16 September 2021

Oven-Dried Figs

Oven-Dried Figs - How to Dry Fruit in Your Conventional Oven / www.delightfulrepast.com

Fresh figs are a favorite of mine, but not all of my friends share that opinion. Yesterday a friend brought me a huge bowl of fresh figs and hinted broadly about what I might do with them, saying another friend of ours only likes figs in fig newtons (fig rolls in UK).

I have several projects going this week and have no time for extra baking, and I always make my Fig Rolls - Fig Newtons with dried figs. So I thought I'd just dry these figs for a future baking day.


Oven-Dried Figs - How to Dry Fruit in Your Conventional Oven (this photo, Fig Rolls - Fig Newtons) / www.delightfulrepast.com


I've never had a dehydrator, and have turned down one or two that have been offered to me, since I wouldn't use it often enough. It would just be taking up space 364 days a year. My toaster oven does convection, which would be great for this, and I could probably do two quarter sheet pans in it, but I don't have wire racks for that size pan.

So here's how I did it in the regular oven. At a "cool oven" temperature of 200F/95C/Gas1/8. No special equipment. Just a half sheet pan and a wire cooling rack.


Oven-Dried Figs - How to Dry Fruit in Your Conventional Oven / www.delightfulrepast.com


You can find all sorts of methods for doing this, everything from quickly at higher temperatures to 36 hours at extremely low temperatures. The former made no sense to me, and the latter seemed unnecessarily slow and would tie up my oven for far too long. Some recommend propping the oven door open a bit to let out moisture. No, I wasn't going to be doing that.

The reason I chose to store the dried figs in half-pint jars (tightly packed) is because that is the amount needed for a batch of Fig Rolls - Fig Newtons, which I'll be making in a couple weeks for a small autumn tea party in the gazebo. Might use the other jar for a batch of Homemade Granola


Oven-Dried Figs - How to Dry Fruit in Your Conventional Oven / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Oven-Dried Figs


(Makes 2 half-pint jars with a bit leftover)

Up to about 2 3/4 pounds fresh figs (however many will fit, halved, on the rack)

1 Preheat oven to 200F/95C/Gas1/8.

2 Line an 18x13x1-inch half sheet pan with baking parchment paper, then set a wire cooling rack on top of the paper.

3 Wash and dry the figs. Cut off the top stem and trim away any bad spots. Cut in half lengthwise.

4 Place the halves cut side up on the wire rack.

5 Bake in the center of the oven for about 6 hours. This will vary, depending on the size and juiciness of the figs and the peculiarities of your oven. Check at 5 hours, then maybe every 20 minutes after that until they are done. The figs are done when they are quite dry, but not hard, and still a bit sticky to the touch in the center.

6 Cool completely and put in canning jar(s). Refrigerate for short-term storage or freeze for up to several months. I chose half-pint jars because they held, tightly packed, the amount (5 ounces) needed for a batch of fig rolls.


Oven-Dried Figs - How to Dry Fruit in Your Conventional Oven (this image, my original watercolor of a fig) / www.delightfulrepast.com


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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02 September 2021

Belgian Waffles - or Regular Waffles - Freezing and Reheating

Belgian Waffles - or Regular Waffles - with directions for freezing and reheating / www.delightfulrepast.com

Belgian waffles might be the perfect comfort food breakfast, but we make them for dinner! And I don't mean a savory version, I mean the breakfast version with just butter and maple syrup. 

Years ago we had a stovetop Belgian waffle maker that we wore completely out. We couldn't find another like it, so I researched all the electric ones and decided on the Cuisinart 4-Slice Belgian Waffle Maker.

Besides all the other good things about it, it takes 2 cups of batter. So the recipe I had developed for regular waffles, and which works just as well for Belgian waffles, will make two of these. Exactly. No leftover batter. That's important to me. I hate waste. And the leftovers are great! I mean it. Great.


Belgian Waffles - or Regular Waffles - with directions for freezing and reheating / www.delightfulrepast.com


Just put the leftover squares in the refrigerator and heat them in the toaster the next day (or up to 3 days), good as new! I've even stirred up a batch specifically for freezing. Just thaw the desired number of squares in the refrigerator overnight (or in the microwave in the morning), pop them in the toaster, and there you go! No need to ever eat a store-bought frozen waffle again. Ever.

If more than one or two people are having waffles, it makes more sense to heat the waffles in the oven. Preheat oven to 300F/150C/Gas2. Lay the waffle squares on a baking sheet, or directly on the oven rack, and heat for about 10 minutes, if thawed, or about 15 minutes, if frozen.

My recipe makes two Cuisinart WAF-150 square Belgian waffles, each making four 1-inch deep 4.5-inch squares. If you prefer regular waffles, it makes six 7-inch round regular waffles.


Belgian Waffles - or Regular Waffles - with directions for freezing and reheating / www.delightfulrepast.com


Yesterday I stirred up a batch for a solo lunch. Since I eat two squares, that means I can refrigerate or freeze six squares. So I cooled them to room temperature on a wire rack, then laid them out on a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan, covered them (you can use a lid or another jelly roll pan or a piece of foil), and popped them into the freezer for a couple hours. Then transferred them to one-gallon freezer bags, which holds four perfectly, so next time I make a batch I'll add two more squares to the one bag.

This is my basic recipe. Sometimes I use different whole grain flours or throw in some very finely chopped pecans, but I always use this formula. We like to think the three eggs transform it into a seriously nutritious, high-protein meal. Tell me: How do you like your waffles? And do you prefer Belgian or regular? People tend to feel very strongly about that!


Belgian Waffles - or Regular Waffles - with directions for freezing and reheating / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Belgian Waffles - or Regular Waffles


(Makes two Cuisinart WAF-150 Belgian waffles or six 7-inch round regular waffles)

1 2/3 cups (13.33 fluid ounces/394 ml) milk
1 1/2 tablespoons 0.75 fluid ounce/22 ml) apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces/43 grams) unsalted butter
1 2/3 dip-and-sweep cups (8.33 ounces/236 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar (optional but improves browning)
2 teaspoons non-GMO baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs (medium, in the UK), room temperature

1 In a 2-cup glass measure, stir together milk and vinegar; let stand for several minutes while proceeding with recipe. Melt the butter and allow it to cool.

2 In a 2-quart glass measure, whisk together dry ingredients. In a 1-quart glass measure, whisk together the eggs, soured milk, and melted and cooled butter. Pour into dry mixture and combine. Let batter rest 15 minutes before using.

3 Your waffle iron becomes "seasoned" after a few uses and requires no greasing. But if your waffle iron is new, spray both upper and lower grids with cooking spray, or apply a little canola oil with a paper towel or pastry brush. During last 5 or 6 minutes of the batter's rest, preheat waffle iron. I use the medium setting.

4 Pour 2 level cups of batter (this might differ for your model) onto center of waffle iron; quickly spread batter evenly over the grid (doesn't need to be perfect). Close the lid and bake until the green light comes on and the audible tone sounds, about 5 to 6 minutes. When the tone sounds (another signal is that the steam stops or slows way down), open lid and remove the waffle. Close lid and wait just a minute for iron to reheat. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with cold unsalted butter and warm real maple syrup or my Homemade Blueberry Syrup or Sauce.

Tip: Since my freezer is my best friend, I recently treated myself to two ThermoWorks digital refrigerator/freezer thermometers to replace the nearly impossible to read analog thermometer I switched back and forth between fridge and freezer for years.

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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19 August 2021

Microwave Cauliflower Cheese for One

Microwave Cauliflower Cheese for One - A Quick and Easy Homemade Solo Lunch / www.delightfulrepast.com

Microwave Cauliflower Cheese for One is one of my favorite lunches. If you work from home and usually have a quick lunch on your own as I do, it's great. And it gives my microwave something to do besides heat up our microwavable moist-heat hot pads we're always laying on one injury or another!

It took me a long time to come around to microwave ovens. I think I was the last person on the planet to get one, after being urged to by my elderly father! Still, I don't cook in it. All I ever use it for is to heat up those hot pads or a plate of leftovers, or to melt a bit of butter. Glad to find another use for it.

Microwave Cauliflower Cheese for One - A Quick and Easy Homemade Solo Lunch / www.delightfulrepast.com


This is so quick and easy and doesn't make a big cooking mess in the middle of the day. Just cut up the cauliflower, stir up the seasonings and water, pour it on, cover, and pop it into the microwave for 6 minutes. 

While it's cooking, shred the cheese, stir the cornstarch into the milk. When the microwave dings, take out the cauliflower, drain off the liquid, stir in the cheese and milk, zap it for another 2 minutes, and Bob's your uncle!

Of course, microwave ovens are all different, so your times might not be the same as those that I figured out for mine. What do you use a microwave for? What sort of things do you usually have for lunch?

Microwave Cauliflower Cheese for One - A Quick and Easy Homemade Solo Lunch / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Microwave Cauliflower Cheese for One


(Makes a bit over 1 cup)

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces/170 grams—about quarter of a 2-pound/1 kg cauliflower) cauliflower florets
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch of coarsely ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of dry mustard
2 tablespoons (1 ounce/30 ml) water
1/2 tablespoon (0.25 ounce/7 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 packed cup (2 ounces/57 grams) shredded cheddar or other cheese
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces/59 ml) milk
1 teaspoon cornstarch or tapioca flour

Note: You can use all cheddar, if you like, or a combination of cheeses. I think using half Monterey jack makes it creamier. And, at the same time, you can toast a few fresh breadcrumbs on the stovetop for a pretty topping. 😉

1 Put the bite-size cauliflower florets in a 2-cup glass measure (I love my Pyrex glass measuring cups!). In a tiny bowl, stir together salt, pepper, cayenne, and dry mustard; stir in the water. Pour over the cauliflower and add the butter. Cover (I use a 6-inch silicone lid) and microwave on full power for 6 minutes (your oven might differ), until tender or nearly so (whatever you prefer). Drain off the liquid.

2 Add the cheese to the cooking cup. In a little bowl, stir the milk and cornstarch together. Stir it and the cheese into the cauliflower. With the lid ajar, microwave on full power for 2 minutes (your oven might differ), until the cheese has melted and a smooth sauce has formed. 

3 Stir and serve on a small plate and, if you're feeling fancy, garnish with toasted breadcrumbs. Or just eat it out of the measuring cup; I won't tell! 😁 

BTW, that's one of my pretty ThermoWorks hot pad/trivets (my favorite pot holders) in the photos.

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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05 August 2021

Summer Peach Cake

Summer Peach Cake / www.delightfulrepast.com

It's the height of summer, it's hot, but bake I must! After being out of commission following hand surgery, I simply had to bake at the first opportunity. And what better to bake than something with peaches (or nectarines), my favorite summer fruit.

But I needed to break-in the hand with something easy-breezy, no-muss-no-fuss, which means no machines, no peeling, no laborious whisking, just stir up the simple ingredients and throw it in the oven!

The only thing I really like about summer is the summer fruit! And, while I might occasionally enjoy the mild flavor of a white peach or nectarine on its own, the yellow varieties are much better in cakes and pies. And please don't peel them. The peel adds color and makes it even prettier.


Summer Peach Cake (this image, my original watercolor of a yellow peach) / www.delightfulrepast.com
Loved painting this perfectly ripe yellow peach; it smelled soooo good!


I developed this recipe for a 7-inch springform or push-bottom pan (also called a cheesecake pan). And I use an Ateco Stainless Steel 2x3-inches-high Round Form that turns any pan into a tube pan to prevent those center-of-the-cake baking challenges of deep pans and/or heavy batters, but I've also made the cake without it.

Thank you for all your good wishes on my hand surgery. I hope you're enjoying a beautiful summer and will make this, or something peachy, before they're gone. I love peach anything, but I am particularly fond of Peach Pie with Lattice Crust. How about you?


Summer Peach Cake / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Summer Peach Cake


(Makes one 7-inch cake)

1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 dip-and-sweep cups (6.25 ounces/177 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (4.67 ounces/132 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon non-GMO baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon mace or nutmeg
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 pound (16 ounces/454 grams/2 large) yellow peaches or nectarines, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 Grease well and flour a 7-inch springform or push-bottom pan. I use my Ateco Stainless Steel 2x3-inches-high Round Form to turn my 3-inch deep 7-inch pan into a tube pan to prevent those center-of-the-cake baking challenges of deep pans and/or heavy batters like this. Just grease and flour it and center it in the pan and hold it steady while you fill in the batter around it. Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Melt the butter and set aside to cool. 

Tip: A circle of baking parchment in the bottom of the pan is always good, though I forgot to do it today.

2 In 2- to 3-quart bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and mace or nutmeg. Whisk together well to "sift."

3 Scrub well—don't peel—and dice the ripe but firm peaches or nectarines into a small mixing bowl; set aside. You'll have about 3 cups. Take out 1 cup of the fruit to put on the top.

Note: I almost never peel organic peaches. I just wash them very well and rub off the fuzz. The colorful skin adds nutrition and a beautiful color to whatever you're making.

4 Add the eggs and cooled melted butter to the flour mixture. With a large spoon, beat well until thoroughly combined. Stir the fruit (except the 1 cup) into the batter.

5 Scrape the thick batter into prepared pan, press down and smooth the top, and press the reserved cup of diced fruit into the top of the batter. Sprinkle with the brown sugar. Bake for about 65 to 75 minutes, until it passes "the toothpick test" or is pulling away from the sides of the pan a bit. Do not underbake!

Note: I love this TimeStack quad timer sooooo much!

6 Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn cake out of pan right side up and continue cooling on wire rack for 2 hours. If you remembered to use a circle of parchment, it will be much easier to lift the cake off the springform pan bottom! Before serving, you might give it a dusting of powdered sugar. And a little whipped cream is never a bad idea.

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

22 July 2021

Classic Vegetable Quiche

Classic Vegetable Quiche / www.delightfulrepast.com

Every time I make this classic vegetable quiche, I say, "I love this! Why has it been so long since I made it?!" It was a mainstay in my vegetarian days. In those days, I was seriously into nutrition as well so always made the crust with part whole wheat flour. Years later I had the opportunity to have a little chat with Julia Child about that!

My mother and I enjoyed reading cookbooks and watching PBS cooking shows together, especially Julia Child's, when I was just a child. I had all these "warm fuzzies" associated with Julia, since I spent so many hours in the kitchen with her (courtesy of PBS) and my mother. When I finally met Julia, it felt as if I were reuniting with a beloved aunt who had been a part of my childhood.

It was sometime around 2000 that I first met her. As a great admirer of hers since childhood, you’d think I’d have recorded the exact date of that first, and a few subsequent, meetings. These occasions were small gatherings of food people (I'm not keen on the word "foodies") enjoying a cooking demonstration followed by dinner. In each case, I marveled that the person cooking could do so with such an august personage in the audience.

I’ve always been pretty hard to impress — I waste no more than a glance (and not a single thought) on movie stars and other celebrities — but I was more than a little dazzled by Julia! She was quite easy to talk to as she seemed completely unaware of her special standing in these groups. My mother, who died years before I met Julia, would have been so impressed!

Anyway ... back to the subject of the little chat referred to in the first paragraph ... When I mentioned putting whole wheat flour in my quiche crust, she got that look and asked why I would ruin a perfectly good pie crust with whole wheat flour. Then she uttered those famous words she's said so many times, even to Jacques Pepin: We're not interested in nutrition, we're interested in taste!


Classic Vegetable Quiche (this image - my watercolor sketch of a hen) / www.delightfulrepast.com
My little watercolor sketch of a hen, in a card sent to a friend
who keeps chickens in her suburban backyard
and shares their delicious eggs


So here's the quiche recipe I made up "back in the day;" but in honor of Julia, let's leave out the whole wheat flour just this once! 

As always, I love your comments, though I might be a bit slower to respond to them this time as I'm having hand surgery on Friday and may find typing a bit difficult.

Classic Vegetable Quiche / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Classic Vegetable Quiche


(Makes one 9-inch quiche)

The Pastry (not whole wheat!)

1 1/4 dip-and-sweep cups (6.25 ounces/177 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, well chilled
4 tablespoons ice water
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon additional ice water, if needed

The Filling

2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce/30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced or julienned
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 large eggs (medium, in UK)
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces/177 ml) milk
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces/59 ml) heavy cream
2 teaspoons minced cilantro or flat-leaf parsley (or dried parsley flakes)
1 packed cup (4 ounces/113 grams) grated Cheddar and/or Jack cheese
Sprinkle of paprika

1 In medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. With coarse grater, grate butter into flour bowl. With fingers, quickly work the butter into the flour, leaving some pieces the size of small peas.

2 In small bowl, combine water and vinegar. Sprinkle over flour mixture while stirring with large fork. Add a little more water, if needed.

3 Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and flatten slightly into a 4-inch disk; double wrap; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to four days. May be frozen for up to a month; defrost, wrapped, in the refrigerator.

4 Preheat oven to 450F/230C/Gas8. If dough is thoroughly chilled, let it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling. On lightly floured surface, roll out disk to a 13-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Place pastry in pie plate.* Bake, lined with buttered foil and weighted, for 10 minutes. Remove foil and ceramic pie weights, and continue baking for 10 minutes. Remove crust from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350F/180C/Gas4.

5 While crust is baking, prepare filling. In large skillet, heat the oil and sauté onions for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, zucchini, red bell pepper, half the salt and pepper, marjoram and crushed red pepper to skillet. Sauté vegetables over medium-high heat until all the liquid released by the mushrooms and zucchini evaporates and there is some caramelization. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

6 In medium bowl (I use a 2-quart glass measure), combine eggs, milk, cream, cilantro or parsley, remaining salt and pepper, and cheese. Stir in cooled vegetables. Pour filling into prebaked pie shell. Sprinkle with paprika. Use a pie crust shield to prevent overbrowning of crust edges. Bake for about 45 to 55 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is set but with a bit of jiggle. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes or all the way to room temperature. Delicious at any temperature. I use the silicone hotpads pictured as both pot holders and trivets for hot dishes.

* I think a glass pie plate gives the best results, and I always use the Pyrex Clear Oven Ware 9" Glass Pie Plate. There are lots of quiche recipes in Julia's Mastering the Art of French Cooking (2 Volume Set).

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

08 July 2021

Pull-Apart Potato Dinner Rolls

Pull-Apart Potato Dinner Rolls / www.delightfulrepast.com

My recipe for pull-apart potato rolls makes 30 rolls! Yes, I know that's a lot of rolls. But I'm thinking ahead to when we can start having big gatherings. Also, these freeze well and can be enjoyed on multiple occasions with all the work being done just one time! Part of my streamlined cooking style.

Another time when a double batch of rolls makes sense is when you're delivering meals to people, as I've had occasion to do during the pandemic and for special occasions. It's nice to make enough to keep some for yourself as well!

Homemade dinner rolls simply "make" a comfort food meal. Back in the day, when I was better at multi-tasking, I baked my dinner rolls at the last minute. But these days I bake them as much as a month ahead and freeze them until 2 1/2 hours before serving time. Of course, you can just go ahead and serve these the day you bake them; but I've included instructions for freezing, thawing and reheating.

Yes, I have a big heavy-duty stand mixer, but I make all my bread by hand. You can do this in your mixer if you want to, but this lovely soft dough is so easy to handle, you might just want to go "unplugged" on this one.

Pull-Apart Potato Dinner Rolls (this photo, rolls hot and packed for delivery with a meal) / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Pull-Apart Potato Rolls


(Makes 30 rolls)

1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) milk
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 packed cup (7 ounces/198 grams) cooked and well mashed russet potato (from a medium, 8- or 9-ounce, potato)
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) water
5 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (27.5 ounces/780 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 dip-and-sweep cup (5 ounces/142 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (2.33 ounces/66 grams) sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs

1 Grease a 5-quart bowl* with 1 tablespoon of softened butter (for first rise). Grease two 13x9x2-inch baking dishes with 1 tablespoon of softened butter.

* Or two 2- to 2.5-quart bowls if you would like to let each half of the dough rise in separate bowls as I do when I don't want to get the huge bowl out of the highest cupboard!

2 Put milk and butter in a 1-quart glass measure. Microwave on high power until butter is melted and milk is close to a simmer. Stir until all the butter is melted. Stir in the mashed potato, then the water.

Tip: If you're having mashed potatoes for dinner, you can take out a cup of mashed-up potato and freeze it in a glass storage container for the next time you're making potato rolls. Then move from freezer to refrigerator the morning before the day you're making the rolls.

3 In a 4-quart bowl, whisk together 5 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (27.5 ounces/780 grams) of flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour, then add potato mixture and egg to the well. With dough whisk or large wooden spoon, slowly stir until soft, shaggy dough comes together.

4 Spread 1/2 cup of flour onto work surface, and reserve 1/2 cup to use as needed. Turn the dough out onto floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, adding more flour if needed, until the dough forms a smooth ball. Place smooth ball of dough in buttered bowl and turn to coat all sides of dough. Cover bowl with buttered lid or plastic wrap and let rise until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

5 Punch dough down (by pressing down in center and folding in edges), turn out on lightly floured surface. Using a bench scraper, divide the dough in half, working on one pan of rolls at a time. Divide one of the two halves into 15 equal pieces by first dividing it into 3 equal pieces then rolling each piece into a thick log and cutting each log into 5 equal pieces. Keep dough pieces covered with plastic wrap or overturned bowl as you shape each piece into a ball, pulling edges under and pinching them together on the bottom. I also give them a little roll on the unfloured counter, a motion sort of like moving a computer mouse around. Place in 3 rows of 5 in buttered baking dish. Spray the same piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray, cover dish lightly. Repeat with second half of dough. Let rise until rolls have doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Note: I can be pretty persnickety about getting my rolls all exactly the same size, so I actually weigh the dough in grams and divide that number by 30, which this time came out to 58 grams (or just slightly over 2 ounces) each.

6 About 10 or 15 minutes ahead, preheat oven to 375F/190C/Gas5. Uncover rolls and bake for 25 minutes, or until well browned. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a center roll should read about 200 to 205F/93 to 96C. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Keeping rolls together, remove rolls from baking dish and cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Double-wrap with foil (probably one layer of heavy-duty would be sufficient); freeze for up to 1 month.

To serve after freezing: Remove from freezer 2 1/2 hours before serving time. Defrost, wrapped, at room temperature for 2 hours. During last 15 minutes, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place foil-wrapped rolls on a cookie sheet and bake about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

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

24 June 2021

Apple Galette - ThermoWorks TimeStack Giveaway

Apple Galette - ThermoWorks TimeStack Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com

The Apple Galette

An apple galette is what I make when I don't have the time, or inclination, to make an Apple Pie—rolling out two crusts, peeling and slicing all those apples, making a pretty crimped edge. I just wasn't up for all that today.

The solution? A galette, or rustic tart, is quicker and easier than a double-crust pie or a tart. You can make it free-form on a baking sheet, as I did for my Rustic Peach Tart, or make it in a 9-inch glass pie plate.

Just make the same amount of dough you would for any 9-inch single-crust pie, but roll it a bit larger to about 14 inches. Center it in the pie plate, not worrying about evening up the ragged edges, pour in the filling, and then bring that raggedy overhanging pastry up over the apples.

I hope you'll leave a comment, enter the giveaway, and perhaps explore more of Delightful Repast while you're here. If you see something you like, be sure to Pin it, tweet it, whatever-social-media-you-have it.


Apple Galette - Rustic Apple Tart (this image, my watercolor sketch of apples on branch) / www.delightfulrepast.com
My watercolor version of a beautiful pencil drawing by UK artist Valerie Callen


The ThermoWorks TimeStack

Even though I had read about the TimeStack, I was shocked when it arrived. This thing is like the grandfather clock of kitchen timers! It's more than 6 inches tall and 4 inches wide, and it needs to be because it has four separate (independent) timers, each with four separate huge-digit, easy-to-read displays (no toggling).

Why do I need a four-channel timer in my home kitchen? Because we use a timer for everything: brewing tea several times a day, checking the rising bread dough, baking, getting the laundry out of the dryer, watering the fruit trees for a certain length of time. We even use a timer as an alarm clock on those rare occasions when we need one.

With four timers set, how do you know what each one is for? With this magnificent instrument, you can record a message for each one! 1. Check the dough. 2. Move the hose. 3. Take the casserole out. 4. Leave for appointment. No more sticky notes!

See the giveaway info below the recipe.


Apple Galette - ThermoWorks TimeStack Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Apple Galette - Rustic Apple Tart


(Makes one 8.5-inch round tart, 6 servings)

Sour Cream Pastry

1 1/4 dip-and-sweep cups (6.25 ounces/177 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) very cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup sour cream (4 ounces/113 grams), plus a little more if needed

Apple Filling

1 1/2 pounds (about 4 medium) apples* (by volume, about 4 cups/1 litre)
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces/50 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon (0.31 ounce/9 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt 

I usually use half each of two varieties; such as, Fuji and Pink Lady, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious, or Braeburn and Pippin.

1 In medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. With coarse grater over bowl, shred the butter over the flour. (Don't try to shred the very last—you'll shred your fingers; just cut it up.) Stir with a large dinner fork, making sure all the shredded butter is coated with flour. Mixture should be very chunky.

2 With the fork, stir in the sour cream. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together and there isn't a lot of dry flour in the bowl, you've used enough sour cream. If not, either add a bit more or sprinkle on up to a tablespoon or so of cold milk, a teaspoon at a time.

3 Turn the crumbly dough out onto a square of plastic wrap and shape it into a 5-inch disk. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days.

4 If you've chilled the dough for just 30 minutes or so, you can roll it out without waiting. You'll need to let thoroughly chilled dough stand at room temperature for 10 to 20 minutes before rolling. Save the square of plastic wrap; you'll be using it again. (I'm very sparing in my use of plastic wrap and like to get as much use out of a piece as possible!)

5 Preheat oven to 425F/220C/Gas7. Prepare the filling just before you roll out the pastry. In tiny bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Peel (or not—sometimes I don't) and core the apples, and slice them into a medium bowl. I slice them like this: Peel the apples, cut them in half through the stem end. With a melon baller, remove the core from each half; with paring knife, trim away the peel from the ends. Cut each half in half lengthwise and slice thinly crosswise. You should have about 4 cups. Stir in the sugar mixture.

6 Lightly flour a square of parchment paper on the counter. Place the disk of dough in the center and sprinkle it lightly with flour. If you like, place the reserved piece of plastic wrap on top of the dough. With floured rolling pin, roll out the disk, rolling from center to edge and rotating by quarter-turns to make a round shape, to a 14-inch circle. Don't worry about ragged edges; this is a rustic tart.

7 Butter a 9-inch glass pie plate, using about 1/2 teaspoon of butter. Transfer dough to pie plate, paper side up; remove paper. Press dough into the pie plate without stretching, leaving the raggedy-edged overhang untrimmed.

8 Pour in the apple filling in an even layer. Bring the overhang up over the apples a little at a time, sort of "pleating" as you go. Don't try to be cute—we're going for rustic here! Bake for 20 minutes; reduce heat to 350F/180C/Gas4 and continue baking for about 45 to 50 minutes, until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling. Can be served from the pie plate or lifted out and placed on a serving plate.


Apple Galette - ThermoWorks TimeStack Giveaway (this photo, the TimeStack) / www.delightfulrepast.com

ThermoWorks TimeStack 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 TimeStack. 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 July 7.

* 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 July 8. If I don't hear back from the winner of the random drawing by noon Eastern time Saturday July 10, a new winner will be selected from the original entrants (those who commented before the giveaway deadline).

Disclosure: ThermoWorks provided a TimeStack 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

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

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