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All posts in August, 2014

My sister was coming to visit along with her fella (we were expecting her grandson to be with them as well, but he wanted to spend the weekend with his mom instead), and I wanted to make a special dinner to welcome them to my home. It needed to be delicious with easy prep ahead of time–kabobs to the rescue! Now, what meat to use? We decided on beef and chicken, so folks would have choices. Eric came home from the grocery store with some shrimp to add to the mix, as well.

While I COULD have chosen one marinade to use for all of it, I wanted to accent each individually. They all came out absolutely delicious, so of course I want to share them with my friends!

For the beef, I decided on a barbecue sauce type marinade. I started by cheating, using bottled sauce. We had some Sweet Baby Ray’s in the fridge, so I poured about 1/3 cup in the bowl. I added a spoonful of prepared horseradish and about twice as much prepared mustard. I wanted to use dry mustard, but it was hiding somewhere. I slopped in a glug or so of red wine and some molasses, and thinned it with some water. Into a freezer bag with the beef it went, and into the fridge for several hours!

For the chicken, lemon-pepper sounded good. I cut a lemon in half and squeezed the juice into a bowl. I added some honey, a bunch of freshly ground pepper (I always use the multi-colored peppercorns), some freshly ground salt, a good glug of white wine (I had some liebraumilch in the fridge),  a splash of apple cider vinegar and some olive oil. Stir it up real good, toss the squeezed lemon rind in, add the chicken, and marinade for an hour or 2 in the fridge.

The shrimp was my personal favorite. For this, I squeezed the juice from the 1/2 lime I had in the fridge, tossed in the rind, added a minced clove of garlic and a few slices of fresh ginger, a spoonful of turbinado sugar. a splash of tamari, some brown rice vinegar and some sesame oil. Into its freezer bag with a pound of shrimp and, you guessed it, into the fridge for an hour or two.

The meats and various veggies got strung onto soaked bamboo skewers and were grilled. In the meantime, I cooked down the marinades to make dipping sauces. All were served with garlic bread. This, my friends, was a 5-star meal!

***Remember: As with all of my original recipes, measurements are approximate. If you make this stuff, adjust to your own taste.***

Beef Marinade

  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoon prepared hoseradish
  • 2 teaspoons prepared mustard or 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/4 cup water

Chicken Marinade

  • one lemon, juice and rind
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (I always use the multi-colored peppercorns)
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground Celtic sea salt
  • 1/3 cup white wine (I had some liebraumilch in the fridge)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water

Shrimp Marinade

  • 1/2 lime, juice and rind
  • one clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, sliced very thin
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tamari (naturally fermented soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup water


I wrote this post back in February. I have NO idea why I didn’t post it then! Anyway, here ya go!

I love to make yeast bread. I’ve done it for over 30 years now, off and on. The first thing I learned is that following a recipe does NOT work for me and bread! That first loaf was used as a doorstop for several years … BUT I learned along the way that bread is super flexible! You can put pretty much anything in it that you like, as long as you have the basics down.

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What are the basics? Liquid, flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. That’s it. I do usually measure the liquid, and base everything else upon that.

For one loaf, 1-1/2 cups of liquid works–half that for a pizza crust. What kind of liquid? Whatever you like. Water, milk, potato water, veggie water, broth, juice, really whatever tickles your fancy! Egg counts as liquid, but you can’t use JUST eggs as the liquid. Just make sure that whatever you use is around body temperature.

For the flour, I prefer whole wheat bread flour as the basis. It’s got plenty of gluten to stretch out and let the little yeastie critters blow bubbles. I often add some portion of all purpose flour, just to lighten it up a little. Total flour? Um … more than twice as much as you used liquid? Until the consistency is right.

For sugar, I usually use honey, but sometimes will use molasses or a mixture of the two. Granulated sugar, whether white or some form of “raw” works well, too. I use about a spoonful per loaf, as it helps a LOT in feeding those little yeastie critters so they can burp bubbles to make the dough rise.

For yeast, I like the plain old whatever they’re selling in bulk at the food co-op. It works, and I’m happy. Sourdough is wonderful as well, but that’s a different post.

For salt, I use Celtic Sea Salt. That’s the only salt I buy! One teaspoon per loaf of bread.

For optional ingredients, I’ll often add some fat–usually butter or ghee, sometimes coconut oil … again, a spoonful. Vinegar or orange juice to acidify the dough helps the gluten to develop. Since I found out that bakeries used to use iodine as a dough conditioner but switched to bromine in the 60’s … and most of us are deficient in iodine … I’ve started to add a few drops to my dough, as well. Nuts, fruits, onions, garlic, seeds, cheeses, herbs, all kinds of things CAN be added. Be adventurous!

My process for making bread varies some, but basically, mix together the liquid (not including eggs, if using them) with 1/2 of the flour and the yeast in a glass bowl. Cover with a plate and let it sit for anywhere from one to 24 hours. Add eggs if using, salt, fat if using, sugar, a splash of vinegar & a few drops of edible iodine as dough conditioners and beat it up. Add flour 1/2 cup or so at a time until the dough is stiff, and knead until it’s satiny and elastic. Put it into a buttered bowl, turn so the whole ball of dough is coated, cover with that plate again, and let it rise until doubled. This can be 1 hour or it can be 3, depending on how much yeast I use and what the room’s temperature is.

Shape the loaf as I like, and preheat the oven. For that “artisan” loaf you see in the pictures, I went with 450f, but you can bake bread at pretty much any temperature from 350f on up. Bake it until done. Again, for the “artisan” loaf in the cast iron dutch oven, I preheated the pan with the oven, then baked it for 30 minutes with the lid on, removed the lid and baked for another 15 minutes. I like to butter the crust so it’s more tender, but some people prefer the crunch of not buttering it. You get to choose!