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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

homemade hot dog buns (dairy free)

Hot Dog Buns
Hot Dog Buns

it's been about three weeks since i waged war against all things Dairy. the change in my body and how i feel has been eye opening, as well as a relief. not necessarily revolutionary but the little things add up. i tried lactose-free yogurt that did not tear me up, it still wasn't that pleasant of an experience tho.

enter So Delicious coconut milk**. cereal has been reintroduced into my life. another cold beverage option. dairy-free.

it's not the most perfect option. there is quite a bit of confusing information about the benefits AND hazards of coconut milk on the internet. one can always find information to support either view points. from my point of view tho, it works. my stomach does not hurt after consuming this product. i don't intend to use it exclusively, there's still almond, soy, and kefir milks to try. and as with any food, moderation is key.

this past weekend was spent mostly indoors while Irene raged outside. dw & i enjoy hot dogs but most buns are either pure shit or have dairy products in the ingredients. i decided to make the buns. i modified the recipe to be completely dairy-free. the end result came with a slight coconut smell but thankfully did not have that sweet coconut after taste, instead it's a solid bread, hearty and non-stomach pain inducing. shape-wise, i am not a hot dog bun shaper (yet) and so we ended up slicing the dogs in two to fit between the buns properly. we topped them with caramelized onions.

Homemade Dairy-Free Hot Dog Buns
first seen at Bon Appetit Hon, adapted from My Kitchen Addiction

1 cup warm coconut milk
1/4 cup organic sugar
2 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
3 cups AP flour (more as needed, tho i did not)

*note: i used the kitchen aid mixer, with the dough hook

Combine warmed milk, sugar, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. ignore for 15 minutes while you measure and sift the flour. by this time, the mixture smells warm & yeasty, mix to ensure the sugar and yeast have dissolved.

add the coconut oil and egg, mix thoroughly. add in 1 cup of flour and beat to fully incorporate it. slowly add the remaining 2 cups of flour, mixing until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. pour dough onto lightly floured counter and knead gently until it is smooth.

put ball into a lightly greased bowl. cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in warm place until doubled in volume (1 1/2 hours). punch dough down, reshape and allow to rise again (another hour).

preheat oven to 425F.

shape rolls accordingly. as the oven is heating the rolls will swell a bit, no biggie. if you want, brush with egg wash to make it shiny. i didn't bother. bake for 11 minutes (original recipe calls for 12-14 min), until golden on top.

i ended up with 8 gigantore rolls. next time i'll bake slightly under and work on my shaping skills.

**note: this post was not endorsed by So Delicious. i did not receive any money or swag or whatever for mentioning them. they're merely a product that was on sale at the baltimore food co-op.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Arab-inspired Carrot Cake topped with Pistachios


i've talked about it before, i hate carrots. i tolerate them in stews, and sure, baby-sized with dip. dw knows to immediately start shoving them in his mouth should they appear in any dish i order (bless him, he's so good to me). i baked this cake recently for a new hire orientation, seeing as the new colleague is from the UAE and the ingredients are arab inspired.

typically i leave any treats i bring to work on the counter and around lunchtime i snap pictures of what is leftover. an hour into the morning i went in for some tea and there was but one mangled slice of cake left. so you are left with just the first and only shot i took of the cake.

Arab Inspired Carrot Cake topped with Pistachios

75g tahini
125ml canola oil
3 tbsp pomegranate syrup or treacle <- completely skipped this ingredient
Zest of 3 lemons, and 100ml juice
225g turbinado sugar
3 large eggs, separated
200g carrot, grated finely
100g chopped pistachios <- yeah, i was lazy with the chopping. that didn't happen
175g AP flour
2½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp nutmeg

preheat oven 350F

i used a single 8" round pan, ungreased

in a mixing bowl, mix together the tahini, oil, sugar, lemon zest + juice. add in 1 egg plus the remaining 2 egg YOLKS, saving the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl to be whisked until fluffy and peaks form. sift in the dry ingredients in original batter until fully incorporated. gently fold in the egg white peaks. pour into pan, bake for 30-35 minutes. allow to cool.

i used store-bought vanilla icing that i had leftover from the smurf cake pops, topped with whole pistachios.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Smurf Cake Pops

Smurf Cake Pops
aliceann with baby crab

for sweet aliceann's 12th birthday.

materials used:
pillsbury moist supreme strawberry cake mix (don't judge me for using boxed mix)
pillsbury vanilla icing
Gourmet Writer Food Decorator Pens by Americolor (which sucked crazy crack clown ass, btw)
wilton black decorating gel
cookie sticks wilton melting chocolate/candy coats, in white & blue
chocolate covered sunflower seeds for the nose
white fondant for the eyes

other cake pops:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

coconut crème caramel

coconut + crème caramel

i had a dream recently that i put my retainer in wrong and woke up the next morning with a very loose front tooth. the horror. i've read the meanings behind such dreams. because teeth are such an integral part of one's appearance, it could mean a fear of looking a fool. well, i do have a number of out of town public engagements where i'll be speaking with industry experts. this is always ripe ground for me to have no idea what is going on. awesome.

in another regard, teeth are used to bite & chew, kinda like a symbol of power. there are certain things going on that i have no power over which i'll be honest, it's stressing me out.

lastly, having no teeth or even rotting ones can be an indication of malnutrition and poor diet. i have been feeling like ass lately, fatigued and just mildly nauseous. i've made some steps to cut coffee out and tho my stomach is thankful, the caffeine withdrawal headaches are killer. it's been a week since my last sip of coffee; i have tea now, switching between chamomile & regular. i've also cut out as much dairy as humanly possible, without analyzing the bejesus out of ingredient labels. if this doesn't work, i'll look into going gluten free.

any advice on how to proceed would be so greatly appreciated!

meanwhile, i present this coconut crème caramel, perfect soft food, smooth & silky, sweet with a slight bitter after taste of the burnt sugar. i grew up with my grandfather's flan. this particular recipe uses coconut milk which is much friendlier to this lactose-intolerant girl.

this is my submission for Delicious Vietnam, a monthly food event for vietnamese food lovers. it was created by Anh and Kim & Hong. This month's host is ChiAnh of Door to My Kitchen.

coconut crème caramel

4 large eggs
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 pint coconut milk

for the caramel
3/4 cup sugar
5 TBL water

preheat oven to 325F.

to make the caramel, heat the sugar and water in heavy pot, stirring until sugar dissolves. be patient. i have a history of being un-patient. bring the mixture to boil and do not stir. allow the mixture to darken and thicken.

pour into individual ramekins or heat proof dish, tilting to swirl it around the bottom so it is covered. allow the caramel to set.

in a bowl, beat the eggs and yolks with the sugar. heat the coconut milk in a small pan gently, do not allow it to boil over. add a ladle of the hot coconut milk to the egg mixture, making sure to whisk the latter mixture as you're pouring. (this is called tempering. i sound fancy but i'm really not.) gradually add the coconut milk, stirring constantly. if you have to, strain thru a sieve and pour into the ramekins.

set the ramekins in bain-marie, a water bath. use a roasting pan or wide casserole dish half-filled with hot water. bake in oven for 50 minutes, or until the custard has just set but still feels jiggly. leave the dish to cool and then refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving.

to serve, loosen the custard around the sides with thin, sharp knife. place plate over the ramekins and flip the plate & dish together. maybe shake it a bit, or maybe you don't need to, the custard should come right out. the caramel should pool around the custard.

garnish with mint leaves, or in my case, basil leaves and fresh picked raspberries.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Egyptian Basbousa with Pistachio

Egyptian Cake

this was created for a work orientation, since my new hire is Egyptian. i made this along with a special bread pudding called Om Ali. i won't lie, bread pudding is growdy and this version was no exception. but i tried. thank goodness the basbousa came out much better. i used this recipe. i wish i can say that i will make this again but i won't. it was pleasant enough, especially after lunch and with a cup of a tea.

so let's discuss something else. like the amount of movies and random shows i've been watching lately. netflix is to blame, never mind the 2 trips to the theater i made last weekend. don't judge me.

i am number 4. i like young adult fiction. and cheesy action flicks.
my name is khan. hello bollywood. i am here to stay.
stupid crazy love. it stars ryan gosling. can you blame me?
cowboys & aliens. daniel craig. as a cowboy. in leather chaps. i mean, come on!
my so-called life. angela chase+jordan catalano=4ever
Law & Order: SVU. chilling. but hello christopher meloni.
oliver's twist. old school jamie oliver. complete with lisp but before puffiness & wanting to save America.

i could tell you about the obnoxious amount of concerts i've been going to this year but i don't want to make you jealous... or that easy for you to find me.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

in case you weren't aware, it's the first week of August. where june & july went i don't know, i just know it's hotter than brass balls out, so uncomfortably warm that the mere thought of turning on the stove makes me wilt a little lot inside. what prompted me to cajole dw into getting green tomatoes from the farmer's market is beyond me, because i knew the only way to have them was to fry them up, ie. turning on the stove.

during a particularly brutal heatwave last week i finally prepped these beauties. i was not looking forward to standing in front of the stove, dodging oil splatters. to make matters worse, i've taken to walking around in my skivvies [tmi much? get over it, it's hot, my modesty has melted] so there's even more body surface to get oil-burns. lovely. but the end product was worth the heat, nestled in a bed of arugula, drizzled with a bit of mustard vinaigrette [dw doesn't do buttermilk ranch]. the meager leftovers was put into a sandwich the next day for lunch and it was just as summery and nice, sans the oil splatters.

Fried Green Tomatoes

three bowls of:
AP flour {seasoned with salt/pepper/cayenne}, beat up egg {a few dashes of Tabasco} and panko flakes
green tomatoes, thick sliced
veggie (or whatever neutral) oil

heat up the oil, i just made sure the oil covered the bottom surface of the frying pan
dredge tomato slice in flour, shaking excess off
dip in egg mixture, making sure both sides evenly coated
dredge in panko flakes, evenly coating

fry up the slices, a few minutes per side, until golden brown. lay on plate of paper towels to catch excess oil.

serve still warm on a bed of greens and with your sauce of choice, buttermilk ranch or in my case, mustard vinaigrette.

this is not a figure friendly dish, and you will get war wounds from making it.