Sunday, February 19, 2012

momofuku gooey butter cake bars

OK, so tonight I had a huge sweet tooth and was craving something sweet.  I decided to finally try out this desert bar recipe that I saw posted on Gilt Taste.  The results were so amazing that I had to post and share before going to bed.

These gooey butter cake bars were provided to Gilt Taste by Christina Tosi, author of the cookbook Milk, Momofuku Milk Bar.  I have the cookbook, however this recipe is not in it.   But her recipe for crack pie is and I hope to make that one day soon!

These rich and buttery bars are so simple to make.  The base is made from yellow cake mix. Only 6 ingredients required which makes these bars so easy and fast to make!  A great recipe if you have kids who like to help you cook.

I suggest cutting your parchment paper to allow for overhang so you can lift the bars out of the pan.  My bars almost broke apart when I was taking it out of the pan.  The batch is heavy and the center is will be really soft.

Well good night and I hope you try these gooey butter cake bars out soon too.  I think you will be just as happy as I was with the results.

momofuku gooey butter cake bars

For the base
1 pound yellow cake mix (usually one box)
4 ounces butter, melted
1 egg

For the gooey butter topping
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 pound powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make the base by mixing together the dry cake mix, butter and 1 egg. Pat it into a parchment-lined 8-by-8-inch pan (leave overhanging ends on parchment paper to ease out when removing cooked bars).

Make the gooey butter topping by creaming together the cream cheese, remaining 2 eggs, sugar and vanilla. Pour it over the base cake mixture, spreading all the way to the edges. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the edges are a light golden brown, and the center still tender, but cooked.

Allow to cool completely in pan. Turn out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch-squares. If it’s important to you that it’s cut nice and evenly, just pop in the freezer until firm, cut while cold.

curry singapore noodles with chicken

Who doesn’t enjoy watching Padma Lakshmi on Bravo’s Top Chef? My hubby has a huge crush on her and says “Padmaaaaaa” in a very tigerish tone every time we she comes on TV. Do I get jealous? Maybe a little, but I do have to admit that I have a girl crush on her myself. Who wouldn’t? She’s exotic, tall, and gorgeous.

Not everyone knows that Padma Lakshmi is an award-winning cookbook author. My sister bought me her cookbook Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet a few years ago. The book is filled with simple, sophisticated international cuisine recipes and stories of Padma's life.

My favorite recipe of Padma's is her Singapore Noodles with Shrimp and Shitake Mushrooms. My curry Singapore noodles with chicken is a modified version of it. I modified her recipe to suit to my family’s taste and simplify for a quicker version.

The curry is mild and works perfectly with the cilantro. These noodles have just the right amount of heat from the chili.

There are so many variations of Singapore noodles made by various Asian countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, India, and China just to name a few.

This dish cooks quickly, so prepare your ingredients ahead of time. Don't add more noodles than called for, otherwise you will end up with a huge lump of noodles that absorbs all of the sauce.

Cholada Beach Cuisine is located in Malibu on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and has to be once of the best Thai restaurants around. This is definitely one of those hole in the wall places. The building looks more like a run down shack, but is actually relaxing and warm once you get in. They have a large outside seating area in the back that is filled with twinkling lights and outdoor heaters. That's where I prefer to eat.

Cholada Thai on Urbanspoon

curry singapore noodles with chicken
Adapted from Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet

3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-pound chicken breast, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon freshly minced ginger
2 dried red chili peppers, whole
2-tablespoon soy sauce
3-tablespoon Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
1-teaspoon curry powder
1 cup shredded carrots
4 ounces cellophane rice noodles, softened per package instructions
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large, deep skillet or wok, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add the onions, garlic, and ginger. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, turn the heat down to medium, and add the chicken, cooking until opaque.

Add the chilies and carrots, and stir. Then after 2 minutes, add the curry powder, soy sauce and fish sauce. Cook about 3 or 4 more minutes until carrots are soft.

Remove from heat and add the rice noodles (you can cut or break noodles to make mixing easier). Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve.

Friday, February 10, 2012

tex-mex chicken salad with cilantro-lime vinaigrette

Honestly, some nights I just don’t feel like cooking, after working a 10-hour day, and commuting another 1-hour home. On those nights, I’m happy to make a healthy, but hearty salad. No stove, oven or microwave required! Thank goodness for those delicious and moist readymade rotisserie chickens that you can buy at just about every Market these days.

This is one of my favorite salads and it taste like you’re eating at a Tex-Mex restaurant. The cilantro-lime vinaigrette adds that restaurant quality to this salad.

The secret ingredient is the chipotle chili. This vinaigrette is so simple to make and you can save it for up to seven days in the refrigerator. My hubby added it to his salads for the next two nights.

Try being creative with this salad by using left over chicken, shrimp, or beef. It’s great to make the following night after a Mexican dinner if you have left over’s. Any left over’s, such as pico de gallo, avocado, and cheese will work perfectly for this salad. Don’t be afraid to be creative with the salad ingredients…it’s really the cilantro-lime vinaigrette that makes the salad. That you shouldn’t change…it’s perfect!

Photo taken on Kanan Road in Malibu
Some days I feel as if I had rode in a marathon.  Thank goodness for simple and fast salads such as this one. Perfect for nights when you just don't have the energy to cook.

tex-mex chicken salad with cilantro-lime vinaigrette

1 whole rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 pound mixed baby greens
1 15 oz can corn nibbles
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tomatoes, diced
2 avocados, diced
½ cup chopped roasted red bell pepper
2 cups grated jack cheese

In a large bowl, add mixed greens and top with corn, beans, tomatoes, avocados, red pepper and cheese. Now add the chicken.

Another option is to put all of the ingredients into small individual bowls and let everyone make their own salads. This works well if you know that you will end up with left over’s.

cilantro-lime vinaigrette

1/3 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
¼ cup lime juice
1 clove garlic
1 to 2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup extra light olive oil or canola oil
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

In a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the vinegar, lime juice, garlic, chipotle chilies, honey, and salt and process until thoroughly combined and smooth. With the machine running, gradually add the olive oil (or canola oil) in a thin, steady stream to form an emulsion. Add the cilantro and pulse or process to combine. Add to salad and toss.

Monday, February 6, 2012

creamy chocolate pudding parfaits with caramel candy hearts

This Valentine's dessert was made by accident.  My hubby is on a huge chocolate pudding kick and doesn't like the instant kind that comes in a box.  I have had a long work week and instead of making pudding or mousse from scratch, I made the instant kind.  Oh boy, he was not happy!  By Saturday, I was rested enough to get back in the kitchen and whip up some homemade pudding.  It's actually super fast and easy.  As my way to say "sorry", I quickly made these caramel candy hearts and placed it on top of his pudding.  My apology  was accepted.

These caramel hearts take less than 10 minutes to make and requires only three ingredients, sugar, water, and light corn syrup.  The sugar mixture boils quickly into a caramel sauce.

Candy hearts are made by dripping the sauce from a teaspoon.  You can make them in free form or using a pencil, draw hearts on the parchment paper.  You will get about 8 to 10 hearts, depending on the size.  My hearts are about 3 inches in size.

This pudding is creamy with a soft milk chocolate flavor.  You can't get this kind of pudding from a box.  Just ask my hubby.

Get creative with the glasses to fill your pudding and whip cream in.  Try martini or wine glasses for an adult event.

Are you planning a Valentine's Day dinner party?  If so, these puddings can be made a day in advance.  Just assemble in glasses and cover with plastic wrap.  The candy hearts should be stored in a dry area, not refrigerated because the moisture will cause them to get sticky.

I love entertaining and on Valentine's Day last year, we had a few couples over for dinner and this was my table.  I took instant photos of the couples and printed them out and put them inside the frames that are on the table.  Each couple had a Valentine's Day photo to take home with them.

Wishing you and your loved one a very Happy Valentine's Day.

Adapted from Great American Favorite Brand Name Cookbook
Adapted from Taste magazine 

creamy chocolate pudding parfaits with caramel candy hearts
caramel candy hearts

1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
1-teaspoon light corn syrup

Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

In a small saucepan, stir together sugar, water and corn syrup over medium-high heat until sugar melts. Bring to a boil and, without stirring, continue cooking until mixture becomes deep amber in color, about 5 minutes. Immediately remove caramel from heat. Let cool 30 seconds.

You can either free form your hearts or using a pencil, draw hearts on parchment paper. Scoop small amounts of the caramel sauce with a teaspoon and slowly pour the sauce onto the parchment paper to form hearts. Repeat until you have used all of the caramel sauce

creamy chocolate pudding

1-cup sugar
¼ cup Hershey’s Cocoa
1/3-cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 -1 /2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a heavy saucepan, stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt; stir in milk and egg yolks. Over medium-high heat, cook; stirring constantly, breaking up lumps. Continue to cook until pudding comes to a boil and remove from heat; blend in butter and vanilla. Allow to cool.

whip cream

1-cup heavy whipping cream
2-tablespoon sugar
1-teaspoon vanilla

In a medium bowl, add cream, sugar and vanilla. Using a mixer or hand beater, beat at medium speed until soft peaks form.

Use any size or shape of clear/glass bowl, drinking glass, margarita glass or wine glass, start by layering pudding first and alternate with cream. Top with caramel candy hearts.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

mango goat cheese wontons

Well I tried my best to get an appetizer recipe in before Super Bowl.  Is the Saturday prior to Super Bowl Sunday soon enough?  I sure hope so, because you will sure score a touchdown with these mango goat cheese wontons.

I love the sweet exotic flavor of the mango chutney and the tanginess of the goat cheese.  These are so easy to make and bursting with flavor.

My caterer Paul from Paul’s Kitchen makes these and they are always my #1 request.  I don’t know how he makes them, but I think I figured it out.  They taste just as good!

Be sure to push as much air as possible out of the wontons to avoid the mixture of leaking out of the wontons.

These are so easy to make and requires very little ingredients!

Photon taken of my ocean view on 2/4/12
The weather is going to be perfect in Malibu for Super Bowl!  I can't wait - how about you?

mango goat cheese wontons
Inspired from Paul's Kitchen

1 package of wonton wrappers
5.5 oz goat cheese
¾ cup of mango chutney, reserve ¼ for topping
1 egg
1-tablespoon water
Black sesame seeds for topping
Vegetable oil for frying

In a medium bowl, using a fork combine goat cheese and ½ cup of the mango chutney.  Don’t stir too much; you want to leave it chunkey.

Lie out your wonton wrappers on a flat surface; add 1 heaping teaspoon of mango and goat cheese mixture in center of the wonton.  In a small bowl, beat your egg and water.  With your fingers, spread the egg mixture along the edges of the wontons.  Now take the left bottom corner of the wonton and pull over to the top right corner, making a triangle.  Be sure to press and flatten around your miter to eliminate any air and tighten edges to avoid leakage while frying.

Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan until very hot.  Add wontons a few at a time, don’t over crowd.  Fry until a light brown and turn over and continue to fry about 1 minute more.  Be careful because these cook fast.

In a microwave, heat the reserved ¼ cup of mango chutney in a small bowl for 30 seconds.  Brush mango chutney on top of cooked wontons and sprinkle with black sesame seeds.

Enjoy and may your team win!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

jumble berry cobbler

This glorious cobbler has a mix of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries.  You can use any mix of berries that you choose.  Go ahead and make a jumble of berries!

The juicy berries have a kick of lemon and lay beneath a cake like topping.

My oldest step-daughter, who is 17, hates fruit except for berries.  So, I love making her this cobbler because I know she will be eating fruit.  It makes me happy when I make something healthy that she enjoys eating.  She is a picky eater and is making an effort to eat healthier.

Try making this unfussy cobbler and enjoy the fun mix of berries.  Top with some whip cream and you will have a light and healthy dessert.

Photo taken at our front door step

Jumble berry cobbler

2 cups blueberries
2 cups raspberries
2 cups blackberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat of to 375 degrees.  Wash the berries in a bowl of cold water, drain well, and dry on a towel.  In a large bowl, toss the berries with 1/4 cup of the sugar and the lemon zest until evenly blended.  Spoon the fruit mixture into a 2-quart baking dish, about 2 inches deep.  Spread the fruit evenly in the dish with the back of a spoon.

In a medium bowl, blend the flour, baking powered, and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, beat the egg and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until well blended.  Stir the milk into the egg mixture.  Stir in the melted butter into the milk mixture and then pour the liquid into the flour.  Mix with a fork only until the batter comes together.  Be careful not to over mix the batter, as this might cause the batter to become tough.

Drop large spoonfuls of batter evenly over the surface of the fruit, starting in the middle.  With the spoon or a spatula, spread the batter so that it's about 1/4 inch thick.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool about 15 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

healthy turkey with kale soup

Not every day is a beach day in Malibu...we do get rain - sometimes.  And when it does rain, I love cooking a large pot of soup. On this rainy day, I wanted to make a healthy and hearty soup. I have been dying to try the turkey with kale soup that I watched Giada De Laurentiis cook on her show, At Home with Giada. It's one of my favorite cooking shows and I've been lucky enough to spot her several times around Malibu and Pacific Palisades.  She is very pretty and petite in person and has that gorgeous smile!

Anyway, back to my soup. Instead of using wild rice, I tried a multigrain pasta and was very pleased with the results. Like I said before "this is a healthy and hearty soup", one that you won't feel guilty about eating.  Why should you?  It's made with everything good for you, but does not lack in all!  If you like Italian food, you will love this soup.

Kale is a form of cabbage and is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium.  Kale is tougher than lettuce and a bit bitter.  You do need to remove the leaves from the stem before cutting.  Simply hold stem and slide your fingers upward pulling off the leaves.  It's actually really simple.

I was so glad that I tried this soup, it was so comforting on a rainy day and super tasty too.  My hubby enjoyed it so much, that a few nights later he requested that I make it again.  It's one of his favorites now and mine.

Photo taken in Malibu after the rain
healthy turkey with kale soup
Adapted from At Home with Giada

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 large shallot, chopped
• 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cups)
• 1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
• 1 pound lean ground white turkey meat, broken into small chunks
• ½ teaspoon dried oregano
• ½ teaspoon dried thyme
• ½ teaspoon dried basil
• ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
• 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth, 1 40 oz size (I used Swanson 99% fat free)
• One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice, drained
• 1 cup elbow multigrain pasta
• 1 small bunch kale, coarsely chopped (about 4 packed cups)
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, optional
• 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, optional

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, onion, carrots and bell pepper and saute, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the ground turkey and stir until the meat browns nicely, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the herbs and stir, 1 minute. Add 6 cups broth, and tomatoes, bring to a boil. Stir in the kale and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook your pasta separately, according to directions on box. Drain pasta and add to soup.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle each serving with flat leaf parsley and grated Parmesan, if using, and serve.


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