Forno Bravo Community Cookbook

Curried Cauliflower With Chickpeas and Golden Raisins


This dish is actually one of my wife’s specialties. As a cook, I work in the evenings and thus miss out on dinner at a normal time, so it is a comforting feeling when I walk in the door and can tell just by the aroma of curry in the air that my late-night meal on the couch is going to be delicious and satisfying. I’ve done a little tweaking to the recipe, adapting it for the wood oven and adding golden raisins to the mix, which I think provide a nice sweet counterpoint to the earthy one-two-three punch of cauliflower, garbanzos and curry.

1 1/2 T vegetable oil
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained
1/2 red onion, sliced thickly crosswise
6 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
1/4 c golden raisins
2 tsp curry powder
salt and black pepper to taste

In your wood oven, preheat a roasting pan or skillet large enough to hold the cauliflower in one layer. Add the vegetable oil to the pan – it should be hot enough that the oil is just starting to smoke. Add the cauliflower and season with salt and pepper. Allow to roast for 2-3 minutes or until the florets have begun to caramelize on the pan side.

Add the chickpeas to the pan and stir. Roast for another 2 minutes or until the cauliflower is even more caramelized and the chickpeas have begun to blister. Add the sliced onion and garlic, stir to distribute, and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the onion and garlic have softened and begun to frizzle around the edges and the cauliflower is al dente.

Add the raisins and curry powder and stir well to distribute. Cook for one minute more to allow the raisins to plump and the curry to toast and perfume the dish. Remove from the oven and serve. This dish would be a great accompaniment to roasted lamb, or simply serve it over cooked rice or orzo with a dab of sambal for an easy and tasty vegetarian meal.


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Almost Perfect

I’ve used this recipe many times and it makes a really tasty and fairly thin pizza base. In commercial terms, it is thicker than “thin and crispy” but thinner than “deep pan”. A bit like Dominos “classic crust” in Australia. My whole family loves it. The only thing I changed is the hydration. I’ve found 55-60% works better for me. The dough is easier to work and the crust is nice and crunchy.

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Wood-Fired Black Bean Enchiladas


I won’t lie – the ingredient list on this one is going to look intimidating. If you can’t handle it, just buy canned enchilada sauce. But I’m telling you, making your sauce from scratch is worth the effort. And once you’re hooked, you can start tweaking the recipe to make it your own by playing around with the types and ratios of dried chiles you use.

Two quick notes about peppers to help avoid confusion: First, peppers and chiles refer to the same thing, and I’m using the words interchangeably in this recipe. Second, many chiles are given different names when they are dried and/or smoked. For example, poblano peppers, the kind used to make chiles rellenos, are called ancho chiles when they are dried. So when a recipe calls for an ancho (or a pasilla, guajillo, etc.) it is calling for a dried pepper. There is no such thing as a fresh ancho chile.

For the enchilada sauce:
1/2 yellow onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic
3 ancho chiles
2 guajillo chiles
2 pasilla chiles
2 chiles de arbol
1/4 C canned tomato puree
2 tsp chipotle en adobo sauce
2 T plus 1 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 T honey
2 C water
1/4 C plus 3 T vegetable oil

For the filling:
2 red bell peppers
3 oz yellow cherry tomatoes
2 chayote squash
1 T vegetable oil
12 oz frozen corn
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/4 C fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1/2 tsp chipotle en adobo sauce
1 T tomato puree
4 oz Chihuahua cheese
2 oz queso fresco

For the salsa verde:
3 tomatillos, papery covering removed
1 serrano chile
1 jalapeno
1/2 onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic
juice of 2 limes
1/4 C cilantro

1 8-oz package of cream cheese
12 corn tortillas
4 oz Chihuahua cheese
queso fresco, as needed
sour cream, as needed

To make the enchilada sauce, first roast the onion and 3 cloves of the garlic in your wood oven until soft and charred in spots, about 10-15 minutes depending on your temperature. Place the chiles in a dry skillet and quickly toast in your oven, turning once, until puffed and fragrant. This will only take about 20 seconds. Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles and discard. Place the chiles in a small sauce pan with 1 cup of the water. Cook over medium heat until the chiles are soft and the water is gone from the pan. Transfer the chiles to the carafe of a blender and add the roasted onion and garlic, the 1 clove of raw garlic, the tomato puree, adobo sauce, vinegar, spices, honey and remaining water. Blend until smooth. Then, with the blender still running, add the vegetable oil in a steady stream until fully emulsified into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

For the filling, first place the bell peppers and tomatoes in a dry skillet and roast in your oven until charred and soft, about 5 minutes for the tomatoes and 20 minutes for the peppers. Peel the peppers and chop. Set aside.

To prepare the chayote, first remove the skin using a peeler. Next, remove the flesh. Chayote have a large oblong seed in the middle, similar to a mango. Cut the flesh away and discard the seed. Chop the chayote into bite-sized pieces. Preheat the 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large sauté pan in your oven. When hot, add the chayote and roast, stirring frequently, until tender, about 4 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.

To make the filling, stir together the roasted tomatoes, roasted peppers and chayote with the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Next, get the salsa verde going: Place all of the ingredients except the cilantro and lime juice in a dry skillet and roast in your wood oven until charred and soft, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, assemble the enchiladas. Heat a dry skillet on your stove over medium-low heat. Use this to warm each tortilla for a few seconds on both sides to make them pliable and avoid breakage as you build. Spread a thin layer of your enchilada sauce over the bottom of an ovenproof 9×13 baking dish. Next, smear a line of softened cream cheese down the middle of your warmed tortilla. Add about 1/4-1/3 cup of filling, roll up, and place seam side down in your baking dish. Spoon sauce over the tortilla to coat. Repeat with all the tortillas. They should fit pretty well nestled together in a 9×13 dish. Top with the remaining enchilada sauce, filling in all the nooks and crannies. Sprinkle the remaining Chihuahua cheese over the top, cover with foil, and place on a rack in your wood oven to bake. Cook until bubbling and hot in the middle, about 40-50 minutes depending on the heat of your oven. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of cooking time to allow the cheese to brown on top. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

While the enchiladas are baking, finish the salsa verde. Remove the stems and seeds from the serrano and jalepeno. Place the peppers in the carafe of a blender along with the tomatillo, onion, garlic cilantro and lime juice. Process until smooth and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, spoon a pool of salsa verde onto each plate. Place a portion of enchilada on top. Sprinkle with queso fresco and serve with a dollop of sour cream. Crack open a fresh Dos Equis or top off that margarita (you’ve been drinking this whole time, right? It helps the prep go by like a breeze…) and enjoy your Mexican feast.

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Where is the sugar?

We tried this recipe and it basically failed. It appears the dough didn’t rise properly…. perhaps because of the absence of sugar?

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Roasted Beets With Greek Yogurt and Almonds

Don’t let the short ingredient list fool you – this easy recipe packs a ton of flavor. This is a wonderful way to prepare beets when the weather is warm; light and refreshing, this dish would be the perfect start to a simple summertime meal. I use red beets here, but feel free to substitute any that you find – golden or chioggia beets would be delicious as well.

3 medium red beets with greens still attached
1 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
7 oz Greek yogurt
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 1/2 T tahini
1/4 C fresh chopped parsley
2 T slivered almonds
Salt and pepper to taste

Remove the beet greens and set aside. Wash the beets thoroughly and place on a double layer of aluminum foil. Coat with half the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Wrap the beets tightly and place in your wood oven to roast, rotating every so often. Cook the beets until they are tender when pierced with a knife, approximately 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove the stems from the beet greens and discard. Wash the greens thoroughly and then give them a rough chop. Heat a large saute pan at the mouth of your oven so that it doesn’t get too hot. Add the remaining olive oil and the greens, season with salt and pepper, and slowly wilt until tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

To make the sauce, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice and zest, tahini and chopped parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Finally, use a small saute pan to toast the almonds in your wood oven until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool.

When the beets are cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool until you can safely handle them. Using a kitchen towel (which will be pink forevermore) or paper towels, rub the skin off the beets. Slice the beets into wedges.

To plate, place a dollop of the yogurt mixture on your serving vessel. Mound the greens to one side, then top with the sliced beets. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and serve.


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Delicious recipe!

Thank you for this recipe. We made it last night — though with a 4 pound free-range chicken. Yum!

Because the night was getting dark (didn’t start the fire in the oven soon enough), that necessitated a couple of changes that might be helpful to note.
1. After the oven cleared, pushed the still very hot coals to the oven perimeter, but turned the pot often to ensure even cooking. At the start, the floor was almost 800 degrees F.
2. Used a terracotta casserole w/ a metal pan underneath to help shield the bottom from the heat. That worked fine.
2. Probably didn’t brown the chicken enough before covering w/ foil, so after the bird was done, removed the foil and re-browned the chicken. The result was nice crispy skin over the tasty moist chicken.
3. Didn’t have dessert wine, so used a nice Alsatian Riesling. The sauce was still very, very tasty.
4. Strained the sauce and skimmed the fat as directed, but put the veggies back in. Since we had rice, it was nice to have a more substantial sauce.

Highly recommend this recipe!

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Roasted Asparagus With Romesco Sauce


This is the last time I’ll say it: Hurray for spring! Without a doubt, asparagus is one of the finest gifts spring has to offer, made all the more sweet by the relatively short time we have with it each year. I know, I know, your supermarket has asparagus all the time. Do me a favor – don’t eat it when it’s not springtime. Asparagus is just one of those things, like tomatoes, or watermelon, or scarves, that are meant to be enjoyed only at certain times of the year. (And yes, there are tomatoes in this recipe – but we are roasting them to extract some flavor. And if the tomatoes you find look terrible, by all means, substitute canned.)

Romesco is a Spanish sauce that tastes great on just about anything, which is good, because you’ll probably have some left over from this recipe. Dip raw vegetables in it, put it on fish, or just spread it on some toasted bread. Trust me, it won’t go to waste.

2 lbs asparagus
2 red bell peppers
3 roma tomatoes, halved
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 onion, quartered
4 oz raw whole almonds
1 dried ancho chili
2 T sherry vinegar
3/4 C plus 2 T extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the peppers, tomatoes, garlic and onion into a large roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper and place in a medium-hot wood oven to roast. Allow to cook, turning the peppers occasionally, until everything is very soft, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. The tomatoes and onions should be beginning to char around the edges and the skin of the peppers should be blackened all over. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, trim off the ends of the asparagus. If you are dealing with thick asparagus, you may want to peel the bottom third of each spear to remove the woody outer skin. Anything pencil-thickness or skinnier should be fine without peeling.

Place the almonds in a single layer in a saute pan and toast in your wood oven until fragrant, about 5-8 minutes depending on your oven temperature. Right before you’re ready to take the almonds out, add the ancho chili to the pan and allow it to toast for about 1 minute. It should darken in color slightly and puff up like a balloon. Remove the chili and almonds from oven.

When the bell peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and remove the stem and seeds. Peel the paper off the outside of the garlic cloves. Remove the stem and seeds from the ancho. Place the peppers, garlic and ancho in the carafe of a blender, along with the tomatoes, onion, almonds and sherry vinegar. Blend until incorporated, then, with the motor running, drizzle in the 3/4 cup of olive oil. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

To roast the asparagus, toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place in a large roasting pan big enough to hold the spears in a single layer. Place in a hot wood oven and roast, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus has begun to caramelize and is just cooked but still has a slight crunch when you bite into it, about 4-7 minutes.

Remove from the oven and top with the romesco. Give me a plate of this and a glass of albariño and I’m good to go, but if you’re looking for a complete meal, add a nice piece of roasted fish and some rice and you should be all set.


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all of everything!!!!!!!!!!

i can’t believe how delicious all of your dishes sound and look!!! i love root veggies and will try the ones i can’t resist. i am alone so might have to use my “noggin” to pare them down to my size or else invite a guest. also i live in an assisted lioving community and will be forced to use a conventional oven.

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Roasted Mushrooms With Green Garlic


Here’s another recipe to celebrate a couple of spring’s here-now-gone-tomorrow offerings. If there’s one thing to complain about spring’s bounty, it’s that nothing sticks around for very long. Oh well – enjoy it while it lasts. This recipe will make it even easier, because it will take you about 2 seconds to make – three ingredients, and that’s it. If you can find them, use morel mushrooms, spring’s fungal grand prize. I used shitakes here because I couldn’t find them (shakes fist at capricious Lady Spring), and it was still pretty darn good.

In my experience, green garlic is a farmers market-only item, but if you have a really good local green grocer, you may be able to find it there. Green garlic looks similar to green onions, except that its green part is flat instead of tubular.

5 stalks green garlic
12 oz fresh morels or shitakes
2 T extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Remove the root end from the green garlic. Peel off the outer layer of each stalk and discard. Cut on a bias into thin ovals. Place in a bowl of cool water and swish vigorously to dislodge any dirt stuck in the layers. Allow the to settle for one minute, then use a spider or slotted spoon to remove the green garlic. Allow to drain on a kitchen towel.

Meanwhile, clean your mushrooms. If you got your hands on morels, split them in half lengthwise. Depending on how dirty they are, you may need to wash them in several changes of fresh water to remove all the grit. If you notice any worms or bugs, add a single drop of dish soap to the first change of water. This should dislodge any unwanted stowaways. (Morels are a wild-foraged product – there’s no way around creepy-crawlies every once in a while!) For shitakes, all you need to do is remove the woody stems. If any of the caps has a dirty spot, just wipe it off with a damp cloth. Toss the mushrooms with the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Next, preheat a large roasting pan in a very hot wood oven. When it’s ready to go, add the mushrooms in a single layer and allow to roast undisturbed for at least 2 minutes. You want to develop delicious crispy caramelization, and stirring the mushrooms too soon is going to make them start to leach out their juices and steam instead. Stir once and allow to roast for another 2-4 minutes, until the mushrooms are nicely browned. Stir in the green garlic and allow to cook for one minute more, until the garlic has softened and started to frizzle around the edges.

Remove from the oven and adjust seasoning as necessary. Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy immediately. This would serve as a great accompaniment to an oven-roasted steak, or try throwing some inside a savory crepe with some cream sauce over the top.


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