Friday, June 24, 2011

Plum Nuts Plum Seeds

Salty, sour, crunchy.

I swear this is dumb easy & delicious.  I learned of this through my cooking teacher Joanne Saltzman of the School of Natural Cookery in Boulder, Co right before the first bunk Bush election.

You can do this in the oven or stove top.

You can use cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, whatevs.

But the star here, the essential here, is Ume Vinegar.

Ume Vinegar is the brine from pickling umeboshi plums.

When I worked at a health food store in Philly years ago I believe the Macrobiotic cultists prayed to the alter of Umeboshi while hissing at the devil nightshade vegetables!  But tobacco was AOK, they all smoked...

Anyway, here's what to do:

Stove top:

Get out a saute pan or cast iron (if you put acidic things in your cast iron, I do)

Turn up the heat med-high & toss in your preferred nut or seed & let them hang out a minute or two, tossing occasionally.  When they start to show a tiny bit of color, or pop, kill the heat & QUICKLY start sprinkling in the ume WHILE tossing the nuts or seeds around to coat.

No need to drench them, who likes soggy nuts?  (How could I resist?)

When all the nuts or seeds appear to be tossed & all the ume has dried up remove from pan.

You'll notice that your nuts or seeds look a lil' purplish & crystally, awesome, perfect.


Toast in oven (375) on sheet pan or oven safe pan, giving one toss during.  When toasty or popping remove from oven & IMMEDIATELY start sprinkling in the ume WHILE tossing the nuts or seeds around to coat.  Then remove from pan when ume is tossed & dried.

I can just eat these as is, I LOVE THEM.  I also put them on salads, on soups, with sushi...

I have a serious love affair with Ume, but you can also follow these directions for making Tamari Almonds or what have you.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011


This cake is so easy to make yet impressive, insanely delicious, wheat free and totally bad for you.
NOTE: this HAS to chill for at LEAST 4 hours!

For batter

12 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar

For sauce

(I didn't make the sauce, I just used a mesh strainer to sprinkle powdered sugar on it, then made whip cream.)

10-oz package frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
1/4 cup sugar

Accompaniment: unsweetened whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9- by 2-inch round cake pan and line bottom with a round of wax paper. Butter paper and dust pan with flour, knocking out excess.

Make batter:

Melt chocolate and butter in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, whisking until smooth.
Cool slightly.
Beat together eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until pale yellow, thick, and a ribbon forms when beaters are lifted, about 4 minutes with a standing mixer or 8 minutes with a handheld. Fold one fourth of egg mixture into chocolate mixture to lighten, then gently fold in remaining egg mixture.
Pour batter into cake pan and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles. Put cake pan in a hot water bath and place in middle of oven. Bake 45 minutes (top will be set, but a tester will not come out clean).
Remove cake from water bath and cool completely in pan on a rack. Run a thin knife around edge of cake and chill, covered, at least 4 hours and up to 12.

Make sauce:

Purée raspberries with sugar in a food processor or blender, then force through a fine sieve into a bowl. Chill until ready to serve.

Remove cake from pan:

Put cake pan directly on a burner at very low heat. Move pan around on burner to warm bottom, about 30 seconds, then shake pan to loosen cake. Invert cake onto a rack. Remove wax paper and invert cake onto a serving plate.
Bring cake to room temperature. Serve with sauce and whipped cream.
Don't despair if the cake stubbornly refuses to come out of the pan. You may need to help it along by prying it out gently with the tip of a paring knife.
This cake is better if made a day ahead. Both cake and sauce keep 2 days, covered and chilled.


3 cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
1/2 Tbsp salt
1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp tepid water

optional: oats, sesame seeds, olive oil on the outside or raisins, walnuts, figs etc.. mixed into the bread (it's fun to experiment!)

Mix all the ingredients in the morning or before bed. This should take about 3 minutes and leave you with a thick, shaggy dough. Cover with a towel or some plastic wrap and leave it in the warmest spot in your kitchen. It should get a 6 to 8-hour rise.

When you come home from work or get up in the morning, put some flour on your hands and flip the bread in the bowl (it's tricky, but possible!) Cover it again and let it sit/proof for about an hour, or however long you have.

Heat the oven to 450°F. Put a Dutch oven (or any oven safe pot with a lid like glass or ceramic)  in the oven to heat it up for 10 minutes. Take it out then drizzle some olive oil in the bottom then put the dough in the pot. You may have to pour it, pry it or just roll it in - the dough is very wet. Don't worry if it looks a mess. Drizzle with olive oil or sesame seeds or oats or nothing at all. Cover the pot with a lid and bake for 30 minutes or until it's sufficiently golden.

Let it rest for 15 min and voila! ho-made bread in your fucking hands.