Sunday, February 28, 2010

Yummy way to use up leftover porridges

I had some of the cracked wheat porridge leftover from breakfast the other day so I made the Leftover Oatmeal-Raisin Muffins from The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, substituting the porridge for oatmeal and dried cranberries for raisins. Since I had 1 cup of porridge, I doubled the recipe and now I'll have enough to freeze. They are a great addition to a thermos of soup or a salad in our lunches.

Leftover Oatmeal-Raisin Muffins

I always seem to have a little oatmeal leftover from breakfast, but not quite enough to save for another meal. Hence, the creation of these muffins.

3 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses

1 egg or egg replacer

2/3 cup milk (dairy or nondairy)

1/2 cup cooked oatmeal

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup whole wheat, brown rice, or barley flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°F. Oil muffin tins. Beat together oil, molasses, egg, and milk until completely combined. Stir in oatmeal and raisins. In separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together. Add liquid ingredients to flour mixture. Stir gently until combined. Fill prepared muffin tins about 3/4 of the way full. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out dry. Cool muffins 5 minutes before removing from tin. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8 muffins


Leftover Oatmeal Surprise Muffins: Omit raisins and prepare batter as directed. Fill muffin tins half full with batter. Place 1 teaspoon jam in the center of each muffin. Top with remaining batter to full tins a little over 3/4 full. Bake as directed.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cracked Wheat Porridge

We tried the cracked wheat from our CSA box for breakfast. I cooked the cracked wheat with about 2 1/2 times water for about 15 minutes. We loved it with rice milk and a little blackstrap molasses. Emily added some sliced bananas as well.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Local Grain Box #2

I got my second CSA grain box. This week:

- hard red winter wheat flour
- spelt flour
- Khorasan flour
- cracked hard red winter wheat (for porridge)
- rolled soft white wheat
- rolled spelt
- thick rolled oats

We made vegan blueberry-lemon muffins for breakfast with soft wheat and spelt flour. While they were baking started some bread. I used 2 cups hard wheat, 2 cups spelt flour and 2 cups Khorasan. I used my own recipe this time rather than the one from Laurel's Bread Book. I like this recipe because it is dry and you incorporate water while you knead rather than the opposite. I find this is much easier to work with then the sticky dough that needs flour added. My daughter Emily and I took turns kneading. After the first rise, she rolled out half the dough and added raisins and cinnamon to make raisin bread.

Here's my recipe:

Whole Wheat-Spelt Bread

1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons brown rice or agave syrup (or honey)
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 cups Spelt Flour

Stir yeast and sweetener into water. Let sit 5 minutes or until it froths. In large bowl, mix flours and salt. Add yeast mixture and stir until combined. Pour into board to knead. With wet hands knead 10 to 15 minutes, or until soft and stretchy. Rinse bowl out with water and leave wet. Form dough into a ball and place in bowl. Cover with damp towel. Let rise 2 hours, or until doubled in size. Gently press down dough and knead into a ball. Divide the dough in half and form into logs. Place in oiled loaf pans. Cover with damp towel and let rise about 1 hour, or until dough rises over the edge of the pan. Preheat oven to 375. Bake loaves 50 minutes. When done they should drop from the pan easily and have a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Let cool before slicing.

Makes 2 loaves

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cinnamon Apple Scones

More baking with my local grains. Today I made these scones.

Cinnamon Apple Scones
I found these really quick and easy to make using my food processor. If you don't have one, just cut the butter into the flours using a pastry cutter or two knives, and grate the apple with a hand grater.

2 cups soft whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 cup Khorasan wheat flour (or whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup natural granulated sugar (evap. cane juice)
6 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter or nonhydrogenated margarine)
2/3 cup plain yogurt (dairy or nondairy)
1 large baking apple, coarsely chopped or grated

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet.

Put the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, and butter in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture looks like course crumbs. Add the yogurt and pulse to mix. Pour the dough into a bowl. Core and slice the apples (I use one of those hand apple slicer-corer things.) Place the apples in the food processor. Pulse to chop. Add the chopped apples to the dough and knead them gently into the dough. Form the dough into a disk and place on prepared baking sheet. Press it into a 9-inch circle. Use a sharp knife to score the dough into 8 wedges. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Place on wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving. These are best warm but if you save them, you can heat in a toaster oven before eating. They can also be frozen.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Local Grain CSA

Well this is exciting. We now have a local grain CSA here on the Central Coast of California. It's called With The Grain and run by John DeRosier in Paso Robles. Every two weeks I'll get a box with an assortment of local grains. My first box contained hard winter wheat flour, spelt flour, soft white wheat flour, Khorasan wheat flour, rolled oats, and cracked millet.

We had the cracked millet cooked into a porridge for breakfast Friday. We often have whole millet porridge but this cooks a lot faster and was creamy and delicious. This weekend, my daughters and I made some bread using the recipe from Laurel's Bread Book. We used a combination of the winter wheat and spelt flours and made one plain loaf and one cinnamon raisin. Both were absolutely delicious!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Importance of Libraries

I usually stick to food related topics but libraries are very important to me and, I believe, important to the citizens of the United States.

President Obama’s new budget proposal to congress calls for a freeze to federal library funding. Freezing funding to public libraries that are already suffering from budget cuts will negatively impact so many people who are relying on the library more and more as a source of information, education, job search assistance, and entertainment. This is the place where those of us suffering in this down economy get so many of our needs met for free. It is vital that libraries are able to provide the materials and personnel needed to serve the public.

In addition, funds for school libraries need to be included in his plan. When school budgets are cut, libraries are often one of the first areas affected. This is bad for students, as well as teachers. School librarians are essential for teaching students to become independent library users—able to find and evaluate information. Librarians are also essential for increasing student literacy. Librarians encourage kids to read and help them find books that fit their interests and reading levels. The school library is the place where students can find that one book that turns them into lifelong lovers of reading.

Please write or call the White House, and ask President Obama to amend the budget proposal to support and sustain public and school libraries.