please help The Philippines.
i can’t say goodbye to September without this apple crostata. apples apples apples! i love munching on them–the dizzying arrangements in the markets are simply irresistible. and we really love them baked in pies and pastries and tarts. just reading the varieties: fuji, gala, honeycrisp, cortland, McIntosh, Baldwin… use your favorite baking variety, the kind that retains its shape and bakes up sweet yet not oozing all over the pie or cake or crumble: that would be perfect.
i used my favorite Golden Delicious because i like how tart it tastes while retaining its bite.
the pastry is easy to make especially with a food processor but a pastry cutter would work out well too. the surprise ingredient doesn’t affect the taste of the tart at all…it’s just terribly good.
this is the after.
this is the before.
apple crostata from the Boston Globe.
for the pastry:
1 & 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsps. sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut up
1 tsp. vinegar
1/4 cup ice water
extra flour for sprinkling
in a food processor, pulse flour, salt, baking powder and sugar to sift.
add the butter and pulse till the mixture is crumbly.
in a bowl, combine vinegar and ice water.
sprinkle the liquids over the flour mix, and pulse the dough just until clumpy but not forming a ball.
turn the clumps out into a lightly floured board, shape into a ball, flatten into a 4 inch disk. wrap in plastic wrap/cling film and refrigerate at least 20 minutes.
for the filling:
3 large baking apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tbsps. flour
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. sliced almonds (optional)
1 tbsp. heavy cream or milk
sanding sugar for sprinkling (i used demerara)
confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling after baking
set the oven at 400°F. line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
in a bowl, toss the apples with sugar, salt, lemon juice, and flour until thoroughly coated.
on a floured surface, roll out the pastry disk to a 12-inch circle. lift the pastry onto a rolling pin and then lay out on the lined baking sheet.
heap the apples on to the pastry, with a 1 & 1/2 inch border at the edges. dot the apples with butter, then sprinkle with almonds, if using.
fold the edges of the pastry up and over the apples–it will pleat onto itself as it rests on the fruit. brush the edges with cream or milk and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
bake for 40 to 45 minutes, turning the sheet halfway through cooking time. the edges should turn golden brown and firm.
let it settle down for at least 15 minutes.
sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if you like, before cutting into wedges.
#2son has re-dubbed this “Elvish bread” –remember the bread that Frodo and Sam were given as “baon”(provision) for their mission to Mt.Doom? (J.R.R. Tolkien’s works)
my boy says one bite could fill his tummy and keep him feeling full all day. this was his lunch today, filled with chunky peanut butter, and he’s too full to accept an after-school snack
the recipe makes two loaves. after i tucked it in to rise, the dough went up so quickly that i got a bit alarmed that it might spill out into the counter. i could see it growing right before my eyes. i think it must have been the wheat gluten–it must have contributed to the soft fluffiness of its texture. ahh, the sweet, delightful mysteries of bread-making. someday i’ll study the science of it.
the recipe, follows… Continue reading
definition:peachy keen adjective
chiefly US, informal : very good : fine or excellent
yes, peaches are in, and what finer way to enjoy them than this fruit-laden cake. i used to hesitate in using stone fruits for baked desserts due to the labor intensive instructions on how to properly peel, which all called for some blanching in boiling water then gingerly handling hot fruit while carefully peeling…
and then i got my hands on this spiffy peeler with the jagged edges.
i’ve made these twice in a week now! first my daughter did the assembling and we brought them over to their grandparents, dessert for a take-out dimsum lunch in their condo, the second time for home consumption.
the recipe is based on one for plum cake, from the Boston Globe food edition; i substituted firm peaches and i only changed the cinnamon-sugar sprinkle on top to mostly-nutmeg and demerara, with a tiny smidgen of cinnamon. lovely lovely flavors in this cake! when it bakes, the peach slices exude a juice that seeps into the batter in the best possible way. recipe follows…. Continue reading
i watched Jacques Pepin deboning a small chicken on his public tv show, and i was really mesmerized by the chef’s technique. and the result i already know is delicious–having seen a favorite chef post online about her daring challenge. i just had to try it for myself. (i love our Filipino version**, stuffed with meat, but this is a simpler, straightforward yet still bold and tasty stuffing..)
sadly, it is also sadly misrepresented as Chinese hamburger.
i watch a couple of cooking shows on Saturday mornings, and one of them featured this assembled bun, gua bao, or what we call kua pao in the Philippines. i got so nostalgic for it–the last time i ate it was three years ago, at my father’s wake, when my brother brought a big box of it to the inner sanctum–and back then i couldn’t eat more than a bite though as i was feeling ill. the sad situation got so much sadder.
it’s a wonderful snack composed of a soft white steamed bun. sort of shaped like a clam, that you slice and fill with a savory pork belly slice and top with cilantro, hot sauce and chopped peanuts. i promise, it is so good you can’t eat just one. i looked for recipes online, but then i coaxed my husband to look for a version in town to satisfy my craving in a snap.
we went to JoJo Taipei, in Allston just outside of the Boston University line, and we ordered several Taiwanese dishes, dim sum style.
deep fried pork intestines, stuffed with scallions. if only they were stuffed with hot green peppers instead! still, a very welcome treat. i’m so spoiled
my #2son proclaimed this a winner, but then again he’s a noodle monster…spicy beef and noodle soup.
it’s a treat to have a different kind of dim sum experience, no carts and not as much seafood choices, and to me, it’s very similar to Szechuan style dim sum like at Mary Cheung’s in Cambridge. i highly recommend the savory soy milk soup, dragon (soup) buns, and scallion pancakes, both plain or stuffed with beef.
overall, i love their gua bao though the sugar mixed into the ground peanuts was a bit startling for me. (they also sprinkle it on top of dessert steamed fried buns drizzled with condensed milk). i would definitely go back there for more, or ask my daughter to bring me home some, if she were so inclined to visit home and feed her poor old mother.
this looks really complicated but it really is NOT.
wow that sounds like a bravura statement from me, the one who hasn’t been baking as much as i’d like due to unforeseen circumstances. i miss baking so much that i’ve pushed myself to the brink!
this pastry is something i’ve been wanting to try to make ever since i heard about it from so many TV chefs and so many cookbooks. looking at it closely it’s just a cream puff, reconfigured. just make it in steps, and it won’t be so overwhelming. i think a lot of wanna-be pastry chefs start out with choux pastry–the same one used for cream puffs! as i did when i was in my early teens, ages and aeons ago–because it is so easy to work with.
for this, Paris-Brest wreath with praline cream, first make the pastry cream, then leave to chill in the refrigerator.
start the almond praline, which is a caramel poured over almonds, then left to cool and harden, before grinding.
the praline will be blended into the chilled pastry cream.
make and form the choux pastry while still warm. can you tell i’m not an expert at piping anything? i kind of groan at the mess. i think i don’t like that there’s a lot of batter left in the plastic bag! i’m OCD like that….
bake and cool, then split the wreath horizontally, scrape off excess dough, then fill with praline cream and whipped cream.
“Suddenly feel like screen goddess in manner of Grace Kelly…
… though perhaps ever so slightly less elegant under pressure.”
–”Bridget Jones’ Diary,” Helen Fielding.
Thanks to improved technology, microwave has grown to become one of the most crucial components in a modern kitchen. In contrast to a traditional oven grill, the microwave does not generate a lot of heat thereby guaranteeing normal temperatures in your kitchen during the summer. Regrettably, there are people who are yet to realize the full potential of the microwave. Most use it for trivial tasks such as melting of butter, heating tea and making popcorns.
How does the microwave oven function?
Microwave oven functions by converting high-voltage to electromagnetic energy. Electromagnetic energy is a mixture of magnetic and electrical energies. This kind of energy is found within the radio waves and not x-rays. Distribution of energy within the microwave oven in made possible thanks to stirrer blade as well as a wave guide. The electromagnetic energy automatically ceases when:
• The microwave oven door is open.
• The countdown timer hits zero.
The idea is to prevent microwave radiation which is present within the oven from getting into the environment when the door is opened. Each microwave oven is fitted with two autonomous mechanisms that function in guaranteeing zero electrical activities the instant the microwave door is opened
Heat is generated when water molecules contained in foods and beverages are made to vibrate. The vibration of the water molecules are what are responsible for cooking the food inside the oven. It is also the major reason as to why the oven is prevented from heating. Vibration of water molecules is also the other reason why beverage, fruits and vegetables tend to cook pretty fast compared to other types of foods. Then again, foods that are rich in fat and sugar cook quite fast. Contamination of the food being cooked insider the microwave oven is prevented by the fact that microwave energy is automatically changed into heat the instant it is engrossed by the food.
Even though heat is generated nonstop within the food, it is important to point out that microwave energy cannot prepare foodstuff from the inside out. Dense dishes such as meat are prepared mainly through conduction of heat that is generated on the exterior layers.
As is the case with traditional ovens, microwaves have their interior components made from metal. This is because metal allows heat to be reflected. The other common feature that microwaves and traditional ovens bear is a central fan that functions in circulating hot air within the microwave so that the food not only cooks fast, but browns evenly. Therefore, if you would like to obtain optimum results when preparing food using your microwave oven, it is crucial that you strictly follow the preparation instructions.
Like any other home appliance, microwave ovens are susceptible to damage. However, do not attempt to fix a damaged microwave oven unless you are a certified electrical contractor. The appliance is quite complex as it is made up of thermal protectors, magnetron, complex circuits and high voltage transformers.
Since a microwave oven is not product that is purchased on a weekly or monthly basis, it is important that you take certain factors into consideration before making your purchase.
1. What types of foods would you like to prepare using the microwave oven?
Light users mainly utilize their microwave ovens for defrosting, melting and heating. Consequently, such users do not require a plethora of features which are expensive yet they won’t utilize them. On the other hand, if you would like to utilize the microwave for preparing different types of foods, it is crucial that you get a microwave that comes with cutting-edge features besides popcorn and drinks.
2. How much wattage do you require?
If you would like to spend less time preparing meals, consider getting a microwave oven with a high wattage. Then again, a majority of microwaves available in the market have a wattage ranging between 600 and 1200, which is enough for preparing foods.
3. Countertop vs. Over Range Microwaves
Where do you intend to utilize the microwave? A majority of home owners tend to prefer the countertop model mainly because it is plug-and-play. However, if you would like to acquire a prebuilt microwave, then you need to get a professional to install the appliance. In comparison to countertop microwaves, built-in microwaves are extremely powerful and as such are mainly utilized for commercial purposes.
Finally, you need to take into consideration the features of the microwave you are planning to purchase. For example, would you like to purchase a microwave with a built-in sensor or preprogrammed food preparation starts? You also have to check out customers reviews, I found some on this site http://wikitalks.com/category/new-reviews/household-office-appliances/major-appliances/microwaves-major-appliances/
wait, is summer over?
it sure feels cool around here, and i keep overhearing people grumbling that summer season has ended. hope not! if it is, then it sure was a short one. we did have a ten-day-or-so stretch of a heatwave and we scrambled for ways to keep cool.
raspberry cheesecake bites: bake cheesecake (with shortbread cookie crust) in a loaf pan then top and cool with raspberry gelee topping, and cut into little squares.
this always gives the uninitiated quite a shock: avocado with sweet condensed milk! yes, sweet avocado.
outdoor dining at the shake shack: we wanted to check out all the hullaballoo, with a rootbeer float and burgers and fries. verdict: it was just fine, though pricey and…”i’ve had better,” quoting a line from “Liar, Liar” heehee
our favorite ice cream flavor this season: coffee espresso chip
sampled a few new summer ales…
some on a pleasant log cabin in Vermont.
i am doing an equivalent of a sun dance, praying for more sunny hot days as i browse through my grilling cookbooks and ice cream maker recipes. please don’t let summer be over.
When opening a restaurant, it can be tempting to want to stock your kitchen with every piece of equipment and gadget available. However, depending on the types of food and beverages you’re serving, you might not need one of everything. You can find information on the newest food preparation equipment at http://www.nisbets.com/. Read on to learn more about common food preparation equipment.
What they do: Blenders are great for handling a variety of beverages and foods at a high volume and quick pace. Smoothies, cocktails, soups, sauces and purees are all made possible by the humble blender.
Do you need one? Probably. Virtually every type of restaurant serves a variety of menu items that require the use of a blender.
What they do: Immersion blenders can be used to blend food in any container and can have a variety of attachments for different types of mixing.
Do you need one? Yes, especially if you don’t have a blender.
What they do: Just what the name says – mix ingredients together. Mixers are ideal for large volumes of food and are a must for baking.
Do you need one? Yes, the only question is how big do you need your mixer to be?
Slicers & Grinders
What they do: These handy devices grind meat, and slice cheeses and meats.
Do you need one? If you are a deli or serve sandwiches, yes. Meat grinders are also ideal for restaurants that serve burgers or that make their own sausages.
What they do: Everything. These machines are the all-purpose, go-to devices of any professional kitchen. Food processors mix and puree, grind and chop, and will do so at high volume.
Do you need one? Probably. Unless you choose to use more specialized equipment, having a food processor is a convenient way to have the capabilities of multiple tools in one piece of machinery.