Grinding grains for flour | Simple Bites #DIY #realfood

An introduction to grinding grain for flour

Baking bread when I was growing up meant first slipping down to the basement larder and grinding the grain. The machine was absolutely deafening, but I loved the smell of freshly milled flour and the way it floated down to form miniature snowy mountains in my bucket.

My mother still grinds her own grains and regales me with tales of her kamut lasagna noodles and soft wheat pizza dough; as always, she’s years ahead of the current whole foods movement. I had quite a few tools and appliances that I needed to invest in when I set up my own kitchen and a grain mill was low in the list. It was there, though, for my ‘someday’.

Naturally I was very excited last fall when KitchenAid Canada provided me with a grain mill attachment to go with my beloved 7-quart stand mixer. It’s funny, I feel as though I have both traveled back in time to to that flour dusted larder floor and taken a step ahead into another level of baking with whole, unprocessed ingredients in my kitchen.

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Snow Day Hacks - Emergency Substitutions for Pantry Ingredients | Simple Bites #kitchenhack #tip

Snow Day Hacks – Emergency Substitutions for Pantry Ingredients

The following is a guest post from Cheri of Kitchen Simplicity. Welcome, Cheri!

This winter has been a harsh one for so many people. We’re being bitten by the baking bug on a regular basis, almost out of necessity – our homes need warmth, our bodies need nourishment and our souls need comforting.

The problem with being snowed in, is that when the desire for baking strikes you can’t get to the store to pick up all the items you need, and that always seems to be the time that, that basic ingredient, that you always have on hand just happens to run out.

I present to you your snow day saving grace – kitchen hacks for pantry staples. These are not meant to be used on a regular basis but are great in a pinch. You can substitute the basics and still get delicious results without having to run to the grocery store in a blizzard. [Read more...]

How to make Roasted Brown Chicken Stock (and young love in the summer)

dark stock

The first summer we were married, our situation wasn’t exactly ideal for two starry-eyed newlyweds doing life together. I finished late at night at a popular fine dining establishment where I worked the line and Danny rose early to meander through the Plateau to morning class at McGill. One of us was always tired when we greeted each other at the end of a day, and one of us frequently smelled of soup, but I’m not telling who.

Fed up of only seeing my husband from midnight to 6 AM, I petitioned my boss for day position as a prep cook. I may have stammered, blushing, through my reasoning, but he only twinkled his eyes at me and agreed, that just for the summer, I could work days, and he would find someone to cook the fish and the foie in my place at night.

Stepping down the ladder rung of the competitive kitchen hierarchy was not a move that gained me respect among my co-workers, but I always have (and continue to do so) put family first over ambition. There were stares and a few snickers when the new work schedule came out, but I was elated. A ‘normal’ 9-5 job in fine dining is almost unheard of and these new hours suited me to a T.

Eight blocks north of the kitchen, in our tiny apartment on St. Denis street, I went to sleep and woke up in Danny’s arms. We went out for coffee and fresh croissants in the mornings before parting ways, with lingering kisses, at the corner of Duluth and St. Denis.

Making stock was always the first order of the day, for it required long hours of simmering at an unhurried pace. I cranked the ovens to 400 degrees down the entire line and set to roasting bones for duck stock, veal stock, venison stock, and roasted guinea fowl stock, the essence of which I’m sharing today. I attacked a tray of carrots, onions and celery for my mirepoix, those flavoring vegetables essential for every stock, and gathered fresh parsley, bay leaves and peppercorns. By 10 AM, the massive sturdy pots would be set over burners with bones, mirepoix and cold water, and I would assess my prep list, left for me by the cooks the night before, and organize my day. [Read more...]

How to roast a turkey {simply}


(Excerpts from this post were published in November, 2010. This is an updated, printable tutorial for the best way to roast a turkey – the simple way.)

Whether you’re planning on roasting a turkey for American Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner or New Year’s Day, you can always use a few helpful tips to make it the best it can be. Since roasting a gargantuan bird is not on the usual M-F menu plan, it can cause even the most experienced cook to hesitate before proceeding. Fortunately, I know my tips and tutorial can boost your confidence for preparing your event’s main attraction.

My Crash-Course on Turkey

You may be wondering what a relatively young lady such as myself could have to add to everything that has already been said about turkey, and you would be right to wonder. After all, how many Thanksgivings have I been cooking? Not nearly as many as some experts out there…right? But here’s the thing, I’ve been to Turkey Boot Camp.

When I was nineteen, I had the privilege(?) misfortune(?) – honestly, it was a mix of both – of working a summer at a remote fly-in fishing resort on the Pacific Ocean. Another fellow and I were the chefs for the camp, cranking out three square meals for over forty people. Every three days, a couple of float planes would fly in carrying a new group of clients – and a frozen turkey. Along with the requisite pancake breakfast, shrimp bisque lunch, and other culinary highlights, we were obliged to prepare a well-rounded turkey dinner for each group of guests.

Two groups per week, eleven weeks of work. Yes, that’s right, in the span of one summer, we cooked twenty-two turkeys! If that doesn’t make me qualified to talk turkey, then I don’t know what does.

Read on for the full tutorial and printable recipe.

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A simple guide to cooking dried beans

The October Unprocessed challenge officially kicks off today (more on this at the bottom of the post) and I’m starting it off with a big batch of home cooked pinto beans. Later I’ll add them to soups or chili, stuff them into toasted campfire burritos, or fold them into a soft egg scramble for a breakfast tortilla wrap. And that is just the beginning of the bean goodness.

Allow me to reiterate my love of Julie Van Rosendaal’s most excellent cookbook, Spilling the Beans: Cooking and Baking with Beans and Grains Everyday. I thought I used beans fairly creatively, but Julie has literally written the book on the topic and thus broadened my bean horizons.

If you usually tend to open a can of beans, I want to walk you really quickly through how I cook mine from dried. I think once you try it, you’ll be converted. Not only is it more affordable (especially if you buy organic canned beans), but you can control the amount of added salt and, well, like most homemade versions of pantry staples, the taste is far superior to anything that comes in a can.

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