Monday, July 12, 2010

Community Chickens

I'm so curious to know if anyone out there has ever been involved with community chickens?  You know, like a community garden?  We have space, but no money to invest...and a huge desire to be raising our own chickens to eat and our own organic eggs to use.  I would love to hear from you if you've ever tried it or know someone who has.  I have no idea how it should be organized....any suggestions?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Snow Pea Stir Fry Recipe

Snow Pea Stir Fry (side dish)
Add chicken and rice for complete meal
We have TONS of snow peas right now, so we eat them raw with Ranch Dressing, and sauted with garlic and basil, and in our salads, but our favorite way is this snow pea stir fry. Yummy!

Ingredients:1 lb snow peas
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil
½ tsp. sesame oil (optional)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp sherry
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp corn starch
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger root (Tip:  Grate what you need and freeze the rest, it will keep for a long time in the freezer and is much easier to grate when frozen.  And a microplane grater/zester is a MUST HAVE!  Use for grating fresh nutmeg and zesting lemons and limes)

Combine the cornstarch and water, mix well. Combine brown sugar, sherry, and soy sauce, set aside.

Add Oil to frying pan or wok, large enough to contain all the peas and allow room for stirring on Medium High heat.
When oil is sizzling hot and just starting to smoke, add the peas and toss in hot oil for 1-2 minutes depending on your desire of doneness.

Add ginger and garlic to hot pan and stir until softened and aromatic. Add the brown sugar mixture and water and cornstarch. Stir quickly to combine. When the sauce has thickened and begins to coat the peas, remove and serve hot. © Kelly Rose, 2010

I like to marinate chicken thighs in Kraft Asian Toasted Sesame Salad Dressing and Marinade for 1 hour. I then lay them in a Pam sprayed glass baking dish and sprinkle with Steak seasoning. Bake in a 400 oven for about 45-55 minutes. Prepare the peas after you remove the chicken from the oven and serve together with a salad or rice for a complete dinner. Your family will really thank you for this one!

Here's to the Snow Pea!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

First Loaf Recipe - Bread Recipe

Here's the recipe for the first loaf of successful bread with photos.  The day after I made these loaves, I tried a buttermilk whole wheat recipe that also turned out terrifically...soft, not crumbly, good taste...a keeper recipe!  I'll share that recipe later.  I hope the photos help!

5 to 6 cups bread or all-purpose flour, approximately
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
2 cups hot water (120 - 130 degrees F)(you really should use a thermometer)
3 Tbsp. shortening, room temperature
This recipe is for 2 loaves of bread baked in medium bread pan (8 x 4 inches).  The directions are for using a Kitchen Aid to mix and knead.

In your mixer bowl combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and dry milk. 
Pour the hot water into these dry ingredients and beat with the paddle attachment to blend thoroughly.

Add the shortening and continue beating until well combined.

Add 1 cup flour and beat for 3 minutes at medium speed.

It helps to actually set your timer for these blending times. Smile.
The photo above is after the 3 minutes.  See the "stringy" effect?  The gluten strands are beginning to form.

Add the flour, 1/4 cup at a time until the dough forms a soft, elastic ball around the dough hook attachment. I have included all the progressive photos of this bread making step so you can see the dough as the flour is added.

After it gets to the stage where the dough has cleaned the sides of the bowl thoroughly and is not sticky to the touch, you can begin kneading.  Set your timer for 10 minutes.  I have to stand next to my mixer because my mixer starts to dance across the counter.

The photo directly above shows the kneaded dough.  You should be able to stretch the dough for quite a ways and it will become almost paper thin before breaking.  If your dough was soft enough, this is what it should look like. Bernard Clayton says that to test your dough to see if you've kneaded enough, put the dough on a flat surface, slap your hand onto the dough and count to 10.  You should be able to remove your hand without any dough sticking to it.
Now place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until the dough has doubled in bulk.

Now punch down the dough to remove large air bubbles.  Remove dough to a cutting surface and cut into 2 equal balls.  Let these rest for 3 minutes.

Form the loaves by flattening the balls into ovals slightly longer than the pans.

Fold the sides under and pinch together.  You'll see on my bread what happens if you don't pinch thoroughly enough. Tuck the ends of the dough under and pinch.

Place the shaped loaves into greased pans and cover with waxed paper for the 2nd rise.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F about 20 minutes before baking.  The second rise will take about 45 minutes to an hour.

Here's what it should look like!

Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, then lower the oven heat to 350 and continue baking for an additional 25-30 minutes.  Halfway through the baking, turn the pans 180 degrees inside the oven so they bake uniformly.

Cool on a wire rack. Aren't they beautiful!

And there's my hole from not pinching carefully enough.
This is excellent bread...not too big on taste, but is soft and hold together really well.
I'm excited to share the whole wheat recipe with you as it tastes much better and comes out looking just as beautiful.  Till then!  Thanks for stopping by!  Kelly
Thank you Mr. Clayton!