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Showing posts with label wannabgourmande. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wannabgourmande. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Southern-Style Biscuits

Forgive the quality of my counters; I've beaten the bejeezus out of them over the years.
I  mean "American Southern" when I say "Southern-Style Biscuits." I know the American South has come up quite a bit in the news lately with all of the "controversy" about the Confederate flag, and a lot of folks are preaching "Heritage not hate" as if a five-year-long existence of a poor try for a country is somehow as deep and culturally significant as a place like Ireland or France or Russia or some other European country that these folks have taken lineage from. I do love American Southern food, however, so let me just summarize:

Biscuits, Cornbread, Catfish, and Fried Chicken = GOOD. 
Racism, Historical Erasure, and White Supremacy = BAD.

We love our food here in America, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with keeping that delicious food while chucking some not-so-nice things out the door! In America, what we call a biscuit is what folks in (as far as I can tell) every other part of the world would call a scone. It's a fluffy, flaky delight that we here in the states serve plain, with honey butter, with jam, or smothered with gravy. It's an American regional staple that was once considered a delicacy, but I'll save that story for after you've read the recipe.

Southern-Style Biscuits
yields 9 - 12, depending on size

  • 12 oz all-purpose flour 
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • A fat pinch of salt
  • 1 oz sugar 
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 oz butter, shortening, or vegan butter substitute 
  • Buttermilk or Almond milk with a splash of white vinegar as needed
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Mix your flour, leavening agents, salt, and sugar in a medium-sized bowl, ideally a metal one you've had in the fridge for about 10 minutes before starting this process. Chop the butter into cubes and dump them into the flour. Using your fingertips, not your whole hands, quickly and firmly rub the cubes of fat into the flour mixture. The idea is to break up the butter into small, pea-sized pieces without melting the fat. Reall push and pinch and rub the flour into the fat, as if you're trying to snap your fingers. 

If you want your biscuits to be a little more tender, you can substitute 1 oz of the butter for olive oil instead!

When all of this is ready and well-mixed enough, make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add your two egg yolks. Add in a splash of your chosen milk, say a third of a cup to start with, and use a spatula or a pair of chopsticks to mix them together in the middle until the yolks are all broken up. Stir together, adding more liquid as needed to form a nice dough that's soft and pliable, but doesn't quite stick to your hands.

Mixy mixy!

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and get out your favorite rolling pin. Roll the dough out and fold it in half, dusting flour gently as you go to keep it from sticking. Roll out and repeat folding again until you can visibly see layers, which will take two or three turns. When you think you have enough layers, use a ring cutter or a drinking glass to cut out your biscuits.

I like at least four turns in my biscuits because I like to have a lot of layers.  Make sure to beat the dough down with the rolling pin between each turns to help the glutens relax! 

Tip: Use plenty of flour on your cutter. Do not twist when you cut! Push straight down and pull straight up!

Arrange your biscuits on a lined sheet pan. Biscuits are social creatures, so it's alright if they're touching each other like this! They really like to hold hands, so don't put too much space between them.

Biscuits really like to hold hands!
It's at this point that you may pop them in the fridge or freezer to keep cold if you don't want to eat them right away. I do recommend chilling them for at least 20 minutes before you bake them, but it's not necessary if your butter and milk mixture was quite cold. The real trick to biscuits and scones like this is to keep your ingredients as cold as you can before they go into a hot oven. This way, the fats won't simply melt out, but will rise up quickly and create steam to push your dough as high is it can go, and create those gorgeous layers that we all love to have. Either way, you should bake right when you're ready to eat them, as nothing is quite as good as a fresh-baked warm biscuit. 

While you're deciding on freezing or baking straight from the counter, a brief history of Southern-style biscuits is in order! They were once considered to be a delicacy during Civil War times in the South. They were once so revered, they were reserved only for Sunday suppers when Southern American families would reconvene after church services. If you're even more curious as to the different kinds of biscuits that American Southern families would typically eat, check out what Robby Melvin has to say about them below:

When you are ready, bake your biscuits at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then rotate your pan in the oven, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until they're golden-brown and delicious-looking. As you can imagine, the baking time will be a little longer if you're baking from frozen instead of just cold, but you should rotate them, either way, to ensure even cooking. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes before removing and consuming. I like mine with honey butter, but you can use these for any application. Feel free to add things like chopped fresh herbs, shredded cheese, dried fruits, and more to suit your tastes and needs. This recipe is extremely easy to personalize, so I invite you and encourage you to show me what amazing things you can do with a simple base like this to start from. 

Thank you so much for reading and following along with me. It's come to my attention that my reach is quite far on Instagram, so I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you all for coming on these food journies of going back to basics with me. I know we're in a tumultuous time where a lot of us are realizing that we need to keep our hands busy to keep from going stir-crazy. I'm here to tell you that mastering the basics of cooking is much simpler than you might think and that the road towards it is paved with mistakes. Learning is meant to be paved with mistakes and pain along the way, but it's all worth it in the end. ...I wonder if we can use that as a metaphor for something?

Be sure to follow me on Instagram if you haven't already done it. Happy cooking and happy eating!

Warm wooden counter or cool granite slab? What do you think?

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Ice Dyed Holiday Eggs

I probably used way more pink than I intended to.

Tis the season for egg-dying and I must say: it's one of my favorite springtime activities. Since we've now designated them as "holiday eggs" instead of Easter Eggs, everyone can enjoy them!

(And can I just say how beautiful it is that Easter/Ostara is on April Fool's Day this year? I mean, come on. The possibilities are endless. Chocolate-covered brussels sprouts for cake pops? Covering grapes in chocolate egg wrappers? Telling your kids that you hid the eggs outside when THERE ARE NO EGGS?!?! Come on. It's too easy.)

The cool thing about decorating eggs is that you can go crazy with things. Thanks to Pinterest and curious crafters all over the world, there are about a million different ways you can do the egg dying thing! I have a pinterest board that's just full of holiday ideas (four or five of which out of the near 100 pins I've actually tried out) that proves just this. And, hey, those are only the ones I've found.

One of the things that I've noticed about the few pins on egg dying that I've tried is that they take too long. I am, admittedly, one of the most-impatient people on the face of this planet; that being said, I wanted to try a technique that was fast-ish, and let me do other stuff while it sat all in one place. Enter the ice dyeing.

Ice dyeing is a really neat technique that you use on clothing to get neat tie-dye effects. The cool thing about ice dyeing is that you don't need to mix a bajillion different buckets worth of dye in all of your different colors; you just dump a bunch of ice all over your fabric, sprinkle the dye where you want it in whichever patterns you want it, and then go do something else. Another cool thing about dyeing with ice is that (I hear) it yields brighter colors. The design aspects get a little better with that as well, as you don't have to worry about something bleeding over. You should definitely try ice dyeing the next time you feel like giving life back into an old pair of sneakers or a tee shirt or white dress that's too stained to do anything with so you just dye it instead.

Since I didn't have any powdered food dyes (or, rather, I only had green) I used liquid food dye. After boiling my eggs for precisely 11 minutes, I evacuated them and set them in a strainer over a pot. Once my eggs were drained, I layered them between ice and dye. All I did was put down a single layer of eggs in the strainer, cover with ice, and drop in dye here and there. I repeated until all of my eggs were covered with ice and dye, and then I went off to clean the kitchen.

Since the eggs were hot, the dyeing process took a mere 10 minutes. Granted, I had a lot of ice - but the point is that it was relatively fast and it was fun to see a transformation happen right before your eyes.

I used a lot of pink and red in the lower layers, so a good portion of the eggs turned out rather pink. The marbling on the bottoms and tops were just glorious, and it's a great way to do a large-ish batch of eggs at one time. Fun! Oh, and here's a tip:

If you boil your eggs with a pinch or two of baking soda, and then shock them with ice, your eggs will peel MUCH easier than they would have otherwise. And if you feel like making it into an egg salad, press the peeled eggs through a cooling rack for a quick-and-easy chop.

Hope you all enjoyed. Happy dyeing and happy eating!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Pistachio Pound Cake

Follow me on Instagram for more awesome photos!
I'm in love with dairy-free baking. Sure, I miss butter every once in a while, and it's a little hard to do pumpkin pie without whipped cream, but it's still amazing to be able to source things that are other than dairy milk to create delicious foods. The dairy-free diet is much easier than you'd think it would be to do, and the fact that I haven't had to check in to heavy cream rehab should be something commendable.

But what can be done when one is craving a certain something that is so iconic in its American roots that simply everyone that hears its name conjures the same image? Oh, yes, my friends, I'm talking about the all-American Pound Cake.
Please don't judge me by how many tabs I have open.

Just a quick Google will show you images and recipes for this beloved classic, so simple to make, nearly anyone can do it. All you need for a pound cake is:

  • 1 lb flour
  • 1 lb butter
  • 1 lb eggs
  • 1 lb sugar
That's. It.

This doesn't stop everyone and their mother from coming up with their own versions, of course. There are olive oil pound cakes, sugar-free pound cakes, gluten-free pound cakes...you name it! The best part about a pound cake, in my opinion, is that it freezes perfectly. Seriously, you can just bake off one or two of them when you feel like it and freeze the one you don't eat. It'll thaw nicely, and if you bake it in a loaf, you can slice off pieces as needed and use them as a bread substitute for French toast. 
I baked it in a bread loaf pan to make myself feel better about it. Please don't judge me. I was hella single.
Pound cake is so versatile that it can be used in many other desserts after you've had the slice that you want. You can cube it up and use it in trifle, or (again) the best darn French toast you've ever had in your life. No really! Try pound cake French toast. But you might want to write a last will and testament beforehand. You know. Just to be safe.

I love pound cake because I don't have to go looking up a recipe when I feel like making a cake. The best part about baking pound cake is that it's such a stable recipe that you can screw around with it without ruining the entire thing. Whole wheat flour, for example, can be substituted for white flour if you want to feel a little less guilty about it. You can also use olive oil in lieu of butter for a healthier version, so long as you adjust accordingly.

Yes, folks, it's tragic, but it's true. You can't always substitute ingredients 1:1. For example!

If you want to make an olive oil pound cake, use 12 oz olive oil with the 16 oz of everything else. This is because the olive oil is a liquid and must be treated differently than a solid. 

If you wanted to substitute honey for sugar, simply measure out your sugar, by weight, then scoop out one cup of it and replace it with 2/3 cup of honey. 

There are plenty of ways you can mess with the recipe without totally ruining it, so let pound cake be your guide when you're feeling adventurous...but not too adventurous. This recipe, for example, is an attempt at a healthier pound cake. A fair portion of the flour is substituted for whole wheat, and the fat portion is a melange of oils that are good for you.

Pistachio Pound Cake
  • 1 oz flax oil
  • 9 oz grapeseed oil
  • 6 oz coconut oil
  • 1 lb(16 oz) granulated sugar
  • 7 large eggs
  • 4 oz AP flour
  • 10 oz whole wheat flour
  • 2 oz raw pistachios, ground finely(you can buy pistachio meal or use a spice grinder)
  • 1 tsp pistachio extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
Combine the sugar and the oils in the bowl of your standing mixer and whip together using the whisk attachment until tripled in volume, about 2 minutes on high. Meanwhile, crack all of your eggs into a bowl and add in one at a time, waiting until each egg is incorporated, about 30 seconds per egg. Add in your extract. 

Sift together ALL of your dry ingredients, including the seeds, into a separate container and remove the bowl from the standing mixer. Gently fold in the dry ingredients using a spatula, in about four parts. The batter should be rather smooth and quite voluminous still, with a pale yellow color. 

The Nordicware pan(left) was purchased from Sur La Table;
the Bundt pan was found at a thrift shop in Englewood for about $4.
This batter makes a full bundt cake or two rather-full pound cake tins. I did a not-so-full pound cake tin and a not-so-full bundt cake tin, because I couldn't decide. The cake itself is rather dense but it's made with whole wheat flour and flax oil, so you don't have to feel bad about eating it. Flax oil is high in Omega 3s, and whole wheat flour gives you lots of fiber and nutrients that your body is likely craving. So you really can have your cake and eat it, too! (Especially if you make a nice drizzle from powdered sugar and coconut milk!)

Happy baking and happy eating!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Raspberry Balsamic Ice Cream

Pretty in pink
I scream! You scream! The police come! It's awkward!

But, seriously, I love ice cream, even though it doesn't tend to love me back. B has a pretty severe lactose intolerance, so out of laziness, I just flat-out don't buy dairy products anymore. Yes, you read that right; I don't purchase dairy products because I'm lazy.

Yeah so we're a family of lumps. Wanna fight about it?
See, I don't want to make the effort of cooking two separate meals at night, and dirty two sets of pans, just because I might feel like having a little butter on my pork chops. Frankly, now that veganism has made so many demands of food companies, I'm reaping the benefits. I can have cheese that melts and stretches and tastes like cheese. I can have butter that's not butter at all but still tastes like and behaves like butter when I bake it. Finding milk has been the actual struggle, but I find that the almond-coconut blends from SO Delicious and Blue Diamond have been the best matches for us. They're drinkable and tasty, and act quite similar to dairy milk in baking and pastry applications. I use the SO Delicious brand of coconut milk when I make ice cream, and it hasn't failed me, yet!

I made this flavor of ice cream because of a serendipitous find at the Overland Park Farmer's market in Kansas City, where I live. I like to go to the farmer's market on Saturdays and walk around, get fresh fruit, people watch, and maybe get myself a new bouquet of flowers from the very nice Vietnamese family at the end of the line. I'm extremely fortunate to have such a wonderful farmer's market near me; not a lot of people have it, and for that I'm truly grateful.

Plus, like, you'll occasionally see THE BIGGEST CABBAGES EVER
There's a shop I sometimes partner with called The Tasteful Olive. They specialize in artisanal oils and vinegars, in just about every flavor you can imagine. Lemon olive oil. Blood Orange White Balsamic Vinegar. Chili Almond Oil. Oregano White Balsamic Vinegar. The list goes on and on, and I frankly couldn't even begin to fathom how they keep track of it all - but I'm grateful that it's there and I'm grateful that they do. As it just so happens, the lady that I buy my berries from had fresh raspberries, and the raspberry balsamic vinegar I'd found at the end of the market was just too perfect-sounding to pass up. Now, I could make a raspberry balsamic vinaigrette for all of my salad greens when I got home, but where's the fun in that?

Raspberry Balsamic Ice Cream

Yes. You have to weigh the berries.
  • 150 g white sugar
  • 45 g coconut milk powder
  • 600 g SO Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage, divided
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 15 g powdered gelatin
  • 170 g fresh raspberries
  • 32 g Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar(Aged Balsamic works, too!)
Measure the coconut milk and then sprinkle the gelatin over the top in a single layer to allow it to bloom. Combine the egg yolks and sugar via whisk in a heavy-bottomed sauce pot. Whip until fluffy by hand, and then add in the bloomed gelatin along with half the coconut milk. 

Bring to 185 degrees F, whisking constantly, then remove from heat. Add the remainder of the coconut milk and the balsamic vinegar. Add in the raspberries and then puree everything in a blender. You may strain it, if you like, but I don't mind the seeds. 

Transfer the blended mixture to a plastic container and chill in an ice bath. You can also set it in the fridge overnight, but it's up to you on how long you'd like to wait. I was in a bit of a hurry, so I used an ice bath and stirred constantly to cool down as quickly as it could. Once chilled enough so that it's - at very least - room temperature, process in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. My machine took about 30 minutes to process the dessert, and it took an additional 2 hours for my freezer to harden it enough to eat. (This is also because my freezer is crazy-strong and it’s brand new. If your fridge is a little more seasoned, let it hang out for at least 4 hours or so, ideally overnight.)

I love this ice cream because raspberries epitomize the absolute height of summer flavors for me. The tangy brightness of the raspberries and the deep and mouth-watering tang of the balsamic vinegar somehow made this ice cream the absolute ideal for me. I can’t quite explain it, but something about the ice-cold creaminess plus the fresh raspberry taste plus that tangy mouthfeel a good aged balsamic vinegar gives you on the inside of your cheeks is just so well-rounded and satisfying. It’s as if you reach the zenith of tasty mouthfeel and think to yourself: “Ah, yes. There it is.”

Oh, and if you're not following me on Instagram, please feel free to! I show a lot of neat stuff on there, both from work and from home life.
A post shared by Chef Kolika (@wannabgourmande) on

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, and please let me know if you try out this recipe! Happy cooking and happy eating! 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Hello, Foodie Friends!

A lot of changes have happened in my life quite recently. I feel like pain and change and difficulty in dealing with change is subjective; this is why I sometimes shut down or will just feel icky for no reason during times of change. Your emotions and your body are connected, because it all stems from one place, your brain.

Anyway, as a gift to myself for surviving a new job, a menu change at my old place, moving to a new home with my boyfriend to a beautiful house that we own, I've bought myself a little treat!

Notice at the top, how it no longer has "Blogspot" in the URL box?

That's right, I've bought WannaBGourmande.com! Now enjoy seamless blogging to your heart's content, without the pesky extra step in finding the site!

Treat yo self, WannaBGourmande!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Food Comas are a Real Thing

I know that it's all about timing, and that it's all about keeping your metabolism up until you fall asleep...but come on. Carbs are delicious, and they just make you want to curl up and die in your own flub of happiness. I have a total food baby now and thanks to my slowing metabolism, I actually have to pay attention to my habits now. Do you know what this means for me? No sleep until 11:30. No sleep until 11:30 pm, unless I want all of that stuff to just congeal and make me fat.

I know they all say that when you reach a certain age, your metabolism just goes "See you later, homie" but "LATER" NEVER COMES....? It's true. It is 100% true. A couple of years ago, I could eat anything I wanted and not gain a single ounce; now, I have a scoop of chocolate ice cream and my ass jiggles for a week.

Don't get me wrong...actually having an ass is pretty nice, especially when you go 20-something years without one. This has pretty much been the only time I have cursed my Asian genetics, which have otherwise blessed me with gorgeous skin, beautiful almond-shaped eyes, and thick and generous black hair. What good is all of that Pinoy heritage, though, if you don't have a juicy Spanish booty go with it?

Is there a way I can just take all of the excess flub from around my belly button and just skidge it over to my butt? No? Not without surgery? I was more thinking of some kind of yoga move, or reflexology thing I could do at home... I guess not. I guess I'll just have to stick with it, and maintain the fairly descent metabolism I have now by not falling asleep until the 2 hour mark has been reached.

This seems easy enough if you haven't had a giant plate of pasta with sauteed garlic for dinner, all buttery with dried basil(I dried that basil bunch I got from the Overland Park Farmers' Market  by microwaving it on 60% power for 45 seconds) and roasted tomatoes and cracked black pepper. It was so good. I slurped it up with my poached egg, which just added another thickness and ooey-gooeyness to my butter sauce. How can you not want to just curl up in a pile of pasta and fall into your cocoon of indulgence and feigned self-respect?

It's hard. That's why I'm blogging. Only half an hour more to go. Feck.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Rainbow Cake

Oh my GOODNESS it's so crazy-hard to be vigilant about a weekly posting with the kind of crazy life I have! But I'm pirating internet at the local library at the moment, and rather than listen to people snoring in the comfy chairs or librarians softly 'beeping' in each call number on the books, I'll listen to myself type and my own inner-monologue as I write you a new blog.

For those of you who keep up with me on Twitter, you'll know that I had a photoshoot with Jani Bryson a few weeks ago and I just got the prints today! So it's time to share a few of my favorite prints with my friends, and the subject was on something I've noticed trending a lot recently:

Sprinkles are awesome
Rainbow Cakes!

These are awesome because it combines two things I love: cake and color.

Color theory and design has always been an interesting subject for me. Not only can you get a tiny peek into a person's psyche by what their favorite color is, but you can evoke just about a thousand different emotions by using the correct color combinations or intensities. I love the rainbow, and honestly I don't understand why it's both loved and hated.

"What? People hating the rainbow? NONSENSE!"

No, it' not. Check THIS out. Yeah, somebody actually REFUSED to make a rainbow cake because the customer was gay. Or something. Either way it was really stupid. I realize that this story was awhile back, but the point is that it happened and gay-hating is honestly going back to the Dark Ages as far as intensity goes. (Actually, I take that back since A LOT OF PEOPLE DIDN'T CARE ABOUT BEING GAY BACK THEN AND I DON'T KNOW WHY WE DO NOW.)

By the way, Jesus never said anything about gay people. That's a fact.

Anyway, rainbow cakes are awesome. What is even more awesome is how much fun my fellow bloggers on Tumblr have with making and posting pictures of them. Ready for picture funtime? So am I!

Classic ROYGBIV without the I

This is a twist from the regular layering!

It doesn't look it, but that takes an AMAZING amount of skill to do

Layers are a great way to show gradients
Of course, amongst the awesome amount of layer cakes we find when searching for "rainbow cakes" on Bing or Google or whatever, there are a few that choose to get super-creative with the concept of a rainbow cake. For example, this blogger chose to make a cake in the shape of an actual rainbow, complete with marshmallow clouds! (I would have used a piped meringue, myself, but that's just me!)

Not the best photo quality, but still uber-cool

And what about this blogger? This is a Pega-corn! It's a combination Unicorn/Pegasus, with rainbow wings of awesome!!! And yes, this is a cake. Don't ask me how to make it, because I have no idea.

Ace of Cakes be damned..

Another neat thing I've discovered is that weddings(the ULTIMATE money-maker if you're a baker or cake decorator) seem to go all out when it comes to rainbows. These here are rainbow wedding cakes, for the bride that can't decide what color scheme to go with. (To be honest, this is what might end up happening to me.)

 What baffles me the most, I think, about rainbow wedding cakes is that they're automatically put in the category of gay weddings. I mean, seriously? When did the rainbow become a solely homosexual symbol? If you  like rainbows, you're automatically a fag - and that's really sad.

When I came home after the photoshoot with Jani and sliced myself a piece of the cake, I sat down next to my boyfriend(who was on his computer in the living room) and asked him if he wanted a bite.
This is a classic square-tiered cake with cascading roses in a rainbow!

He turns to me and gets completely wide-eyed and says "That looks awesome!" without a big of sarcasm attached.

"Really?" I ask.

"Yeah, rainbows are awesome." He turns to his buddy G at this point and says "I miss liking rainbows. Why can't I like rainbows because I'm a straight guy? That doesn't seem fair."

And that's when I decided I was going to spend the rest of my life with this man.

Citrus fruits and colorful ribbons are awesome
Sorry, I'm getting off-topic.

The point is that rainbow cakes are awesome, and I was lucky enough to get to shoot some with Jani, who is easily one of the best photographers I know. I brought along my friend Jessica and we had fun doing it. It drove her a little more nuts than me because - as Chefs - we're both trained to work quickly in the kitchen, but with food photography everything must be done very slowly so you can get the right shots. And since I've teased you for awhile on pretty pictures that are NOT of the shoot, here are the ones that we took!

Jani is awesome because she shoots the process from start to finish

While butter is 100% awesome, I personally like oil for cakes just because it turns out SO MOIST

We divided the white cake batter into seven separate ramekins for coloring

Although liquid dyes are fine, gels are superior to use for this kind of project

The colors get more and more intense as they sit, so give them a minute

Grease the pans and preheat the oven BEFORE YOU START MEASURING INGREDIENTS

Doesn't Jess look cute?

The semi-finished product. You can't see the terror of that thing falling over in my face, but I'm good at hiding that kind of thing...

The finished product!
Wasn't that fun? A journey of rainbows and happy times? I can tell you that it was awesomely fun for me. And I'm sorry that I got a little off-topic about the whole gay/fag/rainbow/homophobia thing, but it really needs to be addressed, because rainbows are for everyone.

So have fun making rainbow cakes, you guys! Submit comments or pictures to be featured on my blog!