My dad has a great affection for bread, baguettes in particular. He loves bread more than rice and noodles, which is unusual for a Chinese guy. As a result I was raised eating more baguettes than rice and for that reason, I am addicted to bread and it is completely not of my own doing. There is always a baguette sitting on our kitchen countertop (a bacon epi if mom has her way or a sliced buttertop if my sister has hers).
Our all time favorite is the baguette from Saint Germain, a local Japanese bakery. Long and narrow with just the right proportion of a crackling crust to soft yeast innards. This baguette is just a touch saltier than others found around the island and makes for a fantastic sandwich spread with pate and a few slices of cha.
A typical lazy weekend lunch :)
When our family goes to Costco, we sometimes pick up the two-pack of La Brea baguettes. The baguettes are sent to Costco parbaked and are then baked to a crusty delight at my favorite Hawaii Kai Costco. These baguettes emphasis the difference between the lighter Japanese baguettes and the heartier, rustic European type. I prefer using La Brea’s bread in tune with “American” style sandwiches like tuna and turkey, and my all time favorite: mac nut pesto, tomatoes, spinach leaves and mozzarella.
Near our home is Ginza Kimuraya (in Kahala Mall) – it’s the first US outlet for this Japan based bread chain. I come mainly for an pan and apple brioches, and make sure to pick up a baguette, especially when it has just come out of the oven. Ginza has the softest crust of the three and is on the sweeter, creamier side. For this reason, I like using it as a breakfast bread, spreading on lilikoi butter or toasting it shards of dark chocolate just until the chocolate melts, then sprinkling on a touch of sea salt.
Last week I went to the KCC Farmers Market, as I do every Saturday. My usual agenda is cranberry walnut oatcakes for mom, orchids for the house (which is for sale now!…so, if you want to buy our home, just let me know :), tomato salsa for my sister, ginger syrup and avocados for the family, and always, some kind of bread for dad. What kind? “Surprise me,” he consistently replies. So this time, I got the Pain Au Levain from Bale. About a foot in length and five inches across, it is very heavy and unlike other pain au levain’s I had. The dough is heavy, almost wet and I do not like this bread. The crust is not exactly crisp but extremely chewy – this bread has no idea what it wants to be. But this is the first unsatisfactory bread I’ve had from Bale, so if you do stop by the market, make sure to try their sweet bread and focaccia!
For me, leafing through a recently-released compendium of teas with many first-flush single-origin varieties is akin to salivating over those luscious photos of vegetables in a seed-seller’s catalogue: Each entry promising something new, summoning a hopeful if guarded belief in Nature and the growing conditions of my garden. What will the … Continue reading