Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Apple Bundt Cake

Apple Bundt Cake
Adapted from Design Sponge

I received a bag full of home grown golden delicious apples. I cannot seem to eat them fast enough and is taking up too much space in my refrigerator. I bookmarked an Apple Bundt Cake recipe from Design Sponge's website years ago. I finally gave this recipe a try and it turned out great. I'm dissappointed I didn't try this recipe sooner. The cake is not overly sweet and moist which is great to eat as a breakfast cake...or a great afternoon tea cake. This cake didn't exactly clear up the apples in my refrigerator, so I am planning to bake a second one this week because it's that delicious!
1 tablespoon organic natural cane sugar (0.3 ounce)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 cups diced peeled apples (about 1:3.9 to 1:6.4 pounds)*
3 cups unbleached WHITE whole wheat flour (12.3 ounces)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups organic natural cane sugar (13.2 ounces)
1  cup EXTRA LIGHT olive oil or expeller-pressed canola oil (7.0 ounces)
1/4 cup orange juice (2.0 ounces)
2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs (7.2 to 7.6 ounces)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted and cooled (3.5 ounces)
1/4 cup powdered sugar for dusting

*Approximately 1.75 to 2.0 pounds at purchase weight. After apples are peeled, cored and diced, the weight will be anywhere from 1:3.9 to 1:6.4 pounds. I like to use Golden Delicious, Gala, Macintosh, or Pink Lady varieties.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position oven rack to the center of the oven. Coat a 10-inch (12-cup) bundt pan or tube pan with nonstick baking spray. Set aside.
In a tiny bowl, whisk together the 1 tablespoon sugar and the 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon with a tiny whisk or a fork until thoroughly combined. In a medium-size bowl, combine the apples and the cinnamon-sugar mixture and toss until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and salt into a separate medium-size bowl. Set aside.

In a large-size mixing bowl, combine the 2 cups sugar, oil, orange juice, vanilla and eggs. Using a whisk, whisk vigorously together until smooth (couple of minutes). Add the flour mixture and gently whisk together just until combined, but do not overmix. With a rubber spatula, fold in the chopped nuts.

Spread one-fourth of the cake batter into the prepared bundt pan. Evenly sprinkle in one-third of the apple mixture. Continue to alternate layers of cake batter and apple mixture ending with the cake batter. Do not need to worry whether all the apples get completely covered by cake batter. It will turn out during baking.

Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown and top springs back with lightly touched. Let cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

Unmold cake and continue to let cake COOL COMPLETELY on a wire rack (about 2-1/2+ hours). Make sure the bundt cake has cooled completely before dusting the powdered sugar. If cake is not completely cooled, the powdered sugar will melt.

Dust with powdered sugar and ready to slice and eat.

If cake is going to be left out for more than two days at room temperature, it's best to store cake in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container. This cake will become more moist with age.

Yield 8 to 16 slices, approximately 301 calories per 1/16 slice

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Homemade Chicken Stock

Homemade Chicken Stock

 I LOVE soup. I can have soup even if the weather is 100 degrees outside. I crave for long-simmering soups. I don't categorize soup as soup unless it has been simmering over a stove for about 3 to 4 hours, or cooked in a slow cooker for 8 to 10 hours. The kind of soup I crave for from time to time is just rich homemade chicken stock. Homemade chicken stock is clean tasting and tastes just like...rich chicken stock. I only use two ingredients to make my rich chicken stock: just chicken and filtered water. I do not add any vegetables, herbs or spices...not even salt.  Since I like to consume the chicken meat with my stock, I use only chicken thighs. You can use chicken breast, but I find my chicken stock more flavorful using chicken thighs; plus after simmering the soup for 4 hours, the chicken thighs are still edible while the chicken breast will be very dry. So here is how I cook my two-ingredient rich chicken stock:

First remove all visible fats (or as much as you can as possible) from each chicken thighs before weighing. I purchased 3:3.5 pounds of skinless and boneless chicken thighs. After removing all the visible fats, my chicken thighs weighed 2:12.2 pounds. So 7.3 ounces of fat was removed. That is why I weigh my chicken AFTER removing all visible fats. For every pound of chicken thighs, I use 1 quart (4 cups) of filtered water. In this example, I had 2:12.2 pounds of chicken thighs and used 11 cups of filtered water.

I placed my filtered water in a large 6- or 8-quart stock pot. Bring this "soup" water to a boil.

In the meantime, I have a separate 3-quart pot filled with 3 inches of cold tap water. Bring the  tap water to a boil. When the tap water comes to a full boil, working with 2 to 3 chicken thighs at a time, add the chicken thighs to the water. Let it cook for about 10 seconds or just until the chicken thighs turns opaque in color (this is a cleaning process to remove all impurities and gunk from the chicken thighs so it will not end up in your soup). Immediately transfer the chicken to the soup water (big pot). Repeat this "cleaning" process with the remainder of the chicken thighs.

When all the chicken is added to the soup pot, wait for the soup to come to a full boil. When the soup comes to a full boil, lower heat to a simmer. Cover pot and let it cook for 4 hours, undisturbed. When 4 hours of simmering is done, remove pot from the stove and let it cool completely before transferring the pot to the refrigerator to refrigerate overnight. The next morning, remove all the cold fat that is floating on top (I had some fat floating, but hardly any). You now have rich chicken stock ready to consume. You can add salt to taste, but I prefer not to. Chicken stock that tastes this rich doesn't need it. Transfer soup to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week or place in the freezer for longer storage. This amount will last me the whole week.

NOTE: If you absolutely want to make this soup more filling, while you are reheating a portion of the soup, you can add cooked brown rice, cooked barley or quinoa, or cooked soba noodles or whole-grain pasta. At this point, you may want to add a little salt to taste. If anyone is familiar with Sweet Tomatoes Chunky Chicken Soup, this chicken broth tastes just as rich as Sweet Tomatoes (but less fat floating on top).

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Grilled Chicken Tenders

Grilled Chicken Tenders

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Garlic Chive with Eggs

Garlic Chive with Eggs

Garlic chives are also known as Chinese chives found in most Asian stores. Do not substitute regular chives for garlic chives. The flavor are very different. Garlic chives has a sweet, garlicky flavor while regular chives have a mild flavor of green onion or scallions. Garlic chives are great cooked with eggs. Such a simple and inexpensive dish to cook and delicious eaten with rice.

4 ounces of garlic chives
6 extra large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt

With the garlic chives, trim off about 3/4 inches of the root ends and discard. Cut the remainder of the chives into 2-inch length slices. Chives are very dirty so it is necessary to wash the chives thoroughly in 2 to 3 changes of cold water: I dump the chives in the bowl of a large salad spinner and fill the bowl with cold water. Swish the chives around with my hand. Transfer chives to the colander of the salad spinner to drain and repeat this process one or two more times or until water is clear of sand and grit. Drain chives and spin dry using the salad spinner. Set aside.

In a medium-size bowl, beat the eggs with salt until well beaten. Set aside.

Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet with about 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat (7.0 for induction cook top). When oil is hot, but not smoking, add all the chives to the pan. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until chives are soften, about 3 minutes.

Add all the eggs to the pan and reduce heat to medium heat (5.0 for induction cook top). Let it cook without disturbance until eggs have started to set around the edges. With a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula, push the eggs that have set around the edges towards the center of the pan. Repeat this cooking process until most of the eggs are mostly set, but it's okay if some areas may still be wet (uncook). With a spatula, flip eggs over in small portions to cook the top sides, especially where the eggs are still wet. Keep flipping until all the eggs are completely cooked through, but do not overcook. Total cooking time from the time the egg is added to the pan is about 2 minutes.

Transfer garlic chive and eggs to a serving dish. Delicious eaten with brown or multi-grain rice. I have made a sandwich with these eggs once before and it is delicious eaten as a sandwich.
Yield 2 to 3 servings