If cooking is a language, I want my dishes to flirt with the palates. This is a place I'd like to share my culinary experiences -- gastronomical and psychological. Bon Appetit!
Chocolate Pistachio Cookies
The finished product -- isn't it cute?
The cross-section: outer layer is a hard bittersweet chocolate coat; in the middle are two layers of pistachio cookies sandwiching a creamy sweet chocolate filling. (I was too hungry to use a knife for a clean cut. I just bit off half of it and ate it. It was gooood!)
This year it felt as if we jumped from winter to summer, and now it's backtracked to spring. I wrote about a Japanese cookbook I bought last year. I have made at least half of all the dishes in the book. The dishes are light and perfect for Spring and Summer, and have been adapted well for home cooking -- quick, easy, and made with fairly common ingredients. Today I craved some sweets but didn't want to make anything heavy with lots of butter. This recipe jumped out and truly, it is one of the easiest cakes I have ever made. Oh did I mention this is made in a microwave oven? The product is a light and fluffy spongy cake -- actually quite similar to the Cantonese dim sum cakes (馬拉糕). The author also suggested serving it with peanut cream -- basically peanut butter with sugar and heavy cream -- a taste of this reminds me of many Asian sweets and pastries that incorporate peanuts. American peanut butter and its derivatives (like Reese's Peanut Butter Cup) are so heavy on the …
Perhaps it is related to my mild OCD, but there is something extremely satisfying for me to make perfectly square sandwich bread. I bought these loaf pans -- usually called Pullman Loaf pans -- from Amazon but have been too lazy to calculate the exact dough size and recipe for it until this weekend. It makes a nice 4"x4"x13" loaf. I have been baking bread off and on for the last year or so. So far the use of water roux starter (Tang-Zhong, 湯種) is by far the best way to make pillow-like soft bread that stay soft for days while using only a small amount of butter. This is a method very popular in Japan and Taiwan, and probably pacific Asia in general. It probably has something to do with the fact that very few traditional Western recipes feature doughs made with hot water, while many traditional Chinese recipes called for the use of hot water in dough making. (Actually the only Western recipe I can think of is Pate a Choux) The hot water gelatinizes the starch molecules …
This is one of my favorite dishes at cantonese restaurants -- cooked iceberg lettuce with oyster sauce! It is super easy to make at home too. Boil a huge pot of salty water and blanch the iceberg lettuce for 30 seconds to a minute -- just enough to wilt the lettuce. Drain it. Toss a little bit and press down on them to squeeze out extra water. Saute some minced garlic in vegetable oil (I think lard would be better) in a small pan. Add a few tablespoons of oyster sauce, a tablespoon of soy sauce, and a tablespoon of sugar. Whisk to combine really well and let it thicken a little. Pour it over the cooked lettuce and serve!