Oh, HELLO!

Does about 4 months still qualify for fashionably late?

Hi, all! I’m back, but I’ve moved! My new blog is http://www.ohmypancake.com

Come follow me and my adventures there! All details about the move (and a new post on arugula pesto) are already provided. Thanks for being a Yumology reader!

 

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Temporary Hiatus

Hi, readers!

I appreciate knowing that people still come and check out Yumology even when I have been absent for a while (sporadically). Thanks! :)

Unfortunately, I am going to be taking a temporary hiatus for a few weeks. STAR testing is coming up quickly and the school year will be over in just about 8 weeks. I have so much stuff going on that I find it difficult to think about my baby blog as a priority now. Also, since I do neglect it, I feel a sense of incompleteness. So, to avoid the guilt and lack of weekly blogging-accomplishment, I am simply going to take some time off Yumology until I have a better grip on my order of priorities (work and personal life) and time management.

I think this break will be for the better, then I can come back feeling satisfied when I post more blog-worthy recipes and not some of the slacker work I have put up here because I have been so busy.

I’ll miss you and see you soon!

-Amanda

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Menu Monday

This Week’s Meals

Monday: Grilled Pork Loin and Yukon Gold Potatoes with a Pomegranate Reduction Sauce

Tuesday: Roasted Vegetable & Mozzarella Wrap

Wednesday: Roasted Lemon Chicken and Warm Basil Quinoa Salad

Thursday: Carrot-Ginger Soup with Chicken and Beet Pesto Wrap

Friday: Spring Vegetable Scramble with Roasted Vegetables and Goat Cheese

 

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Low-Fat Cream of Broccoli Soup

Goodness! The weather is atrocious! A rain storm has been playing the role of the uninvited guest in Northern California and will continue to do so for a few more days. It’s been awful driving on the streets and worse on the freeways. Running errands around town became much more difficult; I trekked around town getting wet and feeling very cold. As soon as I returned home, I changed out of my wet jeans and gleefully jumped into cozy sweats.

It’s no surprise that when the weather is unpleasantly cold and stormy, I get a big hankering for big warm bowls of comforting soup and alongside wholesome and crusty bread. I should have expected that I’d cook up a large pot for dinner–with plenty for leftovers!

This super flavorful creamy broccoli soup not only satisfied my cold-weather cravings, but it made me think twice about how little fat was in it. The body of the soup was quite rich and very creamy. Unlike most creamy soups, however, I didn’t use any heavy cream or a great deal of butter. Instead, the addition of a few Yukon Gold potatoes and fat-free milk did the trick.

Another healthy and yummy success in my book! :)

Low-Fat Cream of Broccoli Soup

makes about 6 cups

4 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups celery, coarsely chopped

1 cup white onion, coarsely chopped

3 small Yukon gold potatoes, diced

7 cups trimmed broccoli florets, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock

3/4 cup fat-free milk

1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

1. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the celery and onions, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook  for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, just until they are slightly tender. Add the potatoes, and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring often to avoid browning (reduce the heat if necessary). Add the broccoli, lightly season with salt and pepper, stir, and cook the mixture for 5 minutes. Add the flour and mix it in with the vegetables. Continue to cook for an extra 2 minutes.

2. Add the vegetable broth into the pot, increase the heat to high, and bring the soup to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to a medium simmer, and allow the soup to cook for about 20-25 minutes or until the broccoli is very tender. Turn off the heat and carefully pour the soup into a food processor and process until smooth (do this in batches if you need to). Pour the soup back into the pot and turn the heat back on medium. Stir in the milk, parmesan cheese, and about 3/4 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper (you can always change the amount of salt and pepper to taste). Allow the soup to lightly simmer for another 4-5 minutes. Serve and garnish with bread and/or extra parmesan or cheese of choice, if desired.

 

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Asparagus, Pancetta, & Goat Cheese Frittata

I awoke this morning at 5:52 A.M. I clearly remember glancing at the clock, groaning, and plunking my head back on my pillow feeling frustrated that my body was not allowing me to sleep in on this Tuesday of my spring break. Thirty minutes later, I still was wide awake so I decided to respond to the growls of hunger coming from my wished-it-was-still-sleeping belly.  My thoughts were, why not make the best of an unintentional early day to my day? Hmm. I had no counter reasons. So, my move to make breakfast was on.

Please give a warm welcome to my asparagus, pancetta, & goat cheese frittata.

After enjoying a wedge of frittata with a cup of coffee, I felt energized and quite satisfied. I no longer had resentment towards my internal clock and proceeded to get a head start on my “to do” list for the day. In fact, I had an extremely productive day and got a ton of stuff done in my classroom and at home. I think this presents itself as new phenomenon! Eat homemade delicious frittata and it will lead to an wonderfully successful day!

Hm. Yea, I don’t think that’s really how it works. However, this frittata was exceptionally tasty with its delectable flavors! Salty pancetta, tender and mildly sweet asparagus, and a blend of fontina, parmesan, and goat– all getting cozy in silky and custard-like mixture of fresh eggs and a touch of cream. Maybe there isn’t a phenomenon involved, but if you eat it, it will lead to a full and happy tummy. :)

Asparagus, Pancetta, & Goat Cheese Fritatta

Serves 4-8

4 oz cubed pancetta

1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)

2 1/2 cups asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces

6 large eggs

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup grated fontina cheese

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup goat cheese

salt and pepper

1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (divided use)

1. Heat a 10 inch oven proof skillet on a medium flame. Add the pancetta and cook for a few minutes until the bits have started to crisp and turn brown around the edges. Turn off the heat and remove the pancetta and place in a small bowl; leave the rendered fat behind.

2. Turn the heat back on medium and add the onions and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for about 2-3 minutes just until the onions are beginning to sweat and turn translucent. Add the asparagus, season with 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper, and stir to mix with the onions. Cook for an extra 2 minutes and turn off the heat. The asparagus should still be tender, but still crisp to avoid overcooking in the oven.

3. Turn the oven on high-broil. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and cream until smooth. Add the fontina, parmesan, pancetta, onions, asparagus, and 1/2 tsp of salt. Lightly beat together to combine all the ingredients. Add the olive oil to the skillet and reheat on medium-low. Once heated, pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Use a knife or spoon to drop about 1 tbsp sized dollops of goat cheese throughout the surface of the frittata mixture. Use a spatula to mix around the mixture the ingredients to have them set evenly. Let the fritatta cook for about 4 minutes until the bottom begins to turn a light golden brown (use the spatula to peek). Remove from the stove (sprinkle extra grated parmesan on top at this point, if desired) and place the skillet in the oven. Broil for 4-5 minutes until the eggs have set and the top is a light golden brown. Use a skillet to aid in sliding the frittata on a serving plate. Garnish with green onions or parsley, if desired.

 

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Green Tea Shortbread Cookies

I baked these sweet heart shaped green tea shortbread cookies with hopes of creating a cheerful contrast to the gloomy and blustery weather I have experienced lately where I live. I had three packs of Japanese green tea powder left in my cupboard and thought I would give the idea a shot.

As soon as the batch came out of the oven, I impatiently plucked one off the cooling rack, gently tossed it back and forth between my hands in an attempt to cool it down more, and then devoured it. Although I felt foolish for stuffing a hot cookie into my mouth (my slightly scorched tongue didn’t let it go), I was very pleased with the perfectly sweet, crisp and buttery flavor that preceded delicate notes of green tea with a finishing crunch from a sugary crystal coating. These green tea shortbread cookies were a definite success and provided a burst of brightness into the house on a rainy day.

Green Tea Shortbread Cookies

makes about 2 dozen (using 3″ heart shaped cookie cutter)

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp Japanese green tea powder (found in Asian markets; Matcha green tea powder may also work)

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), cold and cut into small cubes

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 large egg yolks

1 cup course granulated sugar or turbinado sugar

1. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt, green tea powder, and powdered sugar until well combined. Add the cubed butter and pulse a few times just until the mixture resembles small pebbles.

2. In a small bowl, gently whisk together the vanilla and egg yolks; add the egg mixture into the food processor and pulse until the dough starts to form. Take out the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Knead all the bits together a few times until a mass of dough comes together. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and allow it to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. While the oven is warming up, take out the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle a little flour on the dough and on a rolling-pin. Roll the dough out until it is about 1/3-inch in thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out the dough and then gently toss it in the sugar to coat boat sides. Place the cut cookies on prepared baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake for 13-15 minutes. When the baking is complete, place the cookies on a wire rack and allow them cool.

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A Special Birthday Cake

This post is a day late, but yesterday my wonderful boyfriend and I celebrated our 4-year anniversary. We met during my early years of undergrad, began to date, fell in love and have grown stronger together since. He happened to have the day off, which was perfect since I am on my spring break from work; we rejoiced by indulging in a movie date in pajamas on the couch, paninis for lunch, and a delightful dinner alla sushi (lots of it). Glamorous and fancy? Not really…but ideal for making the most of what we enjoy best– each other’s company. :)

To satisfy our sweet cravings and provide another form of celebration, I baked a special cake! It consisted of a layer white chocolate and lemon ganache swirled into creamy mascarpone between two layers of light and spongy lemon olive oil cake, and a generous exterior coating of fluffy and delicate, yet rich, vanilla mousse (I decided on vanilla to balance the richness of the center filling).

After baking and assembling it with love, I gleefully decorated it with a rainbow of sprinkles and festive candles that spelled out “Happy Birthday US!” with a big “4″. I felt like a huge cheese ball of a dork, but I was so smitten with the result!

I adapted the cake layer from here and the mousse recipe from here. Below is the recipe I developed for the center filling and instructions on how I assembled the cake:

White Chocolate-Lemon Ganache with Mascarpone Cream

1 cup heavy cream

10 oz. white chocolate, roughly chopped

2/3 cup lemon curd

1 tsp lemon zest

8 oz. mascarpone cheese

1. Melt the white chocolate over a double broiler over simmering water and then set aside. Allow it to cool. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the heavy cream into soft peaks.

2. Beat the melted white chocolate, lemon curd, lemon zest, and mascarpone cheese together in a large bowl until the mixture is smooth and glossy (this should take under a minute). Fold the mixture into the whipped cream in two batches just until it is combined.

*Assembling the cake:

1. Bake the lemon olive oil cake according to the recipe instructions. Allow it to cool completely and then cut it in half through the middle side of the round to attain two layers of cake. Place the bottom half on top of the seam of two overlapping pieces of parchment paper (remove with ease after the decorating is complete to make a clean presentation; just gently pull each piece of paper away).

2.Top the layer of cake with the white chocolate-lemon ganache and mascarpone cream; spread it evenly over the cake to create a layer that is about 1-inch thick. Put the top half of the sliced cake, cut side up, over the cream filling.

3. Allow the un-frosted cake to chill in the fridge for about 45 minutes before topping and coating with the vanilla mousse. After completely frosting and decorating, place the cake in the refrigerator and allow it to chill for at least 4 hours prior to serving.

Oh, and thank you, Restoration Hardware. Although I cannot afford to purchase  your ridiculously good-looking furniture, I can put your catalog to great use.

Happy 4th Birthday to US! :) Cheese!

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