Saturday, January 31, 2009

Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from: All Recipes
Made by: Cathy

So for my in-laws for Chinese New Year, I made them these chocolate chip cookies with nuts. I made these Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip cookies many times before, and this is my go to base chocolate chip cookie recipe to adapt from. I usually make them smaller when I’m just baking for the sake of baking, but when I make these to give to people, or make them for an event, I keep them at their giant size.

This time I added nuts and used fresh homemade butter!

walnut ccc

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk 
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1. Preheat the oven to 325° F (165° C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper or silicone mat.

2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a pan on low heat, toast 1 cup chopped walnuts. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield: about 16 cookies


I was able to fit 6 cookies per cookie sheet. I used a greased 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop the cookie dough to the sheet. However, later on, I realized that my ice cream scoop is the exact same size. It has a spring mechanism like a cookie scoop, so I will use that next time to scoop the dough. You can’t see much of the chips on top of the cookie, but there are plenty of chips in the middle.

I’m not sure if it was the result of the fresh butter or not, but the cookies didn’t really brown on top. I also baked it for about 20 minutes or so when I usually bake for about 15 minutes.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Homemade Butter

Adapted from: Dutch Girl Cooking
Made by: Cathy

What’s better than butter? Homemade butter of course! I saw this on Dutch Girl Cooking and had to try it myself. I couldn’t believe it was so easy. I had some heavy cream I wanted to use up, so I made this and then used it for homemade chocolate chip cookies.


2 cups heavy cream
salt (optional)

1. Pour cream into the food processor with the blade attachment.

cream2. Turn on, and watch the magic happen!

3. Butter will be done in 5-10 minutes. There will be leftover buttermilk. Pour out the buttermilk and save for something else. Strain the butter through a fine sieve, cheesecloth, or coffee filter.

Makes about 1 1/4 cups butter and 3/4 cup buttermilk.

You can use the butter immediately, or rinse with cold water before you store. Check out Dutch Girl’s site for her recipe for flavored butter spreads.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

This year is the second Chinese New Year since I have been married. Now that I’m married, I’m obliged to hand out lucky money in red envelopes rather than receive. Every year, my mom always packed red bags with oranges, tangerines, cookies, and candy. Each bag was used to give as gifts for the new year. We always handed out packaged cookies as gifts. Since I’ve been baking my own cookies, I find homemade cookies are way better to hand out than store bought.

Oatmeal raisin cookies are a favorite of both Gary and I. Every time I ask him what I should bake, this is the first thing that comes out of his mouth. It get’s boring, so I don’t make these often. No matter what else I make, he always asks for these. These are also a favorite of my grandma, so I make it for her during Chinese New Year, or whenever I get a chance to.

Seriously, I think my mom is one of the most caring and unselfish people in the world. I asked her what she would like me to make her, and she says “Well, so and so liked the ginger cookies you made for Christmas, so you should make that.” That’s why I admire her so much, and I think I take after her in that way. I tend to think of others before myself also. So on that note, I also made my chewy ginger cookies as part of the gifts.

oatmeal raisin cookies

Adapted from: All Recipes
Made by: Cathy

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup raisins
1 Tbsp of sugar for dipping

1. In a medium bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats and raisins. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C). Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mat. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls (I used a small cookie scoop about tablespoon size and did not roll), and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Flatten each cookie with a large fork dipped in sugar. (I flattened in a crisscross shape, dipping the fork in sugar both times.)

3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: about 3 dozen

Monday, January 19, 2009

Crispy Hash Browns

Adapted from: Simply Recipes
Made by: Cathy

Gary and I love potatoes. I don’t think we can live without it. One of our favorite sides for breakfast is hash browns. I saw a recipe for this and I had to try it.

This was also a great opportunity for me to use my new food processor! I love it. I asked Gary if he wanted to see me grate potatoes in 2 seconds, he said yes, thinking I was going to do it by hand…LOL. Of course I put the grating attachment on and literally grated it in 2 seconds. I love my food processor!

crispy hash browns

cooking spray
3 potatoes, peeled and grated
salt and pepper to taste.

1. Peel and grate potatoes. Loosely lay on paper towels and press to dry.

2. Heat up a nonstick skillet on medium heat and spray with cooking oil. Spread potatoes in an even thin layer in the skillet. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until it turns golden brown on the bottom. Flip with a large spatula. I cut it in half before flipping. I wasn’t able to flip the hash brown in it’s whole state. Cook for another 4-5 minutes.

3. Remove from heat, and serve.

I ate them not quite as crispy as Elise did, because we like them a little mushy in the middle. The 3 potatoes filled my pan with 1 layer in my pan. Gary finished his quickly, and we wanted more. Next time, I think I’ll make one giant hash brown for each of us!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Green Eggs and Turkey

Made by: Cathy

We went out shopping today and ended up having fast food for lunch. We haven't had Burger King food in a long time! I normally don’t eat anything from there except for their french fries (mainly because their flame broiled stuff makes my stomach upset).

When got home, we started trying out our purchases. I got a new kitchen scale, and Gary got a new bathroom scale. I've been needing the kitchen scale for quite a while now. Many of the recipes I've seen lately call for an exact measurements. I didn’t get a fancy digital one, but it's fine for me.

Since we were busy playing around with our new gadgets, we decided to have a quick breakfast for dinner night. I have a lot of leftover baby spinach from last week's grocery shopping. This was a great way for me to use up some of my leftovers. I guess you can call this somewhat of a frittata, but it does not have any dairy in it because of new diet restrictions.

Here's my spinach egg bake. Gary thought it looked gross, but it was quite tasty indeed. He also keeps saying he doesn't like spinach, so this is a way to get it into his diet. So far, he’s been eating the spinach dishes I've been making.

spinach and egg bake

3 cups fresh baby spinach
1 small onion
5 eggs
2 white mushrooms (that’s all I had on hand so I threw it in)
6 slices turkey, or any meat of your choice
dried basil
red pepper flakes
garlic powder

1. Combine spinach, onions, eggs, and mushrooms into food processor and pulse a few times until blended (like the consistency of pesto). Add the turkey, and pulse 2-3 times until it’s chopped.

2. Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Pour the mixture into the pan and cook on medium for 3-5 minutes or until the sides start to unstick from the pan. While it's cooking, sprinkle spices on top to taste.

3. Remove from heat and bake in a 350° oven for 10-15 minutes.

4. Cut into wedges and serve.

We ate these with knishes (also leftover from a bulk store run). We would serve these with potatoes next time.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Devil’s Food Cake Balls

Adapted from: Bakerella
Made by: Cathy

I made these over the holiday and contemplated whether or not I should post this. It came out alright, however I still needed to get my chocolate melting technique down. They’re not very appealing to the eyes, but they tasted very good. I initially made this because I had a box of devil’s food cake box mix in the pantry that I needed to use up.

Gary brought these to work and they were a big hit. They didn’t care what it looked like. I guess he’s one of the only ones (if not the only one) that brings goodies to work. They were raving about these balls for several days after.

cake balls

1 box devil's food cake mix, prepare as directed (I made the lower fat version with applesauce)
1 can frosting (I used homemade frosting, ingredients/recipe to follow)
1 package chocolate bark (I used 2 packages Baker’s Semisweet baking chocolate)

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Tbsp milk

1. Prepare cake as instructed on the package. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
2. For frosting, beat together all ingredients. Combine the frosting and cake. Fully incorporate the frosting so it blends in with the cake.
3. Shape uniform balls by using a medium cookie scoop. Roll and lay on cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
4. Chill for several hours, or freeze.
5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package. (I used the double boiler method)
6. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper, refrigerate until firm. (Use a spoon to dip and roll in chocolate and then tap off extra.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fishcake and Vegetable Stirfry

Made by: Cathy

Gary’s parents often make fish cake patties. They’re really good and they use it in stirfry all the time. It’s much better than buying the ones in the market that is laden with MSG and all sorts of other stuff you don’t want in your body.

I’ve never made it myself, but when they do make it, I am lucky enough to get some. It’s already fried, so all I have to do is add the vegetables. Now if you can’t get it fresh like I can, it’s perfectly fine to use the packaged ones.

fishcake stirfry

1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 small onion, cut in half, then sliced
10 stems asparagus, ends cut off and cut into 1" pieces
5 white mushrooms, sliced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 cooked fishcake patty, sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sugar

1. Pour oil into a hot wok or stirfry pan. Add garlic and stir for a couple of seconds.

2. Combine all the vegetables, stirfry for 5-10 minutes, or until onions are opaque. Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar.

3. Add in fishcake and stir for another 2 minutes. Stir until everything is incorporated.

4. Remove from heat and serve.

Vegetarian Meatloaf

Source: Branny Boils Over
Made by: Cathy

On the cooking message boards I frequent, great recipes are always being shared. One of the ladies shared her recipe for vegetarian meatloaf.

Gary and I have talked about having vegetarian night at least once a week, but it never happens. We eat plenty of vegetables, but there’s always a meat dish to accompany it. We still cheated tonight and had stirfry along with the meatloaf, but it is a great alternative to meat. Granted, it’s not exactly the same as meatloaf, but there was enough flavors going on that you wouldn’t even miss the meat.

Vegetarian Meatloaf

1 scant cup brown lentils, rinsed
2 cups water
1 small onion
1 egg white
¾ cup tomato or spaghetti sauce
1 tsp basil
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
½ cup oatmeal
½ cup bread crumbs (I used Italian style)

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast & 1 Tbsp dissolved flax seed (ground)
½ cup cheddar or mozzarella cheese

1. Boil 1 scant cup brown lentils in 2 cups water until tender. Add more water if necessary. Mash. I ran it through my food processor for a few seconds. It should not be too soupy (but not too thick, either) after mashing. Kind of like sloppy Joes.

2. Dice 1 onion. Beat in 1 egg white. Mix in tomato sauce, basil, dried parsley, salt, and garlic powder. Add 1/2 c oatmeal and 1/2 c bread crumbs to bowl. Mix. Add mashed lentils. Mix in nutritional yeast/flax seed OR 1/2 cup of cheese.

3. Spread mixture into greased loaf pan and bake covered at 350° for 45 minutes. Run a knife along the edge of the loaf, let cool 5 minutes, and then turn out onto a greased baking sheet.

Meatloaf, before baking

4. Top with your favorite glaze (tomato sauce + brown sugar, bbq sauce, nothing) and return to oven until warmed. Let set 5-10 minutes before slicing.

I topped it with the leftover spaghetti sauce and spread it like frosting before I put it back in the oven. I was having way too much fun making it!

Dorayaki Cake (Japanese Pancake)

Adapted from: Nintendo DS – Personal Trainer Cooking, Ezine Articles
Made by: Cathy & Gary

So, Gary got the DS Personal Training game. He looked through and found a recipe he wanted to make. We've eaten the Japanese pancakes fresh from the Japanese supermarket, as well as packaged from the Chinese grocery stores. Fresh is always better.

So Gary went and bought the beans, he made it as instructed…it turned out fine. The next step was to make the pancakes. I ended up making it because, of course he initially thought he needed a CUP of BAKING POWDER! Give him a stovetop, and he’s fine, but baking is not his forte, so he handed it over to me.

I started out with the original recipe from the DS, and from reading it, I knew it was already a disaster in the making. First of all, there was too much flour to liquid ratio. The batter ended up thick and did not pour well out of the ladle. It was a mess! I was really annoyed and yelled at him the whole time I was mixing it. The pancakes turned out thick, hard, overcooked on the outside, and undercooked on the inside. Into the garbage it went.

So, of course, we couldn't let the beans go to waste. We left it in the fridge to try again the next day.

I googled the recipe for the cake. I found several, but went with one that used about the same ingredients as the DS version, but with much more accurate measurements. The result? Edible pancakes!

Dorayaki cake

Bean Paste:
2/3 cup azuki beans
2/3 cup white sugar

3 eggs
2/3 cup of white sugar
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 cup of water
1 cup of all purpose flour – sifted

Preparing the bean paste:
1. Wash the azuki beans and soak overnight.

2. Transfer the beans to a saucepan. Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, pour the water out, then replace with fresh water. Place over high heat again and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down a little and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn the heat down low and simmer for 45 minutes, cooking off the water until it barely covers the beans.

3. Add 2/3 cup sugar, stir well, then simmer until almost all the water has completely evaporated. Continue to simmer and mix the beans thoroughly over medium heat. Once the mixture takes on a glossy sheen, turn off the heat.

Red Bean Paste

Preparing the pancakes:
1. Whisk together the eggs and sugar.

2. Dissolve the baking soda into the water. Add the water into the egg mixture.

3. Gradually sift the flour into the egg mixture while continuing to whisk.

4. Heat a skillet or a hot plate and put a little bit of oil into it. I used my indoor griddle, so I sprayed a little nonstick spray.

5. Scoop about half a ladle of batter into the skillet to form a small pancake (about 3" in diameter).

6. Turn the pancake over in the pan when bubbles begin to form and appear of the surface of the cake. Repeat this process to make about 16 pancakes.


7. Let the pancakes cool. Scoop about a tablespoon of the bean paste onto the flat side of the pancake, then sandwich with another pancake.

big bite

This recipe makes about 8 dorayaki cakes. You will need a double batch to use up all the bean paste. You can also make these bigger than the size indicated. We definitely spoiled our dinner by eating more than one of these.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Marbled White Chocolate Cheesecake

Ok, this post is long overdue. Mainly because of the lack of a picture.

I made this cheesecake for a Christmas celebration over at a friends’ place. It is now almost mid-January and I still haven’t posted this. On Christmas day, we rushed out of the house with presents and cake in tow, and of course I forgot to bring my camera along. Of course, Gary hates it when I go back home to pick up something I forget…usually it’s my phone, so I didn’t bother. Someone else was bound to have a camera. I’ll just use theirs. I still haven’t gotten the picture yet. It’s no biggie. I’ll just use Kraft one as a place holder for now. Once I get it, it will be updated.

This was the 2nd cheesecake I have attempted to make. It was good, but not as creamy as I hoped. It could have also been the quality of chocolate I used, but everybody else seemed to enjoy it.

white chocolate marble cheesecake updated 12/9/09 with my own picture!

Marbled White Chocolate Cheesecake
Adapted from: Kraft

18 chocolate Oreo cookies, crushed
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
3 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
2 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted (I used 2 tablespoons melted semi-sweet morsels)
1 pkg. (6 squares) BAKER'S White Chocolate, melted (I used 1 bag of white chocolate morsels)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F if using a silver 9-inch springform pan (or to 325°F if using a dark nonstick 9-inch springform pan). Mix crushed wafers and butter. Press firmly onto bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes.

2. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Remove 1 cup of the cream cheese mixture; place in small bowl. Add melted semi-sweet chocolate; stir until well blended. Add melted white chocolate to remaining cream cheese mixture; mix well. Spoon semi-sweet and white chocolate mixtures alternately over crust. Swirl with knife to marbleize.

3. Bake 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Run small knife or spatula around side of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Garnish as desired. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

I used a 10” springform pan because that’s the only size I have. I baked it for 35 minutes and left it in the oven to set for a couple of hours before putting it in the fridge. Next time if I’m using a 10” pan, I will bake it for less time and let it finish setting in the oven.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Split Pea Soup

Adapted from: Ina Garten, Food Network
Made by: Cathy

Growing up, I’ve never been a fan of peas. Whenever my mom made fried rice, she would always scoop a bowl out for me, sans peas, then added peas for everybody else. That’s how much I refused to eat peas. My brother on the other hand, loves peas, and cannot get enough of it!

Since living with Gary, we’ve adapted to each other’s tastes, and I’ve grown to tolerate peas. A couple of weeks ago, I saw a recipe for pea soup that took 10 minutes to make. It was for some diet/weight loss show. Since I was channel surfing, I didn’t get the name of the show, but it looked pretty simple.

My quest for pea soup started! Most of the recipes I found was for split pea soup, so I tried that instead. This definitely didn’t take 10 minutes, but it was good. Gary liked it, and he even compared it to Au Bon Pain soup…I take that as a compliment.

The recipe called for 8 cups of stock, so I halved the recipe. We both agreed it was a bit salty for our taste, so I ended up adding an extra cup of water. It may be the stock we used, but I will use less salt next time.

split pea soup

1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 medium-diced carrots
2 medium-diced potatoes
1 stalk celery diced
1 1/4 cup dried split green peas (half a bag)
4 cups chicken stock or water (one carton)
1 cup water

1. In a small stockpot on medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic with the olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Add the carrots, potatoes, split peas, chicken stock, and water.

3. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 60 minutes. Skim off the foam while cooking. Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot, with bread or crackers.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Chicken and Spinach Pizza

Adapted from:
Made by: Cathy

I've been meaning to make pizza for a while now. I was a little intimidated at first because I haven’t had much experience making yeast bread. This was one of the easier recipes I've tried though. There was minimal hands on time, more waiting time than anything. The crust was nice and crispy with a chewy center. The original recipe probably made a really large pizza, or 2 smaller ones. It was just the 2 of us, so I halved the recipe.

This was a great way to use up my leftover chicken from the night before.

What’s funny is that first thing that Gary said after he took a bite was “Mmm, this taste like real pizza!” Um…I think that was the point!

chicken spinach pizza

For the crust:
1 1/8 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
3/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
cornmeal for dusting

For the topping:
1 cup pizza sauce (I used jarred pasta sauce)
1 cup low moisture shredded mozzarella cheese (or more if desired)
1 cup cooked chopped chicken
1 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes.

2. Stir the salt and 1 tablespoon of oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 1 cup of the flour.

3. Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If using the dough hook of a mixer, gradually pour in the rest of the flour as the mixer is running on low speed. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. (I used saran wrap and a paper towel. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out.

4. While the dough is rising, preheat oven with the pizza stone inside to 425° F (220° C). If you are baking the dough on a pizza stone, you may place your toppings on the dough, and bake immediately. If you are baking your pizza in a pan, lightly oil the pan, and let the dough rise for 15 or 20 minutes before topping and baking it.

5. Dust parchment paper with cornmeal. Roll out your dough to about 12" in diameter. Mix together the remaining oil, garlic powder, and onion powder. Brush the oil onto the crust. Pour the pizza sauce in the middle and spread in a circle with the ladle. Layer half the spinach on the crust. Layer half the chicken, then remaining spinach and chicken.

6. Transfer the pizza to the baking stone along with the parchment paper. Bake pizza in preheated oven, until the cheese and crust are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.


The pizza was great for my first time making pizza. Next time, I will probably add some Italian seasoning to the crust. I meant to do that too, but I forgot. I can’t wait to try different toppings.