Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Freestyling on Feeling

I commented to a friend today that I'm slowly regressing into my Chinese culinary roots. To which she retorted, "you're turning into your mother!" Which, in all honesty, wouldn't be such a terrible thing. However that would mean that I had only a arsenal of 6 dishes to make. Awww, sorry Mothership, but we all know it's true. I'm a lot more adventurous in the kitchen, and she's acknowledged that - and I think my attitude around food has rubbed off on her quite a bit. If she likes something I've made, she'll ask me how I did it, what did I change from that last rendition, or if I added something new. I would like to think I've expanded her palate a bit, but one of my favourite "mom" quotes is, "I don't eat the couscous!" (in response to anything cooked, granular, and remotely resembling couscous)

Anyway, getting back to this post. I had a craving for dumplings...homemade dumplings. I have noticed that I don't have any food in my freezer that's quick to prepare and nutritious. Don't get me wrong, I do have a lot of nutritious food in my about four different parts or frozen solid! And a spoon can only eat so much oatmeal and yogurt. So I decided to make some dumplings - which take about 10 minutes to cook and served piping hot. I didn't have a recipe in mind, but there were a few things I wanted to integrate - such as sweet potatoes and yams. I was definitely looking for a vegetarian-themed filling and went with:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What a Difference a Few Ingredients Make

I received a lovely gift today - a partially filled ice cube tray, full of egg yolks! You can always count on your mother for random stuff like that. In her defense, I did ask that she freeze egg yolks for me when she makes eggs (1 whole egg + 1 egg white = 1 egg yolk for the spoon!). This means that I will have to cede my jar full of frozen egg whites that is sitting in my freezer. Yes, that's a jar FULL. And then some. What can I say, I make a lot of ice cream! But then again, I post nearly all of my ice cream creations, so regular readers probably do realize that I get through a lot of ice cream.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Test of Patience

It's really amazing how yeast works. If you have never worked with yeast - it can be quite rewarding, yet frustrating at the same time. It must be coaxed out of its freeze-dried slumber, fed and bathed in a warm milk bath (sugar snack optional) only to be put through the paces in a mixer with the hopes of creating some sweet gas to inflate those bread molecules. Delicious, no? The actual making of bread doesn't take too long, but it's the waiting for those periods of activity that can really drive someone nutty. To make a bread recipe is a real test of one's ability to plan ahead and read a recipe - in my case, I failed.

Bottom line - the recipe turned out beautifully - but it was also finished close to dinnertime! I completely misread the 2nd rise in the recipe. Here's how it went:

Make dough - rise for 1 1/2 hours.
Punch dough down - rise for 1 1/2 hours.
Shape dough - rise for 30-40 min.
Bake for 45 min.

So there you go. Homemade bread, it's delicious - but it take a long time.

For the rises - I left it in the warmest place in my apartment - my bathroom!

Before the third rise - the rolling out & swirling.
Letting the freshly baked loaf Barricelli suggests, "on its side". It took a great deal of self control not to rip it apart and shove it in my mouth right there. The crust was...buttery and flaky - almost croissant-like.
Ah yes, I forgot to mention. Doused in syrup & then rolled in sugar. Oh yeah.

My twist on it this week was a cinnamon-raisin swirl. Overall, it was great, although I think I could have rolled it out thinner and made the swirl a little tighter. The gaps in the bread wasn't as aesthetically pleasing but made for extra-eggy French toast the next day.

Having my coffee while prepping my breakfast. It was a good Sunday morning :)

The recipe was from the Sono Cookbook by John Barricelli - who mentions that he wakes up in the middle of the night to get started....I can see why!!