Buttermilk Biscuits (with Fresh Strawberry Jam)

by Jennifer

This recipe makes 8 large biscuits.  Local strawberries are just coming in where we live and one of the easiest recipes in which to use them is fresh strawberry jam.  For 4 cups of strawberries (halved or quartered if large), add 1 cup sugar;  cook in a large pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thick (this can take an hour or more, depending on how much you start with).  Stir in 2 tsp fresh lemon juice, let cool, then refrigerate for up to a month.

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 TBS baking powder
  • 1/2 TBS sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 1/2 TBS shortening, cut into pieces
  • 4 1/2 TBS unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup plus 2 TBS well-shaken buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425.

Using a food processor, pulse together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt.

Add the shortening and butter and pulse 5 or 6 times,

until the mixture looks like rough crumbs.

Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in buttermilk.  Gently transfer dough to a well-floured surface and pat into a rectangle about 1” thick.

Using a 2 3/4” – 3” biscuit cutter or glass, cut out (go straight down and up, don’t twist) biscuits and place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Gather dough together and repeat, so you have 8 biscuits.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown on top.  Serve with butter, honey, or your favorite jam.

Rhubarb Muffins

by Jennifer

This is an adaptation of a Cooking Light recipe (I think!  Could be Eating Well…).  I also added 2 TBS of King Arthur’s Cake Enhancer, as I had some on hand.

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
  • 1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and coat a muffin tin with cooking spray.  In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon and pecans;  set aside.

Whisk together buttermilk, egg, sugar, and coconut oil;

stir in rhubarb.

Whisk together flour through salt.

Add flour mixture to buttermilk mixture and stir just until combined.

Divide batter among muffin tins.  Sprinkle pecan mixture on top.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out clean.

Chocolate Muffins

by Jennifer

Yes, chocolate muffins for a weekday breakfast seems decadent, but these are healthier than most, and great for rushed mornings.  They freeze well;  a quick reheat in the morning and some fruit and cold milk, and my kids have a delicious (and somewhat nutritious) start to their day.  A friend told me about preheating the oven to 25 degrees higher than what I planned to bake on, to get muffins to puff up more, and it works.  Muffins that would always be tasty but flat on top now have a beautiful dome;  I imagine since heat always escapes when you open the oven door to put the muffins inside, this trick keeps the oven temperature where you want it to be.  Makes 12 muffins.

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup Stevia
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Coat a muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients, flours through salt (remember to stir the flour, lightly spoon it into the measuring cup, then level).

In a liquid measuring cup combine the buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla, then pour into the dry ingredients.  Stir just until dry and wet are combined.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Fill muffin tins about 2/3 full.  Place tin in oven and re-set oven temperature to 350.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the largest muffin comes out dry.

Whole Wheat Pancakes

by Jennifer

This is an adaptation of Cook’s Illustrated pancake recipe, and has been a good way to get extra fiber and Omega 3 in my family’s diet.  While grown-ups seem to prefer it with maple syrup, my children favor chocolate chip pancakes, which yes, may make them less healthy, but still a delicious Saturday morning treat.  Makes about 12 pancakes, serving about 4, depending on hunger.

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp each baking soda and salt
  • 3 TBS melted unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • vegetable oil for griddle

In a medium bowl whisk together dry ingredients.

In a larger bowl whisk together melted butter (I melt the butter in the bowl, in the microwave), buttermilk and egg.

Add dry ingredients to wet and whisk just until combined;  the batter should still be a bit lumpy.

Heat a griddle over medium heat, and brush with oil.  Use a 1/4 cup measure to drop batter onto griddle.  Cook pancakes until they look slightly dry on top, with little bubbles,  and are golden on the bottom,

then flip and cook for a minute or two more.  Serve with maple syrup.  (For chocolate chip pancakes, sprinkle mini-chocolate chips on the pancakes once they’re on the griddle.)

Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Pudding Cake with Fresh Berries

Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Pudding Cake with Fresh Berries – adapted from Bon Appetit

by Jennifer

After hearing about Meyer lemons for years, and never seeing one, I happened upon them in my local Trader Joe’s the other day.  Excited, I bought two bags, brought them home, and searched my cookbooks and recipe files for all the things I could make with them.  I found exactly two recipes, one for ice cream and one for a delicious-sounding but fairly complicated cake.  So I turned to the Internet and found so many recipes I had to run back to Trader Joe’s to buy more!  Meyer lemons are sweeter and less acidic than regular lemons, have a more floral, sugary aroma, and are in season for a short time, usually January and February.  So far I’ve also made Meyer lemon marmalade, and preserved Meyer lemons….stay tuned!

Serves 6 – 8 (this served less people at our house, but kept quite well for the next night!)

  • 1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • grated zest from 2 Meyer lemons
  • 1/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (if you can’t find Meyer lemons, use regular lemon juice)
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 4 large egg whites
  • freshly whipped cream (2 cups whipping cream plus about 1 1/2 TBS powdered sugar,  beaten with an electric mixer until soft peaks form)
  • fresh berries (I try hard to buy local, seasonal produce, but in winter, in New England where I live, I aim for either strawberries, which at least come from FL versus another continent, or frozen berries…tonight I defrosted blueberries I’d frozen from the summer)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat an 8” square baking dish with cooking spray and place inside a metal roasting pan.  Bring a full tea kettle to a boil.

While the water is coming to a boil, combine, in a blender, the buttermilk, 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks, lemon zest, flour, melted butter and salt.

Blend until smooth.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites using an electric mixer until soft peaks form.

Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold in the buttermilk mixture, in 3 batches (the batter will be somewhat runny).

Pour the batter into the 8” square pan.  Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until the water comes halfway up the sides of the pan.  Carefully transfer roasting pan into the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the cake is browned and the center moves very slightly when the pan is jiggled.

Remove dish from roasting pan and let cool on a cooling rack (cake will fall slightly).

When the cake is completely cool, refrigerate it for at least 3 hours.

Serve with berries and freshly whipped cream.   (For freshly whipped cream, beat at least 1 cup heavy cream with an electric mixer on high, until soft peaks form.  You can sweeten it a little, with up to a TBS of powdered sugar per cup cream, depending on how sweet you want it.  If you have leftover whipped cream and want to save it for any leftover cake, spoon it into a paper-towel lined sieve set over a bowl, and cover loosely with plastic wrap.)

“Baked” Beans, Molasses Buttermilk Bread and Collard Greens

By Jennifer

This is a great meal for the middle of winter!  Serves 4.

“Baked” Beans

For kids or carnivores (or a combination of both), you could turn this into “Franks and Beans” by adding sliced, browned organic hot dogs (or soy hot dogs, come to think of it!).  Serves 4.

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 TBS olive or other vegetable oil
  • 3 TBS tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 15.5-oz. cans navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and starting to brown, about 8 – 10 minutes.

Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste has evenly distributed among the onions and peppers.

Deglaze the pan with the cider vinegar — add the vinegar and, using a spatula, scrape off all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add the remaining ingredients;  turn heat to low and simmer until thick, browned and bubbly, about 15 – 20 minutes.  If you make this ahead and it’s too thick when you reheat it, just add a little water.

Molasses Buttermilk Bread – adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 cup stone ground cornmeal
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 TBS melted unsalted butter
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 eggs, preferably Omega 3-fortified organic eggs

Preheat oven to 350.  Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Whisk together wet ingredients in a medium bowl.

Add wet to dry and stir just until everything’s combined.  Pour batter into a loaf pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack;  after 10 minutes, invert bread out onto rack to cool completely.

Collard Greens

Serves 4.

  • Collard Greens, a little over a pound, stems and ribs removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil;  add collard greens and boil for 20 minutes.

Drain, and when cool enough, squeeze out excess liquid.  Return pot to burner and heat oil over medium heat;  add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 – 60 seconds.  Add collard greens to pot and toss well to heat through;  season with salt and pepper. 

Vegetable Barley Soup with Poached Egg, Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing, Challah

By Jennifer

Vegetable Barley Soup with Poached Egg, Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing, Challah 

If you use regular barley (versus quick-cooking) increase the broth to 6 cups, and the soup cooking time to 40 minutes.  If you make it ahead, wait to add the spinach until you reheat it before serving, and you may need to add a little more broth as the barley will soak it up.  You can enjoy this soup with or without the poached eggs.

Serves 4 adults, or 2 adults and a handful of kids, with leftovers.

Vegetable Barley Soup with Poached Egg – adapted from Gourmet magazine

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided, plus 1 TBS kosher salt for eggs
  • 7 – 8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced (if large, cut in half crosswise  and then slice)
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 14.5-oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking barley
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 oz. baby spinach
  • 1 TBS distilled white vinegar
  • 4 eggs

Onions in the pot

Onions are tender and turning brown

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden, about 10 minutes.

Adding mushrooms and thyme

Add the mushrooms and thyme;  cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have softened, about 5 minutes.

Adding remaining ingredients except spinach

Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, barley, 1/2 tsp. salt and freshly ground black pepper, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Barley is cooked

Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until it’s wilted.

Adding spinach

Heat 2 quarts water, 1 TBS salt and 1 TBS vinegar in a wide, medium pot until it’s simmering.

Crack each egg in a separate bowl (you can re-use the bowl)

Crack one egg into a small bowl.

Slip egg into simmering water

Gently slide the egg into the water;  repeat with remaining eggs.  Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny.

Serve soup with a poached egg on top.

Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing – from Gourmet magazine

Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

This particular week I couldn’t find Napa cabbage at my grocery store, so I used generic “Chinese” cabbage.

  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 2 TBS low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 TBS cider vinegar
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 3 TBS finely chopped chives (I use kitchen scissors)
  • 1 lb. Napa cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 6 radishes, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced diagonally

Whisking salad dressing

Whisk together the dressing ingredients, buttermilk through chives.

Radishes, celery, Chinese cabbage

Ready for dressing

Combine cabbage, radishes and celery in a serving bowl;  toss with dressing.

Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing