Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Oh, yum. You have to try this bread. Celine's 2 for 2 on her most recent bread recipes. They're both winners, but this is a bread that you can eat without toasting, adding Earth Balance, or anything. Just the same, you could make a kick ass peanut butter sandwich on it and make your children the most popular kids at the lunchtable.
Chocolate Almond Bread
makes a 1 1/2-pound loaf = 12 slices
1 cup + 2 T almond milk
2 T margarine
1/2 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
1 1/2 cup bread flour [lightly spooned & leveled]
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour [same]
1 T vital wheat gluten
1 T soy milk powder
3 T Sucanat
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips [they won't melt completely during the baking process, which makes for scrumptious discoveries while biting into the bread.]
3/4 t fine sea salt
1 1/2 t instant-rise yeast
1/3 cup chopped almonds
place all ingredients in your bread machine pan, following the manufacturer’s instructions. select “light crust” & “basic” settings. don’t forget to also select the appropriate loaf size setting. Remove from pan once bread is done baking, let cool completely before slicing and storing.
adapted from Betty Crocker’s Bread Machine Cookbook
Now I don't have a bread machine, but I just followed the adaptations that Celine provided.
Here's one of my "beans for breakfast" crockpot recipes:
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
- Coconut Craze Purely Decadent soy ice cream
- Whole Grain Milling Co. organic yellow corn chips with homemade salsa
- Anything that involves frozen peanut butter
- Carrots with ranch dressing (made with Veganaise)
- Super spicy-gingery dahl
- Buckets of homemade hummus
- Pickles, olives, and other salty treats that contribute to bloating
- Brownies, cupcakes, and straight up frosting
- Popcorn with tons of flax oil and nutritional yeast
- My massage chair
- Tiger Balm
- Seriously warm socks
- TV marathons of any type, but preferably some sort of CSI/Law and Order show
- Sweeties that will bring me more chips and ice cream when I need them
- Cramp bark, Vitamin B6, and borage oil
- Hot water bottles, hot tea, and snuggly kittens
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
While this is baking, steam up some broccoli or something else that's green and good for you.
Yesterday was cleaning day extraordinaire. I scrubbed every inch of the living room and bathroom. So today I'd really like to finish the rest of the house (or at least the kitchen). But with my to do list looking like this, I know I can't do it all.
Go to target for dog food and TP
Go to farmer's market for case of tomatoes
Make and can apple butter
Make and can tomato sauce
Grocery shop at the co-op
Bake bread for this week
Get canning jars at hardware store
Harvest from the garden
Clean the kitchen
Go to the yarn store
Relax a bit
Some of these things will have to be put off. I can't make my favorite pasta sauce without wine and all the liquor stores are closed on Sunday.
But I HAVE to get dog food or Hannah will eat me for dinner. And not harvesting the garden means lost food.
Since the eat local challenge ended I realized that my kitchen has been nearly purged of all preprepared foods. I'm going to try to stick with that, even if I'll be adding non-local foods like rice back into my life.
Sometimes its tough having a self-selected duty and passion for producing and preserving foods, though. It's a lot easier to eat from a box. Like last night: I was so hungry, but it was midnight and there were no quick and easy options. All I wanted was a box of Mac and chreese or a frozen pizza or something! We'll see how I do today... I should probably add "make a pizza crust" to my to do list!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I've been loving Celine's Foolproof Yeast Bread for the past 2 days. First I made it with regular whole wheat flour, soymilk, and sugar for the sweetener. But last night I mixed it up and used a hefty amount of curry powder and garam masala in the dough. YUM! Imagine the smell of baking bread wafting through your house PLUS the smell of a curry simmering on the stove. Next time I might use coconut milk for the liquid in the recipe to add more curry-ness. And apples would be good in there, too.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Last night I canned 2 quarts of peach pie filling, 4 half-pints of peach chutney, and 10.5 pints of peach jam. But I already had 10 half-pints of cherries and 4 pints of spiced apples sitting on the table. Oh, and three 16 oz bottles of tabasco vinegar. So it's time to find a place for this stuff.
This looks really boring, but it was bursting with flavor. I coated some little local potatoes with olive oil and covered them in smoked paprika, garlic, cayenne pepper, cumin, and salt. Then I roasted them until they were tender. They turned out nice and spicy, so it helped to have some cool coleslaw nearby!
This was from Friday. Doesn't it just look like a perfect day off of work?
Friday, September 12, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I haven't done much cooking in the last few days- But I did make some super local lima bean soup on Sunday and some biscuits. I grew lima beans this year, but I'm afraid that I could've purchased the 1/2 cup of beans I harvested for less money than I paid for the seed packet. This is the first money-losing venture in my garden, I think. Still, though, it was fun to have a lima bean, carrot, turnip, and kale soup from such sustainable sources. The carrots are from the farmer's market and the turnips from the co-op (both local). The kale is from the garden, of course. My lunch rocked today with that soup, some biscuits, and leftover homemade hummus.
I really want to go to the Squash Extravaganza at Featherstone Farm in Rushford, MN next week. Essentially I would be picking squash in exchange for food, free camping, and bonfires for 3 days. My boss is fine with me taking the days off work, so I'll see if I can swing it.
That's all for now...sorry for no pictures!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
The bottom layer was only about 3 (maybe 4?) inches in diameter and the top layer about 2 inches. So it was little and super cute! The cake is a vanilla-citrus flavor (lime, lemon, and orange) and the frosting is a cream cheese buttercream. The mini Gerber daisies from Artemisia will go on top. Perhaps the sister of the bride would send me a picture from the wedding (?)
And because I just didn't have enough sweets in the house, I decided to bake brownies tonight.
But these aren't just any old brownies...These are gluten-free, vegan, Fair Trade brownies!
They include not one, not two, but SIX Fair trade ingredients: chocolate, cocoa, brown sugar, vanilla, coffee, and bananas.
Now, I know you're wondering why the heck I'm baking with all these imported ingredients during the Eat Local Challenge. The truth is we're looking ahead to Fair Trade month in October at the co-op. It's a bit like Target putting out Christmas decorations in October, but we have to plan in advance! So Fair Trade is on my mind and I couldn't resist trying to pack as many Fair Trade ingredients as I could into one brownie.
Plus, when buying imported products I always like to make sure the farmers/producers were safe and paid a fair wage for their labor. Historically coffee, cacao, banana, (and other) farmers have received a minuscule fraction of the price that we pay in grocery stores. Most of the money goes to the importers and processors rather than the folks actually doing the growing. When I buy fair trade I know that I might pay a little more, but the money is going to farmers and communities who really deserve the compensation. Plus, most of the fair trade products I see are organic and co-operatively owned to boot!
I had to make these brownies gluten-free so that my sweetie could enjoy warm brownies after his adventures protesting the RNC today. He had the joy of getting tear gassed and having percussion grenades thrown at him (and hundreds of others) by cops, ATF, and National Guard officers while marching from the Capital to the RNC. So he NEEDED brownies.
You need brownies, too, though, so here's the recipe:
Fair Trade Brownies
(heavily adapted from King Arthur Whole Grain Baking)
1 cup of Earth Balance margarine
2 cups packed Fair Trade brown sugar (Wholesome Sweetners)
2 very ripe Fair Trade bananas (Oke)
1 Tbsp. Fair Trade vanilla extract (Frontier)
2 Tbsp. finely ground Fair Trade coffee (Peace Coffee)
3/4 cup Fair Trade cocoa (Equal Exchange)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 1/2 cups chopped Fair Trade chocolate bar (Divine)
Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 9 x 11 inch baking pan. In a small pan, melt Earth Balance over medium-low heat. Stir in brown sugar until fully dissolved, then remove pan from the heat. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Add banana and vanilla mixture and coffee grounds to the Earth Balance and sugar and stir to combine.
In a separate bowl, sift together cocoa, baking powder, salt, rice flour, tapioca, & xanthan gum. Add the liquid mixture to the sifted ingredients and stir until combined. Then fold in the chocolate chunks. Spread batter in the baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the brownies comes out clean. Let brownies cool before cutting them...if you can resist!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
The Pumpkin Cream Cheese cupcakes:
And the S'mores cupcakes (sans graham crackers on top):
I feel sick from frosting overload!
I'm doing the desserts for a wedding this week. Perhaps you remember the tasting back in July? Well, I just finished all 16 batches of cupcakes and 4 layers of the mini-wedding cake. I mean, I don't want to brag, but I rocked these babies out in no time and didn't even burn any. So I celebrated with a lunch break of homemade bread, freshly made hummus, and coleslaw with a side of Giada de Larentiis.
It's a little weird to take a vacation day from my usual job to do a different job. I'll end up making about the same amount of money as I would if I was at work, so it doesn't seem like it makes sense...but since it's paid vacation I really get paid twice over to bake while watching daytime TV. Woohoo!
I hope to finish everything today so that I can deliver tomorrow afternoon on a mid-day break. Our co-op's awesome flower supplier, Artemisia Flower Studio, really came through for me with some rockin' organic flowers for the cake. I've got to pick those up along with more Earth Balance shortening before I get started with frosting everything.
We're doing a co-op garden tour this weekend, so my garden needs some sprucing up in the next few days before it'll be presentable. Last night I finally pruned back the CRAZY huge blackberry branches that took over the berry patch and the kids helped feed them into a great bonfire. We've had some salvaged bricks sitting in our garage for about 3 years and I decided to use them to make a fire ring in the backyard. It's really nice to be able to have a fire- especially on a chilly night like last night! (Jealous, TX family?) The cool front couldn't have come at a better time- my oven was on for a good 6 hours today!
Monday, September 1, 2008
I swear I've still been cooking and eating, though! I've just been really busy. And when I've not been really busy, I've been really lazy. There's no in between for me, folks. It's all red light or green light.
Speaking of red and green, behold my first okra and tomatoes of the season:
The okra is from the farmer's market and the (massive) tomato is from the garden. I like my okra and tomatoes pretty simple- some salt, pepper, and garlic is really all it needs. But this time I threw in about 1/2 cup of some red wine I had left over from a tomato sauce and WOW! It was super good!
I'm a newcomer to the world of cooking with wine, probably because I'm not a wine drinker. They always say to choose a cooking wine of a good enough quality that you would drink it...But so far I haven't found that wine (I'm sure due to my taste buds rather than any fault of the wine). I've "settled" instead for using an organic red wine that was a gift years ago for fulfilling my newfound need for wine in sauces.
Have I mentioned the garden lately? We've got tomatoes galore, the broccoli is producing nice little side shoots now that the main heads have been harvested, and the pasilla peppers are going crazy! Here's what I hauled in yesterday: Those little tabasco peppers are floating in vinegar right now, making an amazing hot vinegar sauce for us to douse on our greens all winter.
I finally got around to canning some more jalapeños. These are actually part of the ridiculous jalapeño harvest of 2007. After making about 20 1/2 pints of escabeche last year, I still had a gallon bag of peppers in the freezer! They kept well, though, and are now becoming more escabeche (pickled jalapeños with carrots and onions).
Amid gardening, canning, and being lazy, I neglected to plan anything for dinner (Ironic, I know). So I succumbed to the lures of Pizza Luce and ordered a sun-dried tomato and green olive pizza while I started my next canning project.
Imagine the delivery guy's reaction as he opened the door to see a vicious black dog snarling and barking and a girl covered in blood-red spatter...
He did a double take and got the heck out of there.
Yeah, I was covered in dark sweet cherry juice after pitting 6 pounds of cherries. So was the kitchen wall. And my clothes.
But it was worth it! I have 2 quarts and 10 half-pints of cherries in a light maple & sugar syrup.
Now I'm enjoying my 1/2 day off work and getting things ready for the kids' first day of school tomorrow. I can't believe they're in 3rd grade!
PS- The state fair classes went really well! There were TONS of people there (of course) and we gave out plenty of fliers for future classes at the co-op. All that worrying for nothing...