Can't believe I've abandoned this blog for months. Our life has been revolving around Owen this past months and it's been fun! Now that he can interact and show more of his personality, we enjoy spending time with him more and more. Nonetheless, sometimes, not as often as before, thanks to my hubby, I can still cooking something more complicated than stir-fried veggies
This galette was made for a friend's birthday. As usual, I used my favorite Dorie Greenspan's cookbook. I made small portion for hubby & I just so we knew how it tasted. We both loved the combination of sourness from the cranberries, sweetness from apple and sugar, earthiness from nuts, and spiciness from ginger.
I apparently don't have much time to update this blog as frequently as I thought. Time has been flying so fast this summer. I've been swamped with work, thesis, and baby preparation. I also had chance to go out of town and doing fun activities with hubby. So this summer has been a great summer. Last week we went to Atlanta and stayed at a very nice downtown hotel that I used as a case study for my structure class when I was in college. At that time, I never thought that I would had chance to go to the U.S., let alone staying in that hotel!
It's the end of July already and we are still not ready for the baby. We've been taking several baby prep classes, getting a lot of baby presents from our friends, and buying other stuffs that we still need. Our living room is currently full of clutters because hubby is working on assembling a dresser we got last week.
Now that I only have a little time, allow me to show pictures of sweets I made for 4th of July celebration I made for my sweet friends at church that have been so kind to us. It's a black forest cake with chocolate ganache.
Summer is really here. On hot days like these days, I like to have dessert that is citrus-y, let it be cake or ice cream. So, I picked Dorie Greenspan's French Lemon Cream Tart recipe for a Sunday potluck. I went to a store to get some organic lemons. I needed the zest and the juice, and the skin is where pesticide stays, so I pick the safe ones. I got the zest and the juice out of 5 lemons. Then it came the first mixing part, which was using a bowl on top of boiling water. Since tiramisu has the same method as this one, and I'd made tiramisu several times, I was full of confident.
I was in the middle of mixing the lemon mixture when I heard loud cracking noise. It was the bowl I was using! It was so stupid of me for using mixing bowl as double-boiler bowl. All of the hard work was gone and I was sooo disappointed. Hubby offered me to buy more lemons, but it was too late at night. I didn't have much energy left to grate and squeeze the lemon; but the crusts were ready. I'd made them in the morning, and didn't want to waste them. Luckily, I bought two extra lemons. So I could still make egg custard with a hint of lemon.
Dorie Greenspan's French Lemon Cream Tart is still on my list.
We celebrated Christmas this year with our brother's family in Indiana. We didn't have presents underneath Christmas tree because it is not part of our culture and I found difficulty to understand its meaning, but we had a great time together as a family. Other than going to a Christmas Eve service and visiting Chicago, we left our schedule open when we were there because we wanted to spent time with our brother's family. However, dinner invitations from some old friends and catching up with some friends made our visit much merrier.
Before it gets too late, I wish you a Merry Christmas. I hope your Christmas was filled with joy, peace, and love from God alone. I also hope that each Christmas event, whether it's church related events or gathering with friends and families engraved sweet memories for you.
Speaking about sweetness, I want to share what I made for our dear friends weekend before Christmas day. It's cranberry-pistachio cornmeal biscotti using Martha Stewart's recipe. I chose the recipe because I loved pistachio and I had bags of corn meal from CSA. Some people may prefer finely ground cornmeal, but mine was mixed of fine and coarse and we loved it. Combination of sweet from dried fruit, sour from lemon zest, and salty from pistachio created a nice "Christmasy" taste and look. I hope our friends enjoyed them as much as we did.
This is a fall/winter dessert in Dorie Greenspan's book I made for the church' Christmas party (yes I love that book). I chose this dessert because I still had a container of applesauce I made the other day. Making it is oh so simple. Equipments I needed was a saucepan and a balloon whisk. It may not look be so appealing when compared to colorful desserts, but it tastes really good.
I'd bookmarked this recipe soon after I got Dorie Greenspan's recipe book in the mail but I took me a year before I made it the first time, for church potluck. Making this tart is much easier than it looks. The crust is a regular sweet crust for a tart; and the rest of the ingredients is mostly apple.
I was surprised to know how many apple this apple tart had. I think this tart might contain more fruits than that of some pies. The fruit content reminds me of our friend who likes to joke about his main source of fruit, which comes from pies such as key lime pie and blueberry pie. He jokes because some pies are often overloaded with sugar and lack of the fruit itself. So, I like that this tart wasn't too sweet. I could have added more sugar, but I knew the apples were sweet enough. Besides, it wouldn't be special anymore if the sweetness level was as high as that of store-brought tart, would it?
Some people said that they liked the tart. Hubby and I liked it too. This recipe is definitely a keeper.
Normandy Apple Tart from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Sweet Tart Dough 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
Put the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely - you'll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces and that's just fine. Stir the egg, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before your reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change - heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface.
Summer break isn't halfway yet, but there has been a lot exciting things going on. It started with our trip to California, baby shower for a friend, camping trip last weekend, our friend's new baby that was just born yesterday, a new car was bought right on our 8th anniversary, and many more. In a couple of weeks, there are tentative plans of my friends from college and also our brother and his wife to visit us. We have also attended a small bible study with our church friends, something I look forward to. In between those big things, there is also time to knit, join yoga class, swim, cook plentiful fresh vegetables from CSA, and enjoy our evening!
I am savoring my time now. I know this break feels awesome because I know I will end; and that's what I wish for. As much as I love having a break, I also love being busy and learn new things and have new challenges eventhough they often make me cry. Anyway, I made this cheesecake upon hubby's request. He told me that I always made cheesecake for other people but not him (he got the leftover though). I told him that one recipe of cheesecake isn't for two people because it is a heavy dessert. He said, according to Michael Pollan, we can eat "high-calorie" stuffs if we made it ourselves. Haha... I made half recipe and we've been having it for several days and will have it tonight too. Great stuff to end a day.
Nagasari is a traditional Indonesian snack that mom often bought for us. She was a big fan of traditional food, and she wanted her children to appreciate it too. Now she does the same to her grandkids; and I can see that my nieces love it. Anyway, I wasn't a big fan of nagasari because it has a piece of banana inside. I didn't like banana and still don't like it unless it's cooked in certain way. It wasn't until I moved to the States and made nagasari myself that I started to list it on my favorite light dessert.
There are two kinds of nagasari, one that is made out of hunkwe (mung bean) flour and one that is made out of rice flour. Mine is the one that is dominated by rice flour then mixed with a little mung bean flour. The common type of banana that Indonesians use are tanduk, raja, or kepok. However, there are probably only two kinds of banana commonly available in my area, and the closest one is plantain. If I understand it correctly, plantain is the same as pisang tanduk. Choosing plantain is kinda tricky. I've been told that ones that are black and look like rotten bananas are the best. I thought I've picked the ugliest ones among others, but the inside were still tough and unripe.
Ingredients: 1 cup rice flour
1 Tbs mung bean flour
1 liter coconut milk
1/2 liter coconut milk
2 stalks pandan leaves
2 ripe plantain, cut diagonally to 1/2-inch thick Banana leaves, clean and cut it to approximately 8"x6"
Mix rice flour, mung bean flour, and 500 ml coconut milk. Side aside. In a sauce pan, bring the rest of the coconut milk, pandan leaves, and dash of salt to a boil. Let it cool then mix with the rice flour mixture.
Place the pan onto the stove at low heat. Stir constantly until the mixture is thickened and bubbling. Remove the pan from heat.
Place two tablespoons flour mixture on the banana sheet, add the banana and cover with another two tablespoons flour mixture, fold both side neatly and put them into a steamer.
Steam for about 30 minutes.
Cream puffs always bring back my childhood memory. For some years, mom baked cream puffs fairly regularly. It was her thing to make one thing over and over until she got it right (or until we got bored of it). She also took cream puffs orders from some people including my sister's youth group. Every time she made cream puffs, grandma was in charged of the chicken filling (ragout), which was always lip smacking. I was in charged of the quality assurance. Haha...
I was super excited when mom made cream puffs on my visit last December. I think I nibbled more than I was supposed to when they were just out of the oven. I made the chicken filling, which I thought was kinda close to my grandma's. Mom made egg-custard filling since that's my brother's favorite.
I made this cream puffs the weekend before Spring break. I had busy weeks before that and was excited for a little break I was about to have. It was a great time to relax, be thankful and joyful for having such a loving family.
Have you ever bought stuffs for a specific purpose but they were used for other things because you never found a chance to used them for their original reason-to-buy? I have. It's my ramekins. I bought them almost a year ago because I was eager to make soufflé. My plan got pushed away for some reasons and I almost forgot about it. I'd used the ramekins for soup, cobbler, and other things, but not soufflé. Not until last week.
I made this soufflé on Sunday night. We had a really busy weekend, so it was really nice to have time being at home. When relaxing, I like to have our apartment filled with... sweet aroma from my oven!!! Hubby also likes to zip his coffee with something sweet, so, after hopping from one recipe to the other, I decided to make this chocolate soufflé.
I was happy when seeing the cake rose high up exceeded the rim of the ramekins. I let them sit on the kitchen counter allowing them to cool down. When I went back to check them up, OH NO! They deflated slowly but sure. I quickly garnished them to soften the gullies on the cakes' surface and grabbed my camera. Now I wonder if soufflé pictures I found online or ones in cookbooks are pictures of the cakes when they were fresh, just right from the oven.
I thought my soufflé failed because of the shrinkage, but my oh my… it was awesome. The texture was so fluffy and airy I guessed because it was flourless. It was very rich that one ramekin of it was enough for two of us.