Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Oatmeal Bread With Sunflower Seeds-Recipe Below

Oatmeal Bread With Sunflower Seeds

This is a very heavy, moist oatmeal bread. Certainly, the recipe could be made omitting the sunflower seeds and wheat bran. Quick cooking oats would also be a suitable substitution. I like to brush the tops with a mixture of equal parts molasses and water and then dust them lightly with a bit of oatmeal-but this would work just as well rubbing a bit of margarine on the loaves as they come from the oven (for a softer crust). This bread makes wonderful toats.

You Will Need:

2 ¼ teaspoons granulated dry yeast
½ cup lukewarm water
1 cup old fashioned oats
½ cup whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat bread flour)
½ cup brown sugar or molasses
1 tablespoon salt (less if using salted sunflower seeds)
½ cup sunflower seeds (more or less to taste)
3 tablespoons wheat bran
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 cups boiling water
5-6 cups bread flour

Dissolve the yeast in warm water and let proof. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, salt, butter, sunflower seeds, and wheat bran. Pour on the boiling water, and stir. Cool to lukewarm, and add yeast. Mix in half the flour and then gradually add the rest until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Place in buttered bowl and let rise slowly until doubled (about 2 hours).

Punch dough down and shape into loaves. Place in very well buttered pans. Let rise a second time until almost doubled in bulk (about 45 minutes). Brush with water and molasses, and dust lightly with oats. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until bottom sounds hollow when rapped with knuckles. Cool on rack.

This bread had a pretty short shelf-life because it is so moist, it tends to go mouldy after a few days. Placing it in the icebox will help preserve it.

Cherry Pie-Recipe Below

Cherry Pie

For this pie I made use of frozen cherries (it is November, you know). I suppose my primary bias against tinned cherries is the cost, though I suspect the results would be similar. If you decide to use tinned cherries, I’d dramatically cut down the cooking time in cornstarch-perhaps adding them as the mixture begins to thicken.

For the crust, I used my standard recipe which contains no sugar and is made from vegetable shortening without any buter. If you decide to use a part-butter crust, brush the inside with an egg white first to give it some extra stability and to reduce the soggy factor.

For the crust:

3 cups all purpose flour

1 ¼ cups solid vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup very cold water
1 egg
1 tablespoon vinegar

Sift flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in shortening. Beat egg in water and add vinegar. Add to flour/shortening. Combine and let stand a few minutes before rolling out.

For the filling (9” size)

¾ cup sugar (more or less depending on the sweetness of the fruit)
3 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
¾ cup water
4 (generous) cups frozen cherries (I used dark, sweet variety)
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla (or 1 teaspoon almond extract)
¼ cup heavy cream
granulated sugar for dusting

Mix sugar and cornstarch in a large heavy pot and gradually add water until dissolved. Add fruit. Heat over medium heat (don’t over-do it or the mixture will quickly scorch) until thickened. Remove from heat. Add extract. Pour into pie shell, dot with butter, and top either with a lattice crust or using cut-outs (can be prepared ahead of time-and in the case of the lattice, really should be). Very carefully, brush the cream onto the lattice taking care not to drip onto the pie. Sprinkle with sugar and place in the oven at 400 degrees F. for ten minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F. and bake until browned checking every five minutes after an initial twenty. Mine took about forty minutes total, but ovens vary. I also used a glass pie plate.

Cool completely before slicing (this will take a good six hours-I’m not kidding, that stuff gets scalding hot).

Friday, November 03, 2006

Chick Pea Salad-Recipe Below

Chick Pea Salad

This is the best dish I make. Really, that’s not exaggeration. Everyone that tries it, loves it. The recipe was from the newspaper food section a million years ago, and I’ve made some changes such as substituting dried sage for fresh-but basically, it was intended to be simple to prepare.

You Will Need:

3 tablespoons olive oil
8 fresh sage leaves (or dried sage that you rub yourself)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ teaspoon salt (more if preparing chick peas from dried)
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon thyme
pinch of cinnamon
2 tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Heat oil with sage and garlic over medium heat in a frying pan, taking care not to burn the garlic. Heat about three minutes or until fragrant (and it will be fragrant). Stir in other spices. Add chick peas and remove from heat. Stir well and sprinkle with lemon juice. Serve warm, or at room temperature.

Then, sit back and accept the compliments.

Sally Lunn and Black Bean Soup Recipes

This was my first attempt at a Sally Lunn, and it was fantastic. Since my stand mixer is waiting for repair, I’ve been trying breads that don’t require quite as much kneading and batter bread is as simple as it gets.

A month ago I purchased the tube pan with a false bottom for about a dollar and have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it. I’m pleased to say that the bread came away from the pan with little effort, and it cleaned up quickly and simply.

The crust was buttery and crunchy while the inside was light and flavourful. In terms of simplicity, I cannot think of a less challenging bread. The recipe that follows comes from Beard on Bread, which I find myself returning to after many years. Most of the recipes are adaptable for bread flour but I made the Sally Lunn with all purpose and it worked well. After baking artisan breads for so long, it is a nice change to do a more delicate type of loaf. I served the bread with a dinner of black bean soup served over rice with a dollop of seasoned, mashed pumpkin.

For the Bread:

2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup lukewarm water
½ cup lukewarm milk
1 stick butter (unsalted) melted in milk
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3 ½ -4 cups all purpose flour

Combine yeast, sugar and warm water in mixing bowl and let proof. Add milk, butter, salt and stir well. Add eggs and blend well. Using a wooden spoon (I don’t know why, but that’s what Beard suggests) add the flour in small amounts until you have a stiff but workable batter. Cover the bowl and let rise slowly (took about 2 ½ hours here) in a cool place until doubled in bulk. Beat it down (again, with the wooden spoon) for about a minute. Scrape into a very well buttered tube pan (9 or 10 inch) and cover again, letting it rise until it has reached the very top of the pan.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. and bake 40-50 minutes until the top is dark and sounds hollow when rapped with knuckles. Turn out of pan and cool on rack. Serve warm or cold (easier to slice cold).

For the Black Bean Soup:

1 package black beans (rinsed, sorted, and soaked overnight)
5 large carrots (diced)
4 bay leaves
1 large onion (chopped)
4-5 cloves crushed garlic
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon chilli powder (more or less to taste)
4 chicken bouillon cubes (you could of course use broth if you have it handy-be sure to adjust for more salt)
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil (use the inexpensive type for this)
1 cup frozen corn (tinned ok, but soak to get rid of salt)
(*optional-1 small tin of tomato paste, a tablespoon of chipotle sauce, small cubes of boiled potatoes)

In a large pot, cook the beans by covering well with water, bringing to a boil and then immediately reducing to simmer. Cook with lid slightly tilted to vent for about two hours. Drain.

Using the same pot (why dirty another one?) add about six cups of water to all ingredients except for the corn and olive oil. Bring to a boil and again reduce to simmer for at least an hour but as long as three. When carrots and onions have all but fallen apart, strain, reserving liquid. Put the solids through a food processor until smooth. Return to pot. Slowly, add enough of the broth to get a nice consistency we prefer our soup on the stew-like side, you may prefer to thin it down a bit). Add the corn and olive oil and re-warm before serving. I serve this in a bowl over rice (brown works well for a hearty meal) with a dollop of roasted and mashed pumpkin that has been seasoned with garlic salt and olive oil.

This is one of my 22 month old son’s favourite meals-we call it “chunky chew”. I even made-up a song about it (doesn’t everyone sing to their children during meals?)

“The Chunky Chew Song”

Oh the baby likes to eat his chunky chew
Oh the baby likes to eat his chunky chew
Yes he eats it every day
And he always says, “ok!”
Oh the baby likes to eat his chunky chew
Chew! Chew! Chew!

Yeah, all right, go ahead and laugh, but he eats his vegetables. You don’t want to know what I have to do to get him to eat oatmeal…