Braille Monitor                                                 July 2010

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This month’s recipes come from the Performing Arts Division.

Donna's Corn Bread
by Donna W. Hill

Donna Hill lives in Meshoppen, Pennsylvania. She is a professional singer and songwriter and is responsible for media relations in the NFB Performing Arts Division.

2 1/2 cups corn meal
3 cups flour (half whole wheat, half unbleached)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
3 eggs, beaten
3 cups buttermilk
1 cup brown sugar, packed
Splash of vanilla extract
1 stick butter

Method: Whisk together the liquid ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl combine and blend dry ingredients. Cut the cold stick of butter into the dry ingredients as follows: cut butter into thirds; cut each third in half lengthwise; turn it so that lengthwise cut is horizontal and cut in half lengthwise again. Holding the four sections of each third together, cut as you would to make pats of butter. This will give you many little pieces of butter. Fold them into the dry ingredients and knead with fingers until butter is distributed evenly throughout.

Combine dry ingredients one cup at a time with liquid, whisking 100 times per cup. Switch from whisk to wooden spoon when batter gets too thick. Pour batter into well-greased 11-by-15-inch pan (Pyrex for best results). Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for forty-five minutes. When done, place on cooling rack for half an hour before cutting. Hint: We freeze this corn bread in blocks that will serve two. Use twist-tie bags for each piece, burp out the air, then seal in outer ziplock freezer bag.

Blueberry Swirl Breakfast Buns
by Donna W. Hill

This is a whole-grain yeast dough recipe that makes approximately thirty buns.

3 cups lukewarm water
2 teaspoons honey, brown sugar, or maple syrup
1 envelope dry yeast
6 cups flour (3 whole wheat and 3 unbleached)
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar or more
1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
Powdered sugar mixed with a little milk as frosting, optional

Method: If you are using commercially frozen blueberries, defrost a twelve-ounce bag ahead of time and pour the frozen blueberries into a large measuring cup. Drain the juice and use it as part of the three cups of water in which you dissolve the yeast. Combine water, yeast, and honey, brown sugar, or syrup. Cover bowl. Rinse a clean dish towel in hot water and wring out before using to cover bowl. Allow mixture to sit for ten minutes or until the yeast has foamed up. Combine flours and salt and add this dry mixture 1 cup at a time to the yeast mixture, stirring with a large wooden spoon about a hundred strokes after each cup. When the dough shows some elasticity and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, dump it onto a floured counter or dough board. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Then knead the dough into a large, homogenous ball. If the dough is sticky, flour your hands to add small amounts of flour as needed.

Return the kneaded dough to the large mixing bowl, cover with a warm dish towel, and allow to rise in a warm place for an hour. If you have a gas stove with a pilot light, place the bowl in the oven to facilitate rising. If you have an electric oven or gas oven with an electric pilot light, you can achieve the warm rising space by preheating the oven briefly before turning it off and placing the covered bowl in the center of the oven. If the dough is rising on the counter, replace the heated dish towel every fifteen minutes or so with a newly warmed one. When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down once with a floured fist, which removes the air trapped inside as it rises. Cover again and allow to rise for forty-five minutes more.

During this stage, soften a stick of butter either by heating lightly on the stove or by placing it in a Pyrex measuring cup and putting it in the microwave for ten-second bursts until butter is soft. You want it to soften only enough to spread easily. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out evenly on a floured surface until you have a thirty-by-fourteen-inch rectangle. As you work, keep checking to be sure you can still lift the dough. Add a little flour to the board when necessary to keep dough from sticking to the surface.

Using a pastry brush, spread the butter evenly over the surface of the rectangle, using only as much as you need to coat it well. Sprinkle the surface with brown sugar mixed with the cinnamon, if desired. The amount of sugar depends on your sweet tooth. One cup works for us. Leaving about an inch at the edge nearest you and two inches at the far edge, distribute the blueberries evenly on the surface. If you like nuts, do likewise with a half cup of them. Roll the dough jellyroll fashion, starting at the edge closest to you and rolling toward the back of the counter. Be sure to work your fingers along the entire length so that you roll the dough evenly. Seal the back edge by pinching the seam closed. Then pat the cylinder into shape, making sure the diameter is uniform. The longer you make the roll, the more buns you will have, and the smaller each one will be. Cut the roll into one-inch wide buns and arrange them cut-side down on two well-greased cookie sheets. Cover with towels and allow the buns to rise for twenty minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake in the center of the oven one sheet at a time for twenty to twenty-five minutes. If desired, you can ice these once they have cooled a bit.

Tomato Barley Soup
by Donna W. Hill

Make this soup in an eight-quart pot, and serve with warm, buttered corn bread.

2 28-ounce cans tomato puree
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup of your favorite wine--I use dry red
1 heaping teaspoon horseradish
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Scant tablespoon salt or Tamari sauce
Splash hot sauce
Pepper to taste
1 1/2 quarts milk
1 cup barley, cooked in 3 cups water, a pinch salt, and pat butter
5 ribs celery, chopped
10 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
2 or 3 yellow or red sweet or frying peppers, seeded and chopped
Olive oil

Method: Bring barley to boil, stir, cover, remove from heat, and allow to stand for half an hour. In olive oil in large pot sauté vegetables. Add the cooked barley, including any water not absorbed Then add tomatoes, puree, wine, and spices. Simmer soup covered for a half hour, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add more sugar if soup base tastes too tart. Then add milk and heat through again before serving.

Note: We freeze this soup, so, to save freezer space, we freeze it before adding the milk. We add the milk before serving or reheating.

Peach Cobbler
by Anthony Evans

Anthony Evans is a Performing Arts board member, producer, and musical mentor.

1 stick butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup whole milk
1 cup sugar
2 cups peaches, peeled and sliced

Method: Preheat oven to 350. Place the butter in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and put it into the oven to melt. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl and mix well. Pour milk into the bowl and stir to make a batter. Remove baking dish from oven. Pour batter into dish. Pour peaches and their juice evenly over the batter. Bake for 30 minutes. Top should be golden brown when cobbler is done, or run a spoon over crust to check that it feels hard. Remove to a rack and allow to sit for fifteen minutes before serving with ice cream or whipped cream.

Herb-Marinated Steak
by Turiya Hall

Turiya Hall is a Performing Arts Division member, poetry writer, and stay-at-home mom.

1 package Montreal Steak Marinade
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon crushed thyme
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 pounds boneless sirloin steak

Method: Mix marinade well with other seasonings. Rub olive oil on steak. Place steak in large, resealable plastic bag and add seasoning mixture. Turn steak and coat well with marinade so that entire steak is covered. Place bag in refrigerator for at least one hour or up to overnight. Preheat broiler for five minutes. For medium rare steak, internal temperature of meat should be 145, 160 for medium, and 170 for well done. Serves six.

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