Flourless & Frozen

November 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

You know you’ve had a tough day when you’re forced to eat desserts all day.

 puddings- rice, tapioca, fruit, chocolate 

We had the “Flourless and Frozen” class today- never has a title been simultaneously nondescript yet appropriately named. We spent the entire day making flourless and frozen desserts. Yes, life has been harder.

 vegan sorbets & ice creams

 fruit compotes to top our “frozens”

We had an extremely busy month, which is why I’ve been quiet. School has been flying by and I can’t believe I’m already past the midpoint. Look out for more pictures and recipes! 🙂

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Apple Cake

September 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

My sister left me with a big bag of organic almond flour, a popular replacement for gluten-free recipes, so I decided to make a cake. This was my first time using almond flour so I didn’t know what to expect. I rarely bake sweets and I’ve never made anything gluten-free, so I was excited!

I loosely followed this recipe from comfy belly and made it my own with several substitutions.

The cake turned out really well! I was surprised how moist it was and how easy it was to make. I would definitely make it again. 🙂

About the Cake

This recipe is extremely low in carbs, which is one of the benefits of using almond flour. However, the fat content is high because of the ground almonds as a base. Naturally, almonds are high in fat, but contain good fats which may help lower cholesterol.

As far as diets are concerned, I have never tried a gluten-free diet so I don’t know what the long-term effects are.

Recommended blogs below to learn more about gluten-free diets and what to cook.

Let’s Bake!

Ingredients

  • 4 Fiji Apples (use what you have)
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup of pear sauce
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 2 cups of almond flour

To Make

Step 1: Peel, slice and remove core for all 4 apples

Step 2: slice apples evenly about the same width

Step 3: pre-heat oven to 300°F

Step 4: toss all slices, cinnamon and butter in a pan and allow it to soften on medium heat

Step 5: in a bowl, mix all wet ingredients together

eggs, maple syrup, vanilla & pear sauce

Step 6: in the same bowl, mix in all the dry ingredients

Step 7: in a 9″ cake pan layer the sliced apples to cover the bottom

Step 8: evenly spread the cake batter over the apples

Step 9: bake on the center rack for 40-50 mins till goldenbrown- insert toothpick in the center to check if it comes out clean (if clean, you’re done.)

Step 10: Let the cake cool completely, then flip over on a plate and serve

 

Enjoy!

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Fig & Banana Smoothie

August 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

 

I’m finally back in the States after spending most of my Summer in Taiwan. What I miss the most is having fresh tropical fruits on a daily basis. So now that I am back, I have been trying to incorporate more fruits in my diet. I bought two pounds of fresh brown turkey figs because they’re delicious, in season and I got them for $5!

California’s Fresh Figs Seasonal Chart

Chart and descriptions below from California Fresh Figs

  • Fresh Brown Turkey Figs 

They are a light purple to black skinned fig with pink flesh and a robust flavor.

  • Fresh Black Mission Figs

They are a purple to black skinned fig with pink flesh and an intense earthy flavor.

  • Fresh Kadota Figs 

They have a creamy amber color when ripe with a light delicate flavor.

  • Fresh Calimyrna Figs 

They are large pale yellow skinned figs with a nutty, sweet flavor.

I enjoy figs in all recipes, but what I love the most is eating them fresh. I’ve been making this smoothie for a couple of days now and still have not gotten tired of it. I love figs!

Fig & Banana Smoothie Recipe

Serves: 1

Cook Time: 5-10 min

  • 3 Fresh Figs
  • ½ Banana*
  • ½ tbp Shredded Coconut
  • 1 cup of Soymilk or Coconut milk
  • ½ cup of Ice
  • ½ cup of Water
  • Agave or Honey to taste**

*I used frozen banana chunks. My bananas were softening so I cut them up and put them in the freezer.

**It was sweet enough for me without adding anything extra.

To Make: Add all ingredients in blender and blend

Enjoy!

Turnip, Taro & Toon!

July 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Turnip Cake


These photos are a sample of the amazing treats that my mom, aunt and uncle have made this week. I have so much to learn from them. I’m lucky to have access to all these fresh tasty treats. 🙂

 

This is homemade turnip cake topped with soy sauce, ginger and chili. Surprisingly no turnips, mostly radish. You can find this dish on the menus of dim sum restaurants, Taiwanese restaurants or in a package in an Asian supermarket. It’s composed of shredded radish, rice flour and some veggies. The texture will vary depending on how you prepare it. Restaurants typically slice and pan fry, we chose to steam then slice. The difference is like biting into a potato wedge versus a baked potato. If you’re in the mood for something with a crunchy coat, order it pan-fried. You won’t lose either way.

Note: I have not tried this recipe in the video and it’s not a veg recipe. I just included this video because it reminds me of my mom. 😀

 

Steamed Taro Bun

Steamed bun aka mantou is typically eaten for breakfast in China and Taiwan. In the U.S. you could find these in every Asian market because it is a staple. In Taiwan, aside from the market, you can find these at any major convenient store and breakfast stand. This is vegan and made with only flour, water, soymilk and taro. Taro is just one of many flavors that can be adapted.

My uncle started experimenting with different flavors last week and I’ve been eating mantou with almost every meal. I’m not complaining at all because these mantous are delicious! To me, a good mantou needs to be soft, chewy and fluffy and these definitely are. They’re perfect! Besides taro, typical flavors include plain and brown sugar. We experimented with dried cranberries- brown sugar- cranberry & flaxseeds- pumpkin.

Note: This is a similar process that my uncle used, but I have not tried the process in the video.

Chinese Bread aka bing

Chinese bread is more like a stuffed pizza or foccocia bread with all the toppings and spreads on the inside. A few weeks ago, I posted about toon a herb similar to cilantro or basil. It has a strong, distinct flavor and it’s one of my favorite herbs. We used the leaves and made it into a spread and kept it in the freezer. It can be used in noodles as a sauce, an ingredient to accompany a vegetable dish or in this case, between bread.

This was kneaded and baked on the stove in a lightly oiled pan. Ovens are almost non-existent in Chinese cooking so everything is done on the stove. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a video. But when I learn the process, I will be sure to post.

I hope you get a chance to try some of these delicious foods at least once. They’re too good not to! 🙂

Soy Milk at Home

July 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

In Taiwan, I can find fresh soy milk almost at every corner. It’s an essential part of traditional Taiwanese breakfast along with the duo shao bing (literally means baked bread) and you tiao (literally oil stick), which is major carb overload. Shao bing you tiao= donut sandwich. It’s not as weird as it sounds. It’s actually delicious! Occasionally, it’s a necessary evil, but I keep my love affair at a distance. I opt out of the you tiao and go for the shao bing with egg along with a refreshing cup of ice cold soy milk.

shao bing you tiao taken from blogger my inner fatty

Buying fresh soy milk in Taiwan is easy, but once you make your own, store-bought will never be as good. Homemade soy milk is delicious, cheap and easy to make. There are two things that take time: (1) soaking the beans over night and (2) steaming the beans. Most recipes don’t steam the beans, but I found that steaming them before blending brings out more flavor.

*Nutrients in 8 ounces (250 ml) of plain soymilk:

Regular Soymilk Lite Soymilk (reduced fat) Whole cow milk Fat-free cow milk
Calories (kcal) 90 70 149 83
Protein (g) 10.0 4.0 7.7 8.3
Fat (g) 4.0 2.0 8.0 0.2
Carbohydrate (g) 14.0 16.0 11.7 12.2
Lactose (g) 0.0 0.0 11.0 12.5
Sodium (mg) 120 100 105 103
Iron (mg) 1.8 0.6 0.07 0.07
Riboflavin (mg) 0.1 11.0 0.412 0.446
Calcium (mg) 80.0 80.0 276 299

*Soymilk on soyfoods.com; cow milk figures from USDA Nutrient Database. USDA soymilk data differs; apparently soy figures are sweetened.

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

Kitchen Tools:

To Make:

Step 1: rinse soy beans

Step 2: soak overnight or 8 hours minimum make sure beans are submerged

it’s natural to see bubbles

Step 3: steam for 30min-1 hour

make sure they’re soft and steamed thoroughly

Step 4: remove shells

It will be difficult to remove all the shells. It’s okay if some are left.

**Step 5: in VitaMix blend 1:3 measure of beans to water (~45 sec)

Step 6: dilute to desired consistency

Step 7: use strainer spoon to remove excess foam

Step 8: add sweetener if desired

**Note: I used a VitaMix, but if you use a regular blender the consistency will vary. If you want a smoother liquid, strain with cheesecloth after Step 5 and move directly to Step 8.

Enjoy!

in a glass

in a bowl

Helpful links for making soy milk

TSUJIRI Matcha Tea Desserts

July 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

TSUJIRI float (NT $150)

About TSUJIRI

This company was established in Taiwan last year and currently has three locations listed below. It utilizes matcha (Japanese green tea) in several forms through desserts and drinks. This brand is significantly more expensive than the average price of tea (~NT 30-50), but it’s worth splurging.

Review

I was browsing a food court (located at the basement of every department store) and TSUJIRI immediately drew my attention. A lot of people were waiting in line at a place that seemed to only sell one item, matcha. I was curious. There were a couple of tea shops within a few feet; why were people waiting in this line?

I got the TSUJIRI float with blended macha on the bottom, macha froyo and a scoop of red bean. I know this may not be everyone’s ideal dessert, but it was just what I needed. I understood why people were waiting in line and willing to pay 4x the price of a regular tea. It was delicious, full of flavor without being overly sweet. I can’t wait to go back! 🙂

Interesting facts about matcha (taken from matcha’s wiki page)

pure matcha from site

 

click to enlarge

 

 

 

 


 

 

Toona sinensis aka Chinese Toon or 香椿 xiang chun

June 10, 2011 § 3 Comments

I’m excited to introduce Chinese Toon. Before this post, I only knew this vegetable/herb by its Chinese name. I have never seen it sold or grown in the U.S. as pictured; only in its dried form and even that is rare. In fact, I didn’t even know what this looked like until a family friend gave us a batch from her garden. It was an exciting day. 🙂

Imagine growing up eating and loving cilantro, but not knowing its name or what it looked like. That’s how I feel about xiang chun.  It has a strong distinct flavor with a similar strength as garlic. It can be a great complement to a dish or overwhelming if you don’t like the taste (similar to onion or chives). I can eat it with everything!

It is predominately used in Asian cuisine, mainly Chinese. I have had it with tofu, eggs, stir-fries, noodles, rice and savory Chinese pancakes. All delicious!

To Prepare:

Step 1: fold the leaves in half and tear them off the branch from the stem (this will leave the root behind)

Step 2: after washing, mince leaves

Step 3: transfer to container, sprinkle salt to bring out juices, mix and seal (the true flavor of xiang chun will not come out till this step)

You can then save this for future use in tofu, stir-fries, noodles, fried rice or pancakes.

Next time you come across Toona sinensis aka Chinese Toon or 香椿 xiang chun, you’ll know how to use it or at least have a new dish to try at your favorite Chinese restaurant. Be sure to ask for it in its Chinese name, xiang chun. Here’s the wiki page to learn more.

Enjoy!

xiang chun with dried tofu (not dry in taste, rather tofu with much less moisture)

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