24,000

So I live in New York now? That’s kind of weird to think about. I have a really great job, which I love. I get free meals at work, which is super awesome, but it means I rarely get the chance to cook! It’s hard to keep a kitchen stocked when you only have the chance to eat at home 2 days a week, and even then, I’m in New York City! I want to explore!!

Apparently New York has about 24,000 restaurants. I’m starting to keep a list of places I want to go, but so far the only place I’ve eaten besides work and my own apartment is Chipotle…

On one of my first days here, I met up with a friend at a food festival on Ninth Ave. It was pretty cool! It was blocked off for fifteen blocks, and the whole street was packed with people and vendors.

A lot of people were cooking, and the smells attracted plenty of customers.

Lots of fried food, of course, but there was no shortage of desserts either.

There were also booths selling dried fruit, nuts, loose teas, and spices!

I ended up having pad thai for lunch and a candy apple for dessert. I guess things like this happen pretty often during the summer, so I’ll have to check out more of them.

Martha

I don’t like Martha Stewart. I tend to avoid her recipes and I never buy her craft supplies. I just don’t like her. But her macaron recipe is fabulous. I followed it exactly, so I’m just going to link you to it. I feel awful linking to her website because I really don’t like her, but you gotta do what you gotta do I guess.

I had whipped up a batch of mousse a few days before, so I used that as the filling for the macarons. The best part about this mousse is… it’s secretly healthy! Not to mention vegan. Which is kind of silly since I put it inside an egg based cookie, but you can eat this by itself too. Or use it as a dipping sauce for fruit or something. It’s not quite as fluffy as normal mousse, maybe a little closer to pudding, but still so delicious and summery.

Raspberry Mousse
Vegan.

Ingredients
1 block Mori-Nu silken tofu
1 1/2 C raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp almond, orange, or vanilla extract

Instructions
1.
If using frozen raspberries, thaw and drain.
2. Put everything in a food processor or blender until smooth.
3. Transfer to serving dishes or a large plastic container and chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.

For the macarons, I thought teal would complement the pink of the mousse nicely. Also, a note about the recipe – when it says beat the egg whites for 8 minutes, it means it. Don’t cut out early.

I used a frosting tip to pipe the batter out, but you could just snip off the corner of a plastic bag. They might not be as pretty, but they’ll taste the same!

The Last Weekend

I’m still playing catchup on all of my finals week cooking! I have this post and then one more to go, so hopefully I’ll be all up to date pretty soon.

This was the very last weekend breakfast – sad. I think we made it on a Friday, but whatever. When you don’t have classes, everyday is the weekend. In case you want a full wrap up, here’s a list of all the weekend breakfasts successful enough to make it on the blog:

Crepes
Cappuccino Pancakes
Mango French Toast
Blueberry Walnut Muffins
Apple Banana Muffins
Almond Biscotti
Pear and Chai Scones

and last but not least…

Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup
Makes 8-10 pancakes. Adapted from here.

Ingredients
for the pancakes
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 egg
1/2 C milk
3 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
3.5 oz ricotta (we used 1/4 of a 15oz tub)
for the syrup
3/4 C frozen blueberries
2 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1-2 Tbsp corn starch

Instructions
1.
 In a medium mixing bowl, sift together dry pancake ingredients. In a smaller bowl, mix together the wet.
2. Pour wet into dry and mix until well combined. Add more flour if needed.
3. Fry about 1/4 C worth of batter on each side until golden brown.
4. For the syrup, bring blueberries and a couple tablespoons of water to a simmer over medium heat. Add sugar and maple syrup to taste, and corn starch to thicken.
5. Serve pancakes still hot with a heaping spoonful of blueberries on top.

These were so good but sooo heeaaavy. We ate four each and felt like we were going to pop.

Did you try out any of the Weekend Breakfast recipes? What was your favorite? I liked the cappuccino pancakes and pear scones the best. Let me know in the comments!

 

Not Just For Frozen Yogurt

I am so tired. So so so tired. I’ve spent the past three days in the computer lab finishing my animation project and we’re still working. I only have time to blog because we’re just waiting on the computers to finish rendering the images, and it takes forever.

When I was in Hawaii over spring break, I made mochi with my cousin. I always think of mochi as being so special and therefore complicated, but actually you can make it in the microwave! The ingredients are a little hard to come by, though, especially in Pittsburgh. My grandmother shipped over the pan and mochi flour, and the potato starch and red beans were ridiculously overpriced at the Korean market. But I love mochi, so it was worth it.

Mochi with Red Beans

Ingredients
2 C mochiko flour
3/4 C sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 C water
food coloring
potato starch
1 can red bean paste

Instructions
1.
 In a medium bowl, mix together mochiko, sugar, and salt. Add water and food coloring and stir well.
2.  Pour batter into a greased pan (preferably a bundt pan with a removable bottom). Cover with plastic wrap and microwave 9 minutes.
3. Spread potato starch on a table or other flat surface, and invert the pan.
4. Let cool a few minutes, then cut into wedges.
5. While the mochi is still warm and malleable, flatten wedges into disks and wrap around about a tablespoon of red bean paste and pinch closed.

We decided to make ours pink. Usually mochi is pink, green or white. We made it purple when I was in Hawaii, which was pretty but so strange!

You have to cut/shape the mochi pretty quickly otherwise it will set and you won’t be able to mush it. Let it cool just long enough so you’re not going to burn your fingers.

Red beans are my favorite, but I know not everyone likes them. You could also wrap the mochi around cut strawberries, or just leave it in wedges and eat it plain! You do have to eat these up quickly though; they won’t stay soft for more than a couple days.

Stress Baking part 4

This wasn’t really stress baking. I wasn’t baking because I was stressing out. This was more like reward baking. This was a Weekend Breakfast but on a Tuesday, after I took my final on Monday night. Then again, we baked these while simultaneously writing a report, so I guess you could call it procrastination baking.

I’m usually not a fan of pears, but I am a huge fan of chai tea. Something about the texture of pears is weird to me, but then again I’ve never had them baked before. You don’t usually think of pears as something to put into baked goods, but it worked so well in these.

Pear and Chai Scones
Makes 8-12 scones. Original recipe here.

Ingredients
2 C flour
1/2 C brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 bag chai tea (crush a bit before opening)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 stick butter, softened
1 pear, diced small
1 C buttermilk (or 1 C milk + 1 tsp cream of tartar)
applesauce, to serve

Instructions
1.
 Preheat oven to 400F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Fold in butter, pear, and buttermilk.
3. On a floured surface, pat dough into a disk about 10 inches across and 1.5 inches thick. Cut into 8-12 wedges, depending on how large you want your scones.
4. Place on a greased baking sheet and, if desired, brush tops with buttermilk. Bake 17-20 min.

These scones are light and fluffy, not hard and dense like scones sometimes are. I suppose you could eat them with butter, but I liked them with applesauce. Just spoon a little bit onto each bite.

They keep pretty well, too. Pop the leftovers in the microwave for 30 seconds and they taste just like they did fresh out of the oven!

Stress Baking part 3

I made these for my BFFL’s birthday when I could have been studying for a Chinese exam and preparing for a presentation. But it’s okay because I got an A on the exam and did great on the presentation. And they made his birthday super awesome (obviously, since my cookies make everything awesome).

I gave half to the birthday boy and took half to rehearsal to give to my dancers. Not to brag or anything, but people were fighting over them. And someone asked me for the recipe. That always makes you feel great.

There are so many different things going on in this cookie but I think all the flavors complement each other really well. I hate when you put too many things and the cookie just gets really heavy – these are actually really light. They’re sort of cake-y, not a dense cookie at all, but not so cake-y that they’re not cookies anymore.

Again, they all got eaten very quickly so I’m not sure how well they keep.

Everything Cookies
Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies. Adapted from here.

Ingredients
1/2 C chopped walnuts
1 ripe banana
1 stick butter
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C applesauce
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 C quick oats
~3oz chocolate chips (adjust the amount to your taste – I think less is more)

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375. Toast walnuts for a few minutes (watch them – they burn easily!) and mash banana. Set both aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add egg, vanilla, applesauce, and banana.
3. Mix in flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir in oats, walnuts, and chocolate chips.
4. Drop spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake 12-13 minutes until set.

Yum yum yum. I want to make eat these again. You should make them and give me some.

Stress Baking part 2

What happens when you guys stress out? I get canker sores. Really bad ones. I have two right now that are almost healed, but they were really killing me a couple days ago. I hope none of you have that problem. It makes eating really difficult.

I made these the same day as the biscotti, when I should have been writing a paper on Chinese opera. I took the whole batch with me to dance rehearsal that night, and they were a huge hit. I’ll definitely make these again, even though they’re the reason I had to stay up until 5am writing that stupid paper. Whatever, I got an A. Hah.

Chocolate Orange Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen. Original recipe here.

Ingredients
zest of 1 orange
1 1/3 C sugar, divided
10 Tbsp butter, softened
1 egg
1 1/2 C flour
1/3 C cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
~6 oz chocolate chips (optional – I used them but next time I won’t)

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Combine 1 tsp orange zest and 1/3 C sugar and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream remaining sugar, butter, and orange zest.
3. Mix in egg.
4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, powder, and soda.
5. Stir dry into wet. If using, add chocolate chips.
6. Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls, flatten, and roll in orange sugar.
7. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet 9-11 min.

The sugar gives them a crunchier outside with a softer inside. They were all eaten very quickly, so I don’t know what they’d be like if left until the next day. These are so good, though, that I don’t think you’ll have a problem getting rid of them if you need to.