Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Pork Lomein

I usually do not expect much from a recipe if it is produced by someone of another ethnicity/culture. When I look for recipes online, I tend to try those that are originated from the region or country. However, I know for a fact that the recipes featured in Cooks Illustrated usually yield good results, and this recipe is/was featured in their top ten, so I have to try it. And it did not disappoint! I will not say that is it authentic, because I have not had any Lo Mein like this in Singapore, but this is two-or-three-servings-in-a-row good.

This is the second time I use this recipe, for some reason, it doesn't taste as fantastic as the first. Some reason might be:
1) different noodles
2) different cabbage (I used Napa the first time, it wilted to nothing but taste sweeter)
3) different pan


The ingredients:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon 5-spice powder
1 pound country-style pork ribs, sliced to 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional, I omitted this)
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 medium garlic cloves, minced, about 2 teaspoons
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
4.5 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons shao-xing wine
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stem trimmed, and halved
2 bunches scallions, white thinly sliced, greens cut to 1-inch length (about 2 cups)
1 small head Napa or Chinese Cabbage, halved, cored, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch strips (about 4 cups)
12 ounces Chinese egg noodles (fresh) or 8 ounce dried linguine
1 tablespoon Asian chile garlic sauce

Instructions:
  1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat.

  2. Whisk soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and five-spice powder together in medium bowl. Place 3 tablespoons soy sauce mixture in large zipper-lock bag; add pork and liquid smoke, if using. Press out as much air as possible and seal bag, making sure that all pieces are coated with marinade. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour. Whisk broth and cornstarch into remaining soy sauce mixture in medium bowl. In separate small bowl, mix garlic and ginger with 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil; set aside.

  3. Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in 12-inch cast-iron or nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add half of pork in single layer, breaking up clumps with wooden spoon. Cook, without stirring, 1 minute. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons wine to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is reduced and pork is well coated, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer pork to medium bowl and repeat with remaining pork, 1 teaspoon oil, and remaining 2 tablespoons wine. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels.

  4. Return skillet to high heat, add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, and heat until just smoking. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add scallions and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until scallions are wilted, 2 to 3 minutes longer; transfer vegetables to bowl with pork.

  5. Add remaining teaspoon vegetable oil and cabbage to now-empty skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Clear center of skillet; add garlic-ginger mixture and cook, mashing mixture with spoon, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir garlic mixture into cabbage; return pork-vegetable mixture and chicken broth-soy mixture to skillet; simmer until thickened and ingredients are well incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.

  6. While cabbage is cooking, stir noodles into boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender, 3 to 4 minutes for fresh Chinese noodles or 10 minutes for dried linguine. Drain noodles and transfer back to Dutch oven; add cooked stir-fry mixture and garlic-chili sauce, tossing noodles constantly, until sauce coats noodles. Serve immediately.



This is the second time I use this recipe, for some reason, it doesn't taste as fantastic as the first. Some reason might be:
1) different noodles
2) different cabbage (I used Napa the first time, it wilted to nothing but taste sweeter)
3) different pan


---Some updates---

Mr (in blue shirt and red shorts) ran and finished his first marathon on Sunday! We went out to cheer him on, and it upset Yoyo that Mr kept on running away from him.


And someone got a haircut yesterday, and is looking very cute at the moment. It doesn't last very long so I whipped out the camera to take some beauty shots. I know the (free) bandana is girlish, I wish Petco grooming service stock something more macho for a stud like Yoyo.

Yoyo has a couple of missing teeth, you can see the gap in this picture.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday's Coffee Cake

I love baked goods, especially with black coffee, to me the sweet and the bitter just come together so wonderfully I will take alternate the drink and the donuts/cookies/cake/scones...

So this is Sunday, March 20th (HaPPie BiRthDaY SiS!), and I am home so I've planned to try making CI's Cream Cheese Coffee Cake AGAIN. Again because the first time was a flop, while the cake was too dense it has good flavor, and we ate it all. It turned out that I didn't write the right measurements of baking soda and baking powder while I was watching the episode online.

So to make sure that I have the same cake that they showed on TV, I measured all my ingredients before I started mixing them together, my first time. I have always measure the ingredients as I read the directions.


So with all the ingredient measured out, and having made one before, I started to dumped ALL the sugar and butter in the mixer to start creaming but it just wouldn't. Reread the recipe, sad, contemplated to continue with the mistake, sad, dumped the mix, uber sad, and remeasured my butter and sugar.

I was glad that I did not keep the mistake, as the coffee cake is all raised almost 50% more than the first attempt and taste great. The cream cheese and the lemon compliment each other, the almonds/sugar/lemon zest is heavenly, the texture of the cake is airy, even better than my favorite blueberry coffee cake.






I am still thinking what I could have done with that pile of sugar and butter although it's sitting in the trash.

Yoyo waiting for his dad to come home from his run.


Almond/Lemon/Sugar topping
1/4 cup sugar, (I used turbinade sugar)
1 1/2 grated lemon zest
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Cake
2 1/4 cups (11.25 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/8 teasppons baking powder
1 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salk
10 tablesoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 cup 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated zest
4 large eggs
4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream

cream cheese mixture
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
  1. FOR THE TOPPING: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined and sugar is moistened. Stir in almonds; set aside.

  2. FOR THE CAKE: Spray 10-inch tube pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside. In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and lemon zest at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, about 20 seconds, and scraping down beater and sides of bowl as necessary. Add 4 teaspoons vanilla and mix to combine. Reduce speed to low and add one-third flour mixture, followed by half of sour cream, mixing until incorporated after each addition, 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat, using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining sour cream. Scrape bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour.

  3. Reserve 1¼ cups batter and set aside. Spoon remaining batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Return now-empty bowl to mixer and beat cream cheese, remaining 5 tablespoons sugar, lemon juice, and remaining teaspoon vanilla on medium speed until smooth and slightly lightened, about 1 minute. Add ¼ cup reserved batter and mix until incorporated. Spoon cheese filling mixture evenly over batter, keeping filling about 1 inch from edges of pan; smooth top. Spread remaining cup reserved batter over filling and smooth top. With butter knife or offset spatula, gently swirl filling into batter using figure-8 motion, being careful to not drag filling to bottom or edges of pan. Firmly tap pan on counter 2 or 3 times to dislodge any bubbles. Sprinkle lemon sugar-almond topping evenly over batter and gently press into batter to adhere.

  4. Bake until top is golden and just firm, and long skewer inserted into cake comes out clean (skewer will be wet if inserted into cheese filling), 45 to 50 minutes. Remove pan from oven and firmly tap on counter 2 or 3 times (top of cake may sink slightly). Cool cake in pan on wire rack 1 hour. Gently invert cake onto rimmed baking sheet (cake will be topping-side down); remove tube pan, place wire rack on top of cake, and invert cake sugar-side up. Cool to room temperature, about 1½ hours. Cut into slices and serve.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Knitting mojo

I have a few hobbies, knitting, cooking, baking, etc. Some times they slowly losses my favor and other times I finding myself loving them again. The quickest way for them to be in the cold chamber is to bore, frustrate, or be uninspiring. I know it's not their fault, but that of the maker, which is me in this case. I have knit a few things that didn't do it for me, they are currently in hiberation, but they and I know that they are going to be in the bag/box/container in the basement for a long time since their presence is like having spouse who constantly nags at you to change the lightbulb.

I have knit on and off since the last blog post on knitting. There are quite a few pair of socks, many of them are worn out at the heels because I wear them so often. They are now taking up space in my socks drawer because I don't have the heart to throw them away since I spent so much time making them and yet I don't know and don't bother to learn how to repair them. Once in a while, I will take them out to wear the holey socks thinking they are fine to wear only to regret my decision because I dislike the feeling of bare heel to sole of shoes. And then there are the knits that caused me to leave the needles, I won't name names here, but if you reaaly want to know i have listed some of them in my ravelry account.

But I got my knitting mojo back, I knit 2 tops in 2 weeks! How did I get it back you might ask. Well, it started when I was chatting with a friend online, he mentioned me that his wife has picked up knitting, that leads to me adding his wife to my Ravelry's friend list (my user name is hooney) and looking at beautiful work other members have done have inspired me to pick up my needles and spend my money on yarn and patterns again. However, I have yarn stash that can possibly last me for a year if I knit daily, so I decide to seriously destash before I can buy any more yarn, I even told Mr. K about it (that shows you how determine I am).

So this is my first knit of the year, it's a improvised top from the pattern Shalom Cardigan by Meghan McFarlane. I have seen this many times and liked it, but didn't think it will work with my figure until I saw the version by Nordly. I chose to use Rowan Cotton Tape because it has the same weight as the yarn used in the pattern, and I want a top that I can wear in the summer. This is a quick and simple knit because of the gauge.





Needle: US 11 -8.0mm circular
Yarn: 7 Skeins (497 yards) Rowan Cotton Tape (Discontinued) in Color way 557

These are the few changes I made:
1) I knit the last 5 stitches of the each side together (the garter border) together at the start of the body so that it won't look wonky when I button them up, that is after I sew the buttons on;
2) I bind off 5 stitches on each side on each armhole to make the armhole smaller;
3) I did not do any shaping of the waistline.

If I were to make this again, I would:
1) knit the body with a smaller needle, maybe a 6mm needles, to get a tighter fit and make it less holey so that I don't have to wear a top underneath;
2) have waist shaping like what is in the pattern.



Just want to show you a picture of my dog before i cut his hair . My initial intention was to have a after-shot but I gave him a diseased look. I don't think he would forgive me if I post his new look on the world wide web.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Chewy Sugar Cookies

While Mr. was out training for marathon, I decided to make something, something to reward (or sabotage?) his effort. Although sugar cookies are not our favorite, I decided to make them instead of baking the some cookies over and over again. Knowing my husband, he eats anything sweet, knowing my dog, he will eat anything that has plenty of butter.

DSC_0711

This is my first time making sugar cookies, and I used the weight of the ingredients instead of measuring cups. It turns out that amount of ingredients using the scale is much less than if I use the measuring cup, thus, the cookie dough was really soft and tad hard to handle. I wish I have a portion scoop because I got I made 2o bigger cookies instead of the 24 stated in the recipe, and the cookies merged together while they were baking. That's alright, as they are so yummy that they will all be in our tummies in no time.

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Chewy Sugar Cookies from CI, makes 2 dozen cookies

The final dough will be slightly softer than most cookie dough. For the best results, handle the dough as briefly and gently as possible when shaping the cookies. Overworking the dough will result in flatter cookies.

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar, plus 1/2 cup for rolling
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. Set aside.

  2. Place 1½ cups sugar and cream cheese in large bowl. Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside. Pour warm butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine (some small lumps of cream cheese will remain but will smooth out later). Whisk in oil until incorporated. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; continue to whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix with rubber spatula until soft homogeneous dough forms.

  3. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces, about 2 tablespoons each (or use #40 portion scoop). Using hands, roll dough into balls. Working in batches, roll balls in reserved sugar to coat and evenly space on prepared baking sheet, 12 dough balls per sheet. Using bottom of drinking glass, flatten dough balls until 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle tops evenly with 4 teaspoons of sugar remaining in shallow dish (2 teaspoons per tray), discarding any remaining sugar.

  4. Bake, 1 tray at a time, until edges are set and just beginning to brown, 11 to 13 minutes, rotating tray after 7 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes. Using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Chicken Bouillabaisse

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I have been watching the entire season 10 of America's Test Kitchen online and looking at recipes in Cook's Illustrated to get idea for what to bake and cook. This recipe is on the top ten weeknight recipe list, and it look delicious. I used regular yellow mustard instead of dijon, chicken legs, and didn't use pastis or Pernod. The result is still great. The croutons and rouille adds a lot to the Bouillabaisse and I would definitely make this again.

DSC_0694 (2)

Chicken Bouillabaisse from CI, Serves 4 to 6.

The rouille and croutons (steps 4 and 5) can be prepared either as the chicken cooks or up to 2 days in advance. Leftover rouille will keep refrigerated for up to 1 week and can be used in sandwiches or as a sauce for vegetables and fish. See below for information on anise-flavored liqueur options.

Ingredients

Bouillabaisse
3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, and drumsticks, with breasts cut in half) trimmed of excess fat
table salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise, rinsed, and sliced thin (about 1 cup)
1 small fennel bulb, halved lengthwise, cored, and sliced thin ( about 2 cups)
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
4 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
1 table tomato paste
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 strip orange zest (from 1 orange), removed with vegetable peeler, about 3 inches long, cleaned of white pith
1/4 cup pastis or Pernod
3/4 pound Yukon Gold potato (1 large or 2 small), cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves or parsley leaves

Rouille and Croutons
3 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 baguette
4 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 small cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
table salt and ground black pepper

Instructions
  1. FOR THE BOUILLABAISSE: Adjust oven racks to middle and lower positions and heat oven to 375 degrees. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chicken pieces, skin-side down, and cook without moving until well browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken and brown other side, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to large plate.

  2. Add leek and fennel; cook, stirring often, until vegetables begin to soften and turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Add saffron, cayenne, flour, garlic, and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, wine, broth, orange zest, pastis, and potatoes; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes.

  3. Nestle chicken thighs and drumsticks into simmering liquid with skin above surface of liquid; cook, uncovered, 5 minutes. Nestle breast pieces into simmering liquid, adjusting pieces as necessary to ensure skin stays above surface of liquid. Bake on middle rack, uncovered, until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 145 degrees for breasts and 160 for drumsticks and thighs, 10 to 20 minutes.

  4. FOR THE ROUILLE: While chicken cooks, microwave water and saffron in medium microwave-safe bowl on high power until water is steaming, 10 to 20 seconds. Allow to sit 5 minutes. Cut 3-inch piece off of baguette; remove and discard crust. Tear crustless bread into 1-inch chunks (you should have about 1 cup). Stir bread pieces and lemon juice into saffron-infused water; soak 5 minutes. Using whisk, mash soaked bread mixture until uniform paste forms, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in mustard, egg yolk, cayenne, and garlic until smooth, about 15 seconds. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in vegetable oil in steady stream until smooth mayonnaise-like consistency is reached, scraping down bowl as necessary. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil in steady stream until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  5. FOR THE CROUTONS: Cut remaining baguette into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake on lower rack until light golden brown (can be toasted while bouillabaisse is in oven), 10 to 15 minutes.

  6. Remove bouillabaisse and croutons from oven and set oven to broil. Once heated, return bouillabaisse to oven and cook until chicken skin is crisp and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees for breasts and 175 for drumsticks and thighs, 5 to 10 minutes (smaller pieces may cook faster than larger pieces; remove individual pieces as they reach temperature).

  7. Transfer chicken pieces to large plate. Skim excess fat from broth. Stir tarragon into broth and season with salt and pepper. Transfer broth and potatoes to large shallow serving bowls and top with chicken pieces. Drizzle 1 tablespoon rouille over each portion and spread 1 teaspoon rouille on each crouton. Serve, floating 2 croutons in each bowl and passing remaining croutons and rouille separately.

My Favorite Chili?

For the first decade I lived in USA, I never had Chili con carne, aka chili, I believe no one around me really introduced me to the dish. I tried one in a cafeteria a couple of years ago, and another from Wendy's $1 menu, and kinda like it. Since I am trying to save money by cooking regularly and realize that chili stores well in freezer, I have made chili quite a number of times now. We really like the chili and biscuit recipe found in smittenkitchen.com, but this time I went with Cook's Illustrated.

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Instead of using chuck-eye roast, I used the chili meat I got on sale at local supermarket. The chili tastes good, but I prefer the one from smittenkitchen. It takes considerably less work, and hunting for different types of dried chili, and has more vegetables. I paired the chili with cornbread using Bob's red mill stone ground cornmeal, I love the flavor but wished that I have put the cornmeal in the food processor before I used it.

Chili from CI, Serves 6 to 8.

Ingredients

table salt
1/2 pound (about 1 cup) dried pinto beans, rinsed and picked over
6 dried (about 1 3/4 ounces), stems and seeds removed, and flesh torn into 1 inch pieces
2-4 dried arbol chiles, stems removed, pods split, and seeds removed
3 tablespoons cornmeal
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 medium onions (about 2 cups), cut into 3/4-inch pieces
3 small jalapeno chiles, stems and seeds removed and discarded, and flesh cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 medium garlic cloves (about 4 teaspoons), minced or pressed through garlic press
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons light molasses
3 1/2 pounds blade steak, 3/4 inch thick, trimmed of gristle and fat and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 (12-ounce) bottle mild-flavored lager, such as Budweiser

Instructions
  1. Combine 3 tablespoons salt, 4 quarts water, and beans in large Dutch oven and bring to boil over high heat. Remove pot from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour. Drain and rinse well.

  2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Place ancho chiles in 12-inch skillet set over medium-high heat; toast, stirring frequently, until flesh is fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes, reducing heat if chiles begin to smoke. Transfer to bowl of food processor and cool. Do not wash out skillet.

  3. Add ├írbol chiles, cornmeal, oregano, cumin, cocoa, and ½ teaspoon salt to food processor with toasted ancho chiles; process until finely ground, about 2 minutes. With processor running, very slowly add ½ cup broth until smooth paste forms, about 45 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Transfer paste to small bowl. Place onions in now-empty processor bowl and pulse until roughly chopped, about four 1-second pulses. Add jalape├▒os and pulse until consistency of chunky salsa, about four 1-second pulses, scraping down bowl as necessary.

  4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until moisture has evaporated and vegetables are softened, 7 to 9 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chili paste, tomatoes, and molasses; stir until chili paste is thoroughly combined. Add remaining 2 cups broth and drained beans; bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer.

  5. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Pat beef dry with paper towels and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Add half of beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer meat to Dutch oven. Add ½ bottle lager to skillet, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits, and bring to simmer. Transfer lager to Dutch oven. Repeat with remaining tablespoon oil, steak, and lager. Once last addition of lager has been added to Dutch oven, stir to combine and return mixture to simmer.

  6. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Cook until meat and beans are fully tender, 1½ to 2 hours. Let chili stand, uncovered, 10 minutes. Stir well and season to taste with salt before serving.


All Purpose Cornbread from CI

Makes One 8-inch Square.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (7.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (5.5 ounces) yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bake soda
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup (3.5 ounces) frozen corn, thawed
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and cooled slightly

Instructions
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 8-inch-square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl until combined; set aside.

  2. In food processor or blender, process brown sugar, thawed corn kernels, and buttermilk until combined, about 5 seconds. Add eggs and process until well combined (corn lumps will remain), about 5 seconds longer.

  3. Using rubber spatula, make well in center of dry ingredients; pour wet ingredients into well. Begin folding dry ingredients into wet, giving mixture only a few turns to barely combine; add melted butter and continue folding until dry ingredients are just moistened. Pour batter into prepared baking dish; smooth surface with rubber spatula. Bake until deep golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes; invert cornbread onto wire rack, then turn right side up and continue to cool until warm, about 10 minutes longer. Cut into pieces and serve.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Happy 2011!

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We spent the last night of 2010 with some wonderful friends and food. I am still salivating when I think about the Steak & King Crab legs pasta, and the spinach pinwheels. Mr. picked the champagne and my contribution for the night is this coconut cake, my first pretty cake. It has a lot of coconut flavor in the cake and the buttercream, but it's a tad heavy for me. I still prefer the light fresh cream that I grew up eating in Singapore. Nonetheless, this is still very yummy.

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CoCoNut Layer Cake

Makes one 9-inch, 4-layer cake.

Ingredients

Cake
1 large egg
5 large egg whites
3/4 cup cream of coconut (a 15-ounce can is enough for both cake and buttercream)
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour (9 ounces), sifted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 12 pieces, softened, but still cool
2 cups packed sweetened shredded coconut (about 8 ounces)

Buttercream
1 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
pinch table salt
1 pound unsalted butter (4 sticks), each stick cut into 6 pieces, softened, but still cool
1/4 cup cream of coconut
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
  1. For the Cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with shortening and dust with flour.

  2. Beat egg whites and whole egg in large measuring cup with fork to combine. Add cream of coconut, water, vanilla, and coconut extract and beat with fork until thoroughly combined.

  3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on lowest speed to combine, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running on lowest speed, add butter 1 piece at a time, then beat until mixture resembles coarse meal, with butter bits no larger than small peas, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.

  4. With mixer still running, add 1 cup liquid. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds. With mixer still running, add remaining 1 cup liquid in steady stream (this should take about 15 seconds). Stop mixer and scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then beat at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds. (Batter will be thick.)

  5. Divide batter between cake pans and level with offset or rubber spatula. Bake until deep golden brown, cakes pull away from sides of pans, and toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes (rotate cakes after about 20 minutes). Do not turn off oven.

  6. Cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes, then loosen cakes from sides of pans with paring knife, invert cakes onto racks and then re-invert; cool to room temperature.

  7. While cakes are cooling, spread shredded coconut on rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until shreds are a mix of golden brown and white, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times. Cool to room temperature.

  8. For the Buttercream: Combine whites, sugar, and salt in bowl of standing mixer; set bowl over saucepan containing 1 1/2-inches of barely simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture is opaque and warm to the touch and registers about 120 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes.

  9. Transfer bowl to mixer and beat whites on high speed with whisk attachment until barely warm (about 80 degrees) and whites are glossy and sticky, about 7 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-high and beat in butter 1 piece at a time. Beat in cream of coconut and coconut and vanilla extracts. Stop mixer and scrape bottom and sides of bowl. Continue to beat at medium-high speed until well-combined, about 1 minute.

  10. To Assemble the Cake: Follow illustrations in chart below. Cut into slices and serve. (Wrap leftover cake in plastic and refrigerate; bring to room temperature before serving.)