Monday, August 10, 2009

Lenox Almond Biscotti : remembering Julia

For the joy of French’s memory, I went cinema to Julie & Julia. I was expecting some fresh air, good laugh and warm-hearted. Indeed the movie showed most of those, which make foodie like me in happy tears. Well, food just the background but the story about the journey of two women, did inspire me, by Julia and Julie for their own time tunnel.

I grew fondness of French baking not trough Julia Child, but merely from contemporary Dorie Greenspan. Dorie worked for Julia during PBS’s Baking with Julia, wrote a book to accompany the program. I haven’t dared to start ‘proper’ Cordon Bleu regime to build my baking skill. For the confidence side, Julia might say, “Never apologized.”

Since I killed cable subscription, I became involve in most PBS cooking such Jacques Pepin –who turned out to be Julia’s friends. I found him very forgiving, clear description and very technical. Somehow he reminded me with father in law in the kitchen. They are extraordinary, with passion of making food looks simple and doable.

These biscotti just another sample of over-expected. I found the recipe very easy and straightforward, but turned out to be lots messy than usual. The dough seemed too short, in resulted just crumbly. Through TWD, more people found similar difficulties. Dough became to runny, taking extra time to bake and shape not easy to work with. I followed all the steps in moderate, while reducing sugar contents is more likely give an impact of workability while whisking eggs, sugar and butter might the key. It needs slightly longer to let expand and bind the dry ingredients.

I added dry cherry which is my favorite because of sourness. Some people suggested to bake in higher temperature at first 15-20 minutes then reduce into 350F second bake. Also leave the dough at fridge for 1-2hours will make easy to split into two or three dough. As Julia said to never apologized, I guarantee that this biscotti taste like heaven.

Recipe can found here or here. This site is a brilliant step by step of making biscotti with pictures!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Being fresh & salsa

Mexican food became our weekly menu since we lives in California. Fragrance of cilantro leaves, smoothness of avocado and striking hot of chillies bound me with this land. California always known for great community of mexican. We inherited their passion of fresh ingredients, prepare with labor of love and of course starchy tortilla chips.

I visited Crate&Barrel yesterday and found Molcajete -stone grinder on sale. Once I tried to buy similar grinder from Java, then it was to heavy that excess my baggage allowance. The grinder quite similar, but molcajete has three legs. Javanese grinder tends to be wide and no leg with shallow surfaces. Mexican uses most for making dipping, while Javanese uses for sambals.

This summer my tiny garden prove itself to make guacamole. Well, I don't have big garden but just enough to produce tomatoes, lemons, serrano chillies. These recipe taken from simplyrecipe and mango salsa is just modification.

Perfect Guacamole

1 ripe avocado
1 serrano chillies
1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime
sprinkle salt
some fresh grated pepper
1/2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and pulp removed, finely chopped

Direction :
  • Cut avocado, mash in mixing bowl using fork.
  • Added chopped onion, cilantro, lime/lemob, salt and pepper.
  • Keep the chopped tomatoes separated.
  • Cover with plastic wrap on the surface of guacamole to prevent oxidation from the air reaching it. Refrigerate until ready.
  • Just before serving, add the tomatoes.
  • Serves with tortilla chips

Mango Salsa

1/2 ripe mango, cubed
some chopped sweet pepper
1/2 serrano chilli
1 tablespoon fresh lime/lemon
1 tablespoon cilantro leaves
2 tablespoon of grape fruit
salt & pepper

Mixed all ingredients and leave it chill at least half an hour before serves. It can be eat as dipping with tortilla chips or adding sour for meal.