Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Normal food: Bundt Cakes

Got a NordicWare Original 10-15 Cup Bundt Pan for Christmas (thanks, J & D!) Elder Daughter insisted I make a pound cake to try it out . . . now!

After searching the NordicWare website, we settled on Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Poppyseeds. We left out the raisins, because Younger Daughter only likes them plain, not in things. The recipe said to wrap in foil and refrigerate for 2 days to let the flavor improve. Silly people. Of course we ate some right away; we can see if the flavor improves two days from now. Kind of like a scientific experiment, right?

-- use butter, not margarine
-- grease the pan by brushing melted butter or palm-oil shortening (like Spectrum) inside the pan, then dusting the whole thing with flour. We used butter.
-- the NordicWare site itself says don't use a lecithin-based cooking spray--which we wouldn't because most commercial lecithin is soy-based--because it is gooey and builds up a coating on the pan. They recommend Baker's Joy which has flour in it, but is also made from soy oil, according to their website faq's.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Cookbook for Christmas: 1000 Italian Recipes

Got a new cookbook for Christmas and tried a recipe from it 2 nights ago. The recipe is called Chicken with Gorgonzola and Walnuts; you can find an article about it in the Washington Post here. (note: we used onions instead of shallots because that's what we had on hand.)

The recipe was really good, pretty fast, and easy. There are no soy considerations to keep in mind. However, like the slightly ADD person that I am, I forgot to take a photo.

The method for cooking chicken cutlets in butter and olive oil worked so well that the next night we used the same recipe as a basis for making Chicken Parmesan. We used a jar of sauce and some smoked mozzarella cheese we had found in Safeway. Both suppers were a big hit.

In any case, I have 3 books from the 1000 Recipes series--Jewish (for the Israeli stuff), Mexican, and Italian, and they are surprisingly good. No pictures, but I haven't tried a bad recipe yet. I am really looking forward to trying the Italian cookies. . . .

Recipe: Hawaiian Bread

Adapted from a recipe found on the internet (don't remember source) after I came home from a trip to Hawaii where I could not try the great-looking breads in the hotel.

Very good in a sandwich with chicken salad!

Hawaiian Bread
makes one 1 1/2-pound loaf

3 cups bread flour
1 egg
1 yolk (save white)
1/2 cup pineapple tidbits with juice (1 snack pack serving)
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp dry yeast

Put all the ingredients in the bread machine pan in the order recommended in your manual. Process on dough mode. When the dough is ready, shape into a ball and put on a pizza pan that has been greased or lined with parchment paper. [Alternatively, pat into a 9" by whatever" rectangle, roll up like a jelly roll, and put into a greased 9" x 5" loaf pan.]

Let rise until doubled. Take the reserved egg white, beat it a little with a fork, then brush it over the bread. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

none, if you make sure you grease your bread pan with canola oil or palm shortening. No PAM!

Recipe: Oatmeal Honey Bread

Oatmeal Honey Bread
makes one 1 1/2-pound loaf

3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup water
1 egg
3 cups bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp canola oil [* see note below]
1/4 cup honey [wild flower honey is good in this]
1 1/2 tsp dry yeast

Place all the ingredients in the pan in the order recommended in your manual. Process on dough mode. Grease a 9" x 5" bread pan by putting a little oil in the bottom, then spreading it around with a pastry brush or a piece of waxed paper wrapped around your fingers.

Flatten the dough by hand on a floured board to a rectangle about 9 inches long by any width. Roll up like a jelly roll and place in the greased pan. Let rise until doubled, 1/2 hour to an hour.

Bake at 375F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool in pan 5 minutes, then remove and finish cooling on a rack.

* note: after you measure the oil, put it in a 1/4 cup measure and swirl it around. Dump into the bread machine pan, then measure the honey in the 1/4 cup measure. This helps the honey come out.


Six-day Weekend, Five Loaves of Bread

25 December: Finnish Coffee Braid
26 December: Oatmeal-Honey Bread
27 December: Hawaiian Bread
28 December: none
29 December: All-Whole Wheat Bread
30 December: Sesame Semolina

Finnish Coffee Braid
recipe from mom, who got it from a college friend
we usually had this for Christmas breakfast
adapted for the bread machine
makes 2 small loaves

3 cups bread flour
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup soft butter
5 whole cardamom pods, seeds removed and pounded with a mortar and pestle, or whirled in a coffee grinder
1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
1/3 cup quartered candied cherries
scant 1/4 cup raisins
sugar for sprinkling
chopped almonds for sprinkling

Put all the ingredients up through the yeast in the pan of the bread maker in the order specified in the manual. Process on dough mode. If you have a raisin "beep", put the candied cherries and raisins in then. If not, knead them in when the dough is done.

Put parchment paper on a baking sheet. [I like the two-layer kind with the air between for bread.] Divide the dough in half, then each half into thirds. Spin each third between your palms until you have a rope about 12" long. Lay out the ropes parallel to each other and braid, tucking the ends under. Repeat with the other 3 ropes. Let raise until doubled.

Brush each loaf with slightly beaten egg. Sprinkle with sugar [coarse sugar is pretty] and chopped almonds. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.

note: check the dough in the bread machine after it has mixed for a while. If it is really gummy, add a tablespoon or so of flour. If it is dry and lumpy, and the motor seems to be working to hard, add a tablespoon or so of water.


Update to the Sweet 100

Sister-in-law baked Red Velvet Cake for Christmas dinner, so I get to bold another entry on the Sweet 100 list.

Hers was from, (without the berries) and was delicious.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Signature Christmas Cookie: Sunflower Seed Butter Mice

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a Sunflower Seed Butter Mouse

Back before my adult-onset soy allergy, we used to make Peanut Butter Mice, from a Woman's Day magazine back in the 80's, as one of our Christmas cookies. Then one year, I developed a rash and breathing problems while making them, prompting me to stop eating peanuts and peanut butter. I have since eaten a peanut or 2 by accident with no reaction, so I think the peanut butter must have had soy oil in it. Most of them--most of the non-"natural" kind--do. [Peter Pan does not, at least not as of this posting.] In any case, we have gotten used to making the Mice Cookies with other nut and seed butters, and this year it was sunflower seed butter.

Sunflower Seed Butter Mice

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup sunflower seed butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For decoration:
sunflower seeds or pignoli nuts
candy decors (for cake decorating)
red licorice laces, cut in 3" lengths

1. Beat butter and peanut butter in a large bowl with electric mixer until creamy. Add sugars and beat until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until well blended.

2. Measure out the 1/2 tsp baking soda into the bottom of a 1-cup measure and put flour on top of that. Dump the flour, plus the other 1/2 cup flour, into the mixing bowl and beat on low until blended. Cover and chill about an hour, until the dough is firm enough to handle.

3. Heat oven to 350F. Shape level tablespoons of dough into 1" balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Press your fingers onto one end of each ball to make a teardrop shape. Gently push 2 decors into narrow end for eyes, then 2 sunflower seeds or pignoli above the eyes, for ears. With a toothpick, make a 1/2" deep hole in the tail ends.

4. Bake 8-10 minutes, rotating halfway through. Immediately after you take them out of the oven, stick in the licorice lace lengths, before the cookies get hard. Cool 5 minutes on the pans, then remove to rack to cool completely.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Soy-free considerations:
Candy decors: check for lecithin (usually not a problem).
Soy-free licorice whips: these can be hard to find. I check candy counters all year long for them. Fortunately, they last a long time, so you can buy them way before Christmas. Unfortunately, Twizzlers Pull 'n' Peels, the most common kind out there, have soy oil in them. The ones we used this year are by Haribo, the same company that makes Gummi Bears.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tukpa: Tibetan Noodle Soup

I know the subtitle of this blog says "cooking and eating normal food" but this *is* normal food for my family

One of our relatives was once married to a Tibetan, and one time she made soup for us. It was so good, I tried to recreate it soon thereafter, and succeeded well enough that it has become one of my kids' favorite suppers. The recipe I based mine on has been around the internet, though everyone credits the original as coming from The Kopan Cookbook by Betty Jung. Her version was vegetarian; mine has beef, as our relative's did.

[BTW, our relative subsequently forgot what she made us, and has asked me for my recipe. :-> Here it is:]

Tibetan Noodle Soup (Tukpa)

Serves 4

1/4 C. butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh ginger root, minced, or use half as much grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh garlic, minced
1/2 lb thin strips of top round or flank steak
1 c. red onion, diced
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. commercial garam masala
1 c. potato, parboiled and cubed
1 c. fresh tomatoes, chopped, or substitute about 3/4 cup canned
1 quart beef broth
1 cup water
1/4 lb. fresh flat egg noodles (or use a 9-oz. plastic pkg. egg linguine)
1-2 c. sliced bok choy
1-2 Tbsp. soy-free Worcestershire sauce [original had soy sauce]
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1. Melt butter in a dutch oven over medium heat.

2. Add ginger, garlic, and red onion. Stir-fry over medium to medium-high heat for l minute.

3. Add beef and stir-fry for another minute.

4. Add turmeric, curry powder, chili powder, and masala. Mix well and stir fry for 1/2 a minute.

5. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and tomatoes.

6. Add egg noodles and boil for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.

7. Add bok choy and boil for another 1-2 minutes. If soup is too thick, add more water.

8. Season with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste.

P.S. [added 20 Dec] My kids call this "Yellow Soup," not because it's yellow, but because if you spill it on your clothes, it stains everything yellow from the turmeric.

--use Worcestershire sauce or liquid Maggie seasoning instead of soy sauce.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Update to the Sweet 100 -- Nanaimo Bars

"We have nothing sweet to eat," Dear Husband (DH) complained yesterday. So, in exchange for his playing taxi driver for Younger Daughter, I knocked another entry off the Sweet 100 list.

Nanaimo Bars. Oh. My. (Ahem . . .) Goodness. (We are a family-friendly blog here.) What are Nanaimo Bars? Are they a (no-bake) bar cookie? Are they candy? Are they both, like KitKat or RitterSport? I vote both. They have a graham cracker-nut-coconut crust on the bottom, a custard-powder enriched buttercream in the middle, and a chocolate layer on top. If you make them, cut them small. As noted before, we at the Soy-free Kitchen tend to be gourmands, but DH and I each ate only one small piece last night before falling into a sugar stupor.

--Soy-free graham crackers. New Morning brand is a good one. Make sure you don't get the cinnamon ones.
--Soy-free chocolate. We used 4 ounces of Kosher-for-Passover chocolate chips we had lying around the pantry. They were Mishpacha brand, and I believe we had ordered them online, perhaps from, in the runup to Passover last year, or perhaps even the year before.

We had Bird's custard powder in the house, although a poster on Cakespy says you can use vanilla pudding mix in a pinch.