Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year (新年快樂)!


Thanks to all of you who have been reading, following and commenting on  It means a lot to me and I always appreciate your love and supports.  In 2012, I will continue to bring you more delicious recipes, creative ideas, fun reviews, giveaways (of course), and maybe a few contests to change things up a little bit.  Smile 

As we say goodbye to 2011, I want to wish you all a Happy New Year and a Prosperous 2012!  Thank you for making 2011 a wonderful and memorable year.  Cheers!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Miso Pork Noodle Soup with Soft Boiled Egg (ゆで卵)


I hope all of you had a wonderful and blessed Christmas this year.  Mine was filled with wonderful food, lots of presents, great friends and family.  Smile   hm….maybe a few too many cookies and chocolates!  Smile with tongue out  Is there such a thing as too many cookies and chocolate?  hahaha… I guess not.   


Nothing is more comforting than having a bowl of hot noodle soup after the holiday feast. Noodle soup gotta be one of the top 3 of my favorite brunch items. I hope some of you had a chance to make the Roasted Pork Loin with Miso and Asian Pear Glaze in my previous post. Actually, I do make that pork roast from time to time. Because I can use whatever left over to make this Miso Pork Noodle Soup. Plus, my little boy is a big fan of noodle soup, especially when I serve it with the pickled daikon (the yellow half circles you see on the small plate).


This Miso Pork Noodle Soup with Soft Boiled Egg is super simple to make. If you know how to boil water, you can make this noodle soup! No kidding. I love soft boiled eggs, if you are serving them to young kids, elderly or pregnant ladies in the house, just make sure you get the pasteurized eggs so everyone can enjoy a soft boiled with the peace of mind. Winking smile


The trick to prevent cracking on the egg shells is to place the eggs in the cold water before heating your pot. When it’s the doneness you want (I cooked mine 3 to 4 minutes more after the water comes to a full boil), remove the eggs from the pot and run under cool tap water until the eggs are completely cool to the touch. That way, the eggs shells will peel off nicely and won’t stick to the egg whites.


In this particular noodle soup, I thinly sliced the Roasted Miso Pork Loin I had along with some Japanese fish cakes (they comes in all kinds of shapes and colors).  Add the soft boil egg and some bok choi and you are all set.  The pork slices were still very juicy and tender even after reheating in the miso soup.   My little boy declared he can (and wants to) have this noodle soup every day and won’t get bored! 

Thank you for stopping by today and I wish you all a prosperous 2012!  Happy New Year.  

Friday, December 23, 2011

Mendiant with Fleur de Sel


A mendiant is a traditional French confection composed of a chocolate disk studded with nuts and dried fruits representing the four mendicant or monastic orders of the Dominicans, Augustinians, Franciscans and Carmelites.  Well, or it simply means indulgence to me!  Smile with tongue out


If you need a simple last minute dessert to complete your Holiday Meal with a sweet ending, this is it! This is a quick and easy treat to make and unbelievably decadent.  I used roasted pistachios, dried cranberries, roasted almond, and candied orange peels as toppings.  You can simply use any dried fruit and nuts you prefer.  I love these toppings because they add so much vibrant Holiday colors to the mendiants.  The different textures and flavor just complement each other really well. 


You can use any premium chocolate that you like, this time, I used a 70% cocoa bittersweet chocolate as the base.  If this is not pure indulgence, I don’t know what is.  Use a sharp serrated knife for chopping to make your life much easier in the process.  I chopped about one pound of chocolate (minus whatever amount that mysteriously disappeared) and started the tempering process.  Please click here for a pictorial on how to temper chocolate.


Beside the dried fruit and nuts, I also sprinkled some Fleur de Sel on top to finish these mendiants off.  The saltiness really compliments the dark chocolate nicely and rounds out the flavor.  The Fleur de Sel also adds a subtle crunch while the smooth and silky chocolate melts in my mouth.  hm….


Fleur de Sel ("Flower of salt" in French) is a hand-harvested sea salt collected by workers who scrape only the top layer of salt before it sinks to the bottom of large salt pans.  They are a little pricey compared to your daily kosher salt or table salt, but it worth every penny.  Besides, you’re going to need just a small amount in a batch of mediants.  Winking smile


If you haven’t decided on your Holiday desserts, or want to add a quick and easy treat to your menu, give this simple recipe a try.  These mendiants will make a lovely addition to your packaged home made gifts as well.  I think Santa will prefer these over the chocolate chip cookies too!  Open-mouthed smile


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Roasted Pork Loin with Miso and Asian Pear Glaze


If you haven’t decided what entrée to make for the Holiday Dinner, here’s a simple and scrumptious recipe for you.  Honestly, I’m not a big fan of turkey.  They often turn out to be on the 'dry' side rather than juicy and moist.  With that said, I still have to fine tune a turkey recipe.  But I’ll save that task for next year.  This Christmas, I’m totally all over the Oink! Oh, I mean pork.  Smile with tongue out 


This Roasted Pork Loin with Miso and Asian Pear Glaze recipe is wonderful.  Not only that it’s super easy to make, it’s also very favorful.  The meat will turn out tender, juicy and moist.  Want to join me into the kitchen?  Come check it out.

First, we need to hold the pig hostage!  Tie it up so that it does not run away.  Well, actually, the kitchen twine helps the pork loin to stay in its beautiful shape after roasting.  Whatever the case is, tie it up!


Up next, keep the pig happy!  We will need some flavorful marinate to do that.  Winking smile The red miso paste in this recipe is one of the star ingredients.  You might notice from my recipe below that I didn’t use a lot of salt in the marinate because both the miso paste and soy sauce will add saltiness to the meat.


Now, give that pig a mask and a massage!  Smear the marinate onto the pork loin and put it into a ziploc bag and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.  Gotta keep the pig cool!


To make this pig even happier, feed it with some Asian pears!  These pears are crisp, sweet and juicy.  Very different than the skinnier, mushy, green and red version you normally see in the markets.  If you haven’t try these Asian pears before, you need to hung them down and give them a try.  They are delicious as is, and really work wonderfully in this recipe by adding some natural sweetness to the glaze. 


When you are ready to roast, tuck the pig in along with the Aisan pears, onions and chicken stocks.  Let the pig get its beauty sleep in the oven.  Well, more like a nap, I should say.  I have a 3 1/2 pound pork loin and took me 60 minutes to cook.  Make sure a meat thermometer reads 145 degree F when inserted at the thickest part of the meat. 


The whole house smells wonderful when it’s roasting.  When it’s ready to get out of the oven, I couldn’t help but inhaled deeply before I take the whole dish out.  It’s amazing how scrumptious it is.  See how beautiful the pig turns out after its beauty nap?


Let the loin rest on the chopping board covered with a foil for at least 3 minutes.  Now, the pig is happy, relax and satisfy.  You can untie it and serve.  It’s not going anywhere except to your tummy.  And you’ll be one happy camper, or kidnapper.


I reduce the sauce a little and add another tablespoon of miso paste to finish off the glaze/gravy.  These pork loin are wonderful over rice, noodle, or mash potatoes, whatever you prefer.  After I finished my plate, I wanted my beauty nap too! Open-mouthed smile


I’m sharing this recipe with Kitchen PLAY this month.  The National Pork Board is also sponsoring a delicious giveaway at Kitchen PLAY.  All qualifying bloggers in each course will be entered to win a National Pork Board prize.  If you’re joining in the fun, please review the complete contest rules before entering.  Good luck!


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chocolate Yule Log (Bûche de Noël au chocolat) For Christmas—with Step by Step Pictorial

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow….

Sorry for the cheesy opening of this post, I really couldn’t help it.  Open-mouthed smile  But seriously, I envy those of you who get to enjoy a white Christmas.  Although I hate don’t like extremely cold temperature, I don’t mind it for the Holidays.  Oh, who am I kidding!?  If I live in an area that snows, I probably will stay indoor the whole winter with the heater on full blast! Smile with tongue out Please excuse my mumbling and let’s get to the cake.


Now, you know what I did with these Vanilla Meringue Mushrooms from the previous postWinking smile They were made for decorating this Chocolate Yule Log Cake.  This is a very festive cake to make for the Holiday and it’s much easier to prepare than you think.  I make this chocolate roll cake all the time.  The chocolate roll cake is a very popular cake in Asian bakeries.  The only differences of this Chocolate Yule Log cake are the extras chocolate frosting that I spread on to imitate/resembling the log patterns and the Vanilla Meringue Mushrooms on top for decorations.

Here’s the step-by-step pictorial.  First, preheat the oven to 375 degree F. and grease a 10 by 15-inch baking pan with cooking spray.  Then, line the pan with parchment paper.  Make sure the parchment pager is large enough to have at least 2-inch excess on all sides for easy removal when the cake is done.


Next, beat the egg whites with cream of tartar and a pinch of salt until frothy.  Then slowly add around 1/2 of the sugar as stated in the recipe.


Beat until the meringue reach a medium peak.


In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until light and pale yellow.  Then add the vanilla, instant coffee, melted butter and heavy cream until incorporated.  Sift the cocoa powder and cake flour into the egg yolk mixture.  Fold until the dry and wet ingredients are just combined. 


Add 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter and stir until batter is lightened.  Do not worry about deflating the egg white here.


See how much lighter the batter is?  Smile


Then, gently fold in the remaining egg whites in two batches.  Need to be careful now not to over beat the batter and deflate the egg whites too much. 


Gently spread the cake batter evenly onto the prepared cake pan. 


Bake at 375 degree F for 8 to 10 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the cake and comes out clean.  Let cool on a wiring rack completely.


To prepare the filling, beat the whipped cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until stiff peak formed.  Spread evenly onto the cooled cake.


Roll the cake up, from the shorter end.


To prepare the chocolate frosting, whip the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla until stiff peak forms.  Sift in the cocoa powder and fold until well incorporated.  Cut about 2 inches off the rolled cake at an angle, set aside.  Reserve 2 tablespoons of chocolate frosting and spread the rest evenly onto the log.  With the back of a fork, gently press over the chocolate frosting to create the log patterns.  Place the cut off portion on the side of the log and spread the reserved 2 tablespoons of frosting on the side of the smaller log.  Use the fork to create the log patter on this piece as well.  Top with Vanilla Meringue Mushrooms and sprinkle the powdered sugar for the snow effect.  Smile


This Chocolate Yule Log truly brings back many childhood memories.  I remember having my very first Yule Log cake for Christmas when I was about 7 years old.  The cake was bought at a store.  My Grandparents, Parents, Aunts, Uncles, my Brothers and Cousins were all there to celebrate together.  Spending time with family and enjoying good food together are precious and priceless.  I’ll forever treasure and cherish those sweet and warm memories.  I hope you and your family are creating new memories together during this Holiday Season.