Saturday, May 31, 2014

Buerre Rouge

My mouth is watering just looking back at the pictures of this sauce.

The richness of the butter and salmon was matched perfectly with the tartness of the vinegar and wine.

Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Opus 64
Adapted from Mark Bittman


2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 cups fruity, not-too-tannic red wine
2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
1½ to 2 pounds salmon fillet
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stick butter, cut into 6 or 8 pieces
Chopped fresh parsley or chervil for garnish.


Combine shallots, wine and vinegar in a small saucepan and turn heat to high. Cook until it is reduced to about ¼ cup, 10 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, put a nonstick skillet over medium heat; no fat is needed in pan. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper and place it, skin side up, in skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until nicely browned, about 5 minutes, then turn.

When red wine mixture has reduced, turn heat to very low. Add butter a piece at a time, stirring after each addition until it is incorporated. When all butter has been added, taste and adjust seasoning.

Use a sharp knife to peek inside thickest part of fish to judge doneness. When done to your liking, about 3 to 5 minutes after you turn, remove it to a platter or serving plates. Spoon sauce over fish, garnish if you like, and serve.


We got sumac after a Turkish cooking class, and I've been scouring the far reaches of recipe books and the internet for recipes.

This is great salad recipe if you want to try sumac. For a simpler sumac recipe, try adding sumac and salt to sliced red onion and letting it sit for about an hour. My mother, who usually picks onion out of everything, loved the onions.

 Next to Normal "Superboy and the Invisible Girl"
From The Kitchn


1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & pepper to taste
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 large or 2 small cucumbers, small dice
2 cups of fresh tomatoes, quartered in bite-size pieces
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint leaves
1 green pepper, diced
3 scallions, finely sliced
1 teaspoon sumac
2 pieces of pita bread toasted until golden brown, broken into pieces the size of a quarter


In a large bowl, whisk together the first four ingredients. Add everything else and toss well. This keeps very well in the fridge and can be made ahead. Serve as a side salad, a meze plate accompaniment, or as a filling in a pita sandwich with some grilled vegetables and roast chicken or lamb.

Cherry Blossom Cupcakes

While we were in D.C. in the spring, absolutely everything was cherry blossom themed.

Predictably, we came a week before the trees bloomed, but the city was still vibrating with expectation.
We passed cherry blossom smoothies, stopped for tapas at a bar that served cherry blossom sangria, and walked by a bakery serving up cherry blossom cupcakes on the way to Georgetown for a college visit.

You can tell what caught my eye.

(No, we did not wait in line to try the Georgetown Cupcakes. If you want to, order ahead on their website and skip the line!)

 "Big Black Horse and a Cherry Tree" KT  Tunstall

Adapted from Georgetown Cupcakes


For the cupcakes:
1/2 cup fresh cherries, chopped (or frozen and defrosted if fresh not available)
2 1/2 cups flour, sifted
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, plus seeds from 1 vanilla bean
1 1/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
For the cherry buttercream frosting:
16 tablespoons butter
4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup of fresh cherry juice (juice squeezed from cherries; if you use frozen cherries, there should be enough juice once the cherries have thawed)


Line a standard cupcake pan with 12 paper baking cups. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sift together the dry ingredients on parchment and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition.

Add the vanilla to the milk.

Add a third of the dry ingredients to the bowl, followed by a third of the milk. Mix thoroughly. Repeat. Using a spatula, gently fold in the cherries.

Scoop the batter into the cupcake pan using a standard-size ice cream scoop, and bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the frosting:
Combine the ingredients in a mixer and whip together at high speed until light and airy, approximately 3-5 minutes.
Frost each cupcake with a signature swirl of icing.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Boston Creme Pie Cupcakes

Donuts make me sick. I really don't understand people's obsession with them. Once after a Saturday track practice in junior high, I almost passed out after eating one.

Boston Creme Donuts always drag me back from my hatred, beckoning me with chocolate icing and reassuring that they won't make me ill with the custard filling. I'm such a sucker. 

I've always loved Boston Creme Pie is my favorite type of cake, besides cheesecake..

This cupcake lives up to its two other forms and does not disappoint.
"Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong


For the Pastry Cream:
1⅓ cups heavy cream
3 egg yolks
⅓ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 2 pieces
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Cupcakes:
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 12 pieces
3 eggs
¾ cup whole milk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Glaze:
¾ cup heavy cream
¼ cup light corn syrup
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ teaspoon vanilla extract


Make the Pastry Cream: Heat the heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the cornstarch and whisk until the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 15 seconds.

When the cream reaches a full simmer, slowly whisk it into the yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract until the butter is completely melted. Transfer the pastry cream to a small bowl and press plastic wrap directly on the surface. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt on low speed. Add the butter one piece at time and mix until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. Add the milk and vanilla extract, increase the speed to medium, and mix until light and fluffy and no lumps remain, about 3 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl halfway through.
Fill the muffin cups three-quarters full and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Glaze: Combine the heavy cream, corn syrup, chocolate and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Set the glaze aside to cool and thicken at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Assemble the Cupcakes: Using a paring knife, cut into the center of the cupcake at a 45-degree angle about ⅛-inch from the edge and cut all the way around. Remove the cone and cut away all but the top ¼ inch, leaving a small disk of cake.
 Fill the inside of each cupcake with pastry cream and top with the disk of cake. Spoon the chocolate glaze over top of each cupcake, covering the top completely. Refrigerate the cupcakes until the glaze is set, about 10 minutes. The cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before serving.

Corn Fritters

My mom and sister love to go to this one Chinese place that has a lunch buffet. 

I often get dragged along (I agree to go because I've forgotten how bad it is).

The corn fritters make it worth it, and they're really the reason I agree to go.
This recipe comes close to the real thing, but I expect I'll still be going along with them to that Chinese place to get my fix.
"Eleanor Rigby" The Beatles


2 shallots
2 garlic cloves
2 candlenuts
1/2 tbsp whole white pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
4 corn, about 1,2 kg (net weight after grated and peeled is 500 g)
4 red chilies, sliced finely
4 Thai bird's eye chilies, sliced finely
10 kaffir lime leaves, sliced finely
1 spring onion, chopped
1 stalk Chinese celery, chopped
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tbsp tapioca starch
1 egg
1/2 cup cooking oil, for pan-frying


Grind shallot, garlic, candlenuts, pepper, salt and sugar into fine paste.
Grate 3 cobs of corn using coarse grater. Peel the kernels off the remaining cob. Put everything in a big bowl.
Combine the rest of the ingredients into the corn. Mix well with a spoon.
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Drop spoonfuls of batter into hot oil and fry for three minutes, till golden brown, both sides.
Serve warm with sweet chili sauce.

Lemon Blueberry Poppyseed Muffins

I made these muffins for my APUSH class's food Friday. Most everybody went for seconds. We were taking an essay test, so it wasn't an easy thing to go up for seconds.

Now that things are finally winding down in school. I hopefully will be able to get back to baking and cooking again. AP exams are over, we only have one lab left for chemistry, and my last calculus test for the year is tomorrow. 

We're currently watching The Butler in APUSH. I saw it over winter break, and the film casts such a harsh light on racism in the United State's past. I didn't like the ending the first time I saw it. I feel like it brushes over the racism that is still present in America today.

Oh well, nothing like blueberry muffins to soften the pain of the past, I guess.
Jesse McCartney - "Beautiful Soul"
(Yes, I know, but just in case you're feeling a little nostalgic. It is Throwback Thursday, after all)

From the Joy the Baker Cookbook  (Check out her website for mouthwatering pictures!)


  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries


For the Topping:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a muffins pan with paper or foil liners, set aside.

To make the muffins:  Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Keep an eye on the butter.  It will melt, froth, and begin to crackle.  That’s the water cooking out of the butter.  The crackling will subside and butter will begin to brown fairly quickly.  Remove from heat when butter solids become a medium brown color and butter smells slightly nutty.  Immediately pour hot butter into a small bowl, or the butter will continue to cook in the hot pan.  Allow to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined.  Add browned butter and whisk to combine.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Add milk mixture all at once to the flour mixture and stir gently to combine.  Gently but thoroughly fold in the lemon zest, poppy seeds, and blueberries.  Divide batter among prepared muffin cups.
To make the topping: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and rub together with clean fingertips until crumbly.  Sprinkle topping evenly over the muffin batter in cups.
Bake muffins 18 to 20 minutes until golden and crisp and a skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Cool muffins in the pan for 15 minutes before removing.  Serve warm or at room temperature.
Muffins will last, at room temperature in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.  I like them best the day they are made.

Double Chocolate Muffines

The second of my APUSH muffins and the most popular, this chocolate muffin recipe is one that will bury your guilt for eating chocolate for breakfast.

"King and Lionheart" Of Mice and Men


¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups buttermilk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit with paper muffin cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
2. Melt the butter and half the chopped chocolate together in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from the heat.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract together until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients and the melted butter and chocolate over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Do not overmix the batter. Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
4. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.