A SAVORY PHYLLO PIE

I was going to call it “Meat and Potato Phyllo Pie”. Side note: the expression “meat and potato guy” always makes me smile, as it took me a while to fully understand its meaning. When you are a foreigner, it’s not feasible to stop people all the time to ask for clarifications on every expression you don’t quite “get”. So you go with the flow. Of course now I know that it refers to someone who is not very adventurous in the gastronomic department. But this version adds a few tidbits that a true meat and potato being might object to, like tahini, eggplant, maybe even phyllo could be a no-no… Therefore, let’s go with Savory Phyllo Pie.

SAVORY PHYLLO PIE
(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

8 inch-springform pan (or pan with removable bottom)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 rib celery, diced
1 pound ground turkey (dark meat if possible)
3/4 pound ground bison (or substitute extra turkey meat)
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 + 1/2 tsp salt
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes (fire roasted if you like)

for the vegetable layer:
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 medium eggplant
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil spray or a few tablespoons

for yogurt sauce:
3/4 cup full-fat yogurt
3 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt to taste

to assemble pie:
8 sheets of phyllo dough
olive oil spray
sesame seeds (optional)

Prepare the meat layer. Heat the olive oil, sauté the celery and shallots with a little salt. When fragrant, add all dried spices, let them heat for a minute, then add the two kinds of meat, salt, and cook until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, close the pan and simmer for 5 minutes or so. Reserve, allowing it to cool to room temperature or place it in the fridge.

Prepare the vegetable layer. Peel the eggplant, cut in 1/4 inch rounds, do the same for the sweet potatoes. Brush or spray the surface with oil and bake in a single layer at 425F until it starts to get golden. The eggplant will work best if you use a grill, but it was too cold for that when I made it. Reserve the veggies.

Prepare the yogurt-tahini sauce and reserve. Assemble the pie: Spray the bottom and sides of the springform pan with olive oil. Grab one sheet of phyllo at a time, spray with olive oil and place inside the pan with the ends going over the sides and hanging. Use 5 more sheets overlapping them in a circle. Place the sweet potato slices at the bottom, then the eggplant. Cover with the meat, pressing it down and leveling the surface well. Drizzle the tahini sauce and spread it well on the surface. Grab two more sheets of phyllo, fold in half, spray with oil and cover the top of the pie. Now bring all the phyllo that is hanging outside and crump the edges to neatly close the pie. Spray additional olive oil over the top, sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake for 40 minutes at 400F. Let the pie sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I actually made phyllo pie two weeks in a row, first time following a recipe from Falastin. It was good, but a bit too heavy and the meat got slightly dry. So I made this version with similar Middle Eastern tones. We both loved it! It is a bit involved, but totally worth it. I usually make all the components and save them in the fridge. Then, it’s all a matter of heating the oven, assembling the pie and dinner is ready in one hour. You do need to wait for 15 minutes or it will be messy when you cut it.

I use the mixture of turkey and bison very often. It is great for chilis, and even burgers. Both are very lean types of meat, the bison gives a more complex flavor. We have excellent bison meat in Kansas, but if you cannot find it, just use turkey, or ground beef, or even lamb, although the end result with be considerably heavier.

All that was needed to call it dinner? A simple salad. We ate like royalty… I hope you’ll give this recipe a try, another good option for company, as you can do a lot in advance. Plus, it looks pretty awesome when you remove it from the springform pan.

ONE YEAR AGO: Nut-Free Lady Grey Macarons

TWO YEARS AGO: Mini-Heart Cakes for your Valentine

THREE YEARS AGO: Blue Moon Milk

FOUR YEARS AGO: Slow-Cooked Chicken Meatballs

FIVE YEARS AGO: Zesty Flourless Chocolate Cake

SIX YEARS AGO: Maple Pumpkin Pecan Snacking Cake

SEVEN YEARS AGOSilky Gingered Zucchini Soup

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Sweet Fifteen!

NINE YEARS AGO: Sesame and Flaxseed Sourdough

TEN YEARS AGO: Green Beans with Miso and Almonds

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Saturday Morning Scones

TWELVE YEARS AGO: White Bread

ROASTED BROCCOLI AND APPLE SALAD WITH TAHINI DRESSING

Easily makes it into the OMG FILES. Everything goes together in perfect harmony, so my advice is not to skip any of the ingredients. Broccoli has that funky nature that people love or hate, but even if you are in the latter group, the apples act as the perfect partner. Like couples that make each other shine a little brighter. I don’t really have a broccoli issue, but maybe some of my readers do, so don’t let that stop you from trying this recipe.

ROASTED BROCCOLI AND APPLE SALAD WITH TAHINI DRESSING
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, adapted from several sources)

for the broccoli:
Broccoli florets, enough to cover a quarter-sheet pan
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste

for the dressing:
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 to 2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoons Dijon mustard

for the salad:
greens of your choice (baby spinach, spring mix, baby arugula)
apples, cored and diced (I used Honeycrisp)

Heat the oven to 420°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick aluminum foil. Place the broccoli in a bowl, toss with the soy sauce and maple syrup, season with salt and pepper. Spread on the baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, moving them around half-way through roasting. Remove from the oven and let it cool still spread out, so they don’t steam and get mushy.

In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Set aside. Assemble the salad: add all the ingredients to a large bowl, drizzle the dressing and toss gently. Adjust seasoning with salt, if needed.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: We had this salad twice already, the second time I’ve added roasted slivered almonds and dried cranberries, and it was even better, so I recommend you include them if you like. The inclusion of broccoli makes it more substantial and if you are vegetarian or vegan, a hearty piece of bread will be all you need to call it dinner. Sourdough dipped in balsamic vinegar plus olive oil would be a match made in Vegan Heaven.

ONE YEAR AGO: A Different Kind of Cookie Swap

TWO YEARS AGO: Scary Good Recipes for your next Halloween

THREE YEARS AGO: Pumpkin Sourdough

FOUR YEARS AGO: First Monday Favorite

FIVE YEARS AGO: Secret Recipe Club: Paalak Paneer, a Farewell Post

SIX YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, November 2015

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Helen Fletcher’s Oatmeal Cookies

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Thai-Style Pesto with Brown Rice Pasta

NINE YEARS AGO: Shrimp with Spicy Orange Sauce

TEN YEARS AGO:  A Simple Appetizer (Baked Ricotta)

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Sour Cream Sandwich Bread

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Pasta with Zucchini Strands and Shrimp

ROASTED CARROT AND BARLEY SALAD

Another recipe that was highly recommended by editors of the food section in The New York Times. We will be paying close attention to those reviews from now on, because so far everything we’ve tried has been a total winner. I made a few modifications to adapt to our taste, so I share my version with you. Barley is definitely under-appreciated.

ROASTED CARROT AND BARLEY SALAD
(adapted from The New York Times)

1 cup pearled barley
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 pounds carrots, washed, trimmed and cut into long pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
zest of 1 lemon
2 cups arugula
A handful of cilantro
¼ cup toasted sliced almonds

for the spiced tahini:
¼ cup tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon Ras-el-hanout
water to adjust consistency

Heat oven to 425 degrees and place a rack on the lowest shelf. In a medium saucepan, combine barley with 4 cups water; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain excess water if still some remains.

Meanwhile, place the carrots on a sheet pan, drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat, spreading into an even layer. Season with salt and pepper. Place on the bottom oven rack and roast until tender and starting to turn golden, about 25 minutes.

While the carrots roast, make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, Ras-el-hanout, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is smooth and has a pourable consistency.

When the carrots are ready, remove them from the oven, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with lemon zest. Season with a pinch of salt and toss to coat.

In a serving bowl, combine the carrots with the barley, arugula and parsley. Drizzle with the spiced tahini and sprinkle with almonds. Try not to over-eat…

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was one of the best side dishes of the year of 2021 that showed up at our table. I do have a very special place in my heart for tahini, so maybe that explains my love for this recipe. You can cook the barley and roast the carrots in advance. In that case, just warm the carrots briefly in the microwave – I mean for 20 seconds tops – because it’s nice to have the contrast of warm carrots with the cold salad. If you are not too fond of arugula, spinach will work too, but there’s something about the slightly bitter nature of arugula that works well here.

ONE YEAR AGO: Ode to Halva

TWO YEARS AGO: Brazilian Pao de Queijo (re-blogged)

THREE YEARS AGO: Apricot Linzer Torte

FOUR YEAR AGO: A Trio of Air-Fried Goodies

FIVE YEARS AGO: Focaccia with Grapes, Roquefort and Truffled Honey

SIX YEARS AGO: Moroccan Carrot Dip Over Cucumber Slices 

SEVEN YEARS AGO: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Cilantro-Jalapeno “Hummus”

NINE YEARS AGO:A Moving Odyssey

TEN YEARS AGO:
Hoegaarden Beer Bread

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:
 Ancho-Chile Marinade: Pleased to Meat you!


TWELVE YEARS AGO:
 Shrimp Moqueca

FOR THE LOVE OF SOURDOUGH

It is amazing how a bread formula can be tweaked slightly and result in totally different outcomes. I share today nine versions of sourdough. They all start with the same composition (90% white bread flour; 10% whole-wheat, salt and sourdough starter). From this starting point, some get added flavor components, and the final outcome depends on how they were handled for scoring.

BASIC SOURDOUGH FORMULA
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

470g white bread flour
30g whole-wheat flour (regular whole-wheat, spelt or rye)
10g salt
75g sourdough starter at 100% hydration
375g water

Make the levain mixture about 6 hours before you plan to mix the dough. It should be very bubbly and active.

When you are ready to make the final dough, place the water in the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer and dissolve the starter in it, mixing with a spatula briefly, then add all flours and salt.  Turn the mixer on with the hook attachment and knead the dough for 4 minutes at low-speed all the time. You will notice the dough will gain quite a bit of structure even with just 4 minutes in the mixer. Remove from the machine, and transfer to a container lightly coated with oil, cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for 4 hours, folding every 45 minutes or so. Because the dough is already a bit developed from the initial time in the mixer, you should get very good structure after 3 and a half hours, or even sooner than that.

After four hours bulk fermentation, shape the dough as a ball, and place, seam side up, in a lightly floured banetton. Place in the fridge overnight, from 8 to 12 hours.

Next morning, heat the oven to 450F.

Invert the dough on a piece of parchment paper and score with a new razor blade, if so desired, or simply make a cut on the surface in the shape of a cross with a very sharp knife.

Bake at 450F for 45 minutes, preferably covered for the first 30 minutes to retain steam. You can generate additional steam by spraying the inside of the lid with water before closing the pan.  Cool completely over a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

PANCH PHORON SOURDOUGH

To the basic recipe above, add 1 to 2 tsp Panch Phoron, a five spice mixture from Eastern India, often used in Bengali cuisine. It is a mixture of equal parts of seeds of fenugreek, nigella, cumin, black mustard and fennel. I shaped this bread as an oblong loaf, and scored a pattern of leaves.

We loved this bread, in fact it was the first loaf that got us into a path of sourdough flavored with Middle Eastern spices.

VADOUVAN CURRY SOURDOUGH

In these three loaves, 1 + 1/2 tsp of Vadouvan curry mix was added together with the flour and incorporated in the dough. The bread in the center had spelt as the minor flour component, the other two regular whole-wheat.

For the final decoration, I covered the first loaf with red beet powder, marked with a string a symmetry of 8 guide lines and then scored as shown. The beet color faded a bit during baking but still gave it a little hint of purple. The second loaf got a dusting with charcoal powder, the string marked 6 guide lines to create a slightly different type of design. Finally, the third loaf was dusted with flour, marked with 8 lines and scored as a flower. A little center of pearl dust was added but the color faded during baking (is that a recurring pattern for this baker?).

I love the charcoal and the beet powder effects, but be warned: they stain your fingers as you handle the bread, so when you cut a slice, make sure you don’t touch your face right after. No further questions on this subject. Please and thank you.

RAS-EL-HANOUT SOURDOUGH

Exact same recipe using rye as the minor flour component, and 1+1/2 tsp Ras-El-Hanout in the formula. One of our favorite breads in this series. I should give credit to a baker from Israel who is a true magician with scoring. I follow him on Instagram (check him out here) and often try to make one of his cool designs. This is one example, that starts with a little square as shown below.

I am very fond of geometric-type scoring. I find it easier to do if I make a drawing on a piece of paper with the different steps because once that razor blade hits the surface of the bread… is game over! There is no “erasing” possible. Of course, during baking the design will be affected in unpredictable ways. I am still trying to figure out ways to minimize explosions.

ZA’ATAR SOURDOUGH

Basic recipe using spelt flour as the minor component and 1 + 1/2 tsp za’atar. The bread was coated with charcoal and I followed one of Mogi’s Dough Engineering scoring designs which he calls “reverse spiral”. Mine did not turn out as beautiful as his, but I still like it a lot. Here is what it looks like before baking.

He uploaded a video showing how to do it. It goes very fast, but after watching it (in awe) a few times, I felt ready to do it.

TAHINI SOURDOUGH

To the basic formula (with whole-wheat flour as minor component), I added 25g tahini, and adjusted the consistency with a little more flour after the initial mixing with the Kitchen Aid, as the tahini I used was reasonably fluid. The tahini gives a wonderful flavor. The scoring made the round loaf end up with a square shape after baking, pretty interesting.

You can see it starts pretty round, but the way the slashing opens up during baking substantially affects the final shape. I love using nut butters in sourdough, they bring a bit of fat to the composition and the crumb feels moist and tender. Along those lines I share another favorite version….

PEANUT BUTTER SOURDOUGH

Basic formula with spelt flour and 25g creamy peanut butter. This was one delicious bread, the smell during baking is something! The scoring was once again inspired by Mogi’s Instagram feed, and this time I used a powder red food dye that is fat-soluble (appropriate for chocolate work). That seemed to stand better during baking.

Very simple scoring, I used 8 guide lines made with a string, but you could definitely just improvise.

CELEBRATION OF LOVE SOURDOUGH

My final adventure following the footsteps of Mogi. This is a bread called Tu B’av (ט״ו באב), the Jewish holiday of love, similar to our Valentine’s Day. I made a simple sourdough with full white flour, and 1 tsp turmeric in the dough. The surface was dusted with white flour, a shower of turmeric, and the center was dyed with pitaya powder, which next time will be replaced by red dye powder. A round cookie cutter comes in very handy to contain the red dot. I am still struggling with how heavy a hand to use when adding colors, particularly the subtle ones as turmeric that might end up too similar to the crust. Once again my results are not as gorgeous as Mogi’s, but there is always next time!

So that’s all for now, my friends… This post, entitled For the Love of Sourdough, had to end with a bread to celebrate love, that feeling that keeps us together, staring at the future without fear.

ONE YEAR AGO: Brazilian Pao de Mel

TWO YEARS AGO: Stir-Fried Chicken in Sesame Orange Sauce

THREE YEARS AGO: Monday Blues

FOUR YEARS AGO: A New Way to Roast Veggies

FIVE YEARS AGO: Two Takes on Raspberries

SIX YEARS AGO: Spice Cake with Blackberry Puree

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Own Your Kitchen with Cappuccino Panna Cotta

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Chicken Parmigiana, the Thriller

NINE YEARS AGO: Wild Mushroom Risotto

TEN YEARS AGO: Tartine Bread:  Basic Country Loaf 

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:  Pugliese Bread


INCREDIBLY SIMPLE TIMES THREE: MAY 2020

Staying safe in Corona virus time: read the guest blog post by Phillip Klebba here.

During social isolation we have more time to devote to meal preparation, things that take hours to materialize at the table don’t need to be reserved to the weekend. But I always welcome simple things with a smile. The first one comes from Nadiya’s show Time to Eat, which I binge watched from first to last episode, enjoying every second of it. The second would be breakfast for most people, but my first meal of the day is lunch, so that’s when I’ve been enjoying it (often). Lastly, the third is a tribute to a UK ingredient that can be not only hard to find, but quite pricey for us Americans, clotted cream. I finally made it from scratch, and if you are into that sort of ingredient, I have one word for you: WOW.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #1

TORTILLA EGG ROLLS

TORTILLA EGG ROLLS
(adapted from Nadiya’s Time to Eat)

for one person….

1 egg
salt, pepper, spices to taste
1 tortilla (I used corn, she used flour)
olive oil
goodies to taste (I used leftover roasted butternut squash)

Crack the egg into a bowl, season with salt pepper and any spices you feel like. Whisk well.  Put a small frying pan over a medium heat, and drizzle in two teaspoons of oil.  Pour the egg  mixture into the hot oil, making sure it is hot enough to sear it quickly.

Scatter your goodies over the egg, put the tortilla on top, pressing it gently with a spatula to glue nicely to the egg mixture underneath it. Cook for 30 seconds, then flip it all gently and cook on the other side (tortilla down) for another 30 seconds.

Take the pan off the heat and put the tortilla/egg on a plate. Roll the whole thing when it is cool enough to touch, slice and….

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

 

Corn tortillas are a little harder to roll, but I prefer them because they are lighter and in my opinion more flavorful.  I sometimes warm it up for a couple of seconds in the microwave before adding on top of the egg to make it slightly more pliable, but it’s not mandatory. Nothing wrong keeping it simple… You can add mushrooms, olives, peppers, sliced leftover meat, and make them a little bigger by using a larger flour tortilla. The method is simple and so easy to adapt to your needs, I hope you’ll give it a try.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #2

Orange – Yogurt – Tahini Bowl

Cut orange in segments. I used blood oranges for this version, but any juicy orange will work. Place fruit in a serving bowl.  Top with a nice dollop of yogurt, drizzle tahini all over it. A touch of maple syrup, and your favorite granola.  Close your eyes as you eat it. It is dreamy. I called it lunch many times in the recent past. Tahini and yogurt. Who could tell? I used bananas instead of oranges and also a mixture of oranges and strawberries. Everything works. Refreshing, light but satisfying because tahini packs quite a bit of energy.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #3

CLOTTED CREAM

Hardest part of this “recipe?” Finding non-ultra-pasteurized heavy cream. I was lucky to find ONE little container at the grocery store and jumped on it with so much enthusiasm I almost lost my mask. Once you find that, follow this super simple procedure: pour it in a baking dish so that the level is not higher than 1 inch. Place carefully inside a low oven (mine was set at 170 F and I confirmed with oven thermometer to be pretty stable).  Leave it there for 12 hours.  Come back to this view….

Let it come to room temperature, and place it in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours. Carefully scoop out the clotted cream and transfer to a container for storage. If you like it softer, add a bit of the liquid left underneath. That liquid, by the way,  will work as milk in any type of baking, or as a nice addition to your coffee or tea.

Clotted cream is pure culinary gold, and so easy to make, essentially no hands-on work. Perfect over scones, pancakes, waffles. You will find plenty of ways to enjoy it, I’m sure. Even as a simple spread over bread or crackers. With a touch of jam if you are so inclined.

I heard that clotted cream can also be prepared in a crock pot. I intend to try that next time I score some of the appropriate heavy cream. The preparation sous-vide is also available in many sites in the internet, but I found the method a bit too convoluted and potentially messy. This was super easy and I highly recommend you give it a try.

ONE YEAR AGO: Ispahan Macarons

TWO YEAR AGO: Smokin’ Hot Meatloaf and Homemade Ketchup

THREE YEARS AGO: Banana Bread with Espresso Glaze

FOUR YEARS AGO: Slow-Cooker Carnitas & Paleo Planet Cookbook Review

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Making of a Nobel Reception

SIX YEARS AGO: Fennel Soup with Almonds and Mint 

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Green Curry Pork Tenderloin

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Farfalle with Zucchini and Ricotta

NINE YEARS AGO: Slow-baked Salmon with Lemon and Thyme

TEN YEARS AGO: Hoisin Explosion Chicken