Homemade Granola

Now that you have made copious amounts of yogurt, you need something fun to top it with. Enter in, homemade granola. It's unbelievably easy to make, and healthier and cheaper than what you would buy in the store. The best part of this recipe is that it is just a ratio recipe, which means you get the fun of deciding what delicious nuts, seeds, fruits or other add-ins and flavoring you want. This is the honey, almond, sunflower seed, coconut and dried cranberry version I made last night. I gave Steve a taste and he enjoyed it so much, he asked for more!


Instant Pot Yogurt

I bought myself a little gift last month, a 6 Quart Instant Pot. The IP is an awesome mutli-function cooker. It is an electronic pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice maker and yogurt maker. Have you ever had a recipe where it tells you to sear the meat before putting it in the slow cooker and you get annoyed because the whole point is to only get one pot dirty? Well, the IP has a sauté function, so now you can sear in it and then switch the function to slow or pressure cooking, true one pot cooking.

Now, I have pressure cooker, slow cooker and rice maker, so there was no need for yet another countertop appliance, but I kept reading recipes and blogs about how miraculous it is. There were tales of 8 minute risotto or throwing frozen chicken in and having dinner done in minutes. I could not resist a new toy.

It's been a month and I have used it countless times. I've made risotto, rice, turkey, chicken, pot roast, beef stew and Mongolian beef; some with better results than others. But my favorite thing to make in in the IP is yogurt. The recipe is simple, but time consuming. There is a lot of flexibility in the recipe, as well. You can use any milk (whole milk produces the thickest, creamiest yogurt), you can make it more or less tart (by adjusting the incubation time), and if you want Greek yogurt, you can strain it. The important thing is to use a thermometer to ensure your temperatures are accurate.

Here's my favorite method:

1. Heat Milk to 185°F: Pour 1 gallon whole milk in the inner pot. Close lid, stir occasionally. The Instant Pot will beep when done, but I find that it only takes it up to 175°F, so then I boil for a few more minutes to reach 185°F.

2. Cool Milk to 110°F: You can leave the pot on counter-top and wait until the milk cool to 110°F. Or in a larger pot filled with cold water, if you are impatient, like me.

3. Once milk is cooled, combine 2 Tbsps of Fage Whole milk yogurt in to a glass measuring cup with ½ cup of 110°F milk. Gently mix it and pour the yogurt milk mixture in the inner pot and give it a few gentle stirs with silicone spatula.

4. Yogurt Incubation: Place inner pot back in the Instant Pot. Close and use the Yogurt Normal Function to incubate the yogurt. Adjust the time to 8:00 – 12:00 depending on how tangy you like your yogurt (longer time = more tangy). You can open the lid for a taste test once the yogurt is set. Roughly 6 hours. I like 13 hours.

5. Once the yogurt has reached the desired tangy level, remove the inner pot of yogurt and place it in the fridge for a few hours to stop the incubating process. The yogurt will also thicken a little.

6. Once the yogurt is chilled, I like to strain for 24 hours, to get a super thick and creamy yogurt.

7. You can have it plain, or add sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup. Add fruits, granola or your favorite toppings.

Here is the recipe I loosely based it on, if you want more details: https://www.pressurecookrecipes.com/instant-pot-yogurt/

Homemade Half Sour Pickles

When I was 18, I spent the summer working at the Human Genome Center at MIT in One Kendall Sq. Sammy was a NY style deli in the basement level where a faux hipster dive bar is now (I'm looking at you, State Park). They had barrels of complimentary half-sour pickles and there were days that I would just have pickles and potato chips for lunch.

I honestly can't believe I've never tried making them before. I think it's because there's always the danger of botulism if you can or jar wrong. But, guess what? These are fresh refrigerator pickles, so there's no threat of death! It's super easy and it took 5 days to get perfectly crisp, snappy, garlicky pickles. We had them last night with burgers (and chips, of course). I bought more cucumbers to start a new batch already.

The following recipe is from The Midnight Baker


Sorry, the picture is not that exciting. I forgot to take one last night, so this is from lunch today.

Collapse )

Classic Coffee Cake

I have recently found out that my daughter is allergic to eggs and peanuts, so in addition to epi-pens and general paranoia about everything she will come in contact with, I also have to avoid eggs and peanuts, since I am nursing.

Giving up peanuts is not that hard for me, but eggs is devastating. What has eggs? All the delicious things: most cookies, cakes, brownies, pancakes, waffles, custards, breaded items like fried chicken, meatballs, dumplings, premium ice creams, fresh pasta, mayo and much much more.

So, it is with a heavy heart, I write about the last recipe I made before we found out. It is the best coffee cake I've ever had. The recipe is from thekitchn.com and is excellent. The cake is so moist and tender; the strudel topping was large and ample (after all, it is the best part!). I didn't even bother with the icing drizzle. It was extra work and the cake does not need it.

I made it for my last Babies and Breakfast playdate; so that's two things I miss – eggs and my mommy friends.


Thai Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango

My last pre-baby hurrah was a trip to Southeast Asia a year and a half ago. Christine and I ate so many delicious bites, it is hard to pick a favorite, but the coconut sticky rice stands out in my memory. The dessert is simple, yet complex: the rice is sweet and salty, the ripe mango is tender and fragrant. It is a symphony of flavors, achieved without any gluten or dairy!

I have been waiting for mango season, to finally replicate this dish. Did you know there are over 400 varieties of mango? It’s a travesty that only 2 or 3 are available to us in the US. Ataúlfo mangos are easily the best of the limited selection.

This recipe from serious eats is fussy, requiring a steamer for the rice. It also requires advanced planning, since the rice needs to soak. Oh, and you will also need to make a special trip to the Asian market to find the Thai sweet sticky rice. But, if you do all of that, you will be rewarded with a dessert that transports you to Thailand, without a 20 hour plane trip.

Collapse )

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

My love of biscuits is well documented, and I have a go to recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. It uses cream as a shortcut so there’s no need for cutting in the butter and all that kneading. But, I had a lot of buttermilk left over from the cinnamon rolls and decided to try a new recipe, from Food.com.

The biscuits come together easily with the help of a food processor. The recipes says it makes 10, but I got 6 generously sized biscuits. I also brushed the tops with a little buttermilk and a sprinkle of sea salt before they went in the oven. The biscuits were tender and fluffy - delicious with a pat of butter and dollop of jam. They were still great the next morning, when I made an egg, bacon and cheese biscuit sandwich.

I’m still loyal to the ATK recipe, simply because buttermilk is not a staple in my household, but when I do have buttermilk, I’ll be making these again.

Collapse )

Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

One of the best and most unexpected consequences of becoming a mother is the community of local moms that I have found through a new parent support group. They have been an unending font of support, advice, information, experience and friendship. We are constantly going for walks, out to lunch, hanging out at a café and over each other’s homes for play dates. What do playdates look like when then kids are all under one? Lots of babies on the floor, adjacent to each other. I used to think that the playdates were really for the benefit of the moms to have adult company, but when Kayla had her daycare trial day, the teacher remarked, “She is so good with other kids; she must have lots of cousins,” Nope, just lots of baby friends. I guess the babies benefit, as well.

I have been using my playdates as an excuse to try out new recipes, and this week I served Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls. The recipe is straight forward and the dough is soft, supple and easy to work with. I’m not sure why I did not get a great 2nd rise from the dough, but it did not seem to affect the final product. I love that I was able to make these the night before and pop them in to the oven the next morning.

The cinnamon rolls were tender and flaky. The warm cinnamon smell permeated the whole house and I loved the cream cheese icing. I saw another blogger use this recipe as a basis for her sticky pecan buns, which I may need to do next time. After all, caramel and nuts can only make this even better.

Collapse )

I'm Back! (And Pecan Macaroons)

I’m back! It’s been exactly a year since I took a hiatus from Flogging, and a lot has changed since last May. My daughter, Kayla, was born in December and life as a new mom has been all consuming. It seems that parenthood is 80% worrying about their eating, sleeping and pooping - not exactly Flog-worthy material. But I miss writing and she is going to start solids soon, so all the more reason to return to the Flog! But, be forewarned, the content of the Flog may look a little different; We are eating out less and baby friendly recipes may appear more often. But, loyal reader, I have missed you and I hope you will come along for a new ride.

I have made a brunch of new mom friends and we are frequently getting together for playdates. Some of the babies have different allergies and that means finding recipes for alternative diets for snacks. Here’s one of my new favorite cookie recipes, that happens to be dairy-free and gluten-free. Plus, it’s super easy to make, if you have a food processor.

The recipe is from Rachael Ray Everyday Magazine. I did not bother to beat the egg white beforehand – I put it in the food processor instead and let it rip for a minute. I also like the ginger notes, so I doubled the amount of ground ginger.

Collapse )

G's newest recipe: A bun in the oven

Hello Dear Readers,

As you may have noticed, I have not been posting to the Flog for a while. I'm happy to share it is because Steve and I are expecting a baby in December 2016! I am officially in my 2nd trimester, and all tests have shown little baby McTsoi to be healthy. We are elated and feel so blessed.

Although I love the Flog, I am going to be taking a bit of a break from it. There is a world of new stuff to learn for me (who knew there are so many different options when choosing a stroller?!?!) and so my focus need to be preparing for the baby the best way I can.

I hope to be back after the little monkey gets here.

Love to you all! I hope you find some delicious eats and tell me all about it.


Gold cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting (Happy Birthday, Jes!)

It was a surprise birthday party for my friend Jes and I volunteered to make the cupcakes. With some super stealthy help from her cousin, I found out her favorite was gold cupcakes with white frosting. I did not have a go to yellow cupcake recipe so I did some copious research and decided on the Taste of Home recipe.

It was simple to put together and the cupcakes had a moist and tender crumb. They held up well to frosting and the cake went well with the vanilla frosting, as well as a Nutella frosting I created.

The vanilla frosting is from Cook's Illustrated and is super simple to put together. The frosting was thick and creamy, with enough vanilla flavor. The secret is let your stand mixer do all the work. I hope you have better decorating skills than I do. Thank God for sprinkles.

As for the Nutella frosting, I don't have a recipe - I just winged it. I beat together equal parts softened butter and Nutella, added Confectioners' sugar till I got a thick frosting and drizzled heavy cream in until it was the right fluffy texture. I generally don't recommend winging it, but I was feeling experimental and it turned out amazing. Let's hope I can replicate it for next time.

Happy Birthday, my old friend!

Collapse )


Collapse )