Chinese Hot Dog Bread

food

If I haven’t stressed how much I like Asian bread, then I am stressing it now again. Asian bread and Western bread have disparate textures because Asian bread is made with a tangzhong method that creates an eggy, fluffy, moist bread dough that is simply irresistible. I love all types of bread but Asian bread holds a special place in my heart.

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I have been hand-kneading dough since I don’t own a mixer yet, and it should be known that enervating dough is a serious workout. Apparently 2 min. of machine kneading is equivalent to 10-12 min. of hand-kneading! No wonder my shoulders hurt so much the next day. However, handmade dough allows the cook to appreciate the outcome more and reflect on the blood, sweat, and tears (not literally) put into forming the dough. Just know that the pride you will have afterwards is ineluctable 🙂


Chinese Hot Dog Bread

yield: 8

Ingredients:

For bread:

  • 2 c. bread flour
  • 2.5 tbsp. sugar
  • 0.25 tsp. salt
  • 1.5 tbsp. yeast
  • 150 mL warm milk
  • 2.5 tbsp. softened butter
  • 1 small egg beaten

For filling and topping:

  • 8 hot dogs
  • 0.5 c. chopped green onions
  • 2 tbsp. beaten egg (save the rest for egg wash)
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. On a clean surface, combine flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and warm milk. Combine until evenly incorporated. Add the egg and butter and knead for about 30-45 minutes until the dough is smooth and passes the windowpane test.
  2. Set in a warm and humid area and allow the dough to rise for 1-2 hours.
  3. Punch the dough to release air and slice into 8 even pieces and allow to rise again for 30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, combine the chopped green onions, egg, and vegetable oil in a small bowl.
  5. Once the second rise is complete, take one dough bowl and roll it out into an oval shape using a rolling pin. Place a hot dog inside and seal the dough shut. Using a clean pair of scissors, cut the hot dog and dough but not completely, leaving a bit of dough attached on the bottom and flatten out the pieces into a floral shape. (This process is shown in the video above). Repeat for the other breads and place on a baking tray. Cover with a cloth or foil and allow to proof for at least 45 min.
  6. Preheat the oven to 340 F.
  7. Once proofing is complete, add the egg wash and the green onion mix onto the bread. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Enjoy the bread fresh out of the oven!

 

In the video, I explain that my yeast was a bit old so my bread was not as fluffy. I have used this dough recipe before and when the yeast is fresh the dough is fluffier so I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy this delicacy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon Almond Ice Cream Sandwich

food

Lemon and almonds pair extremely well together and I got the flavor combo idea from Costco’s Limoncello almonds! If Costco can sell this combo in almond form, then I might as well make it into ice cream sandwich form. It is Summer, and the blazing sun beats down on us, making us feel a bit phlegmatic so a tangy and cold dessert is the perfect dish to get ourselves up and awake.

Additionally, I had a surfeit of almond pieces in my pantry so why not? Beware, these sandwiches are addicting and sweet!!

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Lemon Almond Ice Cream Sandwich

yield: 6 sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 15 lemon oreo cookies
  • 2 T melted unsalted butter
  • 1 pint almond flavored ice cream (I used Blue Bell Bride’s Cake)
  • almond slivers for decoration

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, pulse oreos and butter together until a crumbly texture forms.
  2. In 2 parchment-lined 6 x 2 baking pans (you can use any size pan but the crust should be formed just around 6 x 2 in.), flatten the crust down and bake in the oven for 5 min at 350 F.
  3. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, scoop ice cream on one crust and place the second crust on top of the ice cream to form sandwiches. Place in the freezer for at least 20-30 min.
  4. Remove from freezer and cut into 6 pieces of more or less, based on the size you desire. Decorate with almond slivers and enjoy!

Lemon almond was a flavor I wanted to test out, but feel free to use different oreo and ice cream flavors! The combination possibilities are limitless and I may just test them out myself!

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Making Bubble Tea for the First Time

food

On episode 2 of Test Kitchen, I attempted to make tapioca pearls and milk tea from scratch. I grew up with bubble tea around my life since the drink originated from my family’s country, and in the recent years the drink’s popularity has grown exponentially, along with its price. I used to drive 20 minutes to Chinatown to purchase a cup of bubble tea for $2 and now I find myself paying $4-5! I am ecstatic at the drink’s success in the Western world but also figure if I could make my own drink, I could save some money!

**SPOILER**

 

 

And because this recipe was a success (I got lucky!), I am posting the exact recipe I followed. The recipe is adapted from Kusina Chef.

I had a ton of fun shooting this video and cannot wait to make more food in the future. If you would like me to make something for the very first time, please leave a comment!


Bubble Milk Tea

 

Ingredients:

For pearls:

  • 1 c. tapioca starch + 1 tbsp for dusting
  • 1/4  c. brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. water

For tea:

  • 2 c. brewed black tea (lukewarm)
  • 4 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 c. milk

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a slight boil and add in the brown sugar until dissolved.
  2. Turn the heat off and add in the tapioca starch. Stir until semi-combined. Dough will be pretty dry at first.
  3. Dump dough onto a clean surface and knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it comes together. You should now have a light brown dough that is pretty tough.
  4. Cut the dough into chunks and roll into a tube shapes until they are 1/2 cm wide.
  5. Cut the dough into small pieces and roll them into pearls. Place a cup of 1 tbsp. tapioca starch and let the starch evenly coat all the pearls.
  6. Allow the pearls to dry for at least 30 min.
  7. Boil a pot of water on high heat and pour the pearls in. Mix immediately to prevent the pearls from sticking together. Boil the pearls on high for 10 min. and then turn the heat down to medium. Let the pearls cook for another 10-15 min.
  8. Once done cooking, immediately remove the pearls and place in an ice bath.
  9. For the tea, stir in sugar until dissolved.
  10. Add the milk in and stir.
  11. In a cup, add the tapioca pearls, milk tea, and some ice. Serve and drink with a spoon or straw. I recommend a spoon since we’re trying to save plastic here! In the video I am using a reusable plastic straw.

Enjoy the drink with some friends and if you would like to see more bubble drink tea flavors, let me know!

 

 

Making Japanese Cotton Cake for the First Time

food, Uncategorized

I finally created time to start a mini Youtube series called “Test Kitchen” in which I attempt to make foods from around the world for the very first time and see whether it is a success of fail. Filming this video was extremely difficult because I am certainly uncomfortable with being on camera but somehow I convinced myself to go ahead and post it.

In episode 1, I attempt to make one of my favorite desserts.. Japanese Cotton Cake.

**SPOILER**

 

 

 

And because this recipe was a success (I got lucky!), I am posting the exact recipe I followed. The recipe is adapted from Katherine Kwa at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChcB3_gYZR2ps0vHiHOpNrQ.

I had a ton of fun shooting this video and cannot wait to make more food in the future. If you would like me to make something for the very first time, please leave a comment!


Japanese Cotton Cake

yield: 9 x 2 in. springform pan

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 heaping T. cornstarch
  • 5 T softened butter
  • 100 mL milk
  • 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 305 F and line a springform baking pan with parchment paper. Create a water bath around the springform pan with a larger baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, melt butter and milk in a microwave for about 30 sec and mix until evenly incorporated.
  3. Separate 5 egg yolks from their egg whites and place egg whites in a large bowl. Crack the last full egg into the bowl with the egg yolks.
  4. Using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add sugar during beating in batches of 3 and add cream of tartar halfway through the process. This process can take around 10 min.
  5. Using a sifter, sift the all-purpose flour and cornstarch into the milk and butter mixture and mix until combined.
  6. Carefully fold in the egg white meringue into the milk, butter, flour mixture in batches of 3 and fold until evenly incorporated.
  7. Bake in the oven for 80-90 min. until the cake is golden brown on top.
  8. Take the cake immediately out of the oven and remove from the pan. Allow the cake to cool at room temperature for at least an hour.

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Feel free to refrigerate the cake before eating or eat immediately. Top with some whipping cream or enjoy with tea and coffee. This cake is fluffy and absolutely delicious… I promise you will fall in love with this cake and impress your friends/family.

I purchased a store bought sponge-cake and compared the two. DSC02293.JPG

The two were very similar in appearance, with a pale yellow color and a light browning on the top. The store bought cake was drier and fluffier than the homemade one whereas the homemade one was more moist and fluffy on the upper half but slightly dense on the bottom. However, I enjoyed the dense bottom on the homemade cake as it created a sort of crust and overall, I found the homemade cake to beat the store-bought cake because it was more moist and had the “crust” at the bottom.

 

Vegan Banana Bread Bars (GF + Oil-Free)

food

As I continue with my journey to lower my gluten intake to ease GI discomfort, I find that my favorite carb alternative is oats. Many health gurus or bloggers utilize almond and coconut flour, but as a college student, I prefer to ball on a budget and almond and coconut flour do not come cheap! Oats on the other hand are extremely cheap whether you buy in bulk or pre-packaged, I can purchase rolled oats for about 80 cents to 1 dollar per pound.

I’ve baked several desserts and snacks using oat flour, but still struggle to process the oats into a fine flour, which is fine with me because I do enjoy the texture of the bigger oat granules in the desserts. However, I would like to make really fine oat flour so that I can experiment making yeast breads or other savory recipes. If anyone has tips on processing fine oat flour please let me know! It seems that no matter how long I process the oats, they do not turn into a fine flour.

Nonetheless, I am here today to introduce one of my new favorite recipes, Banana Bread Bars!! So healthy and delicious, and I could go on forever about how great these gems are. The best part is that these were made entirely in a food processor, but if you don’t have a food processor, feel free to do it by hand or use a blender. I did make them into bite size bars but feel free to bake it in a loaf pan… I just wanted to reduce the bake time from 55 minutes to 30.

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Vegan Banana Bread Bars

yield: 12 bars

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe medium bananas
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar (any sugar will work: granulated white sugar, cane sugar, coconut sugar, etc.)
  • 2 1/2 c. rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 c. nut/seed butter (I used peanut butter and could not taste the peanut flavor at all)
  • 2 tbsp. ground flax/chia seeds + 1/3 c. water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice or other acidic
  • 1/3 c. chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c. chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 x 9 baking pan and set aside.
  2. Combine flax/chia and water to make a vegan egg. Set aside for at least 2 min.
  3. Place 2 c. of rolled oats in the food process and process for 45 seconds, until the oat flour forms. It does not need to be finely ground. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Set aside the other 1/2 c. of oats for later use.
  4. Place the ripe bananas in the food processor and process until smooth. Add in the granulated sugar, oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nut butter, chia/flax mix, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Process mix until fully combined. Add in chocolate chips, chopped walnuts, and 1/2 c. rolled oats and pulse for 5-10 seconds until mix is combined.
  5. Pour into the baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  6. Once removed from oven, cool on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes before serving.

Note: I do not have a huge sweet tooth and prefer that my desserts are on the less sugary side. In the recipe, I use 1/4 c. sugar and felt that the chocolate chips would make up for the rest of the sugar. I tested this recipe using 1/3 c. of sugar and felt it was too sugary for me but please feel free to adjust your own sugar levels based on your liking! For reference, using 1/3 c. of sugar felt like eating a store-bought vanilla cupcake. There is so much sweetness from the bananas and chocolate chips that I felt 1/4 c. would suffice.

These bars are ideal for breakfast or as a snack! It is basically a banana oatmeal baked into a square and contains ingredients that help lower cholesterol, blood levels, and saturated fat intake. Bars can last up to 2 weeks in an air tight container in the fridge.

Low-Fat Mandarin Orange Yogurt Cake

food, Uncategorized

A light and fluffy cake so tangy and zesty that you’ll want to eat all the time. The great thing about this recipe is that you can utilize all parts of the orange: juice, zest, and pulp, although I barely used any of the pulp. However, after I extracted some of the mandarin juice, I ended up eating the remains of the orange since food waste is not an option!

I used mandarin oranges for this recipe but feel free to use any other oranges such as navel, cara cara oranges, etc.

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Low-Fat Mandarin Orange Yogurt Cake

yield: 1 (9 x 5) loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c.  whole milk yogurt + 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp. mandarin orange zest
  • 2 tbsp. mandarin orange juice
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/3 c. chopped walnuts

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp. mandarin orange juice

Directions:

  1. Grease loaf pan or line with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg. Add in sugar and poppy seeds and combine well. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, oil, orange zest, orange juice, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the dry mixture into the wet in 3 batches and combine well. Add in the chopped walnuts and bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes, until brown on top and toothpick comes out of the batter clean.DSC01496DSC01500
  5. Let loaf cool on a cooling rack for approx. 30 min before putting the glaze on + top with additional zest. Or you can be like me- I skipped the glaze because I could not wait and I went ahead and ate the loaf fresh out of the oven.

The bread lasts in the fridge up to 2 weeks and freezes extremely well. Feel free to make smaller servings such as muffins. I haven’t tried it yet but am certain they will turn out delicious as well.

 

 

My Foolproof Cream Puff Recipe (Red Bean and Sesame Flavor)

food

These light, eggy, and airy puffs of joy can often lead to a kitchen conundrum, but I have one simple-to-follow recipe that results in the perfect crowdpleasing desserts at any dinner party! OR just a dessert that you can devour on your own :’). Typically a vanilla or custard cream is used to fill puffs, but I highly recommend taking an extra step to make a flavored cream such as oreo, chocolate, or strawberry. I followed a more Asian flavor and made red bean and black sesame cream.


Foolproof Cream Puffs

yield: 20 large puffs OR 60 small puffs

Ingredients:

For the sugar crumb topping:

  • 2/3 c. cake flour (I made my own cake flour; ratio= 1 c. All-purpose flour to 2 tbsp cornstarch)
  • 1/4 c, granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. unsalted butter (softened)

For the puff:

  • 2/3 c. water
  • 1/3 c. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. cake flour
  • 4 eggs

For the red bean cream:

  • 1 tub store bought whipped cream topping
  • 3/4 c. canned red bean paste

For the sesame cream:

  • 1 tub store bought whipped cream topping
  • 1/4 c. black sesame paste (store bought or homemade)

Directions:

  1. To make the sugar crumb topping, combine all ingredients thoroughly with a spatula and roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper into any a square or circle (the shape doesn’t matter) until it is about 1/4 cm thick. Place in the fridge so the dough hardens. puff 5
  2. In a saucepan, melt water and butter until simmering. Then add the salt and flour and stir with a spatula until the dough comes together. Cook the dough for an additional 2 min. and then remove from the heat.puff 1
  3. Spread the dough out with a spatula in the pan so that it can cool faster. After about 10 minutes of cooling, crack in the eggs one by one, mixing them in completely with a spatula before adding another egg. puff 2
  4. Once the dough is smooth, completely incorporated, and a thick, viscous consistency, place in a piping bag or sandwich bag with the corner trimmed.
  5. Preheat the oven to 355 F.
  6. Pipe the dough onto a lined baking tray with parchment paper of a silicon mat. For large puffs, pipe a circle 2 in. in diameter and for small puffs, pipe a circle 1 in. in diameter. Remove the sugar crumb from the fridge and cut out either a 2 in. or 1 in. circle from the dough (depending on what size puff you are making) with a cookie cutter or a shot glass, or any circular device. Place the sugar crumb dough on top of the puff dough a gently press down. Repeat for all puffs and then place in the oven.
  7. Bake puffs for 25-30 min or until lightly golden brown.puff 8
  8. Once the puffs are done baking, cool for 10 min. Take the whipped cream and manually whip the red bean or sesame paste into the cream. Place back in the fridge.
  9. Using a piping bag or plastic bag with the corned tip cut, place the cream in. For each puff, cut a small half circle with a small knife and pipe in enough cream to fill the entire puff and then cover back the small half circle up. Repeat for all puffs and enjoy immediately or place in the fridge until ready to enjoy.

The puffs can last up to 5-6 days in the refrigerator. They taste best fresh out the oven with cream so I advise snacking on some after immediately baking! I’ve made these for a few parties and have received compliments from many many people so I guarantee that this foolproof recipe will be one for the books.

 

 

 

Broke College Student #6: 4 Ingredient Vegan Overnight Oats

Broke College Student, food, healthy

My intention for going to Target was to purchase party supplies for my friend’s birthday, but damn does Target know how to do business. I immediately walked and saw to my left their extremely aesthetic dollar section filled with pastel colors, gold calligraphy words, and vintage looking items, all for $5 or less. I always ignore the snacks or little toys, but there was a section of mason jars and glass spice containers that caught my attention, and they were only $3. How do I even pass on such a deal? Deciding that mason jars are too large for my food portions, I selected the pack of 4 small spice jars for $3 with the idea of testing overnight oats. Several years ago I made overnight oats and thought it was the grossest thing ever, until after self-reflection I realized I made “48 hour oats” rather than “overnight oats”. I despised the mushiness of the oats as I wondered why overnight oats were even a thing, like do people like eating mush? But that was my mistake. Do NOT soak your oats for over 7-9 hours, it’ll be disgusting.

Eagerly ripping over the package of 4 glass jars, I improv’d with a simple dorm-friendly, 4 ingredient overnight oats recipe. I am not certain what the measurement are since I eyeball’ed so all measurements are estimates.

4 Ingredient overnight oats (yields 1 jar):

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. microwaveable instant oats
  • 1 tbsp. nut butter, I used peanut butter in 2 jars and almond butter in the other 2
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds
  • 4 tbsp. almond/soy milk

Instructions:

  1. add all ingredients into a jar and mix
  2. place in the fridge for 7-9 hours and enjoy

Tip: since I bought 4 jars, I prepped each jar with the recipe above except the addition of the milk. I recommend to add the dry ingredients and add milk only if you will be eating the oats 7-9 hours after to prevent oversoaking and mushiness.

Note: Do not eat if it hasn’t soaked for 6 hours. I tasted my first jar after only 3 hours and I got a major stomachache.

-Jamie

Why not homemade?

food

Why not homemade?

I am an avid fan of homemade foods. The benefits are endless including that you’ll save big bucks, it’ll most likely be healthier, and you can “customize” the food to suit your taste buds. Today, I opened a bag of chocolates and found a liquid mess! The chocolates had melted (they just couldn’t stand the Texas heat!) I also had a box of strawberries in my fridge so I decided to make chocolate covered strawberries.

1. I washed the strawberries and dried them.
2. Saved myself time by not having to melt the chocolate! So, I pulsed some almonds in the food processor into crumbs and laid them in a baking pan.
3. Coat the strawberries in the chocolate.
4. Roll them around in the crushed almonds and lay them on wax paper.
5. Refrigerate the and TADA! Enjoy!!!

Chocolate covered strawberries range from about $2-3 each in grocery stores. They are extremely overpriced since they pick out the largest ones and that strawberries spoil easily. However, I made a bunch of strawberries for around $4! These are great for presents and parties and they are so professional looking! I am always trying to home make as many foods as possible. It is really worth the time and extremely rewarding.

Happy dipping!