Photo by Ann Keener
This recipe lets Sonrisa's whole wheat flour shine in all of its delicate nuttiness. The recipe was developed after reading Michael Ruhlman's Ratio for The Farmer's Daughter. Understanding proportions of recipes creates versatility in the kitchen and boosts confidence. Here, the ratio is roughly 1-2-3 of butter-sugar-flour, with slightly less flour to accommodate the absorbing nature of whole wheat. There are equal amounts of flour and chocolate chips to satisfy the chocolate lovers. A pinch of cayenne and nutmeg brightens the cookie and adds a slight contrast to the caramel nature of sorghum and brown sugar.
8 oz brown butter
12 oz brown sugar
2 oz sorghum
2 oz honey
21 oz Sonrisa Whole Wheat flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
21 oz chocolate chips
Punch nutmeg and cayenne
Cream the butter and sugars until lightened and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla extract. Whisk together the dry ingredients and add until incorporated. Add the chocolate chips. Scoop and chill or freeze. Bake at 300 for 10 minutes. Enjoy with cold, fresh milk!
Buttermilk pie comes together in a pinch and tastes great with or without fruit added in. Make your favorite crust recipe and pre-bake before adding filling. Try culturing your own buttermilk and substituting kefir into the recipe. The basic pie is from Loveless Cafe in Nashville, TN.
7 oz sugar
4 oz butter, softened
1.5 oz flour
1/2 vanilla bean, or teaspoon of any extract
8 oz buttermilk
Sliced stone fruit, berries, or sungold tomatoes (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 350. Rub the vanilla bean paste into the sugar. Cream with butter and flour. Add eggs one at a time. Incorporate buttermilk. Pour filling into crust. Arrange about a cup or two of fruit onto the top. Bake for 40 minutes until set, slightly jiggly, puffed, and golden around the edges. Best serve chilled.
Shortbread is comforting to have in the freezer, to slice and bake a few at a time for sweet cravings or a log for last minute guests. The basic dough has a great texture of a slightly sandy crunch with a chewy background and enough crumble to be a hint delicate. Lemon zest adds a hint of acidity, and the cornstarch is key to the texture and pliability of the dough. Add a herbal element based on what's abundant and easily accessible. Rosemary, sage, and basil sweeten beautifully when creamed with the butter and sugar. Lavender, thyme, or chocolate mint would make great bright notes complimentary to the subtle corn flavor as well.
For irresistible cookies, use brown butter. This recipe is my favorite corn cookie, largely based on a Dorie Greenspan recipe. The batch size is one log, 20-40 cookies depending on thickness.
7.5 oz (1 1/2 cup) All-purpose flour (organic King Arthur preferably)
1.3 oz (1/4 cup) Cornstarch
0.5 teaspoon Salt
2.5 oz (2/3 cup) Riverview Mills cornmeal
4.8 oz (2/3 cup) sugar
Zest of one lemon
2-4 Tablespoon finely chopped herb
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional, interchangeable)
8 oz (1 cup or 2 sticks) butter, slightly softened
Browning butter evaporates about 20% of the water weight. The concentrated oil takes on a deep nutty flavor as the butter separates and the fat particles brown. The trick to practice with brown butter is to take it slow towards the end. Capture the flavor right before it starts to burn for an intense richness great for many baking and sauce recipes. I like making large batches and chilling the excess. Have a strainer (or cheesecloth) and container ready for a cleaner end product. Here's my thoughts, and there are many great tutorials online, like on thekitchn and Joy the Baker.
On medium high, heat (12 oz for this recipe) butter in a sauce pan large enough for at least twice the volume of butter. It will melt, foam, sizzle, spit, and bubble in the first 15 minutes (larger batches take longer). Be patient as to keep the butter from getting angry and overflowing or popping onto you. The hot butter will separate, the particles will fall to the bottom and begin to brown. If this is your first rodeo, turn down the heat to medium low and observe. I usually don't stir the butter, only frequently checking on the process in the 10-30 minutes this takes to finish.
Once the smell is intensely nutty and alluring, turn the heat off. At this point, leave it to cool on the stove if the brownness seems like a safe distance from blackening. If the butter is teetering on the burnt threshold, immediately and carefully strain the mixture into a cool metal or glass container. Let this cool to room temperature or in the freezer if in a pinch. Straining is optional. I usually don't remove the particles and include it in doughs. Immediately soak the butter pan, the bottom layer will take some soap and scrubbing.
To make the cookies, whisk or sift together dry ingredients. Rub the sugar, lemon zest, and chopped herbs together. Add the vanilla extract and butter. Cream until the sugar is dissolved and mixture is evenly fluffy and lightened in color. Add the dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Have a 2 ft sheet of parchment (or foil) ready. Scoop all the dough out and pat into a log with clean hands. Use a dough scraper and wrapper to form the log into a circle, oval, triangle, or rectangle by rolling and flipping the log, pulling on the wrapper, and pushing with the scraper. When the log is smooth and tight, fold the ends of the wrapper around the log and freeze on a flat surface for a few hours, preferably overnight. The dough will keep for at least few months, depending on freezer temperature and cleanliness of the ice box atmosphere.
When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees and allow the log to sit at room temperature for 5-15 minutes to keep from shattering as you slice. A thinner cookie is great for sandwiching or spreading jam or lemon curd onto. A thicker cookie has complexity and shines alone. Cut with a sharp knife at 1/8-1/2 inch slices. Place onto a baking sheet, a few inches apart to allow some spreading and browned edges. Sprinkle with sugar (infused with vanilla or herbs for an extra touch) and bake for 25 minutes. Check on the cookies mid-bake to rotate and gauge the doneness. I like a golden cookie, ever so slightly underdone in the middle and browned around the edges. These keep in a container for at least 3 days.
This salad is a great side dish and easy to put together for potlucks. It is a quick Korean side dish and pairs well with most meals. The soy sauce, sesame seeds, and pepper can be left out for a more mild salad. Also try using another oil-vinegar combination. I first tried this salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper. This variation reminds me of farming days in Monteagle, when a cool, crisp, refreshing dish was welcomed and perky in the sleepy summer heat and humidity. I encourage a variety of spices, alliums, and shredded vegetables to sprinkle in this salad. I find kohlrabi and carrots to be a nice compliment to the cucumbers. Fresh herbs like cilantro and dill would be fitting as well.
Wash and lightly peel cucumbers. If peel is bitter and the fruits are quite large, peel completely and seed the cores to reduce bitterness. Slice thinly and evenly at 1/8 to 1/4 inch with a knife or mandolin. Peel and mince the garlic, onion, and ginger while toasting sesame seeds. Add the rice vinegar, tamari, sesame oil, sugar, red pepper, and salt to the cucumbers. Toss with seeds and minced spices. Serve immediately, with better flavor after 10 minutes. Leftovers keep for about two weeks in refrigeration.