Archive for the 'Sweet' Category

From fish taco to pancakes

Yes, fish taco to pancakes, that is a natural progression. What better way to use up leftover buttermilk than making thick fluffy pancakes?!?

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Vanilla bean pancake with caramelized peach and apple and strawberry butter

Vanilla bean pancakes with caramelized peach and apple

1 peach
apple
2-3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 stick butter

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1/2 pod vanilla bean butter

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Caramelized peach and apple

To caramelize the fruit, heat 1/4 stick of butter on medium high heat. Add the fruit. Let them soften a little bit then sprinkle the sugar over. Let the pan sit for 5-7 minutes until the sauce thickens.

To make pancakes, mix dry ingredients together. Beat eggs with buttermilk and scrap vanilla seeds into the mix. Fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Brush the pan thoroughly with butter and ladle the batter into it. Turn when the surface gets bubbly (about 2 minutes on each side).

Strawberry butter

6-8 strawberries
1 stick butter (softened)
sugar

Mash/puree the strawberries. Mix everything together and keep folding until well-blended.

Filling the void

I bought two jars from Ikea a couple days ago. You know one of those this-is-so-unnecessary-but-I-absolutely-have-to-have-it moments — oh yeah, I do have lots of those moments. The small one was quickly filled with free candies (temporary of course since such a glorious jar is destined to hold bigger and better things), but the big one — oh poor big one — it was sort of just sitting there on the kitchen counter empty, desperately waiting for someone to come fill the void.

Well…

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Empty no longer! ūüôā

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Pear-almond biscotti

I used this recipe from Epicurious but substituted 1 1/2 tbs. of almond extract for vanilla extract, omitted the aniseed, and added 1 cup of chopped dried pears.

Now I need help getting rid of these biscotti so I can start filling the void again!

Odds and ends II

(Continued from last post)

Miscellaneous things I made in the past five months…

When we turned 1412 into House of Flying Pajun

Here’s when BFF and I tried to be Korean and sent pancakes flying all over my kitchen. We only missed once! But then B Oppa came home…

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BFF is a master at flipping the pajun/buchimgae

B Oppa: (stepped into the kitchen, sniffed the air) You made buchimgae?
A: It’s haemul pajun. They’re too thick I think.
B Oppa: It’s buchimgae.
A: I’m pretty sure it’s haemul pajun? The seafood pancakes?
B Oppa: It’s buchimgae! And they should be thicker than this. Smells good though.

Sometimes you think you know…but you really have no idea. The haemul pajun recipe here gave me pretty good results. I haven’t played around with it that much yet, but the pancakes were yummy alright.

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Haemul pajun/buchimgae?

When I finally tried that Ruth Reichl’s Swiss Pumpkin recipe (and failed)

You remember those cute little squashes featured in this post? So one day G asked me, “So Anisa, are you ever gonna cook something with those small squashes? Or are they just for photo op?”

HAHAHA

I decided it’s about time to put them squashes in the oven rather than in front of the camera. After all, I’ll admit they’d been sitting there for quite some time ( but hey, they made an excellent rustic accent to our eating area). A recipe for Swiss pumpkin from Ruth Reichl’s Comfort Me with Apples immediately came to mind. I’d been wanting to try that recipe forever, and sugar dumpling squash is just like a miniature pumpkin right?

I cut off the top of my petite squashes, scooped out their innards, and stuffed them with layers of bread and a mixture of eggs, cream, gruyere cheese, and spices. Since the cavities were so small, I wasn’t able to fit that much custard in each of the squashes. Instead of gooey cheesy goodness, I ended up with a wet glob of bread and virtually no custard in each squash bowl. It would’ve been perfectly fine if I had used a pumpkin or a bigger squash, but oh well, I guess another time!

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Swiss sugar dumpling squash

Despite the taste failure, I still think it turned out ridiculously cute, and seriously, isn’t that all that matters? =p

When we couldn’t resist Valentine’s Day romanticalness

To celebrate Valentine’s Day and our collective fabulousness this year, M, S, BFF and I got together for a romantic soiree at a certain clandestine location overlooking the Manhattan skyline. (guess where? =p)

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The tablespread

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Chilled Prince Edward Island Oysters with Date Emulsion
oysters, dates, apple, shallots, thyme, cider vinegar, grapeseed oil, salt, pepper

Salmon and Hamachi Ceviche
salmon, hamachi, bell peppers, pomegranate, fuyu persimmons, cucumber,
blood orange juice, lemon juice, dashi, soy sauce, mirin, rice wine vinegar

Bacon-Wrapped Enoki on Skewers
bacon, enoki, soy sauce, dashi, sesame oil, mirin, black pepper

Cold Soba with Wakame Seaweed and Cucumber
soba, wakame seaweed, cucumber, furikake, dashi, mirin

Lavender cr√®me br√Ľl√©e
yolks, cream, sugar, vanilla beans, lavender

Berries with Moscato d’Asti Sabayon
Moscato d’Asti, yolks, sugar, mixed berries

Riesling, Champagne, Moscato d’Asti

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Raw Oysters

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Salmon and hamachi ceviche

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Bacon-wrapped enoki on skewers

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Cold soba with wakame seaweed and cucumber
There was supposed to be uni in this but Citarella ran out!

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Lavender cr√®me br√Ľl√©e

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Torching!

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Moscato d’Asti Sabayon

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S getting amused by the strawberry

A different kind of booty call

I love it when people ask me to bake for them, all expenses paid. It’s like, you’re paying for all this stuff so I can have fun? Are you sure? Of course! It’s a booty call of sorts. You call me. I’m always wide open. Just call me pleeeeaasee…I’ll say yes. I’m a slut.

So it was A this time around. He needed some baked goods for his residents. What a caring, thoughtful RA he is! I was overjoyed to get his request. And plus, it was also very good timing–the New York Times‘ recipe for Supernatural Brownies had been screaming “Try me! Try me!” and for the whole past week, I had to resist the temptation because I knew I would end up devouring the whole entire tray all by myself, and that, my friend, is a possibility to be avoided at all costs.

Actually, scratch that–I’d more likely end up eating half the tray and then throw the other half into the trash can, topping it off with a generous drizzle of our newly purchased apple-scented Sunlight dishwashing liquid, a la Miranda from Sex and the City. B would mourn the loss of those brownies now rendered inedible in our trash can. Finally, I would call BFF for a confessional session and reassurance. Trust me, she’s good at that.

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Do I look supernatural enough?

I didn’t realize how long it’d been since my last time baking brownies. In a world inundated with so many brownie recipes and with a good fraction of them claiming to be the brownie recipe, I found it most beneficial to my sanity to just stay faithful to one, giving it the benefit of the doubt that this was indeed the brownie recipe to resort to. (Well, of course, it has to be somewhat of an excellent recipe for you to want to stick to it in the first place, like 8/10-ish at least.) My recipe of choice for the past three years has been the one from the Chocolate Bar cookbook, and self-deluded or not, I’d have to say that those brownies were pretty damn good! (If you haven’t noticed, modesty is taking a break today =p )

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Supernatural Brownies

But seriously now, how often do you come by a recipe with the word supernatural attached to it? Not Deep, Dark & Decadent, not Super-Gooey, not even The Best or Perfect…but SUPERNATURAL!?!? Well, I don’t know about you, but I fell for it. The result was indeed extremely pleasing. It came out of the oven with this gorgeous sheen and crackly surface. I cut a little piece from the corner to take a peek of the interior, and surely enough, it was beautifully fudgy. The texture was just right–chewy outside and gooey and moist inside. Flavorwise, it could benefit from a darker/higher-quality chocolate (Callebaut! Valrhona!). A couple tablespoons of espresso would probably help too, just to add a little more depth. But that’s it. No walnuts. No other fancy cookie things or allergy-triggering additives. I’m a purist in this department. I just want my brownie chewy and gooey with that deep intense dark chocolate taste (like the Original Fat Witch). I especially detest brownies with frosting or brownies with cream cheese. Please don’t get me started.

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‘The Cupcakes Aditi Made for Easter Last Year’

Aside from the Supernatural Brownies, I also baked these cupcakes I like to refer to as “the cupcakes Aditi made for Easter last year” for people who may not be as keen on chocolate. (Seriously what’s wrong with them?) Well, as their name suggests, I got this recipe from Aditi who got it from her friend’s mother who got it from…wait…she was the one who invented this cupcake. So understandably, it was this friend’s mother who told Aditi who told me to keep this recipe a secret. Gosh, this makes me feel so special and elitist it’s actually kind of awesome. haha just kidding!

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Cupcake close-up

Since I can’t really give away the ingredients, I’d just say that these cupcakes’ flavors are reminiscent of Ambrosia salad (as Sofia had so perceptibly pointed out). Ironically enough, the list of ingredients read like it was put together by a cracked-up Sandra Lee, a Sandra Lee with keener culinary acumen as evident in the delicious cupcakes. So who knows…maybe Sandra Lee’s food actually tastes good?!!!

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Angie’s birthday cake – a four-layered monstrosity

I baked this monstrous four-layered cake a while ago for Angie, one of the many many things I didn’t get around to blogging about yet. It was my first foray into the fourth layer. Just thought I should put this here because this was also “the cupcake Aditi made for Easter last year,” just 48 times its original size.

A week in review (part trois): celebratory berry tart

Friday Jan. 19,

4pm…

Hurrah!!! I’m done with interviews for the week! I need to bake some therapeutic tart…

5:46pm…

Hungry. Trudged uptown for dinner at Sezz Medi with Ry. Hurrah! Food!

6:32pm…

Still eating. Got a call. HURRAH!!! I GOT AN OFFER!! I NEED TO BAKE SOME BIG ASS CELEBRATORY TART!!!

7:01pm…

Proceeded to Fairway. Shopped deliriously because I was too excited.

10:28pm…

Started making the tart, deliriously because I was too excited.

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Anisa’s Delirious Celebratory Berry Tart (crust recipe from How to Be a Domestic Goddess)

for the crust:
7 tbsp. soft unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
3 yolks
1 cup + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

for the filling:
1 egg, separated
some amount of creme fraiche (probably 1 cup)
about equal amount of fromage blanc
enough sugar to make it tastes good (about 1/4 cup?)
strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or whatever fruit tickles your fancy

for the wine gelee/glaze:
1/2 cup whine wine (approx.)
enough sugar to make it tastes like moscato (if using nondessert wine)
1-2 tsp. gelatin powder

1. To make the pastry, cream the butter and the sugar together, then add the yolks one at a time. Stir in the flour to form a soft dough, then form a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and rest in the refrigerator for half an hour (or in the freezer for 15 min).

2. Once the dough has cooled down to play-doh texture, line a flat surface with a big sheet of wax paper, sit the dough on the sheet and cover it with another big sheet of wax paper. Roll out the pastry between wax paper to fit the pan. The dough is delicate so use the bottom piece of paper to help you carry your dough to the tart pan. Push gently down so that it lies flat at the bottom, leaving a little overhang. Put back in the fridge to rest for 10 min.

3. Preheat the oven to 350F. Roll a rolling pin (or an empty wine bottle if you’re ghetto like me) over the top of the pastry shell to cut off excess pastry. Line the pan with foil/wax paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 15 min, then remove the beans and the paper and continue baking for 5-10 more min. Transfer to a wire rack and cool.

4. To make the filling, whisk the white until stiff but not dry and set aside. Beat the yolk with the sugar until thick and pale; you may think there’s too much sugar to make a paste, but persist: it happens. Add the creme fraiche and fromage blanc and beat until smooth. Fold in the egg white and pile and smooth this mixture into the prepared tart shell (that has sufficiently cooled down). Put in the fridge for 20-30 min to set.

5. In the meantime, cut the berries, make the glaze, steal a glass of wine¬†and think of innovative noncircular¬†ways to arrange the fruit (although you’re going to end up doing a circular design anyway because the tart pan is circular as James has pointed out to me. Thanks!)

6. To make the glaze, heat the wine in a saucepan and add a couple tsp. of sugar to make it tastes like Moscato. I happened to have a white Bordeaux so I used that. Ideally, I would use a still, aromatic dessert wine like Muscat de Beaumes de Venise. But anyway, let the wine simmer for a little bit. Then mix the gelatin powder with some cold water then pour the liquid into the wine pot. Stir and turn off the heat. Let cool.

7. The most challenging part! Arrange the fruit. Once you’re done, pour the gelee/glaze over the whole entire surface. Voila!

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in full glory

I apologize for being unspecific with the quantity of certain ingredients. I was delirious and sort of playing and making it up along the way, so¬†I forgot to jot down how much¬†of each thing I¬†actually¬†threw into the mixing bowls.¬†Use your senses =p. They’re the best measuring tools you’ll ever own.

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¬†For the filling,¬†I took inspiration from the¬†creamy frozen dessert at Aquavit that uses a combination of creme fraiche, fromage blanc, and goat cheese. I know that using berries around this time is very unseasonal – Alice Waters forgive me. I was too fixated on the creme fraiche + fromage blanc combo and I knew it would go well with berries, (or they’re the most obvious complement and I was too delirious to think).¬†The gelee/glaze idea came at the last minute. The occasion called for some alcohol anyway.

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A pathetic attempt at plating

I love making tarts. They’re one of those things that seem deceptively complicated, but are actually fairly easy too make. You spend the most time on the pastry. The rest is just beating, cutting fruit, and putting it all together. The procedure¬†is therapeutic and the product tastes good. Please give it a try.

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Thanks to James for taking the pictures. Yay, I make semi-photogenic tarts!