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Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

As regular readers know, a few months ago I was the fortunate recipient of some sourdough starter that’s older than most college students. Historically, sourdough starters were a precious family legacy, a means of making yeast-risen bread without relying on little store-bought packages. You can make starter yourself, but getting it from a friend makes it much easier! My friend sent my starter with three pages of instructions (including feeding it every single day), which I read thoroughly and then filed for safe keeping. (No, really, I know exactly where they are.) Then I started messing around with it, seeing how long I could go without feeding the starter (when the storms hit and work got too busy, I went close to 4 weeks without feeding it) and how many recipes I could modify to use it. (more…)

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Since my long run on March 6, I’ve been recovering and trying to get caught up on life.  Unfortunately, I did have a Lyme relapse, but it was manageable–and a sign that it’s just not time to stop fighting.  I also, however, received a gift that has taken a bit of my time, another microscopic form of life that’s much nicer than Lyme spirochetes.  I got a preview of the gift, a.k.a. my new pets, a week before the race when this showed up in my office mailbox:

Sourdough Bread

Isn’t it gorgeous?  It’s a huge half-loaf of homemade sourdough bread.  You see, I had to attend a weekend conference back in February, but out of that loss of my weekend I got to talk with a colleague (a lot) on four long plane flights.  We discovered that his wife and I share a love of baking.  First came the bread.  Then not quite two weeks ago I got the holy grail:  her sourdough starter, now almost a quarter of a century old.  Sourdough starter saves you from buying little packages of yeast, some with chemicals added.  You can use it to make baked goods with all organic ingredients.  Sourdough starter really is magic.

My benefactor sent with the starter her own sourdough recipe.  It looked good (and I know it tasted good, because we’d gotten the first gift!) but used handmade proofing baskets and a 24-hour rising period.  The starter also (apparently) needed to be fed once a day.  Well, you know me.  I can’t stand to throw stuff out, so I determined to test refrigerating the starter to delay feeding (which definitely works) and reduce how much starter I had and to use the starter in other ways.  Since I got the starter, I’ve made several loaves of whole-grain bread, pancakes, and even pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins.  Yes, the recipes will all follow, and I promise to post them with alternatives for making them without sourdough starter.

The votes are in! Whole-wheat sourdough and whole-wheat bread are now posted here. Next up will be pumpkin-chocolate chip bread!

Do you bake with sourdough?  Did you create your own starter, or did you receive it as a gift?  How long have you kept a sourdough starter going?

Copyright 2011 Ozarkhomesteader.

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Fried Pumpkin Ravioli

Sometimes I think that nature gives us warm, sweet flavors that keep in storage from fall to winter to balance the chilly days until spring.  Winter squash and pumpkin have those comforting flavors, and I can’t resist enjoying them in not only pie but also in soup, bread, and even pasta.  Today let’s try pumpkin raviolis two ways:  regular and fried. For once, we’re going to short-cut the process by using wonton wrappers instead of homemade pasta dough, meaning you can have these little gems ready in a matter of minutes.  Serve them for appetizers, or make a whole bunch for a full meal.  The fried raviolis are great to pass at your Super Bowl gathering, or call them pumpkin pasties and serve them up for your next Harry Potter party.  No matter how you use them, they’ll be a tasty addition to your table.

Ingredients: makes about two dozen raviolis

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin or winter squash purée (home made or canned)
  • 1-2 cloves roasted garlic), smashed (For great roasted garlic, bake garlic cloves, covered, at about 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Store in olive oil.  If you’re feeling really lazy, substitute 1/2-1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic).
  • 1 ounce grated parmesan (about 1-inch cube before grating)
  • tablespoon or two of ricotta for extra creaminess
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste (I confess:  I used a seasoning mix called Beaverfork Blend that I get through my Locally Grown network.)
  • pinch of dried sage
  • package of wonton wrappers

Mix together all of the ingredients except the egg roll wrappers.  Place an egg roll wrapper on your prep surface.  Put about a tablespoon of pumpkin mix slightly off center in the wrapper.  Using your finger, wet two adjoining edges of the wrapper.  Fold over the dry side of the wrapper, encasing the pumpkin mixture. Use a fork to gently crimp the dry edges to the wet edges.  Set the wrapper aside and repeat steps with more wrappers until you have as many ravioli as you want.

For traditional boiled ravioli, slide raviolis one at a time into rapidly boiling water. You can cook a few at a time, as long as you’re careful not to crowd the pot.  They’ll cook really quickly (in about a minute and a half).  Use a perforated spatula to lift raviolis from water one at a time, drain well, and serve tossed with butter, garlic, and parmesan, or make a quick creamy garlic cheese sauce from minced garlic lightly cooked in butter then cooked with cream and finished with a little cheese.

For fried ravioli, follow the same procedure as above, but instead of cooking in boiling water, heat several inches of a neutral oil that can take high heat to about 350 degrees to 375 degrees in a deep fryer or heavy Dutch oven.  (If you don’t have a thermometer, you can determine when the oil is ready by pressing the tip of a wooden spoon handle or chop stick directly in the bottom of the pan.  When little bubbles emanate from the tip as it’s pressed in, you’re ready to fry.) Slide each ravioli in the hot oil and let it fry on each side until golden brown.  The time will be quick–no more than two minutes.  Drain each ravioli and set aside to keep warm until you’re ready to serve.  Garnish with fresh chopped herbs like basil or sage or just a dusting of good parmesan.

Would you like magically quick, sweet pumpkin pasties instead?

Ingredients: makes about two dozen pumpkin pasties

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin or winter squash purée (home made or canned)
  • tablespoon or two of ricotta for extra creaminess
  • pinch of ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • package of wonton wrappers

Follow directions for raviolis, using the fried version.  Dust finished pasties with powdered sugar.

Copyright, text and illustrations, 2011 by Ozarkhomesteader.


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Latkes–fluffy, savory pancakes made of grated potatoes–make a filling base for a cold-weather meal.  We make them with regular potatoes, but we also like them made with sweet potatoes, whose bright orange color fits our fall mood so well.  Sweet potatoes are also loaded with nutrients, so be thankful if they’ve been showing up at your farmers market or in your CSA basket recently.  The problem with making latkes from sweet potatoes is how to get the sweet potato to cook through without burning the exterior, since sweet potatoes’ sugar content make them susceptible to excess caramelization.  I’ve discovered a secret, though, that I’ll share with you today; just keep reading!
Ingredients
  • about two cups grated sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon jerk seasoning OR sausage seasoning OR cajun seasoning OR a dash each of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper–Use what you have and what goes well with your meal.
Method
Grate the sweet potato using a course grater. Try to get long strips of potato as well as shorter ones.  Now--and this is one of those secrets I hate to give up–microwave the grated sweet potato for 2 minutes on high.  The sweet potato should take on an almost rose-floral scent as it starts to cook.  If you don’t have a microwave, bake the grated sweet potato in a covered casserole dish at about 350 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes.  You should get similar results.
Let the grated sweet potato cool a bit and then stir in the flour.  Add the egg and your chosen seasoning and stir to combine.  Heat a heavy-bottomed pan (you know me:  I’ll use cast iron!) to medium heat (about 300 degrees) and add about a quarter to half an inch of oil.  Drop latkes in with a big spoon and spread a little to form pancake shape.  Cook on each side until they’re crispy, about 5 minutes per side.  You can hold the cooked latkes in a warm oven on toweling while you cook the rest.
Try sweet potato latkes with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt or even some apple butter.  I served our recent sweet potato latkes with plus cabbage and onions, grilled organic turkey bratwurst, and a sweet, sour, and crunchy fall salad that I’ll post tomorrow–I promise, it’s already written!
Do you like sweet potatoes?  What’s your favorite way to eat them?
Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.

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We’ve been fortunate to find a couple of local shiitake mushroom sources, and I find that I want to use them as often as I can.  A few days ago I made a small frittata with fresh fruit for breakfast, although with  salad, this frittata could make a tasty Meatless Monday dinner.  (Frittatas are traditionally supper food.)

Frittatas are egg and vegetable (and occasionally meat) casseroles that you start on the stove top and finish in the oven, making them ideal for cast iron.  For this frittata, I began by sauteing several washed and sliced shiitake mushrooms (stems removed).  Then I added two sliced tomatoes, three chicken eggs beaten with a little water (just a splash!),  and finally grated smoked gouda (less than an ounce) on top.   Finish the frittata in a warm oven (375 degrees F) for about 15 to 20 minutes.Cut into wedge slices as is, or flip the frittata and slice it that way.  Do you want a little more flavor?  Try adding snipped chives.

Frittatas are only limited by your produce and your imagination.  Do you have yellow squash or zucchini?  Saute it and then add your egg.  How about sun-dried tomatoes in the winter?  Try them.  The texture of sun-dried tomatoes with a smoked cheese is reminiscent of bacon.  Just remember to start with the items that need to be sauteed and save your eggs and, if you use it, cheese for last.  For dinner, try a leafy green salad as a side instead of the summer fruit.

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader, including photographs.  All rights reserved.

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Spring is spinach season, so today I offer you spinach lasagna.  Chances are if you grow or if you buy veggies through Community Supported Agriculture, you’ll have spinach soon, if you don’t already.  We’re going to just barely wilt the spinach before we bake the lasagna, so it will remain as green as Spring, with no bitterness!

Some people think they can’t get their kids to eat spinach, but with no bitterness in this recipe, you may find it’s easier than you think.  If they’re still not believers, tell them that you’re serving “Great Green Globs of Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts,” and teach them the song!  (Yes, there really is a song.  Just Google it.) Given kids’ desire to gross out other people, you’ve just made spinach lasagna a hit.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 whole-grain lasagna noodles  (you may need to trim them to fit the pan measurements)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • several leek leaves (green part):  about two loose cups–If you don’t have leek tops, use 1/2 sweet yellow onion, finely chopped.
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup (or a little less or more) milk–start with about 1/4 cup and go up to 1/2 cup
  • about 8 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
  • 1-2 ounces parmesan cheese (I use real Italian parmesan cheese.  Even though it’s not local, it’s so special that nothing else compares.)
  • optional:  select fresh oregano (about two teaspoons-1 teaspoon dried) or basil (2 tablespoons fresh, thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Remember:  try to buy organic and local if you can.

Prepare whole-wheat lasagna noodles according to package directions. (I used 5 noodles for this recipe, prepared in a 6-cup Pyrex dish, about 6 inches by 8 inches.)

Slice the leeks very thinly across the grain and saute in the olive oil.  Crush the garlic and add it too.  Let the leeks and garlic sweat but not caramelize for about 5 minutes.  Now add 1/4 cup milk and heat gently.  Add in about half of the spinach and start to wilt it.  Add the rest of the spinach.  Cut the parmesan into small pieces.  Using a food processor, process everything you’ve prepped up to this point, pulsing to chop the spinach.  Add a bit more milk if you need it.

Lightly grease a baking dish.  Spoon some of the most liquid of the spinach mixture into the bottom of the pan to cover it.  Now put down layer one of lasagna noodles.  Spoon on spinach mixture and spread out.  Dab on ricotta cheese.  Sprinkle on grated mozzarella.  Repeat twice more, so that you have three layers. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 15-20 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.  Let sit for a few minutes before you slice and serve.  Enjoy–and be sure to sing the song!

Do you want to make lasagna while camping?  You can do it!

Do you have a favorite variation on lasagna you’d like to share with readers?  How about a special way to prepare spinach?  Share in the comments section.

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Tweets and short excerpts are welcome, as long as you include the full URL and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader.  Please contact me for permission to use photographs.

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When I started this blog, I knew I was going to have to share family secrets to keep it worthwhile for you, my wonderful readers.  Tonight I’m going to share my “recipe” for the quickest but still marvelously creamy and delicious chocolate sauce, perfect for Valentine’s Day.  This chocolate sauce is a ganache you can make without heavy cream and without chopped chocolate. It’s fast enough and inexpensive enough that it could be a regular treat (if there is such a thing!).  It’s kind of Ozark ganache:  simpler, more down to earth than French granache.

Begin with a glass (Pyrex-type) measuring cup.  Pour 1/3 to 1/2 cup of dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips (preferably organic) in the bottom.  Pour in milk to cover 2/3 of the chips.  In other words, if you poured in 1/2 cup of chips, pour in the milk to the 1/3 cup line.  Note:  this is not 1/3 cup milk, since the milk is being displaced by the chocolate chips.  It’s more like 1/4 cup. Microwave the chip-milk mixture for 45 seconds to 1 minute, depending on how much milk and chips you used.  Let the measuring cup rest briefly (perhaps while you’re getting out ice cream!), and then stir the mixture until it becomes creamy and all of the chocolate chips are melted.  Too thick for you?  You can add a splash more of milk and then stir again.  Pour over delicious ice cream, brownies, or cake.  Eat.  Savor.  Moan in ecstasy.  Eat some more.

Variations:

Do you want a creamy, thick dipping sauce–fondue–for strawberries and other fruit?  Don’t add the extra splash of milk.

All adult gathering?  Substitute butterscotch schnapps for 1/2 (or more) of the milk.

Want an extra rich flavor?  Pour in a splash of good vanilla extract on top of the milk before you microwave.

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