Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pomegranate Quinoa Tabbouleh + Fresh Pita + Hello!


back in action. not back to normal sleeping hours.

but back! with a fresh new look at the world, a lot of photos, and an undying hunger for falafels at all moments  of the day.

i have been off in israel...AND it was truly so much more awesome than i could have ever expected.
i met incredibly phenomenal people that i am totally in friend love with... it feels so wonderful to bond with such amazingly different people.

<heY YOU guys! jewrassic park in the haus!>

we got attacked by dust storms, and rode together in a large circle on camels, and floated on top of a sea that is dead.

we sat in silence under the stars in the middle of the dessert, shattered a lot of dinner glasses, and saw old powerful places.

mind blowing stuff. i feel crazy lucky to have seen it.

but now i'm just annoyed.
after the first couple days of getting my sushi and peanut butter fixes, i thought i was back to normal, ready to act like myself again and eat cake for breakfast.


all i need is more israeli food.

more eggplant please. more za'atar. more falafel balls in my face. more sCHwarma. now.

so, since there is not an old israeli man on the corner of my street selling fat stuffed pitas, i simply must make my own.

light and puffed hot out of the oven.

with pomegranate quinoa tabbouleh!

and israeli salad. because cucumbers and tomatoes are part of every israeli meal. duh.

food with beautiful colors makes me smile awkwardly to myself.

there, the first real food i've made since coming home. it feels a little weird to get back into the groove.

but i've missed you, oh blog! 

virtual hug! 

i could give you a real hug if you came over. seriously, come over. i made way too much pita. 

Homemade Pita Breads
adapted ever so slightly from this recipe

2 1/4 tsp active dry or instant yeast
1 tbsp honey or agave
1 1/4 cups warm water, divided
1 1/2 cups bread flour, divided
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour, divided
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
cornmeal, for sprinkling

in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, honey, and 1/2 cup warm water. stir gently to blend. whisk 1/4 cup of the bread flour and 1/4 cup of the white whole wheat flour into the yeast mixture until smooth. cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes. 

remove the plastic wrap and return the bowl to the mixer stand, fitted with the dough hook. add in the remaining 3/4 cup warm water, 1 1/4 cup bread flour, 1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour, olive oil, and salt. knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. transfer the ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, until doubled in bulk. 
place an oven rack in the middle position. place a baking stone or baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 500. 

once the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, punch the dough down and divide into either 8 pieces (for larger pitas) or 12 pieces. form each piece into a ball. flatten each into a disk and then stretch out into thin circles, about 6-7 inches. transfer rounds to a baking sheet or other work surface lightly dusted with cornmeal. once the rounds have been shaped, cover loosely with clean kitchen towels. let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, until slightly puffy. 
transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, onto the baking sheet or stone. bake 2 minutes until puffed and pale golden. gently flip pitas over using tongs and bake 1 minute more. transfer to a cooling rack and let cool. repeat with the remaining pitas. 

Pomegranate Quinoa Tabbouleh
makes a big bowl of tabbouleh

2 cups quinoa, i used red
1 english cucumber, seeded and diced
4 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, diced
3-4 green onions, sliced
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 bunch mint, chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, diced
1 cup pomegranate seeds
juice of 4-5 lemons
1/2 - 3/4 cup olive oil
lots of sea salt and pepper

*very loose measurements, just taste and adjust to your liking

first cook the quinoa. put 2 cups of quinoa in a saucepan with 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. reduce heat, cover, and simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. let rest covered for 5 minutes. fluff with a fork. 
toss the quinoa with the rest of the ingredients. taste and adjust seasonings

Israeli Salad

1 english cucumber, seeded and diced
3 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, diced
few handfuls of parsley, finely chopped
juice of a lemon
few tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sumac powder (optional)
salt and pepper

toss everything together in a bowl. taste and adjust for seasoning. 
be like an israeli and serve alongside every meal. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

nutella pecan fudge + vanilla marshmallow. and a fond farewell.

and now for a letter to my brain.

dear brain,

in this new year, we're gonna be more decisive. i would really like that. i'm going to need to train you somehow to make your unimportant and important decisions more efficiently.

come on, it doesn't matter what we eat for lunch ok, just pick somewhere. we could save a lot of time, you and i...quick decisions make for extra time for me to attempt christmas songs on the ukulele and for you to sharpen your math equation skills.

i love you brain, we're in this together..you haven't steered me too wrong yet. even now, when i couldn't force you to make a decision between fudge and marshmallow.

you knew what was up. it was still 2011, there needn't be a choice.
together they would be, nutella fudge and fluffy vanilla marshmallow.

thank you for making me make this.

love, julia.
not louis-dreyfus. don't get too excited. just the person you're attached to.


so this fudge marshmallow square thing. semi-classico chocovanilla flavors in a funky little boxy confection.

i sprinkled silver glitter dust all over the tops to be new years festive. the glitter isn't screaming to be seen in these photos. drats! good thing it's totally unnecessary.

all these textures are surprising together. the fudge is being fudgy. some toasted pecans add crunch. and then the square of light vanilla fluff.

so now that i've buttered you up with marshmallows, i must declare that i am filled with excitement and sorrow.

i am off to the other side of the world! so many things to get done in these few hours i have left, i'm becoming a little nutty.
i was totally putting this off...i do hate goodbyes.

not that this is goodbye forever...oh no! don't say such a thing!
just for a little.

i'm definitely not done ranting about cakes and peanut butter.

until we meet again...

be well dearhearts!

Nutella Fudge Marshmallows
 fudge recipe adapted from cookingincanuck

for the nutella fudge:
butter, for greasing pan
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
8 oz high quality (at least 60% cacao) chocolate, chopped
1 cup nutella
3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup toasted pecans
sea salt, about 1/2 tsp

grease the bottom and sides of an 8 inch square baking pan with butter. line the pan with parchment, leaving a 2 inch overlap on the sides. scatter toasted pecans in bottom of pan.
in a medium glass or stainless steel bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, bittersweet chocolate, nutella, and butter
form a double boiler by setting the bowl on a medium pot of gently simmering water. the water level should be low enough that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. stir until the chocolate chunks are melted and the mixture is smooth, 5-7 minutes. 
scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and spread out over the pecans until the top is smooth. let firm up in refrigerator for about 2 hours. 

For the Marshmallow
I used this vanilla marshmallow recipe exactly and simply poured half over the fudge layer and the rest into another separate 8 inch pan just to have some plain jane but rockin homemade marshmallows.