scott’s bread



As bread recipes go, this one is rather forgiving. I tried adding just 5 cups flour but found that after 15 minutes of kneading time as stated in the recipe,  the dough was still tacky. So I added 1/2 cup more flour and kneaded the dough for an additional 5 minutes. This time the dough cooperated and came out of the bowl without any problem. The texture of this bread is dense, chewy, and satisfyingly spongy. It’s definitely a Do-Again. Note that this bread can be vegan by leaving out the egg wash and brushing the top with olive oil.

Scott’s Bread Recipe
Prep time: 50 minutes
Resting time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes

1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
5 1/2 cups bread flour plus more, if needed
1 pkg yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 c water (110˚F)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 3/4 cup warm water (110˚F)

1. Mix sugar, salt and 2 cups flour together in a large mixer bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, sprinkle yeast on 1/4 cup water. Let stand until foamy, about 10-15 minutes. Pour 1 tablespoon oil on 1 3/4 cup warm water. Pour oil and water mixture into yeast and water. Pour liquid into dry ingredients. Mix well in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium low speed, until there are no lumps, about 10-15 minutes.
2. Add 2 more cups flour. Mix well. Add another 1 1/2 cups flour. Knead well, about 15 minutes, using the dough hook on medium-low speed (2). It should clean the sides of the bowl, and the dough will gather itself into a ball, and release from the bowl without any stickiness.
3. Grease a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning to coat thoroughly. Cover with a warm damp towel and leave in a warm dry place for 2 hours until doubled in bulk.
4. Punch down the dough and roll into a fat log. Separate into 3 portions. On a lightly floured board, roll into 3 ropes about 2 to 2 1/2 feet long. Braid and form a circle. Pinch ends together. Line a baking tray with parchment  and place braid on top. Cover with warm damp cloth. Let rise one hour.
5. Meanwhile, preheat oven 350˚F/175˚C.
6. Break 1 large egg into a small bowl. Beat with 1 tablespoon water. Brush onto top of dough. Bake 30 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve warm. Best eaten the day it is made. Wrap leftover bread airtight and refrigerate.

new york revisited: soba noodles with pork and sweet ginger scallion sauce


The last time I made this dish we were living in New York City. For old times’ sake and all that, I made it again, this time without sirloin steak. I used pork tenderloin for tender juicy bites to go with the sesame-soy-ginger-scallion sauce.

Soba noodles with sweet ginger scallion sauce (Modified from Simply Reem)

8-9 oz. dry soba noodles
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1 1/2 cups scallions, chopped fine
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons chili oil (substitute 2 teaspoons chili paste with garlic and 1 teaspoon oil)
Coarse salt, optional
Fresh ground black pepper, optional

Mix the scallions, ginger, cilantro, sesame oil, chili oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and honey in a bowl. Set it aside for 10 -15 minutes to let the flavors meld. Cook the noodles.

Cook’s Note: To cook soba, rinse the dried noodles first. According to Food 52, this reduces the gumminess of the noodles and they won’t stick together in cooking. Like rice grains, I rinsed the noodles until the water was clear. Bring pot of water to a boil. Reduce to simmer. Cook in simmering water 5-8 minutes or until cooked through. If al dente, cook a few minutes longer. Rinse and drain in cool water.

Toss the noodles with the sauce and sesame seeds. Taste. Add salt and pepper if needed. If too sour, add up to a teaspoon sugar. Serve at once.

OPTIONAL: To make the pork, I thinly sliced about 1 cup of pork tenderloin and marinated it for 10-15 minutes in soy sauce and pepper. Then I stir-fried the pork in a 2 teaspoons of hot oil until cooked through. Toss with the noodles.

low sugar no pectin cherry jam


My sister-in-law gave me a box of organic cherries as a gift. Fresh cherries in Bangkok are a rare and expensive treat. I decided to share the experience–and the love.

Low Sugar No Pectin Cherry Jam

5 cups pitted organic cherries
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 small lemons
pinch of salt

Put the cherries and sugar in a large 2-3 quart pot. Add the juice of one-and-a-half medium lemon and put the lemon rind halves in the pot. Cook over medium heat until the cherries soften. Mash them with a potato masher until they are chunky in texture.

Put three metal tablespoons in the freezer to chill.

Let the cherry mixture come to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture reduces and thickens. Do a spoon test. Dribble a few drops on one of the spoons from the freezer then run your finger across the drops. If it separates, the jam has set.

Remove the lemon pieces and discard. Spoon the jam into three clean four-ounce jars. Refrigerate until the jam is cold and has jelled.

yakisoba thai style


The basic rule of yakisoba is noodles with vegetables. This recipe follows the rule but uses bean threads or vermicelli instead of soba noodles. And I suppose it’s Thai style because of the fish sauce or nam pla. I like this dish because it reminds me of what happens when two different cuisines interact and we get these marvelous variations. Some cooks add scrambled egg to the mix, some add chicken slivers or pork. It’s every ingenious cook’s idea of what to do with leftovers, I suppose, or a simple vegan dish that can be a main course or a side dish.

Yakisoba Thai Style
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5-10 minutes

2 pkg bean threads or vermicelli
2 cups cabbage, cut into 1 inch strips
2 tomatoes, seeded and cut into strips
2 small carrots, peeled and cut into strips
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, cut into strips or 4 scallions cut into 1 inch lengths
4 teaspoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon dark thick soy sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce

1. Put bean threads in a large bowl. Pour boiling water on top and let soak until ready to use, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. In a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over high heat. Add the carrots and cook until all are coated in oil. Add about a tablespoon water. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Let cook about 1 minute. Uncover and remove carrots. Set aside.

3. Add another teaspoon oil to the skillet and cook the cabbage. Add to the carrots and set aside.

4. Add a third teaspoon oil to the skillet. Add the onions or scallions. Cook about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and garlic. Add to the carrots and cabbage. Set aside.

4. Add the fourth teaspoon oil to the skillet. Add the drained vermicelli and heat through, turning with tongs. Add the thick soy, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Toss to coat. Return the vegetables to the skillet. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add more fish sauce or soy sauce as desired.