Gochujang, red miso, and flour.

There’s an optimal combination of these to make a creamy, spicy, umami soup base/thickener, and I’m iterating towards it now.

Gochujang is a Korean deep red fermented spicy pepper paste that I found about a few months ago, and have been tossing into various dishes without any disappointing results. The taste is hot pepper with that fermented lactic acid tang (similar to sourdough bread or kimchi).

Red miso is a fermented soybean and rice paste of Japanese origin that has a richer salty umami flavor than soy sauce.

In traditional western cooking, flour is mixed with equal weight of butter to make a roux to make gravy and soup. The fat helps the flour to blend evenly into hot liquids (pure flour clumps immediately when added in hot liquid). The above pastes aren’t really analogous to butter, but can still be combined with flour to make a cream base. When one needs to add flour to a hot liquid without clumping, but doesn’t wish to add butter, then one has to preblend the flour in cold liquid (1/2c flour to 1c water), and then stir the cold mixture into the hot liquid a little at a time. As it happens, there’s no reason that cold blend can’t include a flavoring of red miso and gochujang.

My most recent iteration: 1c cold water, 1/2c flour, 2tblsp gochujang, 2tblsp red miso whisked together until blended smoothly and then slowly poured into a near boiling 2.5c water in a sauce pan produced a thick red soup that was too salty and too spicy at those quantities. The soup thickened from a “Campbells cream of”-like consistency to a gravy consistency as it cooled (which is a property that I like in a hearty soup). In my next iteration, I’ll reduce to 1tblsp gochujang and 1 tsp red miso. I expect the final product to lend itself to making beef, pork, sausage, chicken, potato, or vegetable chowder-thick soups/stews.

Black Tea Broth

Ingredients:

-2 c. hot black tea

-2 tblsp. soy sauce

-1 tblsp. vegetable oil

Directions:

Brew tea and mix ingredients together. Use to cook rice, noodles, and as a base for soup. Imparts a dark color and deep umami.

Tater Chowder

Ingredients:

– 3 or 4 gold potatoes, diced or chopped, skin on

– 3 or 4 red potatoes, diced or chopped, skin on

– 3 or 4 celery stalks, sliced

– 3/4c. All purpose flour

– 2 tsp salt

– 1 tsp old bay seasoning

– 1-1/2c. Whole milk

– 1-1/2c. Water

Directions:

For the potatoes, rough chopped pieces can be as large as 3/8″ thick full slices. Larger than this is not recommended)

In a large pot, combine potatoes, celery, salt, old bay, and water and bring to boil. Then reduce heat and cover to maintain a slow boil (Note: I like salt, so I add plenty, feel free to hold off on adding the salt until the very end and then salt to taste, it won’t hurt). Combine cold milk and flour in a liquid measuring cup and stir until flour is dissolved, set aside (for a thicker consistency, add more flour at this stage). Set a timer for 10 minutes. After ten minutes, stir the pot. Potatoes should be nearly cooked through. Pour the milk/flour mixture into the pot and stir until even. The mixture should thicken considerably. Cover and simmer on low for another ten minutes, then enjoy.

Variations: Copious Black pepper instead of old bay, or any other spice you like, though, with the milk, chili and cayenne and the like will be blunted.

Raisin Nut Bread

IMG_0494 IMG_0496

 

Raisin Nut Bread

I wanted to make a raisin bread with high concentrations of raisin and nut flavor while still maintaining the structural strength of sliced bread.  This is accomplished with densely packed swirls of raisins and nuts encased within a strong outer dough wrap.

Ingredients:
1c chopped walnuts
1c raisins
1c golden raisins
Honey (about 2tblsp)
2c whole wheat flour
2c white flour
1 tsp dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
2 tblsp vital wheat gluten
1.5c warm water
2 tblsp butter

Directions:
Mix flour, wheat flour, gluten, salt, yeast, ginger, cinnamon, eggs, butter, and water in a bread machine, standing mixer, or by hand (lots of work). Once the dough is mixed, cover it and let it proof rise for one hour.

Flour a large table or counter space. Divide the dough into two equal portions. Roll each portion out into a sheet of dough that is roughly 8″ wide x 24″ long. Brush half of the tops of dough sheet with water (half of the length). Then divide the raisins, golden raisins, and walnuts into two equal portions and spread them evenly onto the wetted dough. Drizzle some honey on top of the raisins and nuts. Then begin rolling the dough, starting from the end that is raisin covered. Stop rolling when all of the nuts and raisins have been rolled up. Brush water on to the remaining unrolled portions of the dough sheets. Carefully lift one of the half-rolled sheets, flip it over and place it on top of the other portion such that the roll fits next to the other roll, then wrap the remaining sheets around to securely encase both rolls.

Preheat an oven to 425 Degrees Fahrenheit. Place the formed loaf onto the center of a parchment covered baking sheet. Bake for 50 minutes.

 

Serving Suggestion:

I recommend cutting thick slices, smearing them with peanut butter, and sprinkling additional raisins on top of the peanut butter.

Note:  The pictured variant also contains sunflower seeds and sliced almonds, both inside and sprinkled on top of the loaf.

2017-01-23

Yeasted Protein Pancakes

When I found myself without any pancake mix on hand, I thought to myself that it should be easy enough to make pancakes from scratch.  It took a few tries, but I was able to find the proper mixing proportions for a rising but flowing batter that included some of my own nutritional tweaks. A quick version with baking powder should be entirely possible, but I chose yeast as the leavening agent because I hadn’t used it for pancakes before.

Ingredients:

-1.5c White flour
-1tsp fast rise bread yeast
-0.5c Jam or preserves
-0.25c 100% Whey protein (vanilla or unflavored)
-1 large egg
-1c milk
-0.5tsp salt

Directions:
Heat milk in a microwave or on a stove until it is warm to the touch. Do not boil. If the milk gets too hot or boils, allow it to cool until a finger can be submerged in the milk without discomfort.

Mix the jam or preserves, egg, flour, and protein powder into the warm milk until smooth. Add yeast and mix thoroughly. The batter should be thick but still able to flow.

Allow the batter to proof for 1 hour. After the hour, preheat a nonstick pan at the medium heat setting of the range or burner. Pour about a half cup of the batter onto the pan and fry for about two minutes. Flip, then fry for another two minutes. As always with pancakes, vary the frying times to get nice browning and thorough cooking.

2016-12-26

Simple Cheese Beef Soup

Ingredients
– Celery Heart
– Large Onion, peeled and chopped
– 1lb carrots, peeled and chopped
– 2lbs potatoes, kohlrabi, and/or celery root, peeled and chopped
– 2lbs Chuck roast, cubed
– 8c water or stock
– 1c flour
– 2tsp salt
– 1tsp ground black pepper
– 3/4lb cheddar cheese, cubed or grated

Directions:
Combine chopped vegetables, beef, water, and spices in a 6qt pot and bring it to boil.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.

Slowly mix in the flour and stir until it is blended thoroughly, raise the heat and bring to a roiling boil to assist in dissolving the flour. Reduce heat and mix in the cheese until it is dissolved.

2016-07-28-2

Beef Enchiladas

Beef Enchiladas

Ingredients:
8 x 8″ Flour Tortillas
Beef Chuck Roast 3-5lbs
6 x Jalapeño peppers
Red Bell Pepper
Green Bell Pepper
Orange Bell Pepper
Yellow Onion
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz Shredded Colby Jack Cheese
2 x Carrots
2 tblsp corn starch

Hardware:
4 qt or larger dutch oven
9″ x 13″ Casserole/Cake Pan
Tenderizing mallet
Good knife
Cutting board
2 x mixing bowls
Cooking spray or shortening
Oven with range

Time:
30 minutes prep
6 hours cook time or more

Feeds 4-8 People

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 250 Degrees F.

Chop peppers, onions, and carrots into medium pieces no larger than 1″ x 1/2″ x 1/2″ and place them into the dutch oven.

Carve the chuck roast into long thin strips no wider than an inch after tenderizing with a mallet. Do this by finding the direction of the grain of the roast and slicing 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick steaks perpendicular to(against) the grain. Pound out each steak with a tenderizing mallet and slice the steak into inch wide strips. Place the tenderized strips of meat into the dutch oven, and sprinkle with the salt.

Cover the dutch oven and place in the oven for 5 hours or until the meat is very tender, tender enough to pull apart by hand.

Remove the dutch oven from the oven and place on the range. Remove the tender meat strips into a separate bowl and set aside. Set the range to a medium high heat and get the sauce consisting of the meat drippings and heat liquified vegetables boiling lightly. Stir in corn starch and continue to cook the sauce down until it thickens. Spoon half of the sauce into another bowl and set aside. Mix meat back into the remaining half of the sauce in the dutch oven and coat the meat in the sauce without vigorous mixing. Note: Vigorous mixing of the meat into the sauce will result in a shredded beef consistency, and light mixing will preserve the meat strip shape.

Preheat the oven to 425 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Spray the 9″ x 13″ Cooking Pan with spray oil or coat the bottom with shortening.

Prepare the enchiladas by folding about 1 cup of the meat into an 8″ tortilla. Place each meat filled tortilla into the 9″ x 13″ pan with the fold side down. Once the pan is filled with tortillas, spoon the remaining sauce onto the tops of the tortillas. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top of the sauce coated tortillas.

Bake the enchiladas at 425 Degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes until cheese is melted and exposed tortillas are starting to brown.

blog2016-06-24

Breadnalysis

Bread ComparisonI thought that I might vary the composition of my preferred type of bread (Bread 1 in the picture above) to check if it is optimally nutritive and see how it compares nutritionally with other varieties.  The values are based on USDA estimated values for the constituent food types, and several of the calculations were made using CRON-o-Meter software.  The amino acid score was based on the recommended protein balance for infants, and it does not account for absorbability as some of the more accurate but more labor intensive methods do.

I use bread 1 for flatbreads, dinner rolls, and pizza dough and it seems to have a good balance of nutrients.  Bread 5 might be nutritionally superior because it has a more complete protein score and although it contains only minuscule amounts of beta-carotene, the eggs contain retinol which is what the human body makes from beta-carotene.  Interestingly, the eggy breads beat out the yogurt breads, I was surprised by this because yogurt contains complete protein.  The relatively poor showing for yogurt bread in comparison must be due to the amounts being mixed in which is heavily dependent upon the water content to ensure proper dough formation.

I will likely be sticking with Breads 1 for common use (or bread 2 if I run out of peanut butter) because although bread 5 has some superior qualities, they are not significant enough for me to make a change.

Writing this up and thinking about vitamin A has given me an idea, though.  Perhaps braunschwieger (a type of pork liver pate) might make a good shortening.  Of course, the bloody and metallic taste of liver won’t mix well with other flavors and the smell while baking might be unpleasant.  Still, it might be worth a try.

 

 

Spiced Carrot Pie

This is almost a faux pumpkin pie made out of carrots with additional spices. It has the same texture and appearance as pumpkin pie and would probably have the same flavor if not for the additional spices. This recipe came about because although I like spiced carrot cake, which is a regular carrot cake with added cinnamon, ground cloves, ground allspice, and nutmeg, I wanted a pie.

Ingredients:
– 1lb carrots
– 14 oz can of condensed milk
– 2 eggs
– 2 tsp ground ginger
– 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
– 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1/4 tsp ground cloves
– 1/4 tsp ground allspice
– 1/4 tsp salt
– A 9 inch pie crust

Directions:

Peel, trim, and boil or roast the carrots until they are soft (about 20 minutes boiling). Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit.

Combine cooked carrots, condensed milk, spices, and eggs (make sure your carrots have cooled down) in a blender, and blend until smooth. Note that a blender or food processor is required. Simply mashing the cooked carrots will not provide the desired consistency.

Pour the carrot pie puree into a pie crust and bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees F then reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 30 minutes.

Let the pie cool after baking and you’ll have a spicy carrot pie.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Scones

I had some scones recently as part of a hotel breakfast and realized that they were more or less just really big, less sugary cookies. Here’s a recipe using peanut butter for shortening and some sweet potato to give a little beta carotene.

Ingredients:
– 2 eggs
– 1 cup mashed sweet potato
– 4 cups flour (I use 2c bleached white enriched and 2c whole wheat)
– 2 tsp baking soda
– 1 tsp salt
– 2/3c granulated sugar
– 1c chocolate chips
– 1c Smooth peanut butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farhenheit.

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl (flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, chocolate chips), and mix the wet ingredients (eggs, peanut butter, sweet potato) in a separate bowl until blended smoothly. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and work them together into a dough by hand. It will be a non-sticky, shortening heavy dough, so keep pressing and working the flour into the clumps until everything is mixed as smoothly as possible.

Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and form into your desired scone shapes then arrange them on a baking sheet and bake for 19 minutes at 400 degrees fahrenheit.  (Note: baking time is for thick shapes, like balls, if for some reason you form your scones into thin shapes, it may be wise to reduce the baking time).