Blueberry Pound Cake

What is your earliest memory of pound cakes? Mine was from my childhood days in Singapore where pound cakes were ready made by a company called SaraLee. They come in a aluminium rectangular tray and they are always purchase when you need a last min cake but can’t afford a bakery cake. I always remember them as ‘heavy’ cakes where it’s really filling and dense. During my grocery trip, I decided on a whim that I would bake something blueberry and a blueberry pound cake would be it. That meant I would also need to purchase another kitchen item – bundt pan, which I have meaning to get but always put it off as there’s little space in my kitchen to store it. Obviously, I decided to figure out that problem after I got to eat the cake.

If you’re wondering , pound cakes get their name as they were traditionally compromised of a pound each of butter, flour, eggs and sugar but nowadays, leavening agents like baking powder are used to make them fluffier and reduce the amount of ingredients used. My body could use the lesser amount of calories in these babies!

The best part to this pound cake is the thick crunchy crust which is to die for! Pat and I had skeptical expectations looking at the cake when it came out of the oven but boy, were we so wrong. We wolfed down this cake so fast that the regrets of eating too much came way too late and had trouble digesting our dinner plus a whole pound cake that meant to feed 12. I had to eat more than I can handle for this one cause #patdoesnotsharedesserteither.

Don’t forget to serve this with some raspberries/strawberries and whipped cream! They go really well together.

 

Blueberry Pound Cake

Prep time : 20 mins

Bake Time: 1 hr 15 mins

Serves : 12

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 tablespoon for the pan
  • 15 ounces (2 cups) sugar, plus 3 tablespoons for the pan
  • 15 ounces (3 cups) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 dry pint (10 ounces or about 2 cups) fresh blueberries
  • Strawberries, optional for serving
  • Whipped cream, optional for serving

 

Steps

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Heavily coat a tube bundt pan 1 tablespoon butter and 3 tablespoons sugar. Dump out the excess sugar.
  2. Whisk together 10 ounces (2 cups) all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Cream the remaining butter and sugar together in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. After all 4 eggs are in, add the vanilla extract and beat for 3 minutes until fluffy. Add the flour mixture to butter mixture and combine on low speed. Do not overbeat.
  4. Combine the blueberries with the remaining 5 ounces (1 cup) all-purpose flour in ziptop bag and shake. Fold berry mixture into batter. Pour into prepared pan.
  5. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until probe thermometer comes out clean and registers 210 degrees F. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before depanning and cooling completely. Serve with strawberries and whipped cream.

Recipe from Alton Brown

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Turkey Sliders

 

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Turkey Sliders – Never thought I would actually be making this in my kitchen. Sliders or burgers has always beef as the protein but with a pretty high red meat consumption in the house along with cold days where the grill can’t be fired up, I figured to try this recipe by Alton Brown. I am actually starting to like ground turkey a lot, most of the time Pat thinks it’s ground chicken in his meatballs or Thai stir fry 🙂 Sounds like I am feeding a kid.

This taste different from the usual sliders I have had and the more I taste it, the more I want it. So much so, that a recipe that feeds 6 only feeds 2 people! Now, I usually make some sweet potato fries to fair along and it has been a staple in the house.

 

Turkey Sliders

Yields : 12 Sliders

Prep time : 40 mins

Cook Time: 6-10 mins

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 Portobello mushroom or 6 cremini mushroom, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste (room temp)
  • Mayo, lettuce and tomato slices to dress the babies
  • 12 slider buns

Steps

  1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil, mushroom and salt until mushrooms are cooked. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine miso, parmesan,turkey and mushroom. Mix well with your hands.
  3. Form 12 balls from the meat mixture. Each roughly a little bigger than a ping pong ball.
  4. Allow to chill and marinate in fridge for at least 30 mins.
  5. Place skillet back on the stove over medium-high heat, flatten each ball over the skillet with your hands. Ensure they do not touch.
  6. Cook for a total of 6 mins – 2 on each side then 1 min each side after.
  7. Set the patties aside and wipe the skillet.
  8. Place slider buns, cut side down on the skillet and cover for 1.5- 2 mins.
  9. Remove buns, slap on mayo and assemble your sliders!

 

Recipe by Alton Brown’s Every Day Cook

Alton’s Microwave Chocolate Mug Cake 

A gazillion apologies for anyone who is still reading my site, I completely vanished from up-keeping  this site with recipes. Truth to be told – these past few summer months, I have been really busy doing everything but trying out recipes. I made it a point to take advantage of hiking in the Canadian Rockies every single weekend as a way to push myself out to be with nature and usually; by the end of it, I am too tired to brainstorm my meal rotation. Some days, my meal planning happens right at the grocery store. Pat and I also travelled to Eastern Europe and more significantly, we became fur-parents to a wonderful boy -Maio, who is pictured above. He is a gem and loves to be outdoors who makes a perfect hiking buddy.

Anyways, Alton recently released a cookbook and I have been trying out a couple recipes. I only have done a handful but this chocolate cake is really something else. You can whip this up in 5 mins and it only takes 30 seconds to demolish it.  Late night sweet crave? Need a last min desert for your guests? Your pregnant wife egging you for a sugar craving at 3am? This chocolate cake got you covered! It is so good that Pat asked for this 3 nights in a row which he has never done before.

Alton’s Microwave Chocolate Mug Cake
Prep Time : 4 mins

Cook Time: 1.15 mins

Yields: 2 Portion

Ingredients

  • 75g semi-sweet chocolate,chopped ( or you can use chocolate chips)
  • 34g milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 6g canola/vegetable oil  (1 tablespoon)
  • 36g sugar (4 tablespoons)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 29g All-pirpose flour (3 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

 

Steps

  1. Place chocolate and milk in a 16 ounce (approx. 470ml )mug and microwave on high for 45 seconds, then whisk ( I use a fork but you can also use a skinny whisk) till smooth. Add the vanilla, cayenne,vegetable oil and sugar and whisk smooth again.
  2. Whisk in the eggs, then add the flour and baking powder and mix until the batter just comes together.
  3. Place the mug on a paper plate (my preferred choice ) or paper towel (the batter almost always overflow).
  4. Place in the centre of microwave and just let it sit for 3 mins. (This allows the baking powder to work it’s magic.)
  5. Finally, microwave on high for 1.15 mins Be sure to stick around and watch as the batter sets and rises up like a soufflé and out of the mug like a tower of chocolate goody-ness.
  6. When the microwave stops, the column will fall 😦 .
  7. Turn out onto a plate or bowl (which is why paper plate is my preferred choice) and allow to cool briefly before splitting and filling with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream. It will not look pretty but will suggest you not to skip this or it’s a big regret.

 

Recipe by Alton Brown’s EveryDayCook


Alton’s Blueberry Muffin

As all ladies can tell you, muffin tops are not attractive and the hardest to loose. However, actual muffin tops though…. they are everything to love. Who doesn’t love the tops of the muffins when they eat one. Actually, I know of a persoon – Pat. He likes the bottom more than the top and eats a muffin bottom up. Weirdo. My favorite is actually devouring into the muffin and hunting those blueberries 🙂

Please, whatever you do, don’t use paper liners for these babies. Paper liners are meant for cupcakes, not muffins!  If you lube your pan enough, the goodies will slip right off effortlessly.

The recipe will look like it has a lot of batter but that’s the point- to stuff each muffin hole so full that it will expand and go over the top.  These muffins are not sweet, crunchy outside and moist on the inside which is a gazillion times better than pre-mix boxes or any grocery store muffins!

 

Alton’s Blueberry Muffin

Yields: 13 muffins

Prep Time : 10 mins

Cook Time: 25 to 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 16 ounces plain whole fat/ greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 12 ounces fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons demerera sugar ( I skipped the sugar)

Steps

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F and coat a standard 12-cup muffin pan (and one small oven safe ramekin) with non-stick spray.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In second bowl whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs, yolks, yogurt and orange zest until smooth.
  3. Make a crater in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it. Stir with a rubber spatula until just barely combined. Resist the urge to over-mix – there should be a some lumps of flour in the batter
  4. Fold in the blueberries, mixing just to combine.
  5. Drop slightly less than cup of batter in each of the muffin tin’s wells. Whatever’s left over can be dropped into the prepared ramekin. The cups should be quite full to the top. ( I find just using my hands to guesstimate the portion easier. Just ensure that all portions looks roughly the same and each muffin cup is full to the top)
  6. Sprinkle the muffins with the demerera sugar and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the bottom of a muffin comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and turn out, upside down, onto a clean tea towel to cool completely. This step is so that the bottom will not be soggy.
  8. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days( they usually don’t last longer than that).

Recipe by Alton Brown

Alton’s Baby Back Ribs

I was idling around the grocery store, trying to come up with meals to make for the week but my mind kept coming up blank. Usually, meals are planned the day before I hit the grocery store and rotated bi-weekly. This week I didn’t even had the time to write my shopping list and went shopping blind.

Thankfully, I grocery shop on sat wee mornings when majority of people are still snoring which gave me time to twirl around the aisle aimlessly while trying to put together what I would need.

I was pacing the meat section and realised that I have not made ribs in ages. I only made this once and used BBQ sauce to coat the ribs not knowing what a big mistake I made. This recipe cooks in a braising liquid mix which is boiled down to a sauce to coat the ribs.

As Alton mention in his cookbook, this isn’t BBQ ribs cause smoke is not used. So keep that bottle of BBQ in your fridge and don’t even think of using it to dip the ribs in. Also, the low heat and long cook time is essential to the ‘meat falling of the bone’ so ensure you don’t rush the cook time.

This is worth every meat sweat it came along with and I was still sucking on the bones by the end. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

Alton Brown’s Baby Back Ribs

Prep Time: 5 mins

Inactive: 1 hr min

Cook Time: 2.5 – 3 hr

Yield: 2 full slab of finger licking good ribs

Ingredients 

Rub

  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chill powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon jalapeño shake (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon canola oil

Braising Liquid

  • 1 cup of white wine ( find the cheapest one)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (any kind :red wine, white wine, white; so long its vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey ( = 3 squirts)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Meat

  • 2  full slabs of baby back/back ribs (approx. 2 pound each)

Steps

  1. Make the rub
    1.  Combine all rub ingredients into a GLASS jar and shake it up. (Glass so it prevent the sides from being stained)
  2. Rubbing the rib
    1. Tear 2 pieces of heavy duty aluminium foil which length should be longer than the ribs so it’s easy to wrap around.
    2. Lay each slab out, bone side up (concave) on the foil and carefully peel off the membrane.
    3. Sprinkle each side liberally with the rub and wrap as shown in the picture. Place pouches on a trap and refrigerate a min of 1 hr to overnight. 
  3. Cooking the rib
    1. Heat oven to 250F, nothing higher
    2. Combine braising liquid into a microwavable bowl and nuke for 1 min on high. Ensure honey is dissolved and mixed well.
    3. Transfer the liquid to a mixing cup with a sprout for easy pouring.
    4. Place the 2 pouches on a sheet pan,seam up, on a baking tray. Unroll one end and pour in the braising liquid in half for in each pouch.
    5. Re-roll the end of foil and tilt the pouch slowly so the liquid is evenly distributed. If your pouch is good, there should be little leakage.
    6. Place the tray centre rack of oven and bake for 2.5 hours
    7. Remove from oven and carefully move pouch over a deep skillet. ( it should overhang and the centre dipping in towards the pan).
    8. Snip a couple holes into the pouch and let the liquid drain into the pan.
    9. Repeat with the other pouch.
  4. Making the sauce
    1. Place pan over high heat and lay it boil. Meanwhile, check your ribs. Carefully open the pouch and twist one rib. It should let go of the meat with a bit of struggle. If you feel it doesn’t look done, re-wrap the pouch and pop it back in the oven while you finish the sauce.
    2. Once the liquid comes to a boil, decrease the heat to medium and cook it until it has reduced to half it’s original volume and thicken to a loose syrup consistency.
  5. Charring the ribs
    1. Heat the broiler and move the oven rack to its second highest position from the top.
    2. Unwrap the racks and turn them meat side up, leaving them in the foil. Cut into 2 rib pieces for easier eating.
    3. Using a brush, paint on a liberal coating of the sauce and broil for a couple of mins so the sauce caramelize. The remaining sauce can be served with the rib.
    4. Carefully remove the ribs from the oven and serve with a bib.

Recipe from Alton Brown’s Good Eats Book.

Fish Tacos

I used to do tacos when I started out cooking more often. It started out by purchasing those taco kit from the grocery store but beef tacos is insanely heavy. Top it off with all the additional toppings like lettuce, cheese, sour cream ; it is a lot of side prep work to do and frankly, it is very americanised. Since then, I have decided to ditch the taco kit and try fish tacos. It’s lighter to take and pack in so much more flavour. I don’t even need to use pre-made seasoning cause I can make my own 🙂 My sister makes the most insane fish tacos cause she deep fries the fish fillets and even makes her own corn tortillas but I can’t do that so the store bought flour tortillas have to make do.

I’ve tried many variations but the one below is probably the best paired together. The picture has mango which is a nice addition but it can be hard to fine sweet mangoes in Calgary.

This is best done on the barbecue grill because you can get those nice grill marks when the tortillas are toasted plus if i can get by being lazy with dishes, you bet I will be.

Fish Tacos

Yield: 6 Tacos

Prep Time: 1.5 hours

Cook Time: 20 mins

Ingredients

The Fish

  • 1lb tilapia fillets (~ 4 fillets)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon brown sugar
  • dash of cayenne pepper

The Salsa

  • 1 jalapeno
  • 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • ¼ red onion, fine chopped
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • ½ red pepper, diced
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • parsley, chopped and to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Additional (optional)

  • ½ avocado, thinly sliced

Steps

The Salsa

  1. Roast your jalapeno over your gas stove or use your broiler until the skin is charred. Set aside for it to cool
  2. Combine tomatoes, garlic, lime, red pepper, olive oil. season with salt, pepper and parsley to taste
  3. WEAR GLOVES! Remove the charred jalapeno skin and step. Cut in half and remove the seeds
  4. Chopped the jalapeno until fine. Add half of it to the other ingredients and taste. Add more until the desired heat is reached.
  5. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate it for an hour for flavour infusion.

The Fish

  1. Heat your barbecue and wipe clean the grills with paper towel.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the smoked paprika, garlic powder, dried oregano, onion powder, cumin, salt, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle the mixture over both sides of your tilapia fillets, and then rub the seasonings in.
  3. Spray a baking pan liberally with a cooking spray. make sure your pan fits on the grill.
  4. Once heated, place your tilapia in the baking sheet and cook till is no longer translucent and flakes easily with a fork.
  5. Remove the fish onto a plate and cover with foil.
  6. Remove the baking sheet. Careful! it’s hot

Assembly

  1. Warm your tortillas on the barbecue until crisp or you see grill marks.
  2. Place tortillas on a serving board.
  3. Add avocado first then divide the tilapias equally.
  4. Top with salsa and mango.
  5. Drizzle with some lime juice
  6. Serve with chips and the remaining salsa as a side

Salsa recipe from Alton Brown

Fish taco recipe from Hostthetoast

Overnight Cinnamon Bun

How many times you walk into a mall or the food court and you smell something distinctly good and warm? Have you realize the store that is responsible is always located right by door the second you step in? Pat and I seldom go to the mall but when we do, we never leave without a cinnamon bun in hand. Once, Pat was suckered by the counter lady into buying 2 box of 20 buns because there was a 2 for 1 deal. We didn’t even make it out of the parking lot before Pat tore the box open and ate one. THEN, turn to me asking if I have a wet wipe. Like I would be carrying everything he needs in my bag!

In the end, we had to give one box away before we started sweating cinnamon and that was the last time Cinnzeo saw us.

So, I thought how can those people have so much power in creating something so nice and hypnotise you in handing over $5-6 from your purse in 2 seconds. It is not fair! However, Alton has the secret to the power and he shared it. So now, I HAVE THE POWER TOO. It is a Patrick proof method if I ever make him angry OR if he makes me angry and cut him off! HAHA!

I made this once from Alton’s Good Eats book but somehow, the filling seem to all pool onto the bottom after baking and my rolls would be left empty. There wasn’t a gooey melty centre of goodness like all cinnamon buns have and I facebooked Alton asking if I did something wrong. Turns out, he improved his recipe and asked me to give it a try. Can you imagine my hear doing a dance when I saw that he replied my message. Now, I respect this guy even more because he takes his time to reply to people’s questions.

I love to make this in the morning for breakfast and let the house smell so nice. The recipe can seem a lot of work and a lot of steps but really… this is so bloody worth it that you no longer have to go to the mall. Cinnzeo, you are never going to earn another penny from me!

Overnight Cinnamon Buns

 Prep Time: 30 mins + 18 hours standing time

Cook Time: 30 mins

Yield: 8 Cinnamon Buns

Ingredients

The dough

  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 large whole egg, room temperature
  • 2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon cold butter for lubricating baking dish [ I usually tear off the end of a butter stick and go to town lubing the dish]
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 15 ounces all-purpose flour divided into 10 ounces, 4 ounces and 1 ounce batches
  • 1 package rapid rise yeast, approximately 1/4 ounce or 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

The filling

  • 8 ounces light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon, ground
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

The icing

  • 2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 5 1/2 ounces confectioners’ sugar

Steps

The dough

  1. Combine the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter and buttermilk in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk at medium speed.
  2. As the mixture comes together add 10 ounces of the flour, along with the yeast and salt and continue whisking until combined.
  3. Remove the whisk attachment and replace it with a dough hook. Add another 4 ounces of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. At this point the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. If it is sticky, add a bit more flour (one ounce at a time). Knead on low for another 5 minutes or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; and form dough into a smooth ball. Transfer to a large bowl that has been lightly lubed with the vegetable oil. Rotate the bowl so that the dough ball is evenly covered. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside until the dough doubles in volume. ( I won’t state the time because it is different for everyone so just keep an eye on it)

Assembly

  1. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish with the cold butter.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently shape into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Then use a rolling pin to shape into 18 by 12-inch rectangle.
  4. Brush the dough with the the melted butter, leaving a 1-inch border along the top edge.
  5. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the dough, also avoiding the top border.
  6. Gently press the filling into the dough. (If you tend to have hot hands, you may want to cover the filling with a layer of plastic wrap first.)
  7. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough away from you into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness.
  8. Using a serrated knife, gently cut the cylinder into 2-inch rolls; yielding 8 pieces.
  9. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight, or up to 16 hours.
    • Because my hands are small and my rolling skills are quite terrible, my cinnamon roll doesn’t end up as tight and I would like to. At such, I like to arrange the cut rolls with the ends facing in, touching the adjacent roll. That way, when the roll grows, the ends will not come loose and unroll.

Baking

  1. Heat the oven to 200 degrees F/95C.
  2. When the oven has reached 200 degrees F/95C, turn it off and place the rolls in the turned-off oven. Let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy, about 30 minutes. ( Silly to say but remember to remove your plastic wrap!)
  3. Without taking the rolls out of the oven, increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F/175C and let the rolls continue to bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F. Remove the rolls and let cool while you make the icing.

Icing

  1. Whisk the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.
Note: Keep leftovers, if any, on a plate covered with cling wrap. Nuke one for 30 seconds before serving and think of preservatives Cinnzeo adds to keep their buns soft for so many days.
Recipe from Alton Brown