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Summer Baking (Part 1)

4 Sep

Blueberry Oatmeal Crumble

Adapted from: The Farm found on “Leite’s Culinaria

The Recipe & Procedure

1. Gather 12 ounces of fresh blueberries…

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2. Mix blueberries with 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 to 2 tablespoon lemon juice. Then transfer berry mixture into buttered 9-inch pie tin.

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3. In another bowl, stir together 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup quick cooking oats, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Then blend 1/2 stick unsalted butter cut (already cut into cubes) in the flour mixture.

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4. Bake in preheated oven (375F) for 25 to 35 minutes or until berry filling is bubbling and the crumble is browned. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream on top!

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We Heart Ramen

15 Apr

I am a college student but here in UC Davis I don’t eat instant ramen very often. The Dining Commons (DC) is just that good and convenient enough that I don’t have to cook up ramen. However, this really cool infographic was brought to my attention:

We Love Ramen Infographic
Created by: HackCollege.com

Original link: http://www.hackcollege.com/blog/2012/2/27/infographic-we-love-ramen.html

Isn’t it cool? I thought so too and decided to make my own version of ramen. Granted this isn’t going to be super healthy but I did my best.

My ramen with egg and vegetables (red/black/green things). Photo taken using my smartphone's app called "PicsArt"; setting: Pastel.

Nell’s Quick Ramen

Ingredients

  • 1 package of ramen
  • 1 egg, boiled (takes 5-7 minutes, depends on how well you want the egg to be cooked)
  • 1/2 cup frozen vegetables, thawed
  • ground cayenne pepper OR freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)

Ramen Ingredients

Procedure

  1. Cook ramen according to package. Usually this means 2 cups of boiling water per 1 package of ramen. Cook ramen in boiling water for 3 minutes (or package’s required time).
  2. Thaw and warm up frozen vegetables in microwave. For my microwave, it took 1 minute. It will vary based on strength of microwave.
  3. Slice up boiled egg in about 1/4 inch slices.
  4. Once the ramen is cooked, pour the entire contents (water and noddles) into a medium bowl. Mix in vegetables and ground caynene pepper or black pepper to taste. Sprinkle a little bit of the spices from the ‘spice packet’ provided in the ramen package. Do NOT pour it all if you want to reduce the sodium (and unhealthiness).  Top with sliced egg.
  5. Eat and enjoy!
My thoughts taste-wise? Not too bad actually. Of course I didn’t use all of the spice packet so the flavor wasn’t as strong as usual but I added the ground cayenne pepper to give it a kick. Having the egg slightly “gooey” helps too.
Glad this infographic was shown to me. I’m tempted to try to Spaghetti Ramen and Breakfast Ramen too… :)

Midnight Crepes

4 Apr

Midnight Crepes

It’s not advisable to eat after 9pm, or specifically 2-3 hours before you go to bed but I had to make an exception when it came to crepes.

I was at a home meeting when I was asked to make crepes.

“Make crepes? But I don’t know how,” I said.

“It’s fine. You’ll learn! We have the batter ready too.”

Luckily I have spent my fair share watching Sofie’s Crepes in SF Japantown so I knew sort of how crepes were to be made. SORT OF.

Pouring the Batter

Finished Crepes

Finished Crepe

Crepe Filling Options

Strawberry Banana Nutella Crepe

So the crepes didn’t turn out too bad. Do I have a hidden skill for making crepes? I wouldn’t go that far yet but I’ll have to try making crepes again. Overall, it was a delicious midnight snack. :)

Skillet Brownies, Pesto Pasta, & Walnut Banana Bread

30 Mar

Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Skillet Brownies

Recipe from theKitchn here.

My last post was about Nutella Oreo brownies, and now this post also includes dark chocolate hazelnut brownies… You may start to be seeing a theme with what I’ve been baking lately. I’ve got to say that I’m enjoying making all these cookies/bars/brownie recipes though because back home if I made any of these I wouldn’t have people to eat them! The recipes always produce 24+ pieces and there was no way my friends and teachers could eat all of them. Some are dessert fans, others are watching their sugar intake, and still others are just watching their weight. But with starving college kids, no one is really that picky. :)

Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Skillet Brownies

Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Skillet Brownies 2

Pesto Sauce: perfect for pastas!

Recipe from Allrecipes.com. 

But you’ll also notice that this title includes pesto pasta, which is a savory dish. I’m also trying to cook more and utilize the kitchen I have in my apartment.

I haven’t always liked pesto sauce but just within the past year or so I’ve grown to like it, especially on pasta and pizza. It’s green color isn’t a bright green. It’s more muted. Yet it’s made of olive oil, nuts (pine nuts or walnuts), basil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. What’s not to like?

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the final product (pesto penne pasta)…but (to my amazement) people finished the entire container at the potluck!

Pesto sauce ingredients

Pesto sauce ingredients

In the blender

Pesto sauce ingredients in a blender. (I wish I had a food processor.)

Walnut Banana Bread

Recipe adapted from Tartine bakery cookbook.
I found this recipe in a cookbook so there’s no website. However, if you want the recipe, please email me at nell.notebook@yahoo.com I would be happy to share with you.

Because my mom requests banana bread so often, I’ve posted several times about it already. I’ve even found my favorite recipe too. The recipe comes from Tartine, a San Franciscan bakery in the Mission District. It’s a small, homey bakery with friendly people. I’d go there more often if I didn’t live on the opposite side of town. Alas!

Walnut Banana Bread

Remember to toast the walnuts before adding them to the batter. This makes them so much more flavorful!

Gotta Love Nutella Oreo Brownies

4 Mar

Greetings! I am back with some pictures and comments of a  monostrously crazy-looking baking endeavor.

For the volunteer club I am a part of (Circle K), I baked a brownie-like dessert for the annual Spaghetti Feed auction.

Here’s what I made:

Nutella Oreo Brownies

“What is THAT?” you might be thinking (not necessarily in a good way). I know, I know they look sort of funny. But trust me when I say that these brownie-like things are delicious.

First of all, they are NUTELLA brownies. It’s more nutalla than flour! What’s better than sweet, chocolate-y, hazelnut brownies? …

Nutella and Oreos

Of course, ones that have whole Oreos inside it. This is the second reason why these brownie are delicious.

The Layers

And as if Oreos and Nutella weren’t amazing enough. I added other layers of yumminess on top of the oreo: a small teaspoon of marshmallow cream, four M&M’s, and graham cracker bits. Then I topped it off with another scoop of the Nutella brownie batter. Ta-da!

Packing up the monster brownies

Yep, that’s my monster brownie! NOW, what do you think? Delicious, yes? Fattening? Yes, that too. ^^; Ah, but that’s why whoever bid on the boxes of monster Nutella-Oreo-M&M’s-Marshmallow-Graham Cracker brownies should have shared them.

Brownies all packed up

If you’re looking for the recipe, here’s the original recipe that I adapted mine from: http://butterbaking.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/oreo-and-nutella-brownie-bites/

Updates in the New Year

15 Feb

I can’t wait for spring. Bring on those allergies!

Cherry Blossoms at Housing Department

Beautiful cherry blossoms outside Student Housing building

Oh, and happy belated Valentine’s Day to you!

Happy Valentine's Day :)

A purple daisy for you!

A purple daisy for you! --- Basket of roses and purple daisies courtesy of my mom.

Terrarium from Papa

Received a terrarium from Papa

It was one of my best friend’s birthday on January 23rd so I sent her a lovely care package filled with goodies.

Birthday Care Package: Chocolate covered pomegranit seeds, chocolate mints, Hi-Chew candy, a stuffed cow with a T-shirt that reads "Someone from UC Davis loves me", and a cute ducky letter ---- oh, and don't mind the awkward person in the background...that's just my friend (I think) or her roommate P

Dry Hair Remedy

My hair has been feeling dry because of the cold winter weather here, so I found a new way of hydrating it: avacados, bananas, and egg.

Now don’t laugh because it works. Ladies (and gents), if you have dry hair on the verge of split ends this is a great remedy.Many shampoos that claim to rehydrate hair have avacado oils so why not just ditch the extra chemicals and go straight for the real fruit? Bananas are also helpful for making hair shiny. However, I listed it below as optional because it gets very sticky and is hard to remove.

After the first use, I saw a great difference. My hair was soft and shinier. The next week I didn’t even have time to use the homemade remedy and my hair still was soft after shampooing.

Here’s what I did:

– 1 ripe avocado, mashed

– 1 egg, beaten lightly

– 1/2 ripe banana, mashed (optional)

– long-toothed comb (a must-have if using banana)

As you can see, the banana and avacado here are not that ripe. You MUST use ripe fruits otherwise the avacado will crumble instead of turning into a mush. Banana is also hard to smush but still useable.

After combining all these together in a clean bowl, spread onto the dry parts of your hair. For me, this was from the mid part of my hair to the bottoms (not the top). Lather up your hair as if you were shampooing. Keep in hair for 2 hours. Wash out, and then shampoo and condition hair as usual. Do this twice a week at least. Results guaranteed! :)

*If using the banana, then make sure you have a long-toothed comb. I suggest leaving hair wet after washing it, and thoroughly combing all the banana fibers out.

Since I’ve been away for a long time, I’ll just sum up these past 3-4 months as:

fun! Met lots of nice people at college.

successful! Got a 4.0 last quarter.

laid back! It didn’t seem like that last quarter but compared to this quarter, it sure is. This quarter is a killer with the extra class I’m taking, applying for jobs, and finding the right apartment to live in next school year.

Since it is the new year, I do have some resolutions:

1. Make more friends. –> I have a great start already :)

CKI Greengate Elementary Volunteer Event --- awesome people, might I add. <3

2. Maintain friendships better. –>Working on this. Care package is a start!

3. Keep up my grades. –>So far, so good.

4. Apply (and hopefully get hired) for a job during summer and/or the next school year. –>So far, I have a job for the summer as an Orientation Leader for incoming freshmen and transfer students! Yea!

5. Make the most of college socially, academically, and spiritually. –>Bible study is going well.

Things I would like to do:

– read more often

– sleep more

– go out more

– bake more

– update this blog more!

What are your new year’s resolutions? Or, why don’t you have any?

Food-related Tidbits from my Classes:

Think of this essay as orange. You want to squeeze it to get the juice, but you don’t want to squeeze it so much that all the pulp and seeds come out. I will grade your essay as if it were a glass of orange juice so try not to over think (and do) it; I don’t want any pulp or seeds. – Cultural Anthropology Teacher Assistant (TA)

You can’t be nice. In economics you’ll find that when you try to give something away you simply can’t do it. For example, there’s this restaurant in San Francisco that serves a $20 meal for only $10. Great deal right? Well not really. You see, the line of people waiting to eat at the restaurant is extremely long. People wait anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour before they are seated. They pay less $ but they lose their time, which could be used for something more productively. Like they could be eating somewhere else, spending their money elsewhere, which would help society’s economy. This of course assumes that the monetary value of the people waiting is the same for all

Now assume the restaurant owners feel bad for the people waiting in line so they start serving FREE wine. Nice right? Nope. By doing this, the restaurant is creating rent seeking loss, hurting society’s total surplus, and wasting people’s time. – Microeconomics Professor

A mi me gusta cocinar, comer, y cenar. Y tu? – phrase from my Spanish essay (pardon the lack of accents and upside ? mark)

Translation: I like to cook, eat, and dine out. And you?

Comment below on what you like to cook or bake.

77. Cooks often add some salt to water before boiling it. Some people say this helps the cooking process by raising the boiling point of the water. Others say not enough salt is usually added to make any noticeable difference. Approximately how many grams of NaCl (salt) must be added to a liter of water at 1 atmosphere of pressure (normal room pressure) to raise the boiling point by 2C? Is this a typical amount of salt that you might add to cooking water? – Problem from my chemistry textbook

In regards, to this question what is salt used for if it’s not to raise the boiling point? I know some cooks add salt to water when boiling pasta to make it tastier.

Wow. 113 grams of salt is needed! Feel free to double check my math. There's always room for mistakes.

Mummy Cupcakes, Anyone?

5 Nov
Blue-eyed Mummy Cupcake

Blue-eyed Mummy Cupcake

It seems like I have been a lot of baking lately with the huge batch of cookies last week and then with my latest adventure: mummy cupcakes.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to bake. But baking on a schedule with classes right after and homework and studying that needs to be done, enjoying the process of baking is hard (especially the cleaning up part -of ugh).

So these mummy cupcakes are probably going to be the last of my baking until Thanksgiving. That’s when the baking-cooking marathon really starts. And this year’s menu is changing too. There’s going to be more Filipino food and vegetables. I am personally going to make sure we have eggplant Provencals like the ones I had in the Dining Commons here in Davis.

I don’t want to give away the whole menu quite yet so instead I’ll tell you about the mummy cupcakes.

I made these for Cooking Club because the theme was Halloween (duh!). I saw these on the Joy of Baking website (my favorite resource for baking recipes!). I didn’t have my piping bag with me so I couldn’t make the cupcakes quite as nice of Joy of Baking but they turned out cute I think. And, I put in the extra effort to design their faces. (Yes, I put the chocolate sprinkles one by one.)

Mummy Cupcakes Recipe found here from Joy of Baking.

The family of mummy cupcakes. Every family has to have its personalities right? :P