Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Soft Pretzels

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6 cups flour
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
2 tsp baking soda + 4 cups water

Mix flour and salt together, I use a Kitchen Aid mixer. In the 2 cups of warm water, dissolve the yeast and sugar and let stand for 5 - 10 minutes until slightly bubbly. Mix dissolved yeast into flour and knead for 10 minutes.

Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise until double.

Once doubled, remove dough and punch down. Pull off fist-sized ball of dough, into 12 - 14 pieces. Roll pieces into ropes about 18 inches long. Twist.

In a large saucepan, boil 4 cups water and the baking soda. Drop 2 to 3 pretzels in at a time, let boil for one minute or until they float. Remove from pan, drain, and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 475 degrees F for about 12 minutes. Sprinkle with coarse-ground salt if desired.

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Foccacia

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2 cups white flour
3/4 cup water (about 200 ml) (warm, but not uncomfortable, to the touch)
7 g active dried yeast (1 typical packet)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil
half a cup chopped olives (cans black, kalamata, green)
Sea salt (optional) and fresh rosemary to garnish

Mix the sugar and yeast into half of the water, then leave to sit for 5-10 mins, until it looks foamy and smells of yeast.

Put the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the yeasty water and add 2 tbsp (half) of the oil. Mix everything up into a dough, adding the rest of the water. You may need to add more water to get the right consistency; there should be no dry bits, but it should form a proper ball that is not excessively sticky.

Knead the dough for about 10 mins, until it feels smooth and elastic. Be tough with it; fold it over and punch and slap with both hands to knead. If it keeps sticking to your hands, it is too wet. Add more flour to your kneading surface, to dry it off. Near the end of the kneading process, fold in the chopped olives.

Let the dough rest for 5 mins, while you oil the tray that you are going to use.

Form the dough out into a rough rectangle just over 2 cm (about an inch) thick.

Put the dough on the oiled tray, cover (a damp towel is ideal), then put in a warm place to rise for about an hour, until it doubles in size. It should feel soft and pillow-like.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F

Use your finger to make evenly-spaced dimples in the dough, then insert a sprig of rosemary into each one. Drizzle the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil over the dough. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, if using.

Bake the loaf for 25 mins, until it is golden brown all over. Ideally, remove from the tray after 20 mins and bake again directly on the oven shelf for 5 mins, to brown the bottom. Don't bother if its too much trouble.

Next time am going to add cloves of garlic to make a garlic foccacia.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Coffee Cake

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Topping:
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup margarine, chilled

Batter:
1 1/4 cup soymilk
3 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix topping, cutting in the chilled margarine with a pastry cutter, fork, or any tool you have. Set one cup of it aside. Mix the remaining portion with the batter ingredients to make the batter. Pour batter into a greased 9 x 6-inch cake pan. Sprinkle reserved crumb topping on top of the batter. Cook for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hot Fudge Brownies

1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup brown sugar (white works too)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water

Mix first five dry ingredients together, then add soy milk, applesauce, and vanilla. Mix well. Spoon or pour into an 8x8-inch greased pan.

Mix the remaining cocoa powder, brown sugar and hot water in a bowl until the sugar is dissolved making a nice chocolaty syrup. Stir it to mix well. Pour this over the brownie batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving or the chocolate will burn your mouth and be too runny otherwise.

The beauty of this recipe is that the chocolate syrup on the top of the batter will "fall" to the bottom of the pan while its cooking so you have a nice brownie on top, but a thick fudgy layer now on the bottom that has thickened up due to the flour.

This is by far my favorite brownie recipe in the world :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Curry Potatoes and Carrots

(or curry potato mash with carrots and chickpeas . . .)

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2-3 medium red potatoes, cubed
2 carrots, coarsely sliced
1 onion, diced
1-3 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 tsp garam masala
2 tsp curry powder
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
Pinch dry mustard or mustard seed
1 can/cup chickpeas (rinsed if canned aka garbanzo beans)

Cover potatoes and carrots with water and boil until soft, about 20-30 minutes. While these are boiling, put all the spices, onion, garlic, and oil in a sauce-/fry-pan and fry, stirring frequently, until onions start to turn translucent.

When potatoes and carrots are done, drain off excess liquid and reserve for later. Mash with a potato masher or fork, adding reserved liquid as needed to resemble mashed potatoes, but leave it a little chunky. Add the onion mixture and chickpease to the potato mixture. Mix well.

Serve with a side of vegetables, something green. I really like serving it with shelled edamame. A nice side salad would be awesome, too.