Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Random thought for the moment.

by kristopher hightower

meals are best
when four hands create
when tastes that are savoured
by dual tongues taste
when nervousness absconds
with distracted eye
with natural grape of natural vine
makes away the spicy wine
This thought passed through my empty head
of longing hearts, and taste buds renew'd

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Amish bread and more, Recipes for my breads

What's Amish Bread?
I think the only thing that makes this bread Amish is how much you let it rise, how much you knead it, and let it rise some more.
The ingredients are right bloody simple
6 cups flour
2/3 c sugar
2 c Water
1.5 tbs Yeast i have a huge brick of it.
1/4 c Oil
2 tsp salt, or i do about six to twelve grinds with my sea salt

Pour two cups of near hot water in a bowl, add yeast and sugar, stir to dissolve.
Let the yeast sit until you see a foam or froth form. This usually takes about 15 or more minutes.

Slowly add oil, salt, and the flour, stirring a cup at a time.
I get about 4 cups into the mix and I switch to my hands. To knead a good dough you need to get in to it up to your elbows. Knead the thing for about 15 minutes, it should be fairly dry, but with a lovely gloss due to the oil.
Oil a bowl and pat some oil on the exterior of your dough ball. Place it in a bowl for about an hour and cover with a Damp dish towel.
The dough should expand about 5 plus times its size.
Take the dough out of the bowl, punch it down and throw it into pans, shape it how you fancy and then let it sit again. The dough should rise about 2 inches above the pans, or make a right puffy whatever.

Bake for 30 minutes @ 350 degrees.
Pull from the oven, throw from the pans and let it cool.
I find that the bead is sweet, savoury, and screams for me to apply a generous pat of butter.

I know you see a pizza crust, some sauce. I had so much dough from my last batch. I used about 12 cups of flour, 4 cups of water, 3 tbs yeast, a c and a half of sugar and I kept the oil still at 1/4 c. The bread came out amazing. I rolled part of it into a pizza crust, made a sauce from some paste, water, basil, oregano, garlic, and whatever else I found in the Fridge. Baked at 425 for about 20 mins, Gave me a crunchy Crust with perfect cheese.
Oh yes the Cheese, It was smoked Gouda, Parm, mozzy, and another one that is escaping me right now.

The wee puffy smurf huts with the Garlic stem popping out of them are stuffed with basil sauced chicken and chopped garlic, more of a buttery crust than anything.

Green Teas some pictures

Pictured below is
1 Emperor's Cloud and mist
2 Huang Shan Mao Feng
3 Gyokuro Imperial
4 Dragonwell
5 Tai Ping Hou Kai teas.
Cheers enjoy

It's Tea Time. Black, Green, White, Oolongs oh my

A couple days back we were given an assignment at work.
We were assigned a colour of tea and had to drink the lot of them. Instead of writing a review and handing in to Emily, I'm writing it here for all to see.
Tonight I'll start with the green Teas I was assigned.

First for Instructions
Green tea steeps as a lower temperature than other teas.
You can't go boiling water, throwing the leaves in and then expect it to come out tasting like a thrill. So many people come into the shop and tell me that its not bitter enough or its not this. They're simply doing the brewing wrong.

Gyokuro Imperial
My favourite Green Tea is Gyokuro (jade dew in nihongo) Imperial, not because its expensive but because you can really taste the tea. It gets its rich green colour from being covered by straw or bamboo for two weeks before the harvest. The shade helps retain the Chlorophyll, and caffeine. It gets its bitter taste from the caffeine, then topped by the sweetness of Theanine which is found in high concentrations in Green teas, heaviest in the Gyokuro itself. Theanine is an amino acid that has been shown to reduce stress, increase alpha wave production and is quite synergistic with caffeine. YUM
I brew this at 150 for about 30 seconds, I use the tea leaves over and over and over again. To me it tastes refreshing and right sweet. It only tastes bitter if I burn it.

Huang Shan Mao Feng Reserve 黄山毛峰
This Tea is Grown in China, its meaning is Yellow Mountain fur peak. Don't worry it neither tastes like a mountain or furry. I do fancy the story behind this tea.

According to local legend, there was a young scholar and a beautiful local girl fell madly in love. A local landowner saw the girl picking tea and wanted her for himself. He forced the girl's parents to make their daughter marry him. On the night before the wedding, the young girl snuck out of the landowners house only to find that the landowner had murdered the scholar. She went to his grave and cried until she became the rain. The scholar's body became a tea tree. (wiki)

At first smell it is smoky and nutty, like a brown ale. Its got a very light flavour and I bloody love mixing it with other teas.

Yunnan Emerald Buds
Yunnan is a province in the SouthWest of the PRC, quite mountainous and it borders Laos, Vietnam, and Burma.
I found the tea to be pleasing, my first steep was not watched and it tasted horrible. Do not have a colon disease if you're brewing tea, I'm just saying.
The second steep (with new leaves) gave me a memory of sweet bbq. It had a little smoke but with a good sweet saucy bit that caught my fancy.

Golden Jade
This was a bloody cool tea, I'm actually drinking this right now.
When you first smell it, you would swear that you're about to drink some chocolate. Its quite light, I steeped one for one minute, and another at two minutes @175 degrees. Smokey start and sweet finish.

Emperor's Cloud and Mist
This is a bloody good Chinese Green tea, I can tell that this tea got a load of water in the growing as it tastes quite sweet, all that bitter comes from the caffeine at the start. I've read that it grows at a higher elevation, I'd love to see its fields.

I love telling the story of Dragonwell to kids and their parents. I enjoy the look of the light flat tea leaves. There are many Dragon well teas around China. Ours happens to be quite sweet to me, I brew it as I brew my gyokuro, for a minute or less. I am always surprised by its taste, sweet and I feel that there's a hint of hazelnut or something else. I don't really know nuts as I don't fancy them. I bloody love this tea though.

Tai Ping Hou Kui (peaceful Monkey Leader)
You have to watch out for this tea, there are so many knock offs of it its not even funny.
We sell this one in a special tin, ours is an Imperial Reserve and not a bloody knock off. Its one of China's famous teas. Its often called "two knives one pole" as it has a long stem and two leaves clasping over it. These are handmade leaves.
The taste is sweet and flowery to me, I would enjoy more of it, if I didn't have so much more tea to drink. If people come into the shop I'd fancy them trying it though.

Black Tea will be my next post. I work in 8 Hours so I should probably turn in for the evening.