August 18, 2014
I am typing this post on my new laptop. Finally going totally wireless. Still working out the setup and downloading all my toys but so far I can't wait to clear my desk.
I can not say I will miss any of the old hardware, but for almost 8 years, it did me well.
Soon I will be upstairs printing downstairs.
With all the extra space this set-up will create may actually be enough room for all my cookbooks, which at the present moment are all on the couch due to homework on my last recipe contest.
While I enjoy getting experience creating, testing and reworking recipes for these contests, it is always welcome when I post my last entry. While I can sometimes post up to four recipes, I often make 6-7 test runs. Sometimes I hit the mark immediately and other times, I find that it could take up to 4-5 tries before I am happy with the result.
The ones that are left on the cutting room floor often eventually find themselves posted here. Such was the case with this bread.
In this house, the loafs were deemed (in this order),
Best French Toast ever
Rose like a balloon and in record time
Easy to make
Freezes like a dream
The healthiest bread that anyone could eat that was tender but firm and moist with tons of flavor.
The secret ingredient? whole grain oats. Yup. You could use Old Fashioned, Quick Cooking or Instant oats, as long as they are whole grain. For the first batch I used Old Fashioned and the second was Quick Cooking. I could tell no difference, so whatever you usually have in the house is fine.
One other thing I noticed. Now, it's the middle of the summer and we all know anything bread left out tends to mold faster than those that are placed in the fridge. I left the first one out all week and it never molded or dried out. Only wrapped in plastic with no towel at the bottom, I have to say the bread for the French Toast was moist instead of dry (like you would like for French Toast) but it soaked up the egg custard and the inside was souffle-like and the outside developed a great crust.
If you get the chance to make this bread, let me know what you think. The fact that it's loaded with fiber is a great way to start your day and the oats are oober healthy and a great grain for diabetics.
We all know that oats are great for lowering cholesterol and preventing heart disease. What's not to love?
During the week I spread peanut butter on a slice with dollop of no sugar added jam. I find that I am not so hungry when lunchtime rolls around.
I made this in my Kitchen Aide using the dough hook, but a bread machine would also work. If you are lucky enough to own a large food processor, that would also work.
Recipe can be successfully halved to make one loaf, in which case a 5-6 cup processor would be fine.
makes 2 full sized loaves
* 2 cups boiling water
* 2/3 cup instant non fat milk
* 1 tablespoon shortening
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 tablespoon salt
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 2 envelopes yeast
* 1/2 cup tepid water
* 1 cup whole grain rolled oats
* 4 tablespoons molasses
* 4 tablespoons honey
* Flour (about 6 cups)
Preheat oven to 375°
1. Mix 2 cups boiled water, instant milk, shortening, butter, salt, sugar, molasses and honey in a bowl.
Let cool down. Dissolve yeast in tepid water - then add to warm water mixture. Add oats.
2. Start with about 1 cup moist mixture and add 1 cup flour. Repeat until all the mixture is tacky to the touch but pulls off cleanly.
3. Knead on medium speed for 10 minutes in a stand mixer and 3 minutes in a food processor. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to double (abut 2 hours). Punch the dough down but don't knead.
4. Cut dough in half and add one to each pan. Allow to rise.
5. Bake at 375° till golden brown (about 40 minutes).
Remove and cool. Can be wrapped and frozen for up to one month.
August 16, 2014
The first few times I watched Mexican Made Easy with Marcela Vallolid, I was not bowled over. Reminded me of every cookie cutter cooking show the Food Network was showcasing as their weekly daytime lineup.
Over time, I would watch Barefoot Contessa and then switch over to PBS, TNT and TBS. I missed the shows that taught you how to cook a cuisine, even The Nudge could chop an onion but he had no clue what to cook with them. I quickly became bored and put all the daytime cooking shows into one category....."useless".
As time dragged on and many shows came and went, I noticed a few chef's starting to rise above the ordinary, showing that they had substance. When The Nudge is impressed with a chef, I tend to take notice. Marcela totally impressed us both.
While her early days of Mexican Made Easy were uninspiring, as she gained popularity I noticed her format changed and she was getting creative with Mexican spins on America classics (like Lidia did in her Italy in America series). Go Marcela! The other day she was making a Mexican Meatloaf and it was the fresh roasted salsa topping that caught my eye. I could do that with Italian Sausage as a pasta dish. It was low fat (turkey sausage), high fiber (whole wheat pasta), diabetic friendly and so, soooo easy. Of course, you could omit the sausage and make it vegetarian.
Two whole tomatoes, half an onion, quartered with root end, three cloves of garlic, skins on, half a jalapeno, seeds removed and one ripe bell pepper.
I love the simplicity of this recipe. Two pots (one for the pasta, the other for the sauce), a processor, penne pasta and sausages (optional). The deep flavor is obtained by dry roasting all the vegetables in a cast iron pan, then pureed and returned to simmer. It was then that I added the sliced sausage. A final toss with pasta and Parmesan and dinner is served.
Perfect for dining al fresco and just enough leftovers for lunch.
I think it's time for a little more Mexican research.
Pan Roasted Tomato Salsa
makes 2 heaping servings
* 2 medium whole tomatoes
* 3 cloves garlic, peels on
* 1 sweet onion, peeled and quartered with root end intact
* 1 sweet pepper, red, yellow or orange, quartered, seeded and ribbed
* 1 small whole jalapeno, stemmed
* 1/4 cup white wine
* 2 cups dried penne
In a dry heavy bottomed pan (cast iron or Dutch oven), place the tomatoes, garlic, onion quartered, jalapeno and quartered pepper flesh (skin side down) in one layer. Turn the pot on medium high and blister the vegetables until they start to get black all over. Remove the vegetables as they blacken, peel the garlic, cut off the onion root ends and top the jalapeno. Place everything into a blender or processor and puree to a thick salsa consistency (not a smooth sauce). Return the puree to the iron pan and simmer, adding the white wine and simmer, covered while the pasta cooks.
Drain the pasta, saving some of the water, and toss with the salsa. Add enough water to allow the pasta to flow. Shut off the heat, add the Parmesan and ladle into a large bowl.
Serve with additional cheese (optional).
August 10, 2014
Are you tired of the traditional sweet potato casserole?
I was and for quite awhile now I have been tinkering with creating savory struesels. You know, to top almost any vegetable casserole you can think of.
Put those boring bread crumb topping recipes away and stray into the world of, not only crunchy, but over the top savory, flavorful with creamy and sweet components.
It will turn your world upside-down and make you the hit of your next holiday table.
“By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by National Dairy Council and the Quaker Oats Center of Excellence and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”
The National Dairy Council and Quaker Oats Center of Excellence have partnered with The Recipe Redux to sponsor a contest to get the word out that Oats + Dairy make a powerful combo for you and your family. It's a sad fact but most Americans do not get their daily serving recommendation of either. Surprised that dairy is up there? I was, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense, and if this sounds familiar at your house, maybe we need to show you ways to get the whole grains and dairy into every one's diet, not just with hot oatmeal. Those people at the National Dairy Council and Quaker Oats Center of Excellence know what they are doing. Now it's our turn to pass it on to you.
In a nutshell, Oats + Milk = Protein + Fiber + 9 Key Nutrients. That's a pretty big deal. don't you think.
We all have heard how oatmeal is a Super Food. Oatmeal paired with dairy is a Power Meal.
I like to feel that those moms who sneak vegetables into dishes without anyone being the wiser, already have 1 up on the rest of us. But what about whole grains? Did you know that foods made with whole wheat flour is not the same as foods made with whole grains? Whole wheat provides fiber but no more nutrients than regular all-purpose flour.
Whole grains also control blood glucose for diabetics and prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. Pretty cool, huh? Whole grains contain nutrients that keep your blood in tip-top shape and help strengthen your bones. Also, and this is my favorite, it's high in Vitamin A which humans need to protect your eyes. No more supplements needed, just eat oats. Dairy is perfect for calcium (your bones) and don't forget those pearly whites. Time to save money on dentist bills.
Put dairy + oats in the same room and you can feel the mood change. Happy kids in the morning, happy kids all day. Studies show that children who eat oats and dairy maintain a healthier weight, much better nutrition and they do better in school.
Hey, digestion is important. No one wants a sour tummy.
When I first read about potato fondants, I had to look it up. Seems it's a European way they shape pieces of potato, just like the French make the torpedo "tourne" potatoes. My mind immediately put a hollow in those fondants and stuffed them with a savory struesel made with oats!! These were divine and even the kids will flip over them, and yes, they are healthy.
Makes 4 servings (3 fondants each)
* 4 sweet potatoes, uniform size about 5" long , cut crosswise into 3 (1/2-inch) pieces
* Salt & pepper
* 4 ounce packet of reduced fat goat cheese, very cold
* 1/2 cup quick cooking whole grain oats
* 1/3 cup walnut pieces, chopped fine
* 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 1/2 stick cold unsalted butter
* 1/4 cup flour, your choice
Preheat oven to 350°.
1. Using a paring knife and melon baller, remove the insides of each piece of sweet potato, leaving 1/4" around the outside and half way to the bottom (as you would for twice baked potatoes of potato skins).
2. Season with salt and pepper and bake on a prepared sheet pan for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a processor, add the walnuts and pulse until they are the size of a whole oat.
3. Add the flour, brown sugar, the oats and the butter. Process to evenly combine. Remove to a bowl.
4. Break up the goat cheese with a fork or your fingers and add to the oat mixture, gently mixing till evening combined. aste and adjust seasoning.
5. Spoon 1/12th the mixture into each hollow and place on a baking sheet. (At this point, they can be covered and refrigerated until ready to serve. Bring to room temperature.)
6. Bake for 15 minutes; place under the broiler for 4-5 minutes until the tops are browned.
Now, take your bow and enjoy the applause!!!!