Baking Bread with Unrefined Sugar featuring Cheese Rolls

I cooked dinner on New Years Day for my family.  Mom wanted to make cheese and sausage rolls but we found we were out of sugar.  After some debate, we decided to try to find a way to use the unrefined sugar that we had.

This was the recipe we used –

We shredded cheese and kneaded it into our dough, instead of having a big glob of melted cheese inside.  We also did sausage and cheese rolls.


Since unrefined sugar is usually much coarser than refined white sugar, I figured we would have to use different proportions after grinding the raw sugar.  But of course there was so little information for using it as a substitute for baking.  We found this site – – and figured we would give it a go with using the same amount.


The texture of the ground sugar was interesting.  It felt almost like cornmeal.

Compared to refined sugar; whole unrefined sugar


It turned out just fine!  There wasn’t any sort of weird flavor or texture in the rolls and they rose well.


Food Revolution Day: A Day to Consider the Culinary Contribution of Native Americans to the World

Part 1
Part 2

A very interesting article by Jessica Diemer-Eaton about traditional Native American foods that are known throughout the world.

Some excerpts:

Jumping right into our world food tour, let’s start with the cuisine of northern Europe. You may be surprised to know that the Irish potato is actually South American in origin. All potatoes came from the New World, all varieties having roots to the Americas, and most cultivated potatoes came from the fields of Native farmers.” 

However, peppers may have had a larger impact in Indian and eastern Asian cuisine. Indian curry owes its red spice to New World peppers. Cayenne and hot peppers served as the base of curry, replacing Old World black peppers previously used in curry. Chilies were adopted into local Szechuan and Hunanese sauces, while the Chinese in general mixed chilies with oil that created a condiment that would preserve for use at any time of the year.” 

No Fourth of July barbecue would be complete without roasted corn on the cob, nor would a New England clambake be considered fitting without cob corn steamed with the clams and lobsters. What’s more is both cooking methods – barbecue and clambake – are Native American cooking techniques (the term barbecue is accredited to Caribbean Natives).” 

Mango Chutney

I don’t have any exact measurements for this recipe, I pretty much go by taste and adjust from there.

2 Mangoes
1 Apple
Grated Ginger – I use a microplane
Apple Cider Vinegar
White Wine Vinegar
Curry Powder – mild or medium (or spicy if you really want to!)
Tiny bit of nutmeg
In a small saucepan

  1. Cut the mangoes and apple to around a small dice 
  2. Grate ginger on a small box grater or microplane 
  3. Add cider vinegar to about covering the fruit, white wine vinegar to cover 
  4. Add sugar to balance out the acidity, how much you use depends on how sweet or tart you want your chutney 
  5. Add cinnamon, curry powder and nutmeg to taste 
  6. Bring to a boil and taste, adjust spices, sugar or vinegar as needed 
  7. Set back heat and simmer until fruit is soft and liquid is pretty thick 
  8. Taste and adjust flavors

That’s it, pretty simple!!

This recipe is by me

Grilled Emu or Ostrich with Adobo Spices

I know it sounds strange, but emu/ostrich is very good!  It has a deep red color and tastes similar to beef.  It’s very lean as well.

Makes 8-4oz portions

Spice Rub (mildly spicy)
1 tbsp        Powdered ancho or pasilla chiles
1/2 tsp       Salt
1/4 tsp       Dried Oregano
1/4 tsp       Ground Cumin
1/4 tsp       Black Pepper

8               Ostrich or emu steaks or filets, 4 oz each

  1. Combine ingredients for spice rub
  2. Rub spices over both sides of steaks to lightly but evenly coat them
  3. Refrigerate for 1 hour or longer
  4. Grill or Broil until medium-done.  Minimum internal temperature is 155’F
  5. Cut into thin slices across the grain

Filet is the proper spelling for meats other than fish (fillet).

Recipe from Professional Cooking, Seventh Edition, Wayne Gisslen; page 404

Mother Sauce – Béchamel

Béchamel is a simple sauce made of a roux, milk, and seasonings.  It is a base for sauces such as Mornay, Cheese sauces and Nantua Sauce.

This recipe yields 1 gallon

8 oz     Clarified Butter (or regular butter)
8 oz     Bread Flour
1 gal    Milk
1         Bay Leaf                                              
1         Whole Clove                                          
1         Small Onion or half large onion, peeled
To taste    Salt, Nutmeg, and White Pepper (use black pepper if you don’t have white)

  1. Make the roux – melt fat in a heavy saucepan over low heat.  Add flour and make a white roux.  Cool slightly
  2. Gradually add the milk to the roux, beating constantly
  3. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to simmer.
  4. Stick the bay leaf to the onion with the clove.  This is called an onion piqué.  Add this to the sauce. Simmer at least 15 minutes, 30 minutes if possible.  Stir occasionally.
  5. Adjust consistency with more hot milk, if needed. The consistency (nappé) should coat the back of a spoon.
  6. Season very lightly with salt, nutmeg and white pepper.
  7. Strain through a china cap lined with cheesecloth.  Cover to prevent skin formation.  Keep hot or cool.

Recipes and information come from Professional Cooking, Seventh Edition, Wayne Gisslen, Page 183 and 184.

How to make a Roux

A roux is a thickener made from equal parts of fat and flour.  It is used for soups and sauces.
1 lb of roux is used per gallon of liquid

A roux can be made from any type of fat, depending on what your soup or sauce needs.

Clarified butter is usually preferred for its flavor.  Clarifying butter removes the water, milk solids and impurities.  Regular butter can be used.

Margarine has a lower cost, but the flavor is different.  Usually it is not used when making sauces.

Animal fats can be used when their flavors are appropriate for the sauce or soups.  They are stronger, but do provide extra flavor.

Oil and shortening can be used, but they add no flavor.

Bread flour, all purpose flour, cake flour or wheat flour can be used.

Cake flour has the best thickening power, however bread flour and all purpose flour are just fine.

There are 3 types of roux

White Roux is cooked for a short amount of time, to cook out the starchy taste of the flour.  You should stop cooking it as soon as it has a “chalky and slightly gritty appearance.”
White roux is used for Béchamel and other white sauces.

Blond Roux is cooked for longer than a white roux, until the roux becomes a little darker.
Blond roux is used for Velouté and other white sauces.

Brown Roux is cooked until a darker color and nutty aroma has formed.  You’ll need to cook it over low heat to prevent burning.  It will take a while to make a brown roux.
Brown roux is used for Espagnole and other brown sauces.

Use a saucepot to make your roux.

Basic Procedure for Making All Roux (Gisslen, Professional Cooking, Seventh Edition Page 174)

  1. Melt fat
  2. Add correct amount of flour and stir until fat and flour are evenly mixed.
  3. Cook to required degree for white, blond, or brown roux.

Making a roux is pretty easy, but you’ll need patience, especially if you’re making a brown roux.

The next part is how to incorporate the liquid into your roux.  Usually this is in the recipes for sauces, but I’ll review it.

Now you’ll add the liquid.  You can either add the liquid to the roux, or the roux to the liquid.  It doesn’t really matter, but usually you’ll be adding the liquid to it.

Slowly pour your liquid into the roux.  Make sure you’re continuously whisking so that the starch doesn’t gelatinize too quickly and form lumps.  You can either use a hot or cold liquid.

Recipes and information come from Professional Cooking, Seventh Edition, Wayne Gisslen; and myself.

Sakura Steakhouse Altoona, PA

I have been here twice, this post is mostly from my first visit, as I didn’t have my camera for the second.

Sakura is a hibachi restaurant, but it also has a sushi bar and an alcohol bar
I’ve been to a hibachi restaurant once, but it’s more of a one or two time novelty thing.



















First one is my platter, second is my mom’s.  She doesn’t really like the raw stuff.

I got Eel and Smoked Salmon nigiri, and a spicy mayo salmon maki.  Mom got the egg and shrimp nigiri and I can’t remember the name of the roll.  It was Shrimp Tempura with avocado on top.

Everything was very good.  We had the seaweed salad as well which is always so delicious.  The second visit I had Octopus.  It was decent, though not as good as I’ve had elsewhere.  It was a little too rubbery.