Savoring the Seasons: Local flour is a possibility

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For The Recorder
Published: 3/22/2016 2:07:30 PM

I don’t generally pay attention to Facebook photos of someone’s dinner plate, unless it is posted by one of my “really good creative cook” friends, like Margo Townley. Recently, she went wild with a baking spree using homemade baking mix.

Of course, I asked for recipes. And, like I do with all recipes, I thought, “how local can I make this?” Locally grown milk, butter, fruit, meat, veggies = easy to find. But what about the flour?

Thanks to Fourstar Farms in Northfield, we can get wheat, corn, oat, rye, triticale, and spelt flour grown in Northfield and stone ground fresh each week. Look for it at Quabbin Harvest in Orange, Mim’s Market in Northfield, Green Fields Market in Greenfield, and Hager’s Farm Market in Shelburne.

Another Facebook feed I always read is Meggin Thwing Eastman’s. She recently posted an intriguing recipe for Chili Coconut Fried Parsnips. Check out her Happy Valley Locavore blog for that recipe and many others: happyvalleylocavore.blogspot.com/2016/03/chili-coconut-fried-parsnips.html

I thought of Margo’s mini pot pies and Meggin’s fried parsnips as I chatted with friends over a potluck lunch at a workshop I attended last weekend. I bet they’d be very popular at a potluck. Along with bringing egg salad to the potluck, I brought a bunch of oh-so-wonderfully-scented grown-in-Whately freesias. The day before, I had stopped at LaSalle Florists in Whately to pick up freesias for a friend who has been having a rough time. At the last minute, I thought, “I bet freesias would be a welcome addition to the workshop.” Of course, what situation wouldn’t be perfect for freesias?!

Don’t wait to get your “local freesia fix” for this year. The next few weeks will be the last of them until next year.

This Week We’re Eating…Make-Your-Own Baking Mix, Then….

Margo Townley, Greenfield

We are a soy-free house due to allergies. Commercial baking mixes (biscuit mixes) all contain soy ingredients. This makes about 6 C. total and can be stored in airtight containers — we use quart canning jars and label them. They are good on the shelf for 4 weeks. Ours never stay on the shelf that long!

Baking Mix

5 C. flour

1/4 C. baking powder

1 T. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1/2 C. + 2 T. canola oil

Mix dry ingredients well in a large bowl. Add oil and mix well. Use a pastry cutter/blender or 2 knives until mix resembles coarse crumbs. Store in airtight containers.

What to Do with Your Baking Mix:

Pancakes, waffles, biscuits, dumplings, etc. can easily be made. This can be used in any recipe that calls for a commercial mix.

Scones

2 C. mix

1/4 C. sugar

3 T. cold firm butter

2/3 C. milk

Use pastry cutter to combine mix, sugar and butter. Add fruit, dried fruit, and/or nuts, if desired. Add milk, stirring until just combined. Handle dough as little as possible. Shape into ball and pat to 1" thick on cookie sheet (baking parchment helps with clean up). Use large knife to cut it into 6 wedges. Brush with melted butter & sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Mini Pot Pies

Roast veggies and meat ahead of time. Use your favorites. Leftovers are great. Be creative! In one bowl combine filling: 1 pound meat/protein, veggies such as sweet potato, carrots, peas, ½ C. broth. Season to taste with salt, pepper, thyme, oregano. In another bowl combine 1/2 C. mix, 1/2 C. milk, 2 eggs. Grease 12-cup muffin pan, in cups and around them. Put 1 T. batter in each cup. Add 1/4 C. filling and top with 1 T. batter. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in pan, remove and cool for 10 more before eating. Can be refrigerated or frozen to eat later.


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