Polenta

3 Cups water
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 Cup corn grits
1 Tablespoon butter

Bring water to boil, add salt and corn grits. simmer 30 minutes Mixing often. Stir in butter. Put into an oiled rectangular pan. I used a bread pan. Let cool. Once firm turn out on cutting board and cut into strips. I made mine about 3/4 inch thick. I added ample butter and olive oil to a fry pan and fried until crispy on both sides. The slices may be topped with grated cheese, pasta sauce or just salt. It is so much better than any polenta I have had anywhere!

Homemade Pita

This is one bread where I measure the flour exactly. A pizza stone is nice to have but not required to make these pita.

1 tablespoon active dry yeast – fast acting
1/2 Cup lukewarm water (100-110 degrees F)
1 Teaspoon sugar

3 1/2 Cups wheat flour – you can use white bread flour, whole wheat flour or a mix of the two. My favorite is a mix of the two so the pita are not too heavy.
1 1/4 Teaspoon salt
1 Cup lukewarm water
~ 1/3 Cup flour for kneading and rolling out pita

Mix the yeast and sugar into the 1/2 Cup of lukewarm water and set aside for 5 minutes to activate. In a large bowl, mix flour salt together then add yeast/water mixture and the 1 cup of lukewarm water. Mix until smooth. It will be sticky. Let rise until doubled – about 1 hour in a warm part of the kitchen or in the oven if you can set your oven to 100 degrees F or you have “bread proof” setting.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven. Sprinkle risen dough with a just enough flour to be able to punch in down and knead one to two minutes. Pinch dough into about 8 balls of equal size, let sit for 5-10 minutes on floured surface. With a rolling pin roll out each ball  to 1/4 thick and ~5″ diameter round. Lift and turn as you work so they don’t stick to the surface. You can make them thicker or thinner, larger or smaller depending how you prefer them. Let them set and rise about 10 minutes. To bake I place, by hand, a few ( 2-4 depending on your space) pitas into the oven onto the heated baking sheet or stone, one at a time and let them bake for about 4 minutes each. You will know they are done if they have puffed up like balloons, steam escaping has subsided and they are very lightly browned in some spots (check the underside). Lift them out of the oven one at a time with a spatula when they are done. Add more pita’s to the oven to bake as the baked ones are removed.

They freeze very nicely. Serve with hummus!

Hummus

2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas) – I preferred buying dried garbanzo and cooking them.  It takes at least few hours to cook them until they are soft. I think they taste better than the canned and you don’t have to worry about BPA or other things that could come from being canned.

2 tablespoons tahini
Juice of one lemon
2-3 garlic cloves crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt or 1 teaspoon tamari
Water as needed to allow blending

Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth. Chill.

This recipe is based on Carol’s recipe – thanks Carol!

Gram’s Cinnamon Bread

Every Christmas I make cinnamon bread using this recipe. It is the recipe handed down from my grandmother Hazel (Davenport) Wilson. I started making it when I was a teenager.

I’ve made a couple of minor changes that I will note in the recipe.

Makes one loaf (modification: I double the recipe and make 3 loaves)

1 Cup scalded milk (really just have to heat to warm because milk is now pasteurized)
1/4 Cup melted butter
1/4 Cup sugar
1 Teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg

1 Tablespoon yeast
1/4 warm water

~ 3 1/2 Cups bread flour (hard or red wheat)

1/4 Cup sugar mixed with 1 1/2 Teaspoons cinnamon (modification: I add 3 teaspoons or more of cinnamon). I actually don’t measure this and am pretty heavy handed with the mix.

Melt butter, warm milk then mix together and add sugar and salt and cool (if needed) to temperature of yeast mixture.  Mix yeast in 1/4 cup warm water (I hold my finger in the water to test if it is very warm but not too hot to hold my finger in it – google says 105 to 110 degrees but I’ve never measured). Beat egg and add to milk mixture. Add yeast to milk mixture once it has been activated by the warm water.

Mix in flour a little at a time until too heavy to mix with spoon. Turn out and board and knead about 5 minutes or more if needed. Add flour until dough no longer sticks to board. Place in large bowl coverd with dishtowel and let rise until double ( about 1 hour). Then punch down and turn out on board, cover with cloth and let rest 10 minutes (I don’t always do this but it makes it easier to roll out with rolling pin. The recipe says to roll out into a rectangle 7 1/2 x 19 inches – my grandmother used to actually measure. I like to roll it narrower and longer so I get more cinnamon swirls in the loaf.  Brush rolled out dough with whole milk and evenly sprinkle on cinnamon-sugar mixture. Roll up and place loaf in well oiled (I use olive oil) bread pan. Brush top with additional melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mix.

Wondering if it would be just as good with whole wheat flour? I tried it and did not like it.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25-45 minutes. Test with knife to assure its done.
* If you are making one recipe into one loaf it will likely take the full 45 minutes. If you double the recipe and then split it into 3 loaves they will need to bake for 25-30 minutes.

 

 

 

Roasted Eggplant & Red Pepper

1 large eggplant cut up into pieces no thicker than 3/4 inch
2-3 red bell peppers cut up in medium sized chunks
1/2 yellow onion chopped and caramelized in a little olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black or mixed peppercorns
1-3 cloves of crushed garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Brussel sprouts are also a good addition to this dish – a few or a lot.
Mix all ingredients together and place in baking dish that is big enough so the vegetables can easily cook (not too deep). I use a 9″x13″ glass baking dish. Bake at 350 to 375 degrees for about an hour. Mix as necessary to assure all vegetables bake evenly.

 

Meat Loaf

1 lb ground venison
1 lb ground lamb
1 lb ground pork
or any variety of beef, venison, lamb, pork or goat you may have.

3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons mustard
1 large yellow onion (caramelized)
4-5 Garlic cloves, crushed or minced
3 eggs
3/4 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon mustard seed
1/4 Teaspoon Mexican chili powder

1/2 Cup ketchup
Sauerkraut – optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Crush garlic and set aside at least 10 minutes.  Caramelize onions in olive oil and cool a little bit.
Mix all ingredients, except ketchup, together and put half of mixture into each bread pan pressing the mixture down into each pan.
Spread ketchup on top of each loaf.
Bake for about 1.5 hours. Serve with sauerkraut.

You can cut ingredients in half to make one loaf but I like to make 2 loaves at a time to put one in the freezer for another day.

Hearty Salad

Base:
1 cup finely cut green cabbage
1 cup finely cut red cabbage

1 cup chopped arugula
1 cup chopped kale
Mustard greens, parsley, beet greens, and others can be added when available.

Options to change it up: grapes, apples, dried cherries, tomatoes, peppers, olives, capers turkey, hardboiled egg.

Toppings: Feta cheese, toasted sunflower seeds, Olive oil and vinegar dressing.

Cabbage and kale can be cut up in advance because they hold up very well in the refrigerator for a week. Cabbage is nicest if cut on a mandolin so it is fine like sauerkraut.

Arugula and other greens don’t hold up as long so I keep them in a container separate container from cabbage that I plan to store for a while. I cut up enough cabbage and kale for the week and then add more perishable items when the salad will be eaten in a day or two. I don’t usually use lettuce because it doesn’t hold up as well as arugula.

Ginger Peach Scones

Kenine gave me some peaches and I am looking for ways to use them. This recipe is the first iteration so may be modified after I taste them. They should be done in about 20 minutes so we will see!

PS these were not so good (bland) so this recipe needs some work. Please post ideas/modifications.

3 cups almond meal
2 1/2  tablespoons turbinado sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 cup grapeseed oil or olive oil
2 eggs
3 tablespoons 2% Fage yogurt (contains no starches)
1/2 cup pureed fresh peaches

Mix all ingredients well and spoon on to greased cookie sheet (or use parchment paper). If desired sprinkle with sugar. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Test by sticking with knife. They are done when lightly browned and knife comes out clean. For best flavor cool before serving. Makes about 15 scones.

Sunflower Seed Crackers

1 Cup ground sunflower seeds
1/2 Cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/4 Cup sesame seeds
1 egg
1/4 Cup water
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon mixed peppercorns

Mix well and put on parchment on cookie sheet. Place wax paper over dough and roll out no more than 1/8th inch thick and score. Put in cold oven and set to 300 degrees bake 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Pork Chops

I have been trying flavor combinations from the book “The Flavor Bible” and they recommend tarragon and garlic to be paired with pork.

Pasture raised pork rubbed in olive oil with tarragon, dash of salt and pepper, and fresh garlic clove. Then bake. Yum!