How to take a break from studying…

… feed yourself.

Case in point, Trader Joe’s coconut cashews:

coconutcashew

O.M.G.

Pure love right there.  I bought a bag to try out on Sunday.  I might already be halfway through the bag, 36 hours later.

While I was at Trader Joe’s, I also perused the cold cuts section.  I was stopped in my tracks by a package of Spanish brand deli cuts.  I tried to walk away, really I did, but the chorizo called to me.  Yes, I bought an entire package of sampler deli cuts just for the chorizo.  I’m looking forward to trying the other cuts too, but chorizo is a personal favorite.

While I was supposed to be studying (yes, studying… holy cow I’m cursing my desire for career development), I made chorizo pizza instead.

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The sauce was one I whipped up with things I had on hand.  I don’t think it would taste particularly well on pasta, but it tasted fine on my pizza.

Emergency Pizza Sauce 1.0

8oz can of plain tomato sauce
1 tsp of dried herbs (oregano, basil, combo, or cheat and use an Italian mix like I did)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

Mix everything up, and set aside.  I suggest making this first so that the flavors can sit and make friendly while you go make your dough and let it rise.

Depending on how heavy handed you like your sauce, this is enough for one pizza or barely enough for two.

As for the dough, I decided to use the measurements given on a recipe from Sorted Food.  I used a bit more yeast though, just 1/2 tsp seems too little to me.  My kitchen is getting cold, so it took my dough a full hour to rise enough to my liking while parked near the oven light bulb.

I baked it at 475F until the color was to my liking.  My crust wasn’t very chewy but that’s my own fault.  I used all-purpose flour since I’m all out of bread flour.

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In a word, bliss.

I also tried my hand at making bread in a slow cooker.

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I totally forgot to take a picture of the bread when it was done cooking, so all you get is a picture of my slow cooker lined in parchment.  I took the instructions from the kitchn, and the only change I made was to set up the parchment before plopping in the dough.  My 4 quart cooker took about 2 hours on high.  I’m not 100% sure on the amount of time because I lost track.  I set a timer for 1 hour and then started to check every 15 minutes or so.  Once I had reached 195F, I turned it off, put the loaf on a sheet pan, and broiled the top for five minutes so that the top didn’t look pathetic.

(For the record, I used the all spelt bread recipe that I posted a while back.)

Flavor-wise, it’s not brilliant.  The dough doesn’t even need to go through a rising stage.  It will rise as it cooks.  It’s a bit denser, but the cooking method works.  I might recommend letting it rise some in the slow cooker before turning it on, but whatever.  I don’t see myself utilizing the slow cooker method during the winter (hey, a hot oven helps to warm my apartment) but this is definitely what I’m going to do during the summer.  I hate baking bread in the summer, and then I really miss it.  (I can’t stand store bought bread anymore if I can help it.)

And on that note, I’d like to point out that I need to read two chapters about Java because I didn’t do it over the weekend.

Reference Links:

http://sortedfood.com/#!/pizza/

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-bread-in-the-slow-cooker-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-192421

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coconut mint ice cream, food processor method

Has anyone tried to make ice cream with a food processor?  I finally did.

I have an ice cream maker, on permanent loan, that I never use.  I used to keep the insert in my freezer, but that was just taking up room so I finally took it out.  Of course!… when I finally  want to make ice cream, I can’t use the ice cream maker.

I first heard about using a food processor to make ice cream on thekitchn.com, but seriouseats.com actually beat them to the punch.  Basically, you make your ice cream per the recipe, freeze it as fast as possible, and then place it into a food processor to whip in air.

Kenji from Serious Eats froze his custard base into ice cube trays, but I don’t have spare trays or enough of them.  (Most ice cream recipes make 1 quart.)  Jeni Britton, in the video she did for CHOW, recommended putting the custard base in a large resealable food bag and laying it flat in the freezer.

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My ice cream base was this:

two cans of full fat coconut milk
1 3/4c cane sugar
1/2c fresh mint

I brought the sugar and coconut milk to a simmer, cut the heat, and then let the mint steep about 15 minutes.  This was transferred to a ziploc bag, moved onto a small tray to lie down flat, and cooled first in the fridge.  After about an hour, I moved the tray into the freezer for  4-5 hours.

(Note – when you’re pouring your ice cream in liquid form into the food bag, make sure that you stand the bag up in a container large enough to hold one quart of liquid.  I stood my bag up in a container that was a little small, and made a mess.)

When it’s ready, put the ice cream into a food processor.  Run the food processor and scrap down the ice cream as needed until it’s an even and smooth consistency.  Move the ice cream into a container for the freezer (I just reused the food bag), and let freeze again before eating.

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Overall, it’s a bit icier than traditional ice cream but maybe that’s because I was making a dairy free ice cream.  (I was making a dairy free ice cream out of laziness, and for no other reason to be honest.)  I would say that it’s a bit more like gelato in texture.

As for the flavor of what I made, I needed more mint.  I *love* ice cream made with real mint.  Before my mint plant dies as the weather gets cooler, I should harvest all the leaves and try again with a traditional custard base.  However, it’s still quite delicious.  I’d be happy to make it again.  (Although, I might cut back the sugar next time.)

Reference Links:

http://www.chow.com/videos/show/chow-tips/90744/an-easy-way-to-make-ice-cream-in-your-food-processor

http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2010/07/how-to-make-ice-cream-without-an-ice-cream-maker-the-food-lab.html

An everyday batter bread (recipe post)

Fact:  I can’t buy bread from the market anymore.  Specifically, I can’t buy bread from the bread aisle.  If it’s from the bakery section of the market, that’s ok.  But manufactured bread?  I just can’t!  Even the smell of the bread aisle has become unappealing to me.

I’ve been making my own bread fairly consistently for the last four years.  Manufactured bread just doesn’t measure up in fragrance and flavor.  I used to post about my bread attempts but eventually stopped because I only make the same two recipes nowadays.  First and foremost is a spelt version of Richard Bertinet’s basic bread recipe.  I’m very capable of making this.  I don’t even need the recipe on hand anymore.  Mix four ingredients together, work the dough for about 10 minutes, let it rest and rise until doubled in volume, shape, let rise again, and bake.  Simple.

I am still bad at shaping this dough, but that’s another story.

The second bread recipe I use a lot is a white batter bread from Bread Made Easy by Beth Hensperger.  What makes a batter bread recipe different from a basic bread recipe?  Laziness Time.  A batter bread is just that – you mix everything into a batter.  There’s no kneading.  There’s no working the dough for 10 minutes.  You just mix it until it’s a shaggy thing (like dough with a bad hair day?  or like oatmeal gone very wrong?), plop it in a loaf pan, let it rise just the one time, and then bake.

Batter breads lack complex flavor without help.  Basic bread recipes can attribute part of its flavor from the double rise.  I’ve read that three or four rises total taste even better, but who has the time for that?  Beth Hensperger’s version adds a touch of ground ginger which is deliciously amazing and you might not know it was there if you hadn’t been told.

But… I only like it in the white bread version.  I’ve tried making a whole wheat version, a spelt version, and a spelt version without ginger.  The variations didn’t satisfy me much.

And then I came across Home Baked by Hanne Risgaard.
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Warming grapefruit tea, for people who hate grapefruit

I’m coming down with a cold. meh.

So, all I want right now is is something that is warm, soothes my throat, and is full of things that’s supposed to be good for you. I don’t know why, but I rarely crave orange juice when I’m sick. Apple cider is nice but sometimes it tastes too sweet to me. Grapefruit is on sale at my local markets, so that’s what I brought home.

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The problem? I don’t like grapefruit. I very nearly hate it. So why did I come home with grapefruits? To make grapefruit tea! Ok, I guess this is more like a spiced grapefruit cider than tea but the original recipe calls it tea so I’m leaving it like that. The original recipe called for 1 stick cinnamon and 1/2tsp allspice berries for about 2 cups grapefruit juice to be heated on the stove. However, I have a jar of chai masala that I made recently, so I went with that instead. Plus, the black pepper in the chai mix feels nice on my sore throat.

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Mystery experiment, part 2 of 2

So! Hi. Yeah, this follow up post is much later than it should be. Part of it was because the fermentation period in my cold New England apartment ended up being ten days. And then I wanted to experiment with it before posting anything.

The original post?
https://awesomesauceeats.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/mystery-experiment-part-1-of/

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chickpeas and mixed greens

So…

I decided to go “Super Natural Every Day” on the braising mix greens I got from my CSA.  Heidi Swanson’s second book was one of those books that I love looking at, tell myself to cook from it, and then never get around to cooking from it.  Well, it was time to change my bad habits!

Adapting one of her recipes to fit what I had on hand, here’s what happened:

I soaked 1/2 cup of chickpeas overnight (probably about 16 hours?) and then simmered them in fresh water for about 35 minutes.  (Although the soaking liquid has a lot of flavor, that’s the same liquid that’s going to make you fart.  I’m not going to lie to you.)  I usually add a large pinch of salt halfway through the cooking time.

In a different pan, I heated some olive oil (3T) and softened some finely chopped onions over medium heat (I used one small onion).  I added some garlic powder, a pinch of salt, and maybe 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes.  When the onion looked soft enough, I added in my mixed greens.  Once the greens had wilted, I mixed in the chickpeas.  When everything was incorporated, I threw in some lime zest (I’m zany that way), and killed the heat.

Overall?  This is simple and tasty.  It’s a good way to use up some CSA greens.  I really liked the lime zest to be honest.  It was supposed to be lemon zest but my lemon zest was in the freezer and I had limes that wanted some attention.  I think, next time, I’ll try it with some preserved Meyer lemons (which I almost used this time around, but then the limes were staring at me down).