Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Mixes

This is what I made to give this year:

Chicken Noodle Soup Mix in a Pint Jar.
From: Layered Soup Mixes in Jars by Jackie Gannaway

Seasonings: Mix in a small bowl (I just mixed in the bottom of the jar)
1 Tbsp dried minced onion
1 Tbsp chicken bouillon granules
1 Tbsp dried celery (actually called for 1 tsp celery powder which I couldn't find)
1/2 tsp pepper

2 cups wide egg noodles (I used medium which I personally like better)
1 (5 oz can chicken) to attach to jar

Place ingredients in jar in this order

Place seasonings in jar first. Seasonings are place in jar loose. Press seasonings down firmly.
Fill jar with noodles
Put lid on jar.
Attach can of chicken to top of jar.
Attach recipe to jarl

Chicken Noodle Soup

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a medium pan.
Add soup mix and chicken. Break up chicken meat well with a fork
Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer uncovered 12-15 minutes or until noodles are tender.

Makes 4-5 cups soup.

Homemade Whole-Grain Pancake Mix
Whole grains are coming on strong, and our aim at King Arthur is to make them easy for you to swallow—literally! The following pancakes are just shy of 50% whole-grain; and they're absolutely delicious, featuring the sweet-nutty taste of oats.

This mix not only makes an exceptional pancake, it's remarkably easy to use. The proportions couldn't be simpler: 1 cup of mix, 1 cup of buttermilk, 1 egg. If you're not in the habit of having buttermilk around, reconsider: you can freeze leftover buttermilk, in 1-cup portions, for future batches of pancakes. You can also use buttermilk in yeast bread, muffins, quickbreads... most anyplace milk is called for, buttermilk is a rich-tasting, creamy-yet-low-fat stand-in.

These pancakes taste wonderful, puff up beautifully, hold in a low oven for half an hour without getting tough or rubbery, and they're more than willing to act as a vehicle for any kind of fruit addition. A partial list of combinations that have made successful appearances so far: peach, raspberry, banana-walnut, cheddar-apple, blueberry, and cranberry-apricot.

This recipe comes from Susan Reid, editor of King Arthur's Baking Sheet newsletter and co-author of The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion and The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. Each Christmas she prepares a giant batch, divvies it up, gift-wraps it, and gives it to family and friends. We've beefed up its whole-grain content with a touch of whole wheat flour, but other than that have left her original pretty much alone. Thanks, Susan!

Pancake Mix

4 cups (17 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
3 1/2 cups (12 1/4 ounces) old-fashioned or rolled oats
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) sugar
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup (7 ounces) vegetable oil

To make the mix: Grind the oats in a food processor until they're chopped fine, but not a powder. Put the flour, oats, and all other dry ingredients into a mixer with a paddle. Mix on slow speed, and drizzle the vegetable oil into the bowl slowly while the mixer is running. When all of the oil has been added, stop the mixer and squeeze a clump of mix in your hand. If it holds together, it's just right. If it won't hold together, stir in tablespoonfuls of oil, one at a time, until the consistency is correct. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature, or indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer. Yield: 10 cups dry mix.

To make pancakes: Whisk together 1 cup of mix, 1 cup of buttermilk (you can use soured milk, but buttermilk gives noticeably superior results; a combination of half plain yogurt and half milk also will do), and 1 large egg. Don't worry if it seems thin at first: the oats will soak up the milk, and the mix will thicken a bit as it stands. Let the batter stand for at least 15 minutes before cooking.

Heat a lightly greased griddle to 350°F (if you've got a griddle with a temperature setting; if not, medium-hot will do). Drop the batter onto it in 1/4-cupfuls (a jumbo cookie scoop works well here) to make a 3 1/2-inch diameter pancake. If you have English muffin rings, use them; they make a perfectly round, evenly thick pancake. When the edges look dry and bubbles come to the surface without breaking (after about 90 seconds, if your griddle is the correct temperature), turn the pancake over to finish cooking on the second side. Yield: a batch using one cup of the mix will make about ten 3 1/2-inch pancakes.

Note: If you don't have buttermilk in the house, but do have buttermilk powder, try this: In place of the buttermilk, add 2 tablespoons buttermilk powder to 1 cup of dry mix, then stir in 1/3 cup water and 1 large egg.

Variation: Add 1 tablespoon orange juice to the dry mix along with the buttermilk. We've found that the acidity and sweetness of the orange juice helps mellow the tannic taste some people perceive in whole wheat flour; while the pancakes won't have any orange flavor, they may taste slightly milder to you, if you're not a fan of whole wheat flour (but still want to get more whole grains into your diet).

Nutrition Information per Serving (2 pancakes, 86g): 16g whole grains, 139 calories, 6g fat, 6g protein, 16g complex carbs, 1g sugar, 2g dietary fiber, 44mg chol, 254mg sodium, 155mg potassium, 17RE vitamin A, 1mg vitamin C, 1mg iron, 67mg calcium, 133mg phosphorous.

©2007 The King Arthur Flour Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Nutrition Information per Serving (2 pancakes, 86g): 16g whole grains, 139 calories, 6g fat, 6g protein, 16g complex carbs, 1g sugar, 2g dietary fiber, 44mg chol, 254mg sodium, 155mg potassium, 17RE vitamin A, 1mg vitamin C, 1mg iron, 67mg calcium, 133mg phosphorous.

Pumpkin Pie Raisin Snack Mix
From: WW Five Ingredient 15 Minute Cookbook Winter 2008 (actually they used apple pie spice)

3 cups crispy wheat cereal squares (such as Wheat Chex
1 Tbsp "measures like sugar" calorie-free sweetener (Like Splenda)
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Butter-flavored cooking spray
1 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 250 degrees

Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl; coat evenly with cooking spray. Arrange in a single layer on foil-lined jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 250 degrees for 18 minutes, stirring once. Stir in nuts and raisins. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1/4 cup) Points: 2
Per serving: cal 110 (39% from fat) fat 4.8 g, (sat 0.6g); pro 3.2 g, carb 15.7 g, fib 2g, chol 0mg, iron 0.7mg; sod 49mg, calc 15mg

Bread in a Bag
From Centsible Nutrition

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package rapid rise yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water (125-130° F)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup whole wheat flour

1. Combine 1 cup of the flour, undissolved yeast, sugar, dry milk, and salt in a 1 gallon heavy duty freezer bag with a zipper lock. Squeeze upper part of bag to force out air. Shake and work bag with fingers to blend ingredients.

2. Add hot water and oil to dry ingredients. Re-seal bag. Mix by working bag with fingers. Add whole wheat flour; re-seal bag and mix thoroughly. Gradually add enough remaining all-purpose flour to make a stiff dough that pulls away from the bag.

3. Take bread from bag and place on a floured surface; knead dough 2 to 4 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Cover dough and let it rest for 10 minutes. Roll out dough to a 12x7 inch rectangle. Roll up from narrow end. Pinch to seal. Place in a greased loaf pan and let rise 20 minutes or until double in size. Bake at 375° F for 30 to 35 minutes or until brown.

Breadsticks- Add 1.2 cup rolled wheat or other rolled grain to bag after mixing in wheat flour. Then, gradually add enough all-purpose flour to make a stiff dough. Roll out dough in a rectangle ½ inch thick. Cut dough into strips ¾ inch wide. Twist strips while placing on baking sheet. Bake at 375° F for 15 minutes or until brown.

Cinnamon Rolls- After kneading allow dough to rest for 10 minutes. Roll dough into 12x7 inch rectangle on floured surface. Spread ¼ cup margarine on dough. Sprinkle with ½ cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Add ½ cup raisins or chopped nuts if desired. Roll up dough and seal edges. Cut into 1 inch slices. Place in greased baking pan. Cover; let rise 20 to 30 minutes. Bake at 375° F for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan. Makes 12 rolls.

Rolls- After kneading, allow dough to rest for 10 minutes. Roll out dough to ½ inch thickness. Use a round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter to make rolls. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 375° F for 12 to 15 minutes.

Hot Cocoa
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
Show:Good Eats
Episode:Art of Darkness II: Cocoa

2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste (I left this out - we can add if we want)
(I also added 1 cup powdered coffee creamer to the one I am gifting since they will probably want it a bit creamier the one here I left as is since we are fine with it as is)

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly.

Use 1/4-1/3 cup per mug (to taste). This also works great with warm milk.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Dinner

Roast Tenderloin of Beef
Makes about 8 servings

This luxury cut of beef deserves VIP treatment. Here it's brushed with a store-bought browning sauce to give it deep color, and an herb blend to intensify the flavors.
1 Tbsp olive or canola oil
2 tsp browning sauce
1 3/4 lbs beef tenderloin, trimmed
1 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp dried tarragon leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Stir together the oil and browning sauce in a small bowl; brush all over the meat. Combine the herbs, garlic, salt and pepper in another small bowl and rub the mixture all over the meat.
Place the meat on a rack in a roasting pan. Pour th ewater into the bottom of the pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat reaches 125 degrees F (rare), 130 degrees F (medium rare), or 135 degrees F (well done), 15 -25 minutes. Cover loosely with foil and let stand 15 minutes before slicing.

Per serving (3 oz), 174 cal, 9 g fat, 3 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 57 mg chol, 203 mg sod, 1 g carb, 0 g fib, 21 g prot, 14 mg calc. POINTS: 4

Oven Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary: Slice 2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes into 1-inch chunks. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp each crumbled rosemary, salt and pepper. Spread on a shallow baking sheet and roast at 375 degrees F until tender, about 45 minutes.
Per Serving (3/4 cup) : 2 POINTS

Green Beans with Pickled Onions: Combine 1/4 c red-wine vinegar, 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar, and 1 minced garlic clove in a zip-close plastic bag; add 2 small red onions, thinly sliced, and marinate 2 hours. Steam 2 lbs green beans until tender-crisp. Cover with onions and their juice; let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Per serving (1/2 cup): 0 POINTS

White Lily "Light" Biscuits

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 12 min
Makes: 6 servings

2 cups White Lily® Self-Rising Flour
1/4 cup Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening, or butter or lard
2/3 to 3/4 cups milk or buttermilk

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Place White Lily Self-Rising Flour in mixing bowl.
With pastry blender or fork or fingertips, cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Blend in just enough milk with fork until dough leaves sides of bowl.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead gently by folding the dough 2 to 3 times.
Roll out dough to 1/2 inch thick.
Cut with 2-inch floured biscuit cutter (or other size as desired), dipping cutter into flour between cuts
Press cutter straight down without twisting for straight-sided biscuits.
Place on baking sheet 1 inch apart for crisp sides or almost touching for soft sides.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Colonial Gingerbread

2 C All-purpose Flour
1 C Molasses
3/4 C Buttermilk
1/2 C Sugar
1/2 C Butter -- softened
1 Egg
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Ground Ginger
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Salt
Confectioner's Sugar -- for topping

Preheat oven to 325F.
Grease and flour 9" x 9" x 2" baking pan.
Into large bowl measure all ingredients except Confectioner's sugar; mix at low speed and beat until blended, constantly scraping bowl with rubber
spatula. Increase speed to medium and continue beating 3 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl.
Pour batter into pan and bake 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool completely on wire rack.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Menu Planning

I've really got to menu plan better. I've been kinda flying by the seat of my pants, going with a general plan of main dishes, and that's all I've been fixing. Which is ok when it's a casserole type dish, but not ok when it's not. I just realized that I haven't bought much in the way of fresh, frozen or canned produce in quite a while. *sigh* I need to work on side dishes a lot more than I am. Granted, lately we're eating T-day leftovers and such so we're getting veggies in, but still. I really need to work on it better, especially since a Christmas gift will make me.

For Christmas I'm going to be doing Meal on Wheels for my MiL, making 2-3 meals a week for her of the heat&eat variety and basically they're going to be leftovers from our own meals. I found out she's pretty much eating Lean Cuisines or salads for dinners every night, and I am still pretty much cooking for 4 or 6 even though there's only the 2 of us, and I'm eating less. I'm going to start planning ahead and making things that will freeze and reheat well and take them too her weekly, that way she'll have a few meals that are at least less sodium and such. And since she's so WW nervous, I'll have to make them healthy too. I think that's one reason she's eating the things she does, she's worried she'll gain too much weight, not just because she's only cooking for 1. Let's hope she likes it. We're kinda doing a test run this weekend. I'm taking a casserole that is made, we'll bake it there while hubby puts together a desk for her - she's still unpacking from her move into her new place. We had thought about doing 1 meal a week, but if I do the MoW thing, she'll get more meals, and I honestly don't know that we can do a complete meal every weekend (she lives 30 minutes from us and spending time with her...well I hate to say it but we can only spend so much time with her before we get a bit stressed out). I hope it works, and I hope I can keep it up.

Friday, November 23, 2007


originally uploaded by dibranchia.
The Brie turned out so pretty! I was supposed to make the bread, braid it and form it around the container of the brie and then place the brie in the center. But: #1 I was making the bread ahead of time and the warmth of the bread wouldn't have been warm enough to warm the cheese as the recipe wanted and #2 I made half the recipe. I ended up braiding the bread (as I posted earlier) and served the brie on the side. I wanted to something to make it look a bit more festive so I made a quick what I call a chutney, but I guess it really is more of a sauce. It originally came from B. Smith. I saw it on a show of hers as I was flipping through channels years ago, not even sure if it was her own show or if she was on another show. Anyway, it's really easy to make, and I love taking the leftovers and having them with cream cheese on bagels the next day. :)

Cranberry-Apricot Sauce

1 bag Fresh cranberries
1 cup dried Apricots, diced
1 1/2 cups sugar (I've used as little as 3/4 cup with no problems, and even used 1/2 Splenda also)
3/4 cup Orange juice
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, diced
(this year I also added 1 Tbsp orange liqueur)

Combine everything but ginger in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring and cooking until sugar dissolves and berries pop. Stir in ginger. Chill.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


originally uploaded by dibranchia.
Today's been a baking day and I'm taking just a brief break while something finishes up.

I've made the pie, but my crust slipped a bit and it looks like some of the praline slipped between the crust and the pie plate so it might be a bit hard to get the pie out tomorrow. Oh well, not a big thing. A pie in pieces has less calories, right?

I made the bread but I just ended up mixing the rosemary and black pepper and making half a loaf instead of two separate since there's just the 3 of us. That and the fact that John will need a sandwich for Friday's lunch and he finished up the bread we had and the way the recipe was written had me wrap it around a Brie container. I decided to make it Challah style that way it's more of a loaf and it's easier to make sandwiches (for turkey ones for me too!). I think it'll make wonderful sandwiches!) I just made one long braid and then turned it and then sealed it at the end. I thought the directions on the original was kinda weird. They had you actually cutting off the ends to join them and also at the end. Why wouldn't one just mush them together and turn them under? Odd. Either way, can't wait to try it tomorrow.

I also roasted the garlic for tomorrow. (Yum, pumpkin pie smell and roasted garlic smell...ugh!)

And now I'm steaming a white fruitcake for John. He doesn't know I'm making that for him yet. :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007


originally uploaded by dibranchia.
May I present to you, Mediterranean-Style Baked Lima Beans from Veganomicon. After my first failed attempt, we were still looking forward to it. Tonight was the night. I started it late, like after 5 pm (got sucked into the new Phoenix Wright - hubby finally finished with it). But boy was it worth it! Hubby ended up eating 2 bowls full, and I mean full! We just ate it with some toasted pita bread. I would have eaten more, but I had already "shot up" with my Byetta and eaten some crackers and that kinda dampens my appetite some too. Either way, I am soooo looking forward to the leftovers. I must admit I was a bit worried about the mint in the recipe, and let me tell you, it sooo works. Yummy! And this comes from someone who doesn't even like lima beans.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

User Error

I had a recipe failure last night, but it was due to my error, not the recipe. So, I finally got a chance to make the Mediterranean-Style Baked Lima Beans out of Vcon. I've wanted to make them since I saw them in the cookbook and I never had the time (Mil moved out of her house and into a condo and I've had some liver/migraines thrown in for good measure). I just wasn't thinking as I prepared it since I was tired. I knew that the 30 minutes listed wasn't enough for the dried (soaked for a whole week) lima beans to be cooked (It did say in the directions that they should be soft, but still slightly gritty in the center and they were still rock hard), but I threw them into a tomato-based sauce anyway thinking they would soften up. I KNOW that any uncooked bean thrown into a tomato-based sauce will never soften up. *sigh* I will have to throw them in the trash and start over. At least it was a "relatively" cheap recipe to have to throw away. I'll have to make it again. And now I've got pots to wash and nothing to show for it. I've already re-bought what I needed and I'll try again later.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pumpkin Spice Cupcake

originally uploaded by dibranchia.
I was craving a frosted, sprinkled cupcake. How sad is it that I made a dozen cupcakes just so I could have 1 cupcake? (I also made a batch of frosting for it too.) This is the Golden Cupcakes and Fluffy Buttercream from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World with the only change being I used Silk's Pumpkin Spice instead of plain soymilk in both the cupcake and the frosting. Yummy. Hubby ate three of the cupcakes unadorned, I wanted the frosting, and HAD to have the sprinkles. After that 1 I'm fine. Good thing, because I really don't need more than that. :) I don't plan to frost all the cupcakes, I can freeze the frosting and just pull it out when I need it (I might actually divide it up before freezing into smaller containers anyway, since hubby's not an icing person anyway, that way I'll have frosting ready for the next time it hits.

I've made both of these recipes before, for my Mil's birthday. That time I added rosewater to both the cake and frosting and they turned out wonderful. This time I tried the cupcakes with oil instead of the margarine. They turned out a bit...flatter kinda. It's a bit harder to explain it. They are still peaked in the center, but they are a bit runnier so as they rose they didn't quite hold the cup shape as well for the ones that I overfilled a touch. Not a big deal, and it won't keep me from doing the oil version if I'm out of margarine at some point.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Chickpea Cutlets

Yep, from "Veganomicon"too. I used some of the chickpeas that I soaked for hubby's hummus. (The rest of them were made into Dreena Burton's Tamari Roasted Chickpeas from her new "Eat, Drink & Be Vegan" Book) They are quite tasty, and I got hubby to at least nibble on the edge of mine. I didn't take a picture, mainly because the night I made them I wasn't feeling so great, so I didn't actually make a sauce to go with them. I ate them with some BBQ sauce. They were great that way, btw. They smell a bit like stuffing, but that's probably also because I didn't have any plain bread to use as breadcrumbs, all I had was some potato dill bread that I had made for hubby's lunches. Either way it was still darn tasty! I doubled the recipe, made it in the food processor and froze 6 patties. I ate two that night. When I go to actually eat them, I'll fix one of the sauces from the book and I'll try to take a picture.

And those roasted chickpeas....they smell divine!

I was looking forward to making buckwheat crepes this weekend, but the recipe called for a blender, and since mine just died, I wasn't sure if I should chance it yet or not. I decided to wait for right now and I went with my normal egg version that I can use my hand mixer on. I ended up only eating like 3 and my heart just wasn't in it even though they were fine. Hubby loved them though. I am not sure if it was my brain over-riding or if it's because of my Topamax making things taste odd now.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Time to Make the Donuts...

originally uploaded by dibranchia.
So, I did what any normal person would do, I baked from my new cookbook, Veganomicon. I baked Jelly Donut Cupcakes. Yeah...way to chose healthy foods there. *sigh* Oh well, these were quite tasty. See that depression there in the middle? Covered over by the powdered sugar is strawberry jam. Yum! These baked well in the silicone cupcake liners too. Yay! And I still haven't finished devouring the book. I'm taking it pretty slow, but that's ok. I've got quite a few Post-It Note Tape Flags sticking out of the sides marking recipes that I want to try.

I spent the rest of the time playing some Phoenix Wright (#2 hubby just got # 3 and is playing it) and I was finally able to get 3 hours sleep after hubby woke up. It's better than nothing. I can pretty much say that I won't be worth much today. :(

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I have found THE dough for our Pizzas!

originally uploaded by dibranchia.
It's actually a dough for bialy's. (It's kinda like a bagel except it's not boiled and instead of a hole it's got a depression that is filled will an onion/poppyseed mixture). I think I've posted the actual recipes from the Washington Post (from 1994!) a few posts down. Anway, as I ate the Bialy's I thought it would make a great Bialy dough, and after making this as pizza dough 3 times now I will have to agree, and so do our friends. Now I'm on the search for our fave pizza sauce.

Bialy Pizza Dough

I make it in the ABM but you could easily make it by hand or in a mixer

1 1/2 c warm water
2 1/2 tsp salt
5 to 5 1/2 cup bread flour (use AP if by hand)
5 tsp sugar
4 tsp active dry yeast

ABM: Dough setting. The dough is much nicer if you let it go through the extra rising of that instead of the pizza dough setting.

I par-bake at 450 for 4 min (as in the picture) and then top and bake for 8 minutes until crust is brown and cheese is starting to brown.

I can actually form ROUND pizza - not amoeba shaped pizzas with this dough! It's taken me 10 + years to be able to do this! The only that has changed is this dough!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Two more interesting recipes

Louise Piper's Oil Pastry
Tuesday, October 02, 2007 from

Makes one 9-inch double-crust pie

Louise Piper is a perennial pie winner at the Iowa State Fair, one of the biggest in the country, and she's been using this crust for almost 40 years. If you substituted olive oil for the vegetable oil, and water for the milk, you'd have my mother-in-law's crowd-pleasing -- and vegan -- pie crust recipe instead. Cut the recipe in half for a single-crust pie. Before using, check your oil to make sure it's not rancid. Sticky oil and a musty, off-odor are clues. To measure the flour, spoon it into the measuring cup and level off.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup cold whole (or 2 percent) milk

Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Measure the oil and milk into the same liquid measuring cup but do not stir. Add to the flour and mix briskly to combine. The dough will pull together into a ball.

Divide the dough in half. Roll out each half to 1/8 inch thick between 2 sheets of wax paper. Use as directed in your recipe. Note: Because this is made with oil, the dough must be used right away. After a day in the fridge the oil will start to separate and seep out.

-- From "Pie" by Ken Haedrich

Olive Oil Bread Sticks
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Makes 4 dozen

For speed and ease, this dough gets mixed, kneaded and risen in the bowl of a food processor. Rich with olive oil, it stretches willingly into short or long bread sticks and, while excellent plain, they welcome flavorful improvisation. Choose just one ingredient from a list of options, or make up your own combination, using the suggested measurements below. Try sesame dill; walnut cumin; basil pine nut; an aromatic blend of basil, rosemary and sage; or a confetti-like sprinkling of flax, poppy, sesame and fennel seeds.

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 envelope instant yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (80 to 90 degrees)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons (divided)
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Optional mix-ins:
1 cup chopped fresh basil, dill or cilantro
1/2 cup chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
1 cup pitted, chopped olives, such as kalamata, green or Italian
1/2 cup chopped nuts, such as walnuts, hazelnuts or pine nuts, toasted (see note)
Optional toppings:
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 tablespoons flax seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the plastic dough blade, place the flour, yeast and salt. If using fresh herbs, olives or nuts, add them now. Attach the cover and mix for 5 seconds. Combine the warm water and 1/3 cup oil in a measuring cup and pour it through the feed tube with the machine running. A ball of dough will form and slap around the bowl. Let the dough spin around 10 times to knead it before stopping the machine. The dough will feel warm, soft and tacky.

Collect any bits of dough from around the bowl and attach them to the ball. Replace the cover on the food processor bowl, slip in the feed tube pusher and let the dough rise for 45 minutes.

Lightly flour the countertop. Scrape the dough from the bowl onto the flour. Use your hands to press it into a rectangle, 12 inches by 6 inches, with a long side facing you.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Pour the remaining extra-virgin olive oil onto 2 baking sheets (about 1 tablespoon per sheet) and use your hands to spread it around. Spread the oil left on your hands all over the top of the rectangle of dough. After wiping your hands dry, sprinkle the coarse salt onto the dough. If using seeds or spices, sprinkle them on now and lightly press them into the dough. (Some of them will fall off while shaping, but that's OK.) Use a pizza cutter or chef's knife to slice the dough into 1/2-by-6-inch strips, making 24 strips. Cut those strips in half to make 48 pieces.

For short, tender bread sticks, pick up each strip of dough and gently stretch it to about 6 inches. Twist each one as you lengthen it, if desired. Lay the bread sticks on the oiled pans 1/2 inch apart. Or, for the softest bread sticks, position them side by side (twisted or not) so that they can be pulled apart once baked. Let them rise uncovered for 10 minutes. Bake one baking sheet at a time for 15 to 17 minutes, until pale golden brown and firm to the touch.

For long, snappy bread sticks, stretch the dough by grasping both tips, one in each hand, of each strip and lift up, like you're holding a piece of string. Gently bounce the strip of dough until it stretches to the length of your sheet pan, 12 to 16 inches, twisting it as it lengthens, if desired. The breadsticks will be as thin as drinking straws. Place the first 24 bread sticks 1/4 inch apart on one of the oiled sheet pans and bake immediately for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Repeat with the second baking sheet. Note: To toast pine nuts, spread on a baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes, until they turn light brown. Watch carefully, as they go from browned to burned in a matter of seconds. Other nuts will take a few minutes longer. If using hazelnuts, bake until the skins crack and then remove skins by rubbing the warm nuts in a rough cloth or between your hands.

-- Lynne Sampson

PER SERVING: calories: 52 (37% from fat); protein: 1 gram; total fat: 2.2 grams; saturated fat: 0.3 gram; cholesterol: 0; sodium: 146 mg; carbohydrate: 7 grams; dietary fiber: 0.3 gram

Saturday, October 06, 2007

1994 Washington Post Water Bagels and Bialys Recipes


(10 bagels)
New York bagel aficionados always maintain that the secret to New York bagels is the New York water. However, even minus the Hudson River, these bagels are a pretty close runner-up to what many Americans consider the definitive model.

1 1/2 cups slightly warm water
3 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, or 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon malt syrup (brown sugar can be substituted)
2 3/8 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups bread flour, preferably unbleached
Cornmeal for sprinkling baking sheet
Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dry garlic granules, onion flakes, caraway seeds or coarse salt for topping the bagels (garnishes optional)

To prepare by hand or electric mixer, whisk together the water, yeast, oil, sugar, 2 teaspoons of the malt syrup and 1 3/8 teaspoons of the salt, stirring to dissolve the yeast, sugar and salt, and thoroughly blend everything before adding the flour.

Stir in most of the flour until the dough can no longer be stirred. If using an electric mixer, switch to a dough hook. If kneading by hand, turn out onto a lightly floured board. Knead the dough, adding more flour as necessary, for 8 to 10 minutes by hand, or 8 minutes by machine. Dough will be stiff.

Let the dough rest on a board about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, line two large baking sheets with baking parchment and sprinkle generously with cornmeal.

Fill a large soup pot or Dutch oven three-quarters full with water. To this add the remaining 1 tablespoon of malt syrup and remaining 1 teaspoon salt.

Bring water to a boil. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Divide dough into 10 pieces. Form into strips about 8 to 10 inches long, and then form these into bagel rings and place on prepared parchment-covered, cornmeal-dusted baking sheet. Let rest 15 to 20 minutes. Bagels should have a "half proof," meaning they should rise halfway or appear puffed.

Reduce water to a simmer and add bagels a few at a time. Allow them to come to surface and simmer 30 seconds. Turn over and cook other side about 45 seconds more (total of 1 1/2 minutes). Place back on cornmeal-lined sheet.

Leave dough plain or use one of the toppings listed.

Place in oven, reduce heat to 425 degrees and bake until done, about 15 to 20 minutes. If you have a baking stone, move the bagels off the cookie sheet and onto the stone for the final 2 minutes of baking.

Per bagel without optional garnish: 281 calories, 9 gm protein, 54 gm carbohydrates, 3 gm fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 525 mg sodium


(10 bagels)
Chewy and dark, this bagel shines with nothing on it. You don't have to boil these, but you can. Some bakeries simply glaze the bagels with egg white, then add on the toppings and bake as rolls. Outstanding.

1 1/2 cups slightly warm water
1 tablespoon dry onion flakes or minced onion
4 teaspoons active dry yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
5 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons malt syrup (optional)
1 teaspoon baker's caramel, or more, to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground caraway seeds, or 1 teaspoon whole caraway seeds
2 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons cornmeal plus extra for sprinkling baking sheet
1/2 cup dark or coarse rye flour
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 cup finely diced, lightly sauteed onions, or rehydrated dry onion flakes (optional garnish)
Caraway seeds, coarse sea salt or poppy seeds (optional garnishes)

To prepare by hand or electric mixer, whisk together the water, onion flakes, yeast, 3 tablespoons of the brown sugar, the malt syrup, baker's caramel, caraway seeds, 1 3/4 teaspoons of the salt and 2 tablespoons cornmeal, stirring to dissolve the yeast, sugar and salt, and thoroughly blend everything before adding the flour.

Stir in the rye flour and most of bread flour until the dough can no longer be stirred. If using an electric mixer, switch to a dough hook. If kneading by hand turn out onto a lightly floured board. Knead the dough, adding more flour as necessary, for 8 to 10 minutes by hand, or 8 minutes by machine. Dough will be stiff.

Let dough rest on a board about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, line two large baking sheets with baking parchment and sprinkle generously with cornmeal.

Fill a large soup pot or Dutch oven three-quarters full with water. To this add the remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon salt.

Bring water to a boil. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Divide dough into 10 pieces. Form into strips 8 to 10 inches long, and then form these into bagel rings and place on prepared baking sheet. Let rest 15 to 20 minutes. Bagels should have a half proof, meaning they should rise halfway or appear puffed.

Reduce water to a simmer and add bagels a few at a time. Allow them to come to surface and simmer 30 seconds. Turn over and cook other side about 30 seconds more (total 1 minute). Place on the cornmeal-sprinkled baking sheet.

Sprinkle on optional garnishes.

Place in oven and bake until done, about 18 to 22 minutes. If you have a baking stone, move the bagels off the cookie sheet and onto the stone for the final 2 minutes of baking.

Per bagel without optional garnish: 263 calories, 8 gm protein, 54 gm carbohydrates, 1 gm fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 591 mg sodium


(10 bagels)
If you are using a bread machine to mix this dough, do not add the raisins until the machine is in the middle of the kneading cycle.

1 1/2 cups slightly warm water
4 teaspoons active dry yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup whole-wheat flour, preferably stone-ground
3 to 4 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 cup raisins, plumped in hot water about 10 minutes (or use raisins and currants mixed)
1 egg white, beaten

To prepare by hand or electric mixer, whisk together the water, yeast, oil, honey, 1/4 cup of the sugar, 1 1/4 teaspoons of the salt, and the cinnamon, stirring to dissolve the yeast, sugar and salt, and thoroughly blend everything before adding the flour.

Stir in the whole-wheat flour and most of the bread flour until the dough can no longer be stirred. If using an electric mixer, switch to a dough hook. If kneading by hand, turn out onto a lightly floured board. Knead the dough, adding more flour as necessary, for 8 to 10 minutes by hand or 8 minutes by machine. Add the raisins about halfway through the kneading (you can also press the raisins into the dough when you are done kneading). Dough will be stiff.

Let dough rest on a board about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, line two large baking sheets with baking parchment.

Fill a large soup pot or Dutch oven three-quarters full with water. To this add the remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon salt.

Bring water to a boil. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Divide dough into 10 pieces. Form into strips 8 to 10 inches long, and then form these into bagel rings and place on a prepared cookie sheet. Let rest 15 to 20 minutes. Bagels should have a half proof, meaning they should rise halfway or appear puffed.

Reduce water to a simmer and add bagels a few at a time. Allow them to come to surface and simmer 30 seconds. Turn over and cook other side about 1 minute more (total 1 1/2 minutes). Remove to a baking sheet and let dry, then brush with beaten egg white.

Place in oven, reduce heat to 425 degrees and bake until done, about 18 to 22 minutes. If you have a baking stone, move the bagels off the cookie sheet and onto the stone for the final 2 minutes of baking.

Per bagel: 357 calories, 9 gm protein, 72 gm carbohydrates, 4 gm fat, 1 gm saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 486 mg sodium


(Makes 15 bialys)
Inspired by, and adapted from, "Secrets of a Jewish Baker," by George Greenstein (see box below left).

1 1/2 cups warm water
4 teaspoons active dry yeast, or 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
5 teaspoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 to 5 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
Cornmeal for the baking sheet
1/2 cup dehydrated minced onions
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg beaten in 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
3 tablespoons poppy seeds

For the dough: To prepare by hand or electric mixer, whisk together the water, yeast, sugar and salt, stirring to dissolve and thoroughly blend everything before adding the flour.

Stir in most of the flour until dough can no longer be stirred. If using an electric mixer, switch to a dough hook. If kneading by hand, turn out onto a lightly floured board. Knead dough, adding flour as necessary, 8 to 10 minutes by hand, or 8 minutes by machine (it will be a very stiff).

Cover dough with a tea towel and let rise for 30 minutes.

Deflate dough. Divide into three sections, then divide each section into four to six portions and allow to rest 10 minutes. Roll each section into an oval 3 to 4 inches long. If dough gets too springy, move on to another section. Stretch each oval slightly to make a 4-to-5-inch piece. Make an indentation in the center of each. Cover with a floured tea towel and allow to rise 30 to 40 minutes.

Prepare topping by rehydrating the dehydrated onions in hot water; soak them for 5 minutes. Drain, toss with oil. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place dough ovals on sheets. Glaze outer edges with egg wash. Spoon onion topping into center and a little over top surface. Sprinkle on a little coarse salt and poppy seeds.

Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. If you have a baking stone, move the bagels off the cookie sheet and onto the stone for the final 2 minutes of baking.

Eat immediately or freeze. Thicker bialys will rise and bake higher, and can be split for sandwiches.

Per bialy with topping: 199 calories, 6 gm protein, 35 gm carbohydrates, 3 gm fat, trace saturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 428 mg sodium

Friday, October 05, 2007

Biscuit Sticks

Biscuit Sticks
Make soup, salad or just about any meal better with a side of quick and easy piping hot breadsticks.

Prep Time:10 min
Start to Finish:25 min
Makes:24 sticks

1/3cup butter or margarine
2cups Original Bisquick® mix
1/2cup cold water

1.Heat oven to 425°F. In 13x9-inch pan, melt butter in oven.
2.Meanwhile, in medium bowl, stir baking mix and water until soft dough forms. Place dough on surface generously dusted with Bisquick mix; gently roll in Bisquick mix to coat. Shape into a ball; knead 5 times. Roll dough into 10x6-inch rectangle. Cut in half lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise into 12 sticks, about 3/4 inch wide. Roll each stick in butter in pan.
3.Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Heat oven to 450°F.

Nutrition Information:

1 Serving: Calories 60 (Calories from Fat 35); Total Fat 4g (Saturated Fat 2g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 5mg; Sodium 140mg; Total Carbohydrate 7g (Dietary Fiber 0g, Sugars 0g); Protein 0g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 0%; Vitamin C 0%; Calcium 0%; Iron 0% Exchanges: 1/2 Starch; 0 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 1/2
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

For tender breadsticks, knead in just enough Bisquick mix so the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Too much will toughen the biscuits.

These were amazing dipped in tomato soup or just plain! I've even adjusted the recipe some by adding basil, garlic salt, and oregano to the butter, or adding italian dipping seasonings. Whenever there's leftovers of these, they never last more then a day :)

This is one of my all-time rock-solid standards! It can be whipped up in a couple minutes to round out a meal or add to add that "company-special" touch. Endless variations: Garlic powder and salt sprinkled in the butter before turning dough yields great garlicky sticks.Poppy seeds, sesame seeds or onion flakes sprinkled on top are a savory change.

Squash with rice, sage & goat's cheese

Squash with rice, sage & goat's cheese

  • 2 large butternut squashes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 100g basmati rice
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • 25g sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
  • 100g firm goat's cheese, roughly chopped
  • handful fresh sage leaves, chopped

  1. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Cut squash in half lengthways, then scoop out seeds and membranes. Brush insides with a little oil and place in a roasting tin filled to 1cm with water. Roast for 20-30 mins until almost tender when tested with a sharp knife. Scoop out some of the flesh and roughly chop.
  2. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a pan, then cook onion and garlic for 5 mins until the onion is tender. Stir in the rice and fry for 1 min. Add the vegetable stock and cook for a further 10-12 mins until the rice is tender and the liquid has all been absorbed.
  3. Stir in chopped squash flesh, sun-dried tomatoes, goat's cheese, half the sage leaves and seasoning.
  4. Stuff the squash with the filling, top with remaining sage leaves and cover with foil.
  5. Return to the oven and cook for a further 15 mins until the cheese is melted and all is heated through. Stand for 5 mins before serving with a green salad.

Menu Planning Ideas

Chinese Hot-and-Sour Soup
It's a bit milder than the restaurant standard, but that's what we like about it. The flavors are balanced and fresh, and the acidity functions as an accent, not a one-note blast. Prep and Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes. Notes: The heat from the black pepper in this soup intensifies as it sits. If you plan to make the soup ahead of time or want a milder flavor, use 2 tsp. during cooking; then taste the soup before serving and add more pepper if you like.

2 pounds pork top loin, cut crosswise into 1/8-in.-thick strips
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 can (8 oz.) sliced bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed
12 cups chicken broth
3/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
12 ounces firm tofu, drained and cubed
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
About 1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper (see Notes)
Chopped fresh cilantro and sliced green onions (pale green and white parts)

1. In a bowl, toss pork with 1/4 cup soy sauce and ginger. Marinate 20 minutes. In another bowl, stir together remaining 2 tbsp. soy sauce, rice vinegar, cornstarch, sugar, and salt; set aside.

2. Heat peanut oil in a large pot (at least 5 qts.) over medium-high heat, then add pork and marinade. Cook, stirring constantly, until pork loses its pink color, about 4 minutes. Stir in bamboo shoots and cook 1 minute.

3. Increase heat to high, add broth, and bring to a boil. Add mushrooms, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook about 20 minutes. Add tofu and simmer 5 minutes. Add soy-vinegar mixture and simmer 5 minutes more; the liquid will thicken.

4. In a small bowl, beat eggs with sesame oil. Slowly pour eggs into soup in a thin stream while stirring soup very slowly in one direction. Add pepper, stir briefly, then simmer 5 minutes. Serve with cilantro and green onions.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per cup.
Yield Makes about 4 1/2 qts. (serving size: 1 cup)
Nutritional Information CALORIES 244(66% from fat); FAT 18g (sat 5.7g); PROTEIN 15g; CHOLESTEROL 80mg; SODIUM 890mg; FIBER 0.7g; CARBOHYDRATE 18g

Sunset, JANUARY 2007

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pound Cake Waffles

I'm planning on making these this weekend. From a 1918 edition of The Rumford Complete Cookbook by Lily Haxworth Wallace

Pound Cake Waffles

3/4 c butter (or sub)
1 c fine granulated sugar
4 eggs, separated
1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 c sugar
2 level teaspoons Rumford Baking powder
1/2 level teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon or vanilla flavoring

Beat the butter and sugar to a cream; add the well-beaten yolks of the eggs, milk and then the flour, salt and baking powder sifted together. Put in the flavoring and beat the batter thoroughly. At the last moment foldin lightly the whites of the eggs beaten to a stiff froth, and cook as ordinary waffles.

Two interesting Art Smith Recipes

From a recent Oprah show (and her website which takes me FOREVER to load on dial-up):

Art Smith's Goat Cheese Drop Biscuits
Created by Chef Art Smith
Makes 12 biscuits

Art Smith's Goat Cheese Drop Biscuits These biscuits give a warm welcome to diners at Art Smith's Chicago restaurant, Table Fifty-Two.


  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbsp. (2 ounces) cold butter
  • 4 Tbsp. (2 ounces) goat cheese
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk
  • Extra butter to grease pan and top biscuits
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 425°. Place one 10-inch cast iron pan into the oven while it is preheating. Place flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder into a medium-sized bowl. Cut in the butter and goat cheese. Make a well in the middle of the ingredients and pour in the milk. Stir until the mix is moistened, adding an extra tablespoon of milk if needed.

Remove the hot skillet from the oven and place a tablespoon of butter into it. When the butter has melted, drop 1/4 cupfuls of batter into the pan, (use a muffin scoop to drop the batter if you have one). Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter. Bake from 14–16 minutes until browned on the top and bottom. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Enjoy warm!

Pistachio-Crusted Chicken with Coconut Chili Ginger Sauce
Created by Chef Art Smith
Makes 12 biscuits
Pistachio-Crusted Chicken Patrons of Chef Art Smith's restaurant, Table Fifty-Two, love this dish he created especially for Oprah's Legends Ball.


Coconut Chili Ginger Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 blades lemongrass, chopped
  • 3 (1/2-inch) piece, fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sweet white wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. Thai red curry paste
  • 2 Tbsp. Chinese black bean chili sauce
  • 1 (8-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup (1stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pistachio-Crusted Chicken
  • 4 brined, boneless chicken breasts (see brine recipe below)
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 1 pound salted pistachios, shelled and toasted
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Grape seed oil to taste

For the sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the tablespoon of butter, the shallots, lemongrass, ginger slices and wine. Reduce to half. Add the broth, red curry paste and Chinese black bean chili sauce and reduce to half again. Add the coconut milk and reduce to half a third time. Remove from the heat and whisk the bits of butter into the sauce until all the butter has been incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. If you reheat, do not allow the sauce to boil or the butter will separate.

For the chicken: Remove the chicken from the brine and cut in half. With a meat mallet, pound until 1/4-inch thick and place in a nonreactive bowl. Pour the buttermilk over the chicken, cover, and let sit for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

In a food processor, place half of the pistachios, half of the parmesan cheese, and half of the herbs. Pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture is finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat this step with the rest of the pistachios and combine with the other pistachio mixture.

Preheat the oven to 250°.

Place the flour in another bowl and season it with salt and pepper. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and prepare it for assembly. Preheat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-low heat with a thin coating of grape seed oil. Remove one breast, shake off any excess buttermilk and dust the breast with flour on each side. Dip only one side of the chicken back in the buttermilk and press pistachios onto that side. Repeat that step with all the chicken. Place the chicken in the sauté pan, pistachio side down, and cook for 2–3 minutes. Turn and cook the other side for 2 to 3 minutes. Place in the oven to finish cooking for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove, let rest for 5 minutes and then slice to serve with the Coconut Chile Ginger Sauce.

Brine for Chicken
Makes 1 1/4 cups
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns

Place the salt, sugar, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and 2 cups cold water into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

When brining chicken use a nonreactive pot or plastic container. Completely submerge the poultry in cold water and weigh it down with a plate. Add the brine and cover. Let the chicken sit in the brine for at least two hours, preferably overnight.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Loaded Baked Potato Waffles

originally uploaded by dibranchia.
I had some leftover instant mashed potatoes that I had fixed a few days earlier. I was planning to make mashed potato pancakes for breakfast, but ended up going with something else. By the time supper rolled around I wasn't feeling so great (another migraine and major pain pills on board) and decided to mix in some of my homemade bisquick, buttermilk, eggs, a bit of cheddar cheese and some fake bacon bits. I wish I had some chives or green onions (I did add some dried onions that had been soaked in water for a bit). I can't give amounts only because I make waffles and pancakes by sight. It was a very thick batter, and hubby stood by the waffle maker once he got home and ate quite a few as they came off the maker. I think he liked them :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Chocolate Brownie with Walnuts Mochi

I had bought this a while ago. I found it when I was going through my freezer after the power went out a few weeks back. I finally cooked it today. I like regular Mochi alright, but it doesn't really do much for me. This stuff...*SIGH* I could live on.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Couscous Feta Fritters

I was going through some of my older magazines (I have a lot to go through!) and I saw this and thought it looked really good. I'll have to make it soon.

Couscous fritters with feta
  • 175g couscous
  • 200ml hot vegetable stock
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tbsp natural yogurt
  • 85g feta cheese, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 50g SunBlush tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil or vegetable oil


  1. Measure the couscous into a large heatproof bowl, pour over the hot stock, then cover with cling film. Leave to stand for 5 mins or until the couscous has absorbed the stock and is soft. Add the egg and yogurt and mix well. Season, then fold through the cheese, tomatoes and spring onions.
  2. Divide the mixture into 4 and shape into burgers. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, then cook the fritters over a medium heat for 3 mins on each side until golden. Serve with a green salad and a spoonful of your favourite chutney.

Making the fritters

Wet your hands before shaping the fritters to stop the mixture sticking to your hands. SunBlush tomatoes are softer than sundried. If you only have sundried, stir them into the couscous before adding the stock.

Nutrition per Serving: 510 kcalories, protein 19g, carbohydrate 51g, fat 27g, saturated fat 8g, fibre 1g, sugar 7g, salt 2.6g

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Simple Syrup

originally uploaded by dibranchia.
Ok, maybe it doesn't look so simple. It's not JUST simple syrup. It started with some local Pear Port (from Horton Vineyards). I made some poached pears using some I had left, and I had extra poaching liquid left. I used in quite a few things (over cheesecake, in tea, over poundcake) and when I remembered a bottle that a friend had recently given me, thoughts of poached pears roamed through my thoughts. Unfortunately, I keep eating the pears. So, I went ahead and made the syrup, and hubby is thinking of trying it on crepes.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Freezer Biscuits

Saw this in Cooking For 2 Magazine from Taste of Home. Can't wait to try it! Hubby loves biscuits, and I'm usually too tired or rushed in the morning to make them and don't think about them for dinner at night.

Freezer Biscuits
Yield: 8 biscuits Just mix up the basic dough, divide in half, stir in the different flavors and come up with 2 kinds of biscuits to have on hand!

2 c all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
3 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
2/3 cup 2% milk (I only keep soy or skim on hand)
Asiago Garlic Variation:
1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese, divided
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried minced onion
Sesame Herb Variation:
1/2 tsp dried marjaram
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp sesame seeds

In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder sugar and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In small bowl, whisk egg and milk; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. For Asiago garlic biscuits, add 1/3 cup of cheese, garlic powder and onion to one portion of dough. Knead 20 times. Roll to 3/4" thickeness; cut with floured 3 inch biscuit cutter. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

For sesame herb biscuits, add marjoram, thyme and basil to remaining dough. Repeat kneading, rolling and cutting steps. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Arrange biscuits in a single layer in an ungreased 9x13x2" baking pan. Cover and freeze overnight or until frozen. Transfer to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months.

To use frozen biscuits: Place on a baking sheet coated with nonstick spray. Bake at 400 Degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

More Variations:
1. Leaving out the garlic powder in the Asiago cheese and brush the tops with garlic butter instead. Or substitute your favorite cheese for the Asiago. If you don't have Asiago cheese on hand, you can sub Parmesan or Romano. Asiago is a little sweeter than both of those cheeses.
2. Changing the herbs in the Sesame Herb. Try oregano, tarragon, or an Italian Herb mix. For added flavor stir in some shredded cheese.
3. Serve the biscuits with flavored butter. Simply blend any chopped fresh herbs you have on hand with softened butter.
4. Using half the dough without seasonings to make breakfast biscuits. Slice and add an egg and sausage or bacon, or spread with cream cheese and jelly.
5. Adding dried cranberries or raisins to the basic dough along with the grated rind of a lemon or orange for a fruity scone-like snack.

Nutrition: 1 biscuit (without variations): 249 cal, 13 g fat, 3 g sat fat, 28 mg chol, 366 mg sod, 26 g carb, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein

Cooking For 2 Fall 2007 Mag. p 9

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Get your Bialy's here!

originally uploaded by dibranchia.
I haven't tried one yet.....these are just out of the oven. It smells soooo good in here!



originally uploaded by dibranchia.
I made these years ago, from a recipe I found in the Washington Post. I actually fell in love with King Arthur thanks to that article. I thought I had saved the recipe, but it looks like it's disappeared. *sigh*Anyway, these are like a bagel, except they aren't boiled before baking and there's no hole, just a depression that I've filled with an onion/poppyseed mixture. I hope these turn out as well as the first one's I've made. I've never eaten a real bialy, but I figure as long as I'm happy that's all that really matters.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tonight's dinner

originally uploaded by dibranchia.
Hot out of the oven: Chilaquiles. It's just stale tortillas and tortilla chips layered with black beans, TwinOaks Vegetarian Chorizo, tomatillo salsa and cheese (low-fat). The pepper is a Fool Ya Jalapeno from my back porch (It's a jalapeno flavor without the heat). This was spicy (the chorizo has chipotle in it) but oooooh so good! I wish I had an avocado to put on it.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Hokie Healing Square

originally uploaded by dibranchia.
It's done. I still have a few ends to weave in (I tucked them underneath) and the little ball of yarn will go with it for them to use when attaching all the squares. It turned out really well! It should go out on Tuesday.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I'm just confused.

I've been struggling for quite a while with a diet. I don't necessarily mean as a "reduction in calories" style diet, but more of a "daily nourishment" diet that I can do. I don't know what I should focus on the most, my liver, my diabetes, my weight? The thing is, they are all tied in together, lowering my weight will help both my diabetes and my liver, defatting my liver will most likely help with my diabetes and my weight. Keeping my blood sugars under better control will help both my liver and my weight also. It's kinda funny. I want someone to hand me a sheet of paper and tell me: Do this! But then I rebel because I guess I get tired of following instructions? I just feel like I have no idea where to start or what's the best. I tried the vegan, I liked the food, and all that, but quite frankly, I just can't do it totally. But I really do think it helped with my blood sugar control, but it did nothing for weight loss. Weight one point years ago I lost 25 lbs and was considered "Diabetic controlled by diet" and I just can't get back to that mindset for some reason, I just kept losing and gaining the same 10 lbs or so. I've tried a few other diets, but most of them were for a few days (buying all the different foods gets expensive and most of the time we're on a fiscal diet), and I can't really say I tried them (Except for Atkins a few years ago: I didn't last a day, missed the bread and fruits so badly). The appetite control that the Byetta gave me, it's gone. It's not that I'm ignoring it, it's just that my body has gotten used to the dose and I no longer have that side-effect anymore. I am still not eating quite as much anymore, so I guess it still works a bit, it's just not what it was. I would just like a diet where I don't have to think, examine every type of food I eat and the possible effect it could have on me. I'm tired of thinking about every little thing I put or plan to put in my mouth and then the guilt that I feel after I've done something that I feel I shouldn't have done. I know I should just look at it like a slip, and keep on trying to do my best, but I'm darn tired of trying to be perfect and failing misserably. I'm tired of having people ask me if it's ok if we go to eat at such-and-such a restaurant, because I don't want to have to think about what I should avoid, and what I really don't want to eat even though it'd be better for me.

I know there are people that are the just eat healthy and that kinda stuff, but for me it really is a life and death kinda thing. If I don't clear my liver or get my diabetes under control I won't be around for a long time to enjoy the great husband and extended family that I have. But even that thought doesn't do much for me. It just kinda makes me want to pull a Scarlett and "Think about it another day." I'm not sure how to keep myself from hiding from what could happen, you'd think that liver surgery would kinda do that for me without much thought. It just makes me scared and worried, and obsessive which all cause me stress and guilt and then I want to just get away from it all, usually by eating.

I also need to get my behind out the door and move! I think that helps everything (liver/diabetes/weight) more than any way of eating could. Once I'm moving I like it, but for some reason I have that "Once at rest a body will stay at rest" law going on. I shouldn't have to lean on my husband to make me walk.

I really need to test my blood sugars more often. I usually forget to do it in the morning since I'm so focused on taking my pills and not eating until I can take my Byetta an hour later. I then forget to re-test after eating - or I've eaten something else when I remember that I needed to test first. That's the big thing, I don't really eat big meals that much anymore, I feel like I'm eating constantly, little things here and there. I think part of my not testing is because I don't want to see that number. I don't want to see that I need to control what I'm eating a bit better. I don't want to know that I am failing once more.

I feel like such a brat.


Anyway, I am so glad that my allergy test is tomorrow. I'm tired of being stuffed up, headachy and having a runny nose. Could someone PLEASE explain how I can be stuffed up AND have a runny nose? My eyes are itchy, my body's itchy and I just want to take an antihistamine (I'm taking decongestants, they just don't work real well and I can't take too many since it messes up my sleep). I can't even take aspirin or ibuprofen since they both have anti-inflammatory properties. Hubby mowed the grass yesterday and I could only stay outside for a bit before my eyes became horribly unbearable. I need to remember to ask him if there's anything they can do about my poison ivy reactions. I went out today and sprayed a bunch that is in the front side yard (with a vinegar solution) and it's just scary how much poison ivy is spread throughout our whole yard. There's no way to get rid of it all. And I realized that since I couldn't garden last year, the amount of poison ivy I had went way down. It's also been down a lot more because we're a bit more careful with where the dogs go, especially since I can't take any steriods anymore when the poison ivy gets bad. But still, just seeing it popping up without any rhyme or reason scares me. I don't want to have to go through a major poison ivy infection this year. I also need to ask about food allergies.

Made a pretty good dinner last night. It's been one that has planned for a few days but I was feeling bad and didn't cook (Costco take-and-bake pizza is pretty good btw - we ate that for 3 days). Make a mixture of honey, dijon mustard, pepper and dill. Smear on pork chops and bake/broil until done. Then you make a pumpernickel stuffing using stale pumpernickel, broth, onions, garlic, celery, carrots and some seasoning. It was yummy!

My mom was over this weekend. My stepdad had a Lion's Club meeting in Richmond this weekend, so I went and picked her up and we headed out to Lavender Fields Farm for their herb thingy (I'm babysitting herbs for her actually since she leaves for Savannah today) and then we went to the Lebanese Food Festival and I got to introduce her to some wonderful foods that she's never tried before. :) We got a bunch of stuff and shared it. We shared: Kibbeh, cucumber yogurt salad (she already knows this, but likes it better with sour cream and dill, this had yogurt and mint, the way I like it), stuffed grape leaves, chicken schwarma, falafel, and a spinach feta pie. And I still lost a pound the next morning when I weighed. :D She's interested in going (along with my stepdad) to the Greek Festival now. He's a big lover of Pastas and stuff (His deceased wife was Italian) so we think he'll like greek food more than the lebanese.

Monday, May 14, 2007

My Lunch Today

originally uploaded by dibranchia.
I was hoping to make a CousCous salad from the new issue of Vegetarian Times this weekend, but didn't get the chance. Today as I was trying to figure out what I felt like eating, I thought again of that couscous salad - but wanted a bit different flavor. This is what I ended up with. I must admit, I do know know if it's vegan or even vegetarian. Why? Well the seasoning packet I had came from Near East's Mediterranean curry Couscous and I used the couscous, stored the spice packet and threw away the box so I don't remember if it had something like chicken broth or fat or anything. Anyway, I cooked up 10 oz of couscous (whole-wheat), added the packet and let it sit while I prepped the veggies. I had roasted some asparagus earlier this morning since it was cool and had some spears just for this. I also added sliced radishes, sauteed their tops and added those, sliced green onions, diced cucumber, drained chickpeas and diced carrots. I forgot to add the diced tomato - but there's plenty left so I'll add it to the leftovers. I also added some homemade mustard-lemon based vinaigrette and some Liquid Gold (recipe from Becoming Vegan that has flax oil, nutritional yeast, and cumin along with other stuff). It's quite yummy!

I figured out how to post my photos to Blogger all by myself. :) Hubby had set it up for LJ (where I do most of my posting) but I wanted Blogger to be more about what I ate and not my life.

I have some tempeh bacon I need to use up (I cooked it all in one go) and I am tired of TLT's. I'm still trying to figure out what to use it in. I think tonight's going to be an asparagus tart. (Not vegan - but veggie) since I have some Feta I need to use. I need to figure out where Sunergia's (sp?) feta is sold. It's not at Good Foods, and Ellwood Thompson's and any of the HFSs in C'ville are about the same distance away. I don't often head to C'ville only because it's easier to hit the West End of Richmond than there (I pretty much live right in the middle of both). I don't head into (or close to) downtown Richmond at any point. And with gas being so high (We actually saw it at 3.29 at one place last night in Richmond), around 2.79-2.89 a gallon here I can't just go traipsing off for the heck of it. Oh well, I'll hopefully find it soon. I know I like it after trying it at the C'ville Veg Fest Last year.

Friday, April 20, 2007

We ARE Virginia Tech

Not so much has been going on really. At the moment I have a stuffed up ear with a touch of pain (I've started antibiotics), still occasionally having liver pain, found out that I am a true Omni - but I am still trying to eat more plant based foods since they are yummier, having my best friend moving back to VA in just a bit, and still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Whew! :)

I've been a bit down this week. I went to Tech for 2 1/2 years, I would go back if I had a reason to, I must admit. I loved it there, still love it actually. The shooting there felt so personal even if I hadn't been there in ages. A major tragedy at Tech! Why? It's such the last place I would have thought it would happen. And I'm upset at how the media is trying to place the blame on Tech and guns. They did the best they could have at the time, and the gun situation? If he wanted to get guns he would have found a way, it's not like he had a record and couldn't have gotten them in the first place. I do realize that he had some problems a few years ago, but I think everyone is optimistic that people change. I don't think it's a thing where people "don't want to get involved" but more of a "I can't believe someone could actually do something that horrible" that cause people not to do much. It is also hard for me to get away from all the media reports, it's feeling quite a lot like 9/11 in that respect. I've spent a lot of time turning the tv off, listening to my ipod and reading. It's just too much.

One good point....from the convocation....Nikki Giovanni's "We ARE Va Tech!" I held it together, losing it as everyone started the Hokie cheer. I am a Hokie, I am proud, and THEY can get through anything together.

We are Virginia Tech

We are sad today
We will be sad for quite a while
We are not moving on
We are embracing our mourning

We are Virginia Tech

We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly
We are brave enough to bend to cry
And we are sad enough to know that we must laugh again

We are Virginia Tech

We do not understand this tragedy
We know we did nothing to deserve it

But neither does a child in Africa
Dying of AIDS

Neither do the Invisible Children
Walking the night away to avoid being captured by a rogue army

Neither does the baby elephant watching his community
Be devastated for ivory
Neither does the Mexican child looking
For fresh water

Neither does the Iraqi teenager dodging bombs

Neither does the Appalachian infant killed
By a boulder
Because the land was destabilized

No one deserves a tragedy

We are Virginia Tech
The Hokie Nation embraces
Our own
And reaches out
With open heart and mind
To those who offer their hearts and hands

We are strong
And brave
And innocent
And unafraid

We are better than we think
And not yet quite what we want to be

We are alive to imagination
And open to possibility
We will continue
To invent the future

Through our blood and tears
Through all this sadness

We are the Hokies

We will prevail
We will prevail
We will prevail

We are
Virginia Tech

Nikki Giovanni, delivered at the Convocation, April 17, 2007

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I'm trying to crawl back....

I fell off the wagon... Not good. And I'm starting to feel bad, so I know I need to work my way back. I think instead of doing it cold turkey like I did earlier, I'm going to slowly transition back to vegan stuff. I get to obsessed over what I'm eating, what to eat next, all that stuff. (Same thing happens when I do Weight Watchers too.). I guess this would make me a true omnivore, but I'm trying to eat more plant based than meat centric and we'll see if it goes any better slowly.