May 27, 2008

First day back to Texas...

and the weather has not been generous. But, it's quite alright when fresh summer fruits sit ripe in your pantry. On a humid, rainy day, why not bake something tart like Lemon Yogurt Blueberry Loaf Cakes? It's been too long since my last kitchen adventure, and today seemed perfect for catching up on those good old times with some good old friends, Lily and Kevin.

Loaf in the raw.

Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf Cake

Adapted from Ina Garten

3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups Fage whole-milk yogurt
2 cups plus 1/2 cup sugar
6 eggs
3 tsps grated lemon zest
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups fresh blueberries
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9-inch loaf pans. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of flour, and fold them very gently into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and top with pumpkin seeds. Bake for about 50 minutes until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cook the lemon juice and sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside. When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

*The original recipe called for 1 Tbsp of sugar to 1/3 cup of lemon juice, but it was way too tart.

A slice anyone? Tastespotting!

May 14, 2008

Where has all...

the time gone? It seems like real life is all bundling into one explosive mass before dropping the bomb. But, needless to say, I am elated about recent outcomes though some days I am over-anxious and stressed. Staying optimistic! My food experiments have been limited recently, but here are a few things I played around with in the past week or so.

Close up of the shrimp.

Salt & Pepper Shrimp Noodles

2 teaspoons of cornstarch
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/4 cup shrimp
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp chili paste

Toss together the cornstarch, salt, pepper and sugar and add the shrimp. Heat a wok or cast-iron pan on medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of sesame oil. Spread the shrimp on the pan in a single layer, being careful not to crowd the pan. Stir fry gently for another 2-3 minutes and remove the shrimp from the pan. Lower the heat to and add garlic, and chili paste.

I put my salt and pepper shrimp over a serving of rice stick noodles.

Looks similar to Tarallucci e Vino's Polenta Breakfast.

Garlic Herb Polenta

2 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp Oregano
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Place the chicken stock in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Gradually pour in the cornmeal, whisking all the while. When the mixture begins to bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until the cornmeal begins to thicken, about 10 to 15 minutes. Whisk in the remaining ingredients. Continue cooking until the polenta just begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 3 to 5 minutes. Serve with poached egg and tomato sauce immediately.

For the poached egg, boil water and pour in a drop of vinegar. Gently slide in the raw egg and lower the heat. Allow the egg to boil for a few minutes before serving. I let mine boil for about 2 minutes so the center is still runny-gooey. (Adapted from Todd English).

May 4, 2008

It's been a long time...

since the last time I posted (or cooked), but anyhow, this Spring has been all about nostalgia. I usually try saving face by not attempting Chinese food because who can cook better than my mother? Rhetorical. I miss home; I miss Chinese food; I miss my mother, so Chinese food it was. (Plus, Chinese restaurants in Ithaca always fail to please my palate and never fail to upset my stomach--what a lose-lose situation). On this particular night, Mickey and I noshed on Corn Soup and Cold Sesame Noodles--two of my favorite, homestyle Chinese dishes.

Part 1

Part 2

Cream Corn Soup

1 can cream corn
1 cup chicken broth
1 large beaten egg
1 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp sesame oil
Salt & Pepper
Green onions for garnish

Pour cream of corn and chicken broth into a soup pot and heat until boiling. Turn down the heat to a simmer and stir in beaten egg. Continue simmering for a few minutes. Mix cornstarch and water to form a viscous liquid. Stir liquid into the soup and let soup simmer for a few more minutes. Add sesame oil, salt, and pepper. Garnish with slices of green onions.

Peanut Sesame Noodle

1/2 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp red chili flakes
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic water
1/2 pound dried spaghetti
1 small sliced cucumber
1 bundle sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1 Tbsp sesame seeds

Heat the peanut butter in a microwave so that it is warm and pliable. Mix in soy sauce, sugar, red chili flakes, vinegar and sesame oil. Mince two cloves of garlic and mix with a few tablespoons of water. Let it sit while cooking the spaghetti. In a medium pot, cook thin spaghetti for about 6-7 minutes until al dente. After draining the spaghetti, drizzle a bit of sesame oil over the top and toss noodles together. Mix in garlic water without the garlic pieces into the peanut sauce. Toss vegetables together with noodles and let chill before serving. Top noodles with peanut sauce, chopped peanuts, and sesame seeds when serving. (Adapted from Everyday Food).

I must cease delaying my paper writing.