Friday, September 23, 2011

Coconut Milk Kanten (agar agar)

Kanten is one of those great desserts I often had in my childhood. Most people know it as agar agar: a red seaweed based powder that's full of fiber and really great for you. My grandmother would make it as a jello replacement and though I didn't like it back then, I love it now even more than jello. The texture is more firm and it does't wiggle and jiggle in those silly jello cubes. 

This one is a coconut milk kanten recipe I found. My grandmother never made the recipe this way (she normally made it with tea) but I think I like this coconut milk recipe best. It's rich, refreshing and only slightly sweet. It has just the right amounts of everything and a little will go quite a long way. You can color it with food coloring if desired or leave it white. Either way, it tastes fantastic and is a great way to introduce protein and fiber into your diet in the form of a gelatin dessert.

Coconut Milk Kanten

  • 2 tbsp agar agar powder
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 800 ml water
  • 200 g sugar
  • pinch of salt
  1. Simmer agar agar, water, sugar and salt in a pot until sugar and agar are dissolved
  2. Remove half a cup and color it a desired color. Pain the inside of cute silicone ice cube trays the desired color. Let set slightly
  3. Mix coconut milk with he remaining agar mixture and pour into molds.
  4. Let set completely in the refrigerator before serving

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Snap and Baked & Wired -- A Double Restaurant Review

1062 Thomas Jefferson Street NW
Washington DC 20007

I found myself in Georgetown for lunch one afternoon and debated between a coffee shop I'd been to one before (described later) and a small hole in the wall restaurant next door. The line at the coffee house was much too long so I opted for the little green cafe next door. It had some rickety chairs in front and a sandwich board sign that proclaimed they had crepes, sandwiches, bubble tea and a back patio.

I tried the vegetarian Mediterranean plate as I did not feel like a crepe or a sandwich. The bubble tea seemed extremely overpriced for the quality (about $4 for a single drink). The service was very friendly and the food came out promptly, but the quality was mediocre at best. The pita was warm (the most enjoyable part) and the dolmas were good, but the parsley was not chopped fine enough in the tabouleh salad and the hummus was a little too salty. 

It was nice enough and I'm sure the crepes are great, but the entire establishment just felt a little dirty. The exterior patio was unkempt with uneven tables, and the interior was poorly lit. The entire establishment just felt run down and old. It was not a place I would go again.

Vegetarian plate from Snap

Baked & Wired
1052 Thomas Jefferson Street NW
Washington DC 20007

I'd gone to Baked and Wired before for lunch  the past. The first time I had a cappuccino and a mixed summer vegetable quiche. The cappuccino was strong and acidic with heavy fruit notes. The quiche was really rich, flakey and cooked just the right amount. There were a decent amount of vegetables but it could have used more. I was happy with Baked & Wired that day. I was happy with the food and happy with the ambiance that had this slightly unfinished appearance. It had an "under construction" feel to it with an ever changing music selection and a staff with a slightly "hipster-er than thou" attitude that fit my mood that day. No matter how much I liked it, however, I knew I would not be able to make a judgement about the place until I had tried their beautiful looking cupcakes.

Cappuccino and quiche from Baked and Wired

The second time I tried to go there, I ended up at Snap instead. Every table was full, the line was horrendously long and the service was not what I remembered it (or perhaps it was exactly how I remembered it, but I was not in the mood for it today). I ordered a cupcake called "Peachy Keen" which was a peach cupcake with peach almond frosting. They looked beautiful and I was excited by the prospect until I ate the cake.

The cake itself was dense. It had pieces of real peaches in it, but it was not a lightly, delicate genoise. It was a little chewy and a little spongy, but overall a cake I enjoyed. However, the frosting was terribly sweet and grainy. The flavor went with the cake, but would have been better with less frosting or a marzipan instead of an almond flavored buttercream.

In general, I liked most of the things at Baked & Wired, but I didn't love anything about it. And for this to be my ideal coffee shop in the future, it would have to be a place I loved, not just a place I liked.

Peachy Keen cupcake from Baked and Wired

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cilantro Scallion Rolls

I love cilantro. Some people may find it offensive, because of its pungent flavor and aroma, but I find it good in salads, soups, and just about everything.

I had a bunch of leftover cilantro after thai food night and found this recipe on First Look Then Cook. The recipe itself was easy, buttery and fatty. The texture of the bread was less like bread and more like Pillsbury crescent rolls. It's not a bad thing, but I was hoping for something more distinctly bread like out of this texture.

If you're looking for a more interesting, nutty, vaguely onion flavored replacement to those traditional Grands biscuits, then this is a perfect recipe (even good for those not skilled a bread making). However, if you wanted a bread, I suggest you look elsewhere. At least now I know what to expect out of this recipe in the future.

This post has been submitted to Yeastspotting

Cilantro Scallion Buns


  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 ¼ cup coarsely chopped scallions
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ⅓ cup sesame seeds
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil plus more for brushing


  1. Combine yeast, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar and ½ cup warm water in small bowl to proof for 10 minutes
  2. Combine remaining salt, sugar, butter and flour. 
  3. Cut butter into the flour until it is crumbly.
  4. Mix in eggs and yeast mixture.
  5. Knead dough until light soft and smooth. 
  6. Let rise in oiled bowl for 1 hour or until doubled in size
  7. While dough is rising, chop cilantro, scallions and oil in food processor until it forms a past.
  8. Add sesame seeds and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  9. Pat dough out into a 16x9 inch rectangle.
  10. Spread scallion paste across the entire dough and roll, dough into a log
  11. Slice dough into 1 inch rounds, placing them on a baking sheet.
  12.  Brush with a little extra olive oil and bake for half an hour until golden brown

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Georgetown Cupcakes - A Restaurant Review

Georgetown Cupcakes
3301 M Street NW
Washington, DC 20007

Since moving to DC 3 weeks ago, I've been trying to find a place that felt like home and that I could truly appreciate. To feel like home, I've needed my bakery (pastries as well as bread), my coffee shop, my used bookstore and my Vietnamese restaurant. I've been to Georgetown cupcakes in the past and I have great memories of the chocolate based cupcake, the red velvet and the cinnamon cupcakes. I remember the frosting was light and not cloyingly sweet. The cake had a tender crumb and the chocolate was rich without being too sweet.

This time, I tried the Key Lime cupcake topped with a key lime frosting and lime gummi candy.  (It's a little strange looking because it was a hot day, and it was 20 minutes before I could take the picture) The frosting was sweeter than a would have liked, but that's probably just because I wanted my key lime cupcake to be tart like a key lime pie.

I still like Georgetown cupcake despite the 20 minute line wrapping out the door on the weekends.  the service is considerate and relatively fast. Yet I know in the future to stick with the chocolate based cupcakes, since that's what Georgetown cupcakes does best.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fruit Gummies

Gummy bears have always been one of my favorite candies. The texture is what gets me. It brings back memories of childhood and is oh so similar to the great gold bags of Harbio bears.

This recipe is chewy and uses any fruit juice you desire. For this one, I used Tropicana blueberry pomegranate juice, but in the future I would recommend those Trader Joes 100% fruit juices as opposed to the cocktails. They will have a more intense flavor.

I left these gummies plain, but in the future I would roll them in sugar and citric acid to make them taste like sour patch kids.

Fruit Gummies 


  •  4 tbsp (4 envelopes) unflavored gelatin 
  • ⅔ cup strained fruit juice (I used pomegranate blueberry)
  • 6 tbsp sugar 
  • 4 tbsp light corn syrup 
  • food coloring if desired 
  • superfine sugar or citric acid 


  1. Cook juice, syrup and sugar over medium heat until sugar dissolves 
  2. Soften gelatin in 4 tbsp water Stir in gelatin and continue stirring until it too is completely dissolved
  3. Pour into prepared 6 inch pan and let set until set completely
  4.  Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutter or sharp knife.
  5.  Roll in super fine sugar or citric acid combination if desired, or serve plain.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Peanut Butter Nutella braided bread

You know what my favorite guilty pleasure, 3am, stoned in college snack was? It was peanut butter, banana and nutella sandwiches.

Making this recipe brought both very amazing flavors. It was rich and delicious. I promise it didn't last very long...

This post is submitted to yeastspotting.

Peanut Butter Nutella Swirl Bread
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 pack active dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp nutella
  • 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter

  1. Proof yeast in the warm milk, melted butter, sugar and vanilla.
  2. Mix liquids with with flour and knead until pliable, springy and smooth. Let rise 45 minutes
  3. Mix nutella and peanut butter. Spread on parchment paper in 10x4 rectangle and freeze for 45 minutes
  4. Roll dough out into a 12x16 rectangle. Place frozen chocolate in center and fold dough over in thirds, pinching at the edges.
  5. Fold dough in thirds again in the other direction. You should now have a square
  6. Gently roll square into a rectangle, folding once more in thirds. Be gentle so filling does not ooze out the sides. You should now have a skinny rectangle. Repeat as many times as desired for more stripes.
  7. From this point, roll dough so it is still skinny, but about 12-16 inches long. Cut into thirds
  8. Braid dough and let rest another 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  9. Bake 30 minutes until brown on top.
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