Friday, December 31, 2010

What to do with Whipped Cream

Gong Bao Ji Ding and He Tao Xia

Homemade Pickled Vegetable Fried Rice

Tofu Cheesecake with Honey

Monday, December 27, 2010

Creamy Polenta with Poached Egg and Bacon Mushrooms

Avocado Caprese

This salad is a twist on the classic caprese, using avocado, olives, and dill in addition to mozzarella and balsamic vinegar.

Avocado Caprese
ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 ripe avocado, sliced
buffalo mozzarella, sliced
1 Tbsp chopped dill
2 olives, finely diced
balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt

1. Layer the plate with tomatoes, avocado, and mozzarella.
2. Garnish with dill and olives.
3. Drizzle on balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
4. Using the salt and pepper grinders, add some sea salt and black pepper.

Morimoto Tofu Cheesecake

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lamb Dumplings

Dumplings remind me of the holidays...maybe it's because we tend to make them around this time of year. The multi-step process lends itself well to having many hands helping in the kitchen - as kids, we would smash the dough disks but several years and hundreds of dough disks later we've finally proven ourselves worthy of the meatball-wrapping step. Seriously, why do grown ups get all the fun?

These are filled with lamb. The recipe is very inexact: a bunch of ground lamb, a smaller bunch of jiu cai (chives I think), some shaoxing jiu (Chinese rice wine), some salt, sugar (?), ginger, soy sauce, water, shrimp. I don't know why we never follow a written recipe - maybe it's to create that intense moment of anticipation right before you bite into the first dumpling, since every time the dumplings are different.

Or maybe it's just because we're lazy.

Cutting the dough. The trick is to turn the rope 90 degrees every cut so you don't end up with flatter disks each time.

Rolling the dough disks. The trick is to make the edges thinner than the middle. I did this job for a while too before graduating to the elite meatball-wrapping step.

The filling. According to our mom you have to mix it vigorously in one direction with chopsticks and a little water to loosen up the meat.

A tablespoon of meat is how much we usually put.

The pinching step!

I like to enter my dumplings in beauty contests with the other dumplings on the plate. See that one in the upper right? Isn't she beautiful?

They're ready after they float and boil two more times.

My dad made the garlic sauce with a makeshift mortar and pestle. Other ingredients: Chiakang (?) black vinegar and soy sauce.

Dinner is served! Happy holidays. :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ming Tsai Sesame Noodle Salad

We love Ming Tsai's new cookbook, Simply Ming One-Pot Meals. The Asian fusion recipes are delicious, easy, and healthy, and there are gorgeous pictures for every recipe.
As Ming says, recipes should serve as a jumping off point for your own creative meals - you shouldn't copy a recipe line for line because that's just sort of extremely boring, dontcha agree? (Maybe the real reason is that we're just too lazy to go out and fetch the exact ingredients and too cheap to let the ingredients in our fridge rot, but that doesn't sound like a very chivalrous reason, so we'll just pull the creativity excuse.)
We used soba noodles instead of egg noodles, and radishes, carrots, a soft-poached egg, nori, sesame seeds, shaved parmesan cheese, and blanched mung bean sprouts instead of romaine lettuce, chicken, cucumber, and red bell peppers, as Ming's recipe suggested. For the sauce, we used freshly ground Whole Foods peanut butter, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, Shaoxing wine, sliced scallions, red chili sauce, soy sauce, some Chinkiang black rice vinegar, and maybe 1/2 cup of hot water to make the sauce runny enough to coat the noodles effectively. I think grated fresh ginger and miso would be good additions too!

These noodles were phenomenal - the peanut sesame sauce is a perfect balance of sweetness, saltiness, spiciness, tangy-ness, and umami, and clings wonderfully to the radishes, noodles, carrots, and bean sprouts. The one thing we would change is to include some meat! Maybe some chicken or bacon or beef or ground pork would be delicious.

Sesame Noodle Salad (serves 4)
8 ounces soba noodles
2 carrots, shredded with food processor
2 radishes, shredded with food processor
2 cups mung bean sprouts, blanched
freshly ground pepper
toasted sesame seeds
slow-poached egg
nori (dried seaweed)
shaved parmesan and gryuere cheese (optional)

Peanut Sesame Sauce
1 cup creamy freshly ground peanut butter
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup Chinese black rice vinegar
2 Tbsp Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
1 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts
1 Tbsp hot chili sauce (Lao Gan Ma brand is what we used)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1. Cook noodles as directed and divide among bowls or plates.
2. Mix sauce ingredients together, adjusting water level until it has the consistency of European style yogurt.
3. Assemble your own bowl or plate, adding veggies and sauce and tossing to coat. Garnish with sesame seeds, egg, nori, and cheese, as desired.

Momofuku milk bar cereal milk ice cream

Ladies and gents, prepare yourself for the yummiest ice cream in the world.

If you are stuck indoors thanks to good ol' California rain this holiday season, I highly recommend investing in an ice cream maker so you can start churning out homemade ice cream. I also highly recommend investing in a heavy duty treadmill and/or Stairmaster, probably the only better thing than homemade whipped cream to go with said ice cream.

This ice cream uses milk that has been steeped in caramelized corn flakes. If you have never met a caramelized corn flake, consider the following dialog:

(Scene: kitchen, two baking sheets spread with caramelized corn flakes have been resting on the counter for some time)

Mom: Ohmygosh. These are so good.
Me: What? You ate some?? They're supposed to be fo-
Dad: Yeah, they're so good.
Me: You too??
Mom and Dad: Oh, we weren't supposed to?
Me: Uh, no, not really, these are for ice cream. That's okay. How much did you eat?
Mom: Ah, maybe this much (gestures toward cupped palm)
Me: ...there's one and a half sticks of butter in there!

Due to this unfortunate incident, we may have used less caramelized cornflakes than the recipe called for, but the world did not end at all. In fact, it is just beginning.



For Caramelized Cornflakes (makes 18 oz; recipe adapted from Momofuku)

  • 10 oz cornflakes
  • 2 oz nonfat dry milk powder
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt (we used a teeny bit less because our tongues aren't calibrated to average salt levels)
  • 6.5 oz (one and a half stick) unsalted butter, melted

For Cereal Milk (approximately 1 cup):

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 14 oz caramelized cornflakes

For Cereal Milk Ice Cream (makes approximately 3,5 cups):

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup cereal milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar (we used a teeny pit less)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (we omitted this b/c the cornflakes added enough saltiness to the cereal milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 4 oz caramelized cornflakes, to serve


  1. To prepare the caramelized cornflakes, preheat your oven to 275 F (140 C). Put the cornflakes in a large mixing bowl and crush them with your hands a few times. Combine milk powder, sugar and salt in another bowl, give it a stir and set aside. Add the melted butter to the cornflakes and then the sugar mixture and toss to combine. Spread out on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake in the preheated oven until they caramelize, for approximately 35 minutes. Remove and let cool to room temperature.
  2. To prepare the cereal milk, combine 14 oz of caramelized cornflakes and milk in a large mixing bowl and let steep for an hour. Strain the milk with the help of a fine-mesh sieve (make sure to press on the cornflakes with a spatula to extract as much liquid as possible), strain once again (through a finer sieve or cheesecloth this time), pour it in a container and set aside.
  3. To prepare the cereal milk ice cream, pour the heavy cream in a medium bowl and place it in the fridge until needed. Combine cereal milk, sugar, salt and vanilla extract in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  4. In the meantime, in a medium pot, whisk together egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the yolks while whisking constantly. Place over medium heat and stir until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  5. Pour the custard through a strainer into the chilled heavy cream and stir to combine.
  6. Chill the mixture overnight, then freeze it in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. Serve with the remaining caramelized cornflakes.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

S'more Cookie

S'mores Cookies


1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1.75 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs

1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

2 Hershey bars (I used dark)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with foil.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in flour mixture until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and graham cracker crumbs. Drop cookie dough 1/8 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. You should fit 12 cookies per sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven and remove from oven. Push 3 to 4 marshmallows and a piece of a hershey's bar into each cookie. Return to oven and bake for 3-4 more minutes. Cool on counter.