Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Apple bliss

Flaky crust baked apple

DSC_1725With ice cream and caramel sauce

A friend of mine handed me some apples collected from her acres of gorgeous property. They were small but the pink, red hue is awfully sweet looking. “Take as many as you want” she offered but I only took three. One for each of my three family members - smart, logical thinking? Upon my return, I try to think of something to make with them,,, like apple pie? She told me her family eats as-is but is it food blogger ‘s occupational hazard? I try adding sugar and fat to perfectly healthy, beautiful creation of earth. Anyway, I realize three apples are way short of even a half pie. Duh!  Undaunted I went to plan B. Something like an apple pie, but cuter… I know - an Individual apple pie! DSC_1393

I start making the pie crust first (which recipe I was taught from a gentleman who was well known for being a great pie maker in our church). I have kept a copy of his hand written recipe since 1997. It’s all stained with many usages, yet I can’t part with it because it brings back fun memories of the class and he was a good teacher. Next I prepare the apples. This apple compote recipe is all ‘about’. I didn’t measure anything and I’m grateful that it turned out OK. As I wrap a apple with dough then made some design, I thought I was a genius then comes yikes. Some dough broke away from the apple in the baking process and turned into Picasso art.

Ingridients for two pie crusts

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour plus more for rolling
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar- You can omit sugar if you so desire.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter butter – keep frozen until ready to use
  • 6-8 tablespoons ice water
  1. Put flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl and combine well.
  2. Grate the frozen butter over the bowl and dust with flour mixture once a while. DSC_1683DSC_1685
  3. Drizzle ice water one tablespoon at a time and  mix with your hands till the dough starts getting moist but still is crumbly. If the dough holds together when squeezed in your hand then it is not necessary to add more water. DSC_1686
  4. Make a ball and wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.

Ingredients for Apple compote

  • 3 apples
  • Water 1000 ml or enough to cover apples
  • Sugar 180g
  • Slice of 1 lemon (I used more)
  1. Dig a small hole with a melon baller in the top of an apple and remove seeds and core- do not go all the way through. Peel and set aside. DSC_1675DSC_1678DSC_1707
  2. In a pan large enough to hold the apples, pour water, sugar and lemon slices. Start boiling. DSC_1681
  3. Gently drop apples into the pan and turn the heat to low.
  4. Simmer for 30 minutes (tinier apple may take less - you don’t want too mushy of an apple). If you lid smaller than the pan, use it to help keep the apples submerged.

Ingredients for stuffing

  • 1/2 cup raisin-soaked in warm water and 1 tablespoon of rum flavoring (if you have it) for 30 minutes. DSC_1679
  • About 100g of graham crackers – broken in small pieces.
  • Unsalted butter 50g melted.
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  1. Combine drained raisins, graham crackers, butter and  cinnamon.
  2. Gently put stuffing into the hole you made in the apples, do not over stuff. Set it aside. Keep the left over stuffing.


Heat oven to 360 F.

Take out dough from refrigerator and let sit for a while to room temperature about 20 minutes. Dust your surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll out dough from center to edges. Too many passes makes it tough so don’t overwork the dough. Roll out dough large enough to cover the apple. Put about two tablespoons of the left over stuffing in center of the dough then put the stuffed apple on top of it. Gather the dough and wrap apple. Make designs as you wish. Brush with egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water mixture for shine. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Put apples in and bake for 25minutes or till golden color.DSC_1713DSC_1717

Enjoy while it’s warm with vanilla ice cream!DSC_1720DSC_1698

I discovered new variety of apple called ‘Sweet Tango”  the other day. Loved the name and looks. The taste is similar to Honey Crisp but costs twice as much. $2.75 per pound, I bought only 2.DSC_1584

As you could see in the picture, that friend also give me pears. I made poached pear salad and that was mighty fine. I wish I could live on only eating healthy stuff but I will come back to that subject after Halloween.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chocolate Story


I loooooove fine chocolate. On my birthday more than a week ago, my husband made Beast’s flourless chocolate cake. He made this before for my grandson – see the recipe here. This rich, dense and somewhat salty, chocolaty treat is definitely near the top spot on my best chocolate chart. My husband and I are very fortunate to have fine chocolate experience and we know one or two things about really good chocolate. This is one of our affordable luxuries.

DSC_1401Oregon’s own Moonstruck chocolate. I love their Mexican Hot Chocolate.

DSC_1403This was one of the pieces in the box above. Just adorable. I don’t know about you but I eat head first.

DSC_1092DSC_1094DSC_1103My husband brought this Royce raw chocolate back from Japan in a special insulated pouch. This is the finest chocolate that I’ve ever tasted. And most expensive.

 DSC_1194Royce’s not raw chocolate, but still good.


DSC_1410Famous Godiva chocolate. I can never pass by their shop without stopping. Actually my favorite from their store is the cookies.

DSC_1443My friend brought these from Hawaii. I am sad that I wasn’t the one doing the bringing.

DSC_1451We use these for the chocolate sauce in the crepes and lots of other things. Best chips ever. It used to be $1.59 a bag and now is over $3.00. Wish I had stocked up.

DSC_1446Bernard unsweetened cocoa powder. Makes a great cup of hot chocolateDSC_1400Lotte Crunky. This is not one of my favorites but the name cracks me up.

DSC_1642For my birthday my friend brought me flowers. Color is gorgeous!

DSC_1639I signed up at a local shopping center and this is some of the things I got on my birthday from them. The cup cake from Sweetest Thing Cupcakes and it’s gluten free. Mrs.Fields chocolate and macadamia nuts cookie. A movie ticket and free valet parking ticket.

DSC_1529 I took half portion cake to October Birthday luncheon at friend's house and it disappeared quickly. I’m grateful for friends who organized that event and thank you darling for your hard work. Beside eating, decorating the cake was fun too. Being old is not so bad after all.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Two peachy breakfasts

DSC_1278My husband passionately tells me the best peaches in the US is  Drrrrr, Drum roll please.  It’s from Hurricane, Utah!  Located about 20 miles east of St.George, on the way to Zion National Park. There is an LDS church owned peach farm in this small community that produces big, mouth watering peaches. Since I’m not familiar with famous Georgia peaches, I have doubts but I can not dismiss his statement. HIs peach standard is high, it is really hard to please my husband with Costco peaches. I know you love Hurricane holy peaches, but look! It came in special individual compartmentalize package. Isn’t it neat?

Peaches pair well with many dishes. My favorite peach chutney is good with either pork or chicken. The last two Saturdays he made great breakfasts with peaches, finally sensing my aura signal of Honey, peaches are going baaad! Do something. Wait, did I just say that to him out loud?  Peach in muffins sound not so appealing to me but the recipe he got from allrecipe.com was surprisingly delicious. His crepe is also good and it’s our family’s frequently requested breakfast menu.

Ingredients for peach muffin  makes 16 muffins

  • 3 cups all –purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups granulated sugar-he used less than that
  • 2 cups peeled, pitted, and chopped peaches*DSC_1247
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Lightly grease 16 muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.DSC_1256
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the the oil, eggs and sugar. DSC_1258
  4. Stir the oil mixture into the flour mixture just until moist.
  5. Fold in the peaches. then spoon into the prepared muffin cups.DSC_1265DSC_1267DSC_1268
  6. Bake 25 minutes in the oven, until a tooth pick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.DSC_1290

* Make an X on the bottom of each peach with knife then plunge into boiling water for 30 seconds then immediately plunge into ice cold water for 30 seconds for easy removal of skin.

Ingredients for crepe- He eyeballs it and does not  measure. Please add or subtract to your taste. Make about 20 crepes.DSC_1418

  • 1 and 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cube salted butter, melted. If using unsalted butter add 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • 1 and 1/2 cup flour

Put everything in a blender.DSC_1417 Blend at high speed until well combined. Heat non-stick 10 inch skillet over medium high. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter then tilt pan to thinly coat entire bottom of skillet. Bake until the edges dry out and bottom change color to light brown. Turn over and cook another 30 seconds or so.  Turn out on a plate until ready to eat. Serve with your favorite fruits, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Wow! that was easy, only 19 more to go.DSC_1415DSC_1424DSC_1439DSC_1441DSC_1442

Below are more pictures they took in Japan. A few samples of ‘Lost in Translation’


P1010900 P1020306
Do toilets really need this many buttons and instructions?

P1010935Hmmm. The corn in our garden looks nothing like this…

P1020236Radio controlled tissue box

P1020277Not sure I want to do this

P1020350Really? It takes that many Japanese symbols to say “Up”?

P1020504Careful. Those are absolutely not to be eaten.

P1020530P1020573Now that we know where the ground is maybe we can find us as well.

P1020595At least this shop admits it…

P1020657Some things are the same in any language.

P1020661Not sure what a commutation ticket is but you can get it here if you need your sentence reduced…

And, finally, 2 different ways your shower cap can help you…