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.
We 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!
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