January 2010 Archives

Whole wheat and oat bread

bread6.jpgThis is one of my favorite whole-ish wheat bread recipes. It's a good sandwich, toast, or French toast bread. It's surprisingly soft because of the oats and the preparation using a soaker and poolish, too.

There's a lot of preparation involved, but it's worth it. The recipe is for two 1 lb. loaves since there's so much preparation involved it makes sense to make an extra loaf and freeze it. You need to start preparing a day before baking!


4.25 oz. oats, coarsely ground
6.0 oz. water @ 70°F

Use regular (not instant or quick) oats. I ground them for about 30 seconds in the food processor until coarsely ground. Add the water in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until the next day.


6.75 oz. whole wheat flour
0.028 oz. instant yeast
6.0 oz. water @ 70°F

Mix together the yeast, water, and whole wheat flour until a paste forms and all of the flour is hydrated, but not longer. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours. Then put into the refrigerator overnight.


6.0 oz. unbleached bread flour
3.0 oz. whole wheat flour
0.33 oz. salt
0.11 oz. instant yeast
1.5 oz. honey
0.5 oz. vegetable oil
1 egg lightly beaten

Remove the poolish from the refrigerator 1 hour before preparing the dough.

In the mixer bowl combine the flour, salt, and yeast. Add the poolish, soaker, honey, oil, and egg. Mix at low speed with the paddle attachment for 1 minute or until dough forms. Adjust consistency adding more water or flour.

Switch the mixer to the the dough hook and knead for 8 to 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball.

Lightly oil a bowl and a ball of dough to the bowl and roll to coat the dough lightly with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 2 hours until it doubles in size.

Punch down the dough and divide into 2 1-pound balls of dough. You could just divide the dough in half, though I made two 1-pound loaves and two 1.7 oz. dinner rolls, instead.

Lightly grease two loaf pans and place the dough balls into the pans. Spritz with oil, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and let proof for 90 minutes at room temperature.

bread3.jpgPreheat oven to 350°F. When hot, add the loaf pans cook for 30 minutes, rotate the loaf pans and cook 15 to 30 minutes longer, until the center of the loaf reaches 190°F. Dinner rolls cook in about 20 minutes.

Remove from the loaf pans and cool on a rack for 1 to 2 hours before slicing.

bread5.jpgThis recipe is from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart, from the Whole Wheat Bread recipe pp. 270-272. The book has considerably more details on the preparation. This is also the same recipe as my whole wheat and oat dinner rolls, but that recipe is scaled to a different quantity.

Onion Dip

DSC_0008.jpgI was in the mood for potato chips and onion dip but I didn't have any and it's seriously too cold to go outside to get more, despite the nearest store being barely a 2 minute walk.

I hit the 'net and looked up a half dozen "recipes" for onion dip. I have to qualify "recipe" because something that contains only sour cream, mayonnaise, and onion soup mix doesn't really qualify as a homemade cooking in my book. Sorry, Sandra Lee.

Fortunately Alton Brown came through and provided the first recipe that didn't involve powdered soup mix. It certainly takes longer to caramelize the onions and cool them, but the effort is well worth it.

I minced the onion, used less mayo, more spices, and I ended up adding a little onion powder since I didn't think it was quite onion-y enough. But that could be because my amounts were all confused since I had only about 6 oz. of sour cream and just guessed at all of the amounts to compensate. And I had been drinking.


Soy Sauce

soy.jpgOf all of the crazy specialty ingredients, for some reason I never got into the fancy designer soy sauce thing. And I use a lot of soy sauce! Perhaps it might come from growing up in a household where Kikkoman soy sauce is purchased by the gallon.

So does anyone else have a favorite soy sauce to recommend? I'm mainly looking for shoyu, but I'll take all recommendations.

Cantaloupe Daiquiri

DSC_0002.jpg5.5 oz. cantaloupe (2 slices)
1.5 oz. lime juice
3.0 oz. light rum

Blend the ingredients. Shake with ice. Strain in a cocktail glass.

There's quite a bit of lime juice, so it tastes mostly like daiquiri with a hint of cantaloupe, but is very refreshing! This is what I did with the leftover cantaloupe from the ricotta, prosciutto, and cantaloupe ravioli with habanero cantaloupe sauce.

DSC_0007.jpgI needed to recover from last night's Chinese fried food-a-thon with something light. I was sitting at my computer thinking up recipes. "I have all of these wonton wrappers to use up. I should make ravioli. And I have some prosciutto. What goes with prosciutto? Cantaloupe!" And then things started to get a little bizarre.

In the end, this is what I came up with. It's a little "outside the box," but you've got a little sweet (cantaloupe), salty (prosciutto), cheesy (ricotta), and spicy (habanero). And, actually, very tasty!


12 oz. cantaloupe, roughly diced
1 dried habanero pepper, stem removed, diced
salt and pepper

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the cantaloupe and dried pepper. Reduce head to a simmer.
DSC_0002.jpgNote: 1 dried habanero will make a really spicy sauce. I thought it was good, but it really is hot. You may only want half. Or less. And be careful handling the peppers.

Simmer for about a half hour until it looks something like applesauce. Very spicy applesauce. Purée with a stick blender to make a smoother sauce.
DSC_0005.jpgSalt and pepper to taste.


2.0 oz. cantaloupe, cut into 1/8" dice
0.7 oz. prosciutto, diced (2 slices)
2.0 oz. ricotta cheese
salt and pepper
24 wonton wrappers (or 6 egg roll wrappers, cut into quarters)

Combine the first four ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. It should be possible to make a dozen ravioli.
DSC_0003.jpgMoisten the edges of the wonton wrappers, add a small amount of filling, and press the edges to make ravioli.
Heat a large pan of boiling salted water. Cook the ravioli for about 2 minutes.

Drain, plate, spoon some sauce over the ravioli, and serve.

Serves 2 as a light meal or large appetizer.


It has come to my attention that I might possibly have become a bit obsessed with coffee, the Keurig single-cup brewer, in particular.

center.jpgI know, that's no so bad. But that little K-Cup holder is a turntable, so it flips around:
flip.jpgThe problem is that I need supplies to keep refilling little turntable next to the machine...
rack.jpg And all of those sample pack boxes and random leftovers...
trays.jpgOK, maybe I do have a problem.

Tempeh Wontons, Shiitake Egg Rolls, and General Tso's Tofu

DSC_0024.jpgYesterday Heather made quinoa and tempeh and Molly made delicious sounding tofu and vegetable spring rolls which got me thinking: I ought to make some light and healthy vegetarian food.

Then something went, oh, so horribly awry.

Well the meal is, indeed, still vegetarian, however 4 of the 5 things on the plate came out of the deep fryer, so "light" and "healthy" might not be entirely applicable anymore. It was very tasty, however.

I highly recommend the marinated tempeh fried wontons and shiitake mushroom egg rolls.

The General Tso's sauce was pretty good, and the tofu was OK. It wasn't bad, but wasn't perfect, either. A work in progress, I'd say.

DSC_0023.jpgAnd in case you ever wondered what happens to the leftovers - anything good (and freezable) gets vacuum sealed and frozen.

Marinated Tempeh Fried Wontons


These fried wontons were excellent! You might even fool a few meat eaters with these.

The marinade is used for both the tofu and the tempeh. You really only need about 1/3 of this for just the tempeh.

1 scallion, finely chopped
3 oz. soy sauce
1.5 oz. sake, mirin, or dry sherry
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
0.2 oz. fresh ginger, peeled and minced (1 tbsp.)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Heat the ingredients in a small saucepan until simmering. It is not necessary to boil it, but heat it long enough to dissolve the sugar and meld the flavors.

Break apart the tempeh (fermented soybean cake), pour about a third of the marinade (about 1.5 oz.) over the tempeh and marinate for 2 hours. Most of the marinade will soak into the tempeh.
Prepare the wontons: Take a wonton wrapper, moisten two adjacent edges, add a small amount of the tempeh filling, about 1/2 tbsp., and fold into a triangle.
DSC_0016.jpg Deep fry for 1 to 2 minutes at 360°F.
DSC_0019.jpgMakes at least a dozen, perhaps 2 dozen, wontons.


Since I was making egg rolls as well, I only bought egg roll wrappers and cut several egg roll wrappers into quarters for use with the wontons.

If I wasn't already making everything in the deep fryer I would probably have made these pan fried, also known as potstickers, and they would probably be nearly as delicious. Here's how: Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add a small amount of oil for frying to the pan and add the wontons in a single layer. Cook for 2 minutes, uncovered, without touching. The wontons will likely stick to the pan, hence the name potsticker. Add 1/3 c. vegetable broth or water, lower the heat to low, cover, and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove the potstickers from the pan and serve.

The filling can be frozen. Actually, the whole thing can be frozen, but it works best to freeze the filling and make the wontons fresh.

Update: I made it again, and it was excellent. Ten wontons made in a quarter of an egg roll wrapper (small), made a good lunch for me with some plain fried wonton strips.


Here's another one, this time with a rice ball (omusbe), which is good because the previous is a little heavy on the fried food.


Shiitake Mushroom Egg Rolls

These egg rolls were excellent!

6 oz. green cabbage, thinly sliced, hard piece removed
1 carrot, shredded (1.6 oz.)
1 scallion, white and green parts separated and finely sliced
4 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed (1.8 oz. before trimming)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
soy sauce
black pepper

DSC_0008.jpgHeat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add vegetable oil, such as sesame oil or olive oil.

Add the white parts of the scallion and cook for a minute. Add the cabbage and garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Add the carrot and cook for a few more minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for a minute. Season with soy sauce and black pepper. Remove from the heat.
Add 1 oz. of filling to each egg roll. Makes 6 to 8.
DSC_0013.jpgDeep fry for 1 to 2 minutes at 360°F until browned.

General Tso's Tofu

I like this sauce. It has quite a bit less sugar than most General Tso's sauce (about 1/3 as much) but it's still tasty. I used a dried California chile, but I think it would have been better with a hotter pepper. Live and learn. This will make far more sauce than you need for one meal (hopefully) but it's hard to scale much smaller than this.

The tofu was OK - not great. I still haven't perfected the fried tofu recipe yet, but it's getting closer.

1 cake tofu
marinade from tempeh wontons

1.2 oz. cornstarch (1/4 cup)
2.0 oz. water (1/4 cup)
1 clove garlic, pressed
0.1 oz. ginger, peeled and minced (1/2 tbsp.)
1.0 oz. sugar (1/8 cup)
2.0 oz. soy sauce
1.0 oz. rice vinegar
1.0 oz. rice wine (sake), mirin, or dry sherry
6.0 oz. vegetable broth (or chicken broth, or water)
1 dried chili pepper, seeds removed and chopped

1 egg
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 cup tofu marinade

Take a cake of tofu and put it on a plate. Take another plate, set it on top, upside down, and put something heavy on top of that. Press for 15 minutes, periodically removing any liquid.
DSC_0001.jpgCut the tofu into chunks use about 2/3 of the tempeh wonton marinade. Marinate for at least 2 hours; can be marinated overnight.
I like to prepare the sauce separately because it simplifies the preparation and makes it easier to control how much sauce you use. It can be made ahead of time.

Mix cornstarch with water in a small saucepan. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer while stirring periodically. Keep simmering until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. Add water if it gets too thick, and it will fairly suddenly become quite thick as it cooks.
Cut and steam the broccoli.

Mix together the tofu marinade, cornstarch, and egg in a bowl. Coat the tofu pieces in the batter.
DSC_0018.jpgDeep fry for 1 to 2 minutes at 360°F. Could also be pan fried.

Remove from the fryer, toss with sauce in a small bowl, and plate. Serve with the broccoli.

Miso soup

DSC_0005.jpgThis very tasty and healthy soup takes almost an hour and a half to make, but it's worth it!

1 8" strip kombu (dried kelp) (0.2 oz.)
32 oz. water (4 cups)
12.3 oz. firm silken tofu, cut into 1/2" cubes
2.2 oz. white miso (4 tbsp.)
2 scallions, chopped
soy sauce

Wipe off any powder on the kombu - do not wash it.

Put the kombu in a pot with 4 cups of water and soak at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Put the pot over medium low heat ("4" on my stove). Slowly bring to just under a boil, around 200°F, this will take about a half hour.

Just before boiling occurs, remove the kombu. It could be saved for other recipes, or discarded.

Up to this point you've just made kombu dashi, a Japanese soup stock.

DSC_0003.jpgAdd the tofu and the white parts of the scallions and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

Put the miso in a bowl. Take some of the hot dashi liquid from the pot and add it to the bowl to dissolve the miso. Stir until completely dissoved. Return the contents of the bowl to the pot. If you didn't do this, you'd end up breaking the tofu getting all of the miso to dissolve.
DSC_0004.jpgSimmer for a few minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, add the green parts of the chopped scallions, and soy sauce. Mom would insist that MSG be added at this point, though I have omitted it. Kombu has an abundance of natural glutamates already. Serve.

Do not boil miso and it breaks down some of its nutritional value. It also affects its taste. Since there's tofu in it, it can't be frozen, either. Serves 2 - 4.

This miso soup recipe, based on kombu dashi, is vegan. Sometimes miso soup is made from katsuo dashi (dried bonito fish) or niboshi dashi (dried sardines); those soups obviously would not be.

Spicy Thai-Style Green Beans

DSC_0017.jpgThis is a very quick and easy side dish. During green bean season, I might make a whole bowl of them and eat them as a meal with some rice!

Green beans, cleaned
Lee Kum Kee Chili Garlic Sauce
Sesame oil (or olive oil)
Soy Sauce

Steam the green beans. If I'm making a small recipe for one I put them in loosely covered bowl with a little water and microwave for 1:20. Otherwise, I use a steamer basket in a saucepan on the stove. They should be almost, but not quite, fully cooked.
DSC_0011.jpgDrain the green beans. This step can be done ahead, if desired - in this case immediately chill the green beans to stop cooking.

Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add a little oil, then the green beans. Remove from the heat. Add 1 tablespoon of chili garlic sauce per serving, more or less as desired. Add about half as much soy sauce. Serve immediately.
DSC_0012.jpgThe chili garlic sauce has a lot of ingredients that would be typical in Thai cooking. From the label: salted chili peppers, garlic, sugar, rice vinegar, water, and modified corn starch. And acetic acid, which is probably not typical, but it's also what gives vinegar its taste and smell. No big deal. I find it very convenient.

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Ice Cream

ic6.jpgI was sitting at home, minding my own business, when a bad thought crossed my mind: chocolate raspberry truffle ice cream.

I've never had this before, but in my slightly wine and beer addled brain, I dreamed up this recipe:

4 oz. Scharffen Berger 62 % semisweet chocolate, chopped
2.5 oz. heavy cream (by weight)
0.75 fl. oz. Chambord (black raspberry liquor)

Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to boil. Remove from the heat, pour into a Pyrex measuring cup, and allow to cool to about 115°F. I put it in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.

Melt the chocolate in a large bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. The chocolate should be heated to about 120°F.

(In actuality, my chocolate tempering skills when under the influence of alcohol are less than stellar despite the fancy thermometer and I exceeded 120°F by a good amount. I didn't break it, however.)

Pour the cream into the melted chocolate, stirring continuously with a whisk or rubber spatula until the cream is completely incorporated. This mixture should be smooth and shiny.

Add the chambord. Pour onto a small plate and freeze.
ic3.jpgChop the frozen ganache into 1/4" chunks once frozen solid.

Custard base:

2 egg yolks
3 oz. granulated sugar
4 oz. heavy cream (35 % milk fat)
8 oz. whole milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 oz. chambord

Mix the egg yolk and sugar, then add the cream, vanilla extract, and chambord. Put all of the ingredients in a vacuum bag, and sous vide them for 15 minutes at 149°F.

Start the ice cream maker chilling.

Chill the custard base in an ice bath.

Put the custard base into the chilled ice cream maker and beat for 6 - 8 minutes until it falls below 32°F. Add the frozen truffle chunks. The theory was for some of the chocolate to melt into the custard base, but for there to still be chunks.

Freeze and beat until it reaches ice cream consistency.

It's actually black raspberry frozen custard with chocolate black raspberry truffle chunks. And ridiculously delicious.

Shrimp Scampi

final.jpg2 oz. butter
2 oz. olive oil
0.5 oz. Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped (a handful)
0.3 oz. garlic, pressed (3 cloves)
1/2 lb. uncooked shrimp, shelled, deveined, and cleaned
2.0 oz. fettucini or spaghetti (dry)

Prepare the shrimp.

Bring a pot of water to boil and prepare fettucini (what I normally use) or spaghetti (pictured).

Preheat the broiler.

Finely chop a good handful of Italian flat-leafed parsley.
Heat an ovenproof sauté pan over medium heat. Melt the butter and add olive oil. Add the garlic and cook through but do not brown. Remove from the heat.

Add the shrimp and parsley, toss to coat the shrimp. Put under the broiler for 5 minutes or until the shrimp is fully cooked. Add the cooked and drained noodles and toss to coat the noodles. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve. Serves one person very generously; scales easily.

June 21, 2010: I just made it again and it's still delicious:

Chicken Stock

1 carcass of chicken left over after separating off the more useful parts
2 stalks celery, cut into 1" dice
1 carrot, cut into 1" dice
1 yellow onion, cut into 1" dice
48 to 64 oz. water (6 to 8 cups)

Bring to a boil. Skim off the foam. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 3 hours.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Strain and reserve the liquid stock. Cover and refrigerate. I usually refrigerate it overnight. Having the stock cold is necessary while vacuum packing, and it also makes it much easier to remove the fat from the stock.

Pick through the solids and reserve any of the large white meat chicken bits for chicken soup.

Remember that there is no added salt in this chicken stock, so you may need to increase the amount of salt in anything you make with it.

I usually find that there's a reasonable amount of chicken bits to make one 16 oz. serving of chicken soup. I vacuum seal the package with just the chicken stock and chicken and freeze. To serve I defrost the bag, bring to a boil, add soba (or other similar) noodles. When almost done, toss in a handful of spinach leaves. Add a little soy sauce and serve.

Fried Chicken

This method of preparation makes a delicious, moist, tender and not very greasy fried chicken.

Preheat the sous vide machine to 160°F.

I started with a whole chicken and broke it down into its parts. This recipe only required the drum sticks and thighs, which admittedly could have been obtained much more easily by buying them from the grocery store packaged that way. But I do like to break down my own chicken. I reserved the breasts for another recipe. The wings and "drumettes" I froze until I have enough wings to make chicken wings. The carcass went to make chicken stock.
DSC_0012.jpgDSC_0014.jpgI seasoned the parts with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dry rub. I then vacuum sealed them.

Sous vide the chicken for 1 hour at 160°F.
DSC_0017.jpgDSC_0020.jpgPrepare a seasoned flour by adding a little dry rub to all-purpose flour. Pour buttermilk into a small bowl.

Dry the chicken parts. Dip in flour, buttermilk, then back into flour. Deep fry at 375°F for 3 - 4 minutes until browned and crispy. Since the chicken is already cooked through perfectly from the sous vide, there's no worry about the inside of the chicken not being done or being overdone!

Served with kale cooked in duck fat and sweet potato fries.

Sweet Potato Fries

Peel the sweet potatoes then cut into 1/4" french fries. Put the cut fries in a pan of cold water to soak (this should cause them to release some of their starch).
Heat the deep fryer to 325°F. Dry the potatoes thoroughly, fry for 3 minutes until soft but not browned. Remove from the oil and drain. This step can be done ahead of time if desired.
Heat the deep fryer to 375°F. Deep fry for 3 to 4 minutes until browned and crispy. Remove from the oil, drain, then salt.

Update: I cut the fries a little thinner this time, and 2 1/2 minute at 310°F followed by 2 minutes at 370°F work perfectly.


This is a basic "Southern style" kale, which seemed appropriate for fried chicken. It doesn't really even require a recipe, but here it is:

One bunch of kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, or other suitable greens.

Wash the kale thoroughly. Remove stems. Tear into reasonably sized pieces.
Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add oil. A reasonable choice would be olive oil, however, I used rendered duck fat for extra deliciousness.

Sauté the kale until it wilts, then add a splash of red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Serve.

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