Thursday, December 31, 2009

Smoked Salmon from Canada!

My friend Victor went to Canada for a vacation last week. I asked him if he could get me some Canadian smoked salmon. To my surprise, the kind he bought back is a packaged fillet one. It is surprisingly to me because I never tried fillet ones before, only the raw thinny sliced or sashimi from sushi restaurant. So I was super excited to try this baby out.

Ice Wine Glazed Wild Smoked Salmon from Canada. Love the packaging!!!

Nice orange brown. A bit flaky compared to fresh ones. Reminds me of canned fish in a way.

From the back of the package, it says the best way to serve is with a thin layer of cream cheese on a slice of baguettes. I am not a big fan of baguettes, so I replaced it with my favorite kind of bread--whole wheat bread!

Toasted sliced whole wheat bread, layer of thin cream cheese, and flaky smoked salmon, drizzled with the ice wine sauce that it comes with.
Delicious! It makes a really healthy and hearty lunch or snack, especially if you use whole wheat bread and fat-free cream cheese! =]

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Quick & Easy Hot Pot Meal

While busy wrapping presents and baking goodies, I have forgotten to eat lunch until my stomach growled mercilessly. I ate a lot of the scraps from the bake goods but the sweet can only do so much. I need something quick, easy and salty. That's when I opened my freezer. Instead of finding microwavable dinner, I found Trader Joe's Steamer Clams!

While these clams are good by itself, nothing can make this meal better than some carbs! Rice and pasta taste great with the clams, but would take forever to make with this busy holiday prepping schedule, so I ended up grabbing some dry vermicelli in the cabinet. Oh yes, and some greens from the fridge. Protein, veggies and carbs--a perfect and hearty meal.

Gimme Gimme S'more & Cupcakes!

Oh! What's one goodie goodness that's crunchy on the outside and gooey and chewy in the inside? S'more!

S'more makes a great holiday treat! It's a delightful treat that's simple and perfect for a comfort dessert!
Hmmm, warm gooey center and a crunchy outter layer! It makes a great little gift to bring to work as well as a party!
Although I must say, it's super hard to wrap this baby up without the bag being sticky! Sooo, I have turned it into a cupcake!
A s'more is not a s'more without it's components! A crunchy graham cracker outter layer!
Gooey chocolate center!
Still chocolatey and moist!
Last but not least, top it off with sticky gooey marshmallow meringue frosting!
Can serve it the way it is.
Or semi-burnt if you like!

This is how it looks like in the inside!
Stay Warm & Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Staying Warm with Hot Tea

I hate cold days. All I want to do is stay indoor under a blanket when it's cold outside. When I do have to be out of bed or outside though, I brew myself some hot hot HOT tea!

Tea are good for you and certain teas help strengthen the body. Some tea helps lower cholesterol, helps relax, helps prevent heart dieases and even helps prevent cancers. They are rich in polyphenols. Some tea contains more caffeine while others have none at all. All in all, teas have lots of health benefits.

I went to the tea shop today and picked these up! Got to have my daily cups of tea!

Caffeine Tea

Phoenix Eyes Jasmine Pearl: This is my favorite tea leaves of all time. Like the name, the shape of the pearl is like Phoenix's eye. When brew, the leaves unroll. This tea is pricer than most tea I drink but one sip and you can tell the difference. This tea is low in caffeine and rich in Jasmine aroma and flavor. It's high in polyphenols and helps strengthen immune system.

Dragon Jasmine Pearl: This tea is a little lower grade than the Phoenix Eye Jasmine Pearl, and less pricey also. But it is still very aromatic and rich in polyphenols. It has lower caffeine than regular green tea.

Blue People Oolong: This tea is from Taiwan. It is fermented with mint and liquorice roots, so it tastes very sweet. It promotes metabolism and helps with headaches.

Caffeine-Free & Herbal Teas

Pink Burmeses Rose Buds: From the name, this tea leaf is from Burma. Unlike the small red rose buds, it is more aromatic and not sour at all. It goes great with Osmanthus, and the flavor becomes totally different. It helps soothes and relax, especially after a long day.

Chrysanthemum: It is a very popular herbal tea in China. I love drinking this whenever I have a cold or sore throat because it helps decrease body heat and very gentle with the throat. Oh yes, and it's super aromatic!

Rooibos Chai Blend: Consists of Rooibos, giner, cinnamon, cardmon peels, cardmon seeds and lemon grass. I love chai latte, but never really like chai tea by itself. But if you like chai and spices, this tea is perfect! Everytime when I sniff the dry tea leaves, it reminds me of fresh cinnamon and Christmas! This tea is stronger than regular rooibos tea. It's caffeine-free and it helps relax and with sleep problem.

Chocolate Truffles

The holiday is coming up! Besides holiday specialties such as gingerbread, eggnog, peppermint bark, all I can think of is chocolate!

I'm usually not a big fan of chocolates, but during winter time, I always have this image of myself sitting at the fireplace with a blanket, sipping on hot cocoa and nibbling on s'more! Chocolates and more chocolates!

Last year, I gave my coworkers mini packages of Godiva's chocolate covered dried strawberry. I love chocolate covers fresh strawberry but strawberries are not in season. This year I want to get them chocolates too. But instead of buying them chocolates, I am going to make them. I mean I don't mind buying Godiva's, but it's just so much fun coming up with truffle ideas. Due to time constraints and convenience today, I narrowed them down to just four.

So today's truffles menu includes:

White Chocolate Strawberry Cream: white chocolate shell filled with choco-strawberry cream and pieces of freeze-dried strawberries.
White Chocolate Honey Green Tea: White chocolate shell filled with honey and green tea cream.

Dark Chocolate Brownie: Dark chocolate covered dark chocolate brownie

Dark Chocolate with Organic Cocoa Bits: Dark chocolate covered organic cocoa bits.

I should have use red and gold ribbons! Doh!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fat-Free Mango Ice Cream

I never really crave for ice cream, but I notice that every time when I do eat ice cream or get my hand on ice cream, it becomes a weight gain disaster because I would not stop eating until I get sick off of it.

I always read the nutrition information on ice cream so that I can at least cut out as many calories as possible. Even though the slow churn or fat-free ones are lower in calories, they add up when I eat the whole container! This leads me to making my own ice cream. It may not taste exactly the same as store bought ones, but it satisfies my habit of eating "whole".

On a side note, I remember having this unique "ice cream" at Creations Dessert in San Francisco. It was light, icy-liked yet have tiny bit of creamy-ness to it. The creamy-ness becomes more apparent after the ice cream cools in room temperature for a bit. Then after making my batch, I realized they are similar, which allows me to eat Creations' ice cream with less guilt next time.

In this recipe I use the mangoes from Mexico since I couldn't find the ones from Phillipine. I prefer Phillipine's mangoes because it's more aromatic and richer in flavor. Make sure the fruits you use in ice cream are really ripe and juicy, otherwise the cream will overpower the fruit flavor.

In the recipe below, feel free to use whichever kind of half and half you like, fat, low fat or nonfat. Just note that different fat content will results in ice cream with different consistency.

makes 1 1/2 quart

4-6 tablespoons sugar
2 cups nonfat half and half
1 large mango
4-5 teaspoons lime or lemon juice


2 cup nonfat half and half
1 cup mango puree (sweeten to liking)
4-5 teaspoons lime or lemon juice

1. Dice up mango, and puree it with sugar in a blender. Cut some tiny cubes to add into ice cream later if wanted.
2. Add in half and half and blend.
3. Add lime juice and blend.
4. Freeze in your ice cream machine according to the manufacture's instruction. Add tiny mango cubes last.
5. Store in container and soften before serve.

Remember to freeze it, not only because it's ice cream, but also because there's no perservative! Although, it's usually gone in a day or two.

Sushi, I Love You So Much, I Want to Hug You!

Sushi is one of my favorite food. There are so many variety, even the traditional ones (different kind of fishes). Non-tradition sushi can be made of any fillings and ingredients. I feel like if I can only eat one thing in my whole entire life, it would be sushi because I will never get tired of the varieties! Oh my gosh, I love sushi so much that I just want to hug it day and night!

Well, I can't really hug sushi because it will just turn into mush. I can hug a pillow though. This is when I come into realization...sushi and pillow...sushi pillow!

Now let me introduce the ingredients/components:

Tools and ingredients of this hug-able sushi. To make this sushi super hug-able, I use high grade polyester fiber from Joanne's (I love that store along with Michael's). Oh yes, also my hands because my sewing machine broke.

Sushi is not sushi without rice, duh!

Of course, it also need one or some kind of ingredient. Tomago or egg in this case.

Seaweed is optional, but it definitely adds so flavor to the mix.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give hand-sew tamago sushi pillow!

The way I like my sushi is that the rice to be delicate and not mushed--each grain is individually defined. The ingredient is big but not overwhelmingly big, and the seaweed to be semi-dry, never soggy!

I'm saving this big sushi for someone special! Now, I think I am going to celebrate the finish of this pillow with some real edible sushi! Sayonara!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt & Cucumber Sauce)


12oz greek yogurt
1 medium cucumber
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
1/2 clove garlic, chopped
1 & 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
some salt
Here I use Persian cucumber since I thought Persian is quite close to Greek geographical wise. But of course, English cucumber would work perfectly fine too! Also, I use bottled lemon juice just because it was at my convienence, feel free to use fresh squeezed!

1. Peel, seed and dice up cucumber.
2. Place diced cucumber in a colander and sprinkle lightly with salt. Mix and let it stand for 10 minutes.
3. Rinse diced cucumber through water and drain well. Use paper towel to wipe dry.
4. Puree cucumber, garlic, dill and lemon juice.
5. Pour puree into a bowl and mix in greek yogurt.
6. Add more salt if needed.
7. Refrigerate a bit before serving.

Sauce should bit a little thick like Ranch salad dressing.

Friday, December 11, 2009


675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA
(408) 446-1101

One of my top choices for Japanese ramen is Santouka. Why? Because their ramen is so authentic! The first bowl of Santouka I ever had was back in January of 2008 in Los Angeles, and then some in San Diego. Yup, it was very memorable because it was so good! After they opened one in the Japanese supermarket, Mitsuwa in San Jose late this year, I couldn't wait to go get myself a couple bowls!

The reason I said Santouka ramen is pretty authentic is because one, they stick with basic soup bases, such as shoyu, miso and shio. It doesn't matter which soup bases you get, they are all very, very rich in flavor! Second is that their soup is super duper oily (like those in Japan)! The oil definitely keep the ramen and soup hot and tasty. Every bite was hot! Third, they offer side bowl of hearty rice with toppings, which you can order separately. The toppings for those rice is very Japanese. They include green onions, or diced up chashu, or ikura (salmon roe), or even natto (fermented soybeans)!

The soup is hot and rich. It is so, so good...I always drink a lot of it. The noodle is pretty yellow, thin and chewy, and taste very homemade. The chashu is very fatty, thus very tender. It is on a saltier side.

Miso Ramen - Hearty bowl of ramen with chashu, bamboo shoots, woodear mushroom, fishcake and green onions in miso soup base.

Shoyu Ramen - Hearty bowl of ramen with chashu, bamboo shoot, fish cake and fried seaweed in soy sauce soup base

Natto Over Rice - Really strong in smell, and very slimey. It is definitely something that need to be aquire in taste. I did not like it very much.
Ikura Over Rice - The ikura was pretty fresh. Ikura is usually salty, so it certainly adds flavor to the rice.

The only "bad" thing about Santouka is that, there is always a wait. In a way, it's psychological because you usually have to wait for your food in a restaurant, but since Santouka is like at a food court in a supermarket, you would think it would be fast like food court at the malls. There is always a wait because there are always a lot of people who order before you, and they make it when you order it.

If I am in that area, I would go get my bowl of Santouka ramen.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cream Puff with Chocolate Custard

Almost every potluck we have at work, one of the scientists' wife always make us cream puff! The light but airy exterior and creamy interior brings joy every time I bite into it. Same goes with Beard Papa's cream puff. =)

Cream puff batter puffing up in the oven.

Cooling down.

Cream puff with chocolate custard.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I felt like doughnut the other night, and it was freezing cold outside, so I decided to make my own. This recipe is so fast and easy, it makes getting and eating a doughnut much pleasurable!

This recipe does not contain yeast, so the texture is a little more bready, which tastes more like a Chinese sweet doughnut than the American kind.

~ makes 24
1 cup granuated sugar
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups all purpose flour
2 eggs
1 cup milk
3 tablespoon melted butter
vegetable oil for frying
some granuated or confectioner's sugar for dusting

1. Sift together sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and flour.
2. Beat eggs thoroughly, then stir into dry ingredients.
3. Add milk and melted butter.
4. Roll about 1/2 inch thick on a floured board and cut with a donut cutter or round cooking cutter. The donut will puff up when fried.
5. Fry several at a time in 375 degree F oil until browned.
6. Drain on a paper towels.
7. Dust with granuated or confectioner's sugar.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Plant Breeding + Grapefruit Orange Jello

Plants breeding takes many trials and experiments. But it
is through these great experiment that the best traits of similar plant species come together; thus giving us such tasty and unqiue fruits and veggies varieties.

Well, I simply don't have that much time at home to cross two of my favorite citruses together especially when I only get a couple hours after work, therefore, I will take a shortcut.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...grapefruit + orange...Orapefruit!

The picture quality of this slice of "Orapefruit" is not very good here, but if you look closely, you can see orange and white grapefruit pulps!