Showing posts with label breakfast. Show all posts
Showing posts with label breakfast. Show all posts

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Oatmeal French Toast

Yesterday my dear friend asked me a personal question. We were at play. The curtain hadn't opened: okay there was no curtain. The lights hadn't yet dimmed and we were small talking, surrounded by people, and she asked me if I'd ever had a notebook moment.

A notebook moment?

Yeah, like in the Notebook, were it's all super romantic and they're intensely in love (she trails off).

I look around. This is a high-school play. The thirteen year-old girl on my right beams at me.

I Hiss: Yesss. Of course.

I look around.

She nods. I knew it, she says.

The night before, Thursday night, my husband gave an artist talk at the community college. In this talk he read poetry. Poetry. Of course I've had Notebook moment.

Although, I do believe things like lingering breakfasts of hot coffee and french toast with home-made jam make all the difference.

We love breakfast. And french toast. Now, I didn't come up with this recipe entirely on my own. Chef at Home definitely had something to do with it.

Oatmeal French Toast for Two

1/2 a cup of milk
2 eggs
a pinch of salt
a dash of vanilla
4 pieces of soft bread (I used a poppy seed lemon bread and it was a winner)
1/4 cup oatmeal, or more as needed

Whisk together the milk, eggs, salt, vanilla in a shallow bowl. Scatter the oatmeal on a large plate. Dip the bread in the egg mixture then dredge it through the oatmeal. Fry in a hot pan until crispy on both sides. Top with your favourite breakfast condiments.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal Oat Currant Scones

I'm not ruling out a 3am tryst with Will and Kate tomorrow morning - I'm not setting my alarm, but if I happen to wake up during the wee hours, I might just have to get a quick sneak peak in. What I can guarantee is a more timely wedding recap over leftover oat currant scones with raspberry jam and tea for breakfast.

Without an ounce of English blood in me, I have still always been a royals fan, or more specifically a Princess Diana fan. Many royal weddings were staged through my childhood - Rachel, you'll recall the dress-up box dress that was my bridal couture - white polyester with a red v-neck collar. Poor Brent was forced to marry his big sister on multiple occasions.

So in honour of this Royal occasion, I give you a good British tea treat- oat and currant scones. These are indeed 'fab' and need only a good smear of butter, but the raspberry jam took them over the top. I had pictured a slightly more serene lunch of scones and tea today - however, Coby received her second time out this week, and unfortunately it occurred mid-scone. After devouring her piece of cheese, she had moved onto her brother's. His refusal was met with a firm chomp of his finger. Definitely not royal behaviour.

Oat and Currant Scones
adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking

1) Combine:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour, regular or white whole wheat (I used white whole wheat)
1/4 cup sugar (I used brown)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup salt

2) Cut in (until resembles bread crumbs):
1/2 cup butter

3) Add:
1/3 cup currants (or raisins)
1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats

4) Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl, and then add to the dry ingredients:
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk (I added 1/2 T lemon juice to regular milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract

5) When the dough is evenly moistened (I needed to add an extra tablespoon of milk to my dough as it was a tad dry), pat the dough into a large circle and cut into 8 wedges. These make a good sized breakfast scone, you could also divide the dough in half and make two circles, each with 6 wedges for a smaller tea-sized scone. Ensure the scones are aprox 1 inch apart on your baking sheet.

6) Brush the tops with milk or cream and sprinkle with course sugar.

7) Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown, take a few minutes off for smaller scones.

These are best warm, though I can assure you I will be enjoying my scone leftovers while watching the pageantry tomorrow morning.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sweet Potato Waffles

Time change Sunday is always marked by an air of confusion for the Chilliwack Campbells. Mike and I spend the early morning of the change debating whether to ignore the children bouncing on top of us, and to lounge just another 5 minutes, or whether to adopt the new time and Carpe Diem. We generally opt for the ignoring of children (well, as long as possible), and the rest of the day is spent questioning the correct time.

Today the choice was made for us by our brilliant new clock radio. Unbeknownst to us, it was very much aware of the time change - so while we thought we were still on old time, we were actually on the correct new time. Mike and I were both stumbling around, feeling bleary for about an hour or so, before we realized that the time change had been made for us. I fully expect to arrive home tomorrow and find this clock radio folding my laundry, or maybe plotting global domination. Anyway, the silver lining was the gift of an extra hour we had planned to have lost to sleep - an hour used to make waffles, eat waffles, make coffee, drink coffee, make messes, make more messes - you get the idea.

This waffle recipe comes from A Real American Breakfast. The authors, the Jamisons, and I have reconciled, and while I took a few liberties, the results were delicious. These were sweet potato waffles - a recipe not for the faint of dishwasher. Many bowls were dirtied in the process of making these waffles. The upside was that they tasted fabulous, and I was able to trick Coby into eating a vegetable besides a tomato or avacado (both of whose vegetable status is under debate).

Sweet Potato Waffles
Adapted from A Real American Breakfast, by Cheryl and Bill Jamison

Serves 4 - I doubled this recipe and it made enough waffles for several days of breakfasts!

11/3 cup all purpose flour - I used whole wheat pastry flour and they were light and airy
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1 1/2 cups mashed, cooked sweet potato (2 small, or 1 lrg potato)
2/3 cup sour cream - I used 3 % yogurt with good results
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup veg oil or melted butter
3 eggs, separated
1/4 cup brown sugar

Stir the dry ingredients together. In another bowl stir the sweet potatoes, sour cream, milk, oil, egg yolks and brown sugar. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just to combine. The batter should be thick but spoonable. If it seems too thick add a bit of milk - waffles are forgiving.

Beat the egg whites with a mixer in ANOTHER bowl until stiff and then fold into the batter.

Cook the waffles on your preheated waffle iron. The directions say to grease your iron, but mine is non-stick and they turned out fine without the greasing.

Cook until brown and crisp. Serve with maple syrup and butter.

Apple sauce is another nice accompaniment - I find I can trick my youngsters into thinking they have loads of syrup on pancakes and waffles with the addition of apple sauce or blueberry sauce.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ginger Rhubarb Compote

For the last two weeks I've pretended to be a body builder. Every morning I log onto his computer and nod to his body builder wife. In the screen saver she flexes her bicep (or tricep?). Every morning, I'm sufficiently impressed.

The body builder is an English teacher. He is huge and bald and realllly nice. The kids don't know this. They live in awe and fear of his presence. He stands over their desks, flexes, and they work.

While impersonating the body builder, I tried this. Flex: nothing. A snicker.

The body builder runs a ship-shape ship. I wondered if he had a sense of humor as a teacher. The students weren't sure. He does in real life. You see, I know the body builder. In addition to being realllly nice, he's kinda funny.

I liked being the body builder--reading All Quiet on the Western Front, drilling students on expository writing, expounding on the use of the semi-colon. I'm not sure I measured up to his standard. "It seems so empty in here" a grade twelve boy said, looking over me. But I had fun trying.

Somewhere between the papers and the lectures I made rhubarb ginger compote. This was just as worthwhile as pretending to be the body builder.

Ginger Rhubarb Compote

Adapted from Marion Cunningham's The Breakfast Book

4 cups rhubarb chopped in 1 inch pieces
1 inch piece ginger
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar

Put the rhubarb, ginger, and 1/4 cup water in a pot. Simmer over medium heat until the rhubarb is just tender. This should only take a few minutes. Be careful as you don't want the rhubarb turning mushy and breaking up.

Remove the rhubarb from the pot and set aside.

Combine the sugar and remaining water in the pot. Simmer over medium until the sugar is dissolved. Add the rhubarb and cook for two minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool before serving.

This is really tasty over oatmeal and topped with yogurt.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Maple Custard

Morning people write breakfast cookbooks, I've decided. People who pop like toast out of bed. People who sing before they brush their teeth. People who don't hide behind the newspaper or the cereal box but are capable of carrying a conversation before draining the first cup of coffee.

I am often mistaken for a morning person. With good reason, too, for I am that annoying soul you see running past your window on a drizzly Saturday morning just after seven. Or my feet are hitting the carpet at eight and I'm thinking of bran muffins...I'm reaching for the bowl.

The truth is, for all the mornings I am Jekyll, I am Hyde.

Hyde growls in the morning. He paws through the house, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. His brain is sore and blurry as he brews coffee, forgetting to add the beans, or puts the milk in the cupboard. And his shirt is on inside out. He hasn't noticed. But a colleague will at ten o'clock in the staff room.

One morning, he left for work at seven thirty and the door wide open behind him. It was winter. The spouse was not impressed.

Hyde still likes breakfast.

Maple custard is the perfect Hyde breakfast. It's smooth, warm, comforting, and delicious. Let's just say it calms the beast.

Maple Custard
four servings
from Marion Cunningham's The Breakfast Book

1 cup milk (or half cream, half milk)
4 eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup

Butter four custard cups. Put a shallow baking pan, half filled with water, in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Beat the ingredients together and divide between the four cups. Put the cups in the hot water bath and bake for 20 minutes, or until the custard is barely set. Serve in the cup, or run a knife around the edges of the cups and turn the custards out.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Oatmeal Cake

Well, I don't have any food porn to offer - honestly Rach, I became a tad flushed when I read your last post; and I swear that since then, my heart beats a bit faster when I reach for the egg carton.

This post comes belated, Mike and I just returned from another weekend away in Seattle, this was in part to attend his belated birthday Decemberists concert, as well as an effort to pack in some time away before baby dictates our schedule (translate: 'my' schedule). The concert was good, the sleep-ins were good, the food was good, and the unusual Seattle sunshine all made for a lovely weekend. On return to our little monkeys, the happiness continued when I found a few pieces of oatmeal cake left in the fridge.

This is a cake that can be eaten at breakfast time, or can be nibbled on with a cup of tea to get you over that mid-afternoon slump. I can't claim that this cake was a revelation to me. I have a similar Lazy Daisy recipe that I make courtesy of More With Less. However, I liked the sound of nut-coconut-oatmeal topping for this particular cake. While tasty, I don't think this new cake differed dramatically from my original recipe, though the topping was a nice variation from my usual straight coconut variation.

Oatmeal Cake
(Source: A Real American Breakfast, by Cheryl Jamison & Bill Jamison)

1 cup old fashioned oats
1 1/4 cup boiling water
11/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 baking soda
1 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup evaporated milk (I used regular milk with great results)
4 T butter (I used 3 T, it was all I had left, and the topping still tasted great)
1/2 cup brown sugar (1/3 for the less sweet tooth)
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cups shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I skipped the walnuts and doubled the pecans)

Pour the boiling water over the oats. Set aside. Stir together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. With an electric mixer cream together the butter and the sugars. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla. Alternately beat in the flour and the oat mixture in thirds. Beat until only just combined. Spoon the batter into a prepared pan.

Bake for 32 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then run a knife around the edge and unlatch the springform rim. Transfer the cake (still on the springform base) to a baking sheet. While I followed these directions, next time I will just leave the cake in the springform and put the topping directly on.

Prepare the topping by combining the milk, the butter, and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. I heated these ingredients together in the microwave Remove from the heat and stir in the oatmeal, nuts, and coconut.

Spoon the topping evenly over the top of the cake. Heat the broiler. Broil the cake on the baking sheet several inches below the heat source for about two minutes, until the topping darkens a shade or two and gets a bit brown and crunchy in spots. Watch it carefully so that you crisp it but don't burn it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Eggs Benny Loves Bea

Psssssst. Love.








Like This:

Two eggs slipped into a bubble bath. Towel dried. Enrobed in silky sauce. Bedded on toast. Bite by bite—Hold it. Stop right there. That’s all you need to know. And yes, it was very romantic.

My bruh ha ha (guy, lover, main squeeze) loves bennies. L-O-V-E-S bennies., but only eats them in restaurants. Why? Because I don’t make bennies. And I still don’t. But this Valentines I introduced him to a new chick, Eggs Beatrice.

She’s swanky, Beatrice is. A little simpler than Ben with her base of toast, but comfortable with a few pieces of ham nestled beneath her goods.

I found this recipe for Eggs Beatrice in my study of Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book. Marion describes Eggs Beatrice as a “lighter and more delicate version of Eggs Benedict” (p.146). Her description is apt, of course. Marion has a simple way of stating things perfectly and honestly.

The recipe involves three main steps:

1. Making the hollandaise

2. Toasting the bread and ham

3. Poaching the Eggs

Eggs Beatrice for Two

Modified from Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book

Making the Hollandaise

You can make this sauce in the blender. I don’t have a blender. I have a food processor. The bowl of a food processor is too big for this sauce. Instead, I used an immersion blender and a narrow bowl with high sides. If you are horrified by the richness of this sauce, remember, you only use a portion of it for your Eggs Bea. I put 2 Tbsps of sauce on each Eggs Bea.

1 egg yolk

1 Tbsp boiling water

½ cup butter, melted and hot

2 Tbsp lemon juice

Salt to taste

Put the yolk in the bowl. Blend it with an immersion blender (or make the sauce in your blender). Add the water and blend. Then, very slowly, dribble by dribble, add the hot butter while blending. Add the lemon juice and some salt. Taste and season.

Cover the bowl. Don’t worry if it cools a little. No one will notice as your eggs will be nice and hot.

Toasting Eggs and Ham, I am

Put 2 pieces of bread in the toaster and the ham in a pan on low. The ham should just warm up a little.

Poaching the Eggs

I love Marion’s tip for poaching eggs! Marion says to boil the eggs in shell for thirty seconds before poaching. This causes the yolks to cook a little so the eggs hold together perfectly when entering the pan. Although, I still insist on cracking the eggs into a small vessel such as a cup or ladle and sliding them into the hot water. Brave Marion just cracks them right into the pan.

2 eggs

1-2 tsp cider vinegar

In a smaller saucepan, heat enough water to cover the eggs. When the water boils, add the eggs for thirty seconds. Remove.

In a wide sauce pan, or deep frying pan, heat the vinegar and enough water to cover the eggs. Bring the water to a boil then reduce the heat so that the boil slows to just barely a simmer. Crack one egg into a cup or a ladle and slip it into the water. Repeat with remaining egg. Let the eggs poach for 2 minutes and you should have a firm white with a runny yolk inside. Keep an eye on the pan as you may need to increase the heat to keep the slow simmer consistent.

Remove from the water with a slotted spoon.


Put one toast on a plate. Cover with ham top with egg. Cover with 2-3 Tbsp of hollandaise sauce. Repeat.

Note: For big eaters, poach two eggs per toast.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Crumpets and Coffee

Marion Cunningham is a morning person. If you’re not sure who Marion Cunningham is, allow me to introduce her.

Marion is wholesome.

Her picture tells me this. Imagine: side part over a broad forehead,bibbed dress, braided necklace, smile that crinkles the eyes. Here recipes also tell me this. Consider: oatmeal custard, welsh rabbit with beer, cinnamon butter puffs, Creek Bank potatoes, date raisin condiment. Those are just a few.

Marion Cunningham is kind. She bakes for people. Period.

Marion Cunningham is my guru. She will remain my guru for the next two months.

Haley and I have decided to explore various ingredients, cooking styles, flavours, and meals as we blog. For the months of February and March, we will focus on breakfast. Our study goes this way: Haley will jump, leap, dive (actually) into the big beautiful book titled, “A Real American Breakfast.” I will wander through a slimmer volume, Marion Cunningham’s “The Breakfast Book.” As you can imagine, I’m already quite taken with Marion. I also like her opinions on breakfast.

Here are a few:

Breakfast…involves no alcohol and usually consists of grains, dairy products, fruits, and maybe eggs or a little meat or fish.
I agree. Alcohol at breakfast? Marion and I perish the thought.

Gathering at the table for breakfast allows us to weave our lives with others--and that should be a daily pleasure.
Very nice.

I…love eggs…I can only eat one hard-boiled egg, but if I’m soft-boiling them I do it by twos, mash them up in a bowl, sprinkle salt over them and a little bit of pepper, and eat them with toast--and that suffices for hours.
Marion knows her mind, which I love. And pays intense attention to detail, another excellent trait in a guru. Besides, I could use a breakfast that suffices for hours. I'm usually starving by nine.

Lead, Marion I will follow.

Crumpets is the first place Marion led. I thought, I want to try the English Muffins! But Marion explained that crumpets were the ones with all those nice little holes. This is because of the baking soda.

Marion also says that you must split and toast the muffins, even hot off the griddle, and spread them with butter or jam or honey.

Marion was right. Yum.

Interpreted from Marion Cunningham's The Breakfast Book
one dozen round crumpets

1 package dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 ½ cups milk, warmed
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
¼ cup warm water

Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a large bowl. Add the sugar, stir, and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the milk, flour, and salt. Beat until smooth. Cover the bowl and let stand for one hour. Stir down. Dissolve the baking soda in the remaining ¼ cup water and stir into the batter. Cover and let rest for 30 min.

Heat a pan, or two pans, (I used a large griddle) and grease some 3 inch rings (Marion says you can use tuna tins with the tops and bottoms removed. I used 2-inch high canning jar lids.) When the griddle is hot, place the rings on it and fill each with three tablespoons of batter. Lower the heat and cook slowly until the crumpets have lost their shine, and are dull and holey. This takes about ten minutes. (Marion says not to flip the crumpets over but to just cook them on one side. I did flip my crumpets and I thought it finished them nicely.)

Toast, slather, and eat.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Apples, Walnuts, Currants: Bread

Hi Smoochy,

(If you are not familiar with Haley's various nicknames, they include the likes of Mooch, Moocho Babe, Achoomy Baab, Smoochy, Haley Bailey, and, not to be forgotten, Baby Baluga.)

Here I am, substituting in a computers class, trying to fill the hours until three o'clock. Basically I circulate through the room and ask the kids (teenagers) how their projects are progressing, they grunt, I lean in, look at their screens and murmur words of encouragement and approval, really having little to no idea what the numbers and lines indicate. Excel: one of the reasons I never took computer class.

It's warm. The computers are buzzing. One boy continues to giggle in a hicuppy sort of way.

So I thought I'd send you a little happiness in the form of an apple-walnut bread recipe.

This recipe is based on the one I made at your house exactly one-year ago, when I was similarly sporadically employed. (As a substitute teacher I find myself with a lot of spare time in September. In October the permanent staff start dropping like flies and I invariably get some work and some colds. Handling sick people's pens and pencils is a quick way to a chest infection).

The impetus for this recipe came from one of Beth Henspberger's books; I switched up the ingredients and the technique. Mine is quite a different beast, but a delicious beast.

Apple Walnut Bread

1 Tbsp yeast

2 Tbsp oil

1/4 cup milk (110 degrees - warm)

3/4 cups water (110 degrees)

1 cup oats
1 and 1/4 cups bran
1 Tbsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp all spice

3 cups peeled, coarsely chopped apple

1/2 cup currants

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

3 plus 1/4 cups flour

Combine the oil, milk, water, yeast, and one cup all-purpose flour in a bowl. Mix well and then let it stand for one hour. It will be very bubbly and active after an hours rest.

Add all the remaining ingredients except for the flour. Mix. Add the flour 1/2 a cup at a time, stirring after each addition. Give the dough a good final stir. It should be sticky but it should come together in a big wet ball. Like this:

Now, cover it with a tea towel and let it rise until about double, one hour to one and a half hours.

After the dough has risen prepare your counter by either coating it with oil or flour. The dough will not stick to either surface. Use a spatula to pour the dough onto the counter. Prepare two round casserole dishes or pots, or two loaf pans by coating the vessels in oil.

Use a knife or bench scraper to divide the dough in two. Wet your hands (which prevents the dough from sticking to you) and shape the dough into two rounds or into two loafs. Put the dough into your pans of choice and let it rise for another hour.

Before the dough has finished rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the loaves for about 45minutes, or until nicely browned and hollow sounding when tapped.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Oatmeal (Insert Fruit of Choice) Muffins


Blogging has been sparse as of late. It feels like a chore to hunker down with my laptop when the sun is shining and there are adventures to be had. Being married to a teacher (in addition to being sister to a teacher, sister-in-law to 2 teachers, and daughter to a teacher) has kept my world revolving around the school calendar. The laundry pile has grown, carpets have gone un-vacuumed, and my tupperware drawer has been systematically giving birth (but never to a matching set- oh I have countless lids, and unlimited containers, but never the twain shall match). But alas, our holidays could not go on forever, and when Mike left for school on Monday I saw the dusty piano with all the guilt that only a Dutch descendant can truly empathize with.

We grew up in a muffin household. Joan ensured a continual flow of banana chocolate chip muffins through the Reems household, these saw us through everything from highschool basketball practices, to early morning life guarding shifts. Lately I have been on the hunt for the perfect muffin balance - a muffin healthy enough that you can grab one for breakfast, or feed to your child and not feel that nagging bad-mother-white-flour twinge (yes I have guilt issues, that have only increased exponentially by the arrival of children into my life!). I'm still on that quest - here is the King Arthur Flour oatmeal muffin recipe that I have been using lately- I would definitely put the oatmeal version in the breakfast muffin category, though a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on top, or the addition of a bit of streusel certainly makes it a nice mid-morning coffee accompaniment.

Haley-variations and findings
I have been making the oatmeal version with the addition of rhubarb or blueberries this summer. I like to add a teaspoon or so of cinnamon and sometimes chopped pecans to the batter. I have made them with both oil and melted butter and haven't noticed a huge difference between the two. I use 1/3 cup brown sugar instead of 1/2 white. Finally, the oatmeal version tastes great fresh, but I put all the leftovers in the freezer as they tend to dry out after a day or so.

OK Rach, you are about to board a plane and wing your way back to Canada. Yippee! I'm planning a trip to the island to see you soon!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

100% Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

Hi Haley,

I have been a negligent sister of late, which is why I’m giving you a particularly juicy post. Don’t expect a lot of words, here. It’s 8:11 on my kitchen clock. It’s been some time since we’ve lived together but you might remember that I’m not exactly a barrel of sunshine in the wee hours. And when one starts one’s work day at 10:00 at the earliest, that makes 8:00 the equivalent of 6:00. So instead of feeling guilty for sitting here in a tattered green robe with no inclination of brushing my hair for at least another hour, I’m pleased by ---kettle boiling---my early rise and this industrious start to the day. Oh, and there’s Caleb, doing a monkey dance in purple underwear. This is my world.

Time for an Americano or two and a piece of toast.

This is my country whole wheat sourdough bread.

It’s nearly 100% whole wheat, save for the starter which is made from all purpose flour. It’s really good. The crust is crusty! The texture is open--it’s a very rustic bread with not much of a sour flavour to it; the starter is fairly mild and overrun by the flavour of whole wheat. You can use the starter to make other types of sourdough bread.

You need to take a week in advance to make the starter, which you can then keep indefinitely in your Frigidaire. You also need to be flexible and ready to pay attention to your intuition.

1 and 3/4 cups flour
1 cup warm water
¼ tsp active dry yeast

Mix, then let stand at room temp until tripled in volume, 8 to 24 hrs. Refrigerate for three days.

½ cup water
¼ cup flour

Cover and refrigerate for three more days.

It’s ready to use. Every time you use it, you must feed it. To feed the starter, divide it in half. Half you will use for your recipe, and the other half you will feed and return to the fridge. After dividing add 1 cup flour and ½ cup water and return the starter to the fridge.


½ your starter
½ cup water
1 cup flour
Combine these ingredients. Let the preferment sit at room temperature from 8 to 12 hours. It should be bubbly and have risen noticeably.

Add to the Preferment:
5 cups whole wheat flour
3 tsp salt
3 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups water (you may need to add an extra ¼ cup water if dough is too stiff)

Mix using a wooden spoon. Then use your hands to lift and fold the dough over on itself. This is to ensure that all the ingredients get incorporated throughout the dough. The dough will be quite wet and sticky. It will get all over your hands. If you want to minimize the dough to hand stick, wet your hands before touching the dough.

First Rise: Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 8 to 10 hours. The dough will have risen but it doesn’t need to have doubled.

Flour your counter top then use a spatula to scrape the dough onto your counter. Use a knife to cut it in two. Flour your hands and shape each dough hunk into a boule (fancy word for ball). Flour two cotton tea towels and set each in a colander or bowl. This is where you will place your dough to rise. The bowl/colander will give the dough shape as it rises.

Second Rise: Let the boules rise for 2 to 2.5 hours. They will have risen noticeably and look sort of puffy. They will not necessarily double.

Baking: Half an hour before you plan to bake the dough (ie, when the dough has half an hour left of rising time), place two round casserole dishes or over-safe pots into your oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you don’t have round pots you can use square but round are much preferred.

After 20 minutes to half an hour of preheating time. Put on your oven mitts and remove the pots from the oven. Gently put your hands under one boule and tip it into a pot. Put the lid on top and place it gently in the oven. It will deflate a bit. Don’t bang the pot into the oven as you don’t want to add to the deflation. Repeat with the second boule. Bake the boules with the lids on the pots for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the lids and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Let the bread cool completely before cutting in to it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

Hi Rach-

Inspired by Joy The Baker's sharing a 10-year ago card from her sister, I dug into my yahoo email archives to see what type of correspondence I was having with my siblings a decadish ago. I had some good laughs while reading old emails; I won't reprint my favourite - you debating the pros and cons of entering into a relationship with your bud Caleb.. There seem to be some extreme email personalities- Carmen and I were all pumped about email as a new medium for silliness, Brent's emails were almost always responses to mine, and I love the polite sense of response obligation that he brought to the task. Here's a few copy and pastes-

carmen reems
View Contact

you are the butter icing on my cupcake, the moon rays that guide me through dark and stormy nights. How i could ever live without you, i just cannot fathom the notion. i think of you, my princess, labouring endlessly over your paper,and my thoughts rest with you, as i pray that peace and serenity will come to you. SERENITY NOW, my haley rebecca, SERENITY NOW

From: haley reems <>
> > > > Date: Wed, 5 Dec 2001 14:21:58 -0800 (PST)
> > > >
To: Rachel Reems <>
> > > > Subject: Re: hey there hot stuff..
> > > >
> > > > > hey rach. just so you know for future
> > reference,
> > > > mom
> > > > > does not peel cucumbers.

Rachel Reems
View Contact

have a great thanksgiving Mooch, my turkey beats steadily for you and you

Re: to my dear brother..
Brent Reems
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To:haley reems

thanks for the message mooch. Things are pretty good here, been playing a lot of frisbee, mostly ultimate. Its alright, not my favorite, but something that everyone - to some extent - can do together. Anyway, I will see you soon enough,

Love Brent

Ah, good times. In 10 years from now I'll post Reems Eats highlights.

I've always been someone who needs to eat breakfast - none of this 'I'll have a coffee and grab something mid-morning.' No, I wake up and say good morning to my stomach. When Finn was around one-year, I traded in my morning granola for porridge - oatmeal with blueberries, sliced banana and honey is our daily fuel. However, there are days when Finn and I wake up and we both know that this needs to be a pancake morning. Sometimes this is because we are both feeling awesome - the sun is shining, Squirrel Birrel is running along the back fence, and life is good. Sometimes this is because I have a grumpy almost-3 year old who needs to be brought back to life with some good ol' Mommy lovin'. And nothing says Mommy loves you like a banana, oatmeal, whole wheat pancake with blueberry sauce (seriously - these actually taste good- stop rolling your eyes!).

However, on a Saturday morning I don't even consider dishing up a bowl of oatmeal. No, Saturdays, in time-honoured Joan Reems tradition, are always pancake mornings. Because Mike is a part of Saturday morning breakfasts I usually scale down on the whole grains and definitely need to forget about slipping any mashed yams, bananas, or sweet potatoes into the batter. No these are all about enjoyment. This past weekend I had a cup of ricotta leftover in the fridge but no white flour. Instead of using half all purpose and half whole wheat I used all whole wheat pastry flour. The results tasted delicious, and I hereby declare that I will never put white flour into pancakes again.

Ricotta Lemon Pancakes - Makes a good sized batch
1 cup ricotta cheese (I use the lowest fat one - I think it's 7%)
2 eggs
3 T maple syrup
2 T lemon juice (fresh or from a bottle - if you use a fresh lemon add 1 tsp of zest)
11/2 cup milk

Then add the dry ingredients:
21/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 T baking powder
pinch salt

Mix and then drop ladles onto a greased hot skillet. Flip when bubbles form on the surface of your pancake.

Serve with blueberry sauce, maple syrup, and if you really want to be in pancake nirvana make up some cream cheese syrup. I take about a third of a cup soft cream cheese, cream in a third cup maple or other breakfast syrup, and then add some milk until I have my desired thickness. Yum.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Hot Crosses

Hey H.,

How did this morning's bun-fest go? Was the over-night-garage-rise method as trusty as always? I'm going to keep this blog brief as I'm huddled up against my kitchen window in order to maintain an Internet connection. A ray of sunlight is hitting me right in the eyes and bouncing off the computer screen. If this is full of typos it's because I can't see a thing.

We had M and M over for breakie. I think they were sufficiently impressed by our spread of eggs, fruit salad, and hot cross buns. Sigh, sad that so much of what you and I make is less about love and more about showing off. Look what I can do.

I made 100% whole wheat buns because I'm on one of those whole-grains kicks. Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book has become my new best friend. I'm loving the hippy-style, healthy approach the book takes to bread making. While these are nice and grainy, they're still fairly rich... Here's the basic recipe, although I made some fairly significant changes.

3 to 3.5 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 TBsp instant yeast
3/4 cups to 1 cup warm water
1 cup yogurt
1 egg
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp butter

Combine 1 cup of the flour with the yeast. Add the water. Stir smooth. Add the wet ingredients except for the butter. Add the remaining flour 1/2 a cup at a time. The dough will be sticky. Add more flour by the spoonful if necessary. Wet your hands in order to keep the dough from sticking and knead for five minutes. Knead the butter in. The dough should be sticky but smooth. Let rise until doubled (one to two hours). Deflate the dough; reshape it into a ball and let it rise another 1/2 hour to 45 minutes, or until it is back to doubled in size.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape into buns. Let rise until doubled.

Mix one egg with 1 TBsp of water and brush over the buns before baking in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, mix 2 Tbsp honey with 1/2 Tbsp water and heat in a saucepan until boiling. Remove from heat.

When you take the buns out of the oven brush them with the honey glaze. You may add the decorative cross using an icing mixture but I omitted that step.

Serve them hot. If you plan to serve them later in the day, reheat the buns in a 350 degree oven.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Overnight Cinnamon Buns


My new food craze? Overnight cinnamon buns. This is a breakfast designed to impress your out-of-town guests, conveniently with all the prep completed the day before. Oh that's right, you and C live in a funky ONE bedroom apartment, and most of your family is within a 15 minute driving distance. Since we have a ferry or a mountain pass between many of our loved ones, Chilliwack, and Chateau Campbell, has become the place to visit. As you know we boast beautiful mountain views, lovely lakes, and Caleb's favourite - a plethora of cheap thrift stores. The newest attraction to the list? You got it, Sunday morning cinnamon bun breakfast.

I use this recipe with the following changes. I use only 1/4 sugar for the dough, I reduce the eggs from 3 to 2, and I use only 2 T butter. Last time, instead of making 12 buns I divided the dough into 14 buns to make them slightly smaller, mostly so that I can eat 2 for breakfast with a little less guilt. Oh, and instead of putting them in my already bursting fridge, I let them rise overnight in the cool garage (To clarify: 'Cool' as in temperature, please don't mistake this as a nod to Mike's NBA Jam video arcade game).

Since we have a household divide on raisins I do half with and half without - they are good without raisins too, but I have a hard time abstaining from food loves. So after I spread the filling on the dough I sprinkle half with raisins and leave half plain.

The final tweak is that I like to make a cream cheese glaze. I cream aprox 1/3 c cream cheese with 3/4 cup icing sugar and then add milk 1 T at a time until I have the desired consistency. I haven't tinkered with whole wheat flour yet, but might need to if I keep pumping these out of my oven at this rate.

OK, Rach nap time is ticking away and I have a new stack of library books!

Please note: While Mike and I love having overnight guests, we have ensured that our 'guest bed' (mattress on the floor), is only comfortable enough for about three nights, thus enabling good times and memories for both parties.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Apple Breakfast Muffins

Hey Rach-
You should be on the ferry right now - en route with the rest of the clan for the big baptismal celebration in the 'Wack this weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing you. I was missing my sisters yesterday - this baby-induced sleep deprivation has the affect of making me more sentimental than usual. I find myself getting emotional at the slightest provocation - a cuddle with Finn reminds me that one day he will be a pimply 15 and won't want a snuggle with me; I couldn't tell you why, but a Tim Horton's commercial made me teary eyed a few days ago; so yes, yesterday I was missing you. Hmm.. now it seems like I've framed this as an irrational thought. No, it just means that we are due for a good hangout; which I realize this weekend won't be - with everyone rolling in for just over 24 hours I suspect that things will be busy. In preparation for a house full of people Finn and I have been doing some baking. Yesterday was the day of apples. We hauled out the apple peeler/slicer thing-a-majig and got to work. Finn is getting to be much easier to be with in the kitchen. We haven't had a tantrum over chocolate chips for a few weeks now (you might recall from your visit that Finn and I don't see eye to eye on how many chocolate chips the sous chef merits).

We made a few apple-based products - apple sauce, apple oatmeal muffins, and an apple crisp for tonight. I made sure to write down what I put in the muffins this time - I tend to stray from the recipes but can then never quite re-create the same muffin. I tend toward making hearty muffins: in my mind cookies are more indulgent, a muffin should be tasty, yet should also be able to stand-in as a healthy breakfast option. Here is the apple oatmeal muffin batch that we concocted yesterday.

Apple Oatmeal Muffins
(This makes 18 muffins)

Combine dry ingredients:
cup whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup oatmeal
4 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine wet ingredients:
1/2 cup oil
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups milk

Add ins:
2 cups finely chopped apples (I peeled mine but you could leave the peel on)
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or raisins or both

Optional streusel topping- Combine 1 T oil or melted butter with 3 T brown sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 2 T flour and 1/4 cup oatmeal. If too dry add a very small amount of water (1 tsp or so).

Stir dry and wet ingredients together. Add apples and raisins or nuts. Sprinkle with streusel topping if desired.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 min.

OK, I'll see you soon - did you bring a costume? It's Finn and Atley's first trick-or-treating experience tonight- I just have to figure out a way to sneak away the candy for mommy..

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Enlightened Eggs Benny

For some of you egg benny lovers out there, this post will be somewhat sacrilegious -no real hollandaise sauce? Does this even constitute eggs benedict? I'm all for ordering the real deal when I'm out for breakfast - Soft poached eggs please, and load on the sauce.

However, when I'm in my own kitchen, reading a recipe that calls for one cup of melted butter, I just can't do it. This recipe is a compromise. I'm not going to pretend that my fake hollandaise is as good as the thing, but for the ease of preparation, not to mention the cup of butter issue, this is the way to go. I have taken this recipe from Crazy Plates and doctored it a bit.

Enlightened Eggs Benny

1) Fry your bacon, or for a veggie option (see pic), slice some tomatoes

2)Make your Mock Hollandaise- Combine the following and heat in the microwave until warm (don't press start until your eggs are almost done, you want the sauce to be warm on your eggs). This is enough for three bennies, or 6 eggs.
  • 1/4 cup light mayo (I insist that you use Hellmans 1/2 fat, no other light mayonnaise measures up).
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream (Please buy light, not no fat. No fat equals no taste).
  • 1 T lemon juice - the bottled worked fine but fresh would be the best
  • dash cayenne
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • fresh dill - if you have it, but I can't do without anymore. Go down to your nearest garden centre and get some herbs for a pot on your deck or window sill.
  • squirt of mustard - regular, dijon, or honey according to your taste
  • 1 or 2 T water
2) Poach your eggs - I like mine soft, maybe a scant 3 minutes or so in the pot

3) Assemble your bennies on toasted english muffin halves. Two per good appetite. Layer as follows - Muffin, bacon (or tomato), egg, and smother with sauce. Garnish with extra dill and Voila!

All you need to round out your brekky is a nice cup of fair trade, heavy on the cream, coffee.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Jumpstart on Easter

A lot is going on at the Reems-Campbell household.. a new baby in September, a trip to Mexico last week, and a move next weekend. I am now in post-holiday grieving/procrastinating from packing, cooking and baking mode. Yesterday I made two lasagnas. Today I made hot cross buns. Yes, I know I'm a week early, but with our impending move the day after Good Friday I got cracking today.

I can't take the credit for this recipe -that goes to Joan. These are the time honoured buns, made on Good Friday, year after year at the Reems homestead. I have taken the liberty of swapping the customary fruit "peel" (you know, those chopped-up, unaturally-coloured pseudo-fruit bits that come out at Christmas), with cranberries. Not because I don't like peel, but because I typically make hot cross buns on a last-minute, nostalgic childhood Easter whim, and not wanting to rush to the store to find said peel, I always have my giant Costco bag of Craisins on hand.

Mom's Hot Cross Buns

1) Combine 2 cups warm water, 2 tsp sugar, and 4 tsp yeast

2) Add:
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
2 T oil
2 cups raisins
1 cup fruit "peel" or dried cranberry or..
5 cups flour

3) Mix until smooth. Dough will be a bit sticky.

4) Let rise for 1 hour

5) Divide into 24 muffin tins

6) Let rise until double, about 45 minutes

7) Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes

8) Drizzle on topping (Combine 3/4 c icing sugar with 1T cream or milk). Make crosses if you have a steady hand - you should let them cool a bit before you drizzle, but I'm a greedy pig and like to eat them when they're hot.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Morning Glories

Louise has requested healthy muffin recipes. Muffins are a Reems staple. We grew up on chocolate chip banana muffins for our school snack. Oatmeal or wheat germ muffins were in the Sunday morning muffin rotation. If you pop by Joan and Bill's around 8:00 on any given Sunday, morning I can guarantee that my dad will be pulling a batch of oatmeal muffins from the fridge. Smothered in homemade blackberry or plum jam they always make me nostalgic, and also manage to get me through that Sunday morning-no snack, long-sermon haul.

Louise specifically mentioned Morning Glory muffins, which have been a long favourite of mine. I really got into making these a couple of years back when Mike came home with 5 pineapples leftover from the foodbank food run he did Fridays in Calgary, all almost over-ripe. I prepped and diced pineapple for the the freezer and made Morning Glory muffins all winter long. I did need to do a recipe overhaul - the recipe I had called for 1 cup of oil. I also cut back on sugar, switched to whole wheat flour and added some oatmeal. OK, I know that list sounds like a sure-fire dud, but trust me please! With these changes the muffins are now the perfect everyday breakfast muffin.

I do find all the grating a bit labour intensive. Too make things quicker I don't bother peeling the apple or carrots- you can't tell the difference in the final texture. If you don't always have pineapple on hand I would suggest upping the carrot and apple quantities, or maybe trying mashed bananas instead. I always double the recipe and then freeze most of the muffins by indiviually wrapping them in saran wrap for a ready-to-go snack or breakfast the next day.

Morning Glory Muffins

Combine moist ingredients-

1 cup carrot (2 large, 3 med), grated
1 med apple, grated
1 9 ounce tin crushed pineapple (undrained)
1/2 cup milk or yogourt
1/4 cup brown sugar (add more depending on how sweet your tooth is)
3 T oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Then add but don't stir until all the dry ingredients are in the bowl-

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger (optional)
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Optional add-is: a T or so of ground flax seed or wheat germ; 1/2 cup coconut (this recipe is flexible, if it seems dry just add a bit more milk)

Mix together and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes

Stay tuned for my blueberry oatmeal muffin recipe - healthy breakfast muffins take 2..

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Of Champions

Breakfast, a word originating in the 1400s, or so Encarta Encyclopedia tells me, means to break the fast imposed by slumber. Another interesting fact: Seventh Day Adventists, such as Kellog, promoted breakfast cereals to further their belief in a vegetarian diet. They earned millions of dollars on mass produced breakfast cereals in the process. It seems we’re still haunted by their idolization of the carbohydrate. I for one, tend to prefer a carb in the morning. Nothing breaks my fast better than home made bread, toasted and slathered with peanutbutter or jam, or a couple buttermilk pancakes topped with maple syrup and yogurt. I was just so lucky this morning when my loving husband clicked off my alarm at six twenty seven, mere minutes before beeping time (six thirty one, oddly enough), and whispered, “pancakes?” Me: “oh yes, love.”

So I entered the day in a puffy, deliciously-overly full, slightly disembodied state, which can be dangerous when you teach a room full of twelve-year olds. They’re small but they’re quick.

In the spirit of breakfast, and because the cereal jar was dangerously low, I baked a batch of granola this evening. My apartment smells of cinnamon, toasted oats, and warm nuts. Yum. I can hardly wait for tomorrow morning. It has taken me some time to balance my granola recipe. What follows here has been influenced by too many recipes to count, not to mention my own fixation. I think finding one’s own granola recipe is rather like discovering one’s heart song (watch Happy Feet—yes, animated penguins that sing and dance) you just know.

Rachel's Granola

Mix together in a large bowl4 cups oats
½ cup flax
1 cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup wheat germ
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1 cup coconut
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp salt

Then add:
1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup honey
2 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp honey
¼ cup apple sauce

Mix after you’ve added all of the sweeteners and oil. Stir until the moisture is evenly distributed, breaking up big clumps as you go.

Bake at 250 on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper for 40 minutes. Place one in the bottom third of the oven and one in the top third. Rotate the sheets every ten minutes. Mix the granola half way through the baking time. Allow to cool, and then add 1 + ½ cup dried cranberries before scooping.

Variation: Add 1/4 cup of cocoa along with the spices

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lovin' Lunch..

I love lunch. I used to say breakfast was my favourite meal, but I was doing lunch a disservice. The joy of lunch is that you can make breakfast-like meals at a more leisurely pace - I find that first thing in the morning Finn, and admittedly, myself, just want our breakfast asap. The other great thing about lunch (and I have thought of many), is that it doesn't have the same planning or pressure that dinner has. Dinner requires a lot more thought and effort. For the minimal time and effort investment, lunch always rocks. Load up the carbs and cheese, and you've got yourself a meal.

Lunch for me is frequently a guilty pleasure. There is something about spending way too much time making an awe-inspiring sandwich, or a mid-day egg fry up, just for oneself, that feels well, overly indulgent. Today was such a day. Our pictures still aren't downloading so I'll have to tell you about my and Finn's lovely breakfast-for-lunch.

Whole wheat dutch pancakes and caramelized bananas. Now, in the rest of the world dutch pancakes are crepes. In the land of the Dutch, pancakes are a big deal; Reems' have been known to pound back dutch pancake after dutch pancake at Oma's and Grandma's houses. No Aunt Jemima in sight. A dutch pancake demands Rogers Syrup. Nice and thick and sickly sweet - I love the stuff.

How to replicate?

2 eggs
1 cup flour (I used whole wheat to assuage that niggling guilty feeling that pancakes may not be the healthiest option - in my parenting defence Finn doesn't get any syrup on his).
milk - about 1 cup

Add enough milk to make a runny consistency- this is a judgement call. The batter should be quite liquid. When you put a scoop into the pan it should swirl around quickly.

Using a soup ladle put about a quarter cup into a smallish non-stick pan that has been preheated to nice and hot, and coated with oil, butter, or non-stick spray. Tilt the pan until you have a nice round crepe.

Now don't go anywhere because these babies cook quickly. It usually takes me one pancake to get into my groove - they take about 30 seconds and then require a flip. I like to have two pans going at once to double my production time. You can put a pie plate in a warm oven and just add to your stack. But look out, these babies go quickly.

Caramelized banana slices - Totally unnecessary, but oh so good. I used my silicon spatula to put a light layer of butter into a hot pan. I sprinkled about 2 teaspoons of sugar on the pan which quickly dissolved into a lovely caramel and then in went the sliced bananas. Stir around for a minute or so and yum.

Now assembly time. Put some bananas in the middle, drizzle with some rogers syrup, and if you are lucky enough to have some whipping cream kicking around in your fridge from the apple cake you made two days ago (lucky me, lucky Finn), put a nice dollop of that on top. Now roll up your pancake by sticking the tong of your fork in the edge and roll (This takes a bit of practice and many years of eating these at your Oma's house. If you don't have a Oma you may never really get the hang of it). I really need to get this camera problem figured out. These pancakes were a sight to behold.