Polynesian Style Sweet and Sour White Beans

Mondays I try to share a little something on cooking with food storage. This is a totally different spin on traditional beans and rice. Let's face it, who wants to eat the same old staples every day? I don't. I want variety. I want zip-booom-bah! I want a gorgeous sun kissed Polynesian man with ripped abs and a grass skirt. Okay. I'm kidding. I don't need the man. My husband Ace can pull off a grass skirt in a pinch. Did I say pull off? I meant…wear one. I meant pull off the look. Oh wow. I'm having hot flashes from the Solar Oven. Swoon. (Long pause…) Are you still there?  Okay…let's talk beans.  Quite some time ago I gave a beginners tutorial on how to cook a pot of beans from dry beans. I know there are some people out there who have no idea how to do that and they rely on the pre-cooked cans. Dry beans are a much cheaper option. If you missed that little hum-ding-er-of-a-good time-Tutorial…look here . Were's starting today at the point were the 1 lb bag of small white beans has been soaked overnight in about a gallon of water and 1T of baking soda. The baking soda helps with what I'm going to call, “digestive issues”…(I think we all know what I'm talking about without saying the ugly word right?) I cook my beans in my solar oven with the black pot. These white beans  work just as well in a crock pot on low for 4 hours. In Arizona, I use my solar oven like a crock pot almost year round…except for the short rainy season and the few cloudy days we do have. I use a Global Sun Oven . It's my favorite appliance ever.  
You will need:

1 lb Small White Navy Beans (soaked overnight in one gallon of water and 1T baking soda, drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup dehydrated onion (or 1 cup fresh)
1/4 cup dehydrated bell pepper (or 1/2 cup fresh)

1/2 cup of my Chef Tess peach mango jalapeño jam
3 cloves garlic (or 1 1/2 tsp granulated)
1/3 cup Hoisin sauce sauce
1/3 cup vinegar (your choice…but I love pineapple or rice vinegar here)
2 tsp sesame oil or 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
8 oz crushed drained  pineapple (optional)
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Place the drained beans in a crock pot (or solar oven pot)

 add 1/2 cup dehydrated onion or 1 cup fresh chopped onion.

Add 1/4 cup dehydrated chopped bell peppers or 1/2 cup chopped fresh bell pepper.

Add 4 cups of water and simmer on low for 3-4 hours. Solar cooker, same amount of time in direct sunlight.

When they are cooked and tender they will look all steamy and hot-flash-invoking. See? I wasn't kidding.

 Add my Peach Mango Jalapeño Jam.  Yes, we ought to keep cases of it in our food storage. As it sits…this is what's left. I'm seriously in trouble too. Ace needs jam. It's like his own personal heroin. Well, that and his wife. She's pretty much a heroine. The ” : mythological or legendary woman having the qualities of a hero”…not the opioid drug…Please don't be confused. That's called a “play on words” people.

 Then add the garlic, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, pineapple and fresh cilantro. Cook 5-10 minutes more if desired. I serve it up on a warm bed of jasmine rice with some chopped cilantro and fine chopped red cabbage…

Prepare yourself for some happiness right there. It's really amazing. Not your regular pot of beans I dare say. Not by a long shot. Oh…and if you can get your significant other to sport a grass skirt while he serves this to you…even better.  Ace wouldn't do it if I paid him.
There you go. Make some beans baby!

My Chef Tess Radio Debut

I seriously have to share this great show with everyone because it was so chuck full of outstandingly cool ideas for spring crafts! I'm hooked…and not just because I'm one of the guest speakers! You all know I'm a creative crafter to my core.  Pat Sloan was our happy host. She was one of the gals I was blessed to be part of the Kathy Peterson blog hop with.  Now, a short while later it has been fun to have a reunion of sorts. So, if you want to hear more about what you can do this Spring with your craftin' self…head on over and Listen to the April Broadcast now!  As a Mom I was so excited to download this 25 Spring Crafts for Kids free eBook full of great ideas! What mom couldn't use more of those? At any rate…here's a quick preview of the show:

Christy Tomlinson talked about her Love is in the Air Mixed Media Canvas.

Stephanie Petersen discussed the inspiration for her Personalized Crystal Ice Centerpieces and talked about painting bread! See her blog, Chef Tess Bakeresse, for more cooking and crafting ideas.

Kristin Omdahl talked about her Elegant Crochet Flower Shawl. You can order Wrapped in Crochet from CutRateCrafts.com or see all of her books here.

Terri Sproul talked about her latest project on FaveCrafts, a Steampunk Clay Book. Terri also has some fun cards for Easter. See two of her cards here: EcoArt Easter Card and Surprise Easter Card.

Linda Augsburg, editorial director of FaveCrafts, talked about the latest eBooks from FaveCrafts and our sister sites, including 25 Spring Crafts for Kids free eBook from FaveCrafts, Easter Eggs: Easter Eggs Designs, Tips for Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs, and Egg Recipes free eBook from FaveCrafts and RecipeLion, Baby Love: 25 Knit and Crochet Projects for Baby free eBook from Red Heart Yarns from FaveCrafts, Hop into 7 Free Easter Crochet Patterns free eBook from AllFreeCrochet, and 8 Easter Sewing Projects eBook from AllFreeSewing. Then she bragged on Maria Nerius and her FaveCrafts 365 vlog (video blog).

Pat Sloan is our happy host. Come on…Listen to the April Broadcast now

Cottage Dill Corn and Millet Sourdough Bread (100% whole grain and sugar free)

 Cottage Cheese Dill rolls are and will forever be my first love when it comes to dinner rolls and what brought me to my obsessive compulsive need to have bread in my life…and to the love and dear friendship of Tara  …my Evil Twin. I have many things to say about her. All good.  In culinary school I also met this stuff. My sheltered life. Tarragon. Who knew? It took school for me to know what this little herb was. 

 So, don't feel oddly if you have not ever met my friend Millet. He's a cutie, but he's not very well known in America if you're not a bird lover. It's sad really. Such a lovely grain should get more attention…affection…praise…perhaps a wall sconce in it's honor? Is that too Martha Stewart? How do you make a millet wall sconce anyway? What the carp is a wall sconce?!

 I digress. So. In my garden I have a freak-fest of this crazy dill. It's taller than me. Literally over my head. It's actually getting to be kind of epic. I might start a whole Star Trek episode in it's honor…because every time my son sees it he says, “By captain Kirk's Nipple's! It's incredible!”  You all needed to know that.

 Yes…that is my neighbor's roof…and my dill.

 The last time I went to be on  Valley Dish I was so desperate  eager to share the love that I took  some to the studio.

Decidedly it was time to start drying some of the epic mount of dill weed…and start baking. So, here we go.

Cottage Dill Millet Sourdough Bread 
with Onion and Garlic
1/4 tsp yeast (optional)
1/2 cup cold water 
1 1/3cups whole wheat Prairie Gold bread flour
2/3 cup Hulled Millet  
1/2 tsp  Real Sea Salt  
Combine all ingredients in an 8 cup mixing bowl (non metal works best)…about 5 minutes. Cover and leave in a cool room until you are ready to bake the bread, 12-18 hours. If you will be leaving it for more than 18 hours, it may be stored in the fridge part of the time, or stir after 8 hours. This will keep the yeast happy, moving it to greener pastures and evaporate any alcohol produced by the fermentation process that would otherwise hurt the yeast's ability to raise the bread.
After 12-18 hours it will be really puffy and smell like a good yeasty bread dough. Remember to keep it rather cool during this overnight period.

Get out your liquid measuring cup…the one that is clear with writing on the side. You will also need a measuring spoon. The ones made with writing on them for baking, not just the flowers or whatever on your silver spoons…

To your bucket or bowl add 1 cup Luke warm water, 1 cup cottage cheese 2 T honey and 2 tsp yeast (optional). Note: if you omit the yeast, it will take the dough about 12 hours to raise.

Put that sponge you started 12-18 hours ago in the bowl.
 Wash your hands. Now don't be scared. You will have to touch the dough. Actually you will have to really get in there and mix it up with your fingers. Break it down.

This may be my favorite part.
Woosh it around (very technical term I know) until it is smooth and batter-like. Yea. Batter-like is a word.

Now get out your whole wheat bread flour I use Prairie Gold wheat from Wheat Montana. It is by far my favorite bread wheat and flour. I don't even work for them. I grind my own (Flour making day…flour power.), but you can buy it. As long as it is fresh.Here's a peek into my flour bin. We're gettin' a little low…

Don't mock me, but I am going to show how to measure flour. Someone asked me and I don't want to assume too much of anyone reading my blog. If you are seeing this for the first time, I'm glad to help. The rest of you can just sit tight and humor me. I love everyone wherever they are in the learning process here. So here's how it's done:
Lightly scoop up the flour…don't bang it or try to pack it in there.

Get a butter knife.
Set it up on it's spine so the blade is pointed up:

Hold it flush to the top of the measuring cup and push off the extra flour so it is flat:

Like this. See?

Add 3 cups whole wheat bread flour, 1 cup cornmeal,  and 1/4 cup oil (preferably expelled pressed or extra virgin) and 2 tsp salt, 1/4 cup dry minced onion, 2 T minced dill, 1T minced tarragon, 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
 1 1/2 tsp fresh pressed garlic, about 1 large clove

 The dough should take only 10 minutes of efficient kneading to attain supple perfection–600 strokes by hand. Form into a ball. This makes a balloon like structure that helps hold in the fermenting gasses and helps the texture of the bread. Place in bowl smooth side up.

(From here on I'm using a few older pictures…)

Then I lightly spray the top of the dough with water. This helps it to stay moist, which ensures no lumps of crusty dough in my bread, just a nice even dough.

Keep that spray bottle around too. I use it a few times during bread making.

Get it pretty wet. Look how shiny. Oooo. I'm easily entertained.

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to raise at room temperature (75-80 degrees) about 1 and 1/2 hours. Sometimes it takes 2 hours if the room is cold. It helps to measure the temperature of the dough if you want to be sure. This can be done with a meat thermometer. This one was right at 85 degrees internal temperature so it took almost exactly 1 and a half hours. If it is cooler it will take longer.

It has raised about 2 inches from the top of the bowl. See the tiny belly button dot where I poked it with a meat thermometer?

When you just can't resist it anymore, go ahead and giggle and poke it with your finger.

If you don't have to use much effort, it gets those creases right around your finger, and it leaves a hole when you remove your finger, then it is ready to punch in the head.

So, punch it down already. Expel as much air as possible. This moves the yeast to greener pastures, releases trapped alcohol, and evens out the dough temperature. It's not just for the fun of punching something (though it is elating to punch something sometimes).

Reform into a ball and place back into the bowl. Spray with water again and cover with plastic. Allow to raise again. This time it should take about 1 hours. Less if your house is warm.

I had to show how the gluten strands are showing here. It's really something wild to see…

Like an alien in my kitchen…that we eat. Toasted. Mmm. Alien…

Okay, so cover the ET blob with plastic. In the meantime, lightly oil 2 standard size loaf pans. I also lightly coat them with a little cornmeal. I use 8inch by 4 inch almost without exception. This size makes great shaped loaves (see:Sandwich Loaf Molding and baking for more details on this phenomenon).

Once the dough has risen to within 2 inches of the top of the bowl again, or passes the finger poke test (yea, I know, not again a technical term). The actual technical term is the “ripe test”. Just poke it. It works…

Take the dough out of the bowl and place on a clean counter top that has been lightly misted with WATER.

Why did this picture just make me giggle with joy? I'm either really nuts or really love bread. Not sure which… Please look at this and find joy…

Mmm. Dough. Okay. Now get giddy crazy and divide the dough in half. It should look like this if you get on your knees and peek up over the edge of your countertop…

Now go here: Sandwhich Loaf Molding and baking . It will lead you in all things right and good with makig this bread into a sandwich loaf. Go ahead now. Don't be scared. I will still hold your hand and walk with you.

The killer delight is the millet nibbles. They just make me giddy. Oh millet. I love theeeeeeee.

Look at all that crusty delightfulness. Don't you just want to make some right now?!

There you go.

Upcoming Cooking Class! Spice Rack Demystification and Herb Alchemy Salad Dressing Class

  Spice Rack Demystification and 
Herb Alchemy Salad Dressing Class 
April 14th at 6:30 PM

A Beginners' Journey on How to Use
All Those Little Spice Jars in that Rack on Your Kitchen Counter…
Come and explore the wonder of spice and herb combining  with a seasoned chef and instructor.
Find out which spice and herb flavors work best together. 
Do you know the difference between a spice and an herb? 
Do you know when to use a dry herb compared to using a fresh herb? 
Do you know when to use whole spices or ground spices? 

Do you know how to store your spices in your food storage and how to rotate them? 
Do you?
Learn a little about the natural medicinal uses of some of your favorite culinary herbs and spices. They're amazing for solving some of your most common ailments!
You will enjoy the magic of seeing three identical salads transformed into three separate and very distinct flavor combinations.

Chef Tess (AKA Chef Stephanie Petersen) will be our instructor. You won't want to miss it. Bring your own spice rack because we're really going to learn with what we have!

Class starts at 6:30. Arrive a little early

Free class
144 S Mesa Dr Ste D
Mesa, AZ 85210

Whole Grain Millet Bread

The first time I ever saw millet I was in love with it. I loved it's golden color. I loved it nutty charm. It's rapier whit.  Okay…maybe not it's rapier whit.  It didn't talk to me…at first. However, when I got to know it and use it in many applications, it not only began to talk to me, it began to sing! Oh land. I love a good millet! Now I have to say it.
Millet. Gosh. It's used as bird seed most often in America and it's such a sad use of such an amazing grain. I'm super duper fond of it. I mean really…look how pretty it is…

I have a secret to adding it to my millet bread that will make it moist and delightful. I'm certain you want to know what it is. 
Here's my recipe for millet bread first. I'm sure you'll want that to get started.
6 cups whole wheat Praire Gold flour ( Did you see how to make whole wheat flour? look here )
1/2 cup honey Honey  
1/4 cup  extra virgin Coconut Oil  
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp Real Sea Salt  
2 1/2 cup Soy Milk (or regular milk)–luke warm and no hotter than 110 degrees.
24 hours before you want to make your bread, place 1 cup millet in 2 cups of boiling water. Cover and allow to sit for 24 hours. This will ensure that the grain is well moisturized. Drain off water completely.
In a large 2 gallon bowl combine the soy milk, oil, honey, yeast and soaked millet.  Make sure the yeast is active.  Add 5 cups of flour and the salt. Knead about 500 turns by hand or 5 minutes in a mixer at medium setting, adding as little flour as possible.  Allow dough to sit 10 minutes and assimilate moisture before adding any more flour (as it most likely will not need more flour at all).  Roll into a ball and place in a covered straight sided crock and allow to raise until doubled, about 2 hours at 85 degrees.  Tenderly punch down dough and release excess air.  Allow to raise again until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  
Now if you've never made a loaf of bread before, there is a method. This is Lauren's first loaf…

Shape the dough into a rectangle, as you would for loaf molding.  Please see directions. Because once you do, your loaves will always look amazing.  Now, lightly oil and dust with cornmeal two standard sized loaf pans.Place loaf in a lightly oiled standard loaf pan. The pan size is important. 8 inch by 4 inch. Any larger, and the loaf will end up squatted without a well shaped slice. You can still use the larger pans, but just note, I don't recommend them for that reason.

To keep the top crust from separating from the loaf, spread with butter or oil. This keeps it from getting dry, which is one of the leading causes of crust separation.

I bake in a preheated solar oven after letting the dough raise for 45 minutes. If you bake in a regular oven, bake after raising 1 hour and bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees.  Bake 45 minutes (or until internal temperature registers 165-175 degrees with a meat thermometer).

Remove from pan right after baking is done and place on a wire rack.  I wrap mine in a clean kitchen towel and then place them in a clean plastic bag until cool. This helps steam the crust and makes them easy to slice as well as preventing any rock hard whole grains of millet from being on the surface of the bread.
There you go.