Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pecan Oatmeal Waffles

It is the night before the Thanksgiving day, and I am sure everyone can't wait until tomorrow.  Tomorrow is the day to eat turkey, gravy, stuffing, Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, and pies, lots of pies.  I don't cook turkey for Thanksgiving feast since my husband refuse to eat the bird in no matter what shape it is prepared.  We don't miss it that much and I, invariably, cook non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  Some year it will be Chinese food, other year, Indonesian food.  This year, I'm cooking milk fish soup; it's called pindang bandeng.  The soup is simple yet delicious, eaten with steamed rice, padi crackers, and chili paste; it's a feast for us.

But, this post actually is not about the soup; rather it is about what you might want to make for breakfast the morning after Thanksgiving.  Originally the recipe didn't call for pecan, but pecan sounded wonderful in waffles, did it?  It added crunch and delightful aroma to otherwise already crisp and spice infused waffles.  The blackberry curd that accompanied the waffles was an added touch that I thought was perfect.  I had a surplus of blackberries from last summer and I made about 2 cups of curds that I stored in the freezer.   I think any different curd will work out as well.  I used my raspberry curd that was posted in my old food blog, click here for the recipe.  Instead of raspberry, I use blackberry with that recipe.

Pecan oatmeal waffles

The way to serve these waffles is easy.  After the waffles are cooked, slather some blackberry curd in the middle.  Place them in a plate and drizzle maple syrup on top.  I'm sure this is a breakfast for the champion!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Pecan Oatmeal Waffles

Makes 8 servings

3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

7 large eggs

4 cups buttermilk

1/3 cup butter, melted

1/3 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

Combine the first seven ingredients in a large bowl.  Make a well in the middle of the mixture.

Combine eggs with the buttermilk and mix well; pour this into the dry mixture.  Stir until it's almost combined, pour in the melted butter and then mix just until the butter is worked in.  Refrigerate the mixture for 12 hours.

Preheat the waffle iron.  Stir in chopped pecans to the batter.  Pour about 3/4 cup of batter into the waffle iron and cook until they are golden, crisp, and cooked through.  Serve with blackberry curd and maple syrup.

Source: adapted from Breakfast & Brunches by The Culinary Institute of America

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hot Caramel Apple Cider

Hot Caramel Apple Cider

Winter weather coming your way?  Do not be afraid.  Arm yourself with apple cider, caramel, and whipped cream; you are ready to battle the nasty weather.

Hot caramel apple cider

This drink is one of the simplest hot drinks to make this season.  What you want from the apple cider is to get one that is fresh, just pressed, and from a mix variety of apples.  The next time you drive through an orchard, do not leave without a gallon of fresh apple cider.  Keep one in the fridge for a at home luxurious indulgence.  Besides making hot apple cider, the cider can be used for making donuts, candy caramels, and everything else tasty.  But that is another story...

Hot Caramel Apple Cider

Serve 4-6

24 ounces fresh apple cider

1 cinnamon stick

4 tablespoons caramel syrup

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon sugar

Caramel sauce for drizzling

Heat apple cider in medium saucepan until quite hot but not boiling.  Add the caramel syrup.  Whip heavy cream with the sugar until stiff peak.  Ladle the cider into some mugs, top with sweetened whipped cream, drizzle some caramel sauce.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ang Chow Chicken Soup with Preserved Mustard Greens

Do you have a hand-me down recipe that you frequently make now?  Several years ago I asked my mom if she would write down her recipes for me.  I wanted her to write down recipes that she is used to cook while I was growing up, and recipes that she also continues to make at present time.  She obliged, and in about 6 months presented me with a notebook containing her hand-written recipes.  I have also written down her recipes once I started cooking, so her notebook supplements what I have.

One of the recipes in her notebook is this Ang Chow Chicken.  Ang chow is red rice wine from Foochow (or Fuzhou), the capital city of Fujian province in China.  To make ang chow, ang kak, or red yeast rice, is used along with jui piah, or wine cake, glutinous rice, and water.  Glutinous rice is cooked first, which then will be put together in a container with the rest of the ingredients.  Jui piah, or wine cake, is rubbed loose to get the content blended with rice and ang kak.  The process of fermentation will take about 30 days.

I did not know how one would make ang chow before until I searched the Internet and came upon this wonderful article regarding the making of ang chow.  It is fascinating!  I hardly see or know where ang chow is sold here in the Oregon, and whenever I get to go back to Indonesia, I make sure I bring a bottle of ang chow with me.  I cherish that bottle and would only use a little bit at a time even though I love the taste of ang chow in a cooked dish.  I don't know how my family came to cook this particular dish; I'm not sure if one of my ancestors came from Fujian province either.  I'd better asked my father the next time I talk to him.

There are two version of cooking with ang chow in soup in my family, one is with chicken and preserved mustard greens/pickled mustard greens, the other one is with beef and daikon radish.  Ang chow is believed to have health benefits in cooking, for lowering cholesterol, and for mothers who just have given births.  I may not care too much about the health benefits because this dish is certainly a comfort food for me, especially during the cold season.

Ang Chow Chicken Soup with Preserved Mustard Greens

2-3 lbs bone-in chicken thighs (or breasts)

1 10.5 oz preserved mustard greens/pickled mustard greens

3 garlic cloves, sliced

3-4 thick slices of ginger

1-2 tablespoons ang chow

Salt and white pepper to taste

Rinse chicken, chop into smaller size.  Parboil the chicken for a few minutes and drain.  Drain the mustard, and immerse it in a bowl of cool water for 10 minutes.  Drain again, and chop leaves to about 1-inch long.

In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, saute garlic and ginger slices for 30 seconds.  Add the ang chow and stir for another 30 seconds.  Add chicken parts, mustard leaves, and water (about 5-6 cups).  Let it boil, then simmer the soup for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.  Taste with salt and pepper.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pumpkin Chiffon Cake

I fell in love the first time I saw it.  Maybe you are sick of pumpkin by now, but it is only the second week of November, and Thanksgiving is only two weeks away.  I am just trying to make it relevant :)  So, I made pumpkin chiffon cake.  I did not realize that I actually like light and airy cake like chiffon better than any other cake.  The light texture was fooling me by thinking that since it is weighed next to nothing I could eat a few slices at one time.
Pumpkin Chiffon Cake collage

The flavor of the pumpkin was subtle, the way I like it and it did not need any more adornment other than a sprinkling of confectioners' sugar.  It was quite the best of chiffon cake I have ever tasted.  The cake in the pictures looked deflated in the middle because I had to take the pictures the day after, but do not be discouraged, the taste was still terrific.

Head over to this site, where you will find the recipe.

Books to love and to have

Chronicle Books has a contest for you and me, and it is called Happy Haul-idays.  It is a contest for everyone who loves books and find happiness in reading books :)

Even though this blog isn't particularly about books, but I love baking and cooking books and I have several Chronicle books in my library already.  Each one of Chronicles books is gorgeous in both the design and photo aesthetic. By entering this contest I have a chance to win $500 worth of books of my choice; and for you readers, if you like my book list and leave comments on my post, you'll be automatically be entered in the contest and have a chance to win my list.  There's one catch, you have to be a US resident to enter this giveaway.  This contest ends on 11:59 pm EST, December 14, 2010.

So why not make the list and enter it?  Here is mine:
Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe

Farmers' Market Desserts: Gorgeous Fruit Recipes from First Prize Peach Pie to Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

Whoopie Pies: Dozens of Mix 'em, Match 'em, Eat 'em Up Recipes!

Chocolate Cakes: 50 Great Cakes for Every Occasion

Baking for All Occasions: A Treasury of Recipes for Every Celebration


The Chocolate Deck: 50 Luscious Indulgences

Ice Cream Treats: Easy Ways to Transform Your Favorite Ice Cream into Spectacular Desserts

Cake Stencils: Recipes and How-To Decorating Ideas for Cakes and Cupcakes

Bon App├ętit Celebrations Deck: 50 Recipes for Special Parties and Happy Holidays All Year Long

Fast, Fresh & Green: More Than 90 Delicious Recipes for Veggie Lovers

Rice Pasta Couscous: The Heart of the Mediterranean Kitchen

Sunday Soup: A Year's Worth of Mouthwatering, Easy-to-Make Recipes

The Big Book of Soups and Stews: 262 Recipes for Serious Comfort Food

Saveur The New Comfort Food: Home Cooking From Around the World

Where Flavor Was Born: Recipes and Culinary Travels Along the Indian Ocean Spice Route

Martin Yan's China

Quick & Easy Korean Cooking: More than 70 Everyday Recipes

Lobel's Meat Bible: All You Need to Know about Meat and Poultry from America's Master Butchers

Puff: 50 Flaky, Crunchy, Delicious Appetizers, Entrees, and Desserts Made with Puff Pastry

This last one book is not about baking or cooking, but it's something that, if I win, I will give to my husband as a gift for Christmas.  He loves Beatles, and for all his patience for being my food taster, he deserves a great book like this.

The Beatles Anthology

My total comes to $499.30, not bad, huh? :)  Now, I'm crossing my fingers and hope for the best!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Avocado Chocolate Bits Frozen Yogurt

The first time I saw the recipe, it was on Fine Cooking website, and so it being avocado I've got to try it.  In the US, avocado are used mainly in savory dishes, but you would find around the world that the fruit is often used in sweet dishes.  Philippine, Indonesia, Brazil, and Vietnam share the love of pureed avocado shakes sweetened with sugar and/or sweetened condensed milk, with chocolate syrup sometimes added in Indonesia.

My family loves to drink avocado shakes, sometimes a shot of coffee is added to the drink, along with a pinch of salt to round up the taste.  I wanted to marry the flavor of avocado and chocolate in this frozen yogurt, and what better way than to add chopped bittersweet chocolate in it?
Avocado Chocolate Bits Frozen Yogurt

The original recipe asked for lime zest along with the juice to give a tang to the frozen yogurt, but I don't want to do that.  I want my frozen yogurt creamy and sweet.  I then only added half tablespoon of lemon juice to keep the avocado from being discolored.  The top it off, just before serving I drizzle some sweetened condensed milk; now you might think it's a no-no, but not until you try all of those together then you may say, ah, I get it.  Pale green with flecks of chocolate, this frozen yogurt is sure pretty.

Avocado Chocolate Bits Frozen Yogurt

Makes about 1 quart

2 cups whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 large egg yolks

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

2 medium, firm-ripe avocados (6 to 7 oz. each), peeled, pitted

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

1/3 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (60-70% cacao)

Sweetened condensed milk for drizzling, optional

Heat milk and sugar over medium heat in a medium saucepan until just comes to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the vanilla.

Have ready a large bowl filled with ice and set a small metal bowl over the ice with a strainer set over it.

Place egg yolks in a medium bowl, lightly beaten.  Ladle some of the milk into the egg yolk, whisk it to prevent curdling.  Pour this mixture back into the rest of the milk in the saucepan.  Cook over low-medium heat until mixture is thick and can cover the back of a wooden spoon, about 4 to 8 minutes.

Pour the mixture over the strainer into the small bowl; stir in the yogurt.  Whisk the mixture over the ice bath until it cools completely.

Scoop the avocado meat and puree in a blender or food processor along with the lemon juice and some of the cooled custard.  Pour this mixture back to the rest of the custard, blend them together until it is thick and creamy.

Freeze the custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.  Halfway through the freezing process, fold in the chopped bittersweet chocolate.  Transfer the frozen yogurt into a freezer-safe container and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Toffee Peanuts--Bake sale #4

Planters brand sells Sweet N' Crunch peanuts, I made toffee peanuts :)  The taste is pretty similar as well, oh, I was so excited I could make these.  Making them wasn't hard but it was time consuming, especially when it was time to stir so the the peanuts so the sugar coated them evenly.

The recipe could be made with any other nuts or a combination of nuts.
Toffee peanuts

Toffee Peanuts

Makes about 2 pounds

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup butter

4 cups shelled raw peanuts (with skins)

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Lightly greased a large rimmed baking sheet; set aside.

Stir together sugar, butter, and 1/2 cup water in a large deep pot over medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes or until better melts and sugar dissolves.

Increase heat to medium-high; add peanuts, and cook, stirring often, 15 minutes, or until mixture becomes dry.  Reduce heat to medium, and continue to cook 6 to 9 minutes, stirring often, until sugar melts and turns golden.  It will coat the nuts, but do not stir constantly.  Sprinkle with salt and cinnamon; stir well.  Spread nuts in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.  cool completely; break nuts apart.  Store in an airtight container up to 2  weeks.

Source:  adapted from Christmas with Southern Living 2009

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook Prizes Giveaway

I'm trying to finish up this post before the end of the day.  One last important thing before tomorrow rolls in.

Do you remember that my recipe was chosen to be part of The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook?  Tomorrow, Foodista will give prizes giveaway for the release of the book.  It is open to anyone who buys the book between 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. P.D.T. through Amazon.  For the complete detail CLICK HERE.

This truly has been a joyous moment for me to have my recipe published in a book, and I am sure the rest of 99 people whose recipes got chosen are joyous too :)

Dried Cherry-Almond Scones--Bake sale #3

The third item in my bake sale tray: dried cherry-almond scones.  Traditional scones are plain, eaten with jams and clotted cream.  Modernized scones are colorful, with dried fruits, chocolate chunks, fresh fruits, and nuts.  There is nothing wrong of wanting to eat the original flavor, and at other times, the modernized version.

The important thing is to keep the texture of the scones light and tender, flaky and buttery; it should be crumbly in your mouth.  This scones is small in size but big in flavor, I actually like the recipe that it uses buttermilk instead of milk or cream, it makes the dough light inside with crusty exterior.  Almost like biscuits, ooh...I love biscuits :)

Dried cherry-almond scones

Dried Cherry-Almond Scones

Makes 16 small rectangular scones

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar, divide

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds

2/3 cup buttermik

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 400 degree F.  Stir together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl; cut int butter with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly.  Stir in cherries and almonds.

Whisk together buttermilk, 1 egg, and almond extract; add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork just until dry ingredients are moistened and mixture forms a shaggy dough.

Use floured hands to pat dough into a 1/2-inch thick, 10-x7-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface; cut into 16 rectangles.  Place scone dough on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Whisk together remaining egg and 1 teaspoon water.  Brush scones with egg wash; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup sugar.

Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden.

Source:  adapted from 2009 Christmas with Southern Living