Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cranberry-Wild Rice Bread

Early this week we were watching a cooking show out of Green Bay Wisconsin.  It is called Living with Amy.  She very often has guests on her show from local businesses.  On Monday Amy's guest was The Happy Cookie Lady.  The Happy Cookie Lady's real name is Christine.  She makes and sells beautiful decorated cookies for all occasions.  When she appears on Living with Amy, she shares wonderful recipes.  This time she made Wild Rice and Cranberry bread in a bread machine.  I was familiar with this bread because they sell turkey sandwiches on this bread at our local convenience store.

Before I share her recipe, I want to mention my method for cooking the wild rice.  I make it in my electric digital pressure cooker which I have blogged about many times.  I make brown rice this same way.  It cooks completely without having to worry about monitoring the process so carefully.  I just use a ratio of 1.5 or 2 parts water to 1 part rice in the cooker and turn it on low pressure for 30 minutes.  I make white rice this same way but it only takes 10 minutes for it to cook.  There are a lot of youtube videos showing how to do this and each is a little different.  I find cooking with low pressure may take a little longer but it makes fluffier perfectly cooked rice.  Using 1/2 cup wild rice and 1 cup of water yields 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice.  That is enough for two loaves of bread.

Cranberry-Wild Rice Bread

1 1/4 cup hot (not too hot or it will kill the yeast) water (about 125 degrees)
 1/4 cup Powdered milk (I didn't have any so I used 1 cup of hot water and 1/4 cup milk)
1 1/4 t. celery salt
2 T. honey
1 T. Olive Oil
3 cups flour
3/4 cup cooked wild rice
(apparently you can buy cooked wild rice in a can, but I have not looked for it)
1/8 t. pepper
1 t. yeast
2/3 cup dried cranberries

Put ingredients in the bread machine in the order given.  Turn on the normal cycle and start.
My bread machine is old and it makes a tall loaf.  If you want a regular shaped loaf of bread, just mix in the dough cycle only and then put it in a loaf pan to rise and bake in your oven or get a bread machine with a normal loaf design.

Cranberry-Wild Rice bread.

This hearty bread cuts easily and has a good texture.

This bread is great as regular sandwich bread, but I wanted to try something different.  I decided to make a grilled sandwich with the bread.  I learned from Living with Amy to buy a big family pack of chicken breasts.  I cook them all at once to use in future recipes.  You can spray a piece of foil with cooking spray and place your chicken breasts on the foil.  Fold the foil around the chicken and bake in the oven until they are done.  For those who want specific instructions I would say 350 degrees for 40 minutes would work .  A second option is to place the chicken breasts in a slow cooker for a few hours with a little water or broth.  When I do this, I freeze one cooked breast per freezer bag.  Then when I need cooked chicken for a recipe, I take one out and it thaws very quickly.

For this grilled sandwich, I sliced one chicken breast.  I believe deli turkey or ham would work too.  I spread two slices of bread with canned cranberry sauce.  On one slice of bread put the sliced chicken on the sauce, a slice of crisp pre-cooked bacon (we fry up a pound or two of bacon and store in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator to use as needed),  a couple slices of cheese (your favorite cheese) and topped it with the second slice of bread.   I buttered both sides and grilled the same as making a grilled cheese.  You could use a panini maker, but I just used my cast iron frying pan.  This sandwich would be delicious after Thanksgiving with leftover cranberry sauce, a little stuffing and some turkey.

Grilled sandwich on cranberry-wild rice bread.

Thanks Christine, the Happy Cookie Lady, for the recipe.  I look forward to seeing more recipes from you in the future.  They are always delicious.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Freezing Carrots

My son in law's parents are moving to our area.  It will be so nice to have them nearby.  They always have a huge garden and every year I reap the benefits with a variety of produce.  The move is coming soon, so their garden is being harvested.  Yesterday I received a big bag of freshly dug carrots.  My project for today was to freeze them for use this winter.  I wish I would have a root cellar, then I could just put them in there.  I don't, so freezing is the next best option.

Now that's a big bunch of fresh carrots.

The first thing I did was cut the tops and the root ends off.  It's kind of messy so I sat outside and accomplished this easily.  The weather cooperated, and I could just sweep off the porch when I was done.

Notice how bright and orange home grown carrots are.

I put the carrots in a bucket and took the tops to the compost pile.  I filled the bucket with water from the hose and did a cursory wash.  Then I drained them, took them inside and put them into the kitchen sink.  I rinsed them again and began peeling them.  My husband helped so it didn't take too long.  I was going to leave the peel on, but decided not to just in case some dirt remained on the carrot.

Then I we cut them up and blanched them in the same manner as the turnips I did earlier.  We used the Genius food chopper for this project too.

We got two 8 cup measuring cups and 1/2 plastic container.

After blanching the carrots and cooling in ice water, they were put in food saver bags.  I put two cups per bag and ended up with a dozen bags.  It will be so nice to have the work all done when I want to make a recipe that calls for chopped carrots.  In fact, I'm trying them in a recipe tonight to see how they work out.

12 bags of chopped carrots ready for the freezer.

We also got several squash.  That is my next project.  I will prepare the squash and also freeze a few bags for later.   I really appreciate receiving this good food.