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Triple Chocolate Cupcakes with a hint of Coffee

As I am sitting here writing this blog post, I am dwelling on the fact that I have failed at my goal for the new year of baking a new kind of bread each week. But I am going to very quickly justify it with cupcakes and pizza dough. Today I made cupcakes and on Tuesday I made pizza dough ... so there to my challenge! I had plans this afternoon to attend a friend's afternoon wine soiree and my mother taught me well never to go to someone's house empty handed so I thought why not try another batch of deliciously incredible Vegan cupcakes. Today's choice was based on the Double Chocolate Shot Mocha Cupcake recipe from
Yesterday I looked over the recipe and I thought I picked up everything I needed but realized that I forgot an essential ingredient coconut milk, so I needed to improvise since the store that sells it is far away for a Sunday morning. Since I have tried the Chocolate Balsamic recipe on this site, I decided that I would combine the technique involved in the Chai Latte cupcakes by steeping warm soy milk through a coffee filter with fresh coffee grounds and whisking the coffee infused liquid with balsamic vinegar until it curdled. Then I mixed the curdled mixture into the dry ingredients and baked as normal. My oven didn't cooperate and cook the cupcakes evenly but it was almost as if I was expecting this since it has been cooking things pretty perfectly the past few days, I knew it was time for it to be temperamental. As they were cooking they smelled wonderful so I wasn't worried about the taste! While they were baking I prepared the icing, which once again turned out grainy. I am not sure what causes this because it only occurs when I make chocolate varieties of icing. I am convinced that it has something to do with the odd consistency of Korean powdered sugar which is a cross between granulated sugar and what I think of as powdered sugar. All in all it tasted good, but definitely not as coffee like as I thought it would. Next time I will have to add more coffee from a stronger brew to the icing. I drizzled each cupcake with chocolate syrup and garnished it with a dark chocolate square. Of course I needed to taste test before I brought them to a gathering. They were delicious but a little fragile as they fell apart easily, but luckily not in the dry category! Next time I will try these bad boys following the original recipe and hope to have a better turn out, although I am not disappointed with how they tasted. I am just imagining something even more delicious!

Double Shot Mocha Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder or 1 / 2 ground coffee
1 / 3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 / 4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 / 3 cup cocoa powder
3 / 4 teaspoon baking soda
1 / 2 teaspoon baking powder
1 / 4 teaspoon salt
1 / 4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups powdered sugar
1 / 2 cup butter
1 / 8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons brewed coffee (cooled)
1 / 2 teaspoon vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.
2. In a microwave safe bowl, heat coconut milk until hot (but not boiling). Stir in espresso powder. If you don't have espresso powder, put coffee grounds into a fine sieve. Pour coconut milk over grounds and allow to seep through. You will end up with a few grounds in your milk this way, but it won't affect the final product.
3. Whisk sugar, oil, and vanilla extract in to coffee mixture. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and beat until no lumps remain (or very few remain).
4. Pour into liners, filling each with a scant 1 / 4 cup of batter. Bake 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
5. For frosting, sift together powdered sugar, cocoa. Cream butter and add to sugar mixture slowly. Add salt, and coffee. Beat 2 minutes. Add vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.


Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes

On Saturday and Sunday mornings, I try really hard to make something exciting for breakfast since I am not pressed for time. I also try to make something that uses ingredients that I already have on hand to avoid visiting the market early in the morning. So, I looked in my fridge today and saw that I had some leftover canned pineapple from the Barbeque Chicken Pineapple Pizza that we made on our pizza night earlier in the week. I searched for some recipes that involved pineapple and didn't come across much that involved other ingredients I had on hand. Then I thought, what about pineapple in pancakes? This could be interesting. I did a quick search and found exactly what I was looking for .. Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes from The Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes. It was definitely the picture that sold me on trying out this recipe. As I continued to look over the recipe, I realized that I didn't have all of the ingredients, so I substituted soy milk for the coconut milk and added about a tablespoon of coconut powder to the batter to allow for the coconut flavoring. I also substituted crushed walnuts for the madedamia nuts. I left out the coconut and rum flavorings as well. While the pancakes were cooking, it took a few rounds to get the pancakes to cook thoroughly with the thick slice of pineapple in the center. Once they were finished I removed from the pan, drizzled them with a maple syrup, brown sugar sauce and garnished them with toasted walnuts and powdered sugar. They were excellent and tasted very similar to my mother's pineapple upside down cake. Voila! Another success in the kitchen!
Vegan Pineapple Upside-down Pancakes
Recipe from The Blooming Platter by Betty DiJulio
Makes 6 pancakes
6-1/4" thick slices of fresh pineapple, trimmed, cored, and drained well between several layers of paper towel
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup self-rising flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
optional: 2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 cup coconut milk (use the real thing, not "lite")
optional: 1/4-1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons vegan butter (I like Earth Balance)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
3-4 tablespoons warm water
4 tablespoons maple syrup
optional: 1/4-1/2 teaspoon rum extract
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons toasted and chopped macadamia nuts (toast nuts whole in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden--watch carefully--cool and chop coarse-fine)
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and optional brown sugar. Slowly stir the coconut milk and optional coconut extract into the dry ingredients. Stir or whisk until well combined.
2. In a large well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, melt one-half tablespoon of butter and swirl to cover the bottom. (Use more butter if skillet ever appears dry.)
3. Using a 1/4 cup measure, make two pancakes spreading each one ever so slightly just to flatten tops.
4. Place one pineapple ring on top of each pancake and press gently to nestle them into the batter, allowing the batter to rise around the edges and squeeze up through the holes of the pineapple rings.
5. Cook two-three minutes on the first side or until a few bubbles appear and batter begins to appear set.
6. Sprinkle pineapple slices with 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar each, gently patting into the surface. 7. Gently flip pancakes and cook another couple of minutes on the reverse. If pancakes are cooking too quickly, lower heat to medium.
8. When cooked through, remove pancakes to plates or a serving platter, pineapple side up, and keep warm while you repeat two more times with remaining butter, pancake batter, pineapple slices and brown sugar.
9. To make the syrup, add brown sugar and water to whatever butter remains in the skillet. Stir to dissolve sugar and then stir in syrup. Cook gently, stirring frequently, for a minute or so until syrup thickens slightly. Add rum extract if desired. Pour over pancakes, sift powdered sugar around edges of pancakes so as not to conceal pineapple rings, and sprinkle nuts in the center holes. Serve warm.


Love and Olive Oil Cupcake Supply Contest

On Tuesdays I get finished with work early so in my book there is absolutely no reason not to cook something on these days. I started my morning by running down the list of my favorite food blogs to check what new recipes they had posted. It is always the photos and the blend of seasonal ingredients that attracts me the most to a recipe. I took a break from main course planning and browsed the cupcake section of to see which recipe I might try out next, although I am not sure what can compare to the Chocolate Balsalmic Raspberry or the Sweet Potato with Maple Buttercream recipes that I have recently tried. They were both comparable to a slice of heaven! I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed that Lindsay was advertising a raffle for some pretty cool cupcake tools. Since I have managed to try and successfully accomplish some of her recipes without any fancy tools, I am just imagining the wonders that I could create if I did have some of these neat tools. Entering the contest sounds pretty easy, just check out her site, and post to her blog your interest. If you are into baking as much as I am, check out her site and take a chance at sprucing up your baking supplies!


Cooking up a Storm

Another chilly Sunday morning and the only thing on my mind was how nice it would be to sit in front of a fire with a nice cup of coffee, a bowl of warm stew and a good book. Since I live in the middle of a bustling city in an apartment, this idea of mine could only partially come into fruition, but led me to thinking how in about 7 weeks all of this vision could become a reality. So anyway, Let's get to the "now" of this story.

Sunday is the day I cook. I try to think about meals for the week and when I go shopping I like to buy items that can be used to make several meals. Stew was definitely on the list of things to make to satisfy my craving for winter comfort foods. Before I went to the store, I decided on my menu for the day. I would make Pork Stew, using a recipe courtesy of Jamie Oliver, Buttermilk Herb Biscuits, and Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream Icing, from my favourite food blog at the moment, . So I put on my coat and headed to the market since it wouldn't be a cooking day without a trip to the market to get the freshest vegetables and meat.

Since beef is insanely expensive in Korea I purchased pork instead. Often meat can only be purchased in large quantities so I planned to roast the leftover meat and use later in the week for Barbeque Pork Sandwiches. I had some leftover pita bread in the freezer and a jar of homemade BBQ sauce in the fridge so they will go nicely together.

I figured I would make the dessert first so that the stew could simmer and be ready for dinner. While I boiled some sweet potatoes, I prepared my dry ingredients in a large bowl. I whisked together my sugars, oil, maple syrup, and soy milk with the mashed sweet potatoes and added it to the dry ingredients. After about 2 minutes in the oven, the aroma of sugar and spice filled the air. I felt like I was in my grandmother's kitchen on Thanksgiving Day when she had pies and sweet potato casserole baking. There is just something so magical about combining the seasonal flavours of winter.
In the meantime, while the cupcakes were baking, I began to prepare for the creation of the stew. I chose this recipe because it included squash which very much intriqued me. I have never had a proper stew that included squash and since I have become slightly obsessed with the idea of including squash in things I thought it would be worth a try. It took some effort to cut through the squash, peel it and dice it, but I had a feeling that it was going to be totally worth the effort. From past experiences, Jamie Oliver's recipes seem to be pretty fail proof. Chopping and peeling the veg for this recipe hardly took 10 minutes. I threw the onions, butter, and oil into the pot and let them get tender for a few minutes. Then I added all of the other ingredients, let it come to a boil, and stepped away from the pot for about 3 hours. I came back to my simmering pot a few times to give it a quick whirl with the spoon and take in the steamy aroma. It was a matter of minutes before the stew was nice and thick.

Ding .. Ding .. my cupcakes are done. I took them out of the oven and let them cool for awhile after only about 20 minutes of cooking. They were golden brown and all puffed up evenly! Now that the oven was free and since I didn't use all of the meat I bought for the stew, I rubbed the leftovers with a mixture of olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper and tossed it in the oven for about an hour. Later in the week I could shred it by cutting it against the grain and mixing it with some homemade barbeque sauce and put it onto some sandwiches. While the meat was roasting and the cupcakes were cooling, I prepared my icing for the cupcakes. Whenever I follow an icing recipe, it often makes an exorbitant amount, so I cut the recipe into fourths since I only made half of the cupcake recipe anyway. I had a very good feeling that this frosting was going to be delicious since it included maple syrup and cinnamon, two flavours that were meant to marry. I spread it on the cupcakes and dusted them with cinnamon. Now could I stay away until dessert? Only time will tell.

Onto the next part of our meal, Buttermilk Herb Biscuits. I had to tweak this recipe a bit since buttermilk is not readily available in Korea. After a little research, I mixed one cup of milk and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and let it sour while I prepared the dry ingredients. Due to the time of year, fresh herbs are a little difficult to come by and since all of ours kicked the bucket one night when they were struck by a heavy frost, I had to rely on dried ones. I did have some chives so I chopped them up and added some dried rosemary and parsley to the batter. This batter was a little sticky at first so I needed to dust it with a little extra flour before kneading. The recipe also called for a biscuit cutter which I didn't have, so instead I pulled out our trusty pint glass that serves not only as a resting place for a pint of beer but also as a rolling pin and now a biscuit cutter. It did the job perfectly! I lined up my biscuits on a buttered baking sheet, sprinkled them with cheese and put them in the oven. After about 15 minutes, they had puffed up nicely and were golden brown.

Usually when I have something in mind that involves the kitchen, I stick to it and nothing else can keep me entertained. That was the case today, therefore my "dinner" was completely finished by about 2pm. But since my husband is pretty easy going, it was no problem for him to eat "lupper" today! Everything turned out a success and I would highly recommend trying out the recipes below because they are phenomenal! Now what to make for dinner?

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Maple Spice Buttercream
Recipe from
Makes 12 cupcakes


1 cup sweet potato puree (fresh or canned)
1/4 cup soymilk
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 / 2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or maple syrup
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 / 4 cup almond meal or coconut powder
1 / 2 teaspoon baking powder
1 / 2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 / 4 teaspoon allspice
1 / 4 teaspoon salt

1 / 2 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
3-3 1 / 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 /4 cup maple syrup
1 /4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground allspice
1-2 tablespoons soy creamer or heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sweet potato puree, soymilk, oil, sugars, and vanilla. Sift in the flour, almond meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
3. Fill liners with 3 tablespoons batter (cups should be approximately 2 / 3 full). Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.
4. To make frosting, cream butter. Add 1 / 2 cup confectioners sugar and mix until smooth. Add maple syrup, creamer, and spices, and mix to incorporate. Continue adding sugar, 1 / 2 cup at a time, mixing well between additions. Beat until light and fluffy. Add more creamer or sugar as needed to achieve the right consistency. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Dust with cinnamon and enjoy!
Beef Stew
Recipe from Jamie Oliver
Makes 6 servings


olive oil
a knob of butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
a handful of fresh sage leaves
800g / 1 ¾ lb stewing steak or beef skirt, cut into 5cm / 2 inch pieces
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
flour, to dust
2 parsnips, peeled and quartered
4 carrots, peeled and halved
½ a butternut squash, halved, deseeded and roughly diced
optional: a handful of Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and halved
500g/1lb 2oz small potatoes
2 tablespoons tomato purée
½ a bottle of red wine
285ml / ½ pint beef or vegetable stock
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
a handful of rosemary, leaves picked
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 160 º C/300 º F / gas
2. Put a little olive oil and your knob of butter into an appropriately sized pot or casserole pan. Add your onion and all the sage leaves and fry for 3 or 4 minutes.
3. Toss the meat in a little seasoned flour, then add it to the pan with all the vegetables, the tomato purée, wine and stock, and gently stir together. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper and just a little salt.
4. Bring to the boil, place a lid on top, then cook in the preheated oven until the meat is tender. Sometimes this takes 3 hours, sometimes 4 - it depends on what cut of meat you're using and how fresh it is. The only way to test is to mash up a piece of meat and if it falls apart easily it's ready. Once it's cooked, you can turn the oven down to about 110 ° C/225 ° F / gas ¼ and just hold it there until you're ready to eat.
Herb Biscuits

Recipe from
Makes 8 biscuits


2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 / 2 tsp salt
6 TBS cold butter, cut into pieces
2 TBS chopped Italian parsley
2 TBS thinly sliced fresh chives
1 TBS chopped fresh tarragon
3 / 4 c buttermilk

1. In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With two knives, a pastry blender, or your fingers, cut or rub in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.
2. With a fork, mix in parsley, chives, and tarragon. Pour in buttermilk and stir gently until mixture comes together. Scrape onto a lightly floured surface and, with lightly floured hands, knead gently just until dough forms a ball.
3. Pat dough into a 1/2-inch-thick round. Using a 3-inch round cutter or wineglass, cut out biscuits. Gather scraps, pat out again, and cut out remaining biscuits; you should have 8 total. Space evenly on a buttered 10 - by 15-inch baking sheet and sprinkle evenly with remaining shredded cheese.
4. Bake in a 425 ° oven until biscuits are puffy and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Homemade Barbeque Sauce

Recipe from Food Blogga
Makes about 1 1 / 2 cups sauce
1 cup Heinz ketchup
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 heaping Tbsp brown spicy mustard
3 Tbsp soy sauce
7-8 good shakes of Tabasco sauce
Mix all ingredients in sauce pan until heated through. Great on pizza instead of tomato sauce. Mix together with pork or chicken for barbequed sandwiches. (Barbequed Pork with Homemade Pita Bread pictured)


Green Olive Walnut Bread

I am sitting here at my computer completely in denial with the fact that it is already mid-January. Where is the time going? Luckily for us we are desperately looking forward to the changes that are forthcoming for us such as moving to Canada, starting a new job (still don't know what that may be), volunteering with the WWOOF program, starting my own garden (well if we get some property before growing season is over) and my newest idea is to go back to school and finally get the degree in culinary arts that I have dreamed of ever since I was a young girl. We shall see what the future has in store for us. There are so many options. But as far as right now, that brings me to this week's episode of my bread making self-challenge. All week I browsed recipes and finally decided on Green Olive Walnut Bread served warm with olive oil and sweet balsamic vinegar dipping sauce.

Fridays are long days, but since we have plans to be away from home for the rest of the weekend, I knew that I had to either make my weekly loaf of bread today or fail my personal new year's goal for the week. Since I am not usually a supporter of the latter option, I came home from work after a long, exhausting day and set to work. Since I didn't have a recipe for this kind of bread, I simply tweaked a basic bread recipe that I already had and spruced it up my adding more ingredients and love.

I have used this recipe several times before and have never had any problems with it. But today the dough was extra sticky and almost soup like. I continued to add more flour, almost doubling the amount required for the recipe. I am not sure what causes this sort of thing to happen but in the end extra flour did the trick. Usually I would let my dough rise for about an hour, but since it was Friday night and kind of late, I cut the rise time in half by placing the bowl of dough on top of the oven while it was preheating. This allowed it to rise quicker. Before putting it into the oven, I brushed it with some fine olive oil from Crete and some roasted garlic. After about 35 minutes the top of the bread was a nice golden brown. I opened the oven door and did the tap test to see if it sounded hollow inside .... perfect! Just a few minutes to cool and then we can cut into a slice of heaven. I always have to save a task for the cooling process to keep me from digging in full force to things right out of the oven. Self-control for freshly baked goods is not one of my strengths. So I left the preparation of the dipping sauce for now. Preparing a plate of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper took all of 30 seconds, but that was good enough for me. Time to cut a slice!

Now the thing I love about this recipe is that it produces a dense, slightly sweet slice of bread, a perfect complement to the salty olives. The outside is a little crispy, but the inside if very moist. The best part is that the basic dough recipe can be modified for your own likings. Some combinations that I have done before include: rosemary garlic, cinnamon raisin walnut, sesame seed, assorted herbs. As long as you don't add any liquid to the recipe, then you are pretty safe. The best part of this bread was that we saved the leftovers for breakfast the next morning topped with a thin layer of cream cheese.

If you want to try to make this bread here is the recipe:

Green Olive and Walnut Bread
1.5 cups white flour
1 1 / 2 tsp. active dry yeast
3 TBS sugar
3/4-1 cup warm water
Pinch of salt
1 / 2 TBS salt
1 / 4 cup green olives, chopped
1 / 4 cup walnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 ° F or 177 ° C.
2. Put all dry ingredients in bowl along with the walnuts and olives. Mix with your hands.
3. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add water and mix. Begin kneading, adding more flour if the dough is too wet.
4. Add oil and knead for a few minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise.
5. Place on cookie sheet and brush with olive oil and roasted garlic.
6. Cook 30-45 minutes or until golden brown and hollow.


Making Bagels

Ok, so I spend a lot of time reading food blogs. I mean a lot of time because cooking and knowing about how to use different kinds of food is my passion. Recently I have been hearing all about this book called, The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread, by Peter Reinhart which has been inspiring professional chefs and home cooks to get back into the art of bread making. Making homemade bread is becoming a lost art and he is trying to preserve it by teaching others how to make fine quality loaves of bread with the recipes in his book. Therefore many of the cooks in the food blogs that I have been reading are creating personal challenges to bake every kind of bread in the book from cover to cover. What a challenge! Since it is the new year and since I also love to make homemade bread, I figured why not. I will join the revolution of making a new kind of bread each week from scratch. Not only do I get to have my house smell fabulous every weekend, but also I am contributing to healthier eating habits for my family. Since I do not own this book yet, I have modified the directions of the challenge for myself and have to research and find a new recipe each week. But it works for me and definitely for my husband!

A few weeks ago it was garlic crusted herb bread, last week it was pita bread and pizza dough, and yesterday it was bagels. Maybe you are thinking bagels are not really the same as a loaf of homemade bread. Yes, you are right. They are not a loaf of bread, but making bagels from scratch in a kitchen the size of mine is an incredible task. Besides bagels are in the bread aka "carb" family. I spent many years in a previous life, also called high school, working at a bagel bakery so I have always had a particular fondness and love for bagels. Making bagels quickly brought back memories of arriving at the bagel shop at the wee hours of the morning setting off alarms letting the whole town know that the baker arrived to work late and other stories of a similar nature.

I found a great recipe by John Lee that guided me in my quest. The recipe can be found here: I prepared my ingredients and cleared off my countertop. Since the recipe itself was quite simple and not very time consuming, I was excited to begin my task. In about 2 minutes flat, I had the ingredients in a bowl, mixed together and the contents overturned onto a floured surface to knead. It took about 10 minutes or so to knead the dough to a nice smooth, elastic consistency, but since this has become almost a habit, I didn't mind. The next step was to divide the dough into eight ball-like portions and set those aside for about 20 minutes. While the dough rested, I prepared my toppings. Since I became what some may call a "bagel snob" after working at Bruegger's Bagels, I don't do plain bagels or plain of anything I might add. I looked in my cabinet to see what I could gather. I quickly set to work preparing four plates of toppings because I would make two of each kind. I decided upon sesame seeds, cinnamon and sugar, dried onion, and the best of all-the "everything bagel," which was mixture of roasted garlic, sesame, dried onion, and salt.

After allowing an ample amount of time to rise, I came back to my dough for the trickiest step of all-getting a ball of dough into a circle with a whole in the middle. I thought about some skills that I learned years ago when playing with Playdough was the cool thing to do. I rolled the dough into a snake and then wrapped the snake into a circle, trying to fuse the ends to make a circle. This part was a little harder than I thought because bread dough is not as pliable as Playdough. Once I was satisfied I left them to rise again for another 20 minutes. Meanwhile, I prepared a pot of boiling water that would serve as a "water bath" for the bagels which would help to later make the outside nice and crispy, but the inside fluffy and soft. The bagels were ready. I dunked them in the water, two at a time, for about a minute before rotating them for another minute. After removing them, I let them dry for a few minutes before coating the top with seeds. Once they were all ready to go, I put them into the oven to bake for about 10 minutes on each side.

It was a matter of seconds before the aroma of roasted garlic filled my kitchen. I paced back and forth for our breakfast to be finished. Now the hardest part was going to be the wait between the time they finished cooking and the cooling time, which according to the directions was very important. Since I am not the most patient of species, I saved my cream cheese run for this time. I bolted out the door, forgetting all of my cold weather necessities, and headed to the grocery store. Once I got back I barely had my shoes off before my knife was slicing through the middle of an "everything" bagel, and smearing it with cream cheese. Each bagel was golden brown on the top, but chewy and delicious inside. I would have to say that this mission was successfully accomplished to the point that I will never buy a store bought bagel again.

Homemade Bagel Recipe
Recipe by John Lee
Makes 8 bagels

4 cups bread flour
1 Tbls sugar
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 Tbls vegetable oil
2 tsps instant yeast
1-1/4- 1-1/2 cups of warm water

1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. You don't have to worry about soaking the yeast when you use instant yeast (most yeast sold these days is instant yeast). The dough should feel stiff, but add the extra water if it's really stiff, or you can't get all the dry flour incorporated.
Plop the dough down onto the counter, and knead for about ten minutes, or until the dough is uniform and smooth.
2. Cut the dough into 8 equal sized balls, and let rest for 10-20 minutes.
3. Pre heat your oven to 425.
4. Now, take each of the dough balls and using two hands, roll it into a little snake on the counter. When the snake is longer than the width of your two hands, wrap it around your dominant roiling hand. The dough rope should be wrapped so the overlapping ends are together at your palm, near the start of your fingers. Now take the two overlapping ends, and use your palm to squish/roll these two ends together. Once the dough is fused, you should have a perfectly circular bagel-to-be! This is the only part of the process that can take a little practice before your bagels will look really professional. Don't get discouraged if they don't look perfect, it just takes practice!
5. Let your bagels rest on the counter for about 20 minutes, and meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil, and grease a large baking tray lightly. You can just rub a splash of vegetable oil and rub it around.
6. After the 20 minute wait, your bagels will start to look puffy, and it's time to get them boiling! Add them as many at a time as you can to your boiling water without crowding them. Boil for about a minute, turn them over, and boil for another minute. Take them out a let dry for a minute and then place them on your oiled baking tray. Repeat until all the bagels are boiled.
7. Add the tray to the oven, and after 10 minutes, flip the bagels over, bake for another ten minutes; and they're done!
8. Let them cool for at least 20 minutes, get the cream cheese ready, and feast on what's got to be one of the best weekend brunch treats possible!
9. You can add any toppings you like to these. To make sesame, onions, poppy seed, caraway etc. etc. bagels just have a dry plate ready with the seed or spice topping spread out on it. After the bagels have come out of the boiling water, place them face down onto the seeds, and then place the seed side up onto the baking tray. Bake and flip as for plain bagels.


Vacation Reflection

As I am sitting here, with a hot toddy in hand prepared with some fine Scottish whiskey by my dear husband, I am beginning to reflect on our 11 day winter vacation that is coming to a close as soon as the alarm clock beeps us back to reality in less than 12 hours. Before our vacation began, we had two choices, travel to some exotic land and bask in the sunlight or take it easy and fully relax and enjoy our last eight weeks of working in Korea and save a few pennies. We chose the second option and to many we did "nothing" over this time. But to me, we were overly productive and one hundred percent relaxed the entire time. Our days were filled with watching movies we've been meaning to see, reading books that have been opened and closed many times but never finished, and eating delicious food.

The holidays to me should be centered around good food, even better company, and of course wine. On Christmas Eve, we set out to accomplish all of these. Over a pot of coffee, we added the last few things to our shopping list. I set out to the local produce market and butcher and picked up the freshest ingredients that I could find in the middle of winter. Since I frequent the markets almost daily, I have become rather friendly with the shopkeepers and always notice a few extra apples, tomatoes, or onions in my basket as "service," which I have come to learn is the Korean way. The city market is such an interesting place as local farmers come into the city to sell their daily harvests amidst the hustle and bustle of people rushing off to the subway located only seconds away. After I visited all of my usual vendors, I double checked my list to make sure that I had everything that I needed. My next stop was the butcher. It was here that I had a little trouble with my online translation for pork tenderloin. The butcher did not agree that this cut of meat would be good, probably due to the lack of fat on the selection he had, so he insisted on some other cut of pork. I smiled, nodded, and placed it into my basket, and started thinking of ways to prepare it. At the same time as I left for the market, Bob gathered his mitts and toque and set off on his bike to do our "alcohol run" for our vacation. He returned with 7 bottles of wine, a wheel of brie, a 12 pack of beer, a log of pepperoni, and a jar of pineapple salsa. Our feast was going to be out of this world.

I began the day by baking up a loaf of my garlic herb crusted bread, not only to enjoy the aroma all day, but to use as the backbone for an olive, lemon and toasted walnut spread that I would prepare later in the day. My peanut butter Hershey kiss cookies that I premade last weekend had been removed from the freezer to be thawed in time for dessert. I concocted a chicken taco like filling to later go inside of crispy wonton wrappers topped with melted cheese. It has always been a tradition in my family to enjoy a Christmas Eve meal of soup and salad, usually which is my mother's famous Minestrone soup. But since we just made several pots of it a few weeks ago, I opted for something new. After lots of searching, I decided on a recipe for Sweet Potato soup loaded with cinnamon, nutmeg, and green onions. It definitely added to the aroma of the house and fulfilled my desire for the smell of "hominess" that I ever so miss during the holidays.
As it was approaching midday, we sat down to watch some classic Christmas films and enjoy some wine and appetizers. We topped the wheel of Brie, which is a semi luxury in a country that hardly produces any of its own cheese, with strawberry jam, green onions, and garlic and baked it in the oven for a few minutes. Once it began to ooze, I removed it and served it with fresh apples and crackers. Bob sliced up some pepperoni and cheddar cheese and made a nice platter garnished with the festive looking olive dip and fresh bread. We agreed on a bottle of Chilean red wine to accompany our appetizers and movie watching. When we felt the urge to eat again, I heated up the soup and popped the chicken taco stars into the oven. While I waited I heated up some olive oil, garlic and apple cider vinegar to prepare the base that would be eventually mixed with some maple syrup to coat our spinach salad. I garnished it with walnuts and sliced cucumbers. Everything was ready to go and round two officially began just in time for movie number two. For the first time in a long time, I managed to save room for a small portion of dessert. To me this day was complete bliss!

Christmas arrived with a few flurries falling from the sky so that the phrase "White Christmas" could semi apply to us here in Seoul. I woke up early and turned on the coffee, since I am still on my "work schedule" of wake up calls. When my body finally realizes that I don't have to get up early it will be time to go back to work again. I got started on Christmas morning breakfast, Stout Bacon Pecan Rolls. The sweet, malty aroma got Bob out of bed quicker than usual. I wish I could say that this recipe was an original of mine, but it is not. It is borrowed from a place on the internet in which the name escapes me. As soon as I find it again, I will properly give credit to the right person. It was at this point that Bob surprised me with tickets to the musical Nanta for later in the evening. I was so excited because I have been looking forward to seeing this show for a long time!
We had an early dinner of rosemary, garlic, and olive oil crusted pork topped with ginger apples, sautéed garlic scapes, and accordion potatoes topped with sharp cheddar cheese and garlic. After we cleaned up, we ventured to the subway station and walked rather quickly as the air was a little more brisk than we had thought. When we arrived at our destination station, we walked up to the street and tried to make sense of the directions on the theatre's website. Luckily Bob is better with directions than I am, so we made it there with enough time to grab a cup of coffee before the show. There was a little mix up with our tickets so the theatre compensated and gave us front row seats! As the lights dimmed and the traditional beat of the drums began, I knew we were going to be in for a good performance. The lights gradually turned on as the narrator cam onto stage and introduced the plot of the play, four chefs preparing for a wedding feast with only a few hours to do it. The chefs quickly set to work chopping vegetables, making soup, and baking a cake. Amidst all of this preparation, a love story was mixed in as well as competition between the four chefs to do the best job. Comedy and satire were major themes as the chefs entertained us with knife tricks, dancing, and plenty of jokes. There were even times when the audience was involved in the show and luckily for me I got pulled up on stage to try and remove a trash can from one of the chef's behinds ... slightly embarrassing, but very funny. The show ended with a successful preparation of a feast and an audience satisfied for hours with laughs. We made our way back to the station and were welcomed with a light snowfall that made the streets glisten underneath the glow of the street lamps. What a night!

The rest of our vacation was filled with many very similar days. Although, we did get out of town for two out of the eleven days. We headed to Busan, which is located about 5 hours southeast of Seoul, right along the coast. Most people ride the KTX or bullet train to get there, but we opted for the bus so that we could enjoy the scenery. Unfortunately this did not really happen as the bus windows were covered with condensation most of the way. Once we arrived, we found our way to Gwangali Beach and took a stroll along the beach. It was nice to take in the salty sea air, a smell that had almost been forgotten. We didn't have any plans for today, other to wander and see what we see. Later on in the evening, we had hoped to see a friend of ours who lives in the area, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. We scoped out a place to stay and found a dodgy little place behind the main street, since all of the places looking out onto the ocean were either previously booked or insanely expensive for our budget.
Nearby, we found a little kimbap restaurant and had some delicious cheese pork cutlet, the infamous cheesy dongkatsu. On our wander back to our hotel, we stopped at a few hole in the wall bars to get a few beers and have a few dart challenges. After all we could handle of the yet to become smoke free bars, we made our way back to our hotel and called it a night.

The next morning we woke up fairly early and set out to meet up with our friend, who we would meet to go onto the Geumjeong Fortress with. We met her and had a quick bite to eat before boarding the bus opposite the subway station. The ride to the mountain top was an interesting one, as everyone was holding on for their dear lives as the driver twisted and turned the bus to match the curves in the road. Once we arrived we made a dash for the postings that described the history of the wall. It was built centuries ago and destroyed during the Japanese occupation of Korea before the Korean War. During the mid-80's efforts began to restore the wall and the project is still in progression. We were able to look down and get a beautiful view of the city. We continued our climb up the rocky hills surrounding the fortress. We were not really prepared for this hike and had on terrible footwear to safely attempt the entire hike, therefore we partook in a sissy like type of climb. Regardless, it was a beautiful to get outside and enjoy the natural surroundings that circled the city. Once we descended down the hill, we made our way back to the bus stop to catch a ride back into town. The ride down was worse than the ride up. I think I may have taken out a few toes ... oops! Once back in town, we parted ways with Jadwega and made our way back to the inner city bus terminal at Nopodong to find our way back to Seoul. While at the station, we ironically ran into another one of our friends, Jami, who was also visiting Busan for the weekend. What a small world it proves to be sometimes! Our journey back to Seoul took over 6 hours this way due to Sunday afternoon traffic and the arrival of more snow in Seoul. We are taking about a snowstorm here-about three whole inches of snow was waiting for us when we returned. This is by far the most snow I have ever seen in this country at once!

That brings us to the rest of our vacation. Let's see, we went to the post office one day, we met up with some friends for wing night another day, we went to the bank to take care of some business, and we picked up a package loaded with the most delicious Christmas cookies baked by my parents. But the best thing we did was lounge around in our pajamas for days upon end, reading a plethora of books and stopping only to cook another meal. I got really creative with our meals and tried to create new dishes out of things we already had in the fridge to avoid having to go to the store every day. Since I am very interested in reading about food, the books I was reading inspired me as well. For example, one day I jumped out of bed as I was reading a chapter about homemade pizza and decided today we must make a pizza. I ran to the store and got yeast. I made the dough, while Bob chopped the veggies and pepperoni that would soon become our toppings. We smeared on some sauce and since Bob worked at Pizza Hut for many years during his wee lad years, he was in charge of making sure that everything would stick to the cheese in just the right way without the cheese sliding off with your first bite. We slid the pizza into the oven and waited for about 10 minutes and watched as the cheese bubbled and got nice and golden brown. We jumped from our chairs when we heard the ding of the timer to retrieve our treat from the oven. Since it was only 10:30 am, we hesitated for a quick second about opening a bottle of wine to go with our meal, but that hesitation like I said only lasted for a second since we are on vacation! This was the best pizza we ever ate! Not sure if it was the taste or because we made it ourselves. Next time we will have to request an "outsider" to be our taste tester.

All in all we had a wonderful vacation and I wouldn't have wanted to partake in any other kind this year. We have lots to look forward to in the upcoming year such as our big move back to Canada, a trip to Egypt, my little sister's wedding, my youngest sister's graduation from university and the list goes on. We deserved a break from the everyday commotion and in turn created a very peaceful environment for ourselves for 11 days of delight. We are already looking forward to next year's winter break!

Beer Bread Pecan Rolls
Recipefrom Allrecipes
Makes 12

For filling:
4-5 pieces of bacon (optional)
1 / 2 c. pecan pieces
1 c. brown sugar
2 TBS cinnamon
1 / 2 tsp nutmeg
1 / 8 tsp cloves
5 TBS butter

3 c. flour
1 1 / 2 TBS baking powder
1 / 4 tsp salt
3 TBS sugar
12 oz bottle pecan ale (nutty ale), room temp.

3 TBS butter
2 TBS brown sugar
3 / 4 c. raw pecan pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350 °. Get beer to room temperature.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add beer and stir with wooden spoon until a moist dough is formed. Flour hands and knead.
3. Cook bacon. Remove most of the grease. Add pecans to bacon grease pan and toast. (If not using bacon, toast bacon in dry skillet.
4. Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
5. Roll dough into 1 / 2 inch thickness. Brush melted butter over dough. Sprinkle filling over the dough and top with pecans and bacon. Roll it like a log.
6. In the same pan, melt 3TBS butter with brown sugar to make topping. Stir until dissolved. Add pecans. Remove from heat.
7. Cut cinnamon log into slices about 1 1 / 2 inch thick. Add rolls to cast iron pan. Brush rolls with butter. Cook for 25-30 minutes. Invert rolls to serve.

Quick and Easy Pizza Dough
Recipe from
Makes 1 pizza crust

1 pkg. dry yeast
3 / 4 c. very warm water (120-130 degrees)
2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1TBS olive oil
1 TBS honey

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Soak yeast in water for 5 minutes.
3. Add flour, salt, sugaroil, and honey mix to blend.
4. Knead for 2-3 minutes until flour is well blended.
5.Cover and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes.
6. Roll dough to fit a 12 inch pizza pan.
7. Top pizza with tomato sauce and toppings of your choice. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is browned and bubbly.

Note: I added rosemary to the dough, then rubbed roasted garlic on the dough before smearing sauce on the dough.

Green Olive and Walnut Spread

Recipe from Taste of Home
Makes 8 servings

1 / 3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup stuffed olives
1 cup walnut pieces
1 / 2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 / 2 cup chopped green onions
1 / 2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Assorted crackers or slices baquette bread
1. Combine first seven ingredients in a food processor. Cover and process just until the spread holds together. Do not over process; mixture should have a coarse texture.
2. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Cover and refrigerate. Serve with crackers.

Note: I made without a food processor allowing for a chunkier version of this recipe and it was delicious.

Chicken Taco Cups
Recipe from Taste of Home
Makes 36

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 envelope reduced-sodium taco seasoning
1 small onion, chopped
1 jar (16 ounces) salsa, divided
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, divided
36 wonton wrappers
Sour cream, chopped green onions and chopped ripe olives, optional

1. Sprinkle chicken with taco seasoning.
2. In a large skillet coated with cooking spray, cook and stir the chicken over medium heat for 5 minutes or until juices run clear.
3. Transfer chicken to a food processor; cover and process until chopped.
4. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, onion, half of the salsa and 1 cup cheese.
5. Press wonton wrappers into miniature muffin cups coated with cooking spray.
6. Bake at 375 ° for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
7. Spoon rounded tablespoonfuls of chicken mixture into cups; top with remaining salsa and cheese. Bake 15 minutes longer or until heated through. Serve warm. Garnish with sour cream, green onions and olives if desired.

Note: I made this recipe without the food processor and just finely chopped the chicken and it was fantastic!

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup Recipe
Recipe from BonAppetit
Makes 6-8 servings

2 Tbsp (1 / 4 stick) butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 small celery stalks, chopped
1 medium leek, sliced (white and pale green parts only)
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 1 / 2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
4 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
1 cinnamon stick
1 / 4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1 / 2 cups half and half
2 Tbsp maple syrup
The leafy tops of the celery stalks, chopped
1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add chopped celery stalks and leek, sauté about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes.
2. Add sweet potatoes, chicken stock, cinnamon stick, and nutmeg; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
3. Remove cinnamon stick and discard. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return to pot.
4. Add half and half and maple syrup and stir over medium-low heat to heat through. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool soup slightly. Cover and refrigerate soup and celery leaves separately. Bring soup to simmer before continuing.) Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with celery leaves.

Strawberry Green Onion Topped Brie
Recipe by Me
1 wheel of brie cheese
3 TBS chopped green onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup strawberry jam

1. Preheat over to 350 F.
2. In small saucepan, saute green onions and garlic with 1 tsp olive oil. Add strawberry jam and mix until heated through.
3. Place brie on greased cookie sheet and top with jam mixture.
4. Cook for about 5-8 minutes or until melted in the middle.
5. Serve with sliced apples, pears, or crackers.

Sauteed Garlic Scapes
Recipe from

3 / 4 lb fresh garlic stems
1 1 / 2 tablespoons blended sesame / soy bean oil or vegetable oil
Stir Fry Sauce:
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon pure toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
2 green or spring onion, chopped
1 / 2 bunch chives, chopped
2 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1. Wash garlic stems in cold water and drain well.Cut stems into one inch lengths.
2. Heat a pan over high heat then add oil.Add garlic stems and stir fry until tender, three to four minutes.
3. Add soy sauce, sugar, and salt and cook for an additional one to two minutes. Add optional ingredients and sesame oil and cook for 30 seconds.
4. Transfer to serving dish and garnish with sesame seeds.

The Pita Bread Incident aka The Beginning of the Blog

Today is the day that I decided to begin on online blog that would highlight some of the things that make my life what it is. It all began when I was in the kitchen knee deep in bread flour with sticky dough covered hands, attempting the challenge of making homemade pita bread that this idea of a blog came to me or was it because it is too freezing cold outside to walk to the stationary store to purchase a new journal.

Maybe you are wondering, "Who makes their own pita bread? Why not just go to the store and buy it?" Well there are two reasons for this. One, I live in Korea and there is no such thing as going to the store and just buying pita bread, and two, which is my main reason ... things just plain taste better when they are homemade and you can join in the process of putting it all together. That is how I roll in my kitchen. So that brings me to the topic of my first blog post ... the creation of homemade bread.

It all began around 10am, after about 3 cups of coffee, to make sure that I was good and awake before attempting such a venture. I gathered all of my supplies from the pantry and set them out on my countertop. Well actually since the whole of my countertop measures 8 inches wide by 10 inches long, some ingredients were propped on the windowsill, while others were placed carefully in inverted pots in my dish rack, so that I could make room for my bowl. (I am not sure if my cooking methods would pass the latest issue of the health department's cooking safety rules-but I am improvising to say the least!)

Now it is time to begin. I slowly let the yeast dissolve in warm water, then mixed in a dash of sugar and let that dissolve as well, before letting it sit for about 15 minutes to come to a nice frothy stage. Then I added it to the well that I prepared in the center of flour and salt mixture. Slowly, I added another cup of water and mixed everything together with my lone wooden spoon, until it was ready to be kneaded on my prepared floury surface. I kneaded and kneaded for what seemed to be a lifetime, but at least my forearms got a good workout, as did my fingers. I kept thinking about the end result the whole time. I wish that I could take the same approach when it comes to exercise, but we shall save that idea for another day. I rinsed out my flour bowl and coated it with some fine organic olive oil from a small family run farm in Greece (thanks to a student) and plopped my dough in there to rest for about 3 hours before it was ready to be twisted, rolled , flattened, and cooked.

After about 2 hours, I peeked at my dough, hidden underneath my cookie sheet covered bread bowl, and noticed that it was not rising as nicely as I would have hoped. Luckily I have become the master of improvising and here another opportunity arose to do just that. I was going to make Massaman Curry, a Thai favourite, for lunch so I decided to get a head start. As I set a few potatoes in a pot to boil, I propped by bowl on top of the pot to catch the rising steam to heat up the bowl at an attempt to warm the dough. This went as planned until the pot of potatoes started to boil and I needed to remove the bread bowl. Somehow I had forgotten what my high school physics teacher taught me about metal being a good conductor of heat. I nearly burned my hand off in the transfer of the bowl to the free burner on my gas range that would provide for its close enough to a heat source place to rise. I walked away from this near catastrophe and took comfort in a cup of tea that quickly made me forget about my hand.
Now with cooking I have learned that times quoted in recipes are often mere suggestions as so many factors influence the actual amount of time needed to prepare something well. I remembered this, as still after 3 hours, my dough had not risen as much as I was going for. But I didn't give up. I just walked away and decided to allow it some more time. It was at this point that I researched how to create a blog. Because like I mentioned earlier, this is my very first attempt at something so "modern." Now I would be ready to begin documenting my account at taking part in a process that seems so foreign to many of my generation.
After about 4 hours, I finally gave up on the rising and faced the fact that this bad boy was not going to work with me. So I just continued with the next step anyway, hoping for a miracle to happen inside of the oven. I preheated my oven to 500 ° F and prepared my floured surface. I rolled out the dough into a log and tore off about a dozen balls and left them to cover beneath an assortment of Tupperware containers and cereal bowls while the oven became fully heated. One by one, I rolled them out to the closest form of a circle that I could come up with using a pint glass in place of a rolling pin. I transferred them to my preheated cookie tray, two at a time, because like my counter top, my oven is VERY small, but at least it is an oven in a country where they are hard to come by. I put them into the oven and crossed my fingers that the heat would make them come out of their shell and turn into something magical. The recipe I was using mentioned that they would puff right up in the oven, so I squatted down (because my oven is on my floor) and glued my face to the oven glass and watched for this to happen. But it didn't. "Oh well," I thought, "I have yet to eat a kind of bread that does not taste good." 6-8 minutes later, they were golden brown with the coloring of a good piece of Naan bread. I took them out and flattened them with my handle-less spatula, which got broken in a previous episode of my adventures. But it still does the job that is was created for-so why throw it away, maybe that is just the part of my father in me, who knows. In the midst of all this, the rack from the oven slipped out from under the tray and nearly sent my bread flying and burnt the toes right off my feet, but luckily Bob was close by and he came to the rescue.
I let the steam subside for a few minutes before ripping into one and sharing half with my husband, who always so graciously offers to be my taste testing guinea pig. They have passed both of our expectations and now the ideas fill my head about what they can be used for ... meatball subs, stuffed with chicken salad, falafel, or for dipping into the curry that was next on the list if creations.

Following the cleanup of the flour scattered all over the kitchen, I began preparing what would be our "lupper", since lunch didn't really happen because of the rising issue and because dinner time was not for a few hours and our bellies were ravenous . I held onto the old saying, "Eat when you are hungry" and forgot about the unconventional time of our meal. I chopped an onion and threw it into a pan preheated with olive oil and then added a packet of prepared curry paste. Once the onions were browned, I tossed in leftovers from last night's chicken which I deboned while the bread was cooking. I retrieved the potatoes that I boiled earlier and tossed them in with a can of coconut milk. After testing for the perfect flavour, I added a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of sugar and a handful of peanuts. Finally the curry was ready to be served. I ladled it into a bowl, plated the bread which I topped with a smidgen of butter and garlic, and brought it to our little table that is set in the middle of our living room floor. Yes, we sit on the floor for almost all of our meals, but when in Korea, do as the Koreans do. As we enjoyed our dinner, we reflected on previous trips to the beaches and islands of Thailand and cranked up the tunes. Maybe we even downed a few beers to top off all of the hard work of the day. The whole time I thought, "Our life sure is grand." Despite the few mishaps that occurred along the way, today's challenge was ultimately successful and will be attempted again in the future. Until next time.
Homemade Pita Bread
Makes about a dozen.
Recipe from About.

1 package of yeast, or quick rising yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teapsoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup lukewarm water

1. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 min:utes until water is frothy.
2. Combine flour and salt in large bowl. Make a small depression in the middle of flour and pour yeast water in depression. Slowly add 1 cup of warm water, and stir with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until elastic.
3.Place dough on floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. When the dough is no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic, it has been successfully kneaded.
4. Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated. Allow to sit in a warm place for about 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
5. Once doubled, roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 500 deg F. and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven. Be sure to preheat your baking sheet also.
7. Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick.
8. Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 2 minutes. 9. Remove each pita with a spatula from the baking sheet and add additional pitas for baking. Take spatula and gently push down puff. Immediately place in storage bags.
NOTE:Pita bread can be stored for up to a week in a pantry or bread box, and up to a month in the freezer. Be sure to use freezer bags when storing in the freezer.