Yeasted Corn Bread

By September 9, 2016 Baker Blog, Baking, Bread, bread baking, Bread Recipes, Fall, Food, Recipes, summer
yeasted corn bread

Corn is still going strong and the weather is finally cooling down a bit to make baking in the kitchen fun again. This yeasted corn bread takes advantage of all the pre-fall season has to offer. 

It starts with fresh corn! 

Here’s a trick for cutting corn off the cob and not ending up with kernels all over your kitchen.

Place a smaller bowl, like a ramekin or saucer, inside a larger bowl, upside down. Put the corn cob on the small bowl, and cut with a knife down the cob. The kernels will fall into the larger bowl and catch the excess corn “juice” too: 

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Set that aside while you start the dough. Honey and corn kernels add a subtle sweetness that isn’t over powering. You could vary this recipe by adding shredded cheese or chopped peppers too! 

yeasted-corn-bread-sliceoflife

The dough will feel a little wet, but it should work it’s way up the paddle when it’s about done. By adding in the salt later in the mixing process, it helps the yeast have a bit of a jump start before being slowed down by the salt.

yeasted-corn-bread-sliceoflife-5 Ready to be transferred to a bowl for the first rise: 

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The dough is up high on the paddle, come together, but still sticky. This is what you want!

Before the rising time: 

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After the first rise: 

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Shape into two loaves and let rise again: 

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Now it’s time to bake! 

yeasted corn bread

This bread is so light and fluffy, yet it has a complex flavor from the yeast and the time it spends rising. The corn kernels get “smushed” up into the dough, but they are still in larger pieces for texture. This bread is so good as a start to a pulled pork sandwich, toasted with honey butter, or even shredded up and made into croutons

Yeasted Corn Bread
Yields 2
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
35 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 3/4 cup bread flour
  2. 1 cup cornmeal
  3. 3/4 cup fresh corn kernels at room temperature
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  5. 1 1/2 cups warm water
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 2 tablespoons honey
  8. 1 1/2 tablespoon oil
  9. 1 tablespoon salt
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, cornmeal, corn kernels and yeast for 30 seconds to combine. Add the water, eggs, honey and oil and mix for about 3 minutes. It will seem wet, but it should start to ball up around the beater. Scrape down the beater and add the salt and mix for another 2 minutes on medium.
  2. Oil a large mixing bowl and put the dough in, turning over once to coat lightly with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until double in size, about 1 hour or longer if your room is cool.
  3. Meanwhile, grease two 9” loaf pans.
  4. Divide in half and shape into two loaves. Place in greased loaf pans and rise again till risen well above the pan rim.
  5. Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown and hollow when tapped, loaves will brown before the bake time is up but be sure to bake the full 35 minutes. You can also check the temperature with an instant read thermometer—it should be 190 degrees in the center of the bread.
  6. Immediately remove the bread from pans and cool on wire rack.
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Lemon Ice Cream

By August 19, 2016 fruit, Ice Cream, Recipes, summer
lemon ice cream

This amazingly rich ice cream is no-churn and so easy you could make it in five minutes. You might even call this “emergency ice cream” since it can be made when you need homemade ice cream as fast as possible.   

lemon no churn ice cream

All that’s needed is some lemon juice, zest, super fine sugar and heavy cream. 

You don’t even need to whip anything, just mix it all together in a medium bowl. As the Barefoot Contessa would say, “How easy is that?” The answer–just too easy. 

lemon ice cream slice of life-4

When it’s done freezing, serve in small portions.

 lemon ice cream slice of life-6

Seriously, this ice cream is so rich that it’s not to be consumed in large quantities. A perfect portion is a small scoop or two with some lovely fresh blackberries. 

lemon ice cream slice of life

A easy dessert that doesn’t take much time at all? Sign me up! 

No-Churn Lemon Ice Cream
Serves 2
So delicious and easy with just three ingredients! This lemon ice cream is super rich and smooth, with no churning. Serve in small cups with fresh berries for an easy dessert.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. Juice and Zest of 1 Lemon
  2. 1/3 cup superfine sugar
  3. 2/3 cup heavy cream
  4. 1 cup fresh blackberries (optional)
Instructions
  1. Whisk together all the ingredients until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into a shallow container and freeze, about 1 hour until firm. Serve in small portions, with fresh berries if desired.
Notes
  1. No need to buy superfine sugar if you don't already have it! Just whir 1/3 plus a tablespoon or so in the food processor until fine, about 1-2 minutes. Measure out 1/3 and proceed with the rest of the recipe.
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Pink Sandwich Pickle

By August 10, 2016 bread, Cheese, Recipes
pink sandwich pickle slice of life

This is a quick and easy pickle you can do any time of year using red beets and red cabbage. With the food processor, it comes together in a cinch. 

pink sandwich pickle slice of life

I like to bring my water to a boil in an electric kettle and then mix in the sugar and salt to make it even faster. By the time I’ve zipped all the veggies through the food processor, the pickling liquid is cooled to room temperature and I can mix them together. But you can also just do it in a small sauce pan on the stove. 

This pickle is great made the day of, as long as you give it about 30 minutes to “pickle” in the fridge. I love to make it a day ahead, and just let it hang out in the fridge for the week to use on various sandwiches, or crackers. 

Of course, a very decadent way to eat it is also on slices of toasted baguette with a smear of herbed goat cheese. 

goat cheese on bread with quick pickle

 

Quick Pink Sandwich Pickle
Serves 6
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup white vinegar
  2. 2 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  4. 1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds
  5. 1/2 cup cold water
  6. 2 cups julienned vegetables: 1 small wedge red cabbage, 1/2 a small red onion, 1 small red beet, cut in to small chunks)
Instructions
  1. Bring the water to a boil in an electric kettle or stove top kettle. Pour into a small bowl and mix in the sugar and the salt. Let come to room temperature while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. (Alternatively, bring the water to a simmer in a small pot on the stove and then stir in the sugar and salt).
  2. Using a food processor with the grating/shredding blade, run all the vegetables through to shred them.
  3. Put the vegetables in a large bowl, pour the vinegar mixture over them and add the mustard seeds. Mix well and refrigerate until chilled, or at least 30 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. This quick pickle with earthy flavors is great served on top of a sliced and toasted baguette with an herbed goat cheese.
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Pressed Focaccia Sandwich

By July 29, 2016 Bread, Dinner, easy, episode 1, Focaccia, focaccia bread, quick, Recipes, Sandwich Recipes, Sandwiches, Season 1 Episode 1 - Pilot
pressed focaccia sandwich-Slice of Life Show

Summer is in full swing and that means the temperature has risen! It’s a great time to make a sandwich for dinner and head outside or to the water to find a cool breeze. 

This sandwich starts with our focaccia bread recipe. You need about 1/2 a loaf of focaccia to make this, though you could easily scale this recipe up or down depending on how many people you want to share it with. 

pressed focaccia sandwich

Slice the focaccia bread in half, creating two flat pieces of bread.

Spread pesto on one half, and on the other, top with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle some white or red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and some herbs de province. slice of life pressed focaccia sandwich

Then start layering! Whatever combination you’ve got is okay, but here I’ve got some leftover roasted chicken, fresh mozzarella, sliced red onion, sliced tomatoes, and spinach leaves. Roasted red peppers, or chopped olives would be great in this sandwich too. 

pressed focaccia sandwich

Top with the second half of bread and wrap up in plastic wrap. Now, place in a cooler and put a casserole dish or baking sheet on the top. Then put something heavy on top of it, like the wine to go with the picnic, perhaps? 

pressed focaccia sandwich

Let it press for at least 24 hours. If doing this in the cooler, put an ice pack in there too (or a bag of ice) so that everything stays nice and chilled. Or this can be done in the fridge as well. 

The next day, remove the sandwich: 

pressed focaccia sandwich-5

Slice it up: 

pressed focaccia sandwich- Slice of Life Show

I’m ready to picnic! Just add some wine, a couple napkins and some fresh fruit. 

pressed focaccia sandwich-Slice of Life Show

Strawberry Tart with Dark Chocolate Ganache

By July 20, 2016 Baker Blog, Recipes, summer, Tarts, Galettes, & Crostatas
strawberry ganache tart - Slice of Life Show

This is an easy summer dessert that has a limited baking time — only the crust is baked for about 15-18 minutes and the rest of the tart can be assembled later or even the next day. 

A dark chocolate ganache is used for the filling, which is so simple to make. It’s rich and intense, almost like a dark chocolate truffle! This tart can easily feed 6 chocolate fiends, or more like 10-12 people who just want a little something sweet at the end of a summer meal. 

strawberry ganache tart - slice of life show

You can make all the components of this tart ahead of time and assemble it the day you want to serve it. It’s perfect for summer cookouts and potlucks. The whipped cream is a nice touch, and I’m sure ice cream would go over well too! 

One of the tricks to making a tart shell, is to form the dough into the tart pan and then refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. This will keep the crust from sagging and falling in on itself when you bake it. Another trick is to line it with parchment and fill with pie weights or dried beans (I keep a bag full of them and reuse them only for pie baking) and bake the crust like this — which is called “blind baking”. The weights keep the crust from getting air bubbles in it and keep it nice and thin and perfect for filling. If the crust looks a little pale after the baking time, it’s okay to remove the parchment and the weights and bake a little long, maybe 3-4 more minutes, until the crust looks golden brown.

This crust and method could be used for any number of tarts and a variety of fillings. The chocolate ganache filling is really simple and makes for a rich pairing with the strawberries. You just heat up some cream and pour it over a bowl with chopped chocolate (or even chocolate chips) and let it gently melt. Whisk in a little butter and viola! 

This is a summer dessert that is rich and satisfies any chocoholic without spending a lot of time over the stove or with the oven on. 

Strawberry Ganache Tart
Serves 8
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For the tart dough
  1. 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  2. 1 teaspoon salt
  3. 1 tablespoon sugar
  4. 5 tablespoons cold organic non hydrogenated shortening, such as Spectrum Naturals
  5. 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  6. 6 tablespoons ice water
For the ganache
  1. 8 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped or chocolate chips
  2. 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  3. 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut in half
  4. 1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
For the whipped cream
  1. 1 cup heavy cream
  2. 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. First, make the tart dough: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse several times.
  2. Sprinkle the shortening and the butter over the flour mixture and pulse 8-10 more times. The fat clumps should be the size of peas.
  3. With the processor running, pour the water through the feed tube. Stop the processor and see if the dough sticks together when pressed with your thumb and forefinger. If it does, dump the dough out onto a counter and form into two discs. If it doesn’t, pulse a few more times or add a little bit more water (1 teaspoon or 2). Do not allow the dough to come together in the food processor bowl.
  4. Place the wrapped disks in the fridge and chill for an hour before using.
  5. To bake, roll out to fit a 9-10 inch fluted tart pan. Press into the pan and line with parchment paper. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to chill.
  6. Bake off the pie crust: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the tart crust from the refrigerator and place in the oven, leaving the parchment and pie weights (or beans). Bake until golden brown, about 15-18 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the parchment paper and beans. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile make the chocolate ganache: Add the chocolate pieces to a medium bowl. In a small sauce pan, gently heat the cream until it barely simmers. Pour half of the hot cream into the bowl with the chocolate, and let it sit for a minute. With a whisk, start to gently wish the chocolate and the cream together, starting in the center and working your way out the outside.
  8. Slowly add the remaining cream and whisk carefully until smooth and glossy. Add the butter chunks and use a spatula to stir in the butter until melted. The mixture will be dark and glossy.
  9. Set aside until the tart crust is cool.
  10. To make the whipped cream: in a mixer fitted with the whisk attatchment, whip the cream until peaks begin to form. With the mixer running, slowly add the powdered sugar and then the vanilla. Continue to whip until the cream forms soft peaks.
  11. To assemble the tart: fill the cooled tart shell with the chocolate ganache, spooning in the the ganache and smoothing the top. Top the ganache with the sliced strawberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  12. When serving, top with the freshly whipped cream.
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Homemade Butter

By July 15, 2016 Baker Blog, In Season Now, ingredient spotlight, Katie, Katie McNeil, Oregon Coast, Recipes, summer
Slice of Life homemade butter

It rained last weekend. Not something we usually see in July at the coast but while it made for a damp day at the beach it also had some delightful aspects. The garden got a nice watering, the dust was washed off the blackberry bushes and the pastures turned verdant green. 2016-07-14 12.49.37-1The cows grazing on that rich green grass produced milk with an abundance of cream and I made butter out of it!

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Homemade butter is delicious and fresh tasting and if you let the cream culture over night you get a European style butter with a nice tang and very little moisture. Even if you are not lucky enough to have fresh milk just up the road, you can make butter at home very easily. Here’s how…..

Take a pint of cream and stir in 2 tablespoons of fresh buttermilk, cover loosely and allow to sit on the counter overnight, it should thicken slightly (you now have Creme Fraiche!).

In the morning, chill the cultured cream for a few hours. When the cultured cream is cold put it in a food processor or a mixer with a whip and turn it on as if to make whipped cream. By the way, cream does whip nicely in the food processor and makes a lovely, dense, smooth product, perfect for icing cakes.

The cream will take about 5 minutes to churn into butter, going thru the whipped cream phase:

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Now it’s starting to clump and finally breaking into buttermilk and butterfat:

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The liquid part is what was originally called “buttermilk” before what we buy now as buttermilk was commercially produced, it is the cultured whey separated from the butterfat. Drain the butterfat particles in a fine mesh strainer:

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Save the buttermilk for baking. Run cold water over the butterfat:

2016-07-14 12.49.41-2Then place the strainer in a bowl of ice water and massage gently with a spatula to rinse out the whey:2016-07-14 12.49.41-1

You will need to change the water at least once. This is very important as excess whey in the butter will cause it to spoil. You will know the whey has been massaged out when the water in your bowl is reasonably clear. Now you have unsalted butter!

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But I like salty butter for my toast so now is the time to massage in some salt. I use about a 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and simply work it in by hand.

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It will feel rather plastic, kind of like Play-doh! Once the salt is evenly distributed, roll by hand into a log and wrap well in plastic or wax paper or press into a small container and refrigerate.

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I recommend making toast immediately and slathering on some fresh homemade butter.

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Homemade Hamburger Buns

By June 24, 2016 Baker Blog, Baking, Bread, grilling, Recipes, Sandwich Recipes, summer
homemade hamburger buns

Summer is here! Summer means grilling, of course. We love to grill using charcoal–it gives amazing flavor that cannot be matched with gas. Another thing that cannot be matched is these homemade hamburger buns! They are as easy as making a loaf of bread, but far superior to any store-bought bun. 

It starts with a warm milk and yeast mixture: 

Homemade hamburger buns start with a warm milk and yeast mixture.... Slice of Life Show

Then mix in the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook. Also mix in salt, sugar, a couple tablespoons of butter and one egg. 

Homemade Hamburger buns - halfway through mixing - Slice of Life Show

Keep mixing… 

Homemade hamburger buns, mixing is looking good! Slice of Life Show

Let the dough rise for about an hour: 

best hamburger buns-13

Shape the dough into 6 or 7 buns, depending on how much your dough rises. Then you slightly flatten them and let them rise one more time: 

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After that, they are puffy and large and ready to bake! Brush with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake at 375 F for only 20-25 minutes. 

Homemade sesame seed buns - Slice of Life Show

They come out so nice and golden!

homemade sesame seed buns - Slice of Life Show

Slice into them only after they’ve cooled about 10 minutes. You can bake these a couple days ahead too, or bake months ahead and freeze in a gallon plastic bag, with most of the air gently squeezed out. 

Inside of a homemade hamburger bun -- Slice of Life Show

If you want another hamburger bun idea, try shaping our sweet potato bread recipe into buns, and bake the same way as these homemade buns. Top with sesame seeds or poppyseeds, and serve with veggie or chicken burgers. The grill is calling… can you hear it? 

homemade hamburger buns -- Slice of Life Show

Happy Summer! 

Homemade Hamburger Buns
Serves 6
A simple, yet delicious hamburger bun recipe that is moist and light enough to go with any kind of grilled burger you are serving up. You will probably have everything on hand to whip these up any time the mood for grilling strikes.
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
  2. 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  3. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter,softened, plus extra for coating the bowl
  4. 3 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  5. 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  6. 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  7. 1 egg
  8. 1 tablespoons sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Put the milk in a small saucepan and warm it over very low heat until lukewarm. Remove the pan from the heal Sprinkle the yeast over the milk, stir, and set it aside for 5 minutes to activate.
  2. Meanwhile, butter a large bowl and set it aside.
  3. In an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the yeast and milk mixture with about 1 and 1/2 cups of the flour on low. Slowly add the remaining flour along with the sugar, salt, egg, and butter. These additions should take about 1 minute.
  4. Increase the speed to medium and mix 2 more minutes. The dough should look like it’s starting to come together, but there are still pieces in the bottom of the bowl. Then turn the speed to high and mix for 2 minutes. At the end of this mixing time, the dough should be elastic and completely mixed, clearing the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl,turning once to coat it with some of the butter, and cover it loosely with plastic wrap. Set it aside in a warm area for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Divide it into 6 or 7 equal pieces, and arrange them in a row on the surface. Quickly roll each piece into a ball. Leave them, covered, on the surface for another 10 minutes to relax the gluten. Then, using a rolling pin, or your hands, flatten the balls into rounds that are 3 1/2 to 4 inches in diameter.
  7. Place the buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, put the baking sheet inside a large plastic bag, and tie the open end closed. If you don’t have a plastic bag, plastic wrap works too. Place the pan in a warm area of the kitchen and let the buns rise until they have doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 375F. Remove the sheet pan from the bag, brush each bun with water, and then sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Bake the buns for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Let them cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Slice in half and serve.
Notes
  1. I like to make a double batch and freeze them, in a gallon sized plastic bag with most of the air pushed out. To thaw, put in the fridge or on the counter overnight. If desired, you can gently warm them in the oven or split in half and toast on the grill before serving.
Adapted from Big Sur Bakery Cookbook by Michelle Wojtowicz
Adapted from Big Sur Bakery Cookbook by Michelle Wojtowicz
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Swedish Pancakes

By June 17, 2016 Baker Blog, Breakfast, contest, Contests, easy, Food, In Season Now, Recipes
These are fabulous rolled up with cinnamon sugar or topped with local berries and a sprinkle of powdered sugar!

GIVEAWAY ALERT! See the bottom of this post to see what you can win! (hint: it has to do with pancakes…)

I love Swedish Pancakes! When I was little my mom would make Swedish Pancakes for special weekend breakfasts or birthday treats. She often made them when I had a slumber party and I remember well her standing at the stove swirling pan after pan of batter while we girls sat at the breakfast bar eating them as fast as she could make them.

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If you’ve never had a Swedish pancake they are similar to French crepes but with a little lemon and cardamom. Delicate and thin, they are made like a crepe but easily done in a skillet although there are special shallow pans made for the purpose. They are served flat then topped and rolled up with a fork by slipping one tyne under the edge of the pancake then rolling it up around the fork into a little tube. Lingonberry syrup is traditionally served with them but I liked mine sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar. The pancakes have a wonderful velvety texture and the cinnamon-sugar in the middle gives a nice crunchy texture contrast. Local, fresh berries are also a wonderful topping in the spring and summer months.

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There always seemed to be a little stack of pancakes leftover after we had eaten all we could and they were delicious as a little snack later in the day!

swedish pancakes-5Making these is easy. You just need a good blender, or better yet, a stick blender! They blend up easily to make a light and frothy batter.swedish pancakes-2 Then it’s just into a buttered hot pan to cook. These pancakes end up impressive, but are actually very easy to make. Don’t skimp on the cardamon and lemon extract! They both really add a special flavor that makes these the Swedish Pancakes I remember growing up with! 

Okay, now time for the giveaway part!

Up for grabs is a KitchenAid Hand Blender! These little guys are so great! First of all, you will love them for this pancake recipe, and secondly, you will love them for everything else! Soups, salad dressings, dips and so much more. The reason why I love these is primarily that they are SO much faster and easier then using the blender. You don’t have to puree soup in batches, you can just do it right in the pot. They are also easier to clean, and we all love that! So what are you waiting for?? Click the link below to enter. 

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

Swedish Pancakes or Tynde Pandekager
Tynde Pandekager (this is actually the Danish spelling, my great grandmother was from Denmark and this is our family recipe) are a light and velvety pancake that go well with lingonberry jam, or my favorite, cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top and then rolled.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 tablespoon sugar
  3. 4 eggs
  4. 2 cups milk
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon each lemon extract
  7. 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  8. Butter, for the skillet or griddle
  9. Lingonberry Jam, cinnamon sugar, or sliced fresh berries and powdered sugar for topping (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together with the extract. Alternatively, you can use a stick blender to blend, or a blender.
  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk the cardamom and the flour together. Add to the egg mixture alternately with the milk until blended smooth. Heat a skillet or a griddle over medium heat and add a tablespoon of butter. Pour 1/4 cup - 1/3 cup of batter (depending on the size of the skillet) into a hot buttered griddle, tilting the pan to spread the batter very thin. Cook about 1 minute until light golden then flip the pancake over and cook till just barely colored on the bottom. Serve filled with lingonberry preserves, jam or cinnamon sugar. If you have fresh berries on hand, top the pancakes with sliced or whole berries and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
Notes
  1. You may keep ahead of the eaters by starting early and keeping a stack of pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven.
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Farmer’s Market Dinner for a Busy Week

By May 25, 2016 Dinner, Farmers' Market, Food, Recipes, Snacks
Quick Pickled Green Onions and an easy weeknight dinner for super busy days

Hi Slice of Lifers, Darlene here, resident blogger for the Slice of Life Team! I’ve been going through a move and sometimes there is absolutely no time for making dinner, and barely any time to pick up take out. I experienced this during the last week while I picked up and moved with my fiancé to a new city that is over two hours away from our old house. The move took three days to complete, and we are still dealing with unpacking, changing addresses and all those little endless tasks that come with moving. Dinner was a question that usually went unanswered, or at least a low priority.

farmers market dinner-2

I did, however, have a stroke of genius for a meal while we were working on packing up and moving out of the old house. We had planted a bunch of green onions the previous spring and they needed to be dealt with. Do we pull them out? Leave them here? Would the new home owners even see them or use them? Finally, I decided to pull them out and use them. Luckily the next day there was also a farmer’s market happening, and “snack dinner” was born. I made a quick pickle with the green onions and then just picked up some good local bread, cheese from Willamette Valley Cheese Company (we are now living in Central Oregon, so I had to grab some of their cheese while I still could!) and some amazingly sweet local strawberries. 

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While the onions do their thing in the pickling liquid, it’s easy enough to slice up some bread, unwrap the cheese, rinse off the berries and throw everything on our large cutting board. As we work on packing, making endless trips around the old house, looking for more bubble wrap, or wondering where I set down the packing tape (again), we crisscross in the kitchen, stop at the cutting board, and take another bite of cheese (the brie was gone in about 2 seconds, and the cumin gouda is wonderful with this recipe too) and pickled onion. During your busy days or weeks, try a snacking dinner! Add in a sliced salami or some smoked salmon, or perhaps a couple of sugar snap peas or baby carrots for variety. Don’t forget about jarred olives or even some roasted red peppers, both of which can be kept on hand and pulled out in this useful situation.  

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Eating well doesn’t have to take a lot of time, just a moment of consideration and resourcefulness. Be sure to check out your local farmers market and stop by — you’ll find the freshest produce and support your neighboring farmers! If you are on the Oregon Coast, check out the Newport Farmers Market is at  Newportfarmersmarket.org.  The Newport Market is Saturdays from 9 to 1 at Highway 101 and Lee Street in Newport, Oregon thru October and it’s the second oldest farmers market in the state, started in 1978. To find a farmers market near you, check out The Local Farm Markets page at http://www.localfarmmarkets.org/

Enjoy this simple dinner when it’s warm out too! No cooking required. 

Quick Pickled Green Onions
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound green onions, sliced
  2. 2 teaspoons salt
  3. 2/3 cup sugar
  4. 2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  5. 8 fresh bay leaves
  6. 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  7. 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  8. 1/8 – 1/4 crushed red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Slice the onions and pack into two pint-sized jars or one quart jar.
  2. In a small pot over medium heat add the vinegar, bay leaves, peppercorns, fennel, red pepper flakes, salt and sugar. Stir and heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Pour evenly over the onions and let stand 20 minutes, turning occasionally. Serve or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Notes
  1. Onions will last stored in the fridge up to two months.
Adapted from Rachael Ray
Adapted from Rachael Ray
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Sprouted Wheat Bread

By May 11, 2016 Baker Blog, Baking, Bread, Recipes, Sandwiches, Wheat, Whole Grains
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Have you ever noticed that most “whole wheat” breads are not actually 100% whole wheat? Usually they are a blend of whole wheat and white all-purpose or bread flour. This is because whole wheat breads are actually difficult to coax into a soft, chewy loaf, and many people won’t be interested in them. 

Exception: this sprouted wheat bread. This bread is 100% whole wheat, no refined white sugar, dairy-free is a perfect staple bread to keep in the house. It requires just a little pre-planning, but the results are beyond worth it. This dough yields a soft loaf, sturdy enough for a ham sandwich, but fluffy enough for eating with butter at the dinner table. 

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The secret to the wonderful texture of this bread is in the kneading. Working the dough for a longer time creates the strands of gluten needed to make this bread soft and chewy.sprouted wheat bread-5

A second little secret is sprouting the wheat berries. 

Here they are, unsprouted berries on the left, sprouted berries on the right: 

sprouted wheat bread

Sprouting the wheat berries takes an extra step, but it makes the bread that much more flavorful and healthy, releasing tons of nutrients (see this article on the health benefits of sprouting wheat berries). You just need to cover them with water, and let them sit overnight, then drain and cover for a few more hours the next day. A little extra planning, but this bread is truly worth it! 

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Sprouted 100% Whole Wheat Bread
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For the sprouted wheat
  1. 1 cup wheat berries
  2. Water
For the dough
  1. Sprouted wheat berries
  2. 1/4 – 1/2 cup water
  3. 2 T. vegetable oil
  4. ¼ cup molasses
  5. 1 ½ tsp salt
  6. 2 tsp yeast, instant if possible*
  7. 2 c. whole wheat flour
Instructions
  1. The day before you plan to bake your bread, soak 1 cup of wheat berries in a bowl with enough fresh cool water to cover by about an inch. Soak the berries for about 12 hours, drain and return to the bowl and cover. After about 4 hours you should see a little white nub popping out of the ends of the berries, that is the sprout.
  2. Place the sprouted berries in the bowl of a food processor with a metal blade, add ¼ cup water, whirr the berries for about 2 minutes till they are well ground up and look a little creamy, a bit like cooked oatmeal.
  3. With the dough blade in place, add the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Pulse to combine. Let the processor run until the dough forms a ball around the blade and the sides of the bowl are clean. Add additional water or flour as needed in very small amounts until the dough rolls freely around the bowl. This should take about 2 minutes.
  5. Remove the dough from the processor bowl onto a lightly floured surface and hand knead by hand or use a mixer with the dough hook attachment to knead. If kneading by hand, knead about 15-20 minutes, if using the mixer, knead about 10 minutes to be sure the dough is well developed. The dough may get a bit sticky, sprinkle a bit of flour as you go to keep it from sticking to your hands or the sides of the bowl but not so much as to stiffen the dough with too much flour. This is the important thing about 100% whole wheat doughs, the more developed the dough, the lighter and loftier the finished loaf. See notes for more information on kneading.
  6. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, and turn once to the dough with oil. Cover with a cloth and place in a warm place. Your oven with the light on makes a nice insulated proofing box. Let the dough rise until doubled in size and a finger pressed gently into it leaves a small indentation, about 1-2 hours.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and pat gently into a rectangle about 8 x 6 and roll into a log, pinch the seam together and place seam side down in an oiled 9x5 loaf pan. Cover the loaf with a cloth and place it in a warm spot to rise. If you use your oven again, be sure to remove the loaf before pre-heating the oven to bake the bread.
  8. The bread is ready to bake when it has doubled in size and a finger pressed gently on the surface leaves a small dent that slowly springs back.
  9. Bake the loaf at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, immediately turn the finished loaf out of the pan to cool.
Notes
  1. Do not let the wheat berries sprout past 4 hours, the wheat berries will end up too tough. I like to soak the berries at 9pm the night before, drain them at 9am the next morning, then begin the process of baking the bread at 1pm. This allows you to have fresh bread at about dinner time.
  2. If you use regular yeast, add it to the wheat berries after grinding them, pulse a few times and let the mixture stand for about 5 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients.
  3. This is a bread we make with a commercial spiral mixer with excellent results, the key is the amount of kneading. The more you can mix this bread the lighter and loftier the loaf will be. That said, you can make this same recipe using a mixer with dough hook or by hand kneading just be sure to fully knead the bread, the more the better.
  4. When shaping the loaf try not to "punch" down the dough, be gentle, pat and roll being careful not to de-gas the dough too much.
  5. With whole wheat doughs it is important to know that the bran from the whole wheat tends to '"cut" the gluten strands we are trying hard to work into a nice stretchy dough by kneading so you must knead the dough longer to achieve a nice strong dough with enough gluten strength to rise nicely. Keep kneading. When the gluten is stretched enough you will see strands of dough form between the bran bits, the more strands the better. The dough will be elastic and springy when it is fully kneaded.
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