Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Almond Fruit Tart

Almond Cream and Poached Pear Tart


I have several tart recipe up my sleeve, maybe it is silly to tackle one more? Definitely, I don’t need to acquire extra pounds though, the toasty almond aroma sounds mighty tempting…and I really have weakness for biscuity crust.

The appearance of the tart is so-so, not glamorous! However, the poached pear and almond cream are a dynamite pear…I mean, pair.


Ingredients and Instruction for 12 x 8 tart (Print Recipe Here)

For poached pears -

  • 3 cups red wine Note: I don’t know anything about wine so I bought cheap(est) wine at the supermarket.
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 star anise
  • 5–6  pears, slice lengthwise in half then core with melon baller, peel and slice again (so that the pear is now quartered). DSC_7417

Mix red wine, sugar and star anise in a large pan, boil for 5 minutes at medium heat. Lower the heat, put prepared pears in the pan, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Cool in the pan. Set aside  Note: only part of the pears are showing.

For the crust – (do this while pears are cooking/cooling) mixer, parchment paper, pie weight (or beans) are required for this task.

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), cubed, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup low-viscosity flour or cake flour, sift with baking powder below
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  1. Put butter in a stand mixer bowl with whisk. Cream the butter at medium speed then add sugar, beat until light and fluffy about 2 minutes.
  2. Add egg and beat well, next add the flour mixture, almonds and lastly the salt, beat well at each addition…now you have a very wet dough.DSC_7430DSC_7431
  3. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on a flat surface. Put dough in the middle of paper, top with a second sheet of paper. Roll dough out to large enough to fit the pan you’re using. Put in the freezer to firm up, about 20 minutes.DSC_7433
  4. Heat oven to 350F. Take dough out of the freezer, peel the top parchment paper off and lay the dough-side down into the pan and carefully peel off the remaining paper. Note: you may need to do some patchwork on the dough as you handle the dough may crack.
  5. Place a clean sheet of parchment paper on top of the tart shell, letting ends extend over the edge. Fill with pie weights (or beans). Bake for 15 –17 minutes until the edges are slightly brown. Cool on the wire rack. Set aside.

For Almond cream –  or use my past tart recipes here, or here

  • 1 and 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 and 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

Do this step while the crust is baking/cooling. Place butter in a stand mixer with paddle attachment (oops, I used whisk). Beat butter at medium speed until creamy, add sugar and continue to beat, add egg yolks,flour, lemon zest, salt and extract. Mix until fluffy. Chill in the refrigerator until ready.

Assembly and bake – Heat oven to 325F. Spread almond cream evenly on the top of cooled crust. Pat the pears dry with a paper towel and arrange on top of the almond cream. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Sprinkle toasted sliced almond on top and powder sugar (optional).


Why not use left over egg whites to make ‘Tuiles’ ? (#todayssweets). I draw chocolate swirls first…if you’re good at drawing (with melted chocolate), try to draw a face or an animal character like Hello Kitty? IMG_5746

My husband made the kefir biscuit last Saturday for breakfast. I think this is a winner! Light and moist and fantastic with yuzu marmalade!IMG_5752

Shio koji (塩麹)  is mellow and has sweet nuance. I brined cucumber and white radishes in it but there are a variety of vegetables you can use to make nice pickle. Here I made pickle sushi rolls for nice bites between meals. (#todaystapas)IMG_5774

Really? My husband checked the vegetable garden and surprise to find the cherry tomatoes still hanging in weathered vines. Sweet!DSC_7419

The cooler weather forced me to wear a jacket. Thankful that hot and sticky summer is gone…sad that pleasant and gentle October is leaving us.
The photo was taken at Costco parking lot. IMG_5758

Have a Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Russian Stuffed Rolls


Mind you, this Is not an authentic piroshky recipe. When I researched the recipe from coast to coast, low and high, across the ocean, hill and valley…just kidding!  Too many variations of this recipes that are all so good!

I ended-up using the dough recipe from one site and the meat filling recipe from a Japanese comic book (yeah, that’s right). The soy sauce seasoning makes this ‘Wafu’ yet the curry powder pulled it towards Indian…in the end, they married well, I think.DSC_7401

You could deep-fry these (my favorite method) or bake in the oven for less guilty pleasure.

Ingredients and Instruction for 16 rolls (Print Recipe Here)

  • 1 cup milk, divided
  • 3 Tablespoons corn syrup
  • 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil plus 1 Tablespoon for sauté onion.
  • 1 teaspoon dry yeast
  • 1 small egg yolk
  • 2 and 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 onion about 3/4 cup, minced
  • 1 cup (about) cabbage, minced
  • 1/4 pound each ground beef and ground pork, or 1/2 pound of ground beef
  • 1 hard boiled egg, minced
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon ketchup
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil for frying
  • 1 egg yolk for baking
  1. For the dough - Pour 1/3 cup milk in a small sauce pan. Heat it at low heat until very warm (do not boil). Add corn syrup and 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil, stir to dissolve. Add rest of milk then egg yolk and mix well. Turn off the heat, cool down to lukewarm. Add yeast, mix well, wait for 5 minutes to make sure the yeast is active.DSC_7344
  2. Put flour and salt in a large bowl and stir with chop stick or whisk to combine. Pour milk mixture (step#1) and slowly turn the dough with chopsticks. When the dough comes together. Knead with your hands until elastic. Note: the dough may be still sticky at this point. If it’s too wet add just 1 Tablespoon of bread flour and knead it. Cover with plastic wrap and rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour.DSC_7340 DSC_7342DSC_7348DSC_7352DSC_7353DSC_7355
  3. For the filling – Do this step while the dough is resting. Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a non-stick pan at medium-low heat. Put minced onion and sauté until transparent, about 4-5 minutes. Add minced cabbage and continue sautéing until wilted about 1-2 minutes.DSC_7358 DSC_7360
  4. Add both meats to the pan and cook until the meat turns brown. With a wooden spatula break the meat while sautéing at medium heat.
  5. Season with curry powder, soy sauce, salt and pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon each), ketchup. Lastly add minced boiled egg. combine well. Set aside. Note: take taste test here, adjust seasoning if necessary.DSC_7363DSC_7365
  6. For shaping the rolls – Put dough (dough should be about double in size) on dusted surface, divide dough in 4ths. Then cut each 4th in 4 sections. Roll out each section to approximately 3 inch diameter (make the center thicker). Lay the stretched dough on the palm of your hand and put a generous 1 tablespoon of filling. Gather the edge to the center and close tight (Warning: if you neglect this task, it may result in the filling to explode). Shape them however you want to. Place it seam side down flat on the mat* or plate and let rest for 30 minutes. * Rolls continue to expand a little so give 2 inches of space between.
  7. If you’re frying – Pour oil in heavy bottom, deep pan (make the oil at least 3 inches in depth). Heat at 320 F*. Lower the rolls seam side down gently, fry them 1-2 at time, turning occasionally until golden brown about 5-7 minutes. * if the rolls are turning brown too quickly then it’s too hot, turn it down. I set top burner to low heat setting. Receive rolls on the paper towel.DSC_7391
  8. If you’re baking -  Heat oven to 390F. Spray the tray with non-stick spray like Pam or brush with oil. Lay the rolls 2 inches apart. Brush each roll with egg wash (mix 1 egg yolk with 1 Tablespoon water). Bake for 12 minutes. Leftovers freeze well…enjoy later!DSC_7390

I picked the last of sunflower from my backyard to decorate my plate…gave me a bit of sunshine…


Наслаждайтесь! (Bon appétit!)

Today’s Tapas and Today’s Sweets are fun project but not for my waist. #todaystapas, #todasyssweets…I have to find other hobby quick! The photo below is mini corn dog.


I love Haagen Dazs ice cream. I only need  just a little bit to satisfy the craving…with homemade taffy topping.IMG_5638

Something about monkey bread that is so comforting…decided to make it for Saturday brunch…took more time to raise the dough. It ended up with a breakfast for dinner situation. IMG_5657

Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Spicy Tofu Hot Pot

Super Easy Tofu Soup


Do you know October 2nd is a Tofu Day in Japan?  10 in Chinese Character ‘’ (looks like cross or plus sign doesn’t it?) has two pronunciations – Jyu and To (pronounce tow). 2’s Chinese character is very simple, just draw two lines, one on top of the other, make the top line slightly shorter.  ‘’ also has two pronunciations two…I mean too. Nee and Fu. See where I’m going with this? 

Inexpensive, available in supermarkets everywhere, versatile tofu is a Japanese kitchen staple. This tofu dish is incredibly easy and quick, the spicy tobanjyan sooth your melancholic soul.

The recipe is just guideline, adjust to your own taste.


Ingredients and Instruction for two servings (Print Recipe Here)

Nice to have equipment – small stone pot with lid

  • 150 cc water
  • 2 teaspoons instant dashi powder Note; I used no-MSG granule type.
  • 4 Tablespoons soy sauce or tamari sauce
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons tobanjyan (豆板醤/spicy miso paste) available in tube or jar.
  • 1 package Japanese style soft tofu, drained and cut in 4ths
  • 2-3 stalks of green onion or 1 long green onion, cut the white part -diagonally
  • 1/3 cup tempura batter crumbs (agedama/揚げ玉 or tenkasu/天かす) they comes in a bag, find in refrigerated section of a Japanese market. Note: Homemade tempura batter crumbs – Fish out with a slotted spoon the crumbs naturally occur when you frying tempura.
  1. Pour water in stone pot or bottom heavy small pan and boil.
  2. Add dashi powder and stir to dissolve
  3. Add soy sauce.
  4. Add tobanjyan and mix well. cook until liquids come to a full boil.
  5. Lower the heat and place tofu in the pot. Put lid on and cook for about 5 -7 minutes. Turn tofu once mid way.
  6. Add green onion and cook for additional 2 minutes.DSC_7329
  7. Sprinkle tempura crumbs on top, cook for 30 second to soften the crumbs or serve immediately if you prefer crunchy texture. DSC_7333

Variation#1 – Instead of Tofu, add rinsed frozen udon noodle
Variation #2 – Add kimchi and it’s own juice to make knock-off kimchi jjiage

From instagram posts of Today’s TAPAS (#todaystapas) and Today’s Sweets(#todayssweets) -

I love Tamago yaki (卵焼き/Japanese style omelet). The amazing quilt underneath is a gift from a friend…she is so talented and very kind.IMG_5573

Pickled Grapes (the recipe in bon apetit magazine) is delightful! Ready in 30 minutes,  great in salad or for snack.IMG_5604

Well received, lovely Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes with custard cream filling for a church function. The recipe links - Bake for Happy kids or Nasi Lemak Lover. I must say…I did a good job!IMG_5589

Night fall comes early now, I just have one of those,  a cup of decaffeinated  earl gray tea and a good book to curl up with…when I wake in the morning, it’s still dark. I feel like I need mega dose of Vitamin D.