Monthly Archives: March 2012

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Stir Crazy – Fresh Asian Grill is an all new restaurant opened in MN,USA recently. This place is located inside Mall of America in Bloomington. They focuses on Pan Asian Cuisine and have a varied menu.  Even though I havent tasted meat, I do have a sense of what kind of food would appeal to my meat loving friends:)

The ambiance was great,the service was also good. You can actually see the chef in action as you see the flames coming right out of the wok stations. This is something that I havent come across most restaurants here.

Price wise it is very affordable….an appetizer, entrée and a dessert along with a kids menu cost us little over $20. Their portion size is big, so two of us shared the entrée.I had their Coconut Curry Vegetables served with Shangai noodles. It was one of the best dishes I’ve ever had. The vegetables blended with the perfect amount of red curry sauce, was truly delicious. We had Tempura Green Beans which was just ok,but the sauce a Japanese Soy Dipping sauce to go with it was too good.They also had individual bite size desserts.I ordered a Mango Crème Brulee and trust me it was sinful. So if you are looking for some Teriyaki ,Pad Thai or Potstickers in MN….Stir Crazy is the place to be!.

Coming to todays post – Strawberries has always been my favorite fruit. Nothing like having the freshest strawberry either by growing it or by atleast picking it up yourself. Am so looking forward to this year’s Summer where I plan to go Strawberry Picking. Every year I end up with a basket full of them and then panic having so many at home. I do bake with some and the rest often results in making jam.

Recently I read an article about Strawberries. I believe on an average, studies show two days as the maximum time for storage without loss of antioxidants and Vitamin C. More storage time means more nutrients loss. I used to always have a box full of them in the refrigerator but after reading that article, I try my best to finish them as quickly as possible.

To make the recipe first we have to make the dough for the base which is called Pâte Brisée  which is a very rich flavored dough with a very delicate texture  used for both Pies and Tarts. The name Pâte Brisée means “broken pastry” which refers to cutting the butter into the flour.

STRAWBERRY GALETTE

Pâte Brisée (Makes enough for one 9″ double crust Pie or two 9″ single crust pies)

Ingredients :

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup cold butter,cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Filling:

1 lb Strawberries (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon
2 teaspoons cornstarch
a tablespoon butter( cut into small pieces)
1 large egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water – for egg wash

Pulse flour,salt and sugar in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.Drizzle water little by little and pulse( or mix with a fork) until the mixture holds together.You may not require all of the water. Make a ball and then flatten it to a disc, wrap loosely in a plastic. Refrigerate until firm, well wrapped in plastic for about an hour( or for a day,can be frozen for up to three months).

On a lightly floured surface,roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut out a 10″ inch round and transfer to a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate or freeze until form,about 30 minutes. In the meanwhile make the filling.

Cut strawberries lengthwise into thin slices.Gently toss them with sugar and cornstarch. Immediately arrange them in to concentric circles on the dough. Start from one edge,overlapping slices slightly. Fold edge of the dough over the berries.Refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Dot berries with butter. Whisk together egg yolk and the water.Brush dough edge with egg wash and sprinkle about a tablespoon of sugar.Bake until the crust is golden brown,40 minutes.Transfer to a rack to cool slightly. Serve Galette warm or at room temperature.

Note : They taste best the day its baked.
I added little more sugar to the base the second time I baked this, and it tasted much better.
This recipe was minimally adapted from Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts.

This is off to Meeta’s Monthly Mingle hosted by Melecotte. I was super excited when I read the theme ” Berries” for this months Monthly Mingle and ended up baking the above. I am participating in this event for the first time and am very happy about it!

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Dutch Crunch doesn’t refer to the type of bread, but rather the topping that is spread over the bread before baking. In Dutch it’s called Tijgerbrood or “tiger bread” after the tiger-like shell on the bread when it comes out of the oven. The final product has a delightful sweet crunch to it that makes it perfect for a sandwich roll. It’s a common option at sandwich shops all over the Bay Area and is often one of the first breads to run out.

Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one of a kind sandwich with our bread!

The recipe for the Dutch Crunch topping came from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible. The recipes for the breads we’ve suggested came from The Bread Bible and an adaptation of a recipe found on bakingbites.com (http://bakingbites.com/2006/09/cooking-school-dutch-crunch-bread/).

For the challenge we were asked to make the Dutch Crunch topping and use it on our choice of bread or roll and use the finished bread to construct a sandwich of our choice. We were allowed to use any bread or roll recipe. So I decided to make “Savory Rolls with Garlic and Sun-dried Tomatoes”. If you like anything garlicky like me, you would love this one.

SAVORY ROLLS WITH GARLIC AND SUNDRIED TOMATOES – DUTCH CRUNCH TOPPING

Ingredients:

2 cups bread flour
a teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon chopped garlic( you may reduce this to half if you do not like the flavor)
a tablespoon sun-dried tomatoes chopped
3/4 cup of water
2 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoon butter

In a Food processor, pulse together flour,salt and yeast. Add the chopped garlic,sundried tomatoes,olive oil and butter. Pulse again till you see the flour crumbled. Add warm water and beat until all come together. Knead and shape it into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and allow it to rise in a warm place until double in size, which will take about two hours.

Punch the dough and shape into balls/bun shape. You will end up with six of them. Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment,allow it proof for about 20 minutes. In the meanwhile make the topping.

Dutch Crunch Topping

Ingredients

1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105-115º F) (41-46°C)
1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoon rice flour

Directions:

1.Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a whisk; beat hard to combine. The consistency should be like stiff royal icing – spreadable, but not too runny. If you pull some up with your whisk, as shown below, it should drip off slowly. Add more water or rice flour as necessary. Let stand 15 minutes.
2.Coat the top of each roll with a thick layer of topping.You should err on the side of applying too much topping – a thin layer will not crack properly.
3.Let stand, uncovered, for about 15 minutes.
4.When baking, place pans on a rack in the center of the oven and bake.The Dutch Cruch topping should crack and turn a nice golden-brown color.

I was thrilled with the result. Though my rolls weren’t that dark in color,the crunchiness is all that mattered. I read in the DB forum that adding a lil more sugar would result in a darker texture. Since I was making a savory roll, I decided not to do so. I loved the crunchiness of the roll.The bread was tender and had an amazing garlic flavor to it. Actually while baking there was a nice aroma of garlic in the entire house…aah that was lovely!

I came up with a very simple sandwich with whatever available at home. I used some cream cheese spread and mayo on the roll. Also added roasted potatoes(cooked ,sliced and roasted with some olive oil,paprika and salt), onions,tomato and very little grated carrots. This was my dinner last night and I just loved it. I plan to make some Soft rolls with this kind of topping again.

Thanks so much Sara and Erica for the lovely challenge.

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Scotland is famous for their exotic Whiskies, but have you heard about their delicious Butter Shortbread?

We picked the Walker’s Scottish Pure Butter Shortbread a few years back and both of us loved it instantly. Now my li’l one has taken a liking for it too.With the right amount of sweetness along with the perfect butter flavor,they are crumbly and have “melt in the mouth” texture.Nothing can beat them,they are just the Best!

Pure Shortbread cookies are made with three main ingredients ButterFlour and Sugar. To my surprise I came across a recipe which uses cornstarch too. So I decided to give it a try.

TRADITIONAL SHORTBREAD

Makes about 24 fingers

Ingredients:

250gm butter,softened
105gm of sugar
315 gm Plain Flour
60gm cornflour
a pinch salt
extra sugar for sprinkling ( I used turbinado sugar)

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients.Knead lightly and press into a greased 8 inch square pan. Prick well and bake in an preheated oven at 270F for about an hour.

Cut into fingers while still hot and sprinkle lightly with turbinado sugar.

Shortbread bakes more evenly when pricked all over with a fork. I must say they are quite addictive. They weren’t as soft and crumbly as the original Walkers,probably because of the addition of cornstarch. However, they tasted the same. We loved it!

Note : The above recipe was adapted from the Complete Book of Home Baking by HEILIE PIENAAR.

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When it comes to Baking often times the prepared items are sweet, remarked the Husband!. He was suggesting if I could make him a snack preferably non sweet and healthy. So after pondering a while I decided to come up with something….ended up being ” Spinach and Cheese Savory Buns”. It tastes best when fresh and warm!

SPINACH AND CHEESE SAVORY BUNS

Makes a dozen

Ingredients:

1 1/2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot finely chopped
1 garlic pod chopped
3 cups of spinach chopped( use only fresh ones)
a teaspoon of chilli flakes
1 tablespoon of cilantro ( chopped)
2 1/2 cups self rising flour
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
3/4 cup Feta cheese
1 cup + 2 tablespoons of milk
salt as per taste

Heat olive oil and a tablespoon of butter in a pan,saute garlic and shallots until the later is translucent. Add spinach and cook until soft. Add chilli flakes,salt and cilantro. Drain if there is any water left. Allow it to cool.

Preheat oven at 350F. In a bowl stir in flour,salt( as needed only for the flour),cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup of feta cheese. Now add in the spinach and milk( slowly add the milk, as you might not need the entire milk). Mix well. Shape into balls and place them on a  baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the remaining feta cheese on top.  Bake  for about 20 minutes, remove from the oven and brush the remaining  butter on the top. Bake for another 10 minutes. Serve warm!

 

 

It certainly met the criteria of non sweet, not sure if it was healthy enough,thanks to the flour content in the buns. I did my part of using fat free cheese n less butter :)

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