Friday, April 18, 2014

Tea Eggs with Five Spices 五香茶葉蛋


There are certain things in life that really train or test your patience. If I were to rate which role would be the toughest test of patience, I would vote that being a parent is number one. I think many parents would be on my side. From taking care of an infant to parenting a teenager, there are endless challenges a parent has to face. It is through these trials that we all mature and grow up.

Another role that build up one's patience level is to be a cook. As it is said, no pain, no gain. To make a good meal, you simply have to put in time and effort. I am not referring to instant TV dinners or instant noodles. I have learned much about patience and perseverance through cooking and baking. Making yeast bread takes hours; aged dough takes days to mature; a successful batch of French macaron took me over ten trials to achieve.

Take these tea eggs as another trial of patience. Making hard boiled eggs does not require a lot of time nor patience. But to make delicious tea eggs, there is no shortcuts. In order for the marinade to infuse into the eggs, they have to sit overnight. Without patience, you will just have hard boiled eggs.

Remember, no shortcuts!!


Happy Easter


this little cute gadget can steam up to 10 eggs at a time with only half a cup of water
人生在世,如果你問我什麼事最須要耐性,不用考慮,我的回答是為人父母。從照顧初生嬰孩至與青少年溝通,真是少一丁點耐性也不行,不知做父母的你有否共鳴呢?

其次對耐性的一大考驗便是在廚房。所謂一分耕耘、一分收獲,你放多少時間及心血去泡製一道菜式,享用的人一定會知道。有很多食物的製造過程跟本是沒有捷徑的,例如做麵包便要有足夠的時間才能令酵母發輝它的功用,做老麵種更要用上幾天的時間,為了要成功做好馬卡龍我更做了十次以上 ! 真是少一點耐性也不行。

以這個簡單的五香茶葉蛋為例,烚雞蛋容易,但要做入味的茶葉蛋便沒有捷徑了。煲好雞蛋,再放入滷水浸,但如果缺乏耐性,未浸過夜讓其入味便進食,那麼味道便大打折扣了。

記住:沒有捷徑啊!

復活節快樂



Ingredients to make ten eggs:

10 eggs 雞蛋
4-5 cups of water 水
3 tbsp tea leaves of your choice 茶葉
1/3 cup soy sauce 生抽
2 tbsp dark soy sauce 老抽
2 star anise 八角
1 cinnamon stick 肉桂
1 tsp sugar 糖
2 tbsp five-spice powder 五香粉





1)  Make hard boiled eggs. Crack the egg shell but do not peel it off.
2)  In a large pot, put water and the rest of the ingredients and let it come to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let it boil for 15 minutes.
3)  Add the cracked eggs to the pot. Reduce heat to the lowest and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
4)  After an hour, boil the eggs again and turn off the heat. Repeat this step for 3 more times.
5)  Then let them sit in the pot overnight in room temperature.
6)  Remove the shell and enjoy.

先將蛋煮熟,將蛋殼敲碎。用大鍋將其餘材料煲滾,用中火煮十五分鐘至出味。放蛋入鍋內,用最小火煲十分鐘,熄火。一小時後,開火煮滾後熄火。重復多三次後過夜便可食用。





Friday, April 11, 2014

Chinese Pork Jerky with Fruity Flavor 果汁豬肉乾





I am a big fan of jerky. It is a great snack to have while watching TV or to serve in a party. However, instead of American store-bought flavors I more particularly like jerky styled after Chinese flavors. It is more juicy and flavorful. The last time I visited Hong Kong, I had a great time satisfying my appetite! Too bad meat products are prohibited from entering or leaving the country, or otherwise I would have filled up my bags with them.

Here in America, you can only buy jerky that is made in this country. Those Chinese brands that you see in Asian grocery stores most likely are not made overseas.

Making it at home is far simpler than you would expect, with a low failure rate. You can easily choose a flavor you like without adding sodium nitrate or any preservatives!

Pork Jerky with Black Pepper 黑椒豬肉乾


我愛豬肉乾,一邊看電視一邊食,樂也融融。但我偏愛吃中式的豬肉乾,乾中帶肉汁,越嚼越好味。反之美式的乾如柴,如同嚼蠟。如果不是海關有嚴例禁止肉類入口,上次返香港時我一定大量入貨! 在美國華人店舖的中式肉乾也是本地出產。

但喜歡食還喜歡食,市面上售賣的肉乾都有大量防腐劑,小食為妙。但如果能自己動手做,那麼便安心很多了。其實做法容易簡單,失敗率極低,口味又可自由調教,愛吃豬肉乾的不容錯過啊!


Ingredients to make about one pound of pork jerky:

1.5 lb minced pork, preferably all lean meat 碎豬肉,最好全瘦
1.5 tbsp soy sauce 鼓油
1 tbsp rice wine 米酒
3 tbsp fish sauce 魚露
6 tbsp sugar 糖
3 tbsp honey 蜜糖
0.5 tsp five spice powder 五香粉
1 tsp salt 鹽
3 tbsp strawberry jam 草莓果醬
3 tbsp orange juice 橙汁
1 tsp freshly ground pepper 糊椒粉



1)  Preheat oven to 400F.
2)  Cut pork into small cubes and ground in a food processor until it becomes a paste. If a processor is not available, chop by hand or buy minced pork.




3)  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly in the food processor or in a mixing bowl with a spatula. If mixing by hand, mix in one direction only.
4)  Put a piece of parchment paper on the counter and put the minced pork on top. Then lay a piece of plastic wrap on top. Roll the meat out with a rolling pin until it is very thin, about 3 mm.


5)  Remove the plastic wrap and put the meat, with the parchment paper still on the bottom, on a baking sheet. 


6)  Bake for 5 minutes. Using a tong, carefully lift the meat off of the parchment paper and flip it over to bake for another 5 minutes.


7)  Brush honey and bake for another 2 minutes.
8)  Turn to the other side and brush honey and bake for another 2 minutes.
9)  Let it cool to room temperature. Cut into small pieces. It can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days. Bring it out to room temperature before serving.


Note:

1)  It is normal for the meat to shrink and release some juice while baking.
2)  It is important to roll out the meat in even thickness. A rolling pin with rings on both ends helps to produce even thickness throughout the meat.
3)  The baking time is for your reference only. Thicker meat needs more time, thinner ones less time. Keep an eye while the meat is in the oven. It may burn easily because of the presence of honey and sugar.
4)  You can use other fruit jam and juice of your choice.




1)  預熱焗爐至四百度。
2)  瘦豬肉切粒,放入攪拌機攪爛。或買現成的免治豬肉也可。
3)  所有調味料加入肉漿內,向一個方向攪勻,攪至起膠。
4)  將一部份肉漿放在焗爐紙上,蓋上一張保鮮紙,用擀麵杖搟平,約三亳米厚。
5)  將肉漿連底紙放焗盤上,入爐焗五分鐘。
6)  小心將肉翻轉,再焗五分鐘。
7)  塗上適量蜜糖,焗二分鐘。
8)  翻轉,塗上適量蜜糖,焗二分鐘。
9)  待冷後切成小塊食用。蓋好放雪櫃三至五日內食用。


注意事項:
1)  肉漿焗後正常是會有少許收縮及出水現狀。
2)  肉漿要平均地擀開,在焗爐時才會受熱平均。太厚會變成焗肉餅啊 ^_^
3)  焗的時間要隨肉的厚薄自行調教。焗時要留心,因有糖及蜜糖,容易焗焦。
4)  可用其他果醬及果汁。





Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pistachio Cake with Orange Flavored Honey Whipped Cream 開心果蛋糕


The Mediterranean diet has been advocated by many nutritionists because it is low in saturated fat and high in dietary fiber. Statistics have also shown that a plant-based diet is good for the heart. Using olive oil instead of animal fat helps to lower cholesterol. Eating less red meat and more fish in addition to regular exercise contributes to a healthy life style.

Although they are high in fat, nuts are a key part in the Mediterranean diet because they contain good fats--omega 3 fatty acids. This cake is loaded with ground pistachios which gives it a lot of flavor and those healthy fats. In addition, the nutty flavor perfectly compliments and is accented by the orange scented honey cream.

What a cake to have to celebrate the arrival of Spring!

Ref: Mayo Clinic , Nutrition

很多營養師都對地中海飲食習慣大力推薦,原因是它主要是低飽和脂肪及高纖維,研究及統計顯示這種飲食對心臟健康有益無損。多用橄欖油可以減低膽固醇,少進食肉,多食魚類及多做運動都對健康有莫大益處。

堅果類食物是地中海飲食其中一大類別,它雖然也含有脂肪,但那是有益的脂肪,如奧米加三不飽和脂肪。這款蛋糕用了很多開心果,除了有益健康之外,也很好味啊,與橙味的蜜糖奶油很配合,用來迎接春天的來臨是最好不過!

Ingredients:

Cake:
100g unsalted, shelled pistachios 去殼無鹽開心果
115g powdered sugar 糖粉
30g cake flour 低筋粉
3 large eggs 大蛋
20g unsalted butter 無鹽牛油

Orange Flavored Honey Whipped Cream 橙味蜜糖奶油:
140g heavy whipping cream 奶油
1/4 tsp orange oil or 1 tsp Grand Marnier Orange Liquor 橙香油或橙酒
20g honey 蜜糖


1)  Roast the pistachios in a preheated 350F oven for 10 minutes. After they are cool, get as much skin off the nuts as possible by rubbing them between your fingers. Keep the oven on at 350F. Line a 10x10 inch pan with parchment paper.
2)  Using a food processor, grind the nuts together with 2 tbsp of the powdered sugar until fine.
3)  Melt the butter in a microwave and set aside to cool.
4)  Beat eggs with powdered sugar until the volume triples. Take a few tablespoons of this batter and mix with the melted butter. Pour the mixture back to the batter and gently fold until blended.
5)  Sift the cake flour into the batter and mix by folding.
6)  Add the pistachio mixture and fold until blended.


7)  Pour into the prepared pan and bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes. Let it cool on a rack.
8)  While the cake is baking, prepare whipped cream by putting the cold heavy cream, orange oil or liquor and honey in a cold bowl. Whip until a firm peak forms.
9)  Trim the cooled cake into quarters. Spread a third of the whipped cream onto one layer. Lay another layer on and repeat with the whipped cream. Refrigerate for a few hours. Cut into small sections to serve.

1)  將開心果放入350度焗爐焗十分鐘,冷後除去外衣。焗爐仍然維持於350度。在一個十乘十寸焗盤上放焗爐紙。
2)  用食物攪拌器將開心果與兩湯匙糖粉磨至幼滑。
3)  牛油放微波爐加熱成液體。
4)  蛋加糖粉打至體積增至三倍,取幾湯匙與牛油溶液混和,再與其餘蛋漿混合。
5)  再加入低筋粉,攪勻。
6)  最後加入開心果碎拌勻,便可倒入焗盤,焗約十二至十四分鐘便成。
7)  取出放架上待涼。
8)  凍奶油加入橙香油及蜜糖,打至硬身便可用。
9)  將蛋糕切成四份,用三份一奶油塗在一份蛋糕上,放上另一件,再塗奶油,如是者做成四層,放雪櫃幾小時後便可切小塊食用。







Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lava Custard Bao 流沙包


Dim Sum Series, part 5:

This is another classic steamed bao in dim sum restaurants. I think it is a rather recent addition because I do not recall having it before I immigrated to the US. I still remember my embarrassing moment when I first encountered it. It was quite messy because the custard just burst out like lava from an volcano. The salted duck yolk in the custard adds a different dimension of flavor. It is an amazing and wonderful experience.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Chinese Steamed Cake Ma Lai Gao 古法馬拉糕


Dim Sum Series, part 4:

This steamed cake is called ma lai gao. I have tried a few recipes using different ways to leaven the cake batter: beating whole eggs (physical), using yeast (biological) and/or baking soda/powder (chemical). None of the above gave me a satisfactory result.

The average maximum heat a household steamer can generate is about 212F/100C. This temperature is so much lower than the usual 350F/180C oven temperature used in baking a cake. It means that the way the cake batter is prepared is a crucial factor in determining whether it is a dense or soft cake.

I kept telling myself that there must be a way to make a fluffy and moist steamed cake. So, as a last resort, I went back to the traditional method: using an aged (prefermented) dough. This is a combination of biological and chemical methods. By making an aged dough (similar to a levain in making a sourdough bread), natural yeast and bacteria are cultivated. Later on, baking soda is added to balance the pH level. Leavening is provided by the yeast and baking powder. Although egg beating is not required in this recipe, some patience and time is required :).... However, you will be rewarded with a steamed melt-in-your-mouth cake that was achieved without the addition of lard (commonly used in restaurants).



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Matcha Pastry 旋風綠茶酥


Dim Sum Series, part 3:

Matcha is just another name for green tea, right? This is what I always thought, until I recently attended a food show in Northern California. The Fancy Food Show is an international food show offered twice a year: San Francisco hosts during winter while New York City hosts the summer show. With over a thousand exhibits from all over the world, it is an exciting time for all those related to food industry, whether you are a retailer or wholesaler, or somewhere in between. New trends, products and tastes are often introduced during the show.



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dual Color Dumplings 雙色蒸餃


This is the second post on the dim sum series. Click here for the other post.

These little dumplings are also known as pomegranate dumplings because their shapes are like little pomegranate. I love the transparent wrapper with crisp green color which is made from the juice of spinach, all natural. 


Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 Library Demonstrations Line Up 新一年度烘焙示範陣容



2013 has been a very busy and fruitful year for me. From the surrounding San Gabriel Valley communities to more distant beach communities, I have made new friends and met enthusiastic library patrons through 17 different baking demonstration programs. Through the coordination of many different librarians, I was able to share my passion in baking and Chinese heritage with a diverse population. They were made possible through county funding and non-profit organizations and were successful because of your participation!

In addition to the current programs (pineapple bun, snowy mooncake, wife cake and egg tart), this year I have added two new items to the library cooking demonstration programs in Los Angeles county public library: homemade char siu/BBQ Pork and Chinese Pineapple Cake/Pastry.

Below is a list for the first half of the year. If you are in the area, come join me. For more information, click on the library closest to you.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Steamed Char Siu Bao 蠔皇叉燒包


Happy New Year to all my blog readers!

As this blog approaches its fourth year, I would like to start a new seriesThis is the first post on the dim sum series, with more to follow. Stay tuned.

Every time I go to a dim sum restaurant, char siu bao (BBQ pork bun) is one of my must-have dishes. Inside the white, fluffy, and sweet bao is char siu with oyster sauce. It is so easy to gobble one down in less than a minute. Believe it or not, I have been trying to make a decent char siu bao on and off for more than three years.



Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Quail Egg Croquettes 鵪鶉蛋薯蓉球


What is a croquette? If you search it up online, you would get "a small cake or ball of minced meat, poultry, or fish or of rice, potato, often coated with beaten egg and bread crumbs and fried in deep fat." (dictionary.com)

Its French root "croquer" means "to crunch". But since its French birth, there have been many many varieties from many many countries trying to give it a new twist. In this version, I attempted to bake it for a healthier version in comparison to deep frying it. My food critics at home gave them thumbs up. This is a great party and finger food.

See which version you like!


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