Archive for March, 2011

March 31, 2011

blueberry-and-cream scones

It’s true – I loved these cookies so much, I had to translate it into a scone. And it was a complete success!

I was also especially excited to make scones because I wanted to use Alton Brown’s method of “cutting the butter into the flour.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been so confused as to the best method to this. Pastry cutter? Hands? Food processer??

In his baking book (which really is one of my favorites – I go back to reference it again and again while I’m baking), Alton recommends this method:

Grating the butter! It’s best if you can put the butter in the freezer for a little bit before grating.

Grated butter is kinda pretty.

Or…looks like shredded mozzarella cheese!

You put this grated butter into the bowl of dry ingredients, fluff it up so that the butter is covered with the flour, and then rub the butter into the flour with the tips of your fingers for about 30 seconds. Easy peasy!

 

And of course for this Blueberry-and-Cream recipe, I made some more Milk Crumbs.

Yum yum yum yum yum! Yum.

 

Look at this beautiful dough!

When you think about scones, just think cold cold cold. Cold is a scone’s best friend! Whenever I wasn’t using the dough (like when I was taking photos, etc), I just stuck this bowl of dough into the freezer – hence the frosty glass.

 

When the dough cold, turn it over onto some parchment paper…

 

And form it! Into a circle, square, rectangle – it’s your choice! I rolled (pun intended) with rectangle.

I find its easiest to roll the dough out with my hands. Don’t forget to lightly flour your hands though!

 

Then slice ’em up!

 

In no time at all…

It’s good that they’re snuggled up next to each other. They keep each other lifted up. =)

 

This is so incredibly good. I can’t wait to have another for breakfast tomorrow!

 

Blueberry-and-Cream Scone

Inspired by Momofuku’s Blueberry-and-Cream cookies

Makes: 18 scones

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose)

1/3 cup sugar

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp kosher salt

6 T unsalted butter

3oz (6 T) milk

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

1 recipe milk crumbs

3/4 cup fresh blueberries

 

Directions

Begin by making the milk crumbs.

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl whisk together the milk, egg and vanilla extract. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.

On a piece of parchment paper, grate the stick of cold butter. Add the grated butter to the dry mix and use your hands to cover the butter with the dry mix. For 30 seconds, rub the butter into the dry mix until pea-sized. Then pour in the milk-egg-vanilla mixture into the bowl, stirring with a fork. Add the milk crumbs and blueberries and mix until just incorporated. Stick this bowl into the freezer for 5-10 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper. Lightly flour your hands and press the dough into a rectangle that is about 3/4th inch thick. Cut into triangles and lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

 

Nutritional Information for 1 scone: 150 calories, 6.5g fat, 4g saturated fat, 55mg sodium, 17g carbohydrates, 0g fiber, 8g sugar, 3g protein

March 31, 2011

spring got skipped

Wow, it really feels like summer has hit California! Though it has been warm in the middle of the day, today was the first time in a while that it was warm even early in the morning. It really just “felt” like Summer – like instead of getting in the car to go to work, it felt like I was getting in the car to go to my last day of classes before summer break started. Or, maybe I was just wishing. =)

It was super nice last night too so Jeff and I took advantage of it and went “out” – first to Bed Bath & Beyond! Haha! That’s my kind of going out. ;) I had a $5 off coupon, so I came home with these (ah shoot, I probably would’ve gotten them even without the coupon hehe…)

A drying mat and drying gloves. I live in a super small place, so I really don’t have a lot of room. So whenever I bake, I of course am drowning in dirty dishes, and it’s easier to dry and put them away right away, just to make space. This mat and these gloves help a lot!

Of course, Bed Bath & Beyond is most definitely not Jeff’s idea of “going out” so we went to the movies and watched “Limitless.” This is my favorite kind of movie. Not completely action, not a cheesy chick flick – just fun!

There’s nothing more I want to do in such nice weather like this (nice weather to me is when it’s warm during the day and night – which is why I absolutely love love love Chicago in Spring/Summer) than take a drive into the city (aka San Francisco). San Francisco is usually cold, so I love to take advantage of it during the extra nice days. That picture above was taken last Saturday when we went into the city, when unfortunately, it was pretty chilly.

Instead of going into the city though, I did the next best thing after work – bake! It involved grating butter.

Recipe to come soon! All I’ll say now is it’s been a very delicious, and very blueberry-y week!

P.S. I think that dog up there in the first photo is super cute. It looks like a stuffed animal! I photographed it randomly at the farmer’s market, but I really wanted to steal it. I want one!!!

March 30, 2011

margherita lasagna

Last week, I bought a butt load of basil for the bruschetta I made. The bruschetta recipe doesn’t call for a butt load of basil – just 8-9 leaves – but unfortunately basil isn’t usually sold by the leaves.

So I was stuck with a ton of leftover basil that was slowly starting to wither away.

And I started to panic thinking about this basil ($$$) going to waste.

So what did I do? I made basil paste with it!

This basil paste is simply basil and extra virgin olive oil, blended together into a thing of beauty.

 

Margherita pizza is my favorite pizza in the world. It’s so simple, yet still delicious at the same time. And that’s what I wanted to translate to this lasagna.

So, what goes into Margherita pizza? Well, “bread,” tomato sauce/tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil!

But I will say here that this lasagna did need a bit of “bulk,” so next time I will probably add some hot sausage to the tomato sauce. And maybe even some layers of veggies.

My “tomato sauce” of choice?

 

Start with a thin layer of the sauce in the bottom of the baking dish, just to flavor the bottom of the lasagna and keep it from sticking to the pan.

 

Then begin the layering process with the noodles…this is the kind I used:

 

Then slather on the sauce…

 

Sprinkle on the cheese…

 

And another layer of noodle…I used a smaller baking dish so I had to break up some of the noodles, but I couldn’t even tell in the end product!

 

But instead of tomato sauce this time, layer on the basil paste…

 

And then cheese again.

Repeat layering (pasta, tomato sauce, cheese, pasta, basil paste, cheese) until you reach the top or…run out of cheese (which is what happened to me, so I had to cut the lasagna short, literally).

 

After baking, behold this beauty!

 

By the way, this “cookie” spatula works awesome for lasagna too!

Yummy!

 

But there are some things I will change for the future, including:

1. “bulking” the sauce up with ground (hot) sausage. I loooove hot links, so I’ll probably use that.

2. adding a layer of thinly sliced long vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, or maybe even whole sliced tomatoes.

3. Using fresh, sliced mozzarella instead of shredded mozzarella.

Enjoy!

 

Margherita Lasagna

Serves: 2-4

 

Ingredients:

1 package lasagna noodles (I used the “no-boil” kind)

2 cups favorite tomato sauce

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (or sliced mozzarella cheese)

2 cups fresh basil

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375F.

Start by making the basil paste by blending together the basil and extra virgin olive oil.

In a baking dish, layer lasagna noodles, tomato sauce, mozzarella, lasagna noodles,  basil paste, then mozzarella. Repeat until you reach the top of the baking dish, ending with mozzarella.

Cover the top of the baking dish with foil and bake about 20-30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a few more minutes until the top is melted and bubbly.

 

We kinda liked this.

March 29, 2011

that’s what she baked: blueberry-and-cream cookies

I’m sorry Malt Chocolate Chip Cookies, but there’s a new favorite cookie in town and it’s name is Blueberry-and-Cream cookies.

This famous recipe is of course by Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar in New York. But I credit my going out to buy dry milk, light corn syrup, and white chocolate chips (I had all the rest of the ingredients!) entirely to Darjeeling Dreams. When she posted about these cookies I just knew I had to make it. And make it I did – the very next day!

This cookie is awesome not only because it is ridiculously delicious (probably the best cookie I have ever eaten or made) but because it is so unique.

 

Milk crumbs anyone?

I mean, just the name “milk crumbs” is awesome. I want to put milk crumbs in everything now. And I just might.

 

This is the milk crumbs pre-baking. Basically, a mixture of dry nonfat milk, butter, flour, sugar, cornstarch, and salt.

 

Then once baked and cooled, it’s mixed with more dry nonfat milk and melted white chocolate…

 

And voila – milk crumbs!

This is what turns these cookies from fab to fabulous! Huh? Is that a saying?

 

The only difference I made from the original recipe was I used fresh blueberries instead of dried blueberries.

But…I’m pretty sure that’s okay. ;)

 

Oh yeah, and I also used light corn syrup in place of glucose because…I have no idea where in the heck to get that. It was a perfectly perfect substitute.

As usual, I used a cookie scoop to scoop out this beautiful dough. They recommend using an ice cream scoop, but I liked them just as I made them with a cookie scoop.

I can’t wait until I can visit Momofuku Milk Bar and try these cookies there! I guess I should plan my first visit to New York first though eh? The “east-est” I’ve ever been in the U.S. is Chicago!

Give these a try for yourself! These cookies are so good I think I’ll be happy never making another cookie again! Okay, that might not be the truth, but I know I’ll be making these cookies for a long, long time!

Nutritional Information for 1 cookie: 160 calories, 7g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 97mg sodium, 20g carbohydrates, 0g fiber, 10g sugar, 2g protein

You can find the original recipe here!