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Here’s a whole-wheat recipe I’m sharing with my TEDxICT friends tonight. You can make it even more “home-made” by buying wheat berries from a local whole food store. Then, use a blender to grind the berries into whole wheat flour. (Be sure to refrigerate any leftover flour.)

Hope you enjoy.

Makes: Eight individual flat breads or pizza crusts, or two large pizza crusts; Prep time: 20  minutes, plus rising

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups warm (115 degrees) water

2 packets (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast

1/4 cup oil, plus more for bowl

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for kneading

2 cups whole-wheat flour (spooned and leveled)

STEPS:

1. Place water in a large bowl; sprinkle with yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Brush another large bowl with oil.

2. In bowl with yeast,  whisk sugar, oil and salt. Stir in flours with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms. Transfer to oiled bowl; brush top of dough with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let stand in a warm spot until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

3. Turn dough out into a well-floured surface. With floured hands, knead until smooth, about 15 seconds; divide into two balls.

To freeze 1-pound balls:

Set balls on a plate (they should not touch); freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Then freeze in a freezer bag up to 3 months.  Thaw overnight in refrigerator.

To freeze individual shells:

Divide each ball of dough into 4 pieces. Using your hands, stretch each piece into a 5-inch disk (if dough becomes too elastic to work with, let it rest a few minutes). Freeze shells on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Stack frozen shells between layers of parchment paper. Freeze in a freezer bag up to 3 months. Bake from frozen.

(From “Martha Stewart, Everyday Food.”)

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Unlikely content

January 15, 2011

This post is one of confession and admission.

I confess I haven’t officially made my New Year’s resolutions.
I admit that I’m not setting the blogosphere on fire with subscribers to this blog.

Enter this flyer. I’m not sure how it landed on my kitchen table, or why I was drawn to it while enjoying my usual bagel-and-peanut-butter breakfast (with a chocolate chaser). I’m glad I flipped through it, though. I found common-sense, easy-to-remember  nutrition info. And, it reminded me that healthy eating should be a no-brainer when it comes to resolutions.

I found this tidbit:

What is a whole grain? Wheat flour itself is not a whole grain so make sure that the product uses the word “whole” in front of wheat. Look at the ingredients for “enriched flour.” If it is the first listed ingredient, there is more white flour than any other flour in the product. Whole grain must be listed first for it to qualify.

And this:

“Look for items with at least 2.5 grams of fiber per serving. The adequate intake for fiber is 38 grams per day for men and 25 grams per day for women.

Use the % Daily Values as a guide for vitamins and minerals. 5% or less is low and 20% or more is high.”

Like you, I check food labels. However, I mostly check calorie counts or fat grams. These simple guidelines will help me better decipher  labels — and make healthier food choices.

The other lesson? Good content can stand on its own, no matter where it lives. Another resolution for me, then: Strive to write great content. Make sure it gives back and is worthy of the pixels or ink it requires, even if nobody reads it or it’s nestled among coupons.

Wheat berry salad

November 24, 2010

Kansas hard red winter wheatWheat farmers like us love seeing all the whole wheat products on grocery store shelves these days. It’s good to see food beyond the traditional breads and crackers, including whole wheat pasta, tortillas and pizza crust.

My farmer found a recipe that offers another way to enjoy wheat — this time with the whole berry. Wheat berry salad has become a family favorite and I thought your family might enjoy, too. It’s delicious hot or cold — and tastes great with leftover turkey sandwiches.

You’ll have to explore beyond the grocery store to find wheat berries. Here are two online sources: www.bakerscatalogue.com and www.bobsredmill.com. And, I happen to know a farmer who would be glad to share, too.

Enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving.

Wheat berry salad

Ingredients and directions:

  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 cups cooked wheat berries (recipe follows)
  • 1 large apple, unpeeled, diced
  • 1/2 cup toasted nuts, coarsely chopped or unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 3 tablespoons apple vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Combine orange juice and cranberries in a small bowl. Let stand for 15 minutes.

Combine cooked wheat berries, apple and nuts in a large bowl; stir gently. Drain the cranberries, reserving the juice. Stir the cranberries into the wheat berry mixture.

Whisk the reserved orange juice, vinegar and oil in a small bowl until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and stir gently to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Cooked Wheat Berry recipe

  • 2 cups hard red winter-wheat berries
  • 7 cups cold water
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Sort through wheat berries carefully, discarding any chaff. Rinse well under cool running water. Place in a large heavy saucepan. Add water and salt.

Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse. To serve hot, use immediately. Otherwise, make it ahead for a cold salad. (Both are delicious.)

Farmily

February 23, 2010

I felt quite clever last week. I mistyped the word “farm” and “family” in a story and wrote “farmily.” Thought it was such a cool word, that I tweeted my discovery. Ann Wylie, a leading communications and writing consultant, retweeted me. She has more than 900 followers, so I was now both famous and clever.

A Google search deflated my ego. Urban dictionary listed the word, so somebody, somewhere got there first. No matter. I still love the word.

Farmily is the reason my D. choses to spend every June in the combine with Grandpa, instead of at the baseball field. It’s the reason E.’s recipe box is right at home in the same kitchen in which her grandma and great-grandma cooked, baked, boiled and fried. It’s the reason V. introduced me to his family at a noontime meal, when everyone was in for a break. (I knew I had to marry him when his mom offered me seconds on her out-of-this-world chocolate cake, with home-made fudge frosting and pudding filling.)

A great word. A great way to raise our family.

A recipe for a grilled dark chocolate sandwich — nothing short of a dream come true. I’d eat dark chocolate day and night, if I could (and sometimes have when V. brings home Cero’s chocolates). And, as a kid growing up in Wisconsin, grilled cheese sandwiches were more common than peanut butter and jelly. The thought of combining the two makes me downright giddy.

The recipe is from www.eatingwell.com and arrived in a RealAge birthday message. RealAge.com helps people determine their real age, as opposed to their biological age, based on lifestyle, health history, etc. I took the RealAge test a few years back. Considering I’m another year older today, I’m passing on a retake. Instead, I’ll share this birthday treat with you.

Ingredients

1/4 cup(s) fat-free evaporated milk

3 ounce(s) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 1/2 tablespoon(s) butter, softened

8 slice(s) thin whole-wheat or white sandwich bread

3 tablespoon(s) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoon(s) chopped toasted hazelnuts, (optional)

——————————————————————————–

Directions

1. Heat evaporated milk just until boiling. Add chocolate, let stand for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. Let cool slightly.

2. Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Divide the chocolate mixture on the unbuttered side of 4 slices, leaving a little border. Press chocolate chips and nuts, if using, into the chocolate. Cover with the remaining slices of bread, buttered-side up, and press lightly.

3. Cook the sandwiches in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn over, press with a spatula, and cook until nicely browned and the chocolate is barely melted, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Serve warm.

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