October 22, 2013

White Beans and Virginia Ham Soup

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White Beans and Virginia Ham Soup

It's early Autumn and we're having really cold mornings. Yesterday it was 36°F, I could see my breath while cleaning the yard for the winter. Tomorrow and the next 2 mornings it will be even colder to almost freezing. Darn this global warming thing! /sarc

October 17, 2013

Pumpkin Brioche

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Pumpkin Brioche

I'm still in my pumpkin love period and added puree into a brioche dough. To half of the dough I added pumpkin seeds and shaped into a medium size "brioche a tete" and a few teeny tiny ones. I divided the other half into eight portions and filled them with sweetened and pie spiced pumpkin puree. I love them both. They're fragrant and slightly sweet; very autumn-y.

October 14, 2013

Italian 00 Flour Pizza

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Italian 00 Flour Pizza

When I joined a baking community a few years ago, a lot of bakers recommended Italian 00 flour which has a lower gluten content and is finer in texture than American all-purpose flour. They promised the pizzas and breads made with this flour would be more flavorful and fragrant. This type of flour though was not available at the time but King Arthur started selling a similar flour although some bakers said the pizzas they baked with it didn't have the same aroma and flavor. How can they tell with all the toppings on the pizza? Texture, maybe, and bite too but I'm not sure about the "fragrance" of the dough. I bought a small bag of imported Italian 00 flour from our local grocery store, Giant, so probably they will start appearing in most stores. One thing for sure with this flour, it makes perfect Neapolitan style pizza with its signature crispy tender crust. I have to bake another batch with minimal toppings using this flour and ordinary all-purpose flour for a taste and aroma test.

October 10, 2013

Cherry Tomato Confit

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Cherry Tomato Confit

Had I known earlier that confit of cherry tomatoes is so good, I would have made it and often. The tomato confit is slightly sweet and has intense tomato flavor with a hint of garlic and herbs. I just love it on top of slices of freshly baked crusty bread or pasta.

I found a recipe for Italian clam soup with added tomatoes but instead of making soup I topped a few steamed clams with the cherry tomato confit and had them for lunch with a few slices of bread smeared with the oil and garlic from the confit. What a wonderful delicious lunch I had.

October 6, 2013

Authentic Texas Border Chili Revisited

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Texas Border Chili

It's that time of the year again to enjoy all-meat no-beans chili so I'm re-posting the recipe for my all-time favorite, Authentic Texas Border Chili. The secret to a better tasting chili is roasting the cumin seeds before using. The one thing I really don't like about store-bought chili powder is the [offensive] raw flavor of cumin seeds which ruins almost all the food it's added to. 

Enjoy this flavorful chili with saltines, oyster crackers, table water biscuits, or on top of hot dogs, pasta, pre-cooked pinto beans, and steamed rice. 


October 2, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

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Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Expensive bottled raw sugar syrup being sold in grocery stores had me scratching my head. Why buy them when one can just simply boil water and raw sugar crystals to make syrup. Well, I also could not understand people paying insane amount of money for bottled flavored water and for Starbucks coffee.

 
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