20 May 2015

Matcha Affogato (no-churn)

My arms are full of babies this week! I'm currently working a week at the newborn nursery, and I see tiny hands and feet all day. I'm not one for babies usually, but I see their scrunched up faces and rolling chubby folds in their arms and I just melt. Omgee, my womanly hormones must be finally kicking in. I'm learning so many life lessons every day from the nurses and residents (that is if I ever decide to have children), that I almost feel like a regular baby expert haha! Then I see the faces of exhausted mums and dads and they're so tired that even their words are slurring... and I think, yea... I have no idea what having a child is like :P

But seriously, all my friends are getting married or having babies. There must be something in the water, or I'm just becoming an old fart. Although, med school has me all tied up for the next gazillion years, so I better freeze my eggs now!  

It's becoming almost unbearably hot and humid in Richmond. I get to the hospital at the crack of dawn and it is still so stiflingly hot. Sometimes I wish I had a gigantic ice cooler strapped to my chest while I walk to school. I just crave all things cold, so I've made this cooling dessert just for summer. It's a play on an Italian dessert called affogato (literally translates to "drowned"), where you take one scoop of cold vanilla gelato and then dump a shot of hot espresso over it.

This is my matcha take on the popular affogato dessert. A cold scoop of no-churn coconut matcha ice cream, topped with a shot of freshly whisked matcha!

Matcha Coconut Affogato
makes 6 servings

2 cans coconut milk or 1 can coconut cream (refrigerated overnight)
2 tsp vanilla
1-2 tbsp Panatea matcha (add to your discretion, I really like it strong so I even go up to 2-3tbsp)
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup honey (optional: adjust to taste)

  1. Take out refrigerated coconut milk, open one side of the can and scoop out ONLY solid portion into a mixing bowl. Save left over coconut water for shakes or just drink it! Whisk on high speed until light and fluffy.
  2. Whisk in vanilla, matcha and condensed milk. If it seems a little liquid-y, it's okay... it seems to freeze just fine!
  3. Fill up a pint container, freeze overnight. When ready, allow to thaw outside a little so it is easier to use an ice cream scooper
  4. Whisk 3 tbsp boiling water and 1 tsp of matcha powder in a small bowl. Scoop 1/2 cup ice cream into a short glass or small dessert bowl. Pour 1 hot matcha shot over ice-cream and serve immediately.

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with panatea matcha. All opinions are my own.

15 May 2015

Roasted Strawberries Matcha Popsicles

I just started pediatrics rotation, which is kind of cool because I get to play Wii all day with the kids. Well, not really... I had a week of peds hematology and oncology, so it's been somewhat emotional on the floor and with the patients. Some kids are super well and happy, some not so much. Although, I really did play dance Wii, and got in a great workout, so I'm pretty much set for the rest of the month as far as exercise is concerned haha.

It's pretty exciting working in the hospital instead of studying at the desk all day! I'm constantly surrounded by smart people all day, so I'm learning a lot but also feeling incredibly stupid everyday :P. Anyway, one of my patients looked like a mix of Dora the explorer and Strawberry Shortcake. She's so cute! Plus, she has this insatiable sweet tooth, so these popsicles kind of reminded me of her :D.

Roasting strawberries is a pretty new idea to me, but I've been seeing a lot of blog posts about them so I thought I'd give it a try. Roasting them really caramelizes the sugar and intensifies the flavors (berry berry yummy...haha I had to say it). Do try it while it's berry season!

Other amazing roasted strawberries ideas:

Roasted Strawberries Matcha Popsicles
adapted from withfoodandlove

1/2 lb strawberries
3 tbsp honey
1 can coconut milk (lite or full fat)
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp PANATEA matcha (cooking grade)

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Cut Strawberries in 1/2, drizzle with honey and roast for 15-20mins or until soft.
  2. Allow to cool and then mash roasted strawberries in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup coconut milk and distribute the mix into the molds
  3. In a blender (I used an immersion blender), blend remaining coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk and matcha powder. Pour matcha mix carefully over the roasted strawberries. Freeze for a few hours or overnight
  4. Run mold under warm water for a few minutes to help the popsicles unstick

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with panatea matcha. All opinions are my own.

10 May 2015

Matcha Checkerboard Shortbread Cookies

Ummah 엄마 - that's what mothers are called in Korean. And I love my ummah and she loves me like crazy (well... most of the time :P). When I lived at home before college, I wanted to get out of the house as soon as possible. My mum was one of those tiger mum types. If I slept at midnight, she'd yell and tell me that while I was sleeping there were other kids up way past 2am with bleeding noses because they were studying so hard. My mum expected us to use encyclopedias as pillows and to study until the crack of dawn. Every night, she would camp out on the living room sofa and my sister and I would come out of our rooms to study on the living room table so she could keep an eye out on us. Of course, by 11pm she'd be fast asleep on the couch, except you could never tell because she sleeps with her eyes open!

Sometimes, we'd take turns to wave a hand in front of her face and make sure she's sleeping. If we were lucky, we would hop straight into bed and then hear our mum a few hours later waking up groggily and walking back to her room :P. We'd hold our breaths until we heard the squeak of her mattress sink under her weight. Sometimes, we weren't so lucky in our endeavors... And when you have a mother who sings soprano at a Korean community church, you can be sure you'll be hearing that voice for miles. Thinking about it, my sister and I probably really needed an iron fist when it comes to studying, because we were such lazy kids haha...

Despite the draconian studying, our mum was always looking out for us. Every summer when I left Hong Kong for Houston, I lugged two very full suitcases; one filled with my clothes and another filled with all my favorite home-cooked foods. She was always so worried I would starve myself even if I was already on a meal plan in college. Needless to say, my suitcases were always overweight or needed extra time in security, because I was carrying stinky things like kimchi (scared the sniffing dogs) or suspiciously dense frozen blocks of Korean rice cakes. By the time I was going to graduate, I had enough food left over in the freezer for a zombie apocalypse. But, now I'm so grateful that she can still cook and pack food for me :D
Mum - I love you and thank you that you've always been there for me.
Happy Mother's Day!

Matcha Checkerboard Shortbread Cookies

1-1/4 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
2 cup flour
1 pinch salt
3 tsp PANATEA matcha

  1. Beat softened butter until light and fluffy. Cream together powdered sugar, yolks and vanilla. Mix flour and salt to the butter mixture until a lumpy dough starts to form. Using your hands, press the lumps and knead until dough is smooth.
  2. Separate dough into 2 balls. Knead matcha into one ball until it is uniformly green. Separate each ball in half again.
  3. For each ball, roll/pat into a long cylinder about 12" and then pat to make 4 sides (like a long square). Arrange them on top of each other to make a chessboard and pat lightly together.
  4. Wrap firmly in seran wrap and pat lightly on a flat surface to make the dough log more square.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 360F. With a sharp knife, cut out 1/4" cookies and lay on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Bake for 9-12mins or until slightly browning on the edges.
  8. Let cool for at least 5 minutes.

05 May 2015

Spring Bloom Cookie Wreaths

Hello Spring! It was an amazingly hot day yesterday in Richmond. I actually broke out into a sweat while walking up to school (sometimes my only exercise ever), and all the pretty pink flowers that bloomed in this one tree had just shriveled up from the heat and fallen off :\ I think it's going to be hot all weekend, which means I need to either get up earlier so I can walk at snail pace and avoid getting pit stains on my scrubs or refuse to raise my arms all day.

I think I was supposed to talk about the beauty of Spring and flowers, but somehow got onto the topic of sweating and pit stains (sorry!). It's also going to be mother's day this Sunday!! The day just reminds me of how expensive flower bouquets can be (and how much I love my mum :P). I think one of our pet peeves is receiving flowers. We'd much rather receive a dozen hamburgers or a cake (my mum says straight up cash please)... such romantics :\ So, I wish I could bake these lemony bright cookies for my mum instead of flowers and give her a humongous hug for being the best mum ever. Unfortunately, she is in LA and if she knows that I've been baking instead of studying, she'll have my head on a plate.

These cookies were inspired by winter holiday wreath cookies made by bon appetite (link below). I've gone an put a spring flair on them with dried flower petals I bought at a loose leaf tea store, poppy seeds and chopped nuts. They're just so pretty and motherly looking! I hope your mum loves them as much as I do!

Spring Bloom Cookie Wreaths
inspired by bonappetite

Cookie dough
1.5 stick butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, room temp
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla

2.5 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp milk
handful of dried strawberries, candied rose petals, dried petal tea herbs
handful of chopped almonds or pistachios
poppy seeds

  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, lemon zest and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt and then knead the dough as it comes together.
  2. Make a smooth ball with the dough, seran wrap and flatten slightly. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight (if overnight, let it thaw a little before rolling)
  3. Preheat oven to 400F. Generously flour your surface and rolling pin. Roll out cookie dough to 1/4" thick and cut out wreaths
  4. Bake for 6-10 mins or until the edges slightly brown. Let them completely cool out of the oven
  5. Whisk together in a small bowl, powdered sugar, lemon juice and milk. Dip cooled cookies face down into the icing and let the excess drip. Work quickly to decorate petals, poppy seeds nuts (whatever you like!) on the icing and pressing slightly to make sure it adheres
  6. Let the icing completely dry (may take more than an hour) and serve. Keep remaining cookies in a airtight container and they will last for many days!

28 April 2015

Spring Greens Bibimbap

Hey, happy hump day! I'd like to be more excited about posting today, but today is phlebotomy day. Which means... some student is going to be sticking a needle in a non-existent vein in my anemic arm and sucking out a vial of my blood. Even a trained phlebotomists take a couple of tries and still leave a massive bruise. I'm just scared out of my mind, that all I will have left by the end of today is a stump where my arm is. Haha kidding... but so help me if someone does that "wriggling" motion to find the vein... [insert knife emoji]

Sorry... I didn't plan on talking about blood so early in my post, but that's all that is on my mind :P What I DO want to talk about is SPRING GREENS. Vegetables just taste so robust and vibrant, their flavors so bold and bright! So, I'm highlighting them today in a Korean bibimbap, which is a dish composed of mixed rice, greens and a hot spicy sauce (bibim = mix, bap = rice). Some bibimbaps are cold or hot, some served in stone pots, some entirely composed of vegetables or with meat and raw seafood. I grew up eating bibimbaps almost every week when it was refrigerator clean out days. We would get a bowl of hot rice, throw in just about anything from the fridge and mix it up with fried gochujang (Chili paste).

I promise that this recipe has a bit more finesse than my childhood kitchen sink bibimbaps. There are dandelion greens, spinach, radish, pea shoots and all things spring! And the secret is ALL IN THE SAUCE. Because this is somewhat of a cold/warm bibimbap, the bibim sauce is not what you will find in a typical bibimbap that people are used to in the US. But, it is very popular in Korea and especially my hometown (Busan), where we eat a lot of seafood bibimbaps. The sauce is zesty, tangy and slighty sweet and just makes this bibimbap work. You can even use it like a salad dressing!

serves 4

Bibim sauce
1/4 small apple, grated
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar or agave
1 tsp minced garlic
2 heaping tbsp Korean chili pepper paste (gochujang)

1 bunch dandelion greens (of red and green stemmed kinds)
handful of pea shoots
handful of alfalfa sprouts
5-6 radishes
1/2 carrot
1 bunch wild spinach
3-4 bowls of cooked short grain rice (white or brown)
4 fried eggs, sunny-side up
sesame oil
sesame seeds

  1. Coarsely grate apple in a small sauce bowl. Squeeze in lemon juice, add vinegar, sugar, garlic and gochujang. Mix thoroughly, wrap and let the flavors come together in the fridge (best made day before)
  2. Wash and cut dandelion greens into bite sized pieces. Julienne radishes and carrot
  3. For the wild spinach, blanch in boiling water for 1 min. Rinse with cold water and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Loosen and marinate with a little sesame oil, sesame seeds and salt to taste
  4. In a large bowl, place desired amount of just cooked hot piping rice and top with a sunny side up egg. Arrange all the veggies around the yolk
  5. Drizzle a little bit of sesame oil, dollop a few generous tablespoons of the bibim sauce, and garnish with sesame seeds. Mix and enjoy!

25 April 2015

Raspberry pistachio sable

Hello from the Atlanta airport on my way back to Richmond! Ah, I'm not looking forward to school and starting to feel exhausted already haha. I really should have caught up on sleep, but I started reading this fantasy book series and once I start I can't stop (all nighters, reading on the can etc...). I've been trying to read everything non-medical before school starts! I've also been baking up a storm, and baking into the wee hours of the night. It's bad when you've been startling your family as they come downstairs and see a glowing oven and a pair of eyes in the darkness...oops)

I'm all about spring baking now and really starting to enjoy the warm weather. Actually, it's always warm and sunny weather in LA. I'm just leaving it and going back to Virginia D: Sorry, going back to school brings out the whining in me. I can't help it. I guess I'm just going to have to whine for the next 10 years of my life. haha...(?)

But, I'm super excited to see my friends, my bf and even grudgingly have to admit that I want to go back to a scheduled life. I get so antsy not doing anything and so so restless. I'm the worst couch potato and also the worst person you want to sit next to while watching anything, because I WILL ask numerous questions throughout the movie. I've been driving my mum up the wall while she watches her Korean dramas. "Where is the love triangle? Why is the female protagonist so helpless? Who is she in love with again? Why is the evil wealthy mother so cruel?" You know... the typical K-drama plots. I really only watch them to ogle at the actors hehe...

I leave you with this recipe inspired from a recent visit to a French pastry shop. I think I'm speaking for a lot of bakers out there, but there are times when you see an overpriced pastry and you think to yourself..."I could make that for a fraction of the cost". So I returned home, googled sables, consulted a few French cooking blogs, and got to baking. Here, Sables aka French buttery shortbread is covered in cool vanilla pastry cream, topped with fresh raspberries and studded with crushed pistachios. I recommend you make it (like, seriously) ;)

makes two 6x3" sables
sable breton recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan

Sable breton
70g granulated white sugar
80g butter (~7tbsp)
pinch of salt
2 large egg yolks
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
112g all purpose flour (~ 1 cup)
7.5g baking powder (~ tsp)

Pastry cream
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp flour
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream + 1 tbsp powdered sugar

handful of shelled pistachios, chopped coarsely
6oz raspberries, washed and dried

  1. Cream butter, salt and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, vanilla, lemon zest
  2. Add flour and baking powder and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until a soft dough forms
  3. Press dough into tart molds, filling about half way up. Make an indentation in the middle so you have raised edges (I actually cut a generic cardboard box that holds 4 sticks of butter in half lengthwise and covered that with foil to make my molds! Yay for DIY!). Cover with Seran wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hrs or overnight
  4. For the pastry cream: whisk in a very small pot all the ingredients except whipping cream. Heat and continue to whisk on medium heat until it becomes goopy. Wrap with seran wrap and cool to room temp. In a small bowl, whip heavy whipping cream with powdered sugar until stiff. Fold into cooled pastry cream, cover and put in the refrigerator
  5. Preheat oven to 350F and bake sables for 15-20 mins or until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool completely
  6. Spread honey on the raised edges of the sables and sprinkle coarsely chopped pistachio. Shake off excess. Spread a layer of pastry cream in the center and arrange raspberries on top 
*Best baked and eaten on the same day. Otherwise, cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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