Friday, May 22, 2015

Polly's Coconut Jello with Fruits Cocktails

This is one of the favorite desserts in Asia that is simple to make.  Normally I make the Chinese style 'Almond' Jello, but for our office's Cultural Day Vietnamese booth, I made coconut flavor jello.  I had to make a trial batch to find out the intensity of the coconut flavor.  And I am glad I tested two different cans of coconuts, etc.   Do you have a favorite coconut jello / pudding  recipe at your blog site?  Let me try it.
The first batch:
The 2nd batch:
Can't see the difference, but tastes of coconut is more intense in the second batch. 

Polly's Spicy Tempura Shrimps

This turned out to be a tasty crispy tender spicey tangy tempura shrimps.   Right size PANKO crumbs produced a wonderful crunchy shell.   And my concocted trick to keep the spicy tangy lime juice stick to the shrimps worked out great.
In order to keep the flavor locked in and PANKO to remain on the shrimp after dipping, this is what I did.
Prepare the flavored egg dip - Lime juice, spicy spices, dipping flour with lots of spicy spices, and PANKO.
 Dip the shrimp in flour, then in egg dip, then, in PANKO.
Then, redip it in egg dip, then, dip it in PANKO, again.  Fry.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Polly's Blackberry Pie

Morning breakfast doesn't need to be hum drum.   Here is fresh blackberry pie for ME!   
I would topped it with ice cream or whip cream... Let's keep it simple... Less cholestral... And I already had a bowl of oatmeal, so I don't feel guilty. 
Hmmm... That was good, I think I will have another one.
Yum! Time to go... Lucky office friends... 

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

TAIYAKI - Japanese Pastry in the shape of TAI Fish

Ha, ha -- TAIYAKI
Have you made them recently?  or 10 or 15 years ago when your children were still young?  I had these TAIYAKIKUN mold for over 32 years.   It was back then when anything "foreign" were still challenging to get in California.  I found this pastry mold at YAOHAN (now it's MITSUWA) in San Jose Japanese market.  It brought back the childhood memory of sweet goodies I had after going to the OFURO YA SAN - bath house.
The challenging part of making this pastry is the long standing period to make enough to share with others.  You can only make two at a time.  And you need a lots of patience.

Cake flour - 320 g   I think 320g maybe too much. The batter really came out thick   After first batch I used 275 g of AP Flour
Eggs - 2 ea
Baking Powder - 1-1/2 Tbsp; really?  I only added 1-1/2 tsp
Sugar  - 80 g
Milk - 1-1/2 C
ANKO - Sweet Red Bean Paste 400 g
The original recipe asked to separate egg whites and egg yolks.  Beat egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow.  In a separate bowl, beat egg whites into meringue.  Shift Flour, then, add milk slowly while mixing to form batter.  Fold in egg yolk mixture.  Finally, fold in meringue.  But I found this batter difficult to work with.   The batter is too airy.  Adding them into the mold took forever, and this batter burnt easily.   Out of the 38, 12 got stuck in the mold. 
**At the time, I was thinking that it maybe the problem with the batter, so I used one bowl mixing method - mixed the batter the ordinary way.  Just mixed all ingredients by hand into a simple pancake like batter. 
 Sweet Red Bean Paste - ANKO is stirred well before placing in Pastry Bag for easy dispense.
 But it actually didn't matter.  What I have forgot is the Heating of the mold that mattered.
***The Mold needs to be pre-heated after the brushing of the cooking oil in the cavity.   If pre-heating is missed and batter is added - that's when the batter get 'stuck' to the the mold - a big Mess!!
 This batter is a simple mixing of all ingredients with a whisk and spatula.

 When the mold is brushed with a thin layer of cooking oil, and it is well heated, you are ready to add the batter.  Well heated mold assures the release of the baked pastry at the end. 
Add the batter into the heated mold.  Spread the batter all around with the back of a small spoon.  Allow to cook till it's semi dry but no runny batter.   Turn the mold around and heat the other side after brushing with cooking oil (vege/EVO).  Fill them with just enough batter as though to create outer 'skin' of the fish - to allow for "hollow" center.  Spread batter carefully from edge to edge with the help of a spoon.   Then add ANKO - sweet Red Bean paste.
 Top with more batter.  Then, press down the opposite side. Bake gently - 2 minutes each side and turn and bake 2 more minutes - but also keep your nose sharp.  It may take less than 2 minutes to bake.
 Release the pastry out of the mold by gently and carefully tugging them out with the tip of a butter knife, for example.
 Let it cool completely before packaging.  They are ready for the Bake Sale!
I had a couple of nice comments and requests afterwards:
The comment I had from the experienced SANSE (3rd) and YONSE (4th generation Japanese American) are that they wanted more ANKO in it and the cake more sweeter.  So, do a tester by adding bit more sugar in a small batch and see if it sweetens up the cake more without burning.  Test how to add more Red Bean without them woozing out during baking.
After making 60 some of these, I still have not quite find out how to pack those ANKO without them woozing out and end up with 'empty' stomach TAIYAKI.
Have a fun adventure trying!

Mini Matcha Chiffon Cakes for the Bake Sale

I love these mini chiffon cake pans I found.   I have not had a chance to use them until a couple of weekends ago for a fund raising Bake Sale.   I thought why not bake Mini Matcha Chiffon Cakes.
The recipe is the same as the Pandan Coconut Chiffon Cake, except I added 2 TBsp of Matcha with warm water to dissolve.   It took place of the Pandan juice.
Tip:  Hand whipped Meringue has better structure than my Kitchen Aid mixer.
*There is no baking powder added in my Chiffon Cakes
Are you still struggling with collapsed Chiffon Cake?  Think of it this way - if your meringue does not have enough sugar and or have formed a nice stiff peak, then, it will not build a good structure to hold up during the baking and cooling.   Also, if you don't have enough flour, the cake will collapse also.    Many times, I have used my Kitchen Aid mixer to whip up the meringue.  Although the mixer whipped up a beautiful shiny, foamy meringue, I noticed a bit more runny egg white left at the bottom of the bowl.   Sure, I scrape the bowl... but have you tried to scrape the bowl in the middle of making meringue?  You must have noticed the shrinkage of meringue as soon as your spatula touches the meringue.  Your mind tells you ten thousand reasons that it's all in your head... you didn't see that.   The Kitchen Aid's mixer bowl is not the best shaped bowl to assure all ingredients are mixed entirely and its whisk attachment is not the  ideal shape, either.  So, to tame both problems, learn to whip up meringue manually.   You will tone your arm muscle and Learn the way of the Meringue - Soft peak, Firm peak, and Stiff peak.  May the force of meringue be with you. 
Since there is no green food color added, it is natural for the green tea to oxidize during the baking process and for the cake to turn brownish.   Maybe add YOMOGI?   What would you add to maintain the color? baking soda? hmmm.... got to test this some more. 

Hard Baked Eggs Test

Have ever come across a cooking technique that is like a science project.   While I was searching for a recipe, I came across Hard Baked Eggs.   I could not believe it.  It made me to ponder a bit.   It kind of make sense and pose the question - "Why Not?"   I read on, and found out that the it is verified by Alton Brown.   "Oh, okay," I said. "Let's try it..."  I couldn't remember all the details so I just did what I think I remembered the recipe says.  Moist paper towel, eggs, and bake in 350'F oven for 20 minutes.  Then, cool under running water in a bowl.  And Voila.  Beautiful eggs - peeled easily.
 The idea was to be able to Peel massive amounts of eggs easily vs boiled eggs.
I must say that this will be my favorite way of cooking eggs.
And afterwards, my son found the article.... And I remembered almost exactly....

by Alton Brown 
Published on March 29, 2013.
Sure you could just boil your eggs for dying or eating, but if you need to do more than one dozen at a time, baking is best.

Position the oven racks in the center of the oven, then arrange the eggs in a mini muffin tin or directly on a thoroughly moist kitchen towel (click play on the video above for more info). Set the oven to 320 degrees F and bake for 30 minutes. When the eggs are done fill a large bowl with ice water and move the eggs into a bowl. Peel the eggs as soon as they are cool enough to handle, then return them to the ice bath to thoroughly chill.

I usually find baked eggs a little harder to peel than steamed (or boiled), but just barely. The fact that shell of the baked eggs gets hotter during cooking than the shell of the steamed eggs may be a factor. Still I prefer the slightly creamier texture of baked eggs to steamed or boil. I imagine its because the dry heat moves into these eggs more slowly than steam heat does.

 Then, I got some home grown green onions from my garden and ate it with my RAMEN.

Matchbook Winery visit

I visited Matchbook Winery a couple of weekends ago to do something different.
Matchbook Winery is located in Zamora, California, west of Sacramento up Highway 5. 
12300 County Road 92B
Zamora, CA 95698
I am not a wine drinker, but I enjoyed the scenery and Pasta Queen luncheon at the site.

On the way back, I notice beautiful hills and happy frolicking horses, especially the white ones.  It seems to know that it is so beautiful, and I am watching it.