Thursday, June 15, 2017

Almond Biscotti 意大利杏仁脆餅

Traditional Italian biscotti, cantuccini or biscotti di Prato, are very hard in texture and are meant to be dipped into coffee or some other accompanying drink to soften before eating.

The American version of biscotti is big, buttery and softer in texture, more like sugar cookies.

This recipe is a hybrid: a cookie with a texture that is not so hard but imbued with great flavors that can be enjoyed with or without dunking into coffee.

Ingredients to make 30 cookies:

1¼ cups/200g whole almonds, lightly toasted
1¾ cups/218g all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 large eggs and 1 egg white
175g sugar
4 tbsp/57g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1½ tsp almond extract
½ tsp vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
2) Pulse 1 cup of almonds in a food processor until coarsely chopped, about 8-10 times. Remove to another bowl.
3) Process the remaining quarter cup of almonds until finely ground, about 45 seconds.
4) Add flour, baking powder, and salt to the finely ground almonds. Transfer to another bowl.
5) Process the eggs for about 3 minutes. With the motor running, add sugar and process for about 15 seconds.
6) Add melted butter, almond extract, and vanilla. Process for another 10 seconds.
7) Transfer the egg mixture into a big bowl and add the flour mixture and the coarsely chopped almonds. Fold gently with a spatula until combined.
8) Divide the dough in half and shape into a log.
9) Bake until the loaves are golden and just beginning to crack, 25-30 minutes.
10) Let the loaves cool on the sheet for at least 30 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into about half an inch thick. Lay them out, cut side down, on the same baking sheet and bake until crisp and golden, about 35 minutes.
11) They can be kept at room temperature in a sealed container for about a month.

Recipe reference: Cook's Science by Cook's Illustrated

Monday, May 29, 2017

Molasses Oats Bread 燕麥麵包

Molasses is a thick and sticky by-product of the sugar refining process. It is more nutritious than granulated sugar because it contains iron, vitamin B, calcium, and magnesium. Usually unsulfured molasses is used in baking or other cooking recipes. Avoid blackstrap, which can make the baked goods bitter. Oats are a common breakfast staple. Besides using it to make oat meal, it is widely used in baking such as bread, cookies, granola, etc. The molasses lend the bread a sweet flavor, moist crumb, and crunchy crust, and the oats compliment the bread by giving it a hearty texture. It is great toasted and spread with butter or used as sandwich bread.

Ingredients to make one round loaf:
187g/1½ cup rolled oats
205g/1½ cup bread flour
179g/1½ cup whole wheat flour
30g/¼ cup milk powder
385g/1½ cup+2 tbsp water
84g/¼ cup unsulfured molasses
7g/1 envelope instant yeast
2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
1 tsp salt
one egg white, slight beaten, for brushing

1) Bring water to a boil and pour onto 1 cup/125g oats. Stir to combine. Add molasses and let it sit until it comes to room temperature.
2) Grind the rest (half cup/63g) of the rolled oats in a food processor to a fine powder. Transfer to a bowl and mix with the other flour, wheat gluten, and milk powder.
3) Transfer the oat and molasses mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add yeast, the flour mixture, and salt.
4) Knead on low for about 5 minutes.
5) Let it ferment in a warm spot until it doubles in size.
6) Flatten the dough and shape into a ball, about 5.5 inches in diameter. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and let it rise a second time.
7) Preheat oven to 400F.
8) Brush the dough with slightly beaten egg whites. Sprinkle oats on top and bake for 10 minutes. Lower the temp to 350F and bake for another 40-45 minutes.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Egg Drop Sweet Soup with Fresh Water Chestnut 蛋花馬蹄露

Although the calendar says it is May, the weather in Southern California feels like summer for a week and winter for another. This Chinese dessert can be served warm or cold, which is perfect for the season. Fresh water chestnuts are available year round. It is a versatile ingredient. Besides using it to make water chestnut pudding/cake 馬蹄糕 during Chinese New Year, it can be used in other savory dishes to provide a crunchy texture.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Lemon Mini Cupcake with homemade Limoncello 檸檬小蛋糕

With an abundance harvest of lemons, I have been searching for ways to make use of this citrus fruit: Lemon Bar 檸檬巴, Chicken pot with Preserved Lemon 惹味雞煲, Ginger and Lemon in Vinegar 八珍陳皮檸檬薑, Lemon Chiffon cake with Ginger Mousse 薑汁慕絲檸檬蛋糕, and Lemon Cream Tart 檸檬撻

This year with homemade lemon liquor, I made this refreshing treat.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Dill Bread using Tong Zhong 香草麵包

The recipe for this bread originates from a small Jewish community near Tunisia. I figured instead of making egg-related foods for Easter, I would make this bread. The aroma of onion and fresh dill is irresistible!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday, February 10, 2017

Crème brûlée 法式燉蛋

Three simple ingredients--egg, cream and sugar--make this an incredible popular and yummy dessert. The addition of vanilla bean or extract (and liqueur, like rum or Grand Marnier ) makes it more flavorful. Just in time to make it for your Valentine!

Another aspect which makes this a welcome dessert is that it can be made ahead of time. Just add sugar and burn with a torch, then a caramelized crunchy top and silky custard is ready to be enjoyed!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2017 Cooking Demonstration Programs

The new year is a time for reflection and planning for the days ahead. As I looked back the past 5 years of doing cooking programs in LA county libraries, I am thankful for all the opportunities to share my passion for cooking with everyone who attended. With support from many libraries and their patrons, I was able to do over 60 programs with approximately 2100 in attendance.

As for plans for the new year, below is a list of future programs. Some have been confirmed while others are still in the planning stage. Visit or like my Facebook page to stay updated. Or visit Los Angeles County Library website.

1) Jan 28 Saturday at Temple City: Street Foods of Hong Kong: vegetarian lo mei and black sesame roll 香港街頭小食:齋鹵味、黑芝麻卷

2) Feb 9 Thursday at S. El Monte: Snowy Mooncake 冰皮月餅

3) Mar 4 Saturday at Clifton M. Brakensiek in Bellflower: Street Foods of Hong Kong: egg waffle 香港街頭小食: 雞蛋仔

4) Apr 8 Saturday at Maywood: Street Foods of Hong Kong: egg waffle and steamed rice cake 香港街頭小食: 雞蛋仔、缽仔糕

5) Apr 22 Saturday at Rosemead: Goldfish Niao Gao (new program) 錦鯉年糕()

6) Apr 29 Saturday at La Verne: Red Bean Pastry 紅豆酥

7) May 1 Monday at Los Nieto in Whittier: Pineapple Bun/Bo Law Bao 菠蘿包

8) May 6 Saturday at Hawthorne: Street Foods of Hong Kong: egg waffle and steamed rice cake 香港街頭小食: 雞蛋仔、缽仔糕

9) May 17 Wednesday at Sunkist in La Puente: Street Foods of Hong Kong: banana flavored roll 香港街頭小食: 香蕉糕

10) May 20 Saturday 2pm at Willowbrook in Los Angeles: Street Foods of Hong Kong: egg waffle and steamed rice cake 香港街頭小食: 雞蛋仔、缽仔糕

11) May 27 Saturday at La Mirada: Vegetarian Lo Mei and Pineapple Pastry 齋鹵味、鳳梨酥

12) June 10 Saturday at Leland R. Weaver in South Gate: BBQ Pork/Char Siu and Bo Law Bao 叉燒及菠蘿包

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Steamed Crab with Egg and Chinese Wine 花雕水蛋蒸蟹

Out of the many cooking classes I took in Hong Kong, I think this is the most simple and yet very delicious one. The flavors of the crab and egg blend very well together and the addition of the Chinese wine adds complex flavor! It will definitely wow your family and guests. You can twist the recipe a bit to suit your tastes and needs. Follow the tips and tricks below will guarantee you a silky and smooth steamed egg.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Journey of 365 三百六十五之旅

Long time no post! I think this must be my longest stretch without a post. Am I quitting? No, I am not giving up this blog....yet : )

I have been away to my homeland, Hong Kong. (Thanks to the historically low airfare--$365 non-stop round trip from Los Angeles to HK.) This month-long trip served a few purposes. One of them was to continue my culinary education. I had the opportunity to learn from the best chefs in HK.

Some of the classes I took were to learn how to make HK style milk tea 港式絲襪奶茶、Pan fried bao 生煎包、Chiu Chau Marinade 潮洲滷水、Hand pulled rice noodles, etc 布拉腸粉,等等....

"The more I learn, the more I know I don't know" 學而知不足

Hopefully I will have the chance to share with you in the near future, after I recover from jet lag.

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