Tag Archives: Whole Wheat

Quick Norwegian Flatbread (and How to Make it Lunch)

You know when you wake up from a nap, and it feels so good to stretch out?

Henry knows all about that.  I call this The Morning Dance of the Cat:

It took me a little while to wake up this morning, too, but once I got my butt in gear, had a piece of peanut butter and banana toast, and drank my tea, I headed off to the gym.  Try not to be too impressed, but I ran 2.6 miles–quite an accomplishment for a real running-hater like myself.

Though I have to clarify–I hate the actual running, but it feels so good after. That’s why I keep doing it.

Anyway, once I got home, I had some lunchtime inspiration from my CSA box (no picture this week, sorry!) and the giant tub of hummus (best batch yet) that I made yesterday.  Sungold cherry tomatoes + hummus + herbs from the garden + flatbread = lunch.

Quick Norwegian Flatbread (from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads)

  • 1 1/2 C rye flour
  • 1 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 C butter, melted
  • 1 C buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  While you are getting the ingredients ready, I’ll give you two short cuts that I used today.  One, to bring an egg rapidly to room temperature, let it sit in a cup of hot water for a minute.  Two, if you don’t have buttermilk, just combine some milk and a little lemon juice for a quick fix.

Combine the egg and buttermilk in the mixer.  Add the melted butter and mix again to combine.  In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients and pour them into the liquid, mixing until a dough forms.  Knead with the dough hook for a few minutes until smooth, adding pinches of flour if necessary to make the dough pull away from the bowl.

Divide the dough into two pieces on a floured countertop, and roll out with a rolling pin until about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  Traditionally, this is rolled into a circle, but I went with a more rectangular shape just ’cause it’s easier.  Transfer on a greased baking sheet and bake in the oven on the medium rack until browned on the bottom and lightly golden on top, about 15-2o minutes.

This was so delicious as is.  If you want to toss together a quick bread for dipping in soups, eating with hummus, or with jam and butter, this is a great choice.  So soft and the subtle rye taste is irresistible.

But I needed lunch.  I set one flatbread aside (in a ziplock bag), and got to work on the other.

I spread a nice layer of hummus over the top of the remaining flatbread, then sprinkled it with some lemon thyme from my herb garden.  I sliced a handful of cherry tomatoes, placing them cut-side up on top of the hummus, and sprinkled the whole thing with a bit of salt and pepper.  Just a few minutes under the broiler and voila!  Lunch is served.

Next time I’d spread the hummus all the way to the edges to keep them from browning too rapidly…and because hummus is just delicious.

These tomatoes from my CSA box are also super sweet–I can’t resist eating them whole, which is quite unusual for me, since I was never a big tomato fan.

In fact, as a child I threw up when my parents made me eat one, and they stopped making me try after that.  My feelings for raw tomatoes are definitely improving this year–but they are even better cooked.  On flatbread.  With hummus.

What else came in our CSA box this week?  Well, the size of the box is a little small this week, thanks to Miss Irene, but we still got some good stuff:

  • 2 acorn squashes (yes!!!!)
  • 1 pint of Sungold cherry tomatoes (that you’ve seen here today)
  • Red beets and their greens
  • Baby leeks
  • Bunch of cilantro
  • Several big red tomatoes
  • 1 bag of green beans

Though it was a slightly smaller box, it was full of all of my favorite veggies, so I’m pretty excited to have our kitchen restocked.  I’m still trying to plan something to do with the cilantro (Fritz is not a fan), but most of it will likely have to be frozen.

Have a good weekend!

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Filed under Breads

Seeded Crackers

What a relief to finally be home!  We began our travels yesterday at 8:00 in the morning and finally arrived home to Long Island at almost 9:00 at night.  Super long day.

Needless to say, we were super exhausted when we finally made it home–but very, very excited to see this face:

He’s been cling-wrapped to us all day and I think he’s finally starting to get that when we leave, we won’t be gone for another two weeks.  Oh–except that I’m catching a flight tomorrow night for Syracuse to see my side of the family (but Fritz is staying here, since his classes are starting tomorrow).

So, it was nice to have a bit of a normal routine today, including weekend baking.  I decided to attempt making crackers for the first time ever today, using this recipe from It’s Not About the Recipe for inspiration.

Seeded Crackers Printable Recipe Card

  •  1 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1 C rye flour
  • 1/4 C poppy seeds
  • 1/4 C sesame seeds
  • 1/4 C sunflower seeds
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 3/4 C water

This was a super easy recipe.  In the mixer, combine all the dry ingredients.  Mix in the olive oil, then the water, until a dough forms.  Let it rest for 15 minutes.

After resting, break the dough into four pieces (the original recipe said eight–not sure why, since it was not necessary and a bit more time-consuming).  Roll out the dough until very thin, using extra flour to prevent sticking (I stopped rolling only when I had to–when the thickness of the sunflower seeds prevented me from rolling it out any thinner).  Using a pizza cutter (or a pastry roller if you are lucky enough to have one), cut off the rough edges and slice the crackers into squares.  Place them close together on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and stick ’em with a fork a couple of times for those cute cracker dots.

Bake in a hot oven (450 degrees) for 7-10 minutes until light golden brown.  You gotta watch these guys carefully, since they’ll burn fast and the only thing worse than the smell of burnt sesame seeds is the taste of burnt sesame seeds.

Let them cool completely and store in an air-tight container for about a week.

I wasn’t a huge fan of these crackers at first, but I posted the recipe anyway because I think that it’s a personal preference–I’m just not a huge fan of toasted sesame seeds.

Fritz enjoyed the crackers just fine.

Oh, and when I tried them the way I used to eat Ritz crackers in my youth (with strawberry jam), I was totally won over.

Yum.

Double, triple, crunchy seedy cracker yum.  These guys might just be those crackers that really work best with toppings.

My next cracker attempt (because these were so fast that I will definitely be making more crackers soon) may have to be sweet.  Or cheddar.  Or herby.  Either way, we need more crackers.

Back at the homefront, Henry has been peering out from behind our television (the one place he’s not supposed to go and is therefore his favorite place), daring us to have the gall to yell at him after we abandoned him for two weeks.

World’s worst cat.

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Filed under Snacks

Hot Chocolate Cookies

This may sound like a weird thing to post in the middle of summer, but it was freezin’ cold yesterday!  It required sweaters, multiple pairs of pants, socks, and blankets in order to sit outside and read my Kindle by morning light.

So you can imagine how happy I was, since I’ve been fiending for fall since April hit.

I know, I’m a crazy person.  But Fritz made the whole family some hot chocolate, and I was inspired.  I needed hot chocolate in cookie form.  Immediately.

I searched the web for a few recipes, but didn’t find any that I really liked so experiment, I did.  I also had limited ingredients on hand (we are on vacation, after all), so I was pleasantly surprised when this recipe turned out just loverly.

Hot Chocolate Cookies (makes a dozen cookies) Printable Recipe Card

  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/3 C butter
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/8 C milk
  • 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 C old-fashioned oats
  • 1 t baking soda
  • sprinkle of salt (probably around 1/8 t)
  • 1/2 C hot cocoa mix (not unsweetened cocoa powder)
  • 1/2 C choc0late chips (optional–use as a glaze or in the cookies if you want!)
  • 6 large marshmellows, cut in half vertically

This recipe is fairly simple.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add the milk and egg.  Beat until blended, and sprinkle in the remaining ingredients, except the marshmallows (and chocolate chips if using for a glaze).  Mix until just blended.

Drop large spoonfuls onto a lightly greased baking sheet (I used two, since the cookies spread out and puffed up quite nicely!).  Bake for 6-8 minutes on the middle rack until they just begin to set. 

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and press a marshmallow half, cut side down, into each cookie.  Place the cookie sheets on a higher rack and turn on the broiler.  Watch carefully and remove the cookies after the marshmallows puff and turn a beautiful golden brown (about a minute).

If you used the chocolate chips in the cookies, then you are done.  Otherwise, carefully melt the chips in the microwave at low power for a few seconds at a time, then drizzle the melted chocolate over the top.

Enjoy with a cold glass of milk or a steaming mug of hot chocolate.

Fritz and his dad later heated some cookies up in the microwave to be topped with ice cream, and declared that a true success.

What I like about these cookies is that they are not too sweet–even with the marshmallow and chocolate chips.  You’ll still probably want to eat only one, maybe two, but you won’t be overwhelmed with a sickly sweetness of bad hot chocolate mix–I promise. 

I also like the slight chewiness from the oats.  But you guys know how I feel about oats in any form (very, very good, in case you actually don’t know).

And here’s part of the gorgeous sunset from last night!  Isn’t it beautiful? 

Today the weather is back up in the 80’s and I am subsequently enjoying a nice left-sided pink sunburn from when I fell asleep at the lake after our run this morning (2.5 miles–but not all continuously).  Have a peaceful day!

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Filed under Desserts

Chicken & Radicchio Pasta Salad

Post # 200.

Amazing–it feels like just yesterday that I decided to make an apple pie (well, two–I’ve never been the type to do things by halves) and then blog it!  But, 200 posts later, I’m still loving the blogging world!

I also added a new page to the blog today–called “Top 100”.  It’s a list from the New York Times naming the top 100 novels from 1923–present.  I’ve started using it as an inspiration when I want to combine what I’m reading by chance (read: books I choose based on their titles and covers alone) with something that will definitely enrich my selection and hopefully make me a little smarter, too.  And nerdier?  Definitely.  So check it out and let me know if you’ve read any of them, and which ones you think I should tackle next.

In last week’s CSA box we received a head of radicchio, which I had never tried before.  When I googled it and discovered that is it very bitter, I got a little nervous.  I am frankly just not a fan of bitter greens, so I knew I’d have to cook this to make it palatable.

And of course I was also hoping to somehow make it beyond palatable into something more delicious.  I adapted this pasta salad recipe from Food & Wine’s Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes, from Laura Pensiero’s Hudson Valley Mediterranean.  Her mantra is:

Eat healthy, enjoy food, live well, and never sacrifice flavor.

Now that is a mantra I can get behind.

Chicken & Radicchio Pasta Salad Printable Recipe Card

  • 8 oz dry whole-wheat pasta (I used macaroni)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small head radicchio, shredded (for a shredding tutorial, go here)
  • 12 oz chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 C frozen peas
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/2 t dried garlic)
  • 1 1/2 t mustard (I used Trader Joe’s Hot and Sweet Mustard–mmm)
  • 1/2 C chicken broth
  • 1/4 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente.  Drain and place in a large bowl–this is where the entire salad is going to end up, so make sure there’s enough room.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet, and saute the onion until translucent and beginning to brown.  Add the radicchio and saute for a few more minutes until it cooks down, but not until it’s totally limp.  Add the onions and radicchio to the pasta bowl, and mix.  Now is a good time to add the frozen peas, too–the hot pasta will defrost ’em.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the (now empty) skillet.  Cook the garlic until fragrant (30 seconds or so), and add the chicken, saute until golden brown and cooked through.  Add the mustard and chicken broth, and cook until the broth reduces volume by half.  Lastly, pour in the Parmesan cheese and stir until it melts and forms a nice, thick sauce.

Add the chicken mixture to the macaroni bowl.  Mix.  Taste.  Be surprised that the radicchio, though bitter, isn’t bad.  Taste again.  Salt and pepper to taste, toss it one more time, and steal one more taste.

Yum.  Serve either warm, at room temperature, or cool.  It is totes up to you.

I really enjoyed this pasta dish–definitely an entrée and not a side, and full of different textures.  The radicchio was still bitter, but not overwhelming.  I had this for lunch today with half of a grilled zucchini and a roasted beet: vegetable city.

For people who don’t need to use up their CSA veggies and don’t like bitter greens, you can make this recipe with spinach or Swiss chard, too.  But if you can, give radicchio a chance (because it’s always good to add some variety in your diet!).

Speaking of CSA boxes, say hello to week seven:

And say hello to radicchio number two–guess I’ll have to find another cooked radicchio recipe for this week, too.  Any suggestions?

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Filed under Entrees, Salads

Tropical Mini Muffins

Are you guys sick of me miniaturizing everything that I bake yet?  ‘Cause I’m not.

Mini baked goods are fun, because I can eat three of them and it’s not a big deal at all.  It’s also nice because I don’t have to choose–do I want an English muffin or a tropical muffin?  Oh yes, I can have both.  Twice.  But if you aren’t a mini kind of person, it’s no big deal.  I’ll still like you.  And I’ll still probably eat two of your muffins.

Tropical  Mini Muffins

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 3/4 C crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t orange extract
  • 1/4 C canola oil
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 2 T wheat germ

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a muffin or mini-muffin tin or line with paper cups.  First mix the wet ingredients (banana, pineapple, canola oil, egg, and extracts) until blended.  It’s okay to have chunks of banana–I actually prefer that.  Next, add the dry ingredients (everything else) and mix until everything is just blended.  Easy, right?

Pour into muffin cups (they should be 3/4 of the way full, but I filled them all the way ’cause I only wanted to make one batch!) and place on the middle rack to bake until they are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.  Make sure a toothpick comes out dry (but not too dry).

Mini muffins are also cute for looking good in photos.  Unless you pour too much batter in the cups and then your muffins are top heavy.  Still better than having to bake two batches, though.

These were good–super moist.  Fritz was a huge fan, because he could eat a banana-bread based food three times a day for the rest of his life and be perfectly content.  I thought the pineapple chunks were a nice treat, and the orange extract was just barely noticeable.  It could also be left out–no big deal.

Since this recipe made 24 mini muffins, and I’m gonna be gone for the week, I stuck half of them in the freezer so Fritz doesn’t feel the pressure to eat all of them in a couple of days.  I don’t like to force feed him just so food doesn’t go bad (except for vegetables, but that’s for his own good).

I think these muffins took Fritz back to his South African tropical days.  He ate four of them rapid fire when they were out of the oven (but it’s okay!  They are mini!).

So on Friday we drove to Brooklyn to say goodbye to our good friends Bre and Zev since they are moving on Tuesday.  It was lots of fun to see them, and as usual, lots of food and alcohol was consumed–and nonstop talk ensued.  Like I said before, it’ll be really sad to see them go.  We need to start planning our visits upstate right away.

And poor Henry was stuck at home, looking longingly in the direction of Brooklyn.

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Filed under Breakfast, Desserts

Whole-Wheat English Mini-Muffins

Happy Sunday, friends!  I love Sundays–because I’ve finished running errands earlier in the weekend, I have the entire day to relax and make a yeasty bread that needs to rise twice.  Due to my love (obsession?) with breakfast, I decided to make some whole-wheat English muffins.  And then I made them mini.

That way, you can have two, each with a different topping.  It feels more exciting that way.  But if you want, you can use the same recipe and make regular-sized ones.

Whole-Wheat English Mini-Muffins (adapted from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads)

  • 2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2-2 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 2 packages yeast (4 1/2 t)
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 1/4 C skim milk, warm
  • 3 T butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • Cornmeal

There should also be an egg in there.  At the time this photo was taken, my egg was warming from fridge-temp to room-temp in a hot water bath.  Good tip, by the way–’cause you always want to bake with room temperature eggs, but who really has the foresight for those things?

In the mixer bowl of your beloved KitchenAid (or in a regular large mixing bowl, if you are less lazy), combine the 2 1/2 C all-purpose flour, the yeast, salt, and sugar, and stir to blend.  Warm the milk (don’t boil, but do make sure it’s almost hot), and add the butter directly to it to melt.  Pour the milk/butter mixture into the flour mixture and mix for about 2 minutes.  Add the egg and beat until smooth.

Mix in the remaining whole-wheat flour, 1/4 C at a time, until the dough is a “shaggy mass” (thanks for that descriptor, Bernard).  Change to the dough hook and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.  If you need more flour, add it in small amounts until it’s not sticky–but don’t go overboard.

Wrap the bowl in plastic and allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in size, about an hour.

Punch down the dough and knead briefly, then let it rest for ten minutes.  Spread a small handful of cornmeal over the work surface, and roll the dough out until it is about 1/4″ thick (I kept mine a bit thicker, but I would roll out to 1/4″ next time for flatter muffins).  Cut into rounds–for my mini-muffins, I used a wine glass that was about 2 1/2″ across, but use a cookie cutter that’s about 4″ across for regular-sized muffins.

English muffin army.

Place a towel over the rounds and let them rise again until doubled in size, about another 45 minutes.  Turn the oven to 45o degrees 20 minutes before you estimate they will be done rising so that it can preheat.  Gently lay the muffins on a cookie sheet and bake on a middle rack for about 10-15 minutes, flipping them halfway through.  They’ll be a nice golden brown on the top and bottom when they are done.

Allow them to cool on a wire rack before tearing them apart and slathering them with butter and jam.  Once they’re cooled, stick ’em in the toaster the way you’d do with any English muffin.

Yum.  Not as many nooks and crannies as I expected, but that’s probably due to two things: 1) I used half whole-wheat flour and 2) I didn’t roll them out as thin as I should have, so they might have risen a bit differently.

Either way, still delicious (and they really taste just like an English muffin!).  You also can’t detect the whole-wheat flour at all.

I can’t wait to have one with peanut butter and one with raspberry jam for breakfast tomorrow–PB&J at its finest!

What’s your English muffin topping of choice?  Are you a PB&J kinda person like me, or a traditional butter and jam muffin eater?  Cheese?  Fresh fruit?  Honey or golden syrup?  Or an eggs and bacon guy like Fritz?

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Filed under Breads, Breakfast

Double Chocolate (Whole-Wheat) Banana Bread

(Ignore this: NYGKCEBBJVEG.  It’s a verification code for a website.)

Double chocolate whole-wheat banana bread.

It’s good for you, but it’s not.

There’s the banana and whole-wheat flour, but there’s also the chocolate and the oil and the sugar.

It’s called bread, but it tastes like cake.

You can eat it after dinner for dessert, or waaaaay after dinner for breakfast. 

It’s double chocolate whole-wheat banana bread!

Double Chocolate (Whole-Wheat) Banana Bread (adapted from this recipe at Former Chef)

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 C canola oil
  • 3/4 C skim milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 2/3 C sugar
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t instant mocha (optional)
  • 1/3 C cocoa powder
  • heaping 1/2 C dark chocolate chips/morsels

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the wet ingredients in your mixer bowl and mix on medium until bananas are mashed (alternatively, mash them first.  You don’t have to be lazy like me). 

Here’s where the important guys come into play:

Add the dry ingredients (salt, baking powder, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, mocha powder, chocolate chips) and combine until just mixed.  This should be more like brownie batter than bread dough.

Lick the spoon, and pour the batter into a sprayed bread pan.  Lick the spoon again.  Now the bowl.  Now steal another spoonful of batter from the pan.

Do this at your own risk.  There are eggs in there.  Raw ones. 

I’m willing to risk it.  I’m also willing to forgo lunch, because at this point I am full of banana bread batter.  Totally worth it.

Bake on the middle rack for about an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Don’t over bake it, ’cause no one likes dry banana bread, especially when it’s already dark brown.  Also, don’t mistake melted chocolate chips for wet dough on the toothpick.  Allow to cool, and run a knife along the edges and flip out of the pan. 

Technically, you should allow it to cool completely before slicing, but who am I kidding?  Your husband has probably been finding excuses to linger in the kitchen for the last 30 minutes (“oh, I’m just grabbing a, uh, towel to wipe down this here, um, counter”).  As if he’s ever wiped down a counter in his entire life.

So, cut him a slice.  Let him eat it warm.  He’ll pledge his undying, eternal, unconditional love to you. 

Allow him to eat another slice.  He may even wipe the counters down for you.

Yeah.  It’s really good.  Very moist and unexpectedly rich.  At first taste I thought it was a bit bland, but I think it’s because I tried it right out of the oven.  When I went for the second taste about an hour later…BAM!  Full flavor.  First intense chocolate, then a tiny bit of coffee, and finally the sweet, sweet banana carrying it all.

Definitely going in the top list of breakfast breads to make next time I’m invited to a brunch (hear that? Invite me!) .  And yes, there’s already a list for that.

As an aside, I am just getting over being sore from the gym class I went to on Friday.  Same class I go to every Friday, and usually don’t get sore from.  Must have thrown myself hardcore into that workout–my pecs, quads, adductors and hamstrings were on fire yesterday!  So weird.  I’m also planning on starting up yoga again now that my nerve problem seems to have settled down–I just have to remind myself that it’s not a competition and I don’t need to overstretch just to be the best in the room.

It’s all about what’s good for your body.  As far as reaching my happy weight–getting even closer to my goal (just goes to show–you can eat double chocolate banana bread, sweet potato cinnamon rolls, and have your chocolate chip cookies, too, as long as you balance, balance, balance!).

Wish me luck on my finals tomorrow!

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Filed under Breads