November 30, 2019

Lately.

While my activity here in this tiny space on the interwebs hasn't had much activity in the past few months, I've actually been pretty active, trying new recipes and using my friends as guinea pigs. (I have upped the casual dinner "parties" since I recently purchased my first, grown-up dining table). 

 Alison Roman Dishes: 
I've recently developed a girl crush on chef/NY Times food columnist/creator of viral recipes Alison Roman and have found her recipes so low-key, completely delicious and also impressive to serve. If my bf thinks I'm fancy for cooking these dishes, then I'm really fooling him with these simple-to-make recipes. Check out her Crispy Pork Chops with Buttered Radishes and Everyday Salmon with Tangy Cucumbers and Crispy Shallots (I've been accessing her recipes through the NY Times Cooking Subscription but was able to find the recipes at the above links for free).

Rice for a Crowd:
I love the idea of having a dish served in a pot and directly consumed from the pot at the table amongst a group of friends (it's very Korean). My friends and I enjoyed Crispy Cheese and Kimchi Topped Skillet Rice (which was an excellent way to get rid of some old kimchi).

And I was pleasantly surprised when my first paella turned out completely delicious (I used some saffron I bought in Barcelona this summer). Even though this Mixed Sausage Paella didn't have the traditional seafood mix-ins, it was still immensely enjoyable.

Other Dishes Enjoyed (Without Pictures):

November 27, 2019

Chocolate Chip Cookie Test No. 11: The Shortbread Ones

These chocolate chunk shortbread cookies were dubbed #thecookies in 2018 after becoming a viral sensation. I attempted to make them back then to pretty disastrous results so I only found it fitting that after baking so many cookies this past year, I could have a more successful attempt this time around.
These aren't the typical chocolate chip cookie I prefer since they are crunchy and quite crumbly--but that's what makes shortbread shortbread. And since these were so internet famous and I have a new obsession with all recipes by Alison Roman, I tried a second bake of these cookies.

The Recipe: Salted Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies from Alison Roman
Recipe Notes: 

  • uses salted butter, cold from the fridge so no need to wait for butter to soften
  • deb of smitten kitchen suggests using european salted butter but i think that is what caused my cookies not to hold their shape since it is a less than the amount of butter needed in the recipe (by only 5 grams)
  • chill the dough for a couple hours before baking
  • the egg is only used for egg wash before baking and not in the dough. then the dough is rolled in demerara sugar
  • these are slice and bake cookies---the first in my chocolate chip cookie quest
  • topped with sea salt
  • these don't spread much in the oven so you can place more on the baking sheet
Overall: These are deliciously buttery with a nice salty punch. They aren't too sweet since I used 60% dark chocolate. I still prefer chewy cookies but these are pretty tasty. 🍪🍪🍪



November 13, 2019

Always Read the Recipe Before Baking

In all my years of baking, I can say that I've never royally f'ed up a recipe to the point of throwing it in the bin...until yesterday. 
In my defense, the recipe for these Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts might have benefitted from writing divided after the amounts of butter and sugar listed. I confidently added an extra 6 tbs of butter and 1/2 cup of sugar into the batter and realized after creaming them together that it wasn't the right amount of either ingredient. And not being properly equipped with the knowledge to remedy this problem with measurements of other ingredients, I just decided to start over. Would the doughnuts been extra tender and buttery/sugary had I kept going??
Anyway, I always love looking for ways to use my mini doughnut pan but often only use it for my annual Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts. These apple cider doughnuts were a delicious way to have a favorite fall treat in the comfort of my home---and being bite-sized made me feel less guilty about indulging.
The Recipe: Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts from The NY Times (You'll need a NY Times Cooking subscription to access this recipe). Perfectly tangy with a punch of apple flavor and not too sweet. Make sure to read the recipe and also the extra butter added before rolling in cinnamon sugar isn't necessary---the heat from the doughnuts allows the coating to sticky easily.

October 31, 2019

3 Packages of Cream Cheese Later...

It took til the end of October to crack open my first can of pumpkin this season. And to celebrate this momentous occasion, I decided also to make my first cheesecake.
These Marbled Pumpkin-Maple Cheesecake Bars, I suppose, are the lazy-person's version of cheesecake. Bars do make it easier to feed a crowd and maybe allow more room for error in terms of air pockets. For my first attempt, these weren't too shabby---and they were deliciously spiced with the flavors of fall: pumpkin and maple.
The Recipe: Marbled Pumpkin-Maple Cheesecake Bars from Epicurious. Make sure to bake them at 300 degrees instead of 275 for 60 minutes, at the advice of many reviewers. Mine baked well with these changes.

October 29, 2019

Ramen Costume

Several months ago, I came across a bright, colorful blog that had a plethora of food Halloween costume tutorials. I had my eyes set on the taco costume but my friends thought it was too suggestive (my innocent mind never went there, btw). Instead, I settled for this ramen costume.
The trickiest part was papier-maching the bowl, which took some trial and error. I did the first three layers with Elmer's glue and water but then switched to Mod Podge and got sturdier layers. I also used a 36 inch inflatable beach ball instead of a balloon, which was perfect since I could reuse it after realizing my first four layers were pretty flimsy.
While I liked Aww Sam's ramen bowl, I decided to add my own touch to it by painting the bowl black, instead of white and by using more wheat-colored yarn. I also used a styrofoam circle to make my favorite part of ramen---chashu pork belly! And finally...I had an old pair of white suspenders from an old oompa loompa costume and they securely held up the bowl so I could wear it at my friends' Halloween party.
Ramen Bowl Costume adapted from Aww Sam
Supplies:
36 inch inflatable beach ball
newspaper cut up into long strips
Mod Podge
large paint brush or foam brush
black cardboard board/foam board
scissors
x-acto knife/utility knife
black duct tape
black acrylic paint
one skein of yarn (I used this in the color linen)
glue gun
green felt strips
2 8-inch foam circles (I found these in the floral section of Michaels)
styrofoam block
styrofoam egg (cut in half--had to use my kitchen knife for that)
yellow, pink, brown paint
white suspenders or thick white ribbon
Directions:
1. Blow up beach ball and brush Mod Podge onto newspaper strip and add to the ball. Continue until one layer of newspaper strips is covering the ball and let dry. Then continue gluing layers, one at a time and letting each layer dry before adding another. 4-6 layers should create a sturdy base for the bowl. Then deflate the beach ball.
2. Use scissors to straighten the edges of the bowl and use the x-acto knife to cut a hole on the bottom that is large enough for your legs to move freely.
3. Use the top of the bowl to trace a circle on the black foam board. Cut out the circle and use the duct tape to attach to the top of the bowl. Then cut a hole in the form board large enough for you to fit in but leave a border for the ramen fillings to sit on top.
4. Paint the bowl with black paint.
5. Unravel the yarn and arrange on top of the bowl border to look like noodles. Then glue onto the foam board with hot glue gun.
6. Roll felt strips into circles for the green onion. Hot glue to secure and then glue onto the noodles.
7. Paint yolk onto the egg shaped styrofoam. Use hot glue to adhere onto the noodles.
8. Paint one of the styrofoam circles with a dark brown border and paint the inside of the circle a pale brownish/pink for the pork belly. Then paint a dark brown swirl in the middle. Glue onto noodles.
9. Cut the other styrofoam circle with a scalloped edge and then paint a pink swirl in the middle of the circle. Glue gun the fish cake onto the noodles.
10. Cut long, thin rectangles out of the styrofoam block for the nori. Paint the rectangles black. Glue onto the noodles.
11. Attach the suspenders to the bowl or cut ribbon long enough to hold up the bowl around your shoulders. Glue with glue gun onto the bowl.

October 19, 2019

Chocolate Chip Cookie Test No. 10: The Vegan One

After a four month hiatus from cookie testing, I thought I'd get back into baking by trying out a vegan recipe. I'm usually a huge advocate of butter and eggs but this recipe from Food52 boasted that it was a genius recipe, in spite of it being vegan.
Vegetable oil and water replace the butter and eggs, making this an easy recipe to put together without any unusual substitutes (like this recipe that calls for an oat slurry to be made...no thanks).
The Recipe: Ovenly's Secret Vegan Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies from Food 52
Recipe Highlights: 
  • recipe lacked vanilla extract so I added a teaspoon at the recommendation of others in the recipe comments section
  • dough needs to rest for 12-24 hours in the fridge 
  • after dough balls are formed, they are frozen for ten minutes to create a chewier texture
  • calls for dark or light brown sugar but dark will bring out a more caramel flavor
Overall: These cookies were delightfully chewy but they were a tad sweet and lacked the deep caramel flavor that I had been enjoying from browning butter in other recipes. I thought they were just ok but people at work really enjoyed them. These are simple and easy to make.  🍪🍪

September 27, 2019

Celebrating Fall with...Popsicles

Happy Fall everyone! I enjoyed my first run of the season yesterday since it wasn't steamy hot out here in KC. While everyone might be embracing pumpkin spiced everything, I'm still clinging on to to summer over here. After a very brutal winter last year, I'm not quite ready to give up on summer dresses and sandal-wearing days...and what better way to do that than by bringing out the popsicle mold I've forgotten about for a few years!

And since I've been obsessed with rosé, especially during the summer months, I thought I'd make a frosé popsicle. Boozy popsicles...mmmm...
The Recipe: Frosé Popsicles from Epicurious. Delightfully fruity, a little boozy and very refreshing, on a hot, summer day or even when wanting a reminder of warmer days in the dead of winter.