Monday, July 14, 2008

Book Review - Home Baking (and a recipe!)

As you may know, I have an addiction to cookbooks. I probably own about 50 cookbooks and I have my eye on at least two that I want currently. On of my favorite books to read is Home Baking, by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. Duguid and Alford are husband and wife and have traveled extensively searching for baking recipes. The photography is amazing! This is one of those cookbooks that is so fun to read because each recipe has a story attached to it - where they got it, what the people were like there, how they changed the original recipe, or how they use the recipe in their own lives. I love cookbooks like this. I have tried several recipes from this book (and use Dom's Big Batch Boule recipe often, so yummy!). I tried a new one recently and my kids loved it. It is called Easy Cheese and Bean Rounds. The authors say that this is their take on papusas which are a type of corn bread made in Nicaragua and El Salvador. You need to have masa harina (or masa flour) which is the only sort of weird ingredient but is available in most grocery stores in the Hispanic food section.

In a food processor you process:

1/2 c. drained cooked or canned white beans
1/2 c. lukewarm water
1 TBS corn oil

Make a puree and then add:

1 tsp salt
1 1/4 c. masa harina

Process until a dough forms. Gather it into a ball and then let it sit, covered, for 30 minutes or so. While this is going on, combine:

1/2 c. loosely packed grated cheese such as Oaxacan string cheese, Monterey Jack, or mild or medium cheddar
1 TBS minced chives or scallion greens (optional)You'll have two bowls that look something like the above.

Break off small pieces of dough (about 2 TBS) and flatten it in your hand as flat as you can get it then mound a small amount of cheese (you want to kind of squeeze it into a ball so you can make it stay in the edges). Isn't that just the most beautiful picture of an arm you have ever seen? And that kitchen in the background could be a lot cleaner but you get the idea.

Fold up each of the edges around the cheese so you have dough enclosing all the cheese - then flatten it out. Place the flattened dough thing in a hot, oiled skillet and cook until it is golden brown on the outside. I flattened it more in the pan with my spatula. I served them with salsa to dip them in. I'm lucky I got any to take pictures of - but here they are:Not the most beautiful picture in the world but you get the idea. The taste reminded me of a quesadilla made with a corn tortilla.


  • I would double this recipe next time, this was not enough for me and my kids.
  • This is a little time consuming but I got much better at it as I went along and the last several were much faster than the first several.
  • I didn't use the chives/scallions and they were fine but I think I would use them next time.
  • It was helpful to wet my hands when I was forming the rounds, it kept them sticking to my hands.


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