Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Goldilocks cookbook review

I rarely do reviews. But in this case, I REALLY have to say something.

As a home cook and baker, I like to buy cookbooks and try them out. I have bought the martha stewart ones, some famous bakeries from the US ( FLOUR, TOPPOT, bon appetit).

Goldilocks has been a bakery institution in the philippines for so long. I love their butter loaf and my hubby is addicted to their caramel popcorn. So it was an easy decision to buy their cookbook.

One thing I can say by just browsing throught the recipes is that they were written in a very simple way (compared to a detailed one I have encountered elsewhere). So in trying some of the recipes, I have encountered these:

1. mislabelling of ingredients
in one recipe,( meat filled buns)  they indicated 1/2 cup of salt -- half a cup??? ( it think they meant 1/2 a tsp)

2. confusing instructions
they had ingredients in the list that were not used when you read the instructions.

another thing is when they instruct you (for the butter loaf) to put everything in with the eggs, flour and milk and then on the following line of instruction, they say to gradually put in flour and milk in alternate patterns (huh? i just put in everything like you said!!!)-- sheesh!!!

The book is so full or errors one has to wonder if they PROOF READ! I had to make notes on the side to try to adjust the recipe.

If you are a novice in the kitchen, this book will just make you frustrated. If you are a mid level cook, DON'T even bother buying this. You can find a better cookbook somewhere else.

The amount of flour- liquid ratio is wrong (in the meat filled bun) -- I'll have to explain on a later post. but this will NOT give you any of Goldilock like quality cakes. At least in the US bakeries, you get something better looking when you buy their cookbook.

What a big disappointment. EPIC FAIL

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pasta with grilled shrimp and basil vinaigrette

I had some guests over the weekend. I wanted a light dish but something flavorful too. I bought this BON APPETIT cookbook on sale at a local bookstore and was really itching to try something in it.

I had to adapt the recipe what what I had. I was also inspired by the spinosi pasta (they look like spagettini) I still had in the pantry. It was given to us when we attended a cooking class at a local hotel. the Italian chef demonstrated some pretty cool techniques on cooking pasta.

So with a block of PARMESIANO REGGIANO  (a small one... like 150 grams) off I went to find this recipe.

4 prawns or 500 grams of shrimp. peeled and deveined
5 tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp dijon mustard
3/4 cup fresh basil chopped
1 clove of garlic
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp butter

pasta if choice

parmesan cheese (1/4 cup)

1. combine 4 tbsp lemon and dijon mustard in a bowl. whisk in olive oil and basil. Season with salt and pepper. set aside

2. place shrimp in bowl and drizzle with 1 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp olive oil. sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper

3. grill shrimp (or pan fry) with a little oil until cooked. set aside. If using prawns, cut into bite sized pieces.

4. cook pasta in pot with boiling salted water until firm to the bite ( al dente) - do not drain pasta, (you'll need the pasta water if your dish is a bit dry)

5. while pasta is cooking, sauté the garlic in a pan (about 1 min), add the shrimp and pasta (scooped from the pot) - if the pan looks dry, add a little pasta water. add the lemon/basil mixture. butter and parmesan. toss till well coated.

Serve with some garlic bread. garnish with fresh basil.

My guest loved this dish. They said it was very light and flavorful for something that doesn't look like it has anything on it.
I thought it was like something out of a restaurant actually. A keeper for sure! (I just can't make this all the time since parmesan is quite expensive)


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cream Cheese Swirl Blondies

It was a busy busy week. I opened the fridge and saw I still had a big block of cream cheese that I bought at S&R... hmmm...

I was thinking of doing something other than my cheesecake recipe. Kindda mix it up a little. So I turned to the old Martha cookbook. Browsing through the cookies cookbook, I saw this recipe for Cream Cheese swirl blondies. Mind you, this is not an easy recipe. This had two parts to it. The regular batter and the cream cheese part that you combine in the end and swirl. (I suggest you read through the recipe and prepare the ingredients)

You'll need:

2/3 cup butter, unsalted at room temp (11 tablespoons)
1 2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup cream cheese (3/4 of one 225gram block)
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1. preheat oven to 325C (about 160C). line a 8 inch baking pan with parchment (cook and bake)

2. whisk together 1 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl

3. Put 9 tablespoons butter and brown sugar in a bowl and with a paddle attachment,mix on medium until pale and fluffy- about 3 mins. add 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla: mix until combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, scraping down side of the bowl until well combined. Transfer to large bowl

4. Put cream cheese, granulated sugar and remaining 2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp flour, 1 egg and 1/2 tsp vanilla into a clean bowl and mix on medium with a paddle attachment.

5. pour half of the blondie mixture into the pan and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Spoon two thirds of the cream cheese mixture on top and spread evenly. Drop dollops of the remaining batter on top (spacing about 1 inch apart) and spread. Top with dollops of cream cheese mixture

6. Gently swirl cream cheese mixture with a butter knife running the knife lengthwise and crosswise throughout he layers. Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet. 45 mins.  Let cool slightly in the pan ( about 15 mins) and lift out. Cool on wire rack and cut into squares.

My nephew was visiting and I told him... this is like a brownie but it has cheese in it. After taking a bite, I asked him -- how was it?  (I was on a specific meal plan so I could not taste this)... his answer?

it taste like a brownie... but with cheese.!!! (hahahaha)

Anyway, I packed this for our trip to the beach and it was gobbled up on the way home. One of my friends tasted it and commented that it was ok but she preferred the regular cheesecake that I usually make. (plus black bottom cheesecake cups I made for a party one time. ) Would appreciate more feedback on this recipe from those who have gotten a taste (hint hint: vivian!!!)


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tuscan Style roast pork

As with all my cooking, I get inspired by supermarket trips. On this occasion, I was loading up on the regular supplies when I saw this delectable rack of pork.

I haven't tried a roasted pork before. Mostly, we do a lot of fried and breaded pork chops so the concept of a beautiful pork roast appealed to me

I got this recipe from EPICURIOUS iPhone app I have on my phone.

I tweaked it a little by adding slabs of bacon on top to keep the meat moist while it's roasting... plus, bacon always makes everything taste better.

You'll need:
10 garlic cloves
1/4 cup fresh rosemary (or 1/8 cup dried)
2 tsp seasalt
1 centercut (2 kilo) pork loin tied by your butcher (see picture)
5-6 slices of bacon

note: I used a pork loin with the ribs intact. I suggest you use a deboned one for better slicing later on)
Blitz garlic and rosemary in a food processor add a bit of olive oil to emulsify the paste. Take out and mix in sea salt and pepper.  With a small knife, make 1/4 inch slits on the individual pork pieces and fill with the paste. Rub the rest of the paste  all over the pork  and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes to 2 hours.

preheat oven to 180C

After marinating, top the pork loin with the slabs of bacon, (fat side up) covering the top fully. Roast in the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer read 155F. Take out of the oven and let stand loosely covered for 30 minutes (this is called resting the meat, so that it will remain juicy when you cut it)

Added buttered vegetables and mashed potatoes

After taking out the roast, I strained the bit on the pan and deglazed the pan with red wine and added a cup of cream. I also mixed 1/2 cup water with 2 tbsp of cornstarch ( to thicken the sauce). add pepper and salt to taste.

The roast was beautiful. With crispy bacon on top.! The only problem for me was that I purchased the one with the bone and I had a hard time chopping the individual pcs for each person. The flavor was great too. The marinade gave it such a subtle flavor and each cut was about 1 1/2 inch thick but it remained juicy inside ( the bacon element)

This is definitely worth repeating for a more formal occasion with friends. Hope everyone enjoy the pictures and try this yourself. !