Make Something New Every Day


This blog is inspired by all those who love to cook, whether experienced or not, and who continue to experiment with new ideas & ingredients, and best of all, share their passion with others.

The first entries are recipes prepared by the students of Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy in Oakland, CA. Fifteen students with varying cooking experience participated in my weekly workshop (via Tutorpedia), and successfully prepared various meals, snacks, and baked goods as part of an after-school program.

Along with the recipes from that class, I will continue to add new seasonal items, spanning every genre of the culinary world, as well as a helpful list of links to recipes, instructional videos, and places to shop and volunteer in your area.

Feel free to ask me questions and share your recipes and ideas as well. I look forward to cooking with you.


December 18, 2016

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Blossoms

Why gluten-free, you ask? Not for me. I love the wheat. I love to bake with the wheat. But it makes me sad when people can't eat the wheaty baked goods, and so I GF. 

This batch is made with Bob's GF baking flour. There are different varieties, but I chose the one below because it has xantham gum, which helps add chewiness that's otherwise missing with GF flours, and it doesn't contain garbanzo bean flour, which has an unpleasant aftertaste. 

The cookies have a light, delicate crumb, and are softer if you underbake them just a bit - take them out when the edges just start to turn golden. 

Recipe
1 1/4C light brown sugar
1C peanut butter (sadly, the crappy Skippy variety with shortening works best)
1/2C butter, softened (that's 1 stick)
2 extra large eggs, room temp
1t vanilla extract 
2C GF flour (I sifted it because it can get clumpy, but you don't have to)
[1/2t xantham gum - only if your GF flour doesn't have it]
1t baking soda
1/2t sea salt or kosher salt (I use kosher)
36 chocolate kisses, unwrapped 
white sugar for rolling

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter and sugar together until light & fluffy. I prefer using a good old hand mixer for these, but a stand mixer or brute force and a spoon will work just fine. Mix in the eggs and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture, wrap with saran, and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight. 

Preheat oven to 375'. Line baking sheets with parchment. Use a small ice cream scoop or spoons to scoop balls of dough, roll lightly in your hands, toss in sugar, and flatten a bit. Place 12 per sheet, spacing them out so they don't touch when they spread. Bake 8-10 minutes. 

Slide the parchment onto a cooling rack. Immediately push a chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie (the sides will crack a bit). Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container, or serve after about 10 minutes of cooling. 

*Note: the kisses will melt but hold their shape as they cool and harden. Eating the cookies while still warm & melty is pure heaven! 

На здоровья! 

November 26, 2016

Crackly-Crusted No-Knead Bread

7-Day Rest
The hardest part about making this bread is waiting 2 hours for it to cool before cutting into it. More on that later. Let's start with the basics. This is one of the easier breads to make. Just stir together flour, salt, yeast & warm water. Let it rise at room temp for 2 hours, then leave it in the fridge for a week. Take it out, shape into a ball, let it sit for about an hour, then bake. It costs about 75 cents to make, and tastes like a $5 loaf from a nice bakery, only better, because it's fresh & you made it!

Rather than reinvent the wheel, here's the King Arthur Flour recipe. The blog is full of tips and variations. My blog chronicles my various attempts - all good - the longer rests yielding tastier loaves. The link is for the larger recipe. For 1 loaf, see below. The ingredients and general preparation are very simple. Best results come from the nuances you'll pick up each time you make it. 

Recipe
15.8 ounces of unbleached all-purpose flour (If you measure flour by sprinkling it into your measuring cup, then gently sweeping off the excess, use 7 1/2 cups. If you measure flour by dipping your cup into the canister, then sweeping off the excess, use 6 1/2 cups.)
2 1/4t yeast (one package of instant or active dry yeast)
2t kosher salt
1.5C warm water

Stir together in a large bowl or food-safe plastic bucket. Cover, and let rise for 2 hours at room temp, then put it in the fridge for a week. If you're in a rush, see the links for variations on time (I tried 6 hours, 3, 5, and 7 days - 7 being the tastiest). But IMO, if you're going to bake your own bread, take the time to do it right. 

When you're ready to bake, take the dough out of the fridge and dump it our on a floured work surface. Shape it into a ball - doesn't have to be perfect - dust with more flour, and let it rest for about an hour. 

After 30 minutes, heat your oven to 450' F. If you're using a pizza stone or dutch oven, heat them in the oven for the full 30 minutes. If you're using a sheet pan, grease it or line it with parchment, and place the dough on it to rise. 

If you're NOT using a dutch oven: Place a shallow metal pan (brownie pan or broiling pan) on the bottom rack of the oven (under your pizza stone). Have 1C hot water ready. 

Just before baking, slash 2-3 cuts into the dough with a sharp knife or razor. This will help it expand and rise as it bakes, and will give you a beautiful crust. 

If using a dutch oven, carefully drop the dough into your heated dutch oven and bake it covered for 20 minutes, then remove the lid for the last 10. 

If using a pizza stone, slide the dough onto your pizza stone. Pour the hot water into the pan below, and close the oven quickly. 

If using a baking sheet, place the sheet on the top rack, and pour the hot water into the pan below, and close the oven quickly. 

Bake for 25-35 minutes at 450' until the crust is deep golden brown and a thermometer reads 205'. 

Cool on a rack for at least 2 hours. If you cut into a loaf before it cools, the texture will turn heavy and gummy. If you have to, leave the house so you aren't tempted. 

Store the loaf in a paper bag inside a plastic bag at room temperature. Make amazing toast, BLT's, grilled cheese, and more! 
Weighing Flour for Accuracy
After 2-hour Proof at Room Temp
Dumped out on a Floured Board

Shaped into a Ball & Dusted with Four

Slice in "Vents" Just Before Baking

Heat Your Oven for At Least 30 minutes
You'll Pour 1C of Hot Water into that Pan
to Help the Bread Rise in the Oven

Use a Thermometer to Make Sure it's Done
205' F
These Thermometers are Super Cheap & 
You Can Find Them at Most Grocery or Drugstores
(this was my 3-day rest. not as tasty as the 5 or 7-day)

The 5-Day Rest. Getting better...

Now, Who Can Argue with That?


Gluten-free blog TK...на Здоровья!







November 5, 2016

Mango Salsa

This salsa is delicious on its own, scooped up with tortilla chips or other veggies, and makes a great accompaniment to salmon, fish tacos, grilled chicken...the list goes on. 

All the Things 
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 waxed cucumber, peeled, seeded & diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded & diced
1 mango, peeled & diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 shallot, minced
cilantro, minced
lime juice (about 1/2 a lime)
rice vinegar
S&P 

Stir it up, and season to taste. Makes a lot, so plan your meals around it for a few days, or share with friends!

Seeding a cucumber. I'll add the guts to my juicer later. 

July 10, 2016

Snickerdoodles

Back! By popular demand...Snickerdoodles!
A sugar cookie with a crisp edge and chewy center, rolled in cinnamon sugar before baking. My secret? Add a bit of cardamom to the mix. 

Recipe
1C unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8oz)
1C granulated sugar
2/3C brown sugar
2 eggs
1t vanilla
3C flour
1/2t salt
1t baking soda
1/2t cream of tartar 

extra sugar, cinnamon & cardamom for rolling 

Make the Dough
Using a hand or stand mixer, cream butter and white sugar. Add brown sugar. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Mix in vanilla. Scrape down sides of bowl, and mix until combined. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Use a sieve to make sure the baking soda and cream of tartar are lump-free. Stir in dry mixture to wet mixture until just combined. Scrape together into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour.  

Shape the Cookies & Bake
Preheat the oven to 300'. 
Combine about 1C sugar, 1t cinnamon, and 1/4t ground cardamom in a medium-sized bowl. 
Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, scoop out balls of dough about the size of a golf ball cut in half. Do one sheet at a time, keeping the rest of the dough in the fridge between batches. Place a sheet of baking parchment on the baking sheet. Roll each ball in the sugar mixture and space the balls evenly on the baking sheet. Most sheet pans will hold 12 cookies. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the edges are just starting to become golden. Slide the parchment onto a cooling rack. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container for about a week (yeah, right!). Sift out any bits of dough from the leftover cinnamon sugar, and store sugar for later use. 

Makes 36 cookies. 
Scooped dough ready to roll around in cinnamon sugar. 

Gently flatten the cookies before baking. 



May 22, 2016

Hash Browns: Easier Than You Think


The potato. Rooted deep in Russian dogma, you can bet that my blood will regularly test positive for tubers. 

Last week I began a food jag that I have since repeated more times than I care to admit. I started making my own hash browns. This takes just a few minutes to prep, and about 15 to cook. 

Minutes to Magic
1# potatoes (russets or yellow, preferably organic)
1/2 an onion
salt
pepper
garlic powder
turmeric 
oil or butter (or both)

Tools
food processor with shredder disc
or a box grater
cheesecloth* or a clean kitchen towel (or paper towels)
a large bowl
10" nonstick pan (or well-seasoned cast iron)
flexible cutting board 

To peel or not to peel...
If the potatoes are organic and the skins are relatively blemish-free, just give them a good scrub with a vegetable brush and some cold water. Otherwise, peel them. If using a food processor, attach the shredder disc, and cut the potatoes in half widthwise so they'll fit into the feeder. Cut the root end off the onion, and peel off the outer layers. Grate the onions and potatoes together. If you don't have a food processor, grate them on a box grater. 
Squeeze all the liquid out of the potatoes and onions. Paper towels usually tear, so I prefer using a cheesecloth or clean kitchen towel. Twist the cloth to help push the potatoes into a ball, then squeeze the ball as you twist to get as much liquid out as possible. This will give you crisp hash browns instead of mush. 
Toss the shreds with salt & pepper (the basics), and add whatever other seasoning you like (I like garlic powder and turmeric). 
Heat the pan on medium-high, and add 2T oil (or butter, or 1T each). Coat the pan, and spread your shreds evenly, tucking in the edges and patting the whole thing down with a spatula. You want it packed so when you flip it over, it doesn't fall apart. Turn the heat down to med-low, and cook for about 8 minutes. This will vary depending on the heat and what type of pan you use. 
Use the spatula to loosen the edges a bit, and in one quick confident motion, flop the whole thing out onto a cutting board. Turn the heat back up to med-high, add 2T of oil, and slide the whole thing back in to brown the other side. Turn the heat down to med-low, and cook for about 5-8 minutes. Serve immediately. 
Flipping the potatoes out onto a flexible cutting board makes it easy to slide them back into the pan. The name of the game is CONFIDENCE.


Variations: During the summer you may want to add some grated zucchini, and during the winter, you can try a variety of root vegetables. Top with a fried egg for a heavenly experience. 


*You can find cheesecloth at a fabric store, Cake Art in San Rafael, or Sur La Table. It's inexpensive, infinitely reusable, and serves many purposes in the kitchen.

На здоровье! 

Feeling Minty? Juleps!


Lots of fresh mint is the star of this time-honored summer cocktail. Perfect for leisure sports in the park and fancy parties alike, premix a batch so you can spend more time croqueting and soireeing, and less time muddling. 

The Goods
1/5th (750ml) good bourbon
minted simple syrup 
crushed ice 
seltzer
fresh mint sprigs 

The Minted Simple Syrup
1C water
1/2C sugar
1 bunch mint

Dissolve sugar in water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and steep mint leaves as the syrup cools to room temperature. Strain out the leaves and refrigerate the syrup for up to one week. 


The Reward
Combine 3 parts bourbon and 1 part syrup to taste. I recommend adding the syrup to the bourbon slowly, and stopping when it's sweet enough but not too sweet. I typically mix up the whole batch so that guests can serve themselves easily. Just pour about 2oz over crushed ice. Add seltzer, and top with a sprig of fresh mint. 




May 8, 2016

Chive Butter


I trust none of you need a recipe for chive butter. This is more of an excuse to eat butter. Because with the addition of chives, it's now healthy. Right? 

The "Recipe"
1 stick of unsalted butter (preferably european style), at room temperature 
2T snipped chives 
kosher salt to taste (about 1/4t)

Use a large spoon to mix the chives and salt into the butter. Transfer to a small serving dish. 
Butter can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for up to 6 months.