Sunday, February 20, 2011

Multigrain Loaf

You've got to see this bread. It's awesome. This loaf is my version of the "Struan" loaf from the place down the street. Of course, for artisinal bread, you pay an arm and a leg, and I am getting addicted to this bread. So I made my own, darn it.

Making my own also means that I do not have to go into the hated establishment called Grateful Bread. To sum up their sins: (1) Teenagers who give a crap about service work there. Once you are over the age of 30, you care about service and attitude. As in, Please stop talking to your friend/coworker so I can order my coffee and bagel. (2) The place set itself up to showcase all of the social ineptitude of the Seattle masses. As in, Yes, this is the line. Yes, we use words like 'Excuse me.' Yes, you actually can share a table with someone if a person is alone at a four-top. No, you may not sit in the kids' play area without a kid, especially when a woman with a kid comes over to play! No one was taught how to use their words or common sense in this town. (3) You have to bus your own table when there are way too many teenagers on staff? Just say no to bussing your own table. (4) Puff pastry is supposed to puff. You do bread well. Stop there.

I'm done now.

Back to my loaf! Among the standard AP flour and whole wheat flour, it also has semolina flour, brown rice flour, honey, milk, eggs, and seeds on top! And I did that awesome twisty thing as well as brushed on olive oil. The crust was the best ever.

Becoming Filippina

I've got a whopping two dishes under my Filippina belt now. You may recall the many batches of lumpia I made. You may also recall the eclectic Thanksgiving meal we had this year with a curry soup, no potatoes of any kind, and pancit.

Among the several guests present at T-giving, was R's mother, in town from St. Louis to help with the new baby. R's mother is Filippina, so she brought pancit. For the uninitiated, this is a noodle dish with some carrots, cabbage, maybe celery, onions, maybe bean sprouts, and then a ton of different meats, fishballs, tofu, what-have-you. R's mom said that she used soy sauce for the sauce, and she served it with lemon wedges. I picked up a recipe at Uwajimaya that called for a soy sauce, oyster sauce, chicken broth sauce, so I decided to go with that one. There was way too much liquid, though - a whole can of chicken broth? and no cornstarch? Crazy. So I made some adjustments. It was still saucy, but the flavor was good. I made my pancit with no meat at all and lots of cabbage. I served it with miso salmon and bok choy with tofu.
It led to those lunch days where I was excited to eat lunch because I had awesome leftovers that got envious looks from my fellow teachers as they munched on their school-lunch chicken pucks.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tart Time

I swear I have all these great ideas, witticisms, and transcendent musings while I cook. I can't wait to type them out for my blog. ... And then I sit down days later and they are gone. Like we don't all know that we should write ideas down as they occur to us. I just keep thinking I'll remember. Again and again ... after I forget. Maybe I need a 12-step plan. "Hi. My name is Jen. I keep thinking that I don't need to write things down."
I was on a tart kick. I made erbazzone twice in a week's time. The first time, I served it with a root vegetable soup, and it was good complement. But the second time! I found a magical combination with a lentil and chard (with truffle oil!) dish. Magical. I believe I usually skimp on the chard in my erbazzone, but this time I used two humongous bunches and that was the ticket.
You simply must invest in truffle oil and drizzle it on lentils. It is divine.
My second tart looks like a mess, and sounds odd, but is quite good, I promise.

Fennel and Leek Tart with Poppy Seeds! It's more like a quiche. With the erbazzone the eggs just bind everything together with breadcrumbs and cheese. But with this one, there is a custard and the vegetable are in it.

I used frozen puff pastry for each crust - so quick and lovely. I was going to use frozen pie crust, but the ingredient list is way too long and has way too many unknowns. This crust is butter and flour. Nothing your grandmother wouldn't recognize.