Bagels are my breakfast staples. I have always flirted with the idea of baking them myself, but thought that they are complicated to bake. Most importantly, decent bagels cost less than a dollar in any local coffee shops.
Recently I was introduced to furikake, a dry Japanese condiment. Furikake is sprinkled on rice for seasoning. Furikake has small pieces of dried fish, seaweed, katsuobushi (bonito flakes), sugar, salt, seasonings etc.
In theory, it seemed like a perfect idea to use furikake as a bagel topping. One starch, i.e., steamed rice, seasoned by furikake is substituted by another starch, i.e., flour in bagels. Since furikake bagels are not available in the market, they are my motivation for baking bagels.
Furikake, on-hand, had shaved bonito, sesame seed, sugar, salt, sauce and seaweed.
I was determined to make a simple and easy bagel. The recipe is adapted from one on Red Star Yeast.
sugar water bath
Combine all ingredients for bagels, i.e., 1 cup flour, yeast, salt and sugar, except 2 cups of flour.
Add water, beat 2 minutes, slowly pouring remaining flour to make a dough.
Knead on floured surface 5 to 7 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Use some extra flour, if need.
Rest slightly oiled dough in a bowl. To see if dough is ripe (and ready), touch the dough lightly. If indentation of finger remains, the dough is ready.
Fold dough gently in floured surface couple of times.
Divide the dough into 12 parts. (Note: these bagels were tad smaller, so I would recommend dividing the dough into 9 equal pieces rather than 12)
Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Gently punch a hole in the center with a finger.
Let it rest for few minutes. Let it rise, unless you get a dense bagel.
Boil water. Add 1 tablespoons sugar per 4 cups of water.
Place a few bagels at a time, about 3 minutes each side. Don’t boil more bagels than the number that comfortably floats on the water surface, depending on your utensil.
Remove, drain water and put a greased cookie sheets.
Brush with 1 beaten egg white.
Sprinkle with furikake or any other toping such as sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion flakes. Skip this step for plain bagels.
Preheat oven to 375° F. Bake about 20 minutes (until golden brown).
Let it cool and eat with cream cheese or homemade smoked salmon cream cheese.
Fresh bagels right out off the oven are the best bagels you will ever eat.
Since baking bagels was easy, now that less-than-a-dollar bagel seems expensive. More than being able to customize bagels, the fresh bagels just taste better; even baked by a non-baker. Think about how warm chocolate-chip cookies out off an oven baked by an amateur tastes better than stale ones crafted by a professional.
Posted in: Cooking |
After learning how to boil eggs, most of us learn how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. As a kid we loved this simple sandwich made by two pieces of supermarket white bread and a slice or two slices (if mom/dad permits) of an American cheese.
When we grow up many of us have ventured into making a gourmet adult versions of this simple sandwich. We do it by adding many toppings. We choose primarily meat toppings, often cured pork centric, such as pepperoni, ham, bacon, prosciutto, etc.
In this post, I am not going to discuss any topping or techniques on how to make a good grilled cheese sandwich – that belong to separate posts. Here are just a few suggestions on how to make a simple grilled cheese sandwich for adults – without any toppings.
The selection of cheese is the most important. Each cheese I chose enhanced one aspect of this adult grilled cheese sandwich.
Blue cheese: Blue cheese adds flavor. It gives sandwich its tangy and distinct moldy smell. For doubters, melted blue cheese has less of the distinct flavor as some of it evaporates as it heats up. Since blue cheeses are high on salt, it also works as adding salt to the sandwich.
Munster: Melted munster adds stringy melted texture that we all love and expect to the grilled cheese sandwich.
Brie: Soft-ripened brie cheese adds creaminess the sandwich.
All these cheeses are just a mere examples and what I had in my refrigerator. The most important part is to elevate a simple grilled cheese sandwich by selecting combination of cheese that provides the flavor, texture and creaminess.
PS. Don’t just use the store-bought sliced bread. Use some sort of rustic yeast bread for more flavor and crunch.
Assemble grilled cheese sandwich by stacking about equal portions of three cheeses between two slices of bread. Cook with some butter on a low heat.
Posted in: Cooking |
I am in a serious relationship with momo. I often talk about this savory steamed dumpling to anyone who shows interest. My momo enthusiasm has rubbed off on many omnivore friends – most of them at least try this curried meat wrapped inside flour dough.
For many vegetarians, pescatarian, or folks with dietary restrictions, my momo enthusiasm is somewhat anticlimactic. One of my friends eats only halal meat, which means either getting halal certified meat or serving fish momo or vegetarian momo.
For the friend, I decided to make tuna momo.
Why tuna for momo?
Tuna is a rare fish because it’s warm-blooded like many mammals and have a higher concentration of myoglobin, which is used for higher oxygen intake. Myoglobin, a ubiquitous protein, gives meat its characteristic red color – the higher the amount, the deeper the red color. The amount of myoglobin depends on species of animal, their body parts as well as their age. For example, beef has more red color, i.e, has more myoglobin, than other mammals such as pork or veal (young beef). In tuna, myoglobin concentration is comparable to chicken (light muscles) to beef (dark muscles). I am using tuna steaks because I believe it will be closest fish with the meaty qualities.
For tuna filling;
Dumpling wrappers pack of 1 (40 pieces)
For momo achaar;
Here’s how I made the tuna momo.
First thing, make sure you get red tuna steaks — not canned tuna. Canned tuna is white tuna meat processed with salt, oil, and water.
Cut tuna steaks into pieces.
Grind the tuna steaks in a food processor. Since tuna meat is a tender, it needs only a few pulses. If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop/mash it with hand as well.
Chop onion, garlic, and ginger. I chopped them in the same food processor container. No need to clean since everything is going to get mixed.
Add onion/garlic/ginger puree to ground tuna.
Season it with garam masala, oil, salt, and water.
Mix to get the dumpling filling. The tuna momo filling looks like chicken or turkey momo fillings.
How to properly use the commercial dumpling wrapper?
Put a teaspoon of tuna filling in the middle of the wrapper. Brush (or coat) the borders of the wrapper with water. Seal the tuna inside the dough by pinching the dough. I am not going to get into the art of dumpling making here. The goal is to make a sealed filling wrapped in the flour dough.
Easiest Momo Sauce Ever!
For momo sauce, I whipped up a very easy (read lazy) version of classic momo achaar (sauce) made with roasted tomatoes and sesame from ingredients found in the any US grocery store.
For this you need a (double) roasted tomato salsa and tahini (sesame paste).
Optionally, you can put cilantro as well. Keeping the easy-theme, I used frozen cilantro cubes.
Mix tahini and cilantro to salsa. Spice up with ground cumin seeds. To get constancy right, add water and supplement salt to taste.
I wouldn’t say this is the best momo sauce ever, but considering the effort needed, it is the tastiest bang for your time.
The flavor of the tuna momo was slight fishy – not too fishy since tuna is a mild tasting fish. The texture was just right for the dumpling. I am happy to report that this tuna momo satisfied my pescatarian friend’s craving for momo.
I was surprised that I had even some leftover for the next day. Like any momos, fried next day momos are so preciously delicious.
Related Dumpling Posts
Posted in: Cooking | Tags: Asian Food, Chinese Food, dumplings, Fish momo, Momo, Nepali Food, Newari Food, Tuna momo recipe, vegetarian momo
On the fourth Thursday of every November, everyone who believe themselves to be Americans celebrate nature’s bounty by feasting with their loved ones. Traditional thanksgiving food is simple baked, boiled, and/or mashed, and served with minimum spices to ensure soft texture and mild flavor that cater to anyone from children to elderly.
Partaking in this meal is a symbolic gesture for every immigrant who becomes an allegorical descendant to the generation of pilgrims who first ventured out to the New World with a hope of a better life. Essentially, the fourth Thursday of November is more American than the fourth day of July celebrated with barbecues.
Most immigrants celebrate thanksgiving meal interwoven with culinary tradition of their heritage. North American bird, turkey, symbolizes their new home in America, while the additional spices and dishes represent their contribution to the melting pot.
How was Thanksgiving started by immigrants?
George Washington, John Adams, and James Madison issued proclamations of a thanksgiving holidays. However at that time states celebrated thanksgiving at different times with its popularity remaining limited to New England with lukewarm celebration in the Southern states.
Lincoln and Thanksgiving
History of the Immigrant’s Thanksgiving Turkey
Most immigrants celebrate thanksgiving meal interwoven with culinary tradition of their heritage. North American bird, turkey, symbolizes their new home in America, while the additional spices and dishes represent their contribution to the melting pot.They add spices or dish distinct to their thanksgiving meal. This practice of bringing culinary heritage to a foreign tradition continues as immigrants from all over the world embrace the United States as their new home. Pakistani families may add garam masala in their turkey, their Thai friends may flavor side dishes with coconut milk, while their Norwegian neighbor may bring smoked salmon appetizer.
Likewise, my thanksgiving turkey would be tandoori turkey with saffron gravy.
on the roasting pan for gravy
* traditional tandoori marinade is yogurt based
After removing packaging materials and other organs (gizzards etc.,) coat the inside cavity of turkey with spice paste. Pour ½ of chicken stock in there. Stuffing a turkey is not recommended for both food safety as well as taste safety. Make stuffing in a pan as casserole instead.
My favorite tip for moist turkey breast comes from Harold McGee. Few hours before the end of thawing the turkey, selectively put ice-packs on its breast. Due to the difference in temperature between breast meat and turkey, the turkey breast will cook slower than the rest of turkey. This will prevent drying of turkey. Be sure to remove the ice-packs before baking.
With your fingers and/or flat plastic spatula separate the skin from the breast meat. Be gentle and don’t tear the skin. Rub the spice mix in between turkey skin and the breast meat.
Rub the spice mix outside the entire turkey.
Cover the breast with a sheet of aluminum foil. Roast in 325 °F oven. Remove the foil ½ an hour before the roasting ends. Covering the breast with a foil sheet also helps in preventing the breast from drying.
USDA recommends (see USDA’s turkey cooking recommendations) the minimum internal temperature of 165 °F for food safety. Nowadays, many turkeys come up with “pop-up” temperature indicators. However, just to be safe, use instant read thermometer to check temperatures of innermost parts of the turkey, such as thigh, wings, thickest part of the breast.
Check doneness of turkey early and often.
Timetables for Roasting Turkey (USDA)
for 1 cup of dripping from roasted turkey
Leave a dozen inch long strands in milk sometime after putting the roast turkey. The amount of saffron depends on its quality.
After removing turkey, pour out the dripping from turkey. Blend mushy roasted onion with other liquid drippings.
Mix corn starch with the saffron milk and pour over blended turkey drippings. Reheat until thickens. Gravy done.
Thanksgiving is an American celebration of sharing the ample of wholesome, often simple, foods any way you like it.
All the Illustrations by: Sumayal Shrestha
Janet Siskind, “The Invention of Thanksgiving: A ritual of American nationality”, Critique of Anthropology, Vol. 12, No. 2, June 1992, Page 167-191.
Melanie Wallendorf and Eric J. Arnould, “We Gather Together”: Consumption Rituals of Thanksgiving Day,” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 18, No. 1, June 1991, Page 13-31
Posted in: Cooking - Food Culture | Tags: History of the Immigrant’s Thanksgiving Turkey, How was Thanksgiving Started by immigrants?, Saffron Gravy, Saffron Gravy Recipe, Saffron Gravy Thanksgiving, Step by Step Turkey Baking, Step by Step Turkey Roasting, Tandoori Thanksgiving Turkey, Tandoori Turkey, Tandoori Turkey Recipe, Tandori Turkey, Thanksgiving History, Thanksgiving Turkey History, Timetables for Roasting Turkey, Timetables for Turkey Roasting
Bacon cheeseburger is the undoubtedly the most popular style of the omnipresent cheeseburger (my list of best burger in DC).
Majority of burger experts suggest 80 percent lean ground chuck, also known as 80/20, with 20 percent fat content. For this bacon burger, get a lean beef, here it’s 93% beef.
Get bacon fat, from cooked bacon. Don’t throw out the fat after cooking bacon. Use strainer to collect the bacon fat. Let it cool and store in refrigerator until use.
Weigh and add bacon fat to get 20% of total fat in meat. For 1.5 lb of 93% meat, I added 13% of additional fat, 3 oz of pure bacon fat.
Mix lean beef with bacon fat.
Shape into 6 to 8 oz burgers each, here 6.75 oz each.
Cook, on a grill or a grill pan. Any other pan works as well but ridge pan will avoid cooking burger in it’s own fat and who doesn’t like a nice grill marks on burger.
Cheese. You can’t go wrong with any cheese that melts. Here’s my choice is blue cheese crumbles.
Cook until the cheese melts.
Buns, a classic sesame bun can’t be bad unless you want to bake homemade bread with bacon bits instead of sesame.
Toasting buns is always a good idea. Instead of butter, use the bacon fat tripped from burger to toast the buns – more bacon flavor
Instead of ketchup, I used bacon jam made with onions, balsamic vinegar, celery etc., from Skillet.
Skillet bacon spread adds another layer of bacon flavor.
Bacon burger is nearly ready.
Add a strip of bacon. You can cook the bacon a day before and collect the bacon fat for the bacon burger.
Ready to eat, the bacon burger.
Posted in: Cooking | Tags: American food, Bacon burger, Bacon burger recipe, Bacon cheese burger, Bacon cheese burger recipe, Bacon cheeseburger recipe, Bacon fat, Bacon fat burger, Bacon fat cheeseburger, Best Bacon Burger in the World, Blue cheese bacon burger, Blue cheese bacon cheeseburger, Blue cheese burger, Blue cheese cheeseburger, Blue cheeseburger, Burgers, Meat, The Best Bacon Burger in the World