Over the Salt

Mindful choices for healthy and low sodium cooking


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Sweet and savory onion jam with apricots, golden raisons, chocolate

 

I love the unexpected in cooking adventures, those times when you make something with whatever is on hand. Inspiration and serendipity go hand in hand. Today we had some spare chopped onions left over from making a pie filling. When I checked to see what else we had, the ingredients added up to the right mix for onion jam. Sweet and sour onion jam is very much like chutney. It is something I tend to make frequently as it keeps well in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. It can be used on sandwiches, added to other dishes or used as a garnish for other dishes.

Equipment

Skillet
Wooden spoon
Butter knife
Chopping Knife
Glass jar with lid
Measuring cups and spoons

Turn oven to grill and preheat

Ingredients

1/2 stick of no-salt butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup golden raisons
2 tablespoons baslamic reduction with blackcurrants
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup apricot sauce
(or jam if that’s what you have)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon herbs of provence
1/2 teaspoon garam marsala

Making

Put skillet or saucepan on high
Melt the butter and fry the chopped onions
Put in a double handful of golden raisons, which is about a cup
(feel free to use dark raisons, mixed raisons, tiny thompson raisons)
Add spices and stir regularly
Add the brown sugar and continue stirring
Next add the vinegar and the chocolate chips
Add fruit sauce and stir into the bubbling mix
Turn the stove off and allow it to cool down

Spread on flatbread with shredded cheese
(we like sharp cheddar or asiago)
Grill until cheese is melted

Serving

Serve with fruit in season and creme fraiche

 


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Sweet shortcrust pastry

pastryballSweet Pastry 101

Colleen tells me that shortcrust pastry gets its texture from shortening the gluten strands with a fat. This makes it melt-in-the-mouth. In Seattle, the humidity in the air requires attention to the texture of the mix and you may need to add or subtract flour to get the desired end. A light hand is needed to avoid overworking the pastry.

Sweet pastry should be able to stand on its own, and for Colleen’s preferred recipe, it can be sliced up and served as shortbread.

Ingredients

1.5 sticks of butter at room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
1 large egg
2-3 tablespoons of water
80 grams (1/4 cup) of baking sugar

Equipment

A large bowl
Plastic wrap or wax paper (either is good)
Rolling pin
Measuring cups
Pie dish or dishes
Pastry weights (this can be rice or uncooked split peas)
Oven preheated to 400F

Making

Cream butter and sugar together using your hand.
(heat of hand helps melt butter)
Add one egg and mix thoroughly.
Gradually add the flour until pastry forms a ball
(you may not need all the flour)
Add a couple teaspoons water to help make pastry workable (it does not break)
Pastry should leave sides of the bowl clean and not be sticky

Wrap in plastic or wax paper and put in fridge for half an hour.
This allows the gluten strands to relax and not be stretched,
creating the desired ‘shortness’.

Using pastry

Take out of refrigerator and place between two sheets of plastic or wax paper.
Use rolling pin to roll out to the desired size and thickness.
Remove one side of the paper or plastic and roll loosely around the rolling pin to lift it.
Roll out over pie dish, pastry side down.
Ease pastry into the corners without stretching.
Finish the edges by pinching between finger and thumb to flute edges.
Use parchment paper as a barrier for the weights. Add pastry weights to fill base evenly.

Blind Baking

This will prepare the pastry and cook it partially so it does not become soggy when you add a wet filling.

Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes.
Remove the weights and parchment paper (dough will still be moist on bottom).
Cook for another 5 minutes to dry the bottom of the pastry.
The pastry is now ready for filling.


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Almond Pear Tart

rialoader-2016-peartart

Almond Pear Tart – Recipe by Colleen Loader, Photo by Ria Loader

Delicious, only sightly sweet, almond pastry with pears and apricot glaze. The fresh, firm, pears are in season right now at our local farmer’s cooperative. Almond meal was the perfect accompaniment. The nutty flavor is a favorite from almond croissants and I enjoyed finding a new way to incorporate it into a recipe.

Ingredients

A blind-baked sweet pastry shell
1-2 Firm Pears
2.5 cups almond meal
3 eggs
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup water

Equipment

Mixing bowl
Metal spoon
Paring knife
Pastry brush
Small preparation bowl
Measuring cups and spoons
Preheat oven to 400F

Making

Start with a sweet pastry shell and blind bake it (see recipe)
In large mixing bowl, place almond meal, sugar and vanilla.
Add 3 eggs and stir to combine ingredients.
Pour into cooled pastry shell and level out.
Peel and core pears. Slice thinly and arrange in a fan
(hint: it will fan more easily if you place base of pear against outside of pastry)
In small preparation bowl, mix water and apricot jam together to form thin glaze.
Brush apricot glaze over the pears to thoroughly cover the top of the pie.
Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes until pears are soft and almond base is set.

Serve warm or cool with whipped cream and ice cream or enjoy as a simple slice.

 


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Honey Jumbles – tea cookies

HoneyJumbles.pngThis is a variant of a shortbread recipe that adds lightness and spice. There’s a childhood version with molasses, but we get our flavor intensity from the ginger and a dark honey. It’s terrific as a tea cookie. The citrus glaze is delicious.

Variants:
Skip the ginger and honey
and add lemon zest to make
lemony tea cookies

Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup of baking sugar (fine)
1 stick of butter (4oz)
1 teaspoon of ginger
1 egg
(2 teaspoons ginger if powdered)
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon baking powder

Equipment

Clean hands
Mixing bowl
2 desert spoons to shape the mix
baking tray with parchment
Make a wax paper piping bag
Oven preheated to 350 degrees F

Making

Cream butter and sugar by hand in a bowl
(the heat of your hand will melt the butter)
Add the ginger and mix well
Mix in the honey and egg
Add the baking soda and gradually add flour
Form lozenges using the desert spoons
Bake for 12 minutes

Glaze

1 cup of confectioners sugar
1 lemon
Beat until slightly stiff
When the cookies are cool, put 3-4 stripes of glaze on each
(push the cookies together and you can glaze a row at a time)

 

 


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Ginger Honey Shortbread

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Gluten, dairy and sucrose free shortbread recipe with a dash of spice. This recipe makes approximately 30 shortbread.

The recipe substitutes coconut oil for butter.

It substitutes gluten free flour for regular flour.

It substitutes coconut sugar for baking sugar.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of Gluten Free Multipurpose Flour
1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar
4oz Coconut Oil
1 egg
3Tbl Honey
2Tbl Crushed Ginger
1tsp Xanthum Gum
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

Equipment

Baking Tray
Parchment Paper
Mixing Bowl
Measuring cups and spoons
Wooden Spoon or Silicon spatula
Oven preheated to 325F

Mixing Method

Soften Coconut oil with a spoon till creamy. Do not melt.
Add Baking Powder, Xanthum Gum and Coconut Sugar, stir until creamy.
Add Honey, Ginger and egg, stir until all combined
Add Flour and stir until has formed a soft sticky dough.

Cooking Method

Use 2 teaspoons to form oval shaped lozenges and spoon onto baking tray covered with parchment paper
Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes until golden brown
Cool on tray then store in an airtight container


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Making fluffy scones

2016-04-16 18.27.09I’ve been playing around with the recipe for the past couple of months. Lately, what I’m making is more like fluffy biscuits than scones. They’re light, tall, and more like muffins than those hard flat rock-like things. I’ve been adding eggs, fruit and juice, sometimes leftover jam (well I never eat the last third of a jar of jam, so may as well do something with it) and various spices.

Basic recipe

  • 3 cups flour
    (or gluten free substitute – don’t forget to add xanthan gum if you go this route)
  • 2/3 of a cup of sugar-like substance
    (baking sugar, brown sugar, date sugar, xylitol)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter (melted)
  • 2 eggs
  • lemon crystals
    (makes all the flavors better)
  • 1/2 cup liquid of some kind
    (milk, juice, rice milk)

Cooking

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Put parchment paper on the cookie tray

Preparation

  • The key is to avoid overworking the dough
    Combine the dry ingredients and any fruit
    Melt the butter, pour it in and squish it around with your hands to coat all the flour and make crumbles
  • Add the eggs and whatever liquid you’re using
  • Add more flour if you need to just adhere all the ingredients into a ball of dough
  • Flatten on a flour coated board
  • Cut out with a cookie cutter
  • Handle as little as possible
  • Arrange on the tray and put in oven on a top shelf for 19 minutes

Variations

  • Blueberry + White Chocolate
    Add a pint of blueberries and a cup of white chocolate chips to the dry mix
  • Peach and Orange/Ginger
    Add a cup of diced peaches + ginger / orange powder (teaspoon)
  • Curry Cheddar
    Add 2 cups shredded cheese + teaspoon curry powder to dry mix
  • Dried Fruit
    Add a cup of dried fruit (diced apricot, raisons, apples etc) to dry mix

2014-10-25 16.39.32.jpg

 


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Baking madness

This weekend I’ve made five batches of baking.

  1. CHEESY SCONES
    Two batches of cheesy scones
    Scone recipe (2 cups flour, half cup sugar, one egg, 1ts baking soda, one stick butter, half cup milk)
    Added half a package (1 cup) grated pepper-jack cheese
    Baked at 400 for 18 mins


  1. SULTANA SCONES
    One batch of sultana scones
    Same recipe as above but half a stick more butter for ‘flakiness’
    Used quarter cup regular sugar and quarter cup brown sugar for ‘taste’
    Golden sultana raisons
    Made a dozen 2.5″ scones


  1. SOUTHWESTERN EGG MUFFINS
    Two batches
    A dozen eggs, whipped with cayenne pepper and italian seasoning
    Poured over finely chopped sweet peppers and a large pinch of grated sharp cheddar
    Baked at 375 for 22 minutes in large silicon muffin pan (dozen)
    Delicious with guacamole, served warm



We are set for the week with quick finger food now, savory and sweet.