Grissini e Taralli: A Tale of Failure

GrissiniPlateCmed

The recipes for this post were quite the roller coaster. Failure is good. Builds character. Keeps you humble. Makes you learn.

Saw a lovely post on Pinterest about this little Italian cracker from Puglia that is served with wine, the taralli. Sort of like a pretzel, but round, and with fennel seeds inside.  That was my cooking project for the week.  I was seeing a beautiful antipasto platter, some friends over for wine. Yeah. It was gonna be awesome.  Did the usual, researched a bunch of recipes, compared the techniques and ingredients ratios, yatta yatta.  Made a special trip to get some cheap white wine (an essential ingredient), and we were ready to rock and roll.  Saturday morning came, and I was happily makin’ my taralli dough. Rolling out the little snakes, looping ‘em.  It was like play time with play dough. Boiled ‘em. Baked em. … Burned ‘em.  Oy. And those little fuckers were like rocks, even the not-so-burned ones.

 baking fail

I go back to my research. Decide to search for a YouTube tutorial. See what I did wrong  (they needed to be much, much fatter. And not burned.) Start over. Boil ‘em. Bake ‘em. Hmm…..they sure look pretty.
Rocks. Every one. Now of course himself comes home and pronounces them delicious, and says that I can’t enjoy them because of my chicklet teeth. (It’s how we show our love, people.) But I’m annoyed – the video lady could break one in one hand, and it takes me effort to snap my little rocks in two with both hands.  Alas….gorran crackers.

Those little discs look so innocent, don't they?
Those little discs look so innocent, don’t they?

 

On the top of the roller coaster of a cooking morning, however, is a great little grissini recipe that actually worked. And was fun, again in a playdough-snakes kind of way.  I went so easy on the rosemary, however, you can barely taste it. And, I didn’t like the slight sweetness. So, next time, more rosemary, less sugar, and add garlic.  Or maybe do smoked Spanish paprika and garlic and thyme.

Grissini1Cmed

I’m still heartily annoyed to be bested by a fucking cracker. But the thrill is gone, and I don’t know if I want to invest more time to see if I can get some lovely light crunchy wine crackers.

It was good plan, at any rate.  Here’s the grissini link again – give it a try!  They would make an awesome project with kids for a spaghetti dinner. 

Madeleines au Citron

madeleines au citron
madeleines au citron

Froggy fantastic times continue at the Yum. Marcel Proust aside(ugh, shoot me now Aunty),  this week Cuisine A-Z featured a bunch of madeleine recipes. I’ve had these pans for years, and never used them. Probably because of Proust. But, it is now time.

Pan at the ready, with the necessary obscenely thick layer of butter and flour.
Pan at the ready, with the necessary obscenely thick layer of butter and flour.

I know a sprinkling of powdered sugar is traditional, but I won’t be delivering these until the next day. So, a lemon juice glaze it is – that should keep them nice and moist until the grandladies get to take a bite. I think of them whenever I make something with lemon.

mmm....lemon glaze....
mmm….lemon glaze….

These take less than ten minutes to mix and then ten to bake. Twenty minutes to tea time temptation – not bad, ya’ll. Not bad.
for the pan
1 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
¼ c AP flour
for the batter
3 eggs
½ c sugar
heaping ¼ tsp salt
¾ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup AP flour
2 tsp lemon zest
6 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
for the glaze
½ tsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 c. powdered sugar
Instructions
Thoroughly butter the pan with the 1Tb melted butter, then using a flour sifter dust with the ¼ flour, jostle the pans a bit to get the flour in every nook and cranny. Tap out the excess. THIS STEP IS VERY IMPORTANT.
Heat oven to 375*
Whip the eggs, sugar and salt on high in the mixer for about two minutes, until it is barely pale yellow and super fluffy. Sift in the flour, then pour on the butter, lemon zest and vanilla. Mix quickly for acouple seconds until it’s homogenous.
Scoop heaping tablespoons of batter in to your prepped pan. Go evenly to the top or just below – don’t overfill, you’ll have a mess.
Bake 10 minutes until just *barely* golden at the edge, and they spring back when touched. After cooling for just a minute or two, test the edges of the cookies to make sure they are not stuck, and invert the pan.
Glaze when cool.
Consume immediately.
Notes
You can skip the glaze and just dust these with powdered sugar.
If you do glaze and don’t eat them immediately, the glaze will melt in to the cookie making the top slighlty sticky but ridiculously delicious.

Yields 24
Calories 94
Fat 4 g
Sodium 34 mg
Carbs 13 g
Protein 1 g

Cinnamon Bun Scones

Butter, sugar, cinnamon - the three breakfast food groups.
Butter, sugar, cinnamon – the three breakfast food groups.

It is becoming apparent that I am mildly obsessed with scones. So much so, that I am contemplating giving them their own tab here on the Yum.

CBsconeCollage

These are delicious. Himself said they reminded him of an apple fritter (although there is no apple in there, just tons of butter and cinnamon.

CBcollage2c

For this swirl, you make your scone dough as usual, then roll it out and treat it like a cinnamon roll. This quick dough is more delicate than a yeast dough, though, so I needed to use my board blade to help roll it up, then slice it.
For the dough
2 c. AP flour, with 2 Tbsp reserved
¼ c. sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
8 Tbsp unsalted butter (This is one stick. 7T cold & cubed, 1 set aside and melted)
1 egg yolk
¾ c. buttermilk or a mixture of half plain yogurt/half milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the filling
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
For the glaze
1 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp fresh orange juice
Orange zest, if you like
Instructions
You’ll need 2 bowls, and preheat the oven to 400*; line a baking sheet with parchment.
In one bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, vanilla and buttermilk.
In the second bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
Cut in the 7 Tbsp butter with a pastry cutter until it’s pea-sized.
Gently mix in your liquid – you’ll have a lumpy, mostly mixed mess.
Dust your pastry board with the reserved 2 Tbsp flour and dump the dough mess on it.
Gently press the dough together to get a mostly homogenous lump. You may need to dust the board with a little more flour.
Gently roll the dough to about 12” x 24”.
Spread with the melted butter, sprinkle with the cinnamon and the powdered sugar.
Gently roll the dough long ways like for cinnamon rolls.
Cut in to 1” pieces and arrange on your baking sheet at least ½” apart. (Flour your knife w/ each pass) You’ll need to gently push them back into a circular shape before baking.
Bake for about 15 minutes until golden.
While they are baking, whisk together the glaze.
When you take the scones out of the oven, brush them with the glaze immediately while they are still hot.
Once they cool, you can drizzle them with some more icing if you like the whole drizzled look.

Servings 12
Calories 221
Fat 9 g
Sodium 121 mg
Carbs 33 g
Protein 3 g

Cauliflower Bacon Bisque

So a couple Saturdays back, I needed to do something with some leftover bacon in the fridge. (I know, right?! How the HELL did THAT happen? I do not know), and that made me think of my mom’s potato soup when I was a kid. Only we don’t do potatoes now, but we do cauliflower and….wait! That’s it! And there you have it, another snap shot of the way my brain works. 

CauliflowerBisque3BCmed

Regardless of brain workings, this soup is delicious. And easy. And filling. And fast. Plus, bacon.
When I made this again for the blog, I had to cook the bacon. This added some time – so plan ahead and make extra bacon at breakfast, then hide it.

Three main ingredients.
Three main ingredients.

Ya’ll know we can’t do dairy so much, so I made this with cashew cream. And really, you should make it that way the first time because it is AMAZEBALLS. Or, wimp out and use heavy cream – because I am not your dairy police. That’s between you and your intestines.

BACON!!!
BACON!!!

Hey, look! There’s a slice of that homemade bread featured a few weeks ago!

Give this bad boy a whirl, and share your results!
For the cashew cream
½ c. raw cashew pieces
¾ c. warm water
½ tsp. corn starch
½ tsp. nutritional yeast
For the Soup
20 oz. pkg frozen cauliflower
6 slices thick-cut bacon (about 6 oz)
2 Tbsp. bacon fat
½ white onion, coarsely chopped
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
1.5 qt. chicken stock
S&P to taste
Instructions
If you are doing this with cashew cream: put cashews and water in your blender, set aside to soak the cashews.
For the soup
Cold pan fry up that bacon. Chop 5 of the slices and reserve the 6th to crumble as garnish. (Now, this is assuming you can control yourself around bacon. If you cannot, cook extra slices accordingly.)
Take 2 Tbsp of the bacon grease and use it to sweat the onions in a big soup pot.
Once they’re clear, add the thyme, nutmeg, cauliflower, chopped bacon and chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
Simmer about 20 minutes, until the cauliflower is fall-apart soft.
At this point, if you are using the cashew cream, put the corn starch and the yeast in the blender and set it on high/liquefy for about two minutes. You may need to stop/scrape midway. You should end up with a super-smooth mixture that looks like cream. Rub a drop between your fingers – it should not feel grainy. If it does, give it another minute or so until it is super smooth.
Scoop the cooked cauliflower (and whatever onions and bacon make it along for the ride) in to the blender. Keep the lid open a crack (so you don’t have a soup explosion) and puree until smooth. You may need to add a little broth to make it work. Pour all that back in to the soup pot with the broth and simmer about ten or fifteen more minutes. (If you eschew the cashew, put enough liquid in the blender with the cauliflower to puree it; then you can add 1 c. heavy cream and simmer for the same amount of time.)
Serve it up, garnished with some of that bacon and a sprinkle of more nutmeg.
Notes
This reheats great – I have not tried freezing it, but the next day for lunch? Super deelish.
And – this is soup consistency soup. If you want a super-thick, stand up your spoon kinda purée, cut the liquid in half. And use the food processor to purée instead of the blender.
Bon appétit!

Servings 8
Calories 197
Fat 12 gg
Sodium 430 mg
Carbs 14 g
Protein 10 g