Sunday, September 27, 2009

Omurice and Curry Rice

Another very easy recipe that makes a good Sunday brunch. Omurice is Japanese for tasty omlette filled with rice :) I know I pretty much fail at making omlettes because they always fall apart before I can get it out of the frying pan. But this time, this time-- I was hoping it would be different. But I guess not. I was watching Cooking with Dog this morning and I thought that I just had to make some of that omurice. I didn't really follow that recipe since I figured I probably won't have half the stuff she's using anyways. And since I am a college student living at school, my ingredients are always severely lacking. So I made fried rice with whatever I had in the fridge. I didn't have ketchup this morning and how can I make omurice without ketchup? So I decided to go to Earl's Place but it was closed so I went to Canyon Vista and stole a few packets of ketchup :) It generally does not matter what kind of fried rice you put in there, so do whatever you want. I felt like orangey rice today. When I cook and eat I tend to lean towards the vegetarian side just because we don't keep much meat in the freezer. (We only have ice cubes, ice cream, and boxes of waffles) If you're not anything like me and would like some meat in your meals, feel free to add some shrimp or chicken. :)

I know, I know. It's not the best looking omlette, but it tasted pretty good and that's all that matters. I'll make a more visually appealing version next time. I promise.

Fried rice:
Recipes are always in small portions. Makes 2 servings.
  • 1 cup rice (measured before it is steamed)
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 1 stalk green onion, chopped
  • 5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 shake of crushed basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pulp of 2 tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  1. Oil in pan. When it's hot, add garlic and onion. Sweat onions until translucent.
  2. Mix tomato pulp and ketchup together and add that to pan. Add basil.
  3. Add mushrooms, green onion, and toss in the rice. When the mushrooms are done remove rice from pan and set aside.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup half n half, milk, or water.
After frying the rice:
  1. Beat eggs and cream together. Heat pan to medium heat (I used med-high but it was too much for me) Stir very quickly when it's still liquid to cook the egg evenly.
  2. Add rice. Fold up both sides so that the flaps are still 1.5" away from each other. Carefully slide omlette to the edge of pan and roll it onto the plate.
    Garnish with a salad and maybe some cherry tomatoes. Enjoy!
This is the second part to the entry, curry rice! Made with carrots, potato, onion, and curry cubes. Used the leftover fried rice from this morning. Perfect! 1 cup of rice makes for a day's meals.
No greens. I just microwaved that and it was good to go. Too lazy to even turn on the stove.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Spam Onigiri, Japanese Rice Balls

One of the great things about living away from home is that I get to eat whatever I want, whenever I want, however I want. Say, for example, spam onigiri for dinner on the sofa with my laptop and feet on the coffee table. I didn't really feel like going out to eat (neither did my apartment-mates) so we grabbed some rice seasoning and rice vinegar from Earl's Market and made some rice balls. Next time I will try making different flavors like smoked salmon-- mmMm :)

Well hey, nobody really needs a "recipe" for making rice balls but I'll just post up the ratio of rice to vinegar and sugar:

Sushi Rice
  • 3 cups sushi rice
  • 3 tbsp less 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sugar
Easy to remember right? Sugar will dissolve naturally in the acid but you can always heat it up in the microwave to speed up the process. Also remember to use wooden or glass bowls to mix the vinegar+rice! That's all folks :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chicken Mushroom Alfredo Pasta

So Katie posted this into her profile, which was apparently hilarious:

[21:01] moochi: wat is accelerated Java
[21:01] pr0crastinxat0r: idk
[21:01] moochi: and BS seminar
[21:01] pr0crastinxat0r: BS seminar was BS
[21:01] pr0crastinxat0r: its like 1.5 hrs which is longer than my calc and physics
[21:01] pr0crastinxat0r: and they talk about stuff like
[21:01] pr0crastinxat0r: "what is a computer scientist"
[21:02] pr0crastinxat0r: "programmers are not nerds"
[21:02] pr0crastinxat0r: "google is cool"
[21:02] pr0crastinxat0r: i fell asleep for half an hour
[21:02] pr0crastinxat0r: until someone threw a sign in sheet at me
[21:03] moochi: my tummy hurts
[21:04] pr0crastinxat0r: ~_~""

I have so much free time it's ridiculous. Calculus and Physics on MWF from 2-4pm, meaning I have the whole morning free. I'm taking 14 units too! When I got back to my apartment all of my suitemates were there and we spent the rest of the afternoon lounging around, lying on the couch, Facebooking, and being extremely bored. I'm so bored that I actually proofread the notice from the custodians while I was in the bathroom. I'm so bored that I can't even write a coherent paragraph. Does that even make sense? Anyways. Chicken mushroom alfredo, or more like a condensed, cheesier version of our cream of mushroom. As usual, I leave out the chicken because 1. I don't have it 2. I can live without it. Come to think of it, today was the first time in days that I've eaten meat. I hadn't even noticed until someone pointed it out.

Chicken Mushroom Alfredo

  • 1 cooked chicken breast, sliced
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • sliced Italian mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup half n half
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • Italian seasoning, salt, white pepper, to taste
  • Pasta
Directions (if necessary)

  1. Begin cooking pasta
  2. Melt butter, sweat onion until translucent.
  3. Add flour for roux. (paste)
  4. Slowly add milk, then half n half and sour cream.
  5. Add seasonings to taste, then mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms soften, stirring constantly.
  6. Now add the cheese and chicken. As soon as the cheese melts it's ready.
  7. Your pasta should be done and drained at this point. Pasta in plate and spoon some alfredo over it. Pull some pasta out from underneath for a pretty presentation. Garnish and eat while it's hot!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cream of Mushroom

Long time no post! I decided to make some cream of mushroom this morning now that I've settled comfortably in my campus apartment. Warm, delicious, and mushroomy. Really, what could have been better? Yes, my new home-away-from-home is now in La Jolla/San Diego and I love my apartment! This week is zero week or welcome week and there have been campus dances and activities going on every hour of the day. It's been crazy and pretty fun. I think that I finally am getting excited for my classes! Last night the engineers gathered at the Warren Mall and grooved to the Beach Boys with glowsticks and free stuff. Awesome? I am waiting for the UnOlympic rally to begin in half an hour so I'm just killing time. Having a kitchen here is a kind of luxury-- I can't wait to try out the oven. (Just hope it works) Anyways, cream of mushroom! Here's how:

Cream of Mushroom (makes 2 servings)

  • 5 Italian mushrooms
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth, low sodium
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • salt + white pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp oregano + chives
  • 1/2 cup half n half
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • diced chicken breasts


  1. In pot melt butter and add flour for roux. Then slowly add in the chicken broth so that the roux does not form clumps and wait for soup to come to a boil. Then add cream and half n half.
  2. Add the sour cream, stir.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste. Then the herbs, mushroom, and chicken. Wait a minute or two until done and serve. Garnish with parsley flakes. :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tiramisu, the Alternative Recipe

I made Tiramisu last time with raw eggs. It was light, very moussy, but I didn't like the yolky aftertaste. So I figured I'd try it another way-- the way Tiramisu is commonly made-- with heavy cream. I decided to consult sweary chef, Gordon Ramsay, who provided a general "quick" recipe (with no measurements) to which I followed. However, being the thrifty wannabe chef that I am, I wanted to stretch my Mascarpone money. Thus, I used twice the cream to the same amount of cheese.

And as a side note, strawberries were on sale everywhere yesterday! I thought they were already out of season, but I guess not? I happily bought two boxes of ripe strawberries, one of which was made into strawberry jam last night; the other, used to top my Tiramisu, as shown on the right :)

Tiramisu II:

  • 250 grams Mascarpone cheese (9 oz)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp Marsala wine or Brandy
  • 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup dark, strongly brewed coffee or expresso, chilled
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 6 tbsp confectioner's sugar
  • Ladyfingers/Savoiardi biscuits, crunchy
  • Bar of frozen, bittersweet chocolate
  • Cocoa powder

What to do:
  1. Have two bowls ready. In one bowl scrape out Mascarpone cheese from its container and set aside, to soften.
  2. In other bowl combine cream and confectioner's sugar together, whisk until thick but does not form peaks. (do not overwhip)
  3. In Mascarpone bowl, add vanilla extract and wine. Mix well.
  4. Then add the 1/2 cup of coffee, in thirds, incorporating slowly.
  5. Next fold the Mascarpone into the cream using a rubber spatula. Don't worry if mixture appears to be watery, it will set within minutes in the refrigerator .

  6. The 1/4 cup of coffee should be poured into a shallow bowl for dipping. Dip the Ladyfingers/biscuits very quickly in the coffee.
  7. Layer on the bottom, cream, layer, cream, chocolate shavings then cocoa powder. Refrigerate for > 20 minutes. Done.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bor Lor Bao (Pineapple Buns)

I tried filling my buns with custard but failed-- thus I stayed faithful to the traditional po lo bao which don't have anything inside. They are exceptionally soft and tasty when fresh!

Not much personal commentary this time. I'll just feed you the recipe:

Pineapple Buns:

  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (equivalent to 1 packet)
  • 1/4 cup (olive) oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten (reserve 2 tbsp for egg wash)
  • 1 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees F)

Making the Buns:

  1. Warm the milk to 110 degrees F, then proof the yeast by pouring packet of yeast into warm milk ~ about 10 minutes until yeast becomes frothy.
  2. In large bowl combine flour and sugar. Add yeast/milk and mix.
  3. Add salt, oil, melted butter and eggs.
  4. For detailed instructions on how to knead, rise and proof dough, read
  5. *** While dough is completing its first rise, proceed to pineapple bun topping instructions ***
  6. For a medium pineapple bun, divide to 2 oz pieces and shape into a slightly flat sphere. Oil aluminum foil before placing dough.
  7. Remove topping dough from its bowl and pull apart a piece large enough to cover a bun. Then using enough all-purpose flour, flatten topping dough into round disk and place over proofing dough. Criss-cross the top with a sharp knife and egg wash the buns.
  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. After proofing dough for 30-40 minutes (starting from the time you punch the air out of your dough after its first rise) bake for 5 minutes in 375 degrees F heat. Then lower temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Pineapple Bun Topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp milk
  1. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add yolk, baking powder/soda, and milk. Mix well.
  3. Add flour, mix until incorporated.
  4. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill until needed.

Monday, September 7, 2009

An Mochi (Red Bean)

Mochi was one of the first things I ever learned to make. Not red bean mochi, but bing tang tong yuen-- rock sugar mochi-- in, literally, sweet water. There must be some english name for that(instead of mochi in sweet water) -- I just don't know it yet. That was made with a glutinous rice flour dough and a piece of rock sugar, boiled with yams. Red bean mochi by itself is a bit different. Since it's consumed dry, it must retain its moisture yet be able to be molded into a ball. Mochi "dough" is easy to make, but to make it hold its shape it must have enough glutinous rice flour. However the glutinous rice flour would make the mochi chewy and harden easily-- not tasty; so I tried another method.

I used enough water to make the mochi mixture syrup-like, steamed the mixture, then scraped pieces out to make the mochi with the red bean paste at the center. This is by far the best method I have found and the mochi will stay soft for days. I think that method is more important than following the recipe, but here's what you generally need:

  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • ?? evaporated milk (can be substituted with water or canned coconut milk)
  • red bean paste
  • Potato/yam starch for dusting AND/OR dessicated coconut

some vague instructions:
  1. Combine rice flour and sugar. Add evaporated milk until mixture has a syrup-like consistency. (I don't know how much this is yet, will update this when I find out)
  2. Optional: Add food color.
  3. Pour into one or several pans about 0.5 cm thick and steam for about 4 minutes or until mochi becomes clear.
  4. After steaming, remove from steamer and let cool until able to handle. Then using a spoon, scoop out a piece of mochi, fill with red bean paste, and pinch/roll together.
  5. To finish, dust with yam starch or dessicated coconut
For Ichigo Daifuku (strawberry mochi), cover small strawberries with red bean paste and wrap with mochi.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Making Some Serious Dough

I made a very delicious, bakery-style sponge cake. (And I do mean those Chinese bakeries) and I promise to share it next time! Today however, I will show you how to make bread. Maybe I will update again with more pictures some other time, who knows.

There is an art to bread making-- it's not like quickbread (which is not real bread) or cake. If a cake is not done (especially sponge cake), you can't just stick it back into the oven and bake it again. As soon as you take it out the air in it escapes and the cake deflates. But bread is different. If the dough is still raw, just stick it back in for a few minutes. No harm done. That was what I learned today while baking bread.

Bread is alive. You can see the bread grow as it goes through its first rise. You don't have to do anything-- the yeast takes over. Yeast is very sensitive to heat so 15 degrees hotter will cut the rise time in half. So treat the dough nicely, or you'll be baking a brick.

Bread-making is a long process that takes at least 3 hours-- proofing the yeast, rising the dough, shaping the dough, proofing the dough, and finally baking it. Don't worry though, you don't have to sit there are stare down the dough while it's rising. Just cover it with a blanket and leave it alone. Mixing, kneading, and shaping will probably take half an hour, and that's about all you do.


Nonstick loaf pans or rectangular pan, big plastic tub or glass bowl, candy or regular cooking thermometer (important)


75-85 degree room temp.

Butter Roll Recipe

  • 1 c warm milk 70-80 degrees F
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 c bread flour (do not use all-purpose, your bread won't rise as much or last as long)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (equivalent to 1 packet)
How to make some dough

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm milk. Break apart any lumps that may form. Heat activates the yeast and makes it foamy. This is called proofing the yeast. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Beat eggs and in large bowl combine beaten eggs, butter, and sugar. Do not add salt yet. Salt kills the yeast when it comes into direct contact with it. When the yeast has proofed for 10 minutes add the flour and yeast-milk. Mix until incorporated and add the salt. Knead until it forms a ball in the bowl. (~3 minutes)
  3. Lightly flour the work surface and transfer the dough onto it. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes (depending on how efficient you are) until dough is perfectly elastic. (I feel like we're talking about physics collision carts here...)
    Knead by holding one end of the dough with your left hand and using the palm of your hand to push the dough away from you. Then bring the dough back in, rotate and repeat.
    Stop kneading when your dough can stretch thin enough for light to shine through without breaking. Watch out: over-kneading makes bread too tough and under-kneading makes a brick-bread. When you are done kneading shape dough into perfectly round ball by pulling the sides down. Then lightly coat your ball with olive oil and place in bowl. Cover with wet towel and put your dough to sleep for approx. 45 minutes or until your dough has doubled in size. In a 90-100 degree room the dough will rise in half the time. In a cold room the dough will take longer to rise. If your room is cold, put bowl in oven with the oven light on. Keep your precious dough away from drafts.
    How to test if your dough has finished its first rise: poke your finger in it. If the imprint stays without bouncing back it's ready.
  4. After your dough has completed its first rise, turn the dough onto a very lightly floured surface and lightly punch the dough all around and pat it down. We are releasing the CO2 that has built built up inside and getting it ready for it's 2nd rise-- or proofing. (some people rise their dough 3 or 4 times but we're going to stop here...)
    For butter rolls- Divide dough into small pieces. If you want to ensure that every piece is equal, you can weigh the dough. Form small balls-- I do it in the air with two hands. You can do whatever you want. Arrange in pan with a 1" space between each ball.
    ** You can get creative and braid the dough-- or put them in muffin pans!
  5. Proof (2nd rise) for 30-40 minutes until dough has doubled in size. Don't let your buns dry up!
  6. Preheat oven 375 degrees F
  7. Crack an egg, half an egg, or even 1/4 of an egg mix in some water, beat, and baste the top of the bread with it. This is called an egg-wash.
  8. Depending on the size and thickness of your dough, baking will take anywhere from 20-45 minutes. You can tell if a bread is done by knocking on the top-- if you hear a hollow thump then it's done! You can always cut it open to be safe. If it's not yet there, pop it back into the oven and bake for a few more minutes.
    ** Helpful note: The top of the bread should look dark brown but not burnt before you take it out. It's probably not done if it's light brown.