Monday, July 30, 2012

From the Oven - Booze Cake 之 Leopard Khalua Cake

The boyfriend's aunt makes this cake every time there is a family gathering.  Since we don't see her very often & we couldn't possibly ask her to bake us the cake all the time, we decided to see if we could recreate this delectable treat for ourselves.  I searched through a bunch of recipes & almost all of them use boxed cake mix & instant chocolate pudding; finally I found this one on a blog.

The chocolate'y yummy goodness comes from...
     13/4 cups all-purpose flour
     1/2 cup corn starch
     1/3 cup dry milk powder
     6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
     1 tablespoon baking powder
     1 teaspoon salt
     2 cups granulated sugar
     1/4 cup (1/2 stick) softened unsalted butter
     3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons canola oil
     3/4 cup low-fat milk
     1 tablespoon vanilla extract
     4 large eggs @ room temperature
     1/2 cup Kahlua

All you gotta do is...
     Sift together all the dry ingredients & the sugar in a really big bowl
     Add in the butter, oil, milk, & vanilla & beat until the whole thing is smooth
     Add in the eggs and mix just until incorporated
     Add in the Kahlua & mix until just combined
     Pour batter into a prepared bunt pan & bake @ 350F for 45 minutes

After taking it out of the oven, let it cool inside of the pan for 30 minutes; flip it over onto a plate & Ta Da!!  I added chocolate chips to the recipe since that's how his aunt makes it.  But as I suspected, the batter was too thin & all the chips sunk to the bottom of the pan (top of the cake), giving it this spotty appearance; hence the name leopard Khalua cake.  Another thing I found helpful was to check the cake every 5 minutes after it's been in the oven for 25 minutes.  Take the cake out once a toothpick going into the center comes out with some wet crumbs.  I waited until the cake came out practically dry in the center (what the recipe says) & while the bottom of the cake was still moist, the center & the top got to be a bit dry.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

From the Oven - Booze Cake 之 Rum Cake

I remember a few years ago my uncle & his family went on a cruise to the Caribbean Islands.  When they returned they brought with them several rum cakes that were moist, sort of rum'y, but not alcohol'y @ all.  Trying to revisit that flavor without having to hop on a cruise, I bought myself a bunt pan & went to work.

You will need to invest in...
     11/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
     11/2 cups granulated sugar
     3 eggs
     1 egg yolk
     2 teaspoons vanilla extract
     2 tablespoons lemon zest (~1 lemon)
     3/4 cup dark rum
     3 cups all-purpose flour
     2 teaspoon baking powder
     1/2 teaspoon baking soda
     1/8 teaspoon salt
     1 cup heavy whipping cream

The procedure is simple...
     In a really large bowl, cream together the butter & sugar until light & fluffy
     Add in eggs, egg yolk, & vanilla; blend until well mixed
     Add in lemon zest & mix well
     Gradually add in dark rum & mix until well incorporated
     In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, & salt
     Add the dry ingredients & the whipping cream to the wet ingredients alternately
          Make sure you begin & end with the adding of the flour mixture
     Pour batter into prepared bunt pan & bake at 350F for 60 minutes
          Or until a toothpick comes out clean

And there you have it!  The original recipe calls for pouring a rum syrup over the cake after it comes out of the oven but I found that to be too alcohol'y & actually burnt the throat a bit.  The cake itself turned out not to be really rum'y @ all & it was not able to transport me to the Caribbean; but it was really moist & flavorful so yay!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

7x7 Big Eats 2012 - Bi-Rite Creamery

Location: 3692 18th Street, San Francisco, California 94110
Date: Saturday, July 21st
Food: Salted caramel ice cream
Price: $3.50 for a single (1 or 2 flavors)
Comments: Really cream texture but it was a little too soft & melted too quickly for my liking.  It was more caramel than salt but that is often a difficult balance to achieve; I did really enjoyed the toasty'ness of the overall flavor.  If you get lucky, the line will be short, but if you go on a nice, warm, Saturday evening like we did, be prepared to wait for approximately 30 minutes...& the line goes around the corner.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Quick & Easy - "Winging It" Turkey Meatballs

We got 4 packs of ground turkey from Costco & are constantly trying to find different ways to cook it.  And what better way to use ground meat than to make meatballs with it?  After browsing a bunch of recipes online, I felt like I knew the gist of it & I was just going to wing it (not to mention I was late getting home & had to get this done quick).

All it took were...
     1 pound ground turkey
     1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
     1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
     1 egg, beaten
     1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
     Salt & pepper

And all I had to do was...
     Take the onion pieces & sweat them out until they're soft, let cool
     Throw all the ingredients into a large bowl & season with salt/pepper
     Using your hands, mixing everything together until well incorporated
     Make a small patty & cook it to make sure the seasoning is good
     Using your hands again, roll the mixture into 1 inch balls
     Sear the meatballs in a pan until all the sides are browned (~5 min)
     Continue to cook the meatballs in tomato sauce until cooked (~7 min)
     Serve with a pasta of your choice.

And there you have it.  If you are not thinking of cooking the meatballs for a pasta, you can continue cooking the meatballs after they've been browned using chicken broth or baking it.  I thought the turkey was kind of mushy but it is ground meat after all.  Surprisingly, these microwaved really well the day after.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

7x7 Big Eats 2012 - Il Cane Rosso

Location: 1 Ferry Building #41, San Francisco, California 94111
Date: Sunday, July 15th
Food: Warm egg salad sandwich
Price: $9.00
Comments: This is not your mama's egg salad.  The mustard and relish balances out that gross egg'y taste/smell of the traditional egg salad.  The bred underneath was hearty without being heavy.  The cheese on top was sort of overkill as well as the bitter greens on top; they were really bitter.

7x7 Big Eats 2012 - The Slanted Door

Location: 1 Ferry Building #3, San Francisco, California 94111
Date: Sunday, July 15th
Food: Cellophane noodles with crab
Price: $20.00
Comments: The noodles were flavorful but you could tell the crab wasn't cooked with it enough to infuse its flavors; and they were really oily.  Really appreciated the fact that there were actual pieces of crab meat instead of shreds.  The portion is really small & so made it really not worth its price.

Friday, July 13, 2012

7x7 Big Eats 2012 - Muracci's Japanese Curry & Grill

Location: 307 Kearny Street, San Francisco, California 94108
Date: Friday, July 13th
Food: Katsu curry
Price: $9.45
Comments: Biggest complain is that this is very over priced.  The pork cutlet was really tender even though it was fried to brown crispiness.  There is a choice of brown or white rice as well as a choice for mild, medium, or spicy curry.  The mild curry was not spicy but it still had a good amount of heat.  The location is very small & there is very little place to sit so be prepared to take the order away.

Quick & Easy - Not Really Asian Style Grilled Salmon

I was looking for a new way to make salmon for dinner & remembered really liking the way the Boyfriend's aunt had made it during her July 4th barbecue.  Unfortunately, I couldn't recall the recipe that she told me so I looked up "Asian style salmon" on Google.  After much searching, I still couldn't find the recipe so I just went with this one from Food Network.

To make 2 servings, it's going to take...
     2 salmon filets
     1 tablespoon of dijon mustard (I only had spicy brown)
     11/2 tablespoons of soy sauce
     3 tablespoons of olive oil
     1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Once you've gathered all the ingredients...
     In a bowl, mixed together the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil, & garlic
     Marinate the filets in a shallow dish with half the sauce (~20 minutes)
     Sear or grill the filets until they are cooked (4-6 minutes)
     Spoon remaining sauce over the filets after they come out of the pan or grill

And there you go.  It didn't really taste "Asian" but I don't really know what "Asian" is supposed to taste like.  I used the time the fish was marinating to prepare my vegetables.  When I sautéed the beans, I used the olive oil from the marinate to sweat the shallots & then a tablespoon of the sauce as seasoning.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

7x7 Big Eats 2012 - Tartine Bakery

Location: 600 Guerrero Street, San Francisco, California 94110
Date: Wednesday, July 11th
Food: Morning bun
Price: $3.85
Comments: This is complex.  It has the flakiness of a croissant but it is more substantial and has more integrity than a croissant.  The orange flavor really comes through without being aggressive as orange can sometimes be.  I ate it at 5pm but I am sure it will go really great with a cup of morning coffee...or soy milk.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Unintentional Tiramisu Ice Cream

Armed with my homemade ladyfingers, a full bottle of Bacardi dark rum, & a recipe from Ms. Giada De Laurentiis, I was ready to conquer my second Italian dessert.  If you follow this recipe to a T, you will probably be able to turn out a delicious & decadent tiramisu.  But if anything goes wrong, keep reading & I'll share with you how I was able to rescue it...somewhat.

You should have...
     6 egg yolks
     3 tablespoons granulated sugar
     1 pound mascarpone cheese
     11/2 cups really strong espresso, cooled
     2 teaspoons dark rum
     24 ladyfingers

To create your masterpiece...
     In a bowl, whip the egg yolks & the sugar until really thick/pale (5 minutes)
     Add in mascarpone & continue to beat until smooth
     Add in 1 tablespoon of espresso & combine
     In a shallow plate, combine espresso with rum
     Dip the ladyfingers into the espresso/rum for about 5 seconds
     Line the bottom of a 9x9 square pan with a layer of dipped ladyfingers
     Spread 1/2 of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers
     Line another layer of dipped ladyfingers
     Spread the rest of the mascarpone mixture over top
     Cover the pan with plastic wrap & refrigerate for @ least 2 hours

What you should have @ the end of this process is a nicely structured tiramisu with alternating layers of ladyfingers & mascarpone, like this:

But if for some reason your mascarpone mixture turns out to be soupy because the egg yolks weren't whipped long enough (it happened to me), fear not!  Take your soupy pan of delicious goodness & stick it into the freezer for a few hours.  The mascarpone will harden & you can scoop it out into balls of "ice cream".  The only thing is that freezing takes away some of the flavor & so the end product is not as sweet.

Frankly,  I think the frozen version tastes better.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

From the Oven - Ladyfingers

We went out to dinner with some friends @ this great little family-style Italian restaurant in North Beach about a week ago.  While the antipasto & the pizza were delicious, the tiramisu ended the meal in somewhat of a off note.  Determined to right this wrong, I am embarking on a journey to make my very own tiramisu; all starting with homemade ladyfingers!

I found this recipe on & halved it.  It was super quick & easy even though it involves piping with a pastry bag (1st time!!).

To make 24 ladyfingers, you'll need...
     2 eggs, separated
     1/3 cup granulated sugar
     1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
     1/4 teaspoon baking powder

And here is what you need to do...
     In a bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form
     Slowly add in 2 tablespoons of sugar & continue to whip the whites until stiff/glossy
     In another bowl, whip the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until thick/pale
     Add half the egg whites into the yolks & fold
     Sift the flour & baking powder into the yolks & fold to incorporate
     Fold in the remaining egg whites
     Gently transfer this mixture into a pastry bag that has a 1/2 in opening
     On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, pipe out the mixture into "fingers"
     Bake @ 400F for 7-8 minutes

While the pre-baked product looks slightly weird & unappetizing, they turned out pretty darn good.  To see what they are going to be a part of, stayed tuned!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

7x7 Big Eats 2012 - Nopalito

Location: 1224 9th Avenue, San Francisco, California 94122
Date: Tuesday, July 3rd
Food: Carnitas
Price: $15.50
Comments: The waitress said this is "life changing."  The pork was flavorful, tender, & super duper hot! Unfortunately, the flavor of the meat did get overpowered by the carrot/cabbage slaw when eaten together.  It is slightly pricey but worth it once in a while.