17 August 2017

Homemade Handmade Pasta - A Tutorial

Homemade Handmade Pasta - No machines, just 3 simple ingredients / www.delightfulrepast.com

Homemade Pasta is something I hadn't made in years - it just sort of slipped off my radar. But over the weekend I got in the mood to make something fun. There are all sorts of "formulas" for making it, but I remembered the one I'd settled on years ago: 1 large egg, 1/2 cup (2.5 ounces/71 grams) flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt for about 4 ounces of pasta.

Even if you're just cooking for one or two, you might want to stir up more than that while you're at it. You can refrigerate the kneaded dough for a few days or freeze it for a few months. Of course, you can mix and knead the dough in a food processor or stand mixer, but my arms can really use the exercise these days!

I never made homemade pasta frequently enough or in such huge quantities that I felt the need for a pasta machine. And I'm not crazy about cleaning a pasta machine! So, handmade it is. All you really need is a bowl, fork, rolling pin, bench scraper, knife or pizza wheel and a cutting board.

The same dough is perfect for any shape. The photo below shows it in the form of wide egg noodles in chicken soup. Mr Delightful doesn't like long pasta, so I made just a little batch of fettuccine for myself (shown in the final photo).

I should also mention that you don't need to track down any special flour. Some cooks swear by semolina or Italian 00 flour, but I used my usual organic unbleached all-purpose flour and did not find it lacking in any way. Eventually I'd like to get out all my gluten-free flours and starches and come up with a version for my GF friends.

How to Make Homemade Handmade Pasta - No machines and just 3 simple ingredients / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Homemade Handmade Pasta

(Makes about 8 ounces)

2 large eggs
1 cup (5 ounces/142 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour*
1/4 teaspoon salt

* Plus more, perhaps about 1/4 to 1/3 cup, for kneading and rolling

Homemade Handmade Pasta - No machines and just 3 simple ingredients / www.delightfulrepast.com

1 In 2- to 2.5-quart mixing bowl, with a dinner fork, stir together flour and salt. Add eggs, break the yolks and slowly incorporate the eggs into the flour to form a sticky, not too stiff dough.

Homemade Handmade Pasta - No machines, just 3 simple ingredients / www.delightfulrepast.com

2 Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (keep the bowl handy, you'll need it again) and knead the dough until it is satiny and very stretchy, about 10 minutes. Use enough flour to keep the dough from sticking horribly to your hands and surface. And this step is where the bench scraper comes in handy. The finished product should be tacky but not sticky.

Homemade Handmade Pasta - No machines, just 3 simple ingredients / www.delightfulrepast.com

3 Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Cover the dough with the inverted mixing bowl, and let it rest for an hour before rolling it out. (I love my big Weck jars for flour.)

4 Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, roll it (I prefer a maple French rolling pin) into about a 12x6-inch rectangle and stretch and fold it in half. Repeat 3 times. Then roll it out to roughly a 15-inch square about 1/32 inch thick, so thin you can sort of see through it. I could see the pattern of my quartz countertop through it.

Homemade Handmade Pasta - No machines, just 3 simple ingredients / www.delightfulrepast.com

5 You will be lifting and turning the dough throughout the rolling process so that it does not get stuck to the counter. By the time you have your thin square rolled out, the dough will be extremely thin but quite sturdy. Let it rest, uncovered, about 20 minutes, just to dry a bit without getting crusty.

6 To cut shorter shapes, use a plastic pizza wheel and a straight edge (my straight edge is half of an aluminum yardstick, cut years ago for cake decorating purposes). I cut this batch, for chicken noodle soup, into 1/3-inch wide strips, then into 1 1/2-inch lengths.

Homemade Handmade Pasta - No machines, just 3 simple ingredients / www.delightfulrepast.com

To cut long noodles, fold or roll the sheet of dough into a loose spiral, place it on a cutting board and cut crosswise into strips with a sharp knife.

Homemade Handmade Pasta - No machines, just 3 simple ingredients / www.delightfulrepast.com

7 Let the cut pasta rest, uncovered, for 20 to 60 minutes before cooking.

8 Cooking times vary but are very short, so watch closely and test frequently. I cooked the short noodles in hot, not boiling, soup and they were done in 2 minutes. Cooking time could be even shorter in boiling water. The long noodles took a minute or so longer, having dried out for a longer period of time. 

By the way: Some posts contain links to my affiliate account at Amazon. If you start your shopping through one of my links and purchase something from Amazon, I receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, which I use toward the expenses of running this blog. Thanks for supporting Delightful Repast when you shop at Amazon!

10 August 2017

7 Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Recipes

7 Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Recipes - Beat the heat with a frozen treat / www.delightfulrepast.com

Ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato, sherbet, sorbet and vegan frozen desserts are favorites on the dessert menu when it's too hot to bake. Here are seven of my recipes to help you beat the heat.

Strawberry Ice Cream is my all-time favorite. I've even served it at afternoon teas in the garden - in teacups, of course.

7 Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Recipes - Beat the heat with a frozen treat / www.delightfulrepast.com

Lime Sherbet is so refreshing on a hot day and makes the perfect dessert at a summer barbecue.

7 Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Recipes - Beat the heat with a frozen treat / www.delightfulrepast.com

Peach Ice Cream - with or without the blueberry sauce - is something I can't get enough of during peach season.

7 Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Recipes - Beat the heat with a frozen treat / www.delightfulrepast.com

Vegan Chocolate Ice "Cream" is a recipe I developed for vegans but have only ever served to non-vegans - and they all thought it was regular ice cream!

7 Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Recipes - Beat the heat with a frozen treat / www.delightfulrepast.com

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt is right up there with strawberry ice cream on my favorites list.

7 Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Recipes - Beat the heat with a frozen treat / www.delightfulrepast.com

Coffee Chocolate Gelato was the first recipe I developed for my self-refrigerating compressor ice cream maker. But you can make it in any kind of ice cream maker.

7 Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Recipes / Beat the heat with a frozen treat / www.delightfulrepast.com

Meyer Lemon Frozen Yogurt is Mr Delightful's favorite, and it is pretty wonderful, if I do say so myself.

See my Recipes index page for more.

03 August 2017

Banana Sheet Cake - Cream Cheese Frosting

Banana Sheet Cake - Cream Cheese Frosting - made in a half-sheet pan, feeds a crowd and freezes beautifully! / www.delightfulrepast.com

Banana Sheet Cake is the perfect cake to make for a picnic, potluck or any kind of feed-a-crowd occasion. Especially during summer, when you really want to get out of the kitchen as soon as possible.

In hot weather, bananas can go from just right to rotten overnight. So when you need to use up those perfectly freckled, overripe bananas, this recipe will get you in and out of the kitchen quickly.

No messing about with layers. No need to get out the piping bag. Just bake it in a half-sheet pan and serve it right from the pan. Of course you can cut it into three or four equal pieces and make a fancy layered creation, but not this time.

Bake it in the pan. Frost it in the pan. Carry your pan to a picnic or potluck. Serve it from the pan. No muss, no fuss. It's summer, people, and I'm keeping it easy but real.

Don't try to make this in a smaller pan, like a 15x10 jelly roll or a 17x11; it would surely overflow and make a total wreck of your oven. Believe me, I'm not in the mood for that!

If you don't have a couple of good half-sheet pans (and quarter-sheet pans), it's time to get some. They are true kitchen workhorses, and I'd hate to be without them. A half-sheet pan with a plastic lid makes taking it on the road super easy.

If you're not a banana fan, you might want to try my Meyer Lemon Sheet Cake or Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake.

For afternoon tea, cut the cake into 1.25- to 1.5-inch squares to stand in for petits fours.

If you like nuts, finely diced walnuts or pecans (toasted, of course) can either be added to the cake batter or sprinkled on top of the frosting. What do you think - nuts or no nuts?

Banana Sheet Cake - Cream Cheese Frosting - made in a half-sheet pan, feeds a crowd and freezes beautifully! / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Banana Sheet Cake - Cream Cheese Frosting

(Makes one 18x13x1-inch half-sheet, 32 servings)

The Cake

2 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (12.5 ounces/354 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups (about 1.5 pounds/680 grams, unpeeled bananas) mashed very ripe bananas
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
Milk to make 1 1/3 cup (10.67 fluid ounces/315 ml), room temperature
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces/170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (7 ounces/198 grams) sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

The Frosting

3 ounces (85 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
2 ounces (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 packed cups (12 ounces/340 grams) unsifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Up to 2 tablespoons milk, as needed for spreadable consistency

1 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Grease, butter or spray an 18x13x1-inch half-sheet pan. In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Note: If you want to remove it from the pan, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, overhanging a bit on the ends, and spray the paper as well.

2 In medium bowl, mash bananas and 1 tablespoon lemon juice with large fork or potato masher.

3 In measuring cup, put vinegar or lemon juice, add milk to make 1 1/3 cups; stir gently and let stand for 5 minutes.

4 In large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and mashed bananas. Add dry ingredients and soured milk alternately to wet ingredients, and stir just until combined. Scrape into prepared pan; smooth top.

5 Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for an hour in pan on wire rack before frosting. Get out the butter and cream cheese to be softening during that hour.

Note: If you are removing it from the pan, let it cool in pan on wire rack for ten minutes before turning it out onto wire rack and removing the parchment.

6 In bowl of stand mixer or a 2.5-quart bowl and hand mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter. Add powdered sugar, in three batches, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and enough milk to make the frosting a good spreading consistency. We're not piping this frosting, so the consistency isn't so crucial; it just needs to be easily spreadable. Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting.

27 July 2017

Rustic Spinach Tart - Ruff Puff Pastry

Rustic Spinach Tart - Ruff Puff Pastry / www.delightfulrepast.com

Rustic Spinach Tart is a recipe I developed decades ago when I was a vegetarian. Though it contains an egg and a half, it is not eggy, not a quiche. I made sure of that - because it's so easy for a vegetarian to get completely quiched-out!

I recall sprinkling the egg-washed crust with sesame seeds, but that's strictly optional. In fact, sometimes I skip the egg wash as well, as I did this time. If you like a shiny crust, though, do the egg wash.

Many spinach recipes call for frozen spinach, but I've only ever used fresh spinach. And I don't precook the spinach or the green onions, so the filling comes together quickly.

You can use any pastry you like, rolled out to a 15-inch circle, but Mr Delightful loves this pastry. If you're a fan of phyllo or frozen puff pastry, those work too. When cut into 16 or more wedges, the tart makes a great hors d'oeuvre or teatime savory.

Rustic Spinach Tart - Ruff Puff Pastry - vegetarian main dish or slice it smaller for hors d'ouevres or afternoon tea / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Rustic Spinach Tart

(Makes 1 9-inch pie)

The Pastry - Ruff Puff

1 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (7.5 ounces/213 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen for 30 minutes
1 tablespoon lemon juice or cider vinegar
Ice water to make 1/3 cup (2.67 fluid ounces/79 ml) liquid

The Spinach Filling

1 5-ounce package fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 green onion, chopped (2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley
5 ounces jack cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons grated or shredded Parmesan
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten, 1 tablespoon reserved for pastry egg wash
2 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon dried mint
Pinch of nutmeg

1 With metal blade in place, add flour, salt and baking powder to work bowl of food processor. Turn on for three seconds to combine. Add the frozen butter and pulse for three 1-second pulses.

2 In cup, combine lemon juice or cider vinegar and ice water. Pour liquid over all of flour mixture and pulse for three 1-second pulses. It will be very crumbly. Don't worry about it. You might not need the entire 1/3 cup of liquid, so maybe just start with 1/4 cup and see how it feels.

Note: No food processor? No problem. On large cutting board, mix together flour, salt and baking powder. With pastry scraper, cut frozen butter cubes into flour mixture. Mix the ice water and vinegar and sprinkle over the mixture, tossing lightly with a fork. You'll think it's just a big pile of nothing, but don't worry about it.

3 Turn the crumbly dough out onto lightly floured 12-inch square of parchment paper, and roughly shape into a 10-by-5-inch rectangle. Using a bench scraper or just the paper, carefully fold one third of the rectangle toward the center, then fold the other end to the center, like a letter. (It will still be a crumbly mess at this point.) Rotate the dough 90 degrees, then press (no need for rolling pin until after dough has been chilled) the dough again into a 10-by-5-inch rectangle. Repeat. After that third turn, cover and place in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Note: Work rather quickly. If at any point in the process the butter starts warming up or the dough seems to be getting soft or sticky, immediately cover and refrigerate it until it firms up.

4 On lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll the chilled dough into a 10-by-5-inch rectangle. Fold into thirds. Rotate the dough 90 degrees, then roll out and fold again. Roll the dough out once more and fold again into thirds. Roll out and fold once more, for a total of 4 turns.

5 Chill for two hours before using, or wrap well and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

Note: I have every kind of rolling pin there is, but the tapered French rolling pin is the one I use most often. The J K Adams FRP-1 is made in the USA of maple.

Rustic Spinach Tart - Ruff Puff Pastry / www.delightfulrepast.com

6 Preheat oven to 425F/220C/Gas7. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Chop spinach, green onion and cilantro, put in a large bowl. Shred cheeses.

7 On floured piece of parchment 15 inches long, roll out pastry to a 15-inch circle, place in 9-inch pie plate set on a large baking sheet and put it in the refrigerator while finishing the filling. Don't try to make the pastry a perfect circle; this is supposed to be rustic.

8 Stir cheeses into spinach mixture, then stir in the flour. In small bowl, beat together egg (set aside 1 tablespoon for pastry egg wash), milk and seasonings. Stir into spinach mixture.

9 Turn filling into pie shell and fold in the edges of the pastry. Don't try to make it even or perfect. Add a teaspoon of water to the tablespoon of egg; brush it on the pastry just before it goes into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 375F/190C/Gas5 and continue baking for 35 minutes.

20 July 2017

Adagio Teas Review and Giveaway

Adagio Teas Review and Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com

Adagio Teas has a wide selection of full leaf loose teas and herbal tisanes. But if you prefer teabags, you'll love their pyramid teabags that contain the same quality full leaf tea and that are roomy enough to give the leaves room to unfurl properly. They have herbal tisanes and decaf teas, iced teas and flavored teas, and green, white, matcha, oolong and pu-erh teas, as well as the black teas I prefer.

The Tea

The Adagio Teas I've tried so far are all black teas and all loose teas (except for the Ceylon Sonata Iced Tea Pouches): Irish Breakfast, Earl Grey Bravo, Earl Grey Moonlight, Darjeeling Sungma Summer and Fujian Baroque. I've not yet tried the Ooooh Darjeeling, which is an oolong.

I'll start with the Ceylon Sonata Iced Tea. Of course, you can steep it hot just as you would for hot tea; but I did it the cold-brew way and loved it. I just dropped 2 pouches into a glass pitcher with 2 quarts of water and refrigerated it for 12 hours. The result was the smoothest, most crystal-clear iced tea I've ever had. I will never make iced tea the hot-brew way again!

Adagio Teas Review and Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com
Even when I added the inadequately strained freshly squeezed lemon juice to make Arnold Palmers, the cold-brewed Ceylon Sonata iced tea remained very clear.

The next tea I tried was the Irish Breakfast, a seamless blend of the bright Ceylon Sonata and malty Assam Melody. Irish breakfast teas are sometimes a bit harsh without a good splash of milk, but I found myself drinking this one straight and loving it. Even when I was distracted (usually by the cat or something I was reading) and oversteeped it, it was good.

A teaspoon or other measure of one tea won't be the same weight for all loose leaf teas. Whenever you try a new tea, experiment with the amount of tea to water and the steeping time (3 to 5 minutes for black teas) to get the perfect brew for you.

Adagio Teas Review and Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com
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When I made this pot of Darjeeling Sungma Summer, I used 2 tablespoons (1/8 cup), which was 9 grams, with 28 ounces boiling water. I was happy to find that the infuser works in my new Old Country Roses teapot and was large enough to allow the 1/8-cup scoop of full leaf tea to unfurl properly. 

Adagio Teas Review and Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com

The Infuser Cup

As you might have observed, I have no shortage of teapots, from 17 ounces to 3 quarts (It's a bruiser!). But for those tea-for-one moments throughout the day, you can brew a proper cup/mug of tea in this infuser cup, a lovely porcelain cup and lid with stainless steel infuser (photo below). It comes in white and eight other colors.

The extra-fine stainless steel infuser is quite deep and works well in other mugs too and even some teapots. Of course, you can leave out the infuser when you're using teabags. Whether using the infuser or a teabag, the ceramic lid makes the cup act like a teapot and gives you a better brew.

Update 07/26/17: Giveaway is now closed.

Adagio Teas Review and Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com

Adagio Teas Infuser Cup and Gift Certificate Giveaway

The winner of the giveaway will be sent the infuser cup in your choice of 9 colors and a gift certificate for $50 that will allow you to choose your own teas and other products. 

This giveaway is open to residents of the US, Canada, UK and Europe, 18 years of age or older. Leave a comment below (one entry per person); tell me which color infuser cup you'd like and perhaps your favorite kind(s) of tea. Please include your email address in the body of your comment. Must enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday July 26.

Winner will be chosen by random drawing and be announced here in the comments before noon Eastern time on Thursday July 27. If I don't hear back from the winner of the random drawing by noon Eastern time Sunday July 30, another drawing will be held and a new winner selected from the original entrants (those who commented before the giveaway deadline).

Disclosure: Adagio Teas provided product for review purposes and for the giveaway. The views expressed here are entirely my own. I always tell my readers what I really think!

13 July 2017

Pinto Beans and Refried Beans - Frijoles de Olla y Frijoles Refritos

Slow-Cooker Pot of Pinto Beans - Refried Beans / www.delightfulrepast.com

Though I had grown up eating pinto beans as soup beans, something my mother presumably learned from my father's side (the Southern side) of the family, we never had refried beans. That's something I began making on my own later. But recently, when I first thought of posting it, I thought I better consult with my Mexican food expert, Mimi, via her daughter, my friend Julia, as I did for Mexican Rice.

Slow-Cooker Pot of Pinto Beans - and Refried Beans / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pot of Beans - Frijoles de Olla

Julia is not the big bean fan that I am, but she spoke to her mother about it so that I could get her "authentic" take on the subject. Turns out Mimi most often cooked a pot of beans, frijoles de olla, without going that step further of making refried beans (but more about that later).

She kept a teakettle of hot water handy to add to the pot of beans when the water level went too low during the long cooking. I thought that was a fantastic tip! Beans take long enough to cook as it is without slowing down the process even more by adding cold water to the simmering pot.

She used a little garlic, but I'm allergic to garlic and avoid it whenever I can. So I decided to throw in a small onion cut in half and just a tiny bit of cumin, red pepper flakes and oregano; not enough to notice, just enough to infuse a certain something into my garlic-free beans.

I've done the overnight pre-soak and the quick-soak thing, but have found just cooking the beans in their unsoaked state works as well. I just bring the pot of beans to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until done. It may or may not take a bit longer; that really depends on the age of the beans.

Usually I don't mind tending a pot of beans for a few hours, but it has been so hot this week I haven't wanted to be anywhere near the stove! So I decided to make my pot of beans in the slow cooker for the first time. And. I. will. never. cook. beans. any. other. way! Totally effortless!

Note: If I were cooking beans in a pressure cooker, I would definitely presoak. Otherwise, you will end up with lots of split skins and blown-out beans.

Sure, you can buy canned beans. But do the math first. A pot of beans from 2 pounds of dried beans equals about eight 15-ounce cans of beans! You can freeze the beans in can-size portions or whatever size portion you need. I will never buy canned pinto beans again.

Perfectly Cooked (No Presoaking) Pinto Beans - Make ahead and freeze - Never buy canned beans again! / www.delightfulrepast.com
Cook a big pot of pinto beans, use some now and freeze the rest in meal-size portions. Frozen beans will keep for up to 3 months.

Refried Beans - Frijoles Refritos

The word "refrito" doesn't really mean "refried," but rather "well-fried" or something like that, the Spanish "re" being an intensifier rather than a multiplier.

Some cooks prefer to use lard in their refried beans, but Mimi always preferred vegetable oil. Whenever vegetable oil is called for, I often use organic (non-GMO) canola oil.

It's important to heat the oil very well before adding the beans. But be very careful when adding the beans and, especially, their liquid to the hot oil.

I've made both bean recipes suitable for vegetarians and vegans. And, seasoned as they were, I didn't even miss the little bit of salt pork or fatty bacon I sometimes use. 

Slow-Cooker Pot of Pinto Beans + Refried Beans / www.delightfulrepast.com


Pinto Beans - Frijoles de Olla

(Makes about 13 cups of drained beans)

2 pounds dried pinto beans
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 small (about 6 ounces) onion, peeled and halved
3 quarts (about 3 liters) water

1 Rinse beans, watching for any debris or bad beans, and add to 6.5-quart slow cooker. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt, pepper, cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, onion and water. Set slow cooker on Low for 9 hours. (It won't take 9 hours, but I set it for longer so that I don't need to restart the cooker.)

2 After 6 hours, check the beans. If they are nearly done, remove the onion and add the remaining teaspoon of salt. Continue cooking for one hour; check for doneness. Mine were done at that point.

Note: The cooked beans can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

How to Make Pot of (Pinto) Beans and Refried Beans / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Refried Beans - Frijoles Refritos

(Makes 2 cups)

1/4 cup organic canola oil
3 cups drained beans
1 cup bean liquid

1 Heat oil in skillet over medium heat until oil is very hot.

2 Add the beans, then add the bean liquid very slowly and carefully. Fry until the liquid is thickening, about 10 minutes.

3 Mash beans in the skillet with either a potato masher or an immersion blender (take the pan off the heat while using the immersion blender), adding more bean liquid if needed. You can completely mash the beans to a puree or leave some whole beans. The beans will thicken as they sit, so add enough liquid to make them less thick than you want them to end up.

Note: You can top the beans with queso fresco, if you like, but I prefer Monterey jack cheese and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro. And Homemade Flour Tortillas!

06 July 2017

Rhubarb Crumble - A British Classic

Rhubarb Crumble - A British Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

Rhubarb Crumble is a classic British dessert, made with a vegetable-slash-fruit originally from Siberia. It's associated with springtime, but I only just this week managed to get my hands on some.

It's both hothouse-grown and field-grown in the US and has been cultivated in the UK since the 1600s. And yet the cashier at the natural foods grocery had to ask me what it was.

It's such a "thing" in West Yorkshire that growers of Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb were awarded Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status in February 2010 (Hey, that's when I started Delightful Repast!).

Making this for just Mr Delightful and myself, I used less sugar than I've listed here in the recipe because we like sour. But most people will want to use at least this much sugar (many rhubarb recipes call for a great deal more), which comes in at just under my daily sugar allowance.

Are you a rhubarb fan? Do you grow your own? What is your favorite way to use it?

Rhubarb Crumble - A British Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

Rhubarb Crumble

(Makes 5 servings)

The Rhubarb

1 pound (454 grams) rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) pieces
1/3 cup (2.33 ounces/66 grams) sugar*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt

* Mature rhubarb is said to require more sugar than young rhubarb.

The Crumble

1/2 cup (2.5 ounces/71 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons (2 ounces/57 grams) unsalted butter, cold
1/2 cup (1.75 ounce/50 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 packed cup (1.75 ounce/50 grams) dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt

1 Preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6. Butter, or spray with cooking spray, a 1- to 1.5-quart baking dish. I used a Pyrex 1.5-quart loaf dish

2 Scrub, trim and cut up rhubarb into 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) pieces; you should have about 3 cups. Add to 1.5-quart mixing bowl. Stir in sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt. Transfer to baking dish.

3 Wipe out mixing bowl, no need to wash it. Add flour and butter to bowl, and rub the butter into the flour, leaving some larger pieces of butter. Add oats, sugar, cinnamon and salt; mix lightly with fingertips. Pour loosely over rhubarb in baking dish; do not pack down.

4 Bake in preheated oven for about 35 minutes, or until rhubarb is bubbling and crumble is golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with lashings of Custard Sauce, softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

29 June 2017

Homemade Blueberry Syrup or Sauce

Homemade Blueberry Syrup or Sauce / www.delightfulrepast.com

Homemade blueberry syrup on pancakes or waffles is one of my favorite "breakfast for dinner" meals (since I rarely eat anything but fruit, nuts and oatmeal for breakfast).

But it can't be phony, store-bought blueberry syrup, in which blueberries are a distant third on the ingredient list, after high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup. I can't remember the last time I ingested either of those things. Not being a food snob, just trying to take care of my health.

Which is why I also do not use artificial sweeteners and limit my intake of sugar and other natural sweeteners, such as honey and maple syrup. I use just 2 tablespoons of real maple syrup to make 1 cup of blueberry syrup. A cup of the blueberry syrup is enough for 12 5-inch pancakes.

So, to do the math (which I always do, in order to stay within my daily sugar allowance): 1/4 cup of my homemade blueberry syrup, perfect for 3 5-inch pancakes, contains just 1 1/2 teaspoons of real maple syrup (sugar).

To read how I, a comfort food blogger and frequent baker, handle sugar in a way that is realistic for me and doable for the long term, read Sugar - Toxin or Treat? And here are my recipes for Pancakes, Gluten-Free Pancakes, and Waffles. You can also use this as a sauce on desserts.

What do you like to put on pancakes and waffles?

Homemade Blueberry Syrup or Sauce / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Blueberry Syrup or Sauce

(Makes 1 cup, enough for 12 5-inch pancakes)

6 ounces (170 grams/about 1 1/4 cups) fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce/30 ml) real maple syrup
4 tablespoons (2 fluid ounces/59 ml) water, divided
Tiny pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons non-GMO cornstarch
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Put washed blueberries in 1-quart saucepan. Add maple syrup, 3 tablespoons of water and tiny pinch of salt (don't overdo it!). Bring to boil over medium heat; lower heat and simmer for 8 minutes.

2 Stir cornstarch into remaining 1 tablespoon water, and stir into blueberries. Simmer for a minute or two. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

22 June 2017

My New Improved Spoon Rolls - The Easiest Yeast Rolls Ever

My New Improved Spoon Rolls - The Easiest Yeast Rolls Ever / www.delightfulrepast.com

Spoon rolls are the easiest yeast rolls ever. When I'm feeling my Southern roots from my paternal grandmother, I like to make her delectable fried chicken dinner with mashed potatoes and cream gravy, green beans, biscuits, peach pie and iced tea. Now there's a Delightful Repast! Spoon rolls are a Southern thing, too, but I just have to have biscuits with my fried chicken. Other dinners, give me a yeast roll.

Traditional spoon rolls are the quickest and easiest yeast bread going. The problem I always had with them was that, though tasty, they were more like a muffin in texture. So several years ago I started experimenting and came up with a much more flavorful version that has the proper yeast dough texture. Still just as quick and easy, but since they have to hang out in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours, you have to plan ahead.

My New Improved Spoon Rolls - The Easiest Yeast Rolls Ever / www.delightfulrepast.com

So next time you want dinner rolls but don't have the time or inclination to make Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls, try my 24-Hour Spoon Rolls, so called because the no-knead dough needs at least 24 hours in the refrigerator. You can even leave it in the refrigerator for several days, so this is a wonderful make-ahead thing for busy cooks.

You can have freshly baked dinner rolls every day! You don't have to bake 18 rolls if you don't need that many. Bake 9 one day and 9 another day, or 12 today and 6 the day after tomorrow, whatever you need!

My New Improved Spoon Rolls - The Easiest Yeast Rolls Ever / www.delightfulrepast.com
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24-Hour Spoon Rolls

(Makes 18 rolls)

3 3/4 packed cups (18.75 ounces/532 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces/50 grams) sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package/0.25 ounce/7 grams) instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons (0.25 ounce/7 grams) salt
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter
2 cups (16 fluid ounces/472 grams) water
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In small saucepan, melt butter; stir in water. With dough whisk or large wooden spoon, stir water, melted butter and beaten egg into flour mixture until blended. The dough will be very sticky. Cover with lid or plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least 24 hours or up to several days.

2 An hour to an hour and half before serving time (the longer time if your kitchen is cold), remove from refrigerator and stir down the dough (just a few strokes). With a 1/4-cup measure, scoop dough into well-greased or cooking-sprayed muffin tins, filling two-thirds full (scant 1/4 cup). Let rise, uncovered, about 30 minutes (60 minutes if kitchen is cold) or until they’ve risen to the top of the cups. During last 15 minutes, preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6.

Note: I have a couple of very old 6-cup standard muffin tins as well as a 12-cup muffin tin that comes with a lid.

3 Bake for 20 minutes or until rolls are golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before removing from tins. Makes 18.

15 June 2017

Coronation Chicken Tea Sandwiches

Coronation Chicken Tea Sandwiches (my version is less sweet than most) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Coronation Chicken Tea Sandwiches popped into my head this week, mainly because I wanted an excuse to use my new tea set. Our dear friends in New Mexico came for a visit and brought me their Old Country Roses tea set, something they no longer use, having gone over to the dark side, coffee!

Like me, these friends run a tight ship - and do a far better job of it than I! They don't like to have unused things cluttering up their cupboards or garage. So Julia asked me before they left home if I'd like to have the set. But of course, darling! But it meant making a place for it by getting rid of at least as many pieces.

Several days before they arrived I boxed up the teapot and other items to be donated and said goodbye to them. They were all things I liked, but not as much as I was going to like the Old Country Roses tea set and thinking of our friends every time we use it.

I don't have the time or energy just now for a tea party, so I just made some sandwiches and tea and pulled some Bakewell Tart Traybake squares from the freezer. Didn't make Scones, which is a shame since I also have a jar of my homemade Clotted Cream in the freezer.

Many recipes for Coronation Chicken call for Major Grey's chutney, but I don't always have that product on hand. Certainly didn't want to buy a jar (and have most of it go to waste!) just for a small batch of Coronation Chicken. So I just used some of the chutney ingredients in my recipe.

Are you a Coronation Chicken fan? When it's made with chutney, it's much too sweet for my taste. But made my way, I really like it. What is your favorite tea sandwich?

Coronation Chicken Tea Sandwiches (my version is less sweet than most) / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Coronation Chicken Tea Sandwiches

1/4 cup sliced (flaked) or slivered almonds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound (454 grams) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

1/4 cup finely chopped dried mango or apricot
2 tablespoons dried currants
3/4 to 1 1/4 teaspoons curry powder
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon apricot preserves, optional (for those who want to add a bit more sweetness) 
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
16 slices buttermilk bread (or other soft, "wide" bread)
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, very soft

1 In dry skillet, toast the almonds over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove to bowl to cool.

2 In same skillet, still hot, heat the olive oil. Add the chicken breasts and cook, loosely covered, over medium-low heat about 15 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the pieces. Season each side of chicken with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Remove to plate to cool.

3 Add onion to skillet and cook until very soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in dried fruits, curry powder, dry mustard, red wine vinegar and apricot preserves; cook over low heat for about 3 minutes. Remove to bowl to cool.

4 Chop the cooled toasted almonds and put in a 1.5-quart bowl. Chop the cooled chicken and add it to the bowl. Stir in the onion-dried fruit mixture. Stir in the mayonnaise and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and chill for at least an hour before assembling sandwiches.

5 Spread each slice of bread thinly with softened butter. Divide the chicken salad (about 1/4 cup each) among the 8 bottom bread slices. Top with remaining buttered bread slices. Trim off crusts and cut each sandwich into four fingers or triangles, arranging on a plate in about three layers.

6 Lay a good-quality un-dyed paper towel on top of the sandwiches. Wet and wring out well another paper towel; lay the damp paper towel on top of the dry paper towel. Never place the damp paper towel directly on top of the sandwiches or they will become soggy. Wrap rather snugly with plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least an hour or up to several hours. This will make your sandwiches “hold together” and keep them from drying out. Remove from refrigerator and uncover sandwiches just before serving.

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