Berries and cream biscuits

 

I made these strawberries and cream biscuits this morning, with a few slight changes, since I didn’t have everything Deb listed. She listed basic ingredients so it is pretty pathetic that I didn’t have all of it.

Copied from Smitten Kitchen

2 1/4 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon (15 grams) aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold, unsalted butter
1 cup (about 130 grams) frozen berries (my modification)
1/4 cup heavy cream (my modification)
3/4 cup 2% milk (my substitution)

Preheat over to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bottom of a large, wide-ish bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, sugar and salt together. Add butter, either by cutting it in with two knives or a pastry blender (alternatively, you can freeze the butter and grate it in on the large holes of a box grater; a tip I learned from you guys) cut it into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, breaking it up until the mixture resembles a crumbly meal with tiny pea-sized bits of butter about. Gently stir in the strawberries, so that they are coated in dry ingredient, then stir in heavy cream. (I like to use a rubber spatula to gently lift and turn the ingredients over each other.) When you’ve mixed it in as best as you can with the spatula, go ahead and knead it once of twice in the bowl, to create one mass. Do not worry about getting the dough evenly mixed. It’s far more important that the dough is not overworked. Generously flour your counter. With as few movements as possible, transfer your dough to the counter, generously flour the top of it and with your hands or a rolling pin, gently roll or press the dough out to a 3/4-inch thickness. Cut into 2 1/2-inch circles with a floured biscuit cutter or top edge of a drinking glass, pressing straight down and not twisting (this makes for nice layered edges) as you cut. Carefully transfer scones to prepared baking sheet, leaving a couple inches between each. You can re-roll the scraps of dough, but don’t freak out over how wet the dough becomes as the strawberries have had more time to release their juice. They’ll still bake up wonderfully. Bake the scones for 12 to 15 minutes, until bronzed at the edges and the strawberry juices are trickling out of the biscuits in places. Cool in pan for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Freezer Hot Pockets

I was looking for some healthier frozen food options for Mr. T. to take to work with him. Even though I love Trader Joe’s their frozen foods are really not very healthy–especially considering the amount of sodium! So, while looking online I came across Money Saving Mom’s website and her project “4 Weeks to Fill Your Freezer“. The Homemade pizza pockets sounded really good, and Mr. T. used to eat them all the time, so I decided to give it a try. They were really easy to make, and are really good. It was the first time I had actually made my own dough, and it was surprisingly easy. It seems like a great dough to use for homemade pizza in the future too. Next time, I’ll add more sauce, cheese, and just filling inside. I will probably make my own sauce also just to be more cautious about sodium intake and I think add some greens, like arugula into the pocket. I used chicken sausage for some of the pockets and turkey pepperoni in others, and had some left over swiss/gruyere shredded cheese–but I can see that any cheese really would work in here. I stuck two in each freezer bag and Mr. T. just grabs a bag every morning before work. Great stuff! I’ll post pictures of the final result soon.

Sushi Nishi

Recently a new sushi restaurant opened up in the neighborhood. I’ve been looking forward to a new restaurant opening for a few weeks since I saw the “coming soon” sign. There are some good sushi restaurants in the area, Shibuya and Hanami, but there can never be too many good sushi places!

 

 

Mr. T and I went out to Sushi Nishi one night hoping that the restaurant would already be open. We were greeted very kindly and energetically by the staff.

 

 

Easy Garlic and Roasted Tomato Pasta

A restaurant close to me, Coogies Cafe, sells a Quinoa Linguine that is amazing. The blending of various flavors always leaves me wanting more and I eat more than I probably should. But since I can’t eat there every day I decided to try and replicate the recipe. I tried using Quinoa Linguine at home but it wasn’t very good. I’m not sure if it’s how I cooked the linguine, but I decided it’s not worth the price to use it. So, I use other type of pastas instead (read, any pasta). First I take cherry tomatoes, cut them length wise, drizzle them with olive oil, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar and roast them in the oven. Sometimes I do them really quick, (30 min or so at 350 degrees) and sometimes I do them slower (like 1.5 hr at 200 degrees). The slower I cook them the more intact the tomatoes stay. Someday I will try this with roma tomatoes, but that takes a few hours to roast and I usually don’t plan well enough in advance to do this. While that’s roasting I slice a handful of garlic cloves length wise, then cook them in hot olive oil. Watch this carefully, you want to turn them and make sure they brown, but do not burn them. Then I take them out and let them drain a bit on a paper towel. I use already cooked and shredded chicken, cut them into smaller, bite-size pieces and heat them in the pan I just cooked the garlic in. I also put in arugula just so they wilt a bit. Then I put in the cooked pasta, and toss. Then I add the roasted tomatoes, feta cheese and cooked garlic. You may need to add a little more salt and pepper at the end to taste. It’s an easy pasta with a lot of flavor. One of my favorites!

Martha’s Cobbler Recipe

This recipe was passed down to me from Mr. T’s mom.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4 Tbsp margarine
1 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk
1 3/4 c. sliced fruit (fresh or canned)

melt margarine in over in 13x9x2 pan

Mix sugar, flour, and baking powder with whisk. Add milk and stir just until moistened. Pour on Margarine. Do Not Stir.

Add fruit on top of the batter, and sprinkle another 1/2 c. sugar over the top.

Bake about 45 minutes. Serve warm.

Cinnamon Bread

It’s been cold and rainy all day. Some may say think that since I live in Southern California I shouldn’t complain about having a few rainy days here and there… and while that’s true, it also makes it that much harder when the day is icky. I mean two days ago it was sunny and beautiful! But with this rain, there will soon be green grass and beautiful orange poppies blooming. That does make the rain worth it. I just try to stay inside all day long. I did go to the grocery store for a bit to buy a few staples–and the necessary items to make homemade cinnamon bread from The Pioneer Woman’s site. I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a couple days, I’m not sure what drew me to the recipe. I usually stay away from things calling for yeast… But ever since my grandma-in-law showed me how to make bread I’ve felt a need to make more bread. If only to prove to her that her time wasn’t wasted in showing me how to make bread. Of course this cinnamon bread did not require kneading… but it did require two 2 hour rise times, which means it also required incredible patience from me! Of course while I waited I also made homemade tomato soup from Smitten Kitchen’s recipe and Alton Brown’s homemade hot chocolate, which by the way, I recommend excluding the cayenne. I love cooking, and when it’s raining outside what better way than to spend the day by the warm oven. Of course sitting by the fireplace with a great book would be nice too! Too bad I finished the Harry Potter series years ago, this is definitely the type of day that called for an adventure book.

Library Ale House

Library Ale House

I’ve only been to the library ale house a few times, but I hear about it often from friends. When I talk about restaurants in Santa Monica, on main street, people always ask if I’ve been to the Library Ale House. We stopped there before going to the airport, and enjoyed some good food. However, more than the food, I love the back patio, it’s just peaceful.

Barrafina

www.barrafina.co.uk/
54 Frith Street London, Greater London W1D 4SL, United Kingdom
020 7813 8016

Barrafina

Ramen Jinya

Ramen has a cult following enjoyed by those in the know. Many people around me think of ramen merely as the dry, plastic packaged noodles that are rehydrated by hot water and flavored with salty dry seasonings in silver foil. When I ask people to go to ramen, they politely say ‘ok’, while inwardly wondering if I’m crazy. Why would you go to out eat ramen at a restaurant? Then there’s a minimum 30 min wait to get into the restaurant and they think, is this really worth it? Can’t we just go get a hamburger instead?

The answer is always, “it will be worth the wait”. Especially on a cold night and the long wait simply builds up your appetite for the large bowl of goodness we’re about to consume.

Good ramen is soothing, soul warming, and multi-layered. I’m constantly on the lookout for new ramen places and read food blogs like Rameniac to read about these hidden gems. My list of ramen restaurants to try is always longer than the ones I’ve been to simply because the good ones seem to be more than an hour away. So, unfortunately, or trips to the highest rated ramen in town are far between. Which is probably for the best, since eating too much ramen would mean gaining a lot of weight.

Things I look for in good ramen are the soup base; is it flavorful? I prefer a thick pork broth with intense flavor, that’s not too greasy. There’s a difference between something with oil (like the Tankotsu Black Ramen from Ramen Jinya, which adds great flavor) and something that’s greasy. I don’t want my mouth to have an oily film after I’ve tasted the broth.

Ramen Jinya

Noodles are another factor, my palate is not as refined in this arena, but I want the noodles to be tender with a little bite, and not be gummy, like overcooked spaghetti. I think it’s difficult to imagine the differences in noodles until you’ve had a lot of ramen; it really can make a difference in the taste of the soup. The noodles make up a large part of the ramen; unlike other noodle based dishes you may think of where there is some sauce smothering the noodle and covering the noodle flavor. Ramen noodles are eaten almost alone, with a slight hint of the soup base it lies in. When you eat spaghetti or other italian pasta dishes the noodles are generally covered in the sauce, so you only get the texture of the noodle, but taste the marinara. In chicken noodle soup, the noodles are typically small so when you take a bite you get broth, carrots, celery, onion, chicken and noodle with every bite. In ramen, you have a spoon to take a taste of the soup base, then you use your chop sticks to get a taste of the pork, then you take your chopsticks to get a taste of your noodles. Everything you eat is in separate bites, allowing you to taste and enjoy each component separately. This brings up the pork. I’ve had a wide range of pork, many times it’s not very good. In ramen there is typically 1-2 thinly sliced round cuts of pork. What you get here also makes a world of difference. Some pork is a flavorless blob, with no texture and bits of fat, when I get pork like this I set it aside. However, good pork is tender, smoky, and flavorful.

Be on the look out for good ramen; and when someone asks you to go out to ramen, say Yes! You may be in the for a great and filling treat! If you want to find some ramen suggestions check out my “restaurants to try” page or go to Rameniac, he does a fantastic job of categorizing and rating the various components of ramen.

 

Carnitas

I keep a close watch on Deb’s blog, and everytime she posts something new I feel like I NEED to make it. So when she wrote her latest post “Homesick Texas Carnitas” I quickly looked for any reason to make it! Thankfully I had a small group of friends coming over. It took me a while to find pork shoulder, but found it at Bristol Farms! The recipe seemed way too easy but I am always willing to try new recipes. This will probably be my go-to Carnitas recipe because it was 1. SO EASY, and 2. SO GOOD! I was originally worried because after the 2 hours there was still a lot of water in the pot, so for the last 45 minutes I turned the fire way up. The pork was fantastic. I made about 2.5 lbs for 8 adults and 4 kids, I probably should have made about 4 lbs and had some left over. The meat was definitely good, as it was, but next time I might find something else to add on the side. Or do hand-made corn torillas. yummy! Homesick Texan Carnitascopied directly from SmittenKitchen 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes 1/2 cup orange juice 1/4 cup lime juice (from about 2 to 3 limes) 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste Corn tortillas, for serving plus Avocado slices, chopped cilantro and fixings of your choice (we love pickled jalapenos or onions, lime wedges and a bit of slaw) Place the pork in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot. Add the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt and enough water to just barely cover the meat. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for two hours. Don’t touch the meat. After two hours, increase the heat to medium-high and while occasionally stirring and turning the pieces, continue to cook for about 45 minutes, or until all of the liquid has evaporated, leaving only the rendered pork fat. Let it sizzle in this fat long enough to brown at the edges, turning pieces gently (they’ll be eager to fall apart), only as needed. When pork has browned on both sides, it’s ready. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve on warmed tortillas with fixings.