Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bavarois with Kiwi Fruits Sauce



Portland reached and went over 100 degrees last Saturday… way above normal for this region… a great thing about Oregon summer is that the humidity is minimum and glorious. Still it made me seek for solace in an air-conditioned house with a cool dessert.


Bavarois is very similar to Russian dessert ‘Dreamy’ I posted in 2012. The only difference is that this recipe doesn’t use yogurt or sour cream and is supposed to be French…oui? Less rich than Italian panna cotta, slightly denser than mousse…bavorois is a go between, nice guy…I mean dessert, not too dreamy but still desirable!

Any fruits sauce is a great match for this basic bavarois. I made a quick kiwi sauce for this post.

Ingredients and Instructions for five 3 inch diameter molds (Print Recipe Here)

Advisable equipment: molds, but you can just use small cups or jars, fine mesh strainer/sieve, hand held electric mixer to be used for whipping heavy cream.

  • 6-8g sheet gelatin (this determines the hardness of bavarois). Note: sheet gelatin weighs about 2 g each.  I used 3 sheets.DSC_6771
  • 3 inch vanilla bean pod, split pod lengthwise, scrape seeds with sharp paring knife. Do not discard pod yet.DSC_6774
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ! Tablespoon rum (optional)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Soak sheet gelatin in plenty of water. Set aside.
  2. Pour milk, vanilla seeds and pod in small sauce pan and cook at low heat till just before full boil. Remove pod and discard. Keep warm until needed.
  3. Place egg yolks and sugar in the medium bowl. Whisk well until the color turns lighter and fluffy.
  4. Whisk continuously while adding warm milk mixture a little at a time to the egg mixture bowl. Put mixture back into the sauce pan. Stir with a wooden spoon and cook at low heat until it thickens a little bit (until it coats the back of the spoon), approximately 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Squeeze the excess water from gelatin and mix it well into the egg/milk mixture (#4).
  6. Put ice and water in the large bowl,  then put the medium bowl on top of ice and water then set the sieve in the bowl. Strain the mixture (#5) into the medium bowl. Add rum if using.
  7. Be careful not to let the water overflow into the mixture, stir with a rubber spatula until cool.
  8. Whip heavy cream until soft peaks then fold into the cooled mixture (#7).DSC_6803
  9. Pour into the molds or cups. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until set.DSC_6806DSC_6809

Kiwi Fruit Sauce

  • 2 Kiwi fruits, cut into small chunksDSC_6816
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 1 Tablespoon rum (optional)
  • !-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  1. Put sugar and water in a small sauce pan over medium heat and cook until sugar melts. Cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk the kiwi into the pan. Add rum (if using) and lemon juice. Chill in the refrigerator.DSC_6820

How to remove bavarois from mold – prepare a warm bath, lower the mold into the bath 3/4 way for 3-5 seconds. Place plate over the mold and flip, voila!DSC_6835

As if the bavarois was not enough, I made Smore’s donuts for Tapas instagram post (#todaystapas)…luckily most of them were given away to neighbors…IMG_4478

Blancmange is close cousin of bavarois …milk and pretty with purple sweet potato… very smooth! Pretty soon I may have to change # to Today’s sweet!IMG_4437

Visit to Portland Japanese GardenMashiko pottery exhibit and sale were held there.

Japanese garden is mostly shaded so even over 100 degree temperature, it was very pleasant to stroll through the compound.IMG_4493IMG_4509And the view from there is just amazing!….Look Honey, is that your office building? IMG_4492-1

The garden reminds of Kenrokuen (兼六園) in Kanazawa. IMG_4501

Some people disregard the warning sign…IMG_4499


We drove to downtown Portland for a quick bite since it’s not far from Japanese garden. This is one of last year’s Forrest for the Trees mural project ( you could find this at SW 11th Ave. and Washington Street). Local as well as several visiting international artists including a Japanese artist participated. IMG_4512


Pretty neat…right?

I hope you could visit beautiful and a bit eccentric Portland soon.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cold Noodle with Meat Dipping Sauce


DSC_6766Summer is here! ‘School’s out I can almost hear the memorable Alice Cooper (my husband’s favorite song) singing…not so excited about summer break now that we don’t have school age children at home…on the other hand I’m glad that that stage of our life is gone too. Aging comes with some sadness and definitely relief.

The sadness comes from usual ‘should have, would have, could have blah blah  blahRegrets, I’ve had a few…But then again, too few to mention…I did it My Way (this is not on my list of top 10 favorite songs but perhaps in the top 100… perhaps). I got a little melancholy  because of Father’s Day last Sunday thinking about my late father and father-in-law…sob…I hope you had a fabulous Father’s Day!

Factoring in the rising temperature outside, the evening meal gets cool treatment too. The perfect summer dish recipe…I saw in a Japanese magazine…was it Today’s Cooking?… forgetful as you age?…oh no, oh no not me!…I did it my way.

Ingredients and Instruction for 2 servings (Print Recipe Here)

For dipping sauce -

  • 1 teaspoon Chinese soup base (comes in granule or powder form) dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water and cooled.
  • 5 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 6-10 shiso leaves chopped small  DSC_6752
  • 1 stalk of green onion minced

Whisk Chinese soup base, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil. Add shiso leaves and green onion. Chill it in the refrigerator. Set aside.DSC_6760

For Seasoning sauce -

  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoon red miso paste
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons tobanjan (豆板醤)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup water

Mix all of the above ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.DSC_6734DSC_6736

For meat

  • Approximately 1/2 pounds of thinly sliced pork belly, cut in 1 inch strips.DSC_6738
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Seasoning sauce (see recipe above)
  1. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet at medium heat, add meat and sauté until it is a little crisp and nicely browned. I used paper towel to remove excess oil(optional).
    DSC_6740 DSC_6746DSC_6748
  2. Turn down the heat to low. Mix in seasoning sauce and continually sauté until liquid is mostly evaporated. If it’s too salty for you, add water and cook for few minutes. Set aside.DSC_6751

For noodle – 2 packages of instant ramen noodle, cook noodle in plenty of water, pour in 1/4 cup of water 2-3 times during cooking…this gives the noodles a nice chewy, firm texture. Cook slightly shorter than the package directions. Drain the water through colander, rinse the noodle well under cold running water. Shake off excess water, plate (cut noodle in 2-3 sections with kitchen shear for easy consumption if you like) I used green noodle( made with moroheiya  leaves) as well as regular instant noodle. Somen noodle or udon noodle is another good choice.DSC_6730

Assembly – divide dipping sauce into two individual bowls. Mound the meat in the middle. Dip the noodle in the sauce to eat!DSC_6768

 I love cherry pie!…Homemade by our neighbor…mmmm good!IMG_4344

On Father’s Day, I made my husband Frazier (French style strawberry short cake). It was good but there were so many steps to this recipe…I don’t know why I didn’t go the ice cream sundae route?IMG_4413

Today’s TAPAS, the Instagram post (#todaystapas) is on-going still. I think I’m getting better with filtering app on iPhone…plating leaves much to be desired though. The below picture is cheesy stuffed shiitake mushroom. IMG_4340

And someday, Tapas is not actually tapas…carrot smoothie for cleansing…phew…that’s a lot of beta carotene………………..that……………………I…IMG_4318

(ate it up and) spit it out…  I must say, excellent lyrics to the song ‘My Way’ don’t you agree?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Paris Brest

Chou à la crème

DSC_6719The circular chou or choux (pronounce shu) is way elegant and fancy, even the name. I spied this recipe on ‘cookpad.com (recipe#3179131)’. 
It is just (Lord of the) Ring…(just kidding)… style cream puff yet chic enough that it is presentable as a dessert for precious guests.

Strawberries in our yard are tired looking and probably won’t last too much longer…marrying the last crops of strawberries…with this ring (recipe)…I thee wed…phew, I had a very long day.DSC_6698

Martha Stewart version of ‘Paris Brest’ YouTube video is worth watching.

Ingredients and Instruction for two 6 inch Paris Brest (Print Recipe here)

Necessary equipment: food scale, 2-3 piping bags with 1/2 inch round tip and star tip, sifter/fine mesh sieve, parchment paper

  • For microwave whole egg custard cream – 1 egg, 1 Tablespoon low viscosity flour, 50 g sugar, 200 cc milk, 20 g, butter,  1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 50 g regular butter, if you using unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon salt cut in cubes
  • 140 cc water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 40 g bread flour, combine with low viscosity flour below and sift
  • 40 g viscosity flour
  • 3 eggs
  • Chantilly cream – recipe here
  • strawberries (optional)
  • powdered sugar
  1. Make microwave whole egg custard cream -  combine egg, flour, sugar with whisk in a medium size bowl. Add milk and mix well, strain the mixture through sieve into larger bowl. Put in a microwave for 2 minutes 30 seconds with 60% power, whisk and put back in the microwave for 2 minutes with 60% power. If it’s still runny then microwave an additional 30 seconds until creamy but not too thick. Cover with plastic directly on the custard. Chill in refrigerator. Set aside.
  2. Chou batter – Draw two 4 inch circles on the parchment paper (I traced 4 inch bowl) and flip. Set aside. Heat oven to 400F.DSC_6635
  3. Put butter, water, sugar and flour in a thick bottom pan and cook to full boil at medium heat . Remove from heat then add flours at once. Bring back to cooktop.
  4. Cook batter at medium heat while continually stirring with wooden spoon until a thin film coats the bottom of pan about 1 minute. Remove from heat and wait mixture to cool down little bit 3-5 minutes.DSC_6646
  5. Add egg one at a time, mix well each time – stop adding eggs when you achieve the right texture – when you lift the wooden spatula, the batter will form a triangle and drop slowly to bowl (see the pic). I used 2 and 1/2 eggs.
  6. Put batter in a bag (I recommend 16 inch or larger piping bag for easier fill). Pipe out batter on the perimeter of the circle (make sure the circles you drew are on the back side of the parchment paper). Then pipe out another time around that one. Pipe out more batter on top of two circles. Repeat the process for another circle. Make smooth with wetted finger for neater look. Brush with egg wash (mix I egg yolk and 1 Tablespoon water) on the top for shine if you like.DSC_6660
  7. Bake for 20 minutes. :Warning: never open the oven door! at any point during cooking. Without opening door, change the temperature to 375F .Bake for 10 minutes. Again without opening the oven door, change temperature to 320F. Bake for 30 minutes. Now you’re done! Take out from the oven and cool.DSC_6662
  8. Assembly – When the Paris Blest is cooled, slice horizontally in the middle – take your time on this process. Fill the bottom half of the ring with chilled custard cream (use piping bag with 1/2 inch tip if you prefer but not necessary). Place strawberries if using. Put Chantilly cream in a piping bag with star tip, pipe out between the strawberries. Top with upper half of the ring. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. DSC_6670DSC_6672DSC_6700DSC_6710DSC_6715DSC_6727

Of course you could just make humble cream puffs.DSC_6678

From Today’s TAPAS instagram post (#todaystapas)….satsuma sweet potato kinpira….was really good! See the Meiji Era, hand painted antique plate? Nice huh?IMG_4250

And to celebrate King Kamehameha Day (6/11), I made SPAM musubi.I love it with basil leaf.IMG_4274

Wishing you a ‘sunshine in your heart’ kind of day!