Archive for April, 2011

You’re All My Inspiration

Today I’d like to talk about something most of you can relate to: blogging. What an amazing journey this has been for me. From getting one or two comments (sometimes no comments) per post, to falling into the blogging abyss, to finding, making, and meeting amazing friends. Blogging definitely has its ups and downs, but until you finally blog for yourself and not for comments, can you truly enjoy it.  

 The David K. Stack (made with Nutella and drizzled with honey)
http://thewitchykitchen.blogspot.com/2010/08/david-k-stack-everyday-tings.html

I think there is a difference between commenting for comments and commenting to support your fellow bloggers. In the latter, you’re not trying to receive a comment in return, but solely commenting to support a bloggie friend. As much as we hate to admit it though, bloggers love comments. It’s almost as though the number of comments you have depicts how popular and successful you are —> SO NOT true. I would rather have 3 sincere comments than 300 “yummy yum yum” comments. If you’re going to comment, comment because you want to, not because you feel like you have to.  That is why I put effort into every one of my comments. In order to sincerely comment though, you also need to READ the whole post. If someone is going to just skim through my pictures to make a comment, then I’d rather you not comment.

Baked Eggs in the Basket:
http://www.anediblemosaic.com/?p=4877

Then there’s the camera and photo obsessions. Yup, don’t deny it guys, you know exactly who you are. I have so so much to learn from many of you. Honestly though, I started out blogging not caring whatsoever about photography. At times I would take photos from my phone and post them (did I just hear some gasps?). Now I actually take the time to take a decent photo and to make my dish somewhat presentable. Who knew photography could be so much fun? Ok, everybody but me. Hey, at least I finally caught on.

Delicious butternut squash soup: http://sharonmoh.com/2010/11/butternut-squash-soup/

How about the amazing friendships you make along this wonderful journey? When you take the time to get to know the blogger and sincerely comment, you WILL find beautiful friendships, I know I have :-D.

Healthy Miso Wild Alaskan Salmon:
http://www.keeplearningkeepsmiling.com/2011/01/03/healthy-miso-wild-alaskan-salmon/l

The first step in getting to know a blogger is to get to know their name (if they reveal it). You’d be surprised what an impression it makes on the person reading your comment to know that you took the time to get to know their name.

Strange-Flavor Chicken: http://thehappinessinhealth.com/prickly-ash-and-strange-chicken

Then there’s the food porn, the oh so torturous food porn. Yes, you people torture me with your delicious, over the top of my skill level recipes and photos. I just have one word for those of you —> ARGH! And my stomach would like to add in her two cents too —> GRUMBLE GRUMBLE!

Baby Spinach and Wasabi Puree: http://annajohnston.com.au/a-lesson-with-chef-adriano-zumbo/

On a more serious note though, thank you all for sharing your lovely recipes. I have bookmarked so many of them to try, but just haven’t had time to try them yet. These photos you’re scrolling through are just some of the recipes I’ve had time to try recently. I enjoyed every single one of them, so please click on the links to check them out if you’re interested.

http://www.burpandslurp.com/2011/03/20/ooh-ching-chong-mapo-tofu-tong/

To all of you who take the time to get to know me every week, visit, and comment (or not comment), I thank you very much. Every single one of you have made this quite the blogging experience for me. To those of you whom I keep in contact with through email often (you know who you are), you’ve been the best part of this blogging journey for me. Thank you for your beautiful friendship.

Laksa, inspired by: http://www.keeplearningkeepsmiling.com/2010/05/31/malaysian-curry-fish-laksa/

The luvtoeat family is on a little mini vacation right now. I’ll be sure to visit all my bloggie friends once I get back. Thank you for being such inspirations! So tell me, is there anything you love or hate about blogging? Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. Until next time, friends and family.

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Pain d’Epi

 Hi everyone! As promised, I’m going to share one of the bread recipes with you from my bread making day with Valerie. Of all the breads we made that day, the Pain d’Epi was my favorite (thank you Patty for letting me know what the name of that bread was) so I’m choosing to share that recipe with you first. Here’s what it looks like:

It’s supposed to be shaped like a wheat stalk. I’m just going to keep this post short today and get started on the recipe. This is not a real recipe, just me recalling what I remember from that day as we did so much. Hope the pictures help. This was only my 4th time baking bread so if I make any mistakes here, you’ll have to forgive me. I’d appreciate it if you could correct any mistakes in your comment as well. Thanks in advance.

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp fresh yeast (15-20 grams)
  • 350 grams water
  • 1 tsp salt (10 grams)

Directions:

Put the flour and yeast in a mixing bowl and rub in the yeast with your finger tips.

Add salt and water. Mix well until everything is combined.

Transfer dough to the counter to knead. (Here’s a video of the kneading technique we used.)

Once you’ve kneaded the dough, mold dough into a ball and place in a bowl covered with a towel in a warm place for one and a half hours.

Once your dough has been given time to proof, place a baking/pizza stone into the oven (if you don’t have a pizza stone then use a cookie sheet turned upside down) and preheat oven to 500 degrees F (or hottest setting).

Gently pour the dough out using the rounded side of your scraper to help you.

Form the dough into a rectangular shape as shown here:

Fold the dough in thirds by pulling up one side and pressing it into the center.

Do the same with the other side.

Pinch the seam closed.

Stretch the dough into a log.

Turn the dough over onto the seam. Allow to proof for another 30 minutes covered with a cloth.

Gently flour the top of the dough.

Now here comes the fun part. With a pair of scissors starting from one end, cut the dough t a 45 degree angle leaving about 1/4 inch from the bottom. Hopefully this video will explain it better.

Slide the loaf onto the baking stone and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

These are the steps I recall taking. If there’s anything you want to add or correct me on, please feel free to do so in the comments section. If you’d like more bread recipes you can visit Valerie’s recipes page or Denise’s lovely bread blog.

Last night I finished off the last of my stash of bread with my Asparagus and Seafood Soup.

 

You can find the recipe over at my dear friend Mary’s blog at Keep Learning, Keep Smiling. The only thing I did different was that I added lobster. We had a party at a friend’s house the night before and had a lot of lobster heads left over (no one wanted them) so I took them home to make this soup. Let’s just say, “slurpity slurp slurp” :-P.

Also before I go, I just wanted to let you know that I had a guest post over at the lovely Lynn Chen‘s blog of The Actor’s Diet last week. Feel free to check it out if you have the time. If not I won’t be offended, I know how busy you all are. If you know me, you’ll know how much I adore Lynn and her work, so this was a huge honor for me. Thank you again for having me on your blog, Lynn!

Until next time, friends and family :-D.

Because Moms Love to Bake

And what is it that moms love to bake?

Bread. That’s right, bread,

bread,

bread,

and more bread.

And cinnamon buns? Whatever, they were GOOD! Plus, a girl’s gotta live a little, right?

If you know me, you know that baking and I are not good friends. In fact, we’ve agreed not to be friends until I’ve learned to properly tell time and return to my oven when I’m supposed to (not half way through watching Grey’s Anatomy while smelling something burning). So how was it that I managed to bake all that beautiful bread you just scrolled through? All thanks to truly one of the sweetest bloggers I’ve met in person: Valerie from A Canadian Foodie.

When a super cook and baker like Valerie invites you over to her house to bake bread with her, you jump at the opportunity. That’s exactly what I did. We even had to set a date a month ahead (she’s a very busy woman). I waited and waited (and ate lots of chocolate :-P) and waited. Then when the day almost came, we had to push the date back so that my mom would be able to join us (definitely Mom’s fault, I ain’t taking the blame for this one :-D). How sweet of Valerie to accommodate to Mom’s schedule, thank you dear! So I ate more chocolate and waited some more, and then the day finally came. Good thing, because my jeans were starting to get a little tight ;-). Baking with two cooks whom I very much look up to was super intimidating, but that’s how you learn, right? From the very best! Mom was actually there to learn as well.

Valerie, the great hostess that she is, offered us some tea while she got the ingredients out. Is this not a beautiful teacup? I had to take a picture of it.

I might as well show you these beautiful pillows I admired for a while too, because I’m a dork like that. Teehee. Valerie has great taste, doesn’t she?

We started out with each of us making a batch of dough from all purpose flour. Valerie made an extra one in her Thermomix, which she then added a starter to make a sourdough bread. You can read more about what a starter is and how to prepare one here. This is what it looks like.

Mix in with the ingredients for the bread.

After all the ingredients have been mixed together, the dough got ready for proofing in that pretty spiral bowl/container.

Allow to proof, covered with a cloth for one and one half to two hours.

Then turn it over onto a bread board to be ready to put into the oven.

Here’s how it turned out:

The inside was beautiful and the crust was baked to perfection. Although I have to admit, sourdough is not a type of bread that’s for everybody. I like it, but I know many people who don’t. Are you a sourdough fan?

Next, we each prepared a dough from three different types of organic flour: a soft white whole wheat flour, a high protein whole wheat flour, and a whole grain rye flour.

Many different breads were made out of these. By the time we were done kneading the three doughs, we were all ready for lunch. Who knew kneading would be such a workout. Someone remind me to wear my workout gear next time.

Talk about a sweetheart! Valerie made us her wonderful and delicious yam soup in her trusty Thermomix. There isn’t anything this woman can’t do in that machine. Which by the way, I’ve yet to hear the end of from Mom, Valerie. If only I were rich 😉

Look at that lovely velvety yam soup with freshly grated nutmeg.

I’m sorry Val, I don’t remember what those white balls were. Homemade creme fraiche in olive oil or sour cream? I do know that whatever Valerie offers you, you try because it’s always amazing! So yes, two for me please 😀

We ate the soup with our freshly baked sourdough and one of the white breads. Not only that, but we finished lunch with a piece of homemade apple pie that Christan had made for Valerie.

Talk about knowing how to treat your guests right! Seriously, every time I visit, she treats my family and I with nothing but the best. What did I do to be so lucky in finding beautiful friendships such as this one in the blogosphere? I can’t help but to keep asking myself that question every time we meet. You truly are an amazing, sweet, and sincere person, my dear friend. My only regret is not to have started blogging earlier.

After lunch we finished with the rest of the bread making and cleaned up. Six hours of bread making and many, many, many beautiful pieces of bread later, this is what Mom and I got to take home.

This one was my favorite in looks and taste combined. A very simple white bread. It looks complicated, but really it’s not. I don’t remember the names of any of the breads.Valerie, or anyone know what this one is called?

I’m hoping to post this recipe along with some of the other bread recipes at another time on another post as this post is already long enough.

Thank you so very much again Valerie for all your time, efforts (I know it takes a lot of effort to teach such a non-baker like me), patience, and generosity. You really are one of a kind. Please don’t ever change. What I ever did to find such a great friend in you will always be a mystery to me, but I will always be honored to be able to call you my friend. Mom and I both had a wonderful time. Hope we will be able to cook or bake again together soon.

Valerie’s not that short, she’s just being kind and crouching to our tiny 5 feet height. In fact, Mom and I had quite the time kneading on her high countertop. She even offered me a step stool, but I refused. Haha.

Before I leave, I just wanted to clarify something about my Facebook post last week. After I posted it, I realized it may have sounded like I was calling people with two Facebook accounts two-faced. That’s not what I meant at all. I really hope I didn’t offend anyone. I was just trying to be creative with the title. That’s it for this week. Thanks for visiting again and I’ll see you all next week. Hopefully I’ll be back next week with a recipe for you. Until next time, friends and family :-D. Do you have a favorite bread? I’m more of the simple white bread type.