Saturday, June 25

farmer's market lunch. farmer's market salsa

I've been making my own salsa recently. I use it sometimes as salad dressing and sometimes when I make a couple corn tortilla chips for a midafternoon snack. I've used canned diced tomatoes because I had tons of them, but it's obviously great with higher quality tomatoes, especially those that are about to be a little too ripe to enjoy on your salad. 

The farmer's market today was crazy with peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and of course peaches. One stand was giving away cucumbers! Sliced salted cold cucumbers is one of my favorite summer snacks so I will certainly be enjoying that this week...

I had a little over a pound of tomatoes in my bag so they threw in a handful more to make it at least 2 pounds, though I'm sure it was more, and gave it to me for an even $2. I will be baking them in big slices, maybe attempting a summer tomato feta tart similar to this one, this one or this one, and of course eating them raw with salt and pepper and enjoying them in this salsa I just made. Yessss.

Salsa is flexible. Throw in whatever you have. I had onions and tomatillos already so I used:

the ripest tomato in the lot + one and a half tomatillos + a fourth of a large white onion. I also seeded and added half a jalepeno + a half a serrano pepper + fourth of a poblano pepper. Plus a dash of white vinegar + a dash of lime juice + a few generous sprinkles of salt. 

Process it all in a food processor. Eat.

It turned out pink! I really like the taste of tomatillos in salsa, Chuy's uses them. When I asked about cilantro, they said it's dried up in the heat, as had mine. So no cilantro in my salsa.

If you've never shopped a farmer's market, you're missing out! If nothing go for the experience. It's really fun to see and talk to the people who live and work around the food they produce. Oftentimes families are there selling their goods. You'll find great fresh juices and baked goods such great breads and baked goods handmade soaps, cheeses, herb mixes, candles. Samples of it all galore and of course great produce. I think a gentleman literally gave me the equivalent of a loaf of bread in all his variety of samples he was enthusiastically explaining and handing out. So fun. 

Some of it may be more expensive than the grocery store, cantelopes and watermelons were today, but a lot of it isn't and it's all much better and more fresh, my huge $2 bag of tomatoes, $5 bin of peaches and $2 bunch of kale for example. Plus it's fun to support the people who grow food locally and now that it's moved right down the street from me, I need to go more. I'm suuuuper excited about my farm fresh eggs! They were $5 a dozen, though, so part of me hopes I don't like them too much...

Monday, June 20

Pan Roasted Pork Tenderloin + Veggies

 My husband is the master of last minute dinner decisions. My freezer and I have become fast friends. I use my cast iron skillet to cook a variety of frozen vegetables often. For our anniversary, I did a one skillet pork tenderloin and vegetables. Marinating for a long time, searing well on all sides and removing when it was @ 145 degrees made for a great, tender piece of meat with a yummy, shreadable, well seared outside. Plus, can't beat that one pot clean up business. Especially when it's a cast iron skillet, I literally rinse it and wipe it clean.

ONE Pan Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Veggies
1 medium sized pork tenderloin {I'm sorry, I truly have no clue how many pounds ours was...}
a thick Asian dressing or marinade of choice. I used Cookwell & Company Asian Ginger Vinaigrette.
3 cups frozen vegetables such as brussels sprouts, broccoli florets, or green beans
2 tablespoons olive oil {learned that extra virgin is not ideal for skillet cooking because it burns at a lower temperature. find just olive oil for skillet cooking. HEB makes some that’s labelled for sautéing.}
Cracked pepper
Coarse kosher salt
balsamic vinegar

Trim ends off of tenderloin so it is uniform thickness. Cut in half. Marinate in the fridge overnight, well coated. Remove from fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking and pat dry.
Thaw vegetables by running warm water over them in a colander or allowing them to sit about 5 minutes in warm water. Cut the brussels sprouts in half. 

Preaheat oven to 425 degrees. Film an ovenproof skillet with oil and sear the tenderloin over medium high heat to brown all sides, about 5 minutes in all.

At the same time meat is browning, add vegetables and generously sprinkle with pepper and salt. Lower heat if things get splattery. Stir to coat and allow to sit undisturbed as meat browns, only stirring once or twice. Sprinkle balsamic vinegar over the vegetables and toss to coat.

Place skillet in the oven and roast 15-20 minutes until internal temp is 145 degrees. Tent skillet with foil and let rest about 5 minutes. Use more of your marinade as a glaze or make a pan sauce by deglazing the skillet with chicken broth, wine or something like orange juice.

Here's the basic recipe I use to cook vegetables @ the last minute.
Just Freezer Skillet Veggies
3 cups frozen vegetables such as brussels sprouts, broccoli florets, or green beans
2 tablespoons olive oil {learned that extra virgin is not ideal for skillet cooking because it burns at a lower temperature. find just olive oil for skillet cooking. HEB makes some that’s labelled for sautéing.}
Cracked pepper
Coarse kosher salt
balsamic vinegar

Thaw vegetables by running warm water over them in a colander or allowing them to sit about 5 minutes in warm water. Cut the brussels sprouts in half. Heat oil in metal or cast iron skillet on medium high. Add vegetables and generously sprinkle with pepper and salt. Lower heat if things get splattery. Stir to coat and allow to sit undisturbed about 2-3 minutes. Stir again and leave alone for a few more minutes. Once they are looking cooked, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar, stir to coat and cook about 2 -3 minutes more, stirring infrequently to allow maximum, flavorful browning.

Remove from heat. Cool. Plate. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper.

Thursday, June 16

almost no knead bread

Bread strikes again. I've been eating this for two days straight. Toast a slice. Little honey. Little butter. Best crust and super moist. probably because I accidentally tripled the beer. Which should go to show you that bread is forgiving. You can't screw it up. It will probably be different every time depending on how long and at what temperature it rose, but it will always taste good. Especially right out of the oven.

Best when baked in a dutch oven. Best way to get heat and steam needed for good rise and the perfect crust.
almost no-knead bread
makes one delicious loaf. from america’s test kitchen via pete
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (15 oz), plus additional for dusting work surface I used bread flour
1/4 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast (or 1/2 tsp dry active yeast)
1 1/2 tsp table salt
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp water (7 ounces), at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp mild-flavored lager (3 ounces) {I accidentally used 3/4 cup + 2 Tb! Used Shiner's Black Lager. The dough was crazy sticky and hard to manage but it turned out fine and was super moist. May never try it the right way...}
1 Tbsp white vinegar
whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. add water, beer, and vinegar. using rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.

lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.

About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500F. lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along top of dough. carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). cover pot and place in oven. reduce oven temperature to 425F and bake covered for 30 minutes. remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

If you note that mine has a weird shape, it's because I did not have parchment paper so I used my Silpat mat. The sturdiness probably helped my gooey dough. Further proof that you can't mess it up. Try it!

Wednesday, June 15

french baguettes

I made bread and it was heavenly. It made my house smell great. It was killer straight out of the oven, with butter and honey, and now I'm hooked. I can't figure out what website this recipe came from, but I just printed nearly every bread recipe over at pete bakes and can't wait to try them all. I've come a long way and so can you! Do not be scurred.

{french baguettes}
adapted from artisan breads every day by peter reinhart
5 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
2 tsp salt or 1 tbsp kosher salt
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
2 c. lukewarm water {about 95 degrees. Tap water that feels just warm to the touch is fine}
{prep day} combine all ingredients in bowl of mixer with paddle attachment and mix on lowest speed for 1 minute until well blended and smooth. Dough should form a coarse, shaggy ball. Let rest uncovered for 5 minutes. Switch to dough hook and mix on medium low speed for 2 minutes. Dough should be smooth, supple and tacky but not sticky.

Knead dough by hand on lightly floured work surface for 1 minute, then transfer to a large, clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and immediately refrigerate overnight or up to 4 days.

{baking day} remove dough from refrigerator 2 hours prior to baking. Gently transfer to lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into 10 ounce pieces for baguettes. Just divide the dough in fourths if you don't have one but Yes! I bought a $7 kitchen scale for this. I had four 10 ounce balls and then a little 5 ounce one leftover.

Form baguettes: by batting each piece of divided dough into a thick rectangle. With the long end facing you, fold the bottom half to the center and seal the seam. Fold the top half to the center and once again seal the seam. Roll the top half of the dough over the seam to create a new seam on the bottom of the loaf. Rock loaf back and forth with hands moving out toward and increasing pressure at the ends, to slightly taper the loaf until baguette is length of your baking sheet (or baguette pan if you have one).

Mist top of dough with spray oil, loosely cover with plastic wrap and proof and room temperature. Make a "couche" by placing baguettes on a clean towel dusted with flour, bunching up fabric between each loaf to create walls for support. Proof for about 1 1/2 hours or until they have increased to  1 1/2 times their original size.

Prep for baking: About 45 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a rimmed sheet pan which will serve  as the steam pan on the shelf under which the baguettes will be baked. Remove plastic wrap from the dough 15 minutes prior to baking. Gently roll dough onto baguette pan or baking sheet. Just prior to baking score the dough 1/2 inch deep with a serrated knife. Transfer loaves to oven, pour 1 cup hot water into steam pan. Wear an oven mitt & be careful, the steam will be steamy in the hot pan. Warmed the water in my stovetop kettle and poured it in so there was some distance.

Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate pan and bake for another 15-25 minutes until the crust is rich golden brown and the loaves sound hollow when thumped, and the internal temperature is about 200 degrees. Coll on a wire rack for at least 35 minutes before slicing or serving. good luck with that. Store wrapped in a dish towel to maintain crust's crispiness.

Thursday, June 2

banana bunchaheartysoundingstuff pancakes

This is what I made for breakfast this morning. If you're a light, fluffy buttermilk pancake person, sorry. These were fluffy for sure, but they're more on the hearty side. By now you surely know about the seriousness with which I approach my breakfasts. In my opinion frozen bananas, frozen right when they're turning brown and would be just a bit too overripe to eat, are best for baking. I set these out to thaw for about an hour and a half then peeled them into the bowl. Trying not to think about how slimynasty they looked...They're so easy to mash and provide a bit more moisture to a recipe like this with a bunch of dense stuff. Anyway, these are filled with protein and fiber. Check out how good for you wheat germ is. But the banana and agave nectar I tried out as syrup provide ample sweetness and flavor, in my book at least.


And you must sing the song of course.

Erin's Banana flaxbranoatwheatandbunchaheartysoundingstuff Pancakes
adapted from here and here.
2/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
3 T. wheat germ
1 c. milk I used almond milk bc that's what I had.
3 t. flax seeds
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla extract
1 egg beaten
2 very large, very ripe bananas, mashed well (or thawed from frozen is better)
2 T. olive oil
In a cup or small bowl, pour 1/3 cup of your milk over the wheat germ and let sit. Process the oats in a blender or food processor until they resemble a coarsish flour. Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, soda & salt in to a large mixing bowl. Add oat flour. Sifting the w.w. flour helps it get fluffy and whole wheat tends to be more coarse anyway. (Once I run out, I'm getting whole wheat cake flour) supposedly that's the way to go to get your whole wheat flour baked goods to stay fluffy, less coarse, more similar to white flour. Whisk together beaten egg, banana, oil and vanilla until well combined. I beat my egg into my mushed banana, shhh don't tell, bowl minimization. Whisk in the soaking milk with wheat germ. Add dry mix, combine, and let sit for five minutes. Heat griddle or cast iron skillet to medium or medium low. It's ready when droplets of water bounce on it. Cook pancakes. They'll cook slower than regular pancakes. I kept my skillet on medium low, otherwise the outsides get to crisp before the middle is cooked. Add more milk or water if the batter gets too thick. Serve topped with peanut butter and agave nectar as syrup. yum.