Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Long overdue

Mr. S., our friend H. the bread chef, and I journeyed to Asheville, NC a couple of weeks ago for the Asheville Bread Festival.
(Not the best picture in the world, but it was the most beautiful drive I've done in a long time.)

The festival was delightful.  There were 10-15 vendors selling their wares, from all sorts of bread (of course) to flaky, buttery croissants, pastries, and the softest pretzels I have ever sampled.  Unfortunately, I left my camera battery at the hotel so no pics from the festival.  Peter Reinhart also posed for a picture with all of us.  :)

We returned to the hotel to admire and consume our loot.

I wish I could do this.  But I'm always so afraid of my bread burning, and furthermore, I do not have a hearth oven.
After resting, we attempted to attend a seminar on French ovens, but were stymied by poor directions and Mapquest.  (*shakes fist*)  Instead, we came early to Chef Reinhart's seminar.  He is very nice.  We tasted the sprouted wheat bread before the demonstration even started.  :D

 100% hydrated dough!  Can you imagine?
Sprouted wheat foccacia

Afterwards, I bought Chef Reinhart's American Pie and got to gush to him like a silly fangirl about how much I love his recipe for pane siciliano.  
And....I'm now a tester for his upcoming gluten-free, diabetic cookbook that will be published in April 2012.  I have tried two recipes so far.  That, of course, is another post.  :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Happy first anniversary to The Hungry Panda!

I had to look back at the archives to realize it's been a year since I've started this blog.  So...what can you expect from me in the future, besides themed dinner parties, restaurant reviews, and silliness?  I'm very excited about some new cookbooks I've purchased, Rick Bayless' One Plate at a Time and Andrea Nguyen's Into the Vietnamese Kitchen.  With those, I hope to expand my repertoire of dishes beyond quick sandwiches and salads (which is sadly all I eat when I don't have time/energy for anything else).  The latter's blog is amazing, and of course I will explain why I think I need a Vietnamese cookbook.

Here's what I'm working on:
-pane siciliano (I've made this bread more times than any other in the past few months, so it deserves an entry.)
-Asheville Bread Festival (Yes, I went...where were you??)
-pie crust (Will I ever top my m-i-l?  A tall order, considering I did not grow up eating pie.)
-Wiltshire on Market review

Anyway, I made graham crackers on Monday night, just to say that I could.  (I doubt I'll be doing this again.)

- I used a total of 10.25 oz of graham flour; no all-purpose flour.
-Following other reviews, I substituted the molasses with 2 oz of honey.
-I used liberal dashes of cinnamon, but it really didn't make a difference in flavor.
-No whole milk in this house; just skim.

-I couldn't roll my first batch very thinly, so it became a delectable crunchy cookie.  Mr. S. had better luck with rolling the dough out to the correct thickness with the second batch, but the crackers became slightly burnt.  Still edible though.