Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Easy Apple Turnovers

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These apple turnovers have quickly become a favorite in my home! They are easy to make but in no way, shape, or form, do they look easy. All you need is some good ol' frozen puff pastry sheets and you will have your dessert ready in no time! They taste great on their own, but the vanilla glaze will definitely take it over the top! The glaze may taste like something is missing when it's on its own, but I promise you, when you take that first bite of that flaky, buttery, and apple filled turnover, you will soon realize that making the vanilla glaze was probably the best decision that you've ever made in your life.

Wow, sometimes I don't realize how deep I can get when I start to talk about pastries.

PASTRIES ARE LIFE.

PASTIES CAN BE LIFE, TOO...If that's your thing.

I won't judge you. Just kidding--I totally will.

INGREDIENTS:

2 frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed on counter for 30-40 minutes

2 large Fuji apples (or 3 smaller ones)

2 Tbsp of unsalted butter

1/2 cup of packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

ground nutmeg to taste

pinch of salt

FOR THE EGG WASH:

1 whole egg

a bit of water

FOR THE VANILLA GLAZE:

1 cup of SIFTED powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons of milk

1/4 tsp of vanilla extract

YOU WILL AlSO NEED:

granulated sugar

8 small cubes of unsalted butter (optional)

2 large baking sheets

parchment paper

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Remove your two sheets of frozen puff pastry from the packaging and leave it out on your counter while you chop up your apples.
2. Peel and then dice up your apples into small, uniform pieces.
3. Into a saucepan on medium high heat, add in your butter, diced apples, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix well. Bring this to a rolling boil and cook for 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove filling from saucepan, place into a small bowl, and set aside. Allow to cool before using. You may also refrigerate the filling before use.
*PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 400 degrees F.
4. Place one of your puff pastry sheets onto a clean surface dusted with some flour. Place the other sheet back into the fridge until you are ready to use it. With a floured rolling pin, carefully roll out your puff pastry a bit to remove any cracks.
5. Slice into 4 equal squares.
6. Place 2 heaping Tablespoons of filling into the middle of your puff pastry. Place a dab of butter (if using) right on top of your filling. Fold over one corner of the pastry, creating an even triangular shape. Take a fork, dip it into some flour, and firmly crimp to seal the outer edges. Continue process with the other 3 squares and place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
7. Using a serrated knife, make two small cuts on top of the turnover. Brush with some egg wash, sprinkle a nice pinch of granulated sugar, and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool down a bit before glazing. Serve immediately.

TO MAKE THE VANILLA GLAZE:

Into a mixing bowl, add in your sifted powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Place finished glaze into a piping bag or snip the corners of a small ziplock baggie.

NOTES:
While you have your first batch of apple turnovers baking, begin making your other batch. Place your apple turnovers on your second baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with foil, and place them into the fridge until ready to bake.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Spam Musubi

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I made a vow, not too long ago, claiming that I will never touch, cook, or eat spam, for as long as I shall live…

that was until 2 months ago, when I walked into a little bakery in Kihei, Hawaii, and tried their spam musubi and since then, my life has taken an unexpected turn; could it be that I've made a mistake? Is spam really this delicious?

What is life?

This recipe will make you love spam.

THE END.

INGREDIENTS:

(Makes 8)

1 can of 25% less sodium Spam (plain/no flavoring)

4-6 pieces of roasted Nori/Seaweed

Furikake (Japanese rice seasoning)

Cooked jasmine rice (you may use sushi rice if you prefer)

FOR THE MARINADE:


1/4 cup of hot water

2 Tbsp of packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp of garlic powder

1/4 tsp of onion powder

1/4 tsp of black pepper

1 Tablespoon of Maggie seasoning or soy sauce

2 tsp of mirin (Japanese rice wine)

2 tsp of sesame oil

jalapeno slices (optional)


YOU WILL ALSO NEED:


some foil

Spam musubi maker (I purchased mine from Daiso)

OR you can also use the Spam container. Clean out the container really well, place a medium-sized piece of saran wrap inside (it should be large enough to cover your finished product), and then begin to assemble the recipe as stated below.

INSTRUCTIONS:


Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F.

Stack your seaweed on top of each other, place on baking sheet, and roast for about 15 minutes. This part is crucial; it makes the seaweed more brittle, sticks to the rice better, and also makes cutting and eating it easier. You may also toast your seaweed on the stove, on medium low heat, in a dry skillet as well (this method works best if you are not planning to make a lot). Lightly toast the first side for a few minutes, and then flip over to lightly toast the other side. Set aside.
Cut your spam into 8, 1/4 inch thick slices and place into a shallow baking dish. Make your marinade and pour mixture over your spam. Marinade at room temp for 30 minutes, or 10 minutes if you don't have time. With your skillet on medium high heat, fry your spam until browned. Do not add in the juices from your marinade, just yet! Flip your spam over, and then pour in 3/4 of your marinade into the skillet. Continue to cook on medium high heat, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Place cooked spam in baking dish and cover with foil until ready to use.

HOW TO ASSEMBLE:

Take your toasted seaweed and place on top of your foil. Place your musubi holder right on top. Add in two scoops of rice, flatten with rice scooper, sprinkle on 2-3 pinches of furikake, press down firmly with presser, and then add in two pieces of spam. Next, add 2 pieces of jalapeno slices (if using), cover with more rice, more furikake, press down with presser, again, remove holder, and begin to roll your seaweed up and over, making sure you get a really tight grip. Roll up your spam musubi in your foil, press down firmly on all sides, remove from foil, and place on cutting board. Using a serrated knife sprayed with cooking spray (wiped clean with paper towel to remove excess), cut in half. Garnish with jalapeno slices on top. Wrap up your spam musubi in saran wrap if you do not plan on eating immediately. May keep at room temp for up to two days.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Chet Ktiss (Bananas in Tapioca and Coconut Pudding)

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I gotta say…this Asian dessert is one of my most favorite to make during the fall! It's creamy, yet light taste, make this dessert, one that'll you'll want to make, over and over again!

INGREDIENTS:

1 16 ounce bag of frozen saba bananas (may sub for regular plantains)

1 cup of clear tapioca pearls (do not used color tapioca)

8 cups of water

4 whole pieces of palm sugar (or 1 cup of white sugar)

2 14.5 ounce cans of coconut milk

2 pinches of salt

1 tsp of vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS:

Slice up your defrosted saba bananas into 1/4 inch slices. Set aside. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add in your tapioca. Turn down heat to medium low and cook until almost translucent (about 10-15 minutes). Add in your coconut milk, palm sugar, and salt, and bring this mixture to a slight, rolling boil. Be very careful to not let your coconut milk boil over. Once your palm sugar has dissolved (about 5 minutes), taste check for seasoning. Add more sugar as needed, or a pinch more of salt. Add in your sliced bananas, and cook for 10-15 minutes more (tops), depending on how firm you'd like your bananas. Finally, add in your vanilla extract.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Chocolate Mousse Pie

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Chocolate is my absolute WEAKNESS. I've never been a fan of candy, but chocolate is another story.

This chocolate mousse pie is decadent, chocolatey, and isn't overly sweet because I use dark chocolate in my recipe. And since research shows that eating dark chocolate can be beneficial to your health, consuming this pie is practically like saving your life.

Seems legit.

INGREDIENTS:

5 ounces of chopped dark chocolate (may sub for semi-sweet)

4 egg yolks

1/4 cup of sugar

1 cup of heavy whipping cream

3 Tablespoons of prepared gelatin (see recipe below)

prepared whipped cream (see below)

TO MAKE THE GELATIN:


1 package of unflavored gelatin (about 2 1/2 teaspoons)

1/2 cup of hot water

TO MAKE THE WHIPPING CREAM:


2 cups of heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup of powdered sugar

2 tsp of vanilla extract

3 Tablespoons of prepared gelatin

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:


2 store bought chocolate crusts

INSTRUCTIONS:


1. Start off by chilling your mixer by placing it (along with beater) in your freezer.
2. Into a small mixing bowl, make your gelatin. Mix very well. Set aside and allow to cool down slightly.
3. Into a medium sized bowl, beat your egg yolks until lemon colored and thickened. Add in your sugar and beat until well combined.
4. Into a saucepan over medium heat, add in 1 cup of heavy cream and heat until hot (but not boiling). Take half of your hot cream and add it into your egg yolk mixture. This is called tempering. Using a wire whisk, whisk it just until combined. Carefully, add all of your egg yolk mixture + cream back into the saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 5 minutes). Keep whisking and DO NOT BOIL. Remove from heat and stir in dark chocolate. Whisk until fully melted.
5. Pour chocolate mixture into a clean mixing bowl and stir in 3 Tablespoons of your prepared gelatin. Mix well.
6. Using your chilled mixer, pour in 2 cups of heavy cream. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes and gradually speed up mixer. Once at soft peaks, turn mixer to low, and add in your powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Turn mixture to medium high, and add in 3 Tablespoons of gelatin, and beat until stiff peaks.
7. Take HALF of your whipped cream, and fold it into your chocolate mixture. Place the other half of your whipped cream in the refrigerator for later use.
8. Divide your chocolate mousse evenly amongst two pie crusts, cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours.
9. Remove pie crusts from the fridge, and using the remainder of your whipped cream, frost the tops of your pies.

NOTES:

Make these a day ahead for the best, chocolate mousse pie eating experience. :) The pies will be set and ready to eat in about 4 hours, but I prefer to make these a day ahead!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Prahok Dipping Sauce with Steak

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I have never met a Cambodian, nor an Asian person for that matter, that didn't love prahok! This stinky, spicy, and sour dipping sauce is a staple in all Cambodian homes! It's most often paired with slices of juicy steak, and a nice assortment of herbs and veggies of your liking.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 to 2/3 cup of boneless prahok

2 Thai green eggplants

2 Red Thai chili peppers

1/4 tsp of chili flakes

1/2 a stalk of chopped lemongrass

2 cloves of crushed garlic

4 sawtooth coriander leaves

small handful of cilantro

4-5 sprigs of mint

1/4 tsp of msg

1 tsp of sugar

1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of boiling water

1-2 limes

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:

2-3 Sirloin steaks

Steak seasoning (may sub with a pinch of salt, pepper, onion, and garlic powder)

INGREDIENTS:

1. Start off by seasoning the top side of your sirloin with some steak seasoning. If your steak is cold, allow it to come to room temp (about 30 minutes) before frying. Work on your dipping sauce until your steaks are ready to cook.
2. Take your prahok and place it on your cutting board. Pound it with your butcher knife until it is mostly smooth, and made into a paste.
3. Flatten out your prahok, and place your crushed garlic and red chili peppers right on top of it. Continue to pound/chop everything with your knife, making sure that your garlic and peppers are finely grounded into the paste.
4. Continue using the same process by adding in 1 chopped Thai green eggplant (save the other chopped eggplant for later), 1/2 stalk of chopped lemongrass, cilantro, sawtooth coriander, mint, sugar, and msg.
5. Place your prahok mixture into a medium sized bowl, sprinkle in some chili flakes, and start off by adding in 1/4 cup of boiling water. Mix well.
6. Squeeze in 1 lime, mix well, and give it a taste check. Add more lime and water as needed for taste and consistency. (I ended up adding a bit more water, and half of another lime)
7. Into a hot skillet, drizzle in some oil. Add in your steak, seasoned side down, and cook for about 2 1/2 minutes. Season the top with more steak seasoning, flip your steak over, and cook for an additional 1 1/2 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. (My steak was thin, and I like my steak cooked "medium" so it was done in under 4 minutes)
8. Slice your steak and serve with your prahok dipping sauce! YUM!

NOTES:
*Leftover prahok may be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. Add more fresh herbs as needed.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Beef Japchae (Stir Fried Korean Glass Noodles with Beef)

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I love noodle dishes WITH A PASSION! I don't discriminate when it comes to noodles--they can be Cambodian-style noodles, Thai, Vietnamese, and in this case, Korean.

Japchae is one of my favorite noodle dishes, and homemade Japchae, is the only way to go!

INGREDIENTS:

12 ounce package of Korean Style Starch Noodle cooked according to packaging

2 carrots peeled and sliced into matchstick-sized strips

half of a red bell pepper sliced

half of an onion sliced

3 green onions cut about 1 1/2 inch wide

6 ounces of rehydrated shitake mushrooms (or any mushroom of your choice)

1 whole bunch of fresh spinach, blanched

3 large eggs lightly beaten and seasoned with a pinch of salt

12 ounces of thinly sliced tri-tip (or sirloin)

3 cloves of chopped garlic

sesame oil to taste

sesame seeds to taste

extra virgin olive oil

MARINADE FOR YOUR TRI-TIP:


1 Tablespoon of oyster sauce

2 teaspoons of black soy sauce

1 teaspoon of sugar

1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

pinch of salt

TO MAKE THE SAUCE FOR YOUR JAPCHAE:


1 Tablespoon of soy sauce

2 1/2 Tablespoon of dark soy sauce

1 Tablespoon of oyster sauce

1/2 Tablespoon of sugar


INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Cook your glass noodles, drain them in a colander, and then add a little bit of sesame oil to prevent the noodles from sticking together. Place noodles into large mixing bowl.
2. Blanch your spinach in boiling water for about a minute or two, or until leaves turn bright green. Drain in colander under cold water, and using your hands, squeeze out any excess water. Add a small pinch of salt to your blanched spinach and place into your large mixing bowl with the cooked noodles.
3. Marinade your sliced beef using the marinade listed above. If you have time, marinade your beef 1 hour before, or overnight if possible.
4. With your skillet on medium high heat, add in your lightly beaten eggs. After about 2 minutes or so, check to see if your eggs are ready to flip. Flip eggs over using spatula, cook for additional one minute or so, and place finished eggs on platter. Once cooled, slice into strips for garnish.
5. Into a hot skillet, drizzle in some olive oil. Add in your carrots, and cook until almost tender. Add in your red bell pepper, a pinch of salt, and cook for another 2 minutes, or until just softened. If your skillet looks dry, add in more oil as needed. Throw in your white onion and green onions, and cook for another minute or two. Place all of your cooked veggies into your large mixing bowl.
6. Into the same skillet, drizzle in more olive oil. Add in your chopped garlic and cook until fragrant. Add in your marinaded beef, and cook for about two minutes on medium high heat. Add in your mushrooms, and cook for another 2 minutes, or until beef is cooked to your liking. Place cooked beef and mushrooms into your large mixing bowl.
7. Into a small mixing bowl, make your sauce for your japchae, cover with saran wrap, and microwave for 1 minute. Stir, and then pour sauce onto your cooked noodles. Using gloves, mix well. Taste for seasoning. Finish off with a drizzle of sesame oil and sesame seeds. Garnish with egg slices and serve!

NOTE:

*You may start off by pouring half of the japchae sauce into your large mixing bowl, and then gradually adding more if needed. Also, I like to let the noodles sit for about 10 minutes before serving, to allow the sauce to fully soak into the noodles.

*This noodle dish can be made hours ahead!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Chicken Larb (Laap Gai)

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I love Asian salad's of all kinds, and Laap Gai is definitely one of my favorites! If you've ever been to an authentic Laos or Thai restaurant, chances are, you've probably come across this minced meat salad on the menu.

My version uses freshly minced galangal and minced lemongrass to kick things up a notch. The Khmer girl in me, just wont allow me to make this recipe without it!

Give my recipe a go, and you will not be disappointed! :)

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound of ground chicken (may sub with ground pork)

1 tsp of fresh galangal minced

2 Tablespoons of fresh lemongrass minced

1/2 of a shallot sliced

4-5 sprigs of mint chopped

4 sawtooth coriander chopped

handful of cilantro chopped

half of a green onion chopped (green part only)

2-3 limes

1 Tablespoon of fish sauce

2 teaspoons of pahok/padek ( I prefer the liquid kind for this particular salad)

1/2 teaspoon of sugar

1/4 tsp of msg

1/2 teaspoon of dried chili flakes (or to taste)

2 Thai chili peppers finely chopped (or to taste)

1/4 cup of sticky rice/glutinous rice

You will also need:

extra virgin olive oil

a couple of Tablespoons of water

Garnishes:

sliced cucumbers

sliced jalapenos

romain lettuce

bean sprouts

 

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INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Start off by dry roasting your sticky rice in a skillet on medium low heat. Stir the rice often, so that it browns evenly. This process should take about 10-15 minutes. Once done, place toasted rice in a mini blender or bullet, and process until ground. Set aside.
2. Take your ground chicken, and give it a little chop on your cutting board. This part is optional. I don't like huge chunks of chicken in my salad. :)
3. With your skillet on medium high heat, drizzle in some olive oil. Add in your ground chicken, a few Tablespoons of water, and cook until no longer pink, or completely cooked through.
4. Drain your chicken in a colander and place it back into the same skillet. (Make sure you've turned off your stove)
5. Add in your galangal, lemongrass, dried chili flakes, fish sauce, msg, and sugar. Mix well.
6. Transfer your chicken into a large mixing bowl, and add in your fresh herbs, limes, fresh chili, pahok, and mix well. Taste check for seasoning. Add your toasted rice powder (to taste) last. Toss again, and serve immediately.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sticky and Sweet Chili Chicken

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INGREDIENTS:

3 pounds of chicken wings

1 small shallot finely chopped

6 cloves of garlic finely chopped

a bottle of store bought sweet chili sauce

chili flakes (optional)

vegetable oil or peanut oil for frying

FOR THE FLOUR MIXTURE:

8 ounces of rice flour (may sub with all purpose flour)

1 cup of cornstarch

garlic powder

onion powder

black pepper

white pepper

salt

paprika

msg (optional)


INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Put your rice flour and corn starch into a brown paper bag. Add in your seasonings and mix well.
2. Place your chicken into the paper bag and toss to coat. Shake off the excess flour, and place your coated chicken on a wire rack.
3. Heat up your oil to 350 degrees. Fry your chicken in batches for about 7-8 minutes, being careful not to overcrowd your skillet. Drain your fried chicken on paper towels. Set aside.
4. On medium high heat, add in some oil, and cook your shallots until softened and brown. Add in your chopped garlic and cook until fragrant. Add in your chili flakes, if using.
5. Stir in your sweet chili sauce, taste for seasoning, and add 2 pinches of salt, if needed.
6. Turn the heat up, add in your chicken, and toss to coat in your sauce. Serve immediately.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Gluten Free Chocolate Pecan Cookies

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These gluten free, chocolate pecan cookies are sinfully delicious! This recipe doesn't require any special flour or special ingredients, so you should be able to pull this all together pretty quickly. They DO require a little rest time in the fridge overnight to firm up a bit, though.

You can wait a bit longer to eat them, right?? :)

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups of dark chocolate chips, divided

2 Tablespoons of REAL butter (84% butter content), melted in the microwave for 20-30 seconds

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of white sugar

3/4 teaspoon of baking powder

1/4 cup of corn starch

1/2 tsp of kosher salt

2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

1/4 cup of pecans, coarsely chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Melt 1 1/2 cups of your dark chocolate chips over a double broiler (reserve the other 1/2 cup for later.) Add your chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl, and set it over a pot of simmering water. Once your chocolate chips are fully melted, turn off the heat and stir in your melted butter until fully combined. Keep bowl warm over hot water.

2. Into a large mixing bowl, add in your white sugar, baking powder, corn starch, and salt. Pour in your lightly beaten eggs, and using a wire whisk, whisk until mixture resembles pancake batter. This should take about 2 minutes to whisk by hand.

3. Drizzle in your melted chocolate and butter mixture into your egg mixture, and whisk until combined. (If your melted chocolate/butter mixture has begun to solidify, feel free to reheat it over the double broiler)

4. Using a spatula, gently fold in your chopped dark chocolate chips and your chopped pecans.

5. Pour your batter into a shallow 13X9 baking dish and spread out the top to make it even. Place a large piece of saran wrap directly on top of the batter to prevent a skin from forming. Place baking dish into the fridge, and allow for it to rest and firm up over night.

6. The following day, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. It's very important that your oven is already preheated BEFORE you scoop our your batter. Fit a piece of parchment paper over a large baking sheet. Using a melon baller, scoop out your batter making sure to leave at least 3 inches in between each cookie. I never bake any more than 9 cookies at a time. Bake for 8 minutes and allow cookies to cool completely before removing from baking sheet. Repeat process. (Place any unused batter at the time, back into the fridge until you are ready to use)

NOTES:

-To get the proper texture it's important to use dark chocolate chips, and REAL butter. Look for "European style or European churned" on the label when looking for butter. I like Plugra or for a cheaper alternative Darigold's Chef Choice (which can be found at Cash n' Carry)

- You must bake these immediately after you scoop them onto your baking sheet. The batter will begin to spread as it warms.

- These also taste best when eaten right away or same day! :)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Ginger and Chicken Stir Fry (Cha Kngey)

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This ginger and chicken stir fry is one of my go-to recipes for summer. It's quick, easy, flavorful, and we all already know just how good ginger is for the body.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound of boneless/skinless chicken thighs

3 ounces (1 full cup) of ginger sliced julienne

3 cloves of chopped garlic

half of a small onion, roughly chopped

4 bunches of green onion, cut about 1- 1 1/2 inches wide

dash of sesame oil

FOR THE SAUCE/MARINADE:

2 teaspoons of sugar

1/2 Tablespoon of fish sauce

1 Tablespoon of oyster sauce

1 Tablespoon of dark soy sauce

1/4 cup of water (may use more later)

black pepper to taste

1/2 Tablespoon of cornstarch

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Cut up your chicken into bite sized pieces and set aside.
2. Into a small mixing bowl, add in your sugar, fish sauce, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce and water. Mix well.
3. Pour your sauce mixture over your chicken. Mix well. Add in some black pepper, and 1/2 Tablespoon of cornstarch. Mix again, and set aside.
4. Into a hot skillet, add in some olive oil. Stir fry your ginger for 2-3 minutes, or until softened.
5. Add in your chopped garlic and cook until fragrant.
6. Add in your marinaded chicken (including the sauce), into your skillet, turn up the heat a bit, and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
7. When chicken is almost cooked through, add in your chopped white onion. Stir, and add a bit more water if necessary. Taste check for seasoning and cook for additional 3-5 more minutes.
8. Add in your green onions and cook for 1-2 more minutes, turn off heat, and drizzle in a bit of sesame oil.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (Ever?)

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I've tried many different recipes for chocolate chip cookies over the years, and this one is definitely my favorite...EVER! It's soft and chewy, and if you bake it for just a tad bit longer, you get this delicious, and ever so crunchy bite, just around the outer edges.

Mmmm...cooooooookie (in Cookie Monster's voice)

INGREDIENTS:


2 cups of SIFTED all purpose flour

1/2 tsp of baking soda

1/2 tsp of salt

3/4 cup of SALTED butter, melted and cooled

3/4 cup of packed brown sugar

1/2 cup of white granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract

1 whole egg

1 egg yolk

1 1/2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS:


1. Melt your butter in the microwave. Set aside and allow it to cool down a bit before using.
2. Into a bowl, sift your flour, baking soda, and salt.
3. Using your stand mixer fitted with your paddle attachment, add in your brown sugar, white sugar, and melted butter and cream for 3 minutes on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
4. With your mixer on "stir", add in your egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Turn the mixer up to speed 4 (medium speed), and mix just until combined.
5. With your mixer on "stir", slowly incorporate your dry mixture, a little at a time, just until mixed. Scrape down your bowl at least once.
6. Add in your chocolate chips just until combined.
7. Place a piece of parchment paper onto a baking sheet and using an ice cream scoop (for smaller cookies, use a melon baller) and scoop out your cookies, making sure there is at least 2-3 inches in between each cookie.
8. Place cookies into the freezer for 30-40 minutes.
9. Bake cookies in a preheated 325 degree oven for about 17-19 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden brown. Allow cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet before eating.

*This recipe was inspired by the recipe I found here.

NOTES:

-If you want to make smaller cookies (using a melon baller) the cookies will bake a bit faster.

- You MUST freeze the batter before baking because if you don't, your cookies will spread quite a bit.

- Adjust baking time, depending on how long your cookies have been in the freezer.

-These cookies are even better the next day! :)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Chili with Beans Recipe

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I'm a sucker for a good bowl of hearty chili, and this one definitely fits the bill! The beef shank in this recipe really sets it apart from other chili recipes. Obviously, you can use whichever cut of beef that you'd like, but if you can find beef shank, make sure you give it a try--you will not be disappointed!

INGREDIENTS:

1.5 pounds of beef shank cut into bite sized pieces

1 pound of ground beef

1/2 of an onion, chopped

4 cloves of chopped garlic

3-4 ounces of tomato sauce

1 (14.5 ounce) can of fire roasted tomatoes

2 cups of dried kidney beans soaked overnight (may sub for 2 cans, drained)

30 ounces of water

1 beef bouillon cube

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup of masa harina (corn flour) mixed with 1/2 cup of cold water

soy sauce

salt

brown sugar

extra virgin olive oil

FOR THE DUMPS YOU WILL NEED:


3 Tablespoons of ancho chili powder (may use chili powder)

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of white pepper

1/4 teaspoon of oregano

1 Tablespoon of brown sugar

3 teaspoons of ground cumin


INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Into a large pot, add in your beans and water to cover. Cook your beans (at a rolling boil), uncovered for about an hour. You may need to keep adding additional water while cooking, so make sure you check on it, periodically. Check for doneness, and drain well.
2. In a small bowl, add in your ancho chili powder, salt, white pepper, oregano, and brown sugar. DO NOT ADD IN YOUR CUMIN, YET. Mix well.
3. Evenly divide your spices into 3 separate "dumps." Add in your ground cumin into one of your dumps (you will add this dump, during the last 15 minutes of cooking time). Set aside.
4. In a non stick pot, on medium high heat, add in some olive oil and brown your ground beef. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
5. Wipe down your pot with a clean paper towel to remove any excess oil. Drizzle in some olive oil, and add in your cubed beef shank. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned, and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
6. Wipe down your pot again, and add in some olive oil. On medium heat, add in your chopped onions. Add a pinch of salt and cook until softened. Add in your chopped garlic, and cook until fragrant.
7. Add your beef shank back into the pot, along with your tomato paste, fire roasted tomatoes, water, beef bouillon cube, bay leaf, and your first dump. Let this all come up to a quick rolling boil, turn the heat down to medium low, put a lid on the pot, and cook for 1 hour, stirring once or twice during cooking.
8. After 1 hour, stir the pot, and add in your second dump. Cover, and cook for 1 more hour.
9. Add in your last dump (which contains the cumin), ground beef, and cooked beans. Mix well.
10. In a small bowl, mix together your masa harina and water. Add this mixture into your pot, and stir until chili has slightly thickened.
11. Taste check for seasoning, and add any additional flavoring like soy sauce, salt, and brown sugar, as needed.

NOTES:

-I've read that a good sub for masa harina are corn tortilla chips! Just add some corn tortilla chips and water into a blender, and puree! Now, you have your thickening mixture!

-When purchasing beef shank, make sure you purchase it bone-in. Boneless beef shank is very hard to cut into cubes, because it is naturally a very tough piece of meat. Look for a bone-in beef shank that is about 2.5 pounds, because by the time you cut around it, it will leave you with less meat. You may also try to see if your butcher can cut your beef shank for you, instead. And don't toss that bone in the garbage! Keep it in your freezer and use it to make a delicious beef stock! :)

-Chili tastes even better the next day!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Chocolate Cupcakes with Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting

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Boy, do I love me a good chocolate cupcake! Chocolate ANYTHING, is my absolute WEAKNESS, and this recipe doesn't disappoint! It has the perfect chocolate flavor, it's moist, and the frosting is light, fluffy, and not overly sweet. I've had people tell me that they usually scrape off the frosting, but with this one, they devour it all in minutes!

Still not a believer?

Make some today, and see for yourself. And if you still don't like it, I will pay you...

ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

Just kidding, but I promise that you will love it! :)

INGREDIENTS:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cup of sugar

3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water (may sub for half a cup of freshly brewed, strong coffee)

FOR THE WHIPPED CHOCOLATE GANACHE FROSTING:

2 cups of heavy cream

16 ounces of good semi sweet chocolate chips

pinch of kosher salt

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Using an ice cream scoop, pour batter into prepared pans, filling each 2/3 full. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove and allow for them to cool completely before frosting.

TO MAKE THE FROSTING:

1. Place your chocolate chips into a large, heatproof mixing bowl and add a pinch of kosher salt.
2. Pour your heavy cream into a saucepan and bring it to a quick rolling boil. DO NOT LET THIS MIXTURE BOIL OVER.
3. Pour your cream over your chocolate chips, and allow it to sit in the hot cream for 5 minutes. DO NOT STIR.
4. After 5 minutes, using a wire whisk, gently begin to whisk your chocolate chips with the cream until nice and smooth.
5. Stir in your vanilla extract.
6. Allow your ganache to sit out at room temp for at least 3 hours before whipping. DO NOT REFRIGERATE (unless you're trying to make truffles) :)
7. Place your ganache into your stand mixer (or you may use a hand mixer), and with your balloon wire whisk, beat on high for several minutes (about 4-5 minutes) until fluffy, and light in color.
8. Frost onto cooled cupcakes.

*The cake portion of this recipe was adapted from here.

NOTES:

-This frosting is very light and will not be completely firm at room temp. If you would like a more firmer frosting, feel free to refrigerate your FROSTED cupcakes into the fridge for up to an hour, or until firm to your liking. You may also try reducing the amount of heavy cream used in the recipe instead. :)

-You may use this recipe as a chocolate ganache to pour over your finished cakes. To add a bit of a shine, try adding in 2 Tablespoons of light corn syrup and 2 Tablespoons of softened butter while whisking.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Deep Fried Mac n' Cheese Balls

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You guys are in luck, because these deep fried mac n' cheese balls are fat free AND low in cholesterol!

JUST KIDDING.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but these are definitely something that I would only recommend making once every couple of months, haha. They are crunchy, gooey, creamy, and oh-so cheesy!


INGREDIENTS:

refrigerated (preferably overnight or 3-4 hours minimum) leftover mac n cheese (recipe here)

4-6 ounces of panko bread crumbs (lightly seasoned, optional)

1-2 egg(s) lightly beaten

vegetable oil

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:

wax paper


INSTRUCTIONS:

Place a piece of wax paper on a baking sheet. Remove your refrigerated/cold, mac n' cheese out of the fridge, and shape into tiny balls. Put your shaped balls on your baking sheet. Place your panko into a gallon sized, ziplock baggie. Toss your mac n' cheese balls in your egg mixture, and then add them into your ziplock with the panko. Seal, and thoroughly, toss to coat. Heat up your vegetable oil. Once your thermometer reads 350, go ahead and drop your balls in and fry until golden brown, turning them frequently for even browning. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Stovetop Mac n' Cheese

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I wasn't planning on doing a post/tutorial on mac n' cheese since there are so many recipes out there, but my Instagram friend's have been requesting this for quite some time, so....here it is!

I don't make this often, because well...it's pretty bad for you. A ton of cheese, and a bit of velveeta, isn't exactly good for your waistline, lol.

This mac n' cheese recipe is a staple in my home, and if you love good ol' comfort food, then you've come to the right spot! :)

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 pound of elbow macaroni (cooked al dente, according to the packaging)

4 Tablespoons of unsalted butter

4 Tablespoons of all purpose flour

8 ounces of Velveeta, cubed

4 ounces of freshly grated monterrey jack

4 ounces of freshly grated sharp cheddar

2 1/2 cups of milk

pinch of salt

1/4 tsp of ground mustard

black pepper to taste

onion powder to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:


1. In a large pot of boiling water, add some salt and throw in your elbow macaroni. Cook al dente, drain well, and set aside.
2. Have your flour ready, and set to the side.
3. Into your pot or large skillet, add in your butter. Turn the heat to medium. Once butter has almost fully melted, dump in your flour all at once and whisk for 3-4 minutes, until you've cooked all the flour taste out.
4. Slowly, pour in your milk, whisking constantly, until thickened to liking. If you like more of a "sauce" then you don't want the milk mixture too thick.
5. Once thickened, add in your cubed velveeta. Season with black pepper, onion powder, and ground mustard. Depending on what type of cheese you are using, you should add the salt last.
6. When your velveeta has fully melted, add in your monterrey jack and sharp cheddar cheese. Turn off heat, and whisk until smooth. Taste check for seasoning. Add salt if needed.
7. Add in your drained macaroni, toss to coat, and serve immediately.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Lattice Apple Pie

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Who doesn't love a good ol' homemade apple pie?? Furthermore, who doesn't love a PRETTY, homemade, lattice apple pie??

The recipe in itself is very easy...it's really the lattice design that's a little harder to tackle. But with a little practice and patience, all will be well in due time, my friend!

INGREDIENTS:

2 homemade pie crusts (recipe here) or you may use store bought as well

4 large granny smith apples

3/4 cup of sugar (may use 1 cup if you like it sweeter)

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

1/8 tsp of nutmeg

2 pinches of salt

FOR THE CORNSTARCH SLURRY:

the juice from half a lemon

1 Tablespoon of cornstarch

FOR THE EGG WASH:

1 egg white mixed with some milk or water

ADDITIONAL ITEMS NEEDED:

Wax or parchment paper

foil

Ruler

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Peel and slice up your apples paper thin, and place them into a large mixing bowl. Add in your sugar, cinnamon, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix, very well.
2. Make your cornstarch slurry, and mix until smooth. Add your slurry into your bowl, and toss to coat. Set aside.
3. Remove one of your homemade pie crust and flour your work surface. Give your dough a few whacks using your rolling pin, and when slightly softened, roll out your dough to fit your pie dish (not too thin, but not too thick either). You will have excess dough, but don't toss that! You can easily roll the scraps back up, flatten it out into a disc, and place it into the freezer for later use. Set your pie dish to the side.
4. Remove your top pie crust from the fridge and repeat the same process when rolling it out. Roll out your dough into at least a 14 inch circle to make sure you have enough strips for your lattice design. Place your rolled out pie crust onto a piece of wax paper. Place your ruler in the middle of your dough, and mark by the centimeter (or larger) where you would need to cut your strips. If your crust has softened too much, place the whole thing into your freezer for 15 minutes before cutting.
5. Using your pizza cutter (or sharp knife), slice your strips. Remove every other strip, and place them to the side to ensure that you have enough long strips, to go across the middle of the pie.
6. Pour your apple pie filling into your baking dish and flatten it out.
7. Start by placing one of your longest strips in middle of your pie, HORIZONTALLY. Follow by adding more strips, horizontally, making sure that you evenly space them out.
8. Next, peel back every other horizontal strip.
9. Place one of your longest pieces VERTICALLY, making sure it's tucked in nice and tight, next to the peeled back strips.
10. Flatten out your peeled back pieces, up and over your horizontal piece.
11. This time, go back and peel back the horizontal pieces, that you didn't do previously. (For example, if you peeled back the 1st, 3rd, and 5th strips before, this time you will peel back the 2nd, 4th, and 6th strip.)
12. Add another long strip of pie crust, vertically, tuck it in tightly again, and repeat process.
13. Trim any excess dough as needed, and crimp your dough to create a crust. Place a baking sheet under your pie to catch any filling that may bubble over during baking.
14. Brush the top of your pie using an egg wash, and lightly foil your crust.
15. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and move your oven rack to the lowest rack possible.
16. Bake for 10 minutes, lower to 375 degrees F, and continue to bake for another 45-50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. REMOVE YOUR FOIL after about 30-35 minutes, or when you see the tops beginning to brown.
17. Let pie cool for at least 2-4 hours to allow the filling to set.

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