Saturday, February 27, 2010
Since my very lucky purchase last year of the $12 pasta maker, and my realization (duh!) that I can make the dough in my KitchenAid, pasta-making isn't quite the major chore that it used to be. However it is still a significant event that generally involves my taking over my parent's cabin so that I have enough surfaces to dry the cut noodles. Mom & Dad are in town for the weekend, so I took advantage of the situation and made a mess.
I sure hope they don't come back early : )
This should mean that we will have Herbed Whole Wheat Noodles to sell at the early farmers market! Woo hoo!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The rice cooker that we have is a basic PHD (push here dummy) version, just an on/off switch. No fuzzy logic, bells or whistles.
In the past we used it about once a month whenever we made rice, but since last year we use it nearly daily, especially in the winter. That was when I discovered that I could use it to make our breakfast oatmeal. I dump steel cut oats, water, salt and dried cranberries in the night before and when I wake up in the morning I hit the switch and walk away. About 20-30 minutes later we have perfectly cooked oatmeal, ready to dress with maple syrup and eat! Love it!
Then this winter my insightful friend Maggie sent me a recipe for using the rice cooker for making polenta. Ohhhhhh...
I keep medium grind cornmeal for my bread baking, so I tossed it into the cooker and gave it a try. Cornmeal, water and salt, cooked for a little more than a full cycle, dressed with butter and BGF honey, be still my heart! It is my new favorite breakfast. If you have a rice cooker, give it a try!
Edited to add:
Should have included this to start with...
4 cups water
1 cup coarse grain yellow polenta
1/2 tsp salt
Place water in rice cooker bowl, add polenta and salt.
Stir 15 seconds with a wooden spoon or plastic rice paddle. cover and set for porridge or regular cycle. A few times (or once!) during cooking, open the cover, stir 15 seconds, then close cover. At the end of the regular cycle , taste the polenta and make sure the desired consistency has been reached. If not, push the button and let it go a little longer.
For breakfast I just dress with butter and honey. If serving at another meal, you can add in 2/3 c. shredded Parmesan at the end.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Anyway, as we got ourselves and our chores ready for our departure the sun began to rise and lit up every surface covered with hoarfrost. It was absolutely glorious and looked like the world was ablaze in an icy fire. They aren't the greatest pictures, but you get the idea.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Anyway, the flatbread recipes are some of my favorites, mostly because I am completely impatient and I LOVE being able to have fresh bread seven minutes after I decide that I want it. One of the recipes that I had been wanting to try was the Za'atar Flatbread (page 161, for those of you with the book).
My first challenge was a lack of the Za'atar itself. Za'atar is a middle-eastern spice blend with ground sumac berries as its base, its a spicy, tart flavor that I just love. Then a couple of months ago I happened upon a new Middle-Eastern market in
¼ c. ground sumac
2 tbs. thyme leaves
1 tbs. sesame seeds, toasted
1 tsp coarse salt (skip if sumac contains salt)
* optional, 2 tbs oregano
Besides the flatbread recipe, Za'atar is great with chicken, lamb or pork. It's also nice on green salads or sprinkled over olive oil as a dip for bread.
The Za'atar Flatbread recipe in the AB5 book makes a foccacia-type bread, that you bake in the oven but I was in a serious hurry, so I made the Naan recipe (page 173) that cooks in s cast iron skillet on the stove top. As soon as the first side cooked, I turned the bread over, brushed with garlic olive oil and sprinkled on the za'atar. Three minutes later it came out of the pan and onto the plate. It was delicious! Seriously, buy the book, make the bread and enjoy...you wont be sorry!