Thursday, November 17, 2011

Butterscotch Candies

Had lunch in Lodo today, which is slang for Lower Downtown in Denver.  When I left the restaurant they had single wrapped root beer barrels in a bowl at the front door.  Do you remember those?  Almost immediately my thoughts were of my Grandmother and the small grocery store on Main Street we had in New Hartford, Iowa when I was a little girl.  For some reason I was inspired to make butterscotch pieces.   
I came home and searched through my recipes for Butterscotch Hard Candy, which I had planned to make many years ago but never got around to.  It doesn't take much- butter, sugar, light corn syrup, water and white vinegar.  However, I did discover that both of my candy thermometers were broken, but I didn't let that ruin my plan.
After boiling the mixture, you pour it into a buttered foil wrapped 10" x 15" pan and let it slightly harden for 3 minutes, then score it.  Let it cool completely and break the squares apart.  The candy melts in your mouth,  just the way I remembered.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Kale Pesto

I'm really excited about my latest discovery.  I have been making pesto with basil, parsley, cilantro, spinach, even broccoli for years, but never thought of this.  Sure, I add Kale to salads, soups, stews and even started making Kale chips this year, which are incredibly good.   While searching for another way to incorporate this nutrient dense vegetable into my daily life, I found a Kale Pesto recipe on  Apparently there were over 3,000 people who took the October Unprocessed Challenge.  Which meant they pledged for 30 days to eat no processed foods, and this recipe was posted on Day 5 of the Challenge to inspire.  It inspired me alright.
Here I have washed, spin dried and torn about 12 Cups of fresh Kale.  Another reason I love this recipe is that all the ingredients, except for the Kale, are roasted first.  Roasting vegetables, nuts, even some fruits, really brings a rich flavor to the dish.
Kale Red Pepper Pesto

Makes 1-1/4 cups

  • 1/2 cup Pecans, roasted
  • 1 medium Red Bell Pepper, roasted
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 to 4 large Garlic Cloves, roasted- I went w/ 6 cloves
  • 4 cups packed green Kale Leaves
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
Wash, dry, and remove any tough stems from the kale.
In a food processor, make the pesto by blending the kale with the roasted pecans, roasted pepper, and roasted garlic. Once it’s smooth, gradually pour in the olive oil and blend until it’s fully incorporated.

 Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  I love the taste of Cumin, so I added 1/2 Tb.
 I made three batches of pesto, sealed them in 1/2 batch portions and put them in the freezer.  For dinner that night, I tossed a few Tablespoons of pesto with whole wheat spaghetti, added some roasted chicken and a good dose of shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.  My taste tester loved it:)

Note: I wrap the spin dried kale pieces in a clean dish towel to remove all the moisture.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Baking with Whole Grain Flours

As much as I don't want summer to end, I do enjoy the little chill in the air that inspires baking again.  When it's 95 degrees for over 50 days of your summer, you can't tell me that anyone wants to turn on the oven for any length of time.  I discovered this book at the library, and while reading through it one night, I knew I was going to order one the next morning.
There are so many more types of flour besides white and whole wheat. Some of them you've probably never heard of:  Amaranth, Barley, Buckwheat, Corn, Kamut, Multi grain, Oat, Quinoa, Rye, Spelt, or Teff?  The author has put together a wonderful assortment of recipes with a separate chapter highlighting each of these flours.  It includes everything from cookies, scones, cakes, crackers, breads, waffles, muffins, pancakes, granolas, biscuits, tarts and more.  I've been acquiring all these new flours and look forward to baking with them.  This will help ease the pain of my gardens going to sleep for the winter.