Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Homemade toothpaste.

Yes, I made my own toothpaste. What? I was not happy that I was going to the dentist and told I had two cavities every time. Do I floss? Yes. Drink pop? No, never. I do everything right and still... arg! So I decided: I cook all this food, and I know biological stuff (you know, from that degree) so I could do it better. Guess what? No cavities last week at the dentist. I think this may be luck b/c I have only been using this toothpaste for about a month. But I looked at, researched and followed Dr. Nara's plan and really think its helping. I will, of course, update later! Warning: the linked website is a bit funky so navigate with care.

Basically the point is that you have to kill the acid-producing bacteria in your mouth so that cavities wont form. We all know bacteria produce acid which erodes enamel away and forms cavities. Sugar is their food source, as well as refined carbs. So, get rid of the bacteria, and we should be good.

Also re-mineralization is possible on a microscopic scale so we need to topically apply these minerals to allow for bonds to form. One thing I have been iffy on is that glycerin appears to coat your teeth and prevent this remineralization. Even Tom's has glycerin in it. Yet another reason to make your own.

2 T baking soda
1 T salt
1 T xylitol
1/2 T aluminum free baking soda (this has calcium carbonate in it)
2 t fennel powder (for flavor, not neccesary)
1 t prickly ash bark

Mix this then wet your brush and dip it into the powder and brush for two mins (after flossing!). I follow this with a 50/50 hydrogen peroxide/water rinse then use ACT mouthwash (for the fluoride).

I added the bay leaf for looks and flavor, you dont need to.

You can alter the recipe too, I added a little more xylitol for sweetness so play around with it! Enjoy!


Taste and Create #1: Adventures in Shaw!

I think you should know how I was feeling about this taste and create... Excited? Yes. A little nervous? Yes. Like I am stuck in one of those dreams where I don't have any clothes on and everyone is staring and mumbling? YES!

This blog just got started, and Ill move to wordpress someday. It stared as "just for fun" but I dig the support and friendliness I get from passer-bys (mostly DB challenges) and being able to showcase my skills in the kitchen area. When life is all about trying to finish your masters, a little creativity is required so one does not go insane. Lets just say my friends and family don't have the address to my blog yet... I am THAT nervous about it.

Naked dream in real life blogland.

This brings me to my next point... Stephanie has seen me! Aahhhhh! I decided to participate in the Taste & Create challenge here to try to get out there and get okay with people actually looking at (and judging) it. Lets just say I am happy I did! I was paired up with Steph from Adventures in Shaw and I was super excited to try a recipe. Her blog is really nicely put together and was fun too look through for ideas! Go check it out. I was going to do the Artisan Boule bread (bread is yummy and useful) or the Chicken Piccata (lemon + capers... sign me up) or the Strawberry & Cardamom Pancakes (lets face it, Cardamom is my favorite sweet spice!) but I was drawn to the appley goodness of the eternally autumnal Walnut & Apple Dutch Boy. It is autumn after all. And the name is just fun.

Recipe: adapted from Adventures in Shaw.
3/4 c AP flour
1/4 c whole wheat flour
1 T brown sugar
2 T grade B maple syrup
pinch of salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1 c milk
2 t vanilla
1 whole egg
3 egg whites
1 c dried apple, chopped
handful chopped walnuts, toasted
1 T butter, melted

To bake:
1 T butter for the pan (x2)
10 to 12 inch oven proof skillet
Confectioners sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Mix everything.
3. Put 1 T of your butter in the pan and put in oven to melt.
4. Pour half of your batter into the pan.
5. Bake for 15-18 min.
6. Pull out, slide dutch boy off pan and consume! Don't forget to make the other one too...

Walnut choppage.

Dutch boy w/o walnuts for my friend.

Dutch boy w/ walnuts for me! Reminds me of the surface of mars...

Verdict: Yummy! This was nice and less time consuming alternative to pancakes! Make batter, pour, bake, eat. Niiice. I think I will try to make it with coconut flour next time for a carb-friendly version. That and I reallyreally like coconut flour... Thanks Steph!!!


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Peach and blackberry galette.

I love blackberries. I love peaches. They should get married. I used to be able to get good peaches form a roadside orchard, but they closed... now what am I supposed to do?! Well, I came across some good ones at a local market, as well as some local blackberries, and decided I needed pie. Well, my fave crust is a cornmeal pate brisee, b/c its so freaking easy and tasty (and durable, but tender)!

Pate Brisee (makes 2 crusts, so you can save 1 in the freezer!)
2 c AP flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1 t salt
1-2 T sugar
1 c cold unsalted butter, cut into smallish pieces
1/4 cup sour cream
1 T cold vinegar
Ice water

1. Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt and sugar. Add the butter and work in until sandy with fingers.
2. Add sour cream and vinegar and work in. Slowly sprinkle in the ice water until a nice dough forms.
3. Divide dough in half and put one in the freezer for later! Take the other one and let rest in fridge for 20-30 mins before rolling out to form a disc. This will firm it up a bit so its a little more sturdy. Roll out until about 1/8'' thick and proceed to...

Peach and Blackberry Galette
1 rolled out Pate Brisee crust
2 c blackberries
3 peaches
1/4 c sugar
2 T cornstarch
dash of vanilla
1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Toss together blackberries, peaches, sugar, vanilla and cornstarch. Arrange fruit mixture on top of the dough, leaving a ~2'' open space around the edge. Fold border over fruit mixture.
3. Brush pastry edges with egg. Bake until crust is golden, ~30-40 minutes.

I realize my border in more than 2'', but whatever, I made a
double so I used the whole pate brisee recipe.


Monday, November 03, 2008

BEST apple spice cake ever!!! Seriously.

Dinner at the parents house. This will consist of yummy food and a walk in the woods after dinner, they want to show me the pawpaw grove. We'll need plenty of sustenance for that 20 minute journey, lol. So, I'm bringing dessert. What am I bringing? I decide on something Autumnal, you know, since its Autumn. Well, apples are a fall food, so lets make an apple cake! Hey- I saw one the other day on the kitchn website.


Buy brandy.


OHMYDARWIN! Delicious!!!

Apple spice cake with brown sugar sauce, via the kitchn, with some edits by me.
1 c golden raisins
1 c brandy
1 c unsulphured dried apple slices, cut into eighths
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 c AP flour
1-1/2 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
1-1/2 t ground cinnamon
3/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 t fresh ground cloves
1-1/2 c packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 c melted butter
1/2 c applesauce
3/4 c chopped pecans, toasted
2 medium sized tart cooking apples, such as Northern Spy or Rome Beauty, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Additional butter for greasing the pan

In a small saucepan, soak the raisins and apples in the brandy for 20 minutes, then heat over med-low for about 10 mins. Do not drain!
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Butter a 9 x 13 inch pan.
Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together in a bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl (of stand or handheld mixer) blend both sugars.

Add the eggs and beat on medium speed until thickened and pale (2 minutes with a machine, 4 to 5 minutes by hand).
Add the cooled melted butter and applesauce mix to blend.
Fold in the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing just enough to moisten most but not all of the flour.
FOLD in the dried fruit and brandy mixture, chopped pecans, and diced fresh apple.
Don’t fret about the ratio of fruit to batter — there is a remarkable amount of fruit but it bakes into a wonderfully chewy cake.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and set in the center of the oven. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the center springs back when lightly touched, a tester inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Brown Sugar-Brandy Sauce
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream (36%)
2-1/2 tablespoons brandy
Combine the butter, sugars and cream in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan.
Stir this mixture over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat to medium and bring the sauce to a very gentle boil, stirring all the while.
Cook 5 more minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in the brandy or other liqueur.
Serve immediately, or cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days. To rewarm, either microwave the uncovered sauce on low power or transfer the cold caramel to a saucepan and stir over low heat until warm.

Cut the cake and drizzle with a little sauce... mmmmm!!!
We had about 1/4 of it left... between 5 people... since dinnertime. We're not big dessert people either! My little sis (shes 7) declared she likes it more than angel food cake and strawberries, which is her all time fave. (No worries people, I boiled off the -OH for the sis!) The sauce makes it over the top. I would think a scoop of vanilla ice cream would not be amiss. If you want coronary disease and yumminess all in one!

This picture really doesn't do it justice! It bakes up chewy and perfect, I promise!!!

Here is my tasty lunch from today. I thought I would share.
Sammie: Challah slices, avocado, lettuce, white anchovies marinated in mexican spices.
Yogurt: Im addicted to yogurt so whenever I find something new I pick it up. This was actually pretty good! Ill buy it again if I see it!

Happy Late Halloween from Anck Su Namun (me).

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Traditional sunday roast, English style.

So I hope to be getting a science research or health care job in England in the spring. PS if anyone can help me with this I will make you lots of goodies!!! Anyhow, this has got me thinking about the food (because heck... its me!) over there. Now a lot of people think that English food is bland boring food. Not so. I have been there twice and I would say its on par with American cuisine, but less fast-foody. They are getting there though, if they arent careful. England has a long history and many classic dishes, the most comical to me being stargazer pie. They have a mecca of different cuisines surrounding them (ie Europe) and plenty of immigrants to bring delicious recipes with them (curries?). BUT there are classics too, well relatively speaking. When I think of English food I think of: PG Tipps, scones, bangers and mash, fish and chips, curry, marmite, McVities anything, roasts, full English brekkie, pasties, bubble and squeak, banoffe... the list goes and goes. Well, I decided lets try some of it before I get there. I have had several of these things, but never a roast dinner. Now let me tell you, I am not the kind of person who eats a lot of meat, let alone big hunks of it. This is precisely the reason I decided to make this dinner. I am more a fresh, light, bright flavors sort of person. I added my own little twists as you will see...

Traditional Sunday Roast, English Style
Salad with spinach, peppers, cukes and tomato.
An olive plate with kalamata, picholine and castelvetrano (my FAVE) olives and brie, goat cheese and cheddar.

Roast beef.
Roast potatoes.
Braised brussel sprouts.
Yorkshire puddings.
Pan gravy.

Meyer lemon cake with eggless lemon curd and Italian butter cream... and PG Tipps tea. :)

The olive plate. I ate all the castelvetrano olives, oops (well, the one bigger green one on the right is the last one). Castelvetrano olives are mild and way less salty than regular olives. I looove them. Aged brie on left, honeyed goat cheese on right.

Roast beef. My family came over so we started to dish it and then I remembered I needed a pic. Lol. Method: used a 2.6 lb top sirloin, night before cut slits and add garlic cloves inside, then rub with seasoned salt. The next day, let rest one hour to come to room temp, then turn oven to 500F. Put in a 9x13 pan: mushroom, celery, carrot and onion scraps and a couple bay leaves, a couple thyme sprigs and a sprig of rosemary. Add 3-4 cups low sodium beef broth. Put on bottom rack of oven. Set roast on top of the pan ON THE RACK above so there will be nice heat circulation and the pan will catch the dripping juice (of which there isn't much). Cook at 500F for 15 mins the bump down to 325 for about 1-1.5 hours. Cook until the internal temp reads 135F, that will give you a med rare center. To make the gravy: strain the pan with the drippings into a bowl, discard scraps. Make a roux on the stove top by heating 3T butter and 3T flour over med heat until light golden. Slowly add the juices from the pan (about a cup at a time) and whiskwhiskwhisk! Drop heat to med-low and simmer for a few mins to thicken. Done deal.

Yorkshire puddings. 4 eggs, 1/2 c milk, 1/2 t salt, 2 c flour. Mix until looks like thick pancake batter. Heat oven to 425F. Put 1t oil (I used EVOO but you can use any oil, shortening or fat like bacon grease) in each of twelve muffin tins. Put into oven until HOT and almost smoking. Pull out oven rack and add some batter into each muffin cup. It should sizzle! Push rack back in and bake for about 25mins, until tall and golden, with some browning on the edges. Mine are hollow, you just cant see it.

Roasted potatoes. I used Nigella Lawson's recipe, with mods. Peel some potatoes. cut into large chunks. Biol for mins, drain. Put into pot and shake up to bash up the edges a little. Add 2T course cornmeal and shake again. Spread onto greased baking sheet and bake at 425F for 45-60mins. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. I also made Brussel sprouts but no picture of those.
Here is my meyer lemon cake! YUMMMM. I served it with some PG Tipps tea. Cake recipe from the accidental scientist, its a little dense, but maybe I did something wrong? I wonder how hers turned out? I think next time Ill just make it 4 eggs and no meringue, and add more leavening. Eggless meyer lemon curd (b/c I cant eat very much yolk or my intestines hate me): 1/4c water, 1/2c sugar, 3T cornstarch, 1/2 c meyer lemon juice. Microwave for 3 mins, until thick and... well, goopy. Then add 1T meyer lemon zest and another 1/4c meyer lemon juice. Let cool and whip until spreadable. I made IMBC (italian meringue buttercream) from Joe Pastry, which is kick ass! Go to the site and be amazed, for real. Don't forget the crumb coat on the cake people! It sort of sticks the crumbs into the cake so you have a nice, crumbless frosting job. Crumb coat-fridge-real coat of IMBC-smooth with a hot spatula. I made 2-8'' cakes and cut those into halves, so I would have 4 layers. I smeared lemon curd thickly onto the top and bottom layers and raspberry jam into the middle one. There will be some leveling off of the sides vertically, so you get easily frostable sides. I made some candied meyer lemons to decorate with!
You could use regular lemons, I just had a little zest and A LOT of juice leftover from my limoncello batch, 18 lemons and 1500mL of vodka!

Buttercream. I could eat SPOONS AND SPOONS of this stuff!!! Its really addicting, and totally hides how much butter is in it! Wolf in sheeps clothes? If you're going to make it get organic butter please! PS note errant crumb in cake photo... dammit!

What you cant see under the cake is... HAAAAARRY POTTER!!! Hehe. Here are the layers for you. The family said the cake was divine, sort of like a light pound cake. BUT pound cake... and lemon curd... and buttercream?!?! Noooo. I wanted a light, airy, delicate cake and this was a bit heavy. I even used cake flour people!

Well, that's the wrap up for my Sunday roast dinner! Hope you liked it and if you have any Qs or suggestions... please comment! GObama!