Sunday, July 31, 2011
Serve these pitas cut in wedges with refreshing cucumber tzatziki or hummus as dips or stuff with falafal or grilled steak or lamb and some fresh tomatoes and lettuce for a satisfying dinner. I know I'll be making my own pita bread from now on when I'm inspired to cook Mediterranean.
PITA BREAD (Arabic Pocket Bread)
Prep. time: about 2 hours (most of which is raising time)
Yield: 6 larger (or 12 smaller) pocket breads
1 cup wrist-temp. water
1 1/2 teaspoons (half of a 1/4-oz. packet) active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
1 teaspoon salt
about 3 1/2 cups of flour (I substituted 1 cup of whole wheat flour)
extra flour for rolling out
1) Place the water in a medium-sized bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes-it will become foamy.
2) Add sugar or honey and salt. Stir until everything dissolves.
3) Add three cups of flour, one cup at a time, mixing enthusiastically with a whisk. As the dough thickens, switch to a wooden spoon and, eventually, your hand. Knead the dough in the bowl for a few minutes, adding up to 1/2 cup more flour, as needed, to combat stickiness. When the dough is smooth, oil both the bowl and the top surface of the dough. Cover with a clean tea towel, and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in bulk.
Friday, July 22, 2011
My iced coffee drink was concoction of my own making; Vietnamese Chocolate Truffle Iced Coffee. Now that's quite a title. I have read of methods to make a cold brew coffee concentrate which creates a strong, smooth blend of coffee. The finished results was an extremely strong concentrate that you can add hot water to for regular coffee or prepare as an iced beverage. I'll give you a brief run through of the process. My measurements for the condensed milk and regular milk is variable. It's all a matter of taste.
Vietnamese Chocolate Truffle Iced Coffee
1 cup of coffee grounds
1 3/4 cups of cold water
Milk, half and half, or heavy cream
1) Put 1 cup of coffee grounds and 1 3/4 cup of cold water in a bowl. Stir to ensure all of the grounds are moistened. Cover and let steep for at least 8 hours at room temperature.
When I poured in the milk I immediately thought of Carly Simon's song Your So Vain and the line about "clouds in my coffee." The end result is a wonderful caramel colored beverage. Enjoy!
Saturday, July 16, 2011
strawberry jam using the recipe featured from my blog previously. The Victorian Sponge cake is a very traditional cake in England and is often the test of a true home cook at their country fairs. For you local readers, think Gerry Frank's Oregon State Fair Chocolate Cake Contest, without the chocolate! It is said to have been the favorite cake of Queen Victoria.
Victorian Sponge Cake
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup jam
Confectioner's sugar to dust the top of cake
Lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla extract. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the butter with the sugar until the mixture is pale, light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour over the the top and fold in lightly until the mixture is smooth.
Friday, July 8, 2011
2 cups low fat or skim milk
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp corn syrup or agave syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, combine milk, cocoa powder, sugar, corn syrup (or agave syrup) and vanilla extract. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, and cook just until all of the sugar and cocoa powder is dissolved. Pour hot mixture into popsicle molds and freeze overnight, or until solid.
Friday, July 1, 2011
There are such wonderful fruit desserts that have the most quaint names such as cobblers, buckles, grunts, betty's, etc. and I opted for a buckle. This website gives great definitions for the differences in all these types of desserts. It says the buckle is similar to a crisp in that it has a streusel-like topping and when baked, it comes out with a buckled appearance. This is a delicious, moist cake thanks to the buttermilk with a slight lemon taste which really compliments the blueberries. It made for a wonderful brunch contribution.
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup room temp unsalted butter, cubed
In a small bowl, sift the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a fork or your fingers, mix in the butter until pea size crumbs form. Store crumb topping in freezer.
1 1/2 plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp room temp unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups blueberries (If still frozen, allow for extra cooking time)
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, forming the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, using a stand mixer or hand held mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest. Add one egg at a time to the mixing bowl, mixing after each addition.
Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/2 of the buttermilk and vanilla. Mix.
Add another third of the dry ingredients and the final half of the butter milk. Mix.
Add the remaining third of the dry ingredients. Mix.
Fold in 1 cup of blueberries.
Remove crumb topping from freezer and spread over the berries. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes until it starts to brown.