Bon appétit French baguettes

Halloween greetings!

Happy Halloween! I hope you and your loved ones had a spooktacular and bootiful holiday.

Updates on life

It’s been a couple weeks since my last post. I was away visiting my dear friends on the mainland. I went to North Carolina, North Dakota, and Minnesota. It was a wonderful trip. I love traveling and experiencing life away from home. I’m so grateful for the time I had with my friends and that I was safe from COVID. Thank you, God, and to my guardian angels. I’ve selected some favorite pictures from my trip.

  • L top: Sunset near my hotel in Durham, NC.
  • L bottom: Beautiful day in downtown Durham.
  • R: Sidewalk in downtown Durham.
  • L: Cool chess board/pieces at Babb’s Coffee House in Fargo, ND.
  • R: Downtown Fargo.

Baking my own bread

This week, I baked French bread. I can smell the fresh aroma as I sit here typing this post. Mmm, it smells lovely! Baking this bread was a weekend’s work. I had to re-do my assignment twice. The first time, the loaves almost looked burnt. I describe it as badly suntanned, haha. Thankfully, the inside of the bread was fine. It was actually good. It was just very difficult to cut and bite into because it was so hard. Eesh! Thank goodness I didn’t break my teeth. Ha!

Yikes to the picture on the left, right? Gosh! I learned that we can’t always follow the recipe’s baking time. The recipe said 30 minutes but look at the outcome after 30 minutes. It was not good and unacceptable in my eyes to submit to my chef instructor.

The second time, I watched my oven like a hawk, setting timers every 10 minutes, as I peeked through the oven window. The color I was looking for was golden brown. After 25 minutes, I took the loaves out. It looked golden brown from the oven window. The loaves were so beautiful, soft, and chewy, with a bit of crispiness from the crust. I was so pleased and happy. Yay to baking bread from scratch!

Recipe and culinary equipment for the French bread:

Here is the very simple recipe for this time-consuming process. Make sure you set a lot of time aside to make this.

  • 375g bread flour
  • 262.5g water (may need to use less to prevent the dough from getting really sticky)
  • 9g active dry yeast
  • 7.5g Kosher salt
  • Food scale
  • Measuring bowls for ingredients
  • Mixing bowl
  • Plastic scraper
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Rubber spatula
  • Timer
  • Plastic wrap
  • Big cutting board (for kneading) or counterspace

Production steps:

The production steps to making this fresh and comforting bread:

  1. Sanitize kitchen (sink, countertops, stovetop/oven, cupboard handles, phone, computer).
  2. Scale ingredients.
  3. Mise en place ingredients.
  4. Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix with a rubber spatula until the dough forms and it is fully mixed.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and rest for one hour.
  6. Release dough from the bowl with a scraper.
  7. Stretch the dough into a rectangle and fold into thirds (add flour onto the bench (counterspace) if dough is sticky).
  8. Round dough into a ball and put it back into the bowl.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  10. Weigh dough and divide into 250g.
  11. Shape the weighted dough into a ball and bench for 5-7 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap.
  12. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  13. Shape dough into a baguette by shaping dough into a rectangle, folding it into thirds, and pressing the seams with the heel of your palm.
  14. Roll the dough with your hands (spreaded fingers) into 12-17” baguette with tapered (narrowed) ends.
  15. Transfer to a lined baking sheet.
  16. Proof (rest) shaped dough, covered in plastic wrap until it doubles in size.
  17. Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
  18. Slash proofed dough through outer skin in an angled cut, covering the length of the loaf.
  19. Bake until the crust is golden brown.
  20. Cool on a rack for at least one hour.
  21. Cut the baguette and serve.

Annual #thankfulchallenge

In 2018, I started a #thankfulchallenge, where I list 30 things I’m grateful for during the month of November. Please visit my Facebook and Instagram each day to see what I’m thankful for. I’ll be listing the recap in my blog posts each Sunday in November. I’m excited! Thanksgiving is coming sooner than we know it! Let the holidays begin!

Cheers!

FS x

An Adventure in Fargo

Happy June and soon-to-be summer! The days are getting longer, which is the best part about summer. Though, I wish the sun would go down later in Hawai’i. It goes down a little past 7pm here, which I was used to until I started traveling. I remember being so amazed when the sun went down past 8pm whenever my family and I would travel to Las Vegas in the summer. When I traveled overseas, it was so cool to see the sun go down close to 10pm. It boggled my mind!

In the fall of 2019, I visited my dear friend in the Midwest. We went to a lovely district in Fargo (North Dakota) of restaurants and bars, and came across a Liberian restaurant, called A&E. We both had not eaten Liberian food before and decided to try it. We were both excited and had no idea what to expect.

The owner of the restaurant was a gem. She was friendly and kind to suggest dishes for us to try. We ordered: cassava leaf with rice, roasted meat, and plantains. It was a nice, quiet, and quaint place. Perfect for catching up.

The cassava leaf, which is not pictured, reminded me of both canned spinach and lu’au leaves, Hawaiian leaves, that is used to wrap the chicken, pork, or fish in lau lau. The cassava leaves had a similar texture and taste to the lu’au leaves- my favorite part of the lau lau . I also tried plantain for the first time (featured image). It was very yummy and sweet. It reminded me of banana lumpia, which is a Filipino dessert. The roasted meat was very tasty. I can’t wait to go back to try more food the next time I’m in town again.

I remember our evening together so vividly. It was a chilly fall night, one of my fave seasons. (The other being summer). Snow flurries fell from the clear evening sky. The stars were shining so brightly. Two great friends- a night on the town. It was beautiful.

I found this link: https://www.tasteatlas.com/most-popular-food-in-liberia. It has some interesting dishes I would like to try making. One of them is the Liberian peanut soup. It has peanut butter- my fave! I’m always game to make anything with PB!

It’s always an exciting adventure to explore different ethnic foods during my travels. That is the best part! I love being spontaneous, trying amazing and exotic foods, and then sharing about them with everyone. It’s a treat; a joy! And then, doing some research to find some dishes to make at home. It’s fun to experiment cooking various cuisines. It makes cooking very interesting and entertaining for me.

Have a great week!

FS x

Merry Christmas Eve- a perfect posting for the season!

Merry Christmas Eve and Happy Sunday! Almost two months ago, one of my dear friends got married at her dad’s cabin on the lake in Minnesota. We had a lovely, delicious dinner amongst family that I wanted to share. Perfect for the Christmas season.

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On her wedding evening, we had prime rib, with homemade mash, green beans, carrots, and sauteed mushrooms. Yummy! That piece of meat was HUGE! I tried my best to finish it all, but couldn’t. I was way too full. Too bad I couldn’t bring it home as leftovers to finish. Haha, back home to Hawaii.

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Carrot cake for dessert/their wedding cake! Yummy! Haven’t had carrot cake in so long!

What a coincidence, tomorrow we will be having prime rib for our Christmas dinner. Can’t wait! Be sure to lookout for another posting of that soon.

Have a beautiful Christmas with your loved ones. It’s my most favorite time of the year to celebrate with family.

Blessings,

FS~