Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Walnut Cinnamon Muffins



Ingredients:

Oil or melted butter, for greasing (if using)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 t salt
heaping 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup walnut pieces, coarsely chopped
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
6 T sunflower oil or melted, cooled butter
1 t vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Grease a 6-cup muffin pan (jumbo) or line with 6 muffin paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt into a large bowl. stir in the sugar and walnuts.

Lightly beat the eggs in a large pitcher or bowl, then beat in the milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the beaten liquid ingredients. stir gently until just combined; do not over mix.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until well risen, golden brown, and firm to the touch.

Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

 Totally an original recipe by Susanna Tee

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Updated. Screwpine (pandan) Coconut Pancakes using bottled essence

I miss the aroma and taste of screwpine or pandan. It's a long-leaf shrub native in Southeast Asia and used as an aromatic and flavoring in cooking. It imparts a sweet smell, a nutty taste in any dish you make and gives a light, pastel green color too when extracted. 

Screwpine/pandan is best paired with coconut meat, coconut water and milk. In the Philippines, freshly cut pandan leaves are folded crosswise 3-4 times and placed in a pot of uncooked rice. When the rice is cooked, it gives a fresh aroma and herby flavor to the diminutive steamed rice and make your meal a bit more elegant. So whenever possible I can grab hold of it in an Asian store (which is seldom)-I would in several bunches. It can be freezed and it keeps for at least 3 months.

For today's recipe, I only have the bottled extract/essence to use. This is my first time using bottled Pandan extract. It is also more like a thicker version of a crepe instead of a regular, fluffy pancakes.

I love pancakes. Growing up-we call it "hotcakes" and it was a weekly treat in the house. Being poor and always strapped for cash, my Ma never experimented with extra ingredients: it was always vanilla flavor and it was fine with me and my baby brother.
 
 
 

Pre-note, Option 1: if you have some screwpine leaves, extract a couple teaspoons of juices from 1 leaf by chopping it and soaking them in the water you will use in the recipe. Strain the chopped leaf off the liquid. Set the liquid aside. If you do not have coconut essence/extract, soak the chopped screwpine in 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon of coconut milk; lessen the coconut oil to 1 tablespoon. Strain the chopped leaf well off the coconut milk; set aside.


To make 5 medium size pancakes, you will need: 

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (This will look like a thicker version of a crepe; thicker, regular pancakes could use 2 t.)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/4 c water or more to make a thick batter (Use 3/4 cup for thicker pancakes. You can also use fat-free coconut milk.)
2 drops of green food color (optional) 
  • Note: Your pancake will have a natural screwpine color if you use Option 1 above of flavoring your pancake.

3 tablespoons cooking oil (coconut, vegetable, canola, light olive oil) 
plus 2 drops on the pan for each pancake.

1 teaspoon screwpine essence 
1/2 teaspoon coconut essence

Procedure:

Preheat the pan on medium heat. While waiting for the pan to get hot, beat all the wet ingredients, 20 seconds. 
In another medium bowl, thoroughly mix the dry ingredients then add the wet ingredients and stir until just combined; do not overmix. Set aside.

Brush or smear the pan with cooking oil. This extra oil for the pan is not in the recipe.

Lightly stir the batter before pouring a 1/4 c of batter into the pan and cover to cook; 30seconds each side. If not covering, it's ready to flip when bubble starts to appear on top. Repeat the process until all batter is used. 

 Coconut milk Glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar
3-5 tablespoons coconut milk, less or more if desired thick or runny glaze.

Mix vigorously in a medium bowl. Use immediately.

Assemblage:

Just pour the glaze on top of each pancake and enjoy. 

To make it more scrumptious, garnish with: 

finely crushed roasted peanuts or roasted coconut flakes (golden brown and lightly crunchy) or plain, sweetened coconut. 

You can also make 'latik' and sprinkle it on these pancakes. Latik is "toasted coconut milk curd".

To make latik: just let a can of full-fat coconut milk boil then simmer, stirring constantly until some coconut milk curdle and  floating on top of the oil. Keep stirring until brown and toasted. Do not burn.

How about all? 



                                              
     
Happy breakfast!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Hospital Food: breakfast sandwich and Lemon Poppyseed Mini-muffins

Recently, someone in the household stayed in the hospital for 2 days and 1 night for some tests; so I get to try breakfast at the cafeteria again on the second day of the stay since I went there early. It had been awhile since my last visit. Honestly, I have always like the food there. 

When we moved here 10 years ago, the first thing that strucked us was that the hospital food were better-looking and better-tasting than the local eating holes in town. We are weird-we know-but when it was confirmed to me by a friend (and formerly a restaurant-owner in the East coast and really good home-cook) who passed away last year, that she always loved the food at the hospital cafeteria-then I knew I'm not crazy agreeing with her. 

Yesterday, I ordered this "sausage-egg-cheese English breakfast sandwich" and it was sooo good I literally just shoved it in my mouth: it was juicy, hot and flavorful. It tasted like how I want it: homey. Unfortunately, I really don't have the habit of taking photos of food when I eat out, so I don't have the photo here. Food workers think it's weeiirrd to take picture of food (lol). But I am pretty sure-hopefully-some of you who are partial to hospital food, would try the cafeteria. 

And I was just so glad when I saw (heard that) the same people are still working the cafeteria. I can never recall their names (Sorry!) but I always felt welcome when I see them. Really appreciate your hard-work feeding the boogered up and the people that fix us/them (Wahaha! But seriously, I do!) 

So later on, I found out that breakfast got served to 'my patient' but he was supposed to have another tests done so the nursing assistant (Ms. Kaillie, 3rd floor) was already taking it away when I saw that the tray was almost untouched. I asked if she can leave the tray as I know my patient wasn't done eating yet. Kaillie obliged and went o doing what she need to do while we talk about Wendy Williams and Michael Jackson (lol). And then I saw this lidded tumbler on the tray-those cups used for to-go dressings when ordering take-out. Nestled inside was this tiny, little yellow thing. It smelled like sweet lemon then I saw some black specks and instantly I knew it was a Lemon Poppy-seed Muffin, in a cupcake size. It was so fragrant with lemon essence and it was so sunshiny yellow and crusty in the outside but cake-y inside. I will later regret that I opened the tumbler and gobbled it up in 2 bites. My patient (okay he's my man!) found out when he got back from labwork. "I haven't eaten in 24 hours and you're eating my meal!" I was laughing in between apologies but I thought I knew what I will do when I get home and recuperate for the day: re-create the muffins in Lime flavor!

Lime & poppy-seed Muffins

ingredients:

2/3 sugar
grated lime zest and juice of 2 small limes (or 1 lemon)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 T poppy-seeds
2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
3/4 c sour cream
2 large eggs 
1 stick (8 T) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t lime (or lemon) essence
 2 drops each of green and yellow food color (optional)




 Procedure: 

Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly grease a 12-cavity cupcake pan if you are not using cupcake liners. A nonstick cupcake pan doesn't need to be greased if using liners.
In a big bowl, toss the sugar and lime zest with a light squirt of lime juice. Set aside when sugar is slightly moist and smelling of lime. Whisk in the dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the wet ingredients until well-blended. Pour the liquids over the dry ingredients and using a rubber spatula quickly but gently mix without over mixing. Do not over mix. Divide the batter equally in cupcake pan.
  
Bake for 18 minutes or until the tops are golden brown; double check with a bamboo skewer inserted in the center of each cupcake comes out clean. Let it sit for 5 minutes before carefully transferring each muffin onto a wire rack to cool completely. 



I have limes instead of lemons. And adding the food colors made the muffins 'seem' more citrusy. My point is to re-create the sensation: the texture looked like it and the potency of the sweetness and the lime flavors are the same as the lemon muffin from the hospital. Go ahead make it in lemon!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A breakfast doughnut by Stephen Collucci


Getting tired of cereal in the morning but not totally eliminating it from my diet and this recipe-I thought-will just fill that not so cereal-ly days. 

This is a baked, cake doughnuts and it is almost like a carrot cake with added pecans and pineapple in a baked, cake doughnut texture.

Chef Stephen Collucci, the pastry chief (get it?) down at Craft Bar of Colicchio & Sons (by Tom Colicchio) in New York composed this recipe in his "Glazed, Filled, Sugared & Dipped" doughnut cookbook and it is supposed to be a "breakfast doughnut". How he thought of this was inspired by a "morning glory muffin" that was so popular at the bakery where he used to work.


I followed the recipe to the T except that I used sweetened, shredded coconut instead of the flaked, unsweetened since that was what I got with me. Here's the exact recipe from the book.


Morning Glory Doughnuts
 
1 cup all-purpose flour 
1/4 c + 1 T sugar
3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1 large egg
1/4 c sour cream
1/2 c grated carrot
1/4 c chopped pecans
1/4 c raisins
1/4 c unsweetened coconut flakes + extra for garnish
1/4 c chopped pineapple

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease your doughnut pan. 

Combine all the dry ingredients in a big bowl. Add the liquid/wet ingredients; mix until combined. Add the pecans, raisins, coconut and pineapple; mix until just combined.

Fill each doughnut pan cavity evenly, halfway through with the batter, about 2 teaspoons. More than half will make it look like a muffin.

Bake for 15 minutes. Let it sit and cool for 20 minutes then carefully detach each doughnut from the pan and place on a cooling rack. Cool more for 10 minutes. Dip one at a time in the glaze. Sprinkle with coconut and place back on cooling rack to set. Store in an airtight container; up to 2 days.



BASIC GLAZE

1 c confectioners sugar
2 T whole milk

Mix well until smooth. Use immediately.

 Filling and slightly sweet, great with a cup of hot joe!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pizza night! Fool-proof recipe for a homemade crust.



Finally, after all this years, I learned how to work with yeast. It's all about patience and patience (Did I said it twice?). Got me the most recent book at the library about 'no knead pizza crust' "My Pizza" authored by Jim Lahey of Sullivan St. Bakery and Co.

The man is a genius when it comes to his crust and I am forever grateful to his creation!


Ingredients:
  • 500 grams (17 ½ ounces or about 3 ¾ cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping the dough
  • 1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
  • 16 grams (2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
  • 350 grams (1 ½ cups) water
 Direction:
  1. In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and, with a wooden spoon or your hands, mix thoroughly.

  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow it to rise at room temperature (about 72°F) for 18 hours or until it has more than doubled. It will take longer in a chilly room and less time in a very warm one.

  3. Flour a work surface and scrape out the dough. Divide it into 4 equal parts and shape them: For each portion, start with the right side of the dough and pull it toward the center; then do the same with the left, then the top, then the bottom. (The order doesn’t actually matter; what you want is four folds.) Shape each portion into a round and turn seam side down. Mold the dough into a neat circular mound. The mounds should not be sticky; if they are, dust with more flour.

  4. If you don’t intend to use the dough right away, wrap the balls individually in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Return to room temperature by leaving them out on the counter, covered in a damp cloth, for 2 to 3 hours before needed.

    Recipe fully adapted to the T from the book "My Pizza" by Jim Lahey.