Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Day - Vanilla Yogurt Waffles, Homemade Pizza!


My laziness has gotten the best of me lately and it has been quite a while since I last posted. I have been doing a lot of cooking lately but haven't been tracking any of it since I'm always too hungry while cooking. I just like to get it made and scarf it down :). Christmas day I had all the time in the world to indulge in the glory of food (as if Christmas Eve dinner wasn't enough, haha). At the request of my mother, I made vanilla yogurt waffles for breakfast Christmas morning. They were a big hit and everyone overstuffed themselves as we reminisced about old times. It was a perfect Christmas morning. :)

Vanilla Yogurt Waffles


Ingredients:
·         1 ¼ cups AP flour
·         ½ teaspoon salt
·         3 teaspoons baking powder
·         3 tablespoons sugar
·         1 egg
·         1/3 cup half & half or whipping cream
·         2/3 cup water
·         ¼ cup plain yogurt or greek yogurt
·         2 tablespoons cooled melted butter
·         2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:
·         In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder
·         In a separate bowl, combine half & half/cream, water, yogurt, vanilla, egg, melted butter and sugar
·         Whisk together and combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients
Note: If the batter is too thick, add a little milk – It’s good to have thick batter though as it makes a fluffier waffle :D

Ashleigh enjoying some waffles on the couch


Personally, I love eating waffles with whipped cream and fresh fruit. My family loves them with butter and maple syrup. Either way, they are delicious!

After spending the day with family, we had homemade pizzas for dinner. I have the absolute best recipe for pizza dough. I prefer my pizzas thin so apologies to those that like thick crust.

Homemade Pizza

Ingredients:
·         ½ cup warm water
·         1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
·         1 tablespoon sugar
·         1 ¼ cups room temperature water
·         2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
·         4 cups bread flour, plus additional for dusting
·         1 ½ teaspoons salt
·         Cornmeal for dusting
·         Olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for greasing a bowl for the dough to rise

Directions:
·         In a small bowl, combine the warm water, yeast and sugar
·         Allow the yeast mixture to settle for 3-5 minutes until the yeast fluffs up a bit
·         Add the room temperature water and oil to the yeast mixture, stir until combined
·         In a large bowl, combine flour and salt – Then add the liquid mixture, combine with a large spoon until it combines into one mass
·         Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes.
·         Form the dough into a ball and place into a large greased bowl
·         Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise (in a warm area if possible) until it doubles in size (1-3 hours, depends on the temperature of where it is stored)
·         Once the dough rises, remove the plastic wrap and deflate the dough by pressing on it
·         Divide the dough in half, and half again, so there are 4 smaller dough balls
·         On a lightly floured surface, roll out a dough ball to preferred thickness – it tastes great when rolled out very thin
·         Top the dough with desired toppings, place on some foil with dusted cornmeal or a pizza stone, bake at 500 degrees for 6-10 minutes (until desired melty goodness :D)


Some Veggie Toppings

 Balls of dough, I made a half white/wheat combo to *cough* be a bit healthier, haha

Dough when rolled out

Garlic oil spread to brush on the crust, yummy!

Ashleigh's veggie pizza: plum tomatoes, spinach, peppers, mushrooms, pesto and Italian cheese 

My super steak pizza: hoisin sriracha glazed steak, mushrooms, peppers, onions, parmesan and mozzarella cheese. I'm gluttonous and like to put cheese on the crust too and get it all crispy :D

A slice of my steak pizza

There were 4 pizzas made in total and I am thoroughly pizza'd until next year! Bahahaha ;)

It was a fun filled and gluttonous Christmas day. I encourage you to give these recipes a try. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

-The Gluttonous Panda

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Back when Ashleigh and I were long distance dating, she introduced me to something magical... pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!!! Being avid pumpkin fans, we couldn't resist them. There was only one problem: the ones I loved were from Utah. The cookies were made by a grocery store called "Harmons." Before Ashleigh moved to Washington I vowed to create a delicious chocolate chip pumpkin cookie recipe. Doing so would allow us to indulge in glorious pumpkin cookie eating gluttony. None of the recipes I saw online had the flavor I was looking for. After some trial and error, I came up with our perfect concoction. In the spirit of the upcoming holidays, seeing pumpkin everywhere, and thinking about Ashleigh, I decided to make some.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
·         ½ cup granulated sugar
·         ½ cup brown sugar
·         ¼ cup molasses
·         1 egg
·         1 cup pumpkin
·         2.5 cups flour
·         1 teaspoon baking powder
·         1 teaspoon baking soda
·         ½ teaspoon salt
·         4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (if you like less spice flavor use 2 teaspoons, I just like a lot J )
·         2 teaspoon cinnamon (again if you like less spice use 1 teaspoon)
·         3 teaspoons vanilla extract
·         1 cup chocolate chips
·         ¼ cup vegetable oil (I use grapeseed)
·         ½ cup melted butter

Directions:
·         Preheat oven to 400 degrees
·         In a large bowl, combine/beat egg, granulated sugar, brown sugar
·         Combine molasses, pumpkin, vanilla extract, oil, and butter in the same bowl
·         In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon until mixed
·         Add dry ingredients to wet and mix
·         Fold in chocolate chips
·         Roll balls of dough slightly smaller than a golf ball
·         Put dough balls on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart, flatten slightly (these cookies don’t spread out when baking)
·         Bake for 8-10 minutes 

Tada!



These cookies taste even more delicious once stored and put away for several hours. Similar to chili being even more tasty the next day. My step father even loves these and he hates pumpkin and cinnamon! Hope you enjoy! 

-The Gluttonous Panda

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Crock-Pot Honey Sesame Steak


"Hello, world!" Okay, if you don't know why I said that and it's in quotes, let me congratulate you on not being a computer science nerd like the rest of us. :) Anyway, I was inspired to create this lovely masterpiece after noticing some flank steak in the fridge earlier today. The combination of being lazy and wanting something delicious automatically pointed me to the crock pot. I usually make a pot roast/beef stew when in this situation but decided to do something different today. Off to the recipe!

Ingredients:

All in the pot:

Finished! Veggies + rice + meat = :)

Crock-Pot Honey Sesame Steak

Ingredients:
·         2-2.5 lbs  Flank Steak (any meat really but I had this one available)
·         1/4 cup Honey
·         1/3 cup reduced sodium tamari/soy sauce (tamari has a deeper flavor without added sodium)
·         2 tablespoons sake/rice wine
·         1 medium onion, diced
·         1/4 cup ketchup
·         3 tablespoons sesame oil
·         2 cloves minced garlic
·         If you like a spicy taste: 2-6 tablespoons Sriracha or spicy red chili sauce
·         5 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 10 teaspoons water
·         Sesame seeds for garnish

Directions:
·         In the crock pot, combine honey, tamari, sake, onion, ketchup, sesame oil, garlic
·         Add steak, coat the steak well with the sauce
·         Cook on low for 4-6 hours
·         Remove steak and chop/shred into pieces
·         Mix water with cornstarch
·         Mix cornstarch mixture with sauce and cook for 5 minutes
·         Add chopped/shredded steak to sauce and cook for another 15 minutes
·         Add sesame seeds for garnish

The steak turned out delicious! We decided to pair it up with some rice and stir fried veggies. I am in MASSIVE food coma at the moment and can barely type. Hope you enjoy!

-The Gluttonous Panda


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cookies 'n' Creme Cookies

Thank goodness for weekends! Despite having a long and tiring week, today had more than made up for it as it has been a great day. I propose we should have two Saturdays. I think it's genius yeah? After a delightful day of grocery shopping (AKA buying way too much food while being hungry :)), I amused myself with a hilariously cute kitten show on Animal Planet. Animal Planet always seems to make me want to go straight to the animal shelter and adopt another cat, haha. Anyway, trying not to be too much of a lazy butt; I went to workout at the gym which was all good until I came home like a hungry ravenous monster. That's nothing new though I guess :|. What better way to fuel my inner gluttony after the gym than making some delicious cookies! These are a personal favorite of my family and friends. There have been days when I eat a good dozen or so to myself... X_X I guarantee you will feel the same addiction in a less gluttonous way of course. :) They are definitely a nice twist from traditional cookies.

The ammunition:

The add-ins:


Example of the dough and flattening process:

Concentration..... :

TADA! Cue Final Fantasy / random RPG battle victory music:

Cookies 'n' Creme Cookies

Ingredients

·         1 cup butter, softened
·         ½ cup brown sugar
·         ¼ cup white sugar
·         1 (4.2 ounce) package instant Oreo pudding mix
·         2 ¼ cups flour
·         1 teaspoon baking soda
·         2 eggs
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         ½ teaspoon salt
·         3 regular sized Hershey’s Cookies & Cream candy bar, chopped
·         1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

·         Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil.
·         Mix together flour, salt, baking soda.
·         In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugars until the texture is smooth and light (30-45 seconds on low speed)
·         Add in pudding mix to butter mixture and continue to beat until combined well.
·         Add eggs and vanilla. Continue to beat until combined well.
·         Add half of the dry ingredients and combine.
·         Add the remaining half and combine.
·         Fold in candy and chocolate chips
·         Scoop half golf ball sized amounts of dough onto the baking sheet with about 2 inches between each other.
·         Flatten the dough balls a bit
·         Bake for 8-11 minutes (Its easy to over bake these - I like mine soft, so I try to not let the bottom get any brown or more than a slight light brown)

PS: When making another batch, make sure the cookie sheet is cooled down to room temperature before continuing.

Also, thank you to my wonderful wife Ashleigh for capturing the photos! She has her own blog and is a much more interesting writer than me. Check out her blog here:

http://pandaandlion.blogspot.com/

Hope you decide to give the recipe a try. Enjoy!







-The Gluttonous Panda

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Introduction & Fruit Tarts!

Hello everyone! After much self debate, I decided to create a blog to express my passion of eatti... errrr I mean... "cooking" :). Long story short; I realized at a young age that I can't eat unless someone cooks. Then it hit me! If I could learn how to do this "cooking" thing... I would have unlimited access to the glorious world of food! Anyway, since I'm long overdue to hit the hay, I will leave you with a delightful fruit tart recipe that was inspired by berry sales at the market.

Ultimate Fruit Tart


The Crust

Ingredients:
·         ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
·         ½ cup sugar
·         1 egg
·         4 teaspoons vanilla extract
·         1 tablespoon milk or cream
·         ½ teaspoon salt
·         ¾ teaspoon baking powder
·         1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Directions:
·         In a large bowl, beat butter on low-medium speed for 15-30 seconds
·         Add sugar and beat for an additional minute
·         Add milk, vanilla, egg and beat for an additional minute
·         In a separate bowl, sift flour, salt and baking powder
·         Add dry ingredients to wet and beat on low speed until mixed
·         Put in fridge for 15-25 minutes (dough needs to be cold or else it sticks to your hands)
·         Preheat oven to 350 degrees
·         Form tablespoon sized dough balls
·         Using your hands, spread out the dough like a pizza dough crust (needs to be very thin)
·         Put spread dough balls into muffin pan slots and shape accordingly
·         When shaping inside the slot, make sure to take out excess dough as the side walls need to be thin as well
·         Poke formed dough with a fork multiple times
·         Bake for about 8-12 minutes (pending on size and oven… the key is to pull them out when the top edges get brown)
·         When taken out of the oven, make sure to let them sit in the pan for 5 minutes before attempting to take them out.
·         Cool for 15 minutes

The Yummy Filling

Ingredients:
·         1 pint whipping cream (2 cups)
·         8 ounces cream cheese, softened
·         1 small package of jello pudding mix (your choice on flavor… I’ve used all kinds and it always turns out delicious)
·         2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:
·         In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until its softened well
·         Add jello pudding mix and continue to beat until mixed
·         Add about ¼ of the cream mixture and vanilla extract, continue to beat until mixed
·         Add half the amount of cream left over, continue to beat until mixed
·         Add the rest of the cream left over, continue to beat until fluffy
·         Put in fridge for 30 minutes
Put the yummy filling inside the crust (add fruit or other toppings if desired) and voila! J




Until next time...








-The Gluttonous Panda