Saturday, October 28, 2006

Versatile Dough

It’s getting cold again. Didn’t feel like going out on Saturday. I just wanted to feel warm and have something nice baking in the oven. I first roasted and mashed garlic for an olive oil dip. Then I made Portobello Mushroom Stuffed with Lobster for dinner and baked something savory and something sweet for dessert. The catch was the dough. I made only one dough for both savory and sweet pastries. It’s such a versatile dough. It can go both ways. I made Calzones Filled with Cheese and Nutella, and also Flat bread topped with Ricotta, Mozzarella, and Chives. They are turned out great. Here are the recipes:

For the dough:

3 ½ cups flour
20 grams yeast
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Dissolve yeast in warm water, stir in 2 tablespoon flour. Mix until smooth. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place until it has a sponge-like consistency, about 15 minutes. Mix the other ingredients to the yeast and knead on a surface dusted with flour. If the dough is sticky add some more flour. Separate in two parts, one for the calzone, one for the flat bread.

Nutella and Mascarpone Calzone

1/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
2/3 cup Nutella
3 tablespoons whipping cream

1 large egg, beaten to blend

Nutella Filling: Whisk Nutella and whipping cream together until smooth.

Ricotta Filling: Blend 1 egg yolk, mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, and ricotta until smooth and creamy. Transfer the ricotta mixture to a small bowl, then cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F.
Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the dough on a suface dusted with flour, cut 7-inch-diameter rounds. Spoon the ricotta mixture atop the center of the lower half of each dough. Spoon the chocolate-hazelnut mixture atop the cheese mixture. Fold the plain dough halves over the filling, forming half circles. Pinch the edges of dough firmly together to seal. Transfer the calzones to the prepared baking sheet, spacing evenly.
Brush the tops of the calzones with egg wash. Bake until the calzones puff and become golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and cool for 15 minutes. Transfer the calzones to plates and dust with the powdered sugar.

Flat Bread with Ricotta and Mozzarela

1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shreded mozzarella
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Mix the ingredients above.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Open the dough on a surface dusted with cornmeal. Sprinkle cornmeal on both sides of the dough. Cut 7-inch-diameter rounds. Fold the edge in on itself to form a border. Place one tablespoon of the filling on each flat bread. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

KitchenAid Rocks!

The pouring shield of my KitchenAid mixer melted in the dishwasher. I called KitchenAid and it turns out it was still under warranty. They sent me a new one via UPS and it got here in 3 days! My beautiful mixer and its pouring shield are finally reunited. And I am a happy customer.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Pao de Queijo - Brazilian Cheese Bread

Pão de queijo roughly translates as Cheese Bread, Cheese Rolls, or Cheese Puffs. But in reality they are unlike any other type of bread I have ever tasted. They have a very thin crust and are chewy and moist inside – if made correctly they are not doughy. It is made of sour starch and fresh cheese and don’t use any type of baking soda or yeast.
I have yet to meet somebody who tasted them and didn’t fall for these unique cheese balls. Making pao de queijo is a snap, and you can freeze them and bake later.

The original recipe uses Queijo de Minas - a white, fresh Brazilian cheese. Since this cheese is not largely available I replaced it with a Mexican Cheese called Queso Fresco that’s easily found at Hispanic Food Stores. You can also use a hard cheese such as Parmesan instead of fresh cheese.

Pão de queijo

1/2 cup water
2 cups sour manioc starch (available at Asian food stores)
2 cups Queso Fresco, crumbled (or a grated hard cheese such as Parmesan)
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt - use less if the cheese used is very salty

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Mix all the ingredients well except the water. Add water slowly, until you reach a soft dough consistency. It should not stick to your hands. Make 1 inch balls. They should hold its shape - if it's too soft add some more sour starch, if it's too hard add some more water. Place the balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes or until light brown. Serve hot or room temperature.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Family outing

Hubby, Baby, and I had tickets to a Wine and Food Festival on Saturday. My intuition was telling me not to go, it was raining and the festival was outdoors on an Equestrian center, it was cold, I got up late and didn't have time to eat breakfast and lunch... We decided to go anyway, after all I would be able to eat and drink at the festival. We left our house at 1:00 pm with hopes of being there in 30 minutes. After an hour and 45 minutes sitting in the car, staring at the traffic light turning green, yellow, red, green, yellow, red... and nothing moving at all my husband had the brilliant idea of going to the shopping mall 100 yards from where we were and having lunch there. I was starving, at that point I would have agreed on anything. We were finally able to go to Panera and have a sandwich - which was a far cry from the scallop seviche, mahi-mahi taco, oysters, clams, and mussels I drooled over when I read the festival menu.
I stopped at Carter's to buy some outfits for my little guy. Who new they make little sweatsuits for a 4 month-old baby? They are adorable though.
Since I was already there, we stopped at Williams-Sonoma. I needed something to cheer myself up. I bought a set of 3 mixing bowls, a spatula, new measuring spoons, and a beautiful hemstitched linen tablecloth. I bet no one can guess my favorite color.