I baked bread again last weekend. That’s not all that unusual; I don’t think I’ve bought bread since March or April. It kind of came up on Instagram and Facebook because my long time friend and colleague (and fellow baker/cook-type) Bill Hart-Davidson commented that I should post some pictures. So I did. More than necessary. And now here I am writing about baking bread, also more than necessary.
Yes, you read that right: I’m posting a recipe for a very delicious/vegan/low-fat kale recipe. Why? Because I’ve made this a couple of times for different events (including a graduation party we went to last night) and people tend to ask for the recipe. That and I’m waiting for a YouTube movie to upload in the background, a video for a class I’m teaching right now.
So if you only come here for MOOC stuff, comp/rhet stuff, or my witty academic job market banter, move along. If you want to try a kick-ass kale salad recipe, read on.
Pizza is interesting in that you have connoisseurs who fetishize all aspects of this relatively simple food, and you also have people whose concept of pizza is limited to Dominos or Little Caesars. If you are a connoisseur, chances some of what I’m talking about here has some elements of sacrilege and I apologize in advance for that transgression. I work with what I’ve got– at least until I can embark on that fantasized backyard pizza oven project.
On the other hand, if you are someone who makes a decision regarding a pizza order based on whether or not the crust is double-stuffed and/or if you get an order of chicken wings with it, there is nothing for you to read here. Move along.
Gawker has published a couple of stories about disgruntled and generally former Whole Foods employees, here and here. The short version is some of these folks are not happy about Whole Foods behavior toward its employees, the environment, recycling, and so forth, how it’s bad to eat the prepared foods, about how WF fights unions, etc., etc.
We had a later than usual Pepper Nuts session here at the Krause-Wannamaker house today. We were in Florida for Christmas proper this year, and, because of changes on the Krause side of things at Thanksgiving and less than great planning on our part here before our southern trip, we ended up actually making my family’s classic Christmas cookie after Christmas. Oh well.
Still, a good time was had by one and all. Will and Annette definitely did as much as I did this year with the rolling and cutting– good team work, and we all enjoyed remembering relatives from Christmases of the recent and distant past. Most of this batch will be accompanying us to Iowa in the coming days. In any event, here’s the annual reprinting/reposting of the recipe, as told to me by my Grandma Krause (and re-written by me):
Grandma Krause’s Pepper Nuts
1 cup dark karo syrup
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup butter, softened (or margarine or crisco or, in the old days, lard)
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup hot water
2 tsps baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp anise oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
7 cups (or so) flour
1.In your trusty KitchenAid standing mixer mix together the syrup, molasses, butter, sugar and hot water until well combined. If you lack a standing mixer, you can do this with a large bowl and a hand mixer.
2. Add everything else but the flour and continue mixing until combined.
3. Start adding the flour, about a cup at a time, mixing each time until the flour is well incorporated. If you have a trusty KitchenAid standing mixer, lucky you! You can keep mixing this until all seven cups of flour are combined. I shifted from the regular mixing paddle to the bread hook attachment after the fifth cup of flour.
If you don’t have a standing mixer (unlucky you!), you’ll probably have to give up on the hand mixer after the fourth or fifth cup of flour and knead the rest of the flour in as you might with the making of bread or pizza dough.
Either way, you may have to add a little more or a little less flour to get a dough that is moist but not sticky.
4. Take about a handful of the finished dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface in long snakes that are about the width of your pinky. Lay these out on a cookie sheet. You can create different layers of the dough snakes by separating them with parchment paper or plastic sheeting.
5. Chill these dough snakes. Grandma Krause’s recipe said to chill “overnight or for at least a couple of hours.” I have done this before by putting them in the freezer or outside in a place like Wisconsin or Michigan or Iowa (which is as cold as the freezer, of course) for an hour or so, though in the movie, I left them out overnight with no adverse effect. They do need to be chilled and even a bit dried out.
6. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350-375 degrees. (It kind of depends on your oven, but while Grandma Krause said 350, I think 375 is probably more accurate). Take each snake and cut them into tiny bite-sized pieces of dough. Put the little dough pieces onto a cookie sheet, being sure to spread them out so they don’t touch either. The cookies will expand slightly in size.
7. Bake about 9 or 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool them on a clean counter or a clean cookie sheet and store them in a sealed container. Serve them in little bowls as if they were nuts. Makes a pailful.
School starts again next week (after Labor Day), and I’ve mostly been figuring out the classes I’ll be teaching this coming term, along with a few other miscellaneous new term things. But I thought I’d pause for a moment to discuss what I think will become my food causes for the rest of the year, pickling (well, canning) and pizza making.
I’m not entirely sure what inspired this, but I got an itch recently to try to do some canning and/or pickling. It’s one of those cooking/foodie things I’ve been interested in for a while now, and when we were in Iowa about a month ago, my mom gave me her old canning pot– the giant pot and rack you use to boil the jars to preserve them. And about two weeks ago, I bought both a book on canning and a book on building an “earth oven.” (That’s right, folks– a pizza oven is still a possibility. Stay tuned for details).
So, following a very basic pickling recipe, I tried my hand at a few pickled vegetables. From left to right:
- Green beans (which I really like pickled a lot, and we have an abundance of them around here and/or from the CSA share from Tantré Farms).
- Carrots (this was kind of a last-minute thing– I had an extra jar and some extra brine, so I figured what the hell? I also added onion and a hot pepper to this mix).
- Green peppers (Annette’s request, based on a recipe from her grandmother).
- Cucumbers (you know, “pickles”).
- Beets (I have high hopes for this one because we have gotten a lot of beets from the farm this year).
- Green peppers and onions (I think…).
Now, I have no idea if any of this is going to turn out and/or if it is not going to kill us when we try to eat it. That’s why this is “part 1” of the pickling post. I’m pretty optimistic, and it was surprisingly easy to do, but I am still up in the air about the extent to which it is “worth it.” It seems to me that if you’ve got a lot of something that is going to go bad otherwise (beets, for example), then it might be worth it. We’ll see in a couple weeks.
This is based closely on a recipe for pumpkin tortellini from the cookbook The Silver Spoon, which is sort of The Joy of Cooking of Italy: it’s one of those books that’s been around forever and it has recipes for everything. I mean everything: this book has a section of recipes for cooking Ostrich. Well worth the purchase. This is a double recipe; I figure if you’re going to go through the trouble of making these, you might as well make plenty.
- About 8 cups or so of squash (roughly speaking, this is about two small to medium-sized butternut squash), peeled, seeded, and cut up into chunks
- 3 to 5 cups of grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- two or three cups of bread crumbs
- about a half teaspoon or so of grated nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 and a 1/2 cups of flour, with extra for dusting
- 4 or 5 eggs, lightly beaten
- a pinch of salt
Cook the squash (butternut, pumpkin, something like that) on some cookie sheets in a 350 degree oven for about 35-45 minutes, or until tender. Cool, and then pass it through either a food mill or a ricer (I use a ricer; I would think a food processor would be a bad idea as it would turn this mixture into something too gummy). Mix all the other filling stuff in with it. The mix should be fairly dry, so if it’s still mushy, add more bread crumbs.
There’s a lot of ways to make fresh pasta, but I tend to use the classic “well method.” Pour the flour out onto a clean surface and make a well in the middle of the pile. Beat up the eggs– four if they are large eggs and it’s kind of damp outside, otherwise five– and pour them into the well. Use a fork and begin incorporating the egg with the flour. When it is all mixed in, start kneading it. This will seem to be a hopeless process at first, but if you put some weight into it and a little time, you’ll eventually get a nice ball of a stiff dough. Put this in a ziplock bag and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
Get out your pasta maker, roll it out, and make ravioli. Did I mention you need a pasta roller to do this? Yep, pretty much. If you don’t have one and/or you want to skip the whole rig-a-ma-roll of making your own pasta sheets, I suppose you could buy some pre-made pasta sheets or some won-ton wrappers. I’d also recommend doing this as a group activity. Making ravioli is the sort of thing that works well as small group entertainment, either with a child and his friend visiting for a sleep-over or for some sort of dinner party. There are lots of ways to make ravioli; the most common method I see in cookbooks is to roll the dough out, put small mounds (about a half tablespoon at most) of stuffing in regular intervals on the sheet, fold it over, press the edges firmly, and cut it into little squares. We have this press thing which will make a dozen nicely sized ravioli at a time.
As you make them, lay the ravioli out on a cookie sheet, separating layers of pasta with wax paper or plastic wrap. Put the ravioli in the freezer until harden, and then “bag ’em and tag ’em.” They’ll keep for months, and this recipe is enough for at least a dozen servings.
How to serve? Well, they cook up fast: five minutes or less fresh, about seven or eight minutes frozen. When they float to the top of a large pot of boiling water, they are done.
The best and classic sauce is with browned butter and fresh sage– just melt half a stick of butter, add some fresh chopped sage, and when the ravioli are done, scoop them out of the water and toss them around a bit in the butter.
Also nice and not near as rich and fatty: finely dice some vegetables like onion, carrot, and celery, and sweat them for a few minutes in a bit of olive oil. Add about 2 cups chicken broth, and reduce the mixture to about a cup or less. Pour this over cooked ravioli. Or add more chicken stock and other soup stuff and keep the whole thing a soup. Add the ravioli right to the broth about 10 minutes before serving.
I’m pretty sure this is the weirdest spam/email I have yet received, and, like everyone else, I get plenty. Or at least I assume it’s spam.
This comes from “Information Technician <firstname.lastname@example.org>” with the subject line “Requested update.” I present it in its entirety here:
Recipe: Overnight Fruit Salad
1 small head cabbage, shredded (about 5 cups)
1 15oz can pineapple chunks, well drained
2 11oz cans mandarin orange sections, drained
2 cups seedless green grapes
1/3 cups light raisins
1 1/2 cups cubed Edam cheese
1 8oz carton lemon yogurt
1 cup dairy sour cream
1. Place cabbage on bottom of large salad bowl.
2. Top with pineapple chunks, mandarin orange sections, grapes and
raisins. Sprinkle cheese atop.
3. Combine yogurt and sour cream; spread over salad, sealing to edge of
4. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours. If desired, garnish with
lemon and lime twist, curly endive, and a grape.
Wha? And this frankly sounds like a pretty gross recipe. Though jeez, I hope I’m not offending some relative who has sent this to me disguised as a weird spam…..
What and Where:
The Sidetrack Bar and Grill | 56 E Cross St | Ypsilanti, MI| | 734- 213-6762
Ratings (1=terrible, 5=mind-blowingly great)
- I can’t believe that after 15 or so of these reviews, I have yet to do the Sidetrack. I guess I’m just too familiar….
- The Sidetrack is the quintessential “bar and grill.” What I mean is this: if you were a producer from the classic Hollywood film era and you were to call down to “central casting” and ask for a “bar,” they’d send you the Sidetrack. A beautiful main bar (dark wood, ornate carving, mirror behind it, etc.). Fireplaces and darkness all around. Animal heads and kind of sketchy prints hanging about. And yet, it’s also a place where you can take a family (well, at least before about 10 pm), which very much reminds me of the bars/roadhouses I visited as a kid with my parents and grandparents in northeast Wisconsin
- There’s a fine selection of beers on tap here, along with all the rest of the usual bar things.
- If you can only visit this place once, be sure to get the burger deluxe with sweet potato fries. The regular fries are so-so, but the sweet potato version (with their sauce) are excellent. And their burgers– well, I don’t know if it really is one of the 20 burgers you have to have before you die,but it is dang good and what I almost always get when I go.
- Really, just about all the food here is good. I’ve had good luck with most of the fish dishes, particularly the Lake Perch basket. I think the Turkey Reuben is great, though maybe not that much different than a lot of other places that offer that version if the sandwich.
- As far as other bar food goes: Personally, I think the onion rings are over-breaded, but I have many friends who enjoy them. Some folks I know swear by the fried pickles they serve here, but frankly, I think that a fried pickle pretty much tastes like a fried pickle. But I’m a big fan of the humus, the other fried veggies (zukes, mushrooms, etc.).
- On the whole, a must-stop in Ypsilanti. Go check it out if you are in the area and haven’t yet.