Stews

A look back at the winter of stews – one pot meals never tasted so decadent, yet comforting!

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The classic – Boeuf Bourguignon

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Pot au feu – a hearty French classic using prime cuts of meat, including bone marrow!

 

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Cassoulet for National Cassoulet Day back in January!

 

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Hipster Pancakes

a.k.a. Marionberry Pancakes

Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay/Portlandia

Pancake Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 cup cornmeal, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 3 separated eggs, 1 1/4 cup milk, 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp sugar, scant 1/2 tsp lemon zest

Compote Ingredients: 3 cups of marionberries (blackberries), 1/2 tsp lemon zest, 1/4 cup sugar

1.  Mix the dry ingredients for the pancakes.  Then in a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, milk, ricotta, 1/4 cup sugar, and lemon zest.  Add the flour mixture and stir until well mixed.

2. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until there are soft peaks.  Beat in the 1 tbsp of sugar and fold the egg whites into the batter.

3. To make the compote, combine all ingredients in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and stir and crush the mixture until it thickens – about 10 minutes.

4.  Heat up and butter the griddle or pan.  Pour a 1/3 cup of batter into the center to form the pancakes.  Cook until golden brown on each side.

5.  Serve with compote on top of pancakes, with extra berries (and leftover Korean fried chicken).

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Earl Grey Crème Brûlée

Playing with fire in the kitchen for a fancy dessert 🙂

Ingredients for 2 servings: 4 egg yolks,1 1/4 cups light cream, 4 tsp loose Earl Grey tea, 1/4 sugar, 1/8 cup sugar for finishing

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat up the cream in a saucepan so that it almost reaches boiling point.  Remove from heat and stir in the tea leaves.  Let sit for 15 minutes.

2.  Beat egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl.  Strain the leaves from the tea and cream mixture.  Slowly mix in the tea mixture into the eggs and sugar.

3. Set two ramekins into a roasting pan or other oven-proof dishware.  Fill with the mixture, and place in the oven.  Fill the roasting pan with warm water until it reaches to half the height of the ramekins.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

4.  Let the ramekins cool in the water, then remove and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours or overnight.

5.  About 20-25 minutes before serving, sprinkle the tops with an even coat of sugar.  Caramelize with a blowtorch and wait until the creme brulee reaches room temperature before serving.

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Cold Noodles

Basically a noodle salad, Asian style.  Literally 15 minutes to prepare and sooo refreshing during summer heat waves!

Ingredients: Thin noodles, vegetables

Sauce Ingredients: 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 tbsp honey, 3 tbsp unsalted creamy peanut butter, 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil, 1 tsp chilli oil

1.  Prepare your noodles by cooking them as the package instructions.  When done, rinse with cold water and either set aside or refrigerate.

2.  Chop your vegetables of choice.  I went with cucumbers, carrots, and cilantro.  Poultry such as chicken or sliced eggs would have been good choices as well.

3.  Make the sauce by whisking together all ingredients and adjusting to taste.

4.  Mix the chilled noodles with the sauce and vegetables and serve cold.

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Blueberry Breakfast

The best part about July 4th baking is having leftover blueberry pie for breakfast today!

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown

Pie Crust Ingredients: 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, 2 tbsp unsalted butter, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 cup shortening, 7-8 tbsp cold water, 1 egg

Blueberry Filling Ingredients: 4 cups of blueberries,1/2 cup sugar, pinch of salt, 5 tablespoons tapioca flour, 1 tbsp fresh orange juice, 1 tsp orange zest

1.  For the filling: mash up half the blueberries.  Combine sugar, salt, and tapioca flour in a separate bowl.  Then, stir in the mashed blueberries, orange juice, and orange zest. After letting the mixture sit for 15 minutes, add in the other half of the blueberries.

2. For the pie crust: mix the salt and flour.  Add in shortening and butter.  I find it easier to mix with your hands at this point.  The flour should resemble pea-sized crumbles.

3.  Add the water one tablespoon at a time.  It should be enough of a dough-like consistency to roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

4.  Take out the dough and cut in half.  Each piece will make up the top and bottom crust.  Roll out the bottom crust on a lightly floured surface.  The crust size should be slightly larger than the pan size.

5.  Transfer the crust to a lightly grease 9″ pie pan.  Press the crust against the bottom and sides of the pan.  Bring the pan with the crust to the refrigerator to cool while rolling out the top crust.

6.  Roll out the top crust in the same manner.  You can choose to keep it as one piece or cut strips to weave.  Take out both the bottom crust and filling.  Pour in the filling into the pan and then place the top crust.  Pinch the sides together, completely sealing the crust.  You can form a decorative crust.

7.  Bake at 400 degrees for 50-55 minutes.  Let the pie cool down a bit so that the filling solidifies more before cutting and serving.

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Blueberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Breakfast baking with a sweet indulgence.

For 6-8 Muffins

Ingredients: 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/3 cup milk, 1 tsp vanila, 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 plain yogurt, 3/4 cup blueberries, 1/4 chocolate chips

1. Pre-heat  oven to 375 degrees and grease baking pan.

2.  Mix together the egg, sugar, oil, milk, and vanilla until well combined.  Next, stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt, but do not overmix.

3. Finally, add in the yogurt, followed by the blueberries and chocolate chips.

4.  Pour batter into the muffin pan and bake for 25 minutes.

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Flourless Chocolate Cookies

I am somewhat perplexed by the concept of flourless baking.  If there is no flour, what makes up the physical essence of baked goods?

All chemical and philosophical baking thoughts aside, I thought I would attempt Francois Payards’ chocolate cookie recipe.  Francois Payard is a renowned French chef known for his fancy and decadent desserts sold at his high end bakeries around the world.  A small box of these very cookies will cost you $40, so best to try to make them yourself!

Ingredients: 2 3/4 cups roasted cashews (original recipe calls for walnuts, I just used what I had on hand), 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 4 large egg whites at room temperature, 1 tbsp vanilla extract

These are quite literally sugar cookies…

1. Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees Fahrenheit.  Coarsely chop the nuts.

2.  Mix the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt together.  Whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract.  Stir just enough so that the batter is moistened – do not overmix!

Mmmmm…chocolate sludge

3. Spoon mounds of the batter onto a lightly greased baking sheet.  Make sure to leave ample space in between as these cookies will spread out while baking.

4.  Bake for 15 minutes and cool slightly before eating.

These cookies are cracked, sticky, and crispy on the outside and edges, but moist and fudge-like on the inside.

Also some serious admiration for the crispy goodness of the cookie bottom 🙂

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Everyday Smoothies

With a busy work schedule, it can be rather difficult to take in the necessary amount of fruits and vegetables.  Lately, we have been making morning smoothies for breakfast and sometimes even dessert smoothies.  Smoothies are an easy and delicious way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your diet.  The human body has the ability to drink more amounts of fruit compared to eating.  This way, we have been able to incorporate an new element to our morning routine that adds to a healthier lifestyle.

Here’s a look at some of the smoothies we’ve been making recently.

Berry Breakfast Smoothie

Blend a handful each of grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries with one banana, plain yogurt, and soy milk.

I love using berries in the morning when there’s little time and these fruits require minimal preparation.  There’s no chopping necessary – just wash and blend.

Afternoon Mango Banana Smoothie

Blend together one mango with one banana, about 1/4 cup of yogurt and 1/2 cup of almond milk for one serving.

Rich and creamy and just the right amount of sweetness.

Dessert Smoothie

A light refreshing smoothie with plenty of ice is a great way to cool down during the warmer nights.

Blend one cucumber, one apple, 1/2 cup of grapes, and one Korean pear with plenty of ice and some water.

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“Pi” Day

Happy π Day! Baked my first pie ever.  Went with an all-American classic: apple pie.  Your kitchen will smell amazing after making this.

Recipe adapted from Sugary Winzy

Pie Filling Ingredients: 5 peeled and thinly sliced apples (you can use any kind, but I recommend Granny Smiths and Mackintosh), 1 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp salt

Pie Crust Ingredients: 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tbsp butter, 1/2 cup shortening, 3/4 tsp salt, 7-8 tbsp cold water

1. Mix the apples with the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

2. Cover with plastic wrap and cool in the refrigerator as you prepare the pie crust.

3. Mix the salt and flour.  Add in shortening and butter.  I find it easier to mix with your hands at this point.  The flour should resemble pea-sized crumbles.

4.  Add the water one tablespoon at a time.  It should be enough of a dough-like consistency to roll into a ball.

5. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

6.  Take out the dough and cut in half.  Each piece will make up the top and bottom crust.

7.  Roll out the bottom crust on a lightly floured surface.  The crust size should be slightly larger than the pan size.

8.  Transfer the crust to a lightly grease 9″ pie pan.  Press the crust against the bottom and sides of the pan.  Bring the pan with the crust to the refrigerator to cool while rolling out the top crust.

9.  Roll out the top crust in the same manner.  You can choose to keep it as one piece or cut strips to weave.

10.  Take out both the bottom crust and filling.  Pour in the filling into the pan and then place the top crust.  Pinch the sides together, completely sealing the crust.  You can form a decorative crust.  Cut slits on the top crust to allow steam to escape when baking.

11. Make an egg wash by lightly beating one egg with 1 tbsp of water.  Brush on top of the pie crust.

12.  Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes.

Just admiring that flaky buttery golden crust

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Couscous Salad

Making the dish and wishing it were summer already thanks to the start of Daylight Savings.  The light refreshing flavors make this a great appetizer option.

Recipe adapted from Food Network

Ingredients: 1 cup uncooked couscous, 1 1/4 cups chicken broth, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp fresh lime juice, 1 tsp vinegar, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1 chopped red bell pepper, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1 cup corn kernels, 2 cans black beans

1. Bring chicken broth to a boil and cook the couscous in it.

2. In a separate bowl, mix together the vinegar, olive oil, and cumin.  Then add in the corn, bell peppers, drained beans, and cilantro.

3. Mix in the couscous and toss well before serving.

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