Sunday, July 13, 2008
As my last post explained, I have been reading a blog about crockpotting, and the Crockpot Lady actually baked in her crockpot. What intrigued me is that she advocated keeping the lid ajar so the steam can escape.
My friend had shared her sourdough starter with me. It's a great starter, but my sourdough bread has been lacking something. I researched sourdough bread, one thing that they do in San Francisco is use steam injecting ovens! There are work arounds for the home baker, putting water in a pan in the bottom of the oven (not possible in my oven) or spraying with an atomizer.
I decided to try baking one loaf of bread in the crockpot. Sourdough bread has several rises, I let the dough rise once for 2 hours. After punching down the dough I divided it into two loaves, one I set to rise again in the normal fashion the second, I put in the crockpot.
There were a few challenges since my pot is round, I decided that a round loaf would be best,for a mold I used a mini spring form pan. I wasn't sure if I wanted the bread to sit in the water, so I used the trivet from my pressure cooker to hold the loaf a quarter inch above the water.
Since this was an experiment, I decided to use already boiling water which I neglected to measure. The crockpot was set on low for 4 hours the lid was put tightly on, since the idea was to use steam.
Here is my result:
The bread was not as chewy as I would like, for a whole wheat loaf it rose nicely. I think the crust looked great. The taste was good but not San Francisco Sourdough good, I believe the lack of gluten in the flour plus the fact that the recipe I used contained milk and butter may have contributed to the consistency.
I will definitely do this again though.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Husband's doctor told us to eat chicken instead of pork. Neither of us are great poultry fans but I bought boneless skinless chicken breasts at Megabalcones (I think they were $48 mxp a kilo about $2.25 usd a pound if you are interested in such things). I could have bought chicken for much less money, but I really don't like handling raw poultry. My aversion dates back to my first pregnancy some 29 years ago.
Okay, so I saw this recipe for making Chinese Lemon Chicken in the Crockpot. Unfortunately, we went out on some errands and didn't get home until 12:30 and I was tired so I didn't start comida until after 2:00. What's a girl to do? I converted the crockpot slow cooker recipe to a pressure cooker fast recipe. I also substituted a bunch of ingredients. I have never seen frozen lemonade concentrate here, just the Country Time type stuff. I was also out of brown sugar but I did have piloncillo en grano. (The Mexican cane sugar but in little balls instead of cones). So here is my recipe. I have balsamic vinegar but forgot to write it down on my list of ingredients so I didn't use it in my chicken.
Lemon Chicken in the Pressure Cooker
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or equivalent
-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast pieces or equivalent
- cut chicken into strips or largish chunks
- dredge in flour , shake off excess
- brown chicken in the pressure cooker with a bit of olive oil, I browned it well, since I have a fear of raw chicken,
- mix the rest of the ingredient in a separate bowl.
- pour over the chicken and mix it until none of the piloncillo is on top and the chicken is coated with sauce.
- cover and cook at 8 pounds pressure for 8 minutes. Quick release the pressure cooker according to your cooker's directions.
I served this with chicken flavored rice pilaf and some rajas and carrots in escabeche.
I made this dish from start to finish in less time than it took the rice to cook.
I can't wait to try the real version.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
4 large cloves of garlic, unpeeled
4 medium dried chiles guajillo, stemmed, seeds and deveined
6 medium dried chiles anchos , stemmed, seeds and deveined
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 cups any poultry broth (plus extra if needed)
1 teaspoon salt
Sugar, a big pinch if needed
Heat a heavy skillet or griddle over medium heat, lay the garlic on one side to roast. Tear the chiles into flat pieces and a few at a time, press them against the hot surface with metal spatula, flip them over and press again., you'll hear them crackle and see them blister and change colour. Remove to a bowl, cover with boiling water, weight down with a plate to keep them submerged, and soak for at least an hour, preferably 2 or 3.
Turn the garlic frequently for 15 minutes or so, until blackened a little and soft within. Remove, cool,peel and place in a blender jar. Grind the peppercorns and cumin seeds in a mortar or spice grinder and add to garlic.
Drain the chiles, squeezing gently. Add to the blender jar and measure in 1 1/2 cups of the broth. Blend until smooth and then strain though a medium mesh sieve into a large bowl. Season with salt and if the sauce is bitter or sharp,sugar. Add additional broth to the consistency of a light tomato sauce.
NOTES: if you are using powdered caldo you may want to taste the sauce before you add the salt, caldo can be fairly salty. One good thing about making your own sauce is that you control the amount of salt. Chile Ancho may also be called chile poblano or pasilla. Guajillos are very mild. If you want to substitute another type of dried chile to change the hotness you certainly can, but I would not use chipoltes since that would totally change the taste to a smoky one.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
I wanted to make Pooris today. I meant to make them, but I wasn't paying attention. Because of the humidity and insects here, we put all our dry staples in screw top jars as soon as the package is opened. I have more prudent friends who store things like flour in their 2nd refrigerator or who at least put those things in the deep freeze for a week or so to kill any insect eggs. My method is to not buy in bulk unless I can't help it and to be vigilant about using up stuff. Since I can generally tell what is what just by looking at it, I don't label the jars. Today it worked against me, or maybe I should say it made me invent a new recipe!
The pooris recipe calls for fine-ground semolina, which I remembered buying at Baraudi's Middle eastern deli and import. I forgot that the last time I cleaned out the pantry I had tossed out the semolina. As I added the "semolina" I realized that it was breadcrumbs! The recipe also calls for cake flour, the substitution for cake flour is to replace one to two tablespoons of all purpose flour with corn starch. Since I had already put in the bread crumbs instead of the semolina, I shrugged and used corn starch instead of cake flour. Since I was already winging it, I decided to use olive oil instead of vegetable oil (olives are really a fruit but hey, this recipe is already so far from the original that it won't matter!).
Some things are just meant to work out. My pooris which I will call balloon bread in deference to the actual stuff came out pretty tasty.
The trick to making them puff is to use a spoon and not let the bread bob up to the surface. It's fascinating to actually feel the bread puff up under the spoon. So here is my recipe for balloon bread.
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup corn starch
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
apprx 3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
vegetable oil for deep frying
Put the dry ingredients in the food processor. With the steel blade mix the dry ingredients well, add the oil. When the oil is well incorporated start adding the water a little at a time until you have a ball that sticks together.
Knead the dough by hand until smooth. Cover with a cloth, let sit for 30 minutes. Divide the dough into 12 small ball about the size of a walnut. Roll the balls into small thin 3 to 4 inch rounds. Let the round rest while you heat the oil in either a wok, frying pan or deep fryer.
When the oil is very hot but NOT smoking, gently lay the round in the oil.Don't let it double up, keep the round submerged until it blows up like a balloon,it only takes a few seconds. Flip it over and let it cook for a couple of seconds. I did 2 at a time, it's hard to do more because of keeping it submerged.
Drain and pat dry. Eat hot, if you don't eat them right away they deflate a bit but are still tasty!The ones in the photo had already deflated a bit before I remembered to photograph them.
The more authentic pooris recipe is:
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup fine semolina
1/3 cup cake flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
approx 1/2 cup water
oil for frying
Combine the dry ingredients. Slowly drizzle the oil over the dry ingredients, with your fingertips rub the oil into the mix until completely combined. Add enough water to make a ball. Knead the dough for about ten minutes or until smooth. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 12 small ball about the size of a walnut. Roll the balls into small thin 3 to 4 inch rounds. Let the round rest while you heat the oil in either a wok, frying pan or deep fryer.
When the oil is very hot but NOT smoking, gently lay the round in the oil.Don't let it double up, keep the round submerged until it blows up like a balloon,it only takes a few seconds. Flip it over and let it cook for a couple of seconds.
Drain and pat dry.