Daikon, mango, and watercress salad

June 30, 2011 § 3 Comments

A crunchy, slightly bitter variant of radish, daikon, with its crisp texture and delicate flavor, makes a refreshing salad when thinly sliced and dressed with a tangy, creamy dressing with notes of soy sauce, mustard, and lemon. Daikon is often associated with Japanese cuisine, and at least in my experience daikon is typically made into really delicious pickles or into what is known as turnip cake (you may have tried it at a dim sum restaurant), which is a bit of a misnomer since there’s no turnip in turnip cake.

Aside from restaurants, typically daikon is available at Asian markets, but I actually spotted daikon at the grocery store the other day (Whole Foods, if you have one nearby) and squealed with excitement. Ignoring the many mutinous mumblings from a certain someone wishing to never go grocery shopping with me again in the future, I went in search of watercress so that I could make this daikon, mango, and watercress salad I’d read about earlier in the day.

The recipe itself is actually a British interpretation of a Japanese dish. But before you shudder off in horror, the British twist is supplied by none other than Jamie Oliver, who is one of the sources I turn to most when in search of new ideas for vegetables. « Read the rest of this entry »


Coffee-walnut cake

June 17, 2011 § 2 Comments

This is a true coffee cake, which isn’t to disregard cakes that one eats WITH coffee, but rather to clarify that this cake contains coffee. I know it probably seems ridiculous to have discussed two cakes in a row, but this cake is so comforting and so dreamy it’s completely worth it. And I promise to cook something involving vegetables soon — and before you ask, no, it won’t be carrot cake.

But back to this coffee-walnut cake. I love coffee, I love cake, so it makes sense that I’d want to bake this, but what moved this recipe to the top of the pile was the intriguing method of preparing the cake that brings you a cake in essentially fifteen minutes from start to finish. Want to guess how it’s done?

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Berry birthday cake

June 2, 2011 § 2 Comments

One of the best things about moving back home, besides having access to a dishwasher (what? I hate handwashing dishes!), is that there are more people around to bake for, especially my dad, who loves pretty much everything I make. And since this past weekend was his birthday, I wanted to bake him a birthday cake, preferably one involving strawberries as my dad has always loved them.

Apparently my mom used to make some sort of strawberry cake, but the recipe has long since been lost, so I decided to do some research, hauling out cookbooks from both my and my mom’s collections, as well as clicking around many, many food blogs. The mysterious strawberry cake never materialized, but after discovering several new sites with no leads in sight and having spent several hours parked in front of my computer, I ended up returning to a charming vanilla yellow cake from Smitten Kitchen, selected so that the strawberries could be the star. The fact that it was entitled “Best Birthday Cake” didn’t hurt either.

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