Monday, January 9, 2012

Red Velvet Pancakes

I love anything that is Red Velvet. I've made Red Velvet Cake, Red Velvet Cupcakes, Red Velvet Brownies, and Red Velvet Cake Bon Bons. So why not Red Velvet Pancakes?

I first heard of the concept of Red Velvet Pancakes when I heard that The Buttermilk Truck served Red Velvet Pancakes. What an awesome idea. Unfortunately, I haven't caught up to the Buttermilk Truck, but I've been dying to have a taste of Red Velvet Pancakes. Then one day, I came across this recipe from Food Republic. I think it was time to finally make the breakfast version of this beloved dessert. Serve this with pancake syrup or cream cheese frosting, but this is a definite recipe to make if you are a Red Velvet dessert lover like me.

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp. red food coloring
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

1) In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cocoa powder.

2) In another large bowl, beat egg, buttermilk, sour cream, food coloring, and vanilla extract until smooth. Slowly whisk in flour mixture into wet mixture, alternating with the melted butter. Whisk until all lumps are out.

3) Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat and drop in batter about 1/4 cup at a time to form pancakes. When the bottoms are set and bubbles are forming on the top, flip pancake over to cook on the the other side. Serve warm with cream cheese frosting or syrup.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

40 Clove Garlic Chicken

There have been different versions of this recipe circling around the blogosphere and I was quite intrigued by it. I had 2 whole chickens in the freezer that I've been wanting to use up. But instead of making just a regular, run-of-the-mill roasted chicken, I thought that maybe I should finally try to make this. So after sifting through a few versions, I settled on this recipe from What's Cookin' Chicago?

I know 40 cloves of garlic sounds like a lot, but trust me on this one. The garlic flavor is a little more subtle than expected. And cooking this dish filled the house with this wonderful smell that I couldn't wait to dig in to it. Serve this with a side of pureed root vegetables, like potatoes. Delicious.

40 cloves of garlic (about 3 heads of garlic)
1 whole chicken, cut into legs, thighs and wings
salt & pepper
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. Bourbon (or substitute with 1-2.5 tsp. vanilla extract)
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 Tbsp. fresh Thyme leaves
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. heavy cream

1) Separate the cloves of un-peeled garlic and place in a pot of boiling water for about 60 seconds. Drain garlic and peel (note: you can skip this step and purchase already peeled garlic). Set aside.

2) Dry chicken pieces with a paper towel. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat butter and oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, skin-side first, for 3-5 minutes on each side until nicely browned. If the oil/butter starts to burn, turn the the heat down to medium. Transfer chicken to a plate.

3) Add all garlic into the pot. Lower the heat and saute for 5-10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of Bourbon (or 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract) and the wine. Return to a boil, scraping the brown bits that have formed on the bottom of the pan.

4) Return chicken to the pot, including all its juices. Sprinkle the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done.

5) Once chicken is done, place on a platter and tent them with a foil to keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sauce with flour to make a slurry. Whisk slurry into the the remaining sauce in the pot to thicken. Increase the heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon bourbon (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract) and cream. Boil for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over the chicken platter and serve hot with rice, pasta, or mashed root vegetable.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fruit Salad

As with previous New Years, one of the traditions in our household is to have a display of a large fruit basket on the dining table when the New Year rolls in. The fruit basket must consist of 7 pieces of 13 different fruits to help for a bountiful year.  That  being said, I always end up with a lot of fruits that need to be consumed, or else they get thrown in the trash. Every December 31st, my dad and I go to a special market that sells a large variety of different fruits. However, being that its winter, some of the fruits aren't as sweet as they would be whenever they are at their peak season. So some of the fruits end up in the trash anyway because they don't taste good. Whatever fruit that doesn't get thrown away is brought to work to share among co-workers.

Last year, I decided to start making fruit salad out of all the fruits we end up with on January 1st. This idea came from a co-worker of mine who always brings fruit salad to work potlucks. We all asked her how she made it and she told us that it was nothing more than just adding shredded coconut and chopped walnuts to any chopped fruits you have. Simple, tasty, and healthy. Perfect.

variety of fruits, chopped in bite-sized pieces
shredded coconut
chopped walnuts, soaked in water overnight to soften
splash of lemon to prevent from any fruit from browning

1) (Note: if you use fruits, such as apples, pears, or bananas that turn brown after cutting, toss them with a few splashes of lemon juice to prevent them from oxidizing). Toss all chopped fruits in a large bowl. Sprinkle desired amount of shredded coconut and chopped walnuts and gently mix. Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Happy New Year everyone! I wish this new year of 2012 brings each of you and your families joy, love, and prosperity. And I hope you all celebrated with bang on New Year's Eve.

Last night at New Year's eve, as usual, was spent with my folks at their place. My mom prepared (or should I say "ordered") most of the foods that was served for dinner. I offered to make my Tom Kha soup since most of us were sick and I figured soup would be a good thing for us. I also made my much loved Buffalo Chicken Dip. However, I really wanted to make cupcakes since I haven't made any in a while. Around St. Patrick's Day months ago, I came across recipes for Irish Car Bomb cupcakes all over the blogosphere. Do you know what an Irish Car Bomb is? I don't. Its apparently a cocktail that consists of Guinness Stout, Irish whiskey, and Bailey's Irish Cream. I'm a real light-weight when it comes to drinking alcohol. Its rare that you'll even see me with an alcoholic beverage, aside from cough medicine. So this cupcake was completely foreign to me. But I had a huge bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream that I like to put in my hot chocolate on those rare occasions, and I needed to start using it up. There's only so much hot chocolate with Bailey's Irish Cream I could take. And heck, it was New Year's Eve. If I wasn't gonna booze it up, might as well do it in a cupcake form. So when I came across this recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker, I took it as a sign to finally make it for the New Year.

I didn't have any Guinness Stout or Irish whiskey. So I substituted them with the Bailey's Irish Cream, which still gave the cupcake that hint of alcohol taste without overpowering it. Since I'm a light-weight, this version was perfect for me. It was really yummy. I especially like how creamy the frosting turned out.

1 cup Guinness Stout (I used Bailey's Irish Cream)
1 cup (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4  tsp. salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

1) Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Line cupcake pan with 24 cupcake liners.

2) In a medium saucepan, bring Guinness and butter to a simmer over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

3) Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined. Add the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce speed to low, gradually add flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold mixture until completely combined.

4) Scoop batter into cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake until toothpick test comes out clean, about 17 minutes (note: centers may collapse/sink, but that's okay because it will be filled with the ganache). Cool completely on a cooling rack.

Whiskey Ganache filling
8 ounces (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. Irish Whiskey (I used Bailey's Irish Cream)

1) Place chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. In another bowl, heat heavy cream to a simmer and pour over chocolate chips. Allow to sit for about 1 minute. Using a rubber spatula, stir chocolate from the center and outward until smooth. Add butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Allow for the ganache to cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.

2) Cut a 1-inch hole at the center of each cooled cupcake. Transfer ganache into a piping bag or plastic sandwich bag. Cut off the tip and pipe ganache into the hole of cupcake, filling all the way to the top.

Bailey's frosting
2 cups (8 sticks. yup, that's a lot) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioner's sugar
6 Tbsp. Bailey's Irish Cream

1) Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip butter on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl. Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually add confectioner's sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Bailey's Irish Cream, increase speed to medium-high and whip for another 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Frost prepared cupcakes.