Month: June 2009
I was in the kitchen this morning making breakfast and as I pulled out my strawberries and blueberries, I was getting sad over the fact that they won’t be in season once summer is over. I’ve kept a continuous supply of them in the house this summer and it’ll be so awkward when fall comes around and they won’t be around. My mum had made some homemade yogurt as per my request the other day and for a light snack, I filled a tea cup with some blueberries and topped it with some yogurt. It was the best, easy, light, yummy, dessert/snack! Sure going to miss it.
So last night I had a couple girlfriends over for a light dinner and late night swim. We made chicken gyros, southwest black bean salad, and homemade Oreo cookies. It barely took any time and there were no complicated steps. While I marinated the chicken and made the cookie dough, the salad was made. We had to wait for the chicken to marinate for an hour and the dough to chill for 30 min so we swam in the mean time. I attempted some Olympian Swimmer moves but it resulted in an unexpected underwater somersault with water going up my nose and having a crazy brain/nose burning sensation. A slight dent to my future as an Olympian swimmer.
Fun Fact: Gyros is a a Greek dish which means ‘to turn’ which is a calque of the Turkish dish, doner kabab (turning roast) which was invented in Bursa in 19th century.
Southwest Black Bean Salad (adapted from here)
15.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
9 oz frozen corn, thawed
2 hand fulls of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small hass avocado, diced
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 lemon, juice of
1/3 yellow bell pepper, chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp cilantro
salt and fresh pepper
Mix all ingredients in a bowl except the avocado. Cover and chill for 30 min to marinate. Just before serving, mix in the avocado.
Chicken Gyros (from here)
1 tbs minced garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping tbsp. plain yogurt
1 tbsp. dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 1/4 lbs. chicken pieces (I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
Clean and wash the chicken. Pat dry. Whisk together all remaining ingredients. Once the mixture has come together, add the chicken and coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
Cook the chicken in either the broiler or in a skillet. Once the chicken is cooked, cut into small think strips. Warm some pita bread in the oven by spraying some oil on it.
On the pita bread, layer the tzatziki sauce, chicken and any toppings. We used the black bean salad. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Homemade Oreo Cookies (from here)
5 tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups AP flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
In a bowl, whip together the sugars and butter for couple of minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla till smooth. Add in all remaining dry ingredients and mix with either a spatula or hands. Once it forms into a cohesive ball, half the dough and wrap it in saran-wrap to refrigerate for 30 min.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Take out the dough and roll it out in between to layers of wax paper to about 1/8″ thickness. Using any size cookie cutter (I used a shot glass), cut out circles and transfer to a cookie sheet. Bake cookies for 8 min and let them cool on a cooling rack.
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Whip the butter until fluffy. Add in remaining ingredients until combined.
Once the cookies are cooled, place some frosting onto the bottom side of the cookie. Top with another cookie. Repeat until all cookies have been sandwiched. Refrigerate till icing is set.
Recently, I somehow got obsessed with coffee. And not because of the caffeine since I only drink decaf (or else I’d be bouncing off walls) but because I absolutely love the taste. Straight up black coffee, no cream, certainly not any sugar. Some might think it’s absolutely disgusting, but it’s the only way you get a good taste of the actual coffee that’s not hidden under loads of caramel, sugar and whatever else goes in those Starbucks fraps.
I’ve been forced to cut down since I can’t take anymore heat from this sultry weather we’re having but I found a way to get a scrumptious coffee fix even though its not exactly the same.
Coffee-Break Muffins (by Greenspan)
2 cups AP flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbs instant espresso powder
1 tbs Baking Powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup strong coffee, cooled
1 stick unsalted butter (I cut this down to 1/2 stick and added 2 oz of unsweetened applesauce)
1 large egg
Preheat oven to 400F. Line muffin pan with paper muffin cups.
In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Make sure there are no lumps. In another bowl, beat the egg and add in the butter and applesauce. Pour over the dry mixture and stir until incorporated. Do not over mix. Spoon the batter out evenly into the muffin pan. Bake for 20 min or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.
Growing up, I was an avid fan of all the Roald Dahl books from The BFG to The Witches. Oh and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory an all time favorite! I was always amazed with the story Matilda, seeing such a small smart girl being rejected by her characteristic family. I was very excited to hear when the movie came out for it and surprisingly, the movie did the book justice. If you’ve either read or seen the movie, there’s one part where Bruce Bogtrotter is punished for eating Ms. Trunchbull’s “afternoon snack.” Here is a refresher.
Today I made a chocolate cake and as I was discussing it with A, I realized it reminded me of the cake that Bruce had to eat. Of course, mine was no where near that big but still quite chocolaty.
This cake is sooo simple and the frosting even simpler! I’ve had a bad hand with frosting and haven’t made any except for cream cheese frosting (which is a cinch!) in a long while. It was extremely smooth and frosted the cake with easy perfection. I would however next time include some berry puree in between layers or add some mini chocolate chips but I was too lazy to do so. Why complicate an easy cake?
Bruce Brogtrotter Cake (from here)(re-named the cake)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350F and grease & flour two 9 in circle cake pans.
Combine all dry ingredients and stir. Add in the oil, milk, eggs and beat. Mix in the boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour into cake pans and cook for about 35 min till inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for about 10 min and invert on to cooling racks.
Bruce Bogtrotter Frosting
6 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
2 & 2/3 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and beat with a mixer. Add a little more cream if frosting is too thick .
Once the cakes have completely cooled, frost the bottom layer. Add the top layer and complete frosting sides and top. Garnish to your liking.
I had some extra cream left over so I decided to make some clotted cream aka malai. Clotted cream is an English delicacy and is used to eat with scones during afternoon tea. It is also used in the Southeast Asia, eaten with a little sugar and bread in the morning. My madre use to eat it all the time as a kid and I decided to make some for her.
Any amount of cream (I used 1/2 cup since that’s all I had left over)
Put the cream on low heat. A thick yellow layer will form as it heats up. Once this layer is thick, spoon that layer into a container. A new layer will form up soon and continue this process until all cream is gone. Cover and store overnight in the fridge. In the morning you’ll have some nice clotted cream that you can spoon onto your scones/muffin/bread.
Some info about this process and the science behind it, visit here. It explains why that little layer forms when you heat up some milk or hot chocolate.
Years back, I was taking this weekend seminar with a couple of friends. Some of them brought some homemade biscotti (cantuccini) to class and were coffee dunking. I was never much interested in biscotti before but these were amazing!
Until about a year ago, I totally forgot about those biscottis. A and I would get together to bake randomly and enjoy our creations. Some how we decided to make biscotti one week and I was soooo scared making them since I thought they were super complicated. We used Peabody’srecipe and they were soo super simple! I was in shock. I e-mailed my friend to ask her for the recipe that she used for her biscotti (from some recipe book) and A and I both tried it out. We were in love. It seemed like it had the right amount of everything in it.
I made some recently for a couple of girlfriends that came over and enjoyed them with some coffee and chatter.
For a brief history/origin on biscotti, check out Linda’s site.
Chocolate Chip Biscotti (source unknown)
2 cups (10 oz/315 g) all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup (4 oz/125 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup (3 ½ oz/105 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup (4 oz/125 g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 cup (4 oz/125 g) coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup (6 oz/185 g) semisweet chocolate chips
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and espresso powder. Using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, add the walnuts and chocolate chips, and mix in. Add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated.
Divide the dough in half. Place each half on a prepared baking sheet. Using lightly floured hands, form each half into a log 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide and ¾ inch (2 cm) high.
Bake until firm to the touch, about 25 minutes (the logs will spread during baking). Remove the whole logs from the oven the let cool slightly on the baking sheets. Leave the oven set at 325° F.
Using a spatula, carefully transfer the logs to a work surface. Using a serrated knife, cut on the diagonal into slices ½ inch (12 mm) thick. Arrange the slices, cut side down on the baking sheets and bake until the bottoms are brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the slices over. Bake until the bottoms are brown, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
Makes about 3 dozen.
I made a light dinner for them as well and it was so simple yet so amazing. If your tired of the average baked potato (don’t get me wrong, theyre good but I always feel like I’ve eaten too much) try this one out. Fresh herbs can go a long long way.
Pesto Potatoes (by Dutch Girl)
3 potatoes (8 oz each)
1 large shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 tsp paprika
Wash the potatoes, giving them a good scrub. Pat dry. With a fork, poke the potatoes in 5 different places. Lightly oil it with olive oil and sprinkle some sea or kosher salt over them. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven at 400F for an hour.
In a sauce pan, heat up a littttle bit of oil. Sautee your shallot (or any onion will do) for about 3 min. Add the garlic and let it cook for a couple min. Add in the cream, vegetable stock (chicken stock will work too) and paprika. Cook for another 10 min. Once the sauce had thickened up a little take it off the heat and add in crack of pepper and a good pinch of salt. Squeeze in half of lemon juice and your chopped basil.
Once the potatoes are done in the oven, slice them in half length wise. Scoop out the potato guts so there’s only a potato shell left. Add the guts to the sauce and fill up the potato shells. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese and put it in the oven at 350F for 10 min. Serve while hot.
I think I realized the other day that I end up making things randomly and not stuff that I always look at and think, “Man I need to try making that.” and thus have decided to make a list. It seems like Summer of Lists for me.
It’s weird how I enjoy cooking and baking since most people prefer one over the other. I’d probably should make a separate list for both of them but I’m going to start off by just combining them. In no specific order…
- Challah bread
- Cinnamon Buns/Sticky Buns/Chelsea Buns
- Roast beef
- Meat Loaf
- Dutch Baby Oven Pancake
- Ice Cream
- English Muffins
- Coffee Cake
- Shepard’s Pie
- Stuffed Grape Leaves
- Thumbprint Cookies
- Sponge cake
- Jelly roll cake
- Bread Pudding
- Chocolate Lava Cake
- Deviled Eggs
- Fresh pasta
- Beef Stroganoff
- Spanish Rice
- Meringue Kisses
- Angel food cake
- French Onion Soup
- Corn Dogs
- Poached Pears
- French Macroons
That’s all I can think of right now but I’ll keep adding to it since I can’t remember all what I would like to make in one sitting. Let’s hear your suggestions!