Friday, January 30, 2009

Garden Chowder

This is my adaptation of this recipe.

1 med to lg onion, chopped
1/4 c butter
1 c ea diced potatoes, celery, cauliflower, carrot & broccoli (or adapt to what you have/like, I skippe the carrots & cauliflower & doubled the potatoes & broccoli)
3 c water
3 tsp McKay's chicken seasoning
1 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 c flour
2 c milk
1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1/8 - 1/4 tsp ea paprika & coriander
2-3 c shredded cheddar cheese

In lg stockpot saute onion in butter (will probably add the garlic at that point next time too) until tender. Add vegetables, water, chicken seasoning & salt. Reduce heat, cover, simmer 20 min. Combine flour & milk till smooth, add to soup. Allow to thicken at low temperature. Add parsley & spices. Just before serving, stir in cheese till melted.

Lindsey says this freezes well, we only have one kid-size serving left (I made it for lunch yesterday) so I won't find out this time around LOL.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sourdough Blackberry Muffins

I got this recipe from the Nourishing Gourmet.

2 c sourdough starter (I had a "scant" 2 cups once I took on cup out to feed for future use)
3 c whole wheat flour
1 c water

Combine these the night before, cover & leave on counter overnight.

In the morning, preheat oven to 400 F. Add the following to your flour mixture:

1 t salt
1/2 c melted coconut oil
1/2 c maple syrup
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 t (I used a 1/2 t measure but didn't fill it full) ground nutmeg
1 t baking soda

Stir till thoroughly combined. Fold in 1 1/2 c fresh or frozen blackberries (I had a pint jar in the freezer, I used the whole thing, didn't bother to measure it). Fill greased muffin tins (I use stoneware) about 2/3 full. Bake 25 min, until slightly browned & toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan 5 min, then remove.

I got 12 regular muffins (pampered chef stoneware muffin pan) & I think 6 slightly smaller (I have an enamel covered heart shaped muffin pan that I used for the "overflow") muffins out of this. Girls ate 3 each, I'm congested so not tasting very well, but they seemed good. I would guess this recipe could be used with pretty much any fruit :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I'm so excited, I currently have 4 loaves of sourdough baking in my oven, fingers crossed that they come out ok, I'm hopeful, they raised like they were supposed to & LOOK like bread should look . . . And so, while they bake, I will post how I did this (and if they come out of the oven & are a flop I shall never publish this post LOL).

I kind of used a combination of information from this site & Laura's blog. I love the concept of catching wild yeast from the air (and suspect there's some great old strains floating around in my old, old house), but I just wasn't confident that it would work in my rather cold house, I might try Laura's method of starting the starter next summer just to see how it turns out . . . but for now, I "cheated" and used yeast to start my starter:

Starting the Starter:

In a half gallon mason jar (or a glass bowl, but don't use metal or plastic!) combine 2 c flour (I used white, partially because I was out of whole wheat at the moment & partially because some stuff I've read in the past (don't remember where) has indicated that it's easier to start starer w/ white flour), 2 t sucanet (or sugar), 2 1/4 t active dry yeast, 2 c warm water. Cover with a dish towel & let sit in a warm, draft-free place. This was where I had a dilemma, we keep our heat set around 64, there's not really any "warm" spot in this house. I finally opted to set the jar on the counter right next to the stove. There's a wall that protects it from drafts when the door is opened & I figured that way at least when we use the stove or oven it'll get a little extra warmth, but I don't know how warm it really got/stayed.
  • Stir once per day
  • Let sit 2-5 days, it's ready when it has a sour smell & loks bubbly (if it turns pnk/orange, throw it out!) I think mine took the full 5 days, which I was kind of expecting because of the cool temperatures in the house.
  • Once it's done, stir, cover loosely w/ platic wrap & refrigerate.
After it had been in the fridge a day or so (I don't know if this is vital or not, it worked well for me because I declared it "done" on Friday and since Saturday is our Sabbath (day of rest) I wasn't going to be making bread on Sabbath anyway).

Two nights before I made bread, I took the starter out of the fridge & set it on the counter overnight, the next morning I fed it w/ 1 c flour (whole wheat this time, since that's what was handy), and 1 c water. I then went ahead & let it sit a full 24 hours (next time I use it I plan to try feeding straight from the fridge, then let sit overnight, then proceed as usual (so cut a day out of the process), I hadn't read through Laura's whole recipe until mid day yesterday & by that time starting to make the bread would've likely had it ready to bake about 3am LOL.

Making the bread:

This morning I stirred up my starter, put 1 cup in a clean quart jar, added 1 c flour & 1 c water to that & stirred it, and put it in the fridge for future use. I poured the rest (which was probably between 1 & 2 cups) into a glass bowl, added 2 t salt and 1 1/2 c water & stirred it all up. Then I began adding flour 2 cups at a time until it was the right consistency to knead. I added 6 cups flour & then probably another cup a little at a time once it was dough but still pretty sticky. The amount of flour will depend on how runny (& how much) your starter is, and the humidity in the air & who knows what else. Knead bread for 8-10 minutes (pausing a few times to check on kids playing outside which gives your arms a nice little break). Form dough into a ball. At this point Laura says to cut it w/ a knife into 3 sections BUT she has different bread pans than I do. I have relatively small (pyrex) glass bread pans, she also says that making balls of dough works better than one loaf. So . . . I started out by cutting my big ball of dough into 4 smaller balls, figuring 2 per bread pan. Then I got the pans out, looked at them, considered that the dough is to double in size prior to baking & then presumably will rise more while baking & promptly cut each of those 4 balls in half. So, I ended up w/ enough for 4 loaves of bread, each loaf consisting of 2 small balls of dough. Laura doesn't say to grease her pans, but she uses stoneware, since I was using glass, I greased my pans w/ coconut oil just in case. Put the dough in the pans put the pans in the oven w/ the light on but the oven off (and it hadn't been used this morning so it was cool) covered the loaves w/ a dishtowel & left them to rise. I think it only took 4 hours or so for them to rise, I was expecting longer, but the warmer temp of the oven, even with just the light on, may have sped things up (we also DID use the stove at lunch time which may have added some extra heat to the oven). And now I'm baking for 1 hr at 350, or until they sound hollow when thumped.

And the bread is done! It didn't rise as much as I thought it would while baking, so not the greatest for sandwiches, but the consistency & flavor is good (I just need to start with bigger balls of dough &/or let it rise more in the pans before baking), very mild on the sourdough flavor, but I've found that's generally true of whole wheat sourdough. The girls even ate a slice w/ butter & declared it good (though L has decided, over the last few months while I've been lazy about making bread, that storebought (white) bread is better than homemade). I will probably add abit more salt next time as well.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Chocolate Cranberry Muffins

This is adapted from here (but I've learned the hard way to actually WRITE OUT recipes I find online because blogs get deleted or set to members only w/o warning and suddenly I can't access my favorite recipes, so I'm also re-typing here).

6 T unsalted butter
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (couldn't find bittersweet, got unsweetened, will use a mix of unsweetened & semi-sweet next time (unless I can find bittersweet).
1/2 c dried cranberries
2 c whole wheat flour
2/3 c sucanet
1/2 c cocoa powder
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 c plus 2 T (divided) buttermilk (or mix plain yogurt & milk)
1 lg egg
1 tsp vanilla

12-24 hours ahead combine flour in mixing bowl w/ 1 1/4 c buttermilk. Mix well, form into a ball, cover w/ plastic wrap, leave on counter for 12-24 hrs.

When ready to bake, make sure oven rack is in center, preheat oven to 375, grease muffin pan.

Melt butter & 2 oz chocolate in microwave or double boiler, set aside.
Place cranberries in bowl & cover w/ hot water, set aside to soak.
To bowl with soaked flour add dry ingredients, stir to combine (I found this too dry to combine to any real degree). In separate bowl or measuring cup combine 2 Tbsp buttermilk, egg & vanilla. Add to dry ingredients, along w/ melted butter & chocolate. Stir to blend. Stir in remaining chopped chocolate & drained cranberries. do not overmix. Spoon into muffin pan. Bake 20 min. Let cool 5 min before removing from pan.

These are very rich/dark chocolate (especially w/ unsweetened chocolate)! I rarely drink milk (just not a fan of drinking it) but definitely wanted milk with this LOL. Next time, assuming I still can't find bittersweet chocolate, I'm thinking I'll use chocolate chips for the final stir-in (& the unsweetened for the melted). The girls each ate 3 of these, so obviously they liked them LOL.