Sunday, August 17, 2014

Guacamole


Guacamole and tortilla chips...soooo freaken good! It's weird, avocado on it's own I have issues with, but guacamole is a whole different animal I can eat all day. Give me guac and tortilla chips and it's crack to me.


It may be the only green "condiment" I would gladly gobble up. Remember when they used to make colored ketchup in green and blue? That was disgusting. Why? Probably because it was just an unnatural color of green or blue. Guacamole on the other hand is the most delicious green color you may ever see in a dip.


Creamy, chunky, spicy from the chiles, burst of red color from the tomatoes, freshness from the cilantro and a slight tang from the lime juice...oh lawdyyy...don't leave me in a room with guac and chips. So easy to make and so delicious!


Guacamole
Recipe by Me

Ingredients
2 ripe Hass Avocados
1 lime, juiced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded, deveined and finely diced
1/4 white onion, finely diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 roma tomato, diced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions
With a fork, mash together the avocados, lime juice, garlic, jalapeno, salt and pepper until smooth yet still chunky. Add in the onion, cilantro and tomato and mix until combined. Chill for about 1 hour so the flavors can mingle.

-Aaron John

Sunday, August 3, 2014

"The Hundred-Foot Journey"


This past Wednesday, I had the pleasure of attending a screening of "The Hundred-Foot Journey" with friends, before it is released on August 8th. It all started when I was contacted by the Publicity and Promotions Coordinator for Disney in Seattle asking if I would like to attend. Of course my answer was 'Yes!' This was the first time being on the VIP list for an event and let me tell you, it felt AMAZING. Having my name on reserved seats at a movie theater...when does that happen? For all I cared, that could've been the Oscars.

This movie was heartwarming, funny and reminded me why I love food so much. The basic premise was a family from India moves to France, establishes a restaurant and competition ensues with the restaurant next door. For me, this movie was about never being afraid to venture out, despite the obstacles that are present. New journeys will always contain times of triumphs and failures but at the end of the day, true success will occur when you are not only happy about the success you have achieved, but how you've achieved your success and who you've become along the process. You'll never be truly happy unless those factors come together and form you into the person that you are today. This is true to my life right now. Oh man, now I'm getting teary eyed. Ha!

I did not read the novel so I don't know how accurate it is the the story, but I really liked this movie. One of my friends that went read reviews before we watched it and thought he wasn't going to like it. Turned out, he liked it! If that isn't a good sign, I don't know what is.

-Aaron John

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lengua de Gato (Butter Cookies)


Oh you know, I'm still on that Filipino dessert phase. Next up is Lengua de Gato! *Cue the streamers* Remember how I had my graduation/23rd birthday party weeks ago? Well, it's not a filipino party unless there's Leche Flan. Thus, after buckets of eggs yolks, you can only imagine the amount of egg whites there was. So, what the heck did I make out of those egg whites? These cookies. Move over angel food cake, ain't nobody got time for that.


These cookies are childhood to me. Not in the sense my family would be pumping these out the oven but in the sense that whenever my grandparents would go back to the homeland, they would always bring these cookies in a clear, cylindrical container with a screw top. These cookies would be perfectly displayed within and I would just eat them endlessly.

They are flat, crunchy and sweet cookies with a hint of vanilla. These become addicting so be careful. One becomes two, which becomes three, and well, you get the idea.


Look, look, look! Don't you just want to grab it and eat like a bajillion?? I know I do!


Lengua de Gato
Recipe by Panlasang Pinoy

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup superfine white sugar Whites from 2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cream the butter using an electric mixer then gradually add the sugar. Continue mixing for another 2 minutes. Stir-in the egg whites gradually and mix for about 3 to 4 minutes more. Add salt and vanilla extract. Gradually stir-in the flour. Continue to mix for about 2 to 3 minutes more or until the mixture is well incorporated.

Get a piping bag and install a round tip. Place the mixture in the piping bag. On a baking tray lined with wax or parchment paper, begin piping the mixture. Each piece should be about 2.5 to 3 inches in length. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place in a cookie rack until the temperature cools down.

-Aaron John

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Palitaw


Two weeks ago I had my graduation and 23rd birthday party!! After many recipes that were tested to go on the dessert portion of the buffet table, this recipe made the cut. It's called Palitaw. I know what you're thinking, "Finally!! A Filipino dessert!!" and yes, you are right!


So what is Palitaw? Well, it's a rice cake that is cooked by boiling, drained and dipped into grated coconut that you can find in the freezer section of most asian grocery stores. From there, you dip the coconut covered rice cakes in a sesame seed and white sugar mixture. Some people dip the rice cakes immediately and place them on the party platter but for my party, we served the sesame seed and sugar mixture on the side.


Palitaw is chewy and soft, has great texture from the coconut and is given a slightly nutty and sweet flavor from the sugar mixture. These are one of my favorite filipino desserts and can become very addicting!


Palitaw
Recipe by Panlasang Pinoy

Ingredients
2 cups glutinous rice flour
1 cup water
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup sesame seeds, roasted
1 cup grated coconut

Directions
Combine glutinous rice flour with water and mix until a dough is formed. If the dough is still dry, add more water. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough then mold it into a ball-shaped figure. Flatten the ball-shaped dough using the palm of your hands.

Boil water in a cooking pot then put-in the flattened dough. When the flattened dough starts to float, remove them from the pot and set it aside allowing water to drip. Combine sugar and roasted sesame seeds then mix well. Dunk the rice cake in grated coconut and arrange on platter. Serve with a bowl of the sugar-sesame seed mixture to dip in on the side.

-Aaron John

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Raspberry Crumble Bars


Well, well, well, it looks like I'M BACK! After five years of homework, studying, projects, essays, labs, quizzes, midterms and finals, I am officially a graduate of the University of Washington with a double degree in Biochemistry & Chemistry and a minor in Diversity. It has been a long road full of triumphs and failures, but I did it! Now the question is, what's next?



When I started my journey at UW-Seattle, I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I jumped from different ideas, from pharmacy, to business, to just wanting to drop out and go to culinary school. People always say, "Do what you love", even my friends say that. But growing up, when you have to work for everything you've ever owned, where nothing is handed on a silver platter, where every time that tuition statement comes out, you hate to tell your parents about how much tuition was raised, doing what you love didn't really seem like an option. If I wanted to live out my dream whether that be a bakery, cafe or some show on the Food Network or Cooking Channel, I needed a backup plan and that was my two degrees.


After all is said and done, I still don't know what I want to do with my life. What I do know is that I'm going to take a year off of school, apply to pharmacy schools in the fall and look for jobs in the meantime. If I find a job god enough, maybe pharmacy school isn't necessary. But, that's what this next year is all about, figuring out my next step in life.


Until then, there is one last thing to do before I figure out my life, and that is my joint graduation and 23rd birthday party! Can I just say, I haven't had a party like this since grade school so this is kind of a big deal. This past week, I've been testing out recipes on what desserts I need to make and this was one recipe I tried out. These raspberry crumble bars were fantastic. My only criticism would be to bake the bottom layer for about 20 min or until lightly golden brown before adding the raspberry preserves. I found the bottom layer to be a bit soft and failed to hold together if that's not done. Other than that, this may be an option for the party!


Raspberry Crumble Bars
Recipe by Anne Thornton

Ingredients
2 sticks butter, softened, plus more for the pan
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Raspberry Preserves, recipe follows

Raspberry Preserves
1 quart raspberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 3/4 cup sugar

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.

Add the flour, both sugars, oats and salt to a bowl in your stand mixer. Add in the butter and egg and beat at low speed. Stop the machine and scrape the bowl down a couple of times. Keep processing until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Keep 2 cups crumb mixture aside.

Press the remaining crumb mixture on the bottom the prepared pan. Spread the Raspberry Preserves over top, leaving 1/2-inch border. Crumble the rest of the oat mixture over the preserves.

Bake until lightly browned, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Raspberry Preserves:
Put your raspberries and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it's at a simmer, partially cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes. Pass the berry mixture through a food mill and measure the liquid that remains. You need 3 1/2 cups. Add more water if there isn't enough.

Put the berry liquid into a new saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer again. Once it simmers, start adding your sugar in 1/2 cup increments. Give it a stir to incorporate and bring it back to a simmer before adding of the next 1/2 cup sugar. Once the last 1/2 cup is added, bring the liquid to 216 to 218 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Stir constantly. Let this cool to room temperature prior to using. If not using right away, refrigerate for up to 1 week

-Aaron John

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