Archive | December, 2009

inauthentic Ethiopian injera

23 Dec

although this takes time to cook each crepe/flatbread/injera/whatever, it is really very easy. The texture is right-on but the sourness is slightly lacking – but taking out the days of fermenting is much easier.

-makes 7-8 – ten inch injera

2 cups wrist-temperature water
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast*
1 1/2 cups teff flour**
1/2 cup AP flour**
1 tsp salt
spray oil
pan with a lid

1. Whisk together the water, sugar and yeast until dissolved, and then let sit for a few minutes for the yeast to activate.
2. whisk in the flours and salt, and then whisk briskly for a couple of minutes (I use the kitchenaid for this). Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for an hour or two.
3. heat the pan over medium low. Spray oil and then put the batter down in a spiral fashion, tilting and turning to cover the bottom of the pan with thin layer (I use a batter pourer and a 10″ pan for this because I have them, but you can ladle the batter if you wish and use whatever size pan you have, so long as it has a lid). Cover and cook for two minutes.
4. Uncover and cook another 1 minute. the top will be springy and dry and the edges kind of come off the pan.
5. remove and stack on a plate. Repeat steps 3-4 until the batter is all used up, remembering to spray the pan before pouring the batter.

*traditional injera is made without yeast and a long ferment period. The yeast makes the process quicker. Sourdough starter could accomplish the taste. Using less yeast (1/2 tsp?) and a longer ‘rise’ period (overnight?) could also make the injera a little more sour.
**traditional injera uses 100% teff flour. I got it @ Whole Foods with the Bob’s Red Mill flours. It is expensive. Teff flour gives it a more spongy/holey texture. Wheat flour makes it easier to handle and cheaper. You can use any combo of the two to equal 2 cups (using 100% AP flour would not be traditional, but more of a yeasted crepe, but definitely easier in terms of availability/cost). I have also heard of people using buckwheat flour instead of teff, although I have not tried it, it could be a viable option and also cheaper.

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red beans & rice

22 Dec

Written down for Devon…
[It’s my estimate that this probably serves 6 as a main dish, and also that it probably costs me less than $3-4 to make]

Red Beans:
1# small red beans, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
5 cups water
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
(1-3 stalks celery, chopped)
(1-3 peeled carrots, chopped)
2 tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp oil
2 bay leaves
1 tsp Italian seasonings
1/2 tsp liquid smoke

Rice (or make however you want):
1# (2 cups) brown rice
3 1/3 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oil
2 bay leaves

-Make sure the beans have soaked overnight, or use the quick soak method.
-Put the rice ingredients in the rice cooker. Or cook on the stove however you do it.
-For the red beans, put all ingredients except Italian seasonings and liquid smoke in the pressure cooker. Bring to pressure, reduce heat so that the thingy is gently rocking, and keep at pressure for 40 minutes. Release pressure with cool water over top. Mix in Italian seasonings and liquid smoke. Smash some of the beans if necessary to make it creamy, but you want to keep most of the beans intact. Serve over or mixed up with the rice.
-Alternatively, you can simmer the red beans on the stove. This will probably take several hours — the idea is that the beans kind of become mush on their own.

slow bread experiment #2

19 Dec

1 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups room temp water
6 cups UltraGrain flour, divided
2 1/2 tsp salt
(any additions such as rosemary, caraway, poppy)
1 Tbsp olive oil

Step 1 (2 minutes active, rise 10 minutes):
In the KitchenAid mixing bowl, whisk together yeast, water and 1 cup flour; stir until combined. Let sit 5-10 minutes to get a bit foamy. While the yeast is getting busy, measure the remainder of the flour and whisk together with the salt (don’t add to yeast yet).
Step 2 (5-10 minutes active, rise 8-14 hours):
With mixer on speed 2, add flour 1/2-1 cup at a time until combined, then knead on speed 2 for 4-6 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Coat dough with olive oil. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let sit at room temp for 8-14 hours.
Step 3 (10 minutes active, rise 6-12 hours):
Knead on speed 2 for 2 minutes. Form into two loaves in greased/floured loaf pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and put on the counter for 6-12 hours.
Step 4 (15 minutes oven heating, bake 45 min):
Preheat oven to 350 for 15 minutes. Wash with oil, soymilk or spritz with water if desired. Bake for 35-50 minutes, until browned and hollow sounding.

fudge

19 Dec

I made fudge that was pretty good and pretty well recieved. These are the alterations that I plan on making to the fudge recipe I made last night, based on the feedback I got…

3/4 cup margarine
1 cup chocolate chips (good quality)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups powdered sugar
liquid to consistency (‘milk’, liquer, coffee, etc.)
nuts or other additions

Prepare a pan by lining with tinfoil or parchment paper. In a saucepan over low heat, melt margarine. With a rubber spatula, stir in chocolate chips until smooth. Add vanilla, cocoa and salt, stirring until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Slowly add in powdered sugar, stirring until smooth. Add in other liquid if necessary to obtain a spreadable consistency. Spread into prepared pan. Set in refrigerator until firm, at least one hour, before cutting into small squares.

tropical sunrise cupcakes

18 Dec

to try:
a variation of my beet-peppermint cupcakes….
Dry:
* 3 cups flour
* 2 cups sugar
* 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
* 1/4 tsp baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
Wet:
* 1 14 oz can unsalted beets + orange/pinapple juice to = 2 1/3 cup
* 2/3 cup vegetable oil
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1 teaspoon coconut extract (or more vanilla)

Coconut frosting:

1 cup margarine, room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup coconut cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch salt
2 tsp beet juice
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted (for garnish)

Preheat to 350′. Mix the dry together until completely uniform. Blend the beets and their juice (you may reserve 1-2 tsp beet juice to color the frosting if you like) together until smooth. Add enough orange juice to make 2 1/3 cups. Mix wet ingredients into the dry. Makes 20-22 cupcakes (22 min). Cool completely (I put it in the freezer) before frosting.

Coconut frosting:

1 cup margarine, room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup coconut cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch salt
2 tsp beet juice
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted (for garnish)

Beat margarine until smooth. Add sugar and coconut cream and beat until combined on low, then on med-high until fluffy. Swirl in beet juice for a sunrise-cloud effect. Pipe on cupcakes and top with toasted coconut.

slow bread: an experiment

15 Dec

This is what I do on winter break!
Combining information on poolish starters, biga, and yeast growth patterns to try and create a very slow bread that can be made within the confines of a normal 8-5 work schedule and can be made into a nice sandwich loaf…. with a nice sourdough-esque texture…
This .pdf was helpful, as was this one. I’ve been sifting through the forums at http://www.thefreshloaf.com.
I did not get very far with my hopeful excel spreadsheet that outlined yeast growth patterns. So I will experiment with trial and error… not nearly as much fun as math!

So, the problems that I have been mulling over in my head: the pre-ferment phase is what gives it the sourdough-like flavor without actually using sourdough starter, which I know that I will never remember to feed. But, if you use a preferment phase, then there is the first rise, and the second rise in a pan. Which is three rises. And that just seems unwieldy. So what happens if you preferment the whole shebang?? Will that work?? I know that the amount of moisture has something to do with outcome of the yeast in the preferment. hmmm…

I want to make something as easy as possible, with as few bowls as possible, and still get the desired results…. do I want the world??
editing as I try it out…

3/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups room temp water
7 cups UltraGrain flour, divided
2 1/2 tsp salt
(any additions such as rosemary, caraway, poppy)
1 Tbsp olive oil

Step 1 (2 minutes active, rise 10 minutes):
7:25 PM
In the KitchenAid mixing bowl, whisk together yeast, water and 1 cup flour; stir until combined. Let sit 5-10 minutes to get a bit foamy. While the yeast is getting busy, measure the remainder of the flour and whisk together with the salt (don’t add to yeast yet).
Step 2 (5-10 minutes active, rise 8-14 hours):
With mixer on speed 2, add flour 1/2-1 cup at a time until combined, then knead on speed 2 for 6 minutes. Coat dough with olive oil.
Dough seemed a little too dry and not very elastic. This could be because I am choosing to use a heavier flour, or not enough water. May reduce the flour by 1 cup. Also, the KitchenAid seemed to start to smoke – will have to check in on this. 😉
Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let sit at room temp for 8-14 hours.
Step 3 (10 minutes active, rise 6-12 hours):
13 hrs later, 8:30 AM
Knead on speed 2 for 2 minutes. Form into two loaves in greased/floured loaf pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 6-12 hours.
Dough did rise well (perhaps doubled? You know, I never can tell) but was still not as tender/elastic as I would have liked. Definitely reduce the flour next time.
Step 4 (15 minutes oven heating, bake 45 min):
??
Take loaves out of oven and place on counter. Preheat oven to 350 for 15 minutes. Wash with oil, soymilk or spritz with water if desired. Bake for 35-50 minutes, until browned and hollow sounding.
After 12 hours in the fridge, dough had not risen much. After 24 hours, still no luck. I took it out of the fridge and put it on the counter and it began to rise…. Not sure how the refrigeration will affect the experiment, but I may try increasing the yeast to 1 tsp and doing both rises on the counter…
After 3.5 hrs of rising on the counter, the dough had risen but not nearly popped up over the top of the pan. I baked it for 35 min and it produced a pretty, although not large, slightly dense, slicable, mildly nutty loaf. Not much sourness, mostly nuttiness. Not a bad turnout, but definitely has me excited for experiment #2.

crispy tortilla strips

15 Dec

for adding crunch to soups and chilis.

12 corn tortillas, sliced in half and then in 1/4″ pieces
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/2 tsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Toss all of the ingredients together. Bake in the oven until crispy, tossing every 5-10 minutes until crispy, about 30 minutes.