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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Daring Bakers' Crostata

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a Crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

I would say this is the easiest Daring Baker Challenge ever! Crostata, an Italian baked dessert tart that happens to translate into nothing else but pie seems to be familiar to anyone who ever picks up baking. Well, for food bloggers this would be an easy task. And to some, this could be something that they have been baking or making more than once.

But despite all that, Crostata is definitely a beautiful name that generates flow of creativity. One could choose to play around with the crust (or what Simona mentioned as pasta frolla), the filling or the topping.

For the crust, they are many possible ingredients to use in order to create a certain texture and flavor. For filling, jam or marmalade is one of the options among pastry cream, lemon cream, custard, crème patissiere, or simply whipping cream. Some would even combine jam with cream or fresh fruits with cream. For topping there are many options such as chocolate, caramel, any family of nuts, or the most favorable fresh fruits.

For practical purposes, one could choose to just blind bake the crust, leave it to cool, keep it in an air-tight container and stuff with whatever desired filling just before serving. But others might like to actually bake the crust together with the filling, either just jam, jam with fresh fruit, jam with cream, or fresh fruit with cream. The possibility is just endless. And feel free to serve it warm or cold.

I like pies, and therefore I decided to bake 4 crusts in one go. In that way, I could just store them in air-tight container and fill whenever I like later on. That also triggers me to constantly think about interesting filling that I have never made before. As a consequence, I assume that I would be consuming lots of pie for the next 30 days. I do hope that T will help me on this...

Thanks to Simona for this wonderful challenge and the opportunity to try out new recipes that are different from the few that I had used before. The taste is wonderful and I just couldn’t stop eating these. Somebody has to stop me now…

For those of you who would like to find the complete Challenge recipe, click here. Happy Crostata!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Food is Powerful

Food is powerful! Generally people would say "You are what you eat!", but I say "You are what you want to eat!" That explains the state of my mind lately. You see, I was sick two weeks earlier and as I was recovering last week, everything seemed to come back to normal gradually, but one thing that could prove my getting completely well was my craving for food. Food, food, food!

Nothing seemed to be appealing to me the week I was sick, I couldn't bring myself to think about any food. In fact, the thought about food disgusted me. And dessert - the most profound food that would rise my heartbeat everything I look at them in the shop display couldn't seem to do any trick on me. Basically sickness was a total doom, nothing seemed to be desirable, everything was just pure gloominess and horror.

So what came as a remarkable sign that I was once healthy again? My thought about tomyum fried rice and spicy fried noodles! It was so intensely making its way to instant fulfilment. That lured me into taking a long stroll in my warm jacket, against the evening wind, heading to my favorite restaurant and found myself disappointed overseeing the unsupposingly closed premise. "Why on earth it is closed on a Wednesday night and where am I going to eat?".

The same disappointment recurred again on my second attempt two days later, pushing the restaurant door opened only to find staff cleaning up the floor. I almost screamed my head off as it was just 8:30 pm and they were supposed to stay open until 9:30. Hello!!!!!!!!!

Consequently, my recovering soul was looking for a quick replacement and insisting on the next most desirable pursuit. I had to settle on something else since I had turned into a big bubble of hunger and crave and was about to burst any moment then. I had abruptly turned greedy and desperate, two things that have been deprived from my vocabulary due to sickness and too much rests. So what was my next best thing?

Had to be a plate of salmon sashimi and a bowl of Tensaru Soba with tempura! I finally got what I wanted and they tasted just like how I expected them to be! True pleasure, nothing less! The munch into those slices of raw salmon brought back my memory of my most desirable tastebuds. My mind was exclamating "Boy, it tastes like heaven!", "Salmon sashimi is a blessing to the human race", "Life is worth living!". The recurring of these same old lines reminded me of my normal tasting experience........... "I am so back now!". And I couldn't help grin with my messy lips. "Thanks, Big Guy... for I am back!"

Meanwhile I like to thank Lynn of Cafe Lynnylu for hosting DMBLGIT October and giving the opportunity for me to take part once again and win the award. Thanks also to the judges: Asha, Denise, Nicole and Susan! Check out Lynn's DMBLGIT winner page.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Family Affair

Just got the most powerful jab of my life that sent me to a long sleep I haven’t had for a long long time. A sleep I thought I didn’t have to wake up anymore. This combination of Dexamethasone and Ceftriaxone was really that lethal. The reason was that I haven’t been sleeping enough and being exposed to stress due to many things that have been happening around me, and especially planning for an exciting trip for my visiting family of 11 in Christmas.

Gee, that is the biggest thing I have to deal with right now. The last time they visited was 6 years a go and based on their confession it was the best trip they had had in the past. They had reminisced about it everytime I visited them and kids, especially kids, were making clear gesture that they would definitely want another trip very soon since then. Only then, they realized they had to wait for 6 more years to make it happen. It was a big decision since it involved a few families which then involved their annual leave permission, kids’ school holiday, and not to forget the other essential part: the money!. Comparing to joining a tour, they would rather to have me organize a trip for them, they preferred the freedom and flexibility involved in traveling on our own, the opportunities to try out local delicacies and go to non-touristy areas, and budgetwise, it is also cheaper.

Considering how short time has left to Christmas, I have pushed myself to do the best within the time restriction. Visited the travel expo during the weekend and that helped me moderately in working out places to visit for the trip (by the way, I think I had been exposed to some virus from the expo crowd as I started coughing and having fever right then). Needed to work out a concrete itinerary in order to make things right including booking for train tickets, air tickets, touring vans and other transport, meals and budget.