Kefired Cream

Kefired Cream

Leave it to me to take a perfectly healthy food product and tweak it into something sinful. I’ve gone and done it again. Everyone is talking these days of the wisdom of home fermenting. This ancient home preservation method is great for the gut, the immune system, the brain even! It adds probiotics, and vitamins to your body, and more importantly–flavor! I love to ferment vegetables of course, and more recently milk. Not just milk, but cream. Mmmmmmmmm. The tang almost knocks you sideways, but then the sweet cream calms you down. Then the zest makes it fresh and the almond just sort of tells its own little story. This is the kind of flavor that almost feels like magic–as though your tongue is understanding a new reality–no matter how many ‘cream teas’ you might have attended. Now there are those who say that organic non-homogenized milk and cream produced from happy pastured cows is much healthier than the stuff that’s been messed with by larger dairy producers. One can only hope. I’m willing to go with that just by the taste and how it makes me feel. So, I go through all kinds of trouble to get the best milk I can, and I turn it into kefir. Here is more about that. As the kefir sours to perfection, the solidified sour cream is skimmed off and saved. There are only a few tablespoons of the stuff, which can be gathered and churned into some delicious pastured cultured butter, or into a form of sweet Devonshire Cream I call ‘kefired cream’ (out of respect for Devonians who might feel very particular about gets to be called...

Strawberry Barley Scones

Strawberry Barley Scones From Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce. My technique in arranging the dough is a little different from hers. Ingredients: 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons barley flour 1 cup all-purpose flour ¼ cup dark brown sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoons baking soda 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt Wet Mix: 4 oz cold unsalted butter ½ cup buttermilk 1 egg Finish: ½ cup Strawberry Jam or Citrus Marmalade 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted 1 tablespoon coarse sugar Directions:  Preheat oven to 350°F. ♨ Place a rack in the center of the oven. Rub a baking sheet lightly with butter. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter. ♨Cut the butter into ½-inch pieces and add them to the dry mixture. Use your hands to rub the butter between your fingers, breaking it into smaller bits. Continue rubbing until the butter is in sizes ranging from rice grains to flattened peas. The more quickly you do this, the more the butter will stay solid, which is important for the success of the recipe. ♨In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg until thoroughly combined. Scrape the buttermilk and egg into the dry mixture, and mix until barely combined. ♨Use a pastry scraper or a spatula to transfer the dough onto a well-floured surface. The dough may be too sticky to handle; if it is, dust it with flour and fold it together a few times. Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Flour your hands and...
Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day!

I’m here to tell you, the mixture of chocolate and rose petals is like a love drug. So what better way to start this beautiful sunny snow-snuggled morning than with a nice cup of hot chocolate topped with a lusciously melting chocolate rose petal marshmallow? It’s guaranteed. Even the oldest and grumpiest of us will feel young and in love.   Chocolate Rose Petal Marshmallows 1/2 cup cocoa for dusting 1/2 cup powdered sugar (also for dusting) butter for greasing pan 1/4 cup dried rose petals (food quality only–no pesticides) 1 cup (240 ml) ice-cold water 3 tablespoons powdered gelatin 2 cups (400 g granulated sugar ½ cup (120 ml) Lyle’s golden syrup ¼ teaspoon fine salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract   Directions:    ♨ Oil the bottom of a 9×13” pan, wiping it down with paper towels to remove any excess. Place the cocoa in a hand-held strainer and dust the bottom and sides of the pan liberally. Place the rose petals in another strainer and sprinkle (by rubbing the petals against the screen of the strainer) liberally over the bottom of the pan, over the cocoa. ♨ Pour half the water into a large bowl and sprinkle the gelatine over the water. Leave to stand for about 10 minutes. ♨ Warm the granulated sugar, golden syrup, remaining water and salt in a large saucepan set over low heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium-high and let boil for 10-12 minutes, or until a candy thermometer reaches 240°F (the soft ball stage). Remove from the heat and pour...
Honey-Poppy Seed Tea Cake

Honey-Poppy Seed Tea Cake

What better way to use the honey from your bees? This lightly sweetened cake suits a person like me who prefers things delicately sweetened. But for those who like things more conventionally sweet, you can make the sugar glaze at the end. Honey-Poppy Seed Tea Cake Makes 2 small loaves.   Ingredients: 1 cup poppy seeds stirred into ½ cup hot milk 1 cup semolina flour 1 cup All-Purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 pinch salt 3 egg, separated ½ cup unsalted butter 1 cup honey 1 teaspoon almond extract or orange flower water 1 cup buttermilk   Glaze: Blend thoroughly the following: ½ cup powdered sugar 1 tablespoon melted butter a splash of milk or cream 2-3 drops of almond extract (or orange flower water)     Directions:  Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 2 medium loaf pans by buttering them and lining them with lightly buttered parchment paper. ♨ Set aside the poppy-seed milk mixture. Sift the dry ingredients in a bowl. Whip the egg whites in another bowl until soft peaks form. ♨ In a mixer, beat the butter with the honey until well combined. Add the yolks and extract, then the milks and poppy seeds. Combine with the dry ingredients, then fold in the egg whites. ♨ Pour the batter into the loaf pans, and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool. If using the glaze, poke holes in the cake with a wooden skewer and drizzle the warm glaze over all....
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake for Two

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake for Two

How often have you wanted to make some cake, just for the two of you? And it’s gotta be fresh, and warm… You’d like to give it a finishing touch, but you don’t want to spend the time actually making frosting. Ever get that kind of craving? But then, you don’t want the leftovers hanging around because you know you’ll eat more of it than you should. And some cold cakes, like cold muffins, are just plain depressing. Here’s the solution… a sweet little pineapple upside-down just for you, and just for the moment! I love to make my desserts in single servings most of the time. It helps in those cooking class – dinner parties, because they cook up faster. But I tend to make single serving sized desserts anyway, because it’s my personal belief that people love to put that first spoon or fork into a perfectly pristine little confection. Up until now, I wasn’t able to manage this with upside-down cakes. They need a cast iron skillet to create the perfect browning of butter and sugar. Yep, for some things,  only cast iron will do. So imagine my delight when I found tiny cast-iron ramekins  with lids the other day in Princeton. They were cheap, so I bought them all (and am still keeping my eye out for more!) I’ll be using them this month in my Full-Moon-Feast class. But here’s a preview for you. Fresh Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Serves 2 Ingredients: 2/3 cups cake flour (or mixture of AP and cake flour)  ½ teaspoons baking powder 1/8 teaspoon baking soda pinch salt 2 slices fresh pineapple,...
Shortbread

Shortbread

This is a great recipe because it can be whipped up in a moment. For a rustic look, I make it in a skillet. For a more elegant touch I press it into a mold. I can add almost any particular spice to accompany any flavor of ice cream. And of all my cookie recipes, I spring for the best quality butter on this one, as the simplicity of this recipe showcases its quality. Ingredients: 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup pastry or cake flour ½ cup confectioners sugar ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon baking powder 1 cup butter cut into ½” pieces 1 teaspoon vanilla, or ½ teaspoon spice* 2 tablespoons sugar (if not using a mold) Directions: Preheat oven to 350°F. In a food processor add all the dry ingredients. Process for a few seconds until ingredients are well distributed. Add butter and vanilla (if using), and pulse until mixture resembles meal. Press into a parchment-lined skillet, sheet pan or cookie mold to a thickness of ¼”. Sprinkle with coarse sugar (if desired). Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cut into 2” lengths while still warm. (If using a mold, allow to cool for 5 minutes, then turn upside-down and tap out to...