Savory Oatmeal

You’ve probably figured out by now that I like switching things up. So when the idea came to me to rethink one of my breakfast favorites — oatmeal — I jumped on it. 

Savory oatmeal. What is this madness, you might ask?

But think about it. Sometimes you wake up and don’t want sugary toast, sweet berries, or even syrup-n-waffles. Yep, crazy mornings like those do exist. 

(But not really.)

You wake up and you want something savory, something filling and satisfying, something umami and sizzling and salty.

Something comfortable and warm like oatmeal. But… savory.

Savory Oatmeal

This is a Chinese-inspired dish, based on warm bowls of congee (rice porridge) mixed with salty vegetables — a delicious breakfast classic. Feel free to add in any type of food your early morning heart desires: sausages, bacon, cheese, green onions, literally anything but the kitchen sink. Because apparently steel-cut oats has nothing to do with stainless steel.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup eggplant
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce

Steps

Add oil in a hot pan and then the garlic. (Pause to smell the beautiful aroma.) Then, add in the mushrooms, eggplant, and soy sauce. Sauté everything together until cooked through. Mix in the vegetables with the cooked oatmeal. (Try my Gloriously Fluffy Oatmeal trick!)

For that extra something somethin’, I love to top it off with a quick dash of sesame seed oil and a sprinkling of parsley and freshly ground pepper. It’s positively irresistible. Don’t even try.

 

IMG_7143

15-Minute Vegan Beef Tacos

As much as I love spending time creating in the kitchen, I simply don’t have time these days to explore as much as I’d like to.

What happens to your diet when you don’t have time? Some might resort to fast food. Some might befriend their neighborhood vending machine. Some might eat copious amounts of protein bars. I’ve done all three.

Me surveying my stash of Quest bars

The most rewarding approach, though, has been using good shortcuts to make the same types of healthy, clean cuisine I love — i.e. using pre-grilled frozen veggies, pre-made sauces, and pre-made veggie burger patties. If you read the labels and pick the good stuff, this approach saves lots of time without adding crazy artificial ingredients.

The beauty of this recipe is that it’s made mostly of pre-prepared ingredients, so all you have to do is get a pan, turn up the heat, and assemble.

15-Minute Savory Vegan Beef Tacos

Makes 8-10 small tacos. If meal-prepping, would definitely recommend storing tortillas and taco filling separately.

Ingredients

  • 1 package Gardein Beefless Ground (or 3-4 cups of any other vegan ground beef)
  • 1 package frozen veggie mix (go for a Southwestern-style blend, mine had grilled corn & bell peppers)
  • 1 can black or red kidney beans
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • Soft tortillas or hard taco shells
  • Optional taco toppers: shredded lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, hot sauce, salsa, etc.

Steps

  1. Lightly oil a pan and turn stove to medium high.
  2. Add in the onion, letting it cook for a minute or two until soft. Then, add in the frozen veggies.img_5442
  3. Follow with the beefless ground. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until sizzling.img_5456
  4. Assemble! Use soft tortillas or hard shells, and add a layer of lettuce or a dollop of your favorite taco toppers.

 

img_5472

Got guac?

img_5478

Just as good with hot sauce!

Enjoy!

 

Crispy Crunchy Wraps

You take a bite.

The warm tortilla crunches soundly against your teeth, breaking into brittle shards as the delicious contents reveal themselves to your taste buds.

This is the ideal wrap—crunchy and light, simple enough to make on a weekday but good enough to bring to a potluck.

The best part is this: all you need is a broiler. No deep-fried oil explosions. No smoking hot griddle that could trigger the fire alarm at any second. No crazy kitchen gadget that you bought from a television ad one lonely Sunday morning at 4am.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. *hides $30 avocado slicer*

Crispy Crunchy Wraps

Notes: This isn’t so much of a recipe as it is a technique. As such, feel free to improvise with the fillings!

Ingredients:

  • Wrap material: Flour tortillas (crisp up more easily than wheat or corn tortillas)
  • Filling: Endless options, mostly depending on your mood. Experiment with grilled chicken, vegan meat alternatives, veggies and hummus, etc. You could even make this into a crispy bean and cheese burrito.

Steps:

Prep the filling by cutting everything into strips.  I used the most wrap-like ingredients I had on hand: seasoned brown rice, chicken, and lettuce. 

img_5171
Some assembly required.

Assemble the wrap.

img_51800
Get out your screwdriver and nails.

Now fold it messily and place on a oven-safe object.

img_51911
Is this how Taco Bell does it?

Broil for 4 minutes a side, watching closely as it browns. 

img_519212
Way better than T Bell.

The Extra Mile: Make the outside extra crispy and delicious. Before broiling, just brush on just a thin layer of oil.

img_5208

img_5201

 

Vegan BBQ Pulled Pork

 

 

This. Is. Amazing. And also one of my favorite food hacks.

Who knew that jackfruit – a spiky-looking fruit thing – could be used to make a nice, hearty barbecue?

Obviously, this won’t be the exact same as pulled pork. But it does have way fewer calories if that’s what you’re into, and is also way better in terms of animal ethics and the environment – win win win. Flavor, for me, has always been much more about the sauces and seasonings than the meat/veggies itself, so this is my go-to BBQ substitute.

Vegan BBQ Pulled Pork

Vegan/vegetarian, gluten-free

Ingredients

  • 1 can young green jackfruit
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce of choice
  • Optional seasonings (liquid smoke, salt/pepper, chili powder, etc)

Steps

1. Drain and rinse the jackfruit. (thought: “young green jackfruit” would be my rapper name)

2. Cook the jackfruit by adding it to a pot with a small amount of water. Turn the heat up high, and let it cook until the jackfruit is tender and coming off in pulled-pork-like strands. It’ll take only 5 or so minutes.

3. Add the BBQ sauce and seasonings, and continue cooking until you like the thickness of the BBQ sauce.

And BOOM. You’re done making some seriously guilt-free ‘cue. I love adding this into wraps, sloppy joes, or just adding some beans & rice and then calling it a day.

img_96471

What would you add this into?

Baked Honey & Soy Sauce Chicken Thighs

 

Astoundingly tender. Sweet like warm honey, yet dangerous like an addiction.

If you have chicken thighs in the freezer, thaw them now. Break out the honey left over from the No-Oven Honey Roasted Almonds. If you don’t have soy sauce, go buy some right now. If you’re going to try one main dish from anything on this blog, let this be it. Seriously. 

This is insanity. Delicious, sweet, dangerous insanity.

Baked Honey & Soy Sauce Chicken Thighs

Sweet honey, balanced with savory soy sauce and aromatic garlic. This recipe doesn’t involve any oil, and it doesn’t need any. Also, this is amazingly tender—so tender that I doubted their doneness for quite a few minutes. The perfect light lunch dish or so-good dinner entrée.

Ingredients:

  • 6 skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • for the sauce:
  • pan juices from the chicken
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • dash of salt

Steps:

Marinate the chicken in soy sauce anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. I personally prefer overnight, but marinating isn’t an exact science and I’m not going to tell you how to live.

img_6678-1

When you’re mentally ready, preheat the oven to 400°F. Add the garlic and drizzle the honey over the chicken.

img_6679-1

Now pop it in the oven for 35 minutes, turning halfway through.

img_6699-1

Now for the sauce! Pour the pan juices from the baking dish into a skillet, and mix in the other sauce ingredients. Heat on Medium High until it’s thickened to a nice sauce-y consistency. (You can also add 1/2 tsp cornstarch to help make it thicker without having to evaporate off all the water.)

img_6695-1

If you’re feeling awesome, serve with some rice and veggies…

img_6720

And if you’re feeling hungry, forget veggies and just pair with your favorite carb.

img_6704

But I like veggies.

img_6722

 

Vegan Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

A real thing that happened recently, while planning a Friendsgiving:

Friend: “We still need someone to make mashed potatoes and gravy…”

Me: “Ooh I could do it! I could make vegan mashed potatoes and gravy!”

*collective “uhhh” around the room and frowns of disgust*

So apparently I’ve been living around such a bubble of tree-hugging millennials that I forgot about how vegans are perceived by much of America. And having lived a mostly-vegan life for the last few months, and having realized how cool it can be – the speed and force of rejection annoyed me for quite a bit.

And still does, I suppose, considering I’m sitting in bed at 12:30am typing about it a month later.

Anyway, I set out to prove them wrong. I made the following gravy recipe – which was certified delicious by several meat-eaters of the group, by the way – and I myself was surprised at how great it tasted.

I’m a mashed potatoes and gravy fanatic, and I still think this is way better than the traditional. The secret sauce is the gravy (get it??), which gives complex layers of flavor. It’s not just the one-dimensional turkey-gravy kind of savory; the garlic, onion, vegetable broth, and dash of soy sauce all come together to make a perfect, uniquely umami type of savory that you won’t find with traditional mashed potatoes & gravy.

Vegan Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

Ingredients

for the potatoes

  • 3lb russet potatoes
  • 10 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt and pepper

for the gravy

  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional, will add more flavor to gravy)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (optional, will make gravy creamier)

Steps

1. Prepare the potatoes. Skin, cut, and boil for about 20 minutes until they’re super mushy. Then, mash them with a potato masher or a fork. (Hint: I like to let the water slowly boil off, so I can just mash the potatoes straight in the pot without needing to drain or transfer to another bowl. If they end up too watery and mushy, I’ll let the pot sit for a bit longer so more water can evaporate off.)

2. Meanwhile, cook the garlic in oil until nice and fragrant. Add these to the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Prepare the gravy. Turn the stove to high and sauté the onion in oil until the onion is translucent and tender, which takes around 3 minutes. Add flour to the sautéed onion to make a roux. Make sure you coat the onion evenly, with no chunks of flour sitting around. Add vegetable broth, soy sauce, nutritional yeast (optional), and almond milk (optional). Let it all simmer down to your desired level of thickness before seasoning with salt and pepper.

—–

And that’s it! Once you’ve been through this amazing recipe a few times, you’ll be able to whip up this whole thing in half an hour or less.

Boom. Empowering vegans so they’ll make great-tasting food and therefore be socially accepted by their friends. Just another day at Kitchen Cici.

 

Chocolate Biscotti

 

I always thought making biscotti would be complicated just because they were so classy. In my mind, biscotti were in the same category as croissants – a coffee shop delicacy that I could never recreate at home. You can imagine my delight when I found that this wasn’t the case at all!

I think the best part of biscotti is the texture: so crunchy and crumbly. They’re an awesome snack on their own, and an absolute delight when dipped in coffee. Admittedly, I’ve dipped them in milk too – and they’re better than Oreos.

Chocolate Biscotti

This turned out to have a richer chocolate flavor than I’d anticipated, although it’s by no means extra decadent. The texture is awesome: it’s a little crumbly but mostly crunchy, and even keeps its texture after being left out for a few days. When you first take them out of the oven and let it cool, they might seem too hard, but they get better with age: after the first night, they get less dry-crunchy and more crumbly-crunchy. If that makes any sense at all.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp coffee extract (or instant coffee granules)
  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Optional drizzle: white chocolate and sandwich bag

Steps

Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk together oil, eggs, sugar, and coffee extract (or coffee granules). Then add in the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder.

img_6559

Shape into two logs, each 1/2-inch thick. This dough is quite sticky, so mentally prepare yourself.

img_6561

Bake for 30 minutes. Take it out and let it cool, then cut it up into 1/2-inch strips.

img_6568

Bake the strips for another 20-30 minutes, flipping them over halfway through.

See? That wasn’t difficult at all. If you want to be fancy, you can drizzle white chocolate over them (just melt some white chocolate at low heat in the microwave, then cut open a corner of a sandwich bag and use it as a makeshift pipette). Don’t know about you, but I think white chocolate on a dark chocolate background is my kinda color combo.

img_6575

You know what makes these even better? Dip these in steaming and aromatic coffee. Or sweet and homey hot chocolate. Or just a cup o’ cold breakfast milk.

img_6583

A perfectly delightful treat, breakfast or otherwise.

Other chocolatey treats:

Dark Chocolate Nutella (Without Oil!)
Dark Chocolate Nutella (Without Oil!)
Two-Ingredient Chocolate Syrup
Two-Ingredient Chocolate Syrup
Dark Chocolate Tofu Mousse
Healthy Chocolate Mousse

Sweet ‘n Crunchy Toast

 

If you haven’t had some version of sugary toast for breakfast lately, you’re missing out. 

Because you know, nothing beats warm toast for breakfast. It gives your taste buds that early-morning buzz. It gives your ego that early-morning boost (because toast + powdered sugar + strawberries is what a real adult professional would do). And it’s so easy my cat could do it.

cat_toast
Exhibit A

 

Perhaps the most mind-blowing part of this technique is that it’s so simple and yet so good. If you have one thing for breakfast tomorrow, let this be it.

Sweet Breakfast Toast

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices bread
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp sugar

Steps:

1. Take out some bread and butter lightly. The butter gives it a nice buttery edge, but you don’t want it to overpower the sweetness.

img_6178

2. Liberally sprinkle sugar over the bread. Just on one side for now.

img_6183

3. Put it under the broiler for 3 minutes. Watch it carefully! Take it out after it’s nice and browned.

img_6182

4. Take out the bread, flip it over, and sprinkle sugar on the other side. No need to butter this side. Then, it’s back under the broiler for another 3 minutes.

img_6185

Now for the big photo op:

img_6189

Wow I feel so professional. I mean, look at that sweet crunchiness.

img_6191

Try This: Baking Powder + Pancake Mix

Sometimes, you need pancake mix.

It’s for those mornings when you don’t feel like beating together this many eggs and this much flour, then mixing (but not over mixing!) and then eating pancakes 20 minutes later, after which most have already cooled since you cooked them in separate batches.

But the other option, pancake mix, gives you flat and too-chewy pancakes. You want to Instagram them because you’ve gotten behind on your Insta game, but no amount of the Sepia filter will save this.

Is there a happy middle ground? Glad you asked.

The boxed pancake powder has so much potential. It just needs a little revival, something to give it a little fluff. It needs baking powder.

Specifically, it needs 1 tsp of baking powder per 1/2 cup of pancake mix.

Mix it together and proceed as usual per pancake box instructions.

You’re welcome.

Now go forth and Insta.

 

Photo courtesy of Food Network.

Vanilla Crème Brioche

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about French cooking is the artistry. It’s all about the quality of ingredients, the slow simmers, the nuances of flavor. In a rushed world that often treats cooking as a chore, French cooking reminds us to pause and savor.

And this is the perfect thing to savor – it’s buttery and flaky and soft and pillowy and golden and aromatic. And also, vanilla cream is more delicious when it’s spelled vanilla crème.

So enjoy this delicious brioche bite by sweet bite. Savor the relatively large ratio of butter-to-everything-else. Don’t rush, there’s no need to.

Vanilla Crème Brioche

You can omit the vanilla pastry cream, although it’s fairly easy and it adds so much to the brioche. Serve fresh and warm, or reheat in the oven, covered, at 200°F for 10 minutes.

Ingredients:

for the brioche

  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 tbsp warm water
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature

for the egg wash

  • 1/2 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cold water

for the vanilla crème

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Steps:

Stir together yeast and warm water, let it rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine flour, white sugar, and salt. Pour the wet yeast/water mixture into the dry flour/sugar/salt mixture. Then add the 2 eggs to form a dry dough.

img_7175

When the butter is the same consistency as the dough, mix it into the dough one chunk at a time. Your dough will come apart—don’t worry! Keep kneading until it comes back together. (Warning: this is sticky business.)

img_7180

img_7183 (1)

Place dough in a warm place and let it rise for 1 hour or until doubled.

Meanwhile, make the vanilla crème. In a saucepan, boil together milk and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, cornstarch, and sugar. Take milk/sugar off of the stove, and very very slowly (so the egg doesn’t cook and curdle) drizzle the egg/cornstarch/sugar into the milk/sugar, stirring all the while. Place saucepan back onto the heat and cook to thicken.

Deflate the dough and shape it: split the dough into two halves and twist them around each other. Fill the vanilla crème in between the ridges of the double helix. Place the dough into a greased and floured pan.

img_7187img_7189

Let the dough rise for a 2nd time. For this 2nd rise, you can leave it in the fridge overnight, or place it in a warm place for another 1 hour. Right before you bake, whisk together egg and water, and preheat the oven. Brush the egg wash over the loaf and bake at 400°F for about 30 minutes.

Oh. My. Goodness. The buttery flakiness, the warmth, the golden glow, the subtle sweetness.

img_7203

Serve as part of a healthy wealthy breakfast.

img_7207 (1)

Question of the day: What’s your favorite bread? 

Actually Healthy Greek Yogurt Potato Salad

What’s the secret ingredient in this little potato salad? Well, sit down, kids, and let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there lived a Potato. Now, this Potato was a kind and easy-going fellow, and he easily made friends with some other little foods.

Some of his friends were bad apples, though. In particular, that Hot Oil kid was a mean one. But Potato also hung out with some other troublesome characters, like Cheese, Sour Cream, Ranch and literally everything good in life.

One day, as Potato was sitting on the couch, he decided to turn his life around. He realized that his friends were bringing him down, that he was actually good and wholesome at heart. 

A phone call came. It was Mayonnaise on the other line. “Hey, Tato,” the creamy voice said. “Buttermilk and I are playing Salad today. You wanna join?”

This was the pivotal moment. Potato refused, citing eye issues. “No,” he said. “But you guys go ahead.”

Once Mayonnaise hung up, Potato nodded to himself. It was time to change. He picked up the directory and looked up a fellow he had never spoken to before…

Greek Yogurt Potato Salad

This tastes amazingly similar to a regular old potato salad, and it’s just as versatile. You can add in any veggies you’d like—celery, parsley, etc. Make it your own!

Ingredients:

  • 4 (medium or large) Russet potatoes
  • 1 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • pepper + parsley + seasonings of choice

Steps:

Cut the potatoes into reasonably-sized chunks.

img_6262

Boil them for about 15 minutes or until translucent and tender.

img_6264

Keeping the potatoes on the stove, add in the other ingredients. If it’s a little bit liquidy, just keep it on the stove until the extra moisture evaporates.

This is perfect for a side dish, a healthy snack, or your contribution to the annual office potluck.

img_6268

 

I could live on potatoes. Well not literally live on potatoes; the surface area situation would be weird.

Although Spongebob did live in a pineapple under the sea. So maybe I could live in a potato on a cloud of cotton candy.

 

img_6269

There’s hope yet.

Current Obsession: PB2

The three certainties in life are death, taxes, and the universal human experience of spooning peanut butter straight from the jar at 1:00am.

And although peanut butter is packed with energy and “healthy” to people with self control (read: no one), it still has a lot of saturated fats and unnecessary calories. Which is why PB2 is so amazing – it’s peanuts without the oils… leaving behind only the peanut-y taste and the high protein.

And it’s incredibly versatile. I’ve used it in overnight oats, protein shakes, cookie recipes, and – mixed with some water – as a healthier peanut butter alternative that’s perfect for dipping with carrots and celery.

(Is it too much information to also admit that I’ve eaten PB2 powder straight from the jar? Because I have.)

So with that, I’ve solved the “peanut butter is too damn addictive to be unhealthy” issue. Still working on the death and taxes part.


Note: I don’t get paid for my opinions. One can wish though.

30-Minute Spiced Chicken Thighs

You probably know chicken.

You probably know it’s pretty easy to make, it’s almost always savory, and it plays nice with a bunch of different other foods.

While I’ve been mostly vegetarian/vegan lately, I do enjoy some nice, responsibly-raised chicken once in a while. I usually go for the chicken breasts (lean and mean) — but chicken thighs are great because they’re very tender, they’re less expensive, and it’s hard to dry them out on accident.

Spiced Chicken Thighs

This recipe gives a slightly spicy, mostly savory taste. Obviously, you can change up the specific spices. When I make chicken, I just go through my spice cabinet and throw in every spice that I think tastes good with chicken. I like this combo in particular. 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • dash of salt & pepper, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne powder

Steps:

1. Marinate chicken in 1/2 cup soy sauce + 1/2 cup water + 1 tbsp sugar. It’ll make the chicken more flavorful, don’t neglect this!

2. Preheat oven to 340°F. This is the temperature I use when I’m too lazy to stand there for two more seconds to bump it to 350°F.

3. Season the chicken with everything.

3. Put it on the skillet and sauté both sides. Brown it as much as you want; it won’t brown any more in the oven.

4. Pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes. And then open up the oven and find this…

 

img_46261

Look at those sizzling juices. It’s glistening. And it smells so darn good.

img_46301

Try This: Toasted Croissants

I realize that French food connoisseurs might have something against this, but for me, this is a way of living. I will never eat croissants the same way again.

A flaky, buttery, warm, crunchy, delicious start to the day.

It’s especially delicious when you use a big fluffy croissant, snatched right out of the glass bakery display of your local grocery store.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have that luxury this morning, so a pathetic little croissant bought in bulk had to suffice. But hey, I’m not complaining.

Never again will you settle for the plain old croissant. This is Croissant 2.0.

Okay, let’s go. To start off, you want to cut your croissant in half, just like so:

img_6087

Now here’s the toughest part. Carefully, pick up each croissant half and translocate it from the plate to the toasting machine. You can either broil it in the oven for a minute, or toast it in the toaster. If you’re using the toaster, be careful to not damage the croissant during placement into the toasting bay. This is crucial for an enjoyable croissant experience.

Once finished, you’ll have something like this:

img_6089

You are now finished. You may enjoy your croissant, or you may make your breakfast experience even more enjoyable by spreading extra butter over the croissant.

img_6092

In the words of Paula Deen, “You can never have enough butter.”

Now admire the flakiness of the croissant, the layers, the beauty. Take it all in before you take a bite.

img_6097

Happy morning. You have survived your first challenge of the day.

Healthy Marinated & Steamed Tilapia

My mom is a seasoned veteran of the home cooking world, but even she raved over this recipe.

“Cici,” she said excitedly on the phone. “You have to try this out.”

“Oh, okay, yeah,” I replied, hoping she wasn’t using her mom senses to detect what I was eating at the moment.

“What are you doing right now?”

“Oh, uh, having dinner.” The apple pie remained in mid-air, weighing gently on the spoon.

“What are you eating?”

“…Leftovers.” The full-fat vanilla ice cream melted in guilt.

“What leftovers?”

“Some stuff from yesterday. Not much.”

“Oh. Okay.”

And then, as if to rub it in, she proceeded to tell me about one of the healthiest recipes out there.

Thanks Mom.

Marinated & Steamed Tilapia

This is a variant of my other Steamed Tilapia recipe. This version has the same flaky texture, but plus that lovely marinated savoriness. It’s really great if you’re low on the garlic, ginger, or cooking wine that’s used in the other version!

Ingredients:

  • tilapia fillet
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • dashes of salt & pepper

Steps:

1. Marinate the tilapia for about 30 minutes. I just cut open the original tilapia vacuum-sealed bag, and I poured in the soy sauce.

It's not laziness, it's efficiency.
It’s not laziness, it’s efficiency.

2. Get ready to steam! I just put a ceramic bowl in a pot and called it good.

Innovation at its best
Innovation at its best

3. Let it steam for 15 minutes. Make sure there’s a steady stream of steam coming through the lid the whole time.

Voila
Voila

Mom, as always, you were right.

(Don’t tell her I said that.)

IMG_8492

Simply Crispy Asparagus

I was really excited about having my own apartment kitchen this year, but then I realized something: I actually don’t eat a lot.

For example, one day I raided the bulk foods section of my local grocery store. Among my digs: precisely $0.21 worth of black rice.

Not that I counted the grains, but there were 132 of them. (Kidding.)

I also bought a head of cabbage once.

I’m now planning its half birthday. (Kidding? You decide.)

So naturally I was a little miffed when I found out that asparagus is only sold in impossibly large bunches.

3 weeks later: progress?

I was never a fan of asparagus. Oven roasted asparagus sounded cool, yes, but it always had this toughness that had me feeling like a cow chewing on dry prairie grass.

And then I discovered the sautéed asparagus method.

And my life changed.

Simple Sautéed Asparagus

I didn’t have much appreciation for the natural taste of vegetables until this. This cooking method really softens the outer toughness of asparagus, but preserves it inner crunchiness. It also infuses a slight caramelization that enriches its naturally fresh & vibrant taste. And the sprinkling of a little salt to sensitize your taste buds—oh my oh my.

Oh yeah, and it’s incredibly healthy.

You’ll Need:

  • 5 stalks asparagus
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • dash of salt & pepper

Steps:

  1. Cut the asparagus.

    This may or may not be 5 stalks as instructed
  2. Get enough oil to coat the bottom of your sauté pan. Heat the pan on medium-high.

    IMG_8478
    Why yes, my stove is actually a wooden table
  3. Toss in the ‘sparagus and cook for 5 minutes. It should get slightly brown and very sizzlingly hot.

    IMG_8487
    Yum
  4. Top off with a dash of good old salt ‘n pepper.

Et voila. Asparagus is probably one of my favorite vegetables now, to be honest.

IMG_8490

Just look at that. Imagine the fresh aroma, the salty crunch. Wow.

IMG_8489

What’s your favorite veggie recipe?

Molten Chocolate Cobbler

Oh my goodness.

The bliss you experience with this cobbler is greater than any bliss you have ever experienced. That is no exaggeration. 

I’m not lying.

I’m still not lying.

It’s not opposite day.

It’s still not opposite day.

Confused yet? Good.

But seriously.

This piping-hot mess, with its gooey ooey center that slowly oozes a streak of dark chocolate warmth across your spoon.

This classic chocolate flavor, intensified by a hard ‘n crunchy outer shell that lends a perfectly crisp texture.

Words can’t describe this at all, so just look at the pretty pictures, follow my baking instructions, and say ahhh.

Molten Chocolate Cobbler

The thing I love about this recipe is its ease: no risk of ruining real chocolate (instead we use cocoa powder), and the crunchy-top magic happens without crazy oven temperatures and broiling/baking adjustments. It’s almost unfair that this should be so good and yet so simple. Now that’s what you call a life hack.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1½ cup white sugar
  • 7 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cups milk
  • ⅓ cups butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cups packed brown sugar
  • hot water

Steps:

Stir together dry ingredients: 1 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, only 3 tbsp of the cocoa, and only 3/4 cup of the white sugar. To this dry mixture, add the wet ingredients: 1/2 cup milk, 1/3 cup butter, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.

IMG_7671

Pour the mixture into an ungreased baking dish. I used a loaf pan to get a deeper cobbler, but use whatever your heart desires.

IMG_7672

In a separate small bowl, mix the 1/2 cup brown sugar, remaining 3/4 cup white sugar, and remaining 4 tbsp cocoa powder. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the batter.

IMG_7676

Pour the hot tap water over all. No, I’m not crazy. And NO — don’t be tempted to stir, at all costs. Control your OCD.

IMG_7677

Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes, or until the water has evaporated and the crust is thick and crunchy.

IMG_7680

 

Gahhhh. Look at this. Just look at it. No, you’re not looking at it if you’re reading this. Just looook.

IMG_7682

 

 

 

Now top with some ice cream. Seriously, this is great alone, but it gets 5000000000000000000 times better with ice cream. There’s just something about the cold plus hot combination that makes your brain go crazy.

IMG_7684My favorite is this paired with vanilla ice cream (it’s so simple and so classy and so mindblowingly delicious). But alas, we only had tiramisu gelato. I’m not complaining.

IMG_7693

Check out that crunchy exterior, that gooey interior, and that cold melty ice cream.IMG_7688

 

 

Baked & Breaded Fish Fillets

 

IMG_7632

Don’t get me wrong, I love my deep-fried fish fillets—preferably wedged between two sides of a warm and soft taco shell, embedded between a sprinkling of vibrant vegetables and topped with some form of zesty sauce. 

But we can’t always have what we want. Sometimes we have to (try to be) somewhat (kind of) healthy.

And besides, summer is a time for light food cravings: think ice water and fun salads and cool cucumbers.

No but really, have you ever munched on a raw cucumber straight from the fridge? Heaven.

So one of my favorite things to do over the summer is cook up lightened-up versions of my favorite foods. 

Thus, these lovely fish fillets were born.

I’m still working on the light brownies.

Baked & Breaded Fish Fillets

Fish is one of the most versatile and proteinaceous foods out there, and this recipe gives you plenty of creative room. The flavor here is fairly neutral: salty and slightly pepper-y, making it easily paired into any dish you desire. Toss a fillet onto a summer salad, make a healthy fish wrap, put it in a sandwich with some mustard and lettuce, or eat it straight with a side of rice and veggies. The world is yours for the taking!

Ingredients: 

  • 6 fish fillets – I like tilapia or flounder
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs – You can take some stale bread, shave off the crust, and crumble. Or: take some regular bread, shave off the crust, crumble the bread, and toast in the oven until dry. Or: buy ready-made breadcrumbs. They’re so worth it.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • optional: any other seasonings you want. I added parsley flakes and some oregano to the breadcrumbs!

Steps: 

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Set up a workstation: put 1 cup flour on the left, then the 2 beaten eggs, and then the 2 cups of breadcrumbs. 

2. One at a time, dredge the fillets. Coat in flour first and shake off excess. Then dip both sides into the eggs and let the excess drip away. Finally, coat both sides generously in breadcrumbs.

IMG_7614

3. Place the fish fillets in a baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes, until they’re flaky and done on the inside. You’re finished!

Mmm. Look at that heavenly breadcrumbbing going on. 

IMG_7621It’s crispy on the outside, flaky on the inside.

 

IMG_7628

 

Prepare to impress your friends and your colleagues with your amazing cooking abilities and your amazing new waistline. 
IMG_7619Your tongue won’t even know the oil-free difference.

 

Simple Onion and Bell Pepper Stir-Fry

This is the ultimate Asian comfort food: easy to make, simply delicious, and goes really well with plain white rice.

It doesn’t get any easier than this. Stir-frying is already one of the simplest cooking techniques, and the onion-and-bell-pepper combo is one of my all-time favorites.

The onion’s aroma mingles with the crispy freshness of the bell pepper, and everything comes together in a flurry of savory smells and bold zing. It’s the perfect marriage. Add some soy sauce and garlic for extra flavor, and you’re golden. 

Simple Onion and Bell Pepper Stir Fry

Ingredients:

  • 2 red or white onions
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • dash of salt
  • dash of pepper

Steps:

1. Chop up the onions and peppers into similar shapes of your choosing. Also, mince the garlic.

I'm legitimately surprised my knife skills haven't atrophied in the last 5 months

2. Heat oil in a pan, throw in onions and peppers and garlic, and stir.

IMG_7594

3. After a minute, add the soy sauce. Season to taste.

Gahhhh. Look at those perfect crispy vegetables, stir-fried to a delicious brown color. The perfect comfort food. 

Consider me comforted. 

Try This: Easier Hard-Boiled Eggs

Have you been overcomplicating hard-boiled eggs? Probably.

At first I thought Martha Stewart’s recipe was complicated just because she’s Martha Stewart. But then I found other recipes that called for the same kind of method: cover the eggs with one inch of water, leave on stove for exactly this many minutes, drain carefully, la la la.

My eyes nearly popped out of my head, seeing all of these somewhat complicated hard-boiled egg recipes.

I mean, it’s just an egg. Boiled. In tap water.

There are no rules, other than boil the egg.

I don’t know. Maybe one day I’ll eat a perfect hard-boiled egg in a fancy French restaurant and my life will change forever.

But you know what, hard-boiled eggs can’t get much better than this.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Steps:

1. Fill saucepan with water to cover halfway up the egg. Or a little more than halfway. Because you’re using less water to boil, you’re saving time and even a little bit of energy.

photo-3
Get eggcited.

2. Bring water to boil.

photo-4
Mismatched saucepan lids are fashionable.

3. Turn off heat and leave for 10-15 minutes.

photo-5
Egg sauna.

Fluffy egg yolk and a soft egg white. This is perfection made easy.

photo-6

Take that, Martha. Take that and eat it for breakfast.

20-Minute Lentil Soup

Ah, is there a food as comforting as soup? Warm, savory, aromatic. The perfect adieu dish for a cold cold winter that is soon to be over (tomorrow, in fact!). 

The problem with soup is that it’s often unhealthy. Now, I’m certainly not opposed to the occasional splurge on cheese and butter and sugar, but soup is one of those foods for which a serving size less than a large bowl is simply not socially acceptable here in America.

And after you’ve been raised by your mother to finish all of your soup and mop up the bowl with a crunchy baguette, any sort of ridiculously unhealthy soup is like holding your health hostage.

The solution? Adding plenty of lentils, one of my favorite proteinaceous and fibrous vegetables. They’re unobtrusive in terms of taste and they lend a great deal of heartiness.

And they even look kind of cute.

20-Minute Lentil Soup

One of the best things about soup is its versatility. Add in whatever vegetables you happen to have on hand: cilantro, parsley, etc. You can also throw in any meats you might need…think chicken lentil soup—yum!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 cups water or broth

Steps

1. Soak lentils overnight. This will save you so much time when it comes to cooking them.

Soaked lentils
Trust me, I’m a doctor kind of not really.

2. Chop up the veggies.

Chopped vegetables
Roughly does it.

3. Sauté together garlic, carrots, and onion. Add whatever meats or other veggies you have on hand. 

Saute vegetables
If you give up here, you have a delicious stir fry, so you really can’t lose.

4. Add in the water and soaked lentils, and then add a tsp of salt. Keep at a low boil until the lentils and veggies are soft, about 15 minutes.

Lentil soup
This is the part where you praise cheeses for giving you the wisdom to soak lentils overnight.

Now for my favorite step: enjoy in your favorite red ramekin…

Lentil soup

with a few saltine crackers.

Lentil soup

So healthy I need a good dose of Dark Chocolate Ganache. Oh wait that’s healthy too.

*sigh*

QOTD: What’s your favorite kind of soup?

Visit Kitchen Cici on Facebook!

Crunchy Chewy Kitchen Sink Cookies

IMG_7090

Oh wow. 

These turned out way better than I had anticipated, and I couldn’t wait to share this recipe with you! 

These cookies ate the perfect balance between crunch and munch: they’re crispy and golden brown on the edges, and melty-gooey in the center. Absolutely stunning, and absolutely killer with a glass of cold milk.

But of course, a texture explosion is nothing if it isn’t accompanied by an equally amazing flavor explosion. The beauty of kitchen sink cookies is the balance of flavors: there’s that indulgent chocolate, yes, but also a light tang of cranberries, the nutty aroma of walnuts, and that warm hint of cinnamon.

And if that weren’t enough to convince you, you can also substitute in basically anything your heart desires: caramel, almonds, dried blueberries, butterscotch chips, honey, etc etc. Just throw in your entire pantry.

Make a huge batch and share (with me). And if your 5-gallon mixing bowl isn’t big enough, use your kitchen sink.

*badum-chh*

Crunchy Chewy Kitchen Sink Cookies

Ingredients:

Dry:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • dash of cinnamon

Wet:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 egg
  • dash of vanilla extract

Steps:

1. Mix together all of the dry ingredients.

IMG_7061

2. Cream together sugar and butter, then add an egg and some vanilla extract.

IMG_7063

3. Stir together wet and dry ingredients, and manhandle extensively into a thick cookie dough.

IMG_7065

4. Shape into cookies and bake at 375°F for approximately 15 minutes, until golden brown on edges and top. (Alternatively, make giant pizookies or a cookie cake or cookie bars!)

IMG_7071

Magic? There is no magic. Just my secret weapon, the kitchen sink.

IMG_7090

The ooey gooey kitchen sink.

IMG_7084

What would you put in your dream kitchen sink cookie?

Visit Kitchen Cici on Facebook!

Two-Ingredient Microwave Fudge

Picture 3

Seriously, if this isn’t the simplest fudge you have ever encountered, I don’t know how I can help you. 

This one recipe inspired me to think about starting up a new section of this blog, called Kitchen Easy. 

Get it? It rhymes and it sounds like Kitchen Cici! Oh come on, don’t be stingy with your applause.

Anyway, fudge: the characteristic aroma, the silky smoothness, and the perfect 50-50 balance of sugar and guilt. It’s one of my favorite chocolate delectables.

But see, the problem is that fudge is often overcomplicated: you’ll find various recipes calling for magical ingredients such as marshmallow creme, this thing called evaporated milk, a probably illegal dose of corn syrup, and a significant and scary amount of butter, leading you to wonder how this will affect your heart, your health, and your life, and making you wonder what other questionable choices you’ve made.

That’s a dangerous road on a slippery slope. Let’s not descend to the lair of midnight snacks and guilty pleasures.

Instead, let’s sit here with this fudge recipe in one hand and a ready spoon in the other.

Two-Ingredient Microwave Fudge

An easy fudge recipe. Super super easy. The definition of easy. Basically the easiest recipe ever. 

Ingredients:

14oz. can sweetened condensed milk
12oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts (optional)

Steps:

1. Pour all ingredients into a microwave-safe bowl.

Picture 1

2. Microwave until the chips melt, about 1 minute. Stir until smooth.

Picture 2

3. Set in fridge. After about 2 hours of solidifying, take out and cut into the geometric shape of your choice.

Alternatively, skip the last step. Save time and energy by using an acceptable eating utensil and eating the entire thing by yourself.

Picture 3

Everyone has guilty pleasures. Mine happens to involve chocolate.

Rosemary Cheese Bread

IMG_6765

Carbs are delicious. Especially when they’re in the form of an imperfectly-formed, warm loaf of bread, inside of a crinkly and obnoxious paper bag fresh from the bakery. When it’s crispy and chewy on the outside, and moist and fluffy on the inside. When the dough has been aged just the right amount, giving it that soft bread-y aroma.

Or, you know, when you roll together some dough in your home kitchen and throw in handfuls of cheese.

I’m no master baker, but I know this 8-oz. bag of golden dairy product will cover any deficiencies

Also: rosemary. Because I received a cute little jar of dried organic rosemary from my friend for Christmas, and I like to wave around the fact that I have better friends than you do.

Don’t give me that look.

Easy Rosemary Cheese Bread

If you have a loaf pan (unlike me), I HIGHLY suggest using it! This would be amazing in the form of sliced and toasted sandwich bread, because it is a little confusing when you have cheese balls that aren’t, you know, actual gooey cheese-filled balls of golden goodness.

But while this is probably not going to satisfy your late-night cravings for indulgence, all is not lost! If you’re in the mood for extra cheesy bread, go ahead and just add more cheese to the bread. What, cooking is logical sometimes. Mull that over as I sit here mourning my lack of a loaf pan by eating my emotions (aka these cheese bread balls).

Ingredients

makes 1 loaf or 9″ pan of bread balls

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • dash of rosemary

Steps

1. Mix together water and sugar. Sprinkle in yeast and let sit for 10 minutes. Then, stir in the salt, vegetable oil, and flour. Form a nice dough.

IMG_6746

2. Let it rise until doubled. Then roll out into a rectangle…

IMG_6747

…Sprinkle a generous amount of cheese on it…

IMG_6749

…Roll into a log…

IMG_6751

If you’re using a loaf pan like you should, give this log a few twists and turns and kneads to incorporate the cheese, shape it into a loaf, and place in loaf pan.

If you’re being a rebel without a loaf pan, cut into little pieces to form into balls…

IMG_6752

…And roll the balls in some more cheese, plus some rosemary for that delicious flavor boost. (If you’re using a loaf pan, sprinkle cheese and rosemary on top!)

3. Now let it sit outside for 1-2 hours. Or if you’re making this the night before like I did, just put it in the fridge; in the morning, let it sit in a warm place for about 30 minutes. Either way, it should be nice and puffy.

IMG_6757

4. Bake at 375F for 25 minutes.

IMG_6762

Can you smell that? Such a delicious blend of cheese and rosemary. 

IMG_6765

Cheese and rosemary. 

IMG_6790Beautiful outside and inside. 

Visit Kitchen Cici on Facebook!

Easy One-Step Pumpkin Cake

IMG_6659

It’s perfect timing, really. Now that Thanksgiving and the holidays are over, it’s high time to load up on some of those delicious grocery store sales.

You know: the $1 festive cake mix, the 50¢ box of candy canes. This time, though, it was the $1.24 canned pumpkin that caught my eye.

Veni vidi vici, suckers.
Veni vidi vici, suckers.

And then I wondered what exactly I could do with pumpkin.

I tried making a mousse, consisting of just pumpkin and marshmallows.

It was awful.

I tried eating it straight from the can.

It was worse.

I tried freezing it into a pumpkin ice cream.

It was actually worse than eating it straight, and I’m still absolutely confounded as to how that was possible.

So I threw some cake ingredients in a pan, stirred a little, and baked the thing.

It was… Wow.

Easy One-Step Pumpkin Cake

This cake is so moist and the flavors melt together in your mouth so smoothly. It’s deliciously sweet and wonderfully warm with the powerful pumpkin and cinnamon duo. The best part is that this cake forms a sort of crust on the outside, a dark crunchy layer of caramelized sugar and pumpkin, that gets better with every passing day. It’s simply delightful.

Ingredients:

Makes one 9″ cake

  • 1/2 7-oz. can pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Step:

Mix together wet ingredients (the first 3), then mix in the dry. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350°F.

Beautiful!

IMG_6666

What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe?

Visit Kitchen Cici on Facebook!

Scrumptious Oatmeal Carrot Muffins

Do you fear the muffin man? I used to.

But these simple little muffins changed everything.

Now, you might recall that in the Kitchen Cici episode “Seriously Amazing Blueberry Muffins,” there were quite a few careful steps. I mean, those amazing blueberry muffins took some real deep-seafood-fried cooking patience.

I have no idea what I just said.

Don’t get me wrong—I love my pretty, perfect, delicious muffins. I just don’t want to go through 11 steps of salivating torture while I’m hungry, tired, and dressed in my fuzzy farm-animal pajama pants.

For some reason bacon-and-pancake pajamas don't make the morning hunger much better
For some reason bacon-and-pancake pajamas don’t make the morning hunger much better either

So here, my friends, is a nice little muffin for those mean little mornings. One muffin tin, one lazy morning, one nation, under muffins, with muffins and muffins for all. 

Oatmeal Carrot Muffins

You can hardly taste the carrots, but they do certainly lend a delicious moistness. The brown sugar + cinnamon combo gives the muffin a lovely warm taste, and with the amount of sugar added these muffins aren’t overpowering at all. I’m not clueless enough to call these muffins “light,” but as far as cinnamon rolls go, feel free to eat all 12 of them. Haha, kidding (not really). 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cup grated carrots
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs

Steps

Preheat oven to 400°F. Yes, that’s what I said. No, I’m not mad.

Mix together dry ingredients: flour, oats, white sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, grated carrots, cinnamon. Whew. 

Beat together the eggs and milk and vegetable oil.

IMG_6395

Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients…

IMG_6398

Now pour into the muffin tin. Yo. Bake for about 15 minutes, until they’re golden brown on top and edges. 

IMG_6401

Ledicious. Sew ledicious.

IMG_6420

I’m lasivating.

My cat approves.

IMG_6406

So does the maple syrup.

IMG_6460

Are you feeling muffin-y?

Crispy Waffle Bits
Crispy Waffle Bits
Sweet & Tangy Blueberry Jam
Sweet & Tangy Blueberry Jam
No Oven Honey Roasted Almonds
No Oven Honey Roasted Almonds

Visit Kitchen Cici on Facebook!

Savory Profiteroles

IMG_6567

The perfect appetizer, the cutest little bundle of joy, a savory-delicious mid-afternoon snack.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you: a savory take on the classic chocolate-and-whipped-cream French profiteroles. These are inspired by stuffed mushrooms, but they come with a bit more novelty than their American fungus counterparts. 

These are fantastic made just for yourself on a lazy afternoon when you have Game of Thrones in one hand and need something to fill the other. But these are also suitable for any get-together: Wow your guests with your cooking prowess. Amaze your co-workers with the rich savory flavor. 

Confuse them all by telling them, “Oh, it’s just pâte à choux pastry.”

It’s okay, you don’t need to (pretend to) speak French to appreciate the taste of this. 

All you need are taste buds, which speak the Universal Language.

Savory Cream Cheese Profiteroles

Inspired by the stuffing of stuffed mushrooms, these profiteroles offer a savory dose of ground beef, a dash of flavorful veggies, deliciously sour cream cheese, and a blend of spices for that extra level of flavor. 

Ingredients

Profiterole Dough

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4.5 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 eggs
  • dash of dried parsley flakes (optional)

Filling

  • 8 oz cream cheese – neufchâtel works too
  • 1/2 lb ground beef – 85% lean works well
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp each salt, pepper, cumin
  • optional veggies: chives, green onion, mushrooms, etc. 

Steps

1. Make the profiteroles. I first posted a profiterole recipe here, but I shall valiantly repeat my steps on this page:

Bring water, butter, and salt to a boil. Remove from heat and add in flour to form a dough.

IMG_6546

Now beat in 3 eggs, one at a time. After each egg, the dough will come apart into little pieces, but if you keep beating, it will come back together. 

IMG_6547

Sprinkle a little bit of dried parsley on top. Gives it a nice savory look so you don’t confuse it with its sugary chocolatey whipped cream French profiterole cousins.

IMG_6548

Now pipette the dough onto a greased baking sheet. You can also use a spoon but I can’t guarantee you’ll feel as fabulous. 

IMG_6551

Pop it in the oven at 425°F for about 15 minutes, rotating halfway through. Not too bad, eh? 

2. While the profiteroles are in the oven, set your timer and begin making the filling…

Add some oil to a pan and cook the beef thoroughly. Now throw in everything else and sauté together all of the ingredients (except cream cheese, silly!). 

IMG_6557

You may now kiss stir in the cream cheese. Mmmph. Sneak yourself a bite. 

IMG_6560

3. The assembling is straightforward: cut open each profiterole and stuff it with the delicious mixture. I mean, what does it look like I did? Magic?

IMG_6563

 No, just savory profiteroles. 

IMG_6567

 

Well, same thing. 

Feeling zesty and savory?

Spicy Chili Meatballs
Spicy Chili Meatballs
15-Minute Pork Chops
Juicy 15-Minute Pork Chops
Super Savory Pancakes
Super Savory “Pancakes”

Visit Kitchen Cici on Facebook!

Sweet ‘n Buttery Carrots

IMG_6497

What can you do when you wake up one day and find that 6 pounds of carrots have found their way into your fridge?

Well, you could make carrot muffins, carrot cake, and carrot soup, but that will only get you so far. What you need to do is eat straight carrot. I’m sorry, there is no other way. 

But what’s wrong with carrots? They’re just not as glamorous as edamame or snap peas. Maybe it’s their bright orange color, or their eccentric shape. But let me tell you: carrots are the most underestimated inhabitants of your refrigerator. 

Ask yoda just.
Ask yoda just.

Don’t mess with the carrot. Especially when it comes with this subtle yet flavorful tinge.

Sweet ‘n Buttery Carrots

A hint of buttery taste, a hint of sweet brown sugar, delivered on a soft and delicious carrot. The best of both worlds. Ah, I bet you didn’t think carrots could be absolutely divine. 

Ingredients

  • 10 large carrots
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Steps

Chop up the carrots at a nice angle. 

I prefer 43.5°
The 43.5° angle works well for me

Now boil ’em until they’re soft. This takes shorter than you’d expect, about 8 minutes. 

Looking radiant
Looking more radiant than my face after a good chocolate chip cookie

Now toss in the butter and brown sugar. Stir around to melt them.

Oh my word…

Easy? Easy. 

Delicious? Mmmphyeshmmmph. *gulp*

IMG_6497

Delicious.

Are you in a veggie mood?

Red Wine Vinegar & Mushrooms
Red Wine Vinegar Onion & Mushrooms
Guacamole With a Twist
Guacamole With a Twist
Salt & Vinegar Potato Stir-Fry
Salt & Vinegar Potato Stir-Fry

Visit Kitchen Cici on Facebook!

10-Minute Breakfast Platter

IMG_6360

Scrumptious. Filling. Balanced.

This is the perfect breakfast if you’re looking for something warm and decent 20 minutes before you must leave the house. As much as I love Cheerios, I simply can’t eat it every day. 

Okay that’s a lie. 

But let’s not talk about my addictions. 

Quick Breakfast Platter

Ingredients

  • 2 strips bacon
  • 1 egg
  • veggies, such as mushrooms or greens (leftovers are amazing for this)

Steps

Turn the stove on Medium-High. Cook the bacon until finished; push aside to the side of the pan. Crack the egg into the pan, and use the extra bacon grease to fry the egg. Once the egg is finished, throw in any veggies or any leftover food you might have in the fridge, again using extra bacon grease to cook. (In this case, I used 2 mushrooms, a cup of leftover white rice, and soy sauce.)

What a beauty. Perfect for those crazy mornings!

IMG_6360

Are you thinking breakfast? Also check out:

Wholesome Baked Eggs
Amazing Blueberry Muffins
Amazing Blueberry Muffins
Gloriously Fluffy Oatmeal
Gloriously Fluffy Oatmeal

Visit Kitchen Cici on Facebook!

Quick Caramel Pastries

This is so decadent yet so simple, I’m literally speechless.

Which is why I’m literally still talking.

But humor me for a second and close your eyes and just imagine.

Delicious, golden-brown sweetness. Glorious, warm-and-sticky caramel. It’s like all of your sweet pastry dreams in one fantastic breakfast pastry.

Now open your eyes. Ignore the paradoxical nature of that exercise, the impossibility of closing your eyes to imagine and opening your eyes to read at the same time.

Forget all of it. Drown yourself in your sorrows, your happiness, your pain, your glories, your sticky scrumptious caramel-y breakfast.

It’s all the same thing.

Quick Caramel Pastries

Note: This is an easy whip-it-up recipe for a lazy decadent breakfast. The caramel filling is highly simplified because I didn’t want to mess with cream or anything fancy; it will dry up and crumble when cooled. No worries though—just pop it in the microwave to make it all gooey and caramel-y again!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 tbsp butter or margarine, cut into small chunks
  • dash of salt
  • 2-3 tbsp water

For the filling:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Steps:

1. In a bowl, mix together flour, butter, and salt.

IMG_6238
Don’t be tempted to eat this, however tempting it may be

Add enough water to make it into a dough.

Nice and cohesive, just like all of my college classes sometimes maybe not haha funny
Nice and cohesive, just like all of my college classes sometimes maybe not haha what

2. Turn out the dough and roll into a rectangle. 

IMG_6241
Look at that butter spot in the top right. It’s like a sunspot but delicious-er
IMG_6243
Fold the rectangle into thirds, turn, and roll flat again.

 Store in fridge for 15 minutes. I like to prepare the dough the night before and stick it in the fridge overnight.

4. Melt butter and brown sugar on stovetop, Medium-High heat, until it reaches a thick caramel consistency (about 3 minutes).

Don't lick or your tongue live to will regret it
Sweet like honey, hot like lava

5. Cut dough into squares and fill each with caramel.

IMG_6246
“Square” is a descriptive approximation
IMG_6248
Fold over into cute little triangles

6. Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes, until the caramel oozes and goozes.

IMG_6256

Can you see the delicious goldenness? Perhaps this is better:

IMG_6257Yesss.

%d bloggers like this: