Friday, May 21, 2010

One thousand and one bean salad recipes

Bean salad.  Most of us have grown up trying at least half a dozen versions of it if not more.  It's a standard picnic food... if you can ever get some picnic weather.  You can get big jars of it at Costco.  (Way too sweet according to my bean salad loving hubby.)  Everybody has their own preferences on what beans and sundry to include.  Everybody has differing opinions on how sweet it should be.  I was never a huge fan as a child.  I have changed my tune in adulthood.  And this recipe (IMHO) is quite good - my keeper.  I found myself going back and picking at it last night when I made it, this morning when I packed it up for hubby's lunch (more on that later), and throughout today.  I would probably eat almost as much of this as Texas caviar which for some reason I just adore.  They are somewhat similar, the latter just doesn't have the sugar.  I like bean salad less sweet, which is probably why I love Texas Caviar so much.  But this one.  Mmmm.  Tangy, just a bit spicy, not too sweet.  Good bean salad.  You know the nice thing about bean salad is that it is so infinitely customizable (is that a word? I think so).  Don't like garbanzos?  Use less.  Or something else entirely.  Lima beans - ew.  Or great northerns or cannellini beans.  My hubby passed by the salad a number of times and made a very happy noise each time.  He also decided he was going to take a great container of it for lunch today!  And let me tell you, trying to get him to take a lunch to work is like pulling teeth.  So here is my take on however-many-bean salad.  Free free to customize!  (I forgot to pick up the wax beans last night, so used two can of green beans, but I really do prefer to use one of each.  I love wax beans.)

Bunch 'o Bean Salad

1 (14oz) can green beans
1 (14oz) can wax beans (You can just use 2 cans of green beans if you don't like wax beans)
1 (15oz) can red kidney beans
1 (8.75 or 15oz) can pinto beans
1 (8.75oz) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 small green pepper (or any color you like), diced
1 small red onion, chopped

2/3 cup vinegar (half apple cider, half white wine)
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (adds a touch of sweetness and nice depth of flavor)
1/3 - ½ cup oil  (use an oil that won't congeal in the fridge - I used mostly canola and added a little avocado oil too)
¼ - ½ cup loosely packed light brown muscovado sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (I used homemade - so awesome, even though mine was soy free)
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp dill weed
Dash or two of Tabasco or Green Tabasco to taste (optional)

Drain and rinse all the beans and place in a large bowl.  Dice the green pepper and chop the onion.  Add to the bowl.  (You may use a red pepper or other color if you prefer; truth be told, I like the orange and red best, but in this case the extra bite of the green contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the dressing.)  Now whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a separate bowl or measuring cup.  Pour over the salad and toss.  Cover and refrigerate overnight, tossing occasionally.  Taste before serving and adjust the salt if desired.  I added another generous ¼ tsp this morning.  Serve with a slotted spoon to drain off most of the dressing.  Send off with a very appreciative husband.  This stuff only gets better with age, but I have a feeling it will not last beyond tomorrow.

After dinner tonight, my husband stated that I could continue to make this in perpetuity.  He said that when you spend your dinner discussing the nuances of the bean salad, you know it's good! 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Apples with a twist

I'm not sure whether it's a good or bad thing that you can pop one of these tasty little dainties right in your mouth.  It's like a potato chip, can you stop at just one?  Originally called an apple twist, the dough reminds me somewhat of easy style kringle dough.  So I guess it's kind of an apple twingle...  Whatever you call it, they are a beautiful marriage of apple pie and danish in a deviously small package.  One or two bites, depending on how you cut them.  For safety's sake, I made a third of a batch.  The full recipe makes 64 of the sinful little buggers and I don't need that kind of temptation in my house.  Although they will freeze well I understand.  This is another recipe that requires an overnight rest, so plan ahead.  All told, not too difficult to put these together and I'll definitely make them again.  I think next time, I may even pump up the apple a notch by brushing a bit of boiled cider either on the dough before the sugar sprinkle, or adding a touch to the icing.  Make sure to use nice tart, flavorful apples for the best apple pastry experience.  The girls have decided these are definitely worth eating.  Repeatedly.  Hmmm, may need to find a higher shelf...

Apple Twingles   (Austrian Apple Twists)

1 pkg (¼ oz) active dry yeast
2 c all purpose flour
1 c white whole wheat flour
1 c butter, softened
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 c (8 oz) sour cream
½ c sugar
½ c finely chopped pecans
¾ tsp cinnamon
1 medium tart apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped

1 c powdered sugar
4 tsp milk
¼ tsp vanilla
pinch of cinnamon (optional)

Finely chopped pecans (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine yeast and flour.  Add butter and mix well - fingers work well here.  Add egg yolks and sour cream, mix well.  Shape into four balls.  Wrap individually in plastic and refrigerate overnight.  In a small bowl, combine sugar, pecans and cinnamon and set aside.  On a floured surface, roll each ball of dough into a 9 inch circle.  Sprinkle with sugar mix and apple bits.  Cut each circle into 12-16 wedges.  (Actually, you may find it easier to cut the dough before you sprinkle on the toppings.)  Roll up from wide edge and place point side down on greased or parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake at 350º for 16-20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Immediately remove to wire racks to cool.  Combine icing ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.  Drizzle over the twists and sprinkle with pecans if desired.

This has been yeastspotted!

Well I happened to come up with something fitting the BBD theme and didn't even realize it!  Ha!  So here is the link for the challenge:  BBD#30: Breads with a Twist!

Adapted from Kathy Bless

Monday, May 3, 2010

Malted chocolate and... sourdough?

Oh yes.  It works.  And how.  Yummy, chocolatey malted waffles.  For breakfast or dessert or whenever.  We tried them for breakfast and they were quite popular with the girls!  (Especially the whipped cream part, imagine that.)  They are light but still filling because of the whole wheat and the cream, if you use it.  The outside is nice and crispy and the inside is chewy/cakey with little bits of melted chocolate.  Well, they are soft straight out of the iron, but they crisp up quickly on standing.  You could top them with anything you like, we used the cream and cinnamon but you could always use sliced bananas, peanut butter and whipped cream and call it the Chocolate Elvis waffle...  Me, I'd go for strawberries and cream.  The chocolate covered strawberry waffle.  Yum.  Or for dessert, top with ice cream and chocolate sauce.  Maybe some pecans?  Try making your own maraschino cherries for the top!  Well, you don't have to go that far.  I did, but you don't.    There's lots of options, have fun with it!  By the way, you cannot tell there is whole wheat in there because of the overnight rest.  Start it the night before and if you premeasure the ingredients, it only takes a minute to stir together for breakfast.  This recipe makes about 10 standard squares in my little two-square waffle iron but can also be made in a Belgian waffle iron and can be doubled for family or company.  You could probably use unfed starter from a sourdough discard and just let it sit out on the counter for a few hours before refrigerating to perk it up.  No waste that way!

Malted Chocolate Waffles

4 oz. (about ½ c) ripe sourdough starter (fed or unfed)
5 oz. (about ½ c + 2 tbsp) cool water
3 oz. (about ¾ c) white whole wheat flour

¼ c dutch process cocoa
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp sugar
1 large egg
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp mini chocolate chips

The day before you intend to eat these, combine the starter ingredients and mix thoroughly in a medium bowl.  Cover the bowl and stick in the fridge overnight.  I left mine out for an hour before refrigerating it to give it a bit of a boost.  Next day, whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl.  You may need to sift for lumps in the cocoa and malted milk powder.  I don't use mine very often, so it tends to turn into a brick - I use my spice grinder or food processor to re-powder it.  (Works great for buttermilk powder too.)  Add the dry ingredients, plus the egg, melted butter, vanilla, and chocolate chips to the sourdough batter.  Stir to combine.  To bake the waffles: Drop about ¼ cup batter per standard square onto a greased, preheated waffle iron. Bake the waffle until steam stops coming out the sides of the iron. The waffles will feel soft and tender coming out of the iron, but will crisp up on standing.  And your kitchen will smell like chocolate cake for an hour after! 

Adapted from King Arthur

This has been yeastspotted!