Almost-Everything Bagels


I do miss New York bagels.

That being said, I decided to try Sally’s Baking Addiction recipe for Everything Bagels. I am missing one ingredient: poppy seeds, which I could not find in Bangkok, even at the upscale gourmet markets. So I substituted black sesame seeds instead, hence the name “almost-everything bagels.” The bagels turned out chewy but not as dense as a New York bagel. But they will do when I have a yearning for an everything bagel with scallion cream cheese.

Almost Everything Bagels (adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Bagel Dough
1 1/2 cups warm water (100˚F)
2 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
4 cups (480g) bread flour
1 tablespoon packed light or dark brown sugar (I used white sugar because I ran out of brown sugar)
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon oil to coat the bowl

Water bath
2 quarts water
1/4 cup honey

Almost Everything Bagel Topping
2 1/2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 tablespoon dried minced garlic
1/2-1 tablespoon coarse salt, like Maldonado’s sea salt flakes
Egg wash: 1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Prepare the dough:

Put yeast in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Pour the warm water on top. Lightly whisk together. Loosely cover with a kitchen towel and let stand 5 minutes until the surface becomes frothy.

To the yeast mixture, add the flour, sugar, and salt. Fit the dough hook on the stand mixer. Beat flour mixture on Speed 1 for 2 minutes. Sally writes the dough will be stiff and may look dry.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands, knead the dough 4-5 minutes. Form into a ball. The dough should be smooth and elastic, and when poked lightly, will bounce back slowly.

Grease bottom and sides of a large bowl (I used the mixing bowl) with a tablespoon oil. Put the dough ball in the bowl, turning to coat evenly with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Drape a kitchen towel over the top. Let stand at room temperature 60-90 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

Shape the dough:

When the dough is ready, punch down the dough to release air bubbles. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Using a bench scraper, cut the dough in half, then cut each piece in half again until you get 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Using your thumbs, poke a hole in the center of the ball and turn the bagel in your hands to smooth and shape it. Loosely cover the bagels with a kitchen towel while you prepare the water bath.

Preheat oven 425˚F/218˚C.

Heat to boiling 2 quarts of water. Stir in the honey until it dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-high. Pick up each bagel carefully then gently slip into the water 2 to 4 at a time, making sure the bagels have enough room. Cook 1 minute then turn over the bagels and cook for another minute on the second side. Use a spider to remove the bagels from the water bath to a tray lined with parchment. Let cool slightly or until just cool enough to handle.

Baking the bagels:

Make the almost-everything bagel seasoning in a medium bowl. Brush the top and sides of the bagel with the egg wash and dip the brushed tops and sides in the seasoning. Place each bagel, topping side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes, turning the pan around halfway through baking. Remove the bagels from oven and cool in the pan 15 minutes, then place each bagel on a wire rack to cool completely.

Serving the bagels:

Split the bagel in half horizontally. Lightly toast and butter each half, or make a spread of cream cheese and scallion. Yum.


Sally’s Pizza

I’ve been looking for a good pizza dough that’s easy to make. This is due to my fear of yeast. But I’m getting over my fear;  it hasn’t been easy, especially when the dough is too sticky then I panic. How much more flour can I add without making the thing taste like cardboard?! My latest fail: I tried a famous no-knead pizza dough (it shall be nameless) that promised to be easy but it came out tasting like cardboard. So trash that. This recipe seemed less risky; it uses less flour and only made two pies, so if I failed it wouldn’t be such a terrible waste. They turned out great. Andy pronounced this recipe a keeper, and I liked how the pizza went from prep to table in an hour.

The first pizza is an attempt to use Thai ingredients. I had some kor moo yang –boneless roast pork neck with a thin ring of fat around the edges–combined with a basic margherita style pizza. The second pizza is a riff on Sally’s garlic pesto and sausage pizza. I used homemade basil pesto with homemade Italian “sausage.” I just ground up some pork loin and added spices to it to make sausage.

Sally’s Pizza Crust (adapted from a flatbread recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Makes 2 10-inch pizzas
Prep time: 1 hour
Baking time: 10-15 minutes

1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (can used active dry yeast)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
3/4 cup warm water (100˚F)
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 teaspoon for brushing the dough
1 teaspoon salt

Place sugar and yeast in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Pour warm water on top. Whisk gently to combine. Loosely cover with a clean kitchen towel and let stand 5 minutes. The surface of the mixture will become frothy.

Fit the dough hook on the stand mixer and on Speed 1, add the flour, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt to the yeast mixture. Beat on low speed (Speed 1)  for 1 minute or until the dough is thick and shaggy. Transfer the dough and any bits of loose flour to a lightly floured work surface. Knead for 2 minutes until it all comes together and is smooth. You may add 1-3 tablespoons of flour, one tablespoon at a time, if the dough is too sticky to handle. Make a smooth ball.

Oil the bottom and sides of a large bowl (to save washing up I used the same mixing bowl). Put the dough ball in the bowl, turning to coat the whole thing. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and drape a towel over the top. Let sit 35-45 minutes at room temperature to rest. It should double in size.

Preheat the oven to 475˚F/225˚C (my oven’s highest setting)

As the dough is rising, prepare the toppings. Here are some suggestions:

Kor Moo Yang (Thai roast pork)
1 cup kor moo yang, thinly sliced in slivers
1/4 of a medium onion, thinly sliced,
1 large fresh tomato seeded, sliced, lightly salted and drained
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese.

Sausage and Pesto
1/3 cup homemade basil pesto,
1/3 cup homemade Italian sausage, crumbled, cooked, and drained of any oil/moisture
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil for garnish

1 large tomato, seeded, sliced, lightly salted, and drained
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil for garnish

Spinach and Bacon
1 cup chopped spinach, lightly cooked so that it is wilted, then drain any extra water
1/4 onion, thinly sliced
6-8 slices bacon, cooked crisp, drained, and crumbled
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Poke the dough ball to release any air. Turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. With a bench scraper, divide the dough in two. Working with one half at a time, shape it and stretch it into a circle or a square—it doesn’t have to be perfect. It should look rustic. (Mine looked like Australia.) Repeat with the second piece of dough. Put each pie on a baking tray lined with parchment.

Lightly prick the tops of the pie dough with a fork. Brush the tops with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil then add the toppings. I like to start with a layer of cheese, slightly more than ½ cup, then add the other toppings and finish with a sprinkle of cheese on top. Except for the pesto, that should go down first; spread it around with the back of a spoon. Top with cheese and sausage then more cheese.

Bake in the oven on the top rack 10-15 minutes. Turn the pan around halfway through the cooking time. Watch to see that the crust doesn’t burn. Remove from oven. Garnish with basil chiffonade if desired.

Portuguese fish stew


It’s after the holidays yet we’re still eating out, celebrating the new year with friends and family who have come to visit. Not so good for one’s waistline! I found this recipe in my collection from the Food Network and adapted it here. It turned out to be lightly spiced and filling without being heavy, perfect for a light dinner after a heavy lunch.

Portuguese Fish Stew (adapted from Food Network)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons pimenton dulce (Spanish paprika) or smoked paprika
1 small onion thinly sliced
1/2 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2-1 cup water
2 pounds white fish, cut into 1 inch chunks
Salt and pepper
Slices of multigrain bread, lightly toasted

Heat oil in a large saucepan or wok over medium-high heat. Add bay leaves and paprika, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add onion, peppers, tomatoes, garlic and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until the peppers are slightly softened.

Add 1/2 cup water and reduce heat to medium-low. If you think the stew needs more water, add up to a 1/2 cup more. In a large bowl, season the fish chunks with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Nestle the fish chunks on top of the tomato-pepper mixture. Cover and simmer 5-7 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle the top with the remaining cilantro. Serve each bowl with a slice of bread.

Fresh jujube cake



Our back-door neighbors gifted us a bag of jujubes last week. A jujube or Chinese apple (putsa in Thai) is a small green oval-shaped fruit. Inside, the flesh is white, lightly sweet, and crisp surrounding a small brown pit. I decided to bake them into a cake by adapting a recipe from Bon Appétit for German apple cake. I had made a German apple cake last week. I liked that recipe; it was easy and though it required time to prep (peeling and cutting apples) it was definitely delicious, and I was sure I could use jujubes instead of apples the second go-round. There were 13 jujubes in the bag and I only needed 6 for the cake. I cut and peeled them all up anyway. Now, to cut a jujube open takes some effort.  I made a slice vertically all the way around the fruit, gave the two halves a firm twist (or two), and pulled them apart. Then I gouged out the pit and peeled the two halves. I tossed the jujube halves in a sugar-spice mixture so that I didn’t need to glaze them after baking.

Jujube Cake (adapted from Bon Appétit)
1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into small cubes
1/4 cup plain fine breadcrumbs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour plus more for dusting
1 large egg lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons apricot preserves

6 fresh green jujubes, cut in half, peeled, and seeded
2-3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
A dash each nutmeg, ginger powder, allspice powder, clove powder

Unsweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (for serving)

Preheat oven 350˚F/175˚C.

Butter one 9 inch round springform pan. Sprinkle bottom and sides with breadcrumbs and tap out the excess. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, place the cut jujubes and toss with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, baking powder, salt, and 1 cup flour. Make a well in the center and add the beaten egg, vanilla, and butter. Using a fork, combine the ingredients to form a sticky ball. Scrape into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly to the edges of the dish. Spread apricot preserves on the surface with an offset spatula.

Take a jujube half from the bowl and carefully make crosswise cuts in the rounded end of the fruit, just like hasselback potatoes. Don’t cut all the way through. If there is any juice in the bowl, discard. Continue making cuts in the remaining jujube halves. Starting about ¼ inch from the edge lightly press a cut jujube half in the surface of the dough. Continue filling in the spaces, sometimes cutting the jujube half to fit, as pictured.

Bake 55-60 minutes rotating the pan halfway through baking. Let cool 15 minutes before slicing into squares. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired.


sunday night pizza


Making pizza is easy. It’s the pizza dough that’s tricky especially if you want to make it from scratch. To make a pizza dough from scratch requires planning. You have to set aside 2 1/2 to 3 hours to make the dough. I liked this pizza dough recipe because the instructions are methodical and clear. This recipe is originally for pizza on the grill but I decided to do it in the oven instead. The crust came out chewy and tender. Definitely I would make this again.

Pizza Dough (adapted from The Kitchn and Bobby Flay)

1 2/3 cups warm water (about 100˚F)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the water and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl until sugar dissolves. Sprinkle yeast on top.  Let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast dissolves and begins to “bloom.” The surface of the water will be covered with a brownish foam. Mix in 2 cups of flour for 1 minute. Let stand, covered 1 hour, to form a sponge.

Using the dough hook on setting 1, stir the oil into the sponge, then add the 2 teaspoons salt. Add the remaining 3 cups flour 1/2 cup at a time. Knead the dough on low speed with the dough hook. Remove from bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface for 5 to 7 minutes. When kneaded, the dough should form a smooth ball, feel smooth to the touch, and spring slowly back when poked.

Put the dough ball into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Poke the dough until it deflates. Remove from the bowl and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Use a pastry scraper or knife to cut the dough into 4 or 8 lumps. At this point the dough can be frozen for later use.

Grease a baking pan lightly with olive oil or baking spray. Place the dough lumps in the pan and turn them over so they are coated with oil. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel. Let rest 30 minutes. If using frozen dough, let it defrost in the refrigerator then let it come to room temperature about 30 minutes to 1 hour before using.

Heat oven to 200˚C/400˚F.

Working with one piece at a time, roll out dough or pull and stretch a dough ball in your hands on a lightly floured surface. It can be round or long, sort of flatbread shaped. If it springs back, let it rest a few minutes then try stretching it again. Place dough on oiled pan.

Brush top of the pizza dough with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. For toppings, I used fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes seeded and sliced, and parma ham. Bake 10-15 minutes or until the edges are golden. Slice and serve immediately.

fresh passion fruit sorbet


It’s been so hot lately now that it’s summer in Thailand. I needed to make something quick and refreshing–no baking, no cooking–well, not much anyway. Savory Simple had a recipe for passion fruit sorbet using passion fruit puree. I thought, why not? It’s perfectly simple and I had frozen fresh passion fruit which is even better than puree. I have a Kitchenaid ice cream maker so these are the directions for making this sorbet. It came out smooth and creamy, a little tart with a fresh fruit taste that’s unbeatable. 

Fresh Passion Fruit Sorbet

2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups fresh passion fruit pulp with seeds

At least 48 hours before making the sorbet, put the Kitchenaid ice cream maker bowl in the freezer.

Make a simple syrup. In a medium saucepan, heat sugar and water on low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. No stirring necessary! Let the syrup cool for about 5 minutes then add the passion fruit. Cool the mixture for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Put it in a spouted jug.

Make the sorbet. Assemble the ice cream dasher and turn it on to the stir (number 1) setting. While it is running, pour the passion fruit mixture into the bowl. Continue churning for 7 to 12 minutes or until you achieve the desired consistency. Spoon into a loaf pan, cover, and freeze at least 2 hours to harden. I skipped this step and simply covered the ice cream maker bowl and put it into the freezer again.

just plain banana bread


I’ve been playing around with my favorite recipe for banana bread. I like this recipe because it’s not over-sweet. I’ve added dried cranberries to it and sprinkled toasted almonds and demerara sugar on top. It’s a sturdy recipe. What I changed up this time was instead of shortening I used a third cup of rice bran oil.  The result was a banana bread with a tender moist crumb.

Banana Bread

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup rice bran oil or vegetable oil
2/3 cup superfine sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe banana (2-3 medium bananas)

Preheat oven to 350˚F/175˚C. Grease one 8.5×4.5 loaf pan.

Sift together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

Cream the oil and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until well-blended. Add one-third of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Add half the mashed ripe banana and beat until just moistened. Add half of the remaining flour and beat until just combined. Add the rest of the mashed ripe banana and beat until just moistened. Add the rest of the flour and beat until just combined.

Scrape batter into prepared pan. Smooth the top. Tap pan lightly on the counter to dislodge any air bubbles. Bake 50 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.

Cool banana bread 10 minutes in the pan. Then unmold onto a wire rack and cool completely.


fried water


I love the name of this recipe! But it’s nothing more exotic than onion egg drop soup. The onion flavor is subtle rather than harsh, and the soup is surprisingly satisfying.  It’s a simple soup that’s good for when unexpected company drops in as it cooks up in less than 20 minutes. Instead of stale bread I used homemade whole wheat croutons.

Fried Water (Adapted from Kate Winslow and Guy Ambrosino)
4 medium onions
1/3 cup olive oil
4 large eggs
5 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
8 slices stale French bread
Parsley or cilantro for garnish


Slice onions into rings. Heat olive oil gently in a medium pot and fry onions about 5-7 minutes or until they look shiny and translucent. Carefully add water and simmer until the onions become soft and silky, about 10 minutes.

Beat the eggs with a teaspoon of salt. Turn off the heat under the soup. Slowly drizzle the egg into the soup, stirring with a fork. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, set out 4 shallow soup bowls and lay two slices of stale French bread in each. Ladle the fried water over the bread. Garnish with parsley/cilantro. Serve at once.

Strawberry Season: no pectin strawberry preserves


It’s the tail-end of the cool dry season, which means strawberries are in season in Thailand. I bought 4 pounds from a farmer’s truck to make strawberry preserves. This version, adapted from The Kitchn does not use pectin. You use lemon juice and lemon rind as a source of pectin to jell the preserves. It will not be as thick as with pectin, so its consistency tends to be thinner. This recipe uses less sugar so you will have a product that is tart and lightly sweet.

4 pounds strawberries, washed, hulled, and quartered
9 cups granulated sugar
3 lemons, juiced, save the lemon halves trimming the stem ends

Put 4 metal tablespoons in the freezer. Fill 6 8-oz jars with hot water and cover the lids with hot water in a separate bowl. Set aside.

In a large pot, combine the strawberries with sugar and lemon juice. Mash lightly with a potato masher. Add the lemon halves. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes or until the liquid is thickened and reduced by half. Test the preserves to see if they have set. Remove a spoon from the freezer and dribble some of the strawberry liquid on it. Run your finger through the juice, if it leaves a trail, it is set. If not, continue cooking for another 20 minutes. It took 60 minutes to make this batch.

Throw off the hot water in the jars and carefully fill empty jars with the preserves leaving 1 inch head-space. Cover and let cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator

Eat within 3 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.

Aunt Gloria’s Tourtiere


I got this recipe from my sister. She serves it at Christmas, and so I thought I would try a Canadian Christmas tradition this year. The tourtiere or meat pie came out full of flavor with a flaky crust although a bit dry. I was afraid the water that sprang with the  cooking of the meat would make the crust soggy so I poured it off. I should have left it in because the potato would have absorbed the liquid. I also added 2 teaspoons of President’s Choice Four Peppercorns to the meat mixture. Joyeux noel.

Classic Canadian Tourtière
For Tourtiere
1 large potato or 2 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 slices bacon, chopped (thick cut bacon in original recipe)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups sliced button mushrooms, optional
¼ cup dry white wine (I used brandy)
1 1b each ground pork and veal (I used 1 kg ground pork tenderloin)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper (I added 2 teaspoons Four-Peppercorns)
¼ tsp cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves (can substitute allspice)
All-purpose savory pie dough (recipe after this one)
1 egg yolk

In saucepan of boiling salted water, cook potato until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and return to saucepan, mash and set aside.

Meanwhile, in large saucepan, fry bacon over medium-high heat until softened. Add onion and garlic; cook until softened, about 3 minutes.

Add mushrooms, cook until almost no liquid remains, about 5 minutes. Add wine; cook until almost no liquid remains.

Stir in pork and veal, if using; cook, breaking up with spoon, until browned, 20 to 25 minutes. There will be some liquid in the bottom. Don’t discard.

Add salt, pepper, cinnamon and cloves; cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add potato; cook, stirring, until incorporated, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

For Savoury Pie Dough
Makes enough for 1 double-crust 9-inch pie
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
2/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed (when I don’t have unsalted butter, I use salted butter and cut the salt in half)
1/3 cup cold lard, cubed (I use vegetable shortening instead)
1/3 cup cold water (approximate)

In bowl, whisk flour with salt. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter and lard until in coarse crumbs with a few larger pieces.

Add water 1-2 tablespoons at a time, tossing with fork until ragged dough forms and adding up to 1 tbsp more water if necessary.

Divide in half, shape into discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

On lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disc of the dough to 13-inch circle. Fit into 9-inch pie plate. Fill with meat mixture, mounding it in the center. Trim dough even with rim; brush rim with water.

Roll out remaining dough into 12-inch circle. Fit over filling, pressing edge to seal. Trim to leave ½-inch overhang; tuck under bottom pastry and flute. Cut steam vent in top.
If desired, roll out pastry scraps and cut out festive shapes. Whisk egg yolk with 1 tbsp water; brush over pastry. Press shapes onto pastry; brush with egg wash.

Bake in bottom third of 425 degree Fahrenheit/225˚C oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/200˚C; bake until steaming and pastry is golden, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Serve with A1 steak sauce.