Saturday, September 27, 2008

[Daring bakers] Lavash Crackers & Toppings

Note: French version is on my other food blog: La cuisine de Babeth
Rare cancer awareness:
don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma



My last daring bakers' challenge was back in April. I know, I know it's been a long time since I haven't bake with my dear DB friends. To make a story short my life was sort of hectic since April: I lost my job and I had to move from the French riviera to Luxembourg area ... not the perfect mindset to bake lavish and cute cakes.
Anyway I'm thrilled to be back in the game :-)
This month Daring Bakers' challenge is ground breaking: it's the first vegan and/or gluten-free challenge!

The Challenge as it was delivered to us: Make Lavash Crackers and create a dip/spread/salsa/relish to accompany it. Our hostesses this month are Natalie from Gluten a Go Go, and co-hostess Shelly from Musings from the Fishbowl.

I chose quinoa flour and a peach salsa. For the topping, I sprinkled some poppy seeds, sesame seeds, carvi and kosher salt.



Makes 2 sheet pans of crackers

* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)
* 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
* 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar
* 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature
* Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.

2. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-if-Bre … ong-Enough for a discription of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

or

2. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), and slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).

4. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.

or

4. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half and then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper. Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet. I pre-cut them with a pizza slicer.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices and salt - a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.

5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).

6. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.


Honeydew - Peach Salsa from The Splended Table (http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/re … eydew.html)

* juice of 1 lime
* 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
* 1/4 to 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
* 1 Red Fresno and 1 Hot Yellow minced chile (seeds removed)
* 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar,
* 1/2 ripe sweet honeydew melon, cubed into bite-sized pieces
* 4 small, ripe peaches, peeled and cubed into bite-sized pieces
* salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1/3 cup minced fresh coriander, or coriander and mint combined

In a medium bowl blend the lime juice, garlic, onion and chilies. Let stand 20 minutes, then blend in sugar and fruits with salt (a generous pinch) and pepper (to make piquant) to taste. Refrigerate up to 3 hours. Fold in fresh herbs just before serving.

Other DB challenges:
cheese cake pops
Julia Child's French bread
Lemon meringue pie
Chocolate yule log
Tender potato bread

Others crackers I love to make: Heidi's crackers: Japanese crackers, crackers with a smell of Provence, cinnamon-caramel vanilla-caramel crakers

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Great bargain deal on Valrhona chocolate!!

Note: French version is on my other food blog La cuisine de Babeth
Charity: don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma

Tomorrow Wednesday 24th of September at 7 o'clock on vente-privée, a shopping web-site, there's a super sale (outlet prices) that I, and all the chocolate lovers, cannot miss: a Valrhona sale. Valrhona chocolate is the Rolls Royce of chocolate So tune in tomorrow at 7am on vente-privée.


You need to be a member to shop on vente-privée, here an invitation from me to become one.
(If the link is not working you can still get an invitation, just drop me an email at: cuisinedebabeth[at]gmail[dot]com with your email address and I will add you to the list of happy customers!)


Friday, September 19, 2008

Meet Pierre Hermé himself, tomorrow

Note: French version is on my other food blog La cuisine de Babeth
Charity: don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma


Only in Paris.
Tomorrow the great macaron kind, Pierre Hermé will sign his "Macaron" book at his latest boutique.

Saturday 20th of September, from 12am to 7pm
4 rue Cambon
75001 Paris

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ultimate tiramisu

Note: French version is on my other food blog La cuisine de Babeth
Charity: don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma



Are you like me when it comes to Italian dessert, and have a tiramisu image popping up in your mind? I do love tiramisu, but it's a true gambling to order one at a restaurant. It can be dreadful or divine, you never know what to expect.
One good news for the food lovers that we are: it's super easy to do at home, ok it might be easier to order ...

We had our first guests in our new "home sweet home" here in Lorraine. And those venues forced us to unpack our boxes, and also it's always great occasions to use our brand new red kitchen :-)
Our last menu was composed by a carrot and turnip pork roast (recipe here), cheeses and a home-made tiramisu.
I used my Mum's recipe, and even if she has no Italian roots, it's the best tiramisu ever!

Like I was saying in introduction, making tiramisu is super easy, but it requires some planning. To be nice and firm and not sloppy, it should rest at least 8 hours in the fridge. Well 24 hours it's even better.

Ingredients:
-a medium size lasagna dish
-8 oz (250g) of mascarpone , at room temperature(can be easily found at Safeway, trader joe's or your favorite supermarket)
-3 eggs
-2/3 cup (50g) of granulated sugar
-a large bowl of strong black coffee
-bitter powered chocolate
-about 20 Ladyfingers cookies (back in CA I was able to find some at only one Safeway in Santa Clara and at Trader Joe's. And still, if you cannot find those, see at the end of the post some recipes)

Directions:
1- Separate the yolks from the whites.
2- With a mixer whip the whites until firm (en neige). To be sure they will be firm enough add a pinch of salt or a few drops of lemon juice before whipping.
3- In a large bowl mixed the yolks and sugar. Add the mascarpone Incorporate slowly and gently the whites.
4- To assemble: spread a layer of cream in the lasagna dish. Layer on top ladyfingers soaked in the coffee. Add an other layer of cream.
5- Sprinkle the bitter powered cocoa on top.
6- Place in the fridge for at least 8 hours.

Ladyfingers recipes can be found on joyofbaking (just follow the link here) and on La Tartine Gourmande (same follow the link), and those (link here) are not what we need :-)

Others chocolate desserts previously featured on La vie in English:
cheese cake pops
chocolate chunk muffins
brownie
chocolate custard pudding
chocolate yule log

Monday, September 15, 2008

FeelGood foundation


Ground zero, New-York

Today's' topic is not cooking related.

Yesterday I watched a documentary, on LCP, about the forgotten 9/11 victims. Policemen, firemen, construction workers and ambulance drivers, those ones who worked at ground zero and now who are deeply sick and struggling to get health insurances, pensions or supports.

Everybody remember where they where on that 9/11/2001. It's one of those moment in life that are engraved in our heart and memory. I was still living in California and I first heard about the attacks while waking up to breaking news on my alarm clock radio. I must admit, that I first thought in my hazy morning mind, that the radio guy was talking about a new action movie ... sadly it wasn't the case. Then I realized that all my roommates were in front of the TV (very unusal) and I saw the towers collapsing. Oh God! I just realized what just happened. Later at work nobody were able to concentrate on work, we all gathered speechless, in shock, in front of the TV in the common area watching the towers collapsing again and again.
Then all planes stayed grounded for days and I felt trapped, a weird feeling in the lands of gigantism ...
Do you remember where you were on 9/11?

Anyway my heart was torn apart yesterday while watching "9/11 the forgotten victims" documentary. Those heroes who rushed into the burning, collapsing towers to save people, without thinking one second about their own safety, are now really sick due to exposition to toxic dusts, and are left alone. They cannot get health insurances nor pensions to help them to pay for their medical bills ... apparently insurances have no proof that their diseases are 9/11 related.
I feel that in France we are lucky to have such an inexpensive health insurance system based on mutual aid. And for maybe one or 2 cheaters, who really had asthma or lung issues before, why not to save hundreds of others?
One of those heroes who were interviewed yesterday really touched my heart, imagine this guy who was super brave and courageous and rushed to help others (without knowing if he could escape safely) was crying in front of the camera. All of his health insurances applications got denied and he cannot get a pension. His only revenues were his wife salary, $900 a month.

My post is not political even if you may have notice: the political scene in the US is getting hotter and hotter nowadays.
First it's a food blog and not a political one.
Second, I'm not American and wouldn't dare to tell Americans what to do, nor what to vote.

To finish my post on a promising note: let's meet John Feal, ground zero workers activist. John created the FeelGood Foundation, non-profit organization, is to spread awareness and educate the public about the catastrophic health effects on 9/11 first responders, as well as to provide assistance to relieve these great heroes of the financial burdens placed on them.

Here the ways to give to the FeelGood foundation (just click here).

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Quinoa flour muffins for the B-day boy!

Note: French version is on my other food blog La cuisine de Babeth
Charity: don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma



Thursday was Mathieu's birthday and at his work there's a little tradition: the birthday person is the one bringing the cake.
He wanted to bring muffins, and to make those special, to bake them himself. I just supervised him and play the chef in the kitchen " a little bit more of this, a little less of that" :-)
Almost zillions of muffins popped out of the oven, and none came back. Mission accomplished!
A mystery ingredient was added to the classic muffins batter: quinoa flour (easy to find at your favorite organic store). It added a malt taste to them that makes your palate travel to the Incas country.

Quinoa mixed berry muffins (recipe here, just click!)

Chocolate chunk muffins (recipe here, just click!)


Other husband in the kitchen recipes: 2 gingers maple-glazed salmon, apple tarte tatin, chicken ginger wok stir-fried
Savory muffins: Brussels sprouts muffins

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mikasa, Russell Hobbs and Orva great bargain deals!

Note: French version is on my other food blog La cuisine de Babeth
Charity: don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma

Today, Friday 5th of September at 7 o'clock on vente-privée, a shopping web-site, there are 3 great Mikasa, Russell Hobbs and Orva super sales (outlet prices).


We, personally have at home this Russell Hobbs toaster, great vintage lookand great toasting job every mornings :-)

You need to be a member to shop on vente-privée, here an invitation from me to become one.
(If the link is not working you can still get an invitation, just drop me an email at: cuisinedebabeth[at]gmail[dot]com with your email address and I will add you to the list of happy customers!)

On Saturday 6th of Sept at 9 o'clock there's a La Sommeliere: wine cellars sale!


Previously on La vie in English: Eclair cake operation

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Eclair cake operation

French version of this post is here La cuisine de Babeth, my French food blog.


I'm finally back after long weeks of silence. Our move took more time than expected.
I did break the silence this summer to share with you my second cooking video.
Now I'm 200% back online, thanks to internet that found the way to my new home. That's great to be back into the modern world :-)

I wanted to start again blogging with an eye candy post.
It's only in Paris and it's a super chic event: at Fauchon pâtisserie (located in one of the most posh and select arrondissement) they will sell only éclairs during the 2 coming days. Yes you read me right, on the 5th and 6th of September 2008 Fauchon will reveal 34 éclairs creations, sweet and savory. The big star is the Joconde one. If you're one of the lucky gourmets you will taste a chocolate and almond eclair with the famous glance.

I will be at San Francisco friends' wedding in the French countryside this week-end, so unfortunately I won't be able to bite into those creations.

It will take place at Fauchon's pastry shop
26 place de la Madeleine
75008 Paris
www.fauchon.com
Share on Facebook