Archive | September, 2011

Crab Apple Pizza

28 Sep

Would you like to know what I had for dinner the other night?

You probably don’t care either way. That’s ok. I’m going to tell you anyway. I had this bad boy of a pizza. It was so magical. The company was too: it was a product of a night spent with some good friends of mine. We had it with sausage AND steak. No messing around. AND tortilla chips with guacamole. This was a magical dinner. Did I mention how magical it was?

I took a piece of leftover pizza home with me and had it for dinner the following night with a fried egg on top. This made my tummy very happy.

I also took a leftover piece of pizza dough home with me. That’s where breakfast comes in.

I found some crab apples in my boot. (That’s another way of saying trunk, for those of you who are not up to date with british terms for vehicle parts) What on earth were these crab apples doing in my boot, you ask? Oh friends, it’s a long story. Let’s just leave it at the fact that I found them. Oh come on, like you haven’t stumbled upon a crab apple lying around in your boot before?

Obviously I had to do something with them. I put two and two together. This pizza just built itself basically.

First I grated the apples.

I popped on a few slices of this surface-ripened goat’s cheese I had lying around, no big deal.

Sprinkled some love on there with demerera sugar

Showered it with sunflower seeds

Dabbed it with a little butter

Shoved it in the oven and waited patiently.

Let me tell you, patience is not easy when the smell starts to creep out of the oven and into your nose. Nostrils, more specifically if we’re being technical today.

I barely got a photo of it.

It’s in my belly now.

Try not to be too jealous.

Recipe? What recipe? Make your own. Use the dough from here though. Now THAT is a recipe worth keeping. Forever.

Carob Almond Biscotti

25 Sep

Raise your hand if you’re a chocoholic.

Mom….your hand had better be raised.

Women are supposed to love chocolate. More than…ahem…activities that shall remain nameless.

As for myself, I like chocolate, yes. VERY much. Do I love it? Meh. It takes a lot more than chocolate to get my motor running.

Maybe it’s because I still don’t consider myself a woman. Not even a lady. Not yet anyway….maybe one day.

But wait. Would I want to live in a world without chocolate? Never. I couldn’t do it. I like chocolate. It makes things really, really tasty. I like the option of chocolate.

So what about those that can’t eat chocolate? Oh, they’re out there. Poor people. Poor people who can’t eat chocolate chip cookies, or brownies, or dip strawberries in it. I’ve come across a few. Living their lives, chocolate free….some even alcohol free. OH the humanity.

Carob. That is the alternative for chocolate. It’s what these poor saps have to turn to. At least, that’s what I thought. Until I actually TRIED carob. Um…..delicious!

Carob is naturally sweet, chocolate-like when roasted, contains as much Vitamin B as asparagus or strawberries; as much niacin as lima beans, lentils, or peas; and more Vitamin A than eggplant, asparagus, and beets. It also contains Vitamin B2, calcium, magnesium, potassium, small amounts of iron, manganese, chromium, copper, and nickel. It contains protein and is a good source of fiber. Compared to chocolate, carob is three times richer in calcium, has one third less calories and SEVENTEEN times less fat. TAKE THAT chocolate….pffff!

I’m addicted, and I’m baking up a storm with it. I used it in some banana bread,

“chocolate” chip cookies,

and now, in powdered form: carob almond biscotti.

Oh, I also used Marcona almonds. They’re of Spanish origin; shorter, rounder and sweeter than your average almond. But no biggie.

Let’s just say I’ve been eating way too many-a-biscotti these days. This recipe doesn’t contain butter though, so, I’m pretty ok with it.

Biscotti is so much easier to make than I had originally imagined years ago. I always like to have some on hand. Perfect for giving away too.

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Homemade Marshmallows….WHAT?!

22 Sep

You know how there are certain items you don’t even question buying pre-made? Bread, cereal, yogurt, ice cream, crackers….marshmallows?  I always thought marshmallows were just too complicated. I never even bothered to look up a recipe.

Well, all I can do is hang my head in shame. Homemade marshmallows are probably the greatest thing since….well…they are the greatest thing period. End of story. Final answer.

It’s a lot easier to make marshmallows with a stand mixer. Not necessary, however, if Cait hadn’t let me use her stand mixer I would have been using my little hand mixer for a really really REALLY long time. Still worth it, but much more of a pain in the rear.

Very few ingredients. Very few steps. Do not be afraid.

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Homemade Graham Crackers

21 Sep

I like to do things the hard way when it comes to food. I spend several hours making food for my lunch, packing my lunch and snacks for work, even though I work at a restaurant….we serve food there…

If I want a cookie, I’ll bake one, no store-bought nonsense. Same thing applies for cake, ice cream, dips….well…you get the idea. If there is a way to make it myself, I will. I don’t trust anyone else with my food. Is that weird? I don’t care. I’m already weird.

I was exploring a strange but exciting and well stocked bulk food store the other day and stumbled on a bag of graham flour. There was no question about it; the graham flour was coming home with me. What was I going to do with it? Oh come on now…there is no mystery here.

Graham crackers: an essential element in anyone’s childhood. So versatile. Simply, good.

My chef Beth asked a good question…what IS a “graham” anyway? My answer…ummm….lemme get back to you on that. I did some research. “Graham” flour was named after the person who created it. It’s not so much about the type of flour, but rather about the grinding process. The wheat is separated into three parts. The endosperm is ground finely to create white flour, the bran and the germ are ground coarsely.  The three are then mixed together, thus creating the slightly coarse textured “Graham” flour.

This recipe for honey graham crackers is perfect. It has a crisp texture, with the slightest hint of chewiness in the centre. You can really taste the honey and it is a GOOD thing.

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Soft Pretzels!

14 Sep

This baking episode literally came out of nowhere. I was innocently just standing around in my kitchen, preparing my breakfast and simultaneously stalking a few blogs here and there. All of a sudden, BOOM. Pretzels. A recipe. On my computer screen. Right out of nowhere!

I read the recipe. Easy enough. I read the ingredients list. Check. I looked at the pictures. Oh sweet mother of all that is carb-y and salty and interestingly-shaped. The pretzels were officially on my to do list.

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No Knead Walnut Raisin Bread

11 Sep

If there’s one thing I do more than anything else at my job, it’s bread. I’m bread girl. Buns, baguettes, loaves, flatbreads, you name it, I make it. I’ve always got buns in the oven. It’s probably because my buns are irresistible. My bread’s pretty tasty too…

So…no doubt…I make my own bread at home…right?

Wrong.

I hardly ever do! Shame!

It’s not that I don’t WANT to…

It’s just that baking bread at home requires time, and effort, and equipment, that I just don’t have.

Usually I would run into two main problems; my oven not having enough moisture to develop a crisp crust, and my lack of time to let the bread rise properly.

Then I found this recipe. It’s a no knead method, meaning all I did was stir all the ingredients together and form a sticky dough, put it in a bowl, and let it sit for 18 hours.

Oh, and the walnut raisin combo with a hint of cinnamon? Genius. Magical.

KNEADLESS to say I’ll be making my own bread at home from now on. (Don’t roll your eyes, you loved that)

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Damson Plum Focaccia

9 Sep

I do stupid things….a lot.

Like forget gym clothes in my gym bag and pass out the next morning from the uh….smell.

Like eat too much broccoli and cauliflower because there was a sale at the grocery store, and bloat up like a balloon for a week.

Like convince myself that I can make it one more day without filling up gas…

I also do things like what I did this past Sunday.

Saturday I said to myself “Self, you should get to work early on Sunday morning and use the restaurant kitchen for a blog post because the lighting is better.”

“Great idea Fabi, I’ll do it!!!”

No. Stupid idea. Stupid.

Why on earth would I want to arrive any earlier than my 7:30 am shift, on a Sunday?

No, wait. Why on earth did I stay up until 1:30 am the night before?

Regardless of the stupid situation I got myself into, and regardless of the fact that I arrived at work at 5:45 am in the dark to make this….

I may have created something unimaginably delicious. Something SO good, I’m pretty sure nobody noticed the dark rings under my eyes.

Damson Plum Focaccia.

Have you ever heard of people putting grapes in their focaccia? I have, but never took an interest in making it happen myself. It was only when I was trying to figure out what to do with the pint of plums that I found on my doorstep the other night that I figured I could use the plums instead of the grapes.

Everyone loved it.

It kiiiinda tasted like the dessert pizza at Pizza Hut, except more savoury… not so sweet and not so….fast food-y. Beth said that focaccia is like the french fry of bread. It’s so true….this guy was so deliciously crisp around the edges, and oh my lord. Just the ultimate in goodness.

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