Saturday, July 31, 2010

Strawberry Cheese Danish

So I haven't had a post in more than a week! 0.0 This week, I've been so busy hanging out with friends, watching Inception (Really great movie btw. It's mind boggling! haha), playing some mini golf, eating out, and playing pool and video games at Gameworks, that I didn't have time to really make anything and have a post. But here I am, back with another post just for you guys! :) As I type this, I am pretty much exhausted so I'm going to keep it short and simple. Hope that's alright! This week's creation was Strawberry Cheese Danish. Ina Garten has another appearance this week. This recipe is extremely simple to follow! The filling is the only thing that you have to work to put together but I was able to whip that up in no time. I made a few changes to the recipe though because the original recipe is for a Cheese Danish not a Strawberry Cheese Danish. I put all the measurements I used below. Overall, the flavor was great. It almost tasted like strawberry cheesecake! However, I did not like the texture of the filling at all. Maybe I'm wrong but shouldn't the filling be creamy? Instead of being creamy, the filling had more of a "curdled" texture which I believe came from the egg yolk. I searched other recipes and they also said to add an egg yolk. But!! I did find a recipe that used flour instead of the egg yolk! That might create a smoother filling than what I had. Here's the recipe and changes to it!!

Strawberry Cheese Danish (Makes 8 Danishes)
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature (Another recipe called for 2 tbsp of flour)
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese (I completely omitted this)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 cup Strawberry Preserves or Jam
2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream them together on low speed until smooth. With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, ricotta, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and mix until just combined. Don't whip!

Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured board and roll it slightly with a floured rolling pin until it's a 10 by 10-inch square. Cut the sheet into quarters with a sharp knife. Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares. Then place a tablespoon of the strawberry preserves or jam onto the cheese filling. Brush the border of each pastry with egg wash and fold 2 opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so they firmly stick together. Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash. Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and refrigerate the filled Danish for 15 minutes.

Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. Serve warm.

Cream Cheese Danish on Foodista
-Aaron John
My Food Outings: AJ's Food Adventure
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Carrot Cake

Raw carrots are difficult for me to eat. Cooked carrots are hard for me to eat. Cooked carrots that have their flavors hidden are easier for me to eat. Call me crazy but I'm not crazy for carrots. I cringe at the thought of eating a raw carrot. Even drenched in ranch dressing, I just can't eat it. BTW, a little fun fact. So I was watching the Dr. Oz show and carrots actually don't help your eyesight as much as everyone say they do. It's actually a myth!! Instead, dark green leafy vegetables help more!! Anyway, once the carrot's flavor is disguised with something flavorful, I eat them with ease. That's why Carrot Cake is so delicious to me. Its flavor is disguised with spices and it's just so darn good! I'd like to think that this cake is healthy. I mean, it's a cake that uses VEGETABLES!! How can it be bad? This has to be another semi-healthy dessert!! Carrots already have a natural sweetness so we're just enhancing it here with more sugar! :D

Now, I can't give away the recipe for this carrot cake. Sorry I'm not sharing again!! (I'll explain later in this post). I'm probably getting on your nerves for not posting recipes, huh? Well, I'll talk about it later. But today, yes today, July 22nd, is one of my best friend's birthday! Happy Birthday to Michael Appelgate!! Woot Woot!! Happy Birthday bro!! I met Michael my freshmen year of high school. I don't think we started talking until we were both on our high school swim team. Let me tell you, that swim team was a doozy!! Waking up at 5:00 AM everyday to go to swim practice for about 2 hrs, go to school for another 6 hrs, then having land practice for another hour, was TOUGH!! Not to mention smelling like chlorine the whole day. It was through joining this team that enabled me to make great friends on that swimming team and even though I didn't enjoy the practices so much, it was all worth it. So once again, Happy Birthday Michael!! Oh, it's also my cousin, Jeremiah's birthday as well. Happy Birthday to him too!! haha.

So, why am I not going to post the recipe for my carrot cake? Like I said before I want to own a cupcake shop. But, this recipe is a serious secret as well. It's kind of hard to explain. My family wasn't supposed to have this recipe. In fact, I don't think anyone was supposed to have this recipe. My mom got it from a co-worker who got it from another co-worker somehow and I had to "drag" the recipe out of my mom. My mom specifically said not to share it. So, there you go. I did find a recipe that is similar to the one I use so here's the similar recipe. (Betty Crocker's Carrot Cake) P.S. I need to work on my piping skills.....

Carrot Cake
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups shredded carrots (5 medium)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and sides of one 13x9-inch pan or two 8-inch or 9-inch round pans with shortening; lightly flour. In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed about 30 seconds or until blended. Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, 1 teaspoon vanilla and the salt; beat on low speed 1 minute. Stir in carrots and nuts. Pour into pan(s).

Bake 13x9-inch pan 40 to 45 minutes, round pans 30 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool rectangle in pan on cooling rack. Cool rounds 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, on low speed until smooth and spreadable. Frost 13x9-inch cake or fill and frost round layers with frosting. Store in refrigerator.

Carrot Cake on Foodista
-Aaron John
My Food Outings: AJ's Food Adventure
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Friday, July 16, 2010

Apple Turnovers

Let's have an update to my life shall we? This past week, I've been on a diet. By diet, I mean that this week I've simply been watching what I am eating. I've only been eating about 1200-1500 calories a day. Is that bad?! D: I'm just trying to lose weight!! After my freshman year of college, I definitely had the freshmen fifteen!! The sad part is....I didn't even dorm!! I ate the normal home cooked meals I ate during high school so how is that even possible for me to gain the freshmen fifteen?! The one thing that changed during college was that I began to eat breakfast before school. In high school, I didn't eat breakfast. I would just get ready for school and leave without eating. I'm beginning to point the "weight gaining" on breakfast!! They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but I don't know what has happened to me. haha. I mean, I'm not huge but I definitely feel overweight.

I have to say, diets and working out are the hardest thing for me to do. I just want to sit and eat my ice cream. haha. But, I gotta do what I gotta do. In addition to my diet, I started working out. I don't know how long it will last but I hope I can keep it up throughout the summer. Every time I begin to workout, I would go, maybe 3 days, then stop. The longest amount of working out has been 2 weeks. Let's see if I can beat my record!!

Enough about diets and working out. Who wants to read about that? haha. Let's talk about something "fattening" and that is Apple Turnovers!! I mean, they have fruit in them so they have to be healthy.... Right?... Ok, maybe not, but they do have fruits in them so I think the fattening and healthy aspects cancel giving you a semi-healthy dessert :D You like my chain of thought, huh? This recipe comes from none other than Ina Garten once again. This is basically the 72389147192834 recipe from her on my blog. haha. These Apple Turnovers kind of ruined my diet. Oh well. We all deserve something delicious every now and then. These Apple Turnovers were simple to make and use puff pastry! No need to make pie dough or anything like that. Overall, these were pretty good. However, I do think that they need extra sugar. They were a little tart for my taste. In addition, I used lemon juice as well. Would I make these again? Yes, but I would need to tweak the recipe a bit. Here's my tips and the recipe!! One more thing. I've started putting a "Tips" section in the last two blog posts and this one. Do you find that helpful? :)

-Prepare the puff pastry first and place it in the refrigerator so that it's just waiting for the apple mixture. It makes things go by a lot quicker and keeping the puff pastry cold is key!

-It's possible to cook the apples in a pot for a bit to have the "sauce" thicken but it's not necessary. I've read a lot of recipes for apple turnovers that say to cook the apple mixture but in this case, the sauce thickened when baking.

-The real goal of this recipe is to brown the puff pastry. I baked the Apple Turnovers in different batches, at different temperatures because I was skeptical of the 400 degrees F directions. The first at 350 degrees came out to be a nice golden brown but the apples were definitely overcooked when the puff pastry browned. The second batch I baked at 400 degrees and the apples still had a "bite" to them so definitely stick to baking them at 400 degrees.

Apple Turnovers
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (I used the zest of half a lemon)
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (I used 2 tbsp orange juice and 1 tbsp lemon juice)
1 1/4 pounds tart apples, such as Empire or Granny Smith (3 apples)
3 tablespoons dried cherries
3 tablespoons sugar, plus extra to sprinkle on top (I used 1/4 cup sugar. It still needed more in my opinion)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch kosher salt
1 package (17.3 ounces, 2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the orange zest and orange juice in a bowl. Peel, quarter, and core the apples and then cut them in 3/4-inch dice. Immediately toss the apples with the zest and juice to prevent them from turning brown. Add the cherries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Flour a board and lightly roll each sheet of puff pastry to a 12 by 12-inch square. Cut each sheet into 4 smaller squares and keep chilled until ready to use.

Brush the edges of each square with the egg wash and neatly place about 1/3 cup of the apple mixture on half of the square. Fold the pastry diagonally over the apple mixture and seal by pressing the edges with a fork. Transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the top with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, make 2 small slits, and bake for 20 minutes, until browned and puffed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Apple Turnovers on Foodista
-Aaron John
My Food Outings: AJ's Food Adventure
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Oats are one of my favorite things. They have such a nice nutty-ness to them which I love. Even though I love oats, I dislike oatmeal. That kind of "mushy" texture doesn't do well with me. I remember when I was growing up, I only made myself oatmeal from the instant package that you just add boiling water to and bam, you have oatmeal. Well, I always added as little water as possible to keep the "crunchiness" that the oats have. Am I weird for doing that? Anyway, even when I do this, oatmeal isn't something I crave to eat in the morning. So, what other food involves oats and is something I can eat for breakfast instead of oatmeal? Granola of course!

Surprise surprise, this recipe for Granola comes from Ina Garten. But the great thing about Granola is that you can flavor it anyway you want it to be. Really, there is no recipe. Before I made this Granola, I read the reviews and the reviews were almost consistent in complaints about the amount of oil and honey and the baking temperature. I took all of these into account and changed the recipe as suggested by the reviewers. I will place the different measurements I used in the recipe. Like I said before, you can flavor Granola any way you want. Making this granola was kind of a "spur of the moment" thing this morning. Thus, the only dried fruits I had were raisins and cranberries so I used those but you can use anything you want. Then, because of my love of chocolate, I decided to put some milk chocolate chips in as well. Overall, the granola is great with or without the dried fruits and chocolate. It's crunchy, nutty and slightly sweet from the honey. YUM!! Put this on yogurt, use it as a cereal or use it as a snack. It's perfect for them all. Here's my tips and the recipe!!

-Stir every 10 min to ensure even browning (The edges tend to brown quickly)

-After 20 mins, make sure you keep checking back because it will burn in no time

-Once a pale golden brown, take the Granola out immediately. The Granola will be slightly soft which is what it's supposed to be like

-When cooling, the Granola will harden. If you want large clumps, leave the pan alone for at least 15 mins. The Granola will begin to harden almost in one slab which enables more clumps to form when you mix.

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
2 cups sliced almonds
3/4 cup vegetable oil (I used 1/2 cup vegetable oil)
1/2 cup good honey (I used 3/4 cup honey)
1 1/2 cups small diced dried apricots
1 cup small diced dried figs
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (I baked at 300 degrees F instead)

Toss the oats, coconut, and almonds together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add the apricots, figs, cherries, cranberries, and cashews. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.

Granola on Foodista
-Aaron John
My Food Outings: AJ's Food Adventure
Facebook Fan Page

Saturday, July 10, 2010


The weather this past week in Seattle has been the best it's been this whole summer. Up until now, we've had cloudy skies, rain and chilly weather. In all my life I've lived here in Seattle, never has the weather been so bad during this season. But finally this week, it all changed. It even reached 95 degrees F!! Talk about HOT!! Now that's what I call summer! It's times like this where the day time is equally as great as the night time. In addition to the great weather, I was approached by CSN to do a review and/or giveaway!! WOOT WOOT!! Can this week get any better? I took a look at the site and they have so many great products from bakeware, clothing, to even outdoor and indoor lighting. Especially in these kinds of hot summer nights, there's nothing like being outside at night. Now, what screams summer nights than FIRE PITS!! CSN has a variety of Fire Pits or different lighting options to really set off the night. But, Fire Pits are great because you are able to make S'mores (YUM!), tell stories, talk with friends and just be in awe of the wonder of fire. Remember to be careful though! You can find a variety of different outdoor lighting options, especially fire pits, here!! Definitely check out everything CSN has to offer!! For their main site, go here.

This whole notion of summer and heat brings up this weeks food creation. You may think that the creation is S'mores but nope, it's Baklava. Weird right? I'll tell you why. When I think of Baklava, I think of the Mediterranean. I picture, clear blue oceans, great landscape and the same exact sunny weather we had this week in Seattle. Making Baklava is the perfect way to "transport" myself to the Mediterranean without paying thousands of dollars. Plus, it's a great sticky treat to eat around that fire pit. It's something different from the regular old S'mores but has the same aspects of S'mores as well. It has that crunchiness from the phyllo like graham crackers, it is sticky and sweet just like marshmallows and instead of chocolate, it uses nuts. A bit different but the same in a way.

I first had Baklava almost a year ago at an event at UW. Then, I had Baklava a second time around Christmas. From then on, I've learned that there is good Baklava and bad Baklava. The one I ate at UW was good but it was overly sweet and was candy-like because of how chewy it was due to the abundance of syrup. The other Baklava from Costco was sweet without being overpowering, not as chewy and still had a nice flakiness to the phyllo dough. This is my first time making Baklava and first time working with Phyllo dough as well. The recipe comes from Emeril Lagasse and it seemed simple enough.

When I made the Baklava, it was pretty simple. The only thing that might give difficulty was the phyllo dough because of how delicate it is. After a couple of layers, I began to get the hang of it. This dessert is so simple to make but it definitely has that "WOW!" factor. Now, don't we all need that "WOW!" factor every now and then? Well, maybe we need it every time we make something.....haha. Overall, this Baklava was good, not great. The syrup wasn't a winner for me. It was overbearingly sweet and thick. In addition there was just TOO MUCH of it!! I had about 3 cups of syrup and I thought that was too much so I only put 1 1/2 cups into the Baklava and they were still soggy on the bottom. Other than that, it was good. Just need to change the syrup. Here's my tips for Baklava and the recipe!!

-Don't layer the phyllo dough one at a time into the baking pan. I found it easier to layer them on the counter, then as a stack, put them into the baking pan. It prevents the phyllo from tearing. Talk about strength in numbers!!

-Once all the layering is done, and are ready to cut, DON'T!! Place in the refrigerator for 30 mins first!! It makes cutting easier and makes the cuts look 10 times better!! :D

-If the Baklava begins to brown too much in the oven, tent it with foil. No one wants burnt food!! haha.

-Don't use all the syrup!! I would say, start with 1 cup of syrup and go from there. 1 1/2 cups of syrup was still too much for my Baklava.

For the Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup honey
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 cinnamon sticks
1 (1-inch) strip lemon zest
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch ground cardamom

For the filling and dough
1 pound walnuts, or a combination of walnuts, pistachios and almonds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 pound phyllo, thawed according to package instructions

To make the syrup: Combine the sugar, honey, water, lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, lemon zest, cloves and cardamom in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the syrup is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and lemon zest and set syrup aside to cool.

Using a Chef's knife, finely chop the nuts. (Alternatively, if you have a food processor, pulse the nuts until finely chopped.) In a medium mixing bowl, combine the nuts, cinnamon, and salt and stir well to combine.

Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan.

Using a pastry brush, lightly coat a 13 by 9-inch or 15 by 10-inch baking dish with some of the melted butter.

Open the package of thawed phyllo and lay the thin sheets on a clean work surface. Measure the phyllo sheets; if the type you have purchased measures approximately the same size as the baking dish you are using, then proceed from here. If they are larger than your baking dish, use a sharp knife to cut the phyllo sheets approximately the same size as your baking dish. Discard any scraps. Cover the sheets with a piece of plastic wrap and a lightly damp kitchen towel, as the sheets of phyllo dry out very quickly if left uncovered.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place 1 of the sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the buttered baking dish and lightly brush with some of the melted butter. Repeat this procedure with 6 more sheets of phyllo, for a total of 7 layers. Measure about 3/4 cup of the nut mixture and spread the nut mixture evenly over the buttered phyllo sheets. Repeat with 7 more sheets of phyllo, buttering each layer as before, and top these sheets with another 3/4 cup of the nut mixture. Continue this layering process, buttering 7 sheets of phyllo and topping each 7 sheets with 3/4 cup of the nuts, until you have used all of the nut mixture. Layer any remaining sheets of phyllo on top, buttering between each layer, until all of the phyllo sheets have been used.

Use a sharp knife to make 4 cuts lengthwise through the layered phyllo at 1 1/2 inch intervals. (You should end up with 5 lengthwise strips 1 1/2 inches wide.) Now use your knife to cut diagonally across the strips at 1 1/2-inch intervals to form diamond shapes. You should end up with approximately 36 diamond-shaped pieces of baklava in the baking dish.

Bake the baklava until golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Using oven mitts or pot holders, remove the baklava from the oven and set aside on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Using a ladle or small measuring cup, slowly drizzle the cooled syrup over the warm baklava. Allow to stand several hours before serving.

Homemade Baklava on Foodista
-Aaron John
My Food Outings: AJ's Food Adventure
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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Buttermilk Pecan Pancakes with Mamma Callie's Syrup

What better way to wake up in the morning than with a big pile of PANCAKES!! They're light, fluffy and drenched in syrup! YUM!! While growing up, an "american style" breakfast would happen once every two months or so at my house because of my filipino heritage. We usually had the classic filipino breakfast of rice (of course), eggs and either fried spam, corned beef that's simmered in tomatoes, onions and garlic or some sort of fish. However, when we had the "american style" breakfast, my family went all out. We had bacon, eggs, sausage, hash browns and PANCAKES!! I loved pancakes growing up. Unlike what I did today, my parents always bought the Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix that simply requires the addition water. Don't get me wrong, these pancakes are delicious! But, I love making things from scratch. There's this sense of "achievement" that whatever you made is now "your own" and people think that you went through a lot of work so they appreciate it more. In doing so, I've been searching for a great buttermilk pancake recipe. I've tried the IHop Copycat recipe for their pancakes but I find that the pancakes aren't that fluffy when cooked. One time when I made the IHop recipe for my family my mom said "What is that? That's not a pancake. It's so thin." So, a couple weeks ago, I was watching the Food Network, as usual, and Pat and Gina Neely were making Buttermilk Pancakes with Pecans. Their pancakes looked extremely fluffy and I knew I just had to try it and so I did that today.

When making the recipe, I adjusted the amount of sugar to make it easier. The recipe calls for 3 tbsp of sugar. That's such a strange measurement in my opinion. You just need another tablespoon to make 1/4 of a cup so why not just do that? That's what I did, changed the amount to 1/4 cup. I made the pancakes and the addition of an extra tablespoon of sugar didn't change the flavor that much. These were pretty good and a great alternative to the boxed mix. Light, fluffy and slightly sweet. What more can you ask for? I didn't add the pecans though because I wanted to taste the pancakes on their own. My thought was, before you add "mix-ins" on pancakes, the pancakes better be great to start off with. These definitely were great on their own. Oh yeah, there was a syrup recipe but I didn't bother with it. I like good ol' fashioned maple syrup on my pancakes. The syrup recipe is basically a simple syrup but uses brown sugar instead. I know what it might taste like because filipinos use a similar syrup for drinks but feel free to try it. Overall, this will now be my go-to pancake recipe. Here's the recipe!!

Buttermilk Pecan Pancakes with Mamma Callie's Syrup (Serves about 4)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar (I used 4 tbsp or 1/4 cup of sugar)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for frying
Vegetable oil, for frying
Chopped pecans, to distribute over pancakes
Mamma Callies Syrup, for serving, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a large bowl.

Add the buttermilk, eggs, and cooled melted butter to a second bowl and whisk to combine.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Do not overmix or you will end up with tough and chewy pancakes.

Heat a large electric griddle or nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add a few drops of vegetable oil and a pat of butter. Once butter melts, wipe skillet with a paper towel. Ladle about 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Evenly distribute chopped pecans on top of the pancakes. Cook the pancakes until the bubbles begin to burst on the surface, about 3 minutes, flip and continue cooking until the second side is a nice golden brown, about 2 more minutes. Repeat with remaining pancakes.

Put the finished pancakes onto a sheet tray and let sit in the oven to stay warm as you finish.

Arrange the pancakes on individual plates and serve with the syrup.

Mama Callie's Syrup (Makes 3/4 cup)
3/4 cup water
1 cup light brown sugar
Small pinch salt

Add the water, brown sugar and salt into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and stir until the sugar dissolves. Let simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool before serving.

Buttermilk Pancakes on Foodista
-Aaron John
My Food Outings: AJ's Food Adventure
Facebook Fan Page

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes And A Day That Only Comes Once A Year!!

Okay, guess what today is? No, I'm not talking about the 4th of July or Canada Day. This day only comes once a year...It usually involves cakes and candles...Sometimes there are balloons and streamers...Got it yet? Nope? Well, what if I tell you that it is one person's special day that comes once a year? Now? Well, I'll just tell you!! Today, July 1st, is my birthday!! :D I'm turning, what I think is a weird number, 19 years old! The last year in the teen years. Boy do I feel old.....JKJK But really, I can't believe I'm already 19 years old. It seems like it was yesterday when I was sitting in my living room watching my top 3 Disney movies of all time: "The Lion King", "Aladdin" and "Mulan". Then there is Toy Story. Sadly to say, I haven't seen the third movie yet but every time I hear the song from Toy Story, "You've Got a Friend In Me", I think about my childhood.

Anyway, so I'm turning 19 years old, but what's special about 19 years old? when you turn 16, you can get your license. When you're 17, you get to see Rated R movies. When you're 18, you're legal. When you're 20, you're out of the teen years. When you're 21, you are at the legal age to drink and what not. BUT, what is special about 19? I guess I'll find out this year. Today will be filled with hanging out with some of my good friends from High School, watching a movie, eating at the Cheesecake Factory and whatever I may want to do. I'm prepared to do anything. Well....maybe not everything.....

So, what goes better with birthdays than cake?! What is better than cake than CUPCAKES!! That's what I made today, just for my birthday. So how did I decide on Red Velvet for my birthday? Well, I have yet to find a great vanilla cake recipe (which is my favorite), but I wasn't craving chocolate cake either. Thus, I have made Red Velvet Cupcakes. I think it's really a combination of a vanilla cake and a chocolate cake. It has a slight hint of both chocolate and vanilla without them overpowering one another. Plus, I have found that there has been a craze over Red Velvet Cupcakes for some reason. So here goes. I made my Red Velvet Cupcakes, piped them on with cream cheese frosting, sprinkled them with red sugar and topped it with a birthday candle. Does this scream "Birthday" or what...Maybe it screams 4th of July because of the blue candle...but NO! It's my birthday. haha.

I actually won't be posting the recipe for my Red Velvet Cupcakes. Sorry!! I'll explain. I actually want to open a Cupcake Shop and so will my Cupcake Shop be successful if my recipes for them are posted on the web? I think not. You see, if my cupcake recipes are posted on the web, why would anyone want to go to my shop if they can make it at home? I have already perfected my Red Velvet Cupcake recipe and I can't find it in me to post it. Don't be sad though!! I have decided that I will meet you guys half way. I'll find recipes that are close to mine but are not the same. Sounds good? kk. Here's a similar recipe!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
10 ounce cake flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons red food coloring (about 1 ounce)

5 tablespoons butter, softened
4 teaspoons buttermilk
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (about 1 pound)
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare the cupcakes, place 24-30 (depending on how big you want your cupcakes to be) paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups; coat with cooking spray.

Weigh or lightly spoon cake flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine cake flour, unsweetened cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Place granulated sugar and unsalted butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and 1 1/4 cups buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Add white vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, and food coloring; beat well.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire racks.

To prepare frosting, beat 5 tablespoons butter, 4 teaspoons buttermilk, and cream cheese with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar; beat until smooth. Add 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla; beat well. Spread frosting evenly over cupcakes.

Red Velvet Cupcake on Foodista
-Aaron John
My Food Outings: AJ's Food Adventure
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