Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blueberry Scones

Adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe. I love blueberry-infused baked goods. I resisted the temptation to make these whole wheat and butter-free. They were rather delicious, in all their heavy-cream-butter-laden-blueberry-bubbling-golden-crusted glory.

Makes 8.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling tops
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (sadly I did not have this, but I'm sure it'd be good)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing tops
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in center. Place a baking mat on a baking sheet, and set aside.
  2. In a food processor, process flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and pulse until the largest pieces are the size of peas. (I think the scones are flakier if the butter chunks are larger, so don't over-pulse if you like flakiness). Pour butter-flour mixture into a large bowl and stir in blueberries and zest.
  3. Using a fork, whisk together cream and egg in a liquid measuring cup. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients, and pour in cream mixture. Stir lightly with fork just until dough comes together.
  4. Form into large egg-sized balls and place on baking sheet, and press lightly to flatten (should make about 7 or 8 scones). Brush tops with cream, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer scones to wire racks to cool.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Avocado Mousse Sponge Cake

Avocado Mousse Sponge Cake

What would you do if you found 40 avocados lying on the ground under a big avocado tree that belonged to no one and would just rot away if no one saved them? If you're like us, you'd snatch them up and make an avocado mousse cake. (but even that's not quite enough to use them all up, so we still have 30 or so sitting in our fridge...)

We used the Hot Milk Sponge Cake from The Cake Book (Tish Boyle) and an avocado mousse recipe adapted from wendyywy's blog (by "adapted" I mean we doubled the number of avocados and sort of doubled the rest of the wasn't very exact but in the end it didn't matter too much). After baking the sponge cake in a springform, cut into a 8-inch round cake and slice horizontally into two layers. Put one of the layers back into the springform, pour 1/2 of the avocado mousse over the top and sides, add the other layer and pour the rest of the mousse on top. Garnish with avocado slices, a sprig of mint, and a fork.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf

The rice is infused with a lotus leaf aroma when it is steamed inside the lotus leaf.

We put kabocha (Japanese squash), nagaimo (a delicious white potato-like root vegetable), chopped salted meat, sugar crystals, and zao zi (this sweet dried red berry...I forgot the English name) on top of sticky rice. I think we could've soaked the rice a bit more, as it was a little too chewy in some places. But otherwise, a delightful lotus-leaf infused bundle of yum-yums.

Spicy Fried Rice

My cousin Bonnie made this delicious fried rice for lunch. The red chili sauce provides most of the salt and can be adjusted depending on how spicy you like your fried rice. There is a wide selection of chili sauces in Asian grocery stores, so depending on the spiciness of the sauce you may need to adjust the amount in this recipe. I think it's pretty hard to go wrong with fried rice; as long as you watch how much salt you add (always taste before deciding to add more), you can put in any combination of diced veggies and flavorings you like.

Spicy Fried Rice
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups steamed white rice
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1 tbsp grated ginger
3/4 cup mild red chili sauce
2 tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 carrots, diced
1 cup frozen green peas
2/3 cup seasoned meat or bacon, chopped

1. Heat oil in wok over high heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, set aside.

2. Add eggs and cook over medium heat. Turn over when cooked on one side. Break it up into small pieces with the spatula and set aside.

3. Add red chili sauce to wok and fry until fragrant (1 minute). Add meat and grated ginger and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add white rice and vegetables and stir fry with meat and sauce (3 min). Add soy sauce and the egg and garlic and continue frying for about 4 minutes.

4. Serve with a garnish of chopped scallions.

Blueberry Banana Buttermilk Bran Muffins

This recipe is adapted from Eating Well's Banana-Bran Muffins recipe: I settled on this one after searching for a whole wheat blueberry muffin recipe that used buttermilk and bran...I guess a blueberry-bran muffin isn't what you'd call a classic muffin flavor, but these turned out okay and they're healthy, as far as muffins go.

Blueberry Banana Buttermilk Bran Muffins

2 large eggs

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top

1 cup mashed ripe bananas, (2 medium)

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup unprocessed wheat bran

1/4 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup whole-wheat flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup frozen blueberries, tossed in 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 6 large muffin cups with cooking spray.

2. Whisk eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in bananas, buttermilk, wheat bran, oil and vanilla.

3. Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX! Stir in floured blueberries and half of the walnuts. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups (they’ll be quite full). Sprinkle with walnuts and brown sugar.

4. Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown and spring back when touched lightly, 35-40 minutes. If the tops start browning (or walnuts are on the verge of burning) place a piece of foil on top and lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

5. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen edges and turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Natto with Rice and Scallions

Natto is a Japanese fermented soybean that takes some getting used to, but if you give it a chance you (hopefully) will find that it tastes delicious with white rice, salad, or just by itself. I had this for lunch today and the spiciness of the spicy sauce with the steamy white rice and sharp scallions combined beautifully with the savory fermented beans of the natto.

Natto with Rice and Scallions

2/3 cup cooked white rice
1 tbsp natto
1-2 tsp spicy sauce
chopped scallions

Cook rice according to rice cooker specifications. Serve in a small bowl topped with natto, spicy sauce, and scallions.