Saturday, October 31, 2009

dead bread

his is a time of fiesta so what better way than with bread. Bread for the dead or dead bread or pan de muerto is a sweet little loaf. (No one calls it 'dead bread' or 'bread for the dead', I interjected a translation)

Anyone can make this bread if they want to - it takes about three hours from start to finish. Here is a common and basic recipe:

Prep Time: 3 hours

Cook Time: 40 minutes


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 6 cups flour
  • 2 packets dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons whole anise seed
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • Glaze (see below)


Bring all ingredients to room temperature (except for the water which should be very warm) before beginning.

In a large bowl, mix together butter, sugar, anise, salt and 1/2 cup of the flour. In a seperate bowl combine the eggs and the water. Add the egg/water mixture to the first mixture and add in another 1/2 cup of the flour. Add in the yeast and another 1/2 cup of flour. Continue to add the flour 1 cup at a time until a dough forms.

Knead on a floured surface for about 1 minute. Cover with a slightly damp dishcloth and let rise in a warm area for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Bring out dough and punch it down. Remove about 1/4 of it and use it to make bone shapes to drape across the loaf (see below.) Or divide the dough into smaller pieces to create other bone shapes. Let the shaped dough rise for 1 more hour.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes for smaller loaves and up to 45 minutes for larger loaves.

GLAZES (After glaze is applied you may decorate with additional colored sugar.)

  • Bring to a boil- 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup fresh orange juice. Brush on bread and then sift some additional sugar over the top.

  • Mix 3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate and 1/3 cup sugar with 2 egg whites. Brush on bread during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

  • Bring to a boil- 1/4 cup piloncillo, 1/4 cup sugar, 2/3 cup cranberry juice and 2 tablespoons orange zest. Brush on bread after bread has cooled.

BONES The most common bone decorations are very simple. Sometimes it's just a matter of forming ball shapes and pressing them into the loaf in a line. You could also take a piece of dough, roll it into a long cylinder and place a ball at each end. You can get much more detailed if you like, but even a slighly "knobby" looking loaf will get the idea across.

Friday, October 30, 2009

rellenos on my mind

omeone needs to write a love song about chile some kind of John Denver/Ricky Martin kind of jive - you know easy lyrics with a great dance beat because chile deserves it.

I made a sauce with a few chiles that I got from Marx Foods along with some chiles that I get from my family in New Mexico. It is a mix of Big Jim, Chimayo Red, organic Chipotle and Mulato in the blender with some water, Mexican oregano and garlic. This gets blended until feathery smooth and then warmed gently in a sauce pan on low heat to maintain the bright red color.

The roasted poblano peppers are stuffed with a mixture of ground beef, basmati rice, cheddar, mozzarella, asiago, fontina and romano cheeses and then basicly breaded with flour, egg and panko bread crumbs before frying in hot corn oil.

I make some kind relleno often and everytime they are different and everytime they are too delicious for words and everytime I want to eat everyone and everytime I only eat one, they are that good.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I aint no cracker jack

Not many remember this little jingle I am sure "candy coated popcorn peanuts and a prize..." so in honor of another dying treat from my youth (well its not really dying it just isnt as popular) I decided to venture into to the land of candied popcorn. While I have mentioned that my son does not eat candy, per se, he does eat sweets and these sweets do have sugar so we are not as 'healthy' as we sound. Since I do cook, duh, he gets to eat all kinds of things and as a special treat I make him special treats and special treats, even though sugarfied, are better than any old candy any day.

Popcorn balls are/were a bake sale staple when I was a kid - I am not so sure about now and even more certain that they are NOT in NYC since the Mayor banned bake sales in public schools to try and combat child obesity - I know - great idea right! (click the link and read the article in the NY Times)

Chances are that even though you might have had a popcorn ball you have not had one like this. Peanut butter popcorn balls with fresh vanilla bean sugar and a touch of ground mulato chile (just to keep it real). The chile and peanut butter go so well together that they balance the sweetness of the over all treat and the vanilla beans just smooth the whole ride down.

This is my 300th post of the year which means I have 41 more to go to reach 1000 posts over all - looks like the train is getting near the station.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

day of the dead

Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and in other Hispanic cultures throughout the world. When the Spanish colonized Mexico and other western lands, their religious holy days, All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints Day, and All Soul’s Day became intertwined with more ancient indigenous traditions. Dia de Los Muertos, is celebrated by Hispanic cultures to celebrate the memories of ancestors and to celebrate the continuity of life. Dia de los Muertos is celebrated on Nov. 1 (All Saints’ Day) and 2 (All Souls’ Day).

The actual date of celebration varies according to local and traditional customs and around here its the day after halloween. We have been making little "altars" with little skeletons and skulls to symbolize loved ones that we want to be happy in the after life. This is a blurry sample of the eight or so 'calaveras' or skulls that we have made. (all pictures are from my phone)

Without a doubt the 'altars' that I make are far from traditional - they arent even close. I have two more to post in a few more hours when I finish up the little little details. (this is an example of a work in progress)

We are gearing up for a little gathering we are going to have to celebrate this occasion so there will be some food and perhaps even more altars - stay tuned! Mexico on our minds!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

its, its a ballroom blitz

Well it isnt really a ballroom blitz or even a sack the quarterback blitz, in fact it isnt even a blitz at all.

Found some mushrooms the other day but 1) I am tired of the chicken mushroom and

2) I cant positively identify the other one, trichaloma , hebeloma, clitocybe - just not sure so they are pretty pictures instead.

Its no blitz its a blintz, cheese blintz with blueberries to be exact. Slow Sunday in these parts - hopefully inspiration will visit me and I will have more to share but for now I guess its the drips and drabs.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

issues with a tissue

eez I almost forgot I had a blog! Where have I been, what have I been doing? All the pumpkin stuff going around and I have yet to make anything pumpkin, all the cookies and cakes and I have yet to bake a single thing. Slacker does not even begin to cover it. I have a huge assortment of Marx Foods wild mushrooms I have to contend with, I have a big box of Scharffen Berger chocolate powder, nibs and what nots to inspire me in some way, I have more dried chiles from Marx Foods than the average person knows what to do with ranging from chipotle to guajillo to puya, I have enough Asian Grocer goodies to keep me busy until March - so whats the problem? No problem! The problem is in the blog, the blog is lazy not me - I still cook, I still make unique things with experimental flavors - its that my camera and my blog seem to be a little estranged lately - maybe they are breaking up and they forgot to tell me.

Who cares about the relationship issues my camera has any way - I am the Alpha Dad - I am master of my domain - I call the shots. Today these shots were called and the result was caramel apples - a total disregard for all the ingredients I should be using!

When you have children you like to give them good memories and what better memory than making caramel apples?

Some people do the dip - I do the drizzle and its best to try and sprinkle the toasted coconut before they start to set - dont follow my example, but if you want to copy me exactly then I should mention that the apple is a Macintosh.

Monday, October 19, 2009

curly Q

meletes are an easy lunch when you are in a hurry, lazy, or whatever excuse you need to make one. It doesnt take much for me to go to the egg in times of hunger.

I picked up one of these for a couple of bucks and I had to try it out. The potatoes were in longer curls but I was a little rough with them so they came out looking like macaronis.

This omelete is filled with a triple cream brie, chopped scallion and crawfish - I know, an unusual combination, but I grabbed the first things I saw. I am anxious to start curling the heck out things - this 'device' is such a weird thing and it totally cracks me up.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

slam dunk donuts

onuts are not hard to make. 3 cups of flour, two packets of yeast, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 cup of milk, oil for frying. Make the dough, let it rest, cut the donuts let them rise, fry in hot oil, drain. I filled these with jelly, dulce de leche and chocolate dulce de leche - respectively. (See the little hole where I injected the filling?)

Hot soft pillows of sweet delight filled with a surprise, but these donuts have another surprise I didnt mention in the ingredient list and that is a cup of fluffy baked potato. The donut bite is dense but still light and fluffy if that makes any sense and with the spud thrown in it makes these decadent desserts more like a food - in my mind!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

pullin' a train

These next few months take us on the tamale train and the posole pushcart its entirely up to you, but for now its the tamale train! No questions and no answers. Corn husks, masa and meat. Do you need anything else? Mexico on the brain. We are going to take our New York selfs to Mexico City for Christmas, gearing up.

Friday, October 16, 2009

cruising in reverse

The closer I get to 1000 posts the further it seems, or is that more like the less I want to seem to get there? I am about 45 or so posts from that little milestone and at the rate I have been posting lately it looks like we wont get there till March. Without a doubt there have been some tasty dishes but no mojo to take pictures and even less mojo to write about it. I can re-cap whats happened but without the photos to back it up its only words. Words are great in fact a lot of people thrive on words but I subscribe to the notion that a picture says a thousand words. I could get out my calligraphy pen and bo jangle my way all over this page, telling you about my grandmother and the neighbors and the rash I had but its all words, I am more of a poet and I like to use less words to say more.

My grandmother never made fried risotto, in fact I dont think she even knew what risotto was and as a result of that my parents didnt know either, lucky thing I came along. Panko crusted fried risotto (arancini de riso) with wild mushrooms (shaggy manes) butterhead lettuce, remoulade, red pepper, and lime.

Monday, October 12, 2009


hy not make everything an acronym, we have tarp and tap and milf and lol and sahm and my last post bat so why not BLD? But what is BLD you persistently want to know? BLD is Breakfast Lunch and Dinner all in one meal! Natures Pride and foodbuzz are having a contest and I am in it! I thought long and hard about all the possibilities for this bread and I decided the best thing is to combine the all possibilities into one and, well, thats what I did.

I made a Monte Cristo (check out wikipedias definition) of sorts. A little swiss cheese a little chicken breast and some hickory bacon that was pre-cooked and coated in maple syrup and some rehydrated dried apricots layered inside two slices of Natures Pride bread and all coated with an eggy french toast dip and fried in good old butter then dusted with powdered sugar - bite size wedges were cut and the meal was inhaled!

Why does it look so ooey gooey and delicious? Because it is! Mixing sweet and savory needs its own acronym or slang or something like 'sweetery' or 'saveet' or something - come on help me out here! I put this 'recipe' on KitchenMonki - its a neat place to organize recipes and the like!

This an entry for Denny's and Foodbuzz Baconalia.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


egetarian isnt working so bring on the bacon. We have been eating seaweed and rice for a few days now and perhaps what my body needs is a little smoky fat and cholesterol - the kind that only bacon can deliver. How do you not eat a whole pound of bacon? The answer is simple - only cook a half pound!

I have been in quite a mood lately and I cant snap out of it - maybe its the bronchial cough I have had almost this whole year - off and on - or maybe I just need a huge-o-rama change. I have some irons in the fire and they are starting to glow red hot I only hope they get hot enough to brand. In the in between how about a B.A.T?

A B.A.T. is a Bacon, Arugula and Tomato sandwich on Natures Pride 12 grain bread, and to kick it up even more I used olive oil mayo.

Bacon isnt enough how about a crispy fried egg with some polenta? 'Clog those arteries' is my new mantra!

This an entry for Denny's and Foodbuzz Baconalia.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Some secret power has a hold of me. I will eat meat just as fast as I eat soy. Crazy, thats what I said. In our never ending quest to not die we are eating right. This 'right' involves some weeks of 'vegetarian' because thats how we roll. I need some blog down time - some blog relief - you know -flatulence.......let go -,letgomagioc let go magicpwere - stop - let go magic power - dont worry - it works. Let go magic power - let go.......My gluttony is overwhelming me!

Edit: this is purely metaphorical


Gluttony is one of those things that I cant live without, and it presents itself most prominently in my gluttony for punishment. There are some blogs out there that I find so terrible on so many levels but for some OCD reason I have to read them - I know why, I am hoping that somehow some way they have figured it all out and they have changed but its not to be. Dont think I am mean, come on people hate me for the same very reasons.

It shatters and batters my brain sometimes but I cant seem to walk away. "I've been shattered, my brains been battered, its splattered all over Manhattan."

Sushi falls under another degree of my gluttony, once I start I just cant stop. We have had some kind of sushi or another for the last 3 or 4 days. I dont know if its the rice, the fish or the seaweed that keeps tugging me back or if its a combination of it all. This salmon roll has a secret edible flower center and some fresh pole beans and ikura (salmon roe) scattered about.

Lunch has been great lately and this seared tuna is no exception.

Seared tuna with black sesame seeds and a spicy coating served with carrots and scallions and hijiki and kombu and rice. Looks like glutttony is stuck with me and I am stuck with gluttony and I am going to be using stuff from Asian Food Grocer for quite some time.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

just desserts

etting what you deserve and getting what you want are really not that far apart as long as you want what you deserve. I am not talking about consequences I am talking about dessert. Tapioca is one of those things that you either love or you hate and from what I understand its a textural thing - see I like it so I dont know what all the gripe is about. This tapioca pudding is soy milk based but it does have eggs so while it is dairy free it is not egg free - I ran out of agar agar so eggs were my next option. This pudding is so good and I used two sizes of tapioca pearls so there are some big uns' and some lil' uns to add to the creaminess. The pudding came together in minutes and then relaxed in the fridge until it was time for just desserts.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

oh deer

hen Asian Food Grocer and foodbuzz made it possible for me to log on to their site and order up some goodies gratis I spent days deciding what I wanted since I have access to so much of this kind of stuff right here in sunny New York City, but after I decided and after it arrived I was more psyched than a bee at the botanical garden.

I didnt stop at making one thing or even one kind of thing I rolled up my sleeves and got busy. First thing was some panko crusted fried plantains similar to a banana pakora but with a twist. I mashed up some ripe plantains and mixed them with sifted flour to form a dough, this banana dough was formed into a disc and a piece of mozzarella was placed in the center and sealed in to form a ball. The entire fritter was coated in the panko and fried until golden.

These plantain treats are perfect with a squeeze of lime a sprinkle of vanilla sugar and a tamarind dipping sauce, sweet but not too sweet and oh so satisfying.

If you think I stopped there then you need to stop right here. I also picked up some nori and some black sesame seeds. And since my little guy lives for sushi and I live for him that answered that.

Seaweed wrapped and sesame seed coated spicy tuna with masago, looking like a leopard.

High contrast black and white with a little salmon roe.

Rolled and stuffed from both ends.

Spicy tuna on top of tasty rice with a spine of salmon roe.

Simple straight forward tuna rounded out our little sushi feast with a little nod to India featuring the fritters, so we have Japan and the Indo-Pakistan regions mildly covered, I am just warming up.

Stay tuned I will be exploring Asia a little further and it wont be no occident!
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