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It's all Greek to me...Potato, Onion & Caper Salad and Dolmades!

This month has FLOWN by!  Seriously...where does the time go?  I told myself I was going to get my rear in gear and participate in my pal Joanne's Regional Recipes this month and I almost missed it!  But the month is not yet over, and here I am...sliding in under the wire!  This month's region is Greece...when I think Greek food, I think flaming cheese and dolmades!  Nothing wrong with that.  As a matter of fact...everything is RIGHT with that.  Cheese with booze ignited and oozing...oh man!  I would have made Saganaki if I'd had the time foresight to make (or buy) the cheese!  As a matter of fact, just talking about it is bringing on a whopper of a craving. 

But, back to the task at hand...I bought a gorgeous little bunch...if you can refer to potatoes in the term bunch...of multi-colored fingerlings at the farmer's market a week or so ago and really needed to use them!  So, I searched out Greek recipes that contained potatoes...and I find one that became a quick favorite.  I love potato salads made with vinegar, but mostly have it German-style (BACON!).  This particular recipe is fabulous...is packed full of those addictive, salty little bubbles...capers!  In a cookbook I found at the library called Modern Greece by Andy Harris, the recipes intro says... "In the Cycladic Islands, capers grow wild on the cliffs.  Picked and pickled by most families, they are added to this frugal salad found often in the summer months at the lunchtime table."  So, I will close my eyes and imagine I'm in that picturesque fairytale of a country...

Potato, Onion and Caper Salad
serves 4

2 1/2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks I (almost) never peel my potatoes
1 medium sized red onion, peeled and thinly slice I (almost) always DO peel my onions
1/3 c. capers, rinsed
3 Tbs finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Boil the potatoes and drain in a colander.  Transfer to a large bowl and combine with all the other ingredients, seasoning the salad with salt and pepper.  Serve while potatoes are still warm.

My oldest son...potato-lover extraordinaire...LOVED this!  Me too ;-)

Since I have a plethora of grape leaves available right outside my door, I decided I had to make a few dolmades, too.  I was gonna hold off because I have an upcoming post about preserving grape leaves...but it fit, so...

No exact recipe...if using fresh grape leaves, rinse and blanch them for about a minute before using.  Lay out one of the blanched (or preserved/rinsed) leaves, shiny side down.  Place a heaping teaspoon (or more if the leaf is large enough) of your preferred stuffing in middle.  Fold in the sides, then roll loosely.  Line them up in a large pot, place a plate on top, to weigh them down.  Add water to cover and simmer gently for ~40 minutes.  These particular dolmades were stuffed with brown rice, red salad onions, garlic, mint, toasted pinenuts seasoned w/ salt & pepper.  Leave the rice raw, it will cook in the process.  You can add cooked, ground meat to the mixture...and raisins, too...but I was in the mood for meatless and I was out of raisins!


This is my entry into Joanne of Eats Well with Others' Regional Recipes: Greece event...whew, nothing like procrastinating.  I'm also sending the salad over to another friend, Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for Souper Sundays this week and Reeni of Cinnamon, Spice & Everything Nice and her Side Dish Showdown, plus I'm adding it to this weeks Two for Tuesdays post!
24TbadgeGIRLICHEFRegionalRecipesSouperSundaysSide Dish Showdown Blogger Event

Apricot Jam w/ cyanide Noyaux

I think apricot jam is underrated. Well, it always was by me, at least. Not sure why. Perhaps because I always used it as an understudy, as opposed to letting it be the star.  The jam I've tried has always been fairly, well...neutral. Dull. Uneventful. Not worth writing home about.  I used it to "seal" the crumb of a cake or melted it in preparation for glazing fruit on a tart or cake.  Maybe it's that I never really took the time to get to know the apricot itself.  I mean sure, I love snacking on dried apricots...but it's not often I grab an apricot to just eat out-of-hand.  I hardly ever see them fresh.  Maybe for a fleeting moment.  The ones at grocery stores are cultivated for shipping.  Picked hard and pale and tasteless.  No wonder apricots have been all but forgotten in their "natural" state.  In the last year or so I've seen some really pretty, tempting, little apricoty-orange ones popping up at the farmer's market.  I decided these little beauties needed their name in lights!  Did you know that apricots do NOT continue to ripen after they're plucked from the tree?  No wonder they lost their appeal stuck amidst the hard peaches and mealy apples in the supermarket.  BUT, if plucked ripe and sagging from the tree...expect a burst of golden juice when you take that first bite...some juice dribbling from your lips because you don't have time to close them before it bursts!  What a pleasant surprise.  A star is born! 

Okay, so now that I actually know an apricot has a flavor of its own, what do I do with it? Turn it into jam. HA!  But, jam that's rich and caramely and golden orange...with a hint of bitter almond.  Jam that begs to be spooned onto toast or layered into a tart.  Or just eaten straight.  Seriously.  It was so tasty, I ate it from the spoon.

Let's talk first about that bitter almond flavor I adore so much.  Did you know that it comes from the pit of an apricot?  I didn't.  Basically the flavor is stuck inside the kernel that lies inside the pit of an apricot.  The flavor that can also be deadly!  That's right...what else do you think of when you think bitter almond flavor? Cyanide! Yikes!  The kernel, actual name Noyaux, contains an enzyme that when mixed with water makes prussic acid.  Poison.  Why in the world, then, is that flavor so desireable?  Have you tasted amaretto? YUM.  That's why.  Fortunately, there's a way to safeguard against accidentally poisoning yourself and your loved ones.  Roasting the noyaux kills that enzyme.  It's a simple process, too.  First, cut the apricot in half...just follow the natural butt-crack and make your way around.  Oh come on...you know it looks like a cute, fuzzy little bootie.  Okay, remove the pit.  Rinse all the stuck on apricot from the pits and place them on a sheet/pan and roast them in a 350 degree F oven for ~15 minutes.  Now, crack open the pits to extract the kernel (noyaux).  But be prepared- the kernel is hard! It's like trying to crack a walnut or an almond from its shell.  Use a hammer or the butt end of the knife...or a nutcracker.  Now, stick 'em back in the oven and roast them for another 10 minutes or so.  Better to be safe than dead.  Chop them up and they're ready to use.
Bitter Almond Flavored Apricot Jam
from Chez Panisse Fruit by Alice Waters
makes 4 c.

2 1/2 lbs. apricots, pitted and cut into 1/2" chunks
3 c. sugar
Noyaux (apricot kernels *see above)- 10 or fewer
Juice of 1 lemon

Stir the diced apricots and sugar together in a large heavy-bottomed nonreactive pot.  Let the mixture stand at least 30 minutes, to overnight...this will let the apricots release their juices and the sugar dissolve.  Chop up your noyaux and add to the fruit and sugar (they are strong, so don't use more than 10 for a batch this size).  Put a small plate in freezer to use later for checking the consistency of the jam.

Prepare four 8-oz. canning jars and self-sealing lids, per manufacturer's directions.

Bring the pot of fruit to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally to make sure it isn't sticking to the bottom.  The mixture will bubbleup dramatically, rising high up the sides of the pot.  Skim off any light-colored foam that rises and collects on the sides.  Soon the jam will boil down, forming smaller, thicker bubbles.  At this point, start testing for consistency by putting a small spoonful of jam on the plate.  This will cool off the jam sample quickly so you can tell what finished texture will be like.  When the jam has cooked to the thickness you want, stir in the lemon juice.  Turn off heat and carefully ladle the jam into the prepared canning jars, allowing at least 1/4" of headroom.  Seal, per manufacturer's instructions.  The jam will keep for about a year.  Alternately, make a smaller batch and keep it in the fridge or use it right away.
If you're nervous about using the noyaux, you can leave it out.  My first few bites I felt all tingly...kind of like my throat was closing up.  I felt sort of anxious and my mouth was watering.  Now, I roasted those kernels like there was no tomorrow...but I think it was sort of a placebo-effect sort of thing.  Or perhaps there was a bit of that toxin still in there...the feeling some one is said to get from eating Fugu (Pufferfish).  I may never know.  The important this is...I'm still here.  Writing this post and drooling once again over apricot jam that is packed full of bitter almond and rich caramel notes...with pleasant chunks of actual fruit!

It's Tuesday, and you know what that means!  Or do you?  It's time for another round of Two for Tuesdays Blog Hop Carnival! 
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Add your REAL FOOD link at the bottom of this post and then leave a comment so I know you've joined in this week! And remember, your link will show up at all 4 host sites for Two for Tuesdays! Thanks for making and eating REAL food and sharing it with us.

*If you missed the Two for Tuesdays announcement and wonder what it's all about, just click on the badge or HERE and it'll take you to the explanation page!!

I am also submitting this to Tuesday Twister at Gnowfglins and Real Food Wednesdays at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.
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I'm going on a PICNIC, and I'm bringing...

...Turkey & Pear Wraps w/ Curried Aioli.

Yup, it's that time of year again. PICNIC TIME...and time to play the Picnic Game w/ Louise at Months of Edible Celebrations!  Plus, our theme this coming week at IHCC is Picnic Basket,so... bonus! 

I'll start by giving you the recipe I used for these killer wraps that I'm packing for my picnics all week long. OH! And fair warning...you'll have some major breath after eating these.  But they're soooo worth it!  Especially if you use really good turkey.  The pungeant heat of the aioli is cooled by the slices of pear and lettuce.  The onion adds more punch and the turkey rounds it out perfectly.  I definitely hope you take one of these wraps at the picnic.

Turkey & Pear Wrap w/ Curried Aioli
from Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express
Mix half a cup of mayonnaise (or plain yogurt) with some minced garlic and about a tsp. of curry powder.  Lightly toast flour tortillas in a skillet for ~20 seconds per side.  Spread the aioli on the tortillas; evenly layer a lettuce leaf, a thin slice of red onion, thinly sliced pears, and some turkey on top.  Roll the tortillas tightly, cut them on the bias, and serve.
Now, for the Picnic Game...to play the picnic game, you start with letter A and list what you're bringing that starts with an A, then move on to B, and so on.  Each blogger coming to the picnic picks a letter and then gathers everybody's contributions in one place!  Let's begin...

I'm going to a picnic, and I'm bringing...
Baked Beans  @ Grub and Stuff
Chocolate Picnic Cake  @ Dying for Chocolate
Dutch Funnel Cake  @ Sporadic Cook
Easy Blender Chicken Pie @ Simple Recipe
Five Bean Salad @ Moveable Feasts
Granola Bars @ Fun Foods on a Budget
Herb and Cheese Pasta Salad @ Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice
Incredibly Fruity Raspberry Cakes  @ Raspberry & Chipotle
Kaltschale (Cold Fruit Soup)  @ KaffeeKlatsch
Long Island Lemonade Cocktail @ Culinary Types
Mushroom Tart @ Gherkins & Tomatoes
Olive Nut Bread @ Chaya's Comfy Cook
Pomegranate Mousse Cake @ More Than a Mountful
Raspberry Chocolate Macarons- @ Anne's Food
Spicy Glazed Shrimp and Veggie Kabobs  @ God's Perfect Promises
Turkey and Pear Wraps w/ Curried Aioli  @ girlichef RIGHT HERE!
So, aside from being my Picnic Game and IHCC Picnic Basket contributions, I'm also sending this to my friend Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for Souper (soup, salad, sammie) Sundays.
PhotobucketSouperSundaysIHCC




Would you like some Coffee in your Ice Cream!?

Nothing says summer quite like cold, creamy ice cream, does it!?  It's true, probably about 92% of my ice cream intake happens during those hot, lazy days.  Just one of those things when you live in the midwest, I suppose.  Perhaps people who live in warm places year round space it out a little better, but here...ice cream equals summer!  Remember being a kid and getting so excited when you hear the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel in the distance?  It was almost always Pop Goes the Weasel, and still is. Huhn.  Although now, we have a few different ice cream trucks that drive through our neighborhood and one plays exclusively Christmas tunes. What's that all about? Thinking cold?  I'm tempted to put up another Eddie Murphy bit ("MOM! THE ICE CREAM MAN IS COMING!").  But I won't.  Summer in East Lansing meant ...wait! Update...it's 8:37 am and my youngest child just asked me if he could have some ice cream. And I swear to you, he doesn't know what I'm writing about.  See, it's a given; summer = ice cream...back to summer in East Lansing- walking, roller blading, biking to get a cone with that awesome crunch topping.  Man, I wish I could remember the name of that little ice cream shop. These days I don't live so close to any ice cream shops...but I do have my trusty ha! ice cream maker.  Here's my delicious grown-up flavor ice cream.  Grown-up because only the hubby and I like it...the kids crinkle their noses and say "ewwww. coffee."
Coffee Ice Cream
adapted* from HTCE by Mark Bittman

1 c. whole milk
1/2 c. coarsely ground coffee
3 c. heavy cream
*1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. sugar
*couple pinches Espresso Bravo Sea Salt
*big handful of Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans, halved

Begin by heating the milk mixed with the coffee until the milk steams.  Turn off heat, cover and let sit for ~30 minutes.  Strain and discard grounds. 

Combine all ingredients (stir it up good, until sugar dissolves) except for chocolate covered coffee beans and put in refrigerator until well chilled. 

Pour in ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions.  Add in chocolate covered coffee beans just before end of churning cycle (just before machine stops).  Transfer to containers and put in freezer to finish hardening.

Enjoy on a hot, lazy summer day.  Or a cooler, busier one.  Or a so-so, semi- busy one. Whatever.  ; )


This is my IHCC Summer Lovin' entry this week!
IHCC MakeItWithMondays

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

My absolute favorite types of pickles (cucumber pickles) are the In-Your-Face-Garlic-Breath kind of pickles.  These are not those kind...but I hope to make some soon.  These are simple refrigerator pickles...in other words, not "canned".  Make them in small batches to eat over the summer.  Those weeks when you know you'll be cooking out a lot are the perfect excuse to turn a few cucumbers into no-hassle pickles.  Quick pickles are also the perfect time to experiment with flavors.  Test out different herbs, spices and add-ins...that way, when it comes time for preserving large batches for canning, you can make new varieties with the flavor combos you like best!  Last weekend at the Farmer's Market I bought three long and lovely seedless cucumbers.  I did not buy dill.  I could have sworn there was some growing in our community garden, or at the very least that I still had some dried.  Nope...on both counts.  Therefore, my pickles were not dill pickles...but they were still delicious!  We grilled up some burgers, bbq chicken and hotdogs...these were a fabulous accompaniment to all of them.  Slightly sweet with a little lingering heat.  I cut each cucumber a different way, for different textures and jarred them separately.  One was thin and flat.  Another was slightly thicker and wavy (cool cutter from Pampered Chef). And the third was cut on the bias, thick and wavy (big 'uns). The thin ones tucked nicely into hotdog buns...the slightly thicker, wavy slices rocked with tangy bbq chicken...and the big 'uns were perfect for stacking a burger! 
Sweet and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles
for one small batch...depending on how you slice your cucumber, it'll fill a quart jar 1/2 full to all-the-way-full!

1 seedless cucumber (~6-8" long), sliced as you wish
3 Tbs. cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. sea salt or kosher salt
few grinds of black pepper

a few big pinches of each:
crushed red pepper flakes
yellow mustard seed
celery seed
dehydrated garlic

Combine everything in a clean 1 qt. jar and shake it up until the cucumber slices are well-coated with everything.  Store in the refrigerator.  Use as needed, turning/shaking gently the jar occasionally (because the liquid does not cover the cukes completely).  Will keep for at least a few weeks.

This post is linked to Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade and Wholesome Whole Foods at Health Food Lover.
I am a Food RENEGADE!HealthFoodLover.com

Trisha Yearwood's Apple Dumplings + Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood Cookbook Review

I have been meaning to review Trisha Yearwood's new cookbook Home Cooking for, what seems like, quite a while now!  When I first saw my pal Kim from Stirring the Pot review it and cook from it, I was like...Trisha Yearwood has a cookbook!? Profound.  That's me...profound thinker extraordinaire! But everybody I've seen do a review really enjoyed it.  So the next time I hit the library, I added it to my pile.
Yum!  If you know me, you know that when I get a new cookbook, I sit down with a large piece of scrap paper, ready for tearing into strips (or a pad of post-its, but that's more expensive) and dive in.  First off, this book is gorgeous! Glossy pages of colorful photos...of both food and family.  So visually, it's a stunner.  And come on, don't we all eat with our eyes first?  The foreward is written by her husband, a singer close to my own heart *I'll tell you why at the end of the post, Garth Brooks.  I mean, it's not like she can help using a celebrity real in an audience...she's one, she's married to one...it comes with the territory.  He proudly introduces her and the book and lets us why she is so successful, both in cooking and singing. The reason is simple...it's that she loves what she does.  Isn't that the secret to success in all aspects of life?

girlichef (ME!) on Blog Talk Radio

Hi guys!! Well, I did it.  I talked through the chattering teeth and shakey hands...nervous just because.  Rebecca of Chow and Chatter is one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet, she's a dietician and her blog is diverse, educational and absolutely delicious!  She recently embarked on a new leg of her journey with Chow and Chatter Radio!  I am honored...and horrified all at once...to be her first guest! I've put a link to my talk with Rebecca that took place within the last hour (!).  Let me tell you...she is the one with the beautiful British accent and sing-songy voice.  I'm the other one.  The one who fumbles for the words and forgets what she is saying because she's trying so hard to not sound like a dork. And failing miserably.  But I have NOT listened to it.  I can't.  I fear that I won't hit 'publish' if I do.  Listen away...and enjoy a photo of what I believe to be chamomile these lovely little flowers growing in my yard.  Thank you, Reb for having me...it was truly an honor!  Oh, and Natashya, don't kill me.... ;)
Listen to internet radio with Chow and Chatter on Blog Talk Radio
Chamomile growing in my yard...for your viewing pleasure whilst listening to me...perhaps the picture will be soothing...like the ones in the doctor's office.  You know, the ones on the ceiling. Ladies.  Guys, not sure if you know "the" pictures or not.  Anyway.

Farmer's Market Treasures & Pickled Currants!

While at the farmer's market this past weekend, I ran into some wonderful treasures!! We arrived home with the scent of fresh, warm, soft pretzels still lingering on our breath and our bags stuffed with abundance- peaches...strawberries...green onions...purple, red and white fingerlings...prosciutto, smoked swiss and freshly baked red pepper focaccia from the Italian deli tucked inside the market...apples...fragrant basil, rosemary and thyme...and the fabulous little treasures that I don't find often- FIGS and Ruby Red CURRANTS! 
They're like sparkling little jewels...I was soooooo overjoyed!  The kiddos didn't remember ever having currants before.  So, they poised themselves...held a little bubble of exploding warmth...and popped it in!  Reaction....POW!  Tart, yet sweet.  I don't know if you can see it on their faces or not, but they liked them.  We ate about half of them straight-up!
The other half I decided to pickle and can.  I'm not sure if I actually did it right or not, because this was my first time trying to do anything with them besides make a jelly.  I used a recipe I found in Chez Panisse Fruit by Alice Waters.  She actually says to pack the fruit into jars with self-sealing lids.  Are these different from normal canning jars (I'm still just getting comfortable with canning at home...branching out)?  Well, I used the normal method of canning and the currants puffed up...from the heat, I'm sure...which is what makes me wonder if self-sealing is different? Either way, they're gorgeous and I can hardly believe I have to wait 6 weeks to find out how it actually worked.  I'll keep you posted.  If nothing else, I'll have some fabulous currant vinegar!

Pickled Currants
from Chez Panisse Fruit by Alice Waters
I just did a small batch, ~1/4 of a recipe

4 c. red currants
3 c. white or red wine vinegar I used red wine vinegar
1/4 c. sugar
1 allspice berry didn't quarter it, still used a whole one
2 cloves used one

Strip the currants off their stems-or leave them be; unstemmed, they make a pretty garnish as little branches of fruit.  Bring the vinegar, sugar, allspice, and cloves to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Let cool.  Pack the fruit into canning jarss with self-sealing lids prepared according to the manufacturer's instructions.  Pour the cooled vinegar over the fruit and seal.  Let sit in a cool, dark place for 6 weeks before serving.
My other treasures I simply wanted eat warm and seedy and wrapped in salty prosciutto...with a little mint from my yard.  Perfection.

Have you run into anything unexpected and wonderful at your Farmer's Market or through a CSA or community garden lately?  What was it and what did you do with it....create or simply enjoy?
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*If you missed the Two for Tuesdays announcement and wonder what it's all about, just click on the badge or HERE and it'll take you to the explanation page!!

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

So apparently it's not a that great of an idea to leave the cylinder of your ice cream maker in the freezer from the end of one summer to the beginning of the next.  Icky things make their way inside...and freeze there. Go figure. I suppose I coulda used the old noggin' and wrapped it in plastic or foil or something to keep the inside from gathering said icky things, but....  Instead I used the space inside to hold a bag of cranberries. Smart.  When I pulled it out this morning...all ready to pour in my cinnamon-scented custard (a whole 'nother story)...there were the icky things.  Frozen in time.  Being the quick-thinker that I am, I grabbed a paper towel and wetted it a bit, all set to wipe them away. Yeah.  Now I have paper towel stuck in the inner walls of the cylinder as well. Nice.  Grab a clean kitchen towel...sh*t.  Threads now frozen in place.  Guess I'll have to actually unfreeze it a bit and wait for it to re-freeze before I make the ice cream. So I turned on the hot water and swirled it around a bit...picking and rubbing until all icky things and paper towel and threads were gone...then I stuck it back in the freezer.  Sans cover.  It'll be okay for an hour or so, right?  Better be.  Lesson learned:  cover the opening of the ice cream machine cylinder BEFORE freezing for long periods of time.

Should we go ahead and get the custard debacle out of the way as well.  Might as well.  I woke up bright and early butt-crack of dawn this morning and could not fall back asleep no matter how hard I willed it.  I decided it was the perfect time to get the custard on the stove that I'd been putting off due to hot weather.  It was still cool...birds were chirping...STOP.  Chirping reminds me of tweeting...and that's just what I started to do. Tweet. Twitter...I got sucked in.  It happened to be Friday...so I started sending out #FF's...because usually I completely forget and feel like an a*#hole when I see all the wonderful friends who included me as I went about my day unawares.  Unawares.  I like saying that. Back on subject, I left the stove FOR LIKE, 2 SECONDS to tweet something and BAM, curdled.  Of course.  I tried my best to whisk wish those curds away before walking away and throwing up my shoulders.  But since I was already computing, I looked up cures (since straining didn't work...whoda thought those little curds would slide right through the wire mesh) and found out you could actually just blend them away.  I used my stick blender and wham...beautiful custard.  Cool, huh.  Beautiful cinnamon-scented eggy deliciousness. This day is gonna be okay.

WRONG!  Somewhere in the midst of the mayhem and the relaxation something in the formula went haywire.  This "ice cream" would NOT freeze.  Would. Not. Ugh...I let the ice cream maker run its course, but I still had liquid.  So, I  just poured it all into a container and stuck it in the freezer.  What came out was more of an ice milk than an ice cream.  A somewhat strange-flavored, odd-colored, berry-bottomed ice milk.

Oh well, so is life.  If at first you don't succeed...make an ice cream that doesn't require making custard. I'm about to redeem myself...

Strawberry season is drawing to a close here in Northern Indiana.  So, of course I snatched up a few pints at the farmer's market over the weekend.  Lots of them were really soft and ripe already, so I picked out the prettiest ones to use as decoration on one of the pastel de tres leches I was making (ran out of fresh fruit after the two I had earlier in the week)...and I used the rest in smoothies and ice cream!  They were as warm, sticky, and juicy as the humid summer heat, itself!

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
slightly adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
yield: ~1 quart

12 ounces strawberries, washed and quartered
8 ounces cream cheese, at soft room temperature
3/4 cup honey
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon sea salt (I used a vintage merlot sea salt - very nice)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Put all of the ingredients into blender and blend on low until just combined; put in fridge to chill.

Pour cool mixture into the base of your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions; result will be very soft, like soft-serve. Transfer to container to harden completely.

This will could potentially keep in the freezer for up to a week. Didn't last longer than a day in mine.

A musical (ahem) ode to dads around the world...

They're the magical fruit.  They have a sing-songy rhyme we grew up singing every time they appeared at the table.  Admit it, you grew up reciting this rhyme, too.  I know it!  We couldn't have been the only household that found it ridiculously funny every time this was chanted. Could we?  I blame it on dad.  I mean, mom probably found it pretty crass...although in the end, she'd always crack a smile.  How can you help it?  A sense of humor was key living in a house with my dad.  A sense of humor is key to life in general.   

No lengthy post here... I wanted to use my gorgeous fresh green beans in a different way than I usually do, so I made a version of the ever-popular 4-Bean Salad.
Four-Bean Salad
from Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express

Cut about a cup of green beans into one-inch pieces and blanch in boiling, salted water until crisp-tender; drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking.  In a bowl, combine a cup or two each of cooked or canned (drain first) kidney or other red beans, cannellini or other white beans, and chickpeas.  Add the green beans, a small, diced red onion, and some chopped parsley or chives.  Dress with olive oil, sherry vinegar or some other good strong vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
Not my absolute favorite version of this salad...but honestly, I don't have a favorite version, so...

I'll sing you out with the magical, musical ode to dads all over the world...here's to you dad, hubby, grandpa, suegro....


Beans, Beans, the magical fruit;
the more you eat, the more you toot.
The more you toot, the better you feel...
So, let's eat beans with every meal!


Happy Father's Day!






IHCCThis is my entry into Dining with Dad, our theme this week at IHCC.


Anadama Rolls...earthy, comforting, traditional

Although I usually make this bread in cooler months, there are times when I simply must listen to my body and satisfy a craving!  Anadama bread is a type of  corn bread, rooted in Native American tradition; it's sweetened with molasses, which is an unrefined sweetener.  It's deep, complex...somewhat like a bitter caramel (not unlike the flavors I look for in my favorite beer).  I'm fortunate enough to have a local grain mill that has some gorgeous cornmeal, though I'd love to find some blue cornmeal to use in a future batch of Anadama bread.  Make a large, round, free-form loaf and rip off a hunk to eat with some grilled meats this summer...or wait and bring it to your autumn table and serve it with roasted meats and game.  Either way, you may find yourself craving some at the oddest times.

Anadama Bread (or rolls)
recipe (ever-so-slighty-adapted) from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, MD and Zoe Francois
makes 4- 1# loaves, recipe easily doubled or halved

1 1/2 c. cornmeal
1/4 c. wheat germ
2 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
3 c. unbleached ap flour
1 1/2 Tbs. granulatd yeast,
1 Tbs. kosher salt
1/4 c. vital wheat gluten
3 1/2 c. lukewarm water
1/2 c. molasses

1. Whisk together first 7 ingredients in a 5-qt bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) container.

2. Combine water and molasses and mix them with the dry ingredients w/out kneading, using a spoon, a 14-c. food processor (w/ dough attachment), or a heavy-duty stand mixer (w/ paddle). You might need to use wet hands to get the last bit of flour to incorporate if you're not using a machine.

3.  Cover (not airtight), and allow dough to rest at room temp until it rises and collapses (or flattens on top), ~2 hours.

4. The dough can be used immediately after initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold.  Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 7 days. 

5. On baking day, dust the surface of the refrigerated dough w/ flour and cut off a 1-lb. piece (grapefruit size). 


Dust w/ flour and quicly shape into a ball by stretching surface of dough around to bottom on all four sides, rotating a quarter-turn as you go and let it rest on a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal...or divide into ~12 even pieces and form balls to make rolls, putting them in a 9x13 pan, dusted with cornmeal or sprayed.





6.  Allow the formed dough to rest, loosely covered w/ plastic wrap for 90 minutes (40 minutes if you're using the dough immediately instead of from the refrigerator).  Preheat oven to 450 degrees F thirty minutes before you're ready to bake.


7. Place a baking stone on center oven rack and an empty metal broiler tray on bottom of oven. 

8.  Just before baking, use a pastry brush to paint the top crust w/ water.  Slash the loaf w/ 1/4" deep parallel cuts, using a serrated bread knife.  I didn't actually do this with the rolls.

9.  Slide the loaf (or pan of rolls) directly onto the hot stone.  our 1 c. of hot water into the broiler tray, and quickly close the oven door.  Bake for ~30 minutes, until richly browned and firm. Check after ~20 if making rolls.




The method that is used to make dough in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day is a no-knead method...it's a great way for you to start baking your own bread if you're a bit yeast-shy.  I love the actual process of kneading, but I also like being able to keep some bread dough on hand, ready to be baked at any time in the fridge!

These Anadama Rolls have been YEASTSPOTTED!

BYOBHBin5I am a Food RENEGADE!HealthFoodLover.com
I am also sending this to BYOB, hosted this summer by Cathy of Bread Experience...HBin5 bread braid hosted by Michele of Big Black Dog...Fight Back Friday by Kristen of Food Renegade and Wholesome Whole Foods hosted by Michelle of Health Food Lover.