The Therapeutic Value of Cooking

I’ve been cooking more than usual this week. Mercury is still in retro; the heavy snow from Monday’s storm followed by yesterday’s rain and wind-driven melting challenged one of the sump pumps to the breaking point; my mainstay paid writing job has been put on hold indefinitely; and of course, Oakley ate a few too many biskies, leading to 2 AM runs in the yard.

So I’ve cooked. Turkey chili, a rotisserie chicken, a cake made with almond and coconut flours, socca with fresh cilantro to go with the chili. The cake was based on a very simple French recipe; the other dishes are regular batters in the culinary lineup. It’s kept me pleasantly busy during the interminable wait for the weather to level out. 

Signs that spring can’t be too far off are coming up here and there. Strawberries glisten like rubies at the store and early greens are coming in to play. Mercury will get its act together on the 28th and go forward. And we shall as well.

The Answer is Socca

Spent time experimenting this weekend. 

Found an almond flour pizza crust that’s very passible. Only problem: for the love of what if any deity you believe in, use parchment paper to line the pan. The author was not kidding when she said to use parchment paper. It’s that sticky and I am still trying to soak off the remains. But it was really yummy and could stand alone as a flatbread. Here’s the link: http://blog.stuffimakemyhusband.com/2011/02/almond-flour-pizza.html.

The other experiment: socca, one of France’s many gifts to the world. One cup of water, one cup of chickpea flour, two tablespoons of olive oil, dash of salt, and a teaspoon of chopped or crumbled rosemary. Let the batter rest for at least 15 minutes. You could either bake it in a 450 oven (heat a cake pan with a generous amount of olive oil in the bottom, then when it’s hot pour in the batter and bake until done) or cook it like pancakes. So far, I’ve used it for tacos and a base for pizza. It worked a lot better than the flaxseed fiasco.

I’m thinking…hmm…mince some kalamata olives or sun-dried tomatoes in the batter? Cumin next time I do tacos? Leave out the rosemary and add some sweetener for pancakes? 

The wheels are turning.

ISO Grain Free Pizza Crust and Wraps, or Learn to Make Socca

My first try involved flaxseeds, an egg, and a little water. It came out an odd shade of purple with a sponge-like taste and texture. No. I am too fond of people who read this blog to tell them where I found it.

Some of the other recipes involved making what amounts to an omelet. No. 

And then came The Revelation: socca. It’s a flatbread from southern France traditionally served as an appetizer or a snack. It’s made with chickpea flour, a little salt, water, and olive oil in its purest form. Some recipes call for a little rosemary, too. Try this one: http://newgrainrecipes.com/the-incredible-socca

If you were to close your eyes, click your heels, and wish to find yourself in Nice, and it worked, then this might be offered to you when you landed. It would have been baked in a wood oven and drizzled with really, really good olive oil.  Depending on your manifestation skills, you might even have Alain Delon serving you. However, for the rest of us, a frying pan will do the trick, especially in a week of near tropical humidity.

I made pizza topped with goat cheese (which my tummy approves of), sauteed leeks, and kalamata olives. I liked and Hubby liked.

I started thinking that one of these lovely wraps might be good with tuna or mahi mahi, some lettuce, tomato, and onions, and drizzled with vinegrette, or perhaps with salsa and avocado and a sprinkle of goat cheese.

I don’t think I can go wrong.