November 19, 2012 § 4 Comments
A love affair? Maybe, but I guess I justify it since it only happens once a year. And, like me, you won’t believe you made these pudgy little suckers, nor will your guests. Yes, I know, bread is not exactly nourishing, but smothered with ghee or creamy butter, it sure is a perfect indulgence once and a while (i.e. once a year at Thanksgiving). Lion House rolls are heaven. This is not my recipe but I’ve adopted it, made them the last three years and I must say, if every family chef made these buttery babies, we’d never have to rely on Pillsberry for pokable perfection ever again.
If you’re a visual learner, watch this Lion House video and get to swingin’ your dough!
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the water and the dry milk, stirring until everything is dissolved. Add the yeast to the mixture while milk mixture is still warm. Proof the yeast (let it dissolve and start to react before adding anything else) for a couple of minutes then add the sugar, salt, butter, egg and only 2 cups of the flour.
Mix on low speed until ingredients are wet and shaggy; turn to medium speed and mix for 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and add 2 more cups of flour (total of 4 cups added at this point). Mix on low speed until the ingredients are wet, then turn mixer on medium speed and mix for 2 minutes.
At this point, the dough will be stiff. Remove the bowl from the mixer and knead in the remaining flour by hand.
Add approximately 1/2- 1 cup of flour and knead. The dough should be soft, not overly sticky, and not stiff. Note: It’s not necessary to use the all of the 5 1/2 cups of flour.
Scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl. Coat the sides of the bowl with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Turn the dough over, keeping it in the bowl, so it is covered with the oil. Coating the dough with oil ensures moisture won’t escape. Cover the bowl with a small towel and allow it to rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size.
You want to cut the rectangle into smaller rectangles that are 2″ by 4″. If you make and “L” with your thumb and pointer finger, as it shows in the video, that will yield the right width and height to cut the rectangles.
Roll or flip them (like in the video) and place them on greased baking pans with the end of the roll resting on the pan. Cover with a towel so they don’t dry out as they rise. Let them rise until they double in size; this usually takes about an hour to an hour and a half (in a warm kitchen).
When they’ve risen, bake at 375 degree Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Serve immediately. Leftovers (although there probably won’t be any) can be frozen- they make a great base for bread pudding!
September 9, 2012 § 1 Comment
What do you do with a tomato beaten by the sun, scorched fiery red, with flesh so plump and juicy that it has folded over upon itself?
I found it cloaked with purslane beneath a mound of weeds while picking kale at my secret kale picking spot. I got lucky, had it been there much longer it probably would have turned to mush, but its scarlet skin caught my eye. Tomatoes are delicious, but I only eat them in the summer because, well you know; they suck in the winter. First off, they are gassed red with ethylene gas made from petroleum. Secondly who wants to eat a cold, watery tomato when it’s snowing – I’ll take a warm, sweet buttercup squash over a mealy tomato any winter day. Anyways, a lot of the tomatoes we grow end up getting cooked down and jarred, so they can be used when the days are short and there is snow on the ground, but big ones like these require eating now.
Brandywine, Amish paste, Aunt Rudy’s paste, Pineapple Bicolor (my personal favorite), Sungold, Cherokee Purple, Black Prince, Cosmonaut Volkov, Green Zebra, Big Boy, Verde Puebla, Tomatillos, Jubilee, Rutger’s, Early Girl, Grandma Mary’s paste and Black Krim tomatoes made up this summer’s collection. I will miss going into the backyard before every meal, but I am relishing in it, using every bit of fresh food that I can.
So, while tomatoes are everywhere you should be throwing them into everything (unless of course you’re allergic to them, in which case I’m very sorry but you’ll have to sit this one out)! Here I’ve combine bright tomatoes with organic black quinoa, pignoli (aka pine nuts but pignoli sounds so much better), basil and a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice. This recipe is fast and delicious, it’s vegan, gluten-free and because it’s quinoa based, it is a good source of complete protein. Oh, and it makes a convenient salad topper; keep it in your refrigerator and scoop some onto a bowl of hearty spinach or spicy arugula.
Black Quinoa, Pignoli & Tomato Toss
2 3/4 cups vegetable broth, 1 cup black quinoa, 1/2 cup pignoli nuts, 4 large tomatoes, any variety, diced, 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped, juice from 1/2 of a lemon, 1/2 tbsp dried mint, 1 tsp dried tarragon, black pepper and sea salt to taste and extra virgin olive oil
In a medium sauce pan over high heat bring 2 cups of vegetable broth and quinoa to a boil. Once boiling, cover and turn the heat down to medium. Stir every couple of minutes until the quinoa has absorbed all of the liquid.
If the quinoa doesn’t fluff up, but remains chewy add the remaining 3/4 cup of broth and continue to cook over medium heat until the liquid is gone and the quinoa is fluffy. When finished quinoa has tiny white strands that separate from the black part of the grain (see above).
When the quinoa is completely finished toss it with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, transfer it to a serving bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until cool.
While the quinoa is cooling, dry roast the pignoli nuts in a cast iron skillet or saute pan. This takes less than 5 minutes. Once the pan is hot the nuts will brown and become fragrant; this means they are finished.
Chop the tomatoes, discarding the water and seeds in the center; this prevents the dish from being watery. Julienne the basil and combine it with dried mint, tarragon, lemon juice and a teaspoon of olive oil.
When the quinoa has cooled toss in the basil dressing and the pignoli nuts. Season with salt and black pepper before serving.
August 9, 2012 § 3 Comments
Crunchy granola. Yes, crunchy granola is right and in more ways than the one mind-blowing, muscle powering, tongue tantalizing way I’m about to share with you. This recipe basically defines crunchy granola in the flowing floral skirts, worn sliver jewlery, kombuch brewing, feathers and fern trees, Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, mung bean sprouting, beeswax boiling, make love not war, downward-facing dog kind of way. This buckwheat granola was my best friend during my mountain and rock climbing excursion through New Hampshire.
While we are on the topic; I Googled “crunchy granola” and was so amused (maybe a bit too much) by the Urban Dictionary definition of “crunchy granola bar” that I felt it completely necessary to share so you can use it to spice up your everyday vernacular.
Heidi: “Oh that Crunchy Granola Bar? I heard he just moved here from Denver.”
Hiking and rock climbing with two crunchy granola bars is not easy, so I made a huge batch of raw sprouted, vegan (if you omit the raw local honey) buckwheat granola and figured it would be the best fuel (screw over-processed power bars) to power my butt up the mountain as fast as my boyfriend and his friend. And I must say, it worked very well. Not only did we make it up Mount Washington, but we completed the ascent, which usually takes about 4 hours, in only 2 hours and 40 minutes (including our granola eating breaks). I was impressed.
Since the “crunchy granola bars” I was hanging with both spend most of the year in the mountains of Arizona and Colorado, they are into rock climbing. Because Rumney, NH has some good spots to climb, we spent our last day there so they could remedy their climbing craving. So, for the first time I climbed outside, and have to say, it was a lot of fun – but again, without my sprouted granola I probably would not have been able to keep up and complete all the climbs that they did!
Between climbs I came across some pretty cool looking mushrooms but decided to stick with eating the granola. I don’t think hallucinating is smart while rock climbing but what do I know? Anyways, let’s talk about this granola. Buckwheat is a serious power food. Not only is it gluten-free, but it also, according to Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, may help to lower blood glucose levels which allow those who enjoy it to stay satiated while managing and preventing diabetes. Plus, buckwheat is high in fiber, flavonoids and minerals such as magnesium. These mirconutirents harmonize to synergistically lower LDL (low density lipoproteins aka bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (high-density lipoproteins aka healthy cholesterol). Almost as impressive as our Mt. Washington ascent, huh?
Sprouted Buckwheat & Date Granola
3 1/2 cups raw buckwheat*, 25 large Medjool dates, 1 cup water, 2 Tbsp organic extra virgin coconut oil, 2 Tbsp raw honey (optional), 1 Tbsp organic vanilla extract, 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt, 2 Tbsp Ceylon Cinnamon, 2 cups whole raw nuts (almonds, pecans or cashews), 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
*the amount will increase after sprouting because the buckwheat will hold water
Optional Additions: Flax seeds (raw or sprouted), crystallized ginger, dried Turkish or Black Mission figs, dried bananas, seeds, cacao nibs or beans, etc.
To Sprout: Rinse the buckwheat in a sieve, then put it in a baking dish or bowl fully submerged in water. Let the buckwheat sit in the water for 1 hour. After an hour, pour the buckwheat back into the sieve and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 24-48 hours (depending on how sprouted you want them) rinsing every 12 hours. When you begin to see the “tails” you can make the granola.
Date Paste: In a blender, combine 18 dates, the water, coconut oil, honey (if using), vanilla and pink salt until they for a somewhat smooth paste. Taste and adjust adding more dates, honey or vanilla depending on your preferences.
Meanwhile, chop up the remaining dates into fourths. Mix dates, nuts, coconut and cinnamon into the sprouted buckwheat. Add the date paste making sure to scrape every last drop from the blender into the buckwheat mixture.
To “Dehydrate”: Set your oven to 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly coat with coconut oil. Split the buckwheat mixture into two and evenly press it out on to the baking sheets. Dehydrate for 10 to 24 hours until the date paste is dry and the buckwheat forms sheets or clusters.
Note: My oven takes about 20 hours set on the “drying” setting, but every oven will be different depending on the setting and the heat. If you have a dehydrator, set to about 110 degrees Fahrenheit and dehydrate for 3-6 hours flipping the granola over after 1.5-3 hours.
Enjoy in yogurt, tossed into a kale salad (my favorite), with some fresh figs or berries, on a peanut butter banana, in nut milk or just straight up in big handfuls! Be careful though, this stuff is addicting…. and crunchy!
June 24, 2012 § 1 Comment
Yes, it’s as good as it sounds.
Rice is something I’ve always struggled with. I enjoy it when other people labor through the simmering and stirring for me, but every time I concoct a rice based dish I’m sorely disappointed. Repetitive disappointment in the rice department bruised my ego a bit. I mean over half of the world’s population probably eats rice every day, multiple times. If they can cook it so well what was I missing? The answer – the right type of rice. This recipe uses short grain rice, which is, in my opinion more palatable than long grain which tends to be a harder and more dry (in my very humble experience). This earthy combination is one not to miss out on. The recipe comes from a Middle Eastern cookbook, Artichoke to Za’atar by Greg and Lucy Malouf. Shann gave me for my birthday last summer and I must say I appreciate it exponentially more after experiencing the cuisine of Israel. However, it doesn’t take a trip to the Middle East to realize this rice is exceptional.
In the book, Greg and Lucy suggest stuffing a baby lamb with the Lebanese nut rice. I didn’t have that kind of time and am sure that finding someone to sell me an entire baby lamb would be a lengthy project within itself. That being said, I think this rice would be tasty stuffed in anything be it the cavity of a chicken or between the fleshy walls of a cored tomato (or any type of winter squash when they are in season). So instead of stuffing I did a bit of modifying through out the recipe. In place of the ground lamb, I substituted bones from the shoulder of a lamb I saved after making lamb confit. I preferred using the bones because they provide depth without adding ground meat, but I’m sure the meat would add a pleasant texture, especially if you decided to use this for stuffing. Also, I used about a cup of each of the nuts instead of 2/3 of a cup. This is not necessary but definitely added more flavor, texture and richness.
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 large white onion, finely diced, 5 ounces of ground lamb*, 3 cups organic short grain brown rice, 1 quart vegetable stock**, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 tsp crushed black pepper, sea salt to taste
*Ground beef or lamb bones can be used instead of ground lamb. **Chicken stock or beef stock can be substituted depending on what meat or bones you use to flavor the rice. Also, you may need 2 quarts (8 cups or 1/2 gallon) depending on the rice you use.
2/3 cup pine nuts, 2/3 cup slivered almonds, 2/3 cup unsalted shelled pistachio nuts, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 small garlic cloves, juice from 1 lemon, 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
Lebanese Nut Rice
In a large cast iron skillet or heavy bottom pan heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Saute the onion and ground lamb or lamb bones until the onion is soft and translucent and the meat is browned. Add the rice and the vegetable stock and bring to a boil within four minutes. When boiling add the cinnamon stick, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook without stirring until the rice has soaked up a majority of the stock. If the rice is still hard add 2-4 more cups of stock and continue to simmer until the rice softens and becomes chewy.
Meanwhile, heat the 1/2 cup of olive oil over medium heat. Add the pine nuts, almonds and pistachios until fragrant and golden brown. With a slotted spoon remove the nuts and add them to the rice when it is finished cooking. Save the nut infused oil.
Chop and smash the garlic into a paste. Heat 3 tablespoons of the nut-infused olive oil with the garlic and lemon juice until boiling. Pour over the rice when ready to serve
Enjoy with a hearty serving of tzatziki and some sliced cucumber with a indulgent drizzling of olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Bon appetite.
December 19, 2011 § 1 Comment
In my opinion, if you can resist a muffin, you’re not human.
Sweet Cakes, a great little cafe in Peace Dale, makes the best muffins with the most creative flavor combinations. About two weeks ago I tried a cottage cheese blueberry muffin & it sent me back to when I was younger. One bite of the muffin whisked me into nostalgia, to the days of nagging my parents for a doughnut or muffin whenever they went into Bess Eatin’ to get a coffee. I would always order blueberry & mainly because of the crunchy sugar-baked top. It’s amazing how something as simple as a flavor can instigate such a distant memory, but in any case, it prompted me to give the cottage cheese blueberry combination a shot on my own.
Although blueberry is such a classic muffin flavor, it’s easy to get blueberry muffins wrong. Actually, it’s easy to get muffins wrong in general. We’ve all had our share of overly dense (usually very healthy) muffins, or muffins so sweet we feel like we’ve engulfed a heavily frosted cupcake – these muffins are the perfect in between. The lemon zest is really of importance for this recipe. The citrus’s sweet acidity really lightens what would otherwise be sort of overly indulgent, creamy (think butter, milk, cottage cheese) flavors.
This recipe takes a classic from the Essential New York Times Cookbook, by Amanda Hesser & adds a little flare. These muffins are quick, delicious & make a phenomenal addition to any family breakfast – if you can keep them around that long. Just a heads up, it’s important to really beat the butter, sugar & eggs together so the that muffins come out light & airy.
Blueberry Cottage Cheese Muffins
2 cups all purpose flour (or gluten-free flour mixture)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
8 Tbsp organic unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 3 Tbsp
1/2 cup, packed, powdered sugar
3 whole eggs
1/2 cup organic whole milk
1/2 cup organic low fat cottage cheese*
2 Tbsp lemon zest
2 cups blueberries, or assorted berries
* I used my all time favorite Kalona SuperNatural Organic cottage cheese. This stuff is delectable, it even has a golden layer of butter-esque cream on top!
Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit & butter muffin cups. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt & baking powder.
Cream the butter & granulated sugar together in a large bowl. Add the powdered sugar & 1 Tbsp of lemon zest, continue mixing until light. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
When completely creamed, add half of the flour mixture, then half of the milk & continue to mix, until almost fully incorporated. Add the rest of the flour mixture, milk & the cottage cheese. Fold until almost uniform, with some clumps. Fold in the blueberries.
Fill the buttered muffin tin or cups with the batter. In a small bowl, combine 1 Tbsp of lemon zest with the remaining 3 Tbsp of sugar. Sprinkle the sugar mixture on top of the muffins. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool for about 30 minutes before removing them from pan. These muffins should keep well for up to two days, but should probably be left uncovered so they don’t get too moist & sticky.
Enjoy warm, with a scoop of cottage cheese or a smothering of butter.
December 8, 2011 § 2 Comments
Simmering sencha: earthy, grass-toned, mellow & slightly astringent. Browned Garlic: bold, pungent, spicy & sweet. Preserved Lemon: bright, acidic & a bit adventurous.
These flavors from common kitchen foods meld together to create something worth repeating; again and again and again.
Anyone who has been sorely disappointed by the flavor, or lack there of, in quinoa can join the millions. I’m sure many people who are on the quest toward healthier eating lug home a bag of this protein-packed grain in hopes it will solve all of their problems. They get home, cook the grain in water, add some salt, pepper & olive oil & never touch it again. To those of you who have experienced that, this will certainly change your minds. Plus, who doesn’t love butternut squash & some savory mushrooms?
Not to mention the fact the this is a perfect whole grain option for people who have to eat gluten-free. Whole grains (wheat berries, oats, barley, rye, millet, amaranth, etc) were not meant be consumed in the ugly form of “whole wheat” pre-sliced bread, “whole wheat” Pillsbury Frudals, “whole grain” pre-made packaged pancakes or any of the like (I’m not kidding, this is what our government, according to MyPlate, considers a serving of whole grains). Whole grains are meant to nourish our bodies – stop falling for the health claims on the sides of corporate packaged foods & get adventurous.
People complain that it is too expensive to eat healthfully, but buying bulk whole grains is probably one of the cheapest things you can get. Things get expensive when you start buying the “healthy” packaged stuff. Oh, and forget the MyPlate recommendations – let’s make all of our grains whole.
But getting back to the bliss; if you don’t have preserved lemons this really won’t be the same. I’m sure you could try peeling lemons, then letting the peels hang out in sea salt for a couple days & you would probably get something similar, but if you want to preserve your own lemons the link is here: Preserved Lemons. Or you can always buy them online (if you’re in a rush): Buy Preserved Lemons
Tea Simmered Winter Squash Quinoa
5 cups of water, 5 heaping Tbsp Sencha tea (5 green tea bags works too), 2 cups white quinoa, 2 whole butternut squash, 1 cup mushrooms, assorted, chopped, 7 cloves of garlic, 1 preserved lemon, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 Tbsp, 3 Tbsp dried oregano, feta cheese to garnish
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit on roast. Slice the squash into 1 inch thick pieces & roast for 35 minutes until the skin has lifted & the flesh can easily be pierced with a fork. Fill a medium sauce pan with 5 cups of water – cover & bring to a boil. Add the tea & steep for 10 minutes. Strain the water to remove the loose tea leaves or remove the tea bags. Add the quinoa & bring to a rapid boil while covered, then reduce the heat & stir constantly (keeping it uncovered) until the quinoa has absorbed all the water (it will be light, fluffy & will expand to about four times the original amount).
Meanwhile, peel garlic & gently smash it under the side of a large knife. This can be done by putting the garlic on a cutting board, holding your knife so the blade is parallel to the bored & banging the side of the blade with the heel of your hand to squish the garlic. Slice the lemon vertically into eighths, then chop the slices into 1/4 of an inch pieces.
In a skillet add olive oil & heat for 2 minutes. When oil is warmed, add garlic & the chopped lemons. After 5 minutes add the oregano. Continue cooking over medium heat until the garlic is browned. When the garlic is golden brown, pour the oil mixture over the quinoa.
In the same skillet used to brown the garlic, saute the chopped mushrooms in 1 Tbsp of olive oil until fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Chop the squash into cubes & toss into the quinoa. Add the sauteed mushrooms, taste & season as desired. Before serving, drizzle with olive oil & throw in a handful of feta for added creaminess.
This is a good recipe to make at the beginning of the week & refrigerate. It tastes great on top of kale or spinach or can be reheated for a quick dinner.
November 17, 2011 § 1 Comment
Toasted fennel seeds, chewy roasted raisins, slightly charred red onion & of course the indispensable winter green, kale.
Now don’t go turning up your nose saying I’ve tried kale, I hate it & everything about it, or the infamous I’d cook that but my husband & kids will kick me out, because there is a secret to eating kale – actually, it’s a secret to harvesting kale. Kale harvested after a frost is much sweeter & more palatable than summertime kale. All it takes is a little chill & kale is transformed almost as much as a scrawny young girl after puberty – I’m not kidding. It’s probably best if I leave out the fact that it’s high in calcium, beta-carotene, lutein, vitamin C, vitamin K, sulforaphane, a molecule in all cruciferous & brassicas vegetables that is known for it’s anti-cancer properties & a plethora of various other carotinoids, at the risk that you’ll think I’m just trying to convince you to eat it. I’m not though, I promise. Skip the kale & their will be more for me.
This recipe may seem like it has some tediously skip-able steps, like toasting the fennel or baking the raisins, but I assure you that they are there for a reason. Toasting the fennel seeds allows for a multi-sense experience. As the volatile oils are released, we are able to not only enjoy the flavor of the seeds, but also enjoy the aroma. The raisins are heated to further concentrate the sugar simple sugars, glucose & fructose, as heating is just a way of drawing out more water.
Kale & Roasted Raisin Jumble
- 8 large leaves of kale, stemmed & chopped
- 2 red onions, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rings
- 1 cup of any grain, or pasta*
- 1/2 cup of walnuts
- 1/3 cup of raisins, roasted
- 4 Tbsp fennel seed, toasted
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp garlic powder (garlic salt)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper & salt to taste
*Here I used sprouted bulgur wheat, but quinoa, amaranth, barley, linguini, orecchiette, etc will do. Sprouted bulgur is cooked in the microwave with 1 cup of bulgur to 2 cups of water, covered well, for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to roast (or bake) at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add onions to a skillet over medium heat & saute for about 10 minutes, until soft. Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil, cover the onions for 2-3 minutes & allow them to brown without burning. Meanwhile, prepare what ever grain or pasta you’ve chosen to use. In a small baking dish mix the raisins & black pepper. Roast for 7 minutes, until the raisins swell slightly, then set them aside to cool.
Add chopped kale and 1 Tbsp of olive oil to the slightly charred onions and toss in the saute pan until the kale has wilted, but is still a vibrant green. Add the coriander & garlic powder. Continue to saute over low heat. Add the bulgur (or other grain) & walnuts, then salt to taste. Last, add the raisins & toss one more time.
Serve hot or refrigerate immediately. This will last refrigerated for about 5 days.