Thursday, March 15, 2012

Imperial Couscous with Beef

I love all the ingredients in this dish.    It is a wonderful combination of 'everything' available in my pantry type cooking - raisins, pinenuts, orange peels, etc.   Couscous is a new experience for me.  Just a small 1/3 Cup of it is enough to yield 1-1/2 C.  It is great to serve with Chicken or Beef Tagine prepared with various flavorful spices.    It's wonderful to learn variety of recipes.

 Serve with sprinkles of pinenuts.

Japanese White Loaf Bread with Raisins

Many bloggers are familiar with this Japanese White Loaf Bread.    I have tested the recipe with several different methods and with different flour.    The results are quite different each time.    But what I noticed is the difference of texture.    I am not sure if it is because of the additives in the flour or ?    For a while, I doubted my Kitchen Aid mixer functions as it claims, but while I was studying for my Mediterranean cooking, I came across the photo of this baker pulling this dough to show the well developed  gluten dough with "window pane" texture.     He pulled dough out of the mixer bowl of Kitchen Aid.    While the mixer is much larger model than mine, I thought of a different way to make it do the job of 'kneading'.     The new technique includes using the Paddle to do the first  approx 15+ minutes of mixing and kneading of the dough, depending on the amount of the flour mixture.     Then switch it to the dough hook to knead until the gluten is well developed to form the window pane.    The baked bread resulted in texture that is similar to the ones seen sold at the Asian bakery.    Flour - Unbleached Gold Medal all-purpose flour, instead of Cake flour - a mixture of regular flour and Japanese potato starch.     A bit of wheat germs and dark rye flour in addition to the basic ingredients for the Japanese Hokkaido Loaf Bread.
 The subsequent batch made with Wheat Montana all-purpose flour turned out with coarser larger pores.    I think a couple more testings will help me find out if it is the flour or etc....

  Improvisation of baking the loaf in covered loaf pan.  Sure, if you have the Pullman baking pan, that's great.     But for me, this works great.


Here is the Bread #2 made with Wheat Montana's unbleached flour.  
Texture:  Machine kneading time is the same, but the textured turned out with a bit more holes.      From my kneading experience, the more you knead, the finer the texture.      
Difference:   The bread #1 at the top is made with Gold Medal's unbleached flour & bread #2 here is made with Wheat Montana's. 
I am still not convinced with the test results.   Because when I tried it again with the Gold Medal's flour again, the result was not the same here with bread #3.     It became more airy... well we all know the truth... actually this one is caused by over proofing.      So back to drawing board.    Accurate proofing timing and control  to produce the fine product.     It's so challenging in a home kitchen.   

Curly Chicken with Fuji Apples and Fingerling Potatoes

Fingerling Potatoes are colorful and quite tasty.  Adding them to the spicy curried chickens with chopped sweet flavorful Fuji apples gave it a new face.