Naan (Flatbread)

 

 

Naan1

Everyone has at least one food obsession- something that you can’t say no to no matter how full you are. For me, it’s bread. Soft, fluffy, and fresh from the oven. While trying to think of words to describe the satisfaction that comes with making this bread, I suddenly had a craving for it. Considering all the ingredients are kitchen staples, making a decision has never been so easy. As I type away now, there is a bowl of dough rising  in the corner that will soon become steaming fresh naan.

This flatbread is versatile because you can eat it bare in its simplicity or pair it with some tikka masala or other saucy dish to scoop up the flavors as pictured above. You can also add a spread on it like za’atar (oregano thyme spice blend) with some olive oil and toast it for a few minutes for a fulfilling breakfast or midday snack as shown below.

Naan

Naan

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

Chicken Tikka

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup warm water (not hot)
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions

  1. Combine the warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl and leave undisturbed for 10 minutes. You will see a thin layer of foam develop.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the flour, salt, remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar together and set aside.
  3. Add the yogurt and olive oil to the yeast mixture and whisk to combine. Pour this into the dry ingredients. Mix with a fork initially till most of the flour is incorporated into the dough.
  4. Knead the dough with your hands for a minute or two forming it into a ball. The dough will be slightly sticky and soft. If you feel that it is too sticky, add flour as needed (I added about an extra 1/4 cup of flour).
  5. Lightly oil a medium sized bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise in a warm area for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
  6. Warm a large cast iron pan or a nonstick skillet over medium heat until very hot. Dust a clean surface with flour and separate the dough into 6 pieces. Roll out each piece into an oval shape, taking care to dust the dough with flour so that it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin.
  7. Put the dough into the dry heated skillet and cook until you see the top bubble up, which should take a few minutes. Flip the dough and cook the other side for another minute or two until you see the browned spots.
  8. Remove the naan from the pan and brush generously with the melted butter on both sides. Place the naan in a towel lined basket or dish to keep it warm.

Adapted from OnceUponAChef

 

Step By Step Photos

Naan

Yeast mixed in with the warm water and sugar, notice how it is starting to foam up

Naan

Dough ready to rise in an oiled bowl

Naan

After dough is done rising, cut it up into 6 pieces

Naan

Roll each piece out into an oval shape to your desired thickness

Naan

Place the rolled dough into a heated cast iron or nonstick skillet and you’ll see it bubble up

 

Naan

Flip it over to cook the other side

Naan

After a minute or two, flip it and you’ll see these beautiful brown spots

Naan

Be creative, eat your naan in its simplicity or spread some za’atar on it

 

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Mango Coconut Smoothie

Mango Coconut Smoothie

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple, learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen” -John Steinbeck

After reading this quote in a cookbook earlier, it just stuck. I love the versatility of it in that it can apply to any realm that you are inquisitive about. Well, I’ll have to assume you’re at least passionate about food-related subjects if you’re reading my blog post. Whatever it is that you are craving and cooking now or even experimenting with, it takes a few tries to know the ins and outs of your dish before you are comfortable enough to help others with troubleshooting. If ideas really were like rabbits, then I’m sure many of us would be hoarders haha.

Anyways, for the past few weeks, I was on a smoothie roll. I kept it to the basics- frozen fruit, milk, honey- and it was satisfying for both breakfasts and study snacks. It got a little boring though and I figured I would change it up, while still keeping it simple. No one wants to make a 20 ingredient smoothie in the morning.

The mango in this smoothie is complimented by the creaminess of the coconut milk and the slight acidity of the lemon juice. It’s a guilt-free smoothie and perfect for those who are dairy free or vegans. Of course, you can adjust it to your like. If you like smoothies that are thicker, add more frozen mango chunks or if you like it on the watery side, you can reduce the amount of mango. This is a great base for any smoothie and if you want to highlight a distinct fruit then simply switch out the mangos for something like pomegranate or raspberries.

Mango Coconut Smoothie

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mango chunks
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar

Directions

  1. Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Pour in a glass and enjoy.

Adapted from KitchenConfidante

 

 

 

Smoothie Bowl Basics

Smoothie Bowl

A drink that is so easy to blend that you don’t even have to think about it twice. Got milk? Got bananas? Got strawberries? You already have all the ingredients for a basic smoothie bowl and you don’t even know it. It’s so much funner eating a smoothie from a bowl than drinking it! Drinking them from straws or even just a cup, every single time, gets boring quickly.There’s just something about using a spoon that makes it seem more like a solid breakfast to me, not to mention the loads of fruit that its covered with. It may be hard to eat such a good-looking smoothie, when all we do is eat with our eyes. But… Once your spoon goes in for the first bite, it will disappear as quick as a popped bubble. Read on to make your own antioxidant-rich, creamy smoothie topped with a sweet crunchy granola and some soft, fresh fruit.

Smoothie Bowl

One of the simplest pleasures in life is finding a recipe that you want to make and realizing that you have every single ingredient listed. No grocery stores needed. The beauty of the smoothie bowl is that one can customize it based on their own personal preferences or even whatever is in the fridge/freezer. If you plan on making smoothies regularly, it is convenient to buy frozen fruit in bulk to always have it on hand.

Smoothie Bowl Basics

  • Liquid
    • Base of the smoothie bowl
    • Fruity: Orange Juice, Apple Juice; can be freshly squeezed or packaged
    • Tropical: Coconut Water, Pineapple Juice
    • Creamy: Milk (whole, 2%, skim, soy, coconut, almond)
    • Water: adds no flavor to the drink
  • Fruit/Veggies
    • Best if frozen to keep your smoothie cold without having to use ice
    • Strawberries, Bananas, Kiwi, Mangoes, Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Dragonfruit, etc
    • Kale, Cucumbers, Spinach
  • Thickener
    • Greek Yogurt, Xantham Gum, Bananas, Frozen Fruit, Ice
    • Try to use ice as a last resort so that you can have a more flavorful drink
  • Flavorings
    • Vanilla Extract , Honey, Sugar, Agave Nectar, Maple Syrup
  • Toppings
    • Best to have a fusion of different colors
    • Fruits, fresh preferred: chopped, sliced, halved (be careful when adding too much dried fruit because it is concentrated in sugar due to no water content)
    • Granola: fun flavors such as chocolate chip, cranberry apple, maple peanut butter, cinnamon raisin spice
    • Nuts/Seeds: slivered almonds, flaxseed, whole oats, hazelnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds
    • Superfoods: cocoa nibs, unsweetened shredded coconut, chia seeds, hemp seeds, avocado

 Tips

  • When making your own smoothie bowl, have all the fruit cut and ready to place on top before you start assembling it so that you can eat it right after
  • If the smoothie is too thick, stop blending, shake the mixer, and add small amounts of the chosen liquid at a time
  • Make sure the smoothie is thick so that your fruit don’t sink to the bottom
  • Check out some fun inspiration for smoothie bowls on this Buzzfeed article

Smoothie Bowl

These are only various combinations to inspire a smoothie bowl, so do not feel limited as there is a lot more that I have not included. Now it’s your turn to have fun with all the different combinations to make the perfect personalized smoothie bowl!

Smoothie Bowl

What unique combinations have you used in smoothie bowls?

 

Pumpkin Pecan Waffles

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Slightly cool breeze. Falling leaves. Cozy pumpkin spice lattes. Yes. All the signs that fall season is finally here! What better post than a pumpkin inspired one?

I’m really not too fond of how pumpkin only comes out seasonal… I can literally eat it any time, any day. Summertime pumpkin ice cream. Winter pumpkin spice hot chocolate. It is one ingredient that knows how to find its place everywhere haha. I guess the good thing about its seasonal character is that it gives you that excitement where you look forward to the pumpkin patches and what not.

With pumpkin, especially pumpkin, I really feel that there is a difference when you use the homemade pumpkin puree. It is the real deal and it’s pure pumpkin. A whole pumpkin can last you the whole year, depending on the frequency that you bake or cook using pumpkin puree. Last year I changed it up and made two pumpkins which I have still not used up. I probably have a cup or two left. My step-by-step recipe for homemade pumpkin puree can be found here.

Some of my past pumpkin inspired recipes include:

Epic Pumpkin Cake 

Pumpkin Rice Krispies

Pumpkin Trifle

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin Spice Homemade Ice-cream

Nutella Pumpkin Pie 

Pumpkin Lattes

Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes 

Pumpkin Pecan Waffles 

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Mix together the milk, pumpkin, eggs, oil, sugar, and vinegar
  2. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin spice, and salt
  3. Combine both mixtures until incorporated (stir lightly)
  4. Pour into your preheated waffle iron

Pecan Praline Syrup

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter (half a stick)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat
  2. Add in the evaporated milk, sugar, brown sugar, and lemon juice and heat until it boils
  3. After about a minute, remove the pan from the heat
  4. Stir in the baking soda until the foaming stops
  5. Mix in your pecans and serve along with your waffles

Recipe adapted from Heather Likes Food

Classic French Toast

Classic French Toast

French toast used to be the type of breakfast food that I would always hear about, yet never eat. It was not because I did not like it, but because I had never tried it and so I tended to dismiss it. The first time I tried french toast was totally random. I was carpooling with a friend and we were a little late to school. Her mom had made me a piece for breakfast, which was perfect by the way because I hadn’t had any breakfast that morning. I ate it on the go and instantly loved it. I never knew how easy it was to make and after hearing the directions, I decided that I must make it myself! Definitely will be making this perfectly delicious breakfast again.

Classic French Toast

Makes: 8 slices

Printable Recipe here

Ingredients

  • 8 slices of bread
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups half and half (or use buttermilk or whole milk)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Mix together the eggs, half and half, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt together in a bowl
  2. Place the pieces of bread in a baking dish and pour the mixture over them
  3. Wait 5 minutes and flip the pieces of bread to get the other side soaked
  4. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter on a frying pan
  5. Fry each side of the french toast for 3 minutes or until golden-brown
  6. Use another 2 tablespoons of butter for the next batch, and repeat

Tips:

-For every 4 eggs, add 1 cup of liquid- half and half, buttermilk, or wholemilk

-If you want it to be more cinnamon flavored, add another teaspoon

-For other variations, you can also add a 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

-You can cut the bread in slices for french toast sticks

Final Foodie Adventure of 2013 in ATL

Happy New Year’s all!! Before I share any new recipes, here are a few pictures from my last foodie adventure of 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia :)

The highlight of my winter break was definitely visiting Atlanta with my friends. The purpose of the trip was to attend a dear friend’s wedding there and we all decided to make a food adventure out of it in the meantime. I mean, might as well, right? Anyways, Atlanta is definitely known for having quite a number of local cafes that we wanted to visit. Unfortunately, not everything always goes as planned and you just find yourself waking up at noon sometimes. One of the more memorable breakfasts that we did have though was at Krispy Kreme donuts. Krispy Kreme locations are quite sparse around the United States, so there’s always that bit of excitement when you find a location. We got an assortment of creme filled, custard filled, apple fritters, and even a few red velvet donuts! The red velvet donut itself was more than filling, very sweet along with a cakey texture.

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme Overload

We attempted for more of a healthy lunch, well lunches over the next few days. Lunches ranged from panini sandwiches from Corner Bakery to authentic pizzas from Anticos and Korean tacos from Takorea. Corner Bakery is a chain eatery similar to Panera Bread. Although we were trying to avoid chains to be able to try more of the local foods, in dire situations sometimes you settle for anything. We had decided to take the train around the city that day, and so our freedom in choosing a place to eat was greatly reduced. Corner Bakery just happened to be very close to us and we decided to give it a go. I ordered a broccoli cheddar soup with a half sandwich that did not disappoint. Broccoli cheddar soup hasn’t failed me so far, and if you haven’t tried it I highly recommend you do so!

Corner Bakery

Cornery Bakery Sandwich and Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Sometimes it’s quite difficult to go through the day without a snack. That is, especially when you spot a large vintage sign from a distance with the letters “Funnel Cakes” on it, while walking through Olympic Centennial Park. Somehow we found ourselves waiting in line for one of these crunchy and satisfying creations. After getting a fresh funnel cake, it was difficult resisting one bite while waiting for everyone to take the obligatory food picture before digging in. As the multitude of forks dug in, it reduced and reduced until there was just powdered sugar left on the plate.

Chocolate Drizzled Funnel Cake

Chocolate Drizzled Funnel Cake

As the journey continued throughout the days, we came about Antico’s. Antico’s appealed to me due to the high volume of lengthy reviews that it received on Yelp, along with the mouth watering pictures. First off, when you visit a restaurant there are two main components that contribute to your experience: the atmosphere and of course the food itself. Unfortunately the atmosphere was very busy, definitely not one where you would sit down and peacefully savor your slice of pizza. It seemed like a place where you had to fight for a table to at least claim an area large enough for your group. The upside though was that it was a very interactive and lively atmosphere. The art of the pizza making was wide open to be viewed as you could sit and view the dough making and other intricacies of the pizza process. A few pictures later, we were ready to eat our pizza. I expected that they would have some sort of outdoor seating, but after asking the waiter, who replied telling me and a friend that it was not her problem where we ate our pizza and we can sit wherever. I was really surprised and shocked at her reply. We quickly left the unwelcoming waiter and told our group to look elsewhere outside for a spacious area. There was actually a gelato place next door and so we went inside to find large tables. Just what we were looking for! We bought a few drinks and sat down to finally eat.

Pizza Making

Behind the Scenes at Antico’s

Margharita Pizza

Antico’s Margharita & Four Cheese Pizzas

The final lunch was at Takorea, a hipster Korean Mexican fusion restaurant. The interior design of this place topped off all the previous restaurants that we had visited. It had a nice daylight feel to it that was fresh and crisp. The funky light fixtures along with the misplaced garage glass doors and iron wrought chairs put together a nice mood.

Takorea

Takorea’s Interior

Takorea

More of Takorea’s Interior

The food at Takorea was an interesting mix. Most of us though enjoyed the appetizer a lot more than our main dish. The appetizer that we got was the Gogi Nachos. I think it was the beef and the special sauce that they made along with it that made the nachos so irresistible. One bite from these nachos left me wanting more and more haha.

Takorea's Gogi Nachos

Takorea’s Gogi Nachos

Takorea's Chicken Burrito with Kimchi Fried Rice

Takorea’s Chicken Burrito with Kimchi Fried Rice

Our only dinner in ATL out, asides from the wedding and reception dinners, was at Mary Mac’s Tea Room. It sounded like the perfect soul food to have on any day and it sure beat that seafood eatery we were about to go to. This restaurant had a very homey feel to it and was structured similar to a colonial home from inside.

Mary Mac's Tea Room

Mary Mac’s Tea Room

The ordering process was quite unique at this place as we had to write down our orders on a slip of paper with various sections regarding what you would want. The portion size was quite large for the price, not to mention the bread appetizers that the placed out that were to die for! We felt like we were going to get full off of just the appetizers: flaky moist cinnamon bread rolls, yeast honey rolls, and corn bread. I kept hearing phrases like, “I’m only going to have another half” or “last one, I promise!” They were so good that we asked the waiter to give us another serving of the cinnamon bread to go. Why not have a delicious midnight snack for the night?

Mary Mac's Order Slips

Mary Mac’s Order Slips

After some amazing appetizers, we had quite high expectations for the food itself. A few of us were disappointed with the orders sadly. Taking into account how much I love Thanksgiving food, I couldn’t do anything but love the food that I ordered. The mac n cheese was a little watery, but everything else was on point, reliving that comfort food style present during Thanksgiving feasts.

Mary Mac's Turkey Plate

Mary Mac’s Turkey Plate with Cornbread Dressing and Sides of Mac n Cheese & Fried Okra

To end this long-winded post, I present the best cup of mocha that I have ever had. My image of Starbucks as top dog at coffee making was quickly put to rest after drinking this beautiful cup of caffeine! Well, hope you enjoyed my food endeavors and feel free to comment below to share any of yours :)

Octane's Mocha Coffee

Octane’s Mocha Coffee

Piece of Cake

Sometimes it’s nice to make a tasty dish without turning the whole kitchen upside down. You know, flour all over the countertops, dirty mixing bowls stacked on each other, and countless ingredients scattered about. Well, the Banana Bread recipe below was made with only 4 ingredients! Not only that, but the four ingredients are basic and found in almost any kitchen. Definitely saves you an unneeded trip to the grocery store to get that one rare ingredient.

You can find more 4 ingredient recipes at :

http://www.4ingredients.com.au/

My last experience with bananas and baking didn’t go too well. I was making banana cupcakes and apparently put too much bananas because after an hour the cupcakes were still runny! So as expected, I was a bit skeptical about making this. Too bad this recipe was a failure too :o haha just kidding, it actually turned out quite amazing! Unsurprisingly, the banana bread disappeared in one day. It is a light snack that tastes like cake though it is bread. You could eat it bare to savor the simple flavors or you could spread some butter, jam, or whatever you have handy.

Banana Bread 

Preheat: 350 F

Ingredients:

  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of whole egg mayonnaise
  • 2 cups of self-rising flour (CRUCIAL that it is self-rising)
Directions:
  1. Mix together the mashed bananas and sugar
  2. Add the mayo and sifted flour and mix until combined
  3. Pour into a loaf tin and bake for 50-60 minutes or until well done

The Perfect Breakfast Food Too!