Dutch Apple Pancakes (vegan)

It’s been a few months since I’ve made anything that was worthy of posting onto the blogosphere. I hope everyone has been eating well.

So anyone who has ever stepped foot into a pancake establishment (i.e. Waffle House, Original Pancake House or IHOP) has probably ordered the Dutch baby pancake, of the apple variety.

If you do not know what I’m talking about, it’s basically a ginormous pancake baked with fresh granny smith apples, generally served with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and a carafe of coffee. A glorious combination of flavors happening right there!

A few weeks ago, I found myself at home with a carafe of coffee, granny smith apples and some vanilla ice cream. So I decided to make my very own Dutch apple pancakes. My version is vegan made with Earth Balance butter, soy milk and SO Delicious vanilla ice cream.

The pancake fluffs up nicely and is moist and delectable.  This sweet treat is so decadent you won’t even notice its vegan.

Dutch Apple Pancakes

2 granny smith apples

2 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/4  cup soy milk

2 tablespoon canola oil

2 tablespoon maple syrup

Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the soy milk, canola oil and maple syrup until well combined.

Peel, core and cut up the apples into 1/2 inch cubes.








Melt the butter in a in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the apples, brown sugar and cinnamon and sauté until apples begin to soften. Gently pour batter mixture over the apples. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.














Remove from heat and let cool. Slide pancake onto serving platter and cut into wedges. And what is a baked apple pancake without a big scoop of vanilla ice cream?

Pineapple Coconut Rumsicles

Army of Hello Kitty Popsicles

Yes it is exactly what it sounds like, rumsicles are nothing more than fruity popsicles spiked with rum. It has been a gazillion degrees outside these past few days, why not cool off with a refreshing treat?

On a sweltering hot day at the Eastern Market, my friend Stephanie Casola and I discovered the $3 pineapple coconut popsicles at the Zingermen’s Deli booth. It was literally the best $3 I’d ever spent on an item at the Eastern Market.

It was delicious, the perfect treat on such a hot afternoon. The best part about the popsicle was there were little chunks of pineapple in every bite. The popsicle wasn’t over-processed and they used fresh ingredients.

I was inspired to go home and make my own with a little rum added, because why the hell not?  It’s like a pina colada on a stick. And who doesn’t like that?

These are not intended to get you drunk, as there is very little alcohol in them. They are popsicles after all, so they need to be solid. But, of course you can make them non-alcoholic by skipping out on the rum. They are just as tasty.

You can use fresh or frozen pineapple, but I prefer fresh pineapple. I just buy the ones at the grocery store that are already peeled and cored because there is nothing I hate more than having to peel and core a pineapple. You don’t need an extra step between you and your popsicle.

One more thing you will need is a popsicle mold. You can get them just about anywhere. I got these awesome Hello Kitty popsicle molds as a gift from my friend Jelena. It’s quite ironic that I got these because I happen to be Asian and it is quite convenient that I happen to like Hello Kitty.

If you can’t get your hands on a mold, just use one of your ice cube trays and stick a toothpick in place of a popsicle stick.

Pineapple Coconut Rumsicles

1 pineapple, peeled and cored and cut into chunks

8 oz coconut milk

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup rum (optional)

In a blender, process the pineapple, coconut, sugar and juice until smooth. It’s ok if it’s a little chunky. Add the rum if you are using it. Divide mixture into popsicle molds. Freeze for 4 plus hours.

To unmold, take the popsicles out of the freezer and let it sit on the counter for 5 minutes. Run the bottom of the mold under warm water to loosen things up.  The popsicles should pop out with no problems.

Cool off with a special treat!

Serve and enjoy! What are you doing to stay cool?

Peanut Sesame Noodle Salad

This dish is inspired by a Taiwanese style cold noodle salad my mom use to make in the summertime, called liang mein. Made with egg noodles, sesame paste, cucumbers, carrots, spring onions and sprouts, tossed with a sweet rice wine vinaigrette.

The salad is light and refreshing perfect to cool you off in this summertime heat. The chilled vegetables add a cool, crisp texture to the dish. The sweetness of the rice wine combined the nuttiness of the sesame oil gives this salad its unique flavor.

This simple version is made with spaghetti noodles instead of the traditional mein noodles. I also used peanut putter instead of sesame paste, but you can use tahini if you have it.  You won’t believe how easy it is to make.  Let’s get started.

Peanut Sesame Noodle

1 lb spaghetti

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

3 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup cucumber, julienned

1/4 cup scallions, sliced

Cook spaghetti until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

Add the reserved water to thin out the sauce

In a large bowl whisk together the peanut butter, vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar and oil. Whisk in the 1/2 cup of cooking liquid reserved until smooth. Toss in spaghetti, carrots, cucumbers and scallions. Cover and refrigerate a few hours until ready to serve.

Served chilled garnish with crushed peanuts. And if you like things spicy, add some Sriracha for a little kick.

Raw Kale Salad w/Pine nuts and raisins

I really miss the little cafe at the Good Food Company in Troy. It featured a deli with vegetarian/vegan options and the most delectable sweets. One of the things I would often get is the raw kale salad dressed in a lemon vinaigrette and tossed with pine nuts. The tartness of the lemon makes the salad light and refreshing.

Unfortunately the Good Food Company in Troy has closed and I will never ever be able to enjoy the best kale salad I have ever tasted…or will I?

I concocted my best attempt at replicating this salad, as to what I think is the closest to the real thing. Using just five simple ingredients, kale, lemon, olive oil, pine nuts and raisins (or four ingredients, if you want to omit the raisins) you too can enjoy this light and refreshing salad.

Raw kale can be really tough to eat, the secret to this is to let the kale marinate in the lemon vinaigrette. The acid from the lemon will help breakdown the tough leaves while soaking the kale in juice, giving it that burst of flavor.

Raw Kale Salad

1 bunch kale, stalks removed, leaves thinly sliced

1 lemon juiced

zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1/3 cup raisins

In a large bowl whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Add Kale and toss to combine. Let it marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Toss in pine nuts and raisins and serve.

Nutella Sandwich

Nutella + banans + strawberries + bread + butter  = Nutella sandwich for breakfast!

For those of you who are not familiar with Nutella, it is a chocolate hazelnut spread that is all kinds of awesome. If you do not have a jar of this in your house, go out and get some.

If you can make a grilled cheese sandwich, you can make a Nutella sandwich. It’s basically the same method.

All you need is some nutella, bread, butter and fruit. I had strawberries and bananas on hand, but you can use whatever you want.

Making this is easy peasy, let’s get started:

Peel and slice the bananas and slice the strawberries.
Butter the outside of each slice of bread. Put bread butter side down on a pan over medium heat. Spread the Nutella on each piece of bread. The heat from the pan will make it easier to spread the Nutella.
Add the banana and strawberry slices. Top with the other slices of bread with the buttered side up, so when you flip the sandwich it'll toast the buttered side.

Once the other side has browned up real nice, remove sandwich from heat and cut the sandwich in half. Now it’s time to enjoy the warm, buttery, chocolately, gooey goodness that is the Nutella Sandwich.

What is your favorite way to enjoy Nutella?

Roasted Corn & Black Bean Salad

For some reason we have skipped spring and gone straight to summer here in Michigan. Seriously one day it is rainy and a tornado is about to roll through and the next it’s 90 degrees and humid. No complaints from me though, I’ve been waiting all winter for this warm weather! And now that summer has started here, so begins the barbeque season.

Here is one of my favorite salads for the summer — It’s a roasted corn and black bean salad. Light and refreshing, this salad is perfect for accompaniment to any barbeque. It’s lightly dressed in a zesty, lime vinaigrette.

If you are crunched for time, frozen corn kernels are fine. But if fresh corn is available, I suggest using that.

There are so many methods to cooking corn including boiling, roasting and grilling. Either one of those methods are fine, but since we are already grilling, I like to roast my corn in the grill. Use whatever method works for you. For grilling instructions see recipe below. It may seem like a pain in the ass to do, but it’s really not. I think it was more of a pain in the ass for me to write the instructions than it is to grill the corn.

Roasted Corn & Black Bean Salad

2 cups fresh or frozen and thawed corn

1 16 oz can of back beans, rinsed and drained

1 green bell pepper, diced

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon lime zest (zest from 1 lime)

2 tablespoon lime juice

2 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped



If you are roasting your corn, follow these steps:

Soak the corn in husk for 15 minutes. Pre-heat the grill to 350. After soaking, peel back the husk (but do not completely remove them), remove and discard the silk. Brush the kernels with olive oil or butter, then reposition the husks back over the kernels. Grill corn for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.  Peel away the husks. To separate the kernels from the cob, hold the cob upright and steady, run a sharp knife down the cob.

Peel the husk back to remove the silk
Hold the corn upright and steady, carefully running knife down the cob.
This is what you end up with. Pretty.....delicious!
This is what you end up with. Pretty....delicious!

In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, lime zest, lime juice, cider vinegar, honey, salt, pepper and olive oil until well combined. Add in the corn, black beans and green bell pepper. Toss until well incorporated. Cover and chill in the fridge for about 2 hours. Toss in the cilantro before serving.

It’s perfect on it’s own or you can serve as a dip with some tortilla chips. If you have leftovers, serve it on a bed of mixed greens with some avocados for some salad on salad love!

Yummy leftover salad love!

What’s your favorite summer barbeque dish?

Lemon Spring Risotto

I apologize for my absence these last few weeks; I’ve been away from the kitchen and have not been creating anything exciting to write about. But now that spring has come into full bloom and fresh veggies are more abundant, it has inspired me to get into the kitchen.

In an effort to make up for the fact that I was not around to celebrate Mother’s Day with my mom, I made a lovely belated Mother’s Day dinner for her a couple of weeks ago. Which has put me back on the good list.

I was able to find fresh Michigan asparagus and peas at the farmer’s market. With that, I decided to make a spring risotto. There is nothing I love more than fresh asparagus in the springtime. Aside from making your urine smell funny, asparagus is good for you and a good source of fiber. And it taste delicious!

If you do not have fresh peas, you can use frozen peas. Or if you do not like peas, just omit them, I won’t be offended.

To give the risotto a spring zip, I add a little bit of lemon zest and juice into the risotto. It adds a refreshing citrusy flavor to the dish.

Lemony Spring Risotto (serves 4-6 people)

6 cups vegetable broth

1 ¼ cup Arborio rice

1 small onion diced

½ cup white wine

1 cup asparagus, cut into 1” pieces

½ cup fresh peas

1 lemon, zested and juiced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoon butter

Parmesan Cheese (optional)

pretty peas and asparagus

If you are using fresh peas, book peas in boiling water for 15 minutes or until tender. In the last minute of cooking, drop in the asparagus to blanch them. Remove from heat and drain under cold water to stop the cooking process.

Meanwhile, keep broth warm simmering in a saucepan.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat butter and olive oil, add onion and sauté until onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add Arborio rice and stir until well coated, about 1 minute. Then add the wine and stir until absorbed.

Add enough broth to barely cover the rice. Continually stir while cooking until the broth is absorbed. Continue in this manner, adding 1/2 cup of broth at a time.  After about 20 minutes, add the lemon zest, lemon juice, peas and asparagus tips.

The risotto should be cream and tender, yet firm (al dente). Remove from heat and stir in grated parmesan cheese. Serve warm.  Enjoy!

What’s your favorite thing about spring?