Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rosemary Buttermilk Oat Crackers

The perfect cracker for your potted cheese. You don't have any potted cheese?! What the hell is wrong with you? Go pot some cheese for christsake. Then, make these crackers, because they're delicious.

You Will Need;

2 cups plain flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup melted butter, cooled slightly
1/2 cup buttermilk
Extra coarse salt for sprinkling tops

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine dry ingredients. Mix in butter. Add buttermilk slowly, only adding enough until the dough comes together in a ball. Roll out 1/2 inch thick. Cut into rounds, or strips, wedges-whatever you like. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until edges just begin to brown. Cool on racks.

Baking With Grapenuts

I used homemade grapenut (like) cereal in a loaf of sourdough bread with excellent results. I substituted the grapenuts in place of whole wheat in my recipe, and I soaked them in a bit of water before using. Next time you have a bit of cereal to use up, give them a try in bread-it really made a lovely, moist loaf of sandwich bread.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Festival Number 6

I have never wanted to visit North Wales-until now. Sadly, I won't be able to attend, but will pass along the info for anyone that may wish to.

I have the Prisoner episodes on VHS, but it has been a few years since I've watched them. I suspect Danny will find them enjoyable. Well, there's something to do this weekend.

The musical line-up is incredible. God, I wish I could go.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Plum Sponge

I'm down to the last handful of fresh prune plums *sob*. At least the Concord grapes will be along soon to console me (fickle, I am).This is a beautiful dessert, and much easier to make than it appears, and I can't think of a nicer way to use the last of what were the nicest box of plums I've ever purchased.

The components are rather straightforward-spongecake, whipped cream, and poached plums. The recipe can be halved easily if you find it too large (you will have extra cake and plums but that isn't a problem around here). Assemble the cake several hours ahead so the cake can soften.

For the Plums:
2 lbs. fresh prune plums pitted and halved
Juice of a lemon
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Combine all and let macerate for 1 hour. Transfer to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. reduce to a simmer and cook until plums are softened-about 15 minutes. Remove plums with a slotted spoon, strain liquid and return to pan. Reduce until you have a thickened syrup. Cool. Pour over plums.

For the Sponge:
6 eggs, separated at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup water
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Grease and flour a jelly roll pan or 1 large rimmed baking sheet. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Beat eggs, sugar, and water together until light and thick. Slowly beat in flour and baking powder. Beat egg whites until stiff. Carefully fold into flour mixture. Pour into prepared pan(s). Bake 8-10 minutes for small sheet, about 15 for large. Remove from oven and carefully loosen sides of cake with a sharp knife. Invert onto a rack and cool. You can also treat it like a jelly roll and invert it onto a towel dusted with icing sugar if you prefer to roll it for presentation (which would also be really impressive).

When cake and filling are cool, cut into two or three layers (or roll as for a jelly roll)and brush each with a bit of the plum syrup and some apricot jam (optional, but why wouldn't you want apricot jam with your plums? The combination is a knock out). Layer on some plums, top with the second layer, and repeat with third if using. Let the cake sit in the fridge for an hour to set. Meanwhile, make a whipped cream sweetened with icing sugar (the cornstarch in the icing sugar helps it to stabilise). Frost the cake, and decorate as desired (I used bits of plum jelly candy). By the second day, the cake will soften into something resembling a trifle, which I would absolutely add custard to because hey, why wouldn't you add custard if you already have a trifle. But no jelly-this isn't a school dinner.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Plum Conserve

The typical conserve has nuts-we skipped that and used some home-dried cherries instead. Imagine a chutney without onions or spices, and you'll get a good idea of what this conserve is like.

You Will Need:

5 cups pitted and chopped prune plums
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup chopped orange pulp
Grated zest of the orange peel
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried cherries

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves (no joke, you really need to watch this as it can burn and make your jam taste like burnt caramel, which is nice with some things, but not plum conserve). Cook rapidly to almost the gelling point (I do the old spoon test to see if it sheets, but use whatever method you are comfortable with. I never could manage puttering with cold saucers.

Ladle hot conserve into hot, sterilised jars and leave 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe rim, and seal with a heated lid and a clean screw band. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water canner. Makes about 5 half pints.

Plum Butter

Prune plum butter is really great with cheese-I don't know why, it just is. I have not made this with other plums, but I know from making red plum jelly that plums can be tricky getting them to set. I did not have any trouble with the prune plums, if anything I'd take care not to overcook it. This takes a while, so grab a long handled spoon (it spatters like crazy), a book you can read standing up, and make some of this delicious spread before the plums are all gone. be sure to save the poaching liquid, as it can be turned into a jelly candy by adding an equal volume of sugar, boiling it just past the gelling point, and pouring into a parchment lined pan. Let cool to room temp, then chill uncovered overnight. Next day, cut out shapes and roll in sugar (or coat with chocolate). Stored in the fridge, they last about a month (they won't last that long once people know you made them).

For the Prune Butter:

2 pounds of fresh prune plums (also called, Italian plums)
3 cups granulated sugar

Wash plums, pit and halve them. Place fruit in a large, heavy pot and add 1/2 cup water. Cover, and simmer until fruit is soft. Put through a food mill (a food processor or blender is OK but you must take care not to liquefy it). You should have about 1 1/2 quarts of pulp. If you don't, poach and puree more plums. I always make more than I need as the puree freezes well and can be used out of season as a base for a fluffy pie, or sorbet).

Combine pulp and sugar in a large pot. Cook until it is thick, and can be rounded up on a spoon. Again, you'll want to watch that you don't overcook it. In the last stages, it makes sense to stir it constantly anyway, as it can stick rather horribly. You'll need to reduce the heat as well.

Have sterilised jars ready, along with heated lids and clean bands. If you're unsure about canning procedures, or nervous about water bath canning, this can be stored in the fridge for about a month (possibly longer). For more information on safely canning at home, I like THIS site. Please take the time to read up on the subject before your first attempt. Low acid foods are pretty safe, but you still need to follow some guidelines.

Ladle hot butter into sterilised jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe tops clean, and seal with a heated lid and screw band. Process 10 minutes in a water bath canner. Makes about 6 half pints.

Potted Cheese

The only thing I liked about Christmas as a child was the cheese. I could do without the family gatherings (that always ended in screaming, door slamming, and other hostilities), the rationed sweets, and presents that were typically very expensive dolls that you put on a shelf rather than play with-but the cheese was mine and mine alone.

So yeah, this is going to turn into one of those Proustian, "Oh I ate something years ago and it keeps triggering memories of childhood, isn't that interesting" sort of posts, so if that annoys you, this would be a good time to click over to Pet Shaming or something.

My dad had a customer that made a sort of potted cheese with port wine and really excellent mature cheddar. I know what you're thinking-particularly if you are American-but it wasn't that stuff. That stuff is vile. The brown crockery jar filled with potted cheese that my dad toted home from Wisconsin each Christmas was special beyond words. I've tried reproducing it at home, but never came close-how do you reproduce 1974 in the American Midwest and present it in a brown glazed crock that looked like it had been tossed on a potting wheel by some commune living hippie in Madison. No amount of cheddar, wine, and Grateful Dead records could possibly capture the magic that was contained within that deceptively simple looking jar.

No one in my family would touch the stuff. They'd eat Salisbury steak from a frozen metal tray, pickled cockles, and Jordan almonds so old they'd gone soft like taffy-but oh no, not some strange potted cheese. Ahem, I think we all know who ate the cheese.

Each year, Dad would show up a few days before Christmas bearing the crock of cheese, and I'd forgo the niceties of crackers (because all we ever had was saltines or melba toast that could break your teeth) and tuck in with the largest spoon I could lay hands on. Sometimes, I'd cut up an apple if I was feeling middle class. There was so much booze in that cheese you could catch a buzz. I loved how the cheese could be pulled out in uneven hunks rather than being a soft spread. In a few days it would be gone, and no Christmas cake or pudding could make me forget it would be another year until the cheese appeared again.

So forty years later, I think I have a really good potted cheese recipe, but it still can't approach the cheese of Christmas past. The Old Foodie had been talking about potted cheese, and then Neil Cooks Grigson made potted cheese, and before long I was digging through the kitchen cabinets looking for a crockery jar (why did I never save those crocks? What was I thinking? Any Deadheads out there know how to throw pots that want to make me a cheese jar?). I ended up using a rice bowl with bunnies on it, which seems a bit of an indignity, given how wonderful this cheese is.

I combined a mature cheddar, a very mild sheep's milk cheese (a Gouda style) port wine, mace, butter, and pepper. I then potted it, covered it with a layer of clarified butter, and forgot about it for a few days. What I dug out of the bowl and slathered across a Vinta cracker (I purchase better crackers than my parents, though I'm not too grown up to eat this with a spoon) was the sort of cheese that makes you stop, look at the cheese and wonder if you really made that, or if the cheese fairies broke into your kitchen and started throwing together cheese and magical cheese fairy seasonings. It was that good. Really. Now I need some Cheshire, though I'm the only one that will eat it ("eeewww, I don't like it, that cheese is sour and gone off, eeewww."). Fools, though that does leave me free to indulge without social pressure to share.

So now I have potted cheese, a black bun, and my mind is clearly in the winter months, odd given the temperature being in the 90's at present. Someone had better stop me before I bake parkin (I made stem ginger in syrup today as well).

The Problem With Cabelas is...

...they make it seem completely reasonable to buy a professional grade food dehydrator. The problem with taking Mr. ETB along to the store is he will buy it for me, which he did. He's good that way.

Biltong, anyone?

But first, I need to dry cherries, and plums. It will be nice to have the oven free when I need to dry fruit and cook dinner at the same time.

Oddities-Scotch Bun/Black Bun Yeast Risen

Very big bread.

Could have baked a hair longer, but the moisture is mostly down to the fruit. I wouldn't call it underbaked by any means.

This is my day for imposing historical oddities on the family-I also baked a Scotch Black Bun. No, not the fruitcake encased in pastry that people think of as a Scotch bun today-I made the 17th Century version, yeast risen with modern yeast rather than a barm.

I don't think I've ever baked anything that weighed ten pounds!

Yes, it is a large thing, the Black Bun. I need to let it cool before slicing it open (please God, let the centre have baked through) to reveal the bread within the bread. I don't know what the point of the yeast was, as it barely rose, weighted down with all that fruit. I looked around on the internet, and all the examples were the fruitcake sort, so I didn't have much help envisioning the final product. I looked at Elizabeth David's take in her bread book, and while mine is close to what she describes, I can't help but think it should have been lighter-or not, people in the 17th Century had different expectations for the density of bread. I swapped out different dried fruit as sultanas and currants are quite expensive now, but kept the proportions the same. I have to admit, encasing a bread in a second layer of dough brings to mind a turducken, albeit one made of rich bread and fruit. Now I regret not making the centre of yet another small bun-next time.

I'll update the post later with photos. I suspect this will be a recipe that needs a bit of tweaking and adjusting.

Smells Like Bread-Italian Fruit Syrup

Relax, penguin. The alcohol burns off when you boil the syrup. We don't need to hide this from Floppy Ears the Bunny. Poor Floppy Ears. Last we saw of him he was sitting in front of the library with an empty Easter Basket and a sign that says, "I'll tell you something interesting for money." Thing is, he's a plush bunny-he doesn't know anything interesting.This syrup is interesting-it smells like bread. I think it will be much better with some wine in it...

I had my eye on the Italian fruit syrup recipe in my old edition of Sunset Canning and preserving. With plenty of fresh plums to experiment with, I went ahead and made it. Today was the final step of adding sugar, lemon juice and water-it certainly looked better, but in the end, I have 5 1/2 cups of plum syrup that smells like bread-the yeast smell never boiled off. I don't know that it is expected to.

After it cools, I'll mix some with lemonita and let you know if it is like drinking a loaf of plum flavoured bread. Ginger beer always reminds me of bread, so perhaps it is just me and my yeast sensitivity (I get the weirdest throat thing after ingesting yeast which is why I avoid yeast risen bread, beer, etc. It isn't a gluten thing, and isn't really much more than unpleasant, but I've never run across anyone else that has it. Anyone out there?). I hope it will be worth the suffering otherwise I'm going to take the batch, run outside, and hurl it at the fence! OK, I probably won't run, let's be realistic.

The recipe is on line, HERE.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Italian Prune Plums-and a Kuchen

Thirty pounds of fresh prune plums sounds like quite a bit, until you start using them. I'm down to my last couple pounds, and giving serious consideration to purchasing more. They were incredibly cheap, excellent quality (only two bad ones out of 30 lbs.) and I adore them. The season is so short, you have to act quickly if you want them.

So Far:
Chinese plum sauce
Plum chutney
Plum conserve (with orange, dried cherries, raisins, and ginger)
2 batches of pie filling (freezer)
Plum flavoured gin (similar to sloe)
A fermented sauce of pureed prunes and yeast (still fermenting, that ought to be strange)
Fruit puree for the freezer
Plum butter

Still to do:

Salted, dried plums (you plunk them in drinks and they fizz-kind of an acquired taste)
Pickled plums
A crumb topped plum pie

So, the kuchen. The cookbook called it a 'torte" but it isn't. Not only is this a breeze to make, it is delicious. Think of it as an inverted upside-down cake, that is, the sugar and spice are on to with the fruit. Unlike the typical upside down cake, it is less sweet, and you can really appreciate the tartness of the plums.

From, America Cooks, The General Federation of Women's Clubs Cookbook, 1967

Vienna Plum Torte

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 plums (I used prune plums)
2 teaspoons cinnamon (I used mixed spice)

Grease an 8x8 square pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream the butter, and add 1/2 a cup of the sugar slowly until light. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix into creamed mixture. Spread evenly in pan.

Slice plums in half. Place cut side up on top of cake in rows. Mix the remaining sugar and spice together. Top the plums with the mixture. Bake 30 minutes or until cake tests done. Serve warm or cold.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Hello Everyone,

Greetings from allergyland. As long time readers know, I've been allergic to tree nuts my entire life, and Danny is allergic to some tree nuts and peanuts. As far as we're concerned, that's the easy part-I bake everything at home and buy little in the way of processed food. I can control for allergens of the food-borne variety. Unfortunately, I can't do much about what's in the air beyond air filters, regular allergy medications, and showers when we come inside. That was working fine-until it wasn't. It still isn't.

Moulds are everywhere. I'm not talking about the sort that can be removed from a house-everything is fine at home. Instead, the moulds in the outside environment are settling in causing havoc. For the past year, we've managed the reactions with medication taken around the clock, all seasons. Friday, it stopped working, and we were looking at terrifying hives that evolved into horrific stomach pain, sneezing, coughing etc. If we didn't know it was allergic, it would look viral. It took a while (and a good allergist) to figure it out. Now...I don't know, I guess we keep the liquid Benadryl and Eppi -pens handy and see the allergist next week to start over.

So much of dealing with life threatening allergies is a matter of avoidance-but how do you avoid what can't be seen? The reactions come on so quickly, it can go from what seems like run-of-the-mill sneezing to a full-blown attack in seconds. I can help others to learn about nut allergies to keep my child safe away from home, but it would be expecting quite a bit of even the most attentive caregiver to recognise what we've been experiencing. Until he is older, and can manage the injections on his own, dropping him off at a sitter, or a class is out of the question. We homeschool. Last week, I let him go buy a newspaper by himself as I stood away and watched from a distance-a small bit of independence, but really sad when I think about it. At his age I was on my bike all across the neighbourhood-we came home at dinner. I don't helicopter, but I have to stick around in the event of a reaction. I don't micro-manage, but I have two fully loaded eppi-pens in my handbag, a bottle of liquid antihistamine, a home-packed lunch, and wet-wipes. Mum's Pharmacy and catering service.

And now we start over. Everything was fine, and now it is not. We thought we had this thing managed, and now we're checking in shifts through the night with flashlights like we did when we were new parents. Life had settled into a routine, and now it is not. Danny's grown a lot this year, so the answer might be as simple as increasing the daily medication dose-until the next time he grows and we're rushing him to urgent care with hives to deal with a reaction to something we can't see or defend against.

So yes, I'm feeling sad that I can't drop my child at the park to play with friends unsupervised. I'm sorry that he's stuck with me for a teacher until he's old enough to advocate for himself away from home (they won't let children carry their own eppi pens, inhalers, etc. here which is in my opinion, quite dangerous. By the time a teacher lets a sick child go to the nurse it might be too late). I'm OK as a primary school teacher, though linear algebra ain't my strong point. Personally, if they can read Lattimore's translation of Homer, do linear algebra, and remember most of the sea battles of the Napoleonic Wars, they can probably handle an eppi-pen and some Benadryl, but I'm not a school administrator. Well, I take that back-I suppose I am now, but I can't very well sack myself.

I'm going to spend some time getting caught-up on sleep before we start the new school year next week. Posting will be sporadic, and I apologise as I know so many of you come here regularly looking for something interesting, not complaints at the unfairness of life. We really do keep things in perspective (mostly). Anyway, my presence here may be scarce for a while.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dinner on the Cheap

Chinese takeaway is impossible for us with allergies, but I've learned the basics, and can now turn out halfway decent potstickers. I mean, if you can make kreplach, or pirogi, you can make potstickers-dumplings is dumplings, ya know?

I'd guess that this dinner, with sesame tofu, ginger carrots, rice, dumplings and a killer homemade plum sauce (I used the recipe in the Ball Blue Book) would have been upwards of thirty dollars. Mine cost about five. Most of it was made ahead leaving steaming and frying the dumplings as the only real, "cooking" come mealtime.

Here's a good hint-when you are pressing tofu, cut a few slices to wrap and store in the freezer. Do this each time, and you'll always have "just enough" on hand for a dinner like this. Frozen tofu is great for baking as it takes on a denser texture after freezing.

The dough for the potstickers is 2 cups plain flour, 1/2 cup warm water (you may require more-you thought I'd say need (knead) didn't you?). Mix together until you have a smooth dough. Cover with a damp towel, let rest 30 minutes, then divide into a dozen balls. Roll them out, fill, pinch closed and set on a sheet covered with flour. Let rest in fridge until ready to steam. There, wasn't that easier than buying won-ton wrappers? I mean, except for the rolling out, but you'll get better at that with practise.

So what are you waiting for? Go practise!

Cordials-Make Them Now

So dead simple, but you have to make use of the fruit in season. The photo does not show how jewel-like the raspberry is-trust me on this one.

Wash and dry your fruit. Fill a quart mason jar with brandy for the cherries, vodka for the raspberries. Don't invest in good vodka for this-you want the, "OK With Life's Disappointments" brand. Plunk it together in the jar, give it a gentle shake every day, and let it sit for two months.

Drain through cheesecloth (several layers). Combine with an equal ratio of simple syrup (more or less to your tastes) and strain again. Store in the prettiest bottles you have. There, you have your Christmas gifts sorted, and it is only August.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Milwaukee's Beer Rye Bread-World of Baking, 1968

The original recipe called for fresh yeast. I substituted dry without any problems. Mr. ETB particularly liked the crust on this bread which is crackly and light-unusual for a rye. I froze and defrosted half a loaf for comparison, and it held up perfectly. I used Becks beer, but anything will do (that was what we had).

The recipe calls for baking the bread an hour and a quarter. Mine was done in 45 minutes, so watch the bread. I used strong flour for the plain flour in the original recipe as well.

You Will Need:

2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups strong flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
3-4 cups light rye flour
1 cup buttermilk (room temp)
3/4 cup beer (room temp)
2 teaspoons coarse salt
2-3 tablespoons caraway seeds
Combine yeast, sugar, and warm water-stir and let stand until foamy-about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of the strong flour and let stand, covered 30-45 minutes or until very bubbly. Add remaining white flour and wholemeal. Add the buttermilk, beer, salt, and caraway. Mix well. Add enough of the rye to make a flour that can be kneaded. The dough starts sticky, but should become elastic after a good five minutes of hand kneading. Place in a greased bowl, brush lightly with oil, and cover. Let rise until doubled-about 2 hours. Punch down and divide in two loaves (I have a Pullman pan which I used without the top for one large loaf). The tin should be greased really well with butter. Cover, let rise again until nearly doubled-about 45 minutes. meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake loaves 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F. and bake at least 45 minutes longer (but as long as 75 minutes longer). I baked mine to an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. After removing the loaf from the tin, I let it sit on the rack in a turned-off oven for another five minutes to help with crust. Cool completely before slicing.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The River is Dried Up

View of the Platte River at North Bend, Ne. It used to have water in it before the drought. There were kids driving ATV's across it today.

WTF? of the Day

I mean, really. Really, just what the fuck? I can't think of a single reason for this to have been on display at a town celebration (not my town, thank God, but still not far enough away to feel comfortable with it). So this was the, "Bohemian Boat Race" instead of a bathtub on wheels, it was a boat dragged by teams of four, with the lovely sign displayed for all to see. The kids all got water balloons to pelt it with as it went down the street.

Show this photo to the next person that tells you we're, "post race" in America (or at least this part of America).

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cornball Jokes For Your Weekend

Q: How did the cowboy know his pony was getting sick?
A: He was a little horse.

Q: Do you grow hydroponics?
A: No, because it doesn't matter where you hide your ponics-they're gonna find your ponics.

Q: Are you going to watch the meteor shower tonight?
A: No, they look clean enough to me.

Q: Why did the cow go see a shrink?
A: It had a fodder complex.

Clean or not, tonight and tomorrow are the peak of the meteor shower, and you should go have a look if you can. We spent some time at the Lancaster County Fair today (Yes, another county fair-I like that sort of thing) and we saw duck races. That was pretty cool, but tomorrow we're headed to Morse Bluff, Nebraska to watch the "Bohemian Boat Race" which is essentially a bathtub on wheels being raced. If you can get there, you should "Czech it out." There will probably be kolaches.

I baked a killer rye bread this week (better than my blue ribbon) with beer and buttermilk-so someone remind me to get that posted at some point, OK?

Happy Weekend.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Listen Mrs. Bossypants

I'm more than understanding when it comes to overly-bossy elderly women-in a way I envy their enthusiasm. Most of the time it is well intentioned.

I had the day to myself, so I went to purchase bras. Sure, I could have made Danny go along and sit in the "husband chair" outside the fitting room, but he's getting enough cultural immersion without accompanying me shopping. I wonder if Philip Roth ever put that in a book? If he hasn't, he should-the husband chair bit. Anyway, I was on my own today.

Look, I used to sell foundations at Filenes in Chestnut Hill. I know what size bra I wear. Mrs. Bossy was determined to measure me, even going so far as telling me the measuring process is different now (I dunno, maybe they use metric?). I stood my ground, bought my bras, and she seemed disturbed by my selections.

"But you need T-shirt bras. If you wear these, your nipples will show through."

Maybe I look like I wear a lot of t-shirts or something. Maybe I look like I'd have really erect nipples. By that point I was more amused than angry, because she really did want to try and be helpful, all while exhibiting her knowledge of undergarments.

"Aw hon', that's OK." I told her in my best Boston accent. "I'm the sort of woman that lets her nipples show."

And I am.

Grow Celery in a Pot

I had no idea you could grow celery from the stump of store-bought celery. I am going to do this right now, and you should too. I keep dried celery on hand for soups, but having fresh when I want it, growing year round in a pot is exciting-well, I'm excited.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Venison Shooter's Sandwich

My version of the classic is made with venison steaks that have been slowly braised in wine and onions. Round steak is more typical. Here's roughly what you do:

Remove top of a round loaf of bread. Hollow out bread. Cook a pound of mushrooms with shallots and butter until most of the liquid evaporates. Layer a steak on the bottom, then the mushrooms, then another steak, more mushrooms, a generous spoonful of horseradish, and the stronget Dijon mustard you can find (I made my own). Replace the top. Wrap the still warm loaf tightly in parchment and string. Place on a plate and cover with another plate. Weight the sandwich with something heavy (I used a gallon water bottle). Let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, then remove to the fridge (still weighted for several hours longer (I did about five). Slice, and serve.

I Knew I Had Some Rabbit in the Freezer

Rabbit With Sauce

Hare of the Dog Days of Summer

Somebunny's Been Drinking My Gin

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Blue Ribbon Sourdough Rye and Cherry Quick Bread

I nearly fell over when I saw the ribbon on my bread. I'm not sure what I'll do with my $1.25 prize winnings, but the ribbon is going up on my fridge. Danny's quick bread was given a participation ribbon and .75 cents, which he already has plans for. I think he gets another .75 for the Medusa head, so he's pretty flush with cash at the moment.

The Saunders County Fair runs through Sunday.

You Will Need:

1 cup fed sourdough starter at room temperature
2 cups water
2 cups bread flour

Mix together, cover and let rise 12 hours.


All of sponge
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon malted barley syrup
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup dark rye flour
2 cups light rye flour
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
2-4 cups bread flour

3 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
1 cup boiling water

Bring water to a boil, stir in cornstarch mixture and cook until thickened. remove to a bowl, cover and use to lightly brush loaves when removed from oven.

Knead well, until you have a stiff, somewhat sticky dough. Cover in greased bowl and let rise 1 hour. Fold dough in thirds like a letter. Rise another hour, repeat folds. Let rise again until doubled.

Deflate dough and shape. Place on a cornmeal dusted pan. Cover with a damp (not wet) cloth and let rise in a warm spot (atop the oven is fine) until nearly doubled. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 with an old pan in the bottom shelf.

Before loading bread in oven, toss a handful of ice cubes in pan to create steam. Score bread and bake 20 minutes. Remove pan, and rotate bread pan. Bake another 25-30 minutes or until brown, and reading an internal temperature of around 195 degrees F. Loaf should sound hollow when rapped with knuckles.

Remove to a rack, glaze while still hot, and cool completely before slicing.

Cherry Coconut Quick Bread:

Grease and flour a loaf pan, or two 8 inch layers. Preheat oven to 350 degrees f.

2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 large)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup finely chopped dried cherries
3 tablespoons flour to toss with dried fruit

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With a mixer, beat in shortening until it looks like damp sand. Combine milk and extract. Add to mixture and beat 2 minutes on medium. Add egg whites and beat 2 minutes longer. Fol in fruit tossed with flour. Pour into pan (s) and bake 30-35 minutes for layers, about 1 hour for loaf. Test for doneness with a toothpick, etc. Cool 10 minutes in pan on rack, then remove to rack and cool completely. This cake is best second day. Store tightly wrapped in wax paper and cling film.