Red Cabbage Lime Cilantro Cole Slaw

Red Cabbage Lime Cilantro Cole Slaw

So I had half of head of red cabbage leftover from my red cabbage, goat cheese and walnut salad and hated for it to go to waste. I was making some lovely grilled trout and corn on the cob for dinner and thought about what would go well alongside that would be fast, easy and didn’t require any ingredients that weren’t already in my fridge. I was able to throw this together in minutes in the morning and left it covered on my counter until dinner. I hadn’t planned on blogging about this since it seemed almost too simple. But when my husband saw how beautiful it looked he decided to take a photo. And then of course, it tasted great. So especially now that it is officially barbecue season, this is one side that goes with just about any grilled meat or fish. I don’t actually have a grill, but broiled or oven roasted foods work well too. The amounts are a guideline and can easily be doubled or tripled.

Red Cabbage Lime Cilantro Cole Slaw 

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

1/2 small head of red cabbage, cored and sliced thinly

1 medium carrot, peeled and grated with the large grate (or if you are REALLY lazy, you could use the bought julienned carrots)

Juice of 2 fresh limes

4 Tablespoons EVOO (I used a Meyer Lemon EVOO but you could use just a good quality plain EVOO)

1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin

1 small bunch of cilantro, coarsely chopped

freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Directions

Toss everything in a non-reactive bowl and cover for a few hours, tossing when you think of it.

Vegan Apple Raisin Cake with Applejack Sauce

vegan-apple-cake6My niece and nephew hosted Friday night dinner and I agreed to help by making dessert. Because of dietary restrictions, the dessert needed to be vegan. I decided to use this as an opportunity to come up with a new apple cake recipe that would be good enough for Thanksgiving or anytime you wanted something special for a crowd. I am using the Smitten Kitchen Apple Cake and my own Vegan “Honey” Cake as the source for this inspiration. This cake will not only feed a crowd, but is actually better made ahead so the flavors can fully develop. I find when I am preparing for a big holiday dinner, I like things that I can make ahead so I am not exhausted on the day when everyone descends. This cake could even be frozen without the Applejack sauce which could then be made the morning of or the night before you are going to serve it. Just defrost the cake fully before serving. And if you don’t want the Applejack sauce, you could simply dust this with confectioner’s sugar when you get ready to serve it. After a day, the center of this cake takes on an almost bread pudding-like consistency, fragrant with apples, raisins and spice.

Vegan Apple Raisin Cake with Applejack Sauce

Yield: About 10 servings  vegan-apple-raisin-cake

Ingredients

For the cake

5-6 flavorful baking apples (There are so many varieties out there and they differ locally so choose something other than Granny Smith. It could be McIntosh, Honeycrisp, Jazz, Jonagold, Braeburn, Ambrosia…) I used Jonagold and because they were on the biggish side, I used 5 apples.

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 cups plus 5 Tablespoons granulated or Demerara sugar

3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt

1 cup Canola or other vegetable oil

Zest of one lemon

1/4 cup apple cider or apple juice, preferably fresh

1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

3/4 cup raisins soaked for at least 1 hour in 1/4 cup Applejack, Apple Brandy or Apple Cider

Aquafaba from one 15.5 ounce can of chickpeas (This is the liquid from the can that has been strained. Use the chickpeas for a wonderful salad or in homemade hummus.)

For the Applejack Sauce

1.5 cups of confectioner’s sugar

4 Tablespoons Applejack (Hard cider) or apple cider

2 to 3 Tablespoons apple juice or cider OR reserved liquid from apple-raisin mixture

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

For the cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Either butter and flour a 10-inch tube pan with straight sides or use one of the cooking sprays with flour (Baker’s Joy or Pam – these have been a revelation for me and have made cake baking so much easier!)
  2. Peel, core and chop the apples into 1/2-inch dice. Toss them with the cinnamon, 5 Tablespoons of sugar and the lemon zest.
  3. Using a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, apple cider, vanilla and remaining 2 cups of sugar.
  4. Drain the chickpeas, placing the liquid in the bowl of a standing mixer. Using the balloon whisk attachment, whip the aquafaba on high for 10 minutes. You should have soft white peaks.
  5. Stir the oil mixture into the dry ingredients. The result will be quite stiff. Drain the raisins and add them to the apples. Pour the remaining liquid into the batter. Now scrape all of the whipped aquafaba into the stiff batter and mix thoroughly with a heavy spoon until you have a smooth, workable batter. This takes a little elbow grease!
  6. Pour 1/2 of the batter into the prepared pan. Using a spoon or your hands, take 1/2 of the apple-raisin mixture, straining any liquid that may be in the bowl and reserving it and place the apples-raisins over the batter in the pan. The reserved liquid can be added to your Applejack sauce. Cover the apples with the remaining batter and gently smooth it out so the batter is even. Now take the remaining apples-raisins and cover the top of the batter, gently pushing the mixture into the batter.
  7. Place the pan in the hot oven and bake for about 1.5 to 1.75 hours or until a tester comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and cool completely. The top will sink down some but don’t worry – it’s fine. When you are ready to serve, turn out the cake and carefully flip it over onto a serving platter so that the apples are now on top again. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve the sauce on the side, if you are using it.

For the Applejack Sauce

  1. Sift the sugar to get rid of any lumps.
  2. Whisk all of the other ingredients together. Taste and adjust the sweetness by adding more confectioner’s sugar, if desired. Just before serving, give it a good stir with a fork or whisk. You can zap it in the microwave briefly, if you like- just enough to warm it without killing off the alcohol.  vegan-apple-cake5

Fruit Compote

img_2741I don’t know if it is because my parents are both now dead or if it is because the world seems like such an unsettled place these days – or simply because it is winter – but I seem to be turning more and more to simple comfort foods. I’m sure you noticed that I did not say because I am getting older! While it may seem strange, I have never been what I term a “foodie.” I have not been terribly interested in fads and eating at fancy restaurants where they mist my food in front of my nose and call it dinner. That is no place that I want to eat. I may enjoy the artistry involved in some of these creations, but it is not how I would choose to spend my money or tickle my palate.

I have been making this fruit compote for as long as I can remember and my mother made it before that. I have no idea where the recipe, such as it is, came from. It is simple to make and wonderfully versatile. It is equally good on its own as it is over a good pound cake and I have used it to stuff Rock Cornish Hens or loin of pork. It lasts a very long time in the fridge and every time I eat it, I recall my father teasing my mother about serving “ein bisschen com-putt.”

There is no magic mixture of fruit to use and you can buy packages of mixed fruit. I would recommend buying really good quality dried fruit, preferably unsulphured. I usually make sure that I have dried apples, pears, apricots or peaches, prunes and figs, but I will use what I happen to have around as I have done this time because I am too lazy to go shopping. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. This can be enjoyed warm, at room temperature or even cold from the fridge over vanilla ice cream. This humble dish will definitely brighten these dark days. Tomorrow I will post an orange currant pound cake to go well with this.

Fruit Compote

Yield: About 10 servings

Ingredients

1.5 pound of mixed dried fruits

3 cups of cold tap water

3 fat cinnamon sticks

1 teaspoon of whole cloves

1.5 cups of granulated sugar

2 or 3 thinly sliced strips of lemon peel, yellow part only

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Directions

  1. Soak the dried fruit in the water for 3 hours
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F
  3. Drain the liquid through a sieve into a saucepan and arrange the fruit in a non-metal baking dish
  4. Add the sugar to the water and cook the mixture on medium high heat for a few minutes, stirring until the sugar is dissolved
  5. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves and lemon peel in with the fruit. Pour the sugar syrup over everything
  6. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes to one hour or until the fruit is plump and tender. How firm you want your fruit is a matter of personal taste
  7. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fruit and allow it to cool. I like to store mine in a glass jar.

 

 

Focaccia

img_2648If you have been following my blog then you know that I broke my foot over Thanksgiving, so between that and the polar vortex we have been under, getting out has not been a priority. That doesn’t mean, however, that I am willing to compromise on food. I had made some eggplant Parmesan for dinner and knew that we would be having soup or pasta in the next couple of nights. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any good bread in the house to go with these dinners and as my readers also know, I LOVE  good bread. None of this no carbs nonsense for me. I would much rather go without meat than bread. Okay, I’ll get off of my soapbox now.

I decided on focaccia which is really quite simple to make. While I don’t have a brick oven, I do have bricks in my oven as well as a pizza steel. The bricks I picked up from a construction site… They stay in my oven all the time and have also come in handy when I need to press something down like my tofu. No buildings were harmed in the process.

I started with a recipe from The Italian Baker by Carol Field. I have made a few things from this cookbook and so far they have required some adjustments. I also like to improvise a bit so since this recipe makes three focaccia, I chose a different topping for each: sun-dried tomato, olives and just sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Once you learn the basics, you can fool around. Sometimes the results are amazing and sometimes not, but rarely is something such a failure as to be inedible. So loosen up and have fun. Try this with my White Bean Soup with Pesto and Chorizo. And as an extra bonus, these focacce also make great sandwich bread, split like you are dividing a cake for layer cake. Try it with homemade pesto, herbed turkey breast and arugula or radicchio.

Focaccia alla Genovese  

Yield: Three 9-inch round focacce or two 10.5 inch x 15-inch rectangular focacce

Ingredients

2.5 teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet, although this is a very inefficient and expensive way to buy yeast)

1/4 cup warm tap water

2.25 cups plus 1 Tablespoon tap water, room temperature

2 Tablespoons EVOO plus more for the pans

About 5.5 cups of flour ( I used a mixture of 3 cups all-purpose and 2.5 cups of bread flour)

1 Tablespoon fine sea salt

Fresh or dried herbs (optional)

Directions

While this can be made in a machine, it is so easy to make by hand so I am only including instructions for that method. If you want to make it by machine, buy the book!

  1. Stir the yeast into the 1/4 cup of water in a large mixing bowl. (My house tends to be on the chilly side because I like it that way, so I always run hot water to rinse my bowl before adding yeast.) Allow to stand for about 10 minutes. You won’t see a whole lot happening but the yeast is blooming.
  2. Stir in remaining water and EVOO. Add 2 cups of the flour and the salt and stir until smooth. (If you like, you can add about 2 to 3 Tablespoons of fresh chopped herbs like rosemary or sage or 1.5 Tablespoons dried at this point.) Stir in 3 more cups of flour, one cup at a time, until the dough comes together. Knead on a lightly floured surface, adding flour as necessary for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the dough is velvety and soft but not sticky.
  3. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl, rolling the dough to cover it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to rise until doubled, about 1.5 hours. Since my house is pretty cool, I warm my oven to 170 degrees F. while I am preparing the dough, then turn it off. I place my dough in the slightly warm oven to rise. You don’t have to do this, but if your house is on the cool side it may take a little longer for the first rise. If you are okay with this, it is not a problem for the dough.
  4. Punch down the risen dough and divide into 3 equal parts for the round focaccia. (You could weigh these out if you want to be exact or you could eyeball it like I do. I like to live on the edge!) Shape each third into a thick disk and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes. I spray a bit of PAM on each disk so the dough doesn’t dry out. You could also cover them lightly with plastic wrap. After about 10 minutes, the gluten should have relaxed enough that you can easily roll out each to a 9-inch circle. Place each round into a well-oiled 9-inch pie or cake plate. Cover the dough with a dish towel and allow them to rise for 30 minutes. I just leave them on my counter for this part.
  5. After the dough has risen a bit, use your fingers to aggressively “dimple” the dough, leaving indentations that are about 1/2 inch deep. Just poke the dough. Cover the pans with a damp towel. I just wring my towel(s) out in warm water until there is no dripping. Allow the dough to rest for 2 hours. By this time the dough should be just about to the top of the pans. After 1 hour, heat your oven to 400 degrees F. This is especially important if you are using a pizza stone or steel or bricks. You want the oven as hot as possible since a home oven cannot achieve the temperatures of a brick oven.
  6. Drizzle EVOO all across the top, making sure that all of the dimples have oil in them. Now it’s up to you. You can simple sprinkle sea salt or Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper on top or you can add some fresh herbs. You can add some chopped olives or sun-dried tomatoes pressed into the dimples. Drizzle a bit more EVOO and add salt to the tomatoes if using. img_2634
  7. Place your pans in the oven. If you are using stones, place them directly on the stones or steel. During the first 10 minutes, spray water above the pans and quickly close the oven door to trap the steam. If you don’t have a spray bottle, take throw a couple of Tablespoons of water onto the bottom of the oven being careful to not hit the glass on the door or the light bulb in the oven – either of which could crack. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pans and place the breads on a rack. As you can see from my photo, I have raised the rack using inverted custard cups to allow as much airflow underneath as possible. You don’t want soggy focacce. img_2642
  8. Enjoy the focacce warm from the oven or at room temperature.DO NOT refrigerate them. You can freeze focacce successfully and warm them in an oven when ready to eat.

 

Harissa and Maple Roasted Carrots

img_2531Sunday was the unveiling of my mother’s gravestone and since family was in for the ceremony, we decided to host a pre-thanksgiving dinner. I took advantage of the opportunity to make some things that were not my traditional thanksgiving fare. I found this recipe for carrots that sounded incredibly easy and were also attractive. While I won’t be making them this thanksgiving, you easily could.

Harissa and Maple Roasted Carrots from Bon Appetit, November 2014 by Alison Roman

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup EVOO

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 Tablespoon red harissa paste

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

2.5 pounds, rainbow carrots, peeled, trimmed, cut in half and split

1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeded

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Whisk garlic, EVOO, maple syrup,harissa , cumin seed, slat and pepper together. Pour over the carrots and sliced lemon and mix through.
  3. Place in a roasting pan and roast for 40 to 45 minutes r until the carrots are tender and the lemons are caramelized.

Note: This can be prepared up to 6 hours ahead. Allow to cool, cover and keep at room temperature. Just before you are ready to serve, warm the carrots in a 225 degree F oven until warmed through. img_2534

 

 

Anadama Bread

img_2402After a simply gorgeous November day yesterday that seemed more like June, today is rainy and blah. I have no place I have to be having voted early and needing a distraction from tonight’s last game of the World Series. Go Cubs! So I decided to bake some bread, especially since I make sandwiches for my husband most days and because I am an unrepentant bread lover. I could fairly easily give up meat if I had to, but I would be desolate if I had to give up bread.

One year for my birthday, my husband bought me the award-winning book, the Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. It’s a beautiful book and wonderful to read but somehow I hadn’t gotten around to making anything from it. I decided it was time to remedy that. I was looking for a good sandwich/toast bread and settled on that old New England favorite – Anadama Bread, which has a corn meal and molasses base. I’d read other recipes for it but none that used both a “soaker” and a “sponge.” I was immediately intrigued and knew that this is what I would be trying. By making a soaker, the corn meal has an opportunity to develop a depth of flavor that it would otherwise lack. There was nothing terribly complicated in either the ingredients or the method so don’t be put off by the length of the directions. I ended up with 2 lovely, brown, fragrant loaves that we will be enjoying over the next week.

Anadama Bread

img_2410

Yield: Two 1.5 pound loaves

Ingredients

For the Soaker

1 cup stone ground yellow corn meal or polenta

1 cup tap water at room temperature

For the Dough

Approx. 4.5 cups of unbleached bread flour

2 teaspoons instant dried yeast

1 cup lukewarm water (90 to 100 degrees F, although I just do it by touch…)

1.5 teaspoons Kosher salt

6 Tablespoons molasses (it suggested Brer Rabbit Golden Molasses, rather than a full-flavored molasses)

2 Tablespoons solid shortening at room temperature

Canola Oil for the bowl

Cornmeal for dusting

Directions

  1. The day before making the bread (I did this before going to sleep), make the soaker by mixing the cornmeal with the water in a small bowl. Cover the bowl or container and allow it to sit at room temperature overnight.
  2. The next day, stir together 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, soaker and cup of water in a mixing bowl and cover it with a towel or plastic wrap. Allow this to ferment for one hour or until the sponge is poofy.
  3. Once the sponge is ready, add the remaining 2.5 cups of flour, the salt, molasses and shortening and stir this well until the mixture begins to form a ball. This can be done in a standing mixer on a low speed with the paddle attachment. The result should be a slightly sticky mass.
  4. Sprinkle some additional flour on the counter and turn the dough out and begin kneading it, sprinkling in more flour as needed to make a tacky but not sticky dough that is supple and pliable. This should take about 10 minutes of kneading. You can also make this using the dough hook of a standing mixer. The kneading would take 6 to 8 minutes, checking if more flour is needed.
  5. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment (rise) at room temperature for about 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 2 equal pieces, which should each weigh about 24 ounces assuming you are into weighing things – which I am not. Shape the dough into loaves and place them into 9 by 5-inch bread pans that have been lightly oiled or sprayed with something like PAM. Lightly spray or brush the  tops with the oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap.
  7. Allow to rise at room temperature for between 60 to 90 minutes or until the loaves crest fully above the tops of the pans. (Mine were ready in 58 minutes)
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the oven rack in the middle position. Place the pans on a sheet pan and remove the plastic wrap. Mist or brush the tops with water and dust with cornmeal.
  9. Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan for even baking and continue baking for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the loaves are a nice golden brown. The loaves should make a hollow sound when rapped with your knuckles or a wooden spoon. I like well-done loaves so might keep them in a few minutes longer.
  10. When the loaves are brown all over, immediately remove them from the pans and cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing. I made sure that I had some softened butter on hand! img_2412

 

 

 

Olive Oil Cake with Orange and Pine Nuts

olive-oil-cakeYou know how you learn a new word and all of a sudden you hear it everywhere? Well sometimes that happens with recipes. Lately I have seen LOTS of recipes for olive oil cakes and I thought that was a sign that I should try making one. I read a recipe by Mario Batali and one by Michael Chiarello which seemed interesting, but the one that really got to me was on one of my favorite food sites – Food52. I tried it yesterday and for a first try it produced an incredibly moist cake that was not overly sweet, but had complex flavors of bitter and sweet orange, toasted pine nuts and wine-soaked raisins. I happen to love candied orange peel, especially if it is coated in very dark chocolate. While this recipe calls for fresh oranges – both the fruit and the peel – it may be a bit much for someone who does not enjoy the sweet/bitter notes of that part of the fruit. DO NOT wash your oranges – it will make them more bitter. If you must, wipe the skin with a slightly damp cloth. This goes for any citrus fruit you cook with. The recipe also called for fresh rosemary, which while very pretty did not seem to add any real flavor in my opinion. In the coming weeks I will try this recipe again with some changes that I want to try. In the meantime, I think this version is still worth making.

It calls for Paneangeli, which is an Italian leavening that has vanilla built in. Since I have another recipe that calls for it as well, I was willing to order it through Amazon if you are not fortunate enough to have an Italian grocery store nearby. It can be used any time you have a recipe that calls for a mix of both baking soda and baking powder. Italians swear by it. The original measurements must have been in metric which would account for the strange amounts. This cake will last for days without drying out and even by day 2 the flavors have melded and intensified. It is definitely worth indulging in this with your favorite dessert wine, which in our case is a Ferrari Carano Eldorado Gold. Vin Santo, the Italian dessert wine, is of course, the classic wine to serve. If you are not a fan of dessert wine (Then you haven’t tasted the right one yet!) coffee or tea will do.

NOTE: I have been passing by the cake and taking bits as I go by. This cake is seriously delicious!

Olive Oil Cake with Orange and Pine Nuts by Food 52 and slightly tweaked by me

img_2373

Yield: One 10-inch cake that serves 10 to 12

Ingredients img_2362

1/2 cup very moist raisins

1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons vin santo or other sweet dessert wine

1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted in a dry pan saute pan until fragrant

1.5 medium navel oranges, unpeeled and cut into small dice

2 large eggs

1 packet of Paneangeli OR 1 teaspoon baking soda plus 1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup of granulated sugar plus 2 Tablespoons

Generous pinch of salt

1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon EVOO (a good fruity olive oil but not a super-fancy drizzling oil)

1.75 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Rosemary tufts from 2 long fresh rosemary sprigs

 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions 

  1. Bring the raisins and dessert wine to a simmer in a small saucepan over high heat. Turn it off, cover and set aside for at least 30 minutes but up to overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Just before pouring the batter in, generously coat a 10-inch angel food (or straight-sided bundt pan) generously with a non-stick cooking spray that contains flour.
  3. Put the eggs, Paneangeli and 3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of the sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed for 4 minutes, at which point the mixture will be light and thickened.
  4. Gradually add the EVOO in a slow steady stream that you pour down the side of the bowl. Mix until the EVOO is incorporated.
  5. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add the flour and salt, alternating with the raisins and dessert wine in 3 batches, scraping down the bowl each time. Only mix enough to incorporate the flour and distribute the raisins.
  6. Turn off the mixer and using a rubber spatula, mix through the oranges. img_2365Set the batter aside for 10 minutes. This allows the leavening to start taking effect and will make it easier to get the batter out of the bowl.
  7. Scrape the batter into the generously sprayed pan. Scatter the pine nuts evenly over the top. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar over the top and distribute the rosemary, gently pushing the tufts lightly into the batter.
  8. Bake the cake for 10 minutes. Turn the temperature down to 325 degrees F. and bake the cake for another 35 to 38 minutes, turning twice for even browning.  It’s ready when the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into it comes out clean. Allow it to totally cool in the pan on a rack.
  9. Once cool, turn the cake out onto a plate or board and immediately flip the cake over onto a cake plate. You will lose some of the sugar, pine nuts and rosemary. It’s OKAY! The original recipe said to dust with confectioner’s sugar, but I think it is totally unnecessary. Cut with a very sharp knife. Because of the bumpiness of the orange pieces, the cut may not be perfect, but when you and your guests taste it, no one will care. img_2371