Thursday, July 8, 2010

Busy, busy, busy....

Fellow is shaping up to be an all day food marathon in the Anderson house!  It figures!  This is the first day in 8 or 9 days that it has not rained and here I am, cooking.  Actually, I don't mind as I am yet unable to enjoy the pool due to the crazy glue with which they closed my surgical inscision.  We wouldn't want THAT washing off in the pool!

I'm very enthusiastic about today's endeavours.  For starters (literally), I've been cultivating a Herman starter for my version of Amish Friendship Bread for ten long, long, long days now.  Today is day ten.  I fed it the third ration of milk, flour and sugar this morning and it is bubbling away on the back of my stove under the light from the range hood. 

For those of your who do not know, a Herman starter is a sweet sourdough starter.  I actually started mine with a cup of Lucky (my old friend and faithful companion) to which I added 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup all purpose flour and 1 cup whole milk.  I know, it sounds sick right?  Milk...really??  But trust me, the enzymes in this stuff will kill any fungi jungi and prevent your Herman from turning into bad juju. 

If you don't have any sourdough starter with which to begin, simply mix 1 packet of yeast into 1 cup of 105-110 degree milk and let it stand 10 minutes till it foams and the yeast blooms.  Add 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of milk and begin your arduous 10 day count down.  Do not refrigerate the starter.  Feed it the same formula on the 3, 6th and 10th days.  If you already have a live starter as I did, you only need feed on the 5th and 10th day.  On the 10th bake using 1/4 of the starter which is about a cup.  Keep one portion for your starter and either give the remaining two to friends or freeze them.  You'll need to treat each portion as a new starter and feed on the 5th and 10th day regimen.  I won't go into the specifics of the bread recipe at this time because I'll be posting it later.

So at some point today, my house will be filled with the sweet aroma of baking friendship bread.  I have some zucchini that need using so I have decided that mine will be zucchini spice.  I don't follow the Amish friendship Bread recipe to a tee but mine is obviously an adaptation.  The loaves freeze well also.

In addition to this, I am putting the finishing touches on two contest entries for the tea contest sponsored by Mission:Food  I adore food contests.  It gives me a chance to be creative and since I'm a Sagittarius, it also satisfies my constant need for competition!  I'm giving away NOTHING as to the nature of my recipes though (in case they are a flop).  Various elements for each are either chilling or drying as of this post and I expect to assemble and photograph each after lunch.  I must say, I'm fairly exuberant with anticipation for the outcome!

For Stella at  I made a batch of my Vegan Chickenless Chicken Salad for lunch today so I could photograph it and post the recipe.  I'm noshing on that in whole grain pita pockets with some crisp raw veg on the side.  I have prepared mine with homemade soy-free coconut oil based vegan mayo but you may use a commercially prepared product like Nasoya or Vegannaise if you wish. 

The recipe itself is simple but it takes a little time (and fiddling) to prepare the barley which will become the "chicken". 

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups dry bulk pearled barley
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon dry poultry seasoning
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 cloves peeled garlic
  • 2 large carrots, halved (peeling isn't necessary)
  • 2 stalks celery, halved
  • optional: bouquet garni of fresh thyme, sage and parsley
*the fresh herbs are optional since you are already using dried poultry seasoning  but I encourage you to use them since nothing adds the fresh herby taste better than fresh herbs!

  1. For this stage (which may be done a day ahead) you will bring the broth to a simmer in a 2 quart saucepan with lid.  Add all the ingredients in the above list along with black pepper and kosher salt to taste.  Cover tightly and cook until barley is tender and liquid has been absorbed.  This may be done on the stove top or in the oven. 
  2. Remove the vegetables and discard  Fluff the barley with a fork and cool completely before proceeding to make the salad.  This works well done the day ahead.
  3. The cooked barley must be ground using either a food processor or an old fashioned meat grinder that attatches to the counter top.  The latter actually provides the best textural results but since most don't have this gadget; a series of pulsing and scraping the sides of the processor will suffice.  You do NOT want a barley paste!  Pieces are fine.  Their chewy texture is what gives the salad the mouthfeel of minced chicken.
  4. Place the ground barley in a large bowl and add the following:
  • 1 cup or more for extra creamy Vegannaise or see my recipe for homemade soy-free coconut oil mayo.
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 1/2 cup finely diced bermuda onion
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli slaw
  • 3 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced dill
  • 3 tablespoons dill pickle (or sweet if you prefer) relish
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly and chill until ready to serve.  This salad works equally well as a sandwich filling or served in hollowed out tomatoes or lettuce wraps.

the broccoli slaw, when coated with the mayo even looks like shreds of chicken and the barley is indistinguishable.

Well, lunch break is over and its back to the kitchen.  Look for some exciting posts by this evening!

(c) copyright Jill Anderson
The Homegrown Gourmet


  1. Jilly! Thanks so much for posting this-that's so sweet. I'm going to make it this weekend. We're supposed to go on a picnic, so this is perfect.

    By the way, I'm intrigued with the sour dough starter thing. I'm going to do it today. I'm assuming I should put it in a bigger bowl than it looks I would need, since one has to redo the process in the same receptacle on the 3,6,10th day?
    Have a good day, Jilly. I've got to start cleaning. It's a mess around here...

  2. Yes Stella, definately start it in a large bowl otherwise you'll just be changing bowls as it increases. WHEW...One contest entry down and one to go! Though I did get a bonus recipe out of it as well. I suppose I'll just enter three...LOL

  3. Hi Jilly
    you know sometimes I think Stella will make Vegans out of all of us with her incredible creations!
    I have to say it does look really good, and the pita was an excellent choice!
    thanks for sharing!!! and I hope you are recovering well

  4. I agree Dennis...although, dare I admit this...I ate exclusively Vegan for over 3 years and mostly still do. Stella and I have a jolly old time swapping Vegan baking secrets and other bewitching vegan techniques ;)

    Thanks...I am feeling better. Soon I'll be back to my old fat and sassy self!

  5. I learned something here.

    Really interesting technique.

  6. Wow, using barley as "chicken" what a great way to make a traditional dish into a vegan treat! Amen I say!

    Hey, send some rain our way, we have not gotten more than 1/2" in the past 4 weeks. Drought again!

    Bon appetit!

  7. This is mouthwatering...Love it and the photo:)


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Fort Myers, Florida, United States