Sunday, June 30, 2019

BYO Summer Cabin Cooking

For our annual summer retreat in the hills of West Virginia, we bring our own food. The one room cabin, built by the CCC during the Great Depression, has a fully stocked kitchen. We pack a large cooler with plenty of ice blocks and take everything we need for a 3 night and 4 day stay. My major foods are purchased from our local Farmer's Market. Free range chicken and beef, eggs and squash, garlic, green onions, red potatoes and carrots were all readily available. I brought every vegetable in my cooler! I was saving those petite fillets (seen above) for this special occasion and added them frozen to our cooler along with a blended beef-mushroom-carrot mix that I froze a few weeks ago. Since I wasn't sure when we'd be able to check in to our cabin, I baked a chicken breast the day before, sliced and took for the first lunch meal. Before leaving our home, I snipped some of all my herbs from the container garden on the deck and brought in a zipper bag at room temperature. My dinner menus were as follows:

Petite Fillets
Herbed Sliced Summer Vegetables
Spelt Muffins

Mexicana Shrimp Kabobs
Multigrain Bread

Blended Meatloaf
Roasted New Red Potatoes

The blended beef, mushroom and vegetable recipe I used was one I usually make into meatballs. I baked it in an oval loaf shape along with new potatoes.  The loaf had 1/2 pound of ground beef (& equal parts of vegetables). We ate half of it the first night and had the rest to slice for lunch the next 2 days.  

For the kabobs, I mixed the dry seasonings and transported in a large zipper bags. I portioned the lemon juice-olive oil into a small container with a lid to add  to the seasonings along with the shrimp and vegetables 1 hour before baking, This is an easy recipe, and I simply pulled the frozen raw shrimp from the freezer and threw in the cooler the morning of the trip.

Mexicana Shrimp & Vegetable Kabobs

(Serves 2)

Peel shrimp, leaving tail intact.  Clean and cut vegetables.
12 jumbo, tail on, raw shrimp
6-8 baby portobello mushrooms, halved or quartered, depending on size
1 zucchini squash, sliced in 3/4 inch pieces
6-8 mini red and orange sweet peppers, seeded and cut in half

Mix marinade ingredients.
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves

Place shrimp and vegetables in a large zipper storage bag.  Pour over marinade.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

Assemble kabobs, alternating colors on skewers.  Bake at 325 F. for 15 minutes.

The chicken breast I prebaked for our first lunch was seasoned using this recipe.  
We need no recipe for the meal pictured at the top, made the first night of our trip. The wood kindling in the fire added a nice smoked taste to both the meal and vegetables. I added the fresh herbs I brought from home and the meal was a real treat.

Breakfasts daily included eggs over easy, sometimes enjoyed for one dinner a week at home. Bob brought his frozen biscuits and I my spelt muffins. I took a cantaloupe, apples and grapes for fruit. On the last night of our stay, we went to the park restaurant and shared the homemade blackberry cobber (a la mode).

We plan to return to Holly River State Park, in Webster County, West Virginia year after year. It's the biggest park in the state land wise. There are 10 cabins-we've stayed in 4-and so look forward to the entire stay.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Squash and Spelt Muffins

These muffins are 100% whole grain and made with the first squash of the season.  Made with fresh ground spelt berries, chopped yellow squash, lemon zest and fresh grated ginger, these muffins are a satisfying complement to any meal.

Squash and Spelt Muffins

(6 Muffins)

In a mixing bowl, blend flour, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar.
1 1/4 cup ground spelt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar

Chop squash in a food processor.  Drain on a clean cloth (squeeze cloth).  Mix squash into flour, then add zest and ginger.
1 cup finely chopped yellow squash, ends removed (keep the skin) (about 1 squash)
Zest from 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

Beat egg with small whisk.  Add oil, applesauce and lemon juice.  Stir into flour mixture.  Mix only until no flour is visible.
1/4 cup eggs, beaten (about 1 1/2)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Drop batter by 1/4 cup scoop into muffin tin greased with olive oil.  Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, until pick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes in pan on wire rack.  Loosen sides with small spatula.  Remove to rack to complete cooling.



Sunday, June 16, 2019

Hero Chicken

Our picnic chicken tenders were marinated in a "Jerk" sauce prior to baking. Since my thoughtful husband suggested we picnic on Saturday instead of a rainy forecast Sunday-we did.  Sunday is Fathers Day, and he is everything opposite of a jerk-so I called this my "Hero" Chicken.  My 2 Bean Salad is made with South Carolina red peas.  The dressing is so good-we even dipped our chicken in it!  We had mango slices on the side and shared a fresh baked cream horn from our farmer's market baker friend Patty.  

Jerk Marinade

(Serves 2)

Mix hot coffee with remaining ingredients.  Pour over chicken.  Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. 
2 Tablespoon fum
2 Tablespoon white vinegar
2 Tablespoon strong coffee
1 1/2 teaspoon molasses
1 1/2 Tablespoon allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tespoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Fresh grated nutmeg 
Fresh grated ginger
2 garlic scapes, minced
4 raw chicken breast tenders  
Bake or grill chicken until internal temperature is 165 F.

Our picnic today was at North Bend State Park near Cairo, West Virginia.  There is fishing, boating, hiking, swimming, bird watching, a nature center and off course-picnic tables near full service restrooms.


Friday, June 14, 2019

Repurposing the Sourdough Starter

In my retirement life, I enjoy a challenge-usually centered around food. Throughout my career as a registered dietitian, my goal was to entice customers to enjoy healthy foods. In our healthy cafe, we offered choices among many nutrient dense foods. I planned the meals and the recipes then-but didn't cook them. In my now role cooking for two, I enjoy trying techniques that would not have been practical in quantity food service. Making and baking with sourdough starters is one of them. 

Preparing the starter was interesting. Somewhere in the middle of the 10-12 days necessary to prepare the starter, I blew the bottom off a quart size Ball jar. Unsure what happened-like the movie the "Blob", the dough was all over my counter the morning after I fed it and sat in the middle of the counter.

The second attempt was better, but the bread I made was too hard for our senior tastes.  The third time was much better. I've enjoyed the tea bread made then.   

So one week later, it was time to feed the starter.  I pulled the jar from the refrigerator before going to bed.  In the morning, I portioned out 1 tablespoon of the starter and mixed with 50 grams of whole rye flour and 75 grams of water for one jar and repeated that in a second jar. In the late afternoon, when the starter became active, I refrigerated one jar and used the second jar ('the leaven") for this recipe.


Sourdough Pie Crust

(Makes 1 10-inch pie crust)

In a large bowl, mix leaven, flours, salt and sugar.
30 grams leaven
1 cup whole spelt flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoon sugar

Grate cold butter into flour mix.  With fingers, mix into flour.  Stir in egg yolk, then water.  Knead about 10 times.
7 ounce cold butter, grated with box cutter
1 egg yolk
30 grams ice water

Form a dough round, then flatten into a 7 inch disc.  Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator for 1-3 days.  When ready to bake, roll on a floured board into a round bigger than the pie plate.  Cut around edge of pie plate.  Roll scraps of flour, cut in strips for the lattice top.

Peach Filling

To peel peaches, immerse individually in boiling water for 1 minute.  Remove and immerse in very cold water for 10 seconds.  Peel and place in juice.  Repeat with each peach.
9 medium peaches
1 teaspoon juice

Remove pits from peaches and slice.  Mix flour, sugar and salt into juice.  The add peaches.  Spoon into pie plate lined with bottom crust (dough).  Form lattice top.
3 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Sprinkle with grated nutmeg.

Cover with foil.  Bake at 425 for 30 minutes. Remove foil.  Bake 15 minutes more.


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Barm Bread

This yummy sourdough tea bread is based on a recipe by Holly Davis in her newly published book Ferment. To make the "barm", I fed the rye starter with apple juice instead of stout.  I chopped dry figs in place of currents and (since I grind my own spelt berries), used whole grain spelt flour for the white spelt flour.  The bread has just the right amount of sweetness with all the deliciousness of whole grains and figs.  In each taste, I loved sampling even more of the ingredients, including lemon zest, tea and caraway seed.  They're all there!

Rye Sourdough Starter

75 grams water
50 grams whole grain rye flour
In a glass bowl, mix together the water and flour, using a rubber spatula.  Mix thoroughly, scraping bowl down.  Cover bowl with a clean towel and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

1 tablespoon starter
75 grams water
50 grams whole grain rye flour
For the next 10 days, 3 times a day, remove 1 tablespoon starter and place in a clean glass bowl.  Add water and flour, mixing with a rubber spatula.  Scrape bowl down.  Cover bowl with a clean towel and leave at room temperature for 6 or so hours.

At Holly Davis recommendation, I placed the discarded starter in my compost bin.  She says the "live" cultures are good for the compost.  After the first 11 days, I'll only be discarding starter for a day or two before the next baking.  

After the first 11 days, the active starter is ready to use as a leaven.  Place the rest in the refrigerator in a 1 quart glass jar with a lid.

Celtic Barm Bread

(10-12 servings)

100 grams apple juice
100 grams active sourdough starter
80 grams whole grain spelt flour
100 grams water
For the "barm", remove 100 grams active starter to a clean glass bowl.  Add spelt flour, juice and water.  Mix with a rubber spatula, scraping bowl down.  Cover bowl with a clean towel and leave at room temperature for 12 hours.

70 grams maple syrup
40 grams molasses or barley malt
1 cup strong unsweetened brewed tea
Dissolve the syrup and malt in the tea and allow to cool.

250 grams barm
Zest of 1 lemon
60 grams lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
280 grams diced figs
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
550 grams whole grain spelt flour
100 grams melted butter
In a large clean glass bowl using a rubber spatula,  together the tea-syrup-molasses mix, 250 grams of the "barm", lemon, salt, figs, caraway, flour and butter.  Scrape bowl down and mix until all the flour and butter is mixed in.  Place sticky dough in a 8 inch greased cake pan.  I used a deep dish ceramic pie pan.  Allow to rise 3 hours.

Bake at 375 F. for 50 minutes.  Cover with foil after about 15 minutes.

Immediately after removing from oven, brush with 1 tablespoon maple syrup.

Unused "balm" can be refrigerated in a quart glass jar with a lid.  Feed as you do a starter, adding apple juice in place of water.


Sunday, June 2, 2019

Summer Picnic Station

With chances of a thunderstorm, we planned our Sunday picnic at a park with a pavilion. This is our 4th year of summer picnics, so we've become familiar with those parks where we can find shelter.  Ryerson Station Park, a Pennsylvania State Park, has several picnic tables under shelter.  This one has a perfect view of the wildlife area.  There were birds and bees, water and trees all in view.

Our picnic today featured:
 Shrimp, Brown Rice and Vegetable Salad
Sweet Italian Sausage Roll
Strawberry and Coconut Parfait

The salad I originally planned was a Jambalaya Salad.  When we saw our baker friend Patty was selling the Italian Sausage Rolls at yesterday's Farmers Market, I opted to eat her roll and eliminate the sausage from the salad.  Wow, was that a good choice.

For the salad, I first cooked 1/4 cup brown rice in the rice cooker and mixed it with 2 ounce mascarpone cheese.  I sauteed fresh green garlic and onion with fresh grated ginger in 2 teaspoon sesame oil.  Then I blanched 1/4 cup each shelled edamame, corn and peas.  I mixed the rice and vegetables and refrigerated.  The salad was placed in a lettuce lined bowl and topped with 1 tablespoon each toasted ground almonds, 1 teaspoon pimiento peppers, fresh tarragon, basil and parsley. Cooked shrimp (marinated in 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce) crowned the bowl. The recipe was a mix of many, though I did monitor the portions as I did with the roll, which was halved and shared. I often finish a picnic with a fruit and yogurt parfait.  Here's todays:

Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

(Serves 2)

In a mini food processor, blend berries, yogurt and sugar.  Remove to another container.
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, stemmed and sliced
6 ounce plain non fat yogurt
1 teaspoon sugar

In a clean mini food processor, mix water, prunes, vanilla, cocoa and coconut.  Process until prunes are finely chopped.
1 Tablespoon hot water
5 prunes
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoon coconut

In each parfait, layer as follows:
2 tablespoon blended yogurt mix
1 tablespoon prune coconut mix
1 tablespoon fresh strawberries, chopped 
Garnish each with a fresh whole strawberry.