Category Archives: Recipes

Brown Butter Pecan Brownies

It has been a while since i blog and it’s been a while since i baked . I was thinking about baking coconut cake , which i haven’t made for years by now .. but i changed my mind after seeing , i needed 3 sticks of butter just for the cake . Partly i was guilty because i had just finished my morning run and the thought of 3 sticks of butter .. made me re-think .

My solution .. well .. was brownies .. though it still uses butter .. but somehow i felt better with my choice LOL

brown-butter-brownies

This is brown butter pecan brownies , you can skip the nuts if you don’t like it , and it will still be yummy . But you def have to make the brown butter . Brown butter is easy , just melt the butter and let it boil for several minutes until it changes color , almost like caramel color , then you take it off the heat . The flavor of the brown butter makes this brownie special and much better than regular brownie .

Funny …. my friend said . ” who bakes brownies ? ” LOL .. well me .. it’s super easy and why would you want store brought brownies when you can make it super easy , quick and tastes much better ! Really , you don’t even have to own a mixer to make this !!

You will need :

10 tbsp. of unsalted butter

Melt this butter in a pan on a medium heat , once the butter is melted , do not take it off the pan , you need it to boil still until it is foamy and finally changes in color . It should look like this by 5 minutes and it should done , take it off the heat brown-butter

As soon as it’s off the heat , immediately add in :

1 1/3 cup of sugar

1/2 tsp. of salt

1 tsp. of vanilla extract

3/4 cup of cocoa powder

Mix it well with wooden spoon , then replace with whisk . Once it’s all blended , add in :

2 large eggs , add the egg one at a time and whisk well until combine .

The batter should look shiny at this point , then add in

1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. of all purpose flour

Mix well and finally add in 3/4 cup of pecans if you’re using .

brown-butter-brownie-mix

Preheat oven at 325 F , line a parchment paper on a square pan 8x8x2 , and pour the batter into the pan . Bake for about 25 minutes .

 

Arancini

Usually when i made risotto for dinner , i always ended up making too much for our little family . It is family of three after all . And then nobody wanted to touch the risotto the next day because truth is .. who really wants leftover risotto ? Risotto is always the best when it’s just got done being cooked , overnight ? not so much ..

So that was the story last night , i cooked risotto , with seared scallops , and of course by the time we finished , there was no scallops left LOL .. just risotto and there it went to the fridge , maybe someone will eat it tomorrow ?

Before it went to trash after sitting so many days in the fridge , i thought why not turning this leftovers into rice balls ? As a snack of course , not main course .. my family likes rice , my son loves cheese and who doesn’t like deep fried food ? LOL .. so there it was .. mixing up Arancini , Italian Rice Balls stuffed with mozzarella . It is super easy and simple , just a little mess from the oil to deep fry , but other than that .. it’s quick . As long as you’re not cooking the risotto right now .. if you do , you probably will have to wait til it’s totally cool , or you’ll have problem shape it into balls .

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You need :

Left overs risotto , about 2-3 cups , or whatever you have !

1-2 eggs , i did 2 for 2 cups of risotto

1/2 cup of bread crumbs

you can add grated parmesan i believe , but i don’t have cheese grate or food processor at the moment , due to relocating , so i skipped the fresh parmesan

about 3 oz of mozzarella ( i bought it from the deli and just ask them to cut about 3/4 inch thick just 1 slice would be enough , then dice it)

extra bread crumbs to dredge the balls

canola oil

So , just mix the eggs , risotto and bread crumbs together , add parmesan if you use it . Mix well , shape into a ball and stuff it with mozzarella cheese . Roll it into the bread crumbs and deep fry . Make sure it’s hot oil and turn down to medium low , cook for 4 minutes until it’s golden brown . Your cheese should be melted by this time !

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Sourdough Bread

Originally posted on Jan , 30th

Now we’re on to the real stuff ! Baking sourdough bread . You now have the seed that you store either on the counter if you bake a lot of bread , or in the fridge if you bake bread say once or twice a week , like me . And you have made the mother starter or the preferment , whatever you want to call it . Now we can bake bread .

Except it’s not quite that simple and fast .. well the ingredients are simple , you can create bread from just water , flour , and salt . That’s pretty much it in sourdough bread . You don’t even need milk , butter or eggs . It’s magic ! The non sourdough bread will need instant or dry active yeast in the package that you can buy from the store , and it will take probably an hour to double after you mix your dough , and then shape and let it sit for another 30 or 60 minutes to double in size then bake . So regular bread , will take approx. 3 hours to make give and take .

How about Sourdough bread ? Well sourdough bread baking is like testing your patience , it doesn’t take a lot of your time , it just a few minutes here and there , and a lot of them are waiting , you don’t need to sit and watch it but you can leave them and 4-7 hours later you can handle it or do whatever you need to do .

So , planning ahead is a must when making sourdough bread . The preferment recipe was from MaryAnn’s www.jaklamas.com

This is what i mixed to make preferment :

1/3 of the sourdough seed

2/3 cup of lukewarm water

about 8 oz or 1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour

Mix this well and let it sit until doubles , might take 4-8 hours or less , depending on the temp .

Once this is done , you can either go store it in the fridge , or use it right away . The longer you store it in the fridge , it will increase the degrees of sourness in your bread . So if you’re like me , don’t like it super sour , then you better be off using it right away or after 2 days . I did not have patience during my first time because i wanted to make them NOW ! lol .. so i did , there was slight sourness / tang still , even though i used it right away .

When you’re ready to make them , you need :

All the preferment you just mixed ( or you can half this if you want to only have 1 loaf of bread , the recipe results in 2 loaves )

1 2/3 cup of water

4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

1 tbsp. of table salt

Mix all these together with wooden spoon then switch with your hand until smooth , then form into a ball and place it on a lightly oiled large bowl . Cover with plastic , and then let it proof , it takes about 4-6 hours .

Once it has done the bulk fermentation / proofing the first time , you can either store it in the fridge for whenever you ready to bake or shape it and bake today .

So if you need to bake , say tomorrow morning , you can shape it , and place it on a loaf pan overnight to do its final proofing in the fridge , they won’t double in size as fast , it’s going to be slow growth , but once you bake it in the oven it springs up really good , so no need to put it on counter to come to room temperature before baking it . Straight from the fridge in the morning after your oven heats up to 450 F for half an hour , i put my bread in right away , and you can score it better when the dough is cold .

This is how they looked like from overnight proofing in the fridge to 450 F oven heat up for half an hour , then baked for 5 minutes and turned it down to 425 for the next 25 minutes .

sourdoughbread1

It has what they call ‘oven spring’ because after overnight in the fridge , that dough wasn’t that high before i put it in the hot oven . So that would be my preferred method . I did try some other method , which resulted pretty good too , but i started making the dough early in the morning , about 6 or 7 am . Then letting it proof first time , and about noon , the dough was ready to be shaped , and then final proof about 3-4 hours and then baking them .Now if you don’t have to go out or anything else to do , this would be okay , but otherwise the overnight is the best method . Because you will be sleeping while the dough is doing it’s final proofing and it doesn’t take too much of your time . By the time you’re up , your dough is ready to be baked .

Update , Feb , 1st , 2016

So , i decided to order a banneton for me , it’s a wicker basket , that you use to proof your bread , in its final proof . Before i had banneton , i used glass bowl lined with light oil and parchment paper . I was excited over the weekend of getting this banneton , i bought it from amazon , it’s not bad price $12 , and if you love bread baking like me , i am sure you wouldn’t mind getting this wicker basket .

Made the dough right after church yesterday , it was around 1.30 when i put the dough together . I just wanted to try this banneton , to see how it works . First proof , then second proof i left it overnight , using banneton . I made sure i sprinkle generously with rice flour . Rice flour is a must in my asian pantry , so it’s not an extra thing where i had to go get it .. i had rice flour on hand , and sprinkled it on the banneton and placed my boule on it seam side UP . Then i lightly oiled a plastic wrap and covered it loosely , and place it in a grocery bag and proofed it overnight in the fridge .

So here’s my boule in the morning after proofing its final stage in the fridge overnight . It was about 12 hours in the refrigerator . I peeled off the plastic wrap easily , but carefully , i didn’t want any tear on the dough . Looked pretty good to me .

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And i flipped it over / inverted it cookie sheet lined with parchment paper . The rice flour all over the banneton actually helped with no sticking . And i was very happy with it . See how cool it is with banneton , this you will not get with regular glass bowl obviously .

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Then i scored the boule with razor blade .

A note , i decided to try to bake it with dutch oven as well . So right after i woke up , i preheated my oven up to 500 F , and i placed my dutch oven lightly oiled , with the lid on , inside the oven . Yes 500 F .. it has to be screaming hot .

You might want to make sure your dutch oven can handle 500 degrees heat . Mine is from food network and it does handle the 500 degrees heat well .

So , back to my boule that was sitting on the cookie sheet lined with parchment paper . The boule now is ready to be scored , i had to work quickly with scoring . And as soon as i finished , i grabbed the parchment paper , and lowered the parchment paper with boule into the screaming hot dutch oven .

Preheat the oven for an hour at 500 F . I used convection

Lower the bread into the dutch oven carefully , close the lid . Turn oven down to 475 F , baked for 20 minutes .

Take the lid off , turn down temperature to 450 F and bake extra 30 minutes .

 

The result was .. THIS …

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Isn’t it beautiful ? I was so happy , the crust turned out so beautiful , then the scoring i did was not bad at all ( imo lol ) , and oven spring and it smells wonderful .

As beautiful as it is , i decided to give the bread to a neighbor friend , they’re an older couple , used to own a restaurant in Austin , he wasn’t feeling well , but he loves bread , while she loves sweet stuff . So , i gave this boule to them , and we sat down had a cup of coffee and slice of sourdough boule , they loved it , they said it was delicious and i thought that too . LOL ..

So that’s pretty much my journey in creating a perfect , and beautiful looking sourdough bread , that probably ( almost ) looks like coming from a local bakery . Here’s to #artisanbread , very fun to create and i really enjoy every moment of creating this . In sourdough .. patience is a virtue !!

Update : January , 2017

Experimenting by adding more water , higher hydration , there will be more holes in the bread . Stretch and fold gently instead of kneading like regular bread . I did not measure how much water i added but will try more water next time to see if it helps .

Preferment and how to take care of your seed

The last time we left off , we were around mixing the ‘ mother starter’ or we can call this ‘preferment’ stage . That previous entry was all about the ‘seed’ , without the seed we won’t be able to create a mother starter to make the bread .

So how did the mother starter / preferment looks like ? Well after leaving it on the counter for few hours . probably around 4 hours . This really depends on the temperature in your house , mine was at 68 F , warmer and it will double quicker for you . Remember i have 2 batches of the seed , from those 2 seeds , i tried 2 mother starters .

This one using the recipe from Peter Reinhart’s book , according to him , using bread flour . It rose really nicely .

preferment1

 

The second batch was from MaryAnn’s recipe ( from Jaklamas Farm , jaklamas.com) , using regular all purpose flour preferment2

The first one rose significantly , the second one rose just enough by the time i took this picture . But i ended up using both of them with great result !

So what do we do with the rest of the seed ? Well i put them all in the fridge , Ben and Jerry , that’s what i call those 2 seeds in different bowls .

After almost a week in the fridge , i took them out to feed them . I haven’t fed them since Monday , so last night was day 5 since the last feeding , i believe you can do this once a week or if you use them often , you might need to feed them often and can leave them on the counter . I don’t need them often , so i left them in the fridge since i had enough preferment for me to make the bread anyway .

So i took them out , they look good , not as bubbly as the first time i put them in , but i let it sit on the counter while i mixed up their ‘food’ which i use equal amount of flour and water as the seed . So if i had 80 grams of seed , i fed them with 80 grams of flour and 80 grams of water . The flour and water has to be the same amount of the seed , because these seed ” ben and jerry ‘ will need to eat those flour and water in order to grow . And if there’s not enough food for the crowd , they won’t grow ( bubbles ) , which make sense anyway . Put it this way , if you have 2 babies , but you feed them with food for just 1 baby , the babies won’t grow and won’t be happy because they don’t have enough food . So 1:1:1 seed :flour:water

This is how they looked right after i took it out from the fridge , last feeding was 5 days ago , and right after i mixed up with the food .

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They actually looked pretty good right after from the fridge before feeding , I had just stirred Ben so it didn’t look so bubbly , but before that it was as bubbly as Jerry . Then i fed them .

This picture below right here , took 2 hours right after the feeding , they’re already quite happy and bubbly. So they’re doing good , this morning they look even better . I didn’t check overnight , all i know they look good in the morning .

ben and jerry2

Also , usually during feeding , you will be instructed to discard some of them and just to keep certain amount , unless you want to end up with lot more seed !! In that case , since i hate throwing away food , i didn’t throw them away , i used half of the seed to make sourdough pancake just like i did before .

So now that your seed is happy again , either use it to make more preferment , which i just did this morning , or you can store it in the fridge . Always feed them before you store it in the fridge though .

Sourdough Pancakes/Waffles

How did i end up with sourdough pancake ?

Well .. my mother taught me never waste any food .. after trying to grow the seed for sourdough , i was really thinking that it’s such a waste discarding perfectly growing seed . The smells was already wonderful , with bubbles , so i knew i was on the right track . So at the end of day 5 of growing seed for sourdough , i was supposed to discard half of it , and fed the remaining half with flour water mixture . I thought .. i am sure you can do something with this leftover instead of discarding it .

Looked around and i found recipe for sourdough pancake ! And all i had to do just mixed the seed , with flour , sugar , water and buttermilk . Letting it sit overnight and add eggs , vanilla , more sugar if you think you need to , i did ! And oil .

After letting it sit overnight on room temperature , in the morning i was surprised , they’re fluffed up , doubled in size

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So here’s the recipe :

Make this to sit overnight on your counter :

1 cup of the seed  ( from growing seed starter entry )

2 cups of all purpose flour

4 tbsp.  of sugar

2 cups of buttermilk

Mix and let it sit overnight .In the morning , add in :

2 beaten eggs

1/4 cup of vegetable oil

1 tsp. baking soda

pinch of salt

Add the eggs and vegetable oil into the buttermilk mixture , then add in the baking soda and salt . Stir well and cook your pancake on the skillet / griddle .

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Growing Seed for Sourdough

A while back ago , i bought Peter Reinhart’s bread book , it has how to step by step to grow seed for sourdough starter . I was always tempted to try it , but at the time i thought such a hassle to make the seed culture .

What is actually seed culture anyway ? Well , it is a mix between flour and water and when you let it sit for a day in room temperature , ideally about 70-80 F , it will eventually grow into seed , where you will turn this seed when it’s totally developed into a mother starter , which basically yeast to make your bread dough .

So , years later i still wasn’t tempted to make the seed , though my journey with bread baking has been awesome , i’ve learned a lot , from someone who didn’t even know how to cook or bake , now i think i can say that i am a good bread baker . I don’t need a machine to help me making bread , in fact i don’t care for bread machine , how about standing mixer ? It’s always nice , but nowadays i always opt to use my own hand to knead my dough . There’s special feeling about the correct stickiness about the dough , where with the machine , you run a risk adding too much flour and therefore you end up with drier bread .

Anyway let’s get back to seed for sourdough . I don’t know what got me into this , i am always up for trying something new , not that commercial yeast is bad , no not at all .. they give me a good flavor bread , and i have no problem with them . But .. i wanted to take my bread baking to the next level , and that’s how i ended up , let’s do this .

So , ironically i did not follow Peter Reinhart’s recipe to grow the seed , i followed this www.wildyeastblog.com . During the first day , i mix the water and rye flour and all purpose flour . This is how it looked like on 1st day , right after i mixed it

seed1

Letting it sit for a day , the next morning i had no clue what i was getting myself into . I woke up , happily i saw the mixture has bubbles on top , as i opened the lid / wrap ..well i almost died .. to put it mildly , unpleasant odor is such an understatement , when waking up at 6 in the morning , and you’re pretty much welcomed with smell so horrendous , it smelled like baby’s barf ! Yuck ..

This is Day 2 in the morning before feeding

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Patiently , i discarded half and mixed another rye , all purpose flour and water , to feed the bacteria ( that is what i am trying to grow ) . The bad smell was from the bad bacteria which eventually will be beaten by the good bacteria ( the good smelling .. alcohol smell .. ) Covered it back up and let it sit in warmer area . Speaking about warm area , my house indoor temp during winter is 68 F , we live in Texas btw , so it doesn’t get very cold here , i still put it in the oven with light on because we do like temperature cooler in the house . We don’t always turn the heater on too when it gets down to 30’s and 40’s at night . So we thought oven with light on was a good place for them to grow .

Day 2 evening feeding , i had to feed it every 12 hours now . This is how it looked like on day 2 before feeding ( discard half , and feed with flour and water everytime )

seed2-1

Does have bubbles , the smell was still bad , NOT as bad , but still bad .. LOL .. i started to think maybe i shouldn’t do this . Between me dyeing yarn with the smell of acid / vinegar , then the smell of baby barf from growing bacteria and having cinnamon candle on .. i was really hoping that we won’t have any company for the next few days LOL .. Still fed it , rye ,all purpose and water .

The next morning , day 3 , this is how it looked like from the side , all tiny bubbles everywhere

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From the top , there wasn’t much difference than the night before so i wasn’t sure but after seeing the side , i was feeling positive ..

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And the smell was much much better , still not the greatest but much much tolerable !! I fed it again , this time only with white flour and water , i cut the water down a little bit . I still fed it 2 times per day , every 12 hours .

This is Day 5 , the smell was like yeast bread !! There’s no bad smell whatsoever , i had a smile on my face !! I was happy and i knew my seed is growing on the right track . I fed it again every 12 hours . At this time , they doubled in size within 8 hours or less .

 

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Day 6 was this morning , and my seed is looking really good . Since Day 5 i was really thinking what a waste that you had to discard almost half of it , and just used the other half and feeding it . But there’s a good reason for it , because you want to feed the bacteria with enough food .. that’s why you have to discard half of it . But last night , instead of throwing it away , the part that was supposed to be discarded , i put it in a bowl and turned it into sourdough pancake ( another entry coming up ! )

So , i fed it anyway .. though it looked really good already and smells so delicious

seed6

You really do need patience .. as with everything patience is a virtue ! You’re pretty much rewarded with a healthy happy seed , after taking care of it for almost a week .

After feeding it this morning at 7 am , i took my son to school bus and i went running . I came home about 8.30 , and my seed has ALREADY doubled in size !! It’s not even 3 hours .. it’s basically 2 hours and they’re doubled already , so i thought  GOOD , it’s time to create the Preferment , or as Peter Reinhart calls it Mother Starter .

Since i have enough seed to experiment , i tried recipe from this lady on bread baking i belong to , hers using regular all purpose flour , i mixed little bit of the seed , with all purpose flour and water . Here’s hers

mother starter1

 

The second bowl , i used Peter Reinhart’s recipe for mother starter , using bread flour and water .

mother start2er2

Now my job is waiting for these preferments / mother starters to grow , double in size . Once it’s done doubling in size within 4-8 hours or more , i can use it or store it in the fridge up to 3 -5 days i believe . And according to Reinhart’s book , if i haven’t used it for 5 days i can always revive it . Now what do i do with the seed ? I have 2 containers with seed still .. so after doubling in size within 2 hours , i put them in the fridge , i am sure i can revive them too if i needed to .

I will update with how the 2 mother starters are doing ..

Tres Leches Cake

Never heard of tres leches cake when we were back in Indiana . When we moved to Texas , our friend said tres leches was her favorite , so on her birthday , we had tres leches cake , but it didn’t do any good impression to me because to me the cake was overly sweet . It was just an okay cake , put it this way , i wouldn’t spend $25 for cake like that . It was .. yes .. store bought .

Fast forward , my mother in law came to visit over this past holiday , i was too busy to make dessert , so i ended up picking up this tres leches cake from grocery store . It was just a small cake , my son loved it , everyone loved it . The cake was so moist but to me .. again .. it was too sweet . I wouldn’t be able to eat more than 1 small slice nor that i wanted to .

So , then , this past time we went to Mexican restaurant , my son asked if he could have Tres Leches cake for dessert . This time it was really good and i liked it , we all liked the cake . It wasn’t overly sweet and was just perfect . I decided to try to make the cake the next day , turned out pretty well after a few adjustment . I think next time i will cut down the amount of sugar in the whipped cream and also the condensed milk to the milk mixture as well .

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Cake :

1 stick of unsalted butter , room temperature

slightly under 1 cup of sugar

5 eggs

1 tsp. of vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour

1 tsp. of baking powder

pinch of salt

  1. Beat the butter with sugar until light and fluffy . Add in the egg one at a time , and the vanilla extract until well combined .
  2. Add the flour and baking powder and salt mixture a little at a time into the egg butter mixture .
  3. Bake at 350 F , on 9×13 inch greased pan . About 30-40 minutes , or until it’s done , depending on your oven . Let it cool and poke with fork all over .

The Milk mixture :

2 cups of reduced fat milk , or you can replace it with half and half , i don’t use whole milk , i used 1% milk

little less than the whole can of condensed milk

a whole can of the evaporated milk

Mix the milk and then pour over the cake , all of the milk mixture needs to be poured into the cake , the cake will absorb it .

Optional :

1 1/2 cup of whipped cream

1/2 cup of sugar or none

Beat the cream and sugar until stiff . Spread all over the top and refrigerate the cake overnight .

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

It was a hot day , there is basically nothing i wanted to do . Well i do want to something .. but it’s too hot , too hot to go out , wanted to get my pedicure done , too hot just to drive there , wanted to visit a friend .. don’t feel like it because it’s too hot !!

What to do ? what should i do ? I asked my husband ..

He said ” just make a bread .. you know cinnamon swirl .. ”

Me ” cinnamon buns ? ”

He said ” No .. the swirl .. ”

Oh .. great idea .. why not trying it since i never made cinnamon swirl bread , i am sure it’s not hard at all ..

So there it was .. cinnamon swirl bread in the making , while outside is 100’s F something .. with heat index up to the 110 F .. we were advised not to spend too long of outdoor activity ,instead .. LET’S BAKE BREAD ! Lol ..

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You need :

1/6 cup of warm tap water

2 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast

1/2 cup of warm milk

1 tsp . of vanilla extract

1 egg

1/4 cup of sugar AND 1/2 cup of sugar

3 tbsp. of melted butter

1 tbsp. of ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. of salt

About 3 cups of bread flour

1. Mix the warm water with yeast until it dissolve , let it sit about 5 minutes , it should be foamy .

2. Warm up the milk , then add melted butter , add vanilla extract , 1/4 cup of sugar , salt and beaten egg .

3. Mix the yeast mixture with milk mixture .

4. In a large bowl , add in 2 1/2 cup of bread flour , add the yeast milk mixture , then mix with wooden spoon until it’s hard to stir , scrape off the dough on the spoon , flour your hand , and start mixing with hand . Add in more flour as needed , do not add too much or your bread will be too dry , too little it will be too sticky . You might need all the way to 3 cups , or a little under 3 cups , add in while kneading the dough , the dough should clean the side of the bowl and elastic . Knead for extra 6 minutes .

5. Butter the large bowl , place the dough in the bowl , cover with plastic wrap . Let it sit for 1 hour in a warm place to proof ( double in size )

6. Take the dough out , do not punch it down , just stick your finger in and deflate the dough , take it out , and roll it out into rectangle , 18 by 8 inches , sprinkle the sugar cinnamon evenly all over the dough . Roll it from the short side . Place it on a buttered loaf pan , and let it rise again for 40 minutes .

7. Once it’s done proofing , preheat oven 350 F and bake the bread for about 25-30 minutes . Take it out , brush with butter on top .

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Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut cream pie is really yummy , although , for the longest time , i never had interest in trying them when we go out to a pie place , or even when i am in the mood of baking pies . I’ve done many type of pies , from classic apple pie , to pumpkin , all the way to blueberry pie or fruit pie . But never in my life i would try making coconut pie .. it’s just so .. coconut .. nothing really interesting in there .

When i was younger , living in tropical island , i had the advantage of eating fresh young coconut , yum , and then my mom used to buy fresh coconut , then grated it , and add some spices to it , and fry the coconut flakes , it was meant to be side dish .. it is called ” Serundeng ” I was never really into it , because i just didn’t like it ..

Fast forward years and years later .. i am still not a big fan but i don’t mind it .  I had coconut flakes in the granola bars i usually make . Until the other night , a friend of mine who happened to be a neighbor texted me ” do you have vanilla extract ? ”

Of course i do !! This is a baker and a cook you’re asking to !! So she came by and borrowed few tsp of vanilla extract , jokingly i said ” you have to call me when dessert is done , after all i contributed into the making of coconut pie !! ”

Then hours later she texted me ” do you want to come over for dessert ? ”

Of course i said YES ! LOL

It was a delicious coconut cream pie , i became a fan right away . Blueberry was my favorite pie after i made it .. then now .. i think coconut cream pie is the one !!

I tried looking at my pie book , found a recipe for filling , which is quite easy , just a custard filling , except i added shredded coconut so it’s very coconutty !! Then the crust , i used coconut flakes itself , instead of regular pie crust . It def takes the pie to another level !!

So here it is !!

For the crust

1 stick of unsalted butter

3 cups of sweetened coconut flakes

Melt the butter in skillet , add the coconut flakes , keep stirring , don’t stop until it’s golden brown , about 5-7 minutes . Watch so it won’t burn . Once it’s done , lightly butter the pie pan 9 inch pie pan , and press the coconut flakes onto the pan , press it firmly with the base of a glass , since it’s very hot you can’t use your hand !

Then chill in the fridge , while you prepare the filling

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Custard coconut filling :

1/3 cup of cornstarch

1/2 cup of sugar

1 tsp salt

Mix well , then add :

2 3/4 cup of milk , i used 2% milk

Stir well , turn the stove on , and keep stirring until it’s almost hot . Meanwhile beat :

4 egg yolks

When the milk mixture become hot , not bubbling yet , pour in steady stream into the yolk mixture , whisking while pouring into the egg yolks mixture . Then mix well , pour this milk egg yolk mixture back into the pot , and whisking constantly , until it’s bubbly and thick . ( this process is called tempering )

Once it’s done , turn stove off , add 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 cup to 1 cup of coconut flakes .

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Pour this coconut custard pie filling into chilled crust . Refrigerate for 4 hours , then make the whipped cream topping :

1 1/2 cup of heavy cream

1/4 cup of powdered sugar

1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes

In a chilled bowl , mix the heavy cream with powdered sugar , beat really high until stiff peak . This topping goes on top of the custard filling and sprinkle the top with toasted coconut flakes .

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Spicy Pulled Pork Pop

Lately i have been a fan of a quick easy and last forever meal .. I just hardly had the time to spend in the kitchen with running around here and there , and homeschooling , and the new hobby of mine of knitting . The kitchen took a step back , but that doesn’t mean i can forgo my family’s meal . I still am a make from scratch kind of a girl , but i love how easy some meal can be prepared but it still delicious and nutritious . Not that this recipe is very healthy for you .. since it has pop / soda in it .

Sounds crazy ? well i made ham with coca cola before , so the idea of cooking pork shoulder or pork butt with dr.pepper to me wasn’t so crazy . The recipe was found online and i’ve made it 3 times so far . My family likes it , i like it because it has a good taste and it lasts a long time .. you can make pulled pork sandwich , you can turn this into taco , you can turn it into burrito bowl , just by adding pico de gallo that is super easy to make , and warm up some shell and make some pinto beans . So it is very versatile , or you can just eat it with rice and vegetables .. so there .. what more could you ask ?

pulled pork pop

 

Ingredients :

About 5-6 lbs of pork shoulder or pork butt , trim a little of the fat but dot remove all of them

24 oz of dr.pepper or any store brand would do

2 large cans of chipotle in adobo sauce , if you don’t like spicy just use 1 , or small can . I like the spiciness

2 tbsp. of brown sugar

salt and pepper

2 large onions , quartered

Throw all these ingredients in a large dutch oven , put the lid back on . Turn your oven to 300 F , and throw the dutch oven in the oven , let it slow cook for at least 6 hours . By 6 hours your pork should be so tender , and will fall apart . Serve in a sandwich buns or make taco or burrito etc ..

Breakfast Burrito

The other day i was invited to a friend’s house for a breakfast . She made us breakfast burrito , which was very yummy . I never had breakfast burrito , but as the name calls , it contains tortilla shell ,with scrambled eggs , potatoes , chorizo and salsa . It was delicious . So this morning i thought i should give it a try , beside my family loves chorizo . It turns out really good , not to mention it’s so easy , barely anything to it . The chorizo gives out all the flavor you need so you don’t even need to add any more seasoning .

I added onion and cilantro into my breakfast burrito , i would make the salsa , but as i went to pick up tomatillo from local grocery store , they ran out of hot peppers , they had nothing left , no serrano , no jalapeno .. so i put the tomatillos back and i didn’t buy a thing for the salsa . We ended up having the burrito with tabasco , good enough for now .

You need :

a package of chorizo

1/2 large onion , chopped finely

4 potatoes , skin on , diced very small

4-5 large eggs , beaten

Tortilla shells

Brown the onion , then add potatoes , cook about 5 minutes , add the chorizo and cook until the potatoes are tender and chorizo is done . Once you see fat on the skillet , you can crank up the heat to high heat to burn all the fat . Then add eggs into the same skillet , keep stirring or else you will end up with omelette . That’s it !! Serve on warm tortilla shells !

breakfast burrito

Lemon Madeleines

I’ve made Madeleines few times before . And i remember the very first time i was skimping on buttering the mold and ended up ruining madeleines . But they all turned out nice as far as i can remember .

Fast forward , the other day i decided to try this recipe from Baking Chez Moi book that my hubby ordered for me around Christmas time . I did mention i wanted this book , i like Doris Greenspan’s cook book , so i figure i might enjoy her french baking book just like the french cook book . The first recipe i tried was the marble cake , it was good but quite heavy and a little on the dry side .

This time my choice landed on Lemon Madeleines , i barely have anything in the fridge so my ingredients were quite limited . Lemon madeleines doesn’t even need many ingredients just butter , flour , sugar , egg , and lemon . Funny thing , you don’t even use the lemon juice , just the zest !

I followed the recipe to the T , lemon madeleines that i made before this , didn’t take this long . Okay the batter didn’t take long to put together BUT .. the waiting period was total of 2 hours !! So after making the batter , i had to chill it for an hour in the fridge , guess you can always try to get the batter ready even a day before if you want to save time . Then i would spoon the batter into the molds and again i had to chill it for another hour in the fridge .

And how long to bake them ? Only 10 minutes in my convectional oven ! LOL .. all of the waiting .. and only 10 minutes baking time , oh and did i mention only produced 12 madeleines ? LOL .. but totally worth it ..

The madeleines was all puffed up i never seen it that huge ! I opened my oven and i was there .. scream in delight .. it is huge !!!!!! My husband laughed and laughed .. for me getting so excited to see my madeleines look so good .

madeleines1

But anyway here is the recipe :

1 lemon

1/3 cup of sugar

90 grams  of all purpose flour

1 tsp. of baking powder

a pinch of salt

1 tbsp. of honey

2 large eggs , room temperature

1 stick of melted butter , warm melted butter

1 tsp. of vanilla

2 tbsp. of whole milk ( i used 1 % since i don’t have whole milk )

1. In a small bowl mix the all purpose flour , baking powder and salt , whisk well , set aside .

2. In a larger bowl , mix the sugar and lemon zest , rub with your fingers until the sugar mix with the zest and becomes moist . At this point , basically the whole kitchen smells like lemon LOL

3. Once you’re ready , beat the sugar and 2 eggs vigorously , or use standing mixer , and about 2-3 minutes it will look very pale and double in size . Then add vanilla and honey , mix well .

4. FOLD in the flour , do not beat with mixer , use spatula or wooden spoon , carefully and gently , then add the warm butter , fold in carefully and add the milk .

5. Chill the batter in the fridge , cover the batter with plastic wrap directly onto the batter , chill an hour . Once you’re ready butter the madeleine mold and flour it , and remove excess flour . Spoon a dollop of the batter into the pan , chill for another hour .

6. Preheat oven to 400 F , throw in a large cookie sheet , once the oven is ready place the madeleine pan on top of the cookie sheet . Bake 10-12 minutes , you might need to bake it longer , my oven is convectional so it’s quicker , and to see if madeleine is ready , touch the puffy part , if it springs back then it’s ready to be taken out . Tap the pan into the counter and carefully remove madeleines immediately . Sprinkle with powdered sugar

madeleines

Spanish Chicken with Chorizo

This was our dinner last night .I think i’ve made them few times already , just forgot to blog about it . Although i don’t know how i forgot .. because this meal is totally awesome . Months back i borrowed a cooking book by Nigella Lawson from the library . She used to have a show on the cooking channel and i used to watch her show .

One of the recipe that attracts me in that book was this spanish chicken with chorizo . Me and my family are a big fan of chorizo . This spanish sausage is full of flavor that would burst out in your mouth and gives so much flavor when you cook it together with chicken . Not only that it has an awesome taste , it is super easy , everyone can cook this and will come our delicious ! Note one thing though , make sure you have the best tasting chorizo because that is where most of the flavor comes from . I adjust a little with the original recipe .

spanish chicken

 

Ingredients :

About 8 chicken thighs , i chose and always choose chicken thighs for braising and long cooking because they have the best taste and won’t dry out like chicken breasts , but it is your choice .

8 small shallots or 4 large shallots , or you can even use red onions if you’d like

2 packages of chorizo , or you can just use 1 , whatever you want

4 medium size of potatoes  , skin on

smoked paprika , kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

So all these are your ingredients , just rub the chicken with olive oil , skin side up , add the chorizo all over , crumble it with your hands , and add potatoes , and onions on top .In fact i was actually thinking maybe i should add brussel sprouts and bury it between the chicken , because an hour at 425 F cooking will totally smush and burn the brussel sprouts LOL . But anyway , throw them in the oven at 425 F and roast them for an hour or so , once in a while use turkey baster to baste the chicken with the juices that comes out .

Oatmeal – Raisin Cookies

After a month long full of sweet last December , to be honest with you , though i baked a lot of them , i hardly had any of them . So , last night suddenly , we had the urge to bake easy simple cookies , my choice landed on oatmeal raisin cookies . I always loved oatmeal raisin cookies . So here is easy simple recipe of oatmeal cookies , you can omit the raisin , it’s your choice  , but to me , it has to have raisins for me to like them !

Ingredients :

10 tbsp. of softened butter

3/4 cup of white sugar ( not heaping )

3/4 cup of light brown sugar ( don’t need to pack it )

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour

2 3/4 cup of roll oats

1 1/2 cup of raisins

1. Preheat oven to 375 F

2. In a mixer , beat the sugar and the butter until combined and smooth . Add eggs , beat until fluffy for a minute or 2 . Then add vanilla , baking soda , pinch of salt and flour . Mix well , then add the roll oats , raisins and pinch of ground cinnamon if you like .

3. In a parchment paper lined sheet , drop the cookie dough by tsp. full , and bake for about 8-10 minutes .

Praline Rounds

When i first making this , i was quite excited , i love pecans ,  i like anything praline . So when i baked them and took a bite of it , i expected a great flavor . But i found something is missing . Granted i skipped the frosting that was supposed to be on the top of these cookies . I didn’t think it would miss a great flavor by skipping its frosting . After all , i am not really into frosting anyway .

But i was wrong , the recipe makes 2 logs of cookies . The good thing about this cookies was that you can make the dough few weeks ahead of time , esp. with busy christmas time , it’s a big help if you can make the dough way ahead of time . So with these 2 logs , i baked the 1st log and threw the other one in the freezer . Later on , i found out that i needed to make the frosting since the first batch i made , i didn’t add any frosting . Taste wasn’t the greatest .

On christmas eve , i let the dough thaw out in the fridge , and sliced them nicely , and while they’re baking in the oven , i decided not to skip the frosting this time . Made the frosting .. plenty of them , and had to throw away a lot since i only made for half batch . But my suggestion , when you make this cookies , def , make the frosting , it is very important !

praline rounds

 

Ingredients :

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup of shortening

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

1 egg

2 tbsp. of milk

1 tsp. vanilla

3 cups of all purpose flour

1 cup finely chopped pecans

brown sugar frosting

1. In a large mixing bowl , beat butter , shortening on medium to high speed for 30 seconds . Add sugar , baking powder , baking soda and salt . Beat til combine , add egg , milk and vanilla . Beat til combine , add flour as much as you can with mixer , and 1/2 cup of chopped pecan .

2. Shape the dough into 2-10 inch log , wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap , chill in the fridge or you can throw it into the freezer for future use . Thaw before using . It needs to be chilled at least for 4 hours before slicing and baking them .

3. When you’re ready , slice the dough into 1/4 inch thickness and bake on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet , about 10 minutes or so , 375 F .

Frosting :

In a saucepan , combine 1 cup of packed brown sugar , 1/4 cup of butter , and 1/4 cup of light cream . Bring this to boil for 1 minute and stir constantly . Remove from the heat , add 1 1/3 cup of powdered sugar  , stir until smooth and combine . Drizzle this on top of the cooled cookies .

praline rounds

Frosted Bourbon Brownies

During christmas time , we usually bake a lot of cookies , i did this time , but not as many as i used to . I was a little procrastinating this year , i even forgot to send some goodies to friends out of state . And on top of that i did not make butter cookies for my family to decorate . Yes , i was that bad , i was also sick for almost 2 weeks during the month of December . Actually was a really bad cold , and i started to feel better just days before christmas .

But anyway , to make up for it , that Christmas Eve morning , after coming home from working out , i told my son , who just turned 10 years old that he should pick out a recipe from this christmas baking book , and i will help him to bake it . He chose brownies recipe , maybe because it’s the first recipe on the first page or whatever his reason was .. he picked that one . Okay .. great no cookies , less mess , quick to make .

I let him do everything himself , i only helped measuring the ingredients , he would pour , stir , and mixed it all himself . Set the oven temperature , putting it into the oven ( nervously ) and took it out and even made the frosting . The brownies turned out really yummy .. so i decided to keep it here online , so anytime i want a brownie recipe , this should be my go to brownies !

DSC_0106

Ingredients :

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1/3 cup of butter ( aboutt 5 1/2 tbsp )

2 tbsp. of water

1 cup of semisweet chocolate pieces ( we didn’t have 1 cup on hand , but we had very few , so we ended up mixing semisweet chocolate chips with heath bits )

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 cup of all purpose flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup of chopped pecan

2-3 tbsp. bourbon ( we didn’t have this either , so we used amaretto )

1 recipe butter frosting

1. Grease square dish 8×8 , line with parchment paper , grease with shortening , set aside . Set oven temperature to 350 F .

2. In a small saucepan , combine sugar , butter and water . Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils . Remove , and then , add chocolate pieces , stir with whisk until melted , add eggs and vanilla , whisk well until just combined .

3. Combine flour , salt and baking soda , stir into the chocolate mixture , stir until combine , add pecan . Pour into the baking dish .

4. Bake for 20 minutes or longer until edges are set and pull away from the pan . Might take a little more than 20 minutes .

5. Using fork , poke brownies all over , and sprinkle with the bourbon .

Butter frosting recipe :

In a small bowl , beat 3 tbsp. of butter with mixer high speed for 30 seconds . Gradually add 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar , 2 tsp. milk and vanilla . Adjust the consistency by adding more milk if necessary . Spread on top of cool brownies .

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Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Jamaican Jerk Chicken is really not that hard to make . I’ve heard about jerk chicken quite a bit , read about it , but never really tried it . Until finally yesterday i decided to try to make this popular dish . First you make the marinate for this chicken , and don’t ask me why they call it jerk . And the ingredients are not that complicated , probably most of you should have it in the pantry already . Garlic , ginger , onion , allspice , if you don’t have allspice , you can always make your own allspice , which is with ratio 1:1 of cinnamon and clove . I used bone in chicken thighs , you can always use whole cut up chicken also . The recipe can be broiled , but i grilled them last night , the smells was so delicious , and the who would have thought combination of cinnamon , cloves and ginger garlic could be so delicious !! Serve it with rice , or you can grill plantains for a real jamaican dish !

jamaican jerk

Ingredients :

About 6-8 pieces of bone in chicken thighs , with skin on , or you can use whole cut up chicken also .

7 garlic cloves

3 inches of fresh ginger root

3 green onions

2 tbsp. of ground cinnamon

2 tbsp. of ground allspice ( replace this with 1 tbsp. of cloves , and 1 tbsp. of ground cinnamon )

2 tsp. of salt

35 grinds of fresh black pepper

juice of 2 limes and the zest

1 habanero ( i used 2 jalapenos yesterday but i can hardly tasted the heat , so habanero next time )

2 tbsp. of fresh thyme leaves

2 tbsp. of dried oregano

2 tbsp. of canola oil

1. Blend all ingredients in food processor until mixture becomes smooth and pasty , marinade your chicken thighs with the spices . Rub all over the chicken and let it marinade for at least an hour , up to overnight .

2. Grill the chicken skin side up for 25 minutes , then turn it around and grill for another 25 . Make sure the juices run clear to make sure the chicken is totally done .

jerk chicken

Indian Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken or Chicken Makhani , is one of my favorite Indian dish . My husband loves it , and my son loves it as well . So what’s the reason not to re-create this wonderful , rich , and delicious dish at home ?

This probably the easy way to create chicken makhani , i will someday will do it the right way with fresh tomatoes and all , but for now , this actually works pretty good , and i was quite surprised with the taste , pretty much similar to the buffer that we usually go to .

butter chicken

 

Ingredients :

About 2 lbs of boneless chicken thighs , cut into bite size pieces and then marinated with 1-2 tbsp. of garam masala , salt and pepper , set aside .

For the butter sauce :

1 tbsp. Olive oil

2 small shallots , chopped

1/2 large onion , chopped

2-3 tbsp. of ginger garlic paste ( i just chopped garlic and ginger and then throw them into the food grinder to make it very pasty )

1 tsp. of lemon juice ( optional ) , i found the use of the lemon juice really makes the dish tangier than it should be .. next time i probably either cut down half or not even adding it

2 tbsp. of unsalted butter

1 bay leaves

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. coriander

1 cardamom pods

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaves

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. of cayenne pepper

1 cup of tomato puree

1/2 c of greek yogurt

1/2 c. of heavy cream

1/2 c. of half and half

1. In a large skillet , heat up the oil , and then add chopped shallot and onion until translucent , add ginger garlic paste , saute for another minute , add lemon juice if using , and butter , then add the spices , cook for another minute until aromatic . Add  the tomato puree , mix well until almost boiling . Add yogurt and half half and heavy cream , let it simmer for 20 mins for the flavor to blend .

2. Meanwhile , cook and brown the chicken in the wok , and once it’s done , add the sauce into the chicken in the wok , and bring to boil , then simmer again , cook about 20 mins until the flavor combined .

3. Serve with basmati rice , and sprinkle with chopped cilantro .

 

Chocolate Orange Loaf

It’s been a long time since i made something in the kitchen . Summer is here , and i am getting lazier and lazier to make a mess in the kitchen . Texas hot days is really not fun to be busy in the kitchen . I have spent much of my time outdoor , taking care of my garden . So , by the time i go into the house , i don’t feel like cooking anymore because i was too hot from outside LOL

But anyway , over this past week i borrowed a book from the library . I was actually looking for fish keeping book , especially Cichlid book . Then i ran into cookbook shelves , right by the animals . I landed on Nigella Lawson’s cook book . I used to watch her show , back when my son was little baby . And i love cook books , i collect cook books , but i don’t have any of her book . So i checked it out , and last night during my relaxing time , i went through it . Wasn’t a good idea , because it was late , around 10 pm , and i was getting hungry looking all those pages full of food pictures !

My choice for today’s dessert landed on something easy and quick , yet looks delicious . It was Chocolate Orange Loaf . It turns out really good , make sure you use a good quality unsweetened cocoa powder . And the rest , is really not complicated recipe at all .Have fun and enjoy !

chocolate orange loaf

 

 

Ingredients :

10 tbsp. of unsalted butter , room temperature

2 tbsp. of corn syrup

1 cup packed dark brown sugar ( i used light )

1 cup of all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. of baking soda

3 tbsp. of good quality cocoa powder

2 large eggs

zest of 1 large orange and juice of an orange

1. In a mixing bowl , beat the butter until creamy , add the corn syrup , mix well .

2. Add in the brown sugar , and beat until light in color for few minutes .

3. In a mixing bowl , mix the dry ingredients , flour , baking soda and cocoa powder . Add 1 tbsp. into the butter mixture , then add 1 egg , then add 2 or more tbsp. of dry ingredients into the butter mixture , and add in the 2nd egg . Adding the rest of flour mixture into the butter egg mixture , keep beating .

4. Add in the zest and the juice until mix well .

5. Grease 5×8 loaf pan , line with parchment paper , pour the batter in and bake at 325 F for 45-50 minutes .

Grilled Rib Eye Steak with Vegetables

I never grilled before , grilling is my husband’s area. He’s really good at grilling , but yesterday , was Father’s day and although i got him some present for Father’s day , i still wanted to make something for him . Something that i never done before , i made him a boston cream pie for the dessert , and i asked him if he would teach me how to grill . He said sure . So , while i was busy preparing the side dishes , which actually takes longer to cook than grilling the steak . I baked the potatoes , wrapped in foil for an hour , and then i sauteed our own home grown green beans with caramelized onion , and i roasted the brussel sprouts . All of these , took time , compared to grilling the steak .

My husband told me to season the steak , i’ve heard this a lot from watching cooking show , good steak doesn’t need to much of spices to complicate the flavor , all you need is a generous salt and pepper . So i seasoned the steak with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper , and rubbed it all over the steak . Oh i also took the steak our an hour before grilling , to bring it down to room temperature .

Then it’s time to grill .. just place it on the grill , for 5 minutes undisturbed , the only thing was .. it started to smoke like crazy .. which means i could have burnt the steak instead of grilling it . LOL .. Get ready for water , i removed the steak to the side , and sprayed some water into the burner , thank goodness !!  Time to flip the steak , and grilled for 5 more minutes .

And now time to check , if the steak was done or not .. we like it slightly pink on the inside , not welldone but no raw . It has to be cooked well  , with slight pink inside , it can be juicy and delicious instead of dry steak , who likes dry steak . Yuck ..

So .. i grilled my rib eye steaks for father’s day to perfection !!  It was so juice and tender and little pink inside , just the way we want it  !!

grilled rib eye steak