Jul 27, 2015

Scallop Salad with Simple Shiso Dressing

This simple salad recipe uses sushi grade scallops and no searing required, which means less oily prep work in the kitchen. As a result, this can be a quick and easy starter for fancy steak dinner. One other option is to serve the scallop salad with toasted bread and butter on the side, making it a complete light meal.

Scallop salad with simple shiso dressing -

Ingredients (for two small portions)?

  • 6 sushi grade scallops
  • 1 small/medium box of mixed salad greens
  • 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries

Shiso dressing:

  • 4 shiso leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of tsuyu (flavored Japanese soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon of grape seed oil
  • 1/2 lemon 


Finely chop the shiso leaves. 

Stack the leaves then roll them up like a tube. Slice the leaves to get thin strands then start chopping from the other direction. Mix finely chopped shiso leaves together with juice of half lemon, 1 tablespoon of grape seed oil, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of tsuyu. Tsuyu can be substitute with light or white soy sauce.

Toss the salad greens with salad dressing. Transfer seasoned greens to two serving plates then add the dried cranberries.

The sushi grade scallops can be served raw or torched slightly before serving. Place the scallops on top of the salad greens.

The leftover shiso leaves can be used in dishes such as pork rolls and cabbage rolls. You can also make more shiso infused dressing and store in the fridge up to one week. The shiso dressing works well as a flavor boost when drizzle on top of grilled white meat.

Other salad recipes:

Jul 20, 2015

Summer Recipe - Grilled Shrimp and Steak Tacos

This is a quick and easy recipe for a weekend brunch, especially when having an outdoor barbecue gathering. The salsa and tortillas can be prepared ahead of time. You can use store bought salsa to save even more works. Just slap the steak and shrimp on the grill, also heat up the tortilla on the side. Serve with additional chips and salsa, and most importantly, icy cold beer. 

Grilled shrimp and steak tacos (for 2 to 3 portions) -



  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 skinny cucumber
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika

Spicy tomatillo sauce:

  • 1 green tomato
  • 1/4 cup jalapeno 
  • Some salt

  • 5 large shrimp
  • 1 lb steak
  • Some olive oil
  • Some salt
  • Some freshly ground black pepper
  • Some tortillas
  • Some chips
  • Some extra lime wedges (optional)
  • Some Tabasco sauce (optional)


This recipe yields three different salsas that are slightly different in taste. Store-bought salsa also works, but why not brings it up a notch by using homemade version especially when the salsa can be prepared ahead of time. 

Prepare a big bowl, add in 2 cups of chopped tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups of chopped onion, 2/3 cup of chopped cilantro, 1 zest of lime, 1 juice of lime, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix well and this will be the basic salsa used for chips.

Take 1/3 of the basic salsa and mix will 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika, this will be used for steak tacos.

Take another 1/3 of the basic salsa and mixed with 4 tablespoons of peeled and diced cucumber, this will be used for shrimp tacos. 

For the simple tomatillo sauce, roughly chop the green tomato and add into a food processor. Also add 1/4 cup of jalapenos and a small pinch of salt and blend till smooth. Taste and see if more salt is needed. 

Peel and devein the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Leave the steak in room temperature for about 10 minutes before cooking, also sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Wipe some olive oil to the bottom of the skillet or on the grill to prevent sticking. Heat it up then cook both ingredients till desired rareness. Once ready, remove from heat and let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into smaller chunks. 

Just about fully cooked through for my shrimp -

And medium rare for my steak strips -

I couldn't find taco size tortillas so I used a round baking mold to cut the tortillas into smaller portions. Heat up both sides on a skillet or on the grill before serving. Don't leave the tortilla on heated surface for too long otherwise it'll start to crisp up.

Pour some chips on the plate and serve with basic salsa. Remember to use the cucumber salsa for the shrimp tacos and the smoked paprika salsa for the steak tacos. Drizzle some green sauce over the tacos. Put a bottle of Tabasco sauce on the side and maybe add a few lime wedges on the plate. 

It's a good idea to make extra salsa. You can always serve the leftover salsa with grilled fish, pork, or even add into grilled cheese sandwich for future meals.

Other Summer Recipes:

Jul 14, 2015

Make Ahead Dessert Recipe - Creme Brulee 2.0

Looking back some of the old recipes and pictures on this blog definitely give me goose bumps. The writing part hopefully improved a tiny bit, but the old images back in 2007/2008 were just..let me try to use a more polite word, unsatisfactory. Either way, good or bad, all these posts are my babies, I can see traces of memories and improvements all these years, and hopefully many more to come.

The very first creme brulee recipe on Food Makes Me Happy was back in 2007. The basic ingredients remain the same but the proportion varies. Here's the most up to date make-ahead creme brulee recipe 2.0:

Ingredients (for 2, simply double the recipe for 4)?

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (plus 1 more tablespoon for each serving)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 175 degrees Celsius. 

Prepare a double broiler. You can also fill up some water inside a pot and top with a big bowl above, make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Inside the bowl, add in heavy whipping cream, milk, and vanilla extract. Stir and gently warm up the mixture. Do not bring to a boil, just heat up a little then remove from heat.

Prepare another bowl, add in egg yolks and 1/4 cup of granulated sugar.

Beat for about 2 minutes or till the sugar has been fully dissolved and the liquid appears smooth with light yellowish hue. 

Pour half of the creamy mixture to the bowl with egg yolks and sugar. Mix well then pour in the other half, blend well again. Strain using a fine mesh sieve if desired but not necessary.

Put 2 medium size ramekins onto a baking dish. Carefully pour the mixture into the ramekins till about 80% full. Pour hot water to the baking dish till it reaches 1/3 to halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Transfer the baking dish into the oven and bake for 45 minutes. 

Once ready, be extra cautious when carrying the heavy baking dish out from the oven. Take out the ramekins and let them cool for 10 minutes before covering with cling foil. 

Transfer the ramekins into the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving. That's why creme brulee is a great make ahead party dessert because most of the prep work can be done the day before. You can also put on an impressive live brulee show before serving right in front of the guests.

Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar on each serving and torch till caramelized. Wait for about 30 seconds till the sugar forms a crisp top. Just grab a spoon and get ready to dig in this creamy goodness. 

Jul 7, 2015

A Healthier Choice - Chunky Bacon and Veggies Spaghetti

One more bamboo shoots recipe before the season ends. If fresh bamboo shoots are hard to come by, substitute with chunky marinated artichoke and reduce the use of lemon to half.

Chunky bacon and veggies spaghetti - 

Ingredients (for 4 to 6 portions)?

  • 1 bag spaghetti
  • 3/4 cups bacon (big cubes or thick slices)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 13 green olives (pitted)
  • 10 asparagus 
  • 3 cups cooked bamboo shoots (cut into large chunks)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 lemon
  • Some salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme


Use whole bacon if possible so you can decide how to cut it, thick slices or larger cubes preferred.

Cut and discard the fibrous bottoms of asparagus, also trim the tough outer layer if needed. Run a few cuts to get 2-inch strips. Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves. Roughly chop the green olives. 

Peel and cube the onion. Cut the tomatoes into larger bite size pieces. Peel and roughly chop the zucchini. Cut the precooked bamboo shoots or artichokes into larger chunks. Here's my previous recipe showing how to precook fresh bamboo shoots that can also be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days and use in various recipes. All the cubed ingredients don't have to be in perfect squares, it's a rustic dish after all. Lastly, zest and squeeze the lemon.

Bring a big pot of water to a boil, add few pinches of salt and cook the pasta accordingly to the package instruction. Once the spaghetti reaches al dente texture, drain and ready to be added to the pasta sauce. 

Meanwhile, prepare a large pan and add in the bacon. Turn to medium high heat and sear till the oil has been rendered but the bacon remains soft instead of crispy. Scoop out the bacon and set aside for later use.

Add in onion along with 2 teaspoons of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1  teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Sear till the edges of the onion starts to change color, light brownish but not burnt yet. Add in tomato and zucchini chunks along with 1 more teaspoon of salt. Give it a quick stir and cook for about one minute.

Add in bamboo shoot cubes or marinated artichoke, also add the asparagus and olives. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds, not too long since these ingredients have been precooked.

Add in lemon zest, lemon juice, and sprinkle some thyme. Transfer the bacon back and mix a little.  

The pasta should be ready by now, drain well and transfer to the pan, toss and mix well.

Served with some grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Tabasco sauce for extra flavors.

Other bamboo shoots related recipes:

Jul 1, 2015

Macau Fine Dining - Robuchon au Dôme, Lunch at Your Own Composition

It was the second visit to the Grand Lisboa Hotel in my 3-day visit to Macau. The first time was for the eye pleasing dim sum on the second floor, and this, was for Michelin 3 starred French cuisine at Robuchon au Dôme.

We took the elevator in the lobby to the 39th floor. The maitre d' confirmed our lunch reservation then the waiter led us to au Dôme's private elevator straight up to the 43rd floor.

At the top of the Grand Lisboa Hotel, the almost chain store liked Robuchon (no offense, just referring to shear number of Robuchon restaurants around the world) named the Macau branch "au Dôme" for a reason. 

The top of the restaurant or so the tip of the building shapes just like a dome, taking in all the natural lighting.

Vast use of glasses gives this space a nearly 360 degrees view of the city. I even found Macau's landmark Ruins of St Paul's from my table looking below.

Looking up -

Christofle tableware -

Lunch menu (click for an enlarged view) - 

Lunch at your own composition, prices ranging from $598 MOP to $788 MOP with wine pairing options for additional $320 MOP to $520 MOP. Around $100 US to dine at a Michelin 3 star French restaurant, I call that a bargain.

Table lighting -

Curiously, I switched it on and purple-ish light shined through.

Tableside service, the waitress pushed the butter cart over and asked if unsalted or unsalted varieties are preferred -

The butter was shipped from France on a weekly basis, and of course we asked for both - 

Elegant and gentle milky aroma without any clinging feeling from the fat. The butter just melted softly right after it contacted the warmth in my mouth.

Bread basket -

Focaccia, baguette, grains, cheese, and even chestnut paste with a hint of cinnamon. It's great that the restaurant chose a less intense butter so that the delicate milky aroma won't overpower the characteristics from the bread. 

Definitely need to stop myself from overeating such delicious bread and butter combo, especially we weren't even started on our first dish.

I added 2 glasses of wine to go with my meal, also specifically requested for the white. Sommelier brought over the first pairing -

Herbal note, light and crisp -

Amuse bouche - 

"Green peas velouté, perfumed with mint, curdled milk, delicate tomato jelly."

Not the strong acidic small bites commonly served at the restaurant. The sourish taste was in fact light and almost airy. The herbal scent paired well with tomato jelly. In addition, the curdled milk played a major role here, in which its creaminess helped softening the veggie taste and resulted in a smoother contact in the mouth. 

Appetizer -

"Poached white asparagus, crispy soft boiled egg and a lemon vinegar hollandaise sauce."

Smaller bits of egg whites on top of juicy asparagus. You can also splurge by adding 8 grams of Oscietra caviar with additional $280 MOP. 

Egg at its best. The restaurant used top quality egg from Yamazaki, Japan, coated in thin floury strips and fried like tempura. It's amazing how two completely opposite textures - crunchy and silky - can bind seamlessly in one bite. I was happy even if au Dôme only served the tempura egg.

Appetizer - 

"Lightly smoked foie gras, warm artichoke salad and aged parmesan condiment."

Different layers of saltiness coming from both the smoked foie gras and high quality parmesan. Even though the description states "salad," this dish was actually packed with flavors and can easily be the crowd pleaser. 

Soup - 

"Shellfish bisque with crispy shrimp and Espelette pepper."

Tiny shrimp roe hidden underneath the foam, added some popping sensation when enjoying this dish.

Soup -

"Sorrel bouillon, foie gras royale and spring vegetables." 

Second wine pairing. Northern Rhône, fruity with light traces of wood and mineral in the end -

I told the sommelier that riesling has been my all time favorite wine. Guess that's part of the reason why he brought over this choice that also carried similar characteristics of riesling, good job!

We were chatting with our waitress and mentioned that the cheese bread was one of our favorites. 1/3 through our meal, she brought over a box of extra bread, especially the cheese kind for us to bring home. How lovely! Thank you!

Fish/seafood - 

"Sea scallops with seaweed butter, fregolas risotto and crustacean emulsion."

Another amazing combination that both the sweetness from the scallops and the intense crustacean aroma coexisted in every bite. 

Fregolas risotto beneath the scallops -

It had a chewier, bouncier texture than the common risotto using Arborio or Acquerello. However, while the center remained hearty, the outside was cooked to a flour paste like texture. The semi-melted part was able to blend with the emulsion so even one single grain carried a light crustacean aroma. 

Fish/seafood - 

"Roasted pollack with turnips purée and morel mushrooms braised in yellow wine."

Robuchon's signature mashed potatoes - 

Creamy, cheesy, milky, think of all the delicious adjectives for mashed potatoes. So good but the calories are so devilish.

Cheese or dessert, we picked dessert but please I recommend you to choose cheese by any chance -

This cart definitely puts a smile on a girl's face. 

Each customer can choose up to two sweets. 

Coffee and tea were also brought to our table -

Hot tea -

Tiramisu and apple cake -

Coffee jelly inside the tiramisu. The cake on the other hand, didn't really carry any strong apple aroma or other noticeable fragrance. It's just a simple yet slightly fruity cake.

Mille feuille and lemon tart - 

White chocolate was used in the lemon tart, which brought up the sweetness level and mellowed down the sourish taste. 

Mille feuille has a thicker custard filling with texture similar to the soft boiled egg yolk served on ramen.

Petit four -

I know there's going to be petit four to end our meal, but I only expected four tiny bites instead of a cart coming out - again! That's why I suggested choosing cheese over dessert if you plan to dine here, unless you want to walk out the restaurant loaded with sugar.

It's not petite four, it's medium six - 

Clockwise starting from the top left: canelé, candied hazelnuts, madeleine, blueberry bonbon, strawberry and cream shortbread cookie, and pistachio financier. 

What a bargained lunch at a Michelin starred restaurant, I even had a big bag of bread as souvenir. Exquisite savory dishes along with amazing city view will not disappoint you. Dessert-wise, pick cheese please.

Robuchon au Dome
Avenida de Lisboa, Macau
(853) 8803 7878

Opening hours: 
Lunch 12:00 noon ~ 2:30 p.m.
Dinner 6:30 p.m. ~ 10:30 p.m.

Other Michelin restaurant in Macau:
The Eight 八餐廳