Archive for the ‘Recipe’ Category

Recipe: Little Apple Tarts

October 23, 2013

We visited the apple farm last Wednesday when there was a rare day of good sunny weather after a whole week of non-stop raining. It was a rather hectic day because I had to go for my volunteer work and then Calvin had his first field trip to the boathouse. I’m glad we went then because it turned really cold this week. It is our second trip to the apple orchard. The first time we went, there were only Jonagold and Golden Delicious. We bought a bunch of Jonagolds just coz we’ve never eaten it before and most of that was promptly eaten or turned into apple crumble (the ones I brought to our Shenandoah National park trip)

Last year we really liked the Fuji apples that we picked so this time, we were all prepared for a big haul home. We went on a weekday so there was no shuttle bus and we had a nice hike up the mountain to where the Fuji apple trees grow. We saw piles of apples lying at the side of the road. They must have been too ripe and that one week of rain when few people were picking them probably meant a lot of them just fell off the tree. What a waste! I wonder if the orchard owners pick those up and make them into apple cider or something. It’s a good thing we don’t actually buy the apple products they sell because I can’t help but wonder whether the fate of those fallen apples involves something in their kitchens!

It was fun looking for the apples and picking them. We let Calvin picked many small ones that are within his reach. Last year, we found that the small ones tasted better than the big ones. When I went to pay for it, it turned out we had a big haul of 14 lbs of apples!! I’m not sure what we’ll do with it. I’ve made some apple tarts which was gobbled up in a jiffy but it’s so much work that I’m hesitant to make more. Looks like it’ll be lots of sliced apple snacks for a while.

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Recipe: Apple Tarts

Ingredients:
Filling:
2 apples, cubed
1 TBS sugar
1 TBS cinnamon

Tart Dough:
1.5 cup whole wheat flour
0.5 cup butter (I substituted 2 Tbs with applesauce)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Cream sugar and butter, then add remaining dough ingredients. Mix well until moist crumbs form.
3. Grease muffin pan with butter
4. Press dough into pan and up the sides. Use a measuring cup to press the dough down firmly so it’s not lumpy.
5. Mix apple with sugar and cinnamon and put into the empty tarts until it is full.
6. With remaining dough, make flat little covers to put on top of the apples. Mine was covered up pretty haphazardly and there are plenty of gaps in between.
7. Bake at 400 F for 18 to 22 minutes or until the top is browned. I started checking every minute from 15 minutes.

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Recipe: Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread (Artisan Bread in 5 mins)

October 21, 2013

I’ve been making all the bread we eat for almost 2 years.  Granted, we do not consume much bread in our house. On a slow month, a loaf can sometimes last the whole month. I started off with the Mark Bittman’s famous no-knead bread that was posted on NYTimes. Since I don’t have any bread machine or mixer, I didn’t want to deal with kneading bread especially not with my arthritic fingers that hurt if I exerted my hands, so this recipe was perfect. Except when I made it whole wheat instead of normal white bread, it was usually very dense and very crusty. I tried using a loaf pan but the dough does not rise very well and resembled a brick more than bread. Initially I made free-form loaves but that made rather flat long pieces of bread, so I ended up making rolls instead so that the cross-section is now round instead of long and flat, which makes for strange sandwiches.

Cross-section of the different no-knead bread

Cross-section of the different no-knead bread

Then this year, I ventured to a similar recipe called Artisan Bread in 5. It is another no knead recipe which also features a long first rise. As with the first recipe, I mixed up all the ingredients, then leave it in a mixing bowl or container for 12 hours except for this artisan bread in 5, after 2 hours, the rise is happens in the fridge instead. The beauty of this recipe is that after refridgerating, the dough is a lot easier to handle and I can actually shape the loaf so it looks like a loaf. And then recently, I decided to challenge the fully whole wheat sandwich bread again – this time with dough enhancers. Dough enhancers are stuff you add to help whole wheat bread rise. I made my own ‘enhancer’ by adding lemon juice, ginger powder and vital wheat gluten and viola! the bread rose so well, you can hardly tell that it’s whole wheat! I made some sausage rolls, raisin buns and even a whole loaf that actually looks like a loaf. (See comparison to what I made before :P) I’m not sure if it’s a testimony of how yummy this new recipe is, but Calvin has been eating two slices of it every single morning since I first made it. I’ve left a copy of the recipe below.

My very first free form loaf in 2011. Tasty but totally the wrong shape

2011: My very first free form loaf. Tasty but totally the wrong shape

A loaf that actually looks like a loaf

2013: A loaf that actually looks like a loaf

Recipe: Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Ingredients:

3.25 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 cup water (substitute 1/2 cup milk)
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoon flaxseed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoon vital wheat gluten (needs additional 1.25x liquid)
1/8 teaspoon ginger powder

Method:
1. Mix all the ingredients together in a lidded container until well mixed. Let rise for 2 hours then place in fridge for 8 hours. Put the lid on loosely or the gases might cause an ‘explosion’ in your fridge.
2. After the first rise in the fridge, cut out the size of the dough that you need. Pat flour all over to prevent it from sticking. Shape it into a loaf and make 3 cuts on top with a serrated knife.
3. Put it in a oiled loaf pan and let it rise for 90 mins in a warm room or oven.
4. Preheat oven to 375F for 20 mins. Bake for 30 mins until the top turns brown.
5. When done, remove the loaf from pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Cut into slices once it has completely cooled.

I turn 32

May 27, 2013

I’m not sure if I feel as old as that but I certainly don’t young anymore. Not when there is white hair creeping out from under the rest of my blacks.

Today, in a lapse of indulgence, I decided to bake myself a chocolate cake. But being the hippy health conscious cook that I am, I decided to give the black bean version another go. Yes, it’s a cake made without flour but black beans in its place. It turned out surprisingly fluffy and rich even though it looks ugly – the center collapsed as all my cakes tend to do >.< and it was rather crumbly and some parts were not mixed well so I could even taste the acrid baking soda taste. (I blame this on 1. My laziness because I wanted everything mixed in my blender to minimize washing and 2. My teeny tiny blender that just couldn’t handle all the ingredients.)

This was the recipe

1/2 cup sugar
1.5 cup black beans or 1 canned, drained and rinsed
3 eggs
3 heaped tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of instant coffee
vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of baking powder
juice & zest from half an orange
pinch of salt
1/2 cup baking chocolate

Mix everything in a blender except chocolate chunks. Bake at 350 F for about 35 minutes. (Mine took another 10 mins and still didn’t pass the toothpick test…. that might explain why it collapsed?)

With all the chocolate and sugar added, I’m sure it’s still as sinful as ever. Hey at least there wasn’t more oil or butter in there. What’s more I used up that bag of black beans that I had defrosted and couldn’t decide on how to use it up before we go on vacation. :p