Cheddar Jalapeno Sourdough Bagels

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I am turning into a bagel junkie, actually, I think I always have been a bagel junkie since I “discovered” bagels in Grade 7 music class.  I bet you are wondering why our teacher brought in bagels and cream cheese into her music class that day, well, it was because we were studying the soundtrack for the 1970 rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. So what does bagels and cream cheese have to do with a rock opera? I have no idea as bagels originated in Jewish communities in 17th century Poland… but I am certain she had her reasons and I am ever so grateful she introduced her class to chewy, yummy baked bagels!

Since then, bagels have always been a part of my breakfast rotation. I usually just have them on weekends, but today being Wednesday and fresh bagels coming out of the oven this morning, well, who can fault me for diving into a fresh, hot bagel? Especially ones made with cheddar and jalapeño, a seriously awesome combination!

The sourdough bagel recipe I use is under copyright law so I am unable to share it here, but I can tell you which book it came from, “Artisan Sourdough Made Simple” by Emilie Raffa, and the recipe is called “Sunday Morning Bagels”, the link here, which is available from Amazon or from Indigo Books Canada here.

The actual recipe in her book is for plain sourdough bagels as well as additions you can make for cinnamon raisin, pumpkin spice, etc. But she did not have any additions for cheddar jalapeño so I was on my own in that regard for figuring out how much of both to add.

I settled on adding 8 oz of grated, 3 yr old cheddar and 2 large jalapeños that were finely diced.

This recipe calls for making the dough the evening before you are going to bake them as the dough needs to sit out in a cool environment for 12 hours. So I made my dough at 7:30 last night…and it was nicely risen by this morning.

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Next up was to divide the dough and shape into bagels, I get 8 good size bagels out of a batch.

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Next up is to boil them for 30 seconds each side before baking…

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Then they are baked until they are golden and the house smells simply amazing!

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It was really really hard not to dive into one right away, I had to let them cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and popping one into the toaster. Slathered in cream cheese and another 10 minutes later I had a happy tummy.

I highly recommend this book, it is by far the best bagel recipe I have ever tried, and believe me, I have tried oodles off of the internet that just do not measure up to a true, artisan bread chef product! and no, I do not get any compensation for my glowing review of her book, just call me a happy, satisfied bagel baker!

Deborah

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Spring Crocus Flower Tea Towels

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Sometimes when I create new designs for weaving, I am not 100% sure of how it will actually translate to the woven cloth. Even though I use weaving software to design using approximate colours, at times there are variables that you might not be able to account for.

Not so with this design as between the use of colour and the weaving draft (pattern), these towels turned out EXACTLY how I envisioned they would!

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This is a limited edition of 6 towels for this Spring, not be repeated until Spring 2022 and as of today’s date, 5 of the 6 are sold and I may just keep the last one for myself as a memento as they truly were a joy to weave.

But if someone really would like to purchase the last one, please email me at: stormypointfiberarts@gmail.com and I would be more than happy to relinquish the remaining towel (centre-front in the basket) to a new kitchen hangout.

Now onto the next project, which is designing a rug with some sturdy wool yarns I have been spinning and dyeing over the winter. I have an idea in my head that just needs to be translated to paper, weaving software and ultimately, onto one of the looms.

Stay tuned!

Deborah

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Weaving Inspiration

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Go look out the window, yup, right out the back door you will find my little herb garden patch, and in it, Spring bulbs poking their sunny, bright faces out of the soil after a long winters sleep.

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Spring is my favourite time of year as all the new growth “springs forth” and finally dissolves the bland whites, greys and browns from winter. I grabbed my camera and took loads of photos of the little clumps of green, purple and yellow flowers, and afterwards, while looking at them on my laptop screen, an idea formed on how to best utilize this floral inspiration into my weaving.

I set to work matching colours of cotton yarn I have on hand with the colours in the photo using one of my favourite designs from the book: A Weavers Book of 8 Shaft Patterns by Carol Strickler, which is a highly sought after and must have in almost every weavers personal library, and this is what I came up with.

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I just love this draft for its ability to transform colours into intricate designs. This project will be woven into a limited run of 6 tea towels that will pay homage to Spring. If anyone is interested in purchasing one or two of these, feel free to email me at: stormypointfiberarts@gmail.com.

Meanwhile, get outside and admire all those bright, cheery flowers! They deserve soome adoration after a long, cold winter!

Deborah

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It’s A Green January

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In a corner of the livingroom here at the Homestead sits a folding blue patio table adorned with 3 pots and a small overhead LED light strip.

What are the lights focused on?

Cilantro!

20210106_0937012 pots that are overflowing with bright green leaves and stems that are standing up amazingly well from my daily assault with the scissors since they sprouted over a month ago. I simply cannot go the entire winter without fresh cilantro. Yes, I could buy a sad looking bunch in the grocery store, but they would last a week at most before becoming limp and mushy in the fridge in a glass of water.

There is simply nothing like having fresh herbs around, especially since delicate herbs like cilantro and basil do not lend themselves well to freezing. I tried the ice cube tray trick with both and both were an epic fail.

What is your favourite herb? and how best do you utilize it? For me, Cilantro goes into almost everything, egg dishes, lunches of tuna or salmon/avocado wraps, dinners like pulled pork tacos, soups and stews…the list goes on!

With the global pandemic continuing on through winter, it is imperative that people find new ways to relieve the stress and anxiety of lockdowns and forced displacement from their family members. Take the opportunity to grow a little herb garden in your kitchen, get the kids involved and have them each be responsible for their little pot. Growing plants is a way to brighten up dull, moody days not to mention the health benefits of fresh herbs used in your daily cooking.

My wish is for everyone to get involved in something new, whether it is taking up a new hobby, growing herbs and plants, learning a new language or skill, there are plenty of ways to beat the winter Covid blues.  For me, the ability to grow 2 pots of Cilantro chases away the gray days of January and Covid worries with their brilliant green, happy leaves, which for me, is the best therapy!

Happy Indoor Gardening!

Deborah

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Walking Carefully Into 2021

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Well, 2020 was a complete $hitshow.  My only bright spot was my 2 week vacation in Cuba back in January 2020 before the pandemic and lockdown hit.

Hubby and I bailed southern Ontario on March 25th to spend the rest of the year at the Northern Homestead. Best decision ever. In our remote area, there is not a whole lot of people and the case numbers low compared to Toronto and expanding area.

I spent the summer enthralled in my gardening, helped hubby side the new garage and 3 season room addition, among many other construction tasks.  Managed to get a heck of a lot of weaving done too with 2 looms and 3 spinning wheels up here as well as dyeing yarns while enjoying the solitude of the north country.

Only downside was the dreaded Covid-15 lbs I gained over the year, which amazes me since I was so active. So to start 2021 off, the first order of business is to lose said 15 lbs, and get back to a healthier lifestyle.  After that, learning some new weaving techniques and structures are high on the goal list.

Some eye candy for you all to start your year off, this is a Turned Twill Scarf woven using Tencel yarn (Tencel is a manmade fiber from the pulp of Gum trees) which has the same properties as silk, only much more affordable and a lot easier to care for.

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I wish everyone a safe, happy and most of all, a HEALTHY New Year! Stay safe, please follow medical guidelines so we can stop the spread of this nightmare we are in.

Much love to all of you for being supportive readers, even though I have not been writing a whole lot the past year. I am looking to change that, and make it a priority for 2021 to get back to writing as I do miss it!

Deborah

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Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Spinach Frittata

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This morning I woke up to the sound of gunshots, don’t worry though, it wasn’t directed at any humans, just the annual Fall duck hunters blasting my duckie buddies out of the water.  It makes me sad, but I know people hunt to put food on the table and I am ok with that aspect, after all, I am a meat eater myself.

So to keep my mind off the hunters, I headed to the kitchen to make a fabulous Sunday brunch frittata.  Yesterday I had cleared out the raised garden beds except for the carrots and came away with a bounty of peppers, tomatoes, chard and spinach, and the spinach was going to be a supporting cast member in this mornings breakfast.

The next 2 must have ingredients are onions and mushrooms…simmering in butter until caramelized and then folded into a luscious egg and cheese mixture, divine I tell you!

Here is today’s recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did this morning!

20201004_072129Ingredients
6 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onions
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cups baby spinach, roughly torn
1/4 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F and spray an 8 inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, add sliced onions and salt and pepper to taste and cook slowly until just starting to caramelize, add mushrooms and thyme, increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are browned.

20201004_063102Add spinach and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and spread across the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

20201004_063901In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and salt and pepper. Add the cheeses and stir to combine. Pour the egg mixture over the onion, mushroom and spinach mixture.

Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes until set.

20201004_071226Remove from oven, cut into 4 pieces and serve with a toasted crostini. Enjoy and if you make this, feel free to leave a comment below!

Makes 4 servings

 

 

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Welcome to 2020!

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

What a weird looking number. I thought the Year 2000 was strange looking, and now 20 years have flown by.

I have been pulled in many directions in recent months and there was the whole December holiday hoopla which basically rendered no time to do anything blog related.

Once I return from vacation at the end of January, I will endeavour to get back to blog mode when I get back. Until then, I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday season and I wish you all well for 2020!

Deborah

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Roasted Corn and Poblano Chowder

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It has been a very hectic Spring and Summer here at the Homestead, not just the usual busy gardening season (which is now winding down), but we have had a lot of excitement with the construction of a new garage as well as a 3 Season Room addition to the Homestead. Exciting, but also anxiety filled when dealing with a contractor, glad that part is now behind us!  Now that the structures are up and usable it is time to get back to doing what I love, crafting and cooking!

We had a lovely hot, dry summer and the pepper garden exploded with produce as a result.  I have already pickled quite a few jalapenos, chopped and froze gypsy peppers, roasted poblano peppers and new this year is pickling pepperoncini peppers and making my own hot sauce for hubby (more on those two in later posts), but lets jump back a step to the poblano peppers.

Poblanos are my favourite pepper, their flavour is so vastly different from any other pepper, with just a mild tingle of heat.  They are a staple in Mexican cuisine and a staple in my kitchen.

I had 2 corn cobs leftover from the weekend in the fridge and needed to use them up before they got starchy (corn cobs left too long see the natural sugars in the corn turn into starch, then the corn becomes unappetizing and tough) and I had just picked 8 poblano peppers to roast so I thought hmmm…why not make a soup out these two lovely candidates?  Corn goes well with Poblanos so I pulled out some frozen chicken stock from the freezer and got to work.

The result? A savoury and delightful soup packed with great flavour!

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Ingredients

6 Poblano Peppers, roasted, peeled, de-seeded and roughly chopped
2 ears of sweet corn, roasted or grilled and kernels cut from the cob
2.5 cups of chicken stock (for a vegetarian option, use veggie stock)
3 Tbsp butter (or Olive Oil)
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, mashed
1/4 chopped cilantro stems (reserve some leaves for garnish)
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp salt (more to taste at the end)
Crema, Crème Fresh, Yogurt or Sour Cream for garnish
Dash of hot sauce (optional)

Directions
In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt butter and sweat onions until soft and translucent (about 7 to 8 minutes). Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes.

Add flour and stir to combine. Add chicken stock (or veggie stock if using) and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once at a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add poblanos, corn, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Remove from heat and using an immersion blender, blitz soup to desired consistency (or use a regular blender, careful transferring soup contents as they will be hot!).

Place soup back on low heat and add the lime juice and adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve with a dollop of crema (or your preferred option listed above), hot sauce and fresh cilantro.

Buen Provecho!

Makes 6 servings

Deborah

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12 Grain Bagel How-To

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Again, necessity is the mother of invention.  I was happily munching away on Costco’s Whole Wheat Bagels when a month ago, they decided to stop selling them. Perhaps I was the only one buying them, but it still irked me that they yanked them from the shelves.

So… I decided to look around the fabulous interweb for either a whole wheat or better yet, a 12 grain recipe and surprisingly there is quite a few available.  I spent one morning a couple weeks ago reading through the top 5 or 6 on the google search, some more detailed than others, some using ingredients that I thought was odd, one even using some sort of sourdough starter that you needed to prep the day before.  I wasn’t willing to spend that much energy on making bagels, one that could be done within a 3 hour time frame would be perfect.

I settled on one from here: http://bonappetitnb.blogspot.com/2012/06/homemade-12-grain-bagels.html but when I made the dough as written, it was crumbly and dry.  There wasn’t near enough moisture to accommodate 4 cups of flour.  I ended up adding some warm water at the end just to get the dough to come together and while the bagels turned out ok, they needed something else.  They were a tad bland overall.

20190416_134337So today I am making a 2nd batch and decided to swap the 1 tbsp of sugar out for 2 tbsp of honey (I know, it may seem like a lot, especially with honey being a lot sweeter than sugar, but I am looking for that honey-whole-wheat taste that I think this will provide) and  I am also bumping up the liquid, 1 cup of milk just didn’t do last time. This time I upped it to a cup and half as well as bumping the butter from a 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup.

The end result? Fabulous! They have texture, are chewy like a bagel is supposed to be (not airy and fluffy like a loaf of white bread) and the taste from the honey and 12 grain flour is enough to satisfy the taste buds.

20190417_060052These really are quite easy to put together, I always viewed bagels as a long, drawn out process akin to the Ukrainian Easter Paska Bread I make and didn’t want to work that hard for a bunch of bagels, but these turned out not as much of a time suck as I thought.

For those wishing to give this a go, below is the recipe, enjoy!

Deborah

12 Grain Bagel Recipe

Ingredients

1 1/2 Cups scalded milk
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 Cup butter (unsalted)
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp instant yeast
3 Cups All-Purpose flour
1 Cup 12 Grain flour

Directions

In a 2 cup measuring cup, scald the milk in the microwave for 2 minutes on high. Remove and add the butter and let it sit to come to room temp (about 20 – 25 minutes). The butter will melt into the milk. Add the honey and whisk to combine.

Place the milk/honey/butter mixture into a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast overtop. Let sit for 10 minutes. Whisk in the egg after the yeast has bloomed.

Meanwhile, while yeast is blooming, combine the flours and salt in another bowl and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix together until the dough forms a ball. It will be a tad sticky at this point. On a floured surface, knead the dough (add small amounts of flour a bit at a time) until it is no longer sticky.

20190416_110832Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and place in a warm oven (I turn the oven element on until it just starts to glow, then I turn it off) to proof for an hour.

20190416_122102After proofing, remove dough from bowl onto a floured surface and add just a tich more flour to counteract the oil.  Shape the dough into a long log and cut into 8 pieces.  Roll each piece into a thin log, then shape into a circle and pinch the ends together (use a bit of water if necessary to get it to stay together). Place bagels on a sheet pan lined with parchment and let proof for another 45 minutes to an hour.

20190416_12263520190416_12271720190416_12292720190416_125647Meanwhile, get a large pot of water on a near boiling simmer, just until little bubbles start to form at the bottom of the pot.

When bagels are proofed, add 2 tsp of Baking Soda to the pot of water and place bagels into the pot a few at a time, don’t crowd them as they will begin to puff up quickly.

Cook bagels for one minute on one side, then flip and cook another 2 minutes. Gently remove bagels back to the sheet pan. Careful, if handled too roughly they do tend to deflate.  Also, try and work quickly as time deflates them as well..ask me how I know.

If you want a nice sheen on the bagels, brush a little beaten egg white on the surface of each one before baking. (note – if you want to add decorations, this would be the time to sprinkle on sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc. after brushing with egg white)

Bake bagels in a pre-heated 400°F oven for 15 to 25 minutes depending on their size, until they are a golden brown.

Remove from the sheet pan as soon as they come out of the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Then enjoy with your favourite jam, lox and cream cheese or peanut butter!

 

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Chunky Roasted Butternut Squash and Root Veggie Soup

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Sometimes I like to have an adult version of butternut squash soup.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the pureed version, but there are times when a chunky version fits the “chilly Fall day” without feeling like you are eating baby food.

This recipe came about like most of the ones I do…..I look in the fridge and see all the leftovers and “not-enough-ofs” and go from there. Today, October 9th, in Northern Ontario, Mother Nature decided to jack up the temperature,  just for fun I guess after a solid week of cold, blustery, rainy weather.  It ended up being 75F (24C) and very humid, but the day didn’t start out like that so at 6 am in the morning I roasted a butternut squash until soft, golden and filling the house with its delicious nutty aroma and left it to cool while I did some outdoor chores.

12 hours later and starving, I pulled out 3 leftover parsnips from the fridge, the last of the carrots I yanked from the garden today and the remaining equation to the culinary trio, some celery and onions. After dicing my way through the veggies to some very lively Spanish guitar music, soon the holy trinity et al were being sautéed to a golden brown. I then added the chunks of squash, freshly made chicken stock (thank you sweet son-in-law for leaving me with the cherished poultry carcasses last weekend), along with some just picked garden thyme and voila, after a 30 minute simmer…delicioso!!!!

For those needing structure, the recipe is below in its entirety,  but oh man, was it fabulous with toasted whole grain bread and a sprinkle of parmesan I think it is my new favourite soup!

Provecho!
Deborah

Chunky Roasted Butternut Squash & Root Veggie Soup

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Ingredients
1 Medium Butternut Squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into cubes*
3 Parsnips, peeled and finely chopped
2 Carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 large rib of Celery, diced
1/2 Red Onion, diced
2 small cloves of Garlic, mashed
5 Cups Home-Made Chicken Stock (use Veggie stock for a vegetarian option)
Fresh Ground Black Pepper & Sea Salt to taste
1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme leaves
Olive Oil

Directions

* Toss cubed squash lightly with Olive Oil and Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in a 400F degree oven for about 30 minutes or until browned all over and tender inside (stir often), set aside and let cool.

In a large stock pot over medium heat, add 2 to 3 Tbsp of Olive Oil and add the onion, carrots, parsnips, celery, garlic and thyme leaves.  Cook, stirring often for about 10 to 15 minutes until veggies are soft.

Add butternut squash and mix gently.  Add stock, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Adjust seasonings just before serving.

Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan and toasted, crusty bread for dipping.

Makes about 6 Cups.

 

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