Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Shortly after arriving in Alaska. a friend gave me a bit of Sourdough Starter that had been kept active since the late 1800's and I baked bread with it all the time including on camping trips.  Unfortunately, my starter didn't survive the move to Florida. 
Last week, in a moment of serious nostalgia, I mixed up a 'Starter' recipe I found in a 1959 Farm Journal cookbook:
In a stone crock, glass or pottery bowl, mix together  1/2 pkg Dry Yeast (1 1/4 tsp),  2 cups sifted Flour, 2 Tbsp Sugar, and 2 1/2 cups Water.  Beat well.  Cover with cheesecloth and let stand 2 days in a warm place.
After just a couple of hours, the volume began to increase.
Above is my well-worn, personal page of Starter Handling instructions that I kept with my bread making things in Alaska.
It is the Sourdough Starter that gives the rich flavor to the bread.  This new starter of mine doesn't have quite the heft that the old Alaska starter did but I'm hoping that it will develop more over time.  Once there is starter in the kitchen, there is no end to the possibilities.  Recipes are all over the internet.  Today, I'm making Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Homemade Crackers - Quick n' Easy

Well, it's day 69 and I'm behind on the blog again.  I haven't been able to do much because my back is not happy with me standing so I thought I'd share a very old Southern Cracker Recipe that takes no time at all to prepare.
I made my crackers small, about 2" x 2" and they shrank a little more as they dried.  But they are delicious with either sweet or savory toppings.  You should have all ingredients on hand so give it at try.  I think you'll be glad you did.  Here you go:
Sift together:  1 cup All-Purpose Flour, 1 tsp. Baking Powder and 1/4 tsp. Salt.
Cut in 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) Butter to the texture of coarse meal.
Add 1/4 cup Milk, all at once and stir until dough forms a ball.
Turn out on lightly floured surface and knead gently, 8 to 10 times.  Roll to 1/4" thickness and cut with standard biscuit cutter. (I used my pizza cutter to make square crackers because my biscuit cutter is very large.) Place on greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and split the hot crackers in half with a sharp knife.  Return to oven, cut sides up, and bake another 4 to 6 minutes.
I turned my oven off, opened the door and let the sheet of crackers remain in the cooling oven to dry out thoroughly.  The taste and texture is much like that of Sailor Boy Pilot Bread, Alaska's favorite cracker and if I had made them large and round they would even look similar. They are great.  I'm getting ready to eat a bunch with cream Cheese and Pepper Jelly.  Sorry I didn't think of that in time to get a photo.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Over-the-Top Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad, can be more than a mush spread for sandwiches and it doesn't take a chef to move it to dinner fare. 
Avocado stuffed with Chicken, Walnut, Apple Salad
The key is to use nice cubes of chicken and mix them with things that go crunch and with a bit of something sweet and something unexpected.  Usually I stuff a tomato but this time I piled it high on an avocado half and sprinkled grape tomatoes over the top.
Cubes of Granny Smith Apples add moisture and just a touch of sweetness.  Here's my list of ingredients but they aren't 'must haves'.  Just toss in things you like and be generous.

1 cooked, cubed and salted Chicken Breast
2 coarsely chopped Hard Boiled Eggs
2 slices of Sweet Onion, minced
Toss with 2 Tbsp. Mayonaise
1 Granny Smith Apple, which has been diced and drenched with the...
Juice of 1/2 lime. (save enough apple for thin-slices garnish)
1 cup Walnut Halves, broken
Mix all and toss together

Greens (any kind will do)
1 Avocado, quartered & drizzled with lime juice
Grape Tomatoes, halved
Snow Pea Pods (just because I had them)

On a bed of greens and snow peas, place 2 avocado quarters.  Pile on Chicken Salad.  Sprinkle with tomato halves.  Squeeze remaining lime juice over all.  Garnish with thin apple slices.  Serve with toasted French or garlic bread.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl Football Poppers

All football heroes are not found on the field.  Some are in the kitchen with a little imagination.   A few 'strings' of shredded Mozzarella, placed as laces as soon as your poppers come out of the oven, turn your 'poppers' into little footballs.  How cute.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cheese Straws #2

...the perfect accompaniment to tomato soup!