Saturday, October 30, 2010

Macaron--a life lesson learned (updated with recipe)

Chocolate Macarons

I have a love-hate relationship with macarons. I love it because it is so beautiful and yummy, but I also hate it because it is so finicky to make. It took me more than 10 times to get it right and give me consistent results. If you ask 10 bakers what is the most challenging or difficult thing to bake, I bet 9 of them would say: macaron. It is made up of 3 simple ingredients: almond flour, egg white and sugar. But it is hard to conquer. Cracked tops, no "feet", hollow shells...and there are so many factors affecting the outcome, like quality of egg white, almond flour, humidity of the kitchen, over beating or under beating, over folding or under folding, baking temperature...Long story short, just before declaring defeat, my son said, "Don't quit, mom! They are so good." I said, "Ok, one last try."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

BBQ Pork/Char Siu 南乳叉燒

Char Siu with Red Sauce

I love it when the supermarket has pork butt for sale. It means we can have homemade char siu. It is important not to use the part of pork that is too lean; otherwise it will get very tough. Pork shoulder or butt is ideal since it has some, not too much, fat in between the lean meat.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Whole Wheat Tong Zhong Bread 全麥湯種麵包

Tong Zhong Bread 全麥湯種麵包

What is Tong Zhong ? There are many ways to make bread: straight dough method, sponge method, pate ferment, biga, poolish, etc., but Tong Zhong is almost never heard of in the world of bread making (especially artisan bread making). This type of bread making originates from Japan. It means a warm or dilute batter. This soft texture suits Asians' palette. Besides its soft pillowy texture, it has a very long shelf life as well. Yvonne Chan wrote a book called "65C Tong Zhong Bread" (in Chinese only).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Whole Wheat Pizza with Flaxseed

A few years ago, before I start playing with yeast, I went to my son’s friend's birthday party. One of the party foods served was pizza, not ordered but homemade pizza. I remembered my first reaction was, "wow, you made pizza!!" The mom responded,"it is not that difficult to make." I did not believe her…until I made my own. And now I understand why there are so many pizza parlors/take outs. Easy to make and most people just save the hassle by picking up the phone to order it. But by making it on my own, I can put anything, I mean anything, on it. I’ve tried putting some leftover roast duck meat and BBQ pork on it. Kind of like fusion food, Chinese and Italian.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Grand Opening

I'm not a procrastinator. But I've been postponing this for a long time. Why ? Don't know exactly. Maybe just a bit paranoid about the blog's world. In the past 3 years, I've been reading other people's blogs almost daily--mainly cooking and baking sites. I learn a lot. There are good blogs out there and also not so good blogs.

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