Thursday, July 2, 2020

Fruit Salad

Nothing better to eat on a hot day than a chilled, colorful fruit salad. Use a variety of fruits - in both colors and textures. Do not use watermelon (too watery). I would also avoid cantaloupe and honeydew, just because they're not as exciting.
  • strawberries, raspberries
  • oranges
  • peaches, nectarines
  • mango
  • banana - ripe but still firm
  • pineapple
  • kiwi, green grapes
  • blueberries
  • passion fruit
  • red grapes
  • cherries
  • blackberries
  • dragonfruit
  • apples, pears
  1. Wash, peel, pit fruit as necessary. 
  2. Cut each into bite size pieces.
  3. Place in large bowl. Mix with juice from orange and/or lemon/lime juice (to prevent browning).
  4. Optional: Include orange zest OR mint.
  5. Chill for several hours or overnight.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Chilled Braised Bamboo

I love the texture of bamboo. I enjoy them chilled as a side dish or in a thai curry. I feel like I could eat 2 cups of it one sitting. I've avoided cooking it for a long time because the canned stuff has such a weird taste that even boiling doesn't get rid of it. But I recently found a source shrink wrapped instead of canned and it doesn't suffer from the weird taste problem. But now I need to find the perfect marinade/braising technique for making it Chinese style. This was my first attempt and good enough to enjoy, but I think it could still use improving. I can't find dark soy sauce anywhere so perhaps this was the missing ingredient.
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 1 T olive oil
  • bamboo, sliced thin and cut into rectangles
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • [didn't use: 1 t dark soy sauce]
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 200 ml water
  • 1 t sesame oil
  1. Heat oil in pan and add garlic. Stir and saute for 2-3 min until lightly browned.
  2. Add the bamboo and stir.
  3. Add the soy sauces, sugar and salt. Cook for another 3 min.
  4. Add the water and bring to boil. Reduce heat and cover. Let simmer for 20 min.
  5. Stir in the sesame oil for 1 minute.
  6. Remove from heat and transfer to bowl to cool. Refrigerate and serve chilled. In a rush, eat warm instead.

Recipe #2

  • 2 c water
  • 1/2 c teriyaki marinade
  • 1/4 c sake
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 2 T dry sherry
  • 1 dry shitaake mushroom

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Cinnamon Knots

I wanted a yeast bread recipe that doesn't take too long to bake in the oven. Many of my go to ones take an hour which is just too long to have the heat on for in the summer. I found this one which only takes 10 min to bake. They turned out dangerously delicious.

  • 1/4 c butter
  • 1 c milk
  • 2 T yeast
  • 2 T maple syrup (if you don't have any, can substitute sugar/honey)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 egg
  • ~3 c flour
  • dip: 1/4 c butter, 1/2 c sugar, 3 t cinnamon
  1. Heat the butter in a small pan. When almost melted, add milk. Stir until it reaches 100-110 F. Remove from heat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine yeast and syrup. Pour in butter mixture.
  3. Add salt and egg.
  4. Add 2.5 c flour. Add flour until dough doesn't stick to sides of bowl. Knead for 5 minutes.
  5. Divide into 12 pieces.
  6. Melt butter in shallow bowl. Combine sugar and cinnamon in separate bowl (I used a pie plate).
  7. Roll each piece into 8" long rope. Dip in butter, then in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Tie into a knot. Finish by joining two ends and flip over. Place all 12 knots onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  8. Let rest for 10 min.
  9. Bake at 400F for 9-12 min.
  10. Let cool and enjoy warm!

Friday, June 12, 2020

Vanilla Cake

A simple layer cake with whipped cream and fruit. This cake was too sweet for my taste - would reduce sugar by another 1/4 cup from what I tried (which was already reduced 1/4 c from the original). Otherwise easy to put together with basic ingredients.

  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 c milk, room temperature
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1.75 c flour
  • 1/4 c cornstarch
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 c sugar (tried 1.25...too much)
  • 3/4 t salt
  • Cream Topping: 2 c whipping cream, 2 T sugar, 1 t vanilla
  • fruit (strawberries, peaches, cherries, etc)
  1. Line bottom of 2 cake pans (8" or 9") with parchment paper and butter sides. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Mix the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Beat the eggs, milk and vanilla in a small bowl.
  4. Add the butter 1/3 at a time to the dry ingredients, beating after each addition until incorporated and at high speed for 10 seconds. It should look like wet sand.
  5. Add half the wet mixture, beating until incorporated. Add the remaining half and beat on medium speed until almost smooth.
  6. Divide between 2 cake pans, and smooth the surface. 
  7. Bake at 350 for 25-35 min until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Cool on rack for 15 minutes before flipping.
  9. Cream Topping: Beat cream, sugar and vanilla until firm peaks form. Do not overbeat.
  10. Decorate: Place one cake layer on plate. Spread with thin layer of cream. Top with sliced fruit. Spread 1/3 of the cream on top. Layer second cake on top. Spread with remaining cream and top with more fruit.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Round Roast

This came out flavorful and tender. When I was bringing it to room temperature I missed the step about salting it and keeping it wrapped. I just unwrapped it. Still came out great. I only had patience to wait until it got to 137 degrees which was just fine.

  • round roast
  • 5 cloves garlic, cut into halves
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • gravy: cornstarch, water, red wine/water/broth, butter, thyme
  1. Bring meat to room temperature to help it cook evenly. Unwrap it, salt it, and rewrap it. Let it sit on counter for 2 hours (minimum 1 hour). 
  2. Pat the meat dry.
  3. Cover with olive oil and spread all around.
  4. Use a knife to cut slits into the roast all around and stick in a half clove in each slit.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Place roasting pan to catch drippings on lower shelf. Place meat directly on middle oven rack, fat side up. Bake at 375F for 25-30 min until browned.
  7. Lower heat to 225F and cook for 1.5-2.5 hours (depending on weight and shape of meat), until meat thermometer registers 135-140F.
  8. Place on cutting board and cover with foil tent to keep warm. Let rest for 20-30 min (otherwise meat will bleed too much when cutting.
  9. Slice thinly against the grain and enjoy warm.
  10. Optional: For the drippings, use water/red wine/broth to deglaze the pan. Combine 1 T cornstarch with water to make a slurry. Pour into dripping mixture and heat until thickened. If there wasn't much fat, add some butter. Thyme if extra flavor is needed.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Bruschetta

We didn't have fresh basil so I substituted dried basil. Still delicious! I wanted to make enough just for 2 as the BDs don't eat tomatoes. Instead of bread it was also nice to scoop the tomatoes on cucumber slices.
  • 1 pkg cherry tomatoes minus a few that have been eaten the day before
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1/3 t balsamic vinegar
  • 3 fresh basil leaves OR sprinkle of dried basil
  • salt + pepper
  • 1 mini baguette OR italian bread
  • optional: cheese, cucumbers
  1. Dice the tomatoes into quarters, eights or to whatever size you like.
  2. Mix with garlic, oil, vinegar, basil, salt and pepper. The tomatoes will take a lot of salt, so make sure you taste it.
  3. Slice the bread and place on baking tray.
  4. Optional: Place the tomatoes on the slice OR mozzarella on OR leave plain OR tomatoes+cheese.
  5. Bake in oven at 350-450. The higher the temperature, the quicker they will toast - but also possibly burn. Toast enough to brown the bread OR melt the cheese OR whatever you want.
  6. Serve by spooning tomato mixture on top of toasted bread.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Steamed Sponge Cake

This is easy to put together and cooks in a rice cooker steam tray. Note: next time try 2 egg ratio.

  • 3 eggs
  • scant 1/2 c sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 3/5 c cake flour
  • optional: 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  1. Beat the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes. The volume should increase quite a bit as air is incorporated.
  2. Mix salt, cake flour and baking powder in small bowl. Slowly add to the egg mixture.
  3. Beat in the vanilla.
  4. Line bottom of rice cooker steam tray with parchment paper (to prevent batter seeping through holes and easy separation). Pour in batter.
  5. Add 1/2"-1" of water to rice cooker and place steam tray on top. Cover and turn on. Steam for about 25 minutes, until done.
  6. Carefully remove lid so as not to drip water on the cake.
  7. Use knife to separate cake from sides and flip over onto plate.
  8. Serve with fresh strawberries.