Thursday, October 24, 2019

Stir Fry Tofu

This came out a bit too salty, as I didn't have low sodium soy, but still tasted good.
3/2/20 Made the sauce but realized had no usable tofu. Used it as sauce for veggies only - broccoli, carrots, eggplant, zucchini. Served with hakka noodles all mixed in with beef broth. Delicious.

  • 1 package extra firm tofu
  • 4 T low sodium soy
  • 3 T rice vinegar (I used chinese black vinegar)
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 t dried ginger (or 1 T fresh grated ginger)
  • Vegetables (carrots, spinach, zucchini, ...), chopped
  1. Press the tofu dry. Cut into small cubes
  2. Combine the soy to ginger in shallow container. 
  3. Add tofu and stir to combine. Let marinate in refrigerator.
  4. Heat oil in pan and fry the tofu, not turning until fully browned on one side (to prevent breaking apart).
  5. Remove tofu and add in chopped vegetables. Pour in leftover marinade.
  6. Serve with rice or noodles.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Lemon Cake

DBD wanted a lemon cake but not a lemon almond cake. So I had to try yet another recipe. As usual, I did assembly of cakes and icing, but let the party kids decorate with choice of sprinkles or fruit.
  • 2 1/4 c cake flour, sifted
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 c low fat buttermilk
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1.5 c sugar
  • 2 t lemon zest
  • 1 stick butter, room temp
  • 1/2 t lemon extract
  1. Grease the sides of 2 8" pans (or one 8" and one 9") and flour lightly. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the cake flour, powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk and egg whites.
  4. In a large bowl, rub together the zest and sugar.
  5. Add the butter to the sugar mixture and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  6. Mix in the lemon extract.
  7. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture alternating with 1/2 the buttermilk mixture, ending on the flour mixture, beating on medium speed. Then beat an additional 2 minutes.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans evenly. Smooth the tops.
  9. Bake 30-35 min until well risen, the center springs back when lightly touched and a knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  10. Rest on wire rack for 5 minutes. 
  11. Flip out, remove the paper, and cool to room temperature on wire rack.
  12. Wrap airtight and keep at room temperature for up to a day before icing. Otherwise freeze.

Lemon Icing

  • 1 pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 c powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T zest
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/8 t kosher salt
  1. Combine the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until no more lumps (about 3 minutes).
  2. On low speed combine the powdered sugar. Once incorporated, beat on high for 3 min
  3. Add in the lemon juice, zest, vanilla and salt.
  4. May be kept in airtight container in the fridge or used to ice the room temperature cake.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Strawberry Cookies

XBD wanted to make strawberry cookies specifically, not strawberry muffins. We made muffins first but then he wanted to make strawberry muffin cookies - putting a cookie on top of a muffin. It didn't come to that but we enjoyed these cookies and shared with neighbors at the playground.

  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 3/4 c flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1.5 t baking powder
  • 1 c fresh strawberries, chopped
  1. In a large bowl, mix the sugar and butter.
  2. Add the egg, vanilla and lemon juice and mix until combined.
  3. In separate bowl, combine flour, salt and powder. Combine dry ingredients with wet.
  4. Fold in the strawberries until just combined.
  5. Place on parchment lined sheet.
  6. Optional: sprinkle with sugar
  7. Bake for 15-18 min.
  8. Cool completely and enjoy. Keep leftovers in airtight container in fridge.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Lemon Almond Cake

This is a super simple cake to make that happens to be butter/oil/gluten free. Recipe can be doubled to make a layer cake or made as a single layer and lightly decorated. Let DBD and XBD decorate the cake with sliced strawberries and peaches.

  • 4 eggs, divided
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1.5 c spooned almond flour
  • 1 T lemon zest
  • splash of almond extract
  • 1/4 c sliced almonds
  1. Beat 4 egg yolks and sugar at high speed for 3 min.
  2. Use a spatula to fold in almond flour, zest and extract. Stir until incorporated.
  3. Wash and dry the mixer beaters. Beat the 4 egg whites until stiff peaks form (about 2 min).
  4. Fold the whites one heaping spoonful at a time into the almond batter.
  5. Transfer to parchment lined 9" cake pan.
  6. Sprinkle with sliced almonds.
  7. Bake at 350 for 30 min until top is firm.
  8. Rest for 15 min.
  9. Invert almond side up on plate.
  10. Top with fresh fruit.

Bubble Solution

Warmer weather means it's time to refill all the empty bubble containers. My neighbor told me about the magic of guar gum. Made a 1 liter batch and filled in 4 no spill fubbles, 3 little containers, and 1 glass jar. I tried weighing the guar gum and baking powder but the machine wouldn't register anything until it hit 2 g. Didn't really make the slurry properly so it was a bit clumpy in the end, but still worked great.


  • 1 liter warm water
  • 8-13 t Dawn (40-65 g. Starting point = 50 g)
  • 1/4 t heaping guar gum (too much is ok)
  • 1/2 t heaping baking powder (too much is ok)
  1. Make the slurry. Add in some of the detergent over the guar gum until dissolved (mix longer than you think). Add in enough water to make it pourable.
  2. Pour the slurry into the water. Stir for 30 sec.
  3. Add the remainder of the detergent, gently stirring.
  4. Add the baking powder.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Lemon Sponge Roll

I miss lemon filled jelly rolls, which I grew up buying in Chinatown. However, nowadays I can only find the cream filled ones, not the clear lemon ones. This was fun to make however came out way too sweet. I added all the sugar to the yolks when I realized it was supposed to be split. The cake still came out fine. I didn't roll it tight enough so it was a bit floppy.
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 t cream of tartar
  • 3/4 c sugar (split)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 c water
  • 2 T + 1 t icing sugar
Lemon Curd
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 T lemon rind
  • 1/3 c lemon juice
  • 1/3 c cold butter, cubed
  1. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
  2. Beat in 1 T of sugar at a time for a total of 1/4 c sugar until stiff peaks form. [However, if you skip this step and dump it in the yolks, it still turns out ok]
  3. Combine the remaining 1/2 c sugar with yolks and beat until it falls in ribbons (~3 min).
  4. Beat in the vanilla.
  5. Combine the flour and salt.
  6. Fold in the egg whites and flour in alternating pattern of 3 whites, 2 dry.
  7. Spread on parchment lined 10x15 sheet. Smooth the top.
  8. Bake at 375 for 12-15 min until the top springs back when lightly touched.
  9. On a clean tea towel, dust the icing sugar (to prevent cake from sticking).
  10. Invert cake onto towel and peel off paper.
  11. Trim the long edges.
  12. Starting with the short edge and allowing the towel to overlap, roll the cake up. Cool on rack seam side down. [At this point you can put in airtight container and keep for one day at room temperature.]
  13. Bring the syrup ingredients to a boil and then let cool.
  14. Brush the cake with syrup.
  15. Spread with lemon curd [which can be made up to 1 day ahead]
    1. Whisk the yolks, sugar, rind and juice in heat proof bowl.
    2. Set over saucepan of simmering water.
    3. Cook, stirring until thickened enough to coat back of wooden spoon. About 8-10 min.
    4. Remove from heat. Stir in butter, 1 piece at a time until smooth.
    5. Optional: strain
    6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thickened (~2 hours).
  16. Roll up firmly (without squishing)

Chocolate Mint Thumbprint Cookies

These were fun to make.

  • 1 c + 2.5 T flour
  • 1/4 c cocoa
  • 3/4 c butter, softened
  • 1/2 c confectioners sugar
  • 1.5 t vanilla
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3/4 c semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 T butter
  • 1/4 t peppermint extract
  1. Sift the flour and cocoa together in small bowl.
  2. In large bowl, beat the sugar and butter together.
  3. Beat in the vanilla and salt.
  4. Stir in the flour mixture.
  5. Chill until firm, about 40-60 min.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F. 
  7. Make 1" balls and place about 2" apart. 
  8. Using your thumb, pinky or circular wooden handle, make a deep well, almost to the bottom of the cookie.
  9. Bake one sheet at a tme 8-9 min until tops of cookies look dry.
  10. Redefine the indentation.
  11. Let cool on the sheet for 5 min, then transfer to wire rack.
  12. FILLING: Heat the chocolate and butter in double boiler (heat proof bowl over simmering water) until almost melted - about 2-4 min. Remove from heat and stir in mint. Cool (stir every 30-40 min). Fill piping bag and fill in cookies.
  13. Store in airtight container up to 1 day at room temperature.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Cocoa Cookies with Raspberry Filling

This was annoyingly time consuming to make. I used the star shape and the elephant shapes for the bases. The holes were the mini star, the baby elephant, or a handcut circle.

  • 3/4 c butter, softened
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 1/4 c flour
  • 1/3 c cocoa
  • 1/2 t powder
  • pinch salt
  • raspberry jam (~12 t)
  1. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  3. Combine the flour, cocoa, powder and salt. Add to wet mixture in 2 additions.
  4. Divide the dough in half. Flatten into discs. Wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate for 1-24 hours.
  5. Roll out each disc to 1/4" thickness in between wax sheets.
  6. Using large (2") cutter, cut 24 cookies. Using smaller cutter, cut out 1/2" hole. With remaining dough, cut out another 24 cookies, but without the hole.
  7. Place 1 inch apart on parchment lined sheets.
  8. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 min.
  9. Bake 2 sheets at a time, top and bottom thirds at 350. Rotate and switch halfway through. Bake about 12 minutes.
  10. Once cooled, spread ~1/2 t jam on bottom cookie and top with holed cookie.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Chilled Pork Noodles

This can be eaten warm, or chilled and had as a make ahead summer dish. Both DBD and XBD loved this, even with all the fresh herbs. A win!
Aug 2019 Made this again with chocolate mint. And again with ground turkey instead of pork, with garden basil and store mint. Prefer the slightly thinner noodles to the big fat ones.
  • 3 T oil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 4 T fish sauce
  • 4 T brown sugar
  • 1 package rice vermicelli (8.8 oz)
  • 4 cucumbers, thinly sliced (optional: soaked in vinegar)
  • fresh mint, chopped
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 c roasted peanuts, crushed
  • 2 limes, juiced [optional]
  1. Heat the oil in pan. Cook the garlic, pork and pepper for 2-3 min.
  2. Add in the fish sauce and brown sugar and cook for 2-3 min.
  3. Remove pork to bowl and save the sauce.
  4. Cook the rice noodles in boiling water following package instructions (based on thickness...about 2-4 min).
  5. Remove noodles and coat with saved sauce.
  6. Stir in pork, cucumbers, mint, basil. 
  7. Serve in bowls. Top with peanuts and lime juice.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

Had to get rid of some girl guide cookies, so set DBD and her best friend out front with some pitchers of fresh squeezed lemonade. Made 2 large batches and it all went. Very easy to adjust the sweetness by watering down.
6/24/19 XBD requested homemade lemonade again. Cut the recipe in half.

  • 1.5 c sugar
  • 1 c water
  • 1.5 c lemon juice (6-8 lemons)
  • 7 c water (or part ice to speed chilling)
  1. Heat the sugar with one cup of water, until the sugar is dissolved. 
  2. Squeeze the lemons, remove seeds, but leave in pulp.
  3. Stir syrup, lemon juice and remaining water in container.
  4. Refrigerate until chilled.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Chocolate Crescents

Made the dough in the food processor and had AX, DBD, XBD help spread chips and roll the dough. I brushed them with the egg wash and curled them a bit. They puffed up quite a bit. Kids don't roll as tight as adults so that accounted for some of the puffiness. They turned out with tons of layers. 
3/20/20 Still easy and delicious.
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1 stick cold butter, salted, cut into 8-1 T pieces
  • 1/4-1/2 c ice water (cold tap water with ice cube in it)
  • 1/4 c chocolate chips (mini or regular size)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T water
  1. Combine flour and salt in food processor (or mix by hand).
  2. Pulse the butter pieces in until pea sized (or slightly larger)
  3. Pulse 1/4 c water in and add water until no flour/it all comes together.
  4. Put onto floured surface and roll to rectangle.
  5. Fold in each side to thirds. Rotate a quarter turn and repeat. 
  6. Repeat above step. Optional: repeat one more fold.
  7. Wrap rectangle in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-24 hours.
  8. For 8 crescents, roll dough to minimum 8x18". For 6 crescents, roll dough to 6x16". Cut into triangles.
  9. Spoon chocolate chips at fat end. Roll tightly and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  10. Curve each roll into crescent shape.
  11. Beat egg with water and brush onto rolls.
  12. Bake at 400F for 22-26 min until lightly browned.
  13. Cool on wire rack. Enjoy warm.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Stir Fry Chicken and Veggies

The recipe I found is supposed to use 2/3 c Chinese soy sauce, but I only have Japanese soy sauce so adjusted accordingly (in first 3 ingredients). I would still like to buy a bottle of Chinese soy but keep forgetting. Great for leftovers, which can be used inside wrap.
Aug 2019 XBD loves this dish as well as having it for leftovers for lunch. 
7/4/20 Made with a package of chicken thighs, 2 broccoli crowns, 2 carrots, 1 pkg white mushrooms, 1 can water chestnuts, teriyaki sauce instead of oyster sauce, and ground ginger instead of fresh.
  • ~1/8 c Japanese soy sauce
  • ~1/8 c oyster sauce
  • ~1/2 c water
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 1 T ginger, minced
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • 2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 1 T oil (for veges)
  • water chestnuts
  • broccoli
  • 1 c carrots, sliced
  • 1 T oil (for chicken)
  • mushrooms (oyster, cremini, white, etc)
  1. Combine soy through garlic.
  2. Marinate chick slices in sauce for 15min-several hours.
  3. Saute the water chestnuts, broccoli, carrots (and other veges) in oil for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove to bowl.
  5. Cook the chicken, reserving the marinade, 2 min per side, until no longer pink. Cook in batches if necessary.
  6. Add veggies back to pan with chicken and pour in marinade. Boil until chicken is no longer pink - about 5-7min.
  7. Serve over rice.

Savory Pancakes

Using the food processor makes whipping up these savory pancakes so much faster.

Asian Pancakes - ****

Onion free, but add scallions if it's not an issue. Served as appetizer for 4 adults + 2 kids. All disappeared.

  • 2 c zucchini
  • 1.5 c carrot
  • 2 c potato
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4-1 c water
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/ t black pepper
  • 3 T soy
  • 2 T black vinegar
  • 2 cl garlic
  • sesame oil
  1. In a food processor, grate zucchini, carrot and potato until amount desired.
  2. Stir in flour.
  3. Mix in egg, water, salt and pepper. Add water if mixture is too dry/thick.
  4. Heat 1/2 T oil in pan, flatten 1/4 c batter, and fry until browned and crispy. Flip and continue to cook until crisp. 
  5. Cool slightly on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
  6. Mix soy, vinegar, garlic and sesame oil as dipping sauce.
  7. Serve immediately or freeze. 

Chickpea Pancakes - ***

Also onion free - use garlic powder or other Italian spices as desired. Makes 8 patties. Ate half for lunch.
  • 1 c chickpeas (2/3 of a can)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 c breadcrumbs
  • 1 t dried basil (or use 2 t fresh)
  • 2 cl garlic, minced
  • pepper
  • thyme
  • optional: potato, parmesan
  1. Grate zucchini and carrot in food processor. Add salt.
  2. Blend chickpea in food processor.
  3. Mix zucchini and carrot with eggs, bread crumbs and spices. Add more bread crumbs if too wet. 
  4. Stir in chickpea mash.
  5. Fry 1/8 of batter per pancake, until browned and crispy on each side.
    1. Alternative: Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.
  6. Drain on paper towels.
  7. Eat warm plain or serve with salsa or ketchup.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Dogs in a Blanket

I used to love hot dogs as a kid. There was a stage where cheese filled ones were my favorite. Then one day I had a giant hot dog and found a vein inside and it grossed me out. I have not enjoyed hot dogs since. However, DBD has recently found a love for them and so I gave in and cooked these up with a homemade 'blanket' as we didn't have any buns (and I also remember a childhood love of pigs in a blanket, which I'd only had a few times). The kids helped stretch their dough and wrap their own dogs. With the leftover dough we made fun shapes and salted them for a snack. Kids each ate ~2 (one didn't eat bread of second, one didn't finish half a dog of second) and there was one leftover for a packed lunch. Only 2 stars because it's still just a hot dog, but it was a fun dough activity.

  • 6 hot dogs
  • 1 c warm water
  • 2 T sugar
  • 2 T oil
  • 2.5-3 c flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T milk
  1. Combine dough ingredients in bread machine and set to dough cycle. Wait 1.5 hours.
  2. Remove dough and pat down on floured surface. Divide in 12 pieces.
  3. With half the dough, roll each piece to 8-14" long piece and twist around hot dog. 
  4. Mix egg with milk and brush dough with mixture.
  5. Bake on sheet at 400F for 15 min, until bread is browned.
  6. Use remaining half of dough to make shapes (ball, pretzel, breadstick, etc) and brush with egg-milk. Sprinkle with salt. Bake 15-20 min, until done.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Stir Fry Beef with Broccoli

My attempts at stir fry beef have always turned out tough and chewy - probably due to cut of steak and method of cooking. This time I found flank steak and followed a recipe using a marinade, high heat quick cooking. I only had half the steak needed so sauce was a bit much. Recipe adjusted for this below.
  • 2/3 lb flank steak
  • 1/4 c oyster sauce
  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 1/3 c sherry (or half water/half apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 t soy
  • 1 t brown sugar
  • 1 t cornstarch
  • 3 T oil
  • 3 thin slices ginger
  • 1 cl garlic, smashed
  • 1 lb broccoli - florets and small stem pieces
  1. Combine the oyster sauce to cornstarch.
  2. Thinly slice the steak, against the grain.
  3. Marinate the meat in the sauce for at least 30 min in the fridge.
  4. Heat the oil in a wok and add the ginger and garlic. Saute until aromatic and then discard the ginger and garlic. Add the broccoli to the fragrant oil and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  5. Remove the broccoli and then fry the beef in small batches, about 5 min each.
  6. Once done, add the broccoli back and cook for 3 min.
  7. Serve over rice or hefen noodles.