Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"No Knead Bread" from NYT

Baking your own bread is difficult and time consuming, right? No longer! Mark Bittman shared his simple bread recipe in 11/8/06 issue of NYT. Hiroko was thrilled to try it and yes indeed, it is very easy...

After mixing the bread flour with salt, yeast, and water, let the dough rest for 18 hours. Then, wrap the dough in a corn meal-covered towel, and allow it to rest for another 2 hours or so. Heat a cast- iron pot with lid in the oven at 500 F for 30 mintues. Then, place the dough in the pot, close the lid, and bake for about 30 mintues. Closing the lid will create a steaming effect in the pot. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until the bread becomes a golden color and voila!

Bread was very moist with a chewy texture. Even our Italian friend Maria said that the bread is very similar to breads she used to eat at home in Modena. That's a huge compliment for an inexperienced bread maker! Thanks to Mark Bittman, anyone who is willing to try his recipe can now savor the joy of freshly baked homemade bread!

Salt Baked Fish

One afternoon Hiroko exclaimed, "I want to cook a whole fish!" Being an omnivore who leans toward meat, Rick gave her a quick sideways glance, but he could see that she was determined to buy and cook a whole fish. For quite some time she had longed to try a recipe that she had found for Salt Baked Fish. For years we've heard that baking fish in salt is the one of most delicious and simple ways to enjoy fish. Rick surrendered to her wish and went shopping.

Since red snapper wasn't available that day, we chose pompano for the dish. After preparing a mixture of salt with egg whites, we placed the fish on the bed of the salt mixture and covered the fish with the rest, and then, baked the fish in 400 degree F oven for about 30 mintues.

When we cracked open the salt casing after 30 mintues, the fish meat was flavorful, moist, and tender. And as Hiroko had promised, it was a delicious way to eat a fresh fish.