Cook's Hideout: August 2010

August 29, 2010

Burger Buns

With Summer almost coming to an end with the upcoming Labor day weekend here in the U.S., I wanted to post the recipes I made this summer. Some of them are great for backyard grilling parties and some like these Burger buns are fun to make anytime of the year.

After a lot of deliberations and thought we bought our first grille this summer. We wanted to buy a really small one since both my husband and I didn’t think veggie bbq needs anymore investment than that. But we ended up buying this 4 burner Grille master for $200. We had our first barbeque with family for 4th of July and everybody really enjoyed the food and the time together cooking and grilling (Yup.. this post has been on my drafts for more than a month now).

For our first ever BBQ I made these beautiful burger buns and they came out awesome, tasted way better than store bought. Recipe is from King Arthur flour and it is very easy to put together too.

All purpose Flour – 1¾ cups
White Whole wheat flour – ¾ cup
Salt – 1¼ tsp
Sugar – ¼ cup
Yeast – 1tbsp
Butter – 2tbsp
Egg – 1 large, lightly beaten
Luke warm water – ¾ cup

  • Combine flours, salt, sugar & yeast in a large mixing bowl.
  • Melt butter and add along with egg to the flour mixture. Add water and mix until everything is well incorporated.
  • Knead until it forms into soft, smooth dough. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  • Gently deflate the dough and divide into equal pieces. I was able to make 11 approximately equal sized rolls. Shape piece into a round 1” thick and flatten to about 3” across.
  • Place the buns on a lightly greased baking sheet; cover and let rise for another 1 hour, until the buns are very puffy.
  • Preheat the oven to 375ºF and bake the buns for 12-15 minutes until golden. Cool on rack.
These buns are perfect for burgers, but they also make great breakfast with some butter & jam..

August 25, 2010

Belgian Yeast Waffles and a Product Review

I love to have a hearty breakfast especially over the weekends. But it so happens that every weekend morning we are either running around to finish errands or wake up too late to have breakfast. Hearty breakfast menu in our household (whenever we make it, that is) is usually pancakes with syrup, idlis with chutney or sabudhana khichdi (ahem.. it’s probably been more than a year I made this dish).
Making Waffles for breakfast is probably something I wouldn’t even dream off to make at home. So when CSN Stores contacted me to do a product review, I was super excited and this time I knew exactly what I wanted to get. I got this Presto Belgian Waffle maker and after making waffles for 2 weekend breakfasts, I’m totally in love with it.

I used the Belgian yeast Waffle recipe from King Arthur flour website and the waffles turned out crispy on the outside and soft & yeasty on the inside. Batter can be refrigerated overnight making breakfast on a weekend morning possible and not a dream.

Recipe from KAF website
All-purpose flour – 1 cup
Milk – 1½ cups
Butter – 6tbsp
Maple Syrup – 3tbsp
Salt – ¾ tsp
Vanilla extract – 1tsp
Eggs – 2, large
Yeast – 1 ½tsp

  • Heat milk until very hot (microwave for about 2-3 minutes depending on the power of your mw).
  • Pour into a large mixing bowl (make sure that the bowl is BIG enough to accommodate doubled batter the next day), and add butter, maple syrup, salt and vanilla. Stir until butter starts to melt and the mixture cooled down to lukewarm.
  • Add eggs, yeast and flour and mix until well combined. Cover the batter with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • At this point, batter can be used to make waffles or can be refrigerated overnight to make waffles next morning.
  • Preheat the waffle maker and following manufacturer’s directions, make the waffles. On my waffle maker; I used 1 cup of batter and cooked for about 5 minutes to get a perfectly cooked waffle. Enjoy right away with syrup and/or fruit.
These were probably the best waffles I ever ate and even my almost 3 year loved them. Will be making them often now.
I have to thank CSN Stores for giving me the opportunity to do the product review. The Presto Belgian Waffle Maker has a unique 180º flip design that ensures that the batter spreads evenly for waffles that are crispy on the outside and soft, fluffy and tender on the inside. It has a countdown timer and digital display signals when baking time is up. It locks in a vertical position and stands on the side making it compact and easy to store.

Will keep you posted with other waffle recipes I make for our weekend breakfast or for dessert (???).

August 17, 2010

Green Pepper & Potato Poriyal

Life has been a little busy, both at home front and at work. We are enjoying the company of our in-laws this summer and will miss them thoroughly once they leave. :-(
Summer is almost about to end and I've a couple of veggie grilling recipes that I need to post before we close our patios & decks for the upcoming chilly seasons. Hopefully I get to them before late.
Coming to the Poriyal; this recipe is from Chandra Padmanabhan’s Dakshin-Vegetarian South Indian Recipes cookbook. The recipe calls for mixing yogurt with chopped green pepper and marinating for 10 minutes and then make the curry. I thought that was a little different and did it, even though I wasn’t sure if that additional step really made any difference to the taste. It went well with steamed rice and mixed veggie sambhar.

Green peppers – 2 medium, chopped
Potatoes – 2 medium, chopped
Yogurt – 2tbsp
Turmeric – ½ tsp
Poriyal Powder** – 2tsp

For tempering:
Mustard seeds – 1tsp
Cumin seeds – 1tsp
Curry leaves – 6-8

  • Mix yogurt into chopped green peppers and keep aside for 10 minutes.
  • Heat 2tbsp oil in a sauté pan; add the tempering ingredients and once the seeds splutter add potatoes and peppers along with turmeric.
  • Cover and cook until veggies are tender, about 10-12 minutes.
  • Add poriyal powder & salt. Mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Serve hot with steamed rice.
** Poriyal Powder:
Coriander Seeds - 1 1/4 cups
Chana dal (Bengal gram/ Senagapappu) - 3/4 cup
Urad dal (Black gram/ Minapappu) - 1/2 cup
Dry Red Chillies - 3/4 cup
Oil - 3tsp
Hing - 2tsp
Tamarind Ball - marble sized
Salt - to taste

  • Dry roast Coriander seeds, bengal gramdal and black gram dal.
  • Fry the red chillies in the oil.
  • Mix all the ingredients together and powder almost fine.
  • Store the powder in anairtight container and use as required.

August 05, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I bought me a lifetime supply of yeast from BJs almost 6 months ago. Price of these got my attention and ultimately place in my pantry and freezer; 2 lbs of yeast for half the price of 1 lb (or even less in some cases) at any other specialty online store or grocery store. So I went right with my common sense and bought these thinking that I can start baking and use them up in no time. Well that didn’t happen, so I froze one of the bags that I opened and kept the unopened one safely in the pantry.
The impending yeast expiration date motivated me to borrow Peter Reinhart’s: Bead Baking Apprentice from the library. It is more of a text book than a cookbook and read all the introductory chapters before I started baking. The author describes in detail the science of bread baking and how each step in the process affects the final result. It is a great reference book for anyone who’s new to baking breads like me.
My first bread from the book is this Cinnamon Raisin bread and I’m happy to report that it came out very well for my first attempt. One thing to remember if you have frozen yeast is to make sure that it brought to room temperature before using it. I left the amount needed in the recipe out on the counter for couple of hours.

Recipe from Bread Baker’s Apprentice
Mixing time: 15minutes
Proofing time: 3½ - 4 hours
Baking time: 45 – 50 minutes

Bread Flour – 3½ cups (16 oz.)
Yeast – 2tsp
Sugar – 4tsp
Salt – 1¼tsp
Cinnamon – 1¼tsp
Egg – 1, lightly whisked
Buttermilk or Milk – 1 cup at room temperature
Shortening – 2tbsp, melted or at room temperature
Water – ¾ cup, at room temperature
Raisins – 1½ cups, rinsed and drained
Walnuts – 1cup (I didn’t add any nuts)

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, yeast, sugar, salt and cinnamon until well blended. Add buttermilk/milk, egg, shortening and water.
  • Mix with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball, add more water if needed (I didn’t have to add any extra water).
  • Turn the dough ball on lightly floured counter and knead for about 10 minutes. Author suggests having a timer set, so you don’t compromise on kneading which is THE major step in bread baking.
  • In the last 2 minutes of kneading, add the raisins and nuts (if using) and make sure they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  • At the end of kneading the dough should pass the windowpane test and should register a temperature of between 77°F - 81°F.
  • Lightly grease a large bowl and slide the kneaded ball and roll around to coat it with oil. Tightly place a plastic wrap on the bowl and proof/ ferment for 2 hours until the dough puffs up and doubles in size.
  • After about 2 hours, divide the dough into 2 halves and form them into loaves (see here for detailed pictures on how to form a loaf. Place each loaf in a lightly oiled 8.5" x 4.5" pan, mist the tops with cooking spray, and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  • Proof at room temperature for another 60 to 90 minutes, or until the dough crests above the lips of the pans and is nearly doubled in size.
  • Preheat oven to 350F with the rack on the middle shelf. Place the loaf pans on a baking sheet, making sure that they are not touching each other.
  • Bake the loaves for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes. The finished breads should register 190F in the center and be golden brown on top and lightly golden on the sides and bottom. They should make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.
  • Immediately remove the breads from their pans and cool on a rack for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours, before slicing or serving.


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