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Middleburg, FL, United States
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Turkish Flatbread…Now if only I had some Doener Meat!

not really, I must say I don’t miss it and if I feel like such a meal I can hop in the car and head on over to the west side to my favorite Arabic food joint called “The Jerusalem Grill” for a Shawarma which is even better than a Doener Kebab. The one hour drive though will cure me of any “Instant gratification” moments.
The second bread I baked is also from Nick Malgieri’s book “The modern Baker”. This one takes a little longer to make about 2 1/2 hours or a little less.
DSCF2600 I loved working with this dough. It felt amazing and was so easy to work with and I did not need any extra flour.
Again I did not use the kitchen machine for this one (mine is 220V and I am waiting for the step down transformer to arrive).
The shape of this flatbread was the typical round and the dimpled look brought me right back to the Middle East. To hold on to that fleeing moment I topped mine with nigella seeds.
2010-08-04              Nice bread but not quite what I am used too for Turkish bread.
DSCF2602 Since returning to the states I have not baked with spelt because I have yet to locate a source for it. Does anyone know where I can purchase a sack of whole grains (I will grind it myself) for a reasonable shipping rate?
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

PostHeaderIcon I am back!….. in the kitchen that is


Finally moved in. Well sort of anyhow. I think it will be a while before we are really settled and things are the way I would like them to be.

This is day 17 of our move here and my husband is already on his 2nd weeklong trip.

The first one started on day 3! It took the moving company two whole days to unload our belongings and on day 3 the day we start to unpack for real because our furniture is finally standing he has to leave.

 

Thursday he received a call that he is needed in Alaska of all places (sure will be a cool down from the 100+ here) the very next day.

 

That guy is such a trooper and knowing how much the lock situation of the house bothered me (we had gazillion locks and each using another key, one lock even used a key inside! The main exit often refused to open.) he changed 2 sets of doors (that is a dead bold and handle on the rod iron door and a lock which needed a new drilling on the inside door) so now I don’t have to be afraid of being locked out or experience nightmares of being locked inside during an emergency.

 

This is one reason we did not take the house we originally wanted. It was a fixer upper with so much potential but it would have been a nightmare with him gone all the time (we found out after arriving here that he will be gone a lot). This one too will need some changes and even his assist to hang up pictures on the wall (the whole house is paneled with wood that is so hard it’s pretty much impossible for me to put a nail into).

 

We live in a small town outside of El Paso which is about a 30 minute drive away and therefore I am not going shopping every day like I was used to in Germany. I have to think ahead of what I will be needing and get the shopping done when I am in town.

 

We are pretty much spoiled and prefer organically grown food which is a whole other problem here in El Paso and that is not just price wise. I have not found an egg source here and was in for a sticker shock for organic eggs (over $ 4). I already knew the crazy price of milk here and it baffles me. In Germany organic or not is very close in price. I paid between 20-23 cents an egg depending on the Euro (I got mine from a neighboring farm), here it’s 35 cents! For half a gallon of milk I paid between $ 2-2.05 in the store here it’s more than double that. Can someone explain to me why?

Being back in the USA also means I will be doing all my daily bread baking because well… I am German and like my bread with crust.

The first bread I baked in the oven here (a gas oven which will need getting used too, can’t wait until the step down transformer gets here so I can use my trusted old/ fairly new friend again) is from “The Modern Baker” and happens to be also the very last bread I baked in Germany. What a neat way to start my baking here having ended on the same note.

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This bread is baked rectangular on a sheet rather than  in a round. The first time I made this I read the instructions over and over thinking I must be missing something. I have never made a bread before that I had to roll or push onto a baking sheet.

I have to bring up that I don’t use active dry yeast since I always have instant dry yeast on hand. The price on this was a nice surprise.

DSCF1609I found it in a small Mexican grocery store in Fabens, TX for just $ 2.89 a pound! That is about half of what I used to pay ordering it from King Arthur. After I open the bag I put it in a big jar and keep it in the fridge.

Nick Malgieri uses “active dry” for his breads. He does not even mention the option of Instant dry that makes me believe that it was not yet on the market when he wrote this book. To convert one yeast type to another gaaarp wrote up this conversion chart. Thank you Gaaarp!

First baking in Germany

second baking in El Paso The first time I used the kitchen machine as per instructions and the second time I used my new Viking (this was my Christmas present from my husband, am I lucky or what!). New because he had it sent to Nebraska and we just brought it back with us.

 

I did not notice any difference in the dough. I however did notice a difference in how it baked from one oven to the next. I prefer the first version though the second was just as good.

 

And there you have it “Instant Sandwich Bread”! I cut those into squares for sandwiches or morning toast (this bread tastes delicious toasted). If you have not baked this bread yet go ahead and give it a try. It’s very easy to make (great news for beginners) and takes less than two hours from start to finish.

 

NOTE: This bread tastes best the day it’s baked or the next morning toasted. So only bake enough to eat right away or freeze the rest like mentioned in the book.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Still in Limbo

A quick shout out to all of you. It seems like forever since I updated last and since I did we have made the jump across the ocean and are situated now in El Paso Texas. Well not exactly at this present moment because at this time we are in Nebraska to be exact.
Nevertheless, we are back and we have also settle on a house. That is why we are on vacation in Nebraska at this time.
Our future home is still occupied and the present owners are taking the time we are gone to move out so we can close on this home 7/22 and move in 7/23. Wow, I can't believe it, we are indeed back and will soon call a home our own again.

If you are familiar with El Paso you will know that it is located in the midst of a desert (If you are not check the link above). One thing I missed the most living here the two times prior (yup, this is our third time in the sun city) is GREEN!
What do you think we found on the outskirts of the city in a suburb? A little half acre oasis with flowers, roses, grass and lots of fruit trees . We are buying this home and it's the first time we are buying a home not for it's house but for the yard (don't laugh to hard).
It is able to stay that green in the middle of a desert because of it's close location to the Rio Grande and the irrigation canal that leads to the lot. We will have irrigation rights to flood the yard every two weeks which will be something completely new to us as well.

We are very much looking forward to be settled again. Now you know how I am spending my summer, would love to hear about your summer and what you have been up too.
Until we meet "bake" again!
Petra
Thursday, June 3, 2010

PostHeaderIcon I survived!

the packing that is. What should have been a rather simple three day “pack out” turned into a 6 day night mare. That nightmare started last Wednesday and ended with us turning over the house on Tuesday afternoon.

Thankfully it’s all done now until our goods are delivered ones we get to the states and have actually  purchased a home.

That search might be coming to an end. If so it would be the first time for us to purchase a home online sort of speak. Had a friend in El Paso checking out some of the houses we earmarked (thank you so much Daniel D.) and one I fell in love with (well if you can do that sort of thing with a house) after seeing the pictures our friend made at the visit.

It will need  some cosmetic work (has a lot of old time charm and so much character, that character would translate into WORK). We have a realtor get in touch with the seller to get it inspected by a professional to see what else might be lurking under those “cosmetic” faults.

Much of our search was done via zillow.com which has a great tool to see the property from all sites. That way you have some sort of understanding what is on the property. Trulia and realestateyahoo.com are some other sites we used to cross reference those properties. That’s pretty much all we could do being so far away.

So now that I am situated in a Hotel for the next two plus weeks I thought I would bake a little. Thought that is because our move into the hotel held another glitch. The room with kitchen was not available until Sunday. So we ended up moving into a suit which worked out quite well. It has two rooms so our 15 year old has a place to kick back and sleep without his parents. Which of course raises all of our moods despite the rainy cold weather we have been getting. It’s barely 12C today. Way to cold I say. Double that expected for this weekend so we will be enjoying the high 70’s for a few days (keeping my fingers crossed that the weather frogs got that one right).

So no baking yet but my husband has a toaster oven thingy in his office so I am actually going to see what I can produce with that one after he brings it over here. Wish me luck because I so need something to do.

 

Until then I wish you all Happy baking!

 

PS: HBin5 – sorry no bread braid this time around

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Whole Wheat Currant Bread

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and we have a winner…..Nick Malgieri has done it again. Whole Wheat Currant Bread will get you to that finish line.

The book I am baking from is The Modern Baker and one quick bread after another is a jewel on it’s own. Each and everyone I have baked so far has been enjoyed and devoured. Just the quick bread section was worth the price of the book to me.

This bread has great ingredients and one that caught my attention right away was the use of whole wheat. I love whole wheat and use it a lot but I would have thought that in a quick bread the baked good would turn out rather dense. Not in this case. Not one bit dense. This is great bread.

 

I used only half of the currants since that’s all I had but it was plenty enough. Great bread, great taste, a winner in my book.

2010-05-197Now get that apron, get out those measuring cups and lets bake some Whole wheat currant bread!

You got the book right? This is one recipe I could not find online so I don’t have a recipe to direct you too. This is so good that if you have been waiting for the right time to get that book now is that time.

Until we bake again….see ‘ya!

If you have a moment why not check out what the other bakers are doing over at The Modern Baker Challenge.

 

PS: I think the whey leftover from making the Lemon-bag-cheese would be a great addition in these quick breads instead of the buttermilk. I will give that a try after we are settled into our new home

PostHeaderIcon Lemon Bag cheese stuffed Ravioli

In case you where waiting at the edge of your seat about the hint I gave you yesterday (more like a fence post I say), know that the wait is over (you can exhale now).
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I must say I am so very pleased with how they turned out and my husband proclaimed them the best cheese Ravioli he has ever had. Success!
2010-05-192This was my first time making Ravioli with this little tool (Big Snack Combo from Tupperware). Actually my first time making Ravioli ever. I have made Maultaschen (a “Schwabian” type of Ravioli) before especially when we live away from Germany but not Ravioli with a cheese filling.
It’s rather easy I found especially with the aid of a Pasta machine. I make the dough than let the dough rest for a while (20-30 min.). To roll out the dough I start with Setting one on the pasta machine and work my way up to 4. I stopped at 4 for these Ravioli and it turned out perfect.
Next I floured my mold and covered it with pasta dough. My machine is not wide enough to cover the whole mold (12 Ravioli) so I made them in batches of 8 each.
I used the same filling from the dumplings I had yesterday. Still had enough left over  to make 24 Raviolis and 8 not so pretty ones (forgot to cover the mold with flour). Just enough for dinner for the 3 of us and some lunch with the not so pretty ones. 
I added some bit’s of “Katenschinken” (smoked cottage ham), covered this with another sheet of pasta dough.
The ravioli form I use has a wavy line around the “to be” ravioli that is raised. So all you have to do now is roll over the form with a rolling pin, turn the form around and the finished ravioli will drop into the container you place underneath.
Voila, that’s it. What I do when making pasta is this. I cover the pasta with flour to prevent from sticking. I then place them on a tea towel and cover them with another. Now I let them dry for  a little. I found that homemade noodles cook up better (better bite) if they have the chance to dry for a while. You certainly can cook them right away though.
For lunch I used some homemade chicken broth (this one was from a half cooked chicken which will be dinner today in some enchiladas) with some of my homemade vegetable seasoning, diced carrots and celeriac and some of the first batch of Ravioli that did not turn out quite so pretty (did not flour the mold and that was a mistake) but tasty nevertheless. That was all I needed. It was that good.
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Recipe:

Pasta Dough
makes 32 Raviolis (3-4 people depending on what else you serve)
200g Flour (AP)
50g   Semolina (Durum) flour
2       eggs
a little salt
enough cold water (1-2T) to make a stiff pasta dough
Mix flour, semolina, salt and eggs and add only enough water (depending on the size of your eggs and the flour you use you might need none or very little) to create a stiff dough. Let rest for 20-30 minutes.

Filling
Ricotta or Lemon cheese bag filling from yesterday
Some smoked cottage ham or cooked bacon bit’s

Sauce
(makes enough for 24 Ravioli)
200 ml cream
cornstarch or flour to thicken
chicken broth
seasoning
More smoked cottage ham or cooked bacon bits
Ramsons (bear leek)

Heat cream add some chicken broth (1/2c or more depending on how much sauce you need, the broth with also aid in the flavor of the sauce so don’t skip this), season with homemade vegetable seasoning or your own seasonings (cubes, salt, pepper etc.). Thicken with cornstarch or flour. Add some Ramsons to your sauce just before serving.

I served these Ravioli with a Chicken vegetable broth and a salad w/feta. 4 Ravioli where enough for me. My husband and son ate 8 each.

2010-05-195
PS: If you live in Germany and really don’t want to make your own Pasta dough you can find  dough in some Bakeries or your local grocery store. This might be the case in other countries too.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Lemon Bag cheese Dumplings in Broth

Remember that cheese from yesterday? Of course you do, that’s why you are here.
I turned them into dumplings and had them for lunch in a broth.
Let’s get to the broth first.
When you roast or cook chicken don’t ever throw away the carcass, bones, neck or insides of that chicken. You can make some fantastic broth out of it. You don’t have to do it right away either. You can freeze all those bit's and pieces and cook one when it’s convenient for you.
I have been telling you that I am cleaning out my freezer so today I got out the remaining bags of those chicken bit's and pieces and made some broth. Here is how I do it.
2010-05-166 In this picture you see three different bags. One has a chicken carcass (leftover from a roasted chicken), one has different chicken bones from former meals and the other had the neck and innards from another chicken in it. I dump it all into a big pot and fill it with water. Bring it to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for hours and hours (Great project for a crock pot over night). Depending on what I want to use the broth for I often add all sorts of veggies to it right away too  (leeks, celeriac, carrots, leeks etc.). That’s it, see how easy it is to make a great chicken stock?

Now we have the broth for our soup, it needs some flavoring. What I like to use is homemade vegetable seasoning. Here is how I do it.
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In the fall when root vegetables are dirt cheap I get tons of celeriac, leeks, parsley root (sort of like parsnips) and carrots. I usually have parsley and other herbs like lovage in my garden. Sometimes I add tomato powder or dried tomatoes. I wash and dry all those veggies than put them in my kitchen machine to make them real small. The smaller the pieces the better.
Now I mix salt under (this will help preserve it) in a ration of 4:1 (4 parts vegetables to 1 part salt/ 1000g vegetable to 250g salt). Fill it into glasses and store one jar in the fridge and the others in the freezer. This will last a long time if you don’t use it up even faster.
I make other mixes in powder form where I weigh out my veggies (so I know how much salt to add later), clean, dry and dehydrate them. After they are dehydrated I mix them with salt and  pulse them in kitchen machine for a courser powder and in the Vitamix for a very fine powder. Those are the only seasonings I use in my stocks. No need to buy beef/chicken/vegetable cubes or there like. You can combine the vegetables in a way you like them.
Not to long ago I had a recipe from “The Kitch’n” on my feed for homemade bouillon. From there I took the tip to add cilantro and fennel to my fridge mix. Wow, I got to tell you, I was hesitant about the fennel in this but boy is this good. I make it with fennel and cilantro all the time now (only the fridge version). Why not give it a try yourself.

The broth is all done now. How about the cheese you ask? We are getting there.
A few days ago I saw this recipe at “Proud Italian Cook”.  Perfect for Michelle’s cheese I thought.
And perfect it was. Very light dumplings and very tasty.
2010-05-165
I used the last of the Pecorino cheese I had leftover from this recipe. I had exactly 3.5 oz left over and with the 1/2 lb of cheese I had made that was just what I needed.
Very good and a very satisfying lunch. Life is good!

I have another idea in my head on what to do with this cheese and I will get to you with that tomorrow.

Hint: How does Ravioli sound?

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