Apple Cake

September 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

My sister left me with a big bag of organic almond flour, a popular replacement for gluten-free recipes, so I decided to make a cake. This was my first time using almond flour so I didn’t know what to expect. I rarely bake sweets and I’ve never made anything gluten-free, so I was excited!

I loosely followed this recipe from comfy belly and made it my own with several substitutions.

The cake turned out really well! I was surprised how moist it was and how easy it was to make. I would definitely make it again. 🙂

About the Cake

This recipe is extremely low in carbs, which is one of the benefits of using almond flour. However, the fat content is high because of the ground almonds as a base. Naturally, almonds are high in fat, but contain good fats which may help lower cholesterol.

As far as diets are concerned, I have never tried a gluten-free diet so I don’t know what the long-term effects are.

Recommended blogs below to learn more about gluten-free diets and what to cook.

Let’s Bake!

Ingredients

  • 4 Fiji Apples (use what you have)
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup of pear sauce
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 2 cups of almond flour

To Make

Step 1: Peel, slice and remove core for all 4 apples

Step 2: slice apples evenly about the same width

Step 3: pre-heat oven to 300°F

Step 4: toss all slices, cinnamon and butter in a pan and allow it to soften on medium heat

Step 5: in a bowl, mix all wet ingredients together

eggs, maple syrup, vanilla & pear sauce

Step 6: in the same bowl, mix in all the dry ingredients

Step 7: in a 9″ cake pan layer the sliced apples to cover the bottom

Step 8: evenly spread the cake batter over the apples

Step 9: bake on the center rack for 40-50 mins till goldenbrown- insert toothpick in the center to check if it comes out clean (if clean, you’re done.)

Step 10: Let the cake cool completely, then flip over on a plate and serve

 

Enjoy!

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Fig & Banana Smoothie

August 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

 

I’m finally back in the States after spending most of my Summer in Taiwan. What I miss the most is having fresh tropical fruits on a daily basis. So now that I am back, I have been trying to incorporate more fruits in my diet. I bought two pounds of fresh brown turkey figs because they’re delicious, in season and I got them for $5!

California’s Fresh Figs Seasonal Chart

Chart and descriptions below from California Fresh Figs

  • Fresh Brown Turkey Figs 

They are a light purple to black skinned fig with pink flesh and a robust flavor.

  • Fresh Black Mission Figs

They are a purple to black skinned fig with pink flesh and an intense earthy flavor.

  • Fresh Kadota Figs 

They have a creamy amber color when ripe with a light delicate flavor.

  • Fresh Calimyrna Figs 

They are large pale yellow skinned figs with a nutty, sweet flavor.

I enjoy figs in all recipes, but what I love the most is eating them fresh. I’ve been making this smoothie for a couple of days now and still have not gotten tired of it. I love figs!

Fig & Banana Smoothie Recipe

Serves: 1

Cook Time: 5-10 min

  • 3 Fresh Figs
  • ½ Banana*
  • ½ tbp Shredded Coconut
  • 1 cup of Soymilk or Coconut milk
  • ½ cup of Ice
  • ½ cup of Water
  • Agave or Honey to taste**

*I used frozen banana chunks. My bananas were softening so I cut them up and put them in the freezer.

**It was sweet enough for me without adding anything extra.

To Make: Add all ingredients in blender and blend

Enjoy!

Turnip, Taro & Toon!

July 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Turnip Cake


These photos are a sample of the amazing treats that my mom, aunt and uncle have made this week. I have so much to learn from them. I’m lucky to have access to all these fresh tasty treats. 🙂

 

This is homemade turnip cake topped with soy sauce, ginger and chili. Surprisingly no turnips, mostly radish. You can find this dish on the menus of dim sum restaurants, Taiwanese restaurants or in a package in an Asian supermarket. It’s composed of shredded radish, rice flour and some veggies. The texture will vary depending on how you prepare it. Restaurants typically slice and pan fry, we chose to steam then slice. The difference is like biting into a potato wedge versus a baked potato. If you’re in the mood for something with a crunchy coat, order it pan-fried. You won’t lose either way.

Note: I have not tried this recipe in the video and it’s not a veg recipe. I just included this video because it reminds me of my mom. 😀

 

Steamed Taro Bun

Steamed bun aka mantou is typically eaten for breakfast in China and Taiwan. In the U.S. you could find these in every Asian market because it is a staple. In Taiwan, aside from the market, you can find these at any major convenient store and breakfast stand. This is vegan and made with only flour, water, soymilk and taro. Taro is just one of many flavors that can be adapted.

My uncle started experimenting with different flavors last week and I’ve been eating mantou with almost every meal. I’m not complaining at all because these mantous are delicious! To me, a good mantou needs to be soft, chewy and fluffy and these definitely are. They’re perfect! Besides taro, typical flavors include plain and brown sugar. We experimented with dried cranberries- brown sugar- cranberry & flaxseeds- pumpkin.

Note: This is a similar process that my uncle used, but I have not tried the process in the video.

Chinese Bread aka bing

Chinese bread is more like a stuffed pizza or foccocia bread with all the toppings and spreads on the inside. A few weeks ago, I posted about toon a herb similar to cilantro or basil. It has a strong, distinct flavor and it’s one of my favorite herbs. We used the leaves and made it into a spread and kept it in the freezer. It can be used in noodles as a sauce, an ingredient to accompany a vegetable dish or in this case, between bread.

This was kneaded and baked on the stove in a lightly oiled pan. Ovens are almost non-existent in Chinese cooking so everything is done on the stove. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a video. But when I learn the process, I will be sure to post.

I hope you get a chance to try some of these delicious foods at least once. They’re too good not to! 🙂

Quinoa and Spinach Salad with Berries

June 1, 2011 § 3 Comments

My friend moved to Fort Collins, Colorado last year and I went to visit over the weekend. It was filled with fun and of course, delicious food. (I’ll go into more details later. For now, let’s focus on this salad.) Not only is quinoa delicious, it’s actually nutritious and easy to make.

Why it’s nutritious

“When NASA scientists were searching decades ago for an ideal food for long-term human space missions, they came across an Andean plant called quinoa. With an exceptional balance of amino acids, quinoa, they declared, is virtually unrivaled in the plant or animal kingdom for its life-sustaining nutrients.”New York Times (an article about the origins of quinoa and current dilemma in Bolivia)

Quinoa has a chewy texture with a nutty flavor. It’s often mistaken for a grain, but it’s actually related to beets and spinach. The textures and flavors worked well and it’s easy to adapt your favorite nuts and fruits to this dish.  We made it for dinner and savored every bite.

Give quinoa a try! You will be pleasantly surprised. 🙂

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • ~2 loose cups of chopped spinach
  • 1/4 cup of cranberries
  • 1/4 cup of currants
  • 1/4 cup of azuki beans (unsweetened)
  • 2 tbsp almond slices
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • juice from 1/2 lemon (~2 tbsp)
  • 2 tsp of maple syrup or agave
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

To Make:

Step 1: boil quinoa with vegetable broth (your package should come with instructions or follow this great video)

Step 2: in a bowl, add in all your ingredients in order listed and mix

Enjoy!

 

 

Review: Carmela Ice Cream

May 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

screenshot links directly to website

Artisan Creamery
2495 E Washington Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91104
626.797.1405

Carmela Review Summary:

Taste: Delicious! The hand crafted ice cream is made in small batches with herbs, spices, fruits and flowers. It’s smooth, creamy and definitely worth my 20 mile drive.

Cost: Scoops $3.50 for 1/$4.50 for 2/$5.50 for 3 & various take out container sizes

Recommendation: Must try! This is the best ice cream I’ve had in Los Angeles. My favorites are Mint Cacao Nib and Salted Caramel.

I brought two flavors home-mint cacao nib & guinness. 🙂

Signature Flavors

Salted Caramel
Brown Sugar Vanilla Bean
Dark Chocolate Cacao Nib
Strawberry Buttermilk
Lavender Honey
Mint Cacao Nib
Lemon Basil Sorbet
Spiced Strawberry Sorbet
Cucumber Sorbet

18 Year Balsamic-Beyond the Olive & The Market

May 25, 2011 § Leave a comment


Walking into The Market

A few days ago I introduced The Market at Santa Monica Place. Everything sounded so good on the website; I was excited to see what those gourmet vendors had to offer.

The Market is located in a strange place. It’s on the food court level of Santa Monica Place (an outdoor mall). When you arrive on the third floor, you find restaurants, an indoor food court and another indoor area for The Market. (There are too many choices! It unnecessarily caters to everyone. Because of this, business was not good for anyone.)

Walking into The Market, on the right, you’ll find an area where they feature different local vendors on a rotating basis. This week they had jams and spreads, middle eastern desserts and olive oils and vinegars.

From the permanent vendors, I had a $3.00 cookie from The Cookie Guru. It was fresh out of the oven and delicious, but too expensive. THREE DOLLARS! I also tried N’ice Cream’s Mango Lemon and Chocolate flavors. If I were to go for artisan ice cream, I’d rather have Carmela’s.

What I did enjoy was the aged balsamic from Beyond the Olive. It has a thick syrupy consistency with a sweet finish. It works well with salads, breads and desserts.

18 year balsamic vinegar

I bought the 375ml bottle for $20 and you can bring the bottle back for refills at a discounted price.


18 year balsamic with toasted bread & arugula

Though I enjoyed visiting The Market, I’m not sure how often I would visit. I wish they had more variety and incorporated the farmer’s market in that space.




Easy Melon Bar

May 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

melon bar with yogurt swirl

I bought these popsicle molds a year ago and finally decided to try them. I wasn’t a big fan of honeydew until I had the Korean melon pop. It’s a creamy honeydew flavored popsicle, refreshing and perfect on a hot day. 

Yesterday my mom gave me some honeydew so I decided to make my version. When I took a bite, it felt like being sprinkled with cool water on a hot day.

It’s simple and delicious! The hardest thing was waiting for them to freeze.

I bought these from Bed, Bath and Beyond. They come with sipping straws attached to the base, which have been useless. These look cooler.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 of a medium-sized honeydew melon
  • 2 tsp of brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 1/2 cup of non-fat greek yogurt

To Make:

Step 1: blend honeydew and set aside

Step 2: in a bowl, mix sugar, honey and yogurt

Step 3: pour honeydew mixture covering 80% of the mold

Step 4: evenly divide the yogurt mixture into each mold covering remaining 20%

Step 5: with a knife or stick (I used chopstick) swirl yogurt inside mold

Step 6: freeze for 4-5 hours

blending honeydew

after freezing


Enjoy! 🙂

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