This recipe’s gone to heaven…

I can be a very chaotic person, especially when it comes to recipe developing. I usually have an idea in my head and start cooking or baking. Sometimes I write the recipe into on of my notebooks. Sometimes I do that later, after the dish is cooked. Most of the time I don’t feel comfortable with this method and so I write the ingredients and instruction notes on a piece of paper. I leave them in the kitchen or on my desk. When I have time to write my post, I transfer my notes to the computer and put everything together.

A couple of days ago I wanted to write a post about a black bean and eggplant stew I had made and about some pistachio herb breadsticks that I baked to accompany the stew. I had written everything on the aforementioned square piece of paper, which I thought I had put on my desk. I had a very stressful week and during that week I might have cleaned my desk. Or I might not. To be honest, I don’t really remember as most of my time was divided between working and sleeping.  And now the notes are gone. Apart from a failed attempt at recipe developing (which also happened to me this week) this is the most frustrating thing that can happen. I remember that the stew was made with a couple of cups black beans, a large eggplant, diced onion and fennel, garlic, canned tomatoes, a cup of beer and several cups of broth, smoked paprika, oregano, and cumin and that I cooked it for an hour. It came out very good and therefore I wanted to share it with you. And now I can’t.

But! I still have pictures! And I do remember the recipe for the breadsticks as it is based on a standard ratio for breads. The sticks are easy to make and quite addictive. Just make sure to keep an eye on the oven as they burn quickly.

Pistachio-Herb Breadsticks (makes about 12-13)

250 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
150 ml (2/3 cup) water
30 ml (2 tablespoons) good quality olive oil
5 g (1 teaspoon) salt
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
60 g (1/2 cup) shelled roasted and salted pistachios

Combine flour, yeast, water, oil, salt, and herbs in a bowl. Mix well and knead the dough for ten minutes or until firm and elastic. Cover bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 60 minutes).
Knead in pistachios and roll dough into a rectangle. (Lightly flour your working space.)

Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F).

At this point I should tell you how large that rectangle should be. But I can’t because I lost my notes. The only thing I remember is that my breadsticks were about 35 cm (14 inch) long and about 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick. Cut the dough into 12-13 strips and roll them out a bit. Place half of your breadsticks on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10, maybe 12 minutes. Make sure to check back on them often! Repeat with the remaining breadsticks.

20 thoughts on “This recipe’s gone to heaven…

  1. The breadsticks look amazing. I have some pistachios sitting in my cupboard leftover from rosewater and pistachio cupcakes and now I know how I’ll use them!
    I bet now you’ve written a rough recipe you’ll find all your notes!
    Elise x

  2. It can be hard to be a cook and a recipe developer all at one time! Sometimes I just feel like throwing a little of this, a little of that, into the pan, but then of course I want to share the directions with others so they can enjoy it too. The pros and cons of being a blogger haha….It looks great though!

  3. Sometimes inspiration is even better than a recipe — no need to measure anything for the cook! The stew sounds yummy and the breadsticks are just beautiful. Thanks for the photos and the ideas!

  4. That sucks with the papers. :( And I love your bread, pistachios are a delicious nut and that bread looks so wonderful! Have you ever quick-soaked your beans? You can just place them in the normal amount of water with a lid and cook them on high for about 3 minutes, then shut the heat off and let it rest for an hour. Then you can cook them as normal of course.

    1. Yes, I do that from time to time. But I find that those beans never get as soft as those soaked for several hours. Even if I increase the final cooking time.

  5. Ah, that is the worst, isn’t it! I just did the same as well… This morning I was planning on posting a faux-sourdough bread I made (sourdough-tasting but without a starter) only to discover that I had lost the file for the recipe. So frustrating!

  6. That stew looks fantastic – very comforting for a busy and stressful time. You could just say that the proportions are “to taste.”

  7. I do the same thing, take notes while I’m cooking but then don’t type them up for a while. I really oughta get better at that. Regardless, the stew and breadsticks look delicious!

  8. Oh no, I’m sorry about your notes going missing after all that work, that sounds annoying :( But the meal does look delicious and the pictures are really pretty! I hope you’ll get to make a version of the stew again during a less stressful period and that it’ll turn out just as tasty as it did now.

  9. Your stew looks and sounds very good. Thank you for sharing what you remembered of it; that should be enough info for me to be able to make up my version of it. I can’t wait for local eggplants to appear at the farmers’ market so that I can give it a try; I’m really looking forward to it!

  10. That’s a beautiful stew! My mother-in-law just made a stew that had eggplants in it. I just never thought of using eggplants in stew but I can’t wait to try now. Sorry about losing the recipe. Those bread sticks look amazing!! I love Herbes de Provence and pistachios!

  11. Question on the black beans… Since the stew’s cooking time was only an hour, does that mean that the beans were pre-cooked?

    While I’m at it, I’d love your general philosophy on ‘to soak or not to soak’ dried beans before cooking them. I just got a pressure cooker (am hoping to use it frequently for bean making) and noticed a few chefs, including Alton Brown, say go ahead and pressure cook without any pre-soaking. Any advice appreciated!

    But back to your marvelous dish. This recipe sounds earthy and soul satisfying, and I’ll be making it, for sure!

  12. That photograph is mouthwatering! I, too, write notes on bits of paper. Sadly, I usually find I’ve done this for, and taken a photograph of, something that doesn’t turn out as tasty as I’d hoped… Obviously not the case for you! I’m going to try this one, based on the ingredients and the photo.
    And those bread sticks look and sound great. I haven’t tried making breadsticks before, so I think this is the ‘summer’ I should give them a go. (I say ‘summer’ because of the torrential rain we’ve been having in the lead-up to Midsummer Day, here in Bonnie Scotland… :( )

  13. Well, I, for one, am thrilled to see a non-recipe, because what I look for (especially with non-baked goods) is inspiration. And your post does not disappoint! (They never do.) I’m going to figure out my own proportions anyway (sorry!). This partly because of dietary restrictions in our house (DH can’t have beans, I can’t do gluten or soy) and because I often cook on the fly, so I may not have all the ingredients at hand. This stew reminds me of ratatouille, and I am inspired by your spices and the addition of fennel. Yum! I will have to buy some fennel next time I go shopping. (And bulb-fennel seeds are on my list for next year’s garden…) I hope you are having fun being busy, and I hope you find time to relax soon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *