rye sourdough muffins

Hello everybody, I'm new here and look forward to getting to know you.

Just now I'm feeling inventive about muffins. I have difficulty digesting normal bread and never found out whether it's the wheat, the yeast, or both. In the mornings especially I have to be careful. My breakfast carb options are oatcakes or 100% rye sourdough bread.

Then yesterday I learned that old-fashioned English muffins are cooked on the hob, not baked. Ears pricked up! because I live mostly without an accessible oven. So now I'm thinking: 100% rye sourdough muffins! This could work and it could be tasty. How exciting. Care to come with me?

I got a sourdough recipe from my Sainsbo's rye-flour packet. The starter, apparently, needs 3 overnight incubations before you can use it to make bread. So I've just done the first step:

Mix 1 cup of rye flour with 1 cup of water. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place overnight.
  • kightp

Dairy experiments: Make your own ricotta

I've been on a dairy experimentation binge this week, thanks to needing a couple of tablespoons of buttermilk for a recipe. Around here, you can't buy buttermilk in anything smaller than a quart. I don't drink the stuff (I don't drink milk in general), but I didn't want it to go to waste.

My friend klwalton had recently posted about making homemade ricotta cheese, and it sounded so good - and easy - that I've been meaning to try it. And holy cow, is it easy. Since she hasn't posted it here, I will:

Buttermilk ricotta

* Four parts whole milk. (Reduced fat milk won't produce enough curds to be worth the bother, although if you're trying to use up what's on hand, you could try adding cream. Just avoid the ultrapasteurized stuff - the heat it's subjected to in processing will keep it from forming curds.)
* One part cultured buttermilk
* Pinch of salt (if you want).


Have ready a large bowl and a strainer lined with dampened cheesecloth. (Have you tried to find cheesecloth in a supermarket lately? I couldn’t - so I used a Handiwipe ™ having run it through the washing machine to get rid of the fragrance the manufacturer insists on adding to the things. Worked like a charm.)

In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, combine all ingredients and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly until the milk begins to steam and curds start to form. Stop stirring, but continue heating until the mixture reaches 175F and has formed fine curds. Remove from heat and pour carefully into the cloth-lined strainer. Allow to drain until most of the whey is drained off, then gather up the curds in the cloth and hang it from the faucet, or from a spoon laid over a bowl, to continue draining until it’s as dry as you want it. Pack into a clean refrigerator container. Keeps as long as commercial ricotta, but tastes sooooo much better.

The amount this makes depends on a lot of variables - the fat content of the whole milk, the acidity of the buttermilk, and other factors that are hard to judge in advance. I used a pint of buttermilk to two quarts of whole milk, and got almost two cups of cheese - enough for the artichoke-and-pea lasagne I plan to make tomorrow night.

There are also recipes on the 'Net for using lemon juice as the curdling agent in homemade ricotta. The process is pretty much the same.

What about all that whey? I confess that I tossed it, but there’s still a good deal of food value there, and it can be used to enrich home-made soups, or to substitute for water in bread recipes.

More buttermilk fun in my foodblog, Cooking from the Market
(syndicated on LJ as kightpfoodblog
mermaid 2

Amazing Enchiladas

This is somewhat labor intenesive, but hugely easy from a cooking standpoint. I am often asked to make this dish. Quantities in the ingredient list are vague, but recipe is VERY forgiving.

3 whole chicken breasts (buy on-the-bone with skin, it's cheaper)
1 package of cream cheese (around 10 ounces?)
1 package of montery jack cheese (around 8 ounces?)
1 bunch of green onions
1 bunch of cilantro (or, if making it for cilantro-phobic people, use flat-leaf parsley)
1 package flour tortillas (10-12)
1 large can of green enchilada sauce (the 32 ounce or larger size)

1. Boil the chicken in a large pot of water til just done (15-20 minutes)
2. Grate the jack cheese, finely chop the green onions and cilantro, place in a large bowl, reserving one or two handfuls of cheese for topping.
3. Once chicken is done, discard skin, pull meat off the bone and shred with two forks.
4. Add to bowl with cheese and cilantro/onion mix, cut cream cheese into chunks and add to bowl.
5. Remove your rings, and mix thoroughly with your hands.
6. To assemble enchiladas, I've found that the easiest way is to clear a table or counter-top, lay out all 10 or 12 tortillas and form assemby-line style. Take a medium-sized handful of filling, roll into a log, and place on the tortilla. Once they're all done, you can steal from larger logs to fill out smaller ones to distribute filling evenly.
7. Roll tortillas up and place in large baking dish. It's okay to squish them.
8. Pour sauce on top, opening up a space between the enchiladas with a spoon for sauce to seep through.
9. Sprinkle reserved cheese on top, bake in a 375 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and sauce is bubbling.

Lemon Chicken and Rice

Last night's stuffed grape leaves plan fell apart when we couldn't find grape leaves anywhere. But when life gives you lemons, chicken, and rice -- well, you make a really good dinner.

2 large lemons
6-8 pieces of chicken, skin on, white or dark meat as you prefer
2 tbs olive oil
2 cups of uncooked rice
Chicken stock/broth (up to 4 cups, depending on how chicken-y you like your rice)
White wine (a good glug or three)
Dried Oregano (1-2 tablespoons)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your over to 375.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan until quite hot. Pat your chicken dry and add salt and pepper, rubbing it into the skin and flesh. Add the chicken, skin side down, to the hot oil and let it brown nicely before flipping to brown the other side. You may want to do this in batches. Once browned, move the chicken over to a casserole dish.

While the chicken is browning, zest two lemons. You'll want to juice these suckers, too. Once the chicken is in the casserole dish, lay on the zest and all but 2 tbs of the lemon juice. Then, take the white wine and deglaze your pan to get all the lovely chicken bits on the bottom and pour the resulting Liquid of the Gods over your chicken. Do not skip this step. Just don't. You'll make me cry.

Sprinkle the oregano over the chicken, and shove the whole thing into the oven. Bake for twenty minutes uncovered and then take it out to baste it with the aforementioned Liquid of the Gods, then continue to bake for another 25-30 minutes or until done. Feel free to baste more often as you like. Free-basting!

While the chicken is on it's second lap in the oven, prepare the rice by heating the chicken stock and remaining lemon juice to boiling in a medium sized pot. Add the rice, cover, and lower the heat and cook as the package directs or until done.

When everything is ready, pile some delicious rice on your plate, plop some chicken on top, and ladle the awesome sauce all over.

Do a little dance to celebrate (optional).
She who cooks
  • aelfie

I was creative today!

Today, I wanted Chicken Soup on the fly for lunch. Lucky me, I can't just open a can of Campbells whenever I want chicken noodle soup. Due to the Celiac's I've got to make it myself. I came up with this.

It took about 20 minutes from conception to feeding my face. I'm sure it could be multiplied, I just made enough for a couple of bowls for me.

Thai Inspired Chicken Noodle Soup
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
1 small onion, small dice
Pinch of salt
2 small carrots, small dice
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 can chicken breast, water drained into soup, half of chicken smushed and dumped into soup
3-4 fresh ginger pennies (just cut off a couple of slices about a 1/4 of an inch thick)
1/2 teaspoon thai red curry paste
1 Tablespoon fish sauce.
Tea kettle of boiling water.
Small rice sticks in the amount you want to eat.

In soup pot put oil, onions and salt. When onions are soft and are just beginning to brown add carrots. When carrots begin to soften, add stock, water, canned chicken and water, ginger pennies, and curry paste. Gently boil until carrots are cooked as soft as you like

For rice sticks: (This can be done while waiting for onions to cook)
Get out your serving bowl. Put in how much/many noodles as you want to eat. Pour water from tea kettle over noodles. Let them sit in the hot water until you are ready to assemble.

Add the fish sauce to soup. Stir. Drain noodles, and put them back into your bowl. Ladle soup over noodles. Eat.

If I had cilantro, I probably would have thrown in a couple of leaves and a squeeze of lemon or lime would be good too. It was divine and my daughters came over and ate some too.
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  • ororo

This turned out rather well

I have made pasta sauce from almost-scratch (canned tomatoes, paste, sauce, etc), so it's not like I'm incapable. I'm just a little lazy and a little busy to do this on a regular basis.

So I cheat and use jarred sauces. Prego or Amy's are my current favorites.

Today for dinner, I browned about a pound of ground buffalo in a pan with some garlic olive oil (buffalo's really lean, it needed some fat added), drained it, and added some Prego garlic & herb, about 2/3 of a jar. Once that was stirred in, I added about 8 oz of red wine.

I let it cook down for an hour and tasted. It was garlicky, but it needed something. I added about a tablespoon of Sriacha, and some cayenne pepper, and let it cook down for another forty minutes.

Served over rotini pasta with parmesan. Not bad for a cheat.

(if this doesn't belong here because I used a jarred sauce, please let me know)

Mom's cheesecake

Getting mom's recipes typed out so I can start putting the book of her recipes together. Notes are hers. This is that really dense cheesecake that I grew up calling "New York Cheesecake". To be honest, I like a less dense version, but this is the one I had all growing up, and it is the one everyone fights over when mom makes it.

[Joan Vannoy's]
Foolproof Cheese Cake:

Cookie Crust:
Cream 2/3 cup sugar and 2/3 cup butter or margarine. Mix in one egg and 1 3/4 cup flour. Using a spatula, coat the bottom and 3/4 up the sides of a springform pan. Bake 5 minutes at 425°.

Cream 3 (I use four because I like a solid cake) 8oz. packages of softened cream cheese with 3/4 cup sugar. Add 1 tsp. vanilla and 3 eggs (one at a time). Mix in 2 Tbs milk and 2 Tbs flour.

Pour in baked crust and bake 10 minutes at 425°. Turn oven down to 250°, bake 30 minutes. Cool down, then cover with Comstock blueberry or cherry pie filling.
  • Current Music
    "And so it goes, and so it goes, and you're the only one who knows"
She who cooks
  • aelfie

Joe Said I Needed to Share

So I will. Dinner tonight consisted of:

Brined and Butterflied Whole Chicken on the BBQ with Penzey's BBQ of the America's Rub on it
Garlicky, Lemon Green Beans
Basmati rice, dried currant, and almond salad with wilted greens

Here's the Recipes

For the green beans, lightly steam them in your favorite pot. While they are cooking, melt 1/2 stick butter (I nuked it in a cereal bowl), add 2 HUGE garlic cloves, minced, juice of a small lemon, salt, pepper, a handful of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley. When beans are done, drain, toss with butter mix. Really, REALLY good.

I got the Rice recipe from my CSA. Its not in the archive yet, so I'll throw it up here

Basmati rice, dried currant, and almond salad with wilted greens
modified from a Bon Appetit recipe, August 2005
serves 8
[you could easily halve this recipe; watch cooking times, as they may be shorter with smaller quantities]

6 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 C basmati rice
4 C chicken broth (you could also use your found veggie stock!)
4 C loosely packed fresh greens, such as arugula or spinach [you could also use chard or mustard greens here, I'm sure]
1/4 C fresh lemon juice (original recipe used red wine vinegar)
3/4 C sliced almonds (original recipe used whole, hickory-smoked almonds)

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add rice and stir 3 minutes. Add broth and currants; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.

Place arugula in large bowl. Top with hot rice; toss to wilt arugula. Cool.

Whisk remaining 4 tbsp. oil, 1/2 tsp. chili powder, and lemon juice in small bowl; pour over rice and greens, add almonds, and toss. Can be made 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Changes I made. Off the bat I only did a half recipe. I used brown rice instead of white, I exchanged the lemon juice for the original red wine vinegar, and instead of almonds (which I didn't have) I used raw pumpkin seeds. It was really good.

Dinner was so good, Joe offered me sexual favors. =)

Still couldn't get the kids to eat anything beyond the chicken.
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She who cooks
  • aelfie

Kid Food

This is a variation on Spanish Rice, that I use to hide veggies, in which my children gobble up. And its really tasty for the adults too. The veggies are just listed as its a "use up what you've got lying around" sort of thing. I thought of this when I had a HUGE pile of sweet peppers from my CSA box and was wondering what in the world I would do with them

Spicy Rice

Sweet Peppers
1/2-1 lb hamburger (I use a half for our family)
1-2 T Chili powder (depending on how big the batch is and what your taste is)
Tomatoes (lots or 2 cans of diced)
Leftover Rice (Lots!) (Or fresh if you want to make it. I usually make 1 1/2-2 cup of dry rice batch for this)

Veggies you can hide really well in this. Just chop really, really small.
Celery (lots!)
Carrots (lots!)
Cabbage (a bit)
Cauliflower (moderate amount)
Corn (that just tastes good, and adds color)
Radishes (okay, so I was desperate to get rid of the large amount I have in my fridge from the box. It worked.)

Brown Hamburger, Peppers,  and Onions (with any hidden veggies if any) together.  Roughly chop tomatoes (or open cans), when hamburger is cooked add tomatoes and all juices. Add salt, pepper, chili powder. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or enough for tomatoes to soften and cook down a bit. It should be pretty soupy. Add rice and mix well. If rice was cold, cover, turn down heat and cook until hot. OR pour into a casarole dish big enough to fit and toss in oven at 350 until hot. (I usually just do the stove thing). Serve with cheese and sour cream
Tigers in a tub
  • ororo

food sperimentation

I posted this on my own journal and mactavish suggested it might go well here:

approx 1 cup of plain lowfat yogurt (Stonyfield Farms)
1 t red curry
1 t golden curry
1 t tumeric

let sit for an hour. While it was sitting, I sauteed a portabello mushroom and half a large vidalia onion in a little olive oil and added some hot madras curry. I also nuked a package of frozen peas.

I covered the chicken with the yogurt mixture and baked it in a convection oven at 375F for about forty minutes, which was when it looked done in the center

Next, I cooked a package of Near East Curry couscous, adding the shrooms, the onions and the peas.

For a salad, I kept it simple. Sliced English cucumber with plain yogurt, vinegar and a lot of black pepper.

The whole ensemble came out quite yummy, with leftover couscous for a lunch this week.