31 July 2010

Organic black rice from the Borneo highland

I bought this bag of black rice from the WWF-Borneo Highland Community craft stall at the World Rainforest Music Festival in Kuching, Sarawak. This rice is produced by the highland community of South Krayan in Kalimantan. This is a fair trade product with proceeds going back to support community based conversation projects in the area. I was glad at the time to buy this to show support for the project, but I was even more glad I did after I cooked it. The rice, which is organic by the way, is so tasty --it is nutty and chewy and has a great aroma. And I love the color. Here is how it looks like after it has been cooked (used my trusty rice cooker).

I had some for dinner with a side of stir fried greens (called chye sim here in Singapore; I stir fried it with garlic and egg and sprinkled on top with sesame seeds). It was delicious!

29 July 2010

Poppy seed lemon cake

The name of this cake should have been a sign of too much poppy seed!  Certainly when I added 1/2 cup of it to the batter, I knew.  If you like poppy seed, fine, but I recommend less, maybe 1/4 cup.  The recipe -- from a Smitten Kitchen adaptation of a recipe from Kurt Gutenbrunner -- also called for 1/2 cup cornstarch (I used tapioca), but again, too much.  I recommend, less, maybe 1/4 cup.  Also, don't bake for 50 minutes; you'll have a dry cake.  I would bake this cake again with modifications.  I served the cake to two men and both really like it!  The cake keeps well in the fridge and is complimented by (black) tea, milk, or vanilla ice cream.

Proud of my yolk-sugar base (8 minutes of mixing!)
Lovely lemon zest
2 sticks of butter for the cake (very Ina Garten)

21 July 2010

The best chocolate chip cookies recipe

Chocolate Chip Cookies
From The New York Times, David Leite, and Jacques Torres

2 cups minus 2 Tbsp. (8 ½ oz.) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 ½ oz.) bread flour
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. coarse salt, such as kosher
2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups; 10 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups (10 oz.) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (8 oz.) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, preferably about 60% cacao content
Sea salt, such as Maldon

Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk well; then set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until very light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low; then add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. (Unless you have a plastic guard that sits around the rim of the bowl, this will make a big mess at first, with flour flying everywhere. I found that carefully holding a dish towel around the top of the bowl helped a lot.) Add the chocolate chips, and mix briefly to incorporate. Press plastic wrap against the dough, and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. The dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the bowl of dough from the refrigerator, and allow it to soften slightly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.

Using a standard-size ice cream scoop – mine holds about 3 fluid ounces, or about 1/3 cup – scoop six mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, making sure to space them evenly. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and bake until golden brown but still soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto the rack to cool a bit more.

Repeat with remaining dough.

Yield: About 24 (5-inch) cookies.

19 July 2010

Salad for the heat wave

When it's between 90 and 100 degrees F with comparable humidity, you don't want to use the stove or the oven! Here's a quick, cool, tasty option. A basil, tomato, mozzarella, and olive salad, also known as Salate Bene Bella at Silver Spurs Diner.  Dressed with extra virgin olive oil and Flor de Sal d'Es Trenc Olivas Negras (black olive salt from Mallorca, Spain).

04 July 2010

Lemon lavender tart with Earl Grey ice cream

Lemon lavender tart with Earl Grey ice cream eaten at Salt in NYC.