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April 30, 2010

Guyabano Lassi

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Guyabano Lassi

I never knew guyabano and yogurt are meant to be together. Their flavors complement each other that they almost taste the same. I got a few cans of guyabano drink and combined 2 cans with 3 cups of thick Greek-style yogurt and half a cup of sugar. I put the mixture in ice pop molds and reserved a cup of the mixture to which I added half a cup of ice and put the mixture in the blender. Guyabano lassi, so good. The fruit pulp, if I can find it, I'm sure will taste even better.

Guyabano
photo source Wikipedia

April 28, 2010

Monay, Pinagong, and Putok

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Monay, Pinagong, and Putok

Filipinos love to give unusual names to things, food, and even people. There is a fried fish dish wrapped in banana leaves then deep fried called Pinaputok na Plapla (tilapia) and sweet buns called simply Putok. Putok is the Tagalog word for explosion/firecracker and crack/fissure. I looked online for the recipe and found it in Manang's blog. The putok refers to the star cut on top of the bun and I started to wonder where it originated because I never heard of this bread before. It turns out it is a variation of a bun called Pinagong, which means shaped like a pagong (turtle). It is a bun that comes exclusively from Sariaya, Quezon province and I remember eating those buns as a kid when we visited my maternal grandparents. I still remember it being sweet and dense and milky and had a hard crunchy shell just like another bun called Monay. Sariaya and other nearby cities and towns sell an abundance of various breads. At the time they even sold buns named after popular movie celebrities obviously catering to their fan base. The buns were shaped exactly the same and made from the same dough but they were given different names and sure enough fans bought their favorite's namesakes. I'm not kidding.

The funny thing is I can remember the flavor, texture, and aroma of the pinagong buns but I couldn't recall the shape. I just snipped the top of the buns with scissors before baking. They were already baking when it suddenly occured to me that they should have about 4 or 5 parallel cuts on top and the lower portion is formed to make a tail of sorts to resemble a turtle. Why a turtle, I have no idea.

I adapted Manang's recipe using powdered milk instead of evaporated, omitted the baking powder and soda, and I also didn't let the dough rise the second time to have the hard dense texture that I remember. The buns were baked as soon as they were shaped. When I took my first bite I was transported back to Sariaya. The crunch of the crust...the sweet yellow milky crumb that doesn't need any butter or jam...the aroma...this is the pinagong of my childhood. Sooo yummy.

Monay
I don't know the origin of monay, it's great for cheese ice cream sandwiches

Putok
putok with coarse raw sugar

Pinagong
wrong shape of pinagong but has the same flavor and texture

I baked a second batch using concentrated evaporated milk and made a proper pinagong shape although the scores should have been a little more shallow. Well, next time. I didn't like the flavor of evaporated milk. I still prefer fresh whole milk or powdered nonfat milk. Maybe I should get the full-cream milk powder KLIM for a deeper milky taste.

Monay and Pinagong
Putok Crumb
the crumb is dense and tight but surprisingly soft

Monay, Pinagong, and Putok
1¼ cups lukewarm water
2 teaspoons instant yeast
½ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons soft butter
2 egg yolks
4 cups bread flour
½ cup milk powder
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. In a standing mixer with the kneading hook attachment, add the ingredients in the order as written. Mix on low until combined. Knead on medium for 5 minutes or until smooth. Transfer the dough into a greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic film, and let rest on the kitchen counter for 1 hour.
  • Lightly knead the dough and divide: monay and pinagong into 4-ounce portions, putok into 2-ounce pieces. Shape into rounds, flatten slightly, and place on a baking sheet 2 inches apart. If you want dense hard-shelled buns, make star cuts on top of putok, a deep slash right down the middle of monay, and 4 quarter-inch deep slashes on pinagong rounds. Immediately bake in the preheated oven until golden, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • If a softer bread is desired, let the buns rest for half an hour, covered with plastic film, before baking. I don't recommend letting the buns rise for an hour because they will be too fluffy and won't have the right texture.

April 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Traditional British Pudding

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Steak, Oysters, and Mushrooms Suet Pudding
steak, oysters, and mushrooms suet pudding

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

Suet, lard, tallow, and other fat such as coconut oil have gotten a bad reputation from the food police but they are actually better for us than hydrogenated vegetable oil and they make fried food taste so much better too. I fried some potatoes in suet, they were delicious and then I remembered McDonald's fries used to taste so good because they were fried in tallow, until the company was told to switch to vegetable oil. I always thought that suet would render a beefy flavor but it doesn't. It is almost neutral and now I firmly believe is perfect for tender baked or steamed pie crusts.

The suet shreds and crumbles very easily with gloved hands. And if you don't like the caulfat-like membrane you can throw it away (I didn't and they don't seem to affect nor are they visible in the finished pudding). After shredding I weighed and wrapped them individually into 6-ounce portions and put them in a freezer bag, ready when I feel like British pudding. I rendered a small piece and I find the rendered suet is much harder to shred than the fresh one.

 Suet


This was a true challenge for me as I have never had British pudding, with suet or otherwise. One of my dessert cookbooks which has mostly British recipes is hardly ever used. I have been curious though and regularly browse through the book almost always looking at the Sticky and Steamed section specially the boiled Spotted Dick and Christmas Pudding but never dared to make them. Thanks to Esther and the Daring Cooks challenge, I finally had the motivation to try them. I was not expecting to like it but I was wrong because not only do I like but I love them, both the savory and the dessert pudding.

Suet Crust

12 ounces all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
6 ounces shredded suet
a little less than 1 cup water
  • Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix in the suet. Add the water, a tablespoonful at a time, mixing until it forms an elastic dough that leaves the bowl clean. Don’t over handle the pastry or it will become tough.
Steak, Oysters, and Mushrooms Pudding
I made a steak pudding, used oysters in place of kidney, and added fresh mushrooms. The pudding is very yummy with just enough sauce, not too watery nor too dry. The crust is perfectly tender, a little flaky and soft. Because it is steamed instead of baked, I wasn't expecting a golden brown color. I couldn't believe my eyes when I removed the foil after 4 hours of steaming that the crust has turned perfectly golden. The meat is very tender and the oysters has melted, yes melted because I couldn't find a shred of them in the delicious stew.

Steak, Oysters, and Mushrooms Suet Pudding

1 recipe suet crust
1½ pounds chuck steak, cubed
1 cup fresh or frozen oysters
½ pound button mushrooms, sliced
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
2 teaspoons flour mixed with 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper
water
salt and ground pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Reserve a quarter of the crust for the lid and roll out the rest and line a well-greased bowl.
  • Toss the steak in the seasoned flour. Mix in the oysters, mushrooms, and onion. Fill the pastry-lined bowl with the meat mixture. Add enough cold water to reach almost to the top of the meat and sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Roll the final piece of pastry out into a circle big enough to cover the top of the bowl, dampen the edges and put in position on the pudding, pinching the edges together to seal. Seal well and cover with a double sheet of foil, pleated in the center to allow room for expansion while cooking. Secure with string, and place it in a steamer over boiling water.
  • Steam for up to 5 hours, you may need to add more boiling water halfway through or possibly more often.

Sussex Pond Pudding
This is one of the suggestions in the challenge and I was skeptical at first. The filling has a total of 3 ingredients, one of which is a whole lemon. How can it taste good. I'm telling you it tastes great. I love the sweet tart lemony sauce gushing out and creating a "pond" on the plate, the soaked crust is heavenly soft, and the caramelized very soft lemon is amazingly delicious. You just have to try it.

Sussex Pond Pudding

1 recipe suet crust
4.2 ounces coarse raw sugar (demerara)
4.2 ounces unsalted butter
1 large lemon
  • Reserve a quarter of the crust for the top.
  • Roll out the rest and line a well-greased bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and put half in the bowl with half the sugar. Prick the whole lemon, preferably one with a thin skin, all over, using a thick skewer. [I cut the lemon into large chunks]. Place on top of the butter and sugar in the bowl. Cover with the rest of the butter and sugar.
  • Top the pudding with the remaining crust. Seal the edges together. Steam for 4 hours, or longer for a really tender lemon, adding more water in the steamer as needed. To serve, turn the pudding into a dish with a deep rim, when you slice into it the rich lemon sauce will gush out. Make sure each person is served some of the suet crust, lemon and tangy luscious sauce.

Figgy Pudding
This is a cake-like sponge type of dessert pudding. Some sponge pudding doughs are wrapped in several layers of muslin and boiled directly in water. The recipe for this Christmas pudding mentioned in the song We Wish You a Merry Christmas is steamed, not boiled. The pudding is moist, fruity and utterly delicious! And very Christmas-y.

Figgy Pudding

½ cup shredded suet
½ cup sugar
1 large egg, well beaten
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon rum or brandy
1 small apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
8 ounces dried calimyrna figs, chopped
½ cup chopped nuts
½ teaspoon each grated lemon and orange zest
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of ground cloves
a pinch of ground ginger
1 cup dried bread crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Grease a 1-quart glass or ceramic bowl, set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients well. Spoon into the prepared bowl. Cover with a piece of aluminum foil and steam for 4 hours. Serve with sweetened cream, or custard sauce.
Thank you again Esther. I truly enjoyed making and eating these puddings.


April 26, 2010

Ube Macarons

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Ube Macarons
they have monster "feet"

Here I go again. This is my third macaron blog post. Sorry but I can't help it, they're so freaking cute and so yummy too.

I finally got Hisako Ogita's i macarons book after reading about it again in David Lebovitz's blog. When I saw the purple yam flavored ones, I swear I heard it calling my name. Ube + macarons, oh yesss!

The very thin paperback is actually more like a manual with basic instructions on making macarons. The book is not perfect, with a few head-scratching instructions like the Italian meringue cooked in the microwave oven, but what I like about it is the different flavor and cream filling pairing suggestions. It also has an adorable packaging section with teeny tiny boxes and ribbons, read extreme cuteness a la Hello Kitty, and recipes for the egg yolks. At $9.50 it is definitely a good buy.

For the purple yam macarons she suggests to add 2 tablespoons of purple yam powder [which I presume is not ube but the Japanese purple yam, an entirely different root crop that is closer to sweet potato than the Filipino ube] into a basic 3-egg white macarons recipe.

Ube Macaron
sweet puff and cream sandwich

April 25, 2010

Mellow Bakers: Light Rye Bread

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Light Rye Bread
Light Rye Bread

For someone like me who didn't like sourdough rye breads that much, Jeffrey Hamelman's Light Rye bread is a welcome surprise because I love its slightly sour and slightly sweet flavor. As the name says, it's light on rye, that is, the recipe has very little medium rye flour so I heeded his suggestion of using whole rye flour for a more pronounced rye flavor, and I also used rye sourdough starter instead of the white flour sourdough starter. Ground, not whole, caraway seeds were used sparingly at a quarter teaspoon, which to me is just about right, maybe less of it or none at all would be better. I love the flavor of caraway seeds but I think it masks the true flavor of rye flour which only recently I'm starting to appreciate.

Light Rye Bread

The bread is another simple dough to make. The sourdough is built the night before and left on the kitchen counter to ripen for 14 hours. The next day high gluten flour, water, salt, yeast, and caraway seeds are mixed together with the sourdough. I did not have any problems with the mixing of this rather stiff but not dry dough which was made to ferment for 1 hour. I decided to shape the dough into a boule and baked it in a cast iron pot. It rose well, although the crumb is tight which is okay because its smokey flavor is more important to me. I also love its thin-ish chewy crust and soft but chewy crumb, perfect for ham or pastrami sandwiches.

Light Rye Bread
ham sandwich on rye lunch


MellowBakers
join us and discover great tasting breads


April 22, 2010

Chicken Wings

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Crispy Wings
crispy fried chicken wings with vinegar and hot pepper dipping sauce

Buffalo Wings
finger-lickin' good Buffalo-style wings with sriracha

I got a ginormous bag of chicken wings already separated into drumettes and flats. They will be seasoned and cooked then stored in the freezer so they're ready when needed, just like the ones from the stores but homemade.

For the first batch the wings were seasoned in fish extract (patis) and sea salt, dredged in a little flour then were deep fried. In this batch I left half of the cooked wings plain and served with vinegar and hot pepper dipping sauce and to the other half I added a Buffalo-style hot sauce made with vinegar, sriracha, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. I like them both. Which one do you prefer?

Here is a recipe for Buffalo Wings sauce which is a little bit more vinegary and not as spicy as the Thai sriracha sauce

Buffalo Wings
30 drumette and flat chicken wing pieces
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons flour
oil for frying
1½ tablespoons white vinegar
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons Louisiana hot sauce
  • Rub the wings with salt. Place the flour in a plastic zipper bag and add the wings. Shake the bag to coat the wings with flour evenly. Deep fry in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.
  • Prepare the sauce: In a large skillet add the remaining ingredients and cook until heated through. Add the chicken wings and mix until evenly coated with sauce. Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing.

April 20, 2010

Punschtorte Bites

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Punschtorte Bites
Punschtorte Bite


I was considering signing up for another baking community but reading through the assigned cookbook, The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri, I decided not to join. I'm not in the mood to bake 150 breads, cakes, biscuits, tarts, and cookies. However, the very last recipe caught my eye because they are very pretty pink iced sandwich cookies called Viennese Punch Cookies, the author's take on a cake called Punschtorte.

I have never heard of this cake before. There are very few recipes online, one has layers made of cake crumbs moistened with a syrup made of citrus juices, rum, and apricot preserves then formed into 2 round layers. A layer each of marzipan and apricot preserves are sandwiched between the spiked cake layers. I thought the make up of the cake is strange.

I didn't like the cookie recipe and after reading the other recipes, I combined 2 of them with the book's cookie filling, baked a thin sponge cake, cut shapes with small cookie cutters, and made iced sandwich bites.

I love small cute cakes and they're easy to store too, although preparation is too involved and labor intensive. I made a mistake in the icing adding too much pink gel icing, I had to scrape them off. You will notice the cakes are not smooth at the edges and some of the pepto bismol pink icing is visible in a few places. The icing also is too thin which was done on purpose because I didn't want too much sweet icing. I like the cake but I was not wowed all that much. Maybe it'll taste better tomorrow because it's supposed to age at least a day for the flavors to meld.

Punschtorte Bites
cake
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon each finely grated lemon and orange zest
1 cup sifted cake flour
syrup
1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, melted
1 cup marzipan
icing
  • Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Mix eggs, sugar, vanilla, zest, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whip egg mixture until it has tripled in volume, about 4 to 5 minutes. Fold flour into mixture, one third at a time, just until incorporated.
  • Pour about 1 cup of batter into the melted butter, and fold just until combined. Return butter mixture to reserved batter, and again fold to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan. Smooth batter evenly. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes or until top springs back slightly when lightly touched. Cool completely then brush with syrup. Cut into squares or rounds and pair them up.
  • Crumble the scraps and mix with the melted chocolate. Roll into a 1/16-inch thin rectangle between 2 pieces of plastic film. Cut into squares or rounds. Place on top of half of the shapes. Roll the marzipan into a thin rectangle and cut out shapes. Place on top of chocolate shapes, top with its cake pair making sandwiches. Pour the icing straight over the cake. Smooth the sides using a palette knife but avoid touching the top.
syrup
4 ounces sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice, strained
3 tablespoons orange juice, strained
2 tablespoons apricot jam strained
3 tablespoons dark rum
  • Dissolve the sugar in the juices over gentle heat. Add the strained jam and boil gently for 3 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in rum.
icing
2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice, strained
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, strained
1 tablespoon rum
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 drop red food coloring
  • Mix the liquids. Slowly add the liquid to the sifted sugar in a bowl, stirring all the time. Do not add all liquid at once, the icing may become too runny. It should be thick and smooth enough to coat the back of the spoon. Place the bowl over a small pan with simmering water, and warm until the icing thins out and runs easily from the spoon. Remove from heat and use immediately.

April 16, 2010

Maple Sugar Iced Tea

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Maple Sugar Iced Tea
Maple Sugar Iced Tea

It's still early spring but we are having a summer-like weather. Today the temperature will go as high as 80 degrees. I'm just starting my vegetable garden and staying outside clearing the yard of winter debris in this hot weather makes me exhausted and I get dehydrated quickly. But it's the perfect time to make gallons of sweet iced tea. Not just any iced tea but similar to the one served in restaurants in the Philippines, I think in the late 70s or maybe early 80s, called Butterfly iced tea. The iced tea was so popular the people who owned the restaurant and the drink started selling concentrate in gallon jugs at the supermarkets. But the drink disappeared just like that, never to be heard of again, it's a mystery. I read that somebody interviewed the owners who for some reason would not even talk about the ice tea and its demise. Odd.

Anyway, I have been making an iced tea drink that tastes similar to the Butterfly iced tea. The not-so-secret ingredient is maple extract. The flavor becomes unique when combined with the juice of the Philippine lime, calamansi, although lemon juice is equally wonderful with the maple flavor. Maple sugar is sold at most grocery stores but it is super expensive and maple flavoring is available at King Arthur Flour online and catalog.

A year ago I discovered an unopened jar of maple syrup that has expired. I don't really understand why it has an expiration date, it's sugar syrup, why should it go bad. Instead of throwing it away I boiled the syrup down, dried the crystals, broke them into large chunks, and that's what I use together with raw sugar to sweeten the iced tea. Yum. I could finish a gallon of this stuff in a day.:-)

Maple Sugar Chunks

Maple Sugar Iced Tea
makes approximately 4 cups
3 English breakfast tea bags
2 cups boiling water
maple sugar or syrup, to taste
raw sugar (demerara), to taste
juice of 1 lemon, strained
1 cup ice cold water
1½ cups ice
  • Brew tea in boiling water. Discard bags. Add maple syrup or sugar and raw sugar until dissolved. Add the juice, water, and ice. Enjoy.

MellowBakers Bagels

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Bagels

Although I love homemade bagels I was a bit reluctant to bake them for the MellowBakers. I have the option to skip it but after reading Paul's post I changed my mind; his bagels are very pretty and nicely golden brown [my bagels always come out anemic]. And I'm glad I did because I love the flavor and chew of Hamelman's bagels. They are as good as BBA's but the procedure has an added step of leaving the boiled doughs in ice water before baking. I'll be honest, I omitted this step because I find the 3-minute ice bath too long and what's the reason for it when the bagels are going immediately into the oven anyway.

Bagels

Aside from looking like vampire bagels, they are thinner and have larger holes than what you normally buy from the stores and I found out from Paul that this is Montreal style and the fat ones with almost no holes are New York style. I never knew that. Thanks Paul. I don't have any preference as long as the bagel is yummy and chewy....and these are yummy and chewy....and really nice with grated young Gouda cheese mixed with chopped roasted sweet yellow or red bell pepper (pimiento) and a tablespoon of mayonnaise.

MellowBakers
come join and bake with us

If anybody wants to try making these bagels here is the recipe.


April 14, 2010

Brunswick Stew

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Brunswick stew

The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.


Brunswick Stew is a classic Southern stew that has various meats and vegetables slowly simmered until thick enough a spoon will be able to stand up in the middle without falling over. Brunswick County, Virginians claim they invented the stew in 1828 when Dr. Creed Haskins of the Virginia state legislature asked for a special squirrel stew from a camp cook, Jimmy Matthews, to feed people attending a political rally. Brunswick, Georgia residents claim theirs is the original. The earlier stew had ingredients of game, usually squirrel, and corn, and simmered in large iron pots over open fire. Nowadays it's made with chicken or a combination of several meats such as rabbit, beef, and pork. The vegetables are onions, corn, and tomatoes, and many recipes have lima or butter beans, peas, and maybe okra.

I have lived here in Virginia for 18 years but never had Brunswick Stew so I was enthusiastic and eager to try it. We were given 2 recipe choices, a long one and a shortened version which has precooked variety of meats. I chose the shortened one because I already have in the freezer precooked chicken, turkey, and a mystery bird that I mistakenly bought from the Korean grocery a week before the recipe challenge was announced. The label on the package said fowl which I didn't notice when I picked it up. I was looking for the smallest chicken and it was small at just over a pound. I realized my mistake when I got home and boiled it anyway with some seasonings and vegetables. I removed the bones and froze the meat and its broth for later use. The bird, which could be a game hen but not the same as Cornish hens as it didn't look like one, is very lean with very white breast meat and very dark thin tough legs. Probably the reason I kept it instead of returning it to the store is it was destined to be made into Brunswick stew. And it was a good mistake too because the fowl's slight gamey flavor, definitely stronger than chicken, was a fantastic addition to the medley of flavors of turkey, chicken, ham, crumbled fried bacon, onions, Yukon gold potatoes, carrots, baby lima beans, tomatoes, sweet corn, and herbs [I used fresh thyme, sage, marjoram, and bay leaves] which I bundled in a piece of cheesecloth together with a few black peppercorns and 2 ripe jalapeƱo chilis for a little kick. The very yummy stew was simmered for more than 2 hours in a combination of chicken and fowl broth and a small amount of fresh tomato juice until very very thick. I love the stew alone, with sliced white bread, or with freshly baked flaky buttery biscuits. I will definitely make this stew again with other meat combination such as rabbit and veal. Thank you Wolf for choosing this awesome stew for April 2010 Daring Cooks challenge.

Brunswick Stew

This is the recipe I used (I omitted the tablespoon of sugar):
2½ pounds total diced stewed chicken, turkey, and ham, with broth
3 medium diced potatoes
2 medium ripe crushed tomatoes
2 medium diced onions
3 cups corn kernels
1½ cups frozen baby lima beans
2 carrots, diced
4 strips crumbled bacon
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper
fresh tomato juice
  • In large stock pot or Dutch oven, mix all ingredients until bubbly and hot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add tomato juice as desired. Cook until all vegetables are tender and stew has thickened. Serve hot with flaky biscuits or corn bread.

April 12, 2010

Montelimar-style Nougat

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Nougat

Here is a treat for you this week: French Nougat. Not just any nougat but Montelimar-style nougat. The place known for this candy was mentioned in George Harrison's/Beatles Savoy Truffle and I have been looking for a recipe for maybe forever. Thank goodness for the internet and now you'll find plenty of similar recipes for Montelimar-style nougat. The recipe I chose to adapt seemed like the most authentic-sounding and I used lavender honey for the honey. I tell you the candies are soooo good. You can't eat just one.

To make the candies I used potato wafer sheets. The rice or potato papers taste and look like communion wafers (host) and are called ostia in Italy (torrone) and in Spain (turron). I love to wrap crunchy almond praline in it and munch on the plain scraps which always remind of Holy Communion. You can purchase the papers here or here.

Montelimar-style Nougat

two sheets rice or potato paper
1½ cups sugar
¾ cup honey
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
¾ cup water
3 egg whites, room temperature
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon brandy
1½ cups whole blanched almonds, toasted
3 tablespoons chopped pistachios
¼ teaspoon salt
  • Line a 7 x 11-inch pan with one rice paper and set it aside.
  • In a large saucepan, dissolve the sugar, honey, corn syrup, and water, and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Begin to beat the egg whites while the sugar mixture continues cooking. Clip a candy thermometer on the side of the pan and continue cooking without stirring.
  • Beat the egg whites on high until stiff, wet peaks form.
  • Once the sugar syrup reaches 300°F, pour it very slowly and steadily into the egg whites, whisking them the entire time. Add the lemon zest and continue whisking the hot nougat mixture for 10 minutes, until it cools slightly and thickens.
  • Stir the vanilla, brandy, almonds, pistachios, and salt into the nougat and quickly spread it onto the prepared pan. Gently place the second piece of rice paper on top of the nougat and evenly press it into the nougat so that no air bubbles remain.
  • Cover the nougat in an airtight container or plastic wrap and allow it to set for 3 to 5 days before cutting into 1-inch squares. Wrap individually in plastic film.

April 11, 2010

Rustic Bread

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Rustic Bread

Rustic Bread is one of the 3 recipes that we MellowBakers are baking this month of April, 2010. The other 2 are Bagels, and Light Rye Bread.

Jeffrey Hamelman's Rustic Bread recipe is a fairly easy bread to make although it takes 2 days. The first day is for the preferment which is making a stiff dough with flour, water, salt, and a small amount of commercial yeast, leaving it on the kitchen counter for 12 to 16 hours. The next day is pretty much the same, mix bread flour, a little whole rye and whole wheat flour with water, salt, yeast, and the preferment. Bulk fermentation is 2½ hours with two folds after every 50 minutes, then the dough is divided and shaped into rounds [I shaped mine into fat batards] and made to rise for 1½ hours then off they go in a 450°F steamy oven . Easy peasy.

The bread is soft, chewy, and flavorful and I like it even more the next day, but not after that. Well, they didn't last beyond 3 days so no problem there. This could be a regular bread in my house. It's good for sandwiches or dipping into soups or stews.

MellowBakers Click on the logo on the left to join MellowBakers and enjoy the fruits of your oven.^__^


April 9, 2010

Pork Belly Sisig

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Sizzling Sisig


I have made pork belly sisig a few times already and it has become one of my favorite Filipino dishes. Its yummyness factor is way at the top, even Anthony Bordain loved it. Crispy pork is maybe the reason I won't consider being a vegan. I love vegetables as a side dish and tofu in all its forms but it's not fun to eat without meat and poultry dishes.

The original pork sisig has a whole pork head but where in the world would I find that? Maybe at the farmer's market? Anyway, I made pork belly confit (bagnet or lechon kawali) and boiled some pork ears together with a few pieces of chicken livers. With lots of fresh calamansi juice I was in spicy hog goodness heaven.

Pork Belly Sisig
2 pork ears
water
2 pieces chicken liver
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup water
¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon calamansi or lemon juice
freshly cooked lechon kawali, homemade or store bought
1 tablespoon white coconut vinegar
1 sweet onion, chopped
sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
bird's eye chili, chopped, to taste
  • Wash the ears well and place in a medium saucepan. Add water to cover and let boil. Drain and discard water. Add the chicken liver, salt, juice, water, and peppercorns. Let come to a boil, cover, and simmer over low-medium heat for 45 minutes.
  • Remove pork and liver and discard the boiling liquid. Grill the pork ears until brown and crisp.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet to sizzling hot.
  • Chop the lechon kawali, pork ears, and liver into small cubes and place in a glass bowl. Add the calamansi or lemon juice, chopped onion, vinegar, salt, pepper, and chilis. Mix well. Place the meat mixture into the sizzling skillet. Serve immediately with calamansi and chilies on the side.

April 4, 2010

Apple Caramel Turnovers

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Apple Caramel Turnover
Apple Caramel Turnover
stewed apples with gooey chewy caramel in flaky buttery crust

I can't remember the last time I ate Mickey D's apple pie turnovers. They are yummy and sweet and I like them even if they are so greasy and very hot they used to burn my tongue. Inspired by those turnovers I stewed some apples in a little sugar and water and baked a few pieces. Maybe I'll deep fry some just to compare the flakiness of the crust. For the filling I added 1 chopped caramel candy on top of the apple filling. The flavor of apples and caramel together is just divine. The apple becomes so soft and the caramel candy gooey, chewy, and sticky. Mmmmm.

Apple Caramel Turnovers
2 apples, peeled, cored, and finely diced
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
½ tablespoon butter
homemade or store-bought pie crust
caramel candies, chopped
  • In a small skillet, cook the apples, water, and sugar until apples are tender but not mushy and the mixture is almost dry. Stir in the butter. Transfer into a small container, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  • Roll pie crust into a rectangle until of desired thickness. Cut rectangles 8 x 3 inches long and wide. Place a tablespoon of apple filling in the middle of the half part of the rectangles. Top with 1 chopped caramel candy. Fold the other half over and seal the edges.
Apple Caramel Turnover

  • Place turnovers on a baking sheet. With the tip of a knife, make 2 small slits on top of each turnover. Bake in a 425°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Pie crust recipe is here.

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