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!
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:
- 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)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
ANNNND, now it’s almost Christmas. How the heck did that happen!? I know the theme of my last few posts have been “WHOA, whoa, whoa! Where did the time go!?!” But that’s really how I feel! It’s been a good year and I’m trying to relax and enjoy my holiday travels but I can’t help but feel a little flustered.
I just arrived to my hometown of Jacksonville, North Carolina after visiting friends in Philadelphia and Raleigh. It’s been a great trip so far and I feel grateful to be able to spend this time with friends and family. At this point I realize I’m not going to get much done for the rest of month, so I’m trying to plan for next year. In the new year, I’m hoping to manage my time more carefully, so I can accomplish more and not feel like time is my enemy. I’m even going to try this new thing, where I wake up early.
Anyways, I know I’m not the only one who finds the end of the year stressful. For those of you who need some serious comfort food, try this chicken pot pie recipe. It’s warm, flavorful, and really hits the spot on a chilly night.
I hope everyone who is traveling has a safe and lovely trip. To all my fellow end-of-year stress puppies, hang in there and have some pie.
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2/3 cup warm water
- Mix together the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Pour in the olive oil and mix until moistened.
- Stir in the warm water.
- Knead the dough until it’s soft and elastic but not sticky.
- Divide the dough into two portions, one for the top crust and one for the bottom. The portion for the bottom crust should be slightly larger.
- Set the dough aside while you prepare the filling.
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cubed
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 1 cup french green beans, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup sliced celery
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
- 2/3 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)
- In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, green beans, and celery. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
- In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
Assembling the Pie:
- Select a pie dish about 2 inches deep and 10 inches wide.
- On a floured surface, roll out the the larger portion of the dough. Place it into the bottom of the dish and shape it so it comes up and over the sides of the dish.
- Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over.
- Roll out the second portion of dough and place it over the filling, so that it meets the edge of the dish. Shape and trim the dough as needed.
- Pinch the edges of the dough together to seal.
- Puncture the center of the dough with an one inch X
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
I found this cute orange teapot at a flea market near my house. I’m experimenting with doing some illustrations in acrylic paint and this lovely little teapot seemed like the perfect subject. I’m planning on opening an Etsy shop soon and this painting along with others will be available for sale. Also, look for screen printed goods and posters! My plan is to have the shop up and running by mid-summer. I’m looking forward to sharing more with you in the coming months!
Illustrated Bites has gotten off to a good start in 2011. This blog is the result of my desire to invest more effort in my passions of art and cooking. Blogging is new to me so I’m still learning and trying to get into the groove of being a blogger. My posts have been sporadic so far but starting next week I will regularly post on Mondays and Thursdays. There will be more how-tos, recipes, and soon there will be interviews with folks who have more culinary knowledge than I. And of course, more Illustration! I’m looking forward to sharing all this with you soon. Be well and have an awesome weekend!
Here are some illustrations of delicious things I’ve enjoyed recently. More to come!
One of the biggest differences between living in small town North Carolina and Berkeley, California is the food. Obviously, there are huge cultural differences and the fact that I don’t have to own a car… but if you’re looking at day to day differences in how I live my life, it’s the food. My God, it’s the food. Anyone who knows me well will tell you, I am a hungry person. I probably eat 4 meals a day with a few snacks in between. My insatiable hunger is the butt of many good natured jokes and jabs from friends and family. Needless to say, food is important to me.
This year for Christmas, I brought home a taste of the Bay Area for my family. Freshly roasted coffee, amazing citrus, avocados, and pomegranates are all things that are hard to come across in our small home town. All of the fruit survived the journey and and everyone was excited to sample all the tasty foods. They especially loved the Satsuma Mandarin Oranges. I promised to send another package of the Satsumas after I go back.
Moving to Berkeley, the foodie capital of the world, was a huge improvement to my hungry lifestyle. The produce is varied and fresh, the restaurants are amazing, and there are Farmer’s Markets everyday of the week. I don’t know if I would call myself a foodie, there are too many snobby connotations. Okay, so maybe I’m a foodie, but only a slightly snobby one. I love good food and I love to share my culinary adventures. This blog is dedicated to my two loves, illustration and food. I hope to share good food and good art with you, my readers, my friends. Here we go!