31 October 2014

Pumpkin Maple Cheesecake

Happy Halloween! Today, I feel like I have to rant (when do I not?). I came to school dressed like Wednesday Addams (yea I still dress up >.<), with stripy socks, collared shirt buttoned to my neck and braided pigtails. I thought I was dead on with the costume, but I have had 2 people in my class think I was Britney Spears. Yes, the Britney Spears in her school girl outfit. I mean... my dress up is SUPER conservative. I'm choking in my buttoned collar and have absolutely no skin exposed! Other than that, I've been told I look like a Japanese schoolgirl. Ungh...

On a brighter note, this pumpkin cheesecake was such a hit! It has a subtle spicy-ness and warmth with a definite pumpkin note. This is a cheesecake I need to make again! 



Pumpkin Maple Cheesecake

adapted from allrecipes.com (makes a 5" cake)
*double ingredients for 9" except use 3 eggs not 4

Crust
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1.5 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
2 tbsp butter, melted

Cheesecake
12 oz cream cheese, softened (1 1/2 packages of 8oz)
1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk (7oz)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (drained*)
2 medium eggs
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice + 1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. layer 2 kitchen towels in a bowl and put 1 cup of pumpkin puree and let it drain for 10 mins. Cover it with another 2 kitchen towels again. The puree won't stick at all but this gets rid of all the excess water. You should end up with 3/4 cup of a ball of pumpkin that you can pick up
  3. To make the crust, mix the crumbs, sugar, ginger together. Drizzle in the butter and mix. Pat the crust mix into a 5" spring form pan. Bake for 8-10 mins and let cool
  4. For the cheesecake, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in the condensed milk. While beating, add the pumpkin puree, eggs, syrup, vanilla and salt and spices.
  5. Gently mix the flour in (try not to over mix). Bake at 325F for 50 mins.
  6. DO NOT take it out of the oven. Just switch the oven off and let it sit there for 3 hours. This prevents the surface from cracking and no meddling with water baths!
  7. Chill for at least 2 hours and best overnight for a perfect cheesecake texture. Enjoy!


26 October 2014

No-Churn Rocky Road Ice Cream (over waffles!)

I'm finally done with the kidneys!! Gosh, they are just 2 small little beans, but they are so complex. Ugh, worst organ ever to study for. Up next is the brain... I still have no idea what I want to do yet after med school. All I have been doing is eliminating fields I could never see myself in. Like pediatrics (I just don't mesh with kids), dermatology (don't ever let me touch that oozing lesion on your skin) or cardiology... can barely hear my own heart beat with my stethoscope ;). Learning each organ and body part makes me dislike them even more. Can't wait until I never have to study again... oh wait, studying is mah lyfe foreverrrr :(((((

Anyway, making no-churn ice cream has been on my bucket list for ages! I can't believe how easy and delicious you can make ice cream without an ice cream maker. I had about 10 different ice cream machine models saved on my Amazon account, because I was thinking of buying one and making ice cream all day everyday. But, now I can save even more $$$ and make delicious ice cream all day everyday!! I have so many ideas and ice cream things to do and I'm so excited I'm going to burst :D (sorry, a little hyper because I had ice cream for dinner :P)


No-Churn Rocky Road Ice Cream

inspired by Nigella.com
makes 2-3 pints

1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
4 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp vanilla extract (good quality)
heaping 1/4 cup marshmallow
heaping 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
heaping 1/4 cup walnuts (or whatever nuts you have on hand)
more marshmallow, chocolate chips, nuts to top

** Waffle recipe below
  1. Whisk whipping cream, condensed milk, cocoa powder, vanilla together at low speed first to prevent splashing. Gradually increase speed to medium high.
  2. Whisk until soft peaks form, about 5 mins and it should have a light brown airy mixture
  3. Fold in toppings (marshmallow, choc chips, nuts) gently and fill 3x1-pint airtight containers
  4. Freeze at least 6 hours or overnight

Buttermilk Waffles

makes 6-8 square waffles (serves 2-4)
double for a crowd!

1 cup flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2.5 tbsp melted butter
1 cup buttermilk (or more)
  • Preheat your waffle machine. Mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder & soda), salt. Mix wet (egg, vanilla, butter, buttermilk). Stir together. Add more buttermilk if the consistency is not runny enough.
  • Place in your waffle machine according to instructions. Or about 2 mins.

14 October 2014

Kimchi Fried Rice Waffles

This is a quick post before I get back to studying! We are currently learning about how the kidney functions and these organs cannot get anymore interesting...uh naahhtt. The only thing I've learned so far is that I have a drinking problem. As in I drink too much water (please... what else would I drink?). And if you see blood in your pee, it's time you paid a visit to your doctor!

Yay, I'm finally posting about something other than sweets and desserts today! I just have a wicked sweet tooth and probably a lot of cavities :(. I can happily eat ice-cream for dinner, I dream of eating donuts while I'm eating my salad and you'll probably find a muffin stuffed in my bra on any given day.

Soo anyway, I decided to waffle my rice one day, because I think I saw it on my instagram or something. But, waffling makes the rice super crispy on the outside, like that burnt rice you find on the bottom of a hot stone pot (called noo-roong-ji 누룽지). Yum, it's so chewy and fragrant! I just got a waffle maker so I'm excited to use it. Although, my mum is probably going to kill me for buying another kitchen appliance... eek!



Waffle Kimchi Fried rice

makes 2 large waffles

1 cup kimchi chopped into bits (use cabbage kimchi centers and not the leaves)
1/4 cup kimchi juice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, chopped finely
1/2 jalapeño, chopped finely
1-2 tbsp gochujang/Korean chili paste (according to taste)
3 tsp sesame oil
2-3 cups day-old rice, cold
sesame seed, dried nori, green onion (optional)
fried egg

  1. Fry garlic until fragrant, add onions and jalapeño and let it sweat a little (~2 mins)
  2. Add kimchi and saute until softened (2-3 mins). Add gochujang and mix until homogenous
  3. Add cold rice and break it up thoroughly. Drizzle in kimchi juice
  4. Saute and toss frequently for 5 mins. Adding sesame oil and a handful of chopped green onion at the last minute (you want your rice to be a little more dry than usual - for waffling)
  5. Let it cool or stick it in the fridge for a while (skipping this step is fine but waffles are more to fall apart)
  6. Preheat waffle machine. I don't have fancy one so it is all 1 heat setting. Stuff the machine with more kimchi fried rice waffle "batter" than usual. You will squish it all down and the outside will crisp up. I kept it in my waffle maker for 3-4 minutes.
  7. Enjoy with a fried egg on top! 


07 October 2014

Birthday Cake Macarons - Blogiversary

Happy Birthday to my blog! Yay. It's been 3 years since I've started blogging and a year on this blog. I'm glad my med school schedule really allows me to cook and bake so much (yea, right). I might have sacrificed a lot of my exercise time to work on my blog, but a widened girth makes for a satisfying lady :P

Blogging has allowed me to make and try a lot of things. Meet a few blogger friends along the way and on instagram. But mostly, my blog exists to annoy my bf hahaha. He's my hand model, food holder, light reflector holder, prop holder and food tester. Sometimes he has to eat dinner at 3pm because I need to take pictures before the light goes down and by the time I'm done with my photoshoot, he needs to reheat it. Oops... I could keep going on but I think you get the idea (and you will think I'm a monster). Thank you for putting up with me! And a thank you to my roommate, who I've now recruited to hold my props. Lol. But, I make sure I feed them with lots of yummy goodies.

And thank you to my readers (if I actually have any ︶︹︺)!!


Birthday Cake Macarons

makes about 30-35 

Macaron Batter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
2 large egg whites, aged 2 days in fridge and 1 day at room temp
5 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of cream of tartar (it was really humid when I was making these, but this is optional)
sprinkles

Cheesecake filling
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar (adjust according to taste)
1/2-1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp sprinkles

Filling - *I like to do this step when I'm waiting for the macaron shells to dry
  • Whip softened butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy. Whip in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir in the sprinkles
  • Fill a pastry bag with the filling and let chill

Macaron shells
  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon mat and get a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch plain tip prepared
  2. In a food processor pulse almond flour and powdered sugar until mixed and fluffy
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer (if you have one, or just an egg beater bowl... I really don't recommend whisking by hand!), beat egg whites with the whisk attachment on medium low for 2 mins, gradually adding in the sugar.
  4. Increase speed to 7 to whip for another 3 minutes and then at 8-10 for another 4 minutes. You should be getting a stiff meringue that you can make soft peaks. Add the vanilla in the last 4 minutes.
  5. Fold the dry ingredients in 2 batches with a rubber spatula and make smooth sweeps to the bottom of the bowl. You do want to deflate the meringue a bit so squishing to mix to knock out some air is okay! After about 50-ish foldings, the batter should look glossy and when you drop some from your spatula to the batter, it takes about 20 secs for it to mold back into the mix. Don't over mix or it will a runny and watery mess!
  6. Fill your pastry bag (hold it up in a tall glass..makes life so easy) and pipe batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 3.5cm circles, spaced 1" apart. 
  7. Rap the baking sheet a few times about 1 inch above the counter top to flatten the macarons and to get rid of bubbles. Sprinkle sprinkles!
  8. Let them rest at room temp for 45-60mins. The tops should be dry and nothing should stick to your finger if you poke them. 
  9. Preheat your oven to 315 F. Bake for 15 mins, rotate pans and then bake for another 3-5 minutes. You can check they are done by lifting one macaron you can sacrifice. If the feet comes off, leave it in a minute longer. It's better to overbake than underbake. 
  10. Let cool completely before removing them from the paper. Line up similar sized ones and pipe the chilled cheesecake filling onto 1 shell. Sandwich together. Let them sit in the fridge in a sealed container for at least 1 day before serving. They don't taste as good fresh out because the inside of the macaron shells need some time to soften and for the filling flavors to come together.


01 October 2014

Red Bean Flower Bread - 팥빵

I have an appetite like an old Korean lady. Not quantity wise... that would mean I equal 10 old ladies. But in the stuff that old ahjummas "old Korean ladies with a perm ;)" love to eat. Like red bean, boiled barley, pumpkin porridge, Korean rice cakes, cardboard tasting crackers...food that I can probably eat until I'm 90, because they can so easily be smushed between my toothless gums. Especially red bean. That's my one true love <3

Red bean between soft buttery bread. It's like a sandwich made for the gods. A lot of people seem to dislike it and I don't understand why! It is a little weird that beans can be considered dessert, but for christ-sake, IT IS NOT KIDNEY BEANS. I had to explain that at least a gazillion times. I never grew up with dessert after dinner concept (typical Asian), so red bean to me was the ultimate dessert.

The bread is super soft like brioche and SUPER stuffed with red bean paste. If you're too lazy to make the paste, you can buy it at any Asian supermarket. Don't hate on the beans before you've tried it!


Red Bean Flower Bread - 팥빵

makes 10-12 large buns

Red bean paste
2 cups dried adzuki beans
1.5-2 cups sugar (depending on taste)
pinch of salt

Dough
3 3/4 cups bread flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1.5 tsp salt
1 packet of active dry yeast
1/3 cup water
1 cup warm milk
2 eggs
5 tbsp butter, room temperature

Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water)

Red bean paste

  1. Rinse and soak beans overnight in a large bowl with at least 2 inches of water covering the top layer
  2. Drain beans and put in a medium-large pot. Cover with water until about 5 inches above the top. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer for about 1-2 hours with the lid on. Check the water level every now and then and add about an inch above the top when you see the beans exposed
  3. Check for done-ness by squishing the beans with your fingers. They should give in easily. If they are at that stage, don't add anymore water! 
  4. Dump in the sugar and salt. Start with a lower amount of sugar, because you can always adjust by adding more later. Stir with a wooden spoon, while mashing it a little too. 
  5. The consistency should get quite think and the water should keep evaporating. I used a stick blender here to blend it until it was smooth. If you don't own one, you can use a potato masher or pour it into your blender.
  6. Keep stirring on medium heat to evaporate the water and don't let it burn on the bottom. You should expect your arms to tire out so call in a friend ;) (this can take up to 1 hour, depending on how much water is left in your pot)
  7. It will be done when you scrape the bottom of the pot and there is a divide between the paste (aka not a liquid mess). Leave to cool outside with the lid off and it should become even more thick.

Dough
  1. In a kitchen aid mixing bowl, whisk together bread flour, AP flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add water, milk and 2 eggs
  2. Using the dough hook, mix at low speed (2-3). You may need to add about 2-5 tbsp of water if the dough is dry. Let it mix for about 5 mins until it looks pretty well pounded together
  3. Add in the butter 1 tbsp at a time and mix low-medium speed for another 10-15 minutes. Check for elasticity by stretching the dough quite thinly between your fingers and it shouldn't snap too easily
  4. Put in a greased bowl and cover with greased saran wrap or a damp cloth. Let it rise for 45mins
  5. In the meantime, roll your red bean paste into golf sized balls (12) and set aside.
  6. Punch down the dough and split it evenly into 12 balls on a floured surface. Roll a ball it into a thin circle, place red bean paste in the middle and pinch to close. You can use a little water to help it stick
  7. Pat or roll gently the stuffed dough into a wide cylinder (like a tuna can) with seam side down. You don't need to apply much pressure! Don't squish it and let all the red bean squeeze out. Keep the height to about 3/4-1" 
  8. Refer to the picture above! Using kitchen scissors, snip 6 times at the edges and lay on a baking tray with parchment paper on top. Cover the compete buns with saran wrap and let it rise for about 15 minutes (they should look slightly puffy)
  9. Preheat oven to 375F. Brush eggwash over the buns and pop it into the oven for 13-18 minutes or until golden brown on top. This timing depends on how large you want to bake the bread. You can easily make more than what I did. I just like more red bean than bread.




26 September 2014

Healthier Chocolate Chip & Pecan Pumpkin Bread

I'm really getting ready for sweater weather. My body knows it. My hunger knows it. I just feel like eating and snacking all day long, wrapped up in a oversized sweater that hangs down to my knees. It doesn't help when I love (and I MEAN LOVE) pumpkin baked goods: pumpkin lattes, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin bagels, cupcakes, ice cream!!! You get the idea. My pinterest is going crazy with pumpkin pins.

So I gave in. You know? To those pumpkin callings and sweater body. Luckily, I own 10 pairs of sweatpants. Haha. I did make this pumpkin bread a little healthier though. Makes me feel a tad bit better about myself :P


Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

makes 1 loaf

1.5 cups flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 vegetable oil
1/4 cup yogurt
2 eggs
1 heaping cup of pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup mix of pecan and bittersweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line loaf tin with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients: flour, sugars, salt, baking soda and spice. In a medium size bowl, beat eggs slightly, add yogurt, oil, pumpkin puree and vanilla.
  3. Gently mix together the wet and dry mix until just incorporated. It's okay if there are small streaks of flour. You don't want to over-mix or you will end up with a brick!
  4. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts
  5. Bake for 50-60mins or until a toothpick poked in the middle comes out dry


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