Thursday, December 20, 2012

Glazed Lemon Buttermilk Bundt Cake

We needed buttermilk for another recipe, and saw that all the quarts cost 50 cents since they were expiring soon. I figured instead of buying only a pint which cost double, it was still cheaper to buy a quart even if some was thrown out. 
Since we still had plenty extra, and I hate wasting food, our oh so logical remedy for dealing with too much of one food is to make more food! After looking at several through several buttermilk recipes, we settled on this recipe from Cooking Light since I had never made a Bundt cake before. I feared it was going to overflow from all the fluffiness, but it came out just right!

3 tablespoons grated lemon rind (about 2 lemons)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened 
orange and vanilla extracts
Grand Marnier
3 large eggs 
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
Lemon glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. To prepare cake, combine rind and 3 tablespoons juice in a small bowl. Set aside. Coat a 10-inch Bundt pan with cooking spray; dust with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.

Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

Place butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add remaining 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, rind mixture, and extract, beating until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and 1 cup buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beating at low speed, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons juice, and 1 tablespoon buttermilk in a small bowl, stirring until smooth. Drizzle glaze over warm cake. Garnish with grated lemon rind once glaze is set, if desired.
Read More »

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Filipino Chicken Adobo and Ginisang Sitaw at Kalabasa (Green Beans and Squash)

For ungrounded reasons, Bryan thinks all my cooking is bland. I had to prove him wrong, so I pulled out the most flavorful dishes I know...Filipino food!

PS. After the meal Bryan conceded I had flavor. Boo yah!

Filipino Chicken Adobo
A classic dish that's super easy to make. There's not one set ratio, so everything is to taste. The white vinegar and bay leaf is crucial for the flavor. 

Here is what it looks like when marinating. Look at those spices, oh yeah!

For the Chinese version, remove the white vinegar and add brown sugar and star anise. This is what I was used to at home. When I joined the Filipino community at Stanford, they were baffled at my mom's version. Personally, I make the Filipino one more since the sour vinegar flavor gives a nice kick, but both ways are delicious.

cooking oil
garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
3-4 chicken thighs/legs (pork works well too)
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
black peppercorns
2-3 bay leaves
2 eggs, with shell for hard boiling (optional)

Sautee garlic and onions in oil and add chicken to brown. Add vinegar and soy sauce, just barely covering the chicken (water may be added, but don't add too much for maximum flavor). Add pepper, salt, and bay leaves, and eggs if desired. (optional: let sit and marinate for a few hours). 

Bring to boil, then lower heat (do not overboil). Cover and let simmer for 1-2 hrs, stirring occasionally until sauce is reduced and thickened, and chicken is tender. Serve with steamed rice.


Ginisang Sitaw at Kalabasa
This is my favorite vegetable Filipino dish. There's a billion variations (this is after all home cooking!) which can include shrimp, pork, and other meats, but this all veggie one is the version I like to make.

Kalabasa (acorn squash) is a small squash, green on the outside and orange on the inside. It's really hard to cut, so I recommend getting a nice strong dude to chop it for you.

cooking oil
garlic, minced
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 squash (kalabasa), peeled and cubed
green beans (sitaw), cut into 2-inch strips
1 can coconut milk
2-3 jalapeno or serano peppers, chopped, with seeds
black bean chili paste
crushed red pepper
salt and pepper (to taste)

Sautee the onion and garlic in oil with the kalabasa in a saucepan. Add coconut milk, jalapeno or serano peppers, chili paste, salt and pepper and let it stew on medium high.

When the kalabasa is starting to soften, add green beans (I don't like my green beans overcooked and kalabasa takes a while to stew). Stew with top covered until vegetables are ready.
Read More »

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tea Time Treats: Mini Pizza Cookies

Pinterest is unhealthy. You feel an urge to make pretty things. You can't resist. Productivity and work vanish. Your inner housewife/Martha Stewart/XX chromosome traits explodes uncontrollably. There is no cure.

Thus, I organized a Tea and Cookie Party for my friends, where everyone brought tea/cookies/dessert. I wanted to make something that looked fancy, and stumbled across mini pizza cookies. I was going to use frozen sugar cookie dough, when I realized (gasp), I never even made sugar cookies from scratch. This had to be remedied.

So I made found a lovely sugar cookie recipe from Joy of Baking, and pressed the dough into muffin pans for a cute and easy tart shape. Add topping and fruit, and voila! Pinterest cuteness in your own kitchen!

Bonus: A Pinterest tea party requires pinterest flowers as well! I made White Peonies using paper clips and put it inside a tall glass mug lined with colored paper as a centerpiece.

So instagram is not the best way to take high quality pictures...

Sugar Cookie Base:
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 oz package neufchatal cheese (yay healthiness)
sugar to taste
whipped cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Fruit topping:
sliced mandarin oranges, grapes, berries, kiwis, etc

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. 

Press dough into muffin spaces (make sure the spray well) so that you line the bottom and a little up the sides. Don't add too much since the cookies expand and you want a tart, not a cookie muffin! Bake cookies for about 10-14 minutes (depending on size) or until the edges are just starting to brown. Let them cool thoroughly, and they'll jut pop right out

Combine the filling ingredients together and spread on top of the cooled cookie bases. Add fruit on top.

Notes: I made a 1/2 batch of the sugar cookie recipe, which is enough for ~14 tarts in a normal sized muffin tray. I had extra filling, but I also used it sparsely one 12 tarts since I only had one muffin tray.
Read More »

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Lazy Girl's/Busy Med Student's Self Assembled Eggnog Banana Cream Pudding

Mom had accumulated a population of brown banana slugs in the fridge, and I was craving banana cream pie post block exams. I was going to follow a recipe but ended up inventing one since I

1) didn't feel like separating eggs
2) didn't have any heavy cream/whole milk and thus subbed eggnog
3) eliminated other ingredients I didn't have
4) reduced sugar and removed butter (hey, med school showing how we're all dying of obesity doesn't mean dessert must be removed completely!)
5) mashed the bananas into the pudding since these slugs weren't fit for presentation
6) added chocolate because chocolate makes everything better
7) was too lazy to make a crust so I froze the banana cream pudding and will add graham crackers when I actually eat it. It all mixes in the belly anyway

1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup half and half mixed with eggnog
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas
Topping: shaved chocolate, whipped cream, graham crackers

Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in heavy medium saucepan. Whisk in half and half/eggnog. Add egg and vanilla extract; whisk to blend. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until pudding thickens and boils. Mash banana into the pudding.

Chill until filling is cool, then freeze. Add shaved chocolate, whipped cream, and graham crackers.
Read More »

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gentleman's Mom Chicken Ginger

Bryan made this dinner for me while I napped. What a good boyfriend! :) It's very home cooked and nourishing. Stewing for a few hours makes it so tender too!  

My roommate liked it so much that she asked for the recipe (note: she has never ever asked for any of my own main dish recipes lol). I concede he is a much better cook ... but I will be always the baker/dessert maker of the household!

2 chicken breasts

2 tablespoon of sugar
3 gloves of garlic
1 1/2 cup of water
olive oil
3 tablespoon fish sauce

Cut chicken breasts into cubes. Drizzle with olive oil and black pepper and set aside

Add sugar to pot and heat on medium-high. When sugar starts to caramelize, add olive oil to stop the caramelization process. The sugar can quickly go from caramelized to burnt so be diligent. Turn heat to medium-low

After adding oil add the chicken. Cook chicken till outside light brown

Add water. Add fish sauce. Add ginger. Let pot reduce until flavorful. If you want it sweeter, add a little more sugar. If you want it saltier, add more fish sauce.
Read More »

Roasted Corn, Black Bean, and Mango Salad

Had the most amazing salad today thanks to Chef boyfriend, who learned this from his roommate (originally My Recipes). Flavor and healthy are not mutually exclusive! I like it as a topping for salads and white fish like hake. It reminds of the Southwest Salad I loved at Stanford, which cost a whopping $7. The ingredients for ALL of this = a little over $7 --> I may not be a math major but I know this is an awesome deal!

2 ears fresh corn kernels
2 diced peeled ripe mangos
chopped red onion
1 chopped red bell pepper
fresh lime juice
cilantro, chopped
ground cumin 
olive oil
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
greens (optional)

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in corn; cook 8 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Place corn mixture in a large bowl. Add mango and remaining ingredients except greens; stir well. Arrange 1 cup greens on each of 8 plates. Spoon 1 cup corn mixture over greens.
Read More »

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Individual Cheesecakes-To Be or Not To Be (sinful?)

To celebrate Bryan's visit, I decided to bake--what else--cheesecake! I love individual cheesecakes because the presentation looks adorable and it bakes so much faster. I decided to really let everything sit at room temperature to see whether it would make it creamier/smoother.

I deliberated whether to sub half the cream cheese with Greek yogurt (on top of sour cream being subbed already), but decided sinful it is! The yogurt was pretty tangy and I didn't want to mess up when baking for someone else (my one attempt prior with cottage cheese had been an epic fail). Recipe from Joy of Baking, with my modifications. 

Sorry, Bryan, you're gonna have to work harder for your 6 pack! :) 
1 cup graham wafer crumbs
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted


2  8 oz packages of light cream cheese, room temp
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 lemon grated zest
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

Topping: berries...berries...berries...

Cheesecakes: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. 

For Crust: Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press onto the bottoms of the 12 muffin cups. Cover and refrigerate while you make the filling.

For Filling: In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese on low speed until creamy and smooth. Add the sugar and salt and beat until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest, and sour cream and beat until incorporated. Remove the crusts from the refrigerator and evenly divide the filling among the 12 muffin cups. 

Bake for about 18 - 22 minutes or until firm but the centers of the cheesecakes still wobble a little. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Let cool and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate/freeze.

Makes 12 individual cheesecakes. 
Read More »

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Carrot Apple Pecan Muffins

Mom was super excited to bake a new berry muffin recipe, but it only filled up 6 muffins. We knew dad would be displeased at the sparse amount, so she asked if I wanted to bake anything else. I had been craving carrot muffins so I found this recipe from Epicurious and tweaked it. These are pretty healthy and not too sweet.

When my younger brother Hans came back with dad, he looked at mom's and my muffins, and commented, "UghI was hoping for death by chocolate muffins...not death by fiber

Ok, I wouldn't have minded adding some cream cheese icing too if I had the time!

Carrot Apple Pecan Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cups sugar
2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut (optional)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup corn oil + grated 1 apple (as applesauce)
2 teaspoons vanilla
nutmeg, pumpkin spice, cloves
1 apple sliced

Preheat oven to 350°F. and oil eighteen 1/2-cup muffin cups.

Into a large bowl sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and whisk in sugar. Coarsely shred enough carrots to measure 2 cups and chop pecans. Add shredded carrots and pecans to flour mixture with raisins and coconut and toss well. 

In a bowl whisk together eggs, oil, and vanilla. Peel and core apple and coarsely shred. Stir shredded apple into egg mixture and add to flour mixture, stirring until batter is just combined well. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling them three fourths full, and bake in middle of oven until puffed and a tester comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.
Read More »

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Healthy Chocolate Chip Pecan Banana Muffins

1 cup wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (~3 bananas)
semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the egg, oil, honey, yogurt and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in bananas, chocolate chips, pecans. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
Read More »

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Honey Strawberry Oat Bread

I always watch chick flicks and have sleepovers with my friend Dora, who is also a health nut. When she told me about making bread without sugar, I was admit I was skeptical but curious. I had never tried oat flour either, but it was always on my cooking bucket list. Needless to say, the bread turned out absolutely delicious, and the best part is I feel no guilt eating it whatsoever!

This our modified version, adapted from Allrecipes. We made a half batch but this is the full recipe (2 loaves)

2 1/2 cups oat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup oats
3/4 cup honey
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fresh strawberries
2 cup chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 8x4 inch loaf pans.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and oats.
In a large bowl, mix together honey, vegetable oil, eggs, and milk. Mix in flour mixture until just moistened. Stir in cranberries and walnuts.

Divide batter into prepared pans equally. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of the loaves comes out clean.
Read More »