Cooking was an unwelcome chore for me in my younger years. Although we always had a cook, my dad did all the cooking while my mom played mahjong at home.
I was inept at cooking even when I got married. Since we initially lived with my hubby’s parents, I never got to work in the kitchen. My father-in-law was an excellent cook, so we relied on him to prepare our meals every day.
However, when we moved into our own place, my dad and my father-in-law were not around to prepare our food.
Food delivery services were not yet a thing then. I wanted to be an ideal wife and mom so I devoted much of my time to learning how to cook. I bought tons of cookbooks to guide me on my cooking journey. I discovered interesting ways of cooking and honed what worked for me in the kitchen by trial and error. I simplified my kitchen tasks with a guiding principle: to be able to cook what I was craving and what I like to eat.
So I started experimenting on dishes and discovered the wonder of different flavors that made me love cooking altogether. I could now say with ease that cooking is something I do wholeheartedly, and more appetizing flavors come about if you do it with love.
I even enrolled in a culinary school to learn more techniques and to conquer my fear of baking bread. Now I can bake bread with confidence and ease.
I would like to share with you recipes of my family’s all-time favorites: Caesar Salad and Spanish Bread with a surprise filling.
140 g romaine lettuce, wash, spin-dry and tear into bite-size pieces
Parmesan cheese, grated
Bacon, cut into small pieces and cook until golden brown
Caesar dressing:1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 pc anchovy fillet
125 ml olive oil
1 pc egg yolk
1 dash lemon juice to taste
1 dash Worcestershire sauce, to taste
1 dash Tabasco, to taste
5 ml mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
Mash minced garlic and salt using your knife to make a paste. Add anchovies. Crush anchovies using knife while combining with garlic and salt.
Add mixture to egg yolk with mustard, whisk. Add lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and black pepper. Whisk.
Slowly add olive oil while whisking to form an emulsion, until ingredients have combined fully and mixture has thickened.
Add the romaine lettuce and toss to coat with dressing. Add croutons and bacon, and top with Parmesan cheese.
304 g bread flour
3 g yeast
75 g fresh milk
55 g water
5 g salt
57 g sugar
25 g whole eggs
18 g egg yolk
43 g butter
Filling:65 g margarine
60 g sugar
70 g bread crumbs
14 pc Vienna sausage
Extra bread crumbs for coating
Combine and mix well filling ingredients except for Vienna sausages. Set aside.
For the dough, combine bread flour and yeast. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, combine milk, water, whole eggs, egg yolk, salt and sugar. Whisk well until salt and sugar are fully dissolved.
Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until fully hydrated. Add butter little by little.
Knead until dough is fully developed and passes the windowpane test (when you stretch it and it doesn’t break).
Transfer to a lightly greased bowl or tray. Cover with plastic. Ferment the dough for 35-40 minutes. Punch down the dough then scale at 40 g per piece.
Preshape dough to rounds then bench rest for 10 minutes, covered in plastic.
Flatten dough using a rolling pin and spread filling. Place a Vienna sausage in the middle, then roll dough into a baston and seal tightly. Roll in bread crumbs.
Place dough on a lightly greased tray and proof for 25-30 minutes or until it passes the indentation test.
Bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. —CONTRIBUTED INQ
The author is a dedicated wife to Gary and mother to three smart, responsible and caring children. Apart from cooking and baking classes, she also took flying sessions and is a certified scuba diver. She believes that people never cease to learn new things every day.
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