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Sunday, December 10, 2006

no knead bread update


A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a no knead bread recipe I had found in the NYTimes. The author, Mark Bittman, had an update whish I wish to share with you. You can go to the following NYTimes site or you can read below. I have taken liberties to reprint Mr. Bittman's update here or they will be lost once 7 days have come and gone and the link to the paper's article will not be available. apparently a lot of readers were enthused by the bread making method. Here are Mr. Bittman's observations to various reader questions:
WEIGHT VS. VOLUME The original recipe contained volume measures, but for those who prefer to use weight, here are the measurements: 430 grams of flour, 345 grams of water, 1 gram of yeast and 8 grams of salt. With experience, many people will stop measuring altogether and add just enough water to make the dough almost too wet to handle.

SALT Many people, me included, felt Mr. Lahey’s bread was not salty enough. Yes, you can use more salt and it won’t significantly affect the rising time. I’ve settled at just under a tablespoon.

YEAST Instant yeast, called for in the recipe, is also called rapid-rise yeast. But you can use whatever yeast you like. Active dry yeast can be used without proofing (soaking it to make sure it’s active).

TIMING About 18 hours is the preferred initial rising time. Some readers have cut this to as little as eight hours and reported little difference. I have not had much luck with shorter times, but I have gone nearly 24 hours without a problem. Room temperature will affect the rising time, and so will the temperature of the water you add (I start with tepid). Like many other people, I’m eager to see what effect warmer weather will have. But to those who have moved the rising dough around the room trying to find the 70-degree sweet spot: please stop. Any normal room temperature is fine. Just wait until you see bubbles and well-developed gluten — the long strands that cling to the sides of the bowl when you tilt it — before proceeding.

THE SECOND RISE Mr. Lahey originally suggested one to two hours, but two to three is more like it, in my experience. (Ambient temperatures in the summer will probably knock this time down some.) Some readers almost entirely skipped this rise, shaping the dough after the first rise and letting it rest while the pot and oven preheat; this is worth trying, of course.

OTHER FLOURS Up to 30 percent whole-grain flour works consistently and well, and 50 percent whole-wheat is also excellent. At least one reader used 100 percent whole-wheat and reported “great crust but somewhat inferior crumb,” which sounds promising. I’ve kept rye, which is delicious but notoriously impossible to get to rise, to about 20 percent. There is room to experiment.

FLAVORINGS The best time to add caraway seeds, chopped olives, onions, cheese, walnuts, raisins or whatever other traditional bread flavorings you like is after you’ve mixed the dough. But it’s not the only time; you can fold in ingredients before the second rising.

OTHER SHAPES Baguettes in fish steamers, rolls in muffin tins or classic loaves in loaf pans: if you can imagine it, and stay roughly within the pattern, it will work.

COVERING BETWEEN RISES A Silpat mat under the dough is a clever idea (not mine). Plastic wrap can be used as a top layer in place of a second towel.

THE POT The size matters, but not much. I have settled on a smaller pot than Mr. Lahey has, about three or four quarts. This produces a higher loaf, which many people prefer — again, me included. I’m using cast iron. Readers have reported success with just about every available material. Note that the lid handles on Le Creuset pots can only withstand temperatures up to 400 degrees. So avoid using them, or remove the handle first.

BAKING You can increase the initial temperature to 500 degrees for more rapid browning, but be careful; I scorched a loaf containing whole-wheat flour by doing this. Yes, you can reduce the length of time the pot is covered to 20 minutes from 30, and then increase the time the loaf bakes uncovered. Most people have had a good experience baking for an additional 30 minutes once the pot is uncovered.



speak to you soon. pi


no knead bread update

Anonymous Joanne said ... (3:29 PM) : 

I've just done the second loaf using this recipe and fantastic results both times. I'm been using Le Creuset pots and they work really well. The first time I'd say we left the loaf almost 30 hours before baking it. The next time was in the 24h range. No problems either time. I have a bad habit of starting the bread mid-morning and not baking it until mid-afternoon the next day for dinner that night.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:23 AM) : 

haven't tried for such a long time - will give it a shot and see how it goes.

Pie

 

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

You're the cooker


I feel stabbed deep in my gut (almost robbed). but first for those who bake go to the dessert page(click on left content for desserts) I found a great site Pastry Chef and added it to the site.

why you ask did I find this site because I am going to make a peach rasberry pie for thanksgiving using an austrian pie crust recipe that I have used from time to time over the years. This pie crust is unusual as it uses cream cheese as the base. Tomorrow I will put up the recipe on the desserts page. But I digress, I was stabbed and by the NYTimes no less. There was an article in the dining section of the times about the search for the best pie crust recipe. Now I know we have all experienced this hunt. However few of us have had the same exact experience. Mine was almost 20 years ago. It is a story I have told several people. It is a story about the ultimate pie crust which uses butter AND LARD not any lard BUT LEAF LARD. you can't get that very easily now adays. my story, way to long for this blog, entailed the white pages, the yellow pages, phone calls to many delis, especially italian delies. I finally found one in Queens, NY (my bourough). I trekked with my husband to the deli and had to purchase almost a half an animal's worth of Leaf Lard, I had to bring it home, render it (whew what an aroma), place it in many tupperware jars, and store it. Way too much Leaf Lard. I even had to borrow someones empty refrigerator to store this stuff over the coming years. All this for the quest of a pie crust. Why I mention this story is because someone at that NY times lived my experience almsost word for word. Quite baffling, quite eerie. But the article which aims at bringing to you a great pie crust fails to mention a favorite pie crust used by Austrians (great bakers)- the cream cheese pie crust. Rose Levy Beranbaum, a great american pastry maker, calls this her favorite pastry. I found this recipe all those 20 years ago in the same old book that referenced leaf lard for the old fashioned pie crust taste.

speak to you soon. pi


You're the cooker

Anonymous The Chef said ... (3:47 PM) : 

Hello There!

Well Stuff It I say! Yes Stuff it! Oops let me explain, The Turkey I mean. Yes it's that time of year again, Christmas will soon be here so now is the time to think about Stuffing. Yes to get the best out of her you need to give that Bird a really good stuffing. Oh and just in case you want to turn those Christmas meals into a Gorgeous Banquette why not go to pork roast recipe God Bless and Enjoy Life.

 

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Cinnamon buns


who knows why but I remembered an old recipe I had once made, during New Years, for cinnamon buns that utilized Kahlua. that evening my husband and I pigged out and ate the whole batch, warm and scrumptious, fresh from the oven. I think I'm going to make it during thanksgiving. recipe on desserts page. click title for link.
speak to you soon. pi


Cinnamon buns

Blogger Tracey said ... (10:48 AM) : 

These look delicious! I will definitely make these for one of my desserts for Christmas dinner. Since this is the first time I’ll be making Cinnamon Buns I will try them out in the next few weeks. Will keep you posted on how they turned out. Thanks for the recipe.

 

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Monday, November 13, 2006

bread the easy way - No-Knead Bread


have you seen this recipe in the nytimes dining section? too easy to be true. i am not a baker but I will definetly give this a try. there is almost no work involved. here is the recipe and the title above is the link to the article (just click).

Recipe: No-Knead Bread
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.
speak to you soon. pi


bread the easy way - No-Knead Bread

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Friday, November 10, 2006

turkey recipes

It's turkey time. I am including in this post a list of some sights that you might find helpfully in your thanksgiving planning. I am also putting up some links on the shopping specialty item page for anyone looking to use the web for buying turkeys and or desserts, or anything else I can think of. I will add links on the vegetarian page for meatless, turkeyless dishes.

betty crocker - from cranberry sauce to brining turkey, vegetables and pies. reader reviews of recipes included
better homes -thanksgiving meals from Better Homes and Gardens..."
fine cooking - thanksgiving in under 4 hours, techniques for pan gravy, side dishes, plus a free pdf download of side dishes. you will need to give your name and email address.
food network - full menus from the network's chefs - desserts, vegetables, condiments, all the fixings.
food network- the second link to the above.
martha stewart - "roast turkey 101" , recipes are chosen from a span of several years. includes side dishes, pies, tips, holiday planner, etc.
pepperidge farms - appetizer, pies, nice things and impressive things with puff pastry that you buy.
readers digest - "Mix and match these 121 recipes...", includes ideas and crafts
shady brook farms - turkey cooking instructions, other recipes and products
university of illinois - almost every conceivable way of cooking turkey technique, frying,
roasting,in bag, grilled, etc.

speak to you soon. pi

turkey recipes

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

youre the cooker new feature

I've added an new feature. when you press the comments to see what others have said all the comments will appear on the same page. If you want to make a comment just press the "post a comment". this might be visually preferable to going to another window. I'm experimenting with comment possibilities. I don't know if I should just have all the comments showing all the time. If anyone has a preferance let me know. thanks.

speak to you soon. pi


youre the cooker new feature

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

diet snack

It was an accident-SIMPLE SOLUTION TO THE DREADED CARROT STICKS, CELERY, AND PEPPER SNACK FOR DIETS.

apparently some good things come from accidents. there i was making a vegetable soup and decided to roast some carrots. guess what-I had the peeled, small carrots that comes in bags (zero peeling and chopping needed here) put them on foil, sprinkled a smidge of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and tossed in a small (SMALL) amount of olive oil, ready now for roasting. In comes my handy dandy husband who decides to eat some of these carrots, raw, prior to cooking. They were delicious. You know when you have to go on a diet and they always threaten you with that delicious sounding snack - carrot sticks, celery and pepper. well guess what this was pretty damned good seasoned. WHY DON'T THEY SEASON FOOD ON DIETS. WHAT ARE THEY AFRAID OF. WE MIGHT ACTUALLY LIKE WHAT WE'RE EATING. I'm actually going to have this on hand now for us to nibble on. Just season it. You need a bit of the olive oil for the seasoning to stick to it. That's all. If you think you're going to lose control on the olive oil - then spray it on. That will work.



speak to you soon. pi


diet snack

Anonymous erika said ... (11:48 AM) : 

Since I always am on a diet I will try this! You can take some olive oil and rub it in your hands then take the carrots and mix them with your hands - if this all makes sense. This way you are coating them with minimal oil but enough to make the spices stick.

 

Blogger pbroder said ... (6:00 AM) : 

sounds good. think an olive oil you like helps. it adds to the flavor and the mouth feel. makes is feel and taste like something.

Pi

 

Anonymous ERika said ... (11:17 AM) : 

Pi - I am hoping you come up with some more "mistakes" !

 

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Friday, November 03, 2006

trans fat free

I am also providing a link to the trans fat information referenced in the earlier comment. This is a controversial issue in New York at this moment. for anyone interested go to transfatfreenyc.org

speak to you soon. pi


trans fat free

post a comment
I am also providing a link to the trans fat information referenced in the earlier comment. This is a controversial issue in New York at this moment. for anyone interested go to www.transfatfreenyc.org.

speak to you soon. pi


stuffed acorn recipe

Thanks for the stuffed acorn recipe.I'm putting up the on the vegetarian page. Thanks - once again

speak to you soon. pi


stuffed acorn recipe

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

vegetarian page

Sorry I have been out of commission lately. I will try not to let that happen again.

There's a new page being worked on and I added the link to it on the top tabs - see Vegetarian. It's for those of you who have asked me to add such a page, for those of you who have a curiousity about it, for those of you who wouldn't mind adding meatless dishes once in a while, and for just the heck of it.

I have more links to add to it but thought I should get something going now.

speak to you soon. pi


vegetarian page

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:59 AM) : 

Speaking of Vegetarian, I just got this receipe from the Integrative Nutrion Newsletter:


Stuffed Roasted Acorn
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:
2 acorn squash
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Stuffing
1 cup cooked whole grain (quinoa, brown rice, millet, barley)
1 onion, finely diced
1 zucchini, diced
1/4 cup golden raisins or currents
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
3 teaspoons curry
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cut acorn squash in half and clean out seeds and fibers. Cut a very thin slice off the bottom, so that the acorn squash halves can sit flat like soup bowls.
Brush with olive oil, and spread garlic evenly over the 4 cups, sprinkle with salt and pepper, place on a baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes.
While baking, in a skillet saute onions, curry and raisins for 3 minutes. Add cooked grains and stir for 5 minutes.
Remove skillet from heat and mix in parsley and zucchini.
Fill each squash cup with stuffing and top with chopped pumpkin seeds and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the squash is soft (when a butter knife sinks into the squash with ease). Serve warm.

 

Anonymous erika said ... (8:03 AM) : 

This might also be of interest to some people even though it isn't a receipe - it iTrans Fat Free NYC
Integrative Nutrition has sponsored a campaign that could change the health of thousands of New Yorkers: Trans Fat Free NYC. Trans fats are the cause of over 30,000 premature coronary heart disease deaths per year in the US. On Monday October 30th our community held a rally to support proposal 81.08, which would free NYC restaurants of the dangerous and preventable health risks posed by trans fat. Our inspiring event featured tasty food, healthy oil demonstrations and dance performances and attracted media attention to raise awareness of this important health issue. Our special guest speakers included Anna Lappé of the Small Planet Institute and Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health. Joshua gave powerful testimony to the NYC Board of Health, and we look forward to them passing the proposal when they vote in December. To learn more about the Trans Fat Free NYC movement, visit www.transfatfreenyc.org.
s about food:

 

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chocolate & pumpkin

hey Tracey -
that sounds like it would be like the chocolate/pumpkin loaf I get at the farmers market. It's a pretty good combo. I hear it's one of their favorite selling loaf flavor combos. I like it and so does Paul.

speak to you soon. pi


chocolate & pumpkin

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If it's good enough for Yahoo-------


Yahoo is starting something very similar and something complimentary to what this blog is trying to do. I am adding a link to their site on the famous sites page.Yahoo is launching a "Web Portal Devoted to Food; Site Will Feature Content From Celebrity Chefs they say "People are searching the Web and Yahoo every day......"

to check out their site go to http://food.yahoo.com/



speak to you soon. pi


If it's good enough for Yahoo-------

Blogger Tracey said ... (2:03 PM) : 

Thanks for the Yahoo update but when it comes to sharing information…YOURETHECOOKER!

I have a party next Saturday and I’m in charge of dessert. We are trying to keep it to a falls theme, so I was thinking of using Pumpkin. I wanted to try and make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. Has anyone tried pumpkin chocolate chip cookies?
Thanks.
T

 

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

garden in window boxes


Oh well fall is here
Soon our little garden in window boxes will fade away. That is the saddest time for me and my husband. Each year we find new, creative, ways to grow flowers and lots of herbs from our apartment. This year we used the power of window boxes. We have rosemary, purble basil, three pots of different green basil, lemon thyme, oregano, parsley, mint, mexican oregano, geraniums, asters, and many caladiums (our favorite uneatable plant) growing from window boxes. Acutally really beautiful.

We were able to bring the plants in when the weather was really harsh (we live on a high floor and weather can get violent where we are). And then put them back out for the sun and humidity. They love humidity. The various pictures of plants on this site are photos of the window boxes. Amazing how much you can grow in small spaces.

speak to you soon. pi


garden in window boxes

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

crepes, peaches, ice cream and jaques torres



Labor Day
So depressing, it's labor day, no sun, just wind, rain, and winter temperatures.
We are in New York and it was hurricane Ernesto threatening our last yippee summer long weekend. I love summer. I take most of my vacation days in the summer, I feel renewed but summer just came to an immediate halt. What to do, what to do.

We were huddled in our home, with windows closed and all the plants from window boxes taken in for refuge. God forbid we lose any of our herbs or caladiums to this weather.

There was only one thing to do on this weekend - eat. I had peaches, plenty of them from the farmers market. I decided to make crepes with peaches and ice cream (the recipe is listed on the cook's exchange page ). I planned ahead and made the batter a day before I needed it. Well lo and behold, guess what the weather cleared up - shame on those weather men. All our plans were
cancelled but we still had the batter. I wound up combining several recipes to make this one recipe. The crepes came from an old NYTimes magazine, the caramel sugar came from an old Jaques Torres recipe and the rest of the combo is my head. In the middle of the day we made the crepes and had wine. It was the essence of decadence, sweetness, summer and a day off.
speak to you soon. pi


crepes, peaches, ice cream and jaques torres

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Broccoli-hmm!

Broccoli-hmm! J:
That's a hard one. As you say it is on the bitter side. My suggestions would be to try and mix it with something else which is not on the bitter side and that may cut that aspect of it. You can mix it with cooked carrots, or roasted peppers, or sauteed onions (till carmelized). Those flavors happen to be on the sweet side and would counter act the bitterness. If you mixed it with any or all of these vegetables maybe over time your family would begin to like broccoli on it's own.

You can also roast the broccoli by cutting it into the size you want, season with salt, pepper, garlic (if you wish) toss in a bit of olive oil (not a lot), lay it on a flat roasting pan in a 450 degree oven and roast for a bit. That will carmelize the broccoli a bit and bring out some of it's sugars. You can then serve the broccoli that way or add any combination of the above mentioned vegetables. Another option (whether on the roasted broccoli or on steamed broccoli) is to add a slight drizzle of olive oil with a sprinkling of Parmesan at the end of the cooking process. Leave the oil and cheese on for a few minutes in the pan so that the flavors have a chance to settle into the broccoli. You can instead go a bit toward the Chinese method and add a bit of sesame oil at the end. These are just for a flavor that distracts you from the bitterness.
Hope this helps. If not let me know
speak to you soon. pi


Broccoli-hmm!

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

you're the cooker dessert makers, appetizers, condiments, and salads

quick note
the links to dessert makers, appetizers, condiments, and salads have been added. I will try to add all the links to this page in the coming days and then I will add more data to the pages already up.

speak to you soon. pi


you're the cooker dessert makers, appetizers, condiments, and salads

Anonymous J said ... (8:07 PM) : 

Dear Pi:

Do you have any suggestions on how to make broccoli appetizing? I love to serve it to my family because it is so healthy to eat, but, let's face it, it's a rather bitter pill (well, bitter taste) to swallow. How do you cook it so it's more palatable without killing it in the process. (We're also watching our calories)

Thanks,

J

 

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

thank you Liz
I look forward to seeing, and adding, your recipes to the site. I will continue adding more pages and links as the days go by. I am looking forward to add pages for vegetarian links, for baking,for cooking tips as well as cooking courses (whether large or small), and a page which will help you purchase specialty foods and items. These are just a few of the things I would love to add.

speak to you soon. pi


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Memories and meat loaf

Memories
was talking to someone about meatloaf, yes meatloaf. She was trying out a recipe
for meatloaf and I was telling her about my husband who loves only one type of meatloaf - his mothers. She gave me a leftover piece to try on my husband for a test-he loves to be the guinea pig and will try almost anything. I told her that meatloaf, however, would be difficult with him as he has this emotional attachment to - meatloaf.

When we first married I must have tried 20 different recipes, many from bon apetite and such.There were stuffed meatloafs, various meat combination meatloafs, you name it. He basically turned his nose up at them. Finally I gave up. Nothing was going to satisfy him because he had the fondest memories that apparently tugged at his heart strings when it came to meatloaf. Don't get me wrong eventually I got his mother's recipe for meatloaf and I must say it is stupendous (one day soon I will put the recipe up) But other meatloafs are good also. Anyway he tried my friend's meatloaf and Lo and behold he said it was good. No I won't lie he still favors his mother's. But this was the highest praise he has given another meatloaf. The fondest associations of foods that are linked to your history, your emotions, your memories are so hard to break. My feeling is that they should'nt be broken because it is about memories, usually good memories.

Now my meatloaf friend and I will try to exchange recipes to try out on each other
and our other half.

speak to you soon. pi


Memories and meat loaf

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:47 PM) : 

Pirchia-

This is a very cute website! I am eager to try both the crab cakes and the aspargus soup...I LOVE asparagus. When I get a spare second (and maybe get a little better at computers), I will definitely post a few favorites of my own! I also really like that you can get the links to other good cooking websites...always a good thing to have handy when searching for something new to create! I will definitely continue to check in.

-Liz

 

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Thursday, August 17, 2006



Anthony Bourdain info
Ek said in her comment:
"In July 2006, Anthony and his crew traveled to Lebanon and discovered a beautiful country with proud, generous people and delicious food. However, within 24 hours of arrival, they were suddenly stuck in the middle of an intense and uncertain conflict. The Travel Channel - Monday 8/21 10pm est."

thank you EK-this is one I will watch - a friend of mine also loves him and his show. I passed the information on. This should be one interesting combination, Beirut, travel, food and war.

speak to you soon. pi