Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Garlic Studded Chana Saag

This is one of my favorite dishes at the Indian buffet. I found some spinach for 50 cents for a 12 ounce bag. Mind you, probably all the nutrition had left the leaves at that point but hey it was fiber anyhow. I bought it- a perfect opportunity to make chana saag.

This dish is a must do in the spring when I see spinach at the market.  Oh boy.  I have to mark it on the calendar.  I have all the recipes in my head waiting for summer.  Summer comes and I think when I see the fruit and vegetables- "what was I going to make with these?"  So I am trying something new, I mark it on the calendar with a reference of where the recipe is.


24 ounces fresh spinach
1 large yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped or more, ahh go on now, get garlic crazy- its good for you
2 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1.5 teaspoons garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons salt
2 (15oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon sunflower or canola oil
1 cup nonfat greek yogurt

Preheat a large pot over medium-high heat. Pour in the oil, add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic cook one minute more. Add the ginger, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, cayenne, red pepper flakes and salt and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook the spinach until it has cooked down.

Let the mixture cool slightly and transfer to a food processor or blender and process until mostly pureed, but not entirely. If you have an immersion blender you can do it right in the pot. Transfer back to the pot, add the yogurt and chickpeas. Stir and heat until well incorporated. Serve over rice.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Celery and Apple Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

I bought celery here for 50 cents and celery at another place for 69 cents.  They were different types.  Before Thanksgiving I had four heads of celery  in my refrigerator.  Crazy as that may sound it realy isnt.  You see first up I use quite a bit in my stuffing,  My children love celery.  And I knew I could use with broths and such with the turkey carcass.  I was right.  It is nearly gone.  I didn't overbuy.

When I was looking for another recipe I ran across this in my binder.  I had cut it out from Bon Appetit.  I was trying to pull together a binder of recipes that were arranged by fruits and vegetables or at least referenced them.  I like that arrangement.  Often I come home from the market with a vegetable and I want ideas.  This is why I end up referencing online because it is so much more efficient. The only problem with that is you end up with a lot of recipes not necessarily good ones.  I wanted a place that had recipes that I really liked.  This one is a keeper for my binder.

Celery and Apple Salad
This recipe is adapted from Epicurious.  I halved it. Next time, the only thing I might add is raisins.

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 stalks celery with leaves
2 large Crispin apples, peeled, quartered, cored; each quarter cut into 2 wedges, then thinly sliced crosswise into triangle shapes
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped

Whisk first 3 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

Trim celery leaves and chop enough to measure 1/2 cup. Thinly slice stalks on deep diagonal. Place celery pieces in bowl of cold water. (Vinaigrette, celery leaves, and celery pieces can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.)

Drain celery; pat dry with paper towels. Combine celery, celery leaves, apples, and walnuts in large bowl. Add vinaigrette and toss to coat. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving.
Today is the day Americans give thanks for their bounty.  Officially anyway.  But really, we should be giving thanks always, all of us, all around the world, for the things we do have.  Not always wanting what we don't have.  

This year I give thanks for so many things; my family and friends, a roof over our heads, our health, food on our table, beauty all around us. Such abundance! I am very grateful. I try to give thanks everyday for what I have.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” — William Arthur Ward

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein

“Take full account of the excellencies which you possess, and in gratitude remember how you would hanker after them, if you had them not.” — Marcus Aurelius

“Whatever our individual troubles and challenges may be, it’s important to pause every now and then to appreciate all that we have, on every level. We need to literally “count our blessings,” give thanks for them, allow ourselves to enjoy them, and relish the experience of prosperity we already have.” — Shakti Gawain

“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them.” — Chinese Proverb

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” — Buddha
“Only a stomach that rarely feels hungry scorns common things.” — Horace

Pumpkin Pie
I found the recipe here on Serious Eats. I doubled it because if I am going to make pie, I need to make at least two. I filled 3- 9 inch round pie pans. One with no crust. I did not make the crust but would like to try it some time. I have highlighted the filling part just in case you buy a crust. That makes it so much easier. If you do have the time, making your own is always so much better.

I did change the part with the yams as I do not buy canned. I added a bit more sugar to compensate. I have to say though that it is not necessary.

1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
2 tablespoons cold vodka (see note)
2 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:
2 cup heavy cream
2 cup whole milk
6 large eggs plus 4 large yolks
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (29-ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 cup cooked yams
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons praline flavored maple syrup or regular
4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated if you have it)
2 teaspoon table salt

For the crust: Process 3/4 cup flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until dough collects in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no flour visible. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse until the mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 400°F. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on floured work surface to 12-inch circle about about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Remove pie pan from refrigerator, line crust with foil, and fill with pie weights or pennies. Bake on rimmed baking sheet 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights, rotate plate, and bake 5 to 10 additional minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp. Remove pie plate and baking sheet from oven.

(I did not prebake my crust.)

For the filling: While pie shell is baking, whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks, and vanilla together in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin puree, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in large heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring to sputtering simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10 to 15 minutes. Break up clumps as it cooks.  An immersion blender would great at the end.

Pour into shell and bake pie for 10 minutes at 300°F and continue baking until edges of pie are set - 20 to 35 minutes. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yo ho ho and a ball of rum... Rum Balls

Get your rum balls going.  Now is the perfect time to mix these up.  My mother always did these around Thanksgiving.  Her opinion was that they would time to mellow and marry before Christmas.  I love them and I just knew I wanted to make them this year.

Usually my Mom would make them with crushed walnuts but I roasted and crushed some almonds.  I already had one... yes, just one.  Don't think they havent been calling me cause they have.  Their drunken words calling me to come and consume them.  I have been good.  I have not heeded their call.  I am looking forward to Christmas - eating one of those mellowed rum balls.

Rum Balls
Adapted from this recipe at the Joy of Baking.   I doubled the recipe.  It's worth it.

1 1/2 cups (140 grams) toasted almonds, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups (120 grams) finely crushed vanilla wafer cookies
1 1/2 cup (165 grams) confectioners sugar(powdered or icing)
2 tablespoons (12 grams) cocoa powder
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup (60 ml) rum

Confectioners (powdered or icing) Sugar
Finely chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or pistachios)
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

To toast nuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Put the almonds on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool completely and then chop the nuts finely with a knife or place the nuts in your food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl.

Process the vanilla wafer cookies in the food processor until finely ground. Add the crumbs to the finely chopped almonds. Add in the confectioners sugar and cocoa powder and stir until combined. Add the corn syrup and rum and mix well. Add more rum if necessary ( are you kidding?  Or you could drink it....).

Then roll the rum balls in confectioners sugar. Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Serve at room temperature.

Makes about 3 dozen (36 rum balls).

Monday, November 22, 2010

Country Crust Bread

Here's a really nice bread that is quick and easy.  It turns out two loaves.  I think I may even use it for stuffing bread if I actually make it today.  It has egg in it which is a bit unusual - not for sweet breads though. This is not a sweet bread but it is tasty.

When I made it I shared with my daughters teacher.  She recently had surgery.  I went over to her house and left it on her front door.  I called her and left a message that it was there.  I kept thinking you know I never called her to say it was there.  She might be away.  The next morning I drove by her house and there it was hanging on the front door where I had left it.  Oh my goodness, I picked it up.  So today I will call her before I run some fresh bread and jam over.

Pam's Country Crust Bread
Adapted from this recipe at My Recipes as seen in Southern Living.
There is a reason the word crust is in the title. This is a crunchy crust.  The bread is very sturdy.  It received rave reviews on this site and I think I have to agree.

2 (1/4-oz.) envelopes active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (105° to 115°)
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon salt
6 to 6 1/2 cups  unleached all purpose flour
3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted (I omitted this the last time but will do this the next time)

1. Combine yeast, warm water, and 2 tsp. sugar in bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in eggs, next 2 ingredients, 3 cups flour, and remaining sugar. Beat dough at medium speed, using paddle attachment, until smooth. Gradually beat in remaining 3 to 3 1/2 cups flour until a soft dough forms.

2. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85º), free from drafts, about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

3. Punch dough down; turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half.

4. Roll each dough half into an 18- x 9-inch rectangle. Starting at 1 short end, tightly roll up each rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, pressing to seal edges as you roll. Pinch ends of dough to seal, and tuck ends under dough. Place each dough roll, seam side down, in a lightly greased 9- x 5-inch loaf pan. Brush tops with oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85º), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

5. Preheat oven to 375º. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to a wire rack, and brush loaves with melted butter. Let cool completely (about 1 hour).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Egyptian Tomato Soup

Egypt is one place I have always wanted to go to.  The pyramids, the markets, the food, the people...  I would love to visit there.  Dreaming....

I use to work at a jewelry store-  My boss was an Egyptian man.  He owned a few jewelry stores.  He was an interesting charactor.  I learned a lot from him.  I am forever thankful to him for introducing me to Middle Eastern food.  Funny, he now owns a restaurant too. 

Egyptian Tomato Soup
adapted from this recipe at Apartment Therapy

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (4 ounce) jar diced pimientos
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice; or 1 pound fresh tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can low sodium chicken broth, or 2 cups homemade chicken stock
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 limes cut into wedges
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic, cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the pimientos and tomatoes, cover and cook gently for 10 minutes. Add the stock, chili powder and paprika and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Using an immersion blender (or transfer to a food processor or blender), puree until almost smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fresh lime squeezed on top.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pretzel Rolls and Clutter

A year or so ago I had a gig as a professional organizer.  I am a very organized person but not specifically trained in professional organizing.  I am trained as a psychotherapist though, which helps immensely in the world of organizing.  By now you probably know that our hoarding and clutter are psychologically linked.  Sometimes it is of course sheer  is laziness but most of the time- especially when it is chronic and  pervasive to your life- it is psychological.  

People often ask me how I keep up with stuff and stay organized.  There are many answers to that question.  The first is that I was raised by parents that were super organized.  That is not to say they did not hoard certain things- they were just pretty organized about it. The second is that I feel out of control when my place is a mess and conversely when I feel out of control my place gets messy.  The third is I am afraid of getting bugs.  I have it set in my mind that I can be bugless if I keep the place cleaned.  The fourth is that I like to get rid of stuff from time to time.  It makes me feel accomplished.

My system is this, when piles form on my desk, I do not move the piles to another place, I get rid of the piles. Same with other areas.  

What does all this have to do with pretzels?  Absolutely nothing.  

Here you go- an amazing recipe to make your taste buds happy.


1 1/2 cups warm water (110°F)
1 package instant yeast 
2 teaspoons sugar
4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup baking soda
large saucepan of water
1 egg, lightly beaten
pretzel salt


In the bowl of a stand mixer mix the sugar, flour, salt, and yeast; mix with the dough hook.  Add the water and melted butter.  Mix for about 4 minutes.  If kneading by hand- about five to ten minutes.  When dough is smooth and elastic, move it to an oiled bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.

Fold over and press down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Cut the dough into 18 pieces, roughly 2 ounces each. To shape, take a piece of dough and start forming a nice round, smooth ball by pulling the sides to the center and pinching to seal. 

Place, pinched side down, on the baking sheet.  Leave about two inches between each roll. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled.

Preheat oven to 425°F and place oven racks on the lowest and middle positions.

In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a low boil. Add the baking soda and lower heat to a simmer. Add a little at a time so it does not bubble up on you.  Carefully put the rolls into the poaching liquid, seam side down. Poach for 30 seconds then carefully turn the roll over in the liquid. Poach other side for 30 seconds then remove with a slotted spoon to the same prepared sheet pans, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining rolls.

With a pastry brush, glaze each roll completely with the lightly beaten egg making sure to coat all sides completely. Top each roll with a sprinkle of pretzel salt. With a sharp straight edged knife, cut a slash or “X” in the top of each roll.

Bake the rolls in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking – top to bottom, front to back – for even browning.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gobi and Naan

You probably thought I totally forgot. Well, I did totally forget. Do you remember the Indian dinner I made and said I would post all the recipes. Now, I am posting the final ones. A little late but posted none the less.

First the naan:

3 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1 t instant yeast
1 1/2 C warm milk - about 100F (you want to be able to hold your finger in it comfortably for 15 seconds)
1 teaspoon sugar
Butter for brushing to taste

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the milk. Let rest approximately 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix the flour with the yeast/milk mixture. Mix in the salt. Knead until soft, smooth and elastic.
Cover with a damp towel and leave in a dark place to rise until doubled, about two hours.

Remove the dough from the bowl, fold dough over itself and press down. Divide into ten even balls.
Roll out into rounds (if you can- mine were a bit odd shaped), dusting lightly with flour as needed. The
thinner you roll it out the better.

Heat up a large skillet or frying pan. On a dry pan lay the naan down.  When it begins to bubble and get dry- flip.  If you brush with butter they will be more tender but it is still delicious without the butter. 
Finally the gobi:
This is a recipe in development.  I kinda went by taste and generalized many recipes I researched.  Your ultimate goal is to have a batter thick enough to coat the cauliflower but so thick that it is pasty. I went a little thin this time but next time I will try it a bit thicker.  Aim for pancake batter thickness.  I had the thickness of heavy cream this time.

1 head or cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup of besan or chick pea flour
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne (less or none if you do not like heat)
1- 1 1/2 cups water 
hot oil for deep frying

Stir together besan, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and cayenne.  Whisk in a 1/2 cup of the water to make a paste, whisking rapidly to dissolve any lumps.  Add in another 1/2 cup of the water, thoroughly mixing to incorporate.  Finally add the water in small increments to get to the right consistency.  Dip the florets in the batter and place in hot oil (350F).  Fry until golden.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Magazines and Apricot Almond Torte

You know my book problem does extend slightly into my magazine addiction.... okay, okay I am a magazine addict.  But because I am pretty frugal about certain things I refuse to buy them off the newsstand.  Too pricey.  I usually buy the book that is put together at the end of the year or I buy them at used book sales/garage sales or sometimes when my Mom says what would you like me to get you for your birthday I might say Martha or Bon Appetite or whatever.  So there you have it.  My confession.

Again- if I use them- it's okay.  And really, truth be told, I am a little better about making recipes from magazines because its handy and fresh.  You know if you noticed in my confessions about books post, I had binder on my book shelves.  Those binders are filled with magazine clippings.  Years and years of magazine clippings.  When I was young and had more time I would paste pictures in them or draw in them.  I would organize them and alphabetize.  Okay so I am a little obsessive.  Everyone has some type of neurosis, right.  RIGHT? (insert smile).

Anyway all that to say that I had found this series of cakes in Taste of Home.  And may I say that I clipped them out and didn't file them, they have been sitting here on top of my desk waiting for an occasion to make one.  They were sent in by readers for a contest.  All of them look amazing and totally drool worthy.  I plan to make them all.  Of course it may take me five years, but I am making them all.

Apricot Almond Torte
adapted from Taste of Home

3 eggs
1 vanilla bean scraped for seeds
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup ground almonds or almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped

1 package cream cheese, room temp
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups heavy cream. whipped
1 - 4 ounce jar apricot preserves
almond for decorating

Prepare two 9 inch round pans with greased parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl beat eggs, sugar and vanilla on high speed until thick and lemony.  This takes about five minutes.  In another bowl, combine flours, baking powder and salt; add this in alternately with the whipped cream.   Ending with the cream.

Divide the batter equally between the two rounds.  Bake for 22 to 28 minutes.  Remove from oven and run a butter knife around the perimeter of the cakes.  Let cool in their pans for about 10 minutes.

For frosting: Whip cream cheese and add in sugar and salt. Whip until combined, add in almond extract.  In another bowl whip the cream and then fold it in to the cream cheese mixture.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Great Bowls of Fire

We had a little chili cook off here in RaChaCha.

I think I went for the bowl.

My husbands bowl.

Some really different chilis.  Some with cumin as the star, some vegetable ones.  Chipotle ones.  So varied.

Some of the volunteers dishing out chili.
Getting to the bottom of the barrel.  This one was my husbands favorite (#7).

We had a really great time taste testing chilis from 12 of Rochester's restaurants.   The event was hosted by Genesee Center for the Arts.  They have many classes there for pottery, printing and other fine arts as well as a community dark room- (which I used back in the day - pre- kids)

It is official now- here are the winners!
Best Veg: Owl House
Best Met: Sticky Lips
Spiciest: India House
Most Unique: Owl House
Overall: Sticky Lips

The Key:

1 = India House, 2 = O'Callaghan's, 3 = Aladdins, 4 = Sol Burrito, 5 = DogTown, 6= Jines, 7 = Nathan's, 8 = Jeremiah's, 9 = Sticky Lips, 10 = Stock Exchange, 11 = Stock Exchange, 12 = Owl House.

What I would really like to do now is go to Texas for some chili cook off.  That would be awesome.  But you know I would have to have the recipes and I don't think they would give them out.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Crappy Pics/Good Food

I have wanted to show you a few recipes but every time I go to post them I say to myself I just cant put this on my blog because the picture is terrible.  Well I decided to post them anyway because they are good.  So here are the ugly's. Do not let their appearance fool you- they were delicious. The first one here is easy-peasy to make and makes a stunning appearance.  That is if you have the time to take a picture before everyone gobbles it up.

Rosemary and Olive Pork Tenderloin
adapted from Flat Belly Diet Book ( I might add, without encouragement that this is a pretty darn good cookbook.  I have had many recipes out of it and they were purely delicious).

12 ounces pork tenderloin
1 tablespoon fresh rosemayr, minced
6 garlic cloves, more if you and your husband fight over them, as we do.
1 cup kalamata olives
2 red onions chopped into bite sized chunks, oh yeah!
1 tablespoon olive oil
s and p

Preheat oven to 375F.  Trim excess fat off tenderloin and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Rub olive oil over tenderloin.  Sprinkle rosemary and salt and pepper over roast, rub into meat.  Place cut up red onion, garlic cloves around tenderloin.  Place in the oven for about 20 minutes.   Take tenderloin out of the oven and place olives on the baking sheet.  Return to oven and cook for about 15 minutes more.  A meat thermometer should read 155F.  After you remove it from the oven, place a sheet of foil over it and let it rest for ten minutes before slicing.

Next up- this Choo Chee Fish and potatoes.  I know some of you are saying yuck, fish cakes, but if you like fish,  and you like Thai, you will love this combination.  We did.  (and might I add for all of you watching for me to keep my promise- this was from a cook book- at least the choo chee part).

Fish Balls
my creation

1 egg
2 pounds of whiting fillets, drained and squeezed of excess water
1/2 to 1 cup plain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped chives or green onions
2 tablespoons instant mashed potatoes
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
salt and pepper

In a processor quick pulse the fish fillets.  Make sure you squeeze as much water out as possible so that you don't have to use many crumbs to hold it together.  In a bowl combine other ingredients and add fish to that. Mix all together and form into balls. Drop into boiling water for about five minutes.  Set balls aside and continue with the remainder of the recipe below.

Choo Chee Potatoes
adapted from Real Vegetarian Thai by Nancie McDermott

1 can (14 ounces or about 1 /34 cups) unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 pound new potatoes
¼ cup vegetable stock
2 tablespoons palm sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soy sauce
¼ cup basil
2 lime leaves

In a saucepan place 1 cup coconut milk and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer 6 to 8 minutes.  When coconut oil begins to pool around the sides then it is ready to add the curry paste.  Cook two minutes more.

Add remainder of ingredients except fish balls. Continue cooking until potatoes are tender.  Add in fish balls and cook to heat through.

This is obviously not a recipe per say but I just had to share it with you. The flavor combination was WoW! My Aunt's fiancé, Uncle C, told me about this amazing sandwich he eats. He takes two slices of bread and puts bologna and apple butter on it. He loves it. Well, we had to try it. We didn't say "Wow" over it but we had some roundish crackers, placed some bologna on them and then a little dollop of apple butter. I must say- WoW! We liked them. A quick and silly appetizer.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pan Dulce, Conchas

So cool.  My daughter made this and I think she did a fabulous job!
Today November 2nd is Day of the Dead in Mexico, Dia de los Muertes.  Since I have been reading, or rather listening to on tape, La Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver,  I felt compelled to make some Mexican bread.  Having already made Pan de Muerto last year, I just had to make something different so I can put it on my blog.  If we eat things more than once around here, its because its pretty darn good or it is a favorite.

When I lived in Arizona, I bought these conchas many times. When I would go to Mexico, I would make it a point to go to the bakery and buy these. After seeing them on Susan's blog Wild Yeast, I just had to make them.  She used some unique flavorings for the topping.  I followed suit with one of mine.  I bought some freeze dried strawberries and ground them in my coffee grinder. The strawberry flavor did come through.  Not real over powering but it did let you know it was there.  My favorites were the chocolate and vanilla ones though.
Here is my recipe and it is kind of born out of a mistake.  I had made the starter for pan de muerto (a different recipe) and then decided on making these conchas. I just used the same starter. Then I followed Susan's recipe.

The texture of these conchas inside were really similar to a croissant- very light and airy.  We really liked them.  Next time I will give them a try doing exactly what she did to see if there is a difference in texture.

Loosely based on Susan's conchas.

4 oz flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 ounce dry yeast
4 ounces water

450 g flour
180 g sugar
3 g (1/2 t. salt)
45 g unsalted butter, softened
220 g egg
57 g warm water
7 g instant yeast
all of the sponge

Topping Ingredients:
114 g all-purpose flour
114 g powdered sugar
91 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
chocolate- add two tablespoons coca powder
vanilla- add a teaspoon vanilla or vanilla bead seeds
strawberry- two tablespoons ground dehydrated strawberries

For the Starter: Dissolve yeast in water add 4 oz flour, 1 tablespoon sugar. Mix until a paste forms. Cover with a damp towel. Set aside in a warm place ideally about 70° — until the dough has doubled in volume, about 4 hours (dough will ferment).

For the Dough:  In a small bowl, combine the sponge ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Cover and ferment until double in bulk, about 1.5 hours.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine all of the final dough ingredients except 60 g of the sugar. Mix on medium-high speed (I used Kitchen Aid mixer speed 5) for 5 minutes.
Add the remaining sugar and continue to mix for another 3 minutes, until the dough more or less holds together around the dough hook. It should be soft and sticky and shiny.
Using a little flour around the sides of the bowl to help loosen the dough, turn the dough into a lightly greased bowl. Cover and proof in a warm place for an hour and a half.

For the ToppingSift flour and powdered sugar together, then cut the butter into the mixture and work it together into a paste with your fingers. Divide the paste and add the colorings.

Turn the main dough into a lightly floured counter. Divide it into 14 pieces. Gather up the dough balls in your palm and roll to bottom , pinching to close it and form it into a circle. Place the balls on two large parchment-lined baking sheets,seam side down.

Divide the topping paste into 16 balls. Press each ball out into a 3-inch disc and place it on top of a ball of dough, using the palm of your hand to flatten it out a little.

Using the tip of a sharp knife, score through the topping paste in a shell pattern or in concentric circles. 

I am submitting these to Yeastspotting.  Thank you Susan for making them look so darn appealing.