Tag Archives: recipe

Yaki Soba

7 Apr

Yaki soba, aka Japanese stir-fried noodles, is a yummy dish that’s quick and filling. You can grab a whatever veggies you have in the fridge, chop them into pieces and use them in this dish. I think cabbage is typical. This time I used cabbage, baby carrots, baby sweet peppers and scallion. I like it with onions and regular carrots too. If you want some protein, fry an egg or cook some chopped meat marinated in a bit of soy sauce. Anything goes. Keep reading for a pseudo recipe.

My kind of fast food.

For the noodle, you can buy fresh yaki soba but I don’t always have that on hand so I use dry packaged ramen noodles. This time I used a Korean brand udon style noodle. Boil the noodles for 1 or 2 minutes, drain and place onto a large hot pan. Sesame oil works well here. Let it sit until the bottom side turns slightly brown, flip over and move it over to side of the pan. Add more sesame oil and chopped veggies/protein to the pan.

Meanwhile, make sauce: 1 Tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sake (or water). When veggies are slightly tender, mix with noodles and add sauce. Stir until well mixed and hot. Serve immediately. Makes 1 serving.

Bento Challenge update:

Not such a good day challenge wise because I ate strangely today. I blame it on stressing out about the exam I had tonight (it went fine).  Breakfast was a slice of apple pie! Lunch was yaki soba. Small iced coffee during the exam. Dinner was shrimp and veggie tempura donburi and 2 donut holes. It wasn’t too much food but not too healthy. Broke some challenge goals: bought junk food (a big bag of donut holes.. they weren’t that good either) and didn’t pack a bento when I could have. Granted, I spent that time studying and making lunch.. excuses. Didn’t eat after 9pm though so that’s good. Let’s see how I do tomorrow.

Nutella Macarons

15 Mar

Recipe and instructions from Baking Bites.

macrons filled

This is my second attempt at macarons. The first time I made it with almond meal purchased at Trader Joe’s. They came out okay but they had a big air pocket inside and didn’t rise very tall. I didn’t even bother filling them. That was the French macaron recipe by Tartlette.  Google “Tartlette macaron tutorial” for the pdf. This time I used the more difficult Italian meringue recipe and they came out much better with more of a cookie than air. The recipes are very different from each other so I haven’t decided which is better. I ground my own hazelnuts (~$4) with a coffee grinder because hazelnut meal was $12 a bag. I had four trays with one tray being completely ruined by being placed on a bottom rack at 335 degrees. I kept messing around with temperatures and timing. I think they come out best in my oven at 325 degrees for 13 minutes.

macarons cracked
The horror!!! The disappointment!! Why are these cookies so hard to make?!

macaron shells
Finally, the last tray that came out had perfect tops and feet.

macaron stack
Filled with nutella buttercream.

Nutella Buttercream

1/2 cup butter at room temperature (1 stick)
1/2 cup nutella
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Cream the butter using an electric mixer.
2. Blend in the nutella and vanilla extract.
3. Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
(If it’s too thick, thin out with milk one teaspoon at time. If too thin, add more confectioner’s sugar).

open macaron
Om nom nom. So good. You can still see an air pocket.. don’t know what I did wrong.

Steamed Egg Custard Dessert

11 Mar

A simple dessert that is super easy to make and super satisfying. The texture of this egg custard is very smooth and can be eaten warm or chilled. Sweetness level can be adjusted to your taste. This Chinese dessert is similar to the Spanish flan!

Unfortunately I ate it before I took a picture. Plus mine were in white bowls so they weren’t that pretty to photograph anyway. Here’s a pic I found online of what they look like.

Steamed Egg Custard Dessert
Makes 4 Chinese rice bowls, will serve 4-6 if using ramekins.

4 extra-large eggs
2 cups milk
~4 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk (optional)

1. Mix all ingredients together trying not to form bubbles. Let mixture sit if a lot of bubbles form so they can pop.
2. For a super smooth consistency you can strain the mixture but I didn’t bother.
3. Pour into bowls/ramekins.
4. Boil water in steamer (or whatever steaming contraption you create). Once boiling, place bowls in steamer and turn heat to medium-low. Steam for 20 minutes. To check if it’s done, stick chopstick into surface of custard, if no liquid custard wells up then it’s done. Custard will feel very soft.
5. Let it sit uncovered until it’s cool enough to grab out of the steamer. Enjoy warm or chill for a few hours until really cold, then enjoy.

Turkey Chili and Cheesy Polenta Dinner

19 Dec

I made turkey chili based on this recipe. Randomly bought some polenta at the grocery store while shopping for this dinner and decided it would be perfect with the chili.. and it was!

turkey chili polenta

Here’s my recipe:

Turkey Chili (adapted from above link)
Makes a huge pot.. probably enough for 6-8 servings.

Olive oil to coat pan (about 2 tbsp)
1 medium onion, small dice
1 red bell pepper, small dice
2 stalks celery, small dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Jalapeno peppers, chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
2 Tbsp chili powder
~ 1 lbs ground turkey
½ cup corn (fresh if possible, frozen if not)
2 – 14 oz cans red kidney beans
1 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 – 14 oz can cannellini beans
1/2 – 32 oz carton chicken stock
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Sour cream, as garnish

1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sweat onion, pepper, and celery until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and Jalapeno peppers and cook for an additional 2 or 3 minutes. Add spices and stir to evenly distribute in the pot.

2. Meanwhile, brown ground turkey in a separate pan and into bite sized pieces. Add to pot when fully cooked.

3. Add corn, beans, tomatoes, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until chili reaches desired thickness. (You can thicken with corn starch dissolved in cold water.)

4. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve with cilantro and sour cream.

turkey chili polenta sc

Cheesy Polenta
Serves 4-6 as a side.

1/2 cup polenta
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (i used the green can stuff)

1. In medium pot heat milk and chicken stock. Stir in the polenta while the liquid is still cool to prevent lumps.
2. Add some salt and pepper. Stir often until almost to desired consistency.
3. Add cheeses and stir until melted. Serve immediately.

Bunch of foods

12 Sep

Wow, I feel like it’s been a while since I last posted. We have an abundance of food in the fridge which prevents me from making stuff I want to make. Instead my mom cooks because those are mostly her groceries. =(

I meant to post something about Sept. 11 yesterday but I really didn’t want to think about it. By the time I realized I should post something anyway, it was past midnight.

Cindy got a free cookbook for recycling paper and stuff at Columbia. It’s called Food to Live By and it’s the Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook by Myra Goodman. Looks great and is very informative about organic foods. Great looking recipes with photos, tips, and a story behind each one. The layout reminds me of a textbook because there’s so much stuff packed into it. The recipes mainly use common ingredients which is great but many recipes make large dishes which is great for large families but not for us. I guess if you live on a farm, abundance of fresh produce is not a problem. I’ve already bookmarked five recipes I want to try.

Here are some foods I’ve made recently. Most of it was for Cindy to bring to back to her dorm since she has no kitchen. Hopefully it freezes and microwaves up okay. The french onion soup was for dinner last night.

Baked Spring Rolls
spring rolls


~36 Square spring roll wrappers (smaller size)
2 cups mung bean sprouts
2 cups napa cabbage, chopped
1/2 scallion bunches, chopped (~1/2 cup)
5 dried shitake mushrooms, rehydrated and chopped (~1/2 cup)
1 large garlic, minced (~1 Tbsp)
1 egg
Shrimp, shelled, de-veined, chopped (I used 11 shrimp or ~1/2 cup) – optional, more = more flavor
Salt, Pepper, a few dashes of soy sauce

1. Mix all ingredients except wrappers.
2. Place wrapper with corner facing you.
3. Place ~ 1 Tbsp filling at corner facing you. Roll corner towards the center of wrapper. Fold in the two side corners. Continue rolling to the end in the direction moving away from you.
4. Brush baking sheets with oil. Place spring rolls on baking sheets. Brush with oil and bake at 350F until crispy, around 20-30 minutes. May need to turn on broiler to get it to brown.

These are kind of bland. Add more soy sauce, shrimp or other flavoring (like ginger) for more taste.

Pajun – Korean Pancake Version 2
pajun new

I made pajun again but this time I doubled the recipe and used less water. I used 3 cups AP flour, 1 cup rice flour and only 3 cups of cold water instead of 4 cups to make it thicker. This version has faux crab meat, scallions and scallops. Yummier than last time though still needs more flavor. =( I seem to have a problem seasoning food.

sushi square

Same old sushi as usual but I tried wrapping it differently. This one has spiced ham, faux crab meat and avocado. The regular rolls had spiced ham, faux crab meat, avocado, cucumber, carrots and pickled daikon.

French Onion Soup
french onion soup

Recipe from Rachel Ray magazine Oct. 2008 issue.
2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
1 cup dry red wine
Two 14.5 oz cans beef broth
One 5 oz bag seasoned croutons (~2 cups)
4 thick slices Swiss cheese
olive oil

In deep skillet, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over med. heat. Add onions and cook until translucent and softened, about 15 mins. Add wine and bring to a boil. Pour in beef broth, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes; season with pepper. Preheat the broiler. Divide soup up into four oven proof bowls, top each with 1/4 of the croutons and a slice of cheese. Set bowls onto a rimmed baking sheet and broil until cheese is bubbly and golden, about 1 minute.

Comments: I used beef bouillon cubes because I didn’t have beef broth. I think beef broth is essential, the cubes just don’t provide enough flavor and depth. I used only 3/4 cup wine but it was too much, the wine flavor was too strong. Next time I will use only 1/2 cup. I made my own croutons out of old Italian bread I had in the fridge with some olive oil, garlic and onion powders and Italian seasoning. Easy recipe and tasty.

Korean Pa jun/Pa jeon (crispy scallion pancake)

4 Sep

I made something delicious for dinner tonight because my good friend Ying Ying suggested we learn how to make Korean food together. Well I couldn’t wait and since pa jun is one of my favorite Korean dishes (bi bim bop is another one of my favorites), I decided to give it a go.


I used this recipe from recipezaar.com (found it on google) except I added only what I had on hand. Luckily I found some faux crab meat in the freezer because it would have been really plain with just scallions. The crab meat added a more savory flavor which fit just right. Yum. I just went and ate a leftover piece cold.. and it’s 1:40am right now.

This is my first time making it and it’s not perfect at all. The restaurant ones are so much better but it was tasty and less oily. Next time I will have to remember to put some extra batter on top of the crab because I forgot this time. Think I will also use slightly less water and maybe another egg to thicken the batter up. The batter was very thin resulting in thin pancakes. I think the rice flour is essential in making it fluffy but I saw many recipes using just all purpose flour. I also read that really cold water makes it crispy so gotta remember that next time. I also didn’t really like the dipping sauce.. I think it’s the sesame oil.


Korean Pancakes
Makes 3 pancakes but could make 2 thicker ones.


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1 egg
2 cups water
salt and pepper
oil for pan
2 stalks of scallions, chopped into large pieces (~3/4 cup)
6 faux crab sticks, peeled apart or chopped

Dipping Sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar
dash of red chili and garlic paste
1/2 tsp crushed garlic

1. Mix batter up.
2. Heat pan and add oil
3. Pour about a third or half the batter into the pan and add some scallions.
4. When the bottom is cooked a bit, add crab meat.
5. When bottom is crispy and browned, flip pancake and brown the other side.
6. Repeat with remaining batter.
7. Serve warm with dipping sauce.

Yogurt Panna Cotta

2 Sep

I had a carton of plain yogurt sitting around so I decided to make yogurt panna cotta. I’ve never had it before so I’m not sure what it’s supposed to taste like but I imagine it to be creamy and sweet. The yogurt adds a nice tang to this yummy dessert. I mascerated some strawberries in sugar and added the fruit and the syrup to the panna cotta.

yogurt panna cotta

I used the recipe by Baking Bites. Instead of Greek yogurt I used plain non-fat yogurt. I didn’t have buttermilk so I added 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar to milk and let it sit for 5 minutes. Mine didn’t set properly and couldn’t be flipped onto a plate but it was great in the cups anyway. Next time I will add more geletin.