• 27Jun

    well not me but the early Americans. Someone on a yahoo group I belong to posted a link to the Historic American Cookbook Project. This project is a collaboration of Michigan State University and it’s Library to preserve into a searchable database cookbooks from the late 18th to early 20th century. I haven’t used any of the recipes in these cookbooks but was intrigued with the whole project. It’s an interesting collection that reflects the melting pot of America thus includes not only cookbooks from European cultures but a Chinese-Japanese cookbook, a Native American cookbook as well as a Middle Eastern cookbook. If old cookbooks don’t intrigue you then maybe their photos of kitchen gadgets might grab you.

    Have fun!

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  • 15Jun

    of ideas…

    cooking is fun – whether we follow a recipe exactly or just throw something together. When throwing things together – you sometimes end up with a winner or you end up tossing it to the dogs. Mochi is grinning 😉

    Last night was a throwing things together kind of dinner. I have a nice patch of garlic chives in the yard. When we moved here back in ’97 my mom gave me a few bulbs and they have multiplied into a very healthy corner in one of the raised beds. (A few months back I was able to return the favor as her patch had been dug up by some kind of night creature.)

    I kept thinking I have to use some of the chives up – one of my favorites ways is in Korean pancakes – Pa Jeon. Which is really scallion pancakes but garlic chives work just as well. Scallion pancakes are either made with wheat flour or ground mung beans. I like the mung bean version just fine but it is a bit more involved than the wheat flour version – soaking and grinding takes a little pre-planning. I can post about those another time.

    I’ve been trying to heath-i-fy the wheat flour recipe by using whole grain flours, be gluten free, egg free and a bit higher in protein for P who is vegetarian. One day I used all buckwheat flour…it was a bit too…well, buckwheaty.

    With my socca craze I decided to try replacing the wheat flour with a 50/50 garbanzo flour and buckwheat flour mix. We ate them all up so I guess we ended up with a winner.

    Here is the Recipe:

    Korean Vegetable & Garbanzo/Buckwheat ‘Socca’

    Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
    ——– ———— ——————————–
    *Pancakes*
    1/2 cup buckwheat flour
    1/2 cup garbanzo flour
    3/4 teaspoon sea salt
    1 tablespoon sesame oil
    1 cup water
    1/3 cup garlic chives — cut into 1/4-1/2″
    vegetable oil for pan frying

    *Dipping Sauce*
    1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
    1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar — unseasoned
    1 teaspoon sesame oil
    1 pinch chili flakes — Korean style with no seeds, optional

    Whisk together all pancake ingredients so there are no lumps.

    Heat a 10 inch cast iron pan over medium heat until hot. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil. Pour about 1/3-1/2 cup of batter into pan. Cook until bottom is turning brown – this should take at least 3-4 minutes so turn up or down the heat as needed. Flip and cook until cooked through and brown. Transfer to plate and keep warm in a low oven. Cook remaining pancakes – you should have enough batter for 4-6 depending on how thick or thin you made them. Serve them cut into quarters with the dipping sauce.

    Variations: Add any and all kinds of thin sliced vegetables in any combination like: scallion, leeks, green garlic, spring onions, asparagus, green beans, zucchini, carrot, peppers, shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms, etc. This batter can probably take up to a 1/2c to 3/4c of cut up vegetables. This recipe is a great way to use up any odds and ends of veggies in the frig.

    Enjoy!

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  • 09Jun

    socca…socca…socca! No, I not watching the World Cup games though I did enjoy a game or two of soccer back in the good old days when I actually had lungs. But I digress…

    socca, socca, socca…That’s what the socca vendors in Nice, Provence would call out when wheeling their carts about selling their wares. And that’s what I’ve been yelling about the house these days…P thinks I have finally lost my marbles :)

    Thanks to a good friend, N, I had my first taste of Socca -alas, not in Nice- but in Berkeley at Socca Oven located in the new Epicurious Garden on Shattuck Avenue. Socca’s are pancakes made of chickpea (aka garbanzo bean or gram) flour, water and extra virgin olive oil. At SO they finish the soccas in an open flame clay oven with various toppings – sort of like pizza but not. N & I had tapenade and salt cod – a bit salty but I am a salt fiend. P had the zucchini and loved it. I was hooked and am now a socca addict – we’ve had them for dinner twice now.

    In my research I found that these are traditionally made in copper tins – large ones, from 50-70 cm in diameter. Since my oven wasn’t that big, I opted for my 10 inch cast iron fry pan. At SO they were made a little less than a 1/4 inch thick but the thickness varies from that to as thin as a crepe. Seems that in France these are eaten plain with a glass of wine rather than topped as made at Socca Oven. I’m thinking these would be a nice appetizer in either case.

    We liked ours thick but maybe slightly thinner than we had at SO. I’ve varied the toppings depending on what we had on hand. We had plenty of greens in the garden so one night we had sauteed kale and the other swiss chard. One version had roasted onions and garlic with goat cheese and anchovies. A veggie version had home grown baby zucchini.

    I bet an Indian spiced version would be fun. In fact, in the western part of India there is a savory steamed chickpea ‘cake’ called Dhokla. One day I will have to try my hand at making some dhoklas.

    Soccas are a great food – a nice gluten free alternative to the wheat flour crusted pizzas. And you’ve got fiber – the soluble type which is good for lowering cholesterol; protein which we all need for building bone, muscle and cartilage; folate which is good for the heart; magnesium which is needed to help relax your muscles; and many trace minerals. One trace mineral it is especially high in is molybdenum which interestingly enough helps the body detoxify sulfites which is found in some wines. Those French know how to eat and drink!

    Here’s the recipe I used for the Socca pancakes.

    Socca

    Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
    ——– ———— ——————————–
    2 cups chickpea flour
    2 1/4 cups water
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
    extra virgin olive oil for cooking the pancake

    Toppings of your choice – some ideas: caramelized onions, roasted garlic, sauteed greens (kale, chard, spinach), olive tapenade, sundried tomatoes, any herb pesto, any roasted veggie, smoked salmon, salt cod, anchovies, any cheese, etc…

    Whisk together all ingredients so there are no lumps. You can strain through a sieve or china cap if desired. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.

    Preheat broiler to high or oven to 500F. Heat a 10 inch cast iron pan over medium heat until hot. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil. Pour about 3/4 cup of batter into pan. Cook until bottom is turning brown – this should take at least 3-4 minutes so turn up or down the heat as needed. Flip and cook until cooked through and brown. Transfer to baking sheet. Cook remaining pancakes – you should have enough batter for four.

    Arrange your toppings on to the pancakes. Put under the broiler or in hot oven for a few minutes or until the toppings are heated through. Serve hot with a nice green salad.

    Check out what other bloggers have created at:

    Mahanandi’s Indian Dosa

    In Praise of Sardines

    The Scent of Green Bananas

    The Travelers Lunchbox

    And check out the Italian version here:

    Beyond Salmon

    Epicurious.com

    ENJOY! :)

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