Sep 27, 2014

Salted Peanut Caramel Sauce

Salted Peanut Caramel

This peanut caramel sauce will not last very long in your house. It's absolutely wonderful on ice cream, apple slices, cookies, and tarts. I'm sure you can think of lots of other reasons to make this caramel sauce. I used some as a filling for peanut butter thumbprint cookies.

It lasts for several weeks in the refrigerator..... if you can resist it for that long.

Salted Peanut Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

1 C heavy whipping cream
1/4 C water
1 C granulated sugar
1 T light corn syrup
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 C (4 ounces) finely chopped roasted salted peanuts

Instructions

  1. Heat the whipping cream in a glass measuring cup in the microwave, until just hot. Set it next to the stove top. 
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to a medium sauce pan (at least 2 1/2 quarts), and bring to a boil over medium, stirring occasionally with a heat proof spatula, until the sugar dissolves. 
  3. Turn the burner to high and boil the sugar mixture until it turns a golden brown. While it is boiling, swirl the pan occasionally. The minute the mixture reaches the right color, turn off the heat. 
  4. Slowly pour the cream into the sugar mixture, whisking constantly. The mixture will bubble up quite a bit. Continue to whisk until the cream is thoroughly incorporated. 
  5. Pour the mixture into a heat proof bowl to cool. 
  6. Add the peanuts when the caramel is just warm.
  7. Place into a jar and refrigerate. 
Enjoy!

I found this recipe in the book The Art & Soul of Bakingby Cindy Mushet and Sur la Table. I've had this book for about five years, and have been so happy with the lessons and recipes included in the book. 

Sep 24, 2014

Nyonya-Style Singapore Noodles | Wok Wednesdays

Nyonya-Style Singapore Noodles | Wok Wednesdays

Last week, the Wok Wednesdays group made these Nyonya-Style Singapore Noodles. These noodles are so different in flavor than the more traditional Singapore noodles. While the recipe includes curry powder, the curry flavor takes a (way) back seat to the mixture of chicken broth, dark soy, ketchup, sugar, and chili bean sauce. Instead of ginger, the aromatics included lots of garlic, scallions, and shallots. There's also an added crunch from bean sprouts. So good.

There's bay shrimp, fried tofu, more scallions, and cilantro sprigs in there too. Check out my friend Cathy's mis en place for this recipe.

And the eggs. Before you stir-fry the dish, you cook two beaten eggs into a super thin pancake in your wok. This takes about a minute or two. Can I just tell you how excited I was to see the egg pancake easily slide right out of my seasoned wok? Once you finish stir-frying the noodles, you garnish them with the shredded eggs and cilantro sprigs.

Nyonya-Style Singapore Noodles | Wok Wednesdays

The recipe can be found in Grace Young's Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge. According to the book, the Nyonya are women who are descendants of Chinese settlers who married Malay women after immigrating to Malaysia in the nineteenth century. According to the book, the food is "highly seasoned." The flavors in these noodles were simply amazing.

Grace Young received this recipe from Mei Ibach, a Chinese Malaysian who teaches Asian cooking in the Culinary Arts Program at Santa Rosa College in California.

Would you like to join Wok Wednesdays? You don't have to have a blog. Most of us don't. Just get the book, and wok along.

Those of us who do blog, have been asked not to post the recipes on our blogs.

Sep 22, 2014

Seventeenth Century French Bread

Robert May's 17th Century French Bread

This French bread recipe is from a 1660 recipe by Robert May, from his book, The Accomplisht Cook, The Art and Mastery of Cooking. 

Ilva, of the blog, Lucullian Delights, chose this bread for this month's Bread Baking Babes (and Buddies). Visit her blog for more information about the origin of this bread, as well information about Elizabeth David, the writer who discovered this recipe.

This bread is really easy to make, so Ilva decided to challenge anyone who baked along to get creative and decorate the bread. Decorating baked goods is not my strong suit. In case you haven't noticed, there are only three cakes on this blog, and none of them are decorated.

I decided to try snipping a "crown" on the top of the bread with scissors, but this bread does not behave like typical crunchy French bread, so I ended up with little "smiles" around the top of my loaf. I topped the middle with a seed mixture. If you want to see an excellent example of masterful bread decoration, visit Ilva's blog. I am not worthy.

So how is the bread? It's really good! It's perfect for sandwiches... and it's easy! Even though the dough is sticky, it is really easy to shape, and it doesn't need a basket to help it hold its shape during the second rise.

I used half all purpose flour and half white whole wheat flour. White whole wheat flour is a whole grain, but with a milder flavor. It's not really white, as you can see, and it has all of the benefits of whole wheat.


Robert May's 17th Century French Bread


Robert May's French Bread Recipe

250 g unbleached all purpose flour
250 g white whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
6 g instant yeast
10 g salt
2 egg whites, whisked until just frothy
255 g water
85 g milk
Egg yolk and a tsp. of water, whisked
Mixture of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried onion, dried garlic, and sea salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Whisk the flours, yeast, and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer. 
  2. Add the egg whites, water, and milk, and stir with a large spoon until the flour is moistened. 
  3. Mix with the dough hook for about 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Form the dough into a ball, and place it in a greased bowl or dough rising bucket, cover, and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a boule, place it on a piece of parchment paper on a peel or baking sheet, cover with oiled plastic wrap, and let it rest until puffy and nearly doubled. 
  6. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. I baked mine on a baking stone, but you can bake it on a baking sheet if you don't have a baking stone or quarry tiles. 
  7. With a pair of scissors, snip a crown onto the top of the loaf (or not), brush lightly with the egg yolk mixture, and top with the seed mixture. 
  8. Place the loaf on the baking stone (parchment and all) and shut the oven door. Alternatively, place the baking sheet with the loaf on the lower middle rack. 
  9. Bake for about 30 minutes, tenting with foil about halfway through to prevent over browning and burning the seeds. The interior of the bread should be about 200 degrees. 
  10. Cool on a wire rack.

Sep 21, 2014

Mozarella and Potato Cakes

Mozarella and Potato Cakes

These little balls of goodness are made from mashed potatoes and cheese, along with a flavorful mixture of herbs and spices. They make excellent appetizers.

Mozarella and Potato Cakes

I found this recipe on the blog Enriching Your Kid, my assigned blog for this month's Secret Recipe Club. Secret Recipe Club is a group of bloggers who, each month, are assigned (secretly of course) a blog from which to choose and make a recipe. Currently, the group is about 150 bloggers strong.

My assigned blogger is Shirley, a child psychologist who is now a homemaker. She has lots of recipes for healthy foods for children, including baby food. Her focus is making food that is both healthy and appetizing to kids.

On Shirley's blog, these are called Mozarella Cheese Cutlets. While Shirley has success in frying these, I decided to bake them after the breadcrumbs from the first three cutlets peeled off and fried separately in the oil. Frying failure is something I'm pretty familiar with. Don't ask me about the time I tried to make spring rolls and all of the contents burst out and fried separately in the pan.

I kind of fiddled with the potato to cheese ratio with these as well. I used russet potatoes, which are pretty large, so I upped the cheese. Cheeeeese.

The cakes can be prepared in advance up to the point of baking them, and then refrigerated. Perfect for a party. Delicious and easy!!

Mozarella and Potato Cakes

Mozarella and Potato Cakes

Makes about 48 potato cakes

Ingredients

3 russet potatoes
1/2 C grated mozarella cheese
2 T Parmesan cheese
generous 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
salt to taste
Breadcrumbs to coat the potato balls
Vegetable oil and spray oil

Instructions

  1. Wash and quarter the potatoes. Boil them until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and remove the peel as soon as they are cool enough to handle.
  2. Mash the potatoes and stir in the cheeses, spices, and herbs. 
  3. With a tablespoon scoop, portion the potatoes into balls. Coat the balls in the breadcrumbs. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  5. Pour about 3 T of oil onto the bottom of a sheet pan. Place the potato cake balls on the pan, and spray them with spray oil.
  6. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Don't worry about the exact timing, it will depend on how quickly they brown. If you have a convection oven, this will help brown the potato cakes. 
  7. Serve hot. 


Sep 16, 2014

Classic French Bread | Tuesdays with Dorie

Classic French Bread: Karen's Kitchen Stories

Baguettes.... I am a fairly confident home bread baker, except when it comes to baking those round baguettes with the beautifully angled slashes. My baguettes have gone flat when I slash them or they curl up in the oven, either from my lack of skills in transferring the loaves to the oven, or just because they decide to. On their own.

Classic French Bread: Karen's Kitchen Stories

When the Tuesdays with Dorie group chose this bread to make today, I was definitely up for another chance at working on my baguette/batard skills.

This recipe is from the book, Baking with Julia: Savor the Joys of Baking with America's Best Bakers.

Did you know that there are (or were) laws in France that you cannot open up a freshly baked loaf of bread for at least 20 minutes after it is removed from the oven? Did you know that a baguette in France can only have four ingredients? Flour, water, yeast, and salt.

(Full disclosure: Technically, these loaves are batards, not baguettes.)

Classic French Bread: Karen's Kitchen Stories

Equipment I used:

Stand mixer (kneading by hand requires 850 turns!)
Kitchen scale
Dough scraper
Pizza peel
Baking stone
Linen cloth (couche) for cradling the rising loaves
Flipping boards (I used two flipping boards to move the loaves from the couche to the peel. I used the cloth to roll the loaf onto one board, seam side down. Then I rolled it onto the other board, seam side up. Next I rolled it onto the peel, seam side down. I know, I know. But it works for me. You can just flip the loaves directly onto the peel, but for me, that results in serpentine loaves.)

I'm pretty happy with these baguettes with the exception of the slashes. For one thing, they are round!!! The slashes need a lot of work, but fortunately, this bread tastes so amazing that I will definitely be attempting this again. I was able to make them in an afternoon, and the crust crackles away when you remove them from the oven.

If you are so inclined, here is the world tour of my other baguette attempts (that I was willing to publish):



Classic French Bread

Although I have tried to describe the process for shaping and baking these loaves, I urge you to watch the video of Julia with Danielle Forestier baking this bread. It's also such a joy to watch Julia Child kneading the dough. Also, the visual of Danielle Forestier waving around a totally bent baguette cracked me up. 

Ingredients

1 pound, 6.5 ounces bread flour
2 cups cool water (about 78 degrees F)
2 tsp instant yeast
2 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Add the flour and water to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low with the dough hook for 3 to 4 minutes, until you have a shaggy mass of dough. Cover the bowl with plastic and let it rest for about 20 minutes
  2. Add the yeast and mix for about a minute. 
  3. Add the salt and mix on low for another minute or two.
  4. Increase the speed to medium, and mix for about 5 minutes. You should have a smooth dough that clears the sides of the bowl. The dough will be slightly sticky. 
  5. Turn the dough out onto a slightly floured surface, and hand knead for another couple of minutes. 
  6. Form the dough into a tight ball and cover with oiled plastic wrap to rest for 15 minutes. 
  7. Form the dough into another ball by doing a long "stretch and fold" of the dough from all four "sides" of the dough. 
  8. Place the dough ball, seam side down, into a greased bowl or dough rising bucket. Cover and let it nearly double in size. This could take from 60 to 120 minutes, depending on the temperature in the room. 
  9. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and slap it down with the palms of your hands. 
  10. Using a scale to weigh the dough, cut the dough into three equal pieces, about 13 ounces each. Form each piece into a ball, and cover with the oiled plastic wrap to rest for 5 minutes. 
  11. Heavily flour a couche or a cotton towel (the batards will rise between folds) and set it aside. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with a baking stone in the middle of the oven and a broiler pan on the lowest rung. 
  12. To form the batards, turn a dough ball over so that the seam side is up. Press it down. Fold it into thirds, and press it down. Repeat two more times. 
  13. Mark the center of the dough with the side of your hand, and fold the dough from each "side" into the center and seal with the side of your hand. Then roll the dough back and forth on the counter until it is about 14 inches long. Taper the ends. 
  14. Place each batard, seam side up, onto the floured towel or linen couche, and pleat the fabric between the loaves. Fold the end of the fabric over the loaves and let rise until puffy, about 45 minutes to 2 hours. They are ready when the dough barely springs back when poked with a finger. 
  15. Line a peel with heavy duty parchment paper. When the loaves are ready, move them to the parchment, seam side down, and score them with three angled vertical slashes. 
  16. Drag the parchment, loaves and all, onto the baking stone. Pour the water into the broiler pan, and close the oven door. Lower the temperature to 425 degrees F. 
  17. Bake for 20 minutes. If the loaves are not brown enough, bake for another 5 minutes. I turned on the convection feature for the last 5 minutes. The internal temperature of the loaves should be around 200 degrees F. 
  18. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. 
This bread has been Yeastspotted.

Chocolate Cappuccino Toffee Chip Cookies

Chocolate Cappuccino Toffee Chip Cookies from Karen's Kitchen Stories

These chocolate cappuccino toffee chip cookies are a result of one of those "I want to bake some cookies but I don't feel like going to the store" moments. These are "raid your cupboard and bake" cookies.

Chocolate Cappuccino Toffee Chip Cookies from Karen's Kitchen Stories

After digging through my bin of chips [yes, I have a big bin in which I hide all of my bags (and half bags) of chocolate and other flavored chips!],

For these cookies, I decided to try bittersweet chocolate chunks, cappuccino chips, and toffee bits. If you can't find cappuccino chips (I got mine from King Arthur Flour), white chocolate or butterscotch chips would be a good substitute.

Chocolate Cappuccino Toffee Chip Cookies from Karen's Kitchen Stories

These cookies are perfectly chewy and have a great crackly crust. They are definitely the perfect comfort food when you crave something sweet.

Chocolate Cappuccino Toffee Chip Cookies

Makes about 48 cookies

Ingredients

6 ounces unsalted butter, slightly softened
5 1/4 ounces granulated sugar
6 ounces light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
11 1/4 ounces unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp espresso powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate chunks
7 ounces cappuccino chips
3 ounces toffee bits

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter and sugars with the paddle attachment on medium for about two minutes. 
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat each time until mixed in. 
  4. Add the vanilla and beat until blended. 
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, espresso, and cinnamon. Add it to the butter and sugar mixture and mix with a spatula first, and then the paddle attachment, until just blended in. 
  6. Add the chips, and mix until just incorporated. 
  7. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, and scoop the dough with a tablespoon scooper or a regular tablespoon, place the dough in mounds, two inches apart onto the baking sheets. 
  8. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for about 12 minutes. 
  9. Cool on a wire rack. 



The theme this month is Comfort Food Cookies! What cookie says comfort food to you?

If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links. You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes--be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:





  • Butterscotch Cookies from A Baker's House
  • Chocolate Cappuccino Toffee Chip Cookies from Karen's Kitchen Stories
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies Made with an Assortment of Chocolate from The Spiced Life
  • Quadruple Chocolate Shortbread Cookies from Magnolia Days
  • Dark Chocolate Chunk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies from Food Lust People Love
  • Roth (The Sacred Cookies from Kashmir) from Spiceroots
  • Crispy Potato Chip Cookies from Rhubarb and Honey
  • Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies from Made with Love
  • Triple Chocolate Cookies from It’s Yummi
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Noshing with the Nolands
  • Thekua (Sweet Wheat Cookies from Bihar) from Indian Curries/Stew
  • Momma's Bran Chocolate Chip Cookies from Sweet Cinnamon Honey
  • Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from What Smells So Good?
  • Sep 9, 2014

    Overnight Country Sourdough Bread



    This overnight country sourdough bread is thusly named because the first rise takes 12 to 15 hours. The resulting bread is has a wonderful sourdough tang because of the long rise time.

    Sep 5, 2014

    Slow Cooker Asian Beef Short Ribs

    Slow Cooker Asian Beef Short Ribs

    These slow cooker Asian beef short ribs were "melt-in-you-mouth" tender and flavorful. The beef ribs are braised in hoisin sauce, chicken broth, chili garlic sauce, and scallions. To finish these short ribs, just skim the fat from the resulting sauce, and pour the sauce over the ribs, serve with rice, and garnish with green onions. To separate the fat from the sauce, I really love this gadget.

    This is the perfect easy slow cooker company dinner. If you have a rice cooker, it's even easier. The ribs are amazing fresh from the slow cooker, and just as good the next day. According to Mr. Kitchen, this dish is delicious. I would agree.

    Slow Cooker Asian Beef Short Ribs

    Ingredients

    1/4 C chicken broth
    3/4 C hoisin sauce
    3 scallions, thinly sliced and the white parts separated and minced
    2 T chili garlic sauce
    1 T instant tapioca
    5 pounds bone in short ribs, trimmed of fat and with the silver skin removed. 
    Salt and pepper

    Instructions

    1. Combine the broth, hoisin sauce, the white parts of the scallions, garlic sauce, and tapioca. Add the mixture to a 6 to 7 quart slow cooker. 
    2. Salt and pepper the trimmed short ribs and add them to the slow cooker so that the bones are vertical and the ribs are evenly nestled into the sauce. 
    3. Cook on low 9 to 10 hours, or on high 6 to 7 hours. 
    4. Remove the ribs from the slow cooker and place them on a serving platter. Tent with foil for at least 5 minutes. 
    5. Skim the fat from the remaining sauce. 
    6. Serve the ribs and sauce over rice and garnish with the green parts of the scallions. 

    Slightly adapted from The Make Ahead Cook.

    Sep 2, 2014

    Chinese Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken | Wok Wednesdays


    This Chinese Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken is so delicious. This is the second time I have used lemongrass in a recipe, and I am smitten.


    This recipe is from Grace Young's amazing book Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories.This book is full of beautiful stories about the Chinese diaspora and how the flavors of the stir fry have traveled across the globe and fuzed with other cultures.

    Clockwise from bottom left, minced lemongrass, minced chiles, sliced onions, peanut oil, chicken broth, fish sauce, garlic, and brown sugar, along with bite sized pieces of chicken thigh coated in corn starch, salt, and pepper. 
    This is an all protein dish comprised of an amazing combination of flavors. We served it with rice and a carrot and daikon pickle. The chicken stir-fry ingredients are listed in the photo caption above.


    The only change I made was to use "super chiles" instead of the jalapeños called for in the recipe. I'm not sure why they are called super chiles, but we grew them, and we are going to use them. She declares.

    They are pretty hot, and when I added them to the wok, I kind of gasped at the intense heat as the aromatics were cooking. Once they are cooked, they add a low heat and spiciness to this stir-fry that is just right.

    The only new ingredient I needed to buy was fish sauce. I had always heard such negative things about the smell of fish sauce, and I'll admit, to this Western nose, the initial odor is unusual. Once cooked, oh man!!! So good!

    Back in the 1980's, I worked with many refugee groups to find employment for the new arrivals from Vietnam. One of the issues we had to deal with was bridging the gap between various groups and prejudices about their food, especially in the lunch room. This recipe brought back memories of those days. Oh how far we have come.

    If you'd like to join the amazing Wok Wednesdays stir-frying group, check out the Wok Wednesdays page for the schedule of recipes. You can also join our Facebook page. I'm not providing the recipe because I really want you to buy the book. Seriously! It's that good.


    Pear and Cherry Sourdough Bread

    Pear and Cherry Sourdough Bread

    This pear and cherry sourdough bread is loaded with chunks of fresh Asian pear and dried cherries. In fact, shaping this pear and cherry sourdough bread was kind of like playing whack-a-mole in order to keep all of the bits of fruit inside the loaf. Even so, once the loaf was allowed to rise and bake, it developed little open craters of fruit on top. They looked like little mini pear tarts on top of the bread.