Month: December 2009

I Miss You

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Hello blogosphere.  I very much do miss you.  It’s almost the end of the year, end of a decade.  I wish I had a big awesome recipe to share to kick off the New Year, but so much is going on.  I’m switching careers, traveling, taking care of family from out of town, and on top of that, attending several weddings.  Don’t worry, I’m still cooking and baking but most of it is stuff I’ve posted about before.  I’m still working on putting up Thanksgiving recipes which is taking quite a while.   If I don’t get it up in time, I will see you all back next decade, next year, 2010!


Dump, Mix, & Bake

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Whenever fall rolls around, I go a little pumpkin crazy.  Pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake, pumpkin cheescake….although I have yet to try pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!  I once even made pumpkin bread by making my own pumpkin puree.  Somehow this fall, I did not go into pumpkin madness.  I think I would of completely left out pumpkiness this fall had it not been requested. 

The first time I made pumpkin cake, (the start to my pumpkin-fall craze) I was horrified by the smell of the  puree.  I had already made most of the batter and when it came time to crank open the can, I was stunned.  I don’t even know why I bothered completing the cake, but thankfully I did.  Because out came such a scrumdiddlyumptious cake!

I don’t frost mine, because I don’t want it to be too sweet.  But if you want to make a layer cake or make it a little more fancier, some frosting would be nice.  I just love it without it. 

Pumpkin Cake (adapted by here)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup oil + 1/2 cup unsweetned apple sauce*
4 eggs
1 (15-oz.) can (2 cups) pumpkin
1/2 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl except for raisins.  Beat with a mixer for 1-2 mintues, until everything is combined.  Fold in raisins.  Pour into a greased 13X9 baking pan for one layer.  Cook until inserted toothpick comes out clean. 

*if you don’t have any applesauce on you, you can just use oil.  I wouldn’t use a whole cup of oil though because the cake comes out too greasy.  3/4 cup should be enough

This cake is just too easy.  It’s just dump, mix, and bake.  No need to cream, whip, seperate.

Pot Full of Goodness

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(I’m a little behind in my posts…so a lot of recent post aren’t so recent)

During Eid, (or maybe just Eid-al-adha?) our family usually makes this dessert that’s pretty traditional.  Actually, we make a similar dessert to the one that is the traditional dessert because…well I really don’t know why.  Maybe we don’t like it the other way.   It’s a simple dessert the can be made quickly if you have the ingredients on hand.  Once everything is in the pot, you can leave it to cook until desired thickness/consistency. 

Sawayoon Wali Kheer aka Vermicelli Pudding (by my mum)

200 g vermicelli (one packet)

1/4 tbs butter

1/8 tsp ground cardamom powder

2/3 gallon whole milk

1 qt half & half

3/4 packet Lazizah/Shan Kheer mix

5 tbs sugar

3 tbs golden raisins

pinch of saffron

Crush the vermicelli until it’s in smaller pieces, not too small though.  In a pot, cook it with the butter and cardamom powder for about a minute.  Add in remaining ingredients and cook until the mixture has gotten a little thick (Don’t make it too thick because it thickens more after it cools).  Pour it into a large serving dish or individualized serving bowl.  Can be served warm or cold. 

Growing up, I always loved licking the pot after my mom had poured the kheer into a serving dish.  All the siblings would fight over it and claim certain sections of the pot or stirring spoon. 

I should warn you though, don’t leave a spoon in the serving dish.  The kheer will slowly disappear and by the end of the day you’ll wonder where it all went.

Mr. Benedict

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It’s weird how I somehow make up stuff in my head and start believing it.  I’ve always wanted Eggs Benedict but I could never order it at a diner since most places only offer it with ham/bacon, and I don’t eat pork.  I never thought of making it myself with some smoked salmon. 

I recently learned how to poach eggs but I always thought that Hollandaise sauce is super difficult and easy to mess up.  So even after poaching eggs, I never got enough courage to try making Hollandaise sauce.  On top of that, smoked salmon is quite pricey for such a little piece. 

Last weekend’s breakfast, we finally bought smoked salmon and instead of a Hollandaise, we used sour cream….ya I really don’t know why.  It was pretty good but everyone wanted the real stuff, as sour cream is a pretty lame substitution.  Sigh, okay I’ll give it a try. 

I dragged myself into the kitchen and got ready to face this head-on.  Mixing, mixing, mixing……ahhhhhh I think I killed it..noo nooo noooo….wait wait, hmm….I think it’s coming together…..yes….YES SCOOOREE!  wow..that was pretty simple….I don’t know why I built it up in my head to be so difficult. 

The sauce was perfect and went really well with the eggs.  The only problem I had was that the smoked salmon we bought was expired and smelled like….well it smelled like rotten fish :/  I had to use roast beef instead which was okay, but I rather have smooth soft melt-in-your-mouth salmon. 

Freshly squeezed orange juice

Hollandaise Sauce

3-4 egg yolks

3/4 stick butter, cut into pieces

1 tbs cream, half & half, or water

1 tbs lemon juice or white vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

dash of cayenne pepper

In a double boiler, whisk the egg yolks with the cream (or half & half or water) constantly until the mixture gets a little thick and creamy.  Take off heat and stir in the butter until it’s melted and incorporated.  Stir in remaining ingredients. 

Assemble by toasting your english muffin and placing a piece of meat on top of it.  Add the poached egg as the next layer and dollop with as much Hollandaise as desired.  Crack fresh black pepper over the top. 

You can use the egg whites to  make a simple scramble and top it with hollandaise if you don’t have anything else to you is it for. 

There’s a ton of different version of Egg’s Benedict but this is as traditional you can get, minus the salmon.  The various adjustments are made according to the region and influence of the people. 

Now I’m craving some more…

More Whipped Whites

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I hadn’t baked in a while and my hands were itching to make something.  I recently had seen a recipe for chiffon cake that I wanted to try and it didn’t look too hard.  I’ve never made a chiffon but had plenty of experience folding whipped whites into cakes and mousses. 

In the end, it was easy to make but the suggested bake time was too long and I think I over cooked it, thus making it a little dry.  I also thought it wasn’t sweet enough.  I don’t like terribly sweet things but there wasn’t much of any sweetness to the cake.  This might have been my mistake being scared to put too much powdered sugar into the cake because a little goes a long way in frosting.  I had some Orange Blossom Honey though that went perfectly with it and a lil dab did jus the trick!  I also used fresh orange juice that I squeezed so it also lacked the extra sugaryness that store-bought OJ has. kinda came out in 2 pieces :/

Orange Chiffon Cake (from here)

6 Large Eggs, separated plus 1 additional Egg White
2 1/4 Cups Sifted Cake Flour
1 1/4 Cups Superfine White Sugar
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
3/4 Cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
2 Tbsp Orange Zest
3/4 tsp Cream of Tartar

Separate the eggs and allow to come to room temperature.  Preheat oven to 325 F.  Mix together the flour, sea salt, baking powder, and sugar (minus 3 tbs).  Make a well and place the yolks into the well along with the oil, orange juice, and zest. Beat for a minute. 

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until foamy.  Add in the cream of tartar.  Once the egg whites get white and not clear, and in the remaining 3 tbs of sugar.  Gently fold this mixture into the flour mixture. 

Pour into a tube pan (I used a bunt pan) and bake in the oven for about 40 min.  The cake is done when a toothpick comes out clean when inserted or when the cake springs back when touched.  Take out of the oven and flip over onto a bottle to cool for about an hour.  (your cake shouldn’t fall out since you’re not suppose to grease the pan). 

It’s a little hard to get out but run a spatula/plastic knife around the outer and inner sides of the cake. 

I was grocery shopping at Whole Foods today and saw some rugelach.  I’ve never heard of them till foodgawker and always wanted to try some.  I didn’t know what it really was though except it looked like a crescent with different fillings.  It’s actually a Jewish pastry eaten after the meal on Sabbath made from a cream cheese dough.  There was raspberry, apricot, and chocolate rugelach and I went with the chocolate.  definitely will be trying to make some or trying the other flavors.


Rose wah?

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I was enjoying a nice run at a local park and just as I was finishing my last couple minutes, I saw this little lady picking something off the branches/bush.  As I turned my head, I noticed she was picking these little red berry-ish looking things but they were smaller and circular.  I couldn’t help but to slow down and ask her what she was picking.  The lady kindly replied to tell me she was picking rose hip, like it was something totally normal. 

My curiosity grew and I went on to ask her what she was picking them for.  Of course, of course she was picking them to make rose hip tea!  How could I have not known?  I got home and started looking up the benefits of rose hip tea.  I had heard of rose hip before but never really knew what it was. 

Rose hips are the fruit of the rose plant.  (Duh)  They grow after the rose’s bloom has died.  They can be used to make teas, jellies, syrup, and marmalade.  They have a high content of Vitamin C, more than any fruit or vege.  (During WWII the British made a Vitamin C syrup out of wild rose hip because German vessels were sinking commercial ships that imported citrus fruits from the tropics).  I wonder why oranges are so highly promoted as a great source of vitamin C and rose hips are so rarely heard of. 

Everytime I’d go for a run, I’d think about picking some and bringing it home.  My last run there I made up my mind and got picking.  After getting stuck and poked by the thorns I got a pretty good handful.  I came home in hopes to make some tea but I don’t think the rose hips were big enough.  I found some larger one at Central Market though.  Everyone at home was like what is that? Rose wah? Aren’t those poisonous? 

Oh, if you crack a rose hip open, there’s these fuzzy hair-like thing inside that can be used as itching powder.  You might be able to concoct your own practical joke. 😉