Sunday, February 3, 2013

Double Chocolate Brownie Cookies or Rocky Road Cookies

Double Chocolate Brownie Cookies. Add Marshmallow and Nuts for the Rockie Road Variety.
What I'm about to share with you is one of the best things I've ever made.

It all started one day when my older sister came home from a pizzeria, raving about the most amazing cookies she ever had.

Cookies? The best ever? From a pizzeria? What kind of nonsense am I hearing?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Beef Wontons

Pan fried Beef Wontons

Wontons are easy to make. They can be stuffed with a variety of fillings; sweet or savory. Wontons are one of those dishes that everybody just loves.Whenever I make them, I make a huge batch so I can whip some up whenever the mood strikes me.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Real Vanilla Extract is super expensive. The few months ago, I paid $8 for a 4 oz bottle of Bourbon Vanilla Extract and as of today, it's halfway done. I thought about looking online to see if I could buy vanilla extract in bulk from one of those restaurant supply, but found out I could make it by myself cheaper and easily.

Making vanilla extract yourself will guarantee quality and you'll know exactly what went into it. Your vanilla will be free of the artificial colors and corn sweeteners found in even high-quality vanilla extracts. Hand crafted vanilla extract is a great gift that will last a lifetime. Like a fine wine, vanilla extract matures with age.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bacon Onion Marmalade Redux

Bacon Onion Marmalade with Goat Cheese on Ciabatta

My friend Josephine invited me, my boyfriend, and a bunch of other wonderful people over to her place for a Bacon Extravaganza.

She challenged us to make anything we wanted, as long as bacon was a key ingredient.

I knew immediately that I needed to revisit my Onion Bacon Marmalade I made a while ago and up the bacon big time.

Hence, Bacon Onion Marmalade was born.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The softest fluffiest 100% Whole Wheat Bread you will ever eat!!

Soft and Fluffy 100% Whole Wheat Rolls. Yes, it's possible.

My mom's boyfriend's doctor has informed him that he has to switch to whole wheat breads/pastas etc. I had a bag of whole wheat flour lying around. I've been wanting to try my hand at making a whole wheat bread, so this seemed like the perfect excuse to try making one!

The problem with whole wheat breads--especially 100% whole wheat--is that they tend to be more dense and chewy than their white flour counter part. Most whole wheat bread recipes call for a mixture of whole wheat and white flours to help combat that.

Luckily, I have a copy of "The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking." In her book, Laurel Robertson states that anybody can make fluffy 100% whole wheat breads as long as they knead the dough for a long time until it passes the window pane test and you let the dough rise three times. While she provides tons of 100% whole wheat recipes in her book, I decided to use my own, and follow her techniques.

I decided to use the bread recipe I used for the April Daring Cook's Challenge, but use whole wheat flour instead of white flour and omit the mashed parsnips. I also used granulated sugar instead of the maple syrup as the sweetener.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Daring Cook's April 2012 Challenge: Create Your Own Recipe!

Goat Cheese and Strawberry Jam filled Parsnip Buns

Our April 2012 Daring Cooks hosts were David & Karen from Twenty-Fingered Cooking. They presented us with a very daring and unique challenge of forming our own recipes by using a set list of ingredients!

They required us to use at least one ingredient from each of the following three lists – to force us to think carefully about flavor combinations.

List 1: Parsnips, Eggplant (aubergine), Cauliflower
List 2: Balsamic Vinegar, Goat Cheese, Chipotle peppers
List 3: Maple Syrup, Instant Coffee, Bananas


I was really excited to do this challenge because it reminded me of one of my favorite shows "Chopped" on Food Network.

I always thought the dessert round was the hardest and most exciting of the 3 rounds, so I decided to go for a dessert like item.

After mulling over the list (fortunately, I had a whole month instead of 20-30 minutes like the "Chopped" chefs),  I decided to go with parsnips, goat cheese, and maple syrup as my chosen ingredients.

My dish: Goat cheese and Jam filled Parsnip Buns.

The bread recipe I used is similar to a potato bread recipe, but subbing boiled and mashed parsnips for the potatoes and maple syrup for the sugar. I also read about a Japanese method of bread baking that helps keep bread soft and moist called "tangzhong," so I decided to implement that into my bread as well.

Goat Cheese and Strawberry Jam filled Parsnip Buns

Parsnip Buns


1/2 cup water
1/6 cup flour

Whisk together the cold water and flour (there should be no lumps) and cook over low heat (stirring all the time) until the temperature reaches 149ºF or until the spoon you’re stirring with leaves a trace. The mixture should have the consistency of something between crème anglaise and pastry cream. Leave to cool down to room temperature.

2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup boiled and mashed parsnip
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
All of the tangzhong
2 tsp instant yeast
3 tbsp butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)


4oz log of goat cheese
1 jar of strawberry jam (you won't be using the whole container)


1. Combine the flour, salt, maple syrup and instant yeast in a bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well in the center. Add in all wet ingredients: milk, egg, mashed parsnip, and tangzhong. Fit the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer and begin mixing on medium speed and knead until your dough comes together and then add in the butter and continue kneading.  Keep kneading until the dough is smooth, not too sticky on the surface and elastic.

2. Knead the dough into a ball shape. Take a large bowl and grease with oil.  Place dough into  greased bowl and cover with a wet towel. Let it proof until it’s doubled in size, about 40 minutes.

3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and punch down. Divide into 10 equal pieces, rolling each into a ball (I find a kitchen scale very helpful for this). Working with one ball at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll dough into a 5-inch circle.

4. Place about 1 1/2 teaspoons each goat cheese and strawberry jam in the center of the circle. Carefully fold the edges of each round up and around the filling.  You can't get any of the filling on the edge or it simply won't seal.  Pinch all of the edges together and seal as well as possible (although be careful to not strech the dough too thin on the filling side...).

5. Place buns, seam side down, on a baking sheet coated lightly with cooking spray (or use parchment paper). Tuck ends under and cover. Repeat until all the buns are prepared this way.

6. Lightly coat formed buns with cooking spray, cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 40 minutes or until doubled in size.

7. Bake at 375 degrees for 17 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Out of the oven
 These were such a success. The buns themselves were soft and sweet and the filling gooey and yummy.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Homemade Mayonnaise

Homemade Mayonnaise. Better than store brought. A little on the yellow side because of the added mustard.

I wanted to make tuna salad, but I realized I didn't have any mayonnaise only after I had all of my other ingredients ready. Then I remember seeing a post on Cooking Weekends for making mayonnaise. I've seen recipes for homemade mayo before, but they've all used immersion blenders. Cooking Weekends was the first recipe for mayo I've seen using a handheld mixer. Since I have no immersion blender and have a handheld mixer, I knew this was the recipe for me!

Homemade Mayonnaise (inspired by this recipe)

1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
A pinch of kosher salt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Egg yolk, Dijon mustard, salt, and lemon juice

1. Add egg yolk, kosher salt, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice into a bowl. Beat the egg yolk mixture until it lightens in color. Continue to beat while adding in drops of oil until you have used up about a tablespoon of oil. The yolk mixture will look creamy and smooth.

Slowly adding in the oil

2. Once you have added about a tablespoon or so of the oil successfully, you can add it a bit more quickly in a very thin stream.

Just about done

3. When all of the oil has been added, taste the mayonnaise and beat in more salt and lemon juice as needed.
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