Curried roast cabbage and other veggies

So I had half a cabbage left from our CSA share, as well as lots of baby potatoes. There were some carrots in the fridge, and an onion. All these got cut up and put in a large glass baking dish, drizzled with butter and coconut oil, sprinkled with salt, pepper, and curry powder, and set to roast at 400 degrees. I wish I tracked how long it took — guessing 40-60 minutes. Every fifteen or twenty minutes I would check for desired tenderness and caramelization.

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In more typical recipe form:

1 small or 1/2 large cabbage, cut into small wedges.
Two or three generous handfuls of baby potatoes, cut up.
Four or five carrots, peeled and cut up.
Half a large sweet onion, cut into wedges.

Ideally, you’d have balanced proportions of all the veggies, but it’s unnecessary to be precise. And of course you could include other veggies, or exclude some of these. Toss them into a large baking dish. Drizzle / sprinkle with:

4-5 T coconut oil
4-5 T melted butter
(no need to melt it ahead of time — lay the pats on top, stir in after a few minutes in the oven)
2-4 t mild curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Roast at 400 degrees for an estimated 40-60 minutes, stirring and checking for doneness every fifteen or twenty minutes.

Mini puff pancakes: good for many things

3 eggs
1/2 c milk
1/2 c flour
pinch salt
4 T melted butter
1/2 – 1 t vanilla

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.

Whisk together all ingredients. Pour into buttered 12-muffin tin. Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes or until puffed and nicely browned on the edges. Let cool a few minutes on a cooling rack, in the tin so they’ll remove more easily. They’ll deflate a bit.

We had ours with apple butter and banana slices. They’d be good with maple syrup, or fruit, and / or whipped cream. You could even omit the vanilla and add a savory filling — bacon crumbles and spinach, perhaps.

Meal plan

We’re back in the school year, and I’m intending to get back into meal planning. I find it helpful to think about the week’s meals all at once and eliminate the daily “what do I feel like making tonight.” (It would be even more helpful if I could more often plan before Mark goes grocery shopping.)

Monday: Corn on the cob; zucchini noodles with pesto.

Mark grew some corn this year. Just two short rows, but enough for two meals.

To do the zucchini noodles, you peel long slices of zucchini (not including the pithy core), toss them in a colander or two with some salt (1 1/2 t for a baseball bat zucchini), let rest for ten or fifteen minutes, then squeeze them in a towel. Sauteed, they remind me of those translucent rice noodles.

Tomorrow Amy doesn’t have school but Mark does. While we’re home, I’ll also make bread for the next two weeks, the pesto, and tortillas for Wednesday.

Tuesday: Ginger beef with broccoli and carrots

A meal that one guy applied to me and I applied to Mark — continues to be a favorite.

Wednesday: Chicken soft tacos

I bought a poblano pepper and some mango salsa at the farmers market this weekend.

I found this recipe to make the seasoned shredded chicken in the crock pot. I want to make some broth at the same time, though, so I’ll slow-cook the chicken unseasoned, and after shredding what I want for the tacos, season it in a skillet — and probably ignore the recipe and season it my own way, especially since I don’t have a lime on hand. The bones and stuff will continue slow-cooking for Thursday’s meal.

Thursday: Tuscan soup with sausage, potatoes, and kale

First try with this kind of soup — I love it at the dining hall.

Another chocolate cake

I am on a quest for a naturally sweetened whole wheat chocolate layer cake. The ones I have tried before have been on the heavy and dry side.

This one, while not the fluffy delight a cake mix always turns out, was moist, rich, chocolatey, and smooth. Still heavy and dense, but not badly so. It reminded me of a chocolate mousse cake. I would make it again… but I would still like to find a fluffy one! I know, I need to get some sucanat and give that a try… and maybe see if I could find whole wheat pastry flour — ultra grain is as close as we can get at our local stores.

I made it with this swiss meringue buttercream, sweetened with maple syrup and turbinado sugar, except I used butter instead of shortening. Absolutely fantastic. The only problem was there wasn’t quite enough — I think one and a half recipes would do better next time.

I was disappointed with the chocolate ice cream — sometimes I am sensitive to a different taste in the raw milk and cream we get — not quite sure how to describe it other than “grassy” or “redolent of barnyard.” Mark couldn’t tell — but he didn’t think it was chocolatey enough.

Rescue this recipe

Okay, so I’m making meringue-based buttercream. I’ve made the Swiss kind a few times before and it’s turned out beautifully. I did a little research and found two buttercream recipes made with natural sweeteners. One, which makes about a fifth of the amount my recipe makes (based on the number of egg whites required), called for 4.5 T of maple syrup and 1/4 c of coconut sugar. I multiplied by five and got 22.5 T, equivalent to 1 1/2 c, and 1 1/4 c of the coconut sugar. I added those together (since I have no coconut sugar) and got just shy of 3 c. Since the original recipe asks for 4 c of sugar, I decided to go for 3 c of natural sweetener. I used 2 c maple syrup and 1 c honey.

First of all, I should have measured my mixer bowl. It’s not big enough for this big recipe. (I’ve made half before, and 2/3 before, but never the whole amount.) The egg whites and sweeteners heated up beautifully over a pot of boiling water, and were starting to whip beautifully in the mixer, but while I was doing something else they rose up exuberantly and spilled over.

I divided the mixture in half and continued with one half. I started to add the cool but soft butter, a cube at a time. The stuff deflated, and even after about a stick or two of butter (the whole recipe calls for ten, so this was nearly half the allotted amount for half the recipe) it remained stubbornly soupy and unemulsified, even after chilling.

So… is there anything I can make with 2 c egg whites, 2 c maple syrup, 1 c honey, and 1/2 – 1 c butter?

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Edited to add:

I thought the problem may have been either that I didn’t whip the whites and sweeteners long enough — didn’t quite get to stiff peaks — or else that the honey was too thick / heavy / viscose (a note on one of the recipes said not to use it for that reason — which I noticed after using it).

But in a terrifying leap of faith, I decided to a) try a trick I saw after googling “save a failed buttercream,” which was to heat up 1/4 of the mixture and stream it back in, and then b) keep adding the butter. It worked.

Meanwhile I’d already set out more frozen egg whites to try again with a different recipe, the one with maple and coconut sugar (I used turbinado), so I went ahead and made that, too.

Altogether, 3 quarts from the first recipe, with a yummy rich maple flavor, and maybe 2/3 quart of the second recipe, with a lighter flavor and color. So I’m set for icing for three more cakes after this weekend’s. Good thing it freezes!

Molasses pancakes

This is just a serendipitous variation on the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook pancake recipe, provoked inspired by our current lack of honey (which I usually use to sweeten pancake batter).

In a large bowl, whisk together the following:

2 c whole wheat flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
1/8 t ground cloves
1/8 t ginger

In another bowl, whisk together the following:

2 c buttermilk
2 eggs
4 T melted butter
1 T molasses

Combine wet and dry ingredients, stirring just until well-combined.

Amy says they’re even good plain, but I like them best with butter and maple syrup.

Bread

I have been making this bread recipe for many months now — over a year? — and often it turns out just fine. But lately it seems every time it is doing this weird thing where the bottom part is very nice but the top part falls apart.

Is it rising too much before going in the oven? Not enough? Some other issue?

———

Apparently, crumbly bread with a coarse grain and holes has likely risen too long and in too warm a place. Other issues that cause crumbliness are not kneading enough, not mixing enough, or having too much flour.