Saturday, January 23, 2021

Homemade Lactose Free Yogurt

This is my first INSTANT POT dish - home yogurt.  I was contemplating over the Christmas to buy a yogurt maker.  I had one many years ago, and it was a simple incubation steamer box.  Since I found a recipe in the INSTANT POT recipe booklet, I thought I will give it a try.  I just so happened to have six of these Oui yogurt cup.  And a half a cup of Oui vanilla yogurt, non-fat Lactose Free Milk.   So I mixed 4 C of the non-fat Lactose Free Milk and yogurt.  I think I only had 1/3 C of the yogurt rather than the 1/2 C the recipe called for.  And added 1 Tbsp of sugar.
I boiled the jars to sanitize, and also boiled the milk in a separate pot.  Cool to room temperature. 
Take a 1/4 C of the milk and mix in the yogurt till dissolved.
Add the mixture to the rest of the milk.
Pour equally into jars.

Follow the Instant Pot's instruction by adding 4 C of water to the inner pot. 
Place the yogurt jars.
Close the lid  - leave the pressure valve in Release position. 
Select Keep Warm for 15 minutes and then unplug.
With Lid on, let the pressure cooker stand for 10 hours.  I let mine stand for 12 hours.
Take them out.  Cover with wrap and chilled overnight.
 Not bad.  Firm top.
Smooth texture.




Sunday, January 10, 2021


 I eat sweet potatoes (not Yam) regularly to help control blood pressure.  I cook it in the microwave at a Potato setting.  Then, while watching a Japanese TV show, this woman side-kick was giving everyone a package of "HOSHI IMO", and that gave me the idea.  HOSHI IMO in Japan is steamed and then dried.  I enjoyed it when I was a child. It's a sweet and chewy treat. The commercial ones are loaded with 'whatever' that are not healthy for us.  Since I have been using the dehydrator to make HOSHI KAKI - dried persimmons, I thought why not make the dried sweet potatoes.  I also wanted to test out the InstaPot pressure cooker.  I normally pressure cook potatoes over my gas stove.  It's done in 3 minutes.   And, so did InstaPot in 4 minutes.  Perfect.

 Scrub the sweet potatoes. Remove any blemishes.  Make a single slit.   I've never used InstaPot before, so instead of 1 C of water, I added 1-1/2 C water for 5 potatoes.  Just to make sure for the first time that there is enough water to make steam.  Set the "Steam Release" valve mechanism to "Sealing" position.  Plug in.  Press STEAM button, Press "-" minus button to reduce the timer to 4 minutes.  Press STEAM again to start - that was scary.  Set my kitchen timer to 4 minutes also for the just in case I am doing it wrong.   I walked away really far.
Once it is cooked, I let it sit for 10+ min to cool.  Set the valve to "Release".  Unlock the lid.  There they are.  Beautiful.
Peel and slice.  Dehydrate.  Hope they will turn out as good as the one sold at the store.

Now, it's a waiting time for the result in a few more hours of drying.  Will they keep well in Mason jar?  Good enough to take along for a hike?  How long will it keep...

Polly's Make It Again Bourbon Vanilla Ice-Cream and Piggybacked Meringue Chocolate Chiffon Cake,

This creamy Bourbon Vanilla Raisin Ice-Cream is so delicious that I just had to make it again.
9 Large Organic Egg yolks
2-1/2 C Organic Lactose Free Half-and-Half
2 C Organic Heavy Whip Cream
Scant 3/4 C Organic Sugar Cane
1 Vanilla  Bean
1 C Organic Raisins, Chopped
1/3 C Bourbon 
 Follow the same methods posted previously:

What to do with 9 Egg whites?
Make Meringue Chocolate Chiffon Cake
There are few delicious pastries to make with egg whites - Macarons, Meringue pie, etc.  I chose to test make chiffon cake without egg yolks.  I figure it will be like making Angel Food Cake.  
These are the ingredients I used:
Need Two 7 inch aluminum Angel Food Cake Molds.
Instead of 125 ml thick coconut milk and vegetable oil, 1 stick soft butter is beaten to pale yellow with 60 g organic cane sugar.
Mix 1Tbsp of Organic Cacao Powder with 60 ml of non-fat lactose free milk.  Tip:  Add 1 tsp of milk into Cacao Powder and mix. Then, add a bit more milk to make into glue.  Then, add the rest.
Add to beaten butter and mix well.  
Add 2 tsp homemade vanilla extract
Shift 180 g flour and hand mix into the butter mixture.
Beat with mixer 30 sec.  And mix thoroughly with spatula.  The batter will look separated - that's okay.  Set aside.
Beat 9 egg whites with 110 g of organic cane sugar to stiff peak. 
Tip:  Whip egg whites 2 min at low - foam starts to form; at Medium speed add sugar approx 1 Tbsp at a time within 4 min - meringue begins to form; at high speed, whip for 3 to 4 min till the stiff peak forms.
I usually hand beat to make meringue because I noticed unbeaten egg whites at the bottom of the mixer bowl.  But I learned to trust my mixer as long as I beat at the highest speed at the end.   

Add 1/3 of meringue into batter and mix with spatula.
Add 1/3 more into batter and fold.  Tip:  move your spatula in circular motion at the top 1/3 of the batter to make sure the meringue is mixed in.
Preheat oven to 325'F.
FOLD in the rest of the meringue in 1/3 more.  Then, fold in the rest of the rest of the meringue.
Pour the batter very slowly about 10 inches away from the cake mold so that visible air pockets closes are you pour.
Bake and check at 35 - 40 minutes for doneness.  Bake for 40 - 45 min till the tester comes out clean. 
Turn it upside down to cool on a baking sheet.
Unmold as usual. 





Happy New Year 2021! MOCHI MOCHI

Reflecting on 2020:  
What a year 2020 was!  
There is a lots of feelings weld up within everyone from the year 2020.  This is supposed to be a food blog, and it is, but I want to bury all that feeling by expressing them first.  Then, I want to share Year 2021, Jan's cooking experience below.
Year 2020, March - Just when things were warming up to the spring time weather, we got lock down to stay home.  Even though we are still affected by the COVID-19, I learned a lot about my eating habits and how daily activities have been affecting my health and how I interacted anything to do with my home.
Negative and Positive of staying home - I often thought owning a home is really cool, especially I don't need to pack up and move each time the rent go up.  After living in the same home for so many years, the year 2020 made me to really appreciate the fact that I can stay inside and still do activities.  Nonsense stuff: Sorting out all the MacDonald's and Burger King Happy Meal toys for example that I collected over the years. They were for my grand-kids, but I think I enjoy them more.  The few toys back in the 1999's through 2010's at least that I know of are so thoughtfully designed and quite ingenious.  They took me half day to sort them out for later donation. Closet cleaning is even more interesting.  
Cooking and Ordering Curbside Pick-Up: Cooking and teleworking have been taking over the entire day, daily. I tried to order curbside pickup a few times - to support local restaurants -but so disappointing.  I was happy very happy with my first curbside order from the local Chili's.  But disappointingly, the second order was like a left over or 'past-the-time' that should be tossed. After coming home, I noticed both the Chips and Entree were greasy and shabby.  I had to toss my $14 order.  It concreted my determination to cook for myself if I can't depend on these 'food-to-go' restaurants to be truthful in packing the food.  I like Dos Coyotes in my neighborhood, and I would even drive 30 miles - RT 60 miles to order from PHO ABC in Folsom again.  
Appreciation of Social Media and Separation from It:   I can't imagine the coordination and timeless effort for those parents with children at home during this COVID-19.  I look around my kitchen and it's like a distorted living space cooking for 10 people.  Teleworking is really tough while it save my nerves from the daily commute, my metabolism went down to the pot.  The Zoom KENDO and IAIDO practices in 2020 kept me going, but when the office projects take over and disrupt sleep pattern, my heart rate went down with it. My legs felt weak. The blood pressure went up. But the Zoom gave the opportunity for Zoom family parties for all occasions thus far.  While many family opt to meet face-to-face within the families, but we opt to meet with Zoom to be safe.  And I am glad I separated from the social media platform that many are so hooked to obtain LIKE or Don't LIKE strokes.  But it does make the 'High Tech, High Touch' Megatrend very true to this date.  The most disgraceful ones, however, is the misuse of the social platform by the highest official in the U.S.A. to incite civil disturbance - that person should just write a personal diary as a therapy instead.
So, what has been cooking in my kitchen since Jan 1, 2021? 
I made MOCHI Cakes, Bourbon Vanilla Ice-Cream, Meringue Chocolate Chiffon Cake, Homemade Lactose Free Yogurt.
So, let's pray that year 2021 is a MOCHI MOCHI year that bring us together.
After rinsing 4 Cups of Glutinous Rice, soak them in water for 4 hours or overnight.
Steamed glutinous rice work the best; otherwise, cook the rice.  
Transfer the rice into mixer bowl.
Rehydrate 1 TBsp of YOMOGI leaves with enough water to make them moist.
Add to the mixer and start beating at the lowest speed first for 30 sec.
Then, start increase the power at 1 minute interval.
Knead until glutinous rice seems to have kneaded evenly.
*When the rice is cooked in the regular rice cooker with measured water, the rice will be too soft to work with.  So, steaming the glutinous rice wrapped with steamer cloth for 2 hours bring the best beaten MOCHI rice to make pastry.
Otherwise, MOCHI powder will do the job just as well.
If you have an automatic MOCHI maker that is even better.
It didn't turn out the way I wanted to, but it's Done!   They are filled with cooked AZUKI bean paste.
Let us achieve all our goals in the year 2021 and blow the V-19 away!