Thank you so much for your kind words!
This is so encouraging; I will definitely keep this up :)
Yes. It is possible for an amateur like myself to make churros at home. And guess what!
The recipe is exactly the same as that for cream puffs.
WHO WOULDA THUNK!
The difference is in the way they’re cooked:
Cream puffs are baked and churros are fried! Hooray for being as unhealthy as I can be!
I put some canola oil in a small wok (so I wouldn’t use/waste too much oil and would still be able to deep fry the churros) and set it to heat up. When the sticky dough is prepared, scoop it into a pastry bag with a large star tip (preferably NOT plastic, because it can melt) attached. When the oil is ready (test it by sticking a wooden spoon in the oil; if bubbles begin to form, you’re good to go!), hold the pastry bag vertically (perpendicular to the wok/oil) and squeeze (with constant pressure) the dough out. When you’re satisfied with the length of the churro, quickly slice it with a butter knife close to the star tip. The churro should fall in on its side and pretty much burn to death. Just kidding!
When the churros are a gorgeous medium-brown (nothing about medium-brown is gorgeous, but I’m writing a food blog here!), take them out and toss them into a bowl of cinnamon and sugar (ratio of about 1:2). When they’re thoroughly coated, shake the excess off and EAT THEM ALL! (All five in my case!)
I made baby churros!
Some of you might think mine look “weird”.
First of all, don’t judge. Secondly, what kind of a society do we live in where inanimate objects can look “weird”? Lastly, they probably tasted way better than yours :P
To celebrate having completed two 4-5 page papers, I wanted to treat myself by indulging in something yummy. But since I’m a broke college student, I had to cook something myself! That’s no reason to complain, though. I’d much rather bake something than write a paper!
As soon as I got home from school (around 6:45pm), I went to the kitchen and scanned the contents of the pantry. My eyes fell on the container of unsweetened cocoa powder—a gold mine in the eyes of an amateur baker like myself! I sifted through (pun intended, as usual) the drawer with my post-it recipes and found my rendition of Alton Brown’s Cocoa Brownies (his are a bit too cocoa-y for my taste).
While waiting for the brownies to bake (which takes 40-45 minutes), I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I can’t express how amazing it feels to read for leisure and not for a test.
When the brownies were done, I took them out and let them cool before cutting them (the cuts will be cleaner if you wait until they’re cool).
After dinner, I cut a piece that was about 3x6 inches and placed it in the center of a plate. I then cut this block into 6 smaller pieces (there are 6 people in my family), sprinkled some powdered sugar on them, and whipped out the vanilla ice cream (aw yeeeeah). I put two baby scoops on the center pieces using my favorite baby ice cream scooper (which is actually a cookie dough scooper, go fig). And the final touch? HERSHEY’S CHOCOLATE SYRUP!
Brownie a la Mode: the perfect way to celebrate the completion of two papers :P
I woke up at 8:45 this morning which is out of the ordinary for me. To put into perspective just how extraordinary that is: This year, I’ve only woken up before 10am on a weekend twice—on my birthday (January 14th for anyone who wants to buy me more cake decorating tips) and today, my dad’s birthday.
I figured this was a sign from God to do something worthwhile.
So I made breakfast.
For my dad!
I washed up, ran downstairs, and scouted the kitchen for ingredients to make a simple breakfast that could look fancy.
And then I saw it.
I ran to the fridge to check if we had half & half. We did!
I whipped out a bowl, cracked an egg and whisked like a mad (wo)man until it began getting a little frothy. Then I poured some half & half (I totally estimated), added a flat tablespoon of sugar, shook some ground cinnamon in it, and whisked some more. I put a medium-size skillet (maybe 7 inches in diameter) to heat up on the stove. Next, I carefully cut a slice (about an inch thick) of french bread and placed it in the bowl so it could soak up the creamy mixture. I decided to cut a second slice because…well, one slice might be too little and three might be too much. I flipped the slice in the bowl to let the other side soak, too.
I ran to put the half & half back in the fridge and get some butter out (to grease the skillet), but I accidentally opened the freezer and saw PECAN PRALINE ICE CREAM! I decided I would put a scoop on top of the french toast when I plated it, so I took it out to thaw while I cooked the french toast. I put the half & half back in the fridge and took out a stick of butter. I cut a very thin slice of butter (a millimeter thick) and tossed it in the pan to melt and bubble. I put the soaked slice of bread in the pan and place the second slice in the bowl. I cooked each side for about 2 minutes on a medium heat setting.
I placed the two slices of french toast side by side in a plate and sprinkled some powdered sugar on them. Lastly, to really make it a special birthday breakfast, I neatly placed a single scoop of Pecan Praline ice cream in the center.
funny kind of amazing how it takes just a couple ingredients to magically turn french bread into fancy french toast. Fancy that! (Puns are always intended)
Happy Birthday, Dad!
…because I ate them!
My only class today was canceled, so I studied in the time it would take me to get ready and drive to school and managed to get done with my schoolwork early.
There was a Clippers game on tonight, so I decided to make a party snack: buffalo wings! I remember my mom getting some chicken wings for me because I complain about having every kind of meat (not literally) in the house except chicken wings. So I cheated and defrosted them in the microwave and took out the bottle of Frank’s Red Hot [Buffalo] Wings Sauce. I wanted to be healthy and not fry the wings (actually, I lied. I just hate cleaning up after frying), so I baked them instead!
It’s really simple, actually. I put the wings on a pan covered with aluminum foil, brushed the sauce directly onto the wings and popped them in the oven at 400°F for about 17 minutes. Then I flipped them over and brushed the sauce on that side as well and baked for another 17 minutes. When I took them out, I tossed them in a bowl of the hot sauce mixed with a little bit (roughly a tablespoon) of melted butter. I put the pan back in the oven (which I had shut off) and took them out after 5 minutes.
I served them with a bowl of ranch. It’s game time!!
But the buffalo wings made it all better.
I woke up late today, as usual, and I felt like cooking. I wanted to make something deceiving. I felt bold after the success of yesterday’s cream puffs, so I decided I wanted to make a dessert and present it like sushi. So I did.
It took me a while to actually figure out how to carry out this experiment . I thought about taking hollow chocolate cylinders and filling them with whipped cream (in lieu of the rice) and pieces of fruit, but I realized I had no way of making hollow chocolate cylinders. I decided, instead, on using cake and fruit.
I quickly made some batter for white cake (recipe reduced to use just one egg because I wasn’t going to make a lot), poured it into an 8x8 inch glass pan, and let it bake. This gave me a small sheet of white cake a little less than an inch thick. I took the cake out of the pan neatly and placed it in the center of the biggest cookie sheet I could find. Next, I took a decent amount of plastic wrap and laid it on top of the sheet of cake. I had to make the sheet cake as thin as I could to be able to actually turn it into a “sushi roll”. I took a rolling pin and rolled out the sheet, trying to be careful not to let the cake crack (but it did, of course). I managed to flatten it to about half an inch (which I now know is not thin enough).
Next, I sliced a strawberry (I should have used at least two because the one strawberry pretty much suffocated in the cake) and laid out the pieces horizontally:
Then I realized I had nothing to tightly roll the cake! I don’t have a bamboo-sushi-roller-mat, so I looked around the kitchen to find something I could use. And there they were.
BAMBOO COASTERS. PERFECT!
I used one as mini-sushi-roller with a layer of plastic wrap between the cake and coaster:
Surprisingly, the coaster did the job wonderfully! With some effort (I had to press pretty hard), it closed up any cracks that had formed in the cake. When I looked at the edge of the roll, I saw that I hadn’t put enough strawberry slices inside. I decided to leave it as is because I was too lazy to disassemble the roll. I cut the cake at the edge/close of the roll and wrapped the bamboo coaster around the roll tightly to make sure it was completely closed. Then, I took off the plastic wrap and cut the roll neatly into 16 half-inch slices. I took the end pieces off because they didn’t look very pleasant.
I divided the roll in half and put two rows of 7 pieces side by side in a plate. I drizzled some of the creamy chocolate left over from yesterday’s cream puffs onto the rolls and, on the plate, did a swipe/smear that I learned from none other than my friends on Food Network. I decided to make up for the lack of strawberries and took big slices of strawberries and sandwiched them between pieces of “sushi”.
I had some small chunks of cake left over so I made faux nigirizushi (raw meat atop a mound of rice) as well. I blobbed whatever whipped cream I had left over (close to nothing) from the cream puffs yesterday onto the cake to make it look more like rice and laid some neat slices of strawberry on top:
This post has nothing to do with the book.
So if that’s what you were looking for, look elsewhere.
It is, however, about strawberries.
And chocolate, too, I suppose.
What do you get when you mix those 4 things? Cream Puff Strawberry Sandwich Things!!
I felt like making something sweet today, but I didn’t want to overdo it with something too rich or heavy. So I decided on cream puffs (which I have made before)!
Cream puffs are actually pretty easy to make. I suppose that isn’t hard to believe considering they’re hollow pastries filled with pastry/whipped cream. Like several baked sweets, cream puffs are made using flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. What makes them different from cakes, for example, is the preparation of the dough; it’s dough, not batter.
You have to mix and cook the ingredients (except for the eggs) together on the stove; when it becomes doughy, shut off the stove and add the raw egg, mixing it in thoroughly before placing small scoops of the dough onto a cookie sheet. Bake the cream puffs for 15 minutes at 400°F and then decrease the temperature to 350°F and bake it for about another 45 or so minutes. This change in temperature is important. The steam will form quicker from the high temperature, and then the puff will hold its shape better from the drop in temperature. Remove the puffs and let them cool a little. Dipping the puffs in chocolate is optional. I put some chocolate and a teaspoon of cream in a heatproof bowl and stuck it in the oven after I shut it off. I took out the bowl, dipped the tops of the puffs in the chocolate and stuck them in the freezer so the chocolate would harden quickly. You can either cut the pastries in half so they look like PacMan from the side, or you can leave them and fill them with cream from the bottom by poking holes in the bottom with a decorating tip (or toothpick, or knife, or finger). Today, I decided to make PacMen.
I don’t like pastry cream much, so I fill my cream puffs with whipped cream.
Making whipped cream is also much easier to make than most people would think. You put a little powdered sugar (roughly a flat tablespoon per cup of cream) in some cream and literally whip it (with an electric beater/mixer, unless you have superhuman powers…in which case we have other matters to discuss) until it’s fluffy. You might have to whip/beat the cream for a little while (3-4 minutes); to speed up the process, make sure you have the speed on the highest setting and that the cream is cold (straight out of the fridge) as well as the mixer’s attachments and the bowl you’re using. You can pop ‘em in the freezer for 30 seconds before you use them.
To assemble the “Cream Puff Strawberry Sandwich Things”, take a PacMan and spoon a dollop of whipped cream inside. Then take a slice of a strawberry and stick it in the cream. That’s it. Goodbye!
I let my Cream Puff Strawberry Sandwich Things sit in the sun too long before taking the pictures. Excuse the melting whipped cream.
That’s essentially what you get at a fast food restaurant, right? A burger and fries. Let’s face it…a single slice of tomato isn’t anywhere close to the serving size of vegetables you should be eating; so I’ll just ignore that.
Considering the fact that I eat exclusively halal meat (sort of like Kosher, but for Muslims), I hadn’t had a burger in a while. So I decided to make a typical fast food meal atypically.
I got this ingenious idea at around 7:45pm (which, for me, is late to start cooking), so I decided to pass on making the burger fancy, and I decided to focus my attention on the potato.
I don’t know of very many ways of making potatoes. I could make fries or a baked potato, but those are pretty typical. Same goes for mashed potatoes. I love baking cupcakes, and I take advantage of any opportunity to use the decorating tips from the “Dessert Decorator Plus” kit one of my best friends got me. So I decided to make a twice-baked potato cupcake.
I wrapped a (fairly large) russet potato in foil and baked it in the oven (set to 400°F) for about an hour. After letting it cool a little, I cut the potato in half (not length-wise). Then I chopped off the rounded ends of each half so each piece could sit flat. Next, I carefully spooned out the ‘meat’ of the potato (pun intended) into a bowl, making sure to leave about a quarter inch of potato at the bottom of each piece so that the hollowed out skins looked like cupcake liners. Mixing in some salt, garlic powder, and chives, I mashed up the potato and scooped it into a plastic piping bag with a large round tip attached. I placed the potato-skin-cupcake-liners into a cupcake pan, piped the mashed potatoes into them, and baked the potato “cupcakes” for about 20 minutes (again, at 400°F). While the “cupcakes” cooled, I put about 5-6 tablespoons of sour cream into a piping bag with a star-tip attached, and I piped the sour cream onto the potato “cupcakes” as I would pipe frosting on normal cupcakes…liberally.
For the burger patties, I seasoned ground beef with spices I normally use when cooking Pakistani food: cayenne pepper, a little bit of cumin, a little garam masala (a blend of ground spices), and salt. I added chives, mixed it all up, and formed patties about 4 inches in diameter (they shrank when I grilled them because of the fat in the beef). I grilled the patties for about 3-4 minutes on each side with the grill on a medium-high heat setting.
I popped a patty on a bun and placed the burger and potato-cupcake on a plate and (after taking a picture, of course) happily devoured my atypical fast food meal. I’m not too hard to please, nor am I a food critic, but the beef patty was delectable. And the potato cupcake? Perfection.
No, they don’t. They make me salivate.
I was going through my photos earlier today and came across this one:
…and, after drooling a little, I decided to start a food blog for a class project (although I think I’m going to continue updating it after the class is over). It’d be a way to showcase my skills (or lack thereof) and share my love for cooking with fellow cooking/eating-enthusiasts. So here goes nothing (except my grade)!!
I did, indeed, make the cupcakes pictured above.
A rich chocolate cupcake topped with a light (because I hate thick frosting) caramel buttercream frosting and a piece of Snickers, drizzled with caramel sauce. Everything (but the Snickers and cupcake liners) was made from scratch by yours truly.