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

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

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
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