Sunday, February 28, 2010

March 1st Bread Braid with HBin5

Assignment: 1 full recipe of 100% Whole Wheat bread with Olive Oil, pgs 81-82,  1 loaf
1 loaf Aloo Paratha, pgs 225-226,
1 loaf Southwestern Focaccia w/Roasted Corn & Goat Cheese
We can make substitutions, but share what and how we substituted with the group in our blogs.
100% WW Bread with Olive Oil
4 c AP, 3 c white whole wheat for whole wheat
Added ¼ c chopped fresh rosemary; 1 tsp minced dried garlic,
¼ chopped pitted green and kalamati olives

SPECIAL NOTE:  Due to being ill for a week, I did not make the second recipe.  Also because I wasn’t up to going to the grocery store for other ingredients, I made an Italian version of the Aloo Paratha. When I started the dough I wasn’t into a full blown viral infection thank goodness or else I would have no bread to blog about at all.   I had the dough sitting in the refrigerator for a week before I could utilize it.


Despite the snow my wonderful rosemary bush (now 4 yrs old) is still a great source for fresh leaves!  So as I was making my WW with Olive Oil dough I decided it needed the fresh rosemary, garlic and olives.  I put this combination in my semolina bread and it’s one that I thought would be good in this recipe.   

Once I was well enough to work with it, I decided to just work with some fresh mozzarella that needed to be used up and some roasted chicken.   I thought it would make a good combination in the “Aloo Paratha” format and I didn’t have to go to the grocery store for anything.  I softened more of the minced dried garlic by soaking it in water and then sprinkling on top with some kosher salt and parmesan cheese. 

Ken dipping Italian version of Aloo Paratha in pasta sauce.  
That's my homemade New Zealand Merlot that he drank with it.  

That turned out to be a good idea since it made a nice dinner for Ken.  But even though he liked it, he still complained about the whole wheat…and no, he wasn’t even sure it had whole wheat in it…he is just punchy about whole wheat at this point.  LOL.  To appease him, at the time I was writing this there were plain hamburger buns and hot dog buns in the oven baking for him from the master recipe in ABin5! 

I also decided to make some ciabatta squares.  I rolled out the dough flat, and cut into 4” wide strips.  Then I let that rise on the cookie sheets.  Just before baking I poked it all over with my fingertips, brushed on olive oil, and sprinkled with kosher salt.  Finally I used my dough scraper to score the ciabatta into squares for easy splitting. 


Great open-faced breakfast sandwich, fresh tomatoes and aged white cheddar cheese on ciabatta square.

I had enough dough left for two more loaves!  I wrapped the last of the fresh mozzarella into dough that I shaped into a log.  Just before baking I brushed it with a beaten egg, sprinkled with kosher salt, and then slashed deep enough to expose the cheese inside.  While it looked very good when it came out of the oven, a lot of the cheese had escaped.  Sigh.  Oh well!  It is still very good for toast and sandwiches. 


Mozarella rolled into WWW with Oil dough (L) and Italian style Aloo Paratha (R)

 Lastly I decided to practice again with the wheat leaf pattern. 

Considering how sick I have been this week, I am quite happy with what I was finally able to produce! 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Waneta, my neighbor did it to me again!  When I told her I was making red beet buns (see previous post) she pulled out a recipe she had cut out of the Omaha World Herald for Red Beet Chocolate Sheet cake. 

Waneta and Wayne used to live in Omaha, NB, and Waneta still really misses it.  They take the Omaha World Herald to keep up with the politics and the friends they left behind.  I’ve met a few of their friends who have come out to visit and can see why they miss them so much!  

Matter of fact I have a ball with Lee and Mardel when they come out.  I even got Mardel making bread from the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day book.  Mardel also gave a copy of the book to her granddaughter as as a gift.  Good things do travel from region to region, and cook to cook! 

Anyhow, one of the regular articles in Waneta's paper, The Amish Cook's Baking Book By Rhonda Stansberry, a World Herold Staff writer, features some good recipes!  Just click on the following link to see more!

The recipe Waneta handed me was a great way to use up the extra beets I had grated up for the Red Beet Buns!  And frankly, tasted better than the Red Beet Buns I had made!  (see previous post)

There is one note about the recipe...although it is called a sheet cake, you bake it in a 9" by 11" cake pan.  

Red Beet Chocolate Sheet Cake
Serves 8-12
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1½ cups cooked and puréed fresh beets (or 12-ounce jar)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sifted powdered sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch cake pan and set aside.
Mix together the flour, salt and baking soda and set aside. Combine the sugar, eggs and oil in a large bowl. Stir vigorously (those who use electric mixers can use one here on medium speed for 2 minutes). Beat in the beets, melted chocolate and vanilla.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the beet mixture, beating well after each addition. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean — 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in the pan. Cover and let stand overnight to improve the flavor. Dust with powdered sugar.
Let the cake cool completely and store in a sealed container or cake safe. The cake will stay fresh for three or four days.
Test kitchen notes: I used whole pickled beets, draining and discarding the juice and puréeing the beets in a food processor.The chips can be melted in a micro- wave-safe bowl about 1 minute, stirring quickly afterward until they are smooth.

I found the recipe a bit confusing as you don’t see the directions to melt the chocolate until you read the test kitchen notes! 

I had already shredded the beets since I was using left over beets from the Red Beet Buns recipe.  So I cooked them in the microwave.  I found I needed to add some water to the beets to puree them.  But that made no difference to the cake flavor or texture.  Very delicious!

We were in the middle of the big snowstorm of Feb 6th when I was baking this.  Chip, another one of our neighbors, was a gem to use his snowblower to clear out the walkway to Waneta and Wayne’s front door.  So I had to take some of this cake over to him before I took the rest to Waneta and Wayne!      

February 15th HBin5 Bread Braid Part II

Red Beet Buns
1 c WWW (white whole wheat) instead of 2 c WW
3 c AP (all purpose flour) instead of 2 cups AP
1 ½ tbsp kosher salt instead of 1 tbsp kosher salt

Sadly, this is one recipe I WON’T make again.  This is the ONLY recipe I haven’t liked so far in the HBin5 book.  And I can’t really say why it is not good.  I followed the recipe and was really looking forward to the flavor of the beets as a matter of fact as I love them!  But ick! 

I purposely made the buns flatter as I was anticipating using them for sandwich buns.  Sitting on top of the buns is the small loaf of bread I made with the rest of the dough.  

I was very  surprised that I didn’t like the buns as I had made a Red Beet and Chocolate cake from the leftover shredded beets and it came out delicious!  

I’m wondering if the main difference is that the beets were cooked for the Red Beet Chocolate cake and not for the Buns.  And Ken’s reaction was VERY negative to the buns!  Sigh, alas, alack!  

I’ve included the cake recipe and pics on the next post. 

February 15th HBin5 Bread Braid Part I

1/2 recipe Red Beet Buns, Pgs 180-181
½ recipe Chocolate Espresso WW Bread, 302-303
Chocolate Tangerine Bars, pgs 304-305

We can make substitutions, but share what and how we substituted with the group in our blogs.


Chocolate Espresso WW Bread
White whole wheat for whole wheat
Added 4 ½ oz cocoa and ¼ c butter in place of 6 oz bittersweet chocolate
Added 2 handfuls cinnamon chips and 1 tbsp cinnamon
Had to add an extra cup of water because the dough was too stiff, 
probably because of the extra cocoa

This is a bread I will definitely make again!  I love the rich flavor!  BUT, as is usual I had to put my own twist on it.  

While we were in Mexico we had a lot of chocolate!  But down there they love to put cinnamon with their chocolate.  So it seemed natural to me to include cinnamon in this recipe. 

Also, I didn’t want to do just bread, I wanted some sort of “pastry”.  I used my pasta bike to cut long ribbons of dough which I then twisted and coiled around to form a “round” which I’ve named “meadow buns!”  See if you get the joke!   They are very delicious!  

I used Apima Mexican honey in this recipe.

Pasta bike worked great in cutting out the strips of dough.

I also baked some Chocolate Espresso Cinnamnon Straws 


I still had some extra dough, since I had made a full recipe, and decided to try a baked apple wrapped in this dough.  I used my apple slicer (which also cores the apple), and while holding the apple together on the dough, I shoveled in more sugar and cinnamon.  Then I quickly wrapped the bread dough around it.  

I put the dough wrapped apple in one of my large muffin molds and baked it at the temp called for.

When I served this I poured a bit of my homemade Chocolate Raspberry Port over it.

But I felt that the dough had dried out a bit, so decided to take the rest and make it into Apple Chocolate Espresso Bread Pudding!

I topped the bread pudding with a bit of cream.  Now that's a dessert!  

Chocolate Tangerine Bars  
Zest from one orange, I didn’t have any tangerines
Cinnamon chips for chocolate
Dried cherries for cranberries

This is another one that I love with the cinnamon chips and extra cinnamon!  I wouldn’t waste cherries on it again however.  The next time I will just put in the dried cranraisins as they are cheaper.  The taste of the chocolate pretty much overwhelmed the cherries. 

I read a trick about zesting citrus fruit…put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes if the fruit is soft.  The skin freezes up and makes it much easier to zest.  Don’t remember where I read that, but it works!

Red Beet Buns
1 c WWW (white whole whe

Doggie Treats

Scupper is our 3 year old “designer dog”.  I put that in quotes because when we first started looking for a dog 3 years ago I was shocked!   I hadn’t had a dog in many years, and mixed breed dogs were simply called “mutts”, back in the day.  So the first call evoked a “FOR A MUTT!” from me when the gal on the other end told me how much she wanted for her “designer” dog!  LOL. 

After checking the local SPCA, I checked with a few friends.  One of them had a sister who had a new litter of puppies that were just ready for adoption.  We went over the river and through the woods and found her place.  There were 4 puppies, and we sat on the ground to take a look at them.  Scupper wandered over to Ken, climbed into his lap and started licking his face.   Then he crawled under the house chasing after one of his little mates.  We checked all the puppies out carefully, and then Scupper climbed into Ken’s lap a second time and settled down.  That was it for Ken, he was hooked!

We started taking Scupper kayaking with us the very first weekend we became his humans.  He loved kayaking from then on!  While we had the boat we took him sailing.  He was all over that boat and particularly loved stealing the little tools, nuts and bolts when Ken was working on things.  He’d pull the lines (ropes) and thought they were great fun to chew. 

Camping is a great big doggie park to him.  He doesn’t like being tethered at our camp site, but of course the campground rules say that dogs have to be on a leash.  Scupper finds this highly objectionable!  But he does love sitting on my lap next to the fire pit on those cold mornings in our camping spot! 

I first decided to try doggie treats a few months back when I found this recipe on the internet.  Gourmetsleuth has several good ones but I like this basic one best. is the website address. 

Maybe it’s because I am used to making bread, but I found this to be a very easy recipe.  After baking these and letting them dry in the oven I tried them out on Scupper.  He loves them!  And since it was the holidays, I gave bags of them out to friends for their doggies.  One batch makes more than 60 cookies! 

I bought a set of three doggie cookie cutters at A.C. Moore for $4.99.  The set included a handy tin to keep them in. 

 Molly and Scupper practically bit my fingers off going after their doggie treats!  

3 1/2 cup all-purpose (or unbleached) flour 
2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup skim milk powder
1 tablespoon (or 1 package) dry yeast
3 1/2 cups lukewarm chicken or meat broth (about 2- 15oz cans)

1 egg beaten with about 2 tablespoons water (for egg wash)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Grease cookie sheets.

Mix together all dry ingredients.

Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm chicken or meat broth. Let yeast broth mixture set 10 min. Then stir in flour mixture until a soft dough is formed. If the dough is too sticky you can add more flour.

Roll resulting dough out 1/4" thick. Cut dog biscuit shapes from dough. Put scraps back in bowl and re-roll out until all dough is used.

Brush biscuits with egg wash. Bake on greased cookie sheets at 300* for 45 min. Then turn off oven and leave in overnight to finish hardening.

Makes 60 medium-sized biscuits**   I believe I got a lot more than 60 biscuits! 

Ken and I tasted the biscuits since there is nothing harmful to humans in them…when rolled out thin they are just like chicken crackers humans eat but with a lot less salt!  Hmmmm.  That gives me an idea!  More on that experiment in a later post. 

Fastnacht, The Pennyslvania Dutch way to celebrate Fat Tuesday!

When we moved back to Pennsylvania after cruising around the Pacific for two years, I met Waneta.  She lives just doors down from our townhouse style condo.  I've mentioned her in my blogs before and the cooking adventures she leads me into.  

The first year Ken and I lived here, myself and another neighbor, Barb started up a cooking and craft afternoon that included getting together with other women in the condos to learn new skills.  

One neighbor, Shirley, taught us how to make Fastnacht donuts.  It’s quite a process, and frankly because my husband is diabetic I don't make them for us.  But as I've said Waneta leads me down the culinary path at times and Fastnacht is one of them.  She loves them!  

Waneta helped me the first year I made them for her.  Then the next time I made them by myself.   However, this year I am waiting for her and/or her daughter Denise to help me!  But in the meantime here is the recipe! 

I love learning the history behind the food I make.  Here is what I learned about Fastnacht from

Many cultures have different Fat Tuesday traditions. Even people in different parts of the United States celebrate the day differently.  A curious Pennsylvania Dutch tradition skips much of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Day before Lent and simply involves the eating of a type of donut called a fastnacht.  In fact some of the churches hold big Fastnacht baking and selling days as fund raisers. 

The tradition of eating fastnachts probably started in Germany many centuries ago and was carried by the German settlers to Pennsylvania. Eating a fastnacht prevents boils from the previous year, although the tradition was likely an excuse to use up fats and sugars before the traditional Lenten fast.

A fastnacht is a type of donut made from potatoes. Fastnacht is a combination of two German words meanin "fast night.” Many recipes for this Pennsylvania Dutch hoilday food can be found online, and many include lard, but the one listed below does not.

BTW (by the way) I use a big plastic bin with a cover for this because it's too much dough for even my biggest bowl!)  

One batch makes 10 dozen donuts

Waneta dipping donuts in sugar

Courtesy of Shirley Starner

2 cakes Fleishmans Yeast
½ c lukewarm water
1 tbsp flour
½ pint boiling water

6 potatoes (each the size of an egg)

½ c sugar
7 lbs flour  (NOTE POUNDS NOT CUPS!)
1 pint milk
1 ½ c butter or margarine (melted)
4 eggs
2 c sugar
½ tsp salt

Dissolve yeast cakes in lukewarm water.  Add 1 tbsp flour to the ½ pint of boiling water, when cool add yeast. 

Boil potatoes in boiling water, drain water from potatoes and set aside to cool.  Mash potatoes and add enough of saved potato water to make one quart of mashed potatoes.  Add the ½ c sugar when cool, and the yeast mixture.

Take large bowl and put in approximately 7 lbs of flour, make a well in center of flour, add
milk, butter, eggs 2 c sugar, and salt.  Add all the yeast mixture.

Work altogether to make dough.  Knead dough for 3-5 minutes.  If needed, split dough in half to knead, then combine the 2 sections.  Let rise about double, usually overnight in a large plastic container. 

Roll dough to about 3/8” thick and cut with doughnut cutter. 

Place donuts on baking sheets or counter that has been lightly oiled or sprayed with Pam.  Cover with plastic wrap that has also been lightly oiled or sprayed with Pam.  Let rise again until double. 

Fry in deep lard, or oil.  Put fried donuts on cooling rack to drain oil off.  Then dip in sugar and cinnamon mixture or just powdered sugar if desired. 

Makes 10 dozen with a 3” cutter. (Yes, it really does!)

Special note:  When cutting out donuts, you end up with dough that is left over.  You can combine this dough into another ball and roll out again and cut more donuts.  After the 3rd time however, you will note that it is harder and harder to roll out because the dough becomes too elastic.  Form this dough into a ball and set aside to rise again for about 30-45 minutes.  It will then be much easier to roll out. 
I took my extra dough and made cinnamon rolls with it.  I rolled it out, then slathered on butter, sprinkled it with cinnamon, sugar, cranraisins, and nuts.  Then roll it into a log, slice and place rolls into a baking dish that has been sprayed with Pam or buttered.  Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.  You can sprinkle more cinnamon and sugar on top and pour icing or melted butter over the baked rolls.  These were very delicious and a great way to use the extra dough. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Easy Recipes using Roasted Chicken from grocery stores
Part II

Another favorite recipe featuring the Roasted Chickens from Wegman’s, Sam’s Club, Costco or from your local grocery store. 

During 1989 I bought a condo in a very depressed economy in Anchorage.  This was after 1985 crash due to the cost of oil plummeting, causing real estate to also drop to the bottom of the oil barrel.  House values dropped down as much as 50%, with condos getting hit with drops to 75%.  I had left Anchorage in 1984 just prior to the crash of 1985 and fortunately had sold my house.   When I returned to Anchorage in 1988, I had a low paying job that still allowed me to buy a condo!  But I needed a roommate.  I placed an ad and found a young man who had just returned from working on oil platforms off the coast of Thailand for the past 10 years. 

He had a new job working oil platforms in the Cook Inlet.  So he would only be in town 2 weeks a month.  This was a great arrangement for both of us!  Rod turned out to be a great roommate.  He was late with the rent one month and made it up to me by taking me for a feast at a really good Thai restaurant that met his very experienced Thai food standards.   What a wonderful meal and experience for me.  Since then I will eat Thai food when I find a restaurant that is up to the same standards…hard to find here in York. 

So of course I had to start studying and trying a few dishes on my own.  One of my favorite recipes is a Coconut Chicken Galanga soup.  But now I’ve found a much easier version!  This is one of the quickest meals I can make now and delicious!

I use College Inn Culinary Broth Thai Coconut Curry as the base.  So here’s the “recipe”. 

2 boxes of College Inn Culinary Broth Thai Coconut Curry
1 roasted chicken breast chopped or shredded with skin removed
1 inch section of peeled and thinly sliced fresh ginger
1 can coconut milk (not the kind used in drinks, you want REAL coconut milk)
1 French sliced green onion
Dill or fennel frond chopped for garnish

Pour boxes of broths into pot.  Pour in coconut milk (being sure to scrape out any left over thick coconut milk clinging to bottom).  Add chicken breast, onion and ginger.  Bring to boil, then lower heat to simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve and garnish with fennel frond or dill.  You can also add a thin slice of lemon if you want. 

This is delicious! If you want add some oriental noodles, even Top Ramen noodles, but be sure to leave out the high sodium powder packet!  

Easy Recipes using Roasted Chicken from grocery stores
Part I
One of my favorite meals is to buy a roasted chicken from Wegman’s, Sam’s, Costco (all are usually just under $5.00) or even from our local grocery stores (usually less than $9.00).

I swear they must be putting something addictive in these chickens! The flavor is delicious, the skin is crispy and one chicken will last Ken and I through 3 or even 4 meals. 

The price, if I buy it from Wegman’s, Sam’s, or Costco is less than if I bought a whole raw chicken and baked t myself. I’m also now in the habit of calling my neighbor’s Wayne and Wanetta to see if they need me to pick up one for them. I brought them home one about 6 months ago and that was all it took! Now they usually want me to pick them up one when I buy for Ken and I.

Wegman’s is my favorite place to buy them since they have them in a variety of flavors including lemon, and barbeque! But alas, it’s a longer drive than I want to do at the end of a busy work day. I usually buy one a week at Sam’s.  But Wegman's also has Kosher roasted chickens!   They are a bit more expensive but even better!  

I stopped in on Sam’s on Wednesday night to pick up a prescription and decided to pick up a chicken for us due to the big storm coming in. It was a party while more than a dozen of us waited for the chickens to be taken out of the roasters! Conversations buzzed with, not the impending storm, but how good the chickens are and what we do with them! LOL.

Here are two examples of my favorite uses for the roasted chickens. First let me say that in my house these chickens get divided perfectly. Ken loves breast meat, and I love the dark meat. Ken eats ½ chicken breast for a sandwich or just with some steamed veggies for dinner. I’ll warm up a thigh or leg and do up a wrap for lunch.
After about the second day I start picking the meat off the bone for the recipes below. Oh, by the way, I cook up the bones and make extra broth and use it in soups.

Enchilada Suizzas

We first had this recipe in Acapulco, Mexico. We were stuck in the bay on our sailboat waiting out the storm season after a very scary aborted attempt to get to Hualtulco, Mexico, which is below the hurricane belt. 

After a full day’s attempt, during which we ran into a very bad storm, and lost the ability to use our rudder, we ended up back in Acapulco Bay looking for repairs. Also at my insistence, we were looking for another person, with sailing experience, to travel with us for a bit. This is when we met Jon, an Acapulco University student who wanted to learn English. I talked about him in an earlier post.

We had to put Cadenza up on the hard, (positioned on stands on land) for repairs at the Acapulco Yacht Club. In search of an inexpensive meal one day we stumbled on Mama Mia’s just a few blocks from the Yacht club. 

What a find it turned out to be! For $2.99 a person we got a soup of the day, an entrée, and a beverage! So the three of us could eat for under $10.00. What made it even better and more worthwhile was that the food was cooked fresh, was very tasty, and served on the patio of the owner’s home. We were shaded by trees, had just enough of a breeze and the gals who cooked and served were always a delight to talk to!

Their enchilada suizzas were new to us and we quickly learned the best day of the week to find them on the menu. As is usually the way with us, we analyzed what was in the dish so I could recreate it when we were no longer in Acapulco.
The main ingredient is salsa verde made with tomatillos. 

If you are not familiar with the name tomatillos, you probably have seen them near the tomatoes or in the exotic fruits and vegetables section of your grocery store. Tomatillos are in the shape of tomatoes but are green with a papery husk around them. You peel off the husk and there is a bit of a sticky substance on the skin. Wash that off and you have a wonderfully citrusy vegetable that looks likes a green tomato.

I’ve often made my own salsa verde because most of the commercials versions have so much vinegar and lack any other flavor that I can’t stand them. So when I can find tomatillos at a good price, less than $2.00 a pound, I’ll buy a couple of pounds and make the salsa and then can or freeze it.

But I’ve also learned that there is one brand that is excellent. It’s imported from Texas to Brown’s Orchard, here in York and Loganville, PA. Bless this store! It’s expensive at $6.99 a jar, but great to have as a backup when I don’t have any homemade on the shelf or in the freezer!

I haven’t written down the recipe at this point, so will have to do that soon. In the meantime, buy or order a few jars of D.L. Jardines Roasted Tomatillo Salsa. It is worth the price!

Let’s finally get started with this recipe!

8’x8’ cake pan coated with Pam on the inside
1 jar of D.L. Jardines Roasted Tomatillo Salsa or 2 c of your homemade Salsa Verde
Shredded 4 blend Mexican cheese (variety of brands in the stores) or a blend of shredded jalapeno jack cheese and cheddar cheese and Queso Mexican cheese
Shredded roasted chicken with skin removed
½ chopped white or Spanish onion
6 corn or flour tortillas

Warm up the salsa in the microwave on the stove. If using corn tortillas you want it very warm. Pour the salsa onto a plate of pie pan.

Put a tortilla into the salsa to coat it on both sides. Lay into the cake pan and put in a Tblsp or two of chicken, onion, and then cheeses. Roll up enchilada style. Push over to the corner. 

Repeat for all 6 tortillas. Pour left over salsa over the rolled up and stuffed tortillas. Sprinkle the leftover cheeses on the salsa and left over onions.

Bake for 20 or 30 minutes at 350 degrees, or microwave at 70% for 10 minutes or so.

Let sit for a few minutes. Serve with a salad on the side, chips and any salsa you want.  This is just as good reheated as well!