Thursday, October 1, 2015

Garlic Soup

Au Revoir Chef Pepin! (Until We Meet Again), we at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) are saying farewell to our featured chef for the last six months, Jacques Pepin. It has been a wonderful adventure cooking with Jacques Pepin recipes and will be seeing him again in one of our potluck weeks. The new featured chef for the next six months is Ellie Krieger. She is a certified dietitian and nutritionist with several books to her name, with delicious and healthy recipes. If you would like to join us, do drop by IHCC for more info.

To bid "farewell" to Jacques Pepin, I've made his Garlic Soup. I do not cook creamy soup like this as often, and this sounds so French! haha! There's leek, garlic and potatoes, all my favourites. A quick and easy soup to make, yet it is so flavourful.

Leek and whole peeled garlic are sauteed in some olive oil till soften, then the potatoes are added in along with some stock and salt to taste. As usual, I've added a few extra garlic. Boil gently for about 30 minutes until the potatoes are soft, then the mixture is pureed in a food mill, I've used an immersion blender which takes only a minute or so. Stir two tablespoons of butter through the hot soup and serve with croutons.

To make the croutons, cube some white breads, heat some olive oil in a skillet and drop the bread cubes into the hot oil, turning them often until the bread cubes are brown and crispy.

I garnished with some chopped chives from my garden pot. Lovely garlicky creamy soup! The potatoes makes a natural thickener and adds creaminess to the soup. A winner with my son and daughter. Delicious eaten with the croutons. 

Garlic Soup
(adapted from "Essential Pepin", Jacques Pepin)
Serves 6 to 8
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium leeks, trimmed (leaving most of the green), split, washed, and sliced
12–15 garlic cloves
7 cups homemade chicken stock (see recipe below) or low-salt canned chicken broth
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 cups cubed (1/2-inch) firm-textured white bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy pot. When it is hot, add the leeks and garlic and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the stock, potatoes, and salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and boil gently for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet. When it is hot, add the bread cubes and sauté, stirring almost continuously, until they are evenly browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
When the soup is cooked, push it through a food mill. Stir the butter into the hot soup and serve with the croutons.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week,
Au Revoir Chef Pepin! (Until We Meet Again)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Garlic and Parsley Hearthbreads

"September 2015 IHCC Potluck", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). For our potluck week, I've made Nigella's garlicky flatbread.

I've been wanting to make this flatbread for quite sometime. With garlic and parsley, it already sounds so aromatic. According to Nigella, "These are something between garlic naan and herby focaccia". Yes, it is similar to a focaccia and can't help thinking how close it is to a fougasse too, when I took a crispy bite of it! Crispy crust with chewy texture on the inside.

Oops...ignore the pinch-off corners of the bread! The photos before this, are not clear, so I've got to clean the lens of the camera and took the photo again, but that corner was torn off by then, (for quality control purposes!! hahaha!).

The dough is mixed and left to proof before it's punched down, separate into two halves and shape each half into squares or oval, flattened and leave to proof until puffy. Make some dimples on the puffy breads with your fingers, and spread the garlicky parsley mixture over it. Bake till golden and crispy. I have reduced the amount of salt slightly to 3/4 tablespoon and the next time, I will reduce just a little bit more. I have used only 1 cup of water, and still find that the dough is sticky, so I have added about 1/4 cup of bread flour. The type of flour and our humidity weather do make a difference when mixing a dough for bread making, so adjust accordingly.

For the garlic and parsley mixture, firstly the garlic is baked for about 45 minutes, enclosed in a parcel of foil. Leave until cool enough to handle. Parsley leaves are chopped in the food processor, then the garlic is squeezed out of their skins into the food processor and process again. Pour in some oil, while processing to a paste. I "overdo" it for both the garlic and the parsley. I added extra garlic heads and used a large bunch of parsley. The paste does not look anywhere like Nigella's, but I am not complaining, it tasted good! I added some salt and coarse black pepper to the paste too. (I omitted the sprinkle of salt during serving).

These hearthbreads are yummy! Especially so when fresh out of the oven. I've baked them a little longer than the recipe stated, because I love crispy crust. With the crispy crust and chewy bread texture on the inside, this reminded me of eating a fougasse! And even though the garlicky-parsley paste did not look at all like Nigellas, it is delicious! And I'm glad I've added some coarse black pepper, yummy! 

I did not sprinkle any salt or drizzle any oil over it. The paste is oily enough and the bread itself is salty enough. Good enough to eat it as it is. I had this with a mug of hot tea, it was good!

Garlic and Parsley Hearthbreads
(adapted from "How To Be A Domestic Goddess", Nigella Lawson)
3-1/2 cups white bread flour (additional 1/4 cup)
1 package (1/4 ounce) rapid-rise yeast or 1 tablespoon fresh yeast (2 teaspoons instant yeast)
1 tablespoon salt (use about 3/4 tablespoon, and will reduce slightly more the next time)
1-1/3 - 1-2/3 cups warm water (1 cup)
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing and for pouring over the garlic
3 large or 4 small heads of garlic
extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
bunch of flat-leaf parsley
1/4 tsp coarse black pepper (my addition)
salt for sprinkling

2 baking sheets

Preheat the oven to 375F.
Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a bowl. Pour 1-1/3 cups warm water into a measuring cup and stir in the olive oil. Mix the liquid with the dry ingredients to make a soft but firm dough, adding more liquid as needed, and either turn this out onto a surface and knead by hand or keep in the bowl and use a mixer fitted with the dough hook and knead until smooth, supple, and full of elastic life. Form into a ball, wash out and dry the bowl, oil it, and turn the dough in it so it's lightly oiled all over. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise for an hour or so until doubled in size.

While the bread is rising, trim the tops off the heads of the garlic, making sure they remain whole, sit them in some torn-off squares of foil, dribble over some oil, and wrap them loosely. That's to say, the package should be baggy but the foil tightly sealed at the edges. Cook the garlic packages for 45 minutes; they should not be mushy by this stage but still just holding their shape. Remove from the oven, unwrap, and let cool till you can handle them. Turn the oven up to 400F.

Tear the parsley leaves from their stems and add a good handful to the bowl of the food processor - not worrying if some stems here and there are left on - and chop. Squeeze the soft garlic cloves out of their skins and into the bowl and process again. Pour in enough extra-virgin oil to make a runny paste down the funnel, while still processing, and leave this pungent emulsion where it is while you get back to the bread.

When the dough's risen, punch it down and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Divide the dough in half, and get out 2 sheets of baking parchment. Sit a ball of dough on each, and roll out to form a curved rectangle or bulky oval. Then, using your hands, press out a little more. Transfer the breads on their papers to the baking sheets, cover with tea towels and leave to rise and get puffy for about 25 minutes.

Poke your fingers all over the tops of the breads to dimple them, then go back to the processor and pulse once or twice to make sure the parsley, garlic, and oil are combined and pour this green mixture all over the corrugated flatbreads.

Put the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the breads are cooked - becoming golden in parts, with the garlic flecks a darker brown, and the rims puffing up around the oily topping. Whip out of the oven and drizzle over a generous amount of good extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle over some salt and set down on the table for people to tear greedily at with their bare hands.
Serves 4 generously.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week 
September 2015 IHCC Potluck

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Flat Potato Omelette

"Seasonal Specialities", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), where we are cooking any Jacques Pepin dish made with seasonal ingredients. Well, in Malaysia, we are blessed with tropical climate, most of our veggies comes from the highlands where the weather is very much cooler but sunny, which is ideal for growing veggies. We do not have the four seasons, so most of our produce are available the whole year round. Vegetables and most fruits, like pumpkin, zucchinis, tomatoes, cabbages, salad greens, mangoes, watermelon, pineapples, etc... are available the whole year! How lucky are we! So in line with this week's theme, I've chosen tomatoes (which is always in season!), and some herbs from my garden pots.

Simple, quick and easy dish to prepare. Onions and potatoes are sauteed in a some oil until brown. Arrange a layer of sliced tomatoes over the top, cover and cook for a minute. Break the eggs into a bowl, mix with the chopped herbs, and season with salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the tomatoes, using a fork to gently stir so that the eggs flow between the tomatoes and potatoes. Cook for a minute or two, and place the skillet in the oven, using the top broiler, for a few minutes until the eggs are set. 

A mixture of fresh herbs from my potted garden ; cilantro, chives, Thai basil.

Slide the omelet onto a plate and cut to wedges to serve. 

I made this for an afternoon lunch with some leftover salad from the day before. I like the onions which has caramelized, and would add on extra onions the next time. Lovely with the chopped fresh herbs, tomatoes and potatoes. 

Flat Potato Omelette
(adapted from "Essential Pepin", Jacques Pepin)
Serves 4
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sliced onions
2 medium baking (Idaho) potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 large tomato (about 8 ounces), cut into thin slices
6 large eggs, preferably organic
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh chives (I used a mixture of chives, cilantro and basil)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil and butter in an 8- to 10-inch nonstick skillet until hot but not smoking. Add the onions and potatoes and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to brown on all sides.
Add the tomato slices to the skillet, arranging them so they cover most of the potato and onion mixture. Cover and cook for 1 minute.
Meanwhile, break the eggs into a bowl. Add the chives, salt, and pepper and mix with a fork.
Preheat the broiler. Add the egg mixture to the skillet and stir gently with a fork for about 1 minute so the eggs flow between the potatoes and tomatoes. Slide the skillet under the broiler, 3 to 4 inches from the heat, and cook for about 3 minutes, until the eggs are set.
Slide onto a platter, cut into wedges, and serve.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week,
"Seasonal Specialities"

grab button for I Heart Cooking Clubs


Related Posts with Thumbnails