Freshly Milled Whole Wheat Loaves!
Time to cool...
Freshly Milled Whole Wheat Loaves!
You have probably figured out that I take my baking pretty seriously. It is just so much fun to try and tweak every aspect of the process in order produce a better result! Fortunately, I have a great flour mill handy....
Fresh wheat flour ready to go...
I made an enriched dough with an equal amount of whole wheat flour, *white flour, a bit of yeast, milk, eggs, butter, and salt. Time to rest/rise the dough before shaping... *Adding white flour generally provides a better crumb or texture than 100% whole wheat bread.
There was enough for two large loaves. After shaping, I let the bread rise a second time before baking. I baked one round loaf in a Dutch oven, the other is a traditional loaf...
Time to let them cool...
Nothing like a homemade loaf of bread! :)
Perfect for salads, sauces, dressings, or just snacking!
Pickled Sweet Cherries!
It's midsummer and cherries are abundant! This recipe is pretty straight forward.
My trusty cherry-pitter, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and mild rice vinegar...
Ready for a brief simmer...
Add enough rice vinegar to just cover the cherries. This was about 1 pound of cherries. Add the vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, and a tablespoon or two of brown sugar. Simmer just until everything is blended and place in a sterilized jar. Store the cherries in the fridge. That's about it.
These won't last long! :)
Fresh from the oven!
Although this may not be the exact replica of my Mom's recipe, it is a fairly close approximation. To be honest, this is true of many if not all of my recipes. Growing up, I learned to cook these traditional family favorites strictly through observation. My philosophy about cooking is that there are no "secret recipes". There are no super-precise quantities or measures (baking and candy making is a slight exception). Good cooking is based upon mastering the techniques and processes! This recipe is a great example of what I am talking about. It is also a humble tribute to my mother and all of the great recipes she showed me even if she wasn't aware at the time... This one is for you Mom, I love you! :)
Over medium heat, add enough lard to coat the bottom of the roasting pot...
Generously season the roast with quality salt, pepper, and lots of ground cumin! Evenly sear the roast on all sides until it is nice and brown. Remove the roast from the pan. Use the fat in the pan to caramelize some onions and lots of garlic...
Fresh tomatillos, ready to roast...
Roasting the Anaheim and Poblano peppers on the stovetop. Cover with a pan lid or foil to steam them as they cook...
Treat the tomatillos the same way...
Peel the peppers and add them to the blender...
Blend the tomatillos with most of the roasted peppers and some lime/lemon juice. Save a few to dice and stir into the pot for contrast...
Sautee about two to three large yellow onions and an entire head of peeled and minced garlic. Season heavily with ground cumin, quality salt, freshly cracked pepper, and a touch of turmeric. You can add some fresh tomatoes or a can of stewed tomatoes to round things out. Place the seared roast back in the pot with the peppers, onions, and garlic...
Pour the blended tomatillo and pepper mixture over the roast...
Mix things around a bit...
Cover and place in the oven preheated to 325 degree F. Roast for about two hours or so until tender. Be sure to taste test for salt/seasoning adjustment.
Dinner is served... :)
I know it sounds kinda strange, but I will make a pie out of just about anything! Although not common, grapes are a great addition to pies. This pie was a big hit. Enjoy... :)
Fresh Thompson Seedless Grapes getting ready for pie...
Simmering with just enough water to keep from scorching. The rest is simply lime juice, a bit of brown sugar, and lime zest!
I added about a tablespoon of tapioca starch in a slurry to thicken and add sheen! :)
I poured the reduced filling into the pie pan to ensure that I have the right volume...
Roll out and prepare the unbaked pie crust. Here's a link to my pie crust recipe...
Fill it up! Add a bit of fresh lime zest for extra kick! :)
Time for the crumb topping. Fresh chopped dates, walnuts, oats, flour, date syrup, brown sugar, and chilled butter in equal parts...
Combine the topping ingredients with a pastry blender or your stand mixer with the paddle attachment (my favorite way).
Ready to bake at 325 degrees for about an hour or so... :)
You gotta be quick around here! :)
I have been sorting through tons of baking and food-related photos in my archives. These are really fun to make and everyone loves them! :)
Ready for the oven...
One standard pie crust recipe divided, will make 4 mini inner crusts or 4 tops...
These small pie pans are great!
These are ready to fill...
Beef pot roast and cheese filling. Use whatever you like. Add the top crust and bake!
These disappear very fast around here! :)
Mini Pot Pies!
This recipe is great because you can create your own savory filling or simply use any leftover pot roast, chicken, or anything you like! It's all up to you. Simply roll out the crusts and fill 'em up! :)
Use your favorite pie crust for this recipe or you can use my pie crust recipe right here!
Preparing a great meal not only requires the right food ingredients, it often calls for unique tools and techniques to bring everything together. I believe this is the reason why the food that my mother, grandmothers and aunts prepared when I was a child is so memorable! That being said, you can only imagine my excitement when my wife's grandmother Valentina gave me her molcajete! A molcajete and the accompanying tejolote is the Mexican equivalent of a mortar and pestle. This kitchen tool has been in the family for a long time! It actually belonged to Grandma Valentina's grandmother! That would be my children's great, great, great grandmother!
Everyone has their favorite, and/or most-used tool in the kitchen. Most of us have a favorite knife, spatula, mixing bowl, or other item that you simply cannot do without. Aside from my chef knife and cleaver, I simply cannot function in the kitchen without my molcajete! Here is a collection of photos that demonstrate how a well made kitchen tool can literally serve GENERATIONS! :)
The one on the left, I have had for at least a decade. The one on the right is considerably older! :)
This tejolote is much newer...
After many generations of use...
It easily conforms to my hand...
The left side of the molcajete has a worn place where it has been held for generations! :)
It is like holding the hand of your ancestors! :)
A great snack for your next gathering!
The other day, I mistakenly bought some sweet onions. I don't have anything against sweet onions, I just don't use them very often. I decided to roast them in the oven...
I drizzled the onions with olive oil and butter. I added salt, pepper, turmeric, and some gorgonzola cheese! Roast at 325 degrees for about an hour or until everything is all roasted and bubbly! Your house will smell amazing! :)
The next day, I took one of the roasted onions and diced it up...
I added the diced onions to some sour cream seasoned with salt, pepper, turmeric, a bit of finely minced garlic and freshly-squeezed lemon juice. Adjust the salt and mix well...
Please feel free to improvise this recipe with additions such as bacon, pickles, parsley, diced celery... Whatever you have on hand!
This is a great recipe to enjoy with friends and family! Be sure to give it a try as soon as we can all get back together!
Ready to serve!
Sometimes you gotta use what you have available when making dinner! That's how this recipe came about. Flour, yeast/starter, pinto beans, bacon, and cheeses are staples in my kitchen. A while back (not recently), I was rummaging through the kitchen to see what to make for dinner. We had not been to the store in a few days and supplies were low. So here's what I came up with... Enjoy! :)
We always have beans in this house! :)
Make some Pizza Dough and let it rise...
Fry up that bacon!
Simmered and ready to go!
Roll out your pizza dough, spread the beans over the whole thing, cover with your favorite cheeses and bacon of course!
Bake everything at 400 degrees until it is hot and melted!
Top with some sour cream, jalapenos, and if that's not enough for you, add some Tapatio or your favorite hot sauce! Enjoy :)
A beautiful gluten-free variation on a classic!
I recently received a flour mill attachment for my Champion Juicer. This juicer is no slouch. It can really go! I am always looking for an opportunity to put it to good use. This mill, not only processes wheat berries, it can also mill oats into a flour that is perfect for a pie crust!
This mill is simple to use. Just turn the knob to adjust the flour texture. I milled this batch fairly fine...
My gluten-free oat crust is ready to fill...
Time for the oat crumble topping...
Ready for the oven...
It's time for some pie!
Gluten-Free Oat Crust Apple Pie!
Gluten-free Oat Pie Crust
Yield: 1 pie crust
1 cup milled oat flour
1/2 cup chilled butter
1 egg white
1 -2 Tbsp *ice cold water
Place the oat flour in your mixer fitted with the paddle.
Dice the butter into small pieces. Be careful not to let the chilled butter get too warm.
With the mixer set to medium-low; begin adding the chilled diced butter and egg white to the oat flour a little at a time. Be sure to let it combine with the oat flour a bit before adding more butter. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, speed up your mixer. Keep the *mixer running and gradually add the ice cold water until the dough comes together into a rough, and slightly crumbly ball. You want the dough to be more on the dry side of things. Too much moisture will make for a tough crust that is very hard to work. This recipe makes enough dough for 1 pie crust. The recipe can be doubled.
Remove the dough from the mixer and use immediately, or wrap it tightly in plastic and put it in the fridge until you're ready go. This dough will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.
The amount of ice cold water that you will need may vary. Don't be surprised if you don't use all of the water that is called for in the recipe. You may even use a bit more than I have stated in the recipe. Just remember to keep things on the dry side If you are using a food processor or hand pastry blender, the steps are basically the same.
Oat Crumble Topping
1/2 cup whole oats
1/2 cup milled oat flour
1/2 cup chilled butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp tapioca starch
Combine all of the topping ingredients into your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment/or hand pastry blender and mix until everything just comes together. Be careful not over-mix the topping.
3 - 4 cups Fresh Organic Apples, Peeled and Sliced (Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, and Pink Ladies are great baking apples)
1/2 to 1 cup * brown sugar
1 Tbsp *cinnamon
1 tsp *cardamom
1 Tbsp tapioca starch
Combine all of the filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Gently mix everything thoroughly. .
*Add the sugar and cinnamon according to your personal taste. I like to keep it on the tart side and less sweet. Taste a bit of the apples going into the pie in order to help determine how much sugar to add.
*One tablespoon of cinnamon is generally sufficient. However, you can add a bit more or less according to your personal taste.
*The cardamom is also an option. I think it adds a nice touch. However, it is strictly optional.
Assemble your pie...
Bake at 325 degrees for about an hour until everything is nice and bubbly. Enjoy :)
Hot and fresh from the oven...
I have been experimenting with homemade wild sourdough starters for a little while. It all began when I read somewhere that you could make your own sourdough starter using the natural yeast that is present on ripe fruits and vegetables. Here's the link to my sourdough starter recipe.
Once your starter is ready to go, the fun begins...
The kneading is complete. It is time for a rest...
After the initial rise, divide the dough evenly...
Be sure to dust your couche with flour well... ;)
Form the baguettes, and place them in the couche to rise...
Risen and ready for the oven...
The smell is amazing!
Ready to enjoy! :)
Wild Sourdough Baguettes!
1 cup Wild sourdough starter
1 cup Warm water (105 degrees fahrenheit)
1 Tbsp Salt
4 1/2 cups Flour
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl or stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
Knead everything until dough is very stretchy and elastic.
Cover the dough and allow to rise until approximately doubled.
Evenly divide the dough.
Dust the baking couche with flour.
Form the baguettes and gently place them onto the couche, and cover to rise.
After the baguettes have risen; gently roll them off of the baking couche directly onto the baking stone in a preheated 420 degree oven.
Midway through baking, slash each loaf lightly across the top to help maintain shape.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until deep golden brown.
Your flour quantity may vary a bit. Use enough flour to form a smooth and elastic dough.
A quality baking stone is very important
A baking couche is important for creating the correct moisture and texture of the baguette.
You can supplement the dough with 1tsp of active dry yeast to speed things up a bit if you find that your wild yeast is too slow, but I wanted to keep the whole thing WILD!
I have been baking breads, pies, cakes, and other treats ever since I was old enough to turn on the oven by myself. Although baking is my first love, I'm pretty good at the other stuff too! Over the years I have prepared everything from a pot of beans, to a whole roasted pig over an open fire!
All images and text are © Carlos Olmos 2014-2021