Egg Drop Soup with Roasted Turkey

egg-drop-soup-1It’s November and Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays, is on the horizon.  Any excuse to get together with family and friends and cook a ton of food and eat is my favorite holiday.  However, I think one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is the leftovers! I absolutely love leftover turkey sandwiches on white bread with mayo, salt, and pepper. But, once I have had my fill of those, I usually still have leftover turkey to cook with.  Which brings me to the recipe I have developed to share with you. Egg Drop Soup with Roasted Turkey.

 

I have a deep love and fascination with Chinese take-out food. A few months ago, my favorite Chinese restaurant closed permanently. After getting over the initial shock and grief, I am on the search for a replacement. Sadly, I haven’t found one yet. But, in the meantime, I’ve been biding my time recreating some of my favorite dishes at home.

 

Egg drop soup isn’t something I usually order but, I have begun making it home to compliment my Chinese take-out inspired meals. It is surprisingly easy to make. The broth is usually flavored with ginger, garlic, and peppercorns. I have added star anise to mine to enhance the flavor a bit more and bring in some notes of Chinese 5-spice.

 

Cornstarch is an important staple of this recipe. It is whisked into the broth to ever so slightly thicken and give a little body to the finished soup. It is also whisked into the eggs allowing them to remain delicate and soft once they hit the hot broth.

 

Turkey isn’t something that you traditionally find in Chinese take-out cuisine but, since it is that time of year, I have been looking for ways to add it to my Chinese take-out at home. And, it goes surprisingly well in this soup. The star anise really compliments the turkey and rounds out the soup in a delicious way. I hope you enjoy!

Egg Drop Soup with Roasted Turkey

6 c. chicken stock
3” piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into slices
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 tsp. whole black peppercorn
2 star anise
2 dried bird’s eye chilies, or serrano
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 c. leftover roasted turkey, shredded
1 c. green peas
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp. cornstarch + 1 tsp. cornstarch

Pour the chicken stock into a saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, black peppercorn, star anise, bird’s eye chilies, and soy sauce.
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Allow stock to simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Strain the broth into another saucepan and return to the heat. Bring back to a low simmer. Add the roasted turkey and green peas.

Scoop out about ½ cup of the broth into a small bowl. Whisk it together with 1 Tbsp. cornstarch until cornstarch is dissolved. Pour back into the saucepan and stir.

In the same small bowl, whisk the eggs with 1 tsp. cornstarch until eggs are completely beaten and cornstarch is dissolved.

Holding a fork over the saucepan, gently pour the egg cornstarch mixture through the tines, allowing it to form ribbons. Let the egg “set” for about 10 seconds and then stir to break them up as you like.

Salted Vanilla Marshmallow Cream S’mores

S'mores Hero

It’s perfect camping weather! That time of year when the days are warm and the nights are cool. It’s perfect for a bowl of chili and perfect for that all-American messy treat . . . S’mores! But, if you are anything like me, I don’t want to wait for a camping trip to have S’mores. I may make S’mores on a random Tuesday afternoon or enjoy one on the couch as a midnight snack.

I love the elements of a S’more and how they work together to make that perfect treat. Crunchy graham crackers, chocolate, and gooey toasty marshmallows. Each ingredient brings an important element to the table. But, of course, I can’t help but play with it a little bit!

This recipe is my version of a S’more. The Biscoff cookie is an elevated version of a graham cracker. It’s crispy and crunchy like a graham cracker but, has notes of ginger and more complexity. The marshmallows are replaced with a home-made salted vanilla marshmallow cream. It’s creamy and sweet and salty and messy and delicious. For the chocolate, I used a high-quality European chocolate. And, to top it off, I added candied orange peel. It pairs so well with the Biscoff cookie and adds a slight note of sweet-bitter that plays really well with the chocolate.

This recipe is designed so that you can make it indoors. But, all the ingredients travel well so, they could easily go outdoors with you to be assembled by the fire. Enjoy!

S’mores Recipe

Candied Orange Peel

3 medium oranges
2 cups sugar + ½ cup sugar for dusting
1 cup water

Combine the 2 cups of sugar and water in a medium pot. Heat over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves.
Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler, peel strips of skin from the oranges being careful not to get the white pith.
Add the orange peel to the simple syrup and simmer for about 40 minutes.
Drain the orange peel and toss in the remaining ½ cup of sugar. Lay candied orange strips out on a wire rack and allow to cool and air dry. Orange peel can be stored in dusting sugar in airtight container for up to two weeks.

Salted Vanilla Marshmallow Cream

1/3 cup water
¾ cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
3 egg whites
½ tsp. cream of tartar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt

Combine the water, sugar, and corn syrup in saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer the mixture, not stirring, until it reaches 240F on a candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, in a stand mixer combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

When the sugar mixture reaches 240F take off of heat. With the stand mixture running on low, drizzle the hot liquid into the egg whites. Once all the liquid is incorporated, add the vanilla and salt. Beat the mixture for another minute or so until smooth and shiny.

Marshmallow cream can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

 

S’mores Assembly

Biscoff Cookies
High – quality dark or milk chocolate
Salted Vanilla Marshmallow Cream
Candied Orange Peel

S'mores Ingredients

Spread a small spoonful of marshmallow cream on a Biscoff cookie. Top with broken pieces of chocolate.
Spread a small spoonful of marshmallow cream on a second Biscoff cookie and place on top of first Biscoff cookie.
With a kitchen torch, burn the exposed marshmallow on the top and on the sides.
Top with a candied orange peel. Enjoy!

Homemade Animal Crackers in 5 Fun Flavors!

 

I have a one and a half year old daughter. As a parent, her diet is extremely important to me. I try hard to only give her the highest quality food and a wide variety of textures and tastes. I have vowed that she will not even know what a “chicken nugget” is until she starts school where, inevitably, she will become aware of this food option. But, as long as she is at home, it is a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and exotic foods. I’m helping to build her little palate after all!

That being said, little kids do love treats, crackers, cookies, and snacks. I have always made the effort to cook all of her food from scratch. I made my own baby food when she first started eating solids. So, why not continue with cookies and crackers. Sure, it’s convenient to just buy a box at the store but, by making them myself I can be sure of the ingredients in them and that she isn’t getting a bunch of “junk” in her crackers. And, when I started making them, I really couldn’t believe just how easy they are to make and much cheaper!

I have also had a lot of fun experimenting with flavors and different types of flours. Once you have a base recipe, it is easy to swap out flours and add in different flavors. I have five recipes to share that the little one seems to like quite a bit. The first recipe is an Orange-Honey Animal Cracker and I used this as my base recipe and began swapping ingredients to create other flavors.  I have included recipes for:

  • Orange-Honey Almond Animal Crackers
  • Chocolate Almond Animal Crackers
  • Strawberry Almond Animal Crackers
  • Coconut Macha Animal Crackers
  • Aged White Cheddar, Quinoa, and Oregano Animal Crackers

Each recipe yields about 30 medium sized crackers.

I hope that you enjoy these recipes and have as fun as I did creating them. Thanks!

Orange-Honey Almond Animal Crackers

Orange Honey Animal Crackers

½ cup Almond Flour

1 cup all-purpose Flour

¼ tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda

½ tsp. salt

¼ cup unsalted butter, chilled

1 Tbsp. Honey

½ cup Buttermilk

Zest of one Orange

 

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, blend the almond flour, flour, baking soda, and salt.

Cut in the butter using a pastry blender (or your hands) until the mixture becomes like the texture of sand.

Stir in the honey, buttermilk, and orange zest.

The dough may be a bit crumbly. Dump out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until a dough forms.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.

Place the crackers onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.

 

Chocolate Almond Animal Crackers

chocolate cracker

½ cup almond flour

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda

½ tsp. salt

¼ cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup unsalted butter

¾ cup buttermilk

 

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, blend the almond flour, flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt.

Cut in the butter using a pastry blender (or your hands) until the mixture becomes like the texture of sand.

Stir in the buttermilk. Dough may be crumbly.

Dump out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until a dough forms.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.

Place the crackers onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.

Strawberry-Almond Animal Crackers

 

½ cup Almond Flour

1 cup all-purpose Flour

¼ tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda

½ tsp. salt

¼ cup unsalted butter, chilled

1 Tbsp. Honey

½ cup Buttermilk

¼ cup freeze-dried strawberries

 

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, blend the almond flour, flour, baking soda, salt, and freeze-dried strawberries.

Cut in the butter using a pastry blender (or your hands) until the mixture becomes like the texture of sand.

Stir in the honey and buttermilk.

The dough may be a bit crumbly. Dump out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until a dough forms.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.

Place the crackers onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.

Coconut Macha Animal Crackers

Coconut Macha Animal Crackers

½ cup coconut flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda

1 Tbsp. Macha Powder

¼ cup unsalted butter

1 Tbsp. Honey

¾ cup buttermilk

 

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, blend the coconut flour, flour, baking soda, salt, and Macha Powder.

Cut in the butter using a pastry blender (or your hands) until the mixture becomes like the texture of sand.

Stir in the honey and buttermilk.

The dough may be a bit crumbly. Dump out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until a dough forms.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.

Place the crackers onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.

 

Aged White Cheddar, Quinoa, and Oregano Animal Crackers

 

½ cup Quinoa Flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. dried oregano

¼ cup Aged White Cheddar, shredded

¼ tsp. Clabber Girl baking Soda

½ tsp. salt

½ cup Buttermilk

 

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, blend the quinoa flour, flour, oregano, cheddar, baking soda, and salt.

Stir in the buttermilk.

The dough may be a bit crumbly. Dump out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until a dough forms.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.

Place the crackers onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.

Animal Crackers Pinterest Promo

Scallion Pancakes: An Asian take on the classic American Pancake

I absolutely love Asian Cuisines! I love the flavors. I love the spice. I love the cooking methods. I love the traditions surrounding the meals and cooking styles. If you asked me what my favorite thing to cook is, as chefs are often asked, I would probably say anything Asian. Asian food is certainly one of my favorites to eat!

Several years ago, while on a mini vacation, my husband and I found a little hole-in-the-wall Chinese Dim Sum Restaurant. We just had to try! And, it was fabulous! They had everything from fried duck feet to traditional spring rolls. We ordered several items we had never had before. A squid salad, fried shrimp balls, an egg dish, etc. It was all amazing. However, the favorite, by far, for both of us were the scallion pancakes. They were light and flaky. They were crisp and exploding with flavor. I have been on a mission ever since to re-create these at home.

scallion pancakes

I have researched recipes, researched how they are made, and experimented at home. First of all, let me say that there are thousands of scallion pancake recipes out there. And, I have tried many. There are a few things that all of the good recipes have in common: Hot water and the rolling method. That being said, here is a basic overview about scallion pancakes:
Scallion pancakes are a traditional savory Chinese pancake. They are unique (as a lot of Asian foods are) in that they are made with a rolled dough rather than with a batter, as we are typically used to. They are also unique in that they are made with a hot water dough. Most doughs used in any type of American and European cuisines are cold water doughs. Cold water dough allows for an airy, hole-filled, flaky dough. Which is fantastic for pizza. But, with the typical dough applications for Asian cuisine, such as egg roll wrappers and wontons, you do not want airy and hole-filled. This is where the hot water comes in. Hot water relaxes the gluten in the dough which makes for a less “stretchy” dough that has a chewier texture. Part of the flakiness in the scallion pancakes comes from the rolling method, which is similar to the process of making a laminated dough (such as croissants). With the hot water dough and the rolling method, the result is a tender and flaky “flatbread”, speckled with scallions and flavored with a mild tinge of sesame oil. Delicious!

 

The recipe I eventually developed and settled upon includes one ingredient that is not necessarily typical of a scallion pancake recipe: Clabber Girl Baking Powder. I found that the addition of the baking powder adds just a bit more flakiness to the dough. Typically, baking powder reacts a little bit with liquid and the rest of the reaction happens with heat (when you bake or cook the item). The scallion pancake recipe calls for hot water. Therefore, the reaction happens entirely during the dough production, prior to baking or cooking. This creates a dough that doesn’t rise in the traditional sense but, it does add a bit more flakiness to the dough itself and is evident upon cooking.
The majority of the flakiness, however, comes from the rolling method. The dough is rolled flat and sprinkled with the green onions.

scallion pancake 7

It is then rolled up, such as with a jelly roll.

scallion pancake8

After that, sections of the dough are rolled in a coil and then rolled flat again.

 

scallion pancakes 2

This creates multiple layers throughout each pancake, as well as disperses the scallions throughout the dough.

scallion pancakes 3

I have kept my recipe fairly traditional, with just scallions, chili flake, and sesame oil. However, please feel free to use this as a base recipe and make your own additions or omissions. For example, if you love garlic, add garlic! Add ginger or play with different types of oils. Have fun with it! I also provided a recipe for a dipping sauce that I like to serve with it. Again, play with the flavors to suit your likes. When testing my final recipe, I tossed the dipping sauce with noodles and made a whole meal out of it. It’s an easy way to compliment the pancakes without putting in much more work. Happy cooking and, I hope you enjoy!

 

Scallion pancake pinterest

Scallion Pancakes

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 2/3 cups boiling water
1 cup green onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
Red chili flake, to taste (optional)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar into a medium sized mixing bowl. Slowly pour the boiling water into the flour mixture in a stream while mixing with a wooden spoon. Stir until a dough begins to form. If the dough is too dry, add more water, a tablespoon at a time until all of the flour is absorbed into the dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured flat surface. Knead the dough until smooth, about 4 minutes.

Transfer to a greased bowl, cover; and let sit at room temperature for 90 minutes.

After 90 minutes, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and cut in half. Using a rolling pin, roll 1 half of the dough into a large rectangle (about 1/8” thick).
Brush the rolled dough with 1 Tbsp. of the sesame oil. Sprinkle with ½ cup of the thinly sliced green onion. If you like, sprinkle with red chili flake to taste.

Beginning with one long side of the rectangle, tightly roll the dough up. Cut the roll into 4 pieces. Lightly stretch each piece lengthwise, being careful not to rip dough. Beginning with one piece of dough, wrap it into a coil and tuck the end underneath. With your hand, gently flatten the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll the coil into a 4” circle. Repeat this process with the remaining dough pieces and with the remaining dough half.  You can layer the pancakes on a sheet tray with parchment paper in between as you complete them.

Heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When pan and oil are hot, add one pancake to the skillet.

 

Cook until golden brown on both sides, flipping only once (about 5-7 minutes). Repeat with remaining pancakes. If desired, keep the finished pancakes warm during production by laying them on a sheet tray in a warm oven.scallion pancakes 5

To serve, cut pancakes into wedges. Serve with dipping sauce on the side.

Yields 8 pancakes (4”)

Scallion Pancake Dipping Sauce

¼ cup Ponzu Sauce
1 Tbsp. Thai Chili Sauce
1/8 cup soy sauce
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup water
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ginger, minced
2 tsp. sesame oil

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook, while stirring, until all the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and let cool.

Creating Cake Pops for Adults: Strawberry Champagne for Valentine’s Day

Strawberry Champagne Cake Pops

I was recently asked if I would make cake pops. I am not a professional or even a hobbyist cake decorator but, I can bake! So I thought, why not?! Sounds like fun!

People love cake pops! They’re cute, they’re easy to make, they’re fun to decorate, and most of all they’re delicious and fun to eat. We’ve all seen numerous recipes, blogs, ideas, etc.; just take a look at Pinterest and you’ll see hundreds of ideas and recipes for making them at home. Now they’re even sold at Starbucks and other retailers.

As a chef, I quickly set about pursuing ways to modernize cake pops…give them a cool twist…up the ante, so to speak.

So, how do you make your cake pops stand out from the bunch? Two things: unique flavors and alcohol, of course!

My “assignment” was to create cake pops for holidays throughout the year. The next holiday is Valentine’s Day, and what is more iconic for Valentine’s Day than strawberries and champagne? Thus began my thought process for creating alcohol-filled cake pops for each holiday.

  • Strawberry Champagne cake for Valentine’s Day
  • Raspberry Lemon-cello cake for Easter
  • Bourbon Apple Pie cake for July 4th
  • Dark Chocolate Rum cake for Halloween
  • Pumpkin Brandy cake for Thanksgiving
  • Peppermint Schnapps cake for Christmas

And, so it goes.

Side note: I understand that cake pop makers are all the rage these days but, I felt that I didn’t need a gadget. Usually single-use gadgets are great for one purpose and may work well, but that’s it. You spent money on a piece of equipment that you don’t need, which uses space in your kitchen for a recipe that you may make only one or two times per year. Typically you can adapt a recipe to work without purchasing another piece of equipment.

That being said, I designed my recipes so that you can make them without any special equipment. I think that is something we can all appreciate!

Back to the business at hand:

I began my cake pop experiment with the Strawberry Champagne cake pops. Once I had the method and recipe down for one flavor, it would just be a matter of changing the ingredients to create the flavors I chose for the rest of the holidays…with different decorations of course.

Strawberry Champagne Cake Pops:

Champagne and Strawberry Cake Pops

I love strawberry cake. It’s been one of my favorite cake flavors since I was a child. Maybe that had something to do with Strawberry Shortcake and her friends that were all the rage during my childhood in the 1980s…I can’t say for sure! Perhaps that’s why I chose strawberry as the flavor for my wedding cake. I developed and tested a strawberry champagne cake recipe; I wanted a strong strawberry flavor and to actually taste the champagne. Once that was accomplished, I baked the cake and set out to make it into cake pops.

The method I used was to simply bake the cake in a 9×9-inch pan. Once the cake was cooled, I crumbled it into a medium-sized mixing bowl and added a strawberry champagne buttercream frosting, stirring with my hands until it was thick and would hold shape. I rolled the cake mix into balls, just as you would when making meatballs . . . paying attention that they were rolled tightly without cracks and crevices. I laid the balls on a sheet tray, skewered them with cake pop sticks, and put them in the freezer while I melted the dipping chocolate. Freezing them allows them to be firm enough so they don’t “melt” when dipping them in the warm chocolate.

As I said earlier, I am not an experienced cake decorator. But, I wasn’t being asked to make an elaborate wedding cake…I was asked to make cake pops. How hard could that be? After all, I have a fairly extensive food background! I could probably do this no problem!

And, the cake tasted great! I just needed to decorate them. Here are pictures of me decorating my cake pops:

Mandy Decorating Cake Pops 1

Cake Pop Decorating Fail
As you can see, I was not too successful. I just don’t have the patience to decorate! Luckily, we have someone on staff who is an experienced decorator and enjoys decorating and has lots of patience. So, if you are anything like me…have fun with creating flavors and baking but, enlist a friend who likes to decorate to help you complete the project!

Chef Brittney Molinder teamed with me to complete the decorating, and here are her insights.