Sunday, December 12, 2010

GF Pancakes

Gluten-Free pancakes. These came out incredibly soft and thick. They get 4 stars for taste and texture but 3 stars overall - because unless you need gluten-free it's still a lot easier to make regular pancakes.
  • 1 c rice flour
  • 3 T corn starch
  • 1/3 c potato starch
  • 1.5 t powder
  • 1/2 t soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t xanthan gum
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c buttermilk
  • 3 T oil
  • milk, as needed
  • optional: mini chocolate chips
  1. Combine the flour, starches, rising agents, salt and xanthan gum. 
  2. Add the eggs, buttermilk and oil.
  3. Mash in the banana.
  4. If the batter is too thick, add milk.
  5. Lightly butter a pan on medium heat. Spoon or pour 1/4 c batter units into pan. Top with chips. If the pancakes are very thick then you won't see the bubbles that are the usual sign for flipping. 
Other Pancake Recipes

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (2)

Simple Recipe ****
I was looking for "heavy cream" but only saw whipping cream (35%), table cream (18%) and light cream (10%) at the supermarket. So I went with table cream, which is the fat equivalent of light cream in the US. Grr. But with C's advice I went with a simple recipe to have some ice cream anyways. It turned out ok, considering. So this makes for a good emergency ice cream recipe.
  • 1 small container table cream (18% MF)
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1-2 t peppermint extract
  • ~1/4 c mini chocolate chips
  • optional: pinch of salt
  1. Combine cream and sugar (and salt). Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add the extract.
  3. Pour into hand crank machine. Stir for 10 minutes.
  4. When mostly thickened add the chips (if you add earlier they sink to the bottom). Stir for another 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer to container and freeze. Enjoy the same night!
Custard Recipe
1/30/2011 This time I made sure to get whipping cream at the store. I also went to the effort to make a custard base. It was MUCH smoother than the last one. MM raved when he had another helping after it sat a couple days in the freezer.

  • a bit of evaporated milk (leftover from canadian sized tin from making pumpkin pie)
  • 1 c milk (I used 2%)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c whipping cream
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t peppermint extract
  • plenty of mini choc chips


  1. Combine the milk and sugar in a sauce pan. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Turn off the heat and whisk in 1 egg.
  3. When smooth, put back over low heat and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens. About 10-20 minutes. Do NOT let it boil. Optional: Run a strainer through the liquid to get out any lumps.
  4. Let it cool to lukewarm. 
  5. Stir in cream and extracts.
  6. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
  7. Pour into ice cream maker. Once thickened, dump in chips. Continue to stir. Transfer to container and freeze until ready to eat.

Notes
The amount of extract depends on the brand you use. Some are stronger than others. 
Mini chips are the right size for ice cream. You can use any chocolate but smaller is better - so something like grated chocolate is better than regular morsel size.

Apple Pie

There are a lot of recipes for apple pie. I made one long ago and it came out with a big air pocket. Apparently because the type of apple/s I used don't keep their shape. I was rushed into making this pie so had to use a recipe that was relatively quick. 12/12/10 The second recipe is from the Joy of Baking site, which requires a lot more wait time for seeping the apples.

1. Apple Pie - Rush Version - ****
(adjusted: originally used 1/2 c butter and 1/2 t nutmeg and scant 1/2 c each sugar)
I used 1 Fuji, 1 Granny Smith, 3 gala, 2 empire. I think it came out too sweet. It also spilled over in the oven - I think I need to use the 10" pie crust recipe next time.
  • 6-7 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c butter
  • 3 T flour
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  1. Melt butter in pan. Stir in flour to make a paste. Add in water, sugars and spices. Bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer.
  2. Roll out pie crust into plate. 
  3. Pour out liquid from sugar mixture. Mix remainder with apples. Pour apples into pie crust.
  4. Cover with top crust and seal edges. Cut out vents in the middle. 
  5. Bake on lower middle rack (so the bottom crust gets fully cooked) at 425F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and cook for 35-45 minutes. 
  6. Let cool before cutting.
Double Pie Crust 9" (10")
  • 2 c flour (2.5 c)
  • 1.5 T sugar (2 T)
  • 1/2 t salt (3/4 t) [browning and flavor enhancer]
  • 2/3 c frozen butter (1 c) [flakiness and flavor]
  • ~1/2 c ice cold water [binding and pliability] (3/4 c)
  1. Mix flour with sugar and salt. 
  2. Grate in the butter (coarse grater) and mix.
  3. Add water and stir until barely combined, adding a tablespoon of water at a time to bring it together.
  4. Place in plastic wrap and mush together better. Flatten to disc and refrigerate for 30+ minutes.
  5. When ready, divide in half. Roll out each to fit pie plate.
  6. Optional: brush with egg white to prevent sogginess
Variations
- corn starch, lemon juice, allspice/cloves/ginger

2. Apple Pie - Slow Version - ****
12/12/10 This is based on the Joy of Cooking recipe. I used 2 gala, 1 golden delicious, 2 mutsu, 1 ?, and 1 ?. One of the apples was bad so there weren't as many apples as in the first recipe. I also used the 10" crust with a lot more butter. So it's hard to do the comparison. The second pie didn't have as much of an air bubble, but it also had less apples. There was a lot more crust, which was easier to work with, but as I'm not a fan of crust I think I might use the 9" version next time just to have less of it. I also left it in the oven too long and it came out a little darker than I intended. 
  • dough for 10" pie (see above)
  • 6-7 apples
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 T + 1 t cornstarch
  1. Peel, core and slice the apples into 18 slices (1/4" thick or so). Mix with spices, lemon juice, salt and sugars. Let sit for 30 min to 3 hours.
  2. Make the pie crust dough. Divide in half and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Drain the liquid until you get at least 1/2 c juice. Place in a large bowl and add the butter. Microwave (6-7 min) or boil down until 1/3 cup
  4. Roll pastry. Line pie plate. (Let sit in fridge if you are still waiting for apples.)
  5. Mix the apple slices with the cornstarch. Pour the liquid over it and mix. Put the apples in the pie crust.
  6. Wet the edges of the crust and top with remaining crust.Seal and edge.
  7. Make 5-2" slits for steam vents.
  8. Keep pie chilled in fridge while preheating oven to 425F. Place foil on lowest rack to catch drippings.
  9. Bake pie on next lowest rack for 40-55 minutes. Check after 30 min to make sure the crust isn't browning too much. If it is, cover it with foil.
  10. Let cool on wire rack for 3-4 hours.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

my favorite pie. a bit challenging to make it in Canada because a can of evaporated milk has a different standard size than the American. It's only a little extra milk but I didn't want to test if adding it would make a difference. Maybe next time. For a flaky crust, minimize handling of the dough and be sure not to let the butter melt. Big chunks throughout is ok, as that is what makes separation of layers.
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t cloves
  • 1/2 t ginger
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 15 oz pumpkin (1.87 c)
  • 12 fl oz evaporated milk (1.5 c)
Pie Crust
  • 1 1/4 c flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/2 c butter, frozen
  • 1/8-1/4 c ice water
  1. For the crust: Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Grate in the frozen butter and mix. Add just enough ice water until dough mostly holds together. Roll into ball in plastic wrap. Flatten into a disc and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, salt and spices.
  3. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs (you don't want air bubbles). Add the pumpkin and sugar mixture.
  4. Gradually stir in the evaporated milk.
  5. Roll the dough out (on the plastic wrap) into a circle big enough to fill your pie plate. Roll from the center in quarter turns. Place in pie plate ensuring no air is trapped underneath. Lightly crimp the edges.
  6. Pour in the filling. Finish the edges for style (fork pressed, curvy indentations, or rustic look). 
  7. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake for 40-50 minutes more. Edges should be done but center should look a little wet. If you overcook it, it will crack.

Variation: Pumpkin Bars

10/29/15 Use the same filling but make an oat crust in a 9x13 pan. Bakes faster as well.
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  1. Combine butter with brown sugar.
  2. Stir in flour.
  3. Fold in oats.
  4. Press into bottom of 9x13 pan.
  5. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes (check after 10 min), until set.
  6. Remove from oven and fill with the pie filling from above.
  7. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until set.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

First time I had brussel sprouts was at G's house - fresh from her garden. Delicious! I had no idea why there were the dreaded vegetable of commercials. They're everywhere at the markets now so I finally bought some. Not as good as garden grown, but still tasty.

  • 2 handfuls of brussel sprouts (or however many you want to eat)
  • butter
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • garlic cloves (to taste, I did 2)
  1. Chop off stem of brussel sprouts. Optional: Cut in half.
  2. Place in baking dish (cut half down unless you like them dry).
  3. Dot with butter. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
  4. Cut garlic in half. Place in dish.
  5. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until desired tenderness. It's ok if the outer layer goes black - the inside will still be tender.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pasta Bake

made this for dinner tonight. It's just like lasagna but with a different pasta shape. Used brown rice macaroni to make it gluten free. Make sure all pasta is covered with sauce or cheese...since the pasta dries up and hardens very easily.
  • bag of pasta, like elbows
  • ricotta
  • 1-2 eggs
  • parmesan
  • italian seasoning
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • zucchini, sliced
  • mozzarella, grated
  • pasta sauce
  1. Boil the pasta until nearly done. Drain.
  2. In a bowl, mix the eggs, ricotta, parmesan and spices.
  3. In 9x13 dish spread sauce. Top with half the pasta. 
  4. Add the ricotta mixture, vegetables, some mozzarella and more sauce.
  5. Top with remaining pasta and repeat previous step. End with mozzarella topping.
  6. Bake at 350 until cheese is lightly browned (about 45 min - 1 hour).
Variations
see lasagna recipe for other things to do. spinach in the ricotta. beef in the sauce. etc.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hotteok


Hotteok are a delicious Korean snack - akin to a grilled pancake with a cinnamon-sugar filling. I first experienced it in Korea this past April with C. She showed me her favorite stands and I filled up on as many as I could. On a cold foggy day at the bottom of a mountain, they are the perfect snack to get you motivated. When you bite into them, the cinnamon-sugar juice is waiting to burst out into your mouth. The grilled dough wrapper is a thin vehicle to get the delicious filling inside. The dough is prepared ahead of time but the rest is done in front of you - the rolling, filling and cooking. They are a 5 star snack. This is my first attempt at making them at home. I don't have the equipment that the street-side cooks did, so I made do with what I had. They taste pretty good (4 stars) but in comparison to the authentic Korean ones, this can only garner 3 stars. Now that I'm in a cold climate again, I hope to experiment with a few other recipes before settling on the perfect one.

Hotteok Try #1
I rolled the first two by hand but they were too thick. So I used a rolling pin on the remaining six. These came out pleasantly thinner, but still not as thin as the authentic ones. It was hard to get any thinner without the dough breaking and revealing the filling. So I went to just before the breaking point. Recipe from this entry. It calls for milk but I only had lactarded milk on hand. Not sure what difference this makes but my dough did not come out sticky as the blog mentions.

  • 1/4 c lukewarm water
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 t yeast
  • 1 c flour
  • 3/4 c glutinous rice flour
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 c milk
  • oil for frying
Filling
I had trouble fitting in this much filling. Could get away with half - but I also felt there wasn't enough filling inside - so next time make sure to really stuff them.
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 2 T peanuts, finely chopped
  1. Combine the water, sugar and yeast. Let sit 5 minutes until bubbly.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, sugar and salt. Add the yeast mixture and milk. Stir until comes together.
  3. Knead with hands for 2-3 minutes.The dough should be sticky (add more milk if too dry).
  4. Leave in a covered bowl in the oven with a pot of boiling water. Let rise for 2 hours or until doubled.
  5. Combine the filling ingredients in a small dish.
  6. Punch down dough and need a few times. Break off 1/8 of the dough. 
  7. Roll into a flat circular shape. Fill with 1 T of filling. Pinch in sides. Squash down with hand. Roll to as thin as possible without breaking open the filling. Note to Self: Next time try the roll into ball and pinch hole in middle method.
  8. Lay in oiled frying pan. I used a cast-iron pan at heat 5 (for other pan try medium high). Cook each side until lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Continue to flatten as it cooks. Note to self: next time flatten with bowl and leave on as it cooks.
  9. Serve hot.
Other Recipes to Try
Korean recipe - uses egg in the dough
another Korean recipe - different ratio of flours (less glutinous rice flour)

Variations
- instead of peanuts, use walnuts or black sesame or almonds
- if you've run out of glutinous rice flour, use regular flour

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Applesauce

Just made a batch. 10 apples filled a 28 oz jar plus a small bowl for 2 as dessert.
11/24/12 8 apples made 1 mason jar worth. gala, fuji, cortland
  • Apples, variety
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  1. This time, I used 10 apples (minus a slice or two) - 5 Gala, 5 McIntosh. Peel, slice, core, and roughly chop. This is the most time/effort consuming part.
  2. Heat with cover until simmering. Reduce to low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until mushy (about 20 minutes). 
  3. Mash with a potato masher or fork, for chunky texture. Blend/mix for a fine/smooth texture.
  4. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Notes
Recommended apple types: Gala, McIntosh, Cortland, Fuji, Winesap, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Delicious, Jonathan, Mutsu/Crispin, Braeburn
NOT recommended: Granny Smith, Rome, Jersey Mac

Variations
Add other spices to taste: cardamom, allspice, cloves, ginger, ...
Put in a slow cooker and it will "mash" itself.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Vietnamese Style Salad

A couple weeks ago we made fresh rolls. This is one of my favorite dishes - a delectable combination of fresh and tasty ingredients. The wrapping process can be quite enjoyable as well - trying to make the perfect wrap - tight around all the juicy bits. But when you're hungry and want to wolf down 5 rolls one after the other, it becomes frustrating - you rush the process, break the skin, make it too loose and it falls apart as you dip it. It just so happened a blog I follow offered a spin on it. Toss everything in a bowl and use rice noodles instead of the rice wrapper and call it a salad. Same ingredients, same taste, with a big payoff. Tried it out last night and it was delicious. Here is my spin on his recipe.


Salad Base
  • 3 chicken thighs
  • salt, sugar, water (brine)
  • romaine lettuce
  • fresh mint
  • fresh basil
  • fresh bean sprouts
  • rice noodles
  • roasted peanuts
Marinade/Sauce
(for 2.5 heads of romaine lettuce it was still more than enough, adjust as necessary)
  • 1/4 c + 1 T water, hot
  • 1/3 t salt
  • 3/16 c sugar
  • 3/16 c rice vinegar
  • 1/4 c fish sauce
  • 1/2 t crushed red pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • juice of half a lime (about 1-2 T)
  • 1/2 carrot, shredded
  1. Fill a large container with water and add 1T salt and 1T sugar or whatever brine ratio you like. Let sit for one hour in the fridge.
  2. Make the marinade: Add the salt and sugar to the hot water and let dissolve. Add the rest of the ingredients. You can set some aside to use as dressing for the noodles and salad. 
  3. Bake the chicken at 350F until done. (I checked after 20 min, flipped them and took them out 10 min later). 
  4. Cool slightly, cut/shred and dump into marinade. Let sit for 1-2 hours in fridge.
  5. Make the salad: Chop the lettuce and sprouts into bite size pieces. Add some chopped mint and basil. 
  6. Boil water. Add the rice noodles. Follow package directions (based on width of noodles - about 5-7 minutes) for length of time. Drain and run under cold water until cooled. Cut with scissors to bite size lengths. Coat with marinade. Toss in with salad. 
  7. Add the drained chicken. Top with peanuts. 
  8. Serve with extra marinade on the side. (You don't need much as the noodles and chicken have plenty - and you get plenty of flavor from the herbs.)
Variations
coriander, shrimp, cucumber, beef, tofu

If using frozen shrimp, boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pumpkin Breads

October means pumpkin season! I first discovered pumpkin bread at a grocery store near my college. It was delicious and I looked into making it myself. Always tasty, I eventually looked into reducing the fat and sugar content. No surprise that it still turns out moist and delicious. Now with M, I've looked into a gluten-free version. It turned out a bit ugly (dry on top, not risen as high) but just as moist and delicious on the inside. How can you go wrong with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves? 

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread
I forgot to take a picture of this. As noted, it wasn't the prettiest, but it tasted good!
  • 1 c rice flour
  • 1/4 c millet flour
  • 1/4 c starch (potato, tapioca, or corn)
  • 1 t soda
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t xanthan gum
  • 1/4 c butter (1/2 stick), melted
  • 2/3 c sugar (brown and white mix)
  • 1/4 c applesauce
  • 1 1/4 c pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c orange juice
  • 1/2 c raisins
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9x5 bread pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flours to xanthan gum).
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the butter, sugar, applesauce, pumpkin, eggs and orange juice.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well blended. 
  5. Pour into pan and bake for 1 hour.
  6. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Allow to cool further before slicing. 
Reduced-Fat Pumpkin Bread
"Reduced fat" always sounds like something awful - like they replaced the fat with margarine or just got rid of taste altogether. Don't let my title for this bread fool you. It's just as moist and delicious as typical recipes, just with reduced butter and sugar. 
12/25/12 made this as muffins, but didn't have enough raisins so filled out with craisins. prefer raisins. also used canola oil instead of butter. next time try chocolate chips.
  • 1.5 c flour
  • 1 1/4 t soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 t ginger
  • 1 1/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 c brown sugar, lightly scooped
  • 1/2 c yogurt (or 1/2 c milk + 1/2 t lemon juice)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  1. Mix dry ingredients (up to ginger) in a large bowl. 
  2. Mix remaining (wet) ingredients in a medium bowl. 
  3. Mix wet into dry, stirring just until flour is moistened. 
  4. Pour into 8x4 or 9x5 greased bread pan. Bake at 350 F/175 C for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until done.

Traditional Pumpkin Bread

Much higher in oil and sugar. Compare to above recipe - gives idea of how much ingredients can be bumped up.
  • 3.5 c flour
  • 2 t soda
  • 1.5 c light brown sugar
  • 1.5 c sugar
  • 1.5 t salt
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t cloves (optional)
  • 1 c oil
  • 2/3 c water
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 c pumpkin (one can)
  • 1 c raisins
  • 1 c nuts
  1. Mix everything thoroughly.
  2. Bake at 375F for about an hour, using two 9x5 bread pans..
Variations
  • Try different gf flours: instead of millet flour use sorghum flour, brown rice flour, oat flour or whatever you have on hand.
  • Instead of all white flour, substitute half a cup of whole-wheat flour
  • If you don't have applesauce, use all butter. If you don't want as much butter, substitute applesauce. If you don't have butter, use oil.
  • Add walnuts or other chopped nuts.
  • As with any quick bread, bake in muffin form - this reduces the baking time significantly.
  • Vary the spices - try more cloves instead of nutmeg or the ginger. Go with the taste you like!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cleaning: Floors

Floors - general
1 cup water + 1 cup white vinegar + 6 drops pure peppermint oil. Shake to mix
1 c water + 3/4 c white vinegar + 3/4 c rubbing alcohol + a few drops of dish soap

water + eucalyptus oil and/or lavender oil

Wood Polish
1:1 vegetable oil to vinegar. Rub in well

Fleas
sprinkle salt on rugs and floors. Vacuum

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Slow Cooker: Beef Stew

Didn't have canned tomatoes so substituted some cheap tomato paste. Didn't taste so great - needed to cover it up with salt. Was also missing basil and thyme so used coriander and tarragon instead. Could be better with more flavor, better quality beef, etc. Makes 6-8 servings.
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1/2-1" pieces
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped 1/2" pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3-6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1.5 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 t tarragon
  • 3/4 t coriander
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • package of lean beef stew, cut into 1" pieces (1-2 pounds)
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes, undrained (used 10 oz tomato paste and one large freshly diced tomato instead)
  • 14 oz water + bouillon cube
  • 1/8-1/4 c potato flour (or corn starch) (or 1/4 c regular flour if you don't need gluten-free)
  • 1/2 c cold water
  1. Layer ingredients in order from carrots down to water and bouillon.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW 8-10 hours
  3. Remove beef and vegetables to large serving bowl. Cover and keep warm.
  4. Discard the bay leaf.
  5. Turn slow cooker to HIGH and cover.
  6. Mix flour/starch and water in a small bowl. Add 1/2 c cooking liquid. mix well. Stir mixture into slow cooker. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until thickened.
  7. Pour sauce over beef and serve immediately.
Notes
Next time use better beef (was sale package from No Frills), use basil and thyme, use diced tomatoes instead of paste
Used cornstarch but did not thicken well. Next time just use potato starch.

Beef Stew II

Tried another version using some antibiotic-free and hormone-free beef. Still lacking in flavor. I wonder if it needs more spices due to the beef stock being rather plain. Or if it's because I don't add onions to anything anymore. ***
  • 2 lbs stewing beef
  • 3 red potatoes, diced
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 full stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/3 t black pepper
  • 2 heaping t minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 t Worcestershire sauce
  • 1.5 c beef broth
  • frozen peas
  1. Place beef in bottom of slow cooker.
  2. Mix flour, salt and pepper. Pour over beef and stir to coat.
  3. Add in remaining ingredients, up to broth.
  4. Cook on low 10-12 hours or high 4-6 hours.
  5. About 5-10 minutes before serving add in peas.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Applesauce Banana Bars

Ran out of applesauce so used a banana to supplement. Based on a recipe from allrecipes.com.  They came out a little too sweet for my taste, so I would reduce the sugar next time - maybe by half. 4 stars for how quick it was to throw together, only 3 stars for taste.
  • 1/4 c butter, softened
  • 2/3 c brown sugar (reduce this next time, maybe in half?)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c applesauce
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 t soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 t ginger
  • 1/8 t cloves
  1. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix the butter, sugar and egg until smooth. Add the applesauce.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, soda, salt and spices. Stir into the wet mixture.
  4. Spread evenly in pan.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges are golden. 
  6. Cool in pan. Cut into squares/rectangles. 
Variations
  • Throw in raisins
  • add chopped apple

Monday, September 13, 2010

Gluten Free Pizza

Made some pizzas for M's birthday. Experimented with two recipes. First one rose way too much and came out with a thick airy crust. Second one didn't rise at all and came out as a thin crust (more like New York style) and tasted more "pizza-like". If to make again would reduce sugar in first recipe or increase in second. Would like somewhere in the middle. Or maybe more flour to the first recipe as it was very wet.

GF Pizza Dough 1

  • 1/4 c millet flour
  • 3/4 c white rice flour (or use a mixture of brown rice and white rice flour)
  • 1/4 c glutinous rice flour
  • 1/4 c cornstarch (or tapioca flour or arrowroot starch)
  • 1/2 c tapioca flour
  • 2 t xanthan gum
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 1/2 T sugar (note: would reduce this next time)
  • 1 t sugar for proofing yeast
  • 2 1/2 t active dry yeast
  • 3/4 c warm water, (heated to 115 -120 degrees)
  • 2 T cottage cheese (or ricotta cheese)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T sugar (or honey)
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t italian seasoning
  1. Optional: Preheat oven to 170F.
  2. Mix olive oil, cottage cheese, sugar and vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside to come to room temperature.
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Heat 1 c of water until it reaches 115-120F.
  5. In small bowl, place yeast and 1 t sugar. Add 1/4 c of the heated water. Stir and let sit for a few minutes.
  6. With everything at room temperature, add eggs AND cheese mixture to the dry ingredients.
  7. Add the yeast mixture.
  8. Gradually add 1/2 c warm water. Dough should look like stiff cake batter. The dough should still hold swirls as you mix, but should be shiny and not dull. Add the rest of the water slowly until the right consistency is achieved.
  9. If you have parchment paper, line the baking pan with it. Grease with olive oil. Spread the dough into a 12-13 inch circle or into a 9x13 glass dish. Create high edge. Cover hands with olive oil to prevent sticking (dough will be very sticky).
  10. Optional: Turn oven heat off and let rise for 40 minutes in warmed oven.
  11. Bake at 375F for 10 minutes.
  12. Add toppings.
  13. Bake at 400F for 7-12 min until toppings are cooked (cheese should be melted and browned to preference). 


GF Pizza Dough 2 
This one was much easier to make.
  • 1 T yeast
  • 1 1/3 c milk
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 1/3 c brown rice flour
  • 1 c cornstarch
  • 2 t xanthan gum
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t italian seasoning
  • 2 t olive oil
  • 2 t apple cider vinegar
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat the milk in the microwave so that it is warm (not so hot that it would burn your finger, just warm). Combine the milk with the sugar and yeast in a small mixing bowl. Let sit a few minutes.
  3. Combine the brown rice flour, cornstarch, xanthan gum and spices in a larger mixing bowl. 
  4. Add the oil and vinegar to the yeast mixture. Then pour all of that into the flour mixture and stir well.
  5. Once you’ve done this, the dough will be somewhat sticky, and now is a good time to sprinkle some extra rice flour on it. Now that the rice flour is cutting down on the stickiness, form the dough into a ball and let it sit while you get your pans ready.
  6. If you’re using pans or a cookie sheet to cook the crusts, you will need to grease them, so that the pizza crust does not stick. Spread butter or olive oil on the pan and then sprinkle a bit of rice flour on top of that. Use an 8x8 dish and a circular pan (or what have you). 
  7. Split the ball of dough into two pieces – one for each pan. Starting from the middle of the dough, use your fingers to press down on the dough and spread it out towards the edges of the pan. When you get the dough to the edges, continue to push the dough up onto the side of the pan, so that you will have a nice crust.
  8. Prebake the crusts for 8 minutes. 
  9. Drizzle some olive oil onto your crusts and spread it over them evenly. (This will keep the pizza sauce from making your crust soggy.). Add the toppings. 
  10. Bake the pizza for 15 min or until cheese is browned slightly. 
  11. Cut and serve.
GF Pizza Dough 3
10/31/2010 Tried combining the above two to get best of both worlds while limited to flours on hand...had a crispy crust, but texture of dough could still be improved.

  • 1 T yeast
  • 1 1/3 c milk, warm
  • 1 T sugar
  • Flour: 1 c rice flour, 1/8 c soy flour, 1/4 c millet flour, 1/4 c glutinous rice flour
  • Starch : 3/4 c tapioca flour, 1/4 c potato starch
  • 2 t xanthan gum
  • 3/4 t salt
  • heaping 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t oregano
  • 2 t olive oil
  • 2 t apple cider vinegar
  • 1 egg 
Notes

For regular pizza dough or topping ideas, see the gluten-full recipe.

    Cleaning: Dog

    Dog Shampoo
    • A container such as a shampoo bottle or other squeeze bottle.
    • CLEAR liquid antibacterial soap. Palmolive, Ivory, Dove are recommended
    • WHITE vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar
    1.  Mix equal parts vinegar and soap in the container. Shake well.
    Nourishing Conditioner for Dry hair
    A nourishing conditioner for dry or damaged hair which can be used for all hair types: Separate the white of an egg from the yolk, whip it to a peak. Add 1 Tablespoon of water to the yolk and blend until the mixture is creamy. Then mix the white and yolk together. Wet hair with warm water, remove the excess moisture, and apply the mixture to scalp with fingertips. Massage gently until the froth is worked into scalp, then rinse the hair with cool water. Keep applying the mixture until it is used up and then rinsed until all of the egg is washed away.

    Dandruff
    The vinegar is poured into the hair, massaged into the scalp, and left to dry for a few minutes. Then the hair is washed. The process is repeated daily until the dandruff disappears, usually within a few days.

    Post Commercial Shampoo for pH Balance
    A teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with a pint of warm water can be used as a rinse to restore the ph balance of your dog's skin after using a store bought (or other) shampoos.

    Pet Urine on Carpet
    First, blot up what you can with paper towels. Mix one teaspoon mild dish-washing detergent in one cup warm water, dip a clean towel in the liquid and, working from outside in, dab at stain. Do not over-wet. Rinse with fresh water and blot dry. Next, add on-third cup white vinegar with two-thirds cup water and dab on stain. Rinse with water; blot until dry. Once area is totally dry (after at least 24 hours), sprinkle entire carpet with baking soda or rug deodorizer. Vacuum after a few hours.

    Method 2

    1. Blot up moisture - if fresh
    2. Mix 1:1 water and white vinegar. Spray and work into carpet with soft brush or fingers. Blot area with paper towels to absorb vinegar mixture. Vinegar neutralizes ammonia in dog urine. If have wetvac, then use it to remove excess moisture
    3. When dried or almost dried, sprinkle good handful of baking soda over the soiled area. Mix half cup 3% hydrogen peroxide with teaspoon of dish soap detergent (plain, not caustic). 
    4. Pour or spray mixture over baking soda. Work into carpet using fingers/brush. Allow to dry COMPLETELY...using fan or heater to expedite. Vacuum.

    Cleaning: Bath Tub

    • baking soda
    1. Sprinkle liberally.
    2. Scrub with wet sponge.
    3. Rinse.
    For deeper clean, wipe with white vinegar first.

    Note: Vinegar can break down tile grout, so use sparingly.

    Cleaning: Toilet

    Switching to all natural/non-toxic cleaning solutions.
    • 1 c white vinegar
    • 1/4 c baking soda
    1. Dump in toilet.
    2. Let sit a few minutes.
    3. Scrub.
    4. Flush.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Chickpea Chocolate Cake

    It sounds gross, but you can't even tell there's a massive can of chickpeas in here with no flour. Gluten free and dairy free at its easiest.
    • 1.5 c semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (19 oz)
    • 4 eggs
    • 3/4 c sugar
    • 1/2 t baking powder
    • 1 T confectioners sugar
    1. Rinse and drain chickpeas. Optional: remove skins
    2. Melt the chocolate chips (microwave 1 minute and then stir every 20 seconds, 50-80% power level).
    3. Food process the beans and eggs until smooth. Add sugar and baking powder. Pulse to blend.
    4. Pour in the melted chocolate and blend until smooth. Scrape the sides to make sure the chocolate is completely mixed.
    5. Pour the batter into a greased and cocoa-powdered 9 inch cake pan. 
    6. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes or until done. 
    7. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Invert onto plate. 
    8. Dust with confectioners sugar just before serving. 


    Sunday, August 22, 2010

    Dog Treat: PB+Banana Cookies

    These were very simple to throw together and the dog loves them. Good to stick one in your pocket before a walk and use for heel training. Or use around the house for "Find It!"
    • 1 egg
    • 1/3-1/2 c peanut butter
    • 1-2 bananas
    • 1-1.5 c flour
    • 1/2 c quick oats
    • optional: 1 egg white
    1. Preheat oven to 300F. Lightly grease baking dish.
    2. In a large bowl, beat egg, peanut butter and banana together.
    3. Add flour and oats. Mix until just combined.
    4. Drop onto baking container and flatten. [Or roll out and use cookie cutter shapes - this is overkill as dogs don't care about shape. But maybe a good idea if you are making as a gift.]
    5. Optional: Brush with beaten egg white.
    6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
    7. Cool and serve to dog, store in air-tight container, or freeze for later use.
    Variations
    • Use rice flour or whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour.
    • Use wheat germ instead of oats.
    • Add 1 T honey.
    • Use pumpkin instead of banana.
    Notes
    Use natural peanut butter with no added salt, oils, sugar, etc.

      Monday, August 16, 2010

      Curried Chicken

      Got an Indian Curry packet at the spice shop and tried out some of it tonight.
      • 2 chicken breasts, boneless/skinless, cut into 1/2" pieces
      • salt + pepper
      • 2 T oil
      • 2 T curry powder
      • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
      • 2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
      • dash of cumin
      • 1 can coconut milk
      • small basket of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
      • 1/4 c tomato sauce
      • 2 T sugar (3 was too much)
      • 2 small potatoes, diced
      1. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
      2. Heat oil in pan. Add curry powder. Stir over medium heat for 2-5 minutes.
      3. Add onions, garlic and cumin and cook slowly for 7 minutes, adding more oil if necessary.
      4. Add chicken, and cook until no longer pink. (7-10 min)
      5. Add coconut milk, tomatoes, sauce, sugar and potatoes. Simmer 30 minutes or up to 3 hours, until potatoes are cooked through and sauce is desired consistency.
      6. Server over rice
      Variations
      • Add frozen peas.
      • Add cashews.
      • Use chicken broth.
      • Use canned, stewed, diced tomatoes instead of fresh.
      • Throw everything in crockpot and cook on LOW for ?? hours.
      • Thicken with cornstarch slurry (instead of simmering for hours).
      • Add cauliflower.
      • Serve with naan to soak up sauce.
      • Add zucchini and mushroom.
      • Top with fresh cilantro.

      Thursday, July 8, 2010

      Pineapple Almond Sorbet

      I would have added coconut milk but the kids insisted they didn't like coconut (which wasn't true as I blended the remaining liquid with coconut milk and they gobbled it up). Oh well, next time. The nuts add a great texture.
      • 2.5 c pineapple (1 small pineapple), refrigerated
      • lemon
      • 1 T-1/4 c sugar (depending how sweet fruit is)
      • chopped almonds
      1. Blend pineapple with 1/2 lemon's juice. Optional: add in grated lemon zest.
      2. Add sugar and blend until dissolved (1-2 minutes).
      3. Add almonds and chop for a few moments.
      4. Pour into ice cream maker.
      Variations
      Add coconut milk.
      Use macadamia nuts instead of almonds.

      5/31/15: made with fresh pineapple that wasn't that ripe, so used 1/4 c sugar. also a large handful of chopped almonds. XP stirred it.

      Sunday, June 13, 2010

      Millet Salad w/ Cranberries

      Another gluten-free side dish. Based on this one.
      • 1 c millet
      • 2 c water, boiling
      • 1 c frozen peas, defrosted
      • 1/4 c walnuts, chopped
      • 1/4 c green onions, sliced
      • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
      • 1.5 T olive oil
      • 4 cloves garlic, minced
      • 1/4 t salt
      • 1/4 t pepper
      1. Toast millet over medium heat until it starts popping and smells fragrant.
      2. Add water and cover. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes until water is absorbed and millet is cooked through.
      3. Fluff with fork.
      4. In a medium bowl, combine cooked millet, dried cranberries, green beans, walnuts, and green onions until well mixed. 
      5. In a small bowl, whisk the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic until well blended. 
      6. Pour over the millet mixture. Toss until well blended.
      7. Chill until ready to serve.
      Variations
      Use green beans instead of peas.
      Use quinoa instead of millet.

      Mango Cake/Cupcakes with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

      Made 12 muffins and had enough batter leftover for 2 ramekins to make a small cake for D's birthday.

      Cake ***
      • 2 c flour
      • 1 t soda
      • pinch of salt
      • 2/3 c butter
      • 1 c sugar
      • 2 eggs
      • 3/4 c milk+lemon juice
      • 1 t lemon juice
      • 1 c mango, mashed
      • 1/2 c chopped walnuts
      1. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well.
      2. Mix flour, soda and salt. Blend into creamed mixture.
      3. Fold in remaining 4 ingredients.
      4. Pour into muffin cups.
      5. Bake 25-30 minutes at 190C.
      6. Pour remaining into ramekins and bake 40-50 minutes.
      Variations
      Add coconut and/or lemon zest. Use buttermilk instead of milk+lemon juice combo.
        Lime Cream Cheese Frosting *****
        • 5 oz cream cheese
        • 1/2 c confectioner's sugar
        • 2 T lime juice
        1. Mix ingredients together.
        2. Spread on cupcakes or leveled mini cakes (from ramekins).

        Cheese Apple Dip

        A good party dip, though as host you'll have to get it started as no one can really tell what it is just from looking, except that it looks like an apple, and no one wants to be the first to ruin its image. Once people realize it's a cheese ball, it goes quickly (at least in Taipei).
        • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
        • 8 oz sharp cheddar, grated
        • 1 t garlic powder
        • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
        • paprika
        • one leaf (basil)
        1. Mix cheeses with garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
        2. Shape into ball and refrigerate at least 30 min.
        3. Smooth into apple shape. 
        4. Roll in paprika.
        5. Decorate with basil leaf.
        6. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.

        Friday, June 11, 2010

        Banana Coconut Cream Pie

        G gave me this gluten-free recipe for pie and this one for pie crust last November and I'm finally getting around to making it. I used two variety of bananas. I don't own a pie plate so I improvised and used an 8x8 dish. The nerd in me wants to call this Banana Coconut Cream π². Hahahaha...

        Crust
        • 1/2 c pecans
        • 1 t vanilla
        • 1.5 c coconut (shredded or powdered)
        1. Food process ingredients together. 
        2. Press into baking pan.
        3. Refrigerate until ready to use.
        Coconut Filling
        • 1 c sugar
        • 5 T cornstarch
        • 1/2 t salt
        • scant 3 c coconut milk
        • 4 egg yolks, beaten
        • 2 t almond extract
        Banana Base
        • 3 T butter, divided
        • 3-4 bananas
        • 1/2 c brown sugar
        • 3 T dark rum
        1. In a saucepan, mix together sugar, cornstarch and salt. 
        2. Over medium heat, gradually pour in coconut milk. Continue stirring.
        3. After the mixture boils, continue to heat for 2 minutes or until it becomes as thick as pudding.
        4. Remove from heat.
        5. Add 1/4 c of the mixture to the egg yolks, stirring constantly.
        6. Pour egg yolk mixture back into pan. 
        7. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.
        8. Remove from heat.
        9. Stir in extract.
        10. Set aside to cool.
        11. In a saucepan, melt 1 T butter. Add half the bananas and saute for a few moments. 
        12. Add the brown sugar. Flip and saute the bananas until the sugar starts to caramelize.
        13. Add the rum. Continue stirring. When it looks caramelized and reduced, add the remaining 2 T butter and bananas. Stir.
        14. When the butter is incorporated with the rum, remove from heat.
        15. Pour into base of pie crust.
        16. Top with coconut filling.
        17. Refrigerate overnight.
        Variations
        • Use coconut instead of pecans in the crust.
        • Use coconut extract instead of almond extract. 
        • Use Kahlua instead of rum
        • Garnish with toasted coconut.
        Notes
        • M, A, and JM were big fans.
        • 7/3/10 Made this Saturday night. G+K came over the next day and we ate the whole thing. Turned out better than the first time - had a firmer texture. Made in a square ceramic dish with glass cover. Eyeballed the cornstarch, used shredded sweetened coconut, scant amounts of sugar, and light rum.
        • 6/8/13 Made this in a pie plate with 3.5 bananas, light rum, 1 can of gold label coconut milk (extra thick) and 1 partial can of regular coconut milk. Used leftover 4 egg whites to make crepes.

          Coconut Cardamom Banana Cake

          I wasn't paying attention to my notes and didn't add the flour mixture in with the wet until after I'd mixed in the bananas and started dumping in the apples, raisins and nuts. Seems to have come out ok just the same. The banana flavor is very strong. Based on the recipe from Food Blogga. Made for E's birthday (she was a big fan).
          • 2 2/3 c flour
          • 1 1/4 t soda
          • 1/2 t salt
          • 1 t cardamom
          • 1/2 t cinnamon
          • 1/2 t nutmeg
          • 1/4 t ginger
          • scant 1.5 sticks butter
          • scant 1 c br sugar
          • scant 1/2 c sugar
          • 2 eggs
          • 3 T maple syrup
          • 1.5 t vanilla
          • 3/4 c coconut milk
          • 2 bananas, mashed
          • 1 apple, chopped (about 1 c)
          • 1/2 c raisins
          • 1 c powdered coconut, toasted
          • 3/4 c pecans, chopped
          1. Combine flour, soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl.
          2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars.
          3. Add the eggs.
          4. Add the maple syrup, vanilla and coconut milk.
          5. Mix the dry ingredients in with the wet.
          6. Stir in the bananas.
          7. Mix in the apple, raisins, coconut and pecans.
          8. Pour into 2 greased 9" round cake pans.
          9. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
          10. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.
          Cardamom Icing
          • 1/2 c confectioners' sugar
          • 1/4 t cardamom
          • several droplets of milk
          1.  In a small bowl whisk together sifted sugar and cardamom. 
          2. Add a few droplets of milk and continue whisking until the icing is smooth and thin yet clings to the back of a spoon. 
          3. [When it's ready, pour it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any tiny clumps of confectioners' sugar.]
          4. Using a spoon, drizzle the icing over the top of the cake, and spread it with a thin, metal spatula. 
          5. Sprinkle each cake with 1/4 cup of toasted coconut, and 1 tablespoon chopped pistachios. Allow to set for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

            Thursday, June 10, 2010

            Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad

            Just put this together and it's chilling now for tomorrow's consumption. I detest celery so this salad uses apple in place to get a similar crunch.
            • 6 chicken breasts
            • 1 t salt
            • 3 T white part of scallions
            • ~1/3 c mayo
            • ~1/3 c yogurt
            • 2 t italian seasoning
            • 1 c walnuts, toasted
            • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
            • 1.5 c craisins
            • 4 T lemon juice
            • salt & pepper
            1. In a large bowl, combine 1 quart of water with 1 t salt. Place chicken breasts in bowl and let sit in brine for 10 minutes.
            2. In a shallow pan, heat water to a simmer. Add chicken breasts and cook for 12 minutes or until done.
            3. Remove the chicken and cool on plate.
            4. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients.
            5. Chop chicken into 1/2" cubes. Add to bowl and toss. 
            6. Refrigerate.
            7. Serve on lettuce, in tomato cups, or with sliced bread.
            Variations
            • Use shallots instead of scallions.
            • Add curry powder.
            • Use fresh tarragon.
            • Use white or red wine vinegar, orange juice or champagne instead of lemon juice.
            • Add diced red onion.
            • Top with freshly chopped herbs (tarragon, chives, green onions, etc).
            • Instead of the apple, use celery, carrot, chopped green beans, water chestnut, or cucumber for similar texture.
            Take #2
            This turned out a lot better - in texture, color and taste.
            • 6 chicken breasts
            • coarse salt + chicken broth
            • 2 small carrots
            • 1 tiny cucumber
            • ~1/2 c chopped walnuts, toasted
            • 1 apple, diced and covered with lemon juice to prevent browning
            • 2 green onions, chopped
            • chives, chopped
            • ~1/2 c yogurt
            • ~1/2 c sour cream
            • seasoning: oregano, basil, tarragon, parsley
            • lemon juice
            • 1/2 c craisins

            Take #3

            6/21/15 Made a giant batch. The chicken breasts were the ginormous kind so used just the 4 in the package. Had to boil them for closer to 20 minutes because they were so thick in parts.

            4 giant chicken breasts
            1 T salt + water = brine
            2 carrots
            3 mini cucumbers
            1 apple
            ~1/3 c yogurt
            ~1/3 c mayo
            1/2 c chopped walnuts
            lime juice
            1/2 c craisins
            oregano, parsley, tarragon

            Grilled/Baked Salmon

            The Idea: Triangular wedges of salmon fillet ...marinaded in maple syrup and soy sauce...Placed on a skewer the broad wider side dipped in black pepper and then cooked quickly over a very hot grill.

            The Recipe
            3/4 c maple syrup
            1/4 c soy sauce
            4 salmon fillets - (abt 6 oz ea) -- skin removed
            1/4 c freshly-cracked black pepper
            Vegetable oil spray -- as needed

            To prepare the marinade: In a small bowl whisk together the syrup and soy sauce. Pour the marinade into a large plastic resealable bag, and add the fillets. Press out the air and seal the bag tightly, then turn the bag several times to distribute the marinade. Set in a large bowl and refrigerate for as long as possible (a minimum of 4 hours, but ideally 24 hours to do it justice). Turn salmon every few hours.

            Place pepper on a small plate. Remove salmon from marinade and generously spray both sides of each fillet with oil. Pat top side only into cracked pepper to coat.

            Grill fillets, pepper-side up, over Direct High heat for about 6 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling time. Avoid overcooking the fillets. Salmon is best when the color has turned to a pale pink, but the fish is still moist throughout. Serve immediately on warmed plates.

            This recipe yields 4 servings.





            Variation: Cut the salmon into bite-size pieces and use freshly ground (coarse) black pepper on half the pieces (one side only), and untoasted white sesame seeds on the rest (again, one side only). Put on a foil-lined and lightly greased cookie sheet in a 500F oven for 4 or 5 minutes.

            Coconut Sorbet

            This was easy to make but I prefer mango and strawberry.
            • 1 can coconut milk, chilled
            • 1 lime
            • 1/4 c maple syrup
            • dash of almond extract
            1. Pour the coconut milk into a bowl.
            2. Zest the lime into the bowl.
            3. Juice the lime and add to bowl.
            4. Pour in maple syrup and extract.
            5. Whisk.
            6. Pour into ice cream maker.

            Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

            Made these a couple days ago with E&E. They turned out a little too sweet and flat. I added more flour to subsequent batches and chilled the dough, which helped thicken and soften them up. Made another batch today and they came out nice and thick and soft.
            • 1 3/4 sticks butter (scant 1 cup), softened
            • 7/8 c brown sugar (scant 1 cup)
            • scant 1/2 c sugar
            • 2 eggs
            • 1 t vanilla
            • 1.5 c flour
            • 1 t soda
            • 1 t cinnamon
            • 1/2 t cloves
            • 1/2 t nutmeg
            • 1/4 t ginger
            • 1/2 t salt
            • 3 c rolled oats
            • 1 c raisins
            1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and spices.
            2. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugars.
            3. Add eggs and vanilla.
            4. Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients.
            5. Fold in oats, followed by raisins.
            6. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes at 180C (mini oven middle rack). 
            Notes
            If cookie comes out too crisp, add flour or oats, lower the cooking rack, lower the temperature, or refrigerate the dough.

            Monday, May 31, 2010

            Old Recipes

            Things I used to make that one day I might make again and blog about...

            zucchini bread ***
            blueberry sour cream cake *****
            da bing *****
            carribean rice ***
            pumpkin cheesecake *****
            sticky rice with chicken ****
            steamed milk *****
            coconut sticky rice with mango *****
            gateau basque ***
            pumpkin bread ****
            rice-chestnut stuffing *****

            Other
            Brown chicken - mom
            green beans - sis
            bibingka - theresa

            DONE

            coconut custard pie (blender) ****

            Saturday, May 29, 2010

            Mexican and then Some Menu

            Hosted a welcome back dinner for J and M. Kept it small (12 people) and due to rain, indoors as well. Made most everything ahead of time - only cooked the beans and the chicken during the party and had people help chop the fajitas toppings. Makes for a good summer menu since many of the dishes are chilled.

            Friday, May 28, 2010

            Mango Frozen Treats

            It's May -- that means mangoes are in season in Taiwan! I tried two recipes side by side. The ice cream was preferred by one person, and the sorbet by the other 5. Everyone agreed that both were good. The mango flavor was stronger in the sorbet. The sorbet, which I forgot to take a picture of, was a little strange looking due to the green specks of lime zest throughout - but the taste really was delicious!

            Mango Ice Cream **** [vegetarian]

            • 2.5 c mango puree
            • 1 1/4 c milk
            • 1/3 c heavy cream
            • 1 T fresh lime juice
            • 3 T white sugar
            1. Blend first 4 ingredients.
            2. Add sugar to taste (depending on sweetness of mangoes).
            3. If mangoes were chilled, then pour half into ice cream maker. Chill remaining half and make next day.
            Variation: Add a pinch of salt.
            Note: I used 1% but next time I would use whole, and less of it, and increase the amount of cream and mangoes.

            Mango Sorbet ***** [lactose-free, vegan]

            • 2 ai-wen mangoes, diced, chilled or frozen
            • 1/3 c water
            • 1/3 c sugar
            • 2 T fresh lime juice
            • lime zest
            1. Bring water and sugar to boil in a small pot. Let cook until sugar is dissolved. Pour syrup into bowl and let cool.
            2. Blend mangoes with lime juice and zest.
            3. Add syrup to taste (I used 2/3 of the amount).
            4. Pour into ice cream maker and stir until desired consistency.
            Variations
            Add fresh grated ginger or dark chocolate pieces or 1 T dark rum.


            Haven't Tried Yet


            Creamy Mango Sorbet
            2-3 mangos
            1/4 c sugar
            1 c cream
            [optional: 1 c ice]
            [optional: a little salt]

            Easy Mango Sorbet
            2-3 fresh mangoes
            1 c confectioner sugar (or to taste)
            2 lemons, juice only

            Notes
            Mangoes not in season? Try strawberry froyo or sorbet.

            Thursday, April 15, 2010

            Mini Chocolate Cake

            Used the ramekins to make this tiny cake. I ran out of all purpose flour so used 2 T of bread flour. It came out a little dense. Maybe more lemon juice with the milk next time. This is the perfect recipe for when you are in the mood for a little chocolate cake but don't want to have leftovers to be eating it all week.
            • 1/4 c + 2 T all-purpose flour
            • 2 T cocoa powder
            • 1/8 t baking soda
            • 1/3 cup sugar
            • 3 T buttermilk (or milk + lemon juice)
            • 1 egg
            • 1/2 t vanilla extract
            • 3 T salted butter, melted and cooled (or unsalted + 1/8 t salt)
            1. Sift the flour, cocoa and soda in a medium bowl. Stir in the sugar.
            2. In a small bowl, use a fork to combine buttermilk, egg and vanilla.
            3. Pour in cooled butter, beating with fork the whole time.
            4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir just until flour is incorporated.
            5. Divide evenly into two greased ramekins. Spread batter evenly by rotating dish.
            6. Bake 25-30 minutes at 170C or until fork comes out clean.
            7. Let cool 5-10 minutes.
            8. Invert onto plate and serve as desired.
            Variations
            Serve with custard filling, frosting, fruit or plain.
            12/12/10 Made with buttermilk.

            Saturday, April 10, 2010

            Gluten-Free Cocoa Cake

            M has gone on a gluten-free diet so this is a go at a cake/brownie recipe using glutinous rice flour. It rose well and withstands being carried vertically in a backpack to a dinner party by bike. The texture is very much like a marshmallow - soft and squishy with a bit of a bite. However, there is a slight dry after-taste - which might be because of the gl rice flour or just because of my particular brand of flour. If you halved the recipe and reduced the baking powder, I think it could pass for a gluten-free chewy brownie. As is, it is much more cake-like.
            • 1 stick of butter (1/2 c), super softened (or melted and cooled)
            • 7/8 c sugar
            • 2 eggs
            • 1/2 c cocoa powder
            • 1 3/4 c glutinous rice flour
            • 1 heaping t baking powder
            • 3/4 c coconut cream
            • 1 t vanilla (or almond)
            • optional: handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips (or dark chocolate)
            1. Combine the butter and sugar.
            2. Add the eggs.
            3. Sift in the cocoa powder and add the rice flour and powder. Stir until combined.
            4. Pour in coconut cream and vanilla. Stir until not lumpy.
            5. Pour half into greased 8x8 pan. Layer with chocolate. Spread the remaining half on top.
            6. Bake at 190C for 25-35 minutes.

              Thursday, April 8, 2010

              Black Sesame (Cocoa) Muffins

              Elisa bought a massive bag of powdered black sesame and shared it with me. So I gave a go at some black sesame muffins. I wasn't sure how they'd turn out, so I split the batter and added cocoa to half. I really like how the black sesame muffins look - browned on the outside, like a normal muffin, but they are white with black specks on the inside. The cocoa overpowers the black sesame as well as covers up the speckled design. I might try adding vanilla or almond extract next time. Or maybe a filling of black sesame paste in the middle to give it a little extra oomph in the flavor department.
              •  1.5 c flour
              • 1/2 c black sesame powder
              • 1/3 c sugar
              • 3 t baking powder
              • 1/4 t baking soda
              • 1/4 t salt
              • optional: up to 1/4 c cocoa 
              • 3/4 c yogurt
              • 4 T butter, melted
              • 2 eggs
              • [next time: vanilla or almond extract]
              • optional: milk
              1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
              2. In a medium bowl, mix the wet ingredients.
              3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just mixed. If too thick, add a little milk.
              4. Spoon into 12 greased muffin cups and bake for 20 min at 200C.

                Notes
                I split the dry ingredients in half and added 1/4 c cocoa to one half. This was a bit much so next time only 1/8 c (or 1/4 c for the whole batch). The batter was too thick. I left the plain black sesame as was but milked down the cocoa ones by a few T. The cocoa ones rose better than the black sesame. I used some old Ticino yogurt (plain, solid). CT couldn't taste the black sesame.

                Thursday, March 25, 2010

                Brunch Menu

                Had 4 people over for brunch today. There were so many dishes I wanted to try, I ended up making a little too much. G brought some almonds, fig confiture and strawberry jam to complement the meal.

                Deviled Eggs

                I'm not sure I've ever eaten deviled eggs, so I wasn't sure what this was supposed to taste like. When I was making the yolk mixture I couldn't taste the 1 t of mustard so I added the rest of the jar (maybe another 1 t). To some the mustard had a good kick, and to others it was overpowering.
                • 6 eggs
                • 1-2 t dijon mustard
                • 1-3 T mayo
                • salt
                • pepper
                • garlic powder
                • paprika
                1. Place eggs in deep pot. Add cold water so eggs are covered by at least 1" of water. Heat to boiling. Immediately cover and turn off the heat. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. Put eggs in small container and run cold water over eggs until cooled. Dry the eggs and place them in a covered container in the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours.
                2. Peel the eggs. Cut in half. Set whites on plate. Put yolks in a bowl.
                3. Mash up the yolks. Add 1 t mustard. Add mayo, 1 T at a time until desired consistency. Add additional mustard if desired. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
                4. Place in piping bag and pipe back into egg whites.
                5. Sprinkle with paprika.
                6. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
                Variations
                • Instead of garlic powder, use a minced clove of garlic or horseradish.
                • Add something green: minced green onions, chives, cilantro or parsley.
                • Use a curry base instead of mustard.
                1 clove garlic
                2 serrano chiles, seeded and minced
                1/2 c mayo
                1 t fresh lemon juice
                2 t dried mustard powder
                1/4 t cayenne powder
                1/4 t pure chile powder
                1/4 t paprika
                1/2 t salt
                1 t chopped cilantro
                1 t chopped chives

                  Baked Mashed Potatoes

                  I love hash browns but instead of frying potatoes I wanted to serve something that was baked. Use this as a  potato side option.
                  • 4 c mashed potatoes (w/ butter, salt, pepper and milk)
                  • 1/2 c diced onions
                  • 1/2 red bell pepper
                  • oil
                  • 3/4 - 1.5 c cheddar cheese, grated
                  • salt and pepper
                  1.  Heat oil in pan. Saute onions and bell pepper until tender.
                  2. Stir into mashed potatoes.
                  3. Add cheese to taste (about half a cup).
                  4. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed (If the cheese is salty, you won't need to).
                  5. Spread evenly in 8x8 dish.
                  6. Cover with remaining grated cheese.
                  7. Bake at 180C uncovered 25 minutes or until cheese is melted.
                  Variations
                  • Add sliced green onions and/or bacon.
                  • Add eggs - yolks with the potatoes and stiffened egg whites at the last step to make the potatoes lighter.

                    Strawberry Syrup

                    I like to eat waffles, pancakes and french toast plain. But most people I know like to sweeten it with something. So I made this strawberry syrup to go with today's brunch.
                    • 2 T cornstarch
                    • 1/2-3/4 c sugar
                    • 1 c water
                    • 1.5 c frozen strawberries
                    1. In a small pan, mix cornstarch and sugar.
                    2. Add water.
                    3. Heat over medium heat until boiling. Stir constantly for 3 minutes.
                    4. Add strawberries and simmer for 10 minutes.
                    5. Serve immediately or let cool.
                    Variation
                    • After the berries have simmered, stir in 1 T butter.
                    • Use 1 c fresh or thawed blueberries instead of strawberries.

                    French Toast

                    I've been making French Toast since I was a kid. It's one of the few recipes I have memorized. I made a fresh loaf of bread to go with it. You can also use french bread, italian bread, white bread (I or II-below),  part wheat bread, cardamom bread, golden egg bread, challah, or anything else that suits your fancy.

                    White Bread II
                    • 1 1/4 c lukewarm milk
                    • 3 c all-purpose flour
                    • 1.5 T sugar
                    • 1.5 t salt
                    • 2 T butter
                    • 2 t yeast
                    French Toast
                    • 1 egg
                    • 1 t to 1 T sugar, depending on taste
                    • pinch of salt
                    • 1/3 c milk
                    • vanilla or almond extract
                    • cinnamon
                    1. Make the bread a day ahead. Combine ingredients in bread machine. Set to dough cycle. When done, punch down on floured surface. Knead a few times. Roll out to rectangle. Roll up. Fit inside greased 9x5 bread pan. Let rise, covered, for 30 min-1 hr, until doubled. Bake for 35 min at 180C. Remove from pan to cool (otherwise the trapped steam will make it soggy).
                    2. In a shallow bowl big enough to lay a slice of bread in, mix egg, sugar and salt. Stir in milk and extract. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
                    3. Slice 2-4 pieces of bread. Dip bread in batter and flip to coat both sides.
                    4. Lay in preheated, greased pan. Flip when cooked on each side.
                    5. Repeat, sprinkling batter with additional cinnamon with each batch.
                    6. Serve immediately or freeze.
                    Notes
                    • French toast recipe may be doubled or tripled. When tripling, add slightly less milk. For eggier taste, reduce milk.
                    • Cut toast to desired thickness. 1/2" for regular toast, 1" for Texas toast or stuffed French Toast
                    • Stuff with cream cheese mixture before dipping.
                    • Serve with maple syrup, strawberry syrup, honey, dusting of confectioner's sugar, fresh fruit or plain.
                    • This bread is just perfect for french toast. It came out very tender and soaked up the batter just right.

                    Friday, March 19, 2010

                    Cocoa Chocolate Chip Mint Cookies

                    Mmmm, delicious. C gave me her bottle of peppermint extract to experiment for a while. First on the list, mint cookies! I just made the first batch and they are deliciously soft, chocolaty and minty. After cooling they are still soft and taste like mint-chocolate chip ice cream (my favorite) in cookie form. Divine.
                    • scant 3/4 c butter (<1.5 stick), room temp
                    • 1/2 c sugar, scant
                    • 1/2 c brown sugar, scant
                    • 1 egg
                    • 1 t vanilla
                    • 1 t peppermint extract
                    • 1 3/4 c flour
                    • 1/4 c cocoa (I used Hintz)
                    • 1 t baking soda
                    • 1/4 t salt
                    • 1 c Hershey's really mildly sweet dark chocolate chips
                    1. Mash butter. Add sugars. Combine until creamy.
                    2. Add egg. Mix thoroughly.
                    3. In small bowl, combine flour, cocoa (sift if chunky), soda and salt.
                    4. Add extracts to wet mixture and mix.
                    5. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and stir until just combined.
                    6. Dump in chips and mix until spread evenly.
                    7. Drop spoonfuls of dough on non-greased cookie sheet.
                    8. Bake 180C for 8-15 minutes, depending on your oven and level of crispiness desired.
                    Notes
                    • The original called for greasing the sheet. I only greased half the sheet the first batch, and there wasn't a difference, so might as well skip this extra step.
                    • These cookies supposedly get very crispy if baked for too long. I like mine soft, so planned on baking 9 min. However, the mini-oven I use often doesn't seem to finish as quickly as a full sized oven, so the first batch I left in for 15 minutes. Second batch I started at above middle. They are incredibly soft out of the oven, and then later the outside crisps up a little bit.
                    • I made this again 2 days later, and the cookies came out flat. I eyeballed the butter both times - the first time was less than 3/4 c and the second time was probably a bit over 3/4 c. Definitely go with less butter for a thicker cookie.
                    • 6/10/10 Doubled the recipe.

                      Wednesday, March 17, 2010

                      Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

                      #1 Easy Version

                      I found 4 frozen yogurt recipes I want to try, and this is the first. I made this tonight because it was already quite late and I wanted something where I could just dump the ingredients in and have a pot. I think the quality of yogurt makes a big difference here. I went to Wellcome and bought the one that says "soft yogurt", that comes in a 3 cup package. It's quite sweet already so I shouldn't have added as much sugar as I did.
                      • 1.5 c strawberries, frozen or thawed
                      • 1 c yogurt
                      • 1/6 c sugar (or less if yogurt is already very sweet)
                      • 1/2 t vanilla
                      1. Blend all four ingredients.
                      2. Pour into ice cream maker and crank continuously until desired consistency.
                      3. Serve immediately! Freeze remainder.
                      Variations
                      Add 1/4 c mini choc chips 5 minutes before done.

                      Notes
                      Pictured are the Strawberry Sorbet and froyo, in a side by side taste test. Both of these were winners! Two different textures, two great tastes. Both were equally too sweet - so next time taste the yogurt first...or even the puree w/o any added sugar and then add sugar as necessary.

                      #2 Chunky Version
                      I made the batter and chilled it for an hour. It wasn't long enough - it stayed as soup in the ice cream maker. So I let it sit overnight and finished it off the next day. Since it's starting from fridge temp and not near-freezing, it takes a lot longer than the Easy version. But it's worth the wait if you can plan that far ahead. The chunky strawberries in this were delicious.
                      • 1.5 c strawberries
                      • 1.5 T lemon juice
                      • 1/3 c sugar (or to taste)
                      • 1/8 t salt
                      • 1/4 c milk
                      • 3/4 c yogurt
                      1. In a small saucepan, use a potato masher to mix the strawberries, lemon juice, sugar and salt over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. 
                      2. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
                      3. Stir in milk and yogurt. Chill for at least one hour (but better overnight).
                      4. Finish off in ice cream maker, churning for 20 minutes.
                      Notes
                      3/21/10 I used 1/2 cup of the Soft Yogurt (already sweetened) and 1/4 cup of Tanini brand plain yogurt.

                      Tuesday, March 16, 2010

                      Strawberry Sorbet

                      C left one of her mini hand crank ice cream makers with me (after making me delicious mint chocolate chip ice cream). This was my first time using an ice cream maker and I must say that I am hooked. It was so easy and so fast. It's unclear which brand it is, but it looks very similar to the Donvier, except it only has a 2 cup capacity instead of 1 quart. I like that the container is small enough to keep in the freezer so that frozen treats can be made on demand. It only took 12 minutes of churning before the sorbet was ready. Delicious!
                      • 2 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen and thawed
                      • 1/2 c water
                      • 1/4 c sugar (or less)
                      • 1/2 T lemon juice
                      1. In a small pan, dump the sugar and water. Heat to boiling and then reduce to low. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Do not mix while heating.
                      2. Transfer syrup to bowl and let cool.
                      3. Puree the strawberries until smooth.
                      4. Add lemon juice and syrup and puree another 30 seconds.
                      5. Remove ice cream maker container from freezer. Place in plastic holder. Pour strawberry mixture inside. Put in mixer, place cover, and attach handle. Immediately crank 4 times.
                      6. Crank 2-4 times every minute until difficult to turn (or desired consistency). 
                      7. Enjoy immediately or transfer to an air tight container and keep in freezer up to 3 days.

                      Notes
                      A tablespoon of vodka (or any other type of alcohol) will keep the sorbet soft. Alcohol won't freeze, so adding a little keeps the sorbet from hardening too much. Vodka won't affect the taste. Add 2 minutes from finish time.