Island Fever

I had such a great time in Hawaii, but I’ve been insanely busy since I got back! Silly – I had an easy midterms week but the week after was crazy. I was actually supposed to go to New York this past weekend but had to cancel because of my homework. What a drag!!

Hawaii was great though. I got to see a lot of family and get a real nice tan to make all my friends in Pittsburgh super jealous.

One of the best things about Hawaii is the fruit. Every morning for breakfast I’d eat half a papaya, some mango, a kiwi or two, maybe even some mangosteen. I wish it were like that here! You can’t get much else besides apples and bananas unless you want to pay an arm and a leg. Since I was still in a bit of a tropical mood, we decided to splurge for this weekend’s breakfast.

Mango french toast. Yum. Mango isn’t just my favorite fruit – it’s my favorite food. The mangoes weren’t that great, but since you cook them it didn’t matter too much that they weren’t perfectly ripe. We also bought a loaf of freshly baked bread from the market for the occasion, and it definitely made the difference. Regular sandwich bread is not good enough for this french toast, I promise.

Mango French Toast
Original recipe here. Serves two.

1 mango, diced small (look at this post if you don’t know how to dice a mango)
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 C orange juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla, divided
2 eggs
1/4 C milk
4 slices thick cut wheat bread

In a sauce pan over medium heat, simmer mango, corn starch, OJ, and cinnamon. Reduce to low heat and “mush” the mango a bit with a spoon.
2. Stir in maple syrup and half the vanilla and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
3. While the mango mixture cooks, prepare the toast. Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with oil.
4. Mix together eggs, milk, and remaining vanilla in a shallow bowl (I like to use a square cake pan – the flat bottom really helps!). Dip the bread in the eggs and cook for a few minutes on each side.
5. Slice bread into halves and top with mangoes to serve.


Double recipe post hooray!

It’s almost spring break and I am unbelievably excited. I get an entire week to lay on the beach and get spoiled rotten by my grandparents. Honolulu, here I come! These next two days of classes can’t get over with fast enough.

I did quite a bit of cooking this past Sunday, hence the double recipes. Weekend Breakfast came first, of course. Now, if you know me, you know that I love coffee. As for pancakes, well, any sane human being loves pancakes. So a marriage of the two is only appropriate.

Cappuccino Pancakes with Mocha Syrup

We followed the recipe exactly, so instead of being redundant I’ll just send you on over to The Pastry Affair.

The mocha syrup was amazing. A little too thick to really be syrup though; I ended up spreading it over the pancakes with a knife.

I’m getting pretty good at flipping pancakes/crepes/eggs/other foods you flip. I used to be terrible – I’d always ruin it! But look at this perfectly round pancake I made. So proud.

Of course, I still needed to eat dinner! I found a recipe for enchilada cupcakes, which I thought was an awesome idea. I love cupcakes and I love enchiladas – another wonderful marriage. The original recipe uses chicken, so since I’m a vegetarian I made up a new recipe.

Warning: since I made up the recipe, I sort of eyeballed everything, so now I’m guessing on the amounts. I actually only made 10 cupcakes because that’s how many tortillas I had, and used about 2/3 and 1/2 cans of beans and corn, respectively, so I’m trying to scale everything to use whole cans.

Enchilada Cupcakes
Original recipe can be found here. Makes ~15 cupcakes.

15 small corn tortillas
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1/4 C red or white onion, chopped
1/4 C green onion, chopped
1/2 C your favorite salsa
shredded cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Cut out a circle the size of the cupcake pans from each tortilla, then cut the remaining ring into wedges (I found 6 wedges worked best). Arrange each tortilla into a ‘crust’ into a well of the pan. (If this doesn’t make sense, check out the original post for a nice picture.)
3. In a large bowl, mix together the beans, corn, onions, and salsa.
4. Scoop filling into each cupcake and top with cheese.
5. Bake for 20-30 min.

A word of advice: wait for them to cool a little bit before you eat them. I was so eager/hungry that I immediately took them out of the pans and onto my plate, where they fell apart. They tasted delicious, but weren’t as pretty. The ones I ate as leftovers yesterday and today held up much better.

Vegan Crimes

My homework tends to go in two week cycles. One week, I have nothing to do and I sit around watching Big Bang Theory all day. The next, I’m almost crying because I have so much to do. This past weekend, I was almost crying. Seeing me so stressed out, a friend of mine said I should take the evening for myself. So I baked.

I did something really bad though. I took a vegan recipe and made it really really super not vegan. But hear me out. For one thing, it’s buttercream. I don’t buy vegan butter. So the frosting was automatically not vegan. Then the cake. Normally vegan cake has an obvious egg replacement ingredient, usually flax. This one uses apple cider vinegar and extra baking soda, which apparently react and make the cake puff up. Of course I don’t have any apple cider vinegar in my little apartment kitchen, or any kind of vinegar for that matter. Since the frosting was already unveganified, I went all out and threw in an egg.

Also: how is it possible that this is the first cupcake recipe I’ve posted? Cupcakes are my life! What is wrong with me?!

Chocolate Chai Cupcakes
Makes 10 cupcakes. Original recipe here.

For the chocolate cake:
1 C milk (I used soy, don’t know if dairy would make a difference)
1/3 C canola oil
3/4 C sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 C flour
1/3 C cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
For the chai buttercream:
1 stick butter
2 bags chai tea
2 T boiling water
2 T milk (again, I used soy)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
~3 C powdered sugar (almost a whole bag)

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put ten paper liners into cupcake pans (or use a silicone mold – the best!).
2. Whisk together milk, oil, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
3. Add wet to dry and mix until a batter forms.
4. Pour into pans and bake for 25 minutes.
5. While cupcakes are cooling, begin frosting by beating the butter until soft.
6. Steep the two teabags in the water for 10 minutes, then add milk.
7. Beat together the butter, tea/milk, and cinnamon. Gradually add the powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. Should be light and fluffy but still able to maintain a shape (especially if you plan on piping the frosting).
8. Once cupcakes are cool, frost and eat!

I used my silicone molds, which I love love love. You don’t even have to grease them, just pour the batter right in! Put them on a cookie sheet when you bake them though, so you don’t spill when you put them in the oven. The cupcakes will pop right out when they’re done.

I also used this as an opportunity to practice my frosting skills, which are almost nonexistent. I’m so terrible at piping! They didn’t look that great, but at least they still tasted delicious.