Semana Santa

Happy Sunday!  For those of you in Europe, I hope you’re adjusting to the time change.  It’s never easy springing forward, even when you know you “gain” an hour.  Here on Mallorca, this weekend marked the beginning of Semana Santa, the Holy Week before Easter.  The week is filled with lots of processions leading up to the main event {Easter}.  I don’t know a lot about the processions, but, from umpteen years of Spanish class, and Wikipedia {actually about.com}, they were designed in the 16th century by the Catholic Church to present the story of the Passion of Christ so everyone could understand.  If you ask me, from what I saw, it was super confusing and I understand less now.  There were lots of images of Christ and crosses, a lot of drummers and people in costume, but nothing very coherent for me.  However, I am a bystander, this is my first Semana Santa, and just because I didn’t take anything away from it doesn’t mean that there is nothing to be taken away.  Also the horses at the beginning were beautiful!

I’ll let my pictures tell the story.

*These are from two different processions – Friday night, when I was just trying to get across the center of town to buy water at the supermarket before it closed, and this evening.  I didn’t stay until the end of either, but I was there for a solid hour this afternoon.

*Just because I didn’t understand what was going on doesn’t mean it wasn’t beautiful.

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What’s the most impressive Holy Week demonstration you’ve seen?  How does your community celebrate it?

Update:  I was informed by a very reliable source that what I saw wasn’t an actual procession, just practice for the procession that will happen later in the week.  The actual procession, when it takes place, will be 5+ hours long.

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Poppyseed Matzoh

Happy Saturday!!  Here on Mallorca, Spring seems to have arrived.  It’s warmer out, the tourists have exploded everywhere, and tonight we set the clocks ahead an hour, losing time and sleep.  I even saw my first Spanish Holy Week procession last night.  Pictures will certainly follow in another post, and  you can judge for yourself if the participants bring anything else to your mind.  In the meantime, I’m waiting for the gas man, again.  I don’t think he’s coming at this point, and I would like to go for a run.  Regardless, yesterday I found myself in a different dilemma.  I have a whole big batch of homemade roasted garlic hummus, and I had nothing suitable to put it on, which is where the matzoh comes in.

I love matzoh.  It’s my favorite.  One time, after Passover, I got five pounds on sale at Wegman’s for a dollar.  $1.00.  It’s possibly my favorite matzoh story, but, as much as I recounted it, wasn’t providing me with any matzoh here in Spain.  Seriously, does no one eat it here?  Where is it??  I’ve been craving matzoh pb&j {peanut butter and jelly}, and had to take matters into my own hands.  Like the bagels that I made, I don’t know that I would say it’s a perfect match for store-bought matzoh, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  It did remind me more of the matzoh that you could buy at Fairmount or St. Viateur’s Bagels in Montreal, especially once I added the poppyseed.  There was definitely more flavor than the boxed stuff.  It was really surprisingly easy to make, and didn’t take any time, since there’s no yeast to rise.

I found a great no-mixer recipe, and I really don’t think I would use a mixer for these, even if I had one available, since you just don’t need one.  I cut the batch in half, because I had no idea what to expect.  I think I would do a half batch again, since there’s a lot of running back and forth to the oven, and I don’t think I have the patience to do that for a full batch.  Maybe if I had a helper.

Poppyseed Matzoh:

{Note 1: This is the modified batch I made.  I already halved it, so you don’t have to halve it again.  Also, you can omit the poppyseeds, but I think they’re a worthwhile addition.}

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup warm water, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more for sprinkling {it’s supposed to be Kosher salt, but I didn’t have any.}
  • poppyseed for sprinkling {or sesame seeds, or whatever topping you want}
  • parchment paper, for your cookie sheet

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 500°F {260°C}, with your parchment-lined cookie sheet inside.  {I only have one cookie sheet here, so that’s what I used.  I would start out using one sheet at a time.}
  2. Combine all of your ingredients except the poppyseed, and mix together.  Add more flour or water as needed to get a proper dough.
  3. Divide your dough into three, and roll out each ball, one at a time, on a well-floured surface.  Don’t forget to coat your rolling pin {in my case, a Saran-wrapped bottle of wine}, and your hands so nothing sticks.
  4. Roll each ball as thin as possible.
  5. Take your cookie sheet out of the oven, and transfer your rolled out sheet of matzoh to your parchment-covered cookie sheet.  I found two hands, supporting it like a half-rolled out pizza, did the trick.
  6. Poke holes all over the matzoh with a fork, sprinkle with sea salt, water, and poppyseed if you’re using it.  Use the back of the fork to gently press the poppyseeds into the matzoh.
  7. Bake for about 3 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.
  8. Flip over and bake for another 3 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly on that side.
  9. Roll out your other balls, and repeat until you’ve made matzoh out of all of the dough.  The cooking time might increase slightly with each batch… your cookie sheet gets cooled down every time you take it out and put fresh dough on it.
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All purpose and whole wheat flours.

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Oil, salt, and water.

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This is what my dough looked like.

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Roll it out very thinly.

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Poke holes with a fork.

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All done. I made the first sheet without any poppyseeds.

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Poppyseed matzoh ready to bake. Remember to press the seeds into the dough so they don’t fall off when you flip it over.

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Poppyseed matzoh done.

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Finished product. Three sheets of perfectly golden brown matzoh.

Have you ever made matzoh before?  What’s your favorite way to eat it?  Straight from the oven or box, with hummus, or peanut butter and jelly?

Note: My matzoh isn’t Kosher for Passover, among many reasons because the flour I used to make it wasn’t Kosher, and it took me longer than 18 minutes to make.  I read somewhere that it has to be made in under 18 minutes to be Kosher.  Regardless, it’s yummy.

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Lately I’ve been into chickpeas, and hummus.  A few weeks ago I gave in and bought the hummus from my grocery store.  I wasn’t thrilled with the ingredient list, but, there weren’t any options.  And it was decent.  I liked it.  Until the other day, when I got creative and decided to make my own hummus from scratch.  I’ve always known it was a thing, but put it off because I don’t have a food processor.  Last week, I got seriously inspired by a great hummus post I read here, and I thought I should be able to pull it off.  I don’t have a mortar and pestle.  I didn’t make my own tahini from scratch.  I wasn’t that dedicated this time.  But I did manage to pull of homemade hummus from scratch, with no electricity.  {Okay, now I’m keeping it in my fridge, which is very much electric, but the actual making of the hummus was done with no electricity.}

Roasted Garlic Hummus:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked through or, from a can/jar {about 1 – 1 1/2 cups dry before you soak them}
  • 5 tbsp tahini paste
  • 9 tbsp water
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • olive oil, for garlic.
  • sea salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. If you have dry chickpeas, start here.  If you have canned or jarred, drain them and skip ahead to step three.  Soak your chickpeas overnight.  Make sure whatever you’re soaking them in is big enough for them to double in size and still be submerged.  I made this mistake.
  2. Drain your chickpeas and cook them in fresh water.  I boiled mine for about 40 minutes.  Normally I wouldn’t want them so cooked, but this time I wanted them easier to smush.  If you have water left in your pot, drain it, and transfer your chickpeas to a bowl.  If you let the water boil out like I did, turn off the heat.
  3. Sautee some garlic in a little olive oil.  I did 5 cloves, burnt some, redid some others, and it was still fine.
  4. Start smushing.  I was too lazy to take off the chickpea “husks”, and it turned out okay.  I used a big wooden spoon, and a fork, and it took awhile, but it’s doable.
  5. Add the tahini {less if you have fewer chickpeas}, and the water, a tablespoon or two at a time.  You can always add more water and tahini, but you can’t take it out.
  6. Add the garlic, and the garlic oil and mix in.
  7. Add sea salt if you want.  Remember the flavors will get stronger in the fridge.
  8. When you have the consistency you want, refrigerate it.
  9. The flavors will come together overnight.

It’s seriously yummy, you guys.  I tried the storebought stuff after I made my own, to taste test, and there’s no comparison.  Homemade is way better.  A little chunkier, but better.  And you could make it smoother with a food processor, or by smushing it more and removing the husks, if that bothers you.  Also, I love knowing what’s in the food I’m eating.  Hummus shouldn’t need added sugar and sunflower oil, and mine certainly doesn’t.  I’ve been eating it straight out of the fridge, it’s that good.

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See the note above about using a big enough container to soak your chickpeas.

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Like this one.

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Drain them.

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Cook them.

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Smush them.

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Keep smushing.

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Almost there.

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Tahini time.

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Add your garlic. Try not to burn it, like I did, when you roast it.

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Mix it all together and refrigerate.

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And you’ve got hummus!

Have you ever made hummus before?  Do you have a favorite recipe?  What’s your favorite thing to eat it on?

Sea Salt Olive Oil Brownies

Hey guys, it’s Wednesday!!  We’re halfway through with this week.  Even so, last night didn’t feel like just Tuesday.  The week already felt like it was dragging on forever, and I knew that I would be needing some chocolate.  I have always made my brownies with butter.  Normally I’m a huge proponent of butter in everything.  This is what happens when one of your parents is from the Dairy State.  Everything really does taste better with butter on top.  Pancakes, pasta, and tomato soup all taste better with butter.  I’ve also been known to add cheese to my boxed macaroni and cheese, but that’s for another time.  We don’t butter bacon like Homer Simpson, but I bet it would be good!  In this case, however, I thought I would mix up my brownies.  I feel like I’m in the olive oil capital of the world sometimes, so what better place to make olive oil brownies??  I found some recipes online, but the ratios just seemed off to me, so I came up with my own.  I ended up making the perfect brownie to eat on the couch while watching Simpsons reruns dubbed over in Español.  Whatever gets you through, right?

Sea Salt Olive Oil Brownies:

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 3 ounces olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp coffee
  • 2 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.  For most of you, that should be around 176 °C. 
  2. Prepare your 8×8 pan.  I find a sheet of parchment paper to be the most efficient.  Easy clean-up.
  3. Add olive oil to the chocolate.  Measure from the top of the chocolate before you added any oil.  {Or use a separate liquid measuring cup, but if you measure them together, you have one less thing to clean.}
  4. Pour chocolate and oil into a large bowl.  {In my case, still a large pot.  Mixing bowls just aren’t on the priority list when you’re eventually going to move with only the 50lbs of things that can fit in a suitcase.}
  5. Mix in sugar.
  6. Add eggs and coffee, mixing well.
  7. Add cocoa powder and stir until well combined.
  8. Add flours and stir carefully to avoid flour flying all over your countertop.  {Not that I ever have this problem or anything.}  Try not to overmix.
  9. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly.  Remember to reach the corners.
  10. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs.  Remember, underbaking is so much better than overbaking. {*I actually baked at 200°C (about 400°F) for about 20 minutes, and then panicked that they were overcooked and pulled them out.  But I really don’t think my oven has been working properly lately, and I should really invest in an oven thermometer.  Every brownie recipe I’ve seen for an 8×8 pan calls for 350°F (176°C) for 30 minutes, so I would use that as your guideline.}
  11. For those of you with self control, let cool completely on a wire rack before topping with sea salt and cutting.
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Melt the chocolate.

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Measure the olive oil.

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Pour into your mixing vessel.

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Stir to combine. The oil wants to sit on top of the chocolate, but we don’t want that.

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Add your eggs and coffee and mix well.

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Add cocoa powder.

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And flour.

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Mix in the flour, but don’t overmix. You shouldn’t actually see flour when you’re done, but my totally mixed-in flour picture was too blurry to post.

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Get your batter into you pan. It’s not the prettiest looking, but it is delicious!

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Sprinkle with sea salt and let cool. You can see I didn’t have a lot of patience to wait around or take pictures before I dug in.

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Cut a nice piece and enjoy! A glass of milk is perfect with this brownie.

These were seriously good.  I could have eaten the whole tray last night, so the fact that I had any self-restraint is incredible.  They’re richer than your regular brownie, and really good!  I’ll be bringing the rest into work tomorrow so I don’t eat them all.

Have you ever tried making brownies with olive oil?  Do you have a favorite recipe?  Has your week felt as long as mine has, and do brownies make everything better for you too?

Update: I went ahead and calculated calories and nutritional info.  If you use MyFitnessPal, they’re already in there under Sea Salt Olive Oil Brownie.  The brand name is “Sophisticated Jersey Girl,” so they should be even easier to find.  For everyone else, here is the breakdown.  I assumed an 8×8 or 9×9 pan, and being realistic, that it would probably make 9 servings.  So here you go.  Per serving, or 1/9 of the batter/pan.

Calories: 345.7 {the app made me choose a whole number.  I rounded up to 346}

Fat (g): 10.9

Carbs (g): 50.1

Sugars (g): 38.5

Fiber (g): 1.8

Protein (g): 3.7

So there you go.  Not as bad for you as I feared when I started to calculate the info.  First I add everything up, and then divide it by servings.  Feel free to dig in guilt free because you know what you’re eating.

Monday!!

Happy Monday, I think.  It’s still too early to tell.  This weekend flew by, as usual, and it’s the start of another crazy week.  I wish it wasn’t a workday, but I feel good about my weekend, so right now my coffee is getting me by.

Friday night I went out for a friend’s birthday and discovered two new bars.  One is a block from my apartment, so that’s super cool.  Late Friday night when I couldn’t sleep (maybe I didn’t really need the extra scoop of New York SuperFudge Chunk after I got home?), I did a mental reset.  I’m really trying to look at what I’m eating, and how much.

I had an awesome workout at the gym on Sunday.  It’s great how empty it is on the weekends, and I was able to be in the weight room without all the sweaty dudes.  I’m really loving lifting lately.

I also got back in the kitchen and tried out a few new recipes which I will share with you all this week.  My roommate says they’re yummy, so you have that to look forward to 🙂

I rediscovered my love of hummus – seriously, it’s awesome, and bought some tahini and oat milk.  We’ll see how long that lasts.  I might love my dairy too much to stick to the oat milk.

Hoping I’ll have time for a walk during my break at work… it’s so peaceful in the countryside!  Plus I know I’ll end up caving and buying bakery bread on my way home tonight, so a walk would be nice to balance out that. The bread is so yummy though!!

What are your plans for this week??  How was your weekend?  Do you have any healthy-eating tips to share?  I would love to hear them!