No-Knead Fridge Foccacia

over night focaccia - trustinkim

Easy and delicious, this foccacia recipe has that perfect combination that makes it a winner. This is one of those no-knead breads, and although it’s easier than a typical bread, the long sitting time gives it a beautiful texture and flavour. Apparently the bubbles formed by the yeast perform the same action of creating gluten structure as the traditional hands-on kneading method.

You’ll need at least 24 hours, and up to 3 days, to make this foccacia, but most of it is hands-off time. I prefer the longer sitting time, if I’ve planned ahead enough.

I found this awesome recipe on alexandracooks.com

What you need:

  • 4 cups (512 grams all-purpose flour)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • olive oil
  • fleur de sel/ sea salt for topping

What you do:

  1. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and yeast. Add the water and mix it all together until there are no lumps. 
  2. Loosely cover the bowl with a lid, plastic wrap, or a damp towel held in place with an elastic band. Place the bowl in the fridge for at least 12 hours, and up to 3 days.
  3. About 2-3 hours before baking time remove the dough from the fridge. Deflate the dough by pulling it away from the edges of the bowl.
  4. Line two pie plates with parchment paper or butter, then add about a tablespoon of olive oil to each plate. Divide the dough in two balls and place them into the pie plates. Turn the dough to coat it in olive oil. Let the dough sit for 2-3 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425F/220C.
  6. After it has risen pour a little more olive oil over the dough, then use your fingers to poke into the dough to make dimples. Sprinkle with sea salt/fleur de sel. Place the dough in the oven immediately. Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden.
  7. Place the dough on cooling racks and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

 

Soba Noodles with Cucumbers and Grilled Salmon

Soba Noodles with Grilled Salmon - trustinkim

I have made this recipe twice so far, and I already know it’s going to be a regular in my repertoire. This soba noodle dish is perfect for a warm evening, or any time you want something healthy, not too difficult, and super tasty. You only need to marinate the salmon for a little while, then boil the noodles, slice the cucumbers and scallions, grill the salmon, and put it all together.

I found this recipe on the Food 52 site – one of my favourite sites because they have so many recipes, and everything I’ve tried has been delicious. The original recipe called for cedar-planked salmon – I’m sure that I’m missing out, and I may never know exactly what I’m missing out on, but . . .  I’m probably never going to buy cedar planks to make this – I just grilled mine on foil (and now that I’ve bought a copper grill mat I don’t have to use non-usable tin foil again). If you don’t have a bbq you could pan fry or bake the salmon; it might just be missing that faint smoky taste and smell, but will still be awesome.

I made my own mirin, which was really easy to do. The stuff I found in the store was either really expensive, or didn’t seem to be a very good quality. The homemade version might not be cheaper because you have to buy a bottle of sake to make it, but I think it tastes a lot better. 

Here are some tips for using ginger:  First, I recently had a revelation about the quality of ginger – those great big roots we typically find in the grocery store are really woody, and the flavour and texture of the smaller or newer crop ginger is so much better. So when I find the small kind, which is usually an expensive organic type, I buy a whack of it and put it in the freezer. Whenever I need some I have it on hand, and I just use the finest grater I have to shred whatever amount of the frozen ginger that I need for the recipe. It grates much easier after freezing! It’s taken me a while to figure this out, and this has been a really helpful discovery.

And one note on the sesame seeds – in order to benefit from the nutrients in the seeds you really need to crush them; we can’t digest the whole seeds. So I like to crush most of them, then use a few extra to scatter on top of the dish to make it look pretty. You can do this in a spice grinder, with a mortar and pestle, or just squish them with a heavy pot on top of a cutting board. When you crush them you also get more of a sesame flavour, so keep that in mind when deciding how much to add.

This portion would easily serve four people, but it’s easy to halve the recipe if you’re feeding two. It was good the next day for lunch too!

Because I like to add extra veg to my meals, another time I made this I added grilled gai lan on the side. Bok choi would also be great. 

What you need:

  • 280 grams/10 ounces wild salmon fillets
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • tablespoons ginger (grated finely)
  • tablespoons sugar
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 170 grams/6 ounces soba noodles
  • English cucumber, or several of the smaller onest
  • scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts
  • tablespoons sesame seeds, most crushed, some whole for garnish
  • 1 lime, optional

What you do:

  1. Combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, sesame oil, ginger, sugar, and crushed pepper flakes. Place the salmon in a shallow dish and pour about 1/4 cup of the marinade (the rest will be the dressing) over the salmon. Flip the salmon so that the skin is facing up, then cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the grill to high. Boil a large pot of water to cook the soba noodles. Follow the instructions on the package (mine took about 7 minutes). Drain the noodles, then place them in a bowl of cold water until they have cooled off.
  3. Remove the salmon from the marinade and grill it skin side down for about 5 minutes. Make sure not to overcook it – you can put a knife in it to test if it’s done and not worry about it looking bad because you’re going to break it apart for serving anyways. When the salmon is done let it rest off the grill for 5 minutes.
  4. Once the noodles have cooled, drain them and place them in a large bowl.
  5. Slice the cucumbers as thinly as you can – I just used a vegetable peeler to do this, and it was really efficient for a thin uniform slice. Place the soba noodles, cucumber, scallions, sesame seeds and some of the dressing in the bowl. Give it all a good toss, adding more dressing if you need it, and some freshly squeezed lime if you wish.
  6. Once the salmon has cooled, remove the skin and break the fish into small pieces. You can either mix the salmon into the noodles or put it on top. Garnish with some sesame seeds.
  7. Enjoy!

Awesome Slow-Cooked Beef Tacos

slow-cooked beef taco - trustinkim

If you have a thing for tacos, you’re going to love this slow-cooked beef taco recipe. The blackened peppers, slightly caramelized onions, and red wine give this recipe a lot of depth in flavour. Because of the long cooking time the meat becomes super tender, so you don’t need to buy an expensive cut of meat. It makes enough for a crowd, and also freezes well.

The recipe called for using a slow-cooker, but I don’t have one, so I cooked it in my Le Creuset baker in a low oven for a few hours.

Serve with your favourite taco toppings. Cilantro is always good, extra lime wedges, and your favourite bottled salsa. I didn’t use the Mexican crema that the original recipe suggested. Nor did I get to serve it with the Guacamolata (avocado sauce)  that I love, since there were no ripe avocados available in any of the five stores I tried!. I absolutely love X’nipek on this, a red onion topping that is really easy to make; it adds a little tartness and spice, and looks really pretty on top of a taco.

Some other topping ideas you could make are roasted tomatillo salsa, tomatillo salsa, guajillo chile salsa, or salsa fresca.

I found this recipe on the Food52 site.

What you need:

  • pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • poblano/pasilla peppers
  • serrano chile
  • tablespoons vegetable oil
  • medium-sized sweet onion, sliced about 1/2 cm thick
  • clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 430 mL/14.5 ounces canned diced fire-roasted tomatoes (or regular if you can’t find these)
  • tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • tortillas (I like the ones made with a combination of corn and flour)
  • 1 tomato, chopped 
  • greens for garnish; I used some salad mix and cilantro

What you do:

  1. Take the beef out of the fridge 1/2 an hour before you begin cooking, then season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. If you have a gas range or a barbecue, turn it on high. Place the poblano and serrano peppers over the flame, turning from time to time, until they are blackened all over. You can also do this in the oven under the broiler. Once blackened, place the peppers in a bowl and cover with a lid. Let them sit for about 15 minutes before removing most of the skin, and cutting out the stem and seeds. It’s okay to have some blackened bits; this will give your tacos some smoky flavour, and makes it look authentic. Roughly chop the peppers.
  3. Preheat the oven to 250F/120C.
  4. Put a large skillet on high heat, then pour in a little glug of vegetable oil. Once the oil is smoking hot add the beef; let it brown on each side for about 2 minutes, then remove it from the pan, keeping the drippings to cook the onions in.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the onions, stirring often to avoid burning. Cook until they have softened and become browned. If they seem too dry you can add a bit more oil to the pan.
  6. Add the chopped chile peppers and garlic, and cook for about 2 – 3 minutes, making sure that the garlic does not burn.
  7. Add the red wine and stir to scrape up all the nice brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until the wine has reduced by half, then add the diced tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil, then place the beef back in the pot.
  8. Put the pot in the oven an cook for 2-3 hours – this will give you lots of time to prepare the toppings, or make your own tortillas, and enjoy a cerveza. My beef was done somewhere after the two hour mark. It will be easy to tell if it is done – the meat will fall apart when you pull it with a fork. When it is done, shred the beef using two forks.
  9. Taste, then add more salt and pepper if you think it is needed. Sprinkle the chopped fresh oregano on top.
  10. To warm the tortillas, wrap them in a clean damp cloth and microwave on high for 1 minute.
  11. To serve, place some of the shredded beef in the middle of a tortilla. Top with a little bit of the pickled onion, chopped tomato, or whatever other topping you like. It’s nice to squeeze a little lime on top.
  12. Enjoy! Please let me know if you enjoyed the recipe, if there are any typos, or what you did differently!

Black Bean and Corn Salad

p1070648.jpg

Now that the warmer weather is here I’m starting to think about what to make for patio and picnic time. This salad is super tasty, and really healthy too. For me it’s a great quick meal salad, and since it keeps in the fridge for a few days I can just dig in whenever I need a little something to eat. You can also mix and match at you see fit, for example if you don’t like peppers you can substitute a bit of jicama or apple or whatever you’d like.

If you use canned beans and corn, all you have to do is make the dressing and add in whatever veg and herbs you like – super easy! Then let it all sit for about half an hour before you dig in.

I found the recipe here, and I just downsized the amounts. I used canned corn instead of frozen because I find frozen corn a bit rubbery, and peaches and cream corn is the best. I also added some freshly chopped tomato to the top of each salad, and a bit of extra bell pepper.

Avocado makes a great addition to the top of each salad serving. Sadly, I could not find a ripe avocado in the five stores I checked. They could charge double for the ripe ones… I’d pay double for a perfectly ripe avocado – would you?

What you need for the salad:

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • I can peaches and cream corn, along with the liquid
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, de-seeded and diced (amount dependent on your heat preferences)
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion

What you need for the dressing:

  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper

What you do:

  1. Mix up all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. In a larger bowl, combine all the salad ingredients. Stir the dressing into the salad.
  3. Let the salad sit in the fridge with a cover over it for half an hour, or a few hours.

 

Fudge Brownies (Rebar’s recipe)

rebar's vegan brownies - trustinkim

The recipe for these cakey brownies comes from Rebar Restaurant’s vegan fudge brownie recipe. In my version I used butter and real chocolate, instead of vegan margarine and carob chips. I’m printing the recipe up as a non-vegan one, so if you need it to be vegan you can use the ingredients in brackets. I’ve had this recipe both ways, and both are delicious.

The cake part of this is great, but it’s the glaze on top, and the chocolate chips in the cake, that make this for me.

You can also add some toasted walnuts to the batter if you wish.

What you need for the brownie:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 & 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup coffee, cooled
  • 3/4 cup milk (soy, rice, or your fave alternative milk)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (carob chips)

What you need for the glaze:

  • 210 grams (7 oz) dark chocolate
  • 2/3 cup butter (vegan margarine)

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Grease a 9″ by 9″ pan with butter and then line it with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder, then add the brown sugar and salt. Add the coffee, milk and oil, then stir until it is all combined.
  3. Pour the batter into the pan and then sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.
  4. Bake for about 25 minutes, checking for doneness with a toothpick, which should come out clean.
  5. Allow the cake to cool.
  6. To prepare the glaze use either a double boiler, or a bowl on top of a pot of lightly boiling water. Melt the chocolate and butter and whisk it together until it is smooth. Pour the glaze over the cake and spread it so there is an even layer.
  7. Place the pan in the fridge to set. To slice, remove the cake from the fridge to warm a little before slicing. This will prevent the chocolate from cracking, and make your brownies prettier.

Buttermilk Apple Cake

apple cake - trustinkim

Some of the things I enjoyed about this recipe:

  • the hint of lemon
  • the slight crunch of the turbinado sugar topping
  • it’s still delicious on day 4
  • you can make a design with the apples

I found this recipe here. I just used a different type of apple, and changed the kind of sugar called for.

What you need:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup turbinado sugar (or 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar, which I used)
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 2 large lemons
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to milk as a substitute)
  • 4 small apples, peeled and cored, cut into 1 & 1/2-cm thick slices (I used Gala apples)
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top
What you do:
  1. Butter and then flour (or spray) a 9-inch springform cake pan. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until it is light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until is is light and fluffy again, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in another bowl, and on low speed mix half of it into the batter.
  4. Mix in all the buttermilk.
  5. Mix in the remainder of the dry ingredients.
  6.  Pour the batter into the springform pan, spreading it to the edges using a spatula.
  7. Arrange the apples on top of the batter, pushing them down slightly. Sprinkle the top with some turbinado sugar and a light dusting of nutmeg.
  8. Place the filled springform pan on a baking sheet and bake for 45-55 minutes (mine was done on the early side). When a toothpick is inserted into the cake it should come out with a few crumbs attached.
  9. Allow the cake to cool for a few minutes, then remove the springform ring and allow the cake to cool.
  10. When the cake has cooled completely you can store it in an airtight container for several days.

Lamb, Root Vegetable and Mushroom Stew

lamb, root vegetable and mushroom stew - trustinkim

The other day, in the middle of a bleak, grey Vancouver winter week, I needed to make something warm and comforting. And since I love lamb, this seemed the perfect thing to make. If you don’t love lamb, you could substitute beef.

I really enjoyed the variety of vegetables in this stew. Ass well, a rich broth was created using red wine and beef broth, with the lamb, vegetables and herbs adding flavour. You can use any root vegetables you wish, or just go with the ones I’ve listed in the ingredients.

I found the recipe on this site. It was posted as a pressure cooker recipe, but since I don’t have a pressure cooker, I made it using the slower stove-top method. I know that a lot of people got Instapots for Christmas this year, so this would be a suitable recipe to use that.

In the original recipe Herbes de Provence are used, but I prefer to make my own mix. One reason is that I already have all the herbs that I need to go into it, so I don’t want to buy yet another jar for my spice drawer. As well, I think lavender makes a great sachet to put in the dryer, or to keep clothing drawers smelling fresh –  but I really don’t like to eat lavender. So I made my recipe sans lavender. It has thyme, oregano, and tarragon, and there is already a spring of rosemary in the stew, so I didn’t put in more of that.

Serves at least 4 people with some bread, or on top of mashed potatoes.

What you need:

  • 1/2 kg / 1 pound lamb, cubed
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a few grinds of pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh tarragon
  • 1 cup red pearl onions or 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms quartered 
  • 4 cups root vegetables cubed- I used  a little bit each of carrot, potato, parsnip, sweet potato and turnip
  • several grinds sea salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. Place the flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cubed lamb and toss until all the pieces are coated. Remove the lamb from the bowl, discarding the remainder of the flour.
  2. Heat a large French oven or pot to medium high heat and pour in the olive oil. Add the lamb to the pot, along with the shallot and garlic, cooking the lamb until it has browned all over.
  3. Pour the wine and broth into the pot with the lamb, along with the rosemary, bay leaves, thyme, oregano and tarragon. Bring to a boil and cook without a lid on for 1 to 1 & 1/2 hours, stirring from time to time. The lamb should be tender at the end of this cooking time.
  4. Before the lamb cooking time is done, prepare the vegetables. If you are using the pearl onions, blanch them in boiling water for a few seconds, snip off the root end, and pop the onions out of their skins.
  5. When the lamb is tender, add the vegetables to the pot and cook for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  6. Taste before adding pepper, and possibly some salt. If you used a store-bought beef broth you may not need to add salt. If you like you can garnish with a little parsley.
  7. This makes excellent leftovers, and is possibly even better when reheated.
    Enjoy!