ceiling_taffi (ceiling_taffi) wrote in whatwecook,
ceiling_taffi
ceiling_taffi
whatwecook

I've been cooking and baking, really I have...

... it's just that I haven't been measuring anything all the way through. Oops.

I have a few notes, though:

1. Recently, I made two batches of pretzels, and have determined that two tablespoons of baking soda per 2 quart saucepan of water (3/4 full, topped up as it evaporates - I did measure this!) is just about perfect pretzel-making simmering water, at least according to my tastebuds. Basically, the water should noticeably taste of baking soda, but not leave a terrible *blech* in your mouth for over five minutes. Also, silpats are indeed magic for pretzels - any egg wash that slops over just peels right off, the pretzels come off beautifully themselves, and no aluminum to react with. Hooray! I suspect nonstick-coated baking sheets would also be fine, but might require a bit more cleaning between batches.

2. Homemade hot cross buns are tasty, even when part-whole-wheat. Make a wet, enriched dough using whatever's in your fridge (butter, milk, sour cream, eggs - I used milk, reduced-fat sour cream, and leftover egg yolks, and it seems to have worked) and some dried fruit zapped in the microwave (or simmered on the stove) in orange juice. Basically, make a thick batter first with a teaspoon or two of yeast, and some flour (and, since I generally don't have bread flour, a teaspoon or two of gluten added in) and a bit of salt and a bit of honey (1 tbs or so - I didn't put in much) and the wet dairy-ish stuff with dried fruit, then add flour to the batter, alternating between white and whole wheat, until the dough is tacky to the touch but is starting to pull away from the sides of the kitchenaid. Set it in a warm place (say, in front of one's heater) until it's doubled. Form into balls, let rise until around doubled, slash tops, and bake at 375 until done. I brushed the top with a mixture of milk and honey and popped them back in the oven briefly to dry it for a slightly sweet shiny glaze.

3. I'm beginning to think that one of the more perfect I-have-a-miserable-cold foods is garlic-ginger broth (with or without added chicken broth). Peel one head of garlic, chop it as finely as you feel like (I usually go for 1/3 clove-size pieces), slice about half that amount of fresh ginger, and simmer in a few cups of lightly salted water (or water with a can of chicken broth added. Once it's done, stir (the ginger settles) and drink it as-is for a restorative broth (mmm, clear those sinuses!), or add noodles, rice, egg, vegetables, mushrooms, potstickers, or whatever else for a more meal-ish thing.

4. Oh, and you can make wholegrain potstickers! Mix whole-wheat flour with a bit of salt and water until you get a soft, but not too sticky dough. Pinch off large grape (or small kumquat) sized balls of it, roll them into circles, and fill as normal with whatever you would customarily put inside potstickers. Warning: as with regular homemade potsticker wrappers, they'll stick together if they're too close to each other, unless you dust them with something (the prepackaged wrappers come pre-dusted with something like cornstarch, potato starch, or rice flour).

5. Also, pi(e) day is coming up next Saturday. Yum. We will be observing this holiday.

6. Jello jigglers are surprisingly popular amongst graduate students, even when just cut into squares instead of into funny shapes. And no, they weren't expecting them to be alcoholic.

7. Strawberry marshmallows can be made with strained smashed strawberries instead of double-concentrate - they're a bit less loud in their strawberryness and don't make your entire apartment smell like jam, but the end result is still distinctly strawberry-y, which is perhaps acceptable since this means that it's easier and quicker and all that to make them. They're also fantastic when covered with Ghirardelli's 60% cocoa chocolate (which is the easiest chocolate I've found to quick-temper, presumably because of the high cocoa butter content?); I want to make raspberry marshmallows, which I think would be even better, but I'll be waiting for raspberry season for that.

Mmm.
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