Tag Archives: time:30-45 minutes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

8 Mar

My classmates seem to really like red velvet cupcakes, so I’ve made them several times for birthdays these past few months. Personally, I’m not a fan of 3 tbsp red food coloring and the consequences to my fingers, but this recipe was actually really tasty!

Unfortunately, taste was their only redeeming quality, as I put a little too much batter in each cup and they became great ugly overflowing mounds of red. Plus, the middles sunk in! I wonder if it had something to do with oven temperature being too high and the cake rising too quickly without solidifying the batter underneath or leaving the batter out for too long and having the vinegar/baking soda reaction burn out or replacing buttermilk with yogurt or….

Oh well. Nobody can tell because the cupcakes are covered with frosting. One cupcake had sunken in all the way though, so I just ate it. Nobody has to know it ever existed.

If you’re making this frosting recipe, I’d probably 1.5x it or something. I only had enough for ten cupcakes out of the dozen, even after scraping down the sides of the bowl and abstaining from licking the spatula.

You can find the original recipe at Brown Eyed Baker. I used 2 tbsp of food coloring + 1 tbsp water instead of 3 tbsp food coloring, and as you can see the cupcakes turned out plenty red! Also, I substituted the 1/2 cup of buttermilk with the same amount of Trader Joe’s vanilla yogurt.

Length of procrastination: 45 minutes

fall eats

12 Oct

and just like that it’s fall again. the weather’s becoming chilly and the school work is piling up. (at least for christine, not for me XD) so what else can you do but cook something warm and put off those psets!

to start, i made more hearty stew. this is still basically take what you have the the freezer, chop it up and put it in water to boil. and with the drop in temperature, having a nice rich brothy stew to drink is wonderful.

soup 12

beef and pork stew with hearty vegetables

Ingredients
1 lb of beef or pork shoulder for stewing, bone in
1/2 celery heart
1 large size potato
1 cup baby carrots
2 bay leaves
paprika
salt and pepper
garlic powder

Start 6 cups of water to heat in a wok or pot. Place lid on for faster heating. When water starts to boil, put in the meat. Make sure you have enough water to cover the meat. Toss in bay leaves and reduce to a simmer.

Cut potato, celery, and carrots to bite size chunks. After meat has been in the water for 3 minutes, toss in the vegetables. Also add in the salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder to taste.

Let the stew simmer for 20 minutes, occasionally stirring and flipping the meat. When carrots are tender, the soup is ready to serve.

Wow, I realized that the directions really didn’t teach you anything. Mostly, it’s me with a pot of water, leftovers from the fridge, and a collection of spices. I think experimentation is important, and as long as you don’t add too much of anything, a meat stew will always come out smelling and tasting great.

For christine, we also made a veggie stew and appetizer. Since she’s competing at the MIT tournament in a week. we kept it low calorie by using a lot of tofu and veggies.

Tofu slices with sesame seasoning

soup 17

Ingredients
1/2 block tofu, firm or soft
furikake (rice seasoning)
sesame oil

Slice the tofu into small, thin slices. Arrange the slices onto a plate for serving. Drizzle sesame oil lightly over the tofu, then sprinkle furikake generously.

Tofu and seaweed soup with soy noodles

Ingredients
1/2 block tofu, firm
1/2 cup baby carrots
1/2 celery heart (about 4 stalks)
1 packet seaweed soup seasoning
1 packet soy protein noodles (or rice noodles)

Bring water to a simmer in a pot. White water is heating up, slice carrots and celery heart into small chunks. Toss the vegetables into the water and let cook until celery is soft. Cut tofu into small cubes.

soup 24

Add in seaweed seasoning. (Seasoning can be made just from 1 sheet of sushi seaweed and 1 shitake mushroom, diced.) Add in the tofu cubes, and flavor with salt and pepper to taste. Add in the noodles, and let the soup simmer until the noodles are the desired softness.

soup 25

Length of procrastination: 30 minutes per soup
Ways to prolong procrastination: sit and enjoy the soup!

do you wok the wok

28 Jul

recently i watched a movie called “taste of happiness” that had a shanghai chef in japan who cooked all these dishes in this huge wok. my mom also cooks with a wok and every time i go home to eat, i marvel at how well scrambled eggs come out. other things seem to cook differently in a wok too – green veggies always come out more colorful and less wilted, and meat gets cooked thoroughly and tenderly without ever sticking to the side. so for a few weeks i was raving about how awesome a wok is. then, christine bought me a wok as a present, and last night i broke it in and made my first meal in the wok.

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i also used a new wok scoop that i bought in chinatown, and a butcher’s knife christine bought for me. the butcher’s knife is great – it is heavy and sharp and cuts vegetables completely differently than western chef’s knives. the wok scoop, surprisingly, is all you’d need to cook anything in the wok. you can stir the ingredients being cooked, spoon in broth or spoon out soup, you can use the edge to cut meat or veggies into smaller chunks in the wok, use it to serve single servings of rice, you can even scramble eggs using the scoop.

i made cucumber with scrambled eggs (i would have done the traditional tomato and eggs but my haymarket cucumbers were looking a bit overripe) and a large batch of garlic green beans. i made half of it with marinated tofu leftover from our barbeque last night, and another half with beef (from leftover hamburger). so christine, here’s to cooking together to procrastinating together.

Cucumber and Scrambled Eggs

Ingredients

two eggs
one asian cucumber

scramble two eggs in a bowl. sprinkle with salt. heat wok with a bit of oil. before oil gets hot and starts smoking, pour the egg into the wok. occasionally stir until egg starts to firm, then scoop the scrambled egg back into the bowl.

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peel and slice cucumber at an angle into elongated oval slices. heat oil in wok. put a bit more oil so that the cucumber doesnt become burned or dry, and will come out with more color. stir-fry cucumbers for two minutes. add the eggs back in, stir fry and add salt to taste.

Tossing the ingredients in the wok

Tossing the ingredients in the wok

Garlic Green Beans with Marinated Tofu or Beef

ingredients:
1 lb green beans
1/2 package (1 cube) extra firm tofu
1 clove garlic
1/2 lb ground beef
soy sauce and salt

marinated tofu:

slice extra firm tofu into 1/4 inch slices. prepare a marinade of soy sauce, sesame oil, and furikake, and soak the tofu in the marinade. be sure to flip the tofu once so both sides get covered by furikake. after marinating, cut the tofu into bite size squares.

beef:

take 80% lean hamburger (1/4 to 1/2 lbs, about the size of 1 burger patty). hand mix garlic powder, adobo powder, salt, pepper, and cumin.

greenbeans

wash and prepare the green beans by pinching off both ends, then breaking the beans into 1 to 2 inch long segments. peel and dice one clove of garlic into larger, rough slices. heat oil in wok, and toss in the tofu or the beef. if using beef, break the meat into small chunks as it cooks. remove the tofu when the sides barely start to brown, and the beef when it is almost thoroughly cooked.

heat some oil and toss in the garlic. stir for a few seconds for the garlic to start flavoring the oil, then toss in the green beans. stir fry the green beans, making sure that everythings gets a slight coat of oil and starts to get a bit tender. toss the tofu or beef back into the wok and stir fry together, adding salt and soy sauce to taste. remove when the green beans are tender but still slightly crunchy, and still have a bright green color to them.

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cooking time: 15 minutes to prepare green beans and cucumber while rice is cooking, 15 minutes to stir fry.
ways to prolong procrastination: cook a large batch of food. the wok is huge.

Flat Banana Bread

25 Jun

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I found bananas at Haymarket last weekend for $1/10 bananas. Why any one single person would ever want ten bananas is beyond me, but I saw the slightly bruised beauties and immediately thought BANANA BREAD. After much internal struggle to decide whether chocolate chip banana bread or raisin+walnut banana bread is better, I caved and just made both. The recipe I followed yields enough batter for three mini-loaves, but I guess Bobby’s two full-sized loaf pans were too big for the batter. The result? Two rather flat loaves of banana bread.

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Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips or Raisin and Walnuts
Modified from The Delicious Life

Ingredients
1¾ cups + 2 Tbsp flour (I ran out of AP flour after a cup and made up the rest with self-rising flour)
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
3 small mashed overripe bananas (about 1 cup)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk (or, 1/3 cup skim milk + a few squirts of lemon juice)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
splash of vanilla extract
handful of chocolate chips, raisins, and walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine mashed bananas, eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Mix dry and wet ingredients until a smooth batter forms.

Grease and flour two loaf pans. This is important because if you don’t, your bread won’t want to come out of the pan. Observe:

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Divide batter among loaf pans and stir in desired ingredients (chocolate chips, raisins, walnuts, baby fingers, etc.). Bake for 35 minutes or until deeply golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Sadly, all of my chocolate chips sank to the bottom of the batter and I ended up with essentially a layer of chocolate and a layer of bread. Fortunately, the flatness of the bread makes it so you can take a vertical bite and get both flavors in a single mouthful. “But the chocolate chips are all on the top of the bread in the following picture!” you say? That’s because the loaf is upside-down, silly. My bad.

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All in all, this banana bread is pretty tasty. The chocolate chip loaf was a little too sweet, so next time I’ll have to cut back on the sugar. It’s a very moist, cake-y bread, and perhaps a little too chewy for my taste. Perhaps I’ll shorten the baking time  and add a little more baking powder for more leavening power next time.

Length of procrastination: 30 minutes prep + 35 minutes baking

Ways to prolong procrastination: Count the number of B’s used in this blog post. Or, make garlic bread simultaneously. (Guess what the next post will be about!)

Cooking Without Bobby

21 May

I know. It’s incredibly sad. Agonizingly sad, really.

Somehow, I got over it pretty quickly.

While Bobby was busy creating the year-end slideshow for the TKD Spring Banquet, Mark (who was my partner in crime for the TKD Winter Banquet as well) and I concocted a delicious dish of mushrooms, spinach, artichoke hearts, tortellini, and cheese. Oh, the cheese.

tortellini-bake

Mushroom, Spinach, and Artichoke Tortellini Bake
Modified from Taste and Tell

This recipe was a little vague on measurements. For example, how much flour do I add into the roux? What the monkey is a “broiler”? After finding out what a broiler is, what do I do if my kitchen lacks one? I’ve rewritten the recipe the way I made the dish. The ingredients list looks daunting, but it really contains a lot of things you would find in a well-stocked pantry. And anyway, it’s nothing a ten-minute trip to the grocery store couldn’t sort out.

Ingredients
2 packs of tortellini (about 20 oz., I believe)
4 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 handfuls of flour (probably about 1 cup)
4 cups milk
4 shakes of nutmeg from the container
2 10-ounce boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted (microwaved) and excess water squeezed out
2 cans artichoke hearts
5-8 button mushrooms, sliced
shredded “Italian Blend” cheese (includes Asiago, Mozzarella, and Parmesan, among others)
shredded Mozzarella
salt
ground black pepper
grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil. Once boiling, salt the water and drop the pasta in. Cook to al dente according to package directions. Drain cooked pasta and transfer to cold water to stop them from overcooking.

While the pasta is working, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with the butter. Cook the garlic in the butter until aromatic, about 1 minute, then sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook for another minute. Whisk the milk into the roux and bring up to a bubble to thicken. This took me 10-15 minutes on medium heat with constant stirring. If necessary, split into two pans. Add nutmeg, spinach, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, salt and pepper, and cook until the veggies are heated through. Eat a slice of mushroom. Go on. It won’t kill you (hopefully).

Add the reserved tortellini to the skillet and toss to coat. Transfer everything to a large baking pan and sprinkle with the cheeses. Sprinkle liberally. Like, until you can’t see any of the tortellini anymore. Place on the top level of the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese starts to brown. Take out of the oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Serves a good number of hungry taekwondoists.

Length of Procrastination: 40 minutes

Ways to Prolong Procrastination: Try to study immunology while cooking…

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