Monday, November 15, 2010

Much ado about a Chocolate Chip Cookie

I believe that your thoughts have the power to attract the events that will happen in your life. Lately, I have been addicted to watching Top Chef Just Desserts . Although I have no aspirations on baking professionally I saw a lot of food created in the show that inspired me to go right away to the kitchen and bake. And, since I am just a novice in baking I tend to gravitate on the traditional recipes. I use the word traditional and not simple because some of these recipes, inspite of being common, are far from simple to do.

Remember Eric Wolitzsky? The Pastry Chef of Baked in N.Y. that I wrote a fan mail to a couple of weeks ago? I even baked one of his recipes before in this entry. Well, needless to say he is my baking idol. Chef's are taught that we eat with our eyes, I will not argue that there's truth in the statement but at the end of the day its the flavor that we commit to our memory. If you follow the show you'll know that Eric's strength is not in the plating just as I found that presentation is not my strength either :) But, I know that my flavors are good just as  I can attest that Eric's recipes (at least the one's that I baked) were perfect.

Since we are on the topic of synchronicity and the law of attraction, ever since I wrote about him and have been going through the Baked cookbook, a series of fortunate and connected events happened. I then read Amateur Gourmet's blog about his interview with Eric. He even baked Eric's Chocolate Chip Cookies in here. In the show..there were 2 chocolate chip cookies, the one made by Eric on Episode 1 and the Chunky Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie made by Erica on Episode 3 (Glee/Bake Sale). The latter being a spin off of the former but from the same recipe.

I know that my inner geek is slowly coming out, so before I continue to blab on about how these 2 recipes vary and the difference it made to the output, let me just share with you the recipe and I will let you be the judge..(Scott couldn't resist the chewy chocolaty goodness and ate 2 big pieces before dinner and another 2 after, that's a high score in my book).

You will need:

340 grams butter
200 grams sugar
400 grams brown sugar
21 ounces flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon salt
2 eggs
2 yolks
21 ounces chocolate chips 



Directions:






1. Melt butter, cool slightly.
2. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the sugars with the melted butter just until incorporated (you don't want to work in too much air.)
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
4. Add the eggs to the mixer bowl slowly, one at a time, until they're all incorporated.
5. On very low speed, add the flour until almost fully incorporated and then add all the chocolate. Mix until just combined.
6. Using an ice cream scoop, mound the dough onto parchment lined cookie sheets and (this is my own technique) wet your hand and flatten the cookies slightly.
7.Bake at 325 for 14 minutes or until golden brown.




Sunday, November 7, 2010

Phuket here and there: Kan Eang @ Pier

There are a lot of good and not-so-good restaurants in Phuket but I thought since everybody can get all sort of different cuisine all over the world, I might as well just talk about places that offer exceptional Thai food (exceptional at least to my standards) that are here in Phuket. Well, Kan Eang for me is just about average when it comes to food. I mean it is tasty but nothing spectacular.The reason we always like going there is the view.

fishing boats


Chalong Pier



Frankly, we have not tried going there at night, I am wary of dining outside because of mosquitoes. But we have spent so many special occasions there. I like the casual atmosphere and that it is not pricey nor pretentious. You might get a group of Russian or Chinese tourist sometimes but if you are lucky, you can have the place all to yourself.

Scott's 33rd birthday

Sheila and Gibby's June '10 visit


Last August, my UP friends Gail and Aleth came for a holiday and also to study Thai cooking at the Blue Elephant. The visit coincided with Gail's birthday. They planned to go to the Big Buddha that day so we thought we might drop by for lunch at Kan Eang.

the celebrant at the restaurant's entrance







with the 'Kardashians'



the staff did a good job with the surprise birthday cake

Now, the food. Just to have a glimpse of what they have to offer.

stir fried duck with cashew

phad thai noodle

grilled pork

chicken pandan

fried chicken with thai herbs

som tam (papaya salad)

chicken soup with coconut and lemongrass

Friday, November 5, 2010

When life gives you lemons..

As I was cleaning our fridge just before Scott's parents arrival, I found 5 lemons that were forgotten in the refrigerator shelf. I thought of making a lemon tart or lemon chicken but I remember while browsing through an Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Cookbook that there was a recipe of Lemon Bars. The image of bright yellow goodness just reminds you of a happy day filled with bright sunshine.I think it was those lemon bars that wanted me to buy the recipe book but I ended up asking Scott to order it online. Having a poor memory, I forgot about the book till Scott's mum asked me if I wanted Craig, Scott's brother to bring me a book from the UK. I then turned to Scott asking if he ordered my wish list already, to which he reacted with a pained look on his face that it was supposed to be my Christmas surprise..bless his sweetness!!

Now, back to those 5 lemons on the fridge..because when life gives you lemons--you make lemon bars and here's how:

Barefoot Contessa's Lemon Bars


For the crust:

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:

  • 6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup flour
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.


Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.


Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Boljoon "Run to Restore"

My mum is from this beautiful little town of Boljoon, Cebu. Apart from the funny bisaya accent, this seaside town is known for its century old church and a historical bell tower. The church as I remember, used to have the most impressive altar but unfortunate thievery and disrepair through the years caused a lot of damage on it. The town folks now are trying to restore the church to its former glory and they are doing a fundraiser run.


As I gather from (one of my favorite blogger) Market Man's call to all  runners in Cebu.."there will be a Boljoon “Run to Restore” 3k, 5k and 10k run held in Boljoon, Cebu on November 7, 2010. With assembly time pre-dawn at 5a.m. I understand half of the race is UPHILL and passing several hertigage sights..".


I hope those from Cebu who can read this will participate in the event for this very worthwhile cause and also enjoy visiting the scenic town of Boljoon.


My mum against the church backdrop in 1972





My brother Melon during my last visit

I am now a fan!



and this is how it feels! hahaha! super happy pala maging fan. The thing is, if Kristin Chenoweth told me to have fun singing I would have been encouraged to pursue my Broadway dream hehehe..But this is Eric Wolitzky telling me that I am so great! And he only happens to have an award winning bakery in New York! This really made my day :))