Saturday, August 01, 2020

June - Summer COVID-19 ZongZe in July

Time flies.  Already August.  While at home quarantine, we still want to celebrate and carry on family tradition.  It's like making Christmas Tamales, in June, we make ZongZe.  ZongZe is spelled many different ways.  I think I've spelt it as Zong Tse.  Oh, well.  Regardless, we enjoy a whole meal in bamboo leaves enclosing glutinous rice and prizing flavorful pork  and some slivers of SHIITAKE mushrooms.  Or with red beans.  There are many other kinds with different fillings, but that's the simple version we like in the family.  We were late in making it, but we did it in July.
Here is our photo journal of it for year 2020 - COVID-19 summer.

Pork loins are cut into large 3 inch sizes.  Marinate them for three days.
The glutinous rice are washed and soaked overnight, the best.  Or at least 2 -3 hours.
I use Thailand's Glutinous Rice that is less starchy.
The sink sanitation is a must before soaking bamboo leaves in Hot boiling water.  If you have a large pot and large stove, you can boil them.  This will clean the leaves and soften them.
Scissor off the ends of the bamboo leaves.

Keep leaves soaked under the water.
The glutinous rice is soaked over night.
SHIITAKE is rehydrated in hot boiling water.  Sliced and added to the pork meat marinade.
Leaves are ready for use when they are quite soft.  Marinated meat after two days.  Usually three days is better.
Fold the end in and form a cone that is rectangular in shape to hole rice and meat.

Fill the large pot with cold water.
Cover with Lid and cook for 2 - 3 hours.  Do not open the lid
Take one out to taste.  Everything should be thoroughly cooked through, especially the glutinous rice.
The glutinous rice must be cooked through the first time in this 2 - 3 hour period.
Time for sharing and delivery with family.
Eat right out of the leaves or on a paper plate.  Reheat in microwave after removing the string and slightly opening the leaves. 


Everyone got a few extra free time inside the home and they needed some activities.  So, we tried bread machine Bread Baking Contest. 
And here is the photo journal of the result.
Some pre-bake testing by family contestant.
They dusted out their bread machine that has been hidden away for a long time.
Seems very promising.
The crumb looks pretty good.

More testing.
Troubleshooting. Other testing by other fam contestant.
It's the day!
Sliced and three bags are sent to judges' home.

The verdict was:
#1 is creamy and sweet.  Crumb is fine.
#2 is tart and sweet from raisin; crumb is soft.
#3 is buttery.  Crumb is fine. Bouncy.
And the winner is - #1.  the creamy and sweet.
The winner received Buca Di Beppo's Gift Card.

Polly's Easy Fresh Snap Pea Salad with Peach

Clean a bag of fresh snap peas, some home grown SHISO leaves - chopped.  Remove the ends from the snap peas, then, slice them diagonally.
Slice home grown crispy Chinese peach..  Toss and mix with dressing - white balsamic vinegar and some white vinegar.  Mix to your taste.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Polly's Lactose Free Creamy Flan

I think the last time I made Flan was ... a very long time ago.  I saw our team mates in the KENDO Zoom class reward themselves after the exercises with beautiful creamy flan.  I thought I need to try making that.  After all, I love flan.  But not all Flan.  I had flan at the restaurants.  A few times at a very good restaurants.  After I had it, I regret it.  My lactose intolerance cause an havoc after a good meal.  There is no better way to solve this than to make the Flan yourself at home with Lactose Free Milk.  Problem Solved.
Get 5 3/4 C size Ramekins  or 4 - 1 C size ready

Ingredients for Caramel:
6 Tbsp Sugar and 1/3 C water - heat in sauce pan until caramelized - golden - not brown.
Pouring equally into Ramekins right away.  Coating the bottom of the Ramekins.  Set Aside.

Custard:   Be ready to Bain Marie to bake in oven at 320'F for 40-45 min.
1 large brownie pan or 9x11 cake mould to hold 5 Ramekins and hot water
Enough Boiling water to fill half way up the Ramekins.
In NutriBullet container, add 4 eggs + a pinch of salt + 1/2 C Sugar.
As you know NutriBullet beater container will be upside down with the beater head on the top when you close it.  The sugar you added will be at the bottom.  No worries.  Just close it and shake the closed container back and forth for about 10 times.
Open the beater head.  Add 1-1/2 C of low fat Lactose Free Milk + 1/2 C Heavy Cream.
Close the beater head. 
Process for 4 to 5 sec only.  We do not want to build up with foam.
Preheat Electric countertop convection oven to 325'F. 
Pour the custard mixture equally into Ramekins.
Place the filled Ramekins into 9x11 cake mould pan or large brownie pan that would fit 4 Ramekins. 
Add hot boiling water half way up the Ramekins.
Bake Bain Marie for 40 to 45 min or until the knife inserted comes out clean.
You can also enjoy this without caramelized sugar in the Ramekins.
Because I added Heavy Whip Cream, it foamed a bit even at 4-5 sec processing in the NutriBullet.

The foamy top browned

But the inside is very creamy.  No ugly bubbly holes inside.  This one is without the caramel top.

I almost forgot to give the credit to the recipe idea to

Polly's CHA GIO Wrapper Testing - Photo Journal

I was trying to make CHAGIO - Vietnamese fried spring rolls.  We made it so easily when we lived in S Viet-Nam, but it seems so formidable trying to make it now.  The wrappers seem to be different. The first couple of times I tried, the wrapper looked like a burnt plastic.  They looked scary.  I don't think they really used the rice and tapioca flour.  I think they are foreign chemical - plastic.  I gave it a year of rest.  I retried it this time buying the wrapper that says for the fried spring roll.  Yes, you could easily make them with the Chinese spring roll wrappers, but it's just not the same.  Just for the crab Cha Gio served at one of the hole in the wall eatery in Cholon maybe a good reason to visit S Viet-Nam one of these days.

The results - I like the square Banh Trang ChaGio wrapper.  Does it really matter?


pre-soaked rice vermicelli in hot boiling water.
Stir fry them all briefly.  Add potato starch roux to coagulate them.  There should be very little liquid.
All the filling ingredients are pre-cooked.
The round one's texture looks so plastic.
Square ones look more 'home made'?

To keep the seems to split open during frying, it maybe a good idea to use a cornstarch roux, paste to dab all around the edge.  Otherwise, during frying, you will be holding onto the spring roll's seam closed until the outer skin is quite browned.

Let them sit to dry.  It is also important that the wrapper skin is quite dry before frying. to keep them from opening up.
To fry, do not let go of the tongue or the chop stick holding the seam closed until quite browned.

The result - I like the square ChaGio wrapper.  The texture looks more real ingredients than the round wrapper.  It's not a very good reason, but the round wrapper seems so plastic like when fried.  Maybe that's the way tapioca behaves in heat.  I need t do it again.  Air dry the rolls longer. than, fry gently maybe better.  Serve with vinegar, lemon juice, chili flakes or other recipes you find in the Internet with lime juice and nuoc mum - fish sauce and chili, etc.