April 13th, 2013 by Elaine
The Baker’s Lament: “It’s a HASSLE to cut cold butter into scone or biscuit batter in order to equally distribute those sublime pockets of buttery fat and achieve the perfect result I crave.”
Fear not! You don’t have to cut in cold butter EVER again!
Here’s how to make the best buttermilk biscuits you have ever tasted, without that busy busy busy. And this is fast fast FAST!
Will you choose to spread MORE organic fresh cream butter on top, or scoop up some of our amazing British import jams and jellies from Wilkin & Sons?
I was in for the orange marmalade, first, then the lemon curd for the second one, personally.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a bowl: 1 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour plus 3/4 cup unbleached white whole wheat flour. Add 2 T baking powder, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon salt. Whisk to combine.
In microwavable bowl, heat 1/2 stick, (1/4 cup) butter in microwave on high for 1 minute. Add 1 1/4 cup very cold fat free buttermilk, stir with spatula until butter reforms into clumps. Add 1T canola oil, stir to combine.
Add buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture, stir with spatula until just blended, do not over mix. Batter will be wet.
Drop batter in 3 T mounds onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Or into a way retro-cool cast iron biscuit pan like ours!!! Bake at 450 degrees for 14 minutes until golden.
Lots of luck waiting for them to cool, try to distract yourself for 3-4 minutes and then dive right in.
Add two perfectly poached eggs and ascend directly into Heaven.
Credit where credit is due:
Cooking Light Magazine, Spring 2013 Just be aware that we changed a few instructions: parchment paper didn’t work, larger biscuits are better, your cooking time may vary, just sayin
February 28th, 2013 by Elaine
Unless I’m in The Yelton Manor B&B garden munching a cherry tomato off the vine, my food needs to be “processed”. Prepared, that is.
“Don’t eat processed food”, they warn. And they are SO right, boxed or canned grocery products loaded with salt, stripped of vitamins, flavored and preserved with chemicals, handled by dirty hands, transported, and who knows what else has putrefied your edibles all along the way. UGH!
Restaurant food is also processed. Most restaurant food is factory processed, eateries are just adding more fat and salt and turning it onto plates. It’s assembled with sketchy cleanliness at origin and in the kitchen, that’s my warning based on 45 years of experience with restaurant business. Cook and eat at home!
You can create an easy system for processing your OWN food. Here’s how to make it easy, beautiful, healthy and delicious! Always keeping your hands, counters, sinks, cutting boards and utensils impeccably clean, of course!
Purchase organic food, free of poisons in and on them. If you are purchasing root vegetables, they must ALWAYS be organic. You’ll pay a snidge more but it’s cheaper than health care, uh huh. Anyway, you will eat better and waste less after I show you how to “process your veggies”, making it a net gain to the max.
Make a week’s plan. If you make 4 weekly plans (soup week 1, pasta week 2, pizza week 3, leftovers and panini’s week 4, for example) you can simply rotate your plan monthly. One day/evening a week you go to the grocery store, purchase most of the food you and your family will eat in the next 5-7 days. The melons, kiwi, bananas, apples and whatever green (spinach, kale, chard, parsley, cucumber, etc) that will grace your smoothies (one batch=5 drinks). The vegetables that will be soup, pizza, pasta and sandwiches: carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, squash, etc.
By chopping and shaving different ways, you make veggies instantly ready for different recipes/cooking techniques, satisfying and beautiful, never boring. Here I have bagged up the florets of a head of broccoli for steaming, roasting or soup. With a wide, sharp vegetable peeler, I shave the gnarley stalks into wide green noodles, for salads, soups, pizzas, sandwiches. Ziplock bag and into the fridge.
Cauliflower, lovely heads for a crudite plate, soup, roasting or steaming, also shaved for eating raw in salad. Ziplocks, into the fridge! Brussel sprouts? Yup. Carrots chopped, shaved and sticks, for soup, salad and snacks! Celery too, clean the gnarly stalks for soup and smoothies, save tender insides and greens for salads and Bloody Marys.
Wash and pat dry your soup/smoothie greens so you can reach for them *ready to roll* for a recipe. Into the fridge. Dice your melons and freeze, ready for smoothies. Did you buy a legume? Soak it and get it ready for a soup, a stew, burritos, whatever. Into the fridge with it. Did you get citrus? Squeeze limes, lemons, oranges, grapefruit and clementines for cocktails and salad dressings! Into containers and into the door of the fridge for grabbing.
Now, as you are doing this, all the scraps of celery and carrot go into awesome veggie soup stock! No waste!
Get the idea? Put some music on too!
At the same time you are chopping, bagging AND making soup stock, you might also be roasting squash, sweet potatoes, onions, tomato, etc for adding into a breakfast omelette? Perhaps your bread machine is also making a fabulous 12 grain bread for the week’s meals?
Now, thanks to an hour or two of “multi-tasking”, you are ready to eat well at every meal, the fruits and vegetables are ready to go, right at your fingertips.
Process!!!!!! With simple organization you can be sure you are eating right and also make it easy and quick to make dinner at home, every single day.
December 3rd, 2012 by Elaine
This is my favorite winter salad and it’s always a crowd pleaser at the Holidays! Now you know what to do with all those clementines in that box! Pomegranates are seasonal November through January too. Break up any winter lettuce, like Romaine. Whisk up a simple dressing of about 1/3 cup clementine juice, 1 T champagne vinegar, 1 T honey and 1 T olive oil, dress the lettuce. Top individual plates with the clementine sections, pistachios, bits of goat cheese and some pomegranate seeds. Be prepared for applause!!!
November 29th, 2012 by Elaine
The Mother of ALL Soups is a fabulous, flavorful, vegetable stock. Easy too. At home all winter I keep it as a refrigerator staple. I frequently use it for luncheon soup when we have a corporate retreat at Yelton Manor Bed and Breakfast too. Quality food, first and foremost!!!
Every season is soup season. ALL kinds of soup from the winter squashes and root vegetables through to spring asparagus. Summer is TOO easy with all the fresh produce coming into the local farms. With beans, or potato, or pasta. Greens like spinach, chard, kale. Broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, caramelized onions, ooh la la!!!
Soup can be made extraordinary every day with a fundamental commitment to a delicious, low-sodium, homemade vegetable broth. Dedicate a day of any/every week when you are home doing laundry, working out, etc (Saturday or Saunday, right?), and make this stock. Then turn it into whatever kind of soup you want, or several different kinds of soup, or as a base for pot pies, all week long, every week.
This makes the house smell SO good! Prep time is about 15 minutes, and it stews for 2 1/2 hours. Straining takes about another 10 minutes and pot/bowl clean-up about another 10 minutes. You should DO this! Grocery store stock, canned OR boxed, even the very highest rated/organic/low-sodium, is simply disgusting compared to this.
Use all organic vegetables for this stock. These are ROOT vegetables, so organic is vital or you will be making up a batch of Pesticide Punch.
After you make this 2-3 times you’ll know the ingredients by heart, making grocery shopping easy.
The basics, deconstructed: celery, flat leaf parsley, leeks, carrots, peppercorns and course salt, fresh twigs of rosemary and thyme, heads of garlic and bay leaves.
A few tips:
Slice the leeks longways and rinse. Leeks hold a LOT of dirt between their skins.
Cut the tops of the heads of garlic and remove most of the outside paper.
Peel and top the carrots, then slice lengthwise so the optimum area of the vegetable is exposed to the broth.
Into your big soup pan, about 13-16 cups of cold salted water, bring to boil, then simmer 2 1/2 hours. Discard solids and strain the rest.
July 24th, 2012 by Elaine
We sprung into Yelton Manor Bed and Breakfast “Test Kitchen Mode” this morning after we found this amazing treat on Pinterest from a blog called “Ambitious Kitchen, The Perfect Slice of Life”. Just the NAME of this was enough to send us into spasms of food lust!!!! I dashed out to the Farmer’s Market for the raspberries while Cindi pulsed the oats in the food processor to make the perfect (and gluten free!) flour.
We are always freezing bananas at their perfect, spotted ripeness moment, the freezer is chock full of them for smoothies and banana bread. And the dark chocolate is always on hand for our signature brownies, the vanilla and oatmeal for our homemade granola, all the other ingredients for our muffins and cakes, so…..this was a natural act!!!
In the original recipe the banana bread is made in a loaf pan, but we love these individual small loaves. This can cook much longer in a full loaf pan, upwards to 40 minutes, but these came out perfect for us at 28 minutes. Your results may vary, so pay attention, use a toothpick in the center to check for perfect doneness!!!
No doubt, we were smitten with the sight of sweet/tart raspberries and dark chocolate being mixed into this lovely oatmeal and banana batter. Good heavens, it’s a healthy sweet tooth DREAM!!!!!
So, into the baking pans with it!!!!
Dark Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal Banana Bread
About 3 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1 cup smashed raspberries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
Make oat flour: Place oatmeal into blender and blend for 1-2 minutes until oatmeal resembles flour. You may need to stop blender and stir oats a couple of times to ensure that all oats have been blended.
Measure out just 2 cups of the oat flour and place in a medium bowl. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In a separate large bowl, beat mashed bananas, dark brown sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs for 1-2 minutes until the consistency is smooth and creamy. Slowly add in flour mixture and mix until just combined.
Gently fold in raspberries and dark chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. If using individual small loaf pans, 28-30 minutes should do. Cool 10-15 minutes, then remove from pan and place on wire rack to finish cooling.
Though Robert, Cindi, the rest of the staff and I stood around and simply stuffed these into our mouths amid moans and yums, we managed to snatch a photo of a serving suggestion too! We served these to Yelton Manor B&B guests this morning with a side dollop of homemade yogurt and fresh raspberries.
These are easy to make! Head on out for some raspberries right now when they are fresh at the farm! I suspect that frozen berries would work just as well. Two YUMS up!!!!!
These freeze nicely for serving later. Individually wrap in saran and place in freezer Ziplock bag.
By the way, this will probably go Vegan pretty easily simply by leaving the egg whites out. It’s already gluten free as is!!!!
June 6th, 2012 by Elaine
Each season at Yelton Manor Bed and Breakfast we invent new breakfast options. Heaven forbid our longtime Manor Family get bored with our breakfast!! In 2012 we added this Pistachio Bundt Cake, a very elegant, pale green slice of pure deliciousness!!! Borrowing the fine idea first invented by The Cake Doctor, we use cake mix and pudding mix for the measurement ease (and predictability) of the dry ingredients, then “doctor” it us with luscious enhancements.
“Go Nutty!” Pistachio Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
1 package instant pistachio pudding mix
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 inch bundt pan. In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes. Blend in eggs, water, oil, almond extract.
Add 1/2 of the chopped nuts to the batter. Mix until incorporated.
Scatter the other 1/2 of the chopped nuts in the base of the bundt pan. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack until completely cooled.
Today when we had 3/4 of the “Go Nutty” bundt left over after breakfast, we took it over to the firehouse and treated the good guys there to some breakfast!
May 5th, 2012 by Elaine
Banana Bread not only makes the kitchen smell like heaven when baking, it’s a comfort food to the max!
There is new evidence that bananas that ripen all the way to brown spots have cancer fighting qualities. Did our Grandmother’s know this when they made this luscious treat?
We use a lot of bananas on The Manor cereal table every day, and frequently they can ripen all at once with no one to eat them. So we bake this bread! OR simply individually wrap peeled bananas in saran and freeze in freezer bags. Each batch calls for 4 bananas, so we microwave 4 at a time on a slow defrost setting and they defrost perfectly.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Assemble ingredients: 4 ripe bananas, 1 full stick + 3T unsalted butter, melted, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 beaten egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon baking soda, pinch of salt, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped, with whole pecans retained for topping.
Mix butter with the smashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, egg, vanilla.
Then add the baking soda and salt. Add the flour last, mix until no flour shows.
Pour mixture into a greased 4X8 inch loaf pan, or try our cute little mini-loaf pans for individual portions.
Be creative with your filling or toppings! We like dried cranberries too, or walnuts.
Loaf bakes a full hour, mini-loaves for 25-30 minutes. Cool on rack, then serve!
If you want, these freeze nicely for using later, simply wrap in saran and put in airtight freezer bags. Defrost at room temperature. Recipe can be doubled, no problem.
YUM, Banana Bread!!!
May 4th, 2012 by Elaine
The Yelton Manor Bed and Breakfast wouldn’t have spring without lots and lots and LOTS of pansies!!!