Saturday, August 27, 2011

Basic Risotto w/ Asparagus

Have you made Risotto? neither... ha.

Well, there's a first for everything right? Plus, with it being rice, we're practically best friends! hehe. Anything you make for the first time seems daunting. I know for a fact, I went back and forth from the recipe at least 10 times just to make sure I had it right. But, the true test of getting it right is in the taste.

Ask yourself this, "Would I want to take another bite of this?". If the answer is yes, well, clearly you're the best cook ever! BUT, if you say no, try to fix it with different seasonings. Sometimes that extra crack of black pepper will do the trick. If nothing ends up working, do what I do and blame the recipe! ha. If you're lucky enough, no one will be around and you can toss it while acting like nothing ever happened. Always a good way to get out of serving it to people. ;)

If you think standing over a stove and doing nothing but adding liquid and stirring is some hard work...I just have nothing to say to that. Seriously, that's literally all you do. Sure, it's not as simple as cooking a pot of white rice but this is not just rice, it's RISOTTO!

Basic Risotto
Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis
Makes 2 cups

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 small onion, chopped
3/4 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
A little less than a pound of asparagus

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep the broth hot.

In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup hot broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next. Cook the rice until tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.

-Aaron John

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pull Apart Coffee Cake Two Ways: Cinnamon and Lemon


What do you get when you mix a cinnamon roll with a loaf of bread? Pull Apart Coffee Cake! Just imagine eating a cinnamon roll, but only the inner layer of it!Soft, buttery and oozing with that cinnamony goodness! Not to mention that decadent cream cheese frosting! Mmmmm, I can already smell those Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls now. But today is not about the cinnamon roll, it's about Pull Apart Coffee Cake!

I woke up bright and early this morning to put this together. Finally finishing my Summer Quarter at UW, it finally gives me time to bust out the yeast and tackle bread once again. Bread in and of itself is kind of a temperamental thing to begin with. You need patience and even a little muscle power helps along in the process. However, this recipe is one of the easiest bread recipes I have made so don't feel intimidated.

This is my own adaption to the original recipe of a "Lemon Scented Pull Apart Coffee Cake". I wanted that cinnamon roll-esque flavor in the bread but I also wanted to try the lemon of the original recipe. Basically, I made a Half Cinnamon and Half Lemon Pull Apart Coffee Cake. Genius right? Who needs one flavor when you can have two!! If you want a whole loaf of either, just double the sugar filling of whatever you like.

Cinnamon and Lemon Pull-Apart Coffee Cake
Makes a 9″x5″ pan 

Sweet Yeast Dough
About 2 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (2 1/2 fluid ounces) whole milk
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature

Lemon Sugar Filling
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (1 1/2 lemons)
1/2 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

Cinnamon Sugar Filling
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 ounces unsalted butter, melted to be spread over the dough

Tangy Cream Cheese Icing
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup (1 1/4 ounces) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Make the Sweet Yeast Dough
Mix two cups (nine ounces) flour, the sugar, yeast, and salt in a medium bowl with a rubber spatula. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan or in the microwave, combine the milk and the butter and heat until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat, add the water, and let rest a minute until just warm (120 to 130°F [49 to 54°C]). Stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour the milk mixture over the flour-yeast mixture and, using a rubber spatula, mix until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Attach the bowl to the mixer, and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition just until incorporated. Stop the mixer, add 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) of the remaining flour, and resume mixing on low speed until the dough is smooth, 30 to 45 seconds. Add 2 more tablespoons flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 45 seconds.

Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough gently until smooth and no longer sticky, about one minute. Add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of flour only if the dough is too sticky to work with. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place (about 70°F [21°C]) for 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size. An indentation made with your finger should keep its shape.

Meanwhile, make the lemon sugar and cinnamon sugar filling. Mix the sugar, lemon zest, and orange zest in one bowl and mix the sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon in another.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9″x5″ loaf pan.

Gently deflate the dough with your hand. Flour a work surface and roll the dough into a 20″ by 12″ rectangle. [I suggest using a ruler and getting this as accurate as possible, for a prettier loaf that will fit better in the pan. I also suggest making sure both sides are floured, so that the dough will be easy to lift up later.] Use a pastry brush to spread the melted butter evenly and liberally over the dough.

Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough crosswise in five strips, each about 12″ by 4″. With the dough sliced but still together, sprinkle the dough lengthwise with the all the sugar (half getting the lemon and half the cinnamon). Take each rectangle and top one over the other, making sure the lemon is over the lemon and the cinnamon is over the cinnamon. Continue to top with rectangles, so you have a stack of five 12″ by 4″ rectangles, all buttered and topped with lemon sugar for one half and cinnamon sugar for the other.

Slice this new stack crosswise, through all five layers, into 6 equal rectangles (each should be 4″ by 2″.) 3 should be all lemon and 3 should be all cinnamon. Carefully transfer these strips of dough into the loaf pan, cut edges up, side by side doing cinnamon, cinnamon, cinnamon, lemon, lemon, lemon. it might be a little roomy, but the bread will rise and expand after baking. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place (70 °F [21°C]) until puffy and almost doubled in size, 30 to 50 minutes. When you gently press the dough with your finger, the indentation should stay.

Bake the loaf until the top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the cream cheese icing. Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth, then add the milk and lemon juice. Stir until creamy and smooth.

The recipe recommends you tilt and rotate the pan while tapping on a table to release the loaf. I just carefully ran a knife around it. Flip the loaf over onto a cooling rack, then flip onto another rack so that it’s right side up. Spread the top of the warm cake with the cream cheese icing, using a pastry brush to fill in all the cracks.

-Aaron John

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Whether it's vanilla cake or vanilla pound cake, its flavor is simple.
It can be put with ice cream, sauces, etc and it seems to stand in the back.
But, what if it were to stand alone, you know, have a solo performance?
A stage where the only thing to look forward to is a vanilla cake.

I, myself, have been on a vanilla cake/cupcake recipe hunt.
Every recipe I tested led me to a dead end.
Ending up with a soft and fluffy cake straight out of the oven.
Turning into a dense mass over time. Does this happen to you?
This pound cake was almost "The One".
But not close enough.
I need a recipe like those cupcake shops.
Staying soft and light even after days.
How do they do it?!
I guess, we will never know. ha.

Vanilla Pound Cake
Recipe by Paula Deen
Nonstick baking spray with flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
6 large eggs, separated
3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Black Cherry Sauce, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 12 to 15-cup fluted pan with nonstick baking spray with flour.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the scraped vanilla bean seeds, beating until combined. Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to the butter mixture, alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat the egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Gently fold into the butter mixture. Spoon into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the almonds evenly over the top of the cake. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan, and cool completely on a wire rack. Serve with Black Cherry Sauce, if desired.

Black Cherry Sauce:
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 cup black cherry juice
1 (12-ounce) package frozen dark sweet cherries
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and lime zest. Stir in the black cherry juice, whisking until smooth. Add the cherries. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 1 minute.. Remove from the heat and let cool.

-Aaron John

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Chocolate Bundt Cake With A Chocolate Ganache Glaze

Let's get back to the recipes shall we? After a 2 week hiatus from blogging about recipes, it's about time I blog about them again.

I came home from class on Thursday (Thank God there's only 2 weeks left) with this crazy craving of something sweet and chocolatey. I feel like I always have this craving at least once a week. I'm not the only one right? Usually, I would make a box of brownies but it was no where to be found in my pantry.

With the Hershey's Cocoa powder staring me straight in the eye, I decided to make cake instead. Something with minimal effort, no need for piping frosting on top but instead something sweet to pour. I mean it's a Thursday after all, can't take too long making it. The idea of a Bundt cake hit me in the face  like a slap a girl gives to a jerk. ha.

This is practically one of the easiest cakes to make. Dump, mix and bake. Now, that's my kind of recipe. When you're in a time crunch and have a chocolate craving, this cake is perfect. Not to mention, a better Bundt Cake than the Sour Cream Chocolate Bundt Cake I made a year ago.

-I buttered and floured the pan to make removal easier but it did end up with a pale brown color where the flour was. No way to prevent it when you use the butter and flour method.

-I baked this cake for about 50 min because the center was a bit gooey

Taste: Chocolate on top of chocolate. A mellow chocolate cake with hints of coffee topped with a glaze that gives a more intense dark chocolate flavor 

Texture: Soft and moist cake with a smooth and creamy glaze.

Devil's Food Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Buttercream
Recipe's are Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake

For the cake:
2 cups sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

3 oz dark chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tbsp corn syrup
1/2 tbsp butter

Preheat the oven 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cake cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn it out and let cool completely.

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. In a heatproof bowl, combine the remaining 3 ounces of chopped chocolate with the corn syrup and butter. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand until melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Let the ganache glaze cool until thick but still pourable, about 5 minutes.

Pour the ganache over the cooled cake. Let the cake stand until the glaze is set, at least 30 minutes, before serving.

-Aaron John


Related Posts with Thumbnails