Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Chocolate Expresso Dacquoise 朱古力咖啡杏仁蛋白餅


I had a hard time finding the English or Chinese translations for "dacquoise" (pronounced da-kwaz). Basically, it is a meringue baked with ground nuts, such as almonds or hazelnuts, for an extended amount of time in a warm (250F)--not hot--oven. Usually it is left inside the oven to further dry out the meringue resulting a crisp texture. The aroma of almonds from the oven is irresistible! It is then layered with an expresso flavored buttercream and dark chocolate ganache. Both of them blend so well to make a delicious dacquoise!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Cake Pops 聖誕蛋糕棒棒


I guess everyone is familiar with popsicle or icicle but how about cake pop? Instead of using fruit juice or ice cream to put on a stick, it is basically a stick with cake crumbs and frosting. It has been around for a while and mainly popular among the younger demographic. It can be molded into different shapes and decorated with colorful candies or other edible ornaments. No wonder it is so warmly welcomed by the kids. Instead of making cookies for Christmas, it is a nice change to make cake pops!


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Another Great Year--2nd Anniversary 两週年慶


Do you have a dream? I would describe myself more as a down-to-earth person than a dreamer. Why? Maybe too many unfulfilled dreams or unattained goals? But we all know that having a goal or dream is important to press a person to go forward. Being a Christian, I believe in the sovereignty of the loving God over my life.

Looking back this year, there are things that happened in my life that I never dreamt of. Being an introvert and a low key person, I do not like being under the spotlight. If given a choice, I would prefer to be a listener than a speaker. I would never dream of myself doing a cooking demonstration in a public library. Days before the event, I tried to prepare myself, thinking the better prepared I was, the less nervous I would be. But no matter how well prepared I was, I was still very nervous. Ultimately, the performance was far from ideal....However, the demonstration was well received. The audience was very interested and this outcome was way better than I anticipated. And in the following months, five more libraries sent me invitations...I never dreamt something like this would happen!



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Konjac Jelly with Fresh Osmanthus 桂花水晶糕


Last time when I made Osmanthus Jelly, I can only used store bought dried osmanthus. But this time I am fortunate to have some freshly picked flowers! Thanks to my friend Josephine Tse who has an osmanthus tree in her backyard.



Friday, November 16, 2012

Food Additives 人造色香味


"Plasticiser", "black water", "science bread"...you may not know about these terms but you may have consumed them without even knowing it. They might well be "legitimate" to be added to the food we buy and consumed. But our body is designed and built to eat real food, not food additives, in order to function normally. The advancement of modern science is breaking new grounds every day. New technology is no doubt creating a brighter future for our next generation. Food science helps prolong the shelf life of many foods so that in this global market, we can enjoy them from around the world. Food additives enhance the texture, color, taste and shelf life of many processed foods. Technology even can create fake food that tastes, looks and smells exactly like real food.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ginger Ice Cream, Again 薑汁雪糕,捲土重來


If you are one of my friends who have tried the black sesame ice cream and raved about it, you would scream about this new ginger ice cream. My previous black sesame ice cream recipe is easy and simple with no cooking involved yet is creamy and easy to scoop. This recipe involves a little bit of cooking and more ingredients. This little extra effort is worth it; it results in minimal ice crystal formation, and therefore creamier and silkier ice cream.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Osmanthus Jelly 桂花馬蹄糕


I think this is my first time using flowers in food. The Chinese have a long history of using osmanthus to make dessert. If you watch Chinese dramas or movies, you will notice that it is one of the most popular desserts that are served to the royal families. It is most famous for its sweet and pleasant fragrance. It also has the properties to improve skin tone and complexion.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pig Ear Terrine 豬耳凍



I was a little bit surprised when I read the newspaper last Saturday. In the food section, it featured a recipe and article about a dish using pig's ear. As with recipes including chicken feet, dishes with pig's ear is not popular among Americans. However, it may not be too foreign to you if you are a descendant of Asia. (My American born kids love to have chicken feet, pig ear, tongue, stomach and beef tripe.)


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Almond Tiles 杏仁瓦片



These crispy cookies are addictive. They are not just light and crunchy but relatively healthier than other cookies because they are loaded with almonds.  They are also called Lacy Curved Almond Wafers or Crisps. It all depends on how you shape them after they come out of the oven. If you lay them out flat, they become crisp and flat. If you put them on a rolling pin, they will curve like a roof tile. No matter how they are shaped, they are equally yummy.

這些杏仁薄脆真的會食上瘾,它香脆可口,用了很多杏仁,比起一般曲奇有益健康些少。它可以做成薄薄的一片,又或者焗完之後立刻放在擀麵杖上便可以做成彎彎的瓦片,無論是什麽的造形,都一樣好食!


Friday, October 12, 2012

Dark Chocolate Truffle Mochi 軟心朱古力麻糬


I do not like to waste food. I remember when I was young, my parents always made me finish every grain of rice in my bowl. They had been through war times and experienced what real hunger is like. It is amazing how one's experience will shape your world view. I think I have inherited this good habit. (But somehow it is hard for my children to pick up this good trait!)

After making numerous snowy mooncakes in the past few weeks, I have some leftover skin in the fridge. I do not want to put it in the trash but I have no more filling to make more mooncakes. So an idea came to me. Why don't I use it to wrap dark chocolate ganache and make truffle mochi! It turns out that my family loves this indulgent snack!


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Holiday Baking Classes 節日蛋糕甜點班


It's hard to believe that Fall is already here when Southern California's temperature is still in the triple digits. But Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holidays will be here in no time. It also means that family gatherings and party celebrations will fill our calendar. Do you want to impress your friends or guests with a homemade dessert this year ? Mark down on your calendar the following dates (or iPhone, iPad).


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy Mid Autumn Festival ! 中秋節快樂 !


I am happy to share with you some of the pictures of the classes that were held during the past two weekends. I was overwhelmed by the responses after I made the announcement to have the mooncake classes. Because of the size of my kitchen and the limited supply of the mooncake mold, I felt sorry to turn down some who wanted to come. Anyway, thank you for all your interest and support.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chicken in a Pot with Garlic and Preserved Lemon 惹味雞煲


There are a few things in making this dish that I have never done before. First, this is my first time baking a chicken using a Dutch oven (cast iron pot). It was far easier than I anticipated it to be. After browning the chicken and slightly sautéing the vegetables, just put every thing in the pot and stick it in the oven. Then you will have a room filled with a delicious aroma in about an hour and dinner is ready.
Secondly, I never used this much garlic in a dish: 4 heads (about 30-35 cloves). The cloves are separated with the skin still attached. Perhaps it is what makes it so tasty without an overwhelming garlic flavor. 
Last but not least is preserved lemon. I made preserved kumquats for a remedy for sore throat but never preserved lemon. But to my surprise, it adds a distinct flavor to the chicken. I was also surprised as to how much more delicious and flavorful the leftovers are the day after. Maybe next time I should resist the temptation to eat it right away!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Snowy Moon Cake Class 冰皮月餅班


It has been a while since I conduct cooking classes. I have been busy doing baking demonstration in various libraries. But Mid August Festival is coming up on September 30 and many friends have shown interests in making this lovely moon cake, so I decide to open three classes:


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Black Sesame Ice Cream 黑芝麻雪糕


What a way to enjoy dessert the healthy way--whole grain ice cream! Store-bought black sesame ice cream can never come close to this homemade version. The aroma of the freshly toasted sesame is what makes it distinct. Dessert usually appeals to us with presentation, color or other arrangements. But this ice cream's wonderful aroma is amazingly tempting and appetizing. I almost could not wait for it to harden before digging into it.
This recipe is not custard based (no egg yolk) therefore it does not involve any cooking. How easy and simple can it get!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mango Konjac Jelly 香芒水晶果凍


I just can't get away without making dessert with mango in summer time. This attractive transparent jelly is made with konjac/konnyaka powder. After some searches in the internet, I learn that it is a super healthy natural food that have numerous benefits to our body. It has been consumed over a thousand years in China and Japan. It has the highest viscosity soluble fiber in nature that makes it the ideal natural food to lower blood sugar (click here for more information). The texture is a bit different from gelatin or agar agar. It sets up very fast compared to the two. So make sure every thing is ready before you start making it. This is super easy to make and it will be great to make it with kids !

炎炎夏日,怎可沒有冰涼的飯後甜品呢? 正在當造的芒果是做這款甜點的首選,這個凍糕我採用了蒟蒻粉,它晶瑩剔透,十分吸引,更能增加食慾。它的質感與魚膠粉及大菜有別,十分獨特,值得一試 ! 蒟蒻在中國及日本有過千年歷史,是一種十分健康的天然食品,對糖尿病患者尤其有幫助(詳細資料請點擊這裏)。 這款甜品超容易做,更是親子活動的好機會 !


Monday, August 6, 2012

More Demos to Come 免費示範陸續有來


For those who are interested in attending the Bo Law Bao Demonstration but missed the previous ones, here is great news: there are two more chances in September:

9/8/12 Saturday at 2pm in Rowland Heights Library
9/22/12 Saturday at 2pm in El Monte Library

Parking may be a bit tight on 9/8/12 because it is the Centennial Celebration of Los Angeles County Library. Please come early.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mango Mille Crêpes 香芒千層薄餅


What comes to your mind when you hear the word "cake"? Sweet, soft, something made with flour, eggs, sugar, oil/fat and then baked? According to the Webster dictionary, a cake is "a breadlike food made from a dough or batter that is usually fried or baked in small flat shapes and is often unleavened."
I think this is the first time I make a cake that is not baked but fried. It is called Gâteau de Crêpes in French or Mille Crêpes. Essentially it is a stack of 15-20 plus very thin crêpes with pastry cream or jam spread in between. It is not served at breakfast as Americans do with pancakes but enjoyed as a dessert.
I was a bit shocked to see the price tag of a 9 inch Mille Crêpe Cake sold in a fancy cake shop in New York City (Lady M $75-80). The ingredients are nothing extraordinary. But it does take skill, patience and time to fry those twenty plus pieces of paper thin crêpes. It took me about 30 minutes to fry a batch. After that, just layer with whatever flavored pastry cream you prefer. I picked mango for this one, but you might like strawberry, dark chocolate ganache, vanilla or green tea better. The batter of this French crêpe is much thinner than our regular American pancake batter. Just remember to fry it as thin as possible for best texture.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Matcha Mousse Cake 綠茶慕絲蛋糕


Matcha always gives me a light and refreshing feeling. It's also great when I infuse it into a mousse cake. The addition of Italian meringue makes it very light and smooth.

我很喜歡綠茶那種清新的口味,用它來做慕絲蛋糕讓人有一種飄然的感覺,再加入意式蛋白霜,更加令到它有軟滑之口感。

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Korean Kimbap 韓式紫菜飯卷 김밥


It has been a pleasant summer so far in Southern California, compared to the rest of the country where triple digit temperature has been prevailing. We have been blessed by marine layers from the Pacific Ocean which serve as a natural air conditioner to keep us around 80F for most of Los Angeles.
On hot summer days, light meals with easy to fix ingredients are preferred, like kimbap, a Korean dish similar to California rolls. It is fun to make (my daughter LOVES to do it) and easy to eat. It can be an appetizer or side dish. You can make kimbap whenever you don't feel like cooking. The ingredients do not need any cooking, except the fried egg and rice, but like the rest of the ingredients, it can be replaced with other foods of your choice. It can also be completely vegetarian.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Dark Chocolate Truffles with Mocha 摩卡朱古力軟心糖


Some people do not consider chocolate as candy. I am one of them. If I were to label it as a candy, I would say it is candy from heaven. More and more studies prove that chocolate is a healthy food. It is loaded with antioxidants that counteract the damage done by the oxidative stress in our bodies. It can also reduce the risk of heart disease by improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure. Polyphenols, which are abundant in dark chocolate and cocoa powder, is the same antioxidants found in tea.  A recent study published by the British Medical Journal showed that a daily consumption of 3.5 oz of dark chocolate reduces the chances of having a heart attack.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hand Painted Matcha Cake Roll 手繪抹茶蛋糕卷


This pattern is easier to make than I thought. It is one of the designs from Junko's cake roll book that I bought. I couldn't wait to try them all !

這個圖案是我從Junko的書上跟著做的,看似很難,但其實又很容易,真是想每個圖案及設計都去試試!



Monday, June 11, 2012

Baking for a Good Cause 義賣籌款


I have never done any fundraising with my baking in the past. This time I am doing it to raise funds for various short term mission teams at my church. Although I am not physically going to a mission field, by doing what God makes me do best is another great way to participate.
Baking 100 macarons and 100 cups of tiramisu is a big project. I have been planning for days. The most challenging part is to determine how many ingredients to prepare.

我從未用烘焙成品來作籌款,今次是為了幫助教會短宣隊作籌募經費之用,雖然我本身未能親身成行去到宣教工場,但能夠用神給我在烘焙上的恩賜去服事也都是美事啊。
要做一百個馬卡龍及一百杯提拉米蘇須要調詳的計劃及準備,其中最具挑戰性的是決定要買多少材料。

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Whole Wheat Bread with Goji Berries 全麥湯種杞子包


Goji berries, or wolfberries, have been around for centuries; even longer in China. It is prized as the anti-aging food. It has properties to improve vision, boost the immunity system and even to help fight cancer. Goji berries' health benefits are endless.

There are many culinary uses. They can either be used in savory or sweet dishes. I usually use goji berries in Chinese soup. It is also good for making jello-like desserts or pudding. Now instead of using raisins in bread, why not make it even more nutritious and healthy by using goji berries?


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Croissant with Grapeseed oil 牛角包,健康版


I love to have croissants because of their flaky, buttery layers. But every time I have to constrain myself not to have too many because of their high fat content. However, this isn't the case if they are made with more healthy grapeseed oil (but the flakiness has to be compromised a little)! 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Walnut and Cranberry Biscotti with Cornmeal 義大利脆餅


After making a few "R" rated desserts (Ginger Ice Cream and Lemon Chiffon Cake with Ginger Mousse) for adult consumption, how about "R" rated cookies for grown ups--I mean biscotti. These twice baked cookies have a lot of variations and are good keepers, but they usually are gone in a short time at my home.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

No more shrinkage ! 不再回縮

light cheesecake after the shock treatment

This is another great illustration on how understanding science helps me to be a better baker. Ever since I started baking cakes, especially light cheesecake, the issue of shrinkage always bothered me. I carefully and diligently beat up the egg white to stiff peaks and folded it in with the batter. I hoped that the air that was incorporated would expand due to the oven's heat and produce a nice and fluffy cake. But I was disappointed to notice the cake gradually shrank after a few minutes out of the oven.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Ginger Ice Cream 薑汁雪糕


Another "R" rated dessert that is grade "A!" Ever since I made the Lemon Chiffon Cake with Ginger Mousse, I fell in love with making desserts with ginger. Out of the numerous varieties and flavors of ice cream in the market, I have never tried ice cream with ginger. It is a rare flavor. But it is very refreshing, bright, crisp and at the same time spicy, sweet and creamy. The refreshing taste just lingers in the throat after eating.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Upcoming Free Demos 免費示範預告


多謝大家的支持,免費菠蘿包示範再度卷土重來。今次我很榮幸被另外四間在聖蓋博谷的公衆圖書館邀請,再與大家分享做包的心得。詳情及地址請點擊圖書館名稱,希望到時見到您 !

Thanks to all your support. Bo Law Bao demonstration is back by popular demand. I am honored to be invited by four more libraries in the San Gabriel Valley to share my baking passion in the coming months. If you missed my last demo in Diamond Bar Library, here are more chances. Mark your calendar:



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Steamed Rice with Chicken in Lotus Leaf 荷葉蒸雞飯


This is a dish that is relatively easy to cook, even though it sounds complex. The lotus leaf I use is dried and is available at Chinese grocery stores. It's a pity there aren't any fresh lotus leaves around to buy; it will greatly enhance the flavor and aroma of the rice. If you can get any fresh lotus leaf, by all means use it.

This is one of those dishes where you don't really have to go by a "recipe" because it can't really go wrong if you don't exactly follow the steps. Let your creativity and sense of taste be your guide. You can substitute chicken with any meat. Marinate it the way you want (usually with salt, sugar, cornstarch and oil). Instead of using water to cook the rice, you can use chicken broth for more flavor.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lemon Chiffon Cake with Ginger Mousse 薑汁慕絲雪紡蛋糕


If there were a movie rating for desserts or cakes, I would rate this cake an "R"--adults only! Kids may be too young to appreciate ginger's pungent sensation. This is why I only made two small (4 inches) cakes. My husband raved about it after one bite and would not share with me.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Matcha Macarons 抹茶馬卡龍


It's been such a long time since I've made macarons that I almost forgot how to make them! I admit that I have a love/hate relationship with macarons. I love them because they are so attractive and delicious with all the different colors and yummy fillings. But at the same time they are such a pain to make. If the oven temperature is a bit high or they aren't dry enough, they may crack on top. If you bake them a minute less, you can't even remove them in a whole piece. If you didn't mix it right, the little "feet" may not come out. No wonder they fetch a premium price among bakery items and not too many bakeries have them on the menu. But at the same time, it is so rewarding and satisfying if they come out well!


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls in Puff Pastry 香酥肉桂卷


I like the appealing fragrance of cinnamon. I am also addicted to its delicate and warm flavor. Not only does it smell good, cinnamon also has some incredible health benefits. Its properties can lower blood sugar, cholesterol, fight infection and inflammation. One study showed that just by smelling it would help cognitive function and memory. Sounds amazing, doesn't it?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cocktail Bao 雞尾包


I remember the name of this bao scared my kids when they were young. "Mom, how can you eat a bun that has cocktail in it?" Many adults may be misled by its name as well. But I think if you are from Hong Kong, you know exactly what it is. Just like bo law bao/pineapple bun which has no pineapple, cocktail bao has no cock's tail in it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mont Blanc 蒙布朗


It is not the fine writing pen you are thinking of (if you Google the term, it is what comes up on the first page). It is the highest mountain in the Alps. A pastry chef (not sure he was French or Italian. Probably French.) was inspired by it to create this famous dessert in the fifteenth century. It has a cake base with Chantilly cream in the middle, topped with a creamy chestnut puree. Since it has a long history, many different versions or variations are available. The Japanese have made it with pumpkin and taro puree. However, I still prefer to make the original with yummy chestnut puree.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Yellow Pea Pudding with Coconut Milk 椰汁馬荳糕



This is one of my all time favorite Chinese desserts. If I remember it right, I have had this recipe since high school! The fact that it's still in my recipe binder proves that it is valuable and passed the test of time. Most recipes out there use cornstarch alone as a thickening agent. But I do not like this mushy texture. My recipe has a good ratio of agar and cornstarch. Instead of being mushy, it has a good springiness to it.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Green Tea Cake Roll 綠茶蛋卷



Going green is a global trend. It is not just good for the environment but it is also good for our health. There is increasing evidence that drinking green tea is beneficial to our bodies. Green tea is also helpful in weight loss as well. (Click here for more information) No wonder the Japanese, who are heavy green tea drinkers, are generally slimmer and look younger than other ethnic groups.

I bought a bag of green tea powder/matcha powder from an Asian grocery store but it does not have any flavor or color. Then, I recently bought a different bottle from a Japanese store. Although it is expensive ($10/ounce), its flavor is very intense and the color is much more vivid than the other one from the grocery store. Sometimes, it is a waste of money to buy imitations. :(



Monday, February 27, 2012

Public Event Snap Shots 公開活動花絮


I was honored to be invited to do a demonstration on how to make bo law bao last weekend in Diamond Bar Library. It was my wildest dream that I would be sharing my passion in baking in a county library. I met many enthusiastic friends who liked the demonstration and asked a lot of questions.

Monday, February 20, 2012

White Toast --100th post 冰種方包


One hundred is a good number. This is my blog's 100th post. I have been thinking what I should post to celebrate the event....since I started with making bread, I should do it with bread.

I am not a cookbook reviewer nor a sales person, but when I use a recipe that I like, sharing with others is natural for me. I usually will check out the local library for cookbooks before buying it from a bookstore to keep in my personal library. Even though my local library has a large collection of cookbooks, Chinese cookbooks constitute a very small percentage.  Recently I purchased some Chinese cookbooks from Hong Kong (thanks to my friend Jennifer who also got me a few other goodies from Hong Kong). Besides the book about making beautiful hand painted cake rolls, this is another one.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

O My Sweet Heart 甜心朱古力撻



Every festival in every culture has its own food: cabbage and corned beef on St. Patrick's Day,  pumpkin and candy on Halloween, turkey on Thanksgiving, champagne on New Year, etc. You get the picture.

How can we have Valentine's Day without chocolate !

Do you believe in love at first sight ? The first time I looked at the picture of this chocolate ganache tartlets in a cookbook, I fell in love with them and wanted to make them for Valentine's Day. These colorful meringue hearts are so pretty and they are made with egg white and sugar.



Saturday, January 28, 2012

QQ Korean Bread 韓國麵包



According to the census, California is one of the states which has the largest population of Asians in the country. Besides Chinese people, there is a large population of Koreans in Los Angeles. Here in Diamond Bar, Korean restaurants and grocery stores are very popular as well. My kids are very fond of Korean cuisine such as Korean BBQ ribs and tofu pots. My girl even studies Korean as a foreign language at high school. The wall of her room is filled with the posters of her favorite band "Infinite".

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chinese New Year Cake 錦鯉年糕


I don't usually make a New Year Cake because my family prefers turnip pudding for Chinese Lunar New Year. But I couldn't help not to try out this cute fish mold that I bought while vacationing in Toronto last summer.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dragon Cake Roll 彩龍蛋糕卷



I believe baking is science, but at the same time it is a work of art. Having good presentation can make what you cook have a whole world of difference. After all, we are built to be attracted by what we see. If you put in front of some children two differently presented dishes composed of the same food, most, if not all, of the children will pick the one that is beautiful, attractive and thoughtfully presented. It is just human nature.



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Slow Baked Pork Baby Back Ribs 香焗豬肋排骨



"If you cook, your family will eat dinner together.
If you cook, you will naturally have a more sustainable household.
If you cook, you'll set a lifelong example for your children.
If you cook, you'll understand what goes into food and eat more healthily.
If you cook, you'll make your home an important place in your life.
If you cook, you'll make others happy.
If you cook, people will remember you."

                                                              ~Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs

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