Friday, January 19, 2007


Who doesn't love a delicious truffle? Okay, so they're not really truffles (as you can tell by the photo) but they are delicious. Well, I've created a great way to make a healthy "truffle". It's really simple and doesn't make a ton of mess.

Healthy Tropical Truffles

1 large banana
1 Silhouette by Danone Strawberry yogurt, 100g (or any other low sugar/fat yogurt)
1 cup desiccated coconut, sweetened

1. Take a banana and slice it into 3/4 inch pieces (a good truffle size, I should say)
2. Dip each piece of banana into the Strawberry yogurt, making sure the coating is even and there are no huge globs of yogurt on the banana
3. Roll each yogurt-dipped banana piece into the coconut, again evenly coating it.
4. Place your "truffles into a flat container and freeze them for 4 hours.

Note: When freezing, don't let the truffle touch too much. Once they freeze together, they tend to be difficult to separate.

Don't think that you have to just use coconut to coat these cuties. Experiment with different healthy coatings. Oh, how about cocoa powder or crushed, slivered almonds. The possibilities are endless.

These "truffles are delicious during the summer, and you can imagine you're on a tropical beach while you eat them. Enjoy :P

Good Old-Fashioned Meatloaf

Yum, look at that cheesy goodness!

I'm beginning to love those Pyrex casserole dishes. This is the second time in 1 week that I'm using them to create a meal. Anywho, can't remember how many dinners I've made so far but I'm sure it won't be my last. I decided on meatloaf because... my family has never eaten it before (Myself included)! I know, such a shock. I guess we've never really gotten into the idea of having meat shaped into a bread loaf. But it was nonetheless successful and my family loved it. I got the recipe from but varied it just a tad.

Variation: When the recipe called for the first addition of ketchup (1/4 cup) I instead used half ketchup and half kraft original bbq sauce. And when it called for 1/2 cup of ketchup to be spread over the meatloaf I did half and half again. The bbq sauce makes the loaf taste like a really good burger; and since I'm not particularly fond of globbing on the ketchup it mellows out that strong ketchup-y taste.

We ate the meatloaf with garlic-herb mashed potatoes and a chili, mustard and sesame seed Rodini from Cobs Bread (we just love their loaves... a bit expensive but you can treat yourself once in a while.)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

World, what crazy weather you have!

By now, I would have expected the snow to stop coming. I mean really, this incessant dumping of unexpected snow is getting out of hand. I guess that old man winter is pretty reluctant to let the spring roll around. Well, the good news is that I can continue to bake more winter oriented dishes... and I intend to. Oh, I know this isn't really food related, but I saw this at a gift shop and had to get it for my sisters birthday.

Happy Birthday Sis, you're adorable and I love you :)

Isn't it cute? We love our chinese food, being chinese and all. And one of her favorite colors is blue. I thought I was dreaming when I stumbled upon this perfect gift, but I guess I was just in the right place at the right time. Oh, and we also love lychee. Amazing!

She's just started learning how to knit. It's pretty confusing, but it's cute and it's something that we can both do together on these cold "winter" nights by the fireplace. Besides, there's nothing better to do... play in the snow? I don't think so. I'd rather stay bundled up in the warm indoors baking away or spending time with my family.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Kueh Lapis

So, the other day I decided to reach deep down into my Singaporean/Malaysian roots and make a much loved Malaysian dessert: Nine Layer, Kueh Lapis. It was a bit tricky finding a recipe that was reliable but I managed to find one online at I wasn't quite sure if I could trust this recipe so I also relied heavily on a book I have lying around the house entitled "Singaporean Cooking with Mrs Leong Yee Soo". These two resources combined with my culinary experience allowed me to create a beautiful looking (and tasting) Kueh Lapis with an amazing texture. But have no fear, though I cannot lend you all my cookbook I can surely show you how I was able to create this kueh (while also varying the recipe slightly).

When first approaching the recipe from I prepared myself for what seemed a difficult dessert to make. Firstly, all of the ingredients were measured out in grams (sadly I do not have a kitchen weighing machine) so I had to modify the recipe using online conversion resources. So, feel free to follow the directions on the "Playing with My Food" site or use my variated recipe below.
Once I finished arranging my Kueh on a nice plate, I realized that the recipe yielded many servings. So I brought some to work and to my bible study. It got rave reviews and many people asked me for the recipe. I've decided to post the recipe online and share it (as well as my beautiful pictures) with the world, or anyone who stumbles upon my blog. Hope you enjoy the kueh... I know I did :P

(NOTE: I halved the online recipe so that the Kueh batter would fit into a round 8-inch diameter cake pan)

Joanna's Variation on Kueh Lapis Beras
(Steamed Tapioca Layer Cake)

Batter A: (Yields 4 Cups)
2 cups Tapioca Starch
1/2 cup Rice Flour
1 1/3 cup Sugar
1 1/4 cup Coconut Milk mixed with 1 1/4 cup Water
1 tsp Pandan Paste

Batter B: (Yields 2 Cups)
150 grams Cooked Taro Root (approx. 1/4 of a medium sized Taro)
1/3 cup Sugar 1 cup
Tapioca Starch 45ml Coconut Milk + 45ml Water
3-4 drops red food coloring

Batter C: (Yields 2 Cups)
150 grams Cooked Mung Bean (1 cup)
1/3 cup Sugar
1 cup Tapioca Starch
45ml Coconut Milk +45ml Water

To cook Mung Bean- Wash beans and discard damaged ones. Place in a pot with 2 cups of water and soak for 3-4 hours. After this time, boil mung beans for 15-20 minutes, until soft.

To cook Taro- Wash and peel off skin; remove damaged parts. Dice the taro into equal sized cubes. Place in a pot of water to soak for 1 hr. After this time, boil taro for 15-20 minutes, until soft.

Grease 8-inch round cake pan. Prepare wok for steaming process.

Pandan Layer
1. Combine Coconut milk and water (from Batter A) together in a small mixing bowl. Add 1 tsp pandan paste to give flavor and create the green color.
2. Combine the Tapioca Starch, Rice Flour and Sugar (from Batter A) in a larger mixing bowl.
3. Now pour the liquid ingredients (from Batter A) into the dry ingredients (from Batter A) to form a thin paste. Set Aside.

Taro Layer
4. Combine Coconut milk and water (Batter B) and mix thoroughly.
5. Drain cooked Taro Root and place in blender.
6. Add in the Tapioca Starch and Sugar (Batter B). Then add in the coconut/water mixture. Blend.
7. Add a few drops of red food coloring to create a purple color.
8. Place Batter B into an easily "pourable" bowl/container. Set Aside.

(TIP: When adding food coloring, add drops one at a time between blender pulses. This way you can more easily control the hue of the batter)

Mung Bean Layer
9. Combine Coconut milk and water (Batter C) and mix thoroughly.
10. Drain cooked Mung Beans and place in blender.
11. Add in the Tapioca Starch and Sugar (Batter C). Then add in the coconut/water mixture. Blend.

Look... all the pretty colors. Now the Batters are ready for steaming!


1. Fill wok with water and steaming tray. Turn stove on "high" and allow water to boil, keep on "high" throughout steaming process. Place greased cake pan in wok for steaming.
(NOTE: Make sure the pan is level, otherwise the layers will be slanted. Also, This Kueh recipe yields more Batter A than Batters B and C --with a ratio of 2:1:1. So, when layering the cake keep this in mind.)
2. Pour in layer of Batter A, steam for 5-10 minutes (until cooked). Ensure this layer is firm (like jello) and no longer liquid before adding second layer. Pour in layer of Batter B and steam until cooked, roughly 5 minutes. Again check for doneness of each layer before adding subsequent layers. Alternate layers and create your own color pattern until all the batter is used up.
3. Let cool for 7-8 hours before cutting into slices. Cover the cake with plastice wrap or a lid to prevent drying out. I found it easiest to slice the cake using a serrated knife, it produces the cleanest and most evenly sliced pieces.
(NOTE: To ensure that you have an evenly layered cake, use the same amount of batter for each layer. For each layer, I used 1 cup of batter. Also, make sure to spread the layers of batter out to the edges of the pan.)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Spring... a long ways away

Just the other day I was saying to myself, "I can't wait for the Spring 2007 semester to begin." Ready to go to class on Wednesday, I had packed my bags and my car up for my commute to school. Then Tuesday night decides to be insane and we're hit with a freakish snow storm. I can't believe they can call this a Spring semester when the entire campus, as well as my house, is being blanketed by almost a foot of snow. I thought, "oh boy... now school's going to be cancelled for sure" (in a sort of happy, sort of sad way). My sister's school was closed due to the crazy weather... so why not mine. I checked my schools website and to my dismay I had to go to class.

Actually surviving my drive to campus, I found it grueling to trudge through all that snow to make it to my classes. To make matters worse, the classes I had that day were on opposite sides of the campus so I had to lug my stuff around from the eastside to the westside in the blizzarding cold. Apparently, one of the English Proffs decided to skip out due to the weather conditions leaving her class high and dry. If a teacher leaves campus then I think they should just close for the day... eh? And honestly, it's the first day of classes... so the most you can expect to learn in the classes is everyone's names (if you're lucky) and review the syllabus. If the school closed, we wouldn't have missed out on anything! That's my honest opinion. My classes ended at around 5pm, but the traffic was so horrible that I didn't get home until 7pm. Having woken up at 7:30 that morning I was about ready to drop into my bed the minute I got home.

Spring, you better come soon and take this crappy weather with you. Or we may have to call this semester the Cold-Snowy-Traffic Laden Semester of 2007.

Pizza Casserole

Decided to make another dinner today. But I think I'm starting to get lazy. There are a couple reasons: I made garlic bread for the side dish, and salad to go with it... and it was a casserole. Oh no! Have I become a lazy chef? I sure hope not, let's just say that this laziness is just an experiment.

Anywho, I decided to make this casserole because during the holiday I recieved a free copy of the Taste of Home cooking magazine. Apparently I had signed up on their website or something, and in the issue they sent it said that if I wanted to continue recieving their magazine I would have to pay. The long and short of it is, I'm cheap... so this is going to be my first and only Taste of Home magazine. So, seeing that I was only going to get this single issue I was determined to make something from it, and the pizza casserole seemed simple enough.

I set to work and prepared to make the casserole. The recipe said it serves 8 people but looking at the ingredients and the portion size disgusted me. So I reduced the recipe by 1/2 and it fed my family of 5.

Pizza Casserole
Original Recipe: Serves 8 (2 casseroles) <--- crazy!

3 cups uncooked spiral pasta (I used macaroni... everyone loves macaroni)
2 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 (8 oz.) cans mushroom stems/pieces, drained
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (14 oz.) jar pizza sauce
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon each: sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano (I put tons of oregano, my favorite herb)
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 package (3.5 oz) sliced pepperoni
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. In Dutch oven (or non-stick frying pan), cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Drain out fat.
3. Stir in mushrooms, tomato sauce, pizza sauce, tomato paste, sugar and seasonings.
Note: When halving the recipe I decided to annex the tomato paste. So I used 1/2 a jar of Classico pasta sauce. If following this recipe, you can substitute the tomato sauce + tomato paste for one jar of Classico/Ragu pasta sauce.
4. Drain pasta; stir into meat sauce.
5. Divide half of the mixture between two greased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking dishes.
6. Sprinkle each with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers and top with pepperoni and Parmesan cheese.
7. Cover and bake at 350ยบ for 20 minutes.
8. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or unti heated through.

Again... More Asian Pride

Decided to make Putu Piring today. Found the recipe on the Ja's Kitchen webpage. She is quite a talented cook, with great recipes to choose from. I followed her recipe for this Malay treat to a tee and it turned out beautifully. I was unsure of how my family would like it, seeing as this is one of my dad's favorite sweets I didn't want to mess up. So I decided to half the recipe and make only 4 Putu Pirings; sadly, I wish I had made more because my littlest sister (the one who doesn't particularly like Malay sweets actually liked this one!)
I read a review of this recipe somewhere that said it didn't turn out properly, but that person probably just didn't have the right ingredients or something. This recipe was easy to follow and the results were delicious.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Cherry Garcia, that's me!

Cherry Garcia, that's me!
Boy do I love Ice Cream and inadvertently today I came across this really cool site that let's you see what kind of ice cream you are. Check it out! I turned out to be average :( somewhere in the middle in terms of sweetness, chunkiness (whatever that means) and uniqueness. Yet, I believe that everyone is unique in their own way... so there. Anyways, you should definitely check out this test it's only about 30 questions and takes no time at all.