September – Failure of Cauliflower Waffles

September – Failure of Cauliflower Waffles

Any regular reader of this blog knows that I have a love affair going with cauliflower. When I saw a recipe for cauliflower waffles (of my goodness, how can you ever turn down a waffle?!), I had to try it. It looked amazing We were leaving the next day for a trip to Europe, but that didn’t discourage me. I was that curious (and can you say probably misguided), I needed to make them the evening before I left.

I have made waffles in the past, delicious sourdough waffles. And I enjoy the savoy type of waffle rather than the sweet ones. This recipe was full of cheese and herbs, a perfect base for summer vegetables.

I’m not a novice for substituting cauliflower in recipes to reduce the carbohydrates. Cauliflower pizza or flatbread, stir fried riced cauliflower, and mashed cauliflower (as a substitute for potatoes) are favorites at our house. I had no reason to think this would be any different.

Well, not so good.

 

Failure 2

Failure 2

Ok, I would say needs further practice and work.

If any of you are successful in making these, please let me know what I did wrong. The original post looks wonderful. It didn’t say how long they cooked the waffle, or if you needed to grease the waffle maker (my own is non-stick and doesn’t usually need extra oil).

The waffle spirit was not with me.IMG_4825

The compost pile was very happy.

September 2016 – In My Kitchen

September 2016 – In My Kitchen

This month “In My Kitchen” also known as IMK returns after a summer hiatus. We are glad to have Maureen back with us as our host, the community has missed her. This post is linked with Maureen The Orgasmic Chef and is part of a round-the-world look at what has been happening in our kitchens in August.

I must admit that for me, the answer in “not much”.  Summer is here and the living is easy, and I am not interested in spending hours in the kitchen. Summer for me means salads and grilled things, not complicated recipes. I reserve those for winter when warming dishes and long simmering braises are more the norm. That being said, there are a few new things in the pantry and wine cellar. August is the time for our annual trek to Ashland in Oregon for the Shakespeare Festival. We had some time to do shopping (which always means food) and wine tasting.

Bee nectar vinegar

Bee nectar vinegar

This balsamic and honey mixture is wonderful drizzled over roast vegetables.

This treat is a sweet balsamic in a fish egg sized package. They look like caviar and are incredible on a tomato and cucumber salad, little bursts of sweet and sourness.

Sweet and sour

Sweet and sour

A summer simple salad of sliced dry farmed Early Girl tomatoes, cucumbers from my own garden, avocado, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garnished with toasted pine nuts and sweet/sour granules.

Tomato, cucumber and avocado salad

Tomato, cucumber and avocado salad

Who needs more than a salad like this, some fresh cheese, and crisp bread? Add a bottle of rose or crisp white wine and it will be heaven or the world’s most perfect picnic.

A trip to Ashland would not be complete with out a visit to Ledger David.

Ledger David

Ledger David

A few antics after an afternoon of wine tasting.

Ledger David

Ledger David

We purchased a few bottles, of course.

And, we have been spending as much time as possible in our new kitchen on the California north coast, the cabin in Fort Bragg. Long walks have tired out the “mighty sisters”, Casey and Quinn, and are preparing us for this month’s hike coast-to-coast in Ireland. We leave this weekend. Yes, training has been taking a lot of my spare time and diminished much of my creative time for cooking although not my appetite.

High surf at Seaside Beach

High surf at Seaside Beach

Tired Casey

Tired Casey

Quinn doesn't look much fresher

Quinn doesn’t look much fresher

So, I won’t be posting much on this blog for a few weeks while we away. I will be back in late September or early October with travel stories to tell and pictures of food along the way. Stay tuned and please, gentle readers, don’t leave. I’m excited about the creativity that will be sparked by my travels.

September – Chili Lime Marinade for Chicken or Pork

September – Chili Lime Marinade for Chicken or Pork

In my opinion both chicken breasts and pork tenderloin need some help. In our search for “low fat” we have bred the flavor out of them both. Chewy, tasteless, bland, dry…all those apply. So when I was served the most delicious marinated pork tenderloin at a friend’s house, I had to try it. I am not going to post the recipe for the pork tenderloin, you can search on-line to one from Chris Kimball at Cook’s. It involves halving the tenderloin crosswise, then pounding it to a thickness of approximately 3/4 of an inch. At that point you can score the meat and marinate if for 45 minutes (I think the more the better). However, don’t leave it too long or you will end up with ceviche pork because of the lime juice.

I thought, if this is so good with pork tenderloin, what will it do for chicken breasts? Oh yum! I modified the recipe only slightly to give it a little more heat. Use boneless chicken breasts with the skin if you can get them or bone out the breasts yourself. It takes a little practice but is easy with a small knife. Start by cutting at the center cartilage and slide a sharp knife between the breast bones and the meat until the breast is free of the rib and other bones. I keep the bones in a plastic bag in the freezer until I have enough to make stock or chicken soup.

Pound the breasts the same as the pork but to a thickness of 1/2 inch. That will both tenderize the meat and also hasten the cooking time.

boned chicken breasts with skin

boned chicken breasts with skin

Chili Lime Marinade

  • 4 half chicken breasts, boneless but with the skin
  • 2 limes, zested and squeezed
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (I used a mixture of canola and coconut)

For the sauce (optional)

  • 4 teaspoons of mayonnaise

Garnish

chopped fresh parsley and cilantro

  1. Bone the chicken breasts in not done already. Leave the skin on but trim any extra fat. Use a meat pounder to flatten them (I put the breasts into a gallon plastic bag for this chore) to about 1/2 inch.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the lime zest, juice, garlic, honey, fish sauce, chili flakes, salt, and pepper. While whisking, slowly drizzle the vegetable oil into the mixture until it slightly thickens and becomes smooth.
  3. Measure out 1/2 cup of the marinade into a small, microwaveable bowl (if you intend to make a sauce), whisk in the 4 teaspoons of mayonnaise and set aside for later.
  4. Add the chicken breasts to the bowl with the marinade and turn to coat. You can then transfer everything to a ziplock gallon bag, press to remove as much air as possible, and refrigerate for an hour.
  5. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  6. Preheat a large, heavy bottomed skillet on the stove on medium high heat (or heat your charcoal grill). Once hot, brush with oil and place the chicken skin side down in the pan. Cook on the one side until browned and the breast releases easily. You will see the edges start to turn opaque, it will take about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook another 10 minutes or until done to about 160 degrees F on the middle. They will cook quickly and continue to cook after you take the pan from the oven.
  8. Let the chicken rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes before slicing across the grain.
  9. If using the sauce, microwave it for 30 seconds until warm and stir in the chopped herbs. Pass the sauce with the chicken.
    Boneless chicken breast with chili lime marinade

    Boneless chicken breast with chili lime marinade

    Chicken with Chili Lime Marinade

    Chicken with Chili Lime Marinade

August – Chard Wrapped Greek Pie

August – Chard Wrapped Greek Pie

These wonderful savory cheesy treats are wrapped in chard leaves instead of pastry. Serve with a salad for lunch, or with some crisp toasts as an appetite teaser before dinner. You can make them ahead although they are better served warm. I recommend you assemble them and bake just before serving. The filling is made with yogurt, flavored with mint and basil. Served warm the pies are like a delicious fresh cheese.

The original idea came from an article in the NY Times food section. I modified the original recipe by using goat milk yogurt instead of cows milk, and basil instead of dill. Feel free to modify it back to the original.

The recipe is fashioned after a Greek pie which is wrapped in grape leaves, asmapita. According to Aglaia Kremezi, a well known Greed food writer, “pie” is the translation of the Greek term “pita” which can be used for al kinds of tarts and pies, whether or not they are wrapped in filo. I loved this low carbohydrate version.

Greek Pie Wrapped in Chard Leaves

  • 6 large chard leaves, washed, dried, ribs removed but left intact
  • 2 cups plain full-fat Greek yogurt, I used regular full fat goat milk yogurt and had to drain it
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil (or 2 teaspoons chopped dill)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal or rice flour
  • For garnish – a handful of lightly toasted pine nuts and Greek olives
Greek Pies wrapped in Chard Leaves

Greek Pies wrapped in Chard Leaves

  1. If using goat yogurt which is not Greek, drain the yogurt in a small mesh strainer for 2 hours before starting. This is not necessary if you are using regular full fat Greek yogurt.
  2. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the stems from the chard leaves and blanch them in the boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cool water, squeeze dry gently.
  3. Put the yogurt in a mixing bowl and season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Mix in the garlic, scallions, mint, basil (or dill), 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the lemon zest and cornmeal (or rice flour).
  4. Brush 6 1-cup ramekins with olive oil. Line each ramekin with a chard leaf, allowing the edges to drape over the edge. Fill each leaf with 1/2 cup o the yogurt mixture. Fold the edges of the chard leaf back over the top and brush with olive oil. Place the ramekins on a baking dish.
  5. Bake 20 minutes.
  6. Let cool slightly, then turn ramekins over onto a plate to unmold.
  7. To serve, unfold the top to expose the filling and garnish with pine nuts and additional chopped herbs.

    Chard Wrapped Greek Pies

    Chard Wrapped Greek Pies

August 2016 – In My Kitchen

August 2016 – In My Kitchen

“In My Kitchen” is a blogosphere party, first hosted by Celia (Fig Jam and Lime Cordial) and now hosted by Maureen (The Orgasmic Chef). Maureen is taking a short break over the summer to recover from surgery, please check back in September when the party returns. Meanwhile a few of us are continuing the tradition. My last “In My Kitchen” post was in June so this is really a two month catch-up.

I enjoy, virtually, reading about the new things that have happened in kitchens around the world during the past month.

Here is a quick tour of my own.

In my kitchen I have the first cucumbers of the season.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

To go along with the tomatoes.

The first garden tomatoes

The first garden tomatoes

The tomato plants were gifted to me by my friend, Linda Dutcher, in Fort Bragg. They are Siberian and cold adapted varieties and we enjoyed the first fruit a month ago, unheard of here in Northern California.

From a recent business trip to Seattle I brought back fresh Copper River Salmon.

Seattle, Pike's Place Market

Seattle, Pike’s Place Market

Flying Fish Market

Flying Fish Market

The Flying Fish is one of the best known fish stalls in the market, and amazingly one of the best (they often don’t coincide). And why do they call it Flying Fish you might ask? The fish mongers are known for throwing the fish over the heads of a crowd of watchers, to be safely caught and packaged for purchase.

Copper River Salmon

Copper River Salmon

The Copper River flows in the state of Alaska. Almost 300 miles in length, this wild rushing river empties into Prince William Sound at the town of Cordova. Salmon that originate in these pristine waters are challenged by its length and its strong, chill rapids. Consequently, Copper River salmon are strong, robust creatures with a healthy store of natural oils and body fat. These qualities make the salmon among the richest, tastiest fish in the world. Fortunately, fatty Copper River salmon is good for you, as it is loaded with Omega-3 oils. Unfortunately the season is very short, only a few weeks. It usually starts in mid-May and ends early in June. I picked up the salmon in early June at the end of a business trip. The market will package it in a cold pack for shipping on the airlines.

In my kitchen I have tuna pate. It’s a quick and wonderful recipe to know about since it uses only good quality tuna in olive oil, butter, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and a bit of cream. Spread it on crisp toast and serve it with good olives. Your guests will never guess it is tuna.

Tuna Pate

Tuna Pate

These are individual chard wrapped greek yogurt pies. The recipe came from the NY Times and I modified it by using goat milk yogurt. They were delicious warm beside a salad, spread on crisp toast. I will post the recipe soon.

Greek Pies wrapped in Chard

Greek Pies wrapped in Chard

In my kitchen I have a beautiful wood salad bowl found in a gallery in TN while visiting relatives.

Redwood Top to Cabinet and wooden salad bowl

Redwood Top to Cabinet and wooden salad bowl

In our second home, the Fort Bragg cabin, I have an entirely new kitchen. You can read more about it here.

After - Fridge and Range Wall

After – Fridge and Range Wall

And for those of you wondering “Where the heck is Fort Bragg anyway?” Here is a map. If you Google Fort Bragg you will probably come up with Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Is is much better known as it is the largest military base in the world and home to US Special Operations. Both places were named for the same person, Confederate general Braxton Bragg. However, he never actually set foot in Fort Bragg California. 1st Lt. Horatio G. Gibson established a military garrison prior to the civil war and named it for his former commanding officer Capt. Braxton Bragg, who later became a General in the Army of the Confederacy.[9] The official date of the establishment of the fort was June 11, 1857; and its purpose was to maintain order on the nearby Mendocino Indian Reservation near the Noyo River. It would be hard to imagine two more dramatically different cities. Fort Bragg California was a lumber town, the area has pristine redwood forests, now mostly second growth. But drive up the coast a bit to see truly dramatic first growth trees.

Fort Bragg, CA

Fort Bragg, CA

It’s a 3-4 mile drive from San Francisco with the opportunity to pass through the Anderson Valley wine growing region. Or, if you have longer, you can drive up the coast for breathtaking views of the Pacific ocean.

From my kitchen I can see “The Wall” that prevents interspecies war. They each have their own space and don’t dare look at each other.

The Wall

The Wall – Quinn and Lucy

And, I can watch the squirrel police on watch.

Quinn on squirrel duty

Quinn on squirrel duty

What is new in your kitchen this past month?