two skinny jenkins


130120 – Muesli

130120_Muesli

This is now our go-to breakfast cereal.  We’ve made an effort to eat less refined sugar lately and one of the biggest culprits in our diet has been our breakfast cereal even my seemingly healthy raisin bran packs a whopping 19 grams of sugar!!!  I guess if I watched the Today Show, I would have noticed that earlier.  Better late than never…

  • 2/3 C wheat germ
  • 1/3 C ground flax seeds (10 seconds in the coffee grinder – you get fiber with your morning Joe as a side benefit)
  • 3 C old-fashioned oats (I always add more after mixing it all up, we just like it oatier)
  • 1/3 C raisins
  • 1/3 C chopped dates
  • 2/3 C other dried fruit – I always use chopped dried apples and sometimes dried peaches or apricots
  • 1/3 C hazelnuts (half or chopped)
  • 1/3 C slivered almonds
  • 1/3 C sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
  1. In a big Tupperware type container (something you can mix then put a lid on to store), mix the wheat germ, flax, and oats (I add a teaspoon of cinnamon here as well).
  2. Mix in remaining ingredients, adding extra oats if you want.
  3. Our 2/3 C measure lives in the muesli for scooping in the morning and replenishing every couple of weeks!

 



100802 – Blackberry Jam
100802, 4:47 pm
Filed under: BREAKFAST, DESSERT, FUN | Tags:

Inspired by a recipe from David Lebovitz. He made some lovely Apricot Jam.  I just lessened the sugar and used some wild blackberries that I found while wandering around London.

  • 1 pound (or so) fresh blackberries (found at Regent’s Park along the canal path)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) water
  • 2 cups (i think – we have no measuring cup in our rental apartment) sugar
  1. Combine water and sugar in a sauce pan and stir over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Put a small plate in the freezer.
  3. Add the fruit (blackberries) cook, uncovered, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. As the mixture thickens and reduces, stir frequently to make sure the jam isn’t burning on the bottom.
  4. When the jam looks thick and is looks slightly-jelled, turn off the heat and put a small amount of jam on the chilled plate. Put back in the freezer for a few minutes, then do the nudge test: If the jam mounds and wrinkles, it’s done. If not, continue to cook, then re-test the jam until it reaches that consistency.
  5. Once done, ladle the jam into clean jars. Cover tightly and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, refrigerate until ready to use.

Storage: I find this jam will keep up to one year if refrigerated. If you wish to can it for long-term preservation, you can refer to the USDA Canning Guidelines for techniques.



100124 – Sunday Scones – Healthified
100124, 10:56 pm
Filed under: BREAKFAST, SNACK | Tags:


I seem to be a little rusty at the baking lately.  First my Pugliese and now these…

I woke up this Sunday morning with a HUGE craving for scones.  So I consulted my nearest cookbook and was dismayed to find just as much flour as butter in the recipe.  So I ran the other way and replaced all of the butter with applesauce.  I  found dried buttermilk on my last trip to Whole Foods and used it for the first time in this recipe.  The stuff is SUCH a good deal.  Less than $4 for 15 Cups worth of buttermilk – and it won’t go bad for a long time.  We have bought a lot of buttermilk whilst married and I think we may have only finished off one container of it before going bad.  I digress.  These scones tasted better than they looked.  They had a sorta ‘healthy’ taste, but still good.

  • 3/4 C rolled oats
  • 1 C wheat pastry flour
  • 1 C all purpose flour
  • 1/3 C raw sugar
  • 1 generous t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 3 1/2 T unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 C dried currants
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 generous t vanilla extract
  • 2 T buttermilk powder + 1/4 C water + extra for glaze -OR- 1/2 C buttermilk + extra for glaze
  • 3 T brown sugar for glaze
  • 1 t cinnamon for glaze
  1. preheat oven to 350°
  2. Mix dry ingredients together.  Add the applesauce and mash it in with your fingers until the mixture resembles a course meal.  Add the currants (or whatever dried fruit you prefer).
  3. Lightly beat the eggs, add 1/4 C water, and vanilla.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and using a fork, mix into the dry mixture until it forms sticky dough
  4. turn out dough onto lightly floured counter, and with floured hands, gently form into 8 inch dia. circle.
  5. cut into 8 slices, and transfer to a parchment-covered or greased) baking sheet.
  6. glaze scone wedges with extra buttermilk, then sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  7. bake 18 min in preheated oven.


091028 – Panettone | BBA #24
091029, 10:15 pm
Filed under: BBA Challenge, BREAKFAST, DESSERT, SNACK | Tags: , , , ,

Baby Panetonne

FINALLY!  I got back in the kitchen and made some bread!  It feels like ages.  I have been away the last two (three?) weekends and just couldn’t wait till this weekend to get back into it.  I have been doing more cooking than the blog suggests, but it takes more than i have these days to post every good thing i eat.  Maybe this weekend i will get around to retro-posting some highlights.

This was not a good recipe to choose to make during the week after work.  Especially not while making dinner, trying to bike on the trainer for an hour, and getting up at 6 to run before work the next morning.  I think the bread came out pretty well, but I sacrificed the run.

My experience of this bread was ruined from the start by the perfectly delicious Panettone that I ate last Christmas.  It was my first ever panettone experience.  One of our consultants shelled out hundreds of dollars to ship us (us = the architecture firm i was working in) – a REAL Milanese Panettone.  Despite it’s massive size, the crumb was as airy like a croissant with a perfect distribution of candied fruits and nuts.

My first panettone probably weighed 20 lbs. and I can only imagine that it had baked for hours.  My petit panettone on the other hand, took roughly 40 minutes.   I checked at 20, 25, and 30 waiting for the tops to be golden brown, and i think 40 minutes was a bit too long and dried them out too much.  The big one (below) took about 1:20 and seems just right (texture-wise, i know it isn’t pretty).  I don’t have a thermometer for it yet, but I know my oven is on the cool side.    I was VERY glad i chose to use my mixer for the whole kneading process on this one.  It was sticky, tacky dough (I may have been heavy handed with the rum) and i would have added too much flour had i kneaded by hand.

Panetonne Grande

This bread in particular has made me appreciate the amount of quality control that goes into professional baking.  To make this bread come out consistently good WHILE making a profit on the effort must be a real challenge.



091007 – Pumpkin Pancakes
091009, 9:27 pm
Filed under: BREAKFAST, DINNER | Tags:

Pumpkin Pancakes

It REALLY feels like fall now here in Boston.  It dawned on me today that i have been donning my fall wardrobe all week long!

Now that i am back to working hard, I am cooking quicker meals (when i do cook).  Tonight was breakfast for dinner.  These turned out to be the best pancakes that we have ever had.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1 C buttermilk and 1/2 C regular)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 250F.  Mix dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Mix egg, milk, pumpkin puree, and vinegar in a large bowl.  Stir dry ingredients into the large bowl, just until combined.  You may want to add a bit more milk at this point.  Mine was looking very thick so I added about 2 T.
  3. Pour 1/3 C batter a time into a buttered skillet over medium heat. Be careful while flipping these – they are fragile and have a tendency to wrinkle.
  4. Keep the finished pancakes warm in the preheated oven.


091003 – Pumpkin Gingerbread | BOM
091004, 10:33 am
Filed under: BREAKFAST, DESSERT, SNACK | Tags: ,

Pumpkin Ginger Muffin

This is my first experience with the ‘Bread of the Month‘ (BOM) group on Facebook.  Based on this experience, it will not be my last. This pumpkin gingerbread was so easy and good!  And festive!

  • 3 C sugar (that’s right)
  • 1 C canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 C water
  • 15 oz. canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 t ginger
  • 1 t allspice
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t ground cloves
  • 3 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 C chopped walnuts (optional)
  1. combine oil, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl and mix until smooth. Add water, stir in water, then pumpkin, then spices.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients just until they are mixed through.
  4. Pour into greased (spray oiled) loaf pan + muffin tin, sprinkle with chopped walnuts if desired, and bake until a cooked all the way through – about 50 min. for muffins, 70 minutes for the loaf.


090924 – fig jam
090926, 10:01 pm
Filed under: BREAKFAST, SNACK | Tags: ,

Fig Jam

I made this a few days ago, but what better time to pull out old recipes than when I’m out of cooking commission? Joe even had to tend to our pizza dough last night!

This semi-spicy fig jam recipe goes best with cheese.  The best I could do at the time was cheddar, and sadly the best crackers i had around were saltines.  It was very, very tasty – the only shame is that the cheese and crackers didn’t do the good jam justice.

  • 1 1/2 C diced fresh figs (6-10 figs, depending on the size of the figs)
  • 1/2 C seeded, peeled orange, diced (up to 1 small navel orange diced)
  • 1 1/2 C of sugar (I used 1 C)
  • 1 1/2 t grated orange peel
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 1/4 t ground ginger
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t butter

step 1:

Measured

Combine all the ingredients in a microwave safe container and let it sit for 30 minutes.  This lets the fruit macerate in the sugar.

step 2:

DONE!

Microwave  on high for 7 minutes, stop cooking, and stir.  Continue cooking for another 6 minutes, stopping to stir ever couple minutes.  After a total of about 13 minutes, the mixture should become viscous.

step 3:

Test

Test the jam’s viscosity with a spoon.  If the liquid begins to firm up before it drips, it is done.  I plan to finish eating mine within a week, so I have it refrigerated in a plastic container.  If you want to save it long term, check out the USDA canning guidelines here.






090815 – Cranberry Walnut French Toast
090815, 12:15 pm
Filed under: BBA Challenge, BREAKFAST | Tags:

French Toast

I have been wanting to make french toast for some time now.  With all of the delicious bread recipes i have been making with ‘The Challenge’ it is a wonder that i haven’t tried yet.  Finally, I made some with the Celebration Bread (Challenge #11) I made on Friday.  The recipe is adapted from The New Best Recipe (my new fav).  It was delicious.  Not too eggy and very easy.  My only suggestion is to sift the flour into the batter while whisking so that it doesn’t clump up.

  • 1 egg
  • 1 T butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 C skim milk, about temperature
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 C all purpose flour
  • 4-6 slices of brioche style bread
  1. whisk egg in a shallow dish.  Whisk in milk, then melted butter. Then add sugar, salt and flour (sifted).
  2. Heat cast iron skillet over medium and drop 1/2 T butter in.
  3. Meanwhile, place 1/2″ thick slice of bread into the mixture and let it soak for 30-40 seconds on each side. (you don’t want the bread too thick, or to let it sit for too long and get soggy)
  4. Cook toast in the skillet until golden brown on both sides.


090719 – English Muffins | BBA#12
090719, 10:08 pm
Filed under: BBA Challenge, BREAKFAST | Tags:

English Muffins

Today I found some striking similarities between the Bread Bakers Apprentice Challenge and marathon running.  Dedication, endurance, and (most notably today) repetition.  Turning the page in the book for the challenge this week I saw yet another sweet celebration bread.  It was like turning the corner on a long run to see ANOTHER hill to climb.  Although i have enjoyed all of the breads so far, Joe doesn’t really like the sweet ones and we have had a hard time trying to finish them.  It seemed like a waste of flour to make (essentially) the same thing twice.  So i skipped it.

On to challenge #12: English Muffins

These English muffins were really fun to make.  The dough was simple – after making 10 other Rinehart recipes I have a pretty good handle on mixing and kneading dough.  This time i even did my windowpane test!

I was, however, a little intimidated by the cooking process.  The idea of frying dough in a pan was foreign to me.  I ended up using our square and round cast iron skillets simultaneously to get as many muffins cooked at the same time as possible. It felt like juggling; frying and immediately baking as many muffins as possible.  I’m not sure why my muffins were so puffy, but at least they were nice and fluffy inside.  I think baking for 8 minutes was just right.

After fully following the recipe, the only thing i would do differently is to make 7 or 8.  As you can see, I made 6 as the recipe called for, and they are pretty big.  There was no temperature control on  the skillet, and after reading PR’s warning about under-cooking the muffins, i ended up burning the first two.  After I started eye-balling the brownness level, and relying less on elapsed cooking time, they turned out well.  I used lowfat buttermilk instead of whole milk and it gave them a nice, almost sourdough taste.

As usual, check out more photos on FLICKR.

Windowpane Test




090702 – chocolate chip buttermilk pancakes
090702, 9:26 pm
Filed under: BREAKFAST, DINNER | Tags: ,

choco buttermilk pancakes

what a delicious dinner!  it was sort of naughty.  we had planned to make taco salads for dinner, but i had bought buttermilk for my next Bread Baker’s Apprentice challange recipe, and we had both been wanting to make pancakes for a while. I think these came out a little too moist and had a tendency to tear.

  • 2 C all purpose flour
  • 4 t sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 C buttermilk
  • 1/4 C milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 3 T butter, melted
  • 3 T semi sweet chocolate chips
  1. preheat oven to 250 F and heat skillet over medium heat.  Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, and mix wet ingredients in a separate, small bowl.
  2. when the pan is fully heated, add wet ingredients to the dry and gently stir until NEARLY mixed.  (be careful to leave a few clumps)
  3. keep the cakes warm in the preheated oven.



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