Tuesday, November 23, 2010
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have a whole bunch of persimmons that are ripening quite fast, so I’ve been trying out various persimmon recipes. I enjoyed the cranberry persimmon bread I tried, but I want to check out a couple more recipes.
A while back I saw a persimmon bread recipe on David Lebovitz’s site which he adapted from James Beard. Two big foodie names, this bread obviously had to be good. I bookmarked the recipe so long ago, I forgot about it until Adventures of an amateur foodie tried out the recipe. Her bread came out lovely and I just had to try making it.
I made a few changes to David Lebovitz’s recipe based on ingredients I had available and the taste of my family members. One of the things this bread calls for is whiskey or cognac. As much as I wanted to add that, I knew no one in my family would eat it if I did. So that is one of the things I had to leave out.
The bread came out moist and sweet. It had a wonderful mix of flavors and I think the alcohol the original recipe called for would have made it even better. I enjoyed it a lot and will definitely make it again. There was only one problem. I couldn’t really taste persimmon at all. Persimmon has a pretty mild taste that often gets lost in baked goods, but in this bread the persimmon taste was really non-existent. If someone had put the bread in front of me and asked me to guess the ingredients, persimmons wouldn’t be one of my guesses. I think next time I make this bread, I will add some hard fuyu persimmons so that the bread has more of a persimmon taste.
Persimmon Bread (adapted from David Lebovitz’s recipe)
Yields 1 9 x 5 loaf
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2/3 cup water
1 cup persimmon puree
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup diced hard fuyu persimmons
1. Grease or line loaf pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar.
3. Make a well in the center then stir in the butter, eggs, water, persimmon puree. After the batter is well mixed, add in the nuts and fruit.
4. Bake 1 hour or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
8233 Firestone Blvd.
Downey, CA 90241
When I visited Porto’s Bakery in Burbank a few months ago, I fell in love with their potato balls and huge display of baked goods. Porto’s Bakery is an extremely popular Cuban bakery chain located in LA.
What makes its so popular is its large selection of offerings of delicious baked goods at reasonable prices. As a result, each location is always extremely busy, with a line out the door and a 30-40 minute wait at any given time of the day.
When I heard that Porto’s was opening a third location in Downey, I was very excited. While still in LA, Downey is a little closer to San Diego compared to its other two locations (Glendale and Burbank), and it is also more along the path of places I usually visit when taking a road trip to LA.
This weekend, I had some errands to run in Costa Mesa, and since Downey is a mere 30 minutes north of Costa Mesa, I convinced BF that we should visit. He was game for the drive, which means he must remember the potato balls we had last time as well.
Like the Burbank location, the Downey storefront is quite spacious. It houses both a bakery and a cafe. Here’s a list of some of the baked goods they offer:
The nice thing about this location is that it has its own parking lot so we didn’t have to circle around for parking.
We arrived in the middle of the afternoon, and despite the cold and the rainy conditions, the line was (no surprise), out the door. Once inside, the line wrapped around and we waited about 35 minutes before our turn, giving me too much time to decide what I wanted.
On my last visit, I had ordered way too many goods since I wanted to sample everything. My goal this time around was to keep my order small and reasonable. However, listening to the massive orders before me (dozens upon dozens of potato balls and strudels were ordered), made me want to order more than I needed. In the end, I was somewhat reasonably behaved in my order on everything except the potato balls, where I did order a dozen. (We had driven all this way! Was I really going to order just a couple after such a drive? I needed to make the drive worth it!)
So despite my beginning resolve to not order too many baked goods this time around, I still ended up with a giant bag of four boxes of goods when I left, like almost every customer before me.
At the register, I tried to find out if there is a time when they are less busy, but apparently they are always this busy. It’s crazy how good business is here.
This is one of their most popular items. Soft, mashed potato batter is fried a deep golden brown, creating a delicious crispy exterior. In the center of these balls is a beef chili filling. The combination of the chili, potatoes and crispy outside is addicting.
Another savory item I enjoy are the chicken croquette. I have a thing for mashed potato batter fried up. This version has chunks of chicken with the potato mash. It’s a creamy chicken potato mixture. Not as good as the potato balls in my opinion, but still pretty tasty.
Another popular item here are the guava and cheese strudels. Normally I’m not a fan of strudels. I find them overly sweet and I don’t particular like the texture and taste of puff pastries. The strudels here are nice and light and the guava cheese is not too sweet. Normally I don’t like strudels, but I eat the ones here.
Finally, with such a big display case of baked goods, how could I resist not sampling a few? I got a coffee crumb cake (very moist and sweet, with a layer of cinnamon strudel inside); a dulce de leche cake (the cake was moist with hints of lemon but too sweet for me); and a pumpkin muffin (I know I shouldn’t have gotten this since I’ve been baking pumpkin muffins like crazy. I thought this was alright).
I’ve never ordered a whole cake here, but the ones on display were gorgeous. Perhaps I’ll have to try one sometime.
When we got our food, the potato balls and chicken croquettes were still steaming, so we couldn’t resist and had to eat a few, promptly ruining our appetite for dinner. But they were so good..
Dear Porto’s Bakery: Please make San Diego your next location.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Whenever I see a recipe for chocolate chip cookies labeling them the “best chocolate chip cookies” I always feel compelled to try out the recipe. I don’t know why that is, but it seems that my quest to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie is never ending.
So when I saw A Bowl of Mush’s post on The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie, of course I had to try it. The cookies looked promising: slightly crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, not too thin and not too thick/cakey.
These chocolate chip cookies were a lot paler in color compared to other chocolate chip cookies I tried. I used light brown sugar, but usually this doesn’t affect my cookies. I would probably recommend using dark brown sugar for these cookies.
Of course, everyone’s definition of the best chocolate chip cookie is different and everyone has different criteria. These weren’t the perfect chocolate chip cookies for me. They were tasty. I liked the crunchy outside and the chewy inside, but they weren’t my favorite. BF loved them though.
I don’t think I’ll ever stop trying chocolate chip cookie recipes, and it’s always fun to keep trying new ones. So far my favorite recipe has been this one.
To see A Bowl of Mush’s recipe, click here.