Cherry Clafoutis (french custard)

Cherry Clafoutis

1 lb fresh cherries pitted and halved

1 cup whole milk

1/3 cup heavy cream

4 eggs

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

Bakes well in 10″ springform pan or ramekins, I have also  made this in a pie pan.

Mix milk and cream in saucepan. Simmer then set aside.

In a bowl mix eggs, flour, sugar, zest, vanilla and salt. Slowly whisk in the hot milk mixture.

Spread cherries in the bottom of your baking dish. Pour custard over cherries.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45-55  minutes (30 for ramekins)

This is delicious warm or cold. I have made this with blueberries, peaches, strawberries, and diced apples. There are endless variations. I think next time I will try maple syrup in place of the sugar, and pecans instead of fruit. If you use farm fresh eggs and milk from grass-fed cows this is actually a healthy food!

Ham and Asparagus Strata

This is an easy make-ahead breakfast. You can mix it up the night before and then bake it the next morning. It also makes a fast and easy dinner.

Ham & Asparagus Strata

4 English muffins, torn into pieces

2 cups cooked ham

2 cups fresh asparagus, cut up

4-6 oz Gruyère cheese, cubed

5 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups milk

2 Tbsp onion, finely chopped

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp fresh black pepper

  • Grease a 2 quart casserole dish. Spread half of the english muffin pieces on the bottom.
  • Top with ham, asparagus and cheese cubes
  • Top with remaining english muffin pieces
  • In a bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, milk, onion, mustard and pepper
  • Pour this mixture over casserole dish, coating everything evenly
  • Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours
  • Bake, uncovered at 325 degrees for 60-65 minutes

There are a zillion variations on this recipe. I have replaced the ham with chicken before. I have used broccoli instead of asparagus. I have used swiss instead of Gruyère. Let your imagination go wild!

Homemade Wheat Thin Crackers (soaked)

I am still playing around with cracker recipes! I have never eaten so many crackers in my life. But we all know that I am an absolute cheese-oholic. And what better to place under my cheese, then a nice crispy cracker. Why bother making them yourself you ask? This is the ingredient list from a regular box of plain Wheat Thins:

  • Enriched Whole Wheat Flour- enriched because they strip and extrude the grain at extremely high temperature and pressure, killing every vitamin and mineral naturally found in wheat. So synthetic  vitamins are added back in to try and fool you. I personally doubt that we absorb much, if any, of these synthetic vitamins.
  • Soybean Oil- from GMO soybeans. Don’t even get me started
  • Cornstarch-from GMO corn
  • Malt Syrup-sweetener made from GMO corn
  • Sugar- made from GMO sugar beets
  • BHT- added to the packaging to “preserve freshness” This is a fancy way of saying, “you are eating a rancid food and we added a deodorizer to the box so it doesn’t stink when you open it.

Sound appetizing? These crackers are really very easy to make. And the soaking step is ridiculously simple. I hate to shop, so for me this is actually a much easier option than going to a store and buying a box of premade crackers. Ha!

Homemade Wheat Thin Crackers (soaked)

1 1/4 cup organic wheat flour (freshly ground if you can)

1/4 cup water + 2Tbsp

4 Tbsp butter (unsalted)

1 1/2 Tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt (plus more for salting before baking)

  • Combine flour, sugar, salt, and paprika.
  • Cut in the butter. I used a food processor, but you don’t have to.
  • Add water and stir to combine.

Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and place in a very warm location. Mine took a nice long nap over night on top of the fridge. The ideal temperature would be between 110 and 130 degrees. Maybe the oven with the pilot light? And ideas? Between baking and letting it sit out for 8-24 hours you are breaking down a very large portion of the phytic acid and pre-digesting the gluten. I also like soaking because it breaks your recipes up into two seperate days, which to me feels like less work for some reason….If you don’t care about soaking, then carry on with the baking right now!

Flour your counter top and roll out the dough. You want the crackers to be very thin, so they will be crispy. Transfer the dough to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Score the crackers deeply with a sharp knife. I make mine exactly the size of my mouth 🙂 Sprinkle with a small amount of extra salt. I over did it the first time and they were too salty, so beware.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 5-10 minutes. Check them after 5 and remove the crackers that are smaller or thinner and are browning too fast. You’ll know the ones….cool. break. eat.

For the sake of the experiment I actually “borrowed” some wheat thins from a co-worker and brang them home. I ate a real wheat thin and a homemade wheat thin and they tasted EXACTLY THE SAME. I made Rob test them both with his eyes closed and he couldn’t tell the difference. Success!

For the absolute best nutritional value, grind your flour fresh. I have not squeezed the grain mill into my budget yet, but I am almost there. I can’t wait!

P.S If you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer, you can buy a very inexpensive attachment for it that will grind fresh grain! I wish I had one…..but I am still using a good old fashioned wooden spoon 🙂

Homemade Cheese Crackers

Parmesan and Garlic

Crackers have been on my list of things to make homemade for almost a year. I kept putting it off because I thought it would be hard. Trust me, this took 15-20 minutes tops. They are also delicious! My favorite snack is cheese and crackers. Now I have cheese in the cracker, and cheese on the cracker. What could be better than that?

I have been playing around with this recipe all weekend (yes, we have a lot of crackers to eat).There are endless variations to this recipe. As long as you keep the measurements the same, you can use any cheese or spice that you like. I would stick with whole wheat flour though. White flour would probably end up a more doughy, soft cracker. These are crispy and delicious. Enjoy the experiment!

Parmesan Garlic Crackers

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

4 Tbsp butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 onion powder

1 tsp parsley flakes

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly flour a cookie sheet, or cover with parchment paper.

In your food processor (with the grating blade) grate the parmesan cheese. Leave the cheese in the food processor and change the blade to the regular cutting blade. Add flour, salt, spices and butter. Pulse to cut in the butter (this will also make the cheese finer, which is what you want).

Add 1/4 cup of cream. You may need an additional 1 or 2 tablespoons of cream. The dough should barely stick together, and not be wet or sticky at all.

Dump dough on to a lightly floured counter top. Roll out very thin. 1/4″ max. (if you like a soft, chewy cracker you can make them thicker)

Cut your rolled dough into a square. Place the square on to the cookie sheet. Using a very sharp knife, cut the dough into bite size cracker pieces. Don’t worry if it doesn’t cut all the way through, just deeply score them.

Roll out the remaining dough, until you have used it all up. Sprinkle the pan of crackers with sea salt.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 12 minutes. Crackers should be light brown on top, and a darker brown around the edges. Don’t over bake or the crackers taste scorched. It is better to under bake and let them crisp up on the hot pan, then to burn them.

This makes one quart-size freezer bag full of crackers. Serve with Salmon and Yogurt Cheese Cracker Spread or any sort of raw cheese.

Honey Whole Wheat

So what cheese/spice combo are you going to try? Here are my future cracker experiments:

Blue Cheese and Rye Crackers

Cream Cheese and Carmel Crackers

Sesame Seed and Garlic Crackers

Swiss Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

Garlic and Basil Crackers

Cayenne and Cumin Crackers

Chile Powder and Sweet Onion Crackers

Sun Dried Tomato and Gorgonzola Crackers

Any other ideas?

Chorizo and Scrambled Egg Muffins

Chorizo and Scrambled Egg Muffins

1/2 lb chorizo (any breakfast sausage or bacon will work)

5 eggs scrambled

2 eggs for batter

1 cup flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

3 Tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp homemade baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup whole milk

1/3 cup coconut oil, gently melted

  • In skillet brown sausage. Set aside
  • In skillet scramble 5 eggs. Turn off heat.
  • In large bowl combine dry ingredients; flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt.
  • Make a well in the middle of the bowl. Add milk, oil, maple syrup and remaining 2 eggs. Mix well.
  • Fold in eggs and chorizo,
  • Fill a buttered muffin pan. Use 1/4 cup of batter for each muffin. Each muffin cup should be full to the top.
  • Bake in 400 degree oven for 16-18 minutes. Tops should be golden brown.

These are excellent hot or cold. I really love the texture! You have the light, flakey muffin and the density of the scrambled egg pieces. They also have the sweet and salty thing going.  As usual I make a large batch and take them to work for a fast high protein snack. I have also mixed in 1/2 cup of shredded cheese before baking, and they are delicious that way too. I just didn’t happen to have cheese today 🙂

Homemade Aluminum Free Baking Powder

Aluminum is a soft, durable lightweight metal. It is a very useful metal  in many industries, including the food industry. But at what cost? Aluminum deposits itself in the bones and central nervous system when eaten. It competes with calcium in the body, causing osteoporosis and growth retardation in infants. Aluminum increases estrogen related issues, including contributing to tumor growth. It has been shown to be a large factor in Alzheimer’s disease.

Aluminum is found in the following products.

    • Salted snacks
    • Hot cocoa mixes
    • Coffee creamers
    • Pickles and relish
    • Flour tortillas
    • Pizza crust
    • Doughnuts
    • Cookies
    • Pancakes
    • Waffles
    • Cupcakes
    • Cakes
    • Baking mixes
    • Brownies
    • Pastries
    • Corn bread
    • Banana bread
    • Carrot bread
    • Dipping batter for fried foods
    • Microwave Popcorn
    • Muffins
    • Self-rising flour
    • Bakeware
    • antiperspirants
    • Many body lotions and cremes
    • Most cosmetics
    • Shampoos and conditioners
    • Soaps
    • Suntan lotions
    • Lip Balm
    • Over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs containing aluminum are too numerous to list.
    • Every beverage sold in an aluminum can (attention beer and soda drinkers)
    • Every acidic food sold in an aluminum can
    • Buffered Aspirin users are ingesting as much as 700 mg of aluminum per day
    • Antacids contain 200 mg of aluminum per pill!
    • 1 slice of processed cheese contains 50 mg of aluminum

Aluminumized baking powder is now being used in many foods that were formerly prepared without baking powder, such as pizza crust, raised doughnuts, pie crusts, cookies, waffles, prepared meats, cheeses, and other products that were once aluminum-free. I suggest you  make your own!

Put the antacids down and drink a glass of raw milk!

Do you have Aluminum Toxicity?

As the metal aluminum is present in our food, water supply, and soil, most people suffer from some degree of aluminum toxicity.   After years of accumulated exposure and storage of it in body tissues, this poison can have results ranging from brain degeneration to skeletal deformities.

Symptoms:

  • It is particularly poisonous to the nervous system with a range of symptoms that can include disturbed sleep, nervousness, emotional instability, memory loss, headaches, and impaired intellect.
  • It can stop the body’s ability to digest and make use of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.  This prevents bone growth and reduces bone density.  Aluminum can also cause conditions which actually force calcium out of the bones.  Either of these situations can bring on weakness and deformation in the bone structure with crippling effects.
  • Toxicity can also result in aching muscles, speech problems, anemia, digestive problems, lowered liver function, colic and impaired kidney function.

Aluminum Free Baking Powder

1/4 cup baking soda

1/2 cup cream of tartar

1/4 cup arrow-root powder OR organic corn starch

Mix together and store in an air tight container. I have been using this for many years, and it works exactly the same as the store-bought versions. It is also much, much cheaper! Better yet, make your own sourdough starter 🙂

 

 

Overnight Sourdough Bread

I have made this bread many times and it is almost impossible to screw up. No kneading is required and it uses only 4 ingredients, you can’t go wrong there.

Overnight No Knead Sourdough Bread

3 1/2 cups bread flour

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 cup pure water (no chlorine)

1/4 cup your homemade sourdough starter

1 round cast iron dutch oven with a lid. Like this:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl or food processor. Cover with plastic wrap overnight. 12-18 hours. Dough should be very wet and sticky.

The next day prepare  your dutch oven. Generously coat with butter, then sprinkle bottom and sides with cornmeal (or other coarse grain). Form dough into a ball and place in pan. Cover and let rise 1-2 hours, or until double in size.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees

Bake with lid for 30 minutes.

Reduce heat to 450 degrees and remove lid from pan

Bake without lid for additional 15 minutes

This bread is mildly sour, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The most beautiful part is the almost zero hands on time. This is the perfect additional to a bowl of soup!

If you need additional help, check out the tutorial videos at Cultures for Health, my very favorite company for help with any and all fermenting questions 🙂

Chicken Alfredo Bake

Chicken Alfredo Bake

4 chicken breasts

1 lb angel hair pasta-cooked

Sea salt & fresh pepper to taste

Coconut oil or butter for frying

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup Asiago or parmesan cheese, shredded

1/3 cup red bell peppers, julienned

fresh basil to garnish

In heavy skillet heat coconut oil. Brown chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to an 8×8 baking dish. While chicken is cooking pour heavy cream into a saucepan and whip for 2 minutes, until thick. Turn on heat and add cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.

Pour cheese mixture over the chicken. Top with pepper strips. Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and serve over angel hair pasta.

This reheats very well, I usually double the recipe so I have leftovers for lunches. It is excellent served with crunchy garlic bread and fresh green beans. For a change, replace the chicken with shrimp and add 2 cloves crushed garlic to your sauce.

 

Wild Yeast Sourdough Starter

I have read many complicated recipes and methods for creating a sourdough starter over the years. In my mind I keep going back to the question I ask myself often. “What would they do a hundred years ago?” Well I’m going to tell you!

Wild Yeast Sourdough Starter

1 cup organic rye flour

1 cup purified water

Mix together and place in an open container. I use a 1 quart canning jar, but anything will do as long as it is plastic, glass or ceramic. Wild Yeasts do not like metals much.

Leave this jar sitting in a nice warm place. I put mine on top of the fridge, but I’ve heard of people keeping them on the water heater, in the oven with the light on, and on top of the DVD player. As long as you are in the 70 degree range you will be fine.

Now every day you are going to take the jar and add:

1/2 cup organic rye flour

1/2 cup purified water

As the jar sits there wild yeasts from the air land in the jar and start to grow in that nice warm environment, eating away at the gluten in the flour. At the end of 5-7 days you will start to see bubbles forming and it will start to smell yeasty. Now you are ready to bake!

By the time it is properly fermented you are going to have a large amount of starter to work with. If you are just starting your sourdough adventure, that is a good thing. You and your starter will be doing a lot of experimenting together so its good to have extra. Also, don’t forget to name your starter. It is a living organism, and loves being part of the family.

Starter Maintenance

I personally bake only on the weekends, usually starting on Friday night. So I leave my starter (his name is Rufus) napping in the fridge all week, on Thursday I take him out of the fridge and feed him some flour and water and instead of a lid I cover him with a coffee filter. He gets very excited when he sits on top of the fridge and gets all bubbly and full of life. By the time I’m ready to make up a batch of dough on Friday night he is ready to go! After I’m finished baking I feed him once more, and put a tight lid on him and put him back in the fridge to sleep.

Your starter should be fed once a week, whether you are baking or not. Here is your simple routine:

1. remove from fridge

2. feed water and flour

3. leave out  4-8 hours

4. cap tightly put in fridge.

 It sounds a little daunting and difficult, I know. But trust me, this couldn’t be easier. Now you have a fresh, healthy starter to use in any kind of baking. I use mine in any recipe that calls for yeast, baking, powder, or baking soda. I will post all the sourdough recipes that I use in the future.

Please, if you have any questions leave a comment and I’ll be happy to help.

Sweet Pepper Frittata

Sweet Pepper Frittata

1 onion diced

3/4 cup green bell pepper (1 medium)

3/4 red bell pepper (1 medium)

2 Tbsp butter

8 free range eggs

1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I love it with smoked Gouda!)

1/2 tsp each sea salt and fresh pepper

Melt butter in pan, sauté onions and peppers. Combine all other ingredients in a bowl and mix in the veggies. Pour into ungreased casserole dish (8×8)

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until center no long jiggles when you bump the pan.

This is a great protein rich breakfast to make at the beginning of the work week. I cut it into squares and put it in lunches. Its yummy wrapped in a homemade tortilla.

 

 

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