Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Turned out quite moist, and delicious. Would be even better if it had rum-soaked raisins.

Group I
- 3 1/4 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3-4 tsp all spice
- 1/2 tsp cardamom

Group II
- 1 can 15 oz. pumpkin puree (Whole Foods' 365 brand can of pumpkin is just 99 cents)
- 1.5 cups white sugar
- 1/2 cup demerara sugar
- 1.5 cups vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs, added one at a time

  1. Mix Group I, dry ingredients, in a separate bowl.
  2. Mix Group II, adding the eggs one at a time.
  3. Add Group I incrementally to Group II. Add raisins if so desired.
  4. Pour into loaf pans.
  5. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, then bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 more minutes, or until toothpick test comes out clean. (I like my loaves nice and thick.) If you use a smaller loaf pan, just keep it at 350 F.
  6. Remove, let rest 10-15 minutes.
  7. Let cool on wire rack.
  8. Refrigerate overnight.
  9. Serve with cream cheese icing

Makes 1 huge loaf, or 2 more manageable medium-sized loaves.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Oatmeal Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Third time's a charm for making a better cookie recipe.

Group I
- 2 sticks butter
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup demerara sugar

Group II
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla

Group III
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp salt

Group IV
- 1.5 cups shredded coconut
- 3.5 cups rolled oats
- 6 oz. chopped Scharffen-Berger Bittersweet Chocolate
- I advise adding either walnuts, or raisins, or both to add additional texture.

  1. First, mix Group I ingredients together. Cream sugars and room temperature butter.
  2. Next add in Group II.
  3. Mix Group III (flour, baking soda, salt) together, before adding into main mixture.
  4. Then add Group IV ingredients. I would advise adding in at least walnuts or raisins, or both, to give additional texture to the cookie.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 18 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  6. Makes about 20 x 3.5" diameter x 1" thick cookies

I like to form my cookies on the large side.

Final product was pretty tasty, great texture and consistency. Could use some walnuts or raisins though.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jiao Zi

An old favorite. Personally, I like them fresh, but pan fried after a day isn't so bad either. And it's not dumpling making unless you make the dough yourself! Buying wonton skins from the store is cheating.

I've determined a good metric. 1 cup of flour will form approximately 10 dumplings, so make your dough accordingly. I prefer using the healthier ground turkey to ground pork.


- 2-3 lbs ground turkey
- several white (daikon) radishes, grated
- 10 stalks of green onions, diced
- mushrooms, diced
- salt, pepper
- 2 eggs beaten


- 2 cups AP bleached flour
- 1 cup unbleached flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- cold water

  1. Mix flours together.
  2. Add water, form into dough.
  3. For the filling, add all ingredients together. Beat 2 eggs, and add to filling.
  4. Let dough rest ~ 4-6 hours.
  5. Form dough into ~ 1" diameter rounds. Roll out.
  6. Add filling to middle, wrap together and pleat.
  7. Add to boiling water. When the water is about to boil over, add in cold water. Repeat 2x more times.
  8. Enjoy with jiao zi dipping sauce (sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, green onions, minced garlic, minced ginger, salt, pepper).

Here's the dough after forming and kneading.

An intermediate stage of forming, where the rounds are shown in the background.

A closeup on the pleating. Mine are ok looking- my dad's pleating is much better looking, and he can do them one-handed!

What they look like when pan-fried.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sweet Potato Corn Chowder

I had some extra corn, so I thought I'd try making a sweet potato corn chowder. The sweet potatoes weren't as pronounced however, so I'm listing a modified recipe below.

- 2 large sweet potatoes (about 3-4 cups diced)
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced onions
- 2 diced leeks
- chopped garlic, ginger
- salt, pepper to taste
- corn, sliced off the cob.
- chicken broth

  1. First sautee leeks, garlic, ginger.
  2. Then add a mirepoix of celery, onions, sweet potatoes (in lieu of carrots).
  3. Then add broth (make your own if you have time), and simmer.
  4. Liquefy with immersion blender.
  5. Add corn. I cooked my corn ahead of time, thus requiring only a few minutes to meld in the soup.
  6. Enjoy with corn bread. Top soup with a little creme fraiche and chives/green onions.

Needs more sweet potato!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Hua Juan Variations

Hua Juan is Chinese for "flower roll". Typically, it comprises a yeast dough with green onions and sesame oil.

I tried two variations, one with whole wheat flour, the other with all-purpose bleached flour. The difference? The latter has much less gluten in it, resulting in a fluffier texture and whiter color, but with a slightly poorer shape, due to the difficulty in forming low gluten dough.

The general method of forming hua juan is to roll out the dough into a flat piece, cut into parallel strips, coat with sesame oil and green onions, then twist the strips together, making sure to pinch the ends together. Once you have a "rope", tie it together into a knot, and fold the ends.

Whole Wheat Flour Hua Juan

For the first try, I took a pastry brush, painted the dough strips with sesame oil, scattered diced green onions on them, with a dash of salt. This recipe had more gluten, was easier to form into "juan", but didn't taste as authentic.

Whiter Hua Juan

- 2.5 cups all purpose un-bleached flour
- 1.5 cups wheat starch
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- dash of salt
- 1 packet of dry yeast (2 tsp) proofed in 1.5 cups warm water
- diced scallions
- sesame oil

  1. First, make the dough.
  2. Second, mix the scallions, sesame oil, and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Using the same strip method, cover with seasoned scallions, form into rope, and assemble.
  4. Steam on high heat for about 10 minutes.

I used bleached flour for the image below, and the gluten content was far too low, thus resulting in this free-form shape. I'd use unbleached for more shape. However, the fluffiness and taste were very good.

Dinner Prep

I was prepping dinner tonight, when I noticed all the beautiful colors.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Everything Cookie

This is my attempt at making a cookie with all ingredients around the house thrown in.

Everything Cookie

- 4 large eggs
- 3 sticks butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp vanilla
- 2.5-3 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 Tbsp all spice
- 2 cups oatmeal
- dash of salt
- everything else (raisins, cranberries, chocolate, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds)

  1. First, cream the butter and two types of sugars together.
  2. Then add the eggs in one at a time.
  3. Then add the vanilla.
  4. Then add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and all spice.
  5. Then add the oatmeal, and "everything else". If you have more time, soak the raisins in rum before adding them in.
  6. Form large mounds of cookie dough on sheet- will spread out on its own during baking.
  7. Top with sesame seeds.
  8. Bake 400 degrees F ~ 22 min.
  9. Eat with milk!

After topping with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. I could only fit about 6 per baking sheet.


The Calphalon pan definitely browns the cookie better than the Silpat.