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Tag-Team Teaching in the Kitchen

This entry is part of a series, Pepper Jelly Chronicles»

Jess only has a few days before she has to be back on campus, so she’s in a hurry. Today, for instance, she had a doctor’s appointment, she needed to get her car inspected, and she had to drive over 170 miles. Oh, and she had to go pick up what’s his face Kai at the San Antonio airport. All in all, a busy day.

DoughWe still took time, though, to do some parallel-play cooking in the kitchen. A while back Jess told me she’d learned how to make naan bread from scratch. I told her then that I wanted her to teach me that. So she did. First, the night before we’d made the dough mix: 3 cups lukewarm water, 3 Tbsp yeast, 3 Tbsp salt, and 7 cups flour. Mix it all together in a large plastic tub with a loose-fitting lid, and then into the refrigerator. In the morning Jess took the dough out and began to work on a small ball of the dough, about the size of a ripe peach. She carefully folded it back on itself, over and over, until the ball had a nearly-smooth surface.

Next she rolled out the dough into a roughly round flat, about 7-8 inches across and quite thin. She used a French rolling pin; that is, a simple dowel, not the larger ones that most of us Americans are fond of. Using flour to keep the dough from sticking to everything, of course.

Meanwhile, she took a large omelette pan and got it quite hot. There’s an easy way to tell when the skillet’s hot enough. You let a drop of water fall off your fingertip into the pan, and if the water sizzles and skitters around the pan like an alien hovercraft on amphetamines, then the skillet’s ready. If the water simply sticks in place and evaporates, then the pan’s not quite ready. (Neat, huh.)

Once the pan’s hot, a half-tablespoon of butter (the real stuff; not any substitute) goes in, and you swirl the butter around quickly as it melts and begins to brown. You toss the flat of dough into the pan, turn the heat down, cover and start a timer set for 3 minutes. When the timer sounds off you flip the bread over, cover again and repeat the 3 minute countdown. That’s it!

A cast-iron skillet should work well on this too. Better still, a tandoor; but I doubt you have one of those just lying around, right?

While all this was going on I was showing Jess how to make red pepper jelly. I used red jalapeño chiles fresh from the garden, so the fumes weren’t quite as bad as before. The syrup cooked while we brunched on naan bread and various pepper jellies from previous batches. Once the liquid was ready we transferred and processed the jelly in half-pint jars, like always, inside a boiling water bath. They came out beautifully!

All this in less than two hours. A fun and productive morning. Then it was off to lunch with PJ and the rest of the hectic day…

Enjoy the (Family Kitchen Fun) Heat!

Entries in this series:
  1. Red Pepper Jelly Sunday
  2. Pepper Jelly Update: Anybody Got a Gas Mask I Can Borrow?
  3. Tag-Team Teaching in the Kitchen
  4. Lemon Ginger Marmalade, an Easy Spread to Make
  5. Yellow Inferno for Breakfast: Caribé-Habañero Pepper Jelly
  6. Lemony-Hot Jam, a Hybrid Spread With a Slow Burn
  7. Hatch Chiles and Lime, a Great Combo for Jam
  8. Jessica, Your Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly is Ready
  9. Hunting the Wild Prickly Pear in South Texas
  10. Prickly Pear Jelly Redux: Juice, Juice Everywhere…
  11. Charred Pineapple, Habañeros and Bourbon, a Great Jam Combo
  12. How to Push Prickly Pear Jelly Over the Top With Serrano Chiles
  13. Not Your Momma’s Marmalade
  14. A Jam That’s Just Plum Good…
  15. Peaches O’ Eight Jam, the Perfect Pirate Toast Topping
  16. Saint Basil’s Green; It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore
  17. Pepper Jelly Redux: Apricot Jam, Extra-Zesty Habañero and Serrano Jellies
  18. Pepper Jelly Sweetened with Stevia: It’s a Hit!
  19. Gardens, Gators, and Green Pepper Jelly
  20. Do Hairless Peaches Make Great Jam? You Betcha…
  21. Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Onion Jam
  22. Cinnamon Plus Heat Equals Magic
  23. March Madness, With Mangos…
  24. StingJam, a New Variety of Pepper Jelly
  25. Butter and Scotch? Not Quite; But a Great Jelly Nonetheless…
  26. White Flesh Peach Zingjam, a Refreshing Topping
  27. More Summertime Fruit Pepper Jellies
  28. Holiday Marmalade with Habaneros and Prickly Pear Juice
  29. Pepper Jelly Makes a Great Christmas Present
  30. Cherry Season is Here, and Cherry Pepper Jellies are Great
  31. Pepper Jellies and the Manzano Chile
  32. Singapore Sling Pepper Jelly! Now You Can Drink Your Toast…
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