From harvest to table ~ what's cooking now?

This blog shows where all those garden goodies I grow end up. I call this little eating area next to the stove my "chef's table" because at all the best restaurants it's a privilege to be invited to dine in the kitchen where the chef reigns supreme. So here I am "reigning" and you are all invited. :-D

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

GF chicken noodle soup

Traditionally my chicken soup is about the same as my turkey soup: broth, potatoes, carrots, chick peas, green beans, a bit of corn and meat.  Both are nice, but the turkey soup has way more flavor (well, so does the turkey).

The chicken flavor sort of gets lost in the veg.

Today I'm a bit under the weather and wanted some old-fashioned chicken soup - like in a can.  (Guess I'm sicker than I thought!)

So I tried something today.  Chicken broth, carrots, celery, some dried onion bits and a few frozen peas and meat.  Then, I dug through my stash of corn pasta and lamented they don't seem to make corn noodles.  But wait!

I didn't know I had a package of corn fettucine!  Flat - like noodles.  Hey!  So I broke the fettucine into 2" pieces (3 oz) and cooked it up seperately.

Then I added the pasta to the soup.  VOILA!

Chicken noodle soup (with extra garlic, parsley, salt & pepper).

Hot and savory. Yummers.

At least I think it's yummers.  LOL While Coldeze really REALLY helps shorten a cold, it does sort of change the flavor of things - kinda turns down the flavor volume so to speak. 

But just look at it - it's got to be delicious! :-D

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Monday, January 4, 2016

The motherlode/loaf!

TADA!!!   Wholegrain spelt sourdough bread.


I tried to make sourdough spelt bread back in Feb 2013 .

I was not happy with the process or the result.  It was, at best, ok.

This December I created a new homegrown batch of starter (wholegrain spelt/orange juice) and it thrived (throve?).

Previous posts here showed success with pancakes and cornbread.  It was time to try for another loaf of bread.

I don't know why, but it all came together so easily this time.  The proofed dough was thick and alive vs the glop I got in 2013.

I ignored instructions to use a heated dutch oven w/cover to bake the loaf, instead just put the overnight dough right into a loaf pan, scored it and let the final 1.5 hr proof rise there.

Popped the pan into a 400F oven (rested the pan on the heated pizza stone), monitored the oven to keep it at 400F and 45 minutes later, it was bread.

This time I let the loaf cool at least an hour before taking off a heel for sample.  HEAVEN!  The mild taste, the crumb was tight, texture had stretch and chew, aroma was reminiscent of a light rye. I couldn't have asked for anything more.

I left the loaf on the rack, but under a large bowl.  I don't like the hard crunchy crust that the 2013 loaf developed so the bowl allowed the loaf's residual heat/steam to lightly soften the crust resulting in a great chewy texture.  (BTW: the 2# loaf was warm for at least 3-4 hrs and even when I finally sliced it for freezing, it was still a bit warmer than room temp.)

This was an unqualified success!  I can make up the dough the day before at any time, pop it into the 'fridge, bring it out before bedtime, let it proof overenight, then bake it in the morning after the final proof.  Easy Peasy!

We really like easy peasy...! 

How about you?  Have you ever revisited a previous failed or semi-failed recipe to try again?  How did it come out?

Next up :  I've started a 2nd starter using sifted white spelt flour.  My plan is -- pizza dough!  Stay tuned.

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Sunday, January 3, 2016

No longer chicken to use the pot

Don't know WHEN I acquired the white casserole pot that has been on the shelf over the stove.  Maybe 3-4 years?  I've used it for display for that 'country kitchen' look.

But in 2015, the year of the BIG PURGE, this piece was slated for the garage sale.  After all, no use - no keep was the slogan.

It had gotten as far as Mom's garage and was being placed on the kitchen item table when Mom saw it.  She liked the nice white color.  No, she wouldn't use it, she said.  But a nice piece and should sell quickly.  I thought so too.  She asked if it was microwave save.

I flipped it over.  


Check it out: microwave safe, dishwasher save, oven safe up to 450F.  Porcelain, not ovenware.  Hey!  

It was a really good piece: no cracks or crazing, even still had a store price sticker.  Never been used.  I had NO idea where I got it.  But I decided then and there that I would KEEP it.  LOL

Still, it went unused - until this Christmas day when I thought I'd try roasting a whole chicken in it.

Boy, that was a big chicken.  I really had to stuff it in there so I could put the lid on.  

I had no idea what was going to happen.  

Roast chicken happened.  Woohoo!   

It was the best chicken I've ever roasted (albeit I've probably only roasted chicken maybe 5-6 times in my life) - tender, almost creamy meat.  It was great with braised potatoes, gravy and tangy cranberry relish.  Talk about a Christmas surprise! Mom and I enjoyed it muchly.

Thank goodness I kept the casserole  and 
I'm sure it will see more action in the future.

I wonder if I could use it to bake a round of sourdough bread.  Hmmmm.

I also wonder what else might have been purged prematurely last year.  *heh*

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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Taking a step back....

... from being wheat free.  On Dec 1, 2012 I posted how I was walking away from wheat.  Modern white processed wheat.  Nasty stuff.  I turned to an older grain: spelt.  I was happy.  I felt good.  And when I had a blood test to check my Hashimoto's (an autoimmune disease that makes an immune system think the thyroid is an enemy) count and saw that it had dropped from ~1000 down to ~650, I was elated.

So in June, 2013 I even quit spelt, assuming that my counts would go down even further.

They did not.  Instead, the count in June 2014 jumped up OVER 1000.  WTF!!  

Still, I kept my to a 99% (hard to miss crosscontamination) GF diet.  But I realized that I was adding so many things I didn't like to my diet in pursuit of GF.  Gums, thickeners, husks, etc.  Things my lower tract didn't like.  

Now, mind you, I was never diagnosed as celiac and never had any trouble digesting modern wheat.  But I know from research Hashimoto's and Celiac is linked and is always a threat for me.  So, basically, by going GF, I was trying to prevent Celiac disease.  But I was not happy.

Then, in Nov 2015 I did a lot of research on fermenting flour, especially spelt.  One study showed that they fermented (soured) wholegrain spelt with yeasts and lacobacillis and the resulting bread was shown to have only 12ppm of gluten.  Wow!  FDA labels products with 20ppm as 'gluten free'.  

"Now research shows us that lacto-fermentation of wheat has the potential to drastically reduce gluten levels. We found three studies along these lines. Our favorite study showed that sourdough bread produced with a particular strain of lacto-bacilli had gluten levels of 12 parts per million – where anything under 20 ppm is considered gluten-free. Bread made with the same wheat but without lacto-fermentation had gluten levels of 75,000 ppm."

So - welcome back MONA!  You may recall I was playing with homemade sourdough back in early 2013 (CLICK HERE).  Not much came of that.  But after further reading like above, I started another MONA on Dec 1.  Just wholegrain spelt & lime juice.  That batch went for a couple weeks.  It was a tad loose and kind of a foamy/slurry.  As I removed the daily overload and jarred it up, I used it to make some pretty awesome pancakes and even a batch of sourdough cornbread.  But Mona had little flavor and while it leavened the pancakes and cornbread, it didn't lend anything else.

Enter - ReMona, a 2nd starter that used orange instead of lime juice. It got off to a great start and never needed any boost from Mona's occasionally dose of ACV.  ========>

ReMona is almost 2 weeks old and has legs!  Batters made from the accumulated overload starter are thick and almost doughy.  Pancakes actually need a bit of milk to thin the batter and next time I make cornbread, I will reduce the amount of fresh spelt flour in the overnight ferment.

But talk about flavor.  Boy howdy.  The first batch of pancakes really took me by surprise.  I thought, "What's wrong?" but figured out it was the sour, sour that Mona never developed.  ReMona is like Glenn Close: "I won't be ignored!"  LOL

Although I've not made a LOAF of sourdough bread yet, I have been eating spelt sourdough for about a month.  Berlin Natural Bakery (right here in Ohio) makes an old-fashioned spelt sourdough loaf (non-GMO, organic wholegrain) that containes only spelt, water, salt.  All the 'rise' is natural fermentation and it's delicious.  But a tad pricey.  So this month I'm going to see what I can do with ReMona.  

(P.S. in the ReMona 2nd pic shows the next batch of starter in progress:  a sifted white spelt flour/OJ which I'm hoping to use for - waaaaaait for it - sourdough pizza crust!)

Stay tuned.

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