29 June 2017

Homemade Blueberry Syrup or Sauce

Homemade Blueberry Syrup or Sauce / www.delightfulrepast.com

Homemade blueberry syrup on pancakes or waffles is one of my favorite "breakfast for dinner" meals (since I rarely eat anything but fruit, nuts and oatmeal for breakfast).

But it can't be phony, store-bought blueberry syrup, in which blueberries are a distant third on the ingredient list, after high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup. I can't remember the last time I ingested either of those things. Not being a food snob, just trying to take care of my health.

Which is why I also do not use artificial sweeteners and limit my intake of sugar and other natural sweeteners, such as honey and maple syrup. I use just 2 tablespoons of real maple syrup to make 1 cup of blueberry syrup. A cup of the blueberry syrup is enough for 12 5-inch pancakes.

So, to do the math (which I always do, in order to stay within my daily sugar allowance): 1/4 cup of my homemade blueberry syrup, perfect for 3 5-inch pancakes, contains just 1 1/2 teaspoons of real maple syrup (sugar).

To read how I, a comfort food blogger and frequent baker, handle sugar in a way that is realistic for me and doable for the long term, read Sugar - Toxin or Treat? And here are my recipes for Pancakes, Gluten-Free Pancakes, and Waffles. You can also use this as a sauce on desserts.

What do you like to put on pancakes and waffles?

Homemade Blueberry Syrup or Sauce / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Blueberry Syrup or Sauce

(Makes 1 cup, enough for 12 5-inch pancakes)

6 ounces (170 grams/about 1 1/4 cups) fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce/30 ml) real maple syrup
4 tablespoons (2 fluid ounces/59 ml) water, divided
Tiny pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons non-GMO cornstarch
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Put washed blueberries in 1-quart saucepan. Add maple syrup, 3 tablespoons of water and tiny pinch of salt (don't overdo it!). Bring to boil over medium heat; lower heat and simmer for 8 minutes.

2 Stir cornstarch into remaining 1 tablespoon water, and stir into blueberries. Simmer for a minute or two. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

22 June 2017

My New Improved Spoon Rolls - The Easiest Yeast Rolls Ever

My New Improved Spoon Rolls - The Easiest Yeast Rolls Ever / www.delightfulrepast.com

Spoon rolls are the easiest yeast rolls ever. When I'm feeling my Southern roots from my paternal grandmother, I like to make her delectable fried chicken dinner with mashed potatoes and cream gravy, green beans, biscuits, peach pie and iced tea. Now there's a Delightful Repast! Spoon rolls are a Southern thing, too, but I just have to have biscuits with my fried chicken. Other dinners, give me a yeast roll.

Traditional spoon rolls are the quickest and easiest yeast bread going. The problem I always had with them was that, though tasty, they were more like a muffin in texture. So several years ago I started experimenting and came up with a much more flavorful version that has the proper yeast dough texture. Still just as quick and easy, but since they have to hang out in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours, you have to plan ahead.

My New Improved Spoon Rolls - The Easiest Yeast Rolls Ever / www.delightfulrepast.com

So next time you want dinner rolls but don't have the time or inclination to make Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls, try my 24-Hour Spoon Rolls, so called because the no-knead dough needs at least 24 hours in the refrigerator. You can even leave it in the refrigerator for several days, so this is a wonderful make-ahead thing for busy cooks.

You can have freshly baked dinner rolls every day! You don't have to bake 18 rolls if you don't need that many. Bake 9 one day and 9 another day, or 12 today and 6 the day after tomorrow, whatever you need!

My New Improved Spoon Rolls - The Easiest Yeast Rolls Ever / www.delightfulrepast.com
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24-Hour Spoon Rolls

(Makes 18 rolls)

3 3/4 packed cups (18.75 ounces/532 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces/50 grams) sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package/0.25 ounce/7 grams) instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons (0.25 ounce/7 grams) salt
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter
2 cups (16 fluid ounces/472 grams) water
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In small saucepan, melt butter; stir in water. With dough whisk or large wooden spoon, stir water, melted butter and beaten egg into flour mixture until blended. The dough will be very sticky. Cover with lid or plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least 24 hours or up to several days.

2 An hour to an hour and half before serving time (the longer time if your kitchen is cold), remove from refrigerator and stir down the dough (just a few strokes). With a 1/4-cup measure, scoop dough into well-greased or cooking-sprayed muffin tins, filling two-thirds full (scant 1/4 cup). Let rise, uncovered, about 30 minutes (60 minutes if kitchen is cold) or until they’ve risen to the top of the cups. During last 15 minutes, preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6.

Note: I have a couple of very old 6-cup standard muffin tins as well as a 12-cup muffin tin that comes with a lid.

3 Bake for 20 minutes or until rolls are golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before removing from tins. Makes 18.

15 June 2017

Coronation Chicken Tea Sandwiches

Coronation Chicken Tea Sandwiches (my version is less sweet than most) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Coronation Chicken Tea Sandwiches popped into my head this week, mainly because I wanted an excuse to use my new tea set. Our dear friends in New Mexico came for a visit and brought me their Old Country Roses tea set, something they no longer use, having gone over to the dark side, coffee!

Like me, these friends run a tight ship - and do a far better job of it than I! They don't like to have unused things cluttering up their cupboards or garage. So Julia asked me before they left home if I'd like to have the set. But of course, darling! But it meant making a place for it by getting rid of at least as many pieces.

Several days before they arrived I boxed up the teapot and other items to be donated and said goodbye to them. They were all things I liked, but not as much as I was going to like the Old Country Roses tea set and thinking of our friends every time we use it.

I don't have the time or energy just now for a tea party, so I just made some sandwiches and tea and pulled some Bakewell Tart Traybake squares from the freezer. Didn't make Scones, which is a shame since I also have a jar of my homemade Clotted Cream in the freezer.

Many recipes for Coronation Chicken call for Major Grey's chutney, but I don't always have that product on hand. Certainly didn't want to buy a jar (and have most of it go to waste!) just for a small batch of Coronation Chicken. So I just used some of the chutney ingredients in my recipe.

Are you a Coronation Chicken fan? When it's made with chutney, it's much too sweet for my taste. But made my way, I really like it. What is your favorite tea sandwich?

Update 05/30/18: I just discovered Fallue - The Traditional Norman Brioche, which is the perfect bread for these sandwiches!

Coronation Chicken Tea Sandwiches (my version is less sweet than most) / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Coronation Chicken Tea Sandwiches

1/4 cup sliced (flaked) or slivered almonds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound (454 grams) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

1/4 cup finely chopped dried mango or apricot
2 tablespoons dried currants
3/4 to 1 1/4 teaspoons curry powder
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon apricot preserves, optional (for those who want to add a bit more sweetness) 
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
16 slices buttermilk bread (or other soft, "wide" bread)
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, very soft

1 In dry skillet, toast the almonds over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove to bowl to cool.

2 In same skillet, still hot, heat the olive oil. Add the chicken breasts and cook, loosely covered, over medium-low heat about 15 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the pieces. Season each side of chicken with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Remove to plate to cool.

3 Add onion to skillet and cook until very soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in dried fruits, curry powder, dry mustard, red wine vinegar and apricot preserves; cook over low heat for about 3 minutes. Remove to bowl to cool.

4 Chop the cooled toasted almonds and put in a 1.5-quart bowl. Chop the cooled chicken and add it to the bowl. Stir in the onion-dried fruit mixture. Stir in the mayonnaise and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and chill for at least an hour before assembling sandwiches.

5 Spread each slice of bread thinly with softened butter. Divide the chicken salad (about 1/4 cup each) among the 8 bottom bread slices. Top with remaining buttered bread slices. Trim off crusts and cut each sandwich into four fingers or triangles, arranging on a plate in about three layers.

6 Lay a good-quality un-dyed paper towel on top of the sandwiches. Wet and wring out well another paper towel; lay the damp paper towel on top of the dry paper towel. Never place the damp paper towel directly on top of the sandwiches or they will become soggy. Wrap rather snugly with plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least an hour or up to several hours. This will make your sandwiches “hold together” and keep them from drying out. Remove from refrigerator and uncover sandwiches just before serving.


08 June 2017

Bakewell Tart Traybake

Bakewell Tart Traybake - the quick and easy way to make Bakewell Tart / www.delightfulrepast.com

I do love a pretty wedge of Classic Bakewell Tart (with a nice cup of tea, of course!), but sometimes I want to serve more people. I could make two proper 9-inch tarts, but that does seem like a lot of trouble, doesn't it? So I decided to try it as a traybake.

A lot of people don't have tart tins anyway. And if you don't have a quarter-sheet pan, you could use a 13x9x2-inch pan; but I recommend you get one or more quarter-sheet pans as they are good for sooooo many things.

What you don't need for this recipe, besides tart tins, is a mixer or food processor or anything that has to be plugged in. You don't even need a rolling pin. Just make the easy pastry in a bowl, throw it into the pan and press it into the bottom of the pan and partially bake it.

Then stir up the filling right in the pan in which you melt the butter. Spread on the jam. Pour on the filling. Throw on the sliced almonds. Pop it into the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, and Bob's your uncle, as they say in the home of Bakewell Tarts!

I was actually a bit short (38 grams) on the almond flour and was too cheap to spring for another bag of it, so I just used unbleached all-purpose flour to make up the difference. Perfectly delicious. No need to panic.

Bakewell Tart is very rich, so bear that in mind when cutting portions. For an afternoon tea, where everything must be tiny and cute, you could cut it into 48 squares. For the neatest slices, be sure to wait until it is completely cool to cut it.

Bakewell Tart Traybake - the quick and easy way to make a Bakewell Tart / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Just FYI, I cut this tart into 28 pieces of the size and shape you see here.

Bakewell Tart Traybake 

(Makes one 13x9-inch tart)

The Pastry - No-Roll Shortcrust Pastry 

1 1/3 dip-and-sweep cup (6.66 ounces/189 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 ounce/28 grams) unsifted powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (4 ounces/113 grams) cold unsalted butter, shredded
1 large egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon water, reserve the white for the filling

Note: if you're gluten-free, do my Gluten-Free Pie Crust.

The Filling - Frangipane

1 cup (8 ounces/227 grams) unsalted butter
1 cup (7 ounces/198 grams) sugar
2 firmly packed cup (8 ounces/227 grams) super-fine almond flour (ground almonds)
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup (7 ounces/198 grams) raspberry jam
1 cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) sliced almonds (also called flaked almonds)

1 Spray a 13x9x1-inch (33x23x3 cm) quarter-sheet pan with cooking spray. In medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, powdered sugar and salt. With your fingertips, rub in the cold shredded butter to a crumb texture with some bigger hunks of butter remaining. Sprinkle on egg yolk-water mixture and mix in, adding more water, if needed, just a teaspoon at a time. Put dough in prepared quarter-sheet pan and press it in an even layer on the bottom of the pan, just ever so slightly onto the side so that when it shrinks during baking the bottom will be completely covered. Pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 375F/190C/Gas5.

Note: You can also line the bottom with parchment paper, leaving a little overhang on the ends so you can lift the cooled tart from the pan all in one piece. But this time I just cut it in the pan.

2 Bake for about 20 minutes until slightly browned to a pale golden. Let stand to cool a bit while proceeding with the recipe.

3 While pastry is cooling, make the filling. In 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Take off heat, and stir in the sugar; then the ground almonds, eggs and reserved white, almond extract and salt until well combined.

4 Spread the jam over the bottom of the prebaked pastry shell. Pour in the frangipane. Top with sliced almonds. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Dust with sifted powdered sugar just before serving.

05 June 2017

Broccoli Salad - Daddy's Version

Broccoli Salad -- in half-pint canning jars for lunch on the go / www.delightfulrepast.com

Being half Southern (on my Daddy's side), I always called my father "Daddy." Anyway ... Daddy made a great broccoli salad, the first one I ever had. I've been meaning to post it ever since I posted Broccoli Salad - A High-Protein Version, where I tell the amusing story of one of his rare forays into the kitchen. Years later, after my mother died, he did learn to make a few things. 

Note: As you can see, it's a perfect picnic or lunchbox salad, individual servings easily transportable in half-pint jars.

This salad was something he started making huge batches of anytime he was expecting anyone to come stay with him for a few days. He would just get out his biggest stainless steel bowl, which held at least 6 quarts, and start chopping stuff up until it was filled to the brim. We'd have to eat it at every meal until it was gone, or he'd say "I thought you liked broccoli salad"!

One time we stayed five nights, so we had it at nine lunches and dinners! It was a good thing we liked it because I can eat something once just to be polite, but nine times? This was the first time I've made it since he died. I feel a little rebellious writing this because he was such an introvert he wouldn't have liked being written about on the internet! 

Broccoli Salad (vinegar and oil type) - in this photo, an individual serving in a crystal coupe / www.delightfulrepast.com

This broccoli salad is a non-creamy, vinegar and oil, "Italian" dressing kind of salad, unlike the other one which has more ingredients and a creamy dressing with a touch of sweetness. Which kind do you prefer? I like both. Oh, at some point I'll have to tell you another salad story--one where Daddy refused to eat "that damn hippie crap"!

Broccoli Salad / www.delightfulrepast.com

Daddy's Broccoli Salad

(Makes 8 servings)  

1 to 1.25 pounds broccoli, chopped
1 large green* bell pepper, chopped
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup very finely chopped red onion, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

* Yellow would have been lovely, but the yellow bell peppers were imported; so, of course, I bought the more "local" green ones.

1 In 2-quart bowl, combine chopped vegetables. Aim for 1/4-inch dice on the broccoli stems and bell pepper.

2 Add the remaining ingredients directly to the bowl--no need to make the dressing in a separate bowl. Stir until well combined. 

3 Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. After a couple of hours, give it a stir and taste and adjust seasoning. 


01 June 2017

Cold-Brew Coffee Concentrate

Cold-Brew Coffee Concentrate - the easy way to make coffee for a crowd or coffee a cup at a time / www.delightfulrepast.com

Cold-brew coffee concentrate is something I first heard of decades ago from a doctor I knew who was a coffee aficionado. He was very particular about his coffee and didn't have time to make it properly for himself during the workday and didn't believe that anyone else could. 

So he made coffee concentrate at home and kept a bottle in his office refrigerator. With it he could have a cup of excellent coffee in no more time than it took to heat the water. 

I'm not a coffee drinker, but I can enjoy a cup or two on those occasions when I make it for guests who are. And I use it in cooking and baking. Since regular coffee does terrible things to me (though the caffeine in tea does not bother me at all), I always use decaffeinated (organic, fair trade) coffee. 

My preferred brewing methods are pourover and French press. If, like me, you find making pourover or French press coffee for a crowd a bit of a pain, you'll love using cold-brew coffee concentrate. 

If you have an iced coffee habit, it could quickly break the budget; but not if you make your own fancy iced coffee drinks at home. With your own stash of coffee concentrate, your favorite add-ins and plenty of ice, you'll save a lot of money. 

To make this amount of cold-brew coffee concentrate, you'll need some version of the following: 4-cup glass measure, 2-cup glass measure, strainer, pint jar, stainless steel filter (or unbleached paper filters) and filter holder (dripper).

Just see what you have in your kitchen that will work. I just happen to have the stainless steel filter because someone gave it to me. I imagine you could put an unbleached paper filter or piece of cheesecloth in a large strainer and set it over a bowl. 

I'll leave it to you to decide how much concentrate to use for various purposes, but I think one part concentrate to three parts hot water makes a great cup of coffee.

Of course, tea drinker that I am, most of my coffee concentrate will be going into things like Brownies, Brownie Bites and Coffee Chocolate Gelato. Do you like coffee? Hot or iced? 

Cold-Brew Coffee Concentrate - the easy way to make coffee for a crowd or coffee a cup at a time / www.delightfulrepast.com

Cold-Brew Coffee Concentrate

(Makes about 16 fluid ounces/473 ml )

4 ounces (113 grams/about 1 1/4 cups) medium-grind coffee
2 1/2 cups (20 fluid ounces/591 ml) cold water

1 In a 4-cup glass measure or pitcher, stir together coffee and water; cover. Let stand at room temperature for 18 hours. 

2 Strain into a 2-cup glass measure

3 Put a stainless steel filter, or a wet paper filter in a filter holder (dripper) or large strainer, over a pint jar or another 2-cup glass measure. Pour in the strained coffee. When dripping stops, remove filter, put a lid on the jar and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Cold-Brew Coffee Concentrate - the easy way to make coffee for a crowd or coffee a cup at a time / www.delightfulrepast.com
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