Tourte au seigle…100% rye

Baking a loaf of rye inspired by this boulangerie site, I made a mistake. The bread is called a "Tourte au seigle." Initially I thought it was 100 percent rye in both levain and final dough. Later I noticed that the levain was all wheat, with an overall sixty-five percent of rye in total. Must of been why the dough was so wet and more like loose cement. But I baked it,  curious at the result. Turns out this was a happy mistake. I waited one day for the crumb to set and when I cut into it was really amazed. A moist yet un-gummy texture  and the nice open pores rather then solid rock!




Bread and beer are in many ways similar in fermentation. Check this out; Saccharomyces cerevisiaes. And I have heard beer referred to as "liquid bread." Looking to combine the two, I had asked Wolfgang Süpke if had a formula for a dark beer bread from a commercial German bakery. Recently, I checked on his site, and there it was; a bread with beer and shinken, a cured ham in fact. So I bought a bottle of beer, a doppelbock made from wheat, then followed Wolfgang's formula, minus the ham and type of beer.


Minus the ham, this bread is deep and rich in beer and good yeasty flavors. Besides, why not add something on it like ham, or even accompany it with some flavorful dish, like my recent bratwurst braised in what else? Bier!


Plum tarte


Plums remind me of summers in Switzerland under my sisters tree in her orchard in August. I still have a a week before I go and visit this year. So having a hankering for something reminiscent of her home made desserts. I decided to make my favorite  tarte au quetsche, or zwetchgen which is a just dough and fruits baked, but oh so flavorful.

Tarte au Quetsche


250g Flour ( I used whole wheat pastry flour, but all purpose is fine.)

125g Butter

75g sugar

1 egg

pinch of salt

Rub butter into mix  of flour, sugar and salt, until you get a crumbly mix. Add the beaten egg and lightly combine till dough just starts to come together. Chill in refrigerator for about and hour or overnight.


Plum filling:

5 plums

3tblsp sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1tbslp. Sliced almonds

5 tblsp. bread crumbs (I used fresh bread and processed in food processor)

Cut the plums into eighths and place in a bowl. Mix in sugar, (minus 1 tbslp sugar for top of tarte) and cinnamon till combined.


Making the tarte:

Roll out dough and fill either an 8" inch tarte pan or as I did a cast iron pan. Layer the bottom of tarte dough with bread crumbs, which absorb the plum juices when baked. Place the cut plums inside the shell with the skin side down in circular layers till filled. Sprinkle almond slices and sugar over the top of the plums tarte.

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Bake in a preheated oven 375 F for 35-40 minutes or untill the plum juices bubble and the dough has a golden color. Cool and sprinkle with confectioners sugar, serve with whipped cream or even Greek yogurt as I did for a lighter, yet creamy texture that feels a bit like creme fraiche.


Pici – Hand Rolled Pasta

Pici are a frugal Tuscan pasta made with just flour and water, though oil is sometimes added. Wanting a batch, I found a simple recipe that uses a ratio of one cup semolina, one cup All-purpose flour to about 3/4 of a cup water. Lazy and hungry, I used an electric mixer on the dough a good 8-10 minutes at "2 speed." The dough was resilient and I let it rest about 30 minutes. I followed that by splitting the dough in four portions and rolling them out about a half inch thick.

Then I cut them into strips and proceeded to roll out long strands like "fat spaghetti, not perfect by any means in size. I'd decided to make them with what I had around, namely some home-made Trapenese pesto and my mom's garden harvest of cimi di rape, or broccoli rabe. A quick boil to al dente and with some pasta water amalgamated with the sauce, I topped the rustic but tasty noodle with rape.


Cold Noodles, Cool With Comfort

Cold sesame noodles offer relief on a hot summer day. I used to buy them at a Chinese take out when I worked the line in a fancy French place.  

Here is how I made them in my own kitchen the other day, craving them amid infernal heat!   IMG_7109

Simple garnish; cucumber, scallion, cilantro, bean sprouts and chicken. The dressing; peanut butter, sriracha or some hot sauce you like. Sesame oil, soy,honey,  minced garlic, rice wine vinegar and water to smooth it all out.


I used chicken thighs poached with five spice, as well as scallion tops with garlic and spice. Breast would of been a better choice, but I like dark meat, too.


Sprouts are blanched and shocked in ice water for crispness.


I didn't have lo mein noodles..Udon store bought were fine, boiled about five minutes and rinsed to remove starch, were mixed in sesame oil to coat and seperate from sticking. Dress noodles with garnish as you like, topped with some either whole leaves or chopped cilantro.

Better then take out!

Pass me the yeast

Away for a few days for July the 4th, my levains were chilling in my fridge dormant. When upon arriving home, I had no bread around. Yeast was my only way of rising any bread, so I opted to use Dan Lepards "easiest" bread formula from The Guardian Baking guide he'd sent me a copy of from 2007. I decided to add in some flax and honey as he suggested, but went for some newly purchased quinoa flakes in lew of oats. This dough is a yeast dough, but with a sponge like starter effect, and with a bit of added oil and soaker makes for a delicious sandwich maker and life saver when short on levain!



Egg are the perfect food. Protein, albumen in a shell, they're used in all sorts of cooking mediums. From sauces to baking cakes, eggs are a recipe cornerstone. I enjoy them best at breakfast whatever the guise; boiled, fried, poached, with or without a protein, in a salad, endless.

Some recent egg creations…



Better Burgers

Burgers are a favorite for me. And it's a drag going to a restaurant only to get a store-bought bun that's not just boring but it's soggy. Worse, when the burger looks less like chopped steak than greying mystery meat.

Since the previous time "going out" yielded such an experience, when the burger mood hit me recently, I went out for some choice-looking meat, baked some hand-made rolls, and put together yucca chips seasoned with pimenton and cumin. What a delight. Here is my burger!


Bun take a bit of time; mind you these were yeasted… Next time, sourdough, of course!



Cole slaw. No mayo. Just JMB's Vinaigrette maison. Easy. 


Yucca frites, water, garlic clove, bay leaf, boil till tender… drain!


Fry chips till golden brown in a pan with oil at about 375 F, drain, season, pimenton, cumin, salt and pepper!


These are Dakota "organic" beef. I can't kill the steer and grind it in my apartment. Whatever, these were tasty, and will be for you, too, grilled or pan seared.


And that's a wrap; delicious, simple to prepare…and have a beer for God's sake, no soda!

Farro Pizza

Since my Gabriele Bonci book arrived from Italy, I've tried various versions of his now infamous Roman "taglio" pizza. Understanding the basic steps, I went for a whole grain approach, specifically a natural sourdough version with "farro." With a few adjustments in bulk proof and folds to strengthen the dough,I let the dough finish proofing for twenty four hours in the fridge. Wonderful results even though my mini Cuisinart bread oven died, and my home oven could of been hotter. Still, results were nice, and my neighbor announced "Spectacular!" on trying it."The pizza has the wildest texture, firm on the outside but just melts in the mouth," he said.

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Earth to Cuisinart, My Oven (Your Oven) Just Died

My Cuisinart BRK-200 died this week. As many loaves and stuff I roasted in that thing, the writing was on the wall. But what a dissapointment after so many nice things came out of it including porchetta, croissants, muffins, chickens, and the list goes on.

I tweeted Cusinart to see if they could help fix it. They offered me the 1- 800 number, but… no use. The voice on the other end basically said the company doesn't fix them once they die. "And what if I wanted to replace it?" I inquired. "We don't make them anymore!" I was abruptly told.

So I am back to heating my huge stove, using crude untested methods to make what were once amazing pizzas in a mini oven that topped at 500 F. Creuset pot is back in use to get the sheen of a brilliant loaf as well, and it gets hot in summer. What's wrong with manufacturing, service and repair? We waste too much! C'mon Cuisinart, snap out of it!

Guess the only thing to do is open a bakery and get a Bongard?