Hard to believe I have been a Daring Baker for one full year! Time sure flies by when your having a blast.For the first time ever the Daring Bakers turned this months hosting duties to our Alternative Daring Bakers. While I don't have vegetarian , Gluten free , non dairy, allergy, religious requirements or restrictions, I always tune into a few of these alternative bakers and marvel how they adapt the challenges to their needs. That is a science in itself and always yields great results. So my hats are off to this months hosts Natalie and Shel. Our challenge this month was to create Lavash Crackers and vegan toppings from
The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread, Peter Reinhart. I found this challenge stress free and pretty straight forward. It wasn't a complete success as I slightly over cooked parts of my dough. I used unbleached all purpose flour mixed with 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour.I topped my dough like a patchwork quilt with sea salt mixed with cumin, chilies, and mint, smoked paprika,fried garlic, and sesame seeds. The smoked Paprika parts browned quickly. On a Indian kick from a recent trip to London, I made a spicy carrot and tamarind relish.Certain Someone wasn't crazy about the relish, it wasn't his thing but he said it grew on you as you it bite after bite. Be sure to check out our ever growing global group to see their many interpretations.
Glamahs Carrot and Tamarind Relish:
2 tablespoons oil
3 chilies chopped
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
3 cloves garlic chopped
4 large carrots grated
2 tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
Pulp of 2 tamarinds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon curry
1/4 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Heat oil in a fry pan. Add mustard seeds until they start to pop. Add garlic, chilies and cook for a minute. Add tomatoes and carrots and continue to cook. Add brown sugar, remaining spices, red wine vinegar and simmer for approx 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste.
RECIPE - Recipe Reference: The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread, by Peter Reinhart. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA. Copyright 2001. ISBN-10: 1-58008-268-8, ISBN-13: 978-158008-268-6.
Here's a simple formula for making snappy Armenian-style crackers, perfect for breadbaskets, company and kids...It is similar to the many other Middle Eastern and Northern African flatbreads known by different names, such as mankoush or mannaeesh (Lebanese), barbari (Iranian), khoubiz or khobz (Arabian), aiysh (Egyptian), kesret and mella (Tunisian), pide or pita (Turkish), and pideh (Armenian). The main difference between these breads is either how thick or thin the dough is rolled out, or the type of oven in which they are baked (or on which they are baked, as many of these breads are cooked on stones or red-hot pans with a convex surface)...The key to a crisp lavash,...is to roll out the dough paper-thin. The sheet can be cut into crackers in advance or snapped into shards after baking. The shards make a nice presentation when arranged in baskets.Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers*
1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)*
1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast*
1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar*
1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil*
1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature*
Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings
1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.
2. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-if-Bre … ong-Enough for a discription of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.or2. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), and slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).
4. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors. or
4. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half and then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper. Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices and salt - a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.
5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).6. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.
I left off the last the post with my visit to Borough Market. If only I could have stayed longer but I had to meet my aunt and take the train to a old market village called Thame. The couple who were getting married generously put us up in the Spread Eagle Inn. No snickers at the name,it cracked me up too. But this Inn is very historic and has seen many a prominent visitor from Charles II to Evelyn Waugh. The groom to be's handsome son and friend Toby picked us up from the train station. They offered to show us some neighboring sites. Blenheim Palace (birthplace of Winston Churchill), Oxford, and Waddesdon Manor (home of the Rothschild's) were close by. Tempting as all that was , we wanted to freshen up after being up all day and exploring London. The boys warned us that unfortunately the yearly town fair was going on at that very moment on the High Street in front of the hotel. The roads were blocked off, and we entered from the back. The boys were called off to pick up some more people and take care of wedding stuff,so we were left to explore the village and maybe meet up later. I was thinking a quaint crafty fair like Chicago. What greeted us was a full blown carnival with warnings of the teenage hooligans who get rowdy. It was hard to see the shops and beauty of the town with all the carny nonsense. The Inn locked off the front doors to prevent entry from the crowds. It was too late to shop, so we went back to the Inn for dinner. No one was in the restaurant but we had a decent dinner from the new menu. I had a rustic pate with red onion marmalade, crispy prawns with crispy noodles . Auntie Mame had salmon and sorrel. You don't come across sorrel often. We retired early to faint sounds of the fair and never made it for drinks.
1 cup of mushrooms coarsley chopped
Well folks I fly to London tomorrow with my generous Auntie Mame for a wedding. This trip is an early 40th birthday present and will be a chance for us to have some fun like the old days. My aunt and I have had some adventures in Costa Rica, Budapest, Vienna, Miami, New York. But with my lack of funds and Certain Someone on the scene, we haven't had a good 'girl ' trip in a while.Her associates are getting married and we will spend a day in half in London, and then move onto the village of Thame .Unfortunately I wont be meeting any bloggers due to time restraints. Would you believe I have three on my list!Not to worry because I know one at least is coming to Chicago shortly.And yesterday I had the fortunate opportunity to meet Blog Princess who was visiting Chicago.
A month ago , feeling ambitious, I registered to compete in the The French Pastry School Sugar Cookie Competition. The event is today. The French Pastry School is a part of the City Colleges here in Chicago and is excellent. They attract such such world re known chefs like Pierre Herme for hard to get in workshops and master classes. The prices of classes are to rich for my blood, but would be a once in lifetime opportunity. And If I had the luxury to enroll , I would! Anyway the first 30 registrants will compete today at Whole Foods On Canal. The requirements are that we must use, but are not limited to Neilsen Massey Vanilla, Plugra Butter, King Arthur Flour, and Callebaut Chocolate. Each participant will win a Free French Patry Experience and Certificate of Participation. Third Prize is a Kitchen Aid Mixer, Second is a Kitchen Aid and Thermohauser French Pastry School Professional Tool Kit, and First is what I really want, a Kitchen Aid,French Pastry Enthusiast Course, French Pastry School Chef Jacket, and Thermohause French Pastry School Professional Kit.
I practiced early on getting my recipe together. I knew I wanted the element of hazelnut. The first cookies were bulky monsters of a hazelnut dough topped with caramel, then covered in chocolate. They were way to rich and bulky. Not bad, but not what I wanted. I got sidetracked, and got back to work. Last week made a swirl dough inspired by a cookie recipe I saw over at Linda's.I still wanted the hazelnut element. The cookies again were to big, flat, and I had a kitchen disaster when they fell uncooked all over my over. The ones I could bake I swirled chocolate to follow the marble pattern. Again not my best work. But I knew the dough was getting there. So this week I procrastinated. Last night I assembled my 2 doughs. The light dough was harder and dryer, and the dark was mushier. I had been chilling them 2 hours! I had changed the sugar type a bit, so I wondered if this played into it. Anyway it wasn't going to plan. Instead of swirls I got marble. Frustrated but encouraged by Certain Someone, I just went with it. I didn't fight the dough. My mother used to have a saying. 'Let Go And Let God'. I followed her advice. So I woke at 6 am and got to work. I used a 2 inch flower cutter and sliced the dough and started shaping and forming. I got over 70 cookies. The competition requires 50 to judge and 10 for show. No oven misshapes and 2 hours later I am typing this.
Hazelnut Sugar Swirls by "Glamah"
A 3-sugar cookie divided into two dough’s to create a swirl effect. Chocolate is used as decoration to outline the swirl.
½ lb Plugras Butter room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup cane sugar
1 tsp Nielson Massey Vanilla
1/4 tsb cardamom
1 tsp orange zest or orange icing sugar (an orange flavoring gel used in cakes and icings).
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup Hazelnut Flour
2 cups King Arthur Organic All Purpose Flour
¼ tsp sea salt
Brown food coloring optional
1 ¼ cup confectioners sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup Plugras butter room temperature
2 ½ cup King Arthur Organic All Purpose Flour
1 egg white + 1 tbsp water
Preparation of Hazelnut dough:
In a bowl or stand mixer cream your eggs, brown sugar, cane sugar, cardamom. orange zest, Vanilla, and butter until incorporated. Do not over blend as to get to much air into the mixture. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, hazelnut flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet as the mixer turns. Once all ingredients are combined stop mixing. At this point, you may add brown food coloring to deepen the color. Shape into a log (close to diameter of cookie shape) on wax paper, and chill for at least 1 hour.
Preparation of Light Dough:
Mix confectioners sugar, butter, and egg yolk in your mixer bowl until combined. Gradually add in flour and knead until dough is firm and incorporated. Chill for a minimum of 1 hour.
Roll out both dough’s on sheets of wax paper. Brush hazelnut dough with egg white mixture. Top with rolled out Light dough. From the long end, roll both dough’s together to form a long slim log. If the log is to thick use both hands to extend it and shape into desired width. Cut log into three parts. Slice lenght wise and lay over each other in opposite directions to mold into another log. The purpose of this is to mix up the doughs tho create the marbeled effect. Just be sure there is a contrast between both doughs. Shape the dough into a log again, wrap, and chill until firm for an at least one hour or over night... When dough is sliced and shaped, it should have a marbled effect.
Preheat oven to 350. Place slices of cookie dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool on rack.
Melt Callebaut Chocolate in a double boiler. Once cooled down, pour into a piping bag. Cut off a tiny tip pf the bag and swirl the chocolate over the marbled edges of the cookies.
If chocolate decoration does not solidify immediately, place cookie in the refrigerator for a few minutes to harden.
MARX FOODS IS HAVING ANOTHER CONTEST!
MarxFoods.com is calling all Chanterelle Mushroom Recipes!
To Enter: Submit your best original chanterelle recipe to MarxFoods.com
Prize: 2 Pounds of fresh chanterelle mushrooms
Contest Dates: September 2nd - Friday, September 19th
You can check out all the recipes that have been entered at our blog.
Salt Cod Balls
My honey is back. Thank you guys for bearing with me as I got a little melancholy. It was a long time away , but the man has to do what he has to do in regards to his job. Certain Someone flew in last Monday and our first meal was his favorite . Harold's fried Chicken. He was going through withdrawals and I couldn't blame him. Plus I was to tired to cook. Tuesday he took me to the place where we met and fell and love. Le Sardine. This little gem of a restaurant has a prix fixe for $25 every Tuesday for 3 full size courses. I knew he was the man for me when I saw him order and devour a lamb shank 2 1/2 years ago. Last Tuesday I was more adventurous and started with blood sausage and caramelised apples. So good. Open your minds people. I then had Maigret of duck with lentils, and Grand Mariner souffle with Strawberry coulis. Certain Someone had a braised oxtails and gnocchi to start, steak,and the creme brulee. It was nice to unwind finally and relax over dinner.
With my man back I needed to get shopping. CS's starter was so small , I got to thinking of the last time I made oxtails. Its was the first meal I made for him. Slow cooked while I was work. I took Thursday off to prepare for a house guest of ours this weekend and picked up some oxtails. I slow cooked them in my Le Creuset Dutch oven with some bay leaf, canned tomatoes, mushrooms, frozen beet greens, leeks, and leftover frozen cauliflower puree I had. Just throwing in tons of produce.The cauliflower puree soaked up the liquid and made a nice thickened low carb sauce. I served this with saffron rice. Homey and good.It doesnt look like much , but it was delish.
We still have some leftovers.
Fridays fare was more American leading up to the holiday weekend. Hot wings. I used Franks Hot sauce . I was rushed and they didn't come out as crispy as I liked, but nevertheless good.
With our Swedish house guest we went out to dinner most of the time. Fogo De Chao ( I can never eat my share of meat there, its a mans place), deep dish Chicago Pizza at Lou Malnati's, drinks at Sushi Samba.
And today this late lunch/ dinner waiting for him when returned form the golf course. A summer vegetable medley I whipped up with my mandolin of yellow squash, sliced Brussels sprouts, chopped tomatoes, herbs, and a splash of rice vinegar slowly sauteed. The ribs were slow cooked after a dry rub with Penzeys BBQ 3000( a gift from a friend) my own rub of pulverized bay leaf and cumin seeds( I remember Peter writing of ground Bay Leaf and decided to try it myself), pan wrapped and sealed in foil with a little water, and slow cooked for about 3-4 hours. Then I took the foil off when I judged the meat to be tender enough and brushed with the excellent Country Bobs sauce. Meaty and tender.
Writing this I realize we ate very good this week. But its a special week. The return of Certain Someone, a long holiday weekend, and showing our friend some of Chicago. I got my mojo back.