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.



Friday, June 5, 2020

Playing with Dough: Palatable Pasta

Homemade pasta shapes, sizes, thicknesses, colors, flavor and even the nutrient content remain unique as the maker. Adding cooked vegetables shifts the color, texture, flavor and nutrients even more.

This 4-flour mix has a medley of color and nutrients. Two of the flours are whole grain-whole wheat and Kamut.  Semolina and Kamut lend a golden yellow tint. Kamut is a high protein grain, strengthening the dough as well as the nutrient profile.

The butternut squash is sweet, orange and rich in vitamins. This vegetable and the matching spice-nutmeg- add sweetness to the dough.

As to the uniqueness of the maker-I continue to learn the art of pasta making. The shapes of my noodles will never be uniform. That's okay-I can make lasagna with the different dough widths. And why worry about the bits and pieces of spaghetti and fettuccine-they may not be photo worthy yet we'd be cutting it before placing in our mouths anyway.

I've learned to make the dough in the morning and refrigerate till the afternoon before rolling and cutting.

The food processor is a great tool for dough making. I add the semolina flour first (it's a coarsely ground flour) and pulse it about 30 seconds.  The squash in this recipe adds enough coarseness. 

Basic Recipe for Pasta Flour 

1/4 pound whole wheat flour
1/4 pound Kamut flour
1/4 pound semolina flour
1/4 pound all purpose flour

Butternut Squash Pasta Dough

(4 meals-8 servings)

In bowl of food processor, pulse together flours and nutmeg.
3/4 pound pasta flour mix
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Add squash and eggs, mixing until all of squash is pureed and mixture forms a ball.
1/2 pound cubed, peeled and cooked butternut squash
3 eggs
Wrap dough ball in greased plastic wrap. Flatten into a disc and refrigerate one or more hours.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Divide in 4 pieces. Roll until dough is thin, adjusting roller thickness one notch thinner until dough thickness is achieved. Cut into desired shapes. I cut mine into spaghetti, fettuccine and lasagna noodle shapes.

At this point, I dehydrated the noodles by placing on parchment lined baking sheet and placing in a 150 F oven for 1 hour. That enabled me to freeze the various shapes to pull as needed for meals. 

For dinner, we covered our cooked pasta with cheese sauce. Yum!