Tuesday, July 22, 2014

tomato basil frittata with homemade wheat berry bread

There is nothing like growing your own food. So satisfying. Not just because you see it grow from seeds, to flowers, to fruit which then ripen, but because you know exactly what went into it. Why? Because you were there from the start.

That may be why this frittata was the best I've tasted in a long time. That and the 1/2 cup of grated romano melted on top.

Tomato Basil Frittata
Makes one 8-inch frittata, adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Cook Book

    • 2 tablespoons canola oil
    • 1/2 onion, chopped
    • Salt and fresh ground pepper
    • 2 medium-small tomatoes (1 1/2 cups), chopped
    • 5-8 basil leaves, sliced
    • 7 eggs
    • 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
    1. Heat oil in 8-inch skillet. When hot add onion, salt and pepper and cook until soft. Add tomato and lower heat. Cook until dry and reduced. Add basil and stir to combine.
    2. Meanwhile whisk eggs with salt and pepper. Pour eggs into the pan and smooth over vegetables to cover. Add cheese.
    3. Cook undisturbed until mostly firm. To complete setting the eggs place in oven at 350F for 5 minutes.
    Wheat berry Bread
    Makes two loaves, adapted from Bread Alone Cook Book
    (Bread takes two days to complete - one for the starter and the next for the bread. The starter doesn't take much time to prep, but day two of making bread requires at least 5 hours - I sometimes let the bread ferment over night, if my schedule doesn't allow for making the bread all in one day, and that seems to be okay.)

    Poolish (Starter) Ingredients
    • 3/4 cup spring water
    • 1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
    Final Dough Ingredients
    • 2 1/4 cup spring water
    • 1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
    • 2 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 3 14/ - 4 1/4 white whole wheat flour
    • 1 cup whole wheat berries
    Instructions: Day One
    1. Place wheat berries in a medium bowl and cover with spring water. Let sit over night.
    2. Combine water and yeast of poolish. Let stand a minute and then mix to dissolve.
    3. Add poolish flours and stir with a wooden spoon for about 100 strokes. You know you are done when the gluten strands come off the spoon when pressed to the side of the bowl.
    4. Cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel (to keep it dark) and leave over night in a relatively warm place. I use the stove top.
     Instructions: Day Two
    1. Poolish should be bubbly, soupy, and puffy with a wheaty aroma. Place poolish in a large bowl and add final dough water and yeast. Mix to break up the poolish making a uniform consistency.
    2. Add the first amount of flour and drained wheat berries. Stir until combined. Add salt and enough of the rest of the flour to make a thick mass of dough that doesn't stir easily. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 15-17 minutes, adding flour as needed. Dough is ready when a small amount pulled away bounces back.
    3. Shape the dough into a ball and cover with oil, turning it in the bowl to cover all the sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a dish towel and place in a warm spot for fermentation, until doubled in volume, about 2-3 hours. Dough is ready when you push your finger in and it leaves a dent.
    4. Deflate the dough by pushing in the center and pulling up on the sides. Place on a floured surface and cut into two equal pieces. Gently flatten each piece with the palm of your hand, pressing the bubbles out. Shape each piece into balls. Place loaves on a wooden surface and cover with a damp, clean dish towel until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
    5. Heat oven to 450F one hour before you are going to bake. Oven rack should be in the middle of oven.
    6. Carefully place loaves onto a baking sheet, one at a time - I used a pizza pan - trying not to deflate them too much.
    7. Place in oven and spray inside with water to create steam. Quickly close the oven to capture the steam and bake for 3 minutes. Repeat the water spray and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Lower temperature to 400 and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the bread is golden brown. You can tell if it is done by patting its bottom. If it sounds hollow it is done.

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

    vanishing oatmeal raisin cookies

    So, one week into my month long vacation in the country and I am exhausted. Partly due to the fact that I spent three hours working from home, partially due to the fact that my husband went back to the city to do a job and won't be back upstate until Friday - the longest time we've been apart.

    With all the trouble of getting things ready for my leave taking I forgot all about the Leftovers Club. So, I made some oatmeal cookies and sent them from here to Norma over at Allspice and Nutmeg. Recipe was from the oatmeal box (adapted, of course) and package was sent from the local post office, just two blocks walk away.

    You may be saying, Oatmeal cookies again!? I know, I know, but they are sooo good and have become my go-to treat: healthy, just enough sweetness to stave off that craving... and I made these cookies in mini muffin tins. I think it adds something to them, don't you?

    Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
    Makes 30-35 mini muffin cookies, adapted from Quaker Oats Quick 1-Minute Oatmeal container

    • 1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
    • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 1/2 white whole wheat flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 cups oatmeal
    • 1 cup raisins
    1. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl until light. 
    2. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
    3. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Combine well.
    4. Add oats and raisins.
    5. Drop one tablespoon of dough in each ungreased mini muffin tin.
    6. Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes, or until browned on the edges. Cool completely. 

    Monday, July 7, 2014


    frozen pineapple, apple, mint, water

    I have had a lot of inspiration lately from various people in my life.

    My sister-in-law came to visit and I got to witness her daily routine at almost 70 years - which includes yoga every day and eating an organic raw vegan diet. She looks amazing. I was impressed.

    As a result, and the crazy hot weather we've been having, I have not been making food all that much lately. But one thing I have been making an awful lot of is smoothies.

    cucumber, blueberries, green apple, soy milk, frozen pineapple

    Ever since my doctor told me one good way to loose weight was to stop drinking juice, that if you want a fruit eat a fruit, and if you're thirsty drink water, I've eliminated it from my diet. I don't have it in house unless as a sweet treat for special occasions. This goes for my son too. We try to stay away from juice boxes as a convenience, and opt for plain old water.

    Cherries, soy milk, banana
    Even so, I have witnessed major changes in a number of my friends and family members health. Therefore I've brought the smoothie into my diet. Every morning I am making one for breakfast. Different than juice since the fiber remains from the fruit and veggies you use, but super convenient. Just whirr it in the blender and go.

    I've been using frozen fruit and adding bits of fresh fruit, or cucumber and a few leaves of mint, plus almond butter or even cacao powder upon occasion and some sort of liquid, either water or soy milk, but sometimes coconut milk too. There is no rule. It varies every time.

    So check out what's in your fridge and whip up a frothy cool breakfast drink. Totally satisfying and healthy. Who can beat that??

    frozen blueberries, frozen mango, mint leaves, soy milk

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

    fresh fig tartine

    You really can't go wrong with fresh figs. Now that they are available, I urge you to get as many boxes as you can carry and devour every last one. They are that good.

    This is a nice way to compliment their sticky sweetness. The cottage cheese lends a salty, sour element that works really well with the fig.

    Fresh Fig Tartine
    Serves One

    • 2 fresh figs, sliced
    • Bread of your choice (I have a nice hearty fruit and nut loaf)
    • Cottage cheese
    1. Spread cottage cheese on bread slices. Place fig slices on top.

    Pistachio Cilantro Pesto Tartine

    And from around the blogosphere:

    10 Tartine Recipes -  The Kitchn

    Summer Squash Tartine With Ricotta - Eats Well With Others

    Ultimate 4-Layer Vegan Sandwich - Oh She Glows

    Prosciutto, Radish and Honey Tartine - La Tartine Gourmande

    Tuesday, June 24, 2014

    breakfast french toast custard

    In an effort to lose weight - yes, I said it - I was thinking of ways I can have my breakfast and eat it too.

    Here's what I came up with - French Toast sans the toast. Or toast ontheside, which I think is code for 'no thanks.'

    Breakfast French Toast Custard
    Serves One

    • 2 tablespoons oil
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup soy milk
    • Dash cardamom
    • Dash vanilla extract
    • Dash sugar
    • 2-3 pieces of in-season fruit, chopped
    1. Whisk all ingredients except oil and fruit together. Heat oil in a frying pan until water sizzles when splashed in it. 
    2. Pour ingredients into pan and let sit, turning a bit to get the uncooked top spread out and cooked. Once the top has set scrape out with a spatula. I was hoping this would come out in one piece but it was too sticky. 
    3. Add chopped fruit and enjoy.
    Here are some other Eggy Breakfast ideas:

    Here are eggy breakfasts from around the blogosphere:

    Joanne Eats Well With Others - Homemade Quick-Pickled Jalapenos on Hard-Boiled Eggs

    Cozy Kitchen - Spaghetti Squash Egg Baskets

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

    almond butter and raspberry jam bars

    On the heels of Father's Day my son had his stepping up celebration. True I am proud of my son and all his accomplishments, but it is so sad to think that this year has come to a close and the wonderful class he had, with all his friends and the most wonderful teacher, is ending. The ceremony was so cute. The kids sang a number of songs and were each awarded a certificate, with Pomp and Circumstance playing. I cried.

    I saw PB&J bars over at Joanne's blog and knew I'd have to try them. I ended up going with the Bon Appetit recipe only because it makes enough for an 8x8 pan - the pan I own. They are super yummy - and not too sweet. The perfect treat for stepping up to any occasion.

    Almond Butter and Raspberry Jam Bars
    Makes 8x8 pan of bars, adapted from Bon Appetit

    • 1 1/2 cupswhite whole wheat flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 cup smooth almond butter
    • 3/4 cup golden brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup raspberry jam(preserves is nicer)
    • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped salted roasted peanuts
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper, leaving 2-inch overhang around edges and pressing firmly into corners and up sides of pan.
    2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in small bowl. 
    3. Using electric mixer, beat peanut butter, sugar, and butter in large bowl until smooth. Add egg and vanilla; beat on low speed until smooth. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed just to blend. Transfer half of dough to prepared pan (about scant 1 1/2 cups). Place remaining dough in freezer for 10 minutes. Using fingertips, press dough evenly onto bottom of pan. Spread jam over in even layer. Remove dough from freezer; using fingertips, break into grape-size pieces and scatter over jam layer. Sprinkle chopped nuts over.
    4. Bake bars until top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool bars completely in pan on rack. 

    Tuesday, June 17, 2014

    stone fruit salad with lemon honey dressing

    I don't know about you but summertime hits and my interest in being in kitchen plummets. Here is a lovely non-recipe that requires zero stove time. Just throw whatever looks ripe into a bowl and add that delicious elixir dressing and you're all set!

    Stone Fruit Salad with Lemon Honey Dressing
    Serves 1-4

    • 2 apricots, sliced and pitted
    • One peach, sliced and pitted
    • One plum, sliced and pitted
    • 1/3 English cucumber, thinly sliced
    • One orange, peeled and sliced
    Dressing Ingredients
    • Juice of 1/2 lemon
    • 1 Tablespoon honey
    1. Combine all fruit and cucumber in a medium bowl. Mix dressing together in a small bowl and add it to fruit.