Avocado and Salsa Toast

Friends have been encouraging me to share some of my simple, go-to recipes. I often don’t think of them as a recipe, because it’s something I throw together based on what I happen to find in the fridge.

Today I had some leftover avocado, leftovers of a gorgeous fire-roasted tomato salsa (recipe to come soon!), and some sourdough bread. Although the rest of the continent seems to have eaten a lot of avocado toast, I had not until today!

The hardest part of this recipe is buying the perfectly ripe avocado.

I also made a sunny-side-up egg so I could dip the toast in the egg yolks – mmm good!

What you need:

  • a slice of bread – I used sourdough
  • half an avocado
  • your favourite salsa
  • hot sauce (optional)

What you do:

  1. Mash the avocado up with a fork. Add a bit of salsa and mix it in.
  2. Toast the bread. Top it with the avocado and hot sauce.
  3. Enjoy!

Mushroom Pâté (Instant Pot Version)

This week I bought an Instant Pot, so I’m now busy trying recipes to get a sense of how it works. I’ve tried out a few recipes, and I’m learning how to tweak them in ways that I enjoy. You can totally make this in a pot on your stove too!

This one is a delicious winner! It has a nice creamy texture and lovely flavours of mushroom, white wine, butter and olive oil. So nice on a piece of toasted bread or crostini! It satisfies those umami cravings. For me this was a part of a picnic spread of cheese, mushroom pate, bean salad, and some veggies.

I made a few changes to the original recipe: In my instructions I have clarified a few details that were not well-described in the Instant Pot Recipe Booklet, and some that were omitted. I used a combination of dried mushrooms instead of just porcini. I also cooked off some of the moisture after pressure cooking because it seemed to liquidy. I added pepper at the end instead of before cooking (I think cooked pepper tastes more butter), and I topped up the liquid in the dried mushrooms with white wine instead of water – yum! I transferred my mushroom mixture to a food processor instead of using an immersion blender because I wanted to make sure I had a really creamy paté; I’m sure the immersion blender does a nice job too – and who doesn’t love fewer dishes!!! I also used a high quality olive oil to add in the last stage. I might also drizzle some on the top in the future!

Next time I will add a sprig of rosemary to the pot before it cooks – doesn’t that sound delicious?

The recipe serves 4-6 people. Or two. If you are self-isolating or just selfish.

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup dried mushrooms, rinsed
  • boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon butter (use olive oil for vegan recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 500 grams (1 lb) cremini or white button mushrooms (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (plus a little more)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon good quality olive oil
  • freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons good quality Parmesan cheese, finely grated (use vegan Parmesan for vegan recipe)

What you do:

  1. Place the dry mushrooms in a measuring cup. Pour boiling water over them until it reaches just over 3/4 cup. Push the mushrooms down, then put a tight lid or plastic wrap over the measuring cup.
  2. Slice the shallots and mushrooms.
  3. Add the olive oil and butter to the Instant Pot, then sauté the shallots for a minute. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until they are golden brown (mine didn’t get golden, and it was awesome anyways).
  4. Pour the 1/4 cup wine in and allow to evaporate.
  5. Add the mushrooms and their soaking liquid, along with an extra splash of wine. Add the salt and bay leaf.
  6. Close and lock the lid, and then set the Pressure Cooker to 12 minutes. When the time is up, use the Quick Pressure Release.
  7. At this point I sautéd off a bit of the liquid – you can decide if you think this is necessary. Discard the bay leaf.
  8. Once slightly cooled, add the cracked pepper and Parmesan cheese. Use an immersion blender or food processor to blend until smooth.
  9. Enjoy on crostini or whatever form you choose!

The Best Blueberry Muffins

blueberry muffins - trustinkim.com

“These are the best muffins I have ever had,” is how my guy responded to these blueberry muffins. They might not look like the best blueberry muffins, but they are! They are really light and fluffy, with a hit of lemon and a crunchy cap. The trick to successful muffins is not over-mixing the batter, which will cause you to have a dense muffin. Another trick – bake them as soon as the batter is in the muffin tins so they don’t lose any of their leavening.

I made a few minor changes to this recipe: I used the zest of a whole lemon instead of half, and I added the baking powder and baking soda a bit later in the process to avoid over-mixing it. For the Turbinado sugar topping I used a bit less than the suggested 3 tablespoons, and it still gave a nice crunch.

If you are using frozen blueberries you should leave them in the freezer until you are ready to add them.

Makes 9 muffins. They are the very best the day they come out of the oven, but warmed up with a bit of butter in the next few days they were quite good too.

What you need:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • zest from 1/2 a lemon (finely grated, only the yellow outer peel)
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/4 to 1 & 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen 
  • 3 tablespoons Turbinado (sugar in the raw) sugar

What you do:

  1. Prepare your muffin tins by lining 9 of them with paper liners, and then spray them with baking spray. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Melt the butter then pour it into a large bowl. Whisk in the sugar, lemon zest, yogurt and egg until smooth.
  3. My method of adding the dry ingredients goes like this: add one cup of the flour and stir it in until there are still some clumps. Now combine the remaining half cup of flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Very lightly fold this mixture into the batter, until it it is mostly mixed, with a few lumps.
  4. Fold the berries as little as possible. You should now have a very thick batter, especially if you just added frozen berries.
  5. Divide the better between the 9 muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with a bit of Turbinado sugar. 
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. I started watching mine after 20 minutes (my oven is a little wacky, and it is difficult to keep a steady temperature.) The muffins will look golden when they are done. Test them by inserting a toothpick in the middle; if there is any batter sticking to the toothpick let them bake a few minutes longer.
  7. Let the muffins cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack.

Fig & Anise Bread

fig and anise bread - trustinkim.com

The other day my sister was lamenting the fact that Terra breads had closed during the pandemic because she was craving their fig and anise bread. So I said, “Why not bake it yourself?” 

My sister wasn’t really into that idea, so I decided to give it a whirl, and it ended up being quite awesome!

I used my super easy no-knead bread recipe, and added figs and aniseeds to it. It was really delicious, and I only made one modification to my first try – more aniseeds. I thought that one tablespoon would have been more than enough, but it was actually quite a mild flavour. So I upped the amount in the next batch.

After I made the bread, my guy was quite jealous that it was going to my sister, so I ended up cutting off a portion for him – gotta try to please everybody! I have more friends who are fanatics about this bread, so I look forward to making more loaves to share with them.

If you give this recipe a try, please do let me know in the comments if you enjoyed it! The comments let me know if there’s anybody out there who is interested in my recipes.

This bread is lovely with a little bit of butter, cream cheese or goat’s cheese. 

If you have a hard time finding anise seeds, you can buy them in store in Vancouver or online at Gourmet Warehouse.

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup dark rye flour (or whole wheat, or only white flour if that’s what you have)
  • 2 & 1/4 cups white flour
  • 1 & 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons whole aniseed
  • 1 cup chopped dried figs
  • 1 & 1/2 cups room temperature water

What you do:

  1. Combine the flours, salt, yeast and aniseeds in a large bowl and mix them together.  Add the water and mix it in with a spoon, adding the figs part way through the mixing. You will end up with a shaggy, sticky dough.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid, and let sit for 12-18 hours in a warm-ish place, and out of direct sunlight. The dough should about double in size and become dotted with bubbles. If your house is a little on the cooler side you will likely need the longer rising time. 
  3. Cut a large piece of parchment paper and place it on a countertop where it can sit undisturbed. Coat the parchment paper with a bit of oil using your hands, then turn the dough out onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour. Cover the dough loosely with some plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let the dough sit for 1-2 hours, until it has doubled in volume.
  4. About 1/2 an hour before you want to put the bread in the oven, set the temperature to 475°F  and place your baking pot on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Let the pot heat up, and when the oven has reached 475°F, remove the pot from the oven. Pick up the dough by gathering together the corners of the parchment paper. Carefully (remember the pot is smoking hot!) place the dough (still on the parchment paper) into the pot. I cut away any really long bits of parchment that are sticking out of the pot.
  5. Put the cover on the pot and bake for 30 minutes while the bread forms its nice thick crust. Remove the lid from the pot and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes more.  The bread should become a deep brown when it is done, and if you tap on it, it should sound hollow.  Remove the pot from the oven, lift the bread out of the pot, remove the parchment paper, and place the loaf on a rack to cool. It needs to cool for about 1/2 an hour before slicing.
  6. Enjoy!

fig and anise dough rising -trustinkim.com
dough after the first 12-18 hours

fig and anise dough - trustinkim.com
dough after second rising

fig and anise loaf - trustinkim.com
the loaf, fresh out of the oven

 

Rye Bread, like Oma made

Rye Bread - trustinkim.com

My Oma made the best bread. Nobody that I know of in my family ever learned quite how to make her bread the way she did. I’ve tried a number of times to recreate it, including baking it in a brick oven once like she did sometimes. This is the closest I’ve ever gotten to making bread that tastes like hers, and I think the potato water is a big part of that. Also the method of baking it in a lidded dish helps to create that nice dark crust.

This is a version of the popular no-knead bread making method. I added the potato water to make it more like Oma’s bread. No-knead bread is super easy to make, and so delicious. Now that my favourite local bread bakery (Terra Breads) has closed due to the pandemic, I’m making this bread regularly.

The potato water adds some flavour and gives the bread a nice texture. To make potato water you can boil some potatoes ahead of time for another meal, then save the cooking water in the fridge until you want to make this bread. Just bring the potato water to room temperature before mixing the dough.

I used a lidded baking dish for this, my le Creuset French oven. At other times I’ve used a Romertopf baker. I imagine a casserole dish with a lid could work too. You could bake it without a lid too, which I haven’t done with this recipe yet.

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup dark rye flour
  • 2 & 1/4 cups white flour
  • 1 & 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 & 1/2 cups room temperature potato water

What you do:

  1. Combine the flours, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Add the potato water and mix it up. You will end up with a shaggy, sticky dough.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid, and let sit for 12-18 hours in a warm-ish place, and out of direct sunlight. The dough should about double in size and become dotted with bubbles. If your house is a little on the cool side you will likely need the longer rising time. 
  3. Cut a large piece of parchment paper and place it on a countertop. Coat the parchment paper with a bit of oil using your hands, then turn the dough out onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour. Cover the dough loosely with some plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let the dough sit for 1-2 hours, until it has doubled in volume.
  4. About 1/2 an hour before you want to put the bread in the oven, set the temperature to 475°F  and place your baking pot on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Let the pot heat up, and when the oven has reached 475°F, remove the pot from the oven. Pick up the dough by gathering together the corners of the parchment paper. Carefully (remember the pot is smoking hot!) place the dough (still on the parchment paper) into the pot. I cut away any really long bits of parchment that are sticking out of the pot.
  5. Put the cover on the pot and bake for 30 minutes while the bread forms its nice thick crust. Remove the lid from the pot and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes more.  The bread should become a deep brown when it is done, and if you tap on it, it should sound hollow.  Remove the pot from the oven, lift the bread out of the pot, remove the parchment paper, and place it on a rack to cool. It needs to cool for about 1/2 an hour before slicing.
  6. This bread has no preservatives, so if you don’t use it up by the second day, it should be refrigerated frozen.

Potato Pizza

potato pizza - trustinkim.com

This pizza is surprisingly good!

I’ve been hearing about potato pizza from my guy for a long time, and to be honest, I wasn’t really interested. For a long time. But I gave it a try recently, and it was actually really good! And then he asked if we could have it a week later for his birthday dinner, so I knew it was a winner. 

This is not the type of pizza that I am used to: no sauce, just salted potato slices and onion tossed in olive oil, and some rosemary and Pecorino cheese. But really good! I love the thin crust and the crispy edges on the potato!

I looked at a lot of recipes to figure out what to do here, and went to a local Roman pizzeria in Vancouver to try theirs. I mainly followed the instructions in Smitten Kitchen’s recipe, but the Pecorino was my addition. The grocery-store-bought Pecorino wasn’t the best, so I’d say to splash out  on a cheese from a fromagerie/cheese shop if you can. A good substitution would be a nice Parmesan, or you could leave it without any cheese.

I’m leaving some of the amounts kind of vague here. You know how much pepper or rosemary you want on your potato pizza, right? If not, just play with it and see what works best for you!

If you don’t want to make your own pizza dough (although once you’ve tried this one you might find you love that it is easy and tasty) the Whole Foods dough is quite good.

What you need:

  • pizza dough (try this no-knead method) 
  • 4 teaspoons sea salt
  • a few Yukon gold potatoes (I used 2 smallish ones for one pizza)
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • olive oil
  • fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Pecorino cheese

What you do:

  1. At least half an hour before assembling the pizza, and up to a few hours before, peel and slice the potatoes. They should be sliced as thinly as possible; if you have a mandoline, this is the perfect time to use it. If not, try to cut the slices thinly and uniformly. Place them in a bowl of water with the salt, and let it sit until you are getting the pizza ready for the oven.
  2. Preheat the oven to 260C/500F.
  3. Drain the potatoes and use a clean kitchen towel to dry them. Toss the dried potatoes with some olive oil, pepper and rosemary.
  4. Pour a bit of olive oil onto a baking pan and spread it around with your fingers.
  5. Use your olive oil covered hands to form the crust into the pan, pushing it around until it is a somewhat uniform thickness.
  6. Spread the potatoes around the top of the dough, overlapping slightly. If you’re a cheese lover you can sprinkle a bit on now, or wait until it is baked.
  7. Bake for 15-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of your crust. The pizza will become crispy and somewhat browned. 
  8. Add a sprinkling of cheese before serving. My pizza cutting tool of choice is my clean kitchen scissors, so use those if you have them.
  9. Enjoy!

Delicious and Easy Pizza Dough

no knead pizza dough - trustinkim.com

The title says it all – this pizza dough really is delicious and easy. All you need is some time, but most of it is the planning ahead kind of time. You just need to mix up the ingredients and wait. We ate pizza twice this week – once when the dough sat in the fridge for two days, one after four – and the second round was even better! So if you can plan that far in advance, I recommend the three to four day ferment.

The most difficult part about making pizza dough at this time in history (Covid 19 times) is sourcing flour and yeast!  I happen to have half a jar of yeast in my fridge from “before,” and managed to find some flour recently – lucky me!

I’m not going to suggest toppings at this time, but I will say that it seems best when the toppings are minimal, as things get a bit mushy on pizza if there’s too much moisture on top. So a few well-chosen ingredients will be amazing on here. The one in the photo is just a simple tomato sauce with Mozzarella, but we also had a potato pizza, which was surprisingly good.

This is a Jim Lahey recipe, the guy who made this no-knead method so well known.

The recipe makes enough for four medium-sized hand-stretched pizzas. If you want a thin crust pizza it makes four large pizzas.

What you need:

  • 500 grams (3 & ¾ cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping the dough
  • 1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
  • 16 grams (2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
  • 350 grams (1 & ½ cups) water

What you do:

  1. Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl.
  2. Add the water (room temperature) and mix it in until it is fully combined.
  3. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap. Let the dough sit on a counter for about 18 hours. It could take longer if it is in a very cold room, but less if it is very warm. When it has about doubled in size you will know it is ready.
  4. At this point the dough is ready to use, but I think the tastiest pizza crusts are made with dough that has sat in the fridge for a few days. So go ahead and skip to step #7 if you want to make pizza today.
  5. Cut the dough into four equal pieces and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a few days. You could even freeze a ball or two for a few weeks.
  6. Take the pizza out of the fridge a few hours (minimum 3 hours, but longer is okay too) before you want to begin making it. Unwrap the plastic wrap, put the dough on a plate. Place the plastic wrap on top of the dough, tucking it in lightly so the dough can expand. I like to put a tea towel on top of the dough while it sits.
  7. Heat the oven as high as it will go. Get your toppings ready.
  8. I like to drizzle a bit of olive oil on the pan, but only where the dough will be or it will burn.
  9. Take a ball of dough and press it into the centre, then hold it in your fingers and let the weight of the dough stretch it, turning it as it stretches. Here is a video with some dough-stretching tips, since it’s a bit difficult to describe. 
  10. Place the dough on the baking tray, put your toppings on it, and stick it in the oven. Depending on the thickness of the dough and the toppings you’ve put on it, it could be ready in 5-10 minutes.
  11. Eat it while it’s hot!