Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jamaican Cheese Muffins

Our household has been on a grilling kick lately. Okay, we always love to grill, but we've been doing a lot of experimenting and exploring new recipes. Not too long ago we played around with a few Jerk Chicken ideas, and that was my inspiration for this muffin recipe. I found an awesome Jamaican "filled" corn muffin recipe online that I wanted to try, but then I thought about it...I wanted my Bob's Red Mill products to shine, not hide behind the cornmeal. So, I found another savory muffin recipe that called for some add-ins. I combined the two recipes and came up with this. They were scarfed down in no time at all and got eight thumbs-up (four guys ate them ALL!) One friend mentioned that they reminded him of fritters rather than muffins, but either way I'll take a table full of happy tummies any day. These will be made again and soon!

Jamaican Cheese Muffins
by Chris
Adapted from Savory Stuffed Corn Muffins and Savory Whole Grain Zucchini Cheddar Muffins

1 10-ounce can of white meat chicken, drained and shredded
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon "Pickapeppa" hot sauce (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 Tablespoons diced bell pepper (any combination of colors)
2 green onions, chopped fine
1 cup of red and green bell peppers (a mix of the two), diced
1-2 teaspoons of scotch bonnet or habenero pepper, diced
2 large eggs (room temperature)
1 cup whole milk
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Extra cheddar cheese (grated) for topping

Combine the first eight ingredients (chicken through the 2 Tablespoons of diced bell pepper) in a medium bowl and set aside (this can be done 1-2 days in advance.) Be sure to mix well. Let come to room temperature if it was made earlier and stored in the refrigerator.

In a food processor, combine and dice the green onions, the one cup of mixed bell peppers, and the scotch bonnet/habenero. Use caution if you are sensitive to hot peppers (after they bake, they are not very hot, but in the raw state they can be painful!) Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the eggs and whole milk. Mix well. Add the two flours, baking powder, salt, and melted butter. Mix on low speed until incorporated.

Place the diced pepper and onion mixture into the stand mixer bowl along with the 3/4 cup cheddar cheese. Gently mix again, on the lowest speed. When everything has come together, add the chicken mixture to the batter and again mix on a lower speed. Everything should be incorporated, but not over-mixed. This dough is "tacky" (sticky), not dry at all. Trust me, it works!

Preheat your oven to 400°F and place liners in your muffin pan. Place the pan on a cookie sheet (I only have one 6-muffin pan, so I made 3 batches, totaling 18 muffins.) Fill muffin tin liners with about 1/4 cup of batter. Top each muffin with about 2 teaspoons of the extra cheddar cheese (I eyeballed it, but it was less than a Tablespoon on each.) Pop into the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes (I found that 23 minutes was perfect for me, but your oven may be different). When done (tops are nice and firm, but muffins are still moist), remove from pan and allow to cool in liners, on the countertop (if you need to store them, toss them into the fridge, as they do contain meat.) Eat when fresh, if possible, and enjoy! Mmm, mmm tasty!

Onion Twists

Breadsticks are not a common food item in my house. I'm not sure why, but I only make them once every few months. As Bob's Red Mill so generously gave me TWO new flours to sample, I was excited to see how I could alter one of my favorite go-to recipes. This is a very basic, easy to accomplish side that will add a bit of zing to your dinner table. I took a simple breadstick recipe, added some spice to the mix, and continued on. I made a few other changes along the way, and the results were hearty, savory and had a little bit of  "kick" to them. My taste-testers felt that they had a "cornbread" taste and texture due to the whole wheat flour, but they were definitely a winner! They are great served as a snack with extra Tabasco Butter for dipping or as a side to a salad, soup, or stew.

Onion Twists
by Chris
Adapted from this recipe for Quick Soft Breadsticks

1 packet of active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup warm water
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Flour
2 cups Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 Tablespoon minced (dehydrated) onion
1/2 teaspoon minced (dehydrated) garlic
6 Tablespoons Chipotle Tabasco sauce (or hot sauce of your choice), divided (or more to taste)
1/3 cup grape seed oil
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (or more, to taste)

In a large glass measuring cup combine the yeast, brown sugar, and warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes (to proof.)

While waiting for the yeast mixture to proof, combine the two flours, the two salts, and the minced onions and garlic in a separate bowl.

When yeast is ready, place mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 2 Tablespoons of Tabasco (or your hot sauce) as well. Place the dry ingredients (flour mixture) into the stand mixer bowl, then top with the grape seed oil. Using the dough hook attachment, combine all ingredients on a low speed for 3-4 minutes. The dough is ready when it pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. If the dough is a bit sticky, flour your hands before removing from the mixer.

On a lightly floured surface, gently knead the dough until it is rather "elastic" and not "sticky." Roll out into a thin sheet, approximately 12" x 14". Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into strips that are about 1/2" wide. If they are long, cut into halves or thirds, to make "mini" sticks. Gently twist the sticks to your liking and place on a greased, parchment paper-lined cookie sheet (I used 3 cookie sheets). When all sticks are cut and twisted, allow to rest and rise for at least 30 minutes (no more than an hour).

As the dough rises, the twists may shift. Feel free to re-twist them to your preference. Heat oven to 375°F. Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter with 2 Tablespoons of Tabasco (or your hot sauce). Place one cookie sheet of Twists into heated oven and bake for 10 minutes. At the 10 minute mark brush Twists with the Tabasco- Butter sauce. Return to oven for 5 more minutes. After the last 5 minutes (15 minutes total), remove from oven and again baste with the Tabasco Butter. Remove from the cookie sheet to a wire rack to cool. Repeat as needed to cook all twists. You may also need to make more Tabasco Butter - just use a 1 to 1 ratio (1 Tablespoon of butter with 1 Tablespoon of hot sauce.)

My batch of dough made 42 Mini Onion Twists. They are great served warm with extra Tabasco Butter for dipping. They can be reheated in the microwave for a softer texture or in the oven at a low temperature for a more crispy texture. To heat them quickly, simply warm in a hot, dry skillet. Be sure to watch and flip them often so that they do not burn!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Salt and Pepper Pork Ribs

I've had many versions of this recipe at Chinese restaurants, many of which used pieces of pork sirloin, which were bony, yet still had lots of meat intact. I love the experience of gnawing (yes, gnawing) on the succulent bones, getting every bit of the salty, spicy batter that coated their surface. The occasional prize of a succulent piece of pork was just a bonus. For this recipe, I decided to use whole baby back ribs, which provides the best of both worlds: ample bone, yet enough meat to satisfy the carnivore in you. The double frying method ensures an extra crispy crust. Use the salt mixture judiciously, but don’t skimp. It’s what makes the dish.

Salt and Pepper Pork Ribs
by Gary
Adapted from Salt & Pepper Pork Chops

Serves 4

For the Salt and Pepper Seasoning:
2 Tablespoons coarse salt
1 Tablespoon Szechwan peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder

For the ribs:
1 rack (4-5 pounds) pork baby back ribs, cut into individual ribs
1/4 cup Chinese cooking sherry or dry white wine
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, run through a press
1 jalapeno or Serrano pepper, thinly sliced (remove seeds and membrane if desired)
1 teaspoon Salt and Pepper Seasoning mix

For the coating:
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon Salt and Pepper Seasoning mix

For the preparation:
2 cups peanut oil
1/2 cup scallions, green onions, or yellow onions, sliced
1 jalapeno or Serrano pepper, thinly sliced (remove seeds and membrane if desired)
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
Salt and Pepper Seasoning mix, as desired
Aleppo pepper, as desired

To make the Salt and Pepper Seasoning, combine the salt and peppercorns in a medium cast iron skillet. Heat over medium high heat and stir constantly, until salt begins to toast and turns a light gray color. Use caution as the peppercorns will give off strong fumes. Remove from heat and spread out to cool on a plate. Place salt, peppercorns, and five spice powder in a mortar or coffee grinder. Crush or process until the mixture turns into a fine powder. Set aside.

For the ribs, rinse, pat dry, and place in a shallow, resealable bag or non-reactive container. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over ribs, turning to coat. Marinate at least one hour or overnight, refrigerated.

To prepare the coating, combine the flour, cornstarch, and seasoning mixture in a shallow dish or bowl.

To cook the ribs, heat peanut oil in an electric skillet or Dutch oven to 350°F degrees. Preheat oven to low, or 200°F. Remove pork from marinade and wipe away any excess. Dredge in the coating, shake to remove excess, and then carefully place in the hot oil. Repeat until approximately half of the ribs are cooking. Do not crowd the pot. Cook ribs about four to five minutes per side, or until evenly browned. Remove to a paper towel-lined pan and keep warm, uncovered, in the low oven. Allow oil to come back to temperature before proceeding with remaining ribs. Cook until all ribs have been fried. Bring the oil back up to temperature again, and return the first batch to the oil, turning until the coating is very crispy, about two or three minutes more. Remove, allow the oil to return to 350°F once more, and re-fry the remaining batch of ribs. Remove and drain.

To finish the dish, remove all but two or three tablespoons of oil from the pan (alternatively, you may take some of the frying oil and place in another large vessel, such as a wok or large skillet). Heat over high heat and add onions, peppers, and garlic, seasoning with a pinch of the Salt and Pepper Seasoning and Aleppo pepper. Cook until just fragrant, but still crisp. Add the ribs to the pan and toss to coat. You may also arrange the ribs on a large platter, sprinkle with additional Salt and Pepper Seasoning, then top with the stir-fried vegetables.

Serve with steamed vegetables and white rice.

Note: The oil used for frying may be strained and reused. Keep covered at room temperature, or store in the refrigerator. It will have a delicious, nutty flavor and seasoning, and may be used for deep frying, stir frying, or even just to season vegetables, meat, or any other main or side dish.

Buttermilk Herb Biscuits - A Wonderful Part of Any Meal

These savory biscuits are sturdy, yet delicious, owing in part to the organic flours from Bob’s Red Mill. Mix in your favorite combination of fresh or dried herbs to accompany your next meal.

Buttermilk Herb Biscuits
by Gary
Adapted from a recipe from A Celebration of Herbs

Serves/Makes 12

1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour
1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup shortening
3 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme OR 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1 Tablespoon minced fresh chives or green onion
2/3 cup buttermilk
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Combine the flours, baking powder, salt, pepper, dry mustard, and baking soda in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Stir in the parsley, thyme, and chives. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk. Stir the dough with a fork, just enough to form into a ball. The dough will be very soft.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it gently 15 times, adding a minimum of additional flour. Roll or pat the dough into a 3/4-inch thick rectangle. Cut into 12 pieces with a floured knife or biscuit cutter. Place pieces 1/2 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with additional salt, if desired.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Serve hot.

Note: Gather up any scraps and roll out thin (1/4 inch or so), brush with butter and sprinkle with garlic, herbs, and spices. Cut into squares and bake to make quick and tasty flatbread bites.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cheese & Onion Whole Wheat Twist

Cheese & Onion Whole Wheat Twist

1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup finely diced onion
dried parsley flakes
flaked sea salt (such as Maldon)

Mix together dough ingredients with a fork until the dough is shaggy and combined, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.

Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.

Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Roll out each piece into a rectangle approximately 15" by 10".

Sprinkle dried parsley flakes onto each rectangle, then cheddar cheese, then onion.

Roll up each piece of dough lengthwise, keeping it an even width, then cut each roll lengthwise so it becomes two strips (4 strands in total).

Transfer to a baking sheet prepared with parchment paper.
Create a four-strand braid by pinching one end of the strands together, then crossing strand 4 over strand 2, strand 1 over strand 3, strand 2 over strand 3 (repeat until you reach the end). Turn the ends of the braid so they overlap each other to create a circle.

Brush the dough lightly with warm water, so the edges don't get dry while rising, and sprinkle with flaked sea salt.

Cover and let rise in a warm place for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

The Bob's Red Mill Challenge

Is flour boring? We didn't think so! Our challenge from Bob's Red Mill was to take their Organic Unbleached White Flour and their Organic Whole Wheat Flour and jazz it up. I think we did just that! You be the judge in the days to follow!

Bob's Red Mill is an interesting and inspirational company. Did you know that Bob Moore, the founder of the company (look up and you'll see his friendly face), was a retiree when he started this company? Did you know that he was in the Army, owned a gas station, lived in a mobile home, went broke, and more? Did you know that on his 81st birthday, he gave his extremely successful company away - to his employees? Yes, he did all that! The more you get to know about Bob, his employees and his products, the more you will like them!

Willie and I fell in love with the flours that we used for this challenge and I know our cooks did, as well. Thank you, Mr. Moore! Thank you Red Mill employees!

P.S. We read that Bob starts every morning with his own Scottish oatmeal and guess what? We start many mornings with his Steel Cut Oats! As healthy as he and his wife Charlee are, we will be changing our routine from many mornings to every morning! ~Sandra