Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kue Soes Kopi Kapulaga--Cardamom Coffee Cream Puffs


As my blog is entitled Javaholic, many people assume that I focus primarily on coffee.  As much as I enjoy a good cup of coffee, which I do several times a day, this blog is more interested in exposing people to Indonesian food. However, after having gone more than two years without a post specifically related to coffee, I find myself having two coffee related posts this month.
When the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program offered interested bloggers a chance to create a post about a dish that would pair with some new blends Peet's was promoting, I leapt at the opportunity.  For one thing, I got two bags of Peet's coffee from the deal.  Yes, I can be had cheap.  I wouldn't have done it, however, if Peet's weren't already my choice for coffee.  It seems to be one of the few places where I can get a good cappuccino that is not just a frothy latté.  I also appreciate that it uses a lot of Indonesian textile motifs in its decorations.

The new blends--Café Domingo, which is a blend of Central and South American coffees, and Café Solano, which is a blend of African, Indo-Pacific and South American coffees--are medium roasts. Interestingly, Indonesian coffee drinkers tend to favor medium roasts.  During my visit to Kediri this past summer, my brother-in-law couldn't appreciate the dark roast Sulaweisi I brought, preferring a medium roast from Flores.  He would definitely appreciate the Café Solano.

I don't generally drink much coffee past noon, but I do enjoy it sometimes with dessert.  As one of the desserts that Tjing likes is kue soes, which is what Indonesians call cream puffs, I decided to make some with an Indonesian spiced pastry cream.  Topped with a simple dark chocolate sauce, these pair very nicely with the medium roast blends.

1 cup of bread flour (although all-purpose will also work)
1 TBS sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup butter (5 1/3 TBS) 
4 large eggs (at room temperature)

Sift together the flour, sugar and salt.  In a medium saucepan bring the milk, water and butter to a boil over medium heat.  As soon as the liquid comes to a boil, dump in the flour mixture and stir well to form a soft dough.  Off the heat, stir in one egg at a time, making sure that each egg is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next egg.  By the time the last egg has been incorporated, the dough should be satiny and smooth.  Using a pastry bag or two tablespoons, place twelve balls of dough on a parchment or silicone lined cookie sheet.  Bake for ten minutes at 400º F, then lower the oven to 350º F and bake another 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.  Cool before filling.

Cardamom Coffee Pastry Cream

1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup espresso
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
3 TBS corn starch
the seeds from 4 cardamom pods, finely ground in a mortar
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

Whisk together the egg yolks with the sugar until light and creamy.  Stir in the corn starch, making sure there are no lumps.  
Meanwhile, bring the milk, espresso, cardamom and nutmeg to a boil.  Pour the hot liquid into the egg yolk mixture while whisking steadily to temper the eggs.  Then add this back to the rest of the milk in the pan and stir over low heat for several minutes until it thickens.  Chill the pastry cream until you are ready to fill the cooled puffs.

Dark Chocolate Sauce

1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup whipping cream
8 oz dark chocolate (I use Trader Joe's) finely chopped

In a small sauce pan heat the corn syrup and whipping cream just until it comes to a simmer.  Pour over the chopped chocolate and stir to melt the chocolate.  Drizzle warm over the filled cream puffs.
Enjoy with a cup of coffee or the beverage of your choice.

 I'd like to thank Foodbuzz and Peet's for the coffee and coupons they sent me for taking part in this promotion.  


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Olive Oil Pound Cake with Almond Meal


While my wife and I share similar tastes for most savory dishes, desserts are another matter.  I have a weakness for butterfat.  The higher percentage of butterfat in a dish, the more likely I am to love it.  My wife, however, has an aversion to butterfat.  Shortbread cookies--no.  Croissants, proper ones--no.  Traditional pound cake--no. My mother makes a very good traditional pound cake rich with eggs and butter.  I love it, but Tjing doesn't care for the buttery richness. Desserts are a cultural divide that finds us on two distant shores.  This olive oil pound cake helped us bridge that distance.

Catherine, a local blogger who is very active in the Sacramento food scene and is the author of Munchie Musings, helped organize a dinner for Sacramento bloggers at the Greek Village Inn last month that was also a promotional event for Star Fine Foods who wanted to showcase their release of a 100% California olive oil.  Besides a nice chance to meet and interact with some other local bloggers while enjoying a delicious Greek meal (Tjing also can't stand the smell of lamb, so any time I have it is a rare treat), I came away with a bottle of olive oil (the regular extra virgin--not the California terroir).  As fond as I am of butter, I did think this made a delicious pound cake, one that you could almost feel righteous in eating, good fat vs bad fat and all that.  Most importantly, it tastes good.

1 1/4 cups (160 gr) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (50 gr) almond meal
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup olive oil
finely grated zest of one lemon
1 tsp almond essence

Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan.  You may line the bottom with parchment paper if you wish.  (I found it slightly easier to remove the cake when the pan had the parchment paper, but not that difficult to remove it without the parchment paper.  I use a pyrex glass pan, and I think I liked the crust a little more on the loaf without the parchment paper.)

Sift or stir together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl set over a pan with about an inch of hot water, beat the eggs and sugar together until the volume nearly triples.  The mixture should be the consistency of whipped cream just before it gets to the soft peak stage.

Carefully fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture by sprinkling the flour mix over the top little by little and stirring it in.  Add the olive oil, lemon zest, and almond essence, making sure to stir well to keep the oil from pooling in the bottom of the bowl.  Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes until the cake is a golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for five to ten minutes, then remove and cool on a rack. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Delicious Vietnam--Chi Lang Profiteroles with Caramel Rum Sauce

The first thing someone usually says to me when they hear I have a blog called Javaholic is "oh, so you write about coffee."  And then I explain that no, my blog is not about coffee or coffeehouses, but deals mostly with Indonesian and Southeast Asian food, with a leaning towards the food of Java.  In fact, I believe this is my first post in the two and a half years the blog has been in existence that coffee is the primary focus of the post.  And then it's for Vietnamese coffee.  As the basis for ice cream.

Although not a focus of this blog, I do drink several cups of coffee almost every day,  and have done so for most of the last thirty-five years or so.  I like my coffee black, no sugar, no milk--kopi pahit in Indonesia, kopi o kosong in Singapore and Malaysia, cafe den in Vietnam. However, I occasionally enjoy a glass of cafe sua da, Vietnamese iced-coffee with sweetened condensed milk.  So when I came across a recipe for Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream in David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop, I decided to use it as the basis for my submission to this month's Delicious Vietnam.

(Follow the jump for the recipe and the rest of the story.)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Indonesian Red-Braised Beef Shanks

Red-cooked dishes are popular Chinese  dishes although they are not often found in restaurants in the US.  Most commonly featuring chicken or pork, the "red" stock they are cooked in is often a master stock that has been used and refreshed numerous times, becoming ever more flavorful and nuanced.  Unlike those dishes, this red-braised beef is a simpler affair, with its flavors similar to those of beef semur

Although Tjing doesn't much care for beef, her cousins are big meat eaters.  As their kitchen is currently undergoing a major renovation, I've been asked to cook some dinners for them.  With a recent cool down and light showers bringing an end to our summer, it seemed like a good time to make some stew.  This is a stew any meat and mushroom lover would appreciate.  The recipe is adapted from Terrific Pacific Cookbook, a cookbook with many delicious recipes influenced or inspired by Asian cuisines.

1/4 cup peanut oil
1 TBS roasted sesame oil
3 to 4 pounds meaty beef shanks
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
2/3 cup shao hsing rice wine
6 TBS kecap manis
1 TBS dark soy sauce
3 slices ginger, crushed
10 dried shitake mushrooms, stems removed, rinsed to remove any grit
1/3 cup tamarind water (from 1 TBS tamarind pulp dissolved in boiling water, strained)
1 stick of cinnamon
4  1/2 cups beef stock or canned broth

2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 TBS cold water

Tie in a piece of cheesecloth or place in a spice bag:
2 star anise, crushed
1 tsp black peppercorns, lightly crushed
1 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
5 cloves, lightly crushed
3 pieces tangerine peel

In a dutch oven or large pan heat the oils over medium-high heat until almost smoking.  In batches, brown the beef shanks.  Remove the beef from the pan and fry the mushrooms until browned.  Remove the mushrooms and place with the browned beef. 

Pour off the fat from the pan and add the rice wine, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to get up all those good brown bits.  At this point I pour all of this liquid into a Chinese claypot and cook over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by about half, but you can simply continue cooking in the same pot if you like.  Add the soy sauces, tamarind water, ginger, shitakes, cinnamon, spices in the cheesecloth or spice bag, along with the stock, and bring this to a boil.  Add the beef and sliced mushrooms, cover the pot,  and simmer for 1 1/2 to two hours, until the beef is tender and falling from the bones. 

Uncover the pot and simmer on low until the liquid is reduced and thickened to your liking.  Stir in the cornstarch slurry and cook for several minutes.  You don't want a gravy-like sauce, but something approaching that of a good beef bourguignon.