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I love to learn and discover new ways to make good food. I hope to share some of my fave recipes here so that anyone, foodgeek or not, can benefit from it somehow. Please chime in...I welcome your comments or just a plain hello would be nice too! If you have any recipes to share please feel free to contact me or post it in a comment in this blog.

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Quick Quinoa Pilaf

Posted by foodgeek on December 6, 2011 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)

This is a quick post of a quick side/appetizer that I quickly whipped up using ingredients on hand for a potluck Christmas party. I got a couple of requests for the recipe at the party so I figured, why not put it on the blog!

 

The reason this is a quick recipe is because everything I do lately, cooking or otherwise, has to be quick due to lack of time. Life with my 3 year old, Grace, has become much more hectic since we brought her home from China a year ago. I cannot believe it has been that long. Time flies when you're having fun! And fun it is, albeit hectic and chaotic, life is so much more fun these days with Grace, the love of me and my hubbab's life. I could go on and on about that but let's focus back to the subject here - my quick quinoa pilaf recipe.

 

But first, here's a pic of my little jujube enjoying her bowl of quinoa, bless her little heart.


 

I am not a big fan of quinoa myself. At least not by itself. The hubby likes. The wee one likes it. I am just so-so on it. I can't pin-point what it is I don't particularly like about it. It's similar to couscous, and I love couscous. But quinoa? I can take it or leave it. But the hubby likes it so much, the bargain fiend that he is bought a boat load of it when it went on sale at Henry's (now called Sprout's).

 

Hoping to make a little more space in the pantry by making as much of the quinoa as I could, I have pretty much mastered the proper way to cook quinoa just right to make it nice and fluffy, not mushy.

 

To give you a quick (there's that word again!) background on quinoa, I looked it up on my favorite reference website, wikipedia. Quinoa is "a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds". It originates from the "Andean region of Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru." It is known for its high protein content.

 

Quinoa is cooked much like rice, and is best cooked with less water than what a lot of recipes I have found call for. I use a ratio of 1 3/4 cup of water to 2 cups of quinoa. I usually add about a teaspoon of olive oil to it and about a quarter teaspoon of salt. Be sure to rince the seeds thoroughly prior to cooking to remove the bitter exterior coating. I simply use a fine mesh sieve and run cold water over the seeds until the water runs clear.

 

The easiest way to cook quinoa is by using a rice cooker. Simply put the rinsed quinoa, water, olive oil and salt into the rice cooker, and set to cook. If you don't have a rice cooker, you can cook it over a stove over medium heat until it comes to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is transparent and tender, about 16 to 18 minutes. Let it stand off the heat covered for about 10 minutes, then fluff it up with a fork. 

 

To make the pilaf, I first sauteed minced onion, garlic, thyme and about a teaspoon of sugar in some melted butter until the onion is softened and slightly caramelized. I then mixed in the quinoa until heated through, then added some cranberries, raisins and toasted pecans. It is as simple as that.

 


This recipe, or concoction as I like to call it, is versatile enough that you can add just about anything to it, such as dates, apples, currants, chopped dried apricots, slivered almonds, etc., etc., etc. This could even be made into a main dish by putting in some mushrooms, some veggies, cooked ground beef, chicken, chickpeas. I am brainstorming here as I write, can you tell?


If you make this recipe, come back and let me know your own concoction.

Kulinarya Challenge - Arroz Caldo

Posted by foodgeek on November 14, 2011 at 1:50 AM Comments comments (12)

This month's Kulinarya challenge is Arroz Caldo. Perfect timing because I had been intending to make it anyway. Perfect theme for rainy, cooler weather here in Southern California. This is also the first time I am making this dish. I have made similar chicken and rice stews and soups, but never the traditional FilipinoArroz Caldo.

 

 

Arroz Caldo is quintessential of the Chinese/Spanish influence on Filipino cuisine. According to Wikipedia, "Arroz caldo is actually a Chinese congee that was adapted to the tastes of the Spanish colonial settlers who patronised Chinese restaurants in the Philippines." It "is usually spiced with safflower and black pepper in place of or in addition to the more traditional ginger and scallion. Arroz caldo more closely resembles risotto than congee, from which it can be distinguished by its bright yellow saffron colour and the relatively larger pieces of chicken meat."

 

So here you are. My version of Arroz Caldo! It became my version due to ingredients I had on hand. Instead of white rice, I used brown. I had no fresh ginger, so I used powdered. I used boneless, skinless chicken breast instead of skin-on, bone-in. I also added carrots and shiitake mushrooms. I had no safflower, so used saffron. I have to say, it turned out quite good!

 

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. vegetable or saflowwer oil.

1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 cup onion diced, medium

2 medium carrots, chopped to bite-size or smaller pieces

1 ½ lbs skinless, boneless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces

1 ½ cups uncooked brown rice

2 tbsp fish sauce

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup water

6 oz. shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

4 to 5 hard boiled eggs, quartered (or leave them whole if you wish)

A pinch of saffron

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Instructions:

1. Heat the cooking oil over medium heat then saute the garlic and onion until onions are soft and aromatic.

2. Add the carrots and saute for about 3 minutes or cooked to just a slight crunch.

3. Add the chicken and cook until browned but not fully cooked, about 5 minutes.

5. Add the fish sauce, ground ginger and uncooked rice cook for about 3 minutes.

 

 

6. Stir in the chicken broth and water and bring to a boil.

7. Put on low heat, add the mushrooms, and allow to simmer until the rice is fully cooked (about 40 to 50 minutes), stirring occasionally to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

 

 

8. Add the saffron and salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

9. You can add the hard-boiled eggs at this point and garnish with toasted garlic (instrucitions below) and chopped scallions (optional), or add the eggs and the garnish to the individual servings. Serve with lemon wedges or calamansi.

 

Toasted garlic:

Simply saute minced garlic in oil over medium heat until golden brown. Spread the cooked garlic on paper towel lined plate to drain.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Please check out the Kulinarya Cooking Club website to see the fabulous entries of other members. Thank you Joy of Joy's Misadventures for stepping up to the plate and coming up with the Arroz Caldo theme for this month. Good choice!

Pork in Tomato Sauce

Posted by foodgeek on October 4, 2011 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

I recently came across a cookbook called The Everything Rice Cooker Cookbook by Hui Leng Tay, when I went to check out Border's close out deals. I did a quick peruse and found some rather interesting, good sounding, mostly Asian recipes. At 40% off, I went ahead and added it to my pile of cookbooks to be purchased.

 

I have a rice cooker, which I have not used for anything more than cooking white and brown rice. Being born and raised in the Philippines, rice has been a regular staple in my home. But since I've lived in the US, I have gotten away from my daily diet of rice and "something else". These days I have added more pasta, potatoes, and even quinoa to my side dish options, instead of rice. With the rice cooker cookbook, I figured I can use my cooker for something other than rice, especially now that it is not being used so much. 

 

The first recipe I tried was the Chicken Barley Soup which turned out not only quite good, but easy to make! So I went on to try several other recipes, all of which were very good. I now wish I had this cookbook when my kitchen was being remodeled!

 

Recently pork was on sale at Sprouts. I had never tried a pork recipe from this cookbook so figured this would be the time. Looking at the different pork recipes, I chose Pork in Tomato Sauce. Ingredients and work seemed minimal.Sure enough, it was, both easy to make and good! It probably took about half an hour to make from start to finish. I had it for my brown bag lunch at work today over brown rice. It seems to taste even better the next day.

 

This stew recipe was so super easy, I just had to take a minute to share my "adaptation". Here are the basic ingredients:

 

½ pound pork tenderloin, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

½ teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon ketchup

½ cup water

1 teaspoon corn flour

3 tablespoons vegetable oil 

 

Procedure:

Combine the pork with soy sauce, salt, pepper, and honey. Leave to marinate in fridge for 30 minutes. I marinated it overnight since I had just finished cooking another dish for dinner and wanted to make this dish the following night.

 

In a separate bowl, combine ketchup, water, and corn flour. Set aside as sauce.

 

Add the oil to the rice cooker, cover, and set to Cook. When the base of the cooker pot gets warm, add the pork and fry about 8 to 10 minutes until browned and partially cooked through. Dish out and set aside. Leave the remaining oil in the pot.

 

Add the prepared sauce to the pot, stir well, cover rice cooker, and allow to reach a simmer. Once simmering, return the pork to the pot, cover rice cooker, allow to reach a simmer, and let it simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes. If mixture bubbles too vigorously, switch to Warm and continue to simmer for the remaining 8 to 10 minutes until the pork cooks through and sauce reduces (thickens).

 

I didn't go too far off on this recipe except that I did add some frozen peas towards the last few minutes of the cooking. In the future, I might saute some potatoes and carrots in the beginning, set it aside, proceed with the recipe, then add the potatoes and carrots towards the end to heat through and finish cooking. I might also saute some onions and garlic in the beginning as well. The ketchup is already seasoned and salty enough that I chose not to add anymore salt. Another idea would be to add some bokchoy at the end.

 

This very versatile and adaptable recipe is now my new favorite quick recipe. The best part is that my two year old loved it!

Kulinarya Challenge - Buko Salad

Posted by foodgeek on September 27, 2011 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (9)

Sooo...remember me? It's been a while!

 

Kulinarya Cooking Club is now reinforcing strict posting rules, one of which is that members must submit a post once every quarter. So I better get my you know what in gear!

 

Kulinarya Cooking Club was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colorful cuisine. As a Spanish Filipina, born in Calamba, Laguna, Philippines and raised for the most part in the Philippines, I have a vested interest in Filipino food, so I was thrilled to have found this group and did not hesitate to join.

 

Within the Kulinarya Cooking Club I have found the most fabulous people (both professional and home chefs) who have come up with amazingly creative Filipino dishes. Each month each KCC member will showcase a new dish along with their recipes. We share these recipes through our food blogs with other KCC members of our Yahoo group site as well as the rest of the world. Each dish is based on a creative theme thought up by members on the roster. All monthly themes must trace back to Filipino cuisine.

 

If you’re interested in joining KCC or just looking for a good resource of Filipino food recipes, please go to the Kulinarya Cooking Club website.

 

The theme for the months of August/September was thought up by KCC members Ray of Wok with Ray, Oggi of I Can Do That, Chef Theodore Salonga of Chef By Day, and Boyet of Reel and Grill. The theme is based on two major Filipno festivities on these months which are National Heroes Day and Ninoy Aquino's death anniversary. Since both events are national, patriotic events, so Ray, Oggi, Chef Theodore and Boyet came up with the challenge to use all four colors of our beloved Filipino flag. These colors are RED, WHITE, BLUE and YELLOW.

 

So the rules/challenge for the month is to use the colors red, white, blue and yellow in our dishes. No food coloring allowed, but ok to include a color with a garnish or use one color on ONE non food item, such as a plate, a bowl. etc.

 

Phew! Now that's a challenge! So stop the gabbing already, foodgeek, and get on with your post!

 

After going through pages of Filipino recipes in my cookbooks and looking online, I decided to go with Buko ("Coconut") Salad. At first it seemed like a lame idea, too easy, but looking for something blue, preferably edible, to add to the mix proved to be the challenge! I started off with this -

 

 

I've got red, I've got white, I've got yellow (yes, there's yellow in there), but where's the blue? Hmmm...what to do, what to do.

 

 

At this point, I decided to keep the fruit salad in the fridge overnight while I figure out what to add that's blue.

 

Tic-toc, time is ticking. I'm already late for my post!

 

The only thing I could think of to add to this that is blue were blueberries. Not exactly Filipino, and the tartness may clash with the rest of the dish, but I figured, heck, why not. Of course, I could not find anything blue in my house to plate the salad on either, so I might just get desperate enough to go buy a blue bowl!

 

The next morning, after dropping Grace off at pre-school, I made a quick stop at Fresh and Easy on the way to work to look for blueberries. Of course, no blueberries. BUT!...there they were, shining on the shelf in the refrigerated section, like the holy grail - blue concorde grapes! Woo-hoo! Grab some quick! Oh, and maybe some strawberries to go with lunch. And, oh look, kale chips! Gotta try those. Ended up with a $30 grocery bill before I finally exited the store.

 

Ok, I know. Grapes aren't exactly Filipino either, but come on now, give me a break! They're blue and I'm stickin' with 'em!

 

Tic-toc, pretend hours have gone by and I have finally gotten home from picking Grace up from school after work. I've washed the grapes and added them to the mix. So here it is with the grapes...TADA!

 

 

 

 

That is more like it!

 

Simple, but delish - that's what it's all about. Here's the recipe.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup maraschino cherries - red

2 cups young coconut strips (You can find this at the frozen section in Asian markets, usually packed in water. Defrost and drain.). - white

1 jar sugar palm fruit (kaong), drained (These are usually found in the canned fruit aisle in Asian markets.) - white

1 1/2 cups blue concorde grapes - blue

1 cup peaches (canned or fresh) diced - yellow

1 14 oz. can tropical fruit cocktail, drained

You can add any other fruit you like - chopped apples, pineapple cubes, jack fruit, etc.

 

Procedure:

Whisk the whipping cream, condensed milk and vanilla in a large bowl.

Add all the fruit to the dressing and mix to evenly coat.

Refrigerate or serve immediately.

 

For additional KCC member postings on this theme, go to the Kulinarya Cooking Club blog "August-September Challenge: Colors of the Philippine Flag".

 

Thank you Ray, Oggi, Chef Theodore and Boyet for this fun but challenging KCC theme. Well done!

Easy Chocolate Ice Cream

Posted by foodgeek on July 5, 2010 at 3:21 PM Comments comments (2)

Wow, I have a lot of catching up to do! Amazing how life gets so hectic, time flies and before you know it, certain "low priority" things get shelved for months! So I thought I'd make a quick blog before anyone following me loses further interest.

 

Recently, as I was going through and sorting stacks of saved, untried recipes printed from the internet, from old magazines, I stumbled upon this "Easy Chocolate Ice Cream" recipe from a trial Cooks County magazine that I got in the mail months ago, possibly even years ago! It caught my eye because it mentioned that it was made without an ice cream machine. I've been tempted to buy an ice cream machine in the past, but due to my smallish kitchen, I've held off. I really can't afford to have yet another small appliance in my kitchen due to space constraints, and if I store it in the garage, I'm afraid there it will stay indefinitely, forgotten.

 

As the article in Cook's Country indicated, this recipe is based on semifreddo (an Italian dessert) where whipped egg whites or whipped cream is folded into an egg yolk base. The twist to this particular recipe is the addition of condensed milk which provided its velvery texture, and coffee granules which heightened the chocolate flavor. The result, the best chocolate ice cream I have ever tasted. Dear husband John can attest to that himself as he continually made the "mmmmm...." sounds as he ate a bowl of it. This will definitely be a repeat recipe, especially with hot Summer months coming up!

 

 

 

Easy Chocolate Ice Cream

(makes 1 quart)

 

1 tsp. instant coffee or espresso powder

1 tbsp. hot water

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 tsp. vanila extract

Pinch of salt

1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream

 

Before the following steps, I put the mixing bowl in which I will make the whipped cream in and even the wire whisk attachment in the freezer and kept them there for a few minutes until time to use. I also keep the heavy cream in the fridge until it's time to whip it up. It seems to whip up faster when the cream is kept cold.

 

Proceed to make the chocolate base:

 

Combine the coffee (or espresso) powder and hot water in a small bowl. Let it stand until the coffee dissolves - about 5 minutes.

 

Skip the double boiler and simply microwave the chocolate, condensed milk and coffee mixture in a bowl, stirring every 10 seconds, until the chocolate is melted, about 1 minute.

 

Stir in the vanilla and salt. Let it cool.

 

Skip the ice cream machine and simply mix and freeze:

 

Take the mixing bowl, whisk attachment out of the freezer and start making the whipped cream. On medium high speed, whip the cream to soft peaks (about 2 minutes).

 

Whisk 1/3 of whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the rest until incorporated.

 

 

 

Pour the mixture into an air tight container and freeze for at lesat 6 hours.

 

That's it! Voila! So easy!

 

 

Perhaps in the future I would add, nuts, maybe some mini marshmallows, or raspberries, top it off with some chocolate syrup. Possibilities are endless.

 

Tip: If you plan to store the ice cream for more than a few days, place plastic wrap directly on its surface before freezing. This will prevent ice particles to form while in the freezer.

 

Enjoy!

My Sparrow Earth Day Giveaway and Discount

Posted by foodgeek on April 22, 2010 at 1:09 PM Comments comments (0)

I've recently discovered and fallen in love with http://www.mysparrowblog.com/, a site that offers eco friendly items for the home. In honor of Earth Day, My Sparrow is giving away a set of their wonderful Owl pitchers to one lucky follower and offering a 10% discount on your order today and tomorrow. Check out the details here!

 

My Sparrow-stylish responsibility 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artos: Greek Celebration Bread

Posted by foodgeek on April 6, 2010 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

My second bread for the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge! S'about time, huh?  I actually baked these quite sometime ago and just have not had a chance to blog about it.

 

This "Greek Celebration Bread" is traditionally baked during Christmas and Easter holidays. I made right in the midst of Lent. Close enough?

 

Peter Reinhart included a couple variations to this recipe in Bread Baker's Apprentice with the option of adding dried fruit and nuts to create either Christopsomos (a Christmas bread) or Lambropsomo (an Easter bread). He also illustrated shaping options to create beautiful loaves that appear to be works of art if you can pull it off. I chose to go with the basic recipe and shaping option at this point to start. I would love to make this bread again and try to different mixtures and shapes.

 

As I remember it, this bread was close to being a brioche, somewhat of a sweet dough almost. The bread is flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, lemon zest, almond extract and honey and included wild yeast starter, which always adds more depth to the flavor of any bread. Thank you, chef Weber, for the starter you gave me back in February which to this remains alive and well in my kitchen. I always look forward to using my starter.

 

When I made this bread I did not go about taking step by step pictures. I will update this post with those pics when I make this bread again. So for the meantime, I will simply leave you with a pretty picture of the finished product. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

Pane al Cioccolato - Italian Chocolate Bread

Posted by foodgeek on March 29, 2010 at 2:28 PM Comments comments (5)

Thank you Jude, the blogger of http://www.applepiepatispate.com/, for sharing the recipe! This particular bread will definitely be baked again in my kitchen! I stumbled upon the recipe at http://www.applepiepatispate.com/bread/pane-al-cioccolato-italian-chocolate/ months ago, and you'd think, as much as I love chocolate that I would have made it right away! For some reason or another I kept putting it off and putting it off until I finally found the time to make it this weekend. I am a major dark chocolate fanatic so you can just assume that this one is tops on my list of favorite breads. It was quite fun to make! I could smell the cocoa powder and chocolate chips as I was kneading the dough - by hand as my mixer is still not back for repairs :(. The house smelled amazing as it was baking. I followed Jude's recipe exactly as shown on the page above and they turned out beautifully. I only wish I would have doubled the recipe as I would want to share this bread with many of my friends and colleagues. This was the perfect opportunity for me to use my sourdough starter that is growing and growing and about to take over my entire refridgerator! Only thing is that it only needed 1 ounce of the starter...anyone like to to have some of my sourdough starter?

 

First, you make the "Biga Naturale" or , in English, Wild Yeast Starter:

 

Ingredients:

1 oz / 28 grams starter

1/4 cup / 1.125 oz / 32 grams bread flour

.625 or 18 grams water, at room temperature

 

Instructions:

In a small bowl, mix the biga naturale ingredients until the ingredients are evenly distributed and cover. Let the wild yeast starter ferment at room temperature for about 8 hours before using in the final dough. I left it on the counter overnight. In the future, I might just use my existing sourdough in the the required total weight to cut down on time.

 

The biga naturale after mixing...

 

The biga naturale after fermentation of at least 8 hours:

 

Next, make the final dough...

 

Ingredients:

all of the biga naturale, cut into small pieces

3 cups / 13.875 oz / 248 grams bread flour

1 1/8 cups / 8.75 oz / 248 grams water

4 tbsp / 2.5 oz / 71 grams honey

1 tbsp vanilla extract

4 tbsp / .875 oz / 25 grams cocoa powder

1/4 tsp instant yeast

1 tbsp / .375 oz / 10 grams kosher salt

2.75 oz / 78 grams chocolate chips (added towards the end of kneading)

 

Instructions:

Mix all of the ingredients (except the chocolate chips) until evenly incorporated. Knead for abut 8 to 10 minutes either by hand or using a mixer. Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes.

 

Add the chocolate chips and knead for about another until the chocolate chips are thoroughly

incorporated. This should only take a minute using a mixer, but it took me about 3 minutes doing it by hand. Good exercise!

 

Let the dough ferment for 2 hours at room temperature in a lightly oiled bowl. It should almost double in size.

 

before...                                                                          after...

  

 

Divide the dough into 2 pieces, about 1 lb/454 grams each or into 4 pieces about 8 oz each. Shape each piece into a light ball and let rest about 20 to 30 minutes.

 

Shape each piece into a boule or batard and set them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. cover with a lightly oiled plastic wrap and final proof for 3 hours at room temperature.

 

 

Preheat the oven to 400ºF/204ºC.

 

Score the dough with 2 or 3 slashes.

 

 

Jude's instructions indicate to place a heavy steam pan (preferably cast iron) filled with 1 cup of boiling water in the oven. I simply sprayed the oven walls with water for steam just before placing the dough into the oven (middle rack).

 

Bake at 400ºF/204ºC for 20 minutes. Rotate the loaves if necessary and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes.

 

The finished bread out of the oven should have a crust that sounds hollow when you tap it. It should also register at about 200ºF with an instant thermometer.

 

 

Cool for about 1 hour..

 

 

Had it with some rice milk. It would be great with coffee or chai latte as well. A sperad of Nutella will take it just over the top! Love this bread!!

 

 

 

 

 

Bran Flax Muffins

Posted by foodgeek on March 21, 2010 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

These muffins are great for breakfast or just as a snack, chocful of healthy stuff including flax seeds, oat bran, carrots, apples, raisins and nuts. One standard muffin size serving is 220 calories. This recipe makes 15 standard size muffins. I like to use mini-muffin pans to keep a single service small. I use an ice cream scoop to drop the batter into the muffin cups. For standard muffin pan, fill the cups at about 3/4 full. For mini-muffins, I usually fill the cups so that it mounds about half an inch above the rim.

 

ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup ground flax seeds

3/4 cup oat bran

1 cup brown sugar

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups carrots, finely shredded

2 apples, peeled and shredded

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup nuts, chopped

3/4 cup milk

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

 

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

 

2. Grease muffin pan or line with paper muffin liners.

 

3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, flax seed, oat bran, brown sugar, baking sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

 

4. Stir in the carrots, apples, raisins and nuts.

 

5. Combine themilk, eggs, vanilla and oil in a separate bowl.

 

6. Pour liquid into the dry ingredients.

 

7. Stir until ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix.

 

8. Fill prepared muffins cups about 3/4 full with batter.

 

9. Bake  15 to 20 minutes, oruntil a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.

English Muffins

Posted by foodgeek on March 19, 2010 at 12:51 AM Comments comments (8)

I'm not usually a big fan of English muffins, but once I tried these...well, bye-bye Thomas', I'm making these from now on. These muffins were big on taste and stayed moist even when toasted. I learned this recipe at a bread baking class ("The Classics") at the Laguna Culinary Arts school, taught by Chef Diana Weber. This is definitely a keeper recipe. I served these muffins for a birthday brunch this past weekend and happy to say, everyone really liked them! So here you go...

 

Makes 18

Fermentation: sponge 15 mins.

Dough: bench rest 30n mins.

Proofing: 20 to 39 mins.

 

9 1/4 oz. whole milk

3/8 oz. active dry yeast

1 lb. pastry flour (I used whole wheat pastry)

1 lb. unbleached bread flour

12 grams baking powder

1 1/4 oz. granulated sugar

1/4 oz.  salt

1 1/2 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature

9 1/4 oz. water (baby bottle temperature)

Cornmeal, as needed

 

1. Heat the milk to 75°F (24°C). Stir the yeast into the milk until it dissolves. Mix in 7 oz. (210 grams) of the pastry flour. Cover and let the sponge ferment for 15 minutes.

 

2. Sift the remaining pastry flour and the bread flour with the baking powder. Set aside.

 

3. Place the sponge and all remaining ingredients in a bowl. Mix by hand or on low speed in a mixer witha dough hook for about 3 minutes to moisten the ingredients. Take out of the bowl and knead or continue to beat on high for about another 7 minutes until the dough is soft and somewhat sticky (add water or flour as needed).

 

4. Cover and let the dough rest for about 20 minutes. Punch down and rest for another 10 minutes.

 

5. Roll out the dough until it is about 1/2" to 3/4" inch thick. Cut the dough into circles with 3 1/4 in. cutter or English muffin rings. Place the cut pieces (with the rings) on cornmeal dusted sheet pans and proof for 20 to 30 minutes.

 

6. Place the muffins (rings and all) on a lightly greased griddle dusted with cornmeal and bake at 375°F (190°C) or on low on the stove top until golden brown, approximately 7 minutes per side. The muffins should sound hollow when tapped with the finger.

 

   

 

Let the muffins cool with the rings.

 

 

Pop out the muffins from the rings...voila!

 

 

...pried open with a fork to get the traditional nooks and crannies, then spread with butter and blueberry preserves...

 

 

total yumminess! Thank you Chef Weber!

 


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Geekus Maximus...

I'm not a professional cook or baker. My family will attest to that! I have had a reputation to be a bad cook, but I love good food so much that I resolved to learn and improve my cooking skills to have good food always at hand, without having to eat out. I get excited when I find a great recipe or bread formula and feel the need to share. So here is a chronolog of my successes (and sometimes failures) of my culinary exploits. Enjoy and chime in. Always happy to get some good insight!

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