24 August 2014

Nutella Twisted Brioche Buns

You can tell that I love Nutella in my bread. Heck, I eat that stuff straight out of the jar. My roommate is also one Nutella aficionado. She always has her Costco-sized Nutella jar on the kitchen counter for direct access and another jar for emergencies! I don't think I've ever met a Nutella-hater. That creamy luscious stuff thoughh...hmmmm. And it's made with nuts so that's got to be healthy right?

Ever since I got my Kitchen aid mixer, I've been able to make so much bread. Good for my soul but not so much my fat paunch ah ha :\ Here, I've made brioche, which I looovee because it's so eggy and buttery. I did cut down on the butter and sugar but, it still came out very puffy and soft. These Nutella stuffed brioche buns make a lovely breakfast and people will fawn over you when you bring them to school or work :D or you can choose to hoard... yea, it was a hard choice ;)



Nutella Twisted Brioche Buns

adapted from twiggstudios
makes 15-18 buns

4 1/4 cups bread flour
1 packet of active dry yeast (~2 1/4 tsp)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup water
3 large eggs
12 tbsp butter, at room temperature

nutella
1 egg + 1 tbsp milk

  1. In a mixer, stir together flour, yeast, sugar and salt. With the dough hook attached, pour in the milk and add eggs one at a time. Gradually pour the water. The dough will look super tacky and sticky. Let it knead for 2 minutes
  2. Add butter 1 tbsp @ time while the mixer is kneading at speed 7-8. Knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough will come together and look smooth. Add water to adjust if necessary. I add to add in 2 tbsp of flour to make it less sticky
  3. Place in an greased bowel, cover with saran wrap or a damp cloth and let rise in a warm corner for 1.5-2 hours (it should double in size, if not your yeast is dead!)
  4. Flour a working surface. Punch down the dough and divide in half. Roll out to about 12x15" rectangle and a little less than 1cm thickness. Smear nutella on one half and fold. (refer to picture above)
  5. Cut 2 cm strips and start twisting and stretching the ends. It will be a little messy because of all the nutella (licking optional!) The strips should twist and fall together into a bun on one side. Tuck the hanging end under and lay on a lined baking tray
  6. Cover with saran wrap again and let rise for 40mins. Preheat oven to 350F
  7. Make an egg wash with 1 egg whisked with 1 tbsp of milk. Brush over the puffy dough and pop it into the oven
  8. Bake for 20-25 mins or until quite golden brown on top. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before devouring!

17 August 2014

Tomato Watermelon Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette

It's that lazy Sunday where I don't really feel like doing anything but eat frozen chocolate covered bananas in bed. I've had a week filled with cooking and baking disasters. I just kept burning everything I made. Like my batch of green tea macarons :( So labor intensive and then gone to waste by 5 minutes of extra time in the oven. Ughhh macarons!! So when it came to the day of my bf's birthday two days ago, I was super super hesitant to cook dinner. But, I did it anyway...because "best gf". you know? Ha

Anyway, I wanted to make sausage and biscuits, because he loves that gloopy stuff. Baking the biscuits was a disaster. My first batch well... I might as well have made hockey pucks. I know when I have a bad week, I just need to stay out of the kitchen! Luckily, this salad turned out pretty decently. And I say lucky, because I spent a few hours cleaning the mess I made in the kitchen after dinner :(



Tomato Watermelon Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette

serves 3-4

Ginger Vinaigrette
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 inch knob ginger, minced
1 thai chilli, chopped
1-2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp cilantro, roughly torn

Salad
3 tomatoes (any color variety)
1/4 large watermelon
handful of cilantro

  1. In a small bowl, mix the rice vinegar and sugar together until dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, cover and chill in the fridge (make a few hours before or left overnight)
  2. Dice the tomatoes and watermelon and roughly chop the cilantro and toss together carefully
  3. Serve with dressing on the side or drizzled over



11 August 2014

Tri-color Banchan - Korean Side Dishes

It's hard to believe that another academic year has passed and I'm now no longer a newbie to med school. I drink black coffee, stare at a screen all day and the only exercise I get is walking to the kitchen to open the refrigerator door...which is quite often, because who knows what's in there the next minute?!

I know I complain about being in school all the time and whine about this and that. But, it's actually pretty nice to be back in the groove and to see all my friends. I like being on a schedule and sometimes studying isn't too bad. Haha kidding... We just had a tricky cardiovascular exam and I'm delirious from the lack of sleep.

This year I'm trying to fit in some exercising and to pack my lunch every day. This starts with making Korean banchan (small dishes). I keep an assortment in my fridge and pack different kinds with quinoa, salad or rice daily. Nom time!



Korean Banchan - 삼색나물

Eggplant side dish - Gaji namul (가지나물)
1 eggplant
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp soysauce
1 tsp sesame oil
pinch of salt
1/2 jalapeno (optional)

  • Cut eggplant into 1" sticks the size of your finger. Saute in a little olive oil with the garlic, finely chopped jalapeños, soysauce and a pinch of salt. After it has softened a little, add in 1 tsp of sesame oil and continue to fry for 2 more minutes. Salt to taste and garnish with sesame seeds

Spinach side dish - Sigeumchi namul (시금치 나물)
1 bunch spinach (not baby spinach)
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil

  • Boil about 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Throw in washed spinach for 30 seconds and then drain. Squeeze out as much water as you can. Loosen the scrunched up spinach by mixing in sesame oil, minced garlic, and salt.

Beansprout side dish - Kong namul (공나물)
200g mungbean sprouts
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp soysauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 stalk green onion
salt to taste

  • Wash sprouts well and break of roughly all the darkened tips of the shoot (it's okay to miss some). Boil about a cup of water in a pot, add in the beansprout and boil for 2 minutes. Drain well and mix in minced garlic, soysauce, salt and sesame oil. Finely slice green onions and mix in.

29 July 2014

Cinnamon Swirl Cheesecake

Yay I'm back from my cross country road trip! In one whole piece too. It was actually a lot of fun, with only some yelling and a few tears (ha!). Today is officially the start of classes and I just cannot bring myself to do anything productive. Yesterday, I watched Spiderman 2 during orientation but for Andrew Garfield...anything :D. The ending was so shocking and sad, and when it comes to sappy endings, I can't stop the flow of tears... even if I'm in the lecture hall :P Then my body felt like a jellyfish the entire night so no productivity there. I do need to get back to the grind though...because med school :(

I got a new 5 inch springform pan and other kitchenware stuff over the summer. Now I have absolutely no counter space so my mum made me put it all in a box in a living room. Soon half the living room will be filled with my stuff. Sorry, roommate! My first apology in the form of a cheesecake (with a oatmeal cookie crust! nom)


Cinnamon Swirl Cheesecake

adapted from candidappetite for a 5" springform pan

Crust
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin spice
pinch of salt
1/4 cup flaked almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 (8oz) block cream cheese, room temp
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs, room temp
1 cup vanilla yogurt (i used fat free)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. 
  2. For the crust, combine all the ingredients except for the butter in a medium bowl. Pour in the butter and mix until it can form a ball. Press into a 5-inch springform pan so it thinly covers the bottom. Try to not leave any holes or cracks. Bake for 17-20 mins or until the edges are slightly brown. Remove and cool completely
  3. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whip cream cheese and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in eggs, yogurt and vanilla yogurt until smooth. Mix in flour and make sure the batter is smooth.
  5. Take 1/4 cup of the batter and mix to the set aside brown sugar mix. This will be the cinnamon swirl filling.
  6. Fill half of the cheesecake batter over the crust. Add some cinnamon swirl batter in dollops and pour the rest of the cheesecake batter. Dollop rest of the cinnamon swirl on the top in blobs. Use a knife to create swirls in the cake.
  7. Place cheesecake on a baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes. Do not open the oven door at all or there will be cracks! Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to sit inside for another 3 hours. (Although I used his method, I still got cracks. Maybe the water bath method is better)
  8. Chill overnight for best texture and taste (or at least 3 hours). Carefully remove the edge of the pan and serve with freshly whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon. Hmm!


04 July 2014

Red Velvet Blueberry Cheesecake Macarons

Happy 4th! I am still so excited about Brazil's win over Columbia. Oh my gosh, that was an exciting game!! Woooo. Never seen so many grown men cry. Also, James Rodríguez **swoon**. I am betting Argentina and Brazil will go into the finals. That would be so awesommmeee. 

My mum is on a macaron fever with me ha. She loves them and makes me bake them every week. Here's a patriotic macaron for today! Happy nomming!


Red Velvet Blueberry Cheesecake Macarons

makes about 25 macarons

Red Velvet Macaron Shells
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup almond powder
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 egg whites (aged 1 day in fridge and 1-2 days at room temp)
1/2 tsp vanilla
red dye (gel) 1 tsp

Blueberry Cheesecake Filling
1/4 cup blueberries
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Blueberry Cheesecake: whisk all blueberries, water, sugar in a small pot. Heat on medium and stir from time to time until blueberries start bursting. Add cornstarch and stir until pretty thick. Remove from heat and cool. Whip cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar. Add the cooled blueberry jam and whirl only 3 times. You don't just want purple goo! Fill up a piping bag to chill in the fridge.
  • Macarons
    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, powdered sugar, cocoa powder until mixed and fluffy
    3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, 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 with.
    5. Fold the dry ingredients in 2 batches with a rubber spatula and make smooth sweeps to the botto
    6. Fold the dry ingredients in 2 batches with a rubber spatula and make smooth sweeps to the bottom of the bowl. Add vanilla extract and dye and continue deflating the meringue. After about 40-50 foldings it should look glossy and when you drop some from your spatula to the batter, it takes about 10-20 secs for it to mold back into the mix
    7. Fill your pastry bag and pipe batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 3.5cm circles, spaced 1" apart. 
    8. Rap the baking sheet a few times about 1 inch above the counter top to flatten the macarons and to get rid of bubbles. I also use a toothpick to pop the stray ones. Let them rest at room temp for 45-60mins. The tops should be REALLY dry and nothing should stick to your finger if you poke them. 
    9. Preheat your oven to 300 F in the last 2 minutes of the drying wait. Bake for 15 mins each pan separately, 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 longer. You always want to overbake than underbake.
    10. Let cool completely before removing them from the paper. Line up similar sized ones and pipe the chilled curd filling onto 1 shell. Sandwich together.
    11. Let them sit in the fridge in a sealed container for at least 1 day before serving. Seriously!! They taste 100x better when the insides of the macaron shells soften a bit and the filling flavors come together.

03 July 2014

Lemon Mango Macarons

Summer holiday is almost coming to an end! I feel like I haven't had much time to really do what I want before going to school again. Like traveling to Iceland, going on the Lord of the Rings Trail in New Zealand... I wouldn't even mind Hawaii! But, I guess that's what happens when you don't plan and then you're stuck in a lab for your whole summer dissecting mice. Hmm... At least I should get my butt over to the beach while I'm in LA. I bet I'm the only person who lives in LA, who goes to the beach only once a year :\

But, I am going on a cross-country road trip soon... ONE WHOLE week with my mother. Hopefully we'll both survive. Because, mothers. Ya know?!

In the heat of the summer, I made these light and bright lemon-y macarons. Don't they just look like sunshine? ;)


Lemon Mango Macarons

makes about 25 macarons

Lemon Macaron Shells
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
2 tsp lemon zest, dried overnight
2 large egg whites (aged 2 day in fridge and 1 day at room temp)
5 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp lemon extract
yellow food coloring (optional)

Mango Curd
1/3 cup mango, pureed and strained (1-2 medium sized mangoes)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp tsp salt
2 egg yolks
2-3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp butter (remove from heat and add)

  • Mango Curd: whisk all the ingredients except the butter in a small pot. Heat on medium and keep whisking it from time to time until it starts to simmer. Keep whisking until its pretty thick and starts spitting large bubbles from the top. You want it pretty thick so you don't get your macarons soggy. Whisk and whisk! Don't let it burn on the bottom! Remove from heat and stir in butter. Let it cool and then fill up a piping bag to chill in the fridge.
  • Macarons
    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, powdered sugar, dried lemon zest until mixed and fluffy
    3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, 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 with.
    5. Fold the dry ingredients in 2 batches with a rubber spatula and make smooth sweeps to the bottom of the bowl. Add the lemon extract and continue deflating the meringue. After about 40-50 foldings it should look glossy and when you drop some from your spatula to the batter, it takes about 10-20 secs for it to mold back into the mix
    6. Fill your pastry bag 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. I also use a toothpick to pop the stray ones. Let them rest at room temp for 45-60mins. The tops should be REALLY dry and nothing should stick to your finger if you poke them. 
    8. Preheat your oven to 300 F in the last 2 minutes of the drying wait. Bake for 15 mins each pan separately, 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 longer. You always want to overbake than underbake.
    9. Let cool completely before removing them from the paper. Line up similar sized ones and pipe the chilled curd filling onto 1 shell. Sandwich together.
    10. Let them sit in the fridge in a sealed container for at least 1 day before serving. Seriously!! They taste 100x better when the insides of the macaron shells soften a bit and the filling flavors come together.


26 June 2014

Pea Shoots and Kabocha Summer Roll

I got the itis so bad. My mum's here and she's been making all this delicious food, I'm about to pop. But I feel so blessed and blissful... maybe like the blissful feeling before I'm going to explode. Okay, definitely took that too far. Anyway, I feel too lazy to write this post. Sorry! I also left this short paragraph with an awful joke. Apoloooggiieeessss

Here is a vegan Vietnamese-like summer roll  I made before my mum came. Had to feed myself with all the leftover veggies :P


Pea Shoots and Kabocha Summer Roll

makes 15-20 rolls

20 sheets of rice paper
1/2 medium cucumber
1 medium apple
2-3 cups of pea shoots
1 small kabocha squash
few leaves of kale
cilantro

Peanut dipping sauce
1/2 cup peanut sauce
Juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp agave
2 tsp hoisin
2 tsp soysauce
1/4 cup water
  1. Using a vegetable peeler, roughly peel kabocha and cut into large wedges.  Place in big pot in a single layer with about 1 cm of water. Steam kabocha for 10-15 mins until soft
  2. Cut cucumber, and apple into 2 inch matchstick pieces (You can squeeze from lemon over the apple to prevent browning). Wash kale and pea shoots. When the squash is cool enough to handle, cut large wedges into smaller ones
  3. Heat water in a large pot until it is about to simmer and then switch off. Working one roll at a time. Place rice paper sheets into the water until soft and lay it open on a plate
  4. Add all the veggies and fruit you want on top. Although don't add too much or it'll burst. Fold the bottom end over your filling and then tuck the sides in before you continue rolling all the way. You'll get the hang of it after a few tries!
  5. For the dipping sauce, just mix everything together. Go easy on the soysauce because hoisin is already salty. Add 1 tsp each time and adjust to taste. You can always add water or lemon or more sweetness to dilute the saltiness if you go overboard (like me!)




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