If you’ve been following me on Instagram you know that I’ve been busy preparing for Thanksgiving and Page’s Birthday right after. We are hosting Thanksgiving , which means that I will be doing most of the cooking. I spent most of the day writing out my menu, dividing up tasks I can accomplish throughout the next few days. Today I tackled prepping my desserts which just means I weighed the dry ingredients put them in bags, labeled, and sealed them. Now all I have to do is add the wet ingredients and bake. As you can see I’ve learned over the years that cooking a large meal like this requires a lot of forethought and staggering of duties. So today one of the other things on my to do list was to make this cranberry sauce! It takes 10 minutes, you throw everything in one pot, a little bit of stirring and you’re done! So easy and super delicious and definitely an upgrade to the canned stuff. Trust me once you make this you will never go back to the canned stuff!
Here’s what you need:
12oz organic cranberries fresh or frozen
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
Zest of 1 organic orange
Juice of 1 organic orange
1/2 teaspoon of allspice (optional)
Place cranberries, cinnamon stick, orange zest, sugar, water, and juice in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, stirring as the cranberries begin to pop. The sauce is done once it thickens about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, serve immediately or place in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Last year, I had the hair-brained idea that I could make my own pasta. In my head it seemed simple enough, I would mix a few eggs with some flour and make delicious, velvety, egg noodles. I ordered an old school pasta roller (ATLAS 150) and when it came, I was eager to live out the visions of velvety egg noodles in my head. I started with this very recipe that I’m sharing with you today. Only I hadn’t a clue what I was doing, I added 2 cups of flour, a few whole eggs, and when the dough didn’t immediately come together like I thought it should, water. After letting my dough rest, I tried to roll it out. Rolling the dough out with the Atlas was one of the most awkward experiences of my life. Not one part of it felt natural. As a matter of fact it felt extremely unnatural. I felt like even if I had 3 additional hands, rolling the pasta would still feel awkward. My folly was clear. The manual pasta roller wasn’t for me. I decided right then and there I would need an electric pasta machine, and immediately set out searching for one. I ended up ordering the KitchenAid 3 piece Pasta attachment. During my research, I read every review, of every pasta machine on the market, (Phillips, ATLAS, Kitchenaid 3 piece roller set, Kitchenaid Pasta extruder, Marcado, ect.), and although I learned a lot about the different machines and their features, I also learned a lot more about pasta. It made me think maybe I need to focus on what I did wrong with my pasta dough, and not what was wrong with the pasta machine. The dough I made initially was sticky and the resulting noodles were a pitiful clump of a mess. So I pulled out the ATLAS, my handy kitchen scale, and proceeded to weight my ingredients to make pasta. Instead of adding water when the dough seemed dry, I kneaded until my dough came together, and what do you know–it came together without one additional drop of water. Not only that! When I went to roll it, the two hands that God gifted me with were more than enough to roll and cut my noodles! In fact it was so easy, and such a different experience from the first time that I knew it was not the machine that was my problem, it was my dough! So here’s the key to making pasta, weigh your ingredients, don’t add unnecessary water, and let your dough rest so that it has time to relax and hydrate. If you follow those 3 rules you will never fail at making pasta. Now that you have those keys, the recipe I used is from the Serious eats blog. They have a great article on the Science of Making Pasta, definitely read it. It has some great information in it. If you are in the market for a pasta maker, check out my review on my YouTube channel of both the ATLAS 150 Wellness Pasta machine, and The KitchenAid 3 Piece Pasta Roller Attachment. I contrast the two and give you a step by step on how to use both. By the way I purchased both machines with my own money, I wasn’t paid by either company to give the review. Now to the recipe. You can find 00 flour at most grocery stores. If you can’t substitute with All purpose or bread flour.
Here’s what you need:
10 ounces of 00 flour
2 large whole eggs (weighing 4.0 oz) If my eggs weigh more I remove some of egg white until they don’t
4 egg yolks ( weighing 2.5 oz)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
Directions: Weigh your ingredients:
My egg yolks were a little over so I removed some with a spoon:
Place your flour in a large bowl and make a well. Add your eggs and salt to the well.
With a fork beat the eggs until fully mixed.
Slowly start to incorporate the flour until a sticky dough has formed.
At this point I pour the contents of my bowl out on to a large work surface.
The dough will feel sticky by look very dry–DO NOT ADD WATER! You’ll want to, but trust me DON’T! Gather the dough together and knead.
The dough will appear to be dry and unwilling to come together, but keep going.
Knead and knead some more, until every drop of flour is incorporated into the dough, and the dough looks like this:
Now wrap it in cling wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
It needs that time to hydrate fully and to let the gluten relax. Now it’s time to roll. With a bench knife cut the dough into 4 equal parts. Note how smooth the dough is now that it has had time to relax,
Place one part of the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Re-wrap the remaining dough in the cling wrap and set aside. Place your pasta roller dial on the lowest setting. On my ATLAS that is 0(zero). On my KitchenAid attachment it’s 1.
STEP 1: Roll the dough out into an oval shape on your work surface.
STEP 2: Roll the dough through the 0 setting 3 times.
Then fold the dough into an envelope and run it through the 0 setting 3 more times.
This is only to make the dough edges uniform. But honestly if oval edges don’t bother you, that step is not necessary. The only time I fold my edges into an envelope is when I tear my dough. If your dough tears, fold it and start back at the zero setting. Once you’ve run the dough through the 0 setting 3 times, dust it lightly with flour.
STEP 3: Move the dial on your pasta machine up one dial.
Run the dough 3 more times through dial setting 1. Dust the pasta sheet and Repeat steps 1-3, rolling the dough through 3 times on each dial setting from 2-6.
With each pass through and dial adjustment the dough gets thinner, smoother and longer.
Just a note: On dial 6 running it through 1 or 2 times maybe all you need–that’s up to you to determine. If it feels like if you run it through one last time it may rip, then don’t run it through. By this time you should have a long beautiful sheet of pasta.
Dust it lightly with flour, and place it on a parchment lined sheet, and cover with a sheet of parchment/cling wrap/towel. Repeat Steps 1-3 for the remaining 3 portions of dough.
Now it’s time to cut your pasta sheets. If you’re making lasagna you’re pretty much done, just cut the sheets to fit your pan size. If you’re making spaghetti, or fettuccine, attach the cutter to your machine. Place the pasta sheets through your cutter of choice.
Gather the cut pasta as it comes out of your machine. Sprinkle some flour on your board, then place the noodles on the board and gently roll them in the flour, making sure to dust the ends. Gently place the noodles in a circular nest on a dusted piece of parchment. Cover and continue until all your dough has been cut.
When your ready to cook, bring a medium pot of salted water to boil. Place a few the noodles in and cook for 60-90 seconds. Toss in your favorite sauce and enjoy! Freeze any unused noodles in a ziplock, and when you’re ready to use them, simply bring a pot of water to boil, and drop the noodles in frozen. Cook until Al dente.
Don’t forget to check out my YouTube Channel for a detailed review of the KitchenAid and Atlas Pasta makers:
Dried Watermelon–How to make Dehydrated Watermelon
This week is Teacher Appreciation Week at Page’s school. Every day this week she is required to bring in a small gift to show how much she appreciates all that her teacher’s do. The note that the room mom sent home said to send a sweet treat as a gift, knowing the kinds of sweets that most moms have sent in the past I thought why not send something semi-healthy. So I marched down to my local Whole Foods and purchased an organic seedless watermelon. Lucky for me it was on sale. The result- a deliciously sweet watermelon snack. It was so good, that I raced back to Whole Foods to get another watermelon to dry. When I dry fruit I never add sugar to it. I see many recipes that do and I never understand why. There really isn’t a need to. In fact, the watermelon I chose was not at all that sweet in its natural form, but in its dried form it was highly sweet, almost like I had added sugar to it. So for this “recipe” all you need is a fresh watermelon, a dehydrator, or an oven set to low and time.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 6-8 hours
Directions: Slice the watermelon and discard the rind. Keep in mind that the thinner you slice it the quicker it dehydrates.
Place the sliced watermelon on dehydrator sheets. Set it on 135F for 6-8 hours depending on how thick you sliced the watermelon.
The watermelon is done when it is pliable but dry to the touch.
If you don’t have a dehydrator–get one they are worth the money and the counter space–you can do this in an oven, set the oven to the lowest setting, and place the watermelon on a parchment lined cookie sheet. My oven’s lowest setting is 250F. If you are using your oven on a setting this high, keep in mind that the watermelon will dehydrate at a faster rate, so keep an eye on it, at the 4-5 hour mark, your watermelon will likely be done.
These caramels have been on my ever expanding list of things I’d like to make for a while now. I decided that since Halloween is just within our grasp, why not make these as a special Halloween treat. One of my all time favorite Halloween treats are caramel apples. My mom always bought a package of caramels and on Halloween night we would melt them and make caramel apples. If you have never made caramel before there can be some pitfalls. You’ll need a thermometer that can read temps above 250F. This caramel needs to be heated to 248F. While cooking, it took a considerable amount of time for my caramel to go from 228F to 248F. This happens quite often when making candies of this type. The first time that I made caramel I thought that my thermometer was broken, but it was not. My thermometer just would not go past 230F. I turned my thermometer off and on, recalibrated it, and yet when I placed it in my caramel it would not budge beyond 230F. My caramel had reached a plateau. When making candy it takes a considerable amount of energy to burn off enough water to reach a higher temperature. This plateau typically occurs at temps between 230-240F. Simply put, do not be surprised or thrown off if you put your thermometer in your caramel and the temperature stalls at 230F and does not rise for 10 minutes. It’s completely normal, and once the water cooks out the temperature will rise. Give it time. If you don’t the caramel will not set–great if you just want to use this to coat apples, but bad if you want to have them set as a candy.
Here’s what you need:
1 cup of organic sugar
1 cup of organic heavy cream
1/2 cup maple syrup
4 tablespoons of butter
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1/4 cup of water
3 tablespoons of organic corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
Line a 9 by 11-inch pan with parchment paper spray lightly with oil and set aside. Heat the cream, butter, salt, and maple extract in a sauce pan, once butter melts, remove from heat and set aside.
In a large saucepan add the remaining ingredients:
Bring to a boil over medium heat without stirring,
Once the sugar completely dissolves, slowly add the cream mixture, be careful the mixture will boil violently:
Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the temperature reaches 248F. Remember, going from 230F to 248F could take some time, but keep an eye on it, do not walk away. The mixture will become less watery and more thick and candy-like as it nears 248F:
When it reaches 248F it will be very thick:
Thick enough to coat a spatula:
Pour it into the parchment lined pan and let cool for 2 hours.
We have a black bean tostada night once every 2 weeks. It’s simple, and definitely a lazy girl dinner, because I open a can of black refined beans heat them then add them to a piping hot and crisp tortilla. I top the tortilla with cheese, sliced tomatoes, cilantro, and either a fresh guacamole or this Avocado Crema. The result is a delicious and lazy dinner! Simple ingredients, but oh so good. My husband raves about this dinner every time we have it. The best thing about this is that you throw everything into a blender and a minute later the sauce is done. If you want to make this vegan, paleo or Whole 30 approved just omit the yogurt and replace with 1/4 cup of water.
I love California, as a matter of fact I’d be hard pressed to name a state within this union that I’d consider leaving California for. One of the many great things about living here, besides the diversity here, is the weather. On a great day, the temperature ranges between 78F and 82F. Since we live by the beach, there is seldom a day without a cool ocean breeze. Lately however, the temperatures have been 10-20F degrees above normal, and for the last two weeks temps have settled in around 89-98F—HOT!!!!!! So hot that the last thing I want to do is to turn on the stove. So we’ve adapted, I’ve been marinating meat in the morning for my husband to grill in the evening when things start to cool down a bit. This marinade is super simple, and if you’ve ever had grilled Peruvian chicken you know how yummy and it can be. The vinegar in this really gives this chicken a yummy tang and kick. I’ve tried this with Rice vinegar and white wine, both are yummy, but plain white distilled vinegar is just as yummy.
Here’s what you need:
1 lb of boneless skinless organic chicken thighs
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
3 cloves of garlic grated
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar–can sub with white vinegar or rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of olive oil–can sub with oil of your choice
sea salt to taste
Directions: Generously season the chicken with sea salt and set aside. Add the cumin powder, paprika, garlic, oil, and vinegar to a pan or a bowl big enough to marinate you chicken in.
Then add chicken,
Toss to coat the chicken in the marinade.
Cover with foil, refrigerate until you’re ready to grill. Cook chicken on a hot grill for 15-20 minutes, or in an oven set on 425F 15-20 minutes. Serve and enjoy! I served this with a delicious Avocado and cilantro crema, I’ll post the recipe for that soon–sooo yummy! This chicken also makes for great chicken taco’s!
This week I’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen making things that I had on my “list of things I want to make”–yes I actually have a list. This cheese has been on that list for quite some time. It’s so unbelievably easy to make that now I am left to wonder why it took me so long to try it. It’s also a great way to use milk that would not get used otherwise. This cheese was a great addition to my Peruvian Chicken taco’s that recipe will be on the blog tomorrow.
Here’s what you need:
1 quart of whole organic milk
2 -3 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice–can sub with vinegar
Sea salt to taste
Directions: Add the milk to a saucepan,
Heat the milk to 180F whisking to prevent the milk from scorching.
Once the milk reaches 180F remove from heat.
Add the lemon juice or vinegar 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring gently until the curds separate from the whey. This happens almost immediately.
Allow the curds to continue to separate, let the mixture sit in the pot uncovered for 15-20 minutes.
From here you can decide to just strain the mixture in a cheesecloth lined sieve, add salt to taste and be done–you’ll have a perfectly soft crumble cheese.
Or you can strain, then squeeze out excess whey, add salt, form into a ball, and press into a firmer queso,
I placed my queso into a circular cookie/biscuit cutter, which I wrapped in my cheesecloth, and then placed a sealed water-filled 4-ounce mason jar on top for 5-10 minutes to squeeze out excess whey. I placed these items over a sieve with a bowl underneath to collect the whey.
For a firmer paneer type cheese extend the time that the cheese is pressed from 10 to 20 minutes. Refrigerate if you don’t plan on using the cheese right away. It will keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
I love Korean barbecue, what’s not to love? Grilled meat, pickled and fermented veggies…mmmh it’s a veritable umami bomb on a plate. The fermented veggies alone are enough to get me into the door of a Korean restaurant. I love banchan, savory sprouts, kimchi, cucumber kimchi, and daikon radish make the heaviness of the barbecued meats lighter. I remember my first experience eating Korean food. The week of my wedding my best friend suggested that we go to a Korean bath spa together. She said it would be a great mini break for me to table the stress of planning a wedding, and at the same time get my skin nice and polished for the wedding. I happily agreed, we had gone to many a spa together throughout our friendship, so why not make another happy memory with my best friend before I sailed off into wedded bliss, I thought. The day before our appointments my best friend called to say that something came up at work and she could not join me, but she insisted that I go alone because I needed to destress, so I did. The spa was unlike any other spa I had ever been to. After checking in, I was led on a guided tour of the steam rooms, jade rooms, and showers. Everyone within the walls, except for the technicians, was completely naked and Asian. I stuck out like a sore thumb. First of all, I wasn’t at all prepared to be completely naked in front of anyone other than a technician. At all the spa’s that I had ever been to everyone wore something, be it a robe, or bathing suit, but not this spa. I also was not prepared to leave without having had my body polish. I had read the Yelp reviews and this place was the best! I wanted to sparkle and shine at my wedding and the only thing standing in the way of that happening was me getting naked, so I did. I was sitting in the sauna with three women, and they could sense my unease. They were so kind, they chatted me up, and when I felt comfortable one of them asked me how I found out about the spa. I told them and they laughed. I’m guessing that the spa didn’t get very many non-Asian patrons, which is too bad, nakedness aside, it was a great spa. The spa lacked the more polished elegance of a Burke Williams, but what it lacked in elegance, it made up for it other areas, namely the food area. After getting my scrub, and detoxing in the sauna, I walked over to the jade rooms, and just beyond that was a bar and the scent coming from the bar was intoxicating. The bar/restaurant had a full menu of soups with fermented and pickled veggies, JACKPOT! I grabbed a folded robe from a pedestal near the entrance into the bar–you didn’t think they would make us eat naked did you?–and sat down to a deliciously healthy meal. If only all spa’s included this kind of service. That was my first experience eating Korean food, and since then I’ve fallen in love with it. This recipe is my take on chicken Korean barbecue. I have to say that this chicken is delicious! Better than the chicken that I’ve had at most restaurants that I’ve been to. This recipe requires Gochujang–a spicy fermented chili paste. You may need to venture into an Asian market for the Gochujang. I purchased a jar at my local Whole Foods, they had several varieties of it, I chose a garlic Gochujang.
Here’s what you need:
1lb of boneless skinless organic chicken thighs, cut each thigh into 3 or 4 pieces
1.5 tablespoons of Gochujang
2 teaspoons of sugar–can sub with maple sugar or syrup
1 teaspoon of garlic grated
3 green onions chopped finely both whites and green parts
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
2 teaspoons of sesame oil
1 teaspoon of olive or grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
sea salt to taste
Directions: Season the chicken with sea salt and set aside.
To a large mixing bowl or medium size bake pan add the remaining ingredients,
combine and mix well,
then toss in the chicken, tossing to coat the chicken completely in the marinade.
Cover with foil and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Grill the chicken on a hot grill, 5-7 minutes on each side, serve and enjoy!
Ahh…rice. The staple food for many cultures. In fact, rice is so important to my good friend Gina’s parents that they will not even travel without bringing along their rice maker. It’s the first thing her mom unpacks in the hotel room. My husband and my daughter are huge fans of rice. Page is a particular fan of basmati, and I can’t say that I blame her. A good basmati is aromatic, light and airy, like eating a cloud. I don’t cook rice that often, so even a small bag could last us months. Whenever I do make rice, as much as my husband and daughter love it, we always have leftovers. I hate to throw it away so I always try to find a way to use it. Page loves fried rice–who doesn’t? She is a particular fan of my Crab Fried Rice. But we don’t always have crab in the house. So I use what I have, usually a few vegetables, and an egg. One of the fish restaurants we frequent makes a garlic rice that Page just devours. So I decided to do my own take on the garlic rice which she loves so much.
Here’s what you need:
2-3 cups of room temperature left over rice
1/2 teaspoon of tumeric
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of minced ginger
1 tablespoon of oil
sea salt or soy sauce to taste
Directions: Add the oil, garlic, tumeric and ginger to a saute pan and heat on medium heat until garlic and ginger slightly brown,
add in the rice, toss until rice is heated.
Transfer to a serving bowl, season with soy or sea salt, and a drizzle of sesame oil, garnish with cilantro, serve and enjoy. This is AMAZING with my Korean barbecue chicken, stay tuned for that recipe tomorrow!
So I’ve decided that this will be my last post until the summer is over. Mainly because we’ll be traveling for at least three weeks in August, and today is Page’s last day in her summer program at school. We have about a week of lounging around and playing in the back yard before she starts her Spanish immersion summer program. I want to spend as much time as I can with her, without looking at my phone to do all that blogging requires of me. I’ll be sure to update my Instagram account with all of my food adventures–as usual. So if you aren’t following me on Instagram, click on the link to the right to do so. Now to the recipe. Berbere Chicken was one of the first recipes that I shared on this blog. It’s one of Page’s favorite chicken dishes–although lately it is getting some strong competition from Sous Vide Chicken Thighs with Thyme and Garlic. She still love this chicken nonetheless. After making the chicken the last time, I was so impressed with the flavors, I wanted to add it to something else, and then it occurred to me how awesome this seasoning would be on lentils, in a soup. As I walked around my kitchen, grabbing ingredients and formulating a recipe in my head, lentils, tomatoes–because my garden is overflowing with them, onion, garlic, lemon, and berbere spice, it occurred to me that I had these flavors before in a dish at an Ethiopian restaurant. Sure enough there was a recipe for a stew by none other than Marcus Samuelson. While I did not follow his recipe exactly, my own isn’t so far off. I used some Organic Green French Lentils, which I sprouted. His recipe and I guess the traditional recipe calls for red lentils. I added some of the preserved lemon salt I made to my bowl as a finish. If you haven’t made my preserved lemon salt yet, a little preserved lemon would be awesome with this.
1 cup of sprouted organic green lentils
1 large tomato chopped
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of oil –your choice I used butter
2 tablespoons of berbere spice
1 lemon cut into wedges
3 cups of water
Ingredients for Berbere Spice
3 Tablespoons of Paprika I used a smoked
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of ground ginger
1 tablespoon of cumin seeds or ground cumin
1teaspoon of ground turmeric
1teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of fenugreek powder, or seeds
1 teaspoon of coriander
6 cardmom pods or 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of allspice
1/2 teaspoon of black peppercorns
8 whole cloves
Directions for spice blend:
Place all the spices in a dry cast iron skillet and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until toasted about 3-5 minutes. Cool completely place all ingredients in a spice grinder or blender until finely ground. Transfer to an air tight storage container for up to 3 months.
Directions: Heat the oil along with the onion, and garlic and cook until onion is translucent.
Add in the lentils and berbere spice.
Allow the mixture to cook for 2-3 minutes, then add in the tomato,
cook for another minute or two,
then add in the water. Bring to a boil, then allow the lentils to simmer for 20-30minutes, or until lentils are tender.
You can serve at this point, by adding the stew to a bowl and squeezing a few lemon wedges over the soup. I wanted a little more texture, so I blended a quarter of my lentils then added them back into the stew.
It made the soup thicker and creamier. Delicious either way!