Wednesday, April 18, 2012

SFBI Artisan Bread I

Dear loyal readers (mom!), sorry for the radio silence - I just finished up a week long artisan bread class at the San Francisco Baking Institute and with all of excitement of baking (and eating) over a hundred loaves of bread and being accepted to their professional baking program, I just didn’t have the energy or inclination to sit in front of the ole computer.  But all good things must come to an end, and back in the real world, glued to my double monitors, I can’t stop thinking about everything I learned over the past week and all of the wonderfully interesting people I met.  
Check out my photo diary of the week, while I work on composing the words and recipes to follow.

Meet Mac, he is the Dough Whisperer and our instructor for Artisan Bread I
 See Mac demonstrate Baguette technique
Meet my team of humble bread students
Watch us attempt to replicate Mac's technique with slightly less ease
We sure tried, eh
 A lot
 And finally we made great bread, and realized everything else was crap
The End

Monday, March 26, 2012

Arki Truck Fried Chicken Review

Occasionally I don't have the time or energy after a long day to cook for myself, and that's when I turn to the trucks.  San Francisco has incredible street food around every corner and even more foodies, who won't settle for anything less than art on a stick.  Which means every Indian burrito, Mediterranean taco and veggie bacon wrap needs to be exciting and delicious, and the Arki truck (The Architects Kitchen) is the whole package!

I never expected that this super sleek truck would be home to the best fried chicken and beignets this side of Mississippi, but I was blown away with arki's asian and dirty south inspired menu.  This is not KFC with their heavy battered bucket o' chicken, but instead Arki specializes in super tender pieces of fresh chicken, lightly battered and fried to order.  Their beignets are beautiful puffs of dough drizzled with brown butter sauce.  But what keeps me going back is The Works sandwich with Akri's signature fried chicken, crunchy slaw, spicy aioli and topped with crunchy tots on an Acme roll. It's more than enough for lunch, and worth the $9 price tag, and personally, I think it blows Naked Lunch's chicken sandwich out of the water. 

Hopefully they'll make an appearance at the much anticipated SOMA StrEat Food Park, but in the meantime we can all follow them around town on twitter or

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Creamy Hazelnut Sherry Whole Wheat Scones

I have been dreaming of making hazelnut scones ever since Sheila brought home a bottle of Duet hazelnut cream sherry after a tasting at the Petaluma Tasting Room, that has been sitting in our liquor cabinet ever since.  Being rained in all weekend, I finally took the opportunity to crack the bottle and make the most luscious, whole wheat, hazelnut scones.  They are very subtly sweet and distinctly hazelnut scented, with an earthy texture created by the whole wheat, flax meal and hazelnuts, then studded with cocoa nibs for a little sweetness and contrast. 


I based my creation on Delicious Days scone recipe with some major adjustments to incorporate more whole grains and of course, hazelnuts.  If you would like a fluffier scone, I would suggest 50/50 white and whole wheat flour.  If you don't have incredible hazelnut sherry, you can substitute any liqueur with a splash of milk, or any extract with milk or water in place of the wet ingredients (just be sure to keep the wet/dry ratio the same)

Creamy Hazelnut Sherry Whole Wheat Scones

1.5 cups (200g) whole-wheat flour (or 3/4 cups each white/wheat)
4 tbsp flax seed meal
1.5 tsp baking powder
2.5 tbsp sugar (or honey)
0.5 tsp fine sea salt
4 tbsp (60g) cold butter
1/4 cup (50g) chopped hazelnuts (or other nut)
4 tbsp cocoa nibs or dark chocolate pieces (optional) [I used as a topper, not a mixin', but both are great options]
2/3 cup hazelnut sherry and 2 tbsp whole milk OR 1 tbsp hazelnut extract and 2/3 cups milk or buttermilk
for brushing: 1 egg yolk and 1 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 425 F.
Recipe can be mixed by hand, but distributing the butter is much easier in a food processor.  
Mix dry ingredients. 

Dice cold butter into small cubes and cream into dry ingredients until well incorporated. 
Mix wet ingredients.  
Add wet ingredients to dry/butter mixture.  
Mix until incorporated.  
Turn mixture onto well floured surface and knead for 30 seconds.
Form a rectangle, ~.5 inches thick by 4-6 inches wide.
Use a large knife or kitchen scraper to divide dough into 4 inch sections.
Cut each 4 inch section diagonally to create 2 triangles.
Please triangles on parchment paper and top with cocoa nibs or additional hazelnuts, if you wish.
Bake for 10-14 minutes until edges are golden brown.