Thursday, January 31, 2008

pineapple-coconut bars.

We had a baking afternoon with tropical flavors. The recipe, from the Tassajara Cookbook, makes a moist sweet cake-like bar. We were reading about pineapple and coconut in a book about elephants, so this tied in with our theme!

1/2 c. butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. almond extract
3/4 c. unbleached flour (I used organic whole wheat white)
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. flaked unsweetened coconut
8 oz. crushed pineapple (you can use a can, but I had fresh)

In a big bowl, beat the gutter and sugar together until creamy. Add in the eggs and almond extract. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add to the butter mixture until well blended. Stir in coconut and pineapple.

Spread the mixture into a greased & floured 9x9 square baking dish. Bake at 350ºF for 25-30 minutes or when top springs back to touch. Let cool.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

egg salad.

Those sandwich rolls I baked? They are great with egg salad. My "egg lady" had many more eggs this week. Happy hens - they sure lay good eggs. And the fresh sprouts on top? YUM!

This egg salad is from a recipe in The Garden of Eating with the normal Denise tweaks.

egg salad

1 dozen hard boiled eggs, crumbly
2 tsp stone ground mustard
1/4 tsp turmeric or yellow curry powder
1/4 tsp ground chipotle
1 tsp ground sea salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp great quality apple cider vinegar
1/2 c good quality real mayonnaise* (natural or homemade)
Freshly cut chives, if available.

*you can substitute tahini instead of mayonnaise

Mix it all together. Tweak to your personal taste!

sandwich rolls.

I have fresh sprouts, I made fresh egg salad from our extra eggs this week, and so I had to make sandwich rolls! I made six rolls out of the dough--for smaller buns make 8. I used the bread machine for the knead and first rise cycle. You can knead and rise by hand-the first cycle would be about 45 minutes to rise before cutting into individual rolls.

Dough makes 6-8 sandwich rolls

1/2 c milk
1/2 c water
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
3 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
1 Tbsp melted coconut oil (or use add'l butter)
2 tsp raw sugar (or can subst. honey, agave, etc.)
1/4 c ground flax seed
3 c whole wheat flour
3 tsp gluten
1 tsp fine ground sea salt
2 tsp yeast

egg wash & toasted sesame seeds

Place the ingredients in the bread machine according to your machine instructions. Program for the dough cycle and press start. Run only through the knead and 1 rise on the machine.

Parchment-line a baking sheet (or lightly grease). After the 1st rising cycle ends immediately remove the dough and place on a lightly floured work surface. Cut the dough into 6 or 8 equal parts. Gently form the rolls into rounds/balls. Place the rolls on the baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. For sesame seeds -- mix an egg wash, brush on dough rolls, and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375º F.
Place the baking sheet on a rack in the center of the oven and bake until lightly browned, for 18-22 minutes. Remove from oven and cool before slicing.

You can make these rolls using soaked whole grain flour. Here is how.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

cider...3 months later.

After 3 months of natural fermentation, our cider was (finally) ready for bottling. We did it last night. Only a few more weeks to go! My husband blogged about it here.

sprouted grain bread.

Today we made bread using the sprouted grains we started on Friday. I tweaked the recipe a little to get a lighter loaf than I have gotten in the past using sprouts--and this came out just right. Since my boys help with bread making I use a bread machine.

1 cup sprouted grains (I used a mix which included organic wheat, rye, barley, triticale, oats, spelt, kamut, quinoa, sesame, millet and amaranth)
about 1 c milk (see note in directions*)
1/2 c + 3 Tbsp water (tweaked)
3 c whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp organic brown sugar (can also use honey, agave, etc.)
2 Tbsp softened butter
1 Tbsp softened coconut oil (you could also just use more butter)
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp yeast
>>optional...2Tbsp vital wheat gluten

Blend sprouted grains in a food processor until they are a course meal. Measure 1 cup of the ground grains into a large cup measure. Leaving the grains in the cup, pour fresh room temp milk over the grains to the 1 cup mark* (This compensates for liquid present in fresh sprouted grains). Place this mix into the bread machine pan. Measure the 1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp room temp water and add that into the bread machine also. Add the rest of the ingredients into the machine pan in the order your bread machine recommends. Select the wheat cycle and light crust.

Check your pan during the knead cycle--with the sprouts I find I need to run a rubber spatula in a few times to get everything together.

The bread has a great rich nutty flavor and not much crumb. Very good! The boys love it warm, with fresh butter and honey.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Today our new sprouter and sprouting seeds arrived. We like to sprout grains for breadmaking, and wanted a convenient sprouter to use. The combo we selected for bread is called Amber Waves of Grain. It is a mix of organic wheat, rye, barley, triticale, oats, spelt, kamut, quinoa, sesame, millet and amaranth. I think this might be the first recipe we use with this combination. These books also have some good recipes:

The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking

Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor

Can't Wait!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

japanese foods that heal.

Japanese Foods That Heal: Using Traditional Ingredients to Promote Health, Longevity & Well-being
by Jan Belleme

Those of you who are interested in TF should check out this book. While I am by no means a TF (Traditional Foods) expert, my experiences and reading lead me to find many tie ins with traditional foods and the 18 key ingredients in this book.

For us, buying local ingredients is important. We try to purchase local veggies, meats, and dairy - and being in such a rich farm area, we can do that much of the year. There are always going to be certain things we buy that are not local -- citrus, spices, coffee/tea, salt, vitamins, etc. In pursuing our interest in traditional foods, those concepts also tie in with our eat local goals - as the base ingredients should be and can easily be what is available here, and the other items we purchase using quality/organics as much as we can for the full benefit.

Japanese Foods That Heal goes through key traditional ingredients of Japan which evolved into the diet historically due to their health benefits. Now, the authors admit most Japanese no longer eat this way, but there are still companies who are preserving centuries old traditions and methods to produce these ingredients (very cool!).

There are 18 ingredients in the book - including miso, sesame oil, tamari, amazake, kuzu, brown rice vinegar, noodles, tofu, and sea vegetables, to name a few. Each chapter is dedicated to one item, and covers the history, traditional harvest and preparation, health benefits, recipes, and how to find/buy here in the US.

It is a great resource book, has interesting information and history, and ties in so many of the things I have read in the current traditional foods and fermentation books that it all just clicked. Definitely a good read.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

honey oatmeal cookies.

What to do with the fresh delicious honey we just got last weekend? Cookies, of course.

3 Tbsp butter (room temp)
1/4 c honey
1/2 c brown sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp water
1/2 c flour (I used whole wheat pastry)
1/2 tsp ground sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 c rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease a cookie sheet.

In a bowl or mixer, mix together the butter, brown sugar, honey, egg and water.
In a different bowl sift together the dry ingredients and then stir the oats in.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix all together.
Drop small balls/teaspoon sized balls onto the cookie sheet.
Bake 10 to 13 minutes.
Cool on a rack.

ingredient tip::
I like to add things into recipes. Not only because I am not capable of following a recipe without changing it (or a pattern), but also because I like adding things to recipes that not only taste good but that are good for us too. Toss in a handful of ground flax to cookies or bread recipes - tastes great plus you get the omega 3s. Substitute whole wheat pastry flour for the bleached out stuff--more vitamins and minerals from the whole wheat, but the cookies/cakes/breads still are tasty and light. Added bonus and easy to do!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


We try to make most meals from scratch. With the boys we do have organic frozen waffles, crackers, popcorn, etc. in our pantry, but for grown up meals we are about 90% homemade. The other 10% is our Friday night pizza night for the boys, and something else here and there when we are out.

With work and little people and everything going on, many moms ask how I can cook that much. In the summer we steam veggies from our garden or CSA and combine that with something (rice, pasta, bread, greens, etc.) to make a meal. In the winter, I tend to make a big pot of something, and we eat it for a few days..

I like to combine a few basics with whatever we have in season/in our pantry. Once you know what tastes good together, you can easily just chop and saute a bunch of items, toss into the slow cooker with some stock and soaked beans or grains, and let it a few hours you have a great meal.

A few staples (organic when possible) I try to keep available to integrate into recipes for their health benefits or versatility:

-coconut milk
-sesame oil
-sea salt
-good stock or bone broth
-frozen herbs from last summers garden
-dry grains/beans (soak or cook before putting in crock)
-good quality unfiltered apple cider vinegar
-milk & butter from grass fed cows

More info on many of the ingredients can be found in this great book. Recipes coming soon!


Ahh, just when we were about out, the local farmer we get our wheat from tells us he is extracting his honey. Gotta love it. And the color and smell are just that much better on these dark gray January days.