Friday, November 25, 2011

This Old House and Cinnamon Buns


This is the house where I lived from aged 6-18 years old.  They were wonderful years. My parents recently sold the house to my younger sister and her husband.  So fortunate for me because all my best childhood memories are wrapped up inside the walls of this house and the walls of my mind. They are the ideal couple for this home because they have extensive renovating experience and lots of great ideas to keep the old homestead in beautiful and tip-top condition. The above pic was taken this fall and is still a work in progress but I'm loving it!!  One of my favorite memories is the wonderful cinnamon buns that my mom made often for us. I guess that's where I get my love of baking fresh breads. We were a family of 8 kids growing up with two wonderful parents so we were very fortunate indeed. I wish every child could grow up the way we did. We also had neighbors a few houses down who had 13 kids!  Well if you can believe it we would all get together once in a while and guess what this mom baked for all of us - cinnamon buns!! Another talented wonderful mom who put lots of love into her baking!  So cinnamon buns hold a really special place in my heart - aside from the fact that they are utterly delectable fresh out of the oven and without all of the preservatives and other stuff you can't read on the store bought packages! Oh and least I forget both my  mom and the neighbor used wood stoves for the longest time for all their cooking and baking! The early sixties were like a "Norman Rockwell painting" - idyllic and carefree (at least for me)!


Anyhow all that bread making rubbed off on me and one of my favorite things is baking fresh cinnamon rolls and they are so easy to do I encourage everyone to at least try it once. It's amazing how little flour (about 2 - 2 1/4) it takes to produce 12 lucious buns. I am still old fashioned in that I prefer the traditional yeast -- I want to see it rising before I put it into my flour! I don't want quick mix anything when it comes to baking bread! One tip I tried that works really well is to  put your bread in a closed oven along with a bowl of steaming boiled water.  Makes a lovely cosy environment for the bread to rise nicely. I took photos of the steps to making the buns -- once your dough has risen and you have punched it down. I did this batch with pecans because I was out of raisins.  I want to try them again with freshly steamed/diced pieces of apples or canned pears which is something I've never tried but sounds yummy!  They're also terrific without bits of raisins or fruit in them if you prefer them straight up cinnamon (well don't forget the butter and brown sugar layer to go with it)! I use a liberal spreading of Earth Balance margarine and muscovado sugar as the starting point before anything else!  I also love the icing sugar/water glaze on top - I drizzle a bit when they first come out of the oven so it soaks into as many of the crevices of the bun as possible and then I finish it off with another application once the buns have cooled.




1-1/4 cup of  soymilk/water
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 packet of traditional yeast

3 tablespoons melted Earth Balance margarine
1/4 cup of organic white sugar
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

2 - 2  1/4 cups organic unbleached white flour

Stir the sugar into the warmed soymilk/water mixture (used 3/4 cup of each).  Sprinkle with yeast. Let stand for about 10 minutes.  Stir in the sugar, salt and melted margarine (make sure it's not too hot).  Stir in the flour a cup at a time until you get a dough that pulls way from the bowl.  Knead until smooth and elastic.  Put into a clean bowl - grease top and sides of dough with a bit of olive oil or margarine.  Let rise in a warm spot for about 1-1/2 hour.

Punch down and roll out on counter top into a rectangle shape.  Spread with margarine, sugar, cinnamon and whatever fruit or raisins you decided to use.  I ended up with 12. Place into a lightly greased pan - and let rise again in a warm spot for another hour or so.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Glaze with icing. Cool and glaze a little more!


Friday, November 18, 2011

5-Grain Pizza Rolls




Pizza Bun Dough

1-1/4 cup of  soymilk/water
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 packet of traditional yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup kamut flour
1-1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Stir the sugar into the warmed soymilk/water mixture (used 3/4 cup of each).  Sprinkle with yeast. Let stand for about 10 minutes.  Stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Stir in the flour a cup at a time until you get a dough that pulls way from the bowl.  Knead until smooth and elastic.  Put into a clean bowl - grease top and sides of dough with a bit of olive oil or margarine.  Let rise in a warm spot for about 1-1/2 hour.

Punch down and roll out on counter top into a rectangle shape.  Spoon on your sauce liberally and top with your pan-fried tofu.  I used medium firm tofu that I marinated overnight in a few spices and olive oil.  It is more like tofu cubes and crumbles but that is perfect for inside these pizza rolls. Roll up your dough just like you do for making cinnamon buns and cut into equal pieces.  I ended up with 12. Place into a lightly greased pan - and let rise again in a warm spot for another hour or so.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.


Sauce:
A purchased jar of Edens Crushed Organic Tomatoes with garlic and onion.  I sauteed veggies as shown in the pan above (1 onion, 1 garlic clove, 1 shallot, 5 cauliflower florets, 1 small sweet potato, 1 carrot and 2 pieces of large swiss chard).  I sprinkled with about 2 teaspoons of veggie broth powder and added about 1 cup of water and let it simmer for a good  hour or so (on low heat with a lid on).  By that time the water was more or less evaporated and the veggies were very soft.  If there is too much water left either pour it off or take lid off and let it sit on the stove until it's gone.  I whirled the veggies in my magic bullet briefly and then mixed it with the Eden crushed tomatoes. The two mixed together is pictured in the bowl above.  I ended up with 2/3 cup mashed veggies and decided to add 2/3  cup tomato sauce to come up with the blend I wanted for the pizza buns. I was inspired to make a healthier tomato sauce thanks to the Sneaky Chef book I looked through recently.  This is not one of their specific recipes - I figured almost anything goes with tomato sauce and those were the veggies I had in my fridge. So use whatever you have on hand that you think would work or used just the crushed tomatoes -- works perfectly well all on its own and saves a few steps.  I have a picky 4 year old I'm trying to get more veggies into or I would opt for the quick and easy route myself!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sweet Potato Pate



This is my favorite basic sunflower pate recipe with a few changes/additions.  Here they are:

#1 - Decided to use a sweet potato instead of a white potato for extra nutrition.
#2 - Added and sauteed 8 large white button mushrooms along with my onion/garlic and skipped the celery.
#3 - Used only brown organic rice flour to make it totally gluten-free.
#4 - I also decided that I like my pate very smooth therefore I am now blending the water with all the veggies (including the sauteed mushrooms/onions/garlic) before adding it to the dry ingredients.
#5 - Added a bit of cayenne for extra kick and sprinkled the top of raw batter with a generous dose of chili powder for color and flavor.

I recommend Willow Creek Organic Sunflower Seeds if you can find them! They used to be available at Sobey's but for some reason they are no longer carrying them in my neighborhood. I did find them at Valleyview IGA in Laurier Heights (Edmonton, Alberta) so if my readers have any other locations where they have been spotted pleased let me know! Or if they are available online! I love all the Willow Creek Products - they are extensive and wonderful - just really hard to find!!