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Bread, Dinner, Lactose Free, Recipes, Sandwiches

Persian Flatbread

August 13, 2017

Persian Flatbread - Nan-e barbari

An article in Food and Wine magazine about flatbreads from around the world caught my attention not only because of the beauty of the breads but also the simplicity of making them.  This particular recipe makes two oval flatbreads known as Nan-e Barbari.  This is the Persian version which is known for being one of the thickest flatbreads.  The first time I made this I followed the recipe closely and was very impressed.  I noticed its similarity to focaccia and elected not to stretch the dough so thin next time and the result was fabulous multi-use bread.  Though the dough was very wet, so much so that I worried how it would turn out, it worked out beautifully.

Persian Flatbread/Focaccia

The bread has a wonderful crumb with large air pockets that when sliced in half create the best nooks and crannies for your sandwich spreads.  If you’re not splitting the bread for a sandwich serve it warm with salads, soups, feta & cucumbers, or grilled chicken.

Persian Flatbread/Focaccia

Persian Flatbread dough - Nan-e barbari

At this point the bread has been brushed with the glaze (also known as roomal) which results in a beautiful golden crust.

Persian Flatbread/Focaccia Sandwich

The bread is delicious on its own but makes a fine sandwich.

Persian Flatbread- Nan-e barbari

 

Persian Flatbread
 
Adapted from Food & Wine magazine
Author:
Serves: 2 loaves
Ingredients
  • Dough:
  • 4 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading
  • 2¼ teaspoons rapid rise yeast (bread machine yeast)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1⅔ cups water
  • sesame seeds
  • nigella seeds (optional)
  • coarse or flaky sea salt such as fleur de sel or Maldon
  • Glaze:
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup water
Preparation
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, yeast, salt and water. Mix on medium-low speed until a loose dough forms. (You may also mix the ingredients with your hands or bread machine if you don't have a stand mixer. The dough will be very wet). Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until the dough is supple and smooth, about 5 minutes. If the dough seems too wet, add a teaspoon or so of flour. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky so resist the temptation of adding too much flour. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 1 minute. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with lightly oiled plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  2. Gently deflate the dough and divide it into two pieces. Shape each piece into an oval about 9" long. Transfer ovals to a lightly greased baking sheet and cover with a sheet of oiled plastic wrap. Let rise for 30 - 45 minutes.
  3. While the dough is rising, heat the flour, sugar, oil, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook the flour paste over moderate heat, whisking constantly until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. The glaze will easily coat the back of a spoon. Set aside to cool.
  4. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and set a pizza stone on top. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  5. Cover two large cookie sheets with parchment paper and dust very lightly with flour or fine semolina. Working with one piece at a time, gently deflate the dough on the cookie sheet. If making flatbread shape the dough into a 14"x5" rectangle. Using your fingers (floured) press 5 deep, lengthwise ridges into the dough. Brush half of the glaze over the top and sprinkle with sesame seeds, nigella seeds if using, and a little course salt. Slide the dough with the parchment paper on to the pizza stone. If you do not have a pizza stone, bake the bread on the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for about 15 - 18 minutes until the top is golden brown. If you are making focaccia rather than flatbread, shape the dough into a long rectangle that you can later cut into sandwich-sized pieces. (Try not to stretch it too thin). Bake for 15 - 18 minutes. Transfer bread to a wire rack to cool before slicing.

 

 

Bread, Breakfast, Dinner, Lactose Free, Recipes, Sandwiches

Avocado Toast with Bacon & Egg

April 23, 2017

Avocado Toast with Bacon & Egg

Before the last of our avocados disappeared for the season, I decided to make a quick lunch using the creamy and rich Green Gold fruit.  Nothing could be easier and more satisfying than avocado toast.  All you need is good bread, an avocado and salt and pepper.  And maybe a dash of hot sauce too.  But if you want to take it up just a notch, scatter some crispy bacon over the avocado and top it off with a jammy egg.

Green Gold Avocado

We have two varieties of avocados in our garden, both of which are winter bearing.  The Sharwil is very popular here in Hawaii. It produces beautiful fruit, rich and creamy with small seeds.  The Green Gold’s flesh is dense, rich and creamy, perfect for guacamole and avocado toast. I love both of our trees however, the Green Gold is a bit more dependable in producing a large crop each year.

John's 9-Grain Bread

John makes 9-grain bread that is perfect for avocado toast.  It’s hearty and full of flavor from all of the grains that go into the bread.  Whatever bread you use for avocado toast, make sure that it has structure and is not the airy, flavorless type you might find on some supermarket shelves.

Daily's Bacon

One of the best supermarket brands of bacon is Daily’s. Use the best bacon that you can find.

Avocado Toast with Bacon & Egg

Avocado Toast with Bacon & Egg
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 - 4 pieces of good bread, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon of your favorite mayonnaise
  • 1 medium avocado, thinly sliced
  • 2 - 4 pieces of crispy bacon, broken into bite-sized pieces
  • chives and Italian parsley, chopped
Preparation
  1. Cook the eggs: Bring ½-inch of water to a boil over medium high heat in a small pot (one with a tight fitting lid). Using tongs, gently lower eggs into the water and cover the pot. Adjust heat to maintain a gentle boil. Set a timer and cook the eggs for 6 minutes and 30 seconds. Remove the eggs from the pot and run under cool water to stop the cooking (or place in an ice bath for a minute or two). Peel the eggs and set aside.
  2. Spread mayonnaise on the toasted bread. Place avocado slices on the bread and mash lightly with a fork. Season with a little coarse salt and black pepper. Scatter bacon pieces over the mashed avocado. Slice each egg into even pieces, enough for each avocado toast. Season with coarse salt and pepper. Scatter chives and parsley over the top.

 

Chicken, Dinner, Lactose Free, Recipes, Sandwiches

Grilled Thai Chicken with Basil & Lemongrass

February 23, 2017

 

Grilled Thai Chicken with Basil & Lemongrass

Our lemongrass is tucked away in the corner of the garden which means I forget that it’s there most of the time. It thrives with little attention year after year producing the most fragrant stalks.   We love grilled chicken so when  I came across a recipe for grilled chicken breasts with lemongrass in Fine Cooking magazine, I couldn’t resist it.

Lemongrass

Once you peel away the tough outer stalks and cut into the stems, you will find the most fragrant and tender section of the lemongrass that will be used in the marinade.

Coconut Milk Marinade

This is a very easy recipe to put together.  I used my immersion blender to combine the ingredients but a food processor or blender work just as well.  Puree the ingredients until smooth, pour it over the chicken, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before you light up your grill.

Grilled Thai Chicken with Basil & Lemongrass

Jasmine rice and a salad pair perfectly with the grilled chicken.  If you have leftovers slice thin pieces of chicken and serve it over a bowl of cold noodles or use it as a filling in a banh mi.

Grilled Thai Chicken with Basil & Lemongrass

Grilled Thai Chicken with Basil & Lemongrass
 
Adapted from Fine Cooking magazine
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup chopped cilantro + more for serving
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup finely chopped lemongrass (from about 3 stalks)
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 6 jalapeño nacho rings (hot) or 1 fresh jalapeño, or to taste
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 medium or 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed (I pound the chicken breasts to even them out and if using large breasts, cut the pounded pieces in half)
  • 1 lime cut into wedges for serving
Preparation
  1. Combine cilantro, coconut milk, lemongrass, basil, jalapeños, garlic, salt, brown sugar, pepper, and coriander in your immersion blender cup and puree ingredients until smooth. Alternatively you may use a blender or food processor. Arrange chicken breasts in a nonreactive baking dish in a single layer. Pour the marinade over the breasts and turn to coat them well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours.
  2. Heat a gas grill to medium high or prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire. Grill the chicken until it has good grill marks on the first side, about 4 minutes. Flip chicken and continue to cook until firm to the touch and completely cooked through, 4 minutes more (cooking time depends upon the thickness of your chicken). Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

 

Dinner, Recipes, Sandwiches, Vegetarian

Cheese & Nut Loaf + Burgers

February 8, 2017

Cheese & Nut Loaf

During the holidays last year, I wanted to serve a main dish that would appeal to my vegetarian guests, but also be enjoyable for my other guests as well.  This cheese and nut loaf turned out to be the perfect choice.  It bakes into a gorgeous loaf that looks beautiful and tastes delicious.  You can serve it alone or drizzle a vegetarian mushroom gravy or béchamel sauce over the slices before serving. The recipe comes from Deborah Madison’s The Greens cookbook named after the successful Greens Restaurant in San Francisco that still exists today.  Unfortunately I don’t own the cookbook and it seems to be out of print, but after reading all the great comments on line from those who have made it and having made it myself, I can see why everyone loves it.

Cheese & Nut Burger

My husband John had a great idea, and that was to shape the cheese and nut loaf mixture into patties. This turned out to be our favorite way to eat the cheese and nut loaf.  The burgers bake in just 30 minutes or so and they are so tasty nestled in a hamburger bun and topped with all of your favorite burger condiments.  Another thing I’d like to mention is that both the loaf and burgers freeze beautifully and can be microwaved or pan-fried for another excellent meal.

Cremini & Morel Mushrooms

Use whatever mushrooms are available to you.  I used creminis and morels. These gorgeous morels were sent to us by my stepdaughter Katie who hunts for mushrooms in the Pacific Northwest.

Parsley, Marjoram, Thyme

One of the things I love most about our garden are the assorted herbs that we grow. If you don’t have them, most markets carry a nice assortment of herbs these days but you can also use dried herbs as well.

Patties in Cooking Rings

You will need to cook the brown rice in advance. Otherwise all of the other ingredients can be put together as you prepare the recipe. The mixture is gently formed and patted into baking rings that I made of aluminum foil.  This keeps the patties from spreading when baking (they will flatten and become uneven when baking without the rings).

Baked Cheese & Nut Burgers

Cheese & Nut Burgers

And here we have perfectly shaped plump burgers.

Cheese & Nut Burger

Cheese & Nut Loaf

Cheese & Nut Loaf + Burgers
 
Adapted from Deborah Madison's recipe
Author:
Serves: 1 loaf or 10 - 12 burgers
Ingredients
  • 1½ tablespoons butter
  • 1¼ cups finely diced onion
  • 1 cup (packed) mushrooms, chopped fine
  • 1½ cups walnuts, toasted
  • ½ cup raw unsalted cashews, toasted
  • 2½ tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped marjoram (or ½ teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped sage (or ½ heaping teaspoon dried)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1½ cups cooked brown rice
  • 8 ounces grated cheese (I used extra sharp cheddar and yogurt cheese)
  • 1 cup cottage cheese (I used lactose free)
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Spread walnuts and cashews on a small rimmed baking sheet and toast until very lightly golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer nuts to a plate to cool slightly. Chop nuts finely and set aside.
  3. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees.
  4. For the loaf: Butter a 9" loaf pan and line with parchment paper allowing the paper to overhang on the sides to allow easy removal of the loaf.
  5. Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until they are translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until they are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer mixture to a large bowl. Stir in chopped nuts, herbs, garlic, brown rice, cheese, cottage cheese, and eggs. Mix in salt and a few grinds of pepper. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. Spoon the mixture into the loaf pan, smoothing the top lightly.
  6. Bake until golden brown and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before transferring loaf to a plate.
  7. For the burgers: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking pan with parchment paper. The patties will spread and flatten when baking unless you use cooking rings which will keep them uniform in size. I use aluminum foil folded over a few times and stapled the ends together to make sturdy, disposable rings. Coat inside of rings with non-stick cooking spray.
  8. Divide the mixture into 10 - 12 portions. Gently form the patties so they fit snugly in the cooking rings. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the burgers are nicely browned. Remove cooking rings and serve burgers on toasted buns with your favorite accompaniments.
  9. Both the loaf and burgers freeze nicely.
  10. *For 4 - 6 burgers cut the recipe in half. The full recipe will also make an 8x4" loaf plus two burgers.

 

Beef, Dinner, Japanese, Lactose Free, Pork, Recipes, Sandwiches

Japanese Burgers

November 26, 2016

Japanese Burger

The moment I saw this recipe from the New York Times I knew I wanted to make it right away.  I was curious to know why these were called Japanese burgers.  Upon reading the ingredients, panko bread crumbs, soy sauce, and the combination of ground beef and pork, the answer was clear.  The recipe comes from Tadashi Ono, owner of Matsuri restaurant in New York. Tadashi is Japanese.  The article also lists a recipe for wasabi (Japanese!) ketchup to go along with the burger. In the end, it didn’t matter what they called these burgers.  They are so good I just call them “ono burgers!”

Ground Sirloin & Ground Pork

Times market in Kihei sells specific types of excellent ground beef (including sirloin and chuck), rather than the usual generic version. Whole Foods market ground the pork for me while I waited at the counter.

Ground Sirloin & Ground Pork

Panko, Milk, Onion, Soy Sauce

A bit of panko and milk moisten the meat.  Very finely minced onion and soy sauce flavor the ground beef and pork along with a little salt and pepper.

Japanese Burger

These are juicy, moist burgers.  We heated leftover patties wrapped in foil in the toaster oven the following day and they were equally delicious as they were on the first day.  In place of the wasabi ketchup suggested in the article, we opted to mix up sriracha with ketchup because sriracha enhances nearly every food imaginable (pizza, noodles, eggs, mayonnaise, ketchup).

Japanese Burger

Japanese Burgers
 
Adapted from the New York Times
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ½ cup panko
  • ¼ cup 2% or whole milk
  • 10 ounces ground sirloin
  • 10 ounces ground pork
  • ¼ cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1½ teaspoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • sesame oil for coating hands
  • 4 brioche buns for serving
Preparation
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the panko bread crumbs and milk and let rest for a few minutes. If the mixture seems too dry add a few extra drops of milk to moisten the bread crumbs.
  2. Add sirloin, pork, onion, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Knead the meat until it becomes sticky and binds together. Divide into 4 equal parts (a scale comes in handy).
  3. Lightly dab your hands with sesame oil. Using your palms, roll each part of the meat into a ball, then pat the ball flat, shifting it from hand to hand to form a ½-inch-thick patty. Make a shallow indentation across the center of the patty to keep it from puffing while it grills.
  4. Grill the burgers, flipping twice, until browned and cooked through with no pink in the middle, about 10 minutes (160 degrees). Serve on buns, topped with spicy ketchup and shredded iceberg lettuce.

 

 

Dinner, Fish, Lactose Free, Recipes, Sandwiches

Grilled Tuna Burgers

July 3, 2016

Grilled Tuna Burger

Tuna (ahi) tartare  and poke in all its variations, are all the rage.  There are also various versions of tuna burgers which incorporate many of the same ingredients as these popular dishes.  This recipe, however,  pays homage to the traditional steak tartare.  It incorporates many of the classic ingredients that are found in steak tartare such as Dijon mustard, capers, shallots and chives.  We love to grill these tasty tuna burgers and serve them on homemade brioche buns with Ina Garten’s tartar sauce.

Fresh Ahi (tuna)

Only very fresh fish makes its way into our kitchen. I always ask if the fish was cut the same morning, if not, I look elsewhere.  Fish can be kept for a few days in the refrigerator and be just fine, but I favor fish that doesn’t sit around for very long.  One of the most unpleasant things I can think of is opening up a package of smelly fish.  So try to find the freshest ahi (tuna) that you can, even if it means taking a trip to another store.

Shallot, Parsley, Chives

Tuna Burger Ingredients

All of the ingredients are mixed up together in a large bowl, then formed into patties.  You can do this a few hours in advance which will help to firm up the patties before you grill them. Place the patties on individual pieces of parchment paper, cover loosely and store them in the refrigerator.

Tuna Burger Patties

Grilled Tuna Burgers

We ate two of the fish burgers for dinner, and the other two for lunch the following day.  Wrapped in foil and placed in the toaster oven to warm up a bit, they were just as good as they were on the first day.

Grilled Tuna Burger

Grilled Tuna Burgers
 
Adapted from Eating Well magazine
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1¼ pound fresh tuna (ahi) finely chopped
  • 1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • ¼ cup capers, rinsed, drained, and coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1½ tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce, such as Frank's
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • toasted buns, sliced onion and tomato, crisp lettuce, tartar sauce or mayonnaise for serving
Preparation
  1. Finely chop the tuna. Place tuna in a large bowl. Add shallot, capers, parsley, chives, olive oil, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, hot sauce. salt and pepper. Mix gently until combined.
  2. Divide tuna mixture into four even servings (about 6 ounces each) and form into patties.
  3. Grill tuna burgers over medium high heat for about 4 minutes on the first side so the patties set. Flip and cook 3 -4 minutes on the second side or until they are cooked to your desired doneness.

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