Tag Archives: food storage

Week 5: Wherein I allow myself to roam the grocery store.

I have to say that it was a nice feeling to go to the store this week and only need to buy milk. I don’t think I’m super organized about my pantry or food storage (or anything, for that matter), but because I have just tried to pick up essentials here and there when they are on sale, I have a decent stock of food on hand. Now that I think of it, though, I probably should have bought more cheese.

In any case, because I had $20 burning a hole in my pocket and only a $2.50 gallon of milk on my list, I decided to give myself a little leeway at the grocery store this week and see if there was something non-perishable that looked fun or interesting or super cheap. Normally I would have splurged on candy or ice cream or more candy, but this caught my eye (and was on clearance) as I went down the baking aisle.

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It's a friend of the heart--how could I say no?

I have never made anything with graham flour before, so I thought perhaps I would try making some homemade graham crackers. Don’t ask me why. I don’t particularly love graham crackers, unless they are sandwiching a layer of chocolate frosting. Maybe that was the appeal: that graham crackers in my mind necessitate chocolate frosting, and how is that ever a bad thing?

At any rate, I looked up a bunch of different recipes, most of which used a mixture of whole wheat and all-purpose flours (and some included wheat germ). But since I had the graham flour on hand, I decided to use it and come up with a recipe using others as a rough guide.

HOMEMADE GRAHAM CRACKERS

3-1/2 cups graham flour

1 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1 T cinnamon

1/4 t kosher salt

1/2 c (one stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 c packed brown sugar (can use a little more if desired)

1/3 c honey

1-1/2 t vanilla extract

1/2 c milk

Whisk together 3 cups of the flour, the baking powder, soda, cinnamon, and salt.

In another bowl (or mixer bowl), cream together the butter, sugar, and honey until light and smooth.

Add the vanilla to the milk. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture alternately with the milk/vanilla, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add up to another 1/2 cup of flour, depending on the consistency of the dough. Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Divide the dough into quarters or eighths. Generously flour your work surface (you can just use all-purpose flour) and gently roll out the dough. It can be quite sticky, so don’t be afraid to use the flour. Roll it out very thin (about 1/8″) and cut into shapes with knife or cookie cutters. Place on ungreased cookie sheets (line with parchment or Silpats). Use skewer or fork to poke holes on cookie tops. If desired, brush very lightly with water or milk and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or sugar crystals. Bake for about 12 minutes or until nicely browned. Cool on wire rack.

Makes about 4 dozen.

They turned out pretty good. They are not super sweet, but for me this is not an issue, as I plan to make chocolate frosting for them as soon as I am done here. Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, I decided to use my heart-shaped cookie cutter, because why make something like this…

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…when you can make this?

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Week 2: You spend sixteen bucks, and whaddaya get?

This week, it was a gallon of milk, deli ham and turkey (Greg had a hankering for sandwiches), four bananas and two yams.

Yam!

It’s kind of weird, because I haven’t really cooked a lot in the past couple of weeks, but I feel like I have a better handle on what food is actually in my pantry and storage room. Isn’t it amazing how you know what food you have when you interact with it more.
Greg was excited to report that he only ate out for lunch once last week (for someone’s birthday). I am excited to report that I made two of the lunches he took with him–which is a great improvement from zero.
One success of the week was brown rice/red quinoa four ways (one of which was kind of gross). On Monday night, I made this sauteed chicken to serve over rice, so I made a batch of rice/quinoa in the electric pressure cooker. I had seen a recipe on the Chef Brad website where he pressure cooked the grains then added some stuff to make it a breakfast cereal. I figured I could use the plain rice/quinoa for dinner and then find uses for the leftovers.
It was great with the chicken, but since the recipe had called for sweet brown rice, it turned out kind of gross when I tried to make it into cereal. Maybe that had more to do with the fact that I didn’t really follow the rest of the recipe very closely…
There was still a lot of the rice/quinoa left, so when I made pork chops for dinner on Wednesday night, I mixed some of the rice/quinoa with a can of pureed pumpkin, a little chicken broth, milk, and brown sugar. I heated it up and added salt, sage, poultry seasoning, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and apple juice until it stopped tasting like canned pumpkin. It wasn’t great for eating by itself, but it tasted really good with the pork chops.
And would you believe it, there was still more rice left! I mentioned before that Greg had had a hankering for sandwiches, and the loaf of bread I had pulled out of the freezer was pretty sad looking. I got out my “Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” cookbook, and I happened to open it right to a recipe for whole wheat bread with cooked brown rice in it. Serendipity!
I baked two loaves on Friday and another one today–that is really where the whole “5 minutes” part comes in. The recipes are such that you can store the dough in the fridge for several days and just take out enough for a loaf when you need it. It takes 5 minutes to break off a piece of dough from the fridge, shape it, and put it on the pan. Then it takes another 90 minutes for it to rise and yet another 30 to bake.
This is not to say that I don’t love this book, because I really do, but I just feel like it should have and asterisk after the title.
Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day*
*It will actually take much longer than 5 minutes.
But I digress. My point is that this bread made with leftover brown rice and quinoa was really, really good.

Yum!

It made great sandwiches and great toast–perhaps the two most important bread tests. It also came together pretty easily, and the crust was, well, crusty without being so hard that it hurts the roof of your mouth.
Here is the recipe, with some of my modifications. Next time I try it, I might add some honey for a little sweetness.

Whole Grain Bread with Brown Rice (and Red Quinoa, which makes the nicest specks in your bread)
5 1/2 c whole wheat flour (I used freshly ground hard red wheat berries.)
1/2 c flaxseed meal (Don’t ask me why I happened to have this on hand, because I don’t really know. But it was the Bob’s Red Mill brand.)
1 1/2 T yeast (or 2 packets)
1 T kosher salt
1/4 c vital wheat gluten
3 1/2 c lukewarm water
1 c cooked brown rice (or brown rice/quinoa mix)
Whisk the flour through wheat gluten together. Add the cooked rice to the water and then add to the dry ingredients. Mix (without kneading) until incorporated. Cover loosely and let rest until it rises and collapses (or flattens on top). Can be baked immediately or stored in the fridge for up to 10 days.
Dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a piece of dough the size of a grapefruit. Dust with a bit more flour and quickly shape into a ball by stretching and tucking under, then shape into a narrow oval and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
Let it rest for 90 minutes (or 40 if you are using it right after mixing the dough). When the dough has 30 minutes of resting time left, turn on the oven to 450 degrees and put your pizza stone on the middle rack. Also place an empty broiler pan (or baking dish, cookie sheet, etc.) onto another rack where it won’t interfere with the rising bread.
Just before putting the bread in the oven, paint the top of the loaf with water and slash the top of the loaf with a few parallel cuts. Slide the loaf and parchment paper onto the hot baking stone. Carefully pour about a cup of hot tap water into the broiler pan or baking dish.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned and firm. Cool on a rack before cutting.