Friday, January 18, 2013

Catching Up

Wow, that last post was really depressing. But I had to put it up. Other bloggers have to see that other bloggers have real-life problems too and it's not all just pretty food pictures and baking heaven. Also, I needed to get a load off my chest. Since then, things have been going much better. I feel more confident, but that is also because some things in lab are working now. It's a slow process, but it's something I have to learn and persevere through. I understand that graduate school and research is not easy, but the difficulties seem to overwhelm me at times. I will learn to handle stress and anxiety better, but it will take time. First, I have to get a hold on my emotions and allow my self-perception to change. I think I am happier and mentally healthier now. :-)

Now, to food-related things!

As usual, I have been cooking lots and taking pictures of food lots, but being too lazy to pull out my computer and type up something entertaining about it. I will create individual posts for each of these with recipes next time. Until then, enjoy these quick bites of my last semester!

Cinnamon (raisin) rolls (with yeast!) - Sept 9, 2012

I once made cinnamon rolls before, but those didn't rise well and were overbaked. This time around, I tried the recipe at Two Peas and a Pod. I switched out half of the all-purpose flour for white whole wheat flour. I also added apple juice-soaked raisins to half of the dough.

These were better texture-wise, but my addition of whole wheat flour and minimal cinnamon-sugar-butter filling made it not as decadent as I hoped. It rose better than my very first batch, but was still not as fluffy as I wanted. Nevertheless, it was tasty and would serve as a good breakfast without the sugar-rush and super-unhealthiness of Cinnabon and the like.

I iced them with a lemon vanilla frosting, simply made from fresh lemon juice, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar.

Homemade Spring Rolls (Goi Cuon) - Sept 26, 2012

Rice paper is soaked in water briefly to soften, then wrapped around fresh Vietnamese herbs, roasted shredded chicken, surimi (imitation crabmeat), and fresh roasted peanuts, and served with peanut sauce. Typical Vietnamese herbs wrapped inside include Vietnamese mint, Vietnamese coriander, fish mint, chives, and lettuce. Homemade, pan-roasted peanuts are a must. The flavor of freshly roasted peanuts surpasses that of storebought.

Honey Buttermilk Cornbread - Sept 21, 2012

 I have been trying to perfect my cornbread recipe. This one comes pretty close, but I can never achieve the pure heaven that is Smart Alec's cornbread (in Berkeley). Theirs is a huge golden square served up with their salads or soups. The top is slightly sticky and the texture is slightly crumbly but still maintains shape. It is sweet and moist, not dry like cornbread mixes. I have not replicated that but I found a recipe that really delighted me. The use of buttermilk is a must for achieving a really creamy and more flavorful cornbread.

I sprinkled the top with my organic cane sugar. This sugar is less refined and therefore composed of larger crystals than regular granulated sugar. It adds a slight sweet crunch to the top.

I really like this recipe but believe it still needs some adjustment before it can be anywhere close to Smart Alec's. Next time, I may add more honey to increase the moistness and sweetness more.

Raisin Oat Scones- Sept 29, 2012

I love scones. Not the crazy sweet ones you get from grocery stores or chain coffee stores. I like homemade or artisan bakery scones, where the emphasis is on the good butter or cream and the simple combination of flavors. I love to see oats or seeds top my scones instead of icing. I believe, as a breakfast food, it need not have icing.

These are healthy scones made with oats, whole wheat flour, flaxseed, and raisins. Coming straight from the oven, they are warm and tasty and delicious. A couple days later, they get dry, but that's why they are wonderful accompanied by tea!

I made about 8 wedges, which came out very large. They are satisfying, wholesome, and sweet enough, especially great with some vanilla almond milk.

Mushroom Mataar - Oct 7, 2012

In College Station, there is only one Indian restaurant (although I've heard about many Indian mini-marts inside gas stations and convenience stores). Coming from Berkeley, and even Southern California, I had many options for Indian food (although, sadly, I did not indulge in enough while I was there). Every now and then I get a craving for Indian food. Tikka masala, samosas, korma, jalfrezi, curry, mango lassi...

I also really like peas, and Indians know how to make peas taste awesome. I looked online for an Indian pea recipe, and I had mushrooms on hand. I came across this recipe and made this!

The flavors were good. There was a warm complexity, thanks to the melding of the mushroom umami and the spices. I served it on whole wheat couscous, which is what I had on hand, but it would be much better with naan or rice (brown or basmati). Whole wheat couscous has such a strong flavor that I would not recommend eating it with anything really. Sorry, Bob's Red Mill, even your awesome brand cannot make whole wheat couscous better. It tastes like play-doh to me...bleh.

Anyways, I really liked this. Probably not authentic and lacks some degrees of flavor depth key to Indian food, but tasty enough for me.

Gingerbread Donuts - Dec. 13, 2012

I finally remembered to buy molasses, so to celebrate its induction into my household, I made gingerbread donuts. They were very tasty. I was really pleased with this batch of donuts. I often have trouble pulling the donuts out of the mini donut pan, even after greasing it up. These came out so beautifully, without breaking the top halves! I was ecstatic!

I iced these with a lime cream cheese frosting (lime+vanilla+powdered sugar+cream cheese). Lemon typically goes with ginger pastries, but I had bought too many key limes and needed to use them. The flavors actually went well together. One of my favorite donuts yet!


I have more, but I don't want to unveil everything now, lest I blow all my secrets! Or, in other words, it's late and I don't want to type anymore. You can see my other adventures...probably not soon. When I feel like posting again. Ok, toodles!

No comments:

Post a Comment