Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Watermelon Gazpacho

Spouts, one of the food chains in this area, has started a monthly blogger get-together, and the second one I attended was at a cooking school called Cook Street School of Culinary Arts. And I've got their Watermelon Gazpacho recipe for you.

This is a view of where we had our class.

The theme was pizza. 

Pizzas are baking!

Here's another shot of the pizza oven. Isn't it great?

Needless to say, I rocked it with the dough-making, kneading, and shaping. Maybe I showed off a little bit. Diego, the sole Sprouts representative at the event, seemed like he had a lot of fun even though his pizza wasn't exactly round. He was a good sport!

We also stretched mozzarella, which was fun. They suggested that you can buy mozzarella curd, but you can also make your own - I've actually done it, and it's fun. (Why haven't I blogged about it? I have no idea!) To make it easier, you can buy a kit for making the cheese from scratch. Or actually from milk. But you knew what I meant, right?

They gave us a bunch of recipes to take home, for pizza, sauce, green goddess dressing, and a basil pesto, but the one that really intrigued me was the watermelon gazpacho. Which was one of the few things we didn't have our hands on. It was served to us as a little starter as the people from the cooking school introduced themselves and told us about what we were going to be doing.

Here's my finished pizza. And yes, that's a glass of wine.

The thing I thought was most interesting about the watermelon gazpacho was that it really didn't taste like watermelon. The tomato flavor was much more pronounced. What the watermelon added was a freshness and lightness. It wasn't like drinking pureed tomatoes.

And then there was the dollop of cheese on top - a blend of creme fraiche and feta that I wanted to steal off of everyone else's glass. I didn't know what it was, but I have to say I was pleased it was so simple. I can imagine using it as a dip with the addition of some herbs or as a dressing on fresh tomatoes and cucumbers.

I usually don't publish other people's recipes here, but I liked this so much I wanted to save it to make later. The recipe makes quite a bit, but it should be easy enough to cut this in half or even make just 1/4 of it.

Watermelon Gazpacho
Courtesy of Cook Street School of Culinary Arts

5 cups watermelon, small dice
4 tomatoes, cored, small dice
1 English cucumber, small dice
1/2 cup red onion, small dice
2 Fresno chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and brunoised (a really small dice)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and finely ground
2 ounces feta
1/2 cup creme fraiche
Salt, to taste

Puree half of each of the watermelon, tomato, cucumber, onion, and chile with the vinegar, oil, and cumin in a blender until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and vinegar, as desired. If it's too thick, add more cucumber or tomato.

Fold in the remaining watermelon and vegetables.

Puree the feta and creme fraiche.

Serve the gazpacho with a small dollop of the feta mix.

Thanks to Sprouts and Cook Street School of Culinary Arts for sponsoring and hosting the event. Some photos are courtesy of Sprouts; photos with captions are mine.


Monday, August 29, 2016

Tomato Rolls with a Herb and Cream Cheese Swirl

Let's just get this out there. I love tomato powder. I use it sort of like tomato paste or tomato sauce, but it's more concentrated, and it doesn't add extra liquid, so it's easy to work with.

So, when my buddies at 37 Cooks hooked up with The Spice House and we could pick anything we wanted, of course I wanted the tomato powder. Along with a few other things.

Well, actually a lot of things. I stocked up on things I use all the time and I also picked up a few new things to try, like the ancho-coffee rub and the porcini salt.

Even before the tomato powder arrived, I knew I wanted to use in in bread, somehow. I've made breads before with tomato powder and cheddar cheese, with tomato powder and olives, and I've made flatbreads with bits of sundried tomatoes.

I even made rolls with a swirl of tomato bread along with white bread.

After I pondered a while, I decided on tomato swirl rolls, and I decided that the swirl would be filled with cream cheese and the Sunny Greek seasoning that I also got from The Spice House.

And then I got to work.

I don't know what it is about swirl rolls, but I love making them, no matter if they're sweet or savory. They're just fun.

And the rolls are pretty much never identical, which I also like. It's not ideal if you're baking for a bakery, but I like the idea that I can have a small roll if that's what I want, or a larger roll. Or one with more or less filling. Because that's how I am. Sort of random and chaotic.

Tomato Rolls with a Herbed Cream Cheese Swirl

For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon Spice House Sunny Greek seasoning

For the dough:
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/4 tablespoons Red Star active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
13 1/2 ounces bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons tomato flour
1/2 cup potato flakes (instant mashed potatoes)

To make the filling:
Combine the cream cheese and herbs in a small bowl and mix until well combined. Set aside at room temperature until needed.

To make the dough:
Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer and knead until the dough is smooth, shiny, and elastic. Cover the bowl and set aside until the dough doubles in size, about an hour.

When the dough has risen, flour your work surface and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with baking spray.

Turn out the dough and roll it into a rectangle about 11 x 16 inches. With one of the long sides of the dough facing you. spread the filling over the top of the dough, leaving about an inch uncovered on the far side. It can be easier to spread the filling with your fingertips rather than using a spatula.

Roll the dough up, jellyroll-style, and not too tight, and seal the seam when you reach the far end.

If the roll is very uneven, roll and nudge is so it's a fairly even thickness, then cut the roll into 12 even pieces. Place the pieces, with one of the cut sides up, in the baking pan.

Cover the pan and set aside until the dough has doubles, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned on top - the sides tend to brown more than the top. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the buns out to cool on a rack.

I received products to work with from The Spice House through 37 Cooks.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Bread Machine Loaf with Farro

Farro, not pharoah. It's a grain, not an ancient ruler.

Yes, yes, yes, I'm still grinding different grains in my new grain mill. I just can't stop. I ordered MORE grains. But I bought the farro at the grocery store in the section where they sell rice and beans and quinoa. This stuff was meant for cooking as-is. Like you'd cook barley or rice.

But that doesn't mean you can't use it as flour.

Bwaaa haaa ha!

Since it's still a bit warm here, I tossed it into my bread machine. I know some people think a machine is cheating, but I cheat anyway, since most of the time I use my stand mixer or my food processor to knead my dough.

And it's not like a build a fire outside and bake the bread in a handmade brick oven. I use a machine - my oven - to bake the bread.

Yeah, the bread machine is easier and the bread isn't hand-formed into an interesting shape, and then slashed for dramatic effect (and better rising).

The resulting loaf is rectangular and has a hole in the bottom where the paddle gets baked into the dough. But it's good for sandwiches and toast and ... I don't have to stop what I'm doing when the dough needs my attention. I chuck all the ingredients into the machine, push buttons, and let the magic happen. And then I get some work done.

Trust me, there will be more artisan-like loaves again here. Just not today, mkay?

Bread Machine Loaf with Farro Flour

1 cup water
1 egg
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons Red Star active dry yeast (or any bread machine or instant yeast)
4 ounces farro flour (I used fresh-ground)
9 ounces bread flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt

Put all the ingredients into your bread machine in the order suggested by the machine's manufacturer (some suggest that liquids go first, some suggest dry ingredients firs) and press the appropriate buttons.

When the bread is done, remove it from the machine and let it cool completely on a rack before slicing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Technique: The anti-trussed poultry

I grew up with a mom who tended to overcook poultry. Or she overcooked the breast. The dark meat was usually fine. But here's the thing. Dark meat can handle being cooked longer and to a higher temperature. It doesn't mind at all. That's why you'll find thighs in recipes that require braising, and you'll find breasts in recipes that cook quickly.

The problem is that the breast is right there, up-top, where it gets the most oven heat. Meanwhile, the joint between the thigh and body is tucked away, protected from all the heat.

And then recipes tell you to truss the bird. Tie its legs together. This is somehow supposed to protect the breast from overcooking. I don't know about you, but I've never seen a chicken that had legs that covered the breast that well. Meanwhile, that thigh joint is still tucked away, right?

A while back, I was working on a chicken recipe where I was stuffing things under the chicken skin, and with all that fussing, the skin tore and the thighs spread away from the breasts and I decided to just go ahead and cook it that way. It wasn't a pretty, round, neat chicken. It looked messy. Lazy. Sort of ... ugly, if I'm being honest.

But here's the thing. That thigh joint was exposed to oven heat, and the chicken cooked much more evenly.

I had forgotten about that chicken until recently. I don't roast a lot of whole chickens. I cook a lot of chicken pieces. But I was cooking a recipe from Sheet Pan Suppers and I saw the words "truss the chicken" and I said "Oh no. I want to anti-truss it." Instead of trying to protect the breast so it would cook slower, I wanted to expose the thighs so they'd cook faster.

And ... it worked! The only downside was that the skin on the thighs didn't get crisp. If the chicken had been cooking on a rack, the thighs would have gotten some air, but the chicken was sitting on a bed of vegetables, so the skin was kind of flabby.

In the photo, the chicken isn't quite done yet, but it's almost there. You can see how the meat in that body-thigh joint is still a little pink. It would have been a LOT more pink if that joint had been protected.

The good news is that breast wasn't overcooked by the time the dark meat was completely done. It was a sloppy looking chicken, but if you serve your chicken cut up, it doesn't really matter, does it? I'm calling it a win. I'm also calling it dinner, and sandwiches, and soup.

Next time, I might remove the leg-and-thigh sections completely so I can roast them skin-up. I mean, seriously. What would you rather have, a chicken that looks pretty, or one that's cooked correctly?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Whole Wheat Focaccia with Olives, Cheese, and Rosemary

This bread actually started out as an idea for a sandwich. Well, it started with salad, but then it quickly turned into a Salad Nicoise sandwich with tuna and kalamata olives.

I decided that foccacia would be the perfect vehicle for my sandwich, and I decided to embed the olives in the bread. I mean, why not?

The bread was also a great way to use a new flavored olive oil I got from a company called Pasolivo. They have a lot of flavored oils, but the one they sent me was a rosemary oil. I adore rosemary, but it can be kind of strong, so I was fairly conservative with it here - I just used it for drizzling on top of the bread. The rosemary flavor isn't super-strong, but that's exactly what I wanted - a hint of rosemary that would compliment the olives and the final sandwich, without overpowering.

If you're using this bread as a stand-alone and you want more rosemary flavor, you could drizzle more oil on right after baking, or substitute rosemary olive oil for the regular olive oil in the dough. Or, even more fun, you could use the rosemary olive oil as a dipping oil for the bread.

Because I'm still in love with my new grain mill, I ground my own whole wheat flour for this. If you don't have a grain mill, of course you can buy flour. It's what most folks do, right? But ... if you want a grain mill ... well, check out this post.

Whole Wheat Focaccia with Olives, Cheese, and Rosemary

4 1/2 ounces (1 cup) bread flour
4 1/2 ounces (1 cup) whole wheat flour (I used freshly ground flour)
1/2 cup (about 3 ounces) semolina flour
2 1/4 teaspoons Red Star* active dry yeast
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water (or more, as needed)
2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
1 tablespoon Pasolivo rosemary-flavored olive oil
1/2 cup pitted and halved Kalamata olives
1/4 to 1/2 shredded mozzarella cheese

Combine the bread flour, whole wheat flour, semolina flour, yeast, cheddar cheese, sugar, salt, water, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix slowly with the dough hook until it comes together. The dough should be soft and sticky at this point. If it's not soft, and is dense instead, add more water as needed.

I've found that freshly-ground flour tends to require less water, so if you're using store-bought whole wheat flour, you're likely to need another 1/4 cup of water, or possibly a little more.

Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is elastic.

Cover the bowl and set aside until doubled in size, about an hour.

When the dough has risen drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil into a quarter-sheet baking pan. Turn the dough out onto the pan and stretch, poke, and cajole the dough to fit the pan. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cover the pan (another quarter-sheet pan turned upside-down makes a great lid) and set aside for 30 minutes.

Drizzle the rosemary olive oil onto the dough. Use your fingertips to dimple the top of the dough randomly. Top the dough with the kalamata olives, spreading them evenly over the dough. Push the olives into the dough. Scatter the mozzarella cheese over the top of the dough. If you want more cheese, I wouldn't say no. But remember - it's not pizza.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, turning the pan around halfway through the baking time if your oven tends to bake unevenly.

Let the focaccia cool in the pan for a few minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

Remember that sandwich?

I cut a piece of the focaccia in half and added mayonnaise, tomato, and tuna. It was really good.

*If you use a brand other than Red Star, let it soften in the water before adding the other ingredients.

I received the Pasolivo Rosemary Olive Oil as a sample for review. I decided to use it in a recipe, instead.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Ultimate Cheesecake for Fall with Pumpkin Spice, Maple, and Pecans

So, every once in a while, the nice folks at General Mills Cereal send me a little care package. Recently, the package contained exactly one thing: a box of Pumpkin Spice Cheerios.

I've said many times that Cheerios have been my favorite cereal since I was a kid. Chex are a close second, but if you offered me a bowl and some milk and told me to choose a cereal from every possible option, I'd choose Cheerios every time.

Pumpkin Spice Cheerios, though?

The first thing I thought of when I saw the box was cheesecake. I happen to love pumpkin cheesecake, and I thought the Cheerios would be perfect as a crust. And once I got the idea into my head, I absolutely had to do it.

Of course, pumpkin reminds me of fall, and once I had those ideas in my head, my imagination went a little wild. What could I flavor the cheesecake with?


How about a little maple? And then I started thinking about pecan pie ... I thought about adding pecans to the crust, but then decided to top the cheesecake with a little dulce de leche and chopped pecans.

This cheesecake is like all of fall's desserts wrapped into one tiny little dessert.

And I mean small. Very small. Not quite a single serving, but small enough that it only uses one single 8-ounce package of cream cheese.

This recipe is inspired by the pressure cooker cheesecake in The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book. If you have a pressure cooker - either electric or stovetop - you should get that book. It's amazing!

Tastes Like Fall Cheesecake
With Pumpkin Spice, Maple, and Pecans

1 cup Pumpkin Spice Cheerios (These are seasonal - use another type if you can't get them.)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 8-ounce package cream cheese (not lowfat or fat-free)
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg at room temperature
2 tablespoons creme fraiche* (or sour cream)
2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
Dulce de leche, for garnish (optional), as needed
Chopped pecans, for garnish (optional) as needed

Set a rack into your electric pressure cooker (I used my Instant Pot) and add 2 cups of water. Have a 6-inch springform pan standing by.

Note: I have what appears to be a 5(ish) inch springform pan, which is pretty unusual. I suggest using a 6-inch springform pan for this recipe, if you have one. Your cheesecake will a little wider and a little less tall than mine, but that's fine. Mine overflowed the pan just a little bit, but you should be fine with a normal 6-inch pan.

Use your food processor fitted with the steel blade to turn the Cheerios into tiny bits and crumbs. If you have a food processor with multiple bowls, use the small bowl so you don't have to wash the bowl after. Add the butter and process until the Cheerio bits are all wet. You can also mix by hand.

Add the crumb mixture to the springform pan. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and a little but up the sides.

Put the cream cheese and sugar in your food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until smooth. Wipe down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well mixed.

With the processor running, add the egg and process until smooth. Next, add the creme fraiche, then the flour. Process for 1 minute.

Add the lemon juice, and vanilla, and maple extract and process again until it's combined. Scrape down the bowl as needed to make sure it's all well-mixed.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Don't cover it. I know you want to, but don't.

Fold a double-thickness of foil (about 24 inches long) in half lengthwise. Use this to form a sling that will hold the pan and allow you to lower it into the pressure cooker and to remove it when the cooking is done. Lower the pan into the pressure cooker and crimp the ends of the sling to fit neatly inside the pot.

Note: my metal rack has handles, so I didn't make the sling. I've used a metal sling before, and it's pretty handy.

Lock the lid on the pressure cooker.

In an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker: Cook at high pressure for 20 minutes. When the time is up, turn cooker off so it doesn't switch to the warming setting and let it reduce pressure naturally. After 15 minutes, vent any remaining pressure manually. (I haven't made this in a stovetop pressure cooker, so I don't know the timing for that.)

Unlock the pot and carefully remove the pan.

Let the cheesecake cool until you see that it has stopped deflating. It only takes a few minutes. Dollop small amounts of dulce de leche over the top of the cheesecake. Use as much dulce de leche as you like. I love the stuff, but I didn't want it to overwhelm the cheesecake. Let the dollops sit for a minute or so to warm up and soften, then spread the dulce de leche over the top of the cheesecake. Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the top of the cheesecake.

Let the cheesecake cool for 1 hour on a rack, then refrigerate it overnight before removing it from the pan to serve. To make it easier to loosen the ring, run a thin knife around the inside edge of the pan before opening the lock..

*Creme fraiche can be expensive, if you buy it. I make my own. Instructions are here to make it in and Instant Pot. Here's how to make it the old-fashioned way.

Thanks to General Mills for sending me fun products to work with! I was not obligated to write about this, or even eat it. But I just had to. Because ... cheesecake!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mockmill #Giveaway

NOTE: This giveaway is now over. But I still love the Mockmill.

How much do I really love the Mockmill? 

Here are some recipes where I used it:

Coffee Coffeecake Cake
Bread Machine Loaf
Whole Wheat Sesame-Topped Loaf

I reviewed it here.

I have a focaccia recipe finished that you'll be seeing soon. Here's a sneak peek.

AND I just ordered more grain on Amazon and I bought some farro from the grocery store. You might think it will be hard to find whole grains to grind, but there are plenty of online sources, and there are probably things at the grocery store that you never thought about - like rice, barley, farro, and spelt. How about quinoa? And steel cut oats? Or you can take coarse-ground cornmeal and turn it into corn flour. How about that?

AND, if you talk to farmers at your local market, you might find some that grow wheat or other grains that are suitable for grinding. They might not sell them at the market on a regular basis, but they might be willing to sell you a 5-pound bag at a good price.

So, yes, this is something I'm using quite often. And while I imagine that I won't be quite this giddy about it in six months, I think I'll be grinding a lot more whole wheat flour and buying a lot less of it. Besides the fact that I like the results I get from it, I also found out that the whole grains have a much longer shelf life than flour. I've had whole wheat flour that has gone stale or rancid, which is a total waste of money. But whole grains can be stored for much longer. Think about it. Grains are harvested once a year. The whole wheat flour you buy in the fall (before the annual harvest) was ground from the previous year's grain harvest. And it's perfectly fine.

Please note that you need a stand mixer for this to attach to - it's not a standalone product. While KitchenAid is probably the most popular brand, it also fits other mixers that have the same power hub. If you have one, you know who you are, right?

I received my Mockmill at no cost, but I'm buying the one for the giveaway. Yes, I love it that much. I want everyone to have one!


Monday, August 15, 2016

Coffee Coffeecake Cake

Lest you think I've gone mad, the title of this came about after I witnessed a long discussion of what you'd expect to get if you were offered "coffee cake."

A large number of people said, "Well, duh, it's a crumb cake. You eat it with coffee, like at breakfast." Or like the olden days on sitcoms when people just randomly stopped by for coffee.

Another segment of folks said they'd expect a coffee-flavoured cake, with walnuts, and a coffee-flavoured icing as well.

See what happened there? The folks who spell flavor as flavour have a coffee cake that uses the word coffee in the same way we would use chocolate if we were talking about chocolate cake.

The folks who spell flavour as flavor probably also verbally pronounce coffee cake as one run-on word. Coffeecake. Not coffee ... cake.

On the other hand, I grew up thinking that this was coffee cake. Ah yes, my mother was the master at confusing me. I grew up with Andy Griffin (Griffith) and I thought there was such a word as dopefeine that rhymed with caffeine (dope fiend).

So after this long online discussion about what was or wasn't coffee cake, I decided that I wanted to bake a cake. Some kind of cake. Perhaps coffee flavored. I started pawing through cookbooks, although really I should have just made this coffeecake and called it a day.

I started with older cookbooks and couldn't find either a coffee cake OR a crumb cake. Finally I found a recipe for what was called a coffee cake, but it was really a sweet yeasted bread and not a cake at all.


So, I cobbled together some notes and ideas and walnuts and coffee and went into the kitchen to grind some soft white wheat berries to make flour to make a cake. Because, well, why not?

This coffeecake is moist and a little crumbly at the same time. It's sweet, but the sweetness is offset a bit by the coffee. It's got crunchy bits from the caramelized sugar and little chewy nubs of walnut. This would be great with coffee. Or a glass of milk. Or maybe just with a fork, for dessert.

If you don't have a grain mill (I have a Mockmill) to grind your own wheat, then just use whatever flour you like and hope to heck that it works. Hah! But seriously, it ought to be just fine with either store-bought white wheat or with all purpose flour. If you use the darker whole wheat flour, you'll probably need just a little bit more moisture - a tablespoon or so should suffice.

Coffee Coffeecake Cake

For the topping:
1/2 cup flour (I used whole wheat. Use what you have)
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Pinch of salt

For the cake:
3/4 cup sugar
6 3/4 ounces (about 1 1/4 cups) white wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup half-and-half (or milk is fine)
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons butter, melted

To make the topping:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix (fingertips work well) until the mixture looks like wet sand and comes together in clumps. Set aside until needed.

To make the cake:
Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with baking spray and heat the oven to 375 degrees. You can also line it with a reusable parchment, which is what I did. (I reviewed it here. You can buy it here.)

Combine the sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl and stir or whisk to combine. You can use your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, if you like.

Combine the half-and-half, milk, egg, and vanilla extract in another container. (You can combine them all in the measuring cup. Start with the half-and-half, then add the coffee, then add the egg and vanilla.) Beat lightly with a fork to break up the egg.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.

Pour the mix into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Sprinkle the topping randomly over the batter.

Bake at 375 degrees until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan and allowing it to complete cooling before serving. You can also leave the cake in the pan and serve from the pan.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Cubano Roasted Vegetables

Let's start off with this: I love Cuban food.

Cuban food isn't anything like Mexican food or like Jamaican food or like ... well, it's not like a lot of foods you might think it's like. Cuban food doesn't use hot peppers, but you will find plenty of non-hot spices, along with citrus and garlic. It's really flavorful, but there's no burn. Don't look for chiles.

As much as I do love spicy food, I also love non-spicy food.

So, when I got a copy of Chef Ronaldo's Sabores de Cuba, I figured it would be a good book for me. I didn't even notice that it was a book put out by the American Diabetes Association. But that's fine, too. I have a few of their books, and the recipes are good. There's not a lot of sugar, obviously, but when it comes to Cuban food, I'm mostly interested in the savory foods than the sweet ones.

I bookmarked a couple of recipes, and had it narrowed it down to just a few. One was black beans and rice. I'm still planning on making that. But meantime, I decided to make a vegetable recipe. I chose Cubano roasted broccoli florets, but used cauliflower instead. because I love cauliflower and I happened to have one waiting to be used. It needed to cook longer than the recipe stated, but I think that's because cauliflower is more dense than broccoli. Or maybe I just wanted it more cooked.

I think this would also be really good with Brussels sprouts.

This is the sort of recipe where a little more or less of the vegetables (or a lot more or less) isn't really going to make a lot of difference. Just add more spice, if you need it, and it's all good.

Cubano Roasted Broccoli (or Cauliflower) Florets
Adapted from Chef Ronaldo's Sabores de Cuba

3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced (I used black garlic)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon lime juice (I added more; lemon would also be good, but try the lime!)
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper (I didn't measure)
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion (I used a whole onion and didn't measure)
2 teaspoons avocado oil (I used olive oil)
16 ounce broccoli florets (I used 1 small head of cauliflower. I didn't weigh it.)
(I also added salt)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easier cleanup.

In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, cumin, lime juice, pepper, and onion. stir or toss to combine. Add the oil and broccoli (or cauliflower) and toss again to combine.

Place the cauliflower (or broccoli) on the prepared baking sheet. (Sprinkle with salt, if desired. The book didn't suggest adding any, but I think it was needed.) Bake until done to your liking. The time it takes depends on how done you like your vegetables. The book suggests 25 minutes for broccoli. I cooked the cauliflower for 1 hour because I wanted some browning.

After tasting the cauliflower, it seemed that the lime flavor was totally gone, so I drizzled a little more lime juice on after it came out of the oven, and gave it another little toss.

Serve warm. This is also good room temperature or cold in a salad.

Monday, August 8, 2016

White Lily White Grape Flour Bread Machine Loaf (and Degustabox)

So, last month I did a review of a Degustabox box. It's a delivery service that sends an assortment of different food products every month.

It's not themed, so you won't get stuck with a box full of items based on a theme you don't happen to like. Some products are things you might find soon in your grocery store and others are a more local or regional.

The item that immediately got my attention was the White Lily All Purpose and White Grape Seed flour. And of course the first thing I thought of was ... bread.

I mean, it's usually the first thing I think of. And it's a really good way to taste the nuances of a flour since there aren't other flavors competing. Bread isn't sweetened like cake or cookies and it doesn't have vanilla or chocolate or nuts or other flavor-forward ingredients.

Well, okay, it could have those things.

But when I'm testing a flour in bread, I like to leave it fairly plain. I just used the basics for this recipe: the White Lily flour, bread flour, water, yeast, and a little bit of sugar, salt, and olive oil. Nothing fancy.

And since it was a warm day, I used my bread machine. Yes, me, the person who wrote a book about bread baking, used the bread machine. Again. It's summer, it's hot, and the bread machine doesn't heat up the house very much.

The bread was interesting. Although the flour was a cream color, the bread had a purple-ish cast to it.

Not the sort of purple where you'd gasp at the weirdness of it, but the sort of purple where you look at it sideways and try to decide if your eyes are playing tricks or if there's something odd about the lighting. It looked a little like a light rye, but with that purple nuance.

The bread didn't have a distinctive flavor, but it wasn't plain bread, either. It was a little richer and deeper, perhaps. I think I'd like to try this flour in cupcakes and see what it's like. For now, I have bread for sandwiches.

White Lily White Grape Flour Bread Machine Loaf

1 cup water
2 1/4 teaspoons Red Star active dry yeast (or bread machine yeast)
1 tablespoon sugar
4 1/2 ounces White Lily White Grape flour
7 ounces bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Put all the ingredients in your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer (some suggest water first, other suggest water last, for example.)

Press appropriate buttons to knead and bake bread.

When the bread is done, remove the bread from the machine and let it cool completely on a rack before slicing.

What's in this month's Degustabox:

Besides the White Lily White Grape flour, there was:

Sir Kensington's Chipotle Mayonnaise
This isn't your regular mayonnaise - it's got chipotle peppers, tomato paste, smoked paprika, and spices. Great on any burger, or a spicy pasta salad, or a chicken salad. Or a marinade. Or deviled eggs. I've got a recipe in mind, so we'll see if it works.

Oregon Chai Tea Latte powdered mix
I've bought this before, and it's pretty darned good . You just add hot water and stir. I also like it chilled - you need to mix it with hot water first, then add ice to chill it down. I'm thinking about using a couple packets to make a chai-flavored ice cream, if I don't manage to drink it all first. Like I said, it's pretty good.

Goetze's Mini Cow Tails candy
I've never had these before, but they remind me of another candy I remember from when I was a kid. These are a nice treat, with caramel and a creamy center. They're the perfect size. They're disappearing fast. There won't be a recipe. Hah!

Loacker Rose of the Dolomites chocolate candies
If you like hazelnut and chocolate, you have to try these. There are little crunchy bits, as well. These are freaking amazing.

Vermont uncured turkey sticks and cracked pepper beef and pork sticks
I'm a huge fan of sausages like summer sausage, hard salami, and similar sausages. These are in that family, They're the perfect snack when I get home and I'm hungry and I need just a little something to tide me over until I have lunch or dinner. The ones I got to sample are 1/2-ounce sticks, but it seems like the ones they sell are 1-ounce, or there are larger 6-ounce sausages that you'd slice.

Popchips Potato Ridges with Cheddar and Sour Cream
I'd seen these in the store, but hadn't gotten around to buying them yet. These are baked, not fried, and have no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. But that's not the important part, right? They taste good. The texture is interesting. They're sort of puffy, but also nice and crunchy. Great for dipping. I'm going to hunt up some other flavors next time I go to the store.

Honey Bunches of Oats with strawberries
I haven't opened this yet - I had a few other cereal boxes open, so I didn't want to have another one opened at the same time. I seldom eat cereal with milk - I either snack on it as-is, or I use it in cooking. This is a new one for me, but I've used plain Honey Bunches of Oats as a coating for chicken.

ALO Allure juice with Mangosteen and Mango with aloe juice
I haven't tried this yet, because it seems like the perfect drink when I need hydration. It's going to hide in the fridge for a while. Interesting thing is that on the side of the bottle is a QR code that leads to some music. That's different. Check it out if you buy some. I have no idea if all the QR codes are different, or if they all lead to the same song.

Goya Maria Cookies
You need to read about these on Buzzfeed. That says more than than I ever could.

That's a pretty impressive lineup of products, right? The box also included recipes, a sheet that showed the products and retail pricing so you know what you'll pay for the goodies when you go to the store (I added it up, and it was $34.53, but they'll cost a bit more if you can't find them locally and have to order online). And, for fun, there's instructions for how to fold an origami swan, and a little quiz.

I have a free subscription to Degustabox.You can get your first box for just $9.99 with the code R7TXK.