Posts Tagged ‘honey’

Breaking the Bread Baking Fast

Monday, September 28th, 2009

It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that I decided to join the Bread Baker’s Apprentice challenge, and breathlessly announced my plans for “a year in bread.” The first recipe, mercifully, was simple and turned out perfectly, and I thought I was hooked on the yeasty aroma and feeling of accomplishment on pulling a perfectly risen, lightly browned loaf of home made bread out of the oven. And then summer came…. and suddenly it was over, gone in a haze of rain, farmers markets, travels and all that other summer chaos that seems to amplify once you have children. (And I only have one!)

So then here we were at the Jewish holidays, and time to dip apples and challah in honey and I hadn’t even made it through the B’s yetBBA’s recipes are in alphabetical order – so I skipped ahead, so to speak, and made my first loaf of Challah for our slightly belated, semi-homemade (hello Whole Foods prepared holiday food bar) Rosh Hashanah supper.  Ah well, it was a start back onto the bread baking trail, and now that the weather is turning cooler I hope to resume a pace a little more frequent than once every three months….

I’ve probably mentioned before that I’m the non-Jewish spouse in our family, so I’m still learning the holiday traditions.* Thankfully Peter notes in his book that it’s customary to double the sugar and shape the Challah into a round loaf for Rosh Hashanah, both of which I did. For some reason I decided to braid my dough first and then wrap it into an awkward round; apparently, there is an easier way to make a braided round loaf that doesn’t come out quite so lopsided. It tasted good, if a little less eggy than I anticipated. I blame the store-bought eggs, as we were unexpectedly out of our farmers market eggs. It was also rather bubbly, probably because I didn’t de-gas enough as I kneaded. But overall I’d deem it another success.

*It’s not just because I’m new to this that I made a reference to Yom Kippur, which is today, in my title and then went on to tell you about our Rosh Hashanah meal …. that’s my clever way of making up for not posting this before my jaunt to San Francisco, and stalling for time to tell you all about my 48 hours in the lovely foodie-haven by the Bay. Stay tuned… ;-)

Preserving Summer: Tomato Jam

Monday, August 31st, 2009

field-ripened tomatoesOur Potomac Vegetable Farms CSA bag was full of ripe summer tomatoes last week, after a slow and soggy start to tomato season here in Virginia. Unfortunately, we were leaving town the day after our pick-up. Of course, that was also the day we got the notice that the boxes of surplus canning tomatoes were available, and I was feeling panicked at the thought of not putting up tomatoes this year and faced with a pile of tomatoes we certainly wouldn’t be able to finish before leaving. I had recently seen a recipe for tomato jam and decided that was the perfect project for the night as it mainly involves simmering on the stove for a couple hours, giving me time to pack. A huge thunderstorm kept the boy awake so I put him to work slicing up the excess cherry tomatoes we also needed to use up. (Using a kid-safe knife, of course.)

prep workI made slight alterations, using turbinado sugar and a touch of honey and a splash of Virginia’s North Gate Petit Verdot that was also in need of using up. (Not that I couldn’t have used a glass or two, but it would’ve made it even less likely that I would get all our luggage packed that night.)

For the recipe, see: Tomato Onion Jam by Jennifer Perillo/Tasty Kitchen. My alterations: 1 1/2 cup raw (turbinado sugar) and 1/4 cup raw honey, omit the brown sugar. Add 2 tablespoons red wine in lieu of lemon juice.

This weekend was the Canvolution kick-off — a nationwide effort to restore the art of preserving food, launched by former Washington Post blogger Kim O’Donnel and a host of other food writers and bloggers. Visit the Canning Across America website for a host of canning resources and advice, particularly this great article on canning with kids.

The highlight of my first mother-son canning experiment was seeing the pride in my son’s eyes as he handed his aunt and grandma their jar of jam, declaring, “I made this myself!”

What have you canned lately?

At Market: Cherries, Charcuterie & Canteloupe (and a Honey Bee love note)

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Updates on the early July finds at our local farmers markets, and scroll down to learn why you should satisfy your sweet tooth with something honey-sweetened today!

At the Del Ray Farmers Market: Last week we returned to the Crystal City Farmers Market to check out its newest additions, and returned to the Del Ray Farmers Market after a weekend out of town. It seemed like summer took forever to arrive and now berries and cherries are making their fleeting appearance while the first peaches are already trickling in. Sweet corn is also making its first appearance, but we held off on that and instead picked up a cute, sweetly fragranced cantaloupe from Three Way Farms and sour cherries from Toigo Orchard. The melon was enjoyed for breakfast, wrapped with some not-at-all-local Ibérico ham (jamón) — but, I rationalized the purchase as supporting both a local chef, José Andrés (the importer) and local cheese shop La Fromagerie.

del ray farmers market july

At the Crystal City Farmers Market: Earlier in the week, at Crystal Farms, we were pleased to see the two charcuterie vendors had arrived, Red Apron and MeatCrafters — with the latter cooking up a generous amount of samples to satiate the hungry boy. We brought home the patriotic Capital half-smokes this time, but the Merguez lamb sausage and sopressata were my personal favorites. The boy strutted through the market as if he owned the place — since this is an after-work market it doesn’t attract as many families as weekend markets, but there were plenty of kids helping out their parents at the stands.

crystal farms arlington va

The boy was thrilled that Kuhn Orchard had saved the last kid-sized cup of berries “just for me!”, bought purple string beans from a young assistant at Barajas Produce, chips and tomatillo salsa from the mom and daughter team of Salsa las Glorias, and had an involved chat with the J-Wen dairyman’s son about the various flavors of milk offered. (The boy settled on chocolate for himself and root beer for his father.) This market seems to be doing quite well, and the summer produce bounty is only just beginning so be sure to visit soon. They’ve also instituted a bag share program, where you can drop off extra reusable shopping bags that may be cluttering up your house or car, and pick one up if you forgot to bring one along. Fantastic idea.

Love food? Eat Honey July 10, Save a Honey Bee! Today is “Don’t Step on a Bee Day,” originally conceived don't step on a bee dayto discourage people from going barefoot in the summer, and then stepping on a bee. The holiday was re-purposed to highlight the plight of the North American honey bee, whose declining numbers could seriously jeopardize our future food supply. (Serious Eats has a short video that explains colony collapse disorder.) So eat something honey-sweetened today (real honey, preferably from your local farmers market) and raise a glass to our friends, the honey bees! If you’re in the DC area, get a bite to eat at the Fairmont Hotel or Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm, both of whom raise honeybees on site, or drop by Buzz for free “honey cups” for the kids and an assortment of Josh Short’s honey-sweetened desserts.

Sending this honeybee note over to Fight Back Friday at the Food Renegade – take a look for more real food inspiration!

Healthier Holiday Treats

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

I’ve been thinking about the best way to celebrate the holidays here at Foodie Tots. It seems that there are already gift guides galore for every man, woman, child and pet on your list, and no shortage of holiday cookie recipes to choose from. As I began hunting for healthier toddler-friendly holiday treats, it occurred to me that I could share with all of you some of my favorite fellow Foodie Mamas (and Grandmas, Dads, etc.). I am delighted that one of my new favorite bloggers, Jenna of Food with Kid Appeal!, agreed to guest post here with some advice on giving your favorite holiday treats a healthier twist. In addition to being mom to two young boys, ages 2 and 4, Jenna is a nutrition educator and her blog is filled with tips for getting your kids excited about the nutritional aspects of their food — who couldn’t use advice on that? Thanks so much, Jenna, for sharing your advice! Be sure to bookmark her blog, and follow her on Twitter.

Tips for Baking Healthier Holiday Treats

ginger drizzle cookiesBaking sprees are going on in many homes around the holidays. More candy, cakes, cookies and treats are available at school, at parties and at home for your kids to nibble. So how do you make sure they get enough “grow” food during the holidays? Can a treat be healthy? Healthy isn’t the right word, but you can add some “good” to that bad carbohydrate treat. Here are some tips to make tasty treats a little better for kids, when you’re doing the baking. By adding fiber and/or protein you can make those treats a little easier on your little one’s blood stream.

Healthy add-ins for holiday treats:

  • Ground flax seed (fiber and protein), substitute ¼ cup for flour, or use as an egg substitute.
  • Chopped nuts (fiber and protein) add them into batters or sprinkle on top. Walnuts have omega 3s, why not boost brain function while we indulge in treats?
  • substitute ¾ cup, plus 2TBS whole grain flour for one cup white flour (fiber and protein)
  • choose recipes that call for whole grains: oats, whole wheat fiber (fiber and protein)
  • choose recipes that call for fresh or canned fruit-in water not heavy syrup (fiber)

pumpkin nut cookiesOther tips:

  • Reduce sugar amounts. Most treat recipes are super sweet. I generally omit ½ cup (or more!) sugar from recipes and they are still tasty.
  • Add fresh or canned fruit- adding canned pumpkin, crushed pineapple, bananas, carrots, zucchini, etc. to cakes, muffins, and breads provides moisture and natural sweetness and allows you to reduce oil/butter and/or sugar from recipes. See this recipe for Pumpkin Morning Glory Muffins from Blissfully Domestic on how to eliminate ½ the oil from a recipe!
  • Icing is high in sugar and often in fat. Reduce icing amounts. Drizzle it on, instead of icing the whole top of the cookie.
  • Look for recipes using honey as a sweetener. The body still digests honey as sugar, but when in its raw state is a less refined product than refined white sugar. It also has the health benefit of being anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and in some studies has shown to help treat cough and upper-respiratory symptoms. Be careful with conversions from sugar, honey is sweeter than sugar teaspoon per teaspoon. Click here for tips on baking with honey.
  • Using whole grains-oats, whole wheat flour, etc.-will make your loaves and cookies heavier. Their texture will be altered. Most people appreciate an oatmeal raisin cookie even though it is denser than a chocolate chip cookie, you can enjoy your denser cookies and loaves for what they are. Just don’t expect them to be their white flour counterparts.
  • Choose recipes that use oil instead of butter. Oil is a little more health promoting that butter. Save butter for a treat on veggies!
  • When choosing recipes it’s best to use those that have been created or modified for alternative flours and sweeteners. Each grain has a different combination of gluten, starch and/or fiber, all of which effect the way a baked item rises.
  • If budget permits, use natural food colorings in lieu of traditional petroleum-based food coloring (Yes! There are petroleum products in that box of Adams Extract food colors in your pantry). Try Seelect Tea’s or India Tree’s products. Others have purchased Dancing Deer’s product at Whole Foods, but I was unable to confirm they still sell this at the time this article was published.

Recipe links from my fellow healthy foodies:

  • Meal Makeover Moms has a bunch of recipes using less sugar, oil instead of butter and including fruits, veggies (shhhh!), whole grains and/or nuts. Their Sugar Plum Fairy Treats recipe was published in a Kiwi article about a healthier cookie swap (pdf). They are packed with nutrition using two kinds of whole grain cereals, omega 3 nuts and plenty of dried fruit for a super natural sweetness. Now that’s a fruit cake made for kids! Thanks Liz for all the great suggestions!
  • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies- I have already made these and they were a hit with the family and playgroup. Thanks Cookie Madness!
  • Black Bean Brownies- Thanks Karin! Haven’t tried these yet, but I like the idea of protein packed beans in dessert.
  • Roasted Pears -This delicious fruit treat is simple enough to make for a family dinner. Thanks to Michelle at What’s Cooking! Sprinkle some nuts on top for a little protein.

Jenna Pepper teaches Kid’s Nutrition classes for parents in Houston, TX. Jenna is on a mission to bust the myth that good food tastes bad. The Kid Appeal! blog can inspire the parents of even the pickiest eaters to help their kids make better food choices. The Kid Appeal! Forum is a place for parents to ask questions about concerns they have about their kid’s diet.

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One Local Summer, wk4: Spring Herb Chicken

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

This week’s OLS dinner was spring herb and yogurt marinated chicken, served with a swiss chard and maitake mushroom saute and a little non-local brown rice (leftover from another meal). Mushrooms, chicken and yogurt came from Pa. (slightly past the 100 mi. border), while the herbs (savory and chives) and chard came from our CSA, Potomac Vegetable Farms in Va. (23 mi.).

For dessert, Virginia ricotta and honey and sweet Pennsylvania cherries. Yum.

Ricotta from Blue Ridge Dairy, Va. (45 mi.)