Not Grimm Bread Crumbs...


We all know the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm...
Hansel and Gretel lured into the deeps of the forest
with only a trail of bread crumbs to find their way home.
This tale has a happier ending!!
This morning I decided to clean out the various bread bags clogging the freezer.
I often save the heels of bread along with odd bits of buns and rolls
(notice the hot dog buns, broken croissants, and French bread chunks)
to make these simple bread crumbs.
The How:
Place bread pieces, single layer, on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake them at 300 degrees.
After about 15 minutes the thin pieces should be lightly toasted and hard.
Carefully (I use tongs) remove the thinner pieces .
(These cook faster than the thicker pieces and if you leave them too long they'll burn.)
Set your timer for 10-15 minutes and allow the thicker pieces to toast.
Once they have toasted remove from oven and allow to cool.
I use a food processor to grind the cooled, toasted bits of bread into bread crumbs.
You could also use a vintage food grinder, or place them in a large plastic or paper bag (sturdy)
and crush them with a rolling pin (being careful not to make a mess).
We enjoy Italian style bread crumbs, so I add a few teaspoons of garlic powder; 1 teaspoon dried basil; 1 teaspoon dried oregano; 2 teaspoons sea salt; 1 teaspoon ground black pepper.
This batch makes about 12 ounces.
A wide-mouth funnel keeps the mess down when transfering them to their container.
We use a recycled, store-bought, bread crumb container that was
purchased in a moment of weakness!
(I still lament the fact that we paid over $3 for a 15 ounce container of ground up, dried bread!)
The bonus is that you can control the ingredients in home made bread crumbs
and we don't add preservatives.

Here's what they look like in the container.
We use them to bread zuccini and other vegetables,
as well as meats and tofu (such as chicken strips and mock chicken strips).
I've even taken very thin pieces of fish fillet and
used this breading to add substance to what could have been a meagre entree.
Home made bread crumbs are surprisingly easy and take about 1/2 hour total time...
with only about 10-15 minutes actual labor.
(The remaining 15 minutes is simply keeping an eye on the baking bread).
As well, there's beauty in the fact that you're using food you might normally have wasted.


"Hospitality consists in a little fire, a little food, and immense quiet."

---Ralph Waldo Emerson


When my father returned home from [one of] his much needed vacations.....he brought with him wonderful descriptions of the miracle of autumn. Green leaves were metamorphosing into bronze-colored wisps, generously cloaking the tree branches that lined the roads leading up to the great wooded landscape of northern Wisconsin, where my father had spent his youth.He arrived at his destination at dusk. Walking toward the warm lights of his sister and brother-in-law's snug cabin home, his senses were awakened by the familiar fragrance of pine, and the faint must aroma of the surrounding forest. Upon entering the cabin he found the table gracefully set, and a delicious meal of rich savory stew awaiting him.Lake Ahmeek stew has since become a favorite meal in my father's house, as well as our own. It is not only delicious, but simple to prepare. We serve it with generously buttered, piping hot dinner rolls, and a fresh salad composed of whatever vegetables may be in season, and savor it along with the happy memories it evokes.


(Slow-cooked in a Crock Pot)

--1-1/2 lbs lean stew beef diced (if you're vegan or vegetarian you can omit this and add more vegetables or a soy based protein, cubed)

--3 or 4 potatoes, cut into large squares

--2 medium onions, diced

--4 to 5 stalks fresh celery, chopped

--Any other fresh vegetables you desire.

--1 to 2 cans GOLDEN mushroom soup, plus 1/2 can of water for each can of soup

--1 teaspoon salt

--1/4 teaspoon black pepper

--Crock-Pot or slow cooker

To Make:

Place all ingredients into a slow-cooker in the order they are listed above (no need to brown the meat). Cook for 8 hours on low heat. (If you don't have a slow cooker, you may use a 2-quart casserole dish and bake this stew, covered tightly, in a 200 degree oven for about 5 hours. My Father says this is the way the pioneers cooked a similar stew, using a Dutch oven.) As a variation on this recipe I often place a generous sprig of fresh rosemary on top of all the ingredients before cooking (remove the sprig before serving). Makes about 6 ample portions.