Thursday, 12 February 2015

My 2 year adventure, coming to a close

  My 2 Year Adventure has come to an end. Unfortunately, I'm not very satisfied with how I kept this up. The blogging was inconsistent and the cooking was slightly off schedule. However, I wanted to give you guys an update on my culinary life. So since I started my 2 year adventure, I have turned 15 and in these past two years, some significant things have happened. First of all, this blog got me noticed by an author, Ramin Ganeshram, and I was a part of her book, FutureChefs. It is a book featuring youth mostly in America but some international kids (such as myself), were included. The book was a great experience, and I love the book and there are some great recipes that I'm super excited to try. Secondly, I got a job! Actually, I got THE job! I took a summer camp, 2 years in a row, at a local culinary school. It's my favorite time of the year and I'm genuinely happy to be there all week. I took the camp at the end of the summer and after the camp ended, the owner asked me if I was interested in working there and having a summer mentorship. I was sooooo excited (I still am). I'm sorting out all the details this week and I very excited to learn more about the culinary industry and see if that's something I really want to pursue as a career. Those are the two major occurrences that have happened since I started my 2 year adventure, so even though the adventure wasn't very successful the knowledge I gained and the experiences I got will last a lifetime and I'm very happy.

See you next time internet! Love, Alexa :) 

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

My 2 year adventure, week 99: Butternut sqaush risotto with sugared walnuts

Week 99:
  So yesterday I made butternut squash risotto with sugared walnuts. For the walnuts, I toasted them and the tossed them with butter, sugar, and pepper. I liked them a lot on their own. Then for the squash I tossed it with some oil, roasted it and then added some garlic. I don't really like squash and in addition, I didn't take enough of the rind off so the edges of some of the pieces were hard and stringy. So after I roasted those off, I sauteed bacon, then onion, added arborio rice, and what I thought was white wine. There were to bottle of white wine looking liquid. I totally overlooked the real wine and picked up a bottle of sherry or something that was labeled "wine". Since I am underage and rarely cook with wine, I am unfamiliar with the smell and the bottles. Either way, the product was fine, even with not wine wine. Then, like in most risottos, I slowly added chicken stock that I had warmed up until the rice was cooked. Overall, The dish was good. The walnuts did not work with the finished product but if you left those off, and took and the squash, it was a pretty enjoyable dish. The rice was cooked really well (if I do say so myself) and overall, not a complete fail. My family gave it a 7.5/10. 

See you in the new year internet! Love, Alexa :)        

baking for fun: coconut cream pie

So I've been watching masterchef junior (a little behind, I know), but I just watched the episode where they make the cream pies. I've been baking for a LONG time and I came to the realization, that I have only made a cream pie once before. I have made a key lime pie, but I've never made a chocolate or fruit cream pie. So I did a little digging in my recipe books and I found a really good coconut cream pie. 
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2-3 tbsp heavy cream
1 large egg yolk
pinch of salt
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp cornstarch 
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 large egg yolks, beaten
1 cup milk
1 cup half and half
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup shredded coconut
Whipped cream
Toasted shredded coconut     
     So first of all, the base, the crust. Whisk the flour and 1/2 tsp salt together in a bowl. Then, using the back of a fork or a pastry blender, mix in the butter (cut the butter into pieces first). Add the heavy cream and mix until the dough stays together when you squeeze it (I added a little extra heavy cream, my dough was a little dry). Dump the dough into a 9-inch pie pan and using your hands, press the dough up the side. Pack the dough firmly until it forms a crust. Prick the dough carefully, this type of crust has a tendency to flake and break. Bake the dough at 400 degrees F, for 20 minutes. Then combine the egg yolk and the pinch of salt. Brush the inside of the dough with the egg wash and bake it for 1-2 minutes.
     To make the filling, combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. In a different bowl combine the egg yolks, milk and cream. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Cook over a low heat until the filling is thick. It'll take about 15 minutes and it will become almost like a custard. Take the filling off the heat. Add the vanilla and the coconut.
     Top the cooled pie with the whipped cream and toasted coconut. To be honest, I wouldn't put the cream over the pie unless you're planning to eat the whole thing in one sitting. The cream will fall flat and it will make the pie mushy. So if you won't be eating the whole pie, then I would recommend putting the cream on the pieces individually.
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See you next time internet! Love, Alexa :) 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

My 2 Year Adventure, week 88: Spicy shrimp nodle bowl with cucumber salad

Week 88:
  OK, so let me get something straight, I'm not a writer, I'm a cook. Blogging is definitely not my forte, but I have been cooking every week since my last post. I really need to be more consistent. Alright week 88 of 104... Today I made a Spicy shrimp noodle bowl with a cucumber salad. The noodle bowl consisted of rice stick noodles, shrimp, sauteed vegetables, all severed in a fish broth that I made. The fish broth wasn't completely "from scratch" but I didn't just buy a fish stock. I started of with chicken broth, added water and clam juice then topped it all off with the shells from the shrimp and some slices of ginger. I boiled it down and it made a really yummy broth. Then I sauteed some garlic, onion, and bell pepper, added the broth, snap peas, some chili flakes, the shrimp and the noodles, cooked it all down to deliciousness and TAH-DAH!!!! A really yummy soup type dish. I served it with some lime wedges as well as some salad consisting of cucumber, radishes, green onion, and a light dressing. My family really enjoyed it (9/10) and it only to me about 30 minutes to make. 
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See you next time internet! Love, Alexa :) 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

baking for fun: Pear and cardamom scones

So as some of you may know, I brought back a ton of produce from my friend's house, including pears. This recipe has a great kick to it and the scones were gone with in a day (and I made a double recipe). This recipe makes 8 scones and they're great for breakfast. 
6.75 oz all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
2.4 oz whole wheat flour (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cardamom (if you're feeling ambitious, add a touch more)
3 tbsp cold butter
10 tbsp buttermilk
1 tsp lemon rind
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup chopped pear
2 tsp all-purpose flour
1 large egg white, lightly beaten 
   Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine 6.75 oz all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and the cardamom in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter in, breaking it into small pieces first. Keep working the butter in until the mix looks like coarse meal. Combine the buttermilk, lemon rind, vanilla extract, and egg in a medium bowl. Stir in the pear. Add the buttermilk mix to the flour mixture stirring until just moist (don't overmix). Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Dust the top with the remaining 2 tsp of flour. Pat the dough into an 8-inch circle onto a greased baking sheet. Cut the dough into 8 wedges, not all the way, but about 2/3 of the way into the dough. Brush the egg white over the dough. Bake it for about 25 minutes and it's ready to eat almost immediately!

See you next time internet! Love, Alexa :)            

Baking For fun: peach pie

We were up at our friend's house and they live in the best climate for apples, grapes, cherries, and many other fruits. We returned 3 days later with bags of apples and peaches as well as a box of plums, some pears, carrots, and 150 tomatoes. This recipe is a great way to use peaches and it is absolutely delicious!
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable shortening
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp ice water 
2 1/2 lbs peaches; peeled, pitted, and sliced
1/2 to 3/4 cup plus 2 tsp sugar, divided
3 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
1/8 tsp salt
2 to 3 tbsp butter
Milk or cream
   OK! So start off by making the dough. This dough recipe will make just enough dough for one covered pie, so it's perfect! First, you'll wanna stir the flour, 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp salt together in a large bowl. Then, using a pastry blender, and in the shortening, breaking it into chunks as you go.. Cut in the shortening until the mixture looks like cornmeal or bread crumbs. Drizzle the water over the mix and stir it together until it starts to come together. If the dough will not come together and an extra 1 or 2 tbsp of ice water. When your dough is starting to come together, divide the dough in half, press each portion into a circle, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes before rolling
   After it's chilled (preferably for a couple hours) roll out your dough. One portion should be rolled out to about a 13-inch diameter, the other half should be rolled out to about a 12-inch diameter. Place the 13-inch circle into a 9-inch pie tin. Refrigerate the dough while you make the filling. 
   Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Measure out 5 cups of the peaches and combine with 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, almond extract (is using), and 1/8 tsp salt. Let the filling stand for 15 minutes. Remove the pie crust from the fridge. Pour the filling into the bottom crust and dot the top with the butter. Cover the top of the pie (if you'd like, you can make a lattice). If you're completely covering the pie, cut steam vents in the top. Light brush the top of the pie with the milk or cream and sprinkle the remaining 2 tsp of sugar on the top. Bake the pie for 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degree Fahrenheit and cook it for 25 to 35 minutes more. Let the pie cool then you can slice the pie and enjoy!      

See you next time internet! Love, Alexa :)       

Sunday, 24 August 2014

My 2 Year Aventure, week 75: Oatmeal panckaes

Week 75:
  I'm not making dinner today because I'm going to a concert so I made breakfast instead. The pancakes weren't my favorite. I used the wrong type of oats so the texture was really wrong. On top of that, they didn't really taste like anything. I don't know, I wasn't a fan. I think I'll just stick to my normal pancakes. They got a 6/10. 

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See you next time internet! Love, Alexa :)