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.
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.
1/2loafwhite breada whole baguette is okay too. make sure to slice it into small pieces.
1cupmilkdairy milk, soy milk and nut milk are all okay to use
1/2cupunsalted buttercut into small cubes
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius, 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cut the bread into small square squares. They should be about an inch, or two and a half centimeters, long.
In a mixing bowl, whip the eggs and milk together. Next, add the cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and salt
Then, take the bread and fold it into the milk and egg mixture. Allow the bread to soak for five minutes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.