Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Asian Noodles

Once again, I love Asian food. So I came up with an easy version of asian noodles. I don't know if they're considered Yakisoba or Chow Mein, but either way they're good. I have played around with a few types of noodles, pad thai, spaghetti, pre-packaged soft yakisoba noodles, but last nights udon noodles were by far the best. Pair them with miso soup or tempura (which we did last night), and you've got yourself a delicious meal, without having to go to a restaurant!

Asian Noodles

1 Package of udon noodles or spaghetti noodles
3 cups of chopped cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrots
half an onion, julienne cut
2 cups steamed broccoli
1 cup chopped mushrooms
3 tablespoons stir fry sauce
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
1-2 cups sauteed chicken

Serves 5-6

Saute cabbage, carrots, onion, and mushrooms in a large pan with 2 tablespoons oil on medium low heat. Meanwhile, start a pot with boiling water and cook the noodles, and saute chicken in a pan with 1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce and sriracha (if you like), and dice chicken once it's cooked. Strain noodles and set aside. Once the vegetables have sauteed, and the cabbage has wilted, add cooked chicken, and strained noodles. Add in steamed broccoli and the rest of the teriyaki sauce and stir fry sauce (sriracha too if you like), mix well. You may need to add more stir fry or teriyaki sauce for flavor. Garnish with scallions.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Croissants, how I love thee.

Have you ever squished a giant glob of cold butter through your hands? I can now say that I have. My new baking book has inspired me to make new and exciting things; things I never even thought of making before. Well, maybe I thought of making them, but the task seemed to great for me to comprehend. All that changed yesterday when I decided to make croissants. Delicious, flakey, buttery croissants. They were a lot easier than I thought, however very time consuming. About 24 hours to be exact, possibly more. I prepped the dough yesterday and kept it in the fridge for 12 hours (because I read the dough is better when it rests, though you can let it rest for 3 hours and still have great results). This morning, while enjoying my coffee, eggs with cheese, and toast with almond butter, I waited for the dough to proof (rise).
Then I popped them in the oven, and magically my apartment filled with the sweet aroma of baked goods. My apartment smelled like a bakery. In fact, my roommate said she could smell the croissants baking from outside of our apartment and down the hallway. If only this could be my lifestyle everyday. Baking all day long sounds like the perfect job...

if only I knew that before I spent thousands and thousands of dollars on a degree!

Croissant Recipe

makes 12 croissants

3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup barely warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon sugar (my own addition)
1 3/4 cups cold butter

Combine 1 cup of flour with the water and yeast just long enough to break up the lumps of flour, and let rise for 1 hour.
Stir in the remaining flour, the cream, salt, sugar, and knead for 1 minute. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Knead the mixture by hand for about 10 minutes or with a stand mixture with a dough hook for 20 minutes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Work the butter with the heel of your hand or the paddle attachment until there are no lumps. Shape and roll the butter into a 8 x 8 inch square, using plastic wrap. Roll the dough into a 9 x 17 inch rectangle and place the square of butter on one end. (see picture)

Fold over the dough so the butter is encased in a square. Press together the edges of the square to seal in the butter. Press gently on the square with one hand while firming up the other sides to even out the square. Gently hammer the square of dough with a rolling pin to stretch the dough and the butter in it.

Now roll the dough into a 9 by 18 inch rectangle. Fold the rectangle into thirds as though it were a letter. Starting with a narrow end, fold the bottom thrid up and fold the opposite end down. If the dough is difficult to roll, refrigerate for 30 minutes.
When the dough is ready to work, turn it so that the large single fold, like the spine of a book, is on your left, roll it out into another rectangle again, and fold it in the same way. Your dough has now had two "turns", and it needs four in total.

Cover the dough and refrigerate for AT LEAST 1 hour. Continue in this way until you have given the dough 4 turns total.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour again (I did 12 hours). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough into two 6 1/2 by 20 inch rectangles from 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick. Trim any uneven edges and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
For each rectangle, cut the dough in triangles, like pictured below (I forgot to take pictures of my own!). Then make a small 1 1/2 inch long slit in the middle of the triangles.

As you begin to roll up the croissants, curl the two sides of the triangle on each side of the cut, away from each other. Continue rolling with both hands, each one on half of the triangle. Point your hands away from each other as you roll.

Arrange the croissants on the sheet pans and cover them with plastic wrap to proof (again, I know!) for 3 hours in a cool place, or 1 hour in a warm place. They should double in size.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, brush the proofed croissants with egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon of salt), and bake for about 35 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.

I took the liberty of making some chocolate croissants and a cinnamon sugar "croissant" with the leftover dough. Hopefully they will be good! I'm making my boyfriend taste them tonight.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentine's Day!

I had a wonderful Valentine's Day this past Sunday! We went to church, then to to Kobe swap meet here in San Diego, out to lunch at Phil's BBQ, and went shopping and then saw a movie. After the movie we went back to my house and had Gouda cheese, bread, and salami as an appetizer. My boyfriend made me a delicious dinner of filet mignon, arugula, and grilled asparagus, and I finished off the evening making chocolate souffles with vanilla ice cream on top! Needless to say, I felt very fat, but very happy at the end of the day.

My boyfriend gave me an amazing baking cook book for Valentine's Day, filled with 350 recipes, so I felt it only necessary to use the chocolate souffle recipe from the book. It was easy and done in no time. However, I did cut the recipe in half, because it normally serves 6. Enjoy!

2 ramekins, buttered and sprinkled with sugar, then freeze them

4oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons flour

Preheat over to 450 degrees.
Combine butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir with a whisk or silicone spatula until smooth and melted, then remove from heat.
Combine eggs, and sugar and beat on high speed with a mixer for about 5 minutes, or until the ribbon stage (when the beater is lifted the mixture falls in a wide band onto the surface, forming a figure eight that stays for 5 seconds before dissolving).
Pour the eggs mixture over the chocolate mixture and fold with a rubber spatula while sifting the flour over the mixture. Alternate between adding flour-about 1/3 of the flour at a time-and folding until the flour is no longer visible.
Transfer mixture into prepared ramekins and smooth the tops. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 2 hours (but I didn't freeze them, I added them straight to the oven).
Bake cakes for 14-16 minutes, until risen almost by half. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream on top, or plain and sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Friday was my friend Aj's birthday and for his special day I decided to take on the task of making home made fondant for his birthday cake. I have always wanted to make and work with fondant, especially after watching Ace of Cakes, because they make it look so easy. It wasn't quite easy, however. After going through almost two bags of powdered sugar, I got the fondant to the consistency I wanted (i.e. not sticking to our kitchen table every time I tried to roll it). I decided to go with a Pokemon themed cake, because well, Aj's obsessed with Pokemon. After about 5 hours the cake was done, and I felt quite accomplished, though I think it could have been a bit better; I think I'll try a different cake shape next time.

For the cake, I used this All-American Chocolate Buttercream cake recipe, but I used 3 cake pans for 3 layers. I also made chocolate buttercream frosting in between the layers and around the cake before applying the fondant.
I also made the characters on top of the cake out of fondant, however I wouldn't recommend it because it was too soft. I would recommend using gum paste if you're wanting to decorate it.


Ingredients required to make the fondant recipe:

  • 1 Tbsp of unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup of cold water
  • 1 tsp of almond extract (I used clear vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup of light corn syrup (If a corn syrup is not available, you can substitute it with a sugar syrup made with 1-1/4 cups sugar and 1/3 cup water, boiled together until syrupy)
  • 1 Tbsp of glycerin (some recipes say it’s optional, believe me, it’s a must)
  • 2 lbs 10X confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of white vegetable shortening

Directions how to make the fondant recipe:

  • Sprinkle the gelatin over cold water in a small bowl and let it rest for 2 minutes to soften
  • Place the bowl in a microwave for 30 seconds on High, until the gelatin dissolves
  • Add the Almond extract
  • Add the corn syrup and the glycerin and stir until the mixture is smooth and clear (if the mixture is not turning smooth and clear, microwave it for an additional 15 to 20 seconds on high and stir again)
  • Sift 1 1/2 pounds of the sugar into a large bowl
  • Make a hole in the sugar and pour the liquid mixture to it
  • Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes sticky
  • Sift some of the remaining 1/2 pound of sugar onto a smooth work surface and add as much of the remaining sugar as the mixture will take
  • Knead the fondant, adding a little more sugar if necessary, to form a smooth, pliable mass
  • Rub the vegetable shortening on your thumbs and knead it into the fondant
  • Roll the fondant flat, until it's about 1/4 of an inch thick, and drape on cake

To color the fondant you need to buy dye gels, not the liquid food dye, add it to the fondant with a toothpick, and slowly knead the fondant, adding more color if necessary.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentine's Day Brunch

Today my boyfriend and I miraculously BOTH had the day off, so we decided to start the day off right with brunch and mimosas. He came over around noon (late start) and we made breakfast together; hash browns, buttermilk pancakes, buttermilk biscuits, and eggs (for me). It was delicious. Sadly I didn't have the time to make the biscuits and pancakes from scratch (I opted out with Trader Joe's Buttermilk Pancake Mix) but I added a few changes of my own. To the pancake mix I added a teaspoon of vanilla and one splenda packet. I also used milk instead of water, because let's be honest, everything is better with milk. After cooking the pancakes I cut them into heart shapes with a knife (for Valentine's Day!), because I don't have a cookie cutter big enough for pancakes. I was shocked at how restaurant-like the pancakes tasted. I honestly have never tried that pancake mix before, I usually do whole wheat, but it was delicious and WAY better than bisquick! I highly recommend it! I also made the biscuits with the same mix, but added a bit more butter and changed the serving size. All in all, it was a cute and fun way to start the day (afternoon more like).

No recipes today, because it's pretty self explanatory. It's more of an "idea" post. However I do have one little tip for the best scrambled eggs you'll ever make. My roommates once commented on my eggs (apparently they're fluffy?) however, I never really noticed, but here's my little secret...add a dash of water, and whisk before adding to the pan. It makes them fluffy and perfect. Keep the flame on medium to medium low, and don't move them around TOO much, you don't want a bunch of pea-sized pieces. Haha some of you might be thinking, EVERYONE ALREADY KNOWS THAT! But I'm hoping that maybe that tip is helping somebody out there reach their goal of creating perfectly fluffy eggs! Hey, a girl can dream.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Healthy Fried Rice with Tofu

Okay, so this post isn't with the theme of "Valentine's Day", but oh well. I love chinese food. I could probably eat it everyday. Good thing I don't, I'd be huge because I can't stop once I've started. But I like to make my own healthier versions at home. Tonight I made myself some healthy "fried" rice. My boyfriend hates onions and eggs, (both of which are in this recipe) so this was a big treat for me to make tonight since he wasn't around. I use quotations when I say "fried" because I didn't use oil in the rice, like typical fried rice recipes call for, instead I used cooking spray. I also used tofu to add some protein, used one and and one egg white (to add a little fat, but not too much), and brown rice, and it turned out fine. Delicious in fact. I garnished my meal with some scallions and a squirt of sriracha on top (my absolute favorite condiment). Filling, healthy, and soooo tasty...and I have leftovers!

3 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup of steamed vegetables (broccoli, peas, corn, carrots, green beans)
1/4 cup chopped onions
as much tofu as you would like, cubed
1 tablespoon stir fry sauce
2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
1 whole egg and 1 egg white, whisked
chopped scallions
sriracha or cayenne pepper to taste

Spray skillet with cooking spray and saute onions and tofu in a large skillet on medium high, until they start to brown a bit. Add steamed veggies, cooked rice, stir fry sauce, soy sauce, and teriyaki sauce. Mix well. Clear a hole in the middle of the pan and add whisked eggs. Scramble the eggs in the "hole" in the rice mixture, then incorporate the rest of the rice and vegetables. Garnish with scallions!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Valentine's Day Cookies

In honor of Valentine's Day I've decided to do a series of recipes that are Valentine inspired. First recipe, cake cookies! For those of you who have never had cake cookies, you are truly missing out. They taste exactly like cake but in the form of a cookie, and they're so easy. I'd like to think that I've perfected the art of the cake cookie, my personal preference being white cake with white chocolate chips thrown in. However, I've tried all sorts of combinations; chocolate cake with peanut butter, chocolate cake with white and chocolate chips, funfetti cookies, etc. But for Valentine's Day I decided to try something new: strawberry cake mix with white chocolate chips. I highly recommend that you try these!


1 box of strawberry cake mix (I prefer Betty Crocker)
1/3 cup of canola or vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the cake mix, oil, and eggs in a large bowl until combined. Add the white chocolate chips and mix. Roll mixture into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 8-10 minutes and watch closely! (I prefer them just BARELY starting to brown, so they're soft on the inside). Dust with powdered sugar once removed from sheet pan.

If you don't want to try strawberry flavor you can use white cake and add red food coloring for the same effect!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Chili (Soup)

Growing up, my mom always made tortilla soup in a crock pot. I wanted to recreate it, but since I don't have a crock pot I came up with my own little version. It's a cross between a chicken tortilla soup and chili, because it's loaded with 4 different kinds of beans, and very little broth. I love it because it's filling, healthy, and you can make a lot of it. I garnished it with green onions, greek yogurt with lime(yes, greek yogurt), and cheese. Along side it I made homemade tortilla chips, baked rather than fried, so they're guilt-free.

Chicken Tortilla Chili


2 cans of black beans (I prefer a mexican brand because it usually has onions and jalapeno
s mixed in)
1 can drained pinto beans
1 can drained kidney beans
1 can drained great northern white beans
1 can drained stewed tomatoes (not italian, mexican if you can find it)
3 cups of chicken broth
cayenne pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of chili powder
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
sriracha to taste
2 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
Salt, pepper
1 lime, juiced

In a large pot, add a drizzle of olive oil and saute chicken pieces lightly seasoned with salt and pepper on medium heat. Lower heat and add chopped garlic, cooking about 1 minute. Add broth, kidney beans, white beans, pinto beans, and stewed tomatoes and bring heat up to medium again. Add one can of drained black beans and empty the other can into a side bowl. Gently mush the black beans in their juice, to create a thick paste (this makes the chili thicker), then add to the pot. Add chili powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper (I prefer a lot!) and if you have it add a squirt of sriracha. Add the juice of one lime and mix. Allow the soup/chili to cook on low for at least an hour, stirring occasionally, to allow the juices to incorporate. You can even add a can of corn of you like!

Spicy Tortilla Chips


corn tortillas
cooking spray (i.e. Pam)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 8 equal triangle pieces out of each corn tortilla (you can even cut out fun shapes!). Spray each piece with cooking spray (both sides), and place them onto a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and salt and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until light brown and crispy. Watch closely because they burn easily! Once removed from the oven sprinkle with a bit of salt again, then serve.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bird Crap, aka Chocolate Cake Crumbles with Whipped Cream and Chocolate Pudding

I know what you're thinking. What good could possibly come from an entry titled Bird Crap, but I assure you that a great deal of good can come of this post.

My roommate Melissa and I had the urge to make something delicious, and didn't want to spend too much money on ingredients, so we settled on a chocolate cake with buttercream frosting. Sometimes you have hiccups in the kitchen, and to be honest, we had a big hiccup that day. We beat the cake batter too long and when the cakes were done baking they literally crumbled out of the pans. There was no hoping in attempting to frost them, none what so ever. So as we stood there in the kitchen, cracking up at our mistake I remembered a delicious dessert my mom introduced to me a few years back. It's a different take on "Better Than Sex Cake", that includes crumbled chocolate cake, layered with chocolate pudding, whipped cream, and chunks of toffee or heath bar. Although it made my mother mad, my friends and I called it Bird Crap and boy did we love it. As it so happened, miraculously I had whipping cream in the fridge, and a box of chocolate pudding in my cupboard (what are the odds?), so we decided to make an even better dessert than we already had planned. I urge you to try this dessert. It's so incredibly simple and sooooo good. And it's even better with homemade cake! (Though you can use a boxed kind)

Chocolate Cake:
4 ounces (120 grams)unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup (28 grams) unsweetenedcocoa powder
1 cup (240 ml) boiling water
2 1/4 cups (315 grams) all purposeflour
1 teaspoonbaking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (226 grams) unsaltedbutter, room temperature
2 cups (400 grams) granulated whitesugar
3 largeeggs
2 teaspoons purevanillaextract
1 cup (240 ml) milk
Chocolate Cake:Preheat ovento 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, and line with parchment paper, two - 9 x 2 inch deep (23 x 5 cm) round baking pans. Set aside.
In a stainless steel or heatproof bowl place the chopped unsweetened chocolate and cocoa powder. Pour the boiling water over the chocolate and cocoa powder and stir until they have melted. Set aside to cool while you make the batter.
In a separate bowl, whisk to combine, the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is fluffy (this will take about 3-5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and melted chocolate mixture and beat to combine.
Add the milk and flour mixtures in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat only until the ingredients are incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for about 35 - 40 minutes or until atoothpickinserted in the center comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly pressed.
Once the cake has cooled, remove from pans and crumble up. Prepare a box of instant chocolate pudding, set aside. Then prepare the whipped cream:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 table spoons confectioners sugar

Beat on high speed with a mixer until fluffy peaks form.

Now get a large bowl and put a layer of crumbled cake on the bottom. You can choose to sprinkle chocolate chips or crumbled heath bar on top of the first layer as well. Then follow with a layer of chocolate pudding, then a layer of whipped cream. Repeat until cake and pudding are gone, but make sure to save enough whipped cream to cover the top layer. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate or crumbled heath bar. Voila!

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