Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Baking Class: Sourdough Discard Cheese Crackers

I have been working on this recipe for sourdough discard cheese crackers for a while now and have finally gotten it to where I want it to be. They are flaky and crispy and cheesy, and reminiscent of the cheese crackers you get at the store.

This is the best way I have found to use up my sourdough discard. They don't take too much time, they are easy to make, and I almost always have all of the ingredients on hand.

One note - you may be tempted to substitute oil for the butter. Don't. They taste just as good but they do not stay crispy. I learned that the hard way.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Baked Goods (Sweet/Savory)
200 g sourdough discard (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup salted or unsalted butter
60-120g (1/2-1 cup) all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp salt (1/2 tsp if using unsalted butter)
dash of paprika
56 g (1/2 cup) shredded cheddar cheese

Add the colled melted butter to the starter and mix well. Add the baking soda and 60g (half a cup) of the flour, adding enough to make a stiff dough. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Place in a bowl, cover loosely with plastic warp, and let sit for anywhere from an hour to eight hours.

When ready to make the craciers, preheat the oven to 350° F and grease two baking sheets.

Knead the rest of the seasonings into the dough until well incorporated, then add the shredded cheese and continue kneating until everything is evenly distributed.

Divide the dough in half, then roll each half out into a rectangle about 10" x 12" and 1/8" thick. Transfer the dough to the greased baking sheets and cut into rectangles with a pastry cutter.

Bake for 15 minutes, then turn off the oven with the crackers still inside. Leave them in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes, until they are crispy.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container.

adapted from this recipe found at Curious Cuisiniere

exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Monday, November 09, 2020

Country Style Pork Chop Braised in Beer

This is another meal created from Project Freezer-burn, where I am woking to clean out my freezer. The pork came from one of my favorite local butchers, grocers and purveyors of beer and wine Gene's Sausage Shop & Delicatessen and the recipe was adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook 1996 edition by Marion Cunningham.

I coated the pork in seasoned flour and seared it in my cast iron skillet on all sides, then poured in about half a can (eyeballed) of beer, lowered the heat, covered it and let it cook until it reached an internal temp of 145 deg F.

When the chop was done I took it out of the pan and let the sauce cook down and thicken. The Brussels sprouts also came from the freezer and I basically just let them thaw, seasoned them and poured a little lemon-infused olive oil over the top which is all they needed. Some Yukon Gold potatoes baked with lots of garlic rounded out the meal.

The country style chop was big enough for me to make three meals out of it.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: My Recipes
1 Country Pork Chop, about 1-1/2" thick
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp pepper or to taste
1/4 tsp granulated garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup of beer

Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and oregano to the flour and mix well. Spread it out onto butcher or parchment paper to the size of the pork chop. I usually use the butcher paper the chop was wrapped in by the butcher.

Heat the oil in a ten-inch skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium high heat.

Lay the chop over the flour mixture and pat it down, then lift it and shake off any extra mixture. Turn and lay the other side down and pat it as well so that both sides are covered in the seasoned flour.

Place the chop in the hot skillet. Sear on both sides until well browned, about three minutes per side.

Pour the beer into the skillet, lower the heat to medium, cover, and cook until the internal temperature has reached 145° F at the thickest part, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from pan and let sit for a few minutes. Meanwhile, raise the heat over the liquid in the pan and let it cook for another five minutes or so until it thickens. Serve the chop with the gravy.

adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook edited by Marion Cunningham (Alfred A. Knopf, 1996)

exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Monday, November 02, 2020

Salmon en Papillote with Brussels Sprouts and Carrots

I am reviving something from my earlier blogging days that I called “Project Freezer Burn.” Now that I have a better idea of what’s in my freezer I am determined to start using it. First up was a packet of ethically caught salmon that had been in there for months, along with a packet of frozen organic Brussels sprouts and another packet of frozen organic carrots. I’ve never made anything en papillote before and this seemed like the perfect time to try it.

I cut four big pieces of parchment paper into giant hearts and layered the carrots, then the sprouts (both still mostly frozen), and finally the salmon over one half, seasoning after each layer.

I poured a bit of olive oil over the top and then finished it up with granulated garlic, paprika and dill.

I folded the other half of the heart over and crimped the edges to seal the packets.  I was just able to get all four of them on the one half baking sheet.

I baked them in a 375° F. oven for ten minutes. The sprouts and carrots had partly thawed and that was just long enough to cook them without turning them to mush and the salmon was not too well done for me. If you like your salmon well done you should probably cook them closer to twelve minutes. This comes together quickly for a weeknight dinner and also offers a wow moment for entertaining.

You can use other fish and other vegetables - whatever you have at hand. Just bear in mind how long each item needs to cook and adjust accordingly.

Home Cooking v9.81 Chapter: Meat Fish and Eggs
4 Salmon fillets
2 Tbsp olive oil (approximately)
1 10-oz package frozen brussels sprouts, thawed enough to slice in half lengthwise
1 10-oz package frozen sliced carrots
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp of granulated garlic powder
2 tsp of dill
2 tsp of paprika

Additional items:
4 large sheets parchment paper

Fold the parchment paper in half widthwise and cut out half a heart shape. Combine the spices into a small bowl and mix well.

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Lay one-fourth of the carrot slices over the bottom of one half of the heart, followed by one-fourth of the Brussels sprouts halves. Season with salt and pepper. Lay one salmon fillet over the center and season with the salt and pepper. Sprinkle a generous teaspoon of the spices over the fish and what vegetables are exposed.

Close the heart and crimp the edges together, making sure the packet is tightly sealed. Carefully place the packet on a half-sheet size baking pan.

Repeat with the remaining three fillets, laying them evenly on the baking sheet without overlapping.

Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove form the oven and place each pouch on a plate. Serve immediately, slitting the pouch open carefully.

adapted from this recipe: https://www.jessicagavin.com/salmon-en-papillote-vegetables/

exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Tunisian Soup with Chard and Egg Noodles

This Tunisian Soup with Chard and Egg Noodles is why I made harissa the other day. The first time I made the soup I did not have any harissa so I just used cayenne powder instead. It was delicious, but it made me wonder how it would taste with the harissa. And when I made the harissa for that potluck I remembered this soup and made it again and it made all the difference in the world. There aren’t a lot of other spices, so it really needs the complexity of the harissa to bring out a lovely depth of flavor.

As a side note, the recipe calls for you to use the chard stems as well as the leaves. This is where I learned to save the stems for most greens and cook them with the aromatics or save them for another dish rather than discarding them. I love it when I learn something that helps me waste less.

[This is part of an ongoing Repost Series where I create new posts with recipes from the past that I have highlighted on Instagram and want to highlight again.]

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Soups and Stews
1 tsp cumin seeds (or ground cumin)
1 lb Swiss chard, stems and center ribs chopped and leaves coarsely chopped (reserve separately)
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
1-2 Tbsp harissa or other hot sauce, or to taste
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 15-oz cans, drained and rinsed)
4 oz fine egg noodles (about 1-1/2 cups)
Salt and pepper to taste

Toast cumin in a very small heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat, stirring, until deeply fragrant and dark brown (be careful not to burn). Cool, then grind to a powder in grinder.

Cook chard stems, onion, garlic cumin, salt and pepper in oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes.

Add stock, harissa, and lemon juice and simmer, covered, 30 minutes.

Add chard leaves, chickpeas, and noodles with more salt to taste and simmer, covered, until tender, about 7 minutes.

adapted from Gourmet Magazine (RIP), February 2009

exported from Home Cookin 9.81

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

DIY Condiments: Harissa

I first posted this recipe back in 2016.  Nothing has changed about it since then but it is so delicious I decided to post it again, since I featured it on Instagram.

Homemade is so much more fresh than what you can buy and tastes so much better.  And it’s so easy to make. I was hankering after a Tunisian soup recipe that calls for it so I decided it was time to make another batch. This will now go into pretty much everything I eat until it’s gone, at which time I will have to make it again.

As I suspect you will, too, if you decide to make it.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Spices Spreads Dips Sauces
8 dried guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded (about 2 oz)
16 to 20 chilies japones, or other small hot chilies (about 1 oz)
1 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp dried mint leaves (optional)
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
5 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon

Put chilies in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover and let sit until softened, at least 20 minutes. Heat the caraway, coriander and cumin in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about four minutes. Keep the seeds moving in the skillet the whole time. Remove from the heat and let cool. Place the spices in a grinder with the mint and grind to a fine powder.

Drain the chlies and place them in a food processor. Add the spices, salt, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil and puree until the mixture is smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. This will take 4 to 5 minutes, as you want to make sure there are no large flakes of the dried chilies in the mixture. Store the harissa in a glass jar covered with a layer of olive oil. Refrigerate, and replace the oil after every use. Makes approximately 1 cup.

adapted from recipe found at http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Harissa

exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Baking Class: Whole Wheat Artisan No Knead Bread

I have tweaked this whole wheat sourdough no knead bread recipe about as much as I can to get it where I want it to be.  I don't always have the time (or the patience, if I am being honest) to let it sit for hours before baking it so right off the bat I increased the percentage of starter to the rest of the ingredients.  This gives me the freedom to let it sit out for just a few hours if I am in a hurry to have it, or I can throw it in the fridge and let it do its thing for up to five days to let the flavors really develop.

And while I appreciate the beauty of a crumb that is filled with those beautiful large holes, I find that the bread goes stale much faster than I can use it so I started adding olive oil, which does give a longer life but softens the crumb so I don't get those lovely holes anymore. If you want the holes and are feeding enough people for leftovers not to be a problem, you can omit the oil.

I thought I would give a little pictorial of how the dough should look at various stages of the process. If you do not want to bother with that you can just scroll down to the where the recipe is at the bottom. I promise I won't be offended.

First I combine all of the ingredients and cover the bowl and let it sit anywhere from a few hours out on a counter up to five or six days in the refrigerator. If I refrigerated it, I take it out and let it sit for about an hour and a half, long enough for it to come to room temperature. I then transfer it to a floured surface and sprinkle both it and my hands with bread flour while I stretch and fold it a couple of times, adding more flour in small amounts as needed.  When I am ready to shape it I start at the top and grab both sides and pull them across each other over the dough and affix them to the opposite sides.  I do the same in the middle, and then the bottom, and then I carefully shape it into a ball.
I then set it on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, pick it up by the corners, and put it in a small aluminum bowl tand cover it with a towel and let it rise for another hour or so. After about 45 minutes I place my Dutch oven onto the middle rack of a cool oven with the lid on and preheat it to 500° F.  When the oven has come to temperature I pull out the rack with the Dutch oven on it, remove the lid, gently lift up the corners of the parchment paper and use it to carefully remove the dough from the bowl and gently place it in the Dutch oven as quickly as I safely can, then immediately put the cover back on and put it back in the oven.

I bake it covered for 30 minutes and then I lower the temperature to 450° F. and remove the cover and let it bake for another 15 minutes. I remove it from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes and then I use the ends of the parchment paper to remove the loaf from the Dutch oven and set it on a cooling rack to let it cool completely.
As I stated up above, this does not have that lovely open-holed crumb of your typical Dutch Oven No-Knead bread. I believe that is mainly due to the fact that i add olive oil to my dough. It may not be open and airy and chewy as the original version, but it stays fresh longer and that is more important to me since I am usually the only one eating it. If you want that open, chewy crumb just leave out the olive oil.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: My Recipes
3/4 cup (145g) active starter
1-1/4 cup (300g) water
1/2 cup (60g) bread flour
1/2 cup (60g) barley flour (optional)
2 cups (240g) whole wheat flour, or 2-1/2 cups (300g) if not using barley flour
2 tsp (12g) salt
2 Tbsp olive oil

Combine the flours in a medium bowl and whisk together.

Dissolve the starter into the water in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and salt and give it a stir, then add the flour mixture and stir to combine. The mixture will be fairly wet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator for as little as overnight or as long as 5 days.

When ready to bake, take a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle flour lightly over the middle. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour to bring it to room temperature. Fold the dough 10 to 15 times in the bowl, then transfer to a floured surface. Sprinkle bread flour lightly over the top of the dough and over your hands, then take the top edges on each side of the dough and cross them over each other and press down into the base. Repeat with the middle edges and then the bottom, adding more flour a sprinkle at a time as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.

Gently bring the edges of the dough from the bottom up to make a ball, and then turn it over onto the floured parchment paper. Pat a little more flour onto the sides of the dough closest to the paper, then lift it up by the corners and place it into a medium-sized bowl. Cover with a twel and let rise until it has doubled, an hour to an hour and a half.

After about 45 minutes, place a Dutch oven with the lid on it into a cool oven and preheat it to 500° F. When the dough has risen and you are ready to bake, remove the pot from the oven and lift the dough out of the bowl by the parchment paper and carefully drop the whole thing into the hot pot. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, lower the heat to 450° and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Let cool completely on rack.

adapted from http://breadtopia.com/sourdough-no-knead-bread/

Exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Baking Class: Upside Down Cobbler

Years ago I was visiting my brother in Houston and his girlfriend cooked dinner. I don’t remember much about the meal itself, but for dessert she served an upside down peach cobbler. I’m a fan of neither cobblers nor peaches but it blew me away. Enough for me to ask her for the recipe. She is long out of our lives but the cobbler has remained. You mix the dough and put it into the bottom of the dish and then you pour the fruit on top and the dough bakes up over the fruit. The original recipe uses canned pie filling but over the years I have adapted it for fresh or frozen fruit. It is easy to make and works with just about any fruit, especially blueberries and cherries and as you can see here, plums. A big bonus is that it’s not too sweet.

I originaly posted this recipe in July of 2009 but it is such a lovely dish that I decided to repost it again to give it a chance to get back into rotation. Give it a try. It's delicious!

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: My Recipes
2/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp grape seed oil
1/2 cup milk
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, sliced strawberries, or chopped plums, rhubarb, peaches or apples
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 300° F

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add grape seed oil and milk and whisk until smooth. Pour into a 1.5-quart or a 10 x 6-inch greased baking dish.

Place fruit, sugar and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a boil. Let the mixture  boil for about two minutes, then pour over the batter and place in the oven.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the cake is set and browned on the edges.

exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Friday, September 25, 2020

Baking Class: Sourdough Kaiser Rolls

I made these sourdough Kaiser rolls with my virtual bread baking partner (she made some lovely pretzel buns). I converted the recipe from conventional yeast and was quite pleased with the results. They don’t really look like Kaiser rolls to me but I think it’s mainly the shape and I can work on that. The slashing on top is uneven but I can also work on that.

They were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside and I am happy with the crumb. I will definitely make them again.

I remember eating kaiser rolls quite often when I was younger. When I first moved to Chicago I would eat at least once a week in a small diner around the corner from my apartment. I almost always ordered the tuna salad plate. It came with tuna salad, cole slaw, french fries and a kaiser roll. It made the perfect tuna salad sandwich.

I don't see them much anymore. I suppose they have fallen out of favor. I am happy to have discovered this recipe that comes close to what I remember so I can enjoy them again.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Breads and Muffins
210g (about 1-1/4 cups) active starter
425g (about 1-3/4 cups) water
360g (3 cups) bread flour
240g (2 cups) bread flour, or more as needed
16g salt
24g sugar
1/4 cup oil
1 egg white
1 tsp water
Poppy seeds

Combine the starter and water and mix well. Stir in the salt, sugar and oil and then add the 360g of flour and mix well. Gradually add the rest of the flour, about a half a cup at a time, until a stiff dough forms.

Remove from the bowl and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, then place in a greased bowl, cover, and let stand until doubled, about an hour and a half.

Punch down the dough and divide into 16 even pieces. Shape each piece into a ball by pulling the sides down and pinching the dough together on the bottom. Place the balls two inches apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

With floured hands push down gently on the tops of the rolls to flatten them out to about 5 inches wide. Cover again and let rise until almost doubled, 30 to 40 minutes.

After the first 10 or 20 minutes, preheat the oven to 400° F.

Combine the egg white with the water and beat well. Brush the mixture on the tops of the rolls and then sprinkle the poppy seeds generously over the egg brushed egg whites. Make five slashes on the tops of each roll starting from the center out.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until well browned. Cool on wire racks.

adapted from The Wooden Spoon Bread Book: The Secrets of Successful Baking, by Marilyn M. Moore (The Atlantic Monthly Press 1987)

exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Baking Class: The Chocolate Cake

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  I got home from Wisconsin last weekend with very little food in the kitchen and was craving something sweet. I don’t really eat sweets these days and don’t keep many ingredients around.  What I did have was a container with extremely sour milk along with flour, sugar, butter and cocoa.  And an old family chocolate cake recipe that calls for sour milk (although we usually just make our own by adding vinegar to regular milk).

While it was in the oven I realized I did not have any confectioners sugar or milk to make icing and if I was going to the trouble to make a chocolate cake I wanted something on it. So I whipped up a quick batch of chocolate syrup and poured it over the top like a mirror glaze. It tasted delicious but the sauce gradually seeped deeper into the cake, making it sticky and difficult to eat. But it was just what I needed.

This is what it looks like with the proper icing. The milk for this one was made sour with vinegar as opposed to using sour milk, and you can see the difference in the crumb. Both are delicious, but it is just a touch better with actual sour milk. Enough so that I always let the last bit of milk go sour in my refrigerator just so I have it on hand when I want to make this cake.

You may wonder why it is called The Chocolate Cake. That is how it was always referred to when friends would ask us to make it. You can see the story behind it in this post from 2010.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Baked Goods (Sweet/Savory)
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup sour milk (add 1 Tbsp vinegar to make it sour)
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 stick softened butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup cocoa
1 to 2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
milk, as needed

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the milk, melted butter and vanilla and mix until just combined.

Pour into 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pan. Bake on the middle rack for 20 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

For the Icing:

Combine the butter, 1/4 cup of the cocoa, 1 cup of the confectioners sugar, the vanilla, and about two tablespoons of the milk in a medium size bowl and beat until well blended. Add more cocoa as needed for the flavor and more confectioner's sugar as needed to reach a spreadable consistency.

exported from Home Cookin v9.81
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