In preparation for the breakfast I had to make for my IT team (+ the Superbowl) I’ve been playing with different types of flour and wondered what I could do with the rest of the mochiko in my cabinet. After I asked O what he’d think about mochi waffles, he looked at me incredulously (pfft, what? why? how?)
Well, hell – if there is a will, there is a way.
If there’s anything that’ll “bring me joy” …it’s WAFFLES. Not just any waffles – Belgian waffles. Liege waffles. (Sometimes…toasted homestyle Eggo waffles).
In making this recipe, I have a few confessions:
1) I cringe a little working with yeast. Thankfully, we live in a world of baking powder – the handy dandy replacement to act as the yeast substitute ingredient.
2) I don’t have that awesome liege waffle iron for deeper pockets. However, I did have Lars pearl sugar – which I cannot emphasize enough: is completely life-changing. Pearl sugar contains its crystalized form so that when you bite into the baked good, you not only enjoy the dough but also little instances of sweet, crunchy crystals. If you don’t have it or can’t find it at your local gourmet store, you can order it from Amazon.
I will use pearl sugar at any given opportunity for a baked pie or pastry.
My latest favorite type of waffle: crispy slightly sweet waffle with a sticky, stretchy texture filling inside. Best when served fresh out of mini waffle irons, but also great when re-toasted in the oven.
Oh – and another tip: don’t be afraid of adding more sugar / playing with different toppings. I mixed in 1/4 C semi sweet chocolate chips into my batter and some of my IT friends loved it.
Stir 1/4 cup sweet rice flour and 1/4 cup whole milk in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 60 seconds in intervals of 20 seconds. Stir contents together between each interval. The resulting mixture should come together to form a white sticky dough.
Let the batter cool for about 3 minutes. Transfer the dough to a stand mixer bowl or large bowl.
In a small-medium bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup milk, vanilla, egg, and melted butter. Pour this batter into the stand mixer or bowl with the milk and mochiko batter. If you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. If not, mix the batter well until well incorporated.
In another bowl, whisk the remaining 1 1/2 C + 2 tbsp sweet rice flour, 1/2 C sugar, 3 tbsp pearl sugar (optional), matcha powder, baking powder, and sea salt into a bowl. Add to mixing bowl and continue to mix on low speed until combine. Increase speed to medium and mix until smooth. Dough will be thick and sticky. If it is too dry, add tablespoons of milk in increments.
Preheat your waffle iron to medium-high. Lightly coat the waffle iron with a non-stick spray. Add about 3-4 tbsp of waffle batter (depending on size of waffle iron and preferred size waffles) and firmly close the lid. Cook for 6 minutes.
Hi guys! Before I jump into these delicious lychee shiso (sake) popsicles, I want to share a couple of news to break:
Lychee, shiso, and raspberries seem like a really weird combo. Aside from how beautiful they unite as a trio, I love how tart raspberries balance out citrus flowery lychees and St Germain.
Chop up the shiso leaves into desired thickness.
Thinly slice the lemon
Stir 1 tbsp of sake with 1 tbsp St-Germain in a large cup or cocktail shaker as the base. Then pour in about 1/4 C of the lychee syrup. Mix well.
Add in a few sprigs of shiso leaves and lemon slices.
Pour into popsicle molds and top with 1-2 raspberries.
Freeze for at least 10 hours. Enjoy!
Honestly, it scares me how fast summer has been passing by and that sadly, nothing has really been set for my wedding yet (sigh, all of this pressure and pain of planning from across the country)… but I do hope that your summer is going just as great as mine, and as sweet and fun as these lychee shiso popsicles. Have fun with all the concoctions you can make out of these (don’t think you’re limited to raspberries!) And oh – if you don’t have a cocktail shaker, mixing the ingredients in a large cup would suffice. And feel free to omit/add more booze 😉 (I particularly love St Germain and this sake I brought back from Kyoto)
Oh, Valentine’s Day. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a really crappy Valentines Day and it kind of makes me feel queasy. There are the ladies who compare who got better flowers/dinners and for all the men out there who have so much pressure to either select a great restaurant, make some phenomenal meal, and/or pick a stunning “thoughtful” gift.
Well, wanna hear my cringe worthy Valentine’s Day story? Whether or not, too bad. I purchased tickets for a guy that I was dating for a gondola cruise by Cali’s Newport Beach back when I was living in LA/OC and… he basically broke up with me days before via phone. I called immediately requesting for a refund and they apologized, explaining to me that because they have too many sob stories of people breaking up, they couldn’t refund me – and I ended up taking my aunt on the gondola ride with me instead. Did she know? Yes. and was it awkward? Yes; Just imagine the gondola singer having to change his list of songs to be family friendly last minute.
One of the best Valentines Day gifts/nights I had was with my first “real” boyfriend, A, back when I was in USC’s School of Architecture. He knew that I was feeling particularly crappy and overwhelmed because of a family crisis. Although A was a romantic, he knew it would bother me if he splurged and/or showered me with roses (Almost all my friends know I only like roses if the petals are edible) So he did something creative for me: He bought a bottle of pink champagne, made me some dinner, and invited me over to just watch a Star Wars marathon with him on his couch in Webb Tower (all you USC folks know that lovely on-campus housing that I’m talking about 😉 )
Now, fast forward to February 2019.
I am more than grateful that O remembers Valentine’s Day is coming up and asked me what we should do, because he hadn’t grown with many American holidays. I am so proud of him for making a squid ink pasta feast with me, binge watching Game of Thrones with me and suggest we go to the aquarium (no zoo because it’s too cold here in NYC) Cheers to new memories and ways to revive love all over the world.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Using a wire whisk, mix the mochiko, coconut milk, water, sugar, vanilla, and baking powder together in a large bowl until well blended.
Divide the mochi batter into 2 bowls. One bowl will be used for the chocolate layer, the other for the strawberry swirled with vanilla layer.
Add the sifted cocoa powder into the bowl that will be the chocolate mochi batter. Mix in well.
Spray the baking pan with an even spray of non-stick spray.
Pour the cocoa batter mixture into the pan and gently shake the pan to even it out. Cover the pan loosely with foil and bake in the oven for about 12 minutes or until set.*
When the cocoa layer has set, pour the vanilla portion over the cocoa layer and slightly shake it to even out the layer. Cover it loosely with foil and bake for another 20 minutes until lightly set.
When the vanilla layer has set, drop a few dollops of strawberry syrup over the batter and swirl it with a butter knife to create a marbled effect.
Bake the cake for about 10 more minutes or until it is fully set.
Carefully remove the baked mochi from the oven, and place it on a cooking rack to cool completely. When it’s completely cooled, slide a lightly greased knife between the edge of the cake and slice into desired size of cubes or rectangles. Enjoy!
Chef’s note: Strawberry syrups like Torani are recommended. As a substitute, strawberry syrups can be substituted.
Guys, NYC is getting quite cold. I got sick last week, and the only thing I could really put in my mouth were spoonfuls of my brother’s delicious hot chili, Oly’s hot pot, and …. my oatmeal. When I was a kid, my dad LOVED eating oatmeal and tried to convince me to try it. I thought oatmeal’s smudgy texture was like “old people’s food” because it didn’t really require any biting and didn’t look very appetizing. But hell, I love breakfast and the health benefits of oatmeal are quite impressive; it does magical wonders of providing antioxidants, provides making me feel full longer.
The other thing I love about oatmeal is that the add-in options for oatmeal are endless! I love altering between bananas, but if unavailable, apples or just dried cranberries are great. Nevertheless, adding any citrus-tang to it always helps energize me to get started through the day. Also, do note that there are a variety of ways to prepare oatmeal: Overnight (in a mason jar), over the stove top, and microwave. Although I’m a big fan of the overnight mason jar method, and I’m not a big fan of the microwave, I’ll opt for the microwave on colder days for a quick way to start the day warm. (Really don’t like washing dishes and slow cooking simple meals for myself)
Anyway, vwala. Citrus oatmeal with cranberries. If you don’t want to cook everything in a pot, feel free to microwave with minute intervals of stirring.
Boil 1/2 C orange flavored or regular dried cranberries in pan filled with 1/2 C water. Drain.
Mix in 1 C milk (or substitute with milk alternatives like soymilk, almond milk, or oatmilk). Then slowly stir in 1 C desired oatmeal into pot.
Zest oranges or finely chop orange peels. Stir in about 1 tbsp orange peels, 1 tbsp dried/cooked cranberries, and/or 1 tbsp chia seeds. Serve immediately.
* Chef’s note: Quick oats can be substituted with old fashioned oatmeal and milk can be substituted with other milk substitutes. Add more for thinner texture, if preferred.
I’ve been delaying this for years, but one thing Japanese people surprised me in winning in is their phenomenal kabocha. Kabocha sounds super hipster and still strange to me, but it’s basically a Japanese squash. I love it because it’s more savory ingredient than of sweet potatoes and it’s so nutritious. (Please don’t ask me the differences between squash/pumpkin/potatoes/yams. I still confuse all.)
I’m no way a mayonnaise person nor a kewpie person, yet my first kabocha salad was back in 2015 when my senpai took me to a AYCE Japanese buffet that featured this at the salad bar. Idk about you, but salad and fresh vegetables usually aren’t the best…and my senpai insisted I try it. Since then, the Japanese kabocha salad has become a personal favorite Japanese appetizer to me. No matter how creepy/weird the kewpie character looks (seriously, who thought that thing is cute and profitable for branding?!)
So, here you have it. Kabocha salad or as I like to call it – Japanese style pumpkin salad in celebration of a new internship, visiting Tokyo, and it’s fall.
Scoop the kabocha seeds with spoon and discard them and cut into 1 inch slices.
Remove the kabocha skin and cut into 1 inch cubes.
Put the kabocha in saucepan and cover with water. Steam the kabocha for about 10-15 minutes. Allow them to cool
In a frying pan, cook bacon slices over medium high heat until crispy. Drain excess oil on the paper towel and then chop the bacon into small pieces.
Thinly slice the cucumber. (optional: peel the cucumber if preferred)
Combine the kabocha, sliced cucumbers, and chopped bacon together in a bowl.
Add about 2 tbsp of Japanese mayonnaise (Kewpie) and freshly ground black pepper or lemon pepper to taste. Mix to desired consistency. Serve immediately with chopped parsley, or refrigerate.
Guys, sorry for being dormant for a while. But let me tell you all what’s been demanding my 90% attention. So far, I’ve made it 1/4 way through this “UX Design Immersive” (AKA UXDI / UX bootcamp program) at NYCDA and lived 2 weeks in my first apt with an S.O. for the first time. Although O and I argued about ridiculous things we’d never thought of – like which clothes hangers to get, our biggest problem is me tending to take up 90% of the bed. I’m happy to say that the blessing of living with O overshadows the issues of unemployment and having a slanted floor (yes, it’s been weird cooking and seeing my egg yolks slip towards me).
O’s been incredibly supportive around the home especially when I’m at this crazy UX bootcamp. I don’t know about you guys, but it’s been sweet to see conventional gender roles switch, like when he helps prepare my breakfasts/lunches while I try to rest or sleep a little longer, and to come back to a cleaner home. More on deviled eggs though…
On the flip side, trying to toughen up from the stupid amount of cat allergies I’m having (@#$@#$ the chances of picking an apt with a previous cat!) and working weekends at Bluestone Lane with all sorts of angry customers. Generally, I’ve been juggling an innumerable amount of ups and downs.
Anyway, this creamy wasabi-deviled egg can reflect my past few weeks: hot, spicy, refreshing, and creamy? nah, but it’s been comforting. It was quite the happy plate for both of us; not sure how long it took O, but I woke up from a nap in his arms to realize the plate was empty; he basically ate 90% of these eggs and didn’t have any stomach problems. That’s what I call… a complete and happy recipe.
Place 6 eggs in a medium saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover eggs by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cover.
Remove the pan from the heat. Let stand 13 minutes and drain.
Transfer eggs to ice-water bath until cold.
Peel eggs, and halve lengthwise.
Transfer yolks to a medium bowl, and mash with a fork until smooth. Stir in wasabi mayonnaise, wasabi and lemon juice.. Season with salt.
Pipe or spoon filling into whites. Garnish with chopped chives.
The two past weeks have been total back to back charette weeks. I started working at Bluestone Lane as a barista trainee / cashier / avocado toast maker / banana toast maker / whatever toast maker, while graphic designing avatars and logos for my UCLA doc friend’s health app, preparing UX/UI design slides for a grocery store while applying for a UX/UI bootcamp program, and collaborating geeky projects with AutoCAD like preparing this tantalizing pie for every mathematician’s favorite holiday: PI DAY.
Every time I think of the pi day, I flashback to my high school moment of being confused and excited to see swarms of tiny students carry all kinds of magnificent pies to their classrooms before first period started. Yet once I wiggled my way through geometry, I learned that geometry wasn’t as terrifying, that proofs weren’t as difficult as everyone made them seem, and pi was more than just a strange 3.14 number to memorize; it’s a glorious number that enables us all to calculate anything circular. Oh pi, I’ve always loved working with you in the classroom and in my kitchen.
So, what pie do we have here? I wanted to prepare a green dessert because I’ve realized I haven’t had a recipe for St. Patrick’s Day and found a cool lime pie recipe, but required too much work for me with the handmade crust and tools that I didn’t want to purchase, especially because I’ve been living with my brother in his tiny cute apartment. So I figured I could save myself (and ourselves) tons of time and money by preparing a St Patrick’s Day pie with a ready made crust that we can all find in Target and/or other grocery stores, and focus more on a creamy boooozy part, with the magic of 2 tiny bottles of tequila, fresh limes, and a tub of fluffy cool whip.Yes, every spoonful or forkful of it… is purely tantalizing. So, go grab your ingredients, your bottles of booze, and whip up some of your own pi day pie for pi day / St. Patty’s / whatever spring holiday or gathering.
Make the margarita curd: In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the lime juice, extra lime juice / tequila, sugar, eggs and egg yolk.
Whisk continuously and place over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until a creamy, thick custard consistency forms, 6 to 8 minutes.
Gradually whisk in the cubes of butter until incorporated and remove from the heat. Pour into the prepared pie crust. Freeze until completely firm, 4 to 6 hours.
Make the lime whipped topping by squeezing the juice of one lime into the 9 oz. cool whip tub. Using a spatula, mix the whipping cream and spread over the pie.
Freshly zest one lime onto the pie. Carefully place a 3″ ring mold over the pie and garnish the blueberries into the ring mold. Remove the ring mold. If you don’t have a ring mold, garnish with blueberries evenly over the pie. Serve immediately or tightly wrap and refrigerate for up to 2-3 days.
I grew up in Orange County, fairly close to Westminster, A.K.A. Little Saigon, where several Vietnamese individuals roam, where the fresh bread and butter is excellent, and the French Vietnamese food is absolutely divine. This time when I returned to Little Saigon, I realized the then chaotic loud Vietnamese shouting is now nostalgic music to my ears… and the Vietnamese food here is a million times better and cheaper than whatever I’ve had in L.A. Throughout my childhood upbringing, my mom and friends’ parents would bring home giant bags of spring rolls and …. the best banh mi sandwiches. Banh mi in this western region basically refers to a meat (or tofu) filled baguette with marinated vegetables that typically come with salty, sweet, sour, and spicy flavors and crunchy/soft/chewy textures.
My mom also made some of the meanest, bloodiest looking, tastiest char siu pork during my childhood. I asked her to teach me her recipe, but use pork belly. Now pork belly over pate over a baguette (fat over fat over carbs) is kind of a wonderful sin / gluttony party in the mouth. (that I craved) My mom heavily criticized me for pan frying the pork belly, and I fought with her over the dining table in defense of it being an experiment…. but we both shut up after tasting the first bite and shared a moment of complete peace and harmony and smiled. My mom and I each ate about a foot long of these sandwiches that sitting. This is an example that good food brings people together into peace and harmony.
THANK YOU so much mom and dad (and Tony) for raising and supporting me in Orange County. Thank you Vietnamese expats and friends for bringing one of the best sandwiches to America, particularly the O.C. Thank you Mr. Baguette for the delicious pate and tips on marinating. Thank you Benson from Good Afternoon, my friend from Tokyo, for especially building this optimized food blog. I hope to post recipes more consistently, document and share other fun food journeys with you all.
To prepare the meat, cut the pork belly into desired thicknesses and marinate it in a bowl with 1/2 C soy sauce, 1/3 C honey, 1/3 C ketchup, 1/4 C xiaoxing wine, 2 tbsp hoison sauce, and 2 tbsp. red food coloring. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight.
To prepare the vegetables,cut the carrots, daikon, and cucumbers into 1/4″ x 2″ matchsticks and stir into a bowl with the water, vinegar, and sugar. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight.
Remove the meat from the fridge. Heat a medium to large non-stick pan over a high heat. Add the oil to the pan and cook the meat about 4-5 minutes on each side.
Slice the baguette in half the long way to open it, and divide the entire baguette into thirds. Open the baguette, spread desired amount of mayonnaise and pate. Toast in oven for a few minutes.
Add desired amount of marinated vegetables. Add cilantro if desired and serve immediately.
So glad I brought this Japanese Benriner mandolin back from Japan. Although I went to architecture school, Tokyo, and cut a ton of models, I’m the worst in precision when it comes to cutting, and this from Koppabashi / kitchen town saved my life and probably yours as well. It comes with varying thicknesses in slicers as well! So enjoy.