Friday, May 13, 2011

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

Best thing to do with all those damaged, mediocre, or extra tomatoes.
Roasting tomatoes concentrates the flavor, and turns them into the best condiment ever.
Start with cherry tomatoes, or any tomatoes.
Grab some fresh herbs, if you have them.
I used rosemary & thyme from my herb garden.
Halve the tomatoes. Chop the fresh herbs.
Gently coat the tomatoes & herbs with olive oil.
Just a little bit of olive oil.
Only enough to make them glisten.
Season with salt and pepper. But just a tad.  
Spread everything out on a baking sheet lined with foil.
Make sure all the tomatoes are gut-side up (skin-side down?).
Throw it in a 225 degree oven for.. are you ready? 3 hours or more.
I almost forgot! If you want roasted garlic,
throw in a few cloves. Leave the skin on.
3 hours later..
The outside is dry, the inside is still a little juicy. So fab.
Peel the garlic, and throw everything into tupperware with a little olive oil.
It'll be good for a couple weeks in the fridge.
We had pizza and wings for dinner. 
I put them on my pizza.
The next night I added them to pasta.
The next day I added them to my LeanCuisine for lunch.
I'm pretty sure they make everything taste better.

Pumpkin Bars

These didn't last long in our house. 
Obviously. 
Not long enough for me to take a decent picture, anyway.
Michael loves them.
I can't stop myself from eating them.
I love pumpkin bars. 
I want a pumpkin bar wedding cake someday.
Pumpkin Bars
Adapted from Paula Deen's recipe
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cups white sugar
  • 2/3 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie seasoning
Icing:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. 
  2. In a stand mixer, beat together the eggs, pumpkin, sugars, applesauce, and oil until well-combined. About 3 minutes on medium speed.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie seasoning. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture over low speed until well-combined. 
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
*If you want a more cake-like, less dense pumpkin bar: increase the eggs to 4, and double the baking soda and baking powder.

Baked Chicken Taquitos

These are easy to make, and pretty dang delicious!

First- cream together the filling ingredients:
cream cheese, scallions, cilantro, garlic, salsa verde, 
cayenne, cumin & chile powder.
It ends up looking creamy & delicious!
Fold in the chicken and cheese.
Taste test the filling.
Add salt & pepper, as needed.
Working with three tortillas at a time,
Microwave them until soft and pliable.
Spoon the bottom 3rd of the tortilla with 2-3 tablespoons of filling,
Roll up tightly. 
Place seam-side down on a baking sheet sprayed with cookie spray.
Once you're done rolling, spray the taquitos with cooking spray.
Lightly sprinkle some salt over them. Garlic salt if you have it.
At this point, either bake them or put the sheet into the freezer.
I did both. These are the ones I baked right away.
The rest were frozen, then wrapped in saran wrap individually.
Finished product!
Served with guacamole & chipotle sour cream.

Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos
Adapted from PinkParsley's recipe
  • 4 ounces cream-cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup salsa verde
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 green onion, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken*
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used colby-jack)
  • 8-12 corn tortillas (6-inch diameter) 
  • Cooking spray (either olive oil or butter flavored)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil then spray it with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese, salsa verde, lime, cumin, chile powder, cayenne pepper, garlic, cilantro, and green onions. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the shredded cheese and chicken.
  3. Working with three tortillas at a time, microwave them for 20-30 seconds, until they are soft and pliable. Don't skip this step or your tortillas will crack and give you hell. I know.
  4. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of filling onto the bottom third of a tortilla- roll tightly. Place seam-side down on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
  5. Once all the tortillas are filled, lightly spray the taquitos with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and golden-brown.
If you want to freeze these taquitos, prepare the taquitos, stop after step 5. Once everything is prepared on the baking sheet, place the sheet in the freezer until the taquitos are partially frozen. Wrap each one in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and bake in a 425 degree oven for 20-22 minutes, you do not need to thaw them first.
*Leftover chicken would be perfect for this, but.. I didn't have any leftovers. And.. I didn't have any chicken in the house. And.. I didn't want to cook any. I bought a rotisserie chicken from Sprout's, discarded the skin, and pulled all the meat from the bones. A 1.75 pound whole chicken gave me about 4 cups of shredded meat, I threw the extra meat in a ziplock baggie, threw it in the freezer, and I'll use it for either enchiladas or chicken salad later this month.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Avocado Pound Cake

On Mother's Day, I served this for dessert with homemade whipped cream and fresh berries (blackberries, blueberries & sliced strawberries). I asked Michael to describe how it tastes and his response was "NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM!!!" I'm flattered, but mostly embarrassed that the man I chose as my domestic partner says 'nom'.
It's such a good quickbread- some of the butter is replaced by avocado's healthy fats, it has a little crunch from the cornmeal, and it really does taste like avocados. 

Avocado Pound Cake
My variation of JoyTheBaker's original recipe.
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/3 cup sour cream 
  • 2/3 cups flesh of ripe avocados, mashed (approx 2 small avocados )
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. In the bowl of a stand-mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. About 4 minutes. Add in the mashed avocado, and cream everything together for another minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. 
  4. Sprinkle half the flour mixture over the creamed mixture, and mix until combined. Add the sour cream, mix until combined. Finally, add the rest of the flour and stir until just combined. Scrape the batter into prepared loaf pan, smooth down the top.
  5. Bake until a cake-tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, approximately 45-55 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on a wire-rack. 

Asparagus & Gruyere Tart

I don't know how to pronounce 'Gruyere'. Therefore, this dish is fancy.

Start by thawing Puff Pastry on your counter (approx 40 minutes).
If you want to ensure you're using a good quality puff pastry,
check the ingredients. 'Butter' should be the first ingredient listed.
After the puff pastry has thawed, unfold it.
Lightly flour your work surface, and roll it into a 16" x 10" rectangle.
Trim the rough edges.
I used a pizza cutter.
Transfer to a baking sheet.
Using the tines of a fork, mark a one inch border all the
way around the rectangle.
Then lightly score that border with a sharp knife.
Use your fork to puncture little holes, approx 1/2" apart.
Do that to the entire inner-rectangle.
Tedious, I know. But this will allow air to escape, 
so the middle won't puff up as much as the border.
Throw it into a preheated 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes,
until lightly golden.
While the pastry is baking, grab your gruyere. 
I purchased this at Costco.
Grate two cups, approx 5 1/2 ounces.
Next, trim your asparagus so it is all a uniform length.
Ideally, you want it to be equal in length as your pastry is in width (8 inches).
Remove the pastry from the oven. 
If the middle has puffed up, flatten it out with a pancake turner.
Brush the inner rectangle with 1/4 cup honey dijon mustard.
Top it with the cheese.
Lay the asparagus over the cheese, alternating ends & tips.
Lightly brush the top with olive oil.
Sprinkle salt & pepper over the top.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the spears are tender.

Asparagus & Gruyere Tart
Original recipe by Martha Stewart
  • Flour, for work surface
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 1/4 cup honey dijon mustard
  • 5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt & pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16 x 10 inch rectangle. Trim uneven ends. Place pastry on a baking sheet. 
  3. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch from the edge to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, 10-12 minutes.
  4. Remove pastry shell from oven, brush with honey dijon, and sprinkle with Gruyere. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. 
  5. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender; 18-20 minutes (longer if the asparagus is especially thick).

Sunday Morning Breakfast

Michael & I decided we wanted a delicious breakfast this morning.
Scrambled eggs weren't going to cut it.
So we decided to get fancy & make a frittata.
But first, I had to tell him what a frittata was.
I didn't feel that good about it because when everything
was mixed together it kinda looked like.. barf.
But after a little stint in the oven.. it was fantastic.
This is definitely our new egg-dish of choice. It was so good!
Greek Frittata
recipe from Real Simple
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10 eggs
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 4 green onions, sliced thin
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 ounces feta cheese
  • salt & pepper
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add the olive oil to a 2-quart baking dish and transfer to the oven for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk together the eggs. Season with the salt and pepper. Add the spinach, green onions, and cherry tomatoes. Gently stir in the feta.
  4. Remove the baking dish from the oven, pour in the egg mixture, and bake for 25-35 minutes until the edges are browned and the frittata is slightly puffed.
*We halved the recipe for the two of us, but still had some leftovers. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is coming up and I want to come up with a special brunch menu for our moms. They gave birth without an epidural, you know.

Blackberry Basil Seltzer
You can find the recipe here.
So refreshing. So delicious. 
I need to figure out how to incorporate alcohol so I can use it to get through the day.

Spinach Strawberry Salad
You can find the recipe here.
It's just so good. I eat it all the time, Mother's Day will be no exception. 

Asparagus & Gruyere Tart
It'll be my first time making this bad boy.
Recipe & Results to follow.

Panini Bar
That's right- you heard me. A Panini Bar.
Caprese Panini:
Fresh Mozzarella, Sliced Tomato, Baby Spinach, & Pesto.
Grilled Chicken:
Grilled Chicken Breast (sliced), Provolone, Avocado, Roasted Red Peppers, & Chipotle Mayo.

Dessert is undecided. It'll be one of the three:
Vanilla Poundcake 
with fresh berries and homemade whipped cream.
OR
Frozen Berries with Hot White Chocolate
courtesy of Ina Garten.
OR
Avocado Poundcake
courtesy of JoyTheBaker.
I've made it before- it's the prettiest shade of green and delicious.



Blackberry Basil Seltzer

Blackberries are on sale at Sprout's this week. Basil is growing in the garden. This is the perfect drink to go with my Mother's Day menu. I've actually been sipping on this all day. It's fab.
Ingredients: 
Blackberries, Basil, Agave Syrup, Ice, Sparkling Water (not pictured)
Fill a glass halfway with ice. 
Throw in some blackberries and basil.
'Muddle' the ingredients.
aka 'smush'.
Pour in 2 teaspoons of agave syrup.
Or more. Or less.
Top it off with Sparkling Water.*
Give everything a little stir. Deeeelish.

Blackberry Basil Seltzer
  • ice
  • 1/4 cup blackberries
  • 3 large basil leaves, or a few small ones
  • 2 teaspoons agave syrup
  • sparkling water
  1. Fill a tall glass halfway with ice.
  2. Add blackberries and basil, and muddle both ingredients with the ice. 
  3. Add agave syrup and a little more ice.
  4. Fill glasses with seltzer water and give a little stir before serving. 
Serves 1.

*If you want to make this drink a little more flavorful, try to find a blackberry-flavored carbonated water, such as Clearly Canadian or Safeway Clear Sparkling Water.

Poundcake


I absolutely love Sara Lee poundcake. My mom used to buy it when we were little- I was always excited when she would grab one out of the freezer section- and we'd eat it before it had a chance to thaw. The cardboard lid always ripped the top half of the poundcake off, so it was never exceptionally beautiful- but it was totally delicious.

I wanted to come up with a fuss-free dessert for Mother's Day. I thought about about making a Mississippi Mud Pie, or maybe even something really simple and delicious like rice pudding, then I got this idea of a poundcake stuck in my head and haven't been able to shake it. So that's the top contender so far- a poundcake with fresh berries and homemade whipped cream.

I've never made a poundcake before, why bother if Sara Lee makes such a perfect specimen? But something about buying a cake on Mother's Day instead of making one from scratch seemed wrong. These women birthed us- the least I can do is bake a cake.

I've searched through my favorite cookbooks, compared those recipes to highly-rated recipes on the internet, and finally decided to go with my gut and follow a recipe that doesn't require ungodly amounts of sugar, butter & egg yolks (Sorry, Paula Deen..).

I admit.. I'm a bit of a worrywart and a perfectionist. I hate trying out new recipes when company is coming over. What if it fails? What if it tastes horrible? What if the recipe needs just a liiiiiiittle tweaking? So, in true SuMi-fashion, I'm baking this today to do a test-run.  

Classic Poundcake
from Williams-Sonoma's Baking Book.
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond or lemon extract
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease & flour an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan (preferably glass, but metal will work too).
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream the sugar, butter, and extracts together until light & fluffy (medium to medium-high speed).
  4. Add the eggs to the creamed butter & sugar mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides periodically. 
  5. Sprinkle half the flour mixture over the creamed mixture- stir until well-combined. Add the sour cream- stir until well-mixed, then add the second half of the flour and stir until combined.
  6. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan- smooth the top, and bake for 70 minutes (longer if you're using a metal pan- mine took about 85 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

PS: If you're looking for an awesome, all-things-baked cookbook, pick up The Baking Book by Williams-Sonoma. Every recipe has been a success, and it has everything from simple cookie recipes to really extravagant cakes and yeast breads.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sumi Salad

Do you ever... Google yourself? I do. I do ALL.THE.TIME.

I'm at a slight advantage over most people for various reasons-
1) My name is SuMi. Not exactly a common name.
2) My name is SuMi Yong Rushing. Good luck trying to find another one of those!

So, anyway- I google myself every once in awhile to see what my digital fingerprint looks like. I used to have a twitter, and that used to dominate the 'SuMi Rushing' search results. One day, a very sad day in my life, I googled myself and one of my old tweets came up- I was bitching about my period. Mortifying. Of all the tweets, that one came up first!? Gimme a break! But in the past couple months, things have died down- Google has forgotten about me, and life can go on. Apparently there is a Korean Opera singer, Sumi Jo, she dominates the 'SuMi' glory now, followed by a little cartoon racoon named Sumi  (one of the 2010 Olympic games mascot), and a lot of middle-aged women have cats named Sumi (lame). Wanna know what other SuMi is dominating me in Google? Sumi Salad.

Naturally, my curiosity got the best of me. What the heck is a sumi salad!? I pictured something really classy & refined, maybe served over a bed of exotic mixed greens, garnished with a dollop of expensive caviar. Or maybe a nice drizzle of truffle oil on top? I'd probably have to go to AJ's, the fanciest grocery store in my area, to get the ingredients for this amazing sumi salad. No, I'd probably have to go to France! 
Sigh. No. Not even close. It uses Ramen noodles. 



Sumi Salad
This is my variation based on what I've learned about Sumi salad from Google.
  • 1 3-ounce package ramen noodles
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds (omitted, I didn't have them on hand)
  • 1 small head of cabbage, diced into small squares or sliced thin 
  • 1 cup snap-peas, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped (or 4-5 green onions, sliced thin)
  • Handful of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  1. Crush the uncooked ramen noodles into small pieces, discard the seasoning packet. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the crushed ramen noodles, and brown the noodle pieces in the butter until they are golden brown. Add the sesame seeds and slivered almonds, sautee for about one more minute then turn the heat off and let everything cool.
  2. Mix the vegetable oil, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, snap peas, chives/green onions, cilantro, and everything from the skillet. Toss with the dressing and serve.


Korean-Chicken Marinade
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon goojoochang (Korean red chili paste)- optional
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer until the sauce reduces. Turn off the heat and let the marinade cool. OR if you're lazy like I am- microwave for two minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to give everything a quick stir, then allow to cool.
  2. Marinate chicken (I used cheap, delicious thighs) for 3-5 hours in the fridge.
  3. Grill.

I served the salad as a main-dish with Korean-marinated chicken on top.
To be honest, I don't know if what I concocted as a marinade can really be considered 'Korean', but I'm Korean, it's chicken, and it marinated for a few hours so.. 

To be honest, this salad was cabbage overload! If I make it again, which I will, I'll use half cabbage (preferably napa cabbage), half butter lettuce, add in some shredded carrots and maybe even some halved cherry tomatoes.