It was time to go crazy for nuts.
It all started with Sasha, who wanted to make flourless chocolate cake.
I keep trying to remind the ladies, that:
a) I am not a pastry chef.
b) I don’t care to measure anything
c) this is not a baking class.
Do they listen? No. They want sweets.
Flour less chocolate, flour less chocolate. Really, I was sooooo not inspired.
But I have a secret.
A secret stash of chocolate that is.
At all times.
Of course, as usual when alone, I was happily chewing on my hidden hazelnut, cherry, chocolate bar, and suddenly I was inspired. This weeks ingredient would be:
We made cherry, hazelnut brown rice, yummy, then we made crushed hazelnut potatoes, yeah. Loads of yellow beets in the garden, so we garnished those with, yes, more hazel nuts. For our main, I wanted a super simple, no measuring, can’t fail, entre. So chicken breast with prosciutto and brie topped with arugula, hazelnuts and figs (which would have been cherries, but those are not in season). We did one non hazelnut vegetable, crispy okra. Then since there was no school, and all the kids joined in, we made some super super ridiculously thin crusted pizzas.
Your wish, is my command so my favorite chocolate bar would be turned into Sasha’s flourless chocolate cake. Totally oozing of dried cherries and tons of hazelnuts. Yeah.
thin slices of chicken breast
fresh herbs, any
cheese: brie, mozzarella, havarti, your cheese you choose
First, let’s get the chicken marinated. Squeeze on some lemon, drizzle with some olive oil, toss on some garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Let sit for 30 minutes and up to two hours.
While the chicken is marinating, put the brie cheese in the freezer for a bit. You need to cut off the rind, so if the cheese is chilled, it will be faster, easier and less messy.
Now grill or saute, the chicken breast. Season with salt and pepper on each side. Once you have flipped the chicken, and it’s almost done, lay a slice of prosciutto over the chicken breast, top with a slice of brie, and let it melt for a few minutes.
cherries (in season) or cherry tomatoes, or figs:
tossed with grated garlic, salt, pepper, hazelnut or olive oil, something acidic (lime, or lemon juice, or vinegar), coarsely chopped hazelnuts (or other nut) and a handful of basil or arugula
yellow beets, roasted
hazelnut butter, (recipe below) melted
salt and pepper
something green to garnish
Using a mandolin, slice the beets as thin as possible. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the melted hazelnut cherry butter over. Squeeze a little lemon, garnish with something green.
Hazelnut dried cherry butter
In to the food processor, whirl, whirl, we go with butter, hazelnuts and dried cherries.
Can be used as a compound butter for really anything. Roasted carrots, check, grilled salmon, check, chicken, check, rice, check check check. Toast, check. You got it, going on. This time we melted the butter, added a little olive oil and lemon juice, and poured over our baked yellow beets.
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup cooked wild rice
1 tablespoon butter and hazelnut oil
1 small leek or green onions, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, grated
asparagus, thin, or green beans, cooked (optional)
zest and juice from one lemon or lime
1/4 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
1/4 cup dried cherries
chopped fresh herbs, parsley, dill, basil, chives
optional: fresh cherries for garnish
Alright, let’s melt some olive and hazelnut oil and we will saute the leek and the garlic for a few minutes. Once opaque, stir in the rice, and saute until heated and slightly crispy. Season with salt and pepper, add the lemon (or lime) juice and zest and stir in the asparagus (if using), dried cherries, and chopped hazelnuts.
If for some reason you also have fresh cherries on your hand, toss some of those in too, along with chopped herbs, such as parsley.
Endive salad with brown hazelnut cherry butter
2 asian pears
hazelnut butter, recipe above
red wine vinegar
Ok. We didn’t make this, but we could have.
On a platter lay the endive, and the sliced asian pears. If you are moving kind of slow, or it is going to be a while until you eat the salad, squeeze some lemon juice over the cut pears to prevent browning.
In a small skillet, but oh, let’s say 2 or so tablespoons of the hazelnut butter, slowly melt and allow to just get brown, remove from heat, whisk in 1 tablespoon of the red wine vinegar, squeeze of lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and pour the shebang over the endive and sliced pears. Additional cherries can also be used for garnish.
fingerling potatoes, medium size, skin on
butter and olive oil
green onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
few sprigs of parsley
Boil your potatoes in salted water until done. Yeah, yeah, you are gonna have to check em, with a fork until done. I can’t tell you how long, because I am not certain what size potatoes you are dealing with.
While your potatoes are boiling, grind up the garlic with the hazelnuts, parsley and parmesan in a food processor until combined.
Heat some butter and oil in a large skillet, cook the green onion until tender. Once your potatoes are cooked, drain, and smash with a skillet, or your hand. Toss into the hot skillet. I like the skin on my potatoes, plus that’s were lots of the nutrients are, but if you see any large pieces of potato skin, floating about in the pan by itself, pick it up and discard. The rest of the skin may stay and play. Season with salt and pepper, and saute until starting to get brown and crispy. Stir in the hazelnut parmesan mix and cook for a few more minutes. Ready, set, eat.
But if they talk about it, maybe, we try to make it.
I love okra, but many do not care for the slimy situation that goes on with them. Alright, you can throw it in a stew, I’ll eat it, I am growing some star of David okra, I hear you can eat raw, I will check it out, but until then, I like my okra really only one way:
High heat saute.
Keeping the okra super dry, so no washing right before cooking, helps in keeping the slime factor to a minimum.
Okra, sliced lengthwise
salt and pepper
splash of balsamic
Heat your oil until just smoking, add the okra, cut side down and cook until nicely browned. Flip over. Cook for a few minutes on the opposite side, season with salt and pepper, splash of vinegar. If you must, go head, you can add some chopped herbs, I just like my okra super simple.
No. Not your jean size.
If you can find it. At PC greens, they have a flavored “00″ flour, so we worked with the pesto flavored 00. I would prefer plain, but alas, not available locally, so pesto flavor it is.
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup water and 1 teaspoon salt dissolved in it
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups 00 flour
First, per my very good, saffron week, demonstration. You should always.
1. Put your sugar in a bowl.
2 Pour 1/4 cup very warm water from the tap
3. Immediately, pour your yeast over the warm water. Wait for it to “proof”, which is nice, bubbling, frothing, sort of thing. If your yeast is not proofing, it is one of three things.
1. Water too cold
2. Water to hot.
3. Yeast expired.
Once you have established that your yeast is “proofing” stir in the remaining ingredients, and knead until comes together into a nice, semi sticky dough. We don’t want it too dry. Sticky. If your starter is not “proofing”, toss out and start again.
Roll into large bowl, coat in olive oil, place in warm place, cover with clean kitchen towel and let rise for 2 hrs or until double in size.
OK, I have been staying in the “normal” range, but now I am jumping off the cliff, and taking all of you with me. As discussed, I don’t care to handle dough very much. Continue reading on your own risk. Do not pass on to your pizza making professionals, as they will probably tell you to immediately drop out of all future classes. I am by no means, saying this is the “best” way to make pizza. I am saying, this is the best way to make super thin pizza crust if you don’t care to touch or move the dough very much.
Lightly grease the bottom (underside) of a sheet pan. So yes, lay your sheet pan upside down. Grease it. Cut your dough in half, and roll it out directly on the upside down sheet pan. If it breaks apart, add a touch more flour. Roll out to desired thinness. It will basically cover a half-size sheet pan. Brush with garlic oil (olive oil with grated garlic clove in it), season very very lightly with a little salt.
Now its, your pizza, put whatever you want on it. We had the kids, we went super simple, tomato sauce, cheese (italian cheese blend) parmesan cheese, and basil. Then, yeah yeah, you try to move your super thin pizza to a stone. Go ahead. Me, I am going to put my upside down, pizza covered sheet pan, right on a burner turned to high heat, and heat this baby from underneath for about 2 minutes, then I am tossing it into a 500 degree oven. Bake until crispy.
Makes two pizzas.
I am calling this the “one cup” cake.
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup butter
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon coffee extract (optional)
1 cup sugar
1 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
1 cup dried cherries
6 eggs, separated
In a metal bowl over slightly simmering water, melt chocolate with butter. Remove from heat, stir in the coco powder. Let cool slightly. Stir in the coffee extract, if using. If you are in a hurry, you can just whisk in the eggs and the sugar straight in the melted chocolate mix. If you have the time and are so inclined, you can first whip the egg whites until nice and stiff, set aside*. Then in the same bowl, whip the yolks with the sugar, until nice and fluffy and light yellow.
Then slowly stir the yolks, into the cooled chocolate mix, and then fold in the whipped egg whites. (If the chocolate mix is too hot, you are making scrambled eggs, and we don’t want that). Then stir in the nuts and the cherries.
Pour the whole shebang into a greased cake pan, and into a 350 degree oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until just done.
To garnish: dust with some powdered sugar, and serve with some creme fraiche whipped cream, and fresh cherries (if available).
And yes, you could omit the cherries and the hazelnut if you wanted a straight on flourless cake. But Why? Why, would you? Dried cherries, nuts, chocolate, so super yummy.
*chef Helene, special tip.
Always, whip the whites first, set aside.
Then in the same bowl, you can whip the yolks. No washing, between whipping needed. Every recipe I have ever read, says to do the opposite. Whip yolks first. Bad move, because the requires that you clean and dry your bowl before you then can whip your whites (a bowl with egg yolk residue will prevent the whites from whipping stiff).
I don’t know about you, but here on the farm, I got other stuff to do, than washing a bowl between the yolks and the whites, when it’s all heading into the same pot.