Monday, September 26, 2011

White Whole Wheat Bread (Bread Machine)

Would you believe me if I told you that you could make a sandwich bread at home that's 100% whole grain, simple as can be, and is light and fluffy?  If you took my advice and have a bread machine, you can try this recipe for yourself and see if you agree!  As I have told you over and over, white whole wheat flour is a whole grain baker's best friend, especially if you don't always want your baked goods to be heavy and dense.  I am a huge fan of a traditional whole wheat bread, but sometimes I just want something lighter, and that's where this recipe comes in.  It's great for sandwiches, as a side for soup, as the basis for croutons, or even to make delicious french toast.  And if you are cooking for others who are not whole grain converts, or are trying to ease your family into a more wholesome lifestyle, I promise you won't get any complaints!

White Whole Wheat Bread
adapted from The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook

1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup agave, honey, or maple syrup
2 tablespoons oil

3 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons SAF yeast (2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast)

Add all ingredients to bread machine as directed for your model.  Set for whole wheat cycle (on my machine with SAF yeast I use quick wheat).  When bread is done, remove from pan immediately and allow to cool completely on a rack before slicing.

Makes a 1.5 lb loaf

Friday, September 9, 2011

Salmon Burgers

Here we go with another late-summer burger recipe, this time featuring salmon!  Throughout my life I have not been a huge fan of food that "lived under water", but with all of the talk about salmon being such a healthy food, I felt I owed it to myself and my family to get it into the rotation.  I'm proud to say I've found quite a few variations that I really love - Maple Glazed Salmon, Salmon Cakes, and even some canned salmon mixed with mayo for an easy lunch.  Earlier this summer, I was shopping in Whole Foods and saw that salmon burgers were on special, only $2.50 instead of $5.00 each for a burger made with wild salmon, so I had to try them.  They grilled up beautifully and were delicious, but the regular price just seemed excessive for something I should be able to make at home!

Of course I decided to try to make them one afternoon when my fridge and pantry were sparse (we were even out of soy sauce!) and no time to go to the store, so when I went searching for recipes I was very limited on what I'd be able to try.  I came across a somewhat odd sounding Rachael Ray recipe for "Everything Salmon Burgers" which seemed to be trying to replicate the flavor profile of an everything bagel with lox and cream cheese.  That was a little much for me, but I liked the stripped down idea for the burger (well, it sounded good enough and I could make it quickly with what I had on hand!).

The result was perfect for me...with all of the seasoning and grilling, the salmon taste is not overly strong, but the burgers are flavorful, easy to throw together, and such a great way to eat more fish.  Note that I would NOT recommend going out and spending $20/lb for fresh wild salmon for this recipe - it is perfect for when you can get wild salmon at a bargain price.  My favorite is frozen wild salmon from Trader Joe's, which comes already skinned for $7.99/lb!  The previously frozen kind doesn't have the best texture when cooked as a filet, but is the perfect solution in a recipe like this :)

Salmon Burgers
adapted from Food Network

2 6-ounce skinless wild salmon fillets, cut into large chunks
1 tablespoon grill seasoning
1 tablespoon sesame and/or poppy seeds (I used all sesame)
1 rounded teaspoon dried dill (or 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped)
Olive oil for drizzling

Preheat outdoor grill if using to medium high. Prepare hot grill with cooking spray. 

Place salmon in food processor and pulse a few times to coarse grind meat to form burgers (do not puree!). Transfer fish to a mixing bowl and season with grill seasoning, seeds, and dill. Mix and form 3 patties. Drizzle the burgers with extra-virgin olive oil.

Cook burgers 3 minutes on each side.

Serve on toasted 100% Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns with Lemon Dill Sauce and your favorite toppings (we love beefsteak tomato and avocado slices!).

Serves 3

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Yogurt Veggie Dip

As a kid (and young adult!) I used to look forward to family get-togethers, where there would almost always be a bowl of onion dip made from sour cream and dried soup mix, which I would load onto potato chips.  Healthy, right?  This is a snack I wouldn't dream of serving now that I focus more on real foods, but that doesn't mean I don't want to ever have dip again!  Last year I blogged about this recipe for Spinach Leek Dip which is simple enough, but does require a cooking step I probably wouldn't be willing to do all of the time just for a dip.

I recently decided to invest in Mark Bittman's book How to Cook Everything, since those of you who follow me on Facebook might have noticed I'm a big fan of his!  I figured if I'm going to read his blog and share his articles, the least I could do is support him by buying his highly rated cookbook.  Well, as it turns out, this book really does have a recipe for everything, including simple-as-can-be dip.  This was great timing, as I've been trying to snack on raw veggies, and have been dipping them in organic store-bought ranch dressing for convenience - a decent compromise, but not as wholesome as I'd like.  An easy dip that I can make regularly would be perfect!

Bittman give the option of making this basic dip with sour cream or yogurt, so I started with the yogurt option to maximize the wholesomeness, adding just a little bit of mayo for additional texture and richness.  And guess what - while not as thick as a sour cream dip, this version was delicious!  I served it to some friends who could not get enough, and it made me so excited to pull some veggie sticks out of the fridge for the rest of the week :)

Yogurt Veggie Dip
adapted from How to Cook Everything

1 3/4 cups yogurt*
1/4 cup mayo
3 scallions or 1/2 small red onion cut into chunks
1 cup mixed raw vegetables cut into chunks (e.g., carrots, seeded cucumber, bell pepper)
1 rounded teaspoon dried dill (or 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Add the yogurt and mayo to a bowl.  In a mini-chopper, mince the raw veggies so that they are in tiny pieces but not pureed, and add to bowl with yogurt (you don't want the veggies, especially the onion, to get watery - if you go too far, just drain before adding to yogurt).  Add dill and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and mix to combine well.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.

Makes 3 cups of dip

*Greek yogurt is best here due to its texture.  Regular yogurt will taste great, but the dip will be on the runny side, so you could also consider straining a bit before using.  Alternatively, add more mayo or mix with sour cream for a stiffer dip.