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.

Apples for pie

Actually, apples for crisp in this case — a smallish crisp — didn’t have quite enough slices for a pie.

The point of the post, though, is to show how you can put the slices in a freezer bag, then set the freezer bag into the pan or dish you’re going to use when you get around to making the pie, crisp, or whatever, pushing gently to mold the slices into the shape of the dish, being careful no folds or wrinkles of the bag get caught between slices.

Then, once it’s frozen, you can fetch the dish and return it to your kitchen cabinets.

And the back-to-school cake!

In my quest for good cake recipes that a) use whole wheat flour, b) are sweetened only with maple syrup or honey, and c) are not vegan, I tried this “vanilla cake” today.

This recipe is, in fact, vegan, but it was easy enough to substitute buttermilk for the soured almond milk, and melted butter for the oil. Some vegan recipes use ingredients that are harder to substitute.

I also replaced the regular flour with white whole wheat — and I sifted it into the measuring cup with a mug-size tea strainer and a spoon. My usual method is to spoon the flour into the cup, but I wondered if sifting would be even more accurate — my cakes have tended to be dense and dry.

And even though it’s called “vanilla cake,” there’s no vanilla in the recipe — I added two teaspoons.

And I used all maple syrup instead of maple and agave. I definitely want to buy a gallon of grade A maple next time for times like this when I don’t want that strong maple flavor the grade B gives, and have a gallon of grade B for pancakes and the like.

I was surprised there’s no eggs. It seems many of the buttermilk cake recipes I find don’t use eggs, but some do. Not sure why or why not.

I used one of my frozen quarts of swiss meringue buttercream frosting — again with the strong maple flavor but still good, especially with finely chopped walnuts on top.

The cake turned out beautifully — perfect moist and fluffy texture. If you eat a bit without frosting, you can tell it’s whole wheat, but it’s not obvious otherwise. The only real problem is that the recipe makes very thin / short layers if you do two 8″ pans. The recipe says 6″ or 8″ and it didn’t occur to me that of course something that would fill 6″ pans would be shallow in 8″ pans. So next time I’ll try doubling it.

My best ever zucchini bread

I got a nice narrow but long yellow zucchini in our CSA share today, and adapted a zucchini bread recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.

Here’s my version:

Mix the dry:

1 1/2 c white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 3/4 t cinnamon
not quite 1 t each of ginger and cloves
1/8 t dried orange peel
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

Mix the wet:

2 c finely shredded unpeeled zucchini
2 eggs
1 1/4 c maple syrup
1/2 c butter, melted

Add the dry to the wet and just combine.
Fold in 1-2 c walnuts.
Divide into two loaf pans, each greased on the bottom and 1/2″ up the sides.
Bake at 350 for about 50-60 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Check about ten minutes before; mine were a bit uneven and the smaller one was done sooner.

Sourdough

So, I used to keep a sourdough starter. It made great English muffins. The pancakes and waffles were rather gummy and icky to my taste, although they were tolerable if you mixed half sourdough with half a regular batter. I never managed a loaf of bread that wasn’t rock hard and raw in the middle. I did not at all mind when I forgot to keep back some starter from a recipe and so had none left.

Some people like sourdough for the more sophisticated taste. I like the idea of sourdough because it’s supposed to be healthier. Sourdough fermentation is supposed to deal effectively with phytates, for example, making the nutrients in the bread more available for the body. I think there’s supposed to be other benefits as well.

I don’t like the stereotypical sour flavor. Sometimes it’s good with a hearty soup, and / or with plenty of butter. Sometimes it’s nice for a grilled cheese. It’s awful for peanut butter.

Supposedly, if you manage how wet the starter is (hydration), how long the fermentation takes (via temperature, I think, mostly), and how fresh / young / lively the starter is (feeding frequency), and perhaps any number of other mystifying factors, you can make the sourdough less sour, and even arrive at a nice soft sandwich bread.

Which then leads to the question — if a long slow ferment is one of, or the only, or the main way sourdough makes bread healthier, and a short fast ferment is one of, or the only, or the main way to make sourdough less sour, then is it worth doing sourdough, or is minimally sour sourdough no healthier than regular yeasted bread?

Although it might be nice to have good English muffins again. I once tried making them the regular non-sourdough way and they were nowhere near as good.