Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Humble Hemp Seed Muffins

These sturdy muffins are made with whole grains and lightly sweetened with applesauce and maple syrup. The tiny hemp seeds add a very pleasant, light nutty taste. If you've never baked with hemp seed nuts, perhaps it's time to check them out. They are little nutritional powerhouses loaded with essential fatty acids in addition to being a complete protein. Shop around for them because they can be expensive. Store in your freezer.

When I first made these muffins I was underwhelmed and felt they weren't sweet enough, with a lot of ingredients for a basic muffin. But they really grew on me as I ate them and by the end of the batch I found I was craving them. This time around I lightly sprinkled the tops with a bit of cinnamon sugar. This recipe is an adaptation of Dreena Burton's apple-hemp muffins from her 2007 cookbook Vive le Vegan! Makes about 14 muffins.

1-1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup ground oats*
1/2 cup hemp seed nuts
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cardamom
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup plain soy milk or other non-dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 TB canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare muffin tin. In large bowl, mix all dry ingredients. In small bowl mix together wet ingredients. Add wet to dry and mix until just incorporated. Fill each muffin tin about 3/4 full. Bake 25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

*I like to buzz some quick cooking oatmeal in a blender to make this oat flour.

One year ago quick Bread Machine Pizza Crust...

Two years ago Rainbow Chard Tofu Quiche...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolately with whole spelt goodness!

This is a wheat-free cookie made with spelt flour. It is adapted from a cookie reicpe in Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton. I seriously love this cookbook. Many times I buy a cookbook, look it over, think "that looks good," and put it on the shelf where it gathers dust. Not with this book. I've made many of the recipes and the majority have been wonderful. This cookie is one of them. My tasters were raving about them. Recipe makes about 14-20 cookies depending on how large your scoop is.

1-1/4 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons blond coconut sugar
1/3 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup plus 1 TB pure maple syrup
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola oil
4 tsp soy milk

Don't blame me if you eat it raw!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift dry ingredients into medium size bowl. Mix wet ingredients into small bowl. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until just incorporated. Drop onto cookie sheet. I like to use a tablespoon scooper. Flatten and bake for 11 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Try not to eat them all!

What I was baking last year in September...
Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chip Garnish

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Indian Spiced Baked Potato Soup

Just enough spice to make it interesting!

Last Wednesday I had oral surgery. (For details on THAT go to end of this post.) Doctor’s orders: soft food for a couple of days. And, I needed comfort food. For me, that’s potatoes. Potato soup to the rescue! But it can't be bland.

This recipe uses a couple of pre-baked potatoes. I did not peel them; potato skins are full of good-for-you fiber. The potatoes are used to thicken the soup. A bit of carrot and some peas add pretty flecks of color. Fresh onion, garlic and Indian spices really perk this recipe up. No vegetable broth is needed. I was shocked at how tasty this soup was. You will never open a can of potato soup after making this.

2 russet potatoes, scrubbed, rubbed with a bit of oil and wrapped in foil.
2 tsp avocado or extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot, minced
2-3 TB chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp powdered cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 TB low sodium Tamari
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used soy)
2-3 TB fresh chopped parsley

Scrub, oil and wrap potatoes in foil. Bake at 375 degrees for about 75 minutes, until nice and soft. Unwrap, cut in half and let cool while you prepare the rest of the soup.

Heat oil and lightly sauté carrots and onion for a couple minutes in medium size pan. Add garlic and sauté some more. I like to add the garlic a bit later so it doesn't get overly brown. When the veggies are limp, add the mustard and cumin seeds and sauté for a minute or so. Be careful of any popping mustard seeds. Add rest of dry spices and stir for a minute. Preheat the milk in microwave for about 90 seconds. Add Tamari, peas and milk to pan. While gently heating, chop up potatoes in small cubes. Add to pot, mashing some to thicken soup. Add parsley and serve.


One year ago...
Mexican Cabbage

Two years ago...
Thick Gooey Chocolate Sauce


WARNING. Explicit dental surgery details below!
Some people don’t care to hear about this stuff. For those of you who really do want to hear about it, this is for you.

The sad part of dental care is it seems that no matter how much you do, eventually you may lose a tooth (or more!). When I grew up, there were no sealants and fluoride treatments and my whole adult life has been one of trying to keep what I’ve got, whatever it takes. Most of my childhood fillings have been replaced with crowns. I’ve had several root canals. It all seems to be temporary fixes until the next tooth crisis comes along. Crowns break and need replacing. Root canals go south. My tooth #5 had a root canal and crown and just kind of dried up and developed cracks. The only thing that could be done was extraction followed by a bridge or tooth implant.

Amazingly, the teeth right next to #5 were unmolested, original adult teeth. I loathed the idea of getting a bridge and having to crown the good teeth to support the false tooth. It seemed that a tooth implant was the best route to go.

A tooth implant is a rather time-intensive process. We’re not even going to discuss the costs. First the doctor had to extract the failing tooth. It literally fractured into pieces during extraction and still there were a couple of shards that worked their way out afterwards. Then I needed to let it heal for a couple of months and get x-rays to make sure there was enough bone to support a tooth implant. The next step was the placement of a titanium post into my jaw bone. The doctor cut open my gum and then drilled a hole into my jaw bone and placed the post. There it will sit for about 6 months, fusing to the bone. There will be a couple of checks during this time to make sure all is well, it’s fusing correcting, etc. When totally fused with the bone, the doctor will open the gum up again and attach an abutment to the original post. My regular dentist will attach the new tooth to this abutment.

The whole thing sounds rather gory and painful. So far it hasn't been too bad and actually not as unpleasant as a root canal or crown. Three days after the post implant I was feeling much better than I did after the extraction and I think I'll probably be able to quit taking Advil pretty soon. The delicious baked potato soup is all gone and that's okay because tonight I'm having my Seriously Green Pizza. All is well in my world!

Have any of you had a tooth implant? I'd love to hear about someone else's positive experience.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Off Topic – Great Alaska Quilt Show

This weekend is the Great Alaska Quilt Show. I browsed through the show this afternoon and took photos of stuff that caught my eye. I didn't take notes so details are limited. Show is also Sunday, Sept. 9th at the ConocoPhillips atrium from 10am-4pm.

The small quilt auction closes Sunday at 2pm. One auction quilt that caught my eye was this one.
Very interesting 3D quilt.

My favorite large quilt was a kaleidoscope quilt. Much prettier in person but you get the idea.

Deb Hardman usually figures prominently at Anchorage quilt shows. Here is a small quilt she made.

I guess 3D is the rage in small quilts these days.

There were several quilts similar to the one below, same color scheme, same type of pattern made by a group of people including Pam Sims. They all were for sale for several hundred dollars. It was some kind of charity, I just don't remember! To be honest, I wasn't wild about them. I've just never seen quilts sold at the show before.

Looks like some kind of quick cut and sew and what happens, happens!
Here is a rather cute vest from the clothing section.

Vest front.
Back of vest.
The featured quilter was Linda Postlewait. Those are always fun to view because it's a whole group of quilts made over the years. The following three quilts caught my eye.

You all recognize this! Linda's own Starry Night.
Linda's husband took a picture and she made a quilt of it.
You really do need to see this one in person. A very different holiday quilt.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Small Batch Brewing – Redhook ESB Clone

This was brewed over three years ago and still tastes great.

I wish I’d known five years ago what I know today. (Should’a could’a would’a!) If I could have looked into my crystal ball, I would have been brewing one to three gallon batches of brew from the get-go.

No 5 and 6 gallon debacles. Brewing large amounts of beer can be overwhelming – attempting to boil 6 gallons of wort in your kitchen, lugging huge amounts of hot liquid, bottling a couple cases worth of beer and then what if the beer is mediocre? Do you REALLY want to drink 2 cases of “just okay” beer or try to pawn it off on your friends and co-workers? And we won’t even discuss the money involved. Now don’t get me wrong. I love, love, love to brew. It is so fascinating watching it ferment. I do enjoy the whole process and it is quite satisfying to pop open that bottle and pour a beer that you brewed yourself.

My brewing has evolved to smaller batches. I started making 3 gallon, 2.5 gallon and even 1 gallon batches. You still have several hours of brew time but it's easier and much more relaxing. I find I enjoy the beer even more when there is a limited quantity.

Aside from a few disasters most of my beers have been quite drinkable and some I’ve fallen in love with. And then some have surprised me...

Hard to believe this home brew is over 3 years old!
I was digging around my crawl space and I came upon a beer that I brewed June 2009. Kind of old to be sitting around and to top it off, it was a rather low alcohol beer which is best drunk in a timely manner. It was a clone recipe of Redhook ESB that was published in Brew Your Own magazine 150 Classic Clone Recipes. I chilled the bottle and popped it open. Wow, still carbonated. I poured it into a small tasting glass and was greeted with a beautiful head. And what really surprised me was it tasted great! Three years later!

Here is my 3 gallon recipe that was adapted from the original 5 gallon extract version, using grains and hops that I was able to get in town. Be sure to put your own spin on this. I am no beer expert and I am sharing to the best of my ability! I am also assuming this is not your first batch of beer. Important how-to brewing details have been left out. If you’ve never brewed before watch some videos on YouTube or get a good book. Another great alternative for aspiring brewers are Northern Brewer’s 1 gallon starter kits. It comes with a DVD and a recipe kit. Who knew?!

Redhook ESB Clone 3 gallon extract recipe
Kettle Volume: 3.87 gallons
Boil Duration: 1.5 hours
Final Volume: 3 gallons
OG: 1.053 FG: 1.013
Alcohol: 5.24%
Bitterness: 29.97
Color 5.24 SRM

1.05 lbs dry light extract
2.25 lbs amber liquid extract
.6 lbs pale ale malt
.675 lbs German CaraMunich II malt
.25 lbs 2-row Carapils malt
23.5 grams Willamette - 60 min. boil
8.5 grams Tettnanger - 15 min. boil
8.5 grams Willamette - 15 min. boil
.6 tsp Irish moss - 15 min. boil
25.52 grams Tettnanger - steeped after boil
25.52 gram Willamette - steeped after boil
Wyeast 1968 London ESB Ale yeast

Brew the normal extract brew route, cool wort, transfer to sanitized fermenter, top off to 3 gallons if needed, check gravity, aerate, and pitch yeast. I left my batch in primary for 10 days and racked to secondary for 5 days and then bottled. My original gravity was 1.060 and finishing gravity was 1.022 with a ABV of 4.9%. Not as high as the original recipe but that’'s okay.

Two years ago...
Post from June 2010 for a Bavarian Wheat Beer.
One year ago...
My Big Kitchen Fails

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

This is a quick and easy strawberry ice cream to make that doesn't involve anything harder than cleaning and hulling a pound of strawberries. The creaminess comes from canned coconut milk. If you're not a fan of coconut, don't worry, it doesn't taste like coconut. It's also not too sweet with a touch of tartness from a bit of lemon. The recipe is a slight modification from a recipe in Lick It! by Cathe Olson – a book of easy, dairy free recipes. Most are fairly straight-forward without hard to find ingredients.

Home made ice cream is soooo much better than store bought. Every time I get lazy and pick up a pint of Almond Dream or Coconut Bliss, I'm appalled at how sweet it is. Now the only problem is to make it last! Makes about a quart.

16 ounces of fresh organic strawberries, cleaned and hulled
2 very ripe, medium size bananas
14 ounce can of coconut milk
1/2 cup agave syrup
2 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Chill for at least 4 hours. Then process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.