Monday, April 27, 2009

Flatbread - Socca - Whatever.

This is another one of those... really? it works? it tastes good? kind of recipes. It is an adaptation of socca - a basic flatbread recipe - and works great with all kinds of flavoring/etc. The idea of course is from Mark Bittman of the NY Times - forwarded by my dad. 

The kids especially liked it - using it to scoop up hummus and the like.

Give it a try. FYI - the only problem is it takes between 45 minutes and an hour depending on the type of flour you use - but other than the mixing - it pretty much "bakes" itself!

Basic Flatbread

1 1/2 cups flour (I used white flour because that is what I had. You can use whole wheat/chickpea/combination/etc.)
1 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 green onion chopped
1 tsp cumin
pinch of kosher salt (about 1 tsp)

1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. In a 10 inch non-stick skillet, place olive oil.
3. In a bowl, mix together flour, water, green onion, cumin and salt.
4. When oven is hot, put skillet with olive oil in for 2 minutes to heat oil.
5. Remove heated skillet and oil from oven (don't forget to wear a mitt before handling the handle! Ouch!!)
6. Pour batter into skillet. Put back in oven.
7. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour - or until golden brown on edges. You can flip it and cook a bit more if you want something crispier.
8. Cut into wedges and serve!

The texture is not completely crisp - but a bit chewy and crispy at the same time. If you want something less crisp, add a bit more water - or cook for less time. For more crisp, a bit less water and more time. Just watch it so it doesn't burn.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


During Passover I had the thought to make spinach ricotta gnocchi. Also, since my dad was around, and we love to cook together, I thought we would do something we had always talked about. Making cheese.

Yes. Cheese.

Now don't go - Dani, you are out of your mind!

This was so simple I am getting ready to make my next batch. The recipe is also very forgiving - no measuring temperature or anything.

Here is the recipe - next time I will take pictures and post. (Adapted from Mark Bittman)

1/2 gallon milk (I used whole milk)
2 cups buttermilk
salt (optional - the first time we didn't use it)

1. Place 3 layers of cheesecloth on top of one another - wet them, wring them out, put in the strainer over a bowl.

2. Place milk in heavy bottomed pot. Heat milk until it is bubbling up the sides a bit. Every once and a while stir it and "scrape" the bottom so the milk doesn't burn. This takes about 10 minutes or so... maybe a bit more.

3. When milk is bubbling, pour in the buttermilk and start to stir constantly. Remove from heat.

4. Keep stirring. What will happen is the curds will separate from the whey. It will look like egg whites floating in yellow liquid. Seriously cool.

5. You can add salt at this point or not. You can also add salt later.

6. Pour curds and whey through cheesecloth and strainer.

7. Since we made ricotta style cheese, we left it for about 15 minutes, then put it in a container. If you want more "compacted" cheese, use 4 cups of buttermilk instead of 2, simply take the ends of the cheesecloth, twist together and tie, let whey continue to drip through strainer for a bit, (you can hang it and let it "drip out") then refrigerate.

This was not only easy, but tasted delicious.

We incorporate the ricotta into what eventually became a spinach/ricotta casserole/lasagna.

Delicious. You need to try it and see it to believe it!