MULTI-PURPOSE COCONUT OIL PASTRY CRUST

I wanted to make a Cornish dish called pasty the other day and after I chopped all the vegetables and mixed in the meat and seasoning, I found I didn’t have any vegetable shortening to make the pastry crust. I considered butter but thought that might make it a little too rich so I substituted coconut oil for shortening. I knew coconut oil melted easily since I use it on my skin so I chilled everything before I started and handled the dough as little as possible. The flavor was light and nutty and it had the most delicate flaky texture. THIS IS MY NEW GO TO RECIPE FOR ALL MY PASTRY CRUST NEEDS. Another Happy Accident!!!

Note: This pastry crust is vegan but the Cornish pasty filling is not, however you could leave the meat out of the filling and just fill with the veggies and a bit of vegan margarine.

Cornish Pasty
Cornish Pasty

MULTI-PURPOSE COCONUT OIL PASTRY CRUST

Ingredients:

1 cup organic unbleached flour

1/2 cup organic coconut oil (keep cool)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder (Aluminum free)

1/4 cup non-chlorinated water (very cold)

Preparation:

First of all I chilled all of my bowls and utensils prior to starting my crust preparation. Sift together all dry ingredients then cut in coconut oil with a pastry cutter or fork until crumbly. Add cold water and mix until it forms a ball. Split dough in half and dust with flour and knead slightly. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and chill in fridge for about an hour. Roll out each half on waxed paper to form desired size. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 hour.

Makes 2 crusts.

Pasty Filling
Pasty Filling
Multi-purpose Coconut Oil Pastry Crust
Multi-purpose Coconut Oil Pastry Crust

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”

 

 

Advertisements

Organic Berry Rhubarb Muffins

One of my favorite things about simple livin’ is seasonal menus. I don’t have to spend a lot of time planning what I will make because when the pears are ripe we will have things made from pears, when the tomatoes are ripe we will have wonderful tomato dishes etc. Well it’s rhubarb season at the moment and after making the traditional rhubarb dishes like rhubarb pie and rhubarb jam, and tucking some away in the freezer for a mid-winter rhubarb fix, I decided to do some experimenting. I started out with a traditional muffin recipe but…well, I just can’t help myself. I tweaked and substituted my way into a completely different recipe and these breakfast muffins are scrumptious as well as healthy.

 

Berry Rhubarb Walnut Muffins

 

Organic Berry Rhubarb Muffins

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups organic unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup organic stone ground whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup organic ground flaxseed meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups organic brown sugar (or partially substitute some stevia to reduce calories)
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut oil (melted but not hot)
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups organic kefir or buttermilk

Fold in

  • 1 1/2 cups diced fresh organic rhubarb
  • 1 cup diced fresh organic berries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with paper cups.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, flaxseed meal, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the brown sugar, coconut oil, egg, vanilla and kefir or buttermilk with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix by hand just until blended. Stir in the rhubarb, berries and walnuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, filling almost to the top. Sprinkle top of each muffin with raw sugar.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed, about 25-30 minutes. Cool in the pans before removing.

 

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”

 

 

Fragrant, Effervescent and Refreshing Ginger Ale

Refreshing Healthy Ginger Ale
Refreshing Healthy Ginger Ale

Summer is now in full swing and the temperatures have been in the mid to high 80’s (up here that is a heat-wave my friends). And there is just nothing better than an icy cold delicious glass of homemade Ginger Ale to beat the heat. It really is simple to make homemade soda and truly homemade soda is chocked full of great health benefits, like wonderful probiotics. The best part is that YOU control how much sugar goes into the soda and the artificial colors and preservatives and other bad stuff is non-existent. It’s so easy you won’t believe you are really doing it! Once you taste it you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it all along.

Ginger Bug Starter
Ginger Bug Starter
Bubbly Ginger Bug
Bubbly Ginger Bug

September of 2014 I published a post called Ginger Ale, Ginger Ale, Where for Art Thou Ginger Ale! on how to make a ginger bug. Ginger bugs are easy to care for. If you leave it on your counter top just feed it a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of minced ginger root once a day. If you keep it in the fridge just feed it a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of minced ginger once a week, let it bubble back up and then put it back in the fridge for another little nap. Always replace the liquid you use with non- chlorinated water, and if it gets too full of ginger root scoop some out and discard it into your compost. Once you have a ginger bug established you can make all sorts of soda, but Ginger Ale is my personal Favorite, to date.

Ginger Ale

Ingredients

1 to 2 knobs or knuckles or Tablespoons of minced unpeeled ginger root

2 quarts non-chlorinated water

½ to ¾ Cup raw sugar or granulated sugar plus ½ Tablespoon molasses

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ Cup lemon juice

½ Cup Strained Ginger Bug (Don’t forget to add non-chlorinated water back to your ginger bug jar)

In a large pan add the water, sugar, (molasses if used) and ginger root and sea salt, bring it to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and leave cool to room temperature. This is referred to as wort. Once your wort is cooled completely, strain it into a pitcher and add the lemon juice and ginger bug. Mix and pour into bottles with tight fitting caps. I prefer Grolsch-style bottles. Leave the bottles on the counter for 48 to 72 hours then refrigerate and enjoy! Take care not to forget to refrigerate the bottles after 72 hours as they can continue to carbonate until they explode. (VERY MESSY INDEED)

Gluten Free Apple Crisp Dessert

Recently, after hearing about the health benefits of a gluten free diet my husband decided to try it for a week to see if it would improve how he felt. after a week of eliminating or nearly eliminating gluten from his diet he said most of his aches, pains and fatigue had been alleviated. He also, felt a little discouraged that it was so difficult to find tasty gluten free foods and was concerned about the expense.  Well, I took that as a challenge.  Healthy does not have to be expensive or difficult.  Simple foods should be simple to prepare and simple to obtain. So as I embark on Our Gluten Free or Near Gluten Free journey I will post my discoveries.

Discovery #1

Flavor does not have to be compromised!

 

Gluten Free Apple Crisp Dessert

From the Kitchen of Donna Yelle

(This is my new “go to” recipe if I have apples that are getting old and need to be used quickly)

Ingredients

  • 5 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup applesause
  • dash lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar/stevia combination
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Topping

  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup gluten free oat flour
  • 1/2 cup gluten free old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch sea salt
  • 3 tbsp butter (room temp)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 9 × 9 baking dish.
  2. Put apples and applesauce in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice. Mix in granulated sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon.
  3. Transfer to greased baking dish.
  4. Combine brown sugar, oat flour, oats, cinnamon and salt and stir. Add room temperature butter and cut with a pastry cutter until crumbly.
  5. Sprinkle topping over the apples and bake until apples are soft and topping is golden brown, about 45-50 minutes.
  6. Let rest 10-15 minutes before serving. Is great with homemade vanilla ice cream.
Gluten Free Apple Crisp Dessert
Gluten Free Apple Crisp Dessert

Oh Kefir … How Do I Love Thee … Let Me Count The Ways

Recently my Daughter-in-Law Nancy introduced me to kefir (a cultured milk product). Being an avid buttermilk and Greek yogurt user, the wheels immediately began to turn. She gave me a portion of her starter grains and a couple of simple (I’m sensing a theme forming here) rules.  Feed it, don’t use metal utensils with it and mostly enjoy it. That was a month ago and I have made Kefir almost daily since.  I keep my kefir grains in a glass canning jar. Each night I pour milk over them and cover it with a paper coffee filter to keep out contaminants, let them stand at room temperature for about 24 hours.  The next night I strain the grains with a nylon strainer into another jar, put the grains in a clean jar and fill with milk and put it back on the counter.  I either use the kefir right away or put a plastic cap on it and store it in the fridge. I’ve used Kefir in place of buttermilk and even regular milk in my recipes with outstanding results. If I need to take a break from making Kefir I just pour fresh milk over the grains and store it with a plastic lid on it in the fridge. It will last for a couple of weeks but if you are like me you won’t be able to go that long without making more!

Today I’m combining the great taste of sourdough with Kefir to make some of the best waffles Mother Nature can provide. I’ll start the process and let her take over. Simplicity is great.  It’s kind of like having a chef in the house.

Figure 1 - Sourdough Kefir Waffles

DONNA’S SOURDOUGH WAFFLES

Before you go to bed you will need to combine in a large bowl:

1 Cup of unfed sourdough starter

1 ½ Cups of unbleached organic white flour

½ Cup of stone ground whole wheat flour

1 Cup of Milk

1 Cup of Kefir

1 Tablespoons of honey

Stir well, cover and let stand overnight (about 8 hours)

In the morning combine in a small bowl:

2 Large organic eggs

¼ Cup Grape seed oil (or oil of your choice)

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

Add egg mixture to sourdough mixture and stir well. Pour by 1/3 cupful onto a greased preheated waffle iron or pancake griddle if you prefer. Cook until golden brown (when the steam dissipates).

Mmmmm…Smell That Bread

Figure 1 Sourdough Baguettes -recipe

Sourdough Baguettes

After some experimentation to see how Sourdough reacts to certain conditions and techniques I’ve discovered that it seems to enjoy very little attention.  Again “less is more”. The hardest part of this process for me is to let Mother Nature do her job without my interference. I’m not good with idle hands.

Here is the process I used to make my sourdough baguettes and based on the reception from my taste testers I have committed it in writing on a recipe card.  Done Deal!

In a glass mixing bowl add:

1/2 Cup unfed sourdough starter

A generous 1/2 Cup of tepid non-chlorinated water

A scant Cup of unbleached flour

Mix well and let stand at room temperature for about 12 – 14 hours. (Really…just leave it alone)

Add:

A generous 1/2 Cup of tepid non-chlorinated water

A scant Cup of unbleached flour

2 Tablespoons of sugar

1 Teaspoon sea salt or Kosher salt

Mix well and add:

1 more Cup of unbleached flour.

Mix well and pour out onto a surface that has an additional 1 1/4 Cup of flour on it and gently knead until all the flour has been picked up.

Place in a greased and covered bowl and let rise until doubled 4-6 hours. (Again…Really…just leave it alone).

When doubled or even tripled in bulk gently pour out onto a floured surface (I use a shaker filled with flour for this). Dust the top with flour and gently cut the dough in half (Don’t punch it down like with regular yeast type bread, you want the holes for texture). Gently shape the dough into Baguettes and transfer them onto a greased baking sheet. Cover with a clean dish towel and let raise 2 – 4 hrs. (this is relative to temperature and humidity in your kitchen, just be patient and peek in on it every once in a while).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Score the Loaves diagonally with a very sharp knife. This helps them expand in the oven without cracking

Slightly mist the loaves with a food grade spray bottle filled with water.

Bake in a  425 degree preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes until golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack.

Store in a paper bag (plastic will change the crust from crusty to rubbery).

In The Beginning There Was Sourdough

I remember the smell of fresh baked bread on cold winter afternoons.  Mmmmmmmm.  The toasty kitchen warmed you on the outside and that heavenly smell warmed you on the inside. Ooooh… the rich and tangy aroma of sourdough drifting through the house.  I recently tried my hand at making a sourdough starter.  The process is simple but it takes patience.  The ingredient list? Flour (unbleached), Water (non-chlorinated) and Mother Nature. Simple Right? Sourdough Baguette Banner Making your own sourdough starter. Pick a time you will be available to tend your starter twice a day for a week to begin the process. (this is planning) You will need a clean wide top glass or ceramic container with a lid that fits loosely. If you have a small crock that would work great. A generous ½ cup of tepid non-chlorinated water.  (Chlorine will kill the process before it starts) 1 scant cup of whole grain unbleached flour. (unbleached flour has the vital nutrients to feed the process)

Day 1: Mix the flour and water completely.  It should be very loose and tacky. Put the mixture in your container and put the lid on loosely to keep out bad bacteria. Let is set in a warm not hot (about 70 degrees) place for 24 hours. If your house is cool you can set the container near any heat generating appliance like on top the refrigerator.  Prep time 10 minutes; Wait time 24 hours.

Day 2: You will “feed” your sourdough starter.  You may not see much activity so this is where patience (and a little faith) comes in to play. The feeding process is as follows: Remove a generous ½ cup of sourdough starter from your container and put it into a glass bowl. Discard the rest and wash and dry the sourdough container. Add a generous ½ cup of tepid non-chlorinated water and a scant cup of unbleached flour to the sourdough starter.  Mix thoroughly and return to the sourdough container. Let stand in a warm place for 24 hours.   Prep time 10 minutes; Wait time 24 hours. Figure 1 - Flour Water and Sourdough StarterFigure 2 - Mix thouroughlyFigure 3 - Put into glass containerFigure 4 - Cover with loose fitting lid and let rest 24 hours Days 3, 4, 5: You will need to start feeding your sourdough starter twice a day for the next few days.  The twice a day feeding process is as follows: Remove a generous ½ cup of sourdough starter from your container and put it into a glass bowl. Discard (or you can save the unfed portion for waffles or pancakes) the rest and wash and dry the sourdough container. Add a generous ½ cup of tepid non-chlorinated water and a scant cup of unbleached flour to the sourdough starter.  Mix thoroughly and return to the sourdough container. Let stand in a warm place for 12 hours. You should see your sourdough starter growing more bubbles as it gains strength.  Prep time 10 minutes; Wait time 12 hours each feeding. Figure - 5 Active Starter Continue this process until your sourdough starter is very bubbly.  Then store it in the refrigerator. If your recipe calls for fed starter remove a ½ cup and feed it. Let it set in a warm place for as long as it takes to become very active. You’ll enjoy the tangy fruity slightly acidic fragrance as it develops and matures. If your recipe calls for unfed starter use the part you would normally discard. Enjoy!  …. D Yelle

STAY TUNED FOR UPCOMING RECIPES TO USE YOUR SOURDOUGH STARTER.