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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Tofu in Pomegranate Sauce - #CIC



When tofu won one of the polls for January's Crazy Ingredient Challenge, I really wanted to kick myself. I finalize these lists. How could I have put the dreaded tofu on the list? Shouldn't I be rigging these things to suit my preferences. Alas, I don't, so here it is: tofu and pomegranate. Just in case it isn't clear, I do not like tofu. At all.

I'm not going to tell you that I tasted this dish and the clouds parted and the sun shone bright and I licked my plate clean. Nope. It's still tofu. The sauce is delicious and I can't wait to try it with some chicken. But the sauce was not enough to get me to like tofu. My issue with tofu is mainly the texture. There's an underlying flavour that I don't quite like but I can handle that.  I'd have to process the tofu into little tiny bits and hide it in a bunch of stuff in order to not dislike it.

I'm looking forward to seeing what my fellow CIC members did with their tofu because I have some tofu left and I don't want to throw it out. And unfortunately, we are all anti-tofu around here. Maybe someone processed it to smithereens just for me? Let's scroll down to see!



Tofu in Pomegranate Sauce
14-16 oz tofu
salt & pepper to taste (I used a lot of black pepper)
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (plus more for coating tofu)
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 inch ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, mined
dash of salt
dash of cayenne

Directions
Remove tofu from packaging, wrap in paper towels and place a heavy object on top of the tofu. The object is to remove as much of the water as possible. I left mine for longer than a night but I think it takes less time than that.
After the tofu is drained and pressed, slice into cubes and season generously with salt and pepper.

When you're ready to cook, toss the tofu in some cornstarch and set aside.
Dissolve the 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch in two tablespoons of pomegranate juice and set aside.
Simmer the pomegranate juice, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, salt, and cayenne over low heat for about 20 minutes.
Stir in the cornstarch slurry and let the mixture thicken to desired consistency. Remove from heat.

Shallow fry tofu cubes until golden and crispy. Toss in sauce and serve.


Notes
I tried a version of this with honey and no cornstarch. It was stickier and I did prefer that consistency. However, I hadn't gotten the flavour quite right so I decided to stick with this sauce.




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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Beer Pretzels - #BreadBakers



Bread baking never ceases to amaze me. You take the same ingredients, manipulate them a little differently, and then you are left with a wide variety of bread that look and taste different. I'm ready to admit that I prefer baking bread to baking cakes. It's just that I prefer eating cakes so I'll always need to cream some butter and sugar.

For this month's Bread Bakers, we're taking flour, yeast,  and water (ahem, beer) and turning them into pretzels. There's some butter in there too because I wanted soft pretzels. But Alton Brown (from whom I adapted this recipe) said if you left the butter out, added more beer/water to compensate, and baked a little longer, you'd have some great hard pretzels. See what I'm talking about? Easy manipulation; different product.

Lots of pretzel recipes below so keep on scrolling. Thanks to our host, Stacy!

 Beer Pretzels

Ingredients

22oz flour (by weight)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups beer
10 cups water
1/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk
1/2 tablespoon water

Mix together flour, sugar, salt, and yeast then add melted butter and beer. Knead about 6 minutes until dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Place dough in an oiled and covered bowl. Let rise at room temperature until doubled.

Preheat oven to 450F.
Line baking sheets with GREASED parchment paper.
Bring the water and baking soda to a boil.
Divide dough into 12 equal portions (approximately 3 ounces each). Roll each portion into a 24 inch rope. Shape the rope into a U, twist twice and then bend over to form a pretzel.
Dip each pretzel into the boiling baking soda solution for about 30 seconds. Drain then place on baking sheet.
Mix the egg yolk and half tablespoon of water. Brush over each pretzel.
Bake 12-15 minutes or until pretzels are dark, golden brown.
Hide them from your family so that you can eat them all.

Notes

  • The pretzels will stick if the parchment isn't greased well. Also, drain well before placing on parchment. 
  • The original recipe used 2/3 cup baking soda but some commenters said this made it bitter. You're welcome to try with the full amount.
  • I used Red Stripe Beer. 



BreadBakers
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Chicken and Corn Muffins - #MuffinMonday



It's a special edition of Muffin Monday - Muffin-Wednesday-because-the-last Monday-fell-on-Christmas-Day. I think this was definitely my busiest Christmas season ever. After a marathon cooking session on Monday (I rarely cook so I am extreeeeeeemely slow in the kitchen), I was ready for bed by 7 pm. It was great to get almost 8 hours sleep and wake up on Boxing Day with very few pressing issues. And then I remembered that I hadn't made my muffins yet!

I chose ingredients that I knew would be left over from dinner - cured chicken (we don't eat ham anymore so we cure a chicken in just the same way we'd have made the ham; I miss ham!) and some corn. Truthfully, the leftover corn would come from me always holding back some corn to nibble on - even if my salad could do with more. And here's even more truth for you, I didn't even add the full amount of corn to the muffins and as I stole some to nibble again. I kinda like corn.

Chicken and Corn Muffins
Yield: 6 muffins

Ingredients
1 cup flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons oil
heaping 1/4 cup cooked chicken, diced small
heaping 1/4 cup corn

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 F and line 6 cups in a muffin tin with wrappers.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cayenne, garlic, and onion. In a separate container whisk together the egg yolk, milk, and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently until most of the flour is moist. Next fold in the chicken and the corn.

Bake 15 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

Notes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne does make these a little spicy. 
  • Some cumin would have been wonderful here but I forgot to add it.
  • Cheese would have been great here too.

Muffin Monday



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