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Dried Fruit Breakfast Bars

DSC_1999(1600x1200)Mrs J is always on the lookout for these cereal bar types of recipes and tried out this one that uses dried fruit. I got a notion some time ago that we needed some dried cranberries so I looked on Amazon and found a 5 pound box of them that looked fairly priced, then saw blueberries and cherries from the same source so I bought a box of each, thinking they would keep well enough.  They do keep but we are happy to find recipes that help us use them up.DSC_2001(1600x1200)We even found some of the whole wheat pastry flour the recipe called for at the local Kroger store.  Mrs J tells me that she used 1 cup each of the blueberries and cherries, and 1-1/4 cup of the cranberries, and used pecans in the crust.  She substitutes Splenda for sugar throughout.DSC_1998(1600x1200)I worried that we would mess up the bars getting them out of the pan but they came out of it quite readily when inverted onto a board, note that you should let them cool down before you try this.

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I Really Like Pizza Pie

DSC_0876 (1600x1060)Mrs J thought pizza would work for her dinner today.  We had all that turkey from yesterday’s project so we went with that for a topping.  White pizza sounded better with turkey than anything else so we went that route. DSC_0871 (1600x1060)I had good luck with the Prairie Gold flour the local Amish store carried so we went that way again, going half and half with white bread flour.  The dough recipe is not too involved: 1 cup PG flour, 1 cup bread flour, 1 cup warm water, 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 packet of instant yeast (2-1/4 t).  I let the bread machine make the dough while we made a trip to town.DSC_0873 (1600x1060)I like to brush the crust with olive oil but I had a little garlic butter left over so I warmed that, added a little oil, and brushed it on, sprinkling kosher salt after.  I gave it another coat halfway through baking when I opened the oven to spin the pan 180.  To a basic  white sauce I added provolone and Parmesan, folded in blanched broccoli and cubed turkey meat and spread that over the crust, adding thin sliced red onions, more turkey, and a good sprinkle of Parmesan atop everything before sliding it into a 375 oven.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Breakfast for Dinner (or Anytime)

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I love pancakes. Just not for breakfast. So when I’m in the mood, it’s time for breakfast for dinner. Pictured above are JeffreyW’s fluffy pancakes, and I have a recipe for super fluffy pancakes, here.

Want to dress them up a bit? How about Blueberry Sour Cream Pancakes? Recipe here.

For something completely different and easy to make, German Pancakes with Walnut syrup, click here.

And what goes perfectly with pancakes? How about some bacon…JeffreyW candies his:

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JeffreyW’s Candied Bacon recipe is here and his Cayenne Candied Bacon (pictured above) recipe is here. And the basics of baking bacon vs. frying can be found here.

In case you missed it, this week’s full dinner menu was Spicy Potato Soup, Garlic Biscuits and Mocha Pudding Cake and can be found here.

What’s on your menu for the weekend? Are you a fan of breakfast for dinner? Hit the comments with your favorite breakfast recipes.

And the featured recipe tonight:

I love whole wheat pancakes, they are fluffy, hearty, nutty and sweet, just like some people I know. Making whole wheat pancakes can be tricky, though – I don’t want them to be heavy and dry, I still want light and fluffy. The recipe below serves that up.

Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes

Beat together until light and frothy:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Sift together:

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp buttermilk powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

Whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just moistened, batter will be lumpy. Ladle into a hot, well oiled skillet or griddle. [Reduce heat to medium after it has heated up because these brown quickly.]

While with white flour pancakes you’d wait to see bubbles on the top of pancakes before flipping them, you don’t want to do that with these. As soon as the bottom is golden, flip. And as soon as the bottom is again golden, remove.

This keeps them from being too dry. It’s a bit of a balancing act – you want to make sure they aren’t runny, but you also don’t want to over cook. As soon as the center bounces back they are ready to remove.

Top with butter and real maple syrup. Yum.

Until next week – TaMara

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Sammich Pr0n

DSC_5111 [1600x1200]Pastrami with provolone and whole grain mustard

Breakfast for Dinner: Fluffy Pancakes

Caught a rain storm with my cell phone earlier in the summer,turn it up, you can hear thunder.

The temperature dipped considerably last night and we’ve had a steady rain for most of the day. Suddenly pancakes sounds delicious. But not just any pancakes. I wanted whole wheat pancakes. They are fluffy, hearty, nutty and sweet,  and that sounded just right.

Making whole wheat pancakes can be tricky – I don’t want them to be heavy and dry, I still want light and fluffy. The recipe below serves that up:

Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes

Beat together until light and frothy:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Sift together:

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp buttermilk powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

Whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just moistened, batter will be lumpy.  Ladle into a hot, well oiled skillet or griddle. [Reduce heat to medium after it has heated up because these brown quickly.]

While with white flour pancakes you’d wait to see bubbles on the top of pancakes to flip them, you don’t want to do that with these. As soon as the bottom is golden, flip. And as soon as the bottom is again golden, remove.

This keeps them from being too dry. It’s a bit of a balancing act – you want to make sure they aren’t runny, but you also don’t want to over cook. As soon as the center bounces back they are ready to remove.

Top with butter and real maple syrup. Yum.

It was the perfect dinner tonight.

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Biscuits

JeffW's awesome biscuit photo. So beautiful I wouldn't even try to compete with my own.

I’ve been making a lot of biscuits in the last few weeks, no particular reason, it just seemed to be the perfect addition to several meals.  A while back, JeffreyW posted the photo above and I commented that my biscuits were never quite that fluffy. He promptly pointed me to the recipe he used. I’ve used a variation of it ever since. These are by far the best biscuits ever and I can’t believe how easy they are to make, and they come out great every time.

I have plenty of biscuit variations, too: Cinnamon Biscuits, Cheddar Cheesy Biscuits and Whole Wheat Biscuits

Heavenly Biscuits

Big, fluffy and moist, they easily compete with any biscuit I’ve had, even at my favorite restaurant Lucille’s. I bake them in my large cast iron skillet.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter (this really gives them a buttery flavor), softened, really, really softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk – (I use 4 tbsp buttermilk powder to 1 cup water)

mixing bowl, baking sheet or cast iron skillet

In mixing bowl whisk together dry ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Gradually add milk. Mix together until dough pulls away from sides of the bowl. I had to add additional flour, this is a very moist dough. Turn out onto well floured surface and knead 10-15 times. I couldn’t roll this dough out it was too moist. I just flattened it by hand (about an inch thick, maybe a little less) and cut out the biscuits. With the extra flour I came up with 7 very large biscuits.

Bake at 425 degrees for 13-15 minutes, until golden brown. Put your oven rack in the middle to keep them from browning too much on the bottom. ====

Biscuits or rolls? Do you have a favorite and what’s your favorite topping? Butter, honey, apple butter? Next Week: Unusual fruits

Whole Wheat Bread

It snowed again today.  No one was happy about it.  I needed something warm and comforting and bread seemed like the perfect way to cozy up the house.

At altitude, bread is always tricky.  I have a few alterations, but no guarantees they will work every time.  One thing I usually do is a quick-rise.  I turn the kneaded bread out into a prepared pan.  In this case my big cast iron skillet.

I cover it with a damp towel and wax paper and let it double.  I don’t punch it down and do second rise.  This creates a loaf that is denser and a bit yeastier – less complex in flavors than a double-rise loaf, but eliminates the risk of the dough rising too much, and then falling and creating a brick instead of a loaf of bread. Then I brush the loaf with cold water, place a tray of ice cubes in a shallow baking pan on the bottom rack and bake as usual.  At the 20 minute mark I do an egg wash and let bake until it reaches 200 degrees F in the center (thanks JeffreyW for that tidbit).

This gives it a nice crisp, chewy crust.  Some butter and honey and you’re all set to go.  What’s this?  I went to the cupboard and the honey pot was empty.  Oh bother.

Bah, another day older and deeper in debt

For a while now I have been getting a weird error code when trying to watch the TV in the kitchen when it is tuned to the Dish Network satellite.  Something like “we have detected a problem with your multi dish switch”.  I was a bit skeptical because two other receivers running off the same switch were doing OK.  I thought maybe it was the coax or a loose connection.

Spent the day yesterday laying a new run of coax, and checking the F-pin connectors and couldn’t get the receiver to work right.  Took the receiver into a bedroom and attached it to the coax there and it took right off.  Guess they did detect a switch problem!  Well, I ordered a new switch and some new connector fittings and some new coax.  During the day I explained to Mrs J what I was doing, and she became set on having her own TV in her room.  Oh my, that means a new TV to buy, not to mention a new satellite receiver box.  Heh, she’s going to get a hand-me-down.  I’ll get the latest model DVR twin tuner box for the front room, move the one from there into my room, and the one in my room to hers.  Or not, depending if she reads this first. LOL

I’d like a new TV for my room while we are at it.  I have an old RCA that doesn’t have any of the new connection options that the new TVs have, like ethernet ports that let you connect them to your home network.  I’ve been having fun with the new Samsung, been pushing pics and music to it.   Mrs J has been using it to play a game on the internet.

Cooking you ask?  This is a food blog you say?  OK, I have something…

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A stab at whole wheat sourdough.

I’ve made whole wheat bread before, and my usual recipe is half and half white flour to whole wheat.  I like the mix for the lighter loaves it produces, they tend to be a little more easily sliced and used for sammiches.  The 100% whole wheat loves are usually tasty but heavy and crumbly.

Anyway, I was needing to feed one of my sourdough starters so I pulled it from the fridge to warm a bit and I rummaged about in the cupboard after some flour to feed it and noticed a last little bit of whole wheat flour.  Had maybe 3 cups left in the bag so I decided to just dump all that into the starter.  Found a bowl that was large enough and turned out the starter into it, then added the 3 cups of whole wheat.  I figured that the starter had about 2 cups of white flour in it, so I also added another cup of white, all purpose flour with about a cup of warm water.  I covered the bowl with plastic wrap and left it out overnight.  It sure was bubbly and yeasty smelling this morning.

Now I was a bit stuck, not sure how to proceed so I winged it from there.  I dumped it all into the bowl of the stand mixer and set it to stirring on low while I added some honey.  Also tossed in 2 teaspoons of salt and a teaspoon of yeast. By this time it was looking very “loose” in the mixer, very wet and not pulling away from the sides.  I tossed in 1/4 cup of additional flour and watched it for a minute.  It balled up pretty well so I let the dough hook work it for another five minutes then turned it out into an oiled bowl, covered it, and left it to rise some more.  After an hour and a bit it had just about doubled, I dumped it on my plastic mat and divided it in two and formed the pieces into logs and left them to rise for another hour in the perforated baguette baking pan, covered again with the wrap.

Set the oven to 450 and slid the baking tray onto the stone after giving the loaves the recommended slashes with a sharp knife.  (Not deep enough!)  I sat before the oven with my trusty misting bottle giving the interior a spray every few minutes.  Fun watching the loaves “spring”.  After five minutes I backed the temp off to 375.  Saw the reason for the slashes in the loaves play out in front of my eyes.  One loaf busted out through the slashes but the second blew out the side-the slashes looked to be closed and useless, too shallow to be functional.

Enjoy!

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Adventures in Bread Making

I started a loaf of bread in the machine using a tried and true recipe for a semi-whole wheat loaf.  By “started” I mean that I dumped all the ingredients into the loaf pan in the order prescribed by the manufacturer.  I clicked the pan into the machine and was ready to push the start button when I was struck by a fit of madness and selected “dough” from the control panel rather than just push the one button I needed for it t turn out a loaf of bread in 4 hours or so.

I busied myself around the kitchen while the machine churned and kneaded the flour.  (More on that next post.)  Somewhere around 2 hours into the process the machine beeped that the dough was ready.  It had already been kneaded and given a rise, then kneaded again and proofed one more time.  I dumped the dough onto a floured mat and divided it in two, then rolled and pulled and folded and messed about with each piece until it looked kinda right, and then slit the tops like you see in all the pictures of bread made by folks who know what they are doing.

I am amazed it turned out as good as it did.  Yup, I have pictures.

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