Sunday, March 16, 2014

Chocolate Cupcakes Tower


While I was vacationing in beautiful Payson, Arizona for a week during Chinese New Year, my friend, most trusted photographer, Albert, called and told me, "don't freak out, but Nana is in a hospital." What??? So Nana probably had fallen somewhere in the house and cracked the second vertebrate of her spine.  I went to visit her the day I arrived back in Southern California.  When I got to the hospital, a nurse was trying to comfort a crying Nana.  "I am all alone. "  When Nana turned and saw me and my friend Jeremy, her tear soaked face broke into a huge smile and held out her arms for a big hug.  Aww...she might not remember my name all the time, but she knows who I am, well, that and I cook.  I handed her the bouquet and goodies, and sat down to chat with her while she finished her dinner.  Nana accidentally dropped her corn muffin on the floor, and Jeremy magically return with a new corn muffin.  Didn't ask.  Then we wheeled her around the hospital to cheer her up, even bought a packaged M&M from the cafe vending machine.  That was fun.  We stayed until visiting hour was over and promised Nana we'd return the very next day.  Two days later, Nana was released from the hospital and went home happily.  Doctor had prescribed her a new medication that helped her paranoia and memory loss.  She's now able to remember some recent facts and that she had had dinner.  Huge improvement.

So for her birthday, I made her a cupcake tower.  I was given these beautiful three tier cake stands as a gift in Payson, Arizona by Auntie Sunny.  And I thought, why not put them to good use.  So here we are.  The rest of the party is in the video clip!! Don't forget to comment and like!!





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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Caprese Salad




Bella’s favorite photographer and friend, Albert, loves Caprese salads.  So before filming Lasagna rolls, we stopped at the store and he was drooling over the mozzarella cheese logs.  That gives me the perfect excuse to make a Caprese salad and film it!!

A Ingredients
Mozzarella cheese log, thick slice           1 log
Sweet basil                                               1 bunch
Tomato, thick slice                                  3 heads

B Ingredients
Olive Oil                                          1 tablespoon
Balsamic Vinegar Glaze                  2 tablespoon
Salt and pepper                                   to taste
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated         to taste

)
Directions:
1. Place the A Ingredients in such an order, Tomato, Mozzarella cheese, and sweet basil and place onto pretty platter.  Repeat with remaining A ingredients. 
2. Drizzle and sprinkle with B ingredients.


Servings: 4

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Venetian Almond Biscotti




This recipe is super easy to prepare.  I’ve given them out as gifts in boxes or cello bags and these cookies always win over anyone who’s ever tasted them. Makes some great party favors, too.  So don’t wait another minute before you try this.  Make more than one batch cuz these biscotti cookies goes lightening fast!!!

A Ingredients
Unsalted butter          ½ cup (115 g or 1 stick)
Sugar                        175 g
Eggs                             2 heads
Vanilla extract             ½ teaspoon

B Ingredients
All-purpose flour       240 g
Baking powder          1 ½ teaspoon
Salt                                ¼ teaspoon


C Ingredients
Almonds                  110 g (1/2 cup)

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
2. Measure and sift all B ingredients into a bowl.  Toast the almonds in a small dry pan until fragrant and the almond skin looks oily. 
3. Cut the butter into chunks and let sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.  Then place the butter into a mixing bowl, beat until fluffy, beat in the sugar in 2 batches, then beat in the eggs and vanilla extract in two batches.
4. On low speed, fold in B ingredients in three batches until no loose powder in the bowl.  Then add the almonds into the batter with a spatula.  Fold by hand to avoid breaking the almonds. 
5. Scoop the batter into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and form two-three long logs.  If the batter is too sticky to handle, put the whole baking sheet into the frig for 15 minutes.  Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until golden brown. 
6. Let the cookie blocks cool in pan for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the cookie blocks onto a wired rack to cool completely, around 20 minutes.  Then slice the each cookies blocks into 12 equal portions into long sticks.  Pace the sticks onto the baking sheet again, flat side down, cut sides to the side, bake in the oven for an additional 10-12 minutes, until crispy on all sides. 
7. Let cool on wired rack, store in air-tight container for a couple of weeks. 

Serving: 2 dozen

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Spam Musubi



 My new friend, Jeremy introduced me to genuine Hawaiian food.  He’s a self-proclaimed foodie from Hawaii.  It was love at first sight.  I really love how easy and quick to come up with this dish at home.  All the ingredients are in the pantry.  It takes no trips to stores and no time to make at all.  It’s always gratifying to see these disappear from the table at any party. 

The first time I made it, I used a package of imitation spam I found from the pantry.  Over the phone, Jeremy asked me “how poor are you?”  Supposedly spam was originally designed to be a meat substitute for the poor during famine times.  If I had to buy imitation spam, I’d be pretty poor!!!  And he thinks he is funny.  But seriously, for the purpose of the film, I used real spam.  What’s a spam musubi without real spam, right? 

Jokes aside, thanks Jeremy!!! 
A Ingredients
Seaweed sheets                4 sheets
Steamed rice, cooled    650 g
Furikake                            1 tablespoon
Spam                                 1 package

B Ingredients
Soy sauce                 1 tablespoon
Mirin                        3 tablespoon
Chopped scallion     1 tablespoon

Directions:
1. Cut spam into 8 equal portion strips.  Heat up a small frying pan.
2. Depending on what kind of frying pan, add the little oil to the pan, add the spam strips to pan and brown all four sides, about 2 minutes per side.  Add the soy sauce and mirin, cook until thicken like syrup consistency.  Remove from heat and add the chopped scallion.
3. Heat a flat griddle to toast the sheets of seaweed, about 30 seconds per side.  Spread a thin layer of steamed rice onto the seaweed, leave a ¼ inch gap with no rice on the short side of the seaweed.
4. Place two spam strips onto the rice to the side without gap, sprinkle some furikake, then roll up from the spam side gently.  Press firm after the spam musubi is rolled up,
5. Cut the spam musubi into 3-4 sections and arrange on plate to serve.

Serving: 4-6

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Chocolate Cupcakes





This recipe makes some really moist and spongy cupcakes.  You’ll gotta try this.  I’ve made it for countless parties, always the first one to go. If you don't want so much icing on top, you can use the desired amount and adjust accordingly.  See the very last picture of this article.  =)



A Ingredients
Boiling water                            ½ cup
Unsweetened coco powder      40 g

B Ingredients
Butter, room temp 30 min         115 g
Brown sugar                               200 g
Eggs, room temp 30 min                2 heads

C Ingredients
Milk, homogenized             90 g
Vanilla extract                      ½ teaspoon

D Ingredients
All purpose flour                   150 g
Baking soda                             ¾ teaspoon
Salt                                           ¼ teaspoon

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C
2. Line a muffin mold with muffin liners.
3. Mix A ingredients in a bowl. Measure C ingredients into a measuring cup.  Sift D ingredients into a bowl. 
4. Cream B ingredient butter, then add the brown sugar until smooth.  Beat in eggs one, scrap the bottom to ensure a smooth batter.
5. Alternate fold in the dry and wet ingredients, start and finish with dry ingredients.
6. Scoop the batter into the muffin liners, about 2/3 full, bake in the oven 15-18 minutes.
7. Let cool completely before applying buttercream icing.

Sweet Vanilla Buttercream Icing

A Ingredients
Sugar                       100 g
Egg whites                   3 heads
Salt                               1 pinch

B Ingredients
Unsalted butter         280 g
Vanilla extract               1 teaspoon

Directions:
1. Heat A ingredients in a water bath, stir constantly to melt the sugar.  Remove from heat when all the sugar melted.
2. Pour the heated A ingredients into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, beat at high speed for 10 minutes to cool down, it will look like fresh whipped cream afterwards. 
3. With mixer on medium high speed, slowly beat in the butter cubes.  Beat until the butter cream icing feels smooth and consistent. 
4. Beat in vanilla extract, the icing can be used right away or reserved for later in room temp. If refrigerated, might need to let sit at room temp for 30 minutes, and beat again to smooth out. 

Servings: 2 dozen



Monday, June 10, 2013

Maple Caramel Flan





Crown Royal Maple is truly a love at first sniffle.  It has such a luscious flavor I’ve used it in countless dishes since my first discovery, even Tiramisu!!!
This is one of my most requested recipes, even the owner of the neighborhood liquor shop, the one who sold me the 2nd bottle of Crown Royal Maple, wants some, too!!! 

A Ingredients
Sugar                          1/3 cup
Water                             4 teaspoon
Hot water                       4 teaspoon
Crown Royal Maple      ½ teaspoon(optional)

B Ingredients
Milk                    1 2/3 cup
Sugar                       ½ cup

C Ingredients
Egg                                    5 piece
Egg yolk                            1 piece
Heavy whipping cream    ½ cup

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325°F/160°C
2. Prepare 4-6 little oven-safe ceramic cups, spray with cooking spray.  Then place these cups into a big roasting pan.
3. Boil a hot of water, the hot water should come half way to the molds in roasting pan.
4. In a small sauce pan, heat the A 75g sugar and 20 g of cold water until the edge is medium/dark amber color.  Remove from heat and whisk in 4 teaspoon of hot water and ½ tsp of Maple Whisky.


5. Heat B ingredients until almost boiling.  Beat C ingredients in a big bowl until pale yellow.  Add the hot B ingredients into C in a steady stream while beating.  Don’t add too fast or the eggs will scramble.  Next, beat in the heavy whipping cream.  Sift the custard to make sure no scramble eggs.
6. Divide the egg custard evenly into molds.  Pour the hot water into the roasting pan, water should come up to half way of the baking molds.  Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes
7. Remove the roasting pan from oven and let cool 15-20 minutes before serving.  Run a knife around the edges to release the flan, then invert it onto a small dessert plate.  Can also be served cold after refrigeration.  Keep in flan mold in frig for about a week.

Servings: 6