Daring Baker - July 2013: Eenie Meenie Miney Moe! Mezze it is!

In a "celebration" of past Daring Baker and Daring Cook challenges, Lisa challenged all of us to search through the Daring Kitchen archives and pick any one we'd like! The REAL challenge was picking which delicious recipe(s) to try!

So this month, it was all about choosing, and as we could pick from the daring cook archives aswell, I thought I'd give this a try. I've actually made quite a few recipe from both the daring baker and cook, you'll get to see a few post around here I guess, the previous chocolate cake was one of them for instance.

Right now, I'm on holidays (yes, I know, lucky me), so to fit the weather and the mood of this time of year, I picked the february 2010 daring cook challenge "Mezze", the middle eastern version of the spanish tapas.
Under some scorching hot sun, eating something cold, or even fresh, seems like a wise choice. And even on holidays, nothing feels more therapeutic than making bread, any kind of bread. I've made Pita Bread before, but from a different recipe.

To go with the lovely pita breads, some hummus, cucumber raita, some eggplant parmeggiano leftover, feta cheese, olives, schrimps... Anything you fancy really, that's the fun of this kind of recipe, and also a great way to use what's left in your fridge.

This is a bit of a "low-fi" recipe, because I have my camera with me, BUT I forgot the cable to transfert my pictures to my computer, so in order to post on time, I decided to take picture with my cell phone instead, aahhh the joy of technology!


Pita Bread (Recipe adapted from Flatbreads & Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid)

makes about 16 breads

2 teaspoons regular dry yeast (.43 ounces/12.1 grams)
2.5 cups lukewarm water (21 ounces/591 grams)
5-6 cups all-purpose flour (may use a combination of 50% whole wheat and 50% all-purpose, or a combination of alternative flours for gluten free pita) (17.5 -21 ounces/497-596 grams)
1 tablespoon table salt (.50 ounces/15 grams)
2 tablespoons olive oil (.95 ounces/29 ml)

  1. In a large bread bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Stir to dissolve. Stir in 3 cups flour, a cup at a time, and then stir 100 times, about 1 minute, in the same direction to activate the gluten. Let this sponge rest for at least 10 minutes, or as long as 2 hours.
  2. Sprinkle the salt over the sponge and stir in the olive oil. Mix well. Add more flour, a cup at a time, until the dough is too stiff to stir. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Rinse out the bowl, dry, and lightly oil. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until at least doubled in size, approximately 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Place a pizza stone, or two small baking sheets, on the bottom rack of your oven, leaving a 1-inch gap all around between the stone or sheets and the oven walls to allow heat to circulate. Preheat the oven to 450F (230C).
  4. Gently punch down the dough. Divide the dough in half, and then set half aside, covered, while you work with the rest. Divide the other half into 8 equal pieces and flatten each piece with lightly floured hands. Roll out each piece to a circle 8 to 9 inches in diameter and less than 1/4 inch thick. Keep the rolled-out breads covered until ready to bake, but do not stack.
  5. Place 2 breads, or more if your oven is large enough, on the stone or baking sheets, and bake for 2 to 3 minutes, or until each bread has gone into a full balloon. If for some reason your bread doesn't puff up, don't worry it should still taste delicious. Wrap the baked breads together in a large kitchen towel to keep them warm and soft while you bake the remaining rolled-out breads. Then repeat with the rest of the dough.
Hummus (Recipe adapted from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden)

1.5 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight (or substitute well drained canned chickpeas and omit the cooking) (10 ounces/301 grams)
2-2.5 lemons, juiced (3 ounces/89ml)
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
a big pinch of salt
4 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste) OR use peanut butter or any other nut butter—feel free to experiment) (1.5 ounces/45 grams)
additional flavorings (optional) I would use about 1/3 cup or a few ounces to start, and add more to taste

  1. Drain and boil the soaked chickpeas in fresh water for about 1 ½ hours, or until tender. Drain, but reserve the cooking liquid.
  2. Puree the beans in a food processor (or you can use a potato masher) adding the cooking water as needed until you have a smooth paste.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
Cucumber Raita (Recipe adapted from The Indian Grocery Store Demystified by Linda Bladholm)

1 medium cucumber, peeled and most of the seeds removed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (.1 ounce/3 grams) OR use a small pinch of dried cumin—to taste
2 cups plain whole milk or Greek yogurt (17 ounces/473ml)
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
fresh coriander or mint, chopped, a couple pinches or more to taste
cayenne pepper or paprika, just a pinch to use as a garnish (optional)

  1. Peel cucumber, de-seed, and dice. Blot off moisture with paper towels.
  2. Toast cumin seeds for a few seconds in a small, heavy frying pan over high heat.
  3. In a bowl, stir yogurt until it is smooth.
  4. Mix it with the cumin, garlic and coriander or mint leaves (I used some grated radish instead).
  5. Stir in the cucumber and sprinkle with cayenne or paprika, and chill before serving.


Death by Chocolate: Chocolate Valentino Cake

As stated many times before, my addiction to chocolate knows no boundaries. I don't know where it comes from, or for how long it's been going on, but as far as I can remember, I've been enjoying, seeking, longing for chocolate in one form or an other. And thru difficult times, nothing works quite as good for me as some good dark chocolate.

So yes summer is here, my holidays are around the corner, I'm healthy... bla bla bla... When your mind is not into it, there is just no way of getting it there sometimes. I call that my post birthday depression, once you're over 25, all of the sudden, birthday turn into this big questionning about your achievement, where you're going with your life... All that grown up stuff I don't like. Have I mentioned I'm a cancer before, and that we are all kinds of nutcases?

Anyway, I'm going to shake this of, and one good way is heading to the kitchen and baking something. This chocolate cake is ridiculously delicious, is only for true chocolate lovers, because it just taste like pure chocolate... Choose your favorit chocolate for this recipe, and remember chocolate is the answer!

Chocolate Valentino Cake (From Chef Wan's Sweet Treats)

450gr of Black Chocolate (I used Meunier)
150gr of Butter
5 Eggs

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Grease a 20cm oven dish, line it with parchement paper and butter it again.

Break the chocolate into small bits, add the butter into cubes into a heatproof bowl. You can melt this over a "bain-marie", meaning over simmering water, or the lazy way: in the microwave. On low power, never over 30 seconds each time and whisk in between, this should be done in 3 or 4 times. Leave to cool a little.

Separate the egg white and yolk, whip the egg white to a stiff peak and seat aside. Beat the egg yolk a little to add some air to them and whisk them in the cooled chocolate/butter mixture.

Using a spatula, fold in a third of the egg white to soften the batter, than add the rest of the egg white, carefull fold until it's well combined.

Pour the batter into the greased dish and place it in the oven for 25-30minutes, the top should be like a brownie and a cake tester should come out wet.

Leave it to cool for at least 10 minutes then unmold. You can enjoy this with a bit of whipped cream flavored with vanilla sugar.