Everyone should know how to make mayonnaise. Really. Truly. It’s not that difficult, and it’s much tastier than that store-bought glop in a jar. Besides, if you really want to impress someone, serve something like asparagus with homemade aioli (garlic mayo). Continue reading “Scratched Mayonnaise”
We’re attending a book reading on Sunday evening, so we are moving our weekly dinner to blog about up a day. That way, we can still have a great dinner, have a glass of wine, or two, and not have to worry about heading out for the evening. It just makes the dinner more relaxing if you know it’s the end of the day.
So, for this Saturday we’re thinking:
Porcini risottoChard pie
- Beets and walnuts in an orange-Balsamic sauce
- Chocolate molten lava cakes
Risotto, of any sort, is just about our favorite dinner. Some people think that it’s a lot of effort, which is not quite true. It does take a lot of time at the stove, stirring and stirring, but, oh, it is so worth it. And we’ll show you how to make up some great risotto.
We just got some beets from the CSA, and this particular recipe is hands-down the best way to have beets. Even if you don’t like beets, you’ll like this.
Artisan bread, well, that goes with every meal, and will come out of the freezer from last week’s baking.
As for the dessert, this recipe is new to us, so together we’ll figure it out. If the recipe can’t be scaled to something for two, we might fall back on pound cake.
We looked up the molten lava cake recipe and it will scale, but with some egg mixture leftover. Fortunately, we got chard from the CSA, and chard pie is super tasty and will use up that leftover egg mixture. The chard pie is really good, too, so it’s a win-win. Not to worry, risotto will show up soon.
Q: So how’d it go? A: Good, with the excitement about the chocolate lava cakes, we forgot to take bread out of the freezer, so we had a side of watermelon. The chard pie was more than enough for the two of us, so we’ll have the rest tomorrow. And the beets. They tasted great, just could have used a few more. This was the first time making chocolate lava cakes — really easy and way tasty!
Q: Timing? A: We started boiling the beets to peel and steaming the chard around 3:45pm. Then made the crust to sit in the fridge. Rolled it out around 4:50, and had everything in the oven around 5:00. While that was baking we did all the prep work for the lava cakes, which we put together around 7:00. They were in the bowls with ice cream by 7:30.
Q: Anything different next time? A: Remember the bread.
Pickles seem intimidating, don’t they? Making brine, filling jars, boiling water baths or pressure cookers, spending the whole day in a steamy kitchen. That’s true if you want to make a lot of pickles for storing your harvest, but, if you want to make just a few pickles for eating, they are super-easy. Honest. Fifteen to twenty minutes and the pickles are done. And you have pickles that you’ve scratched yourself. Now that’s what Scratchin’ It is all about!
In earlier posts we mentioned in passing that we are members of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which is where we get much of our produce. I’m sure you already know this, but a CSA is one way of buying food directly from a farmer; we pay up front, the farmer grows the food, and we pick up a share once per week. Since we had mentioned it in some earlier postings, we thought we’d show what we get, and how we use it. Now, we might not cover every single item each week, but we hope to give you some new ideas on how to use your produce. Our shares normally consist of eight items, and, as you can see, this week we received:
- A crimson red watermelon
- Pickling cucumbers (3)
- Detroit red beets (1 bunch)
- Swiss chard (1 bunch)
- Dry beans (about 1 pound)
- Summer squash (3)
- Green tomatoes (4)
- Yellow Onions (2)
A nice selection, and the watermelon is a real surprise late in the season.
So, how will we use it?
First up, the cucumbers. We’ll make pickles. “Whoa,” I hear you saying, “pickles are hard.” Nah, 15 minutes in the kitchen and done! Check out the post: Super-Easy Pickles.
And the watermelon. Just chill, slice and eat it, of course!
Today (Friday), we’ll have the beet greens and cornbread for lunch. You don’t eat beet greens? Oh, they are the best; just try them some time. We’ll have them boiled/steamed (basically a bunch of chopped greens in about an inch of water, and cooked until they are tender, about 5-10 minutes). We like to do greens like this so we can save the leftover water for stock. Don’t want to waste it.
The onions: one went into a broccoli-cauliflower cheese pie with potato crust (recipe coming soon), and we peeled the other and pit laced in a bag in the fridge so we always have onion at the ready.
Two of the tomatoes ripened a bit after sitting in a paper bag with an apple, so we made up open-face sandwiches. Slice of bread, slice of Havarti-dill cheese or Gorgonzola, slice of tomato, basil and a wee bit of salt sprinkled on top, then under the broiler until the ‘matoes bubbled and the cheese melted. The remaining two tomatoes stayed green; they went in quick stir-fry with peanut sauce, along with one of the summer squash.
The dried pinto beans will stay in the cupboard until we make a bean dish, and we’ll use the remaining two squash over the next couple of days, along with the new produce we’ll pick up on Tuesday.
To be fair, we’ll give a recipe for the naan, even though we didn’t use this particular recipe this time. It’s a good recipe and we do use it occasionally, but we already had dough ready for our weekly bread baking session, so we used that, instead. It saved us some time, and the doughs aren’t really all that different. This does mean that the number of pictures is lacking, though. Sorry.
This recipe comes from an eBook by Jolinda Hackett: Cookouts Veggie Style and she suggests putting these right on the grill. We’d definitely do that if we had the grill going, but failing that, we just heat up a cast iron griddle or pan on the stove.
Makes 4 Naan
- 1/2 tsp active dry yeast [2 g]
- 3/4 cup water at 110°F [150 g]
- 1/2 Tbs honey [10 g]
- 2 cups all-purpose flour [250 g]
- 1/2 tsp salt [2 g]
- 1/2 Tb olive oil [10 g] plus more for oiling
Ingredients discussion: For this we also give weight measurements, which we use for most yeast breads. It makes for a more consistent result, and, once you learn how to use a scale with a tare function, you’ll only need a bowl and a spoon to mix stuff up.
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. You really want the water near 110°F. Measure with a thermometer if you have one. If not, try to make the water lukewarm. NEVER hot, or it’ll kill the yeast.
Stir in the honey. Now let it sit until it becomes foamy (about 10 minutes). This is known as proofing the yeast (proving that it is alive). We don’t always have a foamy reaction, but we normally forge ahead anyway.
Add the remaining ingredients. Stir until everything is incorporated and the dough starts to form a ball.
Knead the dough. Turn the dough onto the counter or work surface and knead for about 5 to 6 minutes. We like to count the number of strokes, instead of watching the clock. This would be about 300 strokes.
You now have the dough for making naan. If you want Kashmiri naan, add about 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts and 1/4 cup raisins. If you want garlic naan, add several cloves of garlic, minced. If you’re happy with plain, that’s fine, too.
Pre-shape the dough. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and shape into balls. Lightly oil and place on an oiled cookie sheet or plate.
Let rise. Cover with plastic and let rise until doubled, about 1 to 2 hours.
Shape the dough. Roll each ball into a 8″ disk, re-oil and return to the baking sheet. Let rest, covered, for about 20 minutes. We wanted to grill two naans at the same time so we went with more of an oblong shape.
Grill. Grill each naan for a minute or two on each side. Grill until each side is lightly browned, without being crispy. Naan is a softer, tear-apart bread.
Serve with your favorite Indian dish and use for scooping up bits and mopping up sauce. And it was all scratched, too.
Khumbi matar is essentially a mushroom and pea curry. When we started searching for Indian recipes, this was one of the first that we wanted to master. It’s nice because you can make a good Indian-style dinner without having to buy too many spices, and it doesn’t need any special cooking techniques. It is from Madhur Jaffrey’s book At Home with Madhur Jaffrey: Simple, Delectable Dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Her books and recipes are great for beginners wanting to try out more exotic fare, and we have found several really tasty recipes and great cooking tips.
Rice is one of those things that either you know how to cook, or you have problems with it: too sticky, underdone, slightly burned on the bottom, etc. Some cooks rely on a rice cooker, which can work, but a rice cooker doesn’t work that well with Basmati rice. So, we’ll show you the secret to fluffy Basmati rice.