Month: April 2010

Kiss Kiss

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I feel like egg whites are sort of magical.  You can whip them up with some sugar and use it as a frosting, make pavlova, eton mess, bake them, fold them to make light and airy treats, and probably so many other things.  I tried making pavlova a long time ago and it was an utter weepy mess so I was hesitant to try to make meringue kisses.

I had to try again though since the pavlova mess was when I was a lot younger and inexperienced.  The only downside to these kisses is that they take about two hours to bake and me being impatient wanting to taste things right away was a challenge.  At least 3 kisses were missing before they came out of the oven done.  😡

Chocolate-Coffee Meringue Kisses (adapted from here)

4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
pinch cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened dutch processed cocoa

1/2 tsp of instant coffee

Preheat oven to 175F.  In a large heatproof bowl, combine the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar and set over a pot of simmering water.  Whisk the ingredients until the sugar has dissolved into the egg whites (3-4 min).  Take the bowl off the pot and using a mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff glossy peaks.  Stir in vanilla.  Sift the cocoa and coffee over the egg whites and fold in till combined.

Fill the egg white mixture into a pastry bag with a large star tip and pipe quarter sized meringues onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for about 2 hrs, until they lift off easily from the paper.  For any extras you won’t be eating right away, you can turn off the oven and leave the kisses in there so they dry well.  Store in a air-tight container.

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Seeing that I had 4 extra yolks on hand, I decided to make the pastry cream from my cream puff recipe.   I chopped up some strawberries and bananas, mixed it in and let it cool in the fridge.  Scrumptious custard!

I was looking through some old post the other day and realized that I missed my blogs 1st birthday!  How horrible of me.  I really can’t believe that it’s been a year already and surprised of all the things I’ve come to learn through writing and experimenting on this blog.  Hope everyone has enjoyed it as much as I did.

And sorry no pics, the camera battery has died and i cant find the charger.  Plus theyre all gone!

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Steak Night

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As much as I don’t like to have an overly meat-y meal, I do enjoy steak once in a blue moon.  My idea of a perfect steak night is a yummy steak, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, gravy, and a nice flick. 

It had been a long while since I’ve had a decent steak so I decided to give it a hand and try it out for myself.  I was quite worried that I was walking the plank with trying to make steak.  But all in all, I thought it was pretty simple.  Along with the steak I made two sauces, a chimichurri sauce and a mushroom sauce.  I’ve seen chimichurri sauces quite often and since it sounded pretty funky I had to give it a try.  Mushroom sauce brings back good memories from Turkey.  So both had to be made. 

Along side the steaks, I roasted some veggies, baked many potatoes, and baked zebra cake (no zebras were hurt during this process). 

Zebra Cake is essentially a marble cake but with an orgranized pattern.  It looks complicated but actually simple to do.  It just takes smidge more than marbling. 

Steaks (adapted from here)

1 1/2 lbs steak

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp black pepper

Crank up the heat on your grill to about 350F.  Pat dry the steaks.  Mix all seasonings in a bowl.  Rub both sides of the steak with the seasonings.  Place on grill and cook both sides to desired doneness (6-10 min each side)

Chimichurri Sauce

1 large garlic clove
1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 tsp salt

In a small food processor or an immersion blender, blend together all ingredients till smooth. 

Mushroom Sauce (adapted from here)

1 teaspoons melted butter
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/4 to 1/2 cup very thinly sliced mushrooms
3 tbs beef broth or 1/3 of a beef bullion cube
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon snipped chives
 

In a skillet, heat up the butter and Worcestershire sauce.  Add shallots and mushrooms to saute for a few min.  Add in broth, lemon juice, and salt pepper.  Pour in cream and add chives.  Cook for a few min till combined.  Serve sauce warm on top of steaks. 

Roasted Veggies

2 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise

3 assorted colored bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise

1 large eggplant, sliced horizontally in circles

corn, shucked

kosher salt

olive oil

In a bowl combine oil and salt, enough to marinade all your veggies.  Char till desired on the grill alongside steaks on grill. 

Baked Potatoes

Russet Potatoes

olive oil

kosher salt

Preheat oven to 500F.  Wash your potatoes and dry.  Pierce each potato a few times.   Mix in a bowl enough olive oil and salt to lightly coat the potatoes.  Coat your potatoes with the olive oil + salt.  Place in oven uncovered and bake for about 30 min or until easily peirced with a fork.  Slice in half lengthwise and fluff the sides.  Adorn with desired toppings. 

Zebra Cake (adapted from here)

4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk (low fat is fine)
1/2 cup vegetable oil + 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

Preheat oven 350 and line a round cake pan with parchment paper.  Whip together sugar and eggs till light.  Stir in the vegetable oil, applesauce, milk, and vanilla.  Sift together the flour, baking powder & salt.  Combine with wet ingredients.  Measure out 2 cups of vanilla batter in another bowl.  Whisk in cocoa and mix well. 

Place 3 tbs of vanilla batter in the middle of the cake pan.  Place 3 tbs of chocolate batter in the middle of the vanilla batter.  It will spread out as you repeat this process and push out the other batter.  Continue alternating the two batters until all batter is used.  Bake for 40 min or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack before serving.

Farewell

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My sister is moving overseas and with all the crazyness involved, I’m not sure how I managed to throw her a surprise party, but somehow I managed.  The following is the what I made. 

Menu:

Greek Skewers

Deviled Eggs

Frito Pie

Fraisier à la mousse de chocolat blanc

Rosace à l’Orange (Upside-down Orange Cake)

Vegetable Tian

I didn’t expect the Greek Skewers to be super amazing but they were soooo good.  So simple, so healthful & pretty to.  Will defenitely make these again. 

Greek Skewers

cherry tomatoes

cucumbers

feta cheese

red onions

toothpicks

3 tbs red wine vinegar

1/4 c olive oil

salt & pepper

The amount you use for these skewers is dependent upon how many you want to make. Start by washish the tomatoes and cucumbers.  Half the cucumber lengthwise and slice into 1/4″.  For the feta, cut into small cubes with a knife.  Chop the onion into 1/4″ pieces.  Starting from the bottom, add a piece of feta, cucumber, a cherry tomato & piece of red onion on top on each skewer.  Assemble till ingredients are used up. 

In a bowl, whisk the vinegar with salt and pepper.  Pour in the olive oil while whisking.  Pour marinade over skewers.  Set on tray to serve. 

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I’ve always wanted to make/eat Deviled Eggs but wasn’t sure if they would be good.  Not many people like eggs, muchless boiled eggs so I was hesitant to make them for a group of people.  On the upside, it was just the occasion to test them out. 

Deviled Eggs (adapted from here)

6 boiled eggs

juice of half a lemon

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

4 tbs mayonnaise/miracle whip

2 tbs of finely chopped cilantro

dash of cayenne

salt & pepper

chili powder for sprinkling

With a knife, carefully cut each boiled egg in half, lenthwise.  Remove the egg yolks in places in a medium bowl.  Set egg whites on a platter.  In the bowl add the remaining ingredients except chili powder.  Either mash and mix with a fork or with a immersion blender until its a smooth mixture.  You can either scoop the mixture or using a pastry bag using desired tip to fill the hollow of the egg whites.  Garnish with a sprinkle of chili powder.  Chill before serving. 

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Frito Pie is an easy meal that can be put together with minimal effort and tastes amazing. 

Frito Pie

 1 lb lean ground beef

1 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, finely minced,or puree’d
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
1 teaspoon tapatio hot sauce (or your favorite)
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon baking cocoa
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Bag of Frito Chips

Sour Cream

Cheddar Cheese

Green Onion, chopped finely

Wash the ground beef in a strainer is desired.  Brown the beef with garlic and onion in a large skillet with olive oil.  Add in the next 8 ingredients and simmer for about 8 min.  Mix in the kidney beans and cook for another 10 min.  Turn off heat. 

In a bowl, layer chili, sour cream, green onions, cheddar cheese, and fritos & enjoy!

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This is a great health and pretty vegetable recipe.  Try it out!

Vegetable Tian (from here)

2 tbsp olive oil (divided)

1 large sweet yellow onion cut in half and sliced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1-2 russet potatoes, unpeeled

1 zucchini

1 yellow squash

3 large Roma tomatoes

Sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Dried thyme, to taste

1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 F.  In a small skilled, heat up one tbs of olive oil.  Sautee onion till translucent (about 8 min).  Add in garlic and cook for another min.  Add this mixture to the bottom of a greased baking dish. 

Slice the zucchini, tomatoes, squash, and potatoes into 1/4″ rounds.  Alternate them with the rounds standing against each other.  If your using a rectangular pan, make rows but if you are using a round pan, fit them tightly into a spiral.  Season with salt, pepper, thyme.  Drizzle with olive oil. 

Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 min in the oven.  Uncover and sprinkle with the parmasean cheese.  Bake for another 30 min.  Remove from oven and enjoy. 

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Fraisier à la mousse de chocolat blanc has to be one of my new favorite desserts.  It’s a little heavy and rich but it looks and taste like it was professionally made.  It would seem like its complicated but steps are very basic. 

Fraisier à la mousse de chocolat blanc (adapted from here)

Sponge Cake

5 eggs, seperated whites & yolks

4/5 cup AP flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tbs of cocoa powder

Preheat to 350.  Using a large round cookie sheet, spray or butter it.  Place parchment paper over it so it will stay.  In a mixing bowl, whip together the egg yolks with the sugar until it is a pale yellow.  Fold in the flour and cocoa.  In another bowl, whip the egg whites to medium-firm peaks (if its too stiff it wont mix well).  Fold them into the flour mixture.  Pour onto the cookie sheet and spread to one even layer.  Bake for about 10 min.  When you lightly press the cake, it should spring back. 

Remove from oven and the cookie sheet.  After it has cooled down, sprinkle it with cocoa powder.  Using a round ring mold or the top of a springform pan, cut out the cake to fit the springform pan.  Layer the springform pan with aluminum and place the cake onto the bottom of the pan. 

Chocolate Mousse

¾ cup chocolate chips (I used milk)

1/2 tbs gelatin

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 c whipped cream (beat whipping cream till stiff)

5-6 strawberries

In a saucepan, melt together the chocolate and whipping cream.  Take off heat and mix in gelatin.  Fold in whipped cream. 

Wash the strawberries and pat dry.  Slice of tops.  Slice the strawberries thinly lengthwise.  Line them up on the sides of your springform pan so they standup on their own.  Carefully spoon in the mousse.  Smooth the surface and freeze covered for 24hrs. 

Chocolate Mirror Glaze (adapted from here)

3/4 c whipping cream

3/4 tbs honey

3/4 cup cocoa

3/4c sugar

1.5 tbs butter

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tbs gelatin

In a saucepan, heat up on low heat whipping cream.  Stir in honey.  Mix in the cocoa, sugar, and butter.  Take off heat once its a smooth combined mixture.  Stir in vanilla and gelatin & cool. 

Take out mousse cake from freezer.  Pour the chocolate glaze over the mousse cake and smooth out surface.  Place in freezer or fridge for faster setting.  If put in the freezer, place in fridge an hour or so before serving.  Garnish with berries and remove springform carefully before serving. 

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This cake was pretty, but I don’t think the taste lived up to it IMO.  Others did like it alot though. 

 Rosace à l’Orange (Upside-down Orange Cake) (from here)

Custard

2 egg yolks, (reserve the egg whites for the cake)
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, salt, and cornstartch.  Whisk in the milk slowly.  Turn on the heat and boil.  Let it boil for 2 min all while mixing so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of pan.  Once mixture has thickened take off heat & stir in vanilla.  Pour into a bowl and cover surface with plastic wrap making sure there’s no bubbles.  Place in fridge till cold (or can be made ahead a day or two)

Buttermilk Cake

2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, (1 stick)
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a circle cake pan with parchment paper.  Beat butter in a mixing bowl and add sugar.  Mix till light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg whites.  Once they are well incorporated, mix in the remaining egg. 

Sift together the flour, baking soda and powder.  In another bowl, mix together the butter milk with lemon juice.  Starting with the 1/3 of flour, alternate mixing the flour and buttermilk into the egg/sugar mixture. 

Pour batter in to cake pan and bake for about 35-40 min.  Once done, take out of oven and let it cool.  Once it has cooled slice in half horizontally. 

Fruit

2 oranges

1 kiwi

2 large stawberries 

1/4 cup orange juice

Remove the peels of orange and kiwi and slice into thin rounds.  Slice off tops of strawberries and slice thinly.  Place half of the fruit (nicest pieces)in shallow dish covering it with orange juice.  Chop up the remaining half. 

Finish Custard

2 tsp gelatin
2 tbsp hot water
1 cup heavy cream

Beat heavy cream till stiff.  Mix together gelatin and hot water till dissolved.  Stir gelatin into whipped cream.  Fold the chopped fruit into this mixture and then fold this into the custard. 

Preparing Cake Mold

Cooking spray

sugar

Large Deep round mold or large glass bowl

Oil and sugar the mold/bowl lightly.  Starting from center, align the fruit slices in a pretty pattern while reserving the orange juice.  Carefully cover sliced fruit with half the custard mixture. 

Next, brush the halves of the cakes with orange juice.  Place the first half cut side down onto the custard and press.  Top with remaining custard.  Place the next cake half cut side down.  Place a plate that fits inside the mold and place something heavy ontop.  Refridgerate overnight up to 24 hrs. 

When serving, remove the heavy weight and plate.  Place a large serving platter ontop and carefully flip over the bowl, using assistance if needed.  Lift bowl carefully and serve.

Poached Pears

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I can’t believe I haven’t posted here in over 2 weeks which has been a record for me!  Along with things being pretty hectic, I was pretty uninspired again…Usually there’s always something I want to desperately but nothing sparked  my interest. 

People were nagging me to please make something & so I finally pushed myself to find something I wanted to make. When I was a little girl, I remember eating a poached pear and it was utterly delectable.  I don’t know if I knew it was a poached pear at the time, but I always wanted to make/have it again.  Since there was an excess of pears in the house I decided to give it a go.

It is usually poached in wine but my rendition is with water.  For another non-alcoholic choice you can use sparkling cider.  The base of making poached pears is pretty much the same and you can add to it as you please. 

  

Poached Pears

Base

5 cups water

4 Bosc pears, pealed leaving stem in place

2 cups sugar ( I only used 1 3/4)

Additions-Spiced Version

Fresh Ginger

Star Anise

Lemon/Orange Zest

Cloves

Cinnamon Stick

Vanilla Bean, split lengthwise & scraped, to put seeds & pod in mixture

Additons- Floral

Dried lavender or Lemon Balm

Mix the sugar and water in a sauce pan and heat till sugar is dissolved.  Add in your version of additions.  Slice off a little bit of the bottom of the pears so they can sit flat in the pot. Make sure the sugar-water is at a slow simmer and place the pears in the sauce pan so they’re completely submerged.  If they aren’t submerged standing up, you can lay them on their sides, turning them occasionally when cooking. 

Cook for about 7 min, or until they are easily pierced with a fork.  Cool the pears in the liquid.  If you want to make a syrup out of the liquid, strain out the pears & additions & reduce the sugar-water till it has a syrup consistencies.  At this point you can add in raisins, currants, dried cherries or cranberries so they can plump up. 

Serve the poached pears with simply the syrup or you can serve it with cake, ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, or crème fraîche.