Sunday, September 30, 2012

More Pide

Yes, that's right. I made another batch of pide today.  I got 10 instead of 12, and filled these with sucuk (a garlicky sausage), and pastrami, since I didn't have any pastirma.  Next time I go to Memphis, I will have to buy some.    I beat some eggs and poured a little bit in each little boat before I slapped them all in the oven. I used mozzarella instead of kasar.  All in all, another successful baking day.  I am tired!  Thank goodness I'm just proctoring and grading tomorrow. No performance necessary.  I hope you all had a great weekend!

Another Taste of Nostalgia - Turkish Pide

I have a lot of people to thank for this one.  I want to take my Aussie to Istanbul so he can experience the city that I love.  I want him to see the exquisite beauty of the Blue Mosque, experience the pleasures of a cup of tea by the Bosphorus, and I want him to eat some amazing Turkish food.   We can't afford that vacation just yet, but next year, who knows?  For now, though, when I start to miss Istanbul, I go into the kitchen and do my best to recreate some of the recipes I fell in love with when I live there from 2008-2010.  (See? I can't even believe it's been that long!)

Now, not being Turkish, I don't have a stash of family recipes.  I have to either take ingredients I remember, sometimes finding American substitutions, and whomp something together, or I have to start googling.  A search for "Turkish pide" gave me the information I was lacking - do I cook the topping first? (No.), and how long do I bake these suckers in my electric oven?    I'm used to pide coming straight out of a wood-fired oven like it did at the pideci near my apartment.  (Best pide and lahmacun I've ever freaking had, btw.)

My pide doesn't have the texture of wood-fired, but daaaaaaaaamn!! It was good.  I took a bite and went, "Oh, yeah. That takes me back."   Mmmm...nostalgia.  Food really can transport us to another place and time.  Magic.  :)

For the pide:

1/2 cup lukewarm water (no higher than 110 F)
2 tsp granulated sugar
1 packet (about 2 1/4 tsp) yeast
5 c all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp salt
2 c lukewarm milk

flour for dusting

For the filling:

1/2 lb ground beef
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Cubanelle pepper, seeded
1/2 medium onion
1/2 bunch parsley
salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, combine onion, pepper and parsley until very finely chopped.  Mix with meat, tomato paste, salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and set aside for 10 minutes.

Heat the milk until lukewarm - again, no higher than 110, or you'll risk killing the yeast

Place the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.   Stir in the warm milk and yeast mixture.

Stir to combine.  The dough will be somewhat sticky.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Sprinkle with extra flour and knead for 10 minutes.

Place dough into an oiled bowl and turn to coat.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 90 minutes.

Punch down dough and let it rise a second time, 30-45 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Cover the dough you're not working with so it doesn't dry out.

Roll a piece of dough into an oval, approximately 1/4 inch thick.

Take 2-3 tablespoons of the filling and spread it in a thin layer, leaving a border.   Fold the sides of the dough and pinch the ends, forming a boat shape.

Preheat oven to 425.

Brush the pide with beaten egg and bake 15-18 minutes, until filling is done and dough is golden brown.

                                                                           Kiymali pide

Afiyet olsun...

By the way, these pictures earned not one, but TWO Turkish Seals of Approval from my friends.  :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Harvest Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

Today's offering to my coworkers is a tribute to that fall favorite: the caramel apple.  I found a recipe for salted caramel frosting on chow.com that paired beautifully with the apple cupcakes.  Leave off the frosting (or not), call 'em muffins, and have one for breakfast.  Heck, have two. An apple a day, right?  Hehehe.

The cake is nice and springy and not overpoweringly sweet.  The salted caramel frosting is so good I want to submerge myself in a vat of it.   I think I might experiment with a caramel cream cheese dip for apple slices...

Anyhell, here are the recipes that I used for the cupcakes that are in the previous post.  Danko, my cat, was verrrrrrrrry interested in them, and she usually doesn't give a hoot about what's on the table, unless she can play with it.

Harvest Apple Cupcakes 
This is a recipe of my mom’s that I tweaked.  I prefer cake flour to all-purpose for cakes (most of the time). I wanted some pieces of apple, so I used chunky applesauce, and I added a bit of sour cream for tanginess  and to make the batter extra moist.

2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
4 eggs, room temperature
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup chunky applesauce
½ cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla

Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy.
Mix in eggs, one at a time.
Add vanilla, apple sauce and sour cream.  Mix well.
Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.  Add to wet ingredients.  Stir to combine.
Preheat oven to 350 F.   
Scoop batter into prepared muffin liners.  Fill ¾ way.   Bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Salted Caramel Frosting
Source: chow.com
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp water
1 ½ sticks butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp fine sea salt

In a saucepan, combine water and granulated sugar.  Bring to a boil and cook until dark amber in color, 5-7 minutes. 
Remove from heat and stir in cream and vanilla.
Allow to cool for 20 minutes.

Beat butter, vanilla, salt and powdered sugar together until fluffy.
Scrape down sides of the bowl.  
Add caramel and beat 2-3 more minutes.
Allow to chill for at least half an hour before using

Notes: to really give these a caramel apple touch, sprinkle with chopped honey roasted peanuts

** I wonder what would happen if I popped one of those little Kraft caramels in the center before baking?  Would It gently ooze into the cupcake, or would I have a melted, scorched mess on my hands?  Something to ponder hehehe.

Fur baby Friday

Danko sez:  That one is mine....and that one is mine....and also that one....

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Just a Thought...

I was thinking about using some of my blog posts as jumping-off points for some videos.  Maybe I could reach a wider audience that way.  Thoughts?  Opinions?  I'd like to hear from you.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Some Harvest Home Food Porn

Molasses-oatmeal bread

Roasted duck

Butternut squash flan

And it was all deeeeelicious!  I hope your celebration was a lovely one. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Some Music for the Harvest Home Celebrations

Mabon/Autumn Equinox Dessert: Butternut Squash Flan

I love flan.  Some people get grossed out by the texture, but I love it.  It's one of my favorite desserts, and I sometimes order it from the Mexican restaurant close to my apartment.  I even made my own for my birthday, using a simple recipe I found from allrecipes.com.  It was fabulous, so I decided to stick with the basic recipe and make a few additions...

First of all, I added some roasted butternut squash.  I love it, and it's perfect for this time of year.  Then, I added some spices to accompany the squash.  It's a creamy, custardy dessert that will be the perfect ending for a Mabon feast.   You know how there's always room for Jell-O?  Well, there's always room for flan, too.  That's another plus - no matter how full you get, there's room for dessert!  Hee hee.

Here we go:

Butternut Squash Flan
1 cup + ½ cup granulated sugar
6 eggs
2 14-oz cans evaporated milk
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon maple extract
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup roasted butternut squash

In a saucepan, heat one cup of sugar until it melts and caramelizes.  Watch carefully, as you don’t want the caramel to be too dark.  It should be a golden brown. 

Spray a 9 x 13 casserole (or 8-10 ramekins) with nonstick spray (especially important if you plan to invert the flan),and pour in the caramel.  

In a blender, combine the rest of the ingredients.  Pour into the casserole dish. 
Heat oven to 325.   

Place casserole into a larger dish.   Set in the oven and then add hot (recently boiled) water about halfway up the side of the flan. 

Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool and then place in the refrigerator to chill.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mabon Recipes 2012

I am still working on my recipes for Saturday's meal.  To be honest, some of the recipes will remain experimental recipes or ideas until Saturday.  I know, I know, you're not supposed to test recipes for a big occasion, but some things can be made ahead, in case something effs up.

What I'm going is inviting any brave person(s) to cook along with me.  Here are two of the recipes that will be served for Mabon:

Roasted Carrot and Parsnip Soup

Bacony Brussels Sprouts (I suck at naming things, yo)

I'm also making roasted duck and potatoes, a Mabon salad, and either sweet potato or butternut squash flan.  I think squash.

Anyway, on to the recipes.  Again, I can't vouch for these 100%.  You may need more spice, or it may take longer for the sprouts to cook, depending on your stove.  You may need to add an extra teaspoon of oil.  Whatever changes need to be made will be made after Saturday.

Roasted Carrot-Parsnip Soup
4 cups peeled carrots, cut into cubes
3 cups peeled parsnips, cut into cubes
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

1 large onion, chopped
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon grated ginger
4 cups chicken stock or broth
1 cup apple cider or juice
1 ½ tablespoons Ras-el-Hanout
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425.  Toss the carrots and parsnips with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread on a large baking tray and roast until tender, 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook about 7 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger  and cook 2-3 more minutes.

Add the roasted carrots and parsnips, chicken stock or broth, and juice/cider.   Season with Ras-el-Hanout and salt and pepper to taste. 

Simmer for 10-15 minutes before pureeing.   Add more liquid if necessary – broth, juice, or even water.  Adjust seasonings and serve hot.

Garnish with a swirl of cream and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro, parsley, or chives, if desired. 

Bacony Brussels Sprouts
1 lb Brussels sprouts, cleaned and trimmed, large ones halved
2 shallots, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 slices bacon, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil or bacon drippings
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 ½  tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ cup chicken broth or stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large, lidded skillet over medium. Cook the bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. Reserve the fat. Drain the bacon on paper towels.

Cook the shallots and garlic in the oil or bacon drippings for about 5 minutes, until soft but not brown. 

Add the sprouts and stir to coat.  Add the broth or stock, cover and cook until sprouts are almost tender, 7-8 minutes.
  Remove lid and increase heat.  Whisk together Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar.  Pour over sprouts and cook until Brussels sprouts are tender and liquid has created a glaze for the sprouts. 

Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with bacon bits. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

As Promised

Yesterday I posted pictures of some super-scrummy cupcakes and I said I would post the recipe.  The cake recipe is slightly based on a Barefoot Contessa recipe (what can I say - I'm bad at measurements and chemistry and I need a base; hers just happened to come up first. )

These cupcakes don't have a name. They deserve one.  What would you call a chocolate-espresso-Nutella cupcake with dulce de leche filling and coffee buttercream?   Well, freakin' delicious, for starters!   I cannot eat a whole one, due to the richness of all those sweet, fatty ingredients combined.  Woo!  Just about every overpriced coffee shop beverage is combined in this recipe.

Now, as unhealthy as such a little indulgence is, it seems funny to think of this as a recipe for love and harmony in relationships, but that was the idea I had while I was making them.  My original idea was to take them to work to add a little bit of brightness to an otherwise dreary Monday.  I don't love my coworkers.  I tolerate some of them. Some of them I really like, and one or two I feel shouldn't be there.  Still, I took cupcakes. Maybe that's why I made them in the first place - to try to muster up some positive feelings.

Enough of this wild yak snorting. On to the recipes!

The dulce de leche takes several hours to cook, either on the stove or in a crock pot (preferred method), so plan ahead and make it the day before.

Dulce de Leche
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
Method:  Poke a hole in the can, remove the lab, and put it in the slow cooker.  Cook on high for about 6 hours.  Set aside to cool. 

Cupcakes  - makes approximately 3 dozen
2.5 cups cake flour*
1 ½ cups cocoa powder
½ tsp salt
1 ¼ tsp. baking powder
2 sticks butter, room temp
3 xl eggs, room temp
¾ cup sour cream, room temp
1 ½ cups buttermilk, room temp*
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup Nutella*
3 tablespoons espresso or strong coffee*

*my additions and adjustments

Method:  Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Mix in coffee, Nutella, and sour cream.
Combine dry ingredients – flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt – in another bowl.
Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet, alternating dry ingredients with buttermilk. 

Preheat oven to 350.  Scoop batter into prepare muffin tins or paper liners, filling about ¾ of the way.  Bake for 30-32 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
When the cupcakes have cooled slightly, scoop out a small hole in the middle. I used a ¼ teaspoon to do this.   Fill with dulce de leche.

Espresso Buttercream
3 sticks butter, room temp
3 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon espresso or instant coffee powder

Method:  Beat everything together until you reach a frosting consistency, adding more sugar if necessary. 

I topped mine with Heath bar toffee bits, chopped hazelnuts, and cinnamon.  If you had some chocolate espresso beans and wanted to throw a couple of those on top in addition to/instead of the toffee bits, that would be super cool.  

Make these for love (that's the chocolate part), or get fired up from the caffeine in the coffee (or the sugar in the frosting! hehe) and eat them for inspiration.  Whatever your reason for making them, enjoy them. :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Post 500: Proper Food Porn

I made the cupcakes and took the photos. My boyfriend added the background.  The cupcakes are chocolate-espresso with Nutella.  The filling is dulce de leche.  The frosting is coffee buttercream.  They are garnished with Heath bar bits, hazelnuts, and cinnamon.  Oh, yeah.  Oh, yeah.     Recipes to follow!