Breaking bread

5 05 2014

WATCHING BUTTER melt on hot toast – a slice from a hearty homemade loaf – is a sight so comforting that I couldn’t help but stretch my legs and rest my feet on the ottoman, clasp my hands behind my head, and think that all is well in the world.

A most scrumptious treat!  Butter melting on a hot slice of my good friend Chase Mecham's specialty bread!

A most scrumptious treat! Butter melting on a hot slice of my good friend Chase Mecham’s specialty bread!

And all is indeed well, especially when one realizes that a friend made this loaf.  In this day and age of information that travels at lighting fast speeds and emotions packed into 140 characters (or less), posted much sooner than when the emotions are actually felt right down to the bottom of your soul, the ultimate luxury is time.  And making bread takes time.

Ok, he did make use of the dough hook to help with all the mixing and probably, some of the work needed to knead.  But still, not too many people will opt to make bread.

This whole grain bread arrived at my desk tightly enrobed in cling wrap.  What made it all the more special was a mix of seeds and spices that permeated the wrap and escaped in coy luscious whiffs.  Once the loaf was sliced, the whiffs I caught translated to a subtle flavor on the dense crumbs.  I first tasted the grain, then the nuts while my teeth negotiated popping the sesame seeds.

My good friend Chase Mecham, the generous Baker King himself, would usually make his own mix of nuts, seeds and spices that he would throw into his dough mix – the image in my head involves a lot of wrist action like in flouring a counter top on to which the dough would be mercilessly slammed – but this time, he used a mix he found in random at Trader Joe’s.  It’s called DUKKAH: A Nut & Spice Blend.  It was a whiff of inspiration.

After having savored a slice bare, it was time to butter it up – literally.  And it stood well, no matter how I heated it up – on the conventional toaster, or zapped for 15 seconds on the microwave – ready to receive dabs of butter all too willing to melt and slide down.

DUKKAH was meant to be used as a dry “rub” after a hunk of crusty bread has first been dipped in olive oil.  By mixing it into the bread, it has to be said – the Baker King has cut to the chase.

I started with these couple of slices and popped a DVD in!

I started with these couple of slices and popped a DVD in!

 

This loaf passed the perfect doneness test!  (Do you know what that is?)  Notice the bits and pieces of the nuts, seeds and spices that beautifully dot the bread, in and out!

This loaf passed the perfect doneness test! (Do you know what that is?) Notice the bits and pieces of the nuts, seeds and spices that beautifully dot the bread, in and out!

 

An All-American healthy bread on top of my Italia bag.  This was such a welcome sight!

An All-American healthy bread on top of my Italia bag. This was such a welcome sight!

 

 

Copyright © 2014 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Plain and less

8 05 2013

I’VE SUDDENLY become virtuous in satiating my cravings.  While I’ve run back to the familiar loving embrace of former flames – bagel and cream cheese – I’ve become exacting with their provenance.  Bagel should be plain and from NYC Bagel Factory.  Cream cheese?  The ubiquitous Philadelphia, conspicuously unavailable now in my favorite “whipped” variant but equally satisfying as “spreadable.”  And yes, the one with 80% less fat.

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Plain and Less. But amazingly satisfying.

 

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80% less fat (than butter or margarine). This thought comes in handy as I shove down my throat all the Danish streaky bacon I could handle. Hahaha!

 

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





An American breakfast in the Lion City

22 04 2013
CBTL_Breakfast_00_Merlion

Good morning, Singapore!

I WOKE up to an overcast Sunday sky morning.  When clouds hover overhead this way, I long to be gastronomically comforted.  When this mood hits me, I prefer to have the flavors of the familiar for breakfast.  Being deeply committed to a romance with places I call home, I decided on old-fashioned freshly baked bagel with a good schmear of cream cheese.

For a year and a half in Folsom, California, this was exactly my breakfast.  Clearly, my choice of the first meal of the day today is in honor of the States, which in the past few days has shown the world stories of courage, heroism, and hope.

Here in Singapore, I get my bagel and cream cheese fix from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.  I would ask that the bagel be cut across, then thrown to the toaster to just brown ever so lightly.  Onto the fluffy, chewy center, I smear a generous amount of cream cheese, the more it slides down to the sides, the better.  While most approach it like they would a sandwich, I actually deal with each slice separately.  Unless I find myself within the walls of my office cubicle, I see no need to rush the pleasure.

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Breakfast is served! Old-fashioned sesame seed bagel and cream cheese, with hot chocolate topped with marshmallows.

 

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This is a surprisingly affordable plate! The bagel costs only S$ 3.50 and the cream cheese, S$ 0.80. The butter and the jam are complimentary!

 

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The perfect bagel has a shiny crusty exterior and dense chewy interior. I asked for it to be cut across then lightly toasted. Just how I would do it at the office cafereria in Folsom for a year and a half!

 

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I’m always all the more so excited the moment I peel off the top of the cream cheese mini-tub.

 

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I reckon that this small-ish tub is always never enough. Hahaha!

 

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Nothing like hot chocolate with marshmallows on a cold morning.

I take a bite through the crusty outside all the way to the dense, doughy interior, unperturbed by the cream cheese moustache that would form with each bite.  I lick this tasty smear around my lips, take a sip of my hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, look outside the window and see that the sun is slowly breaking free from the clouds.

Indeed, there is still more good in this world.

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I just love this photo of the Merlion from my archives. I took it during one of the many breakfasts I’ve had here.

 

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The Singapore skyline in the early morning.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved