Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fried Udon Noodles

We hardly ever cook pasta dishes, since they are always so heavy and unhealthy, but after finding an Asian inspired noodle dish I think we will use noodles more often. This dish is very simple and easy to alter for your own taste and what you have on hand at the moment!

Serves 2-4 (depending on amount of vegetables)
About 2-4 oz Udon noodles (or Soba noodles)
2 tbs olive oil
2 cups finely chopped broccoli
1/2 cup thinly sliced daikon
1 cup leeks, chopped into thin half moons
1 cup chopped bok choy
2 tsp chopped garlic
salt & pepper to taste
1 1/2 tbl paprika
Shoyu or soy sauce to taste

Heat 1 tbl oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the broccoli and daikon along with some shoyu/soy sauce. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes.

Heat a large pot of water to boiling, add the noodles and simmer. Cook until al dente (these cook in about 5 minutes). Drain and keep warm.

Add the remainder of the oil, all other ingredients and spice to the broccoli mixture over medium heat, add more shoyu/soy sauce and combine until all vegetables are tender.

Finally toss in the noodles and combine, then serve with a sprinkle of sesame seeds!

Black Sesame & Pear Tea Cake

I stumbled across this recipe in Bon Apetit magazine and thought it sounded so unique! The black sesame seeds turn the cake a dark bluish-purple color and give it  a nutty flavor. This cake has a faint peanut butter essence.

1/2cup(1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup almond flour or almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup black sesame seeds
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup greek yogurt
1(medium) firm but ripe Asian pear, peeled, cored, cut into small cubes

Preheat oven to 325°.Grease one 9x5x3-inch loaf pan or two smaller loaf pans. Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, next 4 ingredients, and 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds in a medium bowl. Grind remaining 1/2 cup sesame seeds in a coffee grinder to form a thick paste.

Using an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter and 1 cups sugar in a large bowl until well combined, 2–3 minutes. Add sesame paste and beat, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until blended, 1–2 minutes. Add egg and egg yolk. Beat until pale and fluffy, 3–4 minutes. On low speed, beat in flour mixture, alternating with yogurt. Toss pear with remaining 2 Tbsp. flour in a small bowl; fold into batter.

Spoon batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar.

Bake until a tester comes out clean when inserted into center, about 1 hour 40 min for large loaf and 45–55 minutes for small loaves. Let cool in pans on a wire rack.

Note: Next time I would layer the pears in the loaf so that each slice has pears in it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Chai Cookies

Chai & Cookies together...... What more do you need?

1/2 c sugar
1/2 c chai powder
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1 c butter (room temp)
2 t vanilla extract
2 1/4 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder

Optional Ingredients: (The cookies are awesome if you use them all!)
- Chocolate chips
- Shredded coconut
- Nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, etc)

Mix together flour, baking powder, and spices in a bowl.
In a mixing bowl beat the butter until fluffy, add the sugar and chai powder until combined.
Add the eggs and vanilla extract.
Slowly add in the dry ingredients at low speed.
Mix in the chocolate chips.
Form the dough into balls and roll in a sugar/chai/spice mixture.
Bake on parchment paper for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Pot-Roasted Celery Root

One of my favorite places to "window shop" is the grocery store, specifically health food stores. They have the most interesting produce, drinks, snacks, etc. And whenever I find a recipe using an ingredient I didn't even know existed I can't wait to give it a try; there are hardly any fruits/vegetables I dislike so I love to try new ones!

Celery Root does have a celery flavor when it is raw, but in this dish it has almost a sweet vegetable flavor and turns very tender!

Pot Roasted Celery Root: Serves 6

Note: You can use all dried herbs & sub the buttermilk for unsweetened yogurt.

3 T plus 2 t extra-virgin olive oil
6 small celery roots (about 4 oz each) or 2 large, unpeeled, trimmed with some stem attached
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
Kosher salt
12 springs thyme
6 sprigs rosemary
6 sprigs sage
1 T coffee beans (optional)
1 c buttermilk
1/2 lemon
1/4 cup olives (any kind), pitted, quartered lengthwise

  • Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add celery roots and cook, turning frequently, until golden, 8-10 minutes. Add butter and a large pinch of salt. When butter begins to foam, reduce heat to medium-low. Add herb sprigs, coffee beans, if using, and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and gently cook, adding more water by tablespoonfuls if pan is dry, until celery roots are very tender, about 1 hour.
  • Remove herbs and coffee beans (if using) from pot and discard. Baste celery roots with buttery juices in pot. Remove from heat. Transfer celery roots to a cutting board, slice in half through stems, and place 2 halves on each plate.
  • Meanwhile, very gently warm buttermilk in a small saucepan over low heat (it will break if warmed too much). Squeeze in a few drops of lemon juice and add remaining 2 tsp. oil and a pinch of salt to make a loose sauce. Spoon sauce around celery roots on plates. Garnish with olives, drizzle with oil, and squeeze a few more drops of lemon juice over each.
  • One serving contains:
    Calories (kcal) 259.3
    %Calories from Fat 76.6
    Fat (g) 22.1
    Saturated Fat (g) 10.6
    Cholesterol (mg) 41.6
    Carbohydrates (g) 13.0
    Dietary Fiber (g) 2.5
    Total Sugars (g) 3.8
    Net Carbs (g) 10.5
    Protein (g) 3.1
    Sodium (mg) 227.7

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pumkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust

I have made a few pumpkin pie's in my time, but when I heard about a gingersnap crust I was excited to give it a try! I love more spice that sweetness in a pumpkin pie, so this sounded like the perfect recipe. Luckily, I was asked by a potential employer to bake a few different small desserts to see if my baking was up to par (more on that later).

Gingersnap Crust:
1 3/4 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs (crush in a plastic bag, using a rolling pin)
2 1/2 tbs butter (melted)
2 tbs sugar
- Combine all ingredients in a 9 inch pie pan, press onto the base and sides. Then bake for 5 minutes at 325 degrees.

Pumpkin Filling:
1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbs cornstarch
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 can (12 fluid ounces) evaporated milk
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk until smooth. Pour into the gingersnap crust. Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour. (until a knife comes out clean). I also garnished my pie with the gingersnap cookies (mostly to cover the knife marks :). I cut them in half and placed them in the center of the pie.

Notes: I would recommend adding more spice if you enjoy that flavor (for me personally it was a little too bland). I am glad I was able to test it out before Thanksgiving; for the holiday I will plan on trying some grated ginger in the filling to add a stronger spice. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Coffee Frosting

To be completely honest, neither of us are cupcake fans. Lets put it this way, if there was a table of assorted sweets, cupcakes would be the last to be chosen. They are usually too sweet, but these are just the right amount of sweetness and they are very moist!
Makes about 50 mini cupcakes or 12 large cupcakes.
Chocolate Cupcake Recipe:
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs

Coffee Frosting:
1/2 stick butter (softened)
1/2 cup (4 oz) cream cheese (room temp)
1/4 cup yogurt (I used greek)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp-1 tbls instant coffee (mix with a small amount of boiling water before adding to the frosting.
Cream all of the ingredients together with a hand mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together cocoa powder and boiling water. Add brown sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla.
In another bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and half of the sugar.
Use a mixer with the paddle attachement to beat the butter until fluffy. Add the remaining sugar and beat for one minute. Then add the eggs one at a time.
Alternate adding the cocoa mixture and the dry mixture until thoroughly mixed.
Use a small ice cream scoop to fill the cupcake molds about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Frost the cupcakes and add sprinkles! Enjoy.

Mini Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

This weekend I decided to bake mini cupcakes for a housewarming party, and they were a success! I made about 100; half were carrot and half were chocolate (I will post the recipe following this one). I love the frosting recipe because its not too sweet and there is yogurt to replace some of the cream cheese, so its a little healthier!
                                                      All of the cupcakes boxed up

Mini Carrot Cake Cupcake Recipe:
6 ounces flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves (I used pumpkin spice instead: about 1 tsp to give added spice)
8 1/2 oz sugar
5 oz vegetable oil
4 eggs
10 oz grated carrots (if making mini it is a good idea to cut up the carrots smaller)
3 oz chopped pecans

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 stick butter (softened)
1/2 cup (4 oz) cream cheese (room temp)
1/4 cup unsweetened yogurt (I used greek yogurt)
1 cup powdered sugar (alter based on sweetness preference)
-Cream together the ingredients with a hand mixer.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour, baking soda, salt, spices, and half of the sugar in a bowl.
Mix the remainder of the sugar, oil, eggs, carrots, and pecans for two minutes on low speed in a mixer with a paddle attachment.
Then fold in the dry ingredients.
Use a small ice cream scoop to fill your cupcake molds about 3/4 of the way.
Bake for 15-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Then pipe or spread the frosting onto your cupcakes and top with your favorite sprinkles!

Makes about 50 mini cupcakes or 12 large cupcakes.