22 June 2015

Peanut Butter and Jelly Waffles

We all need a little pep talk for Mondays. Especially in the form of waffles. I used to dislike eating breakfast, mostly because I think it is always too rushed and too early to eat at 4 in the morning. But, I absolutely love a lazy late breakfast, where I can just stroll out of bed or have someone make me breakfast in bed (Ha, yea right, where do I sign up for that?).

I love going to brunch, but not so much the brunch prices. I mean, seriously, a carton of eggs costs $3, and you're going to charge me $3 for ONE poached egg?! Sometimes, the long lines are just not quite worth it, especially now that the earth is about close to the temperature of molten lava on Mars. So, I bring you a classic combo in the form of waffles. Everyone loves a good PB&J, but what about in a fluffy waffle form?

I say, stay at home! Avoid thinking about where to go and what to eat and make some PB&J waffles. You're bound to have all these ingredients handy, unless you don't have a waffle maker...then you can make them into pancakes! (I don't blame ya.. I only got it last year after thinking about it for 10 years :P). Hear hear for the next weekend :D!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Waffles
serves 4

Grape Jelly Syrup
1/2 apple (pink lady or fuji) diced
1 cup red seedless grapes, cut in half
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp cornstarch (if needed)

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp white sugar
1 pinch salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup milk
  1. Place diced apples and grapes into a small pot and cook over high heat. Add sugar, and once it sizzles, turn down to low heat. Simmer for 30 mins
  2. Smash softening fruit intermittently. Add vanilla and cornstarch if needed to the thickened syrup. Take off heat and set aside
  3. For the waffles, mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar).
  4. Melt butter and peanut butter for 30s in the microwave. In a medium bowl, mix cooled melted peanut butter mix, milk, egg and vanilla.
  5. Mix dry and wet waffle ingredients and cook according to waffle machine
  6. Drizzle syrup and sprinkle crushed peanuts. Serve warm.

12 June 2015

Vietnamese Coffee Cake

I'm currently on inpatient pediatrics, so I haven't had much time to update anything. I feel like I haven't posted in a while, so I just wanted to say hi! haha. 

Nothing really interesting on my end. I'm just seeing sick kids all day and all night. I've realized that kids are disease dispensers... I definitely got sick twice even if I sterilize my hands a gazillion times :( I've also been wearing scrubs a lot, which just like sweatpants, will FOREVER EXPAND. They are super comfy, but you don't ever realize how many Oreos you've been putting straight to your muffin top until you try to wear "real" clothes. So deceptive... and a sign that I need to hit the gym :(

So obviously I made more cakes, because my scrub pants can still take up some more expanding :P I'm kind of in love with Vietnamese coffee. It's an intensely brewed coffee that is dripped into a glass with a huge spoonful of sweetened condensed milk mixed in. They are so good freshly brewed, but you can also buy instant coffee packets from any Asian supermarket. I used Nestle brand packets to make these cakes, and the coffee flavor is pretty strong! You'll want to make sure you brew extremely strong coffee or espresso to make the coffee-ness really stand out.

Anyhoo, I need to end my rant, grab coffee and get. back. to. work. :(
Also, don't you love the shape of these cakes? I got them as a gift from a lovely friend, and I've been dying to use them.

Vietnamese Coffee Cake
adapted from King Arthur Flour
makes 1 large 10" bundt or 8-10 mini bundts or 2 loaves

Coffee Cake
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup yogurt/sour cream
2 packets of vietnamese coffee mix (I bought this at an Asian supermarket)
3 tbsp instant coffee granules
~1/2 cup hot water (cooled)

Sweetened Condensed Milk Icing
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Grease molds or bundt pan
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve instant coffee and Vietnamese coffee mix with hot water and set aside
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add wet ingredients (eggs, oil, sourcream). Mix on medium speed until well combined.
  4. Add in the cooled coffee mixture and beat for a minute
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and level the surface of the batter. 
  6. For my mini bundt molds, it took about 25-30 mins, but for a bundt pan about 60-65 mins. Check with a toothpick or chopstick stuck down the middle.
  7. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting it and letting it cool completely
  8. To make the frosting, just mix the ingredients together. If it needs more thinning add milk, if it needs to be thicker, add more powdered sugar. Pour over your cake!

28 May 2015

Homemade Hot Ramen Cheetos

I was introduced to hot Cheetos in College... yea, it's a little late, but I lived in a home where fruits were desserts and rice cakes studded with beans and nuts were snacks. I think it was my roommate and now best friend that always had a bag of hot Cheetos (con limón) glued to her hand and her fingers permanently covered in fluorescent orange cheese powder. She was always panting and guzzling water too, since she kinda of sucks at eating spicy food (lol, she's going to kill me). I had to try for myself and find out why she was going through all that trouble to eat them.

My first bite I had a revelation. I'd never tasted something so cheesy, but spicy at the same time. So crispy, salty and with just the right amount of heat and lingering perfume of lime. I was like, OMG I've been living such a deprived childhood!! I was so addicted to the stuff, you'd see me eating out of the bag with a pair of chopsticks all around campus (way before reddit made it mainstream). I think I ate so much hot Cheetos that my poop even turned orange/red.

I guess I got sick of it after a while, because it's been quite a long time since I've had some Cheetos! So, I've decided to go and make some myself and add something equally as addicting...Ramen! Or more like the MSG in ramen. Don't tell me you've never licked your fingers after you opened the MSG packet to make instant ramen!

As kids, it was really popular to get a bag of instant ramen, pour in the MSG, smash up the noodles, shake the bag and just eat it dry. It must be a really Asian thing, because I've never seen anyone do it here. This is my version with hot Cheetos! I'd eat these homemade cheese puffs with anything actually. They are soo good. And then you toss it into a bag and shake it up with some hot ramen spice, and it is out of this world. Literally, you will be licking your fingers (mostly because you will have salt all over them :P)

Homemade Hot Ramen Cheetos
adapted from Classic Snacks Made From Scratch 
makes 3 dozen

Cheese Puffs
1/2 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 cup flour
2 tsp cornmeal
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely shredded
1/4 cup Kraft macaroni cheese powder
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2-3 tbsp milk (or water, I used a mix of both)

MSG cheese coating
1 MSG packets from an instant ramen bag (I used Shin Ramen)
1 tbsp Kraft macaroni cheese powder
1/2 tsp cornstarch

  1. Cheese curls: In a mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter with garlic powder for 1-2 mins. Add in flour, cornmeal, parmesan cheese and Kraft cheese powder. Stir at low speed, add veg oil and add enough milk/water until a slightly firm dough forms. Knead into a disc with your hands, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour
  2. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper
  3. Break off small pieces of the chilled dough and pinch into skinny cheetos looking logs (skinnier than in my photos. I made them too thick). Place onto baking sheets (can be close because they don't puff or spread much)
  4. Bake for 14-18 mins or until you see some brown color. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely
  5. In a large ziplock bag, add ramen MSG packet, cheese powder and cornstarch. Shake to mix
  6. Add cooled naked cheetos to the ziplock bag and shake gently to coat evenly

20 May 2015

Matcha Affogato (no-churn)

My arms are full of babies this week! I'm currently working a week at the newborn nursery, and I see tiny hands and feet all day. I'm not one for babies usually, but I see their scrunched up faces and rolling chubby folds in their arms and I just melt. Omgee, my womanly hormones must be finally kicking in. I'm learning so many life lessons every day from the nurses and residents (that is if I ever decide to have children), that I almost feel like a regular baby expert haha! Then I see the faces of exhausted mums and dads and they're so tired that even their words are slurring... and I think, yea... I have no idea what having a child is like :P

But seriously, all my friends are getting married or having babies. There must be something in the water, or I'm just becoming an old fart. Although, med school has me all tied up for the next gazillion years, so I better freeze my eggs now!  

It's becoming almost unbearably hot and humid in Richmond. I get to the hospital at the crack of dawn and it is still so stiflingly hot. Sometimes I wish I had a gigantic ice cooler strapped to my chest while I walk to school. I just crave all things cold, so I've made this cooling dessert just for summer. It's a play on an Italian dessert called affogato (literally translates to "drowned"), where you take one scoop of cold vanilla gelato and then dump a shot of hot espresso over it.

This is my matcha take on the popular affogato dessert. A cold scoop of no-churn coconut matcha ice cream, topped with a shot of freshly whisked matcha!

Matcha Coconut Affogato
makes 6 servings

2 cans coconut milk or 1 can coconut cream (refrigerated overnight)
2 tsp vanilla
1-2 tbsp Panatea matcha (add to your discretion, I really like it strong so I even go up to 2-3tbsp)
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup honey (optional: adjust to taste)

  1. Take out refrigerated coconut milk, open one side of the can and scoop out ONLY solid portion into a mixing bowl. Save left over coconut water for shakes or just drink it! Whisk on high speed until light and fluffy.
  2. Whisk in vanilla, matcha and condensed milk. If it seems a little liquid-y, it's okay... it seems to freeze just fine!
  3. Fill up a pint container, freeze overnight. When ready, allow to thaw outside a little so it is easier to use an ice cream scooper
  4. Whisk 3 tbsp boiling water and 1 tsp of matcha powder in a small bowl. Scoop 1/2 cup ice cream into a short glass or small dessert bowl. Pour 1 hot matcha shot over ice-cream and serve immediately.

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with panatea matcha. All opinions are my own.

15 May 2015

Roasted Strawberries Matcha Popsicles

I just started pediatrics rotation, which is kind of cool because I get to play Wii all day with the kids. Well, not really... I had a week of peds hematology and oncology, so it's been somewhat emotional on the floor and with the patients. Some kids are super well and happy, some not so much. Although, I really did play dance Wii, and got in a great workout, so I'm pretty much set for the rest of the month as far as exercise is concerned haha.

It's pretty exciting working in the hospital instead of studying at the desk all day! I'm constantly surrounded by smart people all day, so I'm learning a lot but also feeling incredibly stupid everyday :P. Anyway, one of my patients looked like a mix of Dora the explorer and Strawberry Shortcake. She's so cute! Plus, she has this insatiable sweet tooth, so these popsicles kind of reminded me of her :D.

Roasting strawberries is a pretty new idea to me, but I've been seeing a lot of blog posts about them so I thought I'd give it a try. Roasting them really caramelizes the sugar and intensifies the flavors (berry berry yummy...haha I had to say it). Do try it while it's berry season!

Other amazing roasted strawberries ideas:

Roasted Strawberries Matcha Popsicles
adapted from withfoodandlove

1/2 lb strawberries
3 tbsp honey
1 can coconut milk (lite or full fat)
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp PANATEA matcha (cooking grade)

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Cut Strawberries in 1/2, drizzle with honey and roast for 15-20mins or until soft.
  2. Allow to cool and then mash roasted strawberries in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup coconut milk and distribute the mix into the molds
  3. In a blender (I used an immersion blender), blend remaining coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk and matcha powder. Pour matcha mix carefully over the roasted strawberries. Freeze for a few hours or overnight
  4. Run mold under warm water for a few minutes to help the popsicles unstick

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with panatea matcha. All opinions are my own.

10 May 2015

Matcha Checkerboard Shortbread Cookies

Ummah 엄마 - that's what mothers are called in Korean. And I love my ummah and she loves me like crazy (well... most of the time :P). When I lived at home before college, I wanted to get out of the house as soon as possible. My mum was one of those tiger mum types. If I slept at midnight, she'd yell and tell me that while I was sleeping there were other kids up way past 2am with bleeding noses because they were studying so hard. My mum expected us to use encyclopedias as pillows and to study until the crack of dawn. Every night, she would camp out on the living room sofa and my sister and I would come out of our rooms to study on the living room table so she could keep an eye out on us. Of course, by 11pm she'd be fast asleep on the couch, except you could never tell because she sleeps with her eyes open!

Sometimes, we'd take turns to wave a hand in front of her face and make sure she's sleeping. If we were lucky, we would hop straight into bed and then hear our mum a few hours later waking up groggily and walking back to her room :P. We'd hold our breaths until we heard the squeak of her mattress sink under her weight. Sometimes, we weren't so lucky in our endeavors... And when you have a mother who sings soprano at a Korean community church, you can be sure you'll be hearing that voice for miles. Thinking about it, my sister and I probably really needed an iron fist when it comes to studying, because we were such lazy kids haha...

Despite the draconian studying, our mum was always looking out for us. Every summer when I left Hong Kong for Houston, I lugged two very full suitcases; one filled with my clothes and another filled with all my favorite home-cooked foods. She was always so worried I would starve myself even if I was already on a meal plan in college. Needless to say, my suitcases were always overweight or needed extra time in security, because I was carrying stinky things like kimchi (scared the sniffing dogs) or suspiciously dense frozen blocks of Korean rice cakes. By the time I was going to graduate, I had enough food left over in the freezer for a zombie apocalypse. But, now I'm so grateful that she can still cook and pack food for me :D
Mum - I love you and thank you that you've always been there for me.
Happy Mother's Day!

Matcha Checkerboard Shortbread Cookies

1-1/4 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
2 cup flour
1 pinch salt
3 tsp PANATEA matcha

  1. Beat softened butter until light and fluffy. Cream together powdered sugar, yolks and vanilla. Mix flour and salt to the butter mixture until a lumpy dough starts to form. Using your hands, press the lumps and knead until dough is smooth.
  2. Separate dough into 2 balls. Knead matcha into one ball until it is uniformly green. Separate each ball in half again.
  3. For each ball, roll/pat into a long cylinder about 12" and then pat to make 4 sides (like a long square). Arrange them on top of each other to make a chessboard and pat lightly together.
  4. Wrap firmly in seran wrap and pat lightly on a flat surface to make the dough log more square.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 360F. With a sharp knife, cut out 1/4" cookies and lay on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Bake for 9-12mins or until slightly browning on the edges.
  8. Let cool for at least 5 minutes.

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