Saturday, March 24, 2007

Red Bean Ice Cream

Getting back into the cooking groove... Woot! Well, it's not exactly my most challenging piece, but I love this ice cream. It's simple and delicious. I basically just make my red bean paste (using the recipe from and once that cools I add it to a regular old tub of vanilla ice cream. See, so simple! Sure your arm may get a little sore from mixing, but it's totally worth it to taste the finished product.

Yum Cha Dessert

Since my family came home from California I decided to treat them to some good old home cooking. They have been telling me how sick of MICKEY D's they are and how the chinese food in the states is pathetic. You have got to hear this story my mother told me. Here goes, my family stopped of in Oregon along the way to Disneyland and decided to eat at some chinese restaurant. They wanted some chow mein, so that's what they asked their waitress for. When the dish came out is was mostly bean sprouts with a handful of those deep fried "crunchy" chow mein noodles on top! How sad... American's do not know how to serve good asian noodles. This could explain why my family insisted that we go out to Hon's for lunch the day after they returned from their trip.
Seeing how deprived of good quality chinese food my family was, I decided to make some baked sago pudding. I've been searching for this recipe for ever, and finally found it at Grab Your Fork. I decided to half the recipe (as I could see from the recipe it would make quite a bit), and it still made lots of pudding. It was delicious, especially since I layered the bottom of the ramekins with red bean paste (just like the one's at yum cha). And my family was very appreciative.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I'm back!

I know I haven't been blogging for a little while, but I've been busy with school and everything that that entails. Plus, my family is on vacation and I have no one to cook for! Do you know how inconvenient it is too bake for 1... quite. Well, the other day I made Jook and decided that I was going to save gas by making my own Yar Char Kway. It actually turned out pretty well. Looking at the picture, it doesn't look brown enough to be YCK; but I remember reading somewhere that if the food you're frying becomes dark brown then that means it's actually soaking up the oil. If you fry the YCK just to the point where it is cooked (and still mostly white), then that's when all the water is evaporated and just before you start soaking up the greasy stuff. It tasted just like the real thing... I was pretty impressed. I got the recipe from Playing With My Food which also has a couple other recipes for YCK, using ammonia and Alum.
The Jook
1. Just your basic 1 cup rice to 8 cups water, boiling in a pressure cooker for a long time (it more or less depending on how mushy you like the rice).
2. Add in sliced ginger and let that soak in the congee for about 1 hour (longer if you enjoy it more flavorful.
3. Add in sliced century eggs, chopped green onion, salt (or chicken stock powder) and some shredded chicken (if desired).
4. Top with white pepper, fried garlic and green onions. Easy peasy.... Oh! and don't forget to eat it with your YCK!

I can't wait until my family comes back... I've been missing them for so long... 10 whole days :(

Friday, March 09, 2007

Sniff... sniff

Well, my entire family (all four people :P) have left me to go on their Spring Break trip to Disneyland. I'm slightly depressed, seeing as how no one will be around to sample my cooking... and of course because they're going on a trip without moi! They're going to 10 days, stopping off in Ventura (not quite sure where that is) and then ending up at the "Happiest Place on Earth" for their final 3 days. Alas... but I will get to spend some quality time with my puppy and maybe we'll do some good bonding, who knows.

I didn't want them leaving me behind empty handed, so I made them some breakfast to take along with them (they driving down to the U.S. isn't that crazy?!!?). I told myself to stop cooking anymore dishes until they come back; otherwise they'll return from their vacation to a fridge full of old food... bleh! Truthfully, I don't know how well that command is going to stick. Anyways, I made them some steamed Malay cakes, otherwise known as Ma Lai Koh. As you can see, I was in the lovey-dovey mood when I was making them... I just love my family soooooo much!

I just love Florence's Blog, she has a ton of delicious malay bun recipes. You can also find alternate recipes for Ma Lai Koh at: My Zest or but I prefer Florence's, it's much simpler and I find it less oiley.
Well, I hope my family enjoys their vacation... I should be celebrating being home alone; but without my sisters, and mom and dad home just doesn't seem so homey :(

Hope you're reading this... HAVE A GREAT VACATION!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Mom's B-day

She's one special gal... my mom. I just love my mom and everything she does for me, so I decided that this year I would whip out my cake making skills (which are very minimal) and make her a cute fondant covered, butter pecan cake. I worked so hard on making the fondant that I decided to give myself a break and used a boxed cake mix (I know... gasp). But Betty Crocker sure knows what she's doing, her Supermoist Butter Pecan Cake was wonderfully flavorful. My family really enjoyed eating the cake, and my mom really enjoyed looking at it. I decorated it with a fondant rose, fondant hearts, green dragees and chocolate lettering.
Basically, I baked two 8-inch cakes using the one box of Betty Crocker cake mix. Let them cool completely. Then I layered; and covered them with homemade, vanilla butter frosting as a crumb coat. I then rolled out the fondant I made and draped it over top of the frosted cake. Finished it off by decorating it and placing it in my cake display.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Scary Movie Night

Well, yesterday I went to a friends house and we stayed up late watching scary movies... alright, it was only one... and it was the Davinci Code. I know that it's not quite considered a scary movie, but boy am I glad we didn't watch a really freaky movie (which I actually usually enjoy) because I needed to get a good-night's sleep. The next day was my mom's b-day party after all, and I needed to get up early to prep her cake, among other things... I'll be posting that tomorrow, I hope :P

Anyways, back to the scary movie night... I decided to make some cat paw cookies. I got the idea from but didn't really fancy the idea of making a sugar cookie and adding in black food coloring (YUCK!) It's so un-natural... and just plain gross. So I used my own chocolate cookie recipe and used her idea to make the cat paws.

My Version of Chocolate Cat Paw Cookies

- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon, ground
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds

1. Beat butter until fluffy; gradually add sugar and continue to beat well. Add egg and vanilla, blend until smooth.
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour + cocoa + salt + cinnamon.
3. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, gradually (I added 1/3 cup at a time).
4. Divide dough in half.

NOTE: If you wish to work with a firmer dough, wrap each dough portion tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hr.

5. Roll 1 portion at a time to 1/4-inch thickness on a surface dusted with cocoa powder (if dusted with flour, your cookies may have flour marks in your final presentation)
6. Cut with cookie cutters, and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.

NOTE: If you are making the cat paws, insert the slivered almonds at this time.

7. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes; remove to cooling rack and cool completely.
8. Decorate as you wish.

Not everyone showed up to the movie; I guess they were too scared to watch the Davinci Code... sad. Those who tried the cookies said they were tastey, so I think I'll wrap up a couple and give them to the people who didn't come... wouldn't want them to miss out. The movie was good and I wasn't so scared that I couldn't get to sleep, so waking up for mom's b-day prep was not a problem.

SIDE BAR: I decided to make these on the day before the party, but I didn't have a cat paw cookie cutter. The Martha Stewart link above has a template for the cat paws, but I was not too keen on hand-cutting each cookie; especially not when a cookie cutter would save so much time. So I made my own! I was so impressed with myself... I just used a good pair of shearing scissors and cut the rim off of a butter cookie tin. Then I used a good pair of pliers to shape the paw the way I wanted. Simple, and I didn't have to spend any money on it! (that's always the best part)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Swirled Mantou

Being given this "Independent Study Week" has not really resulted in much reading or study, sad to say. But it has given me a ton of time to prep for my mom's b-day which is coming up this Saturday! I can't wait... hopefully she doesn't read this blog and discover that I have a special treat made for her. Let's distract her from reading this with some nice pictures of my swirled breakfast mantou.

I decided to make mantou... we finished all of the buns in our freezer and since the snow fall we've gotten too lazy to leave the house (call us chicken). So I thought to myself, why not make some mantou? I found the cutest recipe at Do What I Like and decided to give it a shot, after all her pictures looked tastey. So I got to work and used the yeast I had leftover from making pretzels/bread/turtles to make my own mantou. I decided to make them miniature, because hey... everything that's cute in full-size, can be made cuter by making it mini! I also decided to make the outer layer white, with the chocolate inside; don't know why... I guess it just kinda happened (got to excited when it came to rolling the dough I suppose).