Category Archive: Nut Free

Creamy Polenta Made with Home Ground Cornmeal

Creamy Polenta BannerPolenta is a popular side dish here at the farmhouse. For years, I made polenta from cornmeal purchased at the grocery store.  The recipe was foolproof and always produced a polenta that had a lovely texture and flavor.  We were very happy with the consistently good results we had making polenta to serve at our family table.

Then we added a WonderMill grain mill to our arsenal of kitchen tools and our good polenta was transformed into a great, show stopping dish.  By making the simplest of changes to the cornmeal we were using, our polenta became a richly flavored, earthy masterpiece. The only change was that we were milling our own cornmeal instead of using store bought meal.   It’s shocking what a difference freshly milled cornmeal can make.

Milling the cornmeal was incredibly easy once I had sourced the corn to grind in the WonderMill.  I searched in vain for a local source for dried dent corn, but couldn’t find any that was safe for us to have here in our nut free home.  After doing a little research, I found that other home millers used popcorn kernels to make their own cornmeal.  Popcorn is readily available in different varieties, including organic, so I was eager to see what type of meal it would produce.

In a matter of minutes, an entire two pound bag of popcorn kernels had been processed through the mill on the coarse setting.  The resulting meal was congruent with evenly ground particles.  The smell of the warm meal was amazing, full of the aroma of freshly cooked corn.

I couldn’t wait to use this home ground meal in our beloved polenta recipe and taste the results.  Polenta with Heirloom Tomato Sauce was added to our menu board for the following night’s dinner.  As soon as it was bubbling away on the stove, the amazing aroma told me that this home ground meal was going to make all the difference.

Both the flavor and texture of the polenta made with our freshly milled meal was superior to the polenta we had been making.  In fact, the intensity of the pure corn flavor was amazing.  It transcended the entire dish from something ordinary to extraordinary.  While the polenta we had made in the past was always a good base for a sauce or topping, this polenta was a great component of the dish.

This polenta’s intense, earthy flavor was robust enough to shine through the topping instead of just providing a backdrop to it.  Since then, we have made this recipe many times, yet I am still surprised by what a difference the freshly milled cornmeal makes.  It is rare that such a simple effort in the kitchen makes such a huge impact on a dish.  Thankfully, it’s achievable for anyone who has a mill and a few handfuls of popcorn in the pantry.  One taste and I’m sure that you and your family will agree:  fresh home ground cornmeal makes all the difference in the world.

 


Creamy Polenta
I use our own freshly milled cornmeal when making this recipe. If you prefer, you can substitute an equal amount of your favorite brand of store bought cornmeal.
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Ingredients
  1. 8 cups liquid (water, stock, bone broth, or a combination)
  2. 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  3. 2 cups fresh cornmeal milled on the coarse setting
  4. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, bring the 8 cups of liquid to a rapid boil. Add the salt and return to boil. Place the cornmeal in a large mixing bowl. Using a ladle, add some of the boiling water into the cornmeal, whisking to incorporate. Add enough water to make a thin batter. Slowly add the thin batter to the remaining boiling water, whisking constantly. Adding the cornmeal to the liquid in this manner will help to prevent lumps from forming, making a creamier polenta.
  2. Return the cornmeal mixture to a boil while whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low. Continue to simmer, uncovered, whisking often for approximately 30 minutes. Take care when whisking the hot polenta as it has a tendency to bubble and pop as it is simmering.
  3. The polenta will thicken as it cooks; yet retain a smooth and silky texture. If the mixture becomes too thick, simply add a bit of warm liquid and whisk to combine. Taste the polenta for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Remove the polenta from the heat. At this point, the polenta can be served by ladling onto serving plates and topping with your favorite sauce, meat, and vegetables. It makes a lovely base for richly flavored dishes like braised lamb shanks or brisket.
  5. The polenta can also be baked to create a dish that can be sliced into individual portions for serving. In order the bake the polenta, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a shallow casserole dish or baking pan for the polenta by brushing with a thin coating of olive oil. Transfer the polenta from the cooking pot to the prepared baking dish. Spread the polenta to the edges of the pan, smoothing the top of the mixture. Using a pastry brush, lightly cover the surface of the polenta with olive oil. Season with fresh salt and pepper and add a liberal amount of grated Parmesan cheese if desired. Place the polenta in the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  6. After the 10 minutes have passed, turn on the oven’s broiler. Broil the polenta for approximately five minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Remove the polenta from the oven. Cut the polenta into squares and transfer portions of polenta to plates. Serve hot and enjoy!
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Cast Iron Skillet Pizza

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza BannerPizza night is a favorite here at the farmhouse.  I’ve made all sorts of homemade pizza over the years from traditional to taco pizza, grilled pizza, and homemade calzones.  Lately, we’ve been making our homemade pizza in a cast iron skillet with amazing results.  I should have known that creating a homemade pizza in my favorite type of pan would create a delicious, comforting meal to serve at our family table.

Preparing pizza in a cast iron skillet is so simple.  The crust bakes up beautifully thanks to the even heat in the skillet.  Once we have all helped ourselves to a slice, the remaining pizza stays warm and delicious until we’re all ready for seconds. 

I make one large pizza for our family in a 12 inch cast iron skillet.  You can also scale down your pizza to fit a 9 inch cast iron skillet.  The baking times remain the same; simply reduce the amount of toppings to create a slightly smaller pizza with equally delicious results.  If you prefer a thinner crust, less dough can be used to create a pizza just to your liking..  If you love a thick crust, do the opposite and use more of the dough to create a thick crust for your pizza.  This crust also makes  a delicious traditional style pizza baked on a pizza pan. 

This recipe makes enough dough and sauce for two 12 inch pizzas.  The dough stores very well in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for weeks.  I make a batch of dough and sauce one week and have enough of both leftover to make our pizza the following week.

I have used both homemade pizza dough and the store bought varieties to make great pizzas in my cast iron skillet.  Our favorite is the recipe I have included below.  It’s simple to make and tastes delicious.  If you prefer to use a store bought pizza crust, you will need around 14 ounces for a 12 inch skillet and 10 to 12 ounces for a 9 inch skillet pizza. 

We like to fill our pizza with a combination of 8 ounces local sausage, a sautéed red bell pepper, and a generous handful of sliced black olives.  Precooking the sausage and peppers ensures that they will be fully cooked and will not add too much moisture to the finished pizza which can result in a soggy crust.  This step also greatly reduces the baking time for your pizza.  On busy weeks, I often precook the toppings the night before or in the morning so that assembling our pizza at dinner time will be even easier.  You can substitute your favorite toppings for your pizza, precooking any raw ingredients and preparing them ahead of time if that suits your schedule.

I hope that you will gather your favorite pizza dough, sauce, toppings, and cast iron skillet for a farmhouse style pizza night at your house. I know that you’ll find that this simple recipe will make pizza night into a homemade feast that you’ll love serving to your family and friends week after week.

 

 

 

  

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
I make one large pizza for our family in a 12 inch cast iron skillet. You can also scale down your pizza to fit a 9 inch cast iron skillet. The baking times remain the same; simply reduce the amount of toppings to create a slightly smaller pizza with equally delicious results. If you prefer a thinner crust, less dough can be used to create a pizza just to your liking.. If you love a thick crust, do the opposite and use more of the dough to create a thick crust for your pizza. This crust also makes a delicious traditional style pizza baked on a pizza pan. This recipe makes enough dough and sauce for two 12 inch pizzas. The dough stores very well in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for weeks. I make a batch of dough and sauce one week and have enough of both leftover to make our pizza the following week. I have used both homemade pizza dough and the store bought varieties to make great pizzas in my cast iron skillet. This is our favorite is the recipe. It’s simple to make and tastes delicious. If you prefer to use a store bought pizza crust, you will need around 14 ounces for a 12 inch skillet and 10 to 12 ounces for a 9 inch skillet pizza.
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For one 12 inch Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
  1. 14 ounces pizza dough
  2. 1 teaspoon olive oil to prepare the pan before baking
  3. 1 – 2 cups pizza sauce
  4. 16 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
  5. Your favorite pizza toppings
  6. dried oregano
For the Dough
  1. 3 ½ - 4 cups Bread Flour
  2. 2 teaspoons sea salt
  3. 1 packet active dry yeast or 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  4. 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  5. 2 teaspoons honey
  6. 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons warm water
For the Sauce
  1. 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  2. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  4. 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  5. 28 ounces tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
  6. 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
  7. salt and pepper to taste
For the Dough
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine water, honey, salt, and olive oil. Sprinkle the yeast on top of liquids and allow to sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
  2. Add 3 ½ cups of flour to bowl and fit the mixer with a dough hook. Mix on low-speed for three minutes. The dough will begin to gather together and form a shaggy ball. Turn mixer off and allow dough to rest for five minutes.
  3. At the end of the rest period, mix the dough for another three minutes at medium low-speed. Add up to ½ cup additional flour if necessary to bring the dough together. At this point, the dough will be transformed into a ball.
  4. Remove the dough from the mixer and knead by hand until it is elastic and smooth. Divide the dough into two portions and form each into a ball by tucking the ends underneath as you turn it in your hands. Place each ball of dough in a medium bowl, coating the bowl and ball of dough with a bit of olive oil to prevent it from sticking or drying out. Allow the dough to sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes. Cover the bowl and store the dough in the refrigerator until ready to use. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for several weeks.
For the Sauce
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add the oregano and tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute before adding the tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should reduce slightly and thicken. Remove the pan from the heat and taste for seasoning, adding salt, pepper, and oregano as needed. If you prefer your sauce to have a bit of spice, you can add a dash of dried red pepper flakes with the garlic and oregano.
For the Pizza
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a pizza stone or baking stone, this is a great time to use it. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to your cast iron skillet. Use a pastry brush to coat the bottom and sides of the skillet with the oil. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the skillet as it bakes.
  2. As the sauce is reducing, I cook my pizza toppings. In a medium skillet, I brown 8 ounces of sausage removed from its casing before adding sliced bell peppers. Once the peppers are cooked, I remove the skillet from the heat, add the sliced black olives, and stir to combine. Precooking any raw ingredients will prevent the pizza from becoming soggy from the moisture released from raw ingredients as they bake in the oven.
  3. Press the pizza dough into the oiled cast iron skillet. The dough should evenly cover the bottom and the sides of the skillet. As you press the dough, it should keep its shape in the skillet, holding itself up against the side of the skillet. Place the skillet on a burner set at low heat as you assemble the pizza. The heat will help to warm the cast iron skillet and sear the bottom of the dough. This will help to ensure that the crust bakes evenly and has a nice crunch on the exterior. The pizza should spend about 5-7 minutes on the burner as you assemble the pizza before being transferred to the oven.
  4. Add half of the grated cheese to the skillet, spreading to evenly cover the bottom of the pizza crust. Add half of the pizza sauce, spreading it evenly on top of the layer of grated cheese. Add your toppings followed by the remaining grated mozzarella. Sprinkle with dried oregano. Allow the pizza to remain on the warm burner for a minute or two before transferring it to the hot oven.
  5. Bake the pizza for 18 - 20 minutes, turning it after 10 minutes to promote even browning and baking. Remove the pizza from the oven and allow it to cool for a full 15 minutes. This cool down period will allow the pizza toppings to set up slightly, making it much easier to slice and serve.
  6. Enjoy!
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Our Favorite Holiday Recipes from The 1840 Farmhouse Kitchen

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Each holiday season, we turn to our favorite family recipes.  It simply wouldn’t feel like the holidays without them.  From the sweet chocolate crinkle cookies that remind me of my childhood to the savory tomato and onion jams that we will enjoy with our appetizers on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, these recipes will be an integral part of our family’s celebration this year.

Whether you’re looking for something sweet or something savory, I hope that your friends and family will enjoy these dishes just as much as we do.  Simply click on a photo from our recipe gallery below and you’ll be taken to the original post and recipe.

We’ll be in the farmhouse kitchen cooking and baking today, making our way through this list of recipes while the snowflakes pile up outside.  The farmhouse will smell so inviting and the farmhouse kitchen tree will help set a festive mood, decorated with a few antique kitchen tools handed down by great grandmothers on both sides of our family.  It will be my favorite kind of day: one spent in the kitchen with my family baking for my family and making fresh memories to last for years to come.

I hope that you have a wonderfully warm holiday spent with friends and family and filled to the brim with delicious dishes to celebrate the season.  It won’t be long until we embark on the journey of the New Year, turning our calendars to 2017 and dreaming of all the opportunities and adventures that await us.

Happy Holidays to you and yours from all of us here at 1840 Farm!

 

Something Sweet

Something Savory

 

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Cinnamon Candy Applesauce

cinnamon-candy-applesauce-brandedI remember vividly the bright red, glossy candy apples I looked forward to at the fair each fall during my childhood.  I loved that hardened, glassy red candy with a juicy apple waiting inside,  They were so beautiful, so magical looking before I had even taken the first bite.  Once I did, my mouth was treated to the amazing flavor of cinnamon, sugar, and juicy apple.

My husband grew up enjoying a special cinnamon candied apple dish each year at Thanksgiving.  The chunks of apple were simmered slowly in a cinnamon syrup, taking on all the flavor of a candy apple and pairing beautifully with Thanksgiving dinner.

It stood to reason that I would eventually choose to combine those two childhood memories and create a dish that we could enjoy all year long.  This recipe has become a family favorite.  You’ll find a jar of this beautiful red tinged applesauce in our refrigerator just waiting to be served at our family table.

I have used a variety of cinnamon flavored candies to create this recipe with delicious results.  Choose your favorite cinnamon candy and give this simple recipe a try.  Your friends and family will love it as much as mine do!

Cinnamon Candy Applesauce
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Ingredients
  1. 6 - 8 medium to large apples, peeled and cored (should yield around 1 pound of flesh)
  2. 4 ounces red cinnamon flavored candies, crushed
  3. ¼ cup (2 ounces) water
  4. pinch salt
Instructions
  1. Wash, peel, and core the apples. The apples can be left in quarters or cut into chunks. They will break down as they cook, making fine chopping unnecessary.
  2. Using a food processor or blender, crush the cinnamon candies into small pieces. Place the water and candies in a large pot over low heat. Cook, stirring often, until the candies have completed dissolved in the water. Add the apples and pinch of salt to the pot and stir to coat.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until the apples begin to fall apart, approximately 20-30 minutes depending on the variety. You can speed up this process by crushing the cooked apples with the back of a wooden spoon or by using a potato masher.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat. Taste for seasoning, adding additional sugar if necessary. I prefer my applesauce to have a chunky texture, but you can puree the sauce using an immersion blender if you prefer a smoother texture.
  5. Allow the applesauce to cool to room temperature before transferring to a storage container with a tight fitting lid. This applesauce can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks. It’s delicious served with your Thanksgiving dinner or other hearty meals.
Notes
  1. The amount of sweetness needed in this recipe can be adjusted to match the tartness of the apples you are using. Cinnamon candies vary in sweetness, making the addition of a bit of sugar necessary in some cases. Simply add a bit of granulated sugar to the applesauce during the final stages to adjust its flavor to your liking if needed.
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This post is included in our 1840 Farmhouse Thanksgiving Gallery.
You’ll find our favorite Thanksgiving recipes all gathered in one place so that you can easily include them in your family’s celebration.  I’ll be adding new recipes  right up until the big day, so check back to see even more delicious and fabulous Thanksgiving posts.

 

thanksgiving-gallery-ss


 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/11/cinnamon-candy-applesauce/

Maple Applesauce

maple-applesauce-brandedHere in New England, real maple syrup is revered.  It’s so beloved that an entire season of the year is marked by the collection of sap from maple trees and the painstakingly slow process of boiling that sap down, down, and down until it is the rich, deeply colored amber maple syrup we all love.

After settling in here at the farm, we joined in the tradition.  We marched out in knee deep snowdrifts, tapping our maple trees, placing  spiles, and hanging galvanized collecting pails.  Once we had collected gallons of sap and boiled, and boiled, and boiled, we had indeed made our own truly homegrown maple syrup.  It was a moment to celebrate.

After spending hours on end to make our own maple syrup, we gained a deep appreciation for each drop.  We also started to look for recipes we could enjoy that celebrated the rich flavor of maple syrup.  This fall’s bounty of local apples seemed to provide me with the perfect opportunity to create just such a recipe.

This maple applesauce is sweetened solely with maple syrup.  It pairs the earthy, deep flavor of maple syrup and the bright taste of fresh apples.  We’ve been enjoying this applesauce alongside roast pork, chicken, and other fall dishes.  Next week, it will be served as a side dish with our Thanksgiving feast.  I can’t wait to taste it with our favorite holiday dishes!

Maple Applesauce
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Ingredients
  1. 6 - 8 medium to large apples, peeled and cored (should yield around 1 pound of flesh)
  2. 2 Tablespoons butter
  3. ¼ cup (2 ounces) maple syrup
  4. pinch salt
Instructions
  1. Wash, peel, and core the apples. The apples can be left in quarters or cut into chunks. They will break down as they cook, making fine chopping unnecessary.
  2. Place the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Allow the butter to melt. Add maple syrup, stirring to combine. Add the apples and pinch of salt to the pot and stir to coat.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until the apples begin to fall apart, approximately 20-30 minutes depending on the variety. You can speed up this process by crushing the cooked apples with the back of a wooden spoon or by using a potato masher.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat. Taste for seasoning, adding additional maple syrup if necessary. I prefer my applesauce to have a chunky texture, but you can puree the sauce using an immersion blender if you prefer a smoother texture.
  5. Allow the applesauce to cool to room temperature before transferring to a storage container with a tight fitting lid. This applesauce can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks. It’s delicious served with your Thanksgiving dinner or other hearty meals.
Notes
  1. The amount of sweetness needed in this recipe can be adjusted to match the tartness of the apples you are using. Simply add a drizzle of maple syrup during the final stages to adjust its flavor to your liking.
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This post is included in our 1840 Farmhouse Thanksgiving Gallery.
You’ll find our favorite Thanksgiving recipes all gathered in one place so that you can easily include them in your family’s celebration.  I’ll be adding new recipes  right up until the big day, so check back to see even more delicious and fabulous Thanksgiving posts.

 

thanksgiving-gallery-ss


 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/11/maple-applesauce/

Ginger Applesauce

ginger-applesauce-brandedI love the taste of fresh ginger. I use fresh ginger in both sweet and savory dishes here at the farmhouse.  For me, there’s simply no such thing as too much ginger.  Luckily, my daughter shares that belief, so she keeps me company.

I keep a jar of our Candied Ginger Slices in Ginger Simple Syrup in the refrigerator at all times.  The syrup is delicious in icy cold lemonade in the summer or in a cocktail to celebrate the end of a warm day.  Spicy Ginger and Garlic Quick Pickles are also a constant in our farmhouse kitchen.  They top burgers, sandwiches, and wraps all year long. 

When the weather turns cold, I turn to homemade Golden Milk with Turmeric, Ginger, and Ghee to warm me from the inside out.  The ginger adds such a delicious zing, a bright note to the earthy flavor of the turmeric and richness of the ghee.  Together, they’re delicious, comforting perfection with every sip.

So, when I was making batch after batch of applesauce using the local harvest of apples this fall, I began dreaming of a ginger applesauce to add to our dinner table.  After a little tinkering, this simple recipe emerged as our clear favorite.  It’s a lovely blend of the sweetness of fresh apples paired with the zip of ginger and just enough sugar to balance it all.

This ginger applesauce is so easy to prepare and full of flavor.  It will be featured on our Thanksgiving table this year.  I can’t wait to enjoy it alongside our roast turkey and all of our favorite side dishes.  I hope that you’ll enjoy it just as much as we do!

Ginger Applesauce
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Ingredients
  1. 6 - 8 medium to large apples, peeled and cored (should yield around 1 pound of flesh)
  2. 1 Tablespoons butter
  3. 1/2 cup (96 grams) granulated sugar
  4. 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  5. pinch salt
Instructions
  1. Wash, peel, and core the apples. The apples can be left in quarters or cut into chunks. They will break down as they cook, making fine chopping unnecessary.
  2. Place the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Allow the butter to melt. Add the sugar and ginger, stirring to combine. Add the apples and pinch of salt to the pot and stir to coat.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until the apples begin to fall apart, approximately 20-30 minutes depending on the variety. You can speed up this process by crushing the cooked apples with the back of a wooden spoon or by using a potato masher.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat. Taste for seasoning, adding additional sugar if necessary. I prefer my applesauce to have a chunky texture, but you can puree the sauce using an immersion blender if you prefer a smoother texture.
  5. Allow the applesauce to cool to room temperature before transferring to a storage container with a tight fitting lid. This applesauce can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks. It’s delicious served with your Thanksgiving dinner or other hearty meals.
Notes
  1. The amount of sugar needed in this recipe can be adjusted to match the tartness of the apples you are using. Simply add a bit of sugar during the final stages to adjust it to your liking.
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This post is included in our 1840 Farmhouse Thanksgiving Gallery.
You’ll find our favorite Thanksgiving recipes all gathered in one place so that you can easily include them in your family’s celebration.  I’ll be adding new recipes  right up until the big day, so check back to see even more delicious and fabulous Thanksgiving posts.

 

thanksgiving-gallery-ss


 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/11/ginger-applesauce/

Cheesy Grits

cheesy-grits-branded-2Every time I serve grits at our farmhouse table, I am taken by how simple, comforting, and delicious they are.  Much like potatoes, they can be prepared and flavored in so many ways, making them an ideal companion to almost any meal.  They’re a great item to keep on hand in the pantry, ready to call into action at a moment’s notice.  They’re inexpensive, versatile, and so easy and quick to prepare that I turn to them time and time again.

 

I’m far from the first farmhouse cook to appreciate grits as a dish to serve to my family.  Grits have been a staple of American cooking for generations.  In fact, they were most likely among the first foods enjoyed by European settlers after arriving at the shores of the New World in the Jamestown settlement.  It is believed that the Powhatan Indians first introduced those settlers to “rockahominie”, a warm porridge made by cooking the cracked grains of corn.  That introduction dates back to the early 1600s.

 

cheesy-grits-bbq-wmCorn, referred to as maize, was a prized food source at that time.  It was revered and even used as a form of currency.  Plain corn was soaked in a lye solution made using lye extracted from wood ash.  This soaking removed the hull, bran, and germ from the corn.  The result was hominy which was a food source that was more easily digestible and required less time to prepare. 

 

While hundreds of years have passed, the comfort delivered to a meal by way of grits has stood the test of time.  I pair them with grilled meats, sausages, and our Cast Iron Skillet Roast Chicken.  When heirloom tomatoes are ripe in the garden, I often serve them with a sausage and tomato Bolognese style sauce spooned on top.  Sauteed spinach or Swiss chard are also delicious paired with these creamy grits.  No matter how we serve them, my family is always happy to see that grits are on the menu.

 

I hope that you’ll give this simple recipe a try. In a matter of minutes, you’ll have a bit of homemade comfort food to enjoy at your family table and an American history lesson to share!

 

Cheesy Grits
I like to use an equal combination of homemade bone broth and water when making grits. You can use any combination of bone broth, stock, or water. I find that any combination of cheese works well to flavor the grits. Simply choose a type of cheese or combination of cheeses that you like to flavor your grits. During heirloom tomato season, I often use ricotta cheese to create a mild flavored cheesy grit with a velvety texture.
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Ingredients
  1. 8 cups cooking liquid (bone broth, stock, or water)
  2. 2 cups quick cooking grits
  3. ½ teaspoon salt
  4. 2 cups shredded cheese
  5. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Bring the liquid to a boil in a large pot. Add the grits and salt to the boiling liquid, using a whisk to mix. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened, whisking once or twice during the cooking time to ensure that the grits don't stick to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat and add the cheese to the grits. This is a great way to use up bits of cheese that are in my cheese drawer. Whisk until the cheese is melted and incorporated. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve with grilled meats or sautéed greens. Grits are delicious when dressed with a drizzle of your favorite barbecue sauce.
  3. Leftover grits can be refrigerated and reheated with a bit of water or bone broth over low heat to help loosen them up a bit. They're just as delicious the second night!
Notes
  1. You can learn how to make your own batch of delicious and nutritious bone broth right here: http://1840farm.com/how-to-make-homemade-bone-broth/
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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/10/cheesy-grits/

How to Make Homemade Bone Broth

bone-broth-branded 

Bone broth is the simplest of preparations and yields such delicious and nutritious results. It requires no fancy ingredients and doesn’t demand constant attention. Given enough time and heat, the bones break down, releasing all of their gelatin and minerals into the liquid. The resulting bone broth is rich in protein, gelatin, and minerals and adds a beautiful color and flavor to any dish. Best of all, you can create this amazing broth using leftovers that would normally be discarded.

How to Make Thanksgiving Turkey Bone Broth at 1840 FarmUntil a few years ago, I had never made my own bone broth. I had created my own stock and quick broth with good success, but didn’t fully understand the difference between the three kitchen staples and therefore didn’t realize that I could create something with more flavor and nutrition without creating any extra work for myself in the kitchen.

Since then, I find myself unable to pass up the opportunity to turn the leftovers from a roast chicken or turkey into a batch of bone broth.   I love transforming what used to be thrown away into a broth full of healthy calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, collagen, and a host of other nutritious minerals.

The process of making bone broth is simple. Reserve all that is left from the carcass of your chicken or turkey along with and any vegetables in the roasting pan. Any vegetables or leftover pan drippings can be scraped from the roasting pan and added to the slow cooker. They will add flavor and color to the finished bone broth.

When the meal is finished, transfer the roasting pan’s vegetables to the ceramic insert of a large slow cooker. Add approximately a third of the bones from a whole turkey or all of the bones from a 3 to 4 pound chicken to the slow cooker.  Add enough water to completely cover the bones and vegetables along with two Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.  Place the lid on the slow cooker and allow the ingredients to rest for an hour. The vinegar helps to extract the calcium from the bones, making a richer and more nutritious bone broth.

Transfer any remaining bones to a freezer bag. Those bones can be frozen for later use. When making bone broth using frozen bones, allow the bones to come to room temperature before proceeding with the cooking process.

After the bones have spent an hour in the water and vinegar, turn your slow cooker on at high heat. Once the liquid has come to a boil, you can reduce the heat to low. The liquid should remain at a simmer as the broth cooks. Leave the lid securely on the pot to reduce the amount of liquid that evaporates away from the pot. If you notice that the liquid level has dropped dramatically as the broth cooks, you can add more water as needed. 

The longer the broth simmers, the richer the broth becomes both in flavor, color, and nutrition. While you can stop the process at any point, I like to let the broth simmer for 72 hours. As you can see, the broth takes on a beautifully rich color the longer it is allowed to develop in the slow cooker.Crumbline Bones from Bone Broth at 1840 Farm

If you’re wondering how to know when your bone broth is finished, the process is simple. Remove a bone from the pot of liquid. When the bones have released all of their mineral content, they will crumble in your hands with very little pressure. This crumbling signals that the bone broth is finished, that the bones have released all the nutrition they have to give.

At this point, the slow cooker can be turned off. I allow the broth to cool to room temperature before straining it through a colander lined with cheesecloth. Discard any bones, vegetables, or scraps, straining the broth a second time if any solids remain.

I fill one large Mason jar with bone broth to store in the refrigerator, using it in any recipe that calls for stock or broth. I freeze the rest using either ice cube trays or silicone baking cups before transferring to a freezer bag for long term storage. I use this frozen broth as I would fresh, adding it to any recipes that call for broth or stock.

Our bone broth never lasts very long in the freezer as we continue to find new ways to incorporate it into our favorite recipes. The flavor, aroma, and color are so superior to standard broth that I only regret that I didn’t start making bone broth sooner. Once you discover the simplicity of making homemade bone broth and its amazing depth of flavor, you’ll be wondering the same thing!

 


This post is included in our 1840 Farmhouse Thanksgiving Gallery.
You’ll find our favorite Thanksgiving recipes all gathered in one place so that you can easily include them in your family’s celebration.  I’ll be adding new recipes  right up until the big day, so check back to see even more delicious and fabulous Thanksgiving posts.

 

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Cast Iron Skillet Roast Chicken

cast-iron-skillet-roast-chicken-branded

These days, I find myself actively looking for meals that fit a few key criteria. I want everyone to be eager to come to dinner, to look forward to the meal that lies ahead.  I like to have a multipurpose meal, one that can easily result in leftovers that can be reinvented the next evening into something equally delicious.  I also love when that meal can be procured locally, raised in our community, and eaten at its delicious best. cast-iron-skillet-roast-chicken-wm

I also like to serve something comforting at our family table.  After a long day, we could all use a plate that allows us to take a collective sigh, gather around the table, and enjoy recounting our day while eating something that delivers comfort with each bite.

For me, a whole chicken roasted to perfection in the oven delivers on each of these points. If the chicken can be cooked in a cast iron skillet, all the better.  The results are delicious each and every time, with my family clamoring for more, requesting that we make it again soon.

Thanks to inspiration from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon cookbook, I began roasting two birds at once each in their own cast iron skillet.  I’m only sorry that I didn’t think of this technique years earlier.  With very little extra effort, I can roast a duo of chickens side by side and ensure that we have plenty of leftover chicken to enjoy as tacos, sandwiches, pot pies, and in pasta dishes on successive evenings.

Roasting two chickens also provides me with all that I need to create two batches of hearty bone broth.  That bone broth delivers robust flavor and healthy nutrition to every single dish it is added to. Having homemade bone broth in the refrigerator or freezer at the ready is akin to having a bit of magic to add to any recipe that calls for broth or stock.

I hope that you will enjoy this hearty, comforting meal as much as we do.  It’s sure to become a favorite around your family table!

Cast Iron Skillet Roast Chicken
I roast two chickens at a time, each in their own 9 inch cast iron skillet. If you prefer, the two chickens could be placed in a single roasting pan large enough to accommodate them. When roasting two chickens, select birds of a similar size to ensure that they cook evenly in the same length of time. Prepping raw chickens can be a messy task, but I have found that lining my prep area with a generously sized piece of freezer paper helps to make cleanup a breeze.
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Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. Two 3-4 pound whole chickens
  2. coarse sea salt
  3. freshly ground pepper
  4. 2 Tablespoon lard or olive oil
  5. 2 teaspoons fresh minced thyme
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and position the oven racks in the bottom third of the oven. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator to allow it to come closer to room temperature as the oven preheats.
  2. Line your prep space with a large piece of freezer paper if desired. I like to use two small prep bowls, filling each with ample coarse salt and pepper to use when seasoning the chickens. Having the seasonings at the ready allows me to season the chickens inside and out without contaminating my pepper grinder and salt cellar.
  3. Remove the chicken from its packaging. If your bird contains a packet of organs in its cavity, remove them. Rinse the chicken under cold water if desired before transferring to the prepared freezer paper. Using paper towel, pat the chicken dry inside and out. It is important that the chicken be as dry as possible. Any moisture will create steam in the oven which will prevent the skin from becoming crisp.
  4. Liberally season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. If you like, you can truss the chicken using a length of kitchen twine to tie the legs together and hold them tight to the body. Trussing the chicken will help to hold the legs close to the body, keeping it in a beautiful shape and also helping the meat to cook evenly and the breast to stay moist.
  5. Prepare a cast iron skillet for each bird by placing each skillet on a burner over high heat. When the pan is hot, add a Tablespoon of lard or olive oil to each skillet, swirling carefully to coat the bottom surface of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium high and add a prepped chicken to each pan. Allow the chicken to cook for five minutes undisturbed.
  6. Transfer the skillets to the hot oven with the legs facing the back of the oven. Placing the breast in the front of the oven (the coolest spot) will deliver a slightly lower temperature and help to ensure that the breast meat does not overcook.
  7. After 30 minutes, turn the skillets 180 degrees to encourage even browning. I like to very gently tilt the pan to encourage any juices that have collected in the cavity to run into the skillet. Take care to not splash the hot liquid out of the pan when doing so.
  8. Roast the chicken for another 20 minutes before removing the skillets from the oven to check for doneness. When done, the birds should be golden brown and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone should register around 160 degrees. Juices from the chicken will run clear when it is fully cooked.
  9. When the chicken is finished cooking, add a generous teaspoon of the minced thyme to the juices that have collected in each skillet. Allow the chicken to rest for ten to fifteen minutes. This rest period will encourage the meat to stay moist and the pan juices to warm the fresh thyme.
  10. Remove the trussing twine from the chicken. Carve and serve, basting the chicken with a bit of the herbed pan juices.
  11. If you happen to be serving mashed potatoes and gravy with your chicken, add a bit of the pan juices to your gravy to boost the flavor and add a beautiful color.
When your meal is finished, the bones and skin can be used to make a delicious bone broth. You can learn how and why I make bone broth at
  1. www.1840farm.com/how-to-make-thanksgiving-turkey-bone-broth/
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Garden Fresh Heirloom Tomato Pico de Gallo

 Heirloom Tomato Pico de Gallo Gold Branded

When heirloom tomatoes are ripening by the basket full in our garden, I experiment with all sorts of ways to feature them on our farmhouse table.  I really love preparations that require little to no cooking, allowing the natural texture and delicious flavor of an heirloom tomato to be the star.

This pico de gallo definitely fits the bill.  It’s packed with delicious flavor, texture, and bright color.  It’s so beautiful on the plate and a wonderful way to enjoy the glorious flavor or tomatoes fresh from the garden without heating up the kitchen on a hot summer’s day.

I love to use cherry tomatoes of varying colors when they are available to celebrate the range of red, purple, yellow, and black colors we grow here in our garden. The burst of color and flavor on our plates is always a welcome sight.

Heirloom Tomato Pico de Gallo Ingredients Square WM   Heirloom Tomato Pico with Guac WM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garden Fresh Heirloom Tomato Pico de Gallo
I love to use cherry tomatoes for this recipe. They can easily be quartered to create the perfect size bite. If you are using larger slicing tomatoes, simply seed the tomatoes before chopping to prevent the pico de gallo from being too runny. If you like a bit of heat with your Pico de Gallo, add a bit of minced jalapeno pepper to the tomatoes and onions.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Tablespoons onion, minced very finely
  2. 2 cups fresh heirloom tomatoes, diced
  3. ¼ cup fresh cilantro, torn or chopped
  4. 1-2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  5. salt to taste
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the onion, tomato, and cilantro. Add 1 teaspoon of lime juice and a generous sprinkling of salt. Stir to combine and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to combine and the tomato to release its juice. Stir, taste for seasoning, and add more lime or salt as needed.
  2. Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Pico de Gallo means "rooster's beak" in Spanish. It is thought that the name originated from the appearance of the red tomato pieces in the dish. It seems like the perfect name to me!
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Boston Cream Pie

BostonCreamPie at 1840 FarmBoston Cream Pie has always been one of my favorite desserts.  It’s difficult to beat the combination of a light sponge cake layered with vanilla pastry cream and topped with chocolate ganache.  It wins on flavor and appearance in my book.

Sure, it isn’t really a pie in spite of its name.  As a pie lover, I could choose to hold that against this dessert.  Or, I could choose to love it more because it was made in a pie plate instead of a cake pan.  I’ll go with the second option because it doesn’t prevent me from loving Boston Cream Pie for any reason at all.

If you’re not familiar with the story behind Boston Cream Pie, here it is.  Once upon a time (around 1856), a chef by the name of Sanzian at Boston’s Parker House Hotel made a sponge cake layered with rum infused pastry cream, garnished with toasted almonds, and topped with chocolate fondant.  As was common practice at the time, he baked the cake in pie tins which were often used for cake baking.  The cake was called “Chocolate Cream Pie” and the name stuck.BostonCreamDrip

Years later, it came to be called Boston Cream Pie in a nod to its birthplace.  The Parker House became the Omni Parker House and the rest is culinary history of the most delicious kind.  In 1996, this dessert with a history became the official state dessert of Massachusetts.

No matter the reason this dessert was originally baked in pie tins, it is more common to find it baked in a cake pan these days.  Doing so creates a more symmetrical cake that can be sliced horizontally into layers for the finished dessert.  I like a challenge, so I prefer to use pie plates which create the rustic appearance of the homemade dessert that I love. 

In addition to using pie plates, I like to create three layers of cake rather than the customary two layers.  I find that the ratio of cake to pastry cream and ganache is just right when I create three thin layers of cake.  There’s also something decadent about a triple layer cake.

Once we moved to New England, it seemed fitting to master my own homemade version of Boston Cream Pie.  We even took a trip in to Boston to have a slice at the Omni Parker House just to experience it at the very place it was first created. 

Once we became chicken keepers and had a steady supply of the fresh eggs that give this cake and pastry cream such a rich flavor, my recipe really took shape. I have been making it the same way ever since.

You can call this dessert a pie or a cake, either is fine by me.  I’ll call it homemade and delicious and enjoy every last bite!

Boston Cream Pie
This recipe makes use of several foundation recipes and techniques. You’ll make a sponge cake with a meringue that is folded into the batter to deliver the most amazing texture. Then you’ll move on to make a beautiful pastry cream followed by the chocolate ganache. These three components can be used time and time again making a wide range of delicious dishes to share with your friends and family.
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For the Vanilla Sponge Cake
  1. 1 cup (8 ounces) whole milk
  2. ½ vanilla bean pod
  3. 3 large eggs
  4. ½ cup (96 grams) granulated sugar
  5. 200 grams (1 ¾ minus 1 Tablespoon) All-purpose flour
  6. 4 heaping Tablespoons cornstarch (36 grams)
  7. 1 cup (192 grams) granulated sugar
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  10. 3 ounces oil (I prefer a sunflower oil blend, but any neutral tasting oil will do)
  11. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  12. butter or coconut oil and sugar to prepare pie pans
For the Pastry Cream
  1. 12 ounces whole milk
  2. ½ vanilla bean pod
  3. 2 eggs
  4. pinch of salt
  5. ¼ cup (30 grams) All-purpose flour
  6. 6 Tablespoons (72 grams) granulated sugar
  7. 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Ganache
  1. 4 ounces heavy cream
  2. 4 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate
For the Vanilla Sponge Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Position the oven racks in the top and bottom third of the oven. Prepare three pie pans by coating with butter or coconut oil and granulated sugar. Set aside as you prepare the cake batter.
  2. Place the cup of whole milk a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean pod lengthwise using a sharp knife. Using the dull edge of the knife, scrape along the length of the inside of the pod to remove the thousands of beans inside. Transfer the beans and pod to the pot with the milk and place over low heat. The heat will help to infuse the flavor and aroma of the vanilla bean into the milk.
  3. Prepare a large mixing bowl and the beaters for your mixer by wiping with a paper towel lightly moistened with white vinegar. This will remove any trace of fat, allowing you to create a fluffy, beautiful meringue from the egg whites.
  4. Separate the three eggs, placing the whites in the prepared mixing bowl. Beat the egg whites on high speed until they become frothy. Continue beating while adding the ½ cup of granulated sugar one Tablespoon at a time. Beat until all of the sugar has been incorporated and the meringue has come to stiff peaks. You can test the meringue by removing the beater and holding it upright. If the peak of the meringue holds, it has come to stiff peaks and is ready to use.
  5. Remove the milk and vanilla bean from the heat to cool slightly. Remove the vanilla bean pod from the milk.Transfer the whipped egg white meringue to a small bowl and return the mixing bowl and beater to your mixer.
  6. Add the flour, cornstarch, 1 cup sugar, salt, and baking powder to the mixing bowl. Add the oil and half of the warm milk to the bowl. Mix slowly to combine. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract, mixing again on slow speed just to combine. Add the remaining milk to the bowl and beat slowly for approximately one minute until the batter is smooth and well combined.
  7. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a spatula, gently fold the reserved egg white meringue into the cake batter. Continue folding until the mixture is smooth and even.
  8. Transfer the batter to the prepared pie pans, dividing equally among them. Transfer the pie pans to the preheated oven. Bake for 25-35 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. The cakes are done when the tops are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean or with small crumbs attached.
  9. Remove the cakes from the oven to a wire rack to cool. When the pans are cool enough to handle, use an offset spatula to loosen the cakes from the pans. Turn each cake out on to the wire racks to cool completely.
For the Pastry Cream
  1. Place the whole milk in a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean pod lengthwise using a sharp knife. Using the dull edge of the knife, scrape along the length of the inside of the pod to remove the thousands of beans inside. Transfer the beans and pod to the pot with the milk and place over low heat.
  2. As the milk is warming, combine the eggs and dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. The resulting batter should be thick and smooth.
  3. Move the pan of milk from the burner. Remove the vanilla bean pod from the milk. Slowly add the egg mixture, whisking to incorporate the thick batter into the warm milk.
  4. Return the pan to medium low heat and bring to a simmer, whisking continuously until the mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon. Remove from the heat.
  5. Transfer the pastry cream from the pan (straining if necessary to remove lumps) to a bowl. Add the vanilla extract and whisk to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing it firmly against the mixture to prevent a skin from forming as it cools. Refrigerate until the cake is ready to be assembled.
For the Chocolate Ganache
  1. Prepare the ganache by warming the heavy cream in a small pan or in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat source and add the chocolate. Allow the mixture to rest for two minutes before whisking to incorporate. When the cream and chocolate have become a satiny glaze, set the ganache aside to cool.
To Assemble the Boston Cream Pie
  1. Remove the pastry cream from the refrigerator. Whisk the mixture to ensure that it is completely smooth. Whisk the chocolate ganache.
  2. Place one of the cake layers on a large plate or platter. Transfer half of the pastry cream to the top of the cake. Using a spatula, spread the pastry cream to evenly cover the cake, leaving a narrow margin around the edge of the cake. Repeat this process with the second layer of cake and remaining pastry cream.
  3. Place the third cake layer on top. Transfer all of the chocolate ganache to the top of the cake. If the ganache is warm enough, it can be poured, if not, simply use a spatula to spread the ganache to fully cover the top of the cake. I like to completely cover the cake and allow a small bit of the ganache to drip over the edge. There’s just something inviting about seeing this cake with chocolate reaching down to the cake plate below.
  4. Transfer the fully assembled Boston Cream Pie to the refrigerator. The cake can be kept in the refrigerator for several days, although they never last that long here!
Notes
  1. This cake benefits from the use of cake flour. Due to food allergies, I struggled to find a brand of cake flour that was safe to use in our kitchen. Fortunately, I discovered that I could combine All-purpose flour and cornstarch to deliver the benefits of cake flour without adding allergens to our kitchen and one more specialty ingredient to our pantry. For each cup of cake flour called for in a recipe, simply weigh out one cup of All-purpose flour, remove 2 Tablespoons of the flour and add 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch. Problem solved!
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Make Your Own: Cake Flour Substitute

MakeYourOwnCakeFlourSubstituteBrandedThere I was, reading a recipe for what sounded like a delicious cake.  I was inspired to head into the farmhouse kitchen to make one for my family.  I scanned through the list of ingredients, mentally placing a check mark on each line, happy to see that I had each ingredient on hand.  Then I came to cake flour and everything came to a screeching halt. 

Cake flour is all but impossible for me to purchase at the grocery store.  Each box seems to carry an allergy warning that prevents me from being able to invite the ingredient into our kitchen. We are completely peanut and tree nut free, so buying a box of cake flour that might contain both simply wasn’t an option.

I knew that cake flour was designed specifically for cake baking. In fact, each type of flour is designed to deliver differing levels of protein, gluten, and density to recipes.  Bread flour often promises a protein content in excess of 12%.  All-purpose flour typically has a protein content in the range of 11% while cake flour comes in at between 6-8%,  A lower protein content helps to create a cake that is tender, airy, and light. 

After a bit of reading, I found that I could indeed make my own cake flour substitute using two ingredients that I always have on hand in the pantry:  All-purpose flour and cornstarch.  By combining the two, I can create a flour that has a reduced protein content with less gluten, a silky texture, and the density that  cake flour is known for.  I could also sidestep peanuts and tree nuts, keeping our kitchen safe for the whole family.

This substitution is simple and I have used it with great success to bake light and delicious cakes.  I hope that you’ll find that it works just as well for you in your favorite recipes calling for cake flour.

Homemade Cake Flour Substitute
Our food allergies prevent me from purchasing cake flour at the grocery store, but they don't keep me from making recipes that call for cake flour. This homemade cake flour substitute works well, I can control the allergens, and I can use ingredients that I already have on hand. Now you can too!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup All-purpose flour
  2. 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
Instructions
  1. For each cup of cake flour called for in a recipe, you can easily create your own substitute. This substitute can be used in any recipe that calls for cake flour. There's no need to adjust the amount of flour used.
  2. Measure 1 cup of All-purpose flour into a small bowl. Remove 2 Tablespoons of the flour. Add 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch to the bowl and whisk lightly to combine.
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