French Apple Cake

 

This French Apple Cake, or “Gateau aux Pommes“, from Food Network is simple to make but like anything French- feels kinda fancy. This cake is dense without feeling heavy, delicately sweet without frosting or cream, and has a nice rustic look to it. I imagine packing this on a picnic!

I bought too many apples and found this delicious way of getting rid of some.

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Pre-heat your oven to 400ºF.

For the cake you’ll need:

  • 9 inch springform cake pan, buttered
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup whole milk (needs whole if you want that rich luxurious cake texture)
  • 4 baking apples (about 2 lbs) – peeled and cut into small wedges or squares
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Take a large mixing bowl and combine your dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt.

Add your wet ingredients one-by-one: vanilla, beaten eggs, oil, whole milk- blend.
2014-12-13 20.34.48While not crucial, I would recommend dicing your apples AFTER you mix your ingredients so they don’t start browning. I personally added about 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and coated the apples.

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Add the apples to the batter and make sure it’s well-mixed and coated. Then pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the the cake looks firm and the top is golden. 2014-12-13 20.56.14

Not done yet! To create an awesome sweet crispy, creme-brulee-like top mix in a small bowl:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter

2014-12-13 21.17.46Take out the cake from the oven and immediately pour the topping mixture gently and evenly over the cake.

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Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes until the top has a medium golden brown color like creme brûlée. Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a rack until it’s room temperature (it will be very tempting to try a piece earlier!). 2014-12-13 21.59.04

Run a knife around the sides of the pan and release and remove the springform side. Serve and enjoy with a side of freshly whipped cream! 2014-12-14 09.16.26

Overnight Oatmeal aka “Summer Porridge”

Summer is no where near Seattle right now but I am completely obsessed with overnight oatmeal and it’s a great breakfast any time of the year. When I first tried this, I couldn’t believe how amazingly delicious and easy this was. After the first time I tried it my only thought was: “Next time, must double recipe!”

The Yummy Life has a great starter recipe with five different variations like Blueberry Maple which so far is my favorite one.

For the basic recipe you will need:

  • 1 airtight container or mason jar (everything tastes better in a mason jar!)
  • 1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats (do not try to use steel cut or other kinds)
  • 1/3 cup milk (e.g. soy, almond, hemp, rice, cow, coconut)
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon dried Chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoon pure real maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
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Ch-ch-chia! These little guys are a great healthy, vegan source of Omega-3, minerals and fiber. When they come into contact with liquids, they form gelatinous coating and provides satiety.

2015-01-08 20.43.52For a busy grad student like me I need a meal I can throw together fast and overnight oatmeal is a dream come true. I grab a jar, throw in the oats, milk, yogurt, and chia seeds. Then I add the maple syrup and shake it all up! 

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Lastly add the fruit and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

2015-01-11 12.56.22Voila, you have amazing, delicious, healthy, satisfying, convenient breakfast for any time of the year.

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Basic Zucchini Pancake

My mom calls this an “Italian Pancake” – I have no idea what makes it Italian (Google ‘Italian pancake’ and this does not come up)! But with this super easy, über-basic recipe you can definitely give it whatever cultural spin you want. This savory pancake is similar to vegetable fritters (less crispy and oily) or Korean zucchini pancakes called Hobak Buchim. When my mom made this years ago, I was blown away and asked her for the recipe. As a true home cook, she never used precise measurements but attempted to give me some guidance:

You’ll need:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • chopped deli ham (optionally of course)
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of water (or broth for extra flavor!)
  • a large shallow pan
  • large spoon or small soup ladle
  • spatula
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

Makes about 2-3 pancakes about 6″ in diameter

Start off by washing, peeling and grating the zucchini with a medium cheese grater- you don’t want it to be too fine or else it starts getting mushy.

Combine the flour, eggs, broth or water in a large bowl then add your vegetable or meat ingredients last. Make sure it is well mixed and the zucchini is coated with the batter.

2014-03-31 18.50.18Heat the pan to medium and add the oil, wait until the pan is nice and warm-hot and drop about 3/4 cup of the mixture into the pan and cook like you would a breakfast pancake.

2014-03-31 18.32.26When you start seen bits of golden brown (after about 5-6 minutes) you can flip the pancake over and cook for about another 5-6 minutes.

2014-03-31 18.36.19These pancakes are delicious and best served piping hot. You can eat it by itself or get creative and eat it like a crepe! Below I made zucchini pancakes and added ham afterwards for a quick lunch!

2014-03-31 18.54.58You can go crazy with the recipe and substitute or add other vegetables or experiment with different types of squash. I would, however, avoid vegetables that have a high water content, cheese, or extra sauces so the pancake does not get soggy. Some ideas for additions:

  • bell peppers
  • jalapeños (for a KICK!)
  • mushrooms
  • fresh herbs
  • thinly sliced onions
  • sun-dried tomato slices
  • artichoke
  • julienned carrots
  • spinach
  • hashbrowns (!!)

Note: if you do decide to add much more ingredients then you may need to adjust the batter to make sure its well proportioned.

2014-03-31 18.51.06Thanks ma!

 

Easy-Peasy Corn Bread

Here’s a quick and easy basic corn bread recipe that makes a perfect compliment to chili, soups, BBQ dinners, or even breakfast! I borrowed this recipe from Food Network’s Moist and Easy Cornbread Recipe and added actually corn kernels to it for texture and extra sweetness.
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You will need:

  • 8 inch round baking pan, lightly greased with butter
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus butter for baking dish
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup of canned or frozen corn (optional)

Preheat your oven to 425°F.

Start by mixing all your dry ingredients in a large bowl: cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 2014-11-17 18.56.00Next in a separate bowl combine all your wet ingredients: eggs, butter, and buttermilk.

Pour in the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and fold in gently with a spatula. Make sure there’s not dry spots but it may still look lumpy and that’s okay. If you do want to add corn, fold in the corn into the batter. Then pour into your greased baking dish. 2014-11-17 19.01.51Bake for about 20-25 minutes and until it looks golden brown. You can also insert a toothpick to see if it’s done. Let it cool for about 10 minutes and serve!

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The corn bread came out fluffy, moist, and slightly sweet- I loved the burst of sweetness from the corn kernels. It went perfectly with my turkey chili!
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Browned Butternut Squash Warm Quinoa Salad

Welcome to 2015! While we are all embracing our resolutions to eat healthier, it doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice taste and a full belly. Let’s kick off the new year with this recipe that I adapted from Chow’s Browned Butternut Squash Couscous recipeCHOW is one of my favorite foodie/recipe websites!

2014-11-27 16.35.41You’ll need:

  • 1 butternut squash (about 1.5 lbs)
  • 2 teaspoon of cumin
  • Kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 1/4 cups of vegetable broth or water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 3 medium scallions

1/2 cup sliced or chopped toasted almondsphoto

Cook the quinoa and broth (or water) according to package instructions or with a rice cooker. Keep warm.

It might be a little tough but peel the skin of the squash with a vegetable peeler. Trim the top and bottom off and cut it open in half, then scrape out the seeds with a metal spoon (this was so much easier said than done). Cut into 1/4 cubes and set aside about 3 cups in a large bowl. Coat the squash in the cumin, salt, and pepper and toss.

2014-11-27 15.29.10Heat coconut or vegetable oil in a shallow pan at medium heat and cook the squash for about 30 minutes until the cubes are golden brown and tender.

2014-11-27 15.31.44In a heatproof bowl mix the warm quinoa, butternut squash, toasted almonds, and scallions together.

2014-11-27 16.28.48This recipe makes a great side dish or small meal that uses one of my favorite Fall/Winter vegetables: butternut squash. It’s full of textures from the crunchy toasted almonds, the “pop” of the quinoa, and the rich softness of the butternut.

2014-11-27 16.36.02The cumin spice in the recipe gives it a great savory flavor and has awesome healthy benefits (*fist pump*) it’s a powerful antioxidant that does all sorts of great things for your body such as boost immunity, lower blood pressure, fight colds- with the chilly winter we need all the help we can get right?

Japanese-style Cheesecake in a Rice Cooker!

This is going to be my last post of 2014! I had this recipe bookmarked for a long time and just kept putting it off until the end of the year! It’s a perfect light dessert to end the year with (before we start on all those resolutions…).

When I was a kid, I used to love love New York-style cheesecake- with its crunchy sweet crust and dense, rich creamy cheese layer- I would eat it every chance I got. Over the years I started thinking the regular cheesecakes were too sweet, too rich, and too unhealthy. I did continue to love the Japanese-style “sponge” cheesecakes that you can find pre-packaged at Asian supermarkets for $2-3. They were crustless, super fluffy and light, with a hint of sweetness and cheese. Japanese cheesecakes are also usually made steamed or baked.

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This was one of those rare occasions I set out to find a recipe for something specific I wanted to make. I found Namekkoseijin’s Ultra-Easy Cheesecake in a Rice Cooker Recipe from Cookpad Japan.

IMG_0466You will need:

  • 2 eggs
  • 40 g (for light sweetness), 60-80 g (normal sweetness), or 100 g (sweet!)
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 200 g of cream cheese
  • 200 ml of heavy cream (or milk)
  • 40 g of pancake mix (or cake flour)

IMG_0465There’s no easy way to convert the measurements so I busted out my trusty kitchen scale. This is 100 g of sugar shown here (I have a sweet tooth!).

IMG_0467My cat, Tenshi, makes here first appearance on Sweet Therapy. I know having a cat in the kitchen is not too sanitary, but she was super curious about my Kitchen Aid mixer. I had forgotten to thaw the cream cheese so I microwaved the block for about 30 seconds in 10 second intervals and stirring. I added the eggs, lemon juice and sugar and blended until it looked smooth with no chunks.

IMG_0468I added the pancake flour and the cream, spoonfuls at a time and switching between the ingredients. Mix until it is well blended and smooth, if you have a sieve- it is recommended to run it through for a smooth texture. The mixture should still be very thin and watery.

IMG_0471Pour the mixture into a rice cooker (no need to butter or grease the bowl) and hit the cook button! I don’t have a fancy Asian rice cooker, I’m still using the one I used in college that I’m pretty sure I bought in a drug store. I found my rice cooker going to “warm” when clearly the cake was not even solid yet. I had to hit the “cook” button for about 10 times until the cake was solid enough. Stick a toothpick or wooden chopstick in to make sure it comes out clean. 

IMG_0473In the Cookpad recipe, you are suppose to remove the rice cooker bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and cool until room temperature. When it’s cool, place a plate (or use your hand) into the container and flip the whole thing right side up onto the plate.

Well…I got too excited and tried to flip the cake early while it was still pretty warm and I was distracted talking so my cake literally fell apart! It’s a very soft, delicate cake so please wait! I managed to salvage a few pieces for pictures. IMG_0475My cheesecake was still a bit undercooked, but a perfect taste of sweetness and has much more cheese flavor than the store bought cakes. It’s a perfect post-dinner dessert that won’t fill you up but will satisfy your sweet tooth.

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Have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve! 

May your new year be filled with love, joy, good people and good food! ~ Sweet Therapy

Cranberry White Chocolate Walnut Cookies

I am back in the Bay Area for the holidays and excited to bake in my parents’ huge, nice kitchen. I’m a broke graduate student again so I decided to bake some treats for everyone as gifts! I adapted Food Network’s White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies Recipe with it’s festive colors and awesome combination of flavors to make these big chunky cookies. 2014-12-22 23.22.40

Ingredients (with adjustments I made):

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips — 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped — 3/4 cup walnuts pieces, chopped

Most of my family and friends don’t like “overly-sweet” foods and white chocolate are especially sweet compared to regular chocolate, so I lessened the amount. The store did not have macadamia nuts (*sad face*) but walnuts were a worthy replacement. 

2014-12-22 21.36.35Leave it to my Chinese mother to hand me a giant cleaver, when I asked for something to chop the cranberries with…

2014-12-22 21.51.32Start off by creaming the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar together until it’s nice and fluffy. Next beat in the egg and then 1 tablespoon of vanilla. 

In a separate bowl sift together flour and baking soda – then add in the flour mixture spoon by spoon to the butter/sugar mixture.

2014-12-22 21.56.11With a spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the white chocolate, cranberries, and nuts. It should be a pretty thick dough so be sure to mix the ingredients evenly.

To make large gift-worthy cookies, drop heaping spoonfuls (about 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons) of dough onto a cookie sheet with parchment paper. I was able to make about 20 cookies. Bake in the oven at 350°F for about 12-16 minutes.
2014-12-22 22.06.51When they have a nice golden edge, take them out of the oven and let them cool for a few minutes- they will still be very soft! Use a flat spatula and gently transfer them to a cooling rack.

I couldn’t help but taste test one while they were still warm! Mmm! The cranberries give it a sweet-tart flavor, the white chocolate is sweet and smooth and the walnuts give it a nutty crunch!
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These cookies will disappear quickly, so make extra for your friends, Santa, co-workers (or yourself!)2014-12-23 00.25.10

 Wishing you all happy holidays! – Sweet Therapy