Friday, August 27, 2010

Cheese puff pastry

Cheese puffs

The marriage of cheese and flour is a comforting one. I love my cheese breads, pasta alfredo and most roué are improved tremendously on addition of a bit of cheese. It is no surprise that gougeres, the French cheese puff pastry is another embodiment of a happy relationship. The recipe for the choux pastry was taken from David Lebovitz whose site has a fairly simple recipe. The great thing with this creation is that it requires no equipment which may be considered mandatory for baking. Consequently, I made it a number of times in my recent sojourn in US. The kitchen was furnished with only the basic equipments and I had the opportunity to try out many cheeses; Monterey Jack, Colby and some Caerphilly for variation.

I doubled the amounts given on DL's site, used thyme in one batch (the other being plain cheese) instead of chives and on some of the plain ones, sprinkled “ Prawn Chamanthipodi” on the top in the second phase of baking. The addition of Chamanthipodi was duly appreciated by our Indian tastebuds. I had got packet of Prawn Chamanthipodi from Kottayam, so haven’t had occasion to make it at home. However, it can be easily attempted and Yummyoyummy has a recipe for it. This batch of gougeres were frozen (after cooling) in several layers of butter-paper and finally sealed in plastic. Bring them to room temperature before serving and heat in an preheated oven for about 10 minutes.

Extra Ingredients

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon Chamanthipodi

1 cup Montereye Jack, Colby, Caerphilly or Grana Padano, grated

Exploring Miso saute

Eggplant with Miso

When I was small, I could consume quantities of roti with fried eggplant. The eggplants would be prepared as large circles, from large, shiny, bulbous ones, rubbed with a bit of salt, cumin and turmeric and then fried. A very satisfying meal which I would love to indulge in daily, if not for the stray thoughts of the large amount oil used in cooking it! This recipe uses the same sautéing principle but the amount of oil is relatively negligible and the addition of miso gives it a Japanese tang. The recipe was adapted from the Book of Miso, over which I am nowadays frequently salivating. It’s a thorough book, has hundreds of vegetarian recipes and has opened my eyes on miso usage, apart from the ubiquitous miso soup. I have used the smaller (these really look like purple eggs) eggplants/aubergines found in Southern India. Since the aubergines are cut into bite sized pieces, the initial size of it is immaterial.

3 Tablespoon oil
4 small eggpants
1 clove garlic, minced
1 and half spoon gingerroot, minced
3 tablespoon spring onion, greens, chopped
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoon white miso
1/ teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seed


Cut the eggplants into bite sized pieces. Salt them. After half an hour drain any water which the salt has drawn out. Pat them dry. Heat the oil in the kadai/wok to smoking temperature and add the eggplants. Shake to coat them with oil at high heat for a minute before lowering the temperature. Cover with the lid and cook it with intermittent shaking for 7-10 minutes to cook the vegetable through. Cook it uncovered for a two minutes when it is done. Mix the rest of the ingredients with a fork to make a miso mix. Pour the mixture over the eggplant and sauté for 3-5 minutes to completely coat the eggplants with the miso mix. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve warm.
It goes well with Indian staples such as rice and roti too!