Posts Tagged ‘French’
Andre took me out to a nice dinner at Michel’s at the Colony Surf for my birthday. Michel’s is fancy French restaurant situated right on the beach overlooking the ocean at the edge of Waikiki. The restaurant was open air and they sat us by the window for the sunset seating. Unfortunately, it was cloudy so we weren’t able to see the sunset, however we still had a great time since the food and service were amazing! (more…)
I have been baking a lot of breads lately. I never thought I would venture into this area, but at $5 a loaf here in Hawaii, I wanted to try baking it myself. Bread baking is quite an art form. There are so many different types of breads out there. It is quite fascinating. I am always excited when the dough rises because it is alive! It is amazing what yeast can do. The best part about it is how my apartment smells like a bakery.
I picked up some fluted brioche pans from Executive Chef at Ward Center a few weeks ago. I love how the traditional French brioche rolls look. There is a round body and a small head on top. It is quite cute. Brioche is a very eggy bread and it is fluffy but dense at the same time, if that is even possible. It is the perfect bread for making french toast, but I like eating it plain or with some nutella.
The thing about baking is that the recipes are so precise and it is not only an art form but a science. The recipes sometimes can be quite lengthy, but the end result is so worth it!
You can see from these pictures that the sponge has risen and pushed through the flour. It is quite a sight! I was so excited when I checked it after 30 minutes.
The dough is silky and smooth and a little bit sticky. Since this is my first time making brioche, I was not entirely sure that this is how the dough should look but I stuck with it.
I am glad I set my doubts aside because the dough rose nicely. Yay it doubled!
I only had six brioche pans so I made the other 12 in a muffin pan. During this last rise, I was a bit scared because when the dough was rising, the head was sliding off to the sides. I know I was supposed to leave it alone but I couldn’t help myself. I had to correct them and try to make them centered. Some came out great but some slid back to the side during baking. Oh well.
Not bad for my first attempt. While some looked kind of odd, they tasted great! I gave them out to a couple of my friends and they enjoyed it as well. Yay! Oh and this recipe can be used to make 3 loaves of bread.
(Adapted from Recipezaar.com)
Serving size: Makes 18 rolls
For the sponge:
1/3 cup warm milk (I warmed up milk in the microwave for 30 seconds)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, or 1 package
1 large egg
2 cups all purpose flour
For the dough:
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
6 ounces or 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 egg + 1 tablespoon water for eggwash
For the sponge:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix milk, yeast, egg, and 1 cup of flour with a spatula until everything is mixed together.
2. Sprinkle remaining cup of flour over the sponge and let rest uncovered at room temperature for 40 minutes.
For the dough:
3. When ready, add sugar, salt, eggs, and 1 cup of flour to sponge.
4. Using the electric stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, mix all ingredients at low speed until all ingredients come together.
5. Add remaining 1/2 cup of flour while still mixing.
6. When all the flour has been incorporated, set mixer to medium low speed and mix for 15 minutes.
7. Before the butter can be added, smash the butter with your hand until it is about the same consistency as the dough at this point.
8. Add the butter one tablespoon at a time and mix each addition until incorporated.
9. When all the butter has been added, increase mixer speed to medium high and mix for about 1 minute. Lower speed to medium low and mix for another 5 minutes.
10. Transfer dough to a large greased mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap tightly. Let sit at room temperature for the first rise for about 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
11. Using two fingers, scoop one side of the dough from the bottom and release so the dough falls. Repeat all around.
12. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
13. Next day, grease fluted brioche pans or a muffin pan.
14. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and divide into 18 equal pieces.
15. With each piece, pinch a small piece off for the head. Roll the large piece and small piece into balls. Place the larger piece into the fluted brioche pan or muffin pan and place the smaller piece on top. You can make an indentation with your thumb so that the smaller top piece can sit on top without sliding off.
16. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for about 2 hours until the dough has doubled.
17. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. With a pastry brush, brush the dough with eggwash. Make sure the eggwash does not drop into the pan. Bake in oven for 20 minutes.
18. Let cool for 10 minutes on wire rack before serving.
Blog Note: The Paisley cotton napkins in a few of the pictures in this post are hand sewn by my friend, Carrie. She sells them online, along with baby bibs and blankets. For more information, please see her Etsy store.
Strawberries are in season! The supermarkets here have been selling them at a discount, which we have been taking advantage of. Foodland and Don Quijote sell strawberries from California but Costco sell local Hawaii grown strawberries. I have noticed that the Hawaiian berries are smaller than those grown in California, but all very sweet nonetheless.
This morning I decided to make some crepes. The last time I made crepes, I was living in Manhattan. That was quite a few years ago. I have moved three times since and speaking of moving, today is the first anniversary since AM and I moved to Hawaii! Wow, this year flew by.
This basic crepe recipe is just that, basic! But it is quick and pretty tasty, especially when strawberries are added! This probably took 15-20 minutes to make.
The crepe holds a special place in my heart. There is something about this french pancake that is so wonderful. There are crepe stands in Paris where you can buy freshly made crepes. The first time I had one in Paris, I got one with sucre et beurre (sugar and butter). It was scrumptious! It was light, buttery, and crispy with just the right amount of sweetness. I will always remember my first Parisian crepe.
A few years later, I went on a snowboarding trip to Chamonix in the French Alps, and I couldn’t pass on eating crepes. Every time we walked into town, we passed by a quaint little hole in the wall. I finally stopped and got a crepe from there one day…it smelled so good!
Strawberry and nutella is my favorite sweet crepe combination. I love how they wrap it up nicely for you too, like a cone.
AM strangely doesn’t like Nutella. Oh well, more for me! So I made him one with just sugar and strawberries, which he really enjoyed.
For me, I made myself one with Nutella and strawberries. YUM! Sadly, I do not have a crepe pan, but a very hot saute pan will do for a basic crepe recipe. Plus, you really can’t go wrong with fresh strawberries and nutella!
(Adapted from allrecipes.com)
Serving size: 2, makes 4 crepes (Note: can easily be doubled or tripled)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Dash of salt
Few drops of vanilla extract
1. Whisk together flour and egg. Slowly pour in milk and water. Mix until smooth.
2. Add salt, butter, and vanilla extract. Stir until combined.
3. Heat a saute pan on medium high heat. Oil the pan with cooking spray or a tab of butter.
4. When pan is very hot, scoop about 1/4 cup of batter into pan and in a swirling motion, coat entire pan with batter. The batter will thin out.
5. Cook for about 2 minutes then flip over and cook for another 2 minutes or until the bottom starts to brown. There should be brown spots.
6. Transfer to plate and top with preferred toppings (fresh fruit, jam, nuts, etc). Take one side of the crepe and fold over. Serve while hot.
Recipe Note: This recipe can also be used for a savory crepe. After you flip the crepe in the pan, add savory toppings like ham and cheese. Fold crepe over and flip one more time so cheese melts.
Blog Note: The dragonfly cotton napkins in a few of the pictures in this post are hand sewn by my friend, Carrie. She sells them online, along with baby bibs and blankets. For more information, please see her Etsy store. I will showcase more of her napkins in future posts.