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Friday, January 18, 2013

Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Protein Bars


My cousin and friends came to visit a few weeks ago to run the Disney 2013 marathon. What a great time! To be properly carbed for the race, my friend Amy baked a delicious oatmeal breakfast casserole. Total score for me, oatmeal is my favorite breakfast food! After they left, I started wondering if I could create something more like a soft, chewy protein bar on-the-go type recipe.
 
I was largely experimenting and there are few things more rewarding than an experiement that turns out great on the first try! Here's the proportions I used and why each ingredient was added.
 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Baked Chinese Buns stuffed with Korean Bulgogi


It seems my entire adult life has been spent searching for the perfect dinner roll recipe. I trolled Epicurious.com, read issue after issue of Cook's Illustrated and tried zillions of bread book and online recipes. I was looking for something extremely buttery, yeasty, slightly sweet and very soft... almost gooey. Failure. Disappointment. It was just like a phone conversation with my mother. My Kitchen Aid and I were about to throw in the towel. Then one day I found it! Alton Brown had come through yet once again. His Parker House dinner roll recipe was the one. It was everything I had hoped for. His recipe was specifically for making the Parker House version which has you put a piece of butter in the middle of each roll (delicious), but the dough works equally well for any shape you want to make. I've been experimenting with various creative ways to use this buttery yeasty deliciousness because I need more of it in my life.

On my flight home from Dallas to Orlando after Christmas break, I met a passenger who loved to bake as well. She shared stories about all kinds of interesting dishes she'd made while home visiting her family. Her family was of German heritage and one of the dishes in particular stood out to me, bierock. I was so excited about this new discovery that I had to look it up on my Smart phone as soon as we landed. It's basically a dinner roll stuffed with ground beef, onion and cabbage but it didn't have much along the way of seasonings. Compared to the other German dishes I was familiar with, it seemed like it might be a little bland so I filed it away to the back of my mind for further philosophical pondering.

Today, I had exactly 1/2 lb of leftover ground beef. That's not really a lot to work with. What to do with it? Then it clicked.... bierock! Except, I didn't have cabbage on hand and was still hoping to find a way to spice it up just a bit. Suddenly, I had another epiphany - bulgogi! (What? TWO epiphanies in the same day? I feel just like Nostradamus!) Bulgogi is a delicious Korean BBQ-esque dish where beef is sliced very thin, seared then cooked with soy sauce and brown sugar, fresh grated ginger then topped with fresh scallions. (Ironically, I had first had this a few years ago when on an extended trip to Japan, not Korea. As much as I love sushi, after eating it 3 times a day I needed a break so I ordered Domino's pizza and it was one of the pizza topping choices. I've been in love with it ever since!)

I wondered how it would taste if I made the ground beef into bulgogi, then used it to stuff the dinner rolls. Alright! So... a plan of action was now set in motion that would change the culinary world forever. Ok, maybe it wouldn't. But, I was pretty excited about it.

Introduction

Hi there! I'm glad you decided to stop by. This is my little place on the web where I can post pictures of things I want to share with other people who have common interests.

My favorite things to do are cook, travel and decorate/craft. I don't claim to be good at any of them... except maybe cooking. Baking is my favorite past time and I think Alton Brown is the bee's knees. I believe cooking is more of a science than an art, which may explain my inclination towards baking, but each dish is a unique adventure. I tend to weigh my dry ingredients for exact measure and make notes on recipes for future improvements. (There's nothing worse than creating something spectacular only to discover that you can never recreate it again!)

I'm a software developer who has to travel to my clients frequently so I take full advantage of the travel perks to see the whole world. There's no place I don't want to see and I'll probably soon be in a town near you.

Comments from readers are welcome as I'm always looking for advice or tips on how something could be done better.

I'm looking forward to reading your blogs as well.

Ciao!

Christopher