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Posts Tagged ‘Radishes’

Healthy Brown Rice Noodle Salad | Relishing It

There is a lot to be excited about this week.  First, my kids come home from spending a few days in North Dakota with my Mom and Dad.  This is the second summer that they have spent time away without Radd and me.  It’s hard for me to be away from them, but to be honest, I think it’s important for kids to get to know their grandparents without parents (i.e. me)  interfering all the time.  They get to be properly spoiled and make their own memories and that’s wonderful.  There is nothing quite like the love of a grandparent.  I’m excited to see my little ones– I’ve missed them.  But, my gosh!  It’s amazing what I can accomplish with an entire day without distractions!  There’s just so much…time to get things done.

Healthy Brown Rice Noodle Salad | Relishing It

Healthy Brow Rice Noodle Salad | Relishing It

The other super exciting event this week is that our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) starts delivery this week.  And I am thrilled!  It’s been a crazy June here in Minnesota– we’ve had record rainfalls and lots of flooding.  In fact, the farm that our CSA, Bossy Acres, resides on received almost 7-inches already this month.  Joining a CSA this year has had me feeling like a farm-girl all over again– stressing about the weather.  It’s exhilarating and terrifying.  At any rate– we’ll get our box of goodies on Thursday and I’m more that a little excited to create some meals with it.

Healthy Brown Rice Noodle Salad | Relishing It

Speaking of meals, today I’m sharing a quick one that you can put on your (hopefully outdoor) table in no time flat.  I know, two noodle salads in two weeks?!  I can’t help it– I’m addicted.  This one is cold, refreshing, and basically tastes like a giant spring roll, without the fuss of that rice paper.  I loaded it with cucumbers and radishes.  I would have added grated carrots, but we were out.  The cilantro and mint make the dish in my opinion, as do the peanuts–so load it up!  Mint is one of my favorite summertime additions to cold salads.  I’ve been fortunate enough to find delicious fresh bean sprouts at our farmers market and they are brilliant in this dish.  What a refreshing crunch!  The meal can be served without a meat, of course.  If you want to make it a bit more filling– chicken, shrimp, and especially grilled pork work extremely well.  The dressing is simple and subtle.  It’s not at all “saucy”, in that it pretty much disappears into the noodles leaving you with its subtle influence.  Feel free to make a tad more if you like a bolder flavor.  I hope you are enjoying many outdoor meals this summer and that this dish finds it’s way onto your table.  Enjoy!

Healthy Brown Rice Noodle Salad | Relishing It

Healthy Brown Rice Noodle Salad | Relishing It

The Recipe: Healthy Brown Rice Noodle Salad

(serves 4)

For the Sauce:

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 cucumber, thinly sliced (preferably with a mandolin)

5-6 radishes, thinly sliced (using a mandolin, as well)

2 red scallions, thinly sliced

large handful of fresh bean sprouts

about 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint

about 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

about 2/3 cup chopped salted peanuts

8 ounces brown rice noodles

serrano peppers, thinly sliced, optional

lime wedges, for serving

grilled chicken, shrimp, or pork– optional

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce.  Stir and set aside.

Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions (they will only take about 3-4 minutes).  Rinse immediately with cold water.  Reserve a bit of the cooking liquid to loosen pasta, if necessary.  Separate the rice noodles with your fingers, so they are loose and airy– this is a fun process.  Get your kids involved to help!

On a large platter or bowl, add the rice noodles, vegetables, herbs, and bean sprouts.  Pour the sauce over and toss with tongs.  Top with grilled meat, if using, peanuts, and a bit more cilantro, mint, and a squeeze of lime.  I used simple grilled chicken breasts with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Sliced serrano peppers would be lovely here, alas my son doesn’t love the heat from them.  This dish is best eaten on the day it is made.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

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Spring Potato Salad with Ramps and Radishes | Relishing It

Finally.  Warm weather is finally here in Minnesota!  I know parts of the country have been having ridiculous heat waves recently, but we’ve been waiting (not-so-very) patiently for the weather to get nice here.  Yesterday  it finally did, and it was glorious!  It’s remarkable to see the change in attitude and manners once decent weather shows up.  Everyone– and I mean everyone– is just so much happier and more pleasant.  It’ll be another story once the high heat and humidity eventually find their way here.

Spring Potato Salad with Ramps and Radishes | Relishing It

Spring Potato Salad with Ramps and Radishes | Relishing It

I did my best yesterday to blind people with my extremely white Minnesota legs.  Not that this is any different than later in the summer.  I basically vary between stark white and just very pale.  Years ago I wished I had more color, but now I’m fine with my lack of sun-induced color, so I’ll continue to lather on the sunscreen.

Spring Potato Salad with Ramps and Radishes | Relishing It

Spring Potato Salad with Ramps and Radishes | Relishing It

Where was I going with all of this?  Oh yeah… summer, heat, shorts….potato salad!  Grilling last night was a no-brainer, so I made a bowl of one of my favorite summer potato salads to kick off the season.  In this version, I’ve accompanied the potatoes with spring ramps, radishes, celery, and parsley.  Ramps are fabulous, but are around for such a short time, scallions replace them when they are no longer available.  A delicate dressing of lemon, olive oil, garlic, and anchovies is poured on the warm yellow potatoes to really saturate them with flavor.  The crunchy vegetables are added later, once the potatoes have cooled a bit, then the remaining dressing is added.  This potato salad gets better and better the longer it sits.  And it’s perfect for picnics since it doesn’t contain any dairy.  I hope you give it a try!

Spring Potato Salad with Ramps and Radishes | Relishing It

The Recipe: Spring Potato Salad with Ramps and Radishes

3 pounds yellow potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces

1 bunch radishes, chopped

1 bunch ramps or scallions, chopped

handful of fresh parsley, chopped

2-3 stalks of celery, chopped

For the Dressing:

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

juice of 2 lemons (about 5 tablespoons)

3-4 small anchovies, smashed into a paste

1/2 cup good quality olive oil  (California Olive Ranch gets my vote)

salt and fresh cracked pepper

good crunchy sea salt to finish

Place a steamer in a large saucepan.  Add a bit of water to the bottom.  Add the potatoes and steam until potatoes are nearly done.  Turn off the burner and keep the cover on for an additional 10-15 minutes to ensure the potatoes are fully cooked.  This technique keeps the potatoes from being loaded with water, which sometimes happens when boiled, and from being over-cooked which can lead to mushiness.  Check them after 10 minutes, and if they’re tender, remove the lid.

Meanwhile, make the dressing.  In a medium bowl, add the garlic, anchovies, Dijon, lemon juice, and pinch of salt and pepper.  Whisk.  Then slowly add the olive oil, whisking the entire time.  Adjust seasonings, if necessary.  Remember that potatoes require a bit of salt to let their flavor shine through.  However, the anchovies will supply a lot of that saltiness, so I generally wait to make a final judgment about adding more salt until the potato salad has been refrigerated and the flavors have had a chance to meld together.

When the potatoes are done steaming, add them to a large bowl and pour about 2/3 of the dressing over them while they are hot.  Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the potatoes and dressing together.  Let sit until mostly cool, then add the vegetables and the remainder of the dressing.  Fold everything together, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a couple of hours.  When ready to serve, let it come to room temperature– the flavors are brighter when they are not completely cold.   Sprinkle with a crunchy sea salt before serving.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

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The Un-Lettuce Salad via Relishing It

If you’re like me, this time of year you may go a little overboard with salads.  It’s hard not to with all of the fresh, crisp produce popping up in gardens and farmers markets.  I absolutely love a good leafy-green salad, but sometimes I want more than just a lettuce version– something a bit more substantial than those delicate little leaves.  When I’m looking for something heartier, I often turn to my favorite un-lettuce salad.  It’s my favorite way to incorporate a load of healthy vegetables into a meal.

The Un-Lettuce Salad via Relishing It

Alright, this “recipe” is more of a suggestion– an idea, if you will.  You can use what you have, but this is the combination that I like best.  All of these vegetables are currently available in Minnesota.  The pea tendrils give this dish it a nice slightly sweet flavor.  If you can’t find them, a few spinach leaves make a lovely replacement.  Roasted red peppers add a brilliant kick.  If you can’t find fresh ones, feel free to buy a jar.  Sun-dried tomatoes would be perfect in this salad, too.  Ricotta salata is my go-to cheese for summer salads– I love it’s subtle flavor, but parmesan, feta, goat cheese, or even a mild blue would all work.  I used pepitas here, though I often turn to sunflower seeds for a nice crunch.  Load it up with herbs, if you want.  I like dill with this combination.  Are you feeling me, here?  Use your imagination, you’ll be happy.

The Un-Lettuce Salad via Relishing It

Sometimes I make a simple vinaigrette with this salad.  This one works well.  But, more often, I choose to do something creamy, so I enjoy this simple herbed buttermilk dressing.  It’s less gloppy and bad for you than the bottled versions.  I like a dressing that lightly coats my greens, instead of sits on top of them.  I still use full-fat mayonnaise, but just less of it  (even better if you make your own completely out of olive oil– recipe coming soon on that).  The reduced-fat versions tend to have a sweetness to them that makes for an off-flavor.  And honestly, don’t even get me started on the fat-free bottled dressings that are on the grocery store shelves.  If you have them in the refrigerator, do yourself a favor and toss them out.  They are loaded with a bunch of junk (corn syrup to replace the fat?  Seriously?).  Not to mention, your body needs a little fat to absorb all of those healthy things that you eat a salad for in the first place.  Make your own and use less.  Hope you enjoy!

Herbed Buttermilk Dressing via Relishing It

The Un-Lettuce Salad via Relishing It

The Recipe:  The Un-Lettuce Salad

(Make this as big or as small as you like)

Handful of pea tendrils, large stems removed

english cucumbers,

broccoli

cauliflower

garden peas, left in the pod or not

radishes

roasted red peppers

ricotta salata cheese, crumbled

pepitas or sunflower seeds

dill or any herbs you prefer

Herbed Buttermilk Dressing:

2/3 cup buttermilk

4 tablespoons mayonnaise (full fat)

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons finely chopped dill, oregano, and parsley

kosher salt and cracked pepper, to taste

To make the Dressing:  Combine all of the ingredients into a small jar and shake.  Make sure to season properly with salt and pepper.  If you prefer a thicker dressing, and a bit more mayonnaise.

Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.  Place into a large salad bowl and coat with a bit of dressing.  Top with the cheese, nuts, and dill.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing it today!

xo

Laurie

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Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing It

So now that school is out, I’m trying to get my bearings straight.  We are four days into summer vacation, and while I am more than thrilled to have my son home all day long, it’s not without its…complications.  Aanen has this amazing contagious personality– he is truly a joy to be around.  He and his sister get along swimmingly.   And I love not having to pack his lunch every morning and rush him off to school.  Mornings around our house are brilliant.  However…it’s the rest of the day that gets a bit more hectic.  We’re I’m missing my schedule.  I knew exactly how much I could squeeze into a day and how much I could get done.  Now play dates, outings, parks, and pools have all taken its place.  And though I absolutely love all of these things, it’s hard to get any real work done.  I know I’m not unique in this situation or these feelings, but it sure feels good to ramble on about it.

Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing it

So how does that tie-in to today’s post?  Well, in the hustle and bustle of our summers we tend to eat much simpler food.  It’s easy to do with all of the fresh produce, so I’m absolutely fine with it.  I’ll often make a huge salad or two at the beginning of the week from legumes and grains and we’ll nibble on it for a few days.  It works well when we’re constantly running out the door.  This salad in particular keeps well.  And it’s absolutely perfect to pack for picnics.

Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing It

Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing It

I’ve always been a fan of chickpeas.  They’re loaded with protein, and they’re substantial enough to turn a salad into a meal.  If you’re not familiar with black rice, give it a chance.  Here’s a previous dish that I made using it.  I love black rice, sometimes called “forbidden rice”.   It’s nutty and similar in taste to wild rice.  It’s loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  You can read more about it here.  I realize that some of you may not the able to find black rice and that’s ok.  Quinoa is also a wonderful substitute and is loaded with its own health benefits.  Radishes give this meal a nice little crunch and they are so wonderful this time of year.  The preserved lemon adds a burst of brightness that makes you smile every time you bite into a tiny piece.  If you haven’t made preserved lemons yet, do it now.  They add so much to summer salads.  Here’s a recipe from my blog.  Or you can do the salt pack method, which is how I made this last batch.  This is a recipe for that method.  Obviously, if you don’t have preserved lemons on hand, you should still give this salad a try.  The parsley and subtle shallot vinaigrette bring all of the flavor together and I love the fact that it’s so healthy!  Makes me feel better about all of the ice cream that my kids are devouring.  Hope you enjoy!

Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing It

The Recipe:  Chickpea and Black Rice Salad with a Shallot Vinaigrette

2 cups dried chickpeas, cooked (see note)

1 cup black rice, cooked  (see note)

1 bunch radishes, chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon

1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped

For the Shallot Vinaigrette:

1 -2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot, or red onion

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 2 small lemons

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (champagne or plain rice vinegar can also be substituted)

about 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, or a bit more

sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Note:  To cook dried chickpeas, place in a large saucepan covered with cold, salted water.  Bring to a boil.  Let boil for a few minutes.  Cover and turn off the heat.  Let sit for 1-2 hours.  Bring to a boil again and cook for a few more minutes until they are your desired tenderness.  To make the black rice, place in a large saucepan and cover with cold, salted water by a couple inches.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat just a bit.  Let cook until the rice is tender (about 25 minutes).  Drain the water.

To make the Shallot Vinaigrette:  Place the chopped shallot in a bowl, or jar, and sprinkle with a little salt.  Pour the vinegar and lemon juice on top and let soften for about 15 minutes.  Then whisk in the olive oil, or give the jar a shake.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Place in the refrigerator, let it warm up for a few minutes before you plan to use it.

Place the rice and chickpeas into a large serving bowl along with the parsley, radishes, and preserved lemon.  Pour as much dressing over the salad as you like.  Start with a little and add more, you will not need to use the entire amount that you made.  Toss the ingredients together and let the flavors meld for a bit.  You can even refrigerate it and let it warm a bit before serving.  This salad will keep well for days.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

xo

Laurie

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Every once in awhile an idea for a recipe pops into my head, and I can’t believe I hadn’t considered it before.  On the one hand, I get a bit disappointed in myself for missing something so obvious.  But then I think, ‘Who cares?  This is going to be incredible!’  Today’s recipe came from one of those epiphanies.  I wanted something bursting with Spring flavors, and this pea shoot and mint pesto does just that.

Pea shoots should be showing up at your local farmers market right now.  If you haven’t tasted them before, please go buy some.   These tasty little shoots are the young tendrils and leaves of the pea plant.  They’re packed with nutrients, including vitamins A and C.  And they’re wonderful on sandwiches, salads, mixed into stir fry, pureed into soups– and of course, in this pesto.

Mint and peas make a great combination– remember this carbonara?  Pea shoots taste like fresh peas, but you don’t have to go through the fuss of shelling.  Here, I blanched the pea shoots for a few seconds to brighten their color.  I added a few mint leaves, and finished it off with a squeeze of fresh lemon.  Do not leave out the lemon!  It’s fine without, but we’re looking for better than ‘fine’ with this pesto.

A couple tips on the bruschetta:  First, make sure you grill the bread.  Season it with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  It makes a huge difference.  I also recommend tearing– rather than cleanly slicing– the mozzerella.  It creates nice crevices and curves to drizzle the olive oil into.  I think it also happens to  look much more interesting.  The radishes add an additional pop of color and fresh crunch.  Aside from using this pesto on bruschetta, you can add it to pasta.  If you think it’s going to be too thick to toss with pasta, add a little more olive oil and remember to always reserve a bit of hot pasta water to get the texture you want.  Either way, I think you’ll be happy with this fresh dish.  Enjoy!

The Recipe: Bruschetta with Pea Shoot Mint Pesto and Fresh Mozzarella

Pea Shoot Mint Pesto:

1 1/2 cups packed pea shoots

2-3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan or grana padano cheese

1/4 cup lightly toasted walnuts, chopped

1 garlic cloves

10 fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

squeeze of lemon juice, to taste

sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

hot pepper flakes, to taste

For the Bruschetta:

1-2 balls of fresh mozzarella

1 -2 cloves of garlic

extra-virgin olive oil

pea shoot  mint pesto

handful of radishes, diced

Good quality rustic bread, sliced  ( I used sour dough)

To make the pesto:  Bring a medium sized saucepan filled with water to a small boil.  Prepare an ice bath, set aside.  Place the pea shoots in the hot water for 30 seconds.  Remove immediately and submerge into the ice bath.  Remove pea shoots from water and gently “wring” them out.  It’s ok if they have a bit of water on them.  Let cool.

Place the pea shoots, mint leaves, and 1 clove of garlic in a mini-food processor.  Pulse a few times, until the greens are adequately chopped.  Add the parmesan or grana padano and walnuts, pulse a few more times.  With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  You may need to stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Once the pesto is thoroughly combined, taste it.  Stir in some salt, cracked pepper, hot pepper flakes, and a squeeze or two of lemon to brighten the pesto.  Use immediately or store in the refrigerator with plastic wrap placed directly on it.

To make the Bruschetta:  Fire up your grill.  Brush olive oil on both sides.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a hot grill and let it toast on each side until it is beautifully golden, but not burnt.  Remove from the grill and while still hot, rub a clove of garlic on one side of the toast.  Spread the pesto on that.  Rip the mozzarella, to create crevices, and place on the pesto.  Top with the chopped radishes.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and finish with a sprinkle of sea salt.  Enjoy!

I’m currently in North Dakota with my kids — made the long 8 hour trip to spend Mother’s Day with my Mom.  I hope all of you Moms out there have a wonderful day.  Thanks to everyone for stopping in — see you next week!

Laurie

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Here’s a little insight into what’s going on in my head– and I realize this is not normal– but the highlight of my week usually involves hitting the local farmers’ markets with my family.  Aria, my two-year-old daughter, loves it as much as I do.  We pretty much have to drag the home-body boys (Aanen and Radd), who protest all the way.  Well, maybe not all the way.  Once they’re out of the  house, I think they enjoy it, too.    

Anyway, late Summer is when the market really shines– so many different varieties of produce to choose from!  Last weekend I snagged these gorgeous purple potatoes.  Look at how vibrant they are!  This is nature.  This is food.  And it still amazes me.  Despite what some sources say– and I know it’s probably just in my head– I feel like purple potatoes have a more earthy flavor that a plain-old white ones.  If not, well then they’re just more interesting.

This potato salad keeps it simple, yet looks fantastic.  The point is to let the beautiful colors and fresh flavors be the center of attraction, rather than cover everything up with a glop of mayo.  The addition of the herbs (especially the mint, do NOT omit the mint!) make this salad taste like Summer.  The subtle flavor of creme fraiche lets the produce shine, yet adds that creaminess you expect in a potato salad.  The radishes give a contrasting delightful crunch.  If you don’t have creme fraiche, you can use sour cream, but you’ll notice a bit more of a tang.  I love to finish this salad with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.  It just works and it’s one of my favorite potato salads.

The Recipe:  Creme Fraiche, Herb, and Purple Potato Salad

1 – 1 1/2 pounds new purple potatoes

handful of parsley, mint, and basil chopped (around 3/4 cup total)

5-6 green onions, chopped

6  large radishes, chopped

1/2  lemon

1/3 – 1/2 cup creme fraiche

3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt and cracked blacked pepper, to taste

To steam the potatoes:  I prefer steaming to boiling– the potatoes retain less water this way.  Put potatoes in a steamer basket placed in a saucepan with a tight lid.  Make sure to put enough water into it.  Steam potatoes until nearly done, then turn off heat and let them sit for 10 more minutes.  The potatoes will continue to cook with the heat turned off.  The cooking time will vary based upon the size of your potatoes, so be sure to check it.  I steamed mine for 25 minutes, and let them sit for another 10 minutes.  Yours may take less time.  Just be sure to check them by inserting a sharp knife into them.  Be sure your saucepan doesn’t run out of water.

Sprinkle potatoes with a bit of salt and let them cool.  Meanwhile, chop the herbs, radishes,  and green onions.  Add them to the cooled potatoes, along with the creme fraiche, olive oil, and a squeeze of the lemon juice.  Don’t squeeze the full amount right away.  Taste as you go along, and definitely feel free to adjust measurements to your liking.  You may want a bit more creme fraiche and olive oil.   Be sure to season with salt appropriately, as the salt really brings all of these flavors together.    Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It today.  Have a great weekend!

Laurie

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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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