Friday, January 18, 2008

Home from Hyde Park

What a week! Even though I was home alone at my b/f's house all day while he went to school for 8 hours, I was very productive. I feel less bored there than I do at home. I feel so restricted at home because of my parents.

Here is what I have made during my stay upstate.

Chinese Steamed Buns
Had to try twice.
My first attempt...A tumorous kitty with sweet potato maple syrup filling.

2nd attempt back home...A normal looking kitty with some peanut butter and black sesame filling

I've learned from my mistake. DON'T OVER STUFF YOUR BUNS or they'll turn into fat tumorous buns.

Bun Recipe Yields 16 Buns 125 Cal/Bun

Yeast Mixture
60 mL || 1/4 Cup Water, 110F Warm Water
1 Tsp Sugar, Granulated
1/2 Tsp Active Yeast

Dough Mixture
150g || 1 1/4 Cup Bread Flour**
150g || 1 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
28g || 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
113mL Water, Warm
2 Tbsp Sugar
1/4 Tsp Salt


46g || 1/3 Cup Black Sesame Seed, Toasted*
32g || 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter, Creamy
25g || 2 Tbsp Sugar, Granulated
30mL || 2 Tbsp of Water

  • Mix the sugar into the warm water and dissolve the yeast into the liquid.
  • Let it stand for 8 minutes.
  • Meanwhile mix all the flour sugar and salt together.
  • Make a well in the middle and slowly add in the yeast mixture.
  • Then slowly add in the oil while mixing with a spoon or spatula.
  • After you add the oil slowly add in the water when all the flour are crumbly start mixing the dough with your hand.
  • Continue adding the water until the dough becomes smooth and soft. (May need more or less water depending on the flour.)
  • Knead the dough for 8 minutes.
  • Cover the dough with a damp cloth and a plastic wrap. Let it double for 45 minutes in a warm place or until it passes the indentation test.
  • While the dough is doubling make your filling by toasting your sesame seed @ 350F for 5 minutes stir it a bit and return to the oven or another 5 minutes.
  • Blend the sesame seeds in a blender or processor until it becomes pasty. Then add in the water and blend until it is combined.
  • Then add in the peanut butter and sugar and blend until everything forms a thick paste.
  • Split the dough and filling into 16 even portion.
  • Assemble by rounding one portion of the dough and flattening it. Be sure to make the edge much thinner than the middle.
  • Put a dollop of the filling and pull the edge of the dough towards the middle and pinch to seal the end.
  • Put the bun on a tiny piece of parchment paper. Continue to do that to all the portion of dough and filling.
  • Cover it with a damp cloth and a plastic wrap to let it rest and go through it's last rise for about 30 minutes or until the dough had double.
  • After it has double use a scissor to snip the dough to give it the buns point ears or spikes.
  • Boil enough water in a big wok or large pot on med-high heat. When it is boiling put the buns in a dish over a steaming rack or you can put the buns in a steamer.
  • Let it steam for 20 minutes and it will be throughly cooked.
Banana Mango Sherbet

I like the strawberry although it has nothing to do with the ice cream.

Spinach Broccoli Mushroom Soup

I like soup but I'm sick and tired of the creamy one. I need some soup that reminds me of my mom since I haven't had my mom's soup in so long since they're not VEGAN. My mom loves making broth soup, since he has never heard of creamy soup so I made this soup to remind myself of my mom's broth soup.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Vacation Upstate...banana brownies, asian puff pastry

I am currently on vacation at Hyde Park for a week since my b/f is currently going to CIA and he already started school while I still have several weeks left. He goes to school at 12:30 pm and comes home at 9 pm. So you can only imagine with can a girl be doing in his apartment all day. Well truthfully, I've been doing nothing...maybe some food blog reading and some baking. The apartment is pretty bad. The shower leaks so you hear water running all the time and the toilet flushes automatically and the oven dial does not have the temperature on it and sometimes the oven doesn't even heat up! With some experimentation, I figured out the oven temperature with a handy dandy oven thermometer. Alright on word with the food blogging.

Very Banana-ie Brownie with Options

Very Banana-ie brownie. More Banana-ie than chocolaty but I've made some adjustment to make it more chocolately. However the picture is of the very banana-ie brownie. Modified the recipe on Vegweb Chocolate Banana Brownie to suit the ingredients that we had.

Recipe Yields 36 1.5" x 1.5" pieces 70 Cal/ Bite size Piece
180g 1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
76g 2 2/3 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips or Blocks, Melted
347g 2 1/2 Large Banana, Riped and Mashed
300g 1 1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Tsp Salt
15mL 1 Tbsp Vanilla extract

  • In a large bowl cream the sugar, mashed banana and melted chocolate together.
  • Combine the vanilla extract.
  • In a smaller bowl combine the dry ingredients together.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet and combine.
  • Pour it into a 9" x 9" pan and bake it in the oven for 400 F for 25-30 minutes.

Option : To make it more chocolaty use 142g 5 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips or Blocks instead of the 76g 2 2/3 oz and used 319g 2 1/3 Large Banana instead of the 347g 2 1/2.

Apple Raisin Chinese Puff Pastry

They are similar to the European puff pastry but not exactly. Instead of butter, lard and oil is mainly used for the fat. I got the recipe of the puff pastry from Cafe of the East. Normally when you go out to eat dimsum, they are filled with the mung bean, red bean paste, taro paste or lotus paste. Apparently being upstate, I don't have the luxury of being a walking distance from my local Asian market so I'll make a apple raisin filled ball.

I modify the puff pastry from Cafe of the East to fit the ingredients I had available.

Recipe Yields 20 Puff Pastry Ball 162 Cal/Pastry Puff Ball

Chinese Puff Pastry 122 cal/ Puff Pastry Dough
Wet Dough
200g 1 2/3 Cup All Purpose Flour
70g 1/3 Cup Shortening*
20g Sugar, Confectioner
+ - 100mL Water

Oil Dough
120g 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
60g 1/4 Cup + 2 Tsp Shortening*

* If you don't want to use the hydrogentated crap you can use expeller pressed oil like Earth Balance shortening and Spectrum shortening.

742g 3 1/2 Large Apples (I used gala)
85g 3 oz Raisins
177 3/4 Cup Cranberry Juice
1 Tbsp of Sugar, Granulated

To make the pastry dough

  • First you need to make the wet dough by combining the sugar and the flour.
  • Then cut in the shortening into the dough until all the crumbs are uniform in size.
  • Slowly add the water as you mix the dough with your hand until it is smooth like the consistency of bread dough. Then let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • Then make the oil dough by cutting in the shortening into the flour and knead it until it has the consistency of the wet dough. Add more shortening if you have to. Then let it rest for 30 minutes.

To make the filling

  • Peel and core all the apples and dice them into about 1 cm cubes.
  • While you are cubing the apples pour cranberry juice in a medium size pot and put in your raisins and let it simmer on medium heat.
  • Then add in your apples and sugar and combine.
  • Continue to simmer it until all juice reduces to nothing. Stir occasionally to make sure that the apples or raisin do not stick to your pot.

To assemble the apple raisin pastry

  • please click on the picture to enlarge and see the visual aid.

  • 1. Put the oil dough on a flatten wet dough.
    2. Wrap the oil dough with the wet dough and pinch the ends together
    3. Roll out the dough vertically.
    4. Roll the long dough downward into a long cylinder, resembling a cigar.
    5. Turn the horizontal cigar 90 degrees so that it is vertical.
    6. Roll out the cigar dough vertically.
    7. Roll the vertical dough downward into a cylinder again.
    8. Sit the cylinder upwards on your palm.
    9. Pinch up the ends so that it forms a ball.
    10. Situate the botto of the ball on your palm, so that the swirly pinched
    up ends are facing you and flatten the dough with your fingers. Make sure
    the edges are thinner than the middle and do not pull on the dough to
    flatten as it will pull apart the coil lamination you have just rolled out.
    11. Put the filling into the middle of the circular dough and pinch up the ends and round it into a ball.
  • The dough doesn't spread so you can put it close together on a cookie sheet and bake it for 400 F for about 30 minutes.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Something Purple...

It seems like I love purple this week. I've made Jasmin agar agar tapioca jellies and taro ice cream. Who doesn't love purple? PUrple Purple Purple and lots of restaurant jumping in this entry.

Jasmin Coconut Agar Agar Jelly

This recipe is based on Baking mum's Multi-Color Sago Jelly. Despite the fact that jasmines are white, whenever I take a big whiff of jasmines, I instantly think of purple. If you are wondering where to purchase agar agar, it can be easily found in your near by health food store. I know Eden Food carries agar agar flakes and agar bar but they are rather expensive. Now Foods also carries agar agar in the 2 oz bottle and 2 lb bottle but I think the 2lb bottle is a bit extreme, no? If you are lucky to have access to some Asian supermarket, I really advise you to check there first. There are several brands of agar agar I know of, in which they are the telephone brand and the golden cup brand. They are sold in the .88 oz packets for only a dollar. Those packets are small but goes a long way! 1 gram is equal to 1/4 tsp you don't need much anyways.

The packet looks like this...

Recipe Yields 16 slices (100 Cal/Slice)

Tapioca Portion
70 g 2/5 Cup Tapioca Pearls Aka Sago
1/4 Tsp Jasmin Essence (You can use any extract or essence like orange, almond, vanilla etc. but if you are using extract use a tad bit more.)
1 drop Red Food Coloring (Any colors will do)
1 drop Blue Food Coloring

Coconut Agar Portion
12g 2 Tbsp Agar Agar Powder or 6 Tbsp Agar Flakes
200 g || 1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Tsp Salt
300 mL 1 3/8 Cup Coconut Milk, Canned
1000 mL 4 1/4 Cup Water
1/3 Tsp Jasmin Essence
1 drop Red Food Coloring
1 drop Blue Food Coloring

Tapioca Portion

  • Boil some water on high heat in a pot. Pour the tapioca pearls and cook it until they turn transparent. It takes around 20 minutes.
  • Pour off as much boiling water as you can and rinse it with cold water and strain it.
  • Then divide these into to portion and for one portion mix 1 drop of red and blue food coloring and 1/4 tsp jasmine essence.
Coconut Agar Portion
  • Combine the coconut milk, water, sugar, agar agar and salt in a pot.
  • Mix with a whisk and simmer the mixture until the agar agar and sugar melts.
  • Divide the mixture into three portion.
  • Combine the food coloring and essence into one of the portion.
  • First pour the coconut agar layer into a 2lb loaf pan (8 5/8" x 4 1/2" x 2 3/5" )then let it cool down in the refrigerator. (This layer will take the longest to cool so it is essential for you to be patient or else you would be like me! I messed up on the purple tapioca pearl layer >< ) Stir the other two coconut agar layer to prevent from setting while the first layer sets in the microwave.
  • When the first layer has cooled, warm up the purple tapioca pearls a bit in the microwave for 10-15 sec on high so that it can be able to adhere to the previous layer nicely and for it to set. (Don't microwave too only or it might melt :X ) Spread it evenly on top of the first layer and let it set again in the microwave.
  • When that layer has set, add another layer of the white coconut agar mixture on top, again warm this up in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Mix it with the whisk to dissolve any set agar. Then pour it on top of the purple tapioca and let it return to the refrigerator to set.
  • Microwave the last clear tapioca pearl portion for 10-15 seconds on high and spread it over the white coconut layer and let it set again
  • And for the final layer microwave the purple coconut agar layer in the microwave for about 45 sec on high and mix to dissolve any set pieces and pour it on top of the tapioca layer. Let this set for at least an hour in the refrigerator before unmolding. Don't be impatient like me!

Taro Ice Cream
Taro Ice Cream. I love taro they are delicious. I absolutely love the texture of the taro when it's half solid and half paste. It is naturally sweet and very aromatic. It is simply divine even if you just cook with plain ol' salt. My love for ice cream and the inspiration from A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise.

Taro Ice Cream Recipe Yields about 2 1/2 - 3 Cup Ice Cream (170 Cal/ 1/2 Cup)

Taro Paste Yields about 290 g Taro Paste
226 g Taro Root, Cubed 1"
591 mL ||2 1/2 Cup Water (Give or take some taro may require more or less)
1/3 || 66 g Sugar ** EDIT add 50g || 1/4 Cup more Sugar
1/4 Tsp Salt

(If you are using the paste as filling for steamed buns or cake)
** From what my b/f had learned from CIA, he said that when things are frozen, there are less flavor so you need to add more flavor to frozen food.

Ice Cream Mixture
All the Taro Paste
180 mL 3/4 Cup Non Dairy Creamer (You can use unsweetened non dairy milk but I highly recommend using soy creamer or you can add 1 1/2 tbsp of Vegetable Oil)
Plus 60 mL 1/4 Cup Non Dairy Creamer.
30g 1 Tbsp Tapioca Starch

For the Paste
  • Mix the sugar into the water and bring it to a simmer in a sauce pan on high medium.
  • Then put the diced taro into the simmer water. Break the taro down with a fork or spatula as you cook it. You can leave small pieces of taro to give it texture and a bite.
  • If all the water has all be absorbed by the taro and the taro is still hard, add more water. It's okay if you add a bit too much since the taro will absorb all the water or it will all be evaporated.
  • Continue to cook the taro has absorbed all the water and it is in the consistency of a paste.
  • Sprinkle the salt and combine. Then take it off the heat and let it cool down. It yields about 290 g, almost 2 cup of paste. You can store it or make a bigger batch for steamed taro buns.
Ice cream mixture
  • Take the taro paste and combine it with 3/4 cup soy creamer or nondairy milk + the oil.
  • Whisk everything as you bring the mixture to a small simmer on medium heat.
  • Dissolve the tapioca starch in the remaining 1/4 cup soy creamer.
  • Whisk the ice mixture as you slowly pour in the tapioca and soy cream mixture.
  • Continue cooking on medium heat until you feel the mixture thicken.
  • Then pour it into your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer instruction.
OR (if you don't have a ice cream maker like me)
  • Poor it into a very wide pan (I used a 14" round pan). Any pan with a huge surface area will do.
  • Put it into the freezer and beat it with a whisk or electric beater ever 15 minutes until the mixture is almost frozen into a solid.
  • Put it into a container and freeze it.
    (note the quality will not be as good as the ice cream machine)
Dosa Hutt of Flushing NY!!
Vegan restaurant hunting!! I've been going to so many vegatarian/vegan places around NYC with my handy dandy VegOut: Vegetarian Guide to New York City. They have other VegOut books for Southern California, Seattle and Portland, Chicago and other large cities. Although I wish they had a vegan guide to NYC :[ it's alright many of the vegetarian place serve great vegan dishes as well. With in this month I went to Oneness Fountain Heart, Spice, Cafe Spice, Buddah Bodai, Wholes Food, LifeThyme, Dosa Hutt, My GOd I'm a freaking pig and I'm planning to go to Red Bamboo Soul Cafethis thursday.

I must say Dosa Hutt is AWESOME!! Spice authentic Indian food right by my house too awesome. Now i don't always have to eat at Buddah Bodai or Happy Buddah. Getting sick of Chinese food. My b/f ordered so much food cause it was extremely cheap :x Pondicherry Masala Dosa, Rava Masala Dosa, rava Mysore Masala Dosa and the Medhu Vada in Bowl. Cafe spice was nothing in comparison to Dosa Hutt. Cafe Spice was lacking in the spiciness for the tourist. For all those who live in Queens or the Tristate area please do try Dosa Hutt. everything is less than 4.75 with the exception of 2 items in which it is the Special rava masala dosa which is $5.25 and the speical low carb. dosa which is $6.00.
Everything is mostly vegan!! HOrray Hoorah!! I believe the butter masala dosa and cheese dosa are the only two that are vegetarian. Well that's what the cashier said but ask to make sure when you go there for an updated list. The desserts are not on the menu. It's located on the leftt side of the counter in plastic boxes. Too bad they aren't vegan since they contain milk though :/ but the besan ladoo didnt contain any milk. It's traditionally made with ghee but according to the cashier, it's vegan. Yayy

Chickpea, cardamom, golden raisins, cashews, almonds, LOTS OF OIL and I believe some kind of flowery essence. Probably rose or jasmin. Hm.... I must say it was very oily though. When i squeezed it, oil was gushing out. Don't as why I was squishing at it. It was rather fun.