Would you stand in line for this cheesecake?

cheesecake wp-image-2103 summary: store-bought cheese cake vs. homemade cheesecake; Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese storebought cheesecake, Ruth Reichl’s New York Style homemade cheesecake; (click on image(s) to see larger views and more photos.)

Early one morning, a couple of weeks ago, we were riding our bikes downtown and when we were close to the Greyhound bus station, we noticed a long line of people waiting.

Japanese cheesecake wp-image-2106 But they weren’t waiting for a bus! It turned out that they were waiting for cheesecake. And not just any cheesecake. It’s Japanese cheesecake.

That’s right; I said, “Japanese cheesecake”! Really…. (continue reading )


Delving into the Archives… the Ultimate Wings

summary: Beijing Chicken Wings and Grilled Green Onions; how to use wooden skewers so onions won’t fall through the grill; delving into the archives; re-reading SAVEUR; (click on images for larger views and more photos)

Over the years, on a number of occasions, I’ve said how much I love SAVEUR magazine. But, alas, over the last few months, with each new issue, we have been more and more disappointed. So we have been delving into back issues.

Beijing Chicken Wings  wp-image-2048 Because it’s barbecue season again (yay!), we pulled out the July 2013 issue and were reminded about the most wonderful chicken wings.

My favorite chicken wing joint, Kuan Dian, is set atop a shack in Xicheng district, near central Beijing. Here, a grill in a makeshift kitchen overlooks a maze of hutongs, the traditional alleyway dwellings unique to Beijing, and rowdy students clamor over chicken wings that have been smoldering over charcoal embers until the blistered skin resembles a crisp veil the color of mahogany.
-Lillian Chou, Fire in the Belly, SAVEUR No. 157

I cannot believe that I didn’t rave out loud about this chicken before! Because when we first had it in 2013, I wrote in my diary:

Best. Dinner. Ever!

(continue reading )

Sigh… the white screen of death…

19 May 2015: I’ve been meaning to do some sprucing up here for a while but just didn’t feel like actually doing the work. But this morning, just as I was thinking about posting about grilled chicken wings (great chicken wings too…), I suddenly encountered the white screen of death. That wouldn’t go away. (continue reading )

Ring! Ring! Bread with Flaxseed Soaker and Prunes (BBB May 2015)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: spring at last; recipe for Flaxseed Soaker Bread with Prunes, based on a recipe at the San Francisco Bread Institute; following (or not) instructions; baking on time but posting late… oops; a Bread Baking Babes project; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Kitchen Window wp-image-2041 Bread Baking Babes (BBB) May 2015

It’s spring at last!! You’ll have to excuse my lateness in posting! I was so thrilled to be able to go outside without a jacket on, that instead of being on time, I went out for a lovely bike ride in search of farmers’ asparagus (alas, we didn’t find any; the farmers’ markets aren’t open until next weekend). Then today was another beautiful day and we found ourselves on the bikes again all afternoon….

A while back, I saw the most beautiful loaf that had been baked by one of the bakers in the Facebook group, “Artisan Bread Bakers”. I immediately made a mental note to make one just like it.

And when Cathy announced that we would be making bread with plums in it, I thought this might be the perfect opportunity to try this amazingly beautiful shape!

Flaxseed and plum bread is a ciabatta-style bread made with a soft dough that has a hydration of over 90%. The formula contains small amounts of whole wheat and dark rye flours, which contribute to the flavor and the rustic appearance. The preferment used in this formula is a poolish, which is mixed the day before and fermented overnight. A matured poolish almost triples in size and is slightly concave at the surface. Over the long fermentation time, poolish slowly builds up lactic acid which gives the bread more depth of flavor.
In [the] video clip, we demonstrate how to mix the dough by hand. In a small batch, soft dough like this can be quickly put together by hand and is also very easy to make at home.
-sfbi.com Flaxseed and Plum Bread Recipe

BBB Flaxseed Prune Bread wp-image-2039 Ciabatta style? Oh oh. What if that means croc? (continue reading )