Sunday, November 29, 2009

Brioche, Part III

As posted before, the HBin5 google group did a pumpkin brioche for a special project this month.  I loved the addition of whole wheat, and felt the bread was a really good alternative to traditional quick bread style pumpkin bread.  I decided to try the same thing with banana pulp.  I am always looking for ways to use bananas that are turning but still too good to throw out. 

I do alot of dehydrating and have often made low cal banana chips.  I simply slice the bananas and place them on the the dehydrator trays (lined with screening).  It takes less than a day and they are a great addition to my trail mix.  I've also pureed them and made them into fruit leather.  Really good for you and no added sugar. 

And while my quick bread style banana bread is great (just ask the Costa Rican Navy!), I wanted to try a banana brioche. 

So I substituted the banana puree for the pumpkin puree.  I made two other changes.  Instead of canola oil I put in sweet unsalted butter, and I added walnuts.

I couldn't believe how tender the crumb was.  Pure heaven. 

I made the entire four pound recipe of dough into rolls, a pastry, and even a "babka style" loaf.  I love chocolate babka, but the recipes I have read are very work intensive.  However, recently in my readings I had come across a recipe that called for making a babka style loaf by rolling the dough jelly roll fashion, then "stuffing" the long roll into a bread pan.  What they were talking about was making a roll that was longer than the bread pan, more or less just pushing it together. 

Once again the flavor of the puree was subtle, and the crumb was light.  It was perfect for breakfast toast.  I also added Nutella to some of them for some variation.  Next time I add Nutella to a dough however, I will heat it up to melting stage.  It's difficult to spread otherwise. 

Of course we didn't eat this all ourselves!  Neighbors and friends, as well as co-workers love when I experiment! 

Below are my results.

Brioche rolls with banana puree.  In the back row the rolls are filled with Nutella.

Breakfast pastry on upper left.  Babka style loaf in lower right corner.  Both are filled with Nutella.

Babka style loaf sliced showing Nutella and walnuts.  The Nutella didn't distribute as well as I wanted.  Next time I will warm it up to melting to spread it more easily and entirely over the dough before rolling.

My next brioche batch will be a regular brioche (using the recipe in Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day) in my new brioche pan.  So the story isn't over yet! 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ken's Haddock Dinner

It's difficult to not love fish ... at least for me.  But I have to admit that my husband and I don't agree on how to cook fish.  After spending 23 years in Alaska, I know what real salmon should taste and look like.  I don't bring Atlantic "color added" salmon into our house except to make gravlox.  But wild caught salmon from Alaska is expensive and frankly except for once a year, non-existent in York, PA.  Halibut is available at times, but very expensive.  So we eat more cod, haddock and flounder on this side of the continent than I am used to. 

Ken was born and raised in Boston, and is more used to New England cooking when it comes to fish. 

We don't usually fry fish up me that would be sacrilege with such good fish as I am used to. I am used to broiling the salmon or halibut, making sure to not overcook it.  Or better yet throw it on the campfire!

But with eating more cod and haddock, I've had to learn how from Ken how to do it properly.  One of his favorite recipes is to fry the fish and serve it with a good tartar sauce.  Again, I am used used to serving my salmon with a hint of dill and lemon juice and a dash of white wine.  I gave up tartar sauce the first time I drove through British Columbia and had malt vinegar with my fish and chips! 

One night I was getting ready to cook cod and Ken complained about how I was cooking the fish.  "Fine!" I said as I handed him the fish.  Show me how YOU cook cod.   And boy howdie, did he!  I love his fried fish and the sauce he whips up to go with it!

A few weeks ago I thawed out some haddock, and let him know he was cooking detail.  He cooked up a wonderful dinner for me! 

He starts with egg in one plate, all purpose flour in another.  After he gently rinses the fish and pats it dry he coats it with egg, dredges it in the flour mixture (flour, salt, pepper, and dried dill), then coats it with egg again, and dredges in flour one last time. 

He places the fish in a skillet that has already been heated with oil and butter. 

I couldn't believe he was able to flip all three of these pieces of haddock in one fell swoop  a 9" skille) without losing anything!  But as you can see from the picture below he did a great job! 

His haddock came out so delicious.  Flaky and tender, cooked just right! 

Then he made a sauce with mayonnaise, and a few secret ingredients that I don't even have the keys to! 

Ken loves his own cooking as seen by the look on his face after he tasted the fish with some of the sauce. 

But wait!  There's more!  While he was cooking this great meal we were also watching the final episodes of the Next Iron Chef America.  Ken felt extra inspired and had to put the dinner on as a presentation for me.  He carefully placed the fish on top of wild rice, dribbled some sauce on the fish and then decorated the plate with more of the sauce. It tasted as good as it looks!   

Vino Vallero, 6 years ago and today

A few months ago I was at one of our Southern PA Homebrewers meeting. While talking to a young engaging couple, they started lamenting the lack of success with their homemade wine. I’ve been making wine for about 6 years now so started querying them about their ingredients and process.

As I was listening a lightbulb went off and I looked at them and smiled. “You’re making boat wine! Well, that’s what I called it. Learned from this crazy English vet!” I said with a big smile, because just thinking about boat wine reminds me of good times sailing and some of the great and nutty people we met on the high seas.  (

At the club beer exchange last week, the same couple and I got to laughing again as we discussed boat wine. They asked for the recipe that I used on the boat. I told them I would gladly provide it on my blog, as well as the story of how I first met Alan, the man who taught me how to make it.

Ken and I had been sailing from San Diego to Panama in 2005 when we stopped in El Salvador at Barillas marina. It was an adventure just getting to this marina…we had to be guided in through the breakwater by a man in a panga (see picture). Waves were breaking on both sides, and the entrance was always shifting.

Once we were through the breakwater we had to travel 5 miles or so up a river, still following the panga.
The marina itself was all mooring balls with no dock access to land. Although the cruising books said they would send a panga out to get you when you needed to go ashore we found that was not the case. But customs, and immigration came right out to the boat to review our papers and passports to get us signed in.

The marina was specifically designed for safety and protection because it was a favorite place of the big politicians during the hot summers. The guards carried weapons, but were friendly with cruisers.  We didn’t see any known politicians while there however.

Remote from stores and grocery shopping, the marina did provide a van for us to go into a fairly large town to stock up on provisions. It had been a long passage so we were running low on canned goods as well as being out of fresh vegetables and fruits.

Sitting in the cockpit of the boat in the early mornings and sipping on a cup of our good coffee, watching the locals go about their routine was my favorite way to start my day when we were at a marina or anchored in a cove.

Zebedee on mooring ball in Barillas, El Salvador

The first morning there I noticed a nice looking fairly new sailboat made in the junk-rigged style. No one was around that first morning but the owner did show up in the next few days. I saw him paddling his strange looking square dinghy one day and waved to him as he headed to the marina bath house. Later that day we met up with him and started chatting.

Alan (left) makes Doogal, his dinghy, with one sheet of plywood. 
One of the things I love about cruising is the friendliness of just about all cruisers. It reminds me a lot of Alaska. In both scenarios you have to make your community or “family” from those around you. We don’t have generations of family members at sea, unless you are on the same boat. Your neighbor, the boat 5 miles away or over in the next cove, or anchored next to you may be your only contact and support during emergency situations. So you meet, and interact quickly.

Such was the situation with Alan, the owner of the junk-rig moored near us. After our brief chat on land, we invited him over for dinner on Cadenza, our boat. An hour or so before sundown he rowed his strange dinghy over to our boarding ladder and hailed us. The first thing I saw was a 1 litre pop bottle being handed up. The liquid inside was almost clear but not quite.

Once he had climbed the ladder, and settled down on the cushions in the cockpit I asked him what was in the bottle. “That’s my homemade wine. Thought you would like some with dinner,” he said with a smile. I was shocked to learn he made it on his boat! He had been gone for about two months, and had just returned to the boat from England. During the evening he regaled us with many funny stories of his large animal veterinary practice in England, his adventures in the military, and his woes from his divorce and business partner.

But back to the story of the wine. My nature is to learn to do things that help me be more self-sufficient. Cruising was adding to many skills I had learned in Alaska. While it wasn’t great stuff, it was passable and the fact that he had made it on the boat was a continuing discussion for me. But why would he go to the trouble of making it in the first place? Wine was cheap in a lot of places. In California for instance we could get “two-buck chuck” at any Trader Joe’s! Sure you only had a choice of white or red, but at $2 a bottle, it was decent stuff! What could be cheaper than that? Alan explained that due to the high taxes on wine in Canada, England, and many other countries previously run by Britain, lots of people made wine. Hmmm.

OK. So I queried him more and deeper we went into the process and recipe. We had many fun conversations with Alan over the next couple of weeks, and all seemed to be accompanied and enhanced by Alan’s boat wine.

The next time Ken flew back to the states for a business meeting in York, PA, he picked up the yeast and other chemicals from Mr. Steve’s. (

As soon as I had the key winemaking ingredients Ken brought back, I bought the needed apple and grape juices, and made sure I had ample sugar on board. Then I got busy.

When talking with Alan originally, he had told me just to use a 5 gallon water jug and never even mentioned the word carboy, or wine bucket. Looking back on that and thinking about all the equipment I have now, I really have to laugh at the crude beginnings of one of my favorite hobbies!

Since I didn’t have a carboy with an airlock (and didn’t know I even needed them, or what they were), I just popped the pour spout on the water jug every day. The water jug sat under the table in the salon. That had the boat smelling like a winery in no time as the yeast went to work on the sugar and the juices! From the beginning I went with 4 litres of white grape juice and 1 litre of apple juice, making it less like Boone’s Farm Apple wine than Alan did.

Our first taste of the finished product was hilarious. Yes, it still tasted like cheap wine, and it was high in alcohol content…but we had made it ourselves on our boat! Vino Vallero was born. Every three or four weeks I would make a new batch. Once it was done fermenting, and clearing I bottled it in 2 litre pop bottles. Then “aged” it in the spare cabin for as long we could…at least 2 weeks! LOL.

We quickly learned to serve our vino vallero instead of our good liquor to our sailing friends. We met so many heavy drinkers while sailing, and found they would quickly drink up everything on the boat. So we would pull out the vino vallero and they were happy. I did have to cut people off many a night though.

One night we had a great party in a wonderful, picturesque cove in Bahia Panama. But I told everyone that I had run out of wine after about two hours. The next morning one of the gals told me she couldn’t remember how she got home…keep in mind we were all on boats! Going home meant getting in a dinghy and rowing or motoring back in the dark to a rocking boat. Now you know why I cut every one off!

So here is the recipe just as Alan told it to me.

Homemade wine

4 litrs apple juice
1 litre grape juice
(or use all grape juice or any combo)
1 pkg wine yeast
5 tsp yeast enhancer
3 litres sugar

In 5 gallon jug pour all ingredients. Put cap on and let sit for 2-3 weeks until you like the taste. Pop the water jug valve every day or so to release the gas during this time. The action of the boat rocking in water at anchor, or even heeling in a good strong wind will not hurt the wine. In fact it keeps everything stirred up and helps the yeast!
2/3 tsp potasium metabisulphite
2 tsp wine finings
2 1/2 tsp potassium sorbate

Let sit for another week to 2 wks, then bottle in 2 litre pop bottles. Let sit again for another week to two weeks.
One note. One of the other cruising boats also took up the habit of making boat wine thanks to Alan. They went fancy though by bottling it in glass wine bottles and even etched their bottles with their boat name! Class all the way! LOL.

From this humble beginning I began making wine. Now I use kits or go out and pick my own grapes. But every once in awhile I have to make a batch of vino vallero just to remind us how far we have come, and how much fun we had while cruising!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mistakes, and retakes

My friend Barb was over tonight to order brioche pans with me.  We found the best selection and prices on of course.  But while we were reviewing the pans and planning our orders, I was playing with the master whole wheat recipe in Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a day by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoe Francois, chef extroidinaire.  You can find the master recipe on page 54 of the book or go online to one of their several videos to see them in action and get the recipe.

I had made this bread a few weeks ago, hoping my husband would like it and start to eat whole wheat bread.  Well, that didn't work!  He has a real thing against whole wheat bread...where I find it chewy and delicious, he finds it tough and like sandpaper.  Sigh. 

I've made the light whole wheat in their original book, Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day, and he will eat that.  While he loves the Deli style rye bread in their book, he just can't get into whole wheat, even the light one. 

So I decided to try again.  This time I took the master recipe and lightened it up a bit.  Instead of 5 1/2 cups of whole wheat, I used 4 cups and increased the all purpose flour from 2 cups to 3 1/2.  I also added 1/4 cup honey to the recipe.  The rest I did as the recipe calls for. 

Since I made the bread this morning before I left for work, I had Ken put the dough in the frig for me when he came downstairs for breakfast and coffee.  That's turned out to be a good routine.  It literally takes just 5 minutes to mix the dough, so it's easy to do before I head to work.  Ken is very good about putting it in the frig.  Course I put the dough and a note right in front of the coffee pot and make sure there is space in the frig for it.  :-)  So where's the work for him I ask you!  LOL. 

When Barb came over tonight I was just flattening out a grapefruit sized portion of the dough.  I slathered on softened "I can't believe it's not butter" and then sprinkled on the streusel topping I had made a few days ago for the pumpkin pie brioche that the HBin5 google group did as a group project.  Next I dropped cran-raisins and walnut pieces onto the dough.  Then I rolled it up lengthwise, and placed it on the parchment paper with the seam side down.  After covering it with plastic wrap that I had sprayed with Pam, I went on to order the brioche pans. 

About 15 minutes after Barb left my timer went off indicating it was time to put the bread in the oven.  So I brushed an egg wash on, and sprinkled more streusel topping on, then made my slashes with my serrated knife.  Turned around to put the bread in the oven and discovered I had NOT turned the oven on!  Argh! 

Great, I've already got my dough slashed and now it's going to have to set for another 20 minutes!  What to do?!  The only logical conclusion I could come up with was covering it back up and putting it in the frig.  So I took out the rest of the dough on the frig shelf and then put the dough in the frig. 

When the 20 minutes was up, the dough still looked great.  It was slightly more raised, but if anything it looked even better, lighter and while a tiny bit "jiggly" it still had form and shape.  Whew!  So into the oven it went.  The slashes still looked perfect by the way. 

I baked the loaf for 30 minutes at 450 as the instructions say.  In this particular case though, the streusel topping burned.  But the loaf inside is perfect.  The crumb is light, and very airy with the big holes that my neighbor Wanetta likes.  The swirl of streusel, cran-raisins and walnuts shows up and is delicious!  Even my husband likes it!  Woohoo. 

The extra time rising in the frig I think helped it overall.  The texture is very soft and would definitely not be used as sandpaper!  Delicious results!  I should have waited at least 30 minutes for the loaf to cool.  But let's face it...who can do that with fresh baked bread?  I mean don't you just have a very hard time resisting cutting into warm bread and laying a film of creamery butter on it?  Come on, you know you can't resist! 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Brioche results

I am very thankful to Michelle, our intrepid leader at HBin5  Otherwise I would have never tried this bread.  While it didn't come out as pretty as some others in the group...I am happy with it.  Next time however, I will make the regular brioche recipe in Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day.  :-) 

My neighbors and co-workers, the recipients of today's efforts will be delighted.  Why not keep it all to my husband and I?  I decided to put the cream cheese frosting on the muffins and the bundt husband is diabetic and we don't usually eat sweet stuff like this, except in small amounts.  I did leave one loaf for us with just an eggwash on it.  :-) 

Onto the process!  The recipe is located on page 284 of the Healthy Bread in 5 minutes a Day and is extremely easy.  The dough is very loose even after 18 hrs in the frig. 

I was trying to braid it first and quickly gave up on that!  And considering how many braided loaves of challah I have done over the past 20 years, that is saying something!  So I look one "lump" of dough that I was trying to braid and smushed it flat, spread soft butter on it and sprinkled more allspice, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon on it.  Then I folded it over, pinched it and put it in a bundt pan. 

Next I took out the rest of the dough, made 12 cupcake size muffins, 2 large muffins, and one small loaf of bread.  I washed all of them with an egg wash to give them a shine, but as suggested by Michelle I put streusel topping on the small muffins right before I baked them. 

All of them go into the oven at 350.

Ready to take the muffins out of the oven.  I let the loaf and the bundt pan stay in a few more minutes.  But I should have taken the muffins out about 5 minutes earlier.  I made that note in the cookbook. 

I immediately tore one of the small muffins open and checked the crumb...still piping hot and steaming!  The scent of pumpkin pie drifted gently up to my nose, and I took a bite.  What a delight!  Still bready, but light, and not as sweet as a regular pumpkin muffin would have been! 

Five minutes later I took the loaf out, as it was perfect! 

Five more minutes and I took out the (LOL!) misshapen bundt.  I had tried to level it out after putting the dough in the pan but it still came out lopsided.  Oh well! 

As you can see from the picture above, my decorating is rudimentary.  I do not have the steady hands needed for pretty decorating.  But that's ok.  The recipients will love it anyway! 

Great fun! 

ONE FINAL COMMENT:  Results are in.  Those tasters that like or love or prefer the quick style pumpkin bread or pumpkin pie said "it doesn't have enough pumpkin flavor!"  Some added "it's not sweet enough".  But those that don't care for pumpkin bread (quick bread version) or don't really eat pumpkin pie loved the brioche for the mild pumpkin flavor and lack of overly sweet.  :-)  Thanks all for the comments! 

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Breads using Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day recipes

I love using the recipes in Artesan Bread in 5 minutes a day!  Here are pictures of a few that I have made. 

Challahs rising

Challahs baked up beautifully! 

White whole wheat

Deli Rye.  This is Ken's all time favorite bread!  The secret is adding a 1/4 c of half-sour, or kosher dill, pickle juice (sub that for part of the water).

Deli Rye crumb

Pumpkin Pie Brioche and Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day google group

It's cold and dreay outside, and sprinkling most of the day.  GREAT DAY TO BAKE!  Yippee! 

Plus it's time for HBin5 to make the first bread!  Tomorrow I have to post my pictures of Pumpkin Pie Brioche.  Funny thing is I couldn't remember ever having a brioche and certainly have never seen a Pumpkin Pie Brioche.  Sheesh.  Here we go again, making something I have never had a taste of. 

First I had to go to the store to get the ingredients...had no pumpkin, and had run out of white whole wheat flour by King Arthur.  So off I went.  I was also hoping to find an example of brioche!  LOL.  Forget that idea in York!  At least it was not at the Giant grocery store I went to.  Even though I had skimmed the recipe for the ingredients I would need I hadn't read up on brioche so was just at a loss. 

By the way, let me give you an idea of the lay of the land here in York, figuratively speaking.  I love to make deli rye bread for my husband.  That of course means I need rye flour right?  Do you think I can find rye flour here in York?  Think again!  Occassionally one of the stores might have a small bag of it, certainly that store will not be Walmart.  But I can tell you what I will find...a one gallon bucket of lard!  Argh! 

So I guess I should consider myself lucky that I can find KA white whole wheat flour, eh?  And I do.  But I still grouse.  I can travel 25 minutes to Mechanicsburg and hit Wegman's and find rye flour there, and I think I can even find it in their bulk section if I remember correctly.  Wegman's is an upper class grocery store, and one I love to go in to.  Their breads are fabulous, but frankly my breads are just as good these days.  What they do have that I don't make are pastries to die for.  I mean you gain 5 pounds just standing there looking at them and drooling down your chin!  They have a lot of high end items like duck confit, duck proscuitto (both of which I have made).  One of the things I love is their kosher style deli where they even roast kosher chickens!  Why do they have to be 25 minutes away!  WAH! 

Or I can travel 25 minutes in another direction and have it milled at Sonnewald's health food store, which I have done.  When I buy it at Sonnewald's though I have to put it in the freezer.  But it's really nice having it freshly milled!  They also carry a good supply of semolina flour, another item difficult to come by here in York. 

Anyhow, back to the Pumpkin Pie Brioche.  I thought about buying some "fresh spices", nutmeg, allspice, and ginger for the recipe...but hate to spend $4 and $5 for a tiny little jar of McCormicks.  I'll order it from Penzeys over the holidays, thank you very much (  I also looked for fresh pumpkin puree but no such luck.  They have it at the Eastern York Market, but I wasn't able to get there either on Friday, the only day of the week they are open.  Work gets in the way again!  LOL. 

OK.  So I come back with the groceries and jump right in to the recipe.  You can find it on page 284 of Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  All in HBin5 group have agreed to NOT publish the recipes online.  Instead we will bake the breads, post pics, and stories about how it went but y'all have to buy the book or go to  They have a chocolate brioche that sounds fabulous, and a beef wellington wrapped in brioche dough as well!  OH YUM! 

I got the dough all together and it is really almost soupy, it is so loose!  I worried about that but had followed the recipe to the letter (for once!).  Then I sat down at the computer to read up on brioche.  OH MY!  We are in a for a real treat!  I hadn't paid much attention while pouring the ingredients in but it did register in my brain that with 4 eggs it was going to be very challah like.  I used oil instead of butter, but think I will have to try the regular brioche with the butter next time!  I could taste the buttery richness and feel that velvetty softness just reading about it!  LOL.  I think I have had brioche, but this is definitely the first time making it! 

When looking up the history of Brioche I found the following at La Gourmandise:

The history of the "Brioche"

The word brioche first appeared in print in 1404, and this bread is believed to have sprung from a traditional Norman recipe. It is argued that brioche is probably of a Roman origin, since a very similar sort of sweet holiday bread is made in Romania ("sărălie"). The cooking method and tradition of using it during big holidays resembles the culture surrounding the brioche so much that it is difficult to doubt same origin of both foods. It is often served as a pastry or as the basis of a dessert, with many local variations in added ingredients, fillings and toppings. It is also used with savory preparations, particularly with foie gras, and is used in some meat dishes.

Stand by for the next post!  The dough is in the frig now and I will bake it up about 6 or 7 pm tonight.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Top Chef inspirations

I love the show Top Chef on Bravo.  In this season, number 6, they are in Las Vegas.  When will they go to France, or Madrid Spain, or how about Huatulco, Mexico.

One of the things lacking on Top Chef however is the use of beer in their recipes.  Tonight the quick fire challenge was serving breakfast in bed to Padma, the host, and Nigella Lawson, a guest judge.  I saw no one incorporating beer into their breakfast dish.  No I am not talking about cornflakes and beer.  But several served a meaty dish.  One was a breakfast style rueben that sounded very good...why not use a bit of beer to cook the sauerkraut?

One of my favorite dishes is to cook my corned beef in beer.  Usually I will use something like the nut brown ale, well balanced and not too rich.

I cook it in the crockpot and just cover the beef in 1 bottle of beer.  Then during the last 30 minutes I will toss in a quarter of a head of cabbage.

I serve it with my homemade deli rye bread.  And of course a glass of beer.  Oh such a good meal on a cold night in the middle of winter.  Come on snow!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Egg Foo Yong

Ever have something on your mind, and waiting for it to hit your tongue?  That's the way I've been for the past few weeks.  I kept thinking about Egg Foo Yong.  Haven't had it in a very long time and had never made it.  But I had some roasted peppers (yellow, red and orange), mushrooms, onions and garlic in the frig that we hadn't used up for the pizza party I blogged about a few days ago. 

So tonight I came home and got on and found a recipe I could make, complete with sauce!  So while the deli rye bread was rising on the counter, I started cooking. 

Below is the recipe.  Fortunately a brief read of another recipe had cautioned it's best to start the sauce first.  So I did.  Perfect for Egg Foo Yong.  Wouldn't use it for anything else, but sure is good for EFY.  One other note, the recipe calls for deep fat frying it.  I thought I would be ok with my cast iron skillet.  It was fine until the last two then I had bubbling foam ready to slip and slide over the sides of the skillet and into my gas burners.  I scooped some of the oil off and finished cooking the last two pancakes. 

Sorry, no pictures.  We ate it all!  Washed it all down with my nut brown ale.  How good is that?!!


Yield: 4 servings
1 c Cooked ham or roast pork
1/2 c Chopped, onions
1 c Drained, canned bean sprouts
4 tb Chopped green onion tops
1 tb Soy sauce
1 ts Salt
3 Eggs

Oil for deep frying

1 1/2 c Chicken stock
1 ts Molasses
1 ts Soy sauce
1 ts Cornstarch
2 tb Cold water

Put meat, onion, sprouts, green onion tops, soy sauce, and salt in a bowl; mix well. Stir the eggs lightly into the mixture. Use a deep-bowl ladle to spoon out the mixture and lower into the hot oil. Tip the ladle at once to release the omelets. Let them fry until they rise to the top. Turn each to brown the other side. Lift out with a large slotted spoon. Serve on hot dish covered with a little of the sauce (below).

Serve additional soy sauce separately.

Egg Foo Young Variations

Chicken Foo Yong: Use cooked chicken or turkey instead of ham or pork. Crabmeat Foo Yong: Use canned or cooked crabmeat instead of ham or pork.

Lobster Foo Yong: Use canned or cooked lobster instead of ham or pork. Shrimp Foo Yong: Use canned or cooked shrimp instead of ham or pork. Vegetable Foo Yong:

Omit meat; use 2 cups chopped green pepper, celery, onion, and canned bean sprouts combined. Season with additional 1 teaspoon salt.

Subgum Foo Yong: To the master recipe or any variation, add 1 cup diced mushrooms, 1/2 cup diced green beans, and 1/2 cup diced canned bamboo shoots. Mix and cook as directed.

Sauce: Heat stock with molasses and soy sauce. Combine cornstarch with cold water; stir it until smooth. Let
come to boiling point and cook until thickened.

Recipefrom Mary Margaret McBride Encyclopedia of Cooking *

Published by Homemakers Research Institute


Monday, November 9, 2009

Nut Brown Mustard

A few months back I was perusing Saveur magazine and found a great recipe for Guinness Stout Mustard.  Hm.  I had all the ingredients...except for the Guinness Stout!  Well, in this house that often is not a problem.  I have always got some kind of homemade beer, and this time I had Nut Brown Ale. 

The recipe for it comes from Steve of Mr. Steve's Homebrew supplies here in York, PA.  He's got some great recipes and this batch of beer came out superb!  So in it went. 

I've made this mustard several times now.  My neighbors love it, the brew club loves it, and my co-workers enjoy it as well! 

It's such a simple recipe that I will include it here.  Hopefully Saveur doesn't mind!

1- 12 oz bottle of Guinness Extra Stout
1 1/2 cups brown mustard seeds (10 oz)
         special note I found it better to use half brown mustard seeds and half yellow mustard seeds
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 TBSP kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice

Mix all the above ingredients in a glass mixing bowl (or any non-reactive mixing bowl). 

I then covered it with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for 2 days.  This allows the mustard seeds time to soften and the flavors meld together. 

You can then put it in a food processor, but I leave it in the same bowl and use my immersion blender to process the mixture.  Process it until the seeds are coarsely ground and the mixture thickens, which only takes about 3 minutes. 

Tranfer to jars and cover.  We like to let it sit out for about a week to mellow just a bit, and then put it in the frig. 

Mustard schmeared on my homemade rye bread with a good aged white cheddar!  What a great grilled cheese this makes! 

Pizza Party!

Ah the ubiquitous pizza party. Kids love them for their birthdays. Companies offer them as incentives for sales and jobs well done. But most of the time the pizzas are more like cardboard, ordered in great numbers for price not taste or a tender crust.

We did a pizza party at our house this past weekend for our neighbor Barb. She’s celebrating 60+ yrs and the kind of woman that finds humor and joy in all that she does…so why NOT a pizza party?!

When I discussed the party with Barb a month prior to the event, we decided it would be fun to build the pizzas as well as eat them as part of the party. And it truly was! As part of the prep for the party I had roasted and cut yellow, red and orange peppers, fresh mushrooms, big heads of garlic, and white onions. I also chopped black olives. For the sauce I provided basil and tomato pasta sauce that I use jars and jars of each month for spaghetti, Italian subs, etc.

The night before I mixed up the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day (ABin5) olive oil pizza dough recipe (page 134) left it rise the 2 hours, and refrigerated it for our use the next evening.

I love ABin5 recipes because they mix up so quickly and are ALWAYS consistently good. Once it’s mixed you just let it sit on the counter for a few hours, then pop it in the frig. Next day or multi-days later take it out and shape it into bread, pizza, rolls, flatbreads, etc. For the pizzas you don’t even have to let it rise! Yippee! Just layer your ingredients on top and pop it in the oven.

I love, love, love Greek style pizzas, so often make my version of it. I’ll slather the patted out pizza dough with butter, the roasted garlic, put some fresh tomatoes down, then layer on fresh mozzarella. Voila! Yummy pizza, with no red sauce. I love the inclusion of pine nuts but sometimes use walnuts in fresh pesto.

This fall when I harvested my pesto basil, regular and purple basil from the garden I made up numerous batches of pesto and froze it in vacuum seal bags.

So when I took it out for the party all I had to do was let it thaw and snip off a corner and squirt it out. Heavenly aromas filled that kitchen!

My neighbor Wanetta and Wayne, along with their son Don, were guests and Wanetta brought her homemade tomato sauce, cooked hamburger and turkey pepperoni.

I passed out grapefruit sized portions of the dough to Wanetta and Barb for them to start patting out in the aluminum foil covered pizza and cookie sheet pans.

I guess I gave Wanetta too much as she said later that she couldn’t get her crust thin enough. Wanetta made a ½ and ½ pizza; one side had her sauce and hamburger, onions, and shredded mozzarella cheese. The other side had the turkey pepperoni and cheese.

Barb used the red sauce I provided and added peppers, mushrooms, onions and olives to it, and then smothered it all in shredded mozzarella cheese. Barb, the guest of honor realized what was missing from my preparations was a green pepper so she had to run home and grab one. Thank goodness the traffic was light in the neighborhood…but then it always is, since we live in condos and only 100 feet from door to door! LOL.

My pizza was ½ and ½ also. This time I put my homemade pesto made with my homegrown basil on ½ of the pizza I made, and the other half was the butter, garlic and fresh mozzarella cheese.

Wanetta and I listened in fascination to Barb talk about the Julia Child exhibition at the Smithsonian that she had been to. The trip was Barb’s birthday present from her husband George. We didn’t know if Julia Child ever made pizza (I’ll be she did), but we had a ball hearing all about the exhibit and little things about her life that Barb had discovered.

Once the pizzas were made and done cooking we sat down with our men folk and ate a nice salad and then the pizzas. My latest wine, New Zealand Merlot really rounded out the meal. What a lively conversation it was with everyone joining in talking about their culinary discoveries in France, Sweden, Germany, Alaska, and York, PA!

Wanetta had made a German Chocolate Cake for Barb, and Don had decorated it. It was the perfect end to the meal. Richly chocolate and moist! What a fun evening!

Barb having a great laugh as she blew out the candles.

Boeuf Bourguignonne

I’m really into cooking, baking, etc, as you all know, or should by now. So when the movie Julie and Julia came out I HAD to go see it. I laughed and laughed at that movie. It was so good to see Julia Child’s in a very human light.

Over the years I had watched her cooking shows on PBS and loved them. But surprisingly enough I never bought her book, or tried to make any of the dishes. I think I felt overwhelmed by her image!

During the past few years I've grown to appreciate some of the French dishes that Julia loved. I’ve learned how to make duck confit, and duck proscuito, but not from her great books, instead I learned them by going to The Paupered Chef (! Maybe I felt it easier to follow The Paupered Chef because Nick Kindelsperger and Blake Royer were more like me, just willing to jump in with both feet, plus they photographed every aspect of the recipes they made.

Anyhow, shortly after seeing J&J I decided I would try the Boeuf Bourguignonne that was featured in the movie. But I don’t have Julia’s book! So I pulled out my 2006 edition of the Joy of Cooking (one of the books Julia used in her early cooking days apparently) and looked up the recipe.

I remembered that my husband had mentioned making it before so I asked him what kind of beef he had used. Well, that was all it took. He started reminiscing about how he made it and we decided HE would be the one to make it this time also. I had saved his old 1970’s version of Joy of Cooking thank goodness! It had his notes in it so he could recall just what he did.

A few days after the movie I had bought one of those great enameled cast iron lidded pots since we didn't have a roaster. Over years with all the moves he and I had both made, we’d somehow lost track of the roaster we had. So the new pot came in perfect time!

Ken works hard at recipes. To me a recipe is often a suggestion, which means sometimes I lose track of what the intended dish was supposed to taste like! But Ken is very methodical, practicing and practicing the recipe and making notes about what he used. I’ve learned to be more like that since marrying him almost 8 years ago.

I’m not going to put the recipe in here since it takes too long to type. Look it up in any of the Joy of Cooking or Julia’s cookbooks for yourself. I have yet to compare the Joy of Cooking recipe to Julia’s recipe. No I still do not have her book! LOL.

Preparing the marinade for the London Broil. 

Sauteeing the meat with onions and turkey bacon.

Flaming the brandy.

We did use a wide dutch noodle which is the only thing I would change from Ken’s recipe. I would make my own noodles next time.

Ken sitting down to a great meal!  It truly was a great dish well worth the work Ken had to put into it!

Cheese Souffle

Why is it I love to torture myself by trying recipes that I have never even tasted and many times never even seen?! I did that a lot with Jewish and Russian dishes back in the 1990s.

One day last year I decided, for some unknown reason, to do it again. I wanted to try a cheese soufflé. It probably started with Ken saying he really likes soufflés … that’s how a quarter of my culinary adventures start…like the time he mentioned quenelles. Not only had I not had them, I had no idea what they were!! Yet I went ahead and tried.

Back to the soufflé. I pulled out the Joy of Cooking, turned to page 203, and read through the recipe. Hmmm, not so difficult, from the looks of it and not too time consuming.

Now, a year later, I've made them 5 or 6 times. While the recipe is very good, the order of the things you have to prepare is not quite the way I need to do them. The one thing I have to remember is to beat the egg whites, shred the cheeses, AND THEN make the white sauce. You’d think I would remember those things…but alas, ‘tis not the case. Now I’ve written down 1, 2, and 3 in the cookbook so I remember.

Here's the best part for me though. The recipe itself calls for gruyere cheese and parmesan cheese which we both love. But the last time I made it, I found that there was no gruyere in the frig. Alors! Gasp! Ken had eaten the last few ounces for lunch the day before!

What to do…I had already started the white sauce and the eggs…see what I mean about not getting all ready first?! LOL. Anyhow, we did have some very good aged Gouda tucked away. We love aged Gouda for the flaky texture and deep nutty taste. I don’t cook with it usually as we feel it is too precious…we prefer to slice it and place it carefully on crackers and have it with a glass of my delicious home made wine.

Well, not wanting to waste the ingredients I had already started for the soufflé, I quickly scraped the aged gouda cheese on the microplane side of my shredder and put it in. I also did one other thing different. In the past when I have made soufflés I use Pam on the inside of the pan. This time I used butter (except I did use Pam on the inside of the foil collar) and dusted it with Kraft shredded parmesan cheese. But in the soufflé itself, I added freshly shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese just the way I usually do.

What a lucky mistake it was that Ken had eaten the gruyere! This was the best soufflé by far! We loved it so much we ate the entire thing!