Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fromage à la Crème

Cheesecake in a glass

DSC_5984I have a set of ‘made in Japan’, adorable glasses which came with plastic lids that I would like to bake purin (Japanese term for  pudding) in. I don’t know with certainly that they are oven proof.… I dug up an old cook book (Michiyo Kumabe’s Rich Sweets) for inspiration. This cheesecake I made with relative ease…maybe a bit out of season – ish though the fair weather we’re having justified the chilled dessert?DSC_5981

I made chiffon cake for the base. Substitute store bought pound cake or crashed graham crackers are nice shortcut. Feel free to omit base all together for gluten free version also for less calories (that’s what I should have done). I used blueberries though any other berry will do. Now raise your glass, say Santé (Cheers!).

Ingredients and Instruction for 1-12x8 sheet cake (Print recipe here

) Skip this process for gluten free version.

Necessary equipment: food thermometer, hand held mixer

Preparation: line *cake pan with parchment paper. *Use smaller size for thicker cake.

  • 2 egg whites
  • 80g granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 60g low viscosity flour (薄力粉) sift twice
  • 4 Tablespoons milk
  • 20g unsalted butter at room temperature
  1. Pre-heat oven to 338F. Beat egg white and sugar with hand held electric mixer in a large bowl till stiff peaks form.
  2. Add egg yolk and blend in with rubber spatula.DSC_5933
  3. Sprinkle flour in 1/4th at a time. Scoop batter from bottom of bowl and over to combine but do not over mix.
  4. Put milk and butter in a small microwave proof bowl and microwave for 10 seconds at 50% power. Check the temperature and repeat the process to warm milk mixture up to122F.
  5. Put 1 ladleful of batter into the milk mixture and mix well then put whole thing back into the bowl (process #3) and combine. DSC_5938
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, tap the bottom of pan to remove air trapped in the batter. Bake for about 20 minutes. Check the doneness by inserting a wooden skewer. When it’s done, drop pan from a half-foot above the counter. This helps to keep the cake from shrinking. Remove cake from pan. cool cake on the rack. Wrap the slightly warm cake with plastic wrap to prevent drying out.

Ingredients and Instruction for cheesecake (enough to fill 10 – 6 oz. glasses)

  • 6g sheet gelatin
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 80g sugar
  • 4 teaspoons water
  • 250g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 50g sour cream
  • 300g heavy cream
  1. Soak sheet gelatin in a large bowl full of icy water.DSC_5962
  2. Put egg yolks and sugar in a large microwave proof bowl. Whisk until pale yellow. Add 4 teaspoons water and mix well.DSC_5954DSC_5957
  3. Place the yolk mixture in a microwave (no need to cover) and microwave for 40 seconds at 50% power. Mix well with whisk. Repeat the process 2-3 more times until the mixture gets a little thick.
  4. Squeeze the moisture from the gelatin and add to the still warm egg yolk mixture combine well.DSC_5963
  5. In another bowl, mix cream cheese and sour cream well and add to the egg/ gelatin bowl. Mix well and set aside
  6. Whip heavy cream till soft peaks form. Combine with egg yolk/ gelatin mixture


  • Sheet cake  See the recipe above.
  • Jam – any but perhaps coordinate with the fruit of your choice – I used homemade blueberry jam
  1. Cut out sheet cake with round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter to fit bottom of your glasses. You may want to freeze the cake scraps to use later.DSC_5974
  2. Drop a teaspoon of jam onto the cake.DSC_5978
  3. Fill with cheesecake leaving some space on top for fruits. Note; pastry bag with large tip will make it easier to fill. Tap bottom of the glass to remove air.DSC_5979
  4. Chill 3-4 hours in refrigerator and decorate with fruits.DSC_5994

The granola version…loved the crunch!DSC_5992

On Instagram try Today’s TAPAS (#todaystapas) to coordinate with calendar, on Valentine’s Day was theme of red…petit four style sandwiches. The beetroot bread I used here is recipe from Charles’s Five Euro Food.IMG_2637

Then on Chinese New Year -  spicy chicken pot stickers mimic fortune cookies. Homemade lantern and embossing the money envelop with lucky Chinese character (it says double joy)….was fun project!IMG_2694

Belated Valentine’s Day gift from our daughter arrived a few days ago…CHOCOLATE SHOYU (soy sauce) CARAMELS made in San Francisco…Unique! Definitely Wafu (Japanese style)!IMG_2730 

We don’t know what that is…This flower was only a half-foot tall with tight buds when church friends brought it. Only a week later it grew more than a foot and bloomed. It has storing mediciney scent. Striking isn’t it?IMG_2638

Spring is not so far away.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Kimchi Oyster Jjigae(Stew)

With Homemade Kimchi

IMG_2403Oh shucks! I didn’t take very good photos…anyway, it tasted grrrreat!

My husband is blessed to work in nice office environment. A friendly Korean  co-worker shard her homemade kimchi with us. The generous portion packed in Tupperware, the deep tangy flavor has a nice kick,  we have been enjoying for weeks now…I made this stew with homemade (just not by us) kimchi.

I watch Korean drama often enough that I can speak chokkom (a little) Korean…food scenes are fascinating to me! 2002 mega hit Korean drama, Winter Sonata, brought strong Korean boom to Japan -  the high school heroine preparing kimchi jjigae for a love interest/class mate part was particularly memorable.

My jjigae needs only one Korean spice – gochujang (Korean chili paste) – thus uncomplicated, nice thin flavor. Other jigae recipes I recommend – Marc’s kimchi jjigae  or Sissi’s kimchi stew. both recipes have appetizing, gorgeous deep red color! 

Not exactly related to the recipe but I enjoyed so much, I wanted share.this YouTube video –  Japan China Korea Happy! Peace!


Ingredients and Instruction for for 4 servings Print Recipe Here

(I halved the recipe)

  • 8 -12 fresh shelled oysters
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt, dissolved in large bowl full of water. This is to wash oysters.
  • 2 Tablespoons sake
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce, tamari soy sauce for gluten free recipe
  • 2 –3 Tablespoons potato starch
  • 2 plus Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 firm tofu, cut in 2 inch cubes
  • 1 bag/300g (about) bean sprouts 
  • 1 bundle/150g (about) garlic chives cut in 2 inch length DSC_5910
  • 200g Chinese cabbage kimchee roughly cutDSC_5913
  • 6 cups fish stock  Note: I made from 2 Tablespoons sardine dashi powder dissolved in 6 cups hot water
  • 2-3 Tablespoons gochujang 
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons potato starch
  1. Quickly wash oysters in salted water, Pat dry with paper towel. Mix sake and soy sauce in bowl and place oysters in it. Marinate for 5-6 minutes. Run through your fingers to remove excess moisture from oysters, dust lightly with starch. Set aside
    .DSC_5906 DSC_5907
  2. Heat vegetable oil in non-stick frying pan at medium heat. Cook oysters until slightly brown on both sides. Do not over cook. Transfer onto paper towel.
  3. Clean the same pan with a paper towel and pour sesame oil to heat at medium heat  Add cut kimchee and sauté for 1 minute.DSC_5916
  4. Boil the fish stock in hot pot then simmer. Add sautéed kimchee to the pot. *Scoop 1 ladle full of warmed fish stock out into a small bowl, add gochujang and dissolve, pour back into hot pot. *This step makes it easier to dissolve rather than directly adding the gochujang into the hot pot.
  5. Mix in soy sauce and sugar. Then add tofu, bean sprouts, oysters and garlic chive. Cook for about 3-4 minutes over low heat. Serve hot.DSC_5926

To reciprocate for the kimchi, I made a raspberry shortcake….she had the day off that day….however it was enjoyed by other people in the office.


I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. We had dinner at St. Jack a French bistro restaurant. They offered a Special Valentine’s Day dinner. The baked Alaska was the only dessert they served. I never had this one before so it was kind of fun! for me (my husband not  so much…he does not like meringue).IMG_2616

My orthodox husband had a dozen roses delivered, predictable but I always appreciate his gesture.IMG_2607

My Today’s TAPAS continues on Instagram. This sashimi grade tuna wrapped with thinly sliced daikon radish, topped with quail egg was refreshing!IMG_2625

So far I have lost 2 pounds eating small lunch….my scale might be broken.




Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Remake Of Chicken Dish

Fried Bean Curd, Ground Chicken Stuffing.

DSC_5813Nabe dish (hot pot ) is really the idealistic Winter meal for us. Something about fishing ingredients from one stone pot makes it sooo warm and fuzzy inside…hey, eat vegetables too, not just the meat…we were as parents used to say to our little people… what?…no, technically, tofu is not vegetable…eat the GREEN stuff!

I made this ground chicken stuffed fried tofu for hot pot one night, as usual the left over re-appeared as a remake dish the following night. Sometimes the re-make beats original.

DSC_5788 Here is Hot Pot dish we had the night before, fabulous with homemade sesame miso paste condiment.

Ingredients and Instruction for ground chicken stuffed fried tofu makes two dozen (Print Recipe Here)

  • 6 rectangular fried bean curd (油揚げ)
  • 600g ground chicken
  • 4 Tablespoons sake
  • 30g mitsuba/ Japanese parsley, choppedDSC_5771
  • 30g ginger root, minced
  • 1/4 cup  grated nagaimo/ Chinese yamDSC_5763
  • Salt
  1. Cook fried bean curd in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and drain (this is to remove oil). When the fried tofu is safe to handle, squeeze out excess water. Place one fried tofu on a paper towel, roll the round chop stick from one end to the other to make it easier to open inside. cross cut in 4ths. Repeat  for other fried bean curd. Set aside
  2. Put ground chicken and sake in a bowl and mix well until pasty. Add mitsuba, ginger, nagaimo and salt and mix very well.DSC_5777
  3. Stuff meat mixture into tofu pouch (do not worry about closing it completely). Press gently to flatten. DSC_5778

Sweet stewing stuffed ground ingredients and Instruction

  • 1 cup plus kelp dashi stock I made from 1 tablespoon granule kelp dashi dissolved in a hot water. Note: dashi stock barely covered fried tofu, you may need to adjust by adding more stock.
  • 8-10 ground chicken stuffed fried tofu
  • 1- 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons each of sake, mirin (seasoned sake) and soy sauce
  1. Boil dashi stock in a pan. Add sugar.
  2. Gently drop in stuffed fried tofu and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add sake, mirin and soy sauce. place drop lid over the stuffing. Cook for 5-6 minutes longer. Turn off heat and let it cool in pan. Serve with broth.DSC_5824

Option: Add vegetable of your choice – I put some broccoli florets in during the last 2 minutes of #3 cooking step.

Stuffed fried bean curd is nice in bentoIMG_2226

I’m having a fun time making Today’s TAPAS and posting on Instagram. I often second guess about filtering (same for blog photos)…my eye sight is not that great….old age does that to you.

From left, garlic sesame flavor fried chicken wings with coleslaw; asparagus wrapped with puff pastry, cream cheese cranberry paste filling.

IMG_2473 IMG_2491

I heard the weatherman predicting temperature of 60’s tomorrow. How blessed we are to have such mild Winter here. I’m praying for pleasant weather coming  to wherever you are. (photo below taken last Friday)IMG_2474

Avoir une joyeuse Saint Valentin! (Have a happy St.Valentine’s Day!)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Chocolate Cup Cake

Chocolate Cake With Purple Sweet Potato Cream

DSC_5893I lost 1 pound in two weeks…swell, right? Honestly, dieting is stressing me out…I definitely need a cheat day once a month. This chocolate cake sounds really delicious! I need to a test run for Saint Valentine’s cake anyway, D’accord? (agree?)..Oui, oui.


This cake is not overly difficult I think (delusional, perhaps)…it has lots of steps though…many dirty dishes to wash - I crammed most of them into the dishwasher but not all bowls fit in there…phew! To avoid being overwhelmed by lengthy instructions, I baked cake the night before.

Ingredients and Instructions for 1 cake (skip this process if you are using store bought chocolate sponge cake) (Print Recipe Here)

Necessary equipment – 1 round cake pan (7 inch cake pan prefer, 8 inch round pan is acceptable), parchment paper, food scale, food thermometer, sifter, stand  mixer or hand held electric mixer.

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 75g low viscosity flour (薄力粉)
  • 15g unsweetened cocoa powder
  •  15g milk
  • 10g vegetable oil
  • 20g butter
  1. Before you start, do  A, B and C  A. Get some parchment paper (do not use non-stick kind because it prevents the cake from rising, I used printer paper) cut to the size of round pan bottom and 1 inch taller than the sides. B. combine milk, oil and butter in a small bowl, double boil to melt and keep around 122F..C. Sift flour and cocoa powder 3 times.DSC_5849DSC_5851
  2. Set mixing bowl over a size smaller pan with hot water (water should not touch the bottom of top bowl) simmering. Beat eggs, egg yolk and sugar with whisk until temperature reaches 98F. Remove bowl from heat and run electric mixer on high (my stand mixer, speed # 8) for 7 minutes, change the speed to low (speed # 2), mix for 4 minutes.DSC_5853
  3. Start heating oven to 338F. With rubber spatula, sprinkle flour and fold in 4 sections. Scoop the batter from bottom of the bowl to gently incorporate. Turn the bowl 1/4 circle every time you put flour in. Do not over work this process and do this as quickly as possible.DSC_5854
  4. Check the temperature of milk mixture, if it is below 122F then warm up to right temperature. Use deep ladle to transfer one big scoop of batter into milk mixture and mix well. Back into the bowl of batter and fold in from bottom. 4-5 times.This step helps blend better than pour milk mixture straight into the batter.
  5. Fill batter into paper lined pan within an inch or so from the top Stir lightly over the pan with spatula to prevent center of cake to cave in. Hold pan with both hands and tap the cake pan on hard counter 2-3 times to remove air bubbles. Bake for 30 minutes. Insert wooden skewer to check the doneness. Remove from oven, drop the cake pan from 5-6 inches above counter, this helps prevent the cake from sinking. Remove the cake from the pan, place it on cooling rack for a few minutes.
  6. Remove paper from side and bottom. Place it up-side down on cooling rack. Wrap with plastic wrap while the cake is slightly warm, this will keep it moist

Ingredients and Instruction for Purple Sweet Potato Cream and Chocolate veneer (printable recipe at cake instruction)

Necessary equipment – food scale, food thermometer, non-stick parchment paper, electric mixer, fine mesh strainer

  • 300g (about) Purple Sweet Potato, peel skin and cut in chunks
  • 45g granulated sugar
  • 45g milk
  • 70g plus Chantilly cream – whip 100g of heavy cream with 1 Tablespoon sugar until soft peak
  • 2-3 drops of rum flavoring (optional)
  • 300g (about) chocolate shaved  Note: I used Hershey special dark chocolate bar.
  1. Sweet potato paste – Place cut sweet potatoes in medium pan and pour in cold water, bring to boil then simmer until soft. Drain water through colander. put potato back in the same pan, shake the pan to remove the moisture with remaining heat. Add sugar, milk then smash potatoes with potato masher or fork while it’s still hot. Strain through fine mesh, this process enforces creaminess.
    DSC_5858 DSC_5863DSC_5868DSC_5871
  2. When the sweet potato paste is cooled, add Chantilly cream 1/3 at a time and mix well to achieve soft but not too loose cream. Add rum flavoring if using and stir. Cover and keep in the refrigerator until needed.DSC_5873
  3. Prep for chocolate veneer – cut parchment paper to size – exact perimeter of the cake(s) x 1/2inch taller than cake height. Note: I was making individual cakes instead of 1 large, so needed 5,6 rectangular sheets. In order to make smaller cakes, just use a round biscuit cutter or a glass cup.
  4. Tempering chocolate – set aside a large bowl of 1-2 cups* of ice water. Double boil shaved chocolate (boil the water in pan, sit a bowl of chocolate on top, water not touching the bottom of the bowl) to melt, stirring frequently. When the temperature reaches 96F, remove from heat and carefully put in the ice water bowl so that water does not get in the chocolate, continue to stir to lower the temperature to 80F. Put bowl back in the double boiler, raise the chocolate temperature to 90F. *water level should not be over the chocolate bowl.
  5. Spread tempered chocolate evenly (do not spread too thick, especially if you want to achieve the delicate look) on the prepared parchment paper(s) using plastic spreader and let it (them) cool for 2-3 minutes
  6. Attach the chocolate/parchment sheet to side of cake(s). Refrigerate until chocolate is solid. Gently peel off parchment paper.DSC_5884Don’t be afraid of imperfection…distressed look is interesting, it adds drama!DSC_5886
  7. Construction – Put sweet potato cream in a piping bag with *tip attached (if the cream is very cold, microwave for 10-20 seconds with 50% power to loosen). Pipe out cream to fill space on top of cake. *Any tip but pinhole tip works.
    Decorate with fruits (optional).
    I added Chantilly cream on a few.IMG_2377

I quickly distributed some to my neighbors…to avoid over indulging. I hope I’m not sabotaging their diet if they are on one …so far they’re gracious recipients.

Although this cake is mighty fine… maybe not that ONE for Valentine’s Day…keep searching…I thought we’re going out, my husband quipped…right,
Je sais (I know).