Friday, October 31, 2008

What's For Dinner?--November class

On November 13 we'll have our next class in the What's For Dinner? series put on by the OSU Extension Service and the Douglas County Master Food Preservers. We've got a great fall menu planned. Ed Hoffman will be making a Hearty Pork Stew, I'll do a demo on making Homemade Egg Noodles to go with the stew (and just in time for your post-Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass Soup) and My Favorite Salad. For dessert Paulette Zwirn will teach us how to make her Delicious Apple Dumplings. All for the bargain price of $15.00 and that includes a full meal! The class meets from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Sutherlin Community Building at 150 S. Willamette.

Click here for a registration form you can mail in or call 672-4461. Class is limited to 24.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Reader Appreciation Week

Thanksgiving will be here before we know it and I will be baking up a storm for my very favorite holiday of the year. I would love to share an Old-Fashioned Charleston Poundcake with one of you. This is a rich, moist cake that will stay fresh and delicious for almost a month! My mom, born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, has been making this cake as long as I can remember, just like her mother before her. This is a large cake, filling a tube-pan and weighing over four pounds. It will easily serve 16. I will personally bake it and ship it to you so it arrives just before Thanksgiving. To enter the giveaway, simply send an e-mail to:

You have only one week to enter! On Thursday, November 6, I will select one name at random and contact the winner for a shipping address. I look forward to hearing from you!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Last Day of the Farmers' Market

Today was the last day of the Umpqua Valley Farmers Market for this year. I couldn't help lingering at the market even after I had stocked up on organic jonagold apples, Swedish fingerling potatoes, enough lettuce to last a week or two if carefully washed and bagged, one more head of cheddar cauliflower, a few beets, two more jars of local honey, a few handmade chocolates, a package of bratwurst and one orange bell pepper.

I will miss my Saturday morning routine of making the rounds of all the vendors. In Deep Economy, author Bill McKibbon cites a study of shopping behavior which found that "consumers have ten times as many conversations at farmers' markets as they do at supermarkets." No wonder I enjoy it so much more than going to the grocery store!

All is not lost for shopping local, however. Several farm stands are still open and there is plenty of local produce to be found: broccoli, cauliflower, winter squash, beets, carrots, cabbage, apples, Klamath potatoes, hazelnuts.........and walnuts! Local walnuts will be ready at Cleveland Rapids Orchard on November 1.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Favorite Salad

Fresh greens, diced apple, dried cranberries and toasted nuts tossed with a berry-pear vinaigrette
in my favorite myrtlewood salad bowl.

This is a perfect salad for fall. We made enough to serve about 60 people for our first Think Local Umpqua Benefit Dinner and Concert last Friday. We used organic lettuce from Sutherlin, apples and hazelnuts from Norm Lehne Garden & Orchard, dried Bandon cranberries (which I dehydrated myself!), and a Marionberry-Pear vinaigrette with local pears and my homemade Marionberry vinegar. The dressing recipe is adapted from one in Thyme and the River by Sharon Van Loan and Patricia Lee. This cookbook is a wonderful collection of recipes and stories from The Steamboat Inn on the North Umpqua River. I often include this salad recipe when I give away a bottle of berry vinegar.

For four to six servings:

Coarsely chop 1/2 cup hazelnuts. I don't worry about removing the skins. Toast in a preheated 350 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes until their color deepens just a little and they become fragrant. Set aside to cool.

Tear up a variety of fresh, crisp lettuce leaves, enough to fill a good-sized salad bowl. I like to use a mixture of different green and red leaf types and a bit of arugula thrown in, if you have it, is good too.

Add one apple, diced and 1/2 cup dried cranberries. Add the cooled hazelnuts.

Pour about 2/3 of the Berry Vinaigrette (see below) over the salad and toss well. Add additional dressing as needed and a bit more salt as your taste dictates. Serve immediately.

Berry-Pear Vinaigrette

1/2 of a ripe pear
, any variety will do. I don't bother to peel it. You can dice the other half and add it to the salad or puree the whole thing and freeze half for another time. I also keep containers of baby food pears on hand for those times I don't have a ripe pear. The 2.5 oz size is perfect for one recipe of dressing. This year I actually canned some pear puree in the little 4 ounce jelly jars just for this purpose! I also froze some in ice cube trays.

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons berry vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
dash of nutmeg

If using fresh pear, combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and oil is emulsified. If using baby food pears you can just whisk everything together. Leftover vinaigrette can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Another variation for the salad--use dried bing cherries and cherry vinegar with toasted walnuts!

Oven-"Fried" Green Tomatoes

For those of you who have never tried them, Fried Green Tomatoes are really quite good! I first had them at Salishan Lodge on the Oregon Coast and was pleasantly surprised at how tasty they were. I rarely fry anything; this is a lower fat version that still yields a nice crusty coating.

Oven-"Fried" Green Tomatoes

4 to 6 green tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick

1 beaten egg

3 slices whole grain bread, torn into pieces (or cracker crumbs or croutons)

2 tablespoons butter

a 1-ounce chunk of parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon salt
a few grinds of pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a food processor, combine the bread, butter, cheese, Italian seasoning and salt. Pulse until well-combined and crumbly. Place in a shallow bowl or pie pan. Dip each tomato slice in the beaten egg and then in the bread & cheese crumbs, coating both sides well. Place on a parchment-lined or lightly-buttered shallow pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until tomatoes are tender and crust is golden brown. Serve immediately.

Any leftovers can be reheated in a dry, non-stick pan until heated through. Microwaving would make for a very soggy crust.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Local Hazelnuts (filberts) are ready!

Hazelnuts (filberts) are ready at Norm Lehne Garden & Orchard in Garden Valley. I bought a 10 lb. sack this morning and had Norm run them through the cracker for me. After I get them all shelled, some will be blanched, toasted and chopped to be added to a green salad for our Think Local Umpqua benefit dinner and concert this Friday. The rest will go into the freezer for winter baking and snacking. I might even try my hand at making some Nutella-style chocolate-hazelnut spread!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

I use whole wheat flour, freshly ground from soft white wheat for all my muffins, pancakes and waffles. Look for whole wheat pastry flour in the bulk bins. You can also substitute unbleached white all-purpose flour.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola or safflower oil
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, either canned or from a pie pumpkin you have baked
4 eggs
3 cups whole wheat flour, preferably pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease, spray with oil, or line with paper bake cups a 12-cup muffin tin.*

In a large bowl, whisk together the honey, sugar, oil , pumpkin and eggs until well-blended. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, stirring just until blended and all of the flour is wet.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. I use a spring-action ice cream scoop. Bake at 375 degrees for 23 to 25 minutes, until muffin springs back when the top is lightly pressed. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove and serve warm or cool completely on a wire rack.

*This recipe makes 18 to 20 muffins or 12 standard muffins and 12 mini muffins or 12 standard muffins and one small loaf. The mini muffins will take about 15 minutes to bake. The small loaf will take 30 to 35 minutes. If you only have one muffin tin or can only fit one in your oven at a time, just bake the first 12, then bake the remaining muffins after the first have come out of the pan. Fill the empty muffin cups half full with water to keep your pan from warping.

Potato-Corn Chowder

The fall crop of russet potatoes from Malin, Oregon are now available at Kruse Farms. For this chowder, I combined diced potatoes with corn kernels cut from some leftover corn-on-the-cob (picked at Norm Lehne's the other day) and the last of the ripe tomatoes and bell pepper from my garden.

Rosemary's Potato-Corn Chowder

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, very finely minced (I used half of a very large Walla Walla)
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and very finely minced
1 stalk celery, very finely minced
4-5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 5 cups)
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled* and diced (or 1 pint home-canned tomatoes or 1 14.5 oz. can petite-diced tomatoes)
1 cup corn kernels (cut from 2 ears) or 1 cup frozen corn**
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup cream or half-n-half
freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large, heavy-bottomed sou pot, cook the onion, pepper and celery in the butter until onion is transparent. Add the potatoes, broth and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 - 15 minutes. Do not add the tomatoes until the potatoes are tender!

Stir in the tomatoes (with the juice if using canned) and corn; cook gently until corn is tender. Stir in the milk and cream.; heat through, but do not boil. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve in warm bowls. Makes 5 to 6 servings.

This chowder goes especially well with cornbread or Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins.

*to peel fresh tomatoes: dip in boiling water for 30 seconds, then place in a bowl of cold water. Slip the skins off under cold, running water.

**if using leftover, cooked corn you will want to add it with the milk and cream just to heat it through.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Peanut Butter Brownies

Yet another variation of my decadent brownies. These will be going to our Think Local Umpqua AMIBA (American Independent Business Alliance) workshop at Umpqua Community College tonight. Unlike the Marionberry-Walnut or Caramel-Pecan versions, these do not have dark chocolate chips scattered throughout the batter, but rather a peanut butter topping (think Reese's Peanut Butter cups) strewn all over the surface before baking. Would have been simpler to use a bag of peanut butter chips, but they include a whole lot of ingredients I would rather not eat!

Peanut Butter Brownies

These are best made a day or two in advance and refrigerated before cutting. They freeze well too!

1 cup (9 oz) chunky natural-style peanut butter
4 Tablespoons (2 oz) butter, very soft or melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups (8 oz) powdered sugar
1 pound unsalted butter
8 ounces unsweetened cbaking hocolate
4 cups (1# 12 oz) sugar
8 large farm fresh local eggs (1#1oz in the shell)
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups (12 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
milk chocolate chips (optional, for drizzling on top after baking)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I bake these on a baking stone on the center rack.

Line a 12 by 17 inch "jelly-roll" half-sheet pan or two 9 by 13 pans with parchment or grease and flour them well.

Stir together the peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until you have a crumbly mass. Set aside.

Melt the unsalted butter and unsweetened chocolate together over very low heat, stirring until smooth. Turn off heat, stir in sugar and let sit for about 5 minutes until sugar melts. Whisk together the 8 eggs, salt and vanilla in a very large bowl. Gradually whisk the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and stir until it becomes glossy.

Gently stir in the flour, mixing just until all the flour is incorporated. Pour into prepared pan(s). Crumble peanut butter topping evenly over the top. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. Do not overbake!

Let cool completely on a wire rack. If desired, when cool, drizzle the top with melted milk chocolate before cutting into bars. These are best made a day in advance and refrigerated overnight before cutting. They will firm up considerably. They also freeze well. Makes 24 large or 48 small brownies.

Shirley's Apples

My neighbor, Shirley, died this week. She was in her eighties and fell and broke her leg while she was vaccuuming. Shirley had many health problems and never recovered from the surgery needed to fix her leg. I had the privilege of being one of several friends and family members who were with her at the hospital when she peacefully passed into the next life.

The day she broke her leg, Shirley had picked a 5-gallon bucket of apples from the tree in her back yard. Her family asked if I could use them. Ever industrious and frugal, I knew Shirley would not have wanted them to go to waste. So I spent Saturday afternoon remembering Shirley while I peeled her apples and made applesauce. I labeled the jars "Shirley's" and every time I open a jar from this batch I will think of Shirley and the fine example she set for me and my children.

Lazy Lady Applesauce

When I had three children at home, we went through quite a bit of applesauce. To get the job done quickly, I would wash and quarter the apples, add just enough water to the pot or roaster pan to keep them from sticking, cover and cook (on the stove top or in the oven) until they were tender and then run them through a food mill to strain out the peels, seeds and stems. Then I would can or freeze the sauce. This method is fast, but only good for making smooth applesauce.

Lately, I have become more fond of chunky applesauce, so I'm doing things a bit differently. I also only have one child left at home, so I'm not making as much as I used to. Here's a easy method using a slow cooker. Yes, you have to peel and core the apples, but once they are in the cooker you have lots of leeway in the timing before you need to can or freeze the sauce. I can make a batch every few days this way instead of trying to do it all at once. I have one of the large, oval Rival Crockpots and I get 6 or 7 pint jars out of one batch. If you have an electric roaster, you can make an even larger quantity at one time.

I usually get the apples in the cooker while I'm preparing dinner and by the time the dishes are done, they are ready to mash and process.

Lazy Lady (slow cooker) Applesauce

Peel, quarter and core enough apples to fill your slow cooker. I like Gravensteins, but any mixture of apples will make good sauce. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of applejuice or water to the bottom, just enough to create some steam. Cover and cook on high for 1 to 2 hours or low for 2 to 3 hours, depending on your schedule. You can add a few cinnamon sticks too, if you like.

When the apples are tender, mash them into sauce right in the cooker, leaving some coarse chunks. I use a potato masher, but a wire whisk stirred through the pot does the trick too. Add sweetener (sugar, brown sugar, sucanat or honey) to taste, if desired. Cover and keep hot until ready to can. Fill pints and quarts leaving 1/2-inch headspace and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Or uncover and let cool , then ladle into jars or plastic containers, leaving 1-inch headspace and freeze.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Garden Valley Apples

My son sampling a Golden Delicious apple picked at Cleveland Rapids Orchard (1999).

Rome Beauty, Newton Pippin, Spitz and Red Delicious apples are all ready for picking at Norm Lehne Garden & Orchard. They are so easy to pick that it's hard not to get carried away. I already have tomatoes and peppers needing my attention, but I just couldn't resist the apples. I only picked about 20 pounds; the two women ahead of me at the scale had just picked close to 180 pounds! Don't wait too long or they'll all be gone.

I really only dashed out there (five minutes away) to pick a few ears of corn for dinner. Norm just opened up a new patch of Candystore corn for u-picking, but a freeze is expected tonight, so I thought I'd better get it while I could. Might be our last chance for corn-on-the-cob this year!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake

Rule number one at the Pumpkin Patch: You can choose any pumpkin you like, but you have to be able to carry it all by yourself! October means it's time to dig out all of my favorite pumpkin recipes. I won a blue ribbon at our county fair many years back for this Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake. I make it with whole wheat pastry flour, but all-purpose white flour works well too.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake

Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan (angel food cake pan), a bundt pan or two 9 x 5 loaf pans. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, stir together:
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I grind my own from soft white wheat)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon cloves
¾ teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, cream together:
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed

Add in and mix well:
½ cup molasses
1/3 cup honey

One at a time, beat in:
3 large eggs

Then mix in:
½ cup pumpkin puree (either canned or from one you have baked)
½ cup buttermilk

Gradually add in the flour mixture until there are no dry spots. Pour into prepared pan(s) and bake for 40 – 50 minutes until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then remove from pan(s) and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Semolina Bread with Basil Butter Filling

The same Basil Butter with Garlic spread that I love to slather on vegetables makes a delicious filling for Semolina Bread. The flavor of the dough develops best when it is refrigerated overnight before shaping and baking. It also gives you more flexibility in the timing of the bake!

Semolina Bread with Basil Butter Filling
(makes three loaves)

3 cups (1 pound) semolina flour (I like Bob's Red Mill brand)
1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (aka Bread Machine Yeast or Rapid Rise Yeast)
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups (1 pound) room temperature water
1 3/4 to 2 1/4 cups (9 to 10 ounces) bread flour or all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer, combine the semolina, instant yeast, and salt. Add the water and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Mix until well-combined. Gradually add in enough of the bread flour until a soft dough is formed, not too sticky, but just so it barely clings to your finger when touched. Knead until dough is elastic and passes the windowpane test. (Pinch off a small piece and try to stretch it out into a sheet. When the dough is ready it should not tear easily, but you should be able to stretch it out until you can see through it.) Kneading will take 10 to 15 minutes by hand or 7 to 10 minutes with a machine and dough hook.

Place in a container large enough for the dough to triple in size. Pour the remaining olive oil over the top and turn the dough over to coat it well. Cover tightly and let rise at room temperature until it doubles in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Turn the dough out onto a floured board or countertop. Fold the top down, bottom up and then each side in overlapping each other in the center. Turn the whole thing over and put it back in the rising container. Brush lightly with oil or spray with oil spray; cover tightly and refrigerate overnight or at least several hours.

Remove from refrigerator and let sit, still covered, at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours so it can warm up a bit. Turn out onto a floured board and divide into three equal pieces. Cover and let rest 15 to 20 minutes.

Gently flatten or roll each piece into an oval about 10 inches long and 5 to 6 inches wide. Try not to press all of the air bubbles out while you're doing this. Spread each oval with one heaping tablespoon of the Basil Butter with Garlic filling, leaving a small margin at the ends and the top edge. Roll the dough up and away from you, pinching and sealing the ends and seam so no filling will escape. Place your hands on top of each other on the center of the loaf and gently roll and stretch it out until it is about 12 inches long, moving your hands apart and toward each end as you roll. Semolina bread is often made into an "S" shape. To do this, curl each end, in opposite directions, toward the center of the loaf, pressing against the sides lightly to seal.

Place the loaves on a parchment-lined half-sheet pan (cookie sheet with sides.) Two loaves will fit at an angle on one pan. Cover the loaves with plastic wrap and let proof at room temperature until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees with a baking stone on the center rack if you have one.

Place the loaves in the oven and spray the oven with water ( a plant sprayer works well). Spray again after five minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and bake for a total of about 25 to 35 minutes, until nicely browned. Cool on a wire rack before slicing. If you absolutely can't wait you can use an electric knife, but anything else will squash the warm loaves.

Mamie's Chocolate Cake

An incredibly moist, dark chocolate cake with a fudge glaze, said to have been created in honor of Mamie Eisenhower by the chef at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. My mother made this "Mamie's Cake" for my birthday a few days ago. This cake, along with her Charleston Poundcake (whose recipe I am forbidden to publish) and her Caramel "Earthquake" Cake are legendary among our family and friends.

For special occasions my mom bakes the cake in two 9-inch round cake pans and doubles the glaze recipe to fill and frost the layers. For everyday eating or for transporting to potlucks and such, she bakes it in a 9 x 13 pan.

Mamie's Chocolate Cake
2 cups milk, preferably whole
2 sticks (1 cup or 8 ounces) butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (Mom prefers Hershey's)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups sifted flour (I have never seen her actually sift it and I don't bother)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one 9 x 13 pan or two 9-inch round cake pans.
Combine the milk, butter and chocolate in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil until mixture thickens a litte, remove from heat and add sugar. Refrigerate until cool, about 20 minutes. Beat in the eggs with an electric mixer, then add combined flour and baking soda. Mix until blended. Add vanilla and blend in.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.

For the 9 x 13 cake, cool slightly in the pan on a wire rack. Poke all over the top with a fork and pour the glaze on top while both the cake and the glaze are still warm.

For the layer cake, cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely. Make the glaze and let cool and thicken to a spreadable consistency before filling and frosting the layers.

If you're really brave you can split each layer in half horizontally before frosting to make an over-the-top 4-layer cake. The easiest way to do this is by wrapping a piece of thread or dental floss around the sides of each layer, half-way up from the bottom. Then, holding each end of the thread, cross them over each other and keep pulling until the thread comes all the way through.

Sweet Chocolate Glaze
(remember to double it for the layer cake version)

4 ounces Baker's German Sweet Chocolate
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
dash salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Melt the chocolate, butter and water together over low heat. Add in the powdered sugar, salt and vanilla and blend until smooth.