Archive for the 'Deborah Madison' Category

Semolina pudding with blood orange syrup

January 27, 2010

I’m a terrible hoarder. Hidden about our flat (which, as I may have mentioned, is very small), are old bits of string, buttons, copious stashes of plastic bags, shoes with broken straps, unidentifiable wiring and multiple unused packets of obscure ingredients. Often in my enthusiasm for trying a new recipe, I rush out and buy something that I probably only need one tablespoon of for that particular meal and have no clear intention of ever using again.

Every now and then (usually in January, it seems like a January kind of thing to do) I go through my cupboards and sort them out, which generally means I end up with exactly the same unused and out of date things I had before, only now they’re neatly arranged. In the process of one of these sortings-out recently, I came across an almost full packet of semolina which I’d bought for a sort of Moroccan yoghurt cake which didn’t turn out very well. At the same time, I was leafing through the Greens cookbook and came across this recipe for a semolina pudding with blood orange syrup. It just so happened that I’d had a delivery of blood oranges in my veg box that week. I took this as a sign from the universe that it was meant to be.

I know semolina pudding may not sound very exciting, and to be honest, it wasn’t. But that’s really no bad thing, in my opinion. I think some puddings are meant to be on the plain and humble side, like rice pudding or baked apples or oatmeal cookies. It’s also, as you may have noticed, not very picturesque – apart from the rather kitsch pink syrup – but what it is, warm from the oven, is like cake, but softer, or maybe souffle, but heavier, and with the faint vanilla sweetness of custard. The next day, when I had some cold from the fridge, it had firmed up and I liked it even better.

Sadly, it only used a negligible proportion of my semolina stash, so either I’m making this every week or I have to find some other way to use it up…

Semolina pudding with blood orange syrup  Serves 4-6

For the pudding:
1/2 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
450ml milk
110g sugar
50g semolina
25g butter
1 tsp grated orange zest
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 180c. Generously butter a baking dish – I used a 19cm round one. It doesn’t matter if the mixture comes all the way up to the rim as the pudding won’t rise much.

Heat the milk with the sugar and vanilla (either the extract, or scrape the seeds into the milk and add the pod) in a large pan. Just before the milk reaches boiling point add the semolina gradually, stirring to remove any lumps. Cook until the mixture has thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from the heat, taking out the vanilla pod (if used) and stir in the orange zest and butter. Separate the eggs and beat the yolks with a little of the semolina mixture to warm them before mixing into the pan. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and then fold them into the mixture gently. You don’t need to be too thorough so don’t worry if it’s a little streaky.

Pour the mixture into the buttered dish and bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour. You may need to cover the top loosely with silver foil to stop it browning too much (I did!) When done, the centre should be firm and lightly browned. Let the pudding cool for an hour, at which point it will still be warm, or cool it completely and refridgerate.

For the syrup:
Several strips of orange peel
Juice of 2 oranges (preferably blood oranges, but normal oranges will be fine)
100g sugar
1 tbsp Grand Marnier (optional, I didn’t have any)
2 cloves
cinnamon stick

Cut the orange peel into very thin slices. Combine it with the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for 10 minutes. Pour some of the syrup over each portion of the pudding.

Adapted from Deborah Madison’s ‘The Greens Cook Book’.


Mushroom pizza

January 25, 2010

When I make pizza at home, I generally use a different recipe each time. None of them have been bad, I just haven’t found a definitive version yet; they’re always just a little bit too bready, too doughy. And I don’t mind that, I mean I like bread – even more with tasty things grilled on top –  and I don’t really expect to replicate the perfect authentic Italian pizza in a grimy domestic oven. But I still can’t resist trying new dough recipes, just in case. Add the fact that I got a pizza stone for Christmas, and I had the perfect excuse to make the Greens pizza last night.

I don’t know if it was the pizza stone, or this recipe, or more likely both, but let me tell you – this pizza was outrageously delicious. The base was soft in the middle and crisp at the edges, as it should be, even though I didn’t stretch it thin enough. And on top, an intense tangle of garlicky mushrooms, both fresh chestnut mushrooms and dried wild mushrooms for a deeper, fuller mushroom flavour, then bright  lemon thyme and soft, milky mozzarella (sorry, I just went a bit Gregg Wallace there). This is what mushrooms on toast aspires to in its wildest dreams.

I modified the recipe for the topping slightly to omit the jack and dry jack cheese called for – I didn’t think I’d be able to find those easily in the UK, and also I think that mozzarella is the most common pizza cheese for a reason. Mozzarella is just right on pizza. I got mine from the Moroccan deli, oddly enough – I didn’t know Moroccan people ate a lot of mozzarella, but I guess everyone likes pizza. I got a bit carried away while I was there, as I always do – giant tubs of halva! Black mountain honey! Fresh feta! – and I couldn’t resist buying some clementines with their shiny green leaves still attached and lemons in cute little dinosaur wrapping paper.

I aspire to having go-to recipes, standards that I can pull out whenever I feel like making a certain thing and know that they will turn out exactly as I want. I think that this may well become my go-to recipe for pizza (well, at least until the next one comes along).

Mushroom pizza  Makes 2 10-inch pizzas

For the dough, you can use all white flour or a mixture of white, whole wheat and rye. This gives texture and flavour, according to the recipe notes. I’d just used up the last of my rye flour, so I substituted more whole wheat flour for the rye. I should also mention that the original topping recipe included leeks, which I wasn’t about to go out and buy, so I left them out. If you want to use them, you’ll need 4 medium leeks for 2 people (!) Saute them until soft and add them on first when you dress the pizza.

For the pizza dough:
6 tbsp hot water
6 tbsp milk
2 x 7g packets instant yeast
large pinch of sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp rye flour
4 tbsp whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat bread flour)
210g plain white flour

Combine the water and milk. The mixture should be about body temperature, so you’ll need the water to be fairly hot if the milk’s come straight from the fridge. Add the yeast and sugar and give it a good stir. Mix in the olive oil, salt, and rye/whole wheat flour, if using, then gradually add the white flour, stirring to combine into a soft dough. It should remain moist, so you may not need all of the white flour.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until it’s pliable and no longer sticking to the surface. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, 40 minutes to 1 hour. I turned on the oven for a few minutes and then put the dough in the switched off oven, with a loaf tin full of just-boiled water to keep the temperature up.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to its highest setting, about 250c. Heat the pizza stone if you have one. You’ll need to heat the oven for about 20 minutes to get it good and hot – if you have an oven thermometer, check on that.

To shape the pizzas, separate the dough into two balls and then roll them each out into a circle on a well floured surface. Caution! Don’t do what I did and make them look all pretty on an inadequately floured surface and then have to pull them apart and squidge them back together getting it into the oven. I think the best thing is to flour something that you can lift and slide the pizza from, like some foil or a tray, and shape them on that. The pizzas should only be about 1/8 inch thick. You can pick them up and stretch them with your hands to get them thinner.

Cover the dough with the topping:

For the topping:
30g dried wild mushrooms (usually a whole pack)
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
200g fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced (the recipe called for  twice this many mushrooms, but I think what we had was plenty)
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
about 2 tbsp fresh herbs (I used parsley and lemon thyme, but use any herb you’d want to eat with mushrooms)
4 tbsp white wine or water (optional)
1/2 ball mozzarella

Pour boiling water over the dried mushrooms, just to cover, and leave to soak for 15 minutes. Lift them out and squeeze dry, reserving the straining juices.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute the dried mushrooms over high heat for 1 minute. Add the fresh mushrooms and 1/2 tsp salt and continue cooking until soft and juicy. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more, until the mushrooms are done. Season with pepper and more salt if needed. Add half the herbs. Remove the mushrooms from the pan with a slotted spoon.

Now, the recipe directs you to make a syrupy reduction with the reserved mushroom juices and the white wine. The idea is that you’re left with a tablespoon or two of sauce which you drizzle over the pizza at the end. However, I’m not sure I’d do this again – mushrooms are already a fairly wet vegetable and the middle of the pizza ended up slightly soggy. It didn’t ruin it, by any means, I’m just not sure it’s worth the effort.

Cover the prepared pizza base with two-thirds of the cheese, the mushrooms, and then the rest of the cheese. Slide it into the top third of the oven, onto the pizza stone if using, and bake for 8-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and scatter with the rest of the herbs before serving.

Adapted from Deborah Madison’s ‘The Greens Cook Book’.

Corn, bean and pumpkin stew

January 20, 2010

This week, our featured book is ‘The Greens Cook Book’. Greens is a legendary (in the US, at least) vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco and one of the first things I noticed about the book, published in 1987, is that it really has dated extremely well. OK, there is one chapter on timbales. But apart from that, it heavily features pasta, pizza, mexican flavours, imaginative soups; there’s a lot of advice on vegetarian menu planning and matching wine with vegetarian food, hinting at a time when vegetarianism was still new and exciting, but none of the recipes would look out of place if the book were to be published today. It makes you wonder why mushroom risotto and goat’s cheese salad are still the default vegetarian options at many restaurants over 20 years later.

I once visited Greens. I was in San Francisco for work, and so my visit was somewhat hampered by the awkwardness of dining alone, but I do remember walking a really long way and eating the most heavenly vegan chocolate cake. It definitely involved caramel, or coconut, or both, but either way it’s not in the book.

So, in the absence of chocolate caramel coconut cake, I present you with this stew. Not quite the same, but it is probably much better for you. It’s big and hearty and designed for eating from large bowls, a cross between a soup and a stew. It’s almost sweet, a little bit spicy, a hearteningly colourful slurp of warmth. The first time, I ate it with a generous scattering of coriander, but for lunch today I stirred in a spoonful of babaghanoush, on a whim, and that really worked. Smokiness is good here. Next time, I’m looking forward to crumbling over some goat’s cheese feta I have in the fridge.

Corn, bean and pumpkin stew  Serves 4-6

I made this with one chilli and added in a bit of merken, which is a smoky, spicey mix I picked up in Chile. If you want the heat to be a bit more pronounced, use more chillies and/or add in cayenne pepper with the spices.

1 tin pinto beans (other beans would be fine: black-eyed, kidney, black beans etc.)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
300g frozen sweetcorn, defrosted, or 1 tin sweetcorn (or 3 ears fresh corn)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp oregano
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp paprika (I used regular, but I now think smoked would be good here)
500ml vegetable stock
1 winter squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes (I have no idea what sort of squash mine was, but it weighed just over 1kg when peeled and deseeded)
1-2 chillies, seeded and finely chopped
coriander or parsley, for garnish

Toast the cumin seeds in a hot frying pan until they smell fragrant – watch to make sure they don’t burn. Add the oregano, stir for 5 seconds and transfer the spices to a spice grinder or pestle and mortar. Add the cloves and grind to a powder.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion over a high heat for 1 minute. Lower the heat, add the garlic, spices, paprika, cinnamon stick and salt. Here’s where you might want to add in your own choice of extra spices. Stir well to combine, then add 1/4 of the stock and cook until the onion is soft. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the squash and most of the rest of the stock. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until the squash is softened but not quite done.

Add the corn, beans and fresh chillies, and thin with more stock if necessary. Cook until the squash is tender. Mine was already falling apart at this point, so I left it there. Check the seasonings and serve with your choice of garnish.

Adapted from Deborah Madison’s ‘The Greens Cook Book: Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine’.