13 August 2008

Summer Recipes

Seems all I’m doing these days is cooking. Which isn’t literally true, but it sure feels that way! Sunday I made veggie lasagna and two kinds of bread. Monday I made my sugar-free apple pie. (See “Apples” for the pie recipe.) Yesterday I made a version of my Southeast Asian shrimp/rice noodle salad. Today – in addition to clarifying almost a pound of butter – I finally dealt with the substantial donation of zucchini that my neighbors brought by on Sunday. (Grated it up, froze some of it, and turned the rest into a cake. Oh, and dedicated the two largest zukes to being stuffed. (See “Cooking Caveat” for the stuffed zucchini recipe.)

One of my readers recently told me that he’s tried several of my recipes – both here and in Following Raven, Finding Ground – and that they’re good. (They are!) Encouraged by his positive feedback, I’ve decided to share the recipes for my recent culinary endeavors. Enjoy!

Light Rye Bread (made in my bread maker on basic setting)
11 ounces water
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
3 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup rye flour
¼ cup flax meal
1 heaping Tablespoon dried dill
2 Tablespoons (or so) caraway seeds
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast

Challah (made by hand in my wooden bread bowl)
1 cup milk
3 Tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
½ stick of butter
2 eggs

4 cups (plus) of bread flour
¼ cup flax meal
2 teaspoons yeast
(poppy seeds)

Knead until satiny and springy.
Cover and allow to rise.

Punch down, knead briefly, and allow to rise a second time.

Punch down, knead briefly, and break into three equal pieces. Roll these out into ropes, braid them, and allow to rise a third time, this time in a warm oven. (You can brush the top at this point with egg wash, and/or sprinkle on seeds.)

Bake at 350 until done, about 45 to 50 minutes.

Veggie Lasagna
A few hours before assembling, I start the tomato sauce, as follows:
One onion, diced
Lots and lots of chopped garlic (a whole head if you dare!)
Sliced mushrooms (about 1 cup)
Cubed zucchini (2 smallish ones)
Chopped tomatoes (I used two good-sized Brandywines)

Once the veggies have softened, add a 15 ounce can of tomato sauce and about ½ cup of red wine.

Season with (fresh if you have it!)

Cook, covered, over low heat for a couple/three hours, stirring occasionally.

Shortly before assembling, add 1 pound of cleaned spinach and a small bunch of fresh basil to the sauce.

Assemble in layers:

Enough sauce on the bottom to keep noodles from sticking
Lasagna noodles (cooked)
More sauce
Globs of Ricotta cheese (I use one pint total)
Globs of Pesto
Repeat: noodles, sauce, ricotta, pesto
Top: noodles and lots of sliced mozzarella cheese

Bake at 350 until bubbly and deep gold in color.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

½ cup butter
¼ cup oil
1-1/2 cups sugar

Blend in:
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup cocoa
½ cup whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
sprinkling of cinnamon

Mix in:
2 cups grated zucchini

Bake in a spring form pan at 350 for about 50 minutes.

Remove the side of the pan, allow to cool, then top with a chocolate glaze. (I melt about 1/8 cup of coconut oil over low heat, then remove it from the stove and mix in equal amounts of liquid sweetener (agave nectar or maple syrup, usually – sometimes both) and cocoa – about ¼ to ½ cup each. Adjust sweetener and cocoa to taste, then pour over the cake.

Southeast Asian Shrimp/Rice Noodle Salad
Chop and lay out on a large platter:
One small head of lettuce (I use red butter)
A healthy handful of fresh cilantro
A smaller handful of fresh basil
Several sprigs of fresh mint

You can also add a grated carrot and/or sliced green onions.

Top the vegetables with approximately 4 ounces of cooked rice noodles (Maifun).

Cook shelled shrimp in a dry skillet. (I am generous with the shrimp, usually allotting 9 or 10 for each person. Wood’s Wild American White Shrimp is especially delicious, and wild caught.) Place the shrimp on top of the cooked noodles.

Drizzle dressing over the salad, and sprinkle with toasted peanuts.

Dressing: (adjust to taste)
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
6 Tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 teaspoons sugar
minced ginger
fresh chopped mint

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