September 28, 2012

Korean Tofu Tacos



I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned my obsession with tacos. Hands down, the most enjoyment-worthy food around. Their popularity spanning along the US west coast - Washington, Oregon, and California. A very recent introduction to the bustling streets of Toronto. A few establishments in Vancouver and Victoria offering their own version. Oh yes, I have done my research. I judge a city in order of importance, based on whether or not they offer a worthy taco. My harsh criticisms and specific desires in a taco has gotten me into a argument or two. Before moving to Seattle, unbeknownst to me that these tiny tacos were the epitome of a true culinary delight. My first discovery, in a tiny bar on the corner of a bustling street in Siem Reap Cambodia, eating fish tacos and drinking Angkor beer, immediately becoming my favorite food. I'm not sure if it was the comparison I made to white rice and vegetables, which I had been eating for many months prior, my recent emergence from Laos, surviving on a diet of sticky rice and wild leaves, but my mouth was in heaven, and my body feeling nourished. 


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September 25, 2012

Cinnamon Buns with Maple Cream Cheese Icing and Flaked Salt



This past month has brought a handful of late night dinners, good old fashioned catching up, laughter, and a familiar presence that I long for. Little pitter patters down the hall, laughing from the next room, family in every nook and cranny. My sister, baby nephew, and 2 dear friends, left just a few weeks backs, and I have had a bit of an empty feeling since. Baby Jaxon can light up a room with his infectious laughter. His growth and development amazes me, his new found experimentation with language. Birds, bikes, boats, and pizza being a few of his favorite words. He is remarkable with animal identification, and can mimic sounds from a few of the popular ones. Monkey, puppy, and cow, melting me to pieces. 


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September 21, 2012

Mini Hand Pies


If I were to name one dessert that I adore to make time and time again, it would have to be pie. Finding a recipe, sticking with it for a couple of months, and then moving on to the next. New techniques, the addition of buttermilk. Vodka being a bit of a revelation - evaporating while baked, not contributing significantly to gluten development. I've tried Crisco, and then butter. Crisco and butter, but never lard. That is completely out of my territory. The ultimate goal, to create a rich, flaky pastry dough. Normally, when making bread, we want that gluten to work and stretch, forming a structure that can hold tiny pockets of air while being baked. Creating a nice chewy loaf, perfect for dipping. On the contrary, we work hard to prevent those features in pie dough. We strive for as little gluten development as possible, adding only enough water to moisten the dough, and gently piling together, kneading very lightly. The addition of buttermilk, also plays an important role. The acid helps inhibit the gluten formation. 

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September 18, 2012

Panzanella

Last year I found my perfect loaf. One that fulfills all of my needs. I've tried others, when I feel the need channel my riskier side. Most times I am disappointed, let down. Nothing really compares to this beautiful baguette. With a hint of malt, adding a delicious nutty flavor, and a crisp outer crust, perfect brushed with a little olive oil before baking. The inner crumb sharing a texture similar to sour dough, but lacking the sharp flavors. A cross between a French baguette and a San Fransico sourdough, woosh, it's a beauty. I have to give most if the credit to Grand Central Bakery. They are the ones who have done all the hard work, mastering this fine specimen, and I am so very thankful for that. I encourage you to go out there and discover your perfect loaf. The one that calls your name, time and time again.

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September 13, 2012

Pear Coconut Muffins with Brown Butter

Is it me, or does everything taste a little better with brown butter. A little slice of wonderful that can immediately sooth the soul. Some days, when things aren't going as planned, I am reassured to know that butter (particularly brown), well..., just seems right. Like gin and tonic, bread and cheese, cookies and milk. Things that shouldn't be messed with. Things that are just meant to be. Brown butter is a newly discovered concept for me. It was not too long ago, that I sat down to a plate of butternut squash ravioli, drizzled with brown butter and crispy bits of sage. Since then, whenever I get the chance, I'm all for browning my butter. I especially love the added flavor it imparts to baked goods, and how it can transform the simplest pasta into the most luxurious food alive. 

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September 11, 2012

Whole Wheat Pita Bread and Tzatziki


I do enjoy the smell of yeast. Fresh bread baking in the oven. Watching it puff and expand. What a magical thing to witness.  If you have some time to allow the dough to rise, this recipe will produce the most wonderful soft pockets of goodness. I could kill hours watching it puff up in the oven. This recipe being fairly easy, throwing all ingredients into a stand-mixer, and then letting it do all the hard work for you. All you really need is some time to kill.

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September 4, 2012

Fig, Caramelized Shallot, and Goat Cheese FlatBread

Figs, and their cute little stems poking out of the package, bright green, deep purple. Last week, I bought a bag of figs, 10 or so. I was so excited when I saw them in the store. I brought them home, and then completely forgot about them for a couple of days. Once found, their juices started seeping out of their skin, and I knew it would be too late if I didn't gobble them up that day. 

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