Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pomegranate liqueur, part II

day two of this recipe

results of day one, having waited two weeks

3/4 sugar
3/8 c water

lots of paper towels and coffee filters
a couple bowls and a strainer
one large (eg 1.5 quart = 6 cup) glass jar

Set up a strainer over a bowl. Line it with a paper towel and slowly start pouring the pomegranate stuff through it. When it starts draining slowly, stop pouring, wait for the remaining liquid to go through (and/or squeeze it a bit to help it through), change the paper towel for a fresh one, and continue. When you're down to the seeds and pulp, give it a good squeeze inside the paper towel to remove most of the liquid.

Now move the strainer over another bowl, and repeat the paper towel filtration procedure. Move the strainer back over the first bowl, and filter through coffee filters. You can only add a little bit of pomegranate stuff to each coffee filter, and it takes a long time for it to drain through anyway, so this part took me a couple hours. Luckily, you don't have to be standing there watching it, so you can do other things (make lunch, blog, make the simple syrup by boiling together the sugar and water, etc) and just check on it every couple minutes.

I ended up with 3 2/3 c liquid at the end of all this filtering, which means I lost 1/3 c along the way--not too bad. It's still very cloudy, but I think that's fine. Put the liquid in your big jar, add the (slightly cooled) simple syrup, seal, and put in the pantry to age for a couple weeks. You want just one large jar for this step, and you don't want to disturb it while it's aging, because you want the cloudy particulate matter to sink to the bottom of the jar where it will be easier for you to discard it on day three.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Rosemary garlic ciabatta

most of a head of garlic (about 10 cloves)
1/2 c olive oil
3 T fresh rosemary
2 c sourdough starter
1 c warm water
1 t yeast
1 c semolina + some for sprinkling
2 c + 2.5 c bread flour
1 T kosher salt + some for sprinkling

Peel garlic cloves and crush with the flat blade of a large knife instead of chopping. Put the cloves in a little bowl with oil and rosemary, and let sit while the sponge rises.

To make that sponge, combine starter, water, yeast, semolina, and 2 c flour in a large bowl, and stir vigorously. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put in a warmish place (eg oven with the pilot light on) until doubled in size (I got home 6 hr later and it looked great).

Stir to deflate, then thoroughly stir in the by-now-delicious-smelling oil and its contents. Stir in the salt and remaining 2.5 c flour, and knead for a good while to make a sticky, rope-y dough. Good ways to knead this are to pull fistfuls of dough in circular motions around the bowl, or to pull fistfuls up out of the bowl; both methods should result in visibly nice stretchy glutenous structures. As always with bread, the actual feel of your dough matters more than what you've added; if your dough is stiff enough that you could knead it on a board if you wanted to, squeeze in a few tablespoons (even half a cup) of milk and knead until the texture seems right. Cover again and put back in your warm place until doubled (about 2 hr).

Prepare a baking sheet or two by lining with parchment and sprinkling well with semolina. Punch the dough to deflate and split in half. With each half, scrape it out of the bowl and form into a smooth ball by holding it in the air between your hands and quickly and repeatedly pulling the bottom surface up toward the top. Place each ball top-seam-side down on the semolina, and sprinkle with more semolina and a bit of salt. Place the pan(s) in the oven above a pan of boiling water and let rise until doubled (about 1.5 hr).

Take the loaves out of the oven, move the water pan to the top position and the free rack to the lowest position, and start preheating to 450F. Put the loaves in on the lower rack when it's fully preheated, and turn the heat down to 400F. Bake for 35 min until golden brown all over and kinda sorta hollow-sounding when tapped on the bottom. In case they're not cooked through optimally, and as a generally good practice, cool completely (overnight, in paper bags) before slicing. This makes a soft, pungent, and quite tasty bread.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Vegan pumpkin pecan risotto

2 pie-type pumpkins, tops sliced off (and reserved) and insides cleaned
2 T earth balance
1/2 red onion, minced
10 crimini mushrooms, stems removed and caps quartered
1 c pecan halves
4 leaves sage, toasted or fried
2 c arborio rice
3/4 c dry white wine
4 c hot broth

Get those pumpkins ready if they aren't already, and start baking them on a baking sheet (lids on) at 350F while you prepare the filling. Saute red onion in earth balance, then add mushrooms and pecans and cook for a few minutes. Crumble sage leaves over the pan and stir in. Stir in the rice and saute for a few minutes, then stir in wine and cook until it's absorbed/evaporated. Divide the filling between the pumpkins, pour enough broth to cover the filling (a bit less than 2 c) into each, and stick them in the oven (lids off). Bake for a long time (1.5-2 hr), checking on the moisture content periodically and adding more broth as needed. Good as is, but would be better with more pepper and maybe some cinnamon or allspice.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Laura's pizza crust

2 c flour
1/2 t yeast
squirt of honey
1/2 t salt
3/4 c warm water
1/4 c olive oil

Combine everything in a bowl and stir to form a dough. Knead in the bowl for a couple minutes. Split into two halves, wrap each half in plastic wrap or a plastic bag, and put in the fridge. Use after as little as half an hour or as long as a couple days.

To make into pizza, preheat the oven to 500F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle a bit of flour on the parchment, and roll out one ball of the pizza dough on the parchment to cover most of the baking sheet. Top with whatever you fancy (light dry toppings work best) and bake for 10 min until crust and cheese are browning.

Pumpkin and oyster mushroom pizza

one crust worth of Laura's pizza crust

1 T butter
1 shallot, thinly sliced
3 large leaves sage, minced
fist-sized bunch of oyster mushrooms, torn into bite-sized strips
1/4 or less of a small pie-type pumpkin, uncooked
bit of arugula and grated mozzarella

Melt butter in a little cast-iron pan over low heat. Add shallots and sage, and saute until shallots are starting to brown. Add the mushrooms and saute until cooked. Turn off the heat.

Preheat the oven to 500F. Meanwhile (if possible), scrape the seeds and stringy bits out of the inside of the pumpkin, and chop off the peel (this is a nontrivial task). Slice a wedge of pumpkin into very thin slices, enough slices to fit on your pizza. Line a baking sheet with foil, spray the foil with spray grease, lay out the pumpkin slices, and bake for 10 min until starting to cook.

Get out another baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Sprinkle a bit of flour on the parchment, and roll out the pizza dough on the parchment to cover most of the baking sheet. Spread the shallots and mushrooms on the crust, then sprinkle with arugula, then loosely tile with pumpkin slices, then sprinkle on the cheese, then grind on a bit of pepper and salt. Bake at 500F for 10 min until crust and cheese are browning.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pomegranate bulgar salad

1.5 c bulgar
2.5 c broth
juice from one lemon
1/8 t each allspice, cinnamon, chili powder
pods from half a pomegranate
half a bunch each mint and parsley, minced
olive oil, salt, pepper to taste

Put bulgar in a coverable bowl, pour boiling broth over it, cover, and let sit until liquid is absorbed and bulgar is tender (20 min ish). While you're waiting, peel the pomegranate, juice the lemon, and mince the herbs. When the bulgar is ready, stir in everything else. Serve with roasted cauliflower.

Roasted cauliflower and pine nuts

1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
1/2 c pine nuts
1 T cumin seeds
1-2 shallot(s), sliced
olive oil to coat, salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F. Combine everything in a 9x13 pan and stir to make sure things are sufficiently oiled. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender and browning (sorry didn't pay attention to the time). Serve with pomegranate bulgar salad.