Sunday, March 31, 2013

Garbanzo Salad with Lemon-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Summery deliciousness
I have been making this recipe in various iterations for years and years. It's great.
As I've said, I love salads without lettuce because they don't get slimy or soggy when left in the fridge for a few meals in a row.
This is also one of my favorite things to make on a Sunday, then bring for lunch all week.The weather is warming up and this is the perfect summer lunch.
The ingredients.


2 red bell peppers, chopped 
1 bunch spring onions, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
3 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half (I used both red and yellow ones)
1 jalapeno, diced (I left the seeds in because I like things spicy. If you don't want heat, don't use the seeds) 
3 cans of garbanzo beans, rinsed
Juice of 2 lemons 
1/2 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced 
2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar 
pinch of salt 
pinch of sugar 
Shredded or crumbled cheese (I used parmesan but feta goes great with this)

 To make the salad:
Mixed the bell pepper, spring onion, red onion, tomatoes, jalapeno, and garbanzo beans in a big tupperware. 

To make the dressing: 
Mix the oil, lemon juice, garlic, Balsamic, salt and sugar in a jar, then shake vigorously. Taste and see if it needs more seasoning. 

Then: Put the dressing on the salad. Sprinkle with cheese. Eat!

Tiny tomatoes are so delicious. Many of them were eaten during the slicing process. 

These lemons were enormous--too big for my squeezer.
My dressing-making jar. An old olive jar I saved. I find that shaking makes for more effective emulsifying than whisking.
All done!

Shaum Torte

Finished Schaum Torte.
Adam's brother was hosting a Seder, which was super fun. He made matzo ball soup and brisket, both of which were delicious. So we said we would bring dessert, and Adam immediately thought of Schaum Torte, which is one of the two things he likes about Judaism (the other is Seders hosted by Ben). It's essentially a big meringue, served with strawberries and whipped cream.
I had never made this before. But interestingly, in googling about it, it seems to be a Milwaukee / Wisconsin specific food--where Adam's family is from, before NY.
I used the recipe my mother in law sent me:

6 egg whites
2 cups sugar
1 t vanilla
1 t vinegar

Preheat oven to 275. Beat whites until still enough to hold up in peaks; beat in 2 T of sugar at a time, beating thoroughly each time. Add vanilla and vinegar. Grease and flour (with matzoh meal, or just cheat) a 9-inch spring form and fill with the mixture. Bake about 1 hour. It will rise up over the spring form; the peaks will become tan.

After a while you may get bored adding sugar 2 T at a time; you can cheat.

Serve with strawberries (at room temp) and whipped cream.

 Lots of beating eggs! I had been planning to use a whisk, but Adam said that was nuts and bought me an electric egg beater.
Everyone loved it. I will be making this for future Passovers.
The ingredients. And my new mixer!
Cutting up strawberries while watching Nigella Eats online.
Now they need to macerate in the fridge, those pervs. 
Whipped up egg whites and sugar. 
The raw tortes in springform molds, before baking. I floured the molds, then realized this ruined the Kosher-for-Passover-ness of the dessert. Oops. Sorry, Jews. I decided to just not mention it.
Out of the oven! Crusty, sugar, soft in the middle. Delightful.
I forgot to take a picture of the finished torte all dressed up with strawberries and whipped cream. Alas. You will have  to use your imagination.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Shrimp Saganaki

Well, the story of this meal, which was delicious, starts with my back garden. When we bought this house it was a MESS. Completely overgrown with creeper, strewn with chihuahua poop (ok that happened after we moved in). Basically unused space going to waste. So I decided I should clean it up, and seeing as I had a week off for Spring Break, now's probably the time.
The garden before. It smells like turds and the gate won't close because of the damn vines.
So that led to me having to go to Home Depot, my least favorite place on earth. I needed shovels and cutters and stuff. That was the worst part of the whole day. I had to have a conversation about dirt with a man I didn't know.
But: my sister very nicely said she would help. My sister is really buff--she works out ALL the time. And she sees all life activities as opportunities for exercise. So she is the best possible person to help you clear out your back garden.

This firm and lovely creature is single. Calm down, gents.
Bridget is awesome at pulling on thick, woody shafts.
 So we yanked and raked and clipped for hours. It sucked. We got pokey things stuck in our pants and hair, scratches on our arms, dirt in out buttcracks. But:

We finished it up! It looks so much better and we yanked out all the creeper. In a few months I can actually plant a vegetable garden here. Hooray!
So, to thank my sister for her help I decided to make her Shrimp Saganaki for lunch! This is a Greek shrimp appetizer that I order whenever I see it on diner menus.
So, here is the recipe:

1 tablespoon olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of your pan)
1/4 cup onion (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more, if you like it HOT)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 cup ripe tomatos (chopped)
Ouzo! Enough to deglaze the pan--about 1/4 cup
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 pound shrimp
1 handful parsley (chopped)
1/2 cup feta (crumbled)

Directions (use a pan that can go in the oven):
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and saute for 30 seconds.

4. Deglaze with the ouzo.
4. Add the tomato and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 7 minutes. I covered it for a few minutes to encourage saucification as well.
5. Add the shrimp. Space out and bury in the sauce.

6. Top with the feta cheese.
8. Bake in a preheated 425F oven until the sauce is bubbly, about 10 minutes.

9. Eat!  

 The most difficult ingredient to find was ouzo--a Greek, anise-scented liquor. I found it at Argonaut's, because they have everything. All the other stuff was easily located at Albertsons.
The ingredients

Plus red pepper flakes! I forgot to put those in the previous picture.
The sauce bubbling away. This is the garlic, onions, red pepper, ouzo, and tomatoes. I am waiting till it looks saucy enough. 

The finished saganaki. We decided to eat it on the deck so that we could gaze upon the garden at the same time. 
I needed a glass of wine, considering I had to go to Home Depot today.
Serve with sourdough toast.
This was an easy, delicious lunch. Garlicky, tomato-y, and just slightly licorice-scented, thanks to the ouzo. I would make it again for a weeknight dinner, an appetizer--anything.
Yum.Consuela is so pissed we didn't share.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bacon and onion flatbread

I made this to bring to Michelle's thriftstore-themed birthday party. Michelle is an amazing cook and made all kinds of fabulous things--stuffed mushrooms, cookie-dough dip, strawberry shortcake, nutella mousse, etc. As I type this, my stomach feels a little bit iffy. But it was worth it. Anyway, on to the bread.
Start by making a basic bread dough.
The "bloomed" yeast. Leave it in warm water with a bit of sugar for 20 min, or until it becomes frothy.
 Dissolve a package of yeast into some warm water. The amount doesn't totally matter--more water if making more bread, etc. I would estimate I used about 2 cups.
Then, add flour until it becomes a pliable, not too sticky, coherent ball. You just have to feel your way to the right amount of flour. I would estimate I used about 3 and a half cups.
The dough ball, before rising. 

Cover the dough-ball with a wet towel and allow it to rise for about 40 minutes, or until doubled.
Meanwhile, make the toppings. I put on carmelized onions, bacon, grated parmesan, fresh minced garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
First, cut half a package of bacon into little strips and brown until crispy.
Bubbling bacon bits. Yummm. 

Then, scoop out the crispy bacon and pour out all but a little bit of the fat. Add a diced onion, and cook on medium until brown, carmelized and sweet. This takes awhile. I would estimate about 30 minutes.
While the onions cook, mince some garlic cloves (4 or 5) and grate some Parmesan (about a cup).
So then, get the dough and spread it out on a cookie sheet that you've greased up with olive oil.
Push the dough into the corners.
Then, add all the toppings: onions, bacon, garlic, cheese, red pepper flakes. Push them down into the dough a bit.
The assembled bread before baking. 

 Then, pop it in a hot oven: 425 degrees, until golden brown and baked through. I left it in for about 35 minutes.
Then it's done! Let it cool enough to cut into squares.
All done!
This is a great dish to bring to a big drunken party. Spicy, bacon-y, cheesy, not requiring utensils: everything you want out of food meant to accompany intoxication. It smells deliciously garlicky and baconlicious. YUM!

Friday, March 22, 2013

My favorite slaw

Every time I make slaw, Adam sings "Oh baby I like your slaw!" in the style of Old Dirty Bastard. I love slaw for many reasons: unlike lettuc-y salads, it won't disintegrate into gross slimyness if you make a big bowl and leave some in the fridge, it's crunchy rather than soggy, and cabbage is cheap and delicious.
I make a bunch of different kinds, but this one is hands-down my favorite.I make it as a side dish or take it for lunch. The hardest part of this recipe is finding currants. Denver grocery stores tend not to have them, even though they have a million kinds of Crazins, including super-bizarre ones flavored like other kinds of fruit. Of you can't find currants, any kind of dried fruit is fine. 
                                          You need:
1. A head of purple cabbage
2. Bacon
3. Dried Currants
4. 2 shallots
5. sliced almonds
6. Italian flat-leaf parsley
 7. Balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper

How to make it:
1. Slice the cabbage and put it in a big bowl.
2. Slice the bacon into little batons or squares. Then  cook until crispy.
3. Add diced shallots to the bacon fat and cook.
4. Add half a cup of balsamic to the cooking bacon and shallots and allow to reduce for about two minutes.
5. Add half a cup of olive oil and the currants to the greasy vinegar pan. Allow to sit for a bit to plump up the currants.
6. Dump the dressing over the chopped cabbage.
7. Add chopped parsley (1 bunch) and half a cup of almonds. Or more.
8. eat!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sandwiches are good

Here is my love, enjoying pulled pork on pretzel roll.

Pretzel rolls Follow my blog with Bloglovin

My absolute favorite place to go out to eat in Denver is Euclid Hall. The other weekend, Adam and I went out there and sat at the downstairs bar, where you can sit right up against the kitchen, watching all the food come out. Everything looks so good--the sausages, the pad thai pig ears (my favorite), the marrow bones, the burgers. Their burgers always look phenomenal--served on pretzels rolls, with cheese melting over the burger, piled with pickles.
Today I was proctoring TCAP, and all I could think about were those burgers. So I decided to make pulled pork on pretzel rolls. I learned how to make homemade soft pretzels from Smitten Kitchen years ago--making them round is even easier.
So, the recipe:
1. Make a basic bread dough. Preheat the oven to 450.
a. Dissolve a package of yeast into 2 cups warm water, then sprinkle the water with a tablespoon of sugar. Wait 10 min or so for the yeast to foam up.
b. Add flour. Mix it in a cup at time, kneading and mixing, until it forms a pliable, coherent ball. Knead a few times.
c. Allow it to rise, about 30 minutes.
Here are the little dough-balls, ready to rise. I covered them with damp paper towels so they wouldn't dry out.

2. After dough has risen, form into little balls. Golf-sized for sliders, fist-sized for full-sized sandwiches. Set onto a greased tray.
3. Allow to rise again.
4. Boil a shallow pan of water, in a skillet or something. Dump in two tablespoons of baking soda and a tablespoon of sugar. Poach the balls of dough, about 30 seconds on each side. Set them back onto the greased tray.
5. Slice X's into the tops.
6. Brush with egg wash--a whole egg, then a few tablespoons of cold water.
7. Sprinkle with salt
8. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Even though I made these for sandwiches, they are delicious in all situations--for breakfast, with butter or jam, for back-from-work snack, with anything, etc. Just split them hamburger-style, then toast before using.  So delicious.