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Friday, March 30, 2012

Mushroom soup with sourdough bread

Always tempted to make a bowl of mushroom soup, but keep on delaying. As we are having vegetarian meal on Friday, I made this when the girls went to school.
During dinner, I prepared a bowl of mushroom soup for everybody. Did not brought out any bread as they already have potato wedges and vege pipe rigate. When ES saw this, she went into the kitchen quietly. Then, she brought back a slice of sourdough bread, wanted to dip in the soup. Haha, mushroom soup have to come with a slice of sourdough bread. The tangy taste of sourdough bread really yummy after dipped into the soup. MSLS too, enjoyed the soup with bread.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  •  15 ounces fresh white mushrooms ( slice into 1/4 inch thick )
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine ( I omitted this )
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • Methods:
    (1) To make the stock, heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pot. Add the chopped mushroom stems, the onion, carrot, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
    Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. You should have about 4 1/2 cups of stock. If not, add some water.

    (2) Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the remaining 1tbs butter and add the leeks. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks begin to brown. Add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are browned and tender. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the mushroom stock, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the half-and-half, cream, and parsley, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and heat through but do not boil. Serve hot.

    Thursday, March 29, 2012

    A surprise from ES

    ES requested for some colour papers yesterday. She wanted to make us " something ", and I was not allowed to see what she is doing.
    The flower beside ES is from our backyard.

    She made an envelope, and there are two notes in it.
    To mom, I love you
    To dad, I love you

    While she was working on her important task, I made some sourdough buns ( for duo cheese steak burgers ) and baked sourdough donuts for this morning's breakfast. The girls prefer the baked donuts rather than the burger, even though I made them some mini burgers. Think they are still learning how to eat burger as a whole. They always separate it into vege, meat, buns and have it one by one.

    Wednesday, March 28, 2012

    Sourdough breads

    Sourdough Cranberries and Walnut Bread

    Jumbo walnuts were added into the bread.

    Basic Sourdough bread

    We had been baking loaves of breads at home every week. Since we started making our own sourdough starter, we had been baking some tangy taste and chewy texture of sourdough breads. During our visit to San Francisco last year, we maanges to visit one of the famous bakery, San Francisco bakery. San Francisco sourdough is the most famous sourdough bread made in the U.S. today. In contrast to sourdough production in other areas of the country, the San Francisco variety has remained in continuous production since 1849. Sourdough also became popular because of its ability to combine well with seafoods and soups such as cioppino, clam chowder, and chili.

    What is so great about sourdough:

    (1) It is delicious and has a unique flavor

    (2) With sourdough bread, complex carbohydrates are broken down into more digestible simple sugars and protein is broken down into amino acids. Enzymes develop during proofing which are not lost in baking since the center of the loaf remains at a lower temperature than the crust. It’s the fermentation, partly from lactobacillus, that makes eating good quality bread an aid to digestion of all complex carbohydrate foods including other grains, beans, and vegetables. It helps restore the functioning of the digestive tract, resulting in proper assimilation and elimination.
    Sourdough makes certain minerals (iron, zinc, magnesium, and others) in whole grains more available for absorption by our bodies by facilitating the breakdown of phytic acid, a compound in grain bran that inhibits mineral absorption.
    It is more digestible for those with gluten sensitives and removing anti-nutrients.

    (3) Sourdough bread has a lower glycemic index — a measure of how high and how quickly blood sugar spikes after eating a food — than bread made with commercial yeast. This makes it a better choice for people with, or at risk for, diabetes.

    (4) longer shelf-life.  Sourdough bread does not mold as quickly as other breads as the fermentation acts as a natural preservative.

    Baking a sourdough bread really needs time, patience and planning as it need more than 10 hours, and sometimes more than a day for making a bread!

    Sunday, March 25, 2012

    Sourdough Hearty Buns

    Baked some sourdough hearty buns as a surprise for the girls,  with homemade strawberry jam and cream cheese filling.  

    Friday, March 23, 2012

    Snowing in Spring?

    First day of Spring falls on 20th March. However, It was still snowing on Wednesday night ( 21st March ) and the snow accumulated till Thursday morning.

    In front of our house.

    The garbage truck came once a week. Snow covering the garbage bins as we usually put in front of our house the night before.

    From the side window.

    At our backyard.

    The girls usually wake up quite early.
    " It's snowing again." they said.
    We went out to the backyard and had some fun.

    Grabbing snow from the tree. 

     The girls footsteps

    What are they looking at?
    " Snow covering our grass." ES said.

    ES said she is making a tunnel.

    We build a small snowman. 

    We brought the snowman into our house. MSLS were so excited, and they wanted to " destroy" it.

    ES was rushing to school in the morning. I " reserved" a small snowman for her, to give her a surprise when she is back from school. She was so excited when she saw the snowman and started to decorate her snowman.

    However, she was sad that the snowman is melting after awhile as the weather is not that cold in the evening,

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    Busy Wednesday

    Prepared French Toast for breakfast this morning. This is one of ES's favourite.

    • 1 cup fresh milk
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 8 (1/2-inch) slices bread
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    (1) In medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the fresh milk, eggs, and salt.
    (2) Dip bread into mixture.
    (3) Over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a nonstick saute pan. Place 2 slices of bread at a time into the pan and cook until golden brown.
    (4) Serve immediately with maple syrup, fruits and sliced almond.

    ES came home earlier to prepare for her gymnastics class in the evening. The three girls were playing pretend play with a camera ( using a name card ). So, I quickly take out the camera and snap a photo as they are in the mode.

    It is 1 degree celcius now, and it is snowing again. Spring is approaching next week, but it is still snowing now.

    Natural yeast red bean buns for the girls' breakfast tomorrow. Just out from the oven.

    Word Puzzle

    ES shown interest in word puzzles lately. Think she find it interesting when she play it at school. Prepared her this word puzzle ( name of fruits ) to keep her occupied.

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012

    Granola - something new for the girls

    While I was preparing lunch yesterday, MSLS were playing masak masak. MS took this to the kitchen and wanted to give it to me. It is a cake according to her. They had been "taking" my baking tools to play with, and when we saw these ( including baking tray, rolling pin, baking pan and some other kitchen utensils and gadgets ) from Ikea, thought it would be a good idea to let them have their own set.

    Prepared granola in the afternoon for today's breakfast. Old fashioned oat cooked with bananas, raisin or other fruits had been one of the must have during our daily breakfast. Instead of boiled the old fashioned oat, we made it into granola. We made this before back in our hometown. Had almost forgotten about this. Granola add in with fresh milk, the girls have not tried before. I told them this is cornflakes. They are so impressed and like it, haha!

    MSLS's wanted to take some as their afternoon snack when I tried to take the photo.

    • 2 cups of  old-fashioned rolled oats
    • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
    • 1 cup of almonds
    • 1/2 cup of honey
    • 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
    • 1-ounce unsalted butter
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • raisin
    (1) Butter a 9 by 9-inch baking pab and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    (2) Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds onto a baking pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    (3) In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.

    (4) Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F.

    (5) Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine.

    (6) Place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes.

    Their favourite buns

    Besides loaves, we made apple cheese buns,

    blueberries cheezy bun,

    and caterpillar breads lately using natural yeast.

    Which is the girls favourite?

    Sunday, March 18, 2012

    Cupcake Friday : Chocolate cupcake

    It was raining early in the morning, then became sunny near noon. And at about 3pm, ice cube falling. The weather is really crazy.This photo was captured at our backyard. Maybe the weather was not that cold, about 6 degree C, the ice cubes melted within few minutes. 

    Baked some chocolate cupcakes with vanilla cream cheese frosting cum coffee mascarpone filling last two days. With some sliced almond and cocoa as topping.

    Had some without frosting.. Just plain chocolate cupcake.

    And these are another version for the girls - strawberry banana chocolate cupcake.