Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Salmon Fried Rice

sticky rice stir fried with salmon, pickled mustard greens, and other yumyums!
1 - stir fry the salmon, bacon, tiny shrimp, and pickled mustard greens til fragrant
2 - mix it all up real good
3 - add diced green beans, onions, and baby bell peppers

4 - stir fry everything til onions are fragrant and translucent, adding sugar and soy sauce
5 - add cooked sticky rice (best to use leftover or slightly dry/cooled rice)

5 - add chopped green onions, mix well, and enjoy

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Challah French Toast with Kaya


Friday, June 15, 2012

Green tea white chocolate ice cream

The ice cream is so green that the dusting of green tea powder on top just blends right in. I think I put half of the container of green tea powder. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but it turned out to be too much of a good thing! The ice cream was a little too intense. Or maybe I'm not sophisticated enough. 

We found three different types of matcha from Maeda-en: culinary quality, universal quality, and ceremonial quality. Felt a tad underdressed to touch the ceremonial stuff and a little too good for the culinary dust, so we went for the universal one. It was green, fragrant, delicate, delicious, and most important, ridiculously universal.

Got the recipe from Steamy Kitchen, and modified it by reducing the sugar and increasing the matcha a little. I think next time I would stick with the original amounts. The white chocolate really comes through and gives the ice cream an intensely milky taste! Kinda like a green tea white chocolate square...mmmmmm. :D

Olive balsamic saffron macaron

You know when you try to watch TV, check your email, do yoga, and floss at the same time? If you're the kind of person who likes that kind of thing, then you would love these. For the average joe, like myself, these are a somewhat bewildering combination of intense balsamic vinegar jelly, grassy olive oil valrhona white chocolate ganache, and vanilla bean saffron shells. They are deliciously confusing. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fermented Sweet Rice Ice Cream

We wanted to take a picture with the bottle of 酒 (tian jiu, fermented sweet rice) in the background, but we realized that the bottle is actually quite unphotogenic. Fermented rice is delicious - if you've never had it before, think something that's sour, winey, sweet, and ricey at the same time. Yeah, you know you want some. It's incredible in a sweet soup with some mochi, and it was very good in this ice cream. The alcohol content helps keep the ice cream soft and creamy, and the flavor gets more complex as it continues to mellow. We served it with fresh tian jiu and also on some warm, crispy, freshly toasted slices of choux pastry from our freezer stash. 

Fermented Sweet Rice Ice Cream
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt (or just salt it to your liking)
3/4 cup fermented sweet rice, drained well
2 Tbsp fermented rice liquid (the stuff you drained out)

Pour cream into a 4-cup glass measuring cup. Heat milk with half of the sugar in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium high heat til steaming, stirring once or twice to dissolve the sugar. Meanwhile, whisk yolks with the other half of the sugar until pale yellow. Temper the yolk/sugar mixture with the heated milk, and cook over medium low heat until the mixture thickens or reaches 180 F. Immediately strain into the cream. Add fermented sweet rice and the fermented sweet rice liquid, and mix well. Add salt and adjust to your liking. Chill overnight and churn in the morning. Transfer freshly churned ice cream to the freezer and let it set up for 2 hours before enjoying.  

Monday, June 11, 2012

Taro Cake

Filled with straight-up taro puree (lightly sweetened), frosted with sweetened whipped cream.

The cake turned out to have a mochi-like texture - quite moist and chewy - maybe there was too much liquid or taro in the cake. However, it was well loved by the mochi-fans in the house. Taro-fans were pleased too. Goes great with jasmine tea.

Taro Cake 
adapted from this pumpkin cake recipe

1 cup all-purpose flour (120g)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon taro (yam) extract
1/4 cup whole milk yogurt
1 cup super smooth lightly sweetened taro puree

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter an 8 inch cake pan and line with parchment. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the sugar and eggs. Blend in oil, taro extract, yogurt, and taro puree. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Spread batter into prepared cake pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Super Smooth Lightly Sweetened Taro Puree

1.25 lbs peeled taro
3 tablespoons sugar

Cut the taro into 8 medium sized chunks. Place in a medium saucepan and fill with water to submerge 3/4 of the height of the taro chunks. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes until taro is soft when poked with a chopstick. Remove taro from water and let cool (reserve the water in the pot). When cool, puree in a food processor, adding water as necessary. Add 3 tablespoons of sugar and puree until smooth (about 2-3 min, small chunks may still be there). Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl.

To assemble the cake: Cut a 6-in round from the center of the 8-inch cake. Carefully slice in half through the middle to get two layers. Place on a rotating cake stand. Spread about 1/2 cup of Super Smooth Lightly Sweetened Taro Puree on top and sandwich with the second layer. Whip up some cream with sugar (use about 3 tablespoons with 1 cup of cream) and use to frost the sides and top. I used a Gateau St. Honore tip for the decorations and attempted to cover up the ugly parts with plums disguised as roses.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Olive Oil Ice Cream

This ice cream tasted like the smell of an Asian bakery - you know, the really fragrant aroma from the cute little sponge cakes hanging out on the shelves? It was divine. With a little drizzle of legit balsamic vinegar, it was even better! The best part of homemade ice cream is licking the freezer bowl and the plastic churner component with all its nooks and crannies. Don't use your tongue to lick the freezer bowl directly. That would be a mistake, albeit an initially delicious one.

Olive oil ice cream
adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

1 1/3 cups (330 ml) whole milk
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
Pinch of sea salt (taste the custard and adjust salt as needed - salt really intensifies the flavors!)
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (125 ml) legit olive oil - the key is in the legitness of the olive oil

Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Make sure that you don’t over cook it or else you’ll get scrambled eggs. It’s better to err on the safe side by turning off the heat when the custard just slightly thickens because the heat in the pot will continuously cook the mixture. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Whisk the olive oil into the custard vigorously until it’s well blended, then stir until cool over an ice bath. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Mont Blanc


Jacques Genin Lime Tart

Tarte au Citron (recipe translated from here)
by Jacques Genin, Chocolaterie Jacques Genin, Paris
serves 6

For the sweet pastry:
- 120 g butter
- 85 g icing sugar
- 20 g ground almonds
- 40 g of whole egg
- ½ vanilla pod
- 2 g salt
- 210 g flour

For the lime cream:
- 110 g of whole egg
- 110 g caster sugar
- 110 g of lime juice
- 13 g of lime zest
- 150 g butter

The day before, prepare the sweet dough. To do this, split the ½ vanilla bean in half and remove seeds that are inside with a small knife. Put them in the bowl of a blender with the butter, icing sugar, almond powder and start mixing (dough can be mixed in a blender or by hand). Add eggs and mix again. Put the flour and mix gently. The dough is ready.

Flour a work surface and dough and spread with the roller to give it a form of thick square. Wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap and let stand one hour and a half in the fridge. Out the dough and spread it. Cut a circle the width of your pan, leaving a centimeter over the edge. Roll out the pastry on a roll, lay it on a plate and put in the fridge for an hour. Remove dough from refrigerator and line the pie plate. Replace the fridge overnight. The next day, cook the dough in the oven at 180 ° C a good twenty minutes.

On the day, prepare the lemon cream. Beat eggs. Place in a saucepan with the juice and lime zest. Add sugar and stir. Cook over low heat, stirring until the cream clings to the back of the spoon. Remove from heat (when the cream reaches a temperature of 45 ° C), add butter and mix. Chill in fridge for a few hours. Garnish the tart with lemon cream. Sprinkle with zest and then return to refrigerator for fifteen minutes.

Serve the tart immediately from the fridge, slightly chilled. The cream is rather loose, so it will run if left to sit out at room temperature for more than 10 minutes. You can also freeze the tart and slice neet slices, and let the tart defrost for 10 minutes at room temperature until creamy and delicious.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Dobos Torta

A Hungarian 7-layer sponge cake, filled with chocolate buttercream, topped with caramel-coated cake slices and garnished with toasted hazelnuts.

photo courtesy: cake hour blog
Dobos Torta 
modified from 2009 Daring Bakers ChallengeSmitten KitchenJoe Pastry 

2 baking sheets
7" cake ring, for template
mixing bowls (1 medium, 1 large)
small saucepan
hand-held mixer
metal offset spatula
sharp knife
10” cardboard cake round
piping bag and tip, optional

8 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups (162g) confectioner's (icing) sugar, divided
1 tsp (5g) pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 Tbs (112g) Sifted cake flour (substitute: 95g plain flour + 17g cornstarch sifted together)
pinch of sea salt

1. Position the racks in the top and center thirds of the oven and heat to 425° F.
2. Cut four pieces of parchment paper to fit the baking sheets. Using a 7" cake ring as a template and a pencil, trace 2 circles on each of the papers, and turn them over (the circles should be close together and visible from the other side, so that the graphite or ink doesn't touch the cake batter. If you want, you can also make miniature rounds in the spaces between the larger circles, for mini cakes).
3. Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g) of the confectioner's sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted a few inches above the batter, about 3 minutes.
4. In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 cup (81g) of confectioner's sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour.
5. Line one of the baking sheets with a circle-marked paper. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 1 cup of the batter in an even layer, filling in the traced circles on one baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 5 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the centre and the edges are lightly browned. While this cake bakes, repeat the process on the other baking sheet, placing it on the center rack. When the first cake is done, move the second cake to the top rack. Invert the first cake onto a flat surface and carefully peel off the paper. Slide the cake layer back onto the paper and let stand until cool. Rinse the baking sheet under cold running water to cool, and dry it before lining with another parchment. Continue with the remaining papers and batter to make a total of eight layers (4 baking sheets). Completely cool the layers. Using a 7" cake ring as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat round. (A small serrated knife is best for this task).

Note: The sponge layers can be prepared in advance and stored, interleaved with parchment paper and well-wrapped, in the fridge, overnight. This recipe may make more than 8 layers, depending on the thickness of each layer. Extra layers are useful so you can choose the best-looking one for the caramel topping; most people make this cake with 5-7 layers but a 12+ layer cake would also be pretty darn awesome.

1/2 pound (8 ounces or 227 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound (2 sticks or 226 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Melt chocolate until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature, but of course not so cool that it hardens again. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until soft and smooth, scraping frequently. Add vanilla and 3 egg yolks. Add sugar and cooled chocolate, beating until thoroughly mixed and scraping as needed.

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water

Lightly grease a sheet of parchment paper. Place last cake layer on this sheet (if it just came out of the fridge, warm it up a bit in the microwave - you want it to be a little above room temperature so the caramel doesn't solidify upon contact). Cut the cake into 12 equal wedges and reassemble into a circle. Lightly butter the knife and a metal spatula, and set aside. Combine the sugar and water in a small, heavy saucepan and swirl it until the sugar melts and begins to turn a pale amber color. Quickly and carefully, pour this (you’ll have a bit of extra) over the prepared cake layer and spread it evenly with an offset spatula, right over the outer edges. Using prepared knife or cutter, quickly cut layer as you wish. Leave in place, then cool completely. Once fully cooled, cut edges of shapes again, to ensure that you can remove them cleanly.

Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a 10” cardboard round and top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with about 1/3 cup of the chocolate icing. Repeat with 6 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake (a bench scraper is handy for smoothing out the sides). Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake. Propping a hazelnut under each wedge so that it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cake in a spoke pattern. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can pipe rosettes under each hazelnut or a large rosette in the centre of the cake.

Refrigerate the cake under a cake dome until the icing is set, about 2 hours. Let slices come to room temperature before serving.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Sour Cherry Strudel

Sour Cherry Strudel (from

Strudel Dough:
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cold butter
Melted butter
Flour for rolling
Cherry Strudel Filling:
8 cups washed, stemmed, pitted sour cherries
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (optional)
1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar or to taste
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

In a small bowl, mix water, vinegar and salt. Place flour in a large bowl and cut the butter in as for pie dough. Add water mixture and stir by hand for about 5 minutes or until dough becomes smooth.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, adding as little extra flour as possible. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the cherry filling by combining the cherries, lemon rind, if using, and sugar in a large bowl. Set aside.

Cover a large table with a clean cotton tablecloth (it will become stained from the fat in the dough, so use an old tablecloth). Sprinkle the cloth generously with flour. Place the dough in the center of the cloth and brush it with melted butter. Roll the dough to a 1/8-inch thickness.

Begin stretching the dough either over the backs of your hands or palm-side up, whichever works best for you. Work quickly, continually lifting the dough and stretching it by pulling your hands apart until it is almost paper thin and drapes over the sides of the table. See Serbian Cheese Strudel Making to get the idea. Using kitchen shears, trim off the thicker outer edges of the strudel dough.

Place rack in middle of oven and heat to 400 degrees. Brush the dough liberally with melted butter. Place the cherry filling along one long edge in a 3-inch-wide strip, 2 inches from the edges.

Use the tablecloth to roll the strudel away from you, jellyroll fashion, until it is completely rolled. Brush the top of the strudel with melted butter. Cut into sections that will fit your baking sheets and tuck in ends of strudel.

Place parchment on baking sheets and transfer strudel sections to them, seam-side down. Bake 10 minutes, reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake 20 to 25 minutes more or until strudel is crisp and golden.

Remove from oven, cool slightly and then cut on an angle into slices. Dust with confectioners' sugar. You may also cool completely to make the slicing easier and then rewarm in a microwave. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve as is or with a dollop of whipped cream or scoop of ice cream.

David Lebovitz's Toasted Almond Candied Cherry Ice Cream

Three things taste like almonds in this ice cream: the almond-infused custard with a faint hint of almond extract, the toasted almonds themselves, and the candied cherries.

The cherries from the jar, we feared, were not the sour cherries that the recipe called for so a lemon was hastily grated and squeezed into the syrup to up the tangy ante. It turned out that yes Morello Cherries are indeed sour cherries, but the extra zing only made this ice cream vanish from the bowl ever faster.

Recipe credit to David Lebovitz in that lovely ice cream book of his, The Perfect Scoop.

Dorie's Pear Tart, Take Two

European butter produced a wonderfully light, flaky, verge-of-burnt brown crust.

Changes from Dorie's recipe:
-in frangipane: ground toasted almonds instead of ground blanched almonds, almond extract instead of vanilla
-in crust: European butter (85% butterfat)
-in poaching syrup: 1/4 cup bourbon
-glaze: reduced bourbon/lemon/pear poaching syrup

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mapo Tofu Noodles with Brussels Sprouts

Handcut noodles with mapo tofu sauce and blanched brussels sprouts laced with olive oil

Double Matcha Macarons

Matcha shells filled with matcha white chocolate ganache.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Rákóczi túrós

A Hungarian "cheesecake" with a shortbread crust and meringue topping.

Rákóczi túrós

Dough (Rick's Shortbread from Flour Bakery cookbook)
1 cup (2 sticks/228 grams) unsalted butter, room temp
75 g granulated sugar
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (140 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (120 g) cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Cream butter and sugars on medium speed for 5 min, or until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat at medium for 2-3 min until thoroughly combined. In a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, salt. On low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and mix for about 15 seconds, or until the flour mixture is totally incorporated and dough is evenly mixed. Scrape dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap the dough in plastic wrap to form a disk. You may also divide this into two disks if you plan to make two 9X9 tarts later. Refrigerate 30 min (keeps for up to 5 days, take out 20 min at room temp before using).

100 g granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
225 g farmers' cheese (I used queso fresco)
225 g quark (Vermont creamery)
80 ml sour cream
40 ml mascarpone cheese
2/3 cup raisins
zest of 1/2 lemon, grated

2 egg whites
30 g icing sugar
apricot jam

Preheat oven to 350F. Roll chilled dough into a squarish piece about 1 cm thick. Fit it into the bottom of a 9x9 glass Pyrex baking dish. Dock the surface several times with a fork. Bake on center rack 20 min or until top is lightly golden. Spread with a layer of apricot jam.

In a large bowl cream the yolks with the sugar until well incorporated. Mix in the the cheeses, lemon zest, sour cream, mascarpone, and raisins. It will be a little crumbly.

Spread the cheese mixture over the base and bake until set at 350F (about 50 minutes). Reduce the oven temp to 320F. Whisk the egg whites until stiff (add sugar when whites are foamy). Gently fill a piping bag with meringue (be careful to not deflate) and pipe meringue into a grid on the surface using a rose tip. Using a small spoon, drop apricot jam in the grid squares. Bake for 20 minutes until just lightly dried. Let completely cool and cut into squares.

Notes for next time:
-make turo from scratch (texture of queso fresco was too dry, quark was too moist), use 500 g turo, 100 ml sour cream
-for topping, use 50 g granulated sugar with 2 egg whites for a stiffer meringue

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ispahan cupcakes