Sunday, September 30, 2012

Steamed, Taro Cake or Yam Kueh! (芋头糕)

I realised TODAY, the recipes only calls for 300gram of Taro and I used 620gram instead. My eyes skipped the part of "peel and trim to yield about 300g" ...

The Taro I bought is already peeled and trimmed!
Taro kueh is 'Childhood' food to me. 
I don't particular like them or dislike them but I only eat them if grandma prep them and even then I don't particular favor them. It is just something we ate during CNY. And I will never eat them or buy them from outside. I am just not a Taro person, and I realised Hubba is not a Taro person too! But after doing the Spiral Mooncake, I still has leftover of 620gram of Taro, and what should I do with them!?
I kept asking Hubba, "Eat Yam rice ok mah?"
He says, "NO!" and it is a FIRM NO!
SO in my mind the easiest way to finish such a big lot of Taro is to put everything in the Taro Kueh, right?

I remember grandma used to prepare them once a year for Chinese New Year, and everyone of our relatives who comes visit, will take home some of the Taro kueh she prepared. I didn't know the 'big' hooohaaa then, but maybe until today! It is actually ALOT of work and where the hell did grandma find time, when she still has to do up the the home, and then cook !?

I used Tigress Kitchen's recipe because her instruction is very precise and she even has a video for the whole process. I watched and rewatched her video to make sure I remember the process!
620gram Taro, 40gram Dried prawns, 30gram Chinese dried mushrooms, 100gram of shallot, 1 bulb Garlic and 1 Chinese Sausage.
Soak the dried prawns with 60ml of water and the dried mushroom with 180ml of water.
Sliced the Taro, and Shallots and diced up the chinese sausage and garlic.
After about 30-45minutes of soaking, set aside the water and diced up the Dried prawns and mushroom.
Seasoning : 80 ml Oil, Salt, Five-spice powder, Ground white pepper, Sugar and Chicken Powder

Starch Solution : 200gram Rice flour, 240 ml Mushroom + Dried prawn water and 600 ml Chicken stock, boiling.
First I prepare the shallot, fried them in oil and set the fried shallot and oil aside.
Then using the same wok, add shallot oil and fried the sliced Taro; add five spice powder and salt; set aside.
Then continue with the aromatics; garlic, dried prawns, chinese sausage, mushroom and don't forget to season them with five spice powder, salt and some sugar. Add  in Taro and at the very last stage dump in the fried shallots. Slot everything out and set aside to prep the starch solution.
Click to continue and my pictorial.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Teochew Spiral Yam Mooncake w Mochi (潮州芋蓉月饼)

2012 
中秋快乐!

Why, Teochew Spiral Yam Mooncake?
Firstly Hubba complains that he had too much snowskin mooncake last year and we both don't really like the Traditional baked type.
Secondly I bought 1 box of this similar tart in Taipei Airport when I was on vacation there last year, and find that by adding Mochi, it reduces the sweetness and add some chewy-ness into this dense tart!
PLUS lastly, I have a Taiwanese Cookbook, "Carol不藏私料理廚房", that I bought in Taipei has this ACTUAL recipe with step by step photographs for just TWELVE tarts. 
Just nice for the 2 of us!

Spiral is a tad intimidating but let's JUST DO IT!
250gram of yam, diced, steam for 20minutes and mashed.
Add 15gm Butter, 40gm Sugar and 10gm Milk powder into the steamed yam.
Ingredient for Yam filling : 250gram Yam, 15gm Butter, 40gm Sugar and 10gm Milk powder.
Smooth it out, leave aside to cool.
END of easy part ONE!
Split into 12 balls.
This is SELF ADDED, omit if you want ...
Prep the mochi as well, halving the recipe.
Ingredient : 50gm Glutinous rice flour, 35gm Sugar, 75ml Cold water and Potato Starch for dusting.
Mix everything well, and steam for 20 minutes.
Flatten the Yam filling and wrap the mochi inside the Yam filling.
In the end, I do only 6 of them because even if I fail, I might have another 6 successful ones if I do according to the cookbook!

DOUGH next!
Click to read on ...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

1st Molar Root Canal Therapy

Finally after almost or more than 1 week of tolerating intense pain, sleepless night, and daily popping of Ibuprofen; I finally summon enough courage to go to the dental! I still hoping that at the last minute I have some miraculous recovery. But too bad, I still wake up in pain yesterday night about 4am.

Appointment made 1pm.
Jason Jun Wang, DDS, PhD
2220 Coit Rd
Suite 570
Plano, TX 75075  
http://www.carewelldentalclinic.com/

One look, the Dentist told me I have to do a Root Canal and I am mentally prepared for it while hoping hubba's wallet should be prepared too ~

Shown on TV ...
Then the dentist starts to point point point on the x-ray, the nerves are all infected and the circled area are the areas that are swollen and infected too. He even spotted a decayed tooth right beside the painful tooth ...
While doing the 'op' he mentioned there are PUS in the nerve and he says,"No wonder it is so PAINFUL! The whole nerves are covered with Pus!"

"Eeeeewwwww"
Everything went smoothly and less painful than I expected or thought it will be.
This is the 2nd time I am here and I am very satisfied with their 'painless' promise and maybe because I am able to converse in chinese made me more comfortable too!

Total costs for the Root Canal Therapy and Fillings costs hubba USD998+!

But well worth the $$$ for me, hopefully I can sleep tonight.
Dentist informed that I might still feel pain or some sensation for the first few days because the meds applied to the nerve will still caused some pain. I am prescribed amoxillin and tylenol, and will go back 1 week later to redo the fillings.

Pray hard everything goes smoothly until my 2nd appointment to do the actual filling for the tooth.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

It's FALL 2012 Officially ...

But it is still freaking HOT here!

For the past 1 week, I have the worst toothache ever, and I have been praying hard that there are 1001 other reasons for the pain in the face, head, ear, jaw & gum pain! But deep inside my heart, I know it is Toothache! I have been tolerating and absorbing the pain for about a week, indulging in Ibuprofen, (sometimes it doesn't even help) and today I finally surrender and gave up. Hubba had book an appointment for me with a dentist here ...

I really don't have much tooth left in the mouth to be doing EXTRACTION, pray hard it is nothing!
If not I be gnawing on veggies from now onwards ...

With all the aches and pain and whatsnot, I didn't do much cooking or baking but I still managed to go attend a Improv in Mckinney on Saturday eveing. And we spotted a few Hot air Balloon floating about our neighborhood because of a Hot air Balloon event @ Plano.
It will be about a 10minutes drive over ...
Can see the pain from my face?
Heeeee but the pain is kind to me that day ...
The show will be inside this building. Whenever we pass by this building, I used to think, this is a office building for some governement unit! 

原来 this is a OLD courthouse and now converted to be a Theatre.
*Surprise*
After we got in, Hubba went outside and gotten us a Gelato fizzy drink!
Not bad wor, the drink is supposed to be Gelato ice-cream mixed with this can of Lemonade fizzy drink.
Even the seat is so old school right!
This is a standup-comedy by four ladies.
It's free seating, so we moved up to the 2nd level.
Alot of jokes are very local, and we don't really get what they means. Luckily the last lady was not too bad, very animated thus very funny but still I won't pay USD20.00per pax for this type of show. Sometimes late night TV has better stand-up comedian. Their jokes are too 'clean' for funny! We preferred those that are damn RACIST, SEXIST or just plain old sex jokes, hahaha!
Well the 'ang moh' finds them extremely funny!

Good experience overall!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Buncto - #90 Braised Mustard Green w Pork Belly

I was browsing my cookbooks for ideas and saw this dish in a Taiwanese cookbox, using the 'Braising' method. Remember I tried the same dish using the 'Steam' version aka Hakka Style in "Playing Host with 梅菜扣肉!". 

I wondered, "Will there be any difference"? 
The answer is 'YES'! 

Using the steamed method, Pork belly did not shrink and the Preserved mustard green is softer and more tender. But by using the braising method, I can prepare MORE in my Big POT and the steps are so much easier to do than the steaming method. 
I realised I am so much like my mom, we both love 梅菜, so I can have 梅菜 in any method.
Mom mostly used the leftover braised duck or roast duck to prepare 梅菜.
Hmmmm, why huh?
Only 4 ingredients needed.
Ingredient : 梅菜 Preserved Mustard Green, Pork Belly, Scallions and Ginger.
Seasoning : Thick Soy sauce, Oyster sauce, Rice wine, Water/broth, Sugar and Salt.
Cookbook only uses Soy sauce, rice wine, rock sugar and salt for the seasoning.
I soak the Preserved mustard for 4 hours and rinsed them MULTIPLE times!
Then chopped them up accordingly.
I pan fried the pork belly but this step is optional and not required in the cookbook.
Prep the other ingredient.
ONLY TWO!
Then sliced the pork belly to bite-sized.
Read on for my pictorial.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Buncto - #89 Black Pepper beef w Onion & Colourful Bell Pepper

I often wonder if the red, yellow and orange Bell Pepper makes a difference?
Because they are usually more expensive than the Green bell pepper!

And I got my answer,
Yes, they makes a different, and I like the different!
It makes the dish sweeter ...
I bought a 3 in 1 packet of the Yellow, Orange and Red Bell Pepper!
But I used the orange coloured ones today ...
Ingredient : 170gm marinated sliced beef flank, orange and green bell pepper, 3x scallion, onion and a few cloves of garlic.

Seasoning : 1 tbsp Oyster sauce, 1 tbsp Soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice wine, 1 tbsp of Pepper (adjust accordingly), 1/4 cup broth/water, 1/2 tbsp Potato Starch Solution, 1/2 tbsp of sugar, and a dash of salt.
Marinate : Meat tenderiser (Baking soda), Sesame oil, Rice wine, Soy sauce, Potato Starch, Sugar and salt.
I omitted the egg white this time round because I wonder if its makes a difference.
The beef is actually less tender without the egg white, I have to check it out with Hubba if he can feels the difference ...
Click on to check out my Pictorial.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Black bean sauce Beech mushroom w diced Chicken

This is 'Bunapi' shimeiji or White beech mushroom as according to wikipedia.
As long as they are JAPANESE, I love them all!
Gotten 2 packets of white beech mushroom about 1-2 weeks ago, and I am trying to clear them out today.
With what else? Black bean sauce, of course!

Cut off the root, wash and rinse them.
Prep all the aromatics and scoop about 1 tbsp of Black bean sauce and set aside.
Ingredients : Garlic, Scallion, Shallots, Onion, Chilli padi, Diced chicken and 2 pkt White Beech Mushroom, and diced chicken thigh.

Seasoning : 1 tbsp Black bean sauce, 1 tbsp Soy sauce paste, 2 tsp Dark soy sauce, 1tbsp Potato starch solution, 1 tbsp sugar, and salt. (Adjust accordingly.)
CLICK ON to check out what I did and my Pictorial.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

F21 on ME!

Remember my F21 order?
Everything always look so good on the model right?
Let's see how these translate onto MY body ...
Everything looks 'tighter' on Moi, wahahahaha!
I love the all dresses; not the white dress though ...
Bought that in M size, its abit loose at the 'chest' but I know if I bought it in S, it would be too small!
I have a tiny chest, but chunky waist problem; basically I am very unproportionate.
I wish I can return the PINK pants, but because it is a B1G1 free promotion so everything is FINAL sale! I know I won't be able to look good in pleated pants because of my big fat thigh, but I am just toooooo stubborn; thinking I might just find the purrrfect fit. 

Well just my luck ...
At least the rest of the stuffs fits me ok!

Buncto - #88 Blackforest Ham Fajita Wrap, mexican style?

Gotten some 'atas' Blackforest ham from Wholefood.
And Hubba requested for wrap, so here we go ...
The actual work will include dicing up the tomatoes and onion, heat up the Canned refried beans, ham and tortillas; lastly wrapping everything together.
.
So the wrap include; Floured tortillas, ham, shredded cheese, refried beans, diced tomatoes and onion, shredded lettuce, sour cream and avocado salsa!
Wrapped them up, and secured the Fajitas with aluminium foil. 
Hope doing this will make it easier for Hubba to have them for lunch.
Easy but alot of mess!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Buncto - #87 Italian Sausage Shell Spaghetti

It has been such a long time since I do a buncto (bento +lunch) post.
Finally I have something new to share.
And this is a easy peasy shortcut buncto to do ...
 
We used to eat alot of Italian Sausage when I just came to USA because they are real cheap like USD2.50 per packet. But the prices slowly crept to about USD4.99 (sometimes up to about USD5.99) and we stopped having them. Recently it is on sale again, and I bought like 3 packet in ONE go! 
Ingredient : Shell Spaghetti, 2 Italian Sausage, Half Diced Onions, 1/4cup of Mushrooms, and half canned of Diced Tomatoes; 1tbsp Sugar and Salt to taste.
Read on to see my Pictorials.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Black bean Beef w Bell Pepper Horfun (豉椒炒牛肉炒河粉)

Happy Labour Day!
This weekend is supposed to be a long weekend but Hubba has to go back to work on Monday! Well, what to do when we are on a ONE pax income to support a 2+1 family!?
Sacrifice has to be made!

Recently, it's all about BEEF & BLACK BEAN sauce!
And this time round, I heed Hubba's advice and I sliced the beef thicker and really MARINATE the beef to the FULL EXTENT of the whole 9 yards. Baking soda, rice wine, egg white; everything recommended!
Marinate : Baking soda, Soy sauce, Sesame Oil, Rice wine, Egg-white, Sugar and Salt.
I marinated the beef overnight.
Ingredient : Beef, Garlic, Onion, Green bell pepper, and Thick flat rice noodle (Hor Fun).
Seasoning : Dark Soy sauce, Light Soy sauce, Black Bean sauce, Sugar and Salt.
Click On to see what I had done and my Step by Step's Pictorial.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Our DIY Homemade Sous Vide Ribeye Steak!

Today I will be discussing about Our homemade-DIY "Sous Vide" setup ...

Our own setup and final product side-by-side; which I be 'explaining' more later ...
(via my very limited understanding)
I have come to know of a cooking method, 'Sous Vide' for about half a year or more; from the internet of course. Then, it seems like a hassle but interesting way of preparing food. The theory of Sous vi-ing, is to slow cook the 'meat' in a vaccum bag, at a constant temperature of 'water bath' to your desired temperature; for example, a perfect medium rare steak at 54°C. And I come to understand that actually alot of restaurant actually uses this method (whether you know it or NOT) to 'prep' their beef/fish/lamb, and only browned them when they are about to serve. And when the beef reaches the desired temperature, it doesn't matter how many more hours you 'Sous Vide' the meat, it will remain at the 'set' temperature.
(Reference: An Introduction to Sous Vide Cooking by Michael Chu)

And now Sous Vide can be done at home but at a PRICE!

Our 'Not-so-perfect' Sous Vide Ribeye Steak
I researched around and the most popular and showcased by some 'famous' food blogger is the 'Sous Vide Supreme' selling its basic set at about USD329.00, and up to about USD419.00 (including Vaccum sealer).

Yikes too expensive for a family of TWO!
How many steaks do we have to eat to 'break-even' the USD400.00+!? 
The next better alternatives would be a Temperature controller device that connects itself to a "On/Off Cooker" (rice or slow). I have so far see the brand; Auberin and Sous Vive Magic selling them. But the set sold cheapest will also cost us about USD160.00.

Cheaper by about HALF but then, is it worth it?

This electronic device doesn't takes up much space and doesn't need a secondary supporting device; Vaccum Sealer! But then again I might need to get a bigger Rice cooker or Slow Cooker that is big enough to submerge my steaks! So, next method please ...
Still in the market, there is this 'Nomiku' which only comes out in Decemeber 2012 selling at USD329.00, and there are also some other not so popular and more expensive brands available too ...

NEXT best alternative, is the Cheapest DIY method, and the easiest and most 'talk-about' would be the beer cooler method. But that method is really a hassle, when you have to keep reading the temperature, releasing and refilling the cooler with hot water to keep the temperature constant. Well, and I don't have a COOLER BOX! A cooler box would have set us back another USD20.00 plus, I have no other use for them and NO PLACE for me to keep them.
(Very comprehensive reference : Sous Vide Cooking at Home Setup Guide by Michael Chu

So after brainstorming, and discussing this 'topic' with Hubba, we came up with an idea. Why not experiment with our own 'SPT STEAMBOAT' Multi-Cooker which is sitting at one corner in our room. The Cooker has this temperature controller knob, and maybe we can try to control it to the desired temperature? But of course we would have to 'Supervise' the cooking ourselves for the full 45minutes - 1hour for the steak to be fully cooked? Ya we are cheapo and Hubba says I am a FULL TIME housewife, so I should have the TIME to do it this way ...

SPT Cooker (USD29.90), Ikea Pot (>USD10.00) and a Cuisinart Digital Temperature gauge (USD19.99).
And right after our 'brain-storming' session, we took out all the needed appliance and started trying to see whether we can keep the water in the Cooker at a constant temperature. And while waiting, we thought,"Might as well try it with a piece of REAL steak!".

And so we just RUSHED out to get ONE piece of Clearance Ribeye steak!

And this is OUR FINAL SETUP!
CLICK on to see what we did; STEP BY STEP!

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