28 February 2011

Pumpernickle bread

Hello people, I don't usually declare myself genius to the world but after taking a bite of this bread fresh out of the oven, I clapped my hands and declared myself genius and did a happy dance! ( I wanted to declare a national holiday too, but that would be going a tad bit overboard).

Well, actually, it is the authors of the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes that are geniuses. As I had mentioned in earlier postings, I love, love, love this book. Last week I made their deli rye bread and this weekend I decided to make their Pumpernickle bread with the lovely organic rye flour I had on hand. I modified the recipe by adding whole wheat and increasing the amount of rye (I just cant bring myself to make breads which has more than half white flour ratio--just seems wrong, if you going to be making home made bread may as well use the more interesting textured flours). I also added fennel seeds into the bread mixture (the recipe called for a sprinkle of caraway seeds to scatter on top). Now the most wonderful and exciting thing for me about this recipe was that I got to use coffee and cocoa in the batter. You can tell how excited I was to mix this batter when I readily gave up (sacrifice, really) my morning coffee (that I brewed with a french press) to go into this mix before I had some myself (I had to brew a second batch). I was that eager to get the bread mixed and rising! It was worth it!

I have been enjoying this hearty and fragrant bread with slices of avocado and tomato drizzled with olive oil.

24 February 2011

Rye bread

Baking bread always makes me happy. I found some organic rye flour recently and could not wait to make rye bread. I made two loaves here using a recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I did not have any caraway seeds on hand so used fennel instead. There's a recipe for dark rye bread in the book which uses coffee and cocoa powder, can't wait to try that next and maybe make a swirl (dark and light) rye bread.

10 February 2011

I am in a pickle

I was in a pickling mood last week and prepared two types of pickles: pickled red onion and pickled garlic.  For the first, I sliced a couple of red onions, placed them in my plastic pickle maker (an awesomely practical gift), and added black peppercorns, garlic (a little), and white vinegar to cover.  I refrigerated overnight then stored one-half in a sterilized jar.  The other half is being eaten down!

Three years ago I read Margo True's pickled garlic recipe on the Sunset magazine blog One-block diet.  I had prepared a lemon pickle recipe from the blog, this one Nepalese lemon pickle by Elaine Johnson.  Delicious!  Back to the Sally True's pickled garlic recipe. I peeled two large cloves and covered them with a mixture of cider and white vinegar and added 1/4 teaspoon of black peppercorns, about 1/8 cup of brown sugar, a pinch or so of salt, 1 bay leaf, and 2 cloves.  I boiled the ingredients for three minutes then poured them into a sterilized jar which I covered and heat sealed.  This pickle, too, is delicious!  Tangy, a bit sweet from the sugar, but mostly from the clove, with a hint of Bermudan lime from the bay leaf.

08 February 2011

Balinese Lawar and Sate Lilit

Lawar and Sate Lilit:

A couple of years ago, Lin, Shim and I went for a vacation in Bali. It was a truly truly wonderful experience. One of the highlights was the local cuisine (the other white water rafting, yet another a lush, affordable cottage overlooking the Ayung River in Sayan), and we were lucky to find a halal Balinese canteen somewhere in Denpasar. I remember we ended up eating rice and several traditcional dishes such as Ayam Plecing (shredded chicken mixed with special chili concotion), Lawar (Balinese style salad), and for sure Sate Lilit (meat/chicken/fish mixed with shredded coconut and spices in thick bamboo skewer).

Sometime last year, I had the urge to remake Lawar and Fish Sate Lilit (best with King Mackerel or Spanish Mackerel). I had to scour the internet for Lawar Recipe and found something here and for another version of Sambal Sere Tabia, Base Be Siap and Sambal Matah by Murni's warung, a famous eatery in Ubud, here. Scroll down until you find the recipe among other authentic Balinese recipes.

It is said that Lawar is usually made for Balinese festive days by the patriarch of the family. It requires myriad of ingredients that demand almost a whole day preparation. A blog here by Michael Tenzer shows you how it is "properly" done. The pictures there are luxuriant! I ended up using Murni's recipe and Tenzer's step-by-step direction. There's also a simpler way to do it, as shown here. But then again, I like to torture myself for good food....

Dinner on the floor, with Lawar, Sate Lilit and coconut rice in lotus leaf (for lack of banana leaf):

05 February 2011

Mushroom quiche

I made this mushroom quiche for brunch a couple of weekends ago. I love brunch --it is a great excuse to make (and eat!) breads and pastries. I made two types of breads--multigrain with cranberries--using the 5-minute artisan bread method, and a wholewheat boule using the famous Jim Lahey recipe--both of the no-knead school but with varying proofing time. My guests brought some lovely apple-pumpkin-ginger marmalade from Germany which went really well with the breads. I also had two types of cheese laid out --Parmesan and Scottish Cheddar. Along with the bread, I made this quiche above and got to try out my new removable-bottom pie tin. The crust for the quiche turned out well, the quiche was tasty but could have used more salt and maybe something else punchier in it--maybe some roasted red peppers, or cherry tomatoes, or even some salmon for a meatier version. A fruit salad marinated with mint sugar served alongside some Greek yogurt made for a refreshing rejoinder to the breads and pastries. Of course, plenty of coffee and tea to go around makes for a happy brunch crowd. Looking forward to having friends over for brunch again soon.

04 February 2011

Vietnamese salad a la Gwenyth

Yes, Gwenyth Paltrow has a Vietnamese salad recipe, here. And, I prepared last year.

03 February 2011

Cottage pie for baby

Lin's link to a baby cakes recipe reminded me that I had photographed a recent meal I prepared for my baby, a vegetarian cottage pie adapted from Annabel Karmel's The Healthy Baby Meal Planner.

carrot - potato mash