10 June 2021

Blueberry Crumble - Blueberry Crisp

Blueberry Crumble - Blueberry Crisp - with the crispiest crumble ever / www.delightfulrepast.com

Blueberry Crumble. Blueberry Crisp. Whatever you call it, it's the quickest and easiest blueberry dessert. Making it with melted butter not only eliminates the more time-consuming cutting in of the butter, it makes the crumble—or crisp—topping even crispier.

I don't bother to refrigerate the leftover crumble if we'll be eating it the next day. I just store it in the cold oven, and the next day the crumble topping is still crispy. Covering it and refrigerating it would, I'm sure, spoil that.

Blueberry Crumble - Blueberry Crisp - with the crispiest crumble ever (this image, my watercolor sketch of blueberries and lemon) / www.delightfulrepast.com
Couldn't resist doing a quick sketch of the groceries before baking them into a crumble!

We like apple crumble and rhubarb crumble, too, though they take a bit more prep than the blueberry. And blueberry pie is wonderful, but a lot more work. So when you need a dessert that comes together quickly, think Blueberry Crumble.

Blueberry Crumble - Blueberry Crisp - with the crispiest crumble ever / www.delightfulrepast.com


Blueberry Crumble - Blueberry Crisp


(Makes 5 servings)

The Fruit

3 1/2 cups (18 ounces/510 grams) fresh blueberries or frozen* unthawed
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon or lime zest
2 tablespoons (0.875 ounces/25 grams) sugar (you might like a bit more)
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt

The Crumble

3/4 cup (3.75 ounces/106 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
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
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) unsalted butter, melted

* If using frozen, I would get the regular full-sized blueberries rather than the tiny "wild" blueberries. Do not thaw them! Follow the recipe as for fresh, but perhaps add a little extra flour to the berries and a few minutes to the baking time.

1 Preheat oven to 375F/190C/Gas5. Butter well a 9-inch glass pie plate.

2 To a 1.5-quart mixing bowl, add the blueberries, lemon or lime juice, and lemon or lime zest. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Sprinkle it over the berries and toss lightly to combine. Transfer to buttered pie plate.

3 Wipe out mixing bowl, no need to wash it. Add flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt; mix together with a fork, and then stir in melted butter. With your hand, sprinkle the crumbles—of all different sizes and shapes—over the berries.

4 Bake in preheated oven for about 30 to 35 minutes (my new favorite ThermoWorks timer—be sure to come back in two weeks for my review and giveaway!), or until the berries are bubbling and the crumble is golden. Frozen berries might add 5 minutes to the cooking time. Let stand 30 minutes before serving to allow time for the juices to thicken a bit. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream or, as we like it, all by itself.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

27 May 2021

Classic Pot Roast

Classic Pot Roast - One-Pot Comfort Food Dinner / www.delightfulrepast.com

Why am I blogging about pot roast when everyone else is talking summer dishes? Two reasons.

One: Because, though it's nearly June, many parts of the country/world are still experiencing some cold days that call for traditional comfort food like this Classic Pot Roast.

When you make this satisfying one-pot meal for people, they are transported back to their childhoods when mothers and grandmothers cooked things many people now feel they haven't the time to cook themselves.

Although this recipe takes time, most of it is unattended. There are no tricky techniques, but you'll find that careful browning brings out the fullest flavor of these subtly seasoned simple ingredients.

Two: Another reason for posting this now is the recent social media kerfuffle about a popular food website that had stopped adding beef recipes to the site last year and were now formally announcing it, saying "our shift is solely about sustainability, about not giving airtime to one of the world’s worst climate offenders. We think of this decision as not anti-beef but rather pro-planet."

Well, I don't get involved in the politics of food—and I don't get self-righteous about my food choices or look down on anyone who doesn't feel the same—but I do give consideration to all that putting food on the table involves.

Classic Pot Roast - One-Pot Comfort Food Dinner / www.delightfulrepast.com


Knowing full well that this is a topic that won't win me any popularity contests—from those who for whatever reason aren't into organic, sustainable, etc, to those who are vegan—I'll repeat here something I wrote years ago:

Though I feel an organic, mostly plant-based diet is more healthful and earth-friendly, I occasionally indulge in a little carefully sourced grass-fed/grass-finished meat from ranches as close to local as possible that practice environmentally friendly agriculture methods and the ethical treatment of animals.

Yes, it is more expensive than conventional supermarket meat, but here are some ways I've found to better afford it:
  • By cutting our meat consumption in half. Most Americans eat more meat than is good for them, so I figure eating the good stuff in smaller portions or less frequently is better for us anyway!
  • I don't buy many "empty calorie" snacks and convenience foods, so more of the grocery budget can go toward whole ingredients.
  • I try very hard not to waste food and have gradually gotten to where I actually waste very little now. And, out of respect for the animals, I make a point to never waste meat.
Anyway ... I'm not here to tell you how or what to eat. You do you, as the saying goes. I'm just here to tell you about what I eat, and how I make it, in case you want to make it too. And if you have me over for dinner, I'm not going to sneer or lecture if you serve me conventional supermarket beef or non-organic imported fruit. You're probably doing other "healthy" or "pro-planet" things that I'm not!

I'd love to get your thoughts on any of this or just about pot roast and comfort food in general. What is your favorite comfort food meal? Is it the same as the one when you were a child?

Classic Pot Roast - One-Pot Comfort Food Dinner / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Classic Pot Roast


(Serves 6 to 8)

1 3- to 4-pound (1.36 to 1.81 kg) boneless chuck roast
1 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce/30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 large (12 ounces/340 grams) yellow onion, quartered and separated
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) lower-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces/59 ml) water, wine, or broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste or ketchup
1 bay leaf
3/4 teaspoon marjoram
1 pound (16 ounces/454 grams) baby carrots (or 6 carrots, quartered)
6 medium unpeeled potatoes, quartered (or 8 small, halved)
(I used 16 tiny Yukon golds that averaged 2 ounces each)
4 stalks celery, cut in 2-inch diagonal pieces
Optional: Turnips, rutabagas, parsnips in place of some of the potatoes
(I used a 12-ounce rutabaga*, cut into 8 equal pieces)

* Rutabagas are called swedes in England and neeps, I'm told, in Scotland.

1 Heat 5.5-quart (or larger) Dutch oven; heat oil. Pat beef dry and coat beef with 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Brown well on all sides in hot oil, taking about 15 to 25 minutes; transfer to plate. Preheat oven to 300F/150C/Gas2. Add the onion to the pan and cook until browned, about 15 minutes. Add broth, other liquid, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste or ketchup, bay leaf, and marjoram; bring to a boil. Put the meat back in the pan.

2 Cover pan with foil and lid, and simmer in preheated oven for 2 hours.

3 Stir in 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and add vegetables. Cover as before and return to oven for 2 hours. Discard bay leaf. Remove meat and vegetables to serving platter; cover. Thicken the sauce with a little slurry of water and flour or by just reducing it (boiling it down) to your preferred thickness.

Note: Sometimes I make this several hours or a day ahead so that I can chill the sauce thoroughly until the fat rises to the top, remove most of the fat, and then thicken the sauce. The fat could be used in the baking of Yorkshire Pudding.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

13 May 2021

Burrito Bowls - Carne Molida Burrito Bowls

Burrito Bowls - Carne Molida Burrito Bowls / www.delightfulrepast.com

This post is thanks to the prodding of my friend, Jo, who is a huge fan of
The Bowl. What I like about bowls, besides great flavor, is you can prepare all the components a day or more ahead, then have a wonderful meal on a busy weeknight with no muss no fuss.

It's perfect for make-ahead meals. I put the rice, meat, beans, and corn in microwavable Pyrex 3-cup rectangular storage dishes, put the lid on, and refrigerate until serving time. Put the cold add-ons—avocado, tomato, shredded cheese, sauce, etc—in a separate smaller container.


Burrito Bowls (this image, my watercolor sketch of the avocados) / www.delightfulrepast.com
Couldn't resist doing a little watercolor sketch of the avocados!


I'm thinking ahead to when we might actually be able to have people over again. And the great thing about bowls is they are easily customizable. With everyone eating differently these days, with the right assortment of components you can have something for everyone, whether they're paleo, keto, vegetarian, vegan, pegan, gluten-free, grain-free, whatever.

But this bowl is just rice, beans, corn, ground beef, avocado, tomato, cheese, and a zesty creamy sauce, plus whatever garnishes you like. I chopped the red bell pepper, onion, and jalapeno very finely by hand for the sauce because I prefer that texture; but you could just chop it coarsely if you wanted to throw everything in the blender and make a perfectly smooth sauce.

Are you a fan of The Bowl? I'm pretty particular about tortillas, and unless I'm making my Homemade Flour Tortillas, most of the time I just as soon skip the flour tortillas, so a burrito bowl is perfect for me. What other kinds of bowls do you like?


Burrito Bowls - Carne Molida Burrito Bowls / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Burrito Bowls - Carne Molida Burrito Bowls


(Makes 4 generous servings)

The Sauce

(Makes about 1 cup)

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup (2 ounces/57 grams) finely chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons (0.625 ounces/18 grams) finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons (0.625 ounces/18 grams/1 medium, about 3 inches long) jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1/3 cup (2.45 ounces/69 grams) mayonnaise
Scant 1/2 cup (4 ounces/113 grams) sour cream
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
A bit of water, if needed, to thin the sauce

The Cilantro-Lime Rice

1 cup (6.625 ounces/188 grams) white basmati rice
1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces/355 ml) water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

The Carne Molida

(Makes about 2 2/3 cups)

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon powdered ancho chiles
1/2 teaspoon powdered anaheim chiles
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon crushed red peppers
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound (16 ounces/454 grams) very lean ground beef (or turkey)
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water
4 teaspoons organic ketchup

The Other Stuff

1 15-ounce (425 grams) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce (425 grams) can organic whole kernel corn, drained
1 1/2 packed cups (6 ounces/170 grams) coarsely shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped tomato, sliced or diced avocado, shredded lettuce, sour cream, white corn tortilla chips

1 In 1-quart saucepan, cook red bell pepper, onion, and jalapeno in olive oil about 8 minutes, until very soft; let cool. Stir in remaining sauce ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Taste and adjust seasoning.

2 In 2-quart saucepan, bring rice, water, salt, and bay leaf to a boil. Reduce heat to very low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Let stand off heat, covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover, remove bay leaf, fluff with fork, then stir in cilantro, lime juice, and olive oil.

3 In small bowl, stir together sugar, salt and spices. Heat skillet (I use this All-Clad stainless steel 12-inch fry pan), and add oil. If you like, cook a little chopped onion before adding beef to the skillet. Add the beef, breaking it up quite finely and browning it well. (Really well. I mean, I think ground beef that is merely "grayed" rather than browned is seriously unappetizing!)

Note: If using ground beef or turkey with more fat, you will need to drain off the fat once the meat is thoroughly browned.

4 Stir in the seasoning mixture, cooking for a minute to bloom the spices. Stir in the flour, mixing it in well with the meat, cooking for a minute. Stir in the water and ketchup, and cook until water is nearly gone. (This little touch of ketchup is not enough to make the meat taste "ketchup-y;" it's just enough to add a certain something.)

5 Get "the other stuff" ready. Divide ingredients among four bowls or glass storage dishes that hold 3 to 4 cups. You can just eyeball it, but these are the approximate measurements:

The Rice: About 2/3 cup per bowl
The Meat: About 2/3 cup per bowl
The Beans: About 3/8 cup per bowl
The Corn: About 3/8 cup per bowl
*The Cheese: About 3/8 cup per bowl
The Sauce: About 1/4 cup per bowl, at the most

Garnish with: cilantro, tomato, avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips, pico de gallo, red bell pepper, whatever you like.

* I just use regular cheddar cheese, but a good brand of non-dairy vegan cheese is Miyoko's Creamery cultured vegan farmhouse cheddar.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

29 April 2021

Fresh Strawberry Scones

Fresh Strawberry Scones / www.delightfulrepast.com

Fresh strawberry scones popped into my head when I realized it was nearly May, the official, or traditional, start of Strawberry Season in the UK.

It will soon be time for tea in the garden, and these will be on the menu often. I'm dreaming of afternoon tea parties when we're able to do that once again.

Don't use frozen strawberries for this as there is too much liquid, and don't put any sugar on the fresh berries as that will draw out the juices.

If your strawberries seem especially juicy, place the diced berries between two layers of paper towels for about 20 minutes to prevent soggy scones.

Fresh Strawberry Scones (this photo, my watercolor sketch of two strawberries) / www.delightfulrepast.com

If you're one of those people who like a glaze on their scones, you're on your own for that because I am one of those people who don't!

You may or may not want to put a bit of strawberry jam on your Fresh Strawberry Scones—for me, that would be "gilding the lily," as Jacques Pepin would say—but a little Clotted Cream is always in order!

Fresh Strawberry Scones / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Fresh Strawberry Scones


(Makes 16 scones)

1 to 1 1/2 cups (5.75 to 8.625 ounces/163 to 245 grams) diced fresh strawberries (1/4-inch dice)
Finely grated zest of a medium orange
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces/177 ml) milk
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
2 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (12.5 ounces/354 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (2.33 ounces/66 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (4 ounces/113 grams) cold unsalted butter, coarsely shredded or cut into little cubes
1 large egg (medium, if you're in the UK)*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* Pay attention to step 3 if you don't want to be one of those people who wastes an egg for the egg wash.

1 Wash and dice the strawberries. Zest the orange. Preheat oven to 500F/260C/Gas10.

2 In 1-cup glass measuring cup stir together milk and cider vinegar; let stand to thicken a bit for 5 minutes or so as you proceed. Line a large baking sheet with parchment and sprinkle a bit of flour lightly in two 6-inch circles.

Tip: My OXO Good Grips bench scraper has a 6-inch ruler on the edge of its stainless steel blade, making it a perfect multi-use tool for making scones.

3 In medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With your fingers, rub the butter (shredded with the Microplane extra coarse grater) into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal or fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the orange zest and diced strawberries to coat and separate. Add the egg to the soured milk and whisk together; remove 1 tablespoon of the mixture to use as an egg wash. Add the vanilla extract to the measuring cup.

Tip: It’s best to keep ingredients cool. If it’s a hot day, or your hot little hands are making the butter melt, pop your mixing bowl in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes.

4 With a large fork stir the wet mixture, a little at a time, into the dry mixture and gently mix until just combined. You may not need to use all of it (or you might need to add a bit more milk); use just enough to make a soft, but not wet or sticky, dough. Do the final mixing with your hand; the dough should not be sticking to your hand or the bowl. Do not knead; there's no need to knead!

5 Divide the dough into two roughly equal smooth balls (no need to weigh, but I love my food scale and know that each half weighs a pound!) and place them on the floured circles and gently pat the dough, dusting with flour as needed, into two 6- to 6.25-inch (15 to 16 cm) rounds. Take a moment to make sure your discs are smooth and flat, almost 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick, and have smooth, straight edges. With a bench scraper or long sharp knife, cut each round into 8 wedges. Pull the wedges out and space them an inch or two apart.

Tip: Again, if it’s a hot day, or the heat of your hands has softened the dough, pop your baking sheet in the fridge to cool the discs off before cutting them into wedges.

6 With silicone pastry brush, brush tops only with the reserved tablespoon of milk-egg mixture. Place in oven, and immediately reduce oven temperature to 400F/205C/Gas6. Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Serve with Clotted Cream (or Clotted Cream - Stovetop Method) and Strawberry Jam.

Note: If you are one who prefers your tea in a mug, I recommend a mug with a lid and stainless steel infuser. Makes using loose leaf tea just as easy and convenient as using tea bags.




Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

15 April 2021

Chicken Noodle Soup - ThermoWorks Wand Review and Giveaway

Chicken Noodle Soup - ThermoWorks Wand Review and Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com

Chicken Noodle Soup is the favorite of one of my friends, so when she became ill last month that's what I made for her. It's my go-to soup to deliver to sick friends or to enjoy myself when perfectly well. You'll find the recipe below. 

But speaking of illness, let me tell you about my new thermometer. I love it so much I'm telling you about it and giving one away, which makes sense in the middle of all this this that's been going on for more than a year now.

At my very first inkling of the pandemic I began checking my first aid kit and making sure I had everything we would need to care for ourselves at home. The one item I was not happy with was my thermometer.

Over the years I've tried a number of digital oral thermometers. Without exception, they've made me wish I still had an old-fashioned mercury thermometer. My first complaint is the probe covers. They never work well. "Just insert the thermometer and peel back the strip." No! I always rip up a couple of them trying that then give up on peeling back the paper strip and just use it that way. Not pleasant.

If you have a child, you know how difficult it can be to place the thermometer correctly under the tongue and then get the little squirmer to keep his or her mouth closed for 30 seconds. I feel sorry for those having two sick kids at once and dealing with that and the pesky probe covers. No thanks.

Chicken Noodle Soup - ThermoWorks Wand Review and Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com
ThermoWorks Wand
non-contact digital forehead thermometer
Giveaway

So 13 months into the pandemic I decided it was time to upgrade to a non-contact digital forehead thermometer. I had been looking at various ones for several months, then I realized that ThermoWorks made one (actually, two—this one, Wand, and a Bluetooth version, Wand Blue, which you techie people can read about for yourselves). Knowing what quality products they make, I had to have their ThermoWorks Wand.

Love it! Turn it on, hold it about an inch from center of forehead, press and hold the Start button until you hear a beep, about 1 second, read the temperature, then turn it off or let it turn itself off in 60 seconds. I had fun playing with it, then took out the batteries for storage until such time as one of us gets sick. 

But back to the soup. I made it with ingredients on hand, which meant boneless skinless chicken breasts. You can also use bone-in skin-on chicken breasts or thighs. And, of course, you can increase the amount of ginger, crushed red pepper, and turmeric—all thought to have health benefits—to suit your own taste.

Tell me your favorite thing to eat when you're sick. Or well. And, if you (or a gift recipient) are in the US, enter the giveaway below. Stay safe and well.

Chicken Noodle Soup - ThermoWorks Wand Review and Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Chicken Noodle Soup


(Makes about 3 1/2 quarts)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound (16 ounces/454 grams) boneless skinless chicken breast
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup (4.5 ounces/128 grams) peeled and diced carrots
1 cup (4.5 ounces/128 grams) diced celery
Some of the celery leaves, chopped
1 cup (4.5 ounces/128 grams) diced red bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
5 cups (40 fluid ounces/1.18 liters) water
4 cups (32 fluid ounces/946 milliliter) lower-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 cups (8 ounces/227 grams) mini farfalle

1 In large pot (I use a 5.5-quart Dutch/French oven), heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and cook the chicken until done, salting and peppering* lightly. Remove to a plate to cool.

* I measure out the salt and pepper into two tiny prep bowls and use them throughout the recipe.

2 Add remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot and cook the onion, carrots, celery, and red bell pepper, adding a bit of the salt and pepper, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped celery leaves, thyme, marjoram, ginger, crushed red pepper, and turmeric.

3 Stir in chicken broth, water, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add chicken and remaining salt and pepper (or to taste), and continue simmering for about 10 minutes. Stir in mini farfalle, and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.


ThermoWorks Wand Review and Giveaway - Chicken Noodle Soup / www.delightfulrepast.com

ThermoWorks Wand Giveaway


This giveaway is open to readers in the US* who are 18 years of age or older. To enter, leave a comment below (one entry per person). Tell me why you want a Wand. Please include your email address in the body of your comment. If your name is drawn and I have no way to contact you, you will be disqualified. Must enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday April 28.

* If you are outside the US but would like to have this sent to someone you know in the US (you would have to send them a gift card separately on your own), go ahead and enter!

Winner will be chosen by random drawing and be announced here in the comments before noon Eastern time on Thursday April 29. If I don't hear back from the winner of the random drawing by noon Eastern time Saturday May 1, a new winner will be selected from the original entrants (those who commented before the giveaway deadline).

Disclosure: ThermoWorks provided a Wand for review purposes and one for the giveaway. The views expressed here are entirely my own. I always tell my readers what I really think!

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

01 April 2021

Persimmon Oat Cookies

Persimmon Oat Cookies  / www.delightfulrepast.com


Persimmon Oat Cookies hit the menu in springtime because I had the foresight in autumn to puree and freeze my surplus of ripe Hachiya persimmons. I can't resist buying some every week while they're in season and end up freezing a nice little stockpile of half-pint jars to bring out whenever I like.

Oatmeal cookies are just about my favorite because I love the chewy texture and the fact that they're a bit more nutritious than most. The persimmons are just an added bonus in both flavor and nutrition. A cookie you really can have for breakfast!


Persimmon Oat Cookies  / www.delightfulrepast.com
Of course, I couldn't put up a painting of a jar of puree,
so here's one I did of the fruit when it was in season.

I packed up a dozen of them and trotted them down to a neighbor as a little thank-you. You see, there was an incident just the day before. I opened my door to see if a package had been delivered and a neighbor cat tried to sneak in. I did my usual maneuver where I partially close the door behind me and go out and pet the cat.

Of course, you know what happened next. The door slammed shut behind me, and there I was, home alone, locked out, no mask, no keys, no phone. It would be anywhere from 2 1/2 to 4 hours before my husband would be coming home. I'll skip all the amusing details and just say that the guy three doors down really looked after me, brought me a chair, etc. 

Sitting on the door mat for 2 1/2 hours would not have been too comfy. Still, I was glad it wasn't 4 hours. Good thing the neighbor cat who started all the ruckus stuck around to keep me company the whole time!

Another persimmon recipe: Steamed Persimmon Pudding - Instant Pot or Not.

Persimmon Oat Cookies  / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Persimmon Oat Cookies


(Makes 3 1/2 dozen)

1 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (7.5 ounces/213 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
3 cups (10.5 ounces/300 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup (3 ounces/85 grams) chopped pecans
3/4 packed cup (3.75 ounces/106 grams) raisins
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, cool room temperature
1 1/4 cup (8.75 ounces/248 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses
2 large eggs (medium in UK)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (6.625 ounces/188 grams) persimmon puree

1 In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. In small bowl, stir a tablespoon of flour mixture into the raisins, separating the clumps. Stir the floured raisins, along with the oats and nuts, into the flour mixture.

2 In large bowl with electric hand mixer, beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Use a wooden spoon if you need to; mixture must be smooth and well creamed. Beat in eggs and vanilla, then the persimmon puree. Stir in the flour-oat mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to a few days. (Very cold dough will need to sit at room temperature for a bit to become more scoopable.)

3 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Drop #40 scoops* (0.8 ounces or approximately 1.5 tablespoons) of dough 3 inches apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets. With a glass (I use a 2 1/4-inch diameter flat-bottomed 1/3-cup from my stainless steel measuring cup sets), press each scoop into a 2 1/4-inch round. Bake for about 13 to 15 minutes, or until brown around the edges but still a little soft in the center.

Note: My favorite kitchen timer of all time!

4 Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight container. I use these Pyrex 11-cup rectangular storage dishes with lids as cookie jars, among other

things. One holds half a batch of these cookies.
 
* If you don't have one of these #40 scoops, you need to get one now! How do people make cookies without it!

To freeze dough: Drop scoops of dough on foil-lined cookie sheet and flatten slightly, as directed above. Freeze, then wrap.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

18 March 2021

Clotted Cream - Stovetop Method

Clotted Cream - Stovetop Method - An Afternoon Tea Essential / www.delightfulrepast.com

As I pointed out in my
Clotted Cream Tutorial, clotted cream, which doesn't sound that appealing to the uninitiated, is the delectable accompaniment to scones that elevates that simple bake to an Occasion. And, of course, it has other delicious applications.

While I couldn't be happier with my Clotted Cream - Oven Method, I have friends whose oven either does not have that low of a temperature setting or does not hold a very steady temperature or will time out before 12 hours is up. I even have friends in studio apartments without an oven. So I wanted to come up with a good and easy stovetop method.

As with the oven method, this does not require your standing at the stove for hours on end. Once you get it going, you can pretty much just go about your business. This must not be stirred or jostled, so it benefits from benign neglect once you have your just-barely-a-simmer temperature established.

Do you love clotted cream as much as I do?


Clotted Cream - Stovetop Method - An Afternoon Tea Essential / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Clotted Cream – Stovetop Method


(Makes about 1 cup)

1 pint (16 fluid ounces/473 ml) heavy whipping cream


1 Fill base of double boiler with water to about 1.5 inches (in mine, that means 1 quart). Bring to barely a simmer. Place double boiler insert over the water. It must not touch the simmering water.

Tip: If you don’t have a double boiler, you can use a stainless steel or glass mixing bowl over a large saucepan.

2 Pour 2 cups (16 fluid ounces/473 ml) of heavy whipping cream into top of double boiler. The cream should not be more than 1 inch deep. Leave the lid off. Check by ear every once in a while to make sure the water is barely simmering. If you have an instant-read thermometer, it should register somewhere in the 185F/85C to 200F/94C range.

3 Gently heat the cream at barely a simmer, uncovered, never stirring, for 4 hours. Being careful to not slosh the cream around, remove the top pan from the base and set it on a wire rack to cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Then cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.

4 Lift up a "corner" of the chilled clotted cream and pour off the liquid* underneath into a 1-cup glass measure; use it in your next batch of scones, pancakes, or whatever you happen to be making. Scoop up layer of clotted cream into jar or serving dish. Keeps for several days, covered and refrigerated. Or you can freeze it

* When you pour off that liquid, you don't have to get every last drop out. Usually the underside of the clotted cream layer is quite wet and might actually drip as you spoon it into a container. The contents of the container can seem quite wet, but it all melds together in the refrigerator.

Note: These cute little 4-ounce freezer-safe canning/storage jars with plastic caps are perfect for clotted cream. One recipe makes two jars. 

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

04 March 2021

Toad-in-the-Hole Apple Dessert

Toad-in-the-Hole Apple Dessert / www.delightfulrepast.com


Toad-in-the-Hole Apple Dessert is a little something I invented one day when I wanted to eat a dessert but didn't want to go to the trouble of making one. You know what I'm talking about?

I mean I was soooo tired that the easiest of my easiest desserts sounded like waaaayyyy too much trouble. So I thought about the ingredients I had on hand and came up with this. The batter is simply my Yorkshire Pudding batter (minus the savory elements).

For those of you who may not know, toad-in-the-hole is a traditional British dish of sausages baked in Yorkshire pudding batter. And now I've turned it into a dessert.

Toad-in-the-Hole Apple Dessert / www.delightfulrepast.com


Precise times are included in the instructions because, just as a souffle is best served immediately, this dessert is at its best when served fresh out of the oven. Tastes fine later, but you'll want everyone at the table to see it before it, like a souffle, falls.

I make it in a Pyrex dish, so it's especially important to rest the batter for at least the full hour. The rest gives it a better rise, and it also ensures you won't be cracking your glass baking dish by pouring cold batter into a hot dish.

Hope you'll give it a try and let me know how you liked it.

Toad-in-the-Hole Apple Dessert / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Toad-in-the-Hole Apple Dessert


(Serves 4 to 6)

The Batter

1 1/4 dip-and-sweep cups (6.25 ounces/177 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 large eggs
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces/59 ml) water
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces/177 ml) milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces/43 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

The Apples

3 large baking apples (I used Pink Lady apples weighing about 6.5 ounces each)*
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

* If your apples are smaller, use four; the idea is to have apple quarters making a pretty solid layer.

1 An hour and a half before serving time, make batter. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon (to "sift"). Whisk in eggs and water; when smooth, whisk in the milk and vanilla extract. Cover and let stand for an hour. Generously butter (using about a tablespoon) the bottom of an 8x8x2-inch baking dish.

An hour and a quarter before serving time, preheat oven to 425F/220C/Gas7 for 15 minutes while proceeding with recipe. Peel, quarter, and cut away the cores of 3 large cooking apples and arrange them in the buttered baking dish. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle it over the apples. Bake for 20 minutes. Melt the butter; set aside 1 tablespoon of it to cool. Remove apples from the oven. Quickly heat the 2 tablespoons of melted butter in the microwave and pour it over the apples.

Whisk the cooled tablespoon of melted butter into the batter. Pour the batter over the apples. Bake for 20 minutes; reduce heat to 350F/180C/Gas4 and continue baking for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve immediately. The ideal accompaniment is Custard Sauce, but vanilla ice cream or whipped cream will do in a pinch.

Tip:  Do not open the oven door to take a peek for at least the first 30 minutes. 

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

18 February 2021

Chocolate Tapioca Pudding - Made with Cocoa

Chocolate Tapioca Pudding - Made with Cocoa / www.delightfulrepast.com


Thought of making a cake this week in celebration of the 11th blogiversary of Delightful Repast, but Mr Delightful requested tapioca pudding, vanilla or chocolate, so I decided to make chocolate since I had already posted my Vanilla Tapioca Pudding.

Tapioca pudding was one of the delicious treats my grandmother made for all her grandchildren. My cousin Denise reminded me several years ago about Ma (that's what we all called her) having mixed results with her tapioca. One time it would be heavenly, and the next time gluey. I thought it odd that Ma would have had difficulty with something so simple, but then I figured it out.

Reading. My grandmother (like her daughters and granddaughters who followed) was addicted to reading. Growing up in a very large family in the Lake District (northwest England), her favorite task was making all the beds. Not because she especially liked making beds, but that chore gave her the opportunity to be alone upstairs and get a lot of reading done. Can't do much harm there, but ... stuff happens when you're cooking and you can't put your book down.

So I imagine on those gluey pudding days, the plot was thickening and so was the tapioca!

Now I'm not touting tapioca pudding as a health food, but I would like to point out for those of you who are watching out for such things that it is grain-free and gluten-free and can easily be made dairy-free. 

Also, since we live in an increasingly carb-wary culture, I should add that, though pure starch, tapioca is a natural source of resistant starch, the good starch that is resistant to digestion and feeds the friendly bacteria in the gut and can improve insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control. All of which I am no expert on, but this is simply by way of letting you know there is information out there.

Anyway ... tapioca pudding, chocolate or vanilla, is classic comfort food. And don't we all need a little comfort right now! Are you a tapioca pudding fan?


Chocolate Tapioca Pudding - Made with Cocoa / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Chocolate Tapioca Pudding


(Makes a little over 5 cups, 8 to 10 servings)

1/2 cup (3.25 ounces/92 grams) small pearl tapioca (not instant tapioca)
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) very warm water
1/2 to 3/4 cup* (3.5 ounces/99 grams to 5.25 ounces/149 grams) sugar
1/4 cup (0.75 ounces/21 grams) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups (26 fluid ounces/769 ml) organic milk
3 large organic eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Garnish: Whipped cream

* We use the lower amount of sugar and think that's perfect, but you might like a bit more.

1 In heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan, soak small pearl tapioca in very warm water for 30 minutes. In small bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa, and salt. 

2 Stir the cocoa mixture and the milk into the soaked tapioca. Cook over medium* heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat. Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently (and then constantly as it gets thicker) for 12 to 15 minutes.

* And I do mean medium. No matter how heavy your saucepan, if you try to hurry it along by cranking up the heat you'll scorch it. Then as you stir, the scorched patch will come off in shreds and be all mixed in with the pudding. Not good. (You may ask, Hmm ... wonder how she knows that? I'll tell you--the same way I know that stuff happens when you're cooking and you can't put your book down!)

3 In 1-quart bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Gradually stir about a cup of the hot mixture into the lightly beaten eggs, then pour back into the saucepan. The eggs will thin out the pudding. Cook, stirring, over low heat (do not boil) until the pudding thickens, several minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in vanilla extract.

4 Pour into 1.5-quart bowl; cover with lid. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes, give it a stir, then place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days. 

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

04 February 2021

Sourdough Simplified - A Tutorial

Sourdough Simplified - A Tutorial (this photo, first rise in 2-quart Pyrex measure) / www.delightfulrepast.com


Sourdough bread is something I made once or twice a week for years, then got out of the habit of for about a year (yes, the same year, the pandemic year, masses of other people were taking it up for the first time!). 

Then I decided to make another starter and get back into it. This time I was going to simplify it even more than I already had and experiment with not feeding the starter other than when the starter was nearly gone and needed replenishing.

So I started my starter, as always with a view to wasting as little flour as possible in the discards that are part of the process of building a starter. Since I only plan to bake one loaf at a time, I only need to keep enough starter to make a loaf with a little left to replenish. 

So I decided to keep about 3/4 cup (6.75 ounces/192 grams) of the stirred-down starter in a pint canning jar and placed it in the refrigerator for the next baking day.

I use grams and a digital scale myself, but I've given the directions in ounces as well for those with analog scales and in cups and tablespoons for those who measure. 

The measures are not exact equivalents to the weights, so don't mix methods. For those interested in such things, this is a 100% hydration starter, meaning it has equal weights of flour (I use organic) and water.

And the idea (which I won't be able to report on for several months) is to be able to leave the starter, once it has matured for three months, in the refrigerator for two months or more without any attention and then take it out, stir it up, and use it as is (unfed) to make a loaf. Simplified! 

Update 04/19/21: I just left the starter in the refrigerator untouched for 3 weeks, and used it unfed like always, and it worked beautifully, just like when I was using it every week. In fact, the final rise, which was taking 3 hours, took just 2 hours.

Starting the Sourdough Starter


When starting a sourdough starter, the starter can pass one or both of the typical "tests" (doubling and floating) to determine whether the starter is ready to use but still not be ready to use, leading to a failed loaf, so I decided to give it 23 days to develop. It will continue to "mature" for 3 months. 

By making up your mind at the outset to let your starter develop over that time instead of getting in a hurry to bake a loaf, you won't risk wasting an entire batch of dough on a loaf that fails because the starter was not really ready despite indications to the contrary.

Using just minimal quantities of flour for the 23 days means the discarding will only amount to about two cups of flour. And not feeding the starter after that, simply adding more flour and water when replenishing the starter, means no discarding ever. Here's the simple plan, given in measures as well as ounces and grams:

Sourdough Simplified - A Tutorial (this photo, starter in pint canning jar) / www.delightfulrepast.com



Days 1 to 21 - In glass or ceramic 1-pint container, stir 2 level tablespoons unbleached flour and 1 1/2 tablespoons water (or 0.5 ounce/14 grams of each) until smooth. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a slightly ajar lid. Each day, stir vigorously and then discard all but 1 tablespoon (or 0.5 ounce/14 grams) of the starter and add 2 tablespoons unbleached flour and 1 1/2 tablespoons water (or 0.5 ounce/14 grams of each); stir vigorously until smooth. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or slightly ajar lid and let stand at room temperature.

Day 22 - Stir vigorously and then discard all but 2 tablespoons (or 1 ounce/28 grams) of the starter and add 1/4 cup unbleached flour and 3 tablespoons water (or 1 ounce/28 grams of each); stir vigorously until smooth. Cover loosely. 

Day 23 - Stir vigorously and then discard all but 1/4 cup (or 2.25 ounces/64 grams) of the starter add 1/2 cup unbleached flour and 1/3 cup water (or 2.25 ounces/64 grams of each); stir vigorously until smooth. Cover loosely. 

Day 24 - Use 1/2 cup (4.5 ounces/128 grams) for a loaf. Replenish the remaining 1/4 cup (or 2.25 ounces/64 grams) of the starter with 1/2 cup unbleached flour and 1/3 cup water (or 2.25 ounces/64 grams of each); stir vigorously until smooth. Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature for 1 to 4 hours (as soon as some bubbles are forming, then put it in the refrigerator until next week.

If you've had difficulty in the past with a young starter not performing well and don't want to chance it, you can use a small amount of instant yeast (1/2 teaspoon)—in your dough only, never in your starter—until your starter has matured.

Now let's bake a loaf! You can use the same recipe to make a round boule, but I most often make a sandwich loaf. For a round boule, follow the shaping directions for Sourdough Artisan Bread.

Sourdough Simplified - A Tutorial (this photo, sandwich loaf rising) / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Sourdough Sandwich Loaf


(Makes one large loaf)

1/2 cup (4.5 ounces/128 grams) stirred-down 100% hydration starter
1 5/8 cups (13 fluid ounces/384 ml or grams) room temperature water
1 3/4 teaspoons (0.35 ounce/10 grams) salt
4 dip-and-sweep cups (20 ounces/567 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour (I use organic)

1 Stir down the starter and weigh or measure it into 2-quart glass measure. With a dough whisk or a large dinner knife, stir in water, then salt and flour. The dough will be fairly stiff, but still sticky. With one hand, knead the dough right in the bowl, just enough to incorporate all the flour, maybe about 10 to 20 times in all. Cover loosely with lid or lightly oiled plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature about 12 to 24 hours. At any point that the dough has doubled, it's good to go. It all depends on variables like your starter and the temperature of your kitchen. As the starter matures, the rise time shortens. 

Maintaining Starter: Unless you're baking bread every day or two, keep the starter in the refrigerator and feed only when you don't have enough starter left to make another loaf. I keep about 3/4 cup (6.75 ounces/192 grams) of starter in a pint canning jar. Though I won't be feeding the starter, after taking out 1/2 cup (4.5 ounces/128 grams) for the loaf, I need to replenish the starter in the jar and so feed it with 2.25 ounces (64 grams) each flour and water, stir it vigorously and let stand at room temperature for about 1 to 4 hours (you should see some bubbles, but not too many), then refrigerate until the next bake.

2 Grease bread pan. I use a 9x4x4-inch (1.5-pound) pullman pan. It's about the same capacity as a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan

3 Using no more than 1/8 cup altogether, sprinkle countertop with some flour. Gently scrape the dough onto the floured countertop. Sprinkle with flour. Press gently into a roughly 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Using a bench scraper, fold one third of the rectangle toward the center, then fold the other end to the center, like a letter. With the bench scraper, place folded dough in the pan, pressing it into the corners. Brush on a little water. Cover it loosely with an oiled or cooking-sprayed piece of plastic wrap. 

4 Let rise until doubled. If using 9x5x3-inch loaf pan, it should rise an inch or two above the rim of the pan. If using the 9x4x4-inch pullman pan, the dough should rise to below or just even with the top of pan. This can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. The dough needs to rise until the dough doesn't quickly spring back when poked with a floured finger or knuckle.

Tip: Check on the dough's progress regularly. After making it a few times, you'll have a better idea of how long it will take. And that will change as the weather changes. I keep my house rather cool in winter, so sourdough bread takes much longer to rise now than it does in summer.

5 Toward the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 450F/230C/Gas8. Just before baking, brush the loaf with a little water. If you add 1/8 teaspoon baking soda to 2 tablespoons water and brush the loaf with it, it will aid in browning.

6 Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 400F/205C/Gas6 and continue baking for about 30 minutes or until crust is beautifully golden and middle of loaf registers 210F/99C on instant-read thermometer.

7 Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack for 1 1/2 to 2 hours before slicing.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean
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