Friday, July 31, 2020

Rye Renditions

Considered a weed, rye was deemed the poverty grain. It grew where other grains could not survive, in cold and wet areas. Rye was grown in New England during colonial America and on soil that could not support wheat-the Southern coast and mountain interior. While it grows here in West Virginia, my farmer-miller friend quit growing it when consumers didn't buy the flour.

Why rye said I? Rye has fiber throughout the kernel-in the endosperm, bran and germ. With a lower glycemic index than many grains, it helps to keep one feeling fuller longer, controlling weight and diabetes. To me, it's the variety in grains, produce and protein that I choose to keep me healthy and my meals enjoyable.

 While my favorite way to use rye berries is ground into flour for bread, I like the flavor, color and texture of the cooked berries in salads and grain bowls.

I cook the berries in my programmable pressure cooker for 30 minutes. The cooked berries can then be reheated as a grain base for a hearty meal or combined with other grains as a side.

Grinding the berries in the countertop flour mill produces a whole grain flour. Many commercial rye flours are refined and sifted, missing the bran, some fiber and nutrients. Few commercial rye breads are whole grain. If the label says whole rye-it contains all parts of the kernel.

Not everyone likes the taste of rye bread with caraway seed, as in this Black Russian Bread. Without the caraway seed, the flour is quite sweet.

Pasta dough made with rye flour is soft and sticky and requires a thicker dough. I added roasted pecans to this rye dough. The noodles fell apart but tasted heavenly. 

So here's the recipe I used to make the rye and wheat bar cookies (100% whole grain). 

Rye & Chocolate Bar Cookies

(16 Cookies)

Line an 8 X 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Beat eggs and sugar. 
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
Add olive oil and vanilla.
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon vanilla

In a separate bowl, mix flours, baking powder and salt.
1/2 cup whole rye flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Stir in chocolate.
3/4 cup chocolate chips (60% cacao)

Add dry mix to egg mixture, stirring just until flour is no longer visible.

Pour batter into pan. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. Remove from pan to cool on rack.


Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Sourdough Peach Kuchen

It's Peach Season in West Virginia. Following a recipe from Beets & Bones, I made this whole grain kuchen with my sourdough rye starter, spelt and Kamut flours.

This was the first photo I posted on the Wild Sourdough For Science Facebook page. Here you can learn how to make a starter, share results with others and explore a wealth of recipes. The group is affiliated with Dr. Erin McKenney at North Carolina State, where she's formed a state wide study of sourdough cultures conducted by middle school students. The students measure the pH of the starter and height over time. They describe the smell (does it smell like a fart, or is it nutty or moldy?) They do experiments with petri dishes to determine bacteria and yeast produced by different flours. There is a toolkit for teachers.  

Why so much interest in sourdough? There are health benefits. It is a pre-biotic with B & K vitamins. It reduces gluten sensitivity (No gluten is safe in persons with Celiac disease). It  reduces the glycemic index. The yeast produced by the sourdough culture makes bread rise without the addition of a commercial product.

Here's what I made starting with Valerie's recipe from Beets & Bones. 

Sourdough Peach Kuchen

(Serves 16)

Mix starter and buttermilk.
1/2 cup rye sourdough starter
1 cup buttermilk

Add egg, sugar, salt, zest and vanilla. Mix well.
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Zest from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add flours and mix into wet ingredients.
1 cup spelt flour
1 cup Kamut flour

Using a box grater, grate butter into bowl with all ingredients. Stir into mixture.
4 tablespoon buttery stick

Cover and rest for 6-8 hours.

Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. (I used 1-9 inch spring-form pan and 2-4 1/2 inch tart pans). Grease sides of pans with olive oil spray.

Peel and dice peaches. Combine with sugar.
4 large peaches, peeled and diced
2 tablespoon sugar
Arrange in bottom of tart pans.

Spoon and smooth dough batter over peaches.
Cover and allow to rest for 2 hours.

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes until top browns.

Cool in pan on rack. Invert onto platter or into storage container. Remove parchment paper.

Since my kuchen would be eaten over several days, I stored it in the refrigerator. To serve, I cut a slice of kuchen and baked it in the toaster oven for 10 minutes. It is a little doughy on the peach side and the heating brings out the flavor. Mine is served with plain yogurt and a sprinkling of cinnamon-sugar. I enjoy this with a glass of milk at breakfast.



Thursday, July 16, 2020

Pimiento Picada Meatballs

For those folks who prefer mild over hot, this blended diced pimiento sauce is a refreshing alternative. I made these meatballs with both ground beef and ground chicken. 

I bet the sauce is good with seafood too! It's made with the diced pimentos that come in a jar. My mother-in-law mixed these in her potato salad. I like to buy these from time to time to make red pepper pasta. The ingredients in the jarred pimientos are simple, and there is no added salt.

Pimiento Meatballs

(12 Meatballs-3 Servings)

Chop pepper, garlic, pimientos, vinegar, salt and paprika in bowl of small processor.
1 mini sweet pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup drained jarred pimientos
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Transfer to bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix wheat germ and bran, 1 tablespoon sauce, water and egg. Allow to sit for a few minutes.
4 tablespoon wheat germ
2 tablespoon wheat bran
1 tablespoon sauce (see above)
1 1/2 teaspoon water
1 egg

Add minced garlic, cumin, oil and salt. 
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt

Add one-third of ground meat.  Work into crumb mixture. Then add remaining meat.
1 # ground beef, chicken or turkey

Drop by 1 tablespoon scoops onto parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 F for 15 minutes. (until internal temperature of meatballs reaches 165 F)

Serve with remaining sauce.

I generally use wheat germ, bran or flax meal in place of bread crumbs in my recipes. If preferred, use bread or cracker crumbs or a mixture of any of these to make 6 tablespoons.




Friday, July 10, 2020

A Cupboard of Grains & a Flour Mill

I was prepared for the pandemic, with a cupboard of grains, tested recipes and my flour mill. Faced with empty grocery shelves-void of all purpose and whole wheat flour, I made Spelt Bread. 

100% Spelt Bread
 and Garbanzo Bean Bread.

Sorghum, Buckwheat Garbanzo Bean Bread
Making fewer trips to the grocery store, I used multi grains to make waffles 
Multigrain Waffles with Oat Groats, Barley, Millet & Rye
and Ezekiel Flour Cookies.

Oatmeal Coconut Ezekiel Cookies (made with 4 beans and 4 grains)
I did visit a small Caribbean grocery store (only the owner and I were inside) to buy an unusual millet and made these muffins.

Millet Muffins Filled with Cream
I used my sourdough starter discard often and made this cornbread.

Sourdough Whole Grain Cornbread
Today I tested a recipe using one of the grains I'd never ground-farro. The pasta recipe is from Doriana-a "Pasta Granny" from central Italy.  The pasta is three-fourths whole grain, yet easy to knead, roll and cut, producing a smooth glorious colored product.

Farro Pasta

(10 Servings)

300 grams farro flour
100 grams all purpose flour
4 eggs
Place eggs in bowl of electric mixer with dough hook in place. Beat eggs until mixed but not frothy. Add all purpose flour and beat at low speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl down.  Slowly add farro flour, kneading with each addition, scraping bowl down. Knead for 8-10 minutes. Dough will leave side of bowl. 
Place dough in bowl (lightly greased) with lid. Allow dough to rest 30 minutes.
Roll and cut.
I allowed my cut dough to dry by placing in a 150 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, the freezing by cut and meal.

This recipe enters my tested recipes to use again and again.    

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

From Bain-Marie to Bisque (Garlic Custard in Asparagus Soup)

Searching for a recipe made with early summer vegetables, one by John Ash caught my eye. It was the custard in the center of the soup that intrigued me.  That custard bestowed elegance and sustenance to the dish.

Here's how I made it:

Green Garlic Custard

(Serves 2)

Chop garlic in bowl of food processor.
1-inch chunk peeled green garlic

Add egg, milk, broth, salt and pepper. Pulse 30 seconds.
1 egg
1/4 cup evaporated skim milk
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Divide egg mixture between 2 greased ramekins.
Place in bread loaf pan.
Pour boiling water into pan until it is 3/4th height of the ramekins. 

Place loaf pan into 350F oven. Bake for 35 minutes.
Remove ramekins from water bath to cooling rack.

Asparagus, Potato and Spinach Soup

(5 Servings)

Melt butter in 2 quart saucepan on stove-top.
1 Tablespoon buttery spread

Add onion and seasonings. Saute 2 minutes.
1/4 cup green onion bulb and stems, diced
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fennel

Add broth, asparagus and potato. Bring to boil for 10 minutes.
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 bunch asparagus (about 1 1/2 pound) cut in pieces, ends removed 
1 potato (about 8 ounce), peeled and diced

Add spinach and simmer a few minutes until spinach is wilted.
2 cups spinach leaves, stems removed

Carefully add soup to blender. Cover with cloth and blend until smooth.
Return soup to pan.

Add milk and heat until 170 F.
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk.

To serve, ladle soup around room temperature custard.

I garnished mine with sauteed daylilly bud, with inspiration from Appalachian Chef Susi Gott Seguret  


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Cabin Cuisine

To the cooler, I pack all my fresh vegetables, 3 frozen protein foods, eggs, buttery spread, frozen (homemade) sourdough waffles and drop biscuits and an open bottle of maple syrup. In a grocery bag, we carry a few potatoes, apples, crackers and my home canned baked beans and applesauce. Along the way we buy some local produce, homemade fudge and seasonal fruit. At the last stop (about 45 minutes from our destination) we add milk, Swiss cheese, deli turkey and frozen corn.

In the 1-room cabin is a fully stocked kitchen complete with china and utensils. I pack one treasured tool for our cabin adventure-the large paella pan I found in the Aldis gadget aisle. In that pan we cook the protein food alongside vegetables over an outdoor wood fire grill. No recipe or sauce needed-the smokey flavor, some salt, pepper and fresh herbs is all it takes.

I bake three potatoes in the cabin oven the afternoon we arrive. (1 for each of the 3 meals).

The wood fire took little time to heat. The park provides the logs, kindling and one fire starter. Dinner Day 1 was steel cup trout (I removed the skin), 1/2 baked potato and an Italian type vegetable mixture with carrots and broccoli (precooked in the microwave) and local zucchini. All pans had shallots, peppers, garlic and assorted  fresh herbs (chives, oregano, parsley and tarragon) to flavor. 

I cook eggs sunny side up on the indoor stove top for breakfasts-served over a waffle or biscuit. Lunch was leftover dinners, deli turkey, cheese, baked beans and crackers.

Dinner Day 2 was chicken tenders and a vegetable blend with diced baked potatoes, corn, yellow squash and celery, along with my first batch of home grown sweet peas (shelled on site and precooked in the microwave).  The fire cooked the meal in little time despite the drizzling rain.

After this meal, we walked to the park restaurant to enjoy a homemade dessert and ice cream. My choice is the Blackberry Cobbler while Bob chooses the Hot Fudge Cake. The baker-caterer is both talented and friendly and sits on the back porch under the hummingbird feeder to rest after a 14 hour day. She let me explore the kitchen one year!

Dinner Day 3 had 1 petite beef fillet, potatoes and assorted vegetables. For dessert I peeled and cut peaches, sprinkled with maple syrup and cooked on the fire in a cast iron skillet while we ate our beef-vegetable platter.

To my delight, the park still has a few of the original state park fiesta-ware china plates. (These treasured collectibles are inventoried when you check out).

Deep in the peaceful hills of West Virginia, we and the wildlife eat well while enjoying every minutes of our stay.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Multigrain Waffles Balance Flavor & Nutrients

It's a playlist of grains-each with it's own persona. Each grain is unique in flavor and color. Some have gluten forming the structure, others are gluten free. Then there's the nutritional benefits. Each grain has it's unique profile. 

Get more nutrients eating a variety of grains. The nutrients and phyto-chemicals in each grain has its own benefits.

  • Oats contain beta-glucan, a fermentable prebiotic fiber that lowers cholesterol. 
  • Barley is full of soluble fibers.
  • Millet is a high magnesium grain.
  • Rye has a low glycemic index, promoting a rapid feeling of fullness favorable for weight loss and diabetics.

This mix has the right balance of flavors:

  • Oats are quite sweet.
  • Rye works well with sweet flavors.
  • Barley gives a boost of flavor to the other grains.
  • Millet is buttery and adds color.
  • Whole wheat is nutty.
  • The sourdough starter discard adds a tang.

This multigrain flour mix is in pastry chef Kim Boyce's cookbook, Good to the Grain. The waffle recipe was based on one in this book as well. 

Multigrain Waffles with Sourdough Discard

Flour Mix
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oat flour
1 cup barley flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup rye flour


In a separate bowl, mix multigrain, additional whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder and soda.
1 cup Multigrain Flour Mix
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Add milk and eggs to sourdough starter discard. Beat eggs.
1/2 cup sourdough starter discard
1 cup skim milk
3 eggs

Add dry ingredients and stir with a spoon, mixing only until combined.

Grease top and bottom of waffle maker by brushing with melted butter.
1 tablespoon buttery spread, melted

When waffle maker is heated, portion 1/4 cup batter onto each square. Bake until top of waffle is brown. Repeat with remaining batter.

We enjoyed our waffle for dinner, served with an egg.