May 18, 2018

Elderflower Lemon Loaf Cake


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Royal Wedding has brought the Elderflower Lemon Cake craze out of everyone's recipe box and into their social media posts. I myself will be making an Elderflower Lemon Loaf Cake for my Royal Wedding viewing party (population 1).


This is a recipe adapted from The Kitchn but instead of whipped cream, our Elderflower Lemon Loaf Cake will have a lemon sugar glaze. Elderflower Cordial are available year round in most British import stores. My favorite is from Belvoir Fruit Farms. Juice your lemons after you have zested them and save the juice for the syrup and glaze.


NOTE: You can follow the directions to make a Vegan Victoria Sponge using this recipe, and soak the cake with the elderflower and lemon syrup. If your cake got too dry, you can make additional syrup to drizzle on your cake.

For the cake:
8 ounces unsalted butter (room temperature)
8 ounces sugar
4 large eggs
Zests from 3 lemons (chop zests finely)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the syrup:
1/4 cup elderflower cordial
2 tablespoon lemon juice (juice from lemons you have zested)

For the lemon sugar glaze:
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
4 tablespoon lemon juice (juice from lemons you have zested)

For decorations (optional):
Gum paste flowers
Lemon zest


Preheat oven at 325°F. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
Combine elderflower cordial and lemon juice. Set aside the syrup for later.

Cream butter and sugar on medium speed in an electric mixer until they are light yellow and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add in the lemon zest and mix well.






Beat eggs in a bowl and gradually add a small amount of the eggs into the butter and sugar mixture. Beat the mixture thoroughly every time you have added the egg into the mixture.




Mix flour, salt, and baking powder. Sift a quarter of the flour mixture into the butter mixture and fold gently with spatula. Repeat until all the flour is incorporated into the mixture.




Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake in the oven for about 60 to 70 minutes (when the toothpick or knife comes out clean when poked). Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.



After 10 minutes, poke holes all over the cake with a skewer. Drizzle the elderflower and lemon syrup over the cake so that it seeps into the holes. Cool cake completely and then remove from the pan.



Mix confectioner's sugar and lemon juice to form glaze. Add more or less lemon juice until desired consistency is achieved. Pour glaze on top of cooled cake. Decorate with gum paste flowers and lemon zest. Slice and serve.








February 15, 2017

Easy Asparagus Tart



This asparagus tart is very easy to make. If you can't get fresh asparagus, frozen ones will work fine. Pair with a salad, or a nice juicy piece of steak.

INGREDIENTS:

1 sheet of puff pasty
1 box (5.2 oz) Boursin cheese (Garlic & Fine Herb)
1 bag of frozen asparagus spears (you can also use fresh ones)
PAM butter cooking spray
Lemon zest
Black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Thaw puff pastry.

Unroll and spread Boursin cheese on top of the pastry. The cheese spreads much easier when it is in room temperature.


Leave about half an inch on each side.


Arrange asparagus spears on top of the cheese. You can arrange the spears in alternate orders.


Continue arranging the asparagus spears until you have covered all the cheese.


Fold the sides and tuck them neatly to form a square tart. If the edges are not sticking, try using some water to moisten the dough and then crimp them. Spray PAM Butter cooking spray evenly on top of the tart. A quick dash of black pepper on top of the asparagus.



Bake at a 400°F for 20 minutes. Add lemon zest on top once the tart finished baking. Serve warm.



Vegan Stuffed Peppers


These stuffed peppers are easy to make and the filling can be quite versatile. You can swap out different veggies or add different types, but these are my husband's favorite. To make ones with meat, use 2 cup of browned ground chicken, turkey, or beef. I like to use Trader Joe's Beef-less Ground Beef for this recipe but you can use your favorite vegan ground beef, as long as they hold up when cooking. I like to use stale brown rice for this recipe. I freeze brown rice that I get from Chinese take out and use them for this recipe. 

INGREDIENTS:

6 bell peppers (use different colored ones for a colorful presentation)
1 cup chopped onions
2 cups chopped mushrooms 
1 packet (12 oz.)Trader Joe's Beef-less Ground Beef (or 2 cups of browned ground chicken, turkey, or beef)
2 tablespoon oil
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp paprika
1 cup brown rice
1 cup vegetable stock (or chicken, turkey, or beef stock)
2 cups tomato sauce

I recommend using this, but you can also use your favorite ground meat substitute

Mix vegetable stock with tomato sauce. Set aside for later use.

Cut the top of the bell peppers, take out all the seeds. Wash thoroughly.
You can either keep the top of the bell pepper to be cooked with the stuffed peppers, or you can chop them up and use as stuffing. I like the former because it has a better presentation.

In a pot, saute onions with oil in medium heat until it starts to brown. 


Add in garlic and continue cooking until onions and garlic are browned.


Add in mushrooms. Continue to cook in medium heat.


Sweat your mushrooms. Use the liquid to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Saute until liquid almost dries out.


Add in the Trader Joe's Beef-less Ground Beef (or browned ground meat). Stir evenly.


Add 1 cup of the vegetable stock and tomato sauce mixture into the pot. Add in oregano, basil, and paprika. Stir evenly.


Stir in brown rice. At this point, your brown rice should soak up most of the liquid. If it is too watery, you can leave it in the stove for a few more minutes.


Turn off the heat and let mixture cool for a few minutes.


In a casserole dish, stuffed and arrange your peppers neatly so they do not tip when you transfer them into the oven. Pour in the remaining of the vegetable stock and tomato sauce mixture. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F.


February 8, 2017

Valentine's Day Oreo Truffles


Make some yummy truffles for your loved ones this Valentine's Day. It's quick, easy, and definitely will score you major points. All you need is 3 ingredients and you'll have some scrumptious truffles. This is perfect for those that are culinarily challenged ;-)

NOTE: I made these for Valentine's Day so I'm going for the red/pink/white color palettes. You can use regular Oreo and add some red food coloring to achieve the dark red hue that you'll get from crushing Red Velvet Oreo (pictured).

Red velvet Oreo. I think these are only available during Valentine's Day

You can use regular Oreo and any types of chocolate (milk or dark), as well as coloring the white chocolate to suit your color palettes.

INGREDIENTS:


1 package Oreo (18 oz) [any flavor, I used Red Velvet]

1 box cream cheese (8 oz)
1 bag white chocolate (to be melted to coat truffles)
Truffle decorations : nonpareils, chocolate sprinkles, sanding sugar, etc.


In a food processor, process the Oreo into crumbs. Add in cream cheese and mix well.

Oreo crumbs

Add cream cheese into the crumbs and mix well

Leave the mixture inside your fridge for at least 2 hours. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Roll mixture into 1 inch balls. Return them to the fridge until you are ready to dipped them in chocolate.

Refrigerate mixture for at least 2 hours

Roll mixture into balls

Line another cookie sheet with wax paper. In a double boiler, melt chocolate. Dip truffles into chocolate and let them set on the lined cookie sheet. Decorate with nonpareils, sprinkles, sanding sugar, etc. Refrigerate until chocolate is set. Enjoy!

Dip in melted chocolate and decorate with sprinkles on top



November 23, 2016

Chunky Cranberry Orange Sauce


This easy homemade cranberry sauce will wow your guests and perfume your kitchen with a lovely smell of orange and cranberry. Make a day or two ahead and refrigerate before serving. When heated, the combination of sugar and pectin (from the cranberry) will thicken the sauce. There is also an easier raw version of this recipe here: Easy Cranberry Sauce. Do you know that cranberry sauce is typically cooked and sweet while cranberry relish is typically raw and more on the tart side?

INGREDIENTS:
2 bag cranberries (24 oz.)
1.5 cups sugar
1 orange (juiced)
Orange zests (from the orange you juiced)




Wash, rinse, and drain the cranberries. In a food processor, chop half of the cranberries. You can also chop all of the cranberries if you don't want whole berries in your relish.



I'm using chopped and whole cranberries for this recipe.


Zests and juice orange. Add into a pot or saucepan along with the cranberries. Juice your orange cut side up so seeds won't fall into the mixture.



Add sugar and mix. Cook mixture on medium heat until sugar dissolves.


Once the mixture bubbles, turn the heat to low. Let the cranberry sauce simmer for about 15 minutes, covered.


Stir occasionally to prevent burning. Turn heat off after 15 minutes.


Let the cranberry sauce cool completely before storing in the refrigerator. Serve with your turkey or Meatless Meatloaf. Or even ice cream!