I like to try new bread recipes since I make bread pretty much every week. Yet sometimes I also like to play with old recipes and see if I can make them better. So far it often didn't work, and hubby laughed at me and gave me his "nice try" look. This time though, I was satisfied the result.
Chocolate Swirl Bread
Ingredients: 8 gr yeast
100 ml warm water 250 gr whole wheat flour
250 gr all-purpose flour
50 gr sugar
40 gr butter
8 gr salt
50-100 ml water
Chocolate: 3 Tbs butter, softened until reaching spreadable stage
1/4 cup ground walnut (or any nuts)
2 Tbs cocoa powder
2 Tbs honey
Mix all of the chocolate filling mixture.
Combine yeast and warm water. Stir and let sit for 15 minutes.
Mix dry ingredients, add yeast mixture, butter, and water until well blended (stop adding water if the dough is sticky enough). Mix until smooth and shiny. Let the dough rise for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough to 2. Roll dough out into a basic rectangular shape. Evenly spread the chocolate filling. Roll up dough and form into 1 loaf. Do the same thing for the other dough.
Place on a greased loaf, seam down. Place the dough in a warm place and allow to double in volume (about 90 minutes). Glaze with egg yolk (if desired) then sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake at preheated oven 350 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.
For my family, pudding is an all-occasion snack. I call it snack instead of dessert because we usually have it at any time, not just after a meal. What makes our pudding different than pudding I usually found in the States is it is agar-agar based. Wikipedia defines agar-agar or agar as "a gelatinous substance derived by boiling from a polysaccharide in red algae". So, it is plant based, while gelatin is animal by-products. Since agar isn't common in this country, I had to explain what it was whenever I brought it to a gathering so my vegetarian friends could also have it.
Pudding was almost always present in our family's special occasions. For those occasions, the professional pudding makers in our family, my sister and my aunt made it more complex in design. They would make some layers, mix it with fruits, the make sweet sauce to go with it. For regular occasion, we usually just had one flavor and ate it without the sauce. When I was little, mom liked to use animal or flower mold. I remember we had a big gold fish mold and some small turtle molds stored in my grandma's antique kitchen cupboard.
I like to bring pudding to a potluck, and that's what I did not too long ago when we were invited to our friends' house. The main reason is it is a very light dessert, so it can fill a little gap in stomach even after a heavy meal. Other than that, it is super easy to make. The basic is just boiling agar-agar powder, sugar, and milk.
Ingredients for caramel: 150gr sugar
100 ml water
I am still working on learning caramelizing, so read this and this tips for the direction.
1 package (7 grams) agar-agar powder
700 ml milk (I used 2%)
25 gr sugar
1 can halved peach
Dissolve agar-agar powder in 200 ml milk to avoid clumping. Bring all of the ingredients except run extract to a boil over medium heat. Stir constantly to prevent agar agar powder from sticking to bottom of pan.
Arrange the peaches on a fluted pan. Using a ladle, gently pour half of the agar-agar mixture into the pan. Wait for 10 minutes until the mixture is half set to secure the peaches. Pour the rest of the mixture.
Cool, then refrigerate.
Belgedel or perkedel is a potato cake grandma often made. I loved it so much that I often lost count how many of it I have had. For grandma, it's better if the food was gone because it was consumed than if it was wasted; and my sisters and I knew that we would be in a big trouble if we wasted food. Her cook was always delicious, so we never could find any reason not to finish it. Oh how lucky I was to have grandma living with us during the first quarter century of my life.
That Sunday, I accidentally made bergedel. Yes, accidentally. I was planning on making pastel tutup, but when I mashed the potatoes, mixed in spices, then tasted it, I knew I wanted to change direction. The taste reminded me of grandma's perkedel. Fortunately, I haven't prepared the filling, so it was in fact shortened my cooking time. Moment later, there were balls of mashed potato calling to be eaten. I was happy to finally taste this food again.
My bergedel was different than my grandma's although I used her recipe. Hers used meat and was double fried. She would cut the potatoes in slices then fried them. After forming to balls, she would fry them again. Mine was meatless because I was too lazy to thaw ground beef, the potatoes were steamed before mashed, and then baked because I didn't like deep frying in my apartment. My kitchen didn't have window, so the stubborn odor from hot oil for frying would stay for a long time. So, as much as I like fried food, I tried not to do it at home. I usually bake it instead. Most of the time, although not the same, baking the supposed-to-be-fried food can also taste great. I think it worked for this bergedel too, or at least it tasted like the one I used to eat with much less grease.
So, here is the ingredients and cooking direction for the bergedel from my grandma. My apology for not having the measurement because the recipe I got from grandma doesn't have one. I should have jot down the measurement right after I cook.
Potatoes, peeled, sliced, fried
Shrimp and ground beef, stir fried
Cut celery or cilantro, chopped
Fried onion, crushed
Mash the potatoes and meat. Mix in the fried onion, salt, sugar, and nutmeg. Shape into small flat patties. Coat patties with beaten egg and deep-fry in hot oil until golden brown.
I've included galette on my list of favorite things this past month. For me, galette is a pie with much less hassle, because as much as I love making pie, I am not fond of the crust part. I have no problem with making the crust. It is the covering pan part that I don't enjoy. I think I haven't mastered it yet so I often make it too thick then pull part of it to fit the pan, or too thin that I need to cut and paste here and there.
So anyway, making galette is much simpler that making pie or tart because the crust is just folded as you wish. Have I mentioned the the freeform and the rustic look of the folded crust? It is sexy!
My first galette gave me a challenge. It was Sunday morning when I made it because I wanted to bring it to church potluck when it was still fresh and crunchy. When the galette was still in the oven, I realized that I didn't dust the parchment paper I used to lay the galette on. I knew for sure it would strongly stick to the paper. I was right. They were stuck together and there was no way I could peel the paper off without breaking the crunchy crust, and without burning my finger for touching the fresh-from-the-oven galette. Since we were late for Sunday school, we left the pastry at home and picked it up after church. Even then, the crust and paper separation was still difficult. The pastry look messy. I told huby that I didn't want to bring it to church, but his answer was expected, "Just bring it. It's fine".
For the recipe, I used Dorie Greenspan's from her book Baking: From My Home to Yours. Google it if you are interested in trying the recipe. There are people post it online, so I think posting another one is unnecessary . I used 5 nectarines and 1/2 cup blueberries for the fruits, and orange marmalade for the jam.
I made the same recipe again the next Saturday for my farmgirl friend. I used red plums and blueberry for the fruits. There was no drama this time
I made this layer cake last weekend and found out that there were a lot of versions of it. My favorite one is made out of tapioca flour. It is chewy and elastic. The real one composed of a lot of thin layers, unlike mine that has thick fewer layers because I was in a hurry. I liked to eat it by peeling the layers one by one. I also liked to stretch it before I put it in my mouth. Hubby said that he liked to roll it after peeling it.
This one, however, wasn't the one I expected. It's the kind that's inflexible, hence not playful.
Hubby and I planned on having dinner at downtown yesterday, but we changed our plan to a cooking date. He thought I would be tired of cooking especially after swimming that evening. But seeing a lot of vegetables left and considering that we would get a new CSA box the next day, I thought of just having dinner at home.
I was happy of our team work in preparing our dinner. We didn't have much time because we got home late and our stomach started growling even before we got home. For that reason, I chose to make spaghetti with the sauce I made and froze months ago when we were overloaded with tomatoes. I also thinly sliced chicken, marinated them, and cooked them while doing the pasta. For the side dish, we pan fried yellow zucchinis, wax beans and red, green, yellow bell peppers.
I was glad we decided to make our own dinner. We had fun preparing and enjoyed the colorful dish; and as a bonus, we had enough for 3 meals
I was not too happy with this torte, and there's nothing wrong with the recipe.
It started from the crust making. The recipe specifically said not to overdo the dough, and I thought I got it for the last few months I made sweet crusts. That time though, I found it didn't cooperate well. The dough was too sandy, so I couldn't form it to a ball. I thought it's because I didn't have vanilla extract. Since vanilla extract is in liquid form, I added water to the dough. When I remix the dough, I knew it was obviously...overdone.
Other thing was...it's overbaked! That day when the torte was still being baked, I was ready to go to my friend's baby shower. I asked hubby to turned off the oven 10 minutes after I left. When I called him, he told me that the cake was burnt. He did what I asked him to do, so it's not his fault. I should have taken it out before I left although the mixture was still jiggly, but apparently cooked through.
I will revisit this recipe again sometimes, and will post the recipe then.