Monday, January 28, 2008

Flat + Bread ≠ Naan.

I've been playing around with baking flat breads since my renewed cravings for Indian food led me to explore the wonderful world of 'naan'. I have the bread part down, and I have the flat part down. How they make it so soft and pliable though... this is still a mystery to me despite dear Manjula's teachings.

She makes it look so simple... and really, making simple bread isn't hard at all, but it just doesn't quite make it to the naan stage. ::crinkles nose:: I even have a stone tile in my oven so that the heat bakes the dough evenly. Instead of naan though, it just bakes itself into... regular bread, no matter how I mold it. (nyuk nyuk!) It still turns out delicious, and goes great with spaghetti sauce, Nutella, plain, or with any other spread, but the result was unintended, and thus a 'naan' factor.

So before fully losing myself in ridiculous bread puns, I took a little break from the naan attempts, and decided to experiment a bit with some cheesy types of bread. My favorite so far is this lovely little bun, stuffed and topped with Gruyère. About 10 minutes in the oven, and it's a cheesylicious masterpiece.

Incidentally, it's hard to find a dish that will hold a bun just right for display... a basket might have been more suitable, and the white background to deal with the flash... well, I used a white plastic cutting board instead of something a little more reflective. I might have to step it up a little perhaps. I'm also having difficulties photographing my food before eating it. Admittedly, I ate about three of these before I decided to photograph this lovely nugget. Melted cheese just makes everything so groovy... ::swoon::

Monday, January 14, 2008

Warner Springs Ranch

I've been somewhat out of commission lately, but hopefully my body is on the mend and my culinary enthusiasm will be back to what it was prior to my subjection to the American health care system, a.k.a. hell. In the meantime, I spent the weekend here:

It's a little known hot springs location somewhere in the middle of nowhere, a few miles off the 76 and just off the 79 in southern California. While it's close to the edge of some gorgeous desert canyons, it's also close enough to some fertile mountains where fruity deliciousness abounds! Fruit or veggie, the argument doesn't linger for very long, as everything out here is turned into jam.

Waters that bubble up boiling from the earth form these stinky yet beautifully colored little springs, which are then channeled into a pampered human containment field. It's a strange sensation dipping into an entire swimming pool full of steaming water in the middle of a balmy California winter after having sat in what much resembles the upper photographs while having snow fall down around my shoulders.

Eventually we took a little drive out to the desert to see what all the bikers were revving their engines at...

And found Fort's Point...

Which overlooks...

Ever inspired by natural beauty, my mother displays a rarely seen expression of unbridled enthusiasm, as well as an uncanny likeness to the ever so dear, Kim Jong Il.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Eggs Benedict

Tonight I was inspired by a plethora of remembrances, and an aching for some culinary creativity. Perhaps some of the aching was coming from my belly. Surely 'Eggs Benedict' isn't the pinnacle of creative dishes, but I adore them, and have never attempted to prepare them until today. Ever daunted by that mysterious, magical Hollandaise sauce, I contented myself with breakfasting over someone else's tender creations... until today! I am no longer dependent upon the kindness of Sunday brunches. Today, I mastered the art of this dish, and with great pride, I present you with the first of many culinary masterpieces to come.