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Sourdough Buns

SourdoughBuns_First

Sourdough Buns

Original Recipe from King Arthur Flour, please click here.

This recipe makes 17 buns about 60 g each.

Ingredients:

  • 400 g Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 46 g milk powder
  • 1  1/2 tsp salt
  • 125 mL water
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 276 g sourdough starter, fed
  • cornmeal (for dusting)

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, salt and milk powder and stir well to mix.
  2. In large glass measuring cup, combine water, yeast, sugar, oil and egg with the sourdough starter and mix thoroughly.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour the starter mixture into it. Mix with your dough hook attachment until the dough forms a ball and no longer sticks to the sides.
  4. Form into a smooth ball and oil exterior. Allow to rest for 1 hour.
  5. Press down and pinch about 60 g pieces and shape into even buns. Cut a small X on the top. Allow the buns to rest for 30 minutes.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 375° F (190° C.
  7. Mist buns lightly with water and bake for 15-20 minutes or until internal temperature is 200° F).
  8. Allow to cool slightly. Serve warm.
SourdoughBuns_7643

A slightly eggy sourdough bread that is delicious with butter.

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As you know I’m a free agent at this particular juncture in my life and although I am keeping my ear to the ground and looking actively for work in my field, I am pretty realistic about the prospects out there and I’m keeping an open mind. The support from my blogging peeps is phenomenal and I thank you for your interest and offer to help! I am constantly touched and surprised by the generosity and kindness of, for all intensive purposes, strangers! It is because of you I am keeping my mind open for alternative opportunities, one such opportunity became a reality just two weeks ago.

About a year and a half or so ago, I had the good fortune to be invited to a taping of Top Chef Canada, Season 3 and there I met with Lucie Richard, Toronto-based Food Stylist with whom I chatted extensively about her craft. At that time, she very generously offered to have me ‘assist’ on one of her photo shoots. Two weeks ago it came to fruition and I assisted on a National Brand ice cream shoot. You cannot imagine how excited I was!

Ice cream is one of the most difficult things to shoot because of the very short window of opportunity before it begins to melt. I was thrilled to experience such a challenging product with one of the best in the field; Lucie was kind and generous with her advice and patience and she taught me an incredible volume of information on shooting ice cream. The tricks of the trade tend to be quite personal and what one stylist does may not necessarily be exactly what another does, so experiencing variety is key to coming up with your own tricks of the trade. The client has very specific expectations in what the characteristics of the ice cream should look like so you really need to know what you’re doing.

We used dry ice to super cool the tools, we worked in small batches for short periods of time, constantly re-freezing the ice cream so it doesn’t glaze over in the melting process. And the studio was kept very cool with air conditioning so I brought a sweater and I even brought gloves in case I needed to warm my hands. Of course, the work is fast and furious and there is no time to be cold.

The trends 15-20 years ago was to use ‘fake’ product. Ice cream was a highly guarded secret recipe of shortening, food colourings and inclusions. Today, most companies want the real deal and that in itself presents some interesting opportunities. And then there is Photoshop®, which has at times saved this incredible craft. We even took Photoshop into consideration, shooting slightly brighter and darker versions of the same shot in order to make sure we have what it takes to make the best composite. Of course, the Photoshopers are so skilled and talented, you can’t tell that they have added a little of this and a little of that to make that shot.

The client was very happy with the ice cream photo and we even finished a few minutes early. It was a huge success for me, and gave me the confidence to send out notes to my Food Stylist peeps that I’d love to assist. Who knows, this may become something!

Sadly, blogging is the driver and result of cooking passion; I make recipes for meals that I want to blog about. But we also want to eat the food I blog about. It’s wasteful to make an extra portion just for the blog so either JT or I will suffer with the pretty but stone cold blog version of a dish or eat separately which is what happened with this amazing ‘ravioli’.

uova-da-raviolo_1069

The pasta is relatively thin, so you can see all the good stuff inside!

Some time ago I saw this unique ‘ravioli’ treatment on my friend Celi’s blog (the kitchen’s garden), she was inspired to make this delightful dish after her daughter who works in a very upscale restaurant in Melbourne told her about it. We were at the cottage at the time I read the post and you know how we are unable to divert from plan because of ingredient limitations, so I was itching to make this beautiful dish as soon as we returned to the city.

One thing led to another and it wasn’t until the Friday before Thanksgiving that I finally got it together to make this tasty dish. Thank you Celi, it is exceptional! It’s reasonably fussy so I will have to figure out a way to simplify it so I can make it as a starter for a dinner party. I used John’s recipe (from the Bartolini Kitchen) for the pasta dough (with minor modifications) and Celi’s rough description for the filling. Even JT commented that he would definitely have it again. So it’s a win/win, all the way around. Thank you Celi and John for inspiring me to make this gorgeous dish.

The ravioli is comprised of sautéed spinach, ricotta and parmesan cheese  and the crowning glory is the simple egg yolk enveloped within the light pasta dough. When it is cooked, the yolk is simply warmed so that it becomes thick but remains runny and once it’s broken into, it mixes with the sage brown butter and becomes a delightful sauce over the ricotta, spinach and pasta. This is definitely a winner and will be shared with friends soon.

Ravioli with Egg Yolk and Sage Brown Butter Sauce (uova-da-raviolo)

I forgot to sprinkle additional parmesan on this one, shhhh.

I forgot to sprinkle additional parmesan on this one, shhhh.

Serves 2 with lots of pasta left over (I made additional plain ravioli and filled it with seasoned ricotta and froze them for future use).

Ingredients, for the pasta:

  • 1 scant cup flour
  • 2 egg whites

Directions, for the pasta:

  1. In a food processor, combine the flour and egg whites and process until you achieve a ball of dough.
  2. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.

Ingredients, for the brown butter sauce:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp finely sliced sage
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced

Directions, for the Brown Butter Sauce:

  1. Melt the butter and cook until it is brown, remove from heat and add the sage and garlic and allow to infuse while making the filling.

Ingredients, for the ravioli filling:

  • 2 whole egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • 1 roasted garlic, puréed (I used a fork)
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese, and 1 tbsp for garnish

Directions, for the ravioli filling:

  1. In a small frying pan, sauté the spinach with a splash of EVOO until wilted, set aside to cool.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the ricotta, roasted garlic and 2 tbsp parmesan cheese. Taste and season with salt as desired.

Directions, for assembly of the ravioli:

  1. Heat a large deep pan of salted water to a steady boil.
  2. Roll out four thin sheets of pasta about 10-15cm in diameter (4-6″) (I used #5 on my Kitchenaid Pasta Attachment, but I think #6 would have worked very well too).
  3. In the centre of two of the pasta sheets, add a mound of spinach and on top of that add 1/2 the ricotta mix. Make a divot in the centre and add the room temperature, raw egg yolk. Place the second sheet on top and push out any air and seal the edges well. Cut this into a shape or leave it rustic.
  4. In the meantime, reheat the brown butter sauce on low.
  5. Boil the large ravioli for 2-3 minutes or until the pasta is completely cooked but leaving the egg yolk runny. Serve with the hot brown butter sauce and parmesan cheese for garnish. If you have a few extra sage leaves, add them as garnish too.
  6. Enjoy while the yolk is still runny.
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The egg yolk oozes out and mixes with the brown butter very nicely.

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We had these for lunch, for appetizers I will make them smaller and use small egg yolks!

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While in Barcelona, Spain we enjoyed many tapas that we’d never tried before and one particular tapa was the Potato Omelet. Now you know that I am not a huge potato eater, but for some reason I really wanted to try it. The starch in the potato makes for a very dense and slightly chewy omelet, which was usually served as a small cube, sometime with bread but most often not.

The potato omelet is the cube centre back.
We enjoyed this plate while dining along side of the Mediterranean Sea!

Now that we’re home, I’ve experimented with other ‘fillings’ for this simple treat and yesterday I think I hit the jackpot. I made this little hors d’œuvres with a shallot, finely diced chorizo and a sliced mushroom. What made it hit the jackpot for me was the texture and because I wasn’t using a potato in this version, I needed to add something to help thicken the egg. I remembered Sissi’s recipe for a Korean Pancake (which I thoroughly enjoyed) and she added corn starch to the egg batter to firm it up. So that’s exactly what I did. Thanks Sissi. It made eight 2.5cm squares (1″) that were tasty and incredibly easy to make. You can even make it in advance and reheat.

A lovely dense texture and a little spice from the Chorizo

Chorizo, Shallot and Mushroom Omelet Tapa

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole egg and 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 mushroom, sliced about 2mm thick
  • 30 g finely diced chorizo (I didn’t add extra salt as I find Chorizo salty enough)
  • 20 g finely chopped shallot

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Beat the egg and white together, add the corn starch and beat until all the lumps have disolved.
  3. Generously grease a small loaf pan 7cm x 13cm (2.75″ x 5″) or 200 mL (3/4 cup size).
  4. Add the chorizo, shallots and mushrooms and make sure they are distributed evenly in the pan. Pour the egg batter over it and tap a few times so that it reaches under and over all the inclusions. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until egg is entirely set. You may serve immediately or cool completely and reheat this mixture prior to serving.

And definitely don’t let my ingredient mix stop you from trying something you have on hand…for example, ham and gruyère cheese!

Ham, Gruyère cheese and a little Dijon

The possibilities are definitely endless. I do hope you enjoy this snack.

The potato and bacon omelet took a nose dive out the pan. It must have been possessed! And NO, for all the guys, the three second rule did NOT apply.

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Spelt Egg Bread

I’ve made this bread so many times, you would wonder if I really meant that I don’t eat many carbs. Truth be told, JT adores it, so whenever we have carb-eating company, this is my go-to bread. I ran out of flour so I added a bit of spelt and it worked out amazing! Thanks Angie for inspiring me to try Spelt flour.

I also discovered well into the bread-making that I didn’t have sesame seeds. Sigh. So I improvised and omitted them from this version of the recipe. I also only wanted one loaf so I cut the recipe in half.

Fresh out of the oven, all steamy and hot!

Spelt Egg Bread

Makes 1 30cm loaf,

Original Sesame Bread (from Sawsan, Chef in Disguise)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp powdered milk
  • 1/3 cup warm water (it should feel slightly warm to the touch not hot)
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • pinch tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Combine the yeast, sugar and 1/3 cup water, stir gently and allow to bubble up and foam.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer add the flour, spelt flour, salt, powdered milk, eggs and vinegar. Rub the eggs into the flour with cookie dough hook and then switch to a dough hook to incorporate completely (apparently the powdered milk makes the dough more elastic because of the sugar content in it).
  3. Add the yeast water mixture and knead the dough for 10 minutes until you get a smooth slightly sticky dough (you may or may not need to add more water depending on the type of flour you use — spelt absorbs more water).
  4. Place the dough in a slightly oiled bowl, cover it and allow it to rise in a warm place till it doubles in size (this only takes about 45 minutes).
  5. Pre-heat your oven to 500°F.
  6. Begin by rolling out the dough to about 30cm x 25cm (12″ x 10″), then roll the dough tightly on the long end and pinch to seal. Pinch the seam along the edge as well so it doesn’t unravel. If the dough is not sticky enough, it WILL unravel, so I sometimes wet my hand and brush the entire rectangle with the water and leave it for a couple of minutes to get sticky before you roll up.
  7. Allow to rest about 20 minutes in a warm, draft-free place.
  8. Bake for 5-7 minutes on the high heat, then reduce to 400°F and bake for another 7-10 minutes or until the bottom is golden.
  9. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm. Enjoy!

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Many people think that eating healthfully means eating without flavour or excitement (remember the cottage cheese diets?), but I am here to declare that they are WRONG! It’s particularly important for low fat recipes to be seasoned properly, and I’m not talking salt, but a variety of flavour builders. When you eat low calorie, fat free food, you NEED to be satisfied, otherwise, you will likely snack and cheat. It’s plain and simple, make sure ALL your senses are satisfied and you will be happy.

My friend Norma over at Garden to Wok has been making recipes that have tempted me for a while and I found one a couple of weeks ago that really spiked my curiosity: Egg Foo Yung. Now Norma is a Chinese Culinary Expert and she teaches hands on cooking classes at Pearl River Patch in New York State so I am by no means trying to one up her. JT and I are doing a very concerted effort for three weeks to eat virtually carb free, fat free and sugar-free (a low glycemic diet), so I have modified Norma’s recipe to suite our dietetic needs at this time, it may not be for everyone, but it worked for our taste buds and diet chemestry. So, I hope you don’t mind, Norma, here is my version of your wonderful Egg Foo Yung. Please check out Norma’s blog to see her gorgeous and tasty looking recipe and pictures. This dish satisfied every one of my senses; my sense of smell was being teased as I prepared the dish, my sense of sight was excited at the site of the dish and my sense of taste was bowled over at the first bite. And then I was full.

Note about my ingredients. I made this twice and the second time I used what I had on hand instead of the basics Norma suggested in her recipe. The first set of photos sucked, hence their obvious absence, these are the photos from the second set.

Canadian Egg Foo Yung (for a low glycemic index diet)

The egg and vegetable pancake sits in a delicious stock, that eats like a soup.
It's a perfect light meal.

Serves 1 (recipe can easily be multiplied to the number of people to serve). You will need egg rings for this dish (I used mini spring form pan rings without the bottoms).

Ingredients:

  • 50g raw shrimp (I used 3 from a packet that listed 21-30 per pound)
  • 4.5 tbsp egg beaters egg whites
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated, divided
  • 1 tsp fresh garlic, grated, divided
  • 1 scallion or green onion finely sliced, divided
  • 1 tsp Kikkoman Low Sodium Soy Sauce, divided
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock (I use Pacific)
  • 15g Chinese mushrooms sliced thinly (use the dried variety and reserved the hydrating liquid)
  • 1/2 cup mushroom hydrating liquid
  • 50g of fresh baby spinach
  • Parsley and scallions for garnish
  • non-stick cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Peel and de-vein the shrimp, cut into quarter bits and set aside.
  2. Pour the chicken stock, the strained mushroom hydrating liquid, 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, 1/2 tsp fresh garlic, and half of the finely sliced scallions or green onions into a sauce pan and begin to heat slowly (the aim is to infuse the broth with the flavours added, not to boil the heck out of it).
  3. Pour the egg whites into a small bowl and whisk with the soy sauce and ginger, set aside.
  4. Pre-heat the pan WITHOUT the egg rings and lightly sauté the spinach until entirely wilted. Remove from pan and add the shrimp and cook through. Remove from pan and set aside.
  5. Pre-heat the pan WITH the egg ring, lightly spray both with non-stick spray.
  6. Combine the wilted spinach, shrimp, Chinese mushrooms with the green onions and add to the egg ring and distribute evenly. Heat through (this will help the egg cook).
  7. Pour the egg whites over the vegetables and adjust so that it all sits evenly in the ring. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes (you will need to put a lid over the ring so that the top of the egg sets nicely so you can flip it and get that gorgeous golden colour that Norma talks about.
  8. When the egg has set, carefully remove the ring and with a large spatula, flip. You will want both sides golden and cooked all the way through.
  9. To plate, carefully remove the egg pancake (you may need to slide your knife around the edge to loosen) and pace in a rimmed soup bowl (I like my Asian style bowls for this type of presentation). Carefully ladle the hot broth around the egg, so that it doesn’t cover it. You can either strain the broth so the garlic, ginger and the scallions don’t end up in the presentation (which is what I did for the photo) or you can leave in and enjoy with your egg and broth (which is what I did when I served it to JT and I). Garnish with parsley and a sliver of the green onion (or chives if you have on hand). I also added a few chili pepper flakes on mine for heat!

As FYI: I omitted the ginger wine, egg yolks, oil, salt and corn starch and substituted the chicken broth with low sodium, the soy sauce with low sodium to make my version low glycemic. The vegetables, as mentioned previously are just what I had on hand, you could add whatever you choose as Norma indicated in her recipe.

Thank you, Norma, this is indeed a very flavourful dish even with my alterations.

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Italian Easter Cheese Bread

I saw this recipe on my friend John Bartolini’s blog from the Bartolini Kitchens and knew INSTANTLY that I had to make it. John has inspired me to make so many things from his wonderful blog (like this and this and this) and I knew that this recipe would not disappoint.
I found it interesting that the first two proofs did not yield the kind of volume a normal bread expands to. But I did persevere and read through the instructions and the bread did not dissappoint (thank you King Aurthur Flour Co. to bring this subtle point to our attention, had you not done it, I may have tossed the little ball of dough out, fearing my yeast was dead!)

Yes, it was as good as it looks. Are those kissing bunnies? Watch out, there will be a hundred of them soon!

I made the bread for dinner last Sunday, it was just going to be 5 of us, so I only made half the loaf — I wish I had doubled the recipe! Seriously, it is good bread. It also got on my list to bake for the Titanic Centenary Party, dinner st Barb’s (Profiteroles and Ponytails) and for my family Easter dinner the following Sunday. Obviously I did not cut into it as it was a gift for the hostess, but it was everything I had expected, and more. Please do click onto John’s blog for the recipe. It is well worth it.

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My friend Kelly, from Inspired Edibles (an Ontario girl!) inspired me with her wonderful Flourless Salmon Dill Bites for breakfast this past Good Friday morning; thank you Kelly.

I had a bit of the smoked salmon mousse left over from the appi’s I put together on Thursday for cocktails and instead of tossing it, I used it as a base for this tasty egg dish. Kelly, I hope you don’t mind, but I changed the recipe a bit as JT and I don’t need the calories that your growing boys need.

Beating the egg whites adds just the fluffiness you need for a filling breakfast while watching your girlish figure!

Smoked Salmon Breakfast Egg Puffs

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 cup non fat Greek yogurt
  • 4 tbsp smoked salmon mousse (you don’t need to add this if you don’t have it, I was just using it up)
  • 2 slices of smoked salmon, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp dill
  • salt

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Add whole egg, yogurt, smoked salmon mousse, smoked salmon, onion and dill into a bowl and whisk until well mixed. Set aside.
  3. Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form but not dry. Fold into egg mixture.
  4. Prepare 200 mL ramekins with non-stick spray and pour the egg mixture evenly into each ramekin, leaving about 2 cm of space at the top (you need this because they puff up like a souflée) Bake for about 20-25 minutes, top should be golden and the insides should test clean with a cake tester. Serve immediately (or after photo) on a bed of baby arugula dressed with a drizzle of balsamic and garnished with something red (tomatoes would have been perfect, but I didn’t have any so I used diced red peppers)

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