I have a problem.
Well, I have a lot, but I’m referring to one specifically here
I’m becoming the homemade Nazi. As in, it is beginning to pain me to buy things I could make myself.
It all started with book club. Gansie, emmzzee, and the rest of my book club were coming over for dinner a few Mondays ago. I had been out of town for the past three weekends and my cupboards were BARE, minus a bunch of Harry Potter-themed candy. So I took my inspiration from AL, who handed me a can of pumpkin and a can of butternut squash soup as I left her house to head to the train station to come back to DC.
We read a book on the Congo, but I cannot even PRETEND to be an expert on any sort of Congolese or even central African cuisine. Gansie came through with some great recipes though, so between that and the cans of squash, I settled on a menu of squash soup with sunflower seed brittle (at some point in my life I bought an industrial sized container of sunflower seeds from WHole Foods), a spinach and blood orange salad, and pretzels.
Well, that’s not quite how it turned out. I made the soup, but it looked, well…gansie said it looked like puke, but pronounced it delicious. I’m not sure I agreed, but whatever. The sunflower seed brittle turned into toasted sunflower seeds with ancho chile powder. The recipe, as best I can remember is (sorry, I pulled it from an e-mail to one of the book club members and am too lazy to write it out):
Coat a skillet (preferably cast iron) in olive oil and turn heat on high. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of curry powder, a teaspoon and a half of garam masala, a half of teaspoon of coriander, half a teaspoon of chili powder plus red pepper flakes. Toast the spices in oil for a minute or two and add one medium chopped onion. Sautee for a few minutes and add the white part of a chopped leek and some salt. Sautee a few more minutes, until everything is soft and add a can of chickpeas, drained (reserve the liquid). Cook about five minutes more, and dump in a large saucepan with a can of butternut squash and a can of pumpkin. Add the chickpea water, about 2 glasses of wine (I used red, but white might keep it from being that weird color) and 2-3 shots of whiskey and 1-2 tablespoons of molasses. At this point, add in water or vegetable stock (maybe 2 cups). Boil the soup until reduced, add hot sauce to taste, and run through a blender until creamy. Finish with a little heavy cream and maybe more stock or wine to thin the soup out if desired.
I made gansie vanilla pudding as dessert and set everyone on their merry way.
And the next day, I made pretzels
After seeing the recipe in smitten kitchen, I couldn’t help but try it. I did make one small alteration- I only used half the dough, and wrapped the other half in plastic and stuck it in the fridge for a day or so.My favorite part was poaching. The baking soda and sugar fizz up in the water sort of like one of those science fair volcanoes.
As for the leftover dough, I let it come to room temperature before working with it, and the part two pretzels turned out beautifully. I would have an after shot, but ADM and SJ were over and may or may not have devoured them. Come to think of it, I made lentils and Kerala Parotha that night as well, but that’s for another post…
hey, maybe i’m getting the hang of this baking thing!