July 31, 2013

Baklava

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Baklava, that super treat that goes for a crazy amount per piece. Well, you can probably get half this dish (well, close enough) for the same price by making it at home. Super easy, simple, and exceedingly delicious. Guests will rave for days about it. Enjoy!

Baklava

Yield: a whole lot of baklava!
Calories per serving: you don't wanna know
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • pinch cloves
  • 1 pound walnuts, or mix of any nut
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 pound phyllo dough, thawed
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine the sugar, honey, water, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and cloves in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the syrup is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Finely chop the nuts or pulse in a food processor. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the nuts, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt and stir well to combine.
  3. Melt the butter.
  4. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat a 13 by 9-inch or 15 by 10-inch baking dish with some of the melted butter.
  5. Open the package of thawed phyllo and lay the thin sheets on a clean work surface. Measure the phyllo sheets; if the type you have purchased measures approximately the same size as the baking dish you are using, then proceed from here. If they are larger than your baking dish, use a sharp knife to cut the phyllo sheets approximately the same size as your baking dish. Keep any scraps for another use. Cover the sheets with a piece of plastic wrap and a lightly damp kitchen towel, as the sheets of phyllo dry out very quickly if left uncovered.
  6. Position rack in center of oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Place 1 of the sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the buttered baking dish and lightly brush with some of the melted butter. Repeat this procedure with 6 more sheets of phyllo, for a total of 7 layers. Measure about 3/4 cup of the nut mixture and spread the nut mixture evenly over the buttered phyllo sheets. Repeat with 7 more sheets of phyllo, buttering each layer as before, and top these sheets with another 3/4 cup of the nut mixture. Continue this layering process, buttering 7 sheets of phyllo and topping each 7 sheets with 3/4 cup of the nuts, until you have used all of the nut mixture. Layer any remaining sheets of phyllo on top, buttering between each layer, until all of the phyllo sheets have been used.
  8. Use a sharp knife to make 4 cuts lengthwise through the layered phyllo at 1 1/2 inch intervals. (You should end up with 5 lengthwise strips 1 1/2 inches wide.) Now use your knife to cut diagonally across the strips at 1 1/2-inch intervals to form diamond shapes. You should end up with approximately 36 diamond-shaped pieces of baklava in the baking dish.
  9. Bake the baklava until golden brown, about 40 minutes.
  10. Using oven mitts or pot holders, remove the baklava from the oven and set aside on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Using a ladle or small measuring cup, slowly drizzle the cooled syrup over the warm baklava. Allow to stand several hours before serving.
  11. Adapted from Emeril.

July 15, 2013

Folded Steamed Bao Recipe

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Now you too can be a fancy schmancy gourmet chef at home with these homemade folded steamed buns (or baos). Made with more or less the same dough as traditional baos, the folded style allows for cramming in a lot more pulled pork or, as is popular right now, crispy pork belly. Enjoy!

Folded Steamed Bao Recipe

Yield: 16 medium buns
Ingredients
  • 3 cups (12.5 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
Cooking Directions
  1. Put the yeast in a small bowl, add the lukewarm water and set aside for 1 minute to soften. Whisk in the oil to blend and dissolve the yeast. Set aside.
  2. Combine the sugar, baking powder, and flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture. Slowly stir with a wooden spoon, moving from the center toward the rim, to work in all the flour. Add lukewarm water by the teaspoon if this doesn't happen with relative ease.
  3. Keep stirring as a ragged, soft mass forms. Then use your fingers to gather and pat the dough together into a ball.
  4. Transfer to a work surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until smooth, fingertip-soft and slightly elastic.
  5. Lightly oil a clean bowl and add the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm, draft-free place to rise until nearly doubled, 30 to 45 minutes. The dough is now ready to use.
  6. Roll into two logs, and cut into 16 pieces.
  7. Flatten each piece with a rolling pin into a slightly oval shape.
  8. Lightly oil one side and fold in on itself. Place on a cut piece of parchment or wax paper.
  9. Steam the buns for 10 minutes.