Cinnamon Pancakes with Glazed Pears

Since we arrived in China, I have been craving pancakes. Pancakes are hard to come by in China, so if you’re craving them, you have to make them at home. In my opinion, pancakes should be everywhere in the world, because they are sweet and scrumptious. I don’t eat or make them often, but when I do, I like to try new flavors.

Due to my limited knowledge of spices that are available in China, and ones that would go well with pancakes, I chose to use my favorite spice, cinnamon. Cinnamon is a very versatile spice, and it reminds me of Fall. In my opinion, cinnamon just adds positive notes to a dish.

So, why glazed pears for this dish instead of apples? Well, yesterday I went to the grocery store, and I was set on buying some “apples”. I don’t really eat apples here, because they are a little pricey. While at the grocery store, I saw some “apples” on sale for less than a dollar per kilo. Little did I know that they actually weren’t apples. They were Hosui pears. The pears were light in color, so I thought they were Golden Delicious apples. Anyway, I had to change my original recipe from ” Glazed Apples” to ” Glazed pears”. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. The pears added a flavor the was crisp and sweet.


Cinnamon Pancakes with Glazed Pears
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Cinnamon Pancakes with Glazed Pears
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Ingredients
Dry ingredients for pancakes
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Wet ingredients for pancakes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
Glazed Pears
  • 1 hosui pear sliced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 mandarin orange
Servings:
Instructions
Pancakes
  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Then, add the yogurt, milk and egg to the dry mixture. Thoroughly mix these ingredients.
  3. To fry the pancakes, heat a frying pan on low heat. Add oil or butter, and 1/4 cup of pancake batter. Allow the pancakes to cook and repeat this process until all of the batter is used.
  4. Set the pancakes in a microwave or oven, without heat. This will allow the pancakes to stay warm.
Pears
  1. To prepare the pears, peel the skins and cut around the core of the pear. Thinly slice the pear and place them in a bowl.
  2. Coat the pears with half of the orange and the sesame oil.
  3. Heat a frying pan on medium heat, and add the butter. Add the pears and the brown sugar. Allow the pears to simmer for two-three minutes.
  4. Serve the pancakes and the glazed pears.
Recipe Notes

*** Make the pancakes before the pears. You want the pears to be hot when served***

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Eggy French Toast Casserole

Growing up, I used to love french toast. I looked forward to eating it at school and at home. However, when I would help make it at home, I despised how long it took to make. Waiting for the thick slices of french bread to soak up the sweet, eggy milk took hours. Actually, it didn’t take hours; it only took half an hour, but I was a kid and had no clear sense of time.

Even as a grownup, I still love french toast. I get excited to place two thick slices on my plate, top it with syrup and unsalted butter. I cut it up into small squares to make it “last longer”, but it never does. However, I don’t like making it. I think it’s a little time consuming. I have to stand over the stove and wait for a slice of bread to thoroughly cook.If you take it off too early, then you’re going to have a stomachache. If you leave it on for too long, then you’ve ruined your breakfast.To me, it’s a waste of time.

When I moved into my second apartment in China, I got an oven and began making casseroles. This was something that I never really did in the states. I saw it as being lazy and wasn’t something that “good cooks did”. My perspective changed the more I worked and read about cooking. This leads us to me discovering the french toast casserole. It has to be one of the best breakfast dishes to make. It’s easy, sweet and, because it is moist, keeps well for about three days.


French Toast Casserole
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Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
French Toast Casserole
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1/2 loaf white bread a whole baguette is okay too. make sure to slice it into small pieces.
  • 6 whole eggs
  • 1 cup milk dairy milk, soy milk and nut milk are all okay to use
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cut into small cubes
  • 1 banana(sliced) optional
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius, 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut the bread into small square squares. They should be about an inch, or two and a half centimeters, long.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whip the eggs and milk together. Next, add the cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and salt
  4. Then, take the bread and fold it into the milk and egg mixture. Allow the bread to soak for five minutes.
  5. Next, pour the bread into a well-greased casserole dish and disperse the cubes of butter on top. Optional: Add the sliced banana after adding the butter.
  6. Bake the french toast casserole for forty-five minutes. Start checking on the casserole at the thirty minute mark. To ensure that it's thoroughly cooked, place a toothpick through the middle and pull it out. If it comes out without any residue. then the casserole is finished. If there is residue, then allow it to cook for another fifteen minutes.
  7. Serve hot with syrup or jam.
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Cranberry Orange Muffins

I love muffins but they are difficult to find in China. I’ve only found them at western establishments and westernized bakeries. When I used to bake muffins at home, they would always turn out dry or the flavor would be weird. I tried making healthy muffins but they were always so dense. What’s the point in eating a muffin if it’s not going to taste going to taste good?

The  fall weather always inspires me to bake more and to try new things. I decided to make cranberry and orange muffins. I found a simple recipe for muffins on The Kitchn’s website. If you don’t know, I love their website. They feature so many tutorials on the most basic foods. It’s really great if you want to try something new but don’t know where to start. I think it’s very easy to get wrapped up in the world of food blogs and pretty food pictures but have no idea where to begin.

 

I took The Kitchn’s recipe and added dried cranberries,fresh orange juice and cinnamon. I’ve been enjoying learning about spices and flavor combinations lately. I thought that a semi-spiced muffin mixed with something acidic, sweet and tart would taste good. These muffins have a pungent orange flavor, so if you would like them a little less orange, I suggest you remove the orange zest. For a more spiced muffin, try adding an extra teaspoon of cinnamon.

 

You can find steps at The Kitchen’s website. The measurements for the cranberries and orange are in the recipe box below.Lastly, I used a few different ingredients to get a different flavor and texture of muffin, but you if you don’t have the same ingredients, use what you have.


Cranberry Orange Muffins
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Cranberry Orange Muffins
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Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil you can also use vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups full fat milk
  • 1 orange juiced
  • 1/2 orange zested
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
Servings:
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Egg Roll (鸡蛋卷) with Three Kinds of Cream

While living abroad, especially in Asia, you are going to find some interesting street food. I have tried so much food on a stick or in a paper cup. I think that is one of the best parts about living abroad; trying new foods that you may not find in your hometown.

Lately, I have been seeing these wafer-like rolls sold near my neighborhood. I’ve been meaning to try them,but I always forget about them by the time I pass by the vendor. Plus, you can’t buy them one at a time, you have to buy a bag of at least ten. They aren’t filled or topped with anything. Many people think that they are sweet enough but I disagree. These egg rolls are slightly sweetened and crispy. A friend gave me some and suggested that I fill them with cream. I found a cream recipe on Eugenie’s Kitchen’s website. I wasn’t too familiar with her work but her cookies and cakes looked cute and colorful.

For the creams, I wanted to make one that was different than what I normally make and two simple ones. I decided to make a matcha, chocolate and  cinnamon vanilla cream. The matcha cream may be difficult to make if you are living in the U.S, but you can definitely make the cinnamon vanilla and chocolate creams.

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Matcha, Cocoa and Cinnamon Vanilla Cream
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Matcha, Cocoa and Cinnamon Vanilla Cream
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Ingredients
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon nutella optional
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Add cream and sugar to a bowl. Whip until the cream is fluffy and forms soft peaks.
  2. Divide the cream into three bowls. Add the matcha powder to the first bowl, the cocoa powder to the second one and the cinnamon and vanilla to the third one.
  3. When all three are mixed, place one of the creams in a pipping bag and pipe it into the egg roll. Repeat this step for the rest of the creams.
  4. Optional: You can chill the egg rolls for up to ten minutes to let the cream become firmer.You can also drizzle nutella on top of the cinnamon and vanilla egg rolls.
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Sweet Dumpling and Butternut Squash Soup

In celebration of all things fall, I decided to make my squash soup. Soups are one of my favorite foods to eat  this time of year. They are easy to make and you can let them cook for a while. Whenever I have no obligations for the day, I will take a couple of hours to make a soup. I love having the aromas from the spices fill my apartment.

soup1

A little less than a year ago, I made the first version of this soup. I was very proud of it but I forgot to write down the recipe. I’ve made it about five times since then and each time the soup took on a new flavor. Sometimes it was too sweet or there was way too much cinnamon. One time, I made a vegetable broth into the soup, put way too much salt in the broth and the soup turned out very salty and almost inedible. When I made the new version of this soup, I decided that I would take my time, record every part of the recipes and take lots of pictures in case I forgot a step.

 

soup3

One of my favorite ingredients in this recipe are the shallots. When I saw them in the grocery store, I was kind of skeptical about buying them. I wasn’t too sure about the flavor, especially since I used red onions in the previous versions. Adding the shallots to the recipe really added to the natural sweet flavors of the squash. Also, roasting the squash before hand made a huge difference in flavor.

 

soup4

In my opinion, this has to be the best version of my soup. It is not too sweet and is very aromatic. I think that it shows how much I have improved as a chef, and how much more I need to learn.

soup5

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Sweet Dumpling and Butternut Squash Soup
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Sweet Dumpling and Butternut Squash Soup
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Ingredients
  • 2 large halves butternut squash You can also use one butternut squash
  • 1 small sweet dumpling squash
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 shallots sliced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat your convection oven at 180 degrees Celsius, or 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut the sweet dumpling squash and butternut squash in half. Put them on a sheet pan and drizzle them with three tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. Place the pan in the oven and roast the squash for fifty minutes. Once done, remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for twenty minutes.
  4. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scrape out the seeds and the stringy parts and place them to the side. Next, remove the rest of the squash from the peel and place them in a bowl.
  5. On medium-low heat, warm a medium sized pot and add the remaining olive oil, shallots and garlic. Allow the garlic and shallots to cook for three minutes, consistently stirring them.
  6. Then, add the water, coconut milk, squash and spices to the pot. Turn the heat down to low and allow it to cook for fifteen minutes.
  7. The soup will be very hot, so allow it to cool for three minutes before blending. Lastly, place the soup in a blender and blend it for one minute.
Recipe Notes
  • If you roast the squash ina regular oven at 200 degrees Celcius, or 400 degrees Fahrenheit, it could take only twenty-five to thirty minutes instead of fifty.
  • If you cannot find a sweet dumpling squash, you can use a regular sugar pumpkin. I have used both and they work fine.
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