Tag Archives: cooking

Why hello there

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You’d think I’d forgotten my blog with how long I’ve been away (other than that PSA). Sorry! Just was busy and then drained and then busy.

I ended up not finishing the Tour. With everything going on I got rather burned out, so I have some yarn, and lots waiting to be processed.

But lately I’ve been feeling more human, so here’s a generally update on what’s been happening. Mostly food, actually! Love food.

It all started when I sprung and bought myself a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I got it for fairly cheap (especially compared to the retail price), and I adore it already. Oodles. (It may or may not have to do with being able to make my favourite royal icing at any time without needing to set aside 30 minutes to hand whip egg whites).

Next thing you know, this happened:

Why yes, that is four different types of butter. From left to right–my favourite Irish butter, butter from a local creamery, some organic butter I bought, and a European style butter. Mmmm. Just before this shot I was making croissants(!) so that’s why there’s not as much as there could be.

Speaking of croissants, I’m very pleased that you can take something sludgy like this:

and a bit of flattened and beaten butter like this:

and get something quite as glorious as this:

These croissants came out much better than my last batch! So. Much. Better. They’re fabulous.

Next time I’m going to aim to get even fluffier insides, but this ain’t half bad:

Also made a batch of cookies because why not:

Not pictured are the already eaten chocolate cake and strawberry buckle that I made over the past two weeks.

I’ve actually been knitting too, though just on one project (which I want done by Halloween). The heat laying off a bit here has definitely helped, since it’s (gasp) a blanket (and we all know I don’t knit blankets so shut up).

No, it’s not grey. I have no idea why it photographed grey. I know it must hate me since it did, but that’s about par for course for this particular blanket/yarn, so no big deal. A slightly fuzzy detail of the ring I’m on now:

And another overall shot:

This thing is going to be massive. I’ve only just started ball 3, and I’ve still got a ways to go. Scary, I might get devoured by it. Welp. You’ll know where to find me!

And that’s about all I’ve got for you this evening. Keep knitting, keep cooking, and have fun!

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Bread Challenge–No Recipe Bread

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So last week on Sunday I came across a Cook or Die Challenge in the goons with spoons forum of SA. As I had not made a loaf in a while and it seemed like a fun idea, I ran with it. For your pleasure, I happened to also know the general gist of how I made it and the ratios, so you too can eat delicious bread!

The whole idea of the challenge was to make a yeast-risen bread without a recipe. You could do anything you wanted, as long as no recipe and it was yeast risen.

I present the Mushroom Pepperjack Delicious Bread*

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated pepper jack cheese
  • 2-3 tsp Spanish paprika
  • 4-5 large white button mushrooms, diced
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 c of flour premixed with wheat gluten, plus some extra for kneading
  • 1 egg for washing

Tools:

  • clean counter for kneading
  • 1 bread loaf pan
  • bowl for mixing in
  • cup to proof yeast in if needed

Recipe! (which I totally didn’t have at the time, but can give you 😛 )

  1. Combine yeast, salt, sugar, and water, stir thoroughly to dissolve. Set aside.
  2. In mixing bowl, combine flour premixed with wheat gluten, pepperjack, mushrooms, and paprika thoroughly.
  3. Add proofed yeast mix into the bowl and stir. If needed, add more flour, until you get a dough blob.
  4. Throw your dough blob on a well flour counter and knead. Knead until you get a pretty thing, like this: Try to add as little flour as possible, mine was a bit tacky still.
  5. Clean your mixing bowl, oil it, and put the dough in. Cover with either plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise for 1-2 hours, till doubled.
  6. Once dough has risen, gently turn out onto counter, and press flat with hand. Shape into a loaf shape and put in a lightly floured bread pan. Slash across the top with a sharp knife 3 times, then cover and let rise for another 1-2 hours Like so.
  7. Preheat your oven to 425F/218 C.
  8. Once everything is ready, if desired, brush the top of the loaf with an egg wash (1 egg + 2 Tbsp water). Put in oven for about 15-20 minutes. The internal temperature should be roughly 200F/93C when it is done, and it will look delicious.
  9. Turn onto cooling rack and allow to cool for about 15-30 minutes before eating.

So delicious! The challenge was really quite good for me, it’s given me a lot of courage in trying to make my own breads. This one is really the perfect crumb for what I like in my bread, so I’m quite happy.

 

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*the name might need some work

Pasta Brooke Style

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So I got in a real food mood tonight, so thought I’d show off the basics (and an example) of a Brooke Style pasta.

The gist:
pick some veggies
pick a noodle
get your butter out

Friendly kitchen dinosaur to watch the process is totally optional:

I usually use a wine of some sort to blend in, and also a bit more oil when I don’t want to plow through my butter reserves. (Did I say this recipe is low fat? Ops.)

I start by boiling my noodles. If I’m doing a thick noodle, like linguine, I go ahead and dunk it and let it cook about 4-5 minutes before I start the veggies. If I’m doing cappelini (super thin noodles), I just get the water boiling. Those cook in literally the time it takes you to put it in the water.

In a different pan, you’re going to heat up your butter/oil. This should be pretty high temp, you’re basically sauteeing the veggies. Dump them all in and sautee.

Check your noodles while this is going on. If they get to al dente you want to go ahead and turn the heat off so they don’t cook too much farther. Meanwhile, once the veggies are mostly cooked out (onions caramalized if using, mushrooms lost most liquid), add your wine/stock/spices.

(This $5 marsala is surprisingly delicious)

Then, before all the liquid cooks off, toss in your butta.

You now have a kind of liquidy buttery soup with your veggies. Good. Now, before they get too cooked off again, grab the noodles and just dump them in the pan. All of them. (This is not a recipe for more than 2 people without huge pans) The pasta water is gonna help sticky the sauce and everyone is gonna soak in everyone else.

Stir/swish generously, then remove from heat before anyone starts burning. Usually this step takes 1-2 mins tops.

Plate, salt, and pepper:

(that toast is toast covered in homemade ricotta, balsamic vinegar, Himelayan mineral salt, and pepper. oh. em. gee.)

And that, my friends, is how you make Brooke style pasta.

The little things

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Really it is the little things that being one delight.

Like my immature triumph over some fancy machine beater lady who said not to bother even trying to beat egg whites to stiffness if by hand and you have no copper bowl.

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Take that lady. Take THAT.

Rather satisfying and incredibly pretty. (no that wasn’t quite done. I finished getting them stiff after I added the sugar. This was making royal icing for gingerbread cookies)

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.

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.