Recipe: Pork Belly and Tofu Bao (buns)

Recipe: Pork Belly and Tofu Bao (buns)

I love BAO, these steamed buns of all sorts of shapes that you can find in Chinese restaurants. I love it so much that I was curious to know how to make it and decided to try myself. I made two versions: pork belly for me and tofu for Jodi (not entirely vegetarian as it contains fish sauce). It is not that this recipe is complicated, but it takes some time.

Recipe: Bugnes

Recipe: Bugnes

Bugnes are some sort of beignets that are popular in Central-Eastern France, the most known being the bugnes de Lyon. There are two sorts: the soft and the crunchy, the difference between the two being the presence of yeast (soft) or not (crunchy). It is not difficult to make, but takes a bit of time as the dough has to rise. 

Recipe: Anise Infused Bread

Anise Infused Bread recipe
Anise Infused Bread recipe

Here is a very recipe to make a wonderful bread that has a subtle anise taste.

For 8 small breads:

17.5 ounce (500g) of white flour

1 tablespoon of salt

3/4 tablespoon of sugar

2 tablespoons of anise seeds

1/2 ounce of dry yeast

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

0.8 cup of lukewarm water

The first thing to do is to grind the anise seeds.

To grind seeds, I use a coffee grinder.

Mix all the ingredients and knead until firm. I have a bread machine and use the setting to only knead and rise as I will cook the bread in the oven.

Let the dough rise for 1h30.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. At the same time, make 8 even portions of the dough and lay them on a cooking sheet or aluminum foil, making sure you either grease it or put some flour to prevent the bread to stick.

Anise Infused Bread recipe
Anise Infused Bread recipe

In a small ball, make an egg wash by cracking an egg at room temperature and whisking it until the yolk is incorporated in the white. 

With a knife, make a X on top of each bread so they open while cooking.

Then brush each bread with the egg wash.

Rest for 25 more minutes; the bread will rise again.

Put the bread in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden.

Et voila!

Anise Infused Bread recipe
Anise Infused Bread recipe

 Bon appetit!

Recipe: Brioche with chocolate chips

Chocolate chip brioche recipe
Chocolate chip brioche recipe

Brioche is a viennoiserie that is similar to Challah bread, where water is replaced by milk, has more eggs, butter and sugar.

The recipe below is very easy to make! 

Ingredients for 12 brioches (approx. 2 pounds):

- 1/2 cup of milk

- 4 large eggs

- 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter

- 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

- 1 teaspoon of salt

- 3 3/4 cups of white flour

- 2 packets of yeast (I use active dry instant yeast)

Place in the following order the milk, eggs, butter at room temperature and cut in small pieces, sugar, salt, flour and yeast in a pan. Knead until obtaining a soft dough, and let rise for 45 minutes.

Melt some butter and brush generously the inside and outside of a muffin pan (you can use a bread pan also for cooking the brioche). The butter will prevent the brioche to stick to the pan once cooked.

Put some dough in the bottom of the muffin hole and add some chocolate chip in the middle. This time, I put chocolate chips inside the brioche. You can other wise not put anything or put nutella or jam. 

Cover with some dough and try to seal the brioche (do not worry: it will crack anyway during the cooking process, revealing some chips). Brush the top with an egg wash. Let rise for another 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Then remove from the oven and let it cool. Et voila!

Chocolate chip brioche recipe
Chocolate chip brioche recipe

Bon appétit!

Recipe: Ghetto Garlic Bread from Coolio!

So everybody probably knows Coolio from the song Gangsta's Paradise he wrote in 1995 for the movie Dangerous Minds with Michelle Pfeiffer. What I did not know until I watch Rachel (Ray) vs. Guy (Fieri) on the Food Network, is that Coolio is also a cook. He even published a cook book called 

Cookin' with Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price

and calls himself the Ghetto Gourmet. In this book, he will teach you how to be a Kitchen Pimp, explaining what you need in you Pimp-try...

Let me tell you: this guy knows how to cook (taught by his now deceased mother) and he ended up in the finale!

So, I decided to try to cook his Ghetto Garlic Bread, his take on Garlic Bread, made with mayonnaise. I do not have a cook book, so I tried to recreate the quantities.

In a bowl, I mixed:

  • 6 tbsp of mayonnaise, 
  • 2 tbsp of minced garlic and 
  • cheese (depends how much you like).

I spread the mixture on a baguette cut in half and toasted it.

It was good, but if you do not like mayonnaise, I do not think it is for you!

Enjoy (I did)!



Roasted Brussels Sprouts!

When I was a kid, I hated brussels sprouts! I could not stand the smell or the taste. I remember that my mom used to prepare them with merguez (lamb sausages) and unfortunately, the sausages were absorbing all the taste of the brussels sprouts! Many years later, I ended up with brussels sprouts on my plate, in a restaurant in New York City. I tried and kind of liked them! So, if you are struggling to get your kids to eat vegetables, it is not desperate and you should try to roast them (the vegetables, not the kids!!!). 

The way I roast brussels sprouts applies also to other vegetables like asparagus. I like them slightly burnt so it caramelized them. 

First, after washing the brussels sprouts, I remove the buds from the stalk and discard any loosen leaf from the surface. Depending on the size of the sprouts, I may cut them into two parts. Then, I put them on a tray with olive oil, salt and pepper. With my hands, I mix the brussels sprout with the oil, salt and pepper to ensure they all get their little bath. I then cook them in a preheated oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Et voila!

Bon Appétit!

Recipe: Baguette with a hint of Olive oil

You probably know the caricature of the French: baguette and beret! Well, the beret is truly a caricature (mastered in the movie

The Truth About Charlie

with Mark Walberg) as you will not see that many people wearing it if you go to France, except if they are a certain age; but the baguette is true! Bread is an institution there! You will find boulangeries very easily, with many types of breads: baguette, sour dough, with olives, blue cheese.... In restaurants, they will always give you some bread with your meal: as much as you want! 

When I came in this country, I missed passing by a boulangerie and buying my baguette or ficelle (very thin baguette - outstanding when hot with just butter on it). Well, I then discovered different types of breads (Challah, focaccia, Hero, bagel...) and locations to buy some: whole food (great baguette), Balthazar (bread sold in different stores) or Amy's bread. Then, to counter the fact that there are not as many boulangeries as I would like, I bought a bread machine: it is great! The kneading is better than doing it by hand (I tested on burger rolls) and you can set the machine so when you wake up, you have fresh bread for breakfast. Not to mention the sensational smell of fresh bread in your home!

Here is an easy recipe of French bread where I replaced part of the water with olive oil to give a hint of olive flavor and make the bread moist.

Ingredients for 2lb:

- 1 1/4 cup (30 cl) lukewarm water

- 1/4 cup (5 cl) olive oil

- 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt

- 4 cups of flour (1 cup = 128 grams)

- yeast

Put all the ingredients together and knead them until obtaining a firm, non sticky dough. Let rise for 1 hour. Put the bread on a backing sheet and make some incisions on top with a knife. Let sit for 30 more minutes.

Pre-heat the oven at 375 degrees.

Cook for 30 minutes.

Once done, let the bread cool on a cooling rack. Et Voila!

Bon appétit!

Recipe: Homemade Burgers

Here is a quick recipe to make a burger from A to Z!

Let's start with making some amazing buns:

For 6 buns:

  • 3/4 cup of lukewarm water
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 onces of yeast

Mix all the ingredients together until you reach a very smooth and soft dough. Add flour until the dough is not sticky anymore. Let the dough rise for 1 hour. To prepare this, I use a bread machine that is awesome and makes the bread very fluffy!

Divide the dough into 6 pieces and put them on a baking sheet with flour in the bottom so the buns do not stick to it. Let rise for another 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 F (I use a convection oven).

Brush the buns with egg wash (1 egg beaten - some add a little bit of water) and then cook them in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the buns are golden.

For the meat, for 5 people:

I use 2 lb organic grass fed ground beef with a ratio of 80/20 fat so the burgers are juicy. I put the meat in a bowl and mix it with half a bottle of dark beer. The beer will help keeping the meat together and it will add some juiciness. No need to season the meat, not even salt.

Now here is the secret weapon: in the middle of each patty, I put a large slice of sharp cheddar! The cheese will explode in your mouth at the first bite and will keep the temperature of the meat hot for a little longer. To do it, I use a small springform pan: put a first layer of meat, then the cheese and then add a second layer of meat. Make sure you close it well so the cheese does not leak while cooking.

I then cook the meat for 15 minutes on a skillet, with no oil, flipping regularly so each side cooks. I finish by putting one large slice of cheddar on top of each patty and cover with a lid so the cheese melts evenly. Once the meat is cooked, it is time for plating!

I always toast the bread so it will give a bit of crunchiness to the burgers. You can then put any topping or sauces you like (I love to mix mayonnaise and ketchup). Et voila!

Bon Appétit!