Friday, February 25, 2011

Savory Sauce: Asian BBQ

New Theme! Let's all be excited. So, as I'm sure you are aware, Western culture is obsessed with carbohydrates (such as wheat, corn, sugars, etc.). It is also common knowledge that an excess of these foods contributes to weight gain and unhealthiness. I do not eat an excess of these foods, but I have recently decided to try and eat even LESS of these foods. Out of this goal, my new theme was born. Using flavorful sauces is a perfect way to make eating meats and vegetables much more interesting.

Asian BBQ Sauce over Drumsticks 

Asian BBQ Sauce
1 part soy sauce
1 part ponzu sauce
1 part BBQ sauce

I rarely post recipes involving pre-made ingredients, but there you go. The amount of sauce you make is up to you. Your parts will be bigger or smaller depending on how many drumstick you are making.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Mix ingredients for sauce together in a bowl.
- Place the drumsticks and mushrooms (or vegetable of choice) in an oven safe dish.
- Pour half the sauce over the meat and vegetables, then place in the oven.
- Use the rest of the sauce to baste the drumsticks throughout the cooking process. 
- Bake until the meats internal temperature is around 160 degrees F., around 50 minutes.
- If you want more of a glazed effect, broil the drumsticks briefly at the end of the cooking process. Baste the meat constantly while broiling to form that nice layer on top.

Any BBQ sauce will work for this recipe, store bought or homemade. Ponzu sauce is a Japanese citrus sauce. It comes in a bottle similar to a soy sauce bottle and can be found in the international section of a grocery store or at a specialty Asian market. Soy sauce, is pretty self explanatory. I made this recipe up using things I had laying around my house. Feel free to experiment with how much of each ingredient you use. Changing the ratios will change the flavor and in that way you can achieve the taste you like best. 
More flavor-filled food to come!



Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines Day: Heart Cookies with Jam

After a short hiatus, I am back with a cooking vengeance. Conveniently, a holiday came along to help me re-kick things off.

Heart-shaped cookies with jam

1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 cup buttermilk
Jam of your choosing (strawberry, blackberry, apricot, etc.)

The dough has to sit for at least one hour and up to as long as overnight (I did overnight), so make time to prepare it first.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy.
- Add the egg, then beat well.
- In a separate bowl combine the four, baking soda, and salt.
- Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the sugar and butter mixture until everything is combined.
- Wrap the dough in wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for alloted amount of time. 
- Wait.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Take out the dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick.
- Cut out your hearts. Use several different sizes of cookie cutters to make cookie-windows for the jam, or just use a pairing knife to cut out whatever size hearts you want.
- Warm up the jam so it is liquidy and easy to spread.
- Place whole heart cookie (for the bottom of the sandwich) on a baking sheet, smear with a light coating of jam, put the cookie with a window in it on top of the jam cookie, carefully add a little more jam to the heart-window.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, you want them to only be barely browned on the edges.
- Recipe makes approximately 4 sheets of cookies (give or take).

This is a time-consuming process, but I think it is worth it. The cookies were both adorable and delicious (the people in my household couldn't stop eating them). The original recipe suggests you chill the cookies for 30 minutes once you have cut them out and put them on the tray, but before you put the jam on them. I skipped this step and did not notice any negative consequences, so do as you will. I used strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry jam to create a variety of red shades. You will have leftover little hearts from making windows, I suggest making small jam cookies and also just making some simple heart-shaped sugar cookies (maybe with sprinkles!). Here's wishing you all the happiest of Valentines Days.

Modified from Martha Stewart

L. Mousse

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Peppermint: Chocolate Peppermint Cake Role

With the holiday season comes not only delicious food, but also lots of time with family and friends. And of course, if you work in a restaurant like I do, even more hours at work than usual. Basically, I'm asking you all forgive me for the delay on posting this, the last of my peppermint recipes.

Chocolate peppermint cake role filled with peppermint cream

Cake Role
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 11 by 15 jelly role pan with parchment paper and grease with vegetable oil.
- Place a clean kitchen towel on a flat surface and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
- Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and set aside.
- Separate the eggs. Whip the whites with 1/4 cup of the sugar until soft peaks form. Set aside.
- Beat the egg yolks with the rest (1/2 cup) of the sugar for 2 minutes. It should thicken and turn a light yellow color.
- Add the water and vanilla. Then, beat in the flour mixture in two batches until just combined.
- Carefully stir in half of the egg whites, then delicately fold in the rest of the egg whites.  
- Pour batter into the pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or just until cake springs back.  IMPORTANT: Do not overcook!  The cake is more likely to break when rolled if it is overdone.
- Gently loosen the edges of the cake with a sharp knife. Carefully invert then cake onto the sugared towel.  Remove parchment paper.  
- Begin at one end (a short side) of the cake and slowly roll the cake and the towel together.  Place on a wire rack to cool, 30 minutes or more.

Peppermint cream
8oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
5 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
3 cups whipped cream, chilled 
2 candy canes, crushed 
3 drops red food coloring

- Beat the cream cheese with the sugar and peppermint extract until smooth.  
- Beat in whipped cream until just combined. Stir in the crushed candy canes.  
- Mix in the food color, leaving streaks if you wish to give it more of a candy cane look.
- Carefully unroll the cake and the towel. Do not force it to lay completely flat. Spread the cream equally over the cake, then slowly re-roll. Don't worry if it cracks, just keep going as best you can.
I served this cake on Christmas day. I had never made a cake role before, and I must say, it was stressful. Luckily, the cake turned out wonderfully, especially for a first attempt. The original recipe is designed to be low-carb, so I changed it to use real sugar, as opposed to sugar substitute. Overall, it was absolutely delicious. The cake was fluffy and the flavor of the cream wasn't overwhelming. A tip from the original recipe: let the cake sit overnight before serving, it makes the flavor better. 
Eating Well, Living Thin blog

Tata for now,
L. Mousse