In the Kitchen

A Guide to Choosing and Preparing Awesome Food

Sally Fallon's book, Nourishing Traditions, is one of my all time favorites.   Sally combines the wisdom of our ancestors and current scientific research to teach us simple methods for preparing delicious, nutrient dense food.  At a time when food based on empty calories is fueling a health care crisis it is time for individuals to wake up.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2000 that obesity-related health care costs alone totaled an estimated $117 billion,  The American Cancer Society reports that many studies have shown links between diet and cancer, and staff at the Mayo Clinic state that diabetes prevention is as basic as losing extra weight and eating more healthfully. Individual responsibility will go a long way toward solving the health care crisis that our nation faces today.  This book can empower you with knowledge to take charge of your health and that of your family.  Remember, your body and your children's bodies are your responsibility.  Please take care of them, they have to last for a lifetime! 

Of the more than 700 delicious recipes contained in Nourishing Traditions these are two of my favorites.

Kimchi (Korean Sauerkraut) made with chinese cabbage, onions, carrots, peppers, ginger, garlic, sea salt and whey from yogurt.  Busy Moms will appreciate the fact that they can just take it out of the refrigerator and serve it on a hot dog or as a side dish, not to mention the fact that it packs a lot of nutrition plus beneficial lactobacilli bacteria.

Chinese Cabbage  Kimchi


Preserved Lemons - a delicious condiment with a nutritional punch.  This simple recipe gives you the advantage of using the whole lemon to create a superb condiment with the added bonus of beneficial lactobacilli bacteria that aid digestion.  I use organic lemons, cinnamon, sea salt and whey

Making Preserved Lemons from yogurt to make this recipe.  Try it on fish or chicken, it is delicious. 

What more could you want?  Both Kimchi and Preserved Lemons are easy to make, nutritious, delicious whole foods and they will keep in the refrigerator for months.

Kimchi, Preserved Lemons, fruits, vegetables, meats, deserts, condiments, and much more - you will find recipes for them  all in Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon.

 

 

 


Eggs: Healthy? You Decide

   Barred Rock Hens My husband and I enjoy eggs from our Barred Rock Hens.  We eat eggs every morning and baked in homemade breads, cakes, pies, cookies and puddings.

   Eggs are a versatile, natural, whole food.  Egg proteins act as binders in your favorite recipes.  They can increase leavening action, especially if they are beaten.  Egg yolks, because they contain fat increase tenderness in baked goods.  They are high in cholesterol, however, they are also high in lecithin, a fat emulsifier that helps break down cholesterol, preventing its build-up in the body.  Eggs contain all known vitamins (except C) and important trace minerals.  They are considered a complete protein because they contain generous amounts of all 8 essential amino acids.  The July Issue of the Harvard Heart Letter explains to us that eggs are a good source of nutrients and that saturated and trans fats have much bigger effects on blood cholesterol levels than eggs.

     As you probably know all eggs are not created equal.  As marketers encourage us to buy eggs, cage-free eggs, organic eggs, omega-3 eggs or free range eggs, what are we to choose?  My pick is free range eggs from chickens that spend at least part of their day outside on green areas where they can peck and eat their natural food - insects and green plants. In my opinion the ideal egg would be organic, free range and  raised locally.  Testing done by Mother Earth News  indicates that eggs from chickens that are allowed to free range outside daily are higher in nutrients and lower in cholesterol.  So what do you think? Healthy or not - you decide.

Help solve the Health Care Crisis:   Be informed - Take care of your body, it has to last for a lifetime.

 

 

 

 


Canning Homemade Chili

Canning homemade chili Enjoy the convenience of heat and serve chili right from your own kitchen.  Made with locally raised grassfed beef and organic vegetables it makes a quick, nutritious addition to your meal.  Combine it with an organic whole wheat bun, a high quality wienner and slaw made from organic cabbage and you have created a  hot dog that can be part of a healthy meal.  Now with a little imagination chili can compliment rice, vegetable soup, tacos and taco salad.

With produce from your own garden or from a local farmer's market, summer is a great time to make your own delicious and nutritious chili.  

Here's a recipe along with the detailed instructions for canning Chili, No Beans, adapted from the Ball Blue Book.

Chili

□   5 lbs ground beef
□   2 cups chopped onions
□   1 clove minced garlic
□   6 cups canned tomatoes and juice
□   1/2 cup chili powder
□   1 1/2 tablespoons salt
□   1 hot red pepper, finely chopped
□   1 teaspoon ground cumin seed

Instructions


This recipe for Chili Con Carne is good to try if you like beans in your chili.

Chili Con Carne

  • 3 cups dried pinto or red kidney beans
  • 5-1/2 cups water
  • 5 tsp salt (separated)
  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped peppers of your choice (optional)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 to 6 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 qts crushed or whole tomatoes

Yield: 9 pints

Instructions


Orange Marmalade

Orange Marmalade      Homemade jam, jelly and marmalade are delicious toppings for your savory homemade bread.  Homemade is less expensive plus it taste much better.  This winter I purchased organic navel oranges and made orange marmalade using two different recipes.

      I used Anna's Orange Marmalade recipe for the three jars on the right in the photograph.  It was made using oranges, lemons, sugar and water.  The jell was achieved by cooking it to 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer.  This takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes of cooking time which creates the dark golden orange color. 

     The three jars on the left were made using Sure Jell fruit pectin and following the Sure Jell recipe.  It also requires oranges, lemons, water and sugar.  It differs from Anna's recipe in that the jell depends on the pectin rather than a long cooking time.  I like this recipe because it is simple, easy and requires less cooking time.  This marmalade turned out so well I was inspired to take blackberries and blueberries from the freezer to make blackberry jelly and blueberry jam using the Sure Jell recipes.  They also turned out beautifully.  

     Homemade Orange Marmalade and other jams, and jellies are well worth the effort.


Raisins, Almond Butter, Flax and Agave Syrup in a Convenient Bar

Pastry Roller and Tart Pan  Energy Bar Mix pressed into tart pan  Energy Bars

Raisins - Almond Butter - Agave Syrup - Flax and more in each bar!

     Make your own energy bars.  Why?  Easy - Fun - Delicious - Nutritious - No Food Additives

Energy Bars

Combine and set aside

3 cups puffed whole grain cereal

1 cup pecans

1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (cherries, pineapple, or blueberries, etc.)


Place in sauce pan and bring to boil

1/2 cup chopped pitted dates

1/2 cup ground raisins

1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter

1/4 cup ground flax seed

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup agave syrup

Remove from heat and combine with other ingredients.  Press into a 9 x 9 pan (I use a tart pan lined with wax paper, place another piece of wax paper over the mix and roll it out with a pastry roller), allow to cool and cut into bars.




Common Sense: Apply it to Healthcare

Vegetables from the home garden      Homemade pizza

     Webster's Dictionary defines common sense as ordinary good sense or sound practical judgment.  Now in the case of Healthcare a little ordinary good sense could go a long way in solving a significant amount of this problem.  Consider this simple example:  you intentionally hit your hand with a hammer and break some bones.  Then you visit the hospital after which an insurance company, the government or you are expected to pay the bill.  Now either consciously or subconsciously you must decide if you will again hit your hand with a hammer.  Sounds ridiculous doesn't it?  Yet, I would like to suggest to you that many of us injure our bodies again and again and again by what we put in them which leads to sickness that an insurance company, the government or an individual must pay for.  As long as we choose to ignore common sense while neglecting and abusing our bodies it is not likely that individuals or the government will ever have enough money to cover Healthcare.  Common sense would say, don't hit your hand, don't abuse your body, don't create so many bills.  Take care of your body, it has to last for a lifetime.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

How healthy can a person be when consuming chemical-laden and nutrient-deficient food with an emphasis on carbohydrates, bad fat, salt and sugar? How many healthcare billions are being spent to address health issues that have their roots in poor diet? It’s a hard number to come by, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-quarters of healthcare spending goes to treat “preventable chronic diseases.” Treatment for obesity alone runs a tab of $147 billion, and that doesn’t figure in diabetes ($116 billion) or cardiovascular disease.  Excerpt from Healthcare:  The High Cost of the American Diet


Most of the food we eat that contains corn or soy was sprayed with glyphosate herbicide, and we’re being exposed to higher and higher levels of residue. In response to petitions from Monsanto, the EPA has approved up to 20-fold increases in the legal residue limits for food crops.

“Our bodies are gigantic spider webs of chemical communications that work in the parts-per-trillion range,” says Warren Porter, professor of zoology and environmental toxicology at the University of Wisconsin. “When you put so-called ‘insignificant’ amounts of toxic chemicals into the mix, you have a molecular bull in a china shop. The possibilities for impact are endless.”  Excerpt from  Roundup Kills More Than Weeds

 * * * * * * * * * * * *

     Our bodies have an amazing ability to function well if we put in them what they need and don't put in them things that interfere.  When we put our food needs in the hands of restaurants, food manufacturers and agribusiness we are treading on dangerous ground.  As businesses, their purpose is not just to make a profit, but to make as much profit as possible.  You, on the other hand, are responsible for protecting your health plus that of your children.  There are a wide variety of food choices available today, from healthy to extremely unhealthy.  I encourage you to educate yourself and make wise choices.  With the start of a new year I challenge you to commit to serving yourself and your family  delicious, nutritious food.  Really, it only takes a little common sense.  A good starting point is to check the Global Grocer to learn where your food comes from.


Homemade Bread, Great for Turkey Sandwiches

Homemade bread

     What to do with that left over turkey.  Place it between two slices of your own homemade bread with your favorite toppings for a delicious sandwich.

     This recipe can be adapted to your preferences.  Make it a hearty 100% whole wheat bread or a lighter loaf by using whole wheat and unbleached flour.  As you probably know during the milling process the bran and the germ are removed from the wheat to produce the typical white flour.  Much fiber and nutrition are lost with this process.  I use stoneground organic whole wheat bread flour and stoneground organic unbleached bread flour.  Bread flour contains a higher amount of protein which is necessary to form gluten which gives bread its characteristic texture.  Cake flour on the other hand has less protein and produces a soft crumbly texture.  Remember, if you want to make a quality loaf of homemade bread, start with high quality ingredients. 

                                 Visit  Baking Great Bread in Your Kitchen for mixing and baking instructions.

Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

Biga ingredients: 3/4 cup water, 1 cup organic unbleached bread flour, 1 cup organic whole wheat bread flour and 1/4 teaspoon yeast.      

Main dough ingredients:  2 cups water, 1 tablespoon yeast, 1/8 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup honey, 5 cups organic whole wheat bread flour ( or  substitute organic unbleached bread flour for a portion of the whole wheat flour), and  1 3/4 teaspoon sea salt.

Do you have questions about homemade bread?  Post them in the comments section.

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Thanksgiving: Memories and Recipes

Free range turkey

     When I was a child, Thanksgiving on the farm was a special time.  Mom got up very early to chop onions and celery for the traditional dressing that was stuffed inside the large turkey which she always baked for Thanksgiving.  It had to be put in the oven early as she let it bake long and slow until lunchtime.  Then there was dough to make for the yeast rolls.  There must be enough time for the dough to rise twice before baking the rolls.  After breakfast relatives would come.  The ladies would help Mom in the kitchen, the men would go hunting with my Dad and we children would play and anticipate the coming feast.  After lunch the ladies cleaned up the dishes, the men could hunt more and we children could play more. 

     Do you have a special Thanksgiving memory, tradition or recipe?   If so, I invite you to share it with us in the comments section. 

     This recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole is one of my family's favorites.  

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups mashed, cooked sweet potatoes

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

2 eggs, well beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup milk

Mix these ingredients and spoon into a 2 quart casserole.

Topping:  1/2 cup packed light brown sugar                           2 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

               1/4 cup plain flour                                                 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine and sprinkle on potato mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes.

For a variety of instructions on roasting a turkey visit Food Network.

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Halloween Pumpkins

Neck Pumpkins    Preparing Neck Pumpkin for Pie    Pumpkin Pie

Does this look like a Halloween Pumpkin?

     I must say, it does not.  So what is the point?  The Halloween pumpkin and the pie pumpkin have a lot to say about our modern society.  

     October, time to bring all those pumpkins in from the garden or field.  Jack-o-lantern pumpkins are everywhere but where are the pie pumpkins?  If you search you can scarcely find one.  Why do farmers grow so many Halloween pumpkins?  Simple answer - because that is what their customers want to buy.  Herein lies my concern.  The Halloween pumpkin is associated with fun and entertainment, whereas the pie pumpkin is associated with nourishing food for the body.  The point is, I fear that we as a society are leaning more toward fun and entertainment at the expense of things of substance and greater value.  I'm not suggesting that we throw out the jack-o-lantern but that we have some balance.

     Pumpkins were a staple in the diet of the native American Indian. They were grown with corn and beans and called the three sisters.  The corn provided a support for the beans to climb, the beans were able to fix nitrogen in the soil, and the pumpkin leaves helped shade out unwanted weeds.  By teaching the early colonist to grow the three sisters, the Indians helped them survive in the new world.  Pumpkins are a storehouse of nutrition - Vitamin A, Beta Carotene, Potassium and more.  

     You can add these nutrients to your Halloween treats and children will love helping you do it.  Check out the following recipes.  It's fun!

Pumpkin Pie

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Muffins with Chocolate Glaze

Pumpkin Pie Pinwheel Cookies

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Spiced Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin Fudge


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Pear Marmalade Recipe

Pear Marmalade

Make your own Pear Marmalade.  It's fun and it is delicious!

3 quarts organic pears (ground)

Juice of 3 organic lemons and zest

6 cups sugar

1 cup crushed pineapple

Juice of 3 organic Valencia oranges and zest

Mix all ingredients together.  Boil until clear.  Put in hot sterilized jars and seal.

Try it on your homemade bread.


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Country Kitchen Recipe: Baking a Delicious Sweet Potato Cake Packed with Nutrition

Sweet Potato Cake  Frosted Sweet Potato Cake  Frosted Sweet Potato Cake

Sweet Potatoes - Delicious -  Nutritious - Keep well in storage - Very versatile

As we all know we need to limit our sugar intake.  That being said, if you want something sweet now and then, this is a great recipe.  Made with organic whole wheat flour, organic sweet potatoes, organic milk, extra virgin olive oil and free range eggs it packs a lot of nutrition.  With or without frosting, it is a winner.

Cake Ingredients: 

1/2 cup organic milk                                                                  2 1/4 cups organic whole wheat flour    

2 cups sugar                                                                              1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup extra virgin olive oil                                                          1 teaspoon baking powder

3 free range eggs, separated                                                   1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 cups grated and peeled organic sweet potatoes              1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract                                                   1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl with electric mixer blend the olive oil and sugar until well blended.  Separate eggs.  Add egg yolks, vanilla and milk to oil mixture.  Blend well and set aside.

Sift 1/4 cup of the flour over grated sweet potatoes.  Toss to coat all sweet potatoes well.

In a separate bowl combine the remaining 2 cups of flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Add this to the oil mixture and mix well.  Fold in coated sweet potatoes.

Beat egg whites stiff and fold into the cake batter.  Pour batter into a 10-inch tube cake pan that has been coated with oil and flour.  Bake cake 55 minutes or until done.

Frosting Ingredients:

1 cup organic milk                                           1 cup powdered sugar                               1 cup coconut

3 tblsp. organic whole wheat flour         1 cup organic butter or Smart Balance           1/2 cup pecans

                                                                            1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place milk and flour in a sauce pan and use a whisk to blend well.  Cook over medium heat until it thickens stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and allow to cool thoroughly.

Place sugar, butter or Smart Balance and vanilla extract in mixing bowl and mix well with electric mixer.  Add flour mixture and mix well. 

Stir in coconut and pecans.

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Homemade Corn Tortillas

Kentucky Butcher dent corn   Kentucky Butcher dent corn   Homemade Corn Tortilla

  Daymon Morgan's Kentucky Butcher dent corn is a new variety for me this year.  I purchased the seed from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.  It grew more than twice as high as my other corn varieties and produced large multicolored ears as seen in the photos above.  It makes a great cornmeal and delicious corn tortillas.  I have enjoyed watching Alton Brown on Food Network and was inspired by him to make my own corn tortillas. I followed his recipe and it worked very well.  

Aji Dulce Peppers Tortilla Filling:

1 lb. ground beef                        1 Tablespoon chili powder           

1medium onion                           1 teaspoon salt

4 cloves garlic                             2 cups chopped tomatoes    

2 Sweet Banana Peppers              2 cups cooked black beans (drained)

4 Aji Dulce Peppers

Brown ground beef.  Add chopped onion, garlic, and peppers, chili powder and salt.  Simmer until onions are transparent.  Add tomatoes and simmer 20 minutes or until watery juice has evaporated.  Add black beans and warm thoroughly.   Place on corn tortillas and top with grated cheese if desired.

The photo on the left above shows Aji Dulce peppers from my home garden.  Another new variety for me.  This seed also came from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.  This is a sweet, spicy pepper with just a hint of heat.  It is thin walled, drys very well and can be used for paprika.

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Country Kitchen Recipe: Bread and Butter Pickles

Bread and Butter Pickles Cucumbers, peppers and onions from the home garden make a great pickle. 

Bread and Butter Pickles
8 medium onions
6 red sweet banana peppers or other sweet pepper
1/2 cup coarse Kosher salt
1 gallon unpeeled cucumbers, thinly sliced
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves

Slice onions in thin rings.  Cut pepper in thin rings or strips.  Dissolve salt in 1 cup water and pour over sliced vegetables, including cucumbers.  Put some ice on top of cucumbers (about 1 quart crushed ice:  it is the ice and salt that gives a very crisp pickle).  Let stand 3 hours, weighted with a plate:  drain.  Combine remaining ingredients and bring to boil.  Add drained vegetables and heat to boiling point (don't boil).  Pack in hot sterilized jars and seal.  Makes 6 pints.


Peppers - Spice up Your Life: Plus a Country Kitchen Recipe

Sweet Banana Peppers    Variety of Peppers from my home garden   Fresh and dehydrated sweet peppers plus canned Jalapeno peppers

It is pepper season; time to take advantage of the many varieties and flavors of peppers as well as the nutrition they provide.   They are rich in vitamins A and C plus various other nutrients.  While they can be enjoyed fresh, preserving the harvest of peppers from our organic garden is done by canning, dehydrating, freezing and fermenting.

Fresh peppers can be used in slaw, salads, salsa, spaghetti sauce, and for stuffed peppers.

Dehydrated Jalapeno and sweet peppers make a great addition to Mexican Cornbread.

Canned Jalapeno peppers can spice up your favorite chili recipes.

Diced frozen peppers make a perfect topping for your homemade pizza.

A Mediterranean condiment can be made with red bell peppers by the process of lacto-fermentation.  In her book, Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon provides a recipe for delicious Pickled Red Peppers, preserved by lacto-fermentation, that is well worth the time it takes to make it.

Fresh Salsa, what a treat!  Our favorite recipe follows.

Salsa
1/2 cup cooked black beans
1/2 cup chopped onions
3 1/2 cups chopped red tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chopped green tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped sweet pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup honey
6 ounces tomato paste
1 teaspoon red chili pepper
Mix all together and enjoy!

Homemade Pizza Ideas

Homemade Pizza ingredients      Homemade Pizza
Homemade Pizza, what a treat!
With a few fresh ingredients and a little time you can make a great, nutritious and delicious pizza.

The photo on the left above shows the ingredients for one of my homemade pizza ideas.  When making whole wheat bread I used some of the dough to make this pizza crust.  The thin sliced Health Kick tomatoes are from my garden.  In the skillet I sauteed peppers and onions from my garden then added free range chicken raised on our farm.  I chose Monterey Jack cheese to top this pizza.  The small dish on the right contains olive oil and crushed garlic.

First brush the crust with the garlic oil
 Sprinkle a small amount of grated cheese on the crust
Place tomato slices over the cheese
Again sprinkle another small amount of cheese over the tomato slices
Next add the sauteed mixture and top with remaining cheese.

Bake in 450 degree oven until cheese is melted and crust is slightly brown.

Homemade Pizza Ideas:  Use your imagination.  Choose your favorite toppings ( peppers, herbs, onions, pepperoni, sausage, olives, chicken & pineapple, garlic, etc.) in the combination you enjoy.  Use tomato sauce or sliced fresh tomatoes. Choose your favorite cheese or cheeses.  Purchase a crust or make your own. Get the kids involved.  Have a pizza party, let everyone help add their favorite toppings.  Enjoy your homemade pizza!






Country Kitchen Recipe: Granola

Uwharrie Farm Granola


One of our best sellers at Farmers Markets and Health Food Stores.  Now you can enjoy the aroma of this granola baking in your own oven.  Following is the recipe.                     

          I hope you enjoy it.






Raisin Pecan Granola
Preheat oven to 325 degrees

8 cups organic rolled oats (regular-cut)
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup pecans

Mix together then add:

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Mix well and place in a large baking pan.  Bake 3 times for 13 minutes each time, stirring after each baking.  Allow to cool, then add 3/4 cup raisins.

Country Kitchen Recipe: Strawberry Cheese Pie

Strawberries from the home garden   Strawberry Cheese Pie   Strawberry Cheese Pie
Strawberries from the home garden, what a treat!  These are Chandler Strawberries from plants that I planted last October.

Strawberry Cheese Pie
1 envelope Knox Unflavored Gelatine
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1 (9-inch) prepared graham cracker crust

Mix gelatin and sugar in small bowl;  add boiling water and stir until gelatin completely dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Beat cream cheese and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until smooth;  slowly beat in gelatin mixture.  Pour into prepared crust.

Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.

Strawberry Topping:
3/4 cup cup water
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 quart strawberries, cut in medium size pieces

Place 3/4 cup water and 1/4 cup strawberries in a blender and blend well.  In a sauce pan stir together sugar and cornstarch.  Add water and strawberry mixture to the sugar and cornstarch mixture.  Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in remaining strawberries.  Refrigerate until completely cool.  Pour over top of cooled cheese pie.   Serves 8.







Country Kitchen Recipe: Pumpkin Pie

Preparing   Preparing Pumpkin Pie Filling   Pumpkin Pie

This is a pumpkin pie like Grandma used to make.  I used a Neck Pumpkin kept over winter from last year's garden.  First the pumpkin was peeled and cut into medium size pieces, then placed in a large pan with about a cup of water, covered and cooked on medium heat until tender.  This created enough pumpkin for  four pies.  The following recipe, however, is for two pies.  It is a good idea to measure excess pumpkin in correct portions for your recipe and freeze for later use.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

I place the following ingredients in my Vita Mix and blend at medium speed.

1 cup milk or soy milk                      1 1/2 cup brown sugar                                           

3 cups cooked pumpkin                    4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt                            3 tablespoons butter or smart balance

4 tablespoons flour                          1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Variation:  For a spiced pumpkin pie add - 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and 2 tablespoons molasses.

After blending pour into two pie crusts, The Best Pie Crust

Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then at 325 degrees for 25 minutes or until done.


Mexican Cornbread Made Easy

Mexican Cornbread Mix        

     Make your own Mexican cornbread mix!  It's economical, saves time and the quality is great.  Put the following ingredients in a large container with a snap on lid and mix well.  I snap the lid on my container, put my hands on the top and bottom of the container and shake very well for several minutes. 





Mexican Cornbread Mexican Cornbread Mix

6 cups organic unbleached flour
6 cups organic yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 tablespoons baking powder
4 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons dried organic Jalapeno peppers
12 tablespoons dried organic bell peppers
6 tablespoons organic white onion flakes



Mexican Cornbread
2 1/2 cups Mexican cornbread mix
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup melted butter, Smart Balance, or canola oil
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
2 eggs

Place a 10 inch cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a bowl, stir together eggs, buttermilk and (melted butter, Smart Balance or canola oil).  Stir in cheese.  Add Mexican Cornbread Mix and stir until well blended.  Remove hot skillet from the oven and coat with canola oil.  Pour batter into skillet, place in oven and bake 25 minutes or until done.


The Best Pie Crust

DSC_0552   

 

Yes, you can make the best pie crust!  This tasty crust has whole grains, is never soggy, has no preservatives or food additives, takes little time and  is easy to make.  Use it as soon as it is made or make a batch and freeze for convenient later use.  Just follow the recipe and photo illustrations below.




Recipe for two 9 inch crust
1/2 cup finely ground rolled oats                         1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole wheat bread flour                         1/2 cup canola or olive oil
1 cup unbleached bread flour                               5 Tablespoons cold water

Place oats, flour and salt in a bowl and stir well.  Add oil and water.  Stir to form dough.  Divide in half.

DSC_0543  DSC_0544  DSC_0545   Place dough on wax paper                 Flatten dough with your hand           Place 2nd wax paper on top

DSC_0546  DSC_0547   DSC_0548 Roll dough, remove top wax paper      Flip dough over on top of pie pan           Remove wax paper

DSC_0549  DSC_0550  DSC_0565  Adjust dough in pie pan                        Trim excess dough from edge               Make design on edge

There it is:  a crust worthy of your favorite pie recipe - sweet or savory.















Baking Great Homemade Bread in Your Kitchen!

Honey Oat Bread     Savor the aroma of fresh whole grain bread baking in your own  kitchen - fresh homemade bread, made with organic flour, using time - tested methods that develop great texture and delicious flavor with no hydrogenated oils or food additives. 
     Yes, you can make great homemade bread.  The process is fairly long but only takes a small amount of your time as most of the process involves waiting for the dough to rise and develop its flavor and texture. 

     Though there are a number of ways to make good bread, I prefer the Italian biga method.  A preferment called biga is made about 9:00 pm and allowed to slowly ferment overnight at a cool temperature before it is incorporated into the main dough the following morning.  The biga will add flavor and better texture to the bread.   It takes about 10 minutes to make the biga, about 30 minutes to make the main dough and about 10 minutes to shape the dough for baking.  The main dough may rise 2 -4 hours before you shape it and 2 -3 hours after shaping depending on temperature.  A slow cool rise, 60 - 65 degrees, creates a bread with better flavor and texture.  In the summer when our homes tend to be warmer than this a small ice pack in a cooler can create a cool place for bread to rise.

     Even though bread dough can be made totally by hand I enjoy using my KitchenAid Mixer with the doughhook attachment to make dough.  I simply place the ingredients in the bowl, turn it on slow speed and mix until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.

     Lets say you want to make bread on Saturday.  Friday evening at about 9:00 you make the biga, cover it and place it in a cool place to rise overnight.  Before breakfast Saturday morning you make the main dough, cover it and put it in a cool place to rise.  While it is rising you can do household chores, run some errands or go to a ballgame.  After 2 - 4 hours shape the dough and you have another 2 - 3 hours to do other things before you bake the bread.  In my convection oven (an oven that has a fan in it to evenly distribute the heat) I can bake as many as 6 loaves at one time.  Bread should keep 4 - 5 days in a cool room and also freezes very well.

 Shaped Bread Dough   

    Shaping the dough:  The photo on the left illustrates dough that is being shaped for loaves.  The dough is divided, rounded and then shaped into loaves.  After the dough is rounded you may need to wait a few minutes to allow the gluten in the dough to relax in order to work with it again.  I use about 1 1/2 lbs of dough for a loaf.  Below see how to flatten the rounded dough, roll it, pinch the top together and push in the ends to form a loaf.  Then it is placed in a loaf pan that has been brushed with vegetable or olive oil.


Flatten Dough Roll Dough Pinch Top of Dough Together Press ends of Dough in          

     In order to create a great loaf of bread, you must start with great ingredients.  Choose organic bread flour and organic whole grains for your health and quality bread.  Be aware that humidity and flour quality can cause the amount of flour and water needed in a recipe to vary.  In time you will get a feel for the proper proportions. The following recipe is one of my favorites and was our best seller at farmers markets.   Why not give yourself and your family a chance to experience the joy and satisfaction of delicious, nutritious homemade bread!

Honey Oat Bread Recipe

The day before you plan to bake bread place 1/2 cup organic oat groats (whole oats) and 1 cup of water in a pan, cover with lid and cook until the water is absorbed.  Refrigerate after cooking.  About 9:00 in the evening mix together 3/4 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon yeast and 2 cups organic unbleached bread flour.  Cover and let sit in a cool place overnight.

Bread baking day mix the final dough as follows:                                                             

Place 2 cups water, 2 teaspoons yeast, 1/8 cup vegetable or olive oil, 1/8 cup honey, 1 1/4 cup finely ground organic rolled oats, 1/2 cup ground flax seed, and 4 cups organic unbleached flour in mixing bowl and mix until it comes together to form a ball of dough.  Let rest 20 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the water.

Add 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, biga, and cooked oat groats.  Mix, knead and form in a ball.  Place in bowl brushed with vegetable or olive oil, cover and set in a cool place to rise.  It should rise 2 - 4 hours or until doubled in size.  Shape the dough into 3 loaves and place in loaf pans brushed with vegetable or olive oil.  Let rise until about 1 1/2 times the original size.  If the dough rises too much the top of the loaf will sink as it bakes in the oven.  When properly risen dough enters a hot oven you should get a nice oven rise.

Heat oven to 500 degrees.  Spray the top of the loaves with water, place loaves in the oven and change the oven temperature to 360 degrees.  Bake 40 minutes or until done.


Sweet Potato Bread Recipe

Sweet Potato Plants         Sweet Potato Plants planted on black plastic      

     Sweet Potatoes, yum!   They are great baked or used as an ingredient in breads, muffins, cakes, casseroles or waffles.  Not only do they taste great, they are also high in vitamins A and C, and a good source of fiber.  I like to plant my sweet potato plants the first part of June and harvest in October.  In the photos above sweet potato plants rest in their shipping box before being planted in a garden bed covered with black plastic.  The 3rd photo shows that the sweet potatoes harvested last fall have kept very well over the winter (they need a temperature between 55 and 60 degrees for storage - do not put them in refrigerator).  What more could we want?  They keep well without time-consuming processing,  taste great, are nutritious and can be used in many different ways!  The following recipe will satisfy your sweet tooth while providing much nutrition.  A combination usually lacking in sweets that you purchase.

Sweet Potato Bread

Sweet Potato Bread

                                               2 1/2 cups sugar                            2 teaspoons baking soda
                                               4 eggs                                              3 teaspoons cinnamon
                                               1 cup canola oil                               1 teaspoon salt
                                               2/3 cup water                                   2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
                                               2 cups whole wheat flour              1/2 cup raisins
                                               2 cups unbleached flour                1 cup pecans      

Cook, cool and smash sweet potatoes.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Coat the inside of three, 4 x 8 loaf pans with canola oil, then flour.  Cream sugar and eggs, blend in oil;  add water and all dry ingredients.  Mix well.  Add sweet potatoes and mix well.  Stir in raisins and nuts.  Pour into the three loaf pans and bake for 1 hour or until done.   These loaves freeze well.