Sunday, December 16, 2012

dessert overload!

oh wow, it's been a while since i've been here, but the semester is finally over (phew, scrapped by with no sleep and chugging honey tea w/ a splash of lemon. it really works!). but here's a recap of the last 2.5 weeks, and can't really talk about life w/o the sweet stuff right?

goodies from top left clockwise: stollen, maple cookies, biscoff cookies, biscoff scones, and oatmeal and dried cherry cookies
baking is my chance to work out my stress and get away from thinking about school or applications or whatever and just focus on a recipe and making something yummy. so as strange as the quote may seem at first i'm working on trying to notice Now.

but onto tastier things- recipes
  • stollen is a German fruit cake (don't think the ones you see in the grocery store) filled with dried fruit (such as cherries like mine) and topped with powdered sugar. it's often made during the Christmas season so i was pretty much on target. one of the volunteers at my museum is the sweetest German lady ever and she's forever trying to feed me and take care of me, so i wanted to bake her something nice. this recipe doesn't actually include the yeast/rising/dough part, which makes it good for those under a time constraint. when i'm a bit sleep deprived i tend to forget things so mine was missing the egg (whoops!) but it was still very tasty. the bread was denser than the stollen the volunteer has fed me, but still really good. maybe i'll give fruit cake a try...haha
  • maple cookies: these cookies and the dried cherry oatmeal ones occurred during frantic studying for advanced human nutrition (i used a whole pack of looseleaf paper by the end!). i used grade B (from VT). i had to change the sugar b/c the brown sugar i bought for thanksgiving had mysteriously disappeared...haha. but i had 1/2 c cane sugar as my sugar and got about 3 dozen small cookies (bite sized treats). i wish these cookies were a bit more cookie-like and less cake-like.
  • biscoff cookies: biscoff spread is amazinggggg. it's funny how i don't really like sweets or desserts wtih caramel in them (b&j's caramel sutra comes to mind), but the caramel of this spread is rich and creamy (sugar and butter will do that:). there's tons of biscoff cookie recipes, and now i can't find the one i used, but our recipe called for them to be rolled in sugar before baking which i think tops the yum factor.
  • biscoff scones: had the jar lying around so might as well put it to good use (although taking a spoon to the jar also sounded like a pretty good idea!). we left the glaze off b/c they were going to get transported to CT and scones always taste better warm so figured the glaze would just melt in funny ways when reheated. i would suggest making two smaller 4" wheels and then cutting b/c as one wheel these scones are way to big for one person to eat a wedge! but the biscoff flavor comes out really well in these scones. perfect with a cup of coffee.
  • oatmeal and dried cherry cookies: once again, no brown sugar so for the sugar i used 1/2 c granulated sugar and 1/4 c cane sugar, but i'm sure using the regular sugars called for is fine (i also like my cookies a little less sweet, esp since my dried cherries were sweetened). these cookies are great buttery and crisp in texture. it also has a great sweet/tart flavor. 

happy baking! off to new england for a week or so. happy holidays and hopefully the world doesn't end on the 21st so i can keep baking.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

bfast- really fast :)

quick and dirty breakfast egg cup-

all night trying to sleep and all i could think of was making this...clearly i tend to hyperfocus on the randomest things. so when my alarm went off at 6 this morning i got dressed for work and went about preparing this quick, healthy and oh so easy to fiddle with breakfast egg cups

Egg Cups
Makes 5

3 eggs, beaten
1/2 c broccoli, small florets (mine were frozen so i zapped them for a minute in the microwave)
1/2 c black beans (precooked)
dash of spices you like (i used black pepper, garlic and oregano)
optional additions- chopped up ham, pine nuts, other veggies, sun dried tomatoes, shredded cheese, etc. go crazy.

Combine all the ingredients and pour into a well greased (or sprayed) muffin tin. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the edges are a golden brown.

On top of those additional items, you can always make each egg cup specific to a persons requests by adding in more ingredients to individual cups once they are all scooped out and before going into the oven.

This all took from start to finish about 30 minutes, so totally do able. I'm going to try it w/ some salsa for lunch today. happy eating!

Friday, November 23, 2012

thanksgiving recap

woo, as wonderful as thanksgiving is, i'm thankful it only happens once a year. although i suppose since leftovers drag out for a bit, it's not really one day. but most of the dishes i care about disappear within the first day, so i'm sort of in luck (now if someone could magic the pies out of my house, that would be great!)
the menu for the day. my foodservice class theme meal project seems to have rubbed off onto me. it was all new recipes again this year and i've modified most if not all the recipes to be healthier. the biscuits did not make an appearance (we were feeling unmotivated) and the spinach and artichoke dip didn't get a photo op b/c i was too lazy before it got devoured:)

from top left corner clockwish: rosemary and butter turkey, focaccia stuffing, focaccia stuffing base, apple pie and mississippi sweet potato pie, roasted lemon brussels sprouts, smashed potatoes. we also had a mushroom gravy (that stuff gets better and better everytime). recipes at the end!
the veg's plate (w/o the gravy yet)!


Recipes:

Spinach & Artichoke Dip with baked corn chips modified from here
Makes 5 cups

1 10oz pkgs frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
2 14-oz cans artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1 c shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
8 oz light cream cheese, softened and cut in ½” cubes
½ c cannelini beans, pureed
1 c greek yogurt
¼ c grated Parmesan
4 cloves garlic, minced (1 T)
½ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ tsp salt

1 pkg small Corn Tortilla wraps

Chips can be made a day to a few days ahead. Cut the tortillas into eighths and lay out on lined baking sheet. Bake in 350 for about 7 minutes. Flip or toss the wedges and bake for another 7 or until golden brown (the wedges will curl up). Let cool and keep in air tight container.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside half the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. In a large mixing bowl, stir together all remaining ingredients. Spoon mixture into a greased or sprayed 1- ½ to 2 qt baking dish. Sprinkle top w/ remaining cheeses. Bake uncovered for 25-40 minutes or until bubbly and golden.
Smashed Potatoes
serves 8
15 small red potatoes, washed, de-eyed, chopped into even pieces, boiled, water removed and mashed
3 wedges laughing cow garlic cheese
1/2 cauliflower head, microwaved about 5 minutes and pureed
1/2 can cannelini beans, pureed
3/4 c chopped kale
garlic
milk
salt and pepper
Make sure the potatoes are completely mashed, while still warm add other ingredients and spices to taste.

Roasted lemon Brussels sprouts
serves 6

2 lbs Brussels sprouts, washed and quartered
olive oil
garlic, minced
salt and pepper
Canola oil
lemon

Toss Brussels sprouts in all ingredients except lemon and spread out in large baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Spray with canola oil (or olive oil. Bake in 350F for 10 minutes. Remove, toss and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with half lemon juice and toss. Serve immediately.
Focaccia Stuffing from here
serves 5
½ loaf focaccia bread, cubed
2 T pine nuts
1 ½ T olive oil
½ small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 dried sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
½ c marinated artichoke hearts, chopped 1 ½ T chopped fresh basil 1 c vegetable stock ½ tsp salt ½ tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 F. Place cubed bread in a large bowl and set aside.
In a dry skillet, toast pine nuts over medium heat until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add the nuts to the bread cubes.
Heat 2 T of oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 5 min. Add garlic and cook for an additional 5 min, stirring often. To the bread bowl, add the onions and garlic, along with the sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, basil, stock, salt, and pepper. Stir until combined well.
*The day before I combined the sauteed onions, garlic, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, salt and pepper and kept it refrigerated. I also toasted the pine nuts in advance so that way on Thanksgiving day all that needed to be done was cubing the bread and tossing everything in basil and stock.
Oil a 3-quart casserole dish and spoon the stuffing into the dish. Spray the stuffing with canola oil. Bake, uncovered for about 20 minutes. Broil for a few minutes until golden.
Mississippi Sweet Potato Pie modified from here makes 1 pie
4 oz (1 stick) butter, softened, could probably use less of this 2 c baked and mashed Korean sweet potatoes 1/4 c brown sugar 1 5-oz can evaporated milk 3 eggs, beaten 1 tsp cinnamon 1 pie shells, unbaked
Mix butter, potatoes, sugar, and evaporated milk until well blended. Add eggs, and cinnamon; mix well. Pour into the prepared pie shells. Bake in a 350 oven for about 75, until set.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

pumpkin goodness

a mini pie
if you don't have a pumpkin pie recipe for thanksgiving yet and want something a little different this year- go for this (i may sing a different tune when i try out a paula chiffon pumpkin recipe, but that's not important right now).

wasn't really feeling in the thanksgiving mood (which is a clear sign of something very wrong!) but after my run this morning i was feeling so much better (now i know, those 5 am runs are completely necessary). but anyway, since i had today off from work and was feeling rejuvenated, baking was in order! this is a recipe merging a much healthier recipe with a not as healthy one, and together it's yummy goodness, totally ready for t-day!
the crust inspiration comes from this fitness blog which i think i actually found from some daily newsletter i get in my inbox. 
regular sized muffin cup
the filling comes from my friday-at-work-and-only-30-minutes-left to do perusal. from foodnetwork.

i had some leftover filling (i made less "crust") and so popped the rest in the microwave for 3 minutes and had instant pumpkin pie filling (my favorite part). not sure what to call this- but i'm going with oat & date pecan maple pumpkin mini pie with maple whipped cream. whoo, that's too long. any suggestions?

Oat, date & Pecan crust Maple Pumpkin Mini Pie w/ Maple Whipped Cream

Makes 12 mini, and 8 muffin cup sized pies

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups instant oats
8 large dates, pitted (make sure you take out the seeds, or you'll have my problem and wonder why your food processor sounds like it's dying and then have to dig and search for each partially broken seed)
pinch of salt
~ 1/4 c pecans
1/4 c water
1 c pumpkin puree
1 T all purpose flour
1 T sugar in the raw
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c heavy cream
1/4 c maple syrup, grade B
1 egg, beaten

Maple whipped cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 c grade B maple syrup (or to taste)
dash of cinnamon

Optional
Top with a toasted pecan

Line muffin pans with paper wrappers. Process the oats, dates salt and pecans. Slowly add in the water until the mixture begins to combine (but not wet sticky!). Form into balls and press into the muffin tins.

For the pumpkin filling, combine all the ingredients except the egg. Taste, add more maple syrup or spices as desired, and then add in the egg. Spoon into the muffin tins and bake at 400 for 15 min (for the little ones) and about 25 min for the larger ones. Place a pan filled with some water in the oven (this way the pies won't crack on top and stay nice and moist).

For the whipped cream, beat the whipping cream on high speed until the mixture thickens. Add the maple syrup and continue to beat until the cream holds firm peaks. Dollop on top of the pies and sprinkle with cinnamon. Top with toasted pecan. 

happy baking!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

the bright side of insomnia

there's always a positive spin to anything right. well, here it is, finally updating this baby :D


my mom bought these pre-peeled roasted chestnuts at Costco and since they have no preservatives realized we had to eat them in 7 days and since we're off on a 24 hour road trip we figured chestnut bread. which i couldn't find (anyone have a recipe?) but found this instead- Korean chestnut dessert. or what i'm just calling chestnut rolls. the whole blog is pretty cool.

i did a half recipe and fiddled a bit b/c of the insanity that was trying to get honey out of the bottle. i love that these aren't that sweet and remind me of my cakebites, but your teeth don't cry from the sugar shock (don't get me wrong, cakebites in a flavor i like are no match for my sweet tooth!). 

Korean Chestnut Rolls (adapted from the korean american mommy)
8 oz Galil roasted chestnuts
~3/4 T honey (i had clover)
1 T sesame seeds (i bet these would add a great flavor if toasted!)
dash salt
dash cinnamon
1/4 c pine nuts, toasted and ground coarsely.

Food process the chestnuts. Add the sesame seeds, honey, salt and cinnamon until a meal forms. Shape into balls. Food process the pine nuts (make sure your nuts are cooled before processing) and then roll the balls in the pine nuts. I got about 15 rolls/balls. (balls just sounds awkward...haha).

after seeing this post, all i want is to go out and buy a mini cheesecake pan! sounds and looks adorable! now if only there was a bakery store that was open 24/7. but seriously, peanut butter AND cheesecake. i'm thinking a biscoff version also needs to be tested!

happy baking! and happy weekend! we're off to cleveland to visit s4, which hopefully means some yummy italian food, if not, certainly delicious korean california rolls on the way over!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

naners and mountains

s4 is here for a wedding so i dragged her out for hiking (i'm trying to get out as much as possible before school/rain/snow/craziness keeps me away!) but before i took her to see the view above, i made sure to feed her goodies:) 
trying out gluten-free goodies w/ no dairy (my nose is still causing problems) and gluten-free for s4. these are adapted from The Everything Cookbook (have i mentioned how much i love this book?). see below for the full recipe! it came out pretty awesome if i do say so myself. 

but back to the hike, we went to sugarloaf mountain out in dickerson, md which is about an hour from ec. it's privately owned so don't get thrown off by the sign to drive up the mountain to get parking (like catoctin mountain, coming earlier means better chances of getting parking- we got to sugarloaf around 9:30). we took a combination of orange, blue, red, and white to round out to 8 miles or so. we hit the top of the mountain on our first part and then hiked up and down on the second part, and at the speed we were going i was very happy we did the extreme uphill part on the first part! i only fell once, and just to warn you, this place is sandy and has lots of smaller loose rocks and rocks that jut out to trip you or play havoc with your ankles so i definitely wanted hiking boots here. we finished fast enough that we picnicked in the trunk of my car (i wish i had a pic of our asses stuck in the trunk as we ate our food) and then headed back out to get sidetracked a bit:D
an adorable farmer's market on the same road as the mountain. we grabbed some jonagold and mutsu apples. anybody heard of mutsu apples before? or know how to pronounce it? s4 and i think it sounds too much like the dog breed shitzu to be very appealing but they look and taste sort of like granny smith but not quite as tart. we also got a half gallon of apple cider (you can buy cups of cold cider, but it was starting to get really cold so we were craving some hot cider!) 

Gluten-free Banana Pancakes (aka instant delicious bfast)
(adapted from The Everything Cookbook Cornmeal Pancakes)
Makes about 8 cakes (for 3-4 people i would say)

1/2 c instant oats soaked overnight in 1/2 c plain soymilk
1/2 c corn meal
1/4 c instant oats (+about another 1/2 c)
1 T baking powder
~1/2 tsp salt, i was just using a salt grinder w/ sea salt
~1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 c soymilk (i think if this is decreased to just 1/2 c then additional oats don't have to be added, but i will have to test it out)
1 large egg
2 bananas, sliced

Combine the corn meal, 3/4 c dry instant oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl and then make a well in the center. In another bowl, beat the egg and soymilk together and then combine with the dry ingredients, adding in the soaked oats as well. Batter should be runny but not overly so (if too runny, go ahead and add more oats or corn meal).

Preheat a buttered skillet over medium-high heat. Cook on the hot griddle, using about 1/4 cup batter per cake. Lightly press banana slices into the top of the poured batter into whatever shape you like. Cook about 1 or 2 minutes on each side; pancakes are ready to run when the tops have broken bubbles on the surface (or you lift an edge and it is golden brown on the underside).

*these are amazing if you like a bit of texture to your pancakes! not gritty, but still some more crunch to them, but still really soft from the soaked oats i think.


some adorable squash at the farmer's market!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

fall strolling

i apparently have 2 hiking speeds: speed walking and jogging. the concept of strolling and soaking in your surroundings is lost on me. sure, i can get to an overlook and ooh and aah and sit for 5 minutes but then i zip right along again. but that's not the point- the whole idea of my hike was to just get away. ever get that antsy feeling where you just want to get away from yourself but then have to settle with just being by yourself. it's not so bad. rather relaxing and all sorts of chances to just be you. it was one of those weeks where nothing was going right, so being outside and active was just the sort of cure-all i needed.
Chimney Rock, my favorite part of the loop
i picked catoctin mountain state park b/c i  remember liking it back when i was little. their website has all their trail maps (read: for free!) and parking at the park is free as well (woot woot). i got there around 9 am and there were only about 3 cars parked at the visitor center (visitor center not only has free maps, but water fountains and bathrooms!) so all around i was a happy camper. i asked the park ranger at the desk where i should start to take the 8 mile loop. i picked the longest hike b/c i figured i'd get to see everything and i wanted to be away for as long as possible. he pointed the way and even gave me a hint about the trail signs. for those of you who want to go hike the 8 mile loop or hike catoctin mt in general here are some things i found out:
Blue Ridge Summit Overlook,
this is where I started seeing lots of other hikers
- no sign will mention the blue ridge summit overlook, just go towards hog rock if you are coming from thurmont vista
- go early on the weekend, parking gets crazy
- none of the trails are marked with trail names or blazes (athough they are very well maintained so hard to get lost...although there was the one time when i was trying to find chimney rock...)
- on the 8 mile loop you take the handicap access trail to cunningham falls and there is no way out to the falls without climbing over the observation deck fence (it's fun, trust me, just know that you will have to do some spidermany kind of moves to get back onto the observation deck, or you can just keep walking down the water until the platform opens up, but where's the adventure in that!)
Cunningham Falls
- you have to park somewhere else to take the lower or cliff trail
- i started towards chimney rock and ended at cunningham falls, i don't know if it was b/c it got more crowded or b/c i like big views better, but i much preferred chimney rock.

now, back to whole speed walking thing. i always walk fast. it's just the way i move. maybe it's b/c i had tall friends growing up and had to keep up w/ them but i enjoy racing up terrain. the 8 mi loop said it takes 4 hours and 45 min, adding on the mile-mile and a half i got lost on, it took me 3.5 hours to do it. and i spent a a little bit of time at every point of interest (some more than others when there were too many people).
Thurmont Vista, there was a pretty sweet bench here,
except it was really narrow
since it was still early early afternoon i wanted to check out cat rock (the description says "beautiful overlook" so i knew i had to check it out since i was already there. so i drove to another parking lot by park headquarters, squeezed into a grassy "parking" space and hiked up the 1.4 miles up. it ends at a sign post that says "cat rock- 1546 ft" (i'm not entirely sure about the exact number but it was in that range) and there was NO other sign. i had no idea where to look for this view. all the other trails had signs that pointed the rock formation to climb to get the view so i looked around and started going up this huge rock structure to the right of the sign and then got stuck on how to get to the top. luckily, met another hiker who was familiar with the overlook and he pointed out the route to take through the rocks. hint: go a little past the sign and climb up. it takes a bit of leveraging but the view is totally worth it! oh, and the hike says it takes 2 hours round trip, it took me an hour and i spent a while at the top until i got too cold to stay up there.
Cat Rock Overlook, the view I almost missed,
and boy was it high up and windy to get this shot
*just as an fyi, these pictures are not in order of how i hiked to them. the actual order i went was: chimney rock, wolf rock, thurmont vista, blue ridge summit, hog rock and cunningham falls. but i took some artistic pleasure in ordering them the way i wanted. i also didn't include pics of wolf rock or hog rock b/c that would be picture overload:)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

sleepless in...well, it's not seattle for sure

if it were, it wouldn't be so hot! haha, apparently being sleep deprived = corny jokes and a post that might not make too much sense. but you're going to luck out b/c i got some sweet treats coming! fall means pumpkin and that means it's cheaper and easily found in the grocery store. went to safeway and it was cheaper (99 cents!) but it sure wasn't easy to find, and once i got home i actually took the time to read the label...
at least it's organic :D i tried it, not quite as good as the pumpkin butter i got last year at ann's house of nuts, but as a baking item, it would do. it has all the spices and cane sugar added to it, so no need to add any extra of that!
this recipe is only using HALF of the canned pumpkin! it came out pretty awesome if i do say so myself. i've got some pumpkin walnut muffins baking right now using the other half of the can, can't wait for fresh mufins!




Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake
9 x 9 baking dish

Ingredients
~ 1 1/2 c flour
~1/2 c instant oats
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 c pumpkin pie mix (I had Safeway's organic and used half a 15 oz can)
2 eggs
1/2 c plain, fat free yogurt
1/4 c water
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-2 T cane sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease baking dish.

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine wet ingredients and then lightly combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Add in the chocolate chips last. Spread into the baking dish and sprinkle with sugar- bake for about 35-40 minutes or until lightly brown.

*the cane sugar gives it a nice crystallized crust since there's no oil or butter in the cake! These suckers are amazinggggg

Monday, September 24, 2012

i love mondays

it's funny how much i like mondays now that it's my latest starting day. and by latest i mean i actually get to wake up at 6 and go for a run instead of getting ready for work or school. it also means i get to dally through breakfast- cook something, read blogs, catch up on the TODAY show (i am sounding vaguely like a housewife...big dreams in my life!).
lucy made me all sorts of jealous the other day w/ a picture of hangover banana pancakes and it's been years since i've made pancakes and i have this wonderful little bottle of Vermont (grade B!) maple syrup that really needs some love-

the recipe was kind of thrown together with instant oats, flour, a dash of baking soda and cinnamon with an egg, spoonful of yogurt, and soy milk. i poured that all onto the skillet and then pressed the banana slices into the top part. flipping was an interesting feat, but as long as your base is done right then it should flip fine (that or just do the hand on the handle and flip for dear life). this little baby literally took 5 minutes to make so now i have no excuse to not make pancakes all the time (or at least until my syrup runs out...). these would taste great with some chopped up walnuts or pecans or chocolate chips in them.

happy fall! 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

good bye summer

i don't think these peaches were all that great to begin with so the only thing to save them was paula deening it with some butter and sugar. although i did manage to restrain myself (only due to the fact that i was working with a minimal amount of butter)
the bars could have lived with more butter (especially for the top, or get that drizzle in to make it get that crusty topping), but man the peaches were tasty.


Peach & Pecan Oat Crumble Bars (adapted from here)
(9 x 9 pan)

Base Dough
6 T unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for 1 hour
~1/4 c maple syrup
3/4 c flour
dash of salt
dash of cinnamon

Peach filling
~1 lb peaches, unpeeled (I used 4 medium/large peaches)
1 T cinnamon/sugar mix (I had leftover premixed stuff)

Pecan Oat Topping
2 T unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 c instant oats
1/4 c flour
1/2 c pecans, chopped
dash cinnamon
dash salt

Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 9 x 9 baking dish.
Roughly chop the peaches into 1/2 inch pieces and toss in sugar and cinnamon and set aside. I did this step while waiting for the butter to soften so it soaked for a couple hours.
In a bowl cream butter with maple syrup. Add flour, salt and cinnamon until the dough is soft and pulled together. Press the dough firmly into the bottom of the pan and refrigerate.
Wipe out the mixing bowl and mix the butter, oats, flour, pecans, cinnamon and salt until soft and crumbly.
Spread the chopped peaches over the base. Crumble the pecan topping over the peaches and bake for about  30-35 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned. The topping won't stick together completely because of the small amount of butter.
Let cool for at least an hour before slicing and serving. 

it worked!



well, it looks more like naan, but it tastes unbelievable just the same. the rolling out was a pain, and i started to somehow lose count of how many times i had divided by dough so i got some funny small pieces, but i of course didn't take pictures of that (akeke, maybe i should admit to the funny meatish looking shapes). they do look pretty funny. also, most of my pieces didn't puff up, but still, i gobbled about a dozen of these suckers before i had to lock them up and throw away the key (they taste delicious with hummus, btw!)

happy eating!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

mideast feast

this semester i'm taking food service where in groups of three we choose a theme and plan an appetizer, entree, sides, bread and dessert. we chose to do a vegetarian (only group!) middle eastern meal-
appetizer: roasted red pepper hummus with baked pita
entree: baked falafel with tahini lemon sauce
sides: quinoa tabbouleh and a cucumber yogurt salad
dessert: chocolate covered dates with almond and coconut

the recipes need to be tested out before we actually go through w/ our meal so i took on the bread (new found appreciation for all those fresh baked artisan breads!) and the falafel (b/c as a vegetarian there is nothing like an easy new way to eat protein)
this is from foodnetwork- i'm not feeling too confident about my bread making skills, but we'll find out in about another hour when i actually get to cut and cook this sucker. cross my fingers! oh, and i didn't have any whole wheat flour, so my recipe is all white flour.

this is the most straightforward easiest recipe to follow. i halved the recipe b/c i didn't feel like dealing with that many falafel patties when i wasn't going to be home anytime soon again. but half the recipe from tastykitchen gave me 6 patties of the shape and size described in the recipe. it wasn't until this class where we have to calculate every ingredient and portion that i realized how nice it is to have really descriptive recipes to follow. since i was just trying to get an idea of how many falafel this recipe made i fudged with the ingredients that i didn't have so mine did not have the coriander, chili powder (i used korean red chili pepper flakes instead:), and i had to make do w/ dried parsley and minced garlic (and i was very heavy handed with the garlic, b/c, c'mon, it's garlic, you can never go wrong). i love food processors. these suckers are good. too bad the bread isn't done- but i wrapped mine in some lettuce w/ some hummus (more chickpeas!) and feta cheese crumbled on top. eum eum eum 

i'll check back in with you about the pita o_O

Saturday, September 8, 2012

red velvet brownies

it's a rainy day, but spent the sunny morning hiking at patapsco state park w/ jazz and then getting food at bon fresco and shopping at wegmans :D

it became a rainy afternoon, so scoured the house for baking supplies and found a red velvet cake box + google search = red velvet cake brownies

they weren't kidding when they said the batter was thick! but don't worry, it comes out great, and then top w/ cream cheese frosting. happy saturday (the weather is getting cooler!)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

up to speed

it's hot in md. not sure how i feel about that. taught muscle works last night at CP as a spontaneous decision. boy, is it weird to teach not only able bodied people but also people who are used to physical activity so they pick up moves really quickly, which means i had to pull from everything i learned this summer and teach them every muscle group i remembered! i also stayed to take cardioboxing, after a summer of teaching to 130bpm going back to 136+ and doing burpees and pushups my body feels like it got the crap kicked out of it...so disappointing how quickly your body adapts, but i'll get back

lunch today! a day off (sort of, got a cakebite order to get done but pushing it off a bit...)
half a whole wheat pita
tuna salad made with yogurt, olive oil, capers, celery, and black pepper
carrot slaw tossed in my tamari ginger dressing with some parsley (that dressing needs to be used up!)
arugula salad w/ leftover tomato/feta/onion/yellow pepper salad

happy tummy!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

cooking is still going strong (and i made chocolate hummus today! i want a vitamix, but that's a whole different story)
salmon cooking. oy vey. will not be doing again anytime soon. but i marinated it in a sort of take on the tamari-ginger recipe from gmfr. i didn't have quite the same ingredients so mine came out salty (note to self, apple cider vinegar is much more acidic/salty compared to rice wine vinegar). then a tomato feta and onion salad, with a mixed greens salad and quinoa cooked with garlic. yum! 
i also played with the chickpea saute from gmfr (getting a trend, haha) which i loved when i was there. i used kale instead of spinach (the frozen kale needs to go!) and i didn't have any tomatoes or lemon (i really really want some lemons in my life)

yesterday at the museum mikel paris from OAR wanted to do some acoustic recording in an old building so we closed up the car house for him. after he finished he asked what we were doing that night and that he would try to get us some tickets for his show at merriweather. and wha-la!
i took laura and we ended up about 7 rows from the mosh pit (felt very cool to go up to the will call box and say "sooyoung and guest")! first concert and got totally spoiled. they had this awesome brass section of three guys who mainly played trombone, tuba/trumpet, and saxophone/guitar. i didn't even realize how much of their music i knew, but it was def an awesome night.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

tofu dishes

cooking up a storm- it helps that i get to actually cook for someone else:) thanks s3 for being a guinea pig
dinner on tuesday- sauteed tofu w/ korean sauce (green onions, garlic, soy sauce, sesame seeds, sugar, etc.), steamed kale w/ sesame seeds, korean root vegetables (this would be labeled miscellaneous vegetable in lotte), and potato and zucchini. yum yum. 
today's lunch- blanched broccoli tossed in sesame oil and sesame seeds, sauteed tofu w/ the sauce again and some rice:) 

finally made it to wegmans. it's still daunting and hard to figure out what's cheaper or where everything is. but the wegmans peanut butter is just peanuts so switching to that once i try it. and going to give wegmans greek yogurt a try tomorrow morning. their kalamata olive roll was tasty. and i got really excited they had the wild pea company hummus (it's made it baltimore). oh, and ann's house of nuts is closing in september :(

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

and she's back!

hello!!!!!! back in md and ready to adventure it up and cook and bake all at the same time:D

all that time i spent in the kitchen and i forgot to grab some of the recipes! oh boy, but today was definitely a re-creation of gmfr. breakfast was my fave- greek yogi, fruit, natural pb, cinnamon, and a handful of dry cereal. man, it'll never get old.

lunch was fun- once again, my goal is to cook more, and not only for me but for others. today's is an egg and tofu salad w/ greens and baked corn tortilla chips.
for the egg/tofu salad (i wanted to buffer the amount of egg in the salad since D has high cholesterol)

Egg/tofu salad
hard boiled eggs (i had 6), peeled and chopped
big block of tofu (i microwaved it for about 2 minutes, pressed all the water out, crumbled and froze for a bit to cool down)
greek yogurt (~1/4 to 1/2 cup)
olive oil (~1-2 T)
diced onions (half a medium onion)
diced green pepper (1 small)
salt and pepper
capers (optional)


Combine all the ingredients:) 

for the corn tortilla chips- i'm liking the fact that corn tortilla has less ingredients to make than whole wheat flour tortillas. gmfr was so unprocessed that i want to try to stick to that (thus, the early morning run to safeway after my workout to pick up natural peanut butter, the smuckers version has only peanuts and salt and pretty affordable. too bad it's such a pain to mix, but i'll get over it)

Baked corn tortilla chips
corn tortilla (cut into 8 wedges)
olive oil

Lightly coat the wedges in olive oil (you can also sprinkle w/ salt and pepper or whatever spices you like, i forgot). Bake in 400F for about 5-7 minutes or until getting lightly brown.

i added a large handful of a mixed greens salad and a cup of cherries. i actually checked my plate like at gm for the size i wanted (about the size of your hand spread out, i have a tiny hand so i give myself some leeway) 

Friday, May 18, 2012

banana brownies

more banana fun, although i think this might be the last one (someone decided to save me and blend the rest of the bananas into a smoothie). i'm getting my fix of baking before i leave for the summer!
this was one of the "100 ways to use banana" list i mentioned in the first banana post. i used the prep work of the banana from the original recipe (the recipe used a bit more sugar and butter but i'll get to that in a bit) but the brownie part i cheated. i had never thought of baking brownies with banana, and now i wish i had always baked my brownies w/ bananas. i used maybe about 1/2 Tblsp of butter and a couple small handfuls of brown sugar (i obviously do not treat baking as chemistry...but it usually turns out okay). i also wish i had used more bananas (i think i had 4 bananas but in a bigger pan) to overlap them b/c my bananas did not show up on the bottom as well.
there was a box of hershey syrup brownie mix in the pantry and i used that for the brownie (and i even put in some oil, haha, if you know me, you know how lazy i get about oil, so this is a big step)
the pan needed more butter b/c all the bananas didn't come out (but it left a pretty cool design!). eumm. chocolately goodness, i think the hershey syrup that came w/ the box was an added bonus to the richness of the dessert (this stuff disappeared real quick).

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

baked banana fritters

the bananas never end. since i didn't want to  clean up deep frying oil i tried baking these. half of them are w/ cornmeal and half of them are w/ flour and coconut.
i preferred the cornmeal versions more to get more texture w/ the mushed bananas. i would have also baked them longer as it felt a little too uncooked.

Cornmeal version
¼ c yellow cornmeal
½ Tblsp raw sugar
1½  very ripe bananas, mashed

Flour version
¼ c. flour
½ Tblsp raw sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ c unsweetened toasted coconut
1 ½ very ripe bananas, mashed

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine flour/cornmeal with the coconut, sugar (do I need this?) and cinnamon.
  3. Mix in mashed bananas
  4. Scoop in large spoonfuls onto a oil sprayed aluminum foil and spray with a light coat on top.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

happy mother's day!

it's mother's day! i know i said i was doing a banana series, but i'm taking a quick break to bring you yummy goodness. this year is for M and for new mom- s1. for mother's day the family is having crabs, but i also got a chance to try out this cauliflower recipe and made some dessert as well (i hate to admit that the frozen cranberries from thanksgiving lasted until now...but no wasting of food, and it turned out pretty darn good:)
my friend actually found this awesome recipe and as we were paying attention so well in class, we got sidetracked by this. the crust is a cauliflower base and it's actually really tasty. i think processing the whole cauliflower i got more than the 4 cups that the recipe called for and i think it would have been better w/ more cheese and egg to bind and also baking a bit longer. i put in about 2-3 tsp of frozen garlic paste which melted into the cauliflower after i microwaved it. (it's awesome that you can cook things in the oven)
toppings included: green pepper, tomato (too watery), kale, onions, avocado (i preferred it broiled in the oven over topped fresh afterword) w/ fresh mozzarella on top. i baked the crust for i think 10 minutes (b/c the edges were crisping) but i should have baked it longer b/c it was still a pretty soft crust. also, spread oil or spray the tray/aluminum foil w/ oil so it doesn't stick. i only made one pizza and am saving the crust to make it fresh tonight. eummm, just writing about it i want some more. time for a break...


ok, back :D my tummy is happy again. so for dessert i figured the frozen cream cheese and frozen berries needed to be used up (although M loves angel food cake, that will have to wait until after finals)
i tried my hand at jam making. i boiled the frozen cranberries in a small amount of water w/ lemon juice (i think it was about 1.25-1.5 cups of cranberries w/ about 1/2 cup of sugar. i boiled the cranberries and popped them as i went, once it boiled i added the sugar and stirred constantly for about 5 minutes. even though it didn't seem to make the pectin-esque jam, after a while it became jelly-ish (although it did make a film, but just mix that in).
this is sort of baking in my mind- cranberry cheesecake bars modified from pillsbury's raspberry version. the frozen cream cheese consistency changes a bit w/ the ice particles so i'm not sure how that works out and i also added in an additional 1/2 cup of cream cheese b/c the crust to cheesecake ratio seemed a bit too heavy on the crust side. i also didn't add the jam on top. it's hanging out in the fridge right now waiting to be cut into by M, but i'll get back to you on the texture and taste of frozen cream cheese (but the cranberry jam tasted pretty good- i like it on the tart side).

happy mother's day to all the moms out there (who all seem to be at home depot...:)


* finally got around to trying the cheesecake squares, i don't know if i pressed the crust in too tight but it turned out like shortbread (which is not a bad thing) and was hard to get to come out w/ the cheesecake. so we sort of ended up eating the cheesecake part and then topping the shortbread cookie-esque crust w/ cranberry jam. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

so many bananas...

there are a million over ripening bananas in the house and it's near impossible to bake w/o eggs. and patience. and time. (and school, but we sort of pretend that doesn't exist:) the next couple posts are going to be how to use bananas, especially since i found this awesome photo montage of things to do w/ bananas that wasn't just straight up banana cream pie (which is still very much a possibility). everything i'm trying is super easy (as for all the issues mentioned at the beginning. 
the first recipe is about as easy as it gets- frozen banana bites. i got it all prepared before i had to jet for class (although i was almost late getting to school...haha). grab some super ripe bananas and chop them up, about 5-6 per banana. i used 2 bananas.
melt 1/4 c. of chocolate chips (i had semi-sweet) and 1/4 c. creamy peanut butter and melt it in a microwave safe bowl for about 30-45 seconds, mix and dip the bananas in the mix. you can leave them undecorated (as in the back ones) or you can top/roll them in fun stuff- i used chopped pecans. dessicated coconut, any nuts, etc would be excellent options. then pop these bad boys into the freezer (i transferred bananas w/ the parchment paper into a wide short tupperware). and wha-lah! come back at the end of a long hot day and you have some super yummy bananas waiting for you. 


has anyone noticed their bananas having the sticker "yo nana" on it? what happened to my chiquita stickers? 


next for the next banana posting- baked banana fritters (and it's really only b/c i don't want to deal w/ cleaning up all that oil...supreme laziness! hopefully it turns out yummy)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

panda, panda, panda!

mini cupcakes everywhere!!!! (although if you look in the back, there's some normal sized cupcakes as well) for noah's 100th day birthday celebration we made pancakes in honor of his half chinese heritage. these come from bakerella with some modifications. i wanted to make the cupcake match the panda so i found some polka dot cupcake liners at michaels and made an oreo cake batter (from the cake doctor).
polka dots on the inside and outside! so cuteeeeeee
the creation of a panda, i think i needed more milk in my frosting to fluff it more (or just add more frosting) b/c the choc chips were having a hard time sticking in (esp the ears)
i would also take bakerella's suggestion and use white confetti pieces and a food pen to make the eyes. i put a dot of frosting and then broke a sprinkle in half to make the eyes...and this ended up the only panda with complete eyes. also, as a side note, the oreo cake tastes better in the cake form with the whipped cream frosting and crushed oreo, but these are super adorable.
look at all their expressions! is it bad that i like the ones that look confused. and someone lost an ear at the top of the board!