Zucchini Noodles with Tomatoes, Papaya, and Avocados

Ken usually has a pretty bad case of Monday Blues, so I try to do what I can to keep his Monday lunches looking happy (personally I think all food is happy food… I kind of just love to shove things in the general direction of my mouth). He also happens to be a little bit of a health nut — always calculating calories, carbohydrates, sugars…etc. So I decided to try out these zucchini noodles that I stumbled upon a while back!

I didn’t really follow any recipe for this, because it was super simple. Here’s what I did to prepare the noodles:

Run a vegetable peeler down the zucchini hotdog style (the long way!) making long strips of “noonoos.” It helps to rotate the zucchini as you go along. Sprinkle liberally with salt and let sit in a colander. This drains the zucchini of moisture, making it more noodle-like! 

After letting it sit for about half an hour, squeeze out the last of the juices, and cook the noodles in boiling water for about 1 1/2 minutes. Then, drain and shock the noodles so they don’t continue to cook after they’ve been taken off the heat! 

Season with sesame oil, salt, and freshly ground pepper.

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To go with the noodles, I just cubed a tomato, about a quarter of a papaya, and half of an avocado and tossed it in some lime juice. In my opinion, tomatos, papayas, and avocados all have very complex flavors, so I didn’t think it was necessary to really add anything to it. Just some lime to ensure freshness, and some honey to balance it all out!

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Garnish with some scallions and voila! 

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I think some mint would’ve gone really well with this, but I unfortunately didn’t have any tonight… so maybe next time? I also wish I could’ve made some carrot noodles to go with the zucchini noodles. I guess this will be a project for next time! 

Happy Early Monday! 

 

Pull-Apart Garlic Paprika Bread (Garlic Bubble Loaf)

Hello all!

First, a picture of Kenneth officially adding Strawberry Nutella Macarons to his list of strawberry treats that he loves!

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It is rainy, cold, humid, and gloomy today in Evanston — perfect baking weather! Today, I decided to go with something salty.

I used and adapted this recipe from My Kitchen Addiction. These are the adjustments that I made: I upped the amount of garlic powder(I LOVE GARLIC!), included fresh garlic (did I mention, I LOVE GARLIC), added some sesame oil, and used black sesame instead of white sesame. Basically I wanted more garlic flavor and only had black sesame…

Anyway, here are the pictures:

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This is a mixture of melted butter, a few drops of sesame oil, paprika, and garlic powder.

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I did not make any adjustments to the dough, so please refer to the recipe I mentioned above if you are interested in making this! They’re so cute!

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Here’s the picture of the finished product, pre-sesame, and pre-baking!

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The pan I used was a little bit too small, which made the bread a little “bubblier” than anticipated.

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and it seems the oven temp could have been brought down a little bit… the top was a little more browned than I would’ve liked.

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The bread pulls apart easily, and is nice and buttery. omnomnom!

Overall, I’d say it turned out well. And even if it doesn’t look amazing, it tastes and smells great! I have to say the texture of the bread itself reminds me of the breads that you get in Taiwan. It is a bit fluffier and softer than bread that is purchased here. I think I might try to make a sweet version of this someday. My mother used to make this delicious braided bread with cream cheese filling right around midterms and finals time, and I’ve always wanted to try and recreate that.  After all, I do still have two packets of yeast waiting to be used!
Until next time, friends! ❤

Strawberry Nutella Macarons

As promised, I am back with my latest attempt at the macarons!

I must say that macarons are one of the more difficult treats that I’ve made, but once I got the hang of recognizing stiff peaks, and knowing when to stop folding (or the macaronage step… as the experts call it), I have come to realize that they are also one of the most versatile treats!  As the name of this blog suggests, Kenneth (my fiancé) is the (lucky) man who gets to eat everything I make, and it just so happens that one of his favorite fruits is the strawberry. He loves strawberry everything — strawberry yanyans, strawberry pocky, strawberry scones… the list goes on. Today, I’m hoping he’ll add Strawberry Nutella Macarons to the list!

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The recipe I used for the cookie part is adapted from the basic french meringue recipe from this book: 

Les Petits Macarons: Colorful French Confections to Make at Home

The recipe is as follows:

85g almond flour
85g confectioner’s sugar
75g granulated sugar
60g aged egg whites
3-9 drops food coloring (9 drops of red food coloring in this particular batch)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt

It is particularly helpful to have all of the required accessible and measured out prior to making this recipe!

Mix together the almond flour and confectioner’s sugar (or pulse the two ingredients in a food processor for about 10 seconds). Sift. Twice.

In the bowl of a electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until bubbly, then add the sugar, cream of tartar, and salt. Whisk on medium high until stiff peaks form.

Quickly whisk in the sifted dry ingredients. Be careful not to over or under mix the meringue!

Pipe into 11/2 inch rounds on parchment paper(or a silicone baking mat, if available). Bang the baking sheets on the counter top (as hard as you can!) at least five times. This will get the bubbles in the macarons to come to the surface! Leave the unbaked macarons out to rest for about 10 to 15 minutes (depending on the humidity in your kitchen!), or until the shell of the macaron is dry to the touch.

Bake at 250F for 12 minutes.

et voilá! 

For the filling…
I tried to make a greek yogurt nutella filling, but the yogurt I had on hand was not quite thick enough, and resulted in a runny consistency — not ideal for macarons. But all is not lost! We will be using this as a dip for fruit, or perhaps as a topping for ice cream instead!

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I ended up just spooning nutella directly onto the macarons and topped them off with slices of strawberry that had been tossed in some honey and lime juice.

 

Overall, the macarons turned out well! After a lot of trial and error (mostly error), I have come to figure out what makes the best macarons in this particular kitchen. This is the recipe that works for me! If you search the inter-webs for macarons recipes, you’ll see that these are highly finicky little creatures… so be patient!

On that note, I bid you a happy Monday. Let me know what you think! 

 

 

 

 

Welcome!

Hello and welcome to my blog!
My name is Jocelyn, and if you are here, it’s probably because you already know me! So let’s just get down to business.

I’ve always found the idea of joining the ever growing community of bloggers to be quite daunting, but I woke up on the right side of the bed today and decided to go for it! After all, what could go wrong? Here’s the way I see it…

What’s in it for me:
I get to pretend to live out my somewhat unrealistic childhood dream of becoming a baker.

What’s in it for you:
You get to a. laugh at my failed attempts at cooking or b. (hopefully) salivate at my successful attempts.

So here it goes! I will be back shortly with my latest attempt at the macarons!

-J