Sunday, September 20, 2009

Round Things

So right, this is where we left off: round things = good for Jewish new year.

This recipe is one I've been dying to post since my birthday (see birthday feast below). This dough came out amazingly. It is the best dough recipe I have ever made. I don't know if it would work in super huge batches (ie: in a cafe, like the one I used to bake for), but if it's just you're buddies and you, and you love grilled round things, well, it is awesome.

Also, I should mention, that although you can definitely attempt this recipe without a food processor, the food processor is what makes this process a delight- super simple, easy, fast, and almost foolproof. But seriously, if you lack the crazy equipment or want to feel closer to your dough without sending it through a super fast spinning dough blade, do it your way. Just want to clarify that this way is BETTER!!!

I should also mention that this dough recipe yielded eight 7-9" rounds (or less-than-round oblongs) of grilled flatbread, and one personal calzone, made a few days later.
ALSO, this dough will sit in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for about a week after production. So you don't have to use it right away. In fact, I found that it became more elastic after sitting in the fridge for three days, at which point Matt and I created round 2 of grilled flatbread (photos above).

One more tip: it wasn't until a baking expert (who trained me) told me otherwise, but I want to make clear something about dealing with yeast doughs. I always thought the water you use should be warm, b/c yeast likes a warm environment. Well, if your water is too warm, you will kill your yeast. If it is too cold, it will only take longer to rise. So, when in doubt, go for cooler.

1/4 c olive oil
2 c water, closer to cool than warm
3 c unbleached flour
1 1/4 whole wheat flour, plus more in case sticky dough
scant 1 T sugar
2 t salt
1 package dry yeast (2 1/4 t dry yeast)

1. In a liquid measuring cup, measure oil and water.
2. In food processor with plastic dough blade, pulse dry ingredients.
3. With food processor on, slowly pour wet mixture in through tube on top. Mixture should begin to clear sides of container. Stop mixing, feel dough. It should be sticky but not like super duper sticky. If it is tooo sticky, you may add some more flour, by the tablespoon, mixing and feeling after every addition.
4. Ball your dough, place in a lightly greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Stick in an unused oven, or anywhere out of a draft, and allow to rise about 2 hrs.
5. After rising, dough can be cut into 8-10 equal sized balls. These should rise in this shape. If you are going to use them right away, let rise on a baking sheet. If you are not going to use them right away (ie: in a few days, or even later in the evening), allow to rise wrapped loosely in plastic, and place in the fridge. They can last in there for about a week.

Grilling the Flatbread!

Have your charcoal grill reach medium heat. Stretch dough to desired thickness right before grilling. It's a fast process, but you can do it! Have all of your preferred toppings ready. We did zucchini, grated egg, mint and parm on one, tomatoes and fresh basil from the garden on another... Also, we brush both sides of the bread with garlic oil, made from steeping grated garlic in olive oil for about an hour.

1. Grill side 1 of dough, until dry bubbles begin to form.
2. Flip dough to grill side 2. Top right away.
3. Remove before burning.
**Tip: you may cover the flatbread with an aluminum pan or grill cover so toppings have a chance to cook a bit on bread before it burns!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rosh Hashana Post

Today is Rosh Hashana- Jewish new year.

Super observant Jews wouldn't write a blog post on this day- they observe this holiday as they do shabbat and other holy days; that is, no writing, no computers, no tv, no turning lights on...

I have pretty much come to terms with the fact that I am not a "religious" person. It took me a while, but I'm currently here. That is not to say I am not spiritual, and it is also not to say that I am not happily Jewish. I love spending time with my family, and celebrations of my cultural heritage foster love and happiness and remembrance, as well as something to look forward to in the future. Furthermore, I love family traditions and the fact that Temple Beth Sholom will be turned into a quasi-high school reunion today for a number of hours. I look forward to having dinner at my South African Jewish cousins' house tonight, where I'll be hearing and seeing the elders bicker and joke with each other, and then sitting down to a enjoy some of the best food known to human kind.

I wanted to write about the awesome grilled flatbread I made last week. Instead, I leave today's post open, without a recipe, to encourage you all to eat something sweet (for a sweet new year), and round (to symbolize cycles of everything). Apples and Honey will do just fine. Chag Sameach!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Birthday Feast

Three days ago, I turned a quarter of a century old. I decided that, instead of going out to a shmancy restaurant for the big event, I wanted to create a small feast for several friends. The menu was inspired by our CSA, my time in California, Christian Noto and, of course, my own (and Matt's) cravings.

Here is the menu:

  • olives and spanish cheeses to start, along with Smuttynose sampler beers
  • Grilled Flatbread with garlic oil, zucchini, sieved egg, and parmesan
  • Salad of Boston lettuce, Satur Farms arugula, watercress, Golden Earthworm stonefruit, toasted hazelnuts, and shaved piave
  • Wheat Berry salad
  • Chicken grilled two ways
  • Grilled halved rosemary potatoes
  • Carvel Ice Cream Cake
Amazing, amazing. In the next few days I will disclose the first three recipes. Just wanted to whet your appetite for now with my leftovers recipe for chargrilled potato homefries (what can I say, it was a lot of food for only eight people!). I'm eating it right now, and it's amazing. Better than normal homefries (which is a big statement, I know), because they have been grilled over charcoal, which gives them this exceptional smokey flavor. These are best if served with over-easy eggs and Piri Piri sauce.

Chargrilled Homefries

vegetable oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
8 leftover potatoes, sliced into bits of your size preference

In a cast iron skillet, heat oil.
Add onion, and cook until translucent.
Add potato bits, salt, pepper, rosemary.
Cook on medium to high heat, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are crisp on the outside, and nice and hot and delish on the inside.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Late Summer Breakfast Scramble

So, I'm back in New York. It's strange coming back to this house, the one I grew up in. While I was gone, my dad redid the place, what with new furniture and everything. I think it makes it more exciting to be here, instead of just plain boring. The fridge is fully stocked (YES!), and apparently our CSA from Golden Earthworm Farms is still up and running, providing end-of-summer treats like yellow summer squash and, my favorite, sun gold tomatoes. Also, my mother's garden is thriving, providing us with beefsteak and cherry tomatoes, as well as fresh herbs. It is a true comfort to be able to walk outside to our huge garden, flowers flourishing in the sun, pick some chives, and run back to the kitchen for a quick wash and prep.

This morning, post-bike ride, I mixed up a delightful yellow breakfast scramble. Super simple, yet easy on the eyes and the stomach.
Follow below:

1/2 medium yellow summer squash, cut into quarters, lengthwise, then sliced
2 eggs, scrambled with a splash of organic milk
2 T chopped fresh chives
few slices raw milk cheddar
5 sun gold tomatoes, quartered

1. In a greased nonstick pan, quickly sautee squash until just not-raw, then remove slices to bowl.
2. Add beaten eggs to the pan. Quickly add cheddar, chives and, finally, lightly cooked squash.
3. When eggs are beginning to set, scramble ingredients in pan until eggs are fully cooked.
4. Plate eggs, top with quartered tomatoes.