Sunday, January 17, 2021

A Warm and Frugal Wintery Menu


Fresh baked bread and a thick bean bowl built an enjoyable dinner from ingredients found in winters' kitchen. I started with dried beans and canned tomatoes from the cupboard and added seasonal greens and citrus fruit from the refrigerator. (Our local grocery store featured a "buy one get one free" on ruby red grapefruit this week).

Here are the recipes:

Pressure Cooked Bean Curry

(Serves 3-4)

Soak beans overnight in water.
1/2 cup dry white beans
1 cup water

Heat olive oil in pressure cooker.
Add and saute onion, garlic and sweet pepper for 1-2 minutes.  
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon onion, diced
2 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup sweet pepper, diced

Add curry paste and mix into softened vegetables for about 30 seconds.
1 tablespoon red curry paste (can substitute 1 teaspoon curry powder)
Turn off brown or saute function of cooker.
Add beans, tomatoes, vegetable broth, salt and pepper.
Tighten lid and pressure lock. Cook for 30 minutes. Allow cooker to set for 10 minutes before releasing pressure. 
White beans, drained and rinsed
2 cup canned tomatoes, no added salt (I mixed crushed and diced)
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth (mine is made with a bouillon cube)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
Stir in fresh spinach and heat for 1-2 minutes to wilt leaves.
1 cup fresh spinach, stems removed
The bread recipe is from Pantry Mama. It combines sourdough discard with commercial yeast to leaven the bread.

 Sandwich Bread

(1 8-9 inch loaf)

Remove sourdough starter from refrigerator and allow to sit overnight.
Place the following discard in mixing bowl.
Feed the original starter and store. 
91 grams sourdough discard
Using standing mixer with paddle blade in place, add water and flours to sourdough discard. Mix for about 30 seconds to form a shaggy dough. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
275 grams water
225 grams whole wheat flour
225 grams all purpose flour
In mixing bowl with dough hook in place, add yeast, sugar, buttery spread and salt. Beat on low speed for about 6 minutes.
2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
22 grams sugar
66 grams buttery spread
1/2 teaspoon salt
Place dough in a bowl greased with olive oil spray. Cover and allow to rise until double. (My kitchen is not quite 70 F and this took about 1 1/2 hours)
Shape dough into 8-9 inch loaf pan. (Mine is baked in a Pullman pan) 
Cover and allow to rise until double. (This took 2 hours in my kitchen and the dough did not reach the top of the pan.)
Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes.
We grated some aged cheddar onto our soup to serve.




Saturday, January 9, 2021

From Winter's Kitchen


Many of the ingredients in this dinner came from the cool basement where root vegetables and fall fruits are stored. There I've pumpkin, winter squash, potatoes, onions, garlic, apples and pears.

Other ingredients are in the kitchen cupboards including dried fruit, nuts and flours. I often use any I have on hand for specific listings in recipes.

I always have yogurt, milk and eggs in the refrigerator and fresh ginger in the freezer.

Topping it off is an assortment of fragrant spices- cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamon. 

The Pumpkin Soup was inspired by a recipe in Bon Appetit.  The Sourdough Snacking Cake is from the November/December issue of Fine Cooking Magazine.

Pumpkin Soup

(Serves 6)

Half pumpkin. Remove seeds and pulp. Place cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 F. for 45 minutes. Cool, peel and cut pumpkin in chunks.
1 medium pumpkin
Mix seeds with syrup, oil and spice. Roast in 350 F oven for approximately 15 minutes. Check often to prevent burning.
Seeds from pumpkin
3 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon berbere spice
Cool and grind in spice mill.
Heat oil in saucepan. Saute garlic and peppers until soft.
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic clove, minced
4 mini sweet peppers, seeded and diced
 Add curry paste and stir.
1 tablespoon red curry paste
Add stock, milk and pumpkin. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
4 cups diced, cooked pumpkin
Carefully place 1/2 of soup in blender. Cover top with a towel and puree. Repeat with remaining 1/2. Reheat soup for a few minutes.
Serve with ground nuts. 

Sourdough Snacking Cake

(Serves 8)

Combine dry ingredients.
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ginger
 Add to dry ingredients.
1 cup assorted nuts and dried fruit (Mine has almonds, apricots and dates), ground in food processor
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
In a separate bowl, beat eggs into sourdough discard. Add oil, yogurt, vanilla and brown sugar, beating by hand until mixed.
1/2 cup sourdough discard (mine is a whole rye starter)
2 eggs
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup nonfat yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 tablespoon brown sugar 

Mix dry ingredients into liquid in thirds, stirring only until mixed.
Pour batter into 7 inch springform pan, greased with olive oil spray (bottom lined with parchment). Bake at 350 F. for about 35 minutes, until pick inserted into center comes our clean.
Place on cooling rack. Run a spatula around cake to remove side of springform pan.
This meal has a nice assortment of protein, fruit, vegetables and grains.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Gentler Ginger Cake Roll

Fresh ginger carries a cornucopia of flavor compounds good in both savory and sweet recipes. In this dessert, the candied ginger was previously cooked, changing the spicy, hot and pungent flavor to a gentler sweet version.

The recipe is based on one in Clean Eating Magazine.

Ginger Cake Roll

(Serves 10)

Prepare a 10 X 15 inch baking sheet by misting with olive oil spray, covering with parchment paper and misting the top of the paper with the spray. 

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
In bowl of electric mixer, combine eggs with brown sugar and molasses. Beat on medium speed 6 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl after 3 minutes.
4 eggs
3 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoon black strap molasses
Add oil and yogurt. Beat for 1 minute.
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until combined.
Pour batter onto prepared pan. Smooth batter to edges of pan. 

Bake at 360F. for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Place a pastry towel over the cake and top with cooling rack. Invert cake onto rack and remove pan and parchment. Roll warm cake with towel into a spiral. Set seam side down on rack to cool.
In bowl of electric mixer, beat sugar, cheese, buttery spread and ginger. 
3 tablespoon powdered sugar
8 ounce part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup buttery spread
Remove towel from cake. Spread with ricotta cheese mix and roll. Place filled cake seam side down onto pan and refrigerate until ready to eat.
To serve, sprinkle with confectioners sugar. 
The name Ginger originated in India and means "horned root". It was the first of Asian spices to reach Europe. In the Middle Ages, the ladies gave knights gingerbread before going into battle. The Greeks used it for stomach complaints. Ginger was grown in Africa in the 1200s and by 1600, it was cultivated in Jamaica. My ginger was grown right here in West Virginia.



Monday, December 14, 2020

Bread Making in 2020: Soakers and Bigas


My journey with flours began in the seventies when I first married and had two months before starting my first job. The Fleischmann's Yeast Bake It Easy Booklet was my guide with good results. While many of the recipes were made with white flour, some were made with whole wheat and rye flours and some with cornmeal. In the twenty first century my flour mix was 50-50 with 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat flours.  When the cafe I managed was recognized by the Whole Grains Council in 2007, most of our desserts and breads were made with that 50-50 mix. In the past 5 years I've experimented with many whole grain flours, both gluten containing and gluten free and with the purchase of my countertop flour meal became a dedicated follower of Sue Becker

Intrigued with the renewal of sourdough breads, I have an active 18 month old starter and use the discard weekly in a recipe. My best sourdough achievements are quick breads-pancakes, cornbread and dumplings. After many failures, I was challenged to learn new techniques for making whole grain breads. These are among some I'm testing guided by Peter Reinhart's 2007 Book on Whole Grain Breads.

Delayed fermentation utilizes pre-doughs which initiates enzyme activity to release sugars from complex starch molecules before inducing yeast fermentation. The recipes follow a two day process, making the pre-dough on the first day and adding the yeast and other ingredients in the final dough on the second day. 

Pre-fermented doughs include wild yeast starters and commercial yeast doughs called bigas. A biga includes flour, liquid and a small mount of yeast. Here is an example:

227 grams unbleached flour
1 gram instant yeast
142 grams water (room temperature)
Mix together to form a ball. Knead for 2 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes, then knead for 1 minute. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours-3 days. Remove from refrigerator 2 hours before making final dough.
Another example of pre-fermented doughs include hydrated grains with salt but no yeast. These are called soakers. Here is an example:

57 grams whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
170 grams water
57 grams oats
47 grams cornmeal
43 grams whole rye flour
7 grams flaxmeal
7 grams oat bran
Mix all ingredients for 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 12-24 hours.
Delayed fermentation significantly decreases the kneading time. The long overnight rest allows the gluten and flavor to develop. 

Final Dough  

57 grams whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 grams instant yeast
Portion tablespoon portions of pre-fermented doughs into bowl of electric mixer. Combine flour, salt and yeast and place in mixer. With paddle attachment in place, mix on slow speed for 1 minute. Replace attachment with dough hook and mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Remove to a board lightly covered with whole wheat flour. Knead by hand for 3 minutes. Rest for 5 minutes. Knead for 1 minute. Transfer dough to a clean bowl greased with olive oil spray. Cover and allow to rise until 1 1/2 times original size.
Form desired loaf shape. Allow to rise 1 1/2 times original size.  
Preheat oven to 400 F. Lower temperature to 350 F when placing bread in oven. Bake 20 minutes. Rotate bread 180 degrees. Bake 20 minutes or until internal temperature of bread reaches 200 F.  

The health benefits of whole grains are clear. Whole grains contain disease fighting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Whole grains even contain some vitamins (B and E), iron, magnesium and fiber not found in fruits and vegetables. Like vegetables, whole grains each contain unique nutrient profiles. Including different whole grains can increase nutrient variety and decrease insensitivity. Consumer purchases often include whole wheat, brown rice, corn, oat purchases. Many consumers include quinoa in the repertoire (among the most expensive purchases per weight). Buckwheat, teff, amaranth, colored rice, barley, sorghum and millet and ancient varieties of wheat (Kamut, spelt and farro) are delicious grains worth exploring with some grown locally, others on grocery shelves and in local co-ops and most through online outlets.