Aug 12, 2018

Rosemary Tomato Focaccia

Fresh Cherry Tomatoes Roasted on Focaccia-- I wish I had used even more tomatoes!


Thanks to Bon Appetit for the recipe for the best focaccia ever!

This recipe uses a liberal amount of olive oil for the crispest, best tasting focaccia I ever tasted. Be sure to read through the recipe-- it calls for a long, lazy rise in the refrigerator-- 8-24 hours to develop its yeasty, chewy deliciousness. Mix it up in the evening and let it make magic in your fridge for dinner the next night.



6¼ cups bread flour (30 oz. or 850g)
2¼ tsp. active dry yeast (from one ¼-oz. packet)
Pinch of sugar
2 Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1 Tbsp. Morton kosher salt read here about the differences
5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for greasing and drizzling
Flaky sea salt
Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Cherry Tomatoes, halved, tossed with a bit of olive oil. salt and pepper

Instructions:

Combine flour and 2½ cups room-temperature water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.

Mix on low speed, scraping down sides and hook as needed to incorporate any dry flour, until a shaggy dough forms. Remove dough hook and cover bowl with plastic.

Let sit while you prepare the yeast (you can leave the dough in this state up to 2 hours). Stir yeast, sugar, and ½ cup warm water with a fork in a small bowl to dissolve. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.

Pour yeast mixture into stand mixer bowl and mix on low speed until dough absorbs all additional water, about 1 minute (pulse mixer on and off a couple of times at very beginning to prevent liquid from splashing over the sides).

Add kosher salt and continue to mix, increasing speed to medium, until dough is extremely elastic and very sticky (it will look more like a thick batter and will stick to sides of bowl), about 5 minutes.

Pour 3 Tbsp. oil into a large (preferably glass) bowl and swirl to coat sides. Scrape in dough with a large spatula or flexible bench scraper. Cover and place in a warm spot until dough is doubled in volume, 2–3 hours. If using a glass bowl, it’s helpful to mark the position of the dough at the beginning so you can accurately assess the rise (a dry-erase marker or piece of tape works).

Drizzle 2 Tbsp. oil over a 18x13" sheet pan and use fingertips to rub all over bottom and sides.

Using large spatula or flexible bench scraper, fold dough inside bowl a couple of times to deflate, then scrape onto prepared baking sheet. Using oiled hands, lift up dough and fold over onto itself in half, then rotate baking sheet 90° and fold in half again.

Cover dough with a piece of well-oiled plastic and let rest 10 minutes to let gluten relax.

Uncover and go back in with oiled hands, gently stretching dough (to avoid tearing) across length and width of baking sheet in an even layer, working all the way to edges and into corners. If dough starts to spring back, let sit 5–10 minutes and start again.

Cover again with same piece of oiled plastic and chill at least 8 hours and up to 24. 

Let sheet pan sit in a warm spot until dough is puffed and bubbly and nearly doubled in height, 45–65 minutes (if you’re using a standard half sheet pan, it will have risen to the very top of the sides).

Meanwhile, place a rack in center of oven; preheat to 450°. Remove plastic and drizzle dough generously with more oil. Oil hands again and press fingertips firmly into dough, pushing down all the way to bottom of pan to dimple all over. Sprinkle generously with sea salt,  scatter tomatoes and rosemary over the focaccia.

Bake at 450°until dark golden brown and crisp. Let cool before you cut into it. (Yeah, I dare you to wait.)

Aug 3, 2018

Paella! ole

Paella!
To make a kosher version of paella, simply use chicken and any spicy sausage that is available.

For vegetarian paella, try any mixture of beans, asparagus, mushrooms, squash, and parboiled new potatoes.


Ingredients
2 chicken breast fillets
3 tablespoons smoked spanish paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2  chorizo  or other sausages of your choice
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Spanish (yellow) onion, diced
1 (16-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
2 cups Spanish rice, BOMBA if you can find it- its the best or Goya Medium
1 teaspoon saffron threads
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup green beans
one red pepper sliced in thick wedges


Fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, for garnish
Spanish olives for garnish
Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions
Rinse the chicken pieces and pat them dry. Mix the paprika with some salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the pieces of chicken; marinate for 30 minutes so the flavor can sink in a bit.

Heat the olive oil in a paella pan or wide shallow skillet over medium-high heat. Quickly cook pepper wedges and green beans, remove to plate.
Place the chicken in the pan, skin-side down and brown on all sides, turning with tongs. Add the sausage and continue to cook until the oil is a vibrant red color. Remove the chicken and sausage to a platter lined with paper towels.


Return the pan to the stove and lower the heat to medium. Make a sofrito by sauteing the garlic, onion, and tomatoes; cook until the mixture caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld; season with salt and pepper, and more smoked paprika. Fold in the rice, stirring to coat the grains. Stir the saffron into the rice. Pour in the stock and simmer for 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. Do not cover or constantly stir like risotto.

Arrange  the reserved chicken and the chorizo on the rice. Give the paella a couple of good stirs to tuck in all the pieces and just let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, about 15 minutes. Scatter the green beans on top and continue to cook for 5 minutes, until the paella looks fluffy and moist. The ideal paella has a toasted rice bottom called socarrat. Allow to rest, off the heat for 5 minutes, and garnish with parsley and olives. Serve with lemon wedges.

Jul 3, 2018

As American as Blueberry Blueberry Pie



PERFECT BUTTER PASTRY
2 1/2 cups  King Arthur Mellow Pastry Blend, or All Purpose flour
2 tablespoons buttermilk powder, optional
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 Tbs. sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter or vegetable shortening or a combination
6 to 7 Tbs. ice water
  • Combine the flour, buttermilk powder, and salt. 
  • Work in the butter in two batches, leaving some pieces as large as your thumbnail. 
  • Sprinkle in ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork and adding water till the dough is completely cohesive. 
  • Divide it in half, wrap, and chill for 30 minutes before rolling. 
  • Roll the crust about 1/8" thick and about 2" wider than the diameter of your 9" deep-dish (at least 1 ½" deep) pie pan. 
  • Place in the pan. 
Preheat oven to 425°F.

Make Filling
4 cups fresh blueberries, washed and drained
2 cups wild blueberries (frozen or canned are ok)
3 Tbs. Instant ClearJel OR 4 Tbs. instant tapioca
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1Tbs. freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1-2 Tbs. butter
Milk or cream and sugar for sprinkling on the crust

TO ROLL THE CRUST: Put a clean kitchen towel on your work surface, and sprinkle with flour.
Unwrap one pastry disc and place it on the towel, and sprinkle with a bit more flour.
Roll the dough once, and turn the towel 45 degrees.
Roll again, turn again. Continue until your crust is even, about 1/8 inch thin, and big enough for about a 2 inch overlap in your pan.
Avoid over rolling the dough, or rolling your pin back and forth.

Preheat the oven to
425°F.

Toss together the berries, half the sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
Let the juices develop a bit.
mix the clearjel (or tapioca) and remaining sugar together in a small cup (this keeps the thickener from clumping inside the pie).  Add to berries. Pour into the crust.
Roll out the top crust, (or make a lattice if you like) place it over the berries.
Trim excess overhang, and crimp the edges together.
Cut several slashes to allow steam to escape (if you haven't made a lattice crust). Spritz with water, and sprinkle with sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar.


Bake the pie at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 350°F and bake for another 40 to 50 minutes, covering the edges if they seem to be browning too quickly. When done, the filling will be bubbling, and the crust golden brown. Remove from the oven, and cool for at least 1 hour before serving.
Serve with vanilla ice cream for a super treat.




Mix fresh and wild blueberries
Allow the berries to rest until the juices start to flow
package of chilled pastry
start to roll on floured cloth


lightly roll the pastry with your rolling pin

leaving overhang, gently drape into pan

pour in filling, dot with butter

King Arthur Pastry Blend and Clearjel

Use scissors to remove excess pastry

Crimp the crust (notice my festive blue nail polish!)

Brush lightly with milk or cream, sprinkle with sugar

Cut slits to allow steam to escape

Bake in middle of preheated oven, if crust seems to brown too quickly, lightly protect with foil strips



Jun 12, 2018

Rhubarb in Your Garden or Your Farmers Market

It's prime time for Rhubarb!
If you are like me you might have looked askance at "pie plant", or let the rosy stalks from your neighbor's garden wilt in the fridge while you put off cooking them.
Have I got a recipe for you!
Its a delicious, easy-bake  cake that everyone loves, and it is perfect for dessert, brunch, snacks or afternoon tea. After rhubarb season it's delicious with any fruit-- try peaches, blueberries, raspberries (fresh or frozen). I reduced the sugar a bit (to 3/4 cup) because I like the tangy rhubarb, but make it with a cup of sugar if you like it sweeter.


Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt (whole milk is best) or buttermilk
  • 1 stick softened butter 
  • 3/4 to 1 cup  granulated sugar plus 2 tsp for sprinkling (or sprinkle with demerara sugar)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, (save 1 Tbsp to toss with rhubarb)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
Instructions
  1. Cream the soft butter and sugar in a stand mixer until fluffy and pale yellow. Beat in the egg and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
  2. Toss 1 Tbsp of the flour with the rhubarb and toss well.
  3. Whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl and blend in. Add the yogurt, and blend in. Finally add the rest of the flour and blend just until combined, don't over mix. Fold in the rhubarb. Note: the batter is on the thick side.
  5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top evenly with a good layer of sugar. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until the cake golden and a toothpick in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it (moist crumbs are fine.)
  6. Let the cake cool slightly before cutting.


May 4, 2018

Grammy's Cheesecake





Grammy’s Cheesecake



According to my longtime friend, Amy Cahners, this is the best cheesecake ever.
You might have to place an order on Amazon for the Zweiback crackers if you want to try the real thing, or else  substitute Graham Crackers.


Crust:
2 boxes (12 pieces) Zweiback rolled into crumbs (can substitute graham cracker crumbs but they’re not as good)
Add 1 stick melted butter
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Mix in a spring-form until wet
Press along bottom and sides
Refrigerate.

Filling:
2 lbs. cream cheese
4 eggs separated
½ - 1 pint all-purpose (heavy) cream ( or whipping cream)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in milk
½ teaspoon lemon juice

In an electric mixer, cream the cheese until smooth.
Add sugar gradually.  Beat until smooth.
Add egg yolks. Beat until smooth.
Add cornstarch mixture.
Beat cream partially in a separate bowl.
Add to mixture.
Beat egg whites until stiff.
Add to mixture by hand with lemon juice.
Pour into spring-form.

Bake at 225° for 1½ hours.  Turn off heat.  Do not open door.  Leave in oven for 1 more hour.
or
Bake at 250° for 1 hour.  Turn off heat.  Do not open door.  Leave in oven for 1 more hour.


This is what made Harriet Schwartz famous.

Apr 6, 2018

Fudgy Olive Oil Brownies for Passover or Any Time




Passover Fudgy Olive Oil Brownies

Ingredients
·       4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
·       1/3 cup Olive Oil,
·       1/2 cup dark brown sugar
·       1/4 cup granulated sugar
·       2 eggs
·       1/2 cup matzo cake meal
·       2 tsp vanilla
·       1 tsp salt
·       1 1/4 cups chocolate chips, milk or semi sweet
·       *optional 1-2 Tbsp coarse sea salt for sprinkling
Instructions
1.     Preheat oven to 350
2.     Line an 8×8 pan with foil and spray lightly with baking spray
3.     In a large bowl, combine your melted chocolate and olive oil.
4.     Whisk in eggs, sugars and vanilla until combined.
5.     Add in cake meal and salt and stir until incorporated.
6.     Fold in chocolate chips.
7.     Spread in prepared pan and sprinkle with coarse sea salt, if desired.
8.     Bake approx 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted 1″ away from the edge comes out clean, and the center is still slightly soft.
9.     Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

Dec 5, 2017

The Best Latke Recipe, and Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats


Time For Hanukkah Treats! Decorate with abandon! Stave off mid winter blues with Empty Carbs!
  Of Course, there are those who would object to the kinds of decorations I have come to love: but hey, why shouldn't Hanukkah be pretty? Like this Coconut Cake with a tiny Menorah, and blue M&Ms

Ina Garten Coconut Cake, Hanukkah Version
Hanukkah Cookies











Time for Fun and Family, Friends, and FOOD!

The Best Latkes
Under the influence of GG and Grandpa we learned, decadently, to love eating masses of them with creme fraiche and gravlax and caviar.

6 medium potatoes, scrubbed, peeled
1 onion
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
fresh pepper.
(serves about 6)
Using the shredding blade of a food processor, shred the potatoes. Set colander in the sink to drain.
Grate or finely chop onion, mix in eggs, salt and pepper.
Squeezing out as much liquid as you can, put half the shredded potatoes in with the onions and eggs, and return the other half to the food processor with the steel blade, and pulse a few times.
Mix the chopped potatoes in with the rest, add flour, and mix well.

Heat about 2 1/2 inches of wesson oil in a large frying pan, and heat the oil till smoking. Drop a bit of the mixture in, it should sizzle like crazy.

Add tablespoons of the mixture into the pan, allowing the oil to come back to temperature. Turn occasionally with a slotted spoon, and cook until they are nut-brown.

Drain on brown paper bags over a rack, and sprinkle liberally with Kosher Salt. Keep latkes warm until the batch is done on baking pans, lined with paper towels in a 225 degree oven.
Serve with Creme Fraiche, Applesauce, and Gravlax (make your own with this recipe).


"Salted Caramel" Rice Krispie Treats

Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats (Vegetarian)
One of the blogs that I avidly follow is called Smitten Kitchen, and I remembered seeing a recipe for these there. I have adapted it substituting Vegan Marshmallows, and Brown Rice breakfast cereal, but I invite you to try it. If you have blue sanding sugar and want to decorate with it, shake it on top of the pan while the "treats" are still warm.




1 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan
1 10-ounce bag vegan marshmallows
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal or Puffed Brown Rice Cereal
Butter (or coat with non-stick spray) an 8-inch square "brownie pan"

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your eyes off the pot as while you may be impatient for it to start browning, the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a minute.
As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color, turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows. The residual heat from the melted butter should be enough to melt them, but if it is not, turn it back on low until the marshmallows are smooth.
Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt and cereal together. Quickly spread into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with Colored Sugar if desired

Nov 21, 2017

Cranberry Orange Sauce with Agave Nectar (Thanksgiving Healthy)

Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce with Agave


If you are like me, sometime into your Thanksgiving Cooking you realize the shocking amount of sugar that you are putting into your food. So, when I started making my cranberry relish, I realized that I could easily "lose" that four cups of sugar right there. The sauce was decidedly less sweet than the one we are used to, and in the end, I stirred in a swig of Pomegranate Molasses, but it is totally optional. I think this is really good, if you are looking for a healthier bite of Thanksgiving.

4 cups fresh Cranberries
1 orange (preferably organic) washed well, seeded, and chopped in a food processor
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup Agave Nectar
1-2 cinnamon sticks

optional: a Tablespoon or 2 of Pomegranate Molasses, a Tablespoon or 2 of Grand Marnier,  Cognac, Brandy, Orange Liqueur.

Put all ingredients except brandy into a heavy saucepan and cook about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until berries pop. Remove from heat, stir in liquor if using. Chill.