Friday, January 30, 2009

Cranberry Sorbet

This is less a recipe than a lesson in ingenuity. The cranberry sauce I made for Christmas Dinner did not set up properly. I had hastily copied down the recipe from the back of a bag of cranberries at the grocery store (because I buy mine in bulk over in Bandon). For Jellied Cranberry Sauce it said to bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a boil, add the berries, and boil for 10 minutes. Leave the berries whole or put through a food mill or chinois and chill. Well I made one batch of whole berry sauce and one batch of "strained" sauce and neither one set up. The whole berry sauce got eaten, but I was left with a jar of runny cranberry syrup in my refrigerator that wasn't going anywhere.

A couple weeks later a friend came to bake bread with me and have lunch. That's when the idea struck to see how I could salvage my runny sauce. Since you make a flavored sugar syrup to make sorbet, I decided to see what would happen if I just tossed the syrup, as is, into my ice cream maker and let it churn. I knew my friend would be up for the experiment, as she is not one to let things go to waste any more than I am.

Well, the color is beautiful, isn't it? We both agreed that it actually tastes quite good; tart, as cranberry sauce would be, but incredibly creamy in texture, though completely non-dairy. It's the sort of thing you might be served at a fancy restaurant to "cleanse the palate" between courses.

I'm still not sure if I copied the recipe down incorrectly or if I just messed up! Don't know that I'd go out of my way to make it again, but I am enjoying the fruits of my creativity!

Homemade Clay Pot Cloche for Baking

Here's a photo of the baking cloche I made. If you already have a baking stone (and you really should, if you bake much at all) this is an inexpensive way to turn it into a mini brick oven for making crusty "artisan" hearth loaves.

I found this 11-inch clay pot with the garden supplies outside of Sherm's grocery store a couple months ago. I think it cost a whole $3.98. They still had a big stack as of Monday, January 26. Then I bought an eye bolt (with an eye big enough to get a good grip on when it 's hot), two washers and two hex nuts. It's a simple matter to assemble it, one nut and one washer on each side of the drainage hole to hold the bolt in place.

I was afraid the end of the eye bolt (inside the pot) might poke into the top of the loaf, so I had my husband cut it off flush with the nut. (As I write this, I got a phone call from someone who just bought a pot at Sherm's and took it to Handyman Hardware, where they found the parts she needed, assembled it and even cut the eye bolt off for her!)

To use the cloche: Place it on the baking stone in the oven and preheat it to 500 degrees for 45 minutes before you are ready to bake. Using heavy-duty hot pads, carefully remove the cloche from the oven, slide the dough onto the stone and immediately cover with the cloche. Reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cloche and continue baking another 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the loaf. You need to drive all the steam out of the dough to retain a crisp crust when the loaf cools.

FYI...this is not my original idea. I first saw it on Wild Yeast Blog and I believe it was inspired by one on The Fresh Loaf.

Five-Grain Bread

Here's the recipe for the bread I taught at the Cooking for Charity class this week...

Five-Grain Bread
Makes 3 hearth loaves, about 1 ½ lbs. each

This is a crusty loaf with a substantial proportion of whole grain (the whole grain flours and the grains in the soaker make up 42% of the total flour weight), yet it is a light loaf, great for sandwiches and toast and delicious alongside a hearty soup or stew. The sponge and soaker are best made the day before you plan to bake. See note below for a quicker option.

For the sponge:
Whisk together in a large bowl:
1 ½ cups (7 ounces) whole wheat flour (I use hard white wheat flour)
1/3 cup (1 ½ ounces) whole rye flour
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) firmly packed brown sugar
¼ ounce instant yeast (1 package Red Star Quick Rise yeast)
2 cups (16 ounces) room temperature water

When all the ingredients are thoroughly blended, cover the bowl tightly and let ferment at room temperature for one hour, then refrigerate overnight.

For the soaker:
In a small bowl combine:
1/3 cup (2 ounces) flaxseeds
¼ cup ( ½ ounce) bran flakes
1/3 cup (1 ½ ounces) yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup (2 ¼ ounces) rolled oats
2 cups (16 ounces) room temperature water
Cover tightly to prevent evaporation and let stand overnight.

For the dough (the next day):

Add the soaker to the sponge in the large bowl or combine both in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer with dough hook. Blend well and then add in :
1 tablespoon salt (5/8 ounce or 17 grams)
3 ¾ to 4 ½ cups (1# 4 oz. to 1# 10 oz. unbleached bread flour (Gold Medal Better for Bread)

The amount of flour is variable. Add enough so that the dough is slightly tacky (feels like you're touching a Post-it note) but not sticky (wants to cling to your finger but doesn't). Knead by hand or machine until the dough passes the membrane or windowpane test. Check by taking a small piece of dough with floured fingers and trying to stretch it out until it is transparent. When the gluten is fully developed, you should be able to do this without tearing the dough. If it tears easily keep kneading!

When the dough is fully developed, place it in a large greased bowl, cover and let rise (bulk ferment) at room temperature for a total of 2 to 2 ½ hours. After one hour, gently deflate the dough by turning it out onto a lightly floured surface, fold the top down, the bottom up and each of the sides in toward the center, then turn over and place it back in the bowl. Spray the top lightly with oil to keep it from drying out, cover tightly and let rise for the remaining time, until doubled in bulk and your floured finger leaves a hole that does not fill in.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 3 equal pieces. Shape into rounds and place each loaf seam side up in a parchment-lined or well-floured, cloth-lined basket or bowl. (If you are using the Dutch oven method you will want to use parchment and place the loaf seam side down as it is difficult to invert the loaf into the hot pan without deflating it.) Spray lightly with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. After one hour, you may retard one or more of the loaves in the refrigerator overnight and bake them the next day.

30 to 45 minutes before you plan to bake, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

For the Dutch oven method: Place the Dutch oven with the lid on it in the oven to preheat for at least 30 minutes. When ready to bake, carefully remove it from the oven, remove the lid, transfer the loaf along with the parchment to the Dutch oven, slash the top of the loaf, place the lid on and return to the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake for 25 minutes (30 if the loaf has been refrigerated.) Remove the lid and continue baking another 10 to 15 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom. It should reach at least 200 degrees in the center of the loaf. Cool on a wire rack before slicing or eating.

For the cloche method: Place the cloche (no need to soak) on a baking stone in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees for at least 30 minutes. When ready to bake, remove the cloche from the oven, transfer the slashed loaf to a peel (or the back of a baking sheet) you have sprinkled with semolina or cornmeal and slide it onto the stone. Immediately cover with the clay cloche, reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake for 25 minutes (30 if the loaf has been refrigerated). Uncover the loaf and continue baking another 10 to 15 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom. It should reach at least 200 degrees in the center of the loaf. Cool on a wire rack before slicing or eating.

Note: Use the overnight method for best flavor. If you're in a real hurry you can use boiling water for the soaker and let it cool while the sponge ferments for one hour at room temperature. Then proceed with mixing instructions.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Whole Wheat Applesauce Muffins

I made these last night to use up some homemade applesauce. They are simple to put together and can be varied by adding raisins, dried cranberries and/or nuts. I always use flour ground from soft white wheat for muffins. If you're buying flour, look for whole wheat pastry flour.
1 1/4 cups applesauce (unsweetened is fine)
1 large egg
1/4 cup canola or safflower oil
1/4 cup honey (measure in the same cup you used for the oil and it will slide right out.)
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I am a new convert to freshly grated nutmeg!)
optional: 3/4 to 1 cup chopped nuts, raisins or dried cranberries or a combination

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together the applesauce, egg, oil and honey in a large bowl. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl. Whisk into the applesauce mixture just until there are no dry spots. Fold in the nuts and/or dried fruit, if using with a rubber scraper.

This recipe will make 10 muffins without the optional ingredients or 12 muffins with the addition of the nuts and/or fruit. I leave the center two cups empty when making "plain" muffins, so the pan doesn't warp. This is a fairly lowfat recipe so paper bake cups don't work very well. Either grease the muffin cups or spray with oil then fill with the batter.
I use an ice cream scoop!

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Let cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack or serving basket.
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Friday, January 23, 2009

Cooking for Charity Bread Class

I'll be helping out with the next Cooking for Charity class on Wednesday, January 28th at 6:00 pm at South Stephens Appliance in Roseburg. Mary Edwards will be making Portuguese Hard Rolls, Ed Hoffman will make a Country French Sourdough and I will be doing this Five-Grain Bread and talking about (and grinding) whole grain flours.

This loaf is made with an overnight sponge and a whole grain soaker and includes wheat, rye, cornmeal, flaxseeds, and rolled oats. It can be baked as a pan loaf, but for a crusty hearth loaf I'll be demonstrating a Dutch oven technique and baking on a stone with a inexpensive, homemade clay pot "cloche." Both methods trap the steam coming out of the dough as it bakes and are far superior to spraying uncovered loaves with a plant mister.

You can register by calling 957-5646. The $35 fee is tax deductible as all proceeds go to benefit Douglas C.A.R.E.S.

"In the Kitchen" with Chocolate

The next "In the Kitchen" class offered by the Douglas County OSU Extension Master Food preservers will be held Thursday, February 12 from 10 am to 2:00 pm at the Sutherlin Community Building, 150 S. Willamette St. (off Central Avenue) in Sutherlin.

Kathey Linn, owner of Umpqua Valley Chocolates, will demo several confections in time for Valentine's Day! There will be plenty of delicious samples & tips. Geri Johnson will present a short session on cake decorating.

Kathey makes divine caramels and truffles. I think her Strawberry & Balsamic Truffle is my favorite, but everything she makes is delicious.

Cost for the class is $15.

To register, stop by the Extension office at 1134 SE Douglas in Roseburg or print off a form at and mail it with your check to:

Douglas Co/OSU Extension
Attn: MFP-CL
PO Box 1165
Roseburg, OR 97470

For more information contact the OSU Extension office at 672-4461.

New Printer-Friendly Posts!

It's been a long time coming, but I finally figured out how to make a printer-friendly option for my posts. Now, if you scroll down to the bottom of the post or recipe you will see a link that says "Print this Post." When you click on it you will print only the photo and text for that post, without the header, side-bar, archives, etc. No more cutting and pasting into your word processor! You can check it out by using your print preview tool to see how the printed post would look. Doesn't work from the home page; you must click on a post link.

Only a couple of drawbacks. First, if I set my blog to "Show Comments" it will print all of the comments, which can turn a one-page recipe into two pages. If I set my blog to exclude the comments, you can't see them online. I'll keep working on that. Second, it doesn't print the name of the blog anywhere on the page. Lest you forget where the recipe came from, I have added "flavorsoftheumpqua" next to my name at the end of each post.

If any of you know how to fix either of these two technical difficulties, you could be rewarded with something delicious from my kitchen! I'd rather be baking!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Debbie's Pantry

This is my friend Debbie's pantry. She's my inspiration for canning! Debbie and her husband have a huge garden and they spend the summer preserving their harvest for year-round use. Every fall we get to take a Cub Scout field trip out to their place and the scouts learn a good bit about self-sufficiency. They get to tour the garden and orchard, see the chickens and goats, churn butter, press apples for cider and then Debbie serves them her incredible homemade doughnuts. Someday I'm going to have shelves that look like this.....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Canning Carrots

My friend, Laura, and I spent the day baking bread and canning carrots. The 25 pound bag I bought yesterday filled 30 pint jars, with a couple carrots leftover for munching on. We canned 17 pints of carrots sticks in orange juice and 13 pints of carrot slices, a few in juice, the rest in water. Before serving, the juice (pineapple juice works well too) can be thickened with a bit of cornstarch to make glazed carrots for an easy sidedish. The slices canned in water are a great addition to soups and stews. Either type can be pureed and used in place of grated raw carrots in carrot cake or muffins.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Carrot Salad with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts

This salad was not a big hit with my family, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! I love the sweet-tart flavor of dried cranberries in just about anything.

1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3 large carrots, grated
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, about 1/2 an orange
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, one whole lime
1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons walnut oil
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
a few grinds of pepper

Spread the walnuts in a pie pan and toast in a 400 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes, just until they become fragrant. Set aside to cool.

Toss the grated carrots and cranberries together in a serving bowl.

Whisk together the juices, honey, oil, salt and pepper. Pour over the carrot mixture and toss to combine. Add the walnuts just before serving. Makes four good-sized servings.

Stocking up for the winter

Kruse Farms will be closing for the winter this Saturday. Now is the time to stock up on the last of the local produce. Everything is 20% off this week! I bought a 50 pound box of potatoes from Malin, Oregon. They will store quite nicely in the garage for the next few months. I also bought a 25 pound bag of carrots, most of which a friend and I are going to can tomorrow. Local beets, turnips, acorn squash and red onions are available too.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What's for Dinner? A Taste of Turkey (the country, not the bird we're all tired of)

Our next OSU Extension/Master Food Preserver What's for Dinner? class will be held Wednesday, January 21 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Sutherlin Community Building, 150 S. Willamette St. (off Central Avenue), Sutherlin, Oregon.

This month we are featuring a Turkish menu of:
Red Lentil Soup
Shepherd's Salad
Grilled peppers with yogurt
Rotisserie chicken
Grilled Lamb with tomatoes and onions
Turkish Tea

The class will be taught by friends of mine, Ron and Jane Brown of Umpqua, who lived in Turkey for more than three years while they both served in the US Air Force. The Browns spent most of their time in small villages and towns and developed a love for the local cuisine. I'm sure they'll have some great stories to share

A full lunch is included with the $15 registration fee.

To register stop by the Extension office at 1134 SE Douglas in Roseburg or print off a form at and mail it with your check to:

Douglas Co/OSU Extension
Attn: MFP-CLPO Box 1165
Roseburg, OR 97470

Pre-registration is required. Class is limited to 24 participants. Registration deadline is Monday, January 19 by 5:00 PM. Questions? Call the OSU Extension office at 672-4461.

Hope to see you there!