Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Holiday Lucheon Prep

I hope everyone had a wonderful family gathering during the Thanksgiving Day holiday.  Well, my saga of baking or roasting this 20 lb turkey turned out to be... let's say, "Mom, it's just like your usual 'dry' turkey".   So needless to say, I don't have to guess how it would turned out - I mean, really 8 hours of roasting the bird?  I don't need to go to school to 'guess' that the bird is going to be dry.  I always told my family that I like my poultry 'dry' - don't even mention the word "moist", but this bird was tasteless.  I don't know what this "xxxxxr xxxm" feed the bird.  I was sure with all that stuffing, it would have infused some flavor.  OH well, it was saved by my son's green bean casseroles and cranberry sauce.  We had fun joking about it.  As for the Cornucopia - another one of my why do you do the 'things' when you need to perform your best? and go figure, PB, I say to myself, you know Chiffon doesn't do well in Silicone Mold.
So, if you are dear foodie bloggers just so happen to stop by, you know what not to do. 
But I did something right, however.  The turkey smelled beautifully - thanks to the extra dry vermouth was added to the liquid at the bottom of the roasting pan.  At least the turkey did not "smell" or taste "turkey"... I don't know how to describe it, but I dislike turkey with 'heavy' turkey taste.  I don't even think it's the word "gamy".  I mean how can a farm raised turkey be gamy, right?   & I will make sure the roasting pan is much larger size... actually, buy a smaller turkey and baste it every hour just like I have always done before that I was too lazy to do!!  But other than that, my croissant from the Tartine book turned out Wonderful!!  it was sooooo good. 
Not knowing how busy the day will be tomorrow, I decided to roast the turkey today.  Oh my gosh! this 20 lb stuffed turkey has been in the oven for 8 hours!  finally, it's done!.   I hope it will be good tomorrow.
While the turkey was in the oven, I tested the demi-baguette formula out of the new "Bouchon Bakery" cook book I got.  I love breads.  There are so many other pastries I could try, but the ingredients of the bread is so simple, but yet the whole process is so involved.  Then, I made another batch of Tartine's Croissants.  It turned out so beautifully last week that I want to include it in our Thanksgiving luncheon.   Just like the baker who patiently await for the dough to proof, etc, etc, I got busy with baking a chiffon cake using the new silicone Cornucopia mold I purchased last week.   Instead of pandan, I used lime.   They are all in the kitchen cooling as I type.   As for the baguette, it's appearance lack the experienced bread baker's smooth skin formation during the 'rounding' that I failed to form, but other than that, the flavor of the bread is wonderful.   The crumb formed bubbly and turned out light.  With a dab of butter,.... I almost at the whole baguette myself.
So, this is one of the most earliest posting I have ever done.  A day before the event.   Here is my photo journal of my last 14 hours.

 Sanitize your sink very very well! and give the turkey a good salt bath, and as a treat, I doused the whole bird with extra dry Vermouth inside and outside; then, rinsed all off with running water.


Warning - 12/10/12 Note:  8 hours is waaaaay too long by all means!!!!
 My attempt in the demi-baguette formula from the Bouchon Bakery recipe book.  I think I better get one of really sharp blade to do the scoring.   I am tired of using the scissor or blade that's not "thin" enough to the job.   I also need to improved on the rounding to form the smooth skin to prevent this old skin look.
But as the taste --- it is sooooo good and tasty!   It was well worth my work.
 I was very very worried about baking at 460'F, however.  I don't think my oven likes that high a temp.   But definitely did not use any parchment paper or silpat.  That prevented emission of fume from them and infusing the chemical smell into the bread.   I will try this formula again, and again!
This is my Lime Chiffon Cake.   Just love this chiffon style cake.  My cake is still cooling as I type, so I will post the final picture later.


 Can't wait to see how it turns out.
Here is there result - it's a "flop".  Need more testing with the flour ration in this Chiffon formula.
On the other hand, the Croissants were magnificient.   If you have not tried the croissants formula in the Tartine book, I highly recommend it and combine the technique in "Baking with Julia".
I am so happy with this Croissant formula.  All the techniques I learned from the Tartine recipe book, Baking with Julia Child.... after 8+ testing, I am getting a hang of it.  "Baking" - really is a science.

 Mixing the butter block with flour is my personal method of preference to control the pliability and firmness in my hot kitchen.

 Perfect size for sandwich.

  I love taking pictures of Croissants!!! 

So, have a wonderful time with your family on the Thanksgiving Day.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My JO version of Chicken Dim Sum....

I love to cook with Jamie Oliver's recipe.   His recipe is simple, accurate, and manageable at home.   This recipe is from his website under the 15 minutes cooking section.   Under the title:  "Chicken Dim Sum, Coconut Buns, Cucumber Pickle & Hoi Sin Sauce".    I just so happened to have chicken pieces and a jar of coconuts milk defrosting in the refrigerator and a bunch of just cut home grown limes in the kitchen as well as a brand new bamboo steamer I purchased at one of the Korean market - just sitting, all pretty, on my kitchen shelf waiting for action.   When I saw this recipe, I thought, "Perfect!"   So I tried.    I am amazed with the bursting combination flavor of Hoi Sin and Lime juice.   I would have never thought of combining them to make a dish.   When it comes to mixing spices together, I am quite timid.   I didn't find the tenderstem broccoli at my local market, so I skipped that.   I didn't have fresh mushrooms, but I hydrated some of the dried mushroom varieties I have in the pantry.  I didn't have self-rising flour, so I mixed my own.... But how about the result?   I love the coconut flavor in the Bao, and refreshing taste of limes in the chicken with mushrooms, and the pickled cucumber JO style is very interesting.  Just because he  reversed the normal process that I know of in Asian kitchen to "sweat" the cut cucumbers in salt first and then scrunch them between palms of the hands to extract excess water; instead JO's recipe method is almost the opposite.   I was worried that all the flavor would be lost, but it didn't.    I would try it again to make this dishes, just so I can use my bamboo steamer.  I have been tolerating the stainless steel steamer because the bamboo steam being sold is too small to do the job.   My mom's bamboo steamer she had is twice the size of the ones I bought.  The bamboo steamer distributes the steam evenly and less water accumulation at the bottom to cause food from becoming soggy.  If you can get hold of the larger size steamer, it will be a good investment.   It is available sometimes at larger Asian markets like 99 Ranch, Lions, or SF Market.

(*Red chili I used is home grown and dried hanging.)
Well, did I cook all this within 15 minutes after gathering and completed the mis en place?  naaa.... I keep on reading the recipe direction over and over and washing the kitchen tools in between, so it took an hour for me to complete.   Nevertheless, I love it!