Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Well, I’m back from my trip home. I didn’t really mean to, but I ended up cooking almost as much as I did last year. Here’s the rundown:

Something easy to start: No knead bread, starting from http://steamykitchen.com/168-no-knead-bread-revisited.html with a few of my usual tweaks. I mostly followed the recipe, but added some extra gluten to the dough and some water to compensate, also I used regular yeast instead of instant, but it seemed to work out fine.

Ingredients immediately after mixing.


Left to sit overnight.

After sitting.

Rising.

Pre-bake.

Baked. It's really easy to make and is seriously some of the most delicious bread I've ever had. It's unusually light on the inside and is the first bread that I've been able to get that super crackly crust. I just need to find something in which to bake it, back here in Toronto.


Taking a break from cooking with an evening of Civ V.
video

Topped off the week with a little dinner party. Sous vide flatirons are delicious, well strip loin even more so, and it’s perfect for keeping food warm when everyone shows up an hour late. (cough… cough) Glazed carrots as a veggie dish, Jeff and Sarah brought scalloped potatoes, and to top the evening off, an encore of my Turtles Cheesecake. My instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/Turtle-Cheesecake/


Stay tuned for experiments in home deep frying. (assuming I don’t immolate myself)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Weekend Kitchen Adventures

Hey everyone, I know it’s been a while since my last post so I figured it was time for another. I’m heading home for Thanksgiving at the end of the week, so no cooking a turkey for myself this year. This weekend has seen a lot of cooking, however, so I thought I would post some pictures of my kitchen escapades.

Sous Vide Steaks

As some of you may know, I’ve been experimenting with makeshift sous vide cooking with a styrofoam shipping box. I’m impressed enough with it that I’m considering building a proper setup with a heater, at some point, but for now, here’s what I did with some awesome flatiron steaks (10 $/lb from Royal Beef – Danforth near Woodbine). Flatirons are ideal for cooking this way as they are very flavourful due to high fat content, but are ordinarily difficult to cook properly and get tough if over or undercooked.

First, marinaded overnight in the refrigerator with sugar, tamari, shaved ginger, prepared Dijon mustard, and sesame oil. Plastic zipper bags are nice for this: no mess and they can be used for the sous vide.

Into the cooler at 57 °C.

Let sit for 45 minutes - now 54 °C, the perfect temperature.

Potatoes for mashed potatoes still cooking but it doesn’t matter because I can leave the meat in the cooler for a while longer with no ill effect.

The ugly, unbrowned steaks fresh out of the the bag.

Steaks, after a quick browning in a frying pan — totally even throughout and some of the best I’ve tasted.

Cinnamon Rolls

We have a little muffin club going at work right now — three of us each get a week and make muffins for everyone. This week is mine and I figured I would make something different and do cinnamon rolls.
I started with this recipe, but made a few tweaks here and there: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/overnight-cinnamon-rolls-i

Melting butter into cream. I had a lot of 10% MF cream in the fridge so I used that instead of the milk specified in the recipe.

Dough after kneading. I managed to do all the kneading in the bowl, which was nice.

Rolling the dough out. It should be noted that a 1L rigid Nalgene bottle works quite well as a rolling pin in a pinch.

Added a thin layer of margarine to the dough for the filling.

Filling added.

Dough rolled up. If I do this recipe again, I’ll roll it out thinner. It seems to expand a lot when it rises.

Cut and ready to rise. I decided to see what would happen if I put them into a muffin pan.

Post-rising. As you can see, the dough really expands a lot and does weird things in the muffin pan.

Post-baking. The recipe is waaaaaaay off as far as baking time goes. The ones in the muffin pan are overdone at 10 minutes and the ones on the cookie sheet took about 12 minutes. The bottoms brown rather heavily; I suspect that an air bake sheet might be good for this.

Iced and ready to go into the freezer for transport to work. All in all, it’s a good recipe and they’re very tasty. The muffin pan did some strange things. I weighed some of them and found that the mass of the rolls in the muffin pan were only about 10% less than the normal ones, but are much smaller and seem to be rather dense. The pan also made the bottom and sides of them brown too much for my liking.