Archives for the month of: April, 2012

star anise

Hello All! I’m sorry I’ve been missing from my blog for the last few weeks. It’s been a busy and exciting month. My art show opened last week (I’ll share more in a moment), my mom and sister visited, and immediately following their trip, two of my best friends from college came to stay with me. There’s been a lot of touring San Francisco and catching up to do, so I haven’t been able to squeeze in Illustrated Bites (I know… excuses, excuses.) All of that is a lot of fun, but I’m glad to be back on a normal schedule and regularly blogging again.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying experimenting with the new-to-me spice, star anise. Star anise has a wonderful licorice-y flavor that pairs well with tomato sauces, and is great for braising meats. It was once only common to eastern cooking and has medicinal uses in traditional Chinese medicine, where it’s used to aid digestion and as a warming herb. I was actually first introduced to the spice by a roommate that was studying to be an acupuncturist.

It has become more common in western kitchens as a substitute for anise. I really enjoy throwing a pod into boiling rice to add an unexpected flavor. I also really enjoyed this recipe for roasted sweet potatoes with star anise, from the Kitchn. The Kitchn has several other recipes featuring star anise that I’m looking forward to trying.

I know I’ve been writing a lot about my Illustrated Bites art show, but if you’ll bear with me once more, I would like to share some images of work from the show. I hope you enjoy seeing them, I sure had a great time putting it all together!

asparagus

yogurt

bok choy

chicken

 

Illustrated Bites

I’m very excited to announce the opening of the Illustrated Bites art show this Saturday at the Curiosity Shoppe on Valencia St. in San Francisco. If you’re in the Bay Area, please stop by and say hello!  And yes, there will be snacks.

Chocolate Brioche

I found this recipe for mini chocolate brioche several weeks ago and I had been waiting for a chance to make it ever since. On first glance the recipe seemed really involved, and since I’ve been busy getting ready for an art show, I didn’t think I had the time to make it.  So, I’ve been biding my time and dreaming of coffee and sweet bread. Last weekend, I needed a little break from all my art-makin’ and I decided it was time to treat myself to a sweet sunday breakfast.

This brioche dough needs to rise 8 to 12 hours, so you start by making the dough and then letting it rise overnight. There are a lot of steps, but since they are broken up, it turns out to take more planning than effort. The end result really is amazing, your efforts will yield a subtly sweet and tender bread with a dark chocolate center, finished off by hints of honey. I’m SO glad I found the time to make it. Seriously, I felt like a baking superstar. This recipe has definitely found a permanent spot in my cooking repertoire.

Baby Chocolate Brioche:

From: Patricia Wells At Home In Provence 

  • 1 TSP active dry yeast
  • 2 TBS honey
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk (105°F)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 TSP salt
  • 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 ounces of good quality dark chocolate (I use 83% Cacao) Divided into 12
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 TBS whole milk
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • extra honey for drizzling (optional)

step one, make dough

1. Combine the warm milk, honey, and yeast and let it stand until it’s foamy, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the olive oil, eggs and salt, and stir to blend.

3. Add the flour a little at a time, slowly mixing everything together. When the dough forms a ball, knead in the remaining flour. Knead until the the dough is soft and smooth, but still firm. If the dough is still sticky, add more flour.  This step can be done in a heavy duty electric mixer if you happen to have one (I don’t).

4. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let it rise 8-12 hours.

step two, divide into 12

5. An hour before you want to bake the rolls, remove the dough from the fridge, punch it down and divide it into 12 equal portions.

step three

6. With the palm of your hand flatten each ball of dough into a disk and press in a portion of the chocolate into the center. Then reform the ball around the piece of chocolate, so that the chocolate is completely covered.

step four

7. Place the rolls on a baking sheet, and cover with a clean towel. Let the dough rise another 30-45 minutes.

8. Preheat the oven to 400°F

glaze

9. Make the glaze by beating the egg yolk, then blending in a tablespoon of milk, and a tablespoon of sugar. Brush each roll with the glaze.  (Drizzle the optional honey on the rolls if you want a little extra sweetness… which, come on, you do.)

10. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the rolls are a deep golden brown.

Now, prepare yourself for a delicious and luxurious breakfast.

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