Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wax Bean Still Life-Black and White Wednesday #135

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A gift of green and wax beans from a neighbor's allotment at Skidaway Farms near Savannah yielded   a few leaves with beans attached. I was able to salvage a perfect leaf  and bean to photograph before it wilted. A quick handheld shot at ISO 1600 and an aperture of 4.5 gave me a perfectly exposed leaf with the yellow wax bean in the background. I loved the backlighting on the leaf highlighting the veins and the little dots of light in the glass. Simple beauty!
This is my contribution to Black and White Wednesday #135 hosted this week by Screevalli of Ammaji Kitchen. For those interested in hosting or posting to BWW, read the rules and host line-up here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Komaj-Persian Date Bread with Turmeric and Cumin

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Persian Date Bread with Turmeric and Cumin

Little is known about Komaj, a Persian date bread with turmeric and cumin only that it is a sweet bread and possibly comes from the town of Mahan in the south-east of Iran. Iran is one of the largest producers of dates in the world and although India is the top producer and consumer of cumin, it grows in profusion in the south-east region of Iran.The original recipe comes from A Chef's Journey Through Persia authored by Greg and Lucy Malouf and is adapted by Aparna (My Diverse Kitchen) for this 18th edition of We Knead to Bake, a Facebook group bread baking event.

The turmeric, most often used in curried dishes, lends a soft yellow color to the bread dough while the toasted crushed cumin seeds adds a jolt of flavor. The date filling is enhanced with cardamom, a slightly smoky spice with hints of lemon and mint. All these flavors add up to a delicious bread roll perfect with a cup of tea or sparkling water with a cucumber slice.

For the Dough

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/8 cup warm water
3-3/4 cups bread flour, if you don't have it, all-purpose can be substituted
2-1/2 teaspoons toasted cumin seeds, lightly crushed
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2-3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, optional
2/3 cups warm milk, plus additional for brushing dough
1-1/2 teaspoon olive oil

For the Filling
12-15 dried dates (the slight soft kind), pitted and cut into chunks
25 grams (about 2 tablespoons) butter, softened
4-5 pods (1-1/2 teaspoons)cardamom, powdered

icing sugar, optional

Below are instructions for processing the dough in a  bread machine, but if the food processor method is preferred, please refer to Aparna's post.

Combine the yeast and 1/8 cup of warm water in the pan of your bread machine. Let stand about 10 minutes until the yeast mixture has bubbled up a little. Add the remaining ingredients with 2 teaspoons of the crushed toasted cumin according to the manufacturer's instructions for your bread machine. Process on the dough cycle. When cycle has completed, remove the dough to a lightly floured surface, deflate it and shape into a round. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour

Meanwhile, prepare the date filling by mixing together the chopped dates, softened butter and cardamom in a small bowl. Set aside while preparing the dough.

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and divide again so you have a total of 8 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll each one out into a rectangle that is between 1/4-inch and 1/8-inch thick. Choose a cookie cutter no larger than 3-inches wide. Press down lightly on the dough to create an impression as a guide for the filling. Brush lightly with water to ensure a good seal.

Filling and Baking the Bread Rolls

Preheat oven to 400°F. 

On the rectangle of dough, place about 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center of the impression made by the cookie cutter. Fold the other half of the dough over the filling and using the same cookie cutter, cut out the bun, making sure the sides are neat and well-sealed. If the sides are not sealed, the bun will swell up and open up during the baking.

Repeat process above with the remaining portions of dough, re-rolling the scraps of dough to make around 10 buns. Place the buns on a lightly greased baking sheet leaving space for them to rise during baking. Let sit about 15 minutes.

Brush dough with a little milk or an egg wash, if you use it. Sprinkle the remaining crushed cumin seed, pressing down with your fingers. Bake about 8-10 minutes. Let cool on the rack about 5 minutes, then dust with icing sugar, if desired. Best served warm the day they are baked, but leftovers can be reheated the next day. Serve with beverage of choice. Makes 10 komaj.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

BWW #133-The Gallery

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Luscious summer fruit, a lovely landscape, an exotic truffle, a greenhouse filled with plants and a castle kitchen. Behold, a stunning gallery of food related monochromatic images! Thanks to everyone who contributed to this, the 133rd edition of Black and White Wednesday. Many thanks to Susan whose brilliant creation is now expertly managed by Cinzia. Next week, Haalo will be hosting BWW #134. Hope to see your images there! Black and White Wednesday will take a summer break after week #140 July 30 and will resume September 3 with week #141. Happy Summer!

Greenhouse in a Nursery

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Black and White Wednesday #133 Announcement and Some Black and White Images of Lindisfarne, Northumberland

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I'm happy to be hosting Black and White Wednesday #133 and since I'm just posting the announcement, you will have until Wednesday evening, 7pm New York time to email me your links and images. I will post the gallery on Thursday morning around 10am, New York time. Most of you who post on a regular basis are familiar with the specifics of BWW, but if you have questions, please read Cinzia's post

I have just returned from Northumberland in England and have so many photos to view and edit, but many are food related as we visited many stately homes and historic castles. One of my favorites was 
Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island. The three mile island is close to the border of Scotland and is accessible at low tide by crossing sand and mud which are covered with water at high tide. We chose to drive and park nearer the village and castle,but many get a thrill out of walking the entire way. There are warning signs to visitors to keep to the path and check the tide tables as the island is accessible 3 hours after high tide until 2 hours before the next high tide. Despite the warnings, some vehicles get stranded and have to be rescued by HM Coastguard.
Lindisfarne Castle

Dining Area of Kitchen


The above images were converted to black and white by Topaz Black and White Effects 2. 

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Monday, June 09, 2014

Jamaican Beef Patty Flatbread-Secret Recipe Club

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For a taste of the islands, try this homemade flatbread topped with a spicy ground beef mixture, mozzarella , baked to a golden brown, finished off with chopped fresh mangoes and a drizzle of mango habanero sauce. It's reveal day for Secret Recipe Club, and I was to choose a dish to prepare from The Hobo Kitchen authored by Ellie, originally from Nassau in the Bahamas, but now resides in Hoboken, New Jersey, thus the title of her blog. So many delicious choices, but I finally narrowed it down to one. I was impressed with Ellie's clever way of using on hand ingredients in which to fashion a meal. The Jamaican Beef Patty Flatbread was the result of a freezer raid of ground beef, frozen flatbreads and green peas. I always have ground beef and green peas, but I also have a great bread machine recipe for dough that I use to make flatbreads, pizza and focaccia. If you aren't inclined to use the flatbread, you could make the meat mixture into patties, top with melted cheese and serve in a bun or serve it over your choice of rice.
Jamaican Beef Patty Flatbread

Recipe Adapted From
The Hobo Kitchen

1/2 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon olive oil
1-1/4 teaspoons curry powder 
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
2 tablespoons frozen green peas, thawed
1/2 -3/4 cup mozzarella beads or crumbled goat cheese
Mango Habanero sauce, or hot sauce of choice, to drizzle
Chopped fresh mango, for garnish
8 6-inch rounds of bread dough-recipe below

Preheat oven to 400 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a frying pan over medium heat, sauté the onion in the olive oil until light golden brown. Add the herbs, spices and garlic to the pan. Cook for one minute.  Add the ground beef, stirring frequently until beef is nearly done. Add the bread crumbs, mix well. Add the peas. 

Lay the rounds of dough on the parchment paper. Divide the cheese among the rounds of dough, then also divide the ground beef mixture among the rounds of dough. Bake the rounds about 15 minutes, or until bread is done and slightly golden brown. Remove from oven. Drizzle with the mango habanero sauce and finish with the chopped fresh mango. Makes 8 servings.


1-1/2 cups warm water
4 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup cornmeal or semolina
3-1/2 cups bread flour
2-1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons sugar

Place ingredients in the pan of your bread machine according to the manufacturer's instructions for your machine. Process on the dough cycle. When finished, remove the dough from the machine to a lightly floured surface. Divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a 6 or 7-inch round.  Lay dough rounds on parchment lined sheet.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 
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