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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Familiarizing Baking Ingredients

Making bread will involve a variety of ingredients and tools. Understanding the effects of each one will ensure that you make bread that is flavorful and of good quality. You may be surprised to know that some of the most common ingredients can change the nature of the bread drastically even with mild application. You can acquire these in many outlets, the internet and through local dealers. Here are some more tips about baking ingredients.

On Sweeteners

Liquid sweeteners help provide more taste to the bread. Honey and molasses are some of the most common options. Sweeteners provide moistness to the bread as well, giving it a better appearance and longer shelf-life. Sweet things also feed yeast. You can also use barley malt syrup. When using honey, be careful about using very high temperatures, since it can scorch and brown the bread. 1/3 cup of honey for every 2 loaves is recommended.

About Salt

Salt generally boosts the flavor of the bread and manages the fermentation process. Bread without salt becomes flat and tasteless. Do not add salt to the liquid wherein the yeast is dissolving since this can prevent yeast growth. You can use real salt, earth mineral salt or unrefined sea salt. Use 1 tablespoon for every 2 loaves. A lot of recipes require less.

Other Present Ingredients

Lecithin comes from soybeans and helps keep bread soft and moist. It slows down the oxidation of the liquid components and functions as a binder. Lecithin appears in liquid, granular or powdered form. 1.5 tablespoons of granular or liquid per loaf is enough as a binder. If you use the powdered form, make sure to follow the guidelines written on the can.

Malt, barley malt syrup or diastatic malt powder are sweet derivatives of toasted barley. These provide nutrition and boost texture, shelf life and appearance. Exchange 1 tablespoon of sweetener in the recipe together with 2 tablespoons of syrup and 1/2 teaspoon of powder. If you put in too much, your bread can become gummy, very sweet or bitter and dense. Vital wheat gluten or gluten flour is taken from high protein wheat. It also serves as a binder, resulting to dough becoming more elastic.

If the flour is lower than 16% protein, you need to add more gluten. Gluten also aids in the compensation of damage done to bread gluten because of the jagged edges of the bran, happening during the milling procedure. 1 to 2 tablespoons for every loaf is adequate. Too much gluten flour will lead to bread becoming rubbery and tough.

Final Ingredients

Oats or oatmeal provides added moistness and crunch to bread. This will lead to good toasting bread. You can add 1 cup of rolled oats for every 2 loaves. Pour 1 to 2 cups of boiling water over the rolled oats and allow to cool. Whey in liquid or powdered form is a dairy by-product. It contains a lot of milk sugar, protein and minerals. It also helps in the browning process and sweetens the bread a little.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Turkey Gravy Secrets Revealed

Turkey Gravy Secrets Revealed

To make the best tasting turkey gravy you need three things; well-seasoned fat, flour, and a good rich broth. For each cup of finished gravy you will need one tablespoon of fat, one tablespoon of flour and 1 cup of broth.

Start by making up some rich turkey broth. You can use the turkey neck, heart, gizzard or other parts usually found packed inside the turkey cavity. Add some minced onion, diced celery and 1/2 teaspoon salt in enough water to cover, simmer until vegetables are tender. Dice the turkey liver, add to the broth and simmer for about 15 minutes.

You can use the turkey bones if you like. The turkey bones yield much more broth, just add more onions and celery to the pan. You will have to carve the turkey ahead of time, which means no whole roasted turkey sitting on the dinner table waiting to be carved by the host or hostess.


Make sure you use the drippings from the roasting pan, as grandpa always said "that's the goodies", just after you've removed the cooked turkey and roasting rack from the roasting pan. Strain poultry drippings through a sieve into a 4-cup glass measuring cup.

Add 3 tablespoons of corn oil to the bottom of the roasting pan. Stir around to get out the brown bits that have baked on. Add to your turkey drippings. "Wash" the roasting pan out with the turkey broth if it's made or add water your going to use in the broth if you haven't made it yet.

The trick is to know how many cups of broth you have and if you have enough fat. Remember you will need one tablespoon of fat, one tablespoon of flour and 1 cup of broth for each cup of finished gravy.

If you are light on broth you can add some canned chicken broth.
If you are light on fat you can add a small amount of corn oil. You can save the rest of your broth for storing and reheating the turkey.

Here are a few more tips to making great tasting gravy:

First take the measured fat and combine with the proper amount of measured flour in a medium saucepan. Make sure you have covered all the flour with fat and blended it well. Place on burner. Slowly bring
the flour and fat mixture to a simmer until it begins to smell slightly salty. It will be bubbly; the color will be a light brown.

Next remove pan from burner; whisk in all the measured liquids.

Finally return the pan to the burner, again, slowly bring this to a simmer.

Remember you already cooked the flour in the fat so all you need to do now is stir this until it thickens up to your liking. You can let it stay sort of thin or let it cook out until it is thicker than your Mashed potatoes. The choice is yours.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Traditional Nigerian recipes

Staple foods in the Nigerian diet include: peanuts or ground-nuts, yams, cassava, fish, rice, okra, bananas, guinea corn and millet, and palm nuts.

They are usually starchy and Nigerians love to cook with a lot of pepper and spices especially those from the southwest and southeast. This recipe uses all local ingredients to create a tasty and nourishing meal.

These recipes celebrate the traditional food of Nigeria:-

Egusi Soup

Ground Egusi seeds give this soup a unique color and flavour. If you can't find Egusi seeds in your store, you can substitute pumpkin seeds or Pepitas which you can find in Latin American grocery stores. This soup is thickened with flour ground from seeds of gourds, melons, pumpkins, and squashes, many of which are native to Africa.


200 g Water Leaves
50 g Egusi seeds
1 teaspoon Dry Ground Red Pepper
1 medium Onion
100ml Palm Oil
10g Dry Ground Crayfish
120g Fresh Tomatoes
100ml Water
Salt & Pepper to taste

Wash the water leaves well in clean, fresh water.
Liquidise or pulverise the onions, tomatoes and egusi seeds until smooth.
Add the dry ground pepper and fry in palm oil for five minutes.
Add the water, put the lid on and cook for five minutes.
Now add the water leaves, replace lid and cook for a further five minutes.
Finally, add the crayfish and seasoning, warming through well.

Serve with pounded yam or cooked rice and a meat stew, to provide protein.
Alternatively, serve with eba, fufu or any suitable carbohydrate.

Curried Okra

This traditional recipe for Okra (or Okro, as it is called in some part of Nigeria) is one that can be created anywhere in the world, as it uses ingredients that can be found in any local store.

The word “okra” comes from Africa and means "lady's fingers" in Igbo, one of the languages spoken in Nigeria. Although Okra originated from Africa, it is now available around the world. Some people consider Okra alone is too gooey, but this tasty recipe makes good use of it's properties.

When buying fresh okra, look for young pods free of bruises, tender but not soft, and no more than 4 inches long.


500g Okra
2 Onions
180g Oil
3 cloves garlic
2 Tomatoes
2 teaspoons of curry powder
½ teaspoon of turmeric
Pinch of black pepper
½ teaspoon of salt

Slice one of the onions finely and fry gently in oil.
Liquidise the remaining onion, tomatoes and garlic.
Add this puree to the frying onions.
Add the spices.
Fry gently for five minutes.
Top and tail the okra and cut into pieces about 1cm thick.
Add to the spices and cook gently for 10-15 minutes.

Serve with cooked rice and a meat stew, for protein.

With thanks to the Nigerian people who made us so welcome in their homes, gave us a love of traditional Nigerian food and who helped us overcome our fear of eating with our fingers!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

White Barbecue Sauce – Gourmet Bbq Sauce At It’s Best

Barbecuing is not what it used to be. When growing up the only time that my family would start up the grill or smoker was in the summer and on the weekends. Today, people barbecue every night and all year round. Barbecue sauces have come along way since then as well. There used to be only a couple of choices at your local market. But now with the invention of “super” markets the amount barbecue sauces you can buy locally has grown significantly. For those gourmet barbecue sauces the web is probably the only place you will find these unique sauces. If you don’t live in the Alabama area the only place you will find traditional White BBQ Sauce like Big Bob Gibson’s is on the web or of course you can try to make it yourself.

In Alabama Barbecue traditional Sauce uses Mayonnaise as its base rather than tomato sauce, vinegar, or any of the other more typical barbecue sauce bases. It is clearly a region favorite. Bob Gibson of Decatur, Alabama is credited with the invention the white sauce back in 1925. Friends and family were first treated to this secret-recipe sauce on chicken and pork at weekend barbecues where boards were nailed to trees for tables. Today, this famous mayonnaise-based condiment is traditionally employed to baste chicken, seafood and pork.

White BBQ Sauce is as synonymous with the state with Alabama as the legendary "BAMA" football program. White BBQ Sauce’s intriguing flavor complements salads and is a superb baste for chicken, pork and turkey. You can also use White Sauce as an ingredient to add an extra kick to your favorite slaw or potato salad. However, because the racks of your local grocer are dominated by many incarnations of tomato-based sauces and white bbq sauce is such a regional anomaly, most people outside Alabama have not tested this concoction of flavor.

Like many barbecue sauces you want to apply this only at the very end of your grilling or smoking. It will breakdown and separate if it is heated too long. Use this sauce on chicken and turkey. It is also good on pork. Alabama White Barbecue Sauce has a tangy flavor that is a great addition to grilled foods.

White BBQ Sauce makes a unique experience. Use this recipe when grilling chicken; brush lightly over the chicken during the last few minutes of grilling. This sauce is also great for dipping; keep some sauce aside for passing at the table.

White BBQ Sauce Recipe

Ingredients:
1 quart mayonnaise
3/4 quart apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/4 tablespoon cayenne pepper
Prepared horseradish
Lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a very large blender or food processor. Blend for 1 minute, or until thoroughly mixed and sauce is smooth. Pour sauce into a large container or bowl.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Truffles Recipe For Chocolate Lovers

Chocolate Covered Truffles


1/4 C butter 1 1/2 lbs. real semisweet chocolate 3/4 C non-dairy coffee creamer, any flavor 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 1/2 pounds real milk chocolate for dipping 1 cup finely chopped chocolate, milk or semisweet for decoration.

Makes about 3 dozen truffles.

Melt semisweet chocolate in double boiler over hot water. Heat butter, creamer and vanilla in another saucepan to 125° F on a candy thermometer. Add to semisweet chocolate all at once, beating until smooth and creamy. Chill in refrigerator until nearly set but still pliable. Beat with mixer until light and fluffy. Spread in 9 inch buttered pan until set enough to roll into small balls. Melt milk chocolate over double boiler. Dip truffles in melted chocolate, then sprinkle generously, or roll in, chopped chocolate.



Mocha Truffles


2 packages (12 oz each) Semisweet chocolate chips.
8 oz. cream cheese, softened 3 T instant coffee granules 2 tsp. water.
1 lb. good dark chocolate cocoa confectionery coating white confectionery coating, optional.

Makes about 5 1/2 dozen In a microwave-safe bowl or double boiler, melt chocolate chips. Add cream cheese, coffee and water; mix well. chill until firm enough to shape. shape into 1" balls and place on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. Chill for 1-2 hours or until firm. Melt chocolate coating in microwave-safe bowl or double boiler. Dip balls and place on waxed paper to harden. If desired, melt white coating and drizzle over truffles.