Monday, March 14, 2016
Based on a recipe by Mary Ann Esposito in her book, Ciao Italia, this bread is as delicious as it is mammouth! And although it doesn't keep it's moisture well after the first few days, it makes excellent toast or is great for making toasted sandwiches.
To achieve a nice crust, place a pan in the lower rack of the oven and use either a baking stone or baking steel or cast iron pizza pan. These make all the difference in the world. In addition, I use parchment paper instead of corn meal, a trick I learned from chef and cookbook author, Suvir Saran.
1 1/2 cups semolina flour
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 package instant yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
About 2 cups of lukewarm water.
Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add one cup of the water and the olive oil and mix. Keep adding water just until you get all the flour wet but not saturated. (You may not need the entire two cups.)
Scrape onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough in soft and elastic, dusting the surface with a little more flour as needed if the dough is sticking.
Oil a bowl large enough to hold twice the amount of dough and place the dough inside the bowl turning it once to oil both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
Once the dough has doubled, punch it down, form it into a loaf and place it on a peel that has been covered with parchment paper. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for about 45 minutes.
While the dough is rising, place a baking pan on the bottom rack of the oven and a baking stone or other baking heat condusive object on the rack above.
Preheat the oven to 425° F.
When the loaf has risen, make a few slashes on the top with a very sharp nice or razor blade and slip it onto the baking stone.
Pour a cup of hot water from the tap into the baking pan on the bottom rack and immediately close the oven door.
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Remove to a rack to cool
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
I had almost forgotten about this recipe until I was looking at some old Instagram pics the other day and then not only rememebered the dish but also how good it tasted.
Having thawed out some chicken thighs the other day, I decided to again make this Malay-Chinese dish based on a recipe in the book Southeast Asian Food by Rosemary Brissenden. Even though I've made a few changes, the recipe is basically the same.
In her book, Brissenden calls for dark soy sauce. In its stead I use kecap manis, a sweet soy sauce also known as Javanese soy sauce. If you find it needs more seasoning, you can add a little regular soy sauce. I prefer using Pear River Bridge light soy sauce but any good quality soy sauce will do.
Braised Chicken with Mushrooms and Bamboo Shoots
8 dried shitakke mushrooms, soaked and stems removed and chopped into large pieces
1 pound boned chicken thighs cut into 3-inch pieces
Unbleached all-purpose flour spead on a plate
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 thin slices of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 8-oz can bamboo shoots, drained
2 tablespoons Javanese soy sauce (kecap manis)
1/2 teaspoon sugar (or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large pot. Dredge chicken pieces in flour and fry in the hot oil until browned on all sides. Removed and reserve.
Fry the garlic and ginger (adding more oil if needed) until golden. Add the mushrooms and fry a few minutes. Add the reserved chicken and bamboo shoots and turn everything over several time to combine. Add enough water to just cover along with the remaining ingredients. Cook stirring from time to time until the chicken is cooked through and a gravy is formed. Season with regular soy sauce if needed and served with steamed jasmine rice.