I spent more than half of the day in kitchen today. And rest of the time I went shopping and did a little bit of cleaning and packing as I leave tomorrow.
In the morning, I made tropical fruit crumble for breakfast. Yes, crumble again, but I had a leftover in the freezer from the other day when I made rhubarb crumble. Today I used mango, papaya, and lychees; I had a couple of bites of each and enjoyed the juicy, sweet flesh and cut up the rest, arranged them in a pan, sprinkled with lemon juice and a small amount of sugar, and topped them with crumbles and crushed almonds. I was really pleased with the result – in general I like fruits better fresh than cooked, but the combination of slightly cooked, tender tropical fruits and crumbly crumble was so pleasant. It did impress him, who doesn't like fresh fruits. I think it is lovely to have some fresh fruits for breakfast, but this dish also made a great way to start off a day.
Meanwhile, I prepared the leavened bread dough and made wholewheat-maple rolls. I like maple syrup a lot, and was very much excited about making bread using it – but those small rolls were not as exciting as I had expected them to be. They tasted fine, but weren't quite maple-y enough. We spread a thin layer of bets-quality butter and a generous amount of thick maple syrup on them. A lot better.
This was mere a pre-breakfast warming up, and the project went into a full scale in the afternoon. I prepared a whole-wheat boule dough to begin with, followed by gateaux citrons (lemon cakes) and galettes bretonnes (round, thick biscuit cookies – not those thin crepe-type pancakes made with buckwheat flour).
While baking the cakes and galettes I started cooking dinner. We were having orange chicken this evening; those who live in the States may have Panda Express' Orange Flavored Chicken come up in their mind, but my version (recipe) is supposed be more like French in origin (or is it?). It was my third time trying this dish, and both of the last two times it turned out great – in fact, it does taste a bit like Panda's orange chicken, for the better or for the worse, and it has become his latest favorite dish that I have made, as he is obsessed with Panda's orange chicken.
And today I also tried another "orange chicken" in an attempt to copy a dish that I saw at a deli in my local natural food store. The label read "Orange & Ginger Macadamia Chicken", which was exactly what they seemed to be. Contrary to the sweet and spicy chicken, this version looked lighter and probably would taste lighter, too. At home, I used boneless skinless chicken thigh, pour white wine and fresh orange juice over it and put small pieces of orange segments and chopped fresh ginger root. I didn't use oil this time - just salted and peppered it. After roasted the chicken in the oven for a while, I flipped it over, and added coarsely chopped raw macadamia nuts and shredded orange zest and roasted for another while. I added another batch of orange segments and shredded zest along with fresh ginger before serving, and the dish looked pretty much same as the one I saw at the deli. And the chicken tasted as light, refreshing, and juicy as it looked – I didn't try the store's so I can't compare the two, but I am really satisfied with how my version turned out. This will make a nice early-summery, light dish for an early dinner or something.
For dessert, we had the gateau chocolat I made yesterday. It was the recipe by Trish Deseine who’s book Mes petits plats preferes has already become one of my favorite cookbooks. I first found the recipe in Clotilde's foodblog (where, in fact, I first came to know about the cookbook) and have ever since meant to try it myself. The list of ingredients promised that it would make a rich and dense chocolate cake, and the promise was proved right; hands down, it was a sweet, luscious, surprisingly soft and sinfully rich, real dark chocolate cake… if someone else had made this cake and given it to me, I would have enjoyed the rich cake without slightest worries about how rich they indeed could be.
While we were eating, the project was still going on. I baked two kinds of cookies that I prepared last night, and the boule bread to finish off. I was planning to bake some muffins for breakfast next day, but I figured it was too late in the evening (I was taking an early morning flight next morning) and I had already had enough baked goods anyways. It was about time to get done with packing and go to bed, rather than staying up baking muffins.