Thursday, May 16, 2013

throwback post: homemade bagels

With a trip to NY in just a week I have had bagels on my mind nonstop. They are the number one food I miss since moving to SF and one night a few months back I couldn't handle the craving anymore. Bagels out here range from dense round bread with a hole to somewhat tolerable and I knew that was not going to satisfy my craving. This recipe was made well before this blog but this is definitely a timely topic.

One exception to my feelings on bagels out here are Deli Board bagels. They cater to our office and always come hot and fresh and definitely fit the bill for what I miss in a bagel. Unfortunately we only get them every few months...

I found this recipe and followed it to a t. I was a little nervous because they didn't rise as much as I expected, but they came out so delicious and a perfect size. I can tell you this: having a bagel fresh and hot out of the oven with cream cheese on a Sunday morning is something everyone needs to experience. They were so worth the effort.

homemade bagels
2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1 ½ tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups of warm water (you may need ± ¼ cup more, I know I did)
3 ½ cups (500g) of bread flour or high gluten flour(will need extra for kneading)
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
  • In ½ cup of the warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Let it sit for five minutes, and then stir the yeast and sugar mixture, until it all dissolves in the water.
  • Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.
  • Pour half of the remaining warm water into the well. Mix and stir in the rest of the water as needed. Depending on where you live, you may need to add anywhere from a couple tablespoons to about ¼ cup of water. You want to result in a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it.
  • On a floured counter top, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Try working in as much flour as possible to form a firm and stiff dough. Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
  • Carefully divide the dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a round. Now, take a dough ball, and press it gently against the counter top moving your hand and the ball in a circular motion pulling the dough into itself while reducing the pressure on top of the dough slightly until a perfect dough ball forms. Repeat with 7 other dough rounds.
  • Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough.
  • After shaping the dough rounds and placing them on the cookie sheet, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425ºF.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. Boil about 3-4 at a time. Once the bagels are in, it shouldn’t take too long for them to float to the top (a couple seconds). Let them sit there for 1 minute, and them flip them over to boil for another minute. Extend the boiling times to 2 minutes each, if you’d prefer a chewier bagel.
  • Once all the bagels have boiled transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Cool on a wire rack--I let them cool for about 5 minutes and tore into these!

So on my trip back east, I am planning to smuggle some NY water back with me so I can test out this notion of "the water being different." I will report back.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

first (of many) belated posts: blueberry buttermilk pancakes

Since starting this blog I have been inspired to take the foods I crave to the next level-starting from scratch.  I have mentioned before I won't turn my nose up to a doctored-up box of mac n cheese and I can say the same for pancakes. I have never attempted them from scratch because from the box tastes pretty darn delicious and is oh-so-easy.

But this is about challenging myself to make craveable food in a way I never have, so I went to a trusted source for a pancake recipe: Tyler Florence. Besides his obvious acclaim from Food Network, he is a bay area food celebrity and his Wayfare Tavern restaurant is dangerously close to my office.

One of the things I love about Tyler's food is that he takes very simple recipes and makes them unique and new. You think you have tried fried chicken and then you have his and hit the floor.  The deviled eggs there are life changing. But clearly I am getting off topic....

I knew I could trust Tyler to have a straightforward but surprisingly special pancake recipe and he didn't disappoint. Bonus points for using whole wheat flour and making my bf and I feel like it was a healthy breakfast. (Plus look at all that fruit!)

I followed the recipe here, also listed below (cut in half):

Makes about 10 pancakes

blueberry buttermilk pancakes
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/8 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
A pinch of salt
1 1/2-2 eggs (if you are using extra large go with 1 1/2, for large use 2)
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup of blueberries (I probably used more-about 3/4 cup)

  • Sift all dry ingredients together in a large bowl (I got to break in my new teal bowls that I LOVE)
  • In a separate bowl mix the eggs, butter and buttermilk
  • Add the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until well blended
  • Fold in blueberries (do not whisk)

  • Pre-heat your pan on medium-low heat and melt a half tablespoon of butter
  • Once the butter is melted , pour batter (I like to use my 1/4 measuring cups so they are all even and they make it easier to pour) into pan
  • When the pancakes start to bubble (about 3-4 minutes depending on size), flip them over and let cook for anther 1-2 minutes

tip from Tyler that I loved: heat your oven to 200 and keep the cooked pancakes in there so stay warm while you finish cooking. no more cold pancakes or rushed cooking/eating!

Happy pancake eating!

Monday, May 6, 2013

cinco de mayo? lets make tortellini!

Mexican food on cinco de mayo is just so predicable.

I was in the mood to cook yesterday, and even more in the mood to make something delicious and fulfilling. Ever since I was gifted my  KitchenAid for Christmas I have been obsessed with making homemade pasta. I haven't made any in a while, and was dying to make homemade tortellini.  I've tested it out by making a few, and they turned out really yummy so I was really excited to try again, officially.

makes about 25 tortellini (definitely enough for 2!)

a cup of whole milk ricotta cheese (make sure you use whole milk--more on that in a future post.)
3 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley (half if you use dried.)
about 6 slices of prosciutto, sliced into small bite-sized pieces
salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste

Pasta dough
1 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of white flour
2 eggs
1 tablespoon of water (may need more depending on the consistency of the dough)
a pinch of salt

Egg Wash
One egg, tablespoon of water, whisked

  • For the filling, mix everything together in a bowl so all ingredients are well incorporated. taste as you go and adjust your seasonings as needed--careful with the salt as prosciutto is pretty salty on its own.
  • Sift the flours and salt together, and mix in kitchenaid blender with the eggs and water.
  • Mix with the flat beater for 30 seconds at level 2, then switch to the dough hook, mix for 2 and a half minutes at level 2.
  • Depending on the consistency of the dough (it should be slightly sticky and definitely not falling apart) add more water, a teaspoon at a time.
  • Once mixed and at a proper consistency, knead the dough by hand on a floured board for 1-2 minutes. I cut it into 4 separate pieces and flatten it so its thin enough to feed through the pasta roller.
  • Follow instructions on the mixer to make the pasta (I went up to a level 4) and then cut out 3 inch rounds from the dough.
  • Place about a 1/2 teaspoon of filling in the center of the round and brush the bottom half with the egg wash. Fold over and pinch the edges together and turn them into each other, forming a tortellini shape.

I just made a simple tomato cream sauce to go on top, but literally anything would work. Pesto, lemon and white wine, a simple lemon butter sauce, plain tomato, etc.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!