Tag Archives: hand made

Bippity Boppity Bi Bim Bop

28 Aug

If you are gluten-free or have any common sense whatsoever, you know that quinoa is AWESOME (unless you can’t eat it in which case I’m sure you are still intelligent, just at a slight disadvantage in quinoa-eating competitions and similar matters). I squeem, you squeem, we all squeem for (s)quinoa. It’s a pure protein, it’s got a delicious flavor, it blends well but stays confident as a flour, it looks pretty…it’s an all-around winner. If Brandon and I are actually home for the week we probably eat it at least 2-3 times in the span of a few days. The good news is that I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to be addicted to quinoa. The bad news is that I’m addicted to quinoa. Anyways, it fits well with most anything it’s paired with, which in this case is my own version of bi bim bop. Bibimbap. B-bop. Betty boop…buhhh…whatever you want to call it. I feel slightly sacreligious calling this bi bim bop because it is not being delivered to me by my favorite Korean lady at Bell’s Diner in Ann Arbor and it’s not covered in “special Korean hot sauce” which looks exactly like ketchup but tastes like magic.

Anyways, I looked it up, and bibimbop basically suggests a dish mixed with rice. Now, if you experienced any part of my childhood, pretty much everything could hypothetically have been called bibimbop since it all got mixed together in the rice bowl. Reading that back, I feel like I am suggesting more Asian-ness than is really accurate. For goodness sake, my favorite preparation of rice included solely (lots of) butter and soy sauce. I still sometimes eat that when I need comfort food. My family called it “Katie rice” which actually is more like “it’s ok cause you’re only half Asian” rice. I infinitely digress! Bibimbop has been amazing everywhere I’ve eaten it and I have non-deliberately Americanized it for my own purposes (those purposes mostly being “I have these ingredients and I am going to mix them all together eventually but if I display them nicely and put a fried egg on top I can call them bibimbop”). Bibimbop seems like a pretty flexible concept to me. Some people put raw seafood on it, some prefer marinated beef; I like mine with a healthy dose of (Brinery) kimchi and a runny egg. Unfortunately on this day of bibimbop creation we were out of pickled foods (FOR SHAAAAME!) so while my stomach was greatly satisfied it still wept a little for its long lost best friend.

So here’s what I ended up with:

QUI-BIM-BOP (heh, sorry)

Serves 2

1 cup quinoa (in these photos, I was trying out a blend of grains including quinoas and wild rice)

2 large carrots, julienned and cooked to your preference (steamed or pan-fried…buttery carrots are always tasty)

1 cup cooked spinach (I steamed mine and then mixed it with Tamari)

2 small zucchini, cubed and cooked to your preference (pan-fried and seasoned with a little salt and pepper)

1/2 lb tempeh, cubed and cooked however you want (this would be a great use of maple/Tamari marinated tempeh–just cube some fresh tempeh and soak it in a 3:2ish mixture of Tamari to maple syrup with a clove or two of minced garlic for at least 30 min, then pan-fried)

1 cup sugar snap peas, steamed

2 large eggs, cooked to order

seasonings I would suggest you try out to taste, not necessarily all together: salt & pepper, olive oil, Tamari, Sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce), rice wine vinaigrette

As I mentioned, bibimbop is a mixed rice dish. So, simply split the cooked quinoa between two bowls and top with your ingredients. I assembled mine to look nice, then covered it all in Sriracha and made a delicious mess of it. This is a perfect dish to get creative with. Instead of marinated beef or seafood, Brandon and I (naturally) opted for tempeh (yet another thing I may be addicted to…it could be worse!). I had zucchini on hand, so they went in the bowl. Mung bean sprouts or julienned cucumber would be a super fresh, crunchy addition to this meal. Other things you can sub in might be short-grain brown rice for the quinoa or kale for the spinach. The opportunities are (gluten-free and) boundless.

Enjoy!

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Gluten-Free Lemon Curd-Filled Cupcakes, AKA Summer In Your Mouth

14 Jun

I’m going to stop beginning my posts by remarking how long it’s been since I posted. I think maybe I should cut myself a little slack…after all one can only be obsessed with so many things at once. I write to you now from the road, currently heading to Toronto with Orpheum Bell. We’re headed to play at a festival called North By North East (Think SXSW but with Canadian accents eh?). It’s my first show with them since my vocal cord surgery in March! That’s a whole story in itself. I could even tell you what I ate while all drugged up, totally silent, and nursing a very tender throat (non-dairy chocolate-spinach milkshakes and raw avocado/spinach/green everything soup while watching lots of movies…fun times for Brandon…). But that’s long past. What is important today is this:


Yep. Cupcakes. Cupcakes are starting to haunt my dreams. Brandon’s birthday was on Monday. I asked him if he had any preference for cupcake flavor, and he very ambivalently suggested “maybe something with chocolate…not a chocolate cupcake but like…chocolate in it…I don’t know.” I interpreted this as “I trust you darling! Make me something delicious” and went running far from chocolate chip cupcakes to the land of lemon. Inspired by some delicious lemon curd I tasted at the Portland Farmers Market, I decided to experiment with filled cupcakes, or “surprise cupcakes” as I like to call them. Perhaps you all can help me name these cupcakes. I can only think of cheesy things like “lemon clouds” or “lemon dream cupcakes” because they are so fluffy on the first bite and wonderfully smooth and tart upon reaching the surprise lemon curd in the center. Are you hungry yet? I am. I’m sitting at the border waiting to cross into Canada and all I want to do is eat a cupcake now that I’ve sat here and stared at pictures of them.

Well, dear reader, the odds of you being near your kitchen are probably pretty high, so you could be the lucky consumer of a delicious cupcake if you just follow your rumbling tummy down the rest of this page! I will warn you that these are not quick and dirty. You have to take your time and love them tenderly. So maybe have a snack and then get working on these.




LEMON ON LEMON CUPCAKE DELIGHTS (seriously, I need help with a name. Come on, people.)
*Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe, altered by yours truly

So I woke up around 6 AM (naturally) on the day of Brandon’s birthday, like a kid on Christmas morning, except this time I was freakishly excited to make cupcakes. I waited til about 8 AM to appease my roommates then got to making lemon curd. It’s surprisingly easy! I will even tell you how to make it without straining it.

LEMON CURD

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temp (Please don’t microwave this. Let it sit out and soften on its own.)
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 large eggs
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest

In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until somewhat smooth. Add in the eggs and egg yolks and beat for about a minute (this is what keeps you from straining later!). Mix in the lemon juice last. It may look a little funky, but no worries. The chunks will disappear as you cook and the butter melts.

Using a heavy-based saucepan, cook the mixture on low heat until it smooths out. Increase the heat to an easy medium and stir constantly until the mixture thickens. It should reach about 170 degrees (F) but should not boil. This should take around 15 minutes. Once thickened, remove from heat and add in the lemon zest. Transfer to a covered container and let chill in the fridge for a few hours. And ta dah! You have delicious lemon curd. I made 24 cupcakes, filled them with lemon curd, and still had some curd left over.

"the fried egg"

LEMON LADY CUPCAKES (still trying with that name thing)

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 3/4 cups gluten-free flour mix (I used C4C, I was lazy today and didn’t feel like mixing my own)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs at room temperature, separated
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
zest of one lemon
4 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup yogurt (I used The Greek Gods honey flavored Greek yogurt…yum)

Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk all dry ingredients together in a bowl to combine.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks begin to form. Add in 1/2 cup sugar and continue whisking until stiffer peaks form. Set aside.

In another large bowl, with your mixer on medium speed, cream the butter until smooth.
Add in 3/4 cup sugar and lemon zest and beat until fluffy.
Add the yolks, one at a time until combined. Then add the vanilla and lemon juice.
Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add 1/3 of the dry ingredients until combined. Follow with half of the yogurt, then another third of the flour mix, the second half of the yogurt, and the remaining third of the flour mix until all combined.

Mix in one third of the egg whites, and then fold the rest gently into the batter.

Fill two lined muffin tins with the batter and bake for 15-20 minutes (they should get slightly browned on top–mine were big and needed a little more time since they’re dense). Let cool slightly before removing from muffin tins, and then let cool completely on a rack.

I’m sorry I didn’t take any process pictures! I was so consumed with getting these made that I just powered through.


When the cupcakes have cooled, remove a portion of their centers, as if coring an apple. This is where your lemon curd will go (and now you can sample the cupcake goodness).
Fill a pastry bag with lemon curd, and inject the curd into the center of the cupcakes til the curd reaches the top of the cupcake (think Ho-Ho but healthier and tastier).

Now, time to decide what to top the cupcakes with! I think a meringue would be really nice, but I didn’t have time for that and instead opted for a simple buttercream frosting.

"the brain"

EASY BUTTERCREAM
3-4 cups powdered sugar
2 sticks or 1/2 lb butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
up to 4 Tbsp milk (I used flax milk)

Beat the butter using an electric mixer for a few minutes. Add the powdered sugar in a few batches until incorporated. Then add in the salt, vanilla, and 2 Tbsp milk. Beat until smooth. If the frosting is too soft, add more powdered sugar. If it’s too stiff, add more milk!

You can pipe the frosting on or spread it, you decide! I played with a little of both. It was a little too hot outside, though, and my frosting quickly decided it no longer wanted to play. I just acquired frosting bag tips, so bear with me as I experiment.

"underwater basket weaving"

"the poodle"

These were the perfect dessert to come home to after a spicy Indian dinner with the Brandon’s family. I spelled out “happy birthday b!” in (homemade) marzipan letters and lit about 7 candles in the cupcakes, my reasoning being that that’s probably closer to Brandon’s age “on the inside.”

I hope you like these cupcakes as much as we did.

Enjoy!

 

Portland Part Deux

6 Jun

And the travel adventures continue! Our last couple days in Portland included less exploration of the east side than Brandon would have preferred, but we did manage to make it to a couple stellar spots.

First up on the list of all things amazing is Pok Pok. A small Thai BBQ restaurant on Portland’s east side headed by James Beard Award winner, chef Andy Ricker. We’ve been introduced to drinking vinegars in Portland, and at Pok Pok Brandon snagged a tamarind flavored drinking vinegar (mixed with soda water) while I sipped on a fresh limeade.

I can’t name all of the incredible dishes we had (really, they had complicated names that the menu even joked about) but think intensely flavored broth and noodle dishes, satay with peanut dipping sauce and spicy pickled vegetables, and Pok Pok exclusive barbecue wings. Seriously. Next time you’re Portland, you have to grab a seat at this busy little spot.

Aaaand my mom is officially jealous…now.

Moving on and about town, I of course can’t neglect the food carts. We dined but briefly for an afternoon snack, opting for Cuban beans and rice with sweet potato tots at Cubo de Cuba. There were options across town in all of the neighborhoods…it’s just too bad we weren’t constantly hungry!

* * * * * *
And to top off our Portland food fest, I leave you with Salt and Straw. After failing to visit any of the gluten-free bakeries I wanted to try (I trekked to New Cascadia, neglecting to make sure they were open), I was determined to make my way to Salt and Straw. Portland’s self-proclaimed “farm to cone” ice cream shop is known for its local ingredients and wildly unique flavors–think bone marrow, beer, and more.
As I am wont to do, my first choice was a sea salt ice cream with a caramel ripple. I coupled that with a banana, “spicy monkey” caramel (spiked with Hot Monkey Vodka), and walnut flavor. Needless to say, they were both amazing. And especially when combined together. Brandon tried strawberry honey balsamic with cracked black pepper (they use pepper to enhance the flavors in the fruit) alongside “Grandma Malek’s almond brittle” with salted ganache. Two more winners, naturally. The strawberry balsamic was a fascinating flavor–upon tasting, the balsamic hits your tongue first. As the ice cream melts, the fresh Oregon strawberries linger on your tongue. And the almond brittle, a family recipe, had a perfect taste and texture next to the ganache, both perfectly combining salty and sweet.
The ice cream alone would have probably been enough to make my trip to Portland worth it, but the weekend full of food, pair of cozy new boots, and time with my family really made it a great weekend. We’re in San Francisco now and goodness knows we’ll continue to eat well.
I’ll leave you with a few shots of Portland’s gorgeous International Rose Test Garden, which remained beautiful despite the drizzle.
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