Saturday, February 26, 2011

Brioche bread pudding

Unglazed brioche.

Made some brioche based on Ad Hoc At Home's cookbook recipe. Followed the methods in the recipe, but results were less than what I had expected. The recipe called for Pullman loaf pan which I don't have, hence I just used the muffin pans. It also did not state to glaze the brioche dough with eggwash before baking, thus the rough texture look. My house smelled so good of butter and eggs during baking, but, unfortunately, tastewise it was bland. So, I decided to try and make bread pudding instead, not from the cookbook but my own variation. No pictures of the bread pudding since the whole thing was walloped up before any pictures could be taken.

8 muffin size brioche bread (sliced into 1/2 inch thick pieces with a serrated knife)
6 large eggs
4 cups of milk (2% or whole milk, not skim milk)
4 heaping tbsps of sugar
 1 tsp of vanilla essence

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Layer the brioche slices in a 11x9x2 inches baking dish. May tear up the bread slices to obtain an even layer but doesn't have to be single layer.
2. Whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla essence. Strain egg mixture through a strainer before pouring into the baking dish, covering all the bread slices. Press down gently and let sit for 30 minutes allowing the bread slices to be soaked through.
3. Place baking dish into the oven. Place a piece of wax paper on top to cover the pudding slightly. Bake for 30 minutes then remove the wax paper. Bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Serve warm with berries or ice cream.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Simple beef stroganoff

This recipe is simple and tasty to qualify as the kids' school lunch.

Ingredients (for 4 servings) :-
1 bag (1lb) of dried egg noodles
1/2 lb of beef flank, sliced into 1 inch strips
2 tsp of steak seasoning
1 tbsp of soy sauce or worcestershire sauce
1 tsp of cornstarch
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tbsps of olive oil
1 can (16 oz) of beef stock
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup of sour cream

1. Marinate beef with steak seasoning, soy sauce ( or worcestershire) and cornstarch for 30 minutes.
2. Cook egg noodles according to package instructions until al dente. Set aside.
3. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, then add shallots and garlic. Stir fry until fragrant. Add in beef and stir until cooked, about 2 minutes. Dish out and set aside. (Sliced button mushrooms maybe added at this point, but since I ran out, I just omitted it this time).
4. Add stock and heavy cream to the pan. Let sauce comes to a slight boil. Turn down heat to simmer before adding the beef and egg noodles to the sauce. Stir in sour cream and mix well. Garnish with green onions if desired.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Color it red, orange and yellow

CNY Flowers

Small, aromatic flowers from garden
Sunny California oranges

Berry like shrubs

Not so perfect looking red velvet cake but still more flavorful than store bought.
Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

School lunch macaroni and cheese

Once in a while, my kids would get bored with cafeteria food at school and requests that I make school lunches for them. Let's face it. Foods served at public schools across the nation can be inedible at times and are downright unhealthy. The menu may says chicken sandwich but all it is is a mystery meat patty that does not look or taste like chicken, sandwiched between 2 dry pieces of buns with nothing else. Corn dog remains one of the most regularly served items at my kids' school cafeteria. It makes me cringe everytime I look at their weekly lunch menu. Overprocessed food with too little healthy options. Anyway, this mac and cheese is pretty easy to make. Takes less than 30 minutes to whip up.

1/2 lb or 8 ounces of dry elbow pasta
2 cups of milk (2% or whole, never skim)
1 cup of shredded mild cheddar (+ 1/4 cup more for sprinkling on top of pasta)
1/2 cup of shredded provolone chese
1/2 cup of shredded mozarella cheese
1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of sour cream
1 shallot, chopped
1 stalk of celery, diced
1/4 cup of diced pancetta or mild italian sausage
black pepper to taste
2 tbsps of olive oil

1. Cook pasta according to package's instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside. Save some pasta water for later use. Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.
2. Heat up olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and fry for 2 minutes until aromatic. Add pancetta and celery then stir to mix. Pour in the milk. As soon as little bubbles form around the pan edges, stir in all the cheeses and mix well until they are melted. If cheese sauce is too thick, add 1/4 cup or more of pasta water to slightly dilute the sauce. Add the pasta and mix well. Season with black pepper. No salt needed.
3. Spray a baking or casserole dish with a little cooking oil spray. Pour pasta mixture into the dish and sprinkle 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese on top. Add a little more black pepper for extra flavor. Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until cheese are bubbly. Remove from oven and let cool slightly then it's ready to be packed for lunch. Makes 2 to 3 servings depending on the kids' appetites.