Quiche Lorraine

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HAPPY NEW YEAR’S EVE (Well it is in Japan)!! I hope everyone has exciting plans! Me, I’m staying home with my date, my kitchen aid. That’s what happens when all your friends are not in the same country, but that’s okay. I’m not one for crowds anyway, all that getting lost and screaming your head off for your friends and bobbing up in down in a sea of people. I’d rather snuggle with my puppies at home, eat food and watch the count downs on TV.

Tonight, my family is having a New Year’s Eve party, we always do it’s kind of like a tradition. A potluck dinner with friends and family, who can ask for anything more? This year, instead of just arranging the cheese plate and making my sun-dried tomato cream cheese dip, my mom asked me to make a quiche. She absolutely adores quiches and I had recently found a recipe for quiche I was dying to try so I thought why not? I found the recipe on Smitten Kitchen, I love her blog. I think it was one of the blogs that made me want to start my own 🙂

So let’s get started!

Ingredients:

Filling:

-1 onion, diced (smitten kitchen’s recipe called for leeks as well, but I omitted them because I didn’t have any at home)

-1 tbsp or 2 olive oil

-1 1/2 cups diced bacon (Smitten Kitchen called for ham, but we only had bacon)

-1 cup shredded cheese (I used a mix of gouda and I think guyere)

-parmesan cheese

Batter:

-3 eggs

-1 cup heavy cream

-1 cup sour cream

-a pinch each of salt, nutmeg and pepper

Crust:

For the crust, I used my go-to pie crust recipe

-1 1/4 cup flour

-8 tbsp butter (1 stick or 1/2 a cup)

-1/4 tsp salt

-3 tbsp ice cold water

Directions:

  1. Caramelize the diced onion in a large saute pan. About 30-40 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2.  Combine the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in the butter until it is about pea sized. Add in the water and mix until a dough forms. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and line a pie pan. I used a tart pan and honestly it was a pretty bad mistake, the filling overflowed. I think next time I’ll use my 9-inch spring form pan. That way I’ll have a deeper pie 🙂 Gently press to remove any air bubbles and place in the freezer while you make the batter.
  3. Combine the heavy cream and the sour cream until well blended. Add in the eggs and mix until well combined. Add in the nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 F
  5. Remove the crust from the freezer and sprinkle the  base with parmesan cheese. I heard that doing this keeps the crust from getting soggy. Then evenly spread the caramelized onions across the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle on the bacon and then the cheese. Pour the batter over the top (make sure you don’t overfill!)
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is nice and brown and the crust is golden. Let the quiche cool (the eggs with deflate) and serve!

This year has been absolutely wonderful and I’ve been so lucky to have readers like you! I reached 2,400 views this year and it’s only my first! Honestly, I couldn’t have done it without you.  I hope you all have a wonderful evening and see you in 2013! 😀

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

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Chocolate Chip Shortbread

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I was perusing through my FoodNetwork Magazine, the holiday edition with the cookies and stuff because I wanted to bake again and because I was up at 7 AM. Jetlag can be kind of nice. Unfortunately it’s hard to find molasses in Japan unless you go to a foreign foods store like Nishin or National Azabu, so instead of baking chewy ginger cookies that my sister wanted me to try and bake, I stuck to a simple recipe: the chocolate chip shortbread. As always, I did add a little twist of my own in the form of adding instant coffee powder to the chocolate drizzle. Hmm I think I definitely have an addiction to chocolate, seeing as almost everything I bake has chocolate or something. I promise that next time I bake something sweet, I’ll stay away from the chocolate and try something new 🙂

Well let’s get baking!

Ingredients:

-2 sticks unsalted butter
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-3/4 cup powdered sugar
-2 cups AP flour
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
-1 tsp instant coffee powder (optional)
-A splash of heavy cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a square cake pan with aluminum foil (this will make it easier to take the shortbread out of the pan).
  2. In an electric mixer, cream the butter, vanilla and salt until it is smooth. Reduce the speed of the electric mixer to low and add in the powdered sugar, beating until it’s just incorporated. Then add in the flour (in two batches) and beat until smooth. Fold in half the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.
  3. Dust your hands with flour and scoop out the dough. Press into the prepared pan and score it with a knife. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the edges are firm and golden. Rescore the cookies and let cool for 20 minutes. photo 2
  4. Melt the remaining chocolate chips with the heavy cream and the instant coffee powder, creating a ganache like topping. Once the shortbread is cooled, place this mixture in a ziploc bag and drizzle it on top. photo 3
  5. Remove the shortbread from the pan and cut along the scored lines.

These are deliciously buttery and crisp! While my sister wasn’t a huge fan of the coffee infused chocolate, I thought that it gave a nice bitterness to counter the sweetness of the shortbread!

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

Nutella Crater Cookies

IMG_4764If you are a nutella fiend, then this cookie is for you. It is absolutely delicious with it’s chocolate-y goodness and the gooey nutella center. I found the recipe at The Casual Baker‘s site and I’ve fallen in love with them. It’s a super simple recipe too, all you need is nutella and a few extra ingredients. They’re almost like meringue cookies in that they tend to melt in your mouth the minute you eat one.

So let’s get started!

Ingredients:

-12 ounces powdered sugar
-2 ounces cocoa powder
-1/4 tsp salt
-3 egg whites, at room temperature
-1 tsp vanilla
-a jar of nutella

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and the salt. Add in the egg whites one by one, beating with an electric mixer until well blended before adding the next egg white. Mix in the vanilla and beat again for another 2 minutes on high.
  3. Drop a heaping tablespoon of the cookie batter  onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Then take a small spoon and drop a small dollop of nutella in the center.
  4. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the surface of the cookies are lightly cracked. Cool on the baking sheets

These are delicious, but a tad on the sweet side so make sure you have some milk or coffee to wash it down 🙂 I think I might try making nutella on my own, seeing as I have an unhealthy addiction to it. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

Chocolate-chocolate chunk cookies

Hey there! How was everyone’s holidays? I’ve finally settled down for a bit in Tokyo. I got home and it was a whirlwind of meeting family members to say “Hi, hello! I’m back!” unpacking, and running more errands with my mom. Today was the first time in a while that I got to relax and just stay at home. Oh and play with my new baby 🙂 Yup, for christmas I got a yellow kitchen aid and I am now, hopefully, never leaving my kitchen. It was the best gift ever! I just wish I could take it back to the states with me 😦 photo-1After running around doing chores and such, I finally managed to take inventory of the kitchen and go grocery shopping with my mom (can I just say how ridiculously expensive things can be in Japan? and how TINY everything is? I laughed at how small the bags of flour are). Anyway, I got all my ingredients and got to break in my new kitchen aid today. Since we had a lot of chocolate, I decided to make something chocolate-y (and because well who doesn’t want something chocolate-y?). I looked through my favorite cookbook “Luscious Chocolate Desserts” and found a recipe for chocolate-chocolate chunk cookies. Mmmmmm double chocolate cookies sounded good to me, so I got all my ingredients out and got baking. photo Ingredients:

-11 ounces semisweet chocolate
-3 tbsp unsalted butter
-1 tsp espresso powder
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
-2 eggs
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/3 cup AP flour
-1/4 tsp baking powder
-a pinch of salt (since I used salted butter, I omitted the salt)
-1 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts or pecans (I used almonds instead of hazelnuts and pecans. And I didn’t toast them, but I probably should have seeing as toasting emphasizes the nuttiness)
Optional
–1/4 cup coca nibs

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Coarsely chop 8 ounces of the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl with the butter and the espresso powder. Place bowl on top of a saucepan of about 1 cup of simmering water (in other words, it’s a double boiler) and whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside.
  3. Beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla with an electric mixer until well blended. Add in the  chocolate mixture and beat until smooth. Then add in the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk until well blended. Fold in the remaining chocolate, nuts and cocoa.
  4. Drop the batter, the book says using 1/4 cups, but I used a tablespoon, onto the baking sheets leaving at least an inch apart. They do spread, but only a little bit. I made the mistake of putting too much space and ended up baking the cookies in two batches. That wasn’t good because the chocolate does harden and when it does it makes it harder to work with the batter and I think it also affects how they bake.
  5. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the tops are lightly cracked.
  6. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy them with a cup of coffee or store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days.

These cookies were delicious and my grandma won’t stop bugging me to give her the recipe. I guess it means they are a must for every chocolate lover out there! If you don’t like nuts/are allergic to them I’m sure you can remove them from the recipe and they would still taste great! If you’re a vegan, definitely use vegan chocolate and egg substitute. I suppose if you’re not a fan of semisweet chocolate you can also replace with with either dark chocolate, bittersweet or even white chocolate. I might dry adding some dried fruit or maybe some raspberry jam. Oh and if they’re for a a dinner party or something, I think they can be dressed up with powdered sugar (powdered suar always makes things look a lot more elegant) The possibilities are endless! 🙂 Hugs and puppies! Mimi

Super Sweet Blogging Award

Another Nomination! I feel very lucky and very grateful for this nomination. Thanks to Carla Sue for the nomination! 

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This is such a cute award 🙂 I really love perusing through Carla’s blog, she has so many great recipes that I’m dying to try and I honestly think that every baker out there should go check her out! She has dozens of sweet recipes that are sure to make your mouth water 🙂

Well we know that with every nomination for an award comes a list of things, so let’s get started!

1. Cookie or Cake? I love myself a good crispy chocolate chip cookie, so I guess it’s cookie for me! Although I do love baking cupcakes.
2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate without a doubt! I’m a huge dark chocolate addict and there is no denying it. 
3. What is your favourite sweet treat? That depends on the weather 🙂 If it’s hot, a nice bowl of chocolate ice cream. If it’s cold, a nice warm mug of hot chocolate or tea and cookies (See I told you I’m a choco-holic)
4. When do you crave sweet things the most? Usually after a very savory meal. I like having a little piece of chocolate now and then too :p 
5. If you had a sweet nickname what would it be? I have lots of nicknames: meems, mimi, mimster but I think if it’s sweet I have to go with Miyoreos. I got that because of my brief affair with oreos 😉

Now the fun part! Nominating a baker’s dozen of other awesome food bloggers!

A Lot on Your Plate

Pretty Happy Baking

Kira’s Cakes

Sweet Little Thang

Sugar Flight

My Sweet Addiction

Diva di Cucina

How Sweet It is

Baking Obsession

Once Upon a Cakestand

The Fairy Bread Chronicles

I heart Katie Cakes

Your Cup of Cake

 

And that’s it 🙂 I have to move out of my dorm today, so today will be a day not filled with baking even though I’ve finished finals and would have loved to make a mess in the kitchen. I suppose that’ll have to wait until I get HOME! 😀 I haven’t been home in a year and let me tell you, this little baker is VERY excited! So the next time you’ll hear from me, I’ll probably have left the wonderful NYC and is comfortably settled in Tokyo 🙂

See you later! Or should I say mata atode?

Mimi 

Cinnamon Rolls

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Cinnamon rolls were always something that intrigued me, but I hated cinnabon because they were too sweet! I mean, just the cinnamon roll itself is sweet and when you add the icing? Talk about sweetness overload. So I did what any normal baker like myself would do when we find things to be unappealing to our tastebuds. I made them myself. I found this recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks of all time. My Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. Yes I am a nerd and yes I play college Quidditch as a seeker on the NYU Nundu.

Ingredients:

Dough:
-1/4 cup warm water
-1 tablespoon dry active yeast
-1 tablespoon granulated sugar
-2/3 cup whole milk
-1/4 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
-3 cups AP flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-2 eggs
-1/3 cup granulated sugar
Filling:
-1 tablespoon unsalted butter (melted)
-1/4 cup dark brown sugar (tightly packed)
-1 tablespoon cinnamon
Icing:
-1 cup confectioner’s sugar
-4 ounces cream cheese
-1 tablespoon heavy cream
-1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Combine the water, yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in a mixing bowl and set aside until puffy. Heat the milk and butter until the butter is melted and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and 1/3 cup sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add in the milk and butter and mix until well combined.
  2. Whisk together the flour and salt in yet another bowl. Gradually add in the yeast mixture and the egg mixture until it is well combined. Knead the dough with either a electric mixer (using a dough hook) or on a lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  3. Place the dough in a oiled bowl, turning to coat the dough, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place (about 40 celsius or 104 Fahrenheit) until the dough doubles in size (about an hour and a half to two hours)
  4. Meanwhile make the cinnamon sugar filling and the icing (store the icing in the fridge)
  5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is a 16 by 12 inch rectangle. Brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle it with cinnamon-sugar. Roll it up into a neat little cylinder and cut into slices. You should have about 12 slices.
  6. Lay the rolls into a prepared pan and leave them to rise again for about an hour or two.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit (176-177 Celsius) and bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pan after 10 minutes.
  8. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting it onto a serving platter and spread the icing over the rolls.


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Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

P.S Again, apologies for the crappy photo quality. One day I’ll get a nice camera and take a photography class or something

My class at Le Cordon Bleu

A few winters ago, I managed to enroll in the Sabrina courses at Le Cordon Bleu. I had a patessarie class and a lunch/dinner class. For the lunch/dinner, the menu was Filet Mignon De Porc Roti Et Son Etuvee De Chou Au Bacon Et Carotte Vichy (please excuse the lack of accents and other French grammar that I cannot produce on my keyboard). Ahahah I know that’s quite a mouthful, but it is quite a delicious mouthful. Basically it was a slow roasted (roti in french means slowly roasted meat) pork filet, cabbage and bacon steamed and cooked in butter, and carrots in a creamy butter sauce (almost like glazed carrots). This post is more of a photographic one, so hopefully you’ll enjoy it 🙂

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Well we first started off with the pork filet. We prepared it by cutting off all the tendons and the fats, saving them to flavor the sauce we would prepare for the filet.

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Then when that was done we set the pork aside.

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We then laid out four pieces of prosciutto, brushed them with egg whites, placed four sage leaves on top and brushed them with egg whites again.

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Then we placed the prepared pork filet on top of the sage leaves, brushed egg whites on top of the pork, placed four more sage leaves on top of the pork, brushed more egg whites on the sage leaves and finally layered the remaining four pieces of prosciutto on the pork and rolled the prosciutto tightly over the pork.

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Essentially it was like a pork filet and prosciutto sausage.

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After browning the surface of the pork filet in a frying pan, we then placed it in a pan and slid it into the oven to be roasted slowly.

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The pork filet cannot be cooked in a frying pan because it is covered in prosciutto, which can easily burn and it was too thick. Therefore it is browned to seal in the meat juices and then placed in the oven to be slow roasted, making it a roti.

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We then made a sauce for the roti using veal broth, white wine and the tendons that we cut off earlier (don’t worry it’s not as gross as it sounds…we drained the sauce and discarded the tendons. They were only used to flavor the sauce).

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While the meat was in the oven, we melted butter (a lot of it) in two pans and got started on the carrot vichy and the cabbage and bacon embeurrée (in french, embeurrée means buttered).

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Well I’m sure you can imagine what happened then. We cut and peeled carrots, cabbages and sliced bacon. The cabbage and bacon went into one pan of butter while the carrots went into the other pan.

IMG_3738After adding salt and pepper and mixing the cabbage and bacon we covered it with a paper lid and a normal pan lid to steam the vegetables and make them tender.

IMG_3739 For the carrots, we added salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar, mixed it well and then double-lidded it.

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It was all together an excellent experience and well worth it. My family enjoyed every bite of the dinner I brought home and they can’t wait for me to make it again.Once I find the recipe…

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Hugs and puppies!

Mimi