Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Whole Wheat Wednesday

Wednesday is our day to focus on using whole wheat. If you have any favorite uses or recipes for using whole wheat, please email them to me at I have already gotten some fun recipes and ideas.

One of the first things to know when you begin using more whole wheat in your recipes and meal planning is that you don’t have to start with 100% whole wheat in your recipes. If you have a favorite recipe that you love to make and are a bit afraid of how whole wheat will change it, start with substituting just ¼ of the amount of flour called for with whole wheat flour. This will make such a small difference that people who aren’t looking may not even notice. The best place to start using more whole wheat flour is in cookies or cakes. It really doesn’t show up much.

We talked about making your own whole wheat pasta but another fun way to use whole wheat is in homemade tortillas. Fresh homemade tortillas are such a treat and so different than tortillas you buy that you will love the taste and adding some whole wheat flour will be a great way to learn to love cooking with whole wheat. Try adding whole wheat flour to the recipe below. Start with 1 c. whole wheat flour and 3 cups white flour if you are hesitant then add more whole wheat until you find your favorite ratio.

Flour Tortillas
4 cups white or whole wheat flour or half each
1 ½ t. salt
1 ½ t. powder (optional)
1/3 c. shortening
1 to 1 ¼ c. water
Combine flour, salt and baking powder. Baking powder makes tortillas lighter, even if you roll them a little thick. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter or 2 knives. When flour is crumbly, add water. Stir the dough with your fork until dough forms a ball. Add extra water (start with just a bit) if the dough is too dry. When the dough forms a ball, knead it about 20 times. Let dough rest in the bowl for about 10 minutes. Form it into 10 or 12 equal size balls. On a well floured surface, roll each ball into a thin disc to a 6-7” circle; no need to be perfectly round, but the thinner the better. Loosen the tortilla from the rolling surface. Flop it onto a dry, hot skillet. Cook about 30 seconds, until the bottom side is dry, with a few brown spots. Flip it and cook the other side the same way. Transfer the cooked tortilla to a plate, and repeat until all tortillas are cooked. Use them the same way you would store-bought tortillas: burritos, soft tacos, etc. Use immediately or reheat a few seconds in the microwave to soften tortillas for easier rolling.*Notes: The first few times you make these, you will need 30 to 40 minutes for the whole procedure. With practice the time will be cut in half soon. Homemade tortillas are not as flexible as store-bought tortillas. To make them more flexible, place them in a plastic bag while still warm, and let them cool right there in the bag. The steam will make them more pliable, and easier to roll up into fancy burrito shapes. Use them this way immediately. This recipe makes about a dozen tortillas

Whole Wheat Tortilla Fruit Nachos
Here is a fun way to use tortillas in the summer with the abundance of fresh berries or any fresh fruit. Simply cut cooked tortillas into wedges. Dip each wedge into water and place in a single layer on a wire rack that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and placed on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Turn tortilla triangles over and sprinkle other side generously. Place coated tortilla triangles in a 400ยบ oven and bake 5 minutes, then turn triangles over. Cook another 5 to 8 minutes, until lightly browned and crispy, watching closely the last few minutes so as not to burn. Remove from oven and cool.

Top the sweet tortilla chips with your choice of berries, top with your favorite raspberry, boysenberry, lemon or strawberry sauce (any ice cream topping will work great), melted white chocolate or milk chocolate or sprinkle with any of your favorite toppings, such as a light dusting of powdered sugar, sliced almonds, more cinnamon and sugar or fresh coconut or canned whipped cream. You can use anything you like in any combination for fun appetizers at a barbecue or family get together. Even just plain berries, slightly sweetened to taste, will be great all by themselves.

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