Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Creamy Chickpea Curry

Stay-at-Home #5

If we eat with our eyes, then feast on this colorful array. You probably have everything you need in your pantry. One trip to the grocery for some 'essential' cilantro and you're good to go. 

Here's what you need:
1/2 large Vidalia onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, chopped (seeds are optional, I usually remove them)
1/2 C raw almonds (cashews would work here too)
5 Roma tomatoes, rough chop
1 t curry powder
1/4 t allspice
1 can coconut milk
1 can garbanzo beans
1 carrot, peeled and cubed
1 C frozen peas
large handful chopped cilantro

Here's what you do:
Saute the onions, peppers, and nuts in a bit of oil until the veg is soft. Look at that color!

Add tomatoes and spices and cook until tomatoes are soft. Blend all this well in a high speed blender. Return to the pan. Use the coconut milk to clean out the blender. Add the the milk to the pan to create your sauce. 

Add the garbanzo beans and carrots and simmer until carrots are tender. Add peas and cilantro just before serving. Serve over rice or potatoes. 

Monday, April 27, 2020

Isolation Bread Baking - Part 4

Stay-at-Home #4

My current obsession: scouring Instagram for beautiful bread art. I am totally inspired and in love with these. The sky is the limit as far as decorations go - in fact I made a few with chocolate chips, fresh strawberries, and pecans. I used Peter Reinhart's famous 'Pain a l'Ancienne' recipe from "The Bread Baker's Apprentice," which made these more like vegetable pizza or chewy bread. Most bread art I've seen on Instagram has been with focaccia, so I need to try that also. 

Warning: if you try this at home, be prepared to share the kitchen with everyone who will want to try their own designing. It's hard to stop! 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Isolation Bread Baking - Part 3

Stay-at-Home #3

The process of making English muffins is a bit time consuming, but as you can see, it's worth it. Especially if you eat them right out of the oven. I wish I could describe the crunch and chew of the crust. By the second day, they were not as satisfying to eat, maybe because they hardened and compacted a bit, but we choked them down. 

They'd be difficult to make for breakfast because they need two 90 minute rises, plus kneading and resting times. They are fun to make though, because first you 'bake' them in a hot skillet, and then you pop them in a hot oven. You're supposed to wait 30 minutes before eating them, but that's not practical! 

I made them a second time and served them with pea soup for lunch which was perfect. We were doing one of our many 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles that day. Classic quarantine activities: puzzles and bread baking and soup.  

I used the recipe found in Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" and was not disappointed, although as with all of his recipes, it took some concentration to decode and apply the steps. 

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Isolation Bread Baking - Part 2

Stay-at-Home #2

Homemade flour tortillas. Homemade flour tortillas. Homemade flour tortillas. 

These beauties were from an on-line recipe.....just search around and choose the one with the 4,000 5 star reviews.  Nothing difficult at all and the end result, as you can probably see, was excellent! Chewy and warm, we stuffed them with perfect avocado slices and hot sauce. 

You'll need a cast iron skillet or other pan that can reach very high temperature. You'll also need a rolling pin. See that one on top, with the tiny fold? Try to avoid that. See the third one down, with the tiny bubbles? Try to attain that. My technique improved as the stack grew. 

You could start these right now and they'd be ready for dinner. If your town is anything like my town during these days of hoarding, you can't buy tortillas anyway. 

Friday, April 24, 2020

Isolation Bread Baking - Part 1

Stay-at-Home #1

If I hear one more person say, "....during these unprecedented times....," or ".... we are all in this together.....," I will scream. Yes, we are experiencing a stay-at-home order, but why such drama? Must everything be such hyperbole? 

I decided that when I'm not wallowing on my couch in pure boredom and frustration, I would learn how to make bread. And gain weight. 

I started with a very easy recipe from Peter Reinhart's masterful cookbook "The Bread Baker's Apprentice". You can find the recipe on line or you can purchase the book for yourself. Warning: it's quite a serious cookbook including lots of scientific explanations and lengthy techniques, but I know you have time on your hands during these unprecedented times...... 

 One major suggestion is to roll the dough two times as large as the recipe suggests. Reinhart calls for one sheet pan and it will easily roll to fit two sheet pans. You'll get a better, crispier cracker.

Here you see various seeds and paprika. Delicious. I also made a batch with Middle Eastern spices (curry, cumin, harissa, mustard seed, etc) and it was out of this world! Be sure to include black pepper and/or salt.