Kaak – don’t you love getting a new handbag? (BBB June 2017)

go directly to the recipe

BBB kaak summary: recipe for Kaak (Lebanese Purse Bread); adjusting yeast amounts; fooling with flours; using dates as a substitution for egg-wash; another use for orange blossom water; baking on the barbecue; a Bread Baking Babes project;

Bread Baking Babes (BBB June 2017: Kaak)

BBB kaak
Kaak! Kaak!
Kaak!! Kaak!!

It sounds like violent coughing, doesn’t it? Or tropical birds screeching. But don’t let the sound of this bread’s name fool you.

Trust me, kaak is nothing at all like that. It looks great. It tastes great. And it’s ridiculously easy to make!

My first and last day in Beirut is always the same: I have to get some kaak. Kaak is the street bread that Beirutis love more than anything, it is our pretzel, our simit, our croissant; you get my point. This time, my new friend, Hind, took me to a bakery in Basta (the neighborhood in Beirut that no tourist will ever venture in unaccompanied); I was in heaven! […] Kaak is delivered to all the cart vendors throughout the city. They dangle them on a rail in their chariot, covered in plastic for protection. You buy it and they will fill it with a choice of zaatar or picon cheese (a cheese spread similar to cream cheese). I always want mine with zaatar, of course!
– Joumana Accad, Taste of Beirut | Kaak (street bread)
They swing from rods in the rolling street carts, looking like purses except they’re coated with sesame seeds. Take a closer look and you see that they are ka’ak, a Middle Eastern flatbread, popular in Lebanon, often eaten as breakfast or for a snack. From the carts, you can get ka’ak filled with za’atar or smeared with cheese or hummus.
-Gin, Gin’s Kitchen | Ka’ak – Middle Eastern Flatbread
Sesame Galettes, in one form or another are a street staple through the eastern Mediterranean […] In Greece, Turkey, and Egypt they are shaped into rings and in Greece they are made slightly sweet. In Lebanon they are shaped like handbags, and the vendor will tear the fat “bag” part open to sprinkle the inside with a little za’tar. In Tripoli and Syria the galettes are shaped into flat disks and are often sold filled halloumi cheese seasoned with sumac.
-Anissa Helou, Turkish Sesame Galettes Simit, Mediterranean Street Food, p116

I often make Anissa Helou’s Koulouria (Greek Sesame Galettes) on p.118 of her cookbook “Mediterranean Street Food (read more here: sesame twisted rings), especially in the summer. They’re perfect for the barbecue!

So I was thrilled to try this slightly different version of the bread that Karen (Bake My Day) chose for this month’s BBB project. I especially liked that the BBB recipe seems more straight-forward than Helou’s.

(continue reading )

Kale and Coconut Oil do NOT belong in the trash

Orange Appeal: Savory and Sweet summary: stir-fried kale; refuting Kingsport Humor’s notion that kale belongs in the trash; another use for orange blossom water; Jamie Schler’s cookbook “Orange Appeal: Savory and Sweet”, with photos by Ilva Beretta, is being released soon; information on how to pre-order the cookbook; a bit about coconut oil

Add a little sunshine to every meal – Gibbs Smith Publishing

Orange Blossom Water I know I’ve said this earlier, but it was a major highlight for me. Last summer, I was one of the lucky ones to be in the recipe testing team for Jamie Schler’s (Life’s a Feast) cookbook, Orange Appeal: Savory and Sweet. Her recipe for Fouace Nantaise (that amazingly didn’t make it into the book, because Jamie had too many orange recipes!) calls for orange blossom water.

We loved the fouace, but I knew I’d never make enough of it to get through all that orange blossom water. So, one day, I was stir-frying kale – with coconut oil, of course!

kale and coconut oil
Pro Tip: If you stir coconut oil into your kale, it makes it easier to scrape it into the trash
– Kingsport Humor


Clearly, the Kingsport people didn’t cook their kale correctly…. (continue reading )

Open-faced Croque Monsieur, anyone?

Croque Monsieur summary: using the last of the Shubbak el-Habayeb (Lovers’ Windows) to make open-faced Croque Monsieur; no eggs, thank you very much; breaking the rules – again; doesn’t the definition of a Croque Monsieur include béchamel? toaster ovens are the best; an excerpt from one of my voluminous travel diaries;

Not long ago, we were given a big chunk of some beautiful Jarlsberg cheese. (Thank you, J!!) We contemplated what we should do with it. And we suddenly realized that it had been eons since we’d had Croque Monsieurs.

Unbelievably, I’ve never blogged about this wonder. Even more unbelievably, I hardly wrote about it in my voluminous travel diary (I just looked). And yet I remember clearly the first time we ate croque-monsieurs in Lyon. We rode far away from the downtown core, and happened upon a somewhat non-descript looking bistro. But there were quite a few people there and we were hungry. The blackboard advertised “Croque Monsieur” and “Croque Madame”. Of course we had to stop there and try their sandwiches (not Croque Madame – that includes an egg and the French love to undercook their eggs…). And Oh My. I was in heaven. A Croque Monsieur is the best sandwich in the world. I wanted it to last forever. (continue reading )

Looking through Lovers’ Windows to Celebrate Spring (BBB May 2017)

go directly to the recipe

Bread Baking Babes May 2017 summary: recipe for Shubbak el-Habayeb (Lovers’ Windows); timing and the beauty of refrigeration; a Bread Baking Babes project;

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) May 2017: Shubbak el-Habayeb

black cat In springtime, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring

It’s spring at last! Time to open up those windows!

BBB May 2017 And what wonderful windows have been chosen for the BBBabes this month from The Book of Buns by Jane Mason. Karen (Karen’s Kitchen Stories) chose an Iraqi bread, Shubbak el-Habayeb, which translated into English is “The Lovers’ Window”.

There is a beautiful bun from Iraq called shubbak el habayeb. This translates into the Lovers’ Window which I think is the nicest name of any bread in the whole world. We need more love and we need more windows into other cultures so let’s bake these and take them to protests and refugee centres, to airports and mosques. […]
In 2010 I woke up one morning and realised I could change the world through bread. I set up Virtuous Bread to make it fun and easy for people all over the world to make, find and learn about good bread and in so doing to forge the link between bread and virtue. […] I would like to help create a world in which we are more responsible regarding the choices we make: what we eat, what we do, how we treat each other, and how we can build communities that are based on positive and progressive relationships.
-Jane Mason, Virtuous Bread
The name of these beautiful buns is translated as The Lover’s Window, which kind of makes me want to cry every time I think about it – it’s just lovely! I would love to know who named it and whether they ever found their true love.
– Jane Mason, The Book of Buns

(continue reading )

“Hot Cross Buns” (BBB April 2017)

go directly to the recipe

forsythiaBBB April 2017 summary: recipe for Kare Pan; spring at last; embracing diversity; deep-frying in a wok; statute of limitations for April Fooling; a Bread Baking Babes project;

* :-) O :-) Happy Easter! O :-) O * *

kare pan It’s Easter and spring really has sprung at last! What better way to celebrate than with hot cross buns?

Whoa!! That doesn’t look like a hot cross bun?!

What exactly IS the statute of limiatations on April Fooling? Even if it’s a little bit lame? Because, of course, it’s completely obvious that that isn’t even close to being a hot cross bun. :lalala:

In fact, it’s what Aparna chose for this month’s project for the Bread Baking Babes (BBB) April 2017: Kare Pan (Japanese Curry Buns)

Kare pan (curry bread), is a very famous Japanese snack which has been featured in many animes and dramas. It’s one of my favorite ways to eat curry. If you’re new to curry, kare pan is a great way to start! I had some left over curry from the night before, so I decided to make kare pan. You can eat it for lunch, dinner, or as a mid-day snack. I ended up eating too many and had to skip dinner…
– Mamaloli, Kare Pan Recipe

That’s right. No traditional hot cross buns this time round (or at least not on this page). But.

Let’s not forget the name of Aparna’s blog: My Diverse Kitchen….

(continue reading )