apple coconut and clove scented pound cake

apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table

What was I thinking? I decided to adopt a cat. A couple of weeks ago, a hungry kitten kept coming over to our garden at the back and I decided to feed her, play with her and she'd jump like a puppy into my lap as soon as I'd click my fingers. Yup, I got attached! I kept her for a night, and slept with her on the couch. We took it to the shelter (to make sure it wasn't microchipped) and posted a note our neighborhood to see no one was missing a pet. By law the shelter had to keep her for two weeks to make sure she belong to no one. After coming back from NYC, I ran over directly from the airport to see if she was still available but sadly, someone adopted her the day before. My jaw dropped and it was pretty obvious that I looked devastated. The cop who was working at the front desk could tell because she said, why don't you go and take a look at the other cats we have. I was a little hesitant at first, to replace my affections for one feline with another, it felt similar to cheating but then I met Vesper Lynx and fell in love and we brought him home. So yes, our "zoo" has grown!

Vesper Lynx | A Brown Table
Vesper Lynx | A Brown Table

Cloves!!! If there is a spice that I feel gets tossed to the side, it's got to be cloves. It's not that I don't use it but I don't use it enough by itself, it's always tossed into some combination of sorts. In desserts, except for a few combinations in cider or other spice mixes it's rarely used by iteself to add flavor to dishes. In this pound cake, the scent and flavor of freshly ground cloves, adds a mild yet distinct taste to the apples and coconut. I decreased the amount of sugar to reduce the sweetness so the flavor of the cloves, apples and the toasted coconut in the cake stand out. Using Califia's newly revamped unsweetened almond creamer, I was able to create this whole wheat pound cake this dairy free and it has three forms of coconut, there's coconut cream in the Califia creamer, there's coconut oil and toasted coconut.

I came across this technique that's used in Italian apple cakes where thinly cut slices of apple are sandwiched between the cake batter before baking. This helps the flavor of the apple to permeate through the batter while it's cooking but also makes it easy to cut the cake easily without having it fall apart while cutting and of course, more importantly, eating!

apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table
apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table
apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table
apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table
apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table
apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table
apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table
apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips when baking this cake;

  • Use crips baking apples that are sweet yet mildly tart. I'm on my pink lady apple obsession and they work perfectly here.
  • Sweetened / unsweetened shredded coconut - use either. It's your call how sweet you want this to be.
  • Since coconut oil is the main source of fat and I've cut back on the sugar, the cake will be best kept wrapped tightly in cling film and refrigerated. Both coconut oil and low sugar reduce shelf life of food products, one gets rancid in a couple of days at room temperature while the other makes food dry out fast.
apple coconut and clove scented pound cake| A Brown Table

apple, coconut and clove scented pound cake

yields: one 9" loaf

ingredients

1 1/2 cups (144gm) whole-wheat pastry flour

1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

5 cloves, powdered

4 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup coconut oil, at room temperature

3/4 cup (148.5 gm) super fine sugar

1/2 cup Califia creamer, unsweetened

1 pink lady smith apple, cored, quartered and thinly sliced

1/2 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1. Place a wire rack at midlevel and preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and line a 9" loaf pan with a little coconut oil and parchment paper cut to size.

2. Place the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and ground cloves in a medium sized mixing bowl and dry whisk to combine. Keep aside until ready to use. 

3. In a large mixing bowl, hand whisk the eggs, coconut oil, and sugar until pale and creamy, this will take about 3 to 4 minutes (you can also use an electric handheld mixer). Whisk in half of the dry ingredients from step 1 until combined, add the creamer and whisk in the remaining flour mix. Pour half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan, then spread half of the apples on the surface of the cake batter in the pan in an even layer. Then pour the remaining cake batter over the apples. Arrange the remaining apple slices in a single row in the center across the length of the cake. Brush the surface of the apples with the maple syrup. Sprinkle the shredded coconut along the edges where the cake batter is exposed. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, turning the pan halfway through the baking process. The loaf will be done when the surface is golden brown and a skewer or knife comes out clean through the center when inserted and the surface of the cake will be firm to touch. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, remove from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack completely before serving.

 

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Califia Farms. All opinions expressed are solely my own. 

masala chai gingersnaps

masala chai gingersnaps | A Brown Table

I know cakes generally get a lot more attention than cookies year round but come holiday season, cookies take over the show! In many ways, I feel that they take on their own little personalities, some acquire shapes and sizes, special flavors, and some will bring back fond memories. I used to do a better job of baking a lot of different cookies for Christmas gifts and I've slacked quite a bit this year. So bad that I'm only making gingersnaps, my holiday staple.

Like I said earlier, I don't make cutout cookies every Christmas holiday or nankhatais but I will bake gingersnaps every single year! It's because ginger is by far my favorite spice/ingredient to bake with. I've been known to nibble on spicy little bits of crystallized ginger which is probably too gross of a habit to share publicly but that the sweet zing that comes in every bite is so good!

For this version of gingersnaps cookies, I've used a recipe from my favorite peeps, America's Test Kitchen and made a few changes: I've added some whole wheat flour, flavored it with ground black tea leaves and folded in my masala chai mix. This is one flavorful gingersnap cookie that goes well with a cup of hot tea or coffee and even cocoa. Instead of preparing a tea infusion, I used the tea leaves directly in the form a powder in the cookies to give a more robust flavor.

This year for the holidays, I've partnered with the folks at   America's Test Kitchen to giveaway three of my favorite cookbooks from their store: The Cook's Illustrated Baking BookThe Science of Good Cooking and their latest book, 100 Recipes. These books contain a lot of valuable information and will teach you how to master the basic techniques of cooking and baking at home.All you need to do to win your copy of the books is to leave a comment below and tell me about your favorite holiday baking memory and follow America's Test Kitchen and me on Instagram. The contest will end on December 21st at 12pm and is open to legal residents of the US only. I will randomly pick a winner and announce him/her in a separate post next week. Good luck and happy cooking, folks!

masala chai gingersnaps | A Brown Table
masala chai gingersnaps | A Brown Table
masala chai gingersnaps | A Brown Table
masala chai gingersnaps | A Brown Table
masala chai gingersnaps | A Brown Table
masala chai gingersnaps | A Brown Table
masala chai gingersnaps | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing these cookies;

  • Freshly ground spices taste best in this recipe, so try to use a freshly made mix of gingersnap cookies.
  • I used a dark Darjeeling tea (orange pekoe leaves). Make sure the powder is super fine, sift it through a strainer if possible.
  • I like sparkling sugar over granulated sugar because it gives a delicious crunchy texture to the cookie. 
masala chai gingersnaps | A Brown Table

masala chai gingersnaps (adapted from Cook's Illustrated: The Baking Book)

yields: 80 cookies

ingredients

1 1/2 cups (180gm) all-purpose flour

1 cup (113gm) whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt

2 teaspoons chai masala mix (see recipe below)

1 1/2 tablespoons darjeeling tea leaves, ground to a fine powder

12 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup dark molasses

1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk

1/4 cup packed crystallized ginger, finely diced

1/2 cup granulated sugar or sparkling sugar

1. Whisk the flours, baking soda, salt, chai masala, and ground tea together in a bowl. Heat the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat until melted. Lower heat to medium low and continue to cook, swirling pan frequently, until foaming subsides and the butter starts to brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer butter to the bowl of a standmixer, allow to cool for 2 minutes then and add brown sugar, molasses and whisk using the whisk attachment. Add the egg and yolk and whisk until combined on medium-high speed. Now using the paddle attachment, combine the flour mixture and mix until just combined and there are no visible flecks of flour. Fold the crystallized ginger into the cookie dough mixture. Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

2. Place oven racks at upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat to 300F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place granulated/sparkling sugar in a shallow dish or small bowl. Divide the dough into heaping teaspoon portions; roll dough into 1-inch balls. Working in batches of 10, roll balls on prepared sheets, 20 dough balls per sheet.

3. Place 1 sheet on upper rack and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes , transfer partially baked top sheet to lower rack, rotating 180 degrees, and place second sheet of dough balls on upper rack. Continue to bake until cookies on lower tray just begin to darken on the edges, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Remove lower sheet of cookies and shift upper sheet to lower rack and continue to bake until cookies begin to darken around edges, 15 to 17 minutes. Slide baked cookies on parchment paper, to wire rack to cool completely before serving. Let baking sheets cool and repeat step 2 with remaining dough balls. 

 

masala (spice mix) chai mix blend

yields: about 1/4 cup or less

ingredients

6 whole green cardamom pods, crushed

2 black cardamom poda, crushed (optional)

1 inch piece cinnamon stick (optional)

10 black peppercorns, crushed (optional)

6 whole cloves, crushed (optional)

2 tablespoons ginger powder

1. Discard the cardamom pods and place the seeds along with the rest of the ingredients in a small spice grinder or coffee mill. Pulse until you get a fine powder. Store the powder in an airtight container for up to 4 months.

mini-samosa pot pies with tricolored marble potatoes and peas

mini samosa pot pies with tricolored marble potatoes and peas | A Brown Table

Both my hands trembled by the keyboard, for a good 5 minutes or so when I found out I had been included as a finalist in the Best Photo Based Culinary Blog category for this year's IACP awards. We were almost a few minutes from leaving our home to head out to the open house at the culinary school that I'm hoping to attend (barring all other life constraints, etc) when I received the news. Then came the excitement and the crazy happy dance with the dog looking at me in complete bewilderment. To be included among these talented folk makes me feel thankful and humbled. And, I have you to thank for this, your constant encouragement and support is what makes me and this tiny space on the internet grow. 

mini samosa pot pies with tricolored marble potatoes and peas | A Brown Tablemini samosa pot pies with tricolored marble potatoes and peas | A Brown Table

Sometimes, it's good to deconstruct and then reconstruct. This is exactly what this recipe is all about. Break the triangular samosa down then build it up again in the form of a mini pie in a mason jar. The crust is flaky and buttery, seasoned with a pinch of pretty black nigella seeds. Little marbles of red, white and purple potatoes with brightly green colored peas remain hidden under this layer of pastry only to reveal a pepper and ginger spiced coating. Serve these pies straight out of the oven with your favorite accompaniments, this cilantro mint chutney and/or this sweet tamarind and date one will go well. 

To prepare the pastry crust, I used whole wheat pastry flour from Bob's Red Mill which gave me the exact amount of texture and flavor I needed. The pastry turned out to be pretty light and with even layers of flakiness making it perfect for this mini-samosa pie. This is going to be one of my favorite whole grain flours to work with from now on!


mini samosa pot pies with tricolored marble potatoes and peas | A Brown Tablemini samosa pot pies with tricolored marble potatoes and peas | A Brown Table
mini samosa pot pies with tricolored marble potatoes and peas | A Brown Tablemini samosa pot pies with tricolored marble potatoes and peas | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips when preparing these mini pies, that you might find useful:

  • I used whole-wheat pastry flour which is different from whole-wheat flour in origin, it is milled from white wheat while regular whole-wheat originates from hard red wheat. The pastry flour variety is also low in protein when compared to the regular whole-wheat (via Bob's Red Mill).
  • When I use my food processor to blend flours, I wrap the mouth of the bowl with cling film and then attach the lid before switching the machine on. This way any flour mess is minimized. Once the liquids are added to the dry ingredients, the 
  • I recommend using a cool surface to roll out the pastry, a marble pastry board does a great job.
  • If you can't find nigella seeds use black sesame or carom seeds in the same amount. 
  • Traditionally a samosa is fried and uses no egg wash. But since I baked the pastry in the form of a pie, I brushed the surface with a little egg wash to give it a glaze to make it more attractive. You can definitely brush the entire pastry completely even on the sides, I personally prefer the center glazed and the sides untouched. Do it the way you like. 
  • The Fillings: go all out, you can use my savory filling here, or do a breakfast one or an apple one. Let your creative juices flow! 
  • ***One word on the pie-slits in the crust. You don't need to do it. If you do it add a teaspoon of water into each pie before sticking it into the oven, this keeps the filling from becoming too dry in the oven. If you don't want to create the slits to vent the pie that is fine too. 

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Bob's Red Mill. For more delicious recipes and a coupon for $1.00 off any product, please visit Bob's Red Mill.

mini samosa pot pies with tricolored marble potatoes and peas | A Brown Tablemini samosa pot pies with tricolored marble potatoes and peas | A Brown Table

mini samosa pot pies with tricolored marbled potatoes and peas

yields: around 8 X 4ounce mason jar pies

ingredients

2 cups ( 9 7/8 ounces) Bob's Red Mill whole-wheat pastry flour 

1  1/2 teaspoons fine grain kosher sea salt

7 tablespoons ( 3 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

2 tablespoons greek yogurt (2% fat)

1/4 cup chilled water + you might need a little more 

8 teaspoons water, chilled

1 large egg lightly mixed with 4 tablespoons water (at room temperature)

1 tablespoon nigella seeds (or black sesame/carom seeds can also be substituted)

1. Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor attached with a dough blade. Cover with the lid and pulse for 5 seconds, four times to blend. Add the butter and yogurt and begin to pulse the ingredients. While the ingredients are mixing slowly drizzle the chilled water into the flour. Stop adding water until the dough starts to come together. You might need to add a little more water. The dough will be soft, transfer the dough to a cool and clean surface such as a marble pastry board. Using your hands, quickly bring the dough together to form one large ball and then flatten it into a disc and wrap in clingfilm. Allow the pastry to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using.

2. Place a wire rack at mid-level in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Unwrap the rested dough and divide it into 4 equal parts. Take one part of the dough and then cut it in half, roll one half to form a circle that's about 1 1/2 to 2 inches larger than the diameter of a 4 ounce mason jar . Cut in half and place one half over a potato and pea stuffed mason jar (4 ounce size), add one teaspoon of water to each jar and then press the edges of the pastry against the jar gently and trim off the excess pastry hanging from the edges. Prepare the rest of the filled jars in the same manner. Using a sharp paring knife cut three, 0.5 inch slits equally apart from each other in the center of the pastry. Brush the surface of the pastry of each jar with the egg wash and sprinkle with generous pinch of nigella seeds. Place the prepared jars on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 20 - 25 minutes until the surface of the pastry is golden. Serve hot. *** See my note above on the pie slits

Note: Any extra left over pastry can be reused.

tricolored marbled potatoes and pea filling 

yield: enough for 8 X 4 ounce mason jars

ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

32 ounces tricolored marbled potatoes

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher sea salt

3/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper, freshly ground

3/4 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup red onion, chopped fine

2 inch piece ginger root, peeled and julienned into thin strips

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds freshly ground

1/2 teaspoon garam masala 

1 tablespoon lime juice, freshly squeezed 

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan with a lid on medium-high. When the oil gets hot, add the potatoes and salt. Cover with the lid and allow to cook for about 8-10 minutes with occasional stirring until the potatoes are seared and just tender. Using a potato masher, lightly smash half of the potatoes in the saucepan.

2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add all the peas and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients from the onion to the garam masala and cook for one additional minute. Remove from stove and drizzle with lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Divide the filling equally between 8 clean 4 ounce mason jars. Prepare the pies as described earlier. 

 

milk and pistachio cookies

Milk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown Table

Just earlier this week, I was telling you guys about the impending doom of blood oranges going-out-of-season nightmare here but lo and behold, I checked the pot where I planted a dwarf morow blood orange tree and it's full of little flower buds that I'm hoping will bloom and give us some fruit next year! I'll be tending to those oranges like a protective hen watching over her chicks. Squirrels and bugs, stay away! 

This week, I have a little interview with Common Table Co where I'm sharing my thoughts on food and photography. I keep meaning to share this super useful post by Michelle who has made a pretty comprehensive collection of pie baking tips that you should check out and bookmark. 

I like milk flavored things and in cookies with tea, it's a bonus. I did a few experiments when making these whole-wheat cookies. I started with milk, then tried condensed milk and even evaporated milk but the flavor and sweetness from the milk were just not right plus, the more liquid you add the batter keeps getting messed up. I finally tried some non-fat dry milk powder which did the trick. It brought the flavor and natural sweetness of the milk into the cookie. These cookies aren't too sweet or buttery but they've got that nutty flavor from the pistachios along with the hint of milk. They're good with tea and/or coffee or just for those moments when you want a little treat. I strongly recommend adding pistachio extract but if it's hard to find use almond extract, the pistachio extract however really bumps the fragrance and flavor of the cookies. 

Milk and Pistachios Cookies | A Brown TableMilk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown Table
Milk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown TableMilk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown Table
Milk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown TableMilk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown Table
Milk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown TableMilk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips when making these cookies;

  • Crush pistachios using a rolling pin in a small ziplock bag, less mess and it's easy. 
  • You can fold the pistachios in the mixer by mixing the final dough at low speed but I prefer the hand method, it gives me better control over the dough. 
  • Chill the dough before you bake, it will make give you a more flavorful and crispier cookie. 
Milk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown Table

milk and pistachio cookies

yields: approximately 30 cookies 

ingredients 

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

3/4 cup (5 7/25 ounces) sugar 

1 large egg, cold

1/2 teaspoon pistachio extract or almond extract

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (3/4 ounces) non-fat dry milk powder

2 cups (9 1/2 ounces) whole-wheat pastry flour 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1/2 cup (2 1/8 ounces) pistachios, coarsely crushed

1. Place the butter and sugar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar on medium-low speed for about 4-5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl using a silicone spatula. Then add the egg and continue to mix for another minute until combined. Add the pistachio/almond extract and mix for 10 seconds. 

2. In a large mixing bowl dry whisk all the dry ingredients from the milk powder to the salt. Add half of this mixture to the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix on medium-low speed until almost combined. Then add the rest of the dry mix and mix until combined. Remove the dough and transfer the dough onto a cool surface such as a marble pastry board or a non-stick silicone pastry work surface or parchment paper. Flatten the dough with your hands and place the pistachios in the center. Fold the dough gently to combine the pistachios. 

3. Take a clean sheet of 12" X 16" parchment paper. Shape the dough into a log that is around 12" in length. Wrap the roll with the parchment paper starting from one end by rolling the paper over the dough. Wrap the roll with clingfilm, place it on a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight. 

4. To bake, place a wire rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 350F.  Remove the cookie dough roll from the refrigerator and using a sharp serrated bread knife cut the dough into 1 cm thick individual cookies. Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking silicone mat, about 1 inch apart from each other. Bake one set of cookies at a time in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until the edges just start to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. 

whole wheat masala bread

Whole Wheat Masala Bread | A Brown Table

If there is one food that I could probably find hard to live without, it would have to be bread. The scent of freshly baked bread from the oven is intoxicating but there is also something equally exciting about preparing bread from scratch at home. When I first started to cook, I found bread making a challenge, I'd end up with "loaves" that would have made better door stoppers or paper weights. After a few tries, I was almost ready to give up until I came across a few cookbooks that were solely devoted to baking bread and I decided to give another shot, perhaps I still had hope. 

Among the bread cookbooks that I treasure the most, one of my personal favorites, is "The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes" by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François. They've made things simple and easy, which for me is a win-win all the way! I've made several of their breads at home and they never fail. It's one of the bread cookbooks that showed me the light!

Whole Wheat Masala Bread | A Brown TableWhole Wheat Masala Bread | A Brown TableWhole Wheat Masala Bread | A Brown TableWhole Wheat Masala Bread | A Brown TableWhole Wheat Masala Bread | A Brown Table

My dad had a favorite bakery, it wasn't really close to where we lived (and we had other bakeries that were closer) but for some reason he'd insist on getting his "masala bread" from here. Masala bread was a baguette-shaped bread that was buttery and soft mixed with spices, it was tasty but I hated making the trek out to get this loaf. With all the traffic congestion in Bombay, it probably took me an hour and a half to two, to get this loaf of bread! And I complained and whined, but finally when I did sink my teeth into it, I'd remember why the long journey was worth it. 

Today, I'm sharing my version which is whole-wheat and every bit as delicious as the one from Bombay. You can also find this recipe on Steller

 

Whole Wheat Masala Bread | A Brown TableWhole Wheat Masala Bread | A Brown TableWhole Wheat Masala Bread | A Brown TableWhole Wheat Masala Bread | A Brown Table

Kitchen Tips:

  • Use cornmeal or semolina to keep things from sticking. If you don't have either of those use parchment paper. 
  • A pizza peel is helpful when it comes to moving the resting loaf, again parchment paper can be used a substitute here to moving the unbaked loaf.
  • Pizza stones are a great way to get even baking when it comes to bread. However, you can also use a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
  • Once you toss the water onto the metal baking sheet in the oven and shut the door, DO NOT open the door to check the bread until the end stage of baking. The steam is important to creating a good crust on the surface of the bread loaf.
Whole Wheat Masala Bread | A Brown Table

whole wheat masala bread  (adapted from "The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes" by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François)

yields: one 10 inch loaf

ingredients 

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon garam masala 

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon lime zest, fresh

1 1/2 cups water, heated to 100F

1 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1 teaspoon granulated yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1 lb whole wheat flour + extra flour for dusting

cornmeal or parchment paper for baking 

1. Mix the turmeric, garam masala, oregano and lime zest in a small bowl and keep aside until ready to use. 

2. Add the salt, yeast and sugar to the water and stir.

3. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour the liquid mixture into the center. Stir with a wooden spoon or with your hands until almost combined. Toss in the spice mixture from earlier and combine until it forms one large sticky ball of dough. 

4. Cover the dough (not airtight), allow the dough to rest at room temperature for about 2 hours. The dough will rise and collapse. (you can keep the dough in a well oiled bowl to rise).

5. On a clean surface, using wet hands quickly shape the dough into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides rotating the ball, a quarter turn, as your proceed. Shape into one 10 inch-oval loaf. 

6. Lightly dust the loaf with a little flour. Using a sharp serrated bread knife, make 5-6, half-inch cuts along the length of the loaf. Allow to rise for one hour, uncovered on a pizza peel covered with a little cornmeal or on a sheet of parchment paper. 

7. Place a place a wire rack in the middle of the oven. Then place a pizza stone on the rack. Place a second wire rack with a metal baking sheet (don't use glass) on the bottom shelf of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400F. 

8. After the bread has risen for 1 hour, generously sprinkle cornmeal on the surface of the heated pizza stone. 

9. Carefully transfer the loaf using the pizza peel or parchment paper onto the hot stone. Pour a cup of tap water (at room temperature), onto the lower baking sheet, immediately shut the oven door. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the surface of the loaf is firm to touch and deeply browned on the surface.

10. Once the bread is baked, remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Slice the bread with a sharp serrated knife and enjoy! 

mini kimchi parathas

Mini Kimchi Parathas |A Brown Table

There are mini cakes and now, there are mini parathas, I don't see why not! If you haven't tried a paratha, here's the gist, it's a flaky flatbread made with whole wheat flour that can be stuffed with tasty things or not. Contrary to popular belief, it's rare to see naans being cooked in an Indian kitchen but you'll definitely see parathas being cooked a lot (and rotis too). You can eat parathas at breakfast, lunch, or dinner (it works for every meal) and this kimchi-stuffed paratha does just that!

Mini Kimchi Parathas |A Brown Table

We live in a part of the city that is considered Koreatown, lots of Korean grocery stores and restaurants but it also plays host to quite a few Indian restaurants. The exciting part about living in a predominantly Asian neighborhood, I get to try and buy a lot of different types of kimchi from the markets, the one I used in this recipe is a Napa Cabbage type but you can use any of your favorites. 

Here are some tips;

  • Use durum whole wheat flour, it gives the best texture and a softer bread than you would with regular whole wheat flour. It is also sold as "atta flour" in Indian grocery stores. 
  • Drain the kimchi to remove some of the liquid, it makes it easier and less messy when you stuff the flatbread.
  • Greasing your hands before assembling the parathas, makes it easy to flatten the discs. 
  • You could also flatten the discs of dough with a rolling pin but they can burst and the cabbage releases a lot of juice and I found that technique to be more of a headache for this type of a filling. The dough would rip under pressure from the rolling pin and it is not easy to pan fry flatbread with stuffing falling out. 
Mini Kimchi Parathas |A Brown Table
Mini Kimchi Parathas |A Brown Table

mini kimchi parathas

yields: approximately 12-14 mini parathas

ingredients 

1 cup kimchi (use your favorite type)

3 cups (14 ounces) whole wheat flour (use the durum kind it gives a softer texture than regular whole wheat flour) + a little more for dusting

1 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil or ghee

1 1/2 cups warm water (at around 90 C) * you might end up using less water

4 hard boiled eggs, peeled

1/4 cup scallions, both green and white bits thinly sliced

4 red radishes, thinly sliced

salt and pepper

1. Place the kimchi in a large strainer or sieve over a bowl. Press gently to drain the excess liquid. Chop the kimchi coarsely and keep aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the 3 cups of whole wheat flour and salt. Whisk a few times by hand to mix the ingredients evenly. Add 4 tablespoons of the vegetable oil and 1 cup of the warm water. Using the dough blade attachment, combine the ingredients  on low speed for about 4 minutes to form the dough. If you feel that the dough is not coming together easily add one tablespoon of the remaining hot water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Wrap the dough with cling film allow to rest for about 20 minutes before using. (You can also prepare the dough a day in advance and refrigerate the dough until ready to use, just bring to room temperature before preparing the parathas).

3. Divide the dough into approximately 12-14 one inch diameter balls. Dust the balls with a little extra flour and keep the balls covered with a clean moist cloth to prevent drying. Before preparing the parathas, grease your palms a little with the oil. Take one ball in the palm of your hands and flatten to form a disc that is about 5 inches wide. Place about a generous teaspoon of the chopped kimchi in the center and bring the edges and seal the top (this is similar to making a dumpling). Flatten the top with your hands and using your fingers flatten to form a disc that is about 6 inches wide. While flattening the disc try to push the filling in the center towards to the side. Prepare the rest of the parathas similarly. (The photograph panel above, has step-by-step figures). 

4. Heat a non-stick or cast iron skillet on medium high. Put about 1/2 a teaspoon of vegetable oil in the center of the hot pan and add one paratha in the center. Cook on each side for about 2 minutes until each side is lightly blistered and seared. PlaceCook the rest of the parathas similarly. 

5. Serve the parathas with quartered boiled egg slices garnished with a few scallion and radish slices along with a little kimchi on the side. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

 

 

 

 

fig and zucchini bread

fig and zucchini bread #dessert #wheat #foodphotography #foodstyling #zucchinibread #baking

Where do I begin! The first time I baked this bread, the dog stole it and ate the entire thing! I left the freshly baked bread out to cool on the kitchen counter and stepped out to take care of a few errands, boy was I in for a shock! By the time I came back, it was gone and there were no traces of any crumbs! I thought perhaps, I was being absent minded as usual and had stored the cake in the refrigerator or kept it some odd place. In the 4 years since I've had Snoopy he has never eaten anything off the table and we never feed him table scraps. My suspicions were confirmed later that day, as he voluntarily skipped his usual dinner begging routine. As you can probably imagine, Snoopy never skips a meal, he starts begging an hour before and when I do feed him, he munches his food down in a few seconds. I was worried he would throw up or fall sick and that is no fun. Thankfully, the bread was still in its testing phase and I knew that none of the ingredients in the first version would be deadly to him. Snoopy was just overstuffed and I knew that I would need to be more vigilant and careful when it come to him and our food. Lesson learned!

fig and zucchini bread #dessert #wheat #foodphotography #foodstyling #zucchinibread #baking
fig and zucchini bread #dessert #wheat #foodphotography #foodstyling #zucchinibread #baking

After Snoopy stole the first version of the bread, I knew a repeat was going to happen soon, there were several things I needed to fix to make this a good bread, I wanted it to be the best zucchini bread I have ever made in my kitchen to date. I wanted the bread to have some amount of whole wheat in it and I didn't want the bread to a soupy overly wet mass and it needed a little spark of flavor. I also wanted the bread to be simple, zucchini bread is comfort food and comfort should not be tedious to prepare, it should be easy, comfortable to make and comfortable to eat.  

fig and zucchini bread #dessert #wheat #foodphotography #foodstyling #zucchinibread #baking

I tried a trick I learned from watching America's test kitchen (this is what they do with bananas for banana bread), I microwaved the zucchini to force out the excess liquid. I got a little over a cupful of liquid from the shredded zucchini which made a huge difference. The rest of the recipe, is all about stirring the ingredients together, the hardest part is probably grating the zucchini! 

fig and zucchini bread #dessert #wheat #foodphotography #foodstyling #zucchinibread #baking

 

fig and zucchini bread

yields: 1 loaf (8 1/2 " X 4 1/2") 

ingredients 

1 tablespoon walnut/olive oil + a little all purpose flour for coating the loaf pan.

1 lb zucchini

1 cup dried figs, chopped 

2 large eggs

1/4 cup minus 1 tablespoon walnut oil/olive oil (I tried both separately)

1 teaspoon madagascar bourbon vanilla extract

3/4 cup ( 5 7/25 ounces)  raw brown sugar

1/4 cup plain low-fat greek yogurt

4 1/4 ounces all purpose flour

4 1/4 ounces whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon dried ginger powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup (2 3/5 ounces) chopped walnuts

6 whole figs dried, thinly sliced across their length

1. Place a wire rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F. Coat a 8 1/2" X 4 1/2" loaf pan with a little oil and dust with a little flour.

2. Trim the ends off the zucchini and grate them into fine shreds. Place the shredded zucchini into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Transfer the zucchini into a larger strainer lined with two layers of cheesecloth/muslin. Allow the zucchini to drain for about 30 minutes or until you have about 1 cup of liquid. Bring the ends of the cheesecloth together and squeeze the zucchini to release as much as liquid as possible. Discard the liquid (you can use this liquid to prepare smoothies/juices or stocks) and place the shredded zucchini in a large mixing bowl.

3. Add the 1 cup of chopped dried figs to the zucchini along with the 2 large eggs, oil, vanilla, sugar and yogurt. Stir the contents together with a wooden spoon until combined. 

4. In a separate bowl, quickly whisk the flours, ginger powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Quickly stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients in the large mixing bowl until combined. Fold the walnuts into the batter and then transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Tap gently to release any trapped air bubbles. Place the thinly sliced whole figs in a single center row on top of the batter in the pan.

5. Bake for about 45-50 minutes, rotating the cake 180 degrees once during the baking process. The bread is done when the center is firm to touch or a knife should come out clean from the center of the bread. Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes in the pan and the run the edges of a knife around the cake. Remove and allow the bread to cool on a wire rack. Slice and serve as needed. 

Note: This is a quick bread recipe. I recommend proceeding as quickly as possible to the baking stage as soon as you prepare the wet and dry ingredients. This will prevent excess liquid being released from the zucchini.