Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Food Requests, Flexibility, and a Healthy Relationship #FoodieReads #LitHappens


This month for our Lit Happens book club, Amy of Amy's Cooking Adventures picked The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.* In this topsy turvey world, we all voted for something light and breezy. This fit the bill. Though that is not a cook-from-the-book kinda group; I always find some kind of inspiration to create an edible of some kind! But first, the book...

On the Page

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion feels as if you're reading a screen play of any romantic comedy that features a protagonist who falls on the autistic spectrum. Don Tillman, who has Asperger's Syndrome or is a high-functioning autistic, is a renowned albeit socially inept professor of genetics with an almost painfully predictable schedule. After someone mentions that he would make a good husband, he launches "The Wife Project" with his rigidly trademark rationality and a questionnaire designed to find him the perfect partner.

"A questionnaire! Such an obvious solution. A purpose-built, scientifically valid instrument incorporating current best practice to filter out the time wasters, the disorganised, the ice-cream discriminators, the visual-harassment complainers, the crystal gazers, the horoscope readers, the fashion obsessives, the religious fanatics, the vegans, the sports watchers, the creationists, the smokers, the scientifically illiterate, the homeopaths, leaving, ideally, the perfect partner, or, realistically, a manageable shortlist of candidates" (pg. 20).

Naturally, Don mistakenly assumes that Rosie has been sent to his office by his colleagues and friends Gene and Claudia as a wife-project candidate, so he invites her to dinner and hilarity and hijinx ensue. She can't cook. She's a vegetarian, but will eat sustainable seafood. And she smokes. All of these would typically be deal breakers for Don. But he still finds her illogically appealing and offers to use his genetics expertise to help her identify her biological father and The Wife Project transforms into the Rosie Project.

Flexibility

It’s impossible not to root for Don and cheer him on as he learns to adapt.

"'Where do you hide the corkscrew?' she asked.

'Wine is not scheduled for Tuesdays.'

'Fuck that,' said Rosie.

There was a certain logic underlying Rosie's response. I would only be eating a single serve of dinner. It was the final step in the abandonment of the evening's schedule. I announced the change. 'Time has been redefined. Previous rules no longer apply. Alcohol is hereby declared mandatory in the Rosie Time Zone" (pg. 63).

I read this book in just two sittings. It was a welcome distraction as we are all sheltered-in-place at home. And even though I am going to spoil it - he gets the girl! - you should still read this if you can get your hands on it. I laughed aloud. Really.

Food Requests

So, where I'm headed with this post is about food requests and healthy relationships. I think Don evolved into a better person when he swung to a more moderate version of himself. "Once a week, in order to deal with the demands of living with another person, and to continue to improve my skills in this sphere, I spend an evening therapy" (pg. 323). Once he started to listen, he became a better person and a better partner.

Listening isn't my strong suit either, but when we were discussing Jake's menu requests for his birthday, the list wasn't extravagant, unlike our boys when it's their birthdays. For breakfast, he wanted eggs and potatoes. For lunch, caprese with melon and prosciutto. For dinner, stir-fry. And for dessert, a cheesecake. Done. Done. Done. And done. Oh, and "no more bread, please." I've been on a serious sourdough baking streak. Well, that one I didn't heed. And I added avocados. He didn't complain!


My go-to recipe for potatoes: Roasted Potatoes. And here's How To Poach Eggs.


I'll be posting recipes for that cheesecake and the birthday boule that wasn't requested. But for now, if you're looking for a fun read, this is a good one.

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

Click to see what everyone else read in April 2020: here.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Celebratory Gluten-Free Strawberry Muffins #MuffinMonday



In February I saw a post from one of my favorite bloggers - Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm - and I realized that they've been having a muffin party for years without me. LOL. I emailed the host, Stacy of Food Lust People Love and got the scoop: "...last Monday of the month and no themes. We've been baking together since August 2015! Only one rule, you must use the muffin method (folding wet ingredients with dry - no creaming butter and sugar, etc.) to bake muffins."

Oh, my goodness...is that the muffin rule? That makes total sense. But I had no idea. 

In my house we've always said that if it's 'naked' as in frosting-free, it's a muffin; if there's frosting, then it's a cupcake. Turns out there's more to it than that. In any case, I jumped in. This is my second month participating with the #MuffinMonday bloggers.

Here's the line-up for this reveal...

Celebratory Gluten-Free 
Strawberry Muffins

Today, my Love turned 45. That means we've been together for more than half his life. I met him when he was just 22! He would probably rather not have his birthday celebrated. Too bad.

Note to self: if you stick a thin birthday candle in the muffin while it's still hot, the candle will melt. Whoops. The Precise Kitchen Elf declared, "It's okay. I'm sure it's culinary grade wax." Hilarious.

I decided to make celebratory strawberry muffins because the baskets of beautiful organic strawberries were calling to me at the market earlier this week. And, because my gluten-free baking is sometimes if-y (read: dense, flat, and grainy), I used a gluten-free baking mix. Yep, I did.

And it paid off. The muffins were raised and fluffy. The boys even doubted it was gluten-free. Then, I told them it was a mix and they said, "Oh, that explains it." Okay...I obviously need to hone my gluten-free baking skills a little more.

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Mix
  • 1/3 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 C organic strawberries, chopped

Procedure
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the baking mix and sugar. Whisk in the oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla. With a spatula, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and mix just until moistened.

Fold in the strawberries. Using a kitchen scoop, fill the muffin cups about three-quarters of the way full. Place in the oven and bake for 23 to 25 minutes. The tops should be golden brown and firm to the touch.


Let cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack. You can cool them more or serve them immediately. 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Spiced Sourdough Rolls with a Meyer Lemon Glaze #AdventuresofDoughbaFett


I'm part of an online Secret Sourdough Society in which we share recipes, ask questions about the sourdough process, and just generally inspire each other. Someone posted a photo of her sourdough cinnamon rolls and her process. Others linked up the recipes they have used. I almost ran into the kitchen to bake my own. I used Chelsea's proportions for the dough, then just sort of improvised the rest since I've made lots of cinnamon rolls in my life. The biggest changes: I added other spices to the mix and skipped the cream cheese frosting, drizzling the entire pan with a Meyer lemon glaze instead.

And, truth be told, I rarely eat the sweets that I bake. I just don't have a sweet tooth. So, I don't know how these tasted, but six were devoured in less than 10 minutes of hitting the table and they rationed the others for the following day's breakfasts and snacks. I'd say that it was a hit.

Adjust the spices for what you have in your cabinet or use all cinnamon. Also note that this is not a quick recipe, so unless you start the first steps the night before, these won't be ready in time for breakfast. If you want to bake this for an early breakfast, complete the steps up to the final rise and put your rolls in the refrigerator. In that case, bring them out on the counter to come to room temperature while the oven preheats.

Ingredients
slightly adapted from Chelsea's version / makes approximately 16 rolls

Dough
  • 320 g milk (I used whole milk)
  • 113 g butter, cubed (I used salted, so skipped adding more salt)
  • 48 g organic granulated sugar
  • 200 g sourdough starter (fed recently)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 600 g all-purpose flour
  • Also needed: two 9" baking dishes, parchment paper

Filling
  • 3/4 C organic dark brown sugar
  • 4 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 t ground allspice
  • 1/2 t ground cardamom
  • 1/2 t ground ginger
  • 4 T butter, cold and shaved into slivers

Glaze
  • 1 C organic powdered sugar
  • 1 T whole milk, more as needed
  • 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used a Meyer lemon)
  • dash of ground cardamom
  • zest from 1 organic lemon for garnish

Procedure

Dough
Melt butter in the milk and pour into a large mixing bowl. Gently stir in the starter and the sugar. Let stand for five minutes. Whisk in the beaten eggs and fold in the flour. Use a wooden spoon to combine until a shaggy dough forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and cover with a damp towel. Let dough rest for 30 minutes.

After the dough has rested, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, approximately 5 minutes. Place in a clean, oiled bowl and cover, again with a damp towel. Let rest for another 30 minutes.

After resting for a second time, I used the folding-turning method to incorporate air into the dough. Dip your hands in warm water, then place one hand under one side of the ball and stretch the dough up and over the top.

Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat that stretch. Do it a second and third time so that the bowl is facing the same way it was when you started and you have done four fold-overs total. Cover the bowl with a damp towel. Now let this rise for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature. The dough should be billowy if not doubled in size.

Line two 9-inch baking dishes with parchment paper and set aside. Lightly dust the surface of your dough with flour and then do the same for your rolling pin. Divide the dough in half, then roll each dough ball into a rectangle, about 12" x 16", to yield eight 1-1/2 to 2" rolls per rectangle.

Filling
Mix the sugar and spices together in a bowl until well-mixed. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the rectangles, leaving a 1/2" border around the edges. Place 2 T butter slivers down the center of each rectangle and roll each into a cylinder. You want the log to be somewhat right. Roll the cylinder so the seam is down, then slice the log into 1-1/2 to 2" lengths.

Place the rolls into the prepared pans (I put 8 rolls into each) and let rest until the dough puffs up a bit. This might take 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how warm your kitchen is. If you are baking this the following morning, cover the pans and place in the refrigerator at this point. Bring them out on the counter to come to room temperature while the oven preheats.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place the pans in the center of the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. The tops should be lightly golden brown and firm to the touch. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack. While the rolls cool, make the glaze.


Glaze
Place powdered sugar in a small mixing bowl. Whisk in the milk and lemon juice until smooth. Stir in the cardamom until well-combined. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the rolls. Sprinkle with lemon zest and serve immediately.


You can let diners add more glaze to their own rolls, if desired. In my household's case, it is always desired!

You can follow the complete Adventures of Dough-ba Fett here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Earth Day's Golden Anniversary, Hippie Food, and a Garlic, Rosemary, and Green Olive Boule #CooktheBooks


This time around, Deb of Kahakai Kitchen is the host for our bi-monthly book group Cook the Books. For our April-May 2020 pick, she selected Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat by Jonathan Kauffman*; you can read her invitation here.

And you still have a month to jump in if you care to join us. I just decided to time my post to say 'Happy 50th Birthday, Earth Day!'

On the Page
Kauffman's book explains how Americans evolved from a country where canned foods, casseroles, and processed meats were de rigueur to a place where you can buy organic produce and tofu inside almost every grocery store. He also follows the advent of the food cooperative that began in the mid-nineteenth century and blossomed into buying clubs who urged its members to "eat to conspire."

"...the concept of collective buying, directly from suppliers, appealed to a generation that had been organizing antiwar protests, direct actions, consciousness-raising groups, and communes since its teenage years" (pp. 244-245).

Kauffman's anecdotes paint portraits of a time and place such as the first Earth Day - fifty years ago today (yes, I timed that on purpose!) - that raised everyone's awareness about food, waste, energy, and more. This book is about the mainstreaming of natural foods.

One of the membership pamphlets at the Woody Hills co-op read: "'Membership may mean a change in your diet.... We do not stock such items as meat, party crackers, or TV dinners. We do have fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, herbs and spices, cheese of all kinds, eggs, fruit juices and fruit butters, nuts and nut butters, unrefined oils, nutritional yeast, flours, breads, granola, and honey'" (pg. 249).

On one hand, I loved this book as food history. On the other hand, it's not about hippie food; it's just food you should eat once you learn about the merits of a less-processed diet. Then, again, the boys' friends do call me a 'hippie food witch.' So, maybe it is hippie food and I'm just a hippie.

Garlic, Rosemary, and Green Olive Boule

In the chapter titled "Brown Bread and the Pursuit of Wholesomeness," Kauffman writes, "Nature had made the flavor of the wheat berry perfect, too, and we had let ourselves become swindled by marketers and manufacturers into believing that nature was wrong.... Ita Jones described.... 'It was dark bread, like the earth and birds' shadows,' she wrote. 'Thick, brown crusted, with a taste I remembered for days.' ...The way to stop poisoning your body with plastic bread, they all argued, was to bake it yourself" (pp. 119-120).

I have always been intimidated by making my own bread. I mean, I've made plenty of bread with commercial yeast; I've just been dragging my heels on learning how to make sourdough bread with a starter that I have to nurture on a regular basis. And there was something about harvesting wild bacteria from the air just made me twitch with anxiety.

But a friend gifted me some of her sourdough starter. And with time on my hands as we all shelter in place to help flatten the curve of the coronavirus, I was inspired to give sourdough bread baking a try. After more than a half dozen sourdough bricks, I finally moved to weight measurements versus volume. Plus I started using the Tartine Bakery method of folding versus kneading. Those two adjustments made a world of difference and I finally started to enjoy the bread I was baking.

This boule with fresh garlic, fresh rosemary and pitted green olives was my twelfth loaf and - by far - my favorite! So, I'm sharing it today to go with Hippie Food.

 Ingredients
makes one boule
  • 100 g starter (recently fed)
  • 350 g warm water + 25 g more +  more for spritzing
  • 450 g all-purpose flour
  • 50 g whole wheat flour
  • 10 g salt
  • 1/2 C pitted green olives, halved
  • 1 T fresh rosemary sprigs, destemmed
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • rice flour for dusting
  • Also needed: digital kitchen scale, banneton proofing basket or mixing bowl lined with a tea towel, Dutch oven, spray bottle
  • For serving: olive oil, balsamic vinegar

Procedure

In a large mixing bowl, combine 100 g starter with 350 grams of warm water. 

Add in 450 g all-purpose flour, 50 g whole wheat flour, and 10 g salt. Use your hands to mix everything together until everything is completely moistened. It will be a very shaggy dough. Cover the bowl with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, pour in another 25 g warm water. Use your hands to incorporate that into the dough which will already look more smooth. Dip your hands in warm water, then place one hand under one side of the ball and stretch the dough up and over the top. 

Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat that stretch. Do it a second and third time so that the bowl is facing the same way it was when you started and you have done four fold-overs total. Cover the bowl with a towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Before your second folds, add in the olives, garlic, and rosemary so that they will be incorporated throughout the dough. I sprinkled the olives on top, then did one fold. Sprinkled the garlic on top, then did a second. Rosemary was added for the third fold...with a fourth fold with no add-ins.

Repeat this process of four rotating folds plus a half hour rest for four hours. After four hours, the dough will be smooth and billowy.

Lightly dust your work surface with rice flour and turn the dough from the bowl. Dust the top of the ball and do the four rotating folds of the dough to form a ball. Gently fold the edges of the dough under itself to make the ball more tight, with a seam underneath. Then let it rest for 30 minutes.

Line your banneton or a mixing bowl with a tea towel and dust that towel lightly with rice flour. 

Transfer the round, seam-side up, into the prepared basket. Cover with another towel and let the dough rise on the counter. Here's where I have started to play with variations, but this one - lucky number eight - rose for six hours at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. 

While the oven preheats, dust the bottom of your Dutch oven with rice flour. Invert your loaf carefully into the Dutch oven.

You can slice vents into the top of your loaf. Some people have intricate designs. Mine are more function, less form. Ha. Just before placing your bread into the oven, spritz the top of the loaf with water. I bought a glass spray bottle, set it on mist, and just give it a squirt or two.

Reduce temperature to 450 degrees F and place your Dutch oven, covered, into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove lid and return to the oven for another 20 minutes. Then prop the door open, turn off the heat, and let the pot stay in the other for another 20 minutes. The crust should be a rich, nice brown color. If you don't want the crust as thick and dark, you can remove it after the first 40 minutes...no need to leave it in the oven.


Once cooled, serve rustic slices with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping.

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

Click to see what everyone else read in April 2020: here.

D's Pink Grapefruit Curd


After our Sunday trek up the sand dunes in Marina, D and I stopped at the farmers' market. He picked up nearly a dozen organic pink grapefruit. Little did I know that he had a plan. A little while later, he sent me a link to a recipe for grapefruit curd ice cream. I interpreted that as: "Mom, can you make sure that we have all of these ingredients? I am going to make this."

Turns out I was mostly right. I did steer him away from that recipe and told him to just swap out freshly squeezed grapefruit juice for the lemon juice in my lemon curd recipe.


He did, but it wasn't pink enough for his liking, so he added several drops of a red plant-based food dye. "Mom," he noted, "this is a lot different than a chemical dye. I have to use a lot more...and it's still not really as bright as I want. But it'll have to do."


To use this in making Grapefruit Ice Cream (that recipe will be coming soon!), this needs be done ahead of time and makes more than you need.

Ingredients
makes 5 to 6 cups of curd
  • 2 C freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 2 C organic granulated sugar
  • 12 large eggs
  • 24 T butter (3 sticks), cut into cubes
  • Also needed: plant-based food dye (red), optional

Procedure

Whisk together juice, sugar, and eggs in a heavy saucepan. Over medium heat cook until the mixture goes from runny to syrupy, whisking continuously. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk, approximately 6 to 7 minutes.

If using food dye, add a few drops at a time until you achieve the color you want. Whisk still fully incorporated.


Transfer curd to a bowl and cover its surface with plastic wrap or a piece of parchment paper. This prevents the top from forming a skin. Chill until cold before using - at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.

Stay tuned for D's Grapefruit Curd Ice Cream recipe!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Loaf No. 11 Got A Spritz...and a Gold Medal #AdventuresofDoughbaFett


So, after dialing in a process and recipe, didn't change a thing for loaves 9 and 10. But for Loaf 11, I decided to try to spritz the ball just before placing it in the oven. Again, I left the loaf to cool on the table with a note...


And, again, they followed directions. I got this photo with the text: "11, 8, 10. Gold, silver, bronze." So, best ever. Nice.


And this photo with the comment: "Crackly, crunchy on the outside. Moist and chewy on the inside."


Fantastic. Now we're getting somewhere in this sourdough journey.

 Ingredients
makes one boule
  • 100 g starter (recently fed)
  • 350 g warm water + 25 g more +  more for spritzing
  • 450 g all-purpose flour
  • 50 g whole wheat flour
  • 10 g salt
  • rice flour for dusting
  • Also needed: digital kitchen scale, banneton proofing basket or mixing bowl lined with a tea towel, Dutch oven, spray bottle

Procedure
In a large mixing bowl, combine 100 g starter with 350 grams of warm water. 

Add in 450 g all-purpose flour, 50 g whole wheat flour, and 10 g salt. Use your hands to mix everything together until everything is completely moistened. It will be a very shaggy dough. Cover the bowl with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, pour in another 25 g warm water. Use your hands to incorporate that into the dough which will already look more smooth. Dip your hands in warm water, then place one hand under one side of the ball and stretch the dough up and over the top. 

Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat that stretch. Do it a second and third time so that the bowl is facing the same way it was when you started and you have done four fold-overs total. Cover the bowl with a towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Repeat this process of four rotating folds plus a half hour rest for four hours. After four hours, the dough will be smooth and billowy.

Lightly dust your work surface with rice flour and turn the dough from the bowl. Dust the top of the ball and do the four rotating folds of the dough to form a ball. Gently fold the edges of the dough under itself to make the ball more tight, with a seam underneath. Then let it rest for 30 minutes.

Line your banneton or a mixing bowl with a tea towel and dust that towel lightly with rice flour. 

Transfer the round, seam-side up, into the prepared basket. Cover with another towel and let the dough rise on the counter. Here's where I have started to play with variations, but this one - lucky number eight - rose for six hours at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. 

While the oven preheats, dust the bottom of your Dutch oven with rice flour. Invert your loaf carefully into the Dutch oven.

You can slice vents into the top of your loaf. Some people have intricate designs. Mine are more function, less form. Ha. Just before placing your bread into the oven, spritz the top of the loaf with water. I bought a glass spray bottle, set it on mist, and just give it a squirt or two.

Reduce temperature to 450 degrees F and place your Dutch oven, covered, into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove lid and return to the oven for another 20 minutes. Then prop the door open, turn off the heat, and let the pot stay in the other for another 20 minutes. The crust should be a rich, nice brown color. If you don't want the crust as thick and dark, you can remove it after the first 40 minutes...no need to leave it in the oven.

You can follow the complete Adventures of Dough-ba Fett here

Lucky Number Eight #AdventuresofDoughbaFett


So, after seven - yes, count them, seven! - sourdough bricks, I made two critical changes. I had been trying to change only one variable at a time to isolate any issues. However, over half a dozen failed breads called for drastic measures. So, my two changes resulted in Loaf Lucky No. 8!

First, I migrated to weight measurements versus volume measurements. Second, I started following the Tartine Bakery process of folding instead of kneading. Success! Many thanks to my friend Pia for lending me a copy of her Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson. You can see the recipe here (on Tartine's website) and below is my very slightly adapted version. But, four loaves of consistently risen and beautiful breads, has me very, very happy.

Ingredients
Note that their original recipe makes two loaves; mine is for one boule only
  • 100 g starter (recently fed)
  • 350 g warm water + 25 g more
  • 450 g all-purpose flour
  • 50 g whole wheat flour
  • 10 g salt
  • rice flour for dusting
  • Also needed: digital kitchen scale, banneton proofing basket or mixing bowl lined with a tea towel, Dutch oven

Procedure

In a large mixing bowl, combine 100 g starter with 350 grams of warm water. 

Add in 450 g all-purpose flour, 50 g whole wheat flour, and 10 g salt. Use your hands to mix everything together until everything is completely moistened. It will be a very shaggy dough. Cover the bowl with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, pour in another 25 g warm water. Use your hands to incorporate that into the dough which will already look more smooth. Dip your hands in warm water, then place one hand under one side of the ball and stretch the dough up and over the top. 

Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat that stretch. Do it a second and third time so that the bowl is facing the same way it was when you started and you have done four fold-overs total. Cover the bowl with a towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Repeat this process of four rotating folds plus a half hour rest for four hours. After four hours, the dough will be smooth and billowy.

Lightly dust your work surface with rice flour and turn the dough from the bowl. Dust the top of the ball and do the four rotating folds of the dough to form a ball. Gently fold the edges of the dough under itself to make the ball more tight, with a seam underneath. Then let it rest for 30 minutes.

Line your banneton or a mixing bowl with a tea towel and dust that towel lightly with rice flour. 

Transfer the round, seam-side up, into the prepared basket. Cover with another towel and let the dough rise on the counter. Here's where I have started to play with variations, but this one - lucky number eight - rose for six hours at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. 

While the oven preheats, dust the bottom of your Dutch oven with rice flour. Invert your loaf carefully into the Dutch oven.


You can slice vents into the top of your loaf. Some people have intricate designs. Mine are more function, less form. Ha.

Reduce temperature to 450 degrees F and place your Dutch oven, covered, into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove lid and return to the oven for another 20 minutes. Then prop the door open, turn off the heat, and let the pot stay in the other for another 20 minutes. The crust should be a rich, nice brown color. If you don't want the crust as thick and dark, you can remove it after the first 40 minutes...no need to leave it in the oven.


Let the loaf cool for at least an hour before slicing. Since I've been baking in the mornings before I leave for work, I leave them notes as to what time they can dig in. The first time, I crossed my fingers that they followed directions. They did!


And this is the photo Jake sent me along with a note: "We have a winner!" Thanks, Love! And phew...I was feeling a little bit deflated in my sourdough journey. Now I just need to replicate this about ten more times before I decide to offer any bread to friends and family. Stay tuned.

You can follow the complete Adventures of Dough-ba Fett here.

Jasmine Green Tea Cake #TheCakeSliceBakers


Here we are with the April edition of the Cake Slice Bakers. For 2020, we are baking from The New Way to Cake: Simple Recipes with Exceptional Flavor by Benjamina Ebuehi.*

In this group, we are given a selection of three cake recipes. We each choose one cake to bake, and then on the 20th - never before - we all post about our cake on our blogs. There are a few rules that we follow, but the most important ones are to have fun and enjoy baking & eating cakes!


Follow our FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest pages where you can find all of our cakes, as well as inspiration for many other cakes. You can also click on the links below to take you to each of our cakes. If you have a blog and are interested in joining The Cake Slice Bakers and baking along with us, please send an email to thecakeslicebakers at gmail dot com for more details.

The Cake Slice Bakers also have a new Facebook group called The Cake Slice Bakers and Friends. This group is perfect for those who do not have a blog but want to join in the fun and bake through this book. Here is the line-up of the April #TheCakeSliceBakers cakes...

Carrot Cake with Masala Chai
Lemon, Ricotta and Thyme Mini-Loaves 
Jasmine Green Tea Cake

    Jasmine Green Tea Cake
    very slightly adapted from Ebuehi's book

    I actually baked two of the three cakes for the month before deciding that this was the cake I wanted to post with the group. I love the delicate aroma of jasmine and I transformed the recipe into individual-sized cakes by using a cupcake baking stone. Also, a shoutout of gratitude to the gardeners in my house who agreed to let me pick some of their jasmine flowers to use as a garnish.

    Ingredients makes 9 cupcake-sized treats

    Cake
    • 1/4 C butter
    • leaves from 3 jasmine green tea bag, approximately 1 T
    • 4 eggs
    •  2/3 C organic granulated sugar
    • 1 C all-purpose flour
    • Also needed: stoneware cupcake mold or Ebuehi uses a 5" cake round

    Syrup
    • 1/4 C organic granulated sugar
    • 1/4 C water
    • 1 jasmine green tea bag
    • Also needed: silicone brush

    Glaze 
    • 1/2 C organic powdered sugar
    • 2 T brewed jasmine green tea

    Garnish
    • organic jasmine flowers, optional


    Procedure

    Cake
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease hollows of cupcake mold and set aside.

    Add the butter and tea to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the butter is melted. Remove from heat and let the tea steep for 5 to 10 minutes before straining out the leaves.


    Add the eggs and sugar to a medium mixing bowl and set it over a pot of water. Make sure that the bottom of the bowl isn't touching the water. Whisk the egg mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved and the contents are warm to the touch. Remove the bowl from the heat and beat until the eggs are thick, pale, and at least doubled in volume. When you lift the beaters from the bowl, the eggs should ribbon back down to the bowl.

    Stir in 1/3 C flour very gently so as not to deflate the eggs. Repeat until you have added in all the flour. Fold in the butter and tea mixture until just combined.


    Pour the batter into the cupcake hollows, filling them up about three-quarters of the way up. Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 32 minutes; the cakes should be risen and firm to the touch.


    Let the cakes cool in the pan for 2 to 3 minutes before inverting them on to a wire rack. Cool the cakes completely. In the meantime, make the syrup and the glaze.


    Syrup
    Place water, sugar, and tea bag in a small pan. Over medium heat, bring the liquid to a simmer and swirl the pan until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and let the syrup cool with the the tea bag in it. Just before using, remove the tea bag.


    Place the wire rack over a baking sheet to catch the drips. Then use a silicone brush to coat the tops (the bottom, since the cakes are now inverted) of each cake. Let the syrup soak into the cake. I did two or three washes.


    Glaze
    Whisk all of the ingredients together until you have a thick, pourable consistency. Spoon the glaze over the cakes, letting the glaze run over the sides. Garnish with a jasmine flower, if using.


    Due to our current shelter-in-place orders are we all try to flatten the curve on this coronavirus pandemic, I have had a lot of time on my hands to bake. So, I already have my May cake done as well. Can't wait to share it with you as it was delicious! See you next month for #TheCakeSliceBakers.

    *This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

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