Sunday, February 21, 2010

Soaked and Dried Oats, honestly I don't know if this is needed.....

Update: here is the finished Soaked and Ready Oats

I found it very helpful to watch this video, and had no misunderstanding of the process. Thanks Marilyn.

I am not one to follow fads (per say), however becoming one to want more nutrition from my food.

Enter Nourishing Traditions.

Currently I have a copy on loan from the library. My first thought when I asked Honey to pick it up for me, during his routine visit, was skepticism. Then when he came home empty handed and stated that we would be on the list for mail out, when one of 6 copies has been returned AND we are on the top of the list, I put all thoughts aside and waited. I had actually forgotten about it, when it arrived in the mail and was waiting for me one evening after work.

There is a lot of information in that book! It can be overwhelming, to say the least. But some of the simplier basics are being tried in my kitchen like, soaking grains before cooking (brown rice and barley so far) and now soaked (and then) dried oats. Referred to as Soaked and Ready Oats. There have always been a fair number of recipes for "soaked" foods. Speaking for myself, I had no reason why soaking was part of the recipe, now I do. Currently you can find pancakes on this very popular blog, and here (where it probably all started, she is great)  and here.

With the Soaked and Ready Oats, you are ready to cook. You are ready to make cookies or throw a pan of granola into the oven, or mix together a meat loaf. I have decided to purchase the book, this is a lifestyle change for better health. As you become comfortable with the success of one of the basics, you keep adding more.

Lets get started.....

Soaked and Ready Oats

4 c fresh water
4 c rolled old fashioned oats
6 T whey*, Lemon juice or cider vinegar
wax paper
food dryer OR baking sheets

Stir water and whey together, stir in oats. Cover and let sit 24 hours.

Drain thoroughly, this will take about 15 minutes. I placed oats in a strainer and let drain 10 minutes, then gently turned in the strainer to release any trapped water and let drain 5 minutes more.

 I think I need a larger wire mesh strainer.

I decided to use 4 trays for the drying process, I wanted to have the oats as spread out as thinly as possible. Tear off 4 sheets of waxed paper, pour about 1 t oil in center and spread around with the palm of your hand. Place on drying tray and continue to prepare the remaining pieces.

Place 1/4 of the soaked oats on the tray, evenly around to weigh down the wax paper. Using a knife, cut an X in the center where the air will need to move. Gently bring back the paper and fold down around the opening. Spread out oats evenly, tug gently at the corners of the wax paper to smooth out so it will lay flat on the rack.

Stack trays, and let dry.

Depending on your model, this will take anywhere from 8 to 24 hours. The first time, will definitely be an experiment, and you can make notes regarding your particular dehydrator that will assist you in the future.

My plan was to rotate the racks before bedtime this evening to facilitate even drying of the oats. However when I checked my oats at about the 4 hour mark, they were almost dry. I rotated the trays at that time. I think this model food dehydrator will only take 6 hours. I will post a photo of the finished product.

Update:  here is a close up of the finished oats. Looks just like oatmeal, there are a few large pieces that may need a little help in the food processor. 

Recipe rating:  Hmmm. (thought this would be better)

* I strain my yogurt for about 15 minutes. I capture the whey and get a "Greek" style yogurt to enjoy for my daily breakfast.

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello, I do appreciate your time. Drop me a note, I love getting mail!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Baked crackers and cheese

Wow, these are so crispy and delicious! As in "I can eat more, please" good. My batch is not a pretty as these, but are just as yummy.  I am sure my friend Rocquie, is right. The cheese used will make a difference in the final results. I used shredded Colby Jack, which I think it is a drier cheese than say a medium cheddar. A drier cheese will result in the pebbly surface.   

Baked crackers and cheese
adapted from
Sage Trifle

2 sleeves saltine crackers
1/2 stick butter, melted
any salt free seasoning of your choice, or you can leave plain
8 oz cheese grated, or 2 - 3 cups grated cheese ( 3 cups of Colby-jack )

Lay the crackers in a single layer on baking sheets, brush with butter, sprinkle with seasoning.

Sprinkle with the cheese.

This is somewhat important, you want the cheese to be as even as possible for the best coverage.

Broil for a moment to melt the cheese, do not let brown. Turn oven on to 180 degrees, bake 2 hours.

I rotated the baking sheets at the one hour mark.

These would be great with soup, salad or just as a snack by themselves.

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

Here is wishing you a wonderful weekend, filled with family time and happy memories. As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. Leave a note, I love having visitors!


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ricotta Gnocchi

My Sunday mornings have become very special to me. I get to play in my favorite playground, my kitchen. Since I am free to take a long as I want, I can spend as much time playing as needed. But this recipe was so true to it's title: Ricotta gnocchi in a flash. I visit many blogs, and one of these is Dinners for a Year and Beyond. Amy is a personal chef to 5 families and of course her own! Her motto is "helping families get back to the dinner table one recipe at a time". Bringing family back to the dinner table, same exact philosophy I employ. When I first started blogging and joined The Foodie BlogRoll in hopes of someone (anyone!) finding me, she was the first to visit. Thank you Amy.

I had purchased this ricotta for lemon ricotta cookies. Because, boy did they sound yummy and of course they had my favorite flavor in them, lemon. But I have been a bit busy with work and working on my health and then I lost track of my lemons and they became ugly, and I quickly put them to other uses. The ricotta was still there and I came across this and immediately knew I would make them. They are so easy, they are make with kids easy.

Ricotta Gnocchi in a flash
adapted from, Dinners for a year and beyond

1 15oz container Ricotta
1/4 t salt
flour to fill the ricotta container

Sprinkle the salt in the bottom of a large bowl, add ricotta and flatten over the ricotta. Fill the ricotta container with flour, level the top by sweeping the extra back into your flour canister. Add flour to ricotta and begin stirring.

The mixture appears to be dry, do not add any additional flour. Continue to fold the mixture over itself and before you know, the ingredients come together smoothly. 

I chose to knead the mixture lightly in the bowl, to make sure there were no overly wet or dry areas.

When you are ready to make Gnocchi, you will simply roll the dough into a 1 inch log, cut into 1/2 inch slices and dimple or fork turn. I did some of both. 

This is what I did:
Using a large rimmed jelly roll pan, I first divided the dough into 4 parts. I like using a rimmed pan to work on, it helps contain flour, which for some reason lands in places I was not working!

Returned 3 to the bowl, dusted with flour. 

I had to squeeze the dough into a basic log shape, then rolled it to smooth the surface. 

Sliced dough was held, then dimpled with my index finger. 

After dimpled, the gnocchi were placed on the pan ready for freezing. 

I simply prepared a pan for freezing the Gnocchi, by spraying with a little Pam. I generally do not use parchment paper. I know the frozen solid Gnocchi will lift off the pan easily.

I dimpled half of the recipe, and fork turned the other half. 

Freeze until solid frozen, and then place into freezer bags for storage. To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add Gnocchi and cook until Gnocchi float to the top, 3 - 5 minutes. Serve with sauce of choice.

Recipe rating:  It's Ok. (tasty but not special)

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I love having company come to call!