Terry

Jan 112012
 

Terry’s Oat & Flax Bread

Oat & Flax Bread

Have I mentioned lately that I love to make bread? I’m not sure where that comes from, unless you figure in the kneading as a form of therapy, and releasing one’s self of frustrations? I try to come up with a healthier version of bread than some of the store bought ones with their preservatives. I realize that some preservatives are necessary, but did you know that potatoes used in the recipe can help with how long the bread will hold up on your counter? Not that fresh, homemade bread will last very long.  I love oats and whole grains, and I try to fill in the good flavors of the bread with other good for you ingredients, too. Nick won’t eat it unless it tastes good to him, so I keep on trying to fill in with healthy and hope for a good balance. This recipe manages to fulfill both of our requirements! I hope you enjoy it as much as Nick and a few of our friends have!

1. In a large heat resistant bowl, measure out and add in 2½ cups of old fashioned, or rolled oats. I’m sure the quick cooking will also work here, but I prefer the regular rolled oats. Add up to ½ cup of additional healthy options, to include: ground golden flax, toasted wheat germ, chia seeds, and cooked black or red quinoa. I have used all flax, all red quinoa, and this latest batch, in which I placed 2 T toasted wheat germ and 2 T chia seeds into a ½ cup measure and finished filling it up with the ground golden flax. It was scrumptious! Now add in ½ C butter, cut into pieces, ¼ C molasses, and 3 T turbinado sugar (or increase the molasses). Set aside.

2. Peel and dice a medium russet potato and boil it in a quart of water. Cook until very tender, 15 – 20 minutes, then pour 2½  cups of the boiling potato water over the oats in the bowl. Let set for 20 minutes or so.

3. Pour 1/3 cup of the remaining potato water into a 1 cup measure and let it cool to 1100 . Once the water has cooled, stir in 1 tsp white sugar and 1 T flour. Mix well, and stir in 2 T instant (bread machine) yeast. Set aside to get foamy for 10 minutes or so.

4. Finish draining the potatoes (reserve any remaining water) and mash very well. Stir them into the oat mixture, adding some of the water to make a slightly loose mixture.

5. In the bowl of a bread mixer or a stand mixer, set up with the bread hook, combine 3½ cups of unbleached bread flour, 1 1/3 cups of powdered milk, 3 T bread enhancer or vital wheat gluten, and 1 T sea salt.

6.  Combine the yeast mixture and the oat mixture, then pour it over the flour mixture. Turn the mixer on low and mix for 2 – 3 minutes, until well combined. If the mixture appears too wet, add in more bread flour, a tablespoon or two at a time, just until the dough no longer sticks and comes away on your finger when you touch it. You want a nice soft, slightly wet dough, tacky, but not sticky. Now let the mixer knead the dough for 6 – 8 minutes to develop the gluten. If you don’t have a mixer, knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 – 12 minutes, trying not to add in any more flour than you have to, to keep it from sticking to your hands. After it is machine kneaded, you may wish to turn it out onto a lightly oiled surface, and with floured hands, gently shape into a ball, then proceed. Turn the dough ball into a large bowl that you have poured 2 T olive oil into, and turn to coat all sides. Cover and let rest until it doubles in size, about 1½ hours.

 

7a. For machine kneaded, go to next step.

7b.  If hand kneaded, very gently deflate, by slowly pushing your fist into the dough ball and turning it over, tucking the sides underneath. Cover and let rise again, for about 30 minutes.

8.  On a lightly oiled surface (a pastry and rolling mat works very well here), very gently dump the risen dough out and very gently flatten and shape into a rectangle, gently patting out any air bubbles. Divide into 4 even pieces, and tightly roll and shape into loaves, placing in oiled loaf pans. Cover and let rise until ¼ – ½” above the top edge of the pans. Preheat oven (convection oven, too) to 3500. I did three of these loaves in the convection oven in my RV, at one time, and put one loaf in my new Breville Smart Oven. They all look the same, and taste the same, but the one in the Breville baked 4 or 5 minutes faster. Of course, it was by itself and that makes a difference.

*A quick note here, notice the dollar store shower cap package? I use these clear, inexpensive shower caps to cover my bowl and pans during rising. So handy!

 9.  If have a clean spray bottle, lightly spray (mist) the tops of the loaves with water, and slash with a very sharp knife or razor blade, about ½” deep, JUST BEFORE placing loaves into the oven. (This will cause the loaf to spring into action and raise up very nicely as it starts baking.) Bake for 28 – 30 minutes, until well browned, and bread temperature reaches 190-2050 on an instant read thermometer, or the loaf sounds hollow when thumped. If desired, brush the loaves lightly with butter for a softer crust. Cool completely before slicing. This bread has a nice clean slice and is wonderful for sandwiches and toast!

OAT & FLAX BREAD INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled & diced
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 T bread flour
  • 2 T instant yeast
  • 2 ½ C old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 C ground golden flax
  • 2-3 T toasted wheat germ
  • 2-3 T chia seeds
  • ¼ C molasses
  • 3 T turbinado or brown sugar
  • ½ C butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 C powdered milk
  • 3 ½ – 4 ½  C unbleached bread flour
  • 3 T bread dough enhancer (or vital wheat gluten)
  • 1 T sea salt

 

Jun 132011
 

Simple, simple, simple. How much easier can it get? Anchovies, garlic, olive oil, red chilies, basil, chipotle chili powder (optional), salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, and angel hair pasta. Mmmmn. Well, maybe not quite that simple, but the ingredients are easy to keep in the pantry, it’s easy to assemble, and though a good fresh parmesan is not cheap, this dish is relatively inexpensive. So far, so good. And fast. Okay, we’re getting better again. So, what’s next? Let’s assemble our ingredients and get the water for the pasta going.  Oh, and set the table. This really is incredibly fast, once you get started. The salt and pepper mills are already on the table, and I grated up a bunch of fresh parmesan!Steaming frontal stovetop

Did I mention that a really large flat skillet can be a benefit in this (or any) lifestyle? And a pasta pot? This is part of my Neova ware, brought from my sticks and bricks life before we became fulltime RVers. In my honest opinion, good cookware is always beneficial for good cooking. (-: But, I digress. Let’s get back to cooking.

Once your water is boiling, salt it and add in your pasta. I like to break my angel hair in half, carefully, and set it in my colander while waiting for the pasta to boil. Then, when the water is boiling, I pick it up and gently drop portions of it into the boiling water, criss-crossing it as it falls to help keep it from sticking together in clumps. Give it a stir, then set up your ingredients and open your anchovies. Carefully. These little cans are sharp.

Next, prepare your garlic. I have a handy-dandy garlic press that I adore, but having worn one out and always being on the lookout for a replacement, I haven’t seen one like this in ages. You can mince your garlic or use one of the regular garlic presses. Needless to say, we like garlic, we use it a lot, and we use a lot of it. We also like a little bit of heat. As in spicy. You can adjust for your own preferences. Crushed red chilies, dry basil leaves, and chipotle chili pepper await.

Skillet with garlic, chili, and olive oil

Start your skillet heating, over medium high heat, and add in a couple of tablespoons of good olive oil. When the oil gets hot, add in the garlic and the crushed red chilies. As it becomes fragrant, add in the basil and chipotle powder. Stir and enjoy the aroma for a moment or two. Now it’s time to add in the anchovies.

Ingredients ViewSkillet with anchovies added

Closeup with anchovies sizzling

Mash the anchovies with the back of a wooden spoon and stir the garlic and herbs all together. Check your pasta. It should be really close, you only want it al dente. Drain thoroughly and stir it into the skillet, adding a bit more olive oil, as needed, to keep it from sticking badly while you stir and saute’ everything together. Grind some sea salt and black pepper over all, then stir in a couple of handfuls of freshly grated parmesan.  I usually grate about 3 cups of parmesan to have plenty available to top individual servings, too. You are ready to plate.Plated, at the table

Skillet with pasta added

This is so very good. Nick asks for it all of the time. So simple, but he claims it is one of his very favorites! Yummm!! Of course I usually enjoy a salad with, but he doesn’t even ask for hot garlic bread. Winking smile

Finale, fully plated!

List of Ingredients:

8 oz. uncooked angel hair pasta water for boiling pasta
1 – 2 oz. can flat anchovies, in olive oil 8 – 10 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3 – 5 T good quality olive oil 1 tsp. crushed red chili peppers
1 tsp. dried basil leaves 1/4-1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
3/4 tsp. freshly ground sea salt 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 – 6 oz. parmesan cheese, grated Serves 2 – 4
Jan 102011
 

Okay, I promised another recipe, so here goes. With all of the cooler weather and all of the fall squash that is available, it was just a matter of time before I tried to come up with my own version of a store bought boxed (yuch!) soup I had seen advertised on television. It sounded intriguing, but I wanted my own pot of steaming beauty.  I decided  to begin by roasting the squash first. Happiness starts with orange. Mmmn.

I wanted to get as much surface as possible roasted, to deepen the flavor, so first things first. Peeling and cutting up a raw butternut and acorn squash is not for sissies. Last year I bought my son-in-law a Yoshi ceramic knife for Christmas and it came with a ceramic vegetable peeler, too. Turns out that at just under twenty dollars at WalMart, it was a good enough investment for me, too! Very carefully, I peeled and seeded both squash in short order, using these fine tools. Then I cubed them into chunks and put them on a baking sheet that I had lined with parchment paper (for easy cleanup). I drizzled some olive oil over them, and sprinkled with some good smoked paprika, and really got that orange thing going! Smile

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Okay, so now we can get down to business. Next step was to roast the squash in the convection oven, at 375 degrees, until I had some more good color going and the squash was tender, about an hour. (This will work almost exactly the same in a regular oven.)                   P1010011

While the squash was baking, I diced a large white onion and sliced five good sized cloves of garlic and set them to sizzling in a large pot with 2 tablespoons of butter, over a medium high heat.

Once the onions and garlic were fragrant, I decided to throw in a zucchini that I had cut in half lengthwise and sliced, just for good measure. After all, isn’t this a squash soup?

Then it was time to choose. Chicken broth or vegetable broth? Decisions, decisions. I decided to go with the chicken broth, so I poured a 32 ounce box of broth into the pot, added my beautifully rP1010014oasted squash, and turned the heat down to a moderate simmer. 

Now I could add in the rest of the ingredients, once I decided what they were.  I didn’t think there was enough onion, so I added in a heaping tablespoon of dried onion flakes, and since the celery flakes were right there, and I didn’t have any fresh, a tablespoon of celery flakes went into the pot, too. I love basil, so I threw in a teaspoon of dried basil leaf and figured 1/2 teaspoon of celery seed would add to the blend, as well. Tamari sauce richens the flavor and the color, so a tablespoon of that went in, and you have to grind in some fresh black pepper and sea salt, to taste, of course, but there was still something missing.

 

The Spice Hunter, a really great brand of herbs and spices, has a great line of grinders, to  grind spices right into your favorite dishes, and one I really like, of the many I have tried and liked, is the Fiery Chile Fusion. It is a blend of black pepper, red pepper, green chile, green bell pepper, and chipotle chile, and it gives a wonderful heat and flavor. A couple of grinds, a stir and a taste. Okay, now we’re cooking.  You can find Spice Hunter Fresh Twist Grinders in a lot of grocery and health food stores or check them out at  www.spicehunter.com.

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Simmer until vegetables are tender and flavors have had time to come together, at least 20 minutes. Taste, and adjust spices, if necessary. The soup can be served this way, but I was after a creamy, exotic, perfection.

Time to get out the immersion blender. (A regular blender will work but I’m not good at moving hot liquids into a blender only to move hot liquids again, back into the pot.) Immerse the blender into the soup beP1010020fore you turn it on, then blend until completely smooth and creamy. At this point, I decided to add about 1/2 cup of cream to the pot. P1010017

Great, no matter how you look at it! Yum!! Serve with a dollop of sour cream for a pretty presentation, but I liked it just like this.

Butternut Acorn Squash Soup

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks

1 acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks

1 zucchini squash, sliced lengthwise, then sliced 1/4” thick

1 large white onion, diced into large pieces

5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

2 T olive oil

2 T butter

1 T smoked paprika

1  –  32 oz. box chicken broth or vegetable broth

1 T Tamari (soy) sauce

1 tsp dried basil leaf

1 T dry celery flakes

1 T dry onion flakes

1/2 tsp celery seed

1 /2   – 1  tsp Spice Hunter Fiery Chile Fusion

1/2 C heavy cream

freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, to taste

Jan 062011
 

This is a dense, yet moist and tender bread, with lots of flavor, perfect for morning toast and jam, along with your morning coffee. Nick has always chosen a potato bread from the grocery store for his bread preference, and I have frequently used potato water to proof my yeast, or potato flour or starch in with the flour for extra tenderness in a lot of my bread baking, so taking it a bit further was a natural stepping stone. For this bread, I use the whole potato, but I do peel the potato first.Winking smile  It is also very good as a side for the soups that I have been craving and making lately.

 

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Potato Toasting Bread

1  medium large russet potato, peeled and cubed to 1” pieces

1  1/4 C  reserved potato water

2  1/2 tsp instant yeast (also known as bread machine yeast)

2  T sugar

2  T  butter

1/2  tsp salt

1/4  C  dry instant milk powder

3  1/2 -  4  C  unbleached bread flour (King Arthur is my favorite).

olive oil and/or non-stick spray for greasing bowl and (2) -  4  1/2” X  8  1/2” loaf pans  

Place potato in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain potato water into a heat resistant  2 cup measuring cup. Add enough water to measure 1  1/4 cup. Set aside to cool to 110 degrees (cool enough that you can keep your finger in it). Add yeast and 1/2  tsp sugar to potato water when it has cooled and set aside until foamy. Mash potato until smooth with a fork, adding in 2 T butter and  remaining sugar.  In a large mixing bowl, combine 2  cups of the flour, powdered milk and salt. Stir together yeast mixture and potato mixture and add to flour mixture. Combine with a wooden spoon, mixing until it all comes together. Add in 1 cup flour and stir it in. At this point, I like to turn the dough out onto a floured rolling mat and begin kneading it, adding in enough of the remaining flour to come together into a smooth and elastic ball, tacky, but not sticky, kneading for about 8  – 10 minutes. It will be a soft dough. Put dough into a bowl greased with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, turning to grease all, lightly cover, and let raise until double, anywhere from 30 – 90 minutes, depending on temperature in your kitchen. When double, gently deflate and divide in half, gently shaping  to fit into pans. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and let raise until 1/2” taller than pan. Preheat your convection oven to 375 degrees. When oven is ready,  bake bread for  28 – 30 minutes until darkly golden brown. Turn out of pan onto a cooling rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes before any attempt is made to cut it. For a softer crust, lightly butter the tops of your bread. Cool completely before storing.

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I have found that my convection oven (a 2001 model GE Profile) takes exactly 28 minutes to bring my bread to perfection. If you have an instant read thermometer (You can get a simple one at most grocery or department stores for $8-10), you want your bread to be at 195 – 205 degrees. You can just poke it into your baked item for a quick reading, to know for sure if it has reached the proper temperature. It has helped me to make sure my bread (and meat) gets done, as I have adjusted to convection cooking. I also keep a small spray bottle in my kitchen to mist water over my bread just before it goes in the oven. It helps to give a head start to the baking process, speeding up the initial rise on the height of the bread. This bread is easily mixed by hand, but also does fine with a dough hook in your mixer. Personally, I enjoy the kneading process. It is very soothing and a great stress reliever.

Please be patient with me as I try to develop a semi-regular blog. I will try to include recipes that are simple but delicious, and easy to put together for convenience in your RV. But I also enjoy working with fresh vegetables, breads, pasta, beans, meats, and of course, a few sweets, too. Nick does have his needs, you know.  I’ll also include a recipe for a wonderful butternut and acorn squash soup that I made, in one of the next blogs. I hope you enjoy.

Dec 262010
 
I have been doing a lot of thinking, about cooking, and baking, of course, since Nick has been trying to get me to spread my wings a bit and do a recipe blog, or even a cook book, in my spare time. I love to research recipes and find local area related recipes, trying to adapt them to the RV lifestyle, but I am an old time scratch cook and wonder if the interest is there. I am not such a snob that I don’t like shortcuts and easy to fix recipes, don’t get me wrong. I’m just not into mixes and canned soups. I definitely do enjoy simplicity and know that others do enjoy quick and easy-to-fix, including some of these ingredients. We had dinner at Nick’s daughter’s home the other night, and she made a wonderful recipe, using canned croissants. She prepared a shredded chicken filling, wrapped in croissants from a can, and baked to a golden, flaky finish. They were mouth watering! If you have some ideas like this or would like to share some of your regular and convection cooking techniques and recipes, please send them to me via my email address, travelinterry@gypsyjournal.net or snail mail them to me at Gypsy Journal, 1400 Colorado St. #C-16, Boulder City, NV. 89005-2485. They will be greatly appreciated!
Cleo Collette, a good friend, and subscriber, from Cave Junction, Oregon has sent a few of her ideas

I started doing this last summer. I picked about 2 cups berries while waiting for something to start…I had some blueberries in the freezer and a nectarine that needed using. I got a ready-made pie crust (they can make them better than I can), mixed up the fruit with a tablespoon of cornstarch and about 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar. I piled it in the middle of one half of the pie crust. I folded the crust over, pinched the edges together, cut a couple of slits in the top, brushed the top with milk, sprinkled a bit of sugar on it, and baked it at 350 until the crust was nice and brown. It made a nice, big turnover, and used up odds and ends of fruit. Try it if you get a chance.

Another thing I do, if you have a toaster oven, is to take one zucchini, wash and trim the ends. Make a little tray out of foil for your toaster oven tray and pour in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Cut the zucchini in four quarters the long way, roll each in the oil then shake them, one at a time in some parmesan cheese. Bake (in the foil tray) at 400 until the cheese is browned and the zucchini is tender inside (13-18 minutes, depending on crispness desired).

* This is just perfect for me, as Nick doesn’t do veggies and I love them!! I can do them in the convection oven, alongside the main dish or potato, while it is baking! Thanks Cleo! Terry

Dec 252010
 
Freshly made, this can be refrigerated in jars for a week-no longer. This recipe makes 6 to 8 servings.

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  

 Place the cucumber, onion and chili flakes in a mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, over low heat,

 

dissolve the sugar in the water. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar and salt. Pour over vegetables in the bowl, stir, cover, and refrigerate until served.

Yum! Thank you so much, Cleo!

 

 

  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced thinly
  • 1 small red onion peeled, halved and sliced thinly