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1  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Coffee cocoa bread on: April 01, 2010 01:34:06 PM
I was bored today so I decided to take the bottom of the pot coffee and make something with it. I'm sure you're thinking, "Why wouldn't you drink it? It's perfectly fine coffee." you're right but culinary aspect of coffee should be exploited. Thus, I used coffee instead of water in my bread today. No, this is not a sweet bread either.
Makes 2 loaves
5 tsp traditional active dry yeast
2 cups coffee
1 tbs molasses
1 tsp cocoa powder
~5 cups flour (Used all purpose but, if you have it, use bread flour) [I'll be using the "~" sign to mean approximately]
1 tbs salt

With active dry yeast (as opposed to the quick rise) you're going to need to let it 'bloom'/revive. If you're a final fantasy fan, you'll have some phoenix down but here's where you add the water to the yeast and molasses. Should look something like this...

That's the yeast, 1 cup of coffee (really warm coffee but not hot), and molasses. I do have a fancy-schmancy kitchenaid which makes life easier but I'll post instructions on how to do it otherwise. Either way, start off in a bowl. I add in 2 cups of flour at this point, the other 1 cup of coffee, and I added in the cocoa powder too. Stir with the handle of a wooden spoon until blended and semi-smooth, alternatively kick in your kitchenaid. Once it's smooth, I add in the salt here because it's still watery enough to dissolve easily (I use kosher salt for everything, table salt is fine and you can add it in here or with the last addition of flour. The local supermarket had this Himalayan sea salt which just added incredible flavor to my bread for some reason, as an extra tidbit.) and just add in another two cups of flour.
This is the relative consistency after 2 cups of flour

and after 4 cups added...

It should be a sticky dough at this point in which case put some flour on a flat surface for the dough. Once you have done this, add 1 more cup of flour to it and knead knead knead! Five mins minimum. Again, kicthenaid users just need to let it knead. A soft smooth dough should be the result after a while...

Something like that. Now all you do is put the dough back in the bowl (granted you had it out) and cover with plastic wrap, leave in a warm, draft-free place for an hour. During the winter months, I usually just hide it under the bed covers because it's insulated and the dough's already warm so it'll rise nicely. Today, I just stuck the bowl in the oven without it turned on. If you think about it, it's insulated and draft-free. After an hour the dough should have doubled in size. Take the plastic wrap off and beat that dough down. Re-cover it and let it rest another hour.

I chose not to use a lot of sugar in this recipe and let it rise twice. I normally add 1/4 cup of honey and just let it rise once. The reason why I'm doing this is because I want the flavor of the coffee and chocolate to come out rather than any of the sugars and such. While it's rising a second time, I buttered and floured two pyrex baking dishes, comme ca...

After rising, beat it down again, tear the dough roughly in half and place each half in the dishes. Set your oven to 350F and wait ~30 mins for the dough to rise again. Pop it in the oven and in ~45 mins, you'll have your bread.

Et voila! A savory-ish cocoa coffee bread. Had I included a fat and/or more sugar, this would have made it a sweet bread. I wouldn't mind tweaking about with that should it be requested actually...

Questions? Comments? Answers? Reply and I'll address them the best I can.
2  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Meat+dairyless Borscht (Beet soup) on: January 07, 2010 06:54:59 AM
Last night was Ukrainian Christmas eve and my family always celebrates. It's been my adopted role to make the meatless borscht since there is a lent where we can't have meat or dairy. The hard part is getting the deep flavour without using meat.

First step was creating a vegetable stock.  If I just threw a mirepoix (celery, onion, carrot) into a pot, I wouldn't get the deep flavour possible if I roasted them first. I put a large dice on 5 med. carrots, 1/2 stalk of celery, 3 large onions, 2 red peppers, 1 green pepper and chopped the top off of 2 heads of garlic to roast them all. You could use other root vegetables (parsnip, sweet potato) or any other vegetable you want, as long as you like the flavour.

Drizzle with any oil you'd like and add pepper. I don't recommend salting because you'll be putting this all into water and when you eventually reduce it, the strength of the taste of salt will increase. Put them into a 350 degree oven and let 'em get nice and brown.

This is what it should start looking like. Now what I did to add more depth (and to use up produce in the fridge which would have gone bad) is put a bit of tomato sauce on about 5 mins before pulling it from the oven. The tomato works well in the end product of the soup, and again, if you don't like it, leave it out. I roasted that all up for another 5 and put it all into a pot with 6L COLD water. I also added a seasoning to the water which is called a bouquet garni which is supposed to be in cheesecloth but, it's a rustic soup so I didn't bother. In the bouquet garni is bay leaves, peppercorns, thyme, and some parsely stems.

 Bring to a boil and let it simmer for no longer than 45 mins.

I strained the stock and kept it simmering until I reduced the total volume by a third (i.e. I had 6L and I wanted 4L). This concentrates the flavour you have.

Step 2, the soup
Basic components of borscht are basically beets, cabbage, mushrooms and potatoes. I took 5 med. beets, peeled and shredded them. You could shred 1/2 a head of cabbage but what I did, since I love my knife so much,

a 'chiffonade' of sorts then cut them perpendicular to the original cut,

Potatoes, I personally like nice cubes with a tiny bit of bite. I cut them into (very roughly) 1/2" x 1/2" x 1/2" cubes.

So once you've reduced your stock and have it at a simmer, the shredded beets go in first. Once you add the beets, for them to retain their red colour, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice/any acid [vinnegar, cider vinegar, lime, orange...]. Five to ten mins later the cabbage and another 5-10 later the potatoes.

At this point, I had forgotten to add the mushrooms so I wanted to put a twist on it. I took 1/2 and onion and chopped up about a dozen button mushrooms and sweated that down [Oil a pot, add onions and mushrooms  sautee for a short time then cover and rest on low heat]. I took some bread that I had made and put a nice toast on it, almost to the point of buring but a real brown on it. I took my food processor and made bread crumbs from that. Borscht is usually served with rye bread so I added about 1 teaspoon caraway seeds to the processor and blended again. After about 20 mins of sweating [the mushrooms, not me. Can't stand the heat? Get outa the kitchen], I took the mushrooms and blended that all with the bread crumbs and caraway seeds. I got a rough puree out of it and just added it to the soup.

Right before serving, season with salt (you should be able to taste the soup, not the salt), and add a pinch of fresh/frozen dill. If you wanted to add more kick, sour cream/creme fraiche is added right before serving just to give it some tang. However, dairy wasn't allowed so I couldn't do that.

Sorry there's no pictures of the finished product >.<
3  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Citrus mint granita martini on: September 12, 2009 06:57:47 PM
A while ago I made a lemon granita (shaved ice dessert) for a little dinner party. With the leftovers, my gal suggested I add alcohol to it. I came up with a little citrus mint martini.

1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3 lemons
3 more cups water

Put the sugar and 1 cup water into a pan and heat until dissolved. Zest all the lemons and juice all of them and add to a baking pan that can hold all the water. Pour the sugarwater mixture and the rest of the water into the pan with the lemon flavor. Freeze stirring and scraping every 30 mins to get nice small shards.

Mint simple syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
5 mint leaves
Put it all in a pan together. Heat until sugar dissolves. Put into a container and cool (removing mint leaves is optional)

For the martini:
Put as much granita in a glass as you'd like. Add about 1 tablespoon of mint syrup. Fill glass up with rum. Too much alcohol? Add more syrup.

Ideally, take a shaker full of ice and 2oz. of rum, shake, then pour over granita.

Garnish with a lemon twist (I didn't have any) or a mint sprig.

4  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Chicken Chili with corn salsa and tortilla chips on: September 08, 2009 04:29:23 PM
First post ever. I ended up on here because my girl's on here. She said I should post my cooking stuff. Seeing as I love food...

Today's adventure took me to Mexico. I had/have a TON of corn, tomatoes and various other produce from a friend's father's farm. All fresh and delicious as heck. I had cilantro, limes and chicken kicking around in my fridge so, why not make chili!
Step 1: Make the chili and get it simmering.
I took tomatoes, cored them (just removed the stem and that green part in the top), just put a coarse cut(quarters? eighths?) on 'em and put them into a pot. Note that I didn't put any salt in it at this point. If I did and reduced it, the salt concentration would increase because of the water evaporating. I added a little bit of chicken stock I had just for some volume and flavour. I also added garlic and some cilantro for some peppery/citrus-y brightness. I also added about 1/2 cup of my home-made chili powder. Bring to a boil then let it simmer for about an hour and a half. Reduce by about a quarter.

Step B: Make the salsa.
Salsas are simple and in my opinion can teach a great lesson in cooking; balance. I used some raw sweet corn and just cut the corn off the cob with my knife.

I put a fine dice on some cilantro, made a garlic paste, and squeezed half a lime into the mix and ended up with...

Step III: Make the tortilla chips.
Completely optional but I LOVE making things from scratch as much as I can for control. I had impulse bought some traditional corn flour tortilla's and had to do something with them.

I took a frying pan, put some oil into it and brought it to a smoking point then chucked them[tortillas] in one by one. Fry until browned, quartered them and hit them with a little bit of salt.
Plated with the salsa, it looks like...

Step ?: Finish the chili.

As you can see, its liquid level reduced a bit.
After an hour I added the chicken because I forgot that I had froze it and that I didn't add it. No biggie. From frozen, I just put it into the simmering pot and let it cook. Another 30-45 mins and it was cooked. I took out the chicken breast(I used breast because it was available. I would much prefer to use thigh but when in Rome, eat the Romans!) and put a fine chop on it. With the chicken still out of the chili, I took an immersion blender and pureed the chili. It can be done with a spoon but, I love using my kitchen gadgets. I threw the chicken back in and let it cook for another 10 mins. The chicken didn't really absorb all the flavour I wanted so that's why I put it back in to cook. During this time, I seasoned with S+P and a little bit of brown sugar(for flavour depth) and lime(for an extra bite of acidity).

Finished chili and the final product all plated up with the salsa...

Thank you. Pardon how wordy I am -_-

P.S. If you want recipes, I'll post them later XD I don't cook by 'em so I don't really know how much I put in.
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