UCLA LA LAND

It’s quite a while, I know, since the last post in December, when it was the right celebration time for PhD’s achievements and the Xmas coming. Many things have happened since then – all pretty positive, I have to say.
I had a lovely Xmas time with my family in the Bel Paese. Two wonderful weeks that, as usual when you are having a good time, passed too fast. Then, I went back to the tulip land for NYE. Just a few, very busy days to say goodbyes to friends and start packing for a new adventure.
I’ve never been very explicit about this new – short – chapter of my life. Only once, back in April 2017, I used a wordplay saying  UCLA LA LA(ND) to allude the fact that I was being accepted as a visiting grad student at the University of California Los Angeles for some months during the coming year.
Almost an year after that post, here I am: living in LA since an exact month.
And enjoying the Californian winter, which is very generous in giving away warm, sunny days. Every single day.
What can I say? I have nothing to complain about. Amazing places. Nice people, lovely hosting family. It’s like living my little American dream in the typical American-movie-style grad student life. It’s cool, I admit that.

And in moments like this one, on a Saturday night that I voluntary decided to spend at home by watching Netflix, I think back to that first Aroma di Cannella‘s post written in Sweden, when the beginning of all my traveling and culinary adventures took place.
So, today I officially introduce a new, fresh subtitle for the blog that well about my story during the next few months: AROMA DI CANNELLA – A culinary diary of an Italian PhD researcher visiting UCLA LA LAND

Due to the one-thousand-and-one things I had to do in the in past weeks, I didn’t really have time to bake or prepare anything special to commemorate this short chapter of new adventures. But I promise I’ll try to come with some 100% American recipes for you in the coming weeks.
For today, I give you an old drafted recipe of one of my favorite home-made bread, which I actually wished I could have had for dinner: the brioche bread, here in a version with a delicious rocket-cheese filling.

For the Italian friends: you can find the recipe here. Just replace the radicchio with rucola. If you want, you can also try with the Gouda cheese.

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Brioche bread with rocket and Gouda cheese

Ingredients

For the brioche bread

550 gr unbleached all-purpose flour
250 gr milk
50 gr olive oil
25 gr instant or active dry yeast
1 egg
10 gr salt
10 gr sugar

For the filling: some rocket  & your favorite cheese
In this version, I used the Dutch Gouda cheese, but here you can find a version with  Italian Montasio cheese and radicchio.

To prepare the dough, I use my Kenwood kitchen machine. You might want to use need a dough hook like this. Otherwise, a lot of patience and good skills to do it by hand. 

Procedure

In a small bowl, mix the milk (slightly warm), yeast, and sugar. In the kitchen machine bowl, whisk the flour with the milk at a low velocity. Then, add the oil, the egg and salt, and let the machine mixing all the ingredients until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
Once the dough is ready, cover the bowl with a table cloth and let the dough rise for at least one hour.
Roll the dough in a rectangle with a rolling pin, cut it in three slices and add on the top of each some cheese cubes and chopped rocket. Wrap the three dough slices and use them to make a braid (for some pictures on how to do that, check here).
Put the braid-brioche bread in a baking tin (if you want to make it like a crown form as in the picture above, use a doughnut pan). Brush the top of the brioche bread with some milk. Done.

Bake the brioche bread for 10 minutes at 180° and then for 40 additional minutes at 160°.

Cool the brioche before enjoying it with some good (Italian) wine.

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