This will be a quickie post – not a lot to it. Got the recipe at Marmiton [link removed 6/1/24 – it is getting me spaminated]. Used a cast iron skillet in a 500* convection oven.
It was….fine. And, btw, that cheese wedge is that new vegan brie-compatible,White Alder. It, too, was…fine. Had it not cost the week’s coffee money (since it is only available at Whole Paycheck), I might have been more impressed. But, to be able to have a cheese-like substance in our house is a good thing.
Put a cast iron skillet in the oven, and preheat it to 500*. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk til smooth - should be the consistency of crepe batter. Add more ice water as needed.
Once the oven's hot, take out the skillet, brush some olive oil to make a thin coat. Pour in half the batter and smooth it out - it should not exceed 1/8" thick.
Bake about 7 minutes - you'll know when it's done. The edges will pick up and the top will be dull and perhaps golden. Pop that bad boy out of the skillet, oil it again and put in the second half of the batter.
Eat immediately, cut in to squares and liberally sprinkled with fresh ground black pepper.
I have a deep dark secret. I cannot throw away a banana. When they go brown in our house, in to the freezer they go. Then, one day I open the freezer and it’s like they were banana tribbles. When the hell did all those naners get in there?! Oh, wait. Right. So….time to make some banana bread it is.
Betty Crocker has this amazing BB recipe that I’ve barely tweeked. It’s really yummy, dense and moist and full of bananaloids. It comes together lickity quickity.
Having good, solid tools for cooking makes the process easier and more fun. In that vein, I am always on the lookout for serious quality bakeware. Home Goods is a great place, especially around the holidays. I love my Chicago Metallic pans – they are serious shit. Heavy. Nonstick. Steel. I reduce my temp by 15* to the recipe because of their dark finish, but they are awesome.
Sprinkled with sugar. They get so sparkly!
And now, the whole house smells great. Waiting for these babies to cool and slice seems like it will take forever.
Alrighty – two beautiful loaves. One for us, one for the neighbors (you remember the neighbors, the ones who bring us all the goodies from M-O-M? Yeah, gotta take care of each other.)
Banana Nut Bread
Beautiful, moist and buttery with good banana flavor
Some parts of being a former French teacher I will not let go – the biggest being a serious French Food Fangirl, and proud of it. Why? Allow me to illustrate – they can take the bits of stuff we would have thrown out and turn it in to something extraordinary. This is creamy asparagus soup made with asparagus butts. You know, those end pieces you trim off and throw away?
This is a super simple recipe and you can discern every ingredient with each bite – the sweetness of the squash and onion, a faint note of celery, the earthiness of the asparagus, touches of lemon and thyme and through it all the gorgeous richness of that butter. Oh, my.
This beautiful, rich, fresh-tasting soup came to be because I was going to post about a roasted asparagus salad but wound up with some serious woody asparagus stems.
And that made me think of my last French host mom, and how horrified she would be if I threw that much food away. So, I put those, and a couple chopped up courgettes, a celery rib and a slice of onion in the steamer.
After twenty minutes, I puréed it with some warm chicken stock, pushed it through a mesh sieve, put in a ton of butter and a dash of lemon zest and fresh thyme and called it exquisite. Which it was.
The next time you have some asparagus butts, make this. You will be SO happy!
Asparagus Squash Soup with Lemon & Thyme
Fast, healthy creamy soup equally delicious hot or at room temp.
Oh, food trend. You fucking hipster. Fine. You got me. And lawdee lawd, do you suck.
The meta blogs are all roasted chickpea this, and roasted chickpea that. And Billy loves him some chick peas. So I started to think, my that sounds delicious! They must know something I don’t know! Surely roasting them will not return them to their pre-cooked state, as my girlfriend T. jokingly asked at Happy Hour last.
First batch – she-who-shan’t-be-named’s recipe states 400* for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Results? Bits of charcoal, quickly tossed in the carport to avoid stinking the whole house.
Second batch – (after recipe research and comparison, and the determination not to be bested by a garbanzo bean) 375*, 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Peas – one 14.5 oz, drained rinsed and dried (but not peeled. The Goddess gives us fiber for a reason, people.)
Oven – convection @ 375*
Second batch – stirred every ten minutes. Not bits of coal this time, but rather a range of barely a crust on the outside to T’s predicted rock-hard state.
But, here’s the thing. The first bite or two you really taste the seasonings, and think “hmmm” and can possibly forgive the erratic textures. Possibly. But after that? You’re just munching on this sometimes almost soft, sometimes break-your-teeth-crunchy canned-chickpea-flavored stuff.
Don’t be fooled by the hipster food – it’s fucking with you. Not even one of Bill’s super amazing Bloody Marys could make me want to eat this shit.
3/8/2015 – Well, this sucks. This post was hacked and deleted, and I don’t have a back up. Stupid hack fucks. At least we still have pictures, and honestly this is the same scone base I always use, just with two Tbsp clementine zest and 1/2c. chopped fresh or frozen cranberries added and skip the lemon and pistachio, and the glaze is made with the juice from those clementines.
So, you know when you go to Costco and get that HUGE clamshell of cherry tomatoes, and you tell yourself – Oh! I’ll eat all of them. They look so good! I’ll have some every day!
Only a week later they look like this?
Or, maybe you have a neighbor who went to Market on the Move and brought you four pints of them? (Because you have the best neighbors ever!)
What to do, what to do? Soooo many cherry tomatoes. Some a little on the sad side. Well at our house, that means cherry tomato jam.
This stuff is like grown-up ketchup – it goes on everything. On a sliced baquette with some goat cheese. On a pork chop. On a ham and cheese scone. On a bacon sandwich. Everything, I tells ya.
I make mine with the toms, some grated onion and sliced shallot, thyme, sugar, balsamic vinegar, worcestershire, garlic and olive oil.
Since these were M-O-M cherry tomatoes, and most likely not organic, I gave them two good washes with soapy hot vinegar water.
Anybody with a split skin, I tossed. (Hello? Hot soapy vinegar water?) Next, slice the toms in half. These aren’t cranberries – they don’t automatically pop when they’re done. Trust me, I’ve tried. You get stuck trying to mash them at the end and it’s a pain. Plus, this way you can inspect each one.
Throw them in the pot and simmer on low for a couple hours. I actually wound up having to add some tomato paste to mine. It *is*January, they weren’t exactly chock full of tasty tomato-loids.
You can can it at this point. Or freeze it. Or just toss it in the fridge for up to a few weeks. I’ve been known to make a mini batch of these when I’ve got a partial pint mummifying on the counter.
I tried to use less sugar this time, and it did not set up – it’s like a thick tomato jam sauce type thing. But still *very* tasty. Just not as pretty. And, unfortunately, I’ve promised some to friends so hello, cooking shame. Haven’t seen you in like…a day.
Alright – moral of the story? Never throw away ageing cherry tomatoes again!
Cherry Tomato Jam, Not-So-Cherry
Sweet and tangy with thyme, vinegar and mild onion. Yum!
No process shots this week, kids. Just the final product – this is a planned over. When chicken breasts are on sale for 99 cents a pound, I always buy a big pack and roast them, then dice them and freeze them for quick meals through the week.
This dish features beautiful kale – they way it is best. Sautéd with garlic, served with a touch of balsamic vinegar. Not puréed in to some hipster smoothie like a hamster shat in your glass, or baked to a chip that looks and tastes like the shit petrified in your fridge for six months. No, this is luscious, tender but firm, sweet and slightly bitter. A fantastic foil for the melting sweetness of the onion and potato. Yum!
Sweet Potato Kale Skillet with Chicken
Quick planned overs - sweet potato and onion sauteed with kale, garlic and chicken. Served with a nice balsamic vinegar.
First, roast the sweet potato. Pierce it a couple times and roll it up in sheet of wax paper, twisting the ends. Cook it in the microwave for 7-8 minutes. Get the rest of your mis en place done while it cooks. Let it cool for a couple minutes, then peel and cube it. It will be HOT, be careful. And it doesn't have to be 100% done because it's going to cook in the pan with the kale.
Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet.
Add the onions and stir over medium high for a couple minutes until they're halfway translucent. Add the cubed sweet potato and chicken, toss to coat with the oil and onion. Lay all the kale on top, and sprinkle the garlic over the kale. S&P. Reduce the heat to low, pour in the chicken broth and cover.
Cook about 20 minutes, until the kale is what you consider done. Check after 10 if you like it still mostly raw.
Serve with a sprinkling of good balsamic vinegar and a grind or two more of the black pepper.
You could totally make this with rotisserie chicken, or even those frozen cooked chicken breasts, but I would leave out the salt and use 2/3 c stock and 1/3 c water. You can always add more salt at the end if needed.
Our neighbors went to Market on the Move and brought us this beautiful eggplant. And peppers. And squash.
It’s “Meat-Free Monday” at our house. And, honestly at this trail-end of the holiday season if I see one more damn cookie or chocolate-covered-whatever, I think I’m going to explode. So a ratatouille sounds just right. Fast and warm, full of yummy vegetables. Easy to make. Thanks to our neighbor’s generosity, now all the ingredients are on hand:
Some diced canned tomatoes (lighten up, purists, it’s December),
Basil, tomato paste, olive oil and garlic,
some cubed extra-firm organic tofu,
onion, bell pepper, zucchini and the eggplant,
Put them together, and bam! So long, seasonal overindulgences. Kiss my tofu.
Ratatouille au tofu
Fast and savoury. A southern French vegetable dish with the added lean protein of tofu.
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, or 3 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 Tbsp. basil leaf chiffonade
Heat a large nonstick skillet. Add the olive oil, saute the onion for a minute or two. Add the garlic and tomato paste, and saute for a minute or two. Add the rest of the diced vegetables and tofu, and saute for a minute or two. Add in the diced tomatoes and basil, stir. Cover and simmer on low for 20-30 minutes.
Serve with rice. Or pasta. Or by itself with a good crusty loaf.