My fave trip!!!

December 30, 2008

One of my favorite things to do when we leave town is to stock up on my Asian spices. It is one of those things that you take for granted until you permanently relocate to an area where they don’t even sell rice in larger than the 5-lbs bag.

Here are some pictures of my pantry must-have that I got during my trip to Michigan.

Picture 1: I found these cool tofu earlier this year. You know why they’re cool? They don’t have to be refrigerated, which lets me put them in the trunk and forget about it until I have to unload them. So in my mind, I am thinking that they must have added enough additives to make them stay “fresh” without refrigeration. But around where I live, they cost me an arm and leg of $3.99 or $4.99, while these are about $1.19. What about that!!! So anyways, aside from the weird concept of having non-refrigerated tofu, both Red and I had eaten them plenty of time before, and we both are still well, alive, and eating!

Picture 1: I don’t know why I dedicated an entire paragraph on these tofu, but a small paragraph should rightfully goes to ready to eat Peanut Sauce. They sell two variety: one for Satay (Skewered Meat) and another one for Gado Gado (which is an Indonesian-style salad). Gado gado is very time consuming to make, but the satay one is a fave at our house. Red made sure that we bought enough of these paste so we can grill up some chicken in style!

Picture 2: Fried Chips – If you have ever been to Southeast Asia, you would notice that we absolutely love chips (and condiments!). Everywhere you go, you will see so many variety of them that it makes my heart sing! Here are some of the flavors that I was able to find here: shrimp, onion, and paddy oats. They come uncooked, and then you will have to spend an afternoon frying them. And then I will beg Red to bag them up and lock it down in the basement, or I would finish them in one sitting.

Picture 3: Sesame oil (great for a lot of things, like Chinese or Korean style dishes), Pandan Essence (I don’t know yet what to do with it, but I will find something to use it in!), Fish Sauce (2009 may be the year that I finally try my hands on those gorgeous Vietnamese Style Pork Chops!) and tons of hot sauces!

With these items in my pantry, I feel like I am ready to tackle another year, well a few months of cooking, until my next trip to one of my fave places in the world.

Molten Chocolate Cake

December 30, 2008


Serves 6

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for muffin tins
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for muffin tins
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  • Whipped Cream or Ice Cream for serving


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Generously butter 6 cups of a standard muffin tin.
  • Dust with granulated sugar, and tap out excess. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar until fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • With the mixer on low speed, beat in flour and salt until just combined.
  • Beat in chocolate until just combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.
  • Place muffin tin on a baking sheet; bake just until tops of the cakes no longer jiggle when the pan is lightly shaken, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes.
  • To serve, turn out cakes, and place on serving plates, bottom sides up. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve with whipped cream, if desired.

When they say “generously butter” the muffin tins, you seriously need to do this, or the cakes will not come out from the pans, like mine did.

Courtesy of Martha Stewart.

Classic Lapis Legit

December 30, 2008

Classic Lapis Legit

20 egg yolks
150 g confectioners sugar
350 g butter, at room temperature
2 Tbs. sweetened condensed milk
1/4 tsp. bumbu Spekoek (All Spice powder)
1/2 tsp vanila powder
35 g all purpose flour
10 g powdered milk

  • Beat the butter and the sweetened condensed milk until white and fluffy using paddle attachment, set aside.
  • Meanwhile, sift together all the dry ingredients (flour, bumbu Spekoek, vanili powder, and powdered milk) and set aside.
  • Beat the egg yolks and the sugar using the balloon whisk attachment until very thick.
  • Add the sifted dry ingredients and continue whisking until well incorporated.
  • Add the beaten butter to the egg mixture and mix well using the paddle attachment or fold gently using spatula. Make sure that there’s no streak of butter left, or else you will have a rubber like layer in the bottom of your cake. The batter would be very thick with spreadable consistency.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F
  • Grease and lined a standard loaf pan with a parchment paper.
  • Spread about 2-3 tablespoons of batter into the prepared pan and spread the batter evenly using the back of a spoon. Bake for about 10 minutes until the top is golden brown. The time will vary depending on different oven and how much batter you put in the pan.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and change the oven setting to low broil (if you’re in the US). Press the top of the cake using anything that’s flat (I even use the back of a spoon). Then, add another couple of tablespoons of batter and spread it evenly. the heat from the pan will help soften the butter to make it easier to even out.
  • Put the pan back in the oven and cook for about 6-10 minutes until the top is brown (not burnt!).
  • Repeat this step until all of the batter is used up.
  • Remove from the oven, let cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then unmold.
  • Cut the four sides of the cake to make it neat and so that all of the layers are shown.

Sauteed Tofu

December 27, 2008

My grandmother used to make this dish when I was growing up in Indonesia. It is so simple to make, uses one of my fave ingredients, tofu, and a great pairing to a meat dish with strong flavoring. Sometimes I throw in some shitake mushrooms, and use chicken instead of shrimp as variation. If I decide to use chicken, you can still follow the same steps below, except that you need to cook the chicken first before adding in the tofu.
As many other grandmothers out there, she really didn’t give me exact measurements to everything, she’s used to a pinch of this and a little bit of that. This recipe is my best shot of her recipe.

Sauteed Tofus
  • 1 firm tofu, chopped into 1-inch cube
  • 1/2 cup of coarsely deveined shrimp
  • 1 tbsp of canola oil
  • 1 generous tbsp of chopped garlic
  • 3 tbsp of fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of ground white pepper
  • Chopped green onions
  • Fried shallot for garnish
  • Sautee the chopped garlic in canola oil until soft and slightly browned in medium heat.
  • Add shrimp, tofu, fish sauce, salt, and white pepper. Let it sit for about 10 mins, covered. Turn down the heat.
  • Fold in the green onions.
  • Sprinkle fried shallots before serving.

Merry Christmas from Charlotte

December 27, 2008

This is Charlotte Mae, my 19-month old St. Bernard puppy. Charlotte was born on May 29, 2007 in Michigan. “C.H.”, as I dearly call her by, is a very well-behaved puppy. We first adopted her brother, which we named Noodle. A couple of months after we brought him home, Noodle died from heart-attack in the middle of the day. Charlotte came later, healed our broken heart with her big loving heart, wet sloppy kisses, and has been with us for about 15 months.
She loves snow and this is how she looks like after playing and digging out in the snow. Merry Christmas!!!


December 21, 2008

I was thrilled to run into this recipe on Smitten Kitchen‘s website. I am not a chocoholic like my husband is, but I do like good quality chocolate treats. Since I first tried this heavenly treat many years ago, I have been searching to find something similar to this everywhere (at the malls, chocolate shops, upscale bakeries, none!) but haven’t run into one yet. The ones that I have found on chocolate shops are usually orange gummy bears dipped in chocolate instead of actual orange peels. This also gets my husband motivated to eat two oranges in one sitting!

Thank God for this recipe.


3 large oranges
1 1/2 cups water
4oz semi-sweet chocolate


Bring a pot of water to a boil (not using the above 1 1/2 cups water) and blanche orange peels for a couple of minutes.

Remove the peels, rinse with cold water, and repeat. Drain well.
Meanwhile, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Carefully add the peels to the saucepan. Allow to return to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour.

Be sure to periodically check on the syrup level – you don’t want the peels to burn.
After an hour, remove the peels from the syrup and let them cool on a rack.
Meanwhile, melt chocolate in a double boiler and when peels are cool, dip them in the chocolate. Let them dry on a piece of parchment paper set on a cookie sheet.

When all have been dipped, move them to the fridge for 20 min or so to allow the chocolate to set up.

Starbucks’ Cranberry Bliss Bar

December 21, 2008

My sister is a Starbucks’ addict. I seriously think that she needs to go talk to one of my college classmates who work at Starbucks, to see if she can get a job there. I believe it would cut down on her daily commute to Starbucks for her coffee and treat fix. When I saw several recipes on line, I knew that I had to make it for her. I decided to use the one from Mr. Breakfast’s website as a starter and made several modifications to the recipe since there are several versions out there.

This version below turned out pretty good, with a good mixture of sweet and tanginess (from the frosting). I did, unfortunately, feel that this was baked a little bit too long because the edges were browned pretty good. The recipe requested 20-25 minutes, but I think mine would have been sufficient with just 20 mins or even less ~ although the flavor was still excellent.

Some of the reviewers on line said that it was too sweet, so when I added cream cheese to the frosting, I only added a little bit of the powdered sugar. I also omitted the melted white chocolate garnish.

For Cake Base
2 sticks margarine (or butter if you want to indulge), softened
1 and 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup minced dried cranberries (I used 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup Lindt or Perugina or other quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup minced candied ginger

For Frosting:
4 ounce cream cheese, softened (I used 6 ounce)
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar (I used 1 -3/4 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon Gran Marnier (since I didn’t have any orange extract or real orange for some zest, and I really thought that cranberry would go great with orange)
2 tbsp butter, softened (I omitted the butter)

For Garnish:
(I decided to skip the melted white chocolate, so I just sprinkled the cranberries )
2 Tablespoons minced dried cranberries
1/3 cup white chocolate chips (e.g. Ghiradelli or Guittard) — melted

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a 9×13 pan.
Beat butter and sugar together for the cake base, and add eggs/vanilla beating until fluffy.
Sift together flour, ginger, and salt and then add to the butter/sugar mixture beating well.
Fold in the cranberries, chocolate and ginger.

Spread thick batter in pan and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden.
When cake is cooled, mix all frosting ingredients together and spread a thin layer over the cake. Immediately sprinkle with the minced cranberries.
Then use a cake decorating bag of melted white chocolate with a tiny decorating tip (like the size used for writing on cakes) and drizzle the chocolate over the cake.
Cut this into bars immediately because the white chocolate hardens pretty fast and makes cake cutting messy