This recipe comes from The Perfect Cookie, a cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. It’s the first recipe I’ve tried out of that book, and so far it’s living up to its title. The baking soda gives these a great cracked surface, and baking them longer at a lower temperature makes them completely crunchy like a good gingersnap should be, not chewy like a molasses cookie.Continue reading The Best Gingersnaps
We’ve pretty much only been eating food from Costco and Smart Foodservice since March, so it’s good to have some recipes that work with ingredients we can get from there. Today was omelets:Continue reading Salmon & Goat Cheese Omelet
I’m making a couple quick batches of pickled baby carrots today, to see what variations on Alton Brown’s recipe do. For the first batch I’m using the recipe straight from Alton Brown. For the second batch I’m adding 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, doubling the crushed chili peppers, adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and using white vinegar instead of cider vinegar. Oh, and I added a dash of cayenne, because why not.
The hard part will be letting them sit for a week before trying them. The last batch I made, I ate within the next 48 hours. It had no discernible heat, though, and in theory letting Alton’s recipe sit for a week could have brought that out. So these two batches I will do my best to leave alone at least until the weekend.
Note to self: the jar with the black tape on it is the experimental batch. Also, Alton’s recipe calls for 1/2 pound of carrots, which is nuts. That amount of liquid is more than enough for a whole pound.
Posting this here because we keep meaning to try to recreate the recipe, and then losing the photo of the ingredients.
Javier’s Red and Green Sauces, from Veggie Alley, circa 2011:
Green: Cilantro, Parsley, Vinegar, Salt, Olive Oil
Red: Red Bell Pepper, Jabanero, Onion, Garlic, Salt, Olive Oil, Vinegar
It’s summer, which means ginger beer! Or, I guess, force-carbonated ginger lemonade.
The batch I just made had these proportions:
- 160g lemon juice
- 150g ginger juice
- 250g cayenne simple syrup
- 1000g water
The cayenne simple syrup was made with 1 cup each of sugar and water, and 1 teaspoon of cayenne. It has a bit of heat right now; we’ll see if it gets hotter as it sits. If so, maybe cut that back to 1/2 a teaspoon, because I think where it is right now is good.
We originally set out to clone Rachel’s Ginger Beer, but our test batches kept tasting not ginger-y enough, and I haven’t had a reference taste of RGB recently. I’d be willing to bet that even without the cayenne, this has more of a kick now, though.
The recipe we started with called for 1 part ginger, 2 parts lemon, 3 parts simple syrup, and 10 parts water. After a bunch of experimentation, we seem to like it with roughly equal lemon and ginger, and a bit less sugar. The cayenne is a new experiment with this batch, based on really liking Columbia Gorge’s Meyer Ginger Lemonade, which has some cayenne in it. We’ll see if that’s worth keeping or not.
A note on carbonation: I’m carbonating this with a rig I put together myself after I’d crunched the numbers on whether it made more sense to buy a SodaStream or put together a carbonation rig from the homebrew supply shop. Here’s what I wrote about it at the time:
“Basic ball-lock keg kit (regulator, gas hose, beer hose with party faucet, fittings): $55. New aluminum 5-lb CO2 tank: $65. Carbonation cap for PET bottles: $15. Shipping: $8. Fill-up of CO2 tank at local fire extinguisher supply house: $15. Total cost: $158. (And I have some extra parts that I can use to tap a corny keg should one of my homebrewing friends bring me one of his batches.)
The cheapest basic sodastream starter kit runs around $85, so up front, I’m down $73. (That’s the lowest-end sodastream kit’s online price, mind you, not including shipping or tax. Buying one of the higher-end models at retail, I might be breaking even already.)
A 60L sodastream tank holds 14.5oz of CO2. So one refill of the 5lb tank is equivalent to 5.5 sodastream tanks. Each 14.5oz tank exchange costs $15, and I’ll need 4.5 more of those to match the amount of CO2 in my tank. That’s $67.50, so by the time I need a refill of my tank, I’ll only be down $9.50.
By the time I’ve gone through my second tank of C02, I’ll have spent another $15. If I had gone with sodastream, I would have needed another 5.5 tank exchanges, or $82.50. At this point, I’ll be ahead $58. Every time after this that I fill my tank, I’ll be ahead by another $67.50.
And that’s ignoring the fact that there’s nearly 10% local sales tax on the sodastream tank exchange, while the $15 refill of my 5lb tank includes tax. It also ignores the fact that sodastream bottles (the ones the soda goes in, and which need to be replaced periodically) cost $10 each, while reused 2L or 1L bottles are essentially free for me.”
Cam told me about shrubs (the colonial preservation method of making a vinegar syrup) the other day, as a suggestion for what we could do with our rhubarb. So I’m trying it today. I’ll update this post as it develops.
So far, I’ve cut up two ~9 ounce bunches of rhubarb, added 9 ounces of sugar to each, and about 2 ounces of ginger to one of them. I’ve got them sitting for a while now, and will macerate them and let them sit at least overnight next. After that, I’ll add 9 ounces of Rockridge apple cider vinegar and let them sit at room temperature for a couple of days, and then in the fridge for a week or two before straining.
Back in September, I backed a Kickstarter project for “Captain Crepe Pan“, a guy raising money to make cast iron crepe pans on a larger scale than he could do at home. I think Cam pointed it out to me originally, and hinted that it might be a good Christmas present, what with us collecting manhole covers and enjoying crepes, and this basically being a small manhole cover you could cook on. The project made five times its funding goal, and our pan arrived on the morning of Christmas Eve, just in time to be a present, hooray! The creator had offered a seasoned and non-seasoned version of the pan, and I asked for non-seasoned so I could give the method Sheryl Canter posted about a try.
Well, first I got a 60-grit sanding wheel for the drill and spent half an hour sanding the cooking surface smoother. The maker had ground off the casting flash and the worst of the roughness from sand casting, but it was still a pretty pebbled surface, and while I’m sure it would have worked just fine if I’d seasoned it as it came, I wanted to start off smoother. So half an hour with a sanding wheel later, it felt pretty smooth and I started seasoning it.
Wow, flax oil is definitely the way to go for seasoning cast iron. I’m tempted to get some oven cleaner and un-season most of our other cast iron objects so I can re-season them with flax oil. (Although if I do that I’ll also want to borrow an angle grinder so I can smooth the bottoms of the Lodge pans we have — they’re ok, but they’re no Griswold.) Six very thin coats of flax oil later, the surface of the crepe pan is very, very slick. I fried an egg on it as a test, and had no issues with sticking whatsoever.
In fact, it might be a little too slick — during the first test batch of crepes I made tonight, I lost one crepe off the side of the pan when I underestimated how easy it would be to rotate the crepe with my fingers. I gave it what I thought was a little push to get it un-stuck, and it shot right off the side. I guess it hadn’t been stuck at all to begin with. Oops.
It’ll take a while to get the motion with the batter spreader down, but around the fourth or fifth crepe I made, I think I was starting to get it. (The spreader, incidentally, was difficult to find at retail — the clerk at the restaurant supply store suggested I try Sur La Table, but I didn’t feel like going down there, so I went to Rockler and got some cherry dowels and made my own.)
The pan is 13 inches in diameter, so it’s smaller than a commercial crepe machine (which are 15 3/4″ in diameter, and cost upwards of $650) but larger than any other home crepe pan I’ve seen (which seem to all be 11″ or smaller). About four ounces of batter seems to be the right amount to spread right out to the edges without spilling over (which should tell you something about the size of the finished crepe — Alton Brown’s recipe calls for one ounce of batter per crepe). It heats pretty evenly, possibly thanks to the design on the non-cooking side, and I suspect would heat even more evenly if I cleaned the burner on the stove. There are no handles, so you have to let it cool before taking it off the stove, unless you’ve got welder’s gloves and a heatproof place to store it.
I’m looking forward to putting it to a lot more use. Once we’ve got the technique down and the house cleaned up, I hope we can have friends over for a crepe party. If you’re interested in getting your own pan, he’s taking pre-orders for a post-Kickstarter round of pans at CaptainCrepe.com.
We were introduced to socca, a vegan and gluten-free flatbread, by Mike Dash of Rolling Fire when we took a class on wood-fired cooking through the Experimental College. Mike has been tuning his recipe for years, adjusting the ratios of ingredients, trying special pans, adjusting resting times, and the like. His socca is delicious: creamy and eggy on the inside, crispy and crunchy on the edges, and perfectly balanced in its seasoning.
It’s also only available once a week when he’s at the farmers’ market, and not at all during his off season.
Happily, The Minimalist is right:
I’ve eaten and made both socca and farinata in Nice and in Genoa, and I’ve made it at home a hundred times. It is foolproof and 90 percent as good made in your oven as when whisked from the wood-burning ovens of Nice to the street stands in the market. It’s so simple and its flavors are so pure that unless you buy rancid chickpea flour you will get it right the first try.
Socca made at home from this recipe is merely very good, not transcendent like Mike’s. But that’s good enough for me.
- 1 cup (120g) garbanzo/chickpea flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill, but would like to try grinding my own)
- 1 cup (227g) water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (about 100 turns on the grinder we have)
- about 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, maybe a little more
Whisk all the ingredients together in something you can pour them out of easily; I use a 2-cup pyrex measuring cup. You don’t want any lumps. Set the mixture aside, not in the refrigerator. Ideally, do this several hours before you’re going to actually cook it; I believe that letting it sit for a while to hydrate will lead to a creamier consistency in the final result. But I haven’t actually tested this, since by the time I’m putting together the batter, I want socca as soon as possible.
Anyway, once you have the batter mixture put together, set your oven racks to the middle and high positions if you have two; just the high if you only have one. Put a 12 inch cast iron pan on the rack and set the oven for 450 degrees. I’m using a Lodge 10-1/2-inch round griddle, which makes for a thicker socca than the 12-inch pan the Minimalist recipe calls for. I like it a bit thick, so that works for me. Once your oven has reached 450 degrees, set a timer for 10 minutes and leave the pan in there to get good and hot.
After the pan is hot, take it out and swirl some oil in it (maybe a tablespoon? I never measure), making sure the entire pan is coated. Set the pan back down on the stove and pour the batter in from the center. It should sizzle and push the oil out to the edges. Carefully put the pan back in the oven, and set the timer for 12 minutes.
After 12 minutes, brush the top of the socca with some oil if it looks dry, then turn on the broiler and move the pan to the upper rack. Broil the socca for 3 minutes to get a bit of a charred crust around the edges. Take the pan out of the oven and remove the socca with a thin spatula. Cut it into quarters and eat while it’s still hot. Om nom.
I could probably go through a bottle a week of Mr. Mobley’s tahini sauce. This is not quite that sauce — I’ve been fiddling with the proportions, but I doubt I’ll ever capture the magic that is Mobley Sauce. Still, it’ll do.
You’ll need to get out your scale for this one. A batch this size comes together well in a two-cup pyrex measuring cup. As far as the oils go, I’ve used canola, sunflower, and peanut oil, and they’ve all been fine. (The peanut oil is especially nice when I use the sauce on whole-wheat noodles.) You could probably sub in some olive oil for some of that, and it’d still be very tasty.
A generous half-cup of neutral oil
100g well-stirred tahini (I’ve been using the Once Again brand)
40g low-sodium tamari (I like San-J)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp maple syrup (“Are you serious?” Yes. Yes, I am.)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 small fresh garlic cloves or 1 big one, crushed
Stir the tahini into the oil. Then tare the scale, add the tamari, and whisk it together with a fork. Add the seasonings, tare your scale one more time, and add the water. Whisk.
You can use this immediately, but it improves over a few hours. Good on pasta, rice, potatoes, vegetables, and I expect it’d be great with tofu.