Category Archives: Savory

Steamed Boston Brown Bread

I have a breadmaker for the everyday sandwich loaf bread. Toss it all in, leave it alone overnight, wake up to fresh bread! Voila!

Except every time I do that I have nowhere to put the bread. Wrapping it in cellophane is tedious and wasteful so, last Friday, I ordered something from Amazon for the first time. Ever.  I bought myself a breadbox. OK, it isn’t one of those giant countertop breadboxes, its a small portable one with a little vent for moisture control. Sweeeeeet.

Wheeeee

Best thing ever? It showed up Monday! This was my motivation to make the Brown Bread.  This recipe is from the same book as the potato soup that I love, The Encyclopedia of Nutrition and Cooking, and it has lots of really down to earth recipes.  I haven’t decided if I actually like the bread yet, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t tasty. It’s moist and rich and the molasses stands out most of all.  The raisins are a source of uneasiness for me. I really don’t like them in baked goods, the texture is completely at odds with fluffy. But sometimes they surprise me.

I only had one can so I used a few jelly jars instead with varying results.  I forgot to grease one of the jars, and figured I would be able to tell which it was thinking that I would have trouble removing it. However, it was the exact opposite. Two of them were stuck. Do I not need to grease the bottles? Or did I do something else? Hmmmm…

Recipe:

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1 cup rye flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup enriched yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup dark molasses
1 cup dark or golden raisins

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In a bowl, combine raisins, molasses and buttermilk and stir until the buttermilk and molasses are joined.

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In a a larger bowl, whisk together flours, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

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I got to use my new danish whisk! It worked like a charm. I like its sturdiness and somehow, the dough doesn’t stick to it.

Add liquid mixture to flour mixture; stir only enough to moisten flour.   (I couldn’t bring myself to post a picture of the batter. There is just no way to make some batter look nice.)

Spoon batter into well greased 16-oz cans (small coffee can) – only 2/3 full.

Cover cans tightly with foil. (I added a rubber band)

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Place cans on a trivet in a steamer or in a saucepot with a tight-fitting cover. Fill steamer with water to no more than half the height of the can. Tightly cover steamer (saucepot). Steam for 3 hours.

(I didn’t exactly have a tight fitting lid, so I kept having to refill the water. I’m not sure all the ups and downs in temp were good for it.)

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I did my jars the same way. I greased them with coconut oil and then added foil and elastics.

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After about an hour and a half, I got curious… aaaaand impatient. So I peaked under the lid of the can and I convinced myself it was done! The toothpick came out clean and so I set about heating up some beans cutting myself a slice.

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Sadly, and yet somehow not unexpectedly, it was close, but not quite done.  Back in the steamer with you, Loafy! I was pretty sure I had ruined it at this point.

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I kept the tester slice and ate it with some beans. Very tasty, even if a tad doughy!

Eventually, after the full 3 hours was up, I ended up with a nice collection of bread cylinders.  They are dense and moist and I am not totally opposed to the raisins. haha!

Serve warm and layer with a generous helping of butter and enjoy!

DSC03670aAt least now I have somewhere to store them! 😀

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Now that’s some steamy bread!

Breakfast in a cookie!

I’m always looking for ways to put breakfast into other forms… one way is by incorporating bacon into as many typical baked goods as I can. Spicy Chocolate Bacon Pie, Whiskey Maple Bacon Cupcakes… you know. But it always leads to speculation about how to get the eggs involved without losing them into the batter.

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Lately Jane (my office baking buddy) and I have been experimenting with meringue and it finally dawned on us that you can put just about anything in meringue and it’ll be awesome.  She likes to make savoury muffins and we theorized about a savory cookie, among other things. Eventually the conversation turned to bacon and the realization that if there’s no sugar, you can add whatever you want in the savoury direction! Namely, in my fantasies, bacon and hash browns. 😀

How could it go wrong?! 3 ingredients. Simple.  Well, somehow I managed to mess up the eggs… Apparently I don’t whip eggs without sugar often enough… At one point, I had mostly stiff peaks and I said ‘Almost there’ and then it went foamy… *sigh* I was on a timeline for <insert reason here> and I just went with it.   I folded in the bacon, and potato and in the oven they went!

(I have since learned that egg whites won’t stabilize well without a little sugar. So next time, I will be adding a couple tablespoons. )

They did not puff up macaroon style, due to the fluffy egg situation, but they still held together and formed a bacon, potato, foamy-egg cluster! They are actually pretty awesome and in my estimation and can only get better. I’m going to have to buy another 18 pack of eggs…

RECIPE

1 medium potato
2 egg whites
2 Tbsp sugar
3-4 strips of bacon

mmmm bacon.

Cook the bacon crispy and chop it into small pieces.

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Shred the potatoes. I used my really fine grater because I was hoping for a shredded coconut feel. I baked the shredded potatos for a bit but due to time constraints, and the fact that they already weren’t what I had in mind, I threw what I had in the mini-food processor and it turned into little potato nuggets.

Beat the eggs to stiff peaks.

Fold in the potato and bacon bits.  Since the eggs were fluffy, the batter, if you could call it that, was a little wet…but it worked out.

Spoon little teaspoon sized clumps onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 325°C for 10 -15 minutes. Keep an eye on them.

They came out looking like potato bacon clouds. And they taste like it too! However, they are not meringuey at all.  I will try again. I need to experience the poofy-crispy-chewy meringue goodness, flecked with bacon and bits of toasted potato. I love it.

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Wild Mushroom & Blue Cheese crackers

I love making my own crackers.  They’re infinitely more tasty than store bought (as is most homemade stuff) and they’re basically like savory cookies.

These crackers are great on their own because they are so full of flavour – but I usually serve them with my favourite cheese-ball recipe.  (I’ll have to post that later because I didn’t take any pictures of the making of it!) It’s actually almost a shame to cover these crackers in cheese… But I do it anyway. Because cheese.

The recipe is pretty simple and your kitchen will smell like heaven while they’re baking. Although, before the baking part, people who are not a fan of blue cheese may suggest it smells otherwise! haha. But I long ago discovered that the stinkier the cheese the better it tastes.

Ok, so back to crackers.  They are a staple of the party munchy, especially combined with cheese, and when they’re homemade they make quite a impression.  I never even considered the idea of making my own crackers before I found this recipe. I also didn’t even like blue cheese OR mushrooms… (Why exactly did I make them? hmm…) But boy I’m glad I did.

I usually use typical cracker shape cookie cutters to make them; square, round, rectangular etc… But this time I decided to get festive and make them with Christmas shapes.  Being that cracker dough is very elastic it tends to start shrinking immediately after being rolled out and then moreso in the oven. It doesn’t shrink evenly either! My first batch turned out OK and kept their shape nicely… By the end, however, not so much.

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This should be a Santa head. Fluffy beard on the bottom, hat on top with the little pompom off the side… You can see it, right? 🙂

Crackers

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1/4oz dried wild mushrooms – like chantrelle or porcini.
1/2  cup unsalted butter, softened
8oz blue cheese
2 cup all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup milk
coarse salt

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Crumble blue cheese into a large bowl.

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Add softened butter.

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Beat on medium speed until creamy.

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Finely grind dried mushrooms in a spice grinder. Add to cheese mix with flour and black pepper.  Stir until just combined.

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Add milk and mix until mixture comes together. It will be quite stiff. (I use my hands to get this last part done).
Preheat oven to 350°F.

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Divide it into disks, wrap 2 in plastic and set aside.

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Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/16″ thick.
Cut out cracker shapes with cookie cutters much larger than you think necessary (about 3 1/2″ round). The shrinking will reduce them to reasonable size!

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Pierce with fork several times and sprinkle lightly with salt.
(Although this image seems to be lacking both salt and pokes)

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Bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

They will last in an airtight container about 1 week – but good luck getting them to last that long.

Together at last!

Cheese and coffee. Two of my favourite things on this planet have been combined and the result is amazing.

The wonderful people at Beehive Cheese Co. have created a delicious slice of heaven with their award winning Barely Buzzed.

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I don’t have any picture of my own sample because it didn’t last long enough.  It is so creamy and tastes of caramel and chocolaty coffee. I need more. Which is a problem because I haven’t managed to find it locally, but I’m sure its out there. It will be found! 😀

Taste Test Pass!



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I finally opened a jar of my beet jelly on Labour Day weekend at the cottage.  I had no idea what to expect.  I refused to believe what people were saying about it not tasting like beets at all.  Beet is an unmistakable flavour. How, then, could 4 cups of beet juice be transformed into a berry flavour.

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But it was. Oh wow.  I haven’t had jelly in years.  I don’t usually keep enough bread products around the house to warrant it. Now I have 5 more jars of this red gold in my pantry. I’m going to have to buy some more Rusks. I have a renewed love for the wobbly stuff!

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I also opened a jar of my pickled beets. Amazing. Very mild pickling solution so they’re still mostly beety! Lookin’ forward to pulling out a jar of these guys mid january.

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Pickling Trials 3: Beets & Jelly

DSC02574Pickling has taken over my life!  I have done little else for 2 weeks and although it has been great, I now have a desperate need for more pantry space.

I had a relaxing long weekend at the cottage… by which I mean I spent the majority of the time in the kitchen, and the rest reading. I made some great burgers, I candied some bacon and walnuts for a salad (cause even salads need bacon sometimes!), we did a fondue and had amazing corn.

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God I love the cottage!

My pickling project was beets this time.  After the success of the beets in the egg recipe I wanted more beets but with a simpler flavour.  I found some tiny beets at the farmers market and they were so cute, of course I had to pickle them.  And then there is the beet jelly!

I have never been a jam fan. It has this feeling of being soggy. No matter how much I want to enjoy it, it’s always disappointing. Jelly is another story, however.   Not quite sure what it is, but I love it. Grape jelly on croissants or red pepper jelly on soft cheese, there is always a fantastic way to eat it.  I’m really excited about my beet jelly.

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I found golden beets as well as purple beets at the market and I love the golden ones and they’re not easy to find. I used the golden ones for the salad and I kept the red ones, some large and some mini, for the picked beets.

I used a recipe from Mennonite Girls Can Cook for the pickled beets.  I left out the bay leaf, since I really don’t like the flavour. Well, actually, I was going to do two jars with and two without but I forgot. 😛

I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m looking forward to it. I’ll post an update with comments.

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In the beet recipe is where I first discovered the existence of beet jelly, but she provided no recipe despite many requests in the comment section.  I set out to look for a recipe and discovered that 90% of them ask for the addition of grape Jell-O or a Kool-Aid package! eww. Those ingredients seem so contrary to the idea of preserving fresh veggies that I just couldn’t add them.  And besides, then my jelly would taste like grape Jell-O and as much as I like Jell-O, this was beet jelly!! Its supposed to taste like beets, right? No. Apparently even the straight juice recipes taste like berries anyways, so yet again, why add those flavouring packets?

It took a while before I found enough recipes to take a cross section of them and omit the crazy flavourings.

Jelly Recipe

4 cups beet juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 package powdered pectin
6 cups sugar

Add the beet juice and lemon juice into a large pot. Stir in the pectin.

Bring to a rolling boil over, high heat.

Add all the sugar at once and bring back to a boil for about a minute. (Be careful, mine kept bubbling up and threatening to overflow… until it did.)

Remove the pot from the heat and pour into hot, sterilized jars.  Leave about 1/8″ headspace.  Place the hot lids on and tighten the rings.

Water bath times vary for the jelly, as far as I read, and some even say you don’t need to do it at all.  I processed these for 20 minutes – mostly because I’m paranoid.

I got almost 8 pint jars full.  I was only short by about 1/2″ on the final jar, but I didn’t boil it. I will just eat that one first.

I am still not sure how long it should take to fully set. I was expecting overnight, however the next morning it was thicker, but not set.  A friend said it could take weeks but most online guides suggest only a couple hours – faster it you put it in the fridge or freezer.  I have many jars so maybe I will put some in the fridge. *crosses fingers* I just hope it works!

*UPDATE*

It’s been a couple of weeks now and the jelly is pretty much set, but I’m not confident enough to try it yet 🙂

 

*UPDATED UPDATE*

I’ve tried it. See here.

Pickling Trials 2: Eggs and Beets

Wednesday I went to the store to get green peppers. Two stores actually. Not a single green pepper to be found.  So I panicked and went home with nothing. Nothing and two litres of apple cider vinegar. haha!

I love beets so any chance to do something new with them gets me excited. This time, in light of no peppers for my relish, I  cracked wise about making pickled eggs instead. Something I swore I would never eat!

Growing up, there was always a jar of pickled eggs in the fridge that my dad would snack on, much to the disgust of my mother and I! However, when I came across this recipe for beet pickled eggs, my love of all things pickled, combined with my fondness for beets overwhelmed that memory.

I now have a jar of homemade pickled beets in my fridge! Yay! (I think…)

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I cannot wait to taste them!

* TIME LAPSE – 6 DAYS LATER*

Tonight, for my after work snack I decided to try an egg! I was excited and terrified at the same time. The predominating flavour is the anise, but it’s not overwhelming.  They’re a bit sweet & sour and overall really tasty! I definitely like them and they would be amazing in a potato salad. Oh! And what a way to spice up an egg salad! wow. I can see myself keeping a jar of these around.

And how cute would these be if I used quail eggs! *swoons*

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