Some Home-Makin's

>> April 1, 2010

So last week I got all creative and made some yummy things in the kitchen. It seems like no matter what else I let slip through the cracks, I always manage to spend a good deal of time with sculpting tasty (and some NOT so tasty) inventions. This time my batting average was so good, I thought I'd share a few recipes.

The "No Knead Bread" recipe was really an exciting discovery, because while I love home-made bread, I hate kneading. I know, I know, someone already asked me why I don't use it to get my aggression out, but as I told them, it just won't work unless I can knead on the floor, and not only is the floor not clean enough, but neither are my feet and knees! So, with that appetizing picture in your heads, here is the link (I'm not going to write out the recipe here, because the directions are long) The dough must sit 12-18 hours, but compared to regular bread, this is very easy.

This recipe is something of a template you can do all kinds of exciting things with! I made one loaf with 2 cups whole wheat flour to 1 cup white, and with a tablespoon of brown sugar (would have used honey, if I had it). For the other loaf, I chopped up fresh thyme, oregano, and sage from my garden and mixed it in. It was DELICIOUS warmed and dipped in spinach dip. In the future I want to try rosemary bread, kalamata olive bread, roasted garlic bread, cheese bread....

The recipe calls for a covered oven-safe pot, such as a dutch oven. I don't have one, but I'm definitely on the lookout for a deal on one now! I just put the dough in a pan and covered with foil, rounding it out to give the bread room to rise a little.

My next trick was coming up with a quick potluck dish after I burned the beans. So here's a rough recipe for the pasta salad I made that actually turned out quite tasty:

On package spiraled pasta (or whatever kind you like)
One bunch asparagus, cut into spears and steamed gently
A handful of sliced red and yellow sweet peppers
A bunch of fresh spinach, chopped into big squares
1 small can mushrooms (I didn't have any fresh)

--The rest you'll just have to use your judgement on amounts, since, as you can see, I cook by dashes, pinches, and splashes:
vegetable oil
sesame oil
balsamic vinaigrette
(Might be better with an asian style vinegar, like rice vinegar?)
Soy sauce
Roasted sesame seeds
(I'm crazy about these. I do them in a skillet or under the broiler, mixing frequently. I put them in all kinds of things because they're so flavorful and healthy)

Seasoned Potato Wedges

3 red potatoes washed and cut into wedges
1-2 Tbsp olive oil, depending on how low-cal you want them
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp salt
2-3 Tbsp ground rosemary (if you don't have any ground, just throw it in the blender)
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and spread on an un-greased cookie tray. Bake at 350 until cooked through, turning occasionally. Increase temperature to 450 and brown on both sides to your preference. Again, these are estimated amounts, so you might play with the recipe to get it just how you like it. My PW loved these so much, he's making them right now!

Home-made Yogurt

This is an easy one to find a recipe for online, but some of them are so complicated and I just don't know why. Most recipes recommend using a candy thermometer and following very strict guidelines for temperature, but I know the yak-herders in western Tibet don't have candy thermometer and they seem to manage alright. The first time I made it, I had no candy thermometer and it came out fine. Here's what I do:

1. Pour as much milk as you want into a pan. I haven't noticed much difference in flavor between low-fat or regular milk. Bring to a boil SLOWLY, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. If you use a candy thermometer, temperature should be at least 180 degrees.
2. Remove from heat and let cool until it's the temperature of a nice hot bath, but not burning (110-115 degrees). At this point you can add sugar, if you like your yogurt sweet. Personally, I like it plain. Add a dallop of plain yogurt with live cultures (it will say on the container).
3. Maintain this temperature for 6-8 hours. I know, this is the tricky one, since burners and ovens and crockpots don't go that low. What I've done is wrap the pot in towels and put them in a warmed oven (i preheat oven to "warm" then turn off, do this a couple times before retiring for the night), and then I leave it 'til morning.
4. In the morning, it should be set up. If you've made it sweet, you could add fruit or jam. Tastes great with homemade bread....

Chocolate chip Oatmeal Cookies

Last but not least, must have some cookies! This isn't my recipe. I just used the first recipe I found online and they turned out so yummy! I actually used carob chips in and attempt to be healthy, but I can't say they were all that healthy....

Preheat oven to 325.
Whip with egg beater:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar

Add and whip:
2 eggs followed by 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix dry ingredients together, then mix with moist ingredients:
1 1/4 cup white flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Stir in:
3 cups quick oats
then 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup *chopped walnuts

Drop by spoonfuls onto un-greased tray. Directions say to bake 12 minutes, but I baked them at least 15. Supposed to make 3 1/2 dozen.

*Chopping walnuts is another thing I find a hassle. Put your walnuts in a ziploc bag and run a rolling pin over them a few times until they break into the size of pieces you want.

Someday when I can work out ingredient amounts, I'll share my tabouli recipe. In the meantime, happy cooking and eating!

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
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Anonymous,  April 8, 2010 at 6:39 PM  

Thank you so much for taking the time to share these with us Adel! I can't wait to make the cookies...I'm a sucker for anything sweet.

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