Monday, May 31, 2010

Sponge Cake with Lots of Fruit

I like cake. I like it even more if it is accompanied by fruit and some cream.

Sponge cake is light, fluffy and perfect for this. Here is what I do.....

I forgot to take pictures at some points, so some steps will have no pictures.....

Sponge Cake with Lots of Fruit

Cake Ingredients:
6 eggs (seperated)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup flour
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup sour cream
1 cap-full of vanilla (aprx. a tsp)
The zest of 1 medium lemon

1 16oz bag of frozen berries (any kind of berries or mixed)
1/2 box of ripe strawberries, diced

16oz of heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

3 mangoes cubed
1 box ripe strawberries
1 1/2 box black berries
mint leaves

0. Heat oven to 350 F. Also, grease up and flour 2 pans. I chose square ones. You can also have square ones, but they can be circles or hearts too.
1. Separate eggs. Set yolks aside.

2. Add in sugar and cream of tartar. Beat with an electric mixer until very white and fluffy and forms stiff little peaks.... this takes a loooong time, so have patience.

3. When that is done, add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix around till it's all pretty homogeneous. Then add in the rest of the ingredients; butter, yolks, sour cream, vanilla and the lemon zest.

4. Beat them together.
5. Okay, so now, fold in the yolk mixture with the beaten egg whites. Folding helps keep in the air bubbles that makes it fluffy, so while it takes a little longer, it's worth it.

6. Pour this mix into 2 pans. Bake at 350F for... 45 mins... Until done and the whole house smells of cakey goodness.
7. When done, set aside to cool. We've got more work to do!

Ummm.... so this is like... part of the filling... just preparation for when ou assemble the cake. This can be done while the cake is baking, or cooling. It's your call.
1. Take the bag of frozen berries and dump them in a saucepan. Here in the pictures, I'm using a pot. I was wrong to. Saucepan is better.

2. Let them cook up a bit, then go to town on them with a potato masher. Mash em up good, so you have a fabulous smelling slurry of berry goo.

3. Let it cook until most of the moisture's gone. You want a thick jam-like consistency. You're going to coat the cake with this so it doesnt get too soggy.

4. Set aside and let it cool.
5. Wash strawberries and dry them.
6. Dice strawberries and set them aside for later use.

1. Okay, so now whip up the whipped cream with the powdered sugar.

1. Mangoes need to cut into cuuuuubes. Here is the secret to cubing the mango!
2. Cut the mango on either side of the seed, so you end up with 3 pieces, the seed being a thin slice.
3. Score the slices with the meat in them, then flip the skin upwards. The scored pieces now pop out and can easily be cut off. Ta-da! The skin can be peeled off the seed pieces and you can eat the meat around the seed. I never bother trying to cut the meat from it, just snack!

4. Place the cubed mango on a paper towel to soak up any excess moisture.
5. Wash the strawberries and black berries. cut the tops off the strawberries and cut them in half.

Okay, so now you're ready to assemble the cake1
1. By now the cakes are cooled. Now cover the tops with the berry paste. Use 1/3 per side, leaving 1/3 for later.

2. Place one cake on a plate. Cover with a thin layer of the whipped cream, then cover with the diced strawberries.

3. Add a little more whipped cream on top of this to fill in the cracks between the strawberries.

4. Place the second layer on top, berry-paste side down. Now use the remaining berry-paste to cover the top.
 (we took out a little piece... for taste testing...)

5. Use the rest of the whipped cream and pour it on top. Use a spatula to smooth it out, working from the top down. Cover the top and sides.

6. Start garnishing, do it any way you like, but this is how I did it!

7. EAT!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hong Kong Style French Toast.... With a Twist!

Okay, so Hong Kong style French toast is a popular food item in Western-style restaurants there. It's essentially the same as the original.... except it's two pieces of bread with a generous portion of peanut butter and condensed milk in the center (sometimes a little butter too), deep fried with an eggy-milk coating and served with more condensed milk or honey for dipping.... and has a nice fat slice of butter on top. It's mighty tasty, though not all that good for you.

I've made it before, but now that I'm home in Ohio, I find that I have no peanut butter. I refused to believe this, and after obsessively searching, I found organic chocolate flavored paenut butter... Hmmmm.... So I tweaked the recipe a little bit to include the chocolaty spread and added a few slices of bananas... to make me feel better about eating it. Also, peanut butter and chocolate go great with bananas.

Hong Kong Style French Toast.... With a Twist!

Sliced bread, this can be anything but I prefer Italian style bread for this. Also, if it's a little dry that's good; it won't get too soggy.
Peanut butter
1/2 Banana, sliced
2 medium sized eggs
A splash of milk

1. Spread a generous amount of peanut butter on both pieces of bread.
2. Put 2-3 slices of banana onto the bread. Sandwich the bread.

3. Whisk the eggs and milk in a shallow bowl.

4. Add oil to a skillet, about..... 2-3 tablespoons? I dunno, really. I never measure. Just add what feels right to fry up the toast. Turn to medium high heat.
5. Evenly coat your peanut butter and banana sandwiches in the eggy mix. Place them in the heated skillet.

6. Cook and flip them till evenly browned on each side.
(Mom placed some shrimp chips on the side to soak up some excess oil, 
that's what those little things are)
7. Plate and serve!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Veggie Pasta

This is a nice dish that an help you get rid of any leftover veggies you may have. Here, I used green beans, leftover carrots (also for color), mushrooms I used half of last night and garlic and onions.

A dish like this can still have tons of flavor and be light. Seasonings are red pepper flakes for spice, basil for flavor (if you have fresh basil that's even better!) and grated parmesean as a topping.

Veggie Pasta:

Olive oil
A few garlic cloves, minced
Half an onion, diced
Green beans, about 3 or so handfuls
Carrots, one handful of the cut kind
One box pasta of your choice, though I am partial to shells :)
4 or 5 shakes of basil
3 shakes of red pepper flakes
Salt to taste (everything is to taste, actually)
Diced tomatoes, bell peppers and broccoli would also be great in a dish like this. It's very flexible.

1. Boil water and dump in pasta. Drain and set aside. Add a teeny bit of olive oil and toss just so the pasta doesnt stick to itself.
2. In a large pot, add about 3 tablespoons olive oil and let it get hot. Add in garlic and onions, cooking these ingredients first help flavor the oil and add more dimension to your dish. Heat should be on medium high.

3. Add in the basil and red pepper once the onions have turned translucent.

4. Add carrots. They take longer to cook than the other veggies. Turn heat down to medium and cover with a lid, leaving it ajar for steam to escape.

5. Green beans after the carrots have cooked up for a few minutes, depending on how well donw you like your veggies.

6. Mushroom go in next. Wait till the green beans and carrots are almost done. Mushrooms are quick.

7. Add salt to taste.
8. Stir in pasta.
9. Plate and eat!

This dish can be enjoyed by itself or along side another dish. I recommend lemon chicken or fish. We're having this with almond crusted grouper, the recipe to which I shall post later.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cruise Last Winter

Before last winter, I'd never been on a cruise. My mom got it for my dad as a Christmas present and it as oodles of fun. We went to the Bahamas and has a wonderful time. The food was good too :)

Spring rolls!
Stone fruit salad.
Tomato soup. Creamy with a hint of spice :)
Roast prime rib with horse radish potatoes.
Tilapia with rice and veggies in a mango/Thai inspired sauce.
Desserts! From top left clockwise: Fruit pudding, key lime pie, cheesecake and a cheese platter.
Sweet and sour soup.
Hot strawberry soup. It was actually quite good :)
My sister and shrimp in a glass!
My dad with an assorted fruit plate.
Ooooh, seafood pasta with a creme sauce. It has fish, muscles, shrimp and lobster.
Fried polenta in a light tomato sauce over spinach.
Dessert cup of fruit, cake and cream.
Key lime pudding.
Molten chocolate cake.
Citrus fruit salad.
Toast with prosciutto and a salad.
Thai inspired noodles with duck, veggies and mangoes.
Bowtie pasta with kielbasa and veggies.
Bass with asparagus.
Dad and I with wine.
 Cheesecake with blueberry preserves.
Mango souffle.
Steak tartar.
Yakitori with a nori roll and soy sauce.
I forget what this was, but it looks good. That roasted tomato on the mashed potato looks good.
Lime sorbet.
Raspberry soup with cream and biscotti bits.
Mmmm.... Tomato anitpasti. Mozarella and basil drizzled with olive oil.