Tuesday, April 15, 2014


No Egg Mango Marshmallow_DSC3533

As if my week had sprinted to a new record, I woke up Saturday with a little panic. Until Tuesday…two more days yet I hadn’t made anything fa..bulous to post. Rats! I glanced at my calendar, wow, Easter is next Sunday? I suppose I would like to create something Easter…ly? _DSC3522

Intrigued by Koichi Izumi’s no egg guimauves (French for marshmallows) recipe (yeah, this fits my Happy Easterish theme) however, I was missing a few key ingredients. Where could I get passion fruit puree?  I dunno…the mangos I bought at Wholefoods were on sale for 69 cents each, nice! But not so nice was that, at Winco, they were 59 cents. How in the world? The 10 cents less means a huge dime difference, right?… OK back to my subject, I substituted with these precious mangos I paid the premium for.   

I refer to his recipe but a few compromises were made and perhaps the most ‘I don’t get it’ moment is his method of soaking powdered gelatins. After 2 hours of waiting “supposedly” the gelatin would be macerated in water. But it didn’t. Impossible! I cried. Could it be that Japanese gelatin and American are not same? Nice fellowship by my husband.

Ingredients and Instruction (Print Recipe here)

Necessary equipment: 6x6 pan/mold (I used 7x4 and1/2 inch plastic case), line with parchment paper on bottom, blender or hand held immersion blender, hand held mixer, food thermometer and small sieve

  • Water 30g or more
  • 2 packets (14.4g) of unflavored gelatin
  • 4 mangos (I prefer Madame Francique or Shindhri)_DSC3443
  • Sugar #1 -3 Tablespoons If the mango is very sweet, add less sugar.
  • Lemon juice 1-2 Tablespoons
  • Sugar #2 – 90g, more or less
  • Corn starch 25g
  • Powdered sugar 25g
  1. Prepare gelatin – Pour water in small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin in and wait for it to eventually absorb the water, 2-3 hours. Note: sprinkle a little bit more water if the gelatin is not completely macerated after 2 hours._DSC3439
  2. Making mango purée – Cut mango lengthwise into three sections with the middle section containing the pit. Lay the skin side on your palm, make a grid pattern on the flesh with knife (see photo). Push flesh out from skin side. If you like, scrape the fruit off from the pit to use. Put all the flesh into a sauce pan then add sugar #1 and lemon juice. Cook for 30 minutes on low heat. Stir frequently and crush with a wooden spoon to break down flesh. Turn off heat and puree with immersion blender or put into a blender to puree. Need 150g of this puree in the recipe._DSC3445Store extra mango puree in airtight container and keep in refrigerator.IMG_1052 
  3. Put macerated gelatin and sugar #2 in a large bowl set aside._DSC3484
  4. Prepare 1 size smaller pan than the above bowl filled with 1 cup of hot water to use as double boiler. The water should not touch bottom of the bowl.
  5. Put 150g of mango puree into another pan and add 1/4 cup of water.  Frequently whisk the puree and cook to reach the temperature of 200F –230F range*. The laser instant thermometer is very helpful. Careful not to burn puree * The original recipe said must keep at 230F.
  6. After reaching the desired temperature, dump the contents from above into the step #3 bowl. Place bowl on the top of the prepared pan in step #4 
  7. Double boil the pan on low heat – this keeps the temperature of puree mixture above 108F. Lower than that it will get too hard to pour in the mold. Mix with hand held mixer slowly at first then speed up to max. Mix for 6-8 minutes,scrape off sides mid-way through. The color of the mixture will get lighter and thicken. This photo is misleading, the right texture is when you lift up the mixer, it  drizzles down and makes a spiral pattern at the bottom._DSC3489
  8. Pour mixture into the mold. Cover with paper towel until it has cooled to room temperature then  cover with plastic sheet. Let rest for overnight._DSC3499
  9. Combine powdered sugar and cornstarch then sift once.
  10. Dust pallet knife and top of marshmallow with powdered sugar mixture (step #9) through small sieve, insert knife along edges of the mold. Turn onto flat surface then peel off parchment paper, sprinkle with  powdered sugar mixture. Cut in cubes or other fun shapes. Don’t forget to dredge cut sides with sugar mixture too. IMG_1046_DSC3523Peep,peep!_DSC3529_DSC3521

Getting ready for Easter_DSC3508_DSC3512

Left over mango puree is very nice as an ice cream topping._DSC3537

I shared some marshmallows with my neighbor friends so that we don’t have to consume the entire sugary snack by ourselves.

Happy Easter to you all!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

So Thai

Chicken Satay/สะเต๊ะไก่_DSC3411

I have such admiration for my uncle who retired from Honda Motors a while back. He was assigned to a job in Thailand for a few years. He sent me some pictures but they were lost in my fine filing system somewhere…too shay.
Basically Thailand has three seasons- cool, hot and rainy. Their cool season and hot season temperature difference is mere a few degrees…sounds like Hawaii ya? But with much humidness. A long rainy season –July to October – brings heavy rains of course though, typically afternoon flash down pour and sunshine the rest. He thrived there in such a paradisiac, tropical land._DSC3436

In this recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine, the use of nam chim sate /peanut sauce instead of turmeric so it won’t stain my hands.
By the time my husband was ready to grill the chicken, it had started drizzling outside. Plan B? No, he braved the rain and grilled them to perfection.

Ingredients and instruction for 8 to 10 skewered chicken (Print Recipe Here)

Necessary equipment: bamboo skewers, oven or grill

  • 1/2 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed if available)_DSC3356
  • Zest of 1 orange (about 2 teaspoons)_DSC3361
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (no sugar added)
  • 2 Tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (I used gluten free type) 
  • 2 teaspoons peeled grated fresh ginger_DSC3364
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless,skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch wide strips
  • Oil for grill grate
  • Skewers –have plenty just in case 12-16
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped roasted salted peanuts
  1. Make marinade sauce - In a large bowl, whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, peanuts butter, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes until smooth. Reserve 1/3 cup of the mixture in a small bowl and set aside._DSC3367
  2. Put the marinade in a resealable gallon plastic bag. Add chicken and seal tight. Put in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  3. Soak bamboo skewers in water for 20 minutes. _DSC3376
  4. Heat grill to medium heat (350 F), and rub the grate with paper towel dipped in oil.
  5. Thread 1-2 chicken strips on each skewer. Grill the chicken until thoroughly cooked, 2-3 minutes per side and until they have a nice charred mark._DSC3378_DSC3415
  6. Sprinkle with cilantro leaves and peanuts. Serve with reserved peanut sauce as dipping sauce.


An un-invited guest was already there at the grill. Yeeek!_DSC3384

Life after retirement…not only nice and generous, musically gifted, my uncle taught himself to play piano and guitar, made an amateur band with friends with his family’s blessing. As the vocalist/lead guitar, he and his buddies do some occasional gigs at local establishments. I sincerely hope to have the opportunity someday to watch him play.


My husband’s pet project…Kefir kimuchi is about ready for consumption._DSC3420_DSC3424

Here is something you don’t see everyday…I drove by…What the heck!
A turkey in the middle of the road. Temperature in low 70’s. It already smelled foul. I pinched my nose and took this photo. IMG_1043

I hope you have a not stinky but pleasant week!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Triple Layered Apple Tart_DSC3271

DSC_4623The famous landmark, Haystack Rock is in our favorite beach in Cannon Beach, Oregon. When it’s low tide, you could walk up to the rock and observe little sea creatures. As you know, beaches in Oregon are not swim oriented…too cold, often gray and wind is relentless…but it surely has it’s charm and beauty._DSC3295

This haystack-looking tart recipe originated from Kinzo Nishihara (西原金蔵) but is not an exact copy. The owner of the pastry shop, Au Grenier D’or (オ・グレニエ・ドール) in Kyoto which store we have not yet uncovered but it is now included in my must visit list. My goal is to do it this fall but that’s a long wait…sigh…I don’t mind going to Cannon Beach and enjoying the long walk along the water’s edge. The best time to visit is in early Summer before school gets out as later the town is really crowded with tourists.

Ingredients and Instruction to make 1- 8inch tart. (Print Recipe here) I recommend that you make the dough and apple sauce the night before.

Necessary equipment – 8 inch tart ring, food processer
Desirable equipment  - mandolin slicer, hand held blender_DSC3311_DSC3259

#1 For tart crust

  • Low viscosity flour (薄力粉) 150g
  • Butter cubed and chilled 75g
  • Water 25ml
  • 1 Egg yolk or 12g
  • Salt 1/2 teaspoon
  1. In food processor, add flour and chilled butter. Use the pulse button to run 20 times. Add rest of ingredients and run 20 times more. If too crumbly then run a few times more.Do not over churn it._DSC3203
  2. Place onto flat surface and make a block. Tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Let it rest in the refrigerator for 3 hours or over night.. _DSC3207

#2 For Apple sauce   Note: I doubled the recipe to use left overs later_DSC3209

  • 1 large apple (original recipe recommend Fuji)
  • Granulated sugar 100g
  • Lemon juice 1 Tablespoon or bit more
  1. Cut apple in quarters, remove core and seeds then peel skin. Slice 1/8 inch thick.
  2. Put sliced apple and sugar in sauce pan. Cook on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes stirring occasionally until apple breaks down._DSC3304
  3. Blend with hand held blender or put in the blender to make sauce. Note: Does not have to be smooth. Add lemon juice.

#3 For almond cream Yield about 200g

  • Almond flour 50g
  • Powdered sugar 50g
  • Unsalted butter 50g room temperature
  • 1 egg beaten
  1. Whisk almond flour and powdered sugar in bowl. Add butter and combine well with wooden spatula
  2. Add egg in 4 parts. Blend well

# 4 Fit crust in ring  Line large cooking sheet with parchment paper

  1. Take dough crust out of refrigerator and leave on the counter for 5 minutes. Pound with wooden rolling pin to flatten. Dust surface with a little bit of flour if necessary then roll out to 1/8 inch thick._DSC3224 _DSC3225
  2. Lay ring on the prepared cooking sheet and put the crust on top of it. Fit crust tight at edge of ring. Roll the pin over the ring to remove excess dough. Prick all over bottom of crust with fork. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes._DSC3232

Bake with almond cream

  1. Heat oven to 360F
  2. Spread almond cream ( #3) evenly on crust.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes. When it’s cool down enough to handle, remove the ring._DSC3236

Second bake

  • 2 large apples
  • 3-4 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • Water
  • Granulated sugar 80g
  1. Core apple but leave the skin on. Shoe string cut with mandolin. Put in a bowl and cover with water and add lemon juice. Leave in the bowl for about 5 minutes._DSC3238
  2. Heat oven to 360 F. Spread about 1 cup apple sauce (#2) over almond tart._DSC3242
  3. Make one size smaller ring  than tart with foil. Put it on the top of tart.
  4. Drain the lemon water very well. Put apple on the sheets of paper towel to ensure that you have removed the water. Combine the apples and the sugar. Mound the apple on top of apple sauce. Do not press. _DSC3254
  5. Bake for 20 minutes. After it has cooled, remove the foil ring, sprinkle powdered sugar on top to decorate.Serve with ice cream if you like._DSC3285

Left over dough was used to make Asian pear tartlets. Here is the Asian pear pie filling that my husband and I canned a couple years ago._DSC3255_DSC3303

Limited season flavor we enjoyed lately…Cherry blossom soba (buckwheat noodle) has pink hue and hint of cherry scent. _DSC3197

And, little too sweet but nice – Pickled Beets and Strawberry. ._DSC3314

Merry Christmas!…Fooled ya!