Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bagel Bob-ombs

Finally did it! Here's a first peek at our bagel bombs. :) The only things I'd change are to reduce the salt in the topping and work on perfecting the bagel dough technique. And maybe not eat all of them in one go. De-lish!

[UPDATE 5/4/2012]

Made a double batch w/ tweaks this afternoon. Some thoughts:

  • No salt necessary in the topping.
  • Reduce salt in the cream cheese filling to allow the natural sweetness of the scallions/green onion to really shine.
  • It's impossible to make these without eating at least 3 immediately out of the oven. Definitely plan to make extra!

The salt in the dough is necessary for proper rising. I used King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour (higher gluten content) this time, and kneaded the dough by hand for 10 minutes before proofing. It came out beautifully -- easier to shape and mold, puffed up at least 2x as much as last time, with a nice, soft interior and firm exterior. I also added a little corn flour to the parchment so the bombs wouldn't stick, which added a nice crunch to the bottoms.

Interestingly, the cream cheese filling exploded to the side rather than on top like last time. I also tried adding asiago cheese to the tops of a few of them...didn't brown properly, so they came out big and puffy and pale (pictured above). Not so appetizing-looking, but they taste just fine. Probably need a handheld flame broiler (like the ones used on crème brulée).

A work in progress. But I have to say I really enjoyed working with the dough, surprisingly enough (if you're ever pissed off and need something to punch, throw together some bagel's super tough to knead and you'll get some tasty treats out of it!). I also liked working with mochi and dumpling doughs. The curse of the yeast breads appears to have been lifted, so maybe I'll try a hand at some breads next!

Uhn-yuhn! Onion Soup Medley

I picked up a bunch of green onions (along with rhubarb) at the market yesterday thinking to chop and toss 'em in with some cream cheese to make the filling for bagel bombs. Well, neither M nor I were feeling up to the daunting task of dealing with yeast (for the bagel part), so we (er, I...M opted for a nap) made the filling and have mostly ignored the latter half of the recipe since.

I did, however, make up a wonderfully fragrant onion soup for dinner tonight. :) It's dead simple, and probably my favorite way to eat vegetables.

Onion Soup Medley

3-4 stalks of green onion, rinsed, trimmed and cut into 3" lengths (I slice the white part vertically down the middle so it cooks at the same rate as the rest)
1 sweet onion, halved and then quartered (the ones we got from Costco are GINORMOUS...bigger than a softball. I only used half for this recipe)
3 chicken bouillon cubes or your favorite stock
1/2 tbsp olive oil
black pepper, to taste

Combining the green onion, olive oil, and about a liter of water (you can always add more later) in a saucepan, simmer until almost but not quite tender. Add the bouillon and sweet onion, then continue simmering until translucent, sweet, and tender. Do not overboil or overcook, or you'll have soggy onion (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). Dash with pepper just before serving. Smells heavenly!

Excited for for the challenge of our first CSA box!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday market haul: Cheese please!

Despite the cold April rain, M and I ventured out this morning to hit the Saturday Market (and in M's case, run an 8k). After making 2 rounds of the market, I came away with:
  • Spring onions ($1)
  • Rhubarb ($3)
  • 4 kinds of cheese (Evalon (a gift); Torta del Casar; Gorwydd Caerphilly; and our perennial favorite: bread cheese)
  • Strawberry-rhubarb bar
  • Potato buttermilk donuts
  • Apple fritter (eeew. for M, post-race)
  • Maple-frosted cinnamon roll as big as my face (BEST thing of the day)
Evalon is a type of goat cheese that tastes rather similar to the Cardona or Marisa by Carr Valley that I mentioned in a previous post. Will have to taste them side-by-side, but as this wedge was purchased as a gift, it'll have to wait til next time.

My first experience at Fromagination was a good one; the staff wasn't nosy or pushy, and when I asked for assistance they were enthusiastic and helpful (the primary reason for my visit today is that we're thinking of ordering a small mountain of cheese for our upcoming nuptials. This is the 2nd cheese place we've contacted. More info to come later). They had a wide selection of cheeses as well as small gifts to pair with the cheese (chutneys, jams, jellies, cookies, chocolates, wines, etc).

The part I liked best is that they sell small sample wedges of various cheeses for people who just want to have a small taste of a new imported cheese rather than having to buy a full-size wedge. I picked 2 random cheeses -- Torta del Casar, a pungent sheep cheese from Spain that uses thistle instead of animal rennet, and Gorwydd Caerphilly, an increasingly rare unpasteurized Welsh cheese. The texture of the former is nice, similar to brie w/ a soft and smooth center that becomes more firm towards the edges. A nice, lightly salted taste. M said it reminded him of the flavor of olives/olive oil. The Gorwydd Caerphilly was soft but a little more crumbly in texture, with a stronger, earthy flavor, a white middle, and a thick, darker natural rind.

In essence, so much for the diet today! But in other news, we're back to considering signing up for a CSA box...I want to like market shopping, I really do, but I never seem to come away with too much by way of fresh produce when I go to the Saturday Market -- mostly cheeses and baked goods -- and we'd love to try new and seasonal fruits and vegetables (if only we had our own Spitalfields!). We're still worried we won't be able to finish each box before everything spoils, but if we're committed to our goal of knowing what we're eating, eating locally and in season, and diversifying our consumption, we're going to have to at least give it a try.

PS. Just finished My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki. Eye-opening on the documentary standpoint. And it's increasingly likely I'll become a full-on pescetarian or vegetarian before long.


We officially signed up for our CSA share! It was difficult to choose a farm since there are so many in our area, but we'll see how it goes. We'll be picking up a vegetable box every other week from May through December. We also considered getting peak season fruit and free-range eggs too, but maybe next time. Oh and btw, all of the major health insurance carriers EXCEPT ours offer a CSA rebate. Grumble.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Overnight Oats

Lately I've been having Fage 0% with a drizzle of honey or agave and a sprinkling of pumpkin flax granola, which is lovely and a breakfast I look forward to each morning. Unfortunately, I ran out of Fage this weekend (ahh! crisis!), so we picked up a container of Chobani (plain, non fat).

As it turns out, I really prefer Fage 0%...the texture, the taste, the price (it's cheapest at Costco, I've found). So what was I going to do with a huge, brand-new container of Chobani?!

I keep coming across this concept of 'overnight oats' and decided to give it a try. It's pretty much equal parts milk, Greek yogurt, old fashioned rolled oats, fruit, and some kind of sweetener all tossed together and left in the fridge overnight (consumed chilled). Then, you can go to town with the add-ins, kind of like at Pinkberry or Red Mango except with your oatmeal (and depending on how healthy you want it to be!).

I used 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup 1% milk (in the future I will use soy milk), 1/4 cup non-fat plain Chobani, 1/4 cup diced mango, and light agave to taste -- maybe 1-2 tsp. (Note: this works out to roughly 200 calories). I dumped everything into a jar, stirred it up, put on the lid, and left it in the fridge overnight. Maybe I added a little too much sweetener (tasted absolutely decadent comparative to the rest of my diet. I've been spoiled this morning!), but this overnight oats recipe tasted just like a mango smoothie or a mango lassi (plus oatmeal)! Probably would be excellent as a snack on hot summer days, too.

I don't have photos this time around, but you can check out some awesome add-in variations here:

A lot of people swear by adding Chia seeds. I would have, except that a little bag cost $12 at Whole Foods. I'll be looking for a cheaper bulk variety to give this supposed 'superfood' a try.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

QOTD: Product Reviews

When companies send their products to bloggers to review (sometimes offering free giveaways to readers), do they expect a positive review? Do bloggists ever struggle with the dilemma of hating a product? And why are we so obsessed with trials and reviews anyway, especially for things under $15? Are we afraid to try new things? Or just loathe to have that half-eaten package left in the fridge to rot over the next week or two as no one jumps to finish it off?