lundi 28 septembre 2015

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup – Legend of the Fall

This roasted butternut squash soup is probably my favorite fall soup of all time, which is why I’m so shocked we haven’t posted a video for it before. It’s cheap, easy, nutritious, and absolutely delicious; and should probably go into the once-a-week rotation for a few months at least.

As I mention in the video, there’s really no great reason to simmer this for an hour like I did, but I think it does help harmonize the flavors, not to mention humidify your home. A cold, rainy day just looks better through steamed-up windows.

If you’re feeling like something a bit more substantial, try this topped with a handful of crispy bacon. Of course, I wouldn’t say no to some diced ham either. Add a hard roll, and you can’t get a better autumn meal. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 6 portions:
For the sage brown butter:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
6-8 large sage leaves (or a lot of tiny leaves like I used in the video)
For the soup:
3 1/2 pound butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 cup sliced carrots
6 garlic cloves, peeled
sage-infused brown butter
2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
6 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or other vinegar)
cayenne to taste
creme fraiche and chive to garnish

vendredi 25 septembre 2015

Borscht-Braised Beef Short Ribs – It Sure Beats Beets

Even though I often joke about naming dishes a certain way to help with the search engines, I rarely actually do. Mostly because I don’t get a bonus for extra traffic, but with this borscht-braised beef short ribs, I fully admit to intentionally not using the “B” word.

I would hate for someone who thinks they hate beets to not even watch the video. I figured if we could trick them into at least seeing the dish in all its colorful glory, they’d simply have to give it a try. Unless they don't like beets, and gorgeous things.

By the way, I can totally relate to the “I don’t eat beets” people, as I am one. I’ve never been a big fan, but in certain things, like borscht, I love them. With that simple soup as an inspiration, I thought the flavors would work nicely with the rich, fatty short ribs, and they sure did.

Will this be enough to change your mind about beets? There’s only one way to find out. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 portions:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 pounds beef short ribs, cut into 3-inch pieces, seasoned generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 cup cubed carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 pound beets, cut in large pieces (about two large ball sized beets, cut in eighths)
2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- Optional step: when you taste your finished sauce, if you want to add some acidity to balance the sweetness, adjust with a splash of white vinegar.
- Garnish with sour cream and chives

mardi 22 septembre 2015

Crispy “Peking Duck” Lettuce Cups – Faster, Easier, and Better?

I was going to say that one of these days we’ll actually make a proper Peking duck recipe, but that’s probably not going to happen. That takes multiple steps, several days, and requires a place to hang the ducks to dry. Most modern homes don’t have a duck drying room.

However, using this relatively quick and simple technique, we can achieve something kind of similar, which many people would say, all things considered, is even better. Well, maybe not “many people,” but I would say that. These were really, really good.

Regarding the Chinese five-spice seen herein; mine contained cinnamon, anise seed, cloves, ginger, and fennel; but these ingredients can vary. Believe it or not, despite the name, many contain more than five spices, as things like pepper, nutmeg, orange peel, and cardamom, are also common additions. The good news is, for something like this, any combination of those will work.

If you’re not into lettuce cups for whatever reason, you can also use this technique for serving whole duck legs. The only difference is, don’t cut them up. Since this is something that can be made well ahead of time, it works nicely for large groups. Just simply reheat, and crisp up the skin before serving. I really hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!

6 whole duck legs
1 tbsp veg oil
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Chinese 5-spice powder
3 green onions, cut into large pieces
5 garlic cloves, halved

For the sauce (everything here is to taste, so please adjust):
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 lemon juiced

Serve in lettuce cups, garnished with cucumber, green onions, and sesame seeds.

dimanche 20 septembre 2015

Revisit - Flaky Swirl Yam Mooncakes

This recipe uses Ghee which gives obvious swirl and the crust texture is buttery melty flaky.  You may deep fry crispy crust.
For a  smoother paste or puree texture you may use a blender to process the yam and stir fry it with oil.
For freshness, it best consume within 3 day. 
Conducted my 1st baking class for 3 student and am glad that they enjoy the session and  requested for a session on rainbow cake. Cant wait! 

Flaky Swirl Yam Mooncakes(Make 18 pcs)
(recipe source: adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover, Carol)*

Yam filling
625g yam peeled, cut into chunks
100g caster sugar
40g salted butter

1. Steam the yam chunks at high heat till soft. While still hot, add in sugar and butter, mash the yam till creamy. Set aside to cool.
2. Weight 30g each and shape it to ball.

Purple sweet potato filling(Optional)
200g peeled, steamed and mashed
20g confectioner's sugar
20g unsalted butter

1. While the mashed sweet potato is still hot from the steaming, add in the butter and sugar in. mash with fork till all incorporated. Set aside to cool before use.
2. Weight 20g and wrap over yam ball, set aside.

Oil dough
255g cake flour
120g Ghee or shortening
1/4tsp yam essence
Few drop of Pink/purple food coloring

1.Mix cake flour, essence and ghee together till it's soft and paliable. Then add the food coloring and knead till the color is uniform. Cover and let rest 20 minutes or chill in fridge till needed.

Water dough
300g plain flour
23g icing sugar
105g ghee or shortening
115g ice cold water

1.Mix everything together and knead till it comes together into a
pliable soft dough. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

To make flaky swirl yam mooncake
1. Weight water dough 60g each and oil dough 40g each, shape into ball.

2. Flatten water dough and wrap oil dough inside.
3. Roll out into long shape and roll up like swiss roll.
4. Roll from the shorter side into long shape and roll up like swiss roll from
    shorter side.

5. Cut the dough into 2 portions and repeat the rest of the dough
    until finished.
6. Flatten the dough start from the swirl side and roll out into a
    round disc.
7. Flip over and wrap in yam filling and seal it tightly, seal edge
    facing downwards.
8. Place on baking tray and bake in preheated oven 170C for 25-30mins

hand on rolling the pastry


You may be interested in:

Flaky Swirl Yam Mooncake 1

vendredi 18 septembre 2015

Poached Pears “Belle Helene” - Why Escoffier Really Created This Dish

They say Auguste Escoffier created this dish in honor of the opera, La Belle Helen, but we chefs know the real reason. How else are you going to use up bruised pears in such a delicious and beautiful way? Okay, so maybe that wasn’t his motivation, but as you’ll see in the video, it sure does work great.

The recipe is very straightforward, so instead we’ll go into your options for the chocolate sauce, as well as what to do with all that extra simple syrup. We have two chocolate preparations that will work for this (and have been linked). The first would be our easy hot fudge recipe; and the second, and more traditional choice, would be the classic chocolate ganache.

If you follow the link to the later, you’ll be taken to our Boston Cream Pie video, where you’ll see the technique for creating a classic ganache, but you’ll probably need to adjust the ratio of cream to chocolate. Generally it’s equal parts chocolate and cream, but if you want something more pourable, then 2 parts cream to 1 part chocolate (by weight) would work better.

As far as the extra vanilla poaching liquid goes; you’ll want to strain it, pour it into some cool looking bottles, and give it away as edible gifts. The taste is incredible. Better than the pears, if we’re being honest, and would make a fantastic holiday treat for the wannabe mixologists in your life. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 poached pears:
6 cups water
zest and juice of one lemon
4 bosc pears, cored and peeled (you can also use Anjou or Bartlett)
1 split vanilla bean, or a few teaspoons of vanilla extract
3 cups sugar
Simmer for about 20-25 minutes, depending on size and firmness

Paneer and Pea Curry

Tired of soya during the fasting period? Homemade paneer (curd cheese) is one of the simplest and tastiest ways to add versatility and protein to vegetable dishes. It can be added to tomato chutney (Amma’s curd chutney), added to Korma or crumbled into a salad. I’ve opted for a paneer and pea curry.

Paneer is one of the simplest unripened cheeses made by adding acidic or curdling agents like

mardi 15 septembre 2015

Peanut Curry Chicken – Check Please!

There’s a show called “Check, Please! Bay Area,” which features three locals who try each other’s favorite restaurants, and then compare notes with host, Leslie Sbrocco. We get lots of great ideas for places to try, and every once in a while I hear about a dish that I really want to make, and this peanut curry chicken is the latest example. The restaurant was called Old Skool Café, and the dish was “Abu’s West African Peanut Butter Stew.” 

I was working while it was on, and not paying full attention, but I remember thinking that it sounded like something I’d like to try soon. That was a year ago. 

Last week, Michele and I ended up going there, and I finally had my chance to order the stew, and reverse engineer the recipe for a video. Except, I didn’t order it. I have this mental defect where have to I order fried chicken every time it’s on a menu. Michele was no help, since she has the same affliction with shrimp and grits. 

Anyway, someone ordered it at the table next to us, and I overheard them discussing it, which provided plenty of inspiration for this version. I decided to not follow any specific recipe, but instead do a simple composite of every peanut curry I’ve ever come across. 

Unlike Abu’s stew, and many others, I didn’t use coconut milk, as I feel that’s a little too sweet and rich for the peanut butter. I loved how this came out, and I can’t imagine it being any richer. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 large portions:

For the spice blend:
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 1/2 pounds chicken boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup ketchup 
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter (I recommend using an all-natural style that doesn’t contain sugar. If you use the regular stuff, you won’t need the brown sugar called for below). 
1 packed tablespoon brown sugar 
about 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, depending on desired thickness 
1 pound zucchini, cut into chunks 
1 red bell pepper, cubed 
1 green poblano pepper, diced 
1/2 cup roasted peanuts 
chopped cilantro and fresh lime to garnish 
serve on rice

lundi 14 septembre 2015

Flaky swirl yam mooncake 1

Baked this flaky swirl yam mooncake last year and wanted to try another recipe without using ghee.
I love the yam filling recipe from Sonia and try out Kenneth crust this time round.
Without ghee the layering are not as obvious and the crust is light flaky but if you like it crispy you can to deep fried it.
Like the light flakiness when eaten hot and without the ghee, the pastry seem lighter , wont feel so guilty eating it.

Flaky Swirl Yam Mooncakes 芋頭酥
Crust pastry adapted from Kenneth Goh
Yam filling adapted from Nasi lemak Lover

Yam filling

500g yam peeled, cut into chunks
80g -100g caster sugar(to the sweetness you like)
40g butter

1. Steam the yam chunks at high heat till soft.  
    While still hot, add 
in sugar and butter, mash
    the yam till creamy. Set aside to cool.

2. Divide into 12 portion and shape it to ball.
*Optional - wrap salted egg inside the yam


Oil Dough

  • 180 grams of plain flour
  • 100 grams of vegetable shortening or peanut oil (I used peanut oil)
  • a few drop of yam essence
  • one drop of purple colour

Place all the oil dough ingredients in a bowl, stir and knead until well mixed.
Divide into 12 equal portions. Let it rest for 20 minutes.
Water dough:
  • 200 grams of plain flour
  • 50 grams of vegetable shortening or peanut oil (I used Shortening)
  • 30 grams of castor sugar
  • 100 grams of plain water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar (this will make the pastry crispy)
Mix all the water dough ingredients in big bowl, stir and knead until well mixed.
Divide into 12 equal portions. Let it rest for 20 minutes.


To make flaky swirl yam moon cake1. Use one portion of the Water dough to wrap a a portion oil dough, shape into

2. Roll out into long shape and roll up like swiss roll.
3. Roll from the shorter side into long shape and roll up like swiss roll from
    shorter side.
4. Cut the dough into 2 portions and repeat the rest of the dough
    until finished.
5. Flatten the dough start from the swirl side and roll out into a round disc.
6. Flip over and wrap in yam filling and seal it tightly, seal edge facing

7. Place on baking tray and bake in preheated oven 170C for 25-30mins

You may be interested in
Flaky Yam Mooncake(Using Ghee)

dimanche 13 septembre 2015

Easy Fruit tarts(Cream Cheese filling)

This is a easy fruit tarts recipe which you can mix and match with any fruits or fillings(e.g custard, chocolate or cream cheese etc).
The pastry can be store bought or prepare a big portion which you can take it from the freezer anytime you want to prepare this tart.

 Recipe source from

Shortbread Crust:
1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (35 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Cream Filling:
1/2 cup (120 ml) mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese)
1/2 cup (120 ml) cold heavy whipping cream (35-40% butterfat content)
2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups (720 ml) fruit (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, kiwifruit, bananas, plums, pineapple, melon, etc.)

Shortbread Crust: 


-Butter or lightly spray with a nonstick vegetable cooking spray, an 8 - 9 inch (20 - 23 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom. 
-Place the flour, sugar, and salt in your food processor  to combine.
-Add butter and pulse until the pastry come together and form clumps.
-Place the pastry in the prepared tart pan and, using your fingertips, evenly
 press the pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. (Can use the
 back of a spoon to smooth the surface of the pastry.) 
-Pierce the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. (This will prevent the
 pastry crust from puffing up while it bakes.) 
-Cover and place the pastry crust in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill.
 (This will help prevent the crust from shrinking while it bakes.)
-Preheat oven to 220 degrees C and place rack in center of oven.  
-Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 13 - 15 minutes
-Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Can be covered and stored
  for a few days.
Cream Filling:
Using a hand mixer or wire whisk beat the mascarpone or cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla extract just until soft peaks form.
If too thick to spread, beat in a little more heavy cream.
To Assemble Tart: 
-Evenly spread the cream onto the baked and cooled tart shell. Scatter the berries on top of the cream. If not serving immediately, refrigerate. 
-Remove from fridge about 30 minutes before serving to give the fruit and cream a chance to warm to room temperature.
Serves about 6 - 8 people.

vendredi 11 septembre 2015

Chocolate Banana sheet cake

This chocolate cake was highly recommended by bloggers that I cant resist and must give it a try.
The cake is easy to prepare mixing all ingredients together and top with chocolate ganach. The texture is moist and chocolate rich.

Recipe source : Jane Lee
Chocolate Banana Sheet Cake with chopped Almonds by Jane Lee
Adapted from
Happy chocolate!

(Modified recipe by Jane)
Preheat oven 170deg - baked for 25min-28min based on my oven.

Wet Ingredient
1 large egg
2 tired banana (very riped)
120ml milk
60ml thick cream
60g melted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla essence

Dry Ingredients
180g dark brown sugar
130g cake flour
35g valrhona cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
3/4 teaspoon of baking soda

Chocolate ganache
110g 70% dark chocolate
160ml heavy cream
7g unsalted butter
a drop of brandy(optional)

Fruits for decoration
Chocolate flakes
Peanuts bits

1. Melt the butter and let it cool off.

2. Mix together with the rest of wet ingredients
3. Combine all dry ingredients and mix well.
4. Add all the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients till all well combined.
5. Pour the batter into an 8" spring baking pan
6. Pour the ganache over the cake and chill.
(Ganache- lightly heat the cream and add the chocolate plus butter to melt)

Smoked Trout Schmear – Because There’s No Cool Way to Say, “Spread”

Schmear,” on the other hand, is impossible to say without sounding cool. Try it, you’ll see. You also have to love a recipe whose name describes what you’re supposed to do with it. You make a schmear, and then you schmear a schmear.

Names aside, this smoked trout schmear is incredibly easy, and very versatile. Obviously, it’s great spread on any kind of bread or crackers, but slathered atop a freshly toasted bagel may be it’s finest expression.

By the way, this is one of those recipes were you almost have to ignore the exact ingredient measurements I give below, since the ideal amount of salt, acidity, and heat are very subjective. Equal proportions of cream cheese and smoked trout is a good starting point, but everything else should be added “to taste.”

Smoked trout is relatively easy to find in any of your fancier grocery stores that sell smoke salmon, and unlike its more common cousin, I think it provides a richer, more interesting flavor, especially in spreads like this. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

2 trout boneless, skinless fillets (about 5-6 ounces total), checked for bones and crumbled
6 ounces cream cheese (3/4 cup), softened to room temp
2 teaspoons capers, drained
1 rounded teaspoon hot prepared horseradish, preferably homemade
salt and freshly ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne
1/2  lemon, juiced (about 4 teaspoons), or to taste
2 teaspoons fresh chopped chives
1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill

mercredi 9 septembre 2015

How to Make Your Own Prepared Horseradish – Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

Every time I use horseradish in a recipe, I get e-mails from people asking me how they can make it at home. They mention they can get the fresh root, but can’t find anything already prepared in the jar, which in some cases is hard to believe – like when the email originates from New York City – but regardless, this is still a very worthwhile thing to learn how to make.

Worthwhile, and somewhat painful, if you’re not careful. As I mention in the video, the fumes produced by this process are very intense, and will cause burning eyes and runny noses, if you’re not in a well-ventilated space. Having said that, using a little common sense, it’s really not that bad, and so totally worth it.

This really is quite easy if you have a food processor, but if you don’t, a heavy-duty blender will work, although you may have to add more water in the first step, to get the mixture fine enough. You can also grate this very fine on a microplane, but that would probably only be practical if you’re making a smaller amount.

Once your horseradish has been ground finely, the technique is very simple. I like to wait two or three minutes (this is supposed to make it hotter), before adding the salt and vinegar. Then, I’ll simply process, adding as much water as necessary, until I have a nice, smooth, creamy mixture.

And while this looks like something from the grocery store, the flavor is incomparable. Intensely hot, and aromatic; this is the real deal. So, whether you’re one of these people, who lives in a place where they don’t have jarred horseradish, like apparently New York City, or you always wanted to try and make some yourself, I really hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for about 3 cups: you read this please in here
1 pound peeled, cubed fresh horseradish root
cold water as needed (about 3/4 cup total)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup white distilled vinegar

mardi 8 septembre 2015

Next Up: Homemade Prepared Horseradish

Due to the Labor Day holiday, today's regularly scheduled video will air tomorrow instead. We'll be showing you how to make your very own prepared horseradish, using the fresh root. Spoiler alert: It's hot. Very hot.

vendredi 4 septembre 2015

Alabama-Style White BBQ Sauce – An Almost Labor-Free Sauce for Your Labor Day Grill

This incredibly easy to make Alabama white barbecue sauce was invented in 1925 by Robert “Big Bob” Gibson at Big Bob Gibson's Bar-B-Q restaurant, in Decatur. When I first read this bit of culinary history, I had to smile, since I actually know the guy. Well, sort of.

I’ve been to two bbq “boot camps,” run by champion pitmaster Chris Lilly, who trained under a guy, who trained under Big Bob Gibson. Hey, that’s only three degrees of separation. Ironically, Chris never made, or used the white sauce on anything we cooked, but still, I know a guy, who knew a guy, who knew THE guy.

Some people find this concoction quite strange, but not me. It’s eerily similar to the Cornell chicken marinade, which I love. In fact, Mr. Robert C. Baker, the creator of the aforementioned recipe, may have borrowed the idea from Big Bob. I would investigate further, but I have real crimes to solve.

Don’t let this mixture’s appearance stop you from trying what is a devastatingly delicious marinade, baste, and sauce. One tip for basting on the grill: make sure you do it towards the end of cooking, and not over too-high heat. You don’t want flame-ups, as that will cause an off taste.

I brush on two or three applications to each side, over more indirect heat, and as you see in the video, it sears on nicely. As a table sauce, it’s great on any of the traditional barbecued meats, but since it’s really just a salad dressing, it’s also wonderful for making potato salad, coleslaw, and grilled vegetables. I hope you give this white barbecue sauce a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for about 3 cups of sauce:
2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup prepared extra-hot horseradish
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tsp yellow mustard
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

mardi 1 septembre 2015

Pork Chili Verde (Green Pork Chili) – Green and Sometimes Browned

As I mentioned in the intro, this chili verde was one of the first recipes I ever learned, and also one of the first times I was forced to question proper culinary technique. Having just learned the importance of browning meats in culinary school, I was, at the same time, working for a chef who rarely did. 

Whether it was pork, chicken, or beef, he simply cut up the meat, threw it in a pot with the rest of the ingredients, and simmered everything until tender. By the way, he claimed that he had learned how to cook these recipes while traveling through Mexico. I remember sheepishly asking about this, and his response was something like, “Well, that's how they did it, and it tastes good to me.” He was right, it did. 

In fact, it tasted great. It was then I realized that this whole cooking thing might be a little more complicated than I had imagined. So, which is really the best method? There’s no answer for that question, which is frustrating. Having said that, I do think browned meat is always going to add extra flavor, so I usually do it. The point is, everybody’s right.

Regarding the pickled red onions I used on top of my chili: I was going to save this for a video, but it’s so ultra simple that I’ll just tell you right now. Slice some red onions, add a pinch of salt, and cover with red wine vinegar. Leave this overnight in your fridge, and the next day you’ll be looking at one of the most gorgeous garnishes ever.

They’re wonderful with everything from salads, to charcuterie, to cheeseburgers; but my real hope is that you enjoy them on a bowl of this delicious green pork chili. I really hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 large portions:
2 tbsp vegetable oil (heat to almost smoking before browning meat)
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (aka pork butt), cut into 2-inch cubes
1 yellow onion, diced
2 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 to 3 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
about 10-12 tomatillos (about 4 cups once quartered)
3 jalapenos, seeded
1 poblano chili, seeded
6 cloves peeled garlic
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
2 1/2 cups chicken stock, or as needed
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
freshly ground black pepper
sour cream and pickled red onions to garnish

- Simmer pork and sauce for an hour, add potatoes, and simmer until everything is tender.