Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Helpful Common Ingredient Substitutions

1 cup sifted all purpose flour (APF)--1 cup + 2 Tbsp sifted cake flour
1 cup sifted cake flour ----------------1 cup - 2 Tbsp sifted APF
1 cup sifted self-rising flour ----------7/8 cup APF + 1 1/2 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sifted bread flour ---------------1 cup APF + 1 tsp wheat gluten
1 tsp baking powder ------------------1/4 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp cream of tartar ------------------2 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
1 cup shortening -----------------------7/8 cup vegetable oil

1 cup whole milk
-----------------------1/2 cup evaporated milk + 1/2 cup water
1 cup buttermilk ------------------------1 Tbsp lemon juice + milk to make 1 cup
1 cup heavy cream -------------------3/4 c milk + 1/3 cup butter

1 cup packed brown sugar
---------1 cup white sugar = 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup light corn syrup ----------------1 1/4 cup light brown sugar + 1/3 cup water
1 cup dark corn syrup ---------------1 cup light corn syrup + 1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 cup honey ---------------------------1 1/4 cup white sugar + 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup cocoa ------------------------1 (1oz.) square unsweetened chocolate

1 clove garlic
-------------------------1/8 tsp garlic powder + 1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp dried ginger --------------------2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp minced fresh ginger ----------1/2 tsp ground dried ginger
1 tsp lemon zest ---------------------2 Tbsp lemon juice = 1/2 tsp lemon extract
2 fresh lemon grass stalks ---------1 Tbsp lemon zest

Handy Cooking Measurement Equivalents

Here are some very useful cooking measurements and common ingredient substitutions that I keep on hand. You might want to save this file for future use.
1/16 cup -----------1 Tablespoon
----------------------------------3 teaspoons
1/6 cup
-------------2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons------------ 8 teaspoons
1/8 cup -------------2 Tablespoons --------------------------------6 teaspoons
1/4 cup -------------4 Tablespoons ------------------------------12 teaspoons
1/3 cup -------------5 Tablespoons +1 teaspoon ------------16 teaspoons
3/8 cup -------------6 Tablespoons ------------------------------18 teaspoons
1/2 cup -------------8 Tablespoons ------------------------------24 teaspoons
2/3 cup ------------10 Tablespoons +2 teaspoon ---------- 32 teaspoons
3/4 cup ------------12 Tablespoons -----------------------------36 teaspoons
1 cup --------------16 Tablespoons -----------------------------48 teaspoons

2 cups --------------1 pint
4 cups
--------------2 pints --------------1 quart ---------------------------- ~1 liter
------------------------------------------------4 quarts --------------------------~ 4 liters

1 pound of flour
-----------------------------4 cups flour
1 pound of granulated sugar
-------------2 cups granulated sugar
1 pound of butter
----------------------------2 cups butter
1/2 pound butter
-----------------------------1 cup or 2 sticks butter
1 stick butter
-------------------------------1/2 cup butter
8 oz can of liquid
---------------------------1 cup liquid

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sesame Pizzelles

I got to use this nifty gadget recently. It's a Pizzelle Iron. It must be 15 years old but it I like its pretty patterns. Different pizzelle makers make other dainty patterns. You don't have to get the most expensive one. The inexpensive versions will work too. I use one made by Magic Maid. It makes crispy pizzelles similar to belgian waffles but thinner and lighter. Pizzelle is one of the oldest Italian cookies. Adding sesame seeds gives it a nutty flavor.
This recipe is quoted verbatim from http://www.mangiabenepasta.com/pizzelle.html.
There are several pizzelle recipes but I used the simpliest one with butter in it. My only modification is adding 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds.

Here's the recipe:

Sesame Pizzelles
3 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon triple sec (you can substitute another liqueur or extract)
1-3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons baking powder

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar. Add the butter, vanilla, and triple sec. Add the flour and baking powder and mix well. The batter should be stiff enough to be dropped by spoon. Place about 1 heaping tablespoon of the batter on each grid pattern. You will find that by placing the batter slightly behind the center of the pattern, your pizzelles will come out closer to a round shape. Close the baker and clamp the handles together. Baking will take 30-40 seconds, depending on how brown you like them and the consistency of the batter. Remove the pizzelles from the grid with a fork or spatula. Place on a paper towel to cool. If you wish to shape your pizzelles, do so by removing one from the grid and immediately shaping it while still warm.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crispy Tofu Spinach Salad with Almonds and Maple Fig Vinagrette

Today I wanted a quick and easy, light lunch. I checked my fridge and found some tofu, spinach, almonds and a maple fig vinagrette from Maple Grove Farms of Vermont. To provide some textural crunch and flavor to the salad, I coated the sliced tofu with tapioca starch. This salad is delicious!

Here's the recipe:

Crispy Tofu Spinach Salad with Almonds and Maple Fig Vinagrette
2 cups Fiesta Express prewashed spinach
1 Tbsp silvered almonds
1 block of medium tofu, cubed
2 tsp tapioca starch
1/2 tsp white sesame seeds
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp garlic bits (toasted on medium heat till golden brown)
1/4 cup Maple Grove Farms Maple Fig Dressing

Coat tofu slices with tapioca starch or cornstarch mixed with sesame seeds. Place a skillet over medium heat and add oil. Panfry tofu till crunchy and light brown. Assemble salad as follows. Place spinach on a plate or salad bowl. Add slivered almonds, tofu and garlic bits. Pour Maple Fig dressing over salad. You may add bits of beef jerky if you wish a nonvegetarian salad. Enjoy!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Lime Chipotle Grilled Chicken

It is unusually cold today. I checked the weather channel and the wind is 21 mph so it's -2 F outside. Fortunately, even when it's freezing outdoors, I have my dependable smokeless, electirc grill that lets me grill steak, chicken, or salmon indoors. So, I guess dinner will be Lime Chipotle Grilled Chicken!

One of my favorite kitchen appliance is my electric grill. It's made by Rival and is relatively inexpensive. It's so practical and easy to clean that I use it at lease once a week. Personally, I would like to try a Sanyo electric grill but until my current grill breaks down, I don't think I will replace it. For long while I was using a Foreman grill. I liked it because I could grill chicken breast fillet or chicken sate in under 10 minutes but my son tactfully complained that this was steaming the chicken rather than cooking it with dry heat. I'm so glad I shifted to an electric grill!

Here's the recipe:

Lime Chipotle Grilled Chicken
3 chicken thighs, 3 wings and 3 drumsticks
1/2 lime
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Mix lime, canola oil, chipotle seasoning, salt and pepper. Rub all over the chicken parts. Do this about 30 minutes before you plan to grill so the seasonings can really flavor the chicken. Grill the chicken till fully cooked but still juicy. Make sure the skin is crispy! Yummy!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dessert Quesadillas

Last night, we were craving for a quick dessert after eating a spicy chicken curry. In need of a quick sugar fix, we made a versatile, quick and easy dessert quesadilla that was super! Who would ever think that toasting the filled tortilla gives it a nutty flavor? Really good and simple! Here is the recipe:

Dessert Quesadillas

4 tsp blueberry jam or apricot jam or chocolate spread or dulce de leche or peanut butter

1 tbsp canola oil

Spread 1 tsp of jam or spread or dulce de leche or peanut butter on one half of a tortilla. Fold the other half over to make a half moon.

Heat an iron skillet and place a tsp of canola oil. Pan fry one side of the filled tortilla. When one side gets a bit toasted, flip over to toast the other side. Place a tsp of oil each time you toast a filled tortilla. Cut each tortilla into four with a pizza cutter and serve warm. Yummy and toasty! Try it!

Fried Chicken in Caramel Marinade

For my fried chicken dish, I was looking for that distinctive sweet and salty flavor found in Vietnamese caramel sauce. This sauce is made from sugar, fish sauce, shallots and black pepper. Marinading chicken thighs with this gives the chicken a unique taste!

Here's the recipe:

Fried Chicken in Caramel Marinade

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
caramel sauce marinade
1/2 lime
3 cilantro sprigs
oil for frying

Caramel sauce marinade:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/8 cup water
freshly ground black pepper
3 shallots, sliced thinly

Place the sugar in a cast iron skillet over low heat and cook it until sugar turns light brown in color. Remove skillet from the heat and stir in the water and fish sauce. Return skillet over low heat and keep stirring until sugar crystals are completely dissolved. Add shallots and black pepper and let the sauce gently simmer for 2 minutes. Immediately take out the sauce from the heat and allow to cool completely.

Marinade chicken thighs in the caramel sauce for at least 30 minutes (if marinating longer, do this in the fridge). When ready to fry the chicken, make sure your oil is hot enough by dropping a piece of bread into the hot oil. If it sizzles upon contact, the oil is ready. Fry the chicken thighs till fully cooked but still juicy. Sprinkle lime juice over cooked fried chicken and serve immediately with freshly steamed rice and cilantro sprigs. If you make extra caramel sauce (not used as marinade!!) you can drizzle some of this over the fried chicken. Yummy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Kaffir Flan

After a long hiatus, finally I can get back to my blog. Today, I'm posting a recipe from KaffirGirl. It uses Kaffir Lime leaf. "This citrus plant is common in South East Asia. Its aromatic leaves are traditionally believed to be medicinal --- promoting healthy gums and digestive system among other things. I use it in curries, stir-fry dishes and salads but in my recipe today, Kaffir leaves incorporate a delicate, citrusy flavor to flan".

Kaffir Flan

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 Tbsp water
1 segment of Kaffir leaf, shredded
8 egg yolks
1 large can Condensed milk
1 large can Evaporated milk

1. Place sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and allow the syrup to turn a light caramel color. Turn off the heat and pour syrup into a 9” flan pan or a 9” x 9” baking tin. If you do not want to go into all the trouble of making your own syrup, a shortcut is to use 1 cup waffle syrup to line the baking tin.
2. In a small glass bowl, place the ¼ c water and a segment of Kaffir leaf. Microwave for 1 minute and set aside the Kaffir-flavored water.
3. Blend egg yolks, condensed and evaporated milk in a blender. Stir in 2 tsps of the Kaffir-flavored water. Pour mixture into the baking tin lined with the caramel syrup. Cover pan with foil.
4. Place tin in a larger baking pan that is half-filled with water. Place the pan in a preheated 350 F oven and bake flan until it is firm/ bake for an hour or so.