Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Comfort Food with a Twist: My Dinner Party for Six Food and Wine-a-philiacs


  • Duck paté and artisinal hand-crafted cheese plate with cornichons
  • Fresh crab cakes fried in olive oil, served with soy-sesame-mayo and bread-and-butter pickle sauce
  • Sweet free-range chicken mole poblano served over steamed Jasmine rice, with five optional condiments (it took me five hours to make the mole--grinding the many peppers and spices, deboning the chicken. I used Abuelita's Mexican chocolate this time, which adds sweetness.)
  • Mixed greens garden salad with pear-parmesan dressing
  • Homemade cheese bread with butter
  • Haricot verts stir-fry with Black Forest ham bits and Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • Blueberry tart with butter crust
  • Mixed dark and white chocolate pomegranate (I used the pomegranate compote I made as Christmas presents--it worked beautifully) ice cream
  • Decaf cappuccino, made from Second Chance coffee
  • Sparkling water
  • Cocktails (Hendrick's cucumber martinis and lemondrop martinis)
  • Clendenen Family Vineyards, 2004 Pinot Noir
Wish I had photos from our event, but you would see mis-matched plates, a furry white dog, and lots of sappy grins (the wine was superb!). Also, our five-year-old was bebopping around, like the human jester she is. We had leftover mole for supper the next day--methinks it was even better.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Almond Flaxseed Rolls for Your Thanksgiving Feast

Lovely little girl checking out a basket of my Almond Flaxseed Rolls
While not especially sexy, flaxseed is good for us humans—all that DHA in the flaxseed oil does our brains and nerves good. And any excuse to substitute a little plain flour for almond meal is good, too—higher protein and less gluten. That's why I put these ingredients together. After literally making hundreds of loaves of boring white bread, I realized that with these two tweaks, I could make healthier—and still yummy—bread. Perfect for Thanksgiving feasts. Enjoy!

3 1/4 cups unbleached wheat flour
1 cup almond meal (can get at Trader Joe's or Bob's Red Mill brand)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed (Bob's Red Mill or Viva Labs brands are great)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup raw sugar (or any sugar, really--raw just tastes great!)
1 1/3 cups water
2 tablespoons buttermilk powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons yeast

The dough balls on a pizza stone sprinkled with semolina
  1. Warm up the water gently in a microwave--only until it is about body temperature. Add the yeast. Stir and set aside. 
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together. Set aside. 
  3. Melt the butter in a microwave and add it to the dry ingredients. Stir in the yeast-water and mix and knead the dough. Let rise an hour (the first rise). 
  4. Knead the dough again. Let rise an hour (the second rise). 
  5. Drizzle olive oil on the dough (to make it easy to handle) and divide the dough into 24 golf-ball sized rolls. Roll each dough bit until it is fairly uniform (don't obsess). If you have a pizza stone or baker's stone, sprinkle it with corn meal or semolina flour. Let rise one hour (the third and final rise). 
  6. Bake at 375 for 18 to 20 minutes.
The finished rolls

Notes:
  • This is a great recipe to throw everything in a bread machine on the Dough cycle and push the Start button. The proportions are for a large-sized loaf or 24 rolls.
  • If you prefer loaves to rolls, this recipe will make two smallish loaves.
  • If you don't have a baker's stone or pizza stone, use a baking sheet—the crust won't be as chewy, but that's okay too.