Artisan Bread Series


Cranberry Raisin Walnut Loaf
Adapted from this recipe

Few modifications:
– let biga starter riser @ room temperature for 4 hrs, then refrigerated overnight for ~ 12 hrs
– used 2 cups of warm water for dough
– used 1-1/2 cups of lightly chopped dried cranberry and raisin combined, 1 cup of lightly chopped walnuts; did not have any orange zest
– put dough in lightly oil coated large pot with glass lid, let dough rise in warm oven (heated to 170degF for a few seconds, to give slightly warmer than room temperature, and turned it off) for 3 hours
– couldn’t decide which rack would center the loaves: baked bread for 15 mins in middle lower rack, then rotated 180 deg (front of loaves now facing back of oven) moved up one setting to middle upper rack for another 15 mins to get even baking. (In the future, I will probably leave it in the middle upper rack since the top is domed, so less surface will be closer to the heat. Also, checked the temperature after 30 minutes and it was well over 190degF, will adjust baking time next.)
– placed bread on cooling rack over top of sink and cooled for ~30 mins (it wasn’t completly cooled, but I was anxious to see how it turned out); sliced it, let it cool down completely then put one in a Ziplock freezer bag and froze it

Cheddar Jalapeno


Adapted from this recipe

More recipe testers and tips still to come!

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Soft Shell Tacos

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Home made soft shell flour tortillas recipe
My only suggestion is to use warm/hot water to make the dough more pliable (which is what I did).

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No oil required for frying. After you flip them over to cook the second side, use a spatula to press down on the bubbles for even surface cooking. I used a warm wet towel to cover them while cooking up the rest, worked well.

For dinner, I filled them up with cut up strips of korean style short ribs with bean sprouts and caramelized onions, kimchi style romaine slaw, slices of cucumbers and hot sauce mayo. They were so good, even as leftovers for lunch the day after!

For breakfast, I tried sliced avacados, scrambled eggs with broccoli, red onions and tomatos (whatever I had in the fridge), dash of salt and pepper, and drizzle of ketchup and hot sauce. Amazing!

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Peanut Butter Cookie Ice Cream Sammies

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What’s better than soft and chewy peanut beutter cookies? Well I suppose I already gave away the answer, but yes, sandwiching them with ice cream!

Soft and chewy peanut butter cookie recipe can be found here.

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After letting them cool fully on a baking rack, I scooped up some vanilla ice cream and started building. After building, I returned them in the freezer to cool and avoid the ice cream from oozing out while you bite into it.

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Took a bite (no oozing), yummy as expected!

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Lemon tartlets

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Summer and lemons just seem to go hand in hand. For a summer BBQ, I made bite size lemon tarts for dessert. I used Grandma Wood’s “Never Fail Pastry.” I’ve tried the recipe before and quite liked it so here we go again! (Ironically enough, I did actually failed because I started off by dividing the ingredients into portions of 1/4 and forgot to follow though. In the end, I used the entire portion but the mixing was all thrown off. Either way, the tarts turned out well.)

Never Fail Pastry
Grandma

5 cups flour
1 lb lard
1 tsp salt
1 slightly beaten egg
1-1/2 tbsp vinegar
Cut lard into flour. Add sald. Combine egg and vinegar in measuring cup fill with water to 1 cup. Mix into flour mixture. Combine well. Roll out for pies, tarts, etc. Should make 4 double crust pies or more. Can be frozen.

For the filling, I used the lemon filling recipe from Epicurious and it was fantastic, as is.

To top the tiny little tarts, I layered on about 1 tbsp of whipping cream and topped them off with a raspberry. The raspberries were quite heavy for the whipping cream (perhaps I didn’t shake the bottle enough), and found that the whipping cream slowly got crushed. I’d recommend putting the whipping cream beside the raspberry or eliminating it as a whole. The lemon filling was so good!

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Pillowy Marshmallows

I was looking at the latest issue of “Edible Vancouver” magazine at my cousins’ house the other day when I was introduced to the idea of making my own marshmallows (recipe from magazine – I didn’t actually use this one).

After putting it on the back burner for a few weeks, I decided they would be a perfect fit for my friend’s upcoming babyshower this weekend – so I did! Like the baby, these treats are delicate, fun and sweet. The recipe I used is from Epicurious.

Tips & things:
– They were set aside at room temperature to cool overnight, 11.5 hours to be exact.
– I didn’t have a candy thermometer and just waited 12 minutes for the sugar mixture to boil.

Personally, I found them to be slightly sweet, but I haven’t received complaints from anyone else who’s tried them yet. In fact, someone asked me to make one for him with the size of 1′ x 2′, so he can rest his head on it when he goes to sleep. Others said they are comparable (if not better) than store bought!

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Set aside uncover to cool overnight

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Close up of its delicateness…

I am not a messy baker to begin with, but despite my efforts, I found splatters of marshmallow everywhere from my socks, to my pants to my appliances nearby. But perhaps my hand held electric mixer was too aggressive for the job, or that I needed an XXL bowl – not sure. Great recipe, easy to follow. I recommend a stand mixer to give your arm a rest!

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Open Face Steak Sammie

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Steak and eggs explosive

I usually serve this as a open face steak sandwich but I wasn’t as hungry last night and thought the steak and eggs will suffice.

Sear the steak on high to seal in the juices. After cooking the way you like ~10 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste, then set aside on plate. (If you choose to go for a sandwich, thick cut sour dough works great – something that won’t get soggy too easily. Put that on the bottom of your steak.) Then, slice 1/8″ thick cheese – brie, camembert or st. andre pairs great. Put on top of steak. Carmelize finely sliced onions (~ half) with a couple cloves of minced garlic and a few sliced mushrooms (season with salt and pepper to taste), and place on top of cheese to melt. Finally, fry a sunny side egg on top. I like mine runny, the yolk acts as a sauce for the steak, makese my mouth water just thinking about it! If you’d like, add steak sauce on top of your steak (or side to dip), but I find the flavour from all the different toppings and cheese is perfect the way it is with a dash of salt and pepper.


I make this as a treat every couple months, never fails to impress. This is one of my favourite recipes!

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Peanut butter + Jelly Wings

Seeing that the mac and cheese stuffed wings was such a hit, I tested out another classic favourite: PB and J.

The idea came after hearing about the variety of flavours offered by the “House of Wings” (in New Westminister, BC). After searching and reviewing, the combination didn’t seem that odd after all. I came acorss a blog that led me to Rachael Ray’s recipe.

Tips and things:
Mistakenly, I bought natural but crunchy peanut butter so I threw everything in the blender and gave it a quick whiz. Looked a little runny, will probably stick to smooth peanut butter next time. Having said that, I put the left over sauce in the fridge while the chicken was cooking and the texture seemed perfect – sticky icky icky! I also didn’t have red wine vinegar and substituted for rice wine vinegar (no comments yet, will have to try red wine vinegar next to compare). I used a family pack (~ 40 drumettes) and found it a right amount of sauce. Also, instead of reserving half a cup of sauce in the end, I saved ~ 1-1/2 cups and glad I did. Marinated for about 8 hours, but given the natural stickiness of the sauce, marinating for less may be okay as well (will test out different times). I bake it for 30 minutes, flipped and spooned ~ 1 tablespoon of sauce on each, turned the oven off and put them back in the over for another 10 minutes for the sauce to mend a bit better. Took them out and dipped them again in the sauce for extra gooeyness.

Served them at a birthday party for appies/munchies and they were devoured. Some were fascinated, some took convincing, and a couple just wouldn’t budge. Everyone who tried them loved them and I would definitely recommend and try them again (can’t wait)!

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Angel Food Cake

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We had angel food cake at a friend’s birthday a few months ago and that’s when I remembered how delicious and delicate it was and that I’ve never attempted to make it before. So then I did.

Few quick facts about this cake: no butter (good, ‘check’), no oil (good, ‘check’) and small amount of flour (good: ‘check’). However, it uses 10-12 eggs (1-1/2 cup whites only).
Angel food cake recipe

I wasn’t going to comment much on this recipe, I followed it closely and turned out wonderful and angel food cake pretty much speaks for itself, but I have heard that sometimes the cake will deflate. Few tips: temperature, whip, fold, cut and flip. Temperature: don’t be afraid to leave the eggs in room temperature for 30 minutes prior to whipping (ie. don’t use them straight out of the fridge). Whip: (or lack of whipping) don’t overwhip – once the stiff peaks are formed, stop yourself. Fold: add in the flour and icing mixture 1/4 cup at a time and fold it in. Cut: after carefully spooning your mixture into the pan trying your best to avoid air pockets, cut the cake from the center outwards ~ 15 to 30 times to remove air pockets. Finally, flip: after baking your cake, flip the cake upside down (still in pan) resting the legs of the pan on top of a cooling rack to increase air flow. This will help decompress and keep it fluffed up.

I baked mine for 40 minutes (without peeking) and it was excellent.

Icing recipe

I served it as a birthday cake. At the end of the night, there were 3 pieces left, so I wrapped them up to keep them fresh. But before long, they were finished in no time – no need to wrap!

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Arroz Con Pollo (Cuban rice with chicken)

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Picture of leftovers from dinner last night, unfortunately all excess sauce has been absorbed. It was like runny lava last night, so much so that we had to soak in all the goodness with bread! (I knew I should’ve taken a picture then, but could not wait to devour my meal – oops!)

I’ve never had this dish before, but after watching it being featured in a show on the Food Network, I had to try it.

I mainly followed this recipe while comparing it to this one which seems to be slightly healthier (1 cup of olive oil less to be exact). Serves 4-6 adults.

This is my version:

• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 1/2 Tbsp cumin
• 2 tsp ground oregano
• 1 Tbsp butter
• 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 1 chicken breast
• 1 yellow onion, diced small
• 1 green bell pepper, diced small
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup brown rice
• 6 oz can tomato paste
• 1-1/3 cups chicken stock
• 10 green olives
• 1/3 cup frozen peas
• 1 Tbsp hot sauce (I used Sriracha)
• salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, cumin and oregano in a pan over medium heat until the aroma releases. Remove mixture from pan after 1-2 minutes and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Brown the chicken (~5-10 minutes skin side down and 1-2 minutes on other side).

Remove the chicken from the pan and put aside.
In the same pan, add bell pepper, onion, and garlic to pan and cook until softened (~5 minutes). Add rice and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Stir in stock, and tomato paste. Cook rice ~10-15 minutes, test rice for doneness (~85% done, rice will continue to cook in oven). Return chicken back to pan. Bring to a boil.

Cover pan, and place in oven for 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven. Keep it covered and let it sit for 10 minutes. Uncover it and fluff up the rice.

I served them with blanched green beans to add more vegetables in our meal. With all the spices, the plain green beans worked wonderfully. I substituted brown rice for white rice and the timing was off, so in this recipe I added an additional 10-15 minutes to cook the rice before putting it in the oven. It smelled fantastic and tasted even better, I’d definitely use this recipe again!

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Ooey Gooey Cinnibons

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For some reason I was craving for cinnamon buns and remembered this picture I had. I made this a couple years ago and don’t remember where I stashed the recipe. Will have to come back and update once I make these again! They were super good, not really sure why I haven’t made them again…

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