I found all sorts of wonderful colors and flavors to play with this week. Kevin, my miller at Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill, just started carrying hard white wheat again. Hard white is the sweet, mild-flavored cousin of the hard red wheat I've been using as the base of my wheat breads.The staple bread (formerly known as Hard Red) at the market stand will now be half red and half white (cleverly named Red & White). It's beautiful, and the flavor, though lighter than when it was made with straight hard red, is more complex.
I also picked up a bag of blue corn. I wish I'd thought to take pictures of the grain, because the color is a showstopper. I nixtemalized* some for a wild Blue Corn Nixtemal bread experiment. This bread puts my past polenta breads to shame. Nixtemalization increases the nutritional availability, color, and flavor of maize. This bread has a serious corn kick!
With the blue cornmeal a friend ground for me, I also made a lovely blue corn, almond, and honey poached quince cake. Unsurprisingly, the cornmeal didn't turn the pastry the vivid blue I was imagining, but I think the vivid orange of the quince more than makes up for the cake's staid color.
*Nixtemalization is the ancient Mesoamerican technique of cooking maize in an alkaline solution to make it easier to grind. The process has the added benefits of increasing niacin availability (thus the terrible plagues of pellagra in parts of Europe when they imported New World maize without importing its cooking technology), mineral content, and decreasing miotoxins.