It seems like my sweet tooth is gone on a little vacation.
Cause for once in my life, I am favouring savoury foods instead of my usual staple of cakes, cookies and candies.
Take today for instance, i started out with an ingredient rarely mentioned in this blog.
A neglected and underrated vegetable (or is it root?) here in Crustabakes.
So along with dried rosemary (Well, ideally, i was supposed to use fresh ones), i have taken the garlic and massaged it into a focaccia bread dough to create the most wonderfully smelling kitchen.
And of course the most wonderfully smelling bread too.
The recipe for this focaccia was taken from Sweet Pea’s kitchen. As with most of the recipes on her blog, this recipe was pretty straightforward. And although this is my first time making focaccia, i thought it went quite well. I pretty much adhered to the instructions, substituting only on the scale to fit the bread into a 9×13 pan instead of the 12×14 pan.
The resultant bread had a good crisp skin and a chewy interior. And with its dimpled surface and aromatic flavours, this is as focaccia-ish as it could be. Oh, instead of the usual spray of cooking oil on the pan to prevent sticking, i drizzled garlic oil on it, to infuse even more flavour on the bread.
With all the garlic, rosemary and seasalt, this focaccia is actually good enough to be eaten on its own. But i did have some leftover tomato dip which went along very well with the bread.
Oh, and you might want to brush your teeth again after that. Or at least get the breathmints ready. 🙂
Taken from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen
So after days of not turning the knobs of my oven, i decided to crank it up today.
All the way up, at 500 F.
Cranking the oven at such a high temperature is one of the steps to achieving flat, crusty pizza dough.
While some people prefer chewier, thicker dough. I like mine to be on the thin and crispy side.
Not taco shell thin and crispy of course, but just thin enough so that i don’t have to battle the chewy dough with my teeth.
And i read the key to that was to pop the pizza dough in the oven before it had the chance to rise, and the intensified heat of 500F will make sure that the underside of the pizza crisps up.
And as for the filling, i opted the easy way out of using a canned prego spaghetti sauce (How predictable right?). Then i sprinkled some grated mozarella, mixed italian herbs, pepperoni slices, and grated cheddar.
Pepperoni and Cheese Pizza
Taken from Annie’s Eats
½ batch of perfect pizza crust
3 TBS canned Prego Spaghetti Sauce
Some dried Italian Herbs
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
A handful of pepperoni
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven and a pizza stone to 500° F. Allow the stone to heat for at least 30 minutes. In the mean time, cut a round of parchment paper the size of your pizza stone. (Alternatively, use a pizza peel.) Sprinkle lightly with cornmeal or semolina flour.
*Note: I dont own a pizza stone, so i just placed a dark cookie sheet at the lowest rack in my oven.
Gently roll out the pizza dough into a large circle, leaving a thicker ring around the edge for the crust. Spread the Prego spaghetti sauce in a thin layer evenly over the unbaked crust. Sprinkle with Italian herbs, then shredded mozzarella. Top with pepperoni slices and finally sprinkle with shredded cheddar. Once assembled, carefully transfer the parchment round and pizza to the preheated baking stone (*dark cookie sheet) and return to the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and browned. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
At the rate i am going, I think i might soon be ineligible to call this blog CrustaBAKES. I think it’s been almost a week since i baked something.
And today, my oven still laid cold and unabandoned (please bear with me) as i diverted my attention to the stove.
And deep fried these Vanilla Ricotta Fritters.
Balls of dough soft and fluffy, so very like their airy cousins of donuts.
Except they probably need only 1/4 the effort making donuts need.
No make that 1/8.
Using the muffin method of mixing wet to dry ingredients, these fritters are really a breeze to put together.
The recipe states the use of baking powder for leavening to create that aerated, fluffy structure. With the acidity from the use of ricotta cheese, i think the reaction from the baking powder was tremendously boosted. Plus, it also must have made this all the more soft and moist. And if you are worrying about the grittyness of Ricotta cheese, you can set your minds at ease as the grittyness will cook out and disappear into nothingness.
And while these subtly sweet fritters are delicious with a simple sprinkle of powdered sugar. I decided to make a dip for it.
A lemon curd.
That’s like happy sunshine in a cup, which makes everything it touches shines
Including these Vanilla Fritters!
Taken from A cozy kitchen.
Taken from Martha Stewart
I am definitely getting ahead of myself with these.
Fried Rosemary Crackers.
Not only are these cookies savoury, but they are also fried.
And that’s something you don’t see everyday in Crustabakes, which up till now has been powered by lots of sugar, flour and happy heat from the oven.
But it’s always good to break out of the shell and try something new.
Plus it’s rewarding too!
These blistered crackers are flavoured with rosemary, fresh shallots and curry powder.
They are really really tasty and addictive, just like the popcorn, or potato chips that you cant stop at one.
And while they are good enough to eat on their own, you can of course add your own cheese and dried fruits on it.
* Note: while the recipe states that a pasta roller is needed, i got by manually with a rolling pin.
Fried Shallot and Rosemary Crackers
(Taken from an Indonesian Cookbook Kue Kering untuk Idul Fitri)
200 grams All Purpose Flour
30 grams Cornflour
1/2 tsp Chicken Powder
1/2 tsp Curry Powder
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 cloves of shallots, ground with a pestle and mortar
1 tbs dried Rosemary
2 tbs iced water
Oil for deep frying
1. Knead all the ingredients together. ( This will create a very dry and tough dough)
2. Roll the dough with a pasta roller starting from the thickest setting (#1), till it gets to the setting #7, rolling twice per setting. ( I don’t own a pasta roller and don’t really understand the mechanism. I hand rolled the dough with my rolling pin till as thin as i can get it to.)
3. Cut the dough into pieces ( I used a round cookie cutter)
4. Deep fry in pre-heated oil till they turn golden brown
This is ground breaking.
I think i might have cooked (as opposed to baking) today.
And i think i might have liked it!
In fact, i liked it so much that i am gonna focus on the cooking today, and downplay the fact that the cooking lies over homemade, freshly baked baguettes.
Homemade baguettes. That’s pretty groundbreaking too.
I am always baking Asian breads, so this is a bit out of my area. Literally.
But let’s keep that to another day.
So what was cooking anyways?
Sauteed creamy mushroom, flavoured with cheese and garlic
Sure, it’s nothing impressive. But it’s a mile stone for me (I can barely cook an egg!)
They call this arrangement a “crostini”.
And just as i like these crostinis, i think i am liking cooking too!
Recipe from Tomcat in the Kitchen
While the average person tries to spend as minimal time in the grocery store, i am one of those weirdos who loves to walk through each aisle leisurely. I dawdle, i deliberate, and i drive my supermarket companion (whoever is unfortunate enough to be with me ) nuts at my unprogressive rate.
It was during one of these trips that i spotted this Pistachio instant pudding mix from Jell-o.
I grabbed one knowing exactly what i wanted it for.
A pistachio cream cheese frosting from my Cream Cheese Jelly Berry Pie. The original recipe was for filling a pie, but the texture was so thick and the taste so creamy that i decided that it would work as a frosting too.
But as an insurance, i did omit out the liquid (milk) in the recipe. I wanted this frosting to be really thick and full flavoured.
And since i was going fancy with the frosting, i didn’t one plain vanilla for the cupcakes. So i took an orange cupcake recipe but subbed the orange juice in it for cranberry juice.
Cranberry Cupcakes with Pistachio Cream Cheese anyone?
It didnt work out so well though, i couldn’t taste the cranberry flavours for one bit. I suggest on using cranberry extracts for this.
Having said that, the real star here is the frosting. Really, it could have been just be a piece of stale bread underneath and it will still taste delicious!
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups sifted cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Line your cupcake pans.
- Beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla.
- Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt. Mix well.
- Combine the milk with the cranberry juice.
- Pour one third flour mixture into the butter mixture, then half of the milk mixture. Repeat ending with the flour mixture. Mix well.
- Spoon batter evenly among cupcake liners.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool before frosting.
Pistachio Cream Cheese Frosting
1 Can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
1/4 c cold milk
1 Package (3.4 ounces) Pistachio Instant pudding mix
- In a large bowl, beat sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese, and pudding mix for 1 minute.
- Spread over cooled cupcakes.
- Sprinkle chopped pistaschio and dried cranberries over to prettify!
Something is not quite right when the props around the food you take photos with receive more comments than the actual food itself. And lately that has been the case with the friends i hang out with.
The flowers i so often include in my pictures are by far the biggest attention hoggers. My florist of a friend for example was always commenting on the flowers, and never the food. The rest of them were happier commenting on the cups, plates, cutlery i used.
I guess i must have done a poor job on arranging the set-up to make sure that the spotlight is on the food. Or that the props i used were too much of a distraction. But whatever the case, today, i shall try going propless,
with this oatmeal chocolate chip cake, with caramel glaze.
The original recipe for the chocolate chip cake didn’t ask for the caramel glaze, but without the glaze AND without the props, the pictures turned out so dull and dreary.
No one will grant a second glance at it and see for themselves what a soft, moist, chocolate chip cake this was. That would be a shame.
Plus, i am sure no one would mind the caramel glaze for one bit.
Yum yum. Beautiful golden, and semi molten caramel.
A little seasalt to further bring out the caramel. That will kick this up a notch.
Oh, did i mention that this cake is healthy too? It’s got oatmeal, whole-wheat flour. With such a high fiber content, that bit of caramel over it is totally justified.
Now now, while this post have been fun without the props, i think i still prefer my pictures to have all its “supporting actors” in the background. I will definitely try to tone it down a bit and hopefully everyone’s attention won’t be sidetracked in time to come!
Oatmeal Chocolate chip Cake
Recipe from Haverecipes-willcook
* You can use melted Caramel Candies, or make your own using the recipe HERE