Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rhubarb Roulade

I made this for our monthly cousin dinner. It was really yummy. I was really nervous because I have never made a roll before and I have never cooked rhubarb before. But it turned out great so I thought I'd share.

Rhubarb Roulade
Gourmet Cookbook (Thanks Emily! I love this cookbook!)

For cake
4 large eggs, separated
8 T granulated sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1/8 t salt
3/4 c all-purpose flour

For filling
1 lb rhubarb stalks, trimmed and finely chopped
1/2 c granulated sugar

Garnish: Powdered sugar for dusting
Accompaniment: Lightly sweetened whipped cream
Special equipment: A 15-by-10-by-1 inch baking sheet

Make the Cake: Put a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350F. Butter baking sheet and line with wax paper. Butter paper and dust with flour, knocking out excess. (I used Pam, and it didn't work too well. When I do it next time, I'll either use butter or A LOT of pam).

Beat together yolks, 5T of sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes.

Beat whites and salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters until they just hold soft peaks. Add remaining 3 T sugar a little at a time, beating until whites just hold stiff peaks.

Gently fold one third of flour and one third of whites into yolk mixture, then gently fold in remaining flour and whites in 2 more batches, making sure flour is throughly incorporated.

Spread batter evenly on lined sheet and bake until top is pale and dry to the touch, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer sheet with cake to a rack, cover cake with a kitchen towel, and cool for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Combine rhubarb and sugar in a 12-inch nonstick skillet and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until rhubarb is reduced to a thick puree, about 8 minutes. . Spread filling on a plate and refrigerate for 5 minutes.

Assemble the roulade: Remove towel and position cake with a short end nearest you. Spread rhubarb filling evenly over cake, leaving a 1-inch border on each short end. Put a platter next to far end of cake. Beginning with short side near you and using wax paper as an aid, roll up cake jelly-roll style. Carefully transfer roll seam side down to platter, using wax paper as an aid. cool cake for 45 minutes.

Dust cake generously with confectioners' sugar. Slice with a serrated knife and serve with whipped cream.

Cook's Note:
The rhubarb filling can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated, covered.

Mine is far from perfect, but for my first time I don't think it was too bad. Anyway, it still tasted delicious!

Another New Category

I just added dairy-free as a new category to the side bar. I have a lovely friend who has just found out that her newborn is allergic to milk, so well, that means something very unfortunate for a breastfeeding mother.

Laura has the added difficulty of being a vegetarian who can't eat dairy. Yikes!

One time, I had to go off dairy for 9 months because of a certain someone I was breastfeeding. (Actually, I should have gone off dairy for the other certain someone, but I didn't know better. Poor Baby Asher and his eczema, diarrhea, and vomitting!)

Then, I realized if we do have another baby, I'll probably be going off dairy again. (Seriously, I love Luke a little bit more for deciding he was done with that whole dairy problems at 9 months--just in time for buttery holiday goodness.)

Anyway, surely, Laura and I can't be the only ones in this camp. So, hopefully, this new category will be helpful to others.

Friday, February 26, 2010

This Italian's First Time Making Pasta

I love pasta, but I know that most of the pasta available at stores is not whole grain, nor soaked to reduce phytic acid. So I had reconciled myself to never having it except once in a while. But alas! The Nourishing Gourmet has a very simple recipe, either cut into strips, or large squares for "handkerchief" pasta.

Yesterday I made the handkerchief ones, and they are delicious! Probably due to the soaking process they do not taste as "wheaty" as some of the whole grain pasta I have bought. R even liked them, and he does NOT like it when I make whole wheat versions of things (like pasta and pizza).

I have not tried it yet, but since I bought some organic durum wheat berries at Foodwise a few days ago, I want to try them for my next pasta attempt. Durum wheat is the traditional grain used for pasta. I will be using the whole grain version by grinding up whole durum wheat berries, not semolina which I believe is not considered whole grain.

Handkerchief Pasta
3-3 1/2 cups of freshly ground whole wheat/spelt/durum wheat flour (I used hard red winter wheat)
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (I used apple cider vinegar)

1. You can use a Bosch to knead this dough, but I did it by hand since I have a Kitchen Aid and do not find it to be too great at kneading. (I want a Bosch! I am saving my pennies...) Combine water and vinegar in a glass or plastic bowl and then add 2 cups of the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon. Keep adding flour until you cannot stir it with the spoon anymore. Turn out on a floured surface and knead in more flour until the dough is feeling nice and stiff. You should have to knead 10 minutes or so, until the gluten really develops and the dough doesn't stick as much.

2. Oil a bowl with olive oil, placing your dough ball inside, and then flipping until coated with oil. Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel, and then set a heavy plate on top to firmly press the towel down. Find a warm place and leave on the counter overnight to soak. (I use my dehydrator set on 85 degrees.)

3. The next day, uncover your dough and do not worry if the top of the mound is darkened, it will not affect the flavor of your pasta. Cut dough into four pieces so you can work easily with each piece as you roll it out. Using arrowroot powder or white flour (white flour doesn't contain phytic acid, so it needs no soaking; I used arrowroot powder I got from Azure Standard), roll your dough very thin, to about 1/16 an inch thick or less. Then using a pizza cutter, cut into rectangular shapes, few inches per side.

4. Lay your cut pasta out on cooling racks, or just on the table or counter provided you flip them once in a while to ensure even drying. It should take about 12 hours to dry completely*, when they break crisply in half when you bend them.

*Store in a jar or bag for a few days/weeks? I am not sure how long they will keep, but I would guess about 2 weeks for optimal nutrition. You can also skip the drying and just make the dough the night before you want to serve it, and then use the freshly cut pasta for dinner the day you roll them out. They cook in about 2-3 minutes that way. We ate them last night over beef stroganoff, which was amazing. I need to post that recipe next!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chicken Taquitos

Delicious, easy, and not fried, so I can eat 6 topped with sour cream, guacamole, and salsa, right?

Chicken Taquitos from Our Best Bites

Now that I know this handy method, I need to think of some other fillings for taquitos. Any suggestions?

Skillet Carbonara Casserole

I love Carbonara pasta, but it always feels heavy, and I get nervous about making eggs into a velvety smooth sauce. I always think I'll scramble them! I like the ease of this dish with all the flavor of carbonara pasta. We skipped the bacon because I didn't have any, and the boys who could eat this still quite liked it.

Skillet Carbonara Casserole
Cook's Country

8 slices bacon, chopped fine
2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces we used whole wheat bread
1 1/4 c grated Pecorino Romano
salt and pepper
2 large eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
5 1/4 c water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 c white wine
1 pound penne

Fry bacon in large nonstick skillet (I used my cast iron skillet) over medium high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Pour off fat from pan, reserving 3 tablespoons (I used butter since I didn't have bacon).

Make topping: Pulse bread, 1/4 c cheese, 1/2 t pepper, 1/4 of cooked bacon and 2 T of reserved bacon fat in food processor until coarsely ground. Whisk eggs, milk, remaining cheese and 3/4 c water in medium bowl.

Simmer pasta: Heat remaining bacon fat in empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add garlic and 1 t pepper and cook until grafrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in wine and cook until reduced to 1/4 c, about 3 minutes.

Stir in remaining water, pene, and 3/4 t salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid is absorbed and pasta is al dente, 15 to 20 minutes. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat broiler.

Add sauce: Off heat, add egg mixture and remianing crisp bacon to pan and toss to combine. Top with bread-crumb mixture and broil until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and serve.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Real Food Links

First I read Nourishing Traditions, which I talked about in my previous post, and then:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

THE Chocolate Sheet Cake

So easy, so delicious. THE chocolate sheet cake I'll be making from now on.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread--SUCCESS!!

I have always loved sourdough bread, having grown up near San Francisco and eaten it happily for years. I remember my mom buying extra sour sourdough bread from the grocery store in a crackly waxed paper bag. But now I have learned about white flour and phytic acid and wish someone made 100% whole grain sourdough SOMEWHERE. I have never found a whole wheat sourdough loaf at any store, but I did finally find some recipes like this one at The Nourishing Gourmet.

First I ordered a whole wheat sourdough starter culture from Cultures for Health. Following the directions I got my starter bubbly and active. Then I was finally ready to try the recipe from TNG last week...and it was so-so. I noticed the dough did not rise as much as it should have, during both the first and second rises. It was also too dry, and when I baked it the bottom burned. I think TNG's recipe works in her area, but for the dry air of AZ the recipe needs adjustments.

Finally, I got out some more starter and gave it another try. I used less flour so the dough would be more moist. I covered my overnight rising dough much more thoroughly. I baked the dough at a lower temperature. I got a squirt bottle of filtered water to occasionally spray the loaves throughout the baking time. Voila!

I tripled this recipe, and when preparing my starter I fed it twice a day for two days to get it nice and sour.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
1 cup of sourdough starter
1/2 cup of filtered water
1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
2 Tablespoons-1/4 cup of honey, depending on how sweet you want it (I used 2 T.)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3-4 1/2 cups whole grain flour (I used 3 cups of freshly ground hard red winter wheat)
  1. In a large plastic bowl (NOT metal) combine starter, water, honey and olive oil. Mix well with a whisk.
  2. Start stirring in the flour, mixing with a wooden spoon until the dough becomes too stiff. Turn out onto a floured board with floured hands and knead in any remaining flour if you have any left. To knead, fold the top half of the dough onto the bottom half and then push the mound of dough together and up towards the top of your surface with the heels of one or both of your hands. Then turn the whole piece of dough 1/4 of a turn and repeat.
  3. Knead for about 10 minutes. The feel of the dough should change as time goes on. Your dough should feel less sticky and more firm by the time you are done. When you pinch the dough it should spring back a little bit.
  4. You are ready for The First Rise. Lightly oil a bowl, place dough inside and cover very well. Find a warm place to let rise. Depending on how warm and moist your house is this can take anywhere from 3-24 hours. Generally it takes 12 hours. The dough should double in size by the time it is ready. I covered my oiled bowl with a towel and a dinner plate pressing it down, then placed it in my dehydrator on 85 degrees overnight. This seems to be the best timing.
  5. Once your dough has doubled you are ready to shape it into a loaf. Press into a rectangle, then fold the long sides over to the middle to make a long skinny rectangle. Starting at the top, roll the dough down, sealing the edge as you go until your dough is formed into an oblong loaf. Pictures here are very helpful (look at "Step Three: The Shaping and Second Rising"). Place into well greased bread pans, or onto parchment for a free-formed loaf.
  6. You are now ready for The Second Rise. I put my loaves onto parchment, covered well with towels and into the dehydrator on 85 degrees. I put a ceramic bowl with boiling water in next to it to keep the air moist. You can recreate the moist air in your oven as well, by covering your loaves, setting a bowl with boiling water in with them and shutting the oven door. Either method should allow your loaves to rise more quickly, around 2-3 hours.
  7. I baked my loaves on parchment-lined cookie sheets at 350 for 35-50 minutes. (The original recipe calls for 375 degrees for 45-55 minutes, but that burned the bottom of my loaves the first time I made this bread. It could be because they were not in bread pans, that the air is dryer in AZ, that my dough was too dry, or some combination of those factors.) You will know your bread is done when you tap on the bottom and it sounds hollow.
  8. Cool on cooling racks and enjoy with grass-fed butter. And maybe some raw honey. Or some jam. Or maybe as a vehicle for your fried or scrambled eggs in the morning. Mmmmm.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Root Beer Cookies

Asher and Luke are loving these, and I love that they are not tempting to me at all...not because they aren't good. But, I've got a 12 pack of diet root beer that tastes the same without any of the calories.

Lentil Vegetable Soup

I should note first that I'm not a huge fan of vegetable soups or most lentil dishes, but when Ina writes up a recipe that uses these ingredients, well, I trust her, so I tried it. Then, there's Asher who is not as loyal to the Contessa as I am. I packed this soup in his lunch not even hoping he'd eat it because we were out of anything else to send him off with. He came home and said, "MOM, I ate all of my carrot and bean soup. Can I have some more now?"

With that in mind: Run, don't walk to make this soup! (And, if you have a bowl with these muffins for lunch, you'll be a happy camper.)

Lentil Vegetable Soup
Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Serves 8 to 10 I halved this recipe and felt like it made plenty!

1 pound French green lentils I used regular brown ones
4 c chopped yellow onions (3 large onions)
4 c chopped leeks, white parts only (2 leeks)
1 T minced garlic (3 cloves)
1/4 c good olive oil
1 T kosher salt
1 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1 T minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 t dried
1 t cumin
3 c medium-diced celery (8 stalks)
3 c medium-diced carrots (4 to 6)
3 quarts chicken stock
1/4 c tomato paste
2 T red wine or red wine vinegar I thought this was delicious already and left this out
freshly grated Parmesan cheese I never leave out cheese when a soup calls for it, but again, I just didn't feel like it was necessary

In a large bowl, cover lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.

In a large stockpot on medium heat, saute the onions, leeks, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent and very tender.

Add the celery and carrots and saute for 10 more minutes.

Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for one hour, until the lentils are cooked through. Check the seasonings.

Add the red wine and serve hot, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese. I skipped this last part.

Super Bean Burritos

These are super because they're delicious and you can freeze them. I snuck some cheese in Asher's, and he ate his (the kid hasn't gotten the memo that he can eat small amounts of dairy). But, I think these would be excellent substituting the cheese for a diary-free guacamole.

(You may remember this blog from before--Melanie has already blessed my life with THE cornbread recipe)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tangerine Tofu

For the past few weeks, I've been doing a real push to eat more like the books I read this past year (Omnivore's Dilemma and The End of Overeating). Less meat, more grass-feed dairy, local eggs, and less processed food overall. Fortunately, I've had k feeding me excellent recipes as I embark on this dietary change.

It's been an interesting learning experience. Some weeks, I totally rock it and have lots of good recipes to share (like this past week: Tangerine Tofu, Super Bean Burritos, Skillet Carbonara, and Vegetable Lentil Soup). Other weeks are painful, like the week before when we had bean dishes every. single. night. So, Friday, we went to McDonald's because I was going to throw up if I had to eat one more bean dish. I wish I could complain more about it, but um, I'm the person who does all the menu planning and the cooking.

After the disastrous Bean Week, I'm trying to do a pasta dish, an egg dish (with leftover pasta for Asher), a bean dish, and a meat dish each week. Nate has been a good sport about my experiments thus far. Wish I could say the same about the smaller boys.

Anyway...I made this dish last week, and the sauce tastes quite a bit like Panda Express' Orange Chicken. Unfortunately, Nate was working late most of the week, and he can't confirm that this is true. You'd want his opinion though because he is a connoisseur when it comes to Panda Express' Orange Chicken (note: the best is apparently at Fashion Square mall).

This is another Guy Fieri recipe. He makes it with flank steak, I used tofu. Drain the tofu first, but then, it's an easy substitute for the meat. Also, I've taken a picture of the chili sauce I used; it's sweet and not too spicy. I find there is a WIDE variation in chili sauces. This one added a bit of warmth to the dish but no heat.

Incidentally, I serve my kids tofu every so often. The extra oil (3 T in the recipe) fried this tofu up beautifully, and my kids loved it. In fact, Luke picked the tofu out and left the rice.

Friday, February 5, 2010

My Favorite Italian Salad Dressing

It used to be the Newman's Own light Italian dressing, but as I got more wary of canola oil I started going through the trouble of making my own. I made the version that came printed on my Pampered Chef salad dressing shaker, and it was okay, but not great. Not a satisfying alternative. But then, as most of my food adventures go, I discovered The Nourishing Gourmet and her recipe was delicious!

Our Everyday Salad Dressing
by The Nourishing Gourmet

1 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of Apple cider vinegar (I used Bragg's Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar--which I buy by the gallon from Azure Standard and it's CHEAP!)
1 teaspoon of onion powder
2 tablespoon of whole grain mustard or djion type mustard (I used whole grain)
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon salt

Mix together.