Naan

img_6895

img_6875

naan

img_9186

It’s been at least a year since Ashley asked me for the recipe for naan, the traditional Indian flatbread I make regularly. It was on my list of future posts and last week I realized that my dear young friend is moving to Ithaca for grad school this month. Since I had so much fun with both Adam and Megan  starring in the previous two posts, I decided invite Ash to join me for a naan blogfest. So this afternoon, while the clouds gathered and thunder began rumbling in the swampiest of skies, we got out the flour and the rolling pin.

I met Ashley through Brian when they were friends in high school. She shares my love of cooking and pottery and we forged a connection. When Sadie came to live with us as a tiny, feral rescue kitten, Ashley was smitten and offered to become her caregiver. So, for five years, this wonderful young woman has stayed here when we travel, taking care of our house, and loving Sadie as much as we do. And since cats know when people have hearts of pure gold, Sadie can never get enough of her dear friend, Ash.

Naan is traditionally cooked in a tandoor, which is a wood-burning clay oven. I was reminded of this last weekend, when I “cooked” my pots in the wood fired kiln at Canton Clayworks. So, in celebration of that firing, all the pots you see in this blog post were fired there. AND, Ashley helped me to photograph the one I have chosen for my very first Instagram giveaway this week!! Check it out!

In spite of this fun reminder, I do not have a tandoor. Or a wood kiln. Yet. But I recently acquired a stylish, new, cast iron, ridged grill pan from Victoria! I think it works just as well, and have tweaked the recipe for this delicious flatbread so that you can make it using a grill pan or skillet, since I assume you don’t have a bread kiln either.

img_1586

img_1579

img_1577img_1576

img_9213

img_1587

These beautiful flatbreads are chewy, stretchy, tender, and crisp, like a good pizza crust. They are delicious in both sweet and savory applications. I served them last week with the Butterless Butter Chicken. They do, in fact, make a terrific base for a pizza. I like them dipped in good olive oil with sprinkle of salt; a slice of ripe tomato doesn’t hurt. Make a lovely cinnamon toast with butter and cinnamon sugar. Or enjoy as Ash did today, with tahini and honey. Naan can be frozen; thaw and recrisp in a hot oven or directly over a flame.

Naan

Makes 8 naan, roughly 6 inches long and 3 inches wide.

2 cups organic bread flour
½ cup organic whole wheat flour
2 ½ tsp. active dry yeast
2 tbs. cane sugar
1 tsp. fine sea salt
¼ cup yogurt
2 tbs. olive oil, plus a bit more for oiling the bowl
1 cup warm (not hot) water

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl (you may use a stand mixer and dough hook). Make a well and add wet ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon until dough comes together. Transfer to floured board and knead for a few minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Oil the bowl, and place the dough in the bowl; cover with a tea towel and let rise for 30 minutes.

Working on a floured board, use a scraper or knife to divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and form these into smooth balls. Let stand for 5 minutes while you preheat a cast iron grill pan or skillet.

Using just enough flour to prevent sticking, roll the dough balls out into oblongs roughly 6 x 3 inches. Place carefully into preheated grill pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until you can see dark brown marks and the underside is dry. Turn bread 90 degrees to create crosshatches and cook for another minute or so. Flip and cook for 2 minutes. You should be able to develop a pleasant rhythm of rolling and cooking. If this seems too complicated, invite a wonderful, young partner to assist you like I did!

Serve hot, warm, or cool.

img_1585

img_9190

img_9203

Don’t forget to hop on over to Insta to enter the GIVEAWAY!
AND check out all the gorgeous new pots in the Etsy Shop!

 

Posted in baked, baked goods, bread, breakfast, lunch, side, side dish, side dishes, snacks, Uncategorized, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Wood Roasted Chicken with Bread Salad

img_1535

img_1532

img_8822

 

newzuni

 

zubright

Sometimes the things we love horrify our children. As a new, make-it-from-scratch mama living in a town full of apple orchards, I made my babies homemade applesauce as their first foods. They spit it out then, are still equally mystified at its appeal today. Fruit puree notwithstanding, at 25 and 23, they are discerning foodies, great cooks, and sophisticated restaurant critics. Most of the time, they love what I love!

While both of them share my interest in food and cooking, Megan is the one who inherited my interest in food writing. I don’t remember who gave me my dog-eared copy of Judy Rodger’s Zuni Café Cookbook, but for many years it lived on my daughter’s bedside table. When Meg got her first apartment, I gifted her a copy.

Judy Rodgers changed the way I thought about food. She taught me about pre-seasoning meat, and encouraged me to try new combinations of flavors that have become part of my every day kitchen experience. A trip to Zuni has been on my bucket list for more than a decade, and I’m still sad that I didn’t get there while Judy was alive.

Bob and I finally got to San Francisco en route to Kauai in June. I checked the menu weeks earlier and selected: “Chicken for two roasted in the wood-fired brick oven; warm bread salad with scallions, garlic, mustard greens, dried currants, and pine nuts”. It’s a simple dish, and I worried it couldn’t possible live up to the hype. I shouldn’t have been concerned. It was one of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had. And it was super fun texting the kids to tell them about it afterwards.

So after we got home, I started doing my research. I reread Judy’s original recipe, Deb Perelman’s (Smitten Kitchen) version, the New York Time’s rendition, and adaptations from Food and Wine, Saveur Magazine, The Kitchen, and Serious Eats. And then I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. I’d had things pretty well figured out by the time Meg came home to cook with me.

OK, so what distinguishes my recipe? Well, everybody else seems to ignore the fact that Zuni has a wood burning oven. And that the chicken is perfumed by the smoke. I get it, it’s not easy to get that flavor in a regular oven. And this dish is decidedly roasted, not grilled or barbecued. But, since I’ve been “roasting” chicken in my gas grill for years, it was not a stretch for me to figure out how to add a little smoke and create a wood roasted chicken that way. This chicken is moist and tender inside, with well-seasoned, slightly smoky meat, and a shatteringly crisp skin. The bread salad is a symphony of textures and flavors: crisp and soft, salty, nutty, and sweet, a bite of greens, a hint of chickeny goodness.

It was so fun to make and eat this dish with my daughter. I hope you will follow our lead, grab someone you love, and make it, too. And if you have a sip of delicious wine, drink a toast to Judy Rodgers.

img_1521

img_8810

zuni (1)

img_8829

Zuni Inspired Wood Roasted Chicken and Bread Salad

Serves 2-4

It is important to read through this recipe at least 4 days before you plan to make this dish. You will need time for the chicken to season and to make sure you have a few special (inexpensive) items on hand.

For the Chicken:

1 3-4 lb. organic, free range chicken
2 tablespoons sea salt

2-3 days before you are going to serve the chicken, prep and season the bird. Using a poultry shear, cut the bird up the middle of the backbone. Some people cut out the spine, but I like it so I leave it in; up to you. Lay the chicken on your cutting board and, using a sharp pairing knife, make a small cut at the top of the breast (keel) bone. Now, bend the chicken, use your thumbs to separate the meat, and and pop out the bone, pulling to remove it. Here is a video.

Turn the chicken skin side up and, starting at the neck end, use your fingers carefully to separate the meat from the skin; make sure not to poke through the skin. You should be able to create space all the way across each side from the breast into the leg. Now, use your hands to rub sea salt all over the bird, both over and under the skin and on the bone side, too.

Place the chicken on a rack set over a sheet pan and place it in the fridge, uncovered, for 2-3 days until you are ready to cook. The idea is to dry out the skin (which will help it to crisp) and for the salt to season and tenderize the meat.

For this recipe, I am describing the technique using a gas grill with three burners, front to back. If you are using charcoal, or a different burner configuration, send me a comment, I’ll help you figure out how to adapt my method.

You’ll need a green piece of wood from a maple, apple, or oak tree, or a handful of wood chips soaked for an hour and wrapped in foil.

You’ll need a disposable aluminum lasagna pan. Place it under the grate of the grill over the front burner. Pour about ½ inch of water into the pan. Place the wood or packet of chips over the back burner and light the grill.

When the grill is hot and the wood is smoking, clean and oil the grates and place the chicken over the aluminum pan, legs toward the back. Now, turn off the front two burners and close the grill. Remove the wood after ½ hours. Cook for another ½ to 1 hour or until the chicken is well browned and you can see the juices bubbling under the skin. Remove to a platter and let rest for 10 minutes. Carefully retrieve the alum pan, and pour the drippings into a bowl. Degrease if needed.

Carve into serving pieces, making sure to save any additional juices and add them to the drippings.

Serve with bread salad.

img_8817

For the Bread Salad:

You may toast the bread up to 24 hours in advance of serving unless it’s super humid out, in which case, you’ll want to recrisp.

1 small loaf rustic bread (sourdough is terrific), day old is fine
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup dried currants
big handful mustard greens, lettuces, arugula, and/or baby kale
3 tbs. red wine vinegar
2 tbs. good extra virgin olive oil
Chicken drippings
salt and pepper, to taste
Optional: fresh herbs

Preheat oven to 325°. Tear bread into bit sized pieces, place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the bread is toasty and crisp, but not totally dry.

Place croutons in a shallow serving bowl and season with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss well. Add remaining ingredients. Toss again. Taste for seasoning. Top with chicken and serve.

img_8823

img_8824

img_8834

Blog note: I unloaded my kiln, Big Bertha, last week. Last weekend’s wood firing at Canton Clayworks was a great success, and we’ll be unloading this weekend. So, there will be lots of new pots in the Etsy Shop soon!!

Posted in chicken, dinner, entertaining, family, main course, main courses, main dish, poultry, roasted, salad, supper, supper, main courses, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Butterless Butter Chicken

img_6230

img_6245

img_1434

img_1439

butbut

Butter chicken was Brian’s idea in the first place. I’d never even heard of it. When he was a sophomore at GWU, he described a new Indian dish he’d tried at one of his favorite takeout places. At the time, he was looking for anything quick and low-carb to grab between classes.

The following semester, he had an apartment with a kitchen and asked me to help him figure out how to make his own rendition. He knows his mama, and was confident that setting me this task would not only be successful, but also make me happy. So, I did some research and some cooking. And when Brian came home for break, we tweaked. And I put Butter Chicken on my list of dishes to make for future blog posts.

The opportunity to do just that came up this week when I was texting with Adam about dinner plans. Adam is the son of our dear, cherished friends, Tina and Andy, and the brother of Meg’s BFF, Miriam. They are friends that are in the category of “chosen family.” Adam recently graduated from Cornell and got into medical school at the University of Rochester. Yay, Adam!! We were so proud of him, we wanted to have a meal together and celebrate his accomplishments and our love for him.

It was Adam’s idea to cook together and to make a blog post that he could have to consult when he and his beloved, Linda, are cooking together this fall in their new home upstate. We were texting about all the options and Butter Chicken seemed like the perfect choice. It is savory, filling, easy to prepare, inexpensive, keeps well, and is fairly healthy for busy medical students who are sleep deprived and hungry.

So, Adam came over, and we made Butterless Butter Chicken. As we ate together, we shared news and pictures of recent travels and events. We served Adam’s chicken in the faceted bowl I’d chosen to give him as a graduation gift. And then we all went into the village to join his parents for an outdoor music event starring his talented and beautiful mama, Tina Ross. What a perfect evening!

I bet you’re wondering why this dish is butterless. Traditionally, Butter Chicken is made with both cream and butter. And I’ve made it the traditional way. To my taste, the butter made it a little greasy. The flavor of the spices, tomato, and cream predominate…so I don’t think the butter version tastes especially buttery, anyway. When I use a small amount of oil to sauté the ingredients, I feel that the finished dish tastes rich and creamy, but not overly oily. You have my blessing to use butter if you prefer, but I like it better butterless.

My other modification involves the spices. I don’t like curry blends like garam masala, which include “sweet” spices like cloves and cinnamon. So, I choose the ones I enjoy, which are ginger, turmeric, and cumin. If you like others, by all means, add them!

img_8665

img_1433

img_8675

img_1436

Butterless Butter Chicken

Serves 6-ish

2 packages boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 3 lbs.)
2 medium or 1 large onion, large dice
2 tbs. neutral oil like peanut or almond
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbs. minced candied ginger
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. turmeric
1 cup canned crushed tomato
1/4 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste

Garnishes: chopped toasted almonds, sliced scallion

Heat the oil in a big pot or saute’ pan over high heat. Add the onion and cook for a minute or so. Add the garlic and ginger and the spices and toss everything around for a few seconds. Add the chicken and a good pinch of salt. Let the chicken cook for a few minutes, moving it around so that some parts can brown a little. Now, clear a spot on the bottom of the pan and add the tomato paste right to the cleared spot. Kind of mash it around with a wooden spoon so it cooks a little and then mix everything so the chicken gets coated with the spices and the paste.

Cook for a few minutes and then add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Adjust heat so that the liquid is simmering very slowly and put a lid on the pot. Cook for a half hour or so, until the chicken is completely cooked. Turn off the heat. Shred the chicken. The best way to do this is to take it out of the pot and let it cool and use two forks (this was Adam’s job). But if you’re lazy, you can break it up pretty well while it’s still in the pot. Just be careful! Don’t burn yourself!!!

Now, turn it back up to high and add the cream. Cook for a few minutes to thicken. Taste and correct seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.

Serve with garnishes. If you eat carbs, rice makes a nice bed for all the flavorful sauce. If not, any green vegetable (like broccoli or brussels sprouts, steamed or roasted) is great! And I love some homemade naan. Stay tuned for a recipe soon!

img_1440

img_1438

img_1437

img_1435

img_1441

Posted in braise, chicken, dinner, easy, entertaining, entree, family, gluten free, low carb, main, main course, main courses, main dish, one pot meals, poultry, simple recipes, supper, main courses, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Poke Bowl: The Hawaii Post

img_1301

img_8269

poke

I am such a homebody, my mother thinks I’m agoraphobic! My idea of a perfect day is to go for a long run in the woods, come home and dunk in the pool, putter in the kitchen and studio, go for a walk, have a leisurely supper with my sweetie, and then watch a movie in bed.

When I travel, it’s no surprise that I like to do the same things, with a rented space as my base. It is much more fun for me to be away from home if I have a kitchen, however rudimentary. I like the enforced creativity that arises from exploring different tools and ingredients than the ones I have here in my Warwick kitchen.

Last month, Bob and I flew (via San Francisco) to Kauai to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary (our actual anniversary is July 20). This was our 4th time in the archipelago 50th state, second time on Kauai. And if you have never been…yes, it IS paradise!

We stayed at the Hanalei Colony Resort, which I cannot recommend highly enough. It is simple and non-pretentious in a way that allows the natural beauty of the island to predominate. Located on the ocean, it is near the best snorkeling, diving, and swimming beaches on the North Shore, two miles from the famous Napali Coast.

img_1401

img_5621

Every morning, we each took a long run, followed by an ocean or pool swim, and a soak in the hot tub. Then, trips to farmer’s market, or hiking, or snorkeling…a walk in the afternoon, more swimming, and a beautiful supper on our lanai overlooking the Pacific.

If you do make the trip to Kauai, I hope you will follow my lead and check out the farm markets; here’s a partial list of some of the amazing produce we bought from local farmers: lychees, mangoes, pineapple, okra, long beans, lima beans, gorgeous lettuces, and goat cheese. The Dolphin Fish Market in Hanalei carries the freshest, most delicious local seafood; we shopped there twice. And the local supermarkets carry incredibly fresh ahi tuna for poke.

Poke is a Hawaiian raw fish salad, typically served as an appetizer. The recipe developed from fisherman, who would season cuts of freshly caught fish and munch on them as a snack. It is sort of a charming, ever-evolving, island cross between salad and sashimi. We love to serve my version with a green salad for a light supper with some crackers or bread. Here, you see (back in Warwick), a salad of local lettuces, pepitas, and goat cheese. The homemade crackers are gluten-free, made with chickpea and corn flours.

img_8595

img_1406

img_1400

Poke Bowl

So…this recipe contains raw fish. From what I read, raw tuna is safer to eat than raw salmon. But, eat this at your own risk. There. Now you can’t sue me! Needless to say, it is delicious; the texture of raw tuna prepared this way, is like silk. I think it’s a risk worth taking, but certainly if you are pregnant or immune compromised, be advised.

Serves 2-4 (4 as an app, 2 generously, as a meal)

1 lb. sushi grade tuna, ahi is traditional, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 small cucumber (I like kirby here), small dice
1 small jalepeno, seeded, small dice
1 small shallot, small dice
½ tsp. sugar (optional)
juice of half a lime
2 tbs. soy sauce
2 tbs. white wine vinegar
drizzle sesame oil
1 ripe avocado, medium dice
coarse sea salt, to taste

In a small bowl, mix the shallot with the vinegar, a pinch of salt, and the sugar (if you like; I like). Let stand for 5 minutes to mellow the shallot. Then drain and save the shallot-infused vinegar for another use.

Mix all the ingredients except the avocado; taste and adjust seasonings. Refrigerate for 10 minutes and up to 8 hours to let all the flavors merge and to season and lightly cure the fish.

Add the avocado and toss very gently just before serving.

Serve with extra lime.

img_1407

 

Serious Blog Note: It has been said that blogging and social media create the illusion of a perfect life. Those who follow me know that I have fun creating that pretty deception and don’t worry over much about the fact that it is not accurate. But I also know that many of you keep track of me and my life and I have no interest in concealing reality. So, I will pull back the veil for just a minute. Life has its difficult moments, and this is one of them. Both of my parents have been diagnosed with cancer this summer and are undergoing surgery and subsequent treatment. They have good doctors and a wonderful support system of friends and family. I know you join me in wishing them the best.

I am currently battling Lyme disease; will finish my medication later this week and anticipate a full recovery. My beloved tech angel, Mary, is recovering from pneumonia. It has been tricky to maintain a positive focus; continuing to engage in creative endeavors helps me to stay balanced. I am grateful for your kind encouragement!

pokk

img_1405

img_8253

Posted in appetizer, dinner, easy, entree, fish, seafood, dinner, gluten free, healthy, low carb, lunch, main, main course, main courses, main dish, party, picnic, salad, simple recipes, supper, main courses, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Stuffed Grape Leaves

img_1366

img_5816

grape leaves

 

grrr

What does the final week of June mean to you? For most of us, it’s a celebration of the true beginning of summer, school is out, the days are warm and long, the fawns are capering with the bunnies, and the baby owls are finding food all on their own. Time for swimming, hiking, and long walks after supper.

This is the week that always prompts me to think about foraging grape leaves. I first learned about stuffed grape leaves in high school, from my friend Gary, whose Greek mother taught him how to make classic dolma. When I was in grad school, I met Arlene, who was taught to make Lebanese style lamb-stuffed leaves from her mother-in-law.

Arlene and I worked at a hospital in New Jersey in the early 1980’s. We decided to go out on the hospital grounds and pick. According to Arlene, the last week of June is THE week to get them because the leaves are big enough to stuff, but are still thin enough to be tender. So, we were out by the parking lot, picking and chatting, and someone in a car stopped to ask what we were doing. We explained, and they warned us about poison ivy (which seems always to grow and flourish in immediate proximity to grape vines). Another person pulled over and warned us about poison ivy. When the fifth car stopped and the driver asked what we were doing, I said, “We’re picking poison ivy.”

There are many different grape leaf traditions and kinds of stuffings. I’ve made them with rice and with meat, and with meat and rice together. I like them all. This week, I find myself in a low carb mood, so I decided to make these riceless. I happened to have some organic, boneless chicken thighs on hand, so I ground them up myself. Ground turkey, beef, or lamb work equally well.

These are really fun to make and so delicious. They are savory, with a pop of sweet from the currants; the compact shape and size makes them perfect finger food for a party. Enjoy them as a snack, appetizer, or the center of a lunch or supper. They are a great focus for a big Mediterranean spread including hummus (or hummole) or baba ganoush, feta or halloumi,. They’d pair wonderfully with Summer Lentil Salad and/or Tahini Sauce with Herbs, Sriracha Lime Sauce, or Tzatziki.

img_1361

img_8450

img_1370

img_1364

img_8473

img_8480

Stuffed Grape Leaves

Makes 15 or so.

These are terrific hot, room temp, or chilled.

2 dozen grape leaves*, plus a few for lining the pot
1 lb. ground chicken, turkey, lamb, or beef
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
½ lemon, sliced
¼ cup minced parsley or dill
3 tbs. pine nuts
3 tbs. currants
drizzle olive oil
salt, to taste

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except the leaves and lemon. Microwave or pan fry a teaspoonful to check for seasoning.

Line a saucepan with extra or torn grape leaves to prevent sticking.

Use a generous tablespoon of filling (depending on the size of your leaves). Follow my pictures so you see how to orient the leaves and filling. Fold down the top first, then bring in the sides, then roll up, like a burrito. Because this stuffing includes no grains, you can roll them fairly tight. Place them, as you roll them, in the leaf-lined pot. You may stack them once you fill the bottom of the pot.

Once they are all rolled (it went faster than you thought once you got the hang of it, right?), scatter with the lemon slices and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Add ½ cup of water to the pot, cover, and place over high heat. Once the water boils, turn down to simmer. Cook for 8 minutes or so until the rolls feel firm to touch. Feel free to slice one and check for doneness; have a little snack and admire your handiwork! Good job!

*So, you want to forage? Read on! If not, purchase jarred, brined leaves.

Carefully identify grape vines. They grow next to the poison ivy. Choose leaves that are 4-6 inches across. It is best to choose those that are a slightly lighter green; the thinner ones have more light passing through.

When you get them home, cut out the stems with a sharp pairing knife or scissors. Stack 15-20 in a bundle, roll them up like a cigar, and tie with kitchen string. Place the bundles in a pot and add about an inch of water and a good pinch of salt. Cover, and bring to boil. The leaves will turn olive green (see photos). Pull them out of the water with tongs, drain, and cool.

At this point, you may unroll and use them, or wrap in plastic and pop in the fridge for a couple of days, or into the freezer for long term storage. Thaw completely in microwave or salted boiling water before using.

img_8496

img_8490

img_1369

Blog Notes: Pots are selling like hotcakes in our new Etsy Shop. Make sure to check back often as we will be restocking soon!

Please join me in sending good energy to my mom as she recovers from surgery. Loads of love, Mom!

Posted in appetizer, chicken, dinner, entree, gluten free, low carb, lunch, main, main course, main courses, main dish, paleo, party, picnic, poultry, snack, snacks, supper, supper, main courses, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Berry “Cheesecake” Frozen Yogurt

img_5659

img_1333

 

beryyog

I promised you a Kauai post. I didn’t make this promise out loud or Tweet it or mention it here on the blog or take a picture and hashtag it on Instagram. I made it in my own head. And now I’m feeling guilty because this is not the Hawaii post I’d planned. I’d planned to tell you all about our trip and my experiments and wonderful successes with poke bowls. But…it’s been an intensely busy, jet laggy week following our return and I didn’t have time to get to the fish store. But I did make a trip to the Farmer’s Market, and there were berries. And berries don’t keep. So…this is a market driven blog post. And I will get to the fish bowl post next week!

Turning my attention to the gorgeous, red berries, I asked Bob if he would prefer tartlets or frozen yogurt. Bob is, as you know, the tester and taster for DebsPotsBlog. And my husband of (in one month) 30 years! I remembered the cream cheese leftover from Father’s Day brunch (my dad loves bagels with smoked fish and cream cheese on a raisin [ack] bagel). Hmmm…could I make a cheesecakey berry yogurt?

The results were terrific-tangy, creamy, intensely berried, with a hint of that kick we associate with cheesecake. And just look at the color!

img_8350

img_8363

img_8369

img_8384

Berry “Cheesecake” Frozen Yogurt

Use organic, local berries if you can get them. In a pinch, you may use frozen berries.

Makes 1 quart

16 oz. greek yogurt
4 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sugar, preferably organic cane
1 cup raspberries, washed and well drained
2 cups strawberries, washed and trimmed
pinch salt

Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse to break up the cream cheese. Add ¼ cup of the yogurt and process for 30 seconds or so until creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until the color is fairly uniform.

Transfer to an ice cream maker and let it do its thing; serve as is (it will be loose, as in the pictures here), or store for longer in a covered container in the freezer.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, or if you don’t want to bother, you can get a slightly less creamy result without one (that’s what I did). Simply place the mixture in a wide bowl and place in the coldest part of the freezer. Stir vigorously every half hour or so, scraping the sides, until frozen. This version will freeze fairly solid overnight. To serve, simply let it stand at room temp for 15 minutes or so before scooping. Or, zap in the microwave for a few seconds until scoopable.

If you want to enhance the cheesecake effect, sprinkle some crumbled graham crackers on top!

And don’t forget to visit the Etsy Shop!!!

img_8365

img_8380

Posted in fruit, gluten free, healthy, ice cream, snack, snacks, sweets, treat, treats, Uncategorized, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Magic Meringues

 

img_1238img_5251img_8109img_8094I’ve never been a huge fan of meringue. A friend used to make a towering lemon meringue pie for dinner parties and everyone clamored for it. I was secretly a little phobic and queasy at the mere thought. Uncooked egg whites give me the willies in any situation, but especially in a dessert!!! And when you eat American meringue, you never know when you’re going to hit a patch of uncooked whipped egg. Ugh!!!

Swiss meringue or thoroughly baked creations are less scary, but still, the association and the eggy thing…I’ve never been a huge fan. Plus, I”m strongly averse to waste. So, unless I have a recipe calling for a quantity of egg yolks, I’m not about to make something calling for a bunch of whites. The only thing I make regularly that calls for a bunch of yolks, is lemon curd. When I make lemon curd, I often make macaroons with the whites. Which reminds me, I need to give you my macaroon recipe. Remind me!

A year or so ago, I became aware of this trend in the food world. It involved whipping the liquid from a can of chick peas or beans. I paid no attention to this at first because I am generally a late adopter owing to a suspicion of new things discovered by other people. But, eventually, when the trend got a catchy (but ridiculous) name, “aquafaba,” I tuned in enough to read about it. And reading about it make me curious and intrigued, though still suspicious. So, I did a halfhearted experiment, which resulted in an epic fail, and I decided it was bunk.

Months went by in which I felt vaguely guilty every time I poured chickpea liquid down the drain. So, I decided to freeze it instead, though I was still not planning to use it. And then, the other day, I made a chick pea salad, and decided it was time for a committed attempt to understand how this works.

My first attempt looked promising, but was, in fact, another epic fail. The liquid whipped up beautifully and looked perfect, but my little meringues fell and spread in the oven, and while tasty, were not blog-worthy. But now, I was determined. So, I did a little more reading, and defrosted my freezer stash, and tried again. This time, they turned out beautifully. They are sweet, light, crunchy, and slightly chewy, with that tooth-sticky quality that is so appealing about meringues. Bob loved them even though the whole idea made him suspicious. So, if you, like me, are interested in finding out what all this bean liquid fuss is about, stick with me, and I’ll tell you how it’s done.

img_1250img_8080

img_8105

img_8098

Magic Meringues

Makes 20-40 meringues, depending on how big you make them.

1 can chick peas, drained, chick peas reserved for another use
2/3 cup cane or white sugar
½ tsp. vanilla or almond extract

Preheat the oven to 250°. Line two baking sheets with parchment and spray with cooking spray.

Place the chick pea liquid in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until firm peaks form. This may take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar, 1 tsp at a time until the mixture is shiny and the peaks are very firm.

Form meringues using a spoon or piping bag. Or use a gallon size freezer bag and cut off a corner (my method). You may make them any size you like.

Bake for 90-120 minutes until they are firm and dry to touch. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for several days.

Tips and Tricks:

*Don’t try adding stuff like cocoa or other flavorings. It might seem like a great idea, but it makes them sag in the oven.
*Make sure the peaks are really stiff. That seems to be the secret to keeping them from deflating while they bake.
*You can freeze and thaw the aquafaba and it will still whip up fine. So save that bean liquid.
*Don’t worry if it smells beany when raw, it will taste like real meringue (but not gross and eggy) when baked. I can’t explain this, but who really cares?

img_8108

brimer

img_8112

Please visit the Etsy Shop!!! We’d love your feedback. And DebsPots make great Father’s Day gifts!

Posted in baked, baked goods, baking, dessert, gluten free, sweets, treat, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments