Sunday, November 26, 2017

August 2017 Supper Club- Pool Party

The August supper club was a great dinner by the pool, everyone brought festive, fresh and as usual, delicious foods!! The weather was nice and toasty and the conversation flowed in a beautiful summer evening atmosphere!

We started with picture I perfect flat bread, tomato jam and various appetizers from Kim while Sara was still cooking her pasta. To kill the wait everyone had an Italian drink, typical of the "aperitivo", called Spritz (1/3 Aperol and 2/3 Spumante/Prosecco):

Nan-E Barbari
adapted from Hot Bread Kitchen by King Arthur Flour

379g to 397g lukewarm water* (1 2/3 cups to 1 3/4 cups)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast or instant yeast
510g bread flour (4 cups + 3 tbsp)
2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
*Use the smaller amount of water in summer, or when it's humid; the larger amount during the winter, or in a dry climate.

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
74g cool water (1/3 cup)

1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon nigella (black onion) seeds*
*Substitute poppy seeds or the seeds of your choice if you can't find nigella seeds.

To make the dough: 
1. Mix the water, yeast, flour, and salt until well combined. Knead the mixture 
using your hands, a stand mixer, or your bread machine set on the dough cycle until you've made a smooth, fairly soft dough. The dough should barely clean the inside of the bowl, if you're using a stand mixer, perhaps sticking just a bit at the bottom.

2. Put the dough in a lightly greased large bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise until it's nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour.

3. Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into two pieces. Shape each piece into a rough log abut 9" long. Tent the logs with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow them to rest for 30 minutes.

4. While the dough is resting, prepare the glaze. Combine the flour, sugar, oil, and water in a small saucepan, bring to a bare boil, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon; this should take less than a minute. Remove the glaze from the heat, and set it aside.

5. Preheat the oven to 450°F. If you have a pizza stone, set it on the lowest rack or oven floor.

6. Working with one piece at a time, gently deflate the dough, and pat/flatten it into a 14" x 5" rectangle. Use your fingers (or the handle of a long wooden spoon) to press five lengthwise grooves into the dough. Press firmly, but don't cut through the bottom of the dough.

7. Spread half the glaze onto the dough, rubbing it all over. Sprinkle with half the seeds.

8. Slide the bread onto the stone and bake it for 15 to 18 minutes, until it's golden brown. If you're not using a stone, place the bread on a baking sheet and bake it on your oven's middle rack. Remove the bread, and cool it on a rack.

9. While the first loaf is baking, prepare the second loaf. Bake as directed.

10. Serve warm, or at room temperature; traditional accompaniments are olives, cucumbers, and feta cheese.

11. Store leftovers, well wrapped, for several days at room temperature; freeze for longer storage.

Food Processor Tomato Jam
from The Harvest Baker by Ken Haedrich

Tomato jam is a sweet-tart reduction with a relish-or-jam-like consistency that a cook can find all manner of creative uses for.  You can spread it on sandwiches or burgers in place of ketchup; use it to spice up a grilled cheese sandwich or panino; whisk it into a vinaigrette dressing or spread it on crackers with cream cheese for a shorthand version of Savory Shortbread Thumbprints with Tomato Jam appetizer.  Fresh ripe tomatoes are key, so this is a summer endeavor.  Once you see how easy this is to make and discover how versatile it is, you'll be hooked. Incindentally, this is a fairly straightforward version of tomato jam.  It's not unusual to see recipes with chopped jalapeno peppers, finely chopped red onion and even more spice than this one.  If this is your first time, I'd suggest starting with this recipe as a point of reference before exercising your creative license


2 pounds ripe tomatoes, (about 5 medium), cored and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup  sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves


1. Combine tomatoes in a food processor with the brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, pepper, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.  Pulse the machine repeatedly until the tomatoes are reduced to a textured puree.

2. Transfer the mixture to a large skillet and bring to a boil.  Cook the mixture at a steady boil until it is reduced by slightly less than half and most of the thin liquid has evaporated.  As it boils, use a soup spoon to skim some of the foamy matter that rises to the surface.  There will be other indications that the jam is ready: it will have a fairly thickish consistency, and there will be a subtle change in the boiling, which will sound more rapid and high pitched.  If in doubt, err slightly on the side of undercooking to keep it from getting too firm as it cools.  Total cooking time will be 18-25 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool.  Transfer to a jar; seal and refrigerate until using.

We continued with "pasta scarpiello" the "primo piatto" according to the Italian dining style:

  • 500g Fresh elongated cherry tomatoes 
  • Two whole garlic cloves
  • 5 spoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g grated pecorino romano
  • 50g grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves (keep some for decorating)
  • 500g number 5 spaghetti
  • 1/2 fresh red hot pepper
Preparation (read all first):
Place olive oil with cleaned garlic cloves and the minced fresh pepper in a large sauce pan (needs to be large enough to contain all of the cooked pasta) and let sizzle for three minutes, remove the garlic.
Add the tomatoes cut in half and let cook for approximately 12 minutes. While the tomatoes cook, boil salted water and cook the pasta keeping it "Al dente" (save two minutes from the cooking time). 
Leave the heat on under the tomatoes and after saving the water from the pasta, toss the strained pasta with the tomatoes stirring continuously. Add the grated cheese little by little, to avoid string formation, of the pasta dries up, add some of the cooking water to keep the mix nice and creamy. Add some fresh basil leaves and serve immediately. Use more basil to decorate the plates. Enjoy fresh!

Then we enjoyed amazing salmon as a "secondo piatto" made by Christiane:

Cold Slow-Roasted Salmon with Cucumber-Cumin Raita from "Picnics - Delicious Recipes for Outdoor Entertaining" by Sara Deseran:

1 filleted side of salmon, skin on, 2-3 lbs, about 1.5 inches thick in the center, pinbones removed
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp cumin seeds
2 English cucumbers, peeled and diced
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups plain whole milk yoghurt
1 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
sprinkle of cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Rub both sides of the salmon with the olive oil. Place salmon skin-side down in a roasting pan. Generously sprinkle salt and pepper over the flesh side. Roast uncovered 25 - 35 minutes. The salmon will look undercooked on the top, but if it flakes when gently pulled apart with a fork, it's done. Remove and serve at room temperature.

To make the Raita: Place the cumin seeds in a large dry skillet over medium heat. Stir for 2 minutes until fragrant. Remove to a plate to cool. Place in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder and grind well. (I used a mortar, which worked just fine.) In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers and the salt; mix well and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes, then drain the accumulated liquid. Add the ground cumin seeds, yogurt, lemon juice, and garlic, and mix to combine. Sprinkle the top with the cayenne. Let sit for 10 minutes. Chill until ready to serve.

The salmon was accompanied by fresh salads, made by Lauren, the perfect "contorno":

Finally, to end on a sweet note, we had amazing fruit salad made by Katharina: