Archive for July, 2011

July 28, 2011

Cupcake Decorating

by tina

I learned how to decorate cupcakes today. Fun stuff!

I didn’t have enough time during class to finish decorating two of the cupcakes. I think it’s obvious which two those are. But if you can’t tell, that’s awesome. haha.

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July 26, 2011

Potstickers (鍋貼)

by tina

I <3 potstickers!! well, dumplings in general! My late mother used to make these all the time when I was young. They were the best and it’s one of the many things that I loved about her cooking. I am very thankful that my friend’s mother was able teach me how to make them from scratch and in the process, it also refreshed some of my memory of how my mother used to make them.

For this particular recipe, I tried my best to make them like my mother’s style. :) and I can proudly say that it ended up tasting SUPER close. yay.

Even though making these sucked up about 5 hrs of my time, it was well worth it. (if you have an assistant, it’ll probably cut that time down to 2-3hrs)

Ingredients:

dough:

  • 3 1/2-4 cups all purpose flour
  • water (cold and hot)

filling:

  • 1 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 8-10 large shrimps
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon potato starch (太白粉)
  • 3/4-1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, very finely minced
  • 1 3/4-2 teaspoons salt (amount dependent on how much shrimps/chives you decide to use)
  • 1 1/2-2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3-4 cups chives, finely chopped (depends on how much you like chives. I love chives, so I use 4 cups, or more..)

dipping sauce:

  • 1 soy sauce : 2-3 vinegar ratio
  • garlic, chopped (however much you like)

(recipe yields about 80 potstickers)

1) Make the dough. In a mixing bowl, place the flour in, start adding a little cold water, and mix them together with your hand. Continue the process of adding a little cold water and mixing, and repeat until medium clumps form. Attach the mixing bowl to the mixer and use the hook to help continue the flour mixing process. If you do not have a mixer, no worries, it can still be done with your hands, but it’ll just be more tiring.

For the mixer, add hot water as needed and mix on low. If using your hand, add hot water as needed and continue kneading the dough. Continue mixing and adding water as needed until all the flour sticks together in a mound. The mound should be not too hard and not too sticky. Leave it in the mixing bowl, cover the mixing bowl with a wet towel, cover that with a lid, and let the dough settle while you prepare the filling.

2) Make the filling. Ground up the ground pork a little more, ground up the shrimp, very finely mince the ginger, and finely chop the chives.

Mix the pork and shrimp in a mixing bowl. Always mix in the same direction (I was always told to do this and apparently it does the trick somehow. it’s supposed to make the meat more tender or something). So if you’re mixing clockwise, keep mixing in that direction. Also, mix on a slant as if you’re beating eggs. Add the water a little at a time and mix well after each addition. After the 3/4-1 cup water is fully added (water addition depends on dryness of mixture), add the potato starch, mix. Add the rice wine, ginger, salt, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix many times to evenly distribute the ingredients. Add the chives. Mix. If your arm isn’t sore from mixing, then you’re not mixing hard enough (may not happen to you, but it happened to me. I definitely got an arm workout). Basically, the more you mix, the more tender and yummy your filling will be. I think I mixed this for about 20-30 mins with breaks in between.

3) Make the skin. By now, the flour would have settled and become sticky and softer. Cover your cutting board with a good layer of flour. Take the whole mound onto the cutting board and knead. Add more flour as needed. After you knead it a couple times, separate a small mound from the large mound. Place the large mound back in the mixing bowl and cover (it’s important to keep to dough moist). Take the small mound, cover the cutting board with flour, and knead it very well.

Roll it with your hands into a circular long shape. When the width of it is 1 1/2 inches, cut the dough into 3/4 inch segments (1st picture). Flour the cut pieces and with the cross section facing up, smash them down with the palm of your hand (2nd picture). Roll out the smashed pieces to about 2-3 mm thick (3rd picture). Roll the edges of the skin (about 1/2 inch of the edge) to 1 mm thick. (4th picture). Personally, I like to make my potsticker skins thin, so I try to do the 2 mm and 1 mm edges.

4) Wrap the potsticker. Enclose the filling with the skin by crimping folds, pleating. Once wrapped, flour the bottom nicely (to avoid sticking to plate and pan when frying) and set aside on a plate.

Repeat 3) and 4) with each of the other mounds.

You could freeze the rest of the potstickers to save and enjoy later. Freezing them was a little tricky for me. You’d want to place them flat on a large tray, a cookie sheet will probably be fine (the plate below was a not so good idea). Flour the cookie sheet with a thin layer before putting the potstickers on and then place in freezer.

5) Fry/steam the potstickers. Turn temperature to high. Once pan is hotter, add 1 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Place the potstickers in the pan and let it sizzle for 1 minute. Add 1/2-1 cup water to fry/steam (the water depends on if the potstickers were freshly made or if from freezer). Put the pan cover on. Sometimes, I would also put the cover to the side to let the air escape a little.

Once the water in the pan fully evaporates, the potstickers are done!! Make the sauce and Enjoy~~nom nom nom.

Boiled dumplings can be made with this same recipe, but you can just use cold water when making the dough and when making the dumpling, instead of pleating the skin, you only have to pinch the skin together when you wrap.

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July 25, 2011

Tomato Eggs (蕃茄炒蛋)

by tina

A simple, fast, and flavorful dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2-2 tablespoons soy sauce (to taste)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3-4 eggs
  • salt
  • 5-6 campari tomatoes

Slice the tomatoes. Mix the sugar, soy sauce, and water together for the sauce. Add a dash of salt and beat the eggs.

Turn the temperature to high and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the eggs, and let it spread out and cook for a little bit.

When the top of the eggs looks less liquid or when the bottom side is becoming light brown, flip the egg over. Add the tomatoes and sauce immediately.

Separate the eggs into smaller pieces and stir the contents around. Put the lid on and let it cook for about 2 minutes. Open the lid and smash the tomatoes in order to mix the tomato flavor in with the sauce and eggs. Add a little bit of salt to taste. Stir it around and let it cook for another 2 minutes. This dish is now ready to be served. Total preparation and cook time is only about 15 minutes!

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July 22, 2011

Pickled Mustard & Pork Vermicelli Soup (酸菜豬肉粉條湯)

by tina

I was feeling a bit lazy to cook tonight, but I somehow got myself excited to make something new. It turned out pretty well (although I didn’t really like the color of the broth). But taste wise, good!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bundle of vermicelli (wide glass noodles)
  • 1/4 lbs ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup pickled mustard, diced
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-2 teaspoons green onion, chopped

Serving size: 1 for full meal or 2 for side dish

picture of some of the ingredients to show specifically what I used:

Rinse the pickled mustard before dicing. Soak the vermicelli in water for about 15 minutes and then drain the water.

1) Make the pickled mustard and ground pork: set the temperature to high.  When the pan is pretty warm, pour in about 1 teaspoon of oil. Place the garlic in. Let the garlic sizzle a little and put in the ground pork.  Quickly divide and separate the pork into smaller pieces.  Do this until the pork is partially cooked (half cooked, half raw).  Pour in the soy sauce, stir, and continue separating the pork. Add the pickled mustard in and continue stirring for 2-3 minutes. Then turn the heat off and set this aside, in a bowl, while we work on the 2nd part.

2) Place the chicken broth and water in a smaller pot and bring the temperature to high.  Once it reaches a boil, place the vermicelli in.  Continue boiling for 5 mins and turn off the heat.

3) Pour the noodle soup into a big bowl.  Add the sour mustard and ground pork, and top with green onions.

When I make this again in the future, I’ll probably buy a different chicken broth since the chicken broth that I bought this time was really yellow in color for some odd reason.  I’d want something more clear and less thick looking.

Along with this, I also sauteed some baby spinach. And that was my dinner for the night. :)

July 21, 2011

Ribbon Heart

by tina

Who knew that you could turn curling ribbon into a beautiful heart!?! 

I learned how to make the individual “flowers” when I was little and only learned to connect two of them together into an oval-ish shape (which definitely is not as fascinating as this heart). It wasn’t until one of my college roommates showed me this awesome way of connecting the flowers together and I’ve been making it for family and friends ever since.

Supplies:

  • 1 curling ribbon (from Michael’s)
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • tweezers

There are a total of 14 “flowers”. For each flower, 4 pieces of ribbon will be needed.  Cut each piece 6 inches long, with the ends cut at an angle (easier to work with for inserting).  Fold each piece in half, with one side a 1/2 inch shorter than the other.  The shiny side of the ribbon should be on the outside.

1) Base of the flower: take the 4 pieces, with the short side up, and interlock them together: take the 1st ribbon and place it in between the fold of the 2nd ribbon, counterclockwise.  Continue the same with the 3rd and 4th ribbon, but instead, insert the ends of the 4th ribbon through the 1st ribbon loop.   

Fold the short sides of the ribbons down (non-shiny side showing), clockwise. Interlock by inserting the 4th fold into the 1st loop.

Flip it over to the shiny side and do the same, fold the shorter sides down. The ribbons on the top and bottom (or outside and inside) should be curling outward and in.

2) Flower petals: reorient the piece so that the shorter ribbons are  facing down (bottom) and the longer sides are facing up (top).

Take the 1st of the long ribbons and fold it outward, into a triangle.  Fold another triangle downward, leaving a little space between the two triangles (non-shiny side showing). Think of it as a bigger triangle now, and fold it in half into two triangles again (3rd picture below).  Repeat for the other 3 ribbons.

With these creases, we will now create the 3-D triangular petals.  Take the 1st ribbon and insert the end (non-shiny side) into the adjacent slit of the base. Remember the two triangles that you’ve already creased.  Pull the ribbon through and stop at where the right triangle crease meets. At this point, there should be a funnel-like loop of the two triangles facing down. Carefully pinch the two sides of the triangle and flip the two triangles upward.

Repeat for the other 3 ribbons and it should look like the below picture, with all 4 ribbons coming out from the center.

3) Flower center: take the 1st ribbon and insert through the adjacent slit (shiny side showing)and pull it through to  meet the shorter ribbons. (you may need to move the other ribbons to the side in order to insert).  Repeat for the 3 other ribbons. (tweezers may be needed to insert)

Finished flower!  Now make 13 more :)

The whole process in one picture:

Now we’ve got to put these pieces together to make the heart!

Cut down all sides of the ribbons to 1 inch.

4) Connecting the flowers: using tweezers, connect the pieces together.  There’s a total of 4 ribbons–2 will be on the bottom, and the other 2 will be on the top.   Say that we’re connecting a left and right flower, the left flower has 1 bottom and 1 top ribbon, and the right flower has the opposite 1 bottom and 1 top ribbon.  It is crucial to interlock them this way so that the flowers will stay well connected.

Insert and connect the ones on the bottom first; these bottom ribbons will be inserted into the base and they wont come out from another end.  The length of the ribbon in between the two flowers should be 1/2 inch. Insert the ones on the top and the ribbon should come out a little between the center and the petal. If you have trouble connecting a ribbon, you could cut it a little shorter.

Connect 2 more flowers, making it 4 in a row. (flower #1-#4)

Connect the flower #5 and #6 on both sides to flower #2 and #3 (left picture). Connect flower #7 to #1 and #5 and connect #8 to #4 and #5 (front side). Connect #9 to #1 and #6 and connect #10 to #4 and #6 (back side). (right picture)

Connect #11 to #1, #7, and #9.  Connect #12 to #4, #8, and #10.  Connect #13 to #7, #9, and #11.  Connect #14 to #8, #10, #12, and #13.

*OR, just follow the picture below. The numbers might be too confusing to keep track.

^__^

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