Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Focaccia Integrale al Pure di Olive

Spring never ceases to amaze me. I walk outside on a nice day and plants that weren't up the day before are suddenly four inches high. My chives are coming in and the lily of the valley have sent up spires that will soon unfurl into the leaves that cover the shady fence line and, for a week, delicate flowers that perfume the entire yard.
The chives are what I was after last night though. So tender at the beginning of the season, they were the perfect accompaniment to this whole wheat focaccia with olive paste. A hearty, nutty loaf, with just the right balance of savoury and saltiness to offset whole wheat's slightly bitter flavour. This went nicely with soup for dinner last night, but, as I made it in a tart tin, my mind started to wander to the possibilities of making several in little 4 inch tart tins for gourmet yet healthy burger buns. Hmmm... that would be good.
Focaccia Integrale al Pure di Olive
Whole-Wheat Focaccia with Olive Paste
Carol Field, Focaccia
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Dough:
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water, 105-115f.
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp black olive paste
2 1/2 cups (350grams) stone-ground whole-wheat flour, plus 2 tbsp as needed. (I needed a bit more)
1 tsp sea salt
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Topping:
2 tsp black olive paste
3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Sea salt (I used Maldon - this is the time to use the good, flaky salt)
Olive oil
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley (I used chives)
1. Sprinkle the yeast over the arm water in a large mixing or mixer bowl, whisk it in, and let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. If you are making the dough by hand, stir in the olive oil and black olive paste, then the 2 1/2 cups of flour and salt in 2 additions, and mix well until the dough comes together. You may need to add 2 tbsp more whole-wheat flour to get a good texture. Knead on a lightly floured work surface for 8 to 10 minutes.
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2. If you are using a heavy-duty electric mixer, set the paddle attachment in place and stir the olive oil and black olive paste into the yeast mixture. Add the flour and salt and mix well until a dough has formed. Change to the dough hook and knead for 1 to 2 minutes on low speed, then 4 to 5 minutes on medium speed, or until the dough is soft, pliable, and elastic.
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3. First rise. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour. The dough should be slightly sticky, firm, and responsive.
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4. Shaping and second rise. Press the dough into a well-oiled 10 inch round pie pan and spread it to fit the bottom of the pan. Cover it with a moist towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. (I used an 11 inch tart pan)
5. Baking. At least 30 minutes before you plan to bake, preheat the oven to 400f with a baking stone inside, if you have one. Just before baking, dimple the top of the focaccia with your knuckles. (I used my fingertips) Blend the olive paste and the 3 tbsp of olive oil in a small bowl and paint the mixture over the dough, being sure to press it into the holes. Sprinkle a tiny bit of salt over the top of the focaccia and drizzle it with a ribbon of olive oil that covers the edges and exposed portions of the dough. Place the pan directly on the stone and bake the focaccia for 22-25 minutes, or until golden, spraying the walls and floor of the oven with cold water from a spritzer bottle 3 times in the first 10 minutes. A minute of two before you take the focaccia out of the oven, sprinkle the chopped parsley over the top. Remove the focaccia from the pan and place on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. (I drizzled mine with a little more olive oil and topped with chopped chives)
Makes one 10 inch round focaccia (11); serves about 6

This focaccia has been Yeastspotted!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Tyler's Deep-Dish Ham Quiche with Herb and Asparagus Salad

Just in time for Spring, April's bonus challenge for Tyler Florence Fridays was his Deep-Dish Ham Quiche with Herb and Asparagus Salad. I have made my share of quiches before. Hubby is an egg man (koo koo kachoo!) and likes baked egg dishes. I haven't made a deep dish quiche before though, and was very impressed how light and moussey this was, while still retaining it's shape. The asparagus salad was a great foil for the egg, adding a light, lemony element to the dish.
The quiche has a long, slow bake so give yourself extra time. Between the prep, caramelizing the onions, the baking and resting - this took me about 4 hours to make. A large investment in time, to be sure, but with impressive results. Hubby gave it two thumbs up. Well done Tyler!
Deep-Dish Ham Quiche with Herb and Asparagus Salad
Tyler Florence

Ingredients
Pastry:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small chunks
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed
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Filling:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin-olive oil
2 large Vidalia onions, sliced
3/4 pound smoked ham, cubed
8 large eggs
1 quart heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad:
2 bunches asparagus (about 1 pound each), stems trimmed
4 ounces Parmesan, shaved with a peeler
2 handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley, hand-torn
1 handful fresh mint, hand-torn
1 handful fresh dill, hand-torn
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions
To make the pastry:
Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and mix with a pastry blender or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat the egg yolk and ice water in a small bowl to blend, add it to the pastry. Work it in to bind the dough until it holds together without being too wet or sticky. Squeeze a small amount together, if it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the counter and a rolling pin lightly with flour. Roll the dough out into a 14-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick. Carefully roll the dough up onto the pin (this may take a little practice) and lay it inside a 9-inch springform pan. Press the dough firmly into the bottom and sides so it fits tightly; trim the excess dough around the rim. Place the pan on a sturdy cookie sheet so it will be easier to move in and out of the oven, this quiche is pretty heavy.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
To make the filling:
Heat a skillet over medium-low heat, coat the pan with oil, and add the onions. Slowly cook the onions, stirring, until they caramelize and release their natural sugars. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to help the onions break down, if needed. Toss in the ham, cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes to get some color on it. Remove from heat. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy, pour in the cream; season with salt and pepper. Arrange the caramelized onions and ham over the bottom of the crust and carefully pour in the cream and egg mixture; the filling should be about 1-inch from the top of the pan. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for 15 minutes or until the quiche is set, puffy, and jiggles slightly. Remove to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes. In the meantime make the asparagus salad.

To make the asparagus salad:
In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch the asparagus for 4 minutes, or until they are just crisp-tender. Drain the asparagus, transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, and drain well. Slice the asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces and put them in a mixing bowl. Add the Parmesan and herbs, drizzle the herb and asparagus salad with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, season with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.

Loosen the quiche from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Carefully unmold the ring, and transfer the quiche (with the bottom base) to a serving plate. Cut it into wedges, drizzle with a little olive oil, and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper.
Garnish with the asparagus salad on top.
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My Changes
I added some chopped red pepper to the quiche, and a splash of balsamic vinegar to the onions as they were caramelizing.
The only fresh herb I had on hand for the salad was dill, so I added in some mixed greens as well.
I already had some pie crust in the freezer from the last batch I made, so I used that. Whenever I make pie crust I make a double batch and freeze half if I am only making a single crust pie.

Monday, 27 April 2009

The Daring Bakers Get Cheesy!


The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
Well who doesn't like a cheesecake?
We were given the freedom to choose how to shape and flavour our cheesecake challenge, so I divided the recipe down to one third and baked it in my Chicago Metallic mini cheesecakes tin. I made cafe au lait cheesecakes, subbing espresso powder for the lemon juice, hid a chocolate covered espresso bean in the middle and topped it with amaretti. Nice!
If you look closely, you can see that they are still on the little bottom disks from the pan. I didn't want to manhandle them too much before they got their picture taken.

Here is a fun song to sing about cheesecake while you read the recipe.

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake
crust:
2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

cheesecake:
3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream (I mixed in some instant espresso powder)
1 tbsp. lemon juice (I didn't use this)
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake (I used amaretto)
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Ellie's Sweet and Spicy Peanut Soup

Well we didn't get completely blown away last night, the winds and rains buffeted the house and knocked out power to much of the city but we came away reasonably unscathed. It was a long drive home for hubby with no streetlights or traffic lights in some intersections and he was very much in need of a warm and comforting meal to come home to.
This simple but tasty soup did just the trick. It is healthy and flavourful and perfect with some whole grain crackers.
The recipe is from Ellie Krieger, a registered dietitian and host of Healthy Appetite on Food Network. Her recipes are good, but I find that she is quite shy with flavourings. I quadrupled the garlic and ginger. Well, wouldn't you?

Sweet and Spicy Peanut Soup
adapted from Ellie Krieger

Ingredients:
1 tbs. canola oil
1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp. peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)
6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
One 14.5 oz can no-salt added diced tomatoes, with their juice
2/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1 tsp honey
chopped peanuts and scallions for sprinkling

Directions:
Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and carrots and cook, stirring until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the cayenne, black pepper, garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the sweet potato, broth, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
Puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender or in a regular blender in two batches and return to the pot. Add the peanut butter and honey and stir, over low heat, until the peanut butter melts. Serve warm, garnished with scallions and peanuts.
This soup can easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock instead of chicken.
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Another tasty soup for Souper Sundays!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Tyler's Pappardelle Bolognese

Ok, I realize that this is the second time I have made bolognese in one month's time. (A certain Daring Bakers lasagne comes to mind..) But I swear, this recipe is either a lot easier or I am just getting better at it. All you really need on your side is time. The fresh pasta? Get yours from the deli department if you wish, I just like to make it myself when I can.
This one is a definite man pleaser, richly flavoured and meaty, with wide, fresh noodles to satisfy even the biggest of appetites.
To up the vegetable content, I added some sauteed zucchini and a salad of mixed greens tossed in a light vinaigrette. Buon Appetito!

I rarely have making-of shots, but hubby was hanging out in the kitchen with me so he took a couple of shots of dinner-in-action.

Pappardelle Bolognese
Tyler Florence, Eat This Book

Ingredients:
Olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground veal (I used all beef)
1 pound ground beef
1 cup dry white wine
2-28oz. cans whole tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand
4 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper
1 cup milk

1 large spoonful of ricotta cheese
Parmesan cheese
Fresh herbs, such as oregano or basil

Directions:
In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, heat a 2-count of oil over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring, until the vegetables are very tender but not browned.

Raise the heat a bit. Break the ground beef and veal into chunks and add them to the pan. Brown, breaking up the clumps with a wooden spoon, until the meat is no longer pink. Add the wine and simmer until evaporated. Then add the tomatoes and stock and season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and simmer very slowly for 1.5-2 hours, stirring now and then, until the sauce is very thick. Now add the milk - the milk will make the meat nice and tender - and simmer again until thickened, another 20-30 minutes. Taste again for salt and pepper. Mash the sauce against the side of the pan to really blend it. Set half aside for another day. (I froze mine)
When your pasta is ready, add ricotta and Parmesan to the sauce and serve either tossed with pasta or on top. (I like mine tossed) A little pasta water can be added if you need more liquid.
Serve with more Parmesan on top and torn fresh herbs. Delish!

My pasta bike - what a great tool! Here I have removed every other wheel to make large strips of pasta.

I use a KitchenAid pasta roller set for my pasta. It is by far my favourite KA attachment.

And this handy-dandy pasta drying rack? Hubby made it. What a great guy.
In these photos I have the dowels in every other hole, it can actually hold quite a bit of pasta. It also fold up for storage. Nice!

Mother's little helper. If you are going to spend four hours making a fabulous Italian meal from scratch, you are going to need a lot of red wine.

My go-to pasta recipe lately has been from Giada De Laurentiis. I don't even need to look at the recipe anymore, it is blissfully easy.

Just put 3 cups of all purpose flour into a large food processor.
In a smaller bowl, lightly whisk 4 eggs with one tbsp each salt and olive oil.
Blend until it starts to come together - it will not form a ball.
Pull it out of the food processor, knead it into a ball by hand, wrap in plastic and let rest for a half hour.
Cut into 8 pcs. and roll with pasta roller. Easy peasy.
I like to add herbs to it - this time I used about 1 heaping tbsp dried basil.

To go with the pasta, I just sauteed some zucchini medallions and made a simple mixed green salad with a light vinaigrette.

Choose, cook, share.
Round-up every Friday, check out the Tyler Florence Fridays site for details

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Dilled Petits Pains for Bread Baking Day

It's spring! And Bread Baking Day is all about Spring Country Breads this month. April's bread baking celebration is hosted by Cindystar and the deadline to participate is May 1st, 2009.

In Italy, like many countries, spring is celebrated by cooking and eating outside. Picnics abound while flowers and herbs are in bloom. In Canada this means one thing, barbecuing! I made some cute little petits pains, French rolls, that I rolled in dill weed, and used them as little burger buns for some awesome sliders. Tucked in each cute little burger is a nugget of bleu cheese all melty from the grill. What could be better than that? Beer? Yes, we have plenty of beer. This is Canada, after all.

French Bread Made in the Food Processor
This is my first time making a bread in the food processor, what fun!
Recipe from: The Bread Bible
by Beth Hensperger
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Ingredients:
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2/3 cup lukewarm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unbleached bread flour
1/2 cup semolina flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup cool water (80 degrees F)
Yellow cornmeal, for sprinkling
1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for glaze


In a 2-cup liquid measure, pour in the warm water. Stir the yeast and sugar over the surface of the water. Stir to dissolve and let stand at room temperature about 10 minutes.
In the work bowl of the food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the all-purpose bread and semolina flours and salt. With the motor running, immediately pour the yeast mixture and the cool water through the feed tube in a steady stream as fast as the flour mixture will absorb it. After the dough forms a soft, elastic ball and clears the sides of the bowl, process 45 to 60 seconds more to knead. If the dough is too sticky, add flour by the tablespoonful. If it is too dry, add water by the teaspoonful.
Using a plastic dough scraper, transfer the dough ball to a clean work surface. Give a few kneads by hand to even out dough consistency.
Place the dough in a lightly greased container and turn once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until tripled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The dough can be refrigerated overnight.


Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. The boule, batards, and petits pains are best baked on a parchment-lined baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal; the baguettes are best in well-greased baguette pans, sprinkled with cornmeal. Shape the dough into the desired loaves. Place on the baking sheet or baguette pan. Place the dough round, seam side up, on a clean floured dish towel or in a cloth-lined banneton, cover with the edges of the towel, and let rise. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rest again at room temperature until tripled in bulk, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, placing a baking stone on the lower third shelf. If rising on the towel or in a banneton, turn the dough out onto a wooden peel heavily sprinkled with cornmeal. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of all the loaves with the egg glaze. Using a sharp knife, slash the surface a few times diagonally across the top, no more than 1/2 inch deep. Place the baking sheet or baguette pans directly on the stone, or with a quick action of the wrist, slide the loaf onto the baking stone. Reduce the oven thermostat to 425 degrees F. Bake 1 round boule 35 to 40 minutes; the 2 batards bake 25 to 30 minutes; the baguettes bake 20 to 25 minutes; and the 8 petits pains bake 18 to 24 minutes, or until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped with your finger. Transfer to a cooling rack. Eat the bread warm, or the same day it is baked.

Who's a cute little burger?

TO SHAPE BAGUETTES:
Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Flatten each into a thin 10-by-5-inch rectangle with the palm of your hand. Starting at the long end, roll each up each rectangle, using your thumbs to help roll tightly. With the side of your hand, define a depression lengthwise down the center of the dough. Fold over and pinch seams to seal. Roll back and forth from the center out to adjust the dough and make a tight cylinder slightly shorter than your baking sheet or pan. Gently transfer, seam side down, to the prepared pans.
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TO SHAPE BATARDS (OBLONG TORPEDO-SHAPED LOAVES THAT LOOK LIKE SHORT, FAT BAGUETTES):
Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Pat each portion into a rectangle and roll up tightly, as for baguettes, but shape each roll into an 8-inch elongated oval with tapered ends and a thick middle section. Gently transfer, seam side down, to a prepared baking sheet. With a serrated knife, slash the top 3 times on the diagonal, no deeper than 1/4 inch, or make 1 long slash down the middle of each loaf.
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TO SHAPE A BOULE (A SMALL ROUND COUNTRY LOAF):
Pat the dough into a thick, uneven circle. Pull up the sides and knead to form the dough into a tight round. Pull the sides down into the bottom seam to create a ball with surface tension. Place seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Let rise. Glaze, and using a serrated knife or kitchen shears, slash an X on top no deeper than 1/4 inch.
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TO SHAPE PETITS PAINS (CRUSTY LITTLE FRENCH ROLLS):
Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Form into small rounds or ovals. With the rounds, form into tight balls as for miniature boules. Pinch the ends to form a spindle shape with a thick middle and tapered ends. Using a serrated knife or kitchen shears, slash the tops of the rounds with a cross and the ovals once down middle, no deeper than 1/4 inch. Place seam side down on the prepared baking sheets. Let rise only 15 minutes. I made mine as mini-boule shapes, and rolled them in dill right after shaping.
These buns are going Yeastspotting!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding

Tuesday is the sweetest day.

This week in Tuesdays with Dorie, Lauren of Upper East Side Chronicle chose Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding, on pages 410 and 411 of Dorie Greenspan's wonderful baking book - Baking, from my home to yours. Please see Lauren's site for the recipe, or pick up the book for Mother's day!

This was the first time I had even tasted a bread pudding, never mind eating one. It also marks one of the few times I was clever enough to plan ahead. When I made the challah last week, I went ahead and froze what I needed for this recipe.
I made a half batch, with the challah, raisins and chocolaty custard and baked until the top was just firm.

We ate it the next day for dessert, as Dorie says it is good cold. I just served it with a simple vanilla whipped cream and it was quite nice. I am glad I made it and I did like it, but it is not going to be one of my favourite types of dessert.
I could really understand from eating it that the success totally depends on the quality of the bread. The flavour of the challah was very noticeable and quite nice.
And the leftovers? Made for a pretty good breakfast. Well it is eggs and bread!
Bite?

Monday, 20 April 2009

The Bread Baking Babes make Authentic Ethiopian Injera!

And now for something completely different...
This month's Bread Baking Babes challenge is not a loaf at all, but a savoury Ethiopian sourdough crepe that serves as a vehicle for all sorts of wonderful foods.
The host Babe this month is Breadchick Mary and she was excited to introduce us to Injera, the flatbread/crepe, as well as a host of Ethiopian flavours and dishes to go with it.
I have included the Injera recipe here, but Mary has an awesome step-by-step pictorial on her site. To find out more about cooking up the Injera and earning a Bread Baking Buddy badge, please give Mary a visit.

Authentic Ethiopian Injera
Adapted by Breadchick Mary from Burakeyae "Blessings" (a blog by a missionary in Ethiopia) and Ethiopian Restaurant.Com

Starter:
This takes five days. If you want to have some starter left over to keep to make Injera again, wait seven days.
3/4 cup water, room temp. (70 degrees)
1/2 cup teff flour
A pinch active yeast (about 1/8 tsp)


Day 1: Combine ingredients in a 4 cup container with a lid. Loosely cover the starter with the lid and let ferment for two days on the counter or someplace that is about 70 degrees. You should see some rising in about four hours.

Let alone for 2 days.

Day 3: Stir starter, you should notice a grassy yeasty smell and small bubbles should rise to the top.

Feed the starter 1/3 cup teff flour and 1/2 cup water and loosely cover with the lid.

Let alone for 2 days.

Day 5: Starter should have separated into distinct layers.

Stir starter, it should be slightly fizzy and have a very strong grassy aroma.

Note: If you go to Day 7, follow Day 3 instructions for Day 5. You will have left over starter to make Injera again in the future this way.

Dough:
You will need a blender or food processor for this step. This is to get rid of the gritty feel of the teff flour in the starter.
2 cups Teff starter
2 cups Self Rising Flour
Room Temp Water (70 degrees F), as needed to make batter right consistency

Stir the starter to combine in all the liquid and any "starter sludge" at the bottom. Rub a bit between three fingers. It will be very gritty. Place the Teff starter, one cup at at time in a blender or food processor and whiz starter until it doesn't feel gritty when you rub it between your fingers. Place whizzed starter in a large bowl and repeat with the other cup of starter.
Stir in self rising flour and add any water as necessary to get a medium thick batter.

Loosely cover with plastic wrap or a lid and set in a warm, draft free place to rise for about 4 - 6 hours.

Batter/Cooking:
You will need a 8" pan and two large plates: one to cool the cooked Injera and the other to place the cooled Injera on. You will also need wax paper to place between each piece of cooled Injera.

Stir dough mixture. If it is too thick, add more water until the right consistency. You should have about 4 cups of batter

Heat on stove on medium heat, a 8" pan. Non-stick works best but if you don't have non-stick, have some peanut or neutral tasting oil in a small bowl and basting brush to brush oil on the hot pan when you cook the Injera.
Using between 1/8 - 1/4 cup of batter, pour into heated pan and swirl around as if making a crepe. Allow Injera to cook until entire top of bread is full of pockmarks.

Do not turn over. Remove when batter is fixed and all the bubbles have popped.

Using your fingers remove Injera from pan, set aside on a plate and allow to cool.

Injera will be stiff when removed from the pan but will get spongy as it cools. Like most crepes, etc the first few may or may not be the greatest.

Place cooled Injera on other plate and place a piece of wax paper between each Injera or they will stick to each other.Repeat until all the batter is gone. You should get about 20 Injera from the batch. This is enough for 4 Injera to go on the serving platter and under the curries/stews and to serve 4 people during the meal.

Self Rising Flour Recipe
2 cups AP flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
Whisk ingredients together. Store in an airtight container until ready to use

You will be able to find some Ethiopian dishes to go with your Injera on Breadchick Mary's site and also at these sources Burakeyae "Blessings" (a blog by a missionary in Ethiopia) and Ethiopian Restaurant.Com.

I used the Niter-Kebbeh - a flavoured butter, Berbere - traditional spice, Doro Wot - Ethiopian chicken curry, and the Eggplant salad. With these dishes that Mary so lovingly provided I also made a wild rice dish (middle).

This is a fun, delicious, and interactive meal. My daughter loved it! (Black sleeves, below)

The Bread Baking Babes

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Sunday Special #3. Soup, Breadsticks and Dessert

Is it Sunday already? My how time flies when you are eating well!
This week's Sunday Special consists of Dilled Potato Soup, Chunky Seasoned Breadsticks, and Caramel Apple Turnovers - now doesn't that sound good?
For the breadsticks, I just used the white bread with wheat bran dough from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I rolled out the breadsticks like mini-baguettes, twisted them, let them rise 20 minutes, brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled them with Herbes de Provence sea salt and baked them until golden. Who needs store-bought? They are perfect for dipping. I ate two. Hubby could only eat one, but I didn't eat his other one.. until the next morning. Did I mention that I love bread?

Dilled Potato Soup for Souper Sundays
This is a creamy and satisfying soup, very tasty indeed!
Cooks.com

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. butter
1 lg. onion, chopped
4 c. raw potatoes, cubed 1/4"
1 c. light cream or milk (I just used a splash of heavy cream)
1 lg. carrot, chopped
4 c. chicken broth
2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill (I used about twice that amount)
1 (16 oz.) can whole kernel corn (I used petit pois)
Optional: 1 c. grated Cheddar cheese (I used sour cream)


Directions: (My way)
Melt butter in large pan. Add onion, potato and carrot. Cover and cook over very low heat 5-10 minutes. Add broth, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat. Blend with immersion blender.
Return puree to reserve mixture in pan and stir in cream. Add peas; return to heat if necessary. Do not boil. Serve garnished with sour cream.

And for dessert for Sweet Melissa Sundays, we had Caramel Apple Turnovers with Sweet Ricotta Filling from p. 25 of the Sweet Melissa Baking Book. Click here for the recipe.
They were fairly easy to put together, carmelize the apples, make the ricotta filling, stuff, seal and bake. They were to bake for 45 minutes and, at the last minute, I set my second timer for 35 - just in case. I am glad I did, they were rather dark even then. So, the colour is not great on them, and I flaked off the really dark parts, but the taste was lovely. I am a big fan of apple turnovers. Next time I might set the timer for 25 minutes, just in case.

The only changes I made to the recipe was to use yogurt cheese instead of ricotta, and turbinado sugar instead of plain white sugar. What's a turnover without the crunchy sugar? I am enjoying working through this book. Next week: Granola Breakfast Cookies.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Romantic Dinner for Two

Every once in a while, hubby cooks for me. I am not talking about the times where I work all day making rubs, marinades, breads, side dishes and kabobs so that he can come home and BBQ. I am not even referring to the omelettes he sometimes makes me on the weekends, (although they are pretty good!). This Easter, hubby bought a nice little rib roast and made me dinner. I played sous chef and made the potatoes and a creamed mushroom/spinach sauce to go over them. Let's just pretend we had a nice, healthy green salad with this, shall we?

For the roasts, we like to use Barbara Kafka's Roasting: A Simple Art. The Barefoot Contessa swears by her high-heat method, and anything good enough for the Barefoot Contessa is good enough for us! This book was handed down to me by a former co-worker, thanks Cindy!


This was such a wonderful dinner. Succulent beef, wine rich sauce, and crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, puffed Yorkshire puddings.. what a great meal! Spoil your sweetie this week. Don't forget the bottle of wine and candlelight!

Simple Rib Roast
Roasting: A Simple Art by Barbara Kafka

4-1/2-pound short standing rib roast (about 1-2 ribs)
2 to 6 cloves of garlic
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1/2 cup red wine, for deglazing

Remove roast from refrigerator and let come to room temperature, about 1 hour. Place oven rack on second level from the bottom. Heat oven to 500 degrees.
Place roast in a small, shallow roasting pan, bone side down.
Snuggle the garlic into slits in the fat. Season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes. With meat in oven, reduce heat to 325 degrees and roast another 12 minutes. Meat temperature should read 135 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove roast from oven. Transfer to a serving platter. Pour or spoon off excess fat, reserving about 1/8 cup fat. Put pan over high heat and add wine. Deglaze pan well, scraping with wooden spoon. Let reduce by half. Pour liquid into a small sauceboat and reserve.


Yorkshire Pudding
I have never actually made Yorkshire pudding, the two times we have had them, hubby made them. He does not usually cook, so does not know to be paranoid about under or over-cooking - thus they come out perfectly. Sometimes a little knowledge can be a paralysing thing!
I am in charge of eating them though, I ate about three quarters of them. Yum!

3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup cool milk
1/8, or more, cups fat from roast

Make batter for pudding at least 5 hours ahead of roasting meat so it has time to chill. Put eggs in large bowl and beat with electric beater or whisk for 1 minute. Add salt. Alternating the flour and milk, add to the eggs. Beat only until all ingredients are well-combined. If available, pour batter into a pitcher or large measuring cup for ease in pouring later. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Batter may be made up to 2 days ahead. Pour reserved fat into heated Yorkshire pudding cups or large muffin tin cups and place in the 450-degree oven. Let heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Pour appropriate quantity of cold batter from refrigerator directly into cups - about 1/3 full. Bake 15 minutes. Reverse pan in oven halfway through baking, back to front, so pudding will rise evenly and brown evenly. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Continue to bake approximately 15 to 25 minutes, until pudding is crispy and brown. Serve hot. Makes 6.

A work of art, no?