Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Onion Jam

Hi there!

Thank goodness a blog is not a living thing because I’d be sued for neglecting it for months and I’m pretty much glad that I don’t make money from blogging because I suck at concentrating on writing. Who could resist not clicking on stupid 9gag vids and cute animal vids? I started with plenty of ideas in my head but 2 hours later I’d be reading about how to grow onions. Speaking about onions, I have accepted the fact that I also suck in gardening so I may as well buy  all the onions I need. My thumbs just aren't that green.

Onion is one of my favorite pantry staples. It makes simple food tastes like 5 star cuisine and I do not like skimping on onions. I put it in the salad, I make it into pie, I use double amount of it in stir fries, basically I love onion for its taste and its health benefits. Though I do not go as far as worship it like the ancient Egyptians. Do you know that they believed that its spherical shape and concentric rings symbolized eternal life? Onions were even used in Egyptian burials, the archaeologists found traces of onions in the eye sockets of Ramesses IV. Cool and creepy, isn't it? They took the eyes out, put them in a clay jar then shoved an onion in each eye socket.

Anyhow, let’s stop there before you get grossed out by what I find amusing. Let me share you an amazing onion recipe that will turn your world upside down. Onion jam. I found the recipe at Allrecipes.com and this is perfect without any tweaking. I totally find it ahmazing that with just FOUR simple ingredients, you can turn a humble allium into a sassy, classy, sexy dish. The only thing I do differently is leaving the onion in the pot after I finish cooking it so it will mellow further and caramelize beyond perfection.

Here’s what you need:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup white sugar
4 cups onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup red wine vinegar 
ground black pepper to taste


Heat vegetable oil in a heavy pot, use stainless or glass, over medium heat. Stir sugar into vegetable oil with a wooden spoon, stirring constantly until mixture is a light caramel-color. This mixture will be EXTREMELY HOT. So excuse my camera angle, I'm trying to deal with it fast and careful to avoid burning it, and protect myself from nasty hot sugar-oil splatter, and so should you.

Stir onion, salt, and black pepper into sugar mixture. Onions will immediately start to caramelize. Stir frequently over medium heat until sugar has dissolved and onions are browned, about 15 minutes. Pour red wine vinegar into onion mixture and simmer until mixture has a jam consistency, about 30 minutes. Let it cool in the pot with half the lid on.

How easy is that? Here is the result, EPIC!

It's tangy, it's sweet, it is just super umami. 

You can use it as a condiment when you serve steak or curry. It is a simpler substitute for chutney and you do not have to go through all the trouble of making chutney. But here is how we serve it at home. On bread, with a good spread of  cream cheese. 

It just can't get any better than this. The tanginess compliments the creaminess of the cheese. It is like a match made in heaven. It is just how things are meant to be. 

For more lovely onion ideas, you can try:

Happy cooking,

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Friday, January 30, 2015

Sourdough Bagels

“It has been almost two months since my last bake.” confessed the militant advocate for good food who also happened to be a gluttonous baker.

She had tried to stay far away from the temptation called wheat, meat, and everything buttered and though the fat she piled mile high from the last Christmas parties she went to had not yet completely disappeared, her already weak willed self broke at the thought of having to have another slice of factory bread just because she was afraid to gain a few pounds by baking.

So on that eventful night, her dormant sourdough starter, which she treasured like the golden tooth she thought she would have one day, was fed with the purest organic dark rye flour so it would wake up from its deep slumber and ready to be at its Mistress’ service. But alas, too long Bonnie had slept. One feeding, two feedings, three feedings were what it took to wake the bonnie sleepy starter drunk in its own alcohol. Once Bonnie was awakened, she sported a grin bigger than Cheshire cat’s grin and made way to her laboratory called The Kitchen.

LOL, enough with the story. Let me just say a very belated New Year. YAY. Yes, I haven’t baked in a while. Jeez I want my old jeans back and YAY, I am getting there. Apparently bread is not what made me gained weight. It was dinner. I still eat like I used to but I only have coffee or hot cocoa at night. My dinner is at 5 pm. Weird isn't it? But whatever works for me might not work for you vice versa. But what I know for sure, do not go into a fad or crash diet because once you’re done, you’re getting the lost pounds back plus some more caused by missing a certain kind of food so much so you gorge in it until you feel rather bad about it. Diet, a vicious cycle don’t you think?

Anyhow, I want to share you a sourdough bagels recipe. This is a recipe that I love so much because it yields chewy bagels with a pleasant sourdough tang. Bagels are supposed to be chewy; otherwise it should be called doughnuts. I do have to warn you that you need to work those arms to knead the dough like you are competing for $1000. The gluten needs to be strong, strong, strong. So you have to knead, knead, knead. 
So let’s roll up those sleeves!

Recipe is adapted from: Wild Yeast Blog
340 gr bread flour
10 g vital wheat gluten*
130 gr cold water
28 gr milk powder
17 gr brown sugar 
11 gr salt
300 gr active 100%-hydration sourdough starter
1 tbs baking soda for boiling
Sesame or poppy seeds for topping, optional

*If you do not have vital wheat gluten, you can use 350 gr bread flour but the result will be less chewy.

-Mix all the ingredients together until thoroughly combined and KNEAD.
If you are tired, rest for a while and do not forget to cover your dough with a cling wrap so it does not dry out. It will also benefit the dough. For example; knead for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, then knead again. Low hydration dough gives you the best arm workout.
-Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.
-Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Cover and let rest for another 10 minutes.
-Line a sheet tray with a parchment paper or silpat then dust it generously with semolina or corn meal.

I just have to put this here. Look at her knead the heavy dough :D

You can shape bagels in two ways. 
-The first is making a 10 inch long rope from each ball of dough and form a ring by joining both ends, but overlapping each a bit, then roll the joint ends to seal the deal.
-Second, this is the easy way, is just to poke a hole in the middle of the dough.

Choose whichever way of shaping you like

Proofing and Baking:
-Proof for about 3-4 hours at warm room temperature, until the bagels look and feel a bit puffy.
-When 3-4 hours is up, transfer the whole tray then to the refrigerator for 4–8 hours.
-Preheat oven to 215C.  
-Put a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil 
-Prepare a wire rack
-Remove bagels from refrigerator 
-When the water boils vigorously, add the baking soda.  
-Gently lower a few bagels at a time into the boiling water.  Boil for 20 seconds (by which time they should be floating).  If they float immediately, be sure to turn them after 10 seconds so both sides get the full benefit of the boiling water.
-Lift them out with a strainer or slotted spatula, roll it on the topping if you're using, and place on the wire rack.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Let them sit on the rack for at least 30 seconds before placing them back on the tray.
-Once they are all back on the tray, slide them into the oven.  When the oven door is shut, lower heat to 200C.  Bake until golden, around 24-26 minutes.

I hate to admit it but every time I see this picture, Pitbull's image just pops in my head singing..

One two three four
Uno dos tres cuatro
I know you want me, want me
You know I want cha, want cha

But who does not want these plump bagels??

These are best eaten at the same day but if you want to keep it fresh longer, freeze the bagels by wrapping them individually in cling wrap. Bring it to room temperature and toast it before you consume it. Now, pass me some cream cheese, please. 
Today, we dine. Tomorrow, we jog.


Submitting this to YeastSpotting

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