I wanted to give my friends a housewarming gift that would not add to the giant pile of things they just had to move into their new home, so I tried my hand at some rustic, thick crusty bread. I doubled the portions but the bread was a tiny bit wetter than I’d like so I didn’t adjust the portions below for the double portion.
WARNING: this is one of those crazy multi-day recipes. The trade-off with no knead is waiting for the air bubbles and yeast to develop. And no, this was not something I did last night, it’s from Sunday. You know, that day you have time to do crazy things like bake bread..
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I did a mix of dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots and golden raisins)
1/2 cup chopped almonds (I used toasted almond slices)
Zest from one orange (I used lemon rind, didn’t have an orange on hand)
1 1/2 cups water (water does not have to be warm)
If you have a panini press, or maybe even a george foreman grill, this is a nice quick sandwich with melty cheese you can munch on while wrapping gifts, baking cookies, or whatever it is you’re busy doing this month.
Open-faced Zucchini Sandwiches
1 small zucchini, sliced into long flat pieces, lengthwise
1 piece bread, sitting around your pantry threatening to go bad eventually
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs pesto
8 one-inch flakes parmesan cheese
3-6 slices deli meat, per preference (ham, proscuitto, soppressatta, etc).
1 Tbs butter
1 dash garlic powder
1 dash fresh ground pepper
1 drizzle olive oil
1. Combine sandwich ingredients vertically in layers, in this order:
butter (on the bottom)
tomato paste & pesto
zucchini spread out in one flat layer
garlic powder & pepper
2. Heat panini press to hotness, apply some butter.
3. Press sandwich for 5 minutes, max.
Today’s Recipe Rating: Novelty Rating: 4 of 5 stars. Likelihood of Repeat: 80%
I like the idea of having vegetables in my panini, even if it is a little on the carby side. If not for my ‘roommate’, I would probably make it without the deli meat too. Provided your tomato paste or sauce is thick enough, it serves just fine as a vegetarian version. You could even skip the cheese (and butter) and it would be a decent vegan option. Lesson Learned: It’s good to have the zucchini atop the cheese, or else the cheese will melt and burn onto the panini press for a hot mess.
Mark Bitterman‘s Gazpacho recipe and some tips from my friend Katherine got me to try making gazpacho about a year ago, and tonight’s continued hot humid weather in the Northwest called for a revisit of cooking without heating elements. Unfortunately, I failed at that last bit, since I like my onions and garlic sautéed instead of raw and heart burn-y. See modified recipe below. But you, my friend, could make it with raw garlic and onions if you so desired, and even without the bread if you wanted to go Paleo or gluten-free (although cave men didn’t have blenders).
Gazpacho, Fast and Simple
Makes: 4 servings
Time: About 25 minutes
2 pounds tomatoes, roughly chopped, or one (today: fresh beefsteaks)
28-ounce can (include the juices)
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded if you like, and chopped
2 or 3 slices bread, a day or two old, crusts removed, torn into small pieces (today: a toasted leftover hamburger bun from July 4)
1 /4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, or more to taste
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 Tbs minced red onions
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Optional: sliced scallions for garnish, and/or dollop of greek yogurt (skipped the latter this time, but it would be tasty)
0. Lightly saute onions and garlic for a few minutes on stovetop with olive oil and butter.
1. Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, bread, oil, vinegar, onions and garlic with 1 cup water in a blender; process until smooth. If the gazpacho seems too thick, thin with additional water.
2. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately (or refrigerate and serve within a couple of hours), garnished with a drizzle of olive oil and scallions or greek yogurt if desired.
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating: Novelty Rating: 2 of 5 stars.
Made this once before without the bread a year ago, I liked it better this time. I’m hoping the novelty will really kick in in the next few days when I am still eating delicious chilled gazpacho without turning on the stove on a hot day. Likelihood of Repeat: 75%
I ended up with enough for 4 more individual meals, so I’m looking forward to finding out how it does frozen and defrosted later. Lesson Learned: Less complicated than it feels to grab a ladder and retrieve the blender from the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet..
(October Week 5 Trial)
I banked this Spanish Bread & Garlic Soup recipe in my Evernote recipe folder last April waiting for the right day, which apparently meant in the Fall, when I’m in the mood for soup. Having to watch the video for the actual instructions behind ingredients -including turning the heat up and down a bunch- may have had something to do with it.
I started with the prescribed ingredients, including some home made chicken stock from a Sunday a few weeks ago:
Baked the bread at 350 for 15 minutes and forgot to include olive oil, sliced tons of garlic thin by hand (my amateur area of expertise!), sauteed it, then sauteed the ham..
Added the bread to the mix, and paprika..
Brought it to a boil, salted, peppered and cayenned it to taste, and popped in a couple eggs* in to poach on low covered,
Voila! Bread and garlic soup!
This week’s trial recipe ratings: novelty: 4 of 5 stars likelihood of repeat: 75%
My test audience of one mentioned it was a little carby, and I have to agree. I was not expecting quite so much bread-to-garlic substance ratio. I think I’ll probably make this on a lazy weekend for half the portion size, and possibly when I’m the only one home. It’s definitely a good recipe for a low budget if you have some stale bread lying around, paprika, broth and garlic.
*Let’s just pretend the first egg was not lost to the bready, soupy abyss and got overcooked, and that this perfect, just-runny egg in the picture was the only final product.
Addendum: Four days later and I finally finished the leftovers, what was I thinking on those giant portions! A tasty poached egg with a just-runny yolk definitely makes the flavor right in this soup, which I found hard to replicate via microwave egg poaching at work (yolk gets cooked too fast too evenly). I may try this poached egg addition to some other soups too.