Archive for February, 2008

Do Not Try This At Home (with Stove Top Organic Popcorn Recipe)

Monday, February 25th, 2008

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From Lisa Barnes

I learned two lessons this week. The first is you can’t believe everything on the Internet. The second is recipe writing and following directions has room for errors. Here’s my humbling and expensive experience of having to buy a new microwave.

I’ve been working on a new book and have been recipe testing popped corn recipes. I’m not a big popped corn fan. Sometimes I buy unsalted, unbuttered microwave organic popped corn for my husband and son. It seems like cardboard, but they like it. I prefer the real deal, popped on the stove (recipe below). But I saw a recipe online for putting regular (unpopped) organic popcorn kernals in a dry bag in the microwave. Thinking this is a good short cut to let readers know about, I decided to test it. (I’m not going to give you the recipe because I don’t want you to challenge me and have to buy a new microwave too.)

I was a little leary, thinking it wasn’t going to work. I put it on for 2 minutes, rather than the recommended 3, because my microwave cooks a bit hot. I stood by (luckily my kids were napping) and it actually worked. Pop, Pop, Pop! I thought, hey what a simple way to make low-fat, no chemical organic popped corn. Until the microwave beeped and I opened the door to see a side of the bag on fire, and burning the inside of the microwave.

I quickly and carefully grabbed the bag with metal thongs, put it in the sink and doused it with water. I went around and opened all the windows and doors so the smoke wouldn’t build and set off the fire alarm (luckily the microweave is in a walk-in pantry). Then I tried to wipe out the microwave. Yikes. Lots of black soot, a big burn mark and a horrible smell. There was not going to be any wiping out. Yep, I cooked my microwave. I decided there could be a few reasons this recipe backfired (literally)…

1. The bag pushed against the air intake when the carousel went around at the end of cooking.
2. My microwave cooks too hot for this to work.
3. The bag was folded too tight and got too hot inside.

So, I’m sticking to the plain old stove top old fashioned method, see below:

If you have a pot with a clear lid you and your child will enjoy witnessing the “pop”. Note: The American Pediatric Association warns giving children under 4 years old popped corn as it is a potential choking hazard.

Stove Top Organic Popped Corn

Makes 7 to 8 cups

2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/3 cup organic popping corn

Put oil and one kernel of popcorn in a large heavy-bottom pot. Cover and heat over medium-high heat. When the kernel pops (about 3 minutes), add 1/3 cup popcorn in a single layer and cover. Once pops are less frequent, move pot a few times back and forth over heat until pops stop. Remove pot from heat, carefully remove lid and transfer popcorn to a large bowl.

Add a sprinkling of desired topping. Or make separate bowls for each family member to dress and enjoy their own. Some suggestions include: cinnamon, cayenne pepper, parmesan cheese (sorry vegans), paprika, salt, pepper and sugar.
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
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Image Credit: Wikipedia GNU Free Documentation License
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Hearty Organic Oatmeal Cut Outs for Valentine’s Day Recipe

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

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From Lisa Barnes

It’s Valentine’s Day and time to make something to decorate for my son’s preschool class. To be honest I’m not very crafty. I don’t draw well (although I like to color), nor do I yield a mighty glue gun or a glitter pen. When it’s my turn to participate it’s always going to be food. I can’t help it – it’s what I know and how I show some creativity. Here’s what I’ll be making for class on Thursday. I’ll bring the plain cookies, then squeeze bottles of icing and some sprinkles and crushed candy canes that the kids can decorate with. Wish me luck. (Especially since my 19 month old will be with me to “help” the big kids). Happy V-Day!

Hearty Oatmeal Cut Outs

This was inspired by my son’s Great Big Backyard animal magazine – with a few changes, sugars, flours and the addition of naturally pink (thanks to cranberry juice) colored frosting. My son brought these to share with his preschool class to represent the letter “H” for hearts. Feel free to use other shapes, but those with less detail (circle, heart, star) work the best because of the oatmeal pieces.

Makes 35, 3” hearts
Icing yields 1/3 cup

1 ¼ cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup organic rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup raw organic turbinado sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted organic butter, melted
2/3 cups organic milk

Icing:

1 cup organic powdered sugar, sifted
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon organic cranberry juice
1 teaspoon organic milk

In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking soda and spices. Stir in sugar, butter and milk until well mixed. You may need to knead dough together. Form into a ball and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place dough on lightly floured surface and roll with rolling pin until ¼ inch thick. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and arrange on baking prepared sheet about 1 ½ inches apart. Bakes about 10 – 12 minutes until golden on bottoms.

Cool completely on a wire rack then frost if desired.

Combine all icing ingredients in a small bowl. Using a small spreader or squeeze bottle ice the hearts with stripes, dots, outlined or covered.
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
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No Yolking Around – Organic Pancakes for Kids Recipe

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

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From Lisa Barnes

Jonathan, a two-and-a-half-year-old, was allergic to eggs but wanted to eat pancakes. His mom couldn’t find a recipe without eggs, so she sent me a request and challenge: Find an egg-free pancake recipe. I couldn’t find one either, so I came up with my own. This allows those not yet introduced to eggs to enjoy pancakes with the rest of the family.

Makes about 8 (5-inch) pancakes: 4 servings

1 cup organic whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup organic milk
2 tablespoons expeller pressed canola oil.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and oil. Add milk mixture to flour mixture all at once. Stir with a rubber spatula until just blended. If batter is too thick, thin with milk.

Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Lightly grease skillet with cooking spray or melted butter.

For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle or skillet. Cook until bubbles form on top of pancakes and bottoms are golden and set. Flip with a spatula and brown other sides until golden. Warm finished pancakes in a 300°F oven, while continuing to use batter to make more batches.

Tip: Packing pancakes. Pancakes make a great snack for packing and snacking. Make a double recipe and seal cold, leftover pancakes in a zipper bag in your refrigerator or freezer. They make fast, convenient on-the-go finger foods.
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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