Sunday, May 31, 2009

Double Chocolate Ice Cream

After an unsatisfactory attempt of making the Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream I mentioned before, I decided to make something I knew would taste good. I don't know if I did something wrong, but the texture and taste of the cheesecake ice cream were way off.

I have been trying to avoid custard-based ice creams because I don't like using only one part of an egg. I have way too many egg whites in the freezer already. However, I was really pining for a creamy ice cream and succumbed to the idea of making an ice cream with egg yolks. I knew I wanted chocolate, so I looked in my bookmarked recipes for chocolate ice cream recipes with the least amount of egg yolks.

Fortunately, I found one that required four instead of 5 to 8(!) egg yolks. In the future, I'm going to try to make the same ice cream with 2 egg yolks to see if they come out okay. Also, I want to try making a chocolate sorbet, which doesn't require any egg yolks at all. I hope the consistency of the ice cream will be more than satisfactory.

Back to the ice cream I made... I didn't have any blocks of chocolate, so I used a combination of Guittard's semi-sweet chocolate chips and Nestlé chocolate/peanut butter chips. I didn't taste any of the peanut butter, but the ice cream was FANTASTIC. I could barely sleep last night because I couldn't wait to have more the next day. With my ongoing insomnia, I had to force myself away from that freezer all night and early morning :). Make sure you have other people around when this ice cream is ready, or you'll be tempted to eat too much of it in one sitting!

July is National Ice Cream month, so I'm sending this to the Ice Cream Social Challenge, put together by Savor The Thyme. Tangled Noodle, Scotty Snacks & to Ben’s Homemade# 5: Ice Cream.

I'm also submitting this ice cream recipe to What's Cooking Summer Recipe #4 - Ice Cream forum!

Double-Chocolate Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk (I didn't have whole milk, so I used a combo of skim and half-n-half)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
pinch of salt
6 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I didn't add these since I had used them in the base)

1. In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, combine the milk and 1 cup of the cream. Cook over medium heat until bubbles form around the edges of the pan, about 5-7 minutes (I waited until there was a film on top of the milk).

2. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks, sugar, cocoa, salt and remaining 1/2 cup of cream in a bowl. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and the sugar begins to dissolve (It never reached the smooth stage for me. Just wait until it is well-mixed).

3. Remove the milk mixture from the heat. Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, until smooth. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and keeping the custard at a low simmer, until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it, 4-6 minutes (My custard seemed to be the right consistency as soon as I put everything in the pot! I still continued to heat it for 4-5 minutes). Do not let the custard boil. Put the 6 ounces of chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips) in a heat proof bowl and pour the hot custard over it (I suggest putting only half of the mixture over the chips, wait a minute or two, then stir the chocolate. After the chocolate has melted, add the rest of the custard). Stir until the chocolate melts and the custard is smooth. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl (if you like little chunks of chocolate in your ice cream, I would skip this step, unless you think there are a few curdled egg bits in your custard). Add vanilla and stir to combine.

4. Place the bowl into a larger bowl partially filled with ice cubes and water. Stir occasionally until cool. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

5. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Stir in optional mini chocolate chips. Transfer the ice cream to freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 3 days before serving.

100% Whole Wheat Bread: Artisan Bread in "Five" Minutes

I checked out the popular Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day from the library a few weeks ago and decided to make whole wheat bread.

The bread was really good, but it was very dense because of the flour. After I put some butter on it, my mom devoured her piece happily. I plan to make the other wheat bread that requires a combination of whole wheat and regular bread flour the next time around.

I had made brioche dough from this book on a previous occasion, so I had an idea of how to prepare and handle the dough. However, if you would like to see a video of the authors demonstrating how to prepare the dough, go here.

Instead of grading my students' exams, I was making this dough hehe.

Despite the authors' explanations and justifications, I still think calling this bread process as "five minutes a day" misleading. Nevertheless, having dough sitting in the refrigerator ready for your beckoning call is very nice. If you live alone, like I do, I suggest halving this recipe, or make the other loaf, cut it into slices, freeze the slices, take out however many you want later, and then put them in a toaster to defrost.

100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Makes two to three 1.5 lb loaves (I made two).

1 1/2 c lukewarm water
1 1/2 c lukewarm milk
1 1/2 Tbsp granulated yeast (1 1/2 packets)
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp salt
1/2 c honey
5 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (like canola oil)
6 2/3 c whole wheat flour

1. Mix the yeast salt, honey, and oil with the lukewarm water and milk in a 5-quart bowl (I used the KA mixer bowl), or a lidded, not airtight food container.
2. Using a spoon, food processor with dough attachment, or a stand mixer, mix in the whole wheat flour without kneading the mixture.
3. Cover the mixture, and allow it to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flatten on top); approximately 2 to 3 hours (see picture above).
4. Although the dough can be used after it has risen and collapsed, the authors state that the mixture is easier to handle when it is cold. Refrigerate it in a lidded, not airtight container and use over the next 5 days (I used my tea container). After the five days, put the dough in the freezer for up to 1 month.
5. On baking day, lightly grease a 9x4x3-inch nonstick loaf pan. Using wet hands, scoop out a 1 1/2-pound (cantaloupe-size) handful of dough. With wet hands, quickly shape the dough into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
6. Drop the loaf into the prepared pan filling it slightly more than half-full.
7. Allow the dough to rest for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Flour and slash the top of the loaf using the tip of a serrated bread knife.
8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 5 minutes, if not using a stone; otherwise, preheat the oven 20 minutes before baking time.
9. Place the loaf on a rack near the center of the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the oven door. Bake the loaf for 50 to 60 minutes or until deeply browned and firm.
10. Allow to cool completely before slicing in order to cut reasonable sandwich slices.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Homemade Pasta & Bolognese Sauce

Noodles with italian seasoning on top.

This past weekend, I decided to make my first batch of homemade pasta after seeing the detailed, yet simple process on Pioneer Woman's website. She had a visitor called Pastor Ryan who made this pasta along with bolognese sauce (usually a ragù or meat sauce originating from Bologna, Italy). *NOTE* After reading a comment on PW's site, I found out that this recipe was copied (and not acknowledged! That is not cool.) from Chef Gordon Ramsey. I included the youtube video of him making the recipe below.)

It was so easy to make. I only had one problem and that dealt with the texture of the noodles after I cooked them. I followed the recipe exactly, but I think the noodles should have dried for a few minutes before cooking them. I also think they could have cooked one more minute longer. Nevertheless, it was so good. I will definitely make this again.

Make sure you flour your surface well and flip over the dough as you roll it out to prevent the noodles from sticking too much.

At this point, most of the noodles were sticking to the table. I had to pry them up with a dough scraper. I also cut the noodles with a pizza wheel.

I made the sauce first so that it could simmer for up to 2 hours. I also halved this recipe and ate it for over two days for lunch and dinner (four meals +!). Make this ASAP! :)

I sprinkled some parmesan cheese on top and poured a glass of iced green tea in a wine glass to make everything look special :).

Bolognese Sauce (halved version)

copied and adapted from Chef Gordon Ramsey and Pioneerwoman

3/4 cups grated carrots
1/2 large red onion, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon oregano flakes
1 tablespoon dried basil flakes
1/2 6-ounce can tomato paste (I used tomato sauce because I was out of this)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/1 to 1 cup red wine (I don't drink; I used leftover, homemade chicken broth)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes
1/2 cup milk (I used heavy cream; you could also use half-n-half)
Fresh Parmesan cheese

  1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or big pot over medium heat.
  2. Add grated carrots and onions and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Make a well in the center of the mixture, then add in the ground beef (or turkey or chicken).
  4. Cook for a few minutes until brown, gradually stirring it into the carrot mixture.
  5. Throw in oregano and basil.
  6. When the meat is browned and combined with other ingredients, make another well.
  7. Add tomato paste (or sauce) and let it heat.
  8. Add garlic and stir to combine.
  9. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add red wine (or chicken broth). Stir together.
  10. Add Worcestershire and stir.
  11. Add canned tomatoes.
  12. Finally, pour in milk (or cream or half-n-half), stir, and let simmer for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  13. Make the homemade pasta while it simmers

Serve with pasta and a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Homemade Pasta

Pastory Ryan states: “Two eggs per one cup of flour. Make well in flour, crack in eggs, and slowly mix with hand. Knead by hand until dough becomes smooth and pliable, adding flour to the board as necessary. Let rest for a little while before rolling it out. I usually figure one egg per person to determine how much to make. Example: Two eggs and one cup of flour would make enough pasta dough for a dinner for two. Got it?” (I made a portion for two people so that I could have leftovers. I should have made a portion for four so that I could have more homemade noodles the next day)

For two:
1 cup flour
2 eggs

  1. Make a well in the flour.
  2. Crack the eggs into the well.
  3. Start mixing it lightly with one hand until it’s all combined.
  4. Turn it out onto a floured surface and begin kneading it, rolling and punching and pushing, until it’s smooth, not sticky or tacky.
  5. Stick the dough in a plastic bag if you’re going to use it later, or just let it rest for a little while on the counter if you’re getting ready to make it now.
  6. When you’re ready, roll it out on a floured surface as thinly as it’ll go. The noodles will plump up quite a bit when they boil in the water, so the thinner you can roll it, the better.
  7. Cut the noodles really thin. You can use a sharp knife (if you can keep it in a straight line), a pizza wheel (this is what I used), or a long pizza/bread cutter like this one.
  8. (Let the noodles hang to dry for about 30 minutes.)
  9. To cook the noodles, just boil them in salted water (very important!) for probably two (I suggest cooking them for four minutes) minutes. Don’t let ‘em go too long since they are not like the dry variety.
  10. Drain the noodles, and then toss them with some dried herbs.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Apfelstrudel (Apple Strudel)

My first slice accompanied with homemade vanilla ice cream. YUMMY!

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

As you can see, I forgot to peel the apples, but it didn't throw off the taste of the strudel.

Mise en place

I was really excited about this challenge when I first heard about it because I'd never made apfelstrudel. Instead of soaking my raisins in rum, I soaked them in apple juice since I don't drink alcohol. I halved this recipe, ate two slices, and then gave the rest away to my neighbor/colleague. It looked really ugly before and after putting it in the oven (hence the absence of out-of-the-oven pics); however, the powdered sugar covered any imperfections. The taste of the strudel reminded me of apple pie, which is something I've yet to make. This was my first apple-based pastry. Thanks for the challenge, Linda and Courtney!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

To-Try Recipe: Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream UPDATE!

UPDATE: I finally tried out this recipe, but I didn't like it. I ended up throwing it all away after two small servings of the stuff (on two different days). It was creamy; it was choppy and tasted like strawberry with no cheesecake. I couldn't even taste the graham crackers because they were overshadowed by the fruit. If I get another hankering for this type of ice cream, I think I will try the custard-based version next time. I could have done something wrong, so don't let my experience stop you from trying these recipes out. (I apologize for the awful photo above; it was late at night when I took it.)

Here is a recipe I want to try very soon. I'd thought I'd share it with you all prematurely. The ice cream base comes from Epicurious and the graham cracker section from Closet Cooking. I chose a different ice cream base than the one on Closet Cooking because I'm not crazy about using only one part of an egg. I just never get around to using all those egg whites. In fact, I have two ice trays full of egg whites already. *sigh* I guess I could make my healthy fried rice or a healthier version of pasta alla carbonara to use them up, since i'm not a fan of meringue or other egg white frostings. Hmm...

Well, tell me what you think about the below ice cream combination if you try (or have tried) this out!

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

adapted from Epicurious and Closet Cooking

Ice Cream Base:

3/4 pound (1 quart) strawberries
8 ounces softened cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Purée the strawberries with the cream cheese, sugar, milk, lemon juice, and salt.
2. Stir in the heavy cream.
3. Chill completely.
4. Freeze in an ice-cream maker.

Graham Cracker Crust:

1/4 cup graham wafer crumbs
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter

1. Mix everything in a bowl.
2. Press the mixture onto the bottom of a baking pan.
3. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
4. Let cool completely.

Mix the graham cracker crust bits into the ice cream base after churning and transferring it to a container. Then freeze the ice cream for a few hours.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tall & Creamy Cheesecake

For last month's Daring Bakers' challenge, we had to make a cheesecake that had me longing for my go-to cheesecake from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours". Since I live alone, I knew it would not be a good idea to make the cheesecake unless others were around. Fortunately, my stepmother, her husband (I still call her my stepmother even though she divorced my father and remarried many moons ago), and my half-brother wanted baked cheesecake. I brought down my stand mixer and new springform pan (which claims to be leakproof) to Houston and made the cheesecake for them.

I also made some homemade whipped cream to accompany the cheesecake. It was so good that my half-brother, who usually can eat forever without getting full, knew he had to stop eating more after one small slice in order to eat the bbq and sides my stepmom made (yes, he ate dessert first haha).

It was very rich. It was perfection.

My stepmom added a little bit of store-bought :( strawberry glaze to my cheesecake, but I knew I couldn't say anything about it haha. I just smiled, thanked her for her contribution, and took pictures of it.

An imperfect, yet perfect slice of cheesecake. YUM!

You MUST try this cheesecake. I'm serious. The recipe can be halved easily. I wish I could make some more right now. *sigh*

My opinions about the springform pan:

When I first bought this pan, I tested it out by submerging it in water to see if it would leak. Since it didn't, I made this cheesecake without foil. I noticed that the crust was a bit moist when I took off the sides of the pan (see pic below).

That could just be from condensation, though. Next time, I'm going to put on one layer of foil to see if it makes a difference. The crust was not soggy; it tasted just fine. So, I'm happy with this pan. I bought it for about 10 dollars from Wal-Mart.

In the photo above, you can see how the sides are flushed into the bottom of the pan to prevent leaks. You can also see the condensation on the sides of the pan.

Tall and Creamy Cheesecake: A Basic

source: Dorie Greenspan, Baking: From My Home to Yours

recipe copied and adapted from Smells Like Home.

For the Crust

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted

For the Cheesecake

  • 2 lbs (four 8oz boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream or heavy cream, or a combination of the two

To Make the Crust

  1. Butter a 9″ springform pan – choose one that has sides that are 2 3/4″ high (if the sides are lower, you will have cheesecake batter left over) – and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil.
  2. Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. ( I do this with my fingers.) Turn the ingredients into the springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs over the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don’t worry if the sides are not perfectly even or if the crumbs reach slightly above or below the midway point on the sides. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven. (The crust can be covered and frozen for up to 2 months.)
  3. Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake..
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

To Make the Cheesecake Batter

  1. Put a kettle of water on or a very large pot on to boil.
  2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at a medium speed until soft and creamy; about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat for another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition – you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.
  3. Put the foil-wrapped springform pan into a roasting pan that is large enough to hold the pan with some space around it.
  4. Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula , just to make sure that there is nothing left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the rim of the pan. (If you have a pan with lower side and have leftover batter, you can bake the batter in a buttered ramekin or a small soufflé mold.) Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into it to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
  5. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top should be browned (and perhaps cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.
  6. After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster – be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack (about 1 hour).
  7. When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours; overnight is better.
  8. At serving time, remove the sides of the springform pan (Greenspan suggests using a hairdryer to do this) and set the cake on a serving platter or leave it on the pan.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cherry "Pie-let"

Every Wednesday during the semester (which has just ended), my friend would pick something from my bookmarked recipes for me to make for her. Since I love to bake, and she enjoys my treats, it was a win-win situation! This past week, she asked me to make her the cherry pie from Smitten Kitchen.

I was happy to do that dessert because I wanted to try out another pie crust recipe. The first time I made pie crust, I used the one from Pioneer Woman's site, which originated from one of her readers, Sylvia L. While it was really flaky, delicious, and easy to put together because it did not require many cold ingredients, Smitten Kitchen's version had a mixture of (cold) butter and shortening in it. Therefore, it was very flaky and buttery. Her recipe, however, was a little harder to put together only because the ingredients had to stay cold in my warm apartment.

Since my friend lives alone, she wanted a small pie because I was overloading her with too many sweets every week haha. Consequently, I had to go to Bed, Bath, & Beyond and buy some tart pans. (*sigh* the things I do for my friends hehe. Nah, it was really an excuse to buy a new kitchen accessory!). *I found cheaper ones on Amazon*

I made two "pie-lets" that were intended for her. However, I made the first one so late at night, that I was too tired to put the top crust on the second one and bake it. I decided to just make the second one the next day and reserve it for me :D. I forgot to take a picture of her pie since it was so late. It was so pretty. I guess the second one didn't turn out too badly either (it is the one pictured); the first one was much prettier though. I didn't put the egg wash on my pie-let because I simply didn't want to crack another egg just for a egg wash when the pie-let was just for me.

You should definitely try out this recipe. It is pretty rich. My friend said she really enjoyed it but was unable to finish it all in one sitting. I agree that it was very filling, yet so delicious.

Sweet Cherry Pie
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Dough for a double-crust pie

For crust
3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
10 tablespoons (about) ice water (I used exactly 10, but I think it could have used one more tablespoon)

Make crust: Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor or a big bowl. Cut in shortening and butter until coarse meal forms with the processor (off/on spurts), two forks, a pastry cutter, or your hands (work quickly, if you pick the latter). Blend in enough ice water 2 tablespoons at a time to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; cut in half (I managed to make three sections). Flatten each half into disk (with a rolling pin while in an open ziploc bag). Wrap separately in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling (~15 minutes).)

4 cups pitted fresh cherries (about 2 1/2 pounds unpitted) (I used canned cherries; frozen ones would work, too)
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar (adjust this according to the sweetness of your cherries)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits (I used 2 Tbsps)

1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons water (optional, IMO)
Coarse sugar, for decoration (I used granulated sugar)

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Stir together the cherries, cornstarch, sugar, salt, lemon and almond extract gently together in a large bowl.

Roll out half of chilled dough (use larger piece, if you’ve divided them unevenly) on a floured work surface to 13-inch round. Gently place it in 9-inch pie pan, either by rolling it around the rolling pin and unrolling it over the pan or by folding it into quarters and unfolding it in the pan. Trim edges to a half-inch overhang.

Spoon filling into pie crust, discarding the majority of the liquid that has pooled in the bowl. Dot the filling with the bits of cold butter.

Roll out the remaining dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface, drape it over the filling, and trim it, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold the overhang under the bottom crust, pressing the edge to seal it, and crimp the edge decoratively. Brush the egg wash over over pie crust, then sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Cut slits in the crust with a sharp knife, forming steam vents, and bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350°F. and bake the pie for 25 to 30 minutes more, or until the crust is golden. Let the pie cool on a rack.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Epifanía: Me gusta el Arroz con Pollo pero no me gusta el azafrán

Cuando fui a España hace dos años, mi mamá y yo cenamos en un restaurante con un buffet muy interesante (¿Te acuerdas, mamá?). Fue allí donde comí mi primer plato de paella y la primera vez que probé azafrán. Pensé que no me había gustado la paella porque tenía un sabor de ostras y otros mariscos que no me gustan mucho.

Bueno, hoy hice mi primer plato de arroz con pollo y compré el azafrán (¡me costó 10 dólares!) sin saber que fue ese preciso ingrediente que causó que no me gustara la paella en España.

Para mejorar el plato a mi gusto, añadí queso rallado y sazón (¡Lawry's es mi favorito!). Encontré la receta en Stacy's Snacks. Otros bloggers, For the Love of Cooking y Karen Cooks, siguieron esta receta también.

Aunque no me gustara el azafrán en mi plato (sabe a medicina o el mar), me gustó todo lo demás. ¡Fue un plato bien rico y colorido! Planeo hacerlo de nuevo...sin el azafrán.

When I went to Spain two years ago, my mother and I ate out at a very interesting, buffet restaurant (remember, mom?). It was there that I had eaten my first dish of paella and my first taste of saffron. I didn't like it because it tasted like oysters and other shellfish I don't like very much.

Well, today I made my first dish of arroz con pollo, and I even bought saffron (it cost me 10 dollars!) without knowing that it was that exact ingredient that caused me not to like the paella in Spain.

To improve on the dish to my taste, I added grated cheese and seasoning salt (Lawry's is my favorite!). I found the recipe on Stacy's Snacks. Other bloggers, For the Love of Cooking y Karen Cooks, followed this recipe as well. Since I live alone, I made half of the recipe.

Even though I didn't like the saffron (it tastes medicinal or like the sea), I like everything else. it was a very colorful and delicious dish! I plan to make it again...without the saffron.

Stacey's Arroz con Pollo
adapted from Stacy's Snacks

4 chicken thighs, with skin and bones
salt and pepper (I used Lawry's Seasoning Salt and pepper)
olive oil for the dutch oven
1/2 chopped or dried onions (if you like less of an onion taste, use the dried variety)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 slices of smoked ham (or bacon) chopped (or turkey bacon)
1/2 tsp cumin
1 generous pinch of crumbled saffron threads (will not include this the next time around)
1/2 tsp of sweet paprika
1 red or green pepper, chopped (I did not include this; I don't like the stuff)
1 cups of chicken stock (I used leftover, homemade chicken stock)
3/4 cups of chopped canned tomatoes (I poured this in the measuring cup along with the chicken stock)
1/2 cup of long grain rice (Like Stacy, I used jasmine rice, too)

chopped fresh parsley (didn't have)
defrosted frozen peas
roasted red pepper strips for garnish (or pimento) (don't like the stuff)

Season your chicken thighs with salt and pepper. In a heavy dutch oven, heat olive oil and add your chicken and brown on both sides for about 8 minutes until skin is getting crispy. Remove chicken from pan with tongs and set aside. Pour off all of the fat except for about 2 tablespoons.
Now add your onions, smoked ham, garlic (and peppers). Sauté for a few minutes, and add your spices: saffron (optional), cumin, salt and paprika. Coat the onion mixture with the spice mixture for a minute.

Add your stock and tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Add your 1/2 cup of rice to the pot and place your chicken pieces back in the pot on top of the rice. Simmer this on low, partially covered for about 25-30 minutes, scraping up the brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan once or twice. Garnish with peas, parsley and roasted red pepper strips.

Monday, May 4, 2009

El cinco de mayo: ¡Conchitas!

Ya que mañana es el cinco de mayo y enseño español, decidí hacer pan dulce en la forma de conchitas para mis estudiantes (¡y trufas de chocolate!). Seguí una receta buenísima de Toxo Bread. Ella no solamente dio la receta sino también incluyó fotos muy buenas y detalladas de todo el proceso.

Confesión: Nunca me ha gustado el pan dulce mucho, aún con café (lo cual ya no tomo). Me gustó mucho el pan dulce que hice pero prefiero las cosas dulces que son más...dulces jaja...como galletas con chispas de chocolate o pastel de chocolate con mucho glaseado UMMM.

No obstante estas conchitas son mejores que las que he probado en las panaderías. Las de las panaderías suelen ser secas y/o migajosas. Éstas tienen una textura perfecta. Si a ustedes les gusta el pan dulce, ¡les recomiendo que hagan este pan dulce inmediatamente!
Since tomorrow is the 5th of May (cinco de mayo), and I teach Spanish, I decided to make pan dulce (sweet bread) in the form of conchitas (little shells) for my students (and chocolate truffles!). I followed a great recipe I found on Toxo Bread. She not only provided the recipe but also included very good and detailed photos of the entire process.

Confession: I have never liked pan dulce very much, even with coffee (which I dont drink anymore). I really liked the pan dulce I made, but I prefer sweets that are more...sweet chocolate chip cookies or chocolate cake with a lot of icing UMM.

Nevertheless, these conchitas are better than the ones I have had in the bakeries. The ones in the bakeries tend to be dry and/or crumbly. These, however, have a perfect texture. If you like pan dulce, I recomend you make these immediately!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Healthy Shrimp Fried Rice

I made this a long time ago (along with the bad quality photos) and need to make it again. It was so good that I forgot it was a healthier version of shrimp fried rice. Since I threw it together without a recipe, I don't remember the exact quantities. Just eyeball it, and you'll be fine.

Healthy Shrimp Fried Rice
Makes 1-2 servings

~2-3 Tbsp olive oil (to be used throughout the cooking process)
shrimp (I used peeled and deveined shrimp)
broccoli (I used frozen broccoli, but fresh is always great!)
1-2 egg whites (depends on how many egg whites you want! I like a lot.)
1 cup (leftover) brown rice (make this the day before you make this dish, or it will be mushy!)
low sodium soy sauce

In a saucepan with hot olive oil, sautée the shrimp until it becomes pinkish-white. Do not cook the shrimp completely because you will be putting it back in the skillet later, and you don't want it to be rubbery. Once it is halfway done, take the shrimp out, and place it on a big plate near the skillet (you will be using this plate for other half-cooked ingredients as well). Next, sautée the broccoli in the same skillet and then place it on the plate with the shrimp. Next, pour in a little more oil and then the beaten egg whites. Cook them until they are done. Take them out, and place them on the plate with the shrimp and the broccoli. Next, put in a bit more oil, if necessary, and then warm up the leftover brown rice. Once the rice is warm (~2 minutes), incorporate the shrimp, broccoli, and egg whites in with the brown rice. Once incorporated, pour in some low sodium soy sauce and then serve! Of course, you're free to add other vegetables. I sometimes add peas and mushrooms. Enjoy!