Apr 30, 2008

The Size of Your Fist > Creme Brulee > Burned Arm

I had this sudden urge of munching on creamy dessert yesterday,
So I decided to stop by the grocery store and got some heavy whipping cream.
Let's have creme brulee tonight!

One benefit of keeping my blog up and running is that it's just like my recipe book,
I typed in "creme brulee" in the search box and here I have it,
My very first creme brulee recipe,
After more than half a year,
This recipe still works perfect for me!

This time I'm using those tiny ramekins that are smaller than the size of a fist,
Here's the picture before I sprinkle sugar to make the crunchy top-

After picture-

I burned myself during the process...-

Haha silly me (yes I'm still laughing),
I didn't have a torch to brown the top of the creme brulee,
So I turned on the broiler and hold up the ramekin way too close to the fire,
Then my arm accidentally touched the burning oven door...
What can I say,
As long as the passion of cooking is there,
(I'm 100000% sure this passion will never die out),
Those mysterious cuts, bruises, and burned wounds will always be there with me,
We're un-separatable,
Many disastrous experiments and/or delicious dishes are then created by me and the wounds.

\(> ___.<)/ Let's keep up the good work!

Apr 27, 2008

Spaghetti with Chinese Black Bean Soy Sauce and Tien Mien Jon

I was buying some ingredients for my spaghetti dinner the other day,
As I strolled down aisles through aisles of groceries,
I Grabbed 2 Italian squash, 1 lb of chicken cutlet, and a small bag of shrimps,
Hurried and Left the grocery store with a big smile on my face,
I can't wait for a wonderful dinner.

Oh wait....oh nooOOOO!
I forgot to buy spaghetti sauce!
*Ok ok, I do get lazy once in a while and just simply let those red jars in the supermarket do their jobs for my relaxing dinner, you caught me!)

I searched all the cabinets in the kitchen,
Looked through every possible space in the fridge,
Trying to find anything that I can use for spaghetti sauce,
Then I saw this bottle hiding next to my Thai chili sauce,
It was Chinese black bean soy sauce 正蔭醬油,
What a life saver (saying that with tears circling in my eyes),
Let me twist my original pasta with marinara sauce into something Asian!

Spaghetti with Chinese black bean soy sauce-

Ingredients (makes 2 large plates)?

3/4 box of spaghetti
20 shrimps (deveined, shelled)
2 Italian squash
1 box of pre-washed/sliced button mushrooms
1 lb of chicken cutlet (cubed)
1 small onion (chopped)
2 stalks of scallion (chop into few stems)
3 garlic cloves (peeled, minced)
Extra virgin olive oil
Dried red pepper flakes
Chinese black bean soy sauce 正蔭醬油
Tien Mien Jon/sweet fermented flour paste 甜麵醬
Chinese chili sauce (the ones with whole chili peppers, not the paste)


Cook the spaghetti according to the instruction on the package,
But remember to reduce the cooking time by 1 to 2 minutes,
We gonna mix the cooked pasta with sauce later on,
So we're basically finishing the pasta-cooking process in the skillet.

Drizzle some olive oil in the skillet,
Toss in the onion, sprinkle some sea salt and red pepper flakes,
Let it cook for couple minutes.

Add the scallion and minced garlic,
Toss in the cubed chicken before the garlic get burned.
Now it's time for the Chinese black bean soy sauce,
Unlike regular soy sauce,
This black bean soy sauce has a texture similar to honey in a steamy hot weather,
Pour like 3 tablespoons full into the skillet,
Don't forget to add 1 tablespoon of Tien Mien Jon/sweet fermented flour paste,
Sprinkle more salt if needed.

Give it a quick stir,
Toss in chopped squash, sliced button mushrooms,
When all the ingredients are cooked,
Pour the drained spaghetti into the skillet,
Add some pasta water if the mixture gets too dry,
Cook for 1 or 2 more minutes and dinner's ready!

Sprinkle more red pepper flakes before serving,
I've never tried using Italian squash in an Asian style sauce,
squash and black bean soy sauce goes pretty well together!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Apr 22, 2008

Semi-Scrambled Eggs with Ground Pork and Carrots

I've been trying to incorporate more vegetables into my daily dishes these days,
So when I was shopping at the grocery store,
Thinking about making scrambled eggs for the next meal,
Something caught my attention,
Organic carrots!
Mmmmm as an organic freak like me,
I ought to bring it home,
And this is what I came up with,

Semi-Scrambled Eggs with Ground Pork and Carrots-


6 eggs (beaten)
2 stalks of scallion (chopped)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
1 lb of ground pork
1 medium sized carrot (finely chopped)
Extra virgin olive oil
Soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
Thai chili sauce


First we have to beat the eggs,
During the process, add about 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and keep beating till well combined.

Heat up a pan and drizzle some olive oil,
Toss in chopped scallion and cook till slightly brown on the edges,
Add the minced garlic,
Be careful here,
We have to toss in the ground pork before the garlic gets burned.

After adding the pork, sprinkle only a tiny bit of salt and some freshly ground black pepper,
Also pour in some more soy sauce, about 1 tablespoon.
Cook till the sauce is half absorbed by the meat, toss in the carrots,
Now we can cook till the sauce is fully absorbed.

Pour in the beaten eggs,
Don't stir too much here, wait until the edges are slightly brown then flip it over,
If the mixture gets to thick,
Just go ahead and stir the center part so it gets cooked faster.

Served with Thai chili sauce.

When biting into the eggs,
You get the crunchy texture from the carrots,
You can also tastes the flavor from scallions, garlic and slightly burned eggs,
I'll have to get more rice for this dish.

*And I think kids who hate carrots will eat it too!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Apr 18, 2008

Strawberry Muffins

I have to admit that I'm not the biggest fan of strawberry.

Everytime I go to the grocery store,
Strawberry is always my last choice of fruit that I'll bring home with,
I haven't bought any strawberries for at least a year.
If I saw strawberry cake and chocolate cake on the menu,
Chocolate will be my immediate and final answer.

So how come I'm making strawberry muffins today?

My friend brought a giant box of strawberries to my house,
(Shouldn't my friend know better about my taste? >_<")
Right after I saw these little red things in the fridge,
My brain started to think,
It's trying to figure out a way to make those strawberries disappear,
Disappear in a breakfast-friendly way,
40 minutes later,
Strawberries turned strawberry muffins!-

Ingredients (for 8)?

1/2 stick of butter (melted, in room temperature)
1/2 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 egg
1 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of backing powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 cups of chopped strawberries


First let's preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheits.

When I'm baking something,
I like to get the dry and wet ingredients ready first,
And then mix them in the end,
It just makes life much easier for me.

So first just combine the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt in a big mixing bowl,
Have another mixing bowl ready, add milk, melted butter, egg, and vanilla extract in it.
Since we're using fresh chopped strawberries here,
Go ahead and prepare the fruit first and set it aside.

Now move on to the mixing part,
Mix the dry ingredients well, and pour in the chopped strawberries,
Give it a slight stir,
Have to be gentle here because we don't wanna mash the strawberries.
Meanwhile, mix the wet ingredients well, and pour the mixture into the dry ingredients.
Stir it till everything's combined nicely.

Have a muffin tin ready with 8 paper muffin cups in it.
Pour in the mixture and back for 25 to 30 minutes,
Or till slightly browned on the top,
I used a six muffin tin and saved the remaining mixture for a small round baking pan-

My whole house smells like strawberries now,
Maybe next time I should give strawberry dessert a try when I eat out.

Cindy's Rating: 6

Apr 15, 2008

Pork with Red Yeast Rice Spice 紅糟肉

Today I'm using this red yeast rice spice to cook my pork-

What is red yeast rice spice?
Here's what I found on the almighty Wikipedia,
It's very similar to red yeast rice spice,
Instead of the actual rice grains, the spice one has a texture similar to marinara sauce.

1.5 lbs of pork tenderloin (cubed)
6 garlic cloves (peeled)
2 tablespoons of red yeast rice spice
1 tablespoons of soy sauce
Extra virgin olive oil or peanut oil


Prepare a pot of water first, bring to a boil,
Toss in the cubed pork and cook till the water is boiling again,
Drain it and set aside.
This step is for "cleaning" the pork,
You can see some yellow things floating on the top and possibly blood coming out from the pork during this process,
Feel free to add 1 stalk of scallion in the water if desired.

Drizzle some oil in the pan and toss in the garlic cloves,
When the garlic turned slightly brown on the sides, pour back the drained pork cubes,
Stir-fry it till the pork edges turned golden brown.

Time to pour some water in,
Not too much water, just enough to cover all the meat, but don't "drown" them,
Don't forget to add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce,
Some red yeast rice spice tend to get saltier after cooking for a period of time,
So be sure to taste it before adding more soy sauce,
Sometimes I don't even add any soy sauce in it,
The aroma from alcohol is good enough for me.
Keep cooking till the sauce is reduced by at least half of the amount,

What are you waiting for?
It's time to eat!

*Served with rice or dry noodles.

Cindy's Rating: 7

Apr 9, 2008

California Science Center

There's not a single food-related pictures in this blog entry,
Just wanna share some pictures I took last weekend at California Science Center,
They are currently having this Body Worlds exhibition starting from mid March till September.

So what is it about?
From the description of California Science Center's website you'll know that there are"over 200 authentic human specimens including whole body plastinates not seen before, organs, translucent body slices, and for the first time - a special presentation on the heart."

Took this picture while waiting in the line prior parking-

You can see Body Worlds' poster on the building far far away.

Outside the science center (looking up)-

This is my favorite picture of the day-

The sun light penetrated the purple ceiling, and the reflection simply shined on the child.
Love it.

Too bad I couldn't take any pictures inside the exhibition,
Try to search on the internet by typing Body Worlds or Gunther Von Hagen,
You'll fine numerous information about his work.
Spare me not giving you the detailed description of what I saw at the exhibition,
I think it's not a very appropriate thing to do on a food blog,
Go google it!
It should worth a visit if you never seen something like this before.

Apr 5, 2008

M Cafe De Chaya

Many of you probably know already that I'm an organic freak,
I get my hands on everything organic if possible,
Just by looking at my kitchen here,
I have a list of organic stuff:
Organic flour,
Organic rice,
Organic noodles,
Organic spaghetti,
Organic sugar,
Organic milk,
Organic bananas,
Organic oranges,
Organic toasts,
Organic jelly,
The list goes on forever, I even have organic vanilla extract.

And the other day,
Me and my friend went to this cafe place on Melrose avenue in downtown Los Angeles,
Voila! I just found another healthy eating joint.

Inside M Cafe De Chaya-

They strive to use all-natural and organic ingredients for all the items on their menu,
Besides that,
They don't use any refined sugar, eggs, or dairy products.

Here's my order panino margarita with broccolini soup-

Made with "fresh tomato, soy mozzarella & basil-almond pesto on their house baked focaccia."
I couldn't finish all the panini so of course the other half went back to my fridge,
Somehow when I heat it up the next day, it smells and tastes even better.

My friend's panino provancale with fresh green salad-

Made with "seasonal grilled vegetables, arugula, balsamic vinaigrette, pesto aioli, and creamy tofu cheese on house baked focaccia."

But my favorite of the day was this organic fries-

Their house "macro-ketchup" was amazing,
No strong sugary tastes, only slight of sweetness with smooth fruity aroma.

Highly recommended.

Something like this place, emphasizing in natural and healthy food can go a long way in our busy and most likely polluted modern life.

Cindy's Rating: 8

M Cafe De Chaya
7119 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 525-0588


Apr 1, 2008

Brown Rice with Salmon Flakes and Ground Chicken

When I was a little kid in the elementary school,
My teacher always told me that it's very good for my body if I can eat more than 5 kinds of vegetables a day,
Many many years have passed, I still remember her words.
Right now every time I cook,
I strive to include at least 5 vegetables in one meal,
And here's one dish I had the other day, more than 5 veggies, very healthy indeed-

Ingredients (for 6 plates)?

4 cups of brown rice
1 can of sweet kernel corns
1 small cabbage (chopped)
1 medium stick of carrot (pealed and chopped)
1 lb of ground chicken
1 can of salmon flakes (you can find it at a Japanese supermarket)
4 eggs (beaten)
1 small onion (chopped)
2 stalks of scallion (chopped)
1 lime (quartered)
Soy sauce
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
White pepper
Red pepper flakes


First we have to cook the brown rice according to the instruction on the package,
Since this is going to be a "fried rice" dish,
Leftover brown rice will be a good choice because the texture will be harder,
Harder rice makes a good fried rice meal.
I personally prefer using freshly made rice while making fried rice dishes,
It's still moist which makes it easier to mix with other ingredients.

The other ingredient we need to prepare beforehand is the egg,
Simply heat up a skillet and pour in the beaten eggs,
Keep stirring it after the bottom turns light yellow color,
By doing so we can get some stir-fry egg flakes for the fried rice,
Set aside.

Have a big pan ready, drizzle some olive oil,
Toss in the chopped onions and sprinkle some salt over it,
Let it cook till the color turned translucent,
Sprinkle some red pepper flakes half way through.

Now we add the ground chicken meat together with about 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2/3 of chopped scallions,
Don't forget to sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper,
Keep cooking and stirring it so the meat won't stick together (we don't want big lumps in the fried rice),
After the liquid's all absorbed by the meat,
Toss in the chopped carrots and chopped cabbage,
Sprinkle more salt over it,
It helps to bring out the liquid inside the vegetables.
Also add more soy sauce depend on how salty you want it to be,
I used 3 more tablespoons of soy sauce for myself.
*But be careful, the salmon flakes already have a lot of salts in it, tastes it before add more soy sauce for your fried rice.

After the cabbage's all cooked down,
Add the corns, egg flakes, and salmon flakes,
Here's the salmon flakes I got from Mitsuwa-

Let everything cooked down a little bit more,
And it's time to toss in the cooked brown rice!

Mix all the ingredients well,
Sprinkle some more chopped scallions, white pepper, and served with 2 slices of fresh lime if desired.

Cindy's Rating: 7