Saturday, January 23, 2016

Tea Biscuits

My parents, like many Indian people, make tea every day, and we have nasta (nah-s-thah) which are Indian snacks, and invariably some kind of biscuit or what other people call cookies. They weren't very fancy, but they were delicious with the tea -- particularly Parle-G glucose biscuits. Sounds odd, tastes delicious. Tyler would go through packets of these when my dad first introduced him to them. Needless to say, I don't keep them in the house much.

But I recently had some tea from a pre-mixed indian tea-tea spice that I use, and had a hankering for some biscuits. So I went back to the basics, equal weight butter and flour with a pinch of salt, and any flavoring you want.

So far I've done parmesan cheese and black peppers, chipotle pepper with habaƱero cheese, and vanilla scented-vanilla glazed. They are simple, and go really well with your cup of tea. Make them, keep them around.

The parmesan and black pepper dough that I rolled out between two pieces of parchment paper
Chipotle Habanero Cheese biscuits (and one parm/black pepper bunny biscuit!)
Vanilla glazed, vanilla scented biscuits (these were awesome)
Basic Biscuit
from Paul Hollywood's recipe

75 g (0.75 cup flour)
75 g butter
pinch of salt
A little cold water
Whatever flavoring you want to add (vanilla bean seeds, almond, some sugar, parmesan, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, go crazy!)

With your hand, or more easily in the bowl of a food processor, mix together the butter and flour and salt until it resembles coarse sand. Then add in your flavoring choice, start the food processor, and slowly add a little water until the whole thing just comes together. Dump the contents onto cling wrap, flatten it into a disc, and place in the fridge for 30 min - 1 hr.

Turn on oven to 375F

Then roll it out on a floured surface or my favorite, in between two pieces of parchment paper so your counter doesn't get messy. You don't want to handle the dough too much or the butter will melt, and you'll get mediocre biscuits. After you roll it out, if it feels too warm, just pop the whole thing back into the fridge for another 10 minutes, then you can either cut it into squares, use shape cutters, etc. to make your biscuits. Put them on a tray lined with parchment paper or silpat. Put them in the oven for ~10-18 minutes (check to make sure they are not getting too brown based on the size you cut them). Pull them out, and allow them to cool before icing or just eating! 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Raspberry Rose Profiteroles

I've been watching a bit too much of the Great British Bake Off (GBBO). It's rather devastating to me that Netflix has only one season, but nevertheless I've watched the season twice. Twice. I don't think it's really the show, but rather the time off from working/studying that has allowed me to regain my baking and cooking inspiration. So here is what I'm going to try to do this year -- a weekly post with a round-up of what we've eaten. It's partially to share, but mostly as a way for me to document some of the things I make (i.e. miso-encrusted tofu with a spinach and blue cheese salad, yes it was delicious). That way when I am lacking in ideas, I can look back and see what I made!

They went so fast..we didn't get to take a picture of the inside of these...
But for now, these profiteroles. I've become obsessed with choux and biscuits since watching GBBO. I tried making a choux for eclairs a few years back made a few key mistakes: 1) I added all the egg at one time, making the dough too runny and therefore the eclairs too flat. 2) I didn't "dry them out." In order to maintain the crispiness inside of an eclair or profiterole (aka cream puff) you need to poke a hole in them part way through the bake to allow the steam to come out and dry out the inside. That way when you fill it, it doesn't immediately become soggy. The dough itself is quite simple to make.

But these are the blueberry lavender ones we made after...they were delicious. I did learn the valuable lesson that skipping the "make the puree from the berries" step is definitely not wise though! 
Choux, meaning cabbage in french, is a mixture of flour, water, butter, and egg brought together on a stove-top. When you know how to make this, you can make eclairs, profiteroles, gougeres, or even beignets (though I haven't been bold enough to fry mine yet). They are pretty easy to fill, you can go with a basic creme patisserie, whipped cream (which I prefer), lemon curd, etc. From start to finish, the whole thing takes about 2hrs to make, including cooling and filling time. Try it out!

Raspberry-Rose Profiteroles
inspiration drawn from the GBBO 

Choux dough (read all the directions before making, it makes your life easier)
120mL water
50g salted butter
65g plain white flour
pinch of salt
2 eggs, beaten

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1.5 tsp rose water (appropriate for food)
0.75 cups frozen raspberries
2 tbsp sugar, granulated

Over the stove, heat water and butter together, but do not boil (you don't want to reduce the water content here). When all the butter is melted into the water, bring the water to a boil, and add the flour in one go, take off heat, and mix vigorously with wooden spoon or spatula. It will come together. Bring back to heat on low, and keep mixing until it comes together in a shiny ball. Let it sit and cool to warm

Once cooler, add the beaten egg a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. It will look lumpy and weird when you first start mixing, but it will come together. Keep adding until the dough looks shiny, and falls off your spoon with a little shake. I usually end up adding all but a little bit (maybe 1 tsp) of the egg.

Either spoon onto a pre-prepared baking sheet (silpat or parchment paper) or pipe it by using a piping bag or heavy duty ziplock back onto the baking sheet.

Put in a pre-heated oven at 400F for 8 minutes, then reduce the heat to 170F for 4 minutes, then pull out and poke a hole in your eclair or profiterole to allow the steam to escape. Put it back in the oven at 170F for another 3-5 minutes. Pull them out, and let them cool.

While it's cooling, make the filling. Puree the frozen berries with a hand blender or food processor, and run it through a fine sieve mesh. The point is to get the berry puree without the seeds. If you don't have a food processor/blender, you can do the same thing by heating the berries over the stove or in the microwave and mashing them up with a spoon or fork and then running it through a sieve to get out any of the seeds. 

Put the heavy cream, sugar, rosewater, and raspberry puree into a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, and let 'er rip. When you get the whipped cream to your liking consistency-wise, put it in a bowl, and pop it into the fridge to cool. You can also do this process by hand for a mini-workout.

Then fill a piping bag/ziplock bag filled with a small round piping tip, put the tip into your cooled pastry and fill! If you don't have a pipping tip, you can just cut your pastry in half length-wise, and fill 'er up manually. No shame in that.

To dress your pastry, you can do a chocolate glaze, tempered chocolate (which we did), chocolate drizzle...really anything you like. Either way -- try this pretty simple dessert and enjoy!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

So that was 2015

2015 is done and over -- we are now a whole four days into 2016. It's a new year. We rang in the new year in Buxton, ME at a home with a few friends. It was strikingly beautiful -- an old schoolhouse restored to be a home, complete with a spiral staircase. It was cozy, relaxing, and a great place to think and eat an obscene amount of food. Take a foodie on vacation, you're going to get a lot of food. That's right, I've embraced my foodie nature.

2015 was a big year, year in review:

1. I turned in my residency applications.

2. Started my last year, last year of medical school

3. Broke and finally bought a kindle and regret NOTHING

4. Took up acrylic painting

5. Turned my house inside out cleaning it and throwing things away after reading this book. It's life changing.

6. Made some wonderful friends

7. Visited some of my friends in their new homes

8. Found my favorite restaurant in Cambridge. This love is real. 

9. Started family dinner with my brother and sister-in-law, and love it.

10. Appreciated my family more.

11. Discovered burrata. Nothing has been the same.

12. Saw my best friend marry. This was an incredible experience I feel privileged to have been a part of.

13. Acquired and lost a selfie stick. May your new home be as good as the one I provided you oh selfie stick.

14. Experienced the kindness of my fellow Wellesley alums who housed me on the interview trail. Thank you Ale and Christine.
15. Spent time with friends in new cities.

16. Learned how to spend time with myself.
17. Fell more in love with my husband. And his beard.

18. Fell more in love with my dogs.

19. Realized how unbelievably proud I am of Tyler.

20. Made this freaking awesome yule log.

That's the short list. Who knows what this year will bring...will I match? Where will I match? What is Tyler going to do? Where will we be? What adventures will we have? Who knows, but I'm excited to find out.