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September 30, 2009

Pandan Crêpe Layer Cake

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Pandan Crepe Layer Cake

I found a year-old [home canned] jar of mangoes in syrup in my pantry. They aren't spoiled and still very good so I sliced them really thin to fill the pandan crêpes I had been planning to make. I stacked the crêpes and mango and cream filling instead of fill/roll individually. It is not such a brilliant idea because they went slipping and sliding when I cut the "cake" into slices. It's okay, though, because it is so good and with chocolate sauce is extra yummy. I just pushed them back together to make it look tidy. I'll make a proper pandan chiffon layer cake with similar filling next time.

Pandan Crêpe Layer Cake
crêpes
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
½ cup pandan water (blend 6 pandan leaves with ½ cup water and strain)
2 eggs
¼ teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons light olive oil
3 drops green food dye gel
butter

filling
thin slices of ripe mangoes
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons condensed milk
  • Mix crêpe ingredients except butter in a blender until smooth. Heat a 7-inch skillet, rub with butter and pour about a quarter cup of batter, rotating the pan quickly to spread evenly. Cook on medium-low heat until edges are dry, lift, and flip to cook the other side. Stack on a plate and let cool completely.
  • Prepare the cream filling: Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Add condensed milk and whip for 30 seconds until blended.
  • Fill individually with mangoes and cream, roll and place on a plate seam side down. Drizzle with chocolate sauce. Or, if you prefer the layered look: place one crêpe on a platter, arrange sliced mangoes on top, spread 2 tablespoons of cream and repeat with the rest of the crêpes and filling, and a crêpe on top. Cut into 6 slices. Drizzle with chocolate sauce.
Pandan Crepe Layer Cake
Pandan Crepe Layer Cake
all my favorites in one yummy dessert: pandan, mangoes, cream, condensed milk, chocolate

Crêpe on Foodista

September 29, 2009

BBAC #21: Pain à l'Ancienne

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Pain a l'Ancienne

After baking 20 bread recipes in The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge, I can honestly say Peter Reinhart is absolutely spot on when he says bread Number 21, Pain à l'Ancienne is one of the easiest doughs in the book to make. There is very little kneading involved, no shaping, no proofing, and scoring, which IMHO is almost futile anyway, is just an option. All you do is mix, refrigerate overnight, cut the dough into equal portions, elongate the pieces a little bit which is not hard to do, bake, and 20 minutes later, you will be enjoying a crispy [crust] sweetish light and airy most delicious bread you will ever have, at least to me it is. It is so good I can't stop eating it. This is currently my favorite bread from the book. Wait, didn't I just say that last week, and the week before last? Aack, I am starting to sound like a broken record! And there is a possibility that I will say the same thing the next 22 weeks.^__^

The slack dough uses ice-cold 40°F water and after mixing with flour, yeast, and salt, the dough is immediately stored in the refrigerator overnight. Peter explains that the delayed fermentation using ice-cold water produces a bread that "has a natural sweetness and nutlike character that is distinct from breads made from the same ingredients but fermented by the standard method, even with large percentages of pre-ferment". It has something to do with the natural sugars in flour but I won't go into details of the chemical reactions going on in this dough. The bread is delicious and it's all that matters.

Some of the loaves came out nice and straight but some are crooked and uneven which I like even better because of their rustic appearance. Adding to my delight are the irregular large holes in the crumb. Once again I am grateful to Nicole for this nifty idea of becoming Peter Reinhart's virtual apprentice and being able to bake great tasting loaves of bread. This is one recipe that I will be baking over and over. I actually baked a second batch the very next day and the result is consistent in flavor and texture, light airy crispy flavorful bread.

Pain a l'Ancienne
Pain a l'Ancienne

We didn't wait for the bread to cool because the loaves finished baking just in time for dinner. We spread aioli on the slices and had them with Green Bouillabaisse for a most satisfying vegetarian meal. This dough can also be shaped into ciabatta or focaccia which I will be making very soon.

Green Bouillabaisse


Rating:
flavor 5
texture 5
visual appeal 5
ease of preparation 5
performance 5
worth 5
Total: 30
Average: 5

Help For the Philippines

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This is an appeal for aid to the victims of the devastating typhoon that hit the Philippines last Saturday. Here is the link to find how you can help:

http://www.google.com/landing/typhoon-ondoy.html

Here are two of the several photos a friend emailed me yesterday. The sources are unknown so I can't acknowledge them but thanks for the images.

at Katipunan, Quezon City

at Taft Avenue, I believe that is De La Salle University

September 27, 2009

Green Bouillabaisse

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Green Bouillabaisse
Pain a l'Ancienne
delicious meatless dinner: all-vegetable bouillabaisse, crusty bread, and aioli

After weeks of having chicken and meat, we usually crave for vegetarian dishes to sort of "cleanse the palate". And Michel Richard's fishless bouillabaisse recipe is the perfect dish to satisfy an all-vegetable craving. The preparation is a bit involved so I cut it down by using frozen baby artichokes. I also used very young rainbow chard from my garden in place of baby spinach and the white parts of green onions because we don't care much for leeks. The combination of flavors is fantastic and a large bowl of this healthy and delicious green bouillabaisse is extremely satisfying specially with aioli-topped fresh out of the oven Pain à l'Ancienne.

Green Bouillabaisse With Aioli

adapted from Michel Richard's Green Bouillabaisse

4 large ripe tomatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
3 green onions, white parts only, sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
orange
½ pound frozen baby artichokes
a pinch of saffron
½ tablespoon sugar
a quarter of a star anise
½ cup dry white wine
1½ tablespoons Pernod (anise liqueur)
1 sprig thyme
salt and ground black pepper
1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise then sliced
1 fennel bulb, cored and julienned
2 celery sticks, sliced
2 cups baby spinach
  • Cut the tomatoes in half. Remove seeds over a strainer on top of a bowl. Set aside the strainer. Grate the tomato halves directly on the bowl. Discard tomato skins. Strain to measure 1½ cups tomato water. Set aside. Discard tomato pulp or keep for another use.
  • Using a peeler, remove a quarter of the orange zest. Set aside.
  • In a saucepan, heat the oil and saute onion until soft. Add the green onions and minced garlic and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add sugar, star anise, saffron, and orange zest. Cook for another 3 minutes. Add artichokes, wine, Pernod, thyme, and tomato water. Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste. Let mixture come to a boil and simmer, uncovered, until artichokes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add zucchini, celery, and fennel. Simmer until fennel is tender crisp. Turn heat off and add spinach or chard.
  • Remove and discard the sprig of thyme. Transfer bouillabaisse into a serving dish and serve with slices of crusty bread and aioli.

Aioli
one 4-ounce Yukon Gold potato, peeled, diced, and steamed
4 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated
1 egg yolk
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup grapeseed oil
fine sea salt
ground cayenne pepper
a few drops of lemon juice
  • Put potato, garlic, egg yolk, and 1 tablespoon oil in a blender. Blend until potato is fully mashed. With blender running on high, slowly drizzle the oil, stopping to scrape down the sides when necessary, until mixture has thickened.
  • Season aioli with cayenne, lemon juice, and sea salt to taste. Transfer into a jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

September 26, 2009

Lasang Pinoy, Sundays: Fruits And Vegetables

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a weekly gallery of food photography, Pinoy style, is hosted by SpiCes.


For this week's [freestyle] theme, here are a few of my favorite fruits and vegetables. Oh, how I wish I could have atis and green mangoes all year round.

Atis
atis

Baby Green Mangoes
manggang hilaw

Asian Vegetables
ampalaya, patola, sitaw, puso ng saging


September 23, 2009

Malaysian Laksa

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Malaysian Laksa

One of the dishes I had in Singapore over 30 years ago was a delicious mix of egg noodles and fried tofu chunks in red spicy broth garnished with prawns, mungbean sprouts, and sliced boiled eggs. I didn't remember the name of the dish and have forgotten about it. A few Top Chef seasons ago I recognized the dish when a cheftestant prepared something similar which she called Laksa (the judges deemed her version of the dish awful BTW). I immediately looked for a recipe in my ancient Singaporean cookbook but didn't find one. Thankfully ready made spice pastes from Malaysia are now available at the Asian groceries and the paste makes superb Laksa just like the one I had in Singapore.

If you want to make the spice paste from scratch, here is a recipe I adapted from one I found online. I made it once and it is very good but I prefer the convenience of the prepared spice paste.

Laksa
spice paste
10 fresh long red hot chili pepper, chopped
8 purple shallots, chopped
5 candlenuts
1-inch piece fresh galangal, peeled and chopped
1-inch piece ginger, chopped
2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
1 teaspoon belacan or gapi (shrimp paste)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
  • Place ingredients in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Set aside ½ cup and keep the rest in a jar in the refrigerator or freezer.

Laksa soup
1 tablespoon oil
½ cup spice paste
1 can coconut milk, or low-fat yogurt
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
fried tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound cooked peeled prawns
cooked fresh egg noodles
mungbean sprouts, blanched
boiled eggs, quartered
Vietnamese mint leaves
chopped red hot chili, optional
  • In a wok or saucepan, heat the oil and stir fry the paste until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and broth and bring to a boil. Add the tofu and let simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Divide (warm) noodles into 4 serving bowls. Ladle the soup on top of noodles, arrange pieces of tofu, cooked prawns, eggs, bean sprouts, mint leaves, and chopped chili.

September 22, 2009

Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire

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Multigrain Bread

The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge week 20: Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire.

If you are like me who loves hearty chewy bread with a bit of crunch, then this is the loaf for you. The slices are very good as they are and utterly delicious toasted for sandwiches. I spread mayonnaise on the toasted slices, piled thick slices of heirloom tomatoes sprinkled with sea salt, and had the best and satisfying sandwich ever! Seriously. This bread is just perfect, in my honest opinion. I also love it for open-faced cucumber sandwich and with the slightly sour-sweet caramelly cheese mysost.

The bread I made is loaded with a soaker combination of polenta, millet, quinoa, rolled oats, and wheat bran, plus the cooked brown rice in the dough. There was too much dough for my loaf pan so I shaped the extra into 2.5-ounce buns. I then rolled the tops of the shaped loaf and buns in white poppy seeds.

The bread is chewy from all the various grains and high-gluten flour but the extra chew comes from the brown rice; and the crunch is from polenta, quinoa, and poppy seeds. The honey and dark brown sugar, which might be too much for some but for me it is just about right, and buttermilk contribute to the bread's overall flavor and yummyness. I love soft white milky breads but this easy to make extraordinary multigrain bread is an absolute keeper; another winning formula from Mr. Reinhart. Can you tell I have a new number one favorite bread recipe from the book?

Multigrain Bread
to make the seeds stick on the unbaked dough, I spread them on the counter and pressing slightly, roll the tops of the shaped dough on the seeds

Rating:
flavor 5
texture 5
visual appeal 5
ease of preparation 5
performance 5
worth 5
Total: 30
Average: 5

September 19, 2009

Piaya

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Piaya
Piaya
filled with ube paste and muscovado (raw sugar)

One of the Philippine treats we truly love is the highly addicting piaya, sweet flaky flat bread snacks from the Negros province. These are best eaten when freshly baked and importing them from the Philippines is not possible, unless there are friends and family who are willing to hand carry them as pasalubong. I make them whenever I get the craving which is way too often.:-)

a weekly gallery of food photography, Filipino style, is hosted by SpiCes.


September 16, 2009

Japanese Cheesecake

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Japanese Cheesecake
eating a slice of Japanese cheesecake is like eating a piece of cloud

The Japanese are very creative and innovative when it comes to breads and cakes. Last year I read that their cheesecake is softer and lighter than the cheesecake we know. I have always wanted to make it since and recently found in my opinion the best recipe. It has only half a pound of cream cheese, lots of eggs, and a little bit of cake flour and cornflour. Whipping the egg whites to soft peaks produces a chiffon cake-like cheesecake that is cotton soft, melt-in-your mouth, and light as cloud but tastes exactly like cheesecake. I love that the recipe doesn't have too much sugar and the sweetness to me is just perfect. As usual, I used calamansi juice in place of the lemon juice. This cheesecake is just heavenly.

Japanese Cheesecake
8 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter
3 ounces milk
6 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 ounces cake flour
1 ounce cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
6 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ cup sugar
  • Grease and line with parchment paper the bottom and sides of an 8-inch x 2 inch round cake pan, set aside.
  • Melt cream cheese, butter, and milk over a double boiler, stirring with a rubber spatula, set aside to cool. When cool, fold in the flour, cornstarch, egg yolks, lemon juice, and salt; mix well.
  • Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add in the sugar and beat until soft peaks form.
  • Add the cheese mixture to the egg white mixture and mix well. Pour into the prepared pan and bake in a bain marie in a preheated 325°F oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Transfer into a serving plate. Enjoy!
Japanese Cheesecake
bake until top is golden

September 14, 2009

BBAC 19: Marbled Rye Bread

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Marbled Rye Bread
Marbled Rye Bread
roast beef and coleslaw

The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge 19: Marbled Rye Bread. This is one of my favorite breads in the book; not only does it remind me of one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes, The Rye, it is also very tasty and chewy. The toasted slices make the best pastrami or roast beef sandwich specially with a layer of coleslaw or sauerkraut.

Mixing and kneading is not too difficult but the dough has the tendency to dry while proofing and shaping so I make the dough a teensy bit more wet. I have a small bottle of liquid caramel but I prefer using powdered caramel because it makes the dough darker. And the most fun part I have in baking this bread is the shaping. I love the swirl shape but the marbled loaf is more fun because the slices come out with different patterns and therefore never boring.


Marbled Rye Bread
Marbled Rye Bread
Marbled Rye Bread


Rating:
flavor 5
texture 5
visual appeal 5
ease of preparation 5
performance 5
worth 5
Total: 30
Average: 5

September 12, 2009

Lasang Pinoy, Sundays: KBL

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Pigeon Peas With Ham Hocks And Green Jackfruit
KBL

KBL or Kadyos, Baboy, At Langka translates to Pigeon Peas, Pork Hocks, And Green Jackfruit Stew, a delicious dish from the Southern Philippines.

a food photography meme, Filipino style, is hosted by SpiCes.




September 11, 2009

Bagoong Fried Rice

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Bagoong Fried Rice
bagoong fried rice and bacon

One of the food fads in the Philippines that I keep reading about is Bagoong (fermented shrimp paste) Fried Rice. I didn't know that this dish is adapted by Filipinos from a Thai recipe for fried rice, Kao Kluk Gapi, substituting bagoong for the Thai shrimp paste called kapi or gapi. I can't recall if I have ever made this dish which is usually served with Moo Wan (sweet pork). Moo Wan is one of our favorite Thai meat dishes but I paired the Filipino bagoong version of the rice dish with deep fried thick pieces of [home cured with maple sugar] bacon.

The bagoong fried rice recipe is adapted from my cookbook THE THAI COOKBOOK by Pannipa Dibbayawan And Guy Cox.

Bagoong Fried Rice
1 egg
2 tablespoons light olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons dried shrimp powder
2 tablespoons seasoned bagoong
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 siling haba or hot red pepper, finely chopped
4 cups cooked rice
3 spring onions, coarsely chopped
1 sprig coriander, chopped
¼ cup shredded green mango
sliced cucumbers for garnish
  • Beat the egg; heat a non-stick skillet and cover the surface with 1 tablespoon oil. Slowly pour in the egg while rotating the pan to cover the surface. Cook until light brown on one side then flip to cook the other side. Remove the omelet, allow to cool and cut into fine strips. Set aside.
  • Heat the remaining oil in a wok, add the onion and garlic and stir fry until soft. Add the dried shrimp powder, stir cook for 1 minute then add the shrimp paste, mixing thoroughly. Add the rice and mix well. Throw in the spring onions and coriander and stir together. Serve the rice with strips of omelet on top, sliced cucumbers, and green mango strips.

September 9, 2009

Stuffed Whole Boneless Chicken

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Chicken With Rice Stuffing

A few weeks ago a friend and her husband were in town to visit family and friends. They gifted me with a package each of Smoked German Sausages With Jalapeno Peppers and Whole Boneless Chicken With Crawfish Dressing. Both are utterly delicious.

It was only a matter of time before getting this grand idea of recreating the rice-stuffed boneless chicken dish. I've deboned a whole chicken just once last Christmas, not an easy thing to do, took me almost an hour. I don't know why I decided to cook it, I'm either nuts or obsessed, or both. First, I didn't have crawfish which is okay because my husband does not like crawfish that much, or any seafood. I was thinking of bagoong (fermented shrimp paste) rice but darn, it's also fish. (BTW, he actually loves bagoong in Kare-kare).

Inspired by Chicken Jambalaya, I cooked up the rice stuffing with whatever I have: some chopped home cured bacon, abundant cherry tomatoes from the backyard, green and red shishito peppers, and red hot chili peppers. Deboning the chicken this time was easier and quicker too, I finished in 15 minutes using a good deboning knife and kitchen shears.

Chicken with Rice Stuffing
overstuffed the chicken and the thread came off the skin during baking

Stuffed Whole Boneless Chicken
1 whole boneless (or with bones) chicken
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cayenne
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces diced thick-sliced bacon (or smoked ham)
6 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
1 cup chopped red and green shishito or bell peppers
2 fresh red hot peppers, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cayenne, or to taste
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
1 cup uncooked rice
3 cups chicken broth
salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • In a medium saucepan, cook the bacon until it renders its fat and turns golden brown. Add the next 5 ingredients and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, thyme, parsley, and rice. Stir fry for 2 minutes then add the chicken broth, 2 teaspoons salt and ¼ teaspoon ground black papper. Let come to a boil, turn heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Season the chicken inside and out with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Fill the chicken with the cooked rice and bake for 1 hour in a preheated 400°F oven for boneless, or 350deg;F for 1½ hours if with bones.

September 8, 2009

BBAC 18: Light Wheat Bread

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Light Wheat Bread
Light Wheat Bread

There's nothing much to write about Light Wheat Bread, The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge 18th recipe. All I can say is it's another winner from Peter Reinhart. The bread is light as white bread, very soft, yummy [with added honey], and the recipe is one of the simplest and easiest to follow; mix, knead, let rise, shape/rise, bake. I love the slices toasted or right out of the bag.

Light Wheat Bread
with butter, honey, and fresh figs

Rating:
flavor 5
texture 5
visual appeal 5
ease of preparation 5
performance 5
worth 5
Total: 30
Average: 5

Note: The bread is very light in color because I used whole wheat atta flour which is lighter both in color and texture than KA and Gold Medal whole wheat flours. I am loving all the breads made with this flour and have been ignoring the KA whole wheat in my pantry. I buy atta from the Korean grocery store and it now stocks different brands that come from USA, Canada, India, and Lebanon; prices range between $10 and $12 for a 20-pound bag. Recently, I have noticed that atta flour is becoming more available in my area. I have spotted 20-pound bags at Wegmans grocery stores and Costco (the cheapest so far at $9).

September 7, 2009

Cincinnati Chili

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Cincinnati Chili
a layer each of spaghetti, chili, kidney beans, chopped red onion, grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese, and sprinkled with a few oyster crackers

I make Authentic Texas Border chili often and eat it without beans. We also like it on spaghetti topped with grated cheddar cheese. A few weeks ago I watched an episode of America's Test Kitchen preparing 5-Way Cincinnati Chili which has one layer each of spaghetti, chili, kidney beans, chopped onions, and finely grated cheese in that order. We didn't know we've been eating 3-Way Cincinnati Chili with a Texan accent, i.e. hot spicy chili. I adapted and combined 2 recipes, one from my cookbook CHILI MADNESS and the Test Kitchen's using both fresh and powdered cayenne. I think the Test Kitchen's is too bland and uses bottled chili powder but I like the idea of boiling the beef and the addition of cocoa powder.

I am surprised that I love Cincinnati Chili which is rather saucy or soupy, and the aroma of the sweet and hot spices is wonderful. I was expecting the combination of flavors to taste funny or weird but they are all subtle and amazingly blend well together. I even added a sixth topping, a few pieces of oyster crackers which give it a good crunch and found myself eating them with some of the sauce remaining on the plate. And this is the first time that I didn't dislike beans in my chili. In fact I like it and IMHO the dish wouldn't taste the same without them.

Try one or both recipes and find out for yourself just how good and different this chili is. I read that the better way to eat Cincinnati chili is to cut the spaghetti instead of twirling with fork because twirling makes such a mess on the table, not to mention your clothes. So I started cutting and eating all 5 layers by the forkful and I agree, cutting makes a lot of sense. Anyway, 5-way Cincinnati chili is delicious any way you eat it.

Murray's Girlfriend's Cincinnati Chili
from CHILI MADNESS by Jane Butel

2 teaspoons butter
2 pounds ground beef
6 bay leaves
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons allspice
6 whole cloves, crushed
4 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon dried whole red pepper, crushed
1½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons pure ground red hot chile
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon oregano, preferably Mexican
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
6 cups water
cooked kidney beans

8 ounces vermicelli, cooked according to package directions
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
1 small onion, finely chopped
  • Heat the butter in a large heavy skillet/pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat to the skillet. Break up any lumps with a fork and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is evenly browned.
  • Stir in all the ingredients up through the water. Taste and adjust seasonings. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 to 4 hours. Add the kidney beans to the mixture half an hour before serving.
  • Place a small amount of vermicelli in individual bowls. Spoon a generous amount of chili. Top with grated cheese and chopped onion.

Cincinnati Chili
8 cups water
2 pounds minced beef
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons allspice
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons ground cayenne
2 fresh cayenne, finely minced (or more)
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • Put water into a large pot, bring to a boil. Crumble ground beef into the boiling water, break up any lumps with a potato masher. Boil for 30 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients and return to boiling. Stir, reduce heat, and let simmer, uncovered, for 3 hours. Remove bay leaves. Transfer into a serving dish.
  • To serve: In individual bowls, place a layer each in this order: spaghetti, chili, kidney beans, onions, and cheese (you can be as cheesy as you want). Adding oyster crackers is optional. Enjoy!

September 5, 2009

Cornish Hens Inasal

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Cornish Hens Inasal
grilled cornish game hens

a weekly gallery of food photography, Filipino style, is hosted by SpiCes.


A simple recipe for chicken inasal is here.

September 3, 2009

Lavash Crackers

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Lavash Crackers

I've always wanted to make thin crispy crackers but the work involved discourages me from doing so. Besides, why bake when I can buy them cheap from the stores. However, The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge 17, Lavash Crackers, compelled me to bake them. I used to buy soft lavash before but I have never heard of lavash crackers. Well, now I have and can say that they are very yummy, super crunchy, and totally addicting. I love these crackers!

It was difficult at first to roll but after a few tries and letting the dough rest for 5 minutes between rolling as Peter suggests [and with a little bit of patience] I was able to roll the dough as thin as I wanted. I divided the dough into 3 portions because I wanted to use different toppings and found a smaller dough is easier to handle. I rolled the first one on the kitchen counter but when I transferred it to the parchment, the edges folded back into itself. I had to re-roll on the parchment paper which was very frustrating because the paper bunches up and won't stay put. I managed to keep the very thin dough and trimmed the folded edges which I twisted and made into bread sticks. Also very good. After that minor mishap I eliminated the step of transferring to the parchment and rolled the next pieces of dough directly on the pan. I think rolling the dough on an inverted pan or a cookie sheet without sides would be even more convenient and practical.

I did a combination of rolling, waving, and stretching to make the dough very thin

let the dough relax for easier handling

I rolled the first sheet really thin then sprinkled the top with sesame seeds. I passed a pastry roller on top of the dough a few times to embed the seeds so they don't fall off. Because I have a sweet tooth, I cut a small portion of the very thin dough and sprinkled coarse raw sugar on top, very very good with ice cream. The other 2 pieces of dough were rolled just thin enough but not as thin as the first one and I sprinkled one with flaked sea salt and ground sumac, and the other one with flaked sea salt and chipotle powder. I didn't want to add strong flavors like cumin nor strong colors that stain like paprika so I stayed away from those. I'm satisfied with these two flavors which are mild but very tasty. Both came out very crispy all throughout without any soft spots.

I will definitely make these crackers again and for a yummy healthy crunchy snack I will substitute chickpea flour for some of the flour. And with this experience I have gained enough confidence and will try rolling out thin dough such as strudel or filo. This is why I love this challenge, I learn and eat something new every week.

Lavash Crackers With Sesame Seeds

Lavash Cracker With Sesame Seeds
topped with sesame seeds

Lavash Crackers With Coarse Raw Sugar
topped with coarse raw sugar

Lavash Cracker With Sumac And Sea Salt Flakes
with flaked sea salt and ground sumac

Lavash Crackers
perfect with chili

Rating:
flavor 5
texture 5
visual appeal 5
ease of preparation 4
performance 5
worth 5
Total: 29
Average: 4.8

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