Monthly Archives: June 2011

Steamed Buns w/ beans fillings

When i used to live in Indonesia , we had this street vendor selling bakpao , or , steamed buns , that has so many different fillings , such as pork , chicken , or red beans or yellow beans . My favourite was always the yellow beans . Few days ago i learned to make the fillings for chinese pastry , or kue pia . And it reminds me of home .. and so , i thought last night .. why not trying it for the steamed buns . Although this is using lima beans .. it still tastes delicious , i am sure we can always use the yellow beans they sell at asian market . But i have no time for that .. i used lima beans , from regular grocery store at Mexican Aisle .. I soaked the beans overnight , and peeled them off this morning before cooking it . I am pretty happy with the result .. i’ve made 16 of them and i froze half of it .

Here is what you need :

Soak 1 cup of lima beans overnight with a lot of water . Then peel them off the next day and put them in a heavy pot . Add about 1 1/4 cup of water and cook in medium high for 10 minutes until it boils with lids on . Once it started to boil , simmer down until it’s all soft and probably about 50 minutes . If you want it super smooth , use the food processor or else just mash it with potato mashed or spoon . The beans should be super soft . Add 1/2 cup of sugar , 1 tsp. of vanilla and a pinch of salt , boil until it’s thicken , it should started bubbling like crazy and remove from the heat . Let it cool totally before using for filling .

For the buns :

In a large bowl , add 1 cup of warm water , about 110 F , 2 tsp. of active dry yeast , and then 2 tbsp. vegetable oil , 2 tsp. sugar and pinch of salt . Mix well , then add 3 cups of flour , mix well with spoon then hand , take it out and knead by hand for 3 minutes , put it in the bowl , cover with plastic . Let it sit in a warm place for 45 minutes , take the dough out , to remove the gas , and then knead again for 1 minute , cover , let it sit again in a warm area for 20 minutes . Then take the dough out , and divide into 16 small balls , flatten it out with rolling pins and put the filling in . Let sit for extra 20 minutes before steaming them in a steamer . Steam high heat for 20 minutes .

Summer salad w/ Basic Vinaigrette

Few days ago we had a get together with some friends , and she brought salad . And when we tasted it , it reminds me of acar timun , it’s almost like pickled cucumber back in indonesia , as a condiment when we eat fried rice of chinese noodle or anything you can think of . So i kinda thought .. why not putting together salad and used the basic vinaigrette , it probably will turn out to be like that . Although with basic vinaigrette, it needs vegetable oil , while acar timun in indonesia is only vinegar , sugar and salt. The two has the similar taste , so i whipped up about 3/4 cup of vegetable oil with 1/4 cup of vinegar and about 2-3 tbsp. of sugar , you can always add to your preference , and pinch of salt . As for the salad , i had 2 kinds of lettuce that harvested from my own back yard , i used bibb lettuce and romaine lettuce , and then raddichio , lots of cucumber , cos i love them , red onion or shallots , and tomatoes . That’s it .. and this is a great side salad over anything , or you can always use it as a condiments , just like earlier i had it on top of hot dog !! And also i used it as a side for the sweet spicy fish my husband cooked for dinner . It was refreshing and delicious .. My mom used to make it only with cucumber , but with all the fresh vegetable we have this summer .. why only stick to one type ? All kinds of vegetables are better in here ..


I’ve used this recipe few times , and i think it’s one of the best cheesecake recipe out there . I never failed making this , even the very first time making it few years ago . So , couple of nights ago , i was looking for something to do , it was a busy day but , for some reason i just wanted to keep going and going .. yes , it’s like that energizer bunny .. LOL . Originally i was going to make Chocolate Babka .. but then my son said , why not cheesecake . I thought .. sure , why not cheesecake ?? Got everything on hand .. and there i was starting making the cheesecake , until i realized , i did not have enough sour cream !! I ended up replacing it with yogurt , and the only yogurt i have in the fridge was , low fat vanilla yogurt . I was worried that the cheesecake will not turn out right .. but i did it anyway .. And guess what ? it turned out delicious .. in fact i am going to do it this way from now on , using half sour cream and half vanilla yogurt . I also used the topping from the strawberry jam that i made last week , i warmed up the jam for just 20 seconds in the microwave , it turned out just perfect !! Great cheesecake !!

You will need :

For the crust :

about 2 cups of graham crackers , maybe about 30 squares , put it in the food processor until it becomes a very fine crumbs

1 stick of unsalted butter , melted

Mix these ingredients together in a medium bowl , with a fork until mix well . Spray 9 inch spring form pan with cooking spray , and then pour the crust mixture into the pan , press with your hand or bottom of a glass or cup to cover the pan and all the way up about 1 inch to the side , evenly .

Refrigerate , while you prepare the filling .

The filling :

2 of 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

3 eggs

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of sour cream

1 cup of low fat organic vanilla yogurt

good dash of vanilla extract

zest from 1 lemon ( optional)

In a mixer bowl , mix the cream cheese until smooth about 1 minute . No lumps , then add the egg one at a time , mix well each time , scrape off the side . Add the rest and do the same . Add the sugar , mix well for about 2 minutes , medium speed . Add lemon zest , vanilla extract and sour cream and yogurt . Mix well , scrape off the side , do not overbeat . Pour into the crust . Wrap the bottom of the pan securely with heavy duty foil . You will need a roasting pan , place the pan that has been wrapped with the foil into the roasting pan . Fill up with boiling water , half way to the side of the pan . Bake at 325 F , for 55 minutes ( each oven is different , you might want to check after 50 minutes , do not overbake , your cheesecake should be jiggle still ) It will get better once it’s refrigerated overnight .

Serve as is , or you can use strawberry topping . My strawberry topping recipe is taken from the strawberry jam recipe . I just had to warm up the jam to make it runnier .

Greek Lemon Rice Soup ( Avgolemono )

I remember the first time my husband took me out on a date , we went to this greek restaurant , it’s called Jedi’s , they’re famous with their lemon rice soup . So we both ordered the soup  , boy was i surprised .. i refused to eat that soup . I took 1 spoonful of the soup and then i asked him ” would you like to have my soup  ? ” He had his own cup of soup already … but no i can’t eat that soup , it’s too weird . To me , i only know 2 types of soup  , chicken soup and chinese crab asparagus soup . This soup had this odd taste to me , soup wasn’t supposed to be lemony .. but this one was ..

Over the years , my taste bud has changed , we moved to other state and moved back to the area few years ago , and went to the same restaurant that had renovated due to fire , and we ordered lemon rice soup again .. i thought why not giving it another try . I am glad i gave it another shot .. i had no clue what i have been missing !! Lemon rice soup is delicious !! It’s greek’s soup .. So there i was , i have a greek friend at the gym , the guy who is in the front desk is greek , so when i asked if he knew how to make lemon rice soup , he looked at me strangely and then he said ” ohhhhh .. avgolemono ?? ” i was like ” what ? whatever .. the soup with lemons .. ” LOL .. He said of course , duh he’s greek .. and he told me how to make it .. i searched online and found a recipe too . So the recipe below is actually not the original recipe i found , i changed it here and there ..Now i don’t have to go to Jedi’s to have lemon rice soup !!!

You need :

4 chicken thighs , shredded

3-4 small carrots , chopped very small

2 stalks of celery ,chopped very small

1 onion, chopped

1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice

8 cups of chicken broth

1-2 tbsp. of soup base

4 egg yolks

1/4 c. of cornstarch


1. Poach chicken thighs until it’s done , remove from the pot and set aside to cool before shredding it .

2. In a medium stock pot , add vegetable oil , and saute the vegetables for about 5 minutes , and then add the chicken broth , lemon juice , soup base and pepper . Boil , and simmer for 20 minutes .

3. Once it’s done simmering , beat egg yolks in a bowl , add the cornstarch , mix it well with whisk , add 1/2 cup of broth into the egg and cornstarch mixture ( tempering ) , and then pour the mixture into the soup , slow and steady stream , while keep whisking . If you don’t whisk it , you will have scrambled eggs in your soup . You soup will start to get thicken and very yellow from the egg yolks . Finally add the shredded chicken , and serve with rice .

lemon rice soup

Banana Bread

I have 3 overripe bananas , nobody likes eating overripe bananas . I hate to throw them away , i ended up making banana bread . Banana bread is one of those things that is super easy to make , basically you have all ingredients on hand . I usually make the banana bread the healthy way , no sour cream , nor buttermilk , no butter , just vegetable oil and other normal ingredients for banana bread . But this time , i used butter , and well .. there is one good thing in the ingredients , the greek yogurt . Result was amazingly light banana bread and moist . It was delicious , i think it will be even better for the next day , usually that’s what happen with banana bread or zucchini bread , the next day is even better .

So here is the recipe for banana bread :

10 tbsp. of unsalted butter , softened

2 cup of cake flour ( 1/4 c. of cornstarch and 1 3/4 c. of all purpose flour )

1 tsp.baking soda

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 c. sugar

Mix the dry ingredients together , then add the butter , mix well , about 30 secs , medium low speed . Then add this mixture :

3 overripe bananas

1/2 c. plain greek yogurt

2 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Pour this mixture into the butter-flour mixture in 3 batches  scraping the side each time . Add walnuts or chocolate chip ( optional )

Bake at 350 F for 1 hour and 10 minutes , if you make 6 cupcakes , the loaf should be done by 55-58 minutes . And the cupcakes about 18-20 minutes .

Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken Breasts

I hate it when i have chicken breasts and i don’t know what to do with it . Most of the time , i don’t know what to do with chicken breast , because i prefer chicken thighs , dark meat to me has the best flavour , it’s a lot better than having to eat white meat . There goes .. the eating healthy thing . Obviously white meat is healthier than dark meat .. but anyway , today i had chicken breasts thawing and thinking and thinking what should i do with it .

So here is lemon garlic roasted chicken breasts , which is super easy and tastes pretty nice , considering  it’s white meat  . Meat thermometer is a must here , because you def. don’t want undercooked meat , nor you want a overcooked white meat . I hope you never ever have to eat overcooked white meat because it would be way too dry !!! This turns out very juicy and delicious

You will need :

3 chicken breasts , skin on , bone in

1/4 c. of good olive oil

9 cloves of garlic , minced

1/3 c. of white wine

lemon zest from 1 lemon

2 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp. of dry oregano

1 tsp. of dry thyme

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

black pepper

In a small saucepan , heat the olive oil , add the minced garlic for just 1 minute , do not brown it ! Turn heat off , add white wine , oregano , thyme and salt , pepper . Pour in 13×9 inch pan , pat dry the chicken breasts , roll around the chicken with the oil mixture , skin side up , do the same with the rest of the chicken breast . Drizzle with olive oil , and little more kosher salt and pepper . Bake at 400 F until meat themometer reached 165 F . Mine took about 45 minutes .

Grilled Plantain w/ Brown Sugar Rum Glazed

Ever since the farmer market opened this year , last april , i’ve been buying plantains a lot ! This time , i tried grilling it , since the weather is warming up , and instead of baking it like i did the past few times , i decided to have it grilled . Everybody said that frying it is good but trying to avoid more fatty stuff , we thought grilling is the best . Not only it’s healthier but it’s also brings out the best taste in it . Although this recipe below is not quite the healthiest choice , but if i had to eat it plain , without the glaze or the ice cream , i would not mind it at all .

So here if grilled plantain with brown sugar , cinnamon and rum glazed , served with our home made vanilla ice cream .

Grill plantains with skin on , for about 7 minutes on each side on medium low heat . And it should be brown black when it’s done , peel the skin off , coat the plantain with the glaze , and grill for 1 minute on each side . Serve with vanilla ice cream .

For the glaze : about half stick of butter , melt . Add 1/4 – 1/2 c. of brown sugar , 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon , and 2 capfulls of light rum . Cook for 2 minutes , it should be rolling boil , and it’s done .

Opera Cake

Opera cake is a french cake , and i should have left the french cake baking to the french . I just slaughtered the cake .. LOL , anyway , it took about 3.5 hours to make this cake , to think that it’s only 10 minutes of baking .. it’s kinda ridiculous , isn’t it ? Although , you can always make them days ahead , there are few steps that can be made ahead . The coffee syrup , and the coffee buttercream can always be made a day ahead . That would save your time tremendously . I would leave the ganache and the sponge cake on the same day though ..

The reason i think this cake isn’t worth the time , is not because of the taste . It has a great taste , rich and yummy cake , it’s just too much time to spend on a cake that is only 7×7 inch square cake and not even that thick ! Unless you double the recipe .. so here it goes , i’ve doubled the recipe already ..

Make 1 day ahead :

Coffee Syrup

  • 2 teaspoon instant-espresso powder
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Cognac or other brandy

Mix the espresso powder with 2 tbsp. of water , until dissolve . In a small heavy pan , boil , sugar and 1 cup of water , bring to boil , simmer for 5 minutes without stirring it . Remove from heat , add in the coffee mixture and cognac .

Coffee buttercream

  • 4 teaspoons instant-espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon water
  • 12 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 stick  unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and softened
In a cup , mix the espresso powder and 2 tbsp. water , set aside . In a small heavy pan , bring to boil sugar and water , stirring until dissolve . Then let it boil until it reach 238 F if using candy thermometer . Then , while boiling , beat egg yolks for 1 minute , while whisking , pour the hot boiling sugar water mixture into the bowl with slow steady stream , pour the espresso mixture .. Try to avoid the side and whisk , keep whisking about 5 minutes until it’s totally cool . Add the butter into the mixture per cube , keep whisking until  it’s thick and glossy .
These 2 can be made ahead of time and store them in the fridge .
Almond Sponge Cake
  • 6 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising), sifted after measuring, plus additional for dusting pan
  • 4 whole large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
  • 2 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted after measuring
  • 4 large egg whites at room temperature for 30 minutes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, foam discarded, and butter cooled

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F. Butter baking pan, then line bottom with a sheet of parchment or wax paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on short sides, and generously butter paper. Dust pan with cake flour, knocking out excess.Beat whole eggs in a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer at high speed until eggs have tripled in volume and form a ribbon when beaters are lifted, 10 minutes at least .. Reduce speed to low, then add almond flour and confectioners sugar and mix until just combined. Resift cake flour over batter and gently fold in.

Beat egg whites in a bowl with cleaned beaters at medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt and beat until whites just hold soft peaks. Add granulated sugar, then increase speed to high and beat until whites just hold stiff peaks.

Fold one third of whites into almond mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Fold in butter, then pour batter evenly into 2 baking pans, spreading gently and evenly with offset spatula and being careful not to deflate (batter will be about 1/4 inch thick).

Bake until very pale golden, 8 to 10 minutes, then cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes.

Loosen edges of cake with spatula, then transfer cake (on paper) to a cutting board. Cut cake into half to be a square , about 7 x 7 inch square , you should get 4 squares .

The Ganache

  • 1 1/2 stick (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 14 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened; preferably 70 to 71% cacao), coarsely chopped
Chopped the chocolate in a food processor , in a double boiler , melt the butter and all chocolate except 4 tbsp.of chocolate . Once it’s all nice and melted , let it cool .
To assemble :
Layer 1 square on a plate , brush GENEROUSLY with coffee cognac mixture , then spread the butter cream , add the 2nd layer of the sponge cake , and then brush generously with coffee cognac mixture, and chocolate ganache , put the 3rd layer of the cake , and brush generously with coffee mixture , and spread buttercream mixture . Add the last layer on top , and brush with coffee , butter cream , and chill for 30 mins before adding the final glaze on top . Chill for 30 minutes , decorate . Trip the edges , and cover with plastic , can be made 2 days ahead .