Quinoa Cabbage Rolls


1 medium head of Savoy cabbage (8-10 outer leaves + 1 cup of course chopped)

1 cup onion (course dice)
1 cup celery (course dice)
1 cup sweet bell pepper (course dice)
1/2 of a jalapeƱo chili (no seeds)
2 tbs fresh parsley
1 tbs olive oil

1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa

1 can garbanzo beans
juice of one lime

1 can of diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, carefully cut apart the cabbage to get 8-10 large outer leaves and set those aside. Chop up about 1 cup of the remaining cabbage for use in the filling. Also prepare the quinoa as directed on the packaging.

When the water reaches a boil, blanch the cabbage leaves for a few minutes just until they start to get tender but don't over cook them. You want them just done enough to be able to form the roll. You only want to do a few at a time so they don't get overdone. When all the leaves are blanched, set them aside to cool for a bit while you prepare the filling.

Saute the onions, celery, bell pepper, chili, chopped cabbage in a heavy pot will a little olive oil. While the vegetables cook, coarsely puree the garbanzos with the lime juice in the food processor. Should be kinda like the texture of chunky peanut butter. When the vegetables are fork tender, take them off the heat. Add the parsley, quinoa and garbanzo mixture to the vegetables and mix. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as desired.

Form the rolls by taking a cabbage leaf and laying it flat on a work surface. Take a large spoon full of the filling (about 1/2 cup) and place it on the rib of the leaf. Fold the end of the leaf over toward the rib and then roll up the two sides. Place the roll seam side down in a oven safe baking dish. Repeat until you run out of leaves, filling or room in the baking dish. You should get about 8 to 10 rolls.

Spread the diced tomatoes over the top of the rolls and bake covered in an 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes so the rolls warm up and steam a little.

Quinoa is Cool

My wife and I are "foodies". A few months ago we were watching a food show where the grain quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) was used. It is native to South America and has recently been growing in popularity because it is high in protein and other stuff that is good for you. As such, we have been using it in place of things like rice or pasta in meals. Last week, I had a spurt of inspiration and came up with a couple of dinners where quinoa played a central part. Since they turned out pretty well, I thought I would document them. The first is kinda a play on a classic cabbage roll and the other was a Mediterranean inspired pita. I will make each its own post so things are easier to keep track of.

Woodworking project

I may have mentioned in the past that woodworking is a bigger hobby for me than bread making. I have been slowly rebuilding a workshop after our recent move. A few weeks ago, I started building a large workbench that will form the heart of the shop. It is based on a design I built a few years ago with the twist that it will also have a place for the chop saw (thus the lower section in the middle). Today I got to the point where I could assemble the lower cases. Stay tuned.

This weekends bread

I had this Friday off so I baked bread. One of the offerings was the old standard of a transitional multi-grain. The other was an experiment. This is the first bread from a recipe that is not Peter's. I decided to make a honey-wheat sandwich bread from the "Baking at Home" book put out by the Culinary Institute of America. I like the layout and style of this book but I don't like the bread recipes. They do all the measurements by volume which just doesn't work for bread. I ended up converting the measurements to weights but ended up using a fair amount extra flour. The bread turned out well. It had a nice texture and the flavor was there but I think I can make it better. The next time, I am going to try making it using some of the techniques from the Pain de Campagne recipe from Peter's book. Stay tuned.


Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins

This recipe is based on a recipe for Pumpkin Muffins from the Food Network with a few twists.

Dry Works

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup fine white rye flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Wet Works

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tbsp unsulphered molasses
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk


1 cup dry cranberries

In a medium bowl, mix all of the dry works. In another bowl, combine the wet works until well mixed. Add the dry works and cranberries to the wet works and mix just enough to bring the batter together. Using a #30 disher, portion out the batter into small muffins pans coated with spray oil. Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Makes 18 small muffins.


Manual Labor

This weekend I spent 4 days up at my parents helping my father start to build his long dreamed of workshop. The break from internet access, and thus email, was refreshing. While they have dial-up, lets just say the user experience of an AJAX enabled email interface provides enough motivation to avoid the whole thing.

More importantly, I feel like I accomplished something. I guess that is the attraction of going off and doing something like swinging a hammer for 4 days. Unlike updating a million rows of data with some crafty SQL, banging together some walls has the advantage of being tangible at the end of the day. The only downside is the soar muscles and mosquito bites.

While up there, I also made some rye bread. Surprisingly, the bread turned out pretty well, especially since I forgot my bread spoon! The results were well received and the two loaves didn't last the weekend.

So, I offer up as a piece of advice. If you are finding yourself a little burned out from that IT grind, go and find some type of manual labor to do. The satisfaction is very rewarding.


This weekends bread

This weekend, I did a fair amount of bread making. Two loaves of oat bran-flax bread and two loaves of multi-grain transitional were the whole-grain offerings. The multi-grain was made with rye flour, oat flour, rolled oats, wheat bran and 10-grain cereal.

Then I made two loaves of challah. As an experiment, I attempted a chocolate challah with one of them by tweaking Peter Reinhart's recipe from his Bread Baker's Apprentice book. The inspiration came from my marble rye attempts. The recipe is as follows:

Chocolate Challah


27 oz unbleached bread flour
1.5 oz sugar
1.5 oz cocoa powder
1.5 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast
2 oz olive oil
3 large eggs
3 large egg yokes
12 oz water at room temp

Egg Wash

1oz water
3 large egg whites

Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl. Crack the eggs and egg yokes into another bowl (reserving the egg whites for the egg wash). Whip the eggs and yokes with a fork to break things up. Add 6.8 oz of the egg mixture (use the rest for the egg wash), 12 oz of water and
the olive oil to the mixing bowl and stir until things come together and form a rough ball of dough.

Transfer the dough to a floured counter and knead for 10 minutes. Adjust flour as needed so the dough remains soft and slightly tacky but not sticky. After kneading, form into a tight ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling wrap and ferment for 1hr. After 1hr, knead the dough again for 1 minute to degas. Reform a tight ball and return to bowl. Cover and ferment for another hour or until dough raises by 1 1/2 times.

After the second ferment, remove the dough and divide into 8 pieces. This will be used to form 2 4-braid loaves. Take each piece of dough, flaten it slightly and then roll up to form the start of one of the braids. Should be about 2 inch thick and about 6 inches long. Do this for all 8. Now take each one of them and roll out to about 1/2 thick and 15 inches long. If they keep springing back, let the dough rest for about 5 minutes and try again. Then, use the braiding technique from Peter's book, form into 2 4-braid loaves. Place each loaf into an oversized (10" by 4 1/2") lightly oiled bread pan and brush with egg wash made from the egg whites and about 1 oz of water. Let proof for about 1 1/2 hours until the loaves fill the pan but don't rise above the pan edge much.

After proofing, preheat oven to 350. Brush the loaves with egg wash again. Bake for 20 mintues and then rotate 180 degrees and bake until internal temp gets to be 190 degrees (about another 20 minutes). The loaves will have a fair amount of oven spring so make sure the oven rack is in the center. Cool for 1 hour before slicing.


This Weekends Bread

This weekend was rather busy because I had to work on a software upgrade. However, I still managed to get my bread making fix on Sunday. I made Oat Bran - Flax bread again and also Pain de Campagne from Peter's book. The Pain de Campagne is kinda like a French bread but with about 15% whole wheat or rye flour. I made it with rye. Normally it should be used for making fancy shaped loaves but I just formed it into slightly oversized baguettes. It had a fair taste but because I was a little rushed, I baked it at to low of temperature so the crust got very tough.