Friday, July 27, 2018

Wow! It's Been a While!

I will be resuming my blogging. I'm trying to figure out how to delete my account on FB. I'll be back to blogging into the void. At least when I'm blogging, 

Anyway. I'm putting this here as a reminder for myself:
Classes w/Jacques Torres.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

No Knead Sourdough Bliss

This recipe was referenced in one of the sourdough forums I am in, and I figured I'd give it a whirl. 

With very few exceptions, I have been unimpressed with my overall straight sourdough (no commercial yeast snuck in to improve "poof"). Without a doubt, this particular recipe is brilliant. Brilliantly easy, straight forward, and easily adaptable.

Given that last week was Thanksgiving, I almost always have left over apple cider, and I figured I would substitute cider in lieu of the water, and I snuck about 1/3 of the overall volume of flour with spelt.

I followed the directions exactly. Set it and forget it, as it were. I came home last night and did a final knead and shape, and rolled it out a bit and put some cinnamon on it before rolling it up jelly roll style and popped it into a loaf pan and covered it with foil, and let it proof. 


I may just give up on all other recipes, as this one is so beautiful. None of that pesky "stretch and fold" every 30 minutes, and repeat for a total of two hours (OMG who has that kind of time?). 

I've done this loaf about 3x thus far. Two previous loaves, I did the same thing, but put an olive tapenade in the center and rolled it up.

Noteworthy: This toasts up DIVINE, and furthermore, it makes some fantastic croutons and is fabulous dried and used in Thanksgiving stuffing.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Today's personal project was to review some articles & abstracts in a (peer reviewed) medical journal regarding sourdough (with special interest in celiac disease as well as glycemic index & response). 

I'm sharing the titles & links, as I know there have been other people who had similar curiosities. 

(All articles & abstracts were found at:, US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.)

Articles/Abstracts Regarding Sourdough & Celiac Disease:

Title:  Sourdough Fermentation of Wheat Flour does not Prevent the Interaction of Transglutaminase 2 with α2-Gliadin or Gluten
Conclusions (Paragraph 5):  [...] lactic fermentation of wheat flour does not sufficiently prevent TG2 interaction with gluten or decrease available TG2 binding sites on α2-gliadin, compared to unfermented flour. Prolonged fermentation times with L. plantarum (24 h) even increased available TG2 binding sites on α2-gliadin, indicating that lactic fermentation may not be an appropriate method for making celiac safe products.

Title:  Gluten-free sourdough wheat baked goods appear safe for young celiac patients: a pilot study
Conclusions:  This study showed that a wheat flour-fermented product, having gluten completely degraded, is not toxic for patients with CD. Nevertheless, these foods should not be recommended for patients with celiac disease until a formal trial has been done.

Title:  Sourdough lactobacilli and celiac disease

Title:  Sourdough bread made from wheat and nontoxic flours and started with selected lactobacilli is tolerated in celiac sprue patients
Conclusion: These results showed that a bread biotechnology that uses selected lactobacilli, nontoxic flours, and a long fermentation time is a novel tool for decreasing the level of gluten intolerance in humans.

Articles/Abstracts Regarding Sourdough and Glycemic Index/Glycemic Response:

Title:  Influence of sourdough on in vitro starch digestibility and predicted glycemic indices of gluten-free breads

Title:  The Acute Impact of Ingestion of Sourdough and Whole-Grain Breads on Blood Glucose, Insulin, and Incretins in Overweight and Obese Men
Conclusion: [...] Despite the variation that these factors produced, the investigation demonstrated that sprouted grain bread attenuated the glycemic response when both portion size and available carbohydrate were controlled for and that, generally, the whole-grain breads did not have what could be interpreted as beneficial, metabolic responses.

Title:  Sourdough-leavened bread improves postprandial glucose and insulin plasma levels in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance
Conclusion: [...] Thus, sour-dough bread may potentially be of benefit in subjects with impaired glucose metabolism.

Title:  Use of sourdough lactobacilli and oat fibre to decrease the glycaemic index of white wheat bread

Title:  The glycaemic index: importance of dietary fibre and other food properties

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Photodump, Pizza-Babies

Normal people have photos of their children or pets on their phone; I have pictures of my sourdough pizzas.
Egg and pancetta with a Boursin, herbed cheese base
Prosciutto and sherried mushroom
Fig, pancetta, and arugala with a balsamic vinegar glaze drizzle
Half sausage, and half mega-meat

Cobb smoked chicken sausage, Cabot cheddar w/bacon, w/a spritz of basil oil and a drizzle of smoked maple syrup.

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Phallic Gourmet: The Fine Art of Slitting Your Tubesteak

This has been sitting in draft form for too long and deserves to see the light of day, so I'm hitting publish on it, despite misspellings of the word wiener. Deal with it.  

Phallic Gourmet: The Fine Art of Slitting Your Weiners

A Photoblogging Recipe

aka "The Art of Kielbasa Grilling"

Some folks think that all they have to do is slap their kielbasa on a grill and be done with it. As with any sausage, the true artistry of sausage cooking lies in the slits.

Making of slits is necessary for three things. First, it allows for grease to be released during the cooking process, rather than be reabsorbed back into the meat, which will end up causing indigestion. Second, it allows for expansion of the meat and juices as the sausages cook. And lastly, the oft-overlooked aspect of kielbasa slitting and grilling: the aesthetic/the eye appeal.

This is especially amusing when done at a barbeque and your guests are unaware. Invariably at some point during the barbeque, you'll get a Looky-Lou, who will want to pop the lid off the grill to see what's going on. That, my friends, is what I refer to the JACKPOT or the PAYDAY.

Additional note: Ensure you have a digital camera charged up and at the ready for when this happens.

For this demonstration, you will need:
  • 1 lb kielbasa
  • sharp knife
  • a barbeque grill set at about 400 degrees, preheated
  • common sense
  1. Unwrap and inspect your weiner.
  2. Taking a sharp knife (I prefer a paring knife), and make one, long superficial slit, lengthwise down 90% of the weiner.

    [Insert photo here]
  3. Then, proceed to make smaller slits at an angle, stopping at the first long superficial slit. Keep in mind the veins of a leaf... or in this case... a weiner.

    [Insert photo here]
  4. Lastly, it will be necessary to make one circular superficial slit around the one end which does not have any slits. This is the 10% end I mentioned in #2. Use your imagination, exaggerate a big corona and notch at the end for the metus. It won't be necessary to actually circumcise your kielbasa, as when it cooks, it will expand out, thus forming the intended 'shroom effect.

    [Insert photo here]
  5. Finally! Put it on the grill and wait. Usually about 4-5 minutes each side should be sufficient, as most Kielbasa (unless you get it from a butcher FRESH) is pre-cooked.
  6. Enjoy!

    [Insert photo here]
  7. This is especially amusing if you are barbequing meatballs as well:)

Monday, May 08, 2017

Converting That Peasant Bread Recipe To Sourdough

I'm not sure if I saw this in my FB or my Pinterest feed, but figured I'd "math it out," and make the conversion necessary to make Alexandra Stafford's (mom's) No Knead Peasant Bread into a sourdough hybrid. 

The breakdown of ingredient list from the original recipe are:

4 C Flour
2 C Lukewarm water
2 1/4 Tsp Yeast
1 Tsp Sugar
1 Tsp Salt

The way I will approach this as a sourdough, for the next batch of bread I bake will be:


1 C Sourdough starter (unfed)
1 C Water
1 C KAF Sprouted Wheat Flour

Let this sit at room temp 12-18 hours until nice and active.

When ready to continue building the dough, I'll then bloom the yeast:

1/2 C warm water
1 Tsp sugar
2 Tsp yeast

I'll add the bloomed yeast to the levain, then mix in the remaining 1 1/2 C flour (I'll switch to bread flour for the remainder).

Let sit for 30 min to autolyze. Then add 1 tsp salt and mix well.

At this point, I *could* follow the remainder of the recipe as written, OR divide in two portions of dough (I'll use a digital scale to ensure equal amounts of dough in both bowls), put in a greased bowl and cover with wrap and put in fridge for 24 hours for a slow, cold bulk ferment as I do with nearly all my sourdough bread, and take it out of the fridge for about 1-2 hours before baking.

Bake temp and time is as stated in the original recipe:

Preheat oven to 425, and bake for about 15 minutes, then lower heat to 375 and bake for about 20 minutes more. And as the original recipe states, if the loaves look pale, bake 5 minutes more.  

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Multi-Taskers: Cheese Substitutions + Saag Paneer Recipe

More on "culinary zeitgeist."  

Much in my previous substitution post, it looks like substitutions come in threes:

India: Paneer
Italy: Ricotta Salata
Cyprus: Haloumi

(Possible addition to this discussion US: Cheese curds  I say possible because I do not know if cheese curds actually melt. I will experiment the next time I encounter cheese curds while shopping.)

I fully embrace what I call "multi-taskers" in the kitchen. They make life easier.  I've been cutting back on how many food stores I go to on my errand day, just to make my life easier, save time and effort. My local Korean grocer supplies everything I could possibly need--except paneer. 

The last time I went shopping, I was looking for paneer, none to be found. Same thing with Haloumi (which was out of stock at the Armenian market last time I went there). However, what H-mart DID have was Ricotta Salata. A hard pressed, dry, salty version of ricotta.

Remembering what I know of the paneer making process, I know it's got some similarities--though it's a smidge tangy and definitely saltier. I solicited the opinion of Niv over at Panfusine for her thoughts on cheese substitutions, as my discussion with her was regarding making saag paneer quiches with the leftovers. 

I had enough information from the chat to know the ricotta salata would work. Rather than saving it for the quiches, I used it for the saag paneer, and I will say that it did not melt, and I held off on adding any additional salt, as the cheese was salty enough!

Now to backtrack a bit...

While in India in January, Maharajah's cousin provided me with her recipe/formula for saag paneer which was so RIDICULOUSLY simple, I thought to myself, how could it possibly be tasty. Her version has something like 5 ingredients, thereabouts, and I felt as if she were playing a prank on me.

Her ingredients were:

Chile pepper

That's it. Oh, and a little oil to cook the onion a bit. And no fancy techniques or spices. Not even turmeric. Grinds the onion with the chile and cooks that a bit in oil, then throws the washed spinach and diced tomato on top. Cover, and cook until spinach starts to wilt. Then puree that, put back in pan and toss in cubed paneer. DONE. Too simple. 

Anyway, here's my recipe for what I made this morning, however, mine is a bit more stripped down because I outright FORGOT about the onion. Oh, and no chile pepper in this, since Maharajah is preferring less heat these days (and I also forgot to mince it up). Kizmet!


1 T Neutral oil
1 tsp Jeera 
2 tsp garlic paste
1 Big bag fresh spinach (pureed with enough water to make it loose, but not watery)
20 Grinds black pepper
1 package Ricotta Salata (roughly 6-8 oz?)
Half and Half


I fried up the jeera until it was starting to turn golden brown and fragrant in the oil. I then added the garlic paste, and cooked about a minute until it started to turn golden. I then added the spinach puree, and lowered heat to a simmer, while I diced up the ricotta salata. I stirred the cheese cubes into the gently bubbling spinach sauce, and then added, like I said, about 20 grinds of black pepper. I let it cook maybe if that, 5 minutes more, and added a pat of butter (like the French chefs do to finish a sauce), and about 1-2 T of half and half to round out the saag mixture.  

Thinking it needed something "more," I took my ginger root out of the freezer, and shaved a bit of it into the sauce with a microplaner (thank you, Chef Roger, you ENABLER, YOU!). I also like a particular consistency to my sauces/gravies/curries, and there is a magical thickening agent I use, which I'll keep to myself, but use your judgment and add your thickener of choice (or none, YMMV!)

The lack of excessive spices accomplishes a couple of things:

1. Keeps the recipe SIMPLE.
2. Keeps the vibrant green of the spinach in tact. (Sorry, no photo this time!)
3. Keeps the recipe from tasting like EVERYTHING ELSE.  

Sometimes, I think, when you intensely season EVERYTHING, then EVERYTHING you cook tends to get lost--but if you have one intensely seasoned thing, and another item seasoned more subtle, there's a nice interplay, where both items you serve can shine in their own right.  

I made this up first thing this morning before leaving for work, as the Maharjah is working from home--so let's see what he thinks of it! 

Final analysis: Delicious but the ricotta salata adds an obvious tangy aspect to the saag, which in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing, but if you are expecting ultra smooth, luxurious on the tongue saag paneer, you might be surprised by the tang, so in hindsight, perhaps the haloumi would have worked better.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Not Sour (Yet!) on Sourdough: Sourdough Paratha

Sorry! (Not sorry! No time!) No photos!

Not much commentary here, to be honest.

I have yet to convince myself that I am good at Indian breads, though I did make some nice naans from Sarah Owens' Sourdough book, and I did manage to follow Tracy's paratha recipe, both with good results. And after making Tracy's parathas, I decided the next thing I would do would be to convert that recipe into a sourdough recipe due to health concerns for the Maharajah, as well as a curiosity to see if improves texture and taste--which is already quite good with Tracy's recipe.

What follows is what I threw together last night (and cooked off this morning before work--since his majesty is working from home and I wanted to provide sustenance). I used Tracy's recipe as a guide.


1 1/2 C KAF Sprouted Wheat Flour (if you have whole wheat or atta, use that)
1 T white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 C Sourdough starter (this time, mine was freshly fed)
Drizzle olive oil
2-3 T warm water
Room temp butter
Oil spray


Mix everything together, and add just enough water to make the dough come together. Let it autolyze/rest about a half hour before handling further.

On a floured surface, knead the dough a bit to build up the gluten. When dough is somewhat stiff, cut into four pieces. Roll them into balls. Flatten with palms of hand and roll out thin. 

"Shmear" (yes, shmear) the surface with butter and a very light dusting of flour. I didn't get fancy with rolling it up. Tracy employs a "pac man" type cut and then rolls it up. I'm lazy. I just rolled it up what I would call "flauta style," (only I rolled a bit tighter than an actual flauta),  pinched one end, then rolled that into a pinwheel, tucking the other end under, pressing down slightly to secure. Repeat process with remaining three balls. 

I set these in a covered dish in the fridge to rest until I am ready to cook them off.

As my nonstick pan was warming up, I rolled out the first paratha. Thin, but not too thin. Thin and as big as you can, but not so thin it rips when you pick it up is the overall guideline I'll give. Sorry, no photos. No time this morning before work! I was going to cook these off before making a batch of saag paneer (recipe to follow in another blog post).

Once pan was warmed up sufficiently (medium heat), I spritzed some oil spray and placed the paratha in. I let it cook, IDK! roughly a minute or two, and then I flipped it. I then took a clean dish towel and started to press down lightly on the edge all around the circumference of the paratha, and then press down in the middle. Flip again. repeat the dish towel routine. A rough estimate of time was about 2 minutes each side, and I flipped it about three times to ensure the paratha was cooked through.

I then did Tracy's bit after removing the paratha from the pan, where I take the edges and kind of, what I would say "rumple" the paratha to kind of open up the flakey layers.

I will know by lunchtime the results of this experiment!  

Final analysis: Definite winner. Maharajah said the bread was, and I quote, "Nom nom." I didn't get any more specific data on it (i.e. if it were flakier, chewier, etc), before he dove right in and started devouring his lunch.  

I did get more conclusive feedback. Maharajah said they were a bit more flakey than the previous batch I made (which was Tracy's recipe--not a sourdough recipe). So there is an added textural benefit to the sourdough!

Monday, May 01, 2017


This is actually the second permutation of my sourdough hybrid challah recipe.

1. Warm milk & dissolve a nice pinch of saffron in warm milk: 
65 gm Warm Milk (I used 1% Lactaid) *OR* Apple Cider 
50 gm Sugar 

2. Then add these ingredients to milk solution: 
130 gm Sourdough Starter 
10 gm Yeast (granulated, commercial)

3. Then add and let sit five minutes: 
190 gm KAF Sprouted Wheat Flour *OR* APF 

4. Then add more wet things to the dough: 
3 Eggs 
3 Egg yolks (I saved the whites for some palaak paneer quiches to be made later in the week)
80 gm Margarine 

5. Then slowly incorporate the flours—then knead about 10 minutes to a tacky dough: 
170 gm APF 
300 gm Bread flour 

6. Let dough autolyze 30 minutes then add salt: 
10 gm Salt 

7. After adding salt then let sit for 1 hour.

8. Dust work surface with flour, knead for 12 minutes, then divide into two portions. Let rest 5 minutes. 

9. Cut each into 3 to 6 equal pieces, roll into long tubes and braid dough (on parchment paper) and into baking pans. Put in fridge for (a minimum) 24 hours.

10. Heat up oven to 400 (preheat clay baker). Egg wash loaves and p; sprinkle with salt or seeds of choosing. Place dough in clay baker covered.
11. Place in oven. Reduce temp to 350. Bake 30 minutes covered, then rotate pan, remove lid, and bake for another 20-25 minutes until golden. Let cool in clay baker.

I weighted this monster after baking, and it was 2 lbs 8 oz. More than ample to make two loaves no doubt, but my clay baker accommodates enough dough to make a monster loaf.