Category Archives: Cooking

Tortellini!!

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I got on a wild pasta kick thanks to rereading Heat by Bill Buford again. Thanks to the fact my eggs are local–and very very good eggs–I decided to wing a pasta based off of the ratios that are described from his stint with the nice Italian lady in her kitchen.

As it has made one of the better sheets of pasta, I’m going to share it with you:

1 etto flour (roughly 7/8 cups)

1 good egg

I cannot overstate how important that good egg is–it should be orange, nearly red, in the yolk and not runny at all. If you have a local farmer who lets his chickens free roam, they will probably have exactly the type of egg you are looking for.

You make a well in the flour, and then you beat the egg with a fork in the center, and slowly incorporate the flour until you get a dough like thing. Then you get to knead for a while, until it’s nice and smooth and elastic.

Anyway, then comes the rolling–I roll mine out by hand with my fabulous rolling pin I’ve blogged about previously. It’s how I get my upper body exercise 😛

Roll and roll and roll until it’s as thin as you can make it–I can see the light through mine and worry constantly about it tearing. That’s a good thing. The nice thing about this ‘recipe’ is that it doesn’t actually need more flour or water when you’re rolling it out. I did mine on a mostly unfloured counter, and it didn’t stick at all.

Pasta rollers can work too.

Then make your little circles!

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Aren’t they pretty? I know a lot look more like pacman than circles, but they took up the stuffing just as well.

I made a filling with goat cheese, shredded young gouda from Frisian farms, balsamic vinegar (to bind the ingredients), hungarian paprika, cilantro, majoram, and red pepper flakes.

Then you start filling up your circles. You put some in the center, fold in half (I did not need to use water to get mine closed). Fold again along the flat edge (a valley fold for you origami people), so the circle part stretches out. Press them.

Voila! Belly button!

Do this until all of your circles are done:

Lots of belly buttons! Whee!! Store in plastic until ready to cook. Boil them in water. I’ll be boiling these for dinner tonight, with leftovers for lunch.

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Bread!

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I think I posted my recipe for bread ages ago, but having just made it again, I wanted to share. Like most breads, it’s affected by humidity and heat and all that good stuff, so tweak it if you need to. This version of my bread is less sweet than the other, but still delightfully dense and chewy with a nice crust.

Brooke’s Bread (Not Sweet)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour, +some to sprinkle counter
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 packet (2Tbsp) active dry yeast
  • 5 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • salt

Makes 1 loaf of bread.

Instructions:

  1. Mix sugar into the warm water. Add yeast. Proof for 5 minutes (recommended)
  2. Slowly add the flour in until you have a doughy consistency. Drizzle the oil in around cup 2, and then add more flour till more solid and less liquid again. I usually get about 2.5 cups of flour in total. Flop onto counter and incorporate the last of your flour, or until the dough is doughy.
  3. Knead until soft and springy, and use flour sparingly to keep off counter–don’t try and incorperate anymore unless it’s a really wet day and the dough just won’t behave. This takes roughly 10 minutes.
  4. Put into ball and place in well oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit until doubled (roughly 30 minutes in a warm room, more in colder). Preheat the oven to 350F.
  5. Roll onto counter and gently press air out. Shape into a loaf. Place in pan. Let rise for 30 minutes or until 1″ above pan. (Honestly, mine usually just rises for 30 and I don’t bother waiting for the 1″ thing. I thing that’s a remnant from the recipe I base mine off of)
  6. Pop in oven for 30 minutes. Take out of pan and let cool. Try not to eat in one sitting, or double the recipe and eat one now and one later!

Some neat things:

If you slash the top of the dough before the second rise, you get those cute slash marks you see on baguettes and the crust tends not to pop open on one side of the dough since it’s not as stressed.

Gluten flour is the best thing since sliced bread (which I don’t actually use or buy anymore haha!). It basically helps make your all purpose white flour into a bread flour, and more gluten is good for breads. I use it for anything that needs a little more help in the rising–bread, brioche buns, ect. (You really should look into pastry dough, which has LESS gluten, for your croissants though). You mix it in according to the directions your box has to your flour prior to putting it in. It’s an extra minute of prep that I never regret.

Gluten flour is not good for those who go gluten-free, whether by choice or diet. Just saying.

In fact, most of my pastries are terrible for my gf friends. Sorry guys. 😦

Croissants

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I got a new rolling pin at the market, and since I got it I’ve wanted to use it. I made pie over the weekend (but it’s nearly gone now), and today I decided to make some croissants.

I used a recipe that I’m told is basically Julia Child’s. I do not know one way or the other about this, but I did commit to taking lots of detailed photos of the whole process so you can follow along! It wasn’t hard, just a long process–about 4 hours (granted I rushed here or there).

To start with, the ingredients:

1/3 cup tepid milk, 2 cups of all purpose flour bleached, 4Tbps of grape seed oil*, and some proofed yeast.**

 

You mix all these pretty easy to have around ingredients together, pressing them with a spatula. Next thing you know, you have this thing:

Not super pretty, I admit, but it’s getting there. This was surprisingly not sticky despite not having a ton of flour in it. I kneaded it for a while, until I got a very smooth and elastic dough:

Put that in a bowl and let it rise for a bit. Once it’s done rising, I formed it into a disc and wrapped it in saran wrap and shoved it in the fridge to chill.

Then I whipped out a ‘stick’ of butter***. Look at that pretty butter–this is some English butter I bought last grocery run, and I quite like both the colour and flavour.

Then, you begin to beat it. This helps a LOT if your butter is chilled well before this. I thought mine was, but you’d be surprised how quickly it heats up, so try and work fast.  Here, check out my action shot of beating it with my NEW rolling pin I mentioned:

Keep beating it. Eventually it will be mostly flat, start smoothing it out more with the heel of your hand. You’re going for a disc about 5″ wide. I ended up using my bench scrapper to put my disc on a cutting board for this next step.

Take your dough back out and roll it into a 9″ disc. Then, put your butter disc in the center, like so:

Then, fold the sides in followed by the top/bottom, pinching together to make a pouch:

And finally wrap and chill AGAIN for about 30-hour in fridge. All of this chilling is helping keep the butter from disappearing into the flour and thus ruining the whole point of it–making your croissant flakey. You do something really similar with pie dough.

In any case, once you’ve managed that, set it back out on a lightly floured surface. Then, roll it into a 15 x 5 inch rectangle. I think mine was closer to a foot, but I don’t care! Haha! Take that recipe!

Like so.  Then, fold each of the long ends in, like a business letter:

Turn it sideways (so the folded edge is facing which way you’re rolling out), and roll out again. You’ll do this 4 times total, but you’ll need to stop after roll 2 because it needs to chill again. If the dough gets rubbery at any point (thus too warm) chill is the answer!

Finally, roll it into a 20 x 5 rectangle, keeping it as straight as possible. Slice that in half. On each half, you’ll be cutting three more slices (into 1/3s) and then those rectangles will be slice into triangles and rolled up. Like so:

Line all your pretty crescents on a pan (I lined my pan with wax paper), and then let them rise for about an hour.

Finally, it is time! Preheat the oven to ridiculous hot (475F), shove the croissants in, and then get them out in about 5-8 minutes. Watch them like a hawk, because they cook super fast despite how long they take to prep!

Cool and devour. (But not all at once). Excellent with jam and deliciousness. Mine are super light and flakey, and maybe next time I’ll roll a strip of bacon in them, or something similar, for a super tasty breakfast snack.

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*My own thing, I’m using it nearly every where right now. Fantastic fry oil, as the smoke point is 485F. It has a very subtle flavour when cooked, and makes a great base for things. I think it’s a little nutty in taste, but again, subtle, so it doesn’t overpower. Also, it’s GREEN, which is awesome.

**1/4th cup warm water, 1/2tsp salt, 1 tsp yeast, 1 tsp sugar

*** 2 ounces, weighed, due to the fact the butter only comes in 8 ounce blocks.

Lunch

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So I’m probably missing a core demographic of knitters with all the food posts. I’ve given it a fair deal of thought and I don’t really want to start a new blog and come up with a name and so on and so on. I like this blog, and it’s my blog. Since I should have at least one sock to show you soon, and it’s my blog, I think I’m gonna just let myself post about food like I’ve been wanting to instead of coming up with a clever nontaken food blog name.

Anyway, lunch today!

I started off with a grilled cheese sandwich. Italian bread (sliced a slice halfways since they are HUGE), Freesian Farms aged gouda thinly sliced. Butter goes in pan first and then toast. I sprinkle basil and oregano on my sandwich, I quite like it.

I also paired it with a salad. This is the ‘spicy’ blend from Cleverly farms, and I topped it with raw button mushrooms diced, diced onion, and some chevre from the market.

The most important bit is the dressing, or at least, it’s the best to complement the mushrooms. I have a somewhat standard dressing–

Balsamic vinegar from the market, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, grape seed oil, ground black pepper, kosher salt. Shake thoroughly (this teeeeeny 4 oz ramekin is the best thing because it has a lid and is perfect for mixing dressing) and pour on salad.

Voila!

Tomato Update

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A long time ago, I planted four roma tomato plants. They looked like this:

Then a lot of things happened and I lost track of when I had moved, but, basically 3 months later, things have changed. I only have 3 plants now, and they are a bit taller than they were. And, much to my delight, they have finally calmed down from the stress of too hot and then moving to finally blossom:

I’m so excited. 🙂 Maybe I can give R from work some tomatos since he so generously shared some of his cucumbers (by which I mean he was looking for people to take them because they have exploded with cucumberness).

Planterific

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Two new plants have made their way to Chateau Brooke. I picked them up at the farmer’s market with S this weekend.

The first is the anaheim pepper plant, which is quite fun looking. Nothing ripe on it yet, but soon they will start to turn red:

The second is a little more ‘exotic’ and entirely more fun to say.

Pretty Purple Peruvian Peppers, everyone!

That second picture gives a good indication of the variety of colours they go through. See, they start out green, turn deep purple, and then turn red when ripe. They are quite a spicy treat, too, so despite their diminutive size one goes quite a ways in a dish. I finely diced some the other day when I made lamb burgers for S and me.

I’m really pleased with them. In two weeks there is a good chance I will also be buying a peru pepper plant (it is shaped like an acorn, very large, and I would have got it already but S was convinced it looked weird and so told me ‘don’t get that one!’. I thought is judgement was more than ‘it looks funny!’ as I have had them in the past and think they are tasty. Good job S.)

Sometimes I pretend this is a cooking blog

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More of Brooke’s homemade sauce, this time all ingredients from the market:

Then I decided I wanted burgers for dinner but am too lazy to go get any buns. So, with the weight of my laziness, I made some buns instead (see, this is lazy cause I don’t have to leave home).

I used Smitten’s recipe because I trust her.

Oh man.

If you could eat these, I might have to beat you back because I don’t want to share.

I piled the insides high with lamb from the market, onions, and mushrooms, with a little moz cheese.

Sometimes I’m really glad I like cooking. Sheesh, this would cost a fortune if I hadn’t made it myself.