Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chocolate Lava Cake,part 1 朱古力心太軟, 上集

Chocolate Lava Cake, Molten Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Volcano Cake...they all refer to this:

A chocolate cake with a liquid chocolate inside. It just flows out when you break it open with a fork. A chocolate ganache is refrigerated until it hardens, then after filling a ramekin or small cup with the cake batter, it is put in the middle and covered again with the batter and then baked. The heat will melt the chocolate inside just enough so that when it is served, it will flow out like lava or volcano.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Buns using Tong Zhong

Cinnamon buns are another favorite enriched bread for my family. I used whole wheat to make the bread more nutritious. Once again, this is the advantage of DIY.

Ever attracted by the aroma of freshly baked cinnamon buns or pretzels at the shopping mall? It is hard to resist, right? I think those stores are strategically placed, not in the food court, but all throughout the mall so that the aroma can easily reach the shoppers.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Red Bean Bao 紅豆包

When I go to chinese bakery, there are three types of bread that I always get: bo law bao, red bean bao and coconut bao. But I have not been to one for quite a while....

I always wonder how the bakery chef shapes the red bean and coconut baos. Then I came across a chinese cook book that has pictures to show the technique.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chocolate Chestnut Cake 朱古力栗子蛋糕

I'm glad that my birthday is in winter because it is the season for chestnuts. Chestnut cream cake is my favorite cake second to chocolate cake. I can't really find a bakery that makes good chestnut cake around my area. It either doesn't have much chestnut in it or the chestnut doesn't taste like chestnut at all  : (

I've tried making my own chestnut puree, but it is just too much work: crack open the outer skin, boil the chestnut and remove the inner skin (that's the most tedious part) then puree it...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Baked Char Siu Bao 焗叉燒包

Baked Char Siu Bao
Every time I make char siu, usually I make more so that there will be leftover for char siu bao. My hubby likes savory bao more than sweet bun. It is very good to have it for breakfast or afternoon snack. I made whole wheat tang zhong with flax seed as the dough to add more nutritional values.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hokkaido Milk Toast 北海道牛奶吐司

I have never been to Japan, but I know that the dairy from Hokkaido is very famous. They have a special kind of beef which can fetch more than $20/pound. Although I don't have the privilege to try the beef, I still can make the bread recipe that derived from Hokkaido ! You can, too !

Monday, December 6, 2010

Egg Tart in Puff Pastry 酥皮蛋撻

Egg tart is one of my all time favorite pastries. It is best to have it right out of the oven (maybe after a few minutes to cool ^_^). The egg custard is sweet and soft while the crust is buttery and crisp. I prefer puff pastry crust to cookie crust. Those layers of crust are just superb and irresistible. The way to make the crust is the same as other puff pastries in which a slab of butter is sandwiched in between a dough and rolled out. But for this type of crust, the slab of butter is mixed with some flour before rolling out with the flour dough.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Guilt-free Chocolate Chiffon Cake 朱古力雪纺蛋糕

This chocolate chiffon cake has been rated the best in my household for a chiffon cake. Light and full of chocolate flavor, this cake can be served plain or with chocolate ganache glaze or whipped cream. Chiffon cake is often preferred over other buttery cakes because it is free of animal fat and therefore much healthier. Whatever way, it is good as a dessert or an afternoon snack.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Turnip Pudding 臘味蘿蔔糕

This is the season for turnip and various squash. This recipe for turnip pudding has been my favorite for over 20 years...( I started early in the kitchen, when I was 13) The texture is just right, not too mushy, not too hard. You can eat it right after steaming or cut out a thick slice and fry it in a pan. My picky eaters at home do not eat other turnip dishes but they can finish this in no time.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stuffed Mushrooms with Ground Pork 焗釀磨菇

This is a very simple and easy to do dish. It is a great appetizer to any dinner. You can also use different ingredients for the stuffing. For this one I used ground pork, but ground beef or sausages(without casings) can be used as well. Chopped onions and green onions will be great additions as well ( I did not include them because of one of my picky eaters does not like them).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tiramisu 提拉米蘇

It is time to count our blessings. This year I am very thankful to God for giving me the ability and determination to launch this blog. For those who know me, I'm not a computer person. I use it mainly to send emails, Google once in a while and check out what my friends are up to on Facebook. For me to be able to set up this blog is a real BIG STEP. It doesn't mean that I'm an expert now.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Meat Lasagna

I like to cook. Cooking is fun and it is especially fulfilling when others enjoy the food. But to decide what to cook is another story. If you are like me, the main chef of the house, you must know what I mean. I rarely repeat what I cook day after day. Variety is important to me and my family. No one likes to eat the same food day after day.

Friday, November 19, 2010

French Apple Cake 法式蘋果蛋糕

In different seasons there are different cakes. In summer time, the abandunce of fruits becomes the center of attention: mango cake, blueberry pies, etc. Now comes fall and winter: apples and pumpkins become the stars. They are the main ingredients of pies. But I always wonder why there are not that many cook books that have recipes for making cake with apples.

Dorie Greenspan has a newly published book called, "Around my French Table".

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chocolate cake roll with whipped cream 朱古力蛋卷

One day I asked my son how often he wants to have cake. He answered, "As soon as we run out of cake!" What a cake lover! We as a family love chocolate. Chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cookies, chocolate macarons, chocolate chip name it.
This cake roll is a chiffon cake that bakes on a cookie sheet, spread with whipped cream and then rolled up. Rolling up a cake takes practice.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Roasted Pork Belly 脆皮燒煵肉

This is by far the most favorite meat dish of my family, comparable to char siu or BBQ pork. We ususally have it at least two times a month. The marinade is more simple than char siu, but you have to pay close attention when it is in the oven. There will be a lot of smoke due to the melting of fat from the pork belly. Make sure your vent hood is on or open the kitchen windows.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Double Chocolate Muffins with Flaxseed

I haven't made muffins for a long time. This morning my sister called me for a recipe I used and coincidentally my daughter asked me to make muffins as well in the afternoon. So I dug up the recipe and baked 12 muffins. When you look at the ingredients, you know that they are super healthy: whole wheat, flaxseed, wheat germ and no butter !

Thursday, November 11, 2010

French Baguette 法式麵包

I was looking for something in the pantry the other day and found an unopened bottle of extra virgin olive oil that I bought last year from an olive farm in Phoenix. Its shelf life only lasts for a year, so my daughter suggested to make baguettes to dip it in.

In a commercial setting, a baguette is baked in a steam oven that produces its crunchy crust.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Steamed Bun / Mantou 鮮奶饅頭



Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cream Puffs

I always wonder how a cream puff is made hollow inside. Did the baker scrape the inside and fill it up with cream ? After some research and reading, I finally crack the mystery. The dough is cooked with a lot of liquid and bake. The cooking and stirring enhance the development of gluten thus provide a good rise in the oven. The moisture is turned into steam and expand during baking. This in turn causes the dough to rise and turn hollow. This is food science, so interesting.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fresh Fruit Tart with Chocolate Pastry Cream 朱古力水果撻

I am supposed to make a birthday cake for my husband, but he wants something different. So I said, "How about a fruit tart?" I bought a fluted tart pan with a removable bottom a while ago but did not get a chance to use it. I read a few books from the local library and came up with this fresh mixed fruit tart with chocolate pastry cream. The tart pastry can be pre-made and needs to be refrigerated before rolling out.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hong Kong Style Egg Waffle 雞蛋仔 (updated with English)





Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pain de Mie/Sandwich Toast 帶蓋方包/吐司

Ah, those square corners ! I have been playing with the recipe for a while to get those perfect square toast for making sandwiches. Too much dough, it will overflow from the pan; not enough dough, it will not rise enough to reach the corners. The size of the pan is 11x4x4 inches. It is the size you can get in America. Bakers from Asia use a different size, I believe. The recipe follows is just good for the American pan.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bo Lo Bao (Pineapple Bun) 菠蘿包

Photo courtesy of Francis Ko and Eric Tsoi
Bo Lo Bao (Pineapple Bun)

It is an invention by Hong Kong bakers and very popular in this ex-English colony. The bun is soft and topped by a crunchy crust. It is often enjoy for breakfast and afternoon tea time. Do not be misled by the name. It does not have any pineapple in the ingredients. It gets the name because it looks like the outer skin of a pineapple.

There are many recipes around but they fail to make the crust crunchy. The traditional crust or top of Bo Lo Bao is made of sugar, eggs, ammonia bicarbonate, flour and lard. But the following recipe substitutes lard with butter for a slightly healthier version. Ammonia bicarbonate is not a common item on most grocery shelves so it is replaced by baking soda and baking powder as well. They produce the same delicious and crunchy texture.

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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