quarta-feira, 27 de janeiro de 2010

Daring Bakers' Challenge - January 2010

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and http://www.nanaimo.ca/

Nanaimo Bars are a classic Canadian dessert created in none other than Nanaimo, British Colombia. In case you were wondering, it’s pronounced Nah-nye-Moh. These bars have 3 layers: a base containing graham crackers, cocoa, coconut and nuts, a middle custard layer, and a topping of chocolate. They are extremely rich and available almost everywhere across the country.

Gluten-Free Graham Wafers

1 cup (138 g) Sweet rice flour (also known as glutinous rice flour) Here in Brasil we have only one type of rice flour, and I don't know which kind is it
3/4 cup (100 g) Tapioca Starch/Flour
1/2 cup (65 g) Sorghum Flour No way we find it here, so I used corn meal (maize flour)
1 cup (200 g) Dark Brown Sugar, Lightly packed
1 teaspoon (5 mL) Baking soda
3/4 teaspoon (4 mL ) Kosher Salt
7 tablespoons (100 g) Unsalted Butter (Cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen)
1/3 cup (80 mL) Honey, Mild-flavoured such as clover.
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Whole Milk
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Pure Vanilla Extract

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. If making by hand, combine aforementioned dry ingredients with a whisk, then cut in butter until you have a coarse meal. No chunks of butter should be visible.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
Turn the dough onto a surface well-floured with sweet rice flour and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.

Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of sweet rice flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place wafers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more sweet rice flour and roll out the dough to get a couple more wafers.
Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.
Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. Might take less, and the starting location of each sheet may determine its required time. The ones that started on the bottom browned faster.
When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) of crumbs. Another way to do this is to place in a large ziplock bag, force all air out and smash with a rolling pin until wafers are crumbs.

Those are very good cookies. Kids, husband and friends just loved them.

Notes for gluten-free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars:

• Glutinous rice flour does not contain any gluten, as it is made from a type of rice called glutinous (or sweet) rice.

• The graham wafer dough is very sticky. Make sure you are flouring (with sweet rice flour) well, or the dough will be difficult to remove from the surface you roll it out on. Also be sure to keep it cold. You do not want the butter to melt.

•  Tapioca starch/flour and sweet rice flour can often be found in Asian grocery stores, or in the Asian section of you grocery store. Sorghum can be slightly more difficult to find, but it can be replaced with brown rice flour, millet flour or other alternatives.

• In the Nanaimo Bars, it is very important that the chocolate be cool but still a liquid, otherwise the custard layer will melt, and it will mix with the chocolate, being difficult to spread. Allow the chocolate mixture to come to room temperature but not solidify before spreading the top layer on.

Variations allowed:

• Although it is highly recommend using gluten-free flours, as the chemistry is very interesting and the end result can be amazing, you are allowed to use wheat.

• If making them gluten-free, no wheat, barley, rye, triticale, kamut, spelt, durum, semolina, or other gluten containing ingredients may be used. Removing those ingredients ensures it is safe for those with Celiac Disease and other health issues where gluten causes problems. If you do plan on serving this to someone on a gluten-free diet, also ensure no cross-contamination occurs.

Nanaimo Bars

Bottom Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup (50 g) Granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons (75 ml) Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Large Egg, Beaten
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) (160 g)  Gluten Free Graham Wafer Crumbs (See previous recipe)
1/2 cup (55 g)  Almonds (Any type, Finely chopped)
1 cup (130 g) Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)

Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.

Middle Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) Unsalted Butter
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons (40 mL) Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Vanilla Custard Powder
2 cups (254 g)  Icing Sugar

Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.


Top Layer
4 ounces (115 g) Semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons (28 g) Unsalted Butter

Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.

Thanks Lauren. This was another amazing challenge and I've learned a lot about Nanaimo City and its delicious bars. I'm sure I'll make it again and again.

Tell me the truth, would you resist eating everything?

Additional Information:

These bars freeze very well, so don’t be afraid to pop some into the freezer.
The graham wafers may be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Mine lasted about that long.
If making the graham crackers with wheat, replace the gluten-free flours (tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, and sorghum flour) with 2 ½ cups plus 2 tbsp of all-purpose wheat flour, or wheat pastry flour. Watch the wheat-based graham wafers very closely in the oven, as they bake faster than the gluten-free ones, sometimes only 12 minutes.
For the Nanaimo Bars, if making with wheat, replace the gluten-free graham wafer crumbs with equal parts wheat graham wafer crumbs!

Recipe Source: Graham Wafers — 101 Cookbooks (http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/000126.html)

Nanaimo Bars — City of Nanaimo (http://www.nanaimo.ca/EN/main/visitors/NanaimoBars.html)

Graham Cracker and Graham flour - some interesting information on Wikipedia.

Oh, I was almost forgetting to tell you the big news. I've joined a class to learn how to take pictures. The classes will last for 7 Saturdays. Last one were the first. So you may expect for better pictures in a near future (at least I hope so...)

sexta-feira, 15 de janeiro de 2010

Daring Cooks' Challenge - January 2010

I promised to tell you all how my lamb's leg turned out. Well, it was delicious! This marinade worked very well with this meat. Again, the Tamarindo dip did a great combination, better then Peanut-Coconut.

As I wrote yesterday, I place the whole leg in the oven. But, my husband arived home earlier, and he was starving. I was taking a shower and when went to the kitchen, he had already sliced all the meat and boned it. So I couldn't take a picture of the whole piece. It is a pitty, it was so beautiful...

Oh, and I forget to tell you I did my own tamarindo paste. It is not difficult and the result worth the job. Cuppy, from Cuppylicious, provided a link where we can see how to do that: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/get_cooking/techniques/092002.shtml

Tamarindo Paste
200g tamarindo peeled
Warm water

Soak the tamarindo in warm water, suficient to cover it, about an hour. Then pass it throgh a sieve. Press the seeds against the sieve. You will get a think and creamy paste. Just it. You can add sugar and spices and cook it as a jam or mix it with salt and olive oil and serve as a dip too. Really good!

quinta-feira, 14 de janeiro de 2010

Daring Cook's Challenge - January 2010

The January 2010 DC challenge was hosted by Cuppy of Cuppylicious and she chose a delicious Thai-inspired recipe for Pork Satay from the book 1000 Recipes by Martha Day.

Satay (or sate) is very often served as “street fare” all over the world, and you dip your cool little meat skewer into any variety of dipping sauces.

The challenge:
Use any meat or tofu you like.  I chose to use Chicken breats and a lamb's leg
Serve satay as an appetizer, side dish or main course.
Skewer or no skewer, your call.
Pan fry, grill, or broil, also your call.
Alternative recipe below for faster marinade.
Alternative recipe below for peanut allergies.
You don’t have to use turmeric if you don’t have it. In the case of satay, turmeric just makes it yellow.
Marinate (verb) – to steep (to wet thoroughly in or with a liquid; drench; saturate; imbue) in a marinade before cooking.

The required part of this challenge is to marinate. Marinades serve two purposes, to: 1) add awesome flavor and 2) tenderize tougher meats.

Satay Marinade
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 T ginger root, chopped (optional) (2 cm cubed)
2 T lemon juice (1 oz or 30 mls)
1 T soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 tsp ground coriander (5 mls)
1 tsp ground cumin (5 mls)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric (2-2.5 mls)
2 T vegetable oil (or peanut or olive oil) (30 mls)
1 kg meat

I made it a little bit more Thai, as suggested: I added a tsp of chopped green chili, an extra tablespoon of ginger root, and 1 tablespoon (0.5 oz or 15 mls) of fish sauce.

Chop the onions, garlic and ginger really fine then mix it all together in a medium to large bowl.If you have a food processor or blender, dump in everything except the meat and blend until smooth.
Cut the meat into 1 inch strips (as the chicken breats were too thick, I cut them into 2.And I decided bake my lamb as it was, in one big piece). Cover it with marinade, seal and chill.

Depending on the ingredients you select, time table:

                          Prep      Marinate         Cook

Pork                30 min.     4 – 24 hrs      20 min.
Beef/Lamb      30 min.     6 – 24 hrs      20 min.
Chicken           30 min.     2 – 12 hrs    10 – 15 min.
Vegetables   5 - 10 min.     2 hrs           5 - 10 min.
Tofu             5 - 10 min.     2 hrs           5 - 10 min.

The Marinade

 Lamb's Leg, Left and Chicken Breats, right

Cooking Directions
If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak your skewers in warm water for at least 20 minutes before preparing skewers.
Gently and slowly slide meat strips onto skewers. Discard leftover marinade.*
Broil or grill at 290°C/550° F (or pan fry on medium-high) for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just start to char. Flip and cook another 8-10 minutes.

*If you’re grilling or broiling, you could definitely brush once with extra marinade when you flip the skewers.

Peanut Sauce
3/4 cup coconut milk (6 oz or 180 mls)
4 Tbsp peanut butter (2 oz or 60 mls)
1 Tbsp lemon juice (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 Tbsp soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 tsp brown sugar (5 mls)
1/2 tsp ground cumin (2.5 mls)
1/2 tsp ground coriander (2.5 mls)
1-2 dried red chilies, chopped (keep the seeds for heat)

Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add soy sauce and lemon, mix well.
Over low heat, combine coconut milk, peanut butter and your soy-lemon-seasoning mix. Mix well, stir often.
All you’re doing is melting the peanut butter, so make your peanut sauce after you’ve made everything else in your meal, or make ahead of time and reheat.

Pepper Dip (optional) - As my children don't like anything hot, I skiped this.
4 Tbsp soy sauce (2 oz or 60 mls)
1 Tbsp lemon juice (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 tsp brown sugar (5 mls)
1-2 dried red chilies, chopped (keep the seeds for heat)
1 finely chopped green onion (scallion)

Mix well. Serve chilled or room temperature.

Tamarind Dip (optional)
4 Tbsp tamarind paste (2 oz or 60 mls)
1 Tbsp soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 finely chopped green onion (scallion)
1 tsp brown or white sugar, or to taste (about 5 mls)

Mix well. Serve chilled or room temperature.

Peanut Sauce at left and Tamarindo Dip at right

Those two sauces are really great. The sweetness of the peanut butter mixed with the coconut milk made me eat it alone, several spoons. But I must say that the Tamarindo dip sourness worked perfectly with the chicken. What a wonderful combination!
Everybody here at home, loved this dish. As you can see on picture 1, I "diced" the meat and served with sticks. Gooooood!

The Lamb. Well I have just placed it into the oven. I belive it will be ready for lunch, 2 or 3 hour ahead. I promise you to post the pictures later today, ok?

I want to thank Cuppy for this amazing challenge. I always say I love asian food and this tiome it was not different.

See you!