Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Recently I had a few ask if I would share my secrets to this crazy decorating. I want to do so. I won't share my exact recipe perhaps, but give some hints to help. I am a mom trying to make extra income through teaching. Then again, I am reminded that not everyone can paint their bread like this...even with a recipe. Let me think on that. It will have to come later.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Unlike stove top, soups and stew have a very low chance of burning, and the heat source is not only clean and free, it is also what grows these split peas in the first place! You can't get any more natural than that!
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
Remove from the oven with hot pads and add 1-2 cups more vegetable stock for thinner soup,
Sunday, December 28, 2008
It also has these really nifty metal panels to collect sunlight. I love it! I feel like an astronaut baker. See, it's my 2001 Space Odyssey obsession, applied to baking. This is Hal. Pretty scary. Elvis would be proud. Especially when I wear my sequin lined sunglasses to remove the loaf pans. (For the youngies, 2001 is the music played to introduce Elvis at his concerts...)
The glass pane folds down and encloses the chamber. The reflective panels direct the sunlight to the oven, and the temperature raises enough to bake my breads, rolls, roasts, root vegetables, casseroles...really anything I could bake in the oven. So let the festivities begin. I will be adding a lot of information on baking with a solar oven. Because I am just cool enough to do it! Someday I will have a bakery with 50 of these bad boys! In Arizona, I can bake at least 360 days a year that way! You may have less luck in Canada. The other crazy thing, when it isn't sunny enough, I can still heat water to boiling, put it in a covered pot with my rice or grain and cover it with a blanket in my oven. 30 minutes later, my rice is cooked! Not bad on only the energy it took to boil the water!
More information can be found at:
I don't sell them.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Since the gal was going to be the queen for the day, I thought I would take another trip to Oz. I put on my shimmering fluffy pink gown and tiara. I am the good witch!! Really!! ...Actually,my sister Auntie Em is diabetic. Em gave me a recipe several years back for low carb flourless cake that uses apricot jam in the mix, which adds a light fruit flavor as well as enough pectin from the fruit to help the cake set. The eggs and other traditional ingredients in flourless chocolate cake where there as well, but we wanted this to be extra special. So we topped it with sugar free chocolate mousse. Ending result. Inside it looks like this. Not bad for 11 carbs each. Crazy huh?
Get your stuff together...you'll need :
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
3 eggs, separated,
1/3 cup sugar free apricot jam
1 1/2 cup splenda spoonful
2 tsp espresso powder (or pero for you Mormon folk)
2 tsp vanilla
Melt your butter and chocolate just until barely hot. For goodness sake, don't cook it too long or it will scorch and taste sooo nasty!!
Cool slightly, add the yolks
jam, splenda, espresso, and vanilla. Mix well.
Whip egg whites until firm peaks form.
Combine the chocolate mixture and the whipped whites
Don't mix too much, just lightly until combined
Pour into 7 free standing baking cups or silicone baking cups.
Carefully follow the design with melted white chocolate.
Dust with culinary gold if desired.
Now we had to taste this just to be sure it was okay to serve to company. The coffee flavor masked the aftertaste of the Splenda. What we had was master genius. I think the Queen will be pleased. All hail!! So, hats off to Evil Tara. We had a blast today and got to make sure a friend didn't break her diet, even on her wedding day! It must be LOVE!!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
One of my favorite things to do is make sourdough pancakes. They are light and fluffy. Adding orange zest the night before gives a very full flavor. There's nothing like it on earth. This batch happens to be topped with some of my homemade Gingered Apricot Cherry Sauce. Another reason I like home canning...I can make something special for my family. It's Christmas Eve, so I also added some shavings of dark chocolate... Now that is something celebration worthy!
8-12 hours later add:
1/2 cup water,
Mix until just combined. Don't mix too long or batter will give you tough pancakes...cook on a hot griddle with good nonstick cookware I don't even need any oil. The best part...seeing my kids little mouths full of whole grain pancakes Christmas Eve!
Sourdough leavening is as old as the rocks. Maybe because someone ages ago decided they didn't like the heavy bread. Was it an accident from dough left out too long? Probably. I don't know the exact time in history it was started, but it goes way back! Yeast got on some dough. It fell in Love with the wonderful environment and stayed. Kind of like me and Arizona (...at least in the winter). Yeast is everywhere. If that shocks you I apologize. If you have a fancy air filter that gets all the yeasts and spores and stuff out of the air, you will have to use a pinch of commercial yeast (by this I mean the dry stuff you buy at the store).
Personally, I prefer starters made without commercial yeast, just the spores in the air. It is a longer process, but the flavor is gorgeous. The longer the sourdough has been going, the better the flavor. Yeast is different everywhere too, so my Arizona sourdough will never be San Francisco, because airborne yeast is different here. Not bad, just different. My starter has been around my house going on 15 years. I love it! Feed it every couple of days. It's better than a pet goldfish!
This is a real old fashioned way but basically you take 2 cups flour, 2 cups water and let stand uncovered (or covered with cheesecloth to keep bugs away) and out of a draft for several days until it bubbles (mine took about a week). Do not use a metal container! The acid reacts to the metal and it's really scary. Like a bad horror movie.
Most recipes you will find use sourdough starter more as a flavoring agent than a leavening agent. It just depends on what your prefer. I like a pretty tart sourdough. I have some fun starters. 4 I keep going on a regular basis: Raisin, Apple, white, and whole wheat. Those recipes will follow in the next few weeks.
12 hours before planning to mix a recipe, mix 1/2 cup starter, 2 cups flour, 2 cups water (I use white grape juice). Cover bowl (Important non metal!!) with cheesecloth. Just before mixing the recipe, take 1 cup of batter to replenish the starter in your crock for the next batch. Use the balance in your recipe.
2 cups flour ( I use whole grain white wheat...I grind my own, but King Arthur makes some)
1T baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening (I use the healthy variety called Spectrum-- cold pressed shortening)
1 cup sourdough starter (more to come on Sourdough starters...I promise!!)
melted butter (or olive oil)
1 clove crushed garlic
fresh cracked pepper
Mix together the dry ingredients. With a pastry blender or a fork, cut up the shortening into the flour mixture until the pieces are tiny... like peas. Stir in the sourdough starter just until it is blended. Put a little flour on the counter top and put the dough on the flour. Put a little flour on top of the dough and with a rolling pin roll out in a circle until the dough is 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a cutter. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet... a pretty thick one so they won't burn. Bake at 450degrees for 10 minutes. Crush garlic into melted butter and spread over biscuits. Crack pepper over the top and serve hot. Perfect and quick for dinner! These would be AMAZING with cheese folded in the dough! About 1/4 cup sharp cheddar or blue cheese...ouch...