Braided Bread

Late yesterday afternoon I was looking at Facebook and a post came up for making a braided bread.  It sounded so easy that I decided to try it.  All the ingredients are placed in a zip lock bag and kneaded through the bag, leaving your hands and counter clean. This was the recipe for me!  After you had the ingredients all mixed together you placed the bag in a bowl of warm water for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes you add 1/4 cup more flour and knead that into the mixture, place that on the counter for 1 more hour of rise time, still inside the zip lock bag.  Then cut the dough into three same sized pieces and with your hands on a flour covered counter, roll them out into long ropes, braid, coat with butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds – bake for 40 minutes and it was done.  Easiest recipe I have ever used and no clean up…right up my alley.  And it looked very pretty when it was ready. I am attempting to bake with other flours besides wheat, so 1/3 of the flour in this recipe was sorghum called sorgo in Uruguay. It added a nutty flavor and both Joe and I enjoyed it. I made french toast from it this morning with cinnamon and honey. Would I make it again? Yes.  Next time I would use a different non-wheat flour just to see how it worked out.

Edited after the original post: Several folks asked for the recipe and so I am attaching the YouTube video with the recipe and instructions.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjmILw86U34  

enjoy!  nl

Kofta Kabobs and Tzatziki Sauce Come To San Clemente

Another great recipe to use with the Pita Bread recipe from a few days ago are kofta kabobs with tzatziki sauce.  Most recipes for the kabobs I have seen and my original recipe were made with lamb.  Because we cannot find lamb very easily here I have modified my original recipe to use part ground pork and part ground beef. It worked well and tastes great.

Kafta Kabobs

  • 2/3 pounds ground pork (needs a good bit of fat)
  • 1 1/3 pounds of ground beef
  • 4 stems of parsley or cilantro *
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped *
  • 3 cloves garlic, roasted, peeled and chopped *
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Small pinch of clove
  • Small bunch of mint leaves, very finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • dash of chili flakes to taste

*Note: if you are grinding your own pork and beef add the onion, garlic and cilantro to the grinder, it just makes it so much faster and then it will be blended completely into the meats.

Roast the cumin, coriander and clove in a frying pan until they release their aroma, about 1 minute.  Cool slightly and grind to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder.  Add all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl mixing well and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Shape the meat into a 6 inch tube shape like a sausage.  Gently cook for 3 minutes on a side, the meat will flatten out a bit but continue to cook until all sides have taken on a nice brown color and are a bit crispy.

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 medium cucumber peeled, seeded and grated – then squeeze out excess liquid
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup thick yogurt or Kefir
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated fine
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • for garnish, chopped dill or cilantro and a dash of cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients together and sprinkle with garnish and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make your pita bread (or use rolls) and place one kabob in the center of the pita and liberally cover with tzatziki sauce.  You can also use hummus or hummus and tzatziki together for yet another taste sensation… Beyond Yummy!!!!

Sourdough Starter and the End Result – Sourdough Bread!

In an earlier post I talked about starting to make kefir. Now that I have, I am interested in learing about using my kefir in other recipes. I have made batidos (smoothies) and pancakes. It was time to try something different and that is sourdough starter.  This will be a first for me but I really am tired of just white rolls and white bread so making a homemade loaf with that sourdough flavor and part of the flour being whole grain wheat flour would make for a more interesting loaf.

San Clemente 8.18.2013 009To make the started you need 1 cup of kefir and 1 cup of regular white flour. Mix together and allow to sit at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.

San Clemente 8.18.2013 011This is what it looked like after three days.  Now find a sourdough recipe like this one and get started:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Sourdough-Bread/

I like this step by step recipe with pictures showing each phase of your sourdough process. It makes it easy to follow along.

San Clemente 8.18a.2013 002This is what the dough looks like before the last rise.

San Clemente 8.20.2013 002here the dough is ready for baking.

San Clemente 8.20.2013 005And here is the finished product. It has a crusty crust, great texture and a beautiful sourdough taste: an excellent bread for sandwiches and I even used it last evening for brochetta and it worked out great.

San Clemente 8.20a.2013 002You only need to make sourdough started once. I read that families pass it down from generation to generation.  I added 1/2 cup of water and 1 cup of white flour to the remaining starter and kept it at room temperature until it was ready to overflow the container. It is now in the refrigerator waiting for the next use. I will let you know how it does. This bread is going fast!!

Introducting Luis our Pan-Joven

This is the young man who has started to deliver pan in the mornings and again comes back around 4pm with beautiful dessert rolls and cookies. Yesterdays selection of sweets was coconut covered, jelly topped and some that even looked like cinnamon or chocolate rolls.

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I am not sure what is going to happen when school starts next month because this young man should be on his way to school at the exact time he is delivering to our neighborhood.

He is a very hard-working young person. And we so much appreciate him and his family doing this for San Clemente.

A Tale of Unhealthy Bread Pans

Our local pan man has moved away from San Clemente leaving us breadless. Not that we eat bread every day but it was just so convenient to stop him as he bicycled by our house each morning at around 7am and buy several rolls for the day. Well without him I have started to bake my own bread again. So on Sunday evening I made the dough for my 5-Minute Artisan Bread Recipes (see earlier post by the same name for recipe) and early on Monday morning I got them ready for the oven before I left for my walk. I baked them and was so disappointed when I removed them from my loaf pans and saw that the coating on the pans came off on the bread.

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I was so upset, what the heck happened???? Then I got angry, this could not be happening, these are the best loaf pans I could find and I am livid…first we will probably die from eating this coating, but friend Bethany said just cut it off and use the bread that was still good. I made mini-French toast this morning and Joe and I have not keeled over yet so her suggestion was a good one.

NOW where am I going to find good loaf pans that won’t do this. Until I can get new ones I am going to line these with parchment paper for everything that I bake from now on…

And by the way a new bread delivery has already started. Almost the same as with Jesus, a young man named Luis has started to deliver each morning a little before 7am. Life is good. And his rolls are a bit bigger and fluffier. So we have a new pan man, or should I say pan joven.

Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice

It is a wonderful feeling to look in my “pantry” and find fabulous ingredients like poppy seeds, baking soda, cardamom pods, curry, curry pastes, turmeric, smokey paprika, tapioca, fish sauce and an assortment of pickling spices right at my fingertips. This is due totally to all you wonderful folks who for the past several years have asked if you can bring us anything from the States.

Today’s treats include eight jars of Garlic Cucumber Spears made perfect with mustard seeds, celery seeds, turmeric and coriander seeds all delivered to my door by some of my new friends. I added a bit of garlic, some hot pepper flakes that I previously made and the balance of the dill weed from Mary MacDonald’s garden.

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I was in a mood today and so I also made Lemon Poppy Seed Bread/Cake. Oh my it has been a very long time since I have had poppy seeds in the house. These breads did not last very long. Joe and I ate a few pieces even before it was a bit cool, so I started handing out pieces to my neighbors or we would have eaten them totally ourselves.

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I guess this afternoon Joe and I should go to the beach. I have done all that I wanted to accomplish today so the beach sounds like a great choice for this afternoon.

Thank you again to all of you lovely folks that have packed spices and herbs, roots and seeds and all other sort of special item in your luggage to deliver to our door. I cannot express my appreciation for your kindness in making room in your luggage for these items. It truly makes a difference in our daily lives.

Tuesday Deliveries

Tuesday is usually a big day for deliveries on my street.

Jesús our PanMan starts it all off every morning between 7am and 8am. Come rain or shine Jesús drives by on his bike, blowing his whistle bringing fresh pan to my door. I take his visit very personally. He comes to my gate each morning with fresh rolls that he just baked, a smile on his face, happy and content providing a wonderful service for his town. I actually don’t think he knows just how special what he does and how he does it is.

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For .10 cents you get a fresh crusty sometimes even warm roll right from his ovens. If you love what you do, smile when you do it, even whistle if you can, it affects everyone you come in contact with. This man is a shining example of the attitude of the folks in my area. If I have to work I should make the best of it. I should produce the best product and deliver it with a smile. Jesús you make my day! He also takes orders – our friends have ordered loaves of bread and even hot dog rolls for the next day.

Next comes the egg man who also sells toilet paper (papel higiénico), tooth paste – well he has an assortment of bathroom items. Yesterday morning I failed to take a photo but will get one next week and add it to this post.

A little later the Pilsener truck drove by.

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I know it looks pretty bad when you see us getting four cases of beer but in all honesty two of these cases are Jackie’s who dropped them off on her way out of country.

Next Gonzalo dropped by with his one young son. I purchased peanut butter and chopped peanuts, green peppers, tomatoes and two types of onions.

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Next this young vendor and his partner drove by with fresh cheese and butter, along with a variety of other veggies. I purchased 10 oranges for a dollar (in Panama we used to get 100 oranges for $2) not here or at least not out of season!

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This is just the deliveries for Tuesday. I really have little reason to go shopping in Portoviejo or even Charapoto except once a month for items not delivered to my door. I am blessed! Next should be the meat and fish guys.