Thursday, September 17, 2009

What's cheap for dinner? Roast beef dinner, next day hash!

How about roast beef dinner and next-day hash? No, not the nasty stuff in a can but real hash.

When I was a child, we would have roast beef with carrots and potatoes cooked around the meat. We would heat up our large, heavy, flat-bottomed aluminum roasting pan. Place some oil in the bottom and fry the meat on all sides. While that was frying, mom or I would peel and quarter potatoes, peel and cut into 3 pieces large carrots and set them aside. When the meat was done, it was removed from the pan and set aside. We then fried the potatoes in some oil in that pan. When they were nicely browned, but not necessarily cooked through, the meat was added back while the potatoes were scooted to the sides (so the meat was on the bottom of the pan), and the carrots were placed with the potatoes surrounding the meat. My dad didn't eat onions or garlic, so mom had to sneak onion and garlic powder onto the meat. She then poured about a cup or cup and a half of water over the meat, put the lid on and placed it in a 350 oven. We'd be gone to church for about 3 hours. When we arrived home, the meal was ready. All mom had to do was make the gravy from the pan drippings.

We were free to eat all the potatoes and carrots in the pan, but a portion of the meat was reserved for another meal a couple of days later. If we were still hungry, we were free to have bread, butter, and usually with gravy over it.

A day or two later, the left over meat was made into hash for another dinner.

Chunk/cube up some raw, peeled potatoes and start them frying in a little fat of your choice. Cover potatoes with a lid. While the potatoes are frying, chunk/cube up some left over roast beef. As the potatoes start to brown and cook, you can add the meat and warm it up. (If you don't keep stirring the potatoes every few minutes, they will brown better and have more flavor. Let them sit for 5-8 mins per "side" to brown them up.) After letting the meat heat up - 5 mins or so, sprinkle a handful or two of flour over the meat/potato mix and stir it in. Season with salt, onion powder (unless you use onions in it - we never did), garlic powder, Adobo - whatever floats your boat!) Add enough water to cover mixture. Stir it well and when it gets to a boil, lower heat to simmer, and put lid back on. Let simmer until potatoes are tender. Takes about 30 mins to make this. I never tried it with precooked potatoes, we always just used raw, probably because we'd have eaten all the potatoes and carrots that were cooked with the roast.

This hash is lovely with some buttered bread dipped in the gravy! mmmmmm...mmmmmm

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Homemade baking powder

I just realized that many cooks do not know when a recipe needs baking POWDER or when it needs baking SODA to leaven a product.

Baking SODA can only be used in a recipe where there is an acid ingredient to work with it. So if your recipe calls for lemon juice, buttermilk, vinegar or other "acid" food, baking SODA will work to leaven it. For the soda to bubble, it needs an acid. No bubbles, no raising of the product.

If your recipe does NOT have anything "acid" in it, you HAVE to use baking POWDER. (unless you're using whipped egg whites folded into the batter), but then you wouldn't need anything else for leavening. Baking POWDER has both baking soda AND Cream of Tartar in it. The soda is a base, the Tartar an acid. Get them together and they foam. (Think baking soda and vinegar volcanoes from school.)

Homemade baking powder:
2 Tbs Baking SODA
1 Tbs Cream of Tartar
1 Tbs Corn Starch
Mix together and use as if it were commercial - 1 tsp for each tsp called for in recipe.
This one can sit on a shelf for a while.

1/4 tsp Baking SODA
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
Mix together and use right away.
Makes enough to equal 1 tsp commercial baking powder. (If you need 2 tsps, just double the recipe.)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

90 minute bread recipes. Yes, start to finish, 90 minutes!

I have two of these recipes. One is the original, with conversion to an ABM included. The other is my tweaks to it - I use less sugar and salt than the original. Actually, I changed the sugar to honey and also used less than the original honey/sugar conversion would have been.

90 Minute Bread recipe

4 cups
warm water .....................................ABM 1 1/3 cups water
packages yeast ..................................... 1 1/2 tsp yeast
4 tsp
salt ............................................................3/4 tsp salt
8 Tbs
granulated sugar .......................................4 tsp sugar
4 Tbs
vegetable oil .............................................4 tsp oil
7 to 8 cups
flour..........................................................2 2/3 cups flour

1 Dissolve yeast in 1 cup of warm water. Mix in remaining ingredients until dough is soft, but not sticky. Use all whole wheat flour, all white, or mixture as desired. Whole-wheat pastry flour is the most silky and desirable for all baking purposes. When dough is soft and leaves sides of bowl, cut into 4 pieces. Let stand 15 minutes.
2 Pound each piece of dough for 1 minute (use your fists). Form into loaves and put into 4 greased loaf pans. Let stand 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
3 Bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Cool rack before removing loaves from pans. If using ABM above, it's already been adjusted to my corrections to the recipe and divided out for the machine.

Cooking Tips
These are the changes that I use with this recipe. To me there is too much salt and sugar in the original recipe. So I reduce salt and sugar to:
2 tsp salt
4 Tbs sugar
I use known good yeast. (I buy the 2lb bags from Sam's and store in freezer the minute I bring them home. I keep it in the mylar bag and just put the mylar bag into a ziplock bag and seal the whole thing.) Make SURE your yeast isn't near the expiration date. If you're not sure, then "proof" the yeast as above.
I mix the yeast into the flour and use water that I heat to 120 degrees in the microwave (I use my probe. Remember, my yeast has been in the freezer.)
I have used whole wheat, white and half and half with good results. Remember that if you use all whole wheat, it won't rise as high. If you let it get to where "double" is for white bread, it will collapse.
You don't need to knead it. Just pound each piece with the sides of your fist. (kneading will make it toughen. I don't know why it makes it tough just that I tried it and had tough bread.)

90 Minute Bread

8 cups
flour (white, whole wheat 1/2 and 1/2 or 5 cups white, 1 cup bran and 2 cups wheat germ)
2 tbs
Vital gluten (opt for whole wheat - makes bread foldable)
4 Tbs
Yeast. Stir in the yeast BEFORE adding the salt. Salt inhibits the yeast.
2 tsp
4 cups
very warm water
4 Tbs
4 Tbs

1 Mix together 4 cups flour, dry ingredients and the wet ingredients. Stir it well. Add enough of the other 4 cups of flour to make a soft dough. Make 2 or 3 balls out of it., cover and let rest 15 minutes.
2 Punch down and let rest 15 minutes more.
3 Beat each piece for 1 minute (with your fists). Do not knead, it makes it tough.
4 Shape into a loaf shape, place in a pan and let rise for 35 minutes or until doubled.
5 Bake @ 350 or 30 mins.
6 Makes 2 large or 3 med. loaves.

Cooking Tips
I had a temperature probe for my microwave and would set the temp to 120 degrees. This did not kill the yeast BECAUSE yeast, flour, and gluten came straight from the freezer. If not using STRAIGHT from freezer, only use 105-110 degree water!