Flour Head Bakery’s Hot Cereal with Muesli and Fresh Berries

Berries on Top

Great Beginnings

Yummy Spoonful

Recipe

1 cup water

1 ¼ cup milk or milk substitute

½ cup Cream of Wheat or Wheat Farina

4 tsp light brown sugar

pinch of salt

Place water and milk in a small bowl over medium heat.  Gradually whisk in the wheat farina, bring to

boil, and whisk constantly until mixture thickens.

Divide the hot cereal between bowls.  Drizzle each bowl with honey or maple syrup, and top with Muesli, and fresh berries.

Serves 2-4

Cranberry Muffins & Cranberry Sauce

Muffins

7 TBL Unsalted Butter, melted

1 Extra Large Egg

1 Egg Yolk

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/3 cup Whole Milk

1 ¾ cup All Puprose Flour

¾ cup Sugar

2 ¼ tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Salt

1 recipe Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Additional sugar for sprinkling on top

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Grease a Lodge cast iron mini cake pan with butter and set aside.  Or line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners and set aside.

In medium bowl whisk together  flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a small skillet over low heat, melt butter.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.  Gradually whisk in melted butter.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients all at once.  With a wooden spoon mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until almost all the dry ingredients are incorporated.  A few bits of dry ingredients are fine so you don’t over mix your batter.

Using a 1.5 oz ice cream scoop  – scoop batter into each mini pan.  Dip a spoon in water and gently spread the batter into the pans.  Spoon 1 -2 tsp of prepared cranberry sauce on top. Scoop about ½ a scoop of batter on top of each muffin and spoon another 1 tsp of cranberry sauce on top.  Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake muffins for 10 minutes at 425, then drop the temperature to 375 and bake an additional 20 – 25 minutes, until the tops are cracked and nicely browned.

Cool the muffins and serve warm with butter and additional cranberry sauce.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

12 oz bag fresh cranberries

1 cup apple juice

½ cup sugar

zest of ½ and orange

place cranberries in a medium bowl of cold water.  Lift the cranberries up out of the water by the handful, and pick out and discard any bad ones.  Put the good cranberries in a medium pot.

Add apple juice, sugar and orange zest to the pot and give it a quick stif.  Place the pot on high heat and bring to boil, then reduce the heat to simmer, stirring occasionally.  When most of the cranberries have popped and the sauce is starting to thicken, about 20 – 25 minutes,  remove from the heat, cool to room temperature and serve, or refrigerate.

Cranberry sauce can be warmed back to room temperature or served cold.

Sauce keeps for at least 1 month refrigerated.

Makes 2 cups.

Purchase Mahasti’s Recommended Utensils

Lodge Cast Iron Drop Biscuit Pan

Stainless Steel Disher

8″ Open Skillet

Stainless Mixing Bowl

Whisk

Measuring Cups

Measuring Cup

Measuring Spoons

3-Quart Saucepan

Zester/Grater

Scott’s Sage Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

2 cups All-Purpose flour

1 Tbl Baking Powder

½ tsp Salt

3 Tbl chopped fresh Sage leaves

4 Tbl Butter

A smidge over 1 1/4 cups Buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, add chopped sage and mix well.  With a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut in cold butter until all the butter is pea size.  Gently stir in buttermilk.  Mixture should be wet so that it can spooned.

Drop biscuits onto a parchment lined baking sheet and baker for 14-16 minutes.

Biscuits can also be used for topping your favorite pot pie.

Purchase Mahasti’s Recommended Utensils

Measuring Cups

Measuring Spoons

Glass Measuring Cup

Stainless Mixing Bowl

Dough Blender

Wooden Cooking Spoon

Pumpkin Pancakes

Let’s face it:  The Great Pumpkin has arrived and left a trail of spice dust from latte to Little Debbie.

The First Ingredients

And I’m mostly okay with that.  I like the way it tastes, and I love riding the wave of nostalgia that each sip or bite brings.  It’s a warm current of memory that I look forward to feeling.  My only complaint is the same one that I’ve aired in years past to all who would pretend to listen – too often the pumpkin spice comes without the pumpkin.  And that makes me feel sad and incomplete; it’s like eating a handful of sprinkles without cake.

It’s the nostalgia, you see; because without the flesh of the big orange squash, pumpkin spice leaves my sense memories incomplete.  Certainly, aroma can cast an alluring spell, but there’s a voluptuousness about pumpkin flesh that adds a decadently plump and toothsome pleasure to every morsel it imbues, and it’s that combination that takes me back to the warm and happy days of bonfires, caramel apples, ill-fitting masks, and the promise of holidays yet come.

In fact, I can’t even think about pumpkin without recalling my first experience of it in the wonderous form of pie.  Perhaps you, too,

The Real Pumpkin Arrives

remember: imagine the feel of pumpkin pie as you close your lips about it – it’s firm but yielding and expresses a soft, nearly corpulent luxury when it meets the tongue.

Gosh, I’m feeling nostalgic already.

But aside from theses daydreams and romantic recollections, there are also some mighty fine practical reasons to keep the pumpkin with the spice.

While adding pumpkin to a recipe doesn’t automatically impart the indulgent texture of a good pie, adding it to some recipes is a no brainer if you’re looking for rich texture and additional appeal without negative consequence.  Pumpkin, like applesauce, adds considerable moisture without adding additional fat.  It also contributes fiber and good dose of beta carotene, thiamin, and Vitamin A.

Stiff Batter

There’s almost no downside – especially if you’re making pancakes.    A good recipe will help you balance the density and moisture of the squash with sufficient leavening to create a plump, rich, but light bite that will soak up syrup and butter like a champ.  In this recipe it’s the combination of buttermilk with baking soda, as well as a dash of baking powder that makes these beauties happily fluffy and light.

And if you haven’t had pumpkin pancakes yet, well, you’re in for a treat.  Of course, there are all the appropriate spices and a little vanilla to make the flavor really nice, but Pumpkin seems particularly well suited for maple syrup.   It, too, is wonderfully redolent reminder of the season.  Put them together and you have a pumpkin spice moment that will satisfy the appetite of several senses all at once.

 

Flour Head Bakery’s Pumpkin Pancakes

1 ½ cup all-purpose flour

On the Stove

2 TB sugar

1 ½ tsp baking powder

¾ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground clove

¼ tsp ground allspice

2 eggs

1 ½ cups Buttermilk

¾ cup pumpkin puree

3 TBL melted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

In another bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, pumpkin, melted butter, and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together with a spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture is mostly mixed together into a thick batter. (a few lumps of dry ingredients are fine)

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, and lightly butter the skillet. Scoop the batter by the spoonful into the skillet, allowing room to flip the pancakes. Flip the pancakes when they have a few holes on the edges, and cook on the other side. Flip pancakes over a few times to make sure they cook through and are a deep golden brown on both sides.

Serve the pancakes with butter and maple syrup as you cook them, or keep warm in a 200 -degree oven.

 

Pumpkin Spice Day

Perhaps it’s best if you’re sitting.

The shock may be too much for you – but fear not, there is a warm and fuzzy place that we can help you find, one that will make it all better, so stay with us…

Perhaps it will come as no surprise to you that there is an actual Pumpkin Spice Day.  The autumnal flavor seems to have taken over our world in a way that Frank Herbert fans will understand.  (Nerd alert!) Like the mélange spice/drug of the planet Arrakis, also known as DUNE, Pumpkin Spice is everywhere now.  It has even reached Little Debbie, and I suspect that Collegedale (the home of the snack cake giant) is covered in a fine dust of suspicious, orange tint.

But what may strike you as odd, perhaps even somehow wrong and wickedly disturbing is that where there is Pumpkin Spice, there may not be actual Pumpkin.  I know, I know – it’s a terrible thought, and it’s one that leaves me reeling and wondering what will be left of the real and the natural order of things.  When the very air is full of spice, when it infuses our lattes, fills our cereal bowls, and even clings to our almonds without a trace of the Big Orange Squash that single-handedly created the spice’s fame, well, the Great Chain of Being has broken into more pieces than Humpty Dumpty.  And the world seems less right than before.

“But, but…” you sputter in shock, “Pumpkin Spice delights are often orange!  Surely, surely that’s from real pumpkin!”  Alas, that most delightful of all the colors, orange, is often simulated by the addition of annatto and paprika.

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Will the Real Pumpkin Please Stand?

It’s easy to understand, even if it hurts the head to ponder; in much of processed food, it’s flavor or the simulation thereof that matters most.  Actual ingredients be damned, as long as it tastes right, looks right or is at least close enough, then all is well.  You may know people who actually prefer the fakers – like that strange group of folks who prefer the taste of banana Popsicle to the taste of an actual banana.

Okay, so that’s unfair – pumpkin spice is a real enough mélange of nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger and allspice, but on its own it’s really just spice.  It could be spice cake spice, molasses cookie spice – heck, it’s only a couple of ingredients away from being garam masala spice.  We need pumpkin to make it right.

We’re not trying to rain on anyone’s parade or throw shade on your seasonally affected flavor favor.  Far from it – we have a safe place for you at the restaurant, a place where Pumpkin Spice lives in harmony as it should with the Great Pumpkin who is real and present in every bite.  For this national day of observance, this Pumpkin Spice Day, we have Pumpkin Spice Morning Rolls that will warm up your nose and your heart for a full day of spiced remembrance.  We’ll also have Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes to sweeten all the memories that come with the smell and flavor of this sweet squash and spice blend – memories of home baked treats and family gatherings where paprika stays safely on the deviled eggs.

Happy Pumpkin Spice Day – come and see us.

Scones

Lord knows we love a biscuit.  Fluffy, warm, dripping in butter and slathered in jam or glistening with honey, the very thought jump starts the appetite and sets the mouth to water.  And yet, as good as that is – and really, it’s nearly unbeatable goodness – there are times when the human spirit, driven by a blend of hunger and ambition, urges us to go above and beyond the expected, to gild the lily and say damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

It is on those days when desire and determination meet that we make scones.

The scone, a biscuit-like favorite of our cousins across the pond, is no less subject to disputes of origin and authenticity than any other good food of ancient lineage.  So whether you ascribe the origin of the name, scone itself to the Dutch schoonbrood or get your Scots’ pride on and claim the name for the Stone of Destiny (where the kings of Scotland were crowned), we’ll gladly listen to your argument if you don’t mind if we eat while you jabber.

The scone at heart is very similar to the biscuit: its origin, humble and its purpose, nourishing.  They are made of similar ingredients and can produce equal euphoria in many eaters.  Yet, as any true scone lover will tell you, the similarity ends there.  Scones are not light and fluffy, they don’t have buttermilk, and they just don’t match red eye gravy.

Instead a scone is dense with a fine crumb; it sometimes includes egg in the recipe, and, so is, generally speaking, a richer bite.  That’s part of what makes it special. The heavy cream doesn’t hurt either.

If you haven’t had one – or perhaps your mother needs treating – we have a solution for you.  After all, it’s a weekend worthy of treats, and this is a pretty fine way to treat the lovely woman who helped you learn to wash your hands after you went to the garden.

This weekend, we’ll be serving sweet cream scones that we’ll top with Zavell’s farm strawberries, Moore’s Acre honey and some crème fraiche.

Sound rich?  Well, yes it is, but it’s also delicious and has the added advantage of being dressed up by good stuff from our neighbors – sweet strawberries from Blaine and delicious honey made in Washburn.  Scones are always better with friends.

Once you try this, you’ll probably want it in your repertoire alongside your best biscuit recipe.  So make sure you tune in to WBIR on Saturday – Mahasti will be making scones on Weekend Today, so you can get the recipe and see it come to life at the same time.

 

Sweet Cream Scones with Honeyed Strawberries and Whipped Cream

For the scone: 

2.5 cups all purpose flour

¼ cup sugar

1 Tbs baking powder

¼ tsp salt

4 Tbs chilled unsalted butter

1 ¼ cup heavy cream

1 Tbl vanilla

Place flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the bowl.  With a pastry cutter or rubbing with your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until butter is in pea size pieces.  Add the heavy cream and vanilla and stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour has been moistened.  Turn the dough around a couple of time in the bowl, and then transfer to a floured cutting board.  Bring the dough together to form a ball, then flatten slightly and place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes uncovered.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator, roll it out to ½ inch thickness, then fold it over itself, and place back in the refrigerator uncovered for 10 minutes longer.  Remove once again, and roll out to ½ inch thickness.  Cut the dough out with a 2.5 inch biscuit cutter, and place rounds on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Place the cookie sheet back in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees while the scones are chilling.  Place chilled scones in preheated oven and bake for 13- 15 minutes until tops are light brown.

Allow the scones to cool to room temperature.

For the Honeyed Strawberries:

1 quart strawberries, rinsed, capped and sliced

3/4 cup  honey

Place sliced strawberries in a small bowl, toss with honey and allow to sit until juices from the strawberries have been released.

For the whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream

1/8 cup plus 1Tbl Confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Place  heavy cream in the bowl of stand mixer with the whisk attachment and beat with confectioner’s sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form

To assemble scones:

Place one scone on a small plate

Top with ½ cup sliced strawberries and some of the juice

Top the strawberries with ¼ cup of whipped cream

Serve immediately

Serves 8 – 10

 

 

Jezebel Sauce

We give the devil his due.  I mean, everyone knows who the devil is whether he’s an ex-lover or ex-friend, a boss of special evilness or just a particularly vexing detail; even if we mean the angel of light or prince of darkness, we know about the devil in his more obvious guises.  So when we say deviled eggs or ham, we understand that we’re talking about food that’s zesty, piquant, or spicy.  Though if you ask me, most deviled eggs don’t truly earn the name. If I had my way, the only foods that would be called devilish would be ones that carried a Scoville rating for their inferno-like, spicy heat.

In my mind, other foods where something simple gets all dressed up – like the mild, but beloved stuffed eggs that grace my family reunions – should take their titular cues from a very special sauce that graces many a southern table, especially if there’s a ham on it: Jezebel Sauce.

The sauce is named for one of the Old Testament’s wicked royals who had a particularly sticky end that involved some harsh prophecy from Elijah, a crowd, a horse, and a pack of stray dogs.  You can read the whole story in the 1st and 2nd Book of Kings.  For our purposes, the important part of that story is that just before [spoiler alert] she was thrown out of the palace window, “she painted her eyes and adorned her head and looked out…”  And thus the name of Jezebel has forever been linked to women (of course) who are overly made-up, women of loose morals, or any poor gal who fall on the wrong side of the patriarchal standards for approved feminine demeanor and appearance.  Isn’t that nice?

In food terms, the word refers to a sauce base, usually something wholesome like apple, peach or pineapple preserves that gets all tarted up with the addition of lots of horseradish, yellow mustard, and some black pepper, too.  It functions much in the same way that chutney and other relishes do – it adds additional sweetness and savor along with a mighty kick.  In fact some original recipes call for so much mustard and horseradish that in addition to making your eyes water and your nose run, it was potent enough to make you spout steam from your ears.

We aren’t interested in seeing you spout steam from your ears, as fascinating as that might be. But we do think it’s a fine sauce to add to the roster of great Southern accents for living.  In fact, it’s essential to a very famous Southern hors d’oeuvres – a Triscuit smeared with cream cheese topped with a dollop of Jezebel.  But we’re more likely to recommend it with pork, especially in the form of breakfast sausage on biscuit with Monterey Jack cheese – which is exactly how we’ll be serving it at the Tomato Head this weekend.  If you’d like to learn more, Mahasti will be taking to the airwaves to share her own delicious take on Jezebel Sauce – so we invite all of you boys and girls to paint your eyes, fix your hair and tune in to WBIR’s Weekend Today to get saucy with us!

 

JEZEBEL SAUCE

4 cups Pineapple tidbits, drained

2 large granny smith apples, cored and diced

1 1/2 cups of the pineapple juice, (you can add apple juice to make up the difference if you don’t have enough apple juice)

2 Tbl prepared Horseradish

1/4 cup Yellow Mustard

3/4 cup Sugar

2 tsp Black Pepper

2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Place all ingredients in a pot over medium heat.  Bring to boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until apples are soft.  Puree the mixture with an immersion blender or cool then puree in a blender.

You can serve the sauce hot, or chilled.  Will keep in the refrigerator for quite a while.

Biscuits and Gravy Day

One of the many beautiful things about food is that not only can it tell you where you are, it can also take you where you want to be. Biscuits and gravy tell me that I’m at home in the South, but, on many of my long spells living away from home, that same dish helps ease the homesickness that seems to afflict Southerners in a particularly poignant way.

Part of this dish’s magic comes from the memory-summoning charms of the smells that fill a house where it’s being made properly: warm aromas of buttermilk biscuits rising in the oven followed by the fragrance and sound of country sausage popping in an iron skillet. It’s a hearty dish, too – the kind that fills you up like only a grandmother’s cooking seems to do. In a way, for me at least, it’s one of the miracle foods; it fills me up, warms my heart, and floods the mind with happy thoughts of people and places that I love.

Ultimately, it’s a simple dish that, like much of Southern food, was probably born of hard times or a least a keen sense of frugality that rests in the memory of times when “waste not, want not” was neither proverbial nor cliché. Just imagine a harried cook over a wood burning stove with a handful of flour left over from rolling out biscuits alongside a pan of fat remaining from frying up pork sausage. With just a little milk and a couple of minutes, there was not only more food to put on the table, there was also nothing to throw away.

Like all classic foods, this breakfast staple has been and will continue to be modified and reinvented with riffs on the breadstuff itself and all sorts of mutations of the gravy, too. And while we Tomato Heads are all about some innovative cooking, we cling to tradition in the basic approach to this most classic of breakfast foods. All it takes is six ingredients and a little bit of love.

This Saturday, Mahasti will present her simple and simply delicious recipe for Biscuits and Gravy on WBIR’s Weekend Today so you can make it yourself. Here’s a link to the recipe for The Tomato Head’s Sausage Gravy. But if you find that your craving is stronger than your will to roll out biscuits, just come on down to either Tomato Head. We’ll share ours with you! And while we can give you all our happy memories, we’re happy to help you make some of your own – one biscuit at a time.

National Bagel and Lox Day at Tomato Head

First of all, we’re early – but we’re okay with that. National Bagel and Lox Day is actually on February 9th, which is this coming Tuesday; but that doesn’t feel right to us at all. Seeing as Bagels and Lox are really one of the essential parts of a worthwhile brunch menu, we reckon that whoever decides these holidays ought to take a cue from the way Labor Day works and figure it as the first Sunday in February or something like that. But no matter – we celebrate this classic combination every weekend of the year, so this go round we’ll just make a little merrier as a prelude to the actual day itself.

The list of Bagel and Lox’s loveable attributes might start with its place as a metaphor for the American experience.  If you think of all the influences that go into putting together this dish you’ll have to consider input from at least Polish, Scandinavian, Italian, British, and Jewish sources and perhaps more. It’s a veritable melting pot of its own.

Like much of the American commingling of influences, it would appear that the Bagel and the Lox first hooked up on the streets of New York probably around or just before the time that Ellis Island was getting into full swing, when bagels were the hot ticket for easy to carry and eat food. But when that happened is impossible to say and, ultimately, not very important to the appetite. It is almost certain that the addition of cream cheese to the mix didn’t happen – or at least not very often – until after 1872 when, according to an article in the Jewish daily, Forward, “a dairyman named William Lawrence, from Chester, N.Y., accidentally invented cream cheese while attempting to make a batch of French Neufchâtel. Legend has it that he erroneously doubled the amount of cream in the recipe and was delighted by the results of his mistake.”

Although cream cheese and variations of it had probably been made in American homes for a century or more before Lawrence’s happy accident, his result lead directly to the commercial product that we know and love today – especially it shows up smeared on fresh Flour Head bagels piled with beautifully smoked salmon, tomato, capers and onion..

It makes one of those magical combinations that manages to fire many of the cylinders that make our food brain run happily ever after. It’s a textural head rush from the first bite and crackly snap of the bagel’s incomparable crust and soft, chewy interior all the way to the creamy rush of the cream cheese, the luxurious, almost silky feel of the lox, with a cool, crisp crunch of onion and the bright pop of capers.

Likewise, it’s a feast for the taste buds. The flavor of a fresh bagel, somewhere between the fantastic worlds of fresh, crackly baguette and big, chewy pretzel, brings a light salty flavor that’s just tinged with sweet that marries perfectly with the slight tang of cream cheese, the rich, smoky and heady flavor of the salmon, all of which benefit from the meaty and sunny savor of tomato, the zesty sweetness of sweet red onion and the caper’s briny exuberance.

Now – that’s quite enough with the words; let’s get this party started. And if there’s anything else to be said about bagel and lox, let’s say it with our mouths full.

© 2016 The Tomato Head Site by: Robin Easter Design