Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More Fake Food and Yogurt Bread

I really love to bake bread - mostly because I love to eat it! This recipe makes a LOT of bread (approximately six loaves) and is wonderful for gifting. Speaking of gifting, check out the fabric pears that my my just made. They are wonderful - I really love them. My parents also brought over some homemade strawberry rhubarb jelly (which prompted me to make this bread) and a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I hope to get her recipe for the jelly and try to make it one day. Here is the recipe for the lowfat yogurt bread. It is from a cute little book called "homemade" by Judith Choate. Oh - the book was a recent gift from my mom, too!

Lowfat Yogurt Bread
Rising Time: 1 1/2 hours
Preheat Oven to 375 degrees

12 cups white bread flour (regular white flour will also do)
2 cups white wheat flour (or regular wheat flour)
1 cup coarsely ground yellow cornmeal
3 packages of yeast (or 7 1/2 tsp.)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt (I totally left this out and the bread came out delicious)
2 1/2 cups nonfat milk
2 cups nonfat plain yogurt

Combine the flours, cornmeal, yeast, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When just hot, remove from the heat and whisk in the yogurt (make sure that this mixture is not hot, just super warm).
Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, pour the warm milk mixture over the dry ingredients and begin blending. When the dough gets too heavy to mix with the spoon, scrape it onto a lightly floured surface and begin kneading. Knead for about 12 minutes, or until the dough is well blended but still a bit tacky. This will not be a smooth, shiny bread dough. Scrape the dough into a large buttered bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a warm spot to rise about 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Uncover the dough and again place it on a lightly floured surface. Punch it down to release all of the air and knead for about 4 minutes.
Divide the dough into at least 6 equal pieces. Form each piece into a loaf shape and place into loaf pans, or, alternatively, form into a free form round shape and place onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and place on wire racks to cool before serving or storing.
If you think that this recipe is too much trouble, stay tuned for my post soon featuring no-knead dough.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Story of a Doll

This is the story of an angel doll. About a year ago, I bought a pattern from Annie at Chickadee Primitives called Sweet Seraphim Angel. I put the pattern away and forgot about it. A few days before Mothers Day, a little angel voice was calling me from the attic - somehow I found the pattern in all of my craft supplies and unearthed my sewing machine.

Now, I don't think that I have sewed for 10 years, but ever since I moved to my new home, I have been thinking about it a lot. I decided to sew the Sweet Seraphim Angel for my mommy for Mother's Day. I rooted around until I finally found some muslin, a bit of stuffing, some dress fabric and the proper paints.

Ok, I didn't have too much time - I had to do my legal work... By some miracle, my machine worked perfectly and was actually threaded (I have a fear of threading my machine. It usually takes me about an hour because I have no idea what I was doing).

I could not find any fabric scissors to cut out the dolly pieces. I tried to hack out the pieces with some dull paper scissors, but it just wasn't working. I then remembered that my daughter, Molli, had some little sharp hair cutting scissors in her bathroom. They did the trick, thank goodness.

By some miracle, I remembered how to sew! Annie's pattern was so well written and easy to follow. I might add that I cannot stand patterns or directions of any kind and usually make up my own. I had a bit of a hard time turning the limbs of the angel, only because I sewed them a little too far in, but I finally managed. They ripped a little on both of the hands. Oh, well. When I sewed the little legs on, I had a hard time sewing through all of the layers - one of the legs just got pinned on (it's ok - the dress covers it!)

I loved painting the angel dolly and following Annie's special instructions - I especially liked the part where I rolled her around in spices and sanded her.

I got to the part where the dolly takes a nap in the oven to dry and had to go back to my day job. After work, my son was wondering what was in the oven - there was a small brown person laying in there. She looked pitiful, but smelled really good.

Here is my favorite part of Annie's instructions - "Give her a kiss on the forehead and fetch her wings." Isn't that sweet?

It was now time to sew the wings. That was going fine until my machine ran out of thread!!! It was getting late, so I left out part of the rows of stitching on the wings. I think it looks ok.

Now the dress. I skipped the petticoat (it would have made the angel's dress look nicer, though). Ok, so now my machine is out of thread - I handstitched the dress which worked out well, but then I had to put a drawstring in the waistband. Annie says to use a doll jointing needle (what is that?) I then frantically searched for a safety pin - I know how to put in a drawstring with that. After I wasted about 20 minutes looking, I decided to tie a nail onto a piece of string and pull it through. It was difficult and idiotic, but it somehow worked.

I have to say, the angel dolly came out pretty good, in a very primitive and rustic kind of way. I can't wait to sew some more (preferably not before and after work and I hope to be more organized next time). I can't say enough about the pattern I used. It was the most thorough and well-written pattern I have ever seen. I hope that Annie keeps making more patterns. I will be buying more. Thanks, Annie!

Oh, and I gave the angel dolly to my mom for Mother's Day. I think she liked it.
Can someone please come over and help me thread my sewing machine?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

SomeBunny Loves Me!

Last night, my dad came bearing some early Easter cheer! I just love the wooden bunny - it goes so nicely in our kitchen. Also, can you believe this basket of beautiful handmade folk art Easter eggs my mom just made us? I can't even imagine how one makes something like that. They are all hand stitched in beautiful warm golds and browns - they are so perfect for our kitchen, also, but will not be stashed away after Easter! Thanks, Mom and Dad! We love you so much!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Vegetarian Baked Potato Skin Party

Long ago when I was a waitress, I served hundreds of platters of artery-clogging, greasy fried potato skins. Last Sunday night we made a much healthier version - they turned out really good and are quick and easy to make. Not to get all Rachael Ray on you (eww - I just thought of her annoying voice and stupid Rachael Rayisms), but they can be made in 30 minutes or less. If you want, you can even make them in the morning before work and heat everything up later for dinner.

Spring is coming, I promise!

Baked Potato Skins

Serves 5 as a main dinner course

10 Big Russet or other Baking Potatoes

Assorted toppings, including but not limited to:

Sour Cream (No Fat is Nice)
Green Onions, Sliced
Crumbled and Cooked Veggie Bacon
Chopped Black Olives
Chopped and Cooked Brocolli
Shredded Cheese
Low Fat Cheese Sauce (Recipe to Follow)

Preheat Oven to 425 degrees. Bake Potatoes for one hour, then turn the oven up to 475 degrees. After Potatoes cool, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the insides, leaving 1/4" of the potato in the shell all around (save the potatoey goodness for another use). Place potato shells on baking sheet with a bit of olive oil, coconut oil and or cooking spray. After 10 minutes, turn the potatoes over and cook for an additional 10 minutes or so, making sure they don't burn.

Yeah! Have a potato skin party!

Lowfat Cheese Sauce

2 cups Soy Milk (or Skim Milk)
1/4 - 1/2 Cup Nutritional Yeast (Optional)
2 tsp. Cornstarch
2 cups shredded or grated lowfat Cheese

In a microwavable bowl, heat milk for two minutes on high in the microwave. Remove bowl and add all ingredients except cornstarch. Microwave for two minutes longer. Remove bowl from microwave, stir and scoop out 2 Tablespoons or so of the mixture - put into a small bowl. Add the cornstarch to the small bowl, stir until smooth and add contents of the small bowl to cheese sauce mixture. Microwave for two minutes, stir and test if cheese sauce is hot enough. Microwave in two minute intervals until done.

Have fun!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Peace and Chunky Granola

There are two things that I'd like to share with you - I've been reading Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh. It is a great little book - here is a passage from it:

Like a Leaf, We Have Many Stems

One autumn day, I was in a park, absorbed in the contemplation of a very small, beautiful leaf, shaped like a heart. Its color was almost red, and it was barely hanging on the branch, nearly ready to fall down. I spent a long time with it, and I asked the leaf a number of questions. I found out the leaf had been a mother to the tree. Usually we think that the tree is the mother and the leaves are just children, but as I looked at the leaf I saw that the leaf is also a mother to the tree. The sap that the roots take up is only water and minerals, not sufficient to nourish the tree. So the tree distributes that sap to the leaves, and the leaves transform the rough sap into elaborated sap and, with the help of the sun and gas, send it back to the tree for nourishment. Therefore, the leaves are also the mother to the tree. Since the leaf is linked to the tree by a stem, the communication between them is easy to see.

We do not have a stem linking us to our mother anymore, but when we were in her womb, we had a very long stem, an umbilical cord. The oxygen and nourishment we needed came to us through that stem. But on the day we were born, it was cut off, and we received the illusion that we became independent. That is not true. We continue to rely on our mother for a very long time, and we have other mothers as well. The Earth is our mother. We have a great many stems linking us to our Mother Earth. There are stems linking us with the clouds. If there are no clouds, there will be no water for us to drink. We are made of at least seventy percent water, and the stem between the cloud and us is really there. This is also the case with the river, the forest, the logger and the farmer. There are hundreds of thousands of stems linking us to everything in the cosmos, supporting us and making it possible for us to be. Do you see the link between you and me? If you are not there, I am not here. This is certain. If you do not see it yet, please look more deeply and I am sure you will.

I asked the leaf whether it was frightened because it was autumn and the other leaves were falling. The leaf told me, "No. During the whole spring and summer I was completely alive. I worked hard to help nourish the tree, and now much of me is in the tree. I am not limited by this form. I am also the whole tree, and when I go back to the soil, I will continue to nourish the tree. So I don't worry at all. As I leave this branch and float to the ground I will wave to the tree and tell her, 'I will see you again very soon.'"

That day there was a wind blowing and, after a while, I saw the leaf leave the branch and float down to the soil, dancing joyfully, because as it floated it saw itself already there in the tree. It was so happy. I bowed my head, knowing that I have a lot to learn from that leaf.

Now, in the sprit of peace and love and all, is my newest favorite granola recipe, taken and adapted from Diet for a Small Planet. I was recently given this book and I forgot how progressive and wise Frances Moore Lappe was and still is...

Chunky Granola
(With No Oil Added)

8 cups rolled oats
1 to 2 cups nuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup whole millet or buckwheat groats
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup or brown sugar)
2 cups hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, seeds, millet, cornmeal and flour. Mix together honey, water and vanilla, and stir into the dry ingredients. Spread on a lightly oiled baking sheet and squeeze mixture together to form small chunks, but don't crowd; the chunks needs to bake through. Roast until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes. As it bakes, the granola needs to be stirred every so often to brown evenly.

Cool throughly before storing. Makes lots!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Snowy Days and Macaroons

No Snowflake Ever Falls in the Wrong Place

- Zen Saying

There's nothing like a snow day to stay home with the kids and pets and bake! A few days ago, it snowed so much, it came into our screen porch! Charlie the cat was very amused by it all.

These are the macaroons that I like to bake around the holidays, or on a snow day. This recipe is adapted from a Susan Branch cookbook. They are nice and crispy on the outside and tender and soft in the middle. I like to double this recipe and make the cookies nice and big Also, they look very impressive, but are so easy to make! Love and chocolate!

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

2-2/3 cup flaked coconut, firmly packed

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup unbleached flour

4 egg whites, unbeaten

1 cup sliced almonds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or chocolate chips will do just fine)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine coconut, sugar and flour. Stir in egg whites, almonds, vanilla and almond extract. Form balls from rounded tablespoonfuls and place 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until golden. Remove from pans while hot and allow to cool. For or chocolate drizzle: Melt chocolate in microwave in a microwaveable container, stirring every minute or so until chocolate is melted. Dip chocolate with a spoon onto each cookie and set on waxed paper to allow chocolate to set. Makes about 30.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Breakfast Biscotti

Oh how I love to entertain - especially for breakfast. These crisp biscotti are a wonderful addition to any breakfast buffet and are very packable for schoolday and workday coffee breaks. This version is adapted from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe book. I could listen to Molli talk all day long - I remember listening to her show when I was in college and loved her soft voice and way of speaking. She is also a wonderful artist.

...And I took the photo of the sky this morning. Isn't it so glorious - too bad it started sleeting a few hours later...

Breakfast Biscotti

3 Large Eggs (I use a combination of eggs and egg replacer)
1/3 cup (packed) Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1/3 cup Canola Oil
1 teaspoon Grated Orange Zest
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (or a combination of White and Whole Wheat Flour)
3/4 cup Rolled Oats
1/2 cup Soy Protein Powder
1/4 cup Cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon Salt (Optional)
3/4 cup Minced Almonds
6 Dates, Pitted and Minced (or you could use some Raisins here)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a baking tray with nonstick spray.

2. Break the eggs into a large bowl. Add the sugars, oil, orange zest, and extract and beat together until smooth.

3. In a second bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, and mix until completely blended.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix thoroughly, using a spoon at first and then mixing with your hands as it thickens (It will be a stiff batter - almost a dough).

5. Divide the batter in half, and form it into 2 equal logs, each about 2 inches in diameter. Place them side by side on the prepared baking tray (They can be close together but should not touch).

6. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove, then remove the tray from the oven. Transfer the logs to a cutting board, and cut them into 1/2 inch slices (Using a serrated knife and a sawing motion, to prevent crumbling).

7. Return the pieces to the tray, laying them flat on their sides, and bake for 8 minutes longer. Turn them over, and bake for another 8 minutes on the other side. For extra-crunchy biscotti, turn off the oven, and leave the tray in there for an additional 15 minutes or so.

8. Remove the tray from the oven, transfer the biscotti to a rack, and allow them to cool for at least 10 minutes.

Have a happy morning...

Matilda Rose

I was very excited to list an item on Ebay that my mom whipped up over the weekend. My mom, Lynette, is a very talented and well-known local artist. When I was younger, I used to help her at some of the local art shows and it would not be unusual for her to sell out. We also used to co-own a store in Westboro (Angels in the Attic a/k/a Angels) and she filled the store with so many unique paintings, dollys and endless original creations which would often sell the minute they hit the shelves. She is now semi-retired (no more big shows or wholesale orders for her) but is coming up with a few items here and there that we are trying out on Ebay and maybe Etsy. I am so happy!!! Check out Matilda Rose. I also lucky enough to have one that Mom made for me! Isn't she so cute? She is a little dolly that fits into a stocking - I love everything about her...
Anyways, you can find her on ebay right now - If that link doesn't work, you can find my items I'm selling via my member id - mollikelcarey.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Winter Squash Gallette

Ever since I was a teenager, I have loved to read cookbooks from cover to cover. My family thinks it is funny. This Christmas, my parents gave us Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone - the 10th Anniversary Edition. Every single recipe (yes, I already read the whole book) calls to me and I plan to cook my way through the whole book. Deborah Madison calls this recipe one of her favorite cold weather dishes. This is delicious, unusual and gorgeous and very good left over. Enjoy and stay warm!
Winter Squash Gallette
Gallette Dough (see recipe below)
2 1/2 pounds winter squash (I used butternut)
1 small head garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for the squash
1 onion, finely diced
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino or parmesan
12 fresh sage leaves, chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried
Freshly milled pepper
1 egg, beaten
Make the dough in advance - it will need 45 minutes to rise.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash in half, scrape out the seeds, and brush the cut surface with oil. Stuff the garlic into the cavities and place the squash cut side down on a sheet pan. Bake until flesh is tender, about 40 minutes. Scoop out the squash and squeeze the garlic cloves. Mash them together with a fork until fairly smooth, leaving a bit of texture.
Warm one tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sage and cook until the onion is very soft and beginning to color, about 15 minutes. Add it to the squash along with the grated cheese and seaon with pepper to taste.
Roll out the dough into a 14-inch circle and spread the filling over it, leaving a border of two inches or more. Pleat the dough over the filling, then brush the edges with beaten egg. Bake until crust is golden, about 30 minutes.
Yeasted Gallette Dough
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups flour, as needed
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water in a medium bowl and let stand until bubbly, about 10 minutes. Add the oil, egg and stir into the flour. When the dough is too stiff to work with a spoon, turn it out and knead until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Add more flour if necessary to keep it from sticking. Set the dough in an oiled bowl, turn it over to coat, cover with a towel and let rise until doubled in bulk, 45 minutes or so.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Blackbirds and Granola

Yesterday was a good day - We telecommuted and got a lot of work done. Also, we got a lot of painting done inbetween our "real" work. My dad surprised us with a visit, bearing presents and surprises. Lots of goodies, including a nice can of claw crabmeat, smoked seafood, fancy crackers and this nice blackbird sampler. Earlier in the day, I made a big batch of our favorite granola - it is lowfat and delicious and we like to have it for breakfast pretty much every morning. It smells so good when cooking, like the best oatmeal cookies. Enjoy! This recipe is for my brother Mike, who recently asked me if I had a good granola recipe... Doesn't it look so nice in our beehive jar?
Gooch Granola

Pureed banana coats the oats and helps to hold this very low-fat granola together. Delicious with skim milk or nonfat yogurt (great snack!) and fresh fruit, the granola can also be used as a crumb crust.

4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup unsalted raw sunflower seeds (or any other nuts you have around)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1 ripe banana, chopped
3 T pure maple syrup or honey (or brown sugar in a pinch)
1 1/2 T almond oil or canola oil
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 cup wheat germ or bran
1/2 cup raisins (or whatever dried fruit you have around, chopped)

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, combine the oats, nuts and coconuts.

In a blender or food processor, combine the banana, maple syrup or honey, oil and cinnamon and puree. Drizzle the puree over the oats and mix until thoroughly coated. Bake for 35 or 40 minutes, stirring several times, until lightly toasted. Stir in the wheat germ or bran and bake for another 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and stir in the raisins. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about six cups.

Share Your Spirit

This is what you shall do: love the earth and sun and animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning god, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.

- Walt Whitman