Category: Food glorious food

The Honey Health Bread Crusade – An Update

For the first part of the story please see this post.

Well! That was fast. In my last post I mentioned I sent a letter to the former owner of Hanley’s asking for guidance. His wife called me they day they received the letter. Cheyenne and I had a lovely conversation about small business, brambles, buffalo, indian powwows and of course Honey Health Bread. Her husband has had some medical issues since his retirement, but I could hear him in the background chiming in occasionally with bits of information.

Bob's Red Mill Graham Flour and Eden Barley Malt SyrupHe couldn’t remember the recipe exactly and she couldn’t put her hands on it, but they both knew there was no rye flour. He said there was no molasses, but she thought there might have been some. He remembered a syrup, but couldn’t remember what kind. There was whole wheat flour, but it was graham flour, a courser grind of whole wheat flour (and also the kind of flour used to make Graham Crackers). The both reminded me that it was a very wet dough, which makes sense given the moist open crumb.

Cheyenne said she’d look for the recipe for me, but she’s busy and I’m impatient. I’ve acquired some Graham Flour and some Barley malt syrup and am going to set about creating a recipe for Honey Health Bread. Wish me luck!

The Honey Health Bread Project

'Bakery counter' photo (c) 2010, The DLC - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ When I was a little girl we’d come to Boston to see my Nana. Seeing Nana meant being spoiled. Coming to Boston meant Maple Leaf Hot Dogs and Honey Health bread. Maple Leaf Hot Dogs are still made today, but I’ve had a hard time finding them. However Honey Health Bread is no more.

Honey Health Bread was made by Hanley’s Bakery on Centre in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. I ended up coming to school in Boston, and convinced a friend with a car to take me to Hanley’s. I called ahead and asked them to hold 10 loaves for me. I think, no, I know they thought I was a crank call. They were shocked when I actually came in to pick up my order. We weren’t back in the car 2 minutes when I had a loaf open and was noshing. It was then that my friend realized I wasn’t completely batshit crazy, just a little carb obsessed. She even agreed the bread was worth the trip.

The crown of the crust is a deep mahogany brown in color and very firm in texture. The inside is a deep carmel color, the crumb is moist with lots of nooks and crannies and the lower crust is softer than then crown. My mouth waters as I type this. The flavor is sweeter than a white bread, but not in an overpowering way. Honey Health Bread made amazing toast, but was equally as good for peanut butter and jelly or tunafish sandwiches.

Isn’t it funny how things are just there until one day they aren’t? Throughout my 17 years living in and around Boston, I made numerous trips to Hanley’s to secure some of the amazing goodness that was Honey Health Bread. Alas, we pulled up stakes and left Mass for the wilds of New Hampshire. Still I knew peripherally that Hanley’s was still there. Until the summer of 2006 when a cousin mentioned in passing that Hanley’s had closed and the deli next door had opened up a new bakery. Comeagainsaywhat?????

Hanley’s closed? Gone was the art deco black and white floor and the sea foam green paint. Gone was the cases full of amazing baked treats, but most importantly, gone was Honey Health Bread. I was bereft. I later heard that the owners retired. I applaud them for a job well done, but what about the bread?

'bread' photo (c) 2010, the second fiddle - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ With help from help from King Arthur Flour and Cammy (yes, the chicken whisperer), I’ve perfected a white bread recipe that incorporates some whole grains while maintaining that white bread flavor that my picky children require.

Now for the real challenge. The time has come to try reproduce Honey Health Bread. By accident, I found a squash bread recipe that had element of HHB’s awesomeness, but it needed some tweaking. I made my first attempt yesterday and it failed with regards to meeting the high standards of Honey Health Bread, and aesthetics (it was very flat), but the taste wasn’t bad. At leas my mistakes are edible.

Through the magic that is the Internet, I have located the former owner of Hanley’s and I have sent him a letter to ask for some guidance. Why? Cuz, that’s how I roll. The worst he could do would be to ignore me. If I get any guidance at all, I’ll be thrilled.

Thus begins, The Honey Health Bread Project. I’ll keep you posted.

It’s So Eggciting!

Chicks waiting for pick up at our local AgwayWe’re getting chickens.

I blame Cammy.

Cammy keeps a small brood of chickens in her backyard. A few years ago, she gave me some fresh eggs. My life was never the same. If you’ve never eaten eggs laid by chickens NOT raised on a commercial farm, it is hard to describe the difference. The yolks are more yellow. The flavor is richer, eggier if you will. Now when I have store bought eggs, they just taste watered down. Local eggs add a subtle depth to the flavor to any recipe.

I’ve mooched Cammy’s eggs for three years. She’s very generous and I’m exceedingly grateful. Early on, I thought of keeping hens, but we like to go to the lake in the summer and we tend to travel occasionally the rest of the year. Chickens need daily care and attention.

A chance conversation with some neighbors changed that. There are four families involved and we figure the chance of ALL of us being gone at the same time are slim to none, plus, my experienced chicken whisperer Cammy has offered to pinch hit if necessary.

I’ll order the chickens on Monday and the chicks will be in late next month. I’m really not sure where this will lead, but I’m excited for the adventure and for the fresh eggs!

Dennis’ Rosemary Roasted Chicken

When Dennis and my mom first met, he worked 9-5 and she worked 11-7. That meant that he frequently cooked dinner for us. He had a few misadventures, like Steak Miraculous, and the time he used olive oil in a gourmet chocolate cake recipe, but in general he was a decent cook. High praise coming from a kid who was a ridiculously picky eater.

He had one recipe for fried chicken he refused to share. He would pontificate about going to a local hiking trail at just the right time, to acquire the necessary spices for his fried chicken, but refused to give me the recipe. I swear it was a mix, but he took it with him to his grave. Bastard! *ahem*

A roaster, garlic, rosemary and lemon.However, he did share his roasted chicken recipe and today, I’ll share it with you. Dennis was not an exact cook. He was more of the little of this, little of that mindset, so my measurements aren’t specific.

Ingredients

  • 1 roasting chicken – I am feeding two adults and two kids (also picky eaters), and I like to have leftover chicken, so I go with a 6 or 7 pound bird. Pick a size that suits your family and adjust the seasoning and cooking times to meet your needs.
  • Fresh Garlic – (for my bird I will used 4 or 5 heads, because garlic yumm!).
  • Olive Oil
  • Rosemary – Fresh is fantastic (you’ll need more), but typically, I only have dried and that works fine.
  • Lemon – I have used oranges and even apples in a pinch. The point is to provide moisture to the white meat while it cooks.

Roasted Garlic Fresh from the oven, Garlic cloves with rosemary, the bird prepped and ready to cook

 

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.
  • Remove the loose papery skins from the heads of garlic and slice off the pointy end.
  • Nestle in a bowl made out of tin foil and cover with a healthy dose of Olive Oil. Pinch together the edges to seal.
  • Place the packet in the oven on the center shelf and bake for 45-60 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the garlic cool. I try and do this in the morning while I’m getting the kids ready for school and then just leave it to cool during the day.
  • When you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Remove the garlic from the pouch and squeeze the garlicy goodness out of the skins into a bowl.
  • Add some rosemary. I usually use about 1-2 teaspoons of dried rosemary depending on how much garlic I have. If you are using fresh rosemary you’ll have to add double what you’d add if you were using dried.
  • Add a splash of olive oil and mash together until you have a moist paste.
  • Wash the chicken and pat dry inside and out.
  • Use your fingers to gently separate the skin from the flesh (but don’t remove it completely).
  • Slice the lemon into quarters and stuff it in the cavity. You can sprinkle the lemon with dried rosemary or stick a sprig or two of fresh on top of the lemons in the cavity.
  • Take the garlic rosemary paste and slide it between the skin and the flesh rubbing it into the meat as you go. Smooth more on the outside of the skin especially in places where you can’t separate the skin from the flesh. Try and touch the whole exterior of the bird. If you have leftovers, you can massage it into the inside of the cavity.
  • Place chicken on a roasting rack in a pan and place on the center rack and roast according to package directions. I go for 350 degrees for 20 minutes per pound.

Usually I serve it with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables.

Enjoy! Oh and if you have a recipe for Bowman’s Tower Fried Chicken, please share it. 😉

The roasted bird in all its mouthwatering glory.
The roasted bird in all its mouthwatering glory.

NHMilk.com Made Me a Milk Snob

cute little milkphoto © 2006 hobvias sudoneighm | more info (via: Wylio)

This is another repost from ThisNewHampshireLife.com.  I’ve been a customer for Catamount Farms for about a year now and it is as wonderful now as it was when I started. My Mother-in-law noticed the difference when she cared for our kids while we were in Bermuda.  She wants me to start getting a bottle for her too. Enjoy!

When we lived in Waltham, Mass, we had our milked delivered by Crescent Ridge Farms. When we moved here to New Hampshire, I went back to purchasing my milk at the grocery store.

I was exploring the Concord Farmer’s market last summer, when I found Catamount Farms. Oh to have milk in glass bottles, delivered to my door again. I brought home samples of the 1% and the skim. Heaven. One sip and I was hooked. I was like a junky. I had to have my fix on a weekly basis. Thankfully Catamount farms happily obliges.

Catamount farms is based out of the Chichester Country Store on Route 28 in Chichester, they deliver fresh milk from Sherman Farms Dairy in Conway, NH  along with products from Stonyfield Farms and other New Hampshire companies.

Catamount farms delivers all over central, Southern, and Eastern New Hampshire.

Visit their website to determine if they service your town. Select the products you want delivered and the appropriate interval for your family (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly). You can set up a one time delivery or a standing delivery. During the warmer months, I leave a cooler with icepacks outside. Jerry leaves me a milk crate for my empties and everything is billed to my credit card.

Typically we polish off one and a half to two gallons of milk a week. It helps, that neither my husband or my daughter is able to drink milk (I have to by Lactaid for them). This is a purchase based on value and quality, not price. As of this writing, a half gallon of milk is $3.65 plus a refundable $1.50 bottle deposit plus a $3.50 charge per delivery. That is almost double the cost per gallon of milk bought at a chain grocery store, but there is no comparing when it comes to quality. When most people think of skim milk they think of a blue tinged, watery, tasteless liquid. I even have a friend who refers to skim milk as “jelly bean juice”  Not Sherman Farms skim milk! It is more like a store bought 1%. It has a solid white color and a nice full flavor. The 1% has even more depth oh and the seasonably available egg nog is to die for!! Thick and creamy, it is a dessert unto itself. I’m planning on buying some of their chocolate milk to use as hot cocoa on Christmas morning.

For me, this is about knowing where the milk comes from and making healthy choices for my family. It is about purchasing a quality product, and supporting local businesses.

Try some, you won’t regret it!

These words are my personal opinion. I am not affiliated with Catamount Farms or Sherman Farms Dairy. I did not receive any compensation for this post. I simply want to spread the word about two great companies and a wonderful product.

Chai Apple Cider

This post originally appeared at This New Hampshire Life.  I’ve decided to focus my efforts on this blog and incorporate a taste of New Hampshire here.  I’ll be reposting a few of my favorite posts from TNHL here enjoy. 

 

I love fall. I love the crisp air and the changing of the leaves. It feels like a time to draw in and take stock.

I’m a also an apple fan and my lust is sated come late September. I love fresh cold apple cider and usually buy a gallon as soon as our local apple farm stocks a fresh batch. Non of this pasteurized $#@! for me, I live on the wild side. A few glasses in, I remember that cider is REALLY sweet. It seems a sin to water it down, but I can’t drink it straight for more than a glass or two.

During a snack break the other day, I was looking for something warm, but not too sweet. I spied the chai tea bags and set about brewing a cuppa. When I went to the fridge for milk, I spied the apple cider. I love me some good mulled cider, but it takes a while to get a full flavor. Hmmm I thought, what happens if I put the cider in the chai and mix it all up? It’s apples and spices and chai, OH MY! The chai adds a nice spice to the cider, while the cider adds some sweetness to the chai.

Try it yourself

  • Heat water to boiling and pour over a chai tea bag (I use Celestial Seasonings or Good Earth Decaf Chai).
  • Make sure you leave room (I fill my mug a little over 3/4 of the way full).
  • Add the cider like you would milk. Stir, and enjoy!

The Barracuda Grill Hamilton, Bermuda

Barracuda Grill SignOur trip to Bermuda was in part, a celebration of our 15th wedding anniversary. We traveled with friends who celebrated 19 years in August and the four of us wanted one night of excellent dining while in Bermuda. We researched this selection almost to death, but with the help of ChowHound and an excellent restaurant website, we decided on The Barracuda Grill in Hamilton.

The dining room at The Barracuda Grill in Hamilton, Bermuda*Sigh* my mouth waters just thinking about it. As much as possible, I wanted to eat local. Which, from a discussion on the ChowHound boards, I learned was hard to do in Bermuda restaurants. As an appetizer, I ordered the fish chowder finished with sherry pepper sauce. This recipe was featured in Bon Appetite and I could taste why. The soup was rich and flavorful, and the sherry pepper sauce complemented it well.

I had the poached wahoo (a fish local to Bermuda) for an entree. It was presented beautifully and the accompaniments didn’t over power the fish, but I wasn’t crazy about wahoo itself. It reminded me of swordfish which I can take or leave. I want to be clear that it was prepared well, this was just a personal preference.

Like the wahoo the loquat is local to Bermuda too (although the tree is native to China and Japan). The flavor is a mix of peach, citrus and mango. I tried the Barracuda martini which features loquat liqueur, with rum and apricot nectar and loquat foam. Yum. Just, YUM!

Dessert. Ah Dessert. On the advice of the manager Kevin, I selected the Peanut Butter Mousse. It was served with salted carmel, raspberry drop spheres and pretzel streusel and burnt marshmallow. Oh my, it was quite possibly one of the most amazing desserts I’ve ever had. It wasn’t super sweet, nor overly peanut flavored or salty. It was light and the accompaniments really enhanced the flavor. The raspberry spheres were a little odd in appearance and texture (o.k. they looked like blood clots), but they melded with the mousse to create a gourmet peanut butter and jelly taste. The marshmallow was homemade and closer to toasted than burnt. When mixed with the mousse, it reminded me of a lighter peanut butter and fluff mixture.

My fellow diners at The Barracuda Grill, Hamilton, BermudaThe service was attentive without being overbearing and Kevin the manager took time to talk with us about life as a Canadian ex-pat in Bermuda. Barracuda was a delightful experience that I would recommend to anyone considering a visit to Bermuda.

My words are my own and I have not been compensated in any way for this post.

Bermuda Briefly

A week ago at this time, I was in Bermuda. It was sunny and warm and on day three of a six day/five night cruise I had definitely found my happy place.

Like all good things the trip came to an end and we touched down into reality. We came back with a lot of great memories with old friends, some new friends, a bottle of rum (or 3) and a desire to make unplugged vacations a more regular occurrence in our lives going forward.

There is much to blog about but in the mean time, here are a few photos to tide you over.

A mix of eight photos from my cruise to Bermuda, Me in the beautiful Bermuda Ocean, our ship, the two couples at Baracuda In Hamilton, kicking back, a sunrise, my & my pal Char, our table of 8 at dinner.

Harvest

Grammy & Fish showing of their dirt covered handsGrammy is an amazing gardener. Her green thumb is legendary. About as legendary as my black thumb. At the nursery, plants look at me and die on the spot. Packets of seeds jump out of my hands, eager to avoid the death sentence.

So, when Fish expressed interest in gardening, I sent her next door to the woman who can actually grow things. Grammy set up her with The Grow Box system. Together they planted tomatoes, green beans and watermelons.

The Grow Box gardening system ariel viewMy problem with gardening is that while I love fresh food, I can’t handle one more living thing being dependent on me for its survival. I manage to remember to feed the kids every day, mostly because they squawk if I don’t. Plants? Plants don’t speak up, they just wilt if you forget to water them. Then when I do water them, I never know how much is enough and frequently I drown them. Oops!

Fish adding water to the bottom of the grow boxes.The Grow Box system seems to have eliminated those problems. The dirt bed is situated right above a tank of water. Keep the tank full and the plants will take what they need. Fish did a pretty decent job of remembering to fill the tank everyday and while she was at Girl Scout Camp between my husband and I we kept things wet. (Hat tip to my neighbor Cammy who kept us afloat while we were away for a week in mid-August). Fish was tickled when her labors bore fruit. I was too, because I LOVE fresh tomatoes.

Fish smiling with a small watermelon, green beans, and tomatoes in various stages of ripenessWe’re almost at the end of our harvest and all in all, I’d rule this experiment a success. We learned a few things such as beans and watermelons don’t share space very well and green beans taste best when they are picked when they about as long as an 11 year old’s hand. Any bigger and they are chewy. I’m thinking we’ll try again next year maybe even add a few boxes to the collection.

In the mean time please excuse me while I go finish the tomatoes.

43

Ice cream with a crunchy shell, whipped cream, and a candle copyright 2011 all rights reservedToday I am 43. Birthdays often cause me to take stock and I have to say all things considered, life is pretty damn good these days.

I have an awesome husband (but don’t mention it because he hates compliments), two beautiful children and scads of friends and family whom I rely on to stay sane.

My daughter wished me Happy thirty-second birthday this morning. I laughed but told her, I don’t mind aging. I’m happy with progress and I can honestly say while there are specific experiences I wouldn’t mind reliving, I have no desire to go back to any certain time in my life.

I read a blog post recently where the blogger said that people who say they have no regrets are full of sh*t. Well then I guess I’m full of it because I have no regrets. Regrets to me are big picture things that I truly had control over. I’m glad I went to college where I did, I’m glad I’ve chosen the careers I did. I’m glad I married the man I did and that we had two kids. I’m even glad we moved to New Hampshire. The big choices have all worked out well for me. Yes there have been (and continue to be struggles), and I do wish some things had turned out differently. But, to call those things regrets is making big stuff out of small stuff.

So, what’s next? Writing. I have a number of stories in various stages of draft. Consciously I know that the real work can’t begin until I get the story out of my head and into a setting (digital or analog) where I can refine it. If I could just get out of my own damn way, I would have something to edit in no time.

It is the getting out of my own way that I struggle with. I have a habit of planning ahead. I am always looking forward trying to do things as efficiently as possible so as to be prepared and to minimize effort. While there are situations where this is a handy skill set, often, it in my attempt to anticipate the future, I borrow trouble. I try to figure out what all the possible hurdles could be and I get overwhelmed. Once I am overwhelmed with all the ways I could fail, it becomes clear to me that I am wasting my time and I walk away. I have to keep reminding myself that with writing, it is the means that justify the end. Once I get the “sloppy copy” out, only then can I refine it and turn it into something viable. I have to turn off my planning instinct and just roll with it. In other words just write!

Also on the agenda is continuing my quest for weight loss and improved health. I’ve mad a good start and am thrilled with the results. There is nothing like the feeling you get when you put on a pair of pants that were too tight last summer only to find out they are just right or even a smidge loose this summer. Now I just need to keep it up. Thus far, I’m not finding it quite as hard as I expected and any challenges are tempered by the successes.

Those are my big challenges for the foreseeable future. If only it was that easy that I should focus only on those to things, I’d be svelte and published in no time! Back in the real world, I am married with aging parents and growing children. Relationships must be nurtured, bills must be paid, and schedules must be managed. I say that with no tone of martyrdom or malice. Like I said at the top, I’m happy with the choices I’ve made.

Onward towards 44!

Negi Hama Roll, Salmon and avocado roll, and philly roll
There are 3 birthdays in 4 days in our local extended family. Last night 17 of us went to a Japanese steak house to celebrate. I opted for sushi!