Sunday, August 12, 2007

Weekend getaway

More like a one day get away. I went with my b/f to the Poconos. Stayed at hojos and lots of candle stores/factories. They're also a cute little farmers market near by and two health food store. Awesome. Pangea the restaurant in the Poconos had a wide variety of food from different parts of the world and they also had a whole section for vegetarians. The waitress was very nice unlike some other waitress when you ask them about the food they would just lie about their answer. We asked the waitress some questions and she actually when to ask the chefs to find out the answers.
Other than that I didn't do much at all this week except for buy buy buy.

Crystallized Ginger (Vegan)
Bought some Vietnamese "sweetened ginger" thinking it's crystallized ginger at my local Chinese supermarket. I bought it before but I remember to taste more spicy. They also did not look like that either. It looks and taste like they have been boiled down and lost all it's ginger taste and dusted with confectioner sugar. It reminds me of those sugared cover Chinese new year candy like those sugar coated winter melons. I got the recipe from Great Cooking.

Verdict: I love sweet spicy ginger!!

Recipe Yields around 5.6 oz - 6 oz/156 g - 170 g
8 oz/227 g Large Young Ginger (Old wrinkly ginger has thread in it)
2 Cups/400 g Sugar, Granulated
1 Tbsp Water

  • Peel the ginger with a spoon and slice it 1/8th to 1/4th an inch which ever way that will yield you the widest slice. (Yes peel it with a spoon! The spoon is harder than the ginger skin but not harder than the ginger so it makes peeling so easy. You wont peel away all the flesh of the ginger either.
  • Toss the ginger with the sugar in a bowl
  • In a large sauce pan put in the water, sugar and ginger. Try to layer the ginger evenly so that it gets cooked evenly.
  • Bring the mixture to a slow simmer on low heat for about 45 minutes or until the syrup turns into paste. Stir when things starts sticking together or the ginger starts burning. It's best not to stir at all or else the sugar will crystallized. When it looks like the mixture will brown, lower the heat Do not let it brown at all or else it'll be too hard or bitter.
  • When it reaches a paste like mixture start stirring the mixture more often to form sugar crystals.
  • When the whole paste turn into sugar crystal place your crystallized ginger into an air tight jar or container. You can save the ginger sugar for tea or for your gingersnap cookies.

Sweet Potato Ginger Tong Sui (Vegetarian/Vegan)
I love ginger and sweet potato who know how many bowls I ate in one sitting. "Tong Sui" literally means sweet water in chinese so this is a dessert recipe. It's actually a sweet soup. The measurement is really not on scale because I just made it to my preference with no measuring cups. My mom never use measuring cups or any measuring utensils. She just grabs and dump and that's exactly what I did. I think the rock candy and the peen tong contains honey. I'm not sure... I was almost finished with the dessert, all except for dissolving the sugar but I had to run out to do something quickly. I'm assuming my mom used the rock candy cause that's all she uses.

24 oz- 36 oz/680g - 1021 g Sweet Potatoes
2 in" worth Ginger
2 Handful Dried Jujubes (Chinese Red Dates) (optional)
1 Handful Dried Logan (Fruit similar to the lychee) (optional)
Peen Tong/Rock Candy if none are available use Granulated Sugar
  • Peel and cube the sweet potato ginger into 3/4" - 1" cubes.
  • Peel the ginger with a spoon and slice it 1/8"-1/4" thick.
  • Rinse both the dried red dates and the dried logan. They both can be purchased at the dinese herbal store or your local Chinese supermarket.
  • Dump the sweet potatoes, ginger, jujubes and logans in a huge pot and pour in enough water cover 1 cm over the sweet potatoes.
  • Let it boil on med to high heat until the sweet potatoes are soft and sweeten the soup with the sugar. Put as much as you like.
Frey Chocolate Bar (Vegan)
Frey, the Swiss chocolate company also has an American Line of chocolate called the supreme. Target is the only place in America that sells Frey's chocolate. So far I have only found out that Frey's Swiss Dark Chocolate and Frey's Supreme Hot Chilli Peppers are vegan but may contain traces of milk. All the other chocolates like Endanger Species, Chocolove, Rapunzel and Green and Black are considered vegan but may contain traces of milk. Up to you to decide. I do no have the email to authenticate my words on the Swiss dark chocolate but the ingredients does not contain any milk solid, butter, nonfat milk and other dairy products. I need to buy the bar and scan the wrapper on. I do have the email saying that the hot chilli pepper is vegan.

Click on the photo to enlarge

Korean Traditional Rice Syrup (Vegan)

I found it at the local Korean supermarket. It cost $3.99 but my b/f bought it at his local korean market for a buck cheaper and twice the size. I was comparing and contrasting this syrup and the one I had from Lundberg. The korean rice syrup was a bit more diluted and the taste was not as strong. It's possible that water was used to dilute it or it was mixed with malt syrup but I can't tell for sure. On the ingredients all it said was Rice Malt syrup. I think i might use this as a substitute for brown rice syrup.

Bread.A Bakery
Hooray a vegetarian bakery opened near my neighborhood. For all those who live in Flushing, NY you should check it out. Although it's quite small and has not so great of a selection, the girl who works there is really nice. A Taiwanese person opened this place so the workers there might not speak English well. I know I was having a hard time communicating with the girl who works there since I can't speak Mandarin and she was not quite familiar with English. I hope the other workers there are more knowledgeable of English.

They have cakes, cookies, buns and entree.
They have a variety of bread and buns. I love buns!!! They had many buns like those Chinese bakery buns. They have the red bean, cinnamon raisin, black sesame and others. I love the fact that someone actually tried to make those vegetarian buns!! The drinks they serve are very delicious too.

They don't really serve any vegan cake or cookies but they are willing to custom make it for you. Yay vegan birthday cake but damnnit birthday passed. Too bad it's situated in a poor area though. It's right on an area in which there are many construction companies, auto shops and hardware stores. I am afraid they might do a lot of business. The place also a bit small. Its like an extremely small bakery with 2 tables and several chais in the back.

Goodies from the Place
Po Lo Bao (Pineapple Bun er...more like pumpkin bun)

It was Po Lo Bao at all. I think it was the pumpkin bun but I don't think the girl understood me when I was speak in Cantonese but never the less it tasted quite good. I loved the dough especially the flaky coat layer. I was having so much fun peeling it as i was eating it. The filling was decent, not the best but not the worst either. It was mildly sweet and reminded me of apples. I thought it would have had more filling though.

Hong Dao Sa Bao (Red Bean Paste Bun)
I think it tasted funky to me. The red bean didnt really taste like red bean. It tasted a bit bitter and not sweet at all.

Hak Zee Ma Bao (Black Sesame Bun)

It looked really cute... too cute to eat. I like the walnuts in the bottom of the filling and the sesame was pretty good.

Everything there was fairly decent. I like the service since the girl did try really hard to help me and I loved the drink that my brother got and the fact that there are buns!!

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