Pumpkin Ginger Spice Cookies

It’s definitely fall here in Seattle, and I’m loving the changing colors of the leaves. As promised, here’s one of the fall-inspired recipes I’ve made recently. I took a recipe from Two Peas and their Pod and adjusted it a little based on my tastes and the amounts of ingredients that I had. The result was a cookie wonderfully flavored with pumpkin and spice, and deliciously chewy and soft, thanks to the molasses. I wouldn’t call them gingersnap cookies, since they’re soft through and through, but they do have a nice gingersnap flavor to them.

I did try baking a few of them without chilling, and they turned out much too cakey and fluffy, so unfortunately the chilling is necessary. But these cookies are worth the wait! I had a little more pumpkin left in my can than half a cup, so I increased the amount of pumpkin to 3/4 cup. I think that made the cookies turn out softer and fluffier than the original recipe, and the dough was also pretty sticky, so I omitted the extra step of rolling these cookies in sugar. They turned out sweet enough anyway, and it would have been difficult to do without getting cookie dough stuck to everything. Here’s the recipe I used:

Pumpkin Ginger Spice Cookies

adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Makes about 4 dozen small cookies

Ingredients

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup (half a 15oz can) pumpkin puree

1/2 cup molasses

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, until a smooth paste forms. Add the pumpkin, molasses, egg, and vanilla and beat until smooth and fluffy.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until well combined.

Chill for 2 hours, or overnight. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Drop small rounds of dough (about 1-1 1/2 tbsp each) a couple inches apart on baking sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until the cookies are just set. Remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes before transferring to racks or plates to cool completely. Enjoy!

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Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies

Well I’m officially back in Seattle for my second year of physical therapy school. After an amazing clinical internship in Eugene, OR in August, and a brief few weeks at home in sweet California, I drove straight from summer sun into fall clouds and rain. Fall is a wonderful time of year, with the changing leaves and the arrival of all the seasonal autumn goods at the grocery store. Which leads, of course, to baking adventures! I’ve baked quite a bit over the last week, and there are many fall-inspired recipes to come, but the one I have today is a variation of one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes with a matcha twist.

dscn8363.jpgI recently discovered that I really enjoy matcha tea, so I bought myself some matcha powder. However, it came in a rather large can, so I decided to think of some other uses for it other than making matcha lattes, and matcha-flavored baked goods are relatively popular, so I figured I’d try my hand at it. The results were great! The powder is pretty potent, so a little goes a long way in this recipe. You could also probably omit the chocolate chips for just plain matcha sugar cookies, but perhaps that’s a recipe I’ll try another day. In any case, here’s the recipe I came up with!

Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen small cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp matcha powder

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Cream together the butter and sugars until a rough paste forms. Beat in the vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and matcha powder, and stir until thoroughly combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix until the chips are evenly incorporated into the dough.

Drop scoops of dough, about 1 tbsp each, a couple inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake for 8 minutes, until just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a couple minutes before transferring to racks or plates to cool completely. Enjoy!

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Edamame Dumplings

Happy Sunday! It’s been a beautiful weekend in Seattle, and I went on two hikes this weekend, to two beautiful lakes. I’m trying to soak up as much Seattle summer as possible when I’m not in class! If you’re in the area, I highly recommend Lake Melakwa, which I hiked with a couple friends yesterday. It’s a great workout to get to the lake, and I jumped in to cool off. The water was quite refreshing (very cold), but it was quite peaceful around the lake, and lots of people had tents or hammocks, and it was nice to just chill for a bit before hiking down. Today, I went with a few other friends to Lake 22, which had very different scenery. We walked through rainforest to get to the lake, and Mount Pilchuck which is beside Lake 22 was shrouded in clouds and mist at the top. I didn’t get into the water on this one, since it was a little colder today, but it was quite a beautiful lake!

Now for the food. Last weekend I had a potluck and game night with some friends, and we all brought various Asian foods. I decided to try and replicate the edamame dumplings I’d had recently at True Food Kitchen when my parents took me, and I was actually quite successful! I used the frozen shelled edamame from Trader Joe’s, which made the process quite easy, then just threw in a bunch of flavors that I thought would taste good, sealed them nice and tight in dumpling wrappers, and boiled them in miso soup, and they turned out wonderfully! The basil flavor really came through, but the ginger and garlic were also great additions. Here’s the recipe.

Edamame Dumplings

Makes 50 dumplings

Ingredients

12 oz shelled edamame (About two cups, I used one Trader Joe’s package)

4 green onions, sliced

2 tbsp miso paste

1 tbsp fresh ginger, sliced

1 tbsp garlic, minced

1 tsp dried basil

1 tbsp marsala wine/cooking wine

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp white pepper

1 package round wonton wrappers (50 wrappers)

Optional broth for cooking (I used miso soup)

Directions

For the filling:

Bring a salted pot of water to a boil, then add the edamame and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

In a food processor, pulse together the edamame with the rest of the ingredients until a rough paste forms, leaving the edamame slightly chunky.

To form the dumplings, dip your finger in some water and run it around the outside of the wrapper, then place about 1 1/2-2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half and press the top together, then crimp the wrapper together starting at the sides, and forming a crescent shape. See here for a video of how I do it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjW_ntpIj2E but you can fold them any way you like. Repeat with all 50 wrappers. I got lucky and had exactly enough filling for the 50 wrappers, but depending on how full you stuff your dumplings, there might be slightly too much or too little filling.

To cook the dumplings:

Bring a large pot of water or broth to a boil. Drop the dumplings in, making sure they don’t touch and stick together, and boil for 3-4 minutes, or until they float to the surface. Remove from the water/broth with a slotted spoon and repeat until you have boiled the desired number of dumplings. Serve warm, with on a plate or in bowls with the broth, if you chose to cook them in broth.

If you don’t cook them all at once, lightly dust a baking sheet with flour, place the dumplings on the pan so they are not touching, then freeze. After they have frozen, you can remove them from the pan and place them in a bag or container for easier freezing, and they will keep well for a few months.

To cook these, you can also use the pan frying method, outlined here https://dinewithdeja.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/jiao-zi-chinese-dumplingspotstickers/

Enjoy!

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Red White and Blue Pinwheel Sugar Cookies

Happy 4th of July (one day late)! I had a great day off from class yesterday, which was a much needed recovery and chill out day after a weekend of ultimate frisbee. If you’ve ever heard of Potlatch, a big ultimate frisbee tournament held in Redmond, WA every July, then you know how much fun I had over the weekend. Unfortunately I missed the last day of the 3-day tournament for class, but we did have yesterday off, so I took advantage of it by going to a friend’s house for a barbecue, and I brought these patriotic themed cookies as my contribution. I found this recipe from Just a Taste, but I didn’t really have the time to wait for hours for the dough to chill, so I just did a combination of fridge, freezer, and improvisation. I added a little more flour to make the dough a little stiffer so I didn’t have to refrigerate it as long. I also added some almond extract to the dough to give it a little more classic sugar cookie flavor, and shortened the baking time to keep them nice and soft. They turned out wonderfully soft and chewy and although I didn’t get the colors exactly right, they were still pretty! Please note that I used about 20 drops of food coloring to get to the color in these photos, so to get a deep red and blue, you will have to use a LOT of food coloring, or it might be best to resort to the gel or something with a more powerful color. In any case, here’s my recipe!

Patriotic Pinwheel Sugar Cookies

adapted from Just a Taste

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

2 eggs

Blue food coloring (I used 20 drops to get to light blue)

Red food color (I used 20 drops to get to a dark pink)

Directions

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl or a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in both extracts and eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.

Separate the dough into three equal parts. The first part will be the white part of the cookies. Mix blue food coloring into the second part until the desired blue consistency is reached. Wash the bowl and mixer (or use a second bowl) and mix red food coloring into the third part until desired red color is reached. Wrap all the dough in plastic and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

After the dough has chilled, remove from the fridge and divide each third into two equal parts. Between two sheets of wax paper, roll each portion of dough into a rectangle of about the same size and shape, about 1/8 inch thick. Chill the dough in the fridge between sheets of wax paper for another 15-30 minutes.

After the second chilling, remove the dough and use the wax paper to put together the layers. I put the blue on the bottom, then white in the middle, and red on top. Use the wax paper to place the layers, peeling off the bottom wax paper first, laying down the dough, then peeling off the top layer of wax paper.

Roll the layered dough into a tight log, then roll out the log until it is the desired diameter of your cookies (mine was about 1 1/2 inches in diameter). Place in the fridge for another 30 minutes (or you can probably skip this step if you have a sharp enough knife and don’t mind the cookies not being entirely round, which is what I did).

Once you are done chilling the dough logs, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Cut the cookie logs into rounds about 1/4 inch thick, and place about 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake for 8 minutes, so the cookies are just baked but not yet browning on the bottom. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a couple minutes before moving them to cooling racks to cool completely. Enjoy!

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Red Curry Noodles

Happy finals week everyone! Clearly my motivation for studying is at an all-time high, since I’ve been playing ultimate frisbee all weekend and taking a few breaks to attempt to study… But regardless, spring quarter is almost over here at UW, and I am way too excited to go home to California for a little bit once finals are over, before we come back for summer classes.

I made these curry noodles for dinner earlier this week, and they turned out even better than I expected! I wanted to try making curry noodles without have the noodles swimming in soup, so I experimented by cooking fresh noodles in a curry sauce of coconut milk and curry paste, and the noodles absorbed most of the liquid, resulting in soft, flavorful noodles that could be eaten off a plate! We just had an H-mart open up near campus, so I got a few of my ingredients from there. I can’t remember exactly what kind of noodles I used, but they were some kind of fresh noodles, flour-based, and the package contained 3 servings, so here’s my best guess at the recipe!

Red Curry Noodles

Makes 5-6 servings

4 green onions, sliced

3 slices fresh ginger

1 tbsp minced garlic

2 tsp olive oil

9 shiitake mushrooms (I used dried), sliced

5 heads baby bok choy, stalks sliced and leaves intact

2 tsp canola oil

1 16oz block of firm tofu, drained and cubed

1 14oz can coconut milk

2 tbsp red curry paste

1 tsp fish sauce

1 tsp lime juice

16-20 oz flour noodles, flat variety (or use whatever noodles look good to you, about 3 servings worth)

Directions

In a large saucepan or wok, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the green onions and garlic until fragrant, then add the mushrooms and bok choy stems and allow to cook until they begin to soften, stirring occasionally. Push the vegetables to the sides of the pan and heat the canola oil in the center. Add the tofu and cook for a couple minutes on each side, allowing to brown slightly. While the veggies are cooking, whisk together the coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce, and lime juice.

Remove the veggies and tofu from the pan and pour in the curry sauce. Add the noodles to the pot and stir to separate the noodles. Cover the pan and allow the noodle to cook for a couple minutes and absorb the liquid. Add the veggies and tofu back into the pan and stir to combine. Serve warm. Enjoy!

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Sesame Soba Noodles

Well somehow it’s been three months since I last posted… But it’s now halfway through spring quarter and I have three midterms this week, so this is as good a time as any, right?

In any case, the sun does indeed exist in Seattle! Who knew? But it’s poked it’s head out pretty consistently for the past week (minus a couple thunderstorms here and there) and I think that spring has finally sprung. I went on a hike a couple weeks ago with some classmates after our Friday afternoon class and the mountain was out! It was a beautiful day in Issaquah, and here’s the view we got on the way up the Chirico Trail to Poo Poo Point.  DSCN7762.jpg

My backyard is also blooming! Our tulips opened up to welcome the sun 🙂

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But now to more important things: the food. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I feel less of a need to make soups and hearty, warm comfort food. So I tried these sesame noodles, and made up a sauce and added whatever vegetables looked good and were on sale. So this is what I came up with! I personally like my vegetables a little bit cooked so they’re tender, but you could also just slice them thin and leave them raw. It’s a versatile recipe, so feel free to adjust the sauce to your taste, and use whatever veggies you desire! This tastes great when served chilled, so it’s a great one to make as the weather warms up, and it would be a great addition to an outdoor barbecue or potluck. Also, I just noticed that this recipe happens to be vegan, so it’s great for people with dietary restrictions 🙂

Sesame Soba Noodles

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

3 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp minced fresh ginger

14oz soba noodles

2 tsp olive oil

6-8 green onions, sliced

1 cup carrots, sliced into matchsticks

1 bell pepper, sliced

2 cups shelled edamame

1 large cucumber, sliced into matchsticks

Sesame seeds

Directions

In a small bowl or jar, whisk or shake together the sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar. Add in the minced garlic and minced ginger. Allow to refrigerate overnight if you have time, but this is not necessary.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the soba noodles and cook for 3-4 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain and run cold water over the noodles, toss with half of the sesame sauce, then set aside to cool, or put in the fridge to chill.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the green onions and cook a minute or two, then add the carrots. Cover and allow the carrots to soften for a couple minutes. Add the bell pepper and edamame, then add the remainder of the sesame sauce to the vegetables. Cook until vegetables are your desired tenderness.

Toss together the noodle, cooked vegetables, and cucumber. Serve warm or chilled, sprinkled with sesame seeds. Enjoy!

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Vegetarian Chao Mian (Chow Mein) and Gai Lan

I’ve been craving a lot of Chinese food recently. I think it’s because I miss home and my mom’s delicious home-cooking. However, Chinese New Year just happened, so I took advantage of some of the sales at the Asian market and picked up some ingredients for some of my favorite comfort foods. Then I got a coupon for a discount off my next purchase so obviously I had to go back… Anyway, this is one of the meals I cooked for myself recently, and it’s been the perfect comfort food for the dreary and drizzly week we’ve been having here in Seattle.

I decided to make chao mian, then add a side of gai lan (Chinese broccoli) to have a little more green on my plate. I’ve never made gai lan, but it turns out, it’s super easy and fast! You just boil some water, drop the gai lan in, cook for a few minutes, and then remove it and you’re done! Drizzle a little oyster sauce on top and it’s just like off a dim sum cart.

As for the chao mian, I prefer the thicker noodles, so that’s what I used, but you can use whatever kind of stir fry noodles you’d like. You can also change up the vegetables to be whatever you’d like, this is just the combination I had on hand. I didn’t follow any specific recipe for the sauce, this is just the blend of flavors I always use and like, and it’s a combination of the Chinese sauces we keep in the fridge at home. I also don’t really use exact measurements, I just add sauces, mix it up, and taste it until I like what I taste.

So here’s my version of Chinese comfort food!

Chao Mian

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

½ block of high protein tofu, sliced into thin rectangles

2 tsp olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

3-4 green onions, sliced

8-10 shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1 large carrot or about ¾ cup baby carrots, sliced thin

2 tsp canola oil

32 oz package noodles (I used miki noodles, a thick Shanghai stir fry noodle)

½ head of napa cabbage, sliced

Sauce (approximate measurements, I just pour sauces in and mix until the flavor is good)

3 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp hoisin sauce

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

3 slices of ginger

1 tbsp marsala wine/cooking sherry

Directions

Mix up the sauce ingredients in a bowl or measuring cup. Slice the tofu and add to the sauce to allow it to marinate.

Chop the garlic, green onions, mushrooms, and carrots. Heat a deep skillet or wok over medium heat, then add the olive oil. Cook the garlic and green onions until fragrant, then add the mushrooms and carrots. Cook until slightly tender the mushrooms start to release their juices. Make a well in the middle of the vegetables and turn up the heat to medium-high. Heat the canola oil. Add the tofu to the skillet in the canola oil and allow to brown, stirring every couple minutes. Reserve the marinating sauce to add later.

Once the tofu is browned to your liking, add the noodles and the remaining sauce. Cover and allow to steam-cook for a few minutes to warm and soften the noodles. While you are waiting for the noodles to cook, chop the napa cabbage crosswise. Add the cabbage to the skillet and stir to incorporate the sauce. Reduce heat to medium or medium low and cook until the cabbage is as soft as you prefer. Stir the noodles to distribute the toppings, and serve warm. Enjoy!

Gai Lan

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

2 bunches gai lan

Oyster sauce

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in the gai lan and blanch for 2-3 minutes, longer if you want it softer. Remove from the water and drain.

In a small saucepan, thin the oyster sauce with a little water and cook over medium heat for a minute or so. Drizzle over the gai lan. Enjoy!

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