Breakfast Anyone?

Occasionally, folks will see me cook and be amazed that I seem to throw together ingredients together randomly and make something scrumptious. My secret? Making recipes with as few ingredients as possible and developing base recipes that can be adapted with 1 or 2 minor changes or additions. For instance, remembering my sourdough bread recipe is simple, it has flour, water, salt and sugar. It’s kind of hard to forget any of those ingredients. I’ve been experimenting with sourdough and trying to combine it with my love of breakfast muffins and healthier alternatives. If this statement sounds like I’m not willing to compromise on taste, health or ease of preparation, that’s because I’m not. By using “good” ingredients the end result is a rich and robust flavor. That said, I do use “sugar” in my recipes. Is sugar bad for you? My personal opinion is “yes” sugar standing on it’s own merit is probably a bad choice but adding fiber to slow the uptake helps make it not as bad. Using a sweetener that has vitamins like honey is better because honey had nutrients. I use sugar in my recipes but cut the amount and substitute part of the sugar with Stevia to reduce the calories.

This recipe is a base sourdough muffin recipe with different adaptions. Run with it and explore the possibilities. Let me know what combination you try!!! As I come up with different variation of this basic muffin recipe I will add notes to the bottom of this post.

 

Sourdough Berry Muffins

 

https://dgyelle.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/figure-1-sourdough-breakfaast-muffins

 

Ingredients:

1 organic egg

1 teaspoon organic vanilla

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup grapeseed oil or other neutral flavored oil

1/4  cup buttermilk or kefir or sour cream

1 cup unfed sourdough starter

 

2/3 cup unbleached flour

1/3 cup whole wheat flour or bran flour if you are using raisins as fruit

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup Stevia (natural zero calorie sweetner)

 

1 cup blueberries or blackberries or raspberries or raisins (or chopped peeled macintosh apples and 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

 

Preheat oven to 425F.

Combine dry ingredients in small bowl.

Combine wet ingredients in medium bowl.

Add dry ingredients to wet ones and mix.

Fold in fruit.

Prepare your muffin cups by greasing and flouring them.

Quickly spoon batter into your muffin cups.

 

Bake at 425 for about 25 minutes. Cool. Enjoy. Makes 12 muffins.

*Note:  I tried a new twist on these today.  I substituted 2 large mashed bananas and 3/4 Cup chopped walnuts for the berries and added 1/3 cup additional flour to make up for the extra moisture.  Presto …  Banana Nut Muffins.  It yielded a bit more than a dozen muffins but I just put the extra batter in a greased and floured mini loaf pan and made a cute little miniature banana bread.

additional note: I modified this recipe again to make corn muffins by ommitting the fruit 1/4 cup sugar and vanillia and nuts and substituting the 1/3 Cup of Whole Wheat flour with 2/3 Cup Yellow cornmeal. Instead of greasing and flouring the muffin pans I only greased them. What a great side to go with a hot bowl of chili on a brisk Autumn Day! Enjoy!

additional note: Well, we’ve had our first hard frost and the winter apples are now ready. I peeled, diced, cooked and cooled about a cup of Winesap apples into a lumpy applesauce. I used this in place of the fruit and added 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and a teaspoon of organic cinnamon. Once I filled the muffin tins I sprinkled the tops with a finely chopped walnut, brown sugar and cinnamon mixture and then baked them. I must say these are the best breakfast muffins EVER!

 

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HELP My Sourdough and Kefir are Taking Over!!!

One thing about getting back to basics and getting your “ferment” on, is how so few ingredients can grow and grow and grow. I look around and there is sauerkraut and ginger bug fermenting on the counter, probiotic sodas fermenting in a shelf, sourdough fermenting on the baker’s rack, kefir fermenting……and on and on. They are all being carefully nurtured and cared for so that they can care for us. But they all do grow and multiply. Stalling them in the fridge is a temporary solution and does provide a bit of a break but there is only so much bread, waffles, pancakes, smoothies and yogurt 2 people can eat. So I set out to find new ways (at least new to me) to use some of these wonderful ferments. Today I’ll be documenting my first attempt at making a sourdough chocolate cake with a vanilla kefir frosting.

Here I go…wish me luck!

Figure 3 - Sourdough Chocolate Cake Serving

Sourdough Chocolate Cake

In a large bowl mix:

2 organic eggs

I Cup sugar

½ stick butter (softened)

2 Tablespoons grape seed oil

1 teaspoon organic vanilla

½ Cup sourdough starter

Sift into a medium bowl:

1 Cup unbleached organic flour

1/3 Cup organic cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

Combine sifted ingredients with wet ingredients and mix well.  Pour into an 8 x 8 inch greased and floured cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Figure 1 - Sourdough Chocolate Cake

Vanilla Kefir Frosting

In a medium bowl combine:

½ stick of butter (softened)

1 ½ Cups confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon organic vanilla

2 Tablespoons Kefir

Mix on high speed until light and fluffy.

Figure 2 - Sourdough Chocolate Cake Frosted

I have to say this is SIMPLY delicious!

An Apple A Day …

Recently my Sister-in-law Mary, who is a fabulous cook, shared a recipe with me for an apple cake. Since harvest season is here and there is an abundance of produce (Apples being among them)I thought I’d use some of those Apples that were on the verge of becoming a casualty of the compost pile.  The recipe she sent made a 9 x 13 inch cake pan which is far too large for the 2 of us here so I’ve modified the recipe to be a single 8 x 8 cake. I’ve also changed up the ingredients from traditional to organic and substituted some of the ingredients for healthier versions.  This cake also works well substituting pears for apples.

 

Jewish Apple Cake.

First let me say that I don’t think any of my substitutions made this cake less acceptable to the Jewish community keeping in mind their religious dietary restrictions.

 

Ingredients:

Cake:

½ Cup Natural raw sugar granules

¼ Cup Stevia (Natural Zero calorie sweetener)

2 organic eggs

½ teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon organic cinnamon

½ teaspoon organic vanilla

½ Cup of organic grape seed oil (or any neutral flavored oil)

¾ Cup organic unbleached white flour

¼ Cup organic stone ground whole wheat flour

½ Cup of coarsely chopped walnuts (optional) raisins also work well.

2 large apples (peeled and chopped)

Figure 1 - Making Apple CakeFigure 2 - Apple Cake Mixed

Topping:

¼ Cup finely chopped walnuts (oatmeal also works here)

¼ Cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon organic cinnamon

Figure 3 - Apple Cake Spread in PanFigure 4 - Apple Cake Topped

Instructions:

Grease and flour an 8 x 8 inch glass cake pan.

In a large bowl mix sugar, stevia, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Stir in oil and mix well. Add both kinds of flour and mix well. Fold in apples and nuts. Batter will be very stiff. Scrape cake batter into greased and floured cake pan and spread evenly.

 

Make topping: In medium bowl mix brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts.  Sprinkle evenly over the top of the cake batter.

Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 45-50 minutes. Cake is done when inserted tooth pick comes out clean.

Let cake cool.

Serve plain or top with powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream.

Figure 5 - Apple Cake CooledFigure 6 - Apple Cake Served with Ice Cream

YUM!

Ginger Ale, Ginger Ale, Where for Art Thou Ginger Ale!

Ever miss the full and robust flavors of things from nature, with no chemicals or other unnatural added flavorings? I do! I miss the frosty fizzy bite of fresh Ginger Ale.  This started my quest to find a way to make Ginger Ale and other fizzy beverages without yeast.  I read about making a Ginger Bug, a ginger, water, sugar and molasses mixture that ferments and becomes the “fizz” in the homemade soda of yesteryear.  My first attempt failed dismally. After more research I discovered that just like any living thing the Ginger Bug needs warmth and food. Our home is a comfortable 68 degrees but this seems to be too cool for the process to work. I found a spot next to my Himalayan Salt Lamp that seemed to be just the right temperature for Mother Nature to do her work.

Craft Tags to label bottle contents from www.sav-on-closeouts.com
Craft Tags to label bottle contents from http://www.sav-on-closeouts.com

Developing a Ginger Bug:

2 Cups non-chlorinated water

2 knobs of a ginger root

½ Cup sugar

1 teaspoon unsulfured molasses

Day 1:

Cut off 2 knobs of ginger from the root (wash but don’t peel) and mince it up. Add water, minced ginger, sugar and molasses to a Quart mason jar. Stir with non-metal spoon until sugar is dissolved. Cover with a plastic lid or a coffee filter secured with a rubber band. Put in a warm (not hot) location (above 68 degrees)

Day 2 – 7:

Feed your Ginger Bug 1 Tablespoon minced ginger and 1 Tablespoon of sugar and stir with a plastic spoon once a day for the next 6 days. Around day 4, 5 or 6 you should see bubbles start to form.

Once very active you can store it on the counter with daily feedings of 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon minced  ginger or you can store it in the fridge and take it out once a week and feed it 1 Tablespoon of minced ginger and 1 Tablespoon sugar.

To use your Ginger Bug to make fermented beverages you will use ¼ cup of strained Ginger Bug to 1 Quart of wort.

Be sure to add back enough non chlorinated water to replace he liquid you used. If your Ginger Bug gets too much ginger in it, just scoop some out and discard it.

Stay tuned for recipes on how to use your Ginger Bug to make wonderful carbonated beverages. I recently used it to make carbonated Ginger Oolong Iced Tea. I can’t wait to try out the lemon balm and mint from my herb garden.