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candide [userpic]

So, as you may have heard, a NorEaster hit New York & New England on Saturday.

On Friday, I checked the weather maps. The remnants of a hurricane in the east-central Caribbean had pumped lots of moisture into the southeastern US, on the west-side of the Appalachian Mtns. This moisture fed the NorEaster, which formed off of North Carolina & Virginia.

At the same time, a bubble of cold air sank southward from Canada, over New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. The NorEaster pumped even more cold air southward.

The result? In the county where I live, in the Mid-Hudson Valley, snowfall measured from 8" to 21". My own home had about 10"-12" of snow, all said and done.

To make matters worse, none of the trees had lost their leaves yet. Most maples were still green, due to the unseasonably warm weather during October.

Heap heavy, wet snow onto leaf-laden trees and voila! Downed trees. Downed power lines.

Half of my county is without power. Half of the 113,000 people here.

We lost power at 5pm yesterday, and are still out. I'll be starting up a fire in the wood-stove-insert when we get home. I did manage to fill the tub with water, so we can flush the toilets. However, I haven't showered, so I'm very oily. (If I don't shower in the morning, then by late afternoon I feel like someone's Turtle-Waxed® my forehead.)

Current Mood: annoyedgreasy
candide [userpic]

  • 1 medium onion
  • 8 oz tomato puree (unseasoned)
  • 1 cup small pasta (Orzo, Ditalini, teeny-mini-shells, etc)
  • 8 oz. garbanzo (ceci) beans
  • Olive Oil
  • fresh parsley
  • black pepper
  1. Slice up the onion and sauté in olive oil until softened.
  2. Add the tomato puree and the liquid from the garbanzo bean can. Let it come to a boil. I suggest stirring to prevent burning to the pot. Lower the heat to keep it from splattering.
  3. Once it reaches a boil, add parsley and ground black pepper to taste.
  4. Add the pasta. Boil it slowly; add water if it starts looking "too thick" (i.e. thicker than you want).
  5. 5 minutes after adding the pasta, add the garbanzo beans.
  6. Continue cooking until the pasta is tender but still somewhat stiff. Again, add water if the Pasta Ceci gets any thicker than "creamy".
    Note that the pasta will continue to cook and absorb liquid, even after you take the Pasta Ceci off of the stove. So, if you don't stop at al-dente, your Pasta Ceci will turn to paste.

You can also make this as a soup by using tomato soup instead of puree and using half as much pasta and half as much garbanzo beans.

Current Mood: creativecreative
candide [userpic]

Yesterday, I decided to make Cecina, using Recipe #2. Only I decided to make it for lunch today, leaving it to sit overnight, as recommended in several recipes (including the one I used).

My variations:

1/2 tsp Salt, dissolved into the water

2 Tbsp Tumeric
1 tsp Smoked Spanish Paprika
1/4 tsp white pepper (though I'dve preferred black)
a pinch of cumin

I mixed these 4 spices into the dry garbanzo flour

I used the nonstick half-sheet pan, as I decided to when I made this recipe last. Unfortunately, I put too much olive oil in the pan. Next time, I brush it onto the pan, enough to create a film.

I baked it for 10 min., but it came out like a loose, thin polenta. I had to put it back in for another 10 minutes.

What did work out well was the topping. I mixed about 1/3 cup of our good olive oil with 2 teaspoons of smoked spanish paprika and 1 teaspoon of black truffle salt. Then I added a splash or two of some black truffle oil that we have (and need to use up). I brushed that onto the completed cecina.

It was yummy! I'd put less of the salt in the spread next time. However, with the saltiness goes well with the consistency of this batch.

Later this afternoon, I tried out the gluten-free "Lean Bread" recipe from the Culinary Institute of America's GF-baking book. The recipe didn't call for proofing the yeast (it called from something called "instant yeast," which I'm not sure that I have), and I followed the recipe. I let the dough rise in the oven, held at 170 F, with a pan of water in it. That dried out the top.

Next time I do GF bread, I'm covering it with plastic wrap and/or a wet towel. I'm also going to always use the suggestion from the Bob's Red Mills GF bread mix: smooth out the top of the batter-dough with a wet spatula.

When baking, the bread rose up … oddly. The drier top lifted off. But worse, the bread didn't rise uniformly. Parts near the bottom are dense (and therefore, rubbery), while large voids are in the top. When I took it out of the oven, the top started sinking in. Then the sides pulled in.

epinoid seems to like it, however.

I think the next time, I'm going to create a sponge, with some sugar mixed in with the yeast. Then I'll mix that into the rest of the dry ingredients.

Current Mood: creativecreative
candide [userpic]

Due to recent changes in LJ, I'm making my journal "friends only" to better retain control over where my thoughts are (re)posted.

candide [userpic]

Here's yet another cecina recipe that I've just tried. In case you missed my first post in this series, "Cecina," also known as "farinata" and as "socca" in Provence, is a wheat-free flat-bread made with chickpea flour.

I actually made a modified version of the recipe that I found. Here's the original recipe, followed by my modifications. After the recipes are our thoughts on the results.

The Original Cecina RecipeCollapse )

This is my modified version of the above recipe:

  • 2 cups Garbanzo Flour
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 tbsp Smoked Spanish Paprika
  • 1 tbsp Onion Powder (or garlic powder)
  • 1 tsp Tumeric
  • 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • Olive oil for cooking and taste.
Mix all ingredients [except the olive oil] and leave to sit for at least 4 hrs.

Preheat oven to 400 °F.

Take a rectangular pizza pan or nonstick sheet pan. (The one that I used was 10"x15".) Pour in a bit under 1 cup of olive oil, or enough just to cover the bottom of the pan. Pour in the batter, no more than a 1/4" thick. (Thinner is fine.) The oil will come up over the batter around the edges. Make sure that the batter is uniformly spread.

Bake about 30 min.

Finish by brushing with olive oil, tomato sauce, or whatever you'd like.

I finished this one by mixing together some locally-grown sage that I dried and rubbed, some powdered rosemary, some kosher salt, and olive oil. I brushed the mixture on half of the cecina, and left the other half unadorned.

This version of cecina looked much like the first one. It had a "cracked-earth" look to the surface. The bottom crisped up nicely on this one. Unlike the other two that I tried, I used our new nonstick half-sheet pan. The cecina pulled away from the edges, and from itself. Not the consistency I remember from when my father made it all of those years ago, but still decent.

The seasoning in the batter gave the cecina a much better flavor than the previous ones. I found the plain side and the seasoned one both quite tasty. It was drier than Recipe #2, but not very dry.

The tumeric was utterly unnecessary. I only added it to try to give the cecina more of a yellow color. It still came out red, due to the smoked paprika. Eh, I'll take a reddish cecina for the yummy smoked paprika.

One thing with these "drier" recipes is that you can use them as the base for something more focaccia-like or pizza-like. I would use a lightly seasoned version of the batter, bake it 2-5 minutes shorter than usual, remove it from the oven, then top it. Some carmelized onions should be very nice. Or brush-on tomato sauce and top with fresh basil leaf and very thinly-sliced mozzarella. Finish by broiling for those last 2-5 minutes of cooking.

epinoid's verdict? He liked it, but said that I put too much salt on it, specifically on the seasoned side. Next time, I'll omit the salt from the olive-oil/herb mix.

Current Mood: creativecreative
candide [userpic]

Tonight, I tried another cecina recipe. In case you missed my first post in this series, "Cecina," alsmo known as "farinata" and as "socca" in Provence, is a wheat-free flat-bread made with chickpea flour.

Here's the second recipe, followed by what we thought of it.

  • 1 cups of Chickpea Flour (also called Garbanzo Flour)
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Additional Olive Oil for the pan

Mix the batter (it is very watery) and let set for 2-4 hours.  [Note: your combining the water, chickpea flour, and 2 tsp of olive oil. Mix until there are no lumps, then cover the bowl.]

Fire your oven to 400° so that it is hot and ready for fire-in-the-oven cooking. This is a good brick oven recipe because it cooks best with top and bottom heat.

[I assume the recipe means 400 °F.]

Pour a liberal amount of oil in a baking sheet with 1" (or so) sides. Add enough batter to make a 1/4" - 1/2" thick flatbread, and bake at 400° for 10 minutes. It should be brown on top. Cut and drizzle with olive oil, and serve immediately.

[I used my one-rack upper oven on my 2-oven stove. Because the upper burners in that oven don't turn on when you bake, after the 10 min. were up, I set the oven to broil at 400 °F for 2 min to brown the top. It worked well.]

My additions:

I liberally-sprinkled the cecina with kosher salt. Then, I dusted one half of the cecina with our favorite ingredient, Smoked Spanish Paprika.

I found this one blander than the first. Next time, I'd add a tablespoon of the Smoked Spanish Paprika, and maybe a half-teaspoon of tumeric, to the batter itself. I'd also use a half-sheet pan instead of the round 12" pizza pan. That would make it a bit thinner (more like 1/8"-thick), which is how I remember what my father made.

Hmm… I think that topping the cecina with some rosemary during my last 2-min broil would also be nice.

epinoid's verdict? He liked it much better than the first one. It didn't have the "off flavor" he noticed in the first one. [I think that flavor was the dried basil I used.]

Current Mood: creativecreative
candide [userpic]

I've been looking for wheat/gluten-free recipes for epinoid, things that I can make for him. I've had a few half-attempts, recipes that almost worked, but weren't quite … right.

Back when I was a kid, my dad made a, "chickpea pizza," a flatbread that was thin, had the consistency of fruit-leather when fresh out of the oven, and became crispy the next day. Not, mind you, that we had any leftovers. It was that tasty.

So I started looking for recipes. I figured I'd find tons of earth-cookie or vegan or glutenphobic recipes for mock-pizza that uses chickpeas in the crust. Not so.

The flatbread that my father made is known in Provence as, "socca," and in the Italian riviera as "farinita" or "cecina." "Cecina," was also the name of a Roman flatbread made with chickpeas.

I'll be trying a few different recipes. Here's the first one, followed by what we thought of it.

  • 2 cups of Chickpea Flour
  • 3 cups Water
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
    1 tablespoon Smoked Spanish Paprika
  • 6 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Basil
  • Additional Salt and Olive Oil for service

Lightly grease a 12" non-stick pizza pan with olive oil.

[I used a 12" sheet-pan, coated with olive oil. A nonstick cookie sheet would also work.]

In a medium saucepan, stir together the cold water, chickpea flour, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium- high heat, stirring regularly to prevent lumps from forming. The mixture will gradually thicken. Cook the "dough" until it starts pulling away from the sides of the pan, and a wooden spoon can stand straight up in the middle without help, about 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the basil and grated cheese. Immediately pour the mixture onto the prepared pan and spread in a thin even layer. Let the pizza cool to room temperature.

[I didn't pour it right away, and my mixture was ridiculously thick to start with. So, I ended up rolling it out. If you don't have a small rolling pin, use a glass; either way, oil it up with olive oil first.]

Adjust the oven rack to a lower shelf. Preheat the oven to 500 °F.

Bake the pizza until it is brown and crisp, about 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle generously with salt and drizzle with your best olive oil. Cut the pizza into squares and serve warm.

Now, I had some carmelized onions in the freezer. After 15 min., I spread the thawed-out onions on one half and baked for another 5 min. Then I shut off the oven and waited until epinoid came home. To finish, I sprinkled slices from the non-onion-side with some of the black-truffle-salt that we have.

As a result of the 20 min. baking time and letting it stand in the oven, it came out a little drier than it should have. Note for next time: Make the batter/dough thinner; Bake about 15 min; and remove from the oven when done.

I like it. I'll definitely make this one again, after trying out some other recipes. It's not the same as what I remember, but it's still good.

epinoid's verdict? He liked the onion-side better, and thought that the "plain" side had an "off flavor." He also said that it would be better with some tomato sauce. (I made some sauce a week ago, using a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes. It gave the sauce a smoky flavor, which epinoid loves.) So next time, I'll skip the basil if I don't have fresh (I used dried), and will add 3 tblsp. of the Smoked Spanish Paprika, instead.

Current Mood: creativecreative
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