Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Spiked Coffee with Bailey's and Kahlua

It's New Year's Eve, and for the first time, our family isn't celebrating together - Dad had to fly off to the Philippines to visit because of a family illness. Since Dad isn't here, we aren't hosting our usual New Year's bash. This is the first time we haven't spent New Year's at a party, making the whole scenario even stranger.
Regardless, we Uy kiddos and Mom are having a swell time celebrating with oodles of food, sweets, and of course, plenty of alcoholic concoctions. The four of us (plus our dog Snowball) can party it up just fine.
Mom wanted to make this coffee spiked with Bailey's and Kahlua; she needs the coffee to stay awake til midnight and the liqueur for festivity. Mom also got to try her new Christmas present, a milk frother, and I got to play with Dad's new Christmas present - a really awesome Nikon flash from the kids. These pictures were taken with all the lights off at night time- isn't that incredible?!  I might have to *borrow* dad's gift, since fighting the sunlight is my constant nemesis in food photography.

As a lazy homebody right now, I feel perfectly content (and blessed) to spend a quiet New Year's at home in pajamas. All you need is family, a movie, and alcohol to welcome 2015. As mom's famous tagline goes, "The celebration continues!"

Spiked Coffee with Bailey's and Kahlua

1/2 oz Bailey's Irish cream Liqueur
1/2 oz Kahlua
4 oz hot coffee
frothed milk or whipped cream (storebought or homemade)

Froth your milk using a frother. Another option is to use a blender then carefully scoop the top foam off.

Pour Baileys and Kahlua into Irish coffee glass. Fill glass with hot coffee. Top with frothed milk or whipped cream and serve immediately.
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Friday, December 26, 2014

Cranberry Orange Trifle // Sugared Cranberries

I've been on a brief OCD break given my hectic exams, research deadlines, and holiday social calendar, but it feels good to be back in the kitchen with my camera.

This holiday was extra busy as B's family came from California to visit us in Texas so our folks could finally meet (big steps!).
Cranberry Orange Trifle Sugared Cranberries holiday dessert
Christmas dinner was particularly special; it was their first time visiting our house, so we made sure to cook (and clean) up a storm. They'd already had some good local food as they toured San Antonio, Austin, and the Hill country, but they've never been to the five star, highly acclaimed Uy kitchen (prowled by our mascot, our always hungry American Eskimo dog, Snowball).
We each had our own dish to present; dessert, of course, was my territory. I wanted to make a layered holiday trifle because not only is it elegant, it's filled with fruits, whipped cream, and custard - my kind of treat!  This recipe, adapted from Cooking Light, features tart cranberries, orange zest, and Grand Marnier liquor.

Ok, so this recipe isn't really that "light".... but it's the holidays and they're on vacation, so Dr. Dad and I don't feel too guilty making their glucose and lipids skyrocket.
I was going for a big presentation in our holiday crystal trifle bowl, but dad accidentally dropped a pot on it while washing, and it shattered to pieces - such perfect timing, alas! So I had to make do with these shooters, which turned out pretty well in a pinch. I topped each glass with sugared cranberries and a rosemary sprig for some festive holiday decoration.
Success in the Uy kitchen means everyone having indigestion post meal. Everyone ate into a coma - mission accomplished.
Cranberry Orange Trifle

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup Grand Marnier liquor
1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries

1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 cups milk (2%)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 loaf pound cake, sliced (storebought or homemade)
whipped cream
sugared cranberries and rosemary, to garnish (recipe below)

To prepare cranberries, stir 3/4 cup sugar, orange juice, and Grand Marnier in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, about 3 min. Add cranberries to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until cranberries pop. Spoon mixture into a bowl; cover and chill (may add cornstarch to thicken if needed)

To prepare pastry cream, combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Gradually stir in milk; bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Gradually add half of hot milk mixture to eggs, stirring constantly with a whisk (so the eggs don't curdle). Return milk-egg mixture to pan; cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Add vanilla and remove from heat to let cool and thicken, stirring occasionally, to a custard consistency.

To assemble, layer pound cake slices with cranberry compote and whipped cream and custard. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with sugared cranberries and rosemary for garnish. Cover and chill at least 4 hours before serving.

Sugared Cranberries

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar (divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup water

Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Stir in cranberries for several minutes (do not let boil or they'll pop). Drain and dry cranberries in a strainer.

To make superfine sugar, pulse remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor or blender; pour into a shallow dish. Roll cranberries to coat with sugar. Spread sugared cranberries in a single layer on a baking sheet; let stand at room temperature until dry.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mexican Hot Chocolate

This Mexican Hot Chocolate drink was inspired by my time (and drinks) in San Antonio. Ok, so chili/cayenne and chocolate might be a little odd sounding, but try it out for a cultural flavor experiment. In Mexico, chocolate was originally prepared only as a (bitter) drink mixed with spices, wine or corn puree.
Mexican Hot Chocolate cinnamon whipped cream cocoa
I can't believe it's been a month since starting my away rotation! Away rotations are dangerous - you feel like you're in vacation and "studying" falls by the wayside because you want to hang out and explore the city.

Overall, I saw a great variety of pediatric patients both in clinic and hospital medicine, including osteogenesis imperfecta, familial adenomatous polyposis, dextrocardia (ie the heart is reversed!), congenital syphilis/HIV/hep C, Prader Willi syndrome, thyroglossal duct cysts, Femur fibula ulna complex, bizarre glycogen storage diseases, and more.

I understand the above medical jargon means nothing to the most of you, but for my fellow medical students, there's noting quite as exciting as seeing a rare "textbook" diseases in real life. Because, some diseases are so ridiculously mind-boggling, you can't help but feel it can't be real. And because nothing makes you remember femur fibula ulna complex better than watching a girl with no arms do schoolwork by typing on an ipad with her feet. Pretty awesome!

On a side note, after a of month scribbling notes and obtaining faxed records, I have come to the conclusion the I am only applying to residencies with electronic medical records. Paper charts and my horrid handwriting = not a good idea.
Mexican Hot Chocolate cinnamon whipped cream cocoa
I've forgotten how much I missed San Antonio. Here, people are insanely nice - on my last day, everyone at the hospital, from the cafeteria workers to the administration to the patients' families, were giving me hugs and wishing me good luck. 

San Antonio, ranked one of the friendliest cities, is also one of the *ahem* fattest cities. Coincidence? I think not!

Mexican Hot Chocolate

2 cups whole milk
4 oz bittersweet chocolate (or 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder) **
3 tablespoons sugar, to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus additional for garnish
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
whipped cream
cinnamon sticks (optional)

** In Mexico and in the Philippines, we use coarse chocolate disks/tablets designed for "chocolate drinks," but you can use cocoa powder or regular chocolate

Simmer the milk and sugar in a medium saucepan. Off the heat, stir in the chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon with a wooden spoon. Gradually add cayenne pepper (some people may not like the strong kick). Reheat the hot chocolate over low heat until it simmers.

Pour the hot chocolate into mugs. Stir with cinnamon sticks and top with whipped cream and cinnamon, if desired.
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Friday, December 5, 2014

Triple-Layer Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Christmas is coming and I usually have trouble deciding what gifts to ask for. Our family doesn't like wasting brainpower pondering what gift would so and so like; we just ask directly.

Although there's lots of things I want, mom has ingrained in us that we must only buy things if we need it. Thus, my iron willpower mom's-voice-in-the-back-of-my-head stops me from buying much of anything, despite spending a lot of time looking, to my brother's annoyance.

Hans: How can you look all day without buying anything? You've just wasted 5 hours walking around!
Chef Uy: Well, it could be worse, I could be buying everything during those 5 hours, right?
Hans: It's simple. You decide what you want. You buy it. Done. Now isn't that efficient?
Banana bread Peanut Butter Frosting buttercream layer cake
I made this Triple Layer Banana Cake ages ago, but never got around to posting it. This was my first layer cake with frosting that didn't fall apart when sliced. And you can even see layers! This layer cake is very stable since the banana cake is like a poundcake and bakes flat, and the peanut butter also stabilizes buttercream  (plus, you can't ever go wrong with peanut butter flavor). I wanted to frost the whole cake, but it was a hassle, so I left it as a naked cake.
Decorating supplies have always been on my "want" list, but as I attempted decorating this cake, I decided that an icing spatula and turntable had crossed over to the "need" list. Since it's now December, I kindly informed my brother of this "need" (a direct Christmas request makes any boy very happy).

So I'm now eagerly awaiting new kitchen toys, so I can decorate cakes for real. Until Christmas Day, however, naked cakes it is. Adapted from From Taste of Home.
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk

1 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 oz package cream cheese (I used fat free)
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
3-6 Tablespoons milk

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in bananas and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.

Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Before frosting, chill cake completely in the refrigerator or freezer.

For frosting, in a large bowl, beat the peanut butter, butter, and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in confectioners' sugar and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Frost between layers and top of cake. Garnish with peanuts and chocolate sprinkles.

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