Search around, let simmer...

Loading...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chhhallahhh...

I can't roll letters but I can roll dough. Interestingly Challah is braided here so no rolling of loaves required (notice how I so cleverly worked in that comment on my notoriously poor pronunciation of words?).

Look at my poor braiding skills...

I followed the recipe from my Bread Bible cookbook (which continues to grow on me still) and it came out wonderfully. Despite my poor braiding skills, this one (whereas Challah attempt numero uno was a literal rock because my yeast was uncooperative) is light, very egg-y, and terrifically aromatic. I, as always, substituted light whole wheat flour for the all-purpose variety and even threw in a bit of vanilla extract and wheat bran for a change. I wish it were sweeter - I have a fond memory of the perfect Challah from years past at a family friend's Hanukkah party that I'm yet to replicate. Nonetheless, I think this would make a great soup soaking-French Toasting-Jam spreading bread as it is.

Love that Loaf Pan

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cookays....!

Yes, cookies on this fine, cold, soon to be snowy March day. So it hasn't been the best of days, yes, but I did bake some cookies. They're nothing to brag about but they are unusual. I wanted something like, say, key lime pie in a smaller form but haven't had the time to bake a pie or pocket pies. I found a recipe while sifting through my extensive Google Reader account of food blogs for Key Lime Meltaways from Every Last Cookie - a great blog, I really recommend it.
As I didn't actually have limes in the house - I was using bottled Key Lime Juice - I decided to try something I picked up from the Cupcake Project, another blog gracing my Reader account. I infused the butter with green tea; a relatively wasteful but potentially invaluable technique. They more closely resemble shortbread or sugar cookies than anything else, in case you were wondering. So here it is:
I realize now that I really didn't make what was outlined in the original recipe I found, but look at that plate despite...
Key Lime-Green Tea Cookies!

1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour
2 tbsp cornstarch (or arrowroot)
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp lime juice
1 stick butter
2 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp green tea
water

First melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Mix in the green tea upon the butter's melting and stir over low heat for about 5 minutes. Strain the butter from the tea leaves using, say, a cheese cloth, coffee filter, or as I used paper tea bags (the sort for bagging your own). Set aside.
Combine the dry ingredients and, separately, the wet ones. Add wet to dry ingredients (in preferably an electric mixer) until just combined, adding water until the dough resembles a stiff but malleable and not crumbling (as mine initially did).
Spoon onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies.
What also works well is to pour the batter onto parchment paper and carefully rolling into a dense log, chilling for roughly an hour, and slicing so as to produce small, disk-shaped petit-gateaux.

Honestly, I have a terrible cold (Darn you March!) so I can't taste anything, but they seem good to my reduced palate and I've been told they have a nice, mild flavor.
Enjoy them with a cup of hot tea, perhaps?

Oh, and heres a bonus picture from some peanut butter cookie cups I made a few weeks ago, per request of my better half:
More Cookais!...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

3.1415 Apples....

It's too bad it isn't 2015 yet, then people could really go wild...
Monday is 3-14-(11) so in a few short years were staring at 3-14-15...
It's Pi Day! For goodness sake, at least recognize it's a day to eat pie with a good excuse!

Pi(e) Day

Well, my math teacher passingly mentioned that he would give extra credit to a student who brings in a pie on March 14, so I decided I'd let off some steam by doing just that. Pushing the envelope however, this pie is in the shape of Pi. Man I love Greek things... they have great vegetarian food too! (Well, besides all of the lamb...)

So here it is, the special edition Pi-Day Pie (as photographed by my new Lumix ZS7 with a scene mode for food! Hoorah, I love the 21st century).

The filling is mildly sweet with the earthiness of the molasses and tartness from the apples (still retaining some nice texture after cooking for about 40 minutes). The crust is light, sweet, not too buttery, and chewy enough to hold the excessive filling in. Not the flaky, fatty crust from the store! I'm a bit particular about my crusts...
Apple Pie (for a special day)
6 medium apples
water
Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Cardamom
1 tbsp Blackstrap Molasses
2 tbsp Agave Nectar and 1/8 cup sugar
1/8-1/4 cup raisins

So much Pi filling...

Crust (From Whole Foods Recipes)
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour 1/8 teaspoon salt 7 tablespoons very cold butter


Peel and slice apples, combining with spices, several tablespoons of water, sugar, molasses, raisins, and agave nectar over low heat. Cover and occasionally stir, cooking until a consistency of your liking is reached (careful not to overcook the apples into a sauce or remove all of their juice).
For the pastry:Mix flour with salt in a medium bowl or food processor. Add cold butter and cut in using a pastry blender, or pulse in food processor. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, until dough forms into a ball. Gather up and pat into a disc. If possible, cover and refrigerate dough for 30 minutes before rolling out.
It's hard to give good directions for making this Pi Day concoction. Basically, I cut the pie crust after rolling it out on Parchment Paper, into the shape of Pi. Then, loading (perhaps a bit too much) filling on, leaving some crust on the edges, I cut more and patched it together across the pie's top. It's more of a series of pocket pies than a classic pie, but It is still an attractive desert deserving of many a math classroom (and plates for the less mathematically inclined among us - exhibit A right here).

There it is. Even if you prefer a round pie, you can justify it with math...
12^2(pi)...

Baked for about 20 minutes at 350, it seemed to come out of the oven a satisfactory tan.