Monday, February 27, 2012

What? Parents know what they're talking about? [Aloe Vera Blueberry Green Tea]

Eggettes Fail.

During my teenage years, I reached a point where I stopped talking to my parents about problems and difficulties I had in my life. Of course, there was small talk and jokes, but nothing personal in nature. I think it's because I felt that they weren't on my side and were only telling me what to do instead of listening and offering guidance.

Now eight years later, I asked my parents for advice about a difficult choice that I have to make in a few days. To my shock, they provided valuable insight and never once pressured me to pick one choice over the other. Hrm, since when did my parents become so wise? (Yes yes...I know...they have always been wise, but the teenage me was stubborn and had false impressions.) It's a strange moment to realize that I always had two valuable resources around me, but I refused to see it. Thank goodness I discovered it before it was too late. It's time to celebrate with a light refreshing drink.

Swirling Colors

Aloe Vera Blueberry Green Tea

Refreshing Aloe Vera Blueberry Green Tea

Note: Lately I've been on a aloe vera craze. It's much more refreshing and light compared to boba.

Servings: 1 Drink

1 cup water
1 blueberry green tea bag
1 tsp honey
3 standard sized ice cubes
1/4 cup of aloe, chopped into quarter inched sized pieces
small handful of frozen blueberries

  1. Pour water in a pot and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let it cool down for 5 minutes with the lid on.
  2. Place tea bag in a cup and pour cooled water over it. Let it sit for 2 minutes. Remove tea bag and stir in honey. Then add ice cubes. Allow ice cubes to dissolve. At this point, you can either prepare the drink or store tea in the refrigerator for later.
  3. In a large glass, add aloe, pour in tea, and garnish with blueberries. Use a large boba straw to drink.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Dreaded Wheat Bread Sandwiches [Mayonnaise Salad Dressing]

I used to hate sandwiches especially wheat ones with one layer of salami or ham and a thin spread of mayonnaise. I had that exact sandwich everyday from kindergarten until 8th grade. No changes in the type of bread or filling. Always a thin layer of mayonnaise and an over salted limp slice of cold cut. 

Then one day during 6th grade for some unknown reason, my mom expressed how much she loved me by making me macaroni salad for lunch. Once I found out she could make other meals besides sandwiches, I would beg and cry for ANYTHING, but the wheat bread sandwiches. You can imagine how much I salivated and ate with pleasure when I had macaroni salad. Sometimes the pasta was switched out for potatoes to make potato salad.

As I grew older, I realized that the macaroni salad weren't that special. It was elbow macaroni mixed with strips of cold cut and tossed in a light mayonnaise dressing. Now the dressing wasn't even that impressive. It was a mix of what we had in the cupboard: a scoop of mayonnaise, pinch of sugar and salt, heavy dose of pepper and garlic powder, and a dash of vinegar. When I started cooking in high school and I tried replicating the dressing, it tasted good, but it wasn't as memorable and pleasurable as my middle school days.


Mayonnaise Salad Dressing

Note: Compared to my memories, this dressing is much more flavorful. It has the right mixture of tang and sweetness.  Like my memories, this is meant to lightly coat a pasta salad (or potato salad) for one. Feel free to double the recipe for a heavier coating. In my salads, I generally have 1 cup of cooked pasta, 3/4 to 1/2 cup of carrots, raw onions, or celery, and 1/4 cup of protein.

Servings 1

1 garlic clove, pressed/crushed
1 heaping TBSP mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 to 5 shakes of black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp honey

  1. In a bowl, add all the ingredients and whisk to mix. 
  2. When all the pasta salad elements are prepared, toss the dressing with the pasta. 
  3. For best flavor, let the pasta sit with the dressing overnight in the refrigerator. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Appreciate Salt Now [Salted Caramel Ice Cream]

I heard about the salted caramel trend last year, but it didn't appeal to me until my sister insisted that it was the best thing ever after trying salted caramel ice cream from Bi-Rite. I asked her to describe why it was amazing, but all I got out of the conversation was her "mmmmms" and her om nom nom face. Yes, not helpful at all.

In typical youngest sister fashion, she pleaded and begged me to make her salted caramel ice cream. I ignored her for a bit (say couple of months...) and finally, I relented and made it for her (like a proper older sister). O.O. I have been deprived of a great combination of salty, sweet, and creamy that make my taste buds drool and cry from happiness. Each time I opened the freezer, I had to take a large spoonful of the creamy goodness. I'm pretty sure the electric bill increased that month.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream
adapted from David Lebovitz

Makes 1 pint

Note: This recipe very much belongs to David. I halved the ingredients based on what I had in my refrigerator. Since I didn't want to use 3 eggs, I used 2 and added two extra tablespoons of heavy cream to compensate. I personally found the custard quite sweet and flavorful without the addition of caramel pralines so I left it out. I didn't have salted butter so I used unsalted and increased the amount of sea salt. 

1 cup whole milk, divided
3/4 cups (150g) sugar
2 TBSP (30g) unsalted butter
1/2 heaping tsp sea salt
1/2 cup + 2 TBSP heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Make an ice bath: fill a bowl a third full of water and add a cup of ice cubes. Place a smaller metal bowl inside, pour 1/2 cup of milk into metal bowl, and rest strainer on top.
  2. In a saucepan, evenly distribute sugar and cook over medium heat until caramelized. (David wrote a fantastic tutorial on making caramel if you need additional clarification.)
  3. Once the proper color is achieved, remove from heat and stir in butter and salt. Once butter is completely melted, gradually whisk in cream. If caramel hardens, return to heat and stir over low heat until the hard caramel bits are melted. Stir in 1/2 cup of milk.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the yolks. Then gradually pour in some caramel mixture while whisking the yolks. Pour the warmed yolks back in the saucepan and cook the custard using a wooden spoon, stirring constantly. Cook until the custard thickens or until it reads 160 - 170°F (71-77°C).
  5. Pour the custard through the strainer into the milk set over the ice bath. Add vanilla and stir until mixture cools down. Refrigerate overnight (or at least 8 hours).
  6. Freeze the mixture according to your ice cream maker.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dessert for Two #3 - [Mini Mocha Cakes]

Looking for a simple dessert for Valentine's Day? I got you covered, but I won't be using it myself. Huh? No, it's not because the recipe isn't good, but my BF and I don't celebrate Valentine's Day. We believe that we should be showing how much we care and respect each other throughout the year. We'll surprise each other with random gifts or tiny acts of love. A couple of times, he has picked me up from work just because he wanted to put a smile on my face. When I stay over, he'll take the initiative to blow dry my hair because he knows I'll just go to bed with my hair wet. Seriously, that tiny gesture makes me melt. How many other ladies can share that their man dries their hair for them because he wants to?

Mini Mocha Cakes

Note: This is a firm cake so it pairs well with creamy textures. Drizzle with chocolate ganache or serve with a side of vanilla ice cream. 

Makes 5 standard cupcakes/2.5 inch ramekins

1/4 cup fresh brewed coffee
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee granules
45g (1/4 cup) sugar
25g (1/4 cup) cake flour, sifted (can sub with all purpose flour)
30g (1/4 cup) all purpose flour, sifted
large pinch of salt
10g (2 TBSP) cocoa powder
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP condensed milk
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 egg, separated
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp baking soda
5g (1 TBSP) grated dark chocolate
1/4 tsp instant coffee granules

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms and sides of cupcake tins or use cupcake liners. You can also grease 2.5 inch ramekins and line with parchment paper on bottom.
  2. Add coffee granules to coffee.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix sugar, flours, salt, and cocoa powder.
  4. Melt butter in a pot over medium-low heat and swirl until it browns. Add coffee, turn up the heat, and boil for 10 seconds. Turn off the heat and add condensed milk. Stir.
  5. In another dish, mix vegetable oil, yolk, vanilla, and baking soda until combined.
  6. Mix butter/coffee mixture with the flour. Add another 1/4 tsp of coffee granules and grated chocolate.
  7. Whip egg whites into soft peaks.
  8. Add egg yolk mixture into the rest of the batter. Mix. Fold in half of egg whites to light up batter, then fold in the rest of the egg whites. Divide batter equally into 5 cupcake tins or 2.5 inch ramekins.
  9. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. If it comes out clean when toothpick is inserted, it's done.
  10. Run knife around the edge of the cake. Let it cool for 2 - 3 minutes in tin, then remove and allow cakes to cool on cooling rack.
  11. Prior to serving, dust with powdered sugar and chocolate shavings. Another option is serving it warm with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.


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