Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
So, start with your tortilla. I just eyeballed cutting it into sixths, but if you really want to you can cut a template out of cardstock. Just make sure you leave the middle circle (that will end up at the bottom of your cupcake tin) whole. Spray the heck out of your cupcake tin, steam your tortilla, then carefully transfer it and center the tortilla above the cup.
12 (5 to 6" diameter) white corn tortillas
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
6 large eggs
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. chili powder (optional)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1 c. baby spinach leaves
1 Aidel's chicken chorizo sausage, chopped, OR
6 strips bacon, crisped and crumbled
4 oz. can of fire roasted chopped green chilis
1/2 c. shredded monterey jack cheese
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 green onions, chopped
In your blender, mix eggs, cream, and seasonings. Blend well (I just pushed the batter button on my BlendTec). Line the tortilla cups with the spinach leaves, then layer the sausage/bacon with the chilis, cheese, cilantro, and onions (use as much of the ingredients as you like--you don't have to use all the spinach leaves or chilis if you don't want to!). Pour the egg mixture over the layers, being careful not to fill it more than 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the centers are set and they test done.
Monday, April 16, 2012
wheat rise best with yeast, so are best for breads; they are virtually interchangeable, although the red has a bitterness and heaviness that requires long, slow rising times to reduce while the white has a sweetness that requires a reduction in honey/sugar/molasses amounts in your recipe. All-purpose flour is a mix of both soft and hard wheat, hence the all-purpose moniker. Flour from durum wheat is best for pasta.
you and metabolize the slowest. When grinding your wheat, allow it to pass through a coarse setting before trying to get it fine. This reduces stress on your
grinder, but more importantly results in a more uniform flour consistency. Make sure you grind enough for your project—remember breads can sometimes use two cups more flour than a recipe states if the day is humid, so overestimate how much you need.
3. If you won’t be using your flour in the next week or so, freeze it for a couple of weeks. This will kill most of the eggs of pests (like weevils) that, believe it or not, survived the grinding. Skip this step if you don’t mind eating weevils and their excrement (YUCK), don’t mind sifting their dead bodies out, or don’t mind throwing away flour. Keep yeast on hand, and store it in the freezer; this will extend its shelf life. It is possible to make bread without yeast, but making a starter from airborne yeast takes several days and your bread will have a distinct flavor from your local yeast. San Francisco sourdough is famous in large part due to the strain of yeast that occurs naturally in the air there.
it is half the cost for twenty times the yeast.
also a great emulsifier. It’s useful in batters, dressings, smoothies (believe it or not), and as a pan greaser; non-stick sprays are basically soy lecithin + propellant. This comes in crystal form too, but is naturally a liquid. This is cheapest as a liquid and most easily found at a health food store in the supplement section. I can buy a year’s supply for about $6.
6. Some professionals use dough enhancer in their breads. This can be hard to find in stores—most employees and managers have never even heard of it. Dough enhancer is basically gluten, dry milk or whey, soy lecithin in crystal form, pectin, gelatin, ascorbic acid powder, and ginger powder. Instead of buying it online or harassing your local store manager to start stocking it, try making your own—recipes abound in cyberspace. Or try adding some ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and ginger in powder form. You won’t need more than a pinch of the ginger and about a teaspoon of ascorbic acid for a two-loaf recipe. I would only consider using this
if I was only going to bake once for the whole week—otherwise it isn’t really worth increasing the shelf life beyond what the soy lecithin does.
Now for the nitty gritty about making really good bread. Again, there are a lot of tips, but every one matters:
1. Use fresh ingredients, especially when it comes to using flour and yeast. Old
yeast will either not work at all, or will be especially slow--both frustrating and wasteful situations! Old flour is more bitter than fresh, and has less nutritional value. Store your yeast and flour in the freezer to help it last longer. At the very least, store them in completely airtight containers in a dark place. Moisture and light kill nutrients and make things go bad fast!
2. Only grind enough flour for what you will use soon; although freezing it for two weeks will help keep it fresh, un-ground wheat in an airtight container will last years longer than flour.
3. If you aren’t going to be grinding but will be buying your flour, keep in mind that quality matters. Read the label to see if they are specific in what types of wheat were used; the better brands tell you! Also, flour sold in an airtight bag instead of a paper bag is fresher and will have a better flavor. If price is still an issue, read the sell by dates (make sure you get one that is far into the future—that means it is fresher) and transfer the flour to an airtight container when you get home. Make sure that container hasn’t been used for anything else, either—I once tried to repurpose a sturdy and well washed laundry detergent container (you know the Kirkland one I'm talking about), and had to throw away ALL of the flour when I really couldn’t afford to. It would have been cheaper to pay five dollars for a good container since I lost ten dollars in flour.
4. Some people report that they have a tendency to kill their yeast. If they are using new yeast, there is really only one reason for this: they are getting the yeast too hot. Not using warm enough water only slows the yeast, it doesn’t kill it. Try
applying the sponge method to every recipe: add the hot water to a third of the
flour, mix, and then add the yeast.
5. Some people get confused over which type of yeast to buy: Rapid Rise, Instant, Bread Machine, Fresh, Active Dry, or Regular?! The truth is, all of these will work fine for any bread. Believe it or not, they are more than likely all the same strain of yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. They have just been packaged live (in the case of fresh, which spoils quickly), or dried in ways that change how quickly the yeast is able to reproduce and metabolize the sugars in your bread. The rapid types will say on the package that you can allow the dough to rest for a mere 10 minutes after
kneading instead of the normal 1-2 hour time, greatly speeding the process of
making bread. However, that doesn’t mean that you HAVE to follow those directions. Just watch your dough a little more carefully to make sure you don’t
allow it to rise too much in any of the risings; that will affect how well the dough rises its final time.
6. Allow your sponge to rise fully, or give your dough more than one long rise. Hard red wheat has a natural bitterness that lessens after repeated and slow risings, as the yeast produces an enzyme that will largely remove this from the finished product. Long cool rises produce a better tasting loaf, so try mixing your bread the night before you need it and letting it rise in the fridge. (I’ve even used my garage in the winter for this when fridge space was at a premium.) However, don’t be afraid of the warm setting on your oven if you are in a time crunch. Just put your dough inside the oven after it is warm (make sure the towel over your bowl is very wet—the higher temperature will dry it out and may start drying out your dough), and
turn the oven off. Also: eggs, potatoes, or water from cooked potatoes help yeast produce more quickly, so watch breads with these ingredients carefully.
7. Stop adding flour when your ball of dough has cleaned the sides of the bowl. The dough should still be somewhat sticky—this will produce a lighter and chewier loaf,
as well as a moist one. Remember that flour absorbs the humidity of the day, so don’t go by your recipe exactly. Always add less than the recipe says, and continue adding from there.
8. Kneading is absolutely essential! (Usually!! See “Artisan Bread Making in 5 Minutes a Day” for no/low knead methods.) Time yourself kneading so you will know when to stop if you have a hard time recognizing the way the dough should feel. If you have a Bosch or KitchenAid, feel free to let the machine do the work with the dough hook!
9. When shaping your dough, don’t add more flour to it. The oil in the bowl that it rose in should be sufficient to keep it from sticking badly, but if you are rolling
it out and having issues, try a few sprays of PAM on your rolling pin and surface. Always make sure you are creating a smooth surface on the top of your loaf so that it rises evenly; this is called a gluten “cloak” by some bakers. Also, you should be sure to remove all of the bubbles from its last rise; if you don’t, you will have large holes in your bread and an uneven top. Some bakers insist on rolling each portion of dough out to reduce this possibility.
10. To add artisan touches, alter the shape of your loaves. Shape the dough in boules (rounds), baguettes, wheat ears (pain d’epi), crowns of wheat (pain d’epi made out of a ring of dough), or slash diagonals, crosshatches, stars, etc. into the
tops. My family has its own cutting pattern that has been passed down for generations, so I like to use that one.
11. Another way to add an artisan look is to dust the loaf with flour, cracked wheat, sesame seeds, or whatever catches your fancy. An egg wash will soften your crust (egg-white-only washes will crisp it), while placing a pan of boiling water on the rack below your loaves will produce a thicker, crisper crust. Baking on a preheated stone will also produce a thick and chewy crust; shape your dough on a peel heavily coated with corn meal so that you can transfer it easily.
12. After shaping your loaf is when you should dust it/butter it/egg wash it and cut it; don’t wait until after its last rise, you may make the dough fall.
13. Use cornmeal between a cookie sheet and your bread to reduce burning and sticking; it burns less easily than flour.
There are a few interesting books out there for those of you who really, really like bread:
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois is a great read and worth trying to see if the method works for you. The pizza/breadsticks/focaccia recipe that I use is from that book.
Breads from La Brea Bakery by Nancy Silverton is one that I covet and desire
greatly, but can’t justify since I can’t eat wheat anymore…but if you are
loving regular bread and want to step it up a notch and start making
sourdoughs, try her first (the whole wheat boule comes highly recommended).
6000 Years of Bread by H.E. Jacob is not exactly a cookbook, but if you
are interested in man’s relationship with bread it is a fascinating read.
What, you're still here? Well, this was worth waiting for:
Holly's Wheat Bread
Make this bread using your own freshly ground flour for superior taste—using hard white wheat is sweeter (and many consider it better) than hard red wheat, but you may want to reduce the honey a bit if you use the white. Some people like to start off using half whole wheat and gradually increase the ratio of whole wheat to white
flour in their recipes, but try this recipe as is first—you may find it perfect as is. Just make sure you stop adding flour when the bowl scrapes clean; the dough will be fairly tacky. Try kneading with oiled hands instead of floured hands so it doesn’t get too heavy. This recipe is even better if you add another rise in the fridge—just
throw it in overnight. Also, I don’t recommend leaving out the lecithin, but using more honey instead of molasses is fine as long as you remember that honey, ounce to ounce, is sweeter than sugar or molasses. Feel free to just use sugar if you don't want to spend the money on molasses or honey--experiment with amounts until you get the sweetness you like. You can also add additional gluten for a really good loaf, but I find it to be mostly an unnecessary expense (I also have a sneaking suspicion that it is why there are so many cases of celiac disease these days). If you grind your own flour but will not be using it immediately, be sure you freeze it for a couple of weeks.
2 1/4 c. boiling water
2 c. whole wheat flour from hard red wheat berries
4 tsp. yeast
Sponge from above
1 tsp. liquid soy lecithin (look in the supplements section of a health food store)
1/3 c. honey
1/3 c. molasses
1/3 c. canola or olive oil
3 ½ c. whole wheat flour (more or less)
1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
Pour the boiling water over the wheat flour for the sponge. Mix well. When cooled slightly, mix in yeast. Allow to rise, at least 30 minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients (except the salt), adding flour only until the mixer scrapes the sides of the bowl clean. Then add salt, and machine knead for five minutes (hand knead for at least ten). Oil a bowl, and place dough in it, turning once to coat it. Cover with a damp towel, and allow to rise until doubled (a slower, colder rise is better than a fast warm one). Punch down, and form into two loaves, two rounds, or two Pain d’Epi (my favorite). Place in pans, and allow it to rise again, until tops are at least an inch above the sides. Bake at 350º for 30-40 minutes for Pain d’Epi or 45-50 for loaves. Bread is done when a piece of spaghetti or a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the thickest part of the loaf. It will have a light brown crust, not the dark one that you are used to seeing on homemade whole wheat; the absence of milk in the recipe keeps it from getting too brown, so be careful not to over bake it. Allow shorter bake times for rolls or three small loaves. Cut when completely cooled (if you can wait that long!).
Friday, April 6, 2012
8 ounces thin spaghetti, broken in half
12 ounces lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups chopped onions (3 medium)
1 cup chopped green pepper (1 large)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 10.75 ounce can cream of mushroom of soup
1 10.75 ounce can tomato soup
1 1/3 cups water
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese ( 8 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 2-quart baking dish and set aside. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and return to pot. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook beef, onions, pepper, and garlic over medium heat until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain fat; discard. Stir in mushroom soup, tomato soup, and water. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 10 mintues, stirring ocassionally. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, salt, and pepper. Gently stir in cooked spaghetti. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until heated through.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
3/4 pound Salmon
1 inch fresh ginger
1 clove garlic
2 TBSP. brown sugar
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/8 tsp. toasted sesame oil
Preheat the oven to 425*.
Peel and grate about 1 inch of ginger.
Mince the clove garlic and combine both the garlic and the ginger in a bowl with the brown sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Stir it up until the sugar dissolves and you have a sticky mixture.
Spread the sauce on the salmon. I placed my salmon on a Spilpat and placed it in the oven and baked it for 20 minutes.
Served it with brown rice and it was delish!
Thursday, February 23, 2012
My husband loved it! I rather liked it too!
1 smallish baguette or crusty loaf of bread, cut into 1 " slices.
FOR THE CUSTARD
3 large eggs
1/2 cup of milk
1/3 cup heavy cream ( I just used half and half for both the milk and cream)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
FOR THE SUGAR COATING
1/2 cup (1 stick or 8 tbsp. ) unsalted butter (I used salted) It's what I had ......
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (I used reg. br. sugar)
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 day ahead
Butter a 9x9 inch pan on the bottom and sides. Place the bread slices, standing up, in the pan. Set aside while preparing the custard.
In a large measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, cinnamon and salt until well combined. Pour the mixture over all the bread in the pan. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350* Remove the french toast from the refrigerator and set it on a baking sheet.
In a sauce pan melt the butter, brown sugar and light corn syrup till bubbly and hot. Gently whisk in vanilla and carefully pour the sugar mixture over the french toast casserole being careful to cover each slice and get some mixture in between each slice. Place it on a cokie sheet and then in the oven.
Bake until puffy, golden and baked through. (about 40 to 45 minutes)
The casserole will deflate as it cools.
Serve warm with mixed berries.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
- 1 pound sage sausage or ham or crisp bacon
- 8 eggs
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder or 1 tsp prepared mustard
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups small-curd cottage cheese
- 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (sharp is best)
- 4 cups frozen shredded hash browns
- 1/2 cup of your favorite vegetable (optional) (broccoli, or lots of onions & mushrooms)
In a skillet, brown sausage or cook bacon until crispy; drain well. In a large bowl combine eggs, mustard, green pepper, salt, pepper and cottage cheese. Mix until eggs are slightly beaten. Add cheeses and hash browns, mix well. Add any optional veggies. Pour into a greased 9X13 -inch baking dish.
Bake uncovered @ 350* for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is well-set and edges are browned.
Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting. (serves 8)
* Casserole can be made the night before and kept in fridge. Add an additional 10 to 15 minutes to the baking time.
* Can be made in muffin tins to make individual casseroles that are perfect for brunch.
Decrease cooking time to 25 to 35 minutes