Nutty Crunch Bread

This recipe has always been a favourite in our family. My mom would make it every now and then but consistently enough that it feels like home. Recently, she decided that she had made it often enough and didn’t really need the dirty old newspaper clipping from the 1974 Ottawa Citizen and was probably best to be rid of it! Alas, we thought it was gone for good.
About three weeks ago, I decided to clean up my own mess of recipe clippings at home and as it turns out, I wrote it down some time ago 🙂 So here it is, nearly 40 years later, still as tasty as ever.

2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup oats
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 pkgs yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp equals one package)
1/2 cup honey or molasses
1/2 cup oil (I like grapeseed)
3/4 cup sesame seeds
4 tsp salt
3 cups whole wheat flour
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Heat milk, stir in wheat germ and oats. In a second bowl, add warm water, brown sugar, and yeast. Let soak ten minutes. To cereal mixture, add honey, oil, seeds, salt, and yeast liquid. Mix well and stir in whole wheat flour. Add 4 cups all purpose flour to form dough. Flour kneading surface and turn out dough. Knead in remaining flour. Cut dough into four pieces and shape into loaves. Place into four well-greased loaf pans and let rise about 2 hours in a warm place (until just above the rim of the pan). Bake at 350F about 30 minutes.

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Warm Cheesy Flatbread

Highly recommended! This pizza makes a great appetizer for a group, or a light second course. I made pumpkin soup to start and served this as my entree. I would just recommend to prepare the cheese sauce ahead. I did everything nearly last minute and while it was warm and delicious, it left everyone waiting between courses. The recipe also called for grilling the toppings and the pizza dough base, which would be delicious, I have no doubt, and would also make it a great summer meal but roasting in the oven is just easier, let’s face it.

Makes two pizzas.
Start with pizza dough base. Roll out onto pans and brush with olive oil. Bake at 350F for about 10-15 minutes, until starting to brown.

Toppings
6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1/2 red onion, cut in wedges
2 large apples, peeled and cut in wedges
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
Toss onion and apple with a bit of olive oil and roast at 350F for about 15 minutes. Be careful that the apple stays firm enough to handle. Toss in a bowl with bacon and fresh herbs (could also add thyme or sage), and salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Sauce
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup grated cheese
cayenne, nutmeg, salt to taste
Make roux, whisk in milk until it thickens. Add cheese, spices and finish with 1 tbsp creme fraiche or sour cream. Use any kind of cheese you like – I’m hooked on Dubliner cheddar at the moment so that’s what I used. You might not need any additional salt if you use a salty hard cheese.

Source: Modified from Bon Appetit, October 2012

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Best Brussels Sprouts with Maple Syrup

I think I might just make brussels sprouts this way from now on – and lobby to have them this way at Thanksgiving from now on too. No risk of overcooking and getting all icky and bitter. These are just toasty and sweet and fresh. Love!

As you might be gathering by now, I also LOVE Bon Appetit. Amazing magazine. All useful, practical stuff but really easy. No exotic ingredients, no special tools, just good recipes. I love it.

4 tbsp olive oil
2 lbs brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
salt and pepper

Heat oil in large pan over med-high heat. Working in two batches, adding more oil in between, cook brussels sprouts, flat side down in a single layer, until deep golden brown. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a large bowl. Remove pan from heat.

1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flat-leaft parsley, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp chives, thinly sliced
1 tbsp sage, thinly sliced

Add maple syrup and herbs to pan (I only used the parsley because I didn’t want to have to buy all of the extra ingredients. Still good). Once butter melts, add sprouts and toss to coat.

Source: Bon Appetit, October 2012

Gremolata

This was a little topping for the braised lamb shank. Seemed a bit unnecessary to me but I’m glad I did it. The lemon zest and the parsley just gave it even more complexity and the fresh spark really livened up the rest of the flavours in the dish.

3/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced

Mix. Voila 🙂

Polenta!

I’ve never made polenta before but I think I might more often. This was awesome. Add 2 cups of grated parmesan to anything and it’s going to be awesome though.

1 1/2 cups polenta (coarse cornmeal)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
7 1/2 cups water

Heat oven to 350F. Stir all ingredients in a 9″x13″  pan to blend. Bake, uncovered for 75 minutes.

1 1/2 cups finely grated parmesan
2 tbsp butter
ground pepper

Stir in cheese, butter and season with pepper. Smooth top and continue baking until polenta is set and jiggles like custard, about 25-30 minutes.

Preheat broiler and broil polenta, watching closely to prevent burning, until surface is light golden, 5-7 minutes. Serve immediately for a softer polenta, or let rest up to 30 minutes for a firmer texture.

Source: Bon Appetit, October 2012

Pickled Beet and Fennel Salad

This salad is quite light tasting for fall, however seasonal. This time of year is all about squash and pumpkin, and certainly have enough of those to keep me going for months but that’s not the focus of this post. It’s about what to do with all those beets! I love beets. And if you’re like me, I bought up all the beets I could carry home from the UBC Farm an now I’m wondering what to do with the ten pounds of beets in my fridge…
They’re a bit of a pain to prepare but I started eating them cooked, with their skins on and I quite like them still – which avoids most of the fuss. Some people find the skins too bitter. I also recently attended a chef demo at the UBC Farm harvest market (last one of the year! So sad 😦 ) where Jane Cornborough from L’Abbatoir did a lovely demo of this salad, as well as the most beautiful pumpkin soup I’ve ever tasted. More on that coming up soon. But she also gave us the simplest method of pickling beets, which is apparently a traditional Scandinavian recipe.

1 part sugar, 2 parts vinegar, 3 parts water. Peel raw beets, slice thin. Boil pickling mixture until dissolved. Add beets and let marinate until cool. Done!
You can choose any vinegar you like – she prefers white wine, I used apple cider and it was also tasty. She had the beets marinating overnight and I used cooked beets that were already in my fridge so I only left them for about half an hour. I’m not sure what the fastest optimal length is but overnight is probably a good way to go. My plan is to just keep a jar in my fridge.

I like that the beets are so delightfully easy to prepare and raw! Plus, I hadn’t ever used the fennel fronds before and they provide a lovely visual variation and texture to this otherwise chunky salad. I also added some pretty purple haze carrots but I can imagine adding turnips or jicama or any other raw root vegetable.

Dressing was a bit of the pickling juice and olive oil, plus salt and pepper. I might’ve added a bit of lemon juice if I’d had it.

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Root vegetable gratin

More treats from the UBC Farm! Is it obvious I’m excited about volunteering? 🙂 It’s fun to get outside and all but the food is amazing! These carrots are called purple haze. So pretty! And the daikon is so crispy and mellow, you can add it to anything and probably eat it raw. I also added some red and white potato from there as well, to complete the dish.

Slicing thin is the absolute best way to go when doing this kind of dish – or scalloped potatoes. It cooks faster and the potatoes remain crispier, which means when you dig a serving spoon into it, the starches won’t dissolve and you get a goopy mess. Win, win.

I got this recipe from the fall 2012 magazine All You Need is Cheese. Kind of awesome really – it’s a whole magazine devoted to adding cheese to everything possible. Canadian cheese specifically, but cheese no less. Their version is probably enough to feed a family of 10, so needless to say, I modified it a bit.

All thinly sliced. If you have a mandolin, great. If not, I did perfectly well with a chef’s knife.

1 1/2 carrots
4 daikon
2 potatoes
1/4 onion
1/2 cup broth
1/2 – 1 cup cheese (I used smoked gouda but any cheddar would do)

Preheat oven 375F. Layer and toss a few onions in each time. Add broth. Top with cheese. Bake about half hour.

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Crackers.

I’ll start by saying I don’t actually like crackers that much. Sure, I’ll eat those crunchy Stoned-Wheat thin kind if they have enough cheese or antipasto or other tasty dip on them – or if I just want something salty – but I just find anything that you buy in the store to be so awfully dry. Dry, dry, dry.

You can experiment with this recipe a lot too – which I love. I used figs, sunflower seeds and almonds instead of raisins, pecans and sesame but any combination of seeds, nuts and dried fruit would work. You can make it simpler or richer or go for different dried fruits, herbs and spices. I also left out the flaxseed the first time I made them, simply because it wasn’t in my cupboard at the time. I found them to be a bit less mealy in texture, which I liked.

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk*
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup flaxseed ground
(*Hint: make buttermilk by adding about a teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk)

1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tbsp chopped rosemary

Preheat oven 350F. Stir flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in remaining ingredients. Pour into two 4″x8″ well-greased loaf pan. Bake 45min until golden and springy to the touch.
Once cooled, stash it in the fridge overnight. It’s easier to slice them thinner if it’s colder so you could make this in only one day but it’ll be a little more challenging and you might get thicker crackers. Slice as thin as possible. Place slices in single layer on ungreased cookie sheet.

The whole batch makes a few dozen so you can leave one loaf in the freezer for another time. Reduce heat to 300 and bake for 15min. Flip and bake for another 10min until crisp and golden.

Source: Grazing (2005), Julie Van Rosendaal.

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Sushi take two, with a little bit of mayo.

More sushi! I made nigiri this time with fresh scallops – as well as a chopped scallop roll. Incredible. The texture of raw scallop is like nothing else – firm but so delicate, it just melts in your mouth. If you try this though, be careful! Get high quality, fresh fresh fresh fresh fresh, and make sure it’s not red-tide season, among other things. Talk to your seafood market specialist as to what they recommend. If you’re not sure – cook them.

I tried the crab, avocado, mango, blackberry mayo roll and it was gooood. It was a beautiful balance of flavours, with the rich oils from the avocado and salty meat from the crab balancing the tangy fruitiness of the blackberries and mango. A delightful treat. And don’t go and spend $$ on a bottle japanese mayo. Here’s all you need to know:

Mayonnaise

1 egg yolk
1 tbsp dijon
Whisk.

Add 3/4 cup vegetable oil drop by drop, whisking all the time to ensure your mixture emulsifies. Ensure oil is fully incorporated before adding more. If it curdles, start over with a new egg yolk.

Add 1 tbsp vinegar (any kind – for sushi, I would use rice vinegar) or lemon juice.

If you’re making this by hand – also follow my neat trick for keeping the bowl steady. All that whisking means you need a big bowl and a stable base.

I love stuff like this because it empowers us to not buy the store-bought stuff with fillers, preservatives and other stabilizers or emulsifiers to keep it on the shelf. Plus, when you run out of mayo, you don’t have to panic and run out to the store or add it to the grocery list – just go make some. Ta da.

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Latkes

Fresh green onions from the UBC Farm and fresh potatoes too. I had about 8 of these giant stalks and there’s only so much salad, so many omelettes, and so many stir frys a girl can have before you start to look for something new. I added some dark sweet potatoes for some colour and a little extra egg to hold them together. I also used grapeseed oil to fry them in order to keep a higher temp. I love that stuff. Spitting oil is NO MORE!

Latkes:

2 cups finely chopped onions
2 eggs
1 1/4 tsps salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 lbs russet potatoes, grated
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder

Modified from Bon Appetit December 2007 via epicurious.

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