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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Oh Beef...

Check it out!
Another reason to stick to vegetarian Mexican food. Try the fresca bean burritos, they're said to be very good...

San Francisco in My Kitchen...

Well, their famous sourdough at least. Well, it wasn't nearly as good as the real stuff from three-thousand miles away. It was soft, slightly sour, and hearty. Tossing in a bit of leftover bran from my blueberry bran muffins and some flax it had the texture of a good sandwich bread with the soul of a toasting or soup-sopping loaf.

It began when I was asked to make sourdough pancakes; well ,you need a starter to make anything sourdough-like, so first I began with that.

Look at that microbial action!

Now, with about a cup of starter left, I haven't made pancakes, but it lives in the fridge for up to two weeks ideally, so theres still time! But even if I never get to make those perfect silver dollars, my bread was a success and that makes me happy.

Brown, soft, and sour!
Whole-Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread
Beginning with my favorite cookbook - The Bread Bible - I whipped up my starter Thursday, feeding and whisking it up. I used all whole wheat in place of unbleached all purpose with a tablespoon or so of gluten tossed in for good measure.

Rising - warm inside cold outside. Baking at its best

Fast forward to today, after making some breakfast burritos I proceeded to bake my glorious bread.
Subbing White Whole Wheat and a tablespoon of gluten per cup of flour for the all purpose called for and adding a bit of that bran (about 3 tablespoons) and flax meal (1/4 cup or so) to the dough, the loaf came together in no time. It rose substantially in the first rising period and even more after I'd already formed the loaves in the pans. Best of all, they simply fell out of my loaf pans!

Give sourdough a try sometime, you won't be disappointed. Who needs white bread when you can make a fermented masterpiece? It made arguably the best Peanut Butter-banana I've tasted.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Blueberry Bran(ness)...

Buying a small flat of delicious blueberries and the thought to make a batch of bran muffins from my mother led to the baking of a small batch of truly wholesome Blueberry Bran Muffins this afternoon.
I bake when I'm stressed and at the moment I am, so not only did the muffins taste terrific they also brought down my tenseness a notch or ten.

The muffins were a bit dense for my taste, so in the recipe below I scaled up the baking soda content. They tasted great though - moist, slightly sweet, and hearty.
Look at that texture...
Blueberry Bran Muffins (Adapted from Hodgson's Mills)

2 cups Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup Walnuts, chopped
3 cups Unprocessed Wheat Bran
2 cups Buttermilk
2 Eggs
1/4 cup Canola oil +1/4 cup butter, melted
2 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flower + 3 or so tbsp Wheat Gluten
1/2 c Brown Sugar + 2 tbsp Blackstrap Molasses (Mmmm...)
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup of Boiling water, brewed into a spicy (chai) tea
Don't over-mix it!
Combine hot tea, being sure to save extra to sip as you bake, with 1 cup of wheat bran; set aside to soak.
Combine flour, baking soda, salt in a small bowl. Combine Butter, oil, sugar, and molasses. 
Combine all ingredients: moistened bran and flour mixture with sugar-butter mix followed by the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries and walnuts last.
Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, check with a toothpick - when its just barely moist, they're done! 
Beware the over-baked bran muffin - ruined will your meal be!

Bon appetite, Now you may eat...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Black Beans and Quinoa in Cast Iron...

I got a shiny new Dutch Oven for Christmas but had yet to try it out. Then I came across this recipe at Post Punk Kitchen (A Great site!).
I Swear it's better than it looks!
I didn't have raspberries - frozen or fresh - so I used a very ripe mango on the counter for the puree and it came out well. I think using raspberries or blackberries which were evidently in the freezer, hiding... The mango was a bit light in flavor but it still tasted great. Tossing in some leftover chopped cauliflower and about a cup and a half of kale, it had all the usbstance I was looking for on a brutally cold January evening.

It's -2 degrees according to one thermomoter; -8 to this one (as of posting... It's one my roof too)
Too Cold!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Trials in Cake...

My Better Half's birthday is coming up very soon and I have a plan for a multi-tiered chocolate and white cake with Raspberry and other good things. I'm trying to sample cakes - I'll update as I bake but here's cake #Uno:
A thin batter, it was more perfect in lightness than I could have hoped...
Yes, they got stuck in the cupcake tins, but a spring form pan should remedy that.
Look at that chocolatey(ness). They taste great but perhaps a bit too light - I was hoping for a bit more density - more like a flowerless cake perhaps but then again that would imply I want a flour-less chocolate cake, which I don't. I'll keep thinking.
This cake was good though... It wasnt exactly healthy (although, as usual, I subbed light whole-wheat for all purpose.
Here it is - Thanks to the creator: I'll continue sampling but not a bad option!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bread for a snowy day...

It was Martin Luther king Jr. Day and I was going to make bread.
I baked Seven Grain Honey Bread from The Bread Bible (the greatest bread cookbook I've yet read).
Look at that wonderful Loaf!

And that local Honey
Hmmm...
As usual, It's 100% whole-grain with 4 tbsp of Wheat Gluten added in for better structure (maybe more next time...). In short, it's sweet, complex, high protein, high fiber bread that made a wonderful PB&B sandwich (Peanut butter, banannas, and a flew blueberries sprinkled on top: Bliss.

Bon Appetite!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Friendly Breakfast Foods United....


I think I've raved about the restaurant before, but not Kendall's - Kendall Square that is.

The Friendly Toast is the greasy spoon-modern American-fusion restaurant every foody dreams of. The original in Portsmouth New Hampshire but the Kendall Square branch is just as good. I've had the Vegan Valhalla - an Asian burrito of tremendous proportions in every way - and sampled various breakfast dishes - all perfection.
Last night I finally tried the red beans and rice - a mound of brown rice, corn, spice, kidney beans, and a drizzling of mango sour cream. Two slices of Anadama bread garnished the plate. All was good.

So check out the Friendly Toast in Kendall Square sometime, whether or not you plan to get off the Red Line at MIT.