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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… :)

Summertime Calls for a Feast

7 Jun

One Red Bell Pepper

With no more school (until September – yay!), I’ve had a lot of time on my hands.

I’m not complaining though. I get to wake up late, lounge around the house, finally get dressed after 2 hours, go outside and walk around my neighborhood, and annoy my cat to no end. Of

Three zucchinis course there are other days when I actually see friends but having all this me-time is wonderful. I can feel my batteries recharging. I suppose that

makes me a introvert, right?

Anyway, today started off as the same except that I knew that I was going to do some baking Two Carrotsand cooking. Yesterday my mom was craving a “brownie-like chocolate cake without frosting” but because of my doctor’s appointment, I didn’t have time. And just last Friday I was craving chili because of the chilly weather, which then got my mom excited for chili too.

She told me that I had the optiOne and a half cups of beanson of making

either today but I decided that I had the whole day why not make both? So that’s exactly what I did. I even made fresh corn bread!

 

 

The Dinner Table Components

Bowl of Chili sprinkled with Chopped Chives and Cheddar Cheese

Bowl of chili sprinkled with chopped chives and cheddar cheese - turned out a little sweet due to the canned diced tomatoes but with the ground Cayenne pepper it still had a kick!

Buttermilk Cornbread

Buttermilk cornbread - reminded me of the potluck at UC Davis

Oranges and Blueberries

Oranges and blueberries - to clean the pallet of course!

Chocolate Almond Torte

Chocolate almond torte - delicious, delicious delicious! A thin little slice of this dense (yet flaky) chocolate torte is all you need to satisfy any chocolate craving. Recipe from Joyofbaking.com

Mom and I also had an mixed green salad with chopped apples, mushrooms, and candied walnuts but I forgot to take a picture of it – whoops! Next time.

If you want any recipes, comment or email and I will be happy to share them with you.

Until next time, I hope summer is treating you well!

Whipped egg whitesChopped toasted almonds and chocolate butter mixture (Chocolate Almond Torte)Glazing the chocolate almond torte

Summer Tip: Check out your local Farmer’s Markets because summer fruits (melons, blueberries!, peaches!, etc.) and veggies are in season. This means great-tasting produce for good prices and a big “thank you” from Mother Earth. :)

Mini Shepherd’s Pie Tarts

17 Mar Shepherd's Pie Tarts (golden brown)

Luck o’ the Irish be with you all! Ho ho ho!

Just imagine a big leprechaun saying this.

But either way, I think I just combined two holidays (St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas). Uh, that kind of shows you how much I know about St. Patrick’s Day lingo. And I just found out after I made the mini shepherd’s pies that they aren’t even Irish; they’re English. (I know I’m 1/8th Irish, but hey, I just found out a earlier this year.)

Anyway, if you’ve got nothing better to do, then sit back and enjoy my anecdote and lovely pictures.

For a recipe, please comment below or email me at nell.notebook@yahoo.com

Continue reading

Ciabatta Loaves and Bread Bowls

26 Feb

Last weekend I made two medium-sized Ciabatta loafs. (I tweeted about it actually.) And the timing was perfect too since my mom and I were going to visit her friends (a young couple with a baby) in San Jose.

As always when I have anything dealing with bread, I turned to my good ol’ reliable Peter Reinhart cookbook, artisan breads every day. Thumbing around the glossy pages I found the page where the Ciabatta recipe was, which actually wasn’t that hard since I had gotten flour into the crease of the book (something I hate doing). The other place where the cookbook naturally opens up is for Reinhart’s Cinnamon Buns. (Ah, those fall Saturdays with fresh cinnamon rolls are the best!)

Using my new handy dandy cookbook holder (thanks, mom!), I propped up the book and prepared the dough for its overnight fermentation on Friday.  Then on Saturday, I split the dough into two balls and let it rise for another hour.

I must admit that I was super excited when making the dough because I actually had King Author’s Bread Flour – the best stuff around. Not only that, but I used a scale to weigh all my ingredients so the ratios would be as close to perfect as possible. I did notice a difference in the dough too; it was stickier and softer than I remember, but Reinhart wrote that it would be like this so I was just careful when handling the dough.

Sticky Dough

Since I didn't have a picture of the sticky dough, I thought I'd draw a cartoon version of myself with the dough. :)

Oh, but the extra carefulness and preparation that went into these loaves were worth it. I’m not too sure how the texture of Ciabbatta bread should be, but check out the pictures and let me know what you think. I did notice one major difference between my loaves and Reinhart’s pictures: my loaves were slightly yellow due to the olive oil I used.

The Dinner Table

The table set with bamboo mats, chicken Parmesan, pear salad, and my ciabatta bread.

Ciabatta Bread Cut

The ciabatta bread all cut up and sitting pretty on a bread stone warmer.

Ciabatta bread slice

The end slice of the ciabatta bread. Is this the right texture?

I have to say that this being the second time I made this bread, I think I improved a lot. In the end the seemingly unimportant things (like a steam pan in the oven, weighing ingredients, and a bread warmer) makes all the difference in making a good loaf of bread.

Now, what kind of foodie would I be without mentioning yesterday?

“What’s yesterday?” you may be asking.

Well, it was National Clam Chowder Bread Bowl Day (according to Boudin). I have no idea if this “holiday” was created by Boudin, but when the email in my inbox said that on February 25th Boudin would be selling a buy-one-get-one-free deal for their famously delicious clam chowder bowls, I knew exactly what I’d be having for dinner.

When I arrived to my local Boudin 10 blocks away from my house, I had to wait in line behind a couple of people who all had the coupon printed out too. I felt bad for the cashier/counter employee since she was the only one there to get all our orders. You’d think Boudin would have anticipated that with such a deal, there’d be more customers and hence a need for more employees. Oh well.

Anyway, I didn’t mind the wait. I chatted with the other ladies in line. And then, it was my turn and I ordered the bread bowls, gave a polite “thank you!”, and was on my home.

Let’s just say Friday’s dinner was absolutely delicious especially on a cold winter day in February. :)

National Clam Chowder Bread Bowl Day - Boudin style

A Sucessful Bread Adventure and a Special Dinner

23 Aug

So if you read my post earlier this afternoon, then you would know that I had a special evening planned for my mom and I. But, in case you didn’t have time to read it, I’ll just tell you now that you didn’t miss too much. I basically just talked (or wrote) about how today is my last day of summer vacation and that in the morning I spent it quite lazily. Then when 10:30am came, I was in the kitchen being productive!

Making the Baguettes

The Baguette Dough Sliced

The Baguette Dough Sliced - can you see the little pockets of gas that the yeast left? :D When I make bread this is what is usually lacking.

Single Raw Baguette

Single Raw Baguette (total length was about 9 inches)

Raw Baguettes on Sheet

Raw Baguettes on Sheet

The Finished Baguettes

Finished Baguettes

Finished Baguettes

Finished Baguettes (Triplets!)

Finished Baguettes (Triplets!)

Baguette Beauties

Baguette Beauties - they baked perfect for me!

The Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognese with Bruschetta

My Homemade Bruschetta

Homemade Bruschetta - This is where I used one mini baguette. Perfect for the hot weather!

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese with Bruschetta

The Recipes

  1. Spaghetti Bolognese (adapted from Martha Stewart)
  2. Bruschetta (adapted from Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network)
  3. Mini Baguettes (Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Everyday)
    *Note: I can send you the recipe if you really want to know, but I’m running short on time at the moment to type it all out.

Anyway, I think I spent my day being productive, don’t you?

And last but not least, goodbye, Summer Vacation, it was nice seeing you again. And this year, we had an unforgettable visit. :)

More Holiday Recipes: Cappucino Biscotti

29 Dec

My family: Auntie, Mom, Cousin, Uncle

So Christmas has come and gone – so sad, so sad. But that does not mean that you and I cannot bake still. The air is still crisp and the wind a bit nippy. It’s still winter and hot cocoa still tastes just as good.

Well, here are some photos of my family’s Christmas Eve dinner. I ended up having to use a Flavor Wave (one of those “info-mercials”) to cook the pumpkin pie and rolls so those did not turn out too well. Apparently, the Flavor Wave – which is like a microwave/oven because it can handle foil – cooks and toasts the food more on the top than the bottom. Ugh. It was basically a disappointing pie and batch of rolls. It was a good thing that I cooked the apple pies the night before in the good oven.

Mom's honey glazed ham made (miraculously) in the Flavor Wave :P

What caused my little oven to crash? Well…that was actually my fault. >< I had been cooking another

Check out the different Christmas-y shapes for the top crust! There's a Christmas tree, snowman, horn....

pumpkin pie for a neighbor and the juicesspilled out and stained my little oven. It was late at night and I was too lazy to clean it, so I left it there…overnight…in freezing temperatures…so the stains got stuck there.

After baking something else the next afternoon, the juice basically burned and the oven was puffing out black plumes of smoke. This resulted in all five of my apartment’s firm alarms to go off. Who knew a tiny apartment had a fire alarm in every single room (except the kitchen). In

retrospect, it would have been funny to see myself running around like a headless chicken trying to unplug the fire alarms and

opening the windows. ^^; (Don’t worry, I replugged in the fire alarms later after the smoke stopped and I gave my oven the rest it needed). Today, I finally got the oven cleaner to clean the poor thing. I had to wait until today because of the fact that the grocery stores here were closed for several days for the holiday season!

Well, enough of my yapping away. Here is my cappuccino biscotti recipe. :)

Look at that texture!

Cappuccino Biscotti

Adapted from: Joy of Baking
Makes about 24 biscotti

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (100 grams) hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and coarsely chopped (Walnuts or almonds work well too!)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee powder (I used instant :P )
  • 1/2 cup (85 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Toast hazelnuts for 10 – 15 minutes or until the skins start to blister. Remove from oven and place hazelnuts in a clean towel and let steam for about 5 minutes. Then briskly rub the towel back and forth to remove the skins of the hazelnuts. Let cool and then coarsely chop. Set aside.
  2. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract.  Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer) beat the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, spices, and espresso powder until combined. Gradually add the egg mixture and beat until a dough forms, adding the chopped nuts and chocolate chips about halfway through. With floured hands divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface roll each half of dough into a log about 10 inches (25 cm) long and 2 inches (5 cm) wide. Transfer logs to the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart, and bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until firm to the touch (logs will spread during baking). Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
  5. On a cutting board, with a serrated knife, cut each log crosswise, on the diagonal, into 3/4 inch (2 cm) slices. Arrange the slices on the baking sheet and bake 10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake another 10 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container.

And if I don’t get in another post soon enough, Happy New Year to you~!

Yet Another Savory Galette – Turkey, Gruyere, Green Beans

14 Oct

Gruyere, Turkey, Green Bean Galette

Turkey, Gruyere, Green Bean Galette

Class were extra short today so I only had to be at school until 11:30 a.m. meaning that I could go home-home early, relax – well not really but hey – and to pay some overdue respect for my beautiful kitchen with black and white! My beloved bench scraper and mixing bowls have been gathering dust in the cupboards. Poor things! Oh, how I’ve missed you so!

Since I had time, IGruyere Cheese whipped up some flaky pie crust/galette dough that I was going to use for dinner; I had decided that I’d surprise my mom whom I haven’t seen in a while with dinner. (For recipe, click here). I placed the finished dough in the freezer to harden. I patiently waited for the time to past. To keep busy, I did my homework and studied. I diligently worked glancing at the clock every 20 minutes. As I have come to know from experience with working with homemade pie dough, getting the dough to harden so that the butter does not melt is very important when trying to roll out the dough. Remember this if you want to end up with a workable dough that doesn’t smear or tear as easily.

Anywho, when the time came for the dough to come out of the freezer, I had actually lost Turkey, Green Bean, Potato Mixturetrack of time. It was already 4:10 pm when I stood up from the study desk so I knew that I would have to work fast to get dinner in time. I chopped up some fresh string beans, sliced a couple pieces of garlic, half a red onion, (thinly sliced) 3 red potatoes, and defrosted Jenny-O’s Lean Ground Turkey – a personal favorite substitute for ground beef. :) I sauteed them starting with the garlic, the onion, the ground turkey, and the potatoes. I tossed in the green beans and mushrooms last. I even diced up a tomato too and threw that it – I was getting real creative now. I was just rummaging through the refrigerator, chopping and slicing, and tossing everything into the wok I had at home. The smell was beautiful. After the mushpot had cooled down, I added in 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of Gruyere cheese, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and some Cayenne pepper powder. This is what gives the galette its powerful flavor. (But by no means is the flavor overpowering. It’s rather flavorful in a subtle way).

Of course, before I started my crazy rampage, I rolled out the dough and preheated the oven to 400 F so that once I was done and the mushpot was filled to the brim, the galette could just go in and cook for its usual 45 minutes. Oh, and yes, I did have the one-egg wash for the glaze over the dough. This is what gives the crust its glossy look.

Here was the experimental outcome. I tried not to over power the galette with too much of any one thing, and I think it came out pretty well. It sort of ended up burning a bit, but it was so delicious anyhow. Plus my mom gave it a thumbs up. I couldn’t tell whether she was happy that I had come home for a surprise or that I had made her a surprise dinner, or both.