sephardic challah with whole spices

Sephardic Challah With Whole Spices

even though i have a netflix list
of shows/movies queued up
i spend an inordinate amount of time
rifling through the various offerings.
same with HBO Go, Amazon
and don’t get me started on my
to-read books pile.
maybe it’s a fear of missing out,
or that non-committal habit of
having something already but
still seeking something better,
i don’t know,
i just know that when i finally do
settle on something,
my mind is pretty made up,
even if i took 30 minutes to get to that conclusion.

Sephardic Challah With Whole Spices

in the case of this challah,
i’ve been on an on/off again search
for the ultimate recipe.
i’ve pinned plenty of options,
with private promises of attempting them
and then perfecting them.
i took a baking break during the warmer months,
and when i went looking at my
queued list,
none grabbed my attention.
back to the drawing board.
it took awhile,
but this came along
and i knew i had to make it,
mind made up.

Sephardic Challah With Whole Spices

sephardic challah with whole spices
adapted from the NY Times
makes 2 loaves

*note: my oven must run hot, or it’s the convection thing, but the loaves became dark around the 10-15 min mark so i would tent with foil for remaining bake time.
*note: toasting and then grinding them would be an excellent way to impart the spices without having to bite into them whole. i don’t mind the whole spices but that’s just me.

scant cup of raisins, soaked in warm water, drained well
4 TBL sesame seeds, divided
1 TBL caraway seeds
1 TBL coriander seeds
1 TBL cumin seeds
1 TBL black sesame seeds
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
5 cups/600 grams bread flour, more for dusting
1/2 TBL cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp/30 grams olive oil, more for rising bowl
75 grams honey (to taste, i was aiming for 50 grams and got a little heavy handed)
2 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup warm water, more as needed
1/2 TBL kosher salt
2 egg yolks + 1 TBL water for glaze/brush

in a pan, toast 1 TBL of sesame, caraway, coriander, cumin and black sesame seeds over medium heat until toasty-smelling. set aside and cool.
in a small bowl, combine yeast with 2 TBL warm water and ignore while it blooms. if it doesn’t, chuck it and get new yeast.

using stand mixer with dough hook, combine the flour with cinnamon, olive oil, honey, eggs and warm water. mix until a soft dough forms. on this particular day, the weather was kinda dry so i did add about 1-2 TBL of water to the dough to make it softer/pliable.

add in the salt and toasted seeds until the dough is smooth. it’s going to take awhile, about 5-10 minutes. original recipe says to add mix in the raisins then. what i did was i poured the dough onto the lightly dusted counter and gently kneaded the raisins in. it was a smidge sticky but you know, deal with it. transfer to large oiled bow. cover with plastic wrap and let stand until doubled in size, up to 2 hours.

line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. set aside.

turn dough onto lightly dusted counter and press down gently to deflate. divide dough in two and rest for 5 minutes.

roll each piece of dough into 18″ long rope and rest for another 5 minutes. then go back and roll into 32″ rope.

take one of the ropes from one end form the dough into a coil, tucking the end under.

repeat for the other rope.

transfer coils onto prepared cookie sheets and cover with large bowl. ignore for 1 hour, until the loaves have doubled in size.

about 30 minutes in, preheat oven to 400F.

whisk the egg yolks with 1 TBL of water. brush the egg wash over the loaves and let stand uncovered while oven warms.

brush with egg wash again and sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds.

if you’re able, bake both loaves side by side, for 30 minutes. i baked them one by one.

transfer loaves to rack and cool before serving/slicing.

can be consumed as is, but i liked it best when slathered with veg butter and drizzled with a bit of honey.

BAM!

Sephardic Challah With Whole Spices

3 years ago: butternut squash & pearl barley risotto, lactose free
2 years ago: inside out peanut butter cups – vegan, gluten free
1 year ago: i didn’t do shit last year

Apple Cider Magic Cake

Apple Cider Magic Cake

we’re enjoying an indian summer right now,
temps were around 70
when we went apple picking over the weekend.
the increase in temps didn’t prevent us
from turning on the oven though.
it shouldn’t turn you off either.
it’s too lovely to be inside,
but if you must,
open your windows wide
and make this magical cake.

here’s to hoping it’s been a
glorious october for you too.

Apple Cider Magic Cake

Apple Cider Magic Cake
adapted from tasting table
makes 1 8″ cake, about 8 servings

For the Apple Cider Reduction:
6 cups apple cider – simmered in saucepan and reduced to 3/4 cup

For the Magic Cake Batter:
4 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup apple cider reduction
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick vegan butter, melted but cool (i use earth balance)
1 cup spelt flour
2 tsp cinnamon, divided
1 3/4 cups lactose free half/half, or any kind of milk, vegan or not

Topping:
cocowhip

pre-heat oven 325F

prepare 8″ pan, greased and with parchment collar

using stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites till stiff and glossy, basically until you’re able to upturn the bowl over your head and you’re not covered in it. set aside.

either transfer the whipped egg whites to another bowl, or if you’re fancy, and have another stand mixing bowl, mix the egg yolks + sugar until pale yellow. slowly stream in the vegan butter until fully incorporated, then pour in 1/2 cup of apple cider reduction. add in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to the mix until no white streaks are seen. add in 1 tsp cinnamon. stream in the milk until thoroughly mixed. it will be quite liquid-y.

gently fold in the egg whites, in 3 parts. it will be a lumpy batter.

pour into prepared pan. sprinkle on top the remaining cinnamon.

bake for 45-50 minutes, the middle shouldn’t jiggle when shaken.

allow to cool completely.

invert the cake onto plate, and then invert again on serving plate. top with cocowhip and drizzle with remaining reduced apple cider. serve at room temp.

will keep in fridge, covered for a few days, if it lasts that long…

BAM!

Apple Cider Magic Cake

3 years ago: snickerdoodles
2 years ago: banh xeo
1 year ago: i didn’t do diddly

where the wild things are smash cake

Where the Wild Things Are Cake

following in the same thread
as last post’s boxed confection,
i recently created a small cake
for a small bae
with a wild streak.
a smash cake was reqested
and since i figured it was going to be,
well, smashed to smithereens,
i went boxed, again.
but since it’s for a most beloved child,
we did go organic.
i still have standards y’all.

the theme was
Where the Wild Things Are,
a book i vaguely remember.
i doubt NT will recall this occasion,
though there were plenty of pictures that captured it.
in any case,
it was so easy to put together,
though you’da thunk i slaved over it
by the reactions of everyone in attendance of the party.
that’s winning at adulting,
if there were such a thing.

Where the Wild Things Are Cake

Where the Wild Things Are Smash Cake
makes 1 2 layered 6″ cake

1 box of cake mix, i used Immaculate Yellow Cake Mix
1 can of frosting, i used Wholesome Chocolate frosting
half bag of chocolate chips, a brand i like is enjoy life
1 tube of pre-made pie crust, i used immaculate ready to bake pie crust

bake the cake as per box instructions. for 6″ i baked for 35 minutes. it did dome a smidge, so it had to be leveled.

for the crown: on a lightly floured counter top, lay out the crust layer. with the mind set of an heir and a spare, i made 2 crowns. i measured out 2 10″ wide rectangles. i’m bad at math and space, so one of the crowns was taller, while the other was stubby. just make a chevron/jagged crown. using either the upside of a muffin or popover tin, wrap the crown around the base. for shininess and some color, do an egg wash. bake for 12 minutes, until gold brown. hopefully 1 of the 2 will come out. in my case, the heir died and i had to use the stubby spare. set aside, be careful, try not to break it.

for the textured bark: you can either melt the chocolate in the microwave or double boiler style. when the chocolate is fully melted, spread it into a rectangle on parchment paper, you want it as thin as possible, so use an off-set spatula. carefully fold the parchment paper into a roll and fridge it until set.

to assemble: lay the first cake layer on a plate or whatever you’re gonna serve the cake on. pipe in a layer of frosting, spread and then top with 2nd layer of cake. crumb coat it. it does not need to be perfect. you do want to make the top be as smooth as possible though, the sides can be bare minimum though. when ready, take the role of schmeared chocolate out and crack it. unroll the paper, you should have varied sized shards of chocolate. adhere them to the sides of the cake, you may need to dab on some frosting to get it to stick. again, it does not need to be perfect, just think of what a tree stump looks like. when the sides are sufficiently covered, re-melt the remaining chocolate shards and with a pastry brush, dab on the chocolate to the the cracks and fill in blank spots. you’re aiming for something rustic.

fridge it. take out about 30 minutes prior to smashing. top with the crown.

BAM!

Where the Wild Things Are Cake

3 years ago: tofu gyoza – vegan
2 years ago: peach ginger scones – vegan
1 year ago: summer salsa – vegan

nile + smash cake

NY Style Cheesecake

NY Style Cheesecake

because a birthday should always be celebrated
happy birthday, ridiculous nuria,
who always manages to make me
laugh
swear
blush
you are exactly the annoying
kid sister i always imagined
other people having
but never thought i’d hafta experience.

NY Style Cheesecake

new york style cheesecake
adapted from america’s test kitchen family baking cookbook

crust:
8 graham crackers, crumbled
6 TBL butter, melted and cooled
3 TBL sugar

filling:
2 1/2 lbs cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup kefir yogurt (or plain yogurt, or sour cream)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
6 large eggs

preheat oven to 325°

in a food processor, blitz the crackers until they’re fine crumbles. pour in the melted butter and sugar and pulse until incorporated. dump the mixture into a 9″ springfoam pan. press the crumbs into an even layer. bake crust about 10-15 minutes, i aimed for the middle and took it out at 12:30, because i’m obnoxious. remove from oven, allow to cool, about 30 minutes.

increase oven heat to 500°.

put a pot or a kettle of water to boil. (optional)

meanwhile, make the filling. in a mixer beat the cream cheese until smooth, constantly scraping down the side of the bowl and beaters.

mix in the yogurt (or sour cream), lemon juice and vanilla. add in the yolks and the eggs, 2 at a time until well incorporated.

very carefully pour the mix into the pan.

in the oven, at the bottom level, pour the hot water into the pan. (optional step)

bake the cheesecake for 10 minutes.

without opening the oven door, lower the heat to 200° and continue to bake for 1 1/2 hours.

don’t open the oven door, turn off the oven and ignore the cheesecake until cooled, about 2-3 hours.

when you’re feeling brave, take out the cheesecake and carefully run a knife around the edge.

chill in fridge, ideally overnight.

serve as is or if you’re felling fancy, drizzle a bit of chocolate ganache.

BAM!

NY Style Cheesecake

previous nuria bday concoctions:
vegan pb cups
the angry birds project
suisse mocha cheesecake
coffee cheesecake

2 years ago: ultimate white cake
1 year ago: overnight steel cut oats

mushroom stroganoff

Mushroom Stroganoff

our current living arrangement
feeds one more mouth
no, we did not have a baby or adopt.
well.
i mean.
my dear friend nuria is crashing with us
while she finishes a contract at the local university
so it’s kinda like adopting a child
but fully fleshed out
with personality and potty trained.
she and i lived together before,
it wasn’t a hard transition for me.
i can’t speak for dw,
but i can only imagine how he feels
when she & i are:
giggling
bickering
pseudo meal planning
hogging the couch.
for the most part,
we eat dinner together,
the 3 of us.
i cooked for nuria when it was just us
i cooked for dw when it was just us
now i cook for all of us.
this was such a meal
that received rave reviews.

Mushroom Stroganoff

mushroom stroganoff
serves 4-6

*note: this was made vegan, but can easily be made with meat products: stock, actual cream and butter and yogurt, it’s entirely up to you.
**note: i didn’t use the mushroom stems, i save those in a gallon bag and freeze to make stock with scraps of random vegs.

1 lb white button mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1/2 large onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
up to 1 cup of water or veg stock
1/2 cup white wine
healthy splash of vegan Worcestershire sauce, i use wizard‘s
1 heaping TBL dijon mustard
1/4 cup vegan yogurt, i use So Delicious
olive oil
1-2 TBL AP flour
smoked paprika, sprinkled liberally, about 2 tsp.
rough chopped flat leaf parsley, to garnish
1 package noodles, cooked according to package instructions

in a large pan, heat up a healthy splash of olive oil (medium high). add in the onion and garlic, saute until fragrant, anywhere from 5-10 minutes, you’re not aiming to caramelize it, though if it does, don’t freak out, it just adds another layer of flavor. *season with salt*

add in the mushrooms and saute. the mushrooms will brown and release a lot of liquid. don’t be alarmed.

at this point, boil noodles according to package instructions

add in the white wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the good brown bits. next, add in the dijon mustard and healthy splash of worchestershire sauce.

allow the mixture to reduce down, scraping the pan periodically.

spoon the flour over the mushrooms, minimum 1 tablespoon, or up to 2 tablespoons. stir the mushrooms until the flour has been incorporated into the oils/liquid/onions. slowly add in the water or stock, liquid amount at your discretion, depending on how saucy you it to be.

allow for the mixture and flour to warm though and thicken.

add in the yogurt and paprika, stir until fully incorporated.

by this point, the noodles should be done. the dish can be served with the sauce ladled over the noodles, or the noodles can be added into the pan and mixed through with the mushrooms.

garnish with parsley and more paprika.

BAM!

Mushroom Stroganoff
1 year ago: crocheted broomstick cowl
2 years ago: crocheted minecraft creeper hats