Category Archives: cooking

Mint Flower Tea

I can never keep mint happy, I fail to prune it correctly when it is in hydroponic and I fail in general at growing it in containers but I am going to try again. I have it growing hydroponically and I am testing by taking all of my trimmings and I am sticking them directly into a container of dirt I have outside.

The hydroponic light keeps it flowering inside and I have to keep the indoor pollen count down so about once a week for the past few weeks I have enough flowers to make a small pot of mint flower tea which is delicately minty and floral.

Museli Wheat Bread

I took a regular wheat oat bread recipe and used museli in place of the oatmeal.

The museli mix I used contains sunflower seeds, almonds, dried apple, dried cranberry, raisins, coconut, pumpkin seeds and rice crisp to make a very flavorful bread that makes amazing avocado toast and peanut butter sandwiches.

Ingredients

2 cups boiling water

1 cup museli breakfast mix

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon honey

4 tablespoons butter

2 1/2 teaspoons table salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 packet yeast

1 1/2 cup wheat flour

4 cups bread flour

Combine boiling water, museli, sugar, honey, butter, salt and cinnamon. Stir and allow to cool to 110 degrees. (~10-15 minutes)

Add yeast and incorporate flour one cup at a time. Knead until smooth ~10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and rise for 60 minutes or until doubled.

Divide for two smaller loafs or leave as one larger loaf.

Shape bread and rest another 30 to 40 minutes before placing in the oven.

Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes. Tent with aluminum after 25 minutes if needed.

Daffodil Cake

It’s one of the first cakes I ever made and you can find many versions of it. Some of them require 12 egg whites which leaves you with 6 left over egg whites. Unless I am planning on making pasta noodles I generally go with this version of the recipe that leaves no leftover egg yolk. In the past I have also made this cake with lemon zest in the white but I decided to do a single flavor this time. Any citrus of your choice and even pineapple versions of this recipe are out there. Orange is my favorite and originally I planned to add lemon zest to the white cake. In the end I decided to do just the orange and left the white cake vanilla flavored.

Ingredients

White cake:

6 large egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup cake flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon lemon zest(optional)

Yellow Cake:

6 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons orange juice

1/2 cup cake flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon orange zest

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup water or orange juice

1 pinch orange zest

Instruction

White Cake

Place egg whites in a large bowl, let them come to room temperature ~30 minutes.

Add tartar and vanilla and beat on medium until foamy before gradually adding 1 tablespoon of sugar at a time until soft peaks form.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Fold into egg white gently and set aside.

Yellow Cake

Beat egg yolks and orange juice until thick and lemon colored. In a seaparate bowl add flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Gradually beat into egg mixture. Beat in vanilla and orange zest.

Alternately spoon yellow and white batter into an ungreased 10 inch tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes.

Immediately invert pan and remove cake. Let cool completely then apply a basic orange zest glaze.

Glaze

Add all glaze ingredients to a bowl and whisk until well combined. Brush or drizzle glaze over cake.

Masala Chai

A lot of people are unaware the word chai literally means ‘tea’ so ordering a ‘chai tea’ is essentially ordering a ‘tea, tea’ but what you get is ‘spiced’ tea or ‘masala’ chai.

Generally in the winter I switch from drinking coffee to drinking spiced tea. I have a really hard time finding a place that serves a good chai. I really enjoy Bangalore Rose Chai from Enjoyingtea.com but alas I ran out. I also enjoy a good sweet coconut ginger tea with vanilla and coconut milk. Instead of reordering I got the chance to ask the magical question…

Can I make my own?

The answer is yes.

What is in chai? Some, but not all of these things:

Core ingredients:

  • water
  • milk (I find milk alternatives blend better with the flavors)
  • sugar or maple syrup
  • black tea
  • cinnamon
  • clove
  • black pepper
  • cardamom
  • ginger

Additional ingredients I found and tried

  • nutmeg
  • mint
  • lemongrass
  • fennel
  • star anise
  • vanilla
  • rose petals
  • corriander

Recipe? Well now. That’s a bit harder, your nose and taste buds will tell you.

There are so many ways to make spiced chai, because people all have different tastes so dont be afraid to experiment and write your own recipe.

It doesn’t matter if you have the whole or powdered version of the spice or some of both, that is completely ok. Using the internet to look up dozens of Masala Chai recipes let’s call the following ingredients the core of the recipe, nearly every recipe I looked at had these ingredients, the quantities and extra additional ingredients surrounding them can change drastically from recipe to recipe… but we have to start somewhere? right?

Actually that lead me somewhere interesting but I wasn’t the right place, not all chai is the same… I went back to square one and looked at the ingredients list of the chai I drink the most and make up amounts of those ingredients, and then tried mixing them around until I was happy with the result.

Instruction:

Using your smallest sauce pan start with about 2.5 – 3 cups of water brought to a simmer and three tablespoons of loose leaf black tea. or a few tea bags. If like me your smallest sauce pan is being used then you may do this via the microwave in a pinch.

My base chai recipe:

2.5 cups water

3/4 cup Almond milk

1.5 Tablespoons black tea (Behora Assam)

1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon

10 black pepper corns

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

2 thin slices ginger

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon corriander

3-4 tablespoons sugar, white granulated

Ok, you could totally stop there if you feel lost but for the adventurous spice users. I find smelling the steam and then smelling the individual spices helps me decide what to add. Once you decide then add in small amounts and taste your way to the correct amount but make sure to write it down.

Let the spices and the tea simmer for about 5 minutes add 1 or even 2 cups of milk, sugar/maple syrup/ vanilla once removed from the heat. steep for a few brief minutes.

Pour though a strainer (or maybe a coffee filter for powdered recipes) to separate the tea and spices.

Good luck in finding the perfect spiced tea!

Curry!!!

I made up a batch of Curry Powder the other day.

  • 2 tablespoons ground corriander
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom

Then from that I made Coconut Curry Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon avocado or other cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • lemon zest from one small lemon
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • fresh chopped basil or 6 frozen basil cubes

Add oil to pan, saute red pepper flakes and garlic until fragrant. about 20-30 seconds. Add curry powder and stir and cook for a minute or so. Add two tablespoons of coconut milk to a teaspoon of corn starch and mix well and set aside. Add the rest of the coconut milk to the pan along with the lemon zest, soy sauce and sugar. Bring to a simmer and let cook for several minutes. Not all coconut milk is the same and a good coconut milk will turn into a nice thick sauce while some remain more liquid, they both taste the same in the end. Remove from heat and add basil, I used some frozen basil cubes for mine.


Curried Fried Potato Salad = comfort food

  • 2 tablespoons Avocado oil or other high heat oil
  • 1 large russet potato, diced into small bite sized cubes
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1/4 cup cashews, toasted
  • 1/2 cup coconut curry sauce, heated

Heat oil in pan, add potato and onion and cook until crispy and browned, about 10 minutes.

One the side toast the cashews in a pan and set aside (Essentially you are making breakfast potatoes.) Once cooked remove from pan to a bowl, add the toasted cashews on top and pour 1/4 – 1/2 cup coconut curry over the top depending on serving size.


Then the next day I also made Curried Chicken Rice from the same batch of coconut curry

  • 1 cup of dry rice
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cashews, toasted
  • 1 left over chicken breast, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1/2 cup coconut curry
  • 1 avocado, diced

Make the rice. While it is cooking chop the chicken breast, toast the cashews in a dry pan, prepare the peas depending on if they are canned or frozen. When the rice is done cooking, mix the rice, cashews, chicken and fully combine, then fold in the peas(gently if they are soft). Mix in diced avocado directly to the serving bowl just before being served.

Apple Cinnamon Challah

I have decided to expand my bread baking, I am going to stay with a bread I make well and try out stuffing bread. I like the slight bit of sweetness of honey challah and only added the cinnamon and sugar to the apples. I used Granny Smith, I prefer a juicy tart apple.

I am using a very old hand written recipe, so I am not sure of it’s origin.

I am using a very old hand written recipe with minimal instruction, I am not sure of it’s origin.

Ingredients:

1 package yeast

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 cup warm water

3 eggs at room temperature

1/4 cup honey

1/3 cup oil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

4 cups bread flour

2 large apples, minced into fine chunks

3 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Egg wash:

1 egg

1 teaspoon water

raw sugar

Instruction:

Proof yeast in the warm water with 1/2 teaspoon sugar.

whisk in eggs, honey, oil, salt, add flour 1 cup at a time and kneed for 10 minutes until smooth and a bit sticky.

Coat the dough in oil and place into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, allowing room to double and place it in a warm spot to rise for 90 minutes or until doubled.

Peel and chop the apples, mix with sugar and cinnamon.

Divide the dough into 4 parts. Place them back into the bowl and keep covered with the plastic wrap while working.

Roll out one portion at a time, long and thin and then flatten to allow for filling. Roll tightly and pinch the dough sealed. Set filled dough ropes in a cross hatched or tic-tac-toe pattern across the center of your baking sheet and weave them around together, and tucking the ends under.

Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for another hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush bread with egg wash, sprinkle with raw sugar and bake for 35 minutes. Rotate at about 1/2 way through cooking. Place tin foil over bread if it is becoming too dark.