Thursday, December 8, 2016

Molasses Cookie for Mrs. Claus

Mrs. Claus is busy too with visions of family fun during this festive season.  She's mindful of eating and wants a sweet cookie that complies with Dietary Guidelines.  These chewy cookies have 2 teaspoons of added sugar per cookie and are made with 1/2 whole grains.  The recipe was inspired by Southern Living Magazine.  

Molasses Cookies

(26 cookies)

Mix together dry ingredients in a side bowl:  (Flours, baking powder, soda and spices)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In mixing bowl, cream buttery spread and sugar for 2 minutes.
1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1/2 cup brown sugar

Add molasses and vanilla to mixing bowl.  Mix only till blended.
1/4 cup Black Strap molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat in 1 egg.
1 egg

Add flour mix to bowl, about 1/3rd at at time, mixing only till blended.

Scoop heaping tablespoon dippers of dough.  Roll in turbinado sugar.
1/4 cup Turbinado sugar

Place on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake in preheated oven 9 minutes, switching pans top to bottom racks 1/2 way through.

Cool on pan on wire rack 5 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool on rack 30 minutes.

This Mrs. Claus ate 1 cookie with my morning coffee, followed by a meal consisting of 1/2 cup homemade granola, 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt and 1 cup skim milk.

I'm off to water aerobics soon, knowing this exercise is good for my bones and my waistline!   

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Tree That's Fun to Take Down

Fresh baked dinner rolls with a cheesy center, homemade tomato soup and fresh pineapple slices made a tummy comfy dinner on this 5th day of Christmas.  The pull apart bread, shaped like a Christmas tree, was inspired by Delish magazine.   I followed a Fleischmann's Yeast dinner roll recipe designed to knead and shape the dough, then allow it to rise in the refrigerator to be baked at a later time.  

Cool Rise Dinner Rolls

(20 mini rolls)

Mix flours, yeast and sugar in bowl of electric mixer with dough hook in place.
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoon dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar

On stove top, heat milk, water and buttery spread to 125 F.
1/2 cup skim milk
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
Gradually add to mixing bowl.  Beat at high speed 2 minutes.

Add additional flour, egg and salt to bowl.  Beat at high speed 2 minutes.
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 egg, warmed slightly
1/2 teaspoon salt

Gradually add remaining flour, kneading until dough leaves sides of bowl, about seven minutes.  Remove dough to a bowl greased with olive oil spray.  Turn and cover.  Allow to rest 2 minutes.
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour 

Divide dough into balls, about 2 tablespoons each.  Shape dough around a 1/2 inch chunk of cheese.  Place about 1/3 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Arrange in a Christmas tree pattern.
2 1/2 cheddar cheese sticks, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
Spray with olive oil spray.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. 

About 45 minutes till dinner, pull tray from refrigerator.  Allow to rest 20 minutes while oven preheats to 375 F. 

Mix egg and water.  Brush over dough balls.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning pan 1/2 way through.
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Garnish with grated cheese, pepper and parsley.
2 tablespoon grated Parmigiano cheese
1 mini sweet red pepper, minced
Fresh parsley, snipped

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Randy Roast

While I purchased the counter-top primarily for dried beans, I've found it's great for quicker cooking of roasts.  Because you can "brown" in the same pan prior to cooking, I'm even more of a cheerleader.  The recipe for Brisket with Apricots and Prunes is from Food and Wine Magazine.   Mine has eye of round roast and more vegetables.

Beef with Apricots and Prunes

(Serves 8 Meat Portions, 4 Vegetable-Fruit Portions)

Brown meat with vegetables in olive oil.
1.75 # eye of round roast
2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, separated into rings
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup red peppers, diced
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash

Add remaining ingredients.  Program cooker to "Cook" for 45 minutes.
4 turnips, halved
2 medium potatoes, peeled and wedged
6 small carrots, cut in strips
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup diced prunes
8 apricots
For firmer vegetables, add 15-25 minutes later than beef, then cook 20-30 minutes more.  I did not want to have to reduce the pressure to add the vegetables, then bring the pressure up again.

Slice meat with electric knife for thin slices.



Saturday, November 26, 2016

Homemade Turkey Bouillon Cubes

After roasting my first fresh turkey of the season on Thursday, I made turkey bouillon cubes the following days.  The process is simple:

  • Strain the broth from the bottom of the roasting pan into a clean shallow pan.  I used a 9 X 14 inch cake pan with a lid. 
  • Refrigerate the broth overnight.
  • Remove the fat layer from the top of the broth and discard.  The fat rises to the top of the broth after cooling and is very easy to remove. 
  • Scoop the broth into clean ice cube trays and freeze overnight.
Remove bouillon cubes from ice trays.  Place in a storage container with a lid.  Freeze and remove cubes as needed.

To make a delicious homemade stock, use 1 ice (bouillon cube) per cup of water-just like when using purchased bouillon cubes.  


Friday, November 25, 2016

Garrett County Goodness

Only 30-35 miles from home, a trip to Garrett County, Maryland is rewarded in beautiful scenery and premium local foods. With the harvest season ending and Christmas season upon us, it was a good day to make Pablo's Creamy Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Soup.  The recipe features Firefly Farms Allegheny Chevre where a little of this homemade goat cheese "goes a long way to offset the rich sweet notes in pumpkin soup".   While purchasing cheese at Firefly Creamery, I also found this grainy bread that was perfect for a leftover Thanksgiving Turkey sandwich.  The pie pumpkin was purchased at Klotz Farm Friendsville store earlier in the season.  The turkey is a Working H Farms couldn't be fresher bird (it was alive on Monday).

I modified the original recipe to utilize the ingredients I had on hand.

Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Soup

(6 Cups)

Quarter pumpkin, removing pulp and seeds.  Spray with oil.  Roast at 425 F. for 45 minutes.
1 pie pumpkin
Olive oil spray
Remove peel and dice roasted pumpkin.

In a large saucepan, sauté onion, fennel and celery in olive oil 3 minutes.
1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoon fennel, diced
2 tablespoon celery stalks and leaves, diced
2 tablespoon olive oil

Stir in curry powder and sauté 1 minute.
1 tablespoon curry powder

Add ginger, orange juice, zest and stock.
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
Juice and zest from 1 orange
3 cups low sodium chicken stock (GMO free)
Add roasted pumpkin.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 30 minutes.

Stir in milks, goat cheese, salt and seasoning.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Carefully add 3 cups of soup to a blender at a time.  Remove center piece of blender lid.  Cover lid and open center with a cloth and blend until smooth.  Return blended soup to saucepan and simmer until hot but not boiling.
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
1 cup Allegheny Chevre
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash

Carefully remove seeds from pulp.  Wash, dry and spread on a baking sheet.  Roast at 500 F. for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent burning.
Pumpkin seeds
Garnish soup with roasted seeds.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Give Small Farms a Big Hand

A small family with big hearts, dreams and the strongest of work ethics reach an even bigger community through the animals they raise and the foods that they sell.  Beef, pigs, chickens, eggs, sheep and turkeys-all raised humanely, free range and chemical free on their West Virginia farm-then processed in their USDA plant and sold in their own farm store. . . it's a 15 hour a day project, 7 days a week.  Then there's outreach through Farmers Markets and restaurant sales.  Other farmers bring their animals to the plant for processing and the devoted customers grow even bigger.  There seems to be no stopping the Hardesty family and their work at the Working H Farms.  But it's never easy.  Sickness and sometimes excessive demands rear yet they make it through, with even more satisfied customers than before.  Small business supports an extended community. . . and we support them.  

I get a message early Monday morning (Thanksgiving Week) asking for help at the store.  Two of the six regular staff will not be in and 200 turkeys plus are ordered.  Four relief staff quickly respond and the work continues.  I get the easy job, working the front of the store, taking calls, waiting on customers and organizing.  The professionals tackle the turkey processing line. 
The work continues, ice baths, trimming, weighing, vacuum packing and tagging.  One of the most tedious parts of the process was matching a specific turkey and weight to the customer who ordered. Think about it, finding a 16.27 pound turkey in a cold cooler with a couple hundred turkeys can't be easy, yet making a game of it made it fun.

Less than 24 hours after the turkeys walked cage free they were delivered to customers to place in their home refrigerators ready for the Thursday meal.

Here's my Thanksgiving platter-full of local foods: 
Turkey from Working H marinated in a brine made with Martinsburg Apples,
Cornbread Stuffing made with Hawthorne Valley Blue Cornmeal, Working H Italian Sausage, Stewart's Farm Celery, Evans Knob Farm Fennel and Mountain Harvest Onions,
Maple Roasted Carrots featuring the crisp roots from Mountain Harvest and Charm Farm Maple Syrup,
Mashed Potato Casserole with Potatoes from Harmony Farms and Firefly Farms Cheese. 
Our appetizer platter contained Broccoli and Purple Cauliflower from DeBerry Farms.

My friend Becky made delicious homemade rolls and Black Cherry Jello.  The black cherry dish was Luke's Grandmothers' recipe that "cleaned the palate" and was a delicious alternative to cranberry sauce.

The potato recipe was inspired by Food and Wine Magazine, a make-ahead recipe assembled, then baked prior to the meal.

Mashed Potato Casserole

(Serves 8)

Combine potatoes and water to cover by 2 inch in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and cook 12 minutes.  Drain and transfer to a mixing bowl.
2 pound potatoes, peeled and cut in inch pieces

Add buttery spread and mix.  Fold in cheese and spices.
1 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk, warmed in microwave
1 tablespoon celery leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon sage
4 ounce Gruyere Cheese, shredded
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
Spread into baking dish greased with olive oil spray.

Mix crumbs and cheese.
3 tablespoon breadcrumbs
3 tablespoon Parmigiana Cheese
Sprinkle over potatoes.

Bake at 400 F. until internal temperature reaches 150 F.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pear Tartlet with my PreThanksgiving Breakfast

My tummy was empty after a busy start to the holiday week.  This Sunday Pear Tart (assembly required) was the start to my day (followed up with vegetable soup).  The recipe was inspired by Cooking Lite.

Lemon Pear Tart.  Ricotta & Wine Glaze 

(6 Servings) 

Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and rosemary in food processor.  With motor running, add oil.  Press into bottom of 8 inch springform pan.  Cover with foil.  Bake at 375 F. for 15 minutes.  Cool.
1/3 cup & 1 heaping tablespoon all purpose flour
3 tablespoon & 2/3 teaspoon whole grain cornmeal
2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
2 tablespoon pecan oil

On stove top, bring wine, water, lemon and sugar to a boil.  Add pear halves and simmer 7 or 8 minutes.  Remove pears, cool and slice.  Cool sauce in a small bottle.
2/3 cup wine (pink tone)
1/2 cup water
1 (2 inch) strip lemon rind
3 small pears, peeled, cored and halved
2 teaspoon sugar

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, salt, milk, cornstarch and yolk.  Stir continuously while thickening.  Stir in milk and cook 1 minute.  Remove from heat;  add ricotta, yogurt, lemon rind and vanilla.  Cover and chill 1 hour.
3 tablespoon skim milk
1 1/2 teaspoon non GMO cornstarch
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon & 1 teaspoon sugar
Dash salt
3 tablespoon & 2/3 teaspoon part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tablespoon nonfat plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon vanilla 

Spread ricotta mixture over crust.  Arrange pear wedges over ricotta.  Drizzle with glaze.