November 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
You know you’ve had a tough day when you’re forced to eat desserts all day.
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.
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! 🙂
October 17, 2011 § Leave a comment
Private Party (Oct. 7)
A few weeks ago I assisted Personal Chef Minna Suh cater a small party for 30-40 people. It was my first official paid job in my new career. It was amazing! She was extremely knowledgeable and boosted my confidence in being able to be successful in this field. Helping her helped prepare me for last week’s Self Magazine/Pretty City’s event for 175-200 people.
Menu for Minna Suh
Duck Spring Rolls (non-veg)
Sweet Corn Mini Madelines
Mushroom Parsnip Tarts
Lemon Curd Crepe Rolls with Candied Lemon Zest
Chocolate Cherry Truffles
Self Magazine/Pretty City Event (Oct. 12)
The night before the event several CTP (Chef’s Training Program) students assisted the chefs on all the prep work. I along with my fellow CTP schoolmate poured our hearts and souls into supremeing oranges and slicing + toasting whole wheat baguettes.
Some stats: ~18 oranges=~250 half slices & sliced and toasted 415 slices of bread
Menu for Self’s event
Cilantro-Lime Chicken Salad on Mini Papadum (non-veg)
Tempeh Meat Balls with Sweet and Spicy Tomato Chutney
Goat Cheese and Beet Crostini topped with Orange and Dill
The event was hosted at Marquee night club, which was a weird venue, but what made it weirder was where our booth was located. We were a bit hidden in the back of the club across from a nail polish stand. If it makes you feel any better it was “healthy” nail polish.
It was an extremely mixed crowd and we spent most of the night explaining what tempeh was and handing bite sized treats to girls trying to balance their half bitten cupcake without ruining their freshly polished nails. I’ll have to admit that I enjoyed prepping more than the event, but I’m glad I went.
I left with a swag bag and a bag full of crostinis. It was a good day. 🙂
October 3, 2011 § Leave a comment
Every Friday night my school is transformed into a restaurant that serves a 3-course vegetarian meal at $40 per person and you’re allowed to B-as much of-YOB without a fee. As part of the final project, each person who enters the Chef’s Training Program (CTP) works with an instructor and fellow group members to develop a menu, prep and cook the food. The main group is assisted by students from other CTP classes.
This past Friday, I was among several other students who helped CTP 201 prep their meal.
Not only did they develop a beautiful menu, they transformed the classrooms with fresh flowers, candlelight and string lights, which gave guests a relaxed backyard feel indoors.
We started prepping Thursday night and finished on Friday. Even though I knew what we were serving, to be honest, I didn’t know what it would look like or how the flavors would come together. Would they even come together? I was nervous.
Later that night, I finally saw how they were plated and had my ah-ha moment when I tasted everything. It was delicious. Why did I even question it? Afterall, this was their final project. They definitely knew what they were doing.
tempeh collard rolls, cauliflower puree, tomato sauce & some $$$ mushrooms
I regret two things from that night: (1) not taking more leftovers and (2) not taking a picture of the dessert.
If you’re ever in New York City, make sure you come to a Friday Night Dinner. You won’t regret it!
FYI: Mine will be on January 13, 2012. Hope to see you then!
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.
- 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
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
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
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
June 30, 2011 § Leave a comment
This restaurant is more commonly known as Lian Xiang Zhai (连香斋) Vegetarian buffet, a Taipei specialty. Changchun Road, No. 353; 011-886-2-2547-4788.
They serve lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. I suggest going for lunch (NT 660 (roughly $23 USD).
If you are vegan, most foods in Taiwanese vegetarian restaurants are vegan including this one.
When my family first told me about LXZ I couldn’t believe it. It’s a vegetarian foodie’s dream; an all veg buffet featuring foods from around the world. What?!
I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I’ve been disappointed by many veg restaurants in my life. Would this be another Whole Foods heat lamp style weigh-your-food type place?
When I walked into LXZ it was a true experience like a condensed Vegas style buffet. It’s a welcoming place- bright lights, delicious foods and more variety than your stomach can handle.
Blue (2,3,5,10,11)- desserts and sweets
Light Blue (6)- cold foods
Yellow (1,7,9)- drinks
Red (4,8,12,13,15,16,17)- hot foods
White (14)- kitchen
My Map of LXZ
Brief Description of Each Section (1-17)
1- coffee and tea station (fresh ground coffee and asian style tea)
2- Haagan-Dazs ice cream (8 flavors) and 5-6 platters of fresh fruit
3- traditional Chinese hot desserts (e.g. fresh almond puree)
4- noodle and wonton stand (made to order)
5- Japanese style handrolls (made to order)
6- salad bar
7- mixed drinks (cocktail type drinks)
8- 15+ dishes of Chinese food (standard restaurant dishes)
9- bar with variety of American liquor (minimal fee req’d)
10- chocolate fondue fountain, 10+ varieties of cakes (1/2 were vegan)
11- puddings, cream puffs and jellies (vegan available)
12- fresh veggies (sautéed to order) and 3 rice cookers full of rice (rarely touched due to the plethora of food)
13- 15-20+ items of dim sum (all made fresh), 15+ items of standard restaurant food (fried rice etc.)
14- open kitchen
15- Italian style foods (pizza, made to order pasta); Japanese foods (sushi, ramen, miso soup, sashimi); 4 types of drinking vinegars
16- western soup stand (2 freshly made soups)
17- asian soup row ( 5-6 types of stews and soups)
Though I didn’t see all the veg foods from around the world like my mom advertised, it exceeded my expectations. All the foods were fresh and delicious.
It’s an amazing place! Every time I’m in Taiwan I make sure to come here at least once. It’s too good not to. There is no other place in the world that showcases and delivers this amount of variety, taste and quality that LXZ does.
If you are ever in Taiwan, it’s definitely a must!
June 20, 2011 § 2 Comments
I will be spending most of my summer in Taiwan. The weather is awful and will only worsen as the summer progresses. It’s sunny, 90 degrees with over 50% humidity everyday. So why visit? The food is amazing.
Taiwan is located about 75 miles off the coast of mainland China. Its culinary influences come mostly from various parts of China, Japan and the natives of the island (to learn more about why). Because of its location and weather, it harvests the best tropical fruits. It also is home to the Les Masters de la Boulangerie (aka world cup of baking) 2010 Master Baker champion, Wu Pao-chun.
Taiwan has roughly 23 million people with about 90% of its population following Buddhism or Daoism. I grew up in a strict Daoist family, which is why I was raised vegetarian. Though most people in Taiwan are not vegetarian, there seems to be a high percentage of people who are compared to the U.S. I’ve had the best and most varied vegetarian foods in Taiwan. For foodies, including vegetarians and vegans, it’s a culinary paradise.
I will be traveling to multiple Asian countries this summer, but mostly remain in Taiwan. My posts will center on the accessibility and location of vegetarian foods along with any recipes I make.