Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Pantry Challenge January


There's a thing called Pantry Challenge January, where you try to spend as little as possible at the market and work with what's on hand.  AKA, this entire blog for the past 10 years.  The purpose of it is to discover creative new ways to use commonly stocked items and learn what you don't really use so you don't buy it again.  It's a time for evaluating expiration dates, doing inventory, and maybe defrosting the freezer.  I do all of that second part in March to get ready for Passover, so my January is just working with what I have.

I'm still miffed that there weren't any turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving.  I've been wanting turkey divan for over a month.  So I baked up two chicken thighs from the freezer and opened a small can of chicken for the white meat to make the chicken version.  It used up a can of cream of broccoli (instead of mushroom), some breadcrumbs, frozen broccoli, and half a bag of shredded cheese.

Next up was a much healthier (and vastly lower in salt) curry that will be in the next post.  Also made entirely of dry pantry, fridge, and freezer ingredients.

It is clearly going to take longer than just January to make a significant dent in my storage.  I might not use up all the frozen vegetables and meats.  I did finally get all the canning jars out of the pantry, but it meant moving them into an unused closet not near the kitchen.  I'm trying to purge excess stuff again this year, so it's possible I'll make enough space in a cabinet closer to the kitchen at some point.  I refuse to store them on the top shelves of the kitchen cabinets, which are intentionally kept empty.

Between the pandemic and current events, I think I can get away with only shopping for dairy and bananas for the near future.  The less time spent in public, the better.  And I don't have to worry about runs on products, like last March.  Prepping isn't all bad, but I refuse to do years when four months feels like too much.  It's all about a personal comfort level.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Pasta with Miso-Roasted Vegetables


I finally got everything out of the box in the hall and into the pantry.  Then my neighbor gave me half a box of angel hair pasta because he doesn't like spaghetti sauce.  You don't put red sauce on angel hair!  It's Pantry Project January, which is when preppers see what creative meals they can make with their stashes.  I only bought tofu and mushrooms for this.  Oh, and rice vinegar, but only because I was out and would have bought it anyway.

I've been wanting to do some kind of vegetable with miso paste dish for some time.  Throwing it all onto the angel hair sounded like a good idea.  It's more of a vinaigrette dressing than "pasta sauce", and not an overwhelming flavor.  The idea is to enhance the natural flavors of the vegetables.  I guess you could have this cold as a pasta salad.  But not on a rainy day in January.

I'm giving this a non-American label even though the squash is natively American.  So is acorn squash, which is often used in tempura.  Pasta was invented in Asia, and the flavor profile is Asian.

*1 medium butternut squash
*2 C small Brussels sprouts
*1 bunch green onions
1 C baby Bella mushrooms
about 1/2 C oil (I used grapeseed)
*1Tb white miso paste
2 Tb rice vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp minced garlic (1 small clove)
*1 tsp honey
*1/2 tsp sesame seeds
*8 oz angel hair or other pasta
1 package firm tofu

1.  preheat oven to 375º and line a rimmed sheet pan with foil.  Cut squash in half the long way and scoop out the seeds.  Smear cut side with some oil and bake for about 15 minutes, to loosen the skin.  Allow to cool until you can handle it and peel off skin.

2.  While the squash is cooking, prep the sauce.  Whisk together 1/4 C oil, the miso, vinegar, soy, garlic, honey, and sesame.  Taste and adjust with more of whatever you happen to like.

3.  You might also have time to cut the rest of the veggies while the squash is in the oven.  Slice the mushrooms into 1/4" thick pieces.  Cut the onions into 1" lengths.  If the Brussels sprouts are too big, cut them in half.  Put everything in a medium bowl.  Once the butternut is peeled, cut it into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl.

4.  Add half of the miso dressing to the veggies and toss to coat.  Spread vegetables on the foil-lined baking sheet and roast another 15-20 minutes, until everything is cooked.

5.  Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.  Chop the tofu into bite-sized pieces.  Drain pasta and return to the pot.  Toss with remaining dressing.  Add roasted vegetables and tofu, and toss to distribute.  Serve immediately.

Difficulty rating  :)

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Molasses Crinkle Cookies

 I saw a video for these one day on Preppy Kitchen.  The next, I was making the rye-style bread and noticed the recipe on the molasses jar label.  They're similar.  John's is better written and uses a different baking temperature, but they're almost the same.  I decided to go closer to the jar's recipe, but with some of Preppy Kitchen's adjustments.

The one-egg quantity of these is still almost three dozen cookies.  That's fine in December, not so much in January.  There's a workaround for that.  Bake one dozen as written.  For the rest of the dough, make your cookie balls and place on a piece of wax paper on a baking sheet.  Freeze them, then place the frozen dough balls in a ziplock with the baking instructions.  Pull out however many you'd like to make while the oven is preheating, roll in the granulated sugar, and bake about 2 minutes longer than you would if they were only refrigerated.

I there's a lot of shortening in the Grandma's Molasses recipe (which for some reason isn't on their actual website).  Preppy Kitchen's used the same amount of unsalted butter.  I kind of split the difference here.  Butter softens cookies and shortening crisps them.  It's the same concept as using two different fats in a pie crust, to balance taste and texture.  You can alter the proportions to achieve the desired cookie texture.

1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 C shortening
3/4 C light brown sugar, packed
1 egg, room temperature
*1/3 C molasses
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/4 C flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
granulated sugar for rolling 

1.  Cream together butter, shortening, and brown sugar.  Beat in molasses, egg, and vanilla until fluffy.

2.  Separately, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.  Stir flour mixture into wet mixture until combined.  Do not overmix.  Chill until firm enough to handle, about 1 hour.

3.  Preheat oven to 350º.  Put a few tablespoons of granulated sugar in a small bowl for rolling the cookies, and line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat.

4.  Roll dough into 1-1/2" balls, a rounded Tablespoon.  Dip into sugar to coat the top half only.  Set 2" apart on cookie sheet.  My dough softened up while I was panning the first tray, so I put it back in the freezer while they were baking and did a second batch later.  Spritz the dough balls with a few drops of water.  I happen to have a "baking" spray bottle of water for this sort of thing, but shaking drops off your fingers is fine.

5.  Bake 10-12 minutes, until starting to brown around the edges.  By the time a dark cookie like this looks "done", it's overdone.  Allow to cool on the sheet until firm enough to move to a wire rack.  Cool and serve.  Leftovers can be frozen.

Makes about 32-36

Difficulty rating  :)

Monday, January 4, 2021

Eye of Round Roast

A few months ago, I found a two-pound roast for a good price at the market.  I bought it and stuck it in the freezer for Christmas.  Yes, Round can be tough.  It's what the butcher usually cubes up into stew meat.  As long as Christmas dinner was going to be just me, I figured it would be ok if it came out overly chewy.

Then I had oral surgery a week before Christmas and almost scrapped the idea.  Spaghetti bolognese is much easier to chew.  But after several days of Ensure and Chef Boyardee, I was ready to tackle anything that did not come out of a can.

The trick to roasting any tough cut of meat is to blast it, then lower the temperature to just around what it would get if simmered.  Like searing a pot roast before adding the broth.  It's going to take longer than it would to roast a more tender cut, but the results will be edible.

I'm following the method of A Family Feast.  I say method because their recipe allows for different sizes of roasts.  Theirs was four pounds, but the recipe works just as well for my smaller cut because it relies on temperature instead of time.  I just cut the amount of rub in half.

2 lb eye of round roast
2 Tb olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
*1/2 Tb minced garlic
*1/2 tsp dried thyme or 2 tsp fresh, chopped
1/2 Tb Dijon mustard

1.  The night before or at least 6 hours in advance, prepare roast.  If your roast has the fat cap, slash it into 1" squares so the meat can self-baste.  In a mortar and pestle, smash together salt, pepper, and garlic.  Or, in my case, bowl and pestle because my mortar is chai flavored at the moment and I didn't want to start over.  Once a paste is achieved, crush in thyme, 1 Tb oil, and mustard.  I only had French's mustard, and used 1 tsp of that and 1/2 tsp of yellow mustard seeds.

2.  Smear paste over top of roast.  Place in a plastic bag and return to the fridge to do its osmosis thing for a minimum of 6 hours and up to 24.  Let sit on the counter for half an hour to come up to room temperature a little.  This will help with even cooking.

3.  Preheat oven to 500º.  Remove roast from bag and place on a rack in a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet.  Line pan with foil for easier cleanup.  Smear with other tablespoon of oil and roast for 20 minutes, just until outside is crackly and browning.

4.  Remove roast from oven and turn it down to 225º.  Return roast to oven and stick a temperature probe in it if you have one.  I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've used mine.  If you don't have a probe thermometer, check the roast every 15 minutes until it gets to 100º, then every 8 or so.  Roast at the new lower temperature until the probe reaches 120º for medium-rare.  My roast took about 40 minutes to reach that temperature, but it will differ based on thickness, size, and your oven.  Also, when I rechecked the temperature with my regular food thermometer, it was 128º, so calibration could be an issue.

5.  Allow roast to rest 30 minutes before carving, and cut against the grain.  I recommend thin slices.  There was a steak knife on the table, but I didn't use it.  If desired, this is a good time to make gravy.


Pan drippings
1 Tb butter
1 Tb flour
2 Tb red wine, like Merlot
1 C beef broth
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Pour any pan drippings from the roast into a small saucepan over medium heat.  Melt butter with them.

2.  Pour in wine to deglaze and let it cook off.  Add flour and cook into a paste.

3.  Gradually add broth, allowing sauce to thicken between additions.  Bring to a low boil, to make sure all the flour is cooked.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.  This will depend on personal tastes and what brand of broth you used.  I didn't add any.

4.  Spoon over beef slices and serve.

Serves 4-6, or more if it's a larger roast

Difficulty rating  :)

Friday, January 1, 2021

New Year Changes

 Like everyone else, I want to put most of 2020 behind me.  Half of my year's to-dos and goals went unmet.  I did better than expected on seeing movies because I counted any streamed films that I would have spent money on in a theater, had that been an option.  Still, most of the items on the list are about getting out and having experiences, which I couldn't really do after March 19th.

First thing on next year's list is getting vaccinated as soon as I'm eligible.  That might not be until April, but I plan to keep trying.  Only slightly lower on the list will be having the garage sale I didn't feel comfortable having when strangers became disease vectors.

I'm going through closets and cabinets again, seeing what I can add to the garage sale pile.  I'm organizing and putting things in better locations.  And I've decided to go down to one set of everyday dishes.

I don't keep kosher, but I have two sets of everyday dishes and two sets of china.  Granted, the blue and gold china is from Target and mainly used for Chanukah.  There's also a small Lenox tea set of my mom's that's going to go into the garage sale pile so I can build a set of the Royal Albert that I've wanted since the 80s. Ebay is going to love me for a couple of years.

I'm giving up the familiar fruit plates and switching to the plain white ones because there are two more in the set.  Seriously, that's the primary reason.  I only run the dishwasher when I run out of space in it, and generally go through all of the 8-setting gingham fruit plates before that.  Plus, one of the dinner plates is slightly broken, so I really only have seven of those when the rim piece is being glued back on for the umpteenth time.  Keeping an extra set of broken and chipped plates is a step below hoarding, even if they're in constant use.  I don't want to end up like my mom, with over ten sets of dishes.  Not kidding.

Food presentation for the blog will also look better on the white dishes.  I tend to plate for photos on one of the china sets if it will look better, but I usually just use whatever I'm planning to eat it off of.  The glassware in the earliest days of the blog was terrible for photos, but it's what I had.  White is generally what food stylists use.

We'll see if I change my mind.  It's a few months to the garage sale.  Maybe Melody Smurf wants me to save them for her, when she someday goes back to college.  The dishes will find a home eventually.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Grasshopper Pie

 I had to go to two BevMos to find Crème de Menthe.  This time of year, everyone is featuring Peppermint Schnapps.  It's an acceptable alternative in most recipes, but I wanted the less-sharp flavor.  I'm skipping the Crème de Cacao because I can't think of enough uses for it.  Used micro chocolate chips whipped into the filling instead.

Going slightly off the grid as far as the recipe.  It's kind of a mash-up of several versions, and comes across as a minty version of the peanut butter cream pie.  I admit, it's a little on the stabilized whipped cream frosting side.  You can double the cream cheese to stiffen it up a bit if you wish, but add 1/4 C powdered sugar to offset the tang.

If you want to do an alcohol-free version, sub in 1/2 tsp peppermint extract for the Crème de Menthe and add a drop of green food coloring.

4 oz (half a brick) cream cheese, softened
1 C marshmallow creme (1 jar minus several fluffernutters.  No judging)
1/4 C Crème de Menthe or 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
green gel food coloring as needed
1 pint heavy whipping cream
*1/3 C mini chocolate chips or 4 mint Oreos, crushed
*1 Oreo crust, mint if you're making it yourself

1.  In mixer with the paddle, whip together cream cheese and marshmallow fluff.  Beat in Crème de Menthe or extract.  Judge color and add green food coloring as needed.

2.  Separately, whip cream to firm peaks.  Reserve as much as you'd like for garnish, then fold the rest into the cream cheese mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips or Oreo crumbs.

3.  Pour filling into crust.  Chill until firm, about 4 hours.  If it is going to be left out for any period of time, freeze for an hour first.  Garnish with reserved whipped cream and any additional chocolate chips or Oreos you might like.

Makes 1 pie, about 8 servings

Difficulty rating  π (if you buy the crust)

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Lentil and Spinach Soup

 I had a coupon for a free bag of frozen spinach and googled "Lentil and Spinach Soup", so I would have a pot of something to work through while recovering from oral surgery, which thankfully was less invasive than I feared.  This was the result.  I was glad to find a non-tomato soup recipe using brown lentils.  I like harira, but that's already a post.

A whole sub-section of the search pulled up Lebanese recipes.  I'm refraining from using the original Lebanese name for this soup because the recipe I'm following from Mediterrasian changed it a lot, but I'm still calling it Non-American in origin.

For those looking for something warm on a cold winter day, or those trying to eat healthier in the new year, or those just in the mood for a tasty soup, I offer up this recipe as a complete meal in a bowl.

And I'm apologizing in advance for the blurry photos.  This time of year, there is no way to get a good photo in my kitchen, any time of day.  Blurry in the evening, weird glares and shadows during the day.  If I monetized, I would invest in backgrounds and lighting.  For a hobby/personal recipe box, not so much.

*1 medium onion, small dice
2 Tb olive oil
*2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp cumin
*1 Tb fresh mint, finely chopped
1 potato, small dice
1 qt unsalted chicken or vegetable stock
2 C frozen chopped spinach or 4 C fresh
3/4 C dry brown lentils or 1 14oz can
salt and pepper to taste
*juice of 1 lemon
plain Greek yogurt for garnish

1.  If working from dry, sort and rinse lentils.  Set simmering in 3 C water while you make the rest of the soup.

2.  Heat oil in a soup pot over medium and sauté onion until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, cumin, mint, and potato.  Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add stock and spinach.  Bring to a low boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cover.  Cook until potato is softened, about 15 minutes.

3.  Drain the lentils, which should be mostly cooked by now, and add to the pot.  In batches, purée about half of the soup in the blender or food processor.  This will give the soup some creamy body, but still leave plenty of texture and bits.  Return purée to the pot and return to the heat.

4.  Add lemon juice, then taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.  This will depend entirely on the stock you used.  I actually didn't add any, despite potatoes and lentils usually needing a lot.  Oh wait, I did add the last of the sauerkraut from the corned beef sandwiches.  All that extra tang probably took the place of salt.

5.  Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of yogurt.  Serve hot.

Serves 4-6

Difficulty rating  :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Tomato Risotto


I'm utilizing the pantry prepper supplies I bought in case of shortages, and discovering interesting recipes along the way.  I did spend more than I expected in September, but more recent trips to the store are less frequent and small enough that I pay cash off my tips (which are usually under $5 a day).  I really miss going to the store twice a week, especially the bananas, but it's safer.

The spark for this came from a prepper video.  There's a packaged form of tomato and olive risotto.  However, I have a bag of arborio rice and cans of tomatoes and broth, plus dried basil from the plant.  Yes, it takes longer this way, but I had all the ingredients on hand.  The salmon was a new purchase, but adding fish or meat to the dish was optional in every recipe I researched.  This is complete as a vegetarian meal.

*3 C unsalted chicken or vegetable stock
*1 C Arborio rice
1 Tb olive oil
*1/2 C diced onion
*1 clove garlic, minced
*1/4 C white wine or 2 Tb marsala, optional
*1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
*2 Tb dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
*2 oz cream cheese

1.  Start heating stock in a saucepan to a simmer.

2.  In a large saucepan, heat oil on medium.  Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add rice and garlic.  Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

3.  Add wine, if using, and wait for it to absorb/boil off.  If not using, skip to the first ladle of stock.  Add about a half cup at a time, stirring it in and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more.

4.  After the second ladle, add 1 Tb of the basil and the can of tomatoes, including the juice.  Stir and wait for the liquid to absorb, which will take much longer than a ladle of broth.

5.  Once the rice has thickened again, go back to adding broth until the rice is tender and doesn't accept more liquid easily.  This whole process will take around half an hour.  Add the remaining basil and cream cheese.  Stir until the cheese melts.  Serve hot, with fish or chicken if desired.

Difficulty rating  π

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Bûche de Noël (Yule Log)


Everyone at work likes my roll cakes, so I decided to tackle a Yule Log.  It's just a chocolate Swiss Roll decorated to look like a branch.

Most recipes want you to make the decorations out of marzipan, or adorable meringue mushrooms and sugared cranberries.  I don't like marzipan and was going to use fondant.  Then half my face suddenly swelled up from some old surgical implants and I found myself scheduled for an oral surgery to get them out.  Surprised I even made the cake part, but I was trying to put on a couple of pounds before the operation.

I found recipes using chocolate-hazelnut for the filling, like a cream Nutella.  Then I found two bottles of Amaretto in the liquor cabinet and decided on almond-chocolate instead.  You can use plain vanilla if you want, or even just whipped cream like a Ho-Ho.  The amount of internal flavoring is up to you.

I did cheat on the top ganache by using leftovers from work.  Again, four days before surgery and working 8-10 hours a day with a raging tissue infection.  For once, I was glad to be wearing a mask.  The recipe I'm following from Sally's Baking Addiction has a safe ganache recipe that I feel comfortable endorsing untried.

If you check her post, I would skip the comments about cracking.  Those cakes were probably overbaked or not rolled in the towel soon enough.  My cake came out soft, flavorful, and did not crack at all.  I was even able to peel off the wax paper easily.  I used a pan slightly smaller than called for in the recipe, but it wouldn't have changed the thickness of the cake by more than one or two millimeters.  Just don't overbake the cake.

I'm breaking down the process into its three main components: cake, filling, and ganache.  Any can be used for other purposes.  And you can make this cake without cutting the branch or decorating, as a regular chocolate roll.


4 egg, room temp, separated
1/3 C granulated sugar
1/3 C light brown sugar
*1 Tb strong coffee or 1 tsp coffee liqueur (Kahlua)
1/4 C unsalted butter, melted and cooled, or 3 Tb oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C flour
*3 Tb cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1.  Prepare a 12"x17" pan by spraying or greasing bottom.  Line with parchment or wax paper, then grease the paper.  Preheat oven to 350º.

2.  Whip the whites until foamy.  Add granulated sugar gradually and whip to firm peaks.  Set aside.

3.  In a separate bowl, beat yolks, brown sugar, and vanilla until fluffy and a light caramel color.

4.  Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.  To the yolk mixture, add butter, coffee, and flour mixture.  Stir until just combined.

5.  Stir in about 1/3 of the egg whites to the stiff batter.  Don't worry about deflating them at this point.  They will make the batter smoother.  Fold in remaining egg whites to create a light batter.

6.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Gently smooth to all the edges and corners.  It won't look like there's enough, but it will cover the surface.  You can shake the pan to even it out, but don't smack on the counter.  You're still trying to maintain the whipped egg whites.

7.  Bake about 10 minutes, until top is firm and springy, but not brown at the edges.  I started checking at 8 minutes.  While cake is baking, spread out a thin towel and sprinkle with another tablespoon of cocoa powder.

8.  Allow cake to sit in pan just a minute, while you loosen the edges of the paper lining.  Flip out onto the towel.  Don't worry about breaking the cake; commit to the flip.  Once centered on the towel, gently peel off the paper lining.  This is when you might tear the cake.  If you greased the paper well and do it as soon as you can touch the cake, it will peel off easily.

9.  Fold the edge of the towel over one of the short sides.  Roll up cake inside the towel.  Place on a rack to cool slowly, so it retains both moisture and shape.  This takes about 2-3 hours.


*2 oz cream cheese
2 oz unsalted butter
2-1/2 C powdered sugar
*1 Tb amaretto
1 tsp cocoa powder
milk as needed

1.  Beat together cream cheese and butter.  Gradually beat in powdered sugar.  Add amaretto and cocoa powder and beat until evenly distributed.  At this point, the frosting will be dry-ish and not fluffy.

2.  Add milk a tablespoon at a time and continue whipping to desired consistency.  Finished filling should be easily spreadable, but thick enough to control.
3.  Unroll cake.  You can leave it on the towel.  Spread filling all over top, all the way to the edges.  Re-roll, without the towel in the middle.  That's where the filling is now.  Place seam-side down on a plate, or wrap it in plastic to finish another time.  At this point, the cake can be frozen for up to a month.

Ganache and finishing

1/2 C cream
4 oz dark chocolate or semi-sweet chips
1 Tb corn syrup, optional for gloss

1.  Chop chocolate if necessary and place in a microwaveable bowl.

2.  Bring cream to a low boil.  Pour over the chocolate.  Let rest one minute, then stir to melt.  If it absolutely refuses to become smooth, microwave at half power in 30 second increments.  If a glossy sheen is desired, stir in corn syrup.  Allow mixture to cool slightly, so it is a spreadable consistency and only slightly runny.
3.  Cut end of cake on a diagonal and reposition piece on the side or top to be the branch on the serving platter.
4.  Spread the ganache over the cake.  Smooth with a spatula.  Create ridges to look like bark, or run a fork down the length of the cake for deeper bark markings.  Decorate with candied fruits, fresh rosemary, meringue mushrooms, or any other pieces you would like.  Refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving.

Makes 1 cake, about 8-12 servings  (or 6 if you take it to my work)

Difficulty rating  :)

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Rye-Style Wheat Bread


I wanted rye bread for corned beef sandwiches.  Orowheat was $5.49 a loaf.  The other option at Pavilions was $3.99 for a smaller loaf from a local kosher bakery.  Sprouts didn't have any, and only slightly better prices for rye flour.

When I read the ingredients on the two loaves, the kosher one didn't even include rye flour.  This makes perverse sense.  People associate rye with caraway seeds.  At work, I'm constantly explaining to customers that none of our products contain rye, but some contain caraway, or "rye seeds" as they call them.  Fine, 5lbs of whole wheat flour was $4.99, and only because flour has gotten expensive in the pandemic.  Soured up with some of the powdered buttermilk and sweetened with molasses, the loaf would taste close enough to actual rye to work with my corned beef because of the caraway.

I discovered that you can buy canned corned beef from the prepper videos I've been sucked into.  It's one of the new items I'm trying.  You can also get roast beef in a can.  I wouldn't serve either as a main meal, but they could be good for camping or a power outage, which is why they are on the prepper sites.  I browned up my tin's meat and made Reuben sandwiches with the homemade bread.  Pickles I canned over the summer as a side meant that I didn't have to go on any new grocery trips for this meal.  It was all items I had stocked up on in September.

1 C whole wheat flour
~2 C all purpose flour
*1 Tb caraway seeds
1 C buttermilk
1 Tb oil of choice
*2 Tb molasses
*1 generous teaspoon dry yeast
1/2 tsp kosher salt
*2 Tb cornmeal

1.  Warm buttermilk, oil, and molasses to 100ºF.  Stir in yeast and allow to sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

2.  In stand mixer with the paddle, stir caraway seeds into whole wheat flour.  Add milk mixture and beat into a stringy batter on medium, 2 minutes.  It's going to be dark from the molasses.  Don't worry, it will get lighter.

3.  Add 1 C white flour and the salt.  Stir to combine, then beat 2 minutes into a soft dough.

4.  Pour out dough onto a generously floured surface.  Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding more flour if too sticky.  The dough can be a little more solid than I normally recommend, since it's going to be a free-standing loaf.  Place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat all sides.  Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

5.  Punch down dough, transfer to a work surface, and let rest 10 minutes.  Scatter cornmeal on a baking sheet.  Roll dough out into a 12" wide rectangle.  Roll into a log and lightly tuck under ends.  Place in the middle of the sheet and let rise again in a warm place 45 minutes.

6.  Preheat oven to 350º.  When oven is ready, brush loaf with either melted butter or water.  I used a spray bottle of water so it wouldn't collapse.  Place in oven immediately and bake for 25-30 minutes, until loaf sounds hollow when thumped. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 1 loaf, about 12 servings

Difficulty rating  :-0