Good morning, dear readers. Our challenges are numerous: Where to buy Straub's kraut; how to make the Bread Basket's apple crumb cake; how to make grilled artichokes and remoulade sauce like that served at J. Alexander's; where to purchase gnocchi that is soft and not rubbery when cooked; and stuffed bread like that served at Star Provisions in Atlanta.
A certain Mrs. Payne thinks the Straub's sauerkraut mentioned here sounds intriguing, but she cannot find it locally.
An anonymous reader lives out of town and is missing Bread Basket's wonderful small apple cake with a crumb topping.
A couple (we'll call them Faithful Readers) had a grilled artichoke at J. Alexander's and the waiter told them it was parboiled, halved and grilled with olive oil and spices, but they need more information so they can try this at home. Also, they would like a recipe for remoulade sauce that was served with the grilled artichoke.
And Lou LaNeve has been traveling and has sampled really delicious gnocchi at an Italian restaurant out of the country and a stuffed bread at Star Provisions in Atlanta, and hopes you can help her duplicate them at home.
A reader named Faye sent us the link to an exhaustive story from The New York Times about gluten-free baking. The article mentioned glutenfreegirl.com. Here's that link, which included the following recipes and the opinion that a homemade gluten-free flour blend produces better baked goods: www.nytimes.com/2011/06/01/dining/gluten-free-flavor-free-no-more.html?_r=1&src=tptw.
Gluten-Free Flour Blend
About 2 cups oat flour or very finely ground rolled oats
About 2 cups brown rice flour
About 2 cups sorghum flour
About 5 tablespoons corn flour or fine cornmeal
About 1 cup potato starch
About 1 cup arrowroot
Mix all together and store in an airtight container. Yields a little more than 2 pounds.
Gluten-Free Apricot-Walnut Muffins
Butter to grease the pan
A little over 3 cups gluten-free flour mix, purchased or homemade (see preceding recipe)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
About 1 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
11/4 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 cup grape seed or coconut oil
About 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
About 1/3 cup toasted chopped walnuts
Heat the oven to 350 F with a rack in the middle. Grease a muffin tin.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, brown sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and oil until well combined; add to the dry ingredients using a rubber spatula to mix until the batter is almost fully incorporated. Add the apricots and walnuts, and mix until all traces of flour are gone.
Fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake until golden brown, the top is firm to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Turn the tin around halfway through. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife along the edges of the muffins and unmold. Finish cooling muffins on a rack.
The next recipe came from an anonymous Exchanger in the answer to a request for an artisan bread. It has many variations and is described as "soft and light inside, crunchy and crusty outside."
French Artisan Bread With Cranberries and Nuts (and Variations)
Preparation time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 30 minutes. Resting time: 2 hours.
31/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons salt
1 package dry active yeast
1 cup mixed unsalted seeds (any kind, any combination)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Additional 1/2 cup seeds
Sift flour into a large bowl. Mix in sugar and salt with hand. Move the ingredients to the sides of the bowl, creating a large well or empty space in the middle.
Pour the yeast into the well, and pour 1 cup of lukewarm water over the yeast. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon flour over the top. Wait about 10 minutes for bubbles to appear in the yeast.
Once the bubbles have appeared, you can start to mix together the ingredients (hands work best) to form the dough. The best way to do this is to gradually incorporate the flour that is waiting on the sides of the bowl. Doing it all at once will be too difficult. So go bit by bit; if it's too liquid, just add a little more flour at the end. Once flour is incorporated, add 1 cup seeds, nuts and cranberries and continue working until they are evenly dispersed. You should finish this "prekneading" stage with a round, firm ball of dough. Again, if it's too sticky, add a little more flour.
To knead, remove the bread from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured surface. Knead it by pushing your palms into and then turning it one quarter. Keep kneading and doing quarter turns for 5 to 10 minutes or until the bread is supple and nonsticky.
Place the bread in a lightly floured bowl and cover with a damp dish cloth. Let it rise for about 1 hour. (It depends on the room temperature; it should be fairly warm.) It should double in size.
Resprinkle a countertop or other surface with flour. Prepare a baking pan by lightly oiling and flouring it (or bake on top of parchment paper). With your hands, remove bread and place it on floured surface. Punch it down once, hard, with your palms. Now, reshape it into a ball. Roll the top and sides of ball in the remaining 1/2 cup of seeds. Put the ball on the baking pan. Cover with a dish towel, and let rise for about 1 hour. It should double in size.
Put in a preheated 375 F oven and bake 30 minutes, more or less, depending on how brown you like it.
If you are planning on freezing the bread, only bake it for 20 minutes. Wait for it to cool, then wrap in tin foil, put in a plastic bag and freeze. When you want to serve it, just preheat oven to 400 F, bake inside foil for 10 minutes, and then remove foil and let brown for about 5 minutes.
For variations, add raisins, dried cherries, chopped dried apricots, or go in the other direction and make it sesame seed only or poppy seed only.
To Reach Us
Fare Exchange is a longtime meeting place for people who love to cook and love to eat. We welcome both your recipes and your requests. Be sure to include precise instructions for every recipe you send.
Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750.