Monday, July 21, 2014

Coffee Cake II

I tried out Ree Drummond's coffee cake recipe. Hers looked delectable and perfect.

I made a few adjustments. I reduced the measurement of sugar to 1 & 1/3 cup. 2 cups seemed excessive, especially given the sugar crumb topping I added to it.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredient list:

-1/2 cup of butter at room temperature
-1 & 1/3 cup of sugar
-3 cups of all purpose flour
-4 tsp of baking powder
-1 tsp of salt
-1/2 cup of milk (you might need more)
-3 whole egg whites, beaten until stiff

Topping:

-1/2 cup of butter, cold
-3/4 cup of flour
-1/2 cup of brown sugar
-2 tblsp of ground cinnamon
-1/2 cup of chopped pecans

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

2) Cream together the butter and sugar. Alternate between the flour mixture and milk, adding a little of each until it's all combined.

3) Using an electric beater or immerson blender with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the cake batter gently.

4) The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup of milk. I found my batter to be a little too stiff, so I added an additional 1/2 cup of milk.

5) Grease a 9x13 baking dish and pour the batter in.


6) Using a large fork or pastry cutter, combine the topping ingredients. Mix in the pecans last. Spread the crumb topping over the batter.



Bake for approximately 40 minutes.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Roasted Eggplant Orzo

I've been on an eggplant kick lately. It's a pretty rad vegetable.

What? You've never used the word "rad" to describe a vegetable before? How banal of you.

Ingredient list:

-16 oz package of orzo
-3 cups of diced eggplant
-5 cloves of garlic, minced
-Sea salt
-Olive oil
-Freshly crushed black pepper
-1 onion, peeled and diced
-2 cans of tomato sauce
-4 fresh basil leaves
-Parmesan

1) Boil water in a large pot. When it starts to boil, toss in the orzo and stir. Let it cook.

2) In the meantime, toss the diced eggplant in a bowl with some olive oil and the minced garlic. Stir to coat all of the eggplant. Spread it out on a baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.

3) While it's baking, saute the onion in some olive oil in a pot. Add the tomato sauce and chopped basil leaves. Stir while the sauces comes together. Add some sea salt and black pepper.

4) When the orzo finishes cooking, drain it. When the eggplant is done roasting in the oven, take it out and add it to the sauce.

5) Combine the orzo and sauce in the same pot. Stir to combine, making sure all of the orzo and eggplant gets coated with sauce.

6) Grate some Parmesan.



Friday, July 11, 2014

Sweet Milk Lemon Cake

I tried to make a sort of tres leche poke-style cake using lemons.

The condensed milk I used wasn't watered down enough, so it hadn't soaked into the cake.

Ah.....best laid plans. You know how those go.

Nevertheless, the cake was still pretty tasty.

Ingredient list:

-1/2 cup of butter
-3/4 cup of sugar
-Zest of one lemon
-Juice of one lemon
-3 eggs
-2 tsp of vanilla extract
-1/2 cup of milk
-2 cup of all purpose flour
-2 tsp of baking powder
-1/4 tsp of salt
-1 can of sweetened condensed milk
-Hot water
-1 cup of heavy whipping cream


1) Beat together the butter, sugar and one tsp of vanilla extract. Add 2 tsp of lemon zest.

2) Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.

3) Beat in 2 tsp of lemon juice and add the dry mix gradually. Then pour in enough milk to achieve a smooth batter. Make sure it's not too watery.

4) Pour it into a greased and floured 9x13 pan and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until the center is fully baked.

5) In a clean bowl, pour in the condensed milk and add 2 tsp of lemon zest. Pour in some hot water and stir well. Your goal is to achieve a less viscous mixture. If you want, you can do what I did and add less water so that the condensed milk will sit on top and not really soak into the cake. It's up to you.

6) When the cake is done baking, take it out of the oven and let it cool. When it's mostly or completely cool, pour the condensed milk on top. If you opted for a more liquidy mix, poke some holes into the cake. If not, you can just pour it on and spread it out. Put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

7) In a clean bowl, whip the heavy cream with the remaining tsp of vanilla extract and 1 tsp of lemon juice. Spread it on top of the cooled cake.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Soft White Cake

For my aunt's birthday, I made this basic white cake. It's not quite a sponge cake, but it's soft enough to remind you of one.

Ingredient list:

-1/2 cup of butter
-3/4 cup of sugar
-1 tsp of vanilla extract
-2 eggs
-2 tsp of baking powder
-1.5 cups of all purpose flour
-1/2 cup of milk (you might need more)

1) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 inch round pan.

2) Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs in one at a time and then the vanilla.

3) Sift together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Gradually add it to the butter/sugar mix. Beat it until it's all combined.

4) Pour in the milk. You want a smooth batter, so be sure to pour in just enough milk. If the batter is too stiff, add a little more milk.

5) Bake for 35-40 minutes.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Eggplant Vegetable Curry

If anyone ever wanted me to eat a bowl full of veggies, the best method of persuasion would be to spice it up with curry powder.

Pretty sure it's the Guyanese in me that requires curry powder in everything.

Ingredient list:

-3 cups of cubed eggplant
-2 carrots, peeled and chopped
-1 diced onion
-4 cloves of garlic, minced
-2 bell peppers, cleaned, deseeded and chopped
-1 15 ounce can of chickpeas
-1 medium zucchinis, sliced
-2 large handfuls of kale, chopped
-1 sweet potato
-1 tblsp of curry powder
-1 tsp of chili powder
-1 tsp of turmeric
-1 tsp of sea salt
-Olive oil

1) In a pot of hot water, place the sweet potato (make a couple of slits in the skin) and allow it to cook until soft.

2) In a large pot, pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Toss in the garlic, onion, carrots and eggplant. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until it begins to soften. Stir frequently.

3) Add the kale and zucchini and continue to cook.

4) When the sweet potato is soft and fully cooked, remove it from the water and allow it to cool.

5) Add the chickpeas and liquid from the can to the eggplant pot. Stir to combine and add just enough water to cover everything.

6) Add the spices and sea salt. Stir and allow it to cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.

7) Peel and chop the sweet potato and add it to the curry.

8) Mix everything gently (you might crush the sweet potato) and cook for another 5 minutes. It should be done when the liquid bubbles and all of the vegetables are soft.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Product of the Week: Port Salut Cheese

From Cheese.com: 

"Port Salut cheese, also called as Port du Salut, comes from Brittany in the Loire Valley, France. It is named after the abbey of Notre Dame du Port du Salut in Entrammes.
Made from pasteurized cow's milk, the cheese was produced by Trappist monks way back in during the 19th century. This semi-soft cheese is produced in form of disks weighing approximately 2 kg (5 lb). Though the cheese is produced in big factories now, the handmade version is still produced by various monasteries throughout the French countryside and enjoys a great demand!
Great snacking companions of this cheese are fruits, steamed asparagus or broccoli, baby greens salad drizzled with Balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It also a great addition to any cheese board!"

I've been munching on crackers and this cheese recently. 



It has a salty flavor with a slightly bitter aftertaste. However, the aftertaste is not at all unpleasant. 

The texture is somewhat creamy, but it's not spreadable. 

I buy my wedges at Trader Joe's. 





I agree with Cheese.com's suggestion to pair this with fruit. Sweet pairings would cut down on the salty and slightly bitter flavors. 

I topped some saltines with Port Salut slices. 


    Tuesday, June 17, 2014

    Cranberry-Pear Upside Down Coffee Cake

    Cranberries are so pretty when they're baked into cakes.

    I paired this fruity treat with pears (I spy a pun!) and a sugary pecan topping.

    Ingredient list:

    -1/2 cup of butter
    -3/4 cup of sugar
    -1 cup of sour cream
    -1/5 cups of all purpose flour
    -1.5 tsp of baking powder
    -1 tsp of baking soda
    -1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
    -1/4 tsp of salt
    -2 eggs

    Fruit Topping:

    -1/4 cup of butter, melted
    -2/3 cup of brown sugar
    -1 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries
    -2 peeled, cored and sliced pears
    1/3 cup of chopped pecans

    1) Preheat the oven to 325 degree. Wrap some aluminum foil around the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.

    2) Combine the flour, soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

    3) In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. Gradually add the flour mixture. Then mix in the sour cream.

    4) In the springform pan, pour in the melted butter. Sprinkle the brown sugar all over the top (try to do it as evenly as possible). Sprinkle on the nuts and evenly distribute the fruit. You can place the pear slices on by hand.

    5) Bake for 50-60 minutes. Let it cool before you flip it over. Try to place it in the sink or on a plate because the bottom will be leaking butter when you pull it out.