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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 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 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?