April 2019


No Knead Bread

April 27: Feast Day of St. Zita

Today’s blog post is dedicated to Islander’s baptismal godmother whose name is Zita. Apparently she was named after her patron saint, Zita of Lucca, Italy (1218-1272), whose feast day is on April 27.

The patroness of domestic servants, poor Zita worked for the Fatinelli family who owned a prosperous wool and silk weaving business in Tuscany. She was sometimes beaten or insulted by them and her jealous co-workers because of her faith. But with patience as a virtue, everyone realized just how valuable she was to the household and eventually her employers changed their attitude and converted to Christianity.

Legend has it that she was late to work on baking day because she stayed a little longer at daily mass or was donating bread to the poor. But there were angels in the kitchen preparing the loaves for Zita to help her catch up with her chores. Today people bake bread in her honor as they celebrate her feast day.

We have done the same by making a no-knead bread. With only four ingredients—and also virtuous patience to let the dough rise—this bread is delicious when dipped in flavored olive oil, toasted and buttered or eaten plain when it is still warm.

Follow the tradition of the Tuscans and bake no-knead bread for the feast day of St. Zita.

Recipe

Adapted from Sol S.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups bread flour (plus extra)
  • ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups water (plus 1-2 tablespoons if needed)

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the bread flour, yeast and salt. Stir in the water until a sticky dough forms.

Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let the dough rest at room temperature or in a dark oven overnight. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface (we use parchment paper for easy cleanup). Use a bench scraper to fold over the dough about 4-5 times.

Pick up the parchment paper and place it all in a large bowl. Cover with a cotton (not terry cloth) towel and let rise at room temperature for two more hours. At least 30 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place a Dutch oven, covered with lid, into the oven to heat it up. Use gloves to remove the Dutch oven and carefully open the lid. Pick up the whole parchment paper with the dough and dump it in the Dutch oven. Cover and return to the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove the lid and bake uncovered for another 5-10 minutes to let the top brown. Take the Dutch oven out. Carefully dump the bread onto a wire rack to cool for another 20-30 minutes, discarding the parchment paper. Cool the bread. Slice and serve with butter, jam/jelly or flavored olive oil dipping sauce.

Notes

  • Zita passed away at age 60 at the Fatinelli house where she worked since she was 12 years old (48 years!). Her body lies incorrupt encased in glass where she is venerated at the Basilica of San Frediano in Lucca, Tuscany, Italy.
  • Search our blog for other bread or Italian-inspired recipes.

Pretzel Bars

April 26: National Pretzel Day

Here is a literal twist for a recipe on National Pretzel Day. Instead of serving the salty snacks, sweeten the celebration by making peanut buttery chocolate pretzel bars. This quick snack only has five ingredients and does not require baking. Pretzel bars are a delicious indulgence in observance of this fun food holiday!

Recipe

(Adapted from the Food Network)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pretzels chips or rods, crushed
  • 1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup creamy peanut butter, divided use
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate chips

Directions

In a zipper top bag, place the pretzels. Roll and crush them into a fine powder. Combine in a bowl with the sugar. Melt the butter.

Mix in the melted butter into the pretzel-sugar mixture. Add ONE cup peanut butter and stir until moistened and it comes together. Press into an ungreased 8×8-inch square pan.

In a separate bowl, melt the chocolate chips the remaining ¼ cup of peanut butter by microwaving in 30-second intervals. Stir until melted and smooth. Pour over the pretzel mixture and spread out the top with a spatula. Refrigerate for an hour to set the chocolate. Cut into squares.  Yield: 16 squares.

Notes

Lilikoi (Passion Fruit)

Butter Mochi Cake

April: Easter Season (Palm/Passion Sunday)

On the last Sunday of Lent, a week before Easter, we attend Palm/Passion Sunday mass and listen to scriptural readings about Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. With a symbolic palm leaf that we receive at church, Highlander would make a cross for Islander to decorate our dining area. She usually prepares a Hawaiian or tropical meal for dinner with a dessert featuring lilikoi as an ingredient. These are our little Palm/Passion Sunday traditions.

Lilikoi is the Hawaiian word for passion fruit. It is aromatic and tart and grows abundantly on the islands. When we do find them on the mainland, the lilikoi is overpriced and overripe. So we settle for the much cheaper passion fruit pulp in the frozen section of our grocery store. It works fine as an ingredient for our Palm Sunday desserts and adds a fragrant and flavorful twist to a regular butter mochi cake.

For a Palm/Passion Sunday-inspired food, start a little tradition and make something with passion fruit, like lilikoi butter mochi cake.

 Recipe

(Adapted from Hawaii Magazine)

Ingredients

  • 1 box (1 pound) mochiko flour
  • 3 cups sugar, granulated white
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 can (12-14 ounces) coconut milk
  • 4-6 tablespoon lilikoi puree (we substituted defrosted passion fruit pulp)

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the mochiko flour, sugar and baking powder. Melt the butter. Cool slightly.

Pour the melted butter into the mixing bowl. Add the eggs, vanilla and coconut milk.

Stir in the lilikoi puree. Blend well. Pour into a greased 9×13-inch baking pan.

Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 40-50 minutes, testing the cake with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from the oven. Cool slightly and spread glaze on top (optional—see Notes). Slice with plastic knife to prevent from sticking to the blade. Yield: 2 dozen.

Notes

  • Glazing the top of the cake is optional. To do so, mix together 1-2 cups powdered sugar with 2-4 tablespoons of lilikoi puree. Stir until it is a smooth consistency. Spread on top of the cake while still warm.
  • Try our regular butter mochi cake and poi mochi cake recipes.
  • Our final food photo of the lilikoi butter mochi cake above is set on a red tablecloth. Red is the liturgical color for Palm/Passion Sunday.

HI Cookery is 9!

Our little blog is now 9! We sure have taken our sweet time to savor the journey of food blogging. But even when we reach our destination of “cooking our way through the calendar” next year, we still plan to continue sharing occasional recipes with everyone (we are still very surprised that people other than family and close friends have become loyal subscribers—for this we are flattered and most grateful). We might not post as often but our intent is just to share! Eventually we hope to figure out how to add printable recipe links, too.

We still get requests to monetize our blog but politely decline. We might be missing out on the extra money, publicity or online traffic. But we do not want to feel swayed or pressured to write about specific products. We use whatever is on sale, ingredients that are available locally, gourmet goodies that are gifted to us or items that we personally like/are used to, and these are all revealed in our posts and pictures.

There are so many other beautiful and better blogs out there and we admire those who are able to maintain them all and keep on cooking when life is just a busy reality. They inspire and educate us and we are humbled to be a part of the food blogging community since 2010.

Thanks to our readers for your continued prayers, encouragement and support. Y’all make turning 9 simply divine!