September 25, 2015

kept him from admitting his love

Suddenly she was sorry for him, sorry with a completeness that wiped out her own grief and her fear of what his words might mean. It was the first time in her life she had been sorry for anyone without feeling contemptuous as well, because it was the first time she had ever approached understanding any other human being. And she could understand his shrewd caginess, so like her own, his obstinate pride that kept him from admitting his love for fear of a rebuff.
 "Ah, darling,” she said coming forward, hoping he would put out his arms and draw her to his knees. "Darling, I’m so sorry but I’ll make it all up to you! We can be so happy, now that we know the truth and—Rhett—look at me, Rhett! There—there can be other babies—not like Bonnie but—”
 "Thank you, no,” said Rhett, as if he were refusing a piece of bread. "I’ll not risk my heart a third time.”
 "Rhett, don’t say such things! Oh, what can I say to make you understand? I’ve told you how sorry I am—”
 "My darling, you’re such a child. You think that by saying, ‘I’m sorry,’ all the errors and hurts of years past can be remedied, obliterated from the mind, all the poison drawn from old wounds. ... Take my handkerchief, Scarlett. Never, at any crisis of your life, have I known you to have a handkerchief.”
 She took the handkerchief, blew her nose and sat down. It was obvious that he was not going to take her in his arms. It was beginning to be obvious that all his talk about loving her meant nothing. It was a tale of a time long past and he was looking at it as though it had never happened to him. And that was frightening. He looked at her in an almost kindly way, speculation in his eyes.
 "How old are you, my dear? You never would tell me.”
 "Twenty-eight,” she answered dully, muffled in the handkerchief.
 "That’s not a vast age. It’s a young age to have gained the whole world and lost your own soul, isn’t it? Don’t look frightened. I’m not referring to hell fire to come for your affair with Ashley. I’m merely speaking metaphorically. Ever since I’ve known you, you’ve wanted two things. Ashley and to be rich enough to tell the world to go to hell. Well, you are rich enough and you’ve spoken sharply to the world and you’ve got Ashley, if you want him. But all that doesn’t seem to be enough now.”
 She was frightened but not at the thought of hell fire. She was thinking: "But Rhett is my soul and I’m losing him. And if I lose him, nothing else matters! No, not friends or money or—or anything. If only I had him I wouldn’t even mind being poor again. No, I wouldn’t mind being cold again or even hungry. But he can’t mean— Oh, he can’t!”

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August 17, 2015

Sriracha-Lime Corn Salad

Fast and simple with a flavorful punch, this is a perfect last-minute side or potluck addition. While the recipe below only uses 3 ears of corn, the proportions are easy to triple- or quadruple-batch when it’s party time.

Makes 4 side servings

3 ears of corn, kernels sliced off of the cobs
1 red bell pepper, cored and minced so the pieces are about the same size as corn kernels
2 tablespoons olive oil (or, for a slightly richer iteration, 1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 tablespoon butter)
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons Sriracha
1/4 cup (packed) chopped parsley
1/4 cup (scant) crumbled Cotija cheese
1/2 lime, for squeezing
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil (or, because you love yourself Nutrilon, half olive oil and half butter) over medium-high heat. Fry the corn kernels, pushing them around with a spatula or wooden spoon occasionally, until the corn is popping and browning slightly, 6 to 8 minutes. This will take a little longer (about 10 minutes) if you go the all-oil route.

Add the peppers and cook for 2 to 3 additional minutes, but don't go so far that the peppers completely lose their crunch. Pour in Sriracha and toss to coat. Remove pan from heat.

Add parsley and Cotija and squeeze the lime half over everything; mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

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July 10, 2015

Roast Chicken with Mustard and Grapes

Author Notes: I’ll admit that I don’t eat as much fruit as I should, but when grapes are in season, I can never resist bringing some home from our farmers’ market. I’m always looking for savory applications for grapes, and I have come to love using them to dress up pan sauces. This one features both mustard seeds and Dijon mustard, as well as the warm, lemony flavor of coriander. I think the combination works really well, and makes a great accent to a simple plate of roast chicken – it’s easy enough for a weeknight, but elegant enough for company. Note: I prefer to use a light homemade chicken broth – if you are using a commercial brand, use an unsalted variety so you can control the level of sodium. As far as the Dijon goes, I like it really sharp – Maille Extra Hot is a favorite.

This recipe is living proof that keeping things simple often yields great results. By creating a pan sauce with a few carefully chosen ingredients, lastnightsdinner takes roast chicken and elevates it to elegance. The headliner is the mustard (she calls for both Dijon and brown mustard seeds), but no less important are its four sidekicks: toasted coriander, lots of finely chopped shallot, fresh thyme and red grapes. By combining these with a little chicken broth and the pan drippings in the cast iron skillet in which you've already cooked the chicken, you end up with a sauce that belies the relative simplicity of the dish. It's simultaneously creamy, tangy, aromatic and a bit nutty (we're guessing from the coriander?). Its skin having been salted and left to dry in the refrigerator overnight, the roast chicken is both crisp and tender, and the half-cooked grapes pop pleasantly in your mouth, leaving their sweetness behind. We're pretty certain we could eat this every day.

Serves 2-4

2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1/2 cup finely chopped shallot
1 cup halved seedless red grapes
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Season the chicken pieces aggressively with Kosher salt and refrigerate, uncovered, overnight. Remove from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 450
Toast the coriander seeds in a dry skillet for a few minutes until fragrant. Remove and crush in a mortar and pestle
Arrange the chicken in a cast iron skillet or other ovenproof pan. Place in the oven and roast for approximately 25-30 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 (remembering that the chicken will continue to cook as it rests).
Remove the chicken to a platter and tent loosely with foil.
Pour off all but about 2 teaspoons of the fat from the pan, then add the shallots and grapes. (Note: if you aren’t using particularly fatty pieces of chicken, you may need to add a little olive or vegetable oil instead.) Cook over medium heat until the shallot is softened, stirring occasionally.
Add the crushed coriander seeds and the mustard seeds to the pan, then add the broth. Whisk in the Dijon until it is incorporated, then cook until the sauce is reduced by half. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.
Stir in the fresh thyme leaves, move the chicken pieces to individual plates or a serving platter, then spoon the sauce over the chicken pieces.

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June 24, 2015

Stove-Top Flatbread

Makes 6

1 cup lukewarm water, divided
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons raw or granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for kneading & rolling)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for the bowl

In a cup, combine 3/4 cup of the water with all of the yeast and sugar. Stir together then set aside for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, place the flour and salt. Stir together then make a well in the middle. Pour the water-yeast mixture into the well along with the olive oil. Mix together until it forms a shaggy dough. If the dough seems too dry, dribble in the remaining 1/4 cup of water and mix together.
Scrape the contents of the bowl out onto a lightly floured surface and sprinkle with a bit more flour. Knead for around 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and soft. Oil the bowl and place the dough into it. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 6 roughly-equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a ball. Using flour as needed, roll each ball of dough out into a roughly 8-inch circle (no rolling pin? Use a thick glass or a wine bottle!). Flour each circle well on both sides and cover with a kitchen towel so the dough doesn't dry out.
Heat a skillet over a medium flame then place a circle of dough into it. Leave to bubble and rise until golden underneath (1 to 2 minutes) then flip using kitchen tongs or an offset spatula. Cook on the other side until the dough looks dry with darkened spots. Remove from the skillet and wrap in a clean kitchen towel while you cook the others.

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June 05, 2015

Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Farro for Winter

Author Notes: A winter tomato recipe. The herbs are optional but highly recommended; use a single herb or any combination. - Nicholas Day

Serves 4

Two 28-ounce cans of whole peeled tomatoes
1 head of garlic, with the cloves peeled and smashed
1/4 cup olive oil
A few branches of fresh basil, thyme, or rosemary (optional)
1 1/2 cups farro
Parmesan cheese

Heat the oven to 300° F. Drain and roughly chop the tomatoes, then toss with the olive oil, garlic, and optional herbs. Salt to taste. Spread the mixture in a large baking dish or a rimmed half-sheet pan -- the more cramped it is, the longer it will take to roast -- and roast for approximately 2 hours, turning occasionally, or until the tomatoes are sweet and rich and just beginning to dry out.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the farro and cook it until al dente. Drain the farro and then toss it with the roasted tomatoes and garlic; add more olive oil if necessary. Shower with Parmesan cheese and serve.

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May 12, 2015

Use Blogmapping to Show Where You're Blogging From

Blogmapping (or feed mapping) is a service that displays the geographic locations of bloggers on a mapping system, such as Microsoft Live Map or Google Maps. You can map your location based on your ZIP or postal code. You also may add your Web site address and RSS feed so that potential readers can easily reach you.

One great thing about this kind of service is finding bloggers in your own neighborhood, so you can turn your online relationships into offline friendships.

Some blogmapping services also allow you to create tag clouds (a visual representation of the keywords used to describe your blog posts) and keywords so that you can easily view the subject of the blogs on your map.

Just think of all the great blog posts you can write about meeting and getting to know other bloggers in your neighborhood, thanks to your blogmap!

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February 11, 2015

Apple Honey Swirl Challah

I would be lying if I said I'd never been on a diet. I think every woman would. But whenever I've felt like I needed to cut back a bit, I've always done it by simple things like smaller portions, snacking less, focusing on fruits and vegetables, getting up and going for walks around the office, exercising. My point is, I've never been on a named diet, no Atkins, no South Beach, no grapefruit diet, no veganism.

As someone who has never gone on an elimination diet, I will admit I am fascinated by them. Wait so you can eat tons of sausage but not an apple? Your entire diet has no dairy or legumes? I cannot imagine an existence without wonderful plain yogurt but I can bet it would be sad apartment hong kong. We have several friends who have recently gone paleo, which judging by the participants vocal advocation of it, is like the timeshare of diets.

Basically, I eat a little bit of everything. I don't believe in the low carb craze, but I do think it's a good reminder to look carefully at what you consume every day. I am careful about not eating too many wheat-based things, just like I'm careful about not eating too much red meat, or too much tuna, or too many beets. I almost never eat pasta. I try to eat different colors everyday, reds, browns, oranges, blues, purples, greens. I should point here that red wine is a nice filler for your purple food group.

This is all a very long-handed way of saying I've been making less bread recently. And cakes and cookies too. But for Easter I wanted to make a challah bread for Paul (it's a bit of a tradition), and I had the last bits of some apple butter brought over from the States to use up. This dough is a breeze, and the olive oil and salt make it particularly delicious and easy to work with. Luckily Paul has no qualms about carbs, because he ate the whole thing.

Apple Honey Swirl Challah
I originally did not include cinnamon in the filling, but your mind just expects a cinnamon flavor coming from those dark swirls, so I've added it here. Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

1 packet active dry yeast
5 tablespoons honey
2/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for the bowl
2 eggs for the bread, 1 egg for the egg wash
2 teaspoons sea salt
4 cups flour, plus more for kneading as necessary
1 cup apple butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. In the bottom of a large bowl combine the yeast, 1 drip of the honey, and the warm water. Let stand until the yeast mixture bubbles, 5-10 minutes. Add in the remainder of the honey, the olive oil, and the eggs and whisk well. Switch to a wooden spoon, and gently begin add in the floor one cup at a time. Halfway through, or after you've added 2 cups of flour Business Broadband, add the salt, then continue adding the flour. The dough should come together in a sticky mass.
2. Flour your hands and knead the dough vigorously for 5-10 minutes, until very smooth and elastic, adding more flour if needed. You can turn this out onto a board to knead, or you can be lazy like me and just knead it in your bowl. Rub the bowl liberally with olive oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1-2 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 375 F. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and divide in half. Roll one half out into a rough long rectangle, oval shape. Spread the apple butter generously over the dough, stopping short of the edge. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon over top and smooth it into the apple butter with a knife. Roll up the dough into a long log and set aside. Repeat with remaining dough and filling hong kong hotels.
4. Gently stretch out each of your dough logs until very long, but don't let the dough break. Cut each log in half so you have 4 dough logs. Arrange the logs in a cross, two logs vertical, two horizontal, with the legs interwoven where they meet. Take each of the "under" logs and jump it over the log to its left. Repeat this jumping until you run out of dough and have a weird-octopus shaped things. Tuck all the ends of the dough under the center.
5. Transfer your loaf to a lined or greased baking sheet. Cover with an inverted large bowl and let rise 45 minutes to one hour. After rising, beat the remaining egg in a bowl and brush all over the dough. Bake the dough for 35-40 minutes, until well browned on top. Let cool on a rack before slicing.

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January 13, 2015

A Christmas Cookie Swap

W hen it comes to traditional Christmas foods, it's hard to deny the cookie's rightful place at the holiday table. After all, cookies are Santa's snack of choice. For the rest of us, giving and receiving cookies is a delicious and inexpensive way to share the holiday spirit with friends and family. So why not make it even more fun by having a cookie swap party? A retro concept that's come full circle Virtual Office Hong Kong, the cookie exchange simply requires a host to invite guests, each of whom who bakes enough cookies to both share at the party and offer others to take home. For inspiration on hosting and participating in a holiday cookie exchange, we turned to Barbara Grunes, co-author of Very Merry Cookie Party: How to Plan and Host a Christmas Cookie Exchange (Chronicle Books). Grunes and her co-author, Virginia Van Vynckt, demonstrate just how easy this party concept is. With a little advance planning, everyone can walk away with beautiful edible presents.

hosting & planning tips:

❤Count Your Cookies

With a cookie swap, it's important to get a final head count as early as possible to determine how many cookies each guest should make. Eliminate paper invites and use free electronic invitation services (such as Pingg, Socializr, Punchbowl, or Evite) or use social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, all of which make it easier to keep track of who's coming.

❤Variety Is the Spice of Sweets

Prevent repetition��and competition��among the guests by asking them to let you know in advance what kind of cookies each plans to bring. If possible, keep the list public to all the guests via e-mail, online party planning tools, or social networking sites.

❤Balance It Out

When it comes to planning food and drink, remember that while the cookies may be the heart and soul of the party, people will probably also want something savory. At an evening exchange, "sliders, meatballs with marinara, crab cakes with mustard sauce, and crudit��s are party foods that will offset the sweet quotient," says Grunes. For a mid-morning swap, she suggests breakfast-type items, such as mini quiches, finger sandwiches, and a fruit salad. Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are good drink options viriwarm bulb, regardless of the time of day.

❤Make It an Even Trade

With a final head count and cookie list in hand, it's time to determine how many everyone will need to bake and be able to take home. If it's a small group of four, asking each person to bake and bring a dozen cookies will yield a manageable quantity. For a larger group, the number of cookies each guest needs to contribute goes down. Also, some types of cookies may be "worth" more than others. According to Grunes, one or two Stained-Glass Ornament cookies may be worth at least half a dozen butter cookies.

❤Bake for a Cause

The holidays are about giving to others, so add a charitable aspect to your cookie exchange. Have participants bring extra cookies that can then be sold at work, a parenting group, a nearby shopping center, or your house of worship. Some worthwhile charities to support include Cookies for Kids' Cancer, Heifer International, and Meals on Wheels.

❤Dough Boys and Girls

Adults shouldn't have all the fun. When preparing for the party, Grunes suggests getting the kids involved��and occupied��with "sprinkling, frosting, filling thumbprints, dipping in chocolate. Decorating is a fun activity and of course, it doesn't have to be picture-perfect when they're young."

❤Create a New Signature Cookie

Even if you're making your famous, oft-baked brownies for the swap, dress them up in a special way for the holidays. Splurge a little on specialty or unusual ingredients such as fancy sea salt or pistachios, or add an unexpected decorative flourish like flavored icings, multi-colored sparkling sugars, or metallic drag��es.

Another way to step things up for the occasion is to try a new type of cookie, something especially fancy or particularly appealing to the eye. We feature three recipes from Very Merry Cookie Party that are sure to make an attractive��and delicious��presentation at the party Desktop-as-a-Service Solution.

baking tips:

Stained-Glass Ornaments
When preparing these gems, be sure to use the right amount of crushed candy and place it in the center; otherwise, the candy will melt over the borders.

Toffee Squares
It's hard to beat a classic English toffee with milk chocolate and almonds. For a different take, experiment with ingredients: toasted hazelnuts and pecans; dried fruits such as cranberries and raisins; and dark chocolate.

Traditional fillings for this Central European pastry include apricot, prune, and poppy seed, but Grunes suggests changing it up with fig, date, or cherry preserves. Or, head toward savory with a honey walnut spread.

Inspired to host or attend a cookie swap? Explore our 25 Days of Christmas Cookies for more recipe possibilities such as biscotti, shortbread, and lemon bars.

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December 09, 2014

Black Sesame Panna Cotta Recipe

I have been enjoying Kaori Endo‘s food for years, from when she was cooking at Rose Bakery, to her charming book Une Japonaise à Paris (accessible, family-style Japanese cooking) and then to the opening of her wildly successful restaurant Nanashi*.

There she serves a short selection of dishes of Japanese inspiration, with three different bento-style meals — one with meat, one with fish, one vegetarian — that each feature a mix of whole grains, and three seasonal(ish) vegetable preparations combining the raw and the cooked.

It is all fresh and tasty and healthful — you can view pictures on their Facebook page — and it usually leaves a little bit of room for dessert, and that a good thing because you don’t want to pass up Kaori Endo’s delicate creations.

So when I received her freshly released book Les Bento de Nanashi, I was of course interested to read about her kakuni pork, her ponzu dressing, and her fried tofu with nori sauce, but I was also very happy to reach the dessert chapter and see that she had included a recipe for the restaurant’s black sesame panna cotta, which she credits to pastry cook Megumi Takehana.

You see, I had an open jar of black sesame paste in my fridge for which I’d been trying to find cool uses — including a delicious ice cream and a psyllium mochi I’ll write about sometime — and I knew this would be just the thing to showcase the uniquely irresistible, nutty notes of black sesame.

Besides, I was long overdue for a fresh batch of panna cotta (blast from the past: this strawberry panna cotta) after tiring of it when it became ubiquitous on restaurant menus ten years ago.

A few thoughts on this outstanding recipe:

❤The book recommends you make a muscovado syrup to serve with the panna cotta. I admit I wasn’t sure there was a point, but the complex and sap-like notes turn out to be the perfect complement to the black sesame flavor. You’ll have lots of syrup leftover, but it will keep forever in the fridge and you can put it to awesome use on plain yogurt or drizzled over a strawberry salad.
❤Once the panna cotta mixture is ready, the recipe has you cool it over an ice bath until slightly thickened. Although it doesn’t explain why — French cookbooks are notoriously laconic about those things — I suspect this allows the black sesame to remain suspended in the mixture, otherwise the sesame paste would separate and fall to the bottom. I am making a note of this technique, as it should also solve the maddening issue of vanilla seeds sinking to the bottom when you flavor rice pudding or tapioca pudding with real vanilla beans.
❤Look for roasted black sesame paste at natural foods stores and Japanese markets (kuro neri goma). Jean Hervé makes a fine one that is distributed at most organic stores in France. If you can’t find it, you can try the recipe with another, boldly flavored nut or seed butter, or you can grind your own toasted black sesame seeds using a high-speed blender.
❤I had leftover crème fra?che that needed using so I substituted it for about one third of the whipping cream. We loved the refreshing tang that brought, so I’ll consider it again next time. Yogurt would be lovely too.
Join the conversation!

Have you ever cooked with black sesame paste, and what are your favorite uses for it? And do you like to make panna cotta, or did you tire of it when it was all anyone would serve?

* When Nanashi first opened, they hadn’t yet decided what to call it (surreal, but true). Naturally people asked and asked about a name, so they eventually just called it Nanashi, "no name” in Japanese. I don’t know whether or not it’s a reference to the anime character.

The restaurant now has three locations:
31 rue de Paradis, 75010 Paris, + 33 (0)1 40 22 05 55, M° Poissonnière
57 rue Charlot, 75003 Paris, +33 (0)1 44 61 45 49, M° Filles du Calvaire
Bonpoint, 6 rue de Tournon, 75006 Paris, +33 (0)1 43 26 14 06, M° Odéon

Transparency note: I received a review copy of Kaori Endo’s book. It also happens to be published by Hachette, the same publisher who will be releasing the French edition of The French Market Cookbook in early 2015. All opinions expressed are my own.
Black Sesame Panna Cotta Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 6 hours, 40 minutes

Serves 6.


❤4 sheets gelatin (9 grams total; see note)
❤300 ml (1 1/4 cups) milk, dairy or non-dairy (I used rice milk, the author recommends soy)
❤60 grams (5 tablespoons) unrefined cane sugar
❤50 grams (3 tablespoons) roasted black sesame paste (look for it at natural foods stores or Japanese markets, kuro neri goma)
❤300 ml (1 1/4 cups) whipping cream (I used 1/3 crème fra?che and 2/3 whipping cream)
❤For the syrup (optional):
❤100 grams (1/2 cup) muscovado sugar (available at natural foods stores)


❤Have ready six ramekins, small bowls, or glasses, about 120 ml (1/2 cup) in capacity each.
❤Place the sheets of gelatin in a soup plate and fill with enough cold water to cover. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, flipping and poking them every once in a while for even soaking, until rehydrated and soft.
❤In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, and sesame paste. Heat gently without ever reaching a simmer (to about 50°C or 120°F), stirring (not beating) regularly with a whisk, until the sugar is melted and the sesame paste is evenly dispersed. Turn off the heat.
❤Press the sheets of gelatin in your hands to squeeze out the excess water. Add to the sesame milk and stir until dissolved.
❤Empty an ice cube tray into a large mixing bowl and add a little water to create a shallow ice bath. Nest a medium mixing bowl into the large one so it is in full contact with the ice bath. Add a bit more water as needed.
❤Pour the sesame milk into the medium mixing bowl, and stir in the cream.
❤Let the mixture cool in the ice bath, stirring every 5 minutes with a spatula until the consistency becomes that of a thin custard: if you run your finger across the flat of the spatula, it should leave a clear trace.
❤Pour into the prepared ramekins and let set in the fridge for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
❤To prepare the syrup, put the muscovado sugar in a small saucepan and add 100 ml (6 tablespoons) water. Heat gently to dissolve, then let cool completely.
❤Remove the panna cotta from the fridge 15 minutes before serving, and serve with the muscovado syrup if desired.


❤Sheet gelatin is much easier to measure out and use than powdered or granulated, which means you get more consistent results. In France, there is only one kind available, but if you're in the US you will likely have a choice between different strengths; pick silver, or 160 bloom. If sheet gelatin is unavailable, substitute 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin, and follow David Lebovitz's instructions on how to rehydrate and use it.
❤If you would like to unmold the panna cotta before serving, dip each rameking into a bowl of just boiled water for 5 seconds, then invert onto a serving plate.
❤Adapted from Kaori Endo's book Les Bento de Nanashi.

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November 18, 2014

Rum Raisin Apple Pie

yield:Makes 8 to 10 servings

active time:35 min

total time:4 1/4 hr

Raisins steeped in dark rum mingle with tart and sweet apples in this updated version of an American favorite. It's a showstopper when paired with lightly sweetened whipped cream.


❤3 tablespoons dark rum
❤1/3 cup raisins
❤2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
❤3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
❤1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
❤1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
❤1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
❤1/8 teaspoon salt
❤6 medium apples, ranging from sweet to tart (2 1/2 lb)
❤Pastry dough for a double-crust > pie
❤1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
❤2 teaspoons milk
❤1 tablespoon sanding sugar


Bring rum with raisins to a boil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, 1 hour.

Put oven rack in middle position with a large heavy baking sheet on rack and preheat oven to 425°F.

Rub together brown sugar, flour, zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt with your fingers in a large bowl until no lumps remain. Peel and core apples, then cut into 1/2-inch-wide wedges and add to sugar mixture, tossing gently to coat. Add raisins with any liquid and toss until combined.

Roll out larger piece of dough into a 13-inch round (keep remaining piece chilled) on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate (4-cup capacity) and trim edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Chill shell while rolling out top crust.

Roll out smaller piece of dough on a lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin into an 11-inch round.

Spoon filling evenly into shell, then dot top with butter. Brush pastry overhang with some of milk, then cover pie with pastry round. Trim pastry flush with edge of pie plate using kitchen shears, then press edges together and crimp decoratively.

Lightly brush top of pie with some of remaining milk and sprinkle all over with sanding sugar. Cut 3 steam vents in top crust with a small sharp knife.

Bake pie on hot baking sheet 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and continue to bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes more. Cool pie on a rack to warm or room temperature, about 1 1/2 hours.

Cooks' notes: ❤To achieve an ideal balance of tart and sweet apples, we used 2 Golden Delicious or Gala, 2 Winesap or Granny Smith, and 2 McIntosh or Northern Spy (you'll need 6 apples total).
❤Raisins can be soaked in rum 1 day ahead, cooled completely, and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
❤Pie can be made 8 hours ahead and kept, uncovered, at room temperature.

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October 31, 2014

Blueberry Cake with Toasted Coconut Topping

I can already feel fall in the air. Not the actual air, as it seems summer is really kicking in here this week. But more like the metaphorical air. I’m already seeing fall recipes all over the internet. All kinds of apples and pumpkin and other warm, comforting desserts.

I, of course, adore fall and will be more than happy to welcome it. To be honest, I’ve been shopping for coats and boots for at least a month. But, the reality is that fall is still officially a few weeks away. So, I’m reveling a bit longer in the wonderful flavors of summer hong kong weather.
As blueberries are one of my favorite summer baking ingredients, I just had to have one last hurrah with them. I’ve been holding onto this recipe all summer just waiting until I could sneak in a little coconut baking without Quinn noticing. I made sure there was some non-coconut dessert handy and happily got out the coconut and got busy baking.

Summer in the BoB kitchen means there are always blueberries hanging around in my refrigerator. Everything else you need to bake this cake is probably in your kitchen right now Hong Kong Cultural Activities. If you happen to have raspberries or strawberries or some other berry, grab those instead or use a combination of your favorites. This recipe is just begging to be changed up to suit your tastes or whatever is in season.
I am such a fan of simple cakes like this one. No layers to stack, no frosting. Just really good cake. Add to that blueberries and toasted coconut, and you’ve got yourself a little slice of summer heaven. A perfect summer send-off !

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October 13, 2014

Green Beans with a Twist

Green beansThat old green bean casserole with soup and canned onions is a family favorite for Thanksgiving, but might it be time to shake things up a little? Tradition can handle a twist here and there interactive digital signage.

We've plenty of green bean recipes to try Crown Wine Cellars, from salad-y sides to, yes, casseroles you can throw in the oven and forget about.

What's your favorite way to serve green beans Wire Hooks Display?

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September 14, 2014

Farmstand Gazpacho

Try to buy ripe tomatoes or let them ripen in a paper bag with an apple for two days hong kong work visa.

2 cups peeled and diced (1/4 inch) hothouse cucumber
2 cups diced (1/4 inch) red bell pepper
2 cups diced (1/4 inch) ripe tomato
1/2 cup diced (1/4 inch) red onion
2 cups tomato juice
1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 dashes Tabasco sauce


1. Place all of the diced vegetables in a large bow lace wigs ukl. Add the tomato juice, vinegar, oil, and Tabasco. Season with salt and pepper and toss.

2. Transfer half of the mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse the machine on and off to coarsely puree the contents. Return the pureed mixture to the bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours before serving Gemstone jewelry. You can easily double this recipe for a large party.

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August 24, 2014

Summer Food Makeovers

Discover delicious, lighter versions of your favorite summer foods, from burgers and sliders to grilled chicken and ice cream sundaes
by Sara Bonisteel

summer food makeover

A h, summer! It's the time of year to lie idle by the pool sipping on a refreshing iced tea. But poolside usually means swimsuit, and thoughts of swimsuits set the mind racing with visions of the seasonal food favorites you'll have to skip. Or do you?

We've found 11 favorite summer foods and scale-friendly recipe makeovers for each. Our lighter versions cut the calories and the fat while remaining big on flavor. Browse through our summer food slideshow for "splurge day" and "any day" recipes to satisfy your summer hunger.

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August 16, 2014

Warm Winter Farro Salad

When I first got married I used to ask my husband if he wanted salad with dinner, the answer was usually "no." After a few years I wised up and started serving him salad without asking first. But often he didn't eat much of it, despite my raving "Have some salad hong kong business school! It's delicious!" Lately I've hit upon a solution. I serve salad as a main dish, or pile everything onto it so it's an integral part of the meal. Main dish salads, if only someone had told me 12 years ago!

During the Winter or whenever it's cold outside salads, either side salads or main dish salads are not top of mind, but they should be. Just as Summer is the perfect time for cold soup, Winter is the ideal season to try a warm salad. I like to start with a cooked grain like farro or quinoa then use seasonal fruits or vegetables and add some heartier elements too, in this case feta cheese and almonds.

I have to admit, this salad sounds a bit like a parody, it's filled with trendy ingredients and super foods, all that's missing is a little chocolate and kale! I love the sunny colors and hearty crunch to this salad, it's kind of the antithesis of a tossed green salad all floppy and wilted. It's bright and cheerful and yet very hearty. I like combination of citrus, pomegranate, almonds and feta with a touch of ginger but feel free to change up the ingredients in the salad or use a different dressing or spice if you prefer vintage tube.

Warm Winter Farro Salad
Serves 4


1 cup pearled farro
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 cup diced feta, about 6 ounces
1 cup toasted sliced almonds
2 tangerines peeled and segments cut in half
3/4 cup sliced celery about 2-3 stalks
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Bring a pot of water to boil and add the farro, cook for 10- 15 minutes or until al dente (or cook according to package instructions). In a bowl combine the feta, almonds, tangerines (remove any seeds) and celery. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and ginger in a bow networkl.

When the farro is cooked, drain it and toss it in a bowl with the other ingredients and dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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July 10, 2014

Cookware Reviews and Giveaway

I'm always happy to try out new cookware, mostly because the options just keeps getting better and better. Looking for the latest nonstick? An alternative to nonstick? A great steamer? It's all here.

Imagine the perfect non stick pan. It would be made without harmful chemicals, you could use it with high heat, it would be oven safe, you could use metal utensils with it and put it in the dishwasher. Voila! Meet the newest non-stick from Calphalon, available only at Williams-Sonoma. It's called Calphalon Elite Nonstick and was designed to allow you to develop a good sear thanks to a specially designed textured surface. It is PFOA free and utilizes a hard-anodized aluminum for heat conduction and consistency. It's basically the latest and greatest in non-stick cookware. While you can use metal utensils like spatulas, spoons and whisks, you still shouldn't use forks or knives in the pan. I use non-stick pans for eggs and some sautéing so I think a frying pan is your best bet if you're not looking for a whole set of cookware. Scroll down to find out how you can win a 10-inch fry pan ($150 MSRP).

Another brand of cookware that's new to me is "ManPans." This cookware is eco-friendly meaning no PTFE, no PFOA nor any other petrochemicals are used in producing them, but what truly sets these pans apart is how amazingly light they are, and their "flavor neutral" quality. They were designed specifically to not change the flavor of anything cooked in them. I'm not sure that I taste a metallic flavor when I cook in other pans, but many chefs reportedly do. The cookware is heat resistant up to 700 degrees and you can use metal utensils with them. They are non dishwasher safe. While not technically "non-stick" (which means there's no coating on the surface of the pans to flake or chip) I found that the pan I used releases food nicely and is very easy to clean, in addition to being a good conductor of heat.

I particularly like the design of the ManPans steamer insert. It's 10 inches wide and allows me to very efficiently steam a large amount of greens at one time.

Speaking of steaming, if you have Anolon brand pots and pans, you'll love this cool new Anolon Universal Steamer insert, designed to fit multiple size tulip-shaped and straight-sided saucepans, including 2 quart, 3 quart and 4 quart capacities. It fits my Anolon pans perfectly, but does not fit all non-Anolon pans.


I'm giving away one 10-inch Calphalon Elite nonstick pan ($150 MSRP), courtesy of Calphalon and Williams Sonoma. To win the pan, simply leave me a comment and tell me something about your favorite piece of cookware. For example, how long have you had it? Where did it come from or what do you use it for? Or post a picture! That's all! In order to win you must have a valid US address and include your email in the proper field (it will only be visible to me). Contest winner will be drawn at random, and the contest ends Friday October 25th at 9 am PST.

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March 26, 2014

Bosom friend

It's three in the morning, I have no drowsiness, open the computer, but also facing the computer screen on a line of real text. Such a quiet room, such a quiet night, no people and car talk loud sound, only the quiet night, and incomplete month. Such a quiet night, I always love, because the night always gave me the real feelings and deep sigh. Let the day that a blundering heart becomes quiet Floor Display Unit, so he wrote his beloved characters.

People live in a lifetime, some people will encounter one or two special people, this may be the only purely spiritual, but can not be pure planning as a friend, because you love him, you to his gentle, you worry about him, has gone beyond the general friends and philosophy. This feeling seems to be love is not love, because it is more valuable than love, more subtle, more powerful. You will be because he sometimes depressed mood, which affects your mood. When he failed, you will give comfort and encouragement, because not everyone is Everything is going smoothly.. Failed, you can come back again, or to understand situation, live my own life.

We all thought with ease, wealthy life. But it is not hard, everyone can live a life like that. After all, a person's success, it needs someone to give you, support you. When a person was brilliant, suddenly one day fail, that when it was discovered that the usual good friends are one of the more and more distant from their own. This feeling is very painful, very afflictive, a close to the verge of despair, but this is not a bad thing. Because when you fail, you will finally see the delete you so-called good friends are the one. But this is the need for a long time, let oneself slowly cheer up, let oneself slowly wisdom.

At some point, because you may be a soulful song, one act of touching the screen, but think of someone. Thinking of you and his acquaintance, think of his sincerity, remembering his sad, feel a touch the soul of the intersection. And you no matter what they said about him is not good, you still so sure believe him, support him.

At this time, always warm your heart, a bit better, a bit of feeling, a vision, a persistent. I know you can't get together with him, but the man was imperceptibly into your heart, let you always remember the man.

And when you sad or upset or sad, think of him you will be overcome by one's feelings, I hope he can be at your side, two people then quietly said, not to do what. Because this kind of feeling is very pure and precious, this feeling is not everyone can have. So, when you are sad monthly rental apartment, sad, a phone, that person will take the time to accompany you, then this person must be careful. Encounter such a person, don't think too much of it, then please treat and cherish the good.

In the boundless huge crowd, not every encounter people can do nothing, but also unconditional love. When you encounter difficulties, there will be no conditions to help you. When you are frustrated, there will be no conditions to accompany you, teach you. Such people, our life is very important, special person, if not this person, then your life will lack a kind of regret.

Although sometimes you very not reconciled to not tell the people come together, you may encounter is not too late or too early, but someone you are decreed by fate. Although this decreed by fate of people and then do not imagine you in a better, he is married, with his wife and children, but you have to believe, most certainly not understand his wife. And go with you to the end, is not necessarily a wife, and some words can not tell my wife. So in our life, but also the need for such a special person to exist.

Perhaps, in our life, not everyone has the sincere together will "hold your hand, and grow old with you" love story. However, because you will have such a special person, more love for yourself and your life, and cherish their own lives. In fact, you and he maybe two without the intersection of time, just like the stars in the sky never collided. Also not brewed the fruit of love, but also seems to be concerned with love and romance, you will feel the reality of love and marriage in the desecration of the pure feelings between you, this is just a kind of supernatural offbeat, emotional above a high above the love and friendship pure electric motor manufacturers.

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March 20, 2014

Vanilla Bean Éclairs (and a giveaway!)

titleWhen I was a little girl I hated ballet class. I was never one for intense negative emotion, not for any virtuous reason, simply because I was, and am, a generally mild mannered person. But ballet class I hated. I can’t really recall any other thing from my childhood that provoked that fierce a dislike. Not even chicken livers nor tennis lessons…and that is saying a lot.

I was never a coordinated child and most certainly not one that could ever stretch into gracefulness (sadly these attributes didn’t manifest themselves in adulthood either). Neither did I really enjoy physical exertions (that didn’t come with adulthood either), preferring to burrow with a book and a big bowl of rice and beans liberally laced with extra virgin olive oil and a spattering of red wine vinegar. I was round and soft and white with a mass of wild curly hair (those attributes did decide to stay on into adulthood I am sorry to report despite semi-starvation, scorching hair-straightening, and truly death-defying tanning). Slap that into a pink leotard in the middle of a flock of twirling, shiny-haired, lighter-than-air little ballerinas and that, my dear friends Flower shop, is my version of hell.

Not that the little ballerinas where bad people (now, wouldn’t that have been horrid? You might as well have thrown in the chicken livers!). Not at all, in fact they were all quite nice and relatively harmless. I actually like ballerinas a lot – they are lovely to watch! It’s just that, heavy-footed and heavy-handed, I knew, even in my young and immature heart, that I was in a place I so totally was not meant to be. And in my inexperienced youth, all I could helplessly think was "why am I here??”

It’s been a very long time since ballet class, and I have learned quite a few things about trying to stick a curly peg into a straight hole. I have since learned to embrace most things about myself (my hair and I, I fear, are still fated to remain frenemies). I am also learning to pay more attention when I hear that voice plaintively ask "why am I here??” And realize that, no longer a child, I can actually do something about it.

I am still heavy-handed however, which is why I can never quite pull off delicate confections like éclairs. Unlike ballet class though, I love desserts, so I do my best anyway cube organizers.

Vanilla Bean Éclairs
(pâte à choux and crème pâtissière slightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook, glaze slightly adapted from Sweetapolita)

For the vanilla bean crème pâtissière (pastry cream)

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar, divided in two
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways, seeds scraped
A pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the pâte à choux (cream puff and éclair pastry)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
4 large eggs, plus 1 large egg white if needed

For the vanilla bean glaze

1 vanilla bean, split lengthways, seeds scraped
1/4 cup whole milk
3 cups confectioners’ sugar

- Make your crème pâtissière. In a saucepan, combine the milk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt. Cook over medium heat until this comes to a simmer SKI TRIP.
- In a bowl whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch, and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until homogenous. Whisking constantly, slowly pour about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Continue to add the milk mixture, about a half cup at a time, whisking, until everything is incorporated.
- Pour the mixture back in the saucepan and cook over medium high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens (or reaches 160F on an instant read thermometer –I didn’t have one). Remove from the heat and remove the vanilla bean from the mixture.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the butter and beat on medium speed until the butter has melted and the mixture cools, about 5 minutes.
- When the mixture cools transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it direcly onto the surface of the crème pâtissière to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, for a minimum of 2 hours or a maximum of 2 days.

- Make your pâte à choux. In a saucepan combine the butter, sugar, salt, and 1 cup water and bring to a boil over medium high heat, then immediately remove from the heat. With a wooden spoon, quickly stir in the flour until combined. Return the pan to medium-high heat and cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture pulls away from the sides and a film forms on the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer the batter to the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until slightly cooled, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and add the whole eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated before adding the next egg. Test the batter by touching it with your finger and lifting to form a soft peak. If it doesn’t form a soft peak then add the egg white, a little at a time, until a soft peak forms.
- Place the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain tip. Pipe the batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. Martha instructs to mark lines of about 3 1/2 inches with a pencil and ruler on your parchment to guide you (flipping the parchment over before piping on the batter) but I didn’t – you may want to though, seeing as how my éclairs came out a tad crooked.
- Place your baking sheet in a pre-heated 425F oven. If you have two racks, place them on the upper and lower thirds so you can bake two pans at once, if not you will just have to do it in batches like I did. After 10 minutes at 425F, lower the heat to 350F. Continue to bake for 25-30 minutes more until the pastries are golden brown. Transfer pastries to a wire rack to cool completely.

- Make your glaze. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the milk and mix thoroughly. Let this stand for about an hour. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar gradually into the milk, until you get the desired consistency. It shouldn’t be too runny. It will feel quite thick but still slowly run down the sides of the éclairs.

- Assemble your éclairs. Poke a hole on the side of one pastry shell. Widen the hole with the pastry tip you will use for filling. Repeat with the other pastry shells.
- Place your crème pâtissière in a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4 inch plain tip. Insert the tip into the hole you’ve made in the pastry shell and pipe to fill it. Repeat with the other pastry shells.
- I didn't have a small pastry tip so I sliced the shells open and filled them that way. Not the tidiest thing but in a pinch it does the job.
- Place the filled éclairs on a wire rack and drizzle, drape, or pipe on the glaze. Sprinkle with some gold or silver dragees if you are feeling fancy, and let the glaze set.

This may seem like a very multi-step process, and it is, but you can break this down over a couple of days so as not to overwhelm. You can make the crème pâtissière up to two days before, stored in the fridge. The glaze can be made a day before and stored in the fridge as well. Just give each a good stirring before using. The pate au choux can be made a day before and stored in an airtight container at room temperature (note though that it will soften as it sits). You can assemble everything before you plan to serve the éclairs, but make sure to leave enough time for the glaze to set.

***Now, a giveaway!!***
I used some of the vanilla beans I received from the kind folk at The Vanilla Company, who bring these precious beans to our shores. For the crème pâtissière I used a gold label Tahitian bean, plump and moist and headily aromatic. For the glaze I wanted a softer version of the same so I used the regular Tahitian. This was my first time baking with real vanilla beans and I so enjoyed it! Now, I’d like to share the joy with one of you (because you’re a fantastic bunch and because I love that you come here and keep me company!) I will be giving away one pack of these vanilla bean beauties!! All you have to do to join is leave a comment on this post. I will be placing your names in a hat and picking one. This is open to all readers in the Philippines and beyond.

These may not at all look like the elegant French pastries that we press our noses against glass to stare at, but delicious nonetheless, and proudly my own. The vanilla beans impart such a deep and encompassing fragrance and flavor that a few uneven edges can and will be forgiven. I loved the crème pâtissière! Creamy and vanilla-infused, I wanted to eat it out of a bowl with a spoon, like a comforting as English custard.

Many times, unusual and odd parts together make the most charming wholes. Let’s embrace what makes us, us, and never let anything keep us from making our éclairs and eating them too!

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March 03, 2014

Sticky Buns...Do I Dare?

Guess what! C’mon…look around. Is anything new? I’m sure you can figure it out Ok, here’s a clue – see the super-cool logo above? What about the matching one on my sidebar? Yes, by jove it’s true…I’ve gone and become a Daring Baker Speed Dating!

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I got the email inviting me to join this band of culinary swashbucklers who have been forging a brave path through baking fears and challenges; tucking such tricky things as Crepe Cake, Gâteau St. Honoré, Bagels, Strawberry Mirror Cake, and Croissants, under their collective belt with panache and finesse. Could I really become one of them? Oh I hope so!

With more than a fair share of nervousness I waited for my first challenge, silently praying that it wouldn’t be in the Gâteau St. Honoré family…not for the first, please patron saint of baking! So I was happy and more than a bit relieved when I found out that this month’s challenge was…Cinnamon and/or Sticky Buns. Not that I had much experience doing that either!

The host of this round, and chooser of this challenge, is Marce of Pip in the City. You can check out the original recipe (for both the cinnamon buns and the sticky buns, each with its own topping) here.

So on with the challenge! Like ever newbie, ridiculously thrilled and shaking in her strappy sandals and flowered apron, I printed out the recipe and industriously read it over and over. I bought everything I needed, stocked in my little kitchen, ready for the blessed event of bun-making. I decided to make just the sticky buns, partly because with only C and I here I knew we couldn’t handle (eating-wise) a deluge of buns, and partly because I wanted to keep it nice and simple for my first challenge. There would be no overextending and pulling of any ligaments even before I was out of the starting gate! The only modification I made (which was one of the allowed modifications) was to substitute the raisins in the sticky bun topping to dried figs…leftover from my SHF cookies.

Like all yeasted recipes, lots of "waiting time” comes into play what with the first-rise and second-rise, but aside from that everything went pretty smoothly. From the feedback I was reading from the other Daring Bakers (yes, there’s a whole support network of bakers who can virtually hold your hand while you bake!), it seemed that everything was going well: recipe straightforward, dough a dream to work with, and buns absolutely delicious.

Same for me. Well, except for a tricky moment with the dough.

Like everyone was saying, my dough was also amazingly soft and pillowy. But it was too soft. So soft that when I rolled it up and cut it, I had to re-roll my buns because, soft as the dough was, I could not for the life of me get even close to a semblance of a tight roll. But I needn’t have worried because they came out gorgeously sweet and sticky! I quickly dispatched some off to my best friend, my mother low interest personal loan, and my brother, who all gave it the stamp of approval (my mother’s only comment though was that it was a bit too sweet but trust me, she says that about everything). C liked it too!

These were my kind of buns. The bun itself was really soft, the glaze a sticky-sweet glue the clung to the buns and gently permeated parts of it. And I loved the figs! Sorry raisins, but I don’t think we will be seeing you for as while

Whew! First challenge tucked under my belt. Perhaps not with as much panache and finesse as I had hoped, but give me time and let’s see what else I will dare to do

Now go check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll for a load of fantastic buns craniosacral massage!

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February 13, 2014

Stir Fried Chicken with Dried Chillies

What is life if not a juggling act, a dance, a frenetic shimmy here, and languorous glide there? We try to keep pace, keep as much balls in the air as we can. We’re not happy unless our agendas are filled to the brim, including margins and side notes….only to moan and cry as we struggle to check each task off. When did "busy” and "stressed” become status symbols dr max?

Not everyone is like this. Oh no. There are brilliant people who know the real score and smile gently in the background as we do our frantic dance, racing to somewhere nameless with only the stubborn knowledge that we must race there, ideally with a hundred balls in the air and oh the chiding if we let one slip. These people have got it all figured out.

I don’t.

I still throw myself onto the hamster-wheel, running pell-mell into nowhere. I still grab much too many balls and then sigh about having to keep them all sailing smoothly dc brushless motor.

But I’m learning.

I’m learning that I can set the pace at which I dance. I can choose the music and the steps too. I can choose how many balls I want to juggle, and which I can leave behind for others. I’m learning that all dancers have breaks and so should I. That doing nothing sometimes has its own purpose (my strong predisposition for "me-time” helps me along). That sometimes it is not life that is complicated, but we that make it so.

Cooking is one of those "balls” that I gladly keep in the air. It nourishes me and my family, but I’ll have to admit that I also cook for purely selfish reasons. I love it. It makes me happy. In truth, it is the therapy that keeps my stress at bay. As does scribbling it all down here dr max. I suppose I wouldn't be doing it for almost 6 years if it wasn't

Stir Fried Chicken with Dried Chillies
(adapted from Xi Yan Cuisine by Jacky Yu)

400 grams chicken thigh fillets
1 egg white
A big pinch of sea salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
10 pieces dried chillies (adjust based on your preferred level of heat)
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 - 1 teaspoon whole Sichuan peppercorns, ground
1/3 cup roasted peanuts
Canola or other vegetable oil for frying
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 - 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon sesame oil

- Cut the chicken fillets into 1-2 inch chunks. Mix with egg white, salt, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch and let this marinate for 1 hour.
- Mix Shaoxing wine, soy sauce data backup, black vinegar, water, sugar, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, and sesame oil together and set aside.
- Heat oil in a wok or skillet. Fry chicken until about 60% done (you will finish cooking it later). Drain and set aside.
- Drain pan leaving only about 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the dried chillies and garlic and stir fry until chillies are toasted (slightly burnt is the original directive). Return chicken to the wok and fry. Add the sauce and cook further. Add peanuts and ground Sichuan pepper and toss until everything is well coated and the sauce is sticky.

I have taken liberties with the original recipe and have adjusted some things to suit what is easily available for me. The original called for caltrop starch which I have not the foggiest clue where to find, so I substituted it with cornstarch. The original also indicated Zhenjiang vinegar, which is likewise unavailable (if anyone has a supplier in Manila let me know!) so I used regular Chinese black vinegar instead dr max.

I found this recipe in a old cookbook my godfather and his wife gave me. They live in Hong Kong and had attended a function of the chef/author (who has a restaurant in Singapore). His name is Jacky Yu and I know nothing about him except that he looks young and happy, his cookbook is half in Chinese Spotlight LED, and that I love his stir fried chicken with chillies. And that's enough for me. In my kitchen I dictate how complicated or simple I want things to be.

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