Monthly Archives: January 2011

If at first you don’t succeed…try try again

This morning when I woke up, I remembered that I had a score to settle. A crispy cheesy score.

I tried to make gougeres, or cheese puffs last year, and they were everything except for the puff. So I looked up David Lebovitz’s post on gougeres and something he said made me feel better. He thinks “the funky-looking ones have a lot of charm”! How nice of him.

Even so, I figured it’s time to show those little puffs who’s boss.

I think I put the puffs in their place this time. (literally) 😉

Oh, if you ever need to impress someone, this is the way to go.

Gougeres – adapted from David Lebovitz
makes about 18 small puffs

1/3 c. water
2 Tbsp. butter
1 pinch of each: chili powder, garlic powder, salt
1/3 c. flour
1 extra large egg
1/2 c. grated sharp cheese (I used aged cheddar)
extra cheese to sprinkle on top

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a small saucepan, heat the water, butter, and the pinches of spices together until butter is melted and water is boiling.
2. Add flour all at once and stir quickly until the dough leaves the sides of the pan. Turn off heat.
3. Continue to smoosh the dough around the pan for a few minutes to cool it off a little. (so you don’t scramble the egg when it’s added)
4. Add the egg and beat until the dough is soft (more of a stiff batter) and shiny. This might take a few minutes, don’t despair if it looks curdled, just press on.
5. Stir in the cheese.
6. At this point, you can: pipe the dough with pastry bag and round tip onto a baking sheet lined with parchment; or lacking a pastry bag, use a ziplock bag with a corner snipped; or just use two spoons to drop the dough.
7. Just make sure they’re evenly sized, about as large as a cherry tomato.
8. Sprinkle with extra cheese.
9. Bake at 425 degrees for about 6 minutes, until they have puffed, then reduce heat to 375 degrees F and continue to bake another 6 minutes, or until the puffs are browned on the sides.
10. Take care not to underbake or the puffs will collapse when taken out of the oven.

Easy Cheese Puffs on Foodista

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Filed under Appetizers, Cheese, Snacks, Vegetarian

Ceiling Art

Let’s play 20 questions:

Q1. What happens when you try to blend chickpeas in a blender?
A. They get stuck on the sides of the blender.

Q2. What do you do to get them down so you can puree them?
A. You open the top of the blender while it’s running and you scrape down the sides with a metal spoon.

Q3. Does that work?
A. Yes, surprisingly, it does.

Q4. Doesn’t the chickpeas fly out?
A. No, they don’t. Not unless you accidentally poke the whirling blade with your spoon.

Q5. !!!
A. 😀 I’m ok.

Q6. So what happened?
A. My kitchen got a makeover…I got ceiling art!

Q7. Uh, so what do you do to prevent that?
A. Don’t touch the blade while it’s on! Or use a food processor.

No…that wasn’t me. I would never put hummus on the ceiling. That was somebody else. I did, however, have fresh, homemade pita and hummus yesterday. I love hummus…garlicky, creaming goodness.

And watching pitas puff like balloons in the oven is so much fun!

You should try one day. 🙂

Just use a food processor.

Hummus
makes about 1 1/4 cups

1 1/2 c. canned chickpeas, drained, but reserve the liquid
2 Tbsp. tahini (substitute smooth peanutbutter in a pinch!)
4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil (available at most Asian groceries)
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
olive oil, to drizzle on top

1. Add all ingredients except for the olive oil to the food processor.
2. Puree until smooth.
3. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with warm pitas.

Pita
makes 6 small

3/4 c. warm water
1 tsp. yeast
1 3/4 c. all purpose flour (I sneaked in 1/4 c. whole wheat)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. olive oil

1. Add yeast to warm water in a large bowl and let stand for a couple minutes.
2. Add the salt, sugar, oil, and 1 1/2 c. flour. Mix until smooth.
3. Gradually knead in the last 1/4 c. of flour until you get a smooth, elastic ball, about 5-7 minutes.
4. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
5. Divide the dough into 6 portions and form each into a ball. Let rest 10 minutes. Crank up your oven as high as it can go, mine’s 500 degrees F. Put a cookie sheet upside down in the middle.
6. Roll out each ball on a floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. If too thick, pitas won’t puff properly.
7. Bake each pita about 3-4 minutes, or until puffed and the very lightest brown.

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Filed under Appetizers, Breads, Snacks, Vegetarian

Kazu

Let’s see.

Hi Mr. Kazu, I was wondering how you manage such a flaming hot business? How do you get customers lining up outside your door in subzero weather, waiting up to 2 hours to get a table?

What inspired the dishes you choose to cook?

What do you do to the dishes that makes them so…speechlessly good? Mind-numbingly yummy? Oh so special?

 

And since we’re getting along so well…

Mr. Kazu, can you tell me what you put into your marinades? Especially the Chilean seabass?

No?

Oh, that’s ok then, I understand. 😦 I guess I’ll just have to go back to your restaurant some time to have it again.

Kazu
1862 Rue Ste-Catherine O
Montreal, QC H3H
(514) 937-2333

Kazu on Urbanspoon

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Sourdough English Muffins

I hate teeth.

Why must we have these 32 little “bones” in our mouths? Do we even need that many anyways?

Maybe I hate teeth because they ache sometimes.

My mom used to say that toothaches are the worst kind of pain. She’s probably right. After all, she had 3 of us little rascals.

Back to teeth…I was wondering, why can’t we have teeth like we have hair?

You know, no nerves, no blood vessels attached? They can just grow and grow and grow.

And we’ll get a “teethcut” every once in a while…

And we can even get “teethstyles”!!

Is that too crazy?

Ok, I’ll let you chew on that…in the mean time, let’s talk about something completely painless.

50% Whole wheat sourdough english muffins.

This recipe was adapted from a post by kjknits on The Fresh Loaf, who adapted from it from King Arthur Flour Baking Circle. It is my first time making English muffins, since like the 99.9 percent of people, I get my little rounds of holey-ness from supermarkets, but I have been meaning to make them for a while, ever since I got my own sourdough starter going a couple months ago.

What better time to have them than Saturday morning breakfast?

So I mixed the starter, milk, and flour together last night, and let it ferment to wonderful puffiness overnight. This morning while still in PJ’s and crusty-eyed I added sugar, salt, baking soda, and extra flour to finish the dough. Stamped them into rounds promptly and left them to rise for 45 minutes. During which I took a shower and had some coffee.

After that everything took its course very naturally…and here we are!

The taste is fairly close to store-bought, though I might add a touch less baking soda next time. No hint of sourness at all, thanks to the baking soda. After I dumped the soda in it dawned to me…wait a minute, acid plus base equals bye bye tangy-ness…oops. It’s ok, everything worked out in the end. I had faith.

As for the texture…is it all nooks and crannies? Well…not exactly. You get a bit of holey-ness, a couple were nice and holey, but mostly it’s more of a soft pillowy-ness. Not to worry, it still absorbed butter like a sponge.

All right, I’m going to let you decided what you think about them, along with “toothcuts” and  “toothstyles”, not to mention “toothdyes” and “tooth salons”…

Sourdough English Muffins

Makes about 12 (smallish, 2.5 inch in diameter)

1/2 C. starter (mine is a 100% hydration white starter)
1 C. milk
1 c. all purpsoe whole wheat flour
1 c. all purpose white flour

3/4 c. all purpose white flour (use as much as needed to form a smooth, slightly sticky dough)
1 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

Semolina or cornmeal, for dusting

1. Combine the first 4 ingredients, cover, and let rise for 8 hours or overnight.
2. Stir in the sugar, salt, and baking soda.
3. Work in enough flour to form a smooth dough, it’s ok if it’s slightly sticky.
4. Knead for 4-5 minutes, adding flour as required. (a dough scraper is helpful here)
5. Roll or pat into a round between 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch thick.
6. Cut into rounds.
7. Let rise for 45 minutes on baking sheet dusted with semolina or cornmeal.
8. Heat a skillet or griddle on medium heat and spray lightly with oil.
9. Working in batches, cook the muffins about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until light brown. (I used a cast iron skillet and turned the heat lower to prevent burning)
10. As I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this: split and butter and devour.

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Chocolate Coma

You know how alcohol is a depressant? Like how if you drink too much you can’t tell right from left and up from down and you might trip and wake up on the floor beside your bed? Not that i did that…but I could, because alcohol will depress my brain and make it dumb.

But I never knew chocolate could do that.

That’s where I get confused. Doesn’t chocolate contain caffeine. Isn’t caffeine a stimulant?

So why didn’t I get high off of chocolate instead?

I have no clue.

But I know being chocolate-ed to a stupor is a terrific idea on one’s birthday.

Definitely beats waking up on the floor.

Now I know the next time I want to engage in a self-prescribed coma, Juliette et Chocolat is the way to go. Hot chocolate so thick you eat it with a spoon? Crazy…

Juliette et Chocolat (1 of 3 locations)

3600 Boulevard Saint Laurent, Montreal, Quebec
(438) 380-1090

Juliette Et Chocolat on Urbanspoon

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Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

Fibre? What? Where?

Oh, here you are.

I’m studying Dietetics, so I’m supposed to tell you to eat more healthy foods, more veggies, more fruits, more legumes, more whole grains, more nuts and seeds, etc. And God forbid we ever tell you to “NOT” do anything, don’t consume a lot of sodium, a lot of saturated fats, a lot of red meat, don’t sit on your butt all day. No no no, don’t tell them NOT to do anything, we’re told.

So eat cookies.

And get your fibre.

Yes, professor, I didn’t tell them NOT to do anything. Does that mean I pass? I do?

Yay!

Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

makes 2 dozen cookies

1/2 c. softened butter, salted (add 1/2 tsp. salt if you have unsalted)
1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
1/3 c. white sugar
1 large egg
2/3 c. whole wheat all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
2 c. quick-cooking rolled oats

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until soft  and fluffy.
3. Blend in egg until smooth.
4. Add flour, baking soda, and oats.
5. Stir the heck out of it. (Until blended)
6. Drop rounded tablespoons onto lighted greased or parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.
7. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until browned around the outside.
8. Cookies will be soft, let them stand on the cookie sheets for a minute before removing.

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies on Foodista

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