Meyer Lemon Cake

Whoa, it’s Leap Day.  That’s exciting?  It’s also hump day, Wednesday, that middle day that tells us to keep going, we’re almost done with the week after this day.  As a hump day keep me up, here’s a cute bun pic.  Maybe this’ll become a thing.  “Hop Day” with Izzy.

Another way to revitalize yourself as winter drags on into March is winter citrus.  My mom took a trip to CA a while ago and brought back some meyer oranges from her friend’s backyard.  Gosh I wish I had fruit trees at my beck and call.  How neat would it be to go just go outside your front door and pick some amazingly fresh fruit?!?!

Maybe someday when Luke and I actually own property.  Right now my dreams of lush gardens and orchards are beings buoyed by the tiny shoots of the herb garden I’m starting.  Hey, they’re green and alive, so who cares if they’re only 1 ½ inches tall.  Not me, I can see the fresh thyme, dill and rosemary (among others) already.

Anyway, back to lemons.  My mom, being the lovely lady that she is, saved a few of the lemons for me, and I wanted to do something nice with them.  So I made a cake.  An almond and meyer lemon scented cake.

I added lemon curd in between two layers of the batter, but I couldn’t really tell if it made a difference in the way the cake tasted.  Which was awesome, by the way.  Super moist, with just the right balance of almond and citrus.

I enjoyed this cake on a fancy place accompanied by a steaming cup of afternoon tea.  And also off my bare palm at 8am. Oh yeah.

Meyer Lemon & Almond Cake

Adapted from Always with Butter

1 cup cake flour

1/3 cup almond flour (or you can finely ground almonds in a food processor)

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp kosher salt

1 ½ sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

zest of 2 meyer lemons

1 tsp almond extract (or vanilla extract)

2/3 cup sour cream

 

Grease/butter a 9” springform pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Combine all dry ingredients (flour-salt) in a medium bowl and set aside.  Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, stirring until incorporated after each one.  Add zest and almond extract and stir to combine.  Gradually mix in dry ingredients, then fold in the sour cream.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-45 mins, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: I added swirls of lemon curd after adding a little batter, then poured the rest on top.  After the cake had cooled, you could not tell that the curd had been added, so don’t feel like you need to do this…it was just a little experiment.


Chicken Enchiladas

I had an interview yesterday.  These last two weeks have been a whirlwind of interviews for me, and I find it gets easier with each one.  I no longer get nervous beforehand, though I can’t seem to stop my face from turning red during every single one.

I guess talking to strangers makes me blush.  I can feel it start in my ears and spreads inwards towards my cheeks.  I hope my interviewers don’t notice…hopefully they think I’m excited, because I really am.  Teaching Chinese is my dream job, so I’m hoping with all I’ve got that I can get a school to pay me to do it.

First thing I did when I got home after the interview, after feeding Izzy the grumbly rabbit, was change into my pajamas.  (My interview was at 4:30, so please don’t think I’m crazy and putting on pjs at like noon.)

What I would have given to have a plate of these enchiladas waiting for me.  Sadly, I made them a little while ago, and they’re all gone now, but they really would have hit the spot.  Shredded chicken sautéed with onions in rich spices, tossed in a tortilla, covered in cheese and baked to perfection.  How is that not an amazing meal?  I’ll definitely be making these again the next time I cook a whole chicken.

Chicken Enchiladas

Adapted from Pass the Sushi

Makes about 3-4 servings

1 tablespoon peanut oil

2 small white onions, chopped

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 tablespoon cumin

salt and ground pepper to taste

2 garlic cloves, minced

one 8oz can tomato sauce

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

1/4 cup water (if needed)

1 cup monterey jack cheese, divided

1/2 sour cream

8 flour tortillas

one 10oz can red enchilada sauce

 Preheat oven to 375.  Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once heated, add onions and sauté for 5 minutes until beginning to soften, then add next six ingredients and allow to cook for another 1-2 minutes before adding tomato sauce.  Increase heat until boiling, then reduce, add chicken and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. If it begins to get too dry add water in small amounts. Add 1/2 cup cheese maintaining heat until it has melted.  Remove pan from heat and stir in sour cream. Place a scoop of the mixture onto a tortilla and roll. Repeat for each tortilla. Place each in a 9×13 inch pan sprayed with cooking spray seam side down.

After all tortillas have been filled and rolled, pour enchilada sauce over pan and top with other 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake in preheated oven until cheese just begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then top with cilantro and green onions.


Poached Chicken

Yep, I’ve hit that stage in my maturity level where I’m ok with dumping a chicken into a huge pot of water and boiling it.  Then tearing apart the carcass with a knife and my bare hands.  Man, being a grown up sure is great.

I’ve always wanted to cook a whole chicken, since an entire bird is a lot cheaper than a pack of boneless chicken breasts, and I wanted to get some experience carving a chicken.

Now, poaching a chicken isn’t something you do if you want to just eat some chicken straight from the pot.  I mean, you could, but poaching doesn’t imbue the meat with much added flavor, just cooks it nice and juicy.  I mainly wanted to poach a chicken for the ridiculous amount of shredded chicken it produces, which works well in a bazillion recipes, and to get some awesome stock.

Check and check.  Sorry my stock photo is blurry.

My next adventure will be to invest in a roasting pan so I can roast a whole chicken.  Then I can make stock with the bones.  And to think that a few years ago, I wouldn’t touch raw meat with a ten-foot pole.  It’s all part of growing up.

Poached Chicken

Adapted from Steamy Chicken

1 whole chicken (mine was about 4.5 lbs)
kosher salt
3 cloves of garlic, sliced, not minced

1 leek, cleaned of sand and sliced

 To clean the chicken, with a small handful of kosher salt, rub the chicken all over, getting rid of any loose skin and dirt. Rinse chicken well, inside and outside. Season generously with salt inside and outside. Stuff the chicken with the garlic and leek slices.  Place the chicken in a large stockpot and fill with cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, then immediately turn the heat to low to keep a simmer. Cook for about 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken.  Check for doneness by sticking a chopstick into the flesh under the leg and see if the juices run clear or insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh not touching bone. It should read 170F.

When the chicken is cooked through, turn off the heat and remove the pot from the burner. Immediately lift and the chicken out of the water with two spatulas (don’t be tempted to lift it by the legs…it won’t end well) and transfer to a baking sheet or cutting board to cool and discard the garlic and leeks.  Once the chicken is cool, cut meat from the bones, shred, and store in the refrigerator for future use.  You can also freeze extra meat.


Green Tea Swirled Angel Food Cake

So this is my 100th post.  I think that’s something that deserves a little celebration, right?

I knew I wanted to post a cake today, and since this one features my most favorite ingredient, I figured that would be most fitting for the occasion.

I’ve posted an angel food cake recipe before, but as you can see, the addition of the all-wonderful green tea powder takes this cake to a whole new level.  I didn’t want an entire matcha angel food cake, so I decided to throw in a swirl.

It’s so pretty.  I’d just stare at this cake all day if it wasn’t so delicious.  Because of how light angel food cake is, I end up snacking on it, eating it for breakfast…it’s definitely not relegated to the same realm in which decadent desserts dwell.

Thus, it tends to disappear very quickly.  If you don’t have matcha, feel free to sub in cocoa powder for a chocolate swirl.  I just like using matcha whenever and wherever I can.  Here’s to another great 100 posts!

Green Tea Swirled Angel Food Cake

Adapted from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2004

1 cup sifted cake flour

1 ½ cups sugar, divided

12 large egg whites

1 tsp cream of tartar

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ tsp fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp green tea powder (matcha)

 Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine flour and ¾ cup sugar in a medium bowl.  Place the egg whites in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at a high speed until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and salt, and beat until soft peaks form.  Add the other ¾ cup sugar, a little at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.  Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon juice.

Fold in the flour mixture ¼ cup at a time with a spatula.  Gently spoon half the cake batter into a separate bowl.  Sift matcha over half the batter and fold in.

Spoon half of the plain batter into an ungreased 10” tube pan, spreading evenly.  Top with half of the matcha batter, repeat layers and swirl batter together with a knife.  Bake for 50 mins, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched.  Invert pan, and cool completely.  Remove from pan with a small metal/plastic spatula.


Cinnamon Sugar Biscotti

Biscotti are a seriously underrated breakfast food.  While it may be eclipsed by the morning regulars like muffins or scones, biscotti are incredibly delicious and easy to make at home.

The first time I made biscotti was during college, and I felt like a master potter shaping the loaves for the first bake.  To make biscotti, you bake the dough in a log, then cut it into the classic biscotti stick-shape, and then it goes back in the oven for a second bake.

The second bake gives them their characteristic crispness.

These biscotti are jammed packed with cinnamon flavor.  The dough contains cinnamon chips, and the biscotti are dusted with cinnamon sugar before each bake.

Basically, if you are a fan of cinnamon, these biscotti are going to knock your socks off.  Or maybe your slippers, or both, if you’re like me and like your feet toasty.

So try something new this weekend and make your own biscotti, trust me, it’s a most delicious endeavor.

Cinnamon Sugar Biscotti

Adapted from Tracy’s Culinary Adventures

Makes about 20 biscotti

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup cinnamon chips (optional)

Topping:
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 325 F.  Grease/line a baking sheet with silicon mat or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.  In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and then the egg yolk, beating well after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla.  Add in the dry ingredients, mixing only until everything is incorporated and the dough comes together.   Fold in cinnamon chips if using.

Divide the dough in half.  On the prepared baking sheet, shape each half into a log that is 9 inches long and 1 1/2-inch-wide.  Space the logs at least 4 inches apart.  Brush the tops and sides of the logs with the beaten egg.  In a small bowl combine the cinnamon and sugar for the topping, then sprinkle about 2/3 of it generously on the logs.

Bake until the logs are golden and slightly firm to the touch, about 40-45 minutes.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven but maintain the oven temperature.  Once the logs are cool enough to handle, use a serrated knife to cut each log into 1/2-wide slices on the diagonal.  Place the biscotti cut-side down on the baking sheet and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon-sugar topping.  Bake the biscotti again until pale golden, about 10-15 minutes.  Remove and cool on wire racks.


Chocolate Ice Cream

What is there to say about chocolate ice cream?  If given the choice between chocolate and vanilla, I’d probably take vanilla.  I do enjoy a good chocolate fix now and then, but let’s just say I eat the vanilla side of the black and white cookie first.

But I can only make vanilla ice cream so many times.  Actually, that’s a lie.  I’ve only made vanilla ice cream twice.  I like playing around with different flavors now that I have my own ice cream maker and complete, dominating control over what kind of custard goes into it.

And the fact that I’ve bookmarked something like 30 ice cream recipes probably doesn’t help.

But I needed a simple flavor into which I could mix the rest of my failed batch of chocolate chip cookie dough fudge.  It didn’t set properly, if you all recall, and turned into moon sand…tasty moon sand, but crumbly and not entirely edible on its own.  Except if you would consider eating it in dusty mouthfuls using a spoon.  But that’s not really my style.

So I made chocolate ice cream.  If you don’t have an ice cream maker, I’d highly recommend getting one.  Homemade ice cream is sooo much better than store bought, and you can be the authority on what goes in your ice cream.  Like chocolate chip moon sand.  Mmmmmmm.  Also, this recipe is from the culinary genius that is David Lebovitz, so you know it’s good.

Chocolate Ice Cream

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker via David Lebovitz

Makes 1 quart

2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining cup of cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.

Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over the medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula (170°F on an instant-read thermometer). Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Let sit until the mixture reaches room temperature, then chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, at least 8 hours.  Freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.)  Transfer to a container for freezer storage.  If you want to add goodies to your ice cream, do so after it has churned, while you are transferring it to its long term container.

 

 


Peanut Butter Pancakes

Seems like Izzy was feeling a bit of the hump day blues yesterday.  Though it always brightens my day when she stretches out and tries to relax in different positions.  As long as she stays that way long enough for me to run and get my camera.

Apparently this week is National Pancake Week.  During Fat Tuesday, you’re supposed to eat pancakes as a fulfilling meal before the season of Lent starts.  I’m not Catholic, so I don’t change my diet or habits from now until Easter, but any suggestion of eating pancakes makes me happy.

Earlier this week, I added a recipe index to Bashful Bao as a way for readers to look through all the recipes I’ve posted.  As it turns out, this marks the eighth pancake recipe I’ve put up…awesome.

And I have no intention of slowing down, especially since I recently purchased a cast iron duel griddle and grill pan.  Now I can make six pancakes at a time instead of two!  I am loving that thing.

This is the best peanut butter I have ever tasted.  Period.

Peanut Butter Pancakes

Adapted from Crepes of Wrath

Makes 10-12 pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, peanut butter, and vegetable oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

Heat your griddle over medium-low heat and grease with cooking spray, oil or butter.  When the pan is ready, pour about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. Don’t overcrowd the pancakes because they will spread a bit as they cook. Cook for about 3 or 4 minutes per side, until golden. They won’t bubble like normal pancakes because of the thickness of the peanut butter.  Remove to a separate plate and enjoy with your favorite pancake toppings.