Archive for November, 2011

November 26, 2011

Earl Grey Tea Cookies

by tina

These butter cookies are a great complement with tea or coffee!  I found this recipe and semi-followed it. Tweaked it a little, to my liking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup brown sugar* (I use Trader Joe’s organic brown sugar)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon earl grey tea, food processed (or 3 Tazo earl grey tea bags ripped open)
  • 1/2 cup good quality unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon water

(yields 2 dozen cookies)

*The brown sugar to confectioner’s sugar ratio is 1:1. I use a little more than 1/8 and a little less than 1/4 cup for the brown and confectioner’s sugar. I came about this odd amount because when I made it the first time with 1/4 cup, I found it a little too sweet for my liking. Then I made it with 1/8 cup and it wasn’t quite sweet enough.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugars, salt, tea) together with a spatula. Make sure to smooth out any sugar clumps and mix evenly.

Mix all the wet ingredients (butter, vanilla extract, water) in the stand mixer’s mixing bowl. (level 2/3)

Add the dry ingredients to the wet.

Mix at low speed (level 1/2) for a few minutes.

Then turn it up to low medium (level 2/3) for a couple of minutes. Stop occasionally to make sure everything stuck at the bottom and on the spatula is mixed in. Once it looks like the picture below, you can stop.

Use your hand and press all the little clumps together to form a mound.

Take it out of the mixing bowl and mold it into a packed rectangular log. Feel free to slap/pound it a little to pack it together well.

Once molded into shape, use saran wrap to completely cover the log and smooth out the surfaces. Place this in the freezer for 40 mins.
Freezing the log solidifies it and makes it easier to hold its cookie shape when it is sliced later.

Preheat the oven to 375F.
Slice cross section pieces that are about 1/3 inch thick.

Place the slices on a silpat on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-10 mins or until the bottom edges are light brown. Let it cool for 5 mins.

Remove the cookies from the silpat and place them on a cooling rack for 20 mins.

They’re now ready to be enjoyed–They’re so addicting.

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November 17, 2011

Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin

by tina

My boyfriend decided to try to make this and I was a bystander for once (kind of) :P. Here’s the recipe we followed: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/09/herb-roasted-pork-tenderloin-with-preserves/.

For the preserves, we thought it meant preserved dried fruit (haha), so we bought dried figs. It’s actually a jam that you buy.. something like this. Oh wells!

This is how the dried mashed figs turned out. Still tasted good with the pork tenderloin.
We basically smashed/chopped/infused the fig with the vinegar water.

For the pork tenderloin part of it, we followed the recipe and it was fairly simple.

Up close. Pretty liberal with the salt and pepper and herbs indeed.

The tenderloin we bought seemed to be a much larger piece compared to the pieces in her picture. It took us 30 mins to bake instead.

It was so tasty and juicy!

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November 10, 2011

Cold Season is here~

by tina

I looked in my winter storage tonight and flipped out all my scarves that I’ve knitted and crocheted throughout the years. =)

A tad bit out of style now. I’m not sure if I’ll be wearing those bright colored ones anymore. He he.
Maybe I’ll wear these…

November 8, 2011

Hot & Sour Soup (酸辣湯)

by tina

 

I was craving hot & sour soup last weekend, so I decided to try and make it myself. I gathered all the ingredients that I thought would go in the soup and managed to cook up something pretty good. Here is my 2nd time making it, where I actually wrote down the measurements.

I have to warn you that this soup does takes a while to prepare and cook. I’ve learned my lesson to not make this during a weekday work night :]
–>prep time: ~40 mins. cook time: ~20 mins. total: ~1 hr.

Ingredients:

For marinating the pork:

  • 2 pork top loin, thin cut (~0.30 lbs)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

For all other ingredients for soup:

  • ~7 shitake mushrooms (depending on size)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ~2 bamboo shoots, large slices (canned)
  • ~5 wood ears (optional)
  • 1/2 of a large carrot
  • 1/2 tofu pack

For soup base:

  • 1 cup organic chicken broth, non fat low sodium
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 1/2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4-5 tablespoons rice vinegar (depends on how sour you like it)
  • 2-4 teaspoons white pepper (depends on how spicy you like it)
  • 1 egg
  • sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch (optional)
  • cilantro (optional garnish)

(yields about 5 servings)

There are two parts to making this soup.

1) Preparation of ingredients: First soak the shitake mushrooms in a bowl of lukewarm water (takes about 30 mins to soften). Then tenderize the pork. Cut into very thin slices. Place the soy sauce, rice wine, and white pepper in a bowl. Mix the sliced pork in. Let the pork marinate while preparing the other ingredients.

Slice the bamboo shoots into thin pieces. Slice the carrot into thin pieces. Slice the tofu into semi-thin and long pieces. By now the shitake mushrooms should be soft, so go ahead and wash them and squeeze the water out and slice into thin and long pieces.

(optional) If you’d like to add wood ears, it would need to be soaked (like the mushrooms) and sliced into thin pieces.

The ingredients now need to be sauteed. Turn the temperature to high. Once the pan is hot, place 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in. When the oil is hot, place the pork in and stir. When the pork is half cooked, place the shitake mushrooms in and stir. Add the 1 tablespoon soy sauce and continue stirring until the pork looks 90% cooked. Add the bamboo and carrot (do not add the tofu in) and stir for 1 more min. Turn the temperature off and move the pan off the stove.

2) Making the soup: In a pot, place the chicken broth and water in.  Temperature on high and wait for it to boil. Add the sauteed ingredients in and also the tofu and stir. While waiting for it to reach another boil, add in the vinegar and soy sauce and white pepper and stir. (Remember to taste it. The measurements that I gave for the vinegar, soy sauce, and white pepper is based on my personal taste.  You can add more or less if you like.) Turn the temperature down to medium. Beat the egg and very slowly add it into the soup to make egg flower–Add in small segments and give it 1 or 2 light stirs after every segment until all the egg has been added in.

(optional) You can make the soup more dense by thickening it with corn starch. In a small bowl, add a little water to the 2 tablespoons of corn starch. Stir until there are no more clumps and looks super milky. Add this in the soup and stir thoroughly.

Add a small splash of sesame oil.

Place the lid on and let the soup simmer for about more 5 mins on medium low.

Here’s to a bowl of hot & sour soup!

November 2, 2011

Baked Beets

by tina

Beets are super healthy for you, so eat your beets! This is a super super easy recipe to make beets, so there should be no excuses. Might I add that this is the best way to make beets because it retains all of the beet’s natural flavors.

Ingredient:

  • Fresh Firm (Organic) Beets (1, 2, 3, 4,  however many you like)

Chop off the veggie stalk part. Wash the beets.

Place them in the toaster oven (or oven). Set the temperature to 400F. Set the time for 1 hour. Bake.

Before… and After.

Slice the beets in half and then slice into chunks. There’s no need to add any seasonings because the beets already have a naturally sweet and earthy taste. Delicious.

*Be careful when handling beets, the deep red color from the beet juice could stain clothing, carpet, placemats etc.

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