Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Home Made Ponzu

The salad that started the search for ponzu.
I usually buy ponzu in a bottle, but recently I needed some to make a salad dressing recipe and even thought I clearly remembered a bottle of ponzu sitting on the lazy susan in the cabinet with similar items, I couldn't find it.

It wasn't hiding in the cabinet where oils and vinegars lurk. It wasn't on the lazy susan with unopened sauces. It wasn't in the refrigerator. It wasn't anywhere that an open bottle should be hiding.

And it wasn't on my grocery list, which is where it should have been if I actually finished off the last of that opened bottle and threw it away.

Bah, humbug. 

Then I realized that the book I was using (Japaneasy) had a recipe for home made ponzu. Hmmm. I'd never really thought about making it, but after I saw the recipe, I as stunned at how easy it was.

I may never buy ponzu again.

Or, to be clear, I may never buy ponzu again after I finish off the two bottles of unopened ponzu that I found a few days after I couldn't find the opened bottle I was sure I had.

Ponzu
From Japaneasy by Tim Anderson
Small batch makes about 1/3 cup. Large batch makes about 1 cup

Small batch
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice, or a combination
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon vinegar

Large batch
7 ounces soy sauce
4 tablespoons lemon or lime juice, or a combination
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar

Combine all ingredients in and stir to dissolve the sugar. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Yum

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Cali'flour Kitchen Eggs in a Basket #AbramsDinnerParty

As part of the Abrams Dinner Party, I've been getting a ton of cookbooks published by Abrams Books. This time around the book was Cali'flour Kitchen.

Cauliflower has gotten trendy these days, thanks in part to the low-carb movement using cauliflower to make pizza crust. I never tried that particular delicacy, but when I got the book Cali'flour Kitchen by Amy Lacey, I figured I'd be making some of that crust.

But then ... they also offered some of their pre-made crusts, so I just moved on to using them rather than making them. Easy peasy.

The book isn't ALL about the crusts, though - there are recipes for using cauliflower in all kinds of recipes, including soup, mashed cauliflower, buffalo cauliflower ... there are recipes for making and using cauliflower rice, and for using cauliflower in pretty much every was imaginable ... and some ways that I might not have imagined.

So, anyway, the pizza crusts arrived, I had no other plans for dinner, and I browsed the book to see what recipes I could make with what I had on hand.

First, I decided to try avocado toast because I happened to have avocado on hand. They had a pretty long list of variations, and like most avocado toast it starts with smearing mashed avocado on the toast. Or in this case, on the cauliflower pizza crust. The caprese version had tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. I didn't have fresh basil, so I left that off. Another version had salsa.

I don't know that I'd ever consider combining avocado and cauliflower on a normal day, but I figured I'd give this a try, and it was certainly interesting. To be totally honest, I think I'd prefer regular toast, but then again I don't have issues with wheat flour. For folks who can't have wheat, these recipes - and the pre-made crusts - are a great option.

Next up, I tried the eggs in a basket, which were pretty familiar. Basically, you cut a round hole where you want the egg to nestle, then cook the egg and crust together in a skillet along with some cheese. You almost don't need a recipe for this, considering it's so simply, but since you'd be working with a cauliflower crust rather than bread, it's nice to have the tips for working for the crust.

After trying both recipes, I have to say that the eggs in a basket inspired me a bit more, because I happen to like the flavor of cauliflower and cheese together. I think it would be awesome with some roasted red peppers.

If you're going low carb or you need to stay away from gluten - and if you like cauliflower a lot, I think you'll enjoy this book. But that's not all. Every recipe indicates whether it's gluten free, grain free, paleo, keto, vegan, vegetarian, or dairy free.

Oddly, I'm none of those, but there are still a bunch of recipes that sound pretty interesting. Hello, cauliflower ... nice to eat ya!

Yes, I did get the book at crusts at no cost to me.

Yum

Monday, January 14, 2019

Chocolate Sorbet #AbramsDinnerParty

As part of the Abrams Dinner Party, I've been getting all of the cookbooks from Abrams Books at no cost to me. Yay, me. Send bookcases.

The most recent book to land with a thud on my doorstep was Ibiza, Land and Sea by Francoise Pialoux.

The subtitle of the book is 100 Sun-Drenched Recipes, so of course I expected a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. And since Ibiza is an island off the coast of Spain, I expected seafood.

There were a couple potato recipes that looked pretty darned good (I kind of love potatoes and had a fresh bag of them waiting to be cooked), then I thought about making a lemon tart (mmm, lemon) or eggplant parmesan.

But then I found myself in the chocolate chapter, and I got stuck there. And then I saw the chocolate sorbet. I knew I had to make it.

This is a freakishly simple recipe with just a few simple ingredients. The result is pretty amazing. It's rich. Almost like a very cold ganache or a super-rich gelato. If I didn't tell you there was no dairy, you might assume it's simply a super-rich ice cream. It's not crazy sweet, but it's sweet enough. But still, you could serve it with something sweet, like the dulce de leche in the book, or maybe a pillow of sweetened whipped cream. But really, it's great on its own, although I really do suggest small servings. It's worth savoring.

Because this has so few ingredients, you'll want to choose a chocolate that you love, because that's what this is going to taste like.

The recipe calls for mineral water, which isn't something I ever have on hand, so I used plain old tap water. Next time I'm at the store, I'll grab some mineral water and see what difference it makes.

Since this book has a European heritage, it's assumed you're going to weigh the ingredients. I'm fine with that, but if you don't have a scale, you'll need to convert the weights to volumes. Some of the ingredients also needed a little translation, like the caster sugar called for in this recipe. I couldn't remember if caster sugar was granulated or powdered sugar, so I asked my cooking buddy Alexa who told me that it was a finely granulated sugar. I went with regular granulated sugar. It was supposed to melt, anyway, so it seemed like it would work.

This stuff is definitely a keeper.

Chocolate Sorbet
From Ibiza, Land and Sea by Francoise Pialoux

120 grams (4 ounces) caster sugar
200 grams (7 ounces) dark chocolate, 53-60% cocoa solids
80 grams (2 1/2 ounces) bitter chocolate powder

In a saucepan, combine the caster sugar (I used regular granulate sugar) with 1/2 liter (2 cups) mineral water. (I used tap water. Yes, I'm a risk taker!)

Heat over a moderate flame, stirring until the sugar has melted.

Now add the chocolate, broken into pieces, and mix. Remove from the heat as soon as the chocolate has melted.

Add the cocoa powder, stir, and allow to cool.

Pour into an ice cream maker or turbine to freeze.

Yup, I did get this book at no cost to me.
Yum