Monday, September 28, 2009

Jenny's bread rolls

This bread was very popular during the depression when ingredients were scarce and everyone made their own bread.

1 cup of luke warm water
1 1/2 tsp of sugar
1 pkg of yeast (granular)
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of vegetable oil
3 cups of white flour

Mix water with sugar until dissolved. Add yeast, salt and tsp of oil.
Pour in a cup of flour and stir until well mixed. Add 2nd cup of flour, empty dough out onto a floured smooth surface and begin kneading with hands. Knead dough until it begins to look smooth. ( it doesn't take very long) Put dough into a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. Turn dough over in bowl to coat and let rise in a warm place till almost tripled in size. (about 1 1/2 hours) Turn out and make about 10 small rolls. Place in an oiled round cake pan and let rise until doubled.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 mins or until a light golden brown. Butter top of rolls when you take out of oven.

baking with daughters

My youngest daughter visited with me on Sunday afternoon and suggested that she and her sister would make homemade bread with me on Monday. ( I don't work on Mondays.)
Since we are all excellant bakers we decided to make different loaves of bread.
Monday morning was beautiful, cool with a gentle southern breeze blowing outside. We took time out to watch the flowers bouncing with busy bees and butterflies before going in to bake.
They arrived with bread flour in hand and ingredients.
The first loaf was made by my oldest daughter Jenny. She made her grandmother's soft dinner rolls. (My mother taught her when she was a new bride!) It was very touching to see her kneading the dough that I had watched my mother make throughout my childhood. Her simple actions brought tears of joy to my eyes as I watched her mix and knead. When she offered me a small piece of dough, I was transported back to my girlhood days. (My mother had always given me a little bit of dough before it went to the pantry to rise!)
I thought, "How like my mother my girl's are. How like my grandmother they are. We are all generations of women who bake great bread, and love spending time together doing it." My youngest, Michelle, who bakes bread for a living, declined to make her bread today. She wrote down her recipes for us while we formed our rolls and loaves.
While we waited for the bread to rise we made a small amount of pesto. The basil is almost spent and they wanted a last little bite. (little it is, the basil is not producing enough to make more than a cup.)
I made my favorite flax seed bread which rose very high and made a beautiful golden crust.
The house was filled with the smell of bread and honey!
At the end of our day together we divided up the bread and rolls. My dear darlings took bread home to their loved ones, to husbands, boyfriends and children. ( They remembered to leave some for their father!)
It was a wonderful tender day for all of us. We talked about the early cookie -making days of their childhood, when I was the only teacher. Today I learned some great bread-making techniques from them! It is the first time we have baked together in years! (and the first time all three of us have baked at the same time !)
We've decided that we need to bake again next month.
Our vote was to make pumpkin cake and black and white cookies.
It was a good day.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


The basil was very vigorous this summer! We made many great caprese salads, flavored oils and of course, our favorite pesto. Yesterday I pruned and clipped this wonderful herb and decided that it had run its course. It's always a sad day for me, I love summer and this means the end of it for me. Our southern climate may stay warm for awhile longer, but the basil is my personal indicator for the beginning of fall. Basil can live until the first frost, but I find the freshest flavor is during the heart of summer. Yesterday I dry wilted basil for flavored oils and the rest went to our last best summer pesto. Here is my very favorite recipe:

Extra Rich Pesto
6 cups of genovese basil, leaves only
3 large fresh cloves garlic, peeled and roasted (in a skillet with a small dab of olive oil)
1 cup of toasted, unsalted, unshelled, macadamia nuts (dry roast in a very hot skillet. Watch carefully, do not burn)
1 triangle of grated, fresh parmesean cheese (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsps sea salt
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
In a food processor place basil leaves, roasted garlic, toasted nuts. Pulse off and on until roughly chopped. Start pouring the 3/4 cup of olive oil in a slow steady stream while running the machine on lowest speed. Stop machine, add grated cheese. Pulse and add 1/4 cup of olive oil in slow stream until incorporated.
I serve it on fresh french bread with creamy unsalted butter.
I hope you enjoy it!
PS: don't even think of trying to count calories when you serve this pesto!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

forgot to mention..

did i mention the oysters we had? on the half shell? with ice cold beer? WOW

new orleans

Returned today from a trip to New Orleans. Visited homeless shelters, met with case managers and clients. Toured a huge facility that housed lots of people and feeds 500! Later that night we attended a dinner benefit in the French Quarter district . All money collected was donated to homeless shelters.
The party was held in a house built in 1855. What an amazing feeling to walk on those creaky oak hardwood floors . The staircase was cypress wood polished to a high shine which was shown off by the bright lights of antique chandeliers. I imagined glimpses of gray coated confederate officers walking the gowned belles down the steps, earrings swinging and hoops gently swaying . (old houses give my imagination a work out, I love history!) We walked around to the walled shaded courtyard smelling jasmine, roses, and drank mellow dark wines. The early evening was so enchanting and magic.
After the party we invited a New Orleans police officer to a late supper. His personal job is to help get the homeless off the street into shelters and rehabs. (like us!) He was a wonderful italian guy who talked all night about how much he loved his work. We ate great seafood at a local restaurant then finished it off with banana crepes !
The officer then took us for a ride down Royal, Magazine, Decatur, Tchoupatoulis, Canal and Bourbon streets in his specially painted NOPD golf cart. You get a lot of crazy stares when you are cruising downtown with a police officer!
Visited a voodoo shop the next morning. Smelled herby to me but I couldnt identify anything. LOL!
It was such fun!

Monday, September 14, 2009

herbal vitamins

This is so cool, I will love being able to post recipes.

candy for crones?

Made all my crone candy today. It is delicious. The recipe includes seasame butter, spirulina, gingseng, dong qui, honey, bee pollen. I rolled the 1 inch balls in toasted macadamia nuts and toasted coconut. After reading about the spirulina it opened my mind to all the different ways to use it. Shakes! Smoothies!
Going to have a booth at the local "Market Days" fair in November. It will be held in a very little town just down the road. It is always so much fun. Don't always make a lot of money but it's a good time and I get to talk to the locals. The elderly who live there are always fascinated by my herbs. Will sell :Mulling spices, Lemon Balm cookies, Culinary oils- Rosemary, Basil, 3 Herb, Chili pepper and Lemon Grass. Will bring 3 teas this time, Serene Lemon, Autumn Mint Morning, and the new tea, "Winter Dreams". Winter dreams is a new tea formula, has vanilla black tea, lemon balm, mugwort, calendula. I hope it will sell as well as the last tea formula did. Our last formula was called "Summers End". Of course, it was a blend of all the herbal flowers and sweet herbs from the summer garden. It did very well, the main ingredient being pineapple sage and blossoms.
Okay, enough of this, have to get back to work on my lesson. Finished my tinctures and salves, will type up the plans for treating menopause and safe pregnancies.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rainy day but I don't mind. Herbs are shiny, getting the water they craved.
Will begin my lesson early today. When the candy is done I will taste test and share the results.
This is lesson 6, it was a tough one for me.