Pandan Bread

After making my ham and cheese bread, I had enough tangzhong mixture left to make another loaf, so I decided to try making pandan bread.

Pandan is a common flavor used in Filipino, Vietnamese, Malaysian and Thai cuisine. You can make a pandan extract or paste with fresh pandan leaves, but I’ve never done this. Instead I’ve always used a pandan paste, which can be found at the grocery store.

I’ve always found it hard to describe the taste of pandan, but I really love it. And I like the pretty green (though there is food coloring added to the pandan paste to make it look like the colors of pandan leaves).

The bread came out nice and fluffy. I was a little worried after my disaster trying to create a purple sweet potato bread. The pandan taste ended up being pretty mild though even though I thought I used a tad too much extract.
I am submitting this recipe to Yeastspotting.


Pandan bread (recipe base adapted from two of Christine’s recipes here and here,which she adapted from the 65 degrees book)

Ingredients:

2½ cups bread flour
3tbsp + 2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
½ cup milk
120g tangzhong (click here for making tangzhong)
2 tsp instant yeast
3 tbsp butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)

2 tsp pandan paste

Directions
1. Combine the flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast in a bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well in the center. Add in all wet ingredients: milk, egg and tangzhong and pandan paste. Fit the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer and begin mixing on medium speed and knead until your dough comes together and then add in the butter and continue kneading.  Keep kneading until the dough is smooth, not too sticky on the surface and elastic. I kneaded the dough for about 18-20 minutes. Each mixer may vary.

When the dough is ready, you should be able to take a chunk of dough and stretch it to a very thin membrane before it breaks. When it does break, the break should be form a circle. (These are old photos I took from another bread to give you an idea of what it should look like.)


2. Knead the dough into a ball shape. Take a large bowl and grease with oil.  Place dough into  greased bowl and cover with a wet towel. Let it proof until it’s doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
3. Transfer to a clean surface. Divide the dough into four equal portions. Knead into balls.  Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 minutes.
4. Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape.  Take one end of the dough and fold to meet the middle of the oval. Take the other end and fold to meet on top. (Again, these are not photos from the pandan bread, but it is the same idea.)

5. Flip dough over with the folds facing down,and flatten dough with rolling pin.
6. Flip dough over so the folds face up. Now roll the dough up. Place each of the rolls into the bread pan and put a piece of plastic wrap over the rolls. Let them rise until double the size, approximately another 40 minutes.
7. As an option, beat an egg and brush egg mixture on top to create shiny eggwash finish.
8. Bake at 330 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes.

This weekend BF and I went to check out the Happy Hour menu at Fleming’s Steakhouse. Titled “5 for 6 until 7,” the phrase is catchy and easy to remember. Basically, seven days a week, Fleming’s offers 5 wines, 5 cocktails and 5 appetizers, for $6 each, served from 5 until 7pm.

The Happy Hour is offered in the bar area as well as the outside patio area. I had been curious about the happy hour menu for a while. The prices seemed very reasonable and I especially like that it is offered on weekends as well, whereas most happy hours are not.

BF and I actually first got a chance to preview the happy hour menu through a media dinner invitation. I did not blog about this media dinner because we were seated outside on the patio and the lighting was very dim. I didn’t want to have everyone at our table wait while I attempted to take photos of the food. Our meal was wonderful though and we were wined and dined like stars. You can read about my first media dinner at Fleming’s here.

Anyhow, we left that media dinner very impressed and wanting to check out the happy hour menu on our own. Plus I figured this would give you, the readers, a better perspective of what the happy hour menu is normally like.

BF and arrived on a Sunday night. Apparently we weren’t the only ones impressed from the media dinner because upon arriving we ran into someone else we had met from the media dinner.

The bar area was full, so we went to sit out in the patio, which had plenty of open seating. There are heat lamps outside as well, so that you don’t get cold eating outside.

Once we were seated, we were immediately given some cold water, and the server turned on the heat lamp for us.

We started off with a cocktail each. Luckily the sun had not yet completely set when our cocktails arrived so I was able to take some decent pictures of them. The tickled pink is their new cocktail on the menu. I really liked it when I tried it at the media dinner, so I ordered it again. It’s nice and fruity but still has enough alcohol to give me a slight buzz. It also is only 99 calories for those who are counting.

BF ordered the tropical martini. He likes his drinks fruity too. This one had a strong rum flavor, whereas the one he had the night of the media dinner was more like fruit punch.

For the appetizers, I chose to order everything except the shrimp cocktail, mainly because this is something I can do at home myself. I liked all the appetizers from the media dinner, so there wasn’t any I wanted to leave out.

One of the things I was most curious to find out was whether the portions would be as big as at the media dinner. I had been really impressed with the portions at the media dinner and when we had asked Chef Chris, he informed us that the portions we received were the same as the ones they usually serve (but I was still a little skeptical).

As our food began to arrive, sure enough, the portions were just as big. Basically it is the same portion size they serve on their normal menu. They don’t reduce the portion size for happy hour, only the price.

Unfortunately the sun had set by this time so I had trouble getting good shots and there was some funky lighting going on with some of the food dishes as a result of the surrounding light sources. First to arrive was the calamari. Out of all the happy hour appetizers, this one is definitely is the biggest.  A huge plate of lightly breaded calamari, cooked with sweet peppers, peppercinis and a sweet chile glaze. It was way too much for us to finish.

Next was the seared ahi tuna, served on a bed of shredded vegetables. I liked the dipping mustard that goes with the ahi tuna. The bed of vegetables, served raw and plain are surprisingly tasty and the BF –despite disliking vegetables most of the time– ate this whole plate including the vegetables.

The beef carpaccio. Thinly sliced pieces of raw beef are served with some shredded greens and toasted baguette slices topped with cheese.

Bistro burger. Our burger arrived with the vegetables on the side, which I liked, since it prevented the burger patty from getting soggy. The burger is topped with your choice of  either blue cheese, cheddar or swiss and served on a brioche bun. We also got three onion rings with the burger as well. The burger patty was very juicy and cooked to a medium as requested.

Mushroom ravioli. This is also a new item to the happy hour menu. If you are a mushroom lover, I would recommend this. Three raviolis come in one order. Each one is bursting with buttery roasted portobello and shiitaki  mushrooms. Since BF doesn’t like mushrooms, I got to enjoy this dish all to myself.

Before this meal, it’s been a while since I’ve attended happy hour. When I was in school I loved it. But gradually I got sick of the long waits and poor service. I was worried that I would be enduring something like that here, but I was pleasantly surprised.  I really liked our servers: Sara and Eliza. We didn’t have to wait forever for our food and we were constantly checked on. If you don’t want all the crowd, I would recommend coming here on a Sunday or another less crowded day. My little brother came on a Friday and of course it was really packed and as a result the service was much slower.

Another great thing is that you can order off the regular menu in the happy hour area. There’s a few side dishes I really like at Fleming’s, so it’s nice to be able to order them without having to order a full dinner. Or perhaps ordering a steak to share.

Also, now on Sunday, they offer a prime rib dinner. You can get this in the dining area or the bar. For $35.95 per person, you get a cut of prime rib, and you get to choose a salad, a side dish, and a dessert. We were tempted to try it out when we went but we were quite full from our appetizers. We definitely have plans to try it in the future though.

Fleming’s Steakhouse & Wine Bar
8970 University Center Lane
San Diego, CA 92122
(858) 535-0078
www.flemingssteakhouse.com
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Ham and cheese bread

This weekend I made a tangzhong method bread with ham and cheese. I know it seems like I’m constantly making tangzhong bread but it’s actually been a while since I made one. In fact, I completely forgot just how good these breads are. After I finished photographing, I took a bite and before I knew it I had finished off half a loaf. Eek. It was just so soft and delicious, I couldn’t help myself.

I’m been trying to think of new variations of the milk bread which has been my favorite recipe from the tangzhong recipes I’ve found. Since I’ve been making a lot of savory appetizers like pepperoni pizza puffs and bacon puffs, it only made sense to try a cheese and meat combination for the bread.

I worried that this variation might not taste good. The milk bread is a sweet bread and while I’ve seen savory variations on the asian bread, I normally don’t like the savory ones. I reduced the sugar for this recipe so that the bread wouldn’t be too sweet. I really enjoyed the soft fluffy bread with the addition of cheese and ham.

Ham and cheese bread (recipe base adapted from two of Christine’s recipes here and here,which she adapted from the 65 degrees book)

Ingredients:

2½ cups bread flour
2tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
½ cup milk
120g tangzhong (click here for making tangzhong)
2 tsp instant yeast
3 tbsp butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)
3/4 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup ham, cut into small pieces

Directions
1. Combine the flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast in a bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well in the center. Add in all wet ingredients: milk, egg and tangzhong. Fit the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer and begin mixing on medium speed and knead until your dough comes together and then add in the butter and continue kneading.  Keep kneading until the dough is smooth, not too sticky on the surface and elastic. I kneaded the dough for about 18-20 minutes. Each mixer may vary.

When the dough is ready, you should be able to take a chunk of dough and stretch it to a very thin membrane before it breaks. When it does break, the break should be form a circle.


2. Knead the dough into a ball shape. Take a large bowl and grease with oil.  Place dough into  greased bowl and cover with a wet towel. Let it proof until it’s doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
3. Transfer to a clean surface. Divide the dough into four equal portions. Knead into balls.  Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 minutes.
4. Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape.  Take one end of the dough and fold to meet the middle of the oval. Take the other end and fold to meet on top.

5. Flip dough over with the folds facing down,and flatten dough with rolling pin.
6. Flip dough over so the folds face up. Add ham and cheese across the dough then use rolling pin to roll the ham and cheese into the dough. Now roll the dough up. (the picture below is one I took of a plain milk bread I made previously without adding ham and cheese.) Place each of the rolls into the bread pan and put a piece of plastic wrap over the rolls. Let them rise until double the size, approximately another 40 minutes.
7. Beat an egg and brush egg mixture on top to create shiny eggwash finish.
8. Bake at 330 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes.