumin when processed), two pizza crusts, a loaf of Italian bread, and tonight six Italian bread rolls (same recipe, but dough cut into six parts after doubling.) Please give me links to more bread recipes that work well in food processors with a bread blade. I'm especially interested in rye, sour, and Italian recipes.

GAFF, I’ll take the heat any day for your kitchen purchases! Congratulations on your new acquisition; it sounds like you are having a blast. You know, I’ve never done bread in a food processor, but your recent adventure has me curious.

In her blog, dough diva Rose Levy Beranbaum (and author of pastry classics, including “The Pie and Pastry Bible") tweaked her recipe for ricotta bread, with food processor-specific instructions.

The guy who got this food processor dough party started is one Charles Van Over, who consulted with Cuisinart to engineer a dough blade and setting. In 1997, he penned the “The Best Bread Ever: Great Homemade Bread Using your Food Processor,” which sounds like it might be right up your alley.

Check out this video that demonstrates the Van Over method which eliminates the need for activating yeast in advance:

I gotta say, GAFF, I might be followin’ in your dough-y footsteps.

Advice -- food for grieving: We've just had a death in the family. I would like to cook meals for the widow and leave them with her. I was thinking single-serve containers of chicken soup, butternut squash soup, casserole -- homey and easy to eat. Any other suggestions? And should we do a few larger containers for when guests come?

We touched on this a little bit in a What’s Cooking chat earlier this year, and one point many agreed upon is to do a little homework before you start cooking. Talk to the widow and ask her what she might be craving (recognizing, of course, that she may have a temporary loss of appetite) or what she’d love to have stowed in the freezer for later. This way, you’ll avoid preparing something she can’t or won’t eat, and I’m betting the one-on-one face time will be invaluable for you both.

Although single-serve containers may seem logical and practical, it may be a painful reminder that her partner is gone. You might want to consider quart containers, which would last three or four days after being thawed.

Chances are there will be lots of offers of food right now while the grief is fresh, but I’m betting your widow would appreciate this gesture a few months down the road when life quiets down and she needs a culinary pick-me-up. Additional thoughts from those who have been in our friend's shoes?

This week's What's Cooking transcript in entirety.

By Kim ODonnel |  October 9, 2008; 7:00 AM ET Bread , Chat Leftovers
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Not sure if you're reading comments to your online chat leftovers (!) but if you do, I would love to hear if you have any advice for those of us skeptical of BPA. I just heard my Cuisinart plastic has BPA and would like to avoid having hot, acidic, fatty foods in contact with said plastic. Roasted Red Pepper soup, how will I make you? Help!

Posted by: MamaBird/SurelyYouNest | October 9, 2008 7:10 AM

What about an immersion blender? Of course, those are also usually plastic. . .

Posted by: kerryfromthedairy | October 9, 2008 9:44 AM

MamaBird- Soups are better when pureed in a blender anyway. Get a blender with a glass jar.

Posted by: Sweetie | October 9, 2008 9:49 AM

Can't wait to hear how you like bread from a food processor. I forgot to mention one key aspect. I've generally just let the FP beat the heck out of the dough, then put in a covered bowl to rise without any kneading. It's homemade bread without much work involved.

Posted by: GAFF | October 9, 2008 10:21 AM

For the person who wants to cook for the grieving widow, I second Kim's advice to wait a little while before sending over a meal. There is so much food that is given right after someone dies. I think it would be a nice gesture to bring over some food closer to a holiday, such as between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Holidays are difficult times when you have lost someone, and some comfort food would be a great way to let someone know you are thinking of them.

Posted by: merluvs2cook | October 9, 2008 10:56 AM

Food for grieving - I concur with Kim and merluvs2cook. With the "big" holidays soon upon us, your family member will face a lot of the grieving hurdles very soon. I'm sure your TLC (Tender love and cooking) will be even more appreciated then. Also, why not consider some muffins, breakfast bread, etc? Early, dark mornings can be just as lonely for the widowed as dinnertime.

Posted by: TriciaGray | October 9, 2008 12:37 PM

When we lost my Mama 3 years ago, we were overwhelmed with food, particularly casseroles. One of the best things that someone brought was cut up fruit and veggies, sliced ham and turkey, etc - stuff that is easy to snack on and to share with visiting family and friends. Another good suggestion is something that you don't usually think about - paper plates, napkins, cups, and utensils, because the last thing you want to deal with when you're grieving is doing the dishes.
My sister and I were also big fans of the person who brought pizza and a six-pack, which was a nice change of pace from casseroles!

Posted by: elizabeth | October 9, 2008 3:22 PM

We had a friend whose partner died very suddenly, and we found that our friend could barely bring himself to heat up what we had prepared in advance, very little appetite, etc. Since our friend actually did want company, and because his family came and took turns staying with him for a week here and there, his group of friends pretty much took turns cooking and bringing food over, and sitting down to dinner with him and whichever family member was there. So we tended to cook things that held well in the fridge or freezer- lasagna, soup, etc.

The act of sitting down around a table for a meal helped us make sure he was at least eating one balanced, nutritious meal per day. We figured if we could make that one meal happen, we could let his Grief Appetite run its course without worrying that he wasn't getting what he needed. And the mealtime ritual was good for him too- a welcome distraction.

We still bring him food from time to time now, too- soup when he's sick, take him to lunch, invite him to dinner, that sort of thing. So I second the suggestion that your relative will need some food-related care a little farther down the line- it's hard for someone who has lost their partner when everyone else goes back to their lives after a few weeks but they're still daily confronting this loss. Remember her around holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.

Posted by: rocky | October 9, 2008 5:34 PM

Kim- I was unable to access your chat in real time even though I tried. Were their others who had difficulties, and what is the secret? I tried both by putting inthe URL and using the Post link - both gave me Sept 25.

Posted by: Newton Mom | October 9, 2008 6:08 PM

These past 2 weeks KOD has been online at 1 pm EDT instead of noon. Could that be the reason you couldn't get the live chat? I think KOD is seeing what works for her and for us.

Posted by: For Newton Mom | October 9, 2008 10:51 PM

Time to replace KOD with someone local and someone who doesnt have a bias for Whole Paycheck and who respects meateaters!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 10, 2008 10:36 AM

Hi Kim and chatters,
Thanks so much for answeing my question on food for thos egrieving. You have some great ideas. Unfortunately, I live half a country away, so won't be able to join the family for regular meals, much as I would like to. And I know people who are already there have the most immediate needs (cold cuts, cheeses, disposable plates, etc) covered.

I was looking for something medium-term, something that could be left in the chest freezer for when the immediate influx of food is gone, but I'm not there either. Breakfast foods are a great idea (muffins freeze well, right?), as is pizza! And the quart size is a good suggestion as well. And making another batch of food at the holidays is a great idea. I'll try to ask her after the service what she would like to eat, but I think that might be difficult.

Again, thanks much.

Posted by: Chris | October 10, 2008 11:03 AM

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