Sunday, December 21, 2014

Recipes For A Well-Fed Triathlete

After the Washingtonian put up their photo spread of some of our favorite adventures in cooking, we received a lot of questions about recipes for the featured items. I’ve written up about half of them below, and I’ll try to do the other half soon. Katie has described my approach to using fixed amounts of ingredients as ‘haphazard” or “what do you mean a handful? How much is a handful? Your hand or my hand? Argh!”, but I have tried to formalize things a bit in the recipes below. I would encourage you to play with the proportions a bit, though, until you get a result you like.
I would not recommend messing around with the temperatures on the yogurt, though. That is more science than art.

Peanut Butter
Takes 30-40 minutes. Quantity produced depends on how many peanuts you use. 1 lb of peanuts makes a goodly amount.

Required Items:
Food Processor - We use (and love) the Ninja. The old standby 2-blade Cuisinart might or might not work for this one.
baking sheet


  • (shelled) peanuts. We have used roasted and unroasted, salted and unsalted. All will work.
  • salt
  • 1-2 TBS oil per lb of peanuts. I use olive oil, as we like the taste, but if you don’t love the taste of olive oil, you could use any neutral oil instead.
  • (optional) cajun spice and honey

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spread peanuts out on a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet.
  3. Roast peanuts until they look “sweaty” - usually takes 8-12 minutes, depending on what type of peanuts you are using, but can take longer with dry-roasted peanuts.
  4. Remove peanuts from oven and pour into food processor.
  5. Add 1-2 TBS oil per lb of peanuts.
  6. Turn on food processor and find something else to do for about 5 minutes. Do not watch the food processor, or the peanuts will not turn into peanut butter. I have tested this.
  7. Check food processor and scrape down sides. Depending on any number of factors, you will have a substance that is someplace between peanut chunks, peanut powder and peanut butter. If the former, have faith, trust this unfootnoted recipe you got from the internet, and turn on the processor again for another 5 minutes. If the latter, proceed to step 8.
  8. If you have something that looks like peanut butter, taste, add salt if needed, and decide if you like the consistency. The longer you process it, the less chunky it will become. If it looks soupy, do not despair; it will thicken as it cools. If it still seems powdery after 10 minutes of processing, add a bit more oil every 2 minutes until this is no longer true.
  9. (optional) If you are bored with regular peanut butter, and ready to have your mind blown, add spicy cajun powder and honey (start with 1 tsp cajun/1 TBS honey, and go from there). Or add a handful of chocolate chips. Probably not both, though.
  10. Refrigerate until cool, and eat. I don’t know how long it will keep in the fridge; ours has never lasted long enough to find out, but at least a couple of weeks.

Takes 15 hours of total time; requires 20 minutes of attention at the start, then a burst of activity an hour later, then sits unattended overnight.

Required equipment:
  • candy thermometer
  • stove
  • large (1-gal+) nonstick cooking pot
  • sous vide heater (optimal) or an oven that holds heat well (not optimal)
  • 1 gallon glass jar (if you are using the sous vide option)
  • very large stock pot for the sous vide water bath
  • metal strainer or colander
  • cheesecloth

  • 1 gallon milk (any store-bought milk is fine; does not need to be raw or hippie)
  • ½ cup of plain yogurt with active cultures

  1. Heat up milk in cooking pot to 185 degrees, then turn off stove. Be careful when stirring, as a scorched layer of milk will generally form on the bottom of the pot. This is fine, but you don’t want to scrape the bottom when you stir as this will bring the scorched layer back into the milk, altering the flavor. It comes right out of a nonstick pot afterwards.
  2. Set up sous vide heater to 105 degrees and start the water bath. If you don’t have a sous vide, turn on the oven to 150-200 degrees for 10 minutes then turn it off. We had very mixed results with the oven method, so I don’t really recommend it.
  3. Allow milk to cool back down to 105 degrees. If left unattended, this takes a little over an hour in our house; if you are impatient you can dip the cooking pot in a larger bowl of ice water and stir.
  4. Add ½ cup of yogurt and mix.
  5. If using sous vide, pour the yogurt/milk mixture into the glass jar, and set in the sous vide water bath. Do not cover the jar. If you are using the oven method, place the cooking pot in the oven and pray.
  6. Go to bed, or let sit for at least 6 hours.
  7. When you return, lay two layers of cheesecloth over the colander, and pour the mixture from the jar into the cheesecloth. It should resemble very soupy yogurt.
  8. Let sit in the cheesecloth, stirring occasionally, for 1-3 hours, depending on the desired consistency of your yogurt. Save the whey that drips out for breadmaking.
  9. Pour the resulting yogurt out of the cheesecloth into a storage container, and refrigerate. This should make 1.5-2 quarts of yogurt per gallon of milk. Higher fat milk makes more yogurt per gallon than lower fat milk.

Pairs nicely with bloobs.

Standard Loaf Bread:
This is a variation off of the recipe in Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese, a book that has been our starting point for many of these adventures.

Required Items:
  • Oven
  • mixing bowl (a stand mixer is great for this recipe, especially with a dough hook)
  • 2 loaf pans

  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 3 ½ cups whey or water at room temp
  • 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups wheat flour
  • 2 TBS honey or molasses
  • 4 tsp kosher salt
  • neutral oil for greasing
  • any or all of the following:
    • ⅓ cup flaxseeds
    • ⅓ cup wheat bran
    • ⅓ cup chia seeds
    • ⅓ cup hemp seeds
- (optional) 1 C raisins, 4 TBS butter at room temp, 1 tsp cinnamon, ⅓ TSP ginger, ⅓ TSP nutmeg,  1 TBS sugar

  1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl or stand mixer.
  2. Stir honey or molasses into the whey/water, then add to the dry ingredients (helps prevent clumping).
  3. Stir until a dough is formed. I usually use the dough hook on the mixer for a minute or so.
Option 3a. If you want a sweeter, richer bread, add 3 TBS of butter to the dough and mix. Then put the dough on a floured surface, and stretch/roll into a rectangle with a  short end the length of the loaf pan. Spread the surface with the remaining 1 TBS of butter, and spread the raisins evenly on the surface. Mix the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and sugar, and sprinkle evenly over the surface. Press the raisins lightly into the dough so that they stay in place, and roll up the dough from one of the short ends.

  1. Grease loaf pans.
  2. Put dough in loaf pans (should fill them about ½ to ⅔ full) and cover with a towel or plastic wrap for about 2 hours, or until it is near the top of the loaf pans.
  3. Preheat oven to 450.
  4. Bake loaves for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove bread from pans, and return to oven for another 15 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow if tapped.

More to follow. Happy eating!

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