Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Personally, I wish my kids were home making me their absolutely perfect choc chip cookies. But they weren't so I tried this recipe and they didn't turn out half bad. As always the best part is sprinkling a bit of sea salt on each cookie before baking. You'll love the effect:

Chewy chocolate chip cookies

12 T butter

1-1/4 cup light brown sugar

¼ cup light corn syrup

2 t. vanilla extract

¾ t baking powder

¾ t. salt

¼ t. baking soda

1 large egg

2-1/4 cups flour

1 cup chopped nuts, opt

2 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375.


Beat the butter, light brown sugar, and corn syrup together until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, baking powder, salt, and soda, and then mix in the egg. Beat well.


Beat in the flour, then stir in the nuts and chips. Drop cookie dough by the rounded tablespoon onto lightly greased or parchment-lined sheet pans. (MY ADDITION? SEA SALT SPRINKLED ON EACH COOKIE BEFORE BAKING) Bake for 12-14 minutes, just until lightly browned at the edges.


For the chewiest cookies, do not overbake. The cookies will look slightly underdone in the middle, but will set up as they cool.


Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool complete.


To maintain the chewiest texture, store in an airtight container with a slice of apple or bread.


To be sure you have the amount of spread you like in a cookie, re recommend baking one cookie to test it. Then if it does not spread enough, simply flatten the cookie before baking. If it spreads more than you would like, mix in an extra ¼ cup of flour.


The King Arthur Flour’s Baker’s Companion p. 296


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Nerikiri

Every other month or so I get invited to roll sushi with a couple veteran rollers. We were once asked to bring a desert and what we brought were some amazing ice cream sandwiches (which I'll post in the near future). They were good and well received but there was an obvious disconnect. Now a year or so later I stumbled across this recipe for a beautiful dessert that seems will pair with the sushi a little better. I haven't made them yet but I'll update the post when that happens. For now here is the recipe verbatim from Obachan's Kitchen

Nerikiri

Ingredients:

350 g Shiro-an (Sweetened white bean paste)
10 g rice flour
12 mL water
10 g white sugar
Food coloring
* I understand your concern about the food coloring. More and more Japanese confectioners use natural colors of fruits/vegetables to color wagashi these days. They use the juice or knead steamed vegetable into the dough. From what I read online, some use, for example, beets for red color, egg yolk or pumpkin for yellow, matcha for green, purple potatoes for purple, etc. This time I used store-bought red food coloring, but use what you feel comfortable with. If you come up with a good idea, please let me know.

Direction:
Heat sweetened white bean paste in a pot over a VERY low heat, stirring vigorously. It’ll turn soft first then somewhat come together, maybe in 4 to 5 minutes?? The paste is done if it does not stick to the skin when you touch it with the back of your hand. * I do not recommend using microwave for this procedure, because once you overdo it, there’s no way to fix it. Plus, you’ll need to use a pot later to heat the dough again anyway, so it'll be easier to start with a pot.


In a microwavable bowl, mix rice flour, water and sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for apx. 30 seconds. (When I want to make whighter nerikiri dough, I reduce the amount of water a little and stir small amount of egg white into the water before adding it to the bowl.)





Stir well until it turns white, glossy and elastic. This is called gyuhi, which is practically similar to the daifuku skin.







Take 20 g of the gyuhi made as above and add to the bean-paste. Keep stirring vigorously over VERY low heat (for 3 to 4 minutes??) until the dough becomes a little softer and more elastic than the bean paste, but not sticking to your fingers.





After the dough cools, keep it wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying up.
* They say you can freeze this nerikiri dough, but again I’m not sure how long it keeps well in the freezer. When I tried, the dough was perfect when thawed at room temperature after keeping it in the freezer for 1 week.




You can color dough with food coloring and play with different color combinations. Be careful not to make the dough too mushy when coloring it. Also you can make the dough into different shapes using molds, cookie cutters, etc.

One technique:
1
2
3


Make small balls of shiroan (the yellowish one in the photo), pink-colored nerikiri dough and white nerikiri dough. Wrap an with pink dough. Then wrap the pink dough with thin white dough.



4
5
6


The pink color should vaguely show through the white skin. Make incisions using knife, fork, spoons, etc. so that the pink color would show in the cuts. My hunch is that something made of wood may be better than metallic utensils.



Another technique:

Put pink and white dough together. Smudge the borderline with a finger.


Flatten the dough and wrap shiro-an ball with it. Shape into a flat ball and smooth the surface.

Make incisions. I used the flat wooden pick that will be included in my wagashi-making kit.






Two types of flowers I made using this method.




More techniques for making color gradations are introduced here and here (text is in Japanese only, but the photos are pretty self-explanatory.)

And if you didn’t like what you made, just put everything together and, using plastic wrap like this, squeeze it into a small chestnut or onion shaped ball with an interesting color mixture. ;)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mac and Cheese

And this is what started my hatch-a-meal blog idea....thanx
Heather!



From the New York Times, posted by Heather
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup cottage cheese (not lowfat)
2 cups milk (not skim)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch cayenne
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
½ pound elbow pasta, uncooked.

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees and position an oven rack in upper third of oven. Use 1 tablespoon butter to butter a 9-inch round or square baking pan.

2. In a blender, purée cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper together. Reserve ¼ cup grated cheese for topping. In a large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese, milk mixture and uncooked pasta. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.

3. Uncover pan, stir gently, sprinkle with reserved cheese and dot with remaining tablespoon butter. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes more, until browned. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Yummy Quick Wheat Bread



I got this wheat bread recipe from Kimberly Murray who attended the Canton Ward when I lived in Canton, MI.

5 1/2 c. hot water
2/3 c. hoil
2/3 c. honey
1 T. salt
12-14 c. wheat flour
3 T. yeast

Warm oven to 150 degrees. In a large electric mixing bowl(Bosch, Kitchen Aide, etc.), whisk water, oil, honey and salt for 30 seconds. Add 5 cups flour, run machine until batter is smooth and cakelike. Add yeast, run machine for 30 seconds, and add 2 more cups of flour. Using dough hooks, add 2 more cups of flour. Make sure flour is being incorporated, then add 3 more cups of flour, and make sure all flour is absorbed. Add your final 1 to 2 cups flour. Put lid on securely, turn to high speed for 5 minutes. Grease bread pans with a little bit of oil on your hands. make 4 even dough balls. Shape into loaf and place into pan. Put in warm oven for 25 minutes, then turn oven up to 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Take out of pans and place on cooling rack. You may brush the tops with butter. Cover with towel until cool.

**This loaf is a little big b/c I only divided this recipe into 3 loaves, as was written in the original recipe. I really think 4 is the way to go.

White Bread 101


This past week I have been making this bread nonstop, even making it into rolls for yesterday's dinner. This comes from page. 198 in The King Arthur Flour Baking Companion.

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour (but I used bread flour)
2 t. instant yeast (if using regular active yeast, then dissolve yeast in some water first)
1-1/4 t. salt
3 T. sugar
4 T. butter
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1/3 cup potato flakes
1-1/8 cups lukewarm water

Combine all the ingredients and mix and knead them together---by had, mixer or bread machine--until you've made a soft, smooth dough. Adjust the dough's consistency with additional flour or water as needed; but remember, the more flour you add while you're kneading, the heavier and drier your final loaf will be. Cover and let the dough rise about 1 hour until it's puffy (though not necessarily doubled in bulk).

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface and shape it into an 8" log. Transfer the log to a lightly greased 8.5x4.5" loaf pan, cover the pan and let the bread rise until the outer edge has risen about 1" over the rim of the pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Uncover the pan and bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil for the final 10-15 minutes if it appears to be browning too quickly.

Remove the bread from the oven, take it out of the pan, and place it on a wire rack to cool completely. After 15 minutes, brush it with butter, if desired; this will give it a soft crust.

ROLLS
Use the above recipe but for ease in rolling, you might want to add 3 T. of dough relaxer ( I used dough enhancer) to the dough along with the rest of the dry ingredients.

Choose the shape you want to create, divide the dough into 16 pieces, and shape.

After shaping, let the rolls rise until puffy and almost double in size. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown with an internal temperature of 190 degrees.

Finished rolls can be brushed with butter for a delicious soft crust; a double coating of butter for a soft, satiny crust, or lightly dusted with flour, if you prefer.

Monterey Chicken


Dawn Mercedes' Monterey Chicken

1/4 c. flour


7-8 T taco seasoning


4 pieces of chicken breast...I had chicken tenders...and had a heaping plate of them.


1/2 c. butter, melted


2 c. tortilla chips, crushed...a lot


3 T. finely chopped onion


1T. oil


2 T. flour


1/4 t. salt


1 can evaporated mlk


1/4 t. hot pepper sauce (or a few dabs)


1 c. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (I had colby monterey jack in stock today.)


1/4 c. sliced olives


1 t. lemon juice (or a splash)




Put flour and taco seasoning in brown lunch bag. Shake chicken (a few at a time) in the bag to coat. Dip into the butter. Then roll in the tortilla chips. Back at 375 for 50 minutes. (Again I did not set a timer so just keep an eye on them.) I flipped the chicken at some point during the cook time.




Saute onion in the oil. Then add flour, salk, milk and hot sauce. Cook until thick. Add cheese, olives and lemon juice. Stir until cheese melts. Serve chicken and sauce on a bed of lettuce.




Ken loved this...I mean LOVED it. LIke he was trying to get every last chip morsel left in the pan. And the cheese sauce would make a nice dip for chips. We had maybe a cup left over. Also, our friend, Chef Randy suggested that you serve the sauce on the side. Or serve it UNDER the chicken so as not to lose the crispy crust on the poultry.

Hatch-a-Meal

I wanted a recipe from Heather and it turns out that their family has a recipe blog and I thought...why don't we? All of my kids/spouses

are good at cooking and menu planning and I am sure they have recipes to share. So here we go.....so when you post feel free to add a picture of the actual dish and then please add a LABEL in one of the following:

Salads/Dressings
Breads
Soups
Beef
Poultry
Pork
Fish
Breakfast
Appetizers
Beverages
Pasta
Potatoes
Snacks
Candies