Sunday, December 30, 2018

Book Review: Martina's Kitchen Mix

"Cooking is like singing-when I have something delicious, I want to share it!"  Martina McBride's philosophy on good recipes is one I too share.  This 'recipe playlist for real life' is a good one in that it involves getting into the kitchen and using whole foods to create the many components of a healthy meal.  The ingredients include a variety of colorful vegetables, dried beans, non-processed meats, poultry and seafood and some whole grains.  It was easy for me to prepare my weekly menu around this cookbook-and I was able to prepare the recipes using the foods I had on hand.

I highlighted several entrees I wanted to try.  The Pan Roasted Halibut I prepared (above) was an easy one to put together after a busy day away from home.  My breading is made from a ground whole grain cracker.  (I ground that in the morning before I left the house.)  It includes vitamin rich spinach and tomatoes, olive oil and a sustainable seafood.  My pesto butter is prepared with a vegan buttery spread.

The Taco Rice Bowl I prepared has leftover Christmas turkey breast in place of the recommended seafood.  I applaud her choice of brown rice.  A simple seasoning of chili powder and cumin was all I needed to add to the cooked rice and turkey for a flavorful base of the beans and vegetables.

The Fresh Apple Cake is so moist and delicious.  I enjoyed a piece today at room temperature without ice cream.  My cake is made with half whole wheat flour, 1/2 the salt and 1/3 the added sugar.  I like the variety of nuts Martina uses in her recipes.  In this one, I ground a mix of walnuts and pecans.  I did not prepare the caramel sauce.

Martina was right in that the deliciousness of the Thai Slaw was in the dressing-which I prepared as in the cookbook recipe with the addition of pineapple juice in place of the lime juice.  The dressing was excellent.  There is a nice assortment of fresh vegetables-cabbage for vitamin C, carrots for vitamin A and carotene and red peppers for more vitamin C.  There's edamame and shelled peanuts-another plus for me with the addition of legumes and good fats!

I did not take a picture of the Grilled Pineapple Salsa.  It too was delicious and made good use of my leftover fresh pineapple from Christmas.

Tonight's meal featuring the Cream of Tomato Soup and Pumpkin Cornbread recipes was delightful. I see why Martina's youngest daughter likes the soup.  It was simple blend of sauteed vegetables (onion, garlic, celery and red pepper), chicken broth and diced canned tomatoes.  I use a low sodium chicken broth and chose evaporated skim milk in place of cream.  My tomatoes are canned without added salt.  For my cornbread, I used whole grain cornmeal and fresh ground local popcorn for half the flours.  The pumpkin was pureed from a fresh pie pumpkin.  Using 3 tablespoon of sugar instead of the recommended 8 tablespoons was plenty.  In place of sour cream, I used plain nonfat yogurt.   My cornbread was made in portion controlled muffin tins instead of the square baking dish. 

My Kitchen Prayer-from a plaque in the kitchen of Martina's Grandma-expresses my feeling as I create meals.  "Bless my little kitchen-I love every nook".

Thank you Meredith Publishing for the complimentary review copy.  The above post and pictures are my own.  I received no other compensation for this review, other than the pleasure of an enjoyable read and eating experience!


Sunday, December 23, 2018

Whole Grain Cornmeal Crescent Rolls

These soft colorful rolls with the slight crunch of whole grain cornmeal had a delightful taste that complemented the fresh baked turkey or glazed ham we served for this Christmas meal with Bob's brother.  Since the recipe made 16 large rolls, we had plenty to eat with leftovers as sandwiches too.

I started with a recipe from Southern Living Magazine.   I used whole grain cornmeal and whole wheat flour for half the flours in the recipe.  I mixed the dough the night before and refrigerated overnight.  This morning I shaped the rolls and refrigerated until about 1 hour before baking.  They rose nicely and even more when baked.  There was no need to brush with butter after removing from the oven-as the finished product was soft and delightful.

Whole Grain Cornmeal Crescent Rolls

(Serves 16)

Bring milk to a simmer on stove top.  Stir in cornmeal for 30 seconds.  Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes.
1 cup skim milk
2/3 cup whole grain cornmeal

In bowl of electric mixer with dough hook in place, mix flour, yeast and sugar.
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar

Gradually add warm water to mixer bowl.  Beat at medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
1 cup 125 F water

Add eggs, sugar, salt, melted buttery stick and more flour.  Beat at medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
2 eggs, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttery stick, melted
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour

With mixer on low speed, gradually add remaining flour, kneading for about 8 minutes.
2 cups all purpose flour

Place dough in bowl greased with olive oil spray.  Turn to coat.  Cover and place in refrigerator overnight.

Punch dough down.  Divide in half.  Roll half into a 13 inch circle.  Cut in 8 wedges.  Roll each wedge to 9 inches.  Starting with wide end, roll dough.  Place point side down onto parchment lined baking sheet.  Coat with olive oil spray.  Cover.  If not baking for a while, place covered tray in refrigerator until 45 minutes before placing in oven.

Repeat with remaining dough.

Let rise at room temperature for 45 minutes.

Bake at 400 F for approximately 25 minutes.  Remove from parchment lined paper and baking sheet to cool or serve.


Thursday, December 20, 2018

Book Review: Breakfast-the Best Meal of the Day

"Get your spatula out and stay in your kitchen.  Say no to brunch lines and oat bars-you'll realize how exciting breakfast can be!"  I am one who loves to eat breakfast food for any meal of the day.  And I agree that breakfast food is economical.  "When you're broke, breakfast is hot, buttered hope." 

This cook, by the editors of Extra Crispy, has lots of recipes, 100 photos and great graphics.  I enjoy the history of foods ("Thank goats for coffee").  There are many cooking and preparation tips.  (The temperature of water to poach eggs is between 160 and 180 F.).  
I'm one who knows that breakfast food can be made with healthy ingredients.  This book features many meals with eggs.  The book is inclusive of recipes with vegetables, fruit and dairy.  There are even some with whole grains.

My recipe testing included:

 Breakfast Strudel
(Mine has unsweetened applesauce and part-skim ricotta cheese)

Granola Coffeecake
(Mine made in individual bundt pans with part whole wheat flour)  

Green Shakshuka
(I enjoy "cleaning out the crisper" of assorted green vegetables)

Pot Sticker Huevos Ranchero  
(This was my favorite-my dumpling is filled with mashed cooked pinto beans, 
chili powder and cheddar-brushed with egg and baked, not fried.  I was out of 
tomatoes, yet found plenty of vegetables to saute and finish with an egg) 

Texas Red Chili with Egg
(Each serving of ours has the equivalent of 1/2 sirloin steak, made with sweet peppers and chili powder instead of hot peppers. That's 1/2 Khachapuri bread on the side)
(This delightful boat shaped bread is filled and topped with a ricotta and blended cheese mix, partially baked, then finished with a baked egg). 
Fruit Mimosa
(Fresh sliced fruit with a mix of wine or liquor and fruit juice)
      Cornmeal Pancakes
(I was out of maple syrup, but the mascarpone, applesauce 
and strawberries suited me just fine)

 Thank you Meredith Publishing for the complimentary review copy.  The above post and pictures are my own.  I received no other compensation for this review, other than the pleasure of an enjoyable read and eating experience!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Teff and Chocolate Cake-Garnish Your Way!

Whole grain teff has over twice the iron of other grains and three times the calcium.  There is an inherent sweetness in teff and combined with cocoa , I was able to decrease the added sugars to achieve a healthy, delicious dessert.  The cake recipe is based on one in Alice Medrich's Flavor Flours Cookbook.  She recommends slicing the one layer in thirds.  I chose to slice it in two.  Because we're a small family of two seniors, I chose to cut the sugar in half..

Teff and Cocoa Sponge Cake

(10 servings)

Sift cocoa in bowl.  Mix with flour.
5 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa (not the Dutch processed kind)
1/2 cup teff flour

Combine eggs, sugar and salt in bowl of electric mixer with whisk attachment.  Beat on high speed 5 minutes.  
4 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Heat buttery sticks, melt and pour into deep reserved bowl.
3 tablespoon vegan buttery sticks

Remove mixer bowl with whipped egg-sugar-salt mix.  Fold in 1/3 of the flour-cocoa mix.  Repeat with half the remaining flour, then the rest of the flour.  

Scrape 1/4 of the batter into the hot butter.  Fold until butter is completely blended.  Scrape batter over the remaining butter and fold just until blended. 

Pour into 8 inch springform pan with parchment lined bottom.

Bake at 335 F for 30 minutes.  While the cake is hot, run a spatula around the inside of the pan, pressing against the sides of the pan.  

Invert pan onto rack to remove the paper.  Turn the cake right up to frost.

The above cake was sliced in half and iced with a slightly sweetened whipped cream. (1 1/2 cups heavy cream, 1 tablespoon sugar and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla)  Topped with pomegranate seeds and juice, this made a delightful Christmas dessert.

I'd previously made the cake and filled with Alice Medrich's icing, using 2/3 of the ingredients and only 1/3 of the sugar in the coconut frosting.  It also was yummy.




Thursday, December 13, 2018

Rye Pasta with Shrimp, Tomatoes & Feta

Egg noodles made with ground caraway seeds, lemon and whole rye flour gave a unique flair to this pasta dish.  Cooking the noodles in the tomato and shrimp broth produced a rich, thicker sauce. Adding spinach, peppers, shrimp and feta completed this one dish meal in a bowl.

Rye Pasta

(Serves 3)

Mix flours, salt, caraway and zest in a small deep bowl.
1/4 cup whole rye flour
3/4 cup pasta flour (mine has equal parts of semolina, all purpose, kamut and whole wheat flours)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
Zest from 1 lemon

Beat egg in a small measuring cup.  Mix into flour.  Add juice.  Knead in bowl until mixture holds together to form a ball.
1 egg, beaten
Juice from 1 lemon 

Divide dough in half.  Flatten to a 1/4 inch disc.  Run dough through a pasta roller, first at a large thickness.  Gradually reduce thickness until a thin but firm pasta sheet is formed.  Cut into 1/2 inch strips.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet.

Dehydrate in 150 F oven for 30 minutes. 

Rye Pasta with Shrimp, Tomatoes & Feta 

(Serves 3)

Remove shell and tail of each shrimp. Cut shrimp in half following the line where de-veined.  Set shrimp aside. Place shells and tails in sauce pan with 1 cup water.  Bring to a simmer.  Strain shells and tails, reserving broth and discarding shells and tails.  
10 jumbo shrimp, raw, tail-on

Saute onion, garlic and sweet peppers in olive oil.  Add fennel.  Add tomatoes and reserved shrimp broth.  Add 1 cup water.
2 teaspoon olive oil
1 green onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 mini sweet peppers, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1-16 ounce can diced tomatoes with oregano, garlic and basil, no added salt
1 cup water
Reserved shrimp broth
Bring to a boil.  Add egg noodles.  Simmer with lid for 5 minutes.

Add spinach and shrimp.
2 cups spinach leaves, stems removed
Reserved shrimp
Cook for 3 minutes.

Serve with feta cheese.
1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles



Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Whole Grain Fruitcake (Gluten-Free)

This moist and healthy confection is now cut in slices, wrapped and in the refrigerator where I can enjoy a slice for breakfast or a mid-afternoon winter snack.

Fig and Buckwheat Fruitcake

(Serves 12)

Mix nuts, flour, cocoa, spices, zest and figs in a large bowl.
1 3/4 cup toasted and ground nuts
1 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa (not the Dutch processed kind)
2 1/4 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated gingerroot
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Zest for 1 orange
1 1/3 cups ground figs, stemmed removed

Heat honey on stove top for 10 minutes.
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar

Quickly add warm honey-sugar mix and applesauce to the bowl.  Stir to combine.
1 cup unsweetened chunky applesauce

Press into parchment lined 7-inch springform pan.  Bake at 300 F. for 50 minutes.  Remove from pan.  Remove parchment paper and cool on wire rack.  Cut in wedges.  Wrap in bourbon soaked cheesecloth, then in plastic wrap.  Store in the refrigerator.

This recipe is based on one in the book Flavor Flours. 




Saturday, December 8, 2018

Whole Grain Garbanzo Bread (Gluten Free)

Sorghum, buckwheat and brown rice flours combine with garbanzo bean flour to make a beautifully colored yeast bread.  The bread rose nicely and, while a bit crumbly, was not heavy in texture.  

Whole Grain Garbanzo Bread

(14 servings)

Mix flour, yeast, sugar, flaxseed meal and orange zest in bowl of electric mixer with dough hook in place.
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 tablespoon dry yeast
3 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon flaxseed meal
Zest of 1 orange

Slowly add milk to mixing bowl.  Beat for 2 minutes at medium speed, scraping bowl down occasionally.
1 1/2 cup skim milk, heated to 125 F

Add flour, eggs, vinegar, oil, salt and water.  Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl down occasionally.
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon 2 teaspoon water

Add remaining flours to mixer 1/2 cup at a time, beating on low speed.  
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon brown rice flour

Pour into 9 by 5 inch loaf pan, greased with olive oil spray.  Cover and let rise until batter is almost to top of the pan.

Bake at 325 F 35 minutes, turning pan halfway through the baking.  Cool in pan 5 minutes.  then remove from pan to finish cooling on wire rzck.

This recipe is based on one in Sue Becker's Essential Home-Ground Flour Book. 


Friday, December 7, 2018

All-Around Goodness of Black Russian Bread

Freshly ground rye and spelt berries, along with cocoa, coffee, caraway, molasses and more combine to make a delicious bread--good alone or for a sandwich.  This bread has a nice crust with a soft interior, different from other artisan rye breads I've made.  The recipe is based on one by Sue Becker in her Essential Home-Ground Flour Book

Black Russian Bread

(1 loaf) 

Combine flour, seeds and dry yeast in bowl of electric mixer with dough hook in place.
1 1/2  cups whole rye flour
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon dry yeast

In saucepan, combine water, vinegar, molasses, buttery spread, onion, cocoa, coffee and salt.  Heat to 125 F, when buttery spread is almost melted.
1 1/4 cup water
2 tablespoon vinegar
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
2 tablespoon buttery spread
1 tablespoon minced onion
2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (not the Dutch processed kind)
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon salt 
Add liquid to mixing bowl.  Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.

Add rye and spelt flour.  Beat 2 minutes at medium speed, scraping bowl after 1 minute.
1/2 cup whole rye flour
1/2 cup spelt flour

On slow speed, slowly add remaining flour.  Beat about 8 minutes, until dough leaves sides of bowl.
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

Place dough in greased bowl.  Turn, cover and let rise until double, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down and turn onto floured surface.  Shape into a round loaf.  Let rise until double, about 1 hour.

Bake at 350 F on hot baking stone for 45-50 minutes.



Friday, November 30, 2018

Making Calories Count with Whole Grain Cookies

These oat and brown rice cookies are whole grain and gluten free, without the added starches and fillers in some gluten free products.  The recipe is based on one in Gluten-Free Flavor Flours.  I substituted additional brown rice flour for the potato starch and flaxseed meal for the xanthum gum.  The added sugars were cut in half. 

Oat & Brown Rice Cookies

(Makes 48 cookies-1 Tablespoon Dough each) 

Combine flours, salt and baking soda in a bowl and mix.
1 1/4 cup oat flour
1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon brown rice flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Combine melted butter sticks, sugars, flaxseed meal, hot water and vanilla.  
1/2 pound buttery sticks, melted
3/4 teaspoon flaxseed meal
1 1/2 teaspoon hot water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Whisk in eggs.
2 eggs
Stir in flour mixture.  With a rubber spatula, mix batter briskly for about 45 seconds.  

Stir in chocolate and nuts.

2 cups unsweetened and 60% cacao chocolate (I mixed 1 cup each), chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, ground
1/2 cup pecans, ground

Refrigerate dough for 2 hours.

Drop by 1 tablespoon scoops onto parchment lined baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.  Bake at 375F for 12 minutes.  Remove from trays and paper.  Cool on wire racks.


Monday, November 26, 2018

Don't Knock It Till You've Tried It Gnocchi

This recipe has whole grains, legumes, colorful vegetables and local meat-add a sprinkle of cheese or a glass of milk to complete the meal.  

I made the gnocchi ahead, laid out on a parchment baking sheet, wrapped and refrigerated.  When ready to cook, I pulled the tray from the refrigerated, cooked and proceeded with the rest of the recipe.


(Serves 4)

Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender.  Drain, cool and mash.
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed

Beat egg.  Combine with flour and mashed potato.  Add additional water if necessary to form into a ball.  Knead for a minute or two.
1 cup pasta flour (mine had equal parts of Kamut, whole wheat, semolina and all purpose flours)
1 egg
Cold water
Divide dough in half and form each into a long rope, about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut in 3/4 inch pieces.  Make an impression in each piece with a cocktail fork.  Place on prepared sheet.  Cook within an hour or refrigerate until ready to cook.

Gnocchi, Garbanzos, Veggies & Sausage

(Serves 4)

Bring 2 cups chicken broth to a boil.  Add gnocchi and cook for 10 minutes.  Drain, reserving broth.

Saute peppers, onions, fennel and mushrooms in olive oil, about 5 minutes.
2 mini sweet peppers, yellow, orange or red, diced or cut in thin strips
1 green onions, diced
1 tablespoon fennel, diced
6 baby bella mushrooms, diced
2 teaspoon olive oil

Add crumbed sausage and brown.
2 ounce sweet Italian sausage

Stir in herbs, broccoli, spinach, garbanzo beans, gnocchi and reserved cooking water.
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
3/4 cup broccoli, cut in small flowers and peeled and shredded stem
1/3 cup fresh spinach, stems removed 
1/2 cup garbanzo beans, cooked
Reserved cooking water
Cooked gnocchi
Simmer until hot (about 155 F).

Serve with shredded cheese, if desired. 




Friday, November 23, 2018

Hands On Thanksgiving

Our made-from-scratch turkey day meal went smoothly.  Local foods were a must-turkey, wheat berries, potatoes, cornmeal, eggs, squash, eggplant, onions and apples all grown or raised by our nearby friends.

Turkey with Honey Balsamic Glaze
Mixed Vegetable Bake
Fresh Pineapple & Grapes
Challah Bread
Crock Pot Apple Dessert with Vanilla Ice Cream 

I made the cornbread for the stuffing weeks ago and froze.  The day before the meal, I made the Challah and whipped potatoes. Bob and I spatchcocked the turkey the night before. We cut the drumsticks and wings from the bird and de-boned the thighs to cook along side the breast.  I cut most of the vegetables the day before except the eggplant which would turn colors cutting that far ahead.

The once 12# turkey roasted in only 2 hours cutting it like we did and slicing was a breeze.  I'd never reheated whipped potatoes but that actually worked just fine.  Using a thermometer to test final temperature for all the hot foods was a must, as the small deep baking dishes I used took a little longer to roast. (Turkey must be 165 degrees, stuffing 155 and other hot foods 145) For the mixed vegetable blend, I roasted the harder vegetables like winter squash and carrots 10 minutes before adding the other vegetables.  Mine had a mix of eggplant, patty pan squash, celery, basil, oregano, sweet peppers and olive oil.  To the crock pot apples, I decreased the sugar, adding 1/4 cup brown sugar.

Planning back from the eating time, my Thursday oven times went as follows:
  • 10 am crock pot apples
  • 1030 am turkey
  • 1115 am mashed potatoes and stuffing
  • 1130 am vegetables
  • 1230 pm heat bread 
  • 1240 pm gravy
  • 1 pm "let's eat!" 
Bob and I both worked with our friends, processing and distributing the turkeys on Monday and Tuesday.  Of course the best part of the meal was enjoying it with our family:

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Best of the Grains Buns

St. Hildegard once said that spelt was the "best of the grains" and 10 centuries later, I tend to agree.  Spelt is not the variety of wheat that most customers buy as industrialization incentivizes farmers to grow durum and bread wheat .  Spelt flour, a whole grain, can be substituted for whole wheat flour.  It is higher in protein than common wheat and may be more easily tolerated.  I prefer the taste of spelt to wheat berries, and find that using 1/2 spelt and 1/2 wheat in my flour mill reduces that earthy taste I get with some wheat berries.

Cardamom Cinnamon Buns

(12 Servings)

Mix yeast, milk, eggs and vanilla in a small bowl or measuring cup.
1/2 cup nonfat milk
1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

In bowl of electric mixer, combine flours, sugar and salt.
1 1/4 cup spelt flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoon 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

With mixer running on low speed, cut in buttery spread.
16 tablespoon cold buttery spread, cut in small cubes
Drizzle in the milk mixture and mix till dough forms into a ball.
Turn onto a piece of plastic wrap and flatten into a 1 inch disk.  Refrigerate 6 hours.

Turn dough onto a floured surface.  Roll into a 12 X 16 inch rectangle.  With the short end facing you, brush the melted buttery spread onto the dough to within 1 inch of ends. 
3 tablespoon melted buttery spread
Combine sugars and spices.
2 tablespoon 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cardamom seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Sprinkle onto buttered dough.

Brush the borders with egg wash.
1 egg
2 teaspoon water

Fold the dough in half and cut into 12 inch strips, perpendicular to the fold.

Lifting each strip, twist in opposite directions and form into circular buns.  Lay on parchment lined baking sheets, about 3 inches apart.  Cover and allow to rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours.

Bake at 400 F. for 22 minutes.

These buns are higher in fat and fiber with just a touch of added sugar.  One of those, combined with other proteins in a meal, will keep me full all morning or eliminate the need for a dessert after a dinner meal.