Jun 27, 2013

Black Coffee Ice Cream

Black Coffee Ice Cream

The temperature here tomorrow is supposed to hit about 90 degrees. This makes me think of ice cream... and my dad. I don't think a day went by that my dad did not have a bowl of ice cream (miss him!). I love ice cream too with a capital "L." If I were to assemble a list of my top 5 favorite foods, ice cream would be on it. Please don't ask me to narrow it down to a favorite flavor.

Black Coffee Ice Cream

Then there's coffee. When the weather gets hot, wouldn't it be great to have a bowl of coffee ice cream for breakfast? It probably has less calories that the typical grande thingies that cost more than lunch, so why not?

Okay... I'm not necessarily advocating having ice cream for breakfast (although I did it when I was in college). I will assert that this ice cream is perfect for those who want a strong, freshly ground, freshly steeped coffee flavor in their ice cream. It definitely packs a caffeine punch. So maybe ice cream for breakfast isn't such a bad idea. Right? Right!

I topped mine with a little chocolate syrup. Coffee + chocolate = heaven.

Note: any ice cream maker is good to use. I used this one from Cuisinart.I keep the canister in the freezer so I can make ice cream whenever I'm in the mood.

Black Coffee Ice Cream

Adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home.
Makes about 1 quart.

Ingredients

2 1/2 C whole milk
1 T and 2 tsp cornstarch
3 T softened cream cheese
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 C heavy cream
3/4 C sugar
3 T light corn syrup
1/4 C roasted coffee beans, coarsely ground

Instructions

  1. Whisk 2 T of the milk with the cornstarch to dissolve. 
  2. Whisk the cream cheese with the salt in a medium sized bowl. 
  3. Add ice cubes and water to a large bowl and set aside. 
  4. In a 4 quart saucepan, combine the rest of the milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup and bring it to a boil. Let boil for four minutes. 
  5. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the coffee. Let the mixture steep for five minutes.
  6. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth lined strainer. Squeeze out as much coffee flavor as possible into the mixture. 
  7. Add the mixture back into the saucepan and whisk in the milk/cornstarch mixture. Bring it to a boil again and cook for about a minute, stirring with a heat proof rubber spatula for about a minute, until slightly thickened. 
  8. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture while whisking constantly until smooth. 
  9. Add the whole mixture to a freezer bag, seal, and, submerge the bag into the ice water filled bowl. Let it sit for 30 minutes. If necessary, add ice to the water. 
  10. Add the mixture to your ice cream maker and freeze for about 20 to 30 minutes, until thick. 
  11. Move the ice cream to a container and top the mixture with plastic wrap against the surface. Seal the container and place it in your freezer for at least 4 hours.  
Scoop, top with chocolate if you like, and enjoy. Good morning!

Jun 26, 2013

Chinese Indian Vegetarian Fried Rice | Wok Wednesdays

Chinese Indian Vegetarian Fried Rice

This week, the Wok Wednesdays group is making Chinese Indian Vegetarian Fried Rice, a recipe from Grace Young's Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories.

As we cook along with Wok Wednesdays, we are under the watchful eye of Grace Young herself. That is both intimidating (in my head) and wonderful. Mostly wonderful. She is so supportive. At one point, when I was looking for a specific ingredient, she pretty much stuck with me all day guiding me to the correct aisle in the Asian market. I am not exaggerating.

Chinese Indian Vegetarian Fried Rice

This dish is inspired by Grace Young's visit to a Chinese Indian restaurant in New York City. The restaurant, Chinese Mirch, incorporates many of the Chinese ethnic cooking styles along with Indian cooking.
Chinese Indian Vegetarian Fried Rice

The recipe calls for freshly cooked basmati rice, oil, soy sauce, ketchup, chili garlic sauce, pepper, carrots, green beans, and scallions. That's pretty much it. Toss it all together, and you have amazing deliciousness.

Chinese Indian Vegetarian Fried Rice
Ketchup you say? Grace reports that the Chinese invented ketchup. According to the interwebs, this is true! Who knew? Yet the tomato is native to the Western Hemisphere. Just a history lesson for you all here. I give and I give.

Grace recommends a specific Chinese chili garlic sauce. I had a Vietnamese chili garlic sauce on hand and used that. I can report that the rice was amazing. While Grace allowed for some flexibility to control for heat, I used the full amount. Anyone who knows me knows I like heat.

To get the full recipe, buy the book. Part of the rules in participating in the group is not providing the full recipe. Buying the book is worth it. Every single recipe has been flawless.

By the way, Mr. Karen's Kitchen Stories, who does not like spicy food, loved this.

Jun 24, 2013

Nan e Barbari | Persian Flatbread

Nan e Barbari | Persian Flatbread

Nan e Barbari is a Persian flatbread that is, from what I've read on the interwebs, traditionally served at breakfast in Iran with a soft spread such as goat cheese. It is made from a very high hydration dough, but is fairly easy to work with because it is a flatbread... I mean, you don't have to worry about forming it into a loaf and hoping that it will hold its shape.

It's somewhat like focaccia but without the olive oil. Instead, it is brushed with a sauce called "Romal," which consists of a boiled mixture of water, a bit of flour, and baking soda. The yeast in the bread is also boosted by baking powder, so the bread doesn't need a long time to develop wonderful "air."

Nan e Barbari | Persian Flatbread


Oh, and it develops amazingly wonderful flavor for a bread that is made so quickly (a generous sprinkling of black sesame, poppy, flax, and baby sunflower seeds helps).

This month, the Bread Baking Babes are baking Nan e Barbari, and I am participating as a Buddy. The recipe was chosen by Elizabeth at Blog from Our Kitchen. Visit her post to see how she make the bread, and for links to all of the Babes' versions of this bread. Elizabeth actually baked the bread on the grill. How cool is that?

Nan e Barbari | Persian Flatbread

Instead of barbecuing the bread, I used the convection setting on my oven along with a pizza stone that was preheated to 500 degrees F. The bread is wet enough with the Romal, so I skipped using steam. As you can see, the bread got nice and burnished. The aroma as it was baking was amazing. This is one of those breads that you want to stick your face close to just to inhale its fresh baked goodness (bread geeks do this).

We tried the bread warm with some Boursin and loved it. So good. I will definitely make this one again.

Nan e Barbari | Persian Flatbread

Jun 22, 2013

Chicken and Bell Pepper Chow Mein

Chicken and Bell Pepper Chow Mein

This colorful dish is incredibly easy and amazingly delicious. Chicken, noodles, bell peppers, garlic, ginger, scallions, soy, honey, sesame oil, and lime juice..... aaaah, the lime juice.... more on that later...

Chicken and Bell Pepper Chow Mein

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I have been hooked on cooking with a wok. You may also know that my wok is relatively young, i.e., early in the seasoning stages.

First, I should have been tipped off when the recipe in the book used the phrase "deglaze." This usually means that by adding the additional liquid to the pan, all of the bits of cooked on flavor of the pan will be released once the liquid is added (it's a great way to clean a stainless steel pan by the way).

Second, I should have also been alerted by the fact that one of the deglazing liquids is lime juice. Acid! Not good for a newly seasoned wok, right?

Third, I should have noticed that the wok in the book's photograph was stainless steel, not carbon steel.

Jun 19, 2013

Nine Hour Crusty White Bread | The Saturday White Bread

Nine Hour Crusty White Bread | The Saturday White Bread

After taking three days to make the pure levain bread and having so much success with it, I decided to try another recipe from the book. The result? This crusty 1 1/2 pound boule is amazing. The crust is super flakey with multiple layers of crispiness.

Nine Hour Crusty White Bread | The Saturday White Bread

The crumb is super moist and airy, and on the first or second day, is best eaten buttered or plain to really appreciate it. So good.  After that, if you still have some left, it makes fabulous toast or grilled cheese.

Nine Hour Crusty White Bread | The Saturday White Bread

This recipe makes 2 one and a half pound loaves. I haven't tried doing this, but I'm pretty sure you could cut the ingredients in half to make one loaf.


Jun 17, 2013

Iceberg Lettuce Salad with Roquefort Buttermilk Dressing | The Wedge Salad

Iceberg Lettuce Salad with Roquefort Buttermilk Dressing

Iceberg lettuce fell out of favor here in California... until the Wedge Salad made its appearance at expensive a la carte steak houses. Suddenly arugula was taking a back seat to iceberg lettuce... at least in the steak houses.

When it was time to prepare something starting with I or J for the #eatingA2ZChallenge hosted by Brenda of Meal Planning Magic, I had to finally give this one a try.

Iceberg Lettuce Salad with Roquefort Buttermilk Dressing | The Wedge Salad

The contrast of the crunchy iceberg and the tangy roquefort is crazy good. Definitely use very fresh garlic, thyme, and parsley, and make sure your pepper is freshly ground.

This recipe is slightly adapted from New Classic Family Dinners by Mark Peel of Campanile, a beloved but now closed Los Angeles restaurant.  (an amazing book by the way.. I cannot tell you how many recipes I've flagged to try.)

As Mark Peel says in the book, "the blue cheese is the source of 95% of this salad's flavor and at least 90 percent of it's calories." What does the iceberg add? Thirst quenching crunch. How perfect for summer, right? And how perfect with a steak? I mean, if you're gonna be traditional, go with it. I had mine with a grilled lamb chop. I resisted bathing my chop in this dressing... that was really difficult to resist.

Iceberg Lettuce Salad with Roquefort Buttermilk Dressing | The Wedge Salad

Serves 6

Dressing Ingredients

1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 C buttermilk
4 ounces crumbled Roquefort cheese
1 tsp black peppercorns, freshly cracked

Salad Ingredients

1 large head of iceberg lettuce. Try to find one that is dense. 
3 ounces crumbled Roquefort cheese
1 T thyme leave, rubbed together to release the flavors
2 T chopped fresh parsley
Black pepper, freshly ground to taste

Instructions

  1. Mix the dressing ingredients and refrigerate overnight. This will help the dressing thicken and mellow. 
  2. Remove the outer leaves of the lettuce and cut the head into 6 wedges.
  3. Spoon about 3 or 4 tablespoons of dressing on each wedge.
  4. Divide the Roquefort, thyme, and parsley among the 6 wedges. 
  5. Grind on some pepper to taste. 

Jun 14, 2013

The Classic Cocktail | Friday Cocktail

The Classic Cocktail

This cocktail is essentially a Side Car with with an addition of Luxardo. It is comprised of brandy or cognac, triple sec, lemon juice, and maraschino liqueur.

Having purchased the Luxardo to try the Tuxedo Martini and then the Hemingway Daiquiri Martini, I pulled out my 1999 copy of the William Sonoma Bar Guide, checked the index, and found this cocktail. It's actually called "The Classic Cocktail" in the book.

The Classic Cocktail

Both this cocktail and the Side Car have enjoyed a revival recently... probably from Gatsby and Mad Men.

Regardless, I have never had any interest in brandy or Cognac. While I already had the Cointreau and Luxardo, obtaining the Cognac was not that easy. Evidently it is a highly shoplifted product in our area, so every single bottle was under lock and key in our local Bev Mo... even the cheapest brands. I eventually bought one of those individual airline style bottles of Cognac that was not under lock and key. (This explains why Cognac is not featured in the photo.)

This cocktail is fabulous. Makes me want to break out a flapper dress and a cigarette holder. Fortunately I quit smoking about 100 years ago.

I tried to get a little art deco with my sugar rim... that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The Classic Cocktail

Ingredients

3 T brandy or cognac
1 T Cointreau
1 T Luxardo
1 T lemon juice
Sugar and lemon for rim of glass (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place a cocktail glass (martini or coupe) into the freezer to chill.
  2. Place all of the ingredients except the sugar into an ice filled shaker and stir or shake.
  3. Rub the rim of the frozen glass with lemon juice and dip the rim in sugar.
  4. Strain the cocktail ingredients into the glass.

No Knead Whole Wheat Bread

No Knead Whole Wheat Bread

One of the complaints I've had with some no knead bread formulas is that the loaves tend to flatten out because the dough is so highly hydrated. This no knead whole wheat bread holds it shape really well, yet it still produces a nice airy crumb (interior).

This bread is 1/3 whole wheat and 2/3 all purpose flour. And it is beyond easy.

No Knead Whole Wheat Bread
No Knead White Bread and No Knead Whole Wheat Bread
If you are afraid of baking bread, give no knead bread a try. It's pretty fool proof. Oh.. and fabulous too.

Jun 12, 2013

Hong Kong-Style Mango Ginger Chicken | Wok Wednesdays

Hong Kong-Style Mango Ginger Chicken | Wok Wednesdays

I have been participating in Wok Wednesdays for about three months. Wok Wednesdays is a group of bloggers who are stir frying their way through James Beard award winning author Grace Young's book Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories.

Hong Kong-Style Mango Ginger Chicken | Wok Wednesdays

So far, every dish has been completely amazing.

Second to my bread baking obsession, this has been a lot of fun.

First you buy a carbon steel or Chinese cast iron wok and give up the idea that stainless steel or nonstick woks are worthwhile. Then you season your wok to give it "wok hay." Next you start stir frying with your newly seasoned wok, staring at it after every use, taking photos of it to document its maturity..... oh wait, that's just me (Well, not just me. We had a "post a photo of your wok" event on the Wok Wednesdays Facebook page, so I'm not the only one).

What I LOVE about the group is that Grace Young also provides encouragement and support to all of us newbie wokkers.
Hong Kong-Style Mango Ginger Chicken | Wok Wednesdays

This recipe involves "velveting" the chicken to keep it moist. This includes soaking the chicken in egg whites, corn starch, and rice wine, and then simmering it for about a minute prior to stir frying. While I normally avoid boneless skinless chicken breast, when you "velvet" it, the results are amazing.

For more about "velveting" chicken, check out this post.

This stir fry also includes ginger, garlic, soy sauce, chicken broth, red pepper flakes, bell peppers, red onions, and mango, added at the end. It's seriously good.

Want the recipe? Get the book. Join the Wok Wednesdays group. You won't regret it!

Jun 9, 2013

Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken

As I mentioned in this post about Asian take-out style spare ribs, orange chicken is my 9 year old grandson's third favorite food, and so, of course, I had to make it for him. I adore this boy.

One of the manifestations of my adoration is the ratio of apps on my iPad that are for him vs the number of apps for me. I think it's about 70:1. Nothing wrong with that, right?

Orange Chicken

One Christmas, his mom gave him $20 to spend at his school's PTA gift buying event. He spent $19 on a necklace for me...... Sigh..... I still wear that necklace as often as I can, and I get compliments every time!  And every time he sees me wearing it, I can tell it makes him so happy.

When he says he loves orange chicken, I need to make it for him.

Jun 7, 2013

Roasted Honey-Soy Pork Tenderloin

Roasted Honey-Soy Pork Tenderloin

This honey-soy pork tenderloin takes only about 15 minutes of hands on time to prepare and it is really simple and good.

I made this as part of a multi-course Asian dinner for my kids and grandkids. We served this with Chinese take-out style spare ribs, stir fried vegetables, orange chicken, and steamed rice. All at the request of the kids.

Well... maybe the kids didn't request the vegetables....

Jun 5, 2013

Pure Levain Country Bread

Pure levain country bread

While cooking and baking are serious hobbies for me, bread baking has become kind of an obsession. When I bake a bread like this one with success, I get a little over the top giddy. In this case, I kept going back into the kitchen just to admire these loaves. I will not admit to sticking my face into the bread and enjoying its fresh baked aroma with each visit to the kitchen.


Pure levain country bread

The formula for this bread comes from Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza.The actual name Ken Forkish gave this bread is Overnight Country Blonde. For some reason, not sure why, that makes me laugh.

Pure levain country bread

I love this book. It sat in my house for several months until I finally decided I better justify having purchased it by trying one of the formulas (Tartine is still taunting me from my bookshelf... ).

Pure levain country bread

When I finally picked up the book, I jumped ahead to chapter 10 to make one of the pure levain loaves. What I love about this book is that Ken provides a timeline for baking that makes it really easy for the home baker to figure out how he/she will bake one of these loaves. The book is also full of photographs demonstrating the mixing and shaping techniques that he uses. I am still enjoying reading his story about how he quit a job he hated and how he got started in the world of bread.

Pure levain country bread

The levain for this bread is 80 percent hydration with a mix of whole wheat and all purpose unbleached white flour. To create the levain/sourdough starter, I took 100 grams of my 100 per cent hydration white flour starter and fed it three times with 400 grams of white flour, 100 grams of whole wheat flour, and 400 grams of water with the final feeding on the morning of the day before baking day. With each new feeding, I started with 100 grams of starter. The book has instructions for creating your own levain if you don't already have a starter.

Jun 3, 2013

Chocolate Covered Cherry Almond Tarts


These little chocolate covered cherry almond tarts are comprised of a flaky crust and a creamy almond filling topped with fresh cherries that are coated with a chocolate ganache.

Flaky crust... Almond pastry cream... Fresh cherries...  Chocolate ganache.... All baked into two 4 1/2 inch tartelette pans.  The combination of flavors works beautifully and makes a wonderful summer dessert for two... or four if you don't mind sacrificing the style factor and serving them cut in half. You could always add a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Summer!


While the tart is inspired by chocolate covered cherries, in this tart, the cherries are fresh and not coated with a sugary syrup.


For the crust, I used some leftover dough I had in the freezer. The recipe for the dough is the same as the one from this apple tart. Any recipe for your favorite pie crust will do. Just make enough for a crust bottom. I love this one because it is amazingly tender and flaky. It's my favorite crust recipe.


Recommended tools/equipment for these tarts: 
  1. Two 4 1/2 inch to 4 3/4 inch tartelette pans with removable bottoms. If you're good at geometry, you could substitute one or three different sized pans. 
  2. A food processor, ideally a mini food processor.You'll need this to mix up the almond cream filling. 
  3. A cherry pitter. You can make this dessert without one.. and who needs another single use kitchen gadget? In this case, me. I love my little cherry pitter, even if it's single use. It doesn't hurt that one of my grandkids is a cherry lover and helps me pit the cherries with this gadget. I can't seem to find the one that I use available on line, but I'm sure that the multiple ones that are available are all good. Just check the reviews. 

Jun 2, 2013

Mini Pancetta-Cheddar-Chive Scones | Avid Baker's Challenge

Mini Pancetta-Cheddar-Chive Scones

These mini pancetta, cheddar, and chive scones are addicting. I am usually pretty good at controlling myself with baked goods, but not today. When these things were cool enough to eat, I promptly ate four. FOUR!

Here's how I justify it. All I had for breakfast was a hard boiled egg and coffee, saving room for two scones. Then, I had two more scones and a salad for lunch. Yeah, yeah, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

(Now about those chocolate covered cherry almond tarts on the cooling rack....  )

Mini Pancetta-Cheddar-Chive Scones


The original recipe for these scones calls for bacon. I had some pancetta in the freezer, so I went with that, and fried it with a teaspoon of bacon fat to give it a smoky flavor. The things I will do to avoid going to the store.

These scones are made with a cream based biscuity dough and sort of remind me of twice-baked potatoes. I made mine in a mini-scone pan. Of course I had one.

Mini Pancetta-Cheddar-Chive Scones


There's a great step-by-step demo of how to make these scones by +Pj Hamel on the King Arthur Flour blog. I love how she found the chives in the elevator. Serendipity at its finest. It was meant to be.

Jun 1, 2013

Spaccatini | Little Cleft Rolls


According to The Italian Baker by Carol Fields, these Spaccatini rolls originate from Lugano, Italy. These rolls have  a little split down the middle that is formed by pressing down on the dough with the handle of a wooden spoon.


Spaccatini rolls require a little bit of advance planning but it's worth it. The dough begins with a biga, which is a starter dough made the day before. In fact, it can be made up to five days in advance. The use of a starter dough definitely adds more developed flavor to the bread and supposedly makes it stay fresh longer.


These rolls are crispy on the outside, and soft and airy on the inside. They make great dinner rolls and sandwich rolls. We used these for barbecued tri-tip sandwiches....


And barbecued hamburgers...

Doesn't this make you excited about summer barbecues? Are you hungry yet?