Friday, October 28, 2011

Tartine Bakery Shortbread Cookies



When I moved away from San Francisco, I knew there would be three things I would miss more than anything else in the world or even more than life itself. I was going to miss Green Apple Books, Mission Chinese Food, and Tartine Bakery. The twisting corners of the book store, the numbing sichuan lamb face of Mission Chinese food, and most of all, the great french style desserts at Tartine. I loved their lemon tarts, their almond croissants, everything.



I'm not at the place yet where I feel comfortable making those amazing croissants, but I thought I would try their shortbread cookies. These were by far the best shortbread cookies I've had in my life. They were firm when you broke them apart with your fingers, but they melted in your mouth the second they touched your tongue. They were light and super buttery. I've never had a cookie like this before in my life. Best of all, this recipe is extremely easy. Anyone can make it just as delicious as the bakery.





Tartine Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp soft unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ¾ cup +2 Tbsp flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar + more for topping

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Cream salt, sugar and butter together. Mix flour in with butter until smooth
  3. Pat dough into a 6x10 inch pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden
  4. Remove from oven and sprinkle with extra sugar. Cut into small fingers while warm but let cool completely before removing from pan

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chicken and Pork Gyoza


Gyoza are one of the cheapest snack foods you can make that store well in. I don't remember the last time I bought potstickers at the store but when I price out the cost of these gyoza (using asian market prices), I get something like:

1 lb ground pork: $1.99
1 lb napa cabbage: $0.80
2 bunches scallions: $0.60
2 packs of gyoza wrappers: $1.40 x 2
other costs: negligible.

That's about $6.00 for 100 pieces of gyoza. Is Trader Joes cheaper than that? I think not. And this way, you can make it exactly how you like best with the ingredients you like best. I like mine heavy on the ginger flavor so I would probably add more than this recipe calls for, but that's up to you. You can also swap out the chicken for shrimp if you want and make the least kosher gyoza ever. Delicious.








Pork Gyoza


Ingredients
  • 1 lb course ground chicken or pork (I use half and half)
  • 1 lb napa cabbage
  • 1 cup chopped garlic chives (or chopped scallions and 1 Tbsp added grated garlic)
  • 1 ½ tsp white pepper
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 T sea salt or rock salt
  • 2 package gyoza wrappers (50 count, as thin as possible)

Directions
  1. Add salt to minced cabbage and garlic chives to sweat out of water. Let sit for 20 minutes
  2. Squeeze water out of the cabbage and chives. Mix with pork/chicken, pepper and oil
  3. Fill gyoza wrappers, pleating one side for form a crescent moon shape. If not using, bag and freeze to cook later.
  4. Place gyoza on a heated griddle  or heavy bottom sautee pan on a small layer of oil. Add a little water to the pan and cover to steam the gyoza. Add more water once through the steaming process
  5. Remove from heat after 5 minutes or when gyoza or cooked through and golden brown. Serve with chili oil, soy sauce, vinegar and green onions.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sand Dollar Almond Cookies


I remember seeing these cookies on a blog this summer and wanting to make them. They seemed so appropriate for the season, especially to bring to a picnic at the beach.

Now that it's no longer summer, and now that I don't live very close to the ocean, anymore, I felt it was appropriate to make them again and bring back a little feeling of summer.



Sand Dollar Cookies


Ingredients
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs (1 whole, one separated)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 generous pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ¾ cup flour
  • Cinnamon sugar
  • sliced almonds


Directions

  1. Cream together butter and sugar
  2. Add 1 whole egg and one egg yolk, vanilla, salt, flour and baking powder until incorporated
  3. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Then preheat oven to 350 degrees
  4. Roll out cookie dough to ¼ inch thick and cut out 2 inch circles in the cookies. Place on parchment paper and brush with egg white.
  5. Immediately sprinkle sugar on cookies and press almonds in the center in a star shape
  6. Bake 4 minutes. Press almonds in again and continue to bake 8 more minutes. Let cool completely before serving.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bagels - New Jersey Approved!




I always loved bagels (that is, until I decided to go on a diet and learned that one bagel is equal to about five slices of bread). It just didn't seem worth it, but from time to time the mood for a bagel with cream cheese would just strike me. It was inescapable. The subtle chewiness, the breadiness, the texture when an onion bagel was perfectly toasted: those were the wonderful little things.

Yet I learned from several friends who were New York natives that, in all likelihood, I had probably never had a good bagel. They said things packaged from the store didn't count, and Noah's bagels likewise did not count. They would speak poetically about the chewiness and distint flavor of a New York bagel. They said they hadn't found anything like it in California.

Since moving to the East Coast, I've found quite a few more people who are natives of New York/New Jersey. I decided to bring bagels in for one of them to try  so they would give constructive pointers. After all, I cannot say I make bagels unless they really are New York or New Jersey approved. I figure no one else will be as picky about these round doughy delights.

For the most part, this bagel was New Jersey approved. They loved the flavor, thought it had a good density, and felt I got the interior right, but they said the exterior needed a long boiling time. It needed to be stickier and to have more of an alkaline flavor (more baking soda). Those are easy things to fix, so I called this recipe approved.


Bagels



Ingredients
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 17 oz bread flour
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • ½ tsp yeast
  • 15.25 oz bread flour
  • 2 ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp packed brown sugar or 2 tsp malt

Directions

  1. Proof 1 tsp yeast in water. When it begins to bubble, add 17 oz bread flour. Let sit covered at room temperature for 2 hours.
  2. After two hours, add salt, sugar/malt, remaining yeast and flour. Mix until incorporated and knead for 10 minutes
  3. Immediately split dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls. Let rest 20 minutes
  4. Shape bagels by punching a thumb through the center. Place dough on oiled parchment paper and let rise 20 minutes (or until bagels float in water). After rising, retard bagels in the refrigerator overnight.
  5. The next morning, preheat oven to 500 degrees. Boil bagels for 1 minute on each side in water with baking soda (about 2 Tbsp for a pot)
  6. Place bagels on cornmeal covered baking sheet with desired toppings. Bake for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 450 degrees and bake another 5 minutes.
  7. Let bagels cool completely before eating.
This post has been submitted to Yeastspotting

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chicken Kiev



Two years ago, I purchased a book of Russian, German and Polish cooking at the thrift store for $5. I had no experience with Russian, German or Polish cooking, but I knew I loved Chicken Kiev and streusel.

It took me a long time to find reason to make this recipe. I was always intimidated since Chicken Kiev was a restaurant food, not something I'd ever had at home. But I made it and it proved easy and delicious. It was something I could start in the morning, go out for the rest of the day, and make in 20 minutes once I got home. It was even boyfriend approved (and I am always looking for boyfriend approved recipes)

Chicken Kiev


Ingredients

  • 2 oz (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 grated orange zest
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped tarragon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 chicken breast fillets
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • oil for frying
  • salt and pepper to taste



Direction

  1. Mix butter, garlic, orange zest, and tarragon in a bowl until all ingredients are incorporated. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Shape butter into rectangular block and freeze for 1 hour
  2. Place chicken on a piece of cling wrap and pound to ½ inch thickness or at least fairly thin.
  3. Cut the butter in half lengthwise and place in each fillet. Secure the sides with cocktail sticks or fold around the butter like a burrito, tucking in the edges. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight
  4. Salt and pepper chicken to taste. Dip chicken into beaten egg, breadcrumbs, egg, breadcrumbs. Set aside.
  5. Pan fry chicken for 8 minutes or until done. If golden brown and not cooked completely through, finish chicken in the broiler for a couple minutes. Serve hot with potatoes and a lemon wedge.



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