Monday, September 5, 2016

Ham and Gruyere Hash Brown Waffles

I'm always looking for a new twist on breakfast. I ran across this recipe while looking at the September/October 2016 issue of Eating Well, and thought these sounded easy and amazing. I whipped them up this morning for breakfast in less than 20 minutes, and they were delicious! I used an herbed butter to top these waffles, but they probably didn't even need that. They were a little salty, a little smoky, and a lot delicious. They are also entirely gluten free, which is a bonus if you've got someone in your house who can't eat gluten (do pay attention to the shredded potatoes you're using if they are pre-packaged to ensure they don't have any gluten added). My mind is racing with all sorts of fun variations you can do with this basic recipe. This one has gone into the permanent files.

Ham and Gruyere Hash Brown Waffles
Ingredients:
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives or 1 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
20 ounces frozen shredded hash browns (about 7 cups), thawed or a 20-ounce bag of fresh shredded potatoes
1 cup diced ham
1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese

1. Preheat a classic waffle iron to medium-high.

2. Whisk eggs, oil, garlic, chives and pepper in a large bowl.

3. Place hash browns in the center of a clean kitchen towel. Gather up the edges of the towel and twist and squeeze to wring out excess moisture from the hash browns. Stir the hash browns, ham and cheese into the egg mixture. *NOTE: If you using the fresh shredded potatoes, you can skip the squeezing step.*

4. Coat the waffle iron with cooking spray. Use a generous 1 cup of the mixture per waffle and cook until browned and crispy, about 5 minutes each.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sandwich bread with no added sweetener

I make a lot of bread. I love the whole process from the smell of yeasty goodness, to the kneading of the dough, to slow gentle rising of the dough, to the final golden brown product that makes the whole house smell like a boulangerie in Paris. But have you tried finding a recipe for sandwich bread (or bread in general) that doesn't have sugar in it? Particularly a white bread? Good luck! Why is that? Why does the bread need the sugar? Many think the yeast needs the sugar to feed on. Wrong. Bread without sugar rises in just the same way. Many think the flavor with sugar is better. Wrong. You can eat this bread (below) and you'd never know the sugar is missing. There is absolutely no reason to add sugar to everyday sandwich bread. So, here's my recipe for sandwich bread with no added sweeteners. Try it! You'll love it. I also used this same recipe and swapped out half the AP flour with whole wheat pastry flour. The bread was just as good.

Sandwich bread with no added sweetener
Ingredients:
3 cups unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup milk (mix milk and water together and heat to approx. 110 degrees)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 packet instant yeast

1. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, flour your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. Or mix and knead the dough using an electric mixer or food processor. I use the dough hook on my KitchenAid for roughly 4-5 minutes.

2. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise until puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

3. Gently deflate the dough and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into an 8" log. (I love the instructions on The Kitchn site for how to shape a bread loaf into a log to get into your pan.)

4. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 60 minutes, until it's domed about 1" above the edge of the pan.

5. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes, until it's light golden brown.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

English muffins with no sugar

I've been eliminating sugar from my diet since the beginning of the year. This has been more of a challenge than I originally thought, not because I'm dying for sugar (although, there are days that are tougher than others), but because pretty much every product on the market (and I'm talking savory products) has sugar in it. Crackers? Yep. Soup? Yep. Bread? For sure. I thought I might be safe with English muffins, but, no, they all have some form of sugar in it. So, I took matters into my own hands (after watching a Great British Baking Show where they made English muffins), and decided to whip up my own muffins sans sugar, honey or any other sweetener. Now, I will warn you now ... this is not a traditional English muffin recipe where you knead the dough, let it rise, roll it out and cut the muffins before griddling them. You can certainly find a recipe (and I probably will at some point try that version) like that. But this recipe is more of a free-form English muffin. I do use a griddle (traditional), but this recipe also requires a bake in the oven (not traditional). It's a modified version of the New York Times recipe, and as long as you don't mind working with a wet dough and getting your hands a bit doughy, this recipe is easy, knead-free, and delicious. Just don't say you haven't been warned. Please don't despair when you have yeasty, wet dough dripping off your fingers. Wait until you taste these babies.

English muffins with no sugar
Ingredients:
1 packet active dry yeast
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
1/2 cup warm whole milk
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon
Cornmeal, preferably coarse, as needed

1. In a small bowl combine yeast and 1/3 cup warm water and let rest until yeast has dissolved, about 5 minutes.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and put it in a large bowl. Whisk in yogurt, milk, salt and the yeast mixture.

3. Add flours and baking soda to bowl and beat thoroughly with a spoon or rubber spatula until well combined. Cover bowl and let rest in a warm spot for 1 to 1 & 1/2 hours, or until dough has doubled.

4. Heat oven 350 degrees. Lightly dust a small baking sheet with cornmeal.

5. Place a large skillet over medium heat and melt 1 tablespoon butter or use an electric griddle at 350 degrees (that's what I use). Using a large ice cream scoop or 1/2 cup measuring cup, drop batter into skillet to form round muffins about 4 inches in diameter, mounding the batter in the center. (You may need to coax the dough a little with your fingers, so be careful of the hot pan, and don’t worry if they’re not perfectly circular.) If using a skillet, reduce heat to low and cook 3 to 5 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown. (Be careful not to let them burn.) If using a griddle, keep heat at 350 degrees, but watch the muffins carefully.

6. Flip muffins using a spatula. Cook 2 to 4 minutes or until the other sides are golden brown. Place muffins on prepared baking sheet. Repeat using remaining batter and another tablespoon of butter.

7. Bake muffins in oven for 10-12 minutes, or until puffed and cooked through. Split the muffins with a fork and toast before eating.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Grown up Ramen

My boys adore top ramen. I like the idea, but those packages with the overly salty seasoning packet just makes me cringe. So, I set out to make my own grown up version of ramen. I wanted chicken, egg, spinach and a really flavorful broth. This recipe fit the bill quite well. And, it's amazingly easy to modify based on what's in your fridge and pantry.

Grown up Ramen
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
1 tablespoon soy sauce, or more, to taste
1 tsp. fish sauce
3 pkgs ramen noodles (discard seasoning packets)
3 cups baby spinach
1 carrot, grated
2 tablespoons scallions (the green parts)
1 cup chopped, roasted chicken
2-3 soft-boiled eggs, sliced lengthwise

1. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

2. Whisk in chicken broth, soy sauce, fish sauce and 3 cups water.

3. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes. Stir in noodles until loosened and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes.

4. Stir in spinach, carrot and scallions until the spinach begins to wilt, about 2 minutes. Top with chicken and eggs.

5. Serve immediately.

Chicken Coconut Meatballs

I saw a variation of these meatballs in a cookbook I've been using to eliminate sugar from my diet. The original recipe had curry powder in these, which, if you like curry powder, would be lovely. I do not, so I opted to leave the curry powder out. But these were just delicious, hearty and very filling. I served them over brown rice with some roasted broccoli on the side. Yum.

Chicken Coconut Meatballs

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken (I used thighs, but a combo of breasts and thighs would be great)
1 carrot, grated
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
handful of cilantro leaves
coconut oil

1. Put everything, except the oil, into a food processor and blend until smooth.

2. Using your hands, form 24 small balls (or 12 larger ones).

3. Heat several tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When it is hot enough that a meatball sizzles as soon as it hits the pan, put the meatballs in. Cook in batches.

4. Cook for 2 minutes, then roll the meatballs over and cook for 5 more minutes. (Cook time will be longer if you do larger meatballs.) Put a lid on the pan and cook for another 6-8 minutes. Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Whole Wheat Artisan Bread No Sugar

I have been looking for a recipe for whole wheat bread that has no sugar, honey or any other sweetener in it. This is more challenging than you would think. I also wanted something that would be relatively easy to make and didn't require a super long proofing time. I scored big time when I found this recipe on Heartful Habits for a simple whole wheat artisan bread that is made simply with water, AP flour, whole wheat flour, yeast and salt. That's it. It's SUPER easy to make, and it is SO delicious! In fact, I think I like it better than any other bread I've made - not kidding. It's so good. I think I'll be making this on a regular basis.

Whole Wheat Artisan Bread - No Sugar

Ingredients:
1.5 c warm water (about 110 degrees - and yes, I test mine with a thermometer)
1/2 tbsp + 3/4 tsp dry, active yeast (or instant yeast works here as well)
3/4 tsp salt
1.75 c whole wheat flour
1.5 c all purpose flour

1. Place all ingredients into a large lidded bowl or container.

2. Mix with a wooden spoon to combine.

3. Place lid on somewhat loosely to allow gases from the yeast to escape. Place somewhere warm to rise for 2 hours.

4. Shape the dough, and place on lightly floured parchment paper. Cover and allow to rest for 40 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place baking sheet (I used a baking stone) in oven at this time as well to warm up. Also put in an oven safe dish of water to create steam.

6. With a serrated knife make a few slashes across the loaf. Place the loaf on the parchment paper onto your hot baking sheet/pan/stone and into the oven.

7. Bake for 30-40 minutes. The bread is done when the crust is golden, and it sounds hollow when you tap it with your knuckle.

Bacon and Egg "Cupcakes"

I'm always looking for a quick, protein-filled breakfast that is nutritious and satisfying. If I can grab and go, even better! So when I saw these in I Quit Sugar, a new book I got over Christmas, I knew we had to try them out. We did four of these as scrambled eggs, since that's what Andy likes, and the rest we did as eggs just cracked right into the muffin tin. The recipe calls for them to be cooked for 15 minutes. This is a little long as all my yolks were hard cooked. I want a runny yolk, so I'll be experimenting with lower cooking time. Either way, these were delicious, and I will definitely be cooking them again.

Bacon and Egg Cupcakes

Ingredients:
12 eggs
10-12 slices bacon (you may need to cut these to fit the muffin tin)
Feta Cheese
Herbs

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Lightly grease a muffin tine. Line each cu with a slice of bacon, pressing the bacon around the sides of the hole, not on the bottom. If you like crispier bacon, cook for 5-8 minutes. Remove from the oven.

3. Crack one egg into each hole.

4. Sprinkle with cheese and fresh herbs.

5.Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the egg is the doneness you like. Leave in the pan for 1 minute, and then using knife, remove. Enjoy immediately.