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Posts Tagged ‘whole grains’

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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A few weeks ago, a reader asked me to post my whole-wheat pizza recipe.  Truth is, I don’t have a single recipe.  I have several. You see, we live where no pizza place will deliver, so if we want pizza, we have to make it. Today I’m going to share with you a recipe for a crisper-crust pizza. This will make a round about 13 inches.  I also ordinarily use my home-canned marinara sauce on my pizzas, but you’ll have to wait for summer to get that recipe, so I’m going to give you an alternative sauce.  This pizza has really traditional toppings, so it should have familiar tastes for a family that is transitioning to healthier, homemade food.  You can get all of the ingredients for this pizza as organic products or at least those produced without chemicals.

makes 8 generous slices

The Dough

  • 1 tablespoon yeast (less, like a teaspoon, if you have all day for the dough to rise–if you want pizza in an hour or two, use the full amount)
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 scant cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon wheat gluten
  • pinch of sugar
  • pinch of salt and/or Cavender’s Greek Seasoning

Put the water and yeast in a food processor.  Pulse to combine.  Add the flour and other dry ingredients.  Process just until the dough pulls into a ball.  You can easily make this dough without a food processor.  Just work in the flour with your hands and knead for about ten minutes. Put in a bowl coated with olive oil, turn dough over to coat with oil, and put in a warm place to rise.  When it’s doubled in size and an indentation you make with your finger  no longer refills quickly, it’s ready.

The Toppings

  • 1 small can tomato paste (you’ll have a few tablespoons left)
  • 1 tablespoon total dried oregano, rosemary, and thyme
  • 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seed
  • about 3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 2 spicy Italian sausages (we use chicken), cooked whole and then thinly sliced
  • 8 large portobellini mushrooms, sliced and lightly sauteed in olive oil to release their liquid
  • 8 good pitted black olives, sliced in half
  • 1 ounce (about 1-inch cube) real parmesan cheese, grated finely

Heat the oven to 450 degrees, and put your pizza pan in the oven. (Yes, a pizza stone works really well for this recipe.  Unfortunately, my largest, narrow-rimmed cast iron fry pan is only 12 inches, so the dough would be thick on it.)  Punch down the dough and then gently work it to the 13-inch size on a bread board sprinkled with corn meal.  Now take the hot pizza stone out of the oven, sprinkle it with corn meal, and transfer the shaped dough to it.

Spread all but a couple of tablespoons of the tomato paste on the dough (lightly, not too much!) and sprinkle on the herbs and fennel seed. Cut the mozzarella in slices and place around the pizza evenly.

Now lay down  the sausage, followed by the mushrooms and olive halves. Now use a fine grater to cover everything with the parmesan cheese.If you use a really fine grater, a  single ounce of cheese goes a long, long way. Pop the pizza stone in the hot oven (450 degrees F) and bake for 10-12 minutes, more or less depending on the consistency of your oven.  When the pizza is getting brown on top, take it out. Let it sit a couple of minutes and then slice it.   Eat.  Enjoy.

Does this pizza look good to you?  Are you interested in more pizza recipes?  Try one of my deep-dish, whole-grain pizzas baked in a cast-iron skillet!

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Short excerpts and tweets with full URL and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome.  Please contact me for permission to use the photographs.

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Apparently our household commitment to seasonal, local food hit its limits this week when my husband found some beautiful organic blueberries and I found some organic strawberries.  We bought them.  Tonight I served them with pound cake made from scratch.

Pound cake used to be a once-every-few-years kind of thing in our household, because with today’s smaller families and healthier outlook, we just don’t need a big heavy cake.  That’s why tonight I set out to make pound cake in miniature, using really wholesome, organic ingredients.  The concept is simple.  You need a few things to make pound cake:  (1) equal parts by weight of butter, sugar, flour, and eggs; and a tube cake pan, so that the heavy cake batter bakes all the way through to the middle.  Hmmmmm.  I can weigh and divide.  I have two mini tube pans. Yes, this plan could work.  I made not pound cakes but ounce cakes!

This recipe serves 4-8 people, depending on how hungry they are and what you serve with the pound cake. If you make it 8 servings, each serving will have a little over two hundred calories–much better than if you ate a big wedge of full-sized pound cake!

Special supplies

  • two miniature tube pans, each of which will hold one cup of batter with room to expand as they bake (about 4 1/2 inches wide at the top)

Ingredients (as always, organic is best!)

  • 1 stick of real butter, a little softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 teaspoons vanilla
  • optional:  1 teaspoon brandy
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (use a 1-cup measure, and you can just add in the other dry ingredients instead of getting an extra bowl dirty)
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 shakes/grates of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Begin by creaming the butter with the sugar. Then divide the eggs into yolks and whites. Add the egg yolks to the butter and sugar and mix until creamy. Stir in the vanilla and brandy.  In the measuring cup, add the rest of the dry ingredients to the flour.  Gradually add the flour to the butter, sugar, and egg mixture.  Now, in a separate, very clean bowl and using very clean beaters, whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Do you see those stiff peaks on the egg whites?  That’s what you want.  Fold about a third of the egg whites into the rest of the batter to lighten it.  Then fold in the rest of the egg whites.  Spoon into well-greased miniature tube cake pans and bake at 325 degrees F for about 35 minutes. Let the cakes rest in the pans for about 15 minutes and then slide a thin knife around the outside edge of the cake and around the tube center. Turn the cakes onto a grid to finish cooling.Do you see those cracks on the top?  That part has a delectable crispy crunch.

Mmmmmmmm.  Real ingredients.  Food like my grandmother used to make.  Cake worthy of blueberries and strawberries.  Enough to satisfy your taste for sweetness and richness.  Small enough that you can indulge without guilt.Where’s my fork?

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Short excerpts with full URL for this site and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome.  Please contact me for permission to use photographs.

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Every now and then I get a hankering for an old Southern favorite.  This week it was angel biscuits, also known as “honeymoon biscuits” because with yeast, baking, and baking soda, they are just about guaranteed to rise, even for novice bakers.  The original recipe featured ingredients we don’t use for health reasons–like lard or Crisco–but the recipe is easily adaptable.

makes about two dozen biscuits–or a bit more

Ingredients: use organic if you can

  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (Yes, you can use a hard wheat flour, but your results will not be as good.)
  • 1/4 cup wheat gluten  (Gluten is only bad if you’re sensitive to it.  It’s just wheat protein, and it helps whole-wheat flour build flexibility.)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (okay to use a little less)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk or kefir (You really, really need this ingredient, although Alton Brown has tried a lemon juice-milk substitute on his show “Good Eats” that looked like it might work in this recipe.)
  • 1 big tablespoon of yeast, dissolved in 2 tablespoons of warm water (See here for why you want water the temperature of a good bath.

Method:

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Use a whisk to mix ingredients together and add lightness to the mixture. Now cut the cold butter in quarters, lengthwise, and then slice the butter thinly.  Work the butter into the dry mixture quickly, using a pastry cutter (shown here).  If you do not have a pastry cutter, you can use a fork, but it will take longer, and you’ll need to take breaks to keep the butter cold.

After you cut in the butter, the dry mixture should have a mealy texture.  Now stir in the dissolved yeast and buttermilk or kefir, just until you’re sure that the yeast is fully incorporated.  Stop.  Do nothing else except cover the bowl securely.  Biscuits, like pie dough, do not like to be overworked.  There is enough liquid in this mixture that the dough will sort of knead itself.Can you see the bits of butter?  That’s good!  Those will help build flaky layers when you roll out the dough.  Now walk away for several hours or even overnight.  Here’s another dough picture while you wait.  Mmmmmm:  bits of butter.

Okay, let’s assume you’ve given the dough a chance to rise a bit.  It’s relatively cold in our house right now (high 60s F), so I just left the bowl out overnight (securely covered).  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.  Now you need a bread board (or any clean surface).  Take out about a third of the dough.  Dust some flour on your bread board, and plop on the dough.  Add some more flour to the top of the dough (just a dusting!), and roll the dough about 1/2 inch thick–or maybe just a little thicker.

Using a round cutter (or old clean can, both ends removed, as you see here), cut out biscuits.  Scoop up the leftovers, reform them, and cut more.  

Put the biscuits on a shiny pan and bake on the middle oven rack at 450 degrees F for about 10 minutes (in other words, 9-12 minutes).  Oven temperatures vary, so please watch closely.Take the biscuits out of the oven.  Admire them.  Smell the combination of biscuit and yeast.

Think about whether you need butter.

No, no butter for me, thank you.  I’ll just add a slice of turkey ham steak and some apple butter.

Oh–you’re wondering what to do with the leftover dough?  Refrigerate it and use it.  It’ll keep well for about a week, getting more yeasty the whole time.  You could have another round of breakfast biscuits with sausage and red-eye gravy.  (From start to finish this morning with dough I left out (covered) on the counter last night, rolling out and cutting, and baking, I had biscuits in less than 20 minutes.  I’d have had them more quickly if I’d thought from the start to use the toaster oven instead of the big oven.)

Consider making smaller biscuits to fill with cream cheese and pepper jelly for appetizers.  Add slices of cooked bacon (or turkey bacon) and tomato with lettuce in the summer for a good Southern BLT lunch.  Serve biscuits with dinner instead of rolls.  You’ve got lots of options!

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Short excerpts with full links to this URL and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome.  Please contact me for permission to use photographs.

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Catalan is the language spoken in Catalonia, near the border of France and Spain, and in the tiny country of Andorra (which was so small it was excluded from the Treaty of Versailles that ended WWI and therefore remained at war until the 1950s!).  The food from this part of the world is rich in flavor, inspired by the conquistadors’ travels in the Americas as well as the influence of north Africa and even Asia.  Catalan food was fusion food long before fusion became cool.  Catalan stew over Spanish rice with quinoa draws on the flavors of the old world and new world.

Alfred Crosby coined the term “Columbian Exchange” to bring the proper focus to the era of Columbus’s voyage.  To say that Columbus “discovered” the “new world” is inaccurate; the Columbian Exchange was not just about Europe finding the Americas but rather was people the world over discovering the rest of the world.  The era of the Columbian Exchange all comes together in this dish.  Turkey, avocado, and hot peppers all originated in the Americas yet were embraced by Europeans.  The original Americans also taught Europeans that not all nightshade plants (like tomatoes) were poisonous.  And from Africa and Asia Europeans learned to eat health-giving turmeric (popular in Indian cuisine), which I’ll use as a frugal substitute for saffron in my “Spanish” rice.  Even more recently the world has re-discovered the ancient South American grain quinoa*, which is rich is protein.  This fragrant, nutty stew full of familiar and exotic flavors is a great way to get your family to try new food.

Tip:  Start the onion for the stew first, and while it starts to cook you can prep the rest of the onion for the rice.  You can prep the peppers and garlic while the rice starts cooking.  Just keep working back and forth, and both dishes will be ready at the same time, about 45 minutes from when you start.

3-4 servings

Spanish Rice with Quinoa:

  • 1/4 cup sweet yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small pat butter (about a teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup nutty brown rice, like Basmati or jasmine
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water  (Yes, you can skip the chicken broth and just use 1 cup of water, but why?)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (I used a combination of red and regular)
  • 1 cup water (again)

rice after sauteing

Begin by sauteing the onion in the oil and butter on low heat.  After the onion has sauteed for a minute or two, add the rice, and continue to stir regularly over low heat for about 5 minutes. Most of the rice should transform from translucent to opaque as it toasts in the oil.  Add the 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric, stir, and then saute a minute more.  Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and 1/2 cup of water, stir, and put a lid on the pot for 20-25 minutes minutes.  Add the quinoa and another cup of water, and cook for 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Catalan Stew:

  • 3/4 sweet yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or pushed through a garlic press)
  • 1 Hatch (Anaheim) chile, seeded and sliced lengthwise and crosswise
  • 1 jalapeno, roasted and seeded and finely diced
  • 14-16 ounces diced tomatoes (canned is actually best here, whether home canned or good organic store-bought canned)
  • handful of raisins
  • 1/3 pound cooked turkey (or chicken or raw shrimp, cleaned.  I used leftover turkey, frozen and thawed.  You’re family will never spot it as Tom from Thanksgiving!)
  • handful of toasted, slivered almonds (Toast the almonds in a 325 degree F oven for about ten minutes.  Since ovens vary, watch closely!  You can do this after the stew and rice go on autopilot in the last 25 minutes of cooking.)
  • avocado, sliced in half lengthwise twice and then into thin slices.  (You can do this after you start toasting the almonds.)

Saute the onion in  the olive oil over low heat for about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and chiles and saute for about three more minutes, taking care to keep the garlic from burning.  Pour in the diced tomatoes with juice.  Add the handful of raisins.  Put the pot on a gentle simmer.  If you are using turkey or chicken, add it now. Otherwise, wait until the last ten minutes of rice cooking to add the shrimp to the stew.  The stew will be ready at the same time as the rice, about 45 minutes after you start.

To serve, fluff the Spanish rice with quinoa and pile it on each plate.  Make an indentation in the middle of each serving, and spoon on the Catalan stew.  Garnish with toasted almonds in the middle and avocado slices around the edge of the stew.  (Unfortunately, I covered the beautiful, nutty, yellow-tinted Spanish rice and Quinoa.  You can see a little of it on the lower right of the plate.)

*Quinoa is a nutty-flavored South American grain that, unlike other grains, contains a complete protein all by itself.  Quinoa is incredibly healthy and raises the protein quotient of Spanish rice.  If you haven’t cooked with quinoa yet, give it a try.  I think you’ll like it.  If you’d like to make this dish tonight and don’t have quinoa, go ahead.  Just use one cup of rice and two cups of water/chicken broth.

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Reproduction of short excerpts (not full recipes) with attribution to Ozarkhomesteader and the full URL for the original post are welcome.

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Lately I’ve been reading a bit here and there about the return to homemade bread, a day at a time.  I’ve started making small batches of bread that we can finish off fairly quickly–e.g.  pumpernickel made in a compact loaf so that we’re not overwhelmed by it.  The other night I was craving good dinner rolls, and I also thought with the weekend coming up that it might be a good time for cinnamon rolls.  Then it came to me, how about if I pick a little sweeter dough for the dinner rolls and then use the same dough for the breakfast rolls?  So here is the dough, ready for two appearances on the family table.  And, although with butter and sugar I wouldn’t call these rolls health food, the whole grains make them a good addition to your dinner and breakfast.

The Dough

  • 1 tablespoon yeast (about a packet, if you buy yeast that way)
  • 1/2 cup warm water (good, warm bath tub temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup whole oat flour
  • 1/3 cup wheat gluten (With all this talk about “gluten free” products these days, I feel the need to tell you that wheat gluten is not evil if you are not sensitive to it.  It gives the springiness to the bread, especially whole-grain breads  It’s protein!)
  • 1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • one scant teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey (okay to use less)
  • 1/4 cup hot milk, at a warm bath water temperature
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

You can make this dough in the food processor (fitted with the chopping blade) or by hand. Since I’ve been fighting a cold and wanted to handle the dough less, I used the food processor.  Start by putting the first three ingredients–yeast, sugar, and warm water–in the food processor, and process briefly to mix.

Why warm water?  How warm?  Yeast is a living organism  that is dormant in the state where we usually see it.  In order to wake it up, put it in a bath of water that would make a nice warm bath for you.  Give it a little to eat–wheat flour, sugar, etc.–and it’ll start to eat the yeast and then create bubbles to help your bread rise.  Remember:  if it’s too warm for you, it’s too warm for the yeast.

After the yeast mixture starts to bubble (proving that it’s working), start adding in the rest of the ingredients.  I think it’s easier to add the milk, butter, and honey if you mix them together.  Pulse the food processor as you add ingredients.  Continue pulsing until the dough forms a ball.  Stop!  It’s really easy to over-process bread dough and make the gluten break down.  Now put the dough ball in a buttered bowl about twice its size, turn it to cover in the butter, and cover.  Put in a warm place to rise for an hour or two.  You’ll know when it’s done rising when you push your finger in and the dough doesn’t pop back.  Punch down the risen dough by punching your fist into the middle of it.  Knead the dough for a couple of minutes, and then get ready for Act One.

Act One:  Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

We’re going to make six whole-wheat cloverleaf dinner rolls, using a muffin pan. First, get a 6-muffin muffin tin and grease the bottoms and sides of the cups.  Pinch off a good-sized handful and roll into balls each about the size of a golf ball or a tiny bit smaller.  Make 18 balls.  If you want to be more decadent, melt a tablespoon more of butter and dip the balls in butter.  Then push three dough balls into each muffin cup.  Let the rolls rise in a warm place for about forty-five minutes to an hour.  Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 20 minutes.  Eat.  Enjoy.  Listen to your family say “thank you.”

The Second Act

What?  You say you have dough left?  Good!  We’re going to use that.  For now, put it in the refrigerator, coated in oil or butter and covered well.  You can leave it there for a few days.  When you’re ready, take it out and let it warm up to room temperature.  It should be smaller than a grapefruit but bigger than an orange.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

You’ll need:

  • cinnamon to sprinkle on your bread board
  • 2-3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar

glaze:

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon milk–no more!
  • shake or two of nutmeg

On a dough board sprinkled with cinnamon (or, if like me, you could not find your bread board, a cutting board will do), roll out your dough using a rolling pin.  Try for a square or rectangular shape that is at least 5 inches on one side and 7 inches on the other.  The dough will be about 1/4-1/3 inch thick.  You may need to turn the dough over as you roll it out.

Now spread the softened butter all over one side of the dough rectangle.  Sprinkle on the sugar and cinnamon. Roll up the dough from one side, forming a thick worm. Cut into at least four pieces of roughly equal size, an inch or inch and a half high.  Put in a small, buttered, heavy pan (preferably glass like Pyrex or Corning or cast iron), with the ends down.  Note:  I used muffin cups for mine.  I would not use them again.  I think the extra exterior space made them too dry. Make sure that your rolls fit the pan you choose well but not tightly.  Let the rolls rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix up the glaze.  This is easy.  Just stir together the glaze ingredients listed above.  When the rolls are baked, pull them out of the oven and immediately pour on the glaze.  It should caramelize before you eyes.  If you want, though, you can pop the rolls back in the oven for one minute to do the caramelization.

Serve warm.  Mmmmmmm.

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Barley is a superb grain that health experts have been touting among the healthiest foods you’re probably not eating.  (Coincidentally, I found this reference that popped up yesterday.)  I like barley’s nutty flavor and have since I first tasted it, but I don’t always remember to include it in my meal planning.  Tonight, though, we’re having a risotto-style barley with carrots and celery.  My husband says you could easily pass this dish off to non-barley eaters as “rice on steroids.”

2 good-sized servings

  • 1/3 cup pearled barley
  • 1 to 2 cups water, mushroom broth, or chicken broth (I’m using mushroom and chicken broth)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup celery
  • optional:  shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • pat of butter
  • a little olive oil

Begin by sauteing the carrots and celery (and optional mushrooms) in the butter and oil for a couple of minutes.  Now add the barley and let it cook a couple of minutes, stirring regularly.  Now add 1/3 cup liquid.  Stir, cover, and reduce heat.  In a few minutes, add another 1/3 cup liquid and repeat the process.  Continue adding liquid until you’ve got the creamy consistency that you want.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Eat.  Enjoy.

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