Wednesday, December 15, 2010

weight of yeast

From the Red Star web site, 1 packet of active dry yeast is typically 1/4 oz (7.1g)

1 package is usually 2-1/4 teaspoons, but not exactly.

Good to know for conversion of volumetric recipes.

Other interesting things I learned about ADY on the Red Star site:
  1. Active Dry Yeast can be added directly to dry ingredients! Use liquid temperatures of 120°F-130°F. Yeast activity may decrease if it comes into direct contact with salt or sugar.
  2. If dissolving ADY, add to 110°F-115°F water.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

yeast amounts

From Daniel DiMuzio's "Bread Baking: An Artisan's Perspective"

This applies to instant yeast in a lean dough, at 77F, for rising times during bulk fermentation

  • 0.3% - 3-4 hours
  • 0.4 - 0.5% - 1.5 to 2 hours
  • 0.7% - 1 hour
  • 1% - 30 to 45 min

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nanking sweet potatoes


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Saturday, November 27, 2010

nanking sweet potatoes quest

11/27/2010: So Beckey bought some sweet potatoes for T-Day, and I'd been hankering to make the ones that I've had with the sesame chicken at the House of Nanking in San Francisco.

Years ago, I found a book of San Francisco recipes that listed how to make these. I remember making them at my mom's for Chrismas, I think, with Beckey, but they turned out just OK, maybe too much soy sauce.

So I tried two different versions this evening. Both were pretty good, but not exactly Nanking-style.

Here are the two versions; the basic procedure is the same, just the sauce recipe varies.

Nanking-style Sweet Potatoes V1

1/2 large sweet potato, sliced somewhere between 1/8" - 1/4" on mandoline
4c. canola oil

1 tsp sesame oil

1 green onion, sliced, for garnish
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

  1. Combine all sauce ingredients in small saute pan over high heat. Bring to a boil, let reduce for 5 minutes, and turn off heat.
  2. In small batches, fry sweet potatoes at 350-375F for 1 minute, then remove onto paper towels to drain and cool.
  3. When first fry is complete, heat oil to 375F, and fry potatoes again in batches, for about 1 minute, remove and drain.
  4. When complete, reheat sauce to boil, add potatoes to sauce, toss.
  6. Serve at once, garnished with green onions and sesame seeds.
Sauce V1

1/4c. light soy sauce
1/4c. rice wine vinegar
1/4c. white sugar
1 tsp worcheshire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp homemade pickled ginger (or fresh ginger)

Sauce V1 Results
  • A bit too sweet and too salty
  • Also a bit too much ginger
  • Nice caramelization, I cooked for 10 minutes, maybe too caramelized, very thick and sticky

Sauce V2

3 tbsp light soy sauce
1/4c. rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp worcheshire sauce
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp homemade pickled ginger (or fresh ginger)
1 pinch red chili flakes

Sauce V2 results
  • Better balance
  • A bit spicy; omit chili flakes next time
  • Still maybe too garlicky
  • Less soy sauce (2 tbsp)
  • Add chicken stock (1/4c) and let reduce
  • Try re-adding worcheshire?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Just out of the oven, 450f for 40 minutes, broiled on hi for 3 min

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The bird is the word

2010 bird, 19-20 lbs

Note timer, came out after about 3 hours, at 165 for thigh.

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2010 holiday stuffing/dressing

This is my girl's family recipe, like her grandparents made and her mom continues to make. Plenty to stuff a 16 lb bird. Originally wrote it down in 2008, while her mom was making it at home.

Makes a large mixing bowl full, probably 12-15 servings, maybe more!

Prep time: about 70 minutes

2 bags of Pepperidge Farms Herb Seasoned Stuffing (Note: 12oz? Cubbinsons comes in two 6oz bags, so 12oz?)
3 medium apples, any kind of RED apple (Gala), peeled and rough chopped
2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 bunch (5 stalks?) celery, chopped
1 lb of large white mushrooms, rough chopped, about 12-15 count, stems removed
1 lb Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage
3 eggs
2 sticks of butter
2 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
1 tbsp fresh thyme
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1 tbsp fresh sage
2 cans chicken broth (24-28 oz) (OMITTED THIS TIME)
1/2 box Bell's Seasoning (I USED 1 WHOLE BOX)
1 tbsp black pepper

No salt (stock, stuffing mix and other has salt already, Jackie doesn't add salt)


(I've changed them slightly from the original version, to make it easier to do).
  1. Pulse stuffing mix until small dice, like breadcrumb. Set aside in large bowl.
  2. In batches, grind celery, apple, onion, and mushroom in the food processor until uniform.
  3. Add both cans of broth and eggs to food processor. Add all fresh and dried spices except Bell's. Pulse some more. Add to breadcrumb bowl.
  4. In a large skillet, melt butter and brown the sausage in it.
  5. Pour entire butter/sausage mixture over stuffing.
  6. Add boiling water (probably 2-4 cups) and stir to combine to moisten the mixture.
  7. Knead, squeezing thru your fingers to make sure there are no lumps and mixture is uniform and even, 3-5 minutes.
  8. Add Bell's seasoning, "until it smells right". She used approx 1/2 of a new box. (I used a whole box this time)
  9. Add more warm water to make the mixture very moist. At night it will be very wet, because it will soak up water.
  10. Should look as wet as a meatloaf. Sprinkle a little Bell Seasoning over the top.
  11. Bake at 450F for 40 minutes, and broil for 3 minutes. (Most everything is cooked except the egg, so shouldn't take too long).
My girl's mom (Jackie) stuffs it in the bird, bakes the leftovers.

  • Nice thin crust, pretty moist inside (could've probably gone for 1 hr @ 450).
  • Not enough salt!! Aaack!!! Probably because I left out the chicken stock. Still, would've been better to cook a small patty and taste it for salt.
  • Perhaps too much Bell's, tastes strongly

2010 turkey

20lb, 16-17min/lb, so 5.33 to 5.66 hours estimated cook time

one 20lb turkey
2 carrots, peeled and rough chopped
2 onions, peeled and rough chopped
2 celery stalks, rough chopped
1/2 stick softened butter (or leftover butter from last year)
10 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp rosemary, minced
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 extra rosemary branch
1 lemon, split in 1/2
Kosher salt
  1. Mix softened butter, garlic, parsley, 2 tbs rosemary, and a pinch of kosher salt
  2. Preheat oven to 500F
  3. Get roasting pan with rack; spray rack with canola cooking spray (or wipe with canola or vegetable oil)
  4. Remove giblets (or giblet pack) from's there! If it's not in the body, check the neck cavity!
  5. Rinse turkey well, place on roasting rack breast side UP, pat inside dry with paper towels.
  6. Add vegetables and giblets to roasting pan
  7. Work skin loose with fingers
  8. Put 1/2 butter/garlic mixture under skin
  9. Stuff turkey with lemon, rosemary branch
  10. Truss legs and tuck under
  11. Pat skin VERY DRY
  12. Rub remaining butter/garlic mixture over skin.
  13. Season skin very liberally with salt
  14. Roast at 500F for 30 minutes
  15. Reduce heat to 350F
  16. Cook for remaining time, until thigh temp hits 161F (it's about 16-17min/lb).
  17. Remove and let rest at least 30 minutes before carving.
NOTE: in at 445pm; initial timer time 4 hrs.

Cook time: about 3 hours to get to 165F in thigh. Removed and let rest for 30 minutes.

Golden brown skin
Very well-seasoned; breast meat was infused, likely from high salt on skin
Breast was still moist
Thigh meat was nice, tiny bit of blood around thigh sockets, but otherwise fine.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

blue cheese 3?

Made chicken wings tonight. Used the Beacon-style fry method: 350 for 2 min, then 375 for 7 minutes. It's like the skin was lacquered, very very crispy. I did dust the skin in a bit of cornstarch, flour, garlic powder and paprika, but not really even noticeably so.

I like the blue cheese dip I made tonight. The yogurt adds nice tang.

3 tbsp mayo
3 tbsp plain nonfat yogurt
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried parsley
4 tbsp crumbled blue cheese

Mix with fork to really mash those blue cheese nuggets.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

blackened wings with creamy remoulade

So we're going to a Cajun/Creole dinner tonight with friends in L.A.

Decided to make chicken wings in a Cajun way: with blackening spices! And made a remoulade sauce to go along. Problem was (shoulda thought of this) the blackening spice might conflict with the remoulade, which is spicy (woulda been better to make very plain wings and serve with spicy remoulade!) Solution: the creamy remoulade! Still a bit of spice, but creamy, and should cut whatever heat there might be from the wings.

NOTE: as it turns out, the wings weren't that spicy by themselves, despite the "blackening", so the regular remoulade worked better anyways.

2 pkg chicken wings (about 24-30 pieces)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Season wings with blackening rub on both sides.
  3. Place wings on a cooling rack, on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes.
  5. Remove, and fry at high temp (375) for 3 minutes.

Blackening Rub

4 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Creamy Remoulade

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain yogurt, non-fat
4-6 tbsp remoulade, to taste

1/4 c. creole or wholegrain mustard
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
2/3 c. vegetable oil
2.5 tbsp horseradish, drained
2.5 tbsp dill pickle, minced
2 tbsp scallion greens, minced
1.5 tsp cayenne* (maybe less!)
1.25 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No knead latest

This one had some barley malt syrup in it

Definitely more dense and moist, loaf feels heavy for its size. Open crumb but not light Thicker more leathery crust. I think it was definitely overproofed. That said I'm surprised at the good browning despite. I would try this recipe again with shorter rise time

Oven spring was about the same as the last one, still not great.

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

recreating a favorite pickle - part 1

One of my favorite pickles was called "Cowboy Medley", made up until about 2007 by a company based in Lone Pine, CA. They sadly went out of business due to family issues. After having the jar for 2 years unopened in my fridge, I finally decided to crack it open and taste it...

...MMM...damn good. The pickled garlic really infuses everything. The vinegar isn't sharp, but it definitely tastes pretty salty, but not in a bad way. The flavors just blend sooo nicely. I taste a tad bit of sweetness, but I don't see it on the ingredients. It's entirely possible there's a tiny bit of sugar in there.

So I dissected about 1.5 cups of pickle mix:

24g red peppers, sliced (about 8 thin slices)
58g small green olives (about 27 small olives)
24g peeled whole garlic cloves (about 26 cloves)
71g pepperoncinis (about 6 medium pepperoncinis)

The pickling liquid, as far as I could tell is made from:
spring water
distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
dried oregano
dried basil
minced garlic

Regarding the quantities for the pickle liquid, I don't know. Using the interwebs for some reasearch, I think this might work, although I'd have to try it to verify the taste:

1c distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
.5c spring water
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp minced garlic

Bring vinegar and water to boil in non-reactive pot.

What are some other ratios? Heres one I found:

2 quarts (8 cups) white vinegar
1 cup pickling salt
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup mustard seed
2 tbsp. celery seed
1 small dried hot pepper

Here's another:

1 cup water
5 cups vinegar (5%)
4 tsp canning or pickling salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 cloves garlic

And another:

2 quarts (8 cups) water
1/4 c. vinegar (5%)
1/2 c. salt

Wow, being a baker I have really learned to hate volumetric measurements.
I'll work on it...more to come!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Grilled fennel sandwich

Had an extra bulb of fennel handy...I really like fennel, it's such a great food. Mild licorice flavor, slightly sweet and nicely crunchy raw, even sweeter (but no more licoricey) when roasted, but with a mellowed flavor, akin to caramelized onion.

Grilled Fennel Sandwich

1 fennel bulb, cleaned and tops removed (save tops for fennel oil)
1 tbsp olive oil
Fresh spinach, washed and dried
Green onion, sliced thin
Roasted red pepper
2 tbsp harissa
1 tsp fennel oil (recipe follows)
1 tbsp mayonnaise
Baguette or other crusty bread

Slice fennel, cutting along the widest aspect, including the core
Brush with olive oil, salt and pepper
Grill for 3 minutes per side on hot grill
Remove, and drizzle with fennel oil
Grill bread slices for 2-3 minutes per side
Assemble sandwich: mayo, harissa, fennel, roasted red pepper, spinach, salt and pepper.

Fennel oil

Fronds from 1 fennel bulb, washed and rough chopped
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup vegetable oil

Blanch fronds and parsley in boiling water for 10 seconds. Submerge in ice bath.
Add to blender. Pulse to chop further.
Add oil and puree until smooth.
Pour solids and oil into glass or plastic container.
Use or cover and refrigerate for up to 7 days.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Floyd Poolish #6

Looks pretty good. Spongy as usual. A lot more whole wheat in this one

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Thursday, August 12, 2010


I read this in an review of a Mark Peel book:

"A good cut of beef demands to be grilled but if you must pan fry - please! use half extra virgin olive oil and butter such as for Steak Au Poivre or just rub the pan with a little fat cut from the steak, sprinkle the pan with a thin layer of salt, place the pan over high heat until the salt starts to brown but not smoking, add the steak and cook for about 10 minutes per 1-1/2 inch of thickness, turn the meat and cook for 10 minutes on the other side. Rare steak but not bloody."

I'll have to try the cast iron + salt technique, sounds interesting!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Floyds #5

20% wheat, 1.5 hour shaped rise on counter (no fridge time). I'm happy with the softness chew and spring. Another nice soft loaf courtesy of poolish.

I use parchment to hold wet doughs, kinda like a couche.

Parchment comes off after 5 min on the stone.

Nice browning and some nice li'l crust blisters.

Very soft chewy crumb. The en pice doesn't do justice to the fluffiness of the crumb. Nice thin crust too although not as thin and leathery as earlier versions.

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Donuts 1 and 2

Made a bunch of donuts yesterday and today.

First ones were ok. I know now what Wayne Schmitt was saying about careful handling. They deflated as I tried to carefully place then in the oil. Surfac got a little wrinkly too, not good. Still tasty despite old-tastin butter in the glaze.

Turned out a bit chewier and not as fluffy as expected. Probably because of bread flour and hydration level. Good browning though and cooked thru, about 365-370 with 30 sec per side.

Today's were better. Leftover dough more than double after 24 hrs in the fridge. Cut into strips, I let them rise about 1.25 hour, on strips of foil as Wayne suggested. Then dropped in oil with foil, stripping it off carefully during the cooking.

Much better result! Fluffier and lighter than #1. However at 370 for 1 minute total, it didn't cook the logs thru, still a tiny bit of raw dough in the middle. Probably needs 355-360 for 1.5 minutes. Glaze was much better: powdered sugar, just a touch of milk and a touch of vanilla. Did firm up nice after it dried.

For the future I'm thinkin higher hydration, gentler handling, longer rise, cooler but longer fry?

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

donuts - go nuts

So doing a bunch of doughnut research, compiling a few recipes.

Here's what I learned so far:

  1. Original Krispy Kreme recipe had potatoes in it! See "Making Dough" By Kirk Kazanjian; which suggests that cooked potatoes, instant potatoes and/or potato starch would be ingredients to consider adding to the ultimate doughnut
  2. Many doughnut makers use pre-made mixes. One example of a mix is Spudos (50lbs for $50). In Spudos case, they don't include the yeast, but probably use powdered egg, powdered milk, potato powder and/or starch, sugar, salt, and flavorings.
Anyway, gonna give some a try, will letcha know how it goes.

Monday, August 02, 2010

mushroom risotto

So I've been requested by my old boss to make some risotto for a party that she's hosting for the people in her department. Nice of her to invite me, I enjoyed working for her.

Truffled Mushroom Risotto
Serves 10-12 as a side dish

1 box chicken stock
2 cups water
1 stick butter
1 onion, minced
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 lb cremini mushrooms, trimmed and cut into wedges
1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms, carefully rinsed and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp Truffle oil
Kosher salt
Fresh parsley, chopped

  1. In small pot, bring broth and water to boil
  2. In large pot over high heat, melt 2 tbsp butter and some salt. Cook until browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and thyme, cook 15 seconds, remove from pot and set aside.
  3. In the large pot, now melt butter 1/2 stick of butter. Add onion and dried porcinis, cook for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Stir rice into pot, cook about 3 minutes.
  5. Add wine and cook for 2 minutes
  6. Start adding broth + stirring, one ladle at a time, and cooking for about 17 minutes over high heat.
  7. Remove from heat. Stir in cremini mushrooms, Parmesan, and truffle oil. Adjust salt.
  8. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Kale and Bread Soup

I bought some kale a week ago, and I wanted to make a hearty and delicious soup, and use up a bunch of leftover bread. I made the garlic confit the night before, and it will last probably a week or more in the fridge, and is great just spread on bread, or mixed in with potatoes or other dishes.

Kale and Bread Soup

1/4 cup Garlic Confit (recipe follows)
2 tbsp oil from Garlic Confit (recipe follows)
2 tbsp caramelized onions*
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 bunch kale, rinsed well and julienned
1 cup stale bread, cut into 1/2" cubes
3 cups chicken stock
Black pepper and salt to taste.

  1. In a large pot, add oil, red pepper flakes, onions, over medium heat for 20 seconds.
  2. Mash garlic confit, and add, cooking 10 seconds.
  3. Add kale, and toss to coat, cooking for 2 minutes. Season with black pepper.
  4. Add bread, and cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Add chicken stock, turn heat to high, and bring to a boil for 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat
  7. Serve immediately.
I had these as a leftover. Made a huge batch, with a lot of butter and some brandy. Froze it, and I use it for flavoring as needed.

Garlic Confit

1 entire head elephant garlic (or 2 large heads garlic), peeled
50-50 olive oil and canola oil to cover

  1. Put peeled heads in small ovenproof saucepan. Add oils to cover garlic cloves completely
  2. Roast at 300 degrees for 1.5 hours.
  3. Let cool, cover and refrigerate. K
  4. To use, remove as needed with a clean fork. Use as a spread or mash.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Short ribs

Kalbi! I went to the supermarket Vons today, and there was a clearance meat section with some sad greying filet and steaks. Discounted at 30-50% off...but I beheld some red shirt ribs, 2 packs. Snatched them up for a song...with discount the cross cut ones were $2 for the pack. So I threw them in a marinade:

Soy mirin scallions red pepper flakes Ginger lemon zest salt white pepper sesame oil and canola. Let them marinate from 1230 to 6pm.

Then on the grill over high heat:

After 8 minutes (about 6 on one side, 2 on the other)

From the grill to the plate. With some brown rice and some sugar snaps from the farmar, stir fried in a tbsp or two of the marinade.

Mmm. The taste of short ribs is incredible.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

No knead sour 4

A hint of sourness, seems more noticeable on this loaf than others of recent memory. Good lingering sourdough aftertaste tang.

Crust pretty crunchy but thin, very good.

Crumb is pretty nice and open, soft but fully cooked through, no gumminess

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No knead sourdough #4

Baked this off this morning. Nice browning, but not much oven spring. Need to try handling it with flour OR doing stretch and fold. I think the gluten structure was too loose.

Still I'm sure it'll taste good

I love sourdough! :)

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

turkey chili

I've been wanting to make chili again, so here goes. One new technique I learned from watching Food Network was not to brown the meat, but to add it when the liquid is added. This seems to yield a smoother, more homogenous, "meat-paste"-like chili. I miss some of the caramelized flavors you get from browining the meat, but I am happy to trade this off in lieu of smooth texture.

The end result? A smooth textured, well-balanced, mild chili.

Turkey Chili
Makes a good-sized pot (8 cups?)

2 carrots, peeled and rough chopped
2 stalks celery, rough chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and rough chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and rough chopped
2 medium onions, rough chopped
2 cloves garlic, rough chopped (or more to taste)
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 can tomato paste
2 14oz cans diced tomatoes
1.5 lbs ground turkey
3 tbsp chili powder
3 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp chipotle en adobo puree (just puree contents of a can!)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp worcheshire sauce
2 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp mesquite smoke seasoning powder
2 cups pork stock*, or chicken stock, or water (* leftover from carnitas)
  1. In food processor, pulse all vegetables until finely ground (like a sofrito)
  2. In large pot, heat olive oil over high heat until almost smoking
  3. Add tomato paste, and stir for 15 seconds.
  4. Add sofrito, and cook over high heat for 5 minutes, stirring only once at 2.5 minutes
  5. Turn heat to low
  6. Process tomatoes in food processor, and add to pot.
  7. Add turkey at once, and stir/beat to make into a "meat paste".
  8. Add remaining spices & seasonings, and stock at once.
  9. Turn up heat to high, heat until boiling, and cook over medium heat (bubbling thoroughly) for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  10. Adjust seasonings.
  11. Remove from heat, and serve.
  12. Once cool, refrigerate. It will taste better the next day!

Friday, June 25, 2010

corn dog secrets

I've been wanting to make corn dogs lately. So of course, I set out to find what makes a good corn dog, and recipes to match.

The prototype for me is what I've had at Hot Dog on a Stick (HDOAS). I even had a similarly good corn dog in Mammoth Lakes at the Vons. So here's my criterial for what makes a good one:
  1. Should have an fairly prominent corn flavor, and it should be fairly sweet
  2. Corn coating is not too thick, no more than 1/4" in thickness
  3. Outer crust is crispy, and a little chewy; some pull but not much
  4. Fried batter should not be gritty, gummy, gooey or overly thick
  5. Fried batter shouldn't be too airy/light, or too heavy; but, erring on lightness is better.
So I rounded up 8 recipes...from everything from personal web sites and food blogs to behemoths and I didn't even bother with Alton Brown's version for two reasons: aside from the fact that he bugs me a little, his recipe adds too much junk which is not traditional.

I chose 2 that I were substantially different enough to suggest the right direction to go. Here's what I found out for making a pretty traditional corn dog:
  1. More flour less corn: I think the right proportion is around 100:66 flour-to-cornmeal. The one I made with 100:200 flour-to-cornmeal tasted gritty, and not as "corny" to my palate as the one with less corn...yes a bit strange I know! See #2 for more related info.
  2. Sugar: more appears is better
  3. Liquid: buttermilk seems to be best. Milk's 2nd best. HDOAS uses dried milk powder and hydrates with water.
  4. Egg: 1 egg appears universal for 1 cup.
  5. Leavening: depends on the liquid you're using. Baking powder + a bit of soda is good when using buttermilk; but this makes it pretty fluffy though, good if you want it really light, but . HDOAS only uses baking powder.
  6. Oil: maybe 2 tablespoons, I think that's plenty. 4 tablespoos (1/4 cup) just makes the batter taste too oily. You're deepfrying these guys, for chrissakes, why would you need to add that much oil!!
  7. Weird stuff: if you want to get crazy, try adding some dextrose for sweetening, in addition to sugar; also a small amount of rice flour (maybe 2-4 tbsp per cup of flour?)

I think the leavening and liquid are the main things to tweak. Sugar and flour percentages seem pretty consistent. Based on my tests, I'll take my fave recipe, decrease leavening a slight bit and increase the liquid a tiny bit.

Speaking of scaling, the 1 cup flour quantities really make a ridiculous amount of batter...unless you're making a whole pack of corn dogs for the party, you need barely half.

AND I really like the idea of cutting hot dogs in half for this. AND be sure to use sticks...I like popsicle sticks. It actually make them easier to dip and handle, which is critical when dealing with hot oil.

One last comment: the meat! Of course the hot dog itself is important. HDOAS uses a turkey dog, which is a good option. I really like the relatively new Oscar Mayer Selects Premium uncured hot dogs with no nitrates, nitrites or preservatives. Flavor is great, and I don't have to worry about extra garbage in my hot dogs.

Now go forth and make corn dogs!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

KAF best burger buns #2

Slightly more egg and 14min bake time otherwise the same. Better browning, great rise, and fluffy!

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Carnitas #3

Here's the updated version, tweaking somewhat with the spices. I liked the previous one, though, very nice and mild.

Carnitas #3

1 whole pork shoulder, 3-4lb, preferably with bone, trimmed and cut into chunks.
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 onion, rough chopped
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp black pepper
1 large orange, sliced in rounds
8 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
Cold water

  1. To a big stock pot, add all ingredients. Add enough cold water to just cover the meat, bring to a boil (about 12-15 minutes at high heat), reduce heat to simmer.
  2. Simmer over medium-low heat for 2.5-3 hours, until falling apart.

Results: very good, subtle flavored, very versatile: just as good in a taco as it is in a pulled pork sandwich. The "pork stock" developed as a result has really nice meaty, porky flavors for use in cooking noodles, etc., albeit with a slightly mexican twist.

I wonder if I could do a Chinese style carnitas in a similar way, but with fresh ginger, garlic, scallions, maybe still coriander, etc. I think the stock might be more versatile that way.

Roast Chicken Memorial Day 2010

Nice roast chicken last night. The flavor on this one was much more mellow and subtle than previous, mostly because no rosemary in with the butter. This one is based on Tyler Florence's "Ultimate Chicken" recipe. Skin got pretty crispy, but could've been more. The gravy was very subtle and nice too.

One 6lb. young chicken
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp butter, room temp, softened
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
2 carrots, peeled and rough chopped
2 celery stalks, rough chopped
2 cups water (or some combination of water, chicken stock, and/or decent white wine, like Charles Shaw Sav Blanc)
1 lemon, cut in half
1/2 onion, cut in half
Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425F
  2. Combine garlic and butter, set aside.
  3. Remove giblets, and place in roasting pan, with onion, garlic cloves, carrots, celery and water.
  4. Dry off skin of bird with paper tower
  5. Separate skin from meat; put garlic butter under skin, work it under the breast and onto leg
  6. Season skin liberally with salt and pepper; NO BUTTER ON SKIN, only salt
  7. Stuff cavity with half-onion and half-lemon
  8. Roast for 60 minutes
  9. Reduce heat to 375F
  10. Roast for about 35-40 more minutes, or until thigh temp reaches 160F.

Pan Gravy

Leftover pan juices
Leftover pan fat
Leftover roasted garlic cloves
1/3 cup flour
1 cup water
1 cup milk
2 tbsp brandy
Salt & pepper

  1. Remove giblets and vegetables, leave garlic cloves in pan
  2. Pick up chicken with wooden spoon, let juices train into roasting pan.
  3. Separate juices and fat, if possible.
  4. Mash roasted garlic cloves in pan with oil until they're a paste
  5. Heat roasting pan over medium-high heat
  6. Add flour to pan fat, stir fast, whisk for 30-60 seconds
  7. Add brandy, whisk for 15 seconds
  8. Add water and milk, whisk, bring to boil. Add more water or milk to adjust consistency.
  9. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  10. Strain thru fine mesh strainer and serve.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Common baking measurements - salt

How much does a teaspoon of salt weight?

Turns out, not an easy answer! Here are the results:

1 teaspoon of Morton's Iodized Table Salt =
Lowest: 6.1g
Highest: 8.1g
Average: 6.86g

1 teaspoon of Morton's Coarse Kosher Salt =
Lowest: 4.2g
Highest: 5.2g
Average: 4.766g

How did I get these results?

I ran some tests: 3 different teaspoons (2 plastic, one metal), same scale (the myWeigh 500ZH, which has 0.1g accuracy).

Using each teaspoon, I measured out the salt, using the back of a knife to scrape off. After each weighing, I zeroed (tare) the gram scale. I tested each teaspoon at least 3 times.

Actual Test Results

Here was the range of results I got for Morton Iodized Salt (in grams)


Lowest: 6.1g
Highest: 8.1g
Average: 6.86g

Ran the same test with Morton's Kosher Salt, here's what I got:


Lowest: 4.2g
Highest: 5.2g
Average: 4.766g

What does it all mean?
  1. Different salts have different weights: makes sense, because the salt crystal size is different, not to mention the salt strucure itself (i.e., is it airy or compact?)
  2. Teaspoon measures vary...not all teaspoons are created equal. This is why measuring by weight is so much more accurate.
  3. Measuring techniques will give you different outcomes.
  4. Variation in measurement using volumetric measurement can be 10-20%, not insignificant (see #4)
  5. Translating converting teaspoon measurements into meaningful bakers percentages is tricky. Especially when trying to extrapolate from such small measurements. With 10-20% variation, if you extrapolate a percentage by weight, then scale up, at a large quantity you will experience wildly different outcome.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Daily bread

Acme baguette #2 but first attempt. I used sourdough throughout except final dough

Poolish and scrap dough start

After 15 hours

Then kneaded dough



And finally baked

Crumb shot

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Monday, May 17, 2010

BBQ pork pizza

Yeast pizza dough #5, with toppings: leftover room-temp carnitas sauced in bullseye BBQ sauce, jack n mozzarella cheese, extra bbq sauce, onions in balsamic vinegar, more cheese, cilantro,good olive oil.

I think it's key to have meat, sauce and other ingredients at room temp prior to baking, to make sure it bakes evenly and quickly.

Before, shaped, and ready to go in the oven:

5 minutes later after baking at 550F, on pizza stone on middle rack, rotated halfway thru, totally done:

Nice browning of crust. Was easy to shape after 31 hours in the fridge.

Looks like a winner! :) This is a slightly wheatier pizza dough.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tamale pie

Made with ATK southern skillet cornbread recipe, topping carnitas with homemade chili sauce, beer braise peppers/onions, with garlic infused cream cheese stirred in with some velveeta!

We'll see how it tastes.

I made chile sauce from 16 guajillos and leftover pork stock from carnitas.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ox heart

Sliced in thin thin steaks, flash grilled for 30 sec. With horseradish creme, red cabbage beetroot salad.

And pigs tail: brine, braise low and slow!

Mix a pinch of English mustard into egg mix, bread with breadcrumbs and fry. Finish them in the oven.

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Trotter gear

Fergus and chris getting down with trotters. Be sure and shave them first! Roast with veg herbs Madeira and water all day til falling apart. May need to be watered down later to avoid gluiness.

Btw I said hi to Neal Fraser who is sitting at the end of our row.

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A 2005 Riesling cabinett with a shot of Campari. Yeah up my alley totally!

Neal Fraser is up front talking to Susan. Pretty rad.

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Fergus front row center

At Ciudad for the Fergus Henderson demo, front row

My view so far...

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Pg 8

Surprisingly tight crumb despite a ton of yeast by comparison

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PG #8

Much Lower hydration (used buttermilk, and brushed top with that as well). it came apart a little despite the log roll, prob not enough moisture.

Slash down the middle ended up deep! A lot of yeast in here so I'm interested to see flavor and texture.

Next time tweak with higher hydration and maybe some egg.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Carnitas #2 photos

All the pieces, waiting, including 3.5lb pork shoulder...

Trimmed, chopped, spiced, ready to simmer

After 3 hours, you have to simmer at least 2.5 for it to be fork tender.

Shredded up!

Leftover pork "stock":

For next time 1 tbsp salt is prob enough. 2 tbsp is pretty aggressive for the quantity, although the pork came out pretty perfectly seasoned, stock is slightly salty for my taste. Prob too much if you sauce it though.

Pork is delish, very mild but deep flavors.

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Carnitas #2

Most traditional recipes require you to confit, that is, braise slowly in its own fat, in this case lard. In lieu of adding fat to an already fatty cut, I'm going to simmer in water instead. Minus the onion, you could convert this to lard with ease: use seeds instead of ground spices, cover in melted lard, simmer at about 275-300 degrees for about 3 hours.

Carnitas #2

1 whole pork shoulder, 3-4lb, preferably with bone, trimmed and cut into chunks.
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 onion, rough chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp black pepper
1 large orange, sliced in rounds
8 whole garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
Cold water

  1. To a big stock pot, add all ingredients. Add enough cold water to just cover the meat, bring to a boil (about 12-15 minutes at high heat), reduce heat to simmer.
  2. Simmer over medium-low heat for 2.5-3 hours, until falling apart.

2 tbsp salt I originally used made the meat very well-seasoned, but perhaps slightly too well. Broth tasted a bit too salty. Revising the recipe down to 1 tbsp salt, then can add more as needed.

Flavors are very mellow; you just get more roundness in the meat; I can't really pick out orange, coriander, cumin or oregano, but they contribute good balance and roundness. I might consider doing more orange, and some more coriander/cumin for the future. A bit of chili powder probably wouldn't hurt anything either.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Roasted beetroot soup

I was at St. John's Bread and Wine a few weeks ago while on a trip to England and France, and B. and I had an amazing dinner. One of the specials that night was a beetroot soup, which arrived in a pretty little crock with pickled beets on top, as sweet/sour and interesting as pickled ginger! The beet soup was really a smooth, creamy, dark red puree, well-salted and well-buttered. I really liked the simplicity of flavors, so I tried to replicate it myself, and got pretty close.

So the version listed here is based on the lessons learned from the one I made tonight, which still had a slightly bitter edge (probably due to slight undercooking of beets). I also used a roasted veg puree that I had leftover from a roast chicken I made recently, so this version incorporates the roasting in with the beets. The whole idea here is to roast small beets (which are usually sweetish already) to further enhance their natural sweetness thru caramelization.

Roasted Beetroot soup

10 small beets, any color (but preferably with some red ones in there!), scrubbed, tips and tops cut off
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 large onion, rough chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
Kosher Salt
4-6 cups stock (or 4 cups stock + water)
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp honey (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cut largish beets into even sized pieces
  3. On a sheet pan, toss beets, carrots, celery, and onion in olive oil. Season with salt.
  4. Roast at 450 for 40 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, heat stock to just boil and remove from heat.
  6. Remove roasted veg from oven, and peel beets (they should peel easily and be nicely caramelized on a few sides)
  7. To 4 cups of hot stock, add roasted veg, 2 bay leaves and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Beets should be nice and soft, easily pierced with fork, like a potato.
  8. Remove bay leaves, and in batches, put beet soup in blender and blend until smooth (be careful! cover the top of the blender firmly with a towel to keep soup from exploding everywhere, and pulse the blender to get it going!!)
  9. Strain hot soup thru a chinois to ensure smooth texture.
  10. Add additional hot stock or water to achieve desired consistency (should not be as thick as baby food, leave it slightly more watery). Heat over low heat as necessary.
  11. Remove from heat, and whisk in 3 tbsp butter.
  12. Adjust salt to taste. If soup is a bit bitter, add optional honey to balance bitterness.
  13. Serve hot with crusty buttered bread. You can also garnish with heavy cream or sour cream.

Buns texture

Not bad at all!

Really nice soft texture. Crust is nice n soft. I think could use a touch more sweetness.