From brittle to cookie

This weekend was very long. I spent the last three days baking in the kitchen. It was exhausting!

This week’s assignment was baking chocolate chip cookies- from scratch. Sounds easy, right? Hah! Think again! I had to make them a few times before they were to my satisfaction and acceptable to submit to my chef instructor. So glad they turned out in the end. Baking is not my forte, but my hope is that I’ll improve my baking skills throughout this course. I want to be well-rounded in all areas of culinary arts.

There were a lot of emotions I encountered during this experience. Frustration, confusion, annoyance… Despite those feelings, there were also some positives that came out of this event. Gotta look for the silver linings in every event.

So, I’m two weeks into my pâtisserie course and I’m finally using my food scale. I’m familiarizing myself with the different measurements. Last week, we measured in ounces. This week, it’s all in grams. Measuring everything in grams was simple, thanks to the food scale. However, when the recipe stated 90g of eggs, I was very puzzled on how I would accurately measure that. 90g of eggs is basically like 1 tsp, LOL! That doesn’t sound accurate at all! Baking recipes always requires at least a couple of eggs. I took matters into my own hands and guesstimated. I tried adding just one egg to the dough mixture. I had to test the waters somehow…

Let me share the recipe and instructions before I talk about the end result of my first attempt at baking these cookies. This recipe yielded 20 (2 oz. size) cookies.

  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 120g granulated sugar
  • 120g dark brown sugar
  • 4g Kosher salt
  • 90g eggs
  • 5g vanilla extract
  • 300g pastry flour
  • 4g baking soda
  • 300g chocolate chips
  • 120g chopped walnuts and macadamia nuts (or pecans)

1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

2. Prepare a cutting board and chef knife to chop macadamia nuts.

3. Mise en place ingredients (basically, portion and measure ingredients so they are ready to go).

4. Prepare a stand mixer.

5. Cream butter and sugar until it is a sandpaper-like texture.

6. Add one egg at a time, as well as vanilla extract. Slowly incorporate into the mixture.

7. Prepare a second mixing bowl and sift dry ingredients.

8. Combine dry ingredients and combine the creamed mixture.

9. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.

10. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

11. Use cookie dough scooper to scoop dough onto baking sheets.

12. Bake between 8-12 minutes.

13. Let cookies cool before serving.

This is what transpired from adding in one egg.

It’s a brittle!!! 😱 But it was darn good!

The first thought that came to mind was “they’re burnt!” No, they’re actually not. My cookies turned into a brittle, which was really crispy and delicious. The color is really dark because of the dark brown sugar. I really enjoyed it, but that’s not what we were going for this week, so I remade the assignment.

I spent a good amount of time reflecting on what I did incorrectly and pondered what I could do differently to change the outcome of my baked cookies. I had a deep feeling it was the eggs, that I didn’t add enough. I followed my gut and added another egg (two total) to the dough mixture during my second attempt. Thank goodness, it worked!

Now this is what I’m talking about!
Doesn’t this cookie look delicious? My mouth is watering!

Overall, baking is not as simple as cooking. Everything is precise and cannot be altered like cooking can. Further, you can’t always bake by taste, like with cooking. Once the baked dish is ruined, the entire process needs to be redone.

To conclude, here’s how cookies are made more crunchy and/or chewy.

Until next time… Thanks so much for reading, liking, commenting, and sharing. I appreciate all your support!

Take care,

FS x

Bawk Bawk!

As the Olympics come to a close, it’s always a bittersweet feeling. What an incredible experience, every time! I love how the world comes together to compete in these terrific sports. It truly brings us together. I couldn’t believe how many sports there were this year. Astounding! Congrats to everyone who participated; those who took home medals and those who didn’t. Everyone’s a winner! They’re the best in the world, no matter what! I certainly admired the awesome sportsmanship throughout the games. It was so touching and beautiful to see. Those were the most memorable moments to me. It meant more to me than ever. 2020 gave us a lot to reflect upon and appreciate. Cherish one another; love each other, and be kind.

It was a busy weekend in the kitchen, cooking and roasting up a storm! This coming week is my aunt’s birthday. In celebration of her birthday and for my culinary assignment this week, I’ve roasted a young whole chicken and made gravy from scratch. Good ol’ comfort food. Yum!

I was so nervous because I’ve never roasted a whole piece of poultry before. I usually buy a whole chicken that’s already cooked. It’s so much easier to work with!

In my readings this past week, I learned that roasting and baking are one-in-the-same. Though, I’ve never heard someone say they’re going to roast a cake. I found it very interesting that both terms mean the same.

Before roasting the chicken, I had to truss it. Trussing entails tying the chicken legs and wings snugly together with butcher’s twine so that they are close with the body. Trussing is important for the chicken to cook evenly in the oven. It also prevents the legs and wings from burning. I lathered my chick with butter (olive oil is fine, too) and seasoned with good ol’ salt and pepper. I also seasoned the inside cavity as well. I cut onions, carrots, and celery to create a mirepoix bedding to lay the seasoned chicken on. The mirepoix, a French term, is cooked slowly with the liquid and fat from the chicken. This will be used to make the gravy afterwards. The end goal is for the chicken to be golden brown and for the skin to be crispy. It took nearly two hours for the chickie to cook. The thermometer finally read 165℉; she was cooked thoroughly. Hallelujah! The chicken was juicy, tender, and oh-so-flavorful. I was stoked!

Onto the gravy… I used the mirepoix and the juices from the chicken to first make a roux. I added flour to create a thickening agent. Then added chicken broth to create the gravy. I poured the contents into a mesh strainer, and voilà! Homemade gravy! It was pretty simple and oh-so-good!

For my aunt’s birthday I made a mocha jelly dessert dish. I initially saw a video on Emmymade’s Facebook page on chocolate jelly. I, of course, altered the recipe and made it my own. It turned out to be more of a pudding texture, but it tasted fabulous. It was very rich. Next time, I’ll add more gelatin.

Emmy loves to make unique dishes. This link has some pretty wacky stuff: https://www.emmymade.com/7-wacky-retro-recipes-for-you-to-try/. Not sure if I’m totally game to trying them. Some of them are quite strange. The 7-Up mayo jello salad and the rainbow sherbet snowball cake look interesting. She’s got some interesting stuff on her Facebook. It’s quite entertaining.

Have a marvelous new week! Cases are rising everywhere. Stay safe and healthy!

FS x

Poi Cocktail Delight

Happy Last Sunday of June! Leon Day was on 06/25; “Noel” spelt backwards. Leon Day marks the halfway mark until Christmas Day. I can’t believe it’s almost that time of the year again.

I’ve got some exciting news to share! After much thought and research, I enrolled in culinary school at Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts! According to multiple websites, this school is rated within the top 5-10 best culinary schools in the nation. Whoo hoo! This idea of culinary school came to mind last fall. It caught me by surprise, as the thought never crossed my mind before. But with time and prayer, I felt a calling to pursue this. I love how life is a never-ending odyssey of learning. It never gets boring and you’re never too old to learn new things.

For as long as I can remember, cooking and eating various ethnic foods has brought a lot of joy and excitement. Hence, why I started food blogging almost six years ago. I wanted a platform to share my dishes and the different ethnic foods I’ve tried with others, as well as generate inspiration not only with food, but with everyday life situations. Going forward, I’m very ecstatic to feature dishes I’ll be making in culinary school, and to share this wonderful journey I’m about to embark on. I want to shout out a thank you to all who visit, read, like, and support my blog and social media platforms. I am FOREVER APPRECIATIVE!

This week’s highlight is my practice assignment I need to submit for my orientation course. I wanted to showcase a creative dish from Hawai’i. I’ve decided to present a poi cocktail. As I mentioned in previous blog posts, poi is pounded taro or kalo, in Hawaiian. A poi cocktail is poi with vanilla ice cream. My favorite poi from Hoʻokuaʻāina is back! They had a taro shortage, thus they put a hold on selling poi and raw kalo. So happy they’re back. It felt like forever ago since I ate their poi. I missed it deeply. I’m excited to be creating a dessert dish with my favorite poi.

Until next time!

FS x

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Papa’s Day to all the fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and father-figures! Hope you had a chillaxing day, doing absolutely NOTHING! We appreciate all that y’all do for us. Thank you, thank you!

My family and I are celebrating with my dad. My sister and I cooked steaks, seasoned with garlic pepper, and rack of lamb, marinated with teriyaki sauce. We’re using the Instant Pot air fryer combo we got my dad for Father’s Day last year. It has all kinds of cool features: air fry, bake, broil, and roast. We’re using ALL the features. So exciting!

I made a Greek yogurt sauce to complement the meats. Yum! That’s my favorite part about eating red meat, which I’m so excited to eat because I don’t have very often anymore. Red meat is a delightful treat. I was introduced to this delicious pairing when I went to Turkey in the summer of 2010 for a world conference.

The yogurt sauce is similar to the Greek tzatziki sauce. It’s very simple to make. I add my own simple touches to it to make it my own. I used plain Greek yogurt and seasoned it with garlic pepper, minced dried garlic, and dried dill. Voilà! All done! The sauce is so good, I can eat it by itself. Uh huh! You heard right!

Now, gotta have them veggies! We made green beans and brussel sprouts, cooked with garlic balsamic olive oil, onions,and garlic. Scrumptious! Now, that’s how you get people to eat their vegetables, haha!

We also had Portuguese sausage, the best sausage there is, in my opinion (I’m not a huge sausage fan) and shrimp tempura. The tempura was already pre-made, thanks to Costco. My dad cooked oysters in a buttery garlic sauce. Oh my! I was in heaven! I love oysters. We don’t eat it all the time. Whenever we do, I savor every bite! It’s a wonderful treat!

For dessert, my dad requested a haupia pie, which my sister bought. Haupia is a Hawaiian coconut dessert.

Time to grind all the delicious foods! Ciao!

Have a great week. Happy belated Juneteenth, now a federal holiday (yay!), and Happy Summer!

FS x

A family affair of froyoz!

Remember when frozen yogurt used to be the dessert to get? There were froyo places popping up all over the island and then they slowly starting closing down. I’m glad Cherry on Top in Pearl City is still around. This place is DA BOMB!

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What an assortment- for the fam!

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These were the flavors that evening. I’m sure they change out the flavors every so often.

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Each of us chose at least one flavor per station, and what was cool was that they all mixed well together in our individual bowls.

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I LOVE their toppings bar. So diverse and so much variety to choose from!

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More toppings to choose from!

Cherry on Top
1140 Kuala St.
Pearl City, HI 96782
https://www.yelp.com/biz/cherry-on-top-pearl-city

Easter pies!

I made some yummy pies for our Easter dinner last weekend. It was a hit!

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Thee ingredients. A very simple pie to make. Trust me.

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All you do is mix the powdered sugar (1/4 c), peanut butter powder (1/2 c), cream cheese (8oz), and cool whip (entire tub) together. Voila! There’s your pie filling. Chill after it’s poured into the pie crust.

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Onto the next pie. The ingredients. Another very simple pie.

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Bam! Another success! I melted the ice cream, then blended the frozen strawberries and fresh bananas together. That’s all there is to it! Freeze after poured into the pie crust.

Guri guri time!

Happy #throwbackThursday!

Went back to Maui this past summer and I had to stop by my favorite place to get some guri guri at Tasaka’s in Kahului. I used to go there all the time when I would visit my grandparents as a child. My family and I would even bring some back to Oahu to savor this wonderful dessert for a while longer. I wanted to bring back a quart or two from this trip, but they were closed on the Sunday we left. Shucks! So I got my fix, TWICE, the day before. Haha!

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There’s two flavors- strawberry- my favorite!!!!!

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And pineapple.

And how awesome are these prices? I don’t think they’ve ever changed.

• 2 scoops – $1.10
• 3 scoops – $1.65
• 4 scoops – $2.10
• 5 scoops – $2.55

Whoo hoo!

When you visit Maui, check out Tasaka Guri Guri.

Tasaka Guri Guri
Maui Mall
Kahului, HI 96732
(808) 871-4513

I found a site that shares the recipe. I am gonna try it out and compare the tastes.

http://mauirestaurantsblog.com/guri-guri/

 

 

Hiroshima grindz!

Happy #TravelTuesday!

I went on a one-day tour to Hiroshima, Japan last fall, and absolutely loved it there. It was a very moving day when we visited the A-Bomb site and Sadako’s statue at the end of the day/tour. My heart went out to those who lost their lives that tragic day. A couple pictures shared below:

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A-bomb site in Hiroshima. Got the chills… It was surreal to be there in-person.

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Sadako Sasaki’s statue/memorial site. Excited that I was there, but felt so sad.

Before we visited those memorial sites, we took a day tour to Miyajima, a small island in Hiroshima Bay. I was excited to try some Hiroshima oysters. Oh my word! That was delicious! I love oysters- raw AND cooked! Mmm, mmm! The line was super long- everyone wanted a taste of those bad boys! Haha! And it was worth it!

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Whoa!!!!

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My mouth is watering! Take me back!!!!

I found an intriguing article about the benefits of oysters: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/animal-product/oysters.html – it’s not only an aphrodisiac 😉

I also tried the beer that’s brewed in Hiroshima. It was good!

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Before we left the island, I had to get some dessert! Japanese strawberry “shave ice!!!!” Refreshing! Japan is known for their sweets/desserts. There’s stands/shops all over the place!

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“Sadako & the Thousand Paper Cranes,” is a recommended book to read. It’s one of my fave stories growing up. I read this book in elementary school. It’s a touching story- a page-turner for sure!! I’ve never owned a copy of my own, but yet, this story remains in my heart forever… Before leaving Hiroshima that evening, I bought a copy for myself. It’s a keepsake!

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