All posts by A_Boleyn

About A_Boleyn

Having come late to the kitchen, other than in an eating capacity, each new recipe I try is an exciting opportunity to enjoy the original and then make it my own.

Sós Kifli or Salted ‘Croissants’

My first post of the new year is, fittingly, a bread recipe.

Creamy eggs and salted croissants make for a perfect breakfast

Just before Christmas my brother was in my neighbourhood and stopped in at a nearby European style bakery. And then he dropped off four of these bread rolls shaped into crescents and sprinkled with caraway seeds and coarse salt. And a bag of chocolate bonbons filled with cherries and liqueur. I ate three of the bread rolls the same day but the chocolates lasted until after New Year.

Recently, I saw someone had posted a picture of a similar type of bread rolls, on my Hungarian Facebook group. To make a long story short, I got the recipe, originally posted in Hungarian, and translated by a second party, and made them yesterday. A similar recipe can be found here though I used 2 tsp of dry instant yeast, rather than fresh, in my bake.

Shaping the croissants … a pizza wheel is the best way to make the clean cuts for making the dough wedges. The dough (652 gm) was rolled out into an 18″ circle.

Baked at 400 deg F for 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven’s foibles.

Fluffy interior of the croissants

Out With the Old, In With the New

I hope everyone had a great Christmas with loved ones and welcomed the New Year with joy and merriment.

I thought I’d break the two month silence with a brief post.

Unfortunately real life hasn’t been very kind in terms of work. I blame the provincial government for what has been my worst work year in education since I started back in 1999. I’m making do because I have savings. Some of my fellows are fortunate enough to be the second income providers in their homes or at least they HAVE a second source of income. A large number of those in my situation have left the profession in the last few years. Things are not looking optimistic.

As a result, even though I’m still doing a decent amount of cooking and taking a LOT of pictures, I just haven’t had that same enthusiasm to write out and post my cooking adventures as soon as they were completed. Which haven’t actually BEEN that adventurous on the whole. Dishes and pictures have piled up. I was going to do a catch all post for the last couple of months before the new year and then just AFTER the new year. It hasn’t happened, obviously, so I’m just going to let it GO and relieve the pressure on myself to do so.

I hope to share tasty dishes, new and old, in the months to come. Until then …

A belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Pumpkin Fudge and Pies/Tarts

I haven’t bought a can of pumpkin puree in six to seven years but I decided to make my first ever pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving, so I picked up a can. It was even on sale.

But before attempting the pumpkin pie, I made something that I haven’t tasted for even longer … pumpkin fudge. My first taste of that rather unique flavour came from the seasonal fudge that my brother made for my SIL’s chocolate store. It was an unexpectedly tasty candy and I hoped to be able to make something similar. My results weren’t bad but not as amazing as the one I remember. Of course, my cranberry fudge wasn’t as good as his either. Maybe one day.

Pumpkin Tart and Fudge

I made a couple of half batches (400-420 gm) of pumpkin fudge using this recipe. I over-cooked the first batch because I don’t have an accurate candy thermometer, so I had to use the soft ball test. It may have been a bit crumbly but it was tasty and I ate the whole thing in no time at all. For the second batch, I may have under-cooked it JUST a bit but some judicious stirring once I had poured the fudge into the pan and I got it to where it should be.

The half batch of pumpkin pie filling I made used Chef John’s recipe from Food Wishes, and filled a couple of mini pie crust shells (6 inch diameter) and two tart shells made in muffin tins.

And, lest you think that all I made with that pumpkin puree was desserts, I also made a batch of creamy red lentil and pumpkin soup using about a cup of the puree.

Beef Bulgogi Redux

I’ve made a half-hearted version of beef bulgogi in the past but this time, I made it as authentically as I could. I bought a nice piece of sirloin steak, par froze it and cut it as thinly as possible. I also bought an Asian pear. And watched several videos before I chose the one which produced this dish.

PS: I only used half the pear in this dish so I sliced up and ate the rest on its own. It LOOKS like an apple but tastes like a pear with a finer granular texture. It is delicious.

Sweet and salty though it COULD be hotter. Next time … more gochujang. Or I’ll buy a hotter version of the Korean chili paste. I used the this recipe, but I added shaved carrots for added colour and nutrition.

Still, it’s a tasty and relatively inexpensive home made bulgogi. Served over sushi rice but rice noodles are delicious too.

Mise en place – the meat was marinated overnight.

After cooking

Pie Duo … Nectarine and Chess

Once you can make a pie crust/pastry, the possible fillings are endless.

I thought I’d include both a fruit and a custard type pie in this post.

Nectarines are delicious … sweet and juicy and a very good price in season. Instead of making a pastry top crust, I used a crumble. It’s something I’ve got to work on. Delicious but not as pretty as I would have liked. I didn’t bother peeling the nectarines.

  

I have no idea where the name of this pie comes from … there are many explanations for how Chess pie got its name. But however the name came about, the result is tasty. I used the recipe I found here. Half the recipe for the filling was enough for two mini (6 inch diameter) pies. I had some extra filling so I baked the custard in a small oiled ramekin.

  

Chicken Meatball Soup

It’s that time of year again … soup making time.

Not that I don’t make soups year round. It’s just that I kick it into high gear when the weather gets cooler.

This chicken meatball soup uses lean breast meat ground up in my food processor and a half package of chopped spinach. The result is delicious and filling.

Chicken Meatball  and Spinach Soup – serves 4-6

Meatballs – makes 16 meatballs (292 gm, divided into 16 x 18 gm portions)

210 gm chicken breast, ground
1 egg
3/4 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp several shakes of garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

For the Soup

3/4 cup orzo, tubettini, ditalini or other small pasta
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
1 cup chopped spinach, frozen and thawed*

* Swiss chard was used in the original recipe that inspired this.

In a medium bowl, combine the ground chicken, bread crumbs, egg, Parmesan, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix well, then form into 1-inch (2 cm) meatballs. You should have 16-18 total.

In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Sear the meatballs on all sides until golden brown, 4-5 minutes. Remove from the pot and set aside.

In the same pot, heat the remaining tbsp of oil. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, add the pasta and meatballs. Cover and simmer for 7-8 minutes, until the pasta is tender.

Add the Swiss chard, cover, and cook for 2-3 minutes until the chard has wilted.

Add the Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice.

Ladle into bowls and serve.

Honetsuki Dori (Crispy Bone-in Chicken)

This Japanese dish features chicken legs prepared very simply. The result is a juicy piece of meat inside with a crunchy skin on the outside.

The only ‘fussy’ aspect of the cooking process is preparing the chicken oil or fat flavoured with ginger and garlic, in which the chicken is roasted. If you have some rendered chicken fat (schmaltz) in your fridge … what do you mean you don’t … you can save yourself a lot of work by poaching a peeled and crushed clove of garlic and a slice of fresh ginger in the chicken fat for 10 minutes.

A bonus from rendering down the chicken oil or fat is the resulting crunchy chicken skin.

The recipe I am including below was transcribed from a Youtube video and edited for clarity.

In Japanese restaurants that serve this dish, you’re given a choice between hinadori (young chicken) or oyadori (adult chicken). Apparently, although the former is more tender and easier to chew, the latter is preferred by many for its distinctive flavour. They seem to be equally juicy.

Honetsuki Dori (Bone-In Roast Chicken) – serves 2 people

2 bone-in chicken legs (drumstick and thigh)
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
large amount of coarsely ground pepper (1 tsp)

4 tbsp Chi-yu (see below), for roasting

Chi-yu (Chicken oil)

300 gm chicken skin
1 slice ginger (~1/4 inch thick)
1 clove garlic

Preparing the chicken legs:

Split open the chicken legs on the underside (not the skin side) down to the bone. Trim off the excess skin and fat.

With a fork, prick the meat and skin side thoroughly.

Finely grate the garlic and spread it over the meat (flesh side). Sprinkle the salt all over the meat. Then the pepper. Massage the garlic paste and spices into the meat. Sprinkle some more pepper over the meat. Place the legs into a dish, cover tightly with food wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The two legs after being split open along the bone and rubbed with garlic paste, salt and pepper.

To cook, bring the meat to room temperature.

Preparing the chicken oil:

Smash the slice of ginger. Smash the peeled clove of garlic as well. Set aside.

Cut up the chicken skin into roughly 1-1 1/4 inch pieces.

Preheat a wok over low heat. Add the coarsely chopped chicken skin and fry for about 20 minutes, stir occasionally. Add the smashed clove of garlic and the ginger slice. Stir fry for another 10 minutes. Drain off the chicken oil.

(NOTE: Reserve the crispy skin for eating as a snack.)

Cooking the chicken legs:

Preheat the oven to 400 deg F/200 deg C.

Add 2 tbsp of the chicken oil to each of 2 trays. Add the chicken ( skin side down) and roast for 10 min. Turn over and roast for another 10 min (skin side up).

Raise the heat to 480 deg F/250 deg C and roast for another 5 min, until golden brown. Serve on preheated plate. Pour some chicken oil over the chicken.

NOTE: The skin wasn’t crispy enough so I turned on the broiler to HI and broiled the chicken with the pan in the middle of the oven for 3-5 min.

To Serve: Tear apart a leaf or two of cabbage, wash and spin dry.  Make 2-3 onigiri and garnish with black sesame seeds and yellow pickled radish (takuwan). Dip both the chunks of cabbage and the onigiri into the chicken oil.

Review:  Delicious. The skin loses its crispy texture when reheated but is still nice and juicy. If possible, only roast as many legs as will be eaten at one time.

Shokupan … Japanese Eating Bread

Shokupan is a very popular daily or “eating bread” in Japan.

In light of my summer obsession with expanding my repertoire of Japanese foods, I couldn’t pass up giving it a try. The blog where I found the recipe has two easy-to-follow versions. The easier of the two is kneaded very briefly in a food processor … and I’m all about EASY recipes or techniques.

I always find sight of the risen dough appealing, don’t you?

And, of course, the crumb shot … delicious spread with some sweet softened butter.

For a second attempt at the recipe, I shaped the dough into stuffed buns.

I choose both anko (sweetened red bean paste, on the left) and lotus seed paste (on the right) for the filling.

I was experimenting with a coloured whipping cream wash (not necessary in baked buns but should give a nice golden colour in a future steamed bun version) and the crease in the middle for the lotus seed paste filled buns. It’s supposed to resemble the dried lotus seeds after removing the germ.

REVIEW: The bread is fast and easy to make in the food processor and the taste is delicious. What more do you need? Give it a try.

Beef Chow Fun ala Frugal Hausfrau

Last post today … I promise. I was on a roll.

I get my ideas/recipes from ‘only the best’ people.

Like this beef chow fun (beef and rice noodles) which came from the blog, “The Frugal Hausfrau”. I followed the recipe exactly and didn’t have to make any substitutions because I HAD all the ingredients. (So proud of my pantry.)

The wide rice noodles (the red package) took 5 minutes to cook. Then I drained, ice shocked and drained them well and set them aside just before assembly.

I blanched the bean sprouts by placing them into a stand drainer and pouring the boiling water from cooking the noodles over them. They were still crunchy after being added to the beef and sauce along with the noodles and tossing together just long enough to coat the noodles and warm everything through.

REVIEW: An amazing dish. Easy to make and cook with some judicious planning/prepping. Make it. You won’t be disappointed.