That Food Guy
Saturday, December 29, 2012
  Mingus Mill Whole Wheat Flour - Historical Bread
Mingus Mill Flour

Much of American history has taken place generally in the Appalachian Mountain and more specifically the Great Smoky Mountains. The Smokies are a range of mountains spanning the border areas of North Carolina and Tennessee. The area is home to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. From the North, Highway 441 crosses the Smoky Mountains from north to south. Beginning in Pigeon Forge, passing through Gatlinburg, the highway winds its way through the rolling mountains of the Smokies. On the southern side of the mountains the highway exits near Cherokee, Tennessee. If you’re visiting the Smoky Mountains from the south side, a little drive up the highway to the Sugarlands Visitor Center will provide you with a lot of information about the park, where to go and what to see. A little farther up the road is the Oconaluftee Visitor Center where you can enjoy walking through a living exhibit demonstrating how the early settlers to this area farmed and eked out a living from the soil. Farmers grow wheat to make their bread. Someone has to grind the wheat to make the flour to bake the bread. In 1790 the Mingus family built a mill alongside a creek a little farther up into the mountains. The Creek has taken his name from those early settlers. Water from the creek was guided down a millrace to turn a waterwheel which in turn powered the mill to grind flour from the grain. In 1886 the mill was replaced with a new or more modern facility and equipped with a water turbine. The mill was operated until about 1930 when it was acquired by the National Park Service during the creation of the great Smoky Mountains national Park. During the summer the mill operates as a historical exhibit. It is a working mill and really does produce flour. Tourists, like me, can buy souvenir bags of flour to take home to make bread. I bought a bag and out whole-wheat flour. I brought it home so I could make a loaf of bread with flour produced in a historical mill. Homemade bread, ground on millstones turned by a waterwheel, certainly had intriguing connection to the past and eating the bread would make a closer connection to the ways of my ancestors. I used the bread maker to make a small loaf of bread.
Mingus Creek Mill
1 cup Mingus Mill whole-wheat flour
½ cup milk
½ cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup solid shortening
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
Place ingredients and bread maker pan putting the wet ingredients at the bottom. Set bread maker to make dough cycle and start machine.
When machine has completed cycle pour dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough and form into your loaf shape.
Use nonstick spray or parchment paper on your baking sheet. Place the bread dough on the baking sheet and cover with a loose towel and set in a warm place to rise. Allow to rise until doubled.
Bake in a preheated 375° oven for 20 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned and when tlumped with a finger sounds hollow.
It is really easy to over-bake a small loaf of bread like this. Cool on a rack for 30 minutes before cutting.

This recipe, with the Mingus Mill flour, makes a hearty, whole-wheat bread that is moist, has good texture and is flavorful. Should you be fortunate one day, to pass the Mingus Mill, you owe it to yourself to stop and pick up a bag of their flour and make your own historical bread. Happy baking. Happy history.

Loaf of Mingus Mill Whole Wheat Flour Bread
 I had an e-mail from a nice gentleman named Ron McCrady. He was kind enough to point out I made some grievous typos in this recipe: ½ cup instead of 2 cups of whole wheat flour and tablespoons instead of teaspoons of yeast. AS he humorously put it, “…it came out whole wheat soup.” I apologize for any inconvenience this may has caused anyone and thanks again to Ron for taking the time to point out the error of my ways. Best wishes to all, Larry

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Sunday, December 23, 2012
  Small Batch Potato Salad

St Petersburg, Florida

December 21, 2012

It is just a fact of life. Even the best deli potato salad isn’t very good. In most cases you would probably be better off ordering the coleslaw. What brought this to mind was what I found when rummaging through the refrigerator. It was a container of supermarket deli potato salad that still had about one serving left. Last week, when we were going to run short of time because of engagements, we planned on sandwiches and potato salad from the deli. It just wasn’t that tasty and we purposely made our helpings small. There was that dab left but no one was willing to finish it off. It had only been in fridge a few days so it hadn’t turned bad – just no one was willing to eat any more of it. Even though I was foraging through the fridge looking for something to eat, I chose to feed the last bit of deli potato salad to the hungry little microbes in the compost pile. While washing the container before putting it in the recycle bin, I started thinking. I usually make my own potato salad tailored to my tastes. I usually make it following the rule of ones – that one ten-pound bag of potatoes, one pound of bacon, one dozen eggs, one bunch of celery… Well, you get the idea. It makes a large batch, a very large batch that is better suited to a large family gathering. As a result, it is a rare treat.

While I was washing that 1-quart deli container I decided that I would work on a quick and easy potato salad recipe to just fill the container (well, with a bit left over for a nice, leisurely taste test); enough for the two of us for a couple of quickie meals. This is what I came up with. I hope you will enjoy.


5 or 6 small russet potatoes

2 large stalks of celery

3 or 4 scallions

1 cup frozen pepper strips (I always have a bag of these in the freezer in case I run out of fresh Bell peppers)

2 hard-boiled eggs

¼ cup prepared bacon pieces (more or less to taste)

¼ cup yellow mustard

½ cup mayonnaise

Seasonings: ground black pepper, celery seed, paprika and chicken base

Place the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. When the water starts boiling, cover with a lid. On my ceramic top stove I turn off the burner but leave the pot on the hot surface. On my gas stove, I let the pot boil for almost a minute after I cover it. Set a time for 20 minutes. I know, all the pundits say 15 minutes but I always have better luck peeling the eggs when I cook then the extra five minutes. As soon as the time sounds, remove from heat and drain in the sink. Fill the pan several times with cold running tap water. Add a cup of ice and place in the refrigerator for half an hour. When it is time to peel, tap on both ends to crack the shell then gently roll the egg under palm pressure to crack the shell all around. Start peeling from the pointed end and most of the shell will come off in large pieces. Rinse and dry with a paper towel.

Instead of boiling, use the microwave to cook the potatoes. Select similar sized potatoes and microwave until a fork just pierces the potatoes easily, about five to six minutes depending on your machine. Set the potatoes aside to cool enough to handle. One the potatoes have cooled, they can easily be peeled by hand using gentile pinching motions with an occasional fingernail scrape for the stubborn peel. Set aside.

Prepare the mixing bowl: Place 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of mustard and 2 teaspoons of chicken base in the bottom of the bowl (chicken base is paste used to make chicken broth, similar to bouillon but in a paste form). Mix well. Add pepper, celery seed, bacon pieces and paprika to taste. The chicken base will add a significant portion of salt.

Dice the previously peeled potatoes and add to the mixing bowl. Stir the potatoes to coat them with the seasoning mixture.

Slice the scallions including the green stems. Add to the potatoes in the bowl. Dice the celery and add to the bowl. Dice or chop the peeled hard-boiled eggs and add to the bowl. Add the remaining mustard and mayonnaise (more or less to personal taste), folding to mix well and distribute the flavoring mixture with the later mayo addition. The first taste will be slightly salty until the potatoes absorb some of the chicken base. Taste and add celery seed, pepper, paprika, mustard or mayo as needed to personal taste remembering the salt will change over a couple of hours.

This batch that I made filled the 1-quart deli potato salad container to the top with about ½ cup left over for a taste test. Preparation time was minimal and the results were excellent. The radishes in the garden were not quite rip but they could have added nicely to the dish. My personal preference is to add a bit of sweet pickle relish but the wife does not care for that addition so it was left out of this batch. That’s not to say you couldn’t add a bit of chopped dill pickle or even some capers if that is to your liking. As well, a few sliced black olives would also have added to the overall dish. There you have it; a quick and easy one-quart of potato salad that makes all deli potato salads pale in comparison. I hope you enjoy.

This was about the potato salad but it did share the plate with the chicken. These were fresh chicken boneless and skinless chicken breasts so I put them in the freezer for about 40 minutes to firm up. After forty minutes in the freezer, the chicken breasts were easy to butterfly. Butterfly the breasts to even out the thickness which produces a nicer, evenly cooked chicken, no overcooked edges while the center is still raw. I seasoned with a slight bit of grated sea salt, finely ground white pepper and just the slightest sprinkle of ground ginger. I then marinated them in lemon juice and key lime juice from the trees in our back yard for about four hours. Use a plastic bag with a zip-lock top. Squeeze most of the air out of the bag before closing; that way you can use a small amount of juice to marinate the chicken. Turn a few times to even out the contact with the juice. Preheat the grill. Over medium to high grilling heat cook chicken for two minutes. Turn chicken and cook for an additional two minutes. Turn chicken 90-degrees and cook for two minutes. Flip chicken and cook for a final two minutes. (The time is a guideline – it will vary slightly with your grill) You want to just cook it to the 170 degrees recommended for white meat chicken The chicken will still be a bit pale but the sugar in the juice will make nice ross-hatch grill marks on both sides, cooked through but still be tender and juicy with a wonderful grill and lemon-lime flavor . It is one of our favorite ways to prepare chicken. I hope you will enjoy it too.

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