“This Bread Will Change Your Life”

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When I was in Europe a few months ago, I fell in love with Copenhagen. I enjoy their healthy lifestyle of clean and natural food, athleticism, and camaraderie. Every day, droves of Danes gather in street side cafes under heaters and red blankets, even on the cold and dark evenings, laughing, nibbling and sipping for hours. While their lifestyle is similar to the one found here in Colorado, I think their way of life is happier, enjoyment focused, and less driven, which is something I aspire to.

So, as I tend to do, I began thinking often about the Danish and broader Scandinavian culture. A few dozen internet searches and sessions later, of following link after link; I stumbled on a fun blog. “My New Roots” is written by Sarah Britton, a nutritionist from Canada living in Denmark. While raising her family and writing her blog, she explores healthy alternatives to mainstream food choices. She first tried this bread at a friend’s home and since featured it on her blog.Bread and Tea

As a lifelong food lover and home cook, losing my sense of smell as the result of another person’s carelessness, has been particularly heart breaking. After two years of being completely disgusted by food, I have slowly learned to appreciate other aspects of food, such as texture. Nothing will ever replace the complete experience of smelling, tasting, and savoring delicious food, but this bread goes a long way toward gratification. The bread is heavy, grainy, dark, moist and chewy just like traditional Scandinavian rye. It is filling and very satisfying. One slice for breakfast gives me energy for hours. The recipe is simple, versatile, and I have no doubt you will enjoy it. I suggest you double the recipe and make two loaves because it is going to go fast.

Use fresh, raw, organic ingredients whenever possible

1 cup freshly chopped, raw, sunflower seeds

1/2 cup freshly ground, raw, flax seeds

1/2 cup freshly chopped, raw nuts: almonds, hazels, walnuts-pick one or blend them

1 1/2 cups, gluten free rolled oats

1/4 cup psyllium husks

1/4 cup caraway seeds

2 tablespoons chia seeds

2 tablespoons hemp hearts

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup, raw sugar or stevia (I use maple)

3 tablespoons olive, coconut, canola, walnut, or Udo 3-6-9 oil blend (I use Udo oil)

1 1/2 cups filtered water

 

photo 3Combine dry ingredients in a bowl or directly in the loaf pan. Whisk liquids together and add to dry ingredients. Mixture will be stiff. Transfer the mixture to loaf pan (if necessary) and smooth it out without pressing it down too much. Cover with a piece of waxed paper and let the loaf rest at room temperature for 4-8 hours to soften the nuts.

Preheat oven to 350’F and grease your loaf pan with coconut oil.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from pan and place on a baking sheet. Return to the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the loaf sound hollow when tapped. Over baking will dry the loaf out and make it tough.  Cool the loaf on a rack and wrap it in waxed paper.

I find the loaf will maintain its moisture and texture if kept wrapped and refrigerated for five days.

photo 4You can omit the caraway if you don’t enjoy this flavor.

You may add garlic, rosemary, basil and oregano for a Mediterranean loaf.

You may also consider adding cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice and dried fruit for a breakfast loaf.

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Christmas Eve 2014 Chestnut Torte with Chocolate Buttercream

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Chestnut Torte with Chocolate Mocha Butter Cream

For the torte:

6 large eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups raw sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 cups ground chestnuts, from a jar is fine, ground in a food processor

1 cup raw almonds, ground

For the buttercream:

8 oz bittersweet chocolate pieces

1/4 cup strong coffee

4 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces

3 tablespoons dark rum

For garnish:

8 glazed or regular roasted chestnuts

Preheat oven to 350’F, Butter and flour two, 10 inch, spring form pans

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To prepare torte:

Place the egg yolks and 1 cup of the sugar in a bowl and set the bowl over a pan of hot water to warm. Whisk well. Remove from hot water and beat on high with an electric mixer until the mixture is pale, thick and when drizzled from the beaters, it leaves a ribbon on the surface. About 8 minutes.

Beat in the vanilla.

Fold in the chestnuts and almonds with a large, wooden spoon.

Set aside.

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and then add remaining 1/2 cup of the sugar. Beat on high until stiff, dry peaks form. Gently stir 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the chestnut mixture. Very gently fold the remaining egg whites into the chestnut batter.

Divide the batter between the two cake pans smoothing the surface.

Bake until golden and sides separate from the pan, about 40-50 minutes. Watch closely at the end so as to avoid over baking.

Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Once cool, gently remove the spring form sides and the base from the cakes. Place one cake on a cake stand or plate and the other on waxed paper.

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For the icing:

Combine chocolate and coffee in the top portion of a double boiler and slowly melt the chocolate, stirring to prevent scorching. Set aside and keep warm.

Place the egg yolks in a mixing bowl and warm over a pan of hot water while whisking to warm. Once warm, remove from hot water and beat on high until pall and thick.

Meanwhile, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the temperature comes to 236′ F on a candy thermometer. With the mixer on low, beat a tablespoon of the hot syrup into the egg yolks to temper them then slowly pour the remaining syrup into the egg yolks increasing the speed to medium low. Fold in the warm chocolate and then gradually beat in the butter a few pieces at a time. Once all the butter is blended, mix in the dark rum.

Chill the icing until firm.

To assemble the torte:

Using just less than half of the buttercream, frost the bottom layer. Carefully position the second layer on top of the first and frost the top and sides of the torte. Garnish with the glazed chestnuts by placing each of them symmetrically around the outer rim.

Refrigerate briefly to set the icing.

Best served at room temperature with coffee, tawny port, or oloroso sherry.

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*Williams Sonoma Complete Entertaining Cookbook