Sourdough Focaccia

We have been making homemade pizza for a few years now and it’s become a staple that I have 2 outdoor pizza ovens at the moment.

I also make our sourdough bread every week and need to switch it up with a few varieties using different flours, inclusions, or liquid to flavor the bread. Marshmallow stout instead of water for a chocolate chip sourdough batard anyone??

Between bread and pizza, there’s also focaccia! And here is a very easy recipe complete with a timeline to guide you!

You can split this bread in half crosswise to use for sandwiches, or just cut into squares, or rectangles to eat as is! Dip in olive oil, Trader Joe’s Garlic dip, hummus, baba ganoush…..It’s crunchy and soft, salty and herby…just delicious specially when still warm from the oven.

I use really good olive oil and salt as I believe it contributes to the overall taste of the focaccia. The olives are dry cured from Trader Joe’s, tomatoes and rosemary are from the backyard.

I doubled the recipe and made 2 13”x9” focaccia to eat and have enough to trade with a dozen home grown eggs. So please don’t be confused by the discrepancy between the instructions and the photos. 😊

I hope you will like this recipe as much as we did!

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Ingredients:

423 grams all purpose flour

181 grams bread flour

460 grams water

11 grams salt, plus more for sprinkling

115 grams starter, I used one straight from the fridge

12 grams good quality olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Toppings of choice, chopped herbs, olives, tomatoes, etc.

Procedure:

1. 10 am to 11 am

In a large bowl, mix flours, water, salt and starter. Mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the dough comes together.

Set aside for about 15 to 30 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the water.

Then mix the dough thoroughly, drizzling in the olive oil and pulling the dough up until well mixed. Use a plastic bench/dough scraper to help you pull up the dough and mix the oil in.

Cover (I use a clean, unused plastic hair cover!) and set aside for 30 minutes

#1

2. Bulk 11:15-1:15

#2
#3

Perform 4 sets of stretch and fold every 30 minutes, for 2 hours.

Photos 1 – 4 are the stretch and fold in the first 30 minutes, #2 at an hour, #3 at an hour and thirty minutes, and #4 was after 2 hours, the last of 4 folds. See how stretchy and smooth the dough looks after?

#4

3. Proof 1:15- 5:15

Pour some olive oil in a 13 x 9 inch pan.

Transfer dough to the pan and cover.

Every 30 minutes on the first hour, uncover the dough and stretch gently to fill the pan.

Cover and let rest for the remainder of the 4 hours.

4. 5:15 Preheat oven to 450F.

5. Drizzle the dough with about 2 -3 tablespoons of good olive oil.

6. Wet your finger tips and dimple the dough all the way to the bottom of the pan, multiple times.

7. Sprinkle with chopped herbs, olives, capers, cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, etc.

*I used halved cherry tomatoes, chopped rosemary, olives, and Maldon sea salt. The other focaccia had the same toppings except it did not have tomatoes, as I only got a handful from the garden.*

8. Sprinkle with good quality salt.

9. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.

*After baking, tops should be golden and edges crusty.

*Bottom should be toasted. This looks perfect!

Cut for sandwiches, this is what the crumb look like on my bake. Yummy!

Electric Lunchbox # 96: Creamed Corn Cornbread

Good morning everyone!

After posting the Jiffy Spoon bread recipe for the ELB, I got a few requests for a “from scratch” recipe as Jiffy is not readily available where they live. I had that problem once in a while too, so I am more than happy to accommodate that request.

The texture if this is not as soft as the spoon bread recipe, but it is close. I hope you try it both and decide which one you like better!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup sour cream

1 egg

1/2 cup cornmeal

3 tablespoons canola oil

3/4 cup canned creamed corn

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

3 ELB cups water for the base

Procedure:

1. Spray the big ELB bowl with nonstick spray. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, place sour cream,

2. Egg,

3. Cornmeal,

4. Canola oil,

4. Creamed corn,

5. Salt,

6. Baking powder, and sugar.

7. Stir everything together until just mixed.

8. Pour into prepared bowl and level the tops.

9. Cover with foil and set on the ELB base. Pour 3 ELB cups water in the base, cover, and let steam until it shuts off, about 1 hour.

10. Carefully open the ELB and check the bread for doneness by inserting a skewer in the middle. It should have little moist crumbs attached to it.

11. Cool for a few minutes on a wire rack. Invert onto a serving plate and serve warm.

Electric Lunchbox #95: Spoon Bread made with Jiffy Mix

Spoon bread…

I went to school in Virginia briefly when I was in high school. I was lucky enough to have cooking/baking class as my elective class of choice. The counselor asked me a few questions about interests/hobbies and asked me to choose my elective. Kitchen it is!

It was my favorite time of the day! I learned to make lots of food (sugar cookies, lasagna, manicotti, Welsh Cakes…) and we get to keep a portion to take home, or eat at lunch. I still have a few recipes I copied from that time in a blue notebook that I still make frequently.

One of the things we made was spoon bread. I didn’t quite understand it at that time, but yes, just as the name implies, it is a soft, moist quick bread that you’ll use a spoon to scoop up to eat. It is soft like pudding but with a little more structure that you can cut it.

In this recipe, I used a readily available cornbread mix to make life easier. And the amount of the ingredients are adjusted to fit the big ELB bowl.

Enjoy!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter, melted

3/4 cup canned creamed corn

1/2 cup canned sweet corn kernels, drained

1/2 cup sour cream

1 egg

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup Jiffy Cornbread Mix

3 ELB cups water for the base

*Use the big bowl of the ELB!*

Procedure:

1. Spray the big ELB bowl with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a bowl, place melted butter,

3. creamed corn,

4. corn kernels,

5. sour cream,

6. egg,

7. sugar,

8. salt,

9. and Jiffy cornbread mix.

10. Mix everything together until well blended.

11. Pour into the prepared ELB bowl. Cover with foil.

12. place 3 ELB cups of water in the base. Place the bowl in the ELB base, cover and steam until it shuts off, about 1 hour.

13. Carefully open the ELB and check the bread for doneness by inserting a skewer in the middle. It is done when a few moist crumbs are sticking to the skewer instead of thick batter.

14. cool completely and unmold carefully. Slice and serve or use a spoon to scoop up individual portions.

15. Enjoy!

Tomato Egg Drop Soup

I wasn’t able to take photos as I was preparing this soup since I upgraded my phone and it took forever to sync with the old one.

In the meantime, I was totally phoneless (is that even a word?). I could’ve used the big Nikon dslr but it definitely would be in my way.

This soup cooked up really fast, about 15 minutes total, so it was ready way before my phone was done. I didn’t realize I had 12,000 photos and almost as much videos in there as I take photos with the phone when trying out and testing new recipes. I need to go and delete some one day. One day….

Anyway, the recipe….this is similar to the Egg Drop Soup you’ll find in most Asian restaurants, but with the addition of tomatoes. Trust me, it is very good.

My husband really loves Egg Drop Soup and since March last year, we had not gone out to eat at all. Time to try making it at home.

Someone sent me this recipe to try and after a few tweaks, I think it’s just perfect. I added a cup of water as the chicken stock made my soup a bit too salty for my taste. You may use 6 cups of chicken stock if you prefer your soup saltier.

I only have that one photo of the soup in the serving bowl, but if I make it again, I will update with step by step photos like all of my recipes!

Enjoy and I hope you’ll like it as much as we did!

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Ingredients:

2 ripe tomatoes, stemmed and diced

Pinch of salt

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 garlic clove, minced

5 cups chicken stock

1 cup water

Green onions, sliced

2 eggs, beaten

2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water

2 tbsp soy sauce

Pinch of ground pepper

Procedure:

1. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a pinch or two of salt set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes until it softens.

3. Stir in the garlic. Cool for a couple of minutes until fragrant.

4. Add in the the chicken stock and water, cover and bring to a boil.

5. Stir the soup clockwise. Pour the beaten eggs into the center of the pot and keep stirring clockwise.

6. Stir in the reconstituted cornstarch, soy sauce, and pepper.

7. Simmer for a couple of minutes to cook the cornstarch and thicken the soup.

8. Pour into serving bowls. Top with the spring onion before serving.

Japanese Strawberry Short Cake

Strawberries are pretty tasty this time of the year. I had been purchasing them from farmer’s stands and farmer’s markets as they are always good, unlike other places where it’s hit or miss.

They’re quite expensive though, at $5 -$8 per green basket, but totally worth it as they are sweet and delicious all the way through. I like eating them just as is, after washing. No need for anything else as they are very tasty…and fragrant.

There are no green sour patches on these at all. And since they are so good, I decided to make a cake for my mom’s birthday. I have quart of whipping cream and a dozen home grown eggs in the fridge so I’m all set.

I had been trading loaves of sourdough bread for eggs with my co worker once a week, so the eggs I have are really fresh. Which is important, as the cake is a simple sponge cake recipe where in your ingredients need to be really good and fresh for it to taste great. The frosting is a simple, lightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream, and topped with the best tasting strawberries you can find, this will be a cake you will make over and over.

We had to go to a soccer game at 9 am so I baked the layers and let it cool upside down for 20 minutes while we got ready, turned them right side up to cool completely while we were gone. I then whipped the cake, sliced the strawberries, and put the cake together after lunch, then chilled it for an hour before driving it over to my mom’s. Busy day!

I did not expect a lot of requests for this recipe so I did not photograph anything while whipping up the first, full sized cake. I did not have the time to either as I was rushing to get it done before we had to leave. However, since I did get a few requests, and since there was no left overs after it was demolished at my mom’s, I decided to make another, smaller cake for our home.

I halved the recipe and baked them in two 5-inch round cake pans. They were filled and frosted the same way as the full sized 8/9 inch cake. It was just enough for 6 slices, 2 each for me, my husband, and my son.

So here it is. There are a lot of steps but it is easy and the results are more than worth it. Feel free to break the steps down like I did to fit your schedule. I promise you will be amazed with the end results.

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Ingredients:

275 grams eggs

124 grams sugar

146 grams cake flour

45 grams milk

14 grams melted unsalted butter

1 pound fresh strawberries

500 grams cold heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line 2 (8 or 9 inch) round cake pans with parchment paper cut to fit.

2. Combine eggs and sugar in a small metal bowl. You will make a makeshift double boiler using the bowl and a small saucepan.

3. Place bowl over a small pan with simmering water.

4. Cook, stirring, until a thermometer reaches 98F.

5. Transfer the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer.

6. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high for 4 minutes.

7. Lower speed to medium and beat until ribbons form, about 5 more minutes.

8. See the videos above to determine when to stop. You should be seeing clear ribbons in the batter. This is important as this cake has no leavening, aside from the air trapped in the egg mixture.

9. Sift flour into a bowl to aerate it.

10. Place milk in a microwave safe bowl.

11. Place the butter in the bowl too.

12. Heat the mixture for 30 seconds and stir to melt butter.

13. Fold in 1/3 of the flour into the egg mixture until combined. Repeat twice more to use up the flour.

14. Slowly add the milk and butter mixture and stir to combine.

15. Do not overmix as you need the air in the mixture to make your cake light and fluffy. Mix just until combined.

16. Pour into the prepared pans. Drop the pans from about 2 inches from the counter to release any big bubbles.

17. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

18. In the meantime, slice a few of the strawberries into thin slices, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch.

19. Remove the cakes from the oven when done.

20. Invert them onto a cooling rack sprayed with nonstick spray. Let cool for at least 20 minutes.

21. Turn them right side up and cool completely.

22. Unmold and peel off the parchment paper.

23. In the meantime, pour the whipping cream in the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form.

24. Wash, rinse, and dry a few strawberries left whole. Cut them in half lengthwise if desired.

25. Place on cake layer on the serving plate.

26. Spread an even layer of whipped cream over.

27. Top with sliced strawberries, trying to follow the shape of the cake. Cut the strawberries if needed.

28. Top with a little more whipped cream, just enough to cover the strawberries.

29. Top with the second cake layer and gently press down.

30. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining whipped cream.

31. Top with whole or sliced strawberries. Chill until set, about an hour or so.

32. You can serve it like this or decorate with melted chocolate.

33. I used melted Hershey’s sugar free chocolate to pipe zigzags on the strawberries I used to top my mom’s cake. You can also pipe it across the top of the cake.

34. Slice it carefully, serve and enjoy!

35. See how beautiful this cake is? Yum!

The picture below is my mom’s 9 inch cake, all lit up, with the chocolate topped strawberries and chocolate greeting on the side. It was totally out of this world delicious.

Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

Regular version

These make amazingly delicious cookies! I already had a staple recipe for chocolate chip cookies (The Original Toll House recipe of course!) but, like I mentioned before, I love to experiment. I am so glad I did, as this just might be my new favorite!

I made the dough twice, using half of the ingredients for each. One batch was made using sugar free chocolate chips, sugar and brown sugar substitute, sprouted spelt flour and added walnuts. The other half was all regular ingredients, without nuts.

Funny thing is, the sugar free version looked a lot prettier! Enjoy both!

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Sugar free version

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, cut into pieces

1 1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla paste

3 cups flour, remove 2 tablespoons of flour and replace with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk chocolate chips

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.

Line your cookie sheets with silpat or parchment to make it easy to remove the cookies later.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars for around 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.

3. Add eggs and vanilla and continue beating for about 1 minute.

4. Blend in flour, baking soda, and salt.

5. When a dough forms, stir in chocolate chips.

6. Measure 1/4 cup dough and form into balls, pull them apart and place the halves next to each other, torn side up. Press together to adhere, then place on the cookie sheet, 12 dough balls per sheet. Or make smaller ones using a tablespoon of dough for each.

7. Bake 10 – 12 minutes, just until set and very lightly browned. Rotate cookie sheets, top to bottom and front to back, halfway through baking.

8. Cool on the cookie sheet on a wire rack for 10 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Or even just enough to not burn your tongue and enjoy! These are absolutely amazing warm when the chocolate chips are still gooey and soft! Yum!

8. Makes about 2 dozens.

Trader Joe’s Thai Style Yellow Curry Sauce

I love the convenience of bottled simmer sauces that are becoming available at the grocery stores. They are truly life savers for when you come home late from work and need something on the dinner table real quick. The trick is finding out which ones you like, which means trying out a few brands.

I’ve always been lucky with almost anything I get at Trader Joe’s. They’re reasonably priced and always delicious, but sometimes you get hooked but you can never get it again. I had some favorite cheeses and sauces that was not available anymore when I came back for more. Sad.

So if I see something I want to try, I usually buy a couple to start with. They do have expiration dates so I cannot really get a dozen or so as we will get tired of it if I cook it too often. 😊

So…this is my most recent find!

I’ll cook this with some cut up chicken, garlic, onions, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, and a couple of bell peppers from the garden.

You can definitely eyeball the amounts and adjust anything to your taste.

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Begin by preparing all of your ingredients. I used the following:

1-2 tablespoons oil

3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 onion, peeled and diced

1 pound of chicken breast, cubed

1 big potato, peeled and diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 zucchini, trimmed and cut into half moons

A handful of mushrooms, chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 bottle of Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry Sauce

Water

Freshly cooked rice and chopped cilantro, for serving

1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Sauté garlic and onions until lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned. Next add the potatoes and carrots. Stir and cook for a few minutes.

3. Add the zucchini, mushrooms, and bell pepper.

4. Pour the curry sauce over. Fill the bottle halfway with water, cover and shake to get every last bit of the delicious sauce, open the bottle then pour contents into the pan.

5. Stir the mixture and cover with a lid. Lower heat to medium low and simmer until chicken and vegetables are done, around 10-20 minutes.

6. Serve over freshly cooked, hot rice. Top with chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

Maja Blanca (Philippine Coconut Pudding)

This is one of my mom’s most favorite desserts. Similar to the Hawaiian Haupia, it is made with coconut milk and cornstarch, but with the addition of corn. It is not baked, just cooked over medium heat until thick, then poured into a generously greased pan or bowl. Perfect for when you need something sweet and coconutty real quick!

In the Philippines, the addition of corn is a must. The browned coconut bits is a delicious complement, taste and texture wise, however, if you won’t have time to make the “latik”, some toasted desiccated coconut is an acceptable substitute. You can, of course, skip this all together too, like I do most of the time.

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For “latik”:

2 cups coconut milk

3 tablespoons sugar

For the “maja”:

3/4 Plus 3 tablespoons cup canned sweet corn kernels

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups thin coconut milk

Coconut oil for greasing pan

Prepare the “latik”: Boil coconut milk until oil separates from the solids. Pour off the oil. Add sugar to the solids and cook further until crisp and browned.

Grease an 8 inch square pan with coconut oil and set aside.

Prepare the “maja”: Grind 3/4 cup of corn in a blender and pass through a sieve.

In a saucepan, combine ground corn with cornstarch, sugar, coconut milk, and the remaining 3 tablespoons corn. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly.

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spoon. Cool until set. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 2 hours to chill.

Unmold and top with “latik”. Cut into serving sizes and enjoy!