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Whole Wheat Fettuccine

I’ve been looking for some healthier alternatives lately…ways to cut down on sugar and carbs. I know that pasta isn’t low carb, but when I’m looking for a little cheat, at least I can try a little whole wheat, to mitigate my splurge.

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur brand)

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons olive oil, extra virgin

1/2 teaspoon salt

water, if needed…I used about a tablespoon total

Directions:

In a bowl, or on a clean counter, combine the flours and salt. Blend together. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs and olive oil. Mix the eggs, and then start bringing in the flour to form a dough. Using clean hands, bring the dough together and squeeze/knead until all the flour is incorporated. Dribble in a small amount of water, if necessary. knead the dough until smooth, elastic, no longer sticky…give it a few minutes. Shape the dough into a ball. Flatten into a disk, and wrap in plastic film to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

After resting, you can roll out the dough however you like. If you have a pasta sheeter and cutter, you can go that route. I just used a rolling pin and extra flour on the counter to keep it from sticking. about halfway through, I cut the sheet in half, so I would have counter space to finish rolling out each piece as thin as I wanted. Using a little more flour to dust the dough, I rolled the dough into a tube and then cut fettuccine thickness cuts. Then I fluffed and unrolled the pasta…viola! Fettuccine! If using a cutter, you could hang the pasta on a drying rod. I just dusted mine and fluffed it on a cutting board. The pasta should dry for at least 15 minutes, to develop a little bit of a crust. Slip the pasta into salted, boiling water and cook for a few minutes. Fresh pasta cooks quickly, but this is pretty sturdy pasta, not delicate. It’s only going to get so soft. But it is tasty!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serve it with the sauce of your choice. I made a chicken alfredo and tossed them together…even my picky daughter loved it!

Chicken Alfredo with Whole What Fettuccine. (Sauce made in an Instant Pot)

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Loroco Filling for Pupusas

Loroco, thawing in water.

Someone from El Salvador told me that my Pupusas are pretty good. He tried to describe one thing that was missing, though. Something his mother used. He didn’t know the name…didn’t know how to describe it. What I took from his attempt was that it was some kind of small pepper that you ate with the pupusas. But he said you couldn’t find them locally. The closest store was more than 20 miles away. He asked his mother for the name and she said it’s called “loroco”.

Now, I had a name and could do some research! It turns out that it’s an unopened flower bud…similar idea to a caper, but not pickled. It does have a kind of briny, slightly sour flavor. It’s vegetal and very distinctive. I happened to find a package of frozen loroco at a local Latino store. You aren’t likely to find it in any other type of store. But, if you find it, I recommend you try it! If you’re exploring pupusas, this filling is pretty simple.

The pupusa techniques take a little more practice. It’s basically corn tortilla dough, made from masa harina, a bit thicker than a tortilla. It starts as a ball, about the size of a golf ball, formed into a little cup shape, a small amount of filling, cup closed, and then flattened…but not too thin. I use a tortilla press, but don’t flatten it completely. If a little filling is visible, its not a problem.

The pupusas are cooked on a hot griddle, a few minutes on each side, until browned. I have made a meat filling previously, and a cheese one. The loroco one is a variation on a cheese filling. I just kind of made it up, but had read a couple of recipes that call for farmer cheese. I used cottage cheese instead.

Started with about 1/3 cup frozen of loroco, thawed in some water, and drained. Add 1/2 cup of whole milk mozzarella, shredded.

Loroco and shredded mozzarella.

The next thing is 1/3 cup of cottage cheese, a pinch of salt, and stir to combine. While the pupusas are cooking, you can really smell the loroco. In fact, the person that told me about it, walked by while mine were on the griddle, and he recognized the smell! He tried the first one and I got his enthusiastic stamp of approval!

Loroco Pupusa

While in process, I missed the opportunity to get some photos that I should have, but I thought this would be worth posting anyway. There are instructions on making pupusas, elsewhere on the interwebs.

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Chinese Sausage Baked Buns

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I  bought a package of uncooked Chinese style sausage recently at my local supermarket and decided that this would be the way to go with it.

Raw Chinese style sausage

Raw Chinese style sausage

I thought about doing steamed buns, however; I couldn’t locate the steamer baskets for my wok. Baked buns, it is. The recipe I used for the dough was taken from Pinterest. I generally credit things like this, but I completely forgot to make note of the source. But for full disclosure, I did NOT create this dough recipe. If you search Pinterest for Chinese Baked Buns, you may stumble across it. The filling IS my creation. I just boiled the sausage to cook it through before making the filling. So, here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

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Filling:

3 Chinese Sausages, cooked and diced small

1 T. Fermented Black Bean Paste

2 T. Ketchup

2 T. Soy Sauce

1 T. Honey

2 T. Vegetable Oil

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Combine all the ingredients, except the sausage, and make a sauce/marinade.  Add the cooked, diced sausage and stir to evenly coat. Place in refrigerator until ready to assemble buns.

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Dough:

10 TBSP whole milk

4 TBSP butter

2 tsp rapid-rise (instant) dry yeast

2 1/2 TBSP lukewarm water

1 large egg

2 1/2 TBSP sugar

12 1/2 oz All-purpose flour (About 2-3/4 cups)

1 large egg, lightly beaten (To brush buns before baking)

Glaze:

2 TBSP honey mixed with 1 TBSP warm water

For the dough, melt the butter with the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes, or until warm (about 110°F). (I melted butter in the microwave, added milk and microwaved another 15 seconds and then cooled briefly.)

Put the yeast in small bowl, add the water, and set aside for 1 minute to soften. Whisk in the milk mixture and the egg to blend.

Combine the sugar and flour in a food processor. Pulse two or three times to blend. With the machine running, pour the yeast mixture through the feed tube in a steady stream. After a sticky mass of very soft dough forms, about 5 seconds, (I added about 2 extra tablespoons of milk for mine to form the ball) continue processing for 45 to 60 seconds to form a smooth, slightly sticky dough that mostly cleans the bowl.IMG_20160210_121839764 The finished dough should stick a bit to your finger when pressed. Lightly oil a clean bowl and add the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm, draft-free place (for example, the oven with the light on) to rise for about 45 minutes, or until nearly doubled.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper before beginning to assemble the buns.

Remove the dough from the bowl and put on a lightly floured surface. Knead it a few times, then cut it in half. Cover one-half with plastic wrap or an inverted bowl to prevent drying. Roll out the dough into a 12-inch log, and then cut it into 8 or 16 pieces for medium or small buns, respectively. I find the bigger ones easier to handle and fill.IMG_20160210_132400953 (Halve or quarter the log first to make it easier to cut even-size pieces. The tapered end pieces should be cut a little longer than the rest.) Lightly roll each piece between your hands into a ball and then flatten each one into a 1/4-inch-thick disk. Use a wooden dowel-style rolling pin to roll the pieces into circles, about 2 1/2 inches in diameter for small or 3-1/4 inches in diameter for medium buns. The rim should be thinner than the center; keep a 1-inch-wide belly. The finished circle will rise as it sits. Lay the finished circles out on your work surface, lightly dusting their bottoms with flour if you fear they will stick.IMG_20160210_132704653

To form a bun, hold a dough circle in a slightly cupped hand. Use a spoon or fork to center about 2 teaspoons of filling for small buns, or about 4 teaspoons of filling for medium ones, on the dough circle, pressing down very gently and keeping about 1/2 to 3/4 inch of the dough clear on all sides; your hand will automatically close slightly.IMG_20160210_133007204 Use the thumb of the hand cradling the bun to push down the filling while the other hand pulls up the dough edge and pleats and pinches the rim together to form a closed satchel. (I don’t know about the crimping meticulously thing, but I got mine sealed and ball shaped.)

Pinch and twist the dough closed at the end. Place the bun pleat side down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough circles, spacing them 1-1/2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Loosely cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Set in a warm, draft- free place (for example, the oven with the light on) for 30 minutes to rise. Meanwhile, work on the other dough half to form more buns.IMG_20160210_133242039

To bake the buns, about 10 minutes before the rising time is over, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. (Let the buns finish rising at room temperature if you’ve had them in the oven.)

Bake one baking sheet at a time, brushing the top and side of each bun with the egg right before baking.IMG_20160210_153039114 Bake small buns for about 14 minutes and medium buns for about 18 minutes, or until a rich golden brown; the cooked buns sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove them from the oven, set on a rack, and let cool for 5 minutes.

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Brushed with honey glaze

Brush the honey mixture on the buns for a sweet-glaze finish that will also soften the crust. Enjoy warm and out of hand. Refrigerate left- over buns for up to a week and reheat at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes, until hot. When making the buns in advance, wait to brush on the glaze until after you’ve reheated the buns. These buns may also be frozen for up to a month. Thaw them completely before reheating.

 

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Making Bagels

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So, I’ve made bagels once before, but it’s been awhile. For some reason, I just felt like making a batch. Who knew that today (February 9th) is National Bagel Day?! Was there something subliminal going on there? These won’t be baked until the following day, though…but I made the dough and shaped them on National Bagel Day. That still counts, right? Right.

To give credit, where credit is due, I am using a recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, by way of a website: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/. The recipe makes 12 bagels. It begins with a “sponge”, which is similar to a sourdough starter, except all the ingredients are fresh. About half of the flour is used with all of the water and half of the yeast. After a couple of hours, the sponge is combined with the rest of the ingredients to make the dough. After the dough is made, kneaded, and portioned, it is allowed to rise. Once formed, the bagels relax briefly and then are refrigerated overnight. The process is finished in the morning.

BAGELS

Sponge:

1 t. Instant yeast

4 c. Bread flour

2-1/2 c. Water

Dough:

1 t. Instant yeast (original recipe calls for 1/2 t., but mine has been in the fridge for awhile, so….)

3-3/4 c. Bread flour

2-3/4 t. salt (why not 3? I don’t know, but I followed directions here.)

2 t. malt powder (not malted milk powder) You could substitute a tablespoon of malt syrup, honey, or brown sugar, according to the recipe. (I used a tablespoon of molasses.)

1 T. baking soda (to add to boiling water for cooking)

Corn meal for dusting the baking sheet

Toppings, if desired. Poppy seeds, dehydrated chopped onion or garlic, salt, sesame seeds, etc. (I don’t do sesame, due to an allergy in the family.) I made my own mixture for Everything Bagels.*

Day or Evening Before

Make the sponge. Combine the ingredients and mix to combine. It will be wet and sticky. Cover and allow to rise for about 2 hours.

Sponge for making bagels

Sponge for making bagels

The sponge has risen!

The sponge has risen!

Make the dough. After rising, add 3 cups flour, yeast, salt, and malt powder (or substitute) to the dough and mix as well as you can.

Turn out on a clean, floured surface and begin kneading, using the last 3/4 c. flour to keep from sticking, incorporating it as you go. Knead for 10 minutes.

Kneading the dough.

Kneading the dough.

Immediately after kneading, divide the dough into 12 equal portions (about 4-1/2 oz). My scale is broken, so I had to eyeball it. Line a sheet pan with parchment and lightly spray with non-stick spray. Shape the portions into balls and put them on the cooking sheet. Cover the dough balls with a damp towel or damp paper towels and let rest for twenty minutes.

Divide the dough and shape into balls.

Divide the dough and shape into balls.

After resting, use your thumb to punch a hole in the center of each dough ball, and rotate the dough around to widen the hole. Try to maintain even thickness all the way around the bagel.

Shaping the dough.

Shaping the dough.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. You are done until tomorrow morning!

Ready for the refrigerator, overnight.

Ready for the refrigerator, overnight.

The Next Morning

Preheat the oven to 500F. Prepare a baking sheet with a sprinkle of corn meal. Bring a large, preferably wide, pot of water to a boil. Add the baking soda and stir to dissolve. This helps the dough brown properly, when baked. The original recipes from many, many years ago, called for lye. For some reason, that is frowned upon these days. (Seriously, don’t do it.) While the water is boiling, drop bagels in, one at a time, until the surface is covered. Boil for one minute, flip over carefully, boil for another minute.

Boiling the bagels.

Boiling the bagels.

Place the boiled bagels on the baking sheet and, if using toppings, apply them at this point, while bagels are still moist. Continue until all bagels have been boiled and topped.

I did half "Everything" and half plain.

I did half “Everything” and half plain.

Place the bagels in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to 450F, rotate the pan, and cook for another 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from the oven and cool…until you can’t stand it any more! Note: my bagels took about 18 minutes, actually.

Done! How long can I wait? Not long!

Done! How long can I wait? Not long!

My “Everything Bagel Topping” without sesame seeds: I used about two tablespoons each of Roasted, salted sunflower seeds, minced dehydrated garlic, chopped dehydrated onions, and then about a tablespoon of poppy seeds. I used a mortar and pestle to break up the big stuff a little before adding the poppy seeds.

My "Everything Bagel Topping", no sesame seeds.

My “Everything Bagel Topping”, no sesame seeds.

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Traditional Scottish Shortbread

32 year holiday tradition!

32 year holiday tradition!

Well, I thought I had documented this recipe somewhere before, but I could not find the entire process anywhere. So, this is it! I was reading food magazines and cookbooks when I was a kid (along with comic books). In 1983, Cuisine Magazine printed an article called “My Father’s Scottish Shortbread”. It was a beautiful remembrance of a woman’s Father and his tradition of making Scottish shortbread, by hand, and how he passed it along to her. I kept that magazine and faithfully re-read the article every year and followed the process religiously for decades. Eventually, I lost the magazine. Then, with age, my hands started having trouble with creaming the sugar into cold butter and then working in the flour. I have, in the last few years, adapted to using my KitchenAid mixer to make the dough.

Creaming sugar into COLD butter.

Creaming sugar into COLD butter.

You just have to make sure the butter doesn’t warm and soften, or it will separate. Once you start the dough, you need to work steadily until it is back in the refrigerator.

Also, the tradition was to make the shortbread only between around November through February or March. This was when the cows were brought in from pasture for the Winter and they switched from eating a variety of plants to eating grain. “Summer milk” is less consistently flavored than “Winter milk”, so goes the butter. However, with today’s milk production practices, that isn’t really true anymore…unless you get your milk from a friend’s cow and make your own butter.

The recipe is deceptively simple. Just four ingredients. But the process is a little more intense. And, unless you are really good or have someone make you a frame, the dough may not have the same dimensions every time. The important part is to get the thickness pretty uniform, about 3/8″, and the length and width in dimensions the one side can be marked off in one inch increments and the other side in two inch increments.

Dough rolled out and scored.

Dough rolled out and scored.

Then you use a straight edge and score the pieces and mark each with the tines of a fork, three times. This is both for decoration and prevents the dough from puffing up during baking. I roll my dough on parchment or wax paper.

Ready for the refrigerator.

Ready for the refrigerator.

Make sure you have a refrigerator shelf clear and transfer the dough to it. I carefully slide my dough onto a cutting board to move it to the fridge.

Using cutting board for dough transfer.

Using cutting board for dough transfer.

The dough needs to chill for at least 30 minutes; otherwise, the cookies will spread when they bake. When ready, you carefully break into pieces and bake.

THE INGREDIENTS 

1 lb real Butter (I use lightly salted)

1 cup Sugar

4 cups unbleached All Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Salt (1/2 tsp, if using salted butter)

DIRECTIONS

Cream the sugar in the cold butter, until well blended, but still cold. Add the flour until the dough is starting to come together. It will be crumbly. Don’t overwork it. Using you hands, press it all together and compact it into a dough. Overlap a couple of pieces of wax or parchment paper. Roll dough out and form a rectangle about 3/8″ thick and about 10″x 15″. That can vary. See notes above. Mark 1″ x 2″ pieces, score the dough and prick each piece three times with the tines of a fork. Transfer to refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Chillin'.

Chillin’.

Preheat the oven to 325F. Put the dough on ungreased cookie sheets leaving an inch or so between them. Pop in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.

Ready for the oven.

Ready for the oven.

Immediately turn oven temperature down to 275F. Do not open the door for 30 minutes! What you are looking for is a sand color for the tops and lightly browned on the bottom.

Light brown bottoms.

Light brown bottoms.

Sad colored tops.

Sand colored tops.

You make have some ready before others, depending on size and thickness. It may take 40 to 50 minutes to finish cooking each batch. Reheat oven before the next batch goes in, but don’t forget to adjust it back down as soon as the dough goes in the oven. Remove to wire racks to cool. They smell great, but need to cool to really be good. Enjoy!

 

 

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My Dad’s Rolls

Dad's Yeast Rolls...none better!

Dad’s Yeast Rolls…none better!

It’s been decades since I’ve had a yeast roll made by my Dad. Well, he IS 88 years old and hasn’t really cooked in many years, to my knowledge. There was a time when he did, from time to time. In fact, I got really tired of his Shrimp Fried Rice (though it was really good!). His rolls were always welcome though. I tried to Google a recipe last thanksgiving and that recipe failed pretty miserably. So, I asked for the recipe soon after. What I got was an old recipe notecard with ingredients and pretty sparse instructions. I don’t know where the recipe originated. The card says to cut the dough in strips, stack in 3’s and “cut 1/2 inch and butter”. That’s not what my Dad did…I have no idea where he got his technique, but I like it. I’ll go over it in the recipe. Anyway, I made the recipe for the first time tonight and I feel like I have tasted my Dad’s rolls for the first time in decades. Kind of a big deal. Thanks, Dad!

Ingredients for Dad's Yeast Rolls.

Ingredients for Dad’s Yeast Rolls.

Dad’s Yeast Rolls

Dry ingredients:

4-1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

1/4 cup Sugar

1 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 cup Crisco Shortening

1 pkg. Dry Yeast

Wet ingredients:

1/4 cup Water, warm

1 cup Buttermilk, lukewarm

2 Eggs, slightly beaten

Melted Butter for brushing

Directions: Proof the yeast in the warm water. Meanwhile, add the dry ingredients to a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Blend the dry ingredients briefly. Add the Crisco and blend on medium speed until incorporated. Combine the wet ingredients and stir together. With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

The dough coming together.

The dough coming together.

When the dough comes together, switch to the dough hook attachment and run on low speed for 5 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and not sticky.

Low speed with the dough hook.

Low speed with the dough hook.

Grease the bowl or spray it lightly with nonstick spray. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover, and place in a warm draft-free place, until dough doubles in size, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Time to rise!

Risen!

Punch dough down…

Punching down the dough.

Punching down the dough.

…and roll out into a circle, about 1/4″ thick. Cut into 2″ circles.

Rolled and cut dough.

Rolled and cut dough.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Fold the dough circles in half, using a slight pulling motion to stretch a little. Place on the baking sheet and brush with melted butter.

Folded and brushed with butter.

Folded and brushed with butter.

Heat oven to 400F and bake in the center of the oven for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter again.

Baked and butter brushed again. Mmm!

Baked and butter brushed again. Mmm!

Serve warm! These rolls are great with jam/jelly or gravy, too. Enjoy!

 

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Trader Joe’s Punjab Choley Pizza

Trader Joe's Punjab Choley Pizza

Trader Joe’s Punjab Choley Pizza

An unabashed appeal to Trader Joe’s to try my recipe and publish it on their website. Maybe get a plug for my blog…maybe a sponsor? I don’t mind hawking a few Trader Joe’s recipes…I regularly visit my local Trader Joe’s and enjoy their products. This recipe uses their very convenient pre-made pizza dough, a spicy Indian chick pea dish that comes in a shelf-stable package (and is really good over rice!), and their Authentic Greek Feta packaged in a little plastic tub of brine that lasts well in the refrigerator. This recipe is versatile and easy. Add more or less cheese, to your taste. Add garnishes to your liking…if I had some on hand when I made this, I would have used some finely diced cucumber and some cilantro leaves after the sour cream drizzle. A very light dusting of cumin would be nice. In the summer, some roasted or grilled veggies. Maybe add a sprinkle of corn kernels before baking…hey, it’s pizza…do whatever you like! So far, it’s vegetarian, but it doesn’t have to be. Add some diced ham or tandoori chicken, maybe? Enjoy!

Trader Joe’s Punjab Choley Pizza      created by Matt Miller

Ingredients:

1 Trader Joe’s Pizza Dough

1 pkg. Trader Joe’s Punjab Choley

2 to 3 ounces Trader Joe’s Authentic Greek Feta, crumbled (to taste)

2 to 3 ounces Trader Joe’s Shredded Mozzarella (to taste)

3 T. Trader Joe’s Sour Cream

1 t. Trader Joe’s Half’n’Half or Heavy Cream

All –Purpose Flour, for dusting

Olive Oil or Non-Stick Spray

Directions:

Coat a mixing bowl with olive oil or spray with non-stick spray. Place dough in the bowl and turn to coat in oil/spray. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size.

Dough and Punjab Choley

Dough and Punjab Choley

Preheat oven to 475F and place pizza stone in the center of the oven, if you have one, and prepare pizza on a flour dusted pizza peel  or cutting board. Otherwise, prepare the pizza and use a flour dusted pizza pan or pizza screen. First, squeeze bubbles out of dough and roll out in a circular shape to about 14”. Use a fork to poke holes in the dough all over. This is called “docking” and reduces large bubbles forming in the oven. Empty the contents of the Trader Joe’s Punjab Choley onto the center of the dough. Spread the Punjab Choley evenly across the pizza.

Assembled and just put in the oven.

Assembled and just put in the oven.

Distribute the mozzarella and feta cheeses evenly across the pizza as well. I recommend not covering with mozzarella as heavily as you would an Italian pizza.

Transfer the pizza onto the pizza stone or place the pizza pan in the oven. Bake until bottom is golden brown and the cheeses are bubbly and lightly browned.

Cooked and cut.

Cooked and cut.

While the pizza is baking, mix the sour cream and half’n’half or cream together to make a thick sauce. I like to put the mixture into a zip lock bag, seal and squeeze into one corner.  IMAG2454When the pizza comes out of the oven, cut into pieces and serve hot. Just before service, cut a tiny corner off of the zip lock bag and squeeze a drizzle of the sauce onto each piece. Enjoy!

Drizzled with sour cream and served.

Drizzled with sour cream and served.

Optional: You can garnish with finely diced cucumber and/or cilantro leaves, if you like.

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