1.31.2010

Barley Soup with Caramelized Onions and Pecorino Cheese

Barley Soup with Caramelized Onions and Pecorino Cheese

A little while ago, Elle posted about her barley soup which reminded me that I had some barley sitting in the cupboard, waiting to be used. My grandparents used to make barley soup regularly. It was a bit austere, being made from (little) carrot and celery root being simmered in water and a heavy hand of barley, so that you end up with a kind of very soupy congee.

After leafing through some books I settled on this more elaborate version from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. And to make a long story short, it's a total winner. Nicely balanced flavour, and a great warming soup all around. It's a truly vegetarian dish in the sense that it certainly doesn't need any bacon and (I think) it probably wouldn't be improved by adding some.

During the preparation there was a small moment of doubt about adding the rosemary, because to me dried rosemary smells like an organic solvent. But in the end it turned out alright.

Barley Soup with Caramelized Onions and Pecorino Cheese

Source: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil
3 onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 quarts vegetable stock
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, about 1/2 cup
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp minced rosemary or 2 tsp dried
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
1 cup diced celery or celery root
2 carrots, diced
salt and freshly milled pepper
1/2 cup grated pecorine cheese

Method:

Warm the oil in a heavy soup pot. Add the onions, cover and cook over low heat for 40 minutes. Remove the lid, raise the temperature to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are browned. While the onions are cooking, make the stock and include the dried porcini.Retrieve them when the stock is done and chop.

Once the onions are browned, add the tomato paste and rosemary and cook for a few minutes more, working the paste into the onions. Add the barley, vegetables, chopped porcini and strained stock; bring to a boil. Lower teh heat and simmer, partially covered, until the barley and vegetables are done, about 25 minutes. Taste for salt, season with freshly milled pepper, and serve with cheese grated over the top.

1.26.2010

Cauliflower, Potatoes & Peas Indian-Style

Cauliflower, Potatoes & Peas Indian-Style

On to the promised recipe for braised cauliflower. One of the things I want to change about my way of cooking (and which I don't label as a New Year resolution on purpose, because of a bad following-through track record) is to concentrate on some of the more encyclopedic cookbooks I have. Not a cook-the-book thing, but trying to use them maybe once a month year-round. The first one of those tomes is All About Braising by Molly Stevens, which was recommended in a comment-discussion of favourite cookbooks by Petra Holzapfel from Chili und Ciabatta as a book really worth having.

The dish went well with the naan, even though the stems of the cauliflower florets were still quite al-dente. Maybe one should grind up the cummin and coriander seeds before adding, to avoid biting on them all the time.

Cauliflower, Potatoes & Peas Indian-Style

Source: All About Braising by Molly Stevens

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower (1 1/2 to2 pounds)
3 Tbsp ghee, clarified butter or vegetable oil
2 tsp cummin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 Tbsp finely minced fresh ginger
1 small fresh chili,seeded or not,depending on the level of heat you want
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
coarse salt
1/2 pound red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
2/3 cup water, plus more as needed
1/2 cup peas (6 ounces), frozen are fine
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Method:

- Cut the cauliflower into florets about 2 inches long and wide, in order for them to cook as long as the potatoes.

- Heat the ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, ginger and chili, stir and fry until the spices release their fragrance and begin to sizzle, about 10 seconds. Don't let the spices burn. Add the turmeric and about 1/2 tsp salt, stir and immediately add the cauliflower and the potatoes. Stir to coat the vegetables with the spices.

-Pour in the water, cover and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook, checking once or twice to make sure that the liquid in the pan hasn't dried up, until the cauliflower and potatoes are almost tender, 18 to 20 minutes. If the pan appears dry at any point, add 1/4 cup more water. Stir in the peas, cover and continue to simmer until all the vegetables are tender, another 5 minutes or so.

- Uncover, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring any remaining liquid in the skillet to a boil. Pour in the olive oil or melted butter and stir gently so as not to break up the vegetables. Give the pan a shake to ensure that nothing is sticking, and cook until allthe liquid has cooked away and the vegetables are beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. The vegetables will be infused with the spicesso that the dish needs no sauce. Taste and season with salt as needed. Stir in the cilantro and serve warm.

1.24.2010

Naan

Naan

To start of the new decade Lynn of Cookie baker lynn asked the Babes to make some naan to conjure up some images of more balmy weather. And with the recent cold spell, this idea came naan to soon.

I made the plain version of the naan, mainly because I'm not overly fond of raisins. Preparing the naan in a pan meant that, as with pancakes, the first one was "for the pan" (read "for the bin"). But the first one soaked up most of the oil, and the following ones baked very well in the almost dry cast-iron pan. (I think this approach was mentioned in the comments somewhere)
The naan was good, but it really is a "canvas bread". I ate mine for dinner with some braised cauliflower (recipe coming up next).

I'm sending this to Susan's YeastSpotting.

Plain Naan
- makes 3 naan
Source: from Paul Hollywood's 100 Great Breads

Ingredients:

scant 4 cups white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/2 oz / 15 g. package compressed fresh yeast
water to mix
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp caraway seeds
olive oil for frying

Method:

- Line a baking sheet. Put the flour, salt and yeast into a bowl and add enough water to make a soft, but not sloppy dough. Add the seeds, then divide the dough into three pieces and put on the baking sheet. Let rest for 1 hour.

- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and, using a rolling pin, flatten each piece into a circle, 10 inches / 25.5 cm in diameter, and let rest for 5 minutes.

- Heat a skillet to a medium heat and add a splash of olive oil. Shallow-fry each naan until browned on both sides, then set aside to cool slightly before serving.

1.23.2010

Happy Things

The other day I received an award from Elle of Feeding my Enthusiasms. The award comes with the (small) duty to list ten things which make you happy. (Incidentally, this is the one hundred and first post of this blog, so as of today it's one louder. ;) (scroll down to the one starting with "The numbers all go to eleven.")) So, here are some things which make me happy:

- reading a good book (like this, this, this or this)
- watching clouds in the sky while commuting
- playing a game of Go
- waking up in my sleeping bag to the sound of rain on the tent
- a cup of green tea
- baking bread
- buying produce at the green market
- a windy day

I'd like to pass on this award to these happyness-inducing food bloggers:

Mimi of Delectable Tidbits
Joanne of Eats Well With Others
Rachael of La Fuji Mama
Susan of Wild Yeast

The official rules of the Happy 101 award are as follows:
1. Copy the award image into a post
2. Then list 10 things that make you happy
3. Tag 10 bloggers who brighten your day
4. Put in a link to their blogs
5. Notify the award receivers
6. Award recipients must link back to sender's blog

1.18.2010

Coconut Lentils

Coconut Lentils

The next item on the use-or-ditch list where a pack of lentils which found their way into a hearty stew. Next time I would grate the ginger on a microplane for a more even distribution and to avoid munching on tough ginger cubes.

I didn't add any salt because on tasting the ginger and curry seemed to give the dish enough of a kick, but when you chew a whole mouthful there will be a kinda starchy-bland aftertaste from the lentils, so don't skip that good old NaCl.

Coconut Lentils

Source: Kochen fast ohne Rezept (Almost recipe-free cooking) by Hans Gerlach

Ingredients:

250 g black lentils *
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
4 cm ginger
200 ml coconut milk
2 tomatoes
1 to 3 chilis (or more to taste)
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 Tbsp Garam Masala (or a curry mixture of your choice)
salt
1 bunch coriander **

Method:

Soak the lentils overnight, drain and slowly bring to the boil in 1 liter of water or stock. Cook on a medium heat for 60 minutes until tender, adding more warm or hot water if necessary. *

Dice the tomatoes, finely slice the chilis. Peel and mince onion, garlic and ginger. Fry in 40 ml of coconut milk. If the liquid from the milk has evaporated, the spices will start to fry with a sizzling noise. Add the chilis, coriander seed and Garam Masala, salt and fry for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and lentils. Simmer for 20 minutes until the lentils start to fall apart, stir frequently. Add the rest of the coconut milk, salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve.
Yields 6-8 portions as a side dish.

* The recipe calls for using black lentils but I used green ones, because that was wgat I had. I checked at the super market and all the available black lentils needed only 30 minutes of cooking without soaking them first, so just go by the instructions on the package.

** Omitted, because I couldn't get any.

1.13.2010

Aniseed-Guinness Bread

Aniseed-Guinness Bread

Recently I have been using up a variety of leftover ingredients. First in line was a 330 ml bottle of Guinness which went into a half batch of this Aniseed-Guinness bread.

Kneading this bread was a bit more difficult than I expected. See that part in the recipe which says "no longer sticks to your hands"? Did. Not. Happen. Even after half an hour of kneading the dough was still almost as sticky as at the beginning. So I just sprinkled the dough heavily with flour and rolled it around using two wooden spoon. Instead of forming a sphere multiple times, I pressed down the dough with the wooden spoons after each stage of rising. Finally I just plonked the hole mess onto a floured pizza peel, put it in the oven and baked it into a single loaf.

I substituted the Pastis with some freshly ground aniseed. The anise flavour came out very clearly in the final loaf. If you like to use your bread for sandwiches, maybe you should use only one teaspoon of aniseed to avoid dominating the flavour of any topping.



I'm sending this to Susan's YeastSpotting.

Aniseed-Guinness Bread

Source: Dough by Richard Bertinet

Ingredients:

25 g fresh yeast
700 g Guinness at room temperature
250 g rye flour [type 1150]
750 g wheat flour [type 550] (AP flour)
20 g salt
1 Tbsp Pastis *

* Substituted with 2 tsp freshly ground aniseed. (measured when unground)

Method:

In a large bowl, stir the yeast into the Guinness until completely dissolved. Add the rye flour and 400 g wheat flour and keep stirring until a thick dough is achieved. Cover with a clean towel and let rise for two hours.

Preheat the oven to 250 °C. Add the rest of the ingredients and knead into a soft, satiny dough, which no longer sticks to your hands. Form a sphere, put it into a lightly floured bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for 45 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Again form a spehre, return to the bowl, cover an let rise for 45 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into three portions, form a sphere from each and let sit on the counter for five minutes. Cover a baking tray with a heavily floured towel, form oblong loaves, transfer these onto the towel, cover with another towel and let rise for one and a half hours.

Transfer loaves onto a pizza peel, cut their surface twice at an angle with a sharp knife. Spray the oven walls with water andput the loaves into the oven. Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 220 °C. Bake for another 25 minutes until the loaves take on a brown colour.
They should sound hollow, when tapped from below. Transfer onto a wire rack and let cool.

1.09.2010

Red Cabbage

Red Cabbage braised with maple and ginger

I've always liked red cabbage but have never prepared it from scratch. During the holidays I was leafing through All About Braising and the simple preparation gave me a nudge to go out and buy some red cabbage. Using a fresh cabbage is all that's needed to take this dish from good to super-awesome. The thicker parts of the leaves will give it a bit of crunch and the note of ginger goes well with the sweetness of the cabbage and maple syrup. And be generous with the bacon, just saying.

I was a bit worried the dish might burn, because the 1/4 cup of vinegar seemed to be not enough liquid for the whole pot, but the cabbage gives of some liquid during the braise.

I'm submitting this humble dish to the Monthly Mingle, which is hosted in January by Cook like a bong.

Red Cabbage braised with maple and ginger

Source: All About Braising by Molly Stevens
slightly adapted

Ingredients:

1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 slices thick-cut bacon (2 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1 medium onion (6 ounces), thinly sliced
salt, pepper
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced *
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 medium head red cabbage (about 1 3/4 pounds), quartered, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 Tbsp maple syrup **

* Used a Fuji apple.
** Used Grade A. In a sidenote Molly recommends using Grade B for a deeper flavour.

Method:

Using a large pot, add the olive oil and fry the onion on medium heat until tender.
Add the apple and ginger. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the cabbage one handful at a time and fold in, repeat until all the cabbage has wilted.
Add the vinegar, bacon and syrup, let come to the boil.
Put on the lid, set on the lowest heat and let simmer for about an hour, stirring every 20 minutes.

1.06.2010

Washoku Warriors - New Year

Fiery Parsnips

For December the Washoku Warriors were given a choice of recipes which are typically prepared at or around New Year. I choose to make fiery parsnips (substituting root parsley for the parsnips, because the former was available from a local farmer at the green market), which are quickly fried in sesam oil and then subsequently braised in sake and soy sauce. It's really a quick and tasty dish, where the required cooling down to room temperature before eating takes up most of the time. I simply sliced the root parsley instead of cutting julienne strips because once halved and quartered the pointy end of the root would bend outwards into almost a "J" shape, making it impossible to slice lengthwise.

1.02.2010

Nori-Sesame Bread

Nori-Sesame Bread

Looking back at 2009, one of the (surprisingly few) recipes I tried but didn't like was the Wakame Bread. (But don't let that stop you from making that bread yourself. Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies was quite enthusiastic, when she baked it.) To give the recipe a new twist, I left out the wakame and added some of this

Toasted Nori

sesame-toasted nori and some sesame seeds. (The package pictured above contains about 10 nori sheets approximately the size of playing cards. I only call this nori because the importing company labeled it (in German) as "seaweed (nori)". Actually it's produced in Korea. Anyone reading hangeul, feel free to leave a comment on what it's called in Korean.)
The final bread had a nice, subtle taste of the sea interspersed with some crunch from the sesame seeds. It was good to eat on its own (always a sign of good bread ;) ) or with just some mustard.

I'm sending this to Susan's YeastSpotting.

Nori-Sesame Bread


Source: based on Wakame Bread from Dough by Richard Bertinet

Ingredients:

250 g wheat flour (type 550)
250 g wholemeal wheat flour
10 g fresh yeast
10 g salt
340 g water
2 sachets (2.7 g each) roasted, sesame-flavoured nori *
2 Tbsp sesame seeds **

* Maybe use 3 sachets.
** Maybe use 3 Tbsp in the dough, plus 1 Tbsp for sprinkling.

Method:

Preheat oven to 250 °C. Crumble up the sheets of nori in confetti-sized pieces. Mix the two flours and crumble in the yeast. Add the salt and water, knead till the dough comes together. Add the nori and sesame and knead briefly until they are evenly distributed. Pat the dough into a ball, place into a lightly floured bowl, cover and leave for about 1 hour.

Transfer dough to your work surface, deflate and again form a ball. Return dough to bowl for another 45 minutes.

Transfer dough to your work surface and form a loaf. Place loaf on a heavily floured kitchen towel, seam-side up, and let rise for 1 hour.

Turn the loaf onto a baking paddle (seam-side down). Using a sharp knife, cut the loaf alternatingly three times diagonally from the middle to the left and three times from the middle to the right, forming a leaf-like pattern. Sprinkle the oven with water and place loaf on a hot baking stone or baking tray.Bake for 45 minutes until nicely brown. The bread should sound hollow, when knocked on from below. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.