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December 17, 2016

Mary Ellen's Whole Wheat Bread

4 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup dry milk
1/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup sunflower seed
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
2 pkgs dry yeast
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Stir together flour.

In large bowl, mix 3 cups flour mixture, dry milk, wheat germ, sugar, salt and undissolved dry yeast.

In a saucepan, stir together water, milk, honey, and vegetable oil. Heat over low flame until liquids are very warm (120-130°). Gradually add to dry ingredients. Beat with spoon about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup flour and beat 2 more minutes. Add sunflower seeds and enough of remaining flour to make a soft dough, reserving at least 1/2 cup. Spread 1/2 cup flour on pastry cloth or board. Turn dough onto floured cloth. Knead dough until smooth and all flour has been worked in - at least 8-10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning once. Cover and let rise in warm place until double in bulk about 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Punch dough down and cut into 2 pieces (3 small). Form into loaves and place in 2 large or 3 small loaf pans (greased). Cover - let rise until double (about an hour). Bake in 400° oven about 25-30 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

Split Pea Soup

Serves 4

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
2 small carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup (7 oz) dried green or yellow split peas, picked over and rinsed
4 cups (32 fl oz) chicken or vegetable broth
6 slices bacon
2 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp finely chopped marjoram (or 1/4 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp finely chopped thyme (or 1/4 tsp dried)
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large, heavy pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and sauté just until slightly softened, 3 minutes.

Add the split peas, broth, 2 slices of the bacon, parsley, marjoram, and thyme. Reduce the heat to medium-low and bring to a simmer. Cover partially and cook until the peas are tender, 50-60 minutes. Remove from the heat, discard the bacon, and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a frying pan, fry the remaining 4 slices bacon over medium heat, turning once, until crisp, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Let cool, then crumble.

Coarsely puree 2 cups (16 fl oz) of the soup in a food processor and return to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste, return the soup to medium heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve, garnished with the crumbled bacon.

December 8, 2016

Farfalle with Crispy Prosciutto and Peas

Serves 4

12 oz farfalle
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
6 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28-oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 Tbsp salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add prosciutto and cook until crispy, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer prosciutto to paper towel-lined plate. Return skillet to medium heat; to fat left in skillet, add onion, pepper flakes, 1/8 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes.

3. Add peas, 3/4 cup Parmesan, sauce and 1/4 cup reserved cooking water to pasta and toss to combine. Adjust consistency with remaining reserved cooking water as needed. Serve, sprinkled with prosciutto and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and drizzled with extra oil.

Note: Brighten up this dish with the addition of fresh basil.