Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lavash Crackers & Toppings

This month's Daring Baker Challenge is Lavash Crackers with a choice of dips and toppings. It was a vegan month for the DBs.

Recipe Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers

* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)
* 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
* 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar
* 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature
* Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings

1.  In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball.  You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.

2.  For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough:  Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter.  Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed.  The dough should pass the windowpane test (see http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-if-Bre … ong-Enough for a discription of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled.  Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).

4.  For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough:  Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter.  Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour.  Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches.  You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax.  At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down.  Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes.  When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes.  Line a sheet pan with baking parchment.  Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment.  If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf.  Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.)  Be careful with spices and salt - a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough.  You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking.  If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.

6.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).

7.  When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes.  You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.
What a great challenge!

Ithought I would incorporate three flavours into the dough. Roasted Garlic, Basil Vegan Pesto, Roasted Red Capsicum (Red Bell Pepper),

Here are the three baked crackers.

Some close ups of Roasted Garlic, Basil Vegan Pesto, Roasted Red Capsicum (Red Bell Pepper) crackers

The dips were Rocket/Basil Vegan pesto, Roasted Beetroot, Roasted Garlic and Red Capsicum.

I also thought I would make Pita (Pocket) Bread. Notice the shape and size of the pocket that is formed.

And I did corn crackers I used a pasta machine to make the crackers as thin as possible

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Spicy Sticky Hot Hot Hot Chicken Wings

I make good Chicken Wings that are Spicy, Sticky and Hot HOt HOT.

1.5 kgs of chicken wings
1/2 cup Soya Sauce
2 Tablespoons Oyster Sauce
3 Cloves Garlic crushed
1/4 cup Fish Sauce
4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Rice Wine
3 Tablespoons Hot Chilli Sauce (I use ABC Brand)

Cut chicken Wings into portions. Add wings to large bowl. In a separate bowl add all the other ingredients, taste to see if the balance of salty/hot/sour/sweet/bitter is correct then pour into the chicken wings bowl. Marinate for minimum 3 hours or overnight. Place wings onto rack over a foil covered pan. Pour marinate into small pan simmer while wings are in the oven. Pre heat oven to 250C roast wings for 20 mins. Coating occasionally with the simmering marinate.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Triple Red Roasted Capsicum Soup

I finally got my new blogger camera and I love it. It seems to do the job and it was on special ($50 off) when I went to the shop to buy it, I took this as a good omen.

Do I feel seedy and a bit stressed out by the firing up of the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) I have been looking forward to this for a long time. (We shall see if it will uncover the “god” particle that gives mass to matter.) And I needed a tonic of high antioxidants to counter the stress hormones that my body has been pumping into me lately. I thought why not Triple Red Roasted Capsicum Soup (Triple Red Roasted Bell Pepper Soup). As most people know red capsicum is classed as a superfood because it packed with all sorts of goodies and has a huge antioxidant content, and this soup contains a triple dose of goodness from the roasted red capsicum, the smoked paprika and the cayenne pepper (which all are made from capsicum).

Here is a summary of a paper on the Antioxidant Activities of Different Coloured Sweet Bell Peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) - Antioxidant compounds and their antioxidant activity in 4 different colored (green, yellow, orange, and red) sweet bell peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) were investigated. The total phenolics content of green, yellow, orange, and red peppers determined by the Folin-Ciocalteau method were 2.4, 3.3, 3.4, and 4.2 μmol catechin equivalent/g fresh weight, respectively. The red pepper had significantly higher total phenolics content than the green pepper. Among the 4 different colored peppers, red pepper contained a higher level of β-carotene (5.4 μg/g), capsanthin (8.0 μg/g), quercetin (34.0 μg/g), and luteolin (11.0 μg/g). The yellow pepper had the lowest β-carotene content (0.2 μg/g), while the green one had undetectable capsanthin and the lowest content of luteolin (2.0 μg/g). The free radical scavenging abilities of peppers determined by the 2,2'-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) method were lowest for the green pepper (2.1 μmol Trolox equivalent/g) but not significantly different from the other 3 peppers. All 4 colored peppers exhibited significant abilities in preventing the oxidation of cholesterol or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (C22:6) during heating. However, these 4 peppers did not show significant differences in their abilities in preventing cholesterol oxidation. The green pepper showed slightly higher capability in preventing the oxidation of DHA compared to the other 3 peppers.

Triple Red Roasted Capsicum Soup
½ kilo of ripe red capsicums (1 lb of red bell peppers)
3 cups of vegetable stock
2 teaspoons of butter
2 teaspoons of olive oil
1 clove garlic minced finely
2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
¼ teaspoons hot cayenne pepper (or to taste)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Sourdough bread to serve.

1.Cut the capsicum into flat strips. Spread with olive oil spread.
2.Grill (Broil) under a very hot griller until the strips are completely black.
3.Place into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool.
4.Remove blackened skins from the capsicum flesh and cut flesh into small pieces.
5.Place butter and olive oil into small pan and fry minced garlic until a light brown colour.
6.Add the stock, the cut up capsicum flesh the paprika and simmer for 10-20 mins.
7.Blend using a wand blender until smooth. Adjust seasoning.
8.Serve with sourdough bread.

I can feel the antioxidants coursing through my body now, yummy, the smoked paprika and the cayenne pepper complement the taste of the roasted red capsicums so nicely. That hit the spot.

Grill the capsicum until it is completely black

Notice how black the skins are and the plastic covered bowl.

A close up of the cut up capsicum.

Frying the garlic.

Simmering for a while.

The final result yum yum in my tum tum. Notice the steam coming off the soup. Even better the next day. The sourdough was home-made.

Also roasted bell peppers can be bottled and stored for a very long time. Use washed and boiled bottles and olive oil to completely cover the peppers. Will keep for a year. It is a very expensive item (bottled roasted bell peppers) over $50/kg in Australia.