Saturday, October 8, 2011

blueberry pancake



I was always skeptical of those delicious looking blueberry pancakes, because I had never had a truly amazing one... yet. I had a carton (one cup) of blueberries that I was going to use for scones, but I really wasn't feeling the scones idea...

So I looked, for the best, and doable blueberry pancake recipe. Often times, Ricotta cheese is used in blueberry pancakes, and I can only imagine that it would be wonderful ingredient in it, BUT ricotta is almost never in my fridge. Luckily, I happened to have a thing of buttermilk!

So I made these. oooohhhh my goodness, they were delicious! So easy! My mother thought I had to beat the eggs separately for fluffiness and such, but No. These are super simple to make and apparently fool proof! forst dry ingredients, then the wet, then mix... That's all you do!

Please try these! Oh also: My house was out of maple syrup. How dare we run out of maple syrup!??? but we did. so I ate these with a little butter I brushed on top as It was coming off my griddle, and it was plenty good enough. But as the recipe says, if you have syrup and whipped cream??? mmm it can't get worse, I'd tell you that much.


blueberry pancakes

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil (or PAM)
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries or frozen blueberries

Combine the wet ingredients and whisk until combined. Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the buttermilk mixture and stir very gently with a spatula until just combined (a few lumps should remain). Do not overmix.

Heat a non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1 tsp oil (or PAM) and brush to coat skillet bottom evenly. Pour batter into pan by 1/4 cupfuls.

Sprinkle blueberries over each pancake. Drizzle pancake with a bit more additional batter.

Cook pancakes until large bubbles begin to appear, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Using a thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and cook until golden brown on the second side, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately with syrup (and fresh whipped cream if you have it!).

Thursday, October 6, 2011

BEST peanut brittle






My mother does not like candy.
She looooves mont blanc, millefeuille, marron glace..... but never "candy"

BUT when I made these peanut brittle- She could not keep her hands off them!

These are so addictive. Make these right, and you've got a full sheet of good GOOD eats! These are cheap to make and easy peasy. This was my first time making them, so as I usually do with any recipes, I watched a few youtube videos of people making their peanut brittle and got the feel of it, then tried this recipe I found.

I bagged them up and gave them to a few people and they absolutely loved them. It is not hard, like those hard candy, got that airy honey comb like texture, and packed with a wonderful peanut flavor!!

I haven't tried any other recipes, but after tasting these, I really don't think I need to look any further.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

  1. Grease a large cookie sheet. Set aside.
  2. In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, over medium heat, bring to a boil sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peanuts. Set candy thermometer in place, and continue cooking. Stir frequently until temperature reaches 300 degrees F (150 degrees C), or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard and brittle threads.
  3. Remove from heat; immediately stir in butter and baking soda; pour at once onto cookie sheet. With 2 forks, lift and pull peanut mixture into rectangle about 14x12 inches; cool. Snap candy into pieces. Actually, I really don't think a sheet of brittle needs to be a rectangle... so I just poured it onto the sheet pan, and made sure that it was flat (I like the peanuts close together, so I just made sure that the nuts are in one layer. if any are being stacked, I just flattened them with whatever I was mixing the final mixture with) When you mix in the final ingredients, MIX them in. as you mix the baking soda in, it will foam up, keep vigorously stirring for like... five seconds.)


I put it out on my baking sheet pan with PAM on it, then transferred it onto my marble counter, while it was still warm and not completely hardened. I think doing this made it much easier to take the brittle off in order to break it into pieces.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Successful Brownie!





I personally have nothing against boxed brownies. Those are mighty tasty, aren't they??

But his recipe is REALLY simple. No, not as simple and convenient as the boxed kind, but I really think it's worth it. See how moist and rich it looks?? That's because it WAS very moist and rich :) and delicious... Of course!

This recipe is from King Arthur. But I found it on Tastespotting, from the Beantown Baker







Brownies - from King Arthur Flour - makes 24 brownies
Printable Recipe
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups cocoa
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp espresso powder, optional
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan

In a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat briefly, just until it's hot, but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

Transfer the sugar mixture to a medium-sized mixing bowl, if you've heated it in a saucepan. Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla.

Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth.

Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth.

Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan.

Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool completely prior to cutting.


I baked mine for about 26 minutes total. I checked after 20 min, and when I touched the top, it was still a goo. So in 6 min, when I touched the top, like when you touch the top of cupcakes or muffins for their done-ness, it was done. still dense, but no longer gooey, like my fingers did not sink into the brownie.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Giada's Lemon Ricotta Cookies




The taste of beautiful summer... This one is addicting.

I have not made too many of Giada's dishes, but I saw this cookie and I felt like I had to make these before summer ended :)

I would describe these "cookies" with these words: fluffy, mouth puckeringly sweet, tangy, refreshing, yum.

Before I go further, I should mention: with the way I made it -which is pretty much following the direction on food network- it did not come out too "cookie" - like. I had imagined this recipe to make some what short bread-ish cookie that's crumbly, but is kind of moistened by the glaze. Oh no. Though delicious, I would not call these cookies. Mine was more like a muffin top. This is great for tea time snacks OR breakfast! you can't really taste the ricotta in here, but it gives so much fluff to the batter and depth in flavor.

I would definitely make this again, but maybe when I have guests coming over because something like this tends to not last as long as, say, our usual chocolate chip cookies.

from Food network










Ingredients

Cookies:

Glaze:

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cookies:

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, (I may have fluffed it too much?) about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Glaze:

Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours. Pack the cookies into a decorative container. Here, I didn't really listened to what she said. I just had some one cup of sugar or so and lemon zest from one lemon, and squeezed lemon juice into it while whisking, until it came to a good consistency. I knew I would like my glaze pretty think so it will stay and make a layer on my cake/cookie instead of running all over off of them and creating a "sugar film".



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pickled Okra








Tell me if they are really that GOOD!

I've always heard that pickled okra is the way to convert okra haters to lovers. I never had enough to pickle. I grow one okra plant, which gives me an okra a day... which is lovely, but not enough if I want to pickle/ can them.

One day, an assistant of my florist was so kind to bring me a WHOLE BAG of freshly picked Okra. She says she has about 30 okra plants! I went out to Walmart and bought a dozen of caning jars, went out and bought mustard seeds (was unable to find dill seed:() and other ingredients that I usually don't have in my pantry.

I have to wait a week to taste... I am excited and scared at the same time. What if this taste terrible? What have I done? Wasted a whole bag of perfectly good Okra.... But I HAVE read numerous articles and blogs about pickled Okra and they ALL say wonderful things. So let's keep our fingers crossed! (also, I used some organic unfiltered white vinegar... not sure if that was OK)






I will post again with the verdict!


Recipe was taken from many different sources and I made it my own.

5 sterilized canning jars
2 lbs Okra
1 quart white vinegar
1/2 cup salt
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp Mustard seed
5 sprigs of fresh dill
10 cloves of garlic, smashed
5 chilli (I used serrano for three and red dried whole chilli for the other two)

1. I distributed the Okras into five jars. (now I realize that I should have just packed them from the bottom to top because after putting in the vinegar mixture, it is floating on top and I feel wasteful)
2. in each jar, I put in two cloves of smashed garlic, a chilli, cut in half, and a sprig of fresh dill.
3. bring the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, and salt to a boil. Then pour the mixture into each jar just to show the 1/4 of the jar top. Seal the jars.
4. place the sealed jars in warm water. make sure the jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water. bring the whole thing to a boil. let it boil for 10 minutes, then take it out onto a towed surface. let it stand for 24 hours or so. When it is really SEALED, you will hear a "ping" sound. the lid should be concave. if it does not seal properly, the Okra needs to be eaten within two weeks or so.



SO........ It's been a week (almost.) So I had one. Maybe my expectation was too high, but these pickled Okra taste like... a pickle. OF COURSE! I made PICKLED OKRA. I guess the reason I like Okra so much is because of their delicate taste and their slime. Both was lost by pickling. So while pickling them might make haters convert, if you love Okra the way they are, you might find them less appealing. Don't get me wrong, it tastes good, like any pickles are tasty and is one of our guilty pleasures :)




Peanut butter pie




I don't even personally know Jeannie, but via tastespotting, I started to see dozens of the same recipes... it was not a daring bakers' challenge, but bigger than that. I cannot imagine what Jeannie is going through. to have something so precious one day, then unexpectedly, it is taken from you... I could not help but to make this pie, for Mikey and everyone I love. THE love of my life does not like peanut butter baked into cakes, cookies or pies, so I shared it with my family who I equally love, of course :)

I brought some to my sister in law's. My baby niece (3 weeks old) cannot share this beautiful, delicious pie with everyone, but one day... :) She will taste my love through my cooking (and through my spoiling her).

This is a wonderful recipe, AND forgiving too. I think the amount of different ingredients you put in is basically up to your liking. More cream cheese? more cookies for thicker crust? more peanut butter!!?? Yes, it is possible.









spread that chocolate down!


This recipe is from Jeannie's blog above

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie

Serves 10 to 12

8 ounces chocolate cookies

4 tablespoons butter, melted

4 ounces finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup chopped peanuts

1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces cream cheese

1 cup creamy-style peanut butter

1 cup confectioner's sugar

1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well. Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Because I didn't want a very hard chocolate bottom, I mixed in some cream to make it into a Ganache. (1/8 cup cream) Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula. Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the melted chocolate. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use. Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner's sugar. Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.

Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream). Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan. Drizzle the melted chocolate on top, if using, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving. Here, I just shaved some of the same chocolate and put it on top, it still looked lonely, so I filled the empty outer circle with more salted peanuts.







Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Salmon Sandwich






LEFT OVERS... Ugh... I love to cook, but I dislike having left overs. I am not one of those snobs who hates eating something the next day, but come on! I want to cook new things! so faster the left over leaves my fridge, sooner I can make new stuff!

I really like salmon BLT. I guess I like anything meat with mayo, mustard, and bacon. but since this is truly a left over salmon sandwich, I did not have bacon, nor lettuce. But really, this sammie does not need anything more, in my opinion. Maybe if i had some water crest or arugula, that would have added some peppery kick!

Oh, the tar tar sauce was also an leftover item from about a week ago when I made my crab cakes. It's an good item to have around when you are having seafood especially.








Salmon Sandwich

1 piece of salmon cooked (grilled, baked, fried, whatever. make sure it's seasoned.)
1-2 pieces of bread. (I had mine as an open face sandwich, but whatever... this is a leftover recipe!)
1tbs tartar sauce
a hand-full cherry tomatoes
a clove of garlic, smashed
a pinch of salt and peper
a few leaves of basil

1. add basil to the basic tartar sauce. if you don't want to make the tartar sauce, I would just mix together some mayo, lemon juice, salt, pepper, capers, and some basil. it's still going to create some god flavor to go with the fish.

2. heat the cherry tomatoes in a small pot or skillet with salt, peper, a clove of garlic and a bit of EVOO. let it simmer and pop for about 10 min. Once they all popped and some areas are being charred, I smashed them with a potato masher lightly so they are all.... smashed. some juices will come out, so just keep simmering until it all get nice and thick.

3. toast your choice of bread and butter it. I kind of pressed on the middle of the bread so it created a very shallow "well" so that my cherry tomatoes doesn't escape. lay the tomatoes at the bottom, place salmon on top, drizzle the whole thing with your sauce. if you were to add any leafy-ness to this, I would put it under the salmon.

enjoy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

vanilla cupcake with strawberry frosting




BEST vanilla cupcake recipe I've found so far.

The batter makes the moistest cake EVER. The sour cream does the trick, maybe?
My mother, who does not usually appreciate cupcakes, really liked this combination of the cake and frosting. Oh with the sprinkles.... who can resist these beauty!!??




Ok, the recipe for the Moistest, most flavorful vanilla cupcakes! I do not know where I got the recipe from... :( but I added some cream to it at the end because when I was making it, the batter was REALLY thick. trust me, this one is a winner.




1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick butter, room temp.
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg
2 egg yolks
vanilla extract
1/4 cup cream

Pre heat oven to 350

1. sift the dry ingredients together (ap flour, sugar, baking powder, salt)

2. in a bowl of a stand mixer, mix the wet ingredients aside from the cream. (butter, sour crea, egg, egg yolks, vanilla) just mix to combine. I use about two tbsp of GOOD vanilla.

3. slowly add the dry into the wet. I do it this way: add some dry, follow it with cream, add more dry... and so forth.

4. when the batter is smooth, its ready. don't over mix.

5. distribute the batter into lined cupcake tin (only put about 3/4 of the way up, this batter doesn't rise so much, but better safe than sorry!), and bake for about 20 min. I usually check it by touching the very top of the risen cake; if it's bouncy, it's done, if it's a little wet, leave it in there a little longer.

6. take it out and cool it completely before frosting.




THE frosting.

When I make frosting, I am more adventurous. The amount of butter, cream cheese, and the powder sugar can be adjusted to your liking, but a lot of butter cream recipes said to put 2-3 cups of sugar to 1 stick of butter. So I used my 1/3 cup measuring cup and kept adding until I liked the sweetness of my frosting.





1 stick butter
1/4 package of cream cheese
2 1/3 cups of sugar
about a cup of freeze dried strawberries

1. make the strawberry paste. If this is too much, just puree some fresh strawberries, but I heard that fresh ones contain so much water that it could make the frosting really runny.
to make the paste, put your freeze dried strawberries in your food processor and pulse it until it becomes powdery. then I add a little water at a time to make it into a paste. This result in about 2 tbsp of paste.

2. In a bowl of an electric mixer, combined the butter and cream cheese with a paddle attachment. Add sugar until you are happy with the sweetness.

3. add your strawberry content. mix until it is well combined and the frosting is nice and pink.

** note: I know some people use jams to make their fruit flavored buttercream. Jams already contain so much sugar, so if you were to use jam or preserves, I would REALLY cut back on the sugar:) but this works well without a fuss.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ina's Chocolate Cake






Best gift to a home party EVER.

As you can see in the picture, it is the silkiest chocolate buttercream I have ever had. Since I don't seem to have much luck with SMBC, I think I will stick to something like this :)

I took this to a family when they invited me over for dinner. they had two children and they gobbled it up! the father also had a weekness to chocolate cake, and said this one was like the one of his grandmother's recipe that he makes occasionally.

I think the best part is the moistness of the cake. At the end, by adding the coffee, it makes the batter seem REALLY runny, but as you stir it, I guess the flour starts to absorb the moisture and it thickens up a bit.

This is also great for coffee lovers too. I think for more "adult" flavor, you can really put more espresso/espresso powder in the butter cream or top it with those chocolate covered coffee beans.

you can find the recipe here on food network.





Ingredients

  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  • Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.


YES, YUM.


Chocolate Frosting:

  • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.



Potato and Cabbage Gratin




Tyler Florence had another awesome Ultimate dish. I love love love Potato gratin. Its an easy, filling, CHEAP, tasty dish. Usually, I just make it with slowly caramelized onion layered with potato slices to make mine, but Cabbage adds... more English feel. It has a very strong smell of cabbage, potato, and pungent Parmesan cheese. If you are iffy about cabbage, this may not be the dish to turn you around :)

This will be a perfect dish to take with you to a pot luck, if it's a vegetarian one (gasp), then omit the bacon. It looks impressive, feeds a ton, and it's HOMEY.





Recipe can be found here on food network.

Ingredients

  • 1 head savoy cabbage, cored, cleaned, and shredded
  • 1 (2-inch) piece slab bacon, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the gratin dish
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh chives, finely chopped to 1/4 cup
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds baking potatoes, unpeeled and thinly sliced (about 1/8-inch), see Cook's note*
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Finely shred the cabbage. Cut the bacon into 1/2-inch chunks. Place a small skillet over medium-low heat and fry the bacon, until crisp. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon butter to bacon fat in frying pan. When it has melted add 1/2 the garlic and give it a quick stir with a wooden spoon to soften. Add the cabbage and coat it with the butter. Slowly let it wilt. Add the bacon. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from heat and add most of the chives, reserving a little for the garnish.

Generously butter the bottom and sides of an ovenproof casserole dish.

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, 1 1/2 cups of cream, 1 cup of Parmesan, and the remaining garlic, Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using your hands, place a layer of potatoes in the casserole dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan and repeat with 2 more layers. Spoon the cabbage mixture on top and spread it out evenly over the potatoes. Top it off with 2 more layers of potato and Parmesan. Pour the remaining 1cup cream over the dish. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.

Cover dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Leave for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh chives.

*Cook's Note: Slice the potatoes immediately before using so they don't turn brown.



Friday, July 15, 2011

chocolate chip cookies





See the little sprinkles of my sea salt?


Everyone's heard of the NY times Jacques Torres recipe, right?? Me too! I had just never had the oomph to go get that bread flour and the cake flour it asks for (everyone says is the secret to his recipe). But tis the summer. As a student/ graduate/ teacher, summer is.... "Wweeeee~~!!!"

I finally bought some bread/cake flour and then made these with that 36 hour waiting period that is ALSO the secret. The reason for my baking these were for me to give to my committee members as they evaluated my thesis and decide whether or not I am worth graduating. They said the cookies were delicious! aaand I passed. win win. I also gave a stack of them to my ex-work place. This stack spent some good amount of time in my HOT car, so it almost tasted right out of the oven! Divine. One thing I did not get for these special cookies were that special Chocolate disks that JT uses. I just chopped up some assorted chocolate bars from my fancy grocery store.

These are truly amazing.

recipe from the NYtimes.

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons

(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour

1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)

Sea salt.

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

Note: Disks are sold at Jacques Torres Chocolate; Valrhona fèves, oval-shaped chocolate pieces, are at Whole Foods.


I made mine smaller than he suggested, so baking time was more like 15 min.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Swedish Pancake

This is a Swedish pancake recipe





It was mother's day breakfast.
I thought... I should make pancakes... for mom! yes... for mom.

Usually, we use Hungry Jack, but I wanted something special for that morning. so I went online and looked for the best fluffy pancake, and it was called the Swedish Pancake. My mother had always told me that when she makes pancakes from scratch, the egg yolks and whites are whipped up separately, and so I found it. This was so fluffy, moist, and flavorful. Very delicate texture with soft but powerful taste. I think some of it was the vanilla. What a difference from our usual hungry jack!







I used this recipe and omitted the jam because I had strawberries.

Ingredients
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 egg whites, beaten until stiff
  • Powdered sugar
  • Lingonberry jam
Method

Place egg yolks and sugar in mixer bowl and beat until thickened. Alternately add the milk and flour mixed with salt and mix until blended. (Somewhere around here, I added some good tbs of good quality vanilla) Gently fold in beaten egg whites.Using a 1/4 or 1/3 cup measure, pour batter onto a lightly oiled, hot skillet. Turn pancakes when they are puffy and golden brown.To serve, dust pancakes with powdered sugar and serve with dollops of lingonberry jam.



I had brought her a bucket of hand picked strawberries, so I made a simple compote as well as whipped cream to go on top! who wouldn't want that for breakfast??

you can make a compote any way you'd like, but I just cut my strawberries in halves and put it on heat for just about 10-15 minutes with some sugar and lemon juice. You can make it with lots of sugar, or no sugar at all! for a cup and a half of berries, I probably added 1-2tbs of sugar. I was still going to use my maple syrup on the entire dish once it's in front of me, so did not need it to be too sweet.




Sunday, May 1, 2011

Strawberry SMBC



I am still intimidated by SMBC (Swiss Meringue Butter Cream). I know I like it, but I can never get to the fluffiness of the pro's SMBC. Since I could not find my candy thermometer, I went with Dyanne Bake's recipe for Swiss Meringue butter cream, since she has the very easy 1:2:3 measurements for the ingredients, AND she doesn't boil her sugar to pour into the meringue. 1=eggwhites, 2=sugar, 3=butter (all by weight). So I only wanted to use one stick of butter worth, so I had my engineer brother do the math.

So I started with a double boiler. I just used the bowl from my stand up mixer and whisked up my egg whites and sugar by hand until I couldn't feel the sandiness of sugar in the meringue anymore. this took about 5 minutes.


This was the consistency after about 5 min.


Then take it off the heat, and on to the stand up mixer. Whip it up until a stiff peak forms

isn't this beautiful?


When it reaches this point, you can start adding the butter. One Tbsp at a time.


Like every other ppl you talk to will tell you, it is going to look curdled and unsuccessful, but it's OK! just keep beating and beating... it WILL come together!


a little curdled..

When all the butter is in an you whipped it up to a beautiful butter cream, you can add any flavoring you'd like. I added my mother's strawberry jam. She doesn't use too much sugar in her jam, but if you are using some store bought jam, I would reduce the sugar amount in the cream.

So mine looked like this



I used it to fill the macaron I was making and oh it was delicious. I usually just fill my macaron with ganache or dressed up-ganache... but I will definitely try SMBC again and hopefully become comfortable with it. I remember the macarons when I lived in NYC... those usually had some buttery cream inside. mm mm mm...


Buttermilk Biscuit

This is a buttermilk biscuit recipe





I Love breakfast. I do love other meals as well, but breakfast is the first meal of the day! I love starting out the day right. So I guess I'm an optimist in some some people's opinion. I bake my blueberry scones A LOT, but since my mother had been making jams, I thought I will make some delicious "canvas" for her jams. I simply never have vegetable shortening in my pantry, EVER. So I looked for buttermilk biscuit recipe with all butter. I found one with a beautiful picture on Tastespotting, so I decided to give this a try.

From and now for something completely delicious
Easy Buttermilk Biscuits
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
Makes 8 large biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk, chilled, plus additional for brushing

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the butter with a pastry cutter or a fork until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and stir until the dough comes together in a ball.

On a lightly floured surface, gather the dough into a bowl and knead gently 6 times. Pat dough into a 10 inch circle about 1/2 inch thick. Cut dough into three inch rounds with a lightly floured cutter. Place on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Brush with buttermilk.

Bake until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Sumika's note: I made this recipe twice. The first time, I did not have a cookie cutter, so I just used a deep lid of something (a tea cannister). NOT the same! cookie cutter metal is much thinner than any lids you will find, thus giving us a very clean cut. lids tend to pinch the dough layers and prevent them from rising to their potential height :)




Wednesday, April 20, 2011

caramelized onion


It takes forever... and ever... and ever.... to make this amazing ... thing. I say "thing", because it's not really a dish on it's own, but it can be a secret ingredients to so many things. It's like roasted garlic, but with a lot more work. I almost always use sweet Onion, here in GA, I would use Vadalia onions. I cut them thinly, but not too thin, and sautee with ample amount of oil (maybe about 1/8 of a cup... or more) for about 45 minutes. I do it on low heat the entire time. One will have to be really patient to do this the right way. for about 20 minutes, it will look like it's not changing at all, but it will come... when 45 min to an hour is over, you will end up with these amber, rich, goodness.

Top pizzas with it, fill frittata with it, make caramelized onion galette with it, have it as a base to your beef stew, have it in savory crepe with brie and pear, put it on polenta.. there's countless of use for these jewel.

This is mid-way through. starting to take on some color


This is the end product. If you are going apply much more heat to this in the next cooking step... like put this on pizza and bake it some more, I would not wait until onions are this deep in its amber color.

note: Onion is good for your health! it's been around for a long long time, and many cultures believe in it's healing power!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Roasted chicken

Anne Burrell's roasted chicken recipe

I loove Anne Burrell. and I loove Roasted chicken. Such a family friendly meal it is. I make Roasted chicken often and it's usually the EVOO, salt and pepper and maybe some thyme. BUT I happened to see her on TV when she was making her roasted chicken and it looked scrumptious. I was still unable to get that ridiculous golden color she had on the bird's skin, but I'm sure that is an oven issue...? the herb paste she makes really flavors the chicken and going under the skin of my chicken was fun fun fun~ it prevents all the garlic pieces and chopped herbs from burning outside the skin. yum.
very very blurry, but you get the idea

You get under the skin of that chicken! and slather the green paste inside

can you see the green-ness under the skin?

Again with a blurry photo! but you can see the nice browning of the skin, yes? big thumbs up!

here's the recipe :)

Ingredients

  • 5 sprigs rosemary, picked and finely chopped, about 2 tablespoons
  • 10 sage leaves, picked and finely chopped, about 2 tablespoons
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 (3 to 3 1/2-pound) whole chickens
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large or 2 small onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bundle thyme, about 10 sprigs tied together with string
  • 4 cups rich chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine

  • Special equipment: butcher's twine

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

In a small bowl combine the chopped rosemary, sage, garlic, red pepper flakes and olive oil. Season generously with salt. Using your fingertips carefully work your way under the skin of the chickens to separate the skin from the breast to develop a pocket. Schmear the herb paste under the skin of both chickens. Use all of the paste and try to distribute evenly. Drizzle each chicken with more olive oil and massage the skin. The idea here is to lube them up like suntan lotion. This will really help to get a nice brown crispy skin. Sprinkle each chicken generously with salt. Truss each chicken.

Place the diced veggies, bay leaves and thyme bundle in a roasting pan large enough to accommodate the 2 chickens without touching. Usually a 9 by 13-inch roasting pan will be perfect. Add 2 cups of chicken stock and season generously with salt. Arrange the chickens on top of the veggies in the roasting pan and place in the preheated oven.

Check the chickens about 15 minutes into the cooking process, the skin should be starting to turn a lovely brown. Lower the heat to 375 degrees F and continue roasting. After another 15 minutes, remove the chickens from the oven and turn over. At this point check the level of liquid in the roasting pan. If most of the liquid has evaporated, add another cup of stock and return the chickens to the oven. When the chickens have browned on the bottom, about 15 minutes, remove them from the oven and turn them back over. Return the chickens to the oven for the final 15 minutes of cooking. During this time the skin on the chickens should be very brown and crispy. Remove the chickens from the oven and take the temperature in the crease between the thigh and the breast. (When doing this be sure not to have the thermometer probe touch a bone or you will get an inaccurate reading.) The thermometer should read between 160 and 170 degrees F. When cooking poultry in general the rule is 17 minutes per pound. If the thermometer reads less than 160 degrees F return the chicken to the oven for an additional 10 minutes and then re-check the temperature.

When chickens have reached the proper temp remove them from the roasting pan, place them on a warm platter and cover loosely with foil. Let sit for at least 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

After the chickens have been removed from the roasting pan, skim off the excess fat from the surface of the liquid. The easiest way to do this is to prop up 1 end of the pan and allow the fat to run to the other end of the pan. You may not be able to get all of the fat, which is ok-fat tastes good! Put the roasting pan on a burner, add the wine, bring to a medium heat and reduce by half. Add the remaining chicken stock and taste. Add salt if needed- you probably will need salt. At this point you can decide if you are a "strainer" or not a strainer, meaning if you would like to strain the chunky vegetables out of the sauce or not. I myself, am not a strainer. When the sauce has reached the desired consistency and flavor remove from the heat and pour into desired serving vessel.

To carve the chickens: Cut off the twine. Pull the thigh and leg away from the breast of the chicken until the thigh bone "pops" out of the socket. This is also a sign that the chicken is cooked properly. Separate the thigh and drumstick. Remove the breast from the carcass by feeling for the ridge of the breastbone in the center of the chicken and slicing around the rib cage. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter or on individual plates with the mashed potatoes and gravy