Apple Turnovers

So, i recently discovered a new type of apple which i’ve fallen in love with. Honeycrisp. They’re delicious by itself, but i’ve been dying to make some apple turnovers for my mom. Monday night, while trying to watch Gossip Girl and bake at the same time which is very hard to do when the kitchen doesn’t face the TV. It was very messy trying to roll out the pastry sheets bigger and i should of probably cut the apple into small bite size pieces. Overall, DELICIOUS!! I used the recipe posted by The Pioneer Woman, but also added a few of my own.

Simple Apple Turnovers
Original recipe based from The Pioneer Woman

2 sheets puff pastry, cut into 8 large squares or 12 medium squares
3 apples, cored and cut into bite size pieces
1 cup brown sugar
2 swirls of honey
1 TBsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Egg Wash:
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 TBsp water

Preheat oven to 415 degrees.
Place puffed pastry rectangles onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
Add brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt to apples. Stir to combine. Allow to sit for a few minutes.
Spoon apple mix into the middle of one square. Brush egg wash around the edges and add another square on top. Seal the edges together using the back of a fork.
OR You can just fold them into triangles and seal the edges.
Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and golden brown.

Kogi!

I usually don’t do restaurant/food reviews because…. i just don’t. haha Sorry, i couldn’t come up with anything else. Moving on… i’m sure if you live in the LA/Orange County area, you’ve must of heard about Kogi BBQ and their famous truck that you would see parked somewhere with a mile long line. My friend Jenny and I were talking about it just last friday and was thinking of going up to LA to hunt down their truck, but luck must of been on our side because the Kogi truck was down in Huntington Beach/Westminster last night! I’ve heard that sometimes you’d have to wait in line for a good hour or more, so Jenny and I decided to go a hour early, but saddly the truck was a bit late. We ended up standing in line for about 30 minutes freezing our asses off (it was very very cold for southern california)… and then we were up and we just had this cheshire cat grin plastered to our face. I ordered 2 Kogi short rib tacos, 1 spicy bbq chicken, 1 spicy pork taco, 1 tofu taco (for my mom) and 1 chocolate tres leche which ended up being $17 even- including a can of soda. The short ribs were superb, i couldn’t really tell the difference between the chicken and pork, but it had a nice kick towards the end. The greens were a mixture of cabbage and what i think was cilantro and i tasted ginger. The chocolate tres leche description on the website says it “Spiced peanut brittLe w/ toffee, Cocoa PebbLes, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, toffee, cayenne and cinnamon.” When you think peanut brittle, you usually think of it being really crunchy and hard, but this one was mushy and soggy. The cake itself was very moist and gooey and just mmmmm…. i would like more please. Next time, if i ever catch the Kogi truck back in my area (which is this Saturday), i definitely want to try their Twisted banh mi dirty dawgs and Black jack quesadilla.

So, if you’re ever around… definitely check their website in advance or follow them on their twitter to see if they’ll be in your area! Its definitely worth the experience.


Tofu Taco


2 Kogi short rib tacos, 1 spicy bbq chicken, 1 spicy pork taco

Creamy and Cheesy Broccoli Soup

Sometimes I feel so out of my element here. I don’t have my own kitchen to cook in for one and if i buy certain ingredients, i would need to hide them *cries* I mean, not just the cooking, i miss just having my own life and if i wanted to walk naked around, i can… not that i *cough*do*cough* haha

Anyways, so my mom is a vegetarian and a hardcore organic fan. Now, don’t get it twisted, i don’t have anything against vegetarians or people who strictly buy organic food because if i had the money, i probably would buy more organic foods. You know what i’m saying? So, yesterday night, i made us Creamy broccoli soup (i honest to gosh can not remember the blog i got this recipe off of- I’m so sorry!!) which then turned into Cheesy & Creamy broccoli soup. Apparently, my mom did not buy vegetable stock (or she didn’t mention it to me til the very last minute), but she had some vegetable granuales to mix with water. I think next time, i’m going to add less celery because i didn’t really like it that much. I omitted the parsley and onion salt since i didn’t have any and couldn’t find it. Overall, very good, even on a warm day.

Creamy and Cheesy Broccoli Soup

4 cups broccoli florets
2 cups water
1/2 tsp onion salt
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
6 TBsp butter
6 TBsp flour
3 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
2 cups milk
1 TBsp fresh parsley, minced
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Bring a large pot of water and onion to boil and add broccoli, celery and carrots. Bring to boil, drain and set aside.

Saute onions in butter until tender. Stir in flour to form a smooth paste. Slowly add broth and milk, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Let boil for 1 minute: add vegetables and remaining ingredients. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes until tender.

Wonderland Bakery

My friend Jenny (*waves* hi!) took me to this bakery in Newport Beach called Wonderland Bakery. From afar, it looks like rainbow brite literally threw up in their store. The floor is silver, shiny and glittery, their products range from cute little stuff animals to tea party sets to ceramic mugs and plates. Everything was absolutely to die for adorable!! Towards the back, tucked away is a small glass panel with some cupcakes and a short list of the cupcakes they are serving that day (i think). I chose the Dulce de Leche one and it was just too sweet for me. Don’t get me wrong, i love a good cupcake, but the frosting alone without the caramel drizzle made me feel like i was going to start bouncing off the walls.

If you’ve never heard of them or is just curious, check out their shop in Newport Beach, California. Or you can virtually check out what they’re about on their website.

Wonderland Bakery, Cupcakes & Gifts
Bluffs Shopping Center
1314 Bison @ Mac Arthur
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Hours:
M-F: 10:00am-7:00pm
Sat: 10:00am-5:00pm
Sundays: Open only for Private Parties

(949) 640-9095

Pumpkin Bread Muffins

Ever since I moved home, my chances of cooking or baking has been slim to none. I tried to bring as much of my own tools, but my mom lacks in everything. No joke. My mom doesn’t read my blog, let alone use a computer. She doesn’t cook delicious food, She doesn’t bother to learn to cook good food. Come to think of it, she could care less that her food tastes bland. Im not trying to slam her on here or anything, but our views in life are completely opposite and when it comes to food, we are definitely from different worlds. Anyways, enough about that.

October here is nowhere as beautiful as when I lived in upstate New York, with the leaves changing, you can start feeling the cold (actually it was freezing up there), you can just smell it. Over here in SoCal it’s still warm, slightly nice breeze through the daytime and at night, its cool. Wait, i think my mom said sometime this week, its suppose to be its 90’s? Ouch. So, in order to celebrate Fall, i decided i want to make Pumpkin bread, which led me to use these halloween cupcake liners and the halloween sprinkles i bought from crateandbarrel.com. I’ve never made pumpkin bread before, but i remember reading in the past that if you add yogurt, it’ll make it more moist. It was probably unneccessary to add it, but i have a fear of overmixing heh Also, my crazy mother either threw away or hid my granulated sugar, which never made it into the mix. So i mixed some brown sugar with cinnamon and sprinkled on top before baking. Plus, i made a simple cream cheese frosting which totally balanced out my mistake of not adding the sugar.

The bread-muffin-cupcake-like goodies was delicious!! You should definitely give it a try if you like to test out different pumpkin recipes.

Pumpkin Bread
Original recipe from Peabody

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1 cup plain pumpkin puree
½ cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 325F.
Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices; set aside.
In another bowl, mix pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, eggs and sugar for about 1 minute.
Add flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture and mix just until combined.
Pour batter into each cup.
Bake for 22-25 minutes or until the middle is done.
Cool completely before frosting- optional of course :)

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup Butter (1 stick), room temperature
8oz. Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2-3 cups Powdered Sugar

Cream butter and cream cheese til creamy. Mix in the vanilla. Add 1 cup of sugar (i used 2 1/2) at a time to desired sweetness.

Pork Adobo

Sorry for not posting as much as i should be. The drive from upstate New York to Southern California was so long and freezing! It was a 41 hour, 2500 or so mile drive… never again. Since we had to pack all our goods, we had very limited ingreditents so we ate Pork Adobo once and then the next night we had Chicken Adobo (using boneless skinless chicken thighs). I usually make the normal one that just uses soysauce, vinegar, garlic, bayleaf, black pepper, but i was looking for the one my Tita Tehss makes. Instead, i came across this recipe on foodgawker which looks delicious and boy it sure was! If you have never had adobo before, definitely try it. My mother-in-law likes to add potatoes and raisins in hers, but i personally like to keep it simple.

Pork Adobo
original recipe from appetiteforchina

2-4 Boneless pork chops, cut into bite size pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4-1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4-1/2cup vinegar
1/2- 1 cup water
2 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons brown sugar

In a medium sized saucepan, brown your pork for about 3 minutes. Set aside. Saute onion and garlic til soft and a bit caramelized. Add the soysauce, vinegar, water, bayleaf, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cooked pork and 2 TBsp of brown sugar. Bring it to a boil and then lower the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes. Serve with rice.

Coconut Lime Cheesecake

I’ve been dying to make a cheesecake ever since i bought a springform pan. I found this New York style cheesecake recipe from Joy of Baking which looks really good and i pretty much had everything on hand already. I also had a bunch of leftover limes i wanted to use up and i added the toasted coconut to give it more texture. Before this recipe, i have never truly made cheesecake, except the box kind (don’t laugh, i wasn’t into the cooking back then) and no bake cheesecakes. I’ve heard of people overbeating the cream cheese or getting the crack when baking, and even i amazed myself when i pulled it out of the oven with no cracks to be seen *grins* Yeah, i’m pretty proud of myself :) Anyways, I added a bit of fresh lime zest and juice instead of lemon, regular graham crackers and i topped it with some toasted coconut. After i took it out of the oven, i did let it cool completely and put it in the fridge overnight and topped it with the coconut the next day. When i had a slice on the second day, the taste of lime was pretty faint, but if you let it sit in the fridge for a few days, the flavor starts to come out more. It was pretty darn good. It was very rich and creamy. I gave some to a friend last night and she texted me saying that it was Effing delicious! Of course that makes me a happy panda ♥

Anyways, aside from that, i’m going to be gone for a bit. As some of you know, my husband is deploying soon and our block leave is literally right around the corner. My original plan was to stay up here, but its only September and it is freezing and i can’t even begin to imagine what winter will be with the 7 feet snow all day every day. So, yes, we’ve decided just last weekend that i’ll be moving back home to sunny Southern California this Saturday. Yes, you read that right, this Saturday. I won’t get into details, but definitely try this recipe!!

Lime Cheesecake with Toasted Coconut
Original recipe by Joy of Baking

Crust:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

4 – 8 ounces packagescream cheese, room temperature (use full fat, not reduced or fat free cream cheese)
1 cup granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
5 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 limes- zest & juiced
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping:

1 cup sour cream (not low fat or fat free)
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

New York Cheesecake:
Grease, or spray with Pam, a 9 inch (23 cm) springform pan. Place the springform pan on a larger baking pan to catch any leakage while the cheesecake is baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) with rack in center of oven.

For Crust:
In a medium sized bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and about 1 inch (2.5 cm) up the sides of the springform pan. Cover and refrigerate while you make the filling.

For Filling:
In bowl of your electric mixer place the cream cheese, sugar, and flour. Beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes), scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (about 30 seconds) after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the whipping cream, lemon zest, vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Remove the crust from the refrigerator and pour in the filling. Place the cheesecake pan on a larger baking pan and place in the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) and continue to bake for about another 1 1/2 hours or until firm and only the center of the cheesecake looks a little wet and wobbly. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. Spread the topping over the warm cheesecake and return to oven to bake for 15 more minutes. Remove from oven and carefully run a knife or spatula around the inside edge of pan to loosen the cheesecake (helps prevent the surface from cracking as it cools).

Let cool before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating. This cheesecake tastes best after being refrigerated for at least a day.

Limes on Foodista

Pomegranate Chicken

Recently I added the foodie blogroll widget and have gotten a bit of traffic, which makes me quite the happy panda. I currently have 4 followers, well, more like 3 because my friend Maria decided to start a food blog but has yet to post. In her words, “she doesn’t do blogs”. Personally, i love it. I’m planning on having a giveaway for Halloween. Nothing too spectacular since i don’t have the funds to give out fabulous gifts like most bloggers. I was thinking of giving away some cookie cutters since my new obsession (which i have yet to venture in) is cookie cutters and learning to decorate them. What do you think?

Moving on to the food before i get sidetracked. I know most people out their do not like Rachael Ray and thats perfectly fine, but i do. I’m not in love with her or anything, i just happen to buy her magazines, unless you have a better suggestion. I was flipping through her October 2009 issue with my husband peeking over my shoulder when i came across a recipe called Pomegranate Chicken with Walnuts. The picture looks so good, mine, well not so much. I of course omitted the walnuts, defrosted chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs and used regular POM juice. Overall, this dish was a-okay. My husband said “It has an interesting taste” which you know when they say interesting, they really mean i don’t like it haha Personally, it wasn’t that bad. It was a little sweet for a savory dish and the parsley probably killed it for us… completely overpowered the whole dish.
My changes are in the parentheses :)

Pomegranate Chicken with Walnuts
Recipe from October 2009 Rachael Ray Magazine

2 cups rice (1 cup rice)
5 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (1 huge piece of chicken breast, cut into quarters)
Salt & Pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil (i used canola)
1 large onion, halved and sliced
1 clove garlic, smashed
3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (i of course omitted it)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups cranberry-pomegranate juice (i used regular pom juice)
2 TBsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

In a medium saucepan, bring the rice and 2 1/4 cups water to a simmer. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the water has evaporated and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until browned, about 7 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add the onion, garlic and walnuts to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon, scraping up the browned bits. Return the chicken and any juices to the pan, add the cranberry-pom juice and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 3-4 mins; transfer the chicken to a serving plate.

Cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 3 minutes; stir in the parsley and pour over the chicken. Serve on top of the rice.

Banana Bread with Almonds

Everyone is always in search of that perfect chocolate chip cookie, or that perfect white cake, but in my case, today was to figure out the perfect banana bread recipe. I’ve definitely have had my share of trying different recipes and have read in many blogs that adding sour cream (and/or yogurt, can’t remember) will make your bread more moist. So, off i go to search and compare. I think i have figured it out! I’m not a big fan of walnuts, so i substituted almonds instead. It still gives you that nice crunch, especially with the added sprinkle of almond/cinnamon sugar on top. The sour cream definitely did its trick because i have declared this recipe to be the best banana bread everrrr. Yes, it deserves that many R’s and probably more.

Best Banana Bread Everrrr with Almonds

Bread
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2-3 medium sized bananas, mashed
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup sour cream

Topping
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease loaf pan. Cream together the butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Add in dry ingredients, then mashed banana, almonds and sour cream. I stirred it together by hand (i have a tendency to over mix). Pour into loaf pan. In a small bowl, mix all the topping ingredients and sprinkle it on top. Bake for 1 hour.

Simple Chili with Cheese-Corn Muffins

I found a recipe in the recent Rachel Ray magazine (keep the nasty comments away) for Chile-Cheese-Corn Muffins and it made me crave for some Chili. So, i set out to find a pretty simple recipe that i knew wasn’t going to take hours and hours to make. I found a recipe on Recipezaar that seems easy enough to make, even for me and it only took 1 hour and 10 minutes or so! Since i’ve been really sick the last week (coughing, lots of phelgm), yesterday seemed like a good day to sit down to a nice and hot bowl of chili. I cheated and used one of those pre-made Chili seasonings from the Baking/Spice aisle since we’re on a tight budget this paycheck and my neighbor was away for the weekend. I also added a can of Rotel diced tomatos with chile which i think gave it an extra (more like tiny) kick to it.

Simple Chili
Original recipe here

1 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 can Rotel diced Tomatoes with Chile
1 Original Chili Seasoning Packet
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 (15-16 ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Cook beef, onion and garlic in saucepan until turkey is brown.
Stir in remaining ingredients except beans.
Heat to boiling, reduce heat to low.
Cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Stir in beans.
Heat to boiling, reduce heat to low.
Simmer uncovered about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until desired thickness.

Cheese-Corn Muffins
Recipe from September 2009 Rachel Ray Magazine

2 1/3 Cups Flour
1 TBsp plus 2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
3/4 Cup frozen corn, thawed
1/2 Cup plus 1 TBsp grated parmesan cheese
1 Cup milk
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 425F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne. Stir in the corn and 1/2 cup parmesan. Stir in the milk and mayonnaise. Spoon the mixture into a nonstick, 12-cup muffin pan.

Bake for 15 minutes, then sprinkle with the remaining 1 TBsp cheese. Bake until golden-brown, about 10 minutes more.