LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Monday, June 29, 2009

Meyer Lemon and Low Fat Yogurt Cake

what with my new found desire to be simple and light this summer (read: healthy, albeit slightly boring), i still do get the sweet tooth cravings. quite simply, i had to look for an acceptable homemade sweet treat. i wanted something that reeked of summer not only due to the very nature of the ingredients but also in regards to being bikini-figure friendly. i chose an ina garten lemon yogurt cake. i like the chick and i like lemons and i like yogurt. score. what i didn't take into factor was my laziness. i did not feel like whipping out Isabella to do the heavy stirring, it had to be powered by my hand and let's just say, on an uber hot evening, the last thing i want to do is stand in my kitchen stirring batter. so the cake didn't come out as light as i would've liked. it was dense, very moist but still oh so lemony... a hint of a hot summer day, washed down with sweet-tart lemonade. i've had it all week either for breakfast with a cup of coffee or as a 3pm snack with tea. lovely much?

006

Meyer Lemon and Low Fat Yogurt Cake
adapted from Ina Garten

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (i used low fat yogurt)
1 cup of sugar (i added only 2/3 cup)
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons) (i used meyer lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil (i only added 1/4 cup)
juice of 1 lemon (this was my addition)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan.

please note that Ina has a lemony syrup poured into the baked cake, as well as a glaze. i ix-nayed all that. due to my omission of some of the sugar, full fat yogurt and oil, the calories per slice is skewed towards worse case scenario.

240 calories/slice (altho i think it's closer to 200 or even less)

today's song: Tori Amos,Girl

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bakewell Tart/Pudding ~ Tart for a wannabe Brit-ish Tart

to my Dear Fellow Daring Bakers,

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.

i was excited about this month's challenge because if you know me, you know that i pretty much like all things brit-ish. i even bought a cute ruffle edged tart pan. i wasn't going to be deterred by having to make the crust. further, i had made the yummiest Strawberry Rhubarb & Rosemary Jam the previous week and could now use it for the filling of the tart slash pudding. that's the only thing that tasted good. shit went south pretty much from the start.

nuria helped with making the Frangipane. she and i had an in depth discussion about how incredibly unappetizing the concoction looked, like the cellulite one would see on the back thighs of really fat people. attractive and mouthwatering, non? further, i was a bit heavy handed with the almond extract. as in, i slipped and poured quite a lot of the junk into the crust AND frankgipane. it burned the nostrils, singed the back of my throat with just the smell! instant turnoff. and the topper? my oven decided to be a bama and before the time was up, had over-browned the tart. i was hopping mad, i broke up with my oven that night.

final result: i had one slice for breakfast the next day, gave a slice to a coworker who liked it and that was it. the almond extract was just too much. the queen is not happy with me.

till next month, keep your ovens warm and lay off the almond extract,
Angry Asian and Nuria

bakewell tart

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Spiced Garbonzo Beans (Chickpeas) & Yogurt Salad

i've been on a quest lately to not only save money on groceries but also to hawk my daily caloric intake. yeah, i know, if i'm looking to lose weight or inches, there's also gotta be a combination of activity... of the sweating variety. {shudder} essentially, for the last few weeks i've been simplifying my grocery trips, hawking the caloric value of each food item and coming up with suitable activities that will keep my interest, as well as help me shed some poundage. what i've learned:

1. simple salads for lunch and dinner does not give forth much variety to blog about.
2. at least with simple salads, i have more time after work to do anything but hang out in the kitchen. i do miss my kitchen but i'm glad to be away from the iron clad hold my stove has on me.
3. counting calories suck
4. riding a bike is challenging. whoever said you know how to ride a bike forever never met me.
5. summer fare is cheap and healthy, especially when bought at farmer's markets.

during my vacation in Puerto Rico, it opened my eyes to beans. i didn't hate the stuff, i just didn't eat it often. their rice and beans combo? genius. then Recipes to Rival had a falafel challenge, giving me the chance to play around with garbonzo beans. i'd seen the stuff at salad buffets before and i wondered if the stuff would be ok without having to mash or puree, as in eaten whole. with a dash of spices here, a dollap of yogurt there, i whipped up a hearty but satisfying dish. as a side note, i've been using livestrong to calculate my daily calorie consumption and activity levels. it's all a rough calculation, i'll do what i can to provide nutrition facts. just keep in mind, i lean more towards worse case scenarios and despite my ethnicity, my math skills are horrendous.

i'm curious: what are you eating this summer that is light and healthy, but doesn't shirk on taste?

chickpea salad



Spiced Garbonzo Beans & Yogurt Salad
as inspired by what was in my cupboard

2 cans of Garbonzo beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup of plain low fat yogurt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp cumin
1 cup of diced cucumbers
1/2 small onion, diced
few sprigs of cilantro, chopped (picked from my fire escape herb garden)

makes 4 servings, approx. 216 calories per serving

heat up a frying pan (i guess i could've splurged and added a tablespoon of olive oil but i didn't think about it). add in the garbonzo beans and heat thru. add in the dry ingredients, mixing well and coating the beans. allow to warm thru for about 5-10 minutes. meanwhile, mix the yogurt, onions and cucumbers in a bowl. take the beans off the heat and allow to cool. when sufficiently cool, transfer them to the yogurt bowl, mixing well. garnish with cilantro. serve then or at room temperature.

013



today's song: Rascal Flatts, Stand

Monday, June 22, 2009

.: Mekong Delta in Baltimore City :.

Mekong Delta on Urbanspoon

i can't begin to say just how excited i was when Mekong Delta opened a few months ago. my cousin Mao told me about it. it's definitely closer to home, better than that abysmal Baltimore Pho (which i will not link to because they suck ass) and most importantly, it reminds me of home. as in, my mom's home. nevermind Pho #1, which has been declining in points with me lately, this place has the simple un-pretentious feel of a beloved aunt/uncle's house, with cheesy vietnamese music blaring in the back and the heady smokey smell hovering over the kitchen stove -- because the kitchen is in the same room as the dining area. the restaurant is a converted floor of a row house, narrow and long. i imagined the couple (the wife does the cooking and the husband is the waiter and greeter) lived on the top floor. and i was RIGHT! their little son scampers in sometimes, coming in thru the backstair door. how completely quaint.

mekong delta

when Nuria and i showed up on a Wednesday at 6pm, we were the only patrons. there were maybe 8 tables of two. small much? by the time we left at 7:30, the owner had to turn away like five people. it was packed. service was a bit on the slower side, having just one cook does that. but the owner was so pleasant and really, we were in no rush. i noticed one table had ordered a bowl of hu tieu and it was actually served with the proper clear noodles (unlike some establishments that serve it with banh pho...) the menu had the basics: various versions of goi cuon, pho, hu thieu, grilled meat and rice. essentially, stuff my mom would make on a random day. LOVE IT.

we started off with a goi cuon because they were out of cha gio. it was good, but then again, how does one eff up a summer roll? i chose the bánh xèo while Nuria went with the bun thit nuong cha gio. my bánh xèo came out much thicker than i liked, plus, it was filled to the brim with bean sprouts. And, rather than pork and squid, it had chicken, which honestly, i thought was odd. It served with just one leaf of lettuce. i like to roll my bánh xèo in lettuce with some herbs and dip in the fish sauce. nuria liked her dish a lot.

Mekong Delta 2

i have since been back, with jason and my aunt and uncle where in the city for a day. as always, the service was pleasant, the restaurant filled up rather quickly for a random week night and jason actually liked it too. i'll still hit up Pho #1 but Mekong Delta will be my go-to place in the city. now, i wonder if i can convinced them to make banh mi...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Strawberry Rhubarb & Rosemary Jam

this here is a love story.

ever since i started this blog it's opened my eyes to food that i normally would never consume or attempt to create. i'm a creature of habit, capable of having leftovers for lunch and dinner for a week. i generally order the same things when eating out. hello, when i go to eat Pho at my fave joint, it's #12 on the menu. or when i hit up thai, i get the drunken noodles or chicken penang. indian: lamb vindaloo. predictable? yes. safe? yes. stepping out of my culinary comfort zone takes a lot. so i posted a rather banal lament over my disdain for rhubarb and why oh why did i dislike it so on my twitter, @exploreandeat put it aptly: Cuz it looks like murdered celery and is way too sour.

not much incentive to give it a whirl, non? however, a few twitter buds put in a good fight and i succumbed. FF to the farmer's market. picked up a few stalks of the stuff, organic for $5. i didn't have a point of reference, i didn't know if that was uber expensive or not. (incidently, went to super fresh the other day and bought some more rhubarb for $2.99) i also picked up a pint of really red ripe strawberries. Nuria says that they're best for jam, the flesh already soft, too mushy to eat but too good to let rot. fine.

it was a simple enough process, one that did not require me to babysit it. the fragrance? delightful. it was a rather pleasant sunday, balmy with a breeze. the smell wafting from the stove to the living room was fruity with just a hint of earth. and thus began my love affair with rhubarb.

006

Strawberry Rhubarb & Rosemary Jam
inspired and adapted from Passionate About Baking's Peach-Rosemary Jam

i apologize now for not having exact measurements. i wasn't paying attention.

clean rhubarb as you would with celery. dice into small pieces, throw into mixing bowl. i'd say i had about 2lbs. wash and halve strawberries. i had a pint, they were overly rip and juicy. add to mixing bowl. i also put in two sprigs of rosemary. i *think* i put in about 2 heaping tablespoons of sugar and mixed it all together. chill in fridge for a few hours, stirring occasionally. it's a taste preference. i knew i wanted to have some tartness and i knew that the strawberries were pretty sweet so i didn't want to go over with the sugar.

when ready to prepare, throw out the rosemary. put mixture, which after a few hours has mascerated and is quite juicy, in a pan. allow to simmer rather lazily for half an hour. the concoction becomes quite syrupy. i didn't have to mash up any fruit but i did do a cursory stirring with a fork. allow to cool properly before putting in a clean container. i knew i was going to use the jam quite quickly so didn't bother learning about canning for use later.

rhubarb strawberry jam

verdict:
i tried it for the first time on monday on some rosemary & olive oil potato bread. it was really good. i've definately converted to rhubarbism. it was sweet but without being cloying, tart without making you pucker your lips. the consistency rivals that of any other store bought jam i've ever had. i do believe that i won't ever buy store bought jam now too.

005

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Khao Man Gai (Thai Chicken & Rice)

my first introduction to Thai food was when i was about 14, living in Ethiopia. we had just moved to africa and there was one other asian family in the american community. well, technically, the wife was thai and her husband american. my mom became quick friends with her, my sister became friends with the daughter and i just kinda stuck out like a sore thumb. mrs. williams and my mom became known in the community for their excellent cooking. oh the dinner parties were must attends. further, i loved going over to their house because the woman fed me. not just snacks after school, but whole meals that i still dream of.

one of those dishes: Khao Man Gai. it's a comfort food. i put it in the same category as bò kho, pho, thịt kho, and gma's shumai. mainly because it reminds of the time when other people cooked for me. these days that rarely happens. it's not that i'm complaining, if it's not evident, i love cooking. so imagine my surprise some weeks ago when i had an actual physical longing for this dish only to realize that i had no idea how to make it. i didn't even know what it was called. i always just called it that thai version of cơm gà (vietnamese chicken & rice). cursory searches on foodgawker and tastespotting did not help so i had pull out all the stops. i contacted nora, mrs. william's daughter, on facebook and literally begged for her mom's recipe. sweet girl hooked it up. my only issue with this dish was that i could not find the yellow bean paste, i substituted using mixed soy bean paste.

012



Khao Man Gai
from Nit Williams, Siam Thai

a whole chicken
rice
chicken broth
daikon
yellow bean paste (i used mixed bean paste)
tamarind paste or powder
soy sauce, thin and dark
fish sauce
pepper corn
ginger
garlic
cucumber
cilantro

011



Rice: i cooked the rice like i normally do in the rice cooker, but instead, used canned chicken broth. i also threw in a few cloves of garlic.

Chicken: i boiled an entire chicken in water, with a few black pepper corns, and roughly chopped daikon. when chicken was cooked thru, i took the chicken out and skimmed top for yucky stuff and fat. season broth with fish sauce.

Sauce: Equal amounts of fresh ginger, garlic and chilies. Mash them up really well. Add 1-2 Tbsp of Yellow bean paste. Tamarind paste/powder, enough fish sauce, regular soy sauce and black soy sauce to taste. (sorry no exact measurements, mrs. williams doesn't measure)

Garnish with sliced cucumbers and cilantro.

009



today's song: TLC, Baby Baby Baby

Monday, June 8, 2009

Rosemary & Olive Oil Potato Bread

there is something comforting about receiving food during a time of stress or change. it's usually the last thing on your mind when you're up to your eyeballs in work, multitasking with the everyday mundane and the new abnormal crisis control BS. when i hear of someone going thru any kind of change, good or bad, a new home, an illness, a birth, a promotion, i immediately think of what i can prepare as an offer of solace or celebration. it was no different when a few weeks ago a family member fell sick. i'm not much for words of comfort, i sorely lack in showing that kind emotion but i knew that i could certainly express my support in food. keeping it simple, i went with my twi-friend dreamrevelry's Rosemary & Olive Oil Potato Bread.

back in the day (as in, jesus' day) breaking of bread was a way to show thankfulness and gratitude (eucharist). for me growing up, i always took the phrase to mean a sharing of a meal, together with those you love around. and i always took such joy in actually breaking the bread, rather savagely, as opposed to properly cutting it with a knife. i know, dorky of me.

for this occasion, this loaf of bread was to be an offering of thanks that my uncle was recovering well, but also in gratitude to my aunt for standing strong thru it all.

007

Rosemary & Olive Oil Potato Bread
from dreamrevelry

1 c. packed cold roasted mashed up potatoes (skins removed)
1 envelope (¼ oz.) active dry yeast
3 c. white flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
2 T. fresh rosemary, finely chopped (measure after chopping finely)
2 t. salt
4 T. olive oil
1 c. warm water

Combine the yeast, flours, rosemary and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine the potatoes and olive oil; mash them together and add a little water if needed to get them smooth. Turn mashed potatoes into the flour mixture and begin mixing. Add about a half cup of warm water and continue mixing. Add more water as needed until it forms a soft dough.

Turn out dough onto a floured countertop and knead for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Clean out the mixing bowl and spray lightly with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl and cover with a dishtowel. Place in a warm place and let rise for an hour or until doubled in size.

Turn out risen dough on to a floured countertop and punch down and knead for a minute or two. (If you want two smaller loaves, divide the dough now.) Flatten out with your hands and then fold dough up like a business letter. Turn it seam side down and rotate while cupped in your hands to shape into a plump oval loaf. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a slipat. Sprinkle the top with a little whole wheat flour. Cover the loaf(s) with the dishtowel and let rise in a warm place for half an hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Using a sharp knife, scour the top of the bread with three or four diagonal cuts to make a crisscross pattern. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped. If you have a spray bottle handy, use it to mist the sides of the hot oven with water just before putting the loaf in and then every 3 minutes for the first 9 minutes. This moisture will create an extra crispy crust.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

(makes 1 large loaf or 2 small)

004

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cake

when i first spotted the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake by bakerella and then by crepes of wrath last summer, i knew i had to make it myself. however, finding a reason to make such a massively dacadent and monstrous cake was difficult. i couldn't very well just make it on a sunday just for the hell of it. such a master piece requires a raison d'etre. buu's memorial day bbq turned out to be that reason. yeah i know.

when nuria and i displayed The Cake, the collective gasp was loud. my friend Mike said he wanted to make love to it. buu's husband (who the cake was for, because he loves chocolate and peanut butter together) was astounded by the actual visual of this magnificent creation. days after, buu's boss asked about The Cake, because his daughter had been in attendence of the bbq. a week after, Mike still talked about the cake. yeah, it made that kind of impression.

some things just stick with us, not just the calories to our hips. buu's already requested another creation for her next bbq. my first "real" unraveling was at her bday party and i'm glad that this particular creation has made such an impression to so many people. now what to make next? :)

006


Ultimate Chocolate Cake
adapted from The Barefoot Contessa at Home 2006

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

26 oz. peanut butter cups, chopped

Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and/or line 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chop up peanut butter cups and stick them all over the cake!

007


Chocolate Frosting

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon kahlua
2 teaspoons water

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes.

Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy.

Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

chocolate peanut butter cup cake


Today's song: Another Bad Creation, Iesha

Monday, June 1, 2009

Falafel and homemade pita bread

To my dearest Recipe to Rivalers,
This month's challenge was effing awesome. i'd been meaning to make pita bread from scratch for awhile, as an alternative to sandwich bread and the challenge of falafel gave me just the nudge i needed. further, May was the start of bbq month so i knew i could bring this as my offering to a fete. ON TOP OF THAT? my first attempt was so dang good, i made it again for supper one night last week and it was EVEN BETTER. (can you tell i'll be making this again, and often?)

it's not so much that i don't like middle eastern food, i guess i do, but i've never really sought it out. maybe because when given choices, i usually choose indian, thai, korean, or even mexican food to eat. or maybe it's cus that one time, a boy totally dissed me at a middle eastern restaurant and the leftover taste in my mouth never fully dissolved (may he suffer from heartburn forevermore). any which way, i've since forgiven falafel. as for the pita bread, Nuria became quite the pita maker, she totally took the reigns on that which was fine with me.

what can i say about this month's challenge? easy, but not so much that i wasn't at least challenged with finding spices, using a mini-food processor so everything was done in painstaking batches but easy that holy hell, the directions were straight forward and there was no chance i could eff up. there were no leftover at buu's memorial day bbq and when i brought leftovers to work for a coworker, she gobbled it all up. WIN!

till next month, our warmest regards,
Angry Asian and Nuria

falafel/pita

Falafel: Chickpea Patties
Recipe by Madelain Farah, Lebanese Cuisine, Four Walls Eight Windows, 2001

* 1 pound dried chickpeas
* 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes, optional
* Salt and pepper, as needed
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Make the Falafel: Soak the chickpeas in cold water in the refrigerator overnight.

Drain the chickpeas and place them with the onion in the bowl of a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the oil. Mix well. Process the mixture a second time. Form the mixture into walnut-sized balls and deep-fry or pan-fry in hot oil.

***note, i baked mine at 350degrees for about 20 minutes, or till brown. i did flip them once.

i used this recipe for the pita.

pita bread

Nuria also came up with a very simple sauce. we didn't have any yoghurt in the house, just sour cream. she thinned it with some milk, shaved cucumber (and subsequent juice), salt/pepper to taste.

For more gorgeous falafel, hit up the blogroll.