Back when the #SaferAtHome thing was new (or novel, if you will. Get it?), I called up a couple of friends on Zoom whom I hadn’t seen in a month. They told me about some YouTube channel called the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen, where those lucky geniuses get my dream job, which is to make and taste and try and challenge themselves with food every day!
I watched 100 episodes with wide eyes and unclenched jaw, learning, absorbing, buying more kitchen gadgets because THAT SPATULA HAS TO WORK SO MUCH BETTER.
While all of the chefs are unique and have their own quirks, some of the chefs have a niche that they’ve turned into a sideshow. Carla Lalli Music (what a fun name!) does this back-to-back thing where she talks another person (celeb, singer, drag race winner) through making a dish in about 20 minutes without either of them being able to see what the other is doing. Claire Saffitz painstakingly recreates foods (think pop tarts, ramen packets, tater tots) in a gourmet way (it IS Bon Appétit, after all). And, Brad Leone has “It’s Alive!”, a show where he ferments, pickles, and otherwise ages foods (miso garlic paste, giardiniera, etc).
After seeing his giardiniera video, I bought the equipment and got cookin’ (or waiting, really). After I had the finished product, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I don’t eat red meat, even if it’s been processed, smoked, or cured to the point of being shaped into a tube. But, I *do* have the occasional turkey deli-meat sandwich. So I made this for dinner and dubbed it the Hot Turkey Leone.
Grab your turkey slices and heat a skillet to medium. Pile the turkey loosely onto itself, making the piles roughly the size of the bread you’re using.
Since the turkey is cooked, and this step is really all about the cheese, you can put your cheese on top of the piles shortly after this assembly. Then, add 1/4 c water to the pan and cover. This helps everything stay moist and helps the cheese melt quickly.
While the cheese is melting, prepare your bread. Toast it if you want, but the mayo is not optional.
Don’t tell Brad, but I did scoop out some of the bread. It was too much even after I did that. Cover the lid with your giardiniera and shredded lettuce.
Carefully shimmy the turkeycheese onto a spatula and then over onto your bread bottoms.
It’s easiest to put the bottom on the top, upside down, and right-side-up it for serving. Eat alone or with your favorite potato-based side.
I can get a little, how you say, obsessed with things. Diving whole-hog into projects and buying supplies to supplement my already busting-at-the-seams kitchen implement storage space. So, when it came to getting the proper supplies for fermenting after watching Brad Leone make giardiniera, I hesitated.
For about one day.
I’ve already amassed several gallon jars from back when I made kombucha on the reg, but I didn’t think I wanted to make GALLONS of giardiniera at a time, especially since I don’t typically eat smoked or cured meat sandwiches. So, I decided to do two things: a) buy a half-gallon kit, complete with two lids and an airlock (also a weight) and 2) since I could open a general store with the number of jars in the house, I also bought a kit for mason jars.
The task is relatively simple. Measure, chop, mix, wait.
The video has all of the ingredients, but I’m going to list the seasonings and instructions here, mostly for my reference in case I lose the notes on my fridge door. These measurements are for a 1-gal container, so I’ve had to halve and halve again for my vessels.
enoughveggies to fill the vesselcauliflower, celery, carrots, white or yellow onion, red pepper, etc.
66gsaltnot the big flaky kind
Spices and Seasonings
Smash your garlic first. Apparently, this releases something called "allicin", and that's good for you.
Cut the veggies up into a size with which you might use in a stir fry.
Add water and salt into the vessel and give it a good shake to dissolve the salt.
Add all of the spices (but not the sugar and white vin.) into the vessel.
Add your veggies to fill mostly to the top. Twist on lid and give a good shake. Place ceramic weight into container to keep veggies submerged. Cover with air-lock lid. Put on top of fridge or somewhere out of the way and wait about five (5) days.
Mix in sugar and white vinegar and give a good stir or shake. Re-bottle into smaller jars to give to friends or put into fridge as-is.
This is my first foray into video. It didn’t take very long to record, but it took a long time to edit, and I think the sound is kinda awful and now I know why people have their ingredients premeasured (the clinking and clanking annoys even me if you can believe it!).
We’ve been trying Imperfect Foods for a couple of months now and I’ve found it to be convenient and I like seeing what the “imperfections” are and then getting mad that people don’t know that misshapen sweet potatoes taste exactly the same as regular ones. It can be a bit of a game, too, figuring out the savings over Woodman’s since there’s a shipping cost involved. Anyhoo, that link up there will get us both $10 off if you sign up.
Why did I tell you about that? Because I had a head of broccoli from Imperfect that needed to be used up and a craving for antioxidants. Weird, I know.
The picture above contains only a few of the actors in this delicious musical. I added garlic powder, turmeric, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, a little almond butter, and another carrot (the one looked lonely).
To start, the diced aromatics go into some heated coconut oil until translucent. I then added all of the spices and seasonings, including some agave nectar, along with a tablespoon of that delicious bouillon (the vegetarian style is as good!) along with about a cup of water. This results in the magical concentrate of a germ-killing concoction.
It doesn’t look super pretty, but the best things are not.
To this, add a can of coconut milk. I’m not really sure the tastable difference between light and regular, but I had a can of not-light and used it happily. The solids that hang out at the top of the can will melt eventually. I find it looks like a barista trying to make a latte.
Once the seasonings, spices, flavor, and milk are melded together, add the vegetables and bring to a simmer.
After it’s got a good simmer goin’ on, turn the heat down a bit, cover, and set a 10-minute timer.
Serve, eat, enjoy, relish, share, comfort, be.
Coconut Curry Veggies
Packed full of germ-fighting spices and vegetables, you'll feel amazing (at least) while eating it!
Saying chèvre like an annoying American is funny to me. Probably because I know a few French words but not enough to be useful, like when looking for the bathroom or asking for a beer. However, I distinctly recall learning my first French swear-word: at the end of 9 to 5, the boss’ assistant was coming back from her trip to France and said, “merde.” In fact, I think I learned a great deal about life from that film.
This salad was born of an overabundance of beets and the desire to have Grampa’s PIzzeria‘s beet salad without leaving the house. Seriously, it’s the best beet salad ever.
Preheat the oven to 400º and grab your knife. After honing, cut the top and bottom off the beets. Depending on your zero-waste level, throw the beet greens in with the rest of the salad, save ’em to make a pesto, or compost ’em.
Put the beets into foil pockets and drizzle, spray, or otherwise apply some kind of oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 45-60 minutes. Check with a fork after 45, even tho I’m not sure it’s possible to “over roast” a beet.
Now that I look at that photo, I realize it’s not at all necessary to individually package the beets; a simple foil tube would be just fine. But, this makes them feel more special. Once you can poke a fork in ’em without much resistance, they can come out and cool down. It’s not proof of any super-powers if you can peel a beet that’s 400º ON THE OUTSIDE. Since they are plated relatively room temp, you could roast the day before or hours before you’re ready for dinner.
The rest of the salad is whatever you want. We’ve been digging these greens from Wisconsin (Woodman’s just started carrying this brand) because you can tell they didn’t sit on a truck for a week on their way up to the northern states. Slice up some red onion, cucumber, radish. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. This time around, I added pine nuts and hemp hearts because I was feeling like we needed more crunch.
When the salad is well coated, plate and set aside.
Now comes the magic part: cheese. But, not just any cheese. Goat cheese. And, not just ANY goat cheese. AIR-FRIED GOAT CHEESE in BALL SHAPE!
I regret that I don’t have pictures of the process because it’s a two-handed one, and it’s messy, and my iPhone isn’t insured.
Preheat your air fryer and get your separate whisked-egg and panko bowls ready.
Take the log of chèvre and cut pieces to shape into balls slightly smaller than the size of a ping-pong. If we’re using food for reference, you’re looking for a bocconcini-sized ball, not ovaline.
Coat with egg, coat with panko. Repeat.
When the fryer is hot, pull out the basket and lightly spray with avocado oil. Place each cheese ball so they’re not touching and “fry” for about eight minutes. When done, carefully scoop each ball out with a spoon and place gently on the salad like a rescued bird’s egg into its nest.
Salad with Beets and Goat Cheese
A delicious salad with the added wonderfulness of beets and "fried" cheese.