Cinnamon Swirly Bread (Dairy Free)!

Finally, a recipe post!!

OK, but please don’t yell at me because it’s a bread recipe.

I know that yeast is a hot commodity right now and it’s easier to spot Waldo nowadays than to see yeast in stock in grocery stores… but just in case you were one of the people who hoarded yeast and you’re running out of recipes to try, this one is for you.

Let me start off by saying that breads are not my forte, but this one is SO easy. My favorite part about this recipe is that it only takes about an hour for the dough to rise, unlike some breads + buns that need to rise for hours AND set overnight (cinnamon rolls). Also, my apartment smells the best when baking these (well, second to banana bread).

Alright, I’m not going to ramble any longer. Mostly because my eyes are so droopy and I need to reunite with my bed soon.

Goodnight,
Donna

Cinnamon Swirl Bread (Dairy Free)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup warm water, (105-110 F degrees)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active-dry or quick-rise yeast (I prefer Red Star brand!)
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour + extra as needed (I prefer King Arthur brand)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • ΒΌ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar with the warm water in a very large bowl in stand mixer with dough attachment. Add the yeast and stir just a little bit with your finger. Let it sit until frothy (and it kinda smells like warm beer) about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the flour, salt, and oil and knead, adding more flour if too sticky until the dough forms a large, soft ball. If you don’t have a stand mixer, no worries, you can do it by hand! You’ll have very strong (but sore) arms after.
  3. Flour a table or work surface and knead the bread with your hands for 5-10 more minutes.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and brush the top with a little extra olive oil. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour. It should be very puffy. Punch down the dough.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the dough into a rectangle (but let’s be honest, it’s going to look more ‘oval’). The dough should be no wider than your bread pan so that it fits after it’s been rolled up – does that make sense?). For more tight rolls in the bread, roll the dough thinner. For thicker softer rolls in the bread, roll thicker.
  6. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle over the loaf. Be generous. Roll up the loaves tightly and put in bread pan (lightly brushed with oil). Let rest for a few minutes before putting in the oven.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, or until it sounds hollow when you tap it with a knife. This is one recipe that you may actually want to over bake if you’re in doubt. If it looks too brown on the outside, it’s okay because the inside really needs to bake all the way to get the layers filled out.
  8. Let the bread cool down all the way before cutting into it or else it may sink. If you have leftovers, cover tightly with plastic wrap and store room temperature!

Korean Beef Quesadillas/Tacos

I have no idea how Korean this recipe is. Maybe 8%. All I know is that this is a really delicious & simple recipe. If you’re Houstonian, this recipe is a copycat of the beloved & famous Oh My Gogi’s quesadillas & tacos.

I was inspired to make this because Kaykay banned me from going to their food truck at 9pm (their opening time) because he says they are too “unhealthy” for a late-night meal. He really knows how to suck the fun out of life. Fortunately, a simple Google search led me to several recipes so I can make it at home (before 9pm, of course).

This has quickly become one of my go-to meals when I know I’m going to have a busy week because you can cook the beef and eat it throughout the week in taco or quesadilla form. It’s easy prep and most ingredients are something you’d already have in your pantry. And oh how the tables have turned – this is also now Kaykay’s favorite meal too. Apparently because it’s homemade, it’s not unhealthy anymore.

The choice between making quesadillas or tacos out of the Korean beef is entirely up to you. I prefer tacos and Kaykay prefers quesadillas so I make both each time since the recipe for the beef is the same. The tacos feel a little lighter because it uses corn tortillas and less cheese and the quesadillas are heartier and heavier because of flour tortilla & more cheese. In the end, you can really customize this however you want!

FF2C88E2-5AF9-45D0-A2BB-2982BC216BCB.jpeg

Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious.

KOREAN BEEF QUESADILLAS/TACOS

INGREDIENTS:

For the Beef:

  • 4 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 3.5 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Pinch ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound grass-fed/grass-finished ground beef
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds

For the Sriracha Mayo:

  • 1/4 cup Mayo
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha, or more to taste
  • 1/2 lime, squeezed
  • Pinch of salt

For Tacos or Quesadillas:

  • Corn and/or Flour tortillas
  • Non-stick cooking spray, canola or olive oil
  • Shredded Monterey Jack & Cheddar cheese, mixed
  • Yellow onions, diced
  • Cilantro, optional
  • Red cabbage chopped, optional for tacos
  • Gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), optional but highly recommended

INSTRUCTIONS:

For the Beef: Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ground beef and cook until browned, about 4-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks. Drain excess fat*. While the beef is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and ground ginger. Once the beef is cooked and the fat is drained, stir in the soy sauce mixture until well combined, allowing to simmer until heated through, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in sesame seeds. Set aside.

For the Sriracha Mayo: Whisk together mayo, sriracha, lime juice, and salt. Set aside for now.

If making Tacos: Heat up two corn tortillas in a pan with a little bit of cooking oil spray for each taco (yes, double up the tortillas for each taco) over medium-low heat. Remove tortillas from heat and build as you wish. I like to add about 1-2 spoonful of Korean beef, a drizzle of Sriracha mayo, diced yellow onions, shredded red cabbage, cilantro, shredded cheese and a sprinkle of the Gochugaru Korean pepper flakes.

If making Quesadillas: Heat up both sides of a flour tortilla in a pan with a little bit of cooking oil spray over medium-low heat. Add a layer of shredded cheese all over the tortilla. Then on one half of the tortilla, add ground beef and diced onions. Fold the tortilla in half and continue to heat up for 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted and tortilla is slightly crispy. Cut the quesadilla in half and drizzle with Sriracha mayo and garnish with cilantro and Gochugaru Korean pepper flakes.

If you have leftover cooked beef and want to save it for the next several days, store in an airtight container in the fridge. From my experience, this stays good for about 5 days if stored properly.

*When draining excess fat out of meat, I like to pour the fat into a heat-proof glass container and store it until it cools down then dump it in the trash. Do not drain excess fat down your sink!

Crab Fried Rice

This is so good.

This is so easy to make.

This is also smelly.

I do not mind.

I like this recipe because you will make a big batch and there’s enough leftovers for the next day. You can take it to work for lunch, like I do, and sit back and watch your coworkers pass by the microwave (after heating it up) to hear them say, “Ewwww what’s that smell?!” It’s seafood, Karen.

Or if you want to be more considerate than I am, I guess you can eat it for dinner the next day.

This recipe is adapted from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings: Hungry for More cookbook. By adapted, I mean that I tweaked the recipe a LITTLE a bit because I found it was a little bland (surprisingly unlike her other recipes). However, I did like her instructions – she made the process very easy to follow. The key is to measure out all the ingredients before you begin cooking.

Let’s begin.

CRAB FRIED RICE

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 cups cooked jasmine rice, preferably cooled or 1-day old
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 3-4 scallion, cut into 1-inch lengths, plus thinly sliced scallions for garnish
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and cut into wedges
  • 8 ounces lump crabmeat, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped for garnish
  • Chili oil, optional

Important Note: Make the rice ahead of time. Everyone has different methods to cook rice, but I use a rice cooker. If I don’t make rice a day ahead, it’s fine, but you’ll still have to cool it a bit. To cool rice faster, line a baking sheet with foil and grease it with vegetable oil. Pour your freshly cooked rice into the baking sheet and spread it out. Let it cool for 20-25 minutes. If you cook with sticky, warm, freshly cooked rice, your fried rice will turn out soggy. 

INSTRUCTIONS

Measure out all the ingredients before cooking and have them at arms reach around your stove.

In a large wok or saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering, but not smoking. Add onions until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the scallions and garlic and stir for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add the eggs, letting them sit and cook for 20 seconds until partially set, and then add the rice. Immediately add the soy sauce and fish sauce. When mixing everything together, make sure you break up the eggs. Cook, stirring, until the rice is hot.

Add tomato wedges and lump crab and cook until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with ground white paper and salt (be careful when adding the sauce because you already added soy sauce and fish sauce). Take off the heat and stir in chopped cilantro.

Garnish with thinly sliced scallions and drizzle with chili oil if you want.

Grilled Corn Salad with Spicy Honey-Lime Dressing

You may ask, “Did the world freeze over? Is Donna really about to post a SALAD recipe?” The answer is yes, I am going to post a salad recipe.

If you know me, you know that I am anti-salad. Okay. Those are strong words. I like salad, but I really don’t like preparing salad at home. I end up with way too much greens that I cannot consume fast enough before they wilt and turn brown.

But this recipe is 98% GRILED corn, so I’m going to devour it all of it. The dressing is delicious, and it has THE most simple ingredients (no mayo, I promise!).

Don’t get turned off by “grilled”. You don’t need an actual grill to make this. As long as you have an oven, foil, and a baking sheet, you’ll be making this everyday.

Fun Fact: I’m actually allergic to corn amongst other weird food items. Fortunately, none of my allergies are life-threatening. If I eat too much of food I’m allergic to, I’ll start getting hives on my chest, but nothing uncontrollable. For the most part, it’s worth the itch.

Let’s start cooking:

INGREDIENTS

For the corn

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 cobs of corn, peeled

For the dressing

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sriracha (reduce the amount if you don’t like spicy dressings)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the rest of the salad

  • 2 avocados, sliced about 3/4″ thick (see note)
  • 1 serrano chili pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

EQUIPMENT

  • Baking sheet
  • A lot of foil
  • Hand held citrus juicer, optional

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • In a small bowl, cream together the butter, garlic, salt, and pepper. Slather the butter mixture all over the corn. This is my favorite thing to do.
  • Wrap each corn in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet lined with foil for easy clean up.
  • Roast for 40 minutes, turn HALFWAY.
  • While waiting for the corn to roast, prep the dressing. Whisk lime juice, honey, sriracha, garlic powder, and salt. Taste it to see if it’s to your liking, if not, adjust with adding more of what you think it needs. (Is it too spicy? Add more honey. Not spicy enough? Add more Sriracha).
  • When done roasting, take out the corn and open the foil on top to expose the corn. Turn the oven to broil (on high) and place the corn back in. Broil for 2-3 minutes. Pro Tip: When you are broiling anything to get a charred or grilled appearance, make sure you do not peel your eyes off your food (just like you would watch if it was Chris Hemsworth working out his upper body shirtless… just make sure you wipe your drool) because your food will go from charred to charcoal within seconds.
  • When done broiling, take out the corn and let it cool a bit, then cut the kernels from the cob and place in a large bowl.
  • Add avocados, Serrano peppers, cilantro leaves, and dressing to the corn. Toss to combine. Season with more salt & pepper, to taste.
  • Cover with a plastic wrap, making sure you press in direct contact with the salad to prevent avocados from turning brown. Chill at least 2 hours before eating.

NOTE

  • The citrus dressing is going to prevent the avocados from turning brown really quick, but if I’m going to eat the leftovers the next day, I only like to slice 1 avocado at a time to make sure it’s as fresh as possible.