Saturday, June 4, 2011

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread



     Baking bread makes my apartment smell marvelous.  It's a homey smell, one that beckons me to the kitchen.  It makes me want wait by the oven with butter in hand, to slather over that first slice. 

     Home made bread is a treat. Nay, an indulgence.  There is a time investment.  And for those who knead the dough by hand, a built-in work out.

     I rely on my Kitchenaid stand mixer.  I cannot begin to tell you how much fun it is to watch the mixer do all of the hard work for me.  It is a fun, edible science experiment to watch flour come together with various liquids and become playdough.  I love how yeast happily interacts with a warm cocoon of dough to produce an even bigger, but now fluffy dough ball.  It's like magic.



     This is the best home made, 100% whole wheat bread I've ever made.  Most of the time, bread made using only whole wheat flour turns out like a brick.  And it's a bit bitter, too.  This recipe came from the King Arthur website and they got it right.  There's even the addition of a "secret" ingredient: orange juice.  The OJ cuts the bitterness of traditional whole bread, giving it a sweetness that's closer to white breads.

     This bread has a better, finer texture than other whole wheat bread recipes...not as tender as white bread, but certainly not crumbly-coarse either.  It slices very well--if you make homemade bread, you know what a pain slicing it can be!  I didn't even need a bread knife to get thin-ish, uniform slices.


     If you're on the lookout for a 100% whole wheat bread recipe, try this one, from the King Arthur Flour website.  You'll like it.  (Nutrition facts are also listed at the website.)
     

Thursday, June 2, 2011

15-Minute Chicken Chili



     I shall call this "Magic Chili."  It really is ready to eat in 15 minutes.  It's hearty the way a good chili ought to be.  And it can be spicy...mine isn't as I am congenitally averse to spicy foods.  I don't like to sweat when I eat, ya know?

     Magic Chili goes really well with quinoa; pronounced "keen-nwa", it is a high-fiber, high-protein seed that is quite similar to rice once it's cooked.  I was out of rice (D'oh!) and I wanted something grain-like to eat with the chili.  I had cooked up a batch of quinoa with low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth.  The quinoa was originally supposed to go into a savory breakfast dish but the flavors and textures didn't work out.  I figured, why not try it with the chili?

     And wow, it was awesome.  Beyond awesome.  It was bordering on greatness.  (However, I wouldn't use quinoa in this dish if you have any kidney problems...that's a lot of protein for one meal.) 

    Magic Chili, truly. 



15- Minute Chicken Chili
Adapted from Allrecipes.com
Makes 4 generous servings

Ingredients:
10 oz cooked chicken, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 tsp- 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder (use less or more according to your preferences)
1 1/2 tbsp cumin
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 (15 oz) can low-sodium black black beans
1 (4.5oz) can minced green chiles (optional, I didn't use them)
1 cup fresh or frozen and thawed corn kernels
Salt, ground black pepper, and cayenne pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Add all of  the ingredients to a medium pot.  Heat over medium-high heat.  Cook for 15 minute, stirring occasionally.  The tomatoes will release their juices and the chili will become more "soupy."  (Have faith, it will happen.)  Taste and add salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste if needed.  Serve over rice, quinoa or with a side salad.

Nutrition Information Per Serving, for the chili only:
Calories: 287, Fat: 6.3g, Cholesterol: 37mg, Sodium: 600mg, Carbohydrates: 34.2g, Fiber: 9.2g, Protein: 23.5g