Sunday, November 25, 2012

Flour Mill Fun & Blueberry Muffins

I am a member of my local Toastmaster's group, and during a break at a recent meeting, a fellow member and I got to chatting about her flour mill.  She had made a delicious cake for our final meeting before the summer, and had milled the flour herself.  I was intrigued!  Needless to say we planned a day of flour making and baking together.  We made 4 different kinds of flour (quinoa, corn, buckwheat, and of course whole wheat).  It was so a really neat experience and now I know I'll be purchasing my own flour mill in the future!  

Here is a shot of the wheat being milled. 

And is the resulting flour!  You can sift the flour to remove the bran, but we decided to keep it all together for more fibre.

I have a ton of plans for the other flours, and am really excited to experiment with them!  Below is the recipe that Cheri and I made with some of the whole wheat flour. 

Cheri's Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffin Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup fruit (we used frozen blueberries)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. 

Using a mixer, combine the first 4 ingredients and mix until smooth.  Stir in the buttermilk and mix until just combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Be sure not to over mix at this step. 

Add your favourite fruit (we used blueberries this time, though strawberries and rhubarb is another delicious variation!) 

Spoon into a greased muffin tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. 


Sunday, November 18, 2012

French Onion Grilled Cheese

If you're craving a delicious bowl of homemade french onion soup, you're going to want to make this recipe.  If you're looking for a fun, creative spin on the classic dish, you've come to the right place! 
- 8 slices of french bread
- 1 medium sweet onion, sliced into thin rings
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil or butter, 
- 3/4 cup mozzarella
- 1/4 cup greyer
- 2 tbsp beef broth
- 1/8 tsp worcester sauce 
- 1 tsp cooking sherry (optional)
- salt & pepper to taste
Slice french bread and butter or oil the bottom side of each piece. 
Saute onions in remaining butter or oil until lightly translucent.  Add beef broth, worcester sauce, cooking sherry, and salt and pepper.  Cook down until little moisture remains. 
Assemble the sandwich in this order: light sprinkle of cheese, onions, cheese (this helps keep the bread in the middle from getting soggy). 
Pre-heat a large frying pan over medium heat.  Cook the sandwiches 2-3 minutes per side, until lightly golden brown. 
Serve with au jus or french onion soup for dipping! 


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hazelnut Butter

A fan of all things hazelnut, it was only a matter of time before I tried making the above at home.  I first tried hazelnut butter from Safeway, then later from my local health food store, and finally at home. I was surprised at just how easy it was to make homemade - I can't wait to try different nut butters in the future, and more importantly, homemade Nutella! 

- Hazelnuts, any quantity (sometimes called filberts in the baking isle)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Roast hazelnuts for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned & skins have loosened. 

Once roasted, immediately transfer  hazelnuts to a clean dish cloth or paper towel and rub them with another dish cloth or paper towel to loosen the skins.  It's important to complete this step while the hazelnuts are still warm - once cooled the skins are much harder to remove.  

Some of the skins will stubbornly stay on, but as long as you get most of them you should be good to go.

Once skinned, place hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse until blended, scraping down the sides as needed. 

At first the hazelnuts will appear coarse, like coarse bread crumbs. 

Then they will grind down and resemble graham crumbs.  At this point you're going to have to resist the urge to add oil to the hazelnuts. Up until this point, the nuts seem dry and you may start to wonder how it could possibly turn into nut butter.

After a little patience, the magic starts to happen, and the natural oils from the nuts come into play. 

Soon the mixture will start to stick together and start to look more like nut butter! 

The more you blend it... 

The smoother the nut butter will be.

 Now off to try a homemade Nutella recipe!  ;)


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Macaroni & Cheese

This recipe appeared in the November 1st edition of The Hinton Voice

[One of the great things about Hinton is the ever-changing seasons.  Though the calendar still tells us it’s fall, the fresh blanket of snow that covered our town last week suggests otherwise.   Needless to say, the chill in the air has got me craving comfort foods – and nothing says comfort food better than a steaming, creamy bowl of homemade macaroni and cheese.  A classic favorite for kids and adults alike (does anyone know anybody who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese?) this simple dish is always a crowd pleaser.

The key is to start with a good old-fashioned cream sauce.  Butter is melted in a saucepan, and then flour is stirred into it to make a paste (which is called a roux).  After the flour has cooked a few minutes, milk is whisked in.  The starch from the cooked flour expands in the milk, creating a creamy, thick sauce.  The starch binds the sauce together, ensuring that when the cheese is stirred in, the sauce remains smooth rather than stringy.

Another important step is to add a nice sharp cheddar.  I find that aged white cheddar gives the smoothest, cheesiest sauce.  Past experiences have taught me that yellow or processed cheddars  (or an accidental splash of water into the sauce) can give the sauce a grainy texture.

If you’re craving something fancier than the basics, throw in your favorite vegetable (we like broccoli) or if you’re craving something extra decadent, crab or lobster makes a wonderful addition.

So there you have it - a great classic dish that can be casual or fancy. Besides, there’s nothing more comforting on a chilly day than a hearty helping of good old macaroni and cheese.]

-        ½ lb (8 oz) dry macaroni (or your favorite pasta)
-        3 tbsp butter
-        4 tbsp all-purpose flour
-        2 ½ cups milk
-        1/2 tsp salt
-        1/8 tsp nutmeg
-        1/8 tsp black pepper
-        dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
-        1.5 cups (6 oz) grated sharp white cheddar (6 ounces)
-        ¾ cup (3 oz) grated gruyere or parmesan cheese

-        ½ cup panko bread crumbs
-        1 ½ tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook pasta as per package directions for al dente (firm) pasta.  Strain and rinse pasta with cold water to stop the cooking process and to remove any extra starch. While extra starch might sound like a good idea to thicken the sauce, in this case it can change the texture of the sauce. Strain noodles well and place them in a casserole dish.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan set to medium heat.  Add flour to form a roux and cook for about a minute or so.  Stir in spices. Whisk in milk and stir until well blended.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes until sauce has thickened.

Stir in cheese, and then pour cheese sauce over noodles.  Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle on top.

Cook in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and the breadcrumbs have lightly browned.

Recipes makes 6 servings.


- Nutritional Info (1/6 recipe) -

Calories - 467   Fat - 20   Carbs – 41     Protein - 21   Fiber – 2

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