Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Olive-Thyme Bread

I tried the Olive bread recipe from the Bread Bible this weekend; but it came out with lots of "holes"! I suspect it needed more proper kneading...Check out the pictures, I tried to document the entire adventure this time:) I would highly appreciate any feedback!

Most certainly, I will come back to this recipe in a couple months as olive bread is one of my favorites, so stay tuned! Now, back to sweets!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Last week we had a Hawaiian themed birthday party at work and I baked these cupcakes. I have to admit it is getting harder to bake on week nights and thanks to Battlestar Gallactica, my nights are filled with Sci-Fi action.

So, it was one of those Battlestar nights...I had a batch of these in the oven and the milk for the glaze was on the stove. I poured chocolate chips into the boiled milk and turned off the oven. Cupcakes were on the timer so I went to watch the show, thinking I am the master of baking! In two minutes there were weird noises coming from the kitchen:((( Instead of the stove, I turned off the oven. My glaze was burnt, the cupcakes were still still juicy...I screwed up a little:)

Then I got this quote in my Gmail feeder from Socrates..."The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." So true!

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Chocolate Glaze
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
4 mashed ripe bananas
1 cup coarsely chopped chocolate chips


1. Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt with a whisk in a large bowl.
2. Beat eggs.
3. Add oil and vanilla to beaten eggs and don't over-mix.
4. Add egg/oil/vanilla mixture to flour/sugar/baking soda/cinnamon/salt mixture.
5. Mix the bananas into the batter
6. Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine. Do not over-mix, good 5-6 strokes are enough.

Bake at 350 degrees for ~25 minutes until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Inspired from: Cupcake Bakeshop

Chocolate Glaze

1/2 cup milk
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon corn syrup

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to just under a boil.
2) Add the chocolate and, over very low heat, stir until it is just melted.
3) Remove from heat and stir in the corn syrup. Cool slightly.

Inspired from: Culinary in the Desert

Glaze each cupcake by completely dipping the top in the glaze. Feel free to decorate as you wish, sky is your limit!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Why do we wander in samsara?

"It's because of not understanding and not penetrating four things that we have wandered & transmigrated on such a long, long time, you & I. Which four?

It's because of not understanding and not penetrating noble virtue that we have wandered & transmigrated on such a long, long time, you & I.

It's because of not understanding and not penetrating noble concentration that we have wandered & transmigrated on such a long, long time, you & I.

It's because of not understanding and not penetrating noble discernment that we have wandered & transmigrated on such a long, long time, you & I.

It's because of not understanding and not penetrating noble release that we have wandered & transmigrated on such a long, long time, you & I.

But when noble virtue is understood & penetrated, when noble concentration... noble discernment... noble release is understood & penetrated, then craving for becoming is destroyed, the guide to becoming (craving & attachment) is ended, there is now no further becoming."

May all beings be happy and at peace.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

First Bread Ever

First Bread Ever
Originally uploaded by ozdema2.
I am amazed how this bread turned out. I rarely like* what I bake, but this bread was awesome. Since I came back from the Vipassana Course and the Freestone bakery, I was looking for bread recipes. Compared to cakes and cookies, baking bread is really hard and very much time consuming. It needs lots of love and patience, easier said than done...who has 6 hours to spend at home on a two day weekend? Well, I was already home baking for the shower cake, so I thought I might as well try a bread recipe as well...

It took me 2 days, from start to the end but when I tasted it, I could not believe how crusty and rustic this bread was. I used the Torpido 10 grain recipe from the Bread Bible book as a base and changed it a little. When Phil was visiting SF, he encouraged me to improvise a little (!), so I made some changes since I didn't have all grains at home. Here are the basic steps I followed for the last two days:

1) Ferment the sponge overnight
2) Soak the grains in water overnight
3) Mix the dough
4) Rest the dough for 30 minutes
5) Mix the grains
6) 1st rising-2 hours
7) Punch the dough
8) 2nd rising- 1 hour
9) Shape the dough
10) Final rising-1 hour
11) Score and bake! (30-35 minutes)
12) Take the bread on a wire rack and immediately leave the house so you won't eat the entire bread before it cools!

I am really getting better at this:)

Angel Food Cake with Chocolate-Pistachio Filling

Marzipan Duckies
Originally uploaded by ozdema2.
I tried Martha Stewart's Angel Food Cake recipe for my friend Kim's baby shower. It was great. The cake turned out very moist and really tall, I was able to cut into four and used the chocolate mousse recipe from Eric's Aunt, added pistachios for a change and it turned out very good. Check out the pictures for step by step instructions. Email me if you need the recipe...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Guest Baker from Istanbul

Cenk made this amazing tart and sent me the recipe and I could not resist having him on my blog as a guest baker. We lived together more than 2 years @ 645 22nd Avenue (prime location if you are into foggy Sundays) and if you can believe it, we rarely baked at those times....Maybe once or twice....However, Cenk cooked a lot and I got to eat tons in those days:)))

The picture above was taken around 2002, when all my friends were in town for New Years and Cenk is the cutest guy on the picture, if you still have trouble locating him, he is the second guy on the left.

These days, I keep bugging him to move back and help me start my business and he keeps bugging me to move back and start something in Istanbul...We'll see what will happen....

About the tart, he created his own stencil, so feel free to do your own as well...Polka dots would be fun, as well as stripes or you can go free style and just dust powdered sugar on top the cooled tart. Hope you like it, I wish I had a slice!

Chocolate Ganache Tart

a Martha Stewart recipe

Serves 10; Prep time: 25 minutes; Total time: 2 hours 20 minutes

3 tablespoons slivered blanched almonds
6 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
2 teaspoons grated orange or lemon zest (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups heavy cream1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Make dough: In a food processor, pulse almonds until finely ground. Add sugar, flour, zest (if desired), and salt; pulse until combined. Add butter, pulsing until coarse crumbs form with no large butter lumps (dough should clump together when squeezed with fingers).

2. Immediately transfer dough to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Using a measuring cup, evenly press dough in bottom and up sides of pan.

3. Bake in center of oven until golden brown and firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

4. Make ganache: Place chocolate in a large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Pour hot cream, through a sieve, over chocolate. Stir until smooth and creamy in texture. Mix in vanilla.

5. Pour chocolate mixture into center of cooled tart shell (if chocolate is lumpy, pass through a sieve). Let stand until set, about 2 hours, or chill for 1 hour.

Thank you for sharing Zozi! Lots of kisses and hugs! I think this tart should be on our menu!

Update: I changed the original picture I posted yesterday due to ill-willed email threats I got from my guest baker (!)..Apparently, he did not want to be discovered by GQ:) Damn, these confident good looking guys, piece of work:)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Happy 2006!

"Difficult to detect and very subtle,
the mind seizes whatever it wants;
so let a wise man guard his mind,
for a guarded mind brings happiness.
Dhammapada 36"

Hello everyone! I know its been too long since I last posted but the holidays are over, I am back to the daily routine, feeling very very happy, content and rested. I know this because I can feel it, literally.

Most of you know that I joined Eric and his father, Phil for the 10-day Vipassana meditation course and they were the hardest days in my 29.9 years in this life time! It was rather a bootcamp, hours of diligent (!) and vigorous (!) mind training, 4:30 am to 9:00 pm, every day! I haven't worked this much ever but I found everything I was looking for and even more.

I thought about leaving on Day 2, stopped meditating and did tons of day dreaming and thanks to that awful experience I realized why I was there. I was constantly rolling between the memories of the past or dreaming in the future and was unable to "be" in the present. Madness! (also, it helped that Eric drove, so I could not get out as easy as I would have).

After we left the campsite, we stopped for a quick bite and good coffee at a local bakery, highly recommended by a fellow meditator. Freestone Bakery....It can't get more real than that, no shine, no glitz, but, very rustic, hearthy, earthy. It was the perfect ending and I got a glimpse of where I could be one day... The bags of flour stacked up on the floor, bakers in their white aprons, the brick oven and I saw myself on the other side of the counter. Will you hire me?

Some good karmas of the past introduced me to Eric and I am just grateful to the universe for that. You can read on Art of Living from the Dhamma site here...It is phenomenal.

May you all be happy, filled with joy and happiness every single moment.

I have so many new ideas for the site and will be posting plans for 2006 soon. Stay tuned!