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June 29, 2010

Yardlong Beans in Adobo Sauce

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Sitaw And Pork Belly Adobo

Here's a dish that has a dual personality, a bit healthy and a little bit un due to the fatty but yummy pork belly. The only vegetable I know that is cooked adobo style is the leafy green kangkong or water spinach but apparently among Filipinos, sitaw or yardlong beans is also cooked adobo style but flavored with pork belly.

I recently cooked adobo pork belly and there was one strip and lots of garlicky sauce left. I boiled the cut yardlong beans in salted water and finished cooking them with the sliced pork belly adobo and its sauce. The dish is so very yummy. I would like to think the unhealthy fatty pork is canceled out by the vegetable but I have my doubts.:p

Sitaw in Adobo Sauce
a 4-ounce piece of skin-on pork belly
½ cup coconut or cider vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon sea salt
6 cloves skin-on garlic
1/8 teaspoon whole black pepper
1 small bay leaf
1 cup water
2 cups yardlong beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
water
1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Put all the ingredients except the last 3 in a small saucepan. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until pork is tender. Add water if sauce is drying out. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Remove the pork, transfer onto a cutting board and let cool. When cool enough to handle, cut into thin slices. Transfer the sauce along with the pork in a bigger saucepan or wok. Turn heat to medium-low.
  • In another saucepan, place the cut beans, add enough water to cover and the salt. Boil until crisp tender. The beans should have bright green color. Drain and transfer into the saucepan. Turn up the heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 2 minutes, stirring to coat the beans with the sauce. Serve hot with steamed rice.

June 27, 2010

Daring Bakers Chocolate Pavlova

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Pavlova
pavlova with light chocolate meringue topped with dark chocolate mousse, kiwifruit, and candied mandarin oranges

The June 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Dawn from Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.

I've seen recipes and photos of pavlovas but have never eaten nor tried to make them. I love meringues whether they are crispy, soft, or mixed with ground nuts and it was good to find out that the Daring Bakers are challenged to make pavlovas.

I changed the original recipe using just a quarter of the cocoa powder, omitted the confectioner's sugar, and baked it for a little over 1 hour which is half the recommended baking hours. The meringues came out crispy but still a little soft inside. I liked it. The recipe also calls for a mascarpone sauce that has 6 eggs yolks but I thought it was too rich. I'm sorry Dawn for not making the sauce this time. I will make it for another dessert because it sounds absolutely divine.

I made another one with slightly more chocolaty meringue but made a lighter mousse. I topped the cake with sliced mango and blueberries. This one has a more pillowy interior. I liked it too.

Chocolate Pavlova

This one is my favorite, a plain vanilla meringue shell topped with sweet strawberry halves and slightly sour sliced kiwifruit. I followed Audax's recipe which is very similar to the one in my British desserts cookbook. The shell has a crispy almost crackly exterior with soft marshmallow innards, is light as feather and has melt-in-your-mouth quality. Super-duper delicious!

Pavlova

Thanks Dawn for a thoroughly enjoyable challenge.:)

June 26, 2010

Whole Durum Pita

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Pita
different sizes pita and green chickpea hummus

I've never made pita before. I usually buy the 3-inch whole wheat from Wegmans grocery store. They are very soft and are the perfect size for small sandwiches or for dipping in lemony hummus swimming in fruity extra virgin olive oil.

A few months ago I read about Jose Andres's teeny crispy air breads filled with some kind of creamy cheese and wrapped with thin slices of roast beef, his version of Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich. I don't know if the sandwiches are made with pita dough but the concept certainly inspired me to make pita. I used whole durum flour and made them into various sizes ranging from 3 to 5 inches, and a few ovals that are really tiny. It was fun to watch them balloon in the hot oven within a minute or two. It is even more fun to eat the soft bread with green chickpea hummus. Green chickpeas have a sort of grassy earthy flavor and whole durum pita's perfect partner!

Fresh Chickpeas in Pod

Whole Wheat or Whole Durum Pita
2 cups whole wheat or whole durum flour
½ teaspoon instant yeast
½ teaspoon honey
¾ cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • In a small bowl, dissolve honey in water. In a medium bowl, mix ¾ cup of the flour and yeast then stir in the water and honey mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand overnight or at least 4 hours until mixture is bubbly.
  • Sprinkle salt on top and mix in the rest of the flour. The dough should be stiff and slightly dry. Add more flour or water as needed. Knead by hand until smooth and elastic. Divide into 8 equal pieces or desired sizes and roll each into a ball. Cover with a moist towel or lightly oiled plastic film and let the balls rest for 1 hour on the kitchen counter.
  • Put a rack on the lowest position of the oven and place a pizza stone or an inverted sheet pan on the rack. Preheat the oven to 500°F.
  • Cut a few rectangular pieces of parchment and lay one piece on top of a peel.
  • Cut the sides and top of a gallon freezer bag. Open the bag and place a dough ball on the right side of the bag. Cover with the other side and flatten the dough balls into 6½-inch or ¼ inch thick rounds. [Tip: I use a small heavy skillet to flatten the dough to keep its rounded shape.] Place 4 pieces of flattened dough on the parchment and slide onto the hot sheet pan. Bake for 2 to 4 minutes or until completely puffed up. Remove with a spatula, transfer into a plate, and cover with a moist towel while baking the remaining dough. Enjoy while still warm.


June 24, 2010

Food Friday: Pizza

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Pizza Napoletana
barbecue sauce, roasted garlic, flaked Thai chicken, chives, cilantro, and mozzarella


food friday chiclet


Pizza is one food that nobody doesn't like. It's probably the perfect food with the right toppings, of course. Having made pizzas from half a dozen dough recipes, including Neo-Neapolitan from Peter Reinhart's new book ARTISAN BREADS EVERY DAY, I am sticking with the one I think is the best for my preference in pizza dough, Peter Reinhart's Pizza Napoletana from the The Bread Baker's Apprentice. For this pizza dough recipe, there's a choice of high gluten flour, unbleached bread flour, and all-purpose. The high gluten and bread flours need a quarter cup of olive oil to tenderize the dough. I have always used unbleached all-purpose flour for this recipe and have gotten excellent results each and every time.

This is an unusual dough because it uses ice cold water and made to rest in the refrigerator overnight (or for up to 4 days). The dough is a bit slack but easy enough to handle. The finished pizza has all the qualities I love: thin crisp but tender chewy sweetish creamy crust with puffy crispy chewy edges. This pizza dough does not need a lot of toppings and I usually add homemade tomato paste, 2 kinds of cheeses, and small pieces of vegetables such as roasted peppers or baby artichokes. Peter divides the dough into small 6 ounce balls for easier handling. I make mine 8 ounces each and stretch them into 12-inch rounds.

For pizza and other rustic breads I use 6-inch unglazed quarry tiles that I purchased from Home Depot for 33 cents each. The tiles get really hot and seem to do a great job of searing the bottom better than a pizza stone. They are also conveniently mobile and can easily be moved from oven to the outdoor grill.

Peter's notes:
The dough does not need "lip", but one inevitably occurs because the edge is usually thicker than the center and it doesn't have any sauce to hold it down. Do not try to build up the edges by crimping because you want it to bubble up on its own and create a light, airy crumb.

Neapolitan-style Pizza
adapted from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart
4½ cups [20.25 ounces] unbleached all purpose flour, chilled
1¾ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1¾ cups [14 ounces] ice cold water (40°F)
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 zipper freezer bags
  • Sift together the flour, salt, and instant yeast in a 4-quart bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment. Stir in the water until all the flour is absorbed, and mix for about 5 minutes. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for up to 7 minutes. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet and doesn't come off the sides, sprinkle in some more flour just until it clears the sides. If it clears the bottom, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water. The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and registers 50° to 55°F.
  • Sprinkle flour on a work surface. Using a metal scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and form into balls. Place the oil in a bowl and roll each ball in the oil and place in separate bags. Place the bags in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or place some in the freezer for up to 3 months (transfer the frozen doughs in the refrigerator one day before you plan to bake them).
  • On the day you plan to make the pizza, remove the desired amount of dough balls from the refrigerator.
  • Dust the work surface and your hands with flour. Gently press the dough into flat disks about ½ inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rest for 2 hours.
  • At least 45 minutes before baking, place a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles on the lowest rack of the oven and preheat the oven to the highest heat setting.
  • Place a large sheet of parchment on your peel or generously dust with semolina flour. Make the pizza one at a time. Dip your hands including the back and knuckles in flour and gently lift one piece of dough with the help of a pastry scraper. Very gently lay the dough across your fists and carefully stretch it by bouncing the dough in a circular motion, giving it a stretch with each bounce. If it begins to stick, lay it down on the floured surface and reflour your hands, then continue shaping. If you are brave enough, toss the dough up in the air.
  • When the dough is stretched out to your satisfaction, lay it on the paper-lined or semolina dusted peel. Lightly top it with your toppings and slide the pizza, including parchment, on the stone and close the door. The pizza should take about 5 to 8 minutes to bake. Remove from oven and transfer to a cutting board. Wait 3 minutes before slicing and serving to allow the cheese to set slightly.
These are from last year's BBA Challenge:

 Neapolitan-style Pizza
tomato sauce, capers, mozzarella, feta, and kesong puti (Filipino fresh white cheese)

Blueberry Pizza
dessert pizza topped with fresh blueberries and coarse raw sugar

June 19, 2010

Kaya

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Kaya

The first time I made kaya, the rich delicious Malaysian coconut egg jam, it was a semi FAIL but I loved it regardless. It is almost impossible for me to get the same color and texture by cooking it the traditional way unless I was willing to stir the whole day and night. So I altered the method to make it easier for me and for anyone who would like to try making the jam at home. I caramelized the sugar before adding the coconut milk and the tempered egg yolks. It still took about half an hour of stirring on low-medium heat to thicken the jam but it was worth it. I'm very happy the jam has a smooth texture, nice caramel color, and is of course very yummy specially on whole wheat toast.

Kaya on Whole Wheat Toast

Oggi's Coconut Egg Jam
2 fresh pandan leaves
¼ cup water
¾ cup sugar
1 can coconut milk
6 egg yolks
  • Cut the pandan leaves into 1-inch pieces and blend with the water on high in a blender. Strain using a coffee filter. Set aside.
  • In a large non-stick wok or saucepan caramelize the sugar over medium heat until golden to darkish brown. Carefully add the coconut milk and pandan water [it will bubble] and stir with a wooden spoon until the caramelized sugar has melted completely. Lower the heat to medium-low.
  • In a stand mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks until very thick. With the machine running, slowly pour 1 cup of the hot coconut milk mixture and beat on medium-high for 2 minutes.
Kaya
  • Stir in the tempered egg yolks to the coconut mixture. Cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until jam has thickened, about 30 minutes. Test the desired thickness by taking a half teaspoon and leaving in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  • Spoon jam into small jars, let cool, and store in the refrigerator.
Kaya

June 17, 2010

Let's Make Macarons

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A Trio of Macarons
rosewater puffs filled with lychee buttercream, coffee puffs filled with chestnuts buttercream, and matcha puffs filled with sweet azuki beans


As promised (comments section) here is the macaron tutorial of sorts from the book imacarons by Hisako Ogita. Making macarons is a seriously involved process but if you are willing to take the time, it's very rewarding to eat tiny puffy buttons.

Basic Vanilla Macaron Batter
adapted from i ♥ macarons
2/3 cup almond flour
1½ cups powdered sugar
3 large egg whites, room temperature
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit your baking sheet. Draw 1-inch circles ½ inch apart [use a water bottle cap as a guide]. Cut 2 more sheets of parchment paper but leave unmarked.
  • In a food processor, grind almond flour and powdered sugar together to a fine powder. Sift the mixture throuh a medium-mesh sieve twice. Set aside.
Macarons

  • In a standing mixer bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until frothy. Add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Add vanilla and stir lightly. Beat meringue until stiff, firm, and glossy.
  • Add half of the sifted flour. Stir with a spatula while scooping it up from the bottom of the bowl. Add the rest of the flour and mix it lightly in a circular motion.
  • Macaronnage: Press and spread out the batter against the bowl's sides. Scoop the batter and turn it upside down (folding method). Repeat 15 times.
  • Macaronner: When the batter becomes nicely firm and drips slowly as you scoop it with a spatula, the mixture is done.
Macarons

  • Fill a disposable pastry bag with the batter and snip a .4-inch opening. Clip the top of the bag to prevent the batter from coming out.
  • Place the parchment with circles on the baking sheet. Place an unmarked parchment on top of the parchment. Pipe the batter using the circles as your guide. When full, carefully remove the parchment underneath. Rap the baking sheet firmly against the counter. This helps the macarons hold their rounded shape and helps the pied (little feet) to form. Repeat with the next baking sheet, parchment, and piping. You can fold and reuse the marked sheet which will save you time drawing circles. Leave the batter to dry on the kitchen counter for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Touch the batter lightly and if they do not stick to your fingers, they are ready. Bake 1 baking sheet at a time for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. When completely cool, remove from the baking sheets. Fill with vanilla buttercream.
Macarons

Vanilla Buttercream
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
vanilla extract
  • In a small bowl, stir the butter with a spatula until creamy like mayonnaise.
  • In a small pan, boil the water and sugar to soft ball stage.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer beat the egg lightly. Increase the speed to high and slowly pour the hot syrup. Reduce the speed to medium then to low and continue beating until the bowl has cooled down to the touch. Beat in the creamed butter in three additions. Add a drop or two of vanilla extract. Continue to beat until the mixture is thick and heavy. Pipe onto the macaron halves using a disposable pastry bag.
Coffee Macarons with Chestnut Cream Filling
coffee puffs filled with chestnuts buttercream

Matcha Macaron with Sweet Azuki Filling
Matcha Macaron
matcha puffs filled with sweet azuki beans

food friday chiclet

June 15, 2010

Milo Shake

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Iced Milo


Milo toast has been my regular breakfast food since I wrote about it and I have yet to get tired of it. I soon will, don't worry, because I found another way to enjoy Milo and condensed milk: good old malted milk shake. It is the best drink to cool off this summer and I love to eat the crunchy Milo on top in between brain freeze sips of the shake.

The recipe is just a guide. You can add more or use less but why would you do that? Milo powder to suit your taste or use reduced fat milk, it's up to you. But most important, add a layer of Milo on top. It's delicious and satisfying. I promise you'll be purring like a cat. =^..^=

Milo Shake
6 tablespoons Milo malted powder
3 tablespoons cold sweetened condensed milk
2½ cups cold whole milk
3 tablespoons cold heavy cream
1½ cups ice cubes
Milo malted powder for topping
  • In a blender, blend on high all the ingredients, except the Milo for topping, until thick and frothy. Pour into 2 tall glasses. Top each glass with 2 tablespoons of Milo. Sit back and enjoy your shake.

June 14, 2010

Daring Cooks: Pâté and Bread

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Pate and Rustic Bread

Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.

I chose the Chicken Liver Terrine and used all the ingredients in the recipe. It is super delicious and the perfect topping for Peter Reinhart's Pain à l'Ancienne mini baguettes. It's a surprise that I really love it because I hardly cook any kind of liver except for one Filipino dish. I couldn't stop eating it as soon as it has cooled overnight in the refrigerator.

Pate and Rustic Bread

Chicken Liver Terrine
1 tablespoon duck fat, or butter
2 onions, coarsely chopped
11 ounces chicken livers, trimmed
3 tablespoons brandy
3½ ounces smoked bacon, diced
11 ounces boneless pork belly, coarsely ground
7 ounces boneless pork shoulder, coarsely ground
2 shallots, chopped
1 teaspoon quatre-épices (1 teaspoon ground white pepper and ¼ teaspoon each cloves, nutmeg and ginger)
2 eggs
7 ounces heavy cream
2 fresh thyme sprigs, chopped
sea salt and pepper
bacon rashers, optional
  • Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  • Melt the fat or butter in a skillet over low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the chicken livers and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until browned but still slightly pink on the inside.
  • Put the minced pork belly and shoulder in a food processor, then add the onion-liver mixture and the chopped shallots and pulse until you obtain a homogeneous mixture – make sure not to reduce it to a slurry. Transfer to a bowl, and fold in the chopped bacon, quatre-épices, brandy, cream, eggs, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, and mix well. Wrap half a tablespoon of the mixture in a plastic film and poach in water for a few minutes. Let cool, taste, and adjust seasoning.
  • Line a 10 x 5-inch loaf pan with thin bacon rashers. Spoon the mixture into the pan, covering top with the bacon overhang. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Prepare a water bath: place the loaf pan in a larger, deep dish. Bring some water to a simmer and carefully pour it in the larger dish. The water should reach approximately halfway up the loaf pan. Put the water bath and the loaf pan in the oven, and bake for 2 hours. Uncover and bake for another 30 minutes. The terrine should be cooked through, and you should be able to slice into it with a knife and leave a mark, but it shouldn’t be too dry.
  • Refrigerate, as this pâté needs to be served cold. Unmold onto a serving platter, cut into slices, and serve with bread.
The second one I made is seafood. This is not one of the recipes given because I didn't have salmon. I had a half pound of scallops and found a seafood terrine recipe from Michael Ruhlman's CHARCUTERIE. The terrine has scallops, blue crab meat, saffron-infused cream, and chopped chives. The pinch of saffron lends its unique flavor and pale yellow color to this delicious terrine. I made sauce gribiche as Ruhlman suggests in the book and baked Spiraled Wheat Loaf from King Arthur Flour website. Great stuff.

Crab, Scallop, and Saffron Terrine

Maryland Crab, Scallop, and Saffron Terrine
adapted from CHARCUTERIE by Michael Ruhlman
8 leeks, green tops only
¾ cup heavy cream
a large pinch of saffron
1 pound sea scallo[s
2 large egg whites
¾ tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 pound Maryland lump crab meat
¾ cup chopped chives
  • Freeze all the the blades and bowls before starting.
  • Wash the leek greens thoroughly. Cook them for 8 minutes in a large pot of heavily salted water. Drain and chill in ice water, then drain and pat dry. Lay out on plastic wrap.
  • In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil over high heat; remove from heat. Add saffron and let sit for 15 minutes to infuse the cream, then chill, uncovered, in the refrigerator.
  • Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  • Combine scallops with the egg whites in a food processor and puree until smooth. While the machine is running, add the saffron cream in a slow, steady stream. Season with the salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Transfer into a bowl and fold in the crab meat and chives. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  • Moisten a 1½ quart loaf pan with water and line with plastic wrap, leaving enough overhang on the long sides. Line the mold crosswise with the leeks leaving enough overhang to cover top. Pack the scallop mixture into the pan. Fold the leek greens over the top, followed by the plastic wrap. Cover with aluminum foil. Place the terrine in a high-sided roasting pan and add enough hot water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the loaf pan. Bake until an instant-read thermometer reads 140°F. Remove from the oven, remove the terrine from the water bath and let cool. Refrigerate overnight.
Sauce Gribiche
recipe by David Lebovitz
1 large egg
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 cornichon
8 to 10 small capers; drained, rinsed, and squeezed dry
¼ cup (gently-packed) mixed chopped herbs; flat-leaf parsley, chervil, and/or tarragon
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • Cook the egg in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, drain away the water, and cool the egg by adding ice and cold water to the pot. Once cool, peel the egg then extract the yolk.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, mash the yolk until smooth with the mustard. Dribble in the olive oil, beating with a fork or wooden spoon while doing so, then adding the vinegar.
  • Chop the egg white and cornichon separately into fine cubes, the size of the capers, and add them to the sauce. Then add the capers themselves. Stir in the herbs and add salt and pepper. Taste, and season with additional salt, pepper, and vinegar, if necessary. Serve at room temperature.
And I couldn't resist having sweet fruity terrines. I made a mini Caramel Pear Terrine with Kumquat Star Anise Rum, the recipe adapted from here and Sidra Berries Terrine. Both are delicious.

Pear Caramel Terrine
Sidra and Berries Terrine

Sidra Berries Terrine
1 cup apple juice
2 packets unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon sugar, more or less to taste
2½ cups sidra (Spanish sparkling apple cider)
fresh berries
  • In a small bowl, soften the gelatin in ¼ cup juice.
  • Heat the remaining juice to boiling. Remove from heat and stir in the gelatin mixture and sugar. Transfer into a bowl and add the sidra. Stir gently and mix well.
  • Arrange a layer of berries on the bottom of an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan. Cover the fruits with the gelatin liquid, let set in the freezer for 5 minutes. Continue layering fruits and liquid, letting set in the freezer until the loaf pan is filled to the top. Cover with plastic film and let set completely in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Unmold onto a serving plate and cut into thick slices. Enjoy.

Thank you Evelyne and Valerie for choosing pâté and freshly baked bread. I enjoyed doing the challenge.:-)

June 12, 2010

Mellow Bakers Beer Bread with Roasted Barley

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Beer Bread with Roasted Barley

I meant to go mellow this month intending to bake just one bread but I got suckered into baking Beer Bread with Roasted Barley. It's an interesting recipe because it requires roasting malted barley. Malted barley means soaking and sprouting the husked [or unhusked] barley, drying the sprouted grains then grinding to a fine powder. The result is a sweet tasting barley.

I found a small packet of malt flour among the array of flours I have in my pantry (21 different flours so far), but reading the MellowBakers forum I got curioser and curioser and bought a 2-pound bag of peeled barley, cost is $1.99. I sprouted, roasted, and ground a quarter of a cup and used 2 tablespoons for half recipe. BTW, I ate a few roasted grains and indeed they were sweetish.

For the beer, I used Guinness Extra Stout which is dark, malty, and has a caramel flavor. I don't drink beer and I can't stand its smell. I felt a bit ill inhaling it while handling the dough. The dough was easy to knead but after the fold it became a little bit more slack. I was puzzled and wondered if that was even possible, maybe I was just intoxicated with the beer fumes.

Beer Bread with Roasted Barley

I was not expecting to like the bread but surprisingly I did not just like it, I loved it! It is delicious, sweet-tasting, full flavored, and has a caramelly aroma that is almost chocolatey. There's a slight bitterness [IMHO] from the beer which I don't mind, sometimes I like bitter. The flavor of this bread is the perfect vessel for the chicken liver pate I made. I'm glad I decided not to skip baking this bread. It has the potential to become a favorite.

Chicken Faux Gras on Beer Bread


The recipe is here or better yet, get the book, BREAD.

MellowBakers
Join us!

June 11, 2010

Chicken Faux Gras

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Chicken Faux Gras
Michel Richard's Chicken Faux Gras: absolutely the creamiest thing on earth

Liver has never been a favorite in my house. When I was a teenager my mom used to force pork liver steaks and onions on me and my sisters once every two weeks and the ritual probably made me averse to any kind of liver. As an adult I seldom ate it, maybe once in a blue moon I add liverwurst sparingly when a recipe calls for liver. My taste buds have changed recently because the past year I have started to appreciate it more and more but in small doses adding it to meat paté and a few Filipino pork dishes.

Since I started baking a lot of bread I have been looking for more ways to eat them other than sandwiches. Reading Michel Richard's Chicken Faux Gras from his cookbook HAPPY IN THE KITCHEN, the pate sounds like a very good spread for the breads. The recipe is so rich and Michel describes it in the cookbook as "absolutely the creamiest thing on earth" and he is of course "absolutely" accurate. It is rich and creamy and melts in your mouth delicious. It's perfect not just as appetizer but also for lunch, dinner, and this morning for breakfast too.

Chicken Faux Gras

Chicken Faux Gras
adapted from HAPPY IN THE KITCHEN by Michel Richard
mousse

1 cup softened unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1
garlic clove, minced
½
cup heavy cream
1
pound chicken livers, trimmed
1
teaspoon fine sea salt
½
teaspoon ground black or white pepper

parsley gelée
1
seedless cucumber
1
teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1
teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1
teaspoon sugar
2
drops Tabasco sauce
2
tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Prepare the Mousse: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 300ºF.
  • Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over moderately low heat, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cream and simmer, covered, until onion is tender, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining butter, then return to heat and stir until butter is melted and mixture is combined.
  • Purée livers with onion mixture, sea salt, and pepper in a blender, scraping down sides as necessary, until smooth. Force mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup.
  • Bring a teakettle full of water to a boil.
  • Evenly space ramekins in a 13- by 9-inch roasting pan. Divide liver mixture among ramekins, then cover each ramekin with foil and place roasting pan in oven. Pour enough boiling water into pan to fill pan halfway. Bake until mousse is just set, about 30 minutes.
  • Remove foil and transfer ramekins to a rack to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour, then chill mousse, covered, at least 3 hours.
  • Prepare gelée once mousse is cold: Chop half of cucumber and reserve remainder for another use. Purée chopped cucumber in a food processor until liquefied. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a liquid measuring cup (you should have 1/2 cup cucumber water; if not, chop and purée more cucumber).
  • Sprinkle gelatin over ¼ cup cucumber water in a small saucepan and let stand 1 minute to soften. Heat gelatin mixture over low heat until gelatin is melted. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining cucumber water, lemon juice, sugar, Tabasco, and parsley.
  • Cool gelée 5 minutes, then spoon about 2 tablespoons over each mousse. Chill until gelée is set, about 1 hour.
  • Bring mousse to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before serving.

June 10, 2010

Food Friday: Tofu-rrific

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Tofu with Mayonnaise

A friend gave me this recipe which she says she got from her sister's friend's friend. Most probably the recipe is already on somebody's website. This vegan dish is similar to sisig without the pork. It has the perfect balance of saltiness and acidity, is rich and creamy [from the mayonnaise] and mildly spicy [from the green finger chilis]. It is very very very good, it's tofu-rrific. I never thought I'd say this about tofu but yes, this tofu dish is awesome!

Tofu with Mayonnaise
2 firm tofu bricks, diced
water
2 tablespoons light olive oil
2 cups chopped sweet onions
5 pieces green finger chili, sliced
½ cup mayonnaise, more or less to taste
3 tablespoons lemon or calamansi juice
½ cup soy sauce
  • Heat 3 cups water in a medium sauce pan and add tofu. Leave for 3 minutes then drain well.
  • Heat the oil in a wok or large non-stick skillet. Carefully add the drained tofu, stir fry for 2 minutes. Add onions and stir cook for 3 minutes. Add finger chili, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Cook for another 3 minutes or until onions are soft. Turn heat off and stir in the soy sauce. Serve immediately.
food friday chiclet

June 8, 2010

Pork Hocks in Coca-Cola Sauce

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Pork Hocks in Coca Cola Sauce

This dish by the late Thai prime minister and chef Samak Sundaravej, has been bookmarked since 2008 but I never tried making it until now. The reason is I didn't know what pong palo was. At the time I couldn't find the word either on the web or in all of my Thai cookbooks and I have forgotten about the dish. I just discovered here that pong palo is Chinese 5-spice powder which I always have in my pantry. This delicious salty sweet pork dish is a relative of our Filipino-Chinese Pata Tim and humba (hong-bah).

Pork Hocks in Coca-Cola Sauce
adapted from Samak Sundaravej's recipe
3 pounds pork hocks
24 ounces Coca-Cola
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon fish sauce
5 cloves garlic, chopped
three cinnamon sticks
coriander root
ground pepper
3 tablespoons pong palo (five-spice) powder
fresh shiitake or wild mushrooms, stems removed and sliced in half
see-uan (a sweet, dark sauce)
chili and vinegar dipping sauce
  • Place the pork hocks in a large pot. Pour over the Coca-Cola and bring to the boil. Add the coriander root, garlic, pepper, salt, fish sauce, pong palo and cinnamon sticks. Add enough water to cover. Add the mushrooms. Bring to a boil and simmer for at least three hours. Make sweet sauce with see-uan (I combined dark soy sauce and dark brown sugar). Serve with chilli and vinegar dipping sauce.

June 4, 2010

Food Friday: Salmon Head

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Steamed Salmon Head

Just a few years ago salmon rarely appeared on our dinner table but nowadays I have been buying salmon steaks frequently. They are often simply seasoned with sea salt, pan fried in a little olive oil, and served with lemon juice and more sea salt. Recently I bought some huge salmon heads from the Asian grocery store. They cost just a fraction of the steaks, of course, they're mostly skin and bones but they also have lots of meat and the yummy fat that I really love. I wish the store sells salmon belly, I'd buy those too for their fat.

Most recipes for salmon head are soup, either Japanese with miso or Filipino style with souring agent. I was not in the mood for any soup as it's too hot for that. I steamed 2 pieces in sour fruit (kamias) and sea salt and broiled the other 2 just with sea salt then served with calamansi. DE.LI.CIOUS!


Salmon Head
their eyes are also very yummy

food friday chiclet

June 1, 2010

Mellow Bakers Vermont Sourdough

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Vermont Sourdough
Vermont Sourdough

It's June and we at MellowBakers have a new set of breads to bake: Beer Bread, Vermont Sourdough (three recipes to choose from), and Pizza. Initially this was the only recipe that I wanted to bake this month but decided I will also bake the Beer Bread in the coming weeks. The pizza, nah.

I made the third version of Vermont sourdough with increased whole grain. I had a problem with my starter Brad. He seems to be sluggish these days since I ditched Angelina 6 months ago for a rye starter, Ryan. Brad started deteriorating although I was still able to make an excellent miche out of him. This time my levain build failed. I refreshed him for 2 days, 4 feedings every 12 hours and he seems to become alive although not as pretty, bubbly, and stretchy as he used to be. I think I have to make a new starter.

Now the bread. This is the first time I baked this recipe. As usual I halved it. I used Ryan for the levain build, whole organic rye flour, and French gray sea salt which might have contributed to its yumminess. Wow! I'm impressed. It is chewy, tasty, sweetish, mildly acidic which is how I like it, and has nice big holes. I love it. I have found my favorite sourdough bread and sourdough is not even a favorite. Well, now it is.

The dough is somewhat slack so I decided to bake it in my cast iron pot which is very small and can only accommodate 1½ pounds of dough. There is an excess of about 7 ounces of dough which I baked directly on a 6-inch quarry tile. The one in the pot baked plump and tall. While it's cooling I sliced the small loaf which is not as tall but has a beautiful crumb with large holes. I polished it off while uploading the photos and writing this post. Have I already mentioned that this bread is delicious and that I love it?

Vermont Sourdough
the small loaf: chewy*nomnomnom*, sweetish*nomnomnom*, and flavorful*nomnomnom*

For those who want to try baking this wonderful bread here is Wild Yeast's recipe based on Jeffrey Hamelman's.

MellowBakers
Join us!

Crimini Sliders

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Crimini Sliders

Yes, it's that time of the month again, i.e. my regular craving for vegetarian fare. I wanted something barbecue-y and brown crimini mushrooms, also called baby portobella, are the perfect substitute for beef because they have a smokey meaty flavor. I cooked them in a skillet with a tablespoon of water, added KFC bottled barbecue sauce, then I filled the cavities of the mushrooms with grated Gouda, topped with sauteed onions and served in 2½-inch mini burger buns. These are very good barbecue mushroom sliders. For regular size buns, you can use the very large portobellas. And for added smokey flavor, cook then on the grill.

Crimini Sliders
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium Vidalia or yellow onions, sliced thin
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
12 brown crimini mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
1 tablespoon water
½ cup barbecue sauce
grated Gouda
12 mini hamburger buns, grilled or toasted
  • In a skillet, heat the olive oil and saute onions and salt until onions are translucent. Add the herbs and stir fry for 2 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
  • In the same skillet, simmer, covered, the mushrooms with 1 tablespoon water until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the barbecue sauce and stir until the mushrooms are fully coated with the sauce. Turn the mushrooms and fill the cavities with enough Gouda, flip the mushrooms and cook until the cheese has melted. Put one mushroom on the bottom half of each mini bun, and top with onions and cover with the top half of the bun. Enjoy!
Crimini Sliders


The white bread recipe is here. To make mini burger buns, scale 1 - 1½ ounces of dough. Brush the risen buns with egg wash and top with sesame or poppy seeds just before baking.

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