Category Archives: Uncategorized

Btw, Gnocchi is Unbelievably Easy

Gnocchi is one of those things that many people only get at restaurants, partly because store-bought is usually not-so-good and partly because they have no idea how easy it is to make at home. Way easier than pasta, easier even than bread. More on par with cookies. That easy. Here we go:

IMG_20131025_032238

Potato Gnocchi for Two

-1 lb. Russett or Idaho potato (since it’s hard to get an exact amount of potato, go with anything between 14-16 oz.)

-1 egg

-1/2 cup all purpose flour

-pinch of nutmeg, if you like

-I don’t add salt because I salt the water pretty heavily.

First things first, if you have such a thing as a ricer in your kitchen, this is what its for. If not, that’s fine, we’ll use a regular potato masher. If you don’t know what a ricer is, click here.

IMG_20131025_031906

Boil the potatoes whole, until you can break them with a fork and the skin slides off. While they’re still hot, mash them up super-fine or put them in the ricer which is basically a giant garlic press. Scramble the egg(s) in a bowl and add to the potatoes and stir up real good. Now add the flour and stir until just combined. You don’t want to develop too much gluten or you’ll end up with hard gnocchi. A chef I used to work for said, “Don’t knead it, want it.” I’ve always liked that.

IMG_20131025_032127

Once it’s all mixed in, take a hunk (depending on how much counter space you have) and roll a snake about one to one-point-five inches wide. Cut into sections of a similar length and toss onto a well-floured sheet. Continue in this manner until all the dough is cut. There’s a cool (but not strictly necessary) maneuver you can do with a fork to make ridges, but I’ve found it very hard to describe. Therefore, here is a link with a video of a lady teaching others how to do it. Also some good looking sauces. Watch the video.

IMG_20131025_031701

While cutting the dough, get a big pot of water on to boil. Salt it like you would for pasta. Toss maybe twenty in at a time and be ready to take them out in about two minutes. You’re going to see them bob at the top for a few seconds, then start floating determinedly, this is when they’re ready. In another 30 seconds will be over-done and start to fall apart, so be quick. Using a slotted spoon, remove them to a bowl very quickly and toss in some olive oil or melted butter. Cook the rest in batches like this until they’re all done and switch to a different serving dish or serve on plates, so they’re not sitting in a pool of oil and water at the bottom of your bowl. Serve with pesto, marinara or whatever sauce you like.

IMG_20131025_024403

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Raivas: Easy Cookies Because I’m Training

I’ll be honest with all of you, this week I’m finishing up training for the AthHalf race so my posts are going to be short and sweet. Today we’re making raivas, a Portugese cookie that, yes, is supposed to be kind of cakey. It isn’t what we in The States are used to, but they’re great for dunking in tea, coffee or a mulled wine. And they look really cool! Every recipe I’ve found for this recipe is exactly the same (with the exception that some called for 4 Tablespoons of butter as opposed to 5), so I’m going to give credit to the book that I first found it in: Nick Malgieri‘s A Baker’s Tour.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Raivas

-2 cups all purpose flour

-1 teaspoon cinnamon

-5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

-1/2 cup sugar

-3 eggs

First, pre-heat the oven to 350F.

This is a pretty standard technique for mixing cookie dough: mix together the dry ingredients (in this case flour and cinnamon) and set aside. Next, whip the butter and sugar together until it’s nice and fluffy. You can do this by hand or with and electric mixer. Now add the eggs to the butter mixture and mix until they are fully incorporated (you’re better off adding them one at a time, trust me). Add the flour mixture and mix that just until it’s all in there. You don’t want to make too much gluten.

Now comes the fun part: Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces. An easy way to do this if you don’t have a scale is to divide the dough in half, then divide each of those into thirds, then divide each of those into quarters. And there you go: 2x3x4=24. Roll each one of these bad-boys into a snake 20 inches long. I find you’re better off just using your fingers, when I tried to use my palms they got all smooshed. Now join the ends together and gently scrunch them up into a scrunched-up shape. Elegant, me. You can also make most letters pretty well, while you’re scrunching. Play around with it. When you’ve got one done, place it on a buttered or papered baking sheet and move on to the next. These only puff a little bit during cooking, so you can place them pretty close togeter. Leave about 1 inche between each cookie. Bake the sheets, one at a time for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating once mid-way. Remove to a cooling rack and serve with a nice, hot beverage. Check out the links to some other cool cookie recipes I found.

 

Tagged , , , , ,

Marbleized Shortbread

Shortbread was one of the original posts I wanted to do for this site, but it seemed a little too simple. I don’t want this to be one of those blogs that posts a recipe for scrambled eggs or a cheese sandwich. I’d considered perhaps posting two or three different recipes, e.g. Scotch, brown sugar, and chocolate to make up for the utter simplicity of them, but that still didn’t seem right. Yesterday it hit me all at once, marbleize the Scotch shortbread and brown sugar shortbread. It took a little tinkering to make sure the consistency would be the same for both, but I worked it out and am pretty pleased with the results. Right after I put it in the pan I realized that next time I make this I should make an Earth, or if The Missus has her way, Westeros. Break out a little food coloring and the possibilities are nearly endless.

Marbleized Shortbread

makes an 8″ round (12 pieces)

For Scotch shortbread:

-1/3 cup white sugar

-1 stick butter, room temp.

-1 cup all purpose flour

-1/8 teaspoon salt

For Brown Sugar Shortbread

-1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

-1 stick butter

-1 cup all purpose flour

-1/8 teaspoon salt

-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

I would suggest making the Scotch shortbread dough first so you won’t have to wash the bowl between batches. The technique for making each is the same, so I’ll just go over it once. Preheat the oven to 350F.

IMAG0099

Place the butter in a mixing bowl and whisk it good for at least one full minute, then add the sugar and continue whisking for another minute and a half. When the butter climbs the sides of the bowl, just scrape it down and continue whisking. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour and salt just until it becomes a solid mass. Place the dough on a plate and start over with the brown sugar, don’t forget to add the cinnamon with the flour this time. For an even more dramatic color difference, you can substitute 1 or 1.5 Tablespoons of cocoa powder for the flour with no  ill effects.

IMAG0098

I baked mine in the 8″ cast iron, but if you don’t have a cast iron skillet you’re comfortable baking in you can use a glass baking dish of the same size. Shockingly, there is no need to grease the pan for this recipe. Take little hunks of both doughs and randomly distribute them around the pan.

IMAG0101

When you’ve got a pretty even distributiton, use your fingertips and gently press it down to make sure the height and density are even. Now use the back of a spoon or the bottom of a glass to smooth out the surface. Good. Now score it with a knife to make 12 pettiecoats (as they are called) and poke it all over with a fork. No one knows why.

IMAG0106

Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 45 minutes, turning about halfway through. When done, the edges will be browned, although the center may feel a little soft. Re-cut the score marks and let cool in the pan 15-20 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. The color will darken as it cools, serve at room temperature.

IMAG0111

Tagged , , , , , ,

Clafoutis, Southern Style

I don’t do a lot of desserts here, which is weird because I do make a lot of them in my day-to-day life. One of these days I’ll get around to making a Queen of Puddings, but today I just wanted something quick and fruit-based. I’ve been on kind of a French kick lately so I decided on a nice clafoutis. Also, as it turns out, since the recipe is mostly eggs, milk and fruit, it’s very easy to convince yourself (and spouse) that this is a suitable breakfast. Awesome

The first question of course is, which fruit? Cherries are the traditional filling because cherries are cheap and plentiful in Limousin, the province of France from which this dish hails, and it’s meant to be a simple dessert. Not anything you’d have to go far out of your way to make. In my case (Northern Georgia in the late summer,) that means blueberries.

I strated with a recipe I found in French Feasts, but figured it would need some alteration due to the juiciness of blueberries, so I dipped into the classic Mastering the Art… which is one of those books I don’t pull out very often, but when I do I’m glad to have it. And as luck would have it, the section on clafoutis has instructtions for a blueberry variation calling for additional flour. Now, this isn’t a verbatim reprint, Mrs. Child and I still have minor disagreements over things like the use of vanilla extract. But I still go to her when I have a question about desserts.

Blueberry Clafoutis

IMAG0096

-1 1/4 lb fresh or frozen blueberries

-1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

-1/4 cup sugar

-1 cup milk

-2 eggs

-2 Tabespoons sugar

-butter for the pan

First, butter a pie pan or 8×8 baking pan and preheat the oven to 350F. Place the berries in the pan and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, milk and eggs. Whisk until smooth. Pour the batter over the berries, and let it sit 5-10 minutes to settle in the crevices. Bake for 1 hour, it will be puffed and browned when done. Sprinkle all over with the other 2 Tablespoons of sugar and let cool to room temp by which time it will have sunk.

IMAG0093

Tagged , , , , , ,

Well That Was Fast.

Episode one of Simple and Complex: The Show is up on youtube. I think I’m finally getting the hang of this editing business. 

Homemade Sea Salt, Boiled Peanuts and More!

Last week I promised you all updates on my experiments making sea salt at home and boiled peanuts. After hours of fun watching pots of water boil, I’m ready with the results.

Homemade Sea Salt

-1 gallon sea or ocean water

-that’s it

IMAG0085

First of all, the most common question I’ve gotten about harvesting your own sea salt is, “Is it safe?” According to my research, the rule of thumb is: if it’s safe to swim in, it’s safe to make salt from. I don’t normally post recipes which require a disclaimer, but this was too cool a project to pass up.

No matter where your water came from, or how clear it looks, you’re going to want to filter it. A coffee filter will be good enough, I used a double layer of butter muslin. If using cheese cloth, make sure to do four or five layers. Now fill a pot with the filtered water, and boil it for, like, three hours. Check it periodically, but don’t expect much change for the first two and a half hours. Eventually you’ll get down to a sludgey consistency like in the picture.

salt

At this point I switched it over to a frying pan and turned the heat down to medium-low, just a good simmer to evaporate the last of the water. Remember, while you don’t have to worry about burning salt you don’t want to burn your pan. As far a yield goes, I got 4.5 ounces from one gallon, which is about half a cup. Way more than I expected. Your’s may be different based on the salinity of the local water. Be sure to store the salt in an air-tight container since salt absorbs water from the air. You can also use a salt pig, which I just learned about and totally need to make one of.

Boiled Peanuts

-1 pound raw peanuts, in shell (they can be tricky to find but it’s very important they are raw, in shell)

-1 gallon water to start, you’ll probably need more later on

-2 Tablespoons salt

-2 Tablespoons paprika (or Old Bay)

-2 Tablespoons honey (optional and not traditional, but I like it)

You ready? Pay attention: Put everything in a pot. Stir a little. Boil four to six hours, depending on how soft you like your peanuts. You’ll probably need to add some water periodically as it boils away. Done. Be sure to keep them in the water so they’ll keep soaking up flavor.

IMAG0081

In regards to the, “and More!” promised by my title, I’m officially announcing the start of a youtube show in which I demonstrate scratch-made recipes with only two ingredients. It’s kind of ridiculous how many I have. I’ll let everybody know as soon as the first one is up, which should be by Wednesday.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Banana Chocolate Chip Scones

The secret to making the best possibe scones, in my opinion, is to take a page from a vegan cookbook and use bananas instead of eggs. Two notes here: the usual conversion is 1 egg to half a banana, but this ignores the fact that bananas come in different sizes. I always go with 1 egg to 1/4 cup banana. Also, I’ve gotten a few requests to give my flour measurements in volume and weight, so for this recipe I measured out my flour and then weighed it. I also updated Whole Wheat Focaccia with volume measurements.

-1 3/4 cup (9 oz.) all purpose flour

-1/2 teaspoon salt

-2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

-1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, medium dice (or vegetable oil if you’re sticking with the vegan theme)

-1 banana, mashed up real good (should equal 1/2 cup, if shy add milk to make up the difference)

-1/3 cup soymilk or milk (or heavy cream if you’re feeling sassy)

-1 cup additional stuff (here I used some chocolate chips and almonds I had left over, feel free to use dried fruits or nuts)

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and add the diced up butter. The clumps will stick together so rub them in with your hands to break them up. People tend to freak out about this stage but don’t as long as none of your butter is bigger than a marble, you’re fine. If you’re making this vegan, mix the oil in with the other wet ingredients.

If you’re adding stuff, do this now. Make sure to coat the stuff with flour so it will mix in better.

The best way to mash up a single banana is on a plate, with a fork. No need to dirty up your blender or another mixing bowl. Transfer into a measuring cup, you should have about half a cup. If you have less make it up with milk, if you have more eat it.

Once you’ve got that sorted out, add 1/3 cup of milk to the banana and mix them up together.

Pour over the dry ingredients and mix together very quickly just until everything is combined into a solid mass. I will be best to use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, a whisk will just get all clumpy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Transfer to a baking sheet and form into an 8 inch disk. It won’t be perfect, it’s fine, they’re scones.

Dribble 1 Tablespoon of milk over the dough and use your fingers or a pastry brush to even it out. If you like, now would be the time to sprinkle additional sugar over the top although this is not strictly necessary.

Cut the disk into sixths or eighths now, that way when it comes out of the oven it will be much easier to divide.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, immediately re-cut and transfer your little babies to a cooling rack. You can enjoy these right away or over the next 2 to 3 days. Any longer than that and you’ll want to freeze them (be sure to use an airtight bag.) To defrost just pop them in a 350F oven for 5-10 minutes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Blueberries Two Ways and More!

Shout out the the University of Georgia Society of Aspiring Plant Pathologists for a) the good work they do regarding blueberries, and b) selling blueberries on the cheap. The missus and I were the proud owners of ten pints of fresh blueberries, which we’ve whittled down to about four pints of frozen. Some of my tastier and/or more fun experiments have included these two gems.

But first I wanted to let you all know that I made an entry to the Bob’s Red Mill Spar for the Spurtle contest where I could win a trip to Scotland and compete in the World Porridge Making Championship. Check out my entry video here, it’s a recipe for a simple candy made with heavy cream, sugar and toasted oats. Now without further ado:

Blueberries Preserved in Molasses

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ll level with you, unless you love molasses this recipe is not delicious. It is however, fun and interesting. So go for it, and feel free to switch up which sugar you use.

-1 cup blueberries

-about 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses (it couldn’t hurt to experiment with other sugars)

Fill up a 1 cup jar to within an inch of the top with blueberries.

Add the molasses (or honey, golden syrup, agave, brown rice syrup, what-have-you); let it sit a few minutes while the syrup fills up all the nooks and crannies, then add some more. Enough so it’s within an inch from the top.

Cover with cheese cloth or muslin (so it can breath, but nothing can fall or fly in) and a rubber band or something. Let it sit at room temperature for about two weeks. After which time it will look like the picture and taste…interesting.

Quick Blueberry Sauce

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I just made this in a pinch to serve over waffles this morning. It turned out great!

-2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

-1 cup sugar

-1/2 cup water

Place all the ingredients in a pot and boil for ten minutes. Serve immediately.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Update on Corned Beef and Liqueur Recipes

My computer’s been on the blink (fixed now, though) which is why this week’s post is a little late.

Today I just wanted to re-visit two of my previous posts and give some updates.

Corned Beef Revisited (original post)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s been two weeks since I started corning this nice brisket, and right now I have a few options:

1) I can let it keep going for a little while longer before boiling it

2) I can go ahead and boil it now

Since my sister-in-law is coming to visit with her family this weekend, I’m going to hold off. I’ll boil it for a few hours on Friday, slice it while it’s hot, and serve it Saturday for sandwiches.

Ice Cream Liqueur (original post)

Back when I did my Leftover cake liqueur post I mentioned that I should try it with ice cream. Well I finally got around to buying some Ben & Jerry’s “everything but the…” and whipping up a batch. Wow. You have got to try this. And I encourage you to experiment. This one was good, but let me know how other flavors turn out.

IMAG0008

-1/2 cup ice cream (any flavor)

-1/2 cup vodka (I stick with my Tito’s)

Mix together the vodka and ice cream in a blender or a bowl and hit with an immersion blender just long enough to melt the ice cream and get the chunck broken up.

Let sit at least four, preferably six hours so all the flavors can mingle and mellow.

Strain trough a fine strainer, double cheese cloth or butter muslin to get out any grit from ground up chunks. Serve chilled, room temp or in coffee. So easy, so good.

Tagged , , ,
ice cream magazine

................... for lovers of ice cream. Your free on line magazine for sweet frozen treats. Recipes, inspiration, artisanal ideas for your delectation.

salt and lime juice

food filled with nostalgia for mexico ♥

Vegan Monologue

Just food! No nonsense. Portland, OR.

Simply Made Kitchen and Crafts

Wholesome family living, simple recipes and crafts

Chef in disguise

Easy authentic middle eastern recipes

Fromage Homage

A British Isles Cheese Odyssey

Vegan Made Easy

Redefining my life, one meal at a time.

aquamarinestephblog

Writing, traveling, cooking & looking for ancestors....1 person at a time.

Life is Short. Eat hard!

Our Endless Search for Fantastic Food!

The Fresh Fresher

The balanced fast-food blog

brainypintsizer

A view of life from 5 feet (and 5 inch platform heels)

Culinary World Tour

Food, travel, reflections and the odd jostle.

sweetsavant

I cook, entertain and share my recipes, ideas and sometimes a stray thought or two

Sockmonkey's Kitchen

Foodie turned blogger. How'd that happen?

Getting to know CO

Exploring CO's wildlife, parks, events, and places of interest, plus cooking and whatever else I feel like blogging about!

sensitive flour

Gluten-free cooking, baking, eating

Cucina Amore Adventures

Drop in for an Espresso & an exciting bite to Eat. Lets share our crazy adventures!

The Solo Cook

The single's guide to growing, cooking and savoring food

Stef's Gastronomy

Life's too short tofu around

Afroculinaria

Exploring Culinary Traditions of Africa, African America and the African Diaspora

Rachel Gaffney's Real Ireland

Bringing the Real Ireland to your life

Rotem's Beyti

Cooking and eating adventures in Israel

thelittleloaf

Homemade Memories

Get Forked

Recipes, Ramblings & Restaurant Reviews

Sauce Boss

The Madness, Memoirs and Musings of a Culinary Dark Genius

Just Garnished

edibles jazzed up with a personal twist

A Crust Eaten

Living life one plate at a time

ButterNBourbon

Southern Gentleman's Indulgence

Mind Your Peas & Food

Mindful Food for Mindful Eaters

Chaos and Cookies

Where life and food come together!

NBC Latino

The Voice of American Hispanics

Fleur-De-Licious

Butter || Sugar || Real life

The Perky Poppy Seed

Everything Food from a Perky Personal Chef's Perspective

Cooking in Sens

Living, Drinking and Eating in Burgundy

Eating With Ziggy

Dining Well, Spelling Poorly

Nutty Kitchen

cook for life!

Melanie daPonte, Vegan Personal Chef

A Passion For Food...A Passion For Flavor!

Eating Whole

A vegan & allergy-friendly lifestyle.

Becca Steinhoff

Who, What, Where, When, Why

phickles

a small batch pickle company in Athens, Georgia ...preserving the best of every season!

Cook Up a Story

Super Foods for Growing Families

BitterSweet

Sweet Musings with a Bitterly Sharp Wit

Foodologie

A Blog about Balancing Health with a Constant Desire to Eat Cake

One Man's Meat

Multi-award winning food blog, written in Dublin, Ireland.