28 July 2016

Pea Salad - Marinated Green Pea Salad

Pea Salad / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pea salad is something I've been eating and making all my life without any musical accompaniment in my head. Then about 12 years ago I included it in a magazine article I wrote about peas, and my editor titled it "Give Peas a Chance."

If that doesn't get a tune going in your head, then you were probably born after 1969 and not among the huge numbers of Beatles (the group or individuals) fans who arose from later generations. My editor thought she was dating herself with that particular bit of cleverness, but I remember thinking she was pretty cool.

Growing up, I thought pea salad must be an English thing since the only people I ever knew to make it were my mother and her side of the family, but I really have no idea of its origins. There are all sorts of variations I like, but I always make it the way I've done here with a vinaigrette dressing. One of my cousins uses mayonnaise and adds cubes of cheese.

My mother sometimes made it with canned peas, to which my sister and I both always had an aversion, and yet we could eat the pea salad made with canned peas. But I like it best with frozen peas or fresh (if they are truly fresh and lightly cooked). 

So tell me, is your family a pea salad family?

Pea Salad / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pea Salad - Marinated Green Pea Salad

(Makes 6 servings)

The Dressing

(Makes about 1/3 cup)

1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Country Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt, to start
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

The Salad

1 16-ounce bag frozen peas, uncooked, or 3 cups steamed fresh green peas
5 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup thinly-sliced celery or diced carrots
1 green bell pepper, chopped
6 leaves butter lettuce
3 small ripe red tomatoes, cut into 6 wedges each

1 Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake until thoroughly combined (or hit it with an immersion blender for a few seconds if you like it really emulsified).

Note: I usually double or triple the dressing recipe and keep the extra in the refrigerator for other salads. If the olive oil solidifies, just leave it at room temperature for a while.

2 In 2-quart bowl, combine peas, onions, celery or carrots, bell pepper and vinaigrette. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 8 hours, stirring gently a few times. The uncooked frozen peas will thaw perfectly as they marinate. 

3 To serve individual salads, place a lettuce leaf on each of six chilled salad plates. Top with marinated pea salad, using a slotted spoon. Garnish each salad with three tomato wedges. If really good tomatoes are not to be found, garnish with strips of red bell pepper.

4 Or serve family style. Here I've made it sort of salad bar style, with ingredients that some people I know are allergic to separated out.

21 July 2016

Pita Bread - Pitta Bread

Homemade Pita (Pitta) Bread / www.delightfulrepast.com

Homemade Pita Bread (in British English, pitta bread) is so much better than store-bought and really doesn't take much active time once you get your moves down. I especially like it with just a little whole wheat flour (as in my recipe below), but I was out so just used all unbleached all-purpose flour this time. Still delicious!

Having made it both in the oven and on the stovetop, I get the best results with the oven. But if you've never made pita bread, try it both ways; you might get your best results with the stovetop. One way I've not tried, and plan to next time, is to bake them six at a time on a preheated heavy-duty sheet pan.

Mr. Delightful likes pita bread sandwiches, but not the sandwiches I made today! He refuses to eat "mushy" foods like baba ghanoush or hummus. I put a schmear of hummus on both sides of the pockets and filled them with thinly sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and shredded carrot. Love it!

And I made a wonderful discovery today! Besides being out of whole wheat flour, I was out of tahini; so I decided to try my hummus with peanut butter (organic natural - the kind you have to stir - peanut butter), and it worked! Do you like to try substitutions or would you drag your lazy carcass out to the shops to get the proper ingredients?!

Homemade Pita (Pitta) Bread / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pita Bread - Pitta Bread

(Makes 12)

2 3/4 cups (13.75 ounces/390 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup (3.75 ounces/106 grams) whole wheat flour 
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar 
1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
2 teaspoons (0.25 ounce/7 grams) instant yeast 
1 to 1 1/4 cups (8 to 10 fluid ounces/237 to 296 ml) water, room temperature 
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 

1 In large bowl, stir together the two* flours, removing 1/4 cup of the unbleached flour to use for kneading. Stir in sugar, salt and instant yeast. With dough whisk or spoon, stir in the oil and 1 cup of the water until thoroughly combined, gradually adding more water only if needed. Stir for a minute. The dough should be "shaggy," soft but not too wet. 

* The batch photographed was made with all unbleached flour because I was out of whole wheat. 

2 Turn dough out onto lightly floured (from the reserved 1/4 cup) surface, and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, adding only enough flour to keep dough from being "too" sticky. It should be sticky, but not sticky enough to come off on your hands or the counter. 

3 Put into a lightly oiled bowl (I use a 2-quart glass measure so that I can measure the rise), cover and refrigerate overnight. 

Note: The long, slow rise not only makes the bread more flavorful, this timing allows you to make the dough on a busy weeknight. Example: Make the dough Friday evening, refrigerate it overnight, bake the pitas the next day or evening (taking the dough out of the refrigerator about 3 hours before you plan to bake the pitas). 

4 Bring dough to room temperature (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours), knead lightly just a few strokes, divide into 12 equal pieces. I actually weigh the dough and divide the weight by 12 (which came to about 70 grams, or about 2.5 ounces). If you're not as obsessive as I am, you might just eyeball it.

5 Roll each piece into a smooth ball, place fairly close together on your countertop and cover with a damp tea towel or an overturned bowl; allow to rest for 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, move oven rack to lowest position. Place a pizza stone, cast iron pizza pan or griddle or a heavy-duty baking sheet in the oven, and preheat to 475F/245C/Gas9 for 30 minutes. 

Roll dough balls out on a lightly floured surface to rounds about 3/16 inch (or 1/2 cm) thick (about 6 to 7 inches/15 to 18 cm in diameter), making sure they are evenly thick all over. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave for 20 minutes. 

Quickly place as many pitas as will fit on the hot stone, keeping the oven open as short a time as possible. Cook until they puff up, about a minute; flip with tongs or spatula and cook about another minute. Loosely wrap in a tea towel while you continue to cook pitas. 

Note: The pitas should be soft, not crisp, and pale, with only a few brown speckles. Keeping them covered will keep them soft as well as warm. 

9 Serve, covered, in napkin-lined basket. Or let cool completely, wrapped in tea towel, before wrapping and freezing. 

Homemade Pita (Pitta) Bread / www.delightfulrepast.com

14 July 2016

Earl Grey Ice Cream

Earl Grey Ice Cream / www.delightfulrepast.com

My love of tea, especially Earl Grey, is no secret. And with National Ice Cream Day coming up on July 17, I thought I should make a batch of Earl Grey Ice Cream. I make it with organic ingredients; even the vanilla extract and Earl Grey tea are organic.

If you follow a dairy-free diet, you can use this infusion method with your dairy-free ingredients for an Earl Grey non-dairy frozen dessert. And what better way to serve it than in a teacup with a piece of shortbread!

I chose to use the egg custard base method, so this ice cream has a luscious texture and is more easily scooped than it would otherwise be. I plan to make it for my next afternoon tea in the garden. It's so refreshing.

Have you ever had tea or coffee ice cream? I love both, though I'd much rather drink tea than coffee.

Earl Grey Ice Cream / www.delightfulrepast.com

Earl Grey Ice Cream

(Makes about 5 cups)

1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces/355 ml) milk
3 tablespoons loose leaf Earl Grey tea
2/3 cup (4.66 ounces/132 grams) sugar
2 tablespoons (18 grams) non-GMO cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces/355 ml) heavy whipping cream

1 In heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan, heat milk and tea leaves just to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Strain into 2-cup glass measure, pressing the tea leaves to extract all the flavor; add a little more milk, if needed, to bring it back up to 1 1/2 cups. Discard tea leaves, return milk to saucepan and bring it back to a simmer. 

Tip: The Le Creuset stainless steel 2-quart saucier is perfect for making this or any custard. 

2 In 1.5-quart bowl whisk together sugar, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in the egg yolks and just a little of the cream until mixture is smooth.

3 Whisk hot milk into egg mixture, then pour mixture into the saucepan. Over medium-low heat, stir constantly until mixture begins to thicken and registers 160 to 170F/71 to 76C on instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes; do not boil.

4 Stir in cream. Strain custard into medium bowl (I use a 2-quart glass measure to make pouring into the machine easier); whisk in vanilla extract. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours or overnight.

5 Assemble the Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream-Sorbert Maker; turn it on. While it is running, pour the chilled mixture through the spout. Let mix until thickened, about 20 minutes.

6 Transfer the soft ice cream to a freezer-safe airtight container, and place in freezer for at least 4 hours. Even after days in the freezer, this ice cream was very scoopable and did not need to be left out for 15 minutes before serving.

Tip: Place the storage container in the freezer for a while to chill it thoroughly before transferring the ice cream to it.

Earl Grey Ice Cream - Favorite Scoop / www.delightfulrepast.com

Note: The scoop in the photo above is the OXO Good Grips Solid Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop, the best I've ever seen; even works on hard ice cream.

Disclosure: Some posts contain links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com. If you purchase something from Amazon through one of my links, 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!

Earl Grey Ice Cream / www.delightfulrepast.com

07 July 2016

Fresh Peach Ice Cream - Fresh Blueberry Sauce

Fresh Peach Ice Cream with Fresh Blueberry Sauce / www.delightfulrepast.com

July is National Ice Cream Month, and the third Sunday of July is National Ice Cream Day. Perfect time to make fresh peach ice cream, if the peaches are at the height of their season in your area. Sometimes I cook a custard base for my ice cream, but this is a simple egg-free no-cook ice cream. 

Fresh peach ice cream is only as good as your peaches (yellow peaches, please). If your peaches are less than perfectly ripe, sweet and flavorful, pick another flavor of ice cream to make while you wait for better peaches.

Bringing home great peaches is an art. First of all, they must be organic yellow peaches. Next, I like to make sure they were picked at the best time. You can tell a peach that has been picked too soon by its "green shoulders" around the stem end. Give it the sniff test. Does it smell like a peach or just a fuzzy styrofoam ball?

Now that you have your perfect peaches, don't skimp on step one of the directions. Chop the peaches into about 1/4-inch dice, and let them macerate for at least an hour. This will result in peach flavor throughout the ice cream, not just in the little chunks of frozen peach in it. 

What is your favorite ice cream? Will you be making some this month? 

Fresh Peach Ice Cream with Fresh Blueberry Sauce / www.delightfulrepast.com

Simple Fresh Peach Ice Cream 

(Makes about 5 cups)

1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped perfectly ripe yellow peaches (from 1 pound whole)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup (4.66 ounces/132 grams) sugar, divided
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cups (10 fluid ounces/296 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) milk (I used 2%)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
Pinch salt

Fresh Blueberry Sauce

3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup fresh blueberries (6-ounce/170 gram clamshell package)
1 1/2 teaspoons non-GMO cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

1 Place peeled and chopped peaches in 2-cup glass measure; stir in lemon juice and half of the sugar. Let macerate for at least an hour.

2 In medium bowl (I use a 2-quart glass measure to make pouring easier), whisk together remaining sugar and cinnamon, then cream, milk, extracts, and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the peaches with their juice. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Tip: The cinnamon disperses better when mixed with the sugar before other ingredients are added. 

3 Assemble the Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream-Sorbet Maker; turn it on. While it is running, pour the chilled mixture through the spout. Let mix until thickened, about 15 minutes.

4 Transfer the soft ice cream to a freezer-safe airtight container and place in freezer for at least 3 hours. If frozen very solid, remove from freezer 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

5 Make the sauce. In 1-quart saucepan, whisk together sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir in water and lemon juice, then blueberries. Cook over medium heat until berries start releasing their juices, about 2 minutes. Mix together cornstarch and water. Gently stir it into hot berries and simmer, stirring gently, for 2 minutes. Let stand at room temperature to cool. Refrigerate if not using within 2 hours.