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NEW FOOD FRIDAY FLASH – ARABIAN PIZZA or LAHMA bi AJEEN

18 Sep

I hope you don’t get tired of my excitement with James Beard’s bread book, but every recipe I’ve tried is very good. Here’s another one. It’s called Lahma bi Ajeen and as you might guess, it’s made with lamb. I love lamb and I love pizza so it sounded like a unique combination and I wanted to share it with you for this month’s New Food Friday Flash.

Beard’s recipe calls for pine nuts but I substituted pecans that I had on hand and they were a very good substitution. It also called for tomato paste but I had two tomatoes that were going to go bad if I didn’t use them so they were also a good substitution.

Beard wrote that these “pizzas” were fun to make. I have to disagree; they are more fun to eat! My only criticism of his book is that his instructions aren’t always crystal clear although it’s never ruined my finished product so I can’t complain too loudly. For example, he writes that these pizzas make 8 servings and that you should divide the dough into walnut-sized balls. Well, he must use some pretty big walnuts because I ended up with 16 walnut sized balls.  

Pizza Dough

Pizza Dough Balls

Did he mean that each person should get two pizzas? I don’t think so. At any rate, if you’re going to go to the trouble of making pizza, it’s much better to have 16 than 8 of them.

***

For the Dough:

1 package active dry yeast

pinch of granulated sugar

scant 1 cup warm water (100° to 115°)

1 pound all-purpose flour (about 3 ¾ cups)

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Dissolve the yeast with the sugar in ½ cup of the lukewarm water and allow to proof for 10 minutes. Put the flour and salt in a large, warm mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the oil and the yeast mixture. Work the dough vigorously adding the remaining lukewarm water gradually to make a soft dough. Knead in the bowl about 15 minutes (I thought I was the only one who kneaded in bowls!) until the dough is pliable and elastic. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place for 2 – 3 hours or until doubled in bulk. (I use my microwave turned off.) Lightly oil the top of the dough to prevent a crust from forming.

For the Filling:

1 pound finely chopped onion

olive oil

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 ½ pound finely ground shoulder of lamb

½ cup pine nuts

½ six-ounce can tomato paste

1 teaspoon granulate sugar

¾ teaspoon ground allspice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 teaspoons salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon cracked peppercorns

2 dashes of Tabasco sauce

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Sauté the onions in 1 Tablespoon olive oil until wilted but not browned. Remove from heat and add garlic. Then add it to the ground meat along with the rest of the ingredients and blend well. Make a small sample patty, fry in ½ teaspoon olive oil and taste. Correct the seasonings if needed. Set aside while you roll out the dough.

Turn out the dough on a lightly floured board and knead a few times. Divide into walnut-sized balls and allow to rest for a few minutes, then roll each piece with a lightly floured rolling pin into a circle 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Spread the prepared filling generously over each piece. Transfer each piece to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 450° to 500° for 8 – 10 minutes. The patties should be well done but still pale in color.

***

The other interesting thing to note is that even though I spread a generous serving of the lamb mixture on each pizza dough as he says you should do, I still had about ¾ of a cup of the lamb mixture left over. AND, I didn’t use 1 ½ lbs of lamb as the recipe suggests; I only had a 1 lb package. Go figure! As usual, I baked them in my convection toaster oven.

Lamb Pizzas

Lamb Pizzas in my Convection Toaster Oven

With the leftover lamb mixture, I added it to some store-bought Classico basil and tomato sauce and poured it over pasta. It was very good! If you have leftover as I did, you could also stuff zucchini or an eggplant with it.

Lamb mixture

Lamb Mixture Cooking

Beard says you can cut these pizzas into wedges and serve them with cocktails. I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing worse than eating cold, ground lamb – it’s too greasy. I wouldn’t recommend them for eating with cocktails or as hors d’oeuvres. These pizzas are best eaten hot.

Baked Lamb Pizzas

Baked Lamb Pizzas Hot from the Oven

I ate 5 and froze the rest. They freeze well and reheat in a toaster oven very well.

Storing Lamb Pizza in Container

Storing Lamb Pizza in Container for Freezing

Also, they cool off pretty quickly. If I make them again, I will be sure to really load on the lamb mixture so I don’t have any leftover and so that the pizza will stay hot longer. Those are my words to the wise. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

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New Food Friday Flash – Sweet Potato Rolls to Die For!

19 Jun Pull apart Sweet Potato Rolls

Can we all agree that we all love hot, buttered rolls? But they’re not the best for our health or waistline. Since I am always looking for ways to improve my diet, I have tried another James Beard bread recipe that I am addicted to! Again, it’s from the “old” book I found at the library. The man knows bread! I’ve also read his book on fish. It wasn’t nearly as good and disappointing in comparison. But I wasn’t disappointed with his Sweet Potato rolls recipe!

 

Has anybody not heard that we should stay away from white potatoes? Why? At the risk of repeating what you already know, they’re not as nutritious as other vegetables; they contain a high amount of pesticides (they’re in the “bad” 15 category), and we tend to fry or slather them in butter or sour cream which is not good for us. What’s a potato-loving girl (or guy) to do? Substitute your potato craving with a sweet potato.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

 

Sweet potatoes have more nutrients, they’re high in fiber and they’re low on the pesticide scale (they’re in the “good” 15). We can make a “pumpkin” pie with them. We can bake them in the skin and serve with a pat of butter. And, we can make sweet potato rolls with them! I’ve tried several recipes making rolls with white potatoes and they have hardly any flavor and little nutrition. You’ve got to try these sweet potato rolls!

 

I’ve made sweet potato rolls five times now. When I’m down to my last one or two rolls, I start baking a sweet potato. I like the sweet potato skin to show some blackened areas from baking because that caramelizes the potato and brings out the sweetness.

 

I knew that yesterday I was planning to do lots of yard work and would be too tired to make the rolls, so I started the night before. I put the dough ingredients and sweet potato together (I had baked the sweet potato the night before that) and put it in the fridge overnight. I wasn’t sure this would work, but happily, it did!

 

The next morning before I went out in the yard, I took out the bowl of dough. It had risen beautifully as you can see in the photo.

Sweet Potato Dough

Sweet Potato Dough well-risen

 I rolled the dough into 24 balls and put them in two cake pans as I usually do. I placed them in my microwave oven (turned off) with a hot cup of water, and left them there to rise while I did my yard work. When I came in exhausted, at 4:00 pm (I began at noon), I checked on my rolls. Look at how much they rose! 

Sweet Potato Dough Rolls

Big, Puffy, Sweet Potato Dough Rolls

 

I then baked the rolls in my convection toaster-oven. For me, it takes 17 minutes at 350° but I will give you the original recipe below.

 

They say we “eat” with our eyes. Look at the color on these beauties!! They’re gorgeous! They’re moist! They’re fluffy! When you put them in cake pans, they pull apart like cotton candy! 

Pull apart Sweet Potato Rolls

Beautiful Color on these fluffy Sweet Potato Rolls

 

The final result: they tasted the same as the sweet potato rolls I made without putting the dough in the fridge. The only difference is that they raised more, and were bigger than usual. What’s not to love about that? Isn’t it great to know that you can do this recipe in steps if you’re short on time? Plus, if you use the refrigerator method, you don’t have to knead the dough at all.

 

I enjoy them with breakfast and with dinner. They reheat very well in the microwave and they keep in the fridge very well. I keep them in the cake pan.  After they’ve cooled on a rack, cover them with aluminum foil. I also put the foil-covered rolls in a clean, plastic bag in the fridge just to ensure that they don’t get stale. This works very well. I keep the other cake pan with rolls covered the same way, and put them in the freezer. So, when the first batch is nearly all eaten, I take out the frozen batch and put them in the fridge. Easy-peasy.

 

Beard says you can substitute the sweet potatoes with canned sweet potatoes (without the liquid), or winter squash, like butternut squash or acorn squash. I tried acorn squash rolls yesterday but I prefer the sweet potato.  Either would make an excellent substitution since they are equally nutritious, high in fiber, and low in pesticides and a good way to sneak a vegetable into your family’s meal.

 

Sweet Potato Roll Recipe

2 packages dry yeast

4 Tablespoons sugar

½ cup water (100° – 115°)

3 Tablespoons melted butter

1 Tablespoon salt

2-3 eggs (one for basting rolls)

3-3 ½ (or more) cups flour

½ – ¾ cup cooled, mashed sweet potato

2 Tablespoons cream

 

Combine the yeast with 1 Tablespoon of the sugar and the ½ cup water in a bowl. Let it proof 5 minutes. Add the remaining 3 Tablespoons of sugar, the melted butter, salt and 2 eggs. Stir well to blend. Stir in the flour one cup at a time with the potatoes. (I prefer to add the potatoes before adding the flour.) Knead 2-3 min. Add enough additional flour to prevent sticking. Dough will be soft. Shape it into a ball. Put in a buttered bowl, turning to coat all. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in a warm place about 1 hour. Then punch dough down, shape into a ball again and let rest 2 minutes. Form into golf ball size balls and place on a buttered cookie sheet or 2 cake pans. Let rise until doubled in size. Brush with the last egg mixed with the cream. (I prefer using only an egg white mixed with 1 Tablespoon water and 1 Tablespoon powdered dry milk which I always have on hand. I never have cream in the house!) Also, I brush the rolls before I let them rise. If you brush dough after it has risen, it tends to deflate the dough.

 

Bake at 375° for 20 minutes depending on your oven. Makes 24 rolls or two loaves. Bet you can’t eat just one!

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New Food Friday Flash – Irish Soda Bread

15 May

I have been on the hunt for an easy to make, quick, delicious bread recipe since the year of the flood. I think I found it! This is not the usual recipe for Irish Soda Bread. Most recipes I’ve seen contain raisins. This one is raisin free. If I want bread with raisins then I’ll also want cinnamon in it. Then it wouldn’t be Irish Soda Bread, it would be Cinnamon Raisin Bread. I also have a recipe for Irish Soda bread using yeast. This is not that recipe. I started making this bread at 8:00 pm one night when I craved bread. It was on a cooling rack at 9:00 pm. That’s what I’m talking about and that is why this month’s New Food Friday Flash focuses on Irish Soda Bread.

 

The story: I was searching the book shelves at my library for baking books and came across a book by the famous chef, James Beard. When I tried to check it out using the computer checkout station, I couldn’t find the library number on the book. I asked the librarian about it and she said it was an old book so the number would be on the inside cover instead of on the outside of the book. Sure enough, it was inside. I hesitated for a moment when she said “old book” but I thought I’d check it out anyway. Boy, am I glad I did!

 

James Beard’s “Beard on Bread” is a treasure trove of bread recipes. I’ve made two of his breads so far and both were very delicious. The Irish Soda Bread caught my eye because it had no yeast or raisins in the ingredients and when I scanned the recipe, it said to knead for 2-3 minutes. There is no waiting for the dough to rise. His ingredients list did not include any sugar but his directions said to add the sugar! Aaargh! I thought, too many obstacles! This recipe can’t be any good! There is no waiting for the dough to rise? There is no 10-minute kneading as I am used to? Should I add some sugar? Should I leave the sugar out? But I was desperate for a piece of bread! Desperate I tell you. I left the sugar out even though my other Irish Soda Bread recipes contained sugar in the ingredients list. It would only go to my waistline anyway.

 

Here is the recipe:

3 cups whole-wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon double-acting baking powder

1 ½ to 2 cups buttermilk

 

Beard also included another version of this recipe using all white flour instead of whole wheat flour. I used half white bread flour and half white all-purpose flour. If you use all white, decrease the baking soda to ¾ teaspoon.

 

Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly then add enough buttermilk to make a soft dough, similar to biscuit dough but firm enough to hold its shape. Knead 2-3 minutes on a floured board. Form into a round loaf and place in a well-buttered 8-inch cake pan or a well-buttered cookie sheet. Cut a cross sign on the top of the loaf with a very sharp, floured knife. As it was baking, it rose and kept rising! It was beautiful bread, decorative because of the necessity to cut a cross on the top with a sharp knife before putting it in my convection toaster oven. It browns nicely in 35 – 40 minutes at 375° in your oven.

Irish Soda Bread in one hour!

Does this bread look like Santa Clause or it is just me?

 

Beard says to cut the bread in paper thin slices. I like it thin, I like it fat, I like it any which way but loose. He likes it buttered. Its great buttered but it is also good with blackberry spreadable fruit. It is very good as garlic toast (slathered in butter, topped with Italian herbs and garlic salt). It would also be good as sandwich bread. You have to try this bread. It’s good for novice bakers, old-hand bakers, what the heck, a kid could make it.

 

It keeps well in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. One-hour bread. I think I died and went to heaven!

Irish Soda Bread T-stand

Yipee! I love this bread!

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My Writing Process Tour

3 Feb Process depicted with gears

The person who nominated me for the Writing Process Tour is Gerard Villanueva. His blog is called Bread and Tortillas. He writes much more than the topics of bread and Tortillas. He also includes dishes that go well with bread and tortillas like soups or salsa. His bread recipes are very different and may include such ingredients as pumpkin seeds, amaranth, figs, or mushrooms! Recently he became a vegan. His photographs are some of the best you’ll see on WordPress and they make his dishes very enticing! I’ve insisted that he is a professional chef on TV but he keeps denying it and I don’t know if I believe him. Gerard has the knack of getting to the heart of my posts which demonstrates itself by the comments he leaves on my posts. His comments are always thought-provoking and positive. Thank you Gerard!

The rules for the Writing Process Tour are the following:

  1. Acknowledge the person who nominated you.
  2. Answer the tour’s 4 questions.
  3. Select three others to participate.

 

What am I working on?

Besides this? I continue to work on my body. I still don’t have a 6-pack yet but I’m getting there. I have exercise DVDs that I own and combine them with similar ones from the library which I renew over and over. I recently found one called Lord of the Abs Hard Core. It’s very good despite the corny name. I still do kickboxing and boxing & conditioning exercises. I found a good Pilates for Men DVD recently too. I have found that exercise DVDs for men, instructed by men, are more challenging than woman instructed DVDs. I put all of them in an order so as not to do two weight lifting or kickboxing DVDs back to back and then I workout four times a week. I do other strenuous things like shovel snow or replace my washer hoses which entailed pulling out my washer and dryer. That took five hours and was quite a workout! If you follow my blog, you know why I don’t go to gyms anymore.

I enjoy cooking and baking and am always ready to try a new recipe that I’ve never tried before or a new food. When I’ve come across something good or different, I post the experience on my blog. These posts are relegated to a monthly post called New Food Friday Flash. It used to be called New Food Friday when I had time to include more photos. The “Flash” variety signifies less photos which translates to spending less time on one post. Otherwise, those posts are the same. These are not the only food posts I write about though. By the way, if you are interested in something specific, you can always type in the Search field at the top of my blog!

Recently, I made a loaf of white bread. I know! I never made a loaf of plain white bread before! It turned out great! I also made a pineapple date nut bread. Wow! That came out surprisingly great! I didn’t expect that. I also made onion rye rolls for a second time. These were also very good. So good that I ate them for breakfast with raspberry jam! I know! Sounds gross but it worked! My goal is to find a recipe for a delicious, nutritious, bread or roll that I can make at a moment’s notice. I have not yet found it. Nothing compares to the Italian bread I had growing up in New York. When my sister and I went grocery shopping with our mom, half the loaf was gone by the time we got home!

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

My work differs from others in general in that I am a fanatic about not having mistakes on my blog. I double-check everything. I want my posts to read easily and I want it to be easy on the eyes with good white space. I like to back up my writing with some authority on the subject like the NY Times or WebMD, etc. and I will create a link to them so don’t skip over those links! They contain more valuable and/or interesting information. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to writing. I’m never completely happy with the results; it can always be better. But….there are only so many hours in the day and at some point I have to say enough already! My blog is different from others’ because I post about things that are good for your health. Everything I post must be advantageous to your health. This includes my audiobook section where I write reviews about great audiobooks. I believe that you need to include entertainment in your life for good health. All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy! Workaholics can burn out and that is not good for your health!

What constitutes a good health recipe? I wrote a post on how to make your own lemon curd. Another blogger asked how that could be good for your health when it is high in cholesterol? (It includes multiple egg yolks.) She didn’t read my post carefully enough because in it I compared my homemade recipe ingredients to the ingredients you would find on labels of store-bought lemon curd. So, yes they all are made with egg yolks, but my recipe didn’t have any artificial ingredients or unnecessary ingredients that you would find in a jar of lemon curd on a store shelf. Anyway, you could always use Eggbeaters in the recipe if you’re worried about cholesterol. One jar of lemon curd is not going to clog your arteries as long as you exercise and eat right! Also, I think I read recently that they don’t think eggs are the cause of high cholesterol as they used to believe. That’s the thing about the experts’ opinions – this week fill in the blank ________ will kill you, next week it will increase your lifespan. I say just eat a variety of foods and do so in moderation. Not to beat a dead horse over the lemon curd issue, (although I think it’s already too late for that), but the one jar I made was the only jar I ever made! That is very typical of my cooking and baking behavior. I crave the challenge of something new or different all the time!

Why do I write what I do?

I grew up in a multi-ethnic neighborhood and worked in multi-ethnic companies in NYC. I like diversity and it shows in my food choice. I will eat just about anything except bugs. You have to draw the line somewhere. I’ll cook Italian, Mexican, Greek, French, German, Moroccan, you name it, if it piques my interest, I’ll make it. Both my Italian grandmothers were good cooks. My mother cooked plainly: most meats were broiled. Nothing was fried. We ate lots of vegetables. So, these women influenced me. My dad had some special recipes too. His fritattas were legendary. I wrote about it and it was published in Organic Gardening and Farming. English grammar was very important to my mother, probably because her mother couldn’t write English. Apparently that importance was passed on to me.

I want to do what I can to awaken people to better health by making good food selections (I don’t like to use the word diet because it connotes restrictions) and choosing a good exercise program. It is alarming to me that so many are obese in America. Obesity in children is now epidemic in America. We adults have to set a good example for them. But it isn’t just about eating the right foods. Exercise is important too. I’ve been on the exercise band wagon for several decades now so it is firmly ingrained in my psyche. I don’t know if I can fully explain to you what I feel like when I skip a few days. It’s like I avoided a friend. That’s what exercise should be to you – your friend. Do we always love our friend? Hell no! Some days I say, “Not you again!” But once I get started, I’m all warm and fuzzy with my friend again.

How does your writing process work?

Words are my thing. For me it’s like falling off a log. Numbers and finances are another story. My brain turns to molasses when I’m dealing with numbers and finances. I can do it, but I’ll be groaning. Now that I’ve said that, there are some, very few in fact, words that I don’t like. One of them is the word “process.” I don’t know why but it makes me cringe. It must be a throwback from when I worked fulltime for a living. I remember this woman I worked with who was very difficult and would always use the word process. I would prefer to use the word “method” since it’s a word often used in psychology and psych was one of my majors in college….the “scientific method!” So, how does my writing method work?

Well, it’s hardly scientific. Or is it? If the method (steps) can be reproduced with the same results, that would be good scientific method. At least that’s what I vaguely remember from my classes. First, I have to get an idea. I get ideas from everywhere: cooking shows on television, cookbooks from the library, cookbooks at home, recipes online, recipes in magazines, newspapers, cooking segments on talk shows, books about food, foods at the grocery store, recipes in grocery store flyers, the list is endless. Then, I write down the idea.

I have a steno pad near my bed to jot down ideas.

Steno Pad for Night Table Notes

Steno Pad for Night Table Notes

I have post-it notes at the computer to jot down ideas.

Post-it Note Reminder on my Computer

Post-it Note Reminder on my Computer Screen

I have a TO DO list on my memory stick (USB) to jot down ideas.

USB Stick for Notes

USB Memory Stick for Notes

I have a college spiral notebook that I take with me to the library to jot down ideas.

Spiral Bound Notebook for Notes and Reminders

Spiral Bound Notebook for Notes

And then of course there is my brain which sometimes remembers things and sometimes…..

So far I haven’t run out of ideas but the thought does worry me a bit! Finally, I sit down at the computer and write. The stuff just flows out of me. I don’t believe in writer’s block. Sometimes I have word block and that drives me nuts. Sometimes I’ll want a specific word and it just won’t come to me. I can almost taste it! Thank God for Microsoft Word Dictionary Lookup! Those steps cover the food angle of my good health theme (not to be confused with a WordPress Theme).

As far as other topics related to good health, I feel that I can massage just about any topic to focus on the good health angle! Car trouble? Get your car repaired so you don’t get into an accident and therefore can maintain good health. I recently wrote about roundabouts! Wild animals loose in your backyard? Call animal control so you don’t get bitten thereby avoiding rabies or possibly death which is certainly not good for your health! Honestly, I watched a news report recently that showed people in Indiana who keep exotic animals on their property. We have a lot of folks doing this and it seems that some new laws are going to be passed making it safer for the public. Looking at the topic of good health in this way allows me to write on a multitude of topics so I don’t get bored and can continue to follow that challenge of something new or different that I tend to gravitate to.

That’s all there is to my method. I don’t think I left anything out. Questions? Comments? You know what to do!

My nomination for the Writing Process Tour is:

Kelihasablog

Keli writes warmly and about family-oriented topics, poetry, and topics of interest to her. She is also a photographer. Keli is a beautiful woman and a cancer survivor. She has a great sense of humor and puts up with my questions like, “Did you name your blog Kelihasablog after Steven Tyler’s song ‘Janie’s Got a Gun’”? She didn’t, but I can’t get the tune out of my head every time I see her blog.

Thank you for your thoughtful posts and comments. They keep me inspired.

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New Food Friday – Russian Black Bread

17 Jan sxc.hu-uccrow Basil's Cathedral

I have a childhood friend who is originally from Estonia. A little bit of a history lesson is worth mentioning here. Estonia was part of the Russian empire until 1918 when it proclaimed its independence. 

The Russian Basilica-Tallinn, Estonia

The Russian Basilica-Tallinn, Estonia (sxc.hu sx937)

It was  incorporated into the USSR in 1940 by force but regained its freedom in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. The last Russian troops left in 1994.

sxc.hu Tallinn Capital of Estonia

Tallinn, Capital of Estonia (sxc.hu  gundolf)

Today, the Estonian economy has one of the higher GDP (gross domestic product) growth rates in Europe.

So, back to my childhood friend. One day my friend gave me a loaf of black bread. I don’t remember if she said it was Estonian black bread or Russian black bread. Maybe they’re one in the same. Anyway, it was delicious! Now, many years later, I have found a recipe in one of my cookbooks for Russian Black Bread. I will share it with you for this New Food Friday.

This recipe makes two round loaves. The bread is delicious, reminiscent of the loaf my Estonian friend gave me and I will definitely make it again. It is made with chocolate, coffee, and molasses. It is a dark color (hence the name black bread) and looks chocolatey! You can almost taste the chocolate and almost taste the coffee. However, it is not a sweet bread. It has a slight sour taste similar to a sour dough bread because of the rye flour and maybe the vinegar but this taste seemed to dissipate after the first day and the chocolate flavor became more pronounced instead.

I’ve already finished off one loaf. I stored the other in the freezer and then let it defrost in the refrigerator when I wanted more. It is just as delicious as the first loaf. In fact, I believe I noticed that the bread tasted even better the day after I baked it and it kept well in the refrigerator. I usually sliced off 3 ounces for my meal, buttered it, and let it warm to room temperature.

This bread can vary somewhat in flavor depending on the type of chocolate you use or the type of coffee you use. The recipe also calls for bran cereal so depending on the type of cereal you use, that can also alter the taste. However, I doubt that the varieties you use would make that much difference. Just use the best ingredients that you can afford. There are a lot of ingredients!

4 cups unsifted rye flour

3 cups unsifted white flour

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 cups whole bran cereal

2 tablespoons caraway seed, crushed

2 teaspoons Instant Coffee

2 teaspoons onion powder

1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed

2 packages active dry yeast

2 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 cup dark molasses

1 square (1-ounce) unsweetened chocolate

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine or butter

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 cup cold water

Combine rye and white flours. Mix 2  1/3 cups of the combined flour mixture with the sugar, salt, cereal, caraway seed, coffee, onion powder, fennel seed, and undissolved yeast.

Combine 2 1/2 cups water, vinegar, molasses, chocolate, and margarine or butter in a saucepan. Heat over low heat until liquids are very warm (120 – 130 degrees). Margarine and chocolate do not need to melt. Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed of an electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 1/2 cup flour mixture. Beat at high speed 2 minutes.

Russian Black Bread Batter

Russian Black Bread Batter

Stir in enough additional flour mixture to make a soft dough. Turn out onto lightly floured board. Cover; let rest 15 minutes. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 to 15 minutes. Dough may be sticky. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk. about 1 hour.

Punch dough down; turn out onto lightly floured board. Divide in half. shape each half into a ball about 5 inches in diameter. Place each ball in the center of a greased 8-inch round cake pan. Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. I like to let my bread rise in the microwave with a cup of very hot water. This is a draft-free environment and the cup of hot water makes the small area warm enough for the dough to rise. Important, don’t turn on the microwave!

Russian Black Bread Rising in Microwave

Russian Black Bread Rising in Microwave with Hot Water

Bake at 350 degrees 45 to 50 minutes until done. Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and cold water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture starts to boil; continue to cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. As soon as bread is baked, brush cornstarch mixture over top of loaves. Return bread to oven and bake 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until glaze is set. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

Russian Black Bread Cooling

Russian Black Bread Cooling

This recipe comes from my Fleischmann’s Bake-it-easy Yeast Book. I hope you bake this. It’s very good and has a lot of nutritional value! Das vadanya!

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A Gander at the Inside of My Grander/Vitamin D News

14 Aug Completed Tuna Salad Sandwich

I wanted to post this yesterday but I was too tired. I’ve been working out every day now but that’s a whole other post for when I have more time!

I’ll get right to it: the taste of my Grander (Heirloom) tomato! It was dense, it was juicy, it was mild, it had few seeds, the skin was not tough….I loved it!  I think it would make great tomato sauce and from the looks of the vine and all the tomatoes, I will be able to do just that.

I decided to make my mother’s recipe of tuna, celery, hard-boiled egg, and mayo salad sandwich to showcase my Heirloom tomato. First, chop up a stalk of celery.

Celery Chopped

Celery Chopped

Chop up a hard-boiled egg.

Hard-Boiled Egg Chopped

Egg Chopped

Chop (or mash) a can of Starkist Select Low Sodium Chunk Light in Water tuna.

Low Sodium Tuna Chopped

Low Sodium Tuna Chopped

Why this particular variety of tuna?

Starkist Selects Chunk Light Tuna in Water-Low Sodium

Starkist Selects Chunk Light Tuna in Water-Low Sodium

It contains Vitamin D – 15% of your DV per serving or two ounces. (More about this below.)

Add your favorite mayonnaise. I like Kraft with Olive Oil but I also like the low calorie mayo too. Add two tablespoons and stir well.

I don’t add anything else because the tuna is salty even though it is low sodium and the yolk of the egg contains sodium. I don’t want to push my sodium limits.

Next, get two slices of Brownberry Health Nut bread.

Brownberry Health Nut Bread

Brownberry Health Nut Bread

Why? Each slice of this bread has 10% of your DV of Vitamin D.

Health Nut Bread Nutritional Facts

Health Nut Bread Nutritional Facts

Recently I was told by my doctor that a blood test showed that I was low in Vitamin D. I showed 28 when a normal reading would be 50. My doctor wants me to be at 70! She prescribed a supplement AND a multi-vitamin. If you know anything about me, you know that I don’t like to take pills of any kind unless it’s absolutely necessary. I think what she prescribed was overkill AND I would have preferred if she tried to coach me into making changes to my diet to get the Vitamin D I needed. So, I made the changes myself and did not take the supplements or multi-vitamin pills.

I drink almond milk with Vitamin D, orange juice with Vitamin D, eat Total cereal with Vitamin D, tuna, salmon, sardines, Smart Balance Buttery Spread with Olive Oil, Eggland’s Best Eggs, Brownberry Health Nut bread, Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta, Shiitake mushrooms, Yoplait Greek 100 Fat-free Tropical Fruit yogurt, also Vanilla, Peach, and other flavors, non-fat dry milk….these all contain Vitamin D and I rotate them into my diet so that at the end of each day, I have had my daily requirement of Vitamin D.  *This list of Vitamin D foods will continuously be updated as I learn about foods that contain the vitamin.

Too much Vitamin D can be LETHAL! Not enough Vitamin D can cause rickets and soft bones. Vitamin D is needed to promote bone growth. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer and more maladies. We hear a lot about calcium, but Vitamin D is just as important.

Bread makers asked for permission to add a vitamin D yeast to their breads so that they could list Vitamin D in their ingredients. They were given the OK. I had to look through 20 loaves of bread at Meijer to find this one loaf of bread with Vitamin D! I even asked the bread deliverer and he had never heard of bread with Vitamin D and said he would ask his boss. Too late, I already found one but I’m sure there are more out there! If you find another brand of bread with Vitamin D, please let me and my readers know! Thanks!

OK, I reviewed the Heirloom tomato, it’s time to review the Brownberry Health Nut bread. It was bland. Next time I’ll toast it to see if that helps. The next day I made the same sandwich with the leftover tuna-egg salad and Heirloom tomato on Rye bread. What a world of difference! It tasted better but of course I didn’t get the Vitamin D from the Rye bread.

Here are the results of my bread, tuna-egg salad sandwich:

Heirloom Tomato Slice

Heirloom Tomato Slice

The tomato slice covers the entire slice of bread!

Tuna Salad Open-faced

Tuna Salad Open-faced

There is plenty of tuna-egg salad to pile on thickly.

Completed Tuna Salad Sandwich

Completed Tuna Salad Sandwich

In case you’re wondering what the greenery is in my sandwich, it’s escarole. As I said in another post, I love escarole and use it in sandwiches.

This is a nutritious, high protein lunch that helps you get your Vitamin D. It was good! Try it!

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New Food Friday – Blackstrap Molasses

15 Feb Windmill sxc.hu/http://www.thebend.be/dimitri_c

You don’t hear much about blackstrap molasses and that is why this post is about blackstrap molasses for this New Food Friday.

Blackstrap Molasses

Blackstrap Molasses

What is the blackstrap in blackstrap molasses? The name ‘blackstrap’ originates from the black ‘strap’ or mark that distinguished the casks of molasses from the casks of raw sugar that  shipped as part of the same cargo.

(see: http://www.processedfreeamerica.org/resources/health-news/287-the-many-benefits)

What about sulphured and unsulphured molasses?

This jar of blackstrap molasses is not sulphured.  Blackstrap molasses can be sulphured or unsulphured. Make sure you check the label when you buy it.

Sulphured molasses: Sulfur dioxide is added as a preservative to keep young, raw sugar cane fresh until it is processed and to preserve the molasses byproducts produced from it. 

Unsulphured molasses: is made from matured cane plants that have been allowed to ripen naturally in the field.

Molasses is made by boiling sugar three times. Each time it goes through a boiling process, it gets darker and the flavor becomes more intense and somewhat bitter. (Just like when you try to make caramel and burn the sugar!)

What is the Nutritional Value of Blackstrap Molasses?

Blackstrap Molasses Nutrition Facts

Blackstrap Molasses Nutrition Facts – Click to enlarge

Blackstrap molasses has a very strong taste. I’ve made the mistake of adding too much to a recipe once. I’ll never make that mistake again. It will take over the flavor of whatever you add it to so be careful not to use too much when you use it.

On the other hand, I don’t know anything that has more Iron than blackstrap molasses. One tablespoon contains 70% of your Daily Value (DV). This is beneficial to pregnant women, those who are anemic, and vegetarians who don’t eat meat.

I don’t remember what I paid for this jar of House of Herbs Blackstrap Molasses, but I do remember that it was the least expensive molasses on the shelf of my local Meijer. 

You can use blackstrap molasses to make baked beans, gingerbread, and gingersnap cookies. 

I made whole wheat bread and although my recipe didn’t call for blackstrap molasses, I have other bread recipes that do, so I added it to this recipe. I often combine recipes, sometimes due to lack of ingredients. For example, I didn’t have the oats needed for the recipe that required blackstrap molasses, so I added the molasses to a different recipe that didn’t require oats.

This is a very delicious whole wheat bread recipe. I highly recommend it for its nutritional value and nutty taste. (I ate three slices when it cooled!)

2 Loaves Whole Wheat Bread

2 Loaves Whole Wheat Bread

I ate two slices for breakfast toasted!

Whole Wheat Toast

Whole Wheat Toast

This bread would be great smeared with peanut butter and probably Nutella would work too. I tried spreading Apricot jam on it and that didn’t work for me but then I’m not that fond of Apricots.

Here is the recipe:

5 1/2 to 6 cups unsifted white flour

2 cups unsifted whole wheat flour 

3 tbsp sugar (I used brown sugar)

4 teas salt

1/4 cup molasses

2 pkgs active dry yeast

2 cups milk

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup butter or margarine

Combine flours. (I don’t combine the flours as the recipe suggests.)

Wheat sxc.hu/umayr http://www.communicate.pk

Wheat sxc.hu/umayr http://www.communicate.pk

In a large bowl thoroughly mix 2 1/2 cups flour mixture, sugar, salt, and undissolved yeast.

By the way, I like to use white whole wheat flour. If you haven’t tried it, I recommend it.

Mill sxc.hu/linder6580/Robert Linder

                                                                             Mill                                                                                                                                                      sxc.hu/linder6580/Robert Linder

Combine milk, water, butter in a saucepan. Heat over low heat until liquids are very warm (120F – 130F). Butter does not need to melt. Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 1 cup flour mixture. Beat at high speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in enough additional flour mixture to make a stiff dough. Turn out onto lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, then a towel. Let rest 20 minutes.

Divide dough in half. Roll each half to a 14 x 9-inch rectangle. Shape into loaves. Place in 2 greased 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans. Brush loaves with Peanut oil (I omitted this step or you could brush them with melted butter.) Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2 to 24 hours.

When ready to bake, remove from refrigerator. Uncover dough carefully. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Puncture any gas bubbles which may have formed with a greased toothpick. Bake at 400F about 40 minutes or until done. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

You may have noticed that this recipe calls for kneading.

Kneading

Kneading on a counter  sxc.hu/arinas74 Ariel da Silva Parreira

I do all my kneading in a very large bowl with a somewhat flat bottom. This way I don’t have to flour my counter and get it all sticky with dough. I also don’t roll out my dough with a rolling pin.

Rolling Pin sxc.hu/topfer www.pixelmaster.no

Rolling Pin sxc.hu/topfer http://www.pixelmaster.no

I just stretch the dough out with my hands in the air, like a pizza dough except I make the shape rectangular. I pull it gently so as not to tear it. I even roll it up this way (like rolling up a large map or a scroll or your diploma if that helps you to visualize it.) I couldn’t photograph it because my hands were full of sticky dough. Sticky dough and cameras are not a good mix! You don’t have to do what I do but you can see from the finished results that my method doesn’t hurt the results and saves me some cleanup time.

I’ve made this recipe several times and the results were always good. Try it, or your favorite whole wheat recipe with blackstrap molasses. I think you will like it and it will be so good for you!

P.S. If you want to read an unbelievable, incredible, mind-blowing TRUE story about molasses, click here if you dare

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