Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Simple Soup

For those of you who say my posts are too long :)

1 tbsp olive oil
a stack of cabbage leaves: 700g or a good 10 or 15 of 'em
1 or 2 white radishs
6 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper

1. wash the cabbage leaves and cut them into 1/2 inch strips
2. peel and slice the radish
3. heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot or whatever deep-ish pot you have
4. sautee the radishes for a few moments on medium heat, then throw in the cabbage. Worry-not, the cabbage will probably be spilling out of the pot, but it will quickly reduce. Stir occasionally for 7-10 minutes, proceeding to the next step when the cabbage has the soft-crunchy balance you prefer.
5. Pour in the stock and let the flavors meld for about 15 minutes.

The french magazine this came from called it "cleansing." I call it light, yummy, and better the second day with noodles in it.

Brioche... or maybe its Challah

I wasn't going to post this because the first time I made it I didn't have internet and decided to try my luck with just adding milk, eggs, and ample honey to my usual bread baking. It wen't well, but really, what do I know about either brioche or challah? nothing. In fact, I don't even know if this technically brioche or challah! But after trying two different "award winning" recipes online that gooed themselves into mediocre unbraided bread, I have returned to this scribbled recipe and intend to stick to it.

...until I rediscover the one from a jewish holiday cookbook I checked out from the saint louis library once upon a time...

Note: when covering bread dough to let it rise, the tighter the seal the more moisture it will keep in. This is better. But even just a kitchen towel will "cover" the dough if you dont want to waste plastic wrap.

Dry ingredients: combine in your largest bowl:
250g white flour
200g country flour
1/2c oats (optional)
1 Tbsp salt

Wet ingredients: combine and let sit for 10 minutes in any little soup bowl:
1 tsp yeast
2 Tbsp honey, more if you like sweet bread!
~white sugar, brown sugar, and probably even maple syrup would work as subsitutions
120g warm water

Mix well, then add to the wet ingredients:
80g warmed milk
2 eggs
2+ tbsp olive oil

Using a wooden spoon or my preferred plain old fork, dredge a hole in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the combined wet ingredients into the hole. Stir this, knocking in a bit of the flour at a time, until shaggy (meaning: just until the flour is incorporated, but don't worry about it being smooth or even or any of that.)

Leave covered for 5 minutes. Or don't, but it makes the kneading because it will be less sticky.

Pour it all, including extra flour, onto a clean counter and knead well, adding flour if it sticks impossibly to your hands and the counter. Once it becomes beautifully smooth and dense enough to hold a rounded shape, cover again and let sit in a warm place (oven with the light on is perfect) until it has doubled in size. Between 1 hour and two.

With oiled hands, knead the dough for another 30 seconds then shape. Either just shape into your bread pan and slice across the top a few times, or...

Braid: cut the dough into even pieces (3-7 depending on how you braid) and roll them out into long logs. Braid. I will not try to tell you how exactly to do this, but use lots of oil, and if the dough is too moist to hold its shape, dont bother.

To get an even braid on both sides, start in the middle and braid in each direction separately, pinching and tucking the ends together when you arrive.

Place on a sheet of oiled parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap, and let it grow for 30 minutes.

Brush it with butter, an egg yolk, or a spoon of honey mixed in another spoon of water if you want a nice brown coating.

Bake at 205ºC/400ºF for 25-30 minutes. Or 10 more if you think its not done yet.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pumpkin Pie

Roasted and mashed sweet potatoes are equally wonderful!

100g white flour
50g whole wheat
30g sugar
35g butter, rubbed in
1 tbsp at a time of ice water until assembled

20-30g almond powder (more almond powder is always an option)
1/2 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg, salt

1. Cut butter into 1/2 inch cubes and stick in the freezer for 10 minutes before starting

2.Stir together the flours, spices, salt, sugar, almond powder. Add the cold butter and rub in. This means wash your hands, dry them, and stick them in the dough. start

3. Use a fork to poke a few holes in the bottom of the crust so that it doesn't puff up while it bakes. For this recipe, a prebaked crust is good - so throw it in at 160ºC for 10 minutes before filling it for the final bake.

~1.5 cups roasted and mashed pumpkin or sweet potato
2 tbsp apple sauce (you can substitue vegetable oil, or probably melted butter)
100g sugar total, 30g of which is best as vanilla sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground is yummy
3 egg yolks, 3 egg whites
1/2 c marscapone!!! (substitute with yogurt or buttermilk)
Preheat oven to 375ºF/190ºC

1.Whip together the filling in the following order, mixing well between each step: sweet potatoes, apple sauce/butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, egg yolks.

2.Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the egg whites in a huge bowl and beat them with a wire whip until they form "soft peaks."
The more you whip them, the more fluffy/airy your pie will be. I overdid it the last time I made the pie and while still pleasant, it lacked the dense consistency that I love about pumpkin pie. Here is a great "how to" video. You don't actually need to understand what he is saying, just watch his method!

3.Keep the whip on hand. Pour the batter into the egg whites, whip well, adding the coconut milk last. Pour into baked crust, pop in the oven for 35 minutes at 375ºF/190ºC