Jesse and I have been having some serious adventures in cooking lately. We cook entirely with wood, and we cook three meals a day….so we are learning a lot about cooking on a fire! It is mostly quite enjoyable, especially when we are able to use the grill outside instead of the wood stove INSIDE (not so fun in the summertime!)
The one thing we have not been able to figure out: bread. One day, we will have a real wood cook stove (as opposed to our box stove), and maybe even an outdoor earth oven. But for now, we have been relying on this recipe for Bannock Bread – an easy, biscuit-like treat that we can cook on the stovetop. It is from this AMAZING AMAZING OHHMAZING book that is so beautiful I can’t even believe it- Home Made Winter.
So, if you want a lovely treat, rustic farmstead style, try this recipe! We love it with some spicy jalepeno jam we got at the farmers market.
2 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar or honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp butter
about a cup of buttermilk or sour milk
I literally just mix all of this together with my hands. It is that easy. Or you can follow the recipe and be all clean and tidy about it (mix dry ingredients, add tiny pieces of the cold butter until pea-sized clumps form, then add the milk). But hands work, too. Get your skillet REALLY hot, add some butter and then the dough, shaped into an oval. Cook for about seven minutes on each side and ENJOY!
After our recent Valentines Day lunch, I have been craving Indian food constantly. We got some good advice on cookbooks and are planning on purchasing Julie Sahni’s – but until then, I set out on my own to experiment in making my first naan and tikka masala. As always, I improvised quite a bit, but everything turned out so delicious. I was able to throw the naan together quite quickly by using baking powder instead of yeast. I plan on making the bread traditionally with the yeast next time, but it’s nice knowing it can be made last minute if you are lacking the 3 hours of prep time.
We have some aspirations of trying to grow some crazy Indian herbs and spices in our incredibly hot high tunnel. How amazing would it be to have local CUMIN!?
Here are some photos from our meal, with the naan recipe following.
easy -no yeast- garlic naan
4 cups of all-purpose flour (plus extra for kneading)
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons of butter (melted, for brushing on top)
1 cup of plain yogurt
1 cup of warm milk or cream
1 tablespoon of honey
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Combine all of your DRY ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) in one bowl and all of your WET ingredients (yogurt, milk, honey, oil) in another bowl. Let these sit out for about 30 minutes of so.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring together with a wooden spoon until well combined (a big dough ball has formed). Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, adding flour as it starts to stick to your fingers. The dough should become smooth and somewhat stretchy, like a pizza dough. Work the dough into a ball and let it sit, covered, for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 500°.
Tear off walnut-sized balls of dough and use your hands to stretch them into thin ovals, placing them on foil-lined baking trays. Sprinkle minced garlic on the top and press it into the dough with your hands.
Bake for 5 minutes on the top rack, and then turn the broiler on HIGH for barely a minute, to get the little puffed places of the naan to crisp. After you remove the tray from the oven, brush with melted butter.
I served mine with basmati rice, lentils, and tikka masala with potatoes and chickpeas. (I can also share the masala recipe if anyone wants it!)
As requested, here is the tikka masala recipe (that is probably not very accurate – it is incredibly improvised and mostly made up, per usual).
tikka masala with potatoes and chickpeas
3 med/large potatoes
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 cup of plain yogurt
4 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ginger (minced)
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp black pepper
1 jalepeno pepper (minced)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 tsp paprika
8 oz of tomato paste (or sauce)
1 cup cream
Dice potatoes and boil until they are just soft enough to stick a fork in (not quite mashed potato soft). Drain and let cool.
Mix yogurt, 2 tsp of cumin, ginger, cinnamon, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and 2 tsp of salt in a large bowl. Stir in the potatoes and let this mixture marinate for 1 hour.
Melt butter and coconut oil in a large skillet. Saute garlic (and maybe a jalepeno if you like spicy food!) for a few minutes over medium heat. Add in the tomato and cream, seasoning with the remaining 2 tsp of cumin, paprika, and a bit of salt. Let the sauce simmer for about 20 minutes, or until it thickens.
Add in the potato mixture and chickpeas, stirring into the sauce and continue cooking on low for 10 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro and enjoy! It should basically be a big wonderful mushy mess – served over basmati rice and lentils, and scooped up with huge chunks of your homemade naan!
Excluding my trip to Bugtussle, every day of the new year I’ve baked something: so far, it’s been either biscuits, bagels or english muffins. The english muffins were a recommendation from our friends over at Bootjack Cabin and the english muffins, by far, have been our favorite of my baking experiments.
Makes approximately 8 muffins
30 minutes active, 30 minutes inactive: roughly an hour
What you’ll need (use organic where you can):
1 cup milk
2 cups sifted unbleached flour
1 packet of yeast
1 tablespoon of Lard or Butter
In a sauce pan warm your cup of milk on low heat with 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon of lard or butter. Stir until sugar and salt dissolve and lard or butter is melted. Remove from heat. In a mixing bowl, combine one 1/3 cup of warm water with a packet of yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Once the yeast dissolves, add the milk mixture to the yeast and water mixture. Then sift and add your 2 cups of flour. Beat with a wooden spoon until all flour is incorporated. Let rise for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, add another 1/2 teaspoon of salt and beat for additional 30 seconds with wooden spoon. Heat cast iron pan, griddle, or sauté pan to roughly 300 degrees or medium-high heat. Lightly coat with lard or butter.
We don’t own rings, and don’t really care about having perfectly round muffins, but if you own metal rings, or a tuna can (with the bottom cut out) you could make the classic round muffins by placing them on the griddle or pan and pouring the mixture inside. We don’t worry much about it, though, thus the “rustic” part of this recipe.
This is a sticky dough. It helps to take a regular spoon from your drawer and, out of the batter, draw a large spoonful. Using your wooden spoon, scrape the dough from your regular spoon and let it drop into the hot pan. Cook on first side––it will slowly puff up as it cooks––for 4-6 minutes then flip. Press the muffin lightly (at which point you’ll recognize the classic muffin look) and let cook for additional 4-6 minutes. Once done, remove and set on cooling rack or something similar.
Once cooled, split with fork and serve (or toast and serve––your call)!
As I have written about before, I have a serious sweet tooth. When we are on the farm, out in the middle of nowhere, it is not really a problem. We only have honey – so most of my sweet baking experiments remain relatively healthy. But in the city – not only can I go to the store for a cup of sugar whenever I want, but there are so many adorable little shops and cafes with muffins and cupcakes and gelato and donuts – it is terribly tempting….and all within walking distance. So, when I get a craving for something sweet, instead of heading to the bakery – I have been forcing myself to either do without or make it myself. Cooking your own food – be it your dinner or your dessert – means that you are directly in contact with your ingredients. Just as cooking your own meat forces you to realize that it actually used to be an animal, watching yourself pour three cups of sugar and a stick of butter into a mixing bowl might make you rethink your chocolate chip cookies.
But you guys….I really love donuts. One of my favorite memories of my life in Nashville during college was going to Fox’s Donut Den, a little shop down the street with bad coffee and wonderful cake donuts. Many a late-night study session were fueled by those donuts. So, to keep me away from Fox’s, I decided to make my own. Now, I am using the term ‘donut’ here very loosely – these are essentially honey cinnamon muffins. But trust me when I say, they are delicious and donut-like in flavor. PLUS – they are cheap (that’s a very important quality around this household). No fancy ingredients that we didn’t already have.
Here’s the recipe in case you find yourself in a similar state of craving. They are very simple, and would make a special treat for Christmas morning!
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup oil (I would recommend lard. Obviously. But I used olive oil, because we had a vegetarian in the house and it worked very well.)
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
Combine your flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in one bowl – and mix your oil, egg, honey and milk in another. Slowly add your dry ingredients into the wet and stir just enough to mix. Bake in a greased muffin pan for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.
While the muffins are baking, set up an assembly line: the melted butter in one bowl, and the sugar and cinnamon (mixed together) in another.
When the muffins are done, shake them out of the muffin pan while they are still warm. First, dip each muffin into the butter, and then roll it around in the cinnamon sugar mixture, tapping off the excess.
And there you go! Pretty little honey cinnamon donut holes – no deep-frying or corn syrup required!
We have been blessed to have an ancient pear tree right in our backyard.It is HEAVY with fruit right now, and we often hear them ker-thunking to the ground, narrowly missing the occasional chicken. We have been eating them daily, and Jesse plans on making cider and wine with the excess, but I wanted to find another way to use them. While looking for recipes, I found this one courtesy of Martha Stewart (who I am kind of obsessed with right now).It turned out great, although I would recommend par-baking the tart for a few minutes before arranging the pears on top.Mine sank a little bit and so the end product was not as lovely as Martha’s….but it tasted delicious!
Things I changed in the recipe – raw almonds mashed with the mortar and pestle, turbinado sugar & honey in place of regular sugar, apricot jam instead of apple….and our crazy wild pears instead of Bartlett.