Friday, February 15, 2008

My Valentine Gift! (More Bread)

Yesterday the UPS man brought a box from Amazon. Today he came to the porch with my Electrolux Assistent DLX mixer and my Nutrimill grain mill. He is a new guy, regular on our route and said, "Wow, you're the shopping lady!" LOL So in spite of being sick, I did have fun playing today. First I made flour and then I made bread! I was pleased with how everything worked. The flour is definitely finer than what I can make in the Vita-Mix and I only used the medium setting for texture.

Naturally I had to christen my mixer with a batch of beet bread. I will have to write down the changes I made later. Lately there have been some frustrating batches and I realized it was likely because I switched from storebought Spelt flour to home ground, so the measurements were different. My digital scale came earlier this week (same UPS guy! lol) and so I got it out and learned how to use it. The recipe calls for 5.5 cups of flou for the first part, so I multiplied 150 grams (I read on one of my lists that that is the weight of a cup of storebought flour) by 5.5 and used that much flour by weight. Turned out to be 8 cups! WOW! Big difference. I have heard that Spelt is fluffier than other grains when ground. I measured my wheat the same and that seemed to work. This photo is my pink dough at the beginning before all ingredients were added.

The DLX does a great job of mixing, though it did walk and bounce a bit when it got off balance. It does not come with any instructions to speak of, but fortunately, a really kind lady lent me her video from Beth Holland of Bread For Life. Since I am visual when it comes to things like this, it did help to watch this before hand. While the way it works is quite different than a Kitchen Aid, it was really easy to pick up. I was told their might be a learning curve, but I don't think I had any difference in learning how to use it than I would have with any new to me product. The dough produced was noticably better as it was kneaded well. I was afraid that I would spend my Hubby's hard earned $$ and have it not be any better than the Kitchen Aid. Today it earned it's keep though! :o)

Here is the nice stainless steel 8 quart mixing bowl it comes with and the dough is rising. I decided to do a 3 rise bread after watching the video. Usually I do only 2 rises.

Again, I used the scale to see how much the dough weighed as I put it in. I found that my 4x8 pans (measurement may not be exact) take 2# of dough. I had been using 1.5# and getting tiny loaves with these three plus one other small loaf pan. The larger loaf pan, perhaps a 5x9?, took 2# 6.5 oz of dough. You can see they raised nicely.

And here they are out of the oven. These are the nicest looking loaves I have made to date.

I cut this loaf too soon, so this picture shows it mooshed together, but I just couldn't wait!!! It tasted nummy with butter and blackberry jam. This may not be my final recipe for sandwich bread, but at least I feel well on the way to getting what I was looking for and I can't wait to experiment more with my new toys!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Way It Should Be

There was a time when neighbors were neighborly and people helped each other out. I miss that! I try to be as friendly and helpful as possible to my neighbors but most of them keep to themselves, like we are all in our own little boxes and we only emerge to get in our car (another box) and leave! Maybe I feel this way because I live in a fairly large city. Maybe it's the sirens, police helicopters and the occasion drug deal or gunshot that make me feel this way!

This week, in the midst of some stresses and sick kiddos, we had a wonderful experience. My friend Trudy from church called and asked if I wanted to come pick some more tangerines and oranges from her trees in her yard. Yeah! So, my daughter J, who was yet to be hit with the dread virus, went with me and "helped". We picked tangerines, oranges, grapefruit and Meyer Lemons. That is a grapefruit, so you can see how big the lemons are!

I've never really gotten excited about grapefruit. Genetically you are either born with a like for sour or not. It's not a matter of wanting sweet, it's a matter of not wanting the "pucker power." But this grapefruit smells so wonderful, I'm going to try it for breakfast tomorrow.

When I have a garden, I wnat to call up people and say, "Hey, ya need some tomatoes, come on over!" :o)

Thank you Lord for the blessing of fellowship and for the gift of good home grown, organice citrus fruits for our smoothies!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Where Does Your Organic Food Come From?

This pdf is eye opening! I've always wondered if organics really are organics or the same food as the regular, just with a different package. I suppose this is only natural in the industry world, but it drives home the point of eating the least amount of packaged foods is best!

Tortilla's Revisited

This week I made Ysenia's Flour Tortillas with hard white wheat and olive oil instead of shortening. I was able to roll them out a little thinner and they were much more pliable. The recipe made 18 tortillas. After I rolled the egg sized lumps, I let them sit ten minutes before rolling them out. This helped as well...I think! Yesterday I took the remaining tortillas and made chicken enchiladas with homemade enchilada sauce and they worked pretty good. Now, if you are used to having store bought and/or white only tortillas, you might not like them. However, they are pretty good that way and have a texture a little more like corn tortilla enchiladas, but not that flavor.

To be honest, I am shocked that my husband has taken to this so well, but he has noticed that he feels less sluggish since we have been eating better. I did mention that as soon as things became in season, I wanted to start introducing more raw veggies and maybe some vegetarian dishes. He got kind of a scared look on his face! LOL But later he admitted that it's a good idea, it's just the taste that he is fearful of! :o)

More On Meat

For anyone interested, my friend Deborah received some meat from U.S. Wellness Meats. They sell grass fed beef and other meat. I have to admit that since I have never mail ordered meat, it sounds a little strange, but Deborah's sister found this place and so they tried it out.

We are very fortunate to have a lot of local resources, but some of them don't have a huge variety of cuts, like this place. I think it's always best to get local products when possible, but also I recognize that some people have no local resources for certain types of food. I'm not talking about exotic fruit or such, but everyday organic foods.

Even if you aren't interested in ordering meat, I found this pdf helpful in understanding the different cuts of meat.