MyKitchenInHalfCups

Once Upon a time: Cooking … Baking … Traveling … Laughing …

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Fresh Corn Cakes (aka Corny Pancakes)

Sometimes I can still surprise myself.  Surprise myself on several different levels when I least expect it.  For years, I’ve looked on in envy and wished I could get my hands on King Arthur’s little newsletter The Baking Sheet.  I’ve stopped subscribing and stopped buying most magazines because they just seem to get drooled over and then pile up all over everywhere until I’m forced to take them all to the library or HalfPriceBooks or the trash before a new pile comes in from the mail box.  But this is baking and this would be King Arthur … and then I placed an order and at the end an offer came up … a year’s subscription to YES, the Baking Sheet … for Free!  Could you have said no?  Well, maybe you’d have been principled and not clicked that box but me, no there were no principles between me and that click.  No, that doesn’t surprise me about myself, I know myself only too well.

What surprised me was … you got it, I’m baking from it … well in this case it’s griddleing.  (Right that is not a word but I’m using it and I just know you know what it means.)

I’m one that thinks if you buy a cook book and enjoy the reading of it and get even one keeper of a recipe out of it, it was worth the $$$.  So to find a little newsletter and get a keeper of a recipe seems so much more a concentrated value.  Does that make sense to you?

This recipe came from a book, Yankee Hill-Country Cooking published in 1963 and is a collection of Heirloom Recipes from Rural Kitchens.  The author, Beatrice Vaughan, titles these Green Corn Cakes and I’ve no idea why … although when I think about these and that title I conjure up some crazy idea in my head of stacking or layering the corn cakes with fried green tomatoes and finding a nirvana but that’s something else.

Reading the recipe you rather doubt these could turn out: 8 ears of corn, 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour, salt, Aleppo pepper and two eggs, separated.  How’s that going to hold together much less leave you wanting more.  Well, trust me, it will.  No sugar but these are deliciously sweet and so I added in a finely chopped jalapeño pepper from my garden.

Adding the jalapeño was brilliant, loved it but it also blossomed into the idea that these little cakes would adapt to innumerable flavors.  I just know you don’t need any of my suggestions as I’m sure about now you’ve generated 7 great combos. … cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla; ginger; ham … oh, tell me more …

There were only two of us in the house this morning so I cut this way back: used only 2 ears of corn and 1 tablespoon of flour with one egg.  Obviously I didn’t need the 6 quart Kitchen Aid to whip that one little egg white into stiff peaks, neither did I really want to do it by hand.  Bring on that stick blender whisk!

The two things I think are most important to the success of this are:

1. Score each row of corn down the center of each row.

2. Scrape, do not cut, all the corn from the cob into a bowl. A deep bowl that you can put the cob on the bottom works well to contain all the splattering of corn and it’s juice when scraped.

For more variations, play with the flour and if you want them gluten free: use a gluten-free flour blend or make them with corn meal – try blue corn meal … see what I mean there are just so many possibilities and additions to these.

A tablespoon of delicate delicious!  I promise.  You see the other thing that surprised me about all this was that both of us really enjoyed these and the talk is to have them again … soon … as in tomorrow!

Oatmeal Twists with rainbow


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Mystery of the Twisting Oatmeal

The best mysteries have twists and double crosses … bread can too.

Oatmeal Twists with rainbow

Oatmeal Twists with rainbow

In my world there are two kinds of bread bakers: there are those of us who sweat blood over the details, follow the recipe to the fourth even fifth decimal point, take the temperature of the dough, obsess over the exact ingredients. And then there are … well, the rest of us. We can’t read and when we do, we often decide to not read a detail with “I think I didn’t see that.” Technically speaking then their’s a continum between both those extremes. If I were to peg myself, I say I’m a “slider”. There have/are times when I actually follow the recipe. Then there are other times when I follow a recipe … except I play with ingredients. Other times I start the recipe and everything under the sun seems to conspire to go change things around.

Oatmeal Twists with rainbow

Oatmeal Twists with rainbow

First Mystery: Who’s Kitchen of the Month?

Kitchen of the Month is Elle from Feeding My Enthusiasms.

Now, this kitchen table is a very wild place where there are Babes without rules there’s bound to be wildness. There was some twisting, I’m not sure there may have been some hoola hoops involved but I’m sure there was and is and always will be wonderful bread where ever the Babes gather. Elle has us twisting a very happy twist!

Second Mystery: Where’d she find the recipe?

Farine (that’s the name of her blog too)

Farine called these Morning Cuddles. They do have lots of lovely oatmeal in them so I can see why you can enjoy them for breakfast! I enjoyed them for breakfast lunch and dinner. Thank you Farine!

I baked this one twice. First baking … was gone in two days, I shared only 6 with a neighbor – this recipe makes a lot. Second baking … thanks to a freezer, I’m sharing them with my sister and Dad visiting. The second time I baked these I used the refrigerator to retard the dough overnight and baked them in the morning and enjoyed them with a great salad for lunch.

One of my favorite things about these was the walnut dust used for topping. Don’t think that you have to use any one nut. I think just about any nut you enjoy will be wonderful with these, I’m thinking peanuts, then I’m thinking hazelnuts. Babes used savory to sweet on these. I really enjoyed the walnut and salty dust. Still I realize that the options are endless and I don’t just mean the nut ingredient and I really need to give these a big ingredient twist next time I’m baking.

One ingredient I won’t twist is the oatmeal and the coarse grinding. It gave the dough a wonderful nobby texture on my hands that I enjoyed; some might not enjoy such but I found it fun and different.

Oatmeal Twists

Recipe By: Pat: based on Farine’s Morning Cuddles
Yield: 8 to 18. Make smaller sizes for snacks or appetizers. Make them bigger for a sandwich bun.

Farine of the blog Farine made the cutest breads and called them Morning Cuddles. Elle twisted Farine’s recipe and added buttermilk and some butter. I think Farine’s original idea with these for breakfast comes from all the wonderful oatmeal in them and indeed they are a really nice breakfast roll.

Starter/Poolish

700 g sourdough starter
OR Poolish, just not both
350 g all-purpose flour
350 g water
2 teaspoons yeast
Dough
320 g all-purpose flour
230 g whole wheat flour, used organic
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
115 g rolled oats, coarsely ground in a food processor
15 g salt
1 1/4 cup water – I used potato water, 300 grams
1/4 cup buttermilk, 64 grams
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled – 56 grams
100 g pecans – I used walnuts, chopped – 1 cup

1. If mixing and using Poolish – without sourdough starter – Sit 3 hours on counter, stir down, cover and put in fridge overnight.

First Rise

First Rise

Rising

Rising

Rising Finished - pop the top

Rising Finished – pop the top

2. After overnight in the fridge: Mix the flours together with the yeast, oats and salt. Stir the water, buttermilk and butter into the starter. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the starter mixture until a soft dough forms. Let sit 10 minutes. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead in additional flour if needed until dough is tacky but not sticky.

3. Knead in the walnuts.  Here’s my caution on the nuts:  If you leave them too big, they tear the dough when you roll it into the snakes to twist.  Just pinch it back together and/or chop your nuts a little finer. Shape into a ball and put dough ball into oiled rising bowl or container, turning dough to coat with the oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. This might take 2 hours or 6. (Also fine to cover and let sit overnight in the fridge, then let rise until doubled on the counter the next day.) I did it both ways.

4. When dough has doubled, turn out onto lightly floured board. Shape into a log and cut into two pieces. Return one piece of the dough to the rising bowl and cover.

5. Shape the second piece of dough on the board into a log and cut into 8 pieces, each about 100 g. Cut each piece in half and shape each piece into a snake and twist two pieces together a a time or two, then place twist on a parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet.

Twisted and rising

Twisted and rising

6. Repeat with remaining 7 (100 g) pieces. You will have eight twists. Take the remaining large (about 800 g) piece of dough and repeat the shaping into a log, cutting into 8 pieces, cutting those in half and shaping into twists. You will finish with 16 twists set out on parchment or silicon mat covered baking sheets. Cover twists and let rise until doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F when twists are almost doubled.

7. Uncover, glaze with buttermilk with clean pastry brush. If desired sprinkle with finely chopped pecans, or preferred seeds or with sea salt.  I tried one without glazing with the buttermilk – seemed infinitely better with the buttermilk glaze.

8. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. If browning too rapidly, turn down the oven temperature. Turn the pans back to front and bake another 10 – 15 minutes or until breads are 180 degrees inside. Cool on a rack then serve.

9. Variations: When you knead in the pecans you can knead in dried fruit like dried cranberries or diced prunes, apricots or dates to make a breakfast twist. If you prefer savory you can knead in herbs and/or Parmesan cheese and/or seeds. This bread loves to have you make your own combinations, so other nuts can also be used in place of the pecans or with them. I made my second batch without any nuts, seeds, fruit or herbs and they were yummy, too.

BBB logo June 2012

BBB logo June 2012

So I’d call myself a “slider”. What kind of a baker are you? Bake this bread with us and become a Bread Baking Buddy and tell us. Bake the bread, take some photos, blog (or not), send your link and photos to Kitchen of the Month – Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms – and if you can do that by the 29th, Elle will have you in the round up!

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