The Most Scrumpish Sourdough (Discard) Flatbread

This is my favorite use of sourdough discard. I have tried several other discard recipes such as tortillas, focaccia, pancakes, pizza dough, and brownies. With the exception of the brownies, they were all good. We love making chicken gyros (a future post for sure) and these are absolutely perfect! We have also become accustomed to making a couple of them for a late afternoon snack.  Yes, they are delicious all by themselves.

I use the sourdough discard more than the actual sourdough starter.  When my discard jar started to outgrow its jar, I decided it was time to put my starter to sleep…in the freezer. Feeding it became a bit of a waste. Then I started to run out of the discard, but luckily, I found a blogger who uses her month’s old dormant discard to make another “mother”. Amazing! Now, when my sourdough discard starts to run low, I just take a couple spoonfuls of it, feed it, and like magic I have more sourdough discard.

Sourdough Discard Flatbread

Makes: 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (240 g) multi-purpose flour, or a combo of whole wheat, bread, and/or multi-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons homemade ranch seasoning – see recipe here
  • 1 cup  (120 g) sourdough starter
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) milk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing on flatbread

Directions:

Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, and homemade ranch seasoning together .  Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined.

Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead for a few minutes, until it is smooth and no longer sticky.  Sprinkle more flour on dough and surface as necessary.  To knead the dough, grab an edge and fold it over itself.  Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat movement until the dough is smoothed out and no longer sticky.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.  This gives the gluten time to relax, making it easier to shape and roll.

After the 30 minutes, divide the dough into 6 pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball.  Using your hands or a rolling pin, roll it out into discs that are about 1/4 inch thick.

Brush one side with olive oil and place olive oil side down in a hot skillet.  Cook for 90 seconds or until the top begins to look dry and has bubbles.  Brush the top with olive oil, flip and cook for another minute.  Remove to a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm.

Repeat the process until all your flatbread is cooked or cook what you need and store the leftovers in the fridge or freezer.  See Notes***

***Notes:

Wrap any leftover dough balls in plastic wrap and keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week or freeze for up to 6 months.  When you’re ready to make the leftovers just take them out and get them to room temperature before rolling them into discs.

Don’t worry if your discs aren’t perfectly round.  Consider it rustic charm and made with love.

Cook the flatbread on high heat!! Wait a minute or two if needed between each flatbread for the pan to reheat.  The olive oil and high heat will create a nice crisp crust and keep them from sticking to the pan.

This flatbread is also good plain, without the ranch seasoning. 

You can also make a garlic herb olive oil to brush on the flatbread.  Gently simmer 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 rounded teaspoon dried oregano, 1 rounded teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled; 2 cloves grated garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small heavy saucepan, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes. 

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

Homemade Ranch Seasoning and Chili Powder

Want to make a recipe with Ranch Seasoning or Chili powder but don’t want to make another “Hunger Games” trip to the grocery store? Than try these homemade versions that taste and work just as great!

Every once and a while I’ll run into a recipe that calls for Ranch Seasoning ( like this one: BLT Red Potato Salad with Avocado from Tidy Mom ) or Chili Powder ( such as Tastes Better From Scratch’s Southwest Tortellini Pasta Salad ) but since I can’t run to my local supermercado to grab a packet of Hidden Valley or McCormick, I’ve passed on making these recipes. It didn’t dawn on me until recently, that I could make my own at home with just a few herbs and spices already in my pantry. Hello!?

We’re not big fans of parsley, so whenever a recipe calls for it we usually leave it out. We did that again for this recipe and it still worked and tasted great. I also couldn’t find onion powder at the store, only onion flakes, which worked fine.

Ranch Seasoning

Homemade Ranch Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons parsley **optional
  • 1 tablespoon dill
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder ** you can substitute with onion flakes if you don’t have powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients until well blended and store in an airtight container.

Chili Powder

Homemade Chili Powder
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric ** optional (buy organic to avoid any potential lead contaminant)
  • pinch of allspice **optional
  • pinch of oregano

Combine all ingredients until well blended and store in an airtight container.

Please share and enjoy!

Spain’s Most Popular Salad – Ensaladilla Rusa

Ensaladilla Rusa aka. Russian Salad is one of the most popular salads in Spain. You can pretty much find it on every restaurants menu. It’s the only potato salad I’ve ever seen or heard of here. I love it!

I can’t help but wonder if there is a story behind the salad. Why is it called a “Russian” salad? What makes it “Russian”? I asked my local Valenciana friend Sus (who gave me this delicious recipe) and she didn’t think there was a story. Her thoughts were that it’s a cheap way to feed a family. After a quick google search, I found an article I thought sounded plausible. According to Edyta from Eating European, this salad was invented in the 18th century by Lucien Olivier in Moscow and over the course of the centuries, different regions of Europe have developed their own variations. Spain’s variation is adding tuna and green olives.

I grew up eating potato salad at family gatherings and/or holidays. I can’t wait to bring this recipe home and make it for my family in the US.

Ensaladilla Rusa

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 potatoes, cut into small cubes
  • 3 carrots, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 can drained peas (80g), or 2/3 cups frozen peas
  • 1 can corn, drained (80g), or 2/3 cups frozen corn
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
  • 2 cans of tuna (80g ea), drained
  • 6 crab sticks, chopped into small cubes – (*optional)
  • 20 green olives (divided), chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Salt, pepper, and thyme to taste
  • a squeeze of lemon

Directions:

  1. Peel potatoes and carrots, and chop into small cubes.
  2. Boil potatoes, carrots, and peas for 25 to 30 mins or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Then, drain and let cool.
  4. Boil eggs, for 10 mins. Then, let them cool.
  5. Chop olives set aside.
  6. (*optional) Chop crab sticks into small cubes.
  7. In a bowl, add potatoes, carrots, peas, *crab, corn, and tuna together.
  8. Chop eggs and add to the bowl.
  9. Add half the olives. Mix gently.
  10. Add salt, pepper, thyme to taste.
  11. Add mayonnaise until salad is evenly coated.
  12. Add a squeeze of lemon.

“Now, it’s the moment of building your dish.” – Sus

I love that this step was included in the recipe. Plating and presenting is important!

  1. Prepare a large dish.
  2. Build a small oval hill of salad, with the help of one spoon.
  3. When finished, ensure that it’s all coated with mayonnaise.
  4. Decorate the top with the remaining olives.
  5. Per Sus, you can also put chopped peanuts, pistachios, or cashews sometimes. (I absolutely love the added crunch of the nuts)

This is a great summer meal. Give it a try and then let me know what you think.

Spicy Pork Ramen

We love ramen and occasionally miss our Top Ramen soup from home (beef ramen with peas). They don’t sell the Top Ramen brand in Valencia (maybe even in all of Spain). The ramen packages they have here are expensive comparably at 1 to 1,5€ each and somehow they taste absolutely terrible. Luckily, we have an Asian market where we can find good quality ramen noodles and any other Asian ingredient we may need.

We really liked this recipe from Kitchen Sanctuary. It has a savory broth, shredded pork, sauteed leeks and spinach, and some tasty toppings like., green onions, cilantro, toasted sesame, and red chili/pepper flakes. Another thing I liked about this recipe is that you make the broth and meat all at once, then you can make the noodles, and veggies separate and depending on how many servings you need you can adjust how much noodles and veggies to make. That way you don’t have soggy leftover noodles and veggies.

For our last serving, I added a cup of frozen peas into the broth and let them cook while it heated up. If you want to add frozen peas from the get-go I would suggest letting them defrost on the kitchen counter and then sautee them with the leeks and spinach.

This gave us six “normal size” not “ramen size” soup bowl servings.

Spicy Pork Ramen

Spicy Pork Ramen

Serves 6

Broth Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb (500 g) pork loin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 1/2 cups (1.5 litres) chicken broth
  • 1/2 onion with top and bottom bit cut off (no need to chop)
  • 1 carrot – peeled and left whole
  • 1 stick celery – left whole or cut in half
  • 3 garlic cloves – peeled but left whole
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger – roughly chopped (peeled or unpeeled)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin or rice vinegar (optional)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of chili garlic sauce
  • 1 red chili – roughly chopped (remove the seeds for less heat)

Topping Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs (1 egg for each bowl/serving)
  • 3 leeks – slice and use the light green and white parts ( 1/2 to 1 sliced leek per 2 servings)
  • 3 cups (125g) baby spinach leaves ( 1 cup per 2 servings)
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • small bunch green onions – sliced
  • red chili flakes
  • 500g (17.6 0z) dry instant noodles (1 1/2 blocks for 2 servings)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F. Using a large dutch oven or oven-safe pot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat until very hot.
  2. Season the pork with salt and pepper, cutting the pork loin in half if needed to fit the pan. Place pork in the pan with the hot oil. Sear the pork on all sides.
  3. Pour the chicken stock over the pork.
  4. Add the onion, the whole carrot, celery, garlic, and ginger.
  5. Next add the soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, and red chili. Bring to a boil, then place a lid on the pan and place in the oven for 2 hours. Make sure to check two or three times during cooking and top off with a little boiling water, if needed.
  6. Take the pan out of the oven and place the pork on a cutting board. Shred the pork using two forks. Once shredded, cut into manageable bites.
  7. Place a colander over a large bowl and strain the liquid. Throw the strained veggies away and place the broth back into the pan with the shredded pork. Leave on a low heat to keep it warm.
  8. Place the eggs in a small saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 3 to 6 minutes depending on how you like your yolk. 3 minutes gives you a half-cooked yolk and 6 minutes gives you a solid, well-cooked yolk.
  9. Remove the eggs from the heat and place in a bowl with cold water to stop them from cooking.
  10. Place the noodles in a pan of boiling water and boil per package instructions. Then drain and run under cold water.
  11. Heat remaining oil in a frying pan.
  12. Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper then fry for a few minutes until tender. Add the spinach to the pan and cook until wilted. If you’re adding defrosted peas, add them a minute or two before adding the spinach.
  13. Divide the noodles into serving bowls. Top with the broth, shredded pork, leek, and spinach.
  14. Peel the eggs and cut each in half. Place 2 halves in each bowl.
  15. Garnish each bowl with sliced green onions, cilantro, toasted sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes.

Serve and enjoy a meal with your loved ones.

Easy & Delicious Onion Bread

Sliced Onion Bread

Do you love bread but are a little intimidated by making your own? You are not alone. I feel the same way more or less. As they say, practice makes perfect. Relatively speaking this recipe is not a difficult one and/or too time-consuming. One of the things, in my opinion, that was a catalyst to the success of this recipe, was fresh yeast. Check out my post about fresh yeast, here.

With the combination of whole wheat flour, traditional bread flour, and sauteed onions, this bread has an excellent flavor. Plus, it’s healthy, delicious, homemade, and easy to make. What else can we ask for?

Once you’ve tried onion bread, you’ll see how versatile it is for any time of day, be it breakfast, lunch, dinner, or for a snack, ie. something to slather butter on! Yum!

Delicious Onion Bread

Ingredients:

Makes approximately 10 slices.

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup bread flour (harina de trigo de fuerza)

135 milliliters (1/2 cup, 1 tablespoon) of warm water

12.5 grams of fresh yeast (half a cube) *don’t have fresh yeast? Click here

20 millilitres (1 1/2 tablespoons) of olive oil

1 small onion or half a large onion, finely chopped

5 to 7.5 grams (1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon) salt

Directions:

  1. In a frying pan, add the oil, onions, and salt. Saute until the onions are soft. They don’t need to be caramelized.
  2. While the onion is cooking, in a separate small bowl add the warm water and crumble in the fresh yeast. Mix well.
  3. When the onions are soft, turn off the pan and let the onions cool completely.
  4. In a large bowl add the flour, onion, a pinch of salt, and the yeast water. Mix well.
  5. Once the dough is well mixed, transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough until it is no longer sticky. For this, we “knead” to have patience (see what I did there) and enthusiasm, takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes, flouring from time to time as needed. I use all-purpose flour for dusting.
  6. Clean the bowl so there aren’t any sticky dough bits. Lightly oil and flour the bowl, cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, set in a nice warm spot (if the sun is out I’ll put it outside), and let the dough rest in a ball, for one or two hours, until it doubles in size.
  7. Oil and lightly flour the bottom and sides of an oven-safe pot (or dutch oven), including the lid. I used a medium-sized oven-safe saucepan.
  8. After the dough doubles in size, lightly punch down once to release the air from the dough. Remove the dough from the bowl and give it the shape that adapts well to the container that you are going to use in the oven. Make a couple of slits on the top of the bread. (I made a pound sign/hashtag # symbol)
  9. Cover the pan with the lid and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. While the dough is resting, pre-heat the oven to 200 celsius (400F) with heat up and down. After the dough has rested for 10 minutes put the dough in the oven with the lid on for 30 minutes.
  10. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes. When the bread is a nice golden brown, take the bread out of the oven and carefully remove from pan. Check if the bread is done by tapping the bottom, listen for a hollow sound. If it sounds hollow then your bread is done. Set it on top of a cooling rack, preferably outside.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Let me know what you think. Also, I would love to know what you’ve been baking during the Covid-19 quarantine. Please leave me a comment. I’m always looking for inspiration.

How To Channel Your Inner Baker-man(woman)

First, let’s set the mood. 😂😜

I’ve often thought “Wouldn’t it be nice to make my own bread?” , “Kneading dough looks like fun and it’s stress-relieving”, “I want to do that!”, and “Wow, making my own cinnamon rolls, sourdough, or french bread, etc. would be awesome.” I’ve always admired people who can and do make their own bread. Sadly, I haven’t had much success in the past baking any bread using yeast until just recently. So what’s changed or different from my other failed attempts?

Fresh Yeast!! (or sometimes referred to as Baker’s Yeast or Cake Yeast)

Fresh Yeast

Fresh yeast is a cube of compressed yeast cells with 70% moisture and is commonly used by baking professionals. It’s light beige in color and is soft and crumbly. It usually comes in a pack of two blocks at 25 grams each. It has a shelf life of approximately two to three weeks, so it needs to stay refrigerated and you will most likely find it in the refrigerated section of the supermarket by the butter. Although I have heard it may be harder to find in the US.

It’s super easy to work with. You just crumble it into your recipe. You can use it in place of other types of dry, active yeasts. Just follow the same instructions in a recipe (don’t forget to convert measurements, see below) but from my experience when going through the proofing step, you can skip waiting for the yeast to bubble. I haven’t seen it bubble but it certainly rises and doubles and works great without it.

Tips:

  • Make sure to take a look at the expiration date and use it before it expires.
  • Keep refrigerated.
  • You can use any yeast recipe but you’ll want to convert the measurements. See the diagram below with further conversion instructions.

Check out these handy references from The Spruce Eats:

The Spruce Eats – Julie Bang

Because fresh yeast has moisture in it, you should use 3 times the fresh yeast in weight for the same rising ability of instant yeast and 2.5 times the amount of active dry yeast.

– The Spruce Eats

7 grams instant yeast = 1/4 ounce instant yeast = 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast = 21 grams fresh yeast or 1 1/4 blocks (0.6-ounce size) or about 1/2 block (2-ounce size) fresh yeast.

1 teaspoon instant yeast (3 grams) = 1/2 block (0.6 ounce size) fresh yeast or 9 grams fresh yeast

7 grams of active dry yeast = 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast = 17.5 grams fresh yeast = 1 block (0.6-ounce size) or 1/3 block (2-ounce size) of fresh yeast.

1 teaspoon active dry yeast = 1/3 block (0.6-ounce size) of fresh yeast.

-The Spruce Eats

Here are some of my recent creations. Take a look!

Onion Whole Wheat Bread
Gardenscape Focaccia
Pistachio Sticky Buns

I can’t wait to try more recipes!

Do you have any tips or tricks for baking with yeast? Care to share? Leave me a comment. I would love to here from you.

Happy baking!!

Peanut Butter Whole Wheat Pancakes

I love Peanut Butter. I’ve been eating peanut butter almost every morning, for a while now. One of my all-time favorite snacks is sliced granny smith apples with a large rounded scoop of peanut butter. Recently it’s turned into one of my favorite breakfast meals. I can eat peanut butter at any time of day. It’s definitely a staple in my household and if I’m not eating it in my breakfast, I’ll have some for a snack or dessert. I’ve even had it as a dinner replacement.

Several years ago I found a recipe for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pancakes (with Peanut Butter Syrup) on Like Mother Like Daughter. These pancakes were the most delectable pancakes I have ever had. They’re light and fluffy, sweet, and full of peanut butter/chocolatey goodness. Oh and don’t get me started on the peanut butter syrup. Yum-may!! It’s the only pancake recipe I’ll make for myself.

Since we are in isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and not getting a lot of exercise, I wanted to make these a little more healthy. For this post, I used just whole wheat flour but I’ve also made them in the past with equal amounts of whole wheat flour and pastry flour. Both ways are delicious. I’ve also made these pancakes with and without mini chocolate chips. This time I made them without, but of course they are even better (duh) with them. Normally I top these babies with one of the best syrup’s I’ve ever tasted: Peanut Butter Maple Syrup. Oh man, this syrup is tasty! However, since I didn’t have any maple syrup I just spread a little peanut butter and a dash of honey to each pancake. Yum!

Peanut Butter Whole Wheat Pancakes (Makes 8 pancakes)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter, natural
  • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips – optional

Pancake Topping

  • peanut butter, natural
  • honey or maple syrup

or

  • Peanut Butter Maple Syrup: add 2 tablespoons peanut butter with 1/2 cup maple syrup to a small microwave-safe bowl, heat the mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds, and stir to combine. Pour on pancakes when you are ready to serve.

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl mix the wet ingredients, milk, egg, vanilla, and peanut butter until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the large bowl and mix until just combined.
  4. Optional: Fold in chocolate chips
  5. Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto a preheated medium-high griddle or skillet.
  6. When the batter begins to bubble, flip pancakes.
  7. Cook for another 1-2 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Spread a little peanut butter and honey on top of each pancake or make Peanut Butter Maple Syrup.

I hope you’ll enjoy these. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Spanish Wine Recommendations

I thought it would be fun, and maybe helpful, to share some of my favorite bottles of wine. I am no wine aficionado or connoisseur, but there’s no harm in playing one, right?

Keep in mind that we are very budget conscious and don’t typically buy fancy wines (any wine over 5 euros).

According to the experts, there are 4 simple things to consider when judging your wine.

#1 Smell

Before you take your first sip, stick your nose in the glass and take a whiff. Does it smell fruity or floral? Yes? Great, that’s a good sign. If however, it smells like dirty socks or wet dog then it’s most likely not going to taste very well either.

We have a drawer full of corks from these bottles of red. It’s a nice mix of Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo.


#2 Balance

Balance is an important aspect of wine. Without it, certain components such as acidity, tannin, alcohol, or fruit may stand out too much. For example, if a high level of acidity makes your eyes water, that’s an imbalance. If the levels of tannins feel like wool, not wine, going down your esophagus, that’s another sign of imbalance.

This is a great organic red Monastrell wine.

#3 Depth

Next, we want to taste the depth of the wine. What are you tasting as you sip? Most likely you’ll taste fruit but what else? What kind of fruit? Maybe grapefruit or citrus in white wine and possibly cherry or raspberry in red wine. What else? Oak, tobacco, florals, chocolate, coffee, etc? As you sip your wine during a meal, do you notice any change in the taste? These are all signs of a multi-faceted wine.

Macabeo this one has a very interesting tabacco flavor.

#4 Finish

Last but not least is finish or length. How long do the flavors stay on your palate? If you can still taste the appealing characteristics 2, 3, or 4 seconds (or even better 10 seconds or more) after you swallow, you have a good wine.

Mix of Verdil, Tortosina, Malvasia, Chardonnay, Pedro Ximenez, and Macabeo

This one is a very special white wine, named Cullerot. I first had this at the famous Valencia paella restaurant Casa Carmela. What caught my eye and attention was that it had Pedro Ximenez in it. Man, have I ever told you the story about our first experience trying Pedro Ximenez dessert sherry? It is not to be missed!! (the sherry that is, not my story, haha) Anyway, how could I resist a wine that had this awesome sherry in it? It did not disappoint! This is the smoothest and most divine white wine I think I have ever had. It’s not a really sweet wine either as you might think. It’s a bit on the pricier side at 8 euros a bottle and you have to get it at a wine shop but it is well worth the extra effort and euros. Trust me!

This is a new one we just recently found on Mercadona online. It’s an organic red wine without any added sulfites (sulfites not good for people who are susceptible to migraines) . The grape varietal is Garnacha, which is a young wine. It’s soft, fresh, and fruity with notes blackberries, strawberries and a touch of white pepper. It’s very easy to drink.

Not too difficult right? We’ll all be experts in no time! Please leave me a comment on your favorite wine and where you are from. Salud!!

 

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