Friday, February 19, 2010

Entirely From Scratch..

I'm starting a new way of cooking. Everything from scratch. Time permitting of course. I don't know what has come over me, but I'm obsessed with learning to make things that we would normally buy each week from the grocer. I have to say, the taste difference is spectacular.
It's like having a pineapple in Hawaii ..then having a pineapple here. Doesn't compare.
A croissant in Paris..a croissant here. Not a chance.
Last week, I made perogies (which I will revisit with you), this week, I made black bean burritos entirely from scratch.
First up, the beans. My friend over at Pinecone camp told me she never buys beans. She makes large batches from scratch, then freezes them. So, the day before I soaked them. The day off, I cooked them a pot, then I baked them in the oven. I know have four bags of yummy beans in my freezer for next time - and the salt content is next to none! Another reason to make your own foods.
The day off, I made flour tortillas. Pretty easy I have to say. They would be excellent with Indian food too! The leftovers can be used for pizza the next day - so I'm ahead of the game for tomorrows meal.

Beans, homemade salsa (tomato, cilantro, red onion, lime and avocado) and four tortillas. Put them all together and..

Sweet Mary - Bloody Delicious!
Yes, it took some time. Yes, I could buy beans, salsa and tortilla wraps at the store - and yes, they are relatively cheap. But, that is not the point. I own an organic farm. I grow my own veggies. I make jam from scratch the old fashioned way (slow cook- less sugar -more fruit). I make pies from scratch - the only way pie should be enjoyed. I can my own tomatoes and peaches. Seems like this would be the next step for me to take. The taste is amazing. Lily and I enjoy cooking together, and I love teaching her to take her time and enjoy the process.
This is not my daily routine - lets be realistic. But if I can do this once a week, I'll be pleased with myself. I didn't post recipes as I didn't want to push it on all of you. I can add them in if anyone wants them.
What do you make from scratch that is simply delicious?

if you are looking for recipes..and many of you are.. please



Recipes

Hand Rolled Flour Tortillas with home made Salsa and Black Beans.

Up first - Baja Baked Beans from Rebar Modern Food.  I love this book - it has very few images, which irks me, but the food is vegetarian and delicious!

Baja Black Beans

4 cups black beans
1/2 bunch of cilantro coarsely chopped
1 tblspn cumin seed ground
2 tblspn chile powder
6 garlic cloves - minced
1 yellow onion - chopped
1 tblspn salt
2 tblspn chipotle puree - I didn't have this but added a small tin of diced green chilles.
1/2 cup brown sugar - firmly packed
1 can tomato paste (196ml)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar

The day before, in a really large pot, soak the beans overnight.  Fill the pot up - they expand and suck up all the water!  I did not know this.
The next day, drain the beans, add the onion, cilantro, cumin, chile powder and garlic.  Cover with cold water - an inch higher than the beans.  Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for about 1 hour or till beans are soft.  Mine took about 40 minutes.  If your water starts to look low, add more so that the beans are always covered.  Add 2 tsp of salt in the last 15 minutes of cooking.  If you put it in before, it will prevent the beans from absorbing the water.  WHO KNEW?!
Pre heat oven to 350 F.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Have a taste - see how you like it, adjust for spice or heat.  I am a hot spice wimp. 
Ladel into a large glass baking dish and place on a cookie sheet to catch any spills.  Cover in tin foil and bake for one hour. 
After the hour, check them.  If they still look very runny, give them a stir and put them back in for another 15 minutes.  I did this twice.
Let them rest 10 minutes before serving. 
Or set them aside till you are ready for dinner.  It's nice to have them when they are a bit warm.


Flour Tortillas

2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 baking powder
1 tsp salt
5 tblspn vegetable shortening
3/4 cup hot water

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.  Add vegetable shortening and cut into it with your pastry cutter or two knives till you get little pea size lumps.  Then get in there with your hands and mix it together.  Gently knead for two minutes till you have a nice ball.  Place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap for an hour.
Go out to the garden, watch a show, go for a jog, do a load of wash..
Come back after an hour, line a tray with parchment and sprinkle with flour.  Break the dough into balls - close to a golf ball size, but larger.  Place on flour and cover.  Let sit for another hour.
Watch the second half of a movie, have a bath, make your salsa, take a nap.
Come back after a second hour. 
You should time this to be done for supper time.  They are best served right out of the pan.  You can roll them out and lightly flour them for later too.
Roll out to as thin as you can get them.  I made these twice - second time was way to thick, but still good.  It takes a bit of practice.  Roll them out thin, then brush a bit of oil on them and drop them into a heated pan.  They will start to bubble up - flip them and you will see they have started to brown a bit.  It doesn't take long.

Salsa

One small red onion - or half a large one - chopped small.
Half a bunch of cilantro chopped.
Two perfect tomatos chopped.  I use a package of small strawberry tomatoes.
The juice of one fresh lime. 
One avocado chopped.

Mix all this together and place in the fridge for later.  Easy peasy!

You're done!  I told you it was a lot of work, but it's fun and it's worth it.  I mix in chopped organic iceberg lettuce and shredded cheddar cheese.