No-Knead Whole Wheat Bread – Easy Peasy

No-knead techniques have taken the baking world by storm, or really been rediscovered by storm, and are a wonderful addition to any bread baker’s arsenal.  Truly, there is nothing I love better than pulling several loaves of freshly baked bread from the oven, whether it’s on the boat or in our home.

For me, the connection of homemade bread to our roots, to our communities, to our families and to our personal nutrition is a tie that weaves beautifully through all of these multi-layered parts of our lives.  I know, I know, there are a number of us that can’t have gluten and even more who shun bread due to the carbohydrate thing, but truly, a kale smoothie just doesn’t make the same heart and soul connection for me.

This bread is wonderful with a bowl of soup on a chilly spring day or toasted for breakfast and slathered with some homemade jam.  It’s a staple on our Maine windjammer and one I make at home all the time too.

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No-Knead Whole Wheat Bread

1 tablespoon unsalted butter for greasing the pans
12 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
5 cups warm water (more or less)

Grease 3 loaf pans and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and mixing with one hand while turning the bowl with the other, add the water.  When the flour is fully incorporated into the dough, turn out onto a floured counter and cut into three equal pieces.  Press into rectangular shapes and roll the dough gently into a log.  Transfer to the prepared loaf pans, cover, and set aside for several hours until the loaves have doubled in size.   Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown on the outside and the loaves come out of the pans easily. Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack.

Makes 3 loaves

Annie
Happy baking to you and to me!

Citrus – As Colorful As Spring, Only Closer

The holidays are over and the color now seems to leach out of the landscape as the lights are down, the ribbons are recycled and the decorations stowed.  Outdoors is a poor place to be searching for color this time of year, so the inspiration and the delight needs to come from a different source.

Likewise, the gem-hued berries, the sunny-colored corn and the brightly adorned peppers are also a memory from last year’s garden.  Luckily, we have citrus to console us until the weather turns and once again we can delight in the rainbows that are produced in our gardens and our outdoor mural.

Moroccan Chicken

This week’s column – Broiled Grapefruit; Chocolate Orange Pound Cake; Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Kalamata Olives – is all about this healthy, versatile fruit.  Just as welcome in cakes as in a main course dish.

Annie
Getting my Vitamin C

Canning Pear Nectar

This fall, I was the surprised recipient of a beautiful bushel of pears from what we think is a Seckle Pear tree. That gift, however, did not come co-bundled with an abundance of time. I was determined that this gift would not sit too long while I put it off until the pears were passed perfectly ripe and had moved into “uh oh.”

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To hustle along, I decided to not can them as whole pears, but as nectar. Making nectar is a much easier process than canning whole fruit, as it does not require peeling. It begins with making a loose pear sauce much the same way one would apple sauce by bringing to a simmer pear quarters and water and cooking until the pears are either tender or falling apart. Pear varieties will differ in whether they stay together once they are fully cooked or fall apart – just like apples.

With the addition of lemon juice and sugar plus a hot pack canning process, pear nectar emerges. I’ll use it all winter long in smoothies instead of honey, as a juice for brunch, a foundation for mixed drinks, combined with ginger ale for a special drink for the girls and, well, I let you know what else I come up with!

Annie
Thank you, friend Glen. I’m glad we are both good at sharing.

Blood Orange Marmalade – It’s not too late!

Citrus season is almost over, but as I write, the last (or I’m hoping the last!) big winter storm is raging outside and any sort of canning seems like just the thing to keep the house toasty warm.  I know when summer rolls around I’ll be so happy to have these gem-like jars of coral-colored goodness for our guests to slather on biscuits or muffins in the morning or for an afternoon snack.

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This recipe for blood orange marmalade is a combination of Alton Brown’s and Margaret Yardley Potter’s and is as easy as pie.  The initial inspiration came when cozied up last night with At Home on the Range a cookbook presented by Elizabeth Gilbert and written by her great-grandmother Margaret Yardley Potter.

At Home on the Range

I’m in love with this no-nonsense woman who is far before her time when it comes to honoring ingredients and the flavor of the food she creates.  The recipes are more of a guide and written as my grandmother wrote her recipes rather than the exacting format more popular today.  It’s how I cook and it’s a book that I’m loving spending time with.  (Buy your local copy here at Hello, Hello Books!)

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And for the more exacting formula:

Blood Orange Marmalade
1 3/4 pound blood oranges; about 5 medium oranges
1 lemon, zested and juiced
6 cups water
3 pounds pounds plus 12 ounces sugar
10, 8-ounce canning jars with lids

Wash thoroughly and slice the oranges into very thin slivers with either a sharp knife or a mandoline removing the seeds along the way.  Quarter the slices and transfer to a large stock pot.   Add the lemon zest, juice and water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a strong simmer and cook for about 40 minutes or until the fruit is very soft.  Stop here and refrigerate the oranges and continue the next day OR continue on with the rest of the recipe right off.

Place a small plate into the freezer.

While the oranges are cooking, prepare a large water bath with either a canning basket or a cake rack on the bottom.  Add the jars and lids to the water and make sure they are covered with at least 1 inch of water.  Cover with a lid.  Bring the pot to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat, and let sit until you are ready to fill the jars.

When the oranges are soft, add the sugar and return to a full boil for 15 to 20 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 222 to 223 degrees.  To make sure, place 1 teaspoon of marmalade on the plate in the freezer and wait 30 seconds.  If the marmalade still runs when you tip the plate sideways, it’s not done.

Remove the jars and lids carefully from the water bath and set upright on a towel.  Place a funnel over the jars and ladle marmalade filling the jars with 1/2-inch clearance at the top.  Wipe any remaining marmalade off the edge, cover with lid to just hand tight and return to the water bath in either the canning basket or on top of the cake rack.  Boil for 10 minutes and remove from water onto a towel.

Now comes the fun part.  Wait for each lid to pop.  This is your reward for a job well done.  (Well, and eating the goodness you just created.)

Annie
Orange you glad I shared this recipe?

Rhubarb Champagne Jam

While there isn’t much time for anything in between trips, I do try to squeeze in a smidge to process jam that we make on the boat.  I’ll make a big batch there and then bring it home to process in a water bath.  While it’s an effort to do it, I’m always so grateful in the middle of the winter that I was able to eek out the time.

This batch came from a bunch of Champagne that was open but left behind by a family celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary.  It happened to coincide with the rhubarb coming into full swing.  The combination is a lovely one with the tang of the rhubarb softened slightly by the fruity Champagne.  In any case, I love the color of it and it’s pretty special on our biscuits.
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Rhubarb Champagne Jam 2

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Rhubarb Champagne Jam
4 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup champagne
1 box SureJell
1/2 teaspoon butter
6 1/2 cups sugar

Have all canning equipment and jars ready, sterilized and waiting in hot water.

In a medium stock pot bring the rhubarb and champagne to a boil.  Add SureJell and bring to a boil again.  Add the butter and the sugar and bring to a full rolling boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and transfer to the hot canning jars.  Screw the lids on hand tight and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.  Remove the jars carefully from the hot water and set on a towel spread out over the counter top.  Let cool.  Make sure the lids all ‘pop’ before storing for the winter.

Makes 7 or 8, 8-ounce jars

Annie
We be jammin’

Biscuit and Jam – The Biscuit Contract

I woke up this morning to my car cloaked in a glow of pink.  The sun had not yet broken the horizon and my snow-covered car received it’s kiss as it rose to greet the day.

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Fitting that today should also be Biscuit Contract Day on our office calendar.  This contract was agreed upon and signed 7 months ago to the day.  The contract follows:

July 20, 2013 – Annie returned to shore after a 4-day cruise and proceeded to heat the entire downstairs with steam as she made batches of jam in 84 degree/humid weather.  THEN she wanted to open the windows to “cool down.”   Ha.  E made Annie promise that 7 months from now, February 20th, that we would have jam & biscuits to make up for it.  Annie agreed.  Annie hereby agrees to make biscuits with Strawberry or Rhubarb Champagne Jam as she has promised.  Signed by both parties.

And here they are, E.  As promised and as delicious.

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Baking Powder Biscuits 
This is a recipe my grandma passed on to me through my mom.  Thank you, Grandma, for being so good at making both biscuits and pie dough.  I think of you every time I make either.

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4  cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  This is an important step because you want to add air to the mixture so the biscuits are as fluffy as possible.  Cut the butter in with a pastry knife until the mixture is the texture of coarse meal. Stir in any additional dry ingredients here.  Add milk and any additional wet ingredients, stirring until a soft dough forms. Do not overmix.  This is very important; if you overmix you will probably get hard tack instead of fluffy biscuits.  Great for sailors of old, but not so delicious in present time.  Turn out onto a floured board and knead 5 to 10 times, then stop.  Roll or pat out the dough until it is 1/2-inch thick.  Cut with a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter.  Bake on ungreased cookie pan for 12 to 15 minutes.

Makes 12 biscuits

Annie
Keepin’ E happy.  It’s a good thing.

Sticky Buns – Riggin style

This recipe for sticky buns, featured in this today’s Maine Ingredient column, is one that I serve on our Maine windjammer, the J. & E. Riggin.  It used to be that I’d make scones, or some sort of sweet bread for the last day of the trip along side that first cup of coffee.  And then I started serving sticky buns and the variety of menu options closed to one.  Sticky buns.  Now, if I even think about switching things up, not only do I get the evil eye, but I get flat-out rebellion.  It’s a good thing to have around your food.

Riggin Sticky Buns

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Elderberries – Takes Me Back

Okay, these shrubs are huge.  When I think shrub, I imagine bushy, low to the ground, reachable… manageable even.  In contrast, the reality of my elderberry bushes are heading-to-the-sky enormous and this is only year three.  On the other hand, I have a huge amount of juicy, aubergine berries to go with my out-of-control shrubs.

With those berries, what will I make?  A perfectly balanced sweet and tart pie with a flaky, buttery crust?  Elderberry syrup for both our mile-high pancake stacks or our viral ailments during the winter months?  Gem-like elderberry jam or jelly for shockingly purple smoothies or homemade bread and butter?  Maybe all three given the amount of berries we have.

The tiny treasures that are elderberries pack a powerful punch in both flavor and health benefits.  My grandmother used to make pies and jams the recipes for which are both on the blog already.

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On Air and At Sea with Lemon Yogurt Three-Grain Pancakes

Cameras and questions at the ready, Jackie Ward and Mike (the super fun camera guy, okay, Jackie’s super fun too) from the local NBC station, WCSH6’s the Morning Report, spent a morning with us in the galley, in the garden and then on the bay.  We had Lemon Yogurt Three-Grain Pancakes with Berry Syrup for breakfast and Asian tacos and spring rolls for lunch. We were especially relieved when the day turned out to be a gorgeous one and the sunny shots were easy to come by.  Thank you universe (and Jackie and Mike).

Here’s part one of two segments airing on WCSH’s Morning Report.  The second we’ll post when it airs.  If you are local, be sure to tune in between 6 and 7am tomorrow morning! This recipe also ran with the Maine Ingredient column in last week’s Portland Press Herald.

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Multi-Grain Lemon Yogurt Pancakes with Fresh Berries

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup corn meal
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest; zest from one lemon
3 tablespoons lemon juice; juice from one lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for the skillet

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center and add all of the wet ingredients.  Mix well with a whisk starting in the center and working outward.  Mix only until just combined.  Let rest for 15 to 30 minutes.

Turn the oven on to warm.  Heat a large griddle or skillet over medium-high heat for several minutes.  Coat the griddle  with a small amount of butter and ladle the pancakes onto the griddle.  When the pancakes begin to bubble on one side, it’s time to flip them to the other side.  Cook until they are golden brown on both sides.  Transfer the first batch to the oven to keep warm and cook the second batch.  Serve immediately with fresh berries or a berry syrup.

Makes 12 pancakes

Fresh Berries with Lemon
2 cups mixed berries such as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries
(hulled and quartered)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a small bowl combine all ingredients and set aside while the pancakes are cooking.  Serve immediately on top of the pancakes.

Raspberry, Strawberry Syrup
1 cup raspberries
1 cup strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the berries and the sugar in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and boil for 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, add the vanilla and serve. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Makes 1 1/2 cups of syrup

Homemade Doughnuts Care of Grandma

Glen, a long time Riggin Relic and friend, is often the first to greet me in the morning and I am often the first to greet him, with his cup of steaming coffee in hand.  His cup is poured before anyone else’s, one because he’s a guest and two because he’s down in the galley having early morning conversation amid the chopping and slicing of vegetables and fruit in prep for all of the meals of the day.

Food memories come up often as we move in and out of intense work and then a sip of coffee.   During one of these moments, Glen shared a memory he had of making doughnuts with his Grandmother who was the long-time cook at Bowdoin College in one of their fraternity houses.

We’ve been talking for two years about making his Grandmother’s doughnuts together.  He’d long since shared the recipe with me, from memory, but I didn’t want to make my first batch without Glen.  It just didn’t seem right.

Last trip, after another winter had gone by with out making doughnuts together, I put my foot down.  We were making doughnuts and we were making them together on the boat.  And so we did.  And they were fantastic.  And I felt full in so many ways!

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Glen in my spot pressing out doughnuts.
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Cassie and Ian having their first bites!

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Cinnamon and sugar on top. Delish.

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Note the very important meat fork as a turning tool. Another piece of history carried forward.

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An opened can and a biscuit cutter serve as our doughnut cutter.

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Our crew – Cassie, Justin (apprentice), Kaitlin and Ian.
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Sugar and cinnamon, powdered sugar or plain anyone?

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What can I say, would someone help me with my hair for goodness sake?

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Team work with a friend. The best.

You rock, Glen.
Annie