Cooking with Love

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Kung Pao Shrimps

 

Kevin. from Closet Cooking has one of the nicest blogs. I love his photos and recipes.  So, having shrimp in the freezer - decided that it is about time to try out this recipe which I had my eye on for a long time. I didn't have the rice wine so I just omitted it.
It was delicious.


Ingredients:
1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon water
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Shao Xing rice wine
1 tablespoon oil
10 dried red chilies (cut in half)
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns (toasted)
5 green onions (sliced)
1 tablespoon garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
3 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon chicken stock
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 handful roasted peanuts (roughly chopped)

Directions:
1. Mix the shrimp, cornstarch, water, soy sauce, and rice wine in a plastic bag and let marinate for 10-20 minutes.
2. Heat the oil in a pan.
3. Add the red chilies and sichuan peppercorns and fry until fragrant, about a minute.
4. Add the shrimp and saute for a minute.
5. Add the white part of the green onions, garlic and ginger.
6. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, chicken stock, sugar and corn starch and cook until the shrimp is cooked and the sauce thickens, a couple of minutes.
7. Serve garnished with the peanuts and the green part of the green onions.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Love is....

Love is - Strawberries.
Love is - Chocolate.
So the best way to say I LOVE YOU is with a sexy strawberry chocolate tart...

Chocolate Strawberry Tart
 Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbs. sugar
1 egg yolk
2 Tbs. cold water
1 1/2 stick butter, cold
1/4 tsp/ salt

In a food processor - process all ingredients until they form small crumbs. Do not over-process. Gather the crumbs and form a ball. Wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate for and hour.
Preheat oven to 175C.
Roll dough approx. 1/2 cm thick and place in pie pan.
Cover with foil and place balls or beans on top of the foil (this will stop "bubbles" from forming. Bake for approx. 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake till golden.
Cool completely.

Filling:
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips, divided

 Stir together sugar, cornstarch and salt in 2 quart saucepan. Combine egg yolks and milk in container with pouring spout. Gradually blend milk mixture into sugar mixture.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Add 1-3/4 cups chocolate chips; stir until chips are melted and mixture is well blended. Pour into prepared pie shell; press plastic wrap onto filling. Cool. Refrigerate several hours or until chilled and firm.
Once firm, decorate with hulled strawberries.

Don't ever forget the romance and don't ever forget to say - I LOVE YOU at least 10 times a day.

 
 
 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How Do I Love Thee....Let me count the shrimps...

 
Valentines day is over, but love is always in the air....
I think that shrimp is one of the best aphrodisiacs you can put on a plate. 

Today at work, a coworker gave me this simple easy tasty recipe - thanks Liad!

Easy? Even a rookie can make these. Simple

1 can coconut milk
1 cup spicy sweet thai sauce
raw deveined shrimp


On low heat warm the coconut sauce till begins to bubble. Add the thai sauce and mix. Add the shrimp and cook till the shrimp turns pink. DO NOT OVERCOOK!!!

Thats it.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine Roses

Well, almost roses....

A dozen of them, for my Valentine
 

Pink Rose Cookies

Dough
2 1/2 cups self rising flour
200 grams butter, softened
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 cup sour cream
pinch salt

Filling:
3 egg whites
pinch salt
1 cup sugar
1 envelope instant vanilla pudding
a few drops pink food coloring
heart jimmies


In a large mixer mix all the dough ingredients. Form a ball and cover in saran wrap. Place in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, Beat egg whites till foamy. Gradually add the sugar till stiff peaks appear. Add the pudding slowly, till combined. Gently mix in the pink color.

Divide the dough into 2 parts. Roll each part (approx 1/2 cm thick).
Spread the filling and roll. Sprinkle a few jimmies on each "rose"
Cut each roll approx 1 cm wide. Place on baking sheet and bake approx 20 minutes at 175C.

Cool completely.


Valentines Pizza for my Love!

 

How do you say I love you with pizza? Easy!!
Just get a heart shape cutter - and cut your pizza toppings with a heart!!

No better way to say I LOVE YOU, AMORE!


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Ranch Burgers



Know any kids that dislike burgers? Know any adults that will pass a nice hot whopper with all the toppings? Put those together and Super Bowl Sunday - and you got a winner....

I do admit that these burgers were a mistake...recipe -wise. I have been told time and time again to read a recipe from begining to end and then start preparation....but - you can't teach an old dog new tricks. And anyways....sometimes mistakes make marvelous burgers.
The recipe I found called for ranch dressing. Of course the dressing was to be put on the buns...not in the ground beef...lol. I did put it in the beef - and I must say the burgers were extra juicy and tasty.
The recipe can be found here.
And the buns I made are from my previous post - mini burgers.
Just make sure the ranch dressing is in the beef mixture....
 

And of course - GOOOOOOOOOOO Saints... And Colts!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A taste of Childhood

As a child, teenager, grownup - every time I would stay at my grandmothers I would wake up to the scent of fresh cinnamon raisin bagels - my favorite. No, she did not bake them, but she would always run to the bagel store and they were always on hand. They were my favorite.
 
When she had to stop driving she would make sure to give me a few dollars and send me to the bakery in Westwood to get them. 
These are for you safta, I miss you.
The recipe is long,  and I must say that i cut corners in the end (didn't do the water testing thing...) But they came out great nontheless

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels
Yield: 12 bagels
Sponge:
1 teaspoon (0.11 ounces) instant yeast
4 cups (18 ounces) unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2½ cups (20 ounces) water, at room temperature
Dough:
1 teaspoon (0.11 ounces) instant yeast
3¾ cups (17 ounces) unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2¾ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups loosely packed raisins, rinsed in warm water
2 teaspoons malt powder
-OR-
1 tablespoon dark or light malt syrup, honey, or brown sugar
To Finish:
1 tablespoon baking soda
Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting
1. To make the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour in a 4-quart mixing bowl. Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (like pancake batter). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or untiil the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly. It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.
2. To make the dough, in the same mixing bowl, add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt, malt, sugar and cinnamon. Stir (or mix on low speed with the dough hook) until the ingredients form a ball, slowly working in the remaining ¾ cup flour to stiffen the dough.
3. Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for at least 10 minutes (or for 6 minutes by machine), adding the raisins during the final 2 minutes. The dough should be firm, stiffer than French bread dough, but still pliable and smooth. There should be no raw flour – all the ingredients should be hydrated. The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77° to 81°F. If the dough seems too dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems tacky or sticky, add more flour to achiever the stiffness required. The kneaded dough should feel satiny and pliable but not be tacky.
4. Immediately divide the dough into 4½-ounce pieces for standard bagels. Form the pieces into rolls. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for approximately 20 minutes.
5. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper and mist lightly with spray oil. Shape the bagels in one of the following two ways:
5a. Poke a hole in a ball of bagel dough and gently rotate your thumb around the inside of the hole to widen it to approximately 2½ inches in diameter. The dough should be as evenly stretched as possible (try to avoid thick and thin spots).
5b. Roll out the dough into an 8-inch-long rope. Wrap the dough around the palm and back of your hand, between the thumb and forefinger, ovrlapping the ends by several inches. Press the overlapping ends on the counter with the palm of your hand, rocking back and forth to seal.
6. Place each of the shaped pieces 2 inches apart on the pans. Mist the bagels very  lightly with the spray oil and slip each pan into a food-grade plastic bag, or cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
7. Check to see if the bagels are ready to be retarded in thee refrigerator by using the “float test”. Fill a small bowl with cool or room-temperature water. The bagels are ready to be retarded when they float within 10 seconds of being droppd into the water. Take one bagel and test it. If it floats, immediately return the tester bagel to the pan, pat it dry, covr the pan, and place it in the refrigerator overnight (it can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 days). If the bagel does not float, return it to the pan and continue to proof the dough at room temperature, checking back every 10 to 20 minutes or so until a tester floats. The time needed to accomplish the float will vary, depending on the ambient temperature and the stiffness of the dough.
8. The following day (or when you are ready to bake the bagels), preheat the oven to 500°F with the two racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil (the wider the pot the better), and add the baking soda. Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby.
9. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit (they should float within 10 seconds). After 1 minute flip them ovr and boil for another minute. If you like very chewy bagels, you can extend the boiling to 2 minutes per side. While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-lined sheet pans with cornmeal or semolina flour.
10. When all the bagels have ben boiled, place the pans on the 2 middle shelves in the oven. Bake for approximately 5 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180-degree rotation. (If you are baking only 1 pan, keep it on the center shelf but still rotate 180 degrees.) After the rotation, lower the oven setting to 450F and continue baking for about 5 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown. You may bake them darker if you prefer.
11. Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.
(Adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart)



Friday, February 5, 2010

Alfarores

Spiral Cookies

Next in the oven were spiral cookies. I have wanted to make these forever and for some unknown reason - never have. Silly  me. They are great and so easy to make. Wonderful with morning coffee.

Spiral Cookies - Nira Shoyer
200 grams butter, room temp.
21/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. lemon zest
pinch salt

Mix all ingredients till incorporated. Divide in 2 halves. To one half add 2 TBS cocoa.
Roll one half into rectangle, then roll the other half. PLace the chocolate half on the white half and roll. Cut into 1 cm thick cookies and bake 10 minutes on high heat.
Cool on rack

A Sweet Friday!

This weekend is a cold one. Since the waether is usually not terribly extreme we tend to be spoiled. So when it gets under 15 degrees C - we freeze.
So today was a kitchen day. Filling the house with sweet smells and warmth from the oven. I do love baking!

So Istarted the morning with a fresh lof of Walnut Cranberry Bread. This bread has been a huge success and usually doesn't even get a chance to cool off. I will start making it with half the amount of sugar, I think its a bit soo sweet.
 
Walnut Cranberry Bread
3 cups bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
4 tsp. yeast
3 Tbs. brown sugar
2 tsp. salt
5 Tbs. Olive Oil
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup cranberries (or raisins)


Knead all ingreients, except the walnuts and cranberries for 10 minutes. Add the nuts and berrys and knead 2 addidional minutes.
Place in an oiled bowl and cover. Proof dough till double in size.
Roll dough to desired loaf and let rise again till doubled in size.
Flour the top and with a very sharp knife make some slashes on the top of the bread.
Bake in a hot oven 220C for about 40 minutes.