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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Megan's Wholesome Bread



Notes:

  • This recipe was developed using a bread machine, specifically, the Oster CKSTBRTW20, which has been an excellent investment for our household.
  • Sourdough starter can be bought online. Having been a long-time resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, I preferred to order from SourdoughBreads, and received a very helpful instruction booklet with the sourdough starter.

    The Ingredients (for a 2-lb loaf):

    • 475 ml (or 2 cups) of filtered (but not distilled) water
    • 120 ml (or ½ cup of live sourdough starter
    • 15 ml (or 1 tablespoon) of honey
    • 60 g (or ½ cup) of whole grain oat flour
      (or approximately  60 g (¾ cup) of 1-minute quick cooking, whole-grain rolled oats)
    •  310 g (or 2¾ cups) of whole wheat flour (bread flour if available)
    • 180 g (or ¾ cup) of white flour (bread flour if available)
    •  35 g (or ¼ cup) of bulgur
    •  32 g (or ¼ cup) of raw sesame seeds
    •  32 g (or ¼ cup) of raw sunflower seeds
    •  25 g (or ¼ cup) of ground flaxseed
    •  4.5 g (or 1¼ teaspoons) of yeast for bread machines
    •  8 g (or 1½ teaspoons) of salt
    • 15 g (or 2 tablespoons) of raw hemp seeds
    •  coarse-grind, whole grain cornmeal

    The Method:

    1. It is best to begin this recipe early in the morning, as it may take all day for the sourdough to ferment enough.
    2. If you have no oat flour, use the rolled oats by first placing them into a food processor or grain mill and then grinding it into flour.
      (We use the smoothie attachment of our food processor and it works very well for this small volume.)
    3. In a straight-sided, transparent container such as a Pyrex® casserole dish, place the filtered water, the sourdough starter, honey, oat flour, and just  115 g (or 1 cup) of the whole wheat flour.


    4. Stir the starter mixture gently but thoroughly, breaking up any lumps, to distribute the ingredients evenly throughout.

    5.  Place the starter mixture in a warm, dry spot such as a wide window sill and allow it to sit for several hours.
      Note:
      The mixture will start to form bubbles immediately. After a couple of hours it might produce a thin layer of liquid on top. Do not disturb this liquid.

      The starter is ready when there are bubbles or foam (from the yeast fermentation) all over the top of the mixture and the watery layer has sunk under the floury, foamy layer.
      Bubbles all over the top of the starter

      The watery layer is evident below the bubbly layer
    6. Check on the starter mixture hourly until it achieves this appearance.
      (In my kitchen in Hawai'i the ambient temperature was 24°C (75°F) and the whole starter fermentation process took 5 hours.)
    7. Place the starter mixture into the baking pan of the bread machine and add (consistent with manufacturer's instructions as to order of ingredients) the remaining  195 g (or 1¾ cups) of whole wheat flour, the white flour, the bulgur, the sesame seeds, the sunflower seeds, the flaxseed, the salt, and the yeast.
    8. Place the pan into the bread machine.
    9. Plug in the bread machine and set it to:
      Menu: "Whole Wheat"
      Loaf Size: "2 lb"
      Crust Color: "Dark"
    10. Press the Start button on the bread machine.
    11. Either remove the loaf at the end of the baking cycle or, if you want a free-form loaf, stop the bread machine after the final rise and before it begins to heat up for the baking step.
      (This takes a calculation based on the schedule for a 2-lb, whole grain loaf in the manufacturer's instruction booklet.)
    12. Roll the dough onto a flat surface and shape it into a boule, gently but quickly stretching the sides down and underneath the boule until they meet.
    13. Sprinkle the hemp seeds onto the flat surface and roll the boule gently across them so that the seeds stick to the top and sides.

    14. Sprinkle a sparse layer of cornmeal onto a baking sheet.
    15. Lift the boule gently onto the cornmeal.
    16.  With a safety razor or extremely sharp knife, make criss-cross cuts on the top of the boule.
    17. Place the boule onto a middle shelf in the cold oven.
    18. Place a pan of water underneath on a lower oven shelf.
    19. Turn on the oven and set it to 190°C (375°F).
    20. Bake the boule for 40 minutes.
    21. Place the boule on a rack and allow it to cool.

    The Story:

    Thanks to my daughter Megan for working on this recipe until she was satisfied with it. The starting point was Alton Brown's Very Basic Bread and a comparison of the two recipes shows how many tweaks and changes she made.

    The mostly whole grain flours, the very low sugar, and the many kinds of seeds in this bread make it a good choice for a source of carbs in the diabetic diet. The sourdough, the crustiness, and again the seeds give it a unique taste. Sourdough starter can be bought online in dried form, as mentioned in the Notes section above. Once hydrated and allowed to ferment, it can be kept in the refrigerator indefinitely with regular additions of water and flour, according to instructions that should be included with the initial purchase.
    1 

    Sunday, October 1, 2017

    Orange You a Snapper?




    The Ingredients (for 6 servings):

    • 900 g (or 2 lb) of fileted snapper or similar fish (I used opakapaka, a Hawaiian pink snapper)
    • 1 orange
    • 4 g (or ½ teaspoon) of salt
    • 3 g (or ¾ teaspoon) of ground white pepper
    • 60 ml (or 4 tablespoons) of tangerine balsamic vinegar (or white balsamic vinegar)
    • 1 medium onion, weighing approximately 170 g (or 6 oz)
    • 225 g (or 8 oz) of white mushrooms (I used king oyster mushrooms)
    • 6 small Asian eggplants, weighing approximately 675 g (or 1½ lb)
    • 40 g (or 1½ oz) of ginger root, preferably young ginger
    • 450 g (or 1 lb) of cauliflower
    • 450 g (or 1 lb) of  broccoli
    • Cooking grade olive oil

    The Method:
    1. Rinse the filets of snapper, pat them dry, and slice them into pieces a little larger than bite size. 
    2. Place the snapper into a bowl that will hold it comfortably.
    3. Scrub the orange skin to clean it, then grate off the zest.
    4. Add the orange zest, salt, white pepper, and about half of the balsamic vinegar to the snapper.
    5. Mix the marinade thoroughly but gently into the snapper pieces.
    6. Place the snapper into the refrigerator for up to one hour.
    7. Chop the onion into small dice.
    8. Chop the mushrooms into bite-size pieces.
    9. Chop the eggplants into slices about 2 cm (or ¾ in) thick.
    10. Place a deep skillet or large wok over high heat and add 45 ml (or 3 tablespoons) of olive oil.
    11. Place the onion, mushrooms, and eggplant into the skillet and stir-fry rapidly until the oil coats all slices. If necessary, add a little more olive oil.
    12. Stir-fry the vegetables frequently until the oil is absorbed and is beginning to be rendered by the eggplant.
    13. Add the remaining balsamic vinegar and stir-fry briefly to mix it evenly.
    14. Remove the skillet from the heat and place the eggplant mixture into a bowl.
    15. Wash and brush the ginger root. If it is a mature root peel the skin, but this is not necessary for young ginger.
    16. Slice the ginger as finely as possible.
    17. Slice or separate the florets of cauliflower and broccoli.
    18. Reheat the skillet over high heat with about 15 ml (or 1 tablespoon) of olive oil.
    19. Place the ginger slices in the skillet and stir-fry them until they are limp and somewhat translucent.
    20. Immediately add the cauliflower and broccoli and stir-fry just long enough to coat each piece with oil. If necessary, add a little more olive oil.
    21. Lower the heat to medium and add back the eggplant mixture. Stir-fry briefly to mix the vegetables.
    22. Spread the pieces of snapper on top of the vegetables, cover the skillet, and steam the fish for approximately 7 minutes, until it is just cooked. If necessary, add a little water to the skillet.
    23. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir gently to fold the fish into the vegetables.

    Monday, September 4, 2017

    La Voix Off

    The following article appeared in The Guardian US Edition on 04 Sep 2017. I have also copied the content below in case the link is only temporary.

    Is there such a thing as sugar addiction?



    Oh, just the three then …
     Oh, just the three then … Photograph: Tetra Images/Getty Images/Tetra images RF

    It comes in a white, crystalline form and gives us a pleasurable high – but refined sugar is as habit-forming as cocaine or nicotine, according to a review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Animal studies show that sugar is the drug of choice for lab rats which, when given a choice of levers to pull, will switch from cocaine to sucrose in the twitch of a tail.
    In evolutionary terms, we worked for our sugar fix by eating honey and ripe fruit. We then stored any surplus energy as fat for the lean times when bison were scarce. Now that sugar is available as highly concentrated sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup – both stripped of nutritional value (minerals and vitamins are lost in the refining process) – we’re hooked.
    Sugar makes us obese, can promote the development of type 2 diabetes, raises our blood pressure and give us fatty livers. But it also alters our mood, making us feel rewarded and euphoric.

    The solution

    The lead author of the review, James DiNicolantonio at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, says that, unlike salt, sugar has no “aversion signal”. “Salt taste receptors will ‘flip’ when you’ve had too much, but this doesn’t happen with sugar – so we have a built-in safety mechanism that protects us from overconsuming salt but not sugar,” he says. “People can eat an entire bag of cookies or endless bars of chocolate and still want more.”


    Whether refined sugar is technically addictive or not has long been debated. What isn’t in doubt is that we eat too much of it. And we should forget the notion of moderation – any refined sugar is excessive. In the US, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine says: “The lower limit of dietary carbohydrate compatible with life apparently is zero, provided that adequate amounts of protein and fat are consumed.”
    DiNicolantonio argues that refined sugars can produce bingeing and cravings – indicative of an addictive substance. And then there’s withdrawal. He says: “Withdrawal symptoms from sugar come from dopamine deficiency in the brain. This may lead to symptoms such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and it may even create a similar state in the brain as found in patients with depression.”
    There is some evidence of genetic differences in our response to sugar because we all perceive sweetness differently. But, overall, the review says, refined sugar gives us one of the most intense sensory pleasures of modern life. Which is worrying for many reasons.


    Sunday, September 3, 2017

    Asean Arugula au Pear





    The Ingredients (for 2 servings):

    • 80 ml (or ⅓ cup) of rice vinegar
    • 22 ml (or 1½ tablespoons) of sherry
    • stevia equivalent of  35 g (or 2 tablespoons) of sugar
    • 12 g (or 1½ teaspoons) of salt
    • 5 g (or 1½ teaspoons) of ground white pepper
    • 60 ml (or ¼ cup) of toasted sesame oil
    • 180 ml (or ¾ cup) of grapeseed oil

    • 30 g (or  ¼ cup) of pecans
    • 1 bunch of arugula, weighing approximately 115 g (or 4 oz)
    • 1 Asian pear, weighing approximately 225 g (or 8 oz)
    • 55 g (or 2 oz) of blue cheese

      The Method:

      Salad Dressing
      1. Place the rice vinegar, the sherry, the stevia, and the salt into a cruet or similar vessel.
      2. Swirl to dissolve the salt.
      3. Add the pepper and swirl again to distribute it evenly.
      4. Add the sesame oil and the grapeseed oil.
      5. Shake the cruet vigorously to form an emulsion.
      Salad Assembly
      1. Toast the pecans in an oven at 175°C (or 350°F) for 5 minutes. Allow them to cool.
      2. Wash and trim the arugula and place it in a bowl sufficiently large to toss it in.
      3. Wash the pear, core it, and slice it into thin wedges.
      4. Toss the arugula and pear with a little of the salad dressing, to taste. (The remainder can be stored in the refrigerator and used for more or different salads.)
      5. Crumble the blue cheese and sprinkle it over the arugula and pear.
      6. Finally, sprinkle the pecans over the salad.
        Asean Arugula au Pear complements Sichuan spiced rack of lamb

      Sunday, August 13, 2017

      Going Bananas for Bread


      The Ingredients:

      • 70 g (or ¾ cup) of pure almond flour
      • 25 g (or ¼ cup) of pure coconut flour
      • 3 g (or ½ teaspoon) of salt
      • 3.5 g (or ¾ teaspoon) of baking soda
      • 60 g (or ½ cup) of walnut pieces
      • 45 g (or ¼ cup) of dried blueberries
      • 45 g (or 3 tablespoons) of unsalted butter
      • 4 eggs (3 whole eggs and 1 egg white)
      • 7 ml (or ½ tablespoon) of vanilla
      • stevia equivalent of  42 g (or 3 tablespoons) of sugar
      • 350 g (or 12 oz) of ripe bananas

        The Method:
        1. Grease a loaf pan with oil or butter, and cut a piece of parchment or wax paper to line the bottom.
        2. Turn on the oven and set it to 175°C (or 350°F).
        3. In a medium size bowl, place the almond flour, coconut flour, salt, and baking soda and mix them together thoroughly with a fork.
        4. Chop the walnut pieces into small nuggets approximately 6 mm (or ¼ inch) in diameter.
        5. Add the chopped walnuts and the dried blueberries to the flours and mix them in with a fork until they are coated with flour and evenly distributed.
        6. Melt the butter without boiling it, and set it aside to cool slightly.
        7. In another medium size bowl, place the three eggs and one egg-white, the vanilla, and the stevia.
        8. Whisk the egg mixture just long enough to break the eggs and thoroughly blend the yolks with the whites.
        9.  Peel the bananas and purée them in a food processor or blender, or mash them as finely as possible with a fork.
        10. Add the bananas and melted butter to the egg mixture and blend or whisk until the mixture is homogeneous.
        11. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a fork until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
        12. Pour the batter into the parchment-lined loaf pan and bake it for 40 minutes. (Check whether the loaf is ready by inserting a small skewer into the middle.)  

          The Story:

          The basic proportions for this loaf I copied from a recipe on a web site called comfy belly. However, I changed, adjusted, added and subtracted ingredients to get to the version I am sharing here.

          This loaf does not last long around our household. People start eating it as soon as it has cooled enough to slice.


          Friday, August 11, 2017

          Lemony Chicklet





          The Ingredients (for 5 servings):

          • 10 to 12 chicken drumsticks, weighing approximately 1.3 kg (or 3 lb)
          • 6 to 8 cloves of garlic, weighing approximately 30 g (or 1 oz)
          • 3 g (or ½ teaspoon) of salt
          • 2 lemons
          • 110 ml (or ½ cup) of white wine
          • 30 g (or 2 tablespoons) of unsalted butter
          • 15 g (or 2 tablespoons) of salt-preserved capers
          • 3 g (or 2 teaspoons) of tarragon
          • 30 ml (or 2 tablespoons) of Dijon style mustard
          • cooking grade olive oil 

          The Method:
          1. Rinse the drumsticks and pat them dry.
          2. Peel, then crush or mash the garlic cloves with the salt until the mixture becomes slightly frothy or creamy.
          3. Extract the juice from one of the lemons.
          4. Slice the other lemon finely to yield about 12 slices. Discard the ends of the sliced lemon.
          5. Heat a large skillet to medium-high and add enough olive oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan.
          6. Place the chicken drumsticks in the skillet and brown them on both sides.
          7. Remove the drumsticks and set them aside.
          8. Turn the heat to medium-low.
          9. Add the wine and lemon juice to the skillet, scraping and stirring to deglaze the pan.
          10. Add the butter, capers, tarragon, and mustard and continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil.
          11. Add the lemon slices and stir briefly.
          12. Add the reserved chicken drumsticks and stir to coat them with the sauce.
          13. Place a lid on the skillet and simmer the drumsticks on low heat for 15 minutes.

            Lemony Chicklet

          Thursday, August 3, 2017

          Horse's Neck Salmon




          The Ingredients (for 6 servings):

          • 160 ml (or ⅔ cup) of brandy
          • 15 ml (or 1 tablespoon) of soy sauce
          • 2 g (or 1 teaspoon) of ground ginger
          • 1.5 g (or ½ teaspoon) of finely ground white pepper
          • 1 fillet of salmon (skin on), weighing approximately 900 g (or 2 lb)
          • 1 lemon
          • 45 g (or ¼ cup) of sugar-free sushi ginger
          • 110 g (or 4 oz) of butter
          • cooking grade olive oil
          • 120 ml (or ½ cup) of fluid from the sushi ginger bottle

            The Method:
            1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, add the soy sauce, ground ginger, and white pepper to the brandy and stir to distribute evenly.
            2. Rinse the salmon and place it in a Ziploc bag or similar receptacle.
            3. Pour the brandy mixture over the salmon and close the container.
            4. Marinate the salmon for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.
            5. Meanwhile, finely grate the zest off half of the lemon.
            6. Finely chop the sushi ginger.
            7. About 15 minutes before serving the salmon, heat a large skillet over high heat.
            8. Spray or brush the cooking surface lightly with olive oil.
            9. When the oil is smoking, remove the salmon from its marinade (save the marinade for step 14) and place it, skin-side down, in the skillet.
            10. When the skin turns dark and crispy, turn the heat to low, cover the skillet, and continue to cook the salmon to the desired doneness (I prefer medium-rare).
            11. Remove the fish to a serving platter.
            12. Place the butter into the skillet and allow it to melt over low heat.
            13. Add the lemon zest and chopped ginger and stir for 2 minutes.
            14. Add the marinade and ginger juice, and simmer until an emulsion is formed.
            15. Immediately pour the brandy-ginger sauce over the salmon fillet.
              Horse's Neck Salmon with Cauliflower Nuggets and Caraway Cabbagealso in this blog

              The Story:

              I altered an internet recipe for Grilled Salmon with Brandy Marinade, by eliminating ¾ cup of sugar and adding more ginger. The resulting sauce is tangy and actually complements the taste of the salmon more than the sweet sauce would.
              ('Horse's Neck' is the name of a cocktail made from brandy and ginger ale with a twist of lemon.)