Fare Exchange: It is time to give the bread machine a good workout

Fare Exchange: It is time to give the bread machine a good workout

June 27th, 2012 in Life Entertainment

Good morning, end-of-June readers. Your requests today have a distinctly June flavor: Riverside Steak & Seafood's sweet-potato muffin, or one similar; David's (or Daved's) cheesecake; always-dependable bread-machine recipes used by experienced bakers, preparing olives at home and recipes using olives. At the end of this list is a request for testing information from previously printed recipes.

Jane Guthrie's request began with an Emerald Isle, N.C., vacation, "where the good food at Riverside Steak & Seafood (actually in Swansboro, N.C., on the mainland) is always preceded by a sweet-potato muffin. No one has ever succeeded in cajoling the owner to share his recipe. He did share that evaporated milk is in the recipe." After some experimenting, Ms. Guthrie asked, "Would you ask our cooks if a recipe for sweet-potato muffins is in our part of the world?" Indeed I would, and now have.

Wendy Clark's request for a previously printed cheesecake attributed to David or Daved carried these specifics: amaretto liqueur, lemon zest and about seven blocks of cream cheese.

Peggy Sult, in using her bread machine described below, is always on the lookout for reliable bread machine recipes.

Finally, one who visited a local store filled with vats of olives in brine wants to know "how to prepare gourmet olives at home, even if it is just stuffing them and returning to the brine they came in. I would like to have recipes using olives as well."

Now, here's a call for recipe testers. Cathy Parker wanted to try Mrs. Addis' Butterscotch Brownies and Pistachio Marble Cake from the June 6 Exchange, but "because I have little experience with sweets, please tell me if you have actually made these recipes and recommend them highly. My self-confidence needs a boost."

I like her honesty, and with the cost of ingredients nobody wants to experiment without good reason to do so. With Internet recipes -- and books and anything else, really -- we are hot on the trail of those reviews.

The only problem, of course, is that reviews vary wildly from positive to negative. For this request, we will hope for agreement on the effectiveness of those two recipes. Such good reviews are always, for all of us, a confidence booster, as Ms. Parker wrote.

Jane Guthrie also wrote about "taking the hassle out of tassels on corn on the cob." She received emails by that name and, thus intrigued, tried their recommended method and found it to be a great solution to the problem.

Microwave Corn on the Cob

Put the whole ear of corn, unshucked, in the microwave. Microwave for 4 minutes per ear.

The corn will be hot when it comes out, so use a hot pad to hold it by the tassel end. Cut off the bottom, being certain to cut above the bottom curve of the ear. Shake the corn, and the ear will side out, clean as a whistle. Or, when cooking several ears, run the knife blade inside along the surface of the corn from the bottom, and it comes out perfectly clean, ready to eat.

How about preparing Mrs. Guthrie's corn for a meal along with Barbara's answer to the request for recipes using feta?

Greek Chicken Cutlets

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 5 to 6 ounces

Salt and pepper

All-purpose flour

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/3 cup diced fresh tomatoes

2 tablespoons sliced Kalamata olives

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Crumbled feta cheese

Chopped parsley

Pound breasts with mallet between plastic wrap to 1/4-inch thick. Season with salt and pepper, and dust with flour.

Heat oil over medium heat in a sauté pan. Sauté cutlets until golden on both sides. Transfer to a plate, and keep warm.

Add garlic to same pan, off heat, and allow to cook in residual heat, about 1 minute. Deglaze pan with wine over medium heat until evaporated, 1-2 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, olives and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, and reduce mixture by half, 3 minutes. Return cutlets to pan, and cook until warm. Serve sauce over cutlets, and top with feta and parsley.

Rose Secrest, author of a cookbook herself, found several recipes for quinoa salads with fruit. Here's a start.

Curry Mango Salad

1/4 cup quinoa, cooked

1/4 cup mango, chopped

1/4 cup cucumber, chopped

1 scallion, sliced

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon curry powder

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine and chill.

Our next correspondent is Peggy Sult, and her topic is yeast rolls. Ms. Suit "wondered if any readers are using bread machines again/still. When the price of the commercially produced bread we'd been using rose above $3 a loaf, I dragged out my antique bread machine. After a few loaves, I got brave and purchased a new Zojirushi 2-pound size bread machine. It is wonderful. I haven't bought a loaf of bread since last September, and the machine has fully paid for itself."

The aroma of home-baked bread alone should be worth the trouble; no aroma in the $3-plus loaf from the store. Ms. Sult added that "King Arthur flour, the Zojirushi website and, of course, allrecipes.com have good bread recipes. I'm just looking for recipes that bakers have used and that produce reliable results every time.

Keep reading under "Kitchen Wisdom" to find tips on baking. Ms. Sult continued: "I found the following recipe on Pinterest and tried it because I was intrigued with the inclusion of sweetened condensed milk as an ingredient. It has turned out to be my go-to white bread. The instructions included are for my bread machines. Directions for other machines may be different, and those should be followed."

Sweet Milk White Bread

For a 2-pound machine.

1 cup warm water

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk at room temperature (spray measuring cup with Pam for clean release)

1 tablespoon butter, diced and sprinkled evenly over liquid in pan

31/3 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons vital wheat gluten

2 teaspoons instant yeast (bread machine or rapid-rise yeast)

Into the bottom of the baking pan, measure warm water, sweetened condensed milk and butter.

Into a mixing bowl measure the following, then stir well to mix: bread flour, salt, wheat gluten and yeast.

Pour mixed dry ingredients into baking pan on top of liquid ingredients. Bake on quick-cycle, light-crust setting.

Kitchen Wisdom

Peggy Sult's wisdom for today ties into her bread-machine recipe above.

  1. Always add vital wheat gluten to the dough for improved crumb structure. The gluten package suggests 4 teaspoons per loaf; that is what I use, but I've found some whole-wheat recipes that suggest up to 2 tablespoons. It's hard to find vital wheat gluten in grocery stores, but it may be purchased at a quite reasonable price per pound at Village Market in Collegedale. I buy 5 pounds at a time and freeze it.

  2. The cute little brown jars of Bread Machine Yeast are pricey. Sam's Club has a 2-pound package of "instant yeast" for less than the price of one of the little jars. According to the Fleishmann's yeast website, instant yeast, rapid-rise yeast and bread-machine yeast are all one and the same yeast.

  3. In my machine, at least, any bread using instant yeast must be baked on the quick cycle. Instant yeast requires no proofing, whereas active dry yeast must be proofed. (Others may already know this, but I didn't, and it took some research to find it out.)

This is the kind of column that sends the writer to the kitchen, to the store. But all your missives do that, and I say thanks for all of those who read as well. Keep it up.

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.

  • E-mail: janehenegar@gmail.com.

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