Banana Pudding with Chessmen Cookies

Pudding has a sweet spot in the top as one of my favorite indulgences. I have a hard time resisting crème brulee or a delicious creamy pudding as dessert when we dine at a nice restaurant or are on vacation.

One of my favorite sweets to get was banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery in NYC. I remember I craved it SO much during my first trimester and wanted Chai to make a trip to NYC just to buy me various goodies that only the city has to offer. Luckily for Chai, I whipped up some delicious banana pudding that fulfilled my somewhat out-of-control cravings and he didn’t have to make that tiring trip.

I’ve made banana pudding in the past but this recipe really hits the spot and is both luscious and creamy. It hits all the notes of what I expect in a banana pudding and is not sickeningly sweet. I’ve tried to make banana pudding by using vanilla wafers like Nilla but it tastes really artificial to me and isn’t my top choice for a cookie. Instead, I used Pepperidge Chessmen cookies which has more density and depth in flavor. I also don’t like to use pudding from a box or instant pudding. Making pudding from scratch isn’t too difficult and tastes much more delicious!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and save yourself from a trip to NYC! 😊

 


Spring is almost here! The weather is getting warmer and the tulips will start blooming soon~

 

 

Yield: 9 servings
Time:  40 min + 4 hours of chilling time

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 cups milk*
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 2 packages of Pepperidge Chessmen cookies
  • 4 large ripe bananas, cut into ¼ inch slices

*Notes:
-I used non-fat milk but for more flavor, I suggest 2% or whole milk.

 

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, mix brown sugar, flour and salt. Whisk in the milk and cook over medium heat. Continue to stir until thickened for about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir for 2 more minutes. Remove the pudding from heat.
  2. Whisk 3 large eggs in a small bowl.
  3. Add about 5 tablespoons of pudding mixture into the small bowl and mix well. Pour the egg mixture into the pudding mixture and whisk constantly. Cook the pudding mixture over medium heat until it you see bubbles while continuing to stir. Stir for 2 more minutes and remove from heat.
  4. Stir in vanilla extract and cool until room temperature while stirring occasionally.
  5. Whisk heavy cream in an electronic mixer until medium stiff peaks form. Slowly fold into the cooled pudding.
  6. In a large baking dish, layer Chessman cookies and then bananas. Add half the pudding. Repeat with another layer and use extra cookies to decorate the top of the pudding.
  7. Place a plastic wrap onto the surface of the pudding and refrigerate for 4 hours. Enjoy!

Tiramisu

This is a delicious Italian cake and one of my family’s favorite!
This tiramisu is creamy, not overly sweet, and has a lovely balance between the espresso flavor and creamy-sweet mascarpone filling. It’s also in harmony with the lady finger biscuits. I really recommend you try making this cake~
As far as making cakes, tiramisu takes a bit more time and effort but I think it’s worth it and not too difficult. It took me a few tries to really make this cake shine but here are a few tips to give you a head start!

-Make sure to use fresh ingredients as the eggs in this recipe are not cooked. If you’re worried, you can use pasteurized eggs which is what I used this time since I am pregnant.
-I highly recommend using good quality Italian espresso for an authentic and delicious flavor. I used the brand Illy.
-If you are re-using beaters or a mixing bowl, make sure they are completely washed with soap and free of any fat from the heavy cream. Otherwise, the egg whites may not form peaks.
-Use hard Italian lady finger biscuits and not the soft kind.
-Don’t leave the lady fingers in the espresso for too long on each side. It should be quickly soaked with 3 seconds on each side. The espresso should be completely cooled to room temperature and not hot!
-Tiramisu can be chilled up to one day. It’s best to finish it within the next day if you chill it overnight. If you leave it out any longer, it will get soggy, sad, and not as tasty. ☹

 

IMG_1759 (2)Tiramisu decorated with chocolate shavings, Ferraro Raffaello, and Giotto

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Yield: 8 servings
Time: 25 minutes + 7 hours chilling time or overnight

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of brewed espresso, cooled to room temperature
  • 2 TBSP sweet Marsala wine
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 20 hard lady fingers/savoiardi biscuits
  • Chocolate shavings for decoration

 

Instructions

  • Beat ½ cup of sugar and egg yolks in a large bowl until thick and well combined. Beat in mascarpone cheese until just combined.
  • Whisk heavy cream with an electric mixer until it holds medium peaks. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt while slowly adding the remaining ¼ cup of sugar in an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
  • Fold cream into the mascarpone mixture gently. Then gently fold in the egg whites mixture.
  • Pour espresso into a large bowl and add the marsala wine. Gently place 1 lady finger in the espresso mixture for 3 seconds on each side. Place the lady finger neatly onto the bottom of a large rectangular glass container (8 x 10 inches) Repeat with 9 more lady fingers or until the bottom of the container is neatly covered. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture evenly on top of the lady fingers. Repeat the procedure with placing lady fingers in espresso and adding mascarpone mixture on top to make another layer. Cover and chill the tiramisu for at least 6 hours.
  • Decorate with chocolate shavings on top before serving. Enjoy! 😊

 

 

 

Roasted Turkey Drumsticks

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? I hope you enjoyed a wonderful time with your family and loved ones! We had an early lunch for Thanksgiving this year but it was quite a feast with too much food like always~ I wasn’t able to eat as much macaroni and cheese as I would have liked because I was so full from all the food. The fresh organic cranberry sauce, gravy, green beans and turkey drumsticks were really delicious. The stuffing this year was a flop despite having used wheat bread and trying to cook it from scratch. Perhaps I overbaked it while I was trying to dry the bread out?

My family is a cozy number of people and everyone doesn’t like turkey as much as I do. They prefer chicken over turkey so we have replaced turkey with chicken or kalbi during the past years. This year, I insisted on turkey but nobody wanted a huge turkey so we decided on delicious drumsticks. I am really glad we chose to do just drumsticks this year as I wasn’t feel well enough to prepare and cook everything Wednesday night and Thursday. Thankfully, Chai helped a lot with making the dishes this year! Turkey drumsticks are also the most delicious part of the turkey! I hope you can enjoy this recipe for next Thanksgiving or any time of the year! It’s especially delicious with fresh cranberry sauce or gravy!

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Yield: 4 medium Turkey Drumsticks
Time: 1 hour 10 minutes + brining overnight

Ingredients

  • 9 cups of water
  • 9 TBSP of salt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 medium turkey drumsticks
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced

Instructions

  1. Combine the water, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, and bay leaves in a large pot over medium heat. Stir and bring to a boil until sugar is well dissolved. Remove the brine from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
  2. Place turkey drumsticks in a large container and add brine. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 450°F with racks in the middle.
  4. Spray racks on a baking tray with oil.
  5. Remove turkey drumsticks from brine and place them on racks. Pat them dry with a paper towel.
  6. Cut slits into both sides of each drumstick and spread garlic on top of the drumsticks.
  7. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
  8. Cover the drumsticks with foil and cook in oven for another 30 minutes. The instant thermometer should read 165°F in the thickest part of each turkey.
  9. Remove the turkey drumsticks from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes with the foil for juicy drumsticks.
  10. Serve with gravy and cranberry sauce on the side!

Yaki Udon with Gochujang

Udon is one of my favorite Japanese noodles. I am especially fond of the thick noodles or pasta for some reason. There are all sorts of dishes made with udon so it’s pretty versatile. Another great reason to enjoy udon is that most dishes are very simple and easy to prepare! This dish only took about 10 minutes to cook and yet it’s a delicious comfort food. It also has a spicy kick to it due to the gochujang. The level of spiciness can be adjusted depending on how spicy your gochujang is. The gochujang I used in this recipe happened to be homemade so it was extra delicious!

My family really enjoys this dish whether it’s for lunch or dinner and I hope you enjoy it too!

 

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Yield: 1 serving
Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 serving of Udon noodles, cooked according to package instructions, drained, & rinsed with cold water
  • 1 Egg, fried
  • 1 TBSP Olive oil
  • ¼ large Bell pepper, sliced
  • ½ medium Onion, sliced
  • ¼ cup of sliced Carrots
  • 1 TBSP Gochujang
  • 3 TBSP Okonomiyaki sauce by Otafuku
  • 1 tsp Sesame oil
  • Japanese mayonnaise (optional)

 

Instructions

  1. Mix the Gochujang, Okonomiyaki sauce, and sesame oil together in a small bowl until smooth.
  2. Add olive oil to a medium frying pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add bell pepper, onion, and carrots to the frying pan and stir fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Lower the heat to medium.
  4. Add udon noodles and sauce and mix well until the sauce is well incorporated for about 2 minutes.
  5. Put everything on a plate and top with fried egg. Serve with Japanese mayonnaise on top if desired.

 

Authentic Japanese Curry Rice from Scratch

I love to indulge in Japanese style Curry Rice from time to time!
I have warm memories of my mother making it for our family with carrots, potatoes, and beef since I was a child. It was an easy but filling dish that was perfect for lunch or dinner. There were always leftovers which sometimes tasted even better the next day. I liked Japanese Curry sauce so much that I would always put a disproportionate amount of sauce more than rice or get second helpings of the sauce.

I grew up with the brand “S&B GOLDEN Curry Sauce Mix” which comes in different levels of spiciness. These curry cubes are easy to use but ever since I made my own curry from scratch, the instant mix lacks in flavor. What’s so great about making curry roux from scratch is that it really doesn’t require that much additional work! There’s so much more depth to the flavor and spices in this curry! My family enjoy this curry so much that they don’t need to buy the instant kind anymore. I hope you’ll enjoy this delicious Japanese Curry Rice!

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Yield: 5 servings
Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb stew beef, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped rangiri style
  • 1 TBSP grated ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 large apple, peeled and grated
  • 1-2 potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 5 cups stock
  • 3 TBSP flour
  • 2 TBSP curry powder
  • 1 TBSP garam masala
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce (optional)

 

Instructions

  1. Season the beef with 1 tsp of salt and pepper.
  2. Put 2 TBSP of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add beef and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes until the meat browns.
  3. Add the onion and cook stirring constantly for about 5 minutes or until the onions begin to turn translucent.
  4. On medium heat, add carrots, ginger and garlic and cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add the apple, stock and remaining tsp of salt. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
  5. Melt the butter into a small saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and stir constantly for 3 minutes. The mixture should look like large bread crumbs. Add the curry powder and garam masala and stir for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Add the potatoes and cook for 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
  7. Scoop a ladleful of liquid from the pot and add it to the roux, mixing together to create a paste. Add the roux paste to the large pot and mix well. You can add the soy sauce if you want. Stir frequently so that the curry does not burn at the bottom of the pot on low heat until the curry becomes thick.
  8. Serve with rice.