Socca Version 2.0

Ok, so this all started because I checked out the America’s Test Kitchen Mediterranean cookbook. (BTW stop what you’re doing and just go order that right now. I’ll wait. You’re welcome.) Of the gazillion-odd recipes I want to try, it made me want to give socca another go.
I found different-sounding recipes from my first attempt – ones that involved pre-heating a cast iron pan or griddle in a 500* oven, and resting the batter for hours before cooking. First I tried one that called for a 2:1 ratio of water to chick pea flour, and a griddle.

Yeah – that did not go so well. By the third attempt, I was able to get a reasonable crepe out of the pan and munch it with a lovely arugula dressed with meyer lemon juice and olive oil.

The next day, I went back to my second-favorite food boyfriend Bittman and gave that version a shot – it had a 1:1 ratio. I let the batter sit for 12 hours, and used the skillet this time instead of the griddle. Also, I used a shit ton of olive oil in the pan because I had bad sticking problems – but was under the impression my cast iron was reasonably seasoned. Anywho, it turned out.

It was really quite yummy when doused with fresh black pepper. I still don’t know if I’ll make this again – I am hunting something for a good flatbread or pizza base….and the hunt continues.

But this would be an awesome addition to an antipasto or mezze. Give it a whirl!
Socca – based on Bittman’s NYT recipe.
In the morning, whisk together until smooth:
1 c. chickpea flour
1 c. water
Add in:
1/8 c. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
Cover and let sit for the day (8 hours+)
Half an hour before you want your socca, preheat your oven to 500* and put a 10” cast iron skillet in there to get hot.
You last ingredients are:
1/8 c. olive oil
thinly sliced sweet onion
sliced olives if you’d like
When the oven is at temperature, remove the pan. Pour in about another 1/8 c. olive oil, swirl it and then drop in the onion. They will sizzle. Pour over the batter and stick it back in the oven for about 12-15 minutes.
When it is done, the top will be dry and crackly and feel firm to the touch. Loosen the bottom of the socca and slide it on to a cutting board. Liberally grind on some black pepper, and maybe a drizzle of olive oil. Take the board to the table and munch.

Breakfast Pizza

Oh, food trends. You hipster fuck bastards. It’s as though my world has been enveloped in Breakfast Pizza. It’s in my Instagram feed, my Pinterest feed, peeps at the office are bringing it in from QT. Oy. Fine. FINE. We’ll give this mofo a try.

Twenty googled recipes later, I found a good poolish pizza dough recipe and prepped that before I went to bed.

Then, this morning when I got up, I finished the dough and waited the requisite hour by making coffee, slicing some veg, and catching up on social media.

This was easy, and cooked relatively fast (well, in a 500* oven, anything would, right?). Himself liked it, although after his first bite the first words out of his mouth were, “don’t make this often.” This translates to way-too-yummy-bread-is-not-good-for-him, btw.

I topped mine with what was on hand – some olive oil, parmesan, onions, tomatoes and artichoke hearts plus the eggs, of course. Then a drizzle of pesto on the plate. I was confounded by the variety of cook times for the eggs in my googling. They varied from 8 minutes to 15. That’s a bit much. So I started at 8 and went up from there. I made one thick crust and one thin. I preferred the thick crust, and Himself preferred the thin. Dat ist normal in our house.

Observational notes – final cook time in a 500* convection oven was 12 minutes. The eggs were cold from the fridge. The ones on the thin crust were perfectly medium, the ones on the thick crust were just past sunny side up for the whites, and medium for the yolks. (What the hell, thermodynamics? I need to research THAT.) I would totally make this again – it was a fun treat. I bet it would be delicious on the grill for an al fresco brekkie, actually. Maybe next time – it would be perfect in the summer, when the mornings are still cool and you don’t want a 500* oven on in the house. (And if you’ve never baked pizza on the grill, google that shit immediately.)
Alright – you ready?

The Crust
The night before, stir together in your Kitchenaid mixer bowl:
3.5 oz flour
3.5 oz water
¼ tsp. yeast
Cover with some wax paper or a tea towel and go to bed.

In the morning, add to the bowl:
9 oz flour
4 oz warm water
1 tsp. yeast
1 ¼ tsp. salt
Mix with the dough hook about five or so minutes. It will be sticky, but still pull away from the edges of the bowl.
Divide the dough in to four balls, rub them with some olive oil, cover them with some wax paper and leave in warm place for an hour. After half an hour, heat up your oven and choose your toppings.

The Toppings
4 Campari tomatoes in ¼” slices
8 quarter artichoke hearts
10 zucchini ribbons (run a veg peeler down the length of a washed zucchini)
Two to three 1/8″ slices sweet onion, separated in to rings
4 tsp. virgin olive oil
1 tsp. Italian herbs
¼ c. parmesan cheese
4 large eggs
Plus, get out your baking sheet and sprinkle it with enough corn meal to coat the bottom, about a ¼ cup. This is the non-stick surface for your ‘za.
When the hour was up for the dough, I put two balls in the fridge to make pizzas for dinner. For the other two, I rolled them out – thick crust 7” circle (or, in my case, amorphous blob shape), thin 10”.
Place the crust on the cornmeal surface. Drizzle with half the olive oil, the Italian herbs and half the parmesan. Arrange the veg – the only rule is to make sure they form a egg-proof perimeter around the edges. Crack on your eggs, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and drizzle with the remaining olive oil and carefully slide in to the oven. Halfway through (about 6 minutes), rotate your tray(s).
It’s done when the egg is how you like it. For medium, it was 12 minutes in our oven with eggs cold from the fridge.

Bon apétit. Serve as is, or with a drizzle of pesto. Ha! Although I forgot to take a pic with the pesto, so it’s imagine what it would look like time. Sigh. Anywho, make some and enjoy.

Sizzling Garlic Ginger Noodles


Yeah, so this all started because I stumbled across a recipe for Bang Bang noodles. (How do you NOT google something called Bang Bang after you see it? I mean, come on!)

So, they are these amazing-sounding home made noodles. I found this Youtube video with this cute kid making them at home, and the part where he is sizzling the ginger and garlic on top of the noodles just put me in to the obsessive-I-must-have-these kinda frame of mind. But, I am trying to stay away from the wheat flour. But, these noodles sound so damn good. Then I remembered, hey! I’ve got that bag of rice noodle ramens from Costco in the pantry! w00t!! Hey! I also have a bag of ho fun noodles in there! Game on, betches!

Are you ready for some amazing?

If you need supplies for this, btw, go to your local asian market – like Lee Lee. The prices on Amazon are nuckin’ futz. And, if you don’t want to grate your own ginger or press your garlic, the spendy tubes from the grocery store also work just great.

Sizzling Garlic Ginger Noodles for Two
The basic ingredients:
-Two blocks of ramen noodles, or half a 16oz package of ho fun (fat rice fettucine)
-2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
-2 tsp. minced or pressed garlic
-2-4 Tbsp. Korean red pepper flakes.
-¼ to ½ c. hot vegetable oil
-2 c. thinly sliced vegetables (broccoli, carrot, snap pea, celery, cabbage, whole bean sprouts, etc.), or four baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise
-Rice vinegar
-Soy sauce
Have everything chopped and ready before you start. Set out two big noodle bowls.
Boil the noodles according to the package directions. The last 30 seconds of cooking, toss in the veg and stir. If you’re doing the bok choy, do it a minute ahead. Then drain.
While the noodles are cooking, heat the vegetable oil until it is really hot – just before the smoking point.
Divide the cooked noodles/veg between the bowls, trying to keep the veg on the bottom and the noodles up top. Sprinkle the noodles with the red pepper, then put the ginger and the garlic (& the green onion, if you have those). Carefully ladle about 2-3 Tbsp. of the super hot oil on top of the ginger/garlic paste. It will sizzle and pop. (Turn off the burner for the oil – that’s done.)
Drizzle with some soy sauce and some vinegar, add any other condiments you like listed below. Stir and eat.


Suggested accoutrements:
-sesame seeds
-sliced green onion
-cilantro leaves
Chinese black vinegar
-sesame oil

This is really filling. And cheap. If you wanted to boost the protein, add some shredded chicken, or a poached egg, cubed or fried tofu, yatta yatta.

Guten apetit and noodle happiness to you.

Moroccan Chickpea Stew

Soup. Dammit but I love soup. You get so much for so very little…..

I organized a Stone Soup at the office back in early December, and my department-mates loved it so much, we’ve got an informal ‘Soup Wednesday’ going. One of the gals left her crockpot in the kitchen, and each week someone says, “hey, let’s do such and such this week” – and away we go! Wednesdays are an insane day in my profession, and typically we can’t even get a lunch hour – so this has become quite the awesome tradition. But I digress…..

I was a-Googlin’ for something different and interesting to make next week, and stumbled across the idea of a chickpea soup with Moroccan spices. So, I cobbled together what I liked about all the recipes and what I knew I had on-hand, and gave this a shot for a Friday dinner. Oh, is this good. So, so good. It was maybe 10 minutes of actual work, and about 40 to simmer. The house smelled incredible. And on a chilly night, the warmth of the soup with that gorgeous combination of smoked paprika, cumin and cinnamon? Pure heaven. Make this right now – you prolly have the ingredients in the pantry. I even used my cheap-o Trader Joe’s smoked paprika, not the good Spanish stuff. If you don’t have that, just use regular (sweet) paprika.

I drizzled mine with extra-virgin olive oil, Himself did a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and some cilantro. Some grilled Greek-style pita or a sliced baguette would go superbly with this.

Enjoy! I’m serious – go make this right now. I’m going to try it in the crockpot next Wednesday at the office – wish me luck!

Moroccan Chickpea Stew
Serves 2 seriously hungry people, or not-so-hungry plus leftovers

In your soup pot, saute:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ white onion, diced
3-4 celery ribs, in soup-sized chunks
3-4 carrots, in soup-sized chunks
After a couple minutes, add in:
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. pimenton ahumado
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ c. tomato paste
After a couple minutes, add in:
1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (14.5oz) can chickpeas, drained
2 quarts chicken (or vegetable) broth
Simmer for 30 minutes, then use a potato masher and smoosh one side of the pot and add:
1 c. frozen chopped spinach (no need to thaw before)
Simmer 10 more and soup is on, betches!

Serve with: Greek yogurt & Fresh coriander (cilantro), or XVOO, or a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Revision 1/28 – Oops! Forgot the nutritional info! According to the VeryWell.com calorie calculator, if you get 3 servings out of this, each serving has:
323 calories
12.7 g fat
693mg sodium
42.1g carbs (12.5g fiber!)
12.2g protein
and 30% of your iron and 23% potassium for the day

Caldo de Verduras con Chochoyotes

Hey, now. That was quite the hiaitus. I used up my December creative juices on a tamalada and 80 dozen cookies and was enjoying myself so much I forgot to take pictures. This was great for me, but sad for the blog.
So, happy new year! It’s a cold, grey, windy day for the first time in weeks. Which means soup at our house. Caldo de verduras con chochoyotes, to be precise. (Vegetable soup with corn flour dumplings.)

I can just hear you – cho-cho-what? Funny story, that one. Last fall I was making some veggie soup. I grew up with dumplings on stew, and I started to wonder if they had a similar tradition in Mexico – short answer, yes! And I discovered a really awesome blog in the process! (Go check it out!)
With a really fun-to-say name, this is a double win. How can you not smile when you say chochoyote. I mean, come on!
Ready to play?

Caldo de verduras con chochoyotes
serves: 4-6

For the soup:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ small white onion, large dice
3 carrots, peeled and in soup-sized discs
4 ribs celery, in soup-sized chunks
2 zucchini, in soup-sized chunks
3 garlic cloves, coarsly chopped
1 can low sodium diced tomatoes
4 quarts chicken (or vegetable) broth
1/4 packet menudo soup spices Or, about 2 Tbsp. (NOT the ground kind, the dried leafy kind.)
Briefly saute the chopped veg in the oil in a large soup pot. Then add in the tomatoes, broth and spices. Turn to medium-low. This is going to look sparse at first – like a LOT of broth and so few veg. The dumplings will absorb a lot of the liquid, and act as a thickener, too. It will be lovely, swearsies.

Make the masa for the dumplings.
Mix 1 c. masa harina with ½ tsp. salt and ¾ c. warm tap water. This will make a thick crumbly mess. Add 2 Tbsp fat (bacon fat, lard, or crisco – bacon is the best) and with clean hands, knead the dough until it is combined. It should be firm and not sticky, like a play-do consistency. Roll it in to 4 logs about a 1.5” in diameter and 5” long. Cover and set aside at room temp for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, the soup should be at a bare simmer. After the wait, take one of the masa logs, break it in to 5 even pieces and roll each one in to a ball. With your thumb (or an implement, I used the end of my lemon reamer because fingernail marks in the dumplings sick me out.) But I digress. So, put a dimple in each dough ball so that it looks like a little bowl, and gently place each one in the pot. Gently shake the pot to get them to submerge if needed. Don’t stir – they’re super fragile and will just come apart. Repeat this process until all the dumplings are in the pool.

Keep at a bare simmer for 20-30 mins. The soup will thicken and the dumplings will cook. Check for doneness by taking one out and slicing it in half; it should be the same color all the way through. If there’s an uncooked core, just simmer them for five more minutes and check again.

Serve like any Mexican-style caldo – with lime wedges and hot pepper, some oregano or cilantro , maybe some sliced radish – so everyone can season their bowl to their taste.

If you actually have leftovers of this, they won’t last long. This little bowl of love is like a veggie stew with tamales in it. You are going to LOVE this. I promise.

updated 01.22.18 – add “room temp” to resting the masa.

Parsley Pasta Salad With Chickpeas

If you like real tabbouleh, I think you will love this. The parsley is the star. This was just going to be Saturday lunch and a way to use up a half bag of the TJ’s grilled veg, so of course I have no knolled ingredients or process photos to include. But, this was yummy enough to warrant a share – so forgive me.

This is hearty, and fresh, and makes for a filling lunch. You could add some tuna to boost it up, if you wanted. Or just serve it as a side to some rotissimat chicken you picked up on the way home.
If you are lucky enough to be able to eat cheese, some chunks of feta in this would push it into the orgiastically good zone.

Try this – I am totally loving it, and I think you will, too.

Parsley Pasta Salad With Chickpeas in Garlic Dijon Vinaigrette
Salad Ingredients
½ pound rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and peeled
1 small bunch ruffled parsley, chopped coarsely. (About 2.5-3c.)
12 ish pitted kalamata olives, sliced laterally in half
1/2 small white onion, diced
1.5-2c chopped grilled vegetables (I used ½ bag of the Trader Joe’s misto alla griglia – it is red bells, eggplant and zucchini.)
Garlic Dijon Vinaigrette
3 fat cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
½ c. extra virgin olive oil
A ton of freshly ground black pepper.

Directions:
Ok, while the water is boiling for your pasta, make the dressing. In a large bowl, whisk together everything but the oil, then drizzle and whisk it in last until you have a nice emulsion. Pour half of the dressing into a medium-sized microwave safe bowl. This dressing is really intense, do not panic. Once is mixed with everything it will mellow out.
Peel the chickpeas, put them in the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat. Microwave for one minute, stir and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, chop your vegetable and layer them on top of the dressing in the bowl (but do not mix!) and put that in the fridge to wait for the last step.
When the pasta is al dente, drain it and then immediately put the hot pasta in the bowl with the chick peas and give it a stir.
Once the pea/pasta mixture has cooled to room temperature, toss it with the rest of the ingredients and it is ready to eat. Or, stick it back in the fridge. Because you coated the beans and pasta with that super-strong dressing while they were hot, you don’t have to wait until tomorrow to enjoy this. It is ready right now.

This makes 4 meal-sized portions, or 8-10 sides.

Nutritional Info
for the meal size, verywell.com says each serving has:

927 cal
38.7g fat
123.8g carbs (fiber 21.9g, sugar 12.5g)
29g protein
Plus – 110% Vitamin A, 93% vitamin C and 56% Iron.

Roast Butternut Soup

I know, I know. ANOTHER butternut squash recipe? I should be getting some kind of commission from the Butternut Council of America. I am so googling to see if that exists after I finish this post.

So, you know what they say. Soup: it’s what’s for dinner. Or at least, that’s what my poor, long-suffering husband says every time there’s a grey sky. Besides – Costco had two packs of these bad boys. On a cold day, this is a win/win, people.


Roasting concentrates the flavor and brings out the sweetness of the veg. Add some earthiness with the celery and the thyme, and the tartness from the apple, and this is simple goodness all around. Shall we?

Roast Butternut Squash Soup
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
½ large (or one small) white onion, large dice
1 small green apple, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tsp. dried thyme
S&P
1 ½ to 2 quarts chicken (or veg) stock.

Toss together everything but the stock on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast 375* for about an hour
The last twenty minutes, bring one quart of the stock to boil, then reduce to simmer to keep it hot. When the squash et al are done (fork tender, nicely caramelized), toss it all in the pot. The stock should just cover everything (add more if needed). Take a stick blender to it, puree, consume. Add more stock if you’d like a thinner soup.

Or – keep the squash in the fridge, and bring to boil and puree later when you’re ready to eat. It’ll keep in the fridge for several days (as will the soup once it’s done.) If you freeze this one, expect some water separation at the thaw. You can do it, I just wouldn’t recommend it.


I garnished mine with a little greek yogurt and some toasted walnut – butter would also be delish.

P. S. That Butternut Council of America does not exist. I must confess to being disappointed, although another smartass food blogger had the same idea back in 2013. So there’s that.

The Yum’s Top Posts 2016


2016. It’s been a slog of year, honestly.
I removed my self-imposed deadline of a post a week, so this year saw only 20 or so recipes and about 5,000 views, which brings the historical total to 15,000. Inspiration has been elusive, and it is, alas, the impetus for a new recipe worthy to shoot and write about.
I still have the goal of self-publishing a cook book. I still have the goal of increasing readership without resorting to all those awful, grasping ads so many foodbloggers whore themselves out for. We’ll see, I guess. If I could find a way to unobtrusively and tastefully do them, I may be forced to eat some crow. Himself would love to see my hobby offset some of its own costs.

But the food! Far and away, my favorite recipe this year was the tacos de camotes. The interwebs had a different take, though. The lemon pistachio scones were finally edged out of the top three. (Two years running ain’t bad, gals. Good job!) This year’s top are:

Mini Oven Omelettes
Sweet Potato and Kale Skillet
Cucumber Watermelon Salad

The omelettes, of course, have five times the number of hits as each of the others (since they were picked up in an article at Daily Burn about a year and a half ago.) But hell, who knows why one thing hits more than others. Maybe it’s just the red plates.

Let us see where 2017 takes us. I wish us all health, happiness, prosperity and balance. And thanks, you guys. It is just lovely to share with others who also love to eat good stuff.
Brightest blessings for the coming year,
KPM

Tacos de Camotes (Sweet Potato Tacos)

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I toyed with some pretentious hipster title for this puppy – caramelized sweet potato tacos in a chipotle garlic emulsion. But, nah. This are simple and good – so tacos de camotes is much better. I want to try it with pumpkin, too. One day….. Anyway, if you get tired of turkey day leftovers in a couple of weeks, or want to use up that leftover sweet potato on the counter, or hell! Make an awesome first course to Thanksgiving dinner, these are ready to roll. Fast, easy and yummy. I can’t really say ‘no pica’, but the heat isn’t bad.
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These are crunchy and soft, tangy, sweet and spicy. Truly lovely.
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This is enough for two people as a main dish, or four for a side.

For the Taco filling:
2 large sweet potatoes, diced*
1/2 white onion, diced
1 Tbps. olive oil
garlic salt
For the chipotle emulsion:
2 large cloves garlic
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
2 whole chipotle peppers en adobo
2 Tbsp wine/cider/sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp olive olive
(A little water mixed with some adobo if needed)
And…..
Soft corn tortillas

*(diced means 1/2” cubes, people)
Preheat oven to 375*. Line a cookie sheet with parchment. spread out evenly the sweet potato and onion, drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the garlic salt.
Roast about 20-30 minutes, until really nicely caramelized.
sweetpotato4
While that’s roasting, put the dressing ingredients in the blender and puree. You may need to add a little water/adobo sauce mix to get enough liquid to blend. Transfer to a bowl large enough to hold all the potato/onion mix when it comes out of the oven.
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When the potato/onion mix is done, remove from the oven and set aside just for a few minutes. (This lets the outside crust on the sweet potato cubes develop just a tidge more). Heat your tortillas and get your serving plate. Toss the hot sweet potato/onion mix in the chipotle emulsion, fill the tortillas and consume immediately.

These would be awesome with a smoked fontina cheese. Or avocado slices. Or even with some scrambled egg for an amazeballs breakfast taco. Or hell, underneath some poached eggs for that matter.

** This would also work with kabucha squash.
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Bon apétit

Butternut Coconut Curry Soup

November will be here in a few days. It is still ninety forking degrees here (You guys are all watching ‘The Happy Place’, right?) I am thoroughly disgusted. As Himself enjoys saying, “Love that global warming!” Oy. But still, that autumnal food urge is upon me. The markets are filled with winter squashes – butternut, acorn, turban, delicata, sweet dumpling, kabucha. Makes my head swim with happiness. I’ve got a cashew cream kabucha gratin idea floating in my mind, but it hasn’t fully formed yet. Maybe in a few weeks.
In the meantime, this behemoth of a butternut keeps winking at me every time I walk past it on the kitchen counter. It’s a four-pound giant. Gonna get two meals outta that mofo.
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I think the hard squashes scare off a lot of people. Did you know you can peel him with a vegetable peeler? (Mainly because it isn’t lumpy like an acorn.) Goes quickly, and you can peel and cube him in a few minutes – toss half in a ziplock in the fridge to make a couple days later. Here, check it out.
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This and a big salad, and dinner is done. Or, if you’re really hungry, a grilled cheese and fresh jalapeno sandwich would be awesome with this: melty crunchy spicy contrasting with slightly sweet and creamy. Such happiness!
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Butternut Coconut Curry Soup
3 stalks celery
½ white onion
2# (about six cups) butternut, peeled & in 1” cubes
2 Tbsp. oil or butter
3 Tbsp curry powder
1 (-ish) quart chicken (or veg) stock
Coconut milk, the full-fat kind.
Fried onions for garnish

Over medium heat, stir together the curry powder and oil. Let it get a little toasty (when you really smell the spices, time for the next step.) Ad the celery and onion, cook over medium until the onion is translucent around the edges. Add the squash and just barely cover with the chicken stock. (It if boils down, you can always add a little more. Harder to take it away if you do too much, though.) butternuecoco2med
Simmer on medium for about half an hour, until the squash is tender.
When it’s done, purée. (With a stick blender, in an actual blender (remember to allow for steam escape!), or in the food processor. It should be like loose mashed potatoes, almost thick enough to hold up a spoon. Return it to the pot, stir in about ¾ can of coconut milk just to heat it back up. Ladle in to bowls, garnish with a swirl of the remaining coconut milk and or fried onions.
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Bon apétit!