HONEYED JALAPENOS ON SPELT PIZZA

This could very well go in the Incredibly Easy files, or in the “Follow Joanne” files, as once again I trusted her tastebuds and made a very simple ingredient she raved about: honeyed jalapenos. There is absolutely nothing to it. You slice jalapenos, add them to honey, boil gently until they start to get all mushy and a bit darker. Let it cool. Your job is done. They topped a simple veggie pizza and we both could not believe how much flavor and pleasure they brought to the party.

SPELT PIZZA DOUGH
(adapted from this post)

1 package (2 + 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 +1/2 cups very warm water (110F)
14 ounces all purpose flour
4 ounces spelt flour
(total flour amount about 4 cups)
1 + 1/2 t salt
2 T olive oil

Measure the water in a pyrex bowl, sprinkle the yeast on top, and mix gently to dissolve. Add the flours and salt to the bowl of a food processor and process for a few seconds to mix well.  With the processor running, add all the water/yeast mixture. Process for about 5 seconds, open the lid and add the olive oil.  Close the processor again and mix for about 20 seconds longer.  You want the dough to form a tacky ball, but don’t over process it or it may get too hot.

Remove the dough from the processor, knead it a few times by hand and form a ball. If you want to make a  large pizza, leave it whole. If you want to make individual pizzas, quarter it, place them in a large plastic bag and refrigerate until ready to use (from a few hours to a couple of days).

Remove the dough from the fridge 1 hour before shaping the pizzas.  Roll it out with a floured rolling pin, top with your favorite home-made tomato sauce, and the toppings of your choice.

HONEYED JALAPENOS
(slightly modified from Joanne’s blog)

1/2 cup honey
2 jalapenos, sliced thin

Add the honey to a small saucepan. Place the jalapeno slices, seeds and all inside. Bring to a boil, cook a few minutes, stirring constantly. Pay attention because the honey tends to boil furiously and rise up in the pan. You might have to remove the pan from the heat, let it calm down and simmer it again. Cook until the jalapenos get soft and a little darker. Remove from heat, let it cool. Use the slices to top your pizza, drizzle the spicy honey on top too.

ENJOY!

to print the recipes, click here

Comments: If you are not a pizza person (is there such a thing?), I still urge you to make these jalapenos and use them in other ways. Over mashed cauliflower, with rice and beans, and also you can process one little slice, some of the honey, and incorporate in a salad dressing. As to the spelt pizza, I advise you not to use more than 25% of spelt in your recipe, as it changes the texture a bit, it will be less airy than a pizza made with all-purpose flour only. I do love the flavor and the slightly denser texture. You can always use my original recipe (blogged in 2009) if you prefer.

Joanne, thanks for another winner recipe!


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INCREDIBLY SIMPLE TIMES FOUR: MAY 2021

Last time I shared Incredibly Simple recipes was 7 months ago, so it’s been a while… The first three are embarrassing simple. The fourth will surprise you. Read on, my friends!

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #1

AIR-FRIED CAULIFLOWER FLORETS

I admit that the picture is not that great. The problem is I had no intention of blogging about it, until I realized I made it three weeks in a row, and now it’s pretty hard for me to prepare cauliflower any other way. The air-fryer is the perfect environment to get crispy, tender inside florets, in 20 minutes. Yes, 20 minutes start to finish. No mess, no fuss. Perfect results every single time.

Toss the florets in a large bowl with a little grapeseed oil (you can use olive oil if you prefer), season with salt, pepper, and when you want to rock your world a bit, go for smoked paprika, maybe a touch of curry. Set your fryer to the highest temperature (mine is 390F), and let it roast for 20 minutes, shaking the basket once or twice.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #2

HARD-BOILED EGGS, THE AIR-FRYER WAY

If you own an air-fryer and want to expand your horizons to use it more often, hard-boiled eggs are a great option. Place as many eggs as you want in the basket. Set it to 270F (or around that temperature, depending on your model) and set the timer to 15 minutes. You might need a little adjustment in the time. For my fryer and my taste in hard-boiled eggs, that combination hits the spot. If you want to have soft-boiled eggs, reduce the time to 8 to 10 minutes, but again you’ll have to tweak the conditions. The eggs peel like a dream, by the way.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #3

SWEET AND SPICY WALNUTS (or PECANS)

Phil came up with this idea and now we do it all the time for our salads. Grab a handful of walnuts or pecans. Coat a non-stick small skillet with a tiny tiny tiny amount of olive oil. Heat, and add the nuts. Season with salt and pepper, or if you like to change things a bit, go for a touch of paprika. When the nuts start to get fragrant, drizzle a very small amount (maybe 1 tsp) of maple syrup. Everything will bubble furiously. Shake the pan to move the walnuts and coat them with the syrupy mixture. Immediately remove from the heat and transfer them to a small bowl to cool down a bit. Add to your salad. Any salad. Try to refrain from picking those babies from the bowl when no one is looking

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #4

FRIANDS

You may ask yourself… “Has she lost her mind?” BAKING in Incredibly Simple? Nope, I did not lose my mind (at least not for this particular reason). This is a recipe that a 5 year old can make with minor supervision as the young child will need to operate a food processor.

Melt 1 stick (113g) of butter and place in the bowl of a food processor together with
90g all-purpose flour
110g almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
3/4 tsp baking powder
5 egg whites
190g powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Process for 1 minute. It will be very foamy. Spoon the mixture in non-stick muffin tins (or friand molds), filling each cavity no more than 3/4 full. Place two raspberries in each portion, top with some slivered almonds. Bake at 325F for 18 to 20 minutes, until the edges start to get golden. Let them cool for 10 minutes, remove from the molds and when fully cold, dust with powdered sugar.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I hope that if you consider yourself a non-baker, or worse yet, a bake-o-phobe (like I used to be), you will still grab the ingredients and try this recipe. You can vary the nut flour by adding some hazelnuts or even ground pistachios in some proportion together with almond flour. Or you can bake this simple version. They are delicate, moist, fragrant, absolutely perfect with a cup of tea. And so incredibly simple to prepare! Make sure to surprise whoever is around and when you bring those to the table, say very non-challantly… “I’ve made some friands for you”… Work on your best French accent, it is a must in this case.

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NINE YEARS AGO: Quinoa Salad with Roasted Beets

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ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Miche Point-a-Calliere

ASPARAGUS WITH GUNPOWDER MASALA

Impossible to ignore the Indian vibes in our kitchen lately. Of all cuisines, I believe that is the one bringing the most out of veggies. This recipe will blow your mind, and I am certain of it. The gunpowder masala is nutty, with the perfect level of heat and complex mixture of flavors. As my friend Joanne said in her blog post, it will be good on pretty much anything. I urge you to make it, even if finding curry leaves could be a bit tricky.

BLISTERED ASPARAGUS WITH GUNPOWDER MASALA
(from Joanne’s blog Eats well with Others)

for the Masala:
100 g raw cashews
35 g raw pepitas
30 g dried red chilies de arbol (or to taste)
20-25 fresh curry leaves (I used 10 dried leaves)
2 tbsp white or black sesame seeds (I used a mixture)
½ tsp asafetida

for the asparagus:
4 tbsp olive oil
1 lb asparagus, woody ends trimmed
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
sea salt flakes
1-2 tbsp gunpowder masala (or to taste)

Make the masala: Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the cashews, pepitas, dried chilies, curry leaves, and sesame seeds. Toast them, stirring occasionally, until the seeds are starting to brown. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Once cool, grind in a food processor or blender along with the asafetida to a coarse powder. Pour into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

Make the asparagus: Heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. In a large bowl or on a sheet pan, toss the asparagus with 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Add the asparagus to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes, turning occasionally, until blistered on at least 2 sides. Transfer the cooked asparagus to a serving platter. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and lime juice. Sprinkle with the salt flakes and gunpowder masala. Serve immediately, and swoon!

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The other day I was part of a conversation about food blogging and how tiring it is the over-use of certain adjectives to describe a dish. Life-changing, fantastic, mind-blowing (guilty as charged)… So let’s stop going there. This is a great masala that I can see being paired with many veggies and even animal protein. I envision a beautiful piece of salmon, grilled to perfection and topped with this crunchy concoction, with a nice squeeze of lemon juice. It does need a bit of moisture to shine, so that final drizzle of oil and citric juice is a must.

If you cannot find curry leaves, I’d say make it without. It does have enough going on, and it will still be mighty tasty. The recipe makes more than you’ll need, so keep it in the fridge and find new uses for it. Just yesterday I paired it with sweet potatoes and garbanzo beans, drizzled with a tahini-yogurt sauce.

Joanne, thank you for yet another perfect recipe that will go into our regular rotation for sure!

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ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Bite-sized Chocolate Pleasure

ASPARAGUS AND SNOW PEAS WITH WALNUT CRUMBS

Do you follow Lisa is Cooking? She writes cookbook reviews and is the person I blame for quite a few of my acquisitions, which are usually Kindle versions, so I feel less guilty. Her latest post centered on a book called East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing, by Meera Sodha. I ordered it within minutes of reading the blog post. I modified one of the recipes quite a bit, and share my version with you today.

ASPARAGUS AND SNOW PEAS WITH WALNUT CRUMBS
(adapted from Meera Sodha’s East)

1 bunch thin asparagus, tough ends trimmed
Snow peas (about 1/4 pound)
1/4 cup grapeseed oil, divided
1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely ground
1/2 cup bread crumbs, preferably homemade (Panko works too)
1 Serrano pepper, very finely minced
salt and pepper to taste
zest and juice of 1 lemon (I used Meyer Lemon)

Start by making the crumb component. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick skillet and add the walnuts and Serrano pepper, season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir-fry for a minute or two, add the bread crumbs, cook until fragrant and getting toasted. Immediately squirt the juice of 1/2 lemon, mix well and transfer to a bowl. Reserve.

Add one tablespoon of oil to the skillet, and cook the asparagus, making sure they form a single layer in the pan with not much overlapping. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook in high heat for a couple of minutes, cover the pan, reduce the heat and allow it to cook in its own steam for another minute or so. Transfer to a bowl, and add a little more oil to the skillet. Now add the snow peas and cook in high heat for a couple of minutes. Add the asparagus and the reserved crumbs to the skillet, warm everything together moving it often. Squirt the juice of the remaining half of the lemon, adjust seasoning, and serve.

ENJOY!


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you need inspiration to prepare vegetables in creative, unusual ways, this book is a must-have. But Lisa reviewed it in the best possible way, so just jump to her blog for details. I made the original version of this recipe that used peanuts and quite a bit more of the crumb component, but to my taste it was a bit much. I toned it down and also liked it better using walnuts in place of peanuts. I think a drizzle of walnut oil to finish the dish could be excellent, and I am kicking myself because I did not try it, as I do have walnut oil in the fridge. Best laid plans.

The book is full vegetarian and vegan, but I will use it mainly as a source for side-dishes. This delicious salad (she calls it a salad, although it is served warm), was enjoyed with juicy grilled chicken breasts, a recipe that quickly became a regular in our kitchen. It was a bonus recipe featured in this post from my recent past.


ONE YEAR AGO:
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TWO YEARS AGO: Extreme Chocolate Cupcakes

THREE YEARS AGO: Sunflower Seed Kamut Sourdough

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EIGHT YEARS AGO:Sourdough Bread with Walnuts and Dates
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NINE YEARS AGO:Braised Brisket with Bourbon-Apricot Glaze
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ELEVEN YEARS AGO:Pork Tenderloin and Blue Cheese

FARARI BATETA

If that title did not call your attention, nothing will. Brazilians might suspect the dish involves potatoes, since the word for them in Portuguese is “batata.” And they would be right. This recipe, aka Ferrari Potatoes, is enjoyed by Hindus on days they must fast. I would not mind fasting with a nice bowl of these in front of me…

FERRARI POTATOES
(adapted from this blog post)

12 oz small new potatoes, yellow and red cut in quarters
1/3 cup peanuts unsalted, raw
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 small Jalapeno pepper, very finely minced
1 piece of ginger, peeled and grated (about 1/2 inch in size)
3/4 teaspoon salt
fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of half a lemon

Coarsely grind the peanuts using a mini-food processor and set aside.

Heat the oil into a wide-bottomed frying pan on a medium heat. When it’s hot, add the cumin seeds and as soon as they start to pop and release a nice smell add the potatoes and ground black pepper. The idea is to cover the whole surface of the pan with the potatoes, so adjust the amount of potatoes accordingly.

Stir-fry the potatoes for around 12 minutes, until they start to brown. When they are getting tender, add the jalapenos, ginger, and salt. Continue to cook until the potatoes are golden brown. Transfer to a bowl, add the ground peanuts on top, the cilantro leaves, and finally sprinkle with the lemon juice, mixing it all gently.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I never thought of adding peanuts (particularly ground!) to a potato dish, but it turned out pretty awesome. This is a recipe full of flavor, perfect to go along a roast chicken, although that would compromise the fasting aspect even further. I will not hold it against you, in fact… that’s exactly how we enjoyed it, with a very juicy clay-pot roast chicken, which will be on the blog soon.

As I mentioned in the recipe, you’ll need to have the potatoes in a single layer so that they all brown nicely in the end. Depending on the size of your skillet, you can add a few more potatoes than I did. No need to adjust the other components, though. It is all going to have a very happy ending.

The peanuts end up looking like sesame seeds, and I bet those would work very well also, so in case you have peanut allergies, go for toasted sesame seeds when you serve it.

ONE YEAR AGO: Covid-19, Keeping yourself safe

TWO YEARS AGO: Carrot Cake Macarons

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ELEVEN YEARS AGO:  Sun-dried Tomato and Feta Cheese Torte