Sunday, June 9, 2013

Blueberry Banana Pound Cake with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

B and I woke up at 6 am to go to heaven I mean, a pick your own blueberry farm an hour away. It was such a great deal at $2 a lb! Additionally while picking, I happily munched on unlimited blueberries (my blue tongue charged me as guilty).

Chef Uy: Do you think we'd be good hunter gatherers?
B: Are you kidding? You're a gatherer-eater!

Now blueberry picking is hard work; we planned to pick 10 lbs, but after 2.5 hrs we foraged slightly over 5 lbs and called it a day.

B: Man, everyone seems to pick more efficiently than us! 
N: We're just taking our time.
B: It's because they don't have a Natticakes eating out of their bucket!

Fun fact: Blueberries with the "dusty bloom" means they're super fresh!

Anyways, we had to use up our blueberries! B begged me for blueberry cake, so I invented a new recipe to use up all my extra ingredients. I had a ton of ripe bananas to use, as well as mascarpone cheese, yogurt, and heavy whipping cream.

Fun discoveries: When I found I didn't have enough flour, I simply used my blender to grind up oats to make oat flour. It's so easy to do! Also, supposedly if you coat your blueberries with flour, it prevents them from all sinking to the bottom of the batter.

Just for reference keeping, the cake was inspired by Allrecipes. I've changed my recipes so much, that I realized after some research that I no longer need to cite the recipes sources. It's cool that I can call my recipes my own now. However, I was actually looking for good banana pound cake recipes and was about to use one when looking at my archives, I realized I had already done it and didn't like it so much. So my record keeping pays off!
This recipe's definitely a keeper. I wasn't even able to take a picture before B ate half the cake!

Blueberry Banana Pound Cake with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Blueberry Banana Pound Cake:
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup oat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plain yogurt
3 medium bananas, smashed (1 cup)
1 1/2 cups blueberries

Mascarpone Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
sugar, to taste
4 oz mascarpone cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing well. In another bowl, combine both flours, baking soda and powder, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until smooth, being careful not to overmix. Fold in the yogurt and bananas. Coat the blueberries with flour to prevent them from sinking in the batter and add to mixture. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hr, until a knife inserted into the center comes out cleanly.
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Friday, June 7, 2013

Easy Sweet and Savory Crepes

Mnn crepes. I remember making sweet dessert crepes as a little girl with my family. We would pile on ice cream, fruits, nuts, nutella, peanut butter, whipped cream, and basically every topping you could imagine (they looked more like obese tacos, butchering any French sophistication associated with eating crepes). 

It wasn't until much later that I discovered the savory version called galettes. When I went to France, I happily ate them every meal. And I ate them a lot in college freshman year until they sadly took away my beloved chicken pesto crepe from Stanford's Axe and Palm and changed to a "healthy food" menu (which wasn't popular and they quickly converted to a burger menu... alas sans crepes)

I had a craving for crepes the other day and found this basic recipe from Alton Brown. Conveniently, I had a visiting part French boyfriend present to assist me. I immediately bought a cute 8 inch fry pan and set him to work.

He probably had a little too much fun flipping the crepes...

B: *flip flip flip drop*
Chef Uy: O_O You only need to flip each once!!!
B: You're just jealous of my culinary technique!

Basic Crepe
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons melted butter
olive oil, for coating the pan

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour (allows bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear).

Heat a small non-stick pan with olive oil. Pour batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and lay them out flat so they can cool. Continue until all batter is gone.

After they have cooled you can stack them and store in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two months.
Savory variation filled with pesto chicken, tomatoes, eggs, spinach and cheese.
The highlight of any meal is always dessert of course. Must learn the pretty triangle fold.

Savory Filling
4 tbsp pesto
2 chicken breasts, cubed
2 eggs
2-3 tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 cups spinach
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2/3 cup button mushrooms, sliced
shredded cheese
spices (rosemary, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, oregano to taste)

Pan sear the chicken on stove with pesto, rosemary, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper and bake in oven for 30 min.

On stove top, sauté onions until browned. Add mushrooms, cooked chicken, and pesto, plus additional spices to taste. Add diced tomatoes and spinach.  Crack and scramble the eggs to thicken the filling. Fill the crepe and top with cheese.

Sweet Filling
1 cup heavy whipping cream
sugar, to taste
1/4 cup red wine
2-3 peaches, sliced
1 cup raspberries

In a bowl, whip the heavy cream and sugar together using an electric mixer.

On stove top set on high, add wine, peaches, raspberries, and sugar and stir to reduce. Add flour to thicken. Fill crepe and top with whipped cream
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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sesame Seared Tuna Steak

I like taking eating undercooked tuna from Fiesta (maybe they should get more credit...haven't gotten sick yet). Of course, right after eating this, we have our lecture on parasites and all the horrible things that can happen when you eat raw fish. Adapted from Martha Stewart.

I had been on the hunt for tuna steak for some time now and couldn't find it anywhere at a reasonable price. Then I saw it on sale and of course snapped it up.

Ok, it's supposed to be more raw, but I got scared.

Marinade/Dipping Sauce:
6 tablespoons mirin
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
6 tablespoons fresh orange juice
6 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
4 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
red-pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 scallion, green part only, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons unhulled white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon unhulled black sesame seeds
1 pound sushi-grade yellowfin tuna, cut into 4-ounce rectangular pieces

Make the dipping sauce: Combine mirin, ginger, carrot juice, orange juice, soy sauce, vinegar, red-pepper flakes, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Pour half into another bowl to dip the raw tuna fish in.

Make the tuna: Combine sesame seeds in a shallow dish. Press tuna pieces into the dipping sauce then onto the seeds, turning to coat each side. Heat oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add tuna, and cook each side until white seeds are golden, about 20 seconds per side.

Transfer tuna to a paper-towel-lined plate for 1 minute, then cut each piece into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Serve with dipping sauce.
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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Light Tiramisu

I don't know why it takes me forever to make things. Maybe it I didn't experiment so much with proportions (ie suddenly not having enough cream), I would actually be able to match the "prep" and "cook" time.
@*b^%fs$@#hsd^!? this totally does not take only 1 hr to make! Alas, it's worth every minute...

Anyway, here I present the lovely tiramisu. You totally get what you put in: use Italian ladyfingers, mascarpone, good quality dark chocolate, fine cocoa and coffee, and it will love you in return.

This is one of my favorite desserts but I rarely make it since the ingredients cost can definitely add up. The richness comes from, of course, mascarpone cheese, but eggs yolks too. Some tiramisu recipes call for raw egg yolks, but you can avoid Salmonella (oh infectious disease block in med school) yet not sacrifice the custard thickness of the cream with this recipe.

Plus, it's not very good for the waistline

So how to make it healthier? Replace some of the mascarpone with greek yogurt. I was giddy with excitement with my little experiment: you can't tell a difference, and everyone raved about its richness with nary a suspicion about the health benefits they were getting. Save money and calories? Sounds good to me. Adapted from Allrecipes.

3 egg yolks
3/4 cups white sugar
2 cups nonfat Greek yogurt
6 oz mascarpone cheese
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp white sugar
vanilla extract
2 (12 ounce) packages ladyfingers
1/4 cup coffee
unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
semisweet chocolate, for garnish

Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and whip yolks until thick and lemon colored. Add mascarpone to whipped yolks. Beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, whip cream, sugar, and vanilla to stiff peaks. Gently fold into yolk mixture and set aside. Split the lady fingers in half, and line the bottom and sides of a large glass bowl. Brush with coffee. Spoon half of the cream filling over the lady fingers. Repeat ladyfingers, coffee liqueur and filling layers.

Garnish with cocoa (No sifter? It's ok, use a teapot strainer!) and chocolate curls. To make the chocolate curls, use a vegetable peeler and run it down the edge of the chocolate bar (takes more time, but making pretty chocolate curls is just as important as studying neurology)

Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
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