Monday, January 30, 2012

Give Us This Day...

         "Happiness is secured through virtue; it is a good attained by man's own will."                                                          
                                           St. Thomas Aquinas

Saturday, January 28th, was the feast day of Saint Thomas Aquinas. This was an exciting day in the Keatley household as St. Thomas is one of Mary's patron saints (Saint Joan of Arc being the other). I wanted to do something special to celebrate, but it being the end of the month, we didn't have a lot in the house to cook up. I did, however,have some basic baking items that I knew might work for some special breads. The base for my creations was Grandpa Aziz's bread dough which worked terrific for all four items~ bacon filled baguettes (or snakes as David called them), rolls, pizza patate & berry jam-filled kolaches. I also made some homemade Italian Family due bacche (two berry) jam and some hummus. I realize it sounds like an odd combination, which it was, but sometimes one must work with what one has (especially when one must still satisfy the appetites not only of her normally hungry family but do it dairy-free)! 

For the bacon filled baguettes, I simply rolled out the dough into rectangles about 8" x 3" then placed the cooked bacon on top. I then rolled up the dough and placed it on a cookie sheet. They were baked for 16 minutes at 400 degrees. One of us who can still enjoy cheese added sliced brie to hers after they were baked~ delicious! Of course, with the bacon inside, they were great even without anything added.

The hummus was based on a recipe from Saint Sharbel's Maronite Church in Portland. I changed it a bit & it was so good to snack on as well as mixed with a little cold veggies (carrots and onions).

  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained, liquid reserved
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (it called for lemon juice, but I didn't have any)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon zaatar- a middle eastern spice mix (from Penzey's or make your own)
Mix everything except reserved liquid from beans & zaatar in food processor. Add liquid a bit at a time until smooth paste. Scoop into bowl; sprinkle with zaatar. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week (if it lasts that long). Easy recipe to double.

The pizza patate was from a recipe I had in my box for quite a while & just hadn't tried yet. It was from the final Gourmet magazine before it went out of publication. According to the intro, this is very popular in Italy. After having it for dinner, along with roasted carrots & green beans, we could see why. The kids did say it would be even better with meat, such as proscuitto or sausage, but again, I could only use what I had. Give it a try~ it's molto buono! I was going to print it all out for you, but you can find the recipe  here & you can find some great bread baking tips too!

The last couple of things I made that day were the jam and the kolaches. I had tried the jam before & it turned out okay but not great. This batch is so much better~ I am pretty convinced it is because of two reasons, 1) the berries (found in the freezer) were from Fordyce Farms, picked last summer
and the Lodge enamel-coated cast iron dutch oven that was a Christmas gift a few years back from my folks. 
The smell wafting from the stove was amazing as the berries & sugar mingled together (with the juice from the 1/2 of lemon I had found) cooking down to a beautiful ruby red. I used some of the jam to fill small fist-size dough rounds, making the Keatley-version of kolaches.  Once filled with a couple tablespoons of jam, I baked them at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.


The Italian Family Jam recipe can be found on the first blog I started following: Orangette. Written by Molly Wizenberg, this was one of my inspriations when I started blogging. The jam recipe can be made with fresh or frozen berries (or stone fruit), so try some when you feel like homemade goodness from a jar.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Hot Cocoa Conundrum

One of the things I've been trying to figure out since David's dairy allergy is a really tasty hot cocoa recipe. Now, one thing you must know about David is that he LOVES hot cocoa, and it is his daily drink of choice from the time the geese start flying south in the fall to when we see the blossoms of the tulips in the spring. Realizing he wouldn't be able to drink any made with milk for at least three months while waiting to go back for allergy testing, we have attempted numerous substitutions to please his palate. The other thing to know about David (and all of my kids to be honest) is that he is not very picky when it comes to food...or so I thought. The hot cocoa dilemma has been a challenge, to say the least. I tried the following: heating chocolate rice milk (which David said tasted "like chocolate followed by burnt rice"), homemade cocoa mix with vanilla soy milk (to which David replied, tasted
"like a bunch of vanilla liquid and a little bit of chocolate"). After finally finding a dairy-free recipe I thought would work, I gave it a try. Unfortunately, David still thought it didn't taste good. Finally, I made one last attempt today. Trying a simple homemade mix with a few changes of my own, I knew we had a winner when David not only said it was good but also finished up the entire batch himself! Here's my take on David's Drinkable Dairy-Free Cocoa~ I bet you'll like it even if you don't have to do dairy-free.
Buono Appetito!

David's Drinkable Dairy-Free Cocoa

Yield: 4 servings
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (I use the stuff in bulk from Winco)
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 oz. Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate, finely grated (I used the cheese grater for this)
1/2 c. water
1 1/4 c. plain soy or rice milk
2 c. coconut milk (I use Silk brand- found in the refrigerated section at Roth's)
homemade marshmallows, for topping, if desired (or store-bought, if you must)

In a medium saucepan combine cocoa powder and granulated sugar with wire whisk. Add water and heat mixture over medium high heat until it comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in grated chocolate and mix until chocolate is melted. Slowly whisk in soy milk and coconut milk and reduce heat. Simmer five minutes and serve with marshmallows on top.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Coming back into the light

Wow- it's been so long since I've posted anything, so I am sure most of you are thinking I've either let the blogging idea go or that I've crawled under a rock. The first thought would be closer to the truth as I have had no time to find a rock big enough to crawl under let alone actually manipulate my body into a crevice that would seem suitable for my needs.

Actually, after a bit of research I did find an interesting site that talked of "the original hobbit holes", the Kinver Edge Rock Houses in England. I suppose they would workfor me, if I had to crawl under said rock.

That's enough pondering on the now-comfy idea of crawling under (or into) a rock. I have not, as previously mentioned, been doing so, but instead have been busy enough to not make my blog a priority. It's interesting to me to find things that are "extra-curricular" often take a back seat to things that need to be done. I love to write, but I also need to make sure my family is well-fed and the house taken care of before I head off to the salle for my workday. This being said, I have been writing a bit more of my day on my facebook account. After being kindly prodded by a dear friend a school-mate, not to mention a few others who have mentioned wanting recipes of what I have described on my daily entries, I decided that the blog needed to be moved a bit up on the priority list. Even if only a few people read it, I am getting the writing in that I enjoy and hopefully sharing some delicious recipes and good ideas with you.
We have recently sent Joshua off to Rome for his semester abroad, and his time with us during the holidays was, to say the least, a refreshing change of pace and peace in our home.
His being here always helps to quell the other kids arguing as well as opening up some great discussions with his father and I about everything from being Catholic to world history to recent news events. It was with much joy and anticipation we sent him off halfway around the world last week, but with more joy when we were able to facetime with him on Sunday & he shared his first 36 hours in Rome~ including his first visit to St. Peter's and his first taste of Italian coffee & wine. I look forward to hearing of his adventure and being able to share some of it with you from a mom's perspective over the next few months.

We also had an exciting, to say the least, experience with David the week before Christmas. We had the pleasure of having Fr. Henry come over for a lasagna dinner with Mary's apple pie for dessert. A bit later in the evening, David started having problems breathing & ended up having to go the E.R. at Silverton Hospital. After lots of medicine, rest and a trip to the allergist in Portland, it was determined that he has a possible allergy to dairy or nuts. He has to do without either until the middle of March. This made holiday baking/cooking really interesting as well as still trying to get my "Tillamook-loving" son to survive without his cheese, sour cream, ice cream, milk & yogurt! He's been doing great, and I've come up with all kinds of new recipes and websites that I have been gleaning for ideas. Between Cari's celiac disease and David's allergy stuff, our family meals are very dairy, gluten & nut-free but still very delicious!

Since this is a blog that's supposed to have recipes, I will post one of David's favorites that we did both during the holidays & now during the cooler weather to have with soup, Dairy-Free Mayonnaise Biscuits. I used to make these from a Nancy Drew Cookbook when I was in junior high school & they are just as easy and delicious as back then. I tried a gluten-free version yesterday when Cari was here & they were quite good, so I've included that option too.
They turned out light and just the right foil for homemade orange marmalade. Buono Appetito!

Dairy-Free Mayonnaise Biscuits
2 cups self-rising flour (see homemade recipe below)
3/4 cup plain soy milk
6 T. mayonnaise (homemade or store bought)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare baking sheet with either silpat pad or spraying with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together with spoon until moistened. Using same spoon, drop 1/4 cup blobs onto baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Homemade Self-rising flour
(this works in all recipes calling for self-rising flour or you can always spend more money and buy it pre-packaged)
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all together and store in cool, dry place. This can also be doubled or tripled as it will last for a couple of months.

Gluten and Dairy-Free Mayonnaise Biscuits
2 cups self-rising gluten free flour mix (see homemade recipe below)
3/4 cup plain soy milk
6 T. mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare baking sheet with either silpat pad or spraying with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together with spoon until moistened. Using same spoon, drop 1/4 cup blobs onto baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Homemade Self-rising gluten-free flour mix
1 1/2 cups rice flour
2 cups corn starch
1/2 cup sorghum flour
4 teaspoons xanthan gum
6 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all together and store in cool, dry place. This can also be doubled or tripled as it will last for a couple of months.