Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Skillet Bread

Mediterranean Skillet Bread

A well-seasoned cast iron skillet is a treasured piece of kitchenware. Today our small 8-inch cast iron skillet was put to good use baking this sturdy, flavorful Mediterranean Skillet Bread. Although perfect as an accompaniment to soups and salads, the Cooking School staff decided to slice it horizontally and use it for sandwiches - both hot and cold. If you are not a fan of olives, you can omit them from the recipe. Don't be afraid to experiment with other add-ins like chopped sun-dried tomatoes and bacon. You'll love the aroma wafting from the oven as this easy quick bread bakes. It will take some self-discipline, but leave the bread alone until it cools completely before assembling a sandwich. Your reward will be a firmer loaf that is easier to slice.


Preheat oven to 450°. Position oven rack in lower-middle position. In a separate bowl, combine milk, sour cream and egg together, whisking until smooth. Heat the oil in a 8-inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat until oil shimmers. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour all but 2 teaspoons of oil mixture into milk mixture, whisking to incorporate.


Whisk flour, basil, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold milk mixture into flour mixture, just until combined.



Fold in olives; do not overmix. 



The batter at this point will be thick.



Quickly scrape it into hot skillet and smooth top. 


Sprinkle the top with remaining cheese.



Transfer the pan to the preheated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.



Let bread cool slightly in skillet before removing. An 8-inch Lodge skillet is perfect for this application. The Gourmet Galeria has a full selection of cast iron products from Lodge.



Run a knife around the edge of the skillet to release the bread, Remove and cool  on a rack. The bread will be good served warm or at room temperature depending on the use.


Our sandwich was composed with Boar's Head's rosemary ham, heirloom tomatoes, Dijon mustard and then slices of Boar's Head  manchego cheese. The sandwich in the center was served cold. The sandwich on the right was browned in the cast iron skillet on the stove top and then popped in a 350 degree oven until the cheese was melted. Both delicious!


Mediterranean Skillet Olive Bread

1 cup all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup lightly packed
 coarsely shredded Parmesan cheese
½ cup whole milk
½ cup sour cream
1 large egg
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped


Preheat oven to 450°. Position oven rack in lower-middle position.
.
Whisk flour, basil, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup of cheese and toss to coat with flour.
 
In a separate bowl, combine milk, sour cream and egg together, whisking until smooth.
 
Heat oil in a 8-inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat until oil shimmers. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour all but 2 teaspoons of oil mixture into milk mixture, whisking to incorporate.
 
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold milk mixture into flour mixture, just until combined. Fold in olives; do not overmix. Batter at this point will be thick. Quickly scrape it into hot skillet and smooth top. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese.

Transfer pan to oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of bread comes out clean. Let bread cool slightly in skillet before removing. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Serves 4

Thursday, July 17, 2014

White BBQ Sauce

Southern-Style White Barbecue

When we discover a trending food idea, how can we possibly ignore it?! Southern-style white BBQ sauce is popping up in print and online. Unable to resist the challenge of trying something new to us, we mixed some up to try with grilled chicken. Great for grilling, the boneless, skinless chicken breasts at Jungle Jim's International Market are all-natural and that includes no injected solutions. Armed with a pack of chicken to grill, we gathered the simple ingredients to try this BBQ sauce. No thick, sweet red sauce here. Not even a splash of yellow from a Carolina mustard sauce. This, indeed, is white! Not wanting to present you with a bland looking plate, Leigh mixed a quick cream of fresh corn with red peppers and scallions to add a little color. It's an easy dinner idea for summer.



The sauce ingredients are common, pantry and refrigerator-friendly ingredients. If you are not familiar with sambal oelek, it is a thick paste of ground red chilies with vinegar and salt. You can find it on the shelves in our International Department.


Whisk the ingredients together. This sauce can be made up to 24 hours in advance. 


Cover and refrigerate until needed. The flavors will meld and you may want to add more sambal oelek if you like a spicy kick! Get your grill hot and chicken ready. Reserve half of the white BBQ sauce to drizzle and dip. Baste the chicken several times while grilling. 



The fresh corn side dish isn't really a recipe - it's more of a spontaneous culinary concoction. Take the kernels off of 2-3 ears of fresh sweet corn. Saute with a tablespoon of butter and a 1/2 clove of minced garlic. Stir until the butter has melted. You can make this side dish before you grill the chicken - just keep warm until ready to serve.


Add cream or half and half - we had some cream. Pour in about 1/4 cup. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. The cream will be absorbed.


For color and flavor, add some diced red pepper (or you can use diced tomato). Saute for another five minutes or until the pepper is tender-crisp.


Add a tablespoon or so of chopped scallions and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


When the chicken is done grilling, plate it up with a side of the corn. Drizzle the reserved white BBQ sauce over the grilled chicken and pour some into a small bowl for dipping. Enjoy. Let us know if you tried and what you think!


Southern-Style White BBQ Sauce

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon sambal oelek (we recommend adding 2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 clove of garlic, peeled, minced and mashed

Whisk the ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate. This sauce can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
olive oil, salt and pepper

Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Reserve half of the sauce for dipping. Baste lightly with the sauce as you grill the chicken until it is done. Serve the chicken with the reserved sauce.




Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mediterranean Bulgur Salad

What's For Lunch?

For those of you who have visited Jungle Jim's International Market, you might find our dilemma to be surprising - almost blasphemous! We work in a food-lover's paradise and yet there are days we can't find anything to eat for lunch! We debate our options and usually settle on making something simple and hopefully, delicious. We hit the jackpot today with this fresh, healthy Mediterranean Bulgur Salad. You may be familiar with bulgur; it is the traditional grain found in tabbouleh. This is a sturdy salad that will pack up perfectly for lunch. We added some grilled chicken because we had it available. Vegetarians can skip the chicken and enjoy a meat-free salad for lunch. If Mediterranean cuisine is something you enjoy, join chef Joanne Drilling for her Fresh Meditarranean class at The Cooking School.


Bulgur can be found in the bulk or Middle East section of the store. #2 medium bulgur is just right in this salad - not too small and not too large. 


Boil 3 cups of water for 1 1/2 cups of bulgur. Pour the boiling water over the bulgur in a large bowl.


Stir the water and bulgur. Let  it stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until the water is absorbed and bulgur is room temperature, 35-45 minutes. While the bulgur is softening, prepare the rest of the salad ingredients.



 Fluff up the bulgur with a fork or spoon.



 Whisk the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.


Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, scallions, cheese, pine nuts and parsley to bulgur. 



Pour the dressing over top and toss gently until thoroughly combined.


Serve the salad with grilled meat or shrimp to make a heartier entree or enjoy it just as it is.


Mediterranean Bulgur Salad

1½ cups uncooked bulgur, #2
1½ cups boiling water
6 tablespoons olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
10 ounces grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
½ English cucumber, diced
¼ cup kalamata olives, sliced
4 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
½ cup toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons chopped parsley


Place bulgur in a large bowl. In a large saucepan, bring about 3 cups water to a boil. Measure 1½ cups of boiling water, pour over bulgur and stir. Let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until water is absorbed and bulgur is room temperature, 35-45 minutes.

Whisk olive oil, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.

Add chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, scallions, cheese, pine nuts and parsley to bulgur. Pour dressing over top and toss gently until thoroughly combined.


Serves 6

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mango Yogurt Popsicles

Frozen Summer Treat

If you were at the Summer Thai Grill class last night at the The Cooking School, you enjoyed a Mango Yogurt Popsicle at the end of class. An Alphonso mango is a sweet, rich flavored fruit that is grown in India. Jungle Jim's International Market carries a sweetened Alphonso mango pulp that works perfectly for this fragrant, flavor-packed popsicle. You'll find cans of Alphonso mango pulp in the Indian section of the International department. 


The ingredient list is short:  mango pulp, vanilla yogurt, heavy cream, sugar and lemon juice. For this recipe, we used Chobani 0% fat yogurt, but feel free to use any brand of vanilla yogurt that you enjoy eating - low-fat or full-fat, too.


For a swirled effect, combine the yogurt, sugar and 1/2 cup cream in one bowl. In another bowl, add the mango pulp, lemon juice and the remaining 1/2 cup of cream. You could combine all the ingredients and make a solid color mango pop.


Pour the yogurt mixture into each popsicle mold and fill it half full.


We used the Frosty Pop Maker brand of popsicle molds available in Gourmet Galeria. The molds are very stable in the base and don't tip over when you pour in the liquids. As you can tell from the first photo, we also poured the mixture into a small, 3-oz. disposable plastic cup. The downside of using a cup is that you have to remember to put in the sticks when the mixture is half frozen. Despite that, it is a fun, inexpensive alternative to purchasing molds.


Pour the mango mixture over the white yogurt. Fill to the top, just leaving a little space to snap on the base with the stick.


Add the mango mixture and with a skewer, vigorously stir the two mixtures to "swirl" the colors.



Once you have all 8 popsicles filled, swirled and tops securely on, slide into the freezer and patiently wait until they are frozen solid. If you are a mango fan, you are going to love these! 



Mango Yogurt Popsicles

1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 cup heavy cream, divided use
¼ cup sugar, or more to taste
1 cup mango puree or canned Alphonso mango pulp
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


Whisk together the yogurt, ½ cup cream and the sugar.

Whisk together the mango puree, lemon juice and the remaining ½ cup cream. Taste and sweeten with additional sugar, if desired.

Fill popsicle mold or disposable plastic cup half full with the vanilla yogurt. Top with the mango-cream mixture. Using a skewer, stir vigorously, until the mango puree ‘bleeds’ into the vanilla yogurt, creating pretty swirls.

Freeze until solid, preferably overnight. To unmold, run water over the popsicle molds and serve.

Makes 8-10 popsicles, depending on the size of your molds


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Orange Pecan Cake


Coffee Break with Cake

Dense, moist, delicious with a kiss of orange - that describes this cake. If you follow The Cooking School's blog, it is evident that we enjoy a one-pan cake. This particular cake is not too sweet, so you might enjoy it for breakfast, dessert or coffee break. What makes this cake unusual is the use of the whole orange to impart flavor and aroma. If you happen to have leftovers, the taste and texture are still the same the next day. 


The cake will easily come out of the pan if you line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the bottom of the cake pan, line with parchment paper and then grease the paper. If you've never lined a round pan, simply place the pan on top of a piece of parchment, trace the round edge with a pencil, then cut out along the inside of the pencil line. It should fit perfectly into the pan. You can use cooking spray to grease the pan or butter - whatever you have.



Quarter the orange, remove the seeds, and add it to the bowl of the food processor.


Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides at least once.


You can tell from the photo that the end result should look somewhat like the texture of applesauce.


Dissolve the baking soda in 1/2 cup of water. Add all the ingredients except the nuts to the food processor bowl.


Process until combined. Add the pecans. You can fold them in with a spoon or pulse a couple times to combine. Take care not to over-pulse; you may lose the texture of the nuts.


Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.


Bake 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.



Cool on a rack for 15-20 minutes, run a knife around edge of cake and invert on to a cooling rack to cool completely.



Orange Pecan Cake

 

1 naval orange, washed and unpeeled
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup water
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
Coarse baker’s sugar, optional, for top


Preheat oven to 325°. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper and grease paper.

Cut the orange into quarters, remove any seeds and blend in a food processor until smooth, scraping down sides at least once.

Dissolve baking soda in ½ cup water and add to the food processor with butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour. Process to combine. Add pecans and stir with a spoon or pulse a few times to incorporate.

Pour batter into prepared cake tin and sprinkle with coarse baker’s sugar. Bake 50-60 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15-20 minutes, run a knife around edge of cake and invert on to cooling rack to cool completely.
Serves 8


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Quiche Lorraine Frittata

Summertime Picnic Fare

June is a good month to picnic outdoors whether at the park or on your deck. Served warm or at room temperature, a frittata is ideal picnic fare. It's delicious, not messy, hearty, yet surprisingly light. Along with a fresh green salad dressed with a simple vinaigrette and chilled wine, this Quiche Lorraine Frittata is a relaxing, fuss-free meal. We used our favorite Applewood smoked bacon and Gruyere cheese for a sensational flavor combination. Jungle Jim's International Market offers an incredible selection of domestic and imported cheeses, so you can experiment with something other than Gruyere if you'd like to. And if you are a frequent shopper, you know we carry a grand selection of beer and wine!


Applewood smoked bacon is heavenly! The aroma and flavor is hard to beat. You can use regular bacon, but we wouldn't suggest it. Cooking bacon in the oven is quick and less messy than frying on the stovetop. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, line a baking sheet with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the bacon is as crisp as you like. Applewood smoked bacon is thick, so thin bacon may take less time.



Remove the bacon from the pan and allow to cool on paper towels while absorbing some of the fat.


Line a 7x11-inch baking dish with parchment paper. The edges will bunch up a bit in the corners - you can see from the photo that it looks rustic, not so neat and tidy.


Chop the bacon. Try not to snack on a couple pieces. Better yet, bake a couple extra slices in anticipation of "sampling."



Have your ingredients ready. You'll have to shred your own Gruyere. Whisk the eggs and milk. Fold in the bacon and cheese, keeping back a small amount of each to sprinkle on top. Season with black pepper to taste.


 Pour into the parchment-lined baking dish. You can see the reserved amount of cheese and bacon that we scattered on top before baking.


Bake 35 - 40 minutes or until set.


Allow the frittata to rest 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. You can cut the frittata right in the baking dish or you can lift it out by the edges of the parchment paper, transfer to a cutting board and slice.



Quiche Lorraine Frittata

8 large eggs
¾ cup milk
8 ounces applewood smoked bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
6 ounces shredded gruyere cheese
Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 325°. Line an 11x7-inch baking dish with parchment paper – just scrunch it roughly at the corners.

Whisk together the eggs and milk in a large bowl. Stir in the bacon and cheese, reserving a little of each for the top. Season with black pepper to taste. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Scatter reserved bacon and cheese over top.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden and set. Remove from oven and allow to rest 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. May be served hot, warm or at room temperature.


Serves 4-6