6 am tomato sauce

6 AM Tomato Sauce| theclevercarrot.com

I’ve always been an early riser.

When the birds are up I’m up, and there’s nothing more satisfying than basking in a full 60 minutes to myself before the rest of the house rolls out of bed and asks me for breakfast… and socks.

Morning’s are when I get to create!

In fact, I learned something interesting about myself; if I don’t allow myself some ‘playtime’ in the morning regardless of how much work I have to do, or where I need to be, I’m totally cranky for the rest of the day until I get it out of my system. I’m like a pressure cooker.

It could be as simple as writing a few pages in my notebook (I do this every morning, religiously), making a batch of sourdough, or even lighting a darn candle while stirring my oatmeal.

It’s still dark at 6 AM, you know.

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the curious watermelon that grew

Homegrown Watermelon Salad with Tomatoes, Pickled Jalapenos + Feta | theclevercarrot.com

I don’t know much about gardening.

I like gardens. I like the idea of gardening. But it all seems so overwhelming I’d rather sign up for a CSA and call it a day. Or go to the farmers market on weekends. Or better yet, wait for my neighbor to drop off some of his never ending harvest on my doorstep (I repay him with sourdough).

But where’s the joy in that?

This summer, my husband gallantly spear headed our gardening adventures and it’s been fun documenting the process.

We bought all kinds of organic seeds to try, and lucky for us everything grew! We planted a variety of tomatoes including cherry tomatoes, yellow tear drops, sweet orange sun golds, summer squash (I broke down and bought a spiralizer), romaine lettuce, eggplant, figs and wait for it…

Watermelon.

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Ali’s no-knead peasant bread

Ali's No-knead Peasant Bread | www.theclevercarrot.com

What I love about bread is that we’re constantly learning.

Let me introduce you to my friend Ali. She’s the creator of Alexandra’s Kitchen, mother of 4 totally adorable cutie pies, and author of Bread Toast Crumbs: Recipes for No-Knead Loaves and Meals to Savor Every Slice.

The book is just as fabulous as she is.

Ali’s story is based on her mother’s peasant bread which is an approachable, no-knead loaf that absolutely anyone can make.

The dough is made with instant yeast, so you can expect for it to rise pretty quickly when left in a warm spot. Then it’s shaped and divided between two buttered bowls (BUTTERED!) and left to rise again for a short amount of time. When ready to bake (and this is the cool part) the doughs are baked to golden perfection directly in their happy little bowls.

How fun is that?

What’s practical too, is that her peasant bread is the gateway to many other breads in the book including this Oatmeal-Maple Bread and this insanely good-looking Cinnamon Sugar Monkey Bread.

But as scrumptious as it all sounds, her mother’s recipe was passed down with a catch.

She was forbidden to share it with anyone.

And so for many years, she didn’t. Ali kept it a secret.

Occasionally, the bread would make an appearance on her blog and naturally everyone wanted to know how to make it.

Following her mom’s orders, she told the readers they could find the recipe on the back of a bag of King Arthur Flour. But this wasn’t really the case.

Soon enough, her readers caught on and were too savvy to bite the bait. Ali couldn’t keep the secret for any longer!

The recipe was eventually published on her blog and it was received with great success. The creation of Bread Toast Crumbs followed and the rest of the story is delicious, peasant bread history.

Ali's No-knead Peasant Bread | www.theclevercarrot.com

I’m incredibly excited to share this recipe with you not only because I love bread, new methods, and fun techniques, but I’m inspired to support the work of a fellow bread baker and good friend.

So let’s make some peasant bread, shall we?

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