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Posts Tagged ‘cane sugar’

We ran out of muffins so I had to make some more yesterday. Since I still had some pumpkin left from the quinoa dish I made the other day I decided to use it up.

The ingredient list includes 1 3/4 cup of cake flour, 2/3 cup of butter at room temperature, 1 egg at room temperature, 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg, 1/3 cup of maple syrup, 3/4 cup pure cane sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup of pumpkin.

First thing I had to do was cook my pumpkin. I diced up 1 cups worth and tossed it in my steamer for about 6 minutes or so, until it was soft enough to puree. Then I pureed it in my small processor and set it aside to cool down a bit.

Then, in my large glass bowl I creamed the butter with the sugar and syrup until it was nice and fluffy. I don’t have a good electric mixer, so this was tough for me. I started with a fork to get the butter nicely incorporated, then switched to a whisk to get the air whipped in. After that I added the egg and pumpkin and stirred it all together.

In my other glass bowl I sifted together the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices. In a few batches I added the flour mix into the pumpkin mix and mixed really well to make sure there were no lumps in my batter. I poured it into my muffin pan (only got 10 instead of the 12 I was expecting) and put it into a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

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I’ve been doing more baking lately and find that I quite enjoy it. There’s nothing like biting into a warm, fresh, moist baked good. With just the two of us one batch lasts about a week giving us healthy afternoon snacks. My latest were these Raspberry Yogurt Buns. They’re made like a muffin, but with the yogurt they don’t rise very much. They are absolutely delicious though and could be made with just about any kind of fruit, fresh or dried.

The ingredient list includes 3/4 cup pure cane sugar, 1 package of fresh raspberries, 1 3/4 cup cake flour, 2 eggs at room temperature, 1/2 cup butter at room temperature, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 1 cup plain yogurt, and two teaspoons baking powder.

In a large bowl I mixed together the butter and sugar until it was nice and fluffy. An electric mixer would make this easy. I don’t have one, but I kind of enjoy the challenge of doing this by hand. I used a fork to cream the butter and sugar. Once it was nicely creamed I switched to a whisk and added the eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla, the yogurt, and then the raspberries. I whisked it really well until the raspberries mostly came apart and mixed in evenly.

In a seperate bowl I sifted the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mixed that all together with a clean fork. In batches of three to make sure it’s evenly incorporated I mixed this flour mixture into the yogurt mixture. I whisked it all together until I had a nice smooth batter.

I have a 12 cup muffin pan that I lightly buttered each cup. I poured the batter in each cup and then put it into a 350 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes. The tops should be a little springy when touched. Once cooled I had some fantastic little buns.

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I needed to use up the rest of the coconut milk I had from the other night so I decided to use it as a marinade for some chicken. I really wanted to grill the chicken, but the wind kept putting out my burner, one of the downfalls of a gas grill. If I ever have a metal balcony instead of a wood one I’m getting me one of those big green egg grills! No worries though, I just threw the chicken in the oven as that sure beats raw poultry.

For the marinade I had about 1/2 cup left of the coconut milk. I poured it into my blender and added two chopped up lemongrass stalks (just the non-fibrous center), 2 tablespoons of sriracha, 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, 1 garlic clove, and 1 tablespoon of ginger. I blended it all up and poured it over 2 pounds of skin-on bone-in chicken thighs. Prior to pouring the marinade over I did score the skin with three slashes so that the marinade would penetrate the skin nicely. I covered it and let it sit in the fridge for about 4 hours. I took it out about 45 minutes prior to cooking and cracked a little black pepper on top just before going under the heat.

 

Since the wind didn’t cooperate with me last night I heated my oven to 425 degrees and cooked the chicken on the upper 3rd for about 15 minutes. Then, I turned the oven to the broiler setting and let the skin get nice and crisp for about 5 more minutes.

For my side I made some Thai flavored asparagus. For the flavoring I used 1 teaspoon of cane sugar, 1 inch of ginger cut into slivers, 1/3 red bell pepper small diced, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 3 cloves of garlic minced (didn’t make it into the pic) and 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds. First, I mixed together the sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and 3 tablespoons of water. I set that aside.

In a skillet large enough to handle the asparagus in one layer I heated up 2 tablespoons of sesame oil and added the garlic, ginger, and sesame seeds. I let them sizzle for about a minute or two and then added the asparagus and red pepper. I rolled it around to make sure the asparagus was completely coated with all of the flavors. After 4 or 5 minutes I poured in the liquid and let that boil off for about 3 minutes. That’s all I did for this side.

I also made some miso soup. In a pot I poured in about 4-5 cups of water and brought it to a boil with 1/2 an onion sliced, the rest of my shiitake sliced, and a few pinches of dashi-no-moto. I let it boil for about 15 minutes until the onion was softened. Then I threw in a large handful of baby spinach and let that boil for another few minutes. Finally, I took two large tablespoons of shiro miso and mixed that in.

Besides the asparagus and miso soup I served some Thai Red Rice instead of regular white rice.

While this was one of the tastiest marinades I’ve whipped up in a while I did forget two things. I wanted to squeeze some lemon juice on the chicken as soon as I took it out of the oven and I wanted to garnish with some cilantro. I guess I’ll use that lemon and cilantro some other time.

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I love grilling dead animals on a stick. It’s my most sadistic past time, but I love it so. The other night I picked up a 3/4 pound cod filet and did just that.

I mixed together 2 tablespoons of shiro miso, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon of pure cane sugar, and both the zest and juice of 1 lime. While mixing that together into a smooth paste I decided to pour in about 1-2 tablespoons of sesame oil to add a bit of nuttiness. I cut up the cod into bite-sized morsels and tossed them in the marinade.

While the cod was taking a miso bath I made a tomato and bread soup. I used the leftover roasted cherry tomatoes with their juice from the night before, the crusty bread left from the night before, a 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, a handful of basil from my back porch, and 3 garlic cloves diced.

In a hot pan I poured in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil and then added the garlic and the stems from the basil. Once that garlic started to color a bit, about 1 minute or so, I poured in the can of tomatoes. You need to be careful with that because the tomato juice will splatter. Then I filled the empty can with water and poured that in. I let it come to a boil and then simmer down for about 15 minutes. At that point it’s pretty easy to break down the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. After the tomatoes were completely broken down I poured in the roasted cherry tomatoes, bread, and basil and then seasoned with salt and pepper. I let that simmer together for about 10 minutes or so. Before serving I mixed in another little glug of olive oil.

To skewer with the cod I chopped up a red bell pepper, half an onion, and the last handful of brussel sprouts from my fridge (I’ve never skewered brussel sprouts before, they’re quite nice as long as they’re cooked enough). I also picked up 5 little red creamer potatoes to grill alongside.

I skewered it all up and threw it all on the grill. I let the skewers go for about 4-5 minutes on each side. The potatoes needed about 7 or 8 minutes on each side as my grill was about medium-high.

After I rinsed the rice and put it in the rice cooker I decided to throw a tablespoon of dried hijiki seaweed in with it. I just dropped it in and let it sit in the water with the rice for about a half hour before turning on the rice cooker. It’s hard to describe the flavor of hijiki on its own. It’s kind of earthy and mushroomy which is weird because I struggle to call anything from the sea “earthy”. It’s really just umami. Damn delicious!

My only mistake was not reserving some of the marinade. The potatoes weren’t as sweet as I had hoped and I would have been much better off smashing them after grilling and topping with some of the miso. Other than that I did well.

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Alright, so I’ve been working on perfecting a hamburger that tastes like a bowl of Pho for a while now so that I could enter it into a contest that has a nice payout for the winner (wish me luck everyone!). I think I finally nailed it Saturday night. Here’s how it all goes down.

Instead of using regular old ground chuck I picked up a 2 pound brisket. Pho commonly uses brisket or rump, so I wanted to get that type of beefy flavor for these burgers. You could have your butcher grind it up for you, but what’s the fun in that? I don’t have a meat grinder (anyone seeking to get me a gift for whatever reason take note, I would gladly accept a meat grinder) but that didn’t stop me from giving it a go.

First thing I did was cut the brisket up into 1 inch cubes. I threw all of the meat into my food processor and pulsed it until it turned in the consistency I was looking for. I had to be careful not to over process it as that would start to melt the fat and ruin the texture. Then I put the meat in a bowl and prepared all of the seasonings.

The spice mix included ground cloves, cardamom, ground cinnamon, star anise, and coriander seeds.

With my pestle and mortar I first had to grind up the whole seeds. I took enough seeds out of the star anise to measure about 1/4 teaspoon (cracking out the seeds is a pain!). Then I cracked open enough cardamom pods to get me 1/4 teaspoon of its seeds. I also measured about 3/4 teaspoon of coriander seeds. I ground those up into a fine powder and then added 1/2 teaspoon each of the ground cinnamon and ground cloves. I also mixed in there 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and 1 teaspoon of pure cane sugar.

Once my dry spices were mixed together I zested a lime to get about 1 tablespoon, and I minced up 1 tablespoon of ginger and 1 tablespoon of garlic.

I also sliced up 4 green onions, just the white and pale green parts.

I put all of my seasonings in the bowl with the meat and then added 2 tablespoons each of fish sauce and sesame oil. With a metal spoon I mixed it all together until the flavors were evenly distributed. It’s important to use a metal spoon when mixing things into burger meat. When you use your hands the body heat can melt the fat, you don’t want that. You want the fat to mix in just like the other ingredients so that it melts properly when cooking keeping the meat nice and juicy.

After the meat was mixed nicely I let it rest for about 10 minutes to let the flavors settle in. Then, I wetted my hands and formed 6 patties.

I heated the grill up to a medium-high heat, brushed it off, and oiled it. Just before putting the burgers on I lightly salted both sides of the patties. With the fish sauce there’s no need for a lot of salt, but sprinkling a little on just before grilling helps get a nice crust on the outside of the meat. I let the cook for about 6 minutes or so on each side.

When the burgers were cooked to my liking I put some sesame seed buns on the grill to lightly toast them. That only took a minute.

To assemble the burgers I placed one grilled patty on each bottom bun and squeezed one wedge of lime on each patty. On top of each patty placed 1 ounce bean sprouts, then 3 basil leaves and 3 cilantro sprigs. 1 tablespoon of Sriracha got squeezed on the underside of each top half of bun and they were ready to go.

For the side Yuki wanted to make Japanese-style potato salad. She skinned and diced two large russet potatoes and then tossed them into boiling water. She let them boil for about 15 minutes until they were cooked through. Then she mashed them up with enough mayonnaise to keep them nice and moist and a little mustard for flavor. She mixed in a cucumber that she skinned and chopped up, a carrot that she also chopped up, and some black forest ham that she cut into short slivers. That all got mixed together well and provided a nice cool counterpoint to the spicy burgers.

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Yes, I do bake (get baked) on occasion. When I do, it’s usually nothing special. I don’t have enough baking experience to really screw around with the basics so I stick to recipes pretty closely. I did, however, alter the basic chocolate chip cookie this weekend. The results were fantastic! What I did was added some kinako.

Kinako is flour made from toasted soybeans. It’s extremely fine and has a subtle nutty taste, like a mild peanut. When baking with it you can replace some of the all-purpose flour in a recipe and end up with delicious results.

I started by mixing a half cup of room temperature butter with a quarter cup of cane sugar and a half cup of brown sugar until light and fluffy. Well, as light and fluffy as butter and sugar can get. My mixing bowl isn’t that large, so I always have to tape some newspaper together and build a wall around it to keep the sugar from flying everywhere. Yuki laughs at me, but not just because of that.

In a small bowl I scrambled an egg with a half teaspoon of vanilla extract and then beat that into the butter and sugar mixture. Then, in another bowl, I sifted together one cup of all-purpose flour, a half cup of kinako, a half teaspoon of baking soda, and a quarter teaspoon of salt. Once that was sifted it got mixed into the butter, sugar, and now egg mixture. After I had a thoroughly mixed together dough I mixed in a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

I put big blobs of the dough on a greased baking sheet and baked at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes. It was really hard to let them cool though, I just wanted to dive headfirst into those things!

The additions of kinako really does add a peanuty flavor. It’s not quite as strong as the peanut, so it doesn’t overpower the vanilla or chocolate. If cooked properly, it’ll be just as soft in the middle as a good chocolate chip cookie should be. The only problem is that now Yuki wants me to make them every week! I’m going to get fat!

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