Cookies and Cream Popsicles

To make these popsicles, I used the Zoku Quick Pop Maker. This is my second attempt at this recipe. My first attempt failed horribly. The original recipe for this comes from Zoku’s Quick Pop Recipe Book by Jackie Zorovich and Kristina Sacci. I changed some of the directions based on my last experience trying to make these. I made 2 popsicles here however the recipe below is to make 6 popsicles.

Ingredients

3 chocolate sandwich cookies
1/4 cup crumbled chocolate cookies
8 oz sugar-free vanilla pudding (2 individual serving cups)
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract

First make the vanilla base by mixing the vanilla pudding, water, sugar and vanilla extract. After the vanilla pudding and sugar have become smooth in consistency, place in the refrigerator.

Split the 3 chocolate sandwich cookies in half, scrap off the creme in the center with a butter knife, and crumble them into chunky pieces. Reserve.

Split more chocolate sandwich cookies in half, scrap off the creme in the center, and smash them into finer pieces in a bowl. I used the bunt ends of chopsticks to do this and smashed them in a measuring cup.

Now it’s time to use the reserved larger cookie pieces. Take out the Zoku Quick Pop Maker from the freezer. Dip the decorative side of a cookie piece in the vanilla base.

Pat dry with a paper towel.

Use your finger (I also used chopsticks when my fingers couldn’t reach) to apply the dipped cookie to the wall of the pop maker mold. Repeat with remaining cookie pieces.

Mix the crumbled chocolate cookies with the vanilla mix. Transfer the vanilla mix to the measuring cup.

Pour mix into pop maker mold a little short of the fill line.

Insert popsicle stick after.

Normally you are supposed to insert the stick before pouring the popsicle mix, however this is what screwed me last time. The spacing of the mold is narrow and it’s hard to pour with the stick in the way. It didn’t fill the mold well either and left a lot of gaps in between the larger cookie pieces and the popsicle stick. No bueno. Doing this step in reverse produced better results.

Place Zoku Quick Pop Maker in the freezer. I do this to get the pops to freeze better and faster.

I left the pops in the freeze for a while, about 20 minutes. The mix is thicker so I wanted to make sure they would freeze.

Take out the Zoku Quick Pop Maker from the freezer.

Use the Supper Tool to extract your pops.

These pops were really good! Not too sweet either. Next time I would put more larger cookie pieces against the wall of the pop mold to make it look prettier. Otherwise, these were great!

Stir-Fried Pork and Rice Cakes

After eating with some classmates at Din Tai Fung in Arcadia, I became mildly obsessed with wanting to make rice cakes. This recipe comes from Serious Eats and of course, I modified it a bit to reduce sodium content. I also added snow peas because I love them.

Ingredients

2 ounces greens for stir-frying, such as bok choy, napa cabbage, and snow peas
6 ounces pork shoulder, cut into 1/4 inch slices
For marinating the meat:
1 tablespoon cooking rice wine
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 teapoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 cups rice cakes (about 10 ounces)
To flavor rice cakes:
1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
To garnish rice cakes:
1/4 teaspoon roasted and ground black or sichuan peppercorns
Green onion, finely chopped

Marinade the pork. Put pork in bowl and add rice wine, cornstarch, soy sauce, white pepper, and salt.

Heat wok (I don’t have a wok so I used a non-stick medium size pan) over high heat. Swirl in 1/8 cup of oil and add vegetables. Stir-fry until stalks are tender but still crisp, 1-3 minutes.

Remove from heat and set aside. I put the veggies on a plate and stored in the microwave to keep it warm.

Heat wok over high heat. Swirl in 2 tablespoons of oil. Add garlic and stir-fry until garlic is golden brown, about 10 seconds.

Add pork mixture and stir-fry until pork is lightly browned. Remove pork from wok and set aside. I put the pork on the same plate as the veggies and stored back in the microwave.

Add rice cakes to wok. Add broth and cook uncovered 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add oyster sauce and pepper. Stir constantly to prevent rice cakes from sticking too much. Cook until rice cakes are soft but still chewy, about 1 minute.

Add vegetables and pork back to wok and stir to mix evenly.

Serve immediately, garnishing with green onions.

I totally loved this! It was a bit of a hassle to get all the ingredients together–I went to 3 different stores to get everything needed. However, it was worth it. I loved the taste of the sichuan pepper and the white pepper in this. Will make again!

Fancy Finger Sandwiches

This is my hands down, all time favorite hors d’oeuvre to make for parties. Why, you ask? Consider the following reasons: 1) easy to make; 2) they taste amazing; 3) they look fancy; and 4) everyone will think you are the ish for making these pretty sandwiches. Really, I speak from personal experience.

I found the recipe for this off of Food Network’s website years ago. I made very little changes to it since.

Ingredients

1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
8 slices wheat bread 
extra-virgin olive oil
1 large or 2 small green apples
4 to 6 ounces Gouda cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 bunch watercress
8 thin slices prosciutto 

Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees F. Start slicing the red onion.

Bring water, vinegar and brown sugar to a boil. Add the onions and remove from the heat. Cover, and set aside until the onions come to room temperature.

Trim the crusts off the bread and cut the bread into halves, for 2 rectangles per piece.

Lightly brush one side of the bread pieces with olive oil and lay out on a baking sheet. For easy clean up, I put a sheet of aluminum foil down on the baking sheet.

Toast in the oven until just crisp and lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Set out to cool.

To assemble: Thinly slice the apple, thinly slice the cheese into triangles or shards that will fit nicely on the bread.

Smear Dijon mustard on the bread. Place a piece of apple, cheese and 1 or 2 sprigs of watercress on each piece of toasted bread. Wrap a small piece of prosciutto around each stack to make a neat package. Top with a little bit of the pickled onions.

And lastly, serve!


Emeril’s Macaroni Salad-Modified

I found Emeril’s Macaroni Salad on Martha Stewart’s website. (Love her.) Read over it and sounded pretty good except for a few things. I don’t like tomatoes and I’m not a big fan of capers or parsley in a pasta salad so I decided to do my own take on this.

Ingredients

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto cut into strips
1 small shallot minced
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sun dried tomatos, sliced
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (2 ounces)
1/2 cup sliced black olives

I followed the rest of the recipe as it was.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni until al dente. In a small skillet, cook prosciutto over medium until crisp. Before cooking the prosciutto, I cut off the white fat off the slices.


Combine shallot, vinegar, and mustard in a large bowl; whisk in oil in a slow, steady stream.

Add sun-dried tomato, cheese, prosciutto, and olives.

Drain pasta; add to bowl with tomato mixture, and toss. Season with salt and pepper.

Cool to room temperature, and serve.

Well, this was ok. I intend on eating the rest of this but I can’t say that it was great or one of the best things I have made. I can’t rave about it to be honest. If you are considering making this, I would recommend to double up on the olives, tomatoes, and prosciutto. Tossing this recipe unfortunately. 

Poor Chick’s Pho

A while back, I read an article on Serious Eats on Ramen Hacks. The first hack they showed was for Faux Pho. Looked very good and easy to make so I thought I would give it a try.

So today I give you Poor Chick’s Pho.

Ingredients

1 Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup Chicken Flavor
2 cups of water
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tbsp sugar
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Fixings: Thinly sliced beef, sprouts, cilantro, and sriracha

I boiled 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Once the water was brought to a boil, I added the ramen noodles. I broke up the noodles a bit in the bag before adding them in.

After that I added the sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, and 1/2 of the seasoning packet that came with the ramen.

I allowed this to cook for a few minutes until the noodles became soft.

Meanwhile, I brought out my fixings. I placed the thin strips of beef at the bottom of my serving bowl as shown.

When the noodles were ready and the broth was still hot, I poured it into the bowl and stirred a little to get the beef to cook.

It took a few minutes to get the beef to cook.

After that, I added my fixings and top.

Didn’t forget the sriracha!

This was the second time that I made this. I really liked it. Was it just like pho? Not at all. Will it quench the need for a pho fix. No. However it was a good hot soup that was pho-like, kind of. Also, it was cheap to make and it didn’t take much time to make it either. I would make this again on a cold day.