Growing up I always loved when my mother would have chocolate éclairs bursting with fresh whipped cream for desert. They seemed so decadent – or rather they were and still are, but now as a baker, having baked éclairs I wonder why they weren’t more commonly on the desert plate since they are really very easy to make (and that’s not overselling it).
For those that think whole grain translates into blah, well this is a great recipe to demonstrate that finely ground whole grain flour can and will wow.
The first domestic scale stand mixer came about in 1918 as a product from the Hobart Company. That machine when tested earned the moniker – KitchenAid. This is pretty much that original design – one that has a separate motor rather than one built into the unit. I picked this one up in rough shape cosmetically but otherwise in excellent physical condition. For those who might be interested in seeing more details of this
really cool machine – working with it betrays it’s commercial lineage – I’ve got a bunch of photos here.
Vintage Hobart C210 Stand Mixer
Front view Hobart C210 Stand Mixer
Hobart C210 Stand Mixer Side View
Hobart C210 Stand Mixer – back view
Motor Tag – Hobart C210 Stand Mixer
Hobart Sticker on C210 Stand Mixer Motor
View of the foot of the c210 Stand Mixer
View from underside of c210 Hobart Stand Mixer base – bolt holding head to base
Hobart c210 Base (bowl removed)
Bowl holder showing a good example of the pinstriping
Every had one of those days where you didn’t really feel like spending the time to pull together a meal? If you are like me – it’s likely more than one. Now some might head out to a restaurant – but that can get pricey. Save yourself a load of cash by having some go-to meals solutions on hand for occasions like this.
In my case one of these “solutions” is hearty turkey soup made using turkey and turkey broth I’ve pressure canned. Not only is that a cheap product that can sit on the shelf, but combined with carrots, some frozen veggies and a bit of onion it makes a fantastic nearly instant hearty turkey soup. Toss in whole wheat biscuits fresh from the oven and a low fuss dinner is on the table in 25 minutes.
This loaf will blow your socks off it is awesome good. Yet like any other quick bread this is a breeze to whip up taking only moments worth of prep work. In addition to the whole grain it features an abundance of pumpkin – pumpkin is strangely in short supply in many loaves, that’s not the case here. As well, the sugar content isn’t as high as other loaves – and with the richness of the pumpkin and spice flavor you don’t miss the lesser amount of sugar. In my case I use my home canned pumpkin cubes which only need to be mashed up with a fork.
If you like pumpkin and do whole grain baking this is a recipe you need to try. I am sure it will become one of your favorites.
There’s good reason why biscuits were an essential part of pioneer cooking fare – they are quick and easy to make, are incredibly versatile and especially when warm right from the oven – like most fresh baking – make any meal go from whatever to wow! They were the perfect tool for the busy pioneer wife to pull together to make her meals special. Not so surprisingly they fill that same role today just as well. Between work and school and a myriad of other things that fill our modern lives the busyness while different is likely often just as much of an issue today as it was a hundred years ago – so any modern baker – male or female, hitched or not – should have a good basic biscuit recipe to turn to in times of need. This happens to be a great and versatile one.
My family fell in love with Reitveld chairs while my brother and his family were living in Swarthmore in Philly. They were literally a block away from the wonderful Swarthmore College campus which features an exceptional arboretum and an entire campus filled with both beautiful and cool trees and plants. It also features numerous cedar Reitveld chairs scattered around the campus which being in left in natural finish don’t stand out nearly as much as their collection of aderondac/mascoka chairs – including a giant one – on their main lawn. But, while not as flashy as their aderondac cousins the Reitveld chairs are incredibly seductive once you allow your body to settle into the contours. It just works with the human body – big or small, male or female it feel awesome. It practically begs to have you settle down with a beverage – coffee, wine, beer or maybe a homemade soda – but certainly not a superficial store bought soda – and a book or in a circle of friends for reflecting or lively discussion.
Yet in-spite of how wonderfully this chair fits it is a wonderfully simple design – and that makes it a comparatively easy project to undertake and build. That’s just what I did – that siren sound to the body was too much to resist! Follow along over the next couple of posts and I’ll share with you how easy it is to build.
So Libby’s just announced that due to wet weather production of canned pumpkin this year would be half the previous year’s quantity. I love pumpkin in recipes but this news doesn’t particularly distress me and hasn’t sent me on a panic buying binge – I can my own pumpkin.
I actually buy the sugar pumpkins for canning, but they are just as cheap as they have been in previous years at about a dollar each – which nets more that a can worth of pumpkin – which on sale averages about $1.50 and considerably more on a day to day basis.
Cutting the rind from the pumpkin
Now you may be wondering why bother canning at all, why not just let the pumpkin sit on the shelf since as a winter squash they should last. Alas, while some winter squash are great at avoiding rot for prolonged periods – my favorite being Seminole squash, which in addition to tasting great have to be some of the toughest vegetables out there – not only in terms of the fruit lasting but also the vines which are rock solid. Unfortunately, they do require a rather long season for Eastern Ontario… if you are in a more temperate locale you definitely need to give them a try – but divergence aside – pie pumpkins seem to want to rot fairly soon after picking, which means to use them requires canning. If I had a larger area I’d probably just dispense with rot prone pie pumpkins and grow winter squash that make meals and pumpkin baking every bit as good if not better than sugar pumpkins, but given my relative lack of space buying less shelf stable goods and preserving them is a sensible balance.
Jars of canned pumpkin
Fortunately preserving them is easy. You’ll need to cut the pumpkin up, clean out the seeds interior guts, remove the outer skin and then cut the meat up into chunks about 3/4″ to 1″ square and then put it in a pot of water that you bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Then you’ll hot pack and pressure can. The full instructions can be found on the appropriate page at the National Center for Home Food Preservation website here.
The pressure canner needed to carry this out is an investment, but here’s another example of making that purchase earn it’s return. I put back the equivalent of 30 cans of pumpkin saving roughly $30. Now that may not seem like much but given the pressure cooker costs $400 that savings is enough to pay for around 7% of the total cost for an evening worth of invested time, that’s probably better than your stock portfolio did, and it will likely taste a whole lot better.
When I first started making homemade naan several years ago I did the mixing and kneading by hand. It’s a bit of work to say the least. But, now I let the bread machine do the work. You’ll need to “trick it” to get the job done but it does an excellent job. A stand mixer would perform equally well not doubt – as long as it can handle making heavy bread dough.
So, what’s the “trick”? Well, a standard bread machine cycle won’t kneed the dough well enough – so you need to put it through the initial mixing and kneading cycle a few times. I usually find it’s three cycles on my double paddle machine – but your mileage may vary. But the result you want to achieve is the same slightly shiny stretchy dough.
Whole wheat naan on baking sheet
Apart from the need to put the bread machine on the dough cycle and reset it twice – allowing it to continue with the full dough cycle on the third go – making awesome whole wheat naan is easy and fast. It’s a great way to accompany Indian food such as the slow-cooker butter chicken we posted. Like the butter chicken you can prepare your naan dough the day before and if you don’t bake it right away you can put it in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator until you roll it out and bake it the next evening, so the two make a great pair – folks won’t believe you didn’t take the day off to slave in the kitchen when you put a meal like this in-front of them.
Finally, there are a bunch of ways to bake your naan. You can do it on a skillet or frypan on the stove top – flipping it over to finish both sides, you can make it in the pizza oven, or you can bake it on an overturned cookie sheet either in the oven or on the gas bbq. I usually favor the oven method since it allows me to bake the half dozen naan all at once, rather than doing one or two at a time. You still will need to flip them over halfway thorough the baking process even in the oven. The actual baking time is under ten minutes total.
In the time that it takes me to roll out the naan, the oven to heat up to temperature and the naan to then bake is just about what it takes for the rice to finish cooking and the table to be prepped – a pretty efficient meal plan all told.
Give it a try and you’ll be all smiles. Click on the show title for the full recipe.
Ok, so “the best” is a pretty high standard given I’ve been able to have a lot of butter chicken over the years – but this is it. What’s even better is it is dead simple to prepare and it’s a slow-cooker recipe so you’ll be able to walk away in the morning knowing you’ll return at meal time to a fantastic meal ready to serve in the 20 minutes or so that it takes to prep the rice and naan.
I usually do the little prep work that is required the night before put everything into the slow-cooker crock and then slide that into the fridge. Before I leave in the morning it’s as simple as putting the crock into the slow-cooker and turning it on low. That’s it, and that’s part of why I love it.
Butter chicken ingredients in the slow cooker
The prep the evening before is easy enough – and usually gets done while a show or video plays in the background. Cut up your chicken and onions and fry them up on medium heat until the onions are translucent. While you are doing this you can put the remaining ingredients into the slow cooker and mix and stir in the chicken, onions and butter when those are ready. If this is a night before prep then the whole slowcooker pot gets put into the fridge overnight – and pulled out in the morning to be put on low for the eight to ten hours that you are off working or living. It can also be prepared faster on the high setting which cuts the time just over half – to 5 to 6 hours.
The work is little but the results won’t betray that. Even picky eaters will be salivating at the prospect of this meal – and the leftovers the next day will make your classroom or office mates jealous.
After a few weeks of really fantastic warm weather the briskness of the fall has caught up with us in this neck of the woods. The trees are starting to turn and it won’t be long before low lying areas get hit by the first fall frost – so it’s the time of the year to race to put up the bounty of the season before the blankets of snow mantle the landscape.
That means in part the apple harvest that started a month or so ago continues – and will draw to a close soon enough. The cider press is now out and we’ve had our first tastes of many of the freshest cider – dripping right from the press cylinder – and incredible treat.
As the cider harvest picks up speed we’ll be canning lots and reducing a fair bit to apple cider syrup – which is a great thing to have in the kitchen, and a fair measure will find stability as hard cider. But this first pressing is destined to be gulped down – much of it eagerly consumed right off the press, and the rest within the next day or two from the fridge.
For all the fun – and the immediacy of the reward does make it fun – this is a good example of how a bit of investment in assets pay off again and again. This latest rendition of the cider press – the one perfected for the book – is now three years old. After that initial investment in the first year of time and materials it has just continued to pay dividends. I haven’t penciled down the figures, but I’d venture a guess that this investment has provided a better ROI than most folks stock portfolios, which is pretty cool when it also yields a lot of childish grins – on faces both young and old.