Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gooey Cinnamon Rolls for a cold day- Kind of like those addictive Cinnabon Rolls at the mall

It’s high time for me to jumping back into the world of blogging. Sorry it’s been so long since my last post. Lots has been going on in the culinary world of Ashley, both at school and with the start of my web cooking series called Foodgasm. More to come in future posts all about that.

But now, it’s a chilly day and I thought the perfect thing would be to make a nice batch of gooey cinnamon rolls. It’s a great reason to turn on the oven and heat up the house to the smell of warm delicious cinnamon. So without further ado, here is my recipe for some delicious and gooey cinnamon rolls (best enjoyed while piping hot).

                     GOOEY CINNAMON ROLLS

1 (1/4 ounce) package dry yeast or ½ ounce fresh yeast
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup margarine
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
4 1/2 cups flour

1 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 cup margarine, softened

8 tablespoons margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt

  1. To make the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl.
  2. Let sit till frothy (about 10 minutes).
  3. Add sugar, margarine salt, eggs, and flour, mix well (I mix it in my Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook for the whole time, works just fine)
  4. Knead in mixer or by hand for a few minutes.
  1. Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour.
  2. Put in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  3. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approx 21 inches long by 16 inches wide. A nice big rectangle!
  4. It should be approx 1/4 thick.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  6. To make filling, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and softened butter in a bowl.
  7. Carefully spread with a spatula the mixture on the dough. Leave a small space uncover on the bottom, so the mixture has room to spread as it rolls up.
  8. Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge.
  9. Cut the dough into 1 3/4 inch slices, and place in a lightly greased baking pan.
  10. Bake for 10 -15 minutes or until light golden brown.
  11. While the rolls are baking combine the icing ingredients.
  12. Beat well with an electric mixer until fluffy.
  13. When the rolls are done, spread generously with icing. You can also fill an icing bag with the frosting and drizzle it decoratively across the rolls (or directly into your mouth—this, I find, is quite enjoyable too).

Hope you like the gooey cinnamon rolls as much as I did and the lucky people I shared them with. Remember when sharing food with friends, that FOOD IS LOVE…… so remember to food share responsibly :)

Till then live, love and eat some fantastic food.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ashley's Taste of Chicago

It's time for another video blog. I decided to eat my way through the Taste of Chicago this year.

Come along with me and see the tasty and not so tasty treats that were at this year's Taste of Chicago.

Along with the help of my camera woman/understudy food taster Etta ( my mom) we sweatily wove our way through the plethora of food booths of all sizes and shapes.

So sit back relax and join me on my wacky culinary adventure through the Taste of Chicago 2010.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Gado Gado with Sambal Kacang- An Indonesian experience

For the summer I like to have food that is tasty, refreshing and not too heavy. Here is a great dish that I learned from my aunt Marianne. She along with her family lived for many years in Indonesia as missionaries. She picked up how to prepare and make many of the local dishes. This was when I was pretty young. I do always remember though that it was a family dish. It really brought everyone together. And it was such different flavors than I was used to. My young culinary palate was just starting to get tickled.  My aunt served this dish to us many times and it was always wonderful. It’s called Gado Gado. It’s an Indonesian vegetable dish topped with Sambal Kacang, a spicy peanut sauce.

This is a fun dish to put together and great for a crowd as well as for solo dining. I have changed the recipe a bit to fit my tastes, but I must pay homage to the roots of the dish in my family. I thank you aunt Marianne for bring this lovely Indonesian dish to our family here in the states.

This dish can be enjoyed very well as leftovers too. The sauce keeps well. For reheating the sauce, just microwave it and put a little water to thin it if needed. This is a great dish to try. It’s also a great vegan dish if you leave off the hard-boiled eggs and substitute in tofu (grilled is very nice). Otherwise it’s still vegetarian.

And for those of you with a peanut allergy, try substituting in another nut or seed butter such as almond, soy, sunflower, etc. You can also use the spicy peanut sauce as a satay dipping sauce for grilled chicken, shrimp or tofu. That makes an excellent appetizer.

So go ahead and enjoy a little Indonesian cuisine tonight, you’ll thank me for sure. Gado Gado is a simple and tasty dish that can be enjoyed alone or shared with friends.

Gado Gado with Sambal Kacang (Spicy Peanut Sauce)

2 T sesame seed oil
1 t garlic, finely chopped
1 t ginger, finely chopped
1 c natural peanut butter, creamy
¼ c coconut milk
juice of 2 limes
¼ c water, or as needed
3 T Ketchap Manis (sweet soy sauce)*
1 t dried red chili peppers
Salt to taste (if needed)

1.   -Heat sauté pan with the oil.
2.   -Saute ginger and garlic for 1-2 over medium-low heat till softened.
3.   -Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir over low heat till well combined.
4.   -Put in food processor or blender and blend till smooth.
5.   -Serve warm

Serve the spicy peanut sauce on top of vegetables and other food of your choice. Some are cooked and cooled and others are served raw. Cut them up and arrange on a platter and serve the spicy peanut sauce drizzled on top or on the side. Here is a list of ones I use for mine (but you can use whatever vegetables you like).

Hard-boiled eggs and/or grilled tofu
Boiled peeled potatoes
Steamed cabbage
Steamed spinach
Fresh bean sprouts
Fresh carrots
Fresh cucumbers
Fresh red peppers
Fresh red onions

*Ketchup Manis is a thick sweet soy sauce. You can sometimes find it at your grocery stores, but definitely at Asian markets. If you can’t find it at all, you can also use a combination of soy sauce and dark molasses as a substitution.

Recipe guide:
T= Tablespoons
t=  teaspoons
c=  cup/s

Hope you like the little slide show of my Gado Gado experience that I have posted here. Do you have a favorite dish that maybe is a little out of the ordinary that you remember from childhood? If so, please share. I’d love to hear about it. There is nothing better than great food stories to warm the heart and the belly.

Till next time live, love and eat some fantastic food.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

COCKTAIL TIME- Cucumber Ginger Sake-tini

It’s cocktail hour and I have the perfect refreshing spring/summertime adult beverage to enjoy. I came up with this creation to pair with an Indonesian dish called Gado Gado. I was making a test webisode for the TV cooking show I’m working on. I made the dish in the form of rolls with a spicy peanut dipping sauce. This drink would be both great on its own, or with an Asian dish of some kind. These would also be great for a cocktail party. It’s fun to say, look at and of course to drink.

And for a treat, I also have a little video of how to make this terrific drink. This video is just a part of what we filmed for the test webisode.

With out further ado I give you the recipe to my sassy Cucumber Ginger Sake-tini!

Serves 1

2 T chopped fresh cucumber
1 T chopped fresh ginger
1 T chopped fresh mint
2 T agave nectar or simple syrup* or to taste
2.5 oz. Vodka (I like to use an organic vodka called Square One. It is very smooth and delicious.)
2.5 oz Sake (I like to use a clear sake from Osaka called Junmaishu from Akishika.)
Ice cubes
Thin cucumber slices and mint leaves, for garnish

*Simple syrup is made of equal amounts sugar and water heated until sugar is dissolved and then cooled.

Add the cucumber, mint and ginger into a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add the agave syrup, vodka, sake, ice and shake to combine. Adjust sweetness if needed. For the garnish lay a cucumber slice down with a mint leaf pressed onto it. Slice through the cucumber slice with mint leaf from middle to end and put on the rim of a martini glass. Strain drink into a chilled martini glass, serve and enjoy.

Till next time, live, love, eat some fantastic food AND drink some sassy beverages.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 4 of the NRA show- Dance-a-riffic

Last day of the NRA (sniff, sniff). The ending is a bit bittersweet for me. I loved all of the wonderful cooking gadgets, tasty food, oodles of freebies and impressive culinary demonstrations. But I will not miss all that darn walking and carrying/dragging of said freebies. But this last day did hold something fun and new for me and a first for the world as well. I was in the first Foodie Flash Mob Dance at the NRA restaurant show ever. Dancing and food, right up my alley.

For today I was lacking my usual camerawoman, aka my mother. But I did have the help of my friend Emily and the help of my arm and hand as well : ) Check out my last day at the NRA and be amazed, be wowed………or just be slightly entertained for a moment.

Till next time, live, love and eat some fantastic food.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 3 of NRA-Chef shoe shopping

Another fun filled whirlwind day at the NRA restaurant show. I’m choosing to be creatively different and formatting my day in the form of a free verse poem.


A Day at the NRA- Monday

Walking ever so quickly to take 2 trains down to the show on time,
Going chef shoe shopping,
Cracking up the crazy fish man,
Watching a fantastic but slightly raspy Rick Bayless,
Trying to find that fabulous macchiato again and having to settle for mediocre,
Finally having some good gelato,
Arguing with mom before I had food in my belly,
Hunting for more free bags,
Accidentally getting body spray spilled all over my handwritten nutrition flash cards,
Bumping into my old boss who had fired me, that said I had been there #1 server,
Eating way too much creamy and stinky cheese,
And finally, quickly jumping back onto the train to go take Nutrition test at school.

Whew, my cats and dogs are barking. So here is the video blog for today’s fun times.

Till next time, live, love and eat some fantastic food!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Oh, My Aching Feet! (NRA Day 2)

Second day finished at the NRA and boy I’m tired, but pleasantly so. I have experienced an intense amount of sensations and new discoveries today.  From tasting some spicy lemongrass faux chicken,  to weird gadgets that turn potatoes into long spirals on a stick that are then deep fried, to finally some super wine glasses that are constructed so strong that they can pound a nail into a piece of wood and not break. I did lots of walking up and down aisles with a barrage of colors and experiences exploding at every turn.

My day started out with a nice educational class called “Gluten-Free: Easy as ABCDE.” It was a panel with a variety of different speakers discussing celiac disease and gluten-free foods and cooking. This is also an area that I would like to explore more in my cooking and for my catering.

Later in the day I went to a cooking demonstration at the World Culinary Showcase. It was on simple and fun Turkish dishes. The food was lovely, but the demo was about as lively as a saltine cracker. I believe the chef was a “kitchen-only” chef and not meant for presentations. I respect that doing live or on-air cooking demonstrations in not easy. It is truly a special skill, to not only to cook well and have excellent knife skills, speak clearly, be informative and be entertaining--all while on stage and in front of an audience. This is what I aspire to have and to craft as my culinary adventures unfold.

So for now it’s time to sit down, put my feet up for awhile and get ready for Day 3 at the NRA. And since I’m also a student, I have a little homework to attend to as well.

Till next time, live, love and eat some fantastic food.