Friday, April 09, 2010

The Spring is finally here

Despite the fact that the Lunar Calendar is very accurate as far as the announcement of the season goes, this year, the spring came differently, at least in our area.  It's been showering... actually storming rather than the spring showers.  I say the spring has finally arrived.  Not back in March, but just yesterday.  Early morning birds were singing and sun was up high.  Plants and flowers are smiling.

Life is a Beautiful Colors

 Like many other Easter celebration day, our family gathered last weekend to Rejoice in the Day.  My grandchildren had a great time coloring eggs and enjoyed company of their uncles and great grand mother...  Life is truly a beautiful colors.  Instead of the usual ham or whatever the norm for the Easter gatherings, I decided to serve the Puff-Goes-the-Chicken Pot Pie.  We had fun making it and loved each other's company.
Decided to bake the puff pastry separately.  To serve 12, the pot pie mixtures were baked in turkey roasting pan.  Since the puff pastry depends on the its own 'steam' (from moisture) / butter to puff up, too cover such a large open moist surface over the roasting pan would be too risky.  Before the Puff could even start to bake, it would have collapsed into the pot pie and turned into a glob.  Luckily the plan worked.  For next time, it will be individual pot pie.  I am hoping to get one of those ramekins in the round shape with lion handles... something like that to make it look prettier.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Home Baked Mediterranean Olive Bread Revisited

I had a really good day off today.  I got charged up after visiting and reading some of the other food bloggers' adventures in baking.  So, I decided to prepare three different types of bread.  I revisited our family favorite Mediterranean Olive Bread that I learned in class.  I am not in particular fond of my High Gluten flour that I bought.  It seems to make my bread texture to come out translucent in the past baking ...  I just skipped the 2nd 1 lb portion of it and just use the bread flour.
There are two challenges I want to complete in this baking - "No Knead" bread and how many days will it keep without becoming rock hard - this is achieved by adding the special ingredients I learned from some of the dear food bloggers.  (They are really great bakers!!  I am so proud of them--Happy Home Bakers, Angie's, Sea Dragon, etc, etc.)  Normally, kneading is required to make this bread - to build gluten.  Since one other bread that I am making is the infamous "No Knead Bread" recipe that my friend Debra shared with me, I want to see if the Olive Bread would turn out just as fine.
I weighed all ingredients and mixed them all together in my extra large bowl with spoon, including the new 'secret' ingredients.... ha, ha,,, when you find out what it is, you will be so mind boggled--What! that?  that's not secret? is it?  Your mom must have forgotten to pass it down.  Then, I covered it to let it rise.  After the 1st rise, then, I completed the kneading with hands.  Portion it into thirds - rather than into two's (the full recipe makes 4 loaves and I used half batch) because I got three special munchkins to give to.  The result:  very good.
(*Double Click on the image to enlarge.)