Posts from October 2013

Baking Serendipity, Polenta "Pizza" with Crumbled Sage by David Tanis, 'One Good Dish'

Comfort of home can come from a simple meal.

You will find inspiration for that kind of moment in One Good Dish, 'the pleasures of a simple meal' (Artisan Books, October 2013) by David Tanis.

Polenta “Pizza” with Crumbled Sage

Serves 4

This is one of those serendipitous, stumbled-upon creations. I had made a big pot of polenta, and I poured the leftovers into a baking dish in a thin layer. The next day, foraging in the fridge for lunch, I came upon the polenta, a little fresh mozzarella, a little Parmesan (or was it Pecorino?). To make a pizza of sorts, I layered on the cheeses, added a splash of oil, crumbled over a handful of dried sage leaves, and put it into a hot oven. The result was completely satisfying. So what if it’s not truly a pizza?—though perhaps it has a culinary ancestor somewhere, since there’s really nothing new under the sun. 

1 cup stone-ground polenta
½ pound fresh mozzarella
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Leaves from 1 bunch dried fresh sage (see Note)
Red pepper flakes

71_Polena Pizza with Crumbled Sage

1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large heavy saucepan and add 2 teaspoons salt. Whisk in the polenta and continue whisking as it begins to bubble. After a minute or two, when the polenta has thickened a bit, reduce the heat to low and let cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, until thickened and smooth, with no raw cornmeal taste. If the polenta gets too thick as it cooks, add a bit more water. Remove a spoonful and cool, then taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.

2. Spread the polenta on a lightly oiled baking dish to a thickness of ½ inch. Let cool and set, preferably overnight, in the refrigerator.

3. Heat the oven to 400°F, with a rack in the top third. Tear the mozzarella into big shreds and scatter over the polenta. Top with the Parmesan. Drizzle lightly with oil and crumble the sage leaves on top.

4. Bake the polenta until the cheese is bubbling and lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper to taste and let cool slightly.

5. Serve cut into rough wedges or squares.

Note: You can dry a bunch of fresh sage by leaving it on a windowsill for a day or two. Freshly dried sage is quite flavorful, but if you don’t get around to this, don’t substitute sage from a jar—use a little chopped rosemary instead.

“Excerpted from One Good Dish by David Tanis (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Gentl & Hyers."

79 Per Cent Grand Cru Bar from Foraged Grenada Cocoa, Thomas Haas ONE! Bar

Foraging has almost become a must do thing for any chef with a bit of a following.

I cannot remember tasting chocolate made from foraged cocoa beans so news of the release of limited edition ONE! Bar by Thomas Haas in Vancouver caught my eye.


"Available at the two Thomas Haas cafés in North Vancouver and Kitsilano and select high-end retailers, is priced at $11.75 and arriving on store shelves Oct. 22, 2013, each box of two 50-gram bars is adorned with a uniquely numbered stamp." 

This limited release has a 1000 pieces run, all numbered.

Wild beans for Green Day # 261


Pan-European Team Created 'Eccoci' Carbon Neutral Spanish Winery and French Leaning White Blend

White Vermouth Included, Mac and Cheese with Ground Cashews and Truffle Oil

After Spoonable Bloody Mary recipe from The Cheesy Vegan More Than 125 Plant-Based Recipes for Indulging in the World's Ultimate Comfort Food by John Schlimm (Da Capo Lifelong, October 2013), put Vermouth in your 'Meatless Moinday' with this second serving.

Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Ground Cashews & Truffle Oil


Crumb topping


Even if served on the most ordinary of days, this macaroni dish with several cheese options has special occasion written all over it . . . and with white and black truffles to boot.

In a food processor, pulse the bread until you’ve made crumbs. Set the crumbs aside and wipe out the processor. Then, mince, in this order: garlic, shallots, celery, and mushrooms, pulsing the latter three vegetables just until nicely chopped.

In a heavy, large, stainless-steel skillet over medium heat, melt the margarine. Add the processed ingredients and sauté until tender, stirring, about 6 minutes. Add the vermouth (or dry white wine) and simmer until almost all the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Add the soy milk, miso paste, thyme, and bay leaf to the skillet, and bring just to a simmer. Reduce the mixture over low heat for about 15 minutes, then remove the skillet from the heat. Add the Cheddar cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Remove the bay leaf and puree the mixture with an immersion blender (or carefully, in batches, in a standing blender, and return to the same skillet). Stir in the black truffle (if using). Season with salt and white pepper.

Heat the broiler. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni until just tender but still firm to the bite. Drain very well.

While the pasta is cooking, make the crumb topping by combining the topping ingredients.

Then, in a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs set aside in the beginning, green onions, parsley, and ground cashews. In a medium-size skillet over medium heat, melt the margarine. Add the bread crumb mixture and sauté, stirring, until golden and coated with margarine, about 2 minutes.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce in the skillet, then stir in the white truffle oil (or 1⁄2 teaspoon white truffle powder). Toss to coat. Pour into a large gratin dish and top with the crumb topping. Broil watchfully until the topping is crisp and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve at once.


(*Recipe from the book The Cheesy Vegan by John Schlimm. Reprinted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group.  Copyright © 2013, Photo by Amy Beadle Roth)

Crisp, Chewy Gluten Free Pizza Dough Recipe From Vegan Pizza

After Chili Mac Pizza recipe from Vegan Pizza50 Cheesy, Crispy, Healthy Recipes (Andrews McMeel, September 2013) by Julie Hasson here's the dough.

Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

Makes 4 individual (9-inch) thin-crust pizzas

If you’re looking for a crisp, chewy, thin-crust gluten-free pizza, then this is your recipe. Part of the magic herein lies with the hard apple cider or gluten-free beer, which not only creates a nice chemistry with the yeast, but also adds a really lovely depth of flavor to this crust. This recipe was inspired by a gluten-free crust from the fabulous bread-baking duo of Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg.

1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons (239 grams) white rice flour
¼ cup (30 grams) brown rice flour
1/3 cup (38 grams) tapioca flour/starch
1/3 cup (54 grams) fine yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons (23 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (6 grams) fine sea salt
1 teaspoon (3 grams) xanthan gum
2 tablespoons (12 grams) golden flax meal
¼ cup (57 grams) boiling water
1 tablespoon (9 grams) instant yeast, at room temperature
½ cup (112 grams) warm water (110° to 120°F)
½ cup (112 grams) gluten-free hard apple cider (alcoholic, not juice) or gluten-free beer, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (20 grams) extra virgin olive oil

Cover (1)

1. In a large bowl or a food-safe 4-quart plastic Cambro bucket, combine the white rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca flour/starch, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and xanthan gum, mixing well.

2. In a cup or very small bowl, whisk together the flax meal and the boiling water. Make sure to mix it right away, or it can get lumpy. After about a minute or two, the mixture will become thick and viscous. Set aside to cool for a couple of minutes.

3. Sprinkle the yeast over the dry ingredients. Add the warm water, cider, and olive oil to the bowl or bucket, along with the flax mixture. Using a fork or wooden spoon, mix until the dough comes together and all of the flour is mixed in. Cover the bowl or bucket with plastic wrap or a fitted lid, and set in a warm spot to rise for 2 to 3 hours (or up to 5 hours), until doubled in size.

4. Bake as directed according to the recipe directions.

Variation: You can substitute sorghum flour for the white rice flour, although it will produce a softer crust.

Tips: This dough needs to be shaped into individual thin crust pizzas. It doesn’t work well as a large or thick-crusted pizza. Also, this dough is best used the same day that it’s made. Extra dough can be baked as untopped flatbreads, which are delicious! You can use this dough for most, if not all, of the pizza recipes in this book. Just remember to make thin-crusted individual pizzas with it. This recipe really works best with fine cornmeal. When you roll out your dough, use white rice flour, which will help give you the crispiest crust. This recipe can be doubled to make 8 individual pizzas.

(* Recipe from Vegan Pizza50 Cheesy, Crispy, Healthy Recipes by Julie Hasson- published by Andrews McMeel, September 3, 2013- all rights reserved)

Java Fix in Tokyo, The Roastery by Nozy Coffee in Harajuku catches Tokyo Food File and Matthias Attention

It is not all noodle bars, sake, tea and sushi in Japan.

Coffee aficionados have a new spot to stop by for their java fix in Tokyo.

Recently opened in Harajuku, The Roastery as its name indicates does more than brew a great espresso. It also sells on-site roasted coffees.

Before or after shopping for coffee, enjoy BBQ at Smokehouse, upstairs above The Roastery.


The Roastery got the attention of the man in Tokyo, Robbie Swinnerton in The Roastery arrives on Cat Street (Tokyo Food File, October 16, 2013).

On Google+ Matthias Lambrecht shares 18 photos in his Roastery Album (October 11, 2013).

Coffee fix for Tokyo Thursdays # 268

Previously: Shochu State of Mind

(* Image of The Roastery sign via Tokyo Food File)

Twisted Dump Truck at 'Out of Hand' Exhibit, Art in Age of 3D Makers, MAD Museum, NY

I would know more about Out of Hand exhibit had I been able to attend press preview.

With 'Out of Hand' (Materializing the Postdigital) exhibit the Museum of Art and Design looks at art in the age of 3D makers-printers.

First In-Depth Exhibition Exploring Digital Fabrication in Contemporary Art, Architecture, and Design Opens today October 16, 2013.Twistedtruck

What is it all about? Artists on Display:

"Out Of Hand: Materializing The Postdigital Features Interactive Installations And Digitally Fabricated Works Of Art By Ron Arad, Barry X Ball, Chuck Close, Zaha Hadid, Anish Kapoor, Maya Lin, Marc Newson, Roxy Paine, Frank Stella, And Hiroshi Sugimoto, Among Many Others."

Exhibit runs from October 16, 2013 to July 6, 2014.

(* Illustration: Wim Delvoye, Twisted Dump Truck (Counterclockwise, Scale Model 1:5. Nickel-plated steel; laser-cutting...Courtesy Patricia Low Contemporary, Gstaad/ St. Moritz. Photo: Studio Wim Delvoye)

Zero Waste Cooking, Whole Roasted Pig Head with Beer Agro Dolce from 'Eating Italy'

After squid ink and cuttlefish Tagliolini with Ragu di Sepia from Eating Italy (Running Press, September 2013) by Philadelphia chef Jeff Michaud, this second recipe invites you to face your food.

Whole Roasted Pig’s Head

Jonathon Sawyer was the inspiration for this recipe. He’s the chef at the Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland and is completely dedicated to zero-waste cooking. I invited Jonathon to do a dinner with me at Osteria in Philadelphia. Jonathon saw me cutting off a pig’s head and throwing it out (we roast a small pig almost every day at the restaurant). “What the hell are you doing?” he screamed. “You’re throwing away good food there!” He kept the head and roasted it whole with a Coca-Cola glaze. Since that day, I started roasting all our pig’s heads. But now I use beer cooked down with some orange juice and chili flakes to make an agro dolce (sweet-and-sour) glaze. It’s become a cult classic. At Osteria, we only have so many heads a week, so people call in advance to order it. When it comes to the table, the whole roasted pig’s head looks kind of macabre. But it tastes 100 percent awesome.


Pig’s Head:

1 small pig’s head (4 to 5 pounds/1.75 to 2.25 kg)
3 quarts (2.75 L) 3-2-1 Brine (page 280)
1 tablespoon (6 g) ground fennel seeds
1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped (1 1⁄2 cups/240 g)
2 large carrots, chopped (1 1⁄2 cups/185 g)
3 medium-size ribs celery, chopped (1 1⁄2 cups/150 g)
1 sachet of 1 sprig rosemary, 3 sprigs thyme, 1 bay leaf, 5 black peppercorns, and 1 garlic clove (see page 277)
1 quart (1 L) Chicken Stock (page 279)

Beer Agro Dolce:

12 ounces (375 ml) beer (I like pale ale, but almost any beer will do; in the fall I use a chestnut beer from Baladin called Noël)
1⁄2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) sherry vinegar
Juice of 1 orange
Big pinch of chili flakes
1⁄2 teaspoon (1 g) black peppercorns


5 thick slices rustic bread
Olive oil, for brushing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Raspberry, apple, or another seasonal jam of your choice

Roasted Pig's Head Eating Italy

For the pig’s head: Rinse the head and set aside. Make the brine and stir in the ground fennel seeds. Submerge the head in the brine, and refrigerate for 4 days. 

Put the head in a large Dutch oven or other pot that will hold it comfortably. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and sachet to the pot. Pour in the stock and just enough water to come about halfway up the head. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.

Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). When the liquid comes to a boil, transfer the pot to the oven, and cook, covered, until the head is tender, 4 to 5 hours. The skin on top of the head should start to split and the cheeks should feel soft to the touch. When the head is done, carefully remove it from the pot (heatproof silicone gloves work well), put it on a rimmed baking sheet, cover, and refrigerate. When the head is cool, use a knife to remove the skin from the cheeks and snout, peeling away the skin but leaving the meat and fat. Score the fat around the cheeks. Leave the skin on the top of the head so the ears remain attached. Remove the tongue, and remove and discard the skin from the tongue.
For the beer agro dolce: Combine the beer, sugar, vinegar, orange juice, chili flakes, and peppercorns in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until the liquid reduces in volume to about 2⁄3 cup (150 ml) and becomes a thin syrup, 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and set aside.

For the bruschetta: Heat a grill or broiler to medium-high heat. Brush both sides of the bread with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill or broil the bread until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Put the pig’s head and the tongue in a roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet and pour the agro dolce evenly over the head and tongue, brushing it to cover completely.

Transfer to the oven and roast for 5 minutes. Pull out the pan and turn the head onto one cheek, spooning the sauce from the pan evenly over the head and tongue. Roast for another 5 minutes.

Remove again from the oven and turn the head on the other cheek, spooning the sauce all over the head and tongue. If the sauce gets too thick, add a little water to the pan to thin it enough to be pourable.

Roast for another 5 minutes. The total roasting time will be 15 to 20 minutes. Put the head right side up on a large plate or platter, with the tongue alongside it. Spoon the remaining sauce over the head.

Serve with the bruschetta and jam. Invite guests to pick meat from the head (the cheeks are especially rich and delicious). The tongue can be sliced into serving pieces.

(* Recipe reprinted with permission from EATING ITALY © 2013 by Jeff Michaud with David Joachim, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group)

Pan-European Team Created 'Eccoci' Carbon Neutral Spanish Winery and French Leaning White Blend

An Italian jeweler is one of those who created Eccoci, the first certified Carbon Neutral winery in Spain. Green leanings make sense considering their location not far from Girona near natural reserve of 'Les Gavarres'.

I tasted some of their wines a few weeks ago.

White wine offered by Eccoci is a blend of 50% Roussanne, 30% Viognier and 20% Petit Manseng harvested from Ca l'Elsa and Can Nobas that might sound more at home in Southern France than Spain.


One has to note that French border is only one hour away.

At first take label made it look like this white blend was 'tuvis'.

It is a floral, citrussy wine, perfect for sipping with friends or at a party.


Carbon Neutral Wine for Green Day # 260


Food World Travails in Images and Words, Alimenterre Festival 2013, Brussels, October 16-20

Jack O' Lantern Pumpkin Cake Recipe for National Dessert Day, Early Taste of Halloween

Better early than late!

After late summer Zucotto Summer Pudding from Say it with Cake (Kyle Books USA, August 2013) by Edd Kimber, a self taught British baker, here's an early taste of Halloween on National Dessert Day.

Jack O’ Lantern Pumpkin Cake 

These little cakes, flavored with pumpkin, are perfect for a Halloween party. Once decorated they look just like mini Jack-o’- lanterns, and rather adorable they are too. You will need two mini bundlette trays to make the cakes, or you can make a single cake (see Tips). 

Makes 4 cakes (each serving 2 people)

⅔ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing

1½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

¼ tsp ground cloves

7oz pumpkin purée (see Tips)

⅓ cup plus 1 tbsp plain yogurt

1 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

For the cream cheese frosting

1 cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature

4½ cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

1¾ cups full-fat cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla extract

orange gel coloring

a little black royal icing

Jack O Lantern Pumpkin Cake

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease eight mini bundlette cups. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices, then set aside. 

2. In a large bowl add the pumpkin purée with the yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla paste, and butter, then mix together until evenly combined. Sift the flour mixture over the liquid ingredients and gently fold together until the dry ingredients are incorporated (don’t beat the batter or the cake will be tough). 

3. Divide the mixture between the prepared molds, filling about half-full, and bake for 20–25 minutes until the cakes are risen and golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

4. To make the frosting, put the butter in a large bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat until light and smooth, about 3 minutes. Slowly beat in the confectioners' sugar until fully combined, then increase the speed and beat until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese and vanilla extract, and beat until just combined. Do not over-beat or the frosting will be too thin. Color the frosting with a very small amount of orange gel coloring and mix to combine. 

5. To assemble, use a serrated knife to remove the top of each cake to make it flat. Sandwich two cakes together with a little frosting, and then use a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon to coat the cakes in a layer of frosting. If you like, you can pipe a face on the lanterns using a little black royal icing and a small plain piping tip in the piping bag. To make the stems for the pumpkins, roll a small amount of green fondant into a thin sausage and cut a short piece for each cake, placing it on the top. 


If you prefer, you can make a single cake using a 1lb loaf pan, although it won’t have the same pumpkin shape. Bake for 50 minutes at 350°F. 


You can use canned pumpkin if you can find it or use 7oz pumpkin boiled or steamed until tender, then drained and puréed using a blender.

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from 'Say it with Cake' byEdd Kimber -published by Kyle Books USA, August 2013- photography by Georgia Glynn Smith)