Monday, May 31, 2010

Sourdough Grissini (Italian Breadsticks)

Remember my old sourdough starter that I started ages and ages ago? Well it's making a come back once more.

Since its creation, this starter has been refrigerated, thawed, used, carried 8 hours in a car, dried and stored for over a month, and rehydrated. It has also been christened by its two other parents. Moonjung actually looked up names and decided on "Aiden", which is supposed to mean something deep but I don't remember anymore. Gordon preferred the name "Spicy" - typical Gordon move.

Anyway, Aiden Spicy Chia has been used once more to make Grissini, or Italian Breadsticks. Except this isn't any ordinary's a sourdough one! I actually got the recipe from Wild Yeast Blog, and I figured that since I'm leaving for Southern Cali at the end of this week for Graduation, I might as well use up the remaining active starter and just rehydrate my dried pieces when I come back.

Coconut cocktail buns (and Tangzhong Starter)

So I mentioned in my last post that we visited Chinatown in SF the other day and bought a lot of delicious edibles. One of them included a giant pink box (mm always a good sign) of Cantonese bakery items. Most of it consisted of my dad's favorite, Coconut cocktail buns or GaiMeiBao.

I actually tried making them last week but didn't post because I didn't get a good picture of it. I tried making them again today using Angie's recipe but ran into a few complications. For one thing, my buns did not rise as much as I would have liked...maybe my yeast was too old? And for another, my topping melted off and pooled around the buns during the baking process. Now that I understand; I didn't have shortening (ugh, scary stuff) so I substituted with extra butter. Butter unfortunately has a higher water content (thus the lower calories), which means that it melts much more easily and becomes much more runny in heat.

Oh well. It still didn't come out too bad.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Today we drove to San Francisco and Half Moon Bay just because we had nothing better to do. It felt so good to be warm again, after all the rain that's been falling this year. It was a reminder that we actually were in June.

Anyway, we bought a LOT of stuff, including some beautiful cherries and apricots. At first we saw cherries on sale for 99 cents a pound and went nuts buying them. Unfortunately, as we wandered farther down the street, we saw the price steadily decrease until we passed by a shop selling at 59 cents a pound. At that point, we were so disheartened that Mom had to buy another bag of them. So I guess it wasn't so bad - the cherries evened out to about 79 cents a pound? Or maybe we're just fooling ourselves.

I took a shot of the cherries here to practice my food photography. This is a second shot that has less glare but compensates by being a lot darker as well. I'll submit both to foodgawker and see which one wins out (unless both get rejected - oh dear).

The apricots didn't come out as well; they were too close and came out blurry. Maybe I'll take another shot tomorrow and post it up.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Shepherd's Purse and Tofu Soup

It's funny how you can eat something all your life and never know what it's called. There's this particular vegetable native to Shanghai that I've literally been raised on from my mom (being a Shanghainese-raised girl herself). To me, it's always been known as Ji Tsai. They only come frozen here in California, and the label always says "Chinese water spinach". However, I know that Chinese spinach is really kongxing tsai or onchoy, which is a completely different vegetable.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Petit Fours

The other day I was riffling through a dessert book I borrowed from the library, when something caught my eye: Lamingtons!

And then I thought...well, why not just make petit fours?

I feel bad; I think Dad is getting fat off of all the desserts I'm making. Mom is certainly not enjoying the baking craze.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


The other day, Mom made BaBaoJiang, which pretty much consists of a stirfry of the following 8 different ingredients with Chinese Black Bean sauce:

1. Baked tofu
2. Wood ear fungus
3. Edamame Beans
4. Pork (mixed with cornstarch and dark soy sauce)
5. Dried chrysanthemum flowers
6. Rehydrated dried shiitake mushrooms
7. Dried shrimp (Shami)
8. Peanuts

All sprinkled with green onions.

I don't exactly know the recipe, but I thought the picture looked cool. Maybe I'll ask Mom next time how to make it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tomato Basil Fougasse

I'm trying out my Dad's Blackberry camera now to see if it gives better results on my food photography. Today, Mom left to meet up with her Church friends, so I had the kitchen all to my self (evil laugh). I recently dug up the box containing my books from undergrad (when I moved out I packed everything up and left it buried in the garage) and found The New Bread Book by Ursula Ferrigno. It had been given as a Christmas present by my roommate a few years ago, and as Dad and I riffled through the pages, one recipe caught my eye....


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