27 December 2012

Recipes XV: Hazelnut Cranberry Bars

Hazelnut Cranberry Bars

An unexpected treat!

Snack bars are great on the go but what is with those horrendous price tags? I don't get it. There's no gold or diamonds in them, so they should be cheaper. 
So I saw medjool dates at the food store and was really excited. I wanted to create something using them. Hark my unexpected semi nutella result.

1 bag (6oz) chopped hazelnuts
1 bag (12 oz) mini semi sweet chocolate chips 
10 large medjool dates 
1/3 cup of raw honey
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1/2 small bag of craisen/dried cranberries (~ 2 cups)

In a food processor chop the nuts as small as you can, then the chips, then the dates with the seeds removed and the cranberries. Pour in honey and oats. Mix together well all the items in a bowl. In a glass/pyrex 8x10 pan, line with parchment paper and scrape in the ingredients. If you feel inclined, can sprinkle more chopped chips over the top.  Heat oven to 350 degrees. Press the ingredients as hard as you can into the parchment line pan. Make sure its even surfaced and thickness. Then bake 15 mins. The chocolate will melt in between the nuts and fruits. Allow to cool in pan. Then cut into bars. You can get ~5 long bars or 10 4x3 mini bars. They are filling. The nuts hold off the hunger and dates & chocolate satisfy your sweet tooth. I like to wrap them individually in plastic wrap for quick grab and go. They are slightly crumbly, but awfully tasty. 

Oooy, Gooey.

Recipes XIV: Badass Buns

Badass Buns

For that frank or patty in your life.

I really despise going to the deli and either selecting puffy, substanceless buns or buying deli buns with mystery ingredients. I've been making bread for a while, but what the hell do they need dough enhancers and relaxers for? So I rooted around for a while trying to find a recipe that looks good and then change it. I always got in trouble for not following directions. And you see where it got me? Creativity land!

If you want the original recipe: The Stock Pot Blog

For delightful, freezable rolls:

1 cup warm water (115-117 degrees)

3 tbsp sugar of choice (except fake sugars and stevia)
1 package of yeast or 2 1/4 tbsp dry active yeast
1/2 whipping cream or whole cream
1/4 cup olive oil
1.5 tsp pink or sea salt
3 cups of bread /unbleached /white|wheat flour
1 cup of whole wheat flour
4 tsp vital wheat gluten

For the topping

1 egg white 
1-2 tsp poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or desired topping

Proof the yeast in a measuring cup with sugar dissolved in it first. In a large bowl,  add flours, salt, oil, cream, gluten . When the frothy head gets to a comfortable size, stir into bowl with ingredients. Mix together moderately well, then cover with plastic wrap or plate and let it sit for 10 mins. I use this time to clean up. The dough is developing the gluten strands to make it nice and springy when it bakes. Then kneed well. This is a moderate dough, not super soft or stiff, dust with flour if sticky. 

Clean the original bowl, and oil it with ~3 tbps olive oil. Put dough ball in bowl and slide it around to get oil cover. Moisturize your dough like you would your hands in winter. Side note: olive oil is an excellent moisturizer for skin because of similar ph level. I use the microwave proofing method. In a microwave, heat a small cup of water for 1.5 mins and leave in there, then very quickly and carefully, put the covered dough bowl in the microwave. Set timer for 35 mins. When timer goes off, remove bowl. Microwave water again, same amt of time. Replace dough in microwave again.Repeat this craziness cycle a total of 3 times. Dough should have doubled by then. Punch down, give another or two cycle in microwave proofing.

 Then take out and cut dough into 8 wedges. At this point you can make hot dog buns or patty buns. If you want hot dog, shape long and narrow. Patty- make circular shape in hand. Pretty straight forward. Put aside, cover with plastic wrap. Let rise into shape for 10-15 mins. Preheat oven 350 degrees during this time of rising. Whip of the topping, brush on with basting brush. On a sil pat or parchment paper line pan slide into oven. Then bake 15-20 mins at 350. Take out to cool. Buns!! When they are hot, I cut the slits in them for ease later. After cooled can be frozen. 

16 December 2012

Recipes XIII: Vegetable Barley Soup

Vegetable Barley Soup

Easy, healthy and inexpensive

Warm and Hearty

Makes 2.5 quarts
1 large carrot
3 large stalks of celery
1 red potato
2 quarts of vegetable stock
couple cranks on the peppermill
1/4 tsp pink salt ( if you purchased low sodium stock)
couple pinches of basil
3 large petals of garlic crushed
3/4 cup barley soaked for 1 hour and rinsed
Barley Soaking 

In a large pot at medium or medium high heat pour in the veggie stock, garlic and spices.Peel the carrot and chop into disks and then into quarters. Cut the celery and potato into small pieces. Dump into the simmering stock. Cook for 1 hour, pour in the rinsed and soaked barley, cook for another 30-45 minutes or until everything reaches the softness you desire. Serve with crusty bread. Can be poured into mason jars and frozen or canned. 

Recipes XII: Holiday Wassail


A holiday favorite. 

Drive the chills away with rum laced wassail. 

Makes 10 cups. 

1 gallon of apple cider
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 vanilla bean
2 oranges
2 apples
2 cups of dark spiced rum

In a large crockpot (6 quart) or large pot on the stove, pour in apple cider. Cut the apples and oranges into disks. Tap the apple seeds out. Carefully slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and into 1.5 inch sections. Combine fruits and spices into the cider. After 2 hours at medium heat (stovetop) or high (crockpot), pour in the 2 cups of dark rum. Stir gently. Keep the lid on tight (to prevent that precious alcohol from escaping). Simmer for 1 hour more. Then serve. Keep on low/warm heat. To store: strain off fruits & spices. Then pour into mason jars and frozen/refrigerated.