Chicken Teriyaki with a twist

My sister decided to produce some awe inspiring and mouth watering, sweet stuff  for us over the last few months, due to inspiration from the Daring Bakers Challenges, and my mother hoped that I could do the same with the Daring Cooks Challenges. But of course, given the picky eater that I am, it takes a lot for me to look at a savory dish and say I want that! If I see a salad that has tomatoes, as pretty as it is and as much I’d want to try because it’s pretty, I know the moment I put it in my mouth will be a moment of pure regret. And seriously, do I need to regret stuff that I have control over? Long story short, the following recipe was inspired by the Daring Cooks challenge. I took the marinade they provided, and tweaked it by adding home-made barbeque sauce and tomato sauce, since I found the soy sauces simply too overpowering for my little taste buds. I also sliced the chicken into strips before cooking, and instead of cooking it in the oven, I cooked it completely over the stove.

1 pound chicken breast
4 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
1½ tablespoons maltose (you can substitute honey)
1½ tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon barbeque sauce
1 tablespoon tomato sauce
½ teaspoon pepper
pinch of salt
½ teaspoon five spice powder
3 tablespoons ghee or oil
10 oz boiled pasta
2 oz chopped celery
¼ cup chopped cilantro & parsley

If you want to know what do with the ingredient, click on!

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m not sure if making cookies is really healthy for me. At least with the testing of different recipes and tricks. I’ve eaten at least three cookies in one hour. Which once in writing may not sound so bad, but my body is feeling a little bit surprised, and I don’t feel as good as I feel I should following a chocolate fest…

On a happier note, I think I’ve inched my way closer to a double chocolate chip cookie success. So although tonight was not a success, the fact that it I’ve seen the light makes for some sort of success. Actually, if we’re being honest here, my mother shined the light in my face, by telling me if I wanted my cookies to not flatten out I should put some oats in it. Next time around, which may be a couple months from now, or maybe even a couple weeks from now, I will add some oats as well as let the dough chill out in the refrigerator for a bit, and perhaps toss in some nuts for fun, and see if that leads me to a cookie heaven… Um, yea. Moving on.

What I did really like about this recipe was that it only calls for 2 oz of melted chocolate in addition to 3/4 ounce of cocoa powder. The cookie is not overpoweringly sweet, I’m thinking that is due to the cocoa powder, and in my books that makes it very, very, very lovable. I wonder what it taste like with dark cocoa powder.

4 oz vegetable shortening
4 oz butter, softened to room temperature
6 oz granulated sugar
6 oz brown sugar, packed
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 oz chocolate chunks, melted and cooled
3/4 oz cocoa powder
8 oz all-purpose flour
4 oz chocolate chips
4 oz white chocolate chips

In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the shortening and butter until combined, about 30 seconds.  Add both the sugars and the baking soda, and on medium speed beat until just combined.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until thoroughly incorporated, and then beat it in the vanilla, followed by the melted chocolate.  On the lowest speed, beat in the cocoa powder, and then beat in as much of the flour as possible.  Stir in the remaining flour, and lastly add the chocolate chips and stir well just so the chocolate chips are evenly distributed.

Cover the dough, and leave to chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C).    Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake for 9 to 10 minutes or until cookies are puffed and the edges look done. Cool on baking sheets for about 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe courtesy of The Little Guides: Cookies, by Janine Flew, with some very slight modifications.

Peppermint Mocha

Now this is a bandwagon I can jump on!  When I drank the actual Starbucks Peppermint Mocha, despite the torture of reduced fat milk and the non-existence of the coffee, I sure loved the mintiness of it.  Of course for some reason it does seem right for coffee and mint to be put together.   The original recipe tells to put 1 1/2 teaspoons of the mint syrup, but personally I go for 2-3 tablespoons, it gives that nice minty kick and doesn’t loose the coffee flavor either.

½ cup sugar
½ cup water
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 peppermint candies, slightly crushed
1 tablespoon powdered cocoa, sifted
¾ cup hot espresso
½ cup hot milk
Whipped cream (optional)

In a small saucepan, stir together the water and sugar, bringing to a soft boil, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to a low simmer and add the peppermint extract and candy, and simmer for 20 minutes.

In a small cup, add the hot espresso and cocoa, and stir together until the cocoa has blended well into the coffee and has no lumps. Pour coffee mixture into a Starbucks bottle, followed by 2 tablespoons of the peppermint simple syrup, and then the hot milk and shake to mix. If desired, add a dash of whipped cream, I just pour in a teaspoon of cream.

Recipe courtesy of The Kitchn.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

In my attempt to try different Starbucks flavors, without actually going out and buying them, I gave the ever popular Pumpkin Spice Latte a shot.  I might have done something wrong, because I seriously did not enjoy it.  At all.  I couldn’t taste the pumpkin, even though I put double the amount that was called for, and I’m not sure the idea of cloves or ginger is precisely the taste I like having up against coffee.  But, again, it could be just me doing things wrong.

¹/3 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1¼ cups water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
3 cloves
¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally to keep syrup from burning.   Let mixture cook together until it becomes syrupy and begins to coat the spoon (for about 10-15 minutes), then remove from heat.  Refrigerate in a heat-proof container, or in a Starbucks  Frappacino bottle. The syrup will thicken a bit in the refrigerator, but will become syrupy again when heated.

To make pumpkin spice latte, heat syrup with milk (about 2 cups of milk and 2-3 tablespoons of syrup, depending on how much milk or creamer you want to use and how pumpkiny sweet you want your latte. I used about 2 tablespoons syrup. Pour into a blender or whisk until frothy, for about ten seconds.  This will make it thick and prevent the pumpkin from settling on the bottom. Pour into cup and stir in about 1/2 cup or more of strong, hot coffee.

Recipe courtesy of Bakergirl.

Delightful Candy Cane

Hershey’s Kisses makes my heart happy when it comes to their striped chocolates.  I loved the Hugs and Kisses for a long time (how could you not love milk and white chocolate being combined?!) and remember being distinctly unhappy when they decided to break my heart and add Whey Powder to the ingredient list.  I think they noticed I stopped buying it, cuz they eventually removed that ingredient.  If only M&M’s would notice my absence now… The candy cane kisses are seriously awesome, it’s so refreshingly minty, yet unlike mint candies it’s not overpowering with its mintiness.  And then there’s white chocolate.  ‘Nuff said, yo.

I really wish this was a year round chocolate.  At the very least, it better return next year.

“Ultimate” Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

There’s something about failure, not all-out complete failure but a semi failure, that leaves you hanging.  You scratch your head, you stare at the cookie funny, you take another bite, and wonder why.  Just why.  I’ve made double chocolate chip cookies a few times now.  Literally three, I think.  And each time is only very slightly better than the last.  The first time it was gooey and stuck to the pan, and the victims who had to eat it had to follow it up with a pitcher of milk.  The second time, I followed David Lebovitz’s recipe, which I’m tempted to actually try again sometime, and that too spread out and looked rather pitiful, but it didn’t taste completely awful.  You’d think the third time would be the charm, and that’s what I thought too.  But nopes.

Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe I don’t know how to read cookie recipes.  Maybe there needs to be a monthly cookie challenge group for the cookie challenged people like myself.  Anybody?  *echo*

12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
12.6 oz all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
8 oz butter or margarine, softened
7 oz packed brown sugar
4 oz granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
6 oz white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Melt chocolate chips in a small bowl, atop a saucepan with an inch of water, over low heat; stir until chips have melted and is smooth. Remove from heat.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in melted chocolate, and next gradually beat in flour mixture.

Stir in the white chocolate chips.  Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 8 to 9 minutes or until cookies are puffed. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield: 50

Recipe courtesy of Nestle Toll House, with some very slight modifications.

Chocolate Mint Icebox Cookies

I’m enjoying a Chocolate & Mint kick right now.  I’m sure you already noticed that though.  I’m going to make another icebox cookie soon, because I must try out a new recipe.  I used this recipe this time.  And because I must achieve a perfectly square checkerboard.

 

Don’t ask me how I successfully pulled this pattern out.  Ok.  Ask.  Well, you see.  I laid the green on top the chocolate, and confidently went to roll it up for a beautiful pinwheel.  Except that it started to crack.  Shoot.  Keep rolling.  It might get better.  But it didn’t.  So, I figured, well, might as well squish it together and try to get a marble effect.  Not quite.  But it doesn’t look like a failure,  and doesn’t taste like a failure, so you’d better agree with me that it’s not a failure.

Chocolate Glaze

4 oz unsalted butter
1/4 cup whole milk, warmed
1 TB corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 oz icing sugar, sifted

In a medium saucepan, bring about an inch of water to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium.  Place a medium sized bowl on top of the simmering water, and add the butter, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla to it.  Once the butter as melted, add the chocolate chips in, whisking until the chocolate has melted.  Remove the bowl from the heat, and whisk in the icing sugar until smooth.  If the glaze has some lumps in it, return to the heat, and over heat, whisk the lumps away.

Yield: 2 1/2 cups

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown of the Food Network.

Chocolate Cake Doughnuts, V. 2

Scrape dough, from the recipe here, onto a generously floured surface.

With floured hands, pat dough out to about 1/2 inch thick.  I cheated.  I used a rolling pin.

With a 3-inch doughnut cutter, cut out doughnuts. Pat together scraps of dough and cut again. (Alternately, shape dough into ropes about 5 inches long and 1/2 inch thick; join rope ends to form doughnuts.)  Let the cut out doughnuts rest for about 15 minutes on the baking sheet before frying, in the mean time bring the oil to 350 F.

Gotta love the vintage look.  That’s all.  No purpose behind this picture.

Using a salt shaker cap to cut out the doughnut holes.

Pour about 4 inches of oil into a 5- to 6-quart pan; heat to 375° F (190° C). Place one doughnut at a time onto a wide spatula and gently slide into oil, frying up to three at a time. Cook, turning once, until puffy and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes total (to check timing, cut first one to test). With a slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to paper towels to drain. Repeat to fry remaining doughnuts.

As you can tell I used a bigger pot, and could put more doughnuts to fry at once.  I also found that frying it at 375° F was a bit high.  It fried up and didn’t have the chance to expand, leaving it looking like a bangle and not a happy, puffy doughnut.  I would say 350° F is a better temperature.  Play around with the heat of course and find what works best for you.

Can you tell which were fried at 375 and which were at 350?  When cool enough to handle, dip the top half of each doughnut in warm chocolate glaze or dip completely in sugar glaze.  Others use a mocha glaze, but I didn’t add the dash of coffee, since I used peppermint on top as an extra zing of flavor.

Sprinkle with about 6 crushed peppermint candies and let glaze stand until it is set, about 10 minutes.  To crush the peppermint candy, slip into a small ziploc bag, and pound with a rolling pin or something heavier.  Leave some a bit more rough so they stand out, bright and red.

Baked Beans

I love baked beans.  Seriously love.  Seriously, seriously love.  If you had to make me choose between chocolate and baked beans…yes, you guessed it.  Actually, you know, maybe not.  Chocolate is pretty enticing.  But if you made me choose between a piece of fried chicken and baked beans, definitely baked beans wins.  I’m considering following an online recipe and making my own baked beans from scratch…

2 cans Heinz Baked Beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 oz onions, chopped fine
1 teaspoon jeeru seeds
1/4 teaspoon methi seeds
1/4 teaspoon hing (asafoetida) powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 tomatoes, blanched and pureed

In a medium sized pot, heat the oil, and add jeeru, methi, and hing, letting it sizzle. Once it sizzles, add the onions, and saute over medium-low heat until slightly pink. Next, add in the spices, and braise over high heat, and then add the pureed tomatoes, stirring the spices into it.

Pour in the baked beans and stir, coating the beans well with the spicy tomato puree and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat, and cover, leaving to simmer for about 20 minutes.

Serve hot with bread rolls or atop a baked potato.