Feb 24, 2010

Sausage Aliens Attack!!

Currently listening: unstoppable humming noise in my head
Currently doing: supposedly I should be writing a paper regarding globalization...but duh...I prefer working on my blog instead of something that completely suffocate my brain cells..
Current energy level: 1
I'm suffering from food poisoning...from my own food!
How sad is that? A foodie got poisoned by her own food?

I have to defend for myself here,
I made a gigantic pot of bak gu teh using premade packet,
It comes with some Chinese herbs for flavoring,
I seriously think that's the cause of my illness (whole body aching, nausea, etc...)
Why why why? I've never got sick from my own food,
Now my years of perfect clean cooking record have been broken....

So right now I'm curdling in my fluffy blanket writing this blog entry,
(Totally ignoring that global whatever paper)
Sick or not, at least I can still keep up with my one-new-post per week target.

Sausage aliens conquering six scrambled eggs-


6 eggs (beaten)
8 small/mini sausages (I used spicy mini sausages bought from Mitsuwa)
1 tablespoon of Japanese mayonnaise
Some olive oil
Some salt
Some freshly grounded black pepper
Some sesame seeds


Let's deal with the sausage aliens first,
I took out 2 sausages, and cut 2/3 of each sausages into 6 strings,
Make sure you don't cut it all the way, otherwise "alien's legs" will fall out during the cooking process.

So drizzle some olive oil in the pan,
Wait till it gets pretty hot, add in the two pre-cut sausages,
The "legs" will gradually popping out, turn it a few times so every side is well cooked,
Transfer to a plate.

For the remaining sausages, cut them into thin slices.
Now add one tablespoon of mayonnaise and some olive oil in the pan,
Toss in the sausages, give it a quick stir,
Add in 6 beaten eggs, sprinkle some salt and pepper,
Cook till the eggs are done, transfer to a plate.

For the sausage aliens, I put two sesame seeds on each for the eyes,
I tried ketchup but since the sausage is red, the color won't really show, so I changed to sesame seeds.

Please enjoy!
I have to go lay down now...my head is spinning...like a globe..
Maybe it's a good time to write my globalization paper since I'm spinning just like one..
Hmm...not funny...ok I'm going to bed...

Cindy's Rating: 7

Feb 17, 2010

Spinach and Shirasu (Small Fish)...How Should I Call This Dish??

I don't know if it's because I'm still suffering from my flu or what,
I was literally staring at my laptop for minutes trying to figure out a name for this dish,
Stew vegetables? Nah that doesn't sound right,
How about spinach and shirasu soup? It's not really a soup dish either...
Hmmmm maybe you can tell me afterwards!


1 bundle of spinach (removed some of the tough stems for better texture)
1 small box of shirasu (about 1/3 cup)
3 garlic cloves (peeled, finely chopped)
4 chicken soup ice cubes (dashi works too)
1 tablespoon of corn starch
Olive oil
Some hot water
Some salt


I usually get the corn starch thing ready first,
Just have a small bowl filled with corn starch, add some water,
This is for thickening the food later, just set aside first.

Meanwhile, have a pan ready,
Drizzle some olive oil, toss in chopped garlic, sprinkle some salt, and turn to high heat.

Before the garlic gets burned, toss in the spinach,
Give it a quick stir, cook till the leaves got wilted down,
Add the shirasu and chicken soup ice cubes.

**For the chicken soup ice cubes,
I usually make a gigantic pot of chicken soup and freeze some for later use,
It comes in handy, trust me, and it is way healthier than store-bought soup.
Just filter out the ingredients from the soup and pour into ice cube molds,
After the ice cubes are done, simply pop them out and store in a sealed container or Ziploc bag.
You can do the same for homemade spaghetti sauce!

Back to the recipe, I also add some hot water into the mixture,
Just till the water is a little bit over the ingredients,
Give it a quick taste, see if more salt are needed,
It really depends on how salty your chicken soup or dashi is, trust your own palate!
Bring to a boil then turn to medium high heat.

Now for the corn starch and water mixture, stir them well till no more lumps in the water,
Pour into the pan as you continue to stir the whole mixture,
This prevents large lumps forming, you don't want a blob of translucent jello there,
Voila, this simply and healthy dish is done!

So tell me, how about I name this recipe?
It's not a stew meal, and it's definitely too solid for soup,
My head starts hurting here...

By the way,
I'm thinking about launching a Chinese blog that'll be based in Taiwan,
Will keep you updated about the site!

Cindy's Rating: 8

Feb 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day with Honey Infused Truffles

Happy Valentine's Day couples and singles!

Coincidentally, today is not only Valentine's Day,
Today is also the first day of Chinese lunar year! The tiger year!
So happy Chinese new year everybody!
*Now we all have our excuses to PARTY!

And I want to present you a simple festive recipe that totally fits the lovely mood,
Honey infused truffles-

Ingredients (for about a dozen of them)?

4 oz of 50% fine dark chocolate
1 teaspoon of honey
1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
Some unsweetened cocoa powder
A tiny pinch of salt


Have a double broiler ready, turn to medium heat,
Pour in the heavy whipping cream,
Break the chocolate into smaller chunks and add to the bowl,
Constantly whisking the mixture till the chocolate is fully blended with the cream,
Add honey and salt, keep stirring.

You can either keep the mixture in the bowl you're using, or transfer to a shallower dish,
Cover with foil and into the fridge for few hours,
Wait till the chocolate gets hard, but still soft enough to shape it into little round balls,
I simply transfer the bowl into the freezer because I just can't wait to eat it!

So after the chocolate is ready, I use my teaspoon measurement to scoop out even mixture,
Shape it into little balls, I didn't make it like perfect round shapes,
But I bet you can do it easily with a melon baller or tiny ice cream scoop.

Have a plate of cocoa powder ready,
Just toss the chocolate balls to the powder, make sure it's well-coated.

That's it! Done! How simply is that!?
Now just put the truffles into cute little boxes, tie up a ribbon and give it to someone you love!
Too bad my parents are in Taiwan,
Otherwise I'll just bring this to them in exchange for my "hon bao,"
Also known as red envelope with money for Chinese New Year!
*My evil plan failed!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Feb 11, 2010

Hassle-Free Egg Tarts

Craving for some afternoon snacks?
This simplified egg tart recipe frees you from all the work of kneading and making dough,
But how?
There is this great invention called premade frozen puff pastry sheets,
Just a few more steps then you can spend the afternoon with fresh baked pasties and fresh brewed tea.

Ingredients (for 6 big ones)?

4 egg yolks
1/3 cup of whole milk
1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup of sugar
(I actually use a little bit less sugar and substitute with 1 teaspoon of honey)
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 box of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheet


Thaw the frozen pastry sheet according to the package instruction,
Preheat the oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit.

Meanwhile, have a small sauce pan ready,
Pour in the milk, whipping cream, and sugar,
Turn to medium heat, just let it simmer, don't burn the sugar,
Whisk the mixture, add in honey if you decided to use it, and vanilla extract,
Keep whisking, move away from the heat.

Have 6 individual tartlet pans ready,
Unfold the thawed pastry sheet, 
Use the tartlet pan as your size measure, cut a slightly larger circle around it,
Fold the pastry sheet into the tartlet pan,
Pour in the mixture till 80% full,
Transfer to the oven for 18 to 20 minutes.

That's it, super simple,
Now who is down for these high calorie babies!?

Feb 9, 2010

Napa Valley Wine Tasting - Domaine Carneros

I just got back from my weekend getaway in San Francisco and Napa Valley,
The timing of this trip must be perfect,
It was a rare sunny weekend up there,
And right after I flew back to Orange County,
"BOOM!" A storm just started forming around the bay area,
Two days passed,
The news broadcast was showing a dark orange area on the map, around SF, which means heavy rainfall with 30 to 50 minutes delayed flights,
Lucky me!

So as I scanned through the pictures I took during the trip,
Surprisingly, I couldn't find any "presentable" food pictures to show you guys,
Most of them were too blurry,
What can I say? It's so hard to take high quality pictures in dark places,
And yeah, what's up with all the restaurants making their dining environment so gloomy-looking?
(Or it's simply my bad photography skills...sigh...wait, that means time for a new camera!!)

As a result, this is what I came up with, some better pictures from Domaine Carneros-

The winery is designed as a beautiful chateau, similar to the one in France,
It also has a great view of the surrounding hills and vineyards-

Wine tasting-

Bird waiting for people to leave their table in order to eat the pairing food-

(Birds in Napa eat like a king with all the gourmet food!)

To tell you the truth, I don't really know much about wine,
My knowledge is limited to a certain degree,
Swirling the wine glass or sticking my nose there trying to find some familiar scents.

Sometimes I feel like it's a waste for me not knowing too much about wine,
There is quite a few times where I can get a hold of some of the expensive, well-known wines, and I did drink them.
But....but I really can't tell much of a difference among tables of glasses...

It's definitely an acquired taste...
Just like my tea I guess, if I drink it regularly, I'm sure I can develop my own distinctive taste of wine...
Mmmm I guess that takes a lot of time and $$$...

Let me just explore to the world of tea, cheese, and chocolate first,
Food and drinks are deep stuff, seriously.

Domaine Carneros
1240 Duhig Road
Napa, CA 94559
(880) 716 - BRUT (2788)

Feb 2, 2010

Stewed "Fatty" Pork and Daikon - 蘿蔔燉肉

Wanna know how feels like when your food just melt in your mouth?
I'm not talking about ice cream or yogurt here,
I'm talking about stewed **FATTY** pork and daikon!
(Note: daikon is a type of Asian radish)

And this is no kid's business when I said **FATTY** pork- 


1-1.5 lbs of **FATTY** pork
1.5 lbs of daikon
8 garlic cloves
4 slices of ginger
2 stalks of scallion
8 cups of water
7 tablespoons of soy sauce
5 tablespoons of oyster sauce
3 tablespoons of mirin
2 tablespoons of sake
1 tablespoon of brown sugar


This is a fairly simple recipe,
I guess that's true for most of the stewed dishes,
All you need is some patience, and possibly some love!

The only complicating part for this dish is probably the preparation step,
But how hard can this be?
Simple peel the garlic cloves,
Remove the stems from the scallion and give it two chops,
Slice the ginger,
Peel the daikon and slice it, about the thickness of your ring finger,
Cube the pork into large big sizes,
That's it, all these work can be done in 10 minutes!

So what's next?
Just mix all the ingredients in a large pot except for the pork and daikon,
Bring to a boil and toss in the pork and daikon,
Bring to a boil again and turn to small medium heat,
I also put the lid on to keep the heat inside the pot.

Just let it simmer for 4 hours,
Well, 2 hours will do the work, but 4 hours really makes the meat melt in your mouth.
Because after cooking for couple hours, some of the pork fat will be rendered into the pot,
As you keep simmering the food, the pork just keeps cooking within its own fat,
How good can that be!

Close up view-

This is also a perfect dish to make ahead of time,
The flavor actually soaks into the meat and daikon if you leave it in the fridge overnight.

*I can eat this everyday!

Cindy's Rating: 9