Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Must Be Nuts

Since it's My Dear Papa's birthday, I decided to make a nice birthday dinner for him.  I'm a little out of practice -- the last time I made him a birthday cake, it was a lemon cake that involved both a cake mix and a pudding mix.  (Yes, that's a distant and not so seemly part of my culinary past.  Let's move on, shall we?)

The meal itself was simple: a chicken dish of Mom's, a simple salad, and freshly-baked biscuits.  I even lucked out and was able to pick up a piece of a sumptuous lemon pound cake at the market.

But I found something at the market this week that made me think a special appetizer was in order:

One of my favorite produce farms brought in pints of locally-grown peanuts, each box containing instructions on how to roast these classic snacks.  So I did.

Dad and I snacked on warm fresh roasted peanuts and sips of our favorite local Octoberfest beer before the meal really got going.  And we did it without having to head out to the pub!

The things I do for family...


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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New and Improved

Business keeps me busy these days in a big way.  But I love it!  And I love being able to continue experimenting with the baking and such -- and to have customers respond favorably.

What's new?

--I finally developed a multigrain bread I'm happy with.  Based on the various struan recipes in Peter Reinhart's books, it incorporates whole spelt flour, whole wheat flour, buckwheat flour, cornmeal, rolled oats, cooked brown basmati rice, local yogurt, and local sorghum molasses.  It's dense, but the flavor is incredible!

--I've come up with a holiday tea blend that tops any orange-cinnamon spice tea you can name.  Seriously, it's that good.  Called Yuletide Revels, it takes a robust Assam tea and blends it with organic roasted cacao nibs, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, lemon verbena, and bronze fennel.  So delicious and warming!

--I have two new artisan breads for the fall and winter months: cranberry-almond (with a hint of orange peel) and pumpkin seed-sage (with the seeds and sage toasted lightly in butter).  I am loving the leftovers toasted!

I've been tweaking recipes, too:

--I'm getting better at making the whole wheat tortillas (using pastry flour), so I've been selling them at Local Roots.  A couple of my regulars from the outdoor market stopped me recently and told me how much they loved these tortillas -- and proceeded to clean the rest of them off my shelf!  (I do love happy customers.)

--I'm testing biscuit and scone recipes to prepare for my class in January at Today's Kitchen Store.  Oh, hardship...

What fun!



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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Slow Ginger

No matter how long I've been seeking out, supporting, and loving local foods, I continue to be surprised by what can be sourced locally.  Local Roots has been a huge help in providing some of these things, but it's especially exciting to see what new things local farmers are willing to try.


Case in point: ginger.

I know, who would have thought you could buy fresh, locally grown baby ginger here in northeast Ohio?  But it's true.  It's apparently becoming a new trend for small farmers, and I for one say, "Huzzah!"

So I splurged and bought two little packages of ginger.  I chopped up one and froze the pieces, then shredded part of one and froze the shreds in ice cubes.

The rest?  Well, that was for cooking...


You know, for making things like really awesome fried rice with local greens and slices of sweet potato from the garden.  Heaven, basically.

Slow food?  Local food?  It's amazing what you'll find...

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Saturday, November 03, 2012

Dough Not Let This Go To Waste

I taught a class on artisan breads at Today's Kitchen Store this morning -- the first of two sessions, it's been such a popular offering!  The recipes have been pretty simple, with only two variations on a basic theme, but I had fun showing the class the many different ways to shape or embellish such good doughs.

Because I start the class with dough already prepared and ready to shape, things get a little backwards.  I show them how to shape the dough, bake the first loaves, and then make fresh batches of dough.  While the one dough will get used in Monday's baking for market, though, the other dough (the 100% whole wheat one) does not.

What to do, what to do?

Here's what to do:

Homemade hot pockets, that's what.

I was crazy tired when I got home as I'd been running around all day, but I needed to use up this dough.  So I threw together a filling of onion, greens, smoked turkey a friend gave me from her sampling today, and a bit of cheese.  I divided the dough into fourths and pressed them out into circles, then filled one side, flipped the other over, and sealed the edges.  A light egg wash finished the turnover, and I baked them off while I cleaned and collapsed.

Granted, they're more on the bready side than your usual "hot pocket" -- but they were oh so good!  (Even My Dear Papa approved.)

Now that's a handy lunch!

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