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May 26, 2015

Rustic Flaxseed and Date Ciabatta

Rustic Flaxseed and Date Ciabatta Bread

This Rustic Flaxseed and Date Ciabatta really was a thrill for me because the bread is so full of holes! An airy bread is kind of the Holy Grail (no pun intended) for baking achievement in the world of ciabatta.
May 24, 2015

Whole Wheat Peasant Boule with Flax and Fennel Seeds

Whole Wheat Peasant Boule with Flax and Fennel Seeds

This Whole Wheat Peasant Boule with Flax and Fennel Seeds is super fluffy with a very soft and light interior, along with a super thin crust. It's a really easy dough to work with, and comes together very quickly. The second rise takes only 25 minutes.

What is so unusual about this bread is the inclusion of baking powder along with yeast. While I can't find much information about what it brings to the dough, I did find the dough to be really easy to handle after the first rise, even though the dough was pretty high in hydration (over 70%). Shaping it into a ball took very little effort, and I didn't need to flour the counter or my hands.
May 20, 2015

Chinese Peruvian Stir-Fried Filet Mignon | Lomo Saltado | Wok Wednesdays

Chinese Peruvian Stir-Fried Filet Mignon | Lomo Saltado | Wok Wednesdays

Lomo Saltado is a traditional Chinese Peruvian stir-fry, and another example of how Chinese emigrants adapted the local ingredients of their new land to their cooking style. Did you know that both tomatoes and potatoes are both "new world foods?"

This is an amazing stir-fry of beef, tomatoes, onions, and potatoes, flavored with garlic, soy, red wine vinegar, aji amarillo chile, sugar, cilantro, and salt and pepper.
May 19, 2015

Chocolate Caramel Rocks

Chocolate Caramel Rocks

These Chocolate Caramel Rocks are super chewy and chocolatey with a gooey caramel in the middle. If you need to satisfy a chocolate caramel craving, this is the perfect vehicle. They are a lot of fun to feed to the kiddos, who get a big kick out of grandma feeding them "rocks."
May 14, 2015

Cemita Poblana with Pork Milanesa

Cemita Poblana with Pork Milanesa

This Cemita Poblana is based on a regional Mexican sandwich from the historic city and state of Puebla located southeast of Mexico City. It is distinguished by its sesame seed roll.

I loved this sandwich! It's soooo good! The flavors of the layered fillings give it an amazing depth of flavor. There are no extraneous ingredients, such as lettuce, to fill out the sandwich. It stands on its own.
May 12, 2015

Stuffed Pretzel Bites

Stuffed Pretzel Bites from Karen's Kitchen Stories

These pretzel bites are stuffed with little sausages or mini hot dogs. They are ridiculously good and amazingly easy to make. They only take about an hour and a half from start to finish.

That I could make something with yeast and serve it as an appetizer is something that seemed impossible to me. Yeast? Seriously? Yes!!
May 9, 2015

How To Transfer Bread Dough to a Hot Cast Iron Dutch Oven - Bread 101

Baking bread in a cast iron or clay pot is a great way to recreate the hot, moist environment of a professional oven. The super hot pot traps the steam that is naturally generated from the dough, and also encourages the dough to rise rapidly in the oven. This is called "oven spring." 

How To Transfer Bread Dough to a Hot Cast Iron Dutch Oven - Bread 101

The bread in the photo above was baked in a cast iron pan that was preheated in a 500 degree (F) oven. I've posted lots of bread recipes that use this method so I finally decided to take some photos demonstrating how I do it.
May 8, 2015

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

It's pretty hard to slice this Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread without smearing chocolate all over the slices. I don't think that's a bad thing.

It's kind of difficult looking at these photos knowing that there still are a few pieces of this bread waiting downstairs. I'll be right back.....

The secret ingredient for this bread is browned butter.
May 6, 2015

Peppery Vegetarian Rice | Wok Wednesdays

Peppery Vegetarian Rice from Karen's Kitchen Stories

On the schedule for this week's Wok Wednesday is this Peppery Vegetarian Rice. It's made with brown rice, two eggs, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, scallions, and pine nuts, all easy ingredients to find. The rice is seasoned with ginger, crushed red pepper flakes, soy sauce, vegetable broth, salt, and white pepper.

At first I though the dish would be fairly simple tasting. There's no garlic, bean sauce, rice wine, and all of the other ingredients (that I have amassed since beginning this adventure) that come together magically in the book's recipes. However, with the first taste, I noticed the ginger combined with the peppers and all of the other ingredients melding together to create an amazing burst of flavor.

This rice is so good. Trust me.
May 5, 2015

Mexican Cemita Rolls

Cemita rolls for Cemitas de Puebla, a Mexican sandwich street food

Cemitas are rolls used for the torta (sandwich) with the same name. They originated as a street food in the historical city of Puebla, Mexico. Cemitas de Puebla are usually filled with avocado, salsa roja, papalo (a local herb), onions, panela cheese, and pounded and pan-fried beef or pork. It's a taco on a bun! Check out the anatomy of the sandwich in this article.

While most people here in Southern California are more familiar with tortas made with crusty bolillos, the Mexican version of a French baguette, cemitas trucks are springing up everywhere. You can also find lots of hole-in-the-wall restaurants selling comidas poblanos, including authentic cemitas.

Ka'kat - Middle Eastern Snack Bread

These tiny little Ka'kat rolls are a Middle Eastern street food and are flavored with mahleb, the ground kernels of black cherries.

When I pulled these out of the oven after a long day of baking, I could not stop myself from buttering and eating these. The aroma from the mahleb kept calling me back to the cooling rack "just to make sure" these turned out.