2.24.2011

Sunday Brunch: Salmon Quiche


I really enjoy cooking for my friends and family, but with work and life in general, I haven't had very much time to do anything remotely fun in the kitchen. So, I was very happy to make a simple brunch for Jen recently. Inspired by a recent post on Tartlette blog, I decided to make salmon quiche, with a few modifications.

Rainbow swiss chard is so pretty, right? I love the color that it adds to any dish, but more importantly, I like that it packs a lot of nutrients. In fact, it is second (only to spinach) in the running for healthiest vegetable. Up until this adventure, I hadn't ever cooked it, but after a little bit of testing, I now know that it is a bitter, bitter plant that tastes strongly of chlorophyll. And even though I am a lover of all things fatty, I have to admit, swiss chard is rather delicious!


This quiche is so simple! The hint of dijon in the crust combined with the simple filling of onion, swiss chard and salmon was irresistible.

Quiche Crust:
  • 4 Tablespoons butter (room temp)
  • 1.5 Teaspoons Dijon
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1.5 cups loosely packed flour
  • 1/4 cup of milk or water
Mix butter and dijon in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add in egg yolk and mix until combined. Once combined, add flour to mixture. Since the dough is rather dry, add water or milk in a slow, slow stream until the dough starts to better clump together. (You may not need the entire 1/4 cup.)

Plop dough onto a lightly floured area and roll into a ball. Wrap ball in plastic and refrigerate for an hour or until cold.

Remove dough from fridge and roll out dough until it is about 1/4 to 1/8 of an inch thick. Press rolled out dough into desired tart or pie pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until bottom of the dough is golden brown and cooked through.

Quiche Filling:
  • 4-5 leaves swiss chard, chopped
  • 1/2 medium sized onion
  • 1/2 lb. salmon, cut into small squares or pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 lemon
Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit.

Saute onions until translucent and then add in the swiss chard. Continue to saute until wilted. Once everything is cooked down, take it out of the pan and place into the base of the quiche crust. Layer the salmon on top of the swiss chard and onions.

Whip your three eggs until fluffy, then season your eggs with salt and pepper. Carefully pour (seriously, really carefully - my eggs overflowed onto my clean kitchen counter, sadness) over your quiche filling. Squeeze lemon over the quiche.

Put your quiche into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the center is cooked through.






2.19.2011

national almond day


it was february 17th...

and i missed it.

i love almonds. i seriously love almonds and i missed it.

i'm sorry almonds, i will make it up to you.

2.16.2011

s'mores cupcakes

I've been wanting to make s'mores cupcakes ever since I had it from Cupkates. Her's are so yummy and everything about is delicious. Anyways, so I tried...and it turned out not bad...not super great.
I made mini cupcakes because they're so much cuter. I liked my cupcake liners too, which are from Joanns.
I made the graham cracker crust and it was pretty oily. I used some salted butter since I ran out of unsalted and it tasted fine. It was kinda hard to use my fingers to press it in, so I used a teaspoon which worked pretty well.
Okay, so the chocolate cake mixture was really runny and water-y. I think I didn't like this chocolate cake, I would use a different cake next time.
Out of the oven! They're kinda funny looking.
My marshmallow frosting. I think it was too soft, so maybe if I let it on the heat longer, it would've been better.
Yeah, they didn't look too pretty. My piping skills are lacking for sure...
We didn't have a torch so we used a gas stove. It was pretty dangerous, but not bad and it worked! (Plus, having jwoo do it for me, made it dangerous for him, not me :])
I topped them with graham crackers and Hershey's chocolate. They looked way cuter, covering my ugly piping skills.

Here's the recipe:

Makes 48 mini cupcakes

Ingredients:
1 cup PLUS 2 Tbsp graham cracker crumbs (from 16 to 18 squares)
3 Tbsp sugar
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

1 cup PLUS 1 Tbsp sugar
3/4 cup PLUS 2 Tbsp flour
7 Tbsp cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water

Marshmallow Frosting (Recipe below)
Extra chocolate or graham cracker pieces, to garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 standard muffin pans with 18 cupcake liners; set aside. Place the graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl; stir until well combined. Place 1 tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture prepared earlier into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Use the bottom of a small glass to pack crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Reserve remaining graham cracker mixture for topping. Place 2 teaspoons of chocolate in each muffin cup. Set pan aside.

Sift the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a large bowl. Mix these together until evenly combined. In a separate large bowl, mix together the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue mixing on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Add boiling water and stir to combine; set cake batter aside.

Transfer the muffin pans prepared earlier to oven and bake until the edges of the graham cracker mixture is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and fill each cupcake liner three-quarters full with cake batter. Sprinkle each with the remaining chocolate and graham cracker mixture. Return to oven and bake until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer muffin pans to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely.

Transfer marshmallow frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round, star, or French tip. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet or other heatproof surface. Pipe frosting in a spiral motion onto each cupcake. Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the frosting, taking care not to burn the cupcake liners. Top each cupcake with a piece of chocolate or graham cracker, if desired. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Marshmallow Frosting
5 large egg whites
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water, making sure the water is not high enough to touch the bowl. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Use immediately.

s'mores cupcakes courtesy of 6 bittersweets

*update*
Look at other people's baked goods here!

2.09.2011

porto's bakery and cafe

This is Porto's Bakery and Cafe in Downey. Super nice, super big, super pretty. So actually, this visit was really on the whim but really nice.
And in fact, I went to Porto's again the day after but at the Glendale location which is not as nice as their newest place obviously. Their food is afforadable which is a big surprise because you'd think super fancy places like these are pricey, but nope, not here. This is a Cuban inspired bakery and it's pretty good!
So this is the ropa vieja sandwich which is shredded beef with bell peppers, onions, and tomato sauce on Cuban bread. Its pretty big and obviously we shared. Okay it looks like it's only that one sandwich, behind...is actually another half of the sandwich! It comes with plantain chips which is good and crunchy. It's different!
This is their meat pie, chicken empanada, and their potato ball. I thought their meat pie was really good. The pastry around the meat inside was super flaky and kinda sweet. Really good. The empanada was okay. The potato ball is really good. It's stuffed ground beef and deep fried. If you've ever been to Gregoires in Berkeley, it's like their potato puffs except stuff with meat.
These are the pastries they are known for. Especially their guava and cheese strudel which is the two bottom right pastries. We also got their cheese rolls, almond danish, mango turnover, and guava strudel. It's good! The mango turnover was a little sweet, the almond danish had the perfect amount of almond flavor, the guava/guava cheese strudel was good, but didn't overwhelm me with deliciousness. They have a lot more pastries and strudels and goodness.
We also got their cakes! The prices on the cakes were more normal, not super cheap, but reasonable. My mom, anywhere she goes, always has to get tiramisu. It was really good. Just strong enough hint of espresso and nice creamy marscapone mousse. Yummm.
This was their fruit tart and mango cheesecake. Their fruit tart is really good. The crust didn't completely fall apart and it wasn't hard to break into it either. I don't think I tried the mango cheesecake...it doesn't look super appetizing to me...
The next day I got an opera cake, just to try and another fruit tart. Yes, I am obsessed, I can't help it! It's just really good! Anyways, the opera cake was interesting. Pretty dense and chocolate-y, I think the mousse layer was a little thick and would've liked more cake layer.

I would go to the Downey location because it's so nice and clean and pretty, but around the area, there's not much to do. The Glendale location is better in terms of surrounding things to do, like shop at Americana!

All in all, I think it's worth a try. It's affordable, yummy, though locations are far from me. I do believe it's a little hyped up, with the long lines and all, but still if I were in the neighborhood, I would stop by.

Porto's Bakery and Cafe
8233 Firestone Blvd
Downey, CA 90241

315 North Brand Boulevard
Glendale, CA

2.08.2011

bruxie gourmet waffle sandwiches

I visited jwoo at his hood and there was this new place that he found in Old Town Orange. Kinda like a food stand...well I guess it kinda is. It's pretty popular already and the owner is really nice. Super cute too!
This is their buttermilk fried chicken and waffle sandwich. The sauce on it is this chili honey and there's coleslaw in it. It's very yummy. Oh and that is their waffle fries which are pretty delicious too.
This looks like a sad sandwich but it's their prosciutto and gruyere sandwich. They use whole grain mustard, and usually I'm not a fan of mustard but it really helped to balance out the saltyness of the prosciutto.
This was super intense. This the Liege Waffle, which is a really thick and dense waffle. It did not have the same consistency of a normal waffle, but yeah, super intense. With a chocolate or Nutella dipping sauce.
I think it's worth the try. And I would definitely support the owner because he's cool. It's a cute and innovative idea for a deal or a snack.

Bruxie
292 North Glassell Street
Orange, CA 92866

2.07.2011

tokyo table

My family plus dan and jwoo came here for dinner during winter break. Its in the Diamond Jamboree plaza which is the plaza with 85°C, the super popular place. Well it was an interesting place, kinda fusion-y, maybe owned by a Korean? I can't be sure.
There were a lot of people waiting, so we didn't get an actual table, but settled for a bar table...kinda. Very hard to describe. Well we got several appetizers, because actually they are pretty slow... But this is shrimp or spicy tuna summer roll (we got both) and a scallop dynamite. The summer rolls were okay, very ordinary. The dynamite was not a traditional kind, it kinda reminded me of nachos, but it was good.
This is yakitori. It was normal and just tasted like chicken teriyaki.
This is bacon wrapped asparagus. Well, anything wrapped in bacon is yummy. But normal...
My dad ordered a kaisen don plate which was marinated diced tuna, salmon, and yellowtail topped w/ ikura (salmon roe) on a bowl of sushi rice. This was yummy.My mommy got an assorted nigiri plate. Normal, normal but at least their fish was fresh.

The rest of us got udon, ramen, yakisoba, and a roll. Nothing too special. So the table next to us got this dessert which was flamb├ęd in front of them. Because it looked so cool, we asked the waiter what it was and order it.
So cool! So it was a banana flambe. This was baked bananas drizzled with caramel and chocolate, topped with two scoops of vanilla ice cream.
It was pretty dericious. But I can never resist ice cream.

I guess it was overall alright. It's pretty pricey but good.

Tokyo Table
2710 Alton Parkway
Irvine, CA 92606

2.06.2011

world nutella day: nutella cookies

I'm a day late. So sad, but yesterday was World Nutella Day! Of course I had to bake with nutella. So jwoo has two big bottles/jars of nutella and being the nice person I am, I am helping him finish it. :]
This was my first time making Nutella cookies and they turned out well... nice and soft and chewy.
Yum, yum dough. This only made 30 cookies.
They spread out a lot and look pretty perfectly round. Yays.

Here's the recipe!

Ingredients:
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup Nutella or other hazelnut chocolate spread
1 egg
½ tsp. Frangelico (if you have it, if not vanilla will work just fine)
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (I used white chocolate chips and added almonds)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream butter with an electric mixer about 1 minute until smooth. Add in both sugars. Beat on high speed about 3 minutes until light & fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

With the mixer on low, add the egg and Frangelico (or vanilla). Then add the Nutella and mix well.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and mix just until the dough is smooth. Fold in chocolate chips.

Using a small ice cream scoop (or a teaspoon) form the dough into balls and place on greased cookie sheet. To prevent my cookies from spreading too much, I stuck the cookie sheets in the fridge for about 10 minutes before baking, but probably freezer is more effective.

Bake 6-7 minutes (or 7-8 if baking from freezer). Let cookies cool about 5 minutes and transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Nutella cookies courtesy of Erin's Food Files