Friday, July 15, 2016

CtBFs ~ Buckwheat Crêpes with Ham, Cheese, and Egg

CtBF'S Buckwheat Crêpes with Ham, Cheese, and Egg

This week for CooktheBookFridays we chose Buckwheat Crêpes with Ham, Cheese, and Egg. Not just any crêpes; we made galettes. David explains they are called galettes when made with buckwheat flour. I have never used buckwheat for crêpes. They were a bit of a challenge. The first three I made broke into pieces and wound up in the trash.  I then realized I was cooking them on too high a heat and not long enough. When I lowered the heat and used a little less batter, the crêpes came out better. 

                                                                      Traditional Galette Complète
I own two crêpe pans. Neither one is a 10-inch.  I made an executive decision and decided to go with the 9-inch., rather than use a larger frypan.  I thought it wouldn't make much of a difference...however, getting it to fold was not pretty. I also found the batter very dark. After some research, I discovered that there are dark and light buckwheat flours.  Guess which one I have?  The finished product almost looked black. When I put them back into the frypan and added the egg, they became even darker. I broke the yolk on the first one, trying to center it...but the second came out perfect. It took quite awhile for the egg to cook. I finally slid the crepe onto a plate and put it into the Microwave for 10 seconds. I really don't like runny whites!

Then, while writing this post and looking for a recipe I could share, I found King Arthur's recipe for buckwheat crêpes. They say to fry the egg separately in another that makes sense. I tried this method with some leftover crêpes and it actually worked much better.     
My husband oohed and ahhed about this dish.  Definitely, man food! And perfect for brunch or even lunch.
Happy Friday everyone!

CooktheBookFridays is a group of bloggers cooking through David Lebovitz cookbook, "My Paris Kitchen".  If you'd like to join us, Visit our page, buy the book and cook along. This recipe from King Arthur is very similar to David's. He uses water and this one uses milk and water. 

Dark buckwheat batter...very strange looking!
As they cooked they looked normal
Still looking good
Stacked crêpes
I will be buying some light buckwheat flour to try these again. My husband loved them.

Buckwheat Crêpes 
recipe from King Arthur Flour
    1-cup buckwheat flour
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    2-large eggs
    1-cup milk: 1%, 2%, or whole
    1-tablespoon melted unsalted butter
    1/4 to 1/2 cup water

    To make the crêpe batter: Combine all the ingredients (except water) in a blender, and blend until smooth.
    Cover the batter and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
    When you're ready to make the crêpes, thin the batter with water, using less water for thicker crêpes and more water for thinner ones.
    Preheat a crêpe pan or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly grease the pan with butter, oil, or pan spray, then pour in enough batter to thinly coat the bottom of the pan; swirling the pan as you pour the batter will help ensure an even coating.
    Cook the crêpe for 1 to 2 minutes on the first side, until it's golden and lifts from the pan easily. Flip it over and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes on the other side.
    Transfer cooked crêpes to a plate, stacking them on top of one another, and keeping a towel over them.
    Fill as desired; serve warm.
    Yield: 10 to 12 crêpes.

    To prepare a traditional Galette Complète, place your crêpe pan on medium heat, and when the pan is hot, place a crêpe on the pan to reheat on one side. Flip the crêpe and top with 2 tablespoons grated Swiss cheese and a thin slice of cut ham. David's recipe uses Prosciutto. Cook until the cheese is melted and the underside is browned. In a separate pan, fry an egg to the desired doneness. Place the egg in the center of the crêpe, then fold the edges towards the center to make a square. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Lebanese Za’atar Bread

Lebanese Za'atar Bread
I have been lucky enough to come from a long line of excellent cooks. Cooks that have passed on essential skills, and treasured family recipes.  My grandmothers were immigrants to this country and, both were amazing in the kitchen. My mother's mother came from Lebanon. She arrived at Ellis Island when she was just sixteen. Her traveling companions, for this very long journey, were her aunt and a cousin. Her uncle had previously paved the way. She would be staying with him and his family when she arrived in the U.S.  A close friend of hers came to the pier to see her off. She handed my grandmother a handmade hanky, hoping she would never forget her.  I still have that hanky. She boarded the ship and left behind her mother, father, and several sisters, along with everything she knew and loved. She was traveling to a strange land with hope for a new life, and with the knowledge she might never see her family again. She had with her a suitcase, the hanky, and a head full of family recipes.  My grandmother, Labebe (Americanized to Jenny), was the heart and soul of our family. She was kind, wise, spirited and strong, our matriarch.

My favorite lunch
Every once in a while, she would show her strong-willed personality. I remember my mother telling me a story about an old piano, which my grandmother wanted out of her house. She asked my grandfather, several times, to get rid of it. I guess he didn't move fast enough because my grandmother took a hatchet to the piano and threw the pieces out the window. My mother said it was quite a site, as she walked home from school that day.  Funny, I can't imagine my sweet Imme with a hatchet in her hand.

The lemony-tart flavor of the za'atar is mouthwatering
The recipe I'm sharing with you today is one of the recipes my grandmother brought with her from Lebanon. It was a staple in her house for as long as I can remember. Since my grandmother cooked from memory, a little of this and a little of that, my mother learned from watching her. She was able to come up with what we have today by combining what she saw with what we have read in Lebanese Community cookbooks. The Za'atar bread is made with the same dough I use for my "Fatayer Sabanegh" aka Spinach Pies. Take about a 1/4 cup of the dough and flatten it with your hands or a rolling pin. Mine are usually about 5 to 7 inches round. You don't want them too thick, as the dough will rise. Spread the za'atar filling over the top, leaving about 1/2 an inch rim around the dough. Just like a pizza. Funny how this is still a family favorite, all these years later. I hope you'll give them a try.

Plenty to share...
Lunch anyone?

Serve with Labneh, (a strained Yogurt spread), olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers! I could eat this anytime of the day. My favorite lunch!  I understand, in Lebanon, it is served for breakfast.

Lebanese Za'atar Bread

8 cups all-purpose flour (I start with 7 cups and use the other cup as needed)
about 3 cups warm water
1 package yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil

Za'atar mix:
I buy the za'atar already mixed at the Lebanese grocery. However, you can buy it on-line at Amazon or Olive Nation. Olive Nation makes an excellent Lebanese Za'atar mix. 
The ratio should be about 4 Tablespoons of Za'atar mix to enough olive oil to make a loose paste. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Then proof the yeast by mixing 1 cup of water, yeast, and sugar together in measuring cup. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the olive oil,  yeast mixture, and the rest of the water. Stir till dough starts to come together, then turn out onto floured counter and knead until smooth and elastic.
Shape dough, about 1/4 cup per piece, into rounds on a floured work surface. Arrange rounds on baking sheets and spread with za'atar mix.
Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Friday, July 1, 2016

CtBF Raw Vegetable Slaw with Creamy Garlic Dressing

Beautiful and delicious Raw Vegetable Slaw with Creamy Garlic Dressing

This week for CooktheBookFridays we chose a vibrant, colorful and delicious raw vegetable salad. Mine was full of red and white cabbage, beets, carrots, apples, and kale, along with parsley, chives, and a hard cooked egg.  The beautiful color of this salad fit my mood…colorful, bright and celebratory! Not only was it simple to make, but it was also quite flavorful. I loved the way it presented on the table. The dressing was a perfect pairing for this salad. We loved the creamy flavor it added. Excellent as a side with grilled chicken or fish. Slaw is a favorite salad in our house, and I just found a new variation. A winner for sure!

All the ingredients ready for dressing
Bon Appetit!

Now on to my celebration. We have been very blessed this year for a lot of reasons. Recently my son surprised us with his engagement. They got engaged in Cinque Terre, Italy. I know, so romantic! I hosted both he and his lovely fiancee here two weekends ago, along with other family members. Toasting to a long and happy life together. Then last week, we went to Long Island for a visit with my daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren to have another celebratory visit. More champagne! Delicious food and getting to know one another. We were thrilled to meet and welcome our son's charming, and delightful fiancee into our family. La Vita è Bella!

Wishing Jamie and Dennis  “Happily Ever After” ❤️

Cook the Book Fridays is a group cooking through David Lebovitz's cookbook, "My Paris Kitchen". If you would like to cook along with our group get yourself a copy of the book and join us.  Check out what the other bloggers thought of this salad here. This week's salad has been shared online, so I am sharing it here with you.

Raw Vegetable Slaw with Creamy Garlic Dressing
adapted from David Lebovitz "My Paris Kitchen.”

1 c light mayonnaise
4 tsps. red wine vinegar
1-2 large cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 to 2 tsps. Dijon mustard
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together, cover and refrigerate for several hours.

6 c julienned or shredded raw vegetables (any combination of cabbage, radicchio, kale, endive, carrots, beets, apples, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, fennel, kohlrabi, avocados, etc.)
a hard cooked egg, chopped

2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or another herb to taste
1 tbsp chopped chives or green onions
pepitas or other nuts (optional)
dried cranberries (optional)
Toss slaw ingredients together in a large bowl.  Toss with the dressing.