Off to Ireland!!

I’m off to Ireland!! My mother and I are visiting my sister who lives in Ireland 🙂

I have never been so I am super excited to try authentic Irish beer, Irish food, and have a good ol’ time with my Irish mates!! (Wait, is that Aussie lingo?)

Hopefully I will be able to continue blogging while I’m there. If not, I will be in touch upon my return with lots of great pictures!

Cheers,

Elana

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Carrot & Banana Muffins

In the first version of this recipe I made, I found that the bits of pineapple weren’t a huge hit, although the muffins did turn out super moist. I decided to try substituting the pineapple with mashed bananas and to add a 1/4 cup of skim milk to make the muffins a little bit more nutritious.

I think they turned out pretty good — the perfect breakfast muffin for on-the-go.

Here is the beautiful and moist batter:

Ready for the oven:

And ready to eat!

These muffins freeze well. I usually defrost them overnight then bring a couple to school with me the next morning.

Enjoy!

Carrot & Banana Muffins

Adapted from the Food Network website

  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 & 1/3 cups dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 8 medium carrots, grated (about 4 cups)
  • 1 cup very ripe mashed bananas (about 3 bananas)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line twenty-four 1/2-cup muffin cups with paper muffin liners.

Whisk flours with the brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl lightly whisk the egg, then whisk in the vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and skim milk.

Quickly and lightly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula. Stir in the carrots and mashed bananas just until evenly moist; the batter will be very thick.

Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Turn muffins out of the tins and cool on a rack.

Makes 24 tasty and nutritious muffins!

Now that I’ve modified this recipe, I think it is okay for me to call it my own, even if I did only change two ingredients!

Yours edibly,

Elana

Traditional Chocolate Cake

I made this chocolate cake when I found out I wouldn’t have to work on Family Day — sweet! It’s actually for my dad’s birthday, which was last Wednesday, but I didn’t get a chance to make it earlier because of Valentine’s Day and culinary school things.

It turned out beautifully, in my opinion. I love, love chocolate so this was so much fun to make. I used a recipe I found on Epicurious, originally from a 1995 edition of Bon Appetit.

In my culinary desserts class at school, we would cut the top layer off of the cakes once they come out of the oven to make the layers even for stacking. It makes the cakes more professional-looking and also easier to frost. This cake is only for my family though and I would never want to waste any of the precious chocolate cake.

I tried to pour the batter into the greased and floured pans as evenly as possible.

Then I sprinkled the pans with chocolate chips 🙂

This is the first layer of the cake, with icing.

This is a delicious picture of the first two layers of cake with icing and lots of oozing icing.

And finally, the three layers all stacked up. If I had cut the cake layers to even them out, like I’ve done at school, there would have been no spaces between the layers.

Is there another way I can avoid this without wasting any cake?

Try it at home and let me know what you think.

You can find the recipe here: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Old-Fashioned-Chocolate-Cake-with-Cocoa-Frosting-755

Yours edibly,

Elana

Gourmet Club Pictures (Finally!)

Here are some pictures from the Gourmet Club’s first potluck dinner on February 13th, followed by the Grammy’s! The theme was Taste of Thai — so thailicious!

It was an absolutely wonder-pho evening, except that there was no pho 😦

Dinner included:

Thai Basil Chicken,

Mango Salad,

Chicken Curry,

Pad Thai with Peanut Sauce,

and my Vietnamese Spring Rolls!

There was also salad, steamed rice, and lots and lots of wine.

Dessert included: Sticky Coconut Rice Pudding with Mango and Mango Sorbet!

Unfortunately, dessert was gobbled up so fast I wasn’t  able to take any pictures of it!

Enjoy!

Yours edibly,

Elana

Fresh Rolls (Vietnamese Spring Rolls)

My friend recently started a Gourmet Club, where once a month a group of us meet up at someone’s house and have a potluck style dinner party always with a new theme.

Our first dinner was this past Sunday and the theme was Taste of Thai (pictures to come). I decided to make these delicious fresh rolls, or vietnamese spring rolls, and a mango sorbet for dessert!

Fresh rolls are easy and fun to make, but slightly time-consuming. I’m a very meticulous person so it took me a good two hours just to roll these wraps, but the final product made up for all the hard work. Here is my recipe for these wraps:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 mango
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 avocado
  • fresh cilantro
  • fresh mint leaves
  • 1 package rice vermicelli noodles
  • about 24 rice paper wraps

Method:

  1. Juliennethe cucumber, mango, carrots, and avocado so they are all about an even length (2-3 inches long)
  2. Finely chop cilantro
  3. Prepare rice vermicelli noodles as per package instructions, or place noodles in hot water (180°F) for about 5-6 minutes then quickly drain water and place noodles under cold running water until completely cooled
  4. Set up your rolling station with all your veggies, herbs, noodles, wraps, and a cutting board, shallow wide bowl with hot water and towel
  5. Soak one wrapper at a time in hot water until flexible, dry off on towel, and place on cutting board
  6. Add all ingredients set off to one side, roll one side of wrapper over ingredients, then fold in both sides, then continue rolling (see pictures for this step)
  7. Let wraps sit under damp towel to prevent from drying out
  8. Makes about 24 wraps
  9. Eat and enjoy!

Place all ingredients in wrap, set off to one side

Fold over one end of wrap so it is just covering ingredients

Fold each side of the wrap over the centre

Continue rolling from first end and voila!

Yours edibly,

Elana

Valentine’s Day Treats

It’s never too late to make something special for Valentine’s Day! The recipe I made is one of my staples. I found it on the Joy of Baking site ages ago and have been making different variations of the recipe ever since.

For Valentine’s Day, I used heart-shaped cutters to make cheesecake brownie hearts! The recipe was so simple and I just picked up a package of CakeMate Cookie Icing for the red decorations on top.

I doubled the recipe so in total I made 45 small brownies and 1 big one, which my sister stole to give to her bf. In the end, I was left with 28 brownies to decorate and share! I will be giving these to my parents, sisters, grandparents, friends from chef school, and of course, my valentine!

You can find the recipe at http://www.joyofbaking.com/barsandsquares/CreamCheeseBrownies.html

A couple things to keep in mind:

  • I recommend greasing the pan with butter instead of using tin foil. The tin foil often sticks to the brownies.
  • I didn’t swirl my brownies, as you can see. I just put the cream cheese layer directly over top the brownie layer.

I encourage you to try this recipe and provide me with your feedback  on these goodies! Good luck.

Yours edibly,

Elana