Tag Archives: bread

It’s a bread, it’s a bag, it’s kaak!

Kaak

I know the title sounds cheeky but it’s better than WTF that crossed my mind when I learned about this purse-shaped loaf studded with sesame seeds. A bread that you can tote around and eat it too? How cool is that! It all started when I was looking into the round-shaped kaak (middle eastern version of Greek pita), and from there I discovered that kaak/ka’ak is Arabic for cake and comes in both sweet and savory variations. Apparently the bread bag version is a common sight around the streets of Beirut as vendors suspend them from food stalls or trucks.

The best thing to come out of this is that I am now hooked on getting the hang of baking in a Weber. It’s a steep learning curve, but bread done in a kettle grill has its own particular flavor and gets me spending more fun time outdoors before summer comes to an end.

Kaak bread
Round ka’ak pocket breads baked in the kettle

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Pineapple roti, lemongrass-kaffir leaf ice cream & chili caramel

Pineapple Roti
Don’t wait for summer to try this. Vanilla ice cream works if lemongrass/kaffir is not an option.

The 3 scoops of ice cream in the previous post may have resembled the colors of Neapolitan, but strawberry is the only one to fit the description. The remaining 2 – lemongrass-kaffir lime leaf, cardamom coffee – are flavors that grabbed my attention on MasterChef Australia. Both are exotic, bold, intriguing combinations that we immediately loved even without the extra dessert components that made up the whole plate.

The dish above is from a recipe by contestant Tamara Graffen and the element to catch my eye was the roti bread she prepared as part of the plating. I’m familiar with Indian roti, but this roti, or more precisely roti canai, is part of southeast Asian cuisine and differs in look and texture. Crunchy, flaky, butter-kissed layers of fried dough that works with savory or sweet dishes. I’ve been making these 2-3 times a week to serve on the side with curry because they are that good!

Making roti canai

Look for roti canai on the web and you might come across a guy tossing dough in the air like a pizza pro. The simplified home version is easier, and requires gentle patting and stretching with the fingertips to achieve a transparent thinness. A few bits of cold butter goes on top before folding into thirds from top to bottom, then left to right.

Roti canai

I love watching these puff up on a hot skillet. And that delicious aroma of melting butter…

Roti canai

My favorite part is the next step. The roti is scrunched up by clapping your hands around it. Clap! Clap! Clap! I find this part so therapeutic?!

The roti can be made several hours ahead of time and warmed in the oven, but you really want to devour these right out of the skillet.

Smells like Christmas around here

Christmas baked goods

All done! I almost wish that there was another week to go before Christmas so that I could keep up the holiday bakefest, but nope, enough of the sweets until next month. I worked on 2 more Ottolenghi recipes this week (one is an adapted version on Food52), and despite the scary amounts of sugar, I have to say that Yotam’s ideas are amazingly delicious and spot on!

Christmas baking

Clockwise from left: Halvah and Nutella Babka from Food52; recipe adapted from Ottolenghi’s Chocolate krantz cakes. I used nocciolata, a chocolate-hazelnut paste, in the place of Nutella. The babka is a treat at breakfast. Next, Christmas Eve Tourtière from Dish in the Kitchen. It has a savory pork, mushroom, and potato filling seasoned with sage. And lastly, coffee and hazelnut cakes. The recipe is Yotam’s Coffee and walnut financiers but I like the marriage of coffee and hazelnuts better. The batter needs chilling so this was a great recipe to put together the night before. At first I thought the mixture overly sweet, but after baking it mellows out and is just fine without the added icing that’s called for.

Hope your kitchen smells just as good. The dachshund hung around the kitchen all day long!

MisterChef 2017