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Posts Tagged ‘Garlic’

Homemade Harissa via Relishing It

If you’ve spent much time reading food blogs or magazines, you probably know what harissa is, but for those of you that don’t (Hi Dad!), let me fill you in.  Harissa is a North African condiment made mostly from peppers and spices.  And it is amazing.  Like a punch-of-flavor-to-your-tongue amazing.  It’s often found on Moroccan tagines, but I’ve found so many more day-to-day uses for it.  I love to slather it on sandwiches.  Try it on this meatloaf with a bit of mayonnaise and some hot peppers.  Heavenly.  It’s also fantastic on an egg sandwich where the yolk is still a bit oozy.  Crunchy salads, or paired with carrots– harissa transforms an ordinary meal into something divine.

Homemade Harissa via Relishing It

Lemon for Homemade Harissa via Relishing It

Homemade Harissa via Relishing It

Homemade Harissa via Relishing It

If you’ve been visiting Relishing It for awhile, or taken a stroll through the ‘menu’ section, you know that I love to make my own condiments.  It’s not difficult, and to be honest, they just taste better than those bottled versions that are mass manufactured and sit on the shelf for months.  This mustard, ketchup, and red curry paste are a few of my favorites.  Harissa isn’t quite so common, but there really are a ton of recipes out there, and they are all a bit different.  Some use tomatoes, some don’t.  Some use fresh herbs, others stick with dried spices.  For this harissa, I was looking for something a bit smokey, but not too spicey.  I also wanted it to have a fresh, herb flavor.  If you want more of a kick, you can simply add more cayenne pepper or choose a hotter variety of dried peppers for the base.  One nice thing about this recipe is that you can easily manipulate it to suit your own tastes.  For my  part, I think this one turned out perfectly, so I won’t be changing a thing.  Top your Harissa with a bit of olive oil to store in the refrigerator for an extended period of time, it should last a few months this way.  But…it won’t.  You’ll eat it up in no time.  It’s that good.  Hope you enjoy!

Homemade Harissa via Relishing It

Cheddar and Stout Meatloaf via Relishing It

The Ultimate Meatloaf Sandwich with Homemade Harissa via Relishing It

The Recipe:  Homemade Harissa

(Makes about 1 cup)

5 dried Ancho chile peppers

5 dried Guajillo chile peppers

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground with a mortar and pestle (or use the flat side of a large knife to smash them)

1 teaspoon coriander seed, toasted and ground with a mortar and pestle

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

pinch of ground cayenne pepper, more to taste

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons champagne vinegar (white or red wine vinegar will also work)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

sea salt, cracked black pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons soaking liquid, or more, if needed

Place the dried peppers into a medium sized bowl.  Pour enough boiling water over them so they are covered.  Place a small plate on top of them to keep them submerged.  Cover the entire bowl with another larger plate, to keep the heat in.  Let sit for 1 hour.

When the peppers are soft, begin by reserving some of the soaking liquid.  Remove the peppers from the water.  Remove the stem and carefully dump out the seeds.  Place the peppers and the remaining ingredients into a food processor.  Process for a few minutes until completely smooth.  Taste.  Adjust seasonings and thickness, if necessary.  Store in a jar with a lid in the refrigerator.  Cover with a layer of olive oil, if intending to keep for an extended period of time (several months).  I don’t cover mine with olive oil, but I generally use it within a few weeks.  Enjoy the heck out of this!

Thanks for stopping by today, friends! xo

Laurie

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Vegetarian Lentil Meatballs via Relishing It

The calendar says that Spring is on the way, though the snowstorm that rolled through the Midwest over the last four days had my family looking for more warming comfort food.  I obliged, by making these meatless “meatballs.”  Yes, I realize calling something that has no meat in it a meatball is a bit ridiculous, but it sounds more generally appealling that “lentilballs.”  And to be honest, it gives you a better idea of what to expect.  I kid you not, these lentil meatballs have the same taste, texture, and appearance of traditional meatballs.

Brown Lentils via Relishing It

Lentil Meatball Ingredients via Relishing It

Not to belabor the point of how much this version tastes like a traditional meatball, but my husband– a complete carnivore and self-described ‘bean-hater’– devours them.  They’re made much like a traditional meatball, except for the addition of ricotta cheese.  It really helps bind the ingredients together and provides a rich texture.  I loaded these ones up with garlic, onion, parmesan, and parsley, but another nice thing about this dish is that it can be easily modified to evoke other ethnic food flavors.  Add a little curry powder, cilantro, and ginger; or to make a Greek version, add mint and oregano, and serve it with feta and tzatziki.  We enjoyed this latest batch with my homemade canned tomato sauce from last summer for an Italian vibe.  The point is, these little numbers are versatile enough to allow you to follow your imagination.

Vegetarian Lentil Meatballs via Relishing It

Homemade Tomato Sauce via Relishing It

In our family, we generally live by the “eat meat, though not all the time” mantra. These lentil meatballs are a great alternative, whether you’re like us or eat strictly vegetarian, and you still want that meaty texture and flavor.  The fact that brown lentils are also budget-friendly is a nice bonus.  Now if you’re interested in more traditional meatballs, I’ve got those for you too.  Take a look here and here for a few of my other favorite recipes.  And these are an interesting take that makes a nearly-perfect soup.  Heck, give them all a try and let me know what you think.  Enjoy!

Vegetarian Lentil Meatballs via Relishing It

Vegetarian Lentil Meatballs via Relishing It

The Recipe:  Vegetarian Lentil Meatball

(makes 40 small meatballs)

2 cups dried brown lentils

1 bay leaf

3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

6 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs, lightly toasted

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup chopped parsley

3/4 cup ricotta cheese (mine was part-skim)

3/4 cup grated parmesan or grana padano cheese

freshly cracked pepper

To prepare the lentils:  Rinse the lentils and put into a large saucepan with 2 cups water, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a medium-low and simmer covered for about 25 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed into the lentils.  Turn off the burner and let the lentils sit for about 10-15 more minutes covered.  The lentils will be tender when done, but still hold their shape.  Remove the bay leaf, and place the lentils in a food processor and process for about 1 minute, or until they are broken up.  The appearance will look like that of cooked ground beef.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Line the largest baking sheet you have with parchment paper.  Set aside.

To make the meatballs:  In a large bowl, combine the puréed lentils, garlic, breadcrumbs, eggs, onion, parsley, ricotta, parmesan, black pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt by mixing together with your hands.  Be careful not to over mix, as with all meatball recipes. Form smallish balls using your hands or a scoop– you should yield about 40.  Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 18 minutes.  They will be a nice golden brown on the top and bottom when they are finished baking.  Serve right away.  Enjoy!

Thanks so much for stopping by Relishing It today!

xo

Laurie

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White Chili via Relishing It

If you’ve spent much time with me here on Relishing It, you already know that I love spending time in the kitchen, working my way through an intricate recipe.  Not much makes me happier than pouring through ingredients in the afternoon sun, with the sound of my little ones playing in the next room.  Yes, that’s my heaven.  But of course, the sun doesn’t stream through the windows much here in January, and– let’s be honest– kids generally have a way of needing something every 15 minutes.  So I often have to be more realistic, and for that I love turning to one-pot meals.  This white chili is a great meal that doesn’t require much attention.  It’s hot, healthy, delicious, and best of all, mostly tends to itself.  Perfect for a cold Sunday afternoon when you’re busy playing inside, or (lucky you) when you get a chance to just settle into the couch with a good book.

Dried Beans via Relishing It

We eat more than our fair share of chili here in the cold months.  I like that it’s relatively healthy, and that I get a chance to experiment with different ingredients and flavor combinations.  Last weekend I made a batch with cubed beef, dark chocolate, toasted cumin seed, an oyster stout beer, and dried ancho chiles that I toasted and ground myself.  Loved it!  But enough about that (for now).  Today’s recipe is for my favorite version of white chili.  I prefer this style to not be too heavy.  If you’ve ordered it in a restaurant, you probably know what I’m talking about.  To get the right consistency, I smash a few of the beans as a thickener, and then use evaporated milk to give it a nice creaminess.  The chickpeas have a wonderful, firm texture that holds up well, while the white cannellini beans add a nice silkiness.  The combination is sublime.  A generous squeeze of lime into the pot for the finish gives it vibrancy and freshness.

White Chili via Relishing It

White Chili via Relishing It

The Recipe: White Chili

(serves at least 4)

1 pound chicken breast, cubed OR about 2 cups shredded roasted chicken (see note 1)

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 large white onion, chopped

1 jalapeño, finely chopped

1 large poblano pepper, chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 1/3 cups dried chickpeas, soaked OR two 15 ounce cans (see note 2)

1 1/3 cups cannellini beans, soaked OR two 15 ounce cans (see note 2)

1 quart chicken broth

3 tablespoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 can evaporated milk

juice of 1/2 – 1 lime, to taste

kosher salt and cracked black pepper

cilantro, lime, green onions, and white cheddar cheese for garnishes

Note 1:  If you choose to use shredded roasted chicken, do not add it to the chili immediately or it will fall apart.  Add it after you purée some of the beans near the end of the cooking time.  Make sure it has enough time to warm through.

Note 2:  Soaking the beans overnight in the refrigerator is one way to prepare the beans ahead of time.  However, if that isn’t possible, place the dried chickpeas and cannellini beans in a large pot and cover with a few inches of water and a couple teaspoons of salt.  Bring the water to a boil.  Cover and remove from heat and let sit for at least two hours.  At this point, check the beans for doneness.  If they are not quite done, you may want to bring them back to a boil once again for a few minutes to soften up a bit more (I find that the chickpeas take a little longer). If you add them to the chili and they are not fully tender, they will soak up a bit more of the liquid.  When they are your preferred texture, drain and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When it is hot, add the chicken and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Brown for a few minutes until cooked through.  Remove the chicken from pan.  To the same pan add a bit more olive oil, if necessary, and the poblano pepper, jalapeño, onions, and garlic.  Sauté for a few minutes until somewhat tender.  Return the chicken to the pan, along with the cumin and coriander.  Cook for 1 minute and then add the chicken stock, chickpeas and cannellini beans.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low-medium and cook for about 30 minutes – 1 hour.  More if the beans need extra time to soften, less if they don’t.

When the texture of the chili seems right to you, remove about 1 1/2 cups of beans from the pot and place in a shallow bowl.  Use a fork to smash the beans and make smooth.    This will help thicken the chili naturally.  Return the smashed beans to the pot.  Add the evaporated milk and cook uncovered  for a few minutes longer.   Add the juice of 1/2 of a lime to start, and more if you choose.  Taste and re-season with salt and pepper, if necessary.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping in today! xo
Laurie

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Simple White Beans with Rosemary and Garlic

Greetings friends!  It feels so good to be back here at Relishing It.  Turns out my Summer vacation from posting lasted a little longer than I intended.  At any rate, I’ve missed writing and talking with all of you.  I hope you’ve had a fantastic few months.  Life has been great in my little corner of Minnesota.  The holidays were good to us– we had beautiful traveling weather for our trip back to North Dakota, where we were able to spend time with our families.  Everyone remains in good health, and that is basically all that I need.

Simple White Beans with Rosemary and Garlic via Relishing It

Despite not writing as much lately, I’ve been very busy in the kitchen making new things.  I’ve tried desperately to not bake quite so much, because frankly, we just don’t need all those sweets around.  But…I’ve fallen short of keeping that vow every couple of weeks.  Simply put, I love to bake.  It makes me (and my kids) happy.  So now I’ve modified the vow– we just share more.

I’ve spent the rest of my time in the kitchen preparing healthy and delicious meals.  The pressure to ‘change your diet!’ and ‘lose weight!’ always amps up this time of year, but to be honest, I’m pretty content with where we are.  While I do make foods with butter, oils, sugar, and flour, I do my best to use limited amounts, or find healthier alternatives.  Not to sound too preachy, but there really isn’t a thing I’d change about my diet (especially with the ‘share baked goods vow’).  And that feels pretty good.

I continue to try to learn about how various foods affect my body, as well as how the production of those foods affects the environment.  And I feel lucky to have connected with so many people that feel the same way.  I want to stay healthy and fit for me and for my family, so I stick with the mantra that whole foods and exercise are the key.  If you’ve come here looking for healthy ideas for family meals, you’ll see there’s plenty to choose from.  I love helping people figure out how to eat “clean”.  It’s easier than you think.  Just stay away from packages and long lists of ingredients, add more vegetables, and eat whole foods.  You’ll be amazed.

Simple White Beans with Rosemary and Garlic via Relishing It

This simple pot of beans is a good example of the type of meal I’m talking about.  It’s not fancy, but is perfect for a cold night.  This dish is creamy, comforting, and bold.  The flavors can change dramatically depending on how you season this one, so play to your palate.  If you like Dijon, add a bit more.  Want more of a tang, be liberal with the vinegar.  Play around with it a bit!  The recipe below is how I enjoy it the most.  I generally make a batch of these beans and we eat half of it served alongside roasted buttercup squash (they’re perfect together).  I freeze the other half, and then use it in a simple cassoulet for a quick weeknight meal.  For that cassoulet, prepare some kielbasa sausage and/or some leftover pork shoulder, cut it into chunks,  place it in a shallow baking dish, cover with the thawed then re-warmed white beans, and top with some panko bread crumbs.  Bake at about 375°F for 10-15 minutes (or until the bread crumbs are toasted).  Sprinkle with fresh parsley, and voila!

Simple White Beans with Rosemary and Garlic via Relishing It

The Recipe:  Simple White Beans with Rosemary and Garlic

Serves 4-6

3 cups dried white beans (preferably cannellini, buy navy would work, too)

1/2 large white onion, chopped

2 bulbs garlic, peeled

2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped

a few sprigs of fresh thyme, left whole

1 dried bay leaf

extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt and cracked pepper

1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard

Begin by either covering the white beans with cold water in a large pot and soaking overnight (which I never do) or do a quick-soak method (which I always do) by placing the beans in a large pot or Dutch oven, cover with cold water and a sprinkle of kosher salt.  Bring the beans to a boil.  Boil for one minute.  Remove pot from heat and cover with a lid.  Let sit for two hours.  Drain beans when ready to use.

In that same Dutch oven, to the beans add the chopped onion, garlic cloves (from the two bulbs), chopped rosemary, whole sprigs of thyme, bay leaf, a bit of kosher salt and cracked black pepper.  Just barely cover the beans with fresh cold water.  Then add a couple of glugs of olive oil — about 1/4 cup.   Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to a medium/low simmer.  Let cook for about one hour, stirring every so often, or until the beans are your desired consistency.  I like mine to be rather soft, but still hold their shape a bit.

When they are done cooking, remove from the heat.  Remove the thyme twigs and the bay leaf.  Using an old potato masher or a fork, mash a few of the beans to thicken them up a bit,  3/4 cup or so.  Add the Dijon and red wine vinegar and stir a bit to emulsify.  Re-season with more salt and pepper.  Drizzle with a bit more olive oil when serving and some fresh thyme leaves on top.    Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!  xo

Laurie

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Gazpacho

Gazpacho.  Cold soup.  Not much of a selling point is it?  But for those of you who have had gazpacho, you know just how refreshing it is.  Gazpacho is a Spanish tomato-based raw vegetable soup.  It originated in the sunny southern region of Andalusia as a fresh, cool meal to combat the summer heat.  There are many different versions, though this one is my favorite.  For those of you who are hesitant to eat a cool soup, I can only say this: give it a try– I guarantee you’ll make this one every summer as the temperatures get above 90 degrees.  It’s one of the most refreshing dishes you’ll ever taste.

The soup is a combination of the all the wonderful usual suspects from your late-summer garden or farmers’ market– cucumbers, red peppers, purple onion, garlic, and fresh tomatoes.  They’re finely chopped in a food processor and then combined with tomato juice,  a bit of white wine vinegar, and a really good olive oil.   For gazpacho, you’ll definitely want to go with the best olive oil you have as it’s flavor is central to the soup.  I also used my homemade, canned tomato juice, though as my stock is running low (canning tomatos will be available soon!) I can’t lend you an extra jar.  If you can juice, use it as you’ll notice the difference in the final flavors.  As an alternative, several grocery stores carry high-end juices which should work well.  If you instead use a nation-wide brand, use Sacramento.  I personally think it tastes better than any of the other well-known brands.

Gazpacho is the perfect make-ahead dish.  It tastes better the longer it sits– the flavors have a chance to meld together.  I like to make some homemade croutons to top it all off with.  Hope you enjoy!

The Recipe:  Gazpacho

2 medium-sized garden cucumbers, halved and seeded, but not peeled

2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded

5-6 Roma tomatoes

1 red onion

3 large garlic cloves

3 cups good quality tomato juice

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

scant 1/4 cup good extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Add 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes for a little heat, if desired

For the Croutons:

2 – 3 cups crusty bread, such as a baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

To make the croutons: Preheat oven to 375°F.  Toss cubed bread pieces with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place on a baking sheet.  Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until they have reached your desired crunchiness.

Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into small pieces, roughly a 1-inch cube.  Put each vegetable into a food processor fitted with a steel blade, separately.  This is important for texture.  Pulse until it is coarsely chopped.  Make sure not to over-process.

After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Mix well and chill before serving.  The longer it sits, the better it will be.  Before serving top each bowl of soup with a handful of homemade croutons and some torn basil, if desired.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Thanks for stopping by!

Laurie

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I made the long drive across the entire state of North Dakota to my home town yesterday.  It was me, my four-year-old and my two-year-old…in a car…for 8 1/2 hours.  I made the same drive last Summer, also without Radd (who’ll be joining us later this week), and was so proud of myself for having arrived with my little kids and sanity intact that you’d have thought I split the atom.  Fortunately it went well again this year, though was about as fun as you’d expect.  


Since I’m heading back to my roots this week, I thought I’d share a little treasure from my childhood–pickled eggs.  It seems a bit odd to follow up French-style recipes for clafoutis and galettes with ‘pickles-in-a-jar’, but there’s something to be said for comfort food.  I grew up with jars of these treats sitting on our counter.  While pouring over childhood pictures recently, I noticed that there was an egg jar in the background in so many photos.  My Mom made the best pickled eggs– we absolutely loved ’em.

In continuing with my food philosophy, I use high-quality eggs in all of my baking and cooking.  I’m talking about eggs that come from a farm where the chickens roam freely and peck at nutritious food– not the cheap, supermarket eggs that sell for $1 a dozen, as these generally come from perpetually-caged chickens that have never seen daylight.  Yes, organic/cage-free eggs are a bit more expensive, but compared to your other proteins (meat) they are affordable.  Free-range cage-free eggs are not only a great source of protein, but they provide healthy Omega-3’s.  They’re also relatively low in calories.

Through the years, my brother and I have made adjustments to our Mom’s pickled-egg recipe.  We’ve been on a quest to improve upon ‘the best’ by making it a bit spicier.  This is my latest version. Now if you don’t fancy spicy food– you can skip the chili peppers and the red pepper flakes.  My family prefers to eat these eggs with a basket of pretzels, a few drops of Chalupa (or a Louisiana-style) sauce, and a nice cold beer.  Perfect.

The Recipe:  Pickled Eggs

Roughly 2 dozen eggs, hard boiled

1 liter white vinegar

1 jar hot chili peppers and the juice (Mezzetta is my favorite brand for these)

1 white onion, thickly sliced

1 bulb garlic, cloves peeled and left whole

1 teaspoon pickling spice

1 tablespoon peppercorns

To boil the eggs:  Gently place the eggs in a 4 quart sauce pan.  Cover with cold water.  Let cook over medium heat until water begins to boil.  Boil for 1 minute only.  Cover and remove from heat immediately.  Set a timer for 12 minutes.  After that, pour out the hot water and run cold water over the eggs to stop the cooking process.  Let cool completely before peeling.  (Note: older eggs peel more easily than fresh ones)

Once your eggs are cool and peeled, start layering your ingredients into your jar.  This doesn’t have to be precise.  Once the eggs, onions, garlic, hot chili pepper and their juice, peppercorns, and pickling spice are in the jar — you can add the white vinegar.  Make sure you have enough liquid to cover the eggs.  These eggs will start to taste “pickled” in about 3 days, and will keep getting better and hotter the longer they sit.  They can be stored, tightly sealed on your counter.  Enjoy!

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For this post I decided to make crostini from start-to-finish… not just a variety of toppings, but the whole bread-baking process.  Yes, it’s easier to simply find a wonderful crusty bread from a nearby bakery (and I often do this), but there’s something therapeutic about baking bread.  While it takes more patience and planning, in the end I found it to be so much more satisfying.  The smell of fresh bread throughout my house alone convinced me to do this more often.  Just look at this loaf!

The bread I chose for this appetizer is crusty on the outside, but has a soft-yet-firm interior.  It keeps well, which means you can bake it long ahead of time if you’re hosting a party and need to get other things prepared.  To turn it into crostini, I grilled the bread and added two fresh, colorful, and oh-so-tasty toppings.  For the first, I was so happy to be able to use garlic, basil, and a batch of the first tomatoes of the season from our farmers’ market.  This is the first fresh-tomato post of the Summer– it will not be the last.

For the second, I threw together a simple herbed-ricotta topping with thinly-sliced radishes.  I love ricotta cheese, and unabashedly admit that I often scoop and eat spoonfuls while standing in front of the open-door refrigerator.  If you can find one locally, buy it.  Mixing in the fresh herbs gives it a nice flavor-burst.

The Recipe:  An Honest Loaf

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

2 cups lukewarm water (110-115°F)

2 cups unbleached bread flour

1/2  cup whole wheat flour

1/2  cup semolina, plus extra for dusting

2 teaspoons salt

Put the yeast and water into a large mixing bowl.  Stir in 1 cup of the bread flour to make a batter.  The mixture will begin to bubble, letting you know that the yeast is working.  Let the mixture sit at room temperature for about an hour, until it is frothy and has risen in the bowl.

Add the white flour, whole wheat flour, semolina, and salt to the starter and stir well.  When the dough is gathered, but still shaggy, turn it out onto a floured counter and knead it for a couple of minutes, dusting with flour if necessary; the dough should remain somewhat sticky.

Put the dough in a mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.  The dough will rise a bit in the bowl.

The next day, remove the dough from the bowl and punch it down to get the air out.  Knead the dough again for a few minutes, and form it into a smooth ball.

Select a linen-lined basket or low, wide bowl large enough to contain the dough when it doubles in size.  Place a linen napkin in a bowl, if that’s what you’re using.  I used a regular flour-sack towel and my bamboo salad bowl and that worked just fine.  Make sure to dust linen or napkin heavily with white flour before you add the dough.  Set the dough ball in the basket or bowl, dust the top with semolina, and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise at a cool room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, or until doubled in size.  The longer and cooler the rise, the better the texture of the bread will be.

Preheat oven to 450°F – make sure it’s thoroughly preheated!  I am a true believer in a oven thermometer.  If you don’t have one — pick one up.  They’re cheap.  Sprinkle baking sheet with semolina.  Ease the dough onto the baking sheet by carefully inverting the basket or bowl over the sheet.  This part was tricky.  Remove the basket or napkin.  The top of the dough will have a light coating of flour.  Sprinkle on a bit more.

With a sharp, thin knife or razor blade, quickly slash a large  “X” in the middle of the dough, about 1/2 – inch deep.  Immediately put the pan into the hot oven and bake for 15 minutes.  The loaf will puff dramatically and the crust will have begun to form.

Turn down the oven to 400°F and bake for 45 minutes more, or until the bread is dark and crusty.  Remove the bread from the oven and put onto a cooling rack.  Wait until the bread has cooled completely before cutting.  In fact, this bread gets better the longer you wait to cut into it, unlike a baguette.  It will be even better the following day.

Source:  Adapted from David Tanis’ Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys

The Recipe: Crostini with Tomatoes, Garlic, and Basil & Fresh Mozzarella  and  Herbed Ricotta with Radishes

 

Tomatoes, Garlic, and Basil Topping:

2 large farmer’s market tomatoes, diced

3-4 cloves minced garlic

7-8  fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 “glug” of red wine vinegar (about 1 tablespoon)

1 “glug” of good extra-virgin olive oil (about 1 tablespoon)

sprinkle of red pepper flakes (as much as you can handle)

kosher salt to taste  (make sure you don’t under-salt this — salt really brings out the flavor of tomatoes)

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Let sit  at room temperature for a 1/2 hour or so. The flavors will combine wonderfully.  Re-season, if necessary.

 

Herbed Ricotta

1 cup fresh ricotta cheese (buy some that is made locally, if possible.  The flavor is usually superior)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 scallions, finely chopped

Handful of mixed herbs, finely chopped — I used, mint, basil, chervil, parsley, chives and dill.  Use whatever you happen to have.  You should end up with about 1/2 cup finely chopped herbs.

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste.

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and let sit for about 20 minutes.  Add more salt and pepper, if necessary.

Pre-heat the grill.  Slice the loaf of bread.  Brush with olive oil on each side  and top with a sprinkle of salt.  Grill for just a few minutes on each side, until you get the color you like.  Top with a slice of fresh mozzarella and the tomato, garlic, and basil topping.  The bread will soak up the juice wonderfully.  Top another piece of crostini with the herbed ricotta and a few thinly sliced radishes.  Enjoy with a lovely cocktail, of course!

Thanks again for stopping by Relishing It today!  As always, I enjoy reading  your comments.  Let me know if you’ve been busy in the kitchen with any of these recipes.  Have a great weekend.

Laurie

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