Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Linguine with Shrimp and Lemon oil

I love pasta and i love seafood. It was one of those days where i just spent thinking about food. What i wanted to try, what to make for dinner. I happen to turn on the TV to food network and Everyday Italian has just started. Giada had a delicious menu that had my mouth watering the entire time. I just couldn't wait to try these new dishes out. So here's the 1st out of the 3. Linguine with Shrimp and Lemon oil. For those of you you like the citrus flavor in your pasta, this is it. Every ingredient in this dish just compliments each other so well. The freshness of the lemon with the peppery flavor of the arugula just gives it am amazing flavor. We made come garlic bread on the side and it was just YUM! It's super easy and quick. Just what everyone needs in today's busy lifestyle. Here's the recipe :).

Adapted from Giada's Everyday Italian
Linguine with Shrimp and Lemon oil

For the lemon oil:

* 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 lemon, zested

For the pasta:

* 1 pound linguine pasta
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 shallots, diced
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 16 ounces frozen shrimp
* 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
* 1 lemon, zested
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 3 ounces arugula (about 3 packed cups)
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


For the lemon oil:

Combine the olive oil and the lemon zest in a small bowl and reserve.

For the pasta:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked linguine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Turn off the heat and add the arugula. Using a mesh sieve, strain the lemon zest out of the reserved lemon olive oil and add the oil to the pasta. The zest can be discarded. Add the chopped parsley to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Sponge cake

I have been taking a cake decorating class now for about 2 months at my neighborhood Michael's. And i have to say, I've enjoyed the classes so much that it keeps me wanting to learn more. Who ever thought I'd be able to make flowers, decorate a cake and make it look all pretty! So for my final class, we had to bring in a cake so that we get to do a basket weave on it and place all the flowers we had made during the entire course. We made daisies, pansies, apple blossoms, violets, roses, daffodils and primroses. I had so many flowers that i could have covered my entire cake with the flowers. But, i chose not to! I decided to try a Sponge cake from a cookbook my dear friend got me for my birthday. This recipe is adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. So far, the sponge cake is the only recipe I've tried from it and have been pretty pleased with it. It's a great book with delicious recipes. I layered my sponge cake with some blackberry jam. You could use any flavor that you like. So for those of you who have had challenges baking a good sponge cake, here's the recipe :)

Note: I like using baking spray for my pans instead of using butter and flour to grease the pans. With the spray, you get a nice even coat and always have you cake come of easily without any issues.

Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book
Sponge Cake

1/2 cup cake flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg white (room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks (room temperature)
2 large eggs (room temperature)

1) Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 8 - or 9- inch pans
2) Whisk flours, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Heat milk and butter together in a small saucepan over low heat until butter melts. Off the heat, stir in the vanilla and cover to keep warm.
3)In a large bowl, whip the 3 egg whites and the cream of tartar together with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase to medium-high speed and whip the whites to soft, billowy, mounds, about 1 minute. Gradually whip in 6 tablespoons of sugar, about 30 seconds. Continue to whip the whites until they are shiny and form soft peaks, 1 to 3 minutes.
4)In a separate large bowl, whip the 3 eggs yolks and the 2 eggs together with an electric mixer on medium high speed and gradually add the remaining sugar, about 1 minute. Continue to whip the mixture until very think and voluminous, 4 to 6 minutes.
5)Scrape the whipped whole egg mixture on top of the whipped white mixture, then sift the flour mixture over the top. Very gently fold everything together with a large rubber spatula until just combined, about 12 folds. Pour the warm milk mixture against the side of the bowl and continue to fold batter until evenly combined and no streaks of flour remain, about 8 folds.
6) Immediately scrape batter into prepared pans. Bake the cakes until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, about 12 to 18 minutes. (Do not rotate cakes while baking)
7) Immediately run a knife around the edges of the cake and flip them out onto a parchment lined plate to protect the delicate top. Peel off the parchment paper and transfer cakes onto a cooling rack. Cool completely, about 2 hrs before filling or frosting.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Blueberries and cream cupcakes

Last weekend, my friends and i decided to have a cupcake tea party which has been pending for the last 3 months. It finally happened and we all got to eat some yummy home made cupcakes. Since berries are in season, i decided to try out the Blueberries and cream cupcakes from my Martha Stewart's cupcake book. The fresh blueberries gives you a nice burst of sweet and tangy in each bite. These cupcakes are just amazing. They are not too sweet and the home made whipped cream gives it a nice finish to the cupcakes. They are light, spongy and another one of my favorites so far. Here's the recipe:)

Makes 30 standard or 60 mini cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self rising), sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature
2 cups fresh blueberries, plus more for garnish

For the whipped cream:

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Heat the oven to 350 F. Line standard or mini muffin tins with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, the baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high to cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla.

Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each. Fold in the blueberries by hand. Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until pale golden, about 25 minutes for standard and 15 minutes for mini.

Transfer the pans to wire racks to cool completely before removing the cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature in airtight containers.

To make the whipped cream, in a large bowl whisk the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar, then whisk until combined. If not using immediately, whipped cream can be refrigerated, covered tightly, for up to 3 hours.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Strawberry cupcakes with Strawberry swiss meringue frosting

Since i enjoy baking so much, and absolutely love cupcakes, i decided to get the Martha Stewart's 175 cupcakes book. I've tried making cupcakes from recipes i find online and have had some great results and some not so great results. I hate having to waste and so decided I'm going to stick with Martha's recipes. Can't really go wrong and everything I've tried so far from her recipes have been a hit. So when my book came in the mail, i was super excited and couldn't wait to bake. I had some strawberries and i came across this recipe. It was also my husbands business partner's birthday. What more excuse do i need? Baking with fresh ingredients always make a huge difference. The cupcake itself was soft and moist with strawberry chunks and the frosting, just oh so good! Light, fluffy and smooth, with a little bit of sweetness. Can't wait to try out more recipes and share them with you. Here's the recipe:)

Martha Stewart’s Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Meringue Buttercream
frosting (makes 34 cupcake)

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 ¼ cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large whole eggs plus 1 egg white
1 cup milk
2 cups finely chopped fresh strawberries (about 20), plus about 10 more for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin pans with paper liners. Sift together both
flours, baking powder, and salt.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Add whole eggs and the white, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk, and beating until well combined. Fold in chopped strawberries by hand.

3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks and cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto rack and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored up to 1 day at room temperature in airtight containers.

4. To finish, fill a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star (Ateco #826 or Wilton #8B) with buttercream. Pipe butter cream onto each cupcake, swirling tip and releasing as you pull up to form peak. Just before serving, thinly slice strawberries, and tuck a few pieces into the butter cream.

Strawberry Meringue Buttercream Frosting

1 ½ cups fresh strawberries (8 ounces), rinsed, hulled, and coarsely chopped.
4 large egg whites
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 ½ cups (three sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature

1. Puree strawberries in a food processor. Combine egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of a standing electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips.)

2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, mix until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.

3. With mixer in medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all the butter has been added, scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula and switch to the paddle attachment; continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Add strawberries and beat until well combined. Stir with a flexible spatula until the frosting is smooth.

Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chocolate Meringues

These delicate and crunchy delights are just so irresistible. For once, my husband requested for me to bake some meringues and i say OK with a big smile! Lately I've been trying out different types of cupcakes and so i haven't really had a chance to bake cookies and other sweet delights. My husband never really tells me what he wants, so i usually end up making whatever i feel like. And so, when i got a request, it felt great. Meringues are so simple and easy to make and because they are so light and airy, you could just keep eating them. I got the recipe from a book titled "The Essential baking cookbook" which i had picked up at Borders a while ago. So here's the recipe:)

Note: You can make these in any flavor or variation. The basic recipe consist of the egg whites and Sugar. I of course added cocoa to make mine chocolate. You could do Almond, peppermint, lemon etc.

Chocolate Meringues

2 egg whites
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp sifted cocoa powder.

~Method~ (makes 30)
1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
2) Beat the egg white with an electric beater/stand mixer into stiff peaks.

3) Add the sugar in, 1tbsp at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat the mixture until thick and glossy and the sugar has dissolved. It will take about 10 mins.

4) Beat in cocoa powder.

5) Spoon mixture into a piping bag with plain round or star nozzle and pipe onto tray.

6) Bake for 20 to 25 mins, or until pale and dry. Turn of oven, leave the door ajar and cool the meringues in the oven. When cold, store in an airtight jar.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mee Goreng

Mee Goreng is a local Singaporean dish and has a few variations on it. There's a Malay version, a Chinese version and an Indian version. This one here is the Indian Mee Goreng and it's a recipe that my grandmother got from her good friend. My family have been using this recipe for years now and it's one that i enjoy making and eating very much. I've tried making it in different ways, however, this is still by far my favorite. "Mee" in the Malaysian language means noodles and "Goreng" mean fry giving us the name of this dish, fried noodles. It's such a simple dish but the sauces used in the noodles give it a unique flavor. I usually make it without eggs, but if you'd like it, it's something you can add to the noodle when you pan fry them. Here's the recipe:)

~ Ingredients ~

1 packet Fresh Egg Noodles ( Taiwanese egg noodles , available at Ranch 99)
2 medium size onions sliced up
1 packet Chinese spinach chopped, ( i use choy sum, it has yellow flowers )
1/2 cup cubed fried tofu
1 small can of Peas
1 1/2 tsp Green chili, ginger and garlic masala
3 serving spoons of Tomato ketchup
3 serving spoons of Chili sauce ( available at Chinese market)
3 serving spoons of soy sauce
3 serving spoons of Ketchup manis (sweet soy sauce, available at Chinese market)
1 tsp Chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

(Noodles are spicy so adjust the chili to you taste)
~ Method~

1) In a large pot, stir fry chopped Onions in some oil until light golden pink.
2) Add Masala, Chili Powder, salt and turmeric and cook for a min.
3) Add in Tomato ketchup, chili sauce, soy sauce and ketchup manis. Stir everything and let it cook another min.
4) Add in tofu cubes, peas and spinach. Cook till spinach wilts a little. Than add in the fresh egg noodles and stir until all the ingredients are mixed in.
5) Taste the noodles and if more salt and spice is required, add some chili powder for spice and some salt .
6) Take a flat pan and pan fry mixed noodles lightly with a little bit of oil in batches.
Note: If you like eggs, scramble 1 egg 1st and than add the noodle to pan fry.
Mee goreng is now ready to eat!!! Yum Yum!!

Picture courtesy of Jigar Champaneria