Homemade English Muffins

This recipe is so user friendly and satisfying. I like to use buttermilk for a pleasant, sour tang. The use of bread flour is for an incredible chewy bite. The dough will naturally be sticky, In essence, this is a good sign; the mixture contains optimal hydration, which will yield the traditional nooks and crannies that English muffins are known for. Be sure to split open with a fork to reveal your labor. This dough tastes best when you ferment the mixture overnight, but it is not necessary. Toast them on the stovetop then finish them in the oven. So easy to make, you will be amazed. 

You’ll Need:

5 cups unbleached bread flour

3 teaspoons granulated sugar or honey

2 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast

1/4 water, room temperature

1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Cornmeal for dusting

Cooking oil

Special Equipment:

Cast Iron Skillet

Scale 

Here’s How:

In a small bowl, add the yeast to the water, stir. Set aside and allow the yeast to begin activation. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the dry ingredients—flour, sweetener, and salt. Fit with the dough hook and mix on low speed to combine. 

Add the activated yeast, all but 1/4 cup of the buttermilk, and the butter. Mix on medium-low speed until the ingredients form a ball. If there is still loose flour in the bowl, drizzle in some of the remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk. Continue to knead for about 8-10 minutes until the dough looks soft, but still feels tacky and pliable. 

Dust your fingertips with flour, and remove the dough from the bowl and gently form it into a ball. Spray the bottom of your mixing bowl with cooking spray and place the dough back in the mixing bowl. Turn it once to oil, to prevent a crust from forming. Cover lightly with a clean kitchen towel, and allow to rise 90 minutes in a quiet, warm location of your kitchen, or place in the refrigerator and allow the dough to ferment overnight for optimal flavor.

Prepare three sheet pans with non-stick liners and dust two with cornmeal. Set aside. 

Wipe the counter with a damp cloth and release the dough gently from the bowl. Flouring the work surface is not necessary. Divide the dough into equal pieces weighing about 3 ounces each. Gently shape the pieces into small rounds practicing special attention not to deflate.

Transfer the dough balls to the sheet pans dusted with cornmeal, spacing them about 3 inches apart. Mist them lightly with spray oil, sprinkle them loosely with cornmeal, and cover with a clean towel.

Set aside and proof the rounds at room temperature for an additional 90 minutes or until the pieces nearly double in size.

Preheat the oven to 350˚F Degrees with the oven racks distributed evenly. 

Heat a large cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat, drizzle the pan and a wide spatula with cooking oil. 

Uncover the muffin rounds, slide an oiled spatula under rounds, and gently transfer each one to the hot oiled pan, spacing them about an inch apart. Cook undisturbed for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until the bottoms are nicely brown and both sides slightly deflate to the characteristic of an English Muffin. Carefully flip and continue to cook on the other side for 5 to 8 minutes.

Transfer the pan-cooked muffins back to the original sheet tray and immediately place them in the oven. It’s essential not to wait for the remaining rounds to cook; they will deflate further.

Bake in the oven for an additional 7-8 minutes to ensure that the center bakes through. Cool, and cut open with a fork to display the nooks and crannies.

Makes 16

DYI Marshmallow Peeps!

You know Spring has sprung when Marshmallow Peeps are on the shelves in every drug store imaginable! This season, make your own and avoid almost all the crazy ingredients found in the large manufactured varieties. Plus… soooo much fun to make!

You’ll Need

For the Colored Sugar 

3 cups granulated sugar

Yellow or pink vegetable colorants

For the Marshmallows

3 tablespoons or 2 packets of powdered gelatin

1/3 cup cold water, to activate gelatin

1 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/4 cup water

pinch salt

1 teaspoons vanilla or another flavoring of your choice

1 tablespoon chocolate chips, melted ( for the eyes ) or a little food-safe black dye

Special Equipment

Here’s How

For the Colored Sugar

Preheat the oven to 170′ F Degrees. Line a high-sided cookie sheet with parchment and set aside. Place the granulated sugar into the bowl of your food processor. With a toothpick, add a few dabs of the yellow gel coloring. 

Pulse the processor until the sugar becomes bright yellow, while cautiously not to pulsing to a powder. Once the color is to the desired hue, turn out onto the prepared cookie sheet. Place in the oven for about an hour, occasionally stirring to help the sugar to release any additional moisture. Set aside.

For the Marshmallow

Soak the gelatin in the cold water inside the bowl of your standing mixer with the whip attachment. Stir to combine and set aside to develop for about 8-10 minutes.

In a large stock-pot, fitted with a candy thermometer, dissolve the sugar with the corn syrup and 1/4 cup of water over medium-low heat. Stir until combine, careful not to gather any sugar up the sides of the pan. Raise the temperature and bring to a boil. Boil steadily for about 15 minutes without stirring until your candy thermometer reads 240 ‘F Degrees. 

Drizzle the hot sugar mixture in a slow and steady stream down the inside of the standings mixer bowl onto the gelatin. Once the entire mixture is in, increase the speed to high, add flavoring and continue to whip for approximately 10 to 12 minutes until thick, white, and tripled in volume.

In the mean-time, spread half the colored sugar onto a clean large parchment-lined, high-sided sheet pan. 

Piping Bag Technique 

New to a piping bag, or not comfortable working this fast-setting batter? Try the silicon mold technique below.

Fill the bag a little more than halfway. Twist the open end shut and pipe 2 inch long flat ovals, about 1 inch wide. Make sure to quickly snap your wrist by pulling the tip away promptly at the end of the piping stroke. This technique will create the chick’s tail. Repeat additional bases right next to each other, slightly touching. Try to work quickly because the batter will set quickly.

Now create the crest of the chicks’ head by refilling the bag and holding it in the upright position ( 12 o’clock to 6 O’clock ) with even pressure squeeze down and pipe a large circle onto the smooth end of the oval body about as wide as the oval. As you are piping the round, slowly raise the piping bag as you continue to apply pressure creating a pyramid-type shape of marshmallow, ending the pyramid by tilting the bag 90 degrees. Stop squeezing, quickly pull up and away from the mound, forming the head and beak. Be sure to pinch off the string of marshmallow with a wet knife, fingers or oiled scissors to create the beak. 

Dust the marshmallows in the colored sugar before they set.

Use the melted chocolate and a toothpick to dot on the eyes. or black food coloring with a toothpick. Alloe the Peeps to dry. Store in an airtight container.

Silicon Mold Technique 

Lightly spray your mold with cooking spray and set it aside. With an oiled spatula, scoop the sticky mixture into your piping bag, and pipe the blend into the lightly oiled molds. 

Allow to set for about 10 minutes. Gently push the Peeps out of the mold into the sanding sugar and gently dust.

Enjoy! 

KSCU 103.3 FM Season 2 Episode 15 School Nutrition Program

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-rxgzt-d530e1

RECORDING OF LIVE RADIO SHOW 3/1/20 on KSCU 103.3 FM Sunday Supper, Chef Gigi Food Talk Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley.

Chef Gigi & guest co-host Chef Jeff Tachibana from the Epicurian Group host two Bay Area School Nutrition Superheroes! Chef Jason Hull Director of Food Services, Executive Chef and Co-Director of The Culinary Farm, a seed to table program at Marin Country Day School & #SuperWoman Karen Luna, Director of Nutrition Services from our local Santa Clara Unified School District Combine-these two are feeding kids 45,000 pounds a year of organic produce, and serving over 10,000 meals a day!

This weeks Featured Musical Artist – Mike Xavier 

Tonights Curated Playlist on Spotify

Mentions: 
8:00 Minute Mark.Food Talk Opens 
22.05 Wilcox School- Black Garlic Ice Cream on Valentines Day
22:44 Independent Artist,Mike Xavier
43:00 Chef Nancy Vasquez – Marin Country Day School 
44:13 Kathy Power & Lisa Feldman Healthy Kids Colab ( Culinary Instiute of America / Napa ) 
50:00 Chef Debbie Austin & Mountian Views Free Summer Feeding Program
58:00 Chef Chau
 
My Guests Social Media Links 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

#Food #Family #SchoolLunch #Organics #SeedtoTable  #ittakesavillage

Kid Friendly Plant-Based Mac and Cheese!

My readers know how much I prefer to cook outside-the-box and supply modifications to my recipes. Parents need to pivot at any moment, and that means anything in the pantry could be on the menu. This high protein plant-based version of my Mac and Cheese recipe is also vegan. Whether you are eating plant-based or not, this twist on traditional family favorite will have your kids eating clean without dairy, dyes, or stablizers. A win-win for all! 

You’ll Need:

1 pound Elbow or Fusille Bucati pasta, cooked to manufactures directions 

1-2 tablespoons Olive oil for cooked macaroni to prevent sticking

1 can ( 15 oz ) organic Cannellini beans

3-4 tablespoons Cashew milk, or your favorite substitute

1/2 – 1 cup Daiya brand vegan cheese shreds, white or yellow cheese substitute flavors. Add additional cup if baking the optional casserole recipe

1/2 teaspoon Kosher or pink Himalayan salt 

1/8 teaspoon Garlic powder, or to taste

2 tablespoons Miyoko’s creamery European style cultured vegan butter or good quality olive oil 

Pinch of ground Turmeric

Pinch of ground Nutmeg

Pinch of ground Cayenne pepper ( optional ) 

Here’s How: 

Cook and drain the pasta according to the manufacture’s directions. Toss in a few tablespoons of olive oil or Miyokos butter to prevent the pasta from sticking. Set aside. You’ll thank me later.

Drain and rinse the beans, reserving liquid. Add the beans to the bowl of your food processor or standing blender with the remaining ingredients, except the cheese, butter, and seasonings. 

Blend on high to liquefy. Add additional cashew milk, or reserved liquid from the beans if your family prefers a thinner sauce.

Transfer to a medium, high-sided pot and continue to warm on medium-low heat. Add the cheese and butter, occasionally stirring, until cheese shreds are melted. 

Add the cooked pasta, stir to cover with sauce. Add seasonings and adjust to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley, or fresh basil leaves for additional sweetness. Serve warm.

Variations: 

Can’t find Vegan Cheese? Substitute with 1/4 cup nutritional yeast. If using nutritional yeast, add 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar.

No Beans? No Problem. Substitute with additional vegan cheese. I love cashew cheese because it provides the lovely nutty notes we love in Mac and Cheese. 

Instant Pot Version. Place blended mixture in your instant pot and heat on manual for 5 minutes, season when done.

Try not to Substitute Cannellini’s due to their level of creaminess, but if you need to, Great White Northern beans would be a close match.

Bake it!  Place your completed mac and cheese a 9 x 13 heatproof baking dish and top with additioal cheese , seasoned bread crumbs or Panko and bake 350′ F Degrees until cheese is melted and breadcrumbs are toasty brown. 

Add Cooked Green Peas and tell the kids the recipe is, “Mac and Sneeze”! Trust me- they’ll love it!

Not just for Pasta! Use this delicious sauce to plunge or pour over veggies!

Nutritional information if you need it: 

Based on 1/4 cup sauce using Cashew milk and Nutritional Yeast. If including Miyoko’s vegan butter, add 10 calories and 1 additional gram of fat per serving. 

Approximate Serving Size: 2.5 ounces. Based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Calories: 37 

Calories from Fat: 5

Total Fat: 0.5

Trans Fat: 0

Cholesterol : 0

Sodium: 148 mg

Potassium: 15 mg

Total Carbohydrates: 5.7 grams

Dietary Fiber: 1.9 grams

Protein 2.6 grams

Vitamin A: 1%

Calcium : 5%

Iron 5%

KSCU 103.3 FM Season 2 Episode 14 Tablehopper Marcia Gagliardi / MyMilligram

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-gc2px-d4a39a

Copy of LIVE 90/60 Minute Talk Radio show on KSCU 103.3 FM 
Food Talk Begins at the 19 minute mark on tape with Tablehopper Marcia Gagliardi and Guest Co- Host Sommelier Mellisa Smith from Enotrias
 
Enjoy the shows playlist here on Spotify. A mix of 1960-1970 musical artists.
 
Marcia Gagliardi

Is the Founder of San Francisco’s long standing, food guide that has an extraordinary cult following. Tablehopper is an institution that’s been around longer than #Eater, #Twitter, or #Instagram.

 
She is a larger-than-life social influencer and the mastermind behind “mymilligram”, a microdoser media brand & educational platform featuring low-dose, high-quality cannabis products even your Madre would approve!
This boss babe is a regular contributor on KQED radio, has moderated panels with Chef Jacques Pépin, and author of #Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in #SanFrancisco. See her reccommended product list here.
 
She’s a repeat SFweekly “Best of San Francisco” award winner. Not to mention her over-the-top, after-hours dinner parties for #chefs are an industry legend!
 
Join myself and guest co-host Enotrias Sommelier Melissa Smith as we stream worldwide tonight on KSCU.org !
Hit the and listen button cause we are turning up tonight, it’s all about California’s latest Gold / Green Rush–The Cannabis Food and Beverage Industry. 
 
 
 

Chocolate Blueberry Pavlova

Eau de brownie is the perfume, which can be deceived by the pale beige shade of the outer shell — yet inside; it is luscious like a truffle with the completion and texture that makes a perfect combination.

You’ll Need : 

For the Meringue 

6 large egg whites

1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar

A couple of pinches of sea salt

1 teaspoon good quality balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted

2 ounces semi- or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

For the Topping

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups fresh blueberries

1/4-1/2 cup organic good quality blueberry jam 

1-2 Tablespoons hot water

1 ounce shaved semi-or bittersweet chocolate, to finish

Here’s How: 

Preheat the oven to 350′ F Degrees. Line the backside of a baking sheet or the top of a 12′ inch round pizza pan. Draw a 9-inch circle on the parchment with a pencil and flip the paper over so that you can see the line, but it won’t touch the Pavlova. The meringue will spread while baking. 

In a chilled mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until satiny soft peaks form begin to beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. 

Sprinkle in the salt, cocoa, vinegar. Then the chopped chocolate over and very gently fold everything together with a rubber spatula taking great caution not to deflate the egg whites.

Shape the Pavlova:

Secure the parchment to the baking sheet or pizza round with a dab of meringue underneath. Mound the meringue into the 9-inch circle, smoothing the sides in upward strokes and slightly plateau the top to hold the berries. Swirl the back of a palette knife against the egg whites for swirl like decoration.

Place the meringue in the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300’F Degrees. Bake the Pavlova for 60 to 90 minutes, should be slightly moist in the center. It’s ready when a crisp, dry crust forms on the outside, but the center feels sponge-like beneath your fingers. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and allow the meringue cool completely. You can leave it overnight if needed. 

When you’re ready to serve, peel off the parchment and slide the cooled Pavlova onto a big plate. Whip the cream with sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. 

Combine the blueberry jam with a little warm water and mix until pourable.

Pile the whipped cream up high onto the meringue. Scatter with blueberries and shave chocolate, drizzle with blueberry jam and serve in wedges. 

Add an optional dusting of powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

KSCU 103.3 FM Season 2 – Episode 13 Ashley Reinke- Hawk – Nutrition Expert

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-mfa9a-d21cda

RECORDING OF LIVE SHOW ON 2/2/2020
 
Did you make a News Years’ resolution to eat better or turn up personal self-care this year? If so, we might be just-in-time to give you a boost! Join KSCU’s Chef Gigi on Sunday, Supper Food Talk Radio this week after the Superbowl- and meet her guest, Miss Arizona, 2018! Ashley Reinke-Hawk, Certified Nutritionist and On-Camera Wellness and Lifestyle Host. She is here to encourage us to stay on track with her campaign that contains only five ingredients or less and for less than five dollars! Ashley is a certified nutritionist with a concentration in sports nutrition and is currently earning her Master’s in Nutritional Science.
 
As a modern professional, Ashley knows how time-consuming and browbeating it is to study or work all day and then come home and cook. Especially healthy meals based on a regime of plant-based options. To demonstrate how eating healthful can be manageable, economical, and enjoyable, Ashley created her “Five Ingredients, Under Five Dollars a campaign where she demonstrates various delicious recipes and gives healthy tips that don’t break busy schedules or tight budgets. 
 
Ashley regularly appears on morning talk shows from California to Arizona. Ashley’s “Anti-diet” approach to eating and living well comes from her experiences as Miss Arizona 2018 and as a professional model for over the past decade. She has seen hundreds of people try various fad diets, yet they never achieve lasting results. Ashley’s 5 Minute Food Hack goals are simple, to make cooking fun and tangible. 
 
Passionate about philanthropy and giving back to her community, Ashley launched Chomp Out Cancer, a program that partners with food banks to promote nutrition education for disease prevention. She also works with various non-profit organizations, including Teen Cancer America, The Susan G. Komen Foundation, Second Harvest Food Bank, and Ronald McDonald House Charities. 
 
To work with Ashley or get in touch- follow her on social media at @ashleyareinke or visit her website ashleyreinke.com So excited to have her on Chef Gigi’s Food Talk Radio right here on KSCU! Don’t miss it! 
 

Homemade Chocolate Cake with Maitake Mushroom Frosting

Maitake aka, Hen-of-the-Woods contains L-glutamate, a natural flavor-enhancer that provides umami — the “fifth taste” — the savory rich flavor that excites receptor-specific nodes on our tongue. Moreover, Maitake is one of the healthiest foods around! The Earthlyness of this mushoroom is a perfect pairing with chocolate!

You’ll Need: 

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans

3/4 cup good quality Dutch processed cocoa, sifted

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup neutral-tasting cooking oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling coffee

Good quality cooking spray

Maitake Mushroom Frosting ( See recipe below)

Here’s How:

Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees, spray and flour three 8-inch round baking pans, tapping out any excess flour. Place on a lined sheet pan and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the granulated sugar, flour, cocoa, espresso, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

In a separate bowl, crack and mix the eggs into a slight scramble and add to the dry ingredietns with the milk, oil, and vanillla beat the ingredients on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the boiling coffee and continue to mix for an additional minute. The batter will appear thin. Pour the mixture into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly, about 2 cups or approximatly 16 ounces in each cake pan.

Bake the cakes on sheet pans for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean or the cake slightlybounces back to the touch. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, turn the cakes right side up, and let them cool completely. 

Make the Maitake Mushroom Frosting.

Maitake Mushroom Frosting

You’ll Need: 

1 1/3 cups good quality Cocoa, sifted

3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/2 cup whole milk or cream

8 ounces of unsalted butter

2 ounces of dried Maitake Mushrooms 

Here’s How: 

In a small saucepan, heat the cream and the Maitake mushrooms until a simmer. Remove from heat and allow to steep for a minimum of an hour to over-night. Cool to room temperature. Strain and discard solids.

In the bowl of your standing mixer, beat the butter until velvety. Add the cocoa, and alternate between confectioners’ sugar and infused milk beating after each addition until you achieve a thick, but spreadable consistency. If a lighter frosting desired, add additional cream, a little at a time, until you’ve reached your ideal texture. 

Place a single cake layer on a platter or cake stand and spread a good amount of frosting on top. Place the second cake layer on the first and frost the sides and top. Garnish with chocolate truffles or meringue mushrooms with candied pine and roasted, crushed almonds or hazelnuts or a combination.

KSCU 103.3 FM Season 2 Episode 11 MycoKind LLC “The Fun-Guys”

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-g86hz-d131d0

#Recording of LIVE show on January 26,th 2020. Recordning begins at the 2 minute mark. 
 
KSCU 103.3 FM Silicon Valley, Chef Gigi’s Sunday Suppers Chef Gigi hosts a tiercé of food scientists.Co-founders of MycokindLLC, a lifestyle brand that incorporates food, culture, and education through the love of fungi and food science! This trifecta of food fanatics emerged on the Bay Area culinary scene in 2018 and are now lovingly referred to as, “The Fun-Guys”- as they share a passion for all things mycological! Ha!
 
We love them already! Be sure to tune in and meet this colony of super-humans behind the mushroom veil! You dont want to miss these guys! 
 
We LOVE these guys! Super heros of the Fungi world— Check them out! 

KSCU 103.3 FM Season 2 Episode 10 Far West Fungi

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-3t26x-d04331

Recording of LIVE show 2/19/20 =  KSCU 103.3 FM 
 
My first guest of 2020 this week are the founding family of The Far West Fungi Co. LIVE ! Tune in this Sunday, Jan 19th, 6-7 PM PST / 9-10 PM EST on my Food Talk Radio Show on KSCU 103.3 FM Santa Clara in Silicon Valley – this week on Sunday Suppers. Food Talk Radio with Chef Gigi, meet the whole Garrone family – founders of, Far West Fungi Company.
 
They will all be in the studio chattin it up with me about their premium focus on organic, high-quality cultivated, as well as wild foraged mushrooms and their journey to being the best! Don’t worry- I won’t forget to ask about the magic ones! All of a sudden Psilocybe have burst back onto the scene and has become the answer to many peoples enlightenment experiences!
 
Get questions about basic science of these magic fungi and the role in the environment, their interest in chemistry, and where they occur! Taking questions from you! Drop in a DM or call into the show!
 
 
Far West Fungi Click link to Learn More:
 
#FoodForging KSCU 103.3 FM Santa Clara