Thursday, June 23, 2016

NEW RECIPE: Gluten-Free Mexican Chocolate Pancakes

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day. As a kid, I had dreams about what the perfect breakfast would be - Chicken Apple Sausage, Scrambled Eggs, and my mom's Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Oatmeal. We would always have it when friends had sleepovers, and we started making it for Christmas brunch later on. 

This breakfast gave me a love and appreciation for pancakes, and its something I've always had a fascination with. For me, pancakes are versatile in terms of savory and sweet dishes, and are a canvas for amazing flavors. Having seen many kinds of pancakes in my life, I've created my favorite version for breakfast. 

This takes some of my mom's chocolate chip pancakes and mixes it with one of my favorite drinks - Mexican Hot Chocolate. Using the spices from that drink in this pancake mix makes it utterly delicious. Acid, sugar, and salt are all used to make the pancake extremely tasty. I also went for a gluten-free pancake with one of my favorite flours - brown rice flour - so that my sister can eat it and it has a low glycemic index. This means that the pancakes take a while to break down in the body and their energy is released slowly, making it a great energizing breakfast for the day between the low glycemic index, caffeine from the chocolate, and a little heat from the spices. It's a great wake-up meal! 

Recipe makes 10-12 large pancakes.


2 cups brown rice flour
4 eggs
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp ancho chile powder
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 bar of dark chocolate (at least 65%), chopped into chunks (or, 1 cup dark chocolate chips)
3 tbsp sugar
1 pinch salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups whole milk and 1 tbsp lemon juice (or, 2 cups buttermilk)
2 tbsp melted butter (plus more, or olive oil, for frying)


1) If making your own buttermilk, add the milk and lemon juice to a cup and let stand for 10-15 minutes.

2) Sift the flour into a bowl, Add in 2 tbsp sugar, the salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk well to combine.

3) In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, melted butter, buttermilk, and sugar. Combine well.

4) While whisking, slowly add in the dry ingredients into the wet until you have a lump-free batter. Let sit in the fridge.

5) Add in the chunked chocolate and spices, and mix well.

6) Add 1 1/2 - 2 ice cream scoops of the batter (about 1/2 cup) into a frying pan on medium heat with a small pat of butter (or 2 tsp olive oil). Cook for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes on each side (when about halfway in is cooked and bubbles). Re-add the butter/olive oil between each pancake.

This stack of pancakes is just 4 high, and easily serves 4 (or 2 very hungry people). Nevertheless, it's got amazing flavor from the buttermilk and a bit of heat from the cayenne and ancho chile (but not burning). It's a great complete meal in a single, easy-to-make pancake!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think and what you would change. If you make it at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =) 

Friday, June 17, 2016

NEW RECIPE: Greek Greens and Potato Bake

This post is a little more surreal for me, because this is the last post I will ever do as a student at UC Davis. I will be moving to Southern California for graduate school in the fall. So, I will technically still be a broke college student, so the name of the blog can still hold true for a while longer! 

I decided to make my last dish at UC Davis something shareable. My co-workers have been begging me to cook for them for ages, so I whipped this up for my last shift at work for everyone to try. It's a spin of two different cuisines: one signaling to my heritage (Greek) and another to my inspirations (British). 

This potato bake is definitely based off of a shepherd's pie, but is much more vegetarian and packs amazing Greek flavors inside of it! I went with the filling of a traditional Greek spanakopita (spinach filled phyllo triangles) for this, to get a mix of creaminess, tangy feta, rich greens, and awesome potato all in one! 

Recipe serves 16-24 people.


3 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and washed
1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 pound spinach
1 pound Dino Kale (important because it's not nearly as bitter as other kale varieties)
1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
2 shallots, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 tablespoon dill
1/2 tablespoon oregano
Salt and pepper to season
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil


1) Add the potatoes to cold salted water. Bring up to a boil, then cook for 15 minutes.

2) Drain and cool the potatoes, then mash together with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

3) Mix in the eggs. When fully incorporated, add in the flour to the potatoes. Set aside.

4) Saute the spinach and kale with the shallots, garlic, herbs, and the remaining olive oil. Season to taste, and crumble in the feta cheese. Squeeze in the lemon juice, then let cool.

5) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. In a large baking dish, add half of your potato mixture to the bottom layer. Add in the spinach and kale mixture, then top with the remaining potatoes.

6) Bake for an hour, then cool, cut into pieces, and serve!

This bake is really simple to do, and takes in a lot of awesome flavor! The spinach mixture is packed with amazing flavor, while the flour and egg gives the potato an amazingly creamy texture without milk, butter, or cream being added. It's a great appetizer, vegetarian entree, or shareable snack with friends and coworkers alike! 

I hope you enjoyed this recipe, and keep reading on as I continue my cooking adventures in Orange County! As always, let me know what you think and what I should change. If you make it at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =) 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

NEW RECIPE: Creamy Morel and Chicken Pasta

As a college student, I definitely appreciate being able to make quick and cheap meals. Pasta dishes are one of the quickest meals out there, especially if you're fortunate enough to have fresh pasta. Cheap to make, but hard to do, fresh pasta is something that is worth making in advance and having to cook a quick meal. 

I want to show with this recipe how easy it is to make fresh pasta and how much faster it is to cook. (Of course, if you have a great fresh pasta in your neighborhood, its great too). But with the use of a pasta machine (or even just a rolling pin), you can make your kitchen something extraordinary. 

Another way to spin up a pasta dish is to use higher quality ingredients, or ones of higher flavor levels. For me, adding that next level to a mushroom and spinach pasta would be to replace them with morel mushrooms and fresh arugula. They add amazing new flavor dimensions that regular mushrooms and greens don't offer, with earthy notes of the morel and peppery arugula. That kind of flavor is unparalleled, and makes for a great dish to impress! 

Recipe serves 4 people.

For the Pasta (if not purchasing): 

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste

For the Sauce:

1 pound chicken breast, cut into 8 thin breast tenders
1/4 pound morel mushrooms, washed and halved
1/4 pound fresh arugula
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper to season


1) In a mixing bowl or on a marble surface, place your flour into a mound and make a well in the middle. Scramble your eggs, and pour into the well. Stir in the flour slowly, then combine into a single piece of dough. Cover in plastic wrap, and store in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to rest.

2) Roll the pasta dough as thin as possible, then cut into whatever shape you desire. Tagliatelle (1/8 inch thick, long ribbons) is the best for this pasta dish.

3) Cook in salted boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and toss in olive oil and season to taste.

4) In a large frying pan, add olive oil on a medium high heat. Cook the chicken breast tenders for 3 minutes on each side, then remove from the pan.

5) In the same pan, add in the garlic and morel mushrooms. Season to taste, then cook until the mushrooms turn brown and shrink, about 3-4 minutes.

6) Deglaze with the chicken stock, then add in the cream. Bring up to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes.

7) Stir in the arugula. When it wilts, add the chicken breasts. Coat each chicken breast, then remove.

8) Stir the pasta into the remaining sauce and serve with the chicken breasts.

Using some simple but quick tricks allows you to take cooking to a whole new level in your new home! Things like fresh pasta and morel mushrooms set pasta dishes apart, and it makes this dish an amazing, enjoyable, and fun experience!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think and what you would change. If you make it at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =)