NYC Eats

They say your olfactory memory rules over much else going on in your brain.

So smart! (and so true)

It’s so comforting to know that my childhood foods are only half a day’s travel away. (but so worth it!)

Look on.

Hand-pulled noodles with braised beef. (Niu Rou La Mian) You should see you guy with the enormous forearms pulling that dough. Mesmerizing.

Grilled Squid. (Tie Ban You Yu) The tentacles say it all.

Uh…how do you translate this one? It’s wide strips of rice noodles tossed with cucumber, bean sprouts and tofu curds in a mind bending, sense numbing chili dressing. (Liang pi)

Bubble tea – yes, I am aware that you can barely see the bubbles on the bottom – just have to trust me. (Zhen Zhou Nai Cha)

Pistachio donut. Right, not a childhood food but still pretty darn good!

Macarons! Rows and rows of them! Definitely not a childhood food. And it drives me nuts when everyone in the store referred to them as macarOOns – that’s something completely different. These 2 are lemon strawberry and passionfruit raspberry. The combined price of these 2 babies are equal to that steaming bowl of noodles up the page. That’s it, I’m learning to make my own.

And I apologize for not taking pictures of the rest of the food I ate – a staggering amount – just too lazy (and hungry). You can’t be mad at me – I know how much you like polar bears. :D

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Filed under Comfort Food

Today is the Day

To have your cake and eat it too.

Especially if it’s chocolate.

Enjoy.

And oh right, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Yes, that is a potato. It’s from the farm on our campus. :D

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Filed under Chocolate, Desserts

Chocolate Brownie + Apple Crisp = ?

Math does not come naturally to me.

How did I get through calculus?

I memorized my way out of it…the different question types…and predicted which ones would be on the exams.

Not natural at all.

Unlike the equation above, the answer of which is…brownie crisp!

If you make peach crisp in August, apple crisp in November, then naturally you would make brownie crisp in February.

It makes a lot of sense, doesn’t  it?

The honey in the oatmeal topping cuts through the chocolatey-ness like a ray of warmth and I think you would enjoy the textural contrast between the tender/gooey brownie and the crisp/crunchy topping also.

My only regret?

I didn’t have vanilla ice cream. :(

Brownie Crisp
makes a 9×9 square pan

for the topping:
1 c. oats
1/3 c. flour
1/4 c. butter, melted
3 Tbsp. honey
pinch salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

for the brownie:
1/2 c. butter
2/3 c. chocolate chips or 4 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 c. sugar
1 large egg
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. dried instant coffee powder
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 c. flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. To prepare the topping, combine everything and mix until beginning to clump together. Set aside.(sidenote: I think this mixture would be great baked on its own and eaten as granola)
3. To prepare the brownie, melt butter and chocolate together in a double broiler or a bowl over a pot of simmering water.
4. Add the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
5. Add the cocoa powder, flour, and salt. Stir until blended.
6. Pour the brownie mixture into a greased 9 inch square pan. Sprinkle the oatmeal mixture on top.
7. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.

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Filed under Bars and Brownies, Chocolate, Desserts

So what’s for dinner?

Salad, apparently…

Before I would’ve thought that eating rabbit food for dinner is sad. I mean, why eat that when you can have gooey, cheesy pasta; homey, comforting dumplings; sweet, tender scallops; spicy, piquant noodles?

I like salad. I like it for lunch, as a side, as a snack. Generally I don’t think much about salad, I just eat it. For my health. But it’s often too boring to think about.

I wouldn’t mind thinking about it though, if all salads came with a juicy, garlicky piece of chicken smothered in honey mustard dressing.

And served with a big hunk of homemade crusty bread slathered with butter.

I wouldn’t mind thinking about that at all. For my health, of course.

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Filed under Chicken, Dinner

100% Whole Wheat

I was just thinking…

For Valentine’s Day, I want a knife.

No evil plans lurking anywhere, I swear!

I just want a knife that doesn’t mush my daily bread.

That’s not too much to ask, is it? Maybe you can recommend me one? (don’t worry, you will not become my accomplice in crime)

I’ve made this bread many times. I wanted to post today because I acquired some new whole wheat flour. It is from a small mill in Quebec. It’s stone-milled until very fine, and it’s organic. And kind of expensive.

You know those little flakes of bran in every bag of whole wheat flour? (at least the bags here in Canada) They cut into the gluten of the dough and prevent a nice high rise. And here is a crumb shot of a previous loaf so you can see the bran flakes for yourself.

So I thought maybe if I get a specially milled (and expensive) flour, it would be better.

And so it was. The loaf rose beautifully and had the fine crumb of a white loaf. Exactly the texture I was looking for. But the taste? Hm, it lacked the heartiness of traditional whole wheat bread; and was it my imagination, or did this loaf stale faster?

I know some people don’t like the taste of whole wheat because it is slightly bitter, but I do! What to do? Taste or texture? To be or not to be?

What do you think? What do you look for in a loaf of whole wheat bread? Besides comfort and sustenance, that is

100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

adapted from King Arthur Flour, I altered to taste

Note: When I came to school this year, I actually brought a 25lb bag of KA all purpose. If they sold KA here in Quebec, I’d definitely try that.

3 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
1 c. warm water
1/4 c. warm milk
2 Tbps. honey
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. oil

1. Pour water and milk into a large bowl, sprinkle yeast into it.
2. Stir in 3 cups of flour and all the rest of the ingredients.
4. Mix to form a cohesive mass. Now, depends on where you are and which season it is, you may need more or less flour. Just work in the flour until you get a soft dough.
5. Knead for 5 minutes, adding extra flour as required but try not to add too much.
6. Let rest for 2 mnutes and knead again for 5 minutes.
7. Put into an oiled bowl and let rise until doubled in bulk; this can take from 1-2 hours, depending on temperature.
8. Degas and form into a sandwich loaf and place in a greased 9×5 loaf pan.
9. Let rise again until almost doubled, about half hour to one hour. Make a slash down the center, if you like.
10. Towards the end of the baking time, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
11. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the interior is 190 degrees F, or about 90 degrees C.(for those in Canada)

Whole Wheat Bread on Foodista

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Filed under Breads

If at first you don’t succeed…try try again

This morning when I woke up, I remembered that I had a score to settle. A crispy cheesy score.

I tried to make gougeres, or cheese puffs last year, and they were everything except for the puff. So I looked up David Lebovitz’s post on gougeres and something he said made me feel better. He thinks “the funky-looking ones have a lot of charm”! How nice of him.

Even so, I figured it’s time to show those little puffs who’s boss.

I think I put the puffs in their place this time. (literally) ;)

Oh, if you ever need to impress someone, this is the way to go.

Gougeres – adapted from David Lebovitz
makes about 18 small puffs

1/3 c. water
2 Tbsp. butter
1 pinch of each: chili powder, garlic powder, salt
1/3 c. flour
1 extra large egg
1/2 c. grated sharp cheese (I used aged cheddar)
extra cheese to sprinkle on top

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a small saucepan, heat the water, butter, and the pinches of spices together until butter is melted and water is boiling.
2. Add flour all at once and stir quickly until the dough leaves the sides of the pan. Turn off heat.
3. Continue to smoosh the dough around the pan for a few minutes to cool it off a little. (so you don’t scramble the egg when it’s added)
4. Add the egg and beat until the dough is soft (more of a stiff batter) and shiny. This might take a few minutes, don’t despair if it looks curdled, just press on.
5. Stir in the cheese.
6. At this point, you can: pipe the dough with pastry bag and round tip onto a baking sheet lined with parchment; or lacking a pastry bag, use a ziplock bag with a corner snipped; or just use two spoons to drop the dough.
7. Just make sure they’re evenly sized, about as large as a cherry tomato.
8. Sprinkle with extra cheese.
9. Bake at 425 degrees for about 6 minutes, until they have puffed, then reduce heat to 375 degrees F and continue to bake another 6 minutes, or until the puffs are browned on the sides.
10. Take care not to underbake or the puffs will collapse when taken out of the oven.

Easy Cheese Puffs on Foodista

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Filed under Appetizers, Cheese, Snacks, Vegetarian

Ceiling Art

Let’s play 20 questions:

Q1. What happens when you try to blend chickpeas in a blender?
A. They get stuck on the sides of the blender.

Q2. What do you do to get them down so you can puree them?
A. You open the top of the blender while it’s running and you scrape down the sides with a metal spoon.

Q3. Does that work?
A. Yes, surprisingly, it does.

Q4. Doesn’t the chickpeas fly out?
A. No, they don’t. Not unless you accidentally poke the whirling blade with your spoon.

Q5. !!!
A. :D I’m ok.

Q6. So what happened?
A. My kitchen got a makeover…I got ceiling art!

Q7. Uh, so what do you do to prevent that?
A. Don’t touch the blade while it’s on! Or use a food processor.

No…that wasn’t me. I would never put hummus on the ceiling. That was somebody else. I did, however, have fresh, homemade pita and hummus yesterday. I love hummus…garlicky, creaming goodness.

And watching pitas puff like balloons in the oven is so much fun!

You should try one day. :)

Just use a food processor.

Hummus
makes about 1 1/4 cups

1 1/2 c. canned chickpeas, drained, but reserve the liquid
2 Tbsp. tahini (substitute smooth peanutbutter in a pinch!)
4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil (available at most Asian groceries)
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
olive oil, to drizzle on top

1. Add all ingredients except for the olive oil to the food processor.
2. Puree until smooth.
3. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with warm pitas.

Pita
makes 6 small

3/4 c. warm water
1 tsp. yeast
1 3/4 c. all purpose flour (I sneaked in 1/4 c. whole wheat)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. olive oil

1. Add yeast to warm water in a large bowl and let stand for a couple minutes.
2. Add the salt, sugar, oil, and 1 1/2 c. flour. Mix until smooth.
3. Gradually knead in the last 1/4 c. of flour until you get a smooth, elastic ball, about 5-7 minutes.
4. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
5. Divide the dough into 6 portions and form each into a ball. Let rest 10 minutes. Crank up your oven as high as it can go, mine’s 500 degrees F. Put a cookie sheet upside down in the middle.
6. Roll out each ball on a floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. If too thick, pitas won’t puff properly.
7. Bake each pita about 3-4 minutes, or until puffed and the very lightest brown.

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Filed under Appetizers, Breads, Snacks, Vegetarian