Thursday, November 27, 2008

Natural Cranberry Sauce

My family has been making this cranberry sauce for...gosh...a very long time. Since 1990, I think. We were living away from family, and decided to do something "different" for our holiday meal. The paper was running a series of "Native American" recipes, and THAT is what we'd do for our special holiday meal! Nothing but natural, baby!

The wild rice was dry, the roast duck inedible, and the pumpkin soup a massive FAIL with the four of us in the 10-and-under crowd. But the cranberry sauce? It was fantastic, and so dead-easy.

Since I can't tell you how much to make, because I don't know how many you're serving, here's the basic gist of what we do.

Put fresh, washed, cranberries in a saucepan. Pour in maple syrup (real, please!) to almost cover the berries. Now turn the stove on medium-lowish and cook to a simmer, covered. The berries will start to pop (causing pain and a lot of annoying stains if the pan isn't covered!) and the natural pectin in the berries will make this sauce set when it cools. Cook until thick and saucy, perhaps 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

And that's it!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Easy Apple Cake

Here's the world's easiest apple cake:

First off, prepare:
1 box (two layer size) yellow cake mix, mixed according to directions.

Put the cake into a greased 9x13 pan. Top with peeled, sliced, cored apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake according to box.

Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.


Aunt LoLo's Beef Stew

I knew if I didn't write this down, I'd never remember how I did it!

In your stew pot, combine:
A bit o' oil

One large onion, cut in eighths

Four garlic cloves, smashed

Cook for 10 minutes, or until everything is softened up and smells yummy.

6 cups water

4 teaspoons beef base

1 lb beef stew meat

Simmer for 30 minutes

4 carrots, peeled, 1" pieces

4 small white potatoes, 1" chunks

2 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled, 1" chunks

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Simmer until tender (30-60 minutes). Serve with Aunt LoLo's Bread with butter and honey, and a green salad.

Dessert: Easy Apple Cake

Friday, November 7, 2008

LoLo's Savory Pumpkin Pie

This year, I have pumpkin. A lot of pumpkin. Since canning it is not a recommended option, I am slowly, but surely, preparing all of it for the freezer.

I came across a recipe yesterday in the New York Times for Savory Pumpkin Pie. BBJ commandeered my computer to watch videos of herself while I was making dinner, so my pie was based on that recipe in theory only.

The pie came out tasty! I served it with a fresh loaf of bread, and lots of pepper. It needs that extra...something. It's very good cold, so it makes an excellent take-along lunch. Best of all, it uses nearly 4 cups of pumpkin! Hallelujah! I think next time, I might blend a little milk into the eggs before I add it to the pumpkin. My pie turned out a little more like scrambled eggs or quiche than custard, but it was still very tasty. Next time, I'll also add caramelized onions or at the very least, I'll cook up my garlic before adding it to give it a more "roasty" flavor.
Go crazy with the fillings. I might try another with parmiggiano-regianno and artichoke hearts. Mmmmm....

LoLo’s Savory Pumpkin Pie

Crust: (adapted from Betty Crocker)
Combine in a food processor:
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (5.3 T.) unsalted butter, cut into chunks.

Pulse until it resembles course meal, then slowly drizzle in as much of 2 T. ice water as you need to make the crust clump together. Do not let it form a ball. By that point, you'll have way too much water.
Gather your crust into a ball, flatten it into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour (or freeze 15 minutes). Roll it out and place it in your pie pan.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Combine in a food processor:
4 cups pumpkin (steamed, mashed, drained, or just use canned)
3 eggs
1 small zucchini, sliced
7 thin slices ham (deli meat), sliced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon course-ground black pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 oz. pecorino-romano cheese, grated

Mix until thoroughly combined, but try to leave some chunks of veg, meg and cheese visible.

Pour this mixture into your pie crust. This filled a large pie plate just to the top.

Top with another 3-4 ounces of grated pecorino-romano cheese.

Bake for about 90 minutes. The pie is done when the cheese is golden brown. My pie puffed up, starting from the outside and working its way in.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

LoLo's Savory Pumpkin Pie

LoLo’s Savory Pumpkin Pie

Betty Crocker Crust
Food Processor:
4 cups pumpkin (steamed, mashed, drained)
3 eggs
1 small zucchini, sliced
7 thin slices ham (deli meat)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon course-ground black pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 oz. (??) cheese

Top with three ounces (???) cheese

375 about 90 minutes. Whole pie will puff up, except center. Cheese golden brown.

Aunt LoLo's Pumpkin Bread

When I was about 17, I had a girlfriend who was crafty/domestic in really quirky ways. She didn't bake, but she made centerpieces out of silk butterflies. She never served cookies at Christmas, but handed out homemade jelly, sealed with paraffin.

One year, for Halloween, we decided that we simply should not throw out our jack o' lanterns after the evening's festivities. Instead, she showed up at my house at 9:30, when it was time to blow the candles out and call it a night. We sliced, diced, steamed, baked, peeled and mashed those jack o' lanterns into about 30 cups of pumpkin puree. We split up the spoils around 2 am, when we finished, put them in our freezers, and continued on our merry Holiday Season Way.

When it came time for Christmas baking, I knew just what to make - Pumpkin Bread! We had a fabulous party, every year, with all of our singing-type friends and would go around my neighborhood, carolling at every door. This year, I decided to give them something more than just a song. Pumpkin Bread for everyone.

Unfortunately, I didn't count before I started baking. I baked and I baked and I baked. All day long, I baked mini loaves, working in an assembly line fashion. At the end of the day, I had over 90 loaves of pumpkin bread...and not nearly that many neighbors. We dragged the loaves around in a red wagon, handing them out to everyone within 5 blocks of my parents' house. The remainder went to a church party that weekend, where we were barely able to hand out the last 20 loaves.

I've only ever used one recipe, and I just don't think I could switch now! Last night, as BBJ and I were preparing and freezing some of the pumpkin left over from Halloween, I knew it was time to make my Pumpkin Bread!

Note - when using pumpkin from a large jack-0-lantern type pumpkin, it is important to drain it before using it. Otherwise, your dough will be much too water-y. I sliced, seeded and peeled my pumpkins, then steamed them. When the pumpkin was nice and soft, I pureed them with an immersion blender and piled the whole mess into a "draining contraption" of my own design - a large bowl fitted with a tea-towel lined colander. I left the pumpkin there for at least 8 hours, to let the water drain away, and then packed it into sandwich-size zip top bags and put those in the freezer.

Aunt LoLo's Pumpkin Bread
(adapted from Joy of Cooking)

Makes 1 large loaf or 3 small loaves or 12 muffins and one small loaf.
(I used to quadruple the recipe and bake in small, disposable loaf pans. I loved the pretty, fluted edges.)

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together:

1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Add 1/3 cup powdered milk. Set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together until light and fluffy:
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
2 eggs

Add 2 cups pureed pumpkin, mix to combine.

Prepare 1 cup of water. Set aside.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet in three installments, alternating with the water. (1/3 dry mixture, 1/3 water, 1/3 dry mixture, 1/3 water, etc.)

Bake in a greased pan, of your choice, until the bread shrinks away from the sides of your pan and a toothpick comes out no more than crumby. The bread should be moist, but not doughy.

A large loaf pan will bake for about an hour. Small loaf pans will bake for about 45 minutes. Muffins bake for about 35 minutes. Check often as the timer nears "O".

This is delicious spread with a little butter for breakfast, or plain, straight off the counter, for afternoon tea!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Nana's Apple Pie Filling

On an Autumn Day in 2006, I was introduced to the wonders of Home Canning. I had never attempted this domestic marathon by myself, but Wonder Woman's mother in law invited me along for a day of Apple Pie Filling. We brought all the jars we had, plus lemon juice and corn starch, and hunkered down for the long haul.

The recipe itself isn't difficult - simmer a syrup for about 20 minutes until it thickens, fill clean jars with peeled and cored apples, cover with syrup and process in a hot water bath for about 25 minutes. If I had to pick the point where our day got "difficult" it was when we decided that we would quadruple the recipe. That makes nearly anything difficult!

Some notes, before the recipe:
A handcrank style apple peeler makes this a much easier process.
I processed my jars in two batches in the largest pasta pot I've got, lined with a tea towel. A standard canning pot, with a rack, would have been much easier to manage!
Canning tongs are, I believe, necessary. I have no idea how I would have removed the finished jars from the boiling water otherwise.

Oh, and you can change the spices to whatever you like in apple pie. Go wild! I have used these apples in both pies and Danishes...both are delicious!

Now, by popular demand (and sweet permission from Nana herself), I give you....

.....Home Canned Apple Pie Filling

Peel, core, and slice about 7 lbs of apples.
Pack in jars.
Mix syrup:
10c. water
4 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. corn starch
3 T. lemon juice
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. salt

Boil until it is thick and pour over packed apples.

Process in a water bath for 25 minutes.

Makes about 7 quarts.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lo Gung's Favorite Bread

This recipe is originally from Blue Yonder. The bread went through a lot of changes to get to where it is now for her. She uses whole wheat flour, organic shortening, fancy honey...and she loves it.

I adapted the recipe to what I've got in my cupboards. This only gets better with each tweak, but Lo Gung has declared this to be the best bread I've made thus far in our marriage. (For a man who prefers rice to cinnamon rolls, that's saying something!)

Here's my version, adapted from Blue Yonder's "Like Country Line Bread"

In a small bowl, combine:
2 T. warm water
1 1/2 tsp. yeast
1/2 tsp. sugar

Let this proof for about ten minutes.

Combine, in the large bowl of a mixer:
Yeast Mixture
1 c. warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

That can either knead in the mixer for about 5 minutes, or you can dump this out on the counter and knead it by hand. Either way, knead the dough until it loses its sticky quality and gets stretchy and smooth.

Put the smooth, stretchy dough ball into an oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let it rise until doubled in size.

Punch this down, form it into a loaf, and let it rise again in a greased loaf pan. When it has risen to double its original size, bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped.

My bread always comes out a little on the doughy/moist side...but Lo Gung says that's his favorite part, so I'll just leave it how it is.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Grandma's Festive Fruit Cake

(This is part of a series of Grandma Myrnie's recipes.)
(The Betty Crocker Date Bar Mix is no longer being sold. This is my plea to cyber-space: can anyone come up with a recipe to replicate this one?? Grandma was all about "taking help from the store" and this recipe is from the Date Bar mix box.)

1 pkg Betty Crocker Date Bar Mix
2/3 cup hot water
3 eggs
1/4 cup flour
3/4 t baking powder
2 T light molasses
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmet
1/4 t allspice
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup raisins
1 package (8 oz) candied whole cherries
Glaze (see below)

Heat oven to 325. Grease and flour 6 cup ring mold. In large bowl, stir together date filling from date bar mix and water. Mix in crumbly mix, eggs, flour, baking powder, molasses, and spices thoroughly. Fold in nuts, raisins and cherries. Spoon into mold. Bake about 1 hour or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool thoroughly. Wrap and refrigerate. Before serving, drizzle with Glaze and, if desired, decorate with candied cherries.

Blend 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, 1 T water and 1/2 drops green food colour.

Note: Bake 1 hour 20 minutes if using 9x5x3 loaf pan.

Grandma's Chicken Enchiladas

(Part of a series of Grandma Myrnie's recipes. Please see either Aunt LoLo's blog or I, Wonder Woman's blog for more details on who Grandma Myrnie is.)

(These are the chicken enchiladas I requested as my "Last Supper" before I left the comforts of home, family and country and took myself to China to serve as a missionary for 18 months. This was paired with a large bowl of bagged salad, topped with tiny broccoli and cauliflower florets and mounds of defrosted rock shrimp.)

Mix together in a large bowl: 4 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped; 1 cup onion chopped; 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated; 8-10 sliced mushrooms.

Mix together: 2 cups sour cream; 1 can cream of chicken soup; 1 can diced green chiles, drained; 1/2 tsp hot sauce.

Add 1/4 cup sauce to the chicken mixture.

Grease large baking dish, add a little sauce to the bottom of the dish. Fill tortillas with filling and roll. Place in dish, seam side down. Pour remaining sauce over tortillas and cover with cheese. Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes. Great to make ahead for a party.

Serves 10.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

White N' Wheat Bread

This is our every-day bread recipe. Since a loaf pan is small, it makes small sandwiches but the wheat is so filling that it's OK! The whole process takes me about 6 hours, but there are only about 10 minutes of hands-on time in the beginning, and then an occasional punch-down or roll-out. So if you have half an hour to watch this mix up in the Kitchen Aid in the morning, and plan on being around later for punching and rolling, you can have fresh bread!

I grind my own wheat flour, since we have so much of it from the cannery. I figure if I'm going to store the stuff, I should know how to use it for at least one or two recipes so we're not stuck eating boiled wheat! I use our Vita-Mix to grind the wheat berries- 2 cups of berries, grind for 1 minute and tap to get everything out that fell into the spigot, and then grind again for a minute. It's not a very "fine" flour, but it works well enough for bread.

I've posted a similar recipe before, for Simple Bread, but this recipe has my own changes. I added olive oil to make a smoother dough, and a softer/moister loaf. It's amazing what a glug of olive oil can do. I'm sure you could substitute almost any fat, but I like the olive oil with the nutty wheat. I've tried this with ALL wheat flour, and it turns out so dense that while everyone says it's good, I notice I'm the only one eating it. So, I scaled back to half and half white and wheat, and my whole family requests it- I figure ANY additional fiber is good, right?

The keys to making this really good:
  • Let it mix a long time before you add more flour, and add flour a little at a time so as much flour can have a long mixing time as possible. When the dough gets stiffer, it just doesn't get as much kneading action in the machine, so mix a lot while it's thin.
  • You want the dough as moist as possible. Add flour just until it's manageable.
  • Let this rise! You could get by with 1 rising in the bowl, but two makes such a nice loaf. And if you don't have time to bake, just keep punching it down when it's doubled. An overnight rise in the refrigerator is even better. You won't believe what a soft, smooth, dough you'll get.
  • Oil the dough well- I noticed that while my dough rises nicely in the bowl, the piece I gave my daughter to knead got left on the counter and NEVER rose. So make sure it has a thin coating all the way around. (I've never heard this anywhere else though, so maybe I'm just making things up...)

White N' Wheat Bread

2 cups very hot water
1 heaping Tablespoon yeast
2 heaping Tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil (a "glug")
3 cups all-purpose white flour
2-3 cups wheat flour

  • Put first three ingredients in mixer bowl, and let proof 10 minutes.
  • Add salt, olive oil, and 3 cups white flour. Mix with dough hook 10 minutes on low-medium speed. You'll see dough start to pull away from side of bowl in strings that snap.
  • Add wheat flour a half cup at a time, mixing a few minutes after each addition. Mix until dough completely pulls away from side of bowl. It should still be moist and slightly sticky when you turn off the mixer.
  • On a well-floured board, knead dough just until it stops trying to stick to your hands. Keep pulling in flour from the board edge to just dust the kneading space.
  • Drizzle mixer bowl with olive oil and use your hand to spread it around. Put the dough back in, and spin then flip and spin again to completely coat dough ball with oil. If it's not oiled, it won't rise properly!
  • Cover bowl with a thin, damp, towel. I use a spray bottle to mist it.
  • Let rise till doubled- when you poke your fingers in, the indent should stay and not spring back much at all. Punch down, and rise again.
  • Punch down a second time and cut in half. Using your knuckles, push a dough half into a rectangle the width of your loaf pan, and then roll tightly jelly-roll style. Pinch end to seal, and place seal-side down on the counter. Pull dough on ends to cover the edges, and seal on the bottom. Repeat with the other half of the dough, and put in loaf pans. Cover with damp towel again and let rise until it reaches the top of the pan. I like to set them next to the my oven vent and set the oven to preheat- the heat helps it rise quickly, and makes sure that my oven is good and hot when the bread gets in there.
  • Bake at 350 for 25 minutes- to test, tip a loaf out of its pan and tap the bottom. It should sound hollow.

MKMW - Moroccan Week

Oh, kids...there really is no excuse for me! Here it is, Saturday night...and no Moroccan Dish to show! A few hours ago I was proud of myself for cooking four meals in a row that my small family loved...but I forgot Morocco. (For the record, here's my success story. Friday: apple crisp, from Mom's recipe, using apples picked last week. Dessert counts! Oh, and for dinner we had Traditional Chinese - rice (duh!), eggs and stewed tomatoes, and a steamed fish with ginger and green onions. This morning, it was light, fluffy pancakes. Dinner was a good old fashioned pot of spaghetti with meat sauce, Lo Gung's choice.)

ANYWHOO...I didn't want to punish all of you because I forgot to cook Moroccan food. So, I would like to present a version of the recipe that I would have cooked...had I remembered to. (I'm afraid I can't share the original, since my Godfather**** gave me his personal recipe and did not give me leave to share it.)

This dish is best eaten over scented rice, with your fingers. Trust me.

Moroccan Chicken
(Adapted from

One whole chicken, divided into 8 pieces**
6 cloves garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
a pinch saffron
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp powdered ginger (don’t substitute fresh)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 c. canola or peanut oil

2 large yellow onions, grated and drained in a colander
1/4 c. packed chopped cilantro
1/4 c. packed chopped parsley
1/2-3/4 c. olives*
1 preserved lemon, peel only, sliced finely (Recipes abound online for how to preserve your own lemons, if you cannot find them in your ethnic grocery. However, these take about a month, so plan ahead!)
juice of 1/2-1 lemon

*You may use any olive. Canned, American "black olives" are not recommended, since they are, quite frankly, kind of nasty and won't give you the right flavor for this sauce. If your olives are bitter, they can be blanched and drained first.

** You may cook two chickens at once in the same sauce. You will need to double the amount of olives and preserved lemon. Of course, you will need the largest Dutch Oven known to man to pull this off. Yes, my Godfather owns the Largest Dutch Oven Known to Man. It's oval. He cooks two chickens at once and freezes one.

The day before, pound the garlic in the mortar and pestle with the other spices. Moisten mixture with the oil. Pull the skin off the chicken and rub with garlic paste. Refrigerate overnight.
The next day, place chickens in a large, heavy pot, preferably enameled cast iron. Add grated onions, herbs and about 2 c. water. Bring to boil, cover and lower heat. Simmer 40 minutes.
When chicken is tender and falling off the bone, add olives and lemon peel. Continue cooking 10-15 minutes. When ready to serve, pull chicken and as many olives as you can out of the sauce and arrange on serving platter. Boil sauce vigorously until reduced and thickened. Taste and season with lemon juice and additional sauce if necessary. Pour sauce over chicken and serve.

***Godfather also recommends cooking the liver with the chicken, if at all possible. After you remove the chicken from the broth, mash the liver up and return it to the broth. This will make a much thicker, richer sauce.

****He's not really my Godfather. He used to be my Home Teacher, a man assigned to our family to visit us once a month and check on our spiritual and temporal well-being. After a "shake up" in the assignments, he was no longer assigned to our family. He feigned ignorance, and never stopped visiting us. However, without the official title of Home Teacher, he was no longer obligated to share lessons with us, freeing up his time to cook us elaborate meals instead. One day at church, I was introducing him to a friend of mine and I stumbled over what I should call him - he was a family friend, but had so much more history than that. He smoothly stepped in and explained that he was my "gawdfaathah." Having been raised a Jewish New Yorker, he had the perfect accent to pull this off - and we never looked back.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

French Bread

I began making bread in earnest over the summer, right around the same time that my husband's family came to visit. We were a few stops after their visit to my husband's aunt, where they enjoyed a few AMAZING bread recipes. Nana was so excited about them that she phoned her sister the day they arrived here, to get the recipes for me. It's taken me until now to try this bread recipe, but it's fantastic! I've decided to stand up and pay attention whenever I come across a Utah bread recipe from now on. They really know how to do bread down there!

This makes two good-sized loaves, with a shattering crust and a crumb dense enough to spread thick with butter or make a sandwich. The crust is softer the next day, and the whole loaf satisfyingly chewy. It only lasted two days in our kitchen, so I can't say what would happen on the 3rd day.

The recipe is written for a stand mixer- I used my small Kitchen Aid, with the dough hook attachment. With six cups of flour, it seemed ALMOST too big for the bowl- the dough kept wanting to wind its way up to the top of the machine. Make sure and watch that it doesn't envelope the mixer, and keep a table knife handy to cut the dough back and push it down in between mixings.

French Bread

2 1/2 cups very warm water
2 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoon oil
6 cups flour, divided
2 Tablespoons yeast

  1. Mix in Kitchen Aid all ingredients except flour and yeast.
  2. Add 3 cups flour and mix well.
  3. Add yeast, and the rest of the flour. Mix well.
  4. Let rest 10 minutes, and mix again.
  5. Repeat step 4 five times.
  6. Roll dough into 2 rectangles and roll up like a cinnamon roll loaf. Place on cornmeal-coated cookie sheet and let rise 30 minutes.
  7. Gash top with a sharp knife and brush with egg white.
  8. Bake 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

DB Challenge - Lavash Crackers w/ Vegan Dip

I am sorry this post is a little late! I could give you the usual list of excuses...but, really, I'm just proud that I got this done before October 1. :-) Rejoice with me!

On Monday, we had a dinner with 10 heads at the table. It was Lo Gung's parents' last night here in town, and there was a Chinese family in the Stake that wanted to meet them, and Will's aunt and uncle. So...we were 10, plus BBJ. Quite a feat to fit us all around a table that usually seats 6!

MaMa made pigs tongue, pork and carrot soup, bok choy with ginger, tofu with ground beef and green onions, and curry potatoes and chicken.

I made crackers. Oh, and a dip. Aren't I amazing? Thanks - I thought so, too.

Luckily enough, our guests brought some delicious oatmeal cookies. After dinner, we all snacked on crackers, cookies and apples (fresh picked yesterday afternoon). The apples were the first to go, followed shortly thereafter by the crackers. I think I was the only one who ate a cookie.

The Moral of this Story is: If you want something salty to be snacked up, serve it to a bunch of Chinese people! As Lo Gung so sweetly pointed out last night - I was the ONLY "white girl" at the table, and now I have that whole plate of cookies to myself. I guess we all come out happy in the end!

For our September Daring Baker's Challenge, we were challenged to make Vegan and/or Gluten-Free crackers, with a Vegan topping or dip. (Really, I was just excited to see a recipe whose every ingredient was already a staple in my pantry!)

The crackers were not my favorite thing, and I don't think I'll make them again. However, the 8 crackers that were left over after last night's dinner party were scooped up by my mother in law this morning to snack on during her flight home. (Did you SEE the menu from last night's dinner? I assure you, the compliment was not lost on me!) I topped my crackers with kosher salt and some sesame seeds. I rolled my dough out on a Silpat and then transferred the whole sheet to the baking pan, and I got it nowhere NEAR thin enough to be a cracker. These came out more like Pilot Crackers than Saltines. If I wanted to make it any thinner, I would have had to divide the dough into two parts and cooked it on two sheets. There was no "snapping" going on with these crackers. They came out of the oven still a bit soft, kind of like a hard pita bread. After the crackers had cooled completely, however, they were very snappy and cracky.

I made a Peanut Orange Dip to pair with the crackers. It turned out fairly well, but I have so much left over...I think I see chicken satay in my near future! The orange juice added a really unexpected zing to the dip - very nice!

Peanut Orange Dip:

1/2 cup creamy Peanut Butter

5 T. Orange Juice

2 T. Sweet Chili Sauce (sold as a sauce for chicken in Asian grocery stores)

2 t. soy sauce

2 t. tamari (dark soy sauce, or "louh chau")

2 t. white sugar

1 t. sesame oil

Mix together until smooth.

Lavash Crackers (Vegan, not Gluten Free)

Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers

1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour

1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt

1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast

1 Tb (.75 oz) sugar

1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil

1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature

Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.

2. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see for a discription of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).

4. Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices and salt - a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.

6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).

7. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

MKMW- Indian Week

I was honored when Susie Homemaker of My Kitchen My World asked me to choose the country for this week's journey. China, of course, was my first choice, but it was a very sneaky one. My (Chinese) Mother in Law is visiting this week, and it would have been super easy to snap a picture any evening this week and have a fabulous record of authentic Chinese food!
Since China has already been done, I consulted with Lo Gung (the Reigning Stomach) and we came up with India. We haven't had good Indian food in a while, so it seemed worth a shot!
(We still haven't had good Indian food...but at least there was lamb involved. Even BBJ liked this, so it's earned the Toddler Food label.) I still have most of a jar of Tikka Masala, and another pound of ground lamb in the freezer, so I think this dish will be making a comeback. Next time, I will leave out the coconut milk and use cream, instead, if I still want it creamy.)
If you'd like to see more Indian Offerings, head over to My Kitchen My World and check out the blogroll!

This makes a fairly hot Tikka Masala dish. If spicy isn't your thing, cut the Tikka Masala paste way, way back. Start with about 1/2 a teaspoon and work up from there.

Tikka Masala -

1 lb ground lamb

1 onion, diced

2 tsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. Tikka Masala paste (Maggi Brand works well)

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

4 T. tomato paste

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup coconut milk

3 tsp. white sugar

handful of fresh basil, chopped

Brown lamb in a skillet, breaking it up with a spoon. When lamb is cooked all the way through, remove to a bowl. Discard the oil in the skillet, leaving 1 T.

Saute the onions in the reserved drippings until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another 1 minute.

Add the Tikka Masala paste and kosher salt and stir to combine. Add the tomato paste, water, coconut milk and sugar. Simmer to combine. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Add the basil.

Serve with rice.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cha Siu Ribs

(Originally posted on 9/1/08) *Picture added 9/22/08
**This picture is chicken. Yeah, chicken. The ribs, like I said below, weren't that photogenic. Chicken thighs, though...good heavens. These pictures out to be outlawed! The sauce is awesome on just about anything - steamed-on-the-grill fish, ribs, chicken thighs, etc. I boiled these thighs, just like the ribs, but not as long - just until they were done. They were then marinated in the sauce for a little over an hour and cooked on a low, low grill. I basted them and flipped them every 5-10 minutes for about half an hour, or until the sauce is all used up. The skin on the chicken thighs was like BBQ caramel.

***If you MUST have these ribs, but don't have all the crazy Asian ingredients in your pantry - drop me a line. For a few bucks, I'm pretty sure I could figure out how to can this stuff and ship it across the country. ;-) Yeah, it's that good. Or maybe I'm just that prego. Either way - I'm just sayin'.

I've asked Lo Gung, and he said that these were still considered "authentic" Chinese food, even with the few modifications that I made. These were served tonight for our Labor Day BBQ, along with a MULTITUDE of side salads, chips, fruit, veggies, rice...and some yummy homemade ice cream for dessert. (Thanks, Megan!)

(This sauce was inspired by the Cha Siu sauce that Ma makes, plus a little touch of Southern flair, to make it better suited for a BBQ.)

Pork ribs (I used pork spare ribs)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (See how Southern I am?)
3 T. honey
2 T. hoisin sauce
2 T. Cha Siu sauce (a Chinese BBQ sauce, available in jars in Asian supermarkets)
2 T. minced garlic
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. dark soy sauce (sometimes this is called tamari. It's just soy sauce that's got extra color and tastes like molasses)
1 t. hot chili sauce
1 t. sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground (dried) ginger (it's all I had.)

Submerge the ribs in a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 hour, or until the meat is tender and begins to pull back on the bone (you'll see more of the rib sticking out of the meat than was there when you began boiling). There will be plenty of grey gunk floating in your water, and lots of oil - that's fine. I had to boil my uncovered, so it didn't boil all over my stove.

While the ribs are boiling, mix together the rest of the ingredients, adjusting to taste.

When the ribs are tender, lift them (carefully!) out of the water and put them in a baking dish or a large ziploc bag. (You need something you can cover, and something large enough to hold the juice and sauce you're about to douse the ribs with.)

Spoon on your BBQ sauce and start rubbing! Massage the sauce (it will feel like a sugar scrub) into both sides of the meat. Cover and let it marinate in the refrigerator until an hour before dinner. (The meat ought to marinate at least an hour. I made mine in the morning and let it marinate all day.)

An hour before you want to serve it, remove the ribs from the refrigerator and let them warm up a bit. Half an hour before dinner, heat the grill to low and start grilling! Since your meat is already THOROUGHLY cooked, you just need to crisp up the sauce. Watch it carefully to make sure it doesn't burn! This should take about half an hour. Keep basting with the sauce from the pan, layering it on as the sauce caramelizes on the meat, and turning the meat to keep it from getting to crispy (read: black and nasty) on the corners.

This is delicious with rice and vegetables. Enjoy!

(Sorry there aren't any pictures - boiled ribs just aren't pretty, and the ribs didn't stick around on the table long enough for me to pose them for a beauty shot!)

MKMW - Lithuania Week

I know what you're thinking - what on earth does a Lithuanian eat? What could Aunt LoLo have possibly made that would represent the cuisine of such a culturally rich place?

The answer? Not much. After a quick perusal of the Lithuanian recipes Google had to offer, I discovered that Lithuanians like soups...using lots of root vegetables that have not yet come into season in my part of the country.

However, since I have a reputation to keep up (do what you promise, but never less than three hours after you promised to do it!), I give you - My Lithuanian (Inspired) Soup!

I knew I was craving potatoes...and I knew that I had very little in the way of soup-fixin's in my refrigerator. This is what I came up with. It was a little salty, but overall quite tasty! (I think I overdid it with the chicken base.)

Aunt LoLo's Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup

In a soup pot, melt 1 T. butter, then brown 1 T. minced garlic.

Add to that:
5 smallish potatoes, peeled and chunked
2 cups raw broccoli florets
2 teaspoons Chicken Base (my answer to chicken stock - it has no MSG, and I can make my stock as salty as I like it.)
Enough water to cover all the vegetables, plus a few inches. (I wanted to have enough left overs to feed my in-laws when they get in tonight from a long airplane flight!)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I read that Lithuanians like mushrooms :-))

When all the vegetables are tender, blend the soup. (I used an immersion blender, but a normal blender would be fine, in small batches.)

Add in about 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese and 1 c. whole milk. (Next time, I think I'll use Velveeta or American - the cheddar had a rough time melting into the soup.)

Season to taste with fresh ground black pepper, kosher salt and Worcestershire Sauce.

Even my toddler loved this! Then again, it's rare to find a soup she doesn't love.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Crockpot Chili

This is my second chili recipe posting, not the last of my bean dishes! I've eaten this for three days, served over rice and topped with cheddar and sour cream. It is with sadness I can see the bottom of the serving dish.

Also, Ernie has eaten second helpings of this two nights in a row. Major bonus points for this recipe!

My changes are in parentheses

Slow-Cooker Hearty Beef Chili
from Fall 2008 Kraft Food and Family

1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef (I used about a cup of cooked ground beef, from the freezer)
1 can each dark and light kidney beans, 15 oz. each (I used two cans dark)
1 1/2 cups "Taco Bell Home Originals Thick n' Chunky Mild Salsa" (I used large jar of spicy)
1 can tomato sauce, 16 oz.
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 onion chopped (I used a few good shakes of dried)
1 cup frozen corn (didn't include this)
(I added about a cup and a half of water too, because it looked dry)

Brown meat and drain. Add to slow cooker with remaining ingredients. Stir and cover with lid. Cook on low 5-6 hours, or high 3-4 hours. Stir just before serving. Serve topped with cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

One Pot Pasta

Last night found BBJ and I home, alone, with not much energy for cooking or scrubbing. I wanted to make something that I knew BBJ would eat, so I turned to an old standby - LoLo's Pasta. I made it up a few years ago, but I'm sure it's not an original idea. This can, of course, be doctored up to suit a more adult palate, but I aim to please here in Casa LoLo. I served this with a very simple salad of torn romaine leaves and lots of ranch dressing. (Not healthy, but again - a favorite with my toddler!) (To see a video of my toddler eating salad, go here to my BBJ Blog.)

LoLo's Pasta Bake

1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 jar Pasta Sauce (I had a can of very salty Hunt's Pasta Sauce that wasn't good for anything else, so I used that - this method of preparation mellows out any saltiness in the sauce.)
1 lb pasta (I used a pound of dried tortellini that was languishing in my pantry)
1 can of mushrooms, drained

Heat the oil in a large skillet or dutch oven and add the garlic, stirring to make sure it doesn't burn. When the oil and garlic are fragrant, add the pasta sauce, pasta and mushrooms - stir to combine.

Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until pasta is tender.

Top with grated parmesean or cheddar cheese. Enjoy!

*This could very easily be "adultified" with the addition of caramelized onions, other cheeses melted in (ricotta or bleu cheese would be nice), or other vegetables. Consider this a skillet version of lasagna, and you're on the right track.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Kraft Food and Family

Do you receive the Food and Family publication from Kraft? If not, go here to sign up. It's free, and comes once a quarter. If you want to check it out first, go here to see archives. It's hit and miss sometimes (I didn't mark any recipes in the Summer edition, but found at least 20 recipes to try in the Fall.) We haven't noticed any new junk mail coming through, so I think they're good about not selling your address, etc.

Basically, it's a 60 page-ish magazine/cookbook using lots of Kraft products. So it's an advertisement in a way, but has some great ideas.

Soo...look at these lists. Wonder Daddy's is funny. I had him look over the cookbook on a Sunday afternoon...a FAST Sunday afternoon. (For the non-LDS, we set aside the first Sunday of every month to fast (not eat) and pray, and usually don't break the fast until Sunday evening's dinner.)

A few recipes I'm looking at:
Chicken and Biscuits
Tater-Topped Casserole (in homage to a childhood favorite of my husband's)
Pork Chops with Apples and Stuffing
Easy Chicken Bake with stuffing
Triple-Layer Peanut Butter Brownies (like grasshoppers, but peanut butter)

Wonder Daddy's Selections:
Easy Layered Taco Bake
Panini Florentine
Rustic Spinach Salad
Chicken and Biscuits
Cheesy Chicken and Salsa Skillet
Tater-Topped Casserole
Pork Chops with Apples and Stuffing
Easy Chicken Bake with Stuffing
Bruschetta Chicken Bake
Slow Cooker Hearty Beef Chili (tonight's dinner)
Ham and Cheese Calzones (with deli ham, refrigerated pizza crust in a can, ranch dressing...oof)
Foil-Pack Chicken Fajita Dinner
Fettucine Alfredo with Chicken
Boston Cream Pie
Cheesy Spinach and Bacon Dip
Hot Parmesan-Artichoke Dip
Unbeatable Sloppy Joes
Quick and Easy Chicken Cacciatore
Mini Meatloaves (made in muffin tins)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

MKMW - Indonesian Weeki

I have have this funny feeling that my manu choices for this week's MKMW - Indonesia challenge were a total cop out. Mixed rice and chicken satay? Really? (Is there anyone on the blogroll that didn't make some sort of satay? No? I didn't think so.)

Here's how it shook out - I made about 12 cups of rice for a Labor Day party on Monday. At the end of the day there were exactly 11 cups left. (Yeah...really. I know.) I also had about 2/3 of the pepper and tomato salad that I had mixed up. I cooked up the peppers and tomatoes in a large dutch oven, added all the rice, and then added Yoshida's Marinade (a sort of teriyaki sauce) to it until it tasted right. TOTALLY not Indonesian, I know...but Indonesia is in Asia, and we all eat rice. I figured my little version of "lo faan" could slide by.

My chicken satay was even more of a scramble. (Have I ever mentioned that I really don't like following recipes the first time I cook them? Baking is a different matter...but cooking gives me so much FREEDOM. If I had all the ingredients on hand, I wouldn't have to wing it. Oh well.)

The chicken started out as a marinated chicken thigh, based off of a recipe from Pioneer Woman's site here. Basically, I marinated the chicken thighs, overnight, in a mixture of equal parts milk and plain yogurt, with a little salt and minced garlic thrown in for flavor. When I realized that I wanted to make them into satay, I sliced the thighs into strips and threaded them onto pre-soaked bamboo skewers. I grilled those over medium heat and then basted them with honey at the end to give them a sweet crunch.

I served my skewers with a peanut sauce loosely based on a recipe I found here. On second thought, don't even compare my sauce to that recipe. I didn't realize I had strayed SO far from the path! I mixed, in a bowl (to taste) the following ingredients: smooth peanut butter, Thai sweet chili sauce (I'm a pepper wuss, so I like to keep things mild!), coconut milk, brown sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, tamari and a little hot water.

And that, my friends, is a true and faithful account of how I chose to cook my dinner during Indonesia week. Judge me as you will. (However, if you had tasted my peanut sauce on my FANTASTICALLY tender might not be inclined to judge so harshly! I'm still trying to finish off th0se 11 cups of rice, though - maybe that is my penance.)

Monday, September 1, 2008


It's another Vitamix recipe! I'm in the final days of pregnancy, and craving sweets. It's fierce, I tell you! Luckily for me, we try not to keep too much prepared food around the house. It's better for us, but stinks when I go out of town and come back to...nothing, until I cook it. It's much easier to convince myself to NOT make that batch of cookies, than to tell myself to leave them in the cupboard. (Will you look at those hands? I've had the hands of an old women since I was 10. No joke. Oddly enough, they haven't GROWN since I was 12, either!)

The craving became too fierce the other day, and I wondered if it would be possible to make my own rice flour at home and create a passable mochi. For those who didn't grow up in a dense and vibrant Asian community, mochi is a rather traditional kind of Asian sweet- sweet sticky rice, mixed with a little water and sugar and pounded into a gummy dough. The dough can be rolled into balls and coated with various powders, or wrapped around fillings. My mom's favorite is mochi dough wrapped around mango ice cream. It seems that each country treats their mochi a little differently.

I started by grinding 2 cups of regular sticky rice in the Vitamix. All the recipes call for "Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour" (or glutinous rice flour.) I think Mochiko is the brand...but I was willing to give my rice flour a shot! The vitamix isn't the machine for making powder-fine flour- it left little bits and bobs behind.

The first recipe I tried is here. It was kind of a disaster- way too sticky to handle, and the larger bits of rice flour sunk to the bottom making a kind of crust. The top was yummy and smooth, though. It might have worked better with a finer flour.

My second recipe can be found here. It used about half the amount of water, so the dough was fairly pasty before being put in the microwave, rather than a liquid. I think this recipe is the keeper! I've included it below, with my changes. Basically, I've doubled the recipe, increased the sugar a tad, and changed the handling instructions slightly.


14 Tablespoons Rice Flour (1 cup less 2 Tbsp)
3 Tbsp sugar
10 Tbsp boiling water

  1. In a glass dish (I used a 4 cup pyrex cup), mix rice flour and sugar.
  2. Heat 11 Tbsp water in a pyrex cup in the microwave, and add 10 Tbsp boiling water to flour-sugar mixture. Stir two minutes.
  3. Cover with saran wrap and microwave 2-4 minutes. I cooked mine 3.
  4. Pour a small amount of oil into a large Ziploc bag, and coat inside thoroughly. Scoop hot dough into bag and start kneading. You might need to cover the bag with a towel, this is hot! Use the heel of your hand to push the dough out, then grab a bag corner and shake back into a ball. Eventually, dough will form a solid (and cool) enough lump where you can just mash it in your hands like play clay. Knead for 7-10 minutes, until kind of springy and chewy.
  5. Grab off teaspoon-sized chunks and roll into balls. You can put filling inside (red bean paste, guava jelly, etc. were all suggested), and you can roll these in powdered peanutes, more rice flour, toasted sesame flour, etc. I left mine plain.
Here is my dough ball. It's only out of respect for YOU that this wasn't consumed as-is! It's much prettier rolled into balls, don't you think?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Chocolate Cake in 5 Minutes

I received a challenge from my Grandpa, and I had to take it up. He loves to forward me pretty pictures, amazing stories, and pretty much anything else that catches his fancy. The other day, this was an e-mail called Cake in a Mug. This e-mail detailed a chocolate cake that could be made in the microwave, using less than 5 minutes total to prepare, and dirtying only one tablespoon and a coffee mug. I was intrigued, to say the least!

Tonight, as I wait for Lo Gung to return from his day at the US Open, I decided the time was nigh for a bit of chocolate cake!

The recipe is as follows:


4 tablespoons cake flour(plain flour, not self-raising)

4 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons baking cocoa

1 egg

3 tablespoons milk

3 tablespoons oil

3 tablespoons chocolate chips(optional)

a small splash of vanilla

1 coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla essence, and mix again.Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).

And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!"

I followed the recipe exactly...and it turned out OK! The texture is a little weird, but that's not surprising, really - the cake relies on steam for the leavening, so it's essentially a steamed cake. The only change I would make would be to add a teeny bit of salt, to bring out the chocolate and sugar. The cake rose to about 4" above the edge of the mug, but deflated almost instantly when I opened the door of the microwave. (Honestly - I had the camera to my eye, ready to focus and shoot...and by the time I got the door open, the cake was gone back inside the mug!)

The cake does get a little rubbery as it cools...but what steamed bread doesn't? Besides, it doesn't really stick around that long anyhow! (I held off just for you, my loyal readers - otherwise, I would have eaten the whole thing before writing this post! As it is, a lonely little bit of cake is sitting on my plate, cooling...but I think I ought to go put it out of its misery now!)
This would be excellent with a bit of whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream..and OF COURSE, a huge mug of milk!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Three Kinds of Dip for your Next Party

All of my favorite food blogs (Smitten Kitchen, Paupered Chef, Wednesday Chef, etc.) have gorgeous pictures of the amazing dishes they make. They also all live in tiny apartments on the East Coast, but I digress. I think it's safe to say that I fall in neither category!

Rocket science these are not. Fine dining, these are not. But they're yummy, quick, and made from pantry staples! They also make my pregnant heart happy.

The first two recipes are from a Japanese friend in our last ward, and the last is from my sister (who blogged a gussied up version here) She can gussy up all she wants- I'm all about quick and simple. And cheap. I like that, too.

Wasabi Dip for Vegetables
Prepared Wasabi paste

I use about an "inch and a half" of wasabi paste, and 1/4 cup mayonnaise.

Miso Dip for Vegetables
Miso paste

Again, about a 1/4 cup of mayonnaise and a scant Tablespoon of miso. I use a dark paste, because we like the rich flavor. This is entirely to taste, so adjust accordingly.

Black Bean Dip
1 can black beans, undrained
jarred salsa

Whir together in a blender- I like about a cup of salsa (half a small jar) to one can black beans. If you want to gussy up a little I think this would be yummy with fresh cilantro and some lime juice blended in. But I had a very plain salsa on hand.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

MKMW - My Home Week

I have to admit - this week was kind of tough! Lo Gung was traveling all week, and it was really hard to get up the gumption to make an entire meal...for myself and a toddler. I think we did pretty well, though! I wanted to make something that felt "Southern." I don't think my grandmother's roots get NEARLY enough tabletime in my house. I wanted to explore my Welsh roots with a faux-sausage recipe I found this week, too, but I just ran out of time! There is still a quarter of my loaf of bread left, and we're going to toast it and eat it with my father's Crab Dip recipe tonight. Yummy!
On the menu -
Pioneer Woman's Yogurt Chicken (adapted, because I wanted to use what I had on hand*)
Garlic Creamed Spinach
Mashed Carrots (with a little whole milk and brown sugar)
No-Knead Bread with Blueberry preserves
* I omitted the fresh parsley from the yogurt mixture and used seasoned (regular) breadcrumbs...again, it's what I had on hand. I also used a few chicken drumsticks, instead of chicken breasts. YUCK. My meat ended up tasting really gamey, but I think it was a meat issue rather than a preparation issue. I'll definitely use boneless, skinless chicken breasts next time!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Chinese Fried Rice

Fried Rice


Cold, cooked rice (This is important because hot rice will be too mushy.)
Canola Oil
Minced Garlic
Eggs, scrambled
Chopped Green Onions
Diced Fresh Ginger
Dark Soy Sauce
Soy Sauce
Sesame Oil
Left-overs (cooked, or fresh, meat and vegetables) (I used left-over grilled chicken breast and grilled eggplant from Monday's dinner, and added some carrot ribbons)

1. You can use a wok, but I have better luck with a thick-bottomed dutch oven over medium high heat. (My wok is really thin and EVERYTHING sticks to it.) Add 1 T. canola oil and add your garlic. (We like garlic, so I add about 1 1/2 tablespoons.) Stir or shake the pot. If you like ginger, add that here too - about the same amount you used of garlic. The idea is to cook the and ginger and flavor all of the oil in the pot. Make sure your garlic doesn't burn!

2. When your oil smells delicious, whatever is going to need to cook the longest. If you're using raw meat, it's raw meat. If you're using carrots or fresh broccoli, add those. The idea is to get everything done at the same time. Don't cook this step to DONE, just cook it until you know it COULD be done in the next 5 minutes.

3. When your ingredients are cooked about halfway, add your beaten eggs. (I used two.) Scramble those up with your ingredients. You can add your green onions here - you don't want those as cooked as the other ingredients. (Since I was using already-grilled egg plant, I added my eggplant AFTER the eggs - I just wanted to heat it up!)(If things start sticking or looking dry, add a little more oil. This is Fried Rice, afterall!)

4. Finally, add your cold rice. (I had about 3 cups of left-over rice, by the way.) Work quickly and make SURE you break up any rice clumps - nothing's worse than a bunch of lily-white rice in a fried rice bowl! When all the rice is broken up, and all the ingredients are mixed through, you can start to season. Using sesame oil, soy sauce, dark soy sauce and sugar, make this dish your own.
Here's a guide:

Sesame Oil - adds a nutty flavor, but too much can be bitter. Go for about 1 teaspoon and see how you feel after that.

Sugar - obviously, makes it sweet. This is an important partner for the sesame oil. Start with about 1/2 teaspoon.

Soy Sauce - adds the salty factor. Don't go overboard - about 2 teaspoons should get you started.

Dark Soy Sauce - this gives color, sweetness and depth. Dark soy sauce is much darker than normal soy sauce and tastes kind of like molasses. Use about 2 teaspoons of this and see how that works for you.

When everything is hot through, you're ready to go! This dish will keep hot for quite some time, and with some vegetables on the side or some dumplings, it makes a VERY filling dinner. I like serving this when I have guests over since I can have it all done cooking when the guests are SUPPOSED to arrive, and it will still be hot when they ACTUALLY arrive. The thing you want to be careful of, though, is steaming the rice after you're done cooking it. If your fried rice needs to wait a while, make sure to vent the lid so the steam can get out. Trust me - that mess of rice, oil, eggs and chicken will keep hot in the pot for quite some time.

To make it pretty, like the restaurants, pack your fried rice into a small bowl before turning it out onto a plate. Garnish with more green onion and serve with dumplings and vegetables.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Potato Meatball Soup, and a side note on meatballs

There's no pictures (how do you make soup look appetizing in a photo?) but we had a great soup for dinner tonight. Start to finish took about 45 minutes, and since everything went into the pot and then left to simmer, it didn't heat up the kitchen (or ME).

This soup might be good with the addition of canned tomatoes, or other vegetables, if that strikes your fancy.

One note on the meatballs- I try to keep a Zip-Loc bag of my meatballs in the freezer. Spaghetti with meatballs is a favorite meal for Ernie, and cooking it is a snap with the meatballs already made. I mix 1 pound of hamburger with a little tomato sauce, breadcrumbs, and dried herbs. Coat a jelly-roll pan with olive oil, coat your hands with olive oil, and make the meat mixture into balls about the same size as a small cherry tomato. I like little bites of meat. Cook at 425 for 7 minutes, and flip them all with a turner. Cook for another 7 minutes, which should be plenty of time if they're small. They don't fall apart, and have the most wonderful browning. Let cool, and flash freeze before storing in a Zip-Loc.

We served this with wilted spinach salad with warm feta dressing, a Serious Eats submission from The Paupered Chef's Nick Kindelsperger. Surprisingly, that salad is a new favorite for Wonder Daddy. For a guy who likes just about everything, finding a new *WOW* favorite is a big deal! Check out his gnocchi with gorgonzola cream sauce too, another "hit" this week. If you can add one more food blog to your reader, I heartily suggest Paupered Chef.

Meatball Potato Soup

4 russet potatoes, cubed
bacon salt
dried basil, celery seed, savory, and rosemary
olive oil

Cube the potatoes and put in a medium pot or dutch oven. Cover with about 2 inches water. Season with 1 1/2 tsp bacon salt (or other seasoning salt if you haven't yet succumbed to the marketing pressure), and the dried herbs and spices. Add 3 or 4 dashes of olive oil, and let simmer till potatoes are soft. Add frozen meatballs, return to simmer, and let cook another 15 or 20 minutes. Serve with parmesan cheese.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Siu Lung Bao Dinner

After reading rave reviews, restaurant recommendations for NYC, and several recipes, I decided to get into the kitchen and see if I really could make my own Siu Lung Bao.

Siu Lung Bao, for the unitiated, are small purse-like dumplings filled with meat...and soup. My first experience with these juicy delicacies was in Shanghai, where they originated. I was 5 months pregnant at the time and very few things caught at my tastebuds the way these dumplings did. (In defense of the general cuisine of China, these dumplings are served with a dark, sweet vinegar for dipping, thereby tipping the scales SO far in their favor, this pregnant woman could find love for few other things!)

Until the recent rash of Siu Lung Bao blog-hype, I was blissfully unaware of how the dumplings were magically filled with soup. I assumed it was some sort of labor-intensive, ancient process, similar to the crystal balls we purchased in the art market, painstakingly painted with landscapes and animals...from the inside.

With my trusty little sister at my side (along with a promise from my mother and husband that they would finish any dumplings I could manage to turn out), I started out. The process wasn't as difficlt as I imagined, but it didn't turn out as I'd imagined, either. The recipe, in my opinion, calls for far too little soup "jelly". My dumplings were all-but dry inside, the soup having been absorbed by the wrappers.

When I ran out of wrappers, I mixed the remaining soup gelatin into the remaining meat mixture, more than doubling the soup called for in the recipe. That mixture was put into the freezer to await another day of dumpling making. I'll let you know how it turns out!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Two Kinds of Sushi from the Pantry

My family knows I am a pantry cook. You can send anything home with me- it will get made into a meal. I'm like the wicked stepsister from Cinderella with the shoe- "I'll MAKE it fit!"

So, in light of this I want to share my two "pantry sushi" recipes. We've made them a few times, and my husband and 3-year-old daughter ate every last piece, every time. (And no- these are hardly "authentic" Japanese food. But they're yummy, and reasonably healthy.)

Sushi Rice

Cook 3 scoops of rice. When finished, mix with: 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar, pinch of salt boiled together in the microwave. Spread into a 9x13 pan and let cool. This is enough for 4-5 rolls.

Spicy Tuna Roll Filling

1 can tuna fish
heaping tablespoon mayonnaise
heaping tablespoon sweet chili sauce

Mix together, then add additional ingredients to your liking. Last time I added a dash of chili oil, a little extra chili sauce, a few shakes of white sesame seeds, and a few shakes of shiso furikake. I like mine spicy.

Spread rice about 1/3rd inch thick on all but bottom inch of nori wrapper (on top of a bamboo roller), lay a line of tuna filling across the middle of the rice, and roll.

This made 3 thin rolls. The smaller it is, the better for Ernie!

Chicken Katsu Rolls

microwaved chicken nuggets, cut into 1/2 inch strips

Prepare sushi wrapper as above, and make a line of chicken across. Roll.

(I know, I know...but really, these were yummy! And most of our friends have chicken nuggets in the freezer.)

Rhubarb-Raspberry Jam

We made a "freezer" jam today, with rhubarb and raspberries from my Mom's abundant and very large garden. (We've also discovered what happens when you never waste a new raspberry cane, but keep planting new rows. It's fantastic!) Ernie and I had a lot of fun picking berries this morning- the brambles were taller than the poor girl, but she still managed to get her fill of berries.

I think this might be my favorite "jam" recipe so far this year- it's not mind-blowingly sweet like other recipes and especially other raspberry jam recipes. The berries and rhubarb make a nice combination, too. I froze it in mason jars, topped with a canning ring and 4-ply plastic wrap. I was afraid to put boiling jam into Gladware containers.

This recipe is from the canning section of the 75th Anniversary Edition of the New Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, a much-loved member of my cookbook collection.

Rhubarb-Raspberry Jam
75th Anniversary Edition New Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

6 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened sliced rhubarb
4 cups sugar
3 cups raspberries or one 12-ounce package frozen lightly sweetened red raspberries
1 3-ounce package raspberry-flavored gelatin (NOT sugar-free)

  1. In a large heavy kettle combine rhubarb and sugar. Let stand 15-20 minutes or until sugar is moistened. Bring to boiling. Boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add berries; return to boiling. Boil hard 5 to 6 minutes or until thick, stirring often. Remove from heat. Add gelatin and stir until dissolved.
  2. Lade into half-pint freezer containers, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Seal;label. Let stand at room temperature until set. Store the jam up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator or 1 y ear in the freezer.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Citrus Marmalade

This marmalade is from the Ball Blue Book of Canning- the reigning "Bible" of North American canning, with completely FDA approved recipes (important if you want to have the best chances of avoiding botuslism.)

I've seen similar recipes for this marmalade (also called GLO, for the three citrus ingredients) in other cookbooks.

Since this is only my second time canning solo, a few things didn't go as well as I'd hoped. I started out with one fewer cup of sugar than called for, and was so sternly admonished by a cookbook I was flipping through to "Always use the amount of sugar called for" that I immediately dumped the final cup of sugar into my almost-gelled marmalade, which then seized up into something similar to Jell-O. I guess sugar helps things to gel properly? I have yet to make a recipe calling for additional pectin- both my attempts so far have used fruit high enough in natural pectin to not require additional. I wonder what it would be like to only cook something for 5 or 10 minutes, instead of stirring for an hour?

Also, when I went to take the jars out of the water canner, I realized it had NOT been simmering for the last 10 minutes. So I turned it up and let them simmer for an additional 10...and they'd been in an extra 10 waiting for the water to come to the initial simmer (that didn't last). So, the marmalade got some extra cooking at the end and came out very dark. But, all the jars sealed and nothing broke this time. So we're making progress! (And you can see that I didn't do a good job skimming the marmalade- I just can't stand throwing all that jam away! I saved what I did skim, and have been enjoying it on toast. Mmmm, foamy marmalade!)

Citrus Marmalade
Ball Blue Book of Canning

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced grapefruit peel (about 1 medium)
1/2 cup thinly sliced orange peel (about 1 medium)
3 quarts water, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped grapefruit pulp (about 1 medium)
3/4 cup chopped orange pulp (about one medium)
1/2 cup thinly sliced and seeded lemon (about 1 medium)

  1. Combine fruit peels and 1 1/2 quarts water; boil 5 minutes; drain.
  2. Add fruit pulp, sliced lemon and 1 1/2 quarts water; boil 5 minutes.
  3. Cover and let stand 12 to 18 hours in a cool place.
  4. Cook rapidly until peel is tender.
  5. Measure fruit and liquid. Add 1 cup sugar for each cup fruit mixture, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  6. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Cook rapidly almost to gelling point. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking.
  7. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot marmalade into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cantaloupe Preserves

We tried a new recipe- Cantaloupe Preserves. And yes: Every.Single.Person I mentioned this to has said "I didn't know you could can cantaloupe!"

After our little experiment, I'm not convinced you really can.

I think next time I wouldn't leave the fruit sitting for so long- a LOT of water came out. Also, I'd taste it before adding all the sugar. It's unbelievably sweet- way too sweet for toast or biscuits. It might make a nice layer between cake, or maybe in a thumb print cookie. It's gorgeous to look at.

In general, preserves are created by mixing fruit with an equal amount of sugar and letting them sit till juices come out (enough to dissolve the sugar.) The mixture is then boiled together, and then can be left in shallow pans for the fruit to "plump up" before you can it.

The recipe was taken from the 1970's edition of the Kerr Home Canning & Freezing Book. I'm not even going to put it here, because I can't recommend it...but at least now you know! Cantaloupe CAN be canned. Just do it different than I did.

Next up: Grapefruit-Orange Marmalade

Friday, July 4, 2008

Danish Braid

This was our June Daring Baker's challenge, and it was AMAZING. Beyond amazing. Delicious. Life altering. (And yes, I'm saying that mostly to tease the family that I left behind on The Other Coast. Make it yourselves, and see if I'm telling the truth or not!)

Without further ado, here's the recipe we used (from Sherry Yard's The Secrets of Baking) and some notes about Danish Braids. Please bear with me - this recipe IS long. If it wasn't slightly complicated, it wouldn't be much of a challenge, would it?! The results are amazing, and the process really isn't that difficult - just wordy. ;-)

Some History:
• According to many sources, “Danish” was born when Danish bakers went on strike, and Viennese bakers were brought in to replace them, creating what is referred to as Vienna Bread.
• Conversely, it is also said that Danish bakers went to Vienna to learn the techniques Viennese bakers employed, and Danish dough was created there.
• In the early 1800’s, C.L. Olsen spent time in Germany, believing in the idea of gaining inspiration from bakers of other countries. He brought knowledge back to Denmark to introduce “foreign” breads to his country, also hiring people of other nationalities to bake in his family bakery.

Proofing Temperature For Fresh Dough
(room temp) For Refrigerated Dough
Degrees F Degrees C
70 ~ 21 1-1/2 to 2 hrs. 2-1/2 to 3 hrs.
75 ~ 24 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hrs. 2 to 2-1/2 hrs.
80 ~ 27 1 to 1-1/4 hrs. 1-1/2 to 2 hrs.
85 ~ 29 45 min. to 1 hr. 1 to 1-1/2 hrs.
90 ~ 32 45 min. 1 hr.

• When making cuts in the dough for the braid, make sure they are not too long and provide a solid base for the filling.


Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

For the dough (Detrempe)
1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 large eggs, chilled
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

For the butter block (Beurrage)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Without a standing mixer: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges. When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.

1. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.
2. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Makes enough for two braids

4 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 - 8 minutes. Then add the apple mixture and sauté until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. If you’ve chosen Fujis, the apples will be caramelized, but have still retained their shape. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid. (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.) They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet. After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.

Makes enough for 2 large braids

1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves (see below)

For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
3. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.

Egg Wash
Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.

Proofing and Baking
1. Spray cooking oil (Pam…) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
3. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Simple Bread

I got this recipe from a comment on The Pioneer Woman- love it! (Comment #63) I make this recipe about twice a week.

Simple Bread
2 cups warm water
1 heaping Tablespoon yeast
1 heaping Tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons salt
4 cups flour

1) In mixing bowl of Kitchen-Aid, proof the first three ingredients for 10 minutes.
2) Add salt and 4 cups flour (whole wheat or white), and mix with dough hook till mixture is well combined and not sticky. This takes a while- perhaps 5-10 minutes?
3) Add up to 2 cups more flour to dough, and continue to knead with the dough hook. I like to add a half cup at a time, and mix for a few minutes to see how it's doing. When I'm done, the dough is still sticky, but I'm able to scoop it out of the bowl to set on the counter. It's manageable.
4) Pull out the dough, spray the bowl with Pam, put the dough back, and spray the top with Pam. Roll it over a few times to make sure the whole thing is coated.
5) Cover with damp towel, set in a ward spot, and let rise to double. Punch down and form- rolls, pizza crust, focaccia, 2 bread loaves, etc.
6) Bake at 350 until done. My bread loaves take about 25 minutes.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Two Tomato Salads

This is the tale of two salads that use tomatoes. Yeah, yeah..I know. Tomatoes kill. So grow your own already!

Tomato Feta Salad
Combine: Cherry tomatoes ( cut in half), Feta Cheese, salt & pepper, Italian dressing and chopped fresh basil.

Let sit for 2-4 hours, covered, in the refrigerator. (Finely chopped sweet onions or garlic might be good in this as well.)

(Made that one up myself. Real elegant, right? I had feta left over from some shindig with the Launders...and it was delicious!)

Tomato Onion Salad (adapted from Taste of Home)
2 large tomatoes, sliced
1 medium sweet onion, sliced thin and separated into rings
¼ olive oil
Rice vinegar, to taste
1 t. dried parsley
1 t. salt
2 T. finely chopped onion
1 t. (or to taste) sugar
1 clove fresh garlic, mashed to a paste
Pepper, to taste

Layer tomatoes and onions in shallow serving dish. Combine the rest of the ingredients, whisk until mixed. Season to taste. Drizzle over tomatoes and onions. Allow 2 hours to marinate in the refrigerator.

Millionaire Rotisserie Salad

So, this little series of posts is to help Big Mama out, and because the West Coast needs to perk up and get their Summer on already! (I know, I would if you could. But it's hot, here, and the tomato scare is on the way out...and we need some summer food around here, y'all!)

Big Mama, this one's for you. Oh, and get the rotisserie chicken from Costco - it's the same price as anywhere else (about $6), but it's nearly twice the size!

Millionaire Rotisserie Chicken Salad (4 servings) (From Rachel Ray)
3 T. vegetable oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
One 2 inch piece ginger, grated
2 large cloves garlic, grated
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
Grated peel and juice of one lime
¼ cup tamari (dark soy sauce)
3 Tablespoons honey
1 rotisserie chicken, skin discarded and meat thinly sliced
1 small or ½ large head napa cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)

1. In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the scallions, ginger, garlic and black pepper and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the lime peel and lime juice, then whisk in the tamari and honey to combine. Turn off the heat.
2. In a large bowl, toss the chicken and cabbage with the sauce to combine well.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Bacon Salt, Re-Visited

I posted here, wondering about the new "JD's Bacon Salt" product. J and I found it at the grocery store, it was $4 (expensive for a seasoning salt, but cheap if I could use it to salt my beans and do without meat!)

We used it the next morning on hash browns, and I tried to use a heavy hand to really let the bacon flavor come through. Nothing. Not a smoky whiff. I tried a "plain" taste test- it didn't even seem to have a taste, but the fumes (msg?) DID burn my nose.


Flour Tortillas

I found this recipe on a blog, but she hasn't written back with permission to post. And, she got the recipe from a book. So....I'm putting a copy here :o) I've made these with all white flour and with half white/half wheat. The white tortillas were so yummy, it was like eating donuts. All that white flour, glycemic-index boosting, soft goodness. The half wheat were still yummy, but more like pancakes. Dense, a stickier dough, and not as stupor inducing. Meaning, the three of us ate 4 tortillas on the wheat night, as contrasted to 8 on the white.

Original recipe from The Border Cookbook by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison.

Texas Flour Tortillas (adapted from The Border Cookbook by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison)
Two cups of all-purpose flour (can make them whole wheat by substituting one cup of whole-wheat flour for white flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
3/4 cups of warm milk

1) Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and oil. Slowly add the warm milk.
Stir until a loose, sticky ball is formed.

2) Knead for two minutes on a floured surface. Dough should be firm and soft.
Place dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for 20 minutes.

3) After the dough has rested, roll into a cigar shape and cut into eight pieces, roll them into balls in your hands, place on a plate (make sure they aren’t touching) and then cover balls with damp cloth or plastic wrap for 10 minutes. (It’s very important to let the dough rest, otherwise it will be like elastic and won’t roll out to a proper thickness and shape.)

4) After dough has rested, one at a time place a dough ball on a floured surface, pat it out into a four-inch circle, and then roll with a rolling pin from the center until it’s thin and about eight inches in diameter. Don’t over work the dough, or it’ll be stiff. Keep rolled-out tortillas covered until ready to cook.

5) In a dry iron skillet or comal heated on high, cook the tortilla about thirty seconds on each side. It should start to puff a bit when it’s done.

Keep cooked tortillas covered wrapped in a napkin until ready to eat.
Can be reheated in a dry iron skillet, over your gas-burner flame or in the oven wrapped in foil.

Makes eight tortillas.