Bread Recipe

Posted: December 24, 2011 in General

I posted some pics of this weeks bread on Facebook and have gotten some requests for the recipe so here goes:

Basic Bread Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 kg bread flour
  • 50 grams fresh yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 grams oil
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 10 grams salt
  • ~600 cc warm water
  • 1 egg, beaten for brushing

Instructions

  • Put the flour, sugar and yeast into a mixer bowl and mix at very low speed with the kneading hook.
  • Add 500cc water and mix at low speed.
  • Add the eggs, salt and oil and knead in the mixer at low speed.  If needed, add some more water a little at a time until you have an even dough.
  • Let it knead in the mixer for about 10 minutes until the dough is even and has a bit of shine to it.
  • Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm room until it doubles in size (about 45 minutes).
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a floured surface for about 7 minutes.
  • Return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let it rise until it doubles in size (about 45 minutes).
  • Shape the dough into the forms you want (braid for challah, place it into a loaf pan, form rolls, etc.) and let rise until it doubles in size (about 45 minutes).
  • Brush with the beaten egg – be careful not to put too much on or you’ll end up with an omelet on top of the bread.
  • Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 200°c for about 20 minutes (if you’re making rolls, start at 15 minutes).  You can check to make sure it’s done by tapping the bottom of the loaf – if you hear a hollow sound, then the bread is done.

Comments and suggestions

  • If you want to make a challah with the glossy brown look, after braiding brush with egg and then again before baking.
  • You can brush with melted butter or olive oil instead of an egg for a different flavor.
  • You can brush with melted butter or olive oil after it comes out of the oven
  • You can add things like chopped olives, fried onions, sun-dried tomatoes while kneading the second time to give a different flavor to the bread.
  • If you’re in a rush, you can skip the second kneading (if you do and want to add something like onions or sun-dried tomatoes, put it in about a minute before you take it out of the mixer).
  • You can form the bread and then put it in the refrigerator to rise overnight and have fresh bread in the morning (take it out of the fridge and let it warm up for about 45 minutes before you put it in the oven).
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Braised Short Ribs with Dried Fruit

Posted: December 9, 2011 in Food
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This was dinner last Friday night.  I posted a picture on Facebook and a few people asked me for the recipe so I decided I’d put it up here. Since I never actually wrote down a recipe for this and was improvising at the time, bear in mind that cooking is are and not science.

Ingredients

1.5 kg Short Ribs (What the Israelis call Asado)

Braised Short Ribs with Dried Fruit

Braised Short Ribs with Dried Fruit served with mashed potatoes

20 shallots, peeled

1 head garlic, peeled

20 dried apricots, quartered

10 seedless prunes, quartered

1/4 cup craisins

1 cup Jack Daniels

1/4 cup honey

Water

3 whole cloves

20 whole peppercorns

6 whole allspice

Salt, pepper, vegetable oil

Directions

Heat a medium sized pot (it needs to be big enough to hold all the ingredients).  While the pot is heating, season the ribs with salt and pepper.  Once the pot is very hot, put about 1 tbsp of oil in (don’t worry if it starts smoking – the pot should be that hot!) and then sear the ribs on all sides to a nice brown color.  Once the ribs are brown on all sides, take them out and put them on a plate.  Put the shallots in and brown them on all sides, add in the garlic and then the fruit.  Add the whiskey and then put the ribs back in.  Put in the honey and add water until the ribs are covered.  Put in the peppercorns, allspice and cloves.  Bring to a boil and then simmer on a very low heat for about 2.5 hours.  If the level of the liquids drops too low, add more water until the meat is covered.  If, when the meat is done there is still a lot of liquid, bring the heat back to high and reduce the liquid.

I’m back…

Posted: December 9, 2011 in General
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So I haven’t blogged in around 7 months but I think it’s about time I get back to blogging.  Since last I wrote I’ve been working at VeriFone – for  months now – and I’m very happy at the office.  I’ve gotten back onto Facebook and I’ve been semi-active on Google plus.  Now if you don’t know, don’t bother looking for me at either one.  I try to keep those sites to people that I know – I’m looking for random friends, mostly trying to communicate with people I already know.  If you just want to chat and get to know me – drop me a line on Twitter and I’ll probably answer you back.  In the meantime, I’ll try to blog a bit more often and put up some new recipes and other things that fill my mind… Enjoy!

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game

About 2 weeks ago my wife and I watched a great movie – The Blind side – which tells the story (somewhat fictionalized) of Michael Oher.  I thought the movie was very good and very interesting and I had noted that it was based on a book.  This book.  So I went on Amazon and downloaded it to my Kindle.  While the movie dealt only with Michael Oher – who (if you don’t know) is the left tackle for the Balimore Ravens – the book deals, to some extent, equally with the changes in the NFL that have made the quarterback – and thus the left tackle – so much more important.

The book pretty much alternates chapters which retell Mr. Oher’s saga growing up as an underprivileged child in the worst parts of Memphis and getting adopted by a well-to-do family with chapters about the changes that have occured in the way NFL football has been played over the past 30 or so years.  There are anecdotes from Bill Parcells and other football notables as well as discussions with the people in Mr. Oher’s life.

While being a football fan definitely helps your enjoyment of this book – if you really don’t like football at all you might just want to watch the movie which I also highly recommend – it’s not totally necessary.  Unlike many books centered around sporting events or figures, this one leaves a lot of the jargon at home (probably because the author, Michael Lewis, is not a football person) and tells of the evolution of modern football, including the changes that free agency brought, while at the same time telling a heart-wrenching story about a young man who – in spite of the odds – found love and family and made himself a success.

I’ve read a lot of books that were turned into movies and they usually disappoint.  My general rule is – either the book or the movie.  This book – and this movie – are definitely the exceptions to the rule.  As I said, if you don’t like football at all skip the movie.  But, if you like it – even just watching a game on Thanksgiving, or going to cheer for your local high school team once a season – pick up The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game.  I know you’ll enjoy it.

Holiday Recipe – Matzo Brie

Posted: April 19, 2011 in Family, Food
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This is the traditional breakfast for Jewish families everywhere during Passover. It’s essentially French toast made from matzo. Personally, I like to eat it with jelly. My wife – for some reason – likes to eat it with cottage cheese. Every family has it’s own recipe and tweaks. This is the recipe that my father taught me when I was just a kid.

Ingredients

  • 1 board matzo
  • 1 egg
  • hot water
  • Salt, pepper, oil
  • Directions

  • Soak the matzo in the hot water until it is softened. Strain.
  • Add the egg to the matzo and mix well. Season to taste.
  • Fry in the oil until golden brown on both sides.
  • Comments
  • This is a minimum recipe. 1 board of matzo is probably a bit too much for one person, but not enough for two people. Just do some math to figure out who many is right for your table. I generally use 3/4 boards of matzo per person (ie – one board for 1 person, 2 for 2 people, and 3 for either 3 or 4 people.)
  • Some families like to serve it up us big pieces – either making pancake size individual ones, or large ones and cutting a piece for each person. My family tradition is to cut it up like scrambled eggs.
  • Unlike french toast – where I make different batters for sweet and savory – this works well with either jelly or a more savory topping like cottage cheese. Choose whatever you like.
  • This is the one time of year where I really hate living in Israel.  I understand that the large majority of the population is Jewish.  I understand that a fair percentage of that population keeps kosher for Passover.  But not everyone does.  I don’t understand why the sale of products that aren’t kosher for Passover are outlawed.  Shouldn’t I – as an adult – be able to buy a beer if I want?  The other 358 days of the year I can – but for this week, it’s illegal to sell one.  If I want bread, well I guess I’d better bake it myself – that’s the only way I’m really going to be able to find it.  I can understand the major supermarkets – which only sell kosher products – making the transition.  But the ones that don’t keep kosher still have to take the products off the shelf.

    In this modern day of choice and freedom – why is such a basic choice – like what to eat – being regulated by the government?  I’m not saying I’m going to eat that bread (OK. I probably will but that’s besides the point.) but why, if I want to go to a non-kosher restaurant and order a BLT do I have to get it on Matzo?  It’s time to go to the supermarket and stock up on cereal, bread and flour – because next week there’ll be none to be found.

    New Videos of the Kids

    Posted: April 10, 2011 in Family
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    I uploaded 2 new videos of the kids.  Check them out…

    Watch out for homicidal lamps!

    Posted: April 2, 2011 in General, Humor
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    You just have to watch this hilarious parody of the Pixar intro!

    Weekend Recipe – Pea Soup

    Posted: April 2, 2011 in Food
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    Ingredients

    • 400g peas
    • 1 medium sized carrot, medium dice
    • 1 medium onion, medium dice
    • 1 liter chicken stock
    • salt, pepper

    Instructions

    • Put all ingredients in a pot without the seasoning and bring to a boil.
    • Simmer until the carrots are fully cooked – about 15-20 minutes.
    • Blend into a smooth puree
    • Bring back to a boil and season to taste.

    Comments

    If you don’t have chicken stock, use water and the appropriate amount of stock cubes or soup powder.  I usually use frozen peas, if you decide to use dried peas, use about 300g and soak them for about 20 minutes prior to cooking – make sure to discard the water you soaked them in.  If you’re using fresh or frozen peas and want a brighter green only put half the peas in at the start, put the rest in immediately prior to using the blender.  If you’re using a regular blender and not a blender stick hold back about 1/3 of the water when blending – then add it back in to get the consistency you like.  Serve it with croutons, grated parmesan cheese and crumbled bacon.

    Post A Day

    Posted: March 30, 2011 in General
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    I know I said I’d do a Post A Day.  I tried.  I’ve just found that either I don’t have something to write about or, more likely, I don’t have the time to do it.  It’s hard to do a full time job, be a full time dad and still write something interesting that people are going to want to read on the blog.  I’m going to stop trying to do a post every day.  If I have time to write one – and something to write about – I will.  If not, I won’t.  I will still give you a recipe every weekend.  I hope this makes the quality of what appears here better.