Friday, April 27, 2012

Back Online Again

If you have been posting comments and were wondering why there is no response, please accept my apologies.    I thought the AT&T U-Verse DSL connection was fixed over the weekend, but it totally went kaput the last few days.   I finally got it fixed by a good tech who knows what he is doing - Sanjesh!   Thanks, Sanjesh.    So, my modem thus far has not turned "Red blink blink" since he left... a good sign.   Hope the connection issue is now resolved... actually for the entire neighbors.
I will try to catch up with the posting as much as I can.
Thank you for your understanding.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Curried Lentils with Tofu

What kind of dishes can you make with all these ingredients that you see?     Well, quite a few, if you ask a professional chef.    Add a green French Lentils and some curry spices and voila - curried lentils with Tofu to go with the Naan I made.


I think this can be considered as a vegetarian dish?   Naan does have Greek Yogurt in it though.

Polly's First Naan

I love all kinds of different breads from different cultures.     When I go to Indian restaurant, I consume more breads - chapati, naan than the meat dishes.     This naan recipe is from one of the blogger's site that I tested.     Since I like mine puffier, I rolled it out to 1/4 inch thickness.   
So, the recipe I used is from this site:  by Miss C.       Now I remember why I didn't have the information in the beginning... because my printer ran out of inks, and I hand copied the recipe on a piece of scratch paper.    Luckily the printer managed to print the URL before it ran out of the ink and I found that page.    So, please visit the site for the recipe details.        Yummm.... Love it!
 Knead the dough well until gluten is formed.


 Should have rolled it out into much smoother dough, but alas!  at the last minute, I remembered that I forgot to add the oil ingredient into the dough.      When I added it in while rolling the dough out and folding and rolling again, .... well, this is as smooth as I can produce because I was not about to re-proof the dough, again.    (too impatient)

 Enjoy with Curried Lentils with Tofu

Polly's Harissa

Gathering the ingredients were bit challenging as far as the different types of chili peppers needed.      I wished I had found Fresno Chili Pepper and Guajillo Chili Pepper.     But normally, they are not found at the local markets.  I end up improvising and substituting.      It is quite aromatic and taste delicious in meat dishes.
Some of the ingredients I used are: fresh Jalapeno Chili Pepper, fresh Red Bell Pepper, Cayenne Pepper (home grown & dried), fresh Anaheim Chili Pepper.... perhaps, I should have used dried chili peppers instead of the fresh ones as they are more flavorful.      

 Love the food processing power of the NINJA four blade core.

Top it off in the jar with some Olive Oil and store in the refrigerator.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

"Window Pane" - a well formed bread dough gluten

Some times ago, I posted about the kneading power of my Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer not living up to it's power and kind of non-functional "C" hook that it came with.    Since then, I have been kneading the dough manually.      Last year, while perusing one of the cookbook Culinaria France one of the picture caught my eyes.      It's a French bread baker holding up a large piece of dough right out of Kitchen Aid Profession mixer - kneaded and formed into a perfect "window pane".     That got me persistent to get the same result with my Artisan.     And here are the photo journal of it.     I hope you will get encouragement and have a great bread baking result.
Tip:  Use paddle attachment for 15 minutes to mix the flour mixture with water.    Water:Flour ratio per your recipe but the moisture content of every bag of flour varies with season the flour is manufactured and type of wheat, etc, so use some "common knowledge / grand-mother's tip / family secret" sense of "ear lobe" touch test.      Then, switch to "C" hook and knead until the dough forms into a ball and separate itself from the side of the mixing bowl.   Stop and pull out to test.     Depending on the dough's flour and water ratio, it will take anywhere from 30 min to 45 min for the window pane to form.    **Flour used:  All Purpose Flour

 Depending on the type of bread formula, the crumb textures will vary.      The general tip is that the well kneaded dough will have finer crumb textures.     Less kneaded, for example, Ciabbata, wet and less kneaded, will result in larger open pores.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Polly's Quick Banana Muffins

While I am on the roll with the banana, why not make another one.    It's time to go pick up my grand-children for fun vacation time together.     I made this quickly in the morning so I can drive down with them.      The recipe is very similar to the other banana bread recipe I posted.

6 Muffin cups and one Muffin Top baking pan
1 stick butter - soft
3/4 C sugar
1/4 C  light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla paste
1 egg
1 C AP flour
heaping 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 firm banana  - may be with 5 dots on the peel, but no more than that.
Ceylon Cinnamon and sugar mixture - e.g. 1 tsp cinnamon to 1/3 C sugar

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy and pale.    Add vanilla paste and egg.    Beat well.
Shift flour and baking powder and salt 4 times.     Add to the butter mixture.
Separate  banana into chunks with fingers, then, add to the butter mixture and mix well.
Scoop the batter equally into muffin cups and Muffin tops pan.    Sprinkle the tops of a few muffins with sugar cinnamon.     For the grand children - without sugar cinnamon.
Bake for 20 minutes at 400'F or until the tester come out moist, but not wet.

(Pictures to follow a bit later.)

Polly's Chocolate Chip Cookies

After so many trying of chocolate chip cookies, it's time to decide on my own.
I think this recipe (my recipe) turned out the best for the type of cookie crispness and crumbs that I like the best.

1 stick (1/4 lb) soft butter
2/3 C sugar
1/2 C light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 egg
1-1/2 C Flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C+ Guittard Real Milk Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350'F
On 2 baking sheets , place Silpats.
Shift Flour, baking powder and salt 4 times and set aside.
Beat butter till fluffy and pale with sugars. Add vanilla paste. Add egg and beat well.
Add flour mixture and Chips. If you like more chips than 1/2 Cup, please don't be shy and add some more. Mix well just enough so there is no signs of unmixed flour showing in the batter (as it usually is the case when chocolate chip and flour are mixed in together instead of mixing the flour first, then, mix in the chips. But the idea here is mix less to avoid gluten development.)
(Squash down with the palm of your hand)

Use any size cookie scoop of your desire choice - 1 TB or 2 TB size and place on Silpat to bake.     Bake for 8 min >> when you see 1 to 2 mm of sign of brown edge, the cookie is done.       *Depending on individual oven power. I noticed on the regular Silpat, it bakes in 8 min.     In Martha Stewart's baking pad, it took 10 min to brown. I am not sure why the difference, except the Silpat is brownish tan colored pad and the Martha Stewart's baking pad is light parsley green.
Do not bake to wait for the top of the cookies to brown << that's over baked - for this particular recipe I created.
Remove from the oven and cool 2 - 3 minutes before transferring to the cooling rack.  
*The idea is to let the butter and sugar to solidify so the cookies would hold its form or your cookies would crack/crumble.

   Two different Silicone baking mats, two different results.
Tip:   Take out of the oven as soon as you see 2 mm of brownings at the edge <<< but this depends all on your oven size, manufacturer, and heating BTU.    (My oven is extra large GE gas oven.)

FINALLY RESOLVED! Having Problem with AT&T Uverse Connection to Internet

 4-21-2012   Finally received a new modem from U-Verse.     I am glad to have insisted on getting a new replacement shipped.      I know I did not have any problem before this new service and with other modem and that it is this defective modem that is causing online connection outages for the last two months.       So far, the connection is steady and continuous.    So don't get talked into a inside home tech support if the previous box before installing the new service worked.   They may have shipped you a defective box.      I know this has nothing to do with the food, but because of this I have not been able to get online, etc.

I want to apologize for not responding to some of you via e-mail or through this food blog site's reply.     Ever since I changed to AT&T Uverse Internet Service back in early March.  I have had bad luck of being cut off or have connection for only 10 min in a day or way past midnight or when no-one in the neighbors are using their internet.   I am pretty upset about their service.     It's a some kind of joke that I am finally able to log on today at home because I am on vacation with my grand children.     But I am already seeing the degradation on the connection just because I am online. 
I will try to resolve this issue and post back on response as soon as I can consistently.
Thank you all for the kind notes and dropping by.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

One Pan Banana and Zucchini Bread

When I am energetic in the morning, I love to wake up and head right down to my kitchen and start making my lunch or breakfast.   This morning, I decided to make banana bread.     Start right at 5:15 am and finished at 6:30 am.     Here is a regular quick bread recipe that usually yield one loaf, but I made it into a banana bread and a zucchini bread.      Just when you are ready to pan the mixture in.     Separate half of the batter into a separate bowl and mix each bowl with shredded zucchini and the other with finger mushed banana (chunky)     Zucchini is peeled, but leave some green peel here and there and be sure to squeeze the liquid out (to remove bitterness and too much moisture).       Bake them in a square pan lined with parchment paper.    I sliced them up and took some to work to share with the co-workers.     But, soooorry.    They tasted so good, I almost ate them all by myself at my desk.    

1-3/4 C AP Flour
1-1/2 heaping tsp  Baking Powder
1 Stick Butter, Soft - room temp
2/3 C Sugar
3/4 tsp salt

2  Eggs
1/2 C Sugar
1 C Zucchini - shredded & liquid squeezed out
1-1/2 Banana - in good shape - no over riped - separated into chunks with fingers
1 tsp Ceylon grounded Cinnamon
1/8 tsp grounded cloves
1 tsp Orange zest

Procedures:         Preheat oven to 375'F
Shift flour, salt, Ceylon cinnamon, cloves, and baking powder together.     Set aside.
Beat 1 stick soft butter till fluffy and pale with 2/3 C sugar.     Set aside.
Beat 2 eggs till pale with 1/2 C sugar.
Add egg mixture into butter and add orange zest.   Mix.
Add flour mixture and mix gently and thoroughly.    Separate into equal 2 portions.
Mix one portion  with banana.    Mix the other portion with squeezed zucchini.
Line 8x8 brownie pan with parchment paper.      Option:  Muffin cups or 2 loaf pans
Add both mixture side-by-side into the pan and bake till tester come out clean.

Tip:  Control one bowl mixing technique, my method of beating butter and eggs, separately, till fluffy and pale, then, mixing them together always result in a fine crumb cake for any of my basic cake baking.


Hello! Mom

Here is my mom with her spring garden.