January 30, 2007

Cream Scones


I baked a batch of cream scones from the cookbook BAKING: FROM MY HOME TO YOURS by Dorie Greenspan, just to find out what is so great about them (none). I never tried making them before because of the fat content and all the recipes I've read indicate they may be bland and I was right. These are just fatty, unhealthy baking powder bread with absolutely no taste at all. You have to eat them with something good like lemon curd or clotted and Devon cream. I ate one wedge with mascarpone cheese and lemon curd, still not as good as, say ensaimada, brioche and kouign amann. Scones are blah. The reason I finally made them is because my brother-in-law and his wife sent us a Christmas package of goodies and one of them is a ready to bake scones with cinnamon chips. The scones did not rise and they tasted of...nothing. I had to slather it with lots of lemon curd but still the bread is incredibly tasteless. I thought maybe the commercially sold ones are not as good as homemade but I was wrong. I think no matter what you add to scones, before and after baking, they will just taste of baked flour and nothing else, even the taste of butter is gone, I can't believe it! I think it has something to do with the batter having so little sugar and no flavoring at all. What a waste of butter and heavy cream...

Don't be fooled by the pictures. Scones are the blandest baked food I have ever eaten. Well, what do you expect from a biscuit that sounds like a wall decor thing where you put candles or something.:D

Now I have to bake me some kouign amann.

January 29, 2007

Potatoes With Spanish Chorizo

Labels: , , ,

One of our favorite Spanish dishes is a simple potatoes with chorizos.

Potatoes with Chorizos
1 pound potatoes, cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
½ pound Spanish chorizo, cut in half
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon spanish paprika
¼ cup each dry white wine and water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
  • Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan, fry the chorizo until brown. Add the garlic and onions and saute for 2 minutes, add potatoes, salt, paprika, bay leaf, and the wine. Let boil then simmer for 5 minutes. Add water and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 5 - 8 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

These chorizos are semi-dry homemade adapted from my cookbook CHARCUTERIE by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. The recipe is a little bit different than these fresh chorizos I posted earlier. I dry them at a very low temperature in my small food dehydrator for 6 hours, not as dry as the recipe says, then store them in the freezer.

Spanish Chorizos
5 pounds boneless pork shoulder butt, diced and chilled well
2 ounces kosher salt
1 tsp Insta Cure #2
2 tablespoons dextrose
¼ cup Bactoferm F-RM-52 (live culture)
¼ cup distilled water
¼ cup smoked Spanish paprika (no substitute)
½ minced garlic
10 ft hog casings, soaked in tepid water for 30 minutes and rinsed
  • Combine the pork with the salt, Insta Cure #2, and dextrose. Grind through the large die into a bowl of a standing mixer set in ice.
  • Dissolve the Bactoferm in the distilled water and add it, along with the remaining ingredients, to the pork. With the paddle attachment, mix on low speed about 1 minute.
  • Stuff the sausage into the hog casings and use string to tie into 6-inch links. Using a sterile needle, prick the casings all over to remove any air pockets and facilitate drying. Hang the sausage (ideally at 60°F) until it feels completely stiff throughout, 18 to 20 days.
Yield: About 3 lbs.

January 28, 2007

Jap Chae (Korean Noodles, Steak and Vegetable Stir-Fry)

Labels: , , ,

I regularly cook Korean style dishes like steak or chicken bulgogi and this noodle dish, Jap Chae. Most Korean recipes have very strong garlicky, sweet and salty flavors that we absolutely love. This noodle dish is specially good, the vermicelli is chewy, very different from the Chinese and Filipino noodles although it resembles our mung bean vermicelli but is a lot thicker. It is made of sweet potato and cornstarch flour and the dry noodles have a greenish tint.

Jap Chae
3 ounces Korean vermicelli ( no substitution)
3 tablespoons light olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
½ pound sirloin steak, sliced into 3 x 1 inch strips
1 carrot, julienned
1 green pepper, sliced thin
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Korean sesame seed oil (no substitution)
¼ cup tree ears, soaked in warm water and rinsed well
  • Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add the vermicelli and cook for 3 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water, set aside. The noodles should be translucent.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan or wok, add the onion and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the beef and cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetables and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the salt, sugar, soy sauce, sesame seed oil and tree ears, toss the mixture then add the vermicelli, mix well. Serve while hot.
I didn't have carrots and tree ears, I used orange bell pepper for color instead. The taste is still the same though, it's the seasoning and the noodles that make this dish wonderful.

January 26, 2007

Extremely Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Labels: , ,

This chocolate cupcake, my version of Black Forest Cake, was supposed to be my entry to Sugar High Friday # 27: Chocolate by Brand hosted by David Lebovitz. I missed the January 22 deadline but I am still posting the finished cupcakes. For the chocolate I chose Hershey cocoa mixed with black cocoa from King Arthur Flour Company. The black cocoa gives the cakes a really dark and deep chocolate flavor. The recipe I used for the batter is the one on the Hershey label because of its simplicity, does not use butter, and the cakes always come out moist. You can use your favorite chocolate cake recipe but substitute no more than ¼ cup black cocoa.

Extremely Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
makes 30 cupcakes

2 cups sugar
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup Hershey's cocoa
¼ cup black cocoa
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
cherry brandy
morello cherries
  • Cupcakes: Heat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup and one 6-cup muffin pans with paper bake cups. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Fill cups 2/3 full. Bake for 22 - 25 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.
  • Kirschwasser syrup: Boil 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water for 2 minutes, let cool a little, add ½ cup kirschwasser/cherry brandy.
  • To serve: Peel off paper liners from cooled cupcakes, dip in syrup. Serve with slightly sweetened whipped cream and morello cherries.
You can also bake this cake using two 9-inch layer cake pans, slice each cake in half, moisten all 4 layers with syrup, layer the second with halved morello cherries, ice each layer, top, and sides with slightly sweetened whipped cream. Decorate all over with chocolate curls or shavings. Please do not use canned cherry pie filling, that would be awful. :=)

Design by New WP Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premiumbloggertemplates.com