BAGHRIR: MOROCCAN SEMOLINA PANCAKES

If you don’t know Tara’s Multicultural Table, you are missing on a must-follow food blog. I am quite fond of bloggers who open my horizons, and Tara does that on a regular basis, with unusual recipes from all over the world. Indeed, a multicultural virtual experience. I have not hit these pancakes perfectly, but they were so delicious I could not wait to share. The batter needed to be slightly thinner, so that they would form a nicer looking circle as they fried. But I am calling them rustic semolina pancakes, and I hope Tara will forgive me.

BAGHRIR
(slightly modified from Tara’s Multicultural Table)

2 cups (470 milliliters) lukewarm water 105-115˚F
2 + 1/4 teaspoons (7 grams) active dry yeast
1 + 1/4 cups (210 grams) fine semolina flour
1/2 cup (65 grams) all purpose flour
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons (7 grams) baking powder

Vegetable oil for greasing the pan

Pour the warm water into a blender and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let sit for a minute before stirring to dissolve. Allow to rest about 10 minutes, until frothy.

Add the semolina, flour, sugar, and salt to the blender with the water and yeast. Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.Add the baking powder and blend again briefly until incorporated. Either leave in the blender or transfer to a large bowl and cover with a cloth. Allow to rest for 30-45 minutes. Bubbles should begin to form on the surface.

Place a nonstick pan over medium low heat. Grease with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Once heated, pour about 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) of the puffed batter into the center of the pan in a circle. Cook just until no moisture remains on the top and little holes have developed throughout the pancake. Do not flip the baghrir. Adjust the heat higher or lower as needed to prevent the bottom from burning. Remove to a serving plate and repeat with remaining batter. If you feel the batter is too thick when you fry the first one, dilute with a little water.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Tara’s version is sweet. You enjoy it with honey and almonds, as a little dessert or breakfast item. I opted for a savory version to pair with a turkey chili that is always a regular appearance in our kitchen. In the first photo above you can see how bubbly things got in that measuring cup… try not to walk away and forget all about it, or better yet, use a bigger container… As I mentioned, the batter could have been thinned out a bit so that the pancakes would end up as delicate and lacy as the ones Tara showed in her site.

Before I forget, I made half the recipe, since it was just for the two of us. I am however publishing the full version, as most people cook for larger families. Don’t forget to stop by Tara’s site and be amazed at the diversity of recipes she shared over her many years of blogging.

ONE YEAR AGO: Cauliflower for Company

TWO YEAR AGO: Coconut and Lime Macarons

THREE YEAR AGO: Flank Steak Carnitas

FOUR YEARS AGO: Sesame and Poppy Seed Sourdough

FIVE YEARS AGO: Pecan-Crusted Chicken from Southern at Heart

SIX YEARS AGO: Lamb Shanks en Papillote with Cauliflower-Celeriac Purée

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Chestnut Brownies and a Blog Award!

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Quinoa with Cider-Glazed Carrots

NINE YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday: Heirloom Tomatoes Steal the Show

TEN YEARS AGO: Pain de Provence

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Golspie Loaf, from the Scottish Highlands

SWEET POTATO CRUST QUICHE

This recipe captured my imagination the moment I saw it in Cooking Light and I could not wait to make it, because c’mon, we are talking quiche… I don’t know a single person who doesn’t like it. Ok, I take it back. My first husband didn’t. Obviously, things could not have ended well in that relationship. One wonders. Back to culinary issues, quiche is such a great recipe: it has elegance, it has substance, and you can come up with all sorts of variations for the filling. The only thing that gives me pause about making it is the pastry part, since it needs to be refrigerated, rolled out, etc etc. Not a huge deal breaker, but it definitely makes this delicacy less likely to show up at our table on weeknights.  This variation takes care of that problem. Instead of dealing with the dough, you grab a couple of sweet potatoes, peel them, slice them thin and call it a day. It also has the added bonus of being quite a bit lighter. What’s not to like?

Sweet Potato Crust Quiche

SWEET POTATO CRUST QUICHE
(adapted from Cooking Light magazine)

2 medium sweet potatoes
a few sprays of coconut oil
1 (5-ounce) bag baby spinach
1/2 cup full-fat milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
dash of freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1.5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Heat the oven to 350°, then peel and slice sweet potatoes. Coat a pie dish with coconut cooking spray, then fill the bottom of the dish with a layer of sweet potato slices. Once the entire dish is filled, spray one more time with cooking spray and season lightly with salt. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn heat up to 375°.

For the filling, heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add spinach; sauté 3 minutes. Remove from heat; cool. Combine milk with all the spices and eggs in a bowl, stir well with a whisk. Arrange spinach mixture in crust; pour egg mixture over spinach. Sprinkle with feta. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes. Let stand for at least 10 minutes; cut into wedges.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

quichecompotsite

Comments: I loved this recipe! To me it was close to perfection because I liked the slight sweetness offered by the potato crust in contrast with the sharp feta cheese. However, Phil would prefer the crust to be harder, and due to the nature of sweet potatoes, that is not an easy task. He thought maybe if I baked the crust longer and at a higher temperature it could work better. It’s definitely worth experimenting. One of the issues is “shrinkage.”  Baking for the time specified in the recipe already caused the sides to shrink down considerably. I guess I could add a bit more slices to the sides and see how it goes. But, even with a slightly soft crust Phil thought the quiche was flavorful and made for a delicious side dish for our dinner. I know most people would serve it with a light salad, but we are meat lovers and savored a nice T-bone steak with it, medium-rare in all its glory. My apologies to all our vegetarian friends and two of my nieces in Brazil.

slice2

So many flavors going well together here!

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Chicken Thighs with Artichokes and Capers

TWO YEARS AGO: Pea Pancakes with Herbed Yogurt

THREE YEARS AGO: Mushroom Stroganoff

FOUR YEARS AGO: Tomato Sourdough

FIVE YEARS AGO: Gamberetti con rucola e pomodori

SIX YEARS AGO: Flirting with Orzo

CAULIFLOWER CRUST PIZZA

I might very well be the last food blogger to try it, but after reading about cauliflower crust pizza for a couple of years, here I am to report on my first attempt at turning a classic into its lighter, gluten-free cousin. First, let me say that I don’t see it as a way to replace the “real deal.”  All those glorious characteristics of the authentic pizza crust will always have a place in our kitchen. But, if you are in the mood for something lighter or if you need to cook for someone who suffers from celiac disease, this recipe will please you more than you imagine.  I wolfed down a little more than half a pizza (!!!!) and instead of heading straight to the couch to lay down and wait for that carb-induced coma, here I am typing this post to share with you.  Behold the power of the cauliflower crust!

baked

(Broiling issues, courtesy of a Jack Russell named Buck)

 

CAULIFLOWER CRUST PIZZA
(slightly modified from Chef in Disguise)
.
Yield one pizza crust
.
1 small to medium-sized head of cauliflower (about 1 cup after squeezed to remove liquid)
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried herbs (I used dried thyme)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used 1/4 cup Parmigiano cheese and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese)
tomato sauce
toppings of your choice

Place a pizza stone in the oven, or turn a baking sheet upside down and use it if you don’t have a pizza stone. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a large piece of parchment paper and spray it with nonstick cooking oil.

Wash and thoroughly dry the head of cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into small florets, and process until they are the size of rice. Place the cauliflower rice in a pot and add enough water to fill the pot 2/3 of the way up. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Drain the cauliflower. Once cauliflower is cool enough to handle, wrap it up in the dish towel and twist the towel around the cauliflower and wring it. You want to squeeze out as much water as possible. This will ensure you get a pizza like crust.

In a medium bowl, combine the cauliflower, egg whites, cheeses, dried herbs and salt,  and mix by hand, you sort of knead the dough together. Transfer the crust to your parchment paper. Press evenly forming a circle. Make sure it is as tight as you can make it. You also don’t want it to be too thin or too thick.  With the help of a cutting board, transfer the parchment to the oven. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it after the 10 minute mark. When it starts turning golden brown, it’s done.

Remove the pan from the oven. Add your sauce, toppings and cheese. Place under a broiler till the cheese melts and bubbles. Watch it carefully or it will bun.

 

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

 

caulicrustcollage

Comments: Two things are very important when making pizza crust out of cauliflower. First you absolutely must minimize the amount of water present in the processed cauliflower or the binding agents (egg whites and grated cheese) will not be able to hold it together. When you think you squeezed enough water out, squeeze some more.  Made me think  of David Rosengarten decades ago when demonstrating a recipe for tabouli. Mince the parsley, when you think you minced it enough, mince some more. You simply cannot over-squeeze the cauliflower. Capisci? Second thing, once you place it under the broiler, watch it like a hawk. Sawsan says clearly in her blog “it will burn quickly.”  Which makes you wonder why yours truly would place it under the super powerful broiler of our oven, and then decide that Buck seemed too agitated and needed to go out to the backyard. I said to myself “this will only take a minute.” Indeed. Problem is that it also only took a minute to almost burn part of my beautiful pizza.  Lesson learned.  Do as I say, not as I did. Watch the pizza, move it around, especially if your broiler is very powerful.

charred

 

Will I be making it again? No doubt.  But probably not as the single item in our dinner, because making one pizza was already quite involved, and it would not be enough for the two of us, since it’s so light.  But I can see us having two pizzas, one “authentic” and one cauli-crust version. Or the cauli-pizza and a huge salad with barbecued ribs on the side… (just kidding).

I made this version a couple of days after having our entire lab over for a “regular” pizza party. There was one small pizza leftover, and some toppings like grilled zucchini, cheese and tomato sauce. The leftover pizza was warmed up in the oven and made Phil a happy man. The cauli-crust was embellished with the toppings that were ready and waiting in the fridge, and made Sally a happy woman. Don’t you love happy endings?

Sawsan, thanks for your great tutorial on the pizza crust! 
Next time I’ll be a better virtual student…
(sigh)

ONE YEAR AGO: Silky Rutabaga Puree

TWO YEARS AGO: Bon Bon Chicken: Light and Spectacular

THREE YEARS AGO: Red Wine Sourdough Bread with Cranberries

FOUR YEARS AGO: Award-Winning Sourdough Baguettes

FIVE YEARS AGO: Country Rye (Tartine)

SIX YEARS AGO: Penne a la Vechia Bettola

CAULIFLOWER TORTILLAS: GOING LOW CARB AND LOVING IT!

You’ve got to admit I did a pretty good job on my promise to stop posting so many cauliflower recipes. It’s been more than 2 months since I brought up Brassica oleracea to your screen. I cannot hold myself back anymore, not when I made these A-M-A-Z-I-N-G “caulitillas” that even the husband professed to be delicious. That is saying a lot, as he is adamant about corn tortillas, preferably the yellow kind. But, ever since Iron Man Mike blogged on these babies I’ve been meaning to try them.  They are everything he told them to be.  Make these.  It is a little involved, but in a fun way. And the pay off is huge.

Caulitillas

CAULIFLOWER CRUST TORTILLAS
(from The Iron You)

olive oil for greasing baking sheets
1 head of cauliflower, riced and packed (3 cups needed)
3 eggs
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat oven to 375°F (190°C), line two baking sheets with parchment paper and grease them with olive oil.

In a food processor rice the cauliflower, until you get a texture finer than rice. Measure to make sure you have 3 cups of the riced veggie.  Place cauliflower rice in a bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes, give it a stir and microwave for another 2 minutes. Place the cauliflower rice in a tea towel and twist it to squeeze as much moisture as you can. Do not skip this step, because the cauliflower must be dry to behave properly in the subsequent stages of cooking.

Place drained cauliflower rice back in the bowl and add eggs, salt and pepper and mix until combined. Spread the mixture onto the lined baking sheets into 8 fairly flat circles. A small offset spatula works wonders here.

Place in the oven for 10 minutes, then peel them off the parchment paper, flip them and bake for further 6 to 7 minutes. Heat a nonstick medium-sized pan over medium heat and place the tortillas into the pan pressing down slightly and brown them (1 minute per side).

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

composite

Hard to find someone who loves a Mexican meal more than I do. Tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, I love them all!  But, as the years go by, it gets easier for carbs to turn into fat, so I love it when I find a lighter way to indulge in one of my favorite cuisines. The Paleo world offers quite a few lower-carb options for tortillas using tapioca and/or coconut flour mixed with eggs, and cooked on a non-stick skillet.  They can be quite tasty, but their texture is closer to that of a crepe. If you are searching for a wrap that will be closer to the real thing, look no further. They even look like corn tortillas, don’t you think?   We had some tortillas leftover and I enjoyed them two days in a row, without any detectable loss in flavor or texture. I advise you to bake the full batch, and then do the final browning on top of the stove only for those you intend to consume right away.  Store the rest in the fridge, well wrapped.

The “caulitillas“, paired with pulled pork and a few selected toppings made for a fantastic midweek dinner! Next time I intend to use them in chicken enchiladas, like those from Mike’s original post. Scrumptious!

PulledPorkTortillas

And, don’t forget that if your cauliflower produced more than the three cups of riced veggie needed for this recipe, put the additional amount to good use: make a batch of roasted riced cauliflower with coconut oil, and save it as a tasty side dish for later.

leftovers

ONE YEAR AGO: Majestic Sedona, Take Two

TWO  YEARS AGO: Secret Ingredient Turkey Meatballs

THREE YEARS AGO: Swedish Meatballs and Egg Noodles

FOUR YEARS AGO: Italian Easter Pie

FIVE YEARS AGO: Black Olive Bialy

FOCACCIA WITH CHILE AND COTIJA CHEESE

A while ago – June 2013, to be precise – I made a type of Italy-meets-Mexico-focaccia using a sauce with tomatillos. It turned out so tasty that I wanted to re-visit the same type of fusion cuisine again. It took me a while, but here is my second take on the subject.  I used my default recipe for the dough, topped with a mixture of olive oil, avocado oil, New Mexico chiles, and Cotija cheese. Some sun-dried tomatoes for a bit of concentrated sweetness, and voilà…

IMG_6521FOCACCIA WITH CHILE AND COTIJA CHEESE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 recipe of focaccia dough
Green New Mexico chiles, thinly sliced
Cotija cheese, crumbled (you can use feta, or even Mozzarella)
sun-dried tomatoes
olive oil
avocado oil
salt & pepper

Open the dough on a well-oiled baking dish, stretching with your hands, and making plenty of dimples all over its surface.

Add a good coating of olive and avocado oil, mixed about 50:50. Distribute the slices of chile, cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes all over the dough.  Season with salt and pepper.

Bake as directed in the original foccacia post.

Cut in slices and serve.

ENJOY!

I am not offering a printable version, since the main recipe for the dough is from a previous post. The toppings don’t really need any type of precise measurement, so add as much or as little of each component you feel like. Black olives could be wonderful too, by the way…

prebaked
For the chiles, I used the brand featured in this post, a gift from our friends V & K. They have amazing flavor, and of course go very well with Cotija cheese, one of those matches made in heaven.  Like V & K.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

The focaccia squares freeze well, I like to wrap 3 to 4 squares in small packages and enjoy them for weeks. Simply remove from the freezer 30 minutes before your meal, and heat them in a low oven until warm and fragrant.

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting event…

ONE YEAR AGO: Crispy Chickpea and Caper Spaghetti 

TWO YEARS AGO: Leaving on a jet plane

THREE YEARS AGO: Crispy Herb-Crusted Halibut

FOUR YEARS AGO: Almond Butter Cake

FIVE YEARS AGO: Bonjour!