Sunday, January 11, 2009

Getting back to baking (Olive bread, Hummus & Banana Caramel pie)

The end of the annus horriblis was particularly difficult...being ill and generally run down by all the craziness in the air, I wasn't much of a blogger! Well, despite all indications to the contrary (given Gaza, Madoff, et al.) I insist on thinking of 2009 as a potential annus mirabilis .

From Drop Box


My daughter D and I decided to get busy in the kitchen today, and multi-tasked all morning to pull together a snack table for a play-date. She wanted a banana pie, and I'd been planning on pulling together a hummus and olive-parmesan bread combo that I'd seen on a TV show a couple of weeks ago. The show was Flavors of America, but unfortunately, the website didn't get me to the recipes. I landed up scouring my mom's old recipes and a couple of websites for inspiration. The following recipes pull from all those sources, and work well. These aren't quick recipes, but are pretty easy. D enjoyed all the kneading, the control of the food-processor buttons (!) and slicing of bananas and generally getting to lick the caramel dish....



Hummus

One can Garbanzos
Three tablespoons Tahini
Two medium-sized garlic cloves
Juice of one small lime
Five to Ten pitted olives, slices

  • Dice the garlics and olives and squeeze the juice of a small lime (if you're using pre-squeezed lime juice, plan on using about three tablespoons.)
  • Collect half of the liquid in the can of garbanzos to use, discard the rest
  • In a food-processor, toss in the garbanzos, three tablespoons of tahini sauce, garlic and lime juice and whip it to a rough paste
  • Add in the olives and the reserved liquid from the can into the mix, and whip it to the consistency you like - I tend to like my hummus rather smooth

Banana Caramel Pie
Be ready for an hour's prep and cooking time

Filling:
One can sweetened condensed milk
Two bananas
Two tablespoons chopped chocolate

Pie crust:
Half cup butter
Quarter cup milk
Half cup flour
Half teaspoon salt

  • I learned this easy caramel recipe from About.com. Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a 9-inch pie plate. Cover with aluminum foil and place in larger shallow pan. Fill the larger pan with hot water. Bake at 425° for about one and a half hours, or until thick and caramel colored
  • Get the oven temperature down to 350 degrees (this is the right temperature for the olive bread as well, so if you happen to have a similar list of dishes cooking, plan on having prepped the bread while you were cooking the caramel....)
  • I have made a Bisquick crust before, which works fantastically, but this time, I decided to try a more conventional pie crust. I have to admit, I prefer my Bisquick version!
  • In a nine inch pie plate, mix all the ingredients for the pie crust. It will take some kneading, and after that, press the dough out over the pan. Try to smooth it out to a consistent thickness, and do work to make sure that there aren't any perforations or the pie will suffer! Bake the crust for around 20 minutes, or till golden
  • Cool the pie crust before you introduce the filling
  • Slice two bananas thinly, and layer it on the crust. Sprinkle the chocolate on the bananas. Add the caramel on top and place the pie in the fridge for a couple of hours
  • It's ready to serve!

Olive Parmesan Bread

Two and half cups of flour
One cup warm water
Half a cup pitted sliced olives
Half cup grated Parmesan
Half cup olive oil
A couple of tablespoons of milk to glaze the bread
A tablespoon of yeast
A tablespoon of sugar

  • Heat water - not quite to boiling point (you should be able to drink it.) In about a quarter cup, mix in the yeast and sugar and let the yeast get activated
  • In a bowl, sift the flour and salt together. Make a small depression in the center and pour in the yeast liquid and the rest of the water and knead lightly. Let rest for about ten minutes
  • Add in the olive oil, and knead well. Keep aside, covered with a moist cloth for about 20 minutes
  • On a floured surface, pat down the dough to a thick rectangle, and sprinkle the sliced olives and Parmesan (reserve some cheese for sprinkling on the surface)
  • Roll or fold the dough like you would a taco...visualize a swirl of olives and cheese as you slice through the bread
  • The loaf still has some rising to do, so let the roll rest for about ten minutes
  • Place the roll in a floured baking sheet and brush it with milk for a nice shine. Sprinkle some Parmesan on the top
  • Base in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, for around forty minutes

The snack table had chips and olive bread to go with the hummus, and the pie. Great fun was had by all!

2 comments:

BAY VOLLEYBALL - sf Bay said...

Great recipes Roopa.

Here's one (Nat. cooking blog) of one of my friend/colleague here in SF Bay area:

http://www.amysfoodroom.com/

check it out !

-raju

IE said...

Try a bit of finely shredded ginger (say 1/2" cube)and 1/8-1/4 tspn of cumin in the hommus - it gives it a unique flavor that never fails to arouse comments. I also add a bit of olive oil during the processing and, after pouring the hommus into a shallow dish, sprinkle on olive oil and paprika. I tell ya, it's totally addictive.