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Archive for the ‘Baking’ Category

2013-07-13 21.29.43

…When the dog bites, when the bee stings….who hasn’t had days like that?  Days when you just need a little something to eat, something that soothes you, and makes you feel happy inside and out, and that makes you forget whatever troubles, worries or bad things you have gone or are still going through.

My Martial Arts teacher, Dr. Tae Yun Kim, has this to say about those times:

“Rejoice in the lesson of pain and hurt, it gives you strength, it gives you freedom!”

And why not have some food to help with the rejoicing?

Strangely enough, in the winter, this can be a nice bowl of home-made chicken soup.  But in the hot summer, what to do?  Real comfort food, when I myself need comfort, needs to be fast, easy and have that taste that spells home-made, and makes you feel the world is ok.

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When nobody is around, I like to resort to a mug cake, or mug cookie or mug anything – they are so quick and easy and one-portion goodness.  But when family is around, I like to make something that everyone can enjoy.

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So, I make some concessions.  While I could easily make Shirley’s perfect pound cake over and over (and over and over) again – it is that good – I realize that this will not work for everyone.  But, I just discovered her Blueberry Banana Buckle (recipe here) and it surely hit the spot.  It’s summer comfort food to the max.  Check it out!

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This time, I did something new:  didn’t add anything, didn’t change anything – but I left out the topping!  My recently cast-less foot was starting to hurt and so I just figured this cake will be just as good without – and it was!

Enterprising family members informed me that it was the perfect “underneath” for ice cream as well 😉

And because I just love this part of one of Dr. Tae Yun Kim‘s motivational books, I thought I would share it with you:

“You are complete, peaceful, and fulfilled.

Being complete does not mean we have nothing more to learn, do, be, or become.  Being complete means we have the potential to accomplish anything that is naturally a part of the universe.” (The First Element, page 88)

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2013-06-22 12.36

Today, I decided to take charge and get back into the kitchen.  After all, I had just read what Dr. Tae Yun Kim has to say about taking charge:

“Who are you?  Waiting quietly within you is a Presence, a Force, a state of Consciousness that gives you power to overcome mental and physical limitations in your life power to harmonize and change discordant situations, power to create and to achieve goals, power to experience peace and joy regardless of the circumstances around you – power to be who you really are.” (Seven Steps to Inner Power, page 3)

All right – armed with these positive feelings, I made my way into the kitchen.  I wanted to make something easy, yet very comforting.  I found the perfect recipe for that here: http://glutenfreeeasily.com/gluten-free-mug-pancake/

I absolutely love the idea of mug muffins, mug cakes, mug anything.

I wanted to experience that joy mentioned above, and so I set to work.  As I was assembling the ingredients, I saw some lonely black berries in the refrigerator, and right away I had an idea.  What if I made that mug pancake with its own sauce/syrup in the mug?  Hmmmmmm.  I heard Dr. Tae Yun Kim’s voice in my head ” how are you going to find out unless you try?  What do you have to lose?

I put some maple syrup on the bottom of the mug, and added some black berries, and microwaved that for a little less than 2 minutes.

I mixed the rest of the ingredients (substituting coconut oil for the butter) in a separate bowl

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and poured it over the “sauce” in the mug/ramekin.

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I cooked it according to the directions, and the most delicious pancake with built-in syrup was ready!

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The flowers, by the way, are a gift from Shirley, the originator of this recipe, and a dear friend. After 10 days, they continue to provide great enjoyment!

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2013-01-17 19.51.10

I found this on the counter one night when I came home from work.

No, this isn’t an evil sign.  Someone very creative was asking for some carrot cake!

Dr.  Tae Yun Kim, my Martial Arts teacher, is fully embracing an all organic and gluten-free life style, and as a result I have been cleaning up my diet as well.

There are countless carrot cake recipes out there, but good gluten-free ones are hard to find.  I found a great recommendation on Shirley’s blog, http://allglutenfreedesserts.com/dreamy-carrot-cake-gluten-free-spinner/

If you want to make a really really good carrot cake, follow the recipe.  It is the best I ever made.

All went well.

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had the eggs ready…

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Mixed all the dry ingredients together

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mixed the wet ingredients together

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and put it all together.

Then, after it looked like this

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I baked it until it looked like this

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So far so good!

But then, when I cut the cake into two layers – disaster struck!

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The top layer crumbled all to pieces!  O no!

After taste testing some of the stray crumbs, I realized that yes, this was indeed a most outstanding carrot cake.  But what to do now?

Well, I thought about a quote from Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim:

“People and events can shape someone for good or bad.  But you alone have power over these things, more power than you realize.  It does not matter how bad circumstances may seem.  What I discovered was that how I dealt with circumstances was much more important than the circumstances themselves.” (Seven Steps to Inner Power, p xxi)

So, next step – I made the frosting.  Except instead of all that sugar, I used orange blossom honey.  I carefully used it as glue and it worked for holding it all together.

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But it sure didn’t look good!

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This didn’t help much either!

But then….I had some fruit in the fridge, and this happened:

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End result: the best carrot cake indeed!

HE CAN DO, SHE CAN DO, WHY NOT ME!

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Did I mention that my Martial Arts teacher, Dr. Tae Yun Kim, is very cool?  Although she teaches very traditional Martial Arts, she always lives in the here, and now, and encourages me to try out new things!

“Making changes helps set you free by opening up many more alternatives and options for you.  A person who knows just one way of doing something, just one way of being, is not as free as the person who can choose from many options.” (The Silent Master, page 142)

So, I tried out this new cooking device, which I had seen in Dr. Tae Yun Kim‘s kitchen.

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isn’t it a beauty?

Here is what the claims are:

  • This machine completely reinvents how we cook! It uses special, Tri-Cooking Technology high-tech lamps to cook from the inside out while searing food and sealing in the juices!
  • It can even cook frozen food straight from the freezer! No defrosting or preheating needed!
  • Uses a combination of halogen, convection, and infrared heating to deliver nutrient rich, flavor packed food without the use of added fats or oils.
  • Or you can try healthier options like broiling, grilling and steaming – All using the SAME appliance!
  • Super Wave Oven is the healthy way to bake, barbecue, roast & even fry!
  • Plus it’s self-cleaning, so clean up is a breeze!
  • It cooks up to 3 times faster than a traditional oven, while using up to 80% less energy!

I found that most of the claims held true, but cooking straight from the freezer – I do not recommend it!  At all!  I tried it with a perfectly good steak, and it did not turn out well – was more like shoe leather!

Also, the claim of not using any fat isn’t entirely true.  For example, for the “fatless French fries” you really need to coat the potatoes in some oil – I use olive oil in spray form – they will come out perfect, but without the oil, they are dried out and not very tasty.

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I roasted a whole, 15 lb turkey according to the directions in the booklet that came with the oven, and it turned out perfectly cooked, beautiful, tasty and juicy.  Not a hint of dryness, not even in the breast!

I have also roasted a whole chicken, and chicken parts, and have made French fries – and everything turned out beautiful.

And while it only takes 3 hours to roast a 15 lb unstuffed turkey – be aware that you will need to turn the bird every 30 minutes.

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But as you can see – well worth it!

As far as cost for the oven goes – I have seen it as low as $ 79 on Amazon.com, and up to $ 100 on various internet sites.

My summary: If you don’t want to fire up an oven for a long time, especially in the hot summer months, and if you want to spend less time in the kitchen, and want to cook with less fat, this might be the tool for you.

For a busy Jung Suwon warrior, this could be a great time saver!

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This blog entry was meant for Valentine’s Day, but somehow, its spring time now but this is still a most wonderful creation.

Like so many things in our modern life, this started out with an innocent sounding phone call from a dear friend who also trains under Dr. Tae Yun Kim.  She herself doesn’t cook much, but loves desserts.

Here you can see my friend Holly on the rare occasions she ventures into the kitchen:

Holly in the kitchen copy

So, one day she calls, telling me she has received an extraordinary amount of homemade caramels and she couldn’t possibly eat them all – would I be able to come up with some dessert that combines the caramel and chocolate?  And with a dreamy voice she continued – and maybe you could put all that onto some cookie base…..”

I thought this was a perfect opportunity to put into practice – at least with food – one of  Dr. Tae Yun Kim ’s teachings – unity!  At Jung Suwon, we learn that in order to be effective, we cannot just use a finger, because each finger individually, is weak, but put together into a fist – what a powerful weapon!  Also, unity is important for our whole being – body, mind, spirit as one!

Aha!

And rather than comparing items, this time, I was going to join them!

So, this is what happened:

I made a batch of Brittany’s fabulous pie dough (and yes, it IS fabulous).  It is very easy to work with and tastes very wonderful and rich and just awesome!

I patted it into a pan,

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sprinkled walnuts on top:

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I liberally put on the caramels and melted them just enough to spread them:

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Then!

Then I made a batch of Shirley’s flourless chocolate cake and put that on top and put it in the oven for some final magic.  This chocolate layer is amazing.  It is everything you want chocolate to be.  It’s great by itself, and it’s beyond wonderful in this dessert.

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See the caramel bubbling up?

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Looked a bit messy right out of the oven, but after being dressed up a little…

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And here a closeup of all the incredible textures…

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The outcome?

A most delightful, delicious, out of this world rich creation that is best shared with lots of people lest you get tempted and eat it all!

See?  This is what unity is all about!   😉

HE CAN DO, SHE CAN DO, WHY NOT ME!

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2013-01-16 19.34.56

Notice that I said, “I” ever made!

It actually started out with something I bought, and I didn’t like it.  I bought this: http://www.glutino.com/our-products/bakery/breads/premium-flax-seed-bread/ Now, I am not dissing Glutino or their bread at all.  I am just saying, this particular product wasn’t a success in my house – as it arrived, I need to add.  I mean, what do you do with something that tastes like glued together sawdust?  (Again, nothing against Glutino and their bread, perhaps the one loaf I bought was sitting too long in the store or something)

Whenever I have food in front of me that is perfectly ok, just really doesn’t taste good, I cannot get myself to throw it away.  A true story always comes to mind – the one about Dr. Tae Yun Kim’s childhood.  During the Korean war, when food was scarce, she was starving a lot – she was a girl!  A firstborn at that, and in that culture, at that time, girls were simply considered extra mouths to feed, and many, like her, were abandoned.  She was only five years old!

I looked at that bread and thought how this would have been such a treasure to her, a starving, abandoned 5-year old!  I realized I had to make something special.

Use your creativity!  Is something that little girl, who grew up to, against all odds, become a Great Grandmaster in Tae Kwon Do, always encourages me to do.  “Follow your heart!” she says.

So, with that in mind, I started out making breadcrumbs, leaving them a bit chunky, more like panko.  Rustic, perhaps is the right word.

Next, I pre-boiled assorted chicken parts.  I had legs and thighs in my fridge, but you can use whatever you like.  This pre-boiling is a trick that same little girl, now Dr. Tae Yun Kim, has taught me – bring water to boiling, add Kosher salt and crushed garlic and put in the chicken parts – bring it back to boiling and boil just a few minutes, then drain.  It should not be cooked through.  This boiling draws out “junk”, or additives in the meat, and at the same time, also seals the meat.

Since I have to watch cholesterol, I took the chicken skin off and then rolled the parts in gluten-free flour mix.  Next, I dunked them in eggs that I had mixed up, and then – then the magic happened!

I had put the bread crumbs on a big plate, and mixed them with salt, black pepper, and poultry seasoning.  I used this one:

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I covered the chicken parts with the seasoned bread crumbs, and then arranged them neatly in a glass baking dish which I had prepared by putting some olive oil on the bottom, just a little bit only.  Once the chicken was in the pan, I drizzled a little more olive oil on top, and put the whole thing into a pre-heated to 350 degree oven.

After 30 minutes the fragrance wafting through the house was amazing!  I am not entirely sure what cooking/baking time to tell you – I would do between 30 and 45 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken pieces.

Then, get ready to be blown away by some seriously good chicken!

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2013-01-08 21.59.43

So, you would think that right after Christmas I wouldn’t want to bake any more cookies.  However, since simply didn’t have time for cookies during Christmas, I really wanted to catch up on the unbaked cookies, waiting to happen.

Besides, Dr. Tae Yun Kim, just recently returned from 2 months in Korea, always emphasizes that we determine when there is a season – let the season serve you, don’t become a slave to it.  Just because Christmas is usually December 25th – if your circumstances prevent you from celebrating on that date, why not do it another day?  Isn’t that the very message of Christmas?

Bowl is ready...well, sort of

Bowl is ready…well, sort of

So, here I was, looking at 2 recipes for chocolate chip cookies, undecided which one to bake, when a bunch of Jung Suwon demo team members stormed into the kitchen.  “What are you gonna bake?” they wanted to know.  When I told them I hadn’t made up my mind yet as to which of the recipes, they gleefully told me that I should do both, with their help.  We could do a very scientific comparison as to which recipe would produce the best cookies!

How could I say no to these budding scientists!  So, we went to work, busily measuring, mixing, shaping and baking cookies.

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Here are the two recipes we used:

Shirley’s gluten free brown sugar chocolate chip cookies

and

Worlds Best Chocolate Chunk Cookies – unfortunately the website for this recipe doesn’t exist anymore, so use whatever recipe you feel like comparing 😉

The first taste test, starting with testing the cookie dough (science is all about being thorough, right?) proved that both recipes had superior tasting dough and we had to cut short this test in order to have enough left for the baked version.

Then the real test started.  I couldn’t believe some of the vocabulary I heard from these kids, that normally don’t have such refined and amazing words!  I heard “ethereal”, “light as a feather”, “melt in your mouth” and a lot more of those kinds of expressions.  When asked which of the cookies produced what reaction, I felt a certain resistance.

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I was informed that after just one test, you couldn’t really tell, right?  So on they went, to round two of the very scientific test, munching down another set of cookies.  After a lot of head tilting and squinting and looking like they were deeply thinking, they announced another round of testing was necessary for statistical reasons.

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And so it went.  After they couldn’t possibly eat any more cookies, and with a mischievous look on all their faces, it was decided that another batch of each was needed to make sure the quality is consistent and that the goodness wasn’t just a fluke.  😉

Ok, and as for my opinion?  Well, I am not being politically correct here, I am just saying as it is:  each of those recipes makes a most outstanding cookie, and it just depends what you are looking for.  If you want something nostalgic that reminds you of afterschool cookies and milk, or when you just plain in need of something comforting, my vote goes to Shirley’s cookies.

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If you look for something airy and ethereal, and melt in your mouth quality, then Brittany’s cookies are your choice.

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So, there you have it, from the experts.

And here is a word from a more universal expert, my Martial Arts teacher Dr. Tae Yun Kim:

“Each person, each being, has their own beauty.  A daisy is just as beautiful as a rose, but it is very different.  It should never try to be like a rose, but be the best daisy it can be.  And a dolphin will never be able to fly like an eagle, and neither should the eagle try to swim like the dolphin.  Each has their own unique beauty and place in this world, and each needs to fill their very special place in this Universe.”

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2012-12-19 13.39.24

Since Dr. Tae Yun Kim, my Martial Arts Grandmaster and Mentor, will be celebrating Christmas in Korea, her home country, this year, I really wanted to send some healthy cookies that also hold up well during their long trip.  Not only do they have to be sturdy enough to not disintegrate, but they also cannot spoil along the way.

What to do?

I saw this recipe, and this inspired these absolutely marvelous, incredible, irresistible cookies:

http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/2012/12/red-velvet-peppermint-blossom-cookies/

Pretty, huh?

So, first order of business, I had to convert them to gluten-free and that seemed pretty simple.  Just take a gluten-free cake mix.  Although – be careful with that, not all gluten-free cake mixes are created equal and you have to do your homework to make sure you get one that is actually certified gluten-free.  I happened to have a Betty Crocker mix at home, and just used that.

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But then I wanted to make double amount, and I only had one gluten-free cake mix.  I didn’t have time to go to the store – they cookies had to go out that day – and so I measured the amount of mix in the bag.  Instead of another cake mix, I used half almond flour and half Pamela’s baking mix and doubled the rest of the ingredients.

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In addition, I added about 3/4 finely chopped walnuts, and about 1/8 cup maple syrup.

And the rest I just followed along the original recipe, times 2.

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They tasted wonderful, nice, tender, yet very “cookie.”  You know, comfort food cookie.  And from what I heard, they survived the journey beautifully!  So, give it a try and see if you like it!

And because I happened to read and really like this one today, I thought I would share with you:

“Doesn’t a flower bloom just by being true to its own nature?  What if it tried to be a potato for some reason?  Wouldn’t this be a senseless waste of energy?  It takes far less effort to be your original self and far more energy to fight against your true reality!” (The First Element, by Dr. Tae Yun Kim.)

I hope you all had a most beautiful Christmas, and I wish you all the best in 2013!

2012-12-19 13.39.24

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Yesterday, September 30th, was Chu Seok this year, the Korean Harvest Festival.  This is a very important celebration in Korea, and since I have been training under Dr. Tae Yun Kim for many years, I have come to love this festival.  It is all about giving thanks for the new crops, new harvest, and it’s about gratitude to family and friends, and of course, sharing fresh foods of all kinds is vital.  Think of it as a Korean Thanksgiving.

Dr. Tae Yun Kim explained to us that according to tradition, you must cook freshly harvested rice, make rice cakes, and serve fresh fruits of all sorts, grapes, pears, apples and Korean dates head that list.  Also fresh pumpkin and pumpkin soup, sweet potatoes, new potatoes, and corn are very typical.

I wanted to present Dr. Kim with something that included a good amount of the traditional foods, and yet also have meaning for Jung Suwon warriors.  I didn’t just want to make a good tasting cake, although I knew it must be that too, but I wanted to go beyond that.

So I started out with a double recipe of Shirley cake, uhm make that, “Perfect Pound Cake“, just click on it and it’ll get you to the recipe.  (we call it Shirley cake in honor of its creator and because we make it so much.)

The batter is perfect.  You can make it just as it states in the recipe, or you can put “stuff” in it.  Which I like to do a lot.  My first “alteration” was to add some cinnamon.

So, I was peeling and chopping a couple handfuls of boiled chestnuts – about a 3/4 cup total, and peeling and chopping baked Korean style sweet potatoes – also around 3/4 cups total, chopping up walnuts – half a cup, and one and a half chopped fresh white peaches (humongous ones.) I gently folded all these into the batter.

I was thinking, chestnuts are hidden away under a very prickly outside shell, if you just look at it, you wouldn’t know what a treasure is inside.  The same with walnuts – there is a tough covering on the outside, which turns nasty when ripe, and then there is a very hard shell – and then you get to the sweet and tasty nut – who would ever know that by just looking at them?

And again, sweet potatoes grow underground, and by just looking, you might never know what’s underneath – unless of course, as with all these things – you know what to look for.

And that is exactly how Dr. Kim helps people.  She knows what is deep inside them, no matter how they look, how they behave, and no matter what they think of themselves.  Like a farmer knows how to bring the best out of the ground, as crops, so Dr. Kim knows how to bring out the best in people.

Happy ChuSeok!

HE CAN DO, SHE CAN DO, WHY NOT ME!

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I was going to blog about the great, delicious crab-mushroom cakes I made the other day, but then this happened.  My good friend Shirley from Gluten free easily talked about her banana Kaluha coconut cake, complete with picture and everything.

Well, I felt this incredible pull tugging on me and sure enough before I knew it I was back in the kitchen.  I had to smile to myself. Dr. Tae Yun Kim always reminds us that we need to be flexible, and not just physically.  When your environment changes, when the situation changes,Dr. Tae Yun Kim says, we have to change according to the situation.

Dr. Dr. Tae Yun Kim illustrated this with a story: one of her students had planned a cruise to the Bahamas for a long time, and was all packed and ready and beyond excited.  However, the day she was about to travel to the port of departure, a hurricane was forming and there were already travel warnings going out.  Rather than cancel, she still went ahead, because she had already paid for the cruise and didn’t want to just cancel.  Within a day or two of the cruise, the hurricane manifested in all it’s nastiness, and not only did the travelers have to get off the ship in a hurry, they were also stuck for almost a week at a hurricane stricken island, with minimal food, water and worries about the storm.  Not an ideal vacation!

While granted, my situation wasn’t nearly that drastic, I still didn’t mind changing direction, and went ahead to make this delicious looking cake.  I mean, it was a good excuse to make that cake, right?

Fresh out of the oven…..

Here is the original recipe, go check it out!

I could already taste the cake, while I was mixing the ingredients together.  What aroma!  What smooth batter!  I did make a minor change  – I used double the amount, so I could bake it in my bundt pan, and I substituted – for the double recipe – 2 cups almond flour, and for the rest used Shirley’s gluten-free flour mix.

When I reached for the coconut, to add that to the batter, I couldn’t believe it.  None there!  Impossible!  I knew I had 3 bags!  Someone, who for the sake of peace in the household will remain unnamed, had thrown it out because “a mouse had gotten into each bag.”  Hmmmmm.

Once again I thought if a very fitting quote from Dr. Kim – don’t carve in your emotions – instead, let them flow away like water, and get rid of all negative feelings!

Ok, but what to put in the batter instead?  In checking out the pantry, I saw a nice jar of Nutella sitting there, and without much thought started to spoon in gobs of Nutella into the batter, which now looked a little too thin, and I added another 3/4 cup or so of almond flour.  and about one cup of Nutella total.

I put that into the bundt pan and baked this experiment at 350 for about 45 – 50 minutes.

The result was out of this world!  As in, so good it was unbelievable.

And this brought back to mind another gem ofv Dr. Tae Yun Kim’s sayings (quote from “The Silent Master”)

“Clinging to a good picture you have created possibly keeps you from expanding into an even greater good.  Clinging to a disagreeable picture keeps you there!  So, don’t hold on to either as though it is the final story.  You don’t hate, resent, fight, or quarrel with an undesirable situation, and you don’t overly love or cling to a desirable situation.  Detachment means you are always ready, open, and willing to experience change.  That is how you develop.”

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