30 March 2015

Matcha Tres Leches Cake

Hello blogworld! I'm finally free to blog! Although, I will be MIA again for another 2-3 weeks. :P I'm actually typing this post at the airport about to board the plane for Korea and Nepal. I seriously only have a ticket to Nepal and NO plans. This makes my type A personality go crazy, but I haven't had any time to book/plan anything, so I am without hotel, itinerary, travel insurance or proper hiking equipment. Yikes... It's supposed to be raining all throughout my trip and I only brought a pair of Nikes to trek the Himalayan range. Hmmm.. I'm starting to worry now, but I'm about to board in half and hour and can't do anything about it. D:

I hope I come back in one piece... Besides that, I made this cake as homage to the matcha almond lattes I drank every.single.day.of.studying. I'm really sensitive to caffeine and coffee makes me go crazy, so I was so grateful when I learned of Encha from my fave blogger, Betty of  lejusdorangeblog.com. They make different grades of matcha, which is awesome because I always feel guilty using a lot of it for baking. Matcha lattes seriously saved my life, since I obviously can't be sleeping all day and they taste so delicious that it put me out of my studying misery. THANK YOU ENCHA!

Matcha Tres Leches Cake

makes a 8 x 8" cake
adapted from allrecipes.com

6 tbsp white sugar (divided)
3 medium/small egg yolks
3 medium/small egg whites
2.5 tbsp almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp matcha powder - using almond latte grade from ENCHA

3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tbsp matcha powder
heavy whipping cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour bottom and sides of a 8x8" pan
  2. Beat egg yolks with 3 tbsp of sugar until fluffy. Mix in 2.5 tbsp milk, vanilla, flour, baking powder and matcha powder
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites with the other 3 tbsp of sugar until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into the batter carefully
  4. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean
  5. Allow the cake to completely cool. Pour a ton of holes into it with a fork or toothpick. Mix together the condensed milk, evaporated milk, almond milk and matcha powder. Pour over the cake slowly until it is absorbed. Chill in the fridge overnight
  6. You can whip about 1/2 cup of whipping cream and put an even layer on top before chilling. I just served the cake with dollops of whipped cream and strawberries

I received a bag of Encha culinary-grade matcha for this post. But, I honestly love their stuff and bought their almond-grade out of my own pocket, which I used to make this cake. All product opinions are my own!

31 January 2015

Matcha Mochi Waffles with Maple Grapefruit Syrup

Haha, I know I said I was going to be on a blogging hiatus, but I just finished my last exam in school and I am taking a break this weekend before I plunge into the depths of studying. I literally have a brain fart and it needs recuperating. I'm going back to Los Angeles TODAY, where it is 80F (Fahrenheit means nothing to me as a celsius user, but at least I know this is warm)!! I shall be packing my rainbows (flip flops for Californians), shorts and tees. Although, what's the use of sun when I'm going to be indoors studying all the time.. :(

I leave you with this super simple recipe. I love matcha in everything, as you can see here, here, here, here, here, and here.  Okay, I didn't realize there were going to be so many links. Also, check out what I made in prep for lunar new year's below. It's a pseudo Japanese kagami-mochi... something you'll find everywhere for new year's. It's supposed to bring you lots of luck and prosperity for the new year, which is something I really need for this exam (literally a miracle please).

Anyway, this is seriously my final good bye... seriously :P.  I will be back soon though XOXO

Matcha Mochi Waffles with Maple Grapefruit Syrup

serves 4-5

3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup mochiko
2 tbsp sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp matcha tea powder (from Panatea)
1/4 tsp salt

1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp melted butted
3/4 - 1 cup buttermilk

Maple Grapefruit Syrup
1 grapefruit, segmented
brown sugar
maple syrup

  1. Preheat oven to high broil setting. Lay segmented grapefruit on a lined baking tray. Sprinkle generously with brown sugar and just a little streak of maple syrup over them. Broil until caramelized
  2. For the waffles, mix dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour to salt) and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Combine and mix so no lumps remain
  3. Preheat waffle iron and make waffles like you usually do!
  4. Serve hot waffles with grapefruit and more maple syrup

Here, I dressed up the waffles to look like kagami-mochi decorations you find around Japan during the Lunar New year. This makes me laugh hahaha.

20 January 2015

Bulgogi Kimchi-jeon Waffle Sandwich - 불고기 김치전 와플 샌드위치

While growing up, my mum, being the ultimate Korean tiger mum, tells me before any exam that that exam was going to be the most important exam of my life. In primary school, my mum said my 6th grade scholastic exam was probably going to be life-defining. Then, I hit secondary school and she said my GCSEs (some British exam) were going to be life-changing. And before I went off to college, she said my IB diploma exam was going to be a matter of life and death...  Now, I'm in med school and in the midst of studying for what is probably the most important exam of my life. Haha lol, I think I'm turning into mum.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that my upcoming exam is going to suck up a lot of time, so I will be taking blogging hiatus. I guess I could have started with that, so you didn't have to read all the junk above. #Sorrynotsorry, also #notsorryforthehastag!  I will be keeping my instagram alive though, because I am severely insta-obsessed. Only some mind-blowing, turn-water-into-wine miracle of an exam can stop me from instagramming.  Come find me there! (Did I put enough links? :P)

But for now, I leave you with this behemoth of a sandwich... until next time!

Bulgogi Kimchi-jeon Waffle Sandwich - 불고기 김치전 와플 샌드위치 

makes 2 waffle sandwiches

1.5 cup Korean pancake/jeon flour mix
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup kimchi, chopped into bits
3 tbsp kimchi juice
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil

Your favorite bulgogi recipe - click for details
1 lb rib eye, sliced thinly
1 asian pear
1/2 onion
3-4 cloves garlic
5 tbsp soysauce
3 tbsp mirin or cooking wine
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp pepper

2 fried eggs
handful of baby kale and chard
  1. In a large bowl, mix together Korean pancake flour and water. Add and mix in chopped kimchi, green onions, kimchi juice and oil
  2. Preheat your waffle iron, grease with a little veg oil and make waffles like you would normally do. Cook your bulgogi and fry your eggs in the meantime.
  3. To assemble: place 1 waffle down on a plate. Stack bulgogi, kale and a fried egg. Top with another kimchi waffle and eat it while it's hot
Note: If preparing a batch, you can easily double the waffle batter. ****Cool on wired racks because condensation at the bottom will make the waffle go soggy!!

07 January 2015

Roasted Winter Harvest

This blog post is going to be a little wordy since it is doubling up as a school assignment. I promise it will be good read about food scarcity, urban farms and my volunteer experience at the Shalom farms in Richmond, VA. But…if you prefer to go straight to the recipe (at the bottom), I won’t mind at all!

I decided to try my hand at farming to complete community service hours for school, since I had some experience chasing after chicken and digging manure in a small farm in Mexico (that is in itself another story!). As a food blogger and medical student, I understand the necessity of receiving proper nutrition in order to survive and stay healthy. When we think of hunger, we mostly envision bony children with bloated bellies, waiting in long lines for some mealy porridge and water. This is the kind of hunger we see on billboards, on television---the evident starvation in countries with severe food shortage that one cannot miss.

However, there is also a largely unseen kind of hunger that is very present day-to-day in the US. It exists not because we lack food or the land or the resource to produce it. In fact, the US throws away 35 million tons of food each year. It is a kind of hunger that may not present as typically skinny, but excessively obese.  The kind that is caused by food insecurity and consequences of low income and poverty. We see this in many inner city areas including those in Richmond, where low income families are unable to afford fruits and vegetables, unable to access a grocery store and unable to find fresh food among the ever-growing number of pizza, burger and fast food joints. Food insecure and low-income people also face unique challenges in adopting healthful behaviors including cycles of food deprivation and overeating, high levels of stress, limited access to health care and fewer opportunities for physical activity.

Wanting to know more about food insecurity, I began to spend my weekends at Shalom Farms, a farm with a mission to increase access to fresh produce in urban Richmond. There, I learned the importance of sustainable organic farming and eliminating wasteful resource use. I was able to get hands-on experience harvesting all kinds of gourds, peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes. I pulled out weeds from the berry patch in preparation for the next cycle of planting and even recycled rotting tomatoes to fertilize the soil. As an organization that relies on volunteers, I was grateful to be part of the experience. It felt good to know where the food was coming from, how it was being grown, and to know that it will soon be distributed to communities in need.

Minimizing inequalities to food access and stopping hunger starts with increasing healthy options, encouraging nutritious behavior and empowering communities to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I know that nutrition education that will play a large role in my career as a physician and hopefully, I will soon be counseling patients about food, diet and making healthy choices.

Thanks to Shalom farms for the invaluable learning experience! (details about the farm below). Here, I made a dish focusing on local produce and simple preparation as a reflection of my time spent at the farm.

Roasted Winter Harvest 

adapted from Martha Stewart

1 pound beets (about 3 medium) - mix of red and golden, trimmed and scrubbed
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4" slices
1 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4" slices
2 medium plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4" slices
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Worcestershire sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap beets tightly in parchment-lined foil. Roast on a baking sheet for about 30 mins (just par-cooked). Let cool completely and then peel and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  2. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees
  3. In a 5x7" deep dish or oval gratin dish, stack sliced of potato, beet, tomato and onion so they look like collapsed dominos
  4. Season with salt, pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce
  5. Sprinkle thyme over the top and drizzle about 3-4 tbsp of olive oil. Cover with foil and bake for about 1 hour
  6. Uncover and broil just until the tops caramelize... don't burn it like I did :(
  7. Let cool slightly before serving
Best eaten that day because the beets start to dye all the other vegetables around it :/

Thanks to Shalom Farms (please visit them if you're in the Richmond area!)
1033 Rock Castle Road
Goochland, VA 23063

21 December 2014

Chocolate Cookie Pine Cones

It's almost Christmas and school's out. I've already caught up on The Mindy Project and watched 1000 youtube videos. I've been in PJs all day and my mane is looking like Lion King's.  'Tis the life! I'm about to board the plane in 5 hours back to LA. Apparently, the forecast is going to be warm and sunny (what else do you expect?). Yay! So excited to eat some home cooking and get me some daily pampering from mum.

I've been baking up a storm, now that I have time, and decided to get a little creative. I did spend too much time on pinterest while I was studying for the final exam :P but at least that time was well spent (maybe?). Here are some cookie sculptures to get you in that christmas spirit :)

Happy happy holidays and I hope your Christmas is filled with warmth, laughter and lots of hot chocolate xoxo

Chocolate Cookie Pine Cones

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

3 Candy canes
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup nutella
1 tbsp butter, softened

  1. In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, salt). Beat butter and sugar until fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla. Mix the butter mix and dry ingredients together until it forms a soft dough. Roll between 2 sheets of wax paper to 1/4 inch and refrigerate it for at least 2 hrs
  2. Preheat oven to 360F, roll the chilled dough thinner to 1/4". Make a grid to make 1/2x1/2" squares. Lay them out on a lined baking tray. Doesn't have to be that spread apart because they won't expand much
  3. Bake for 6-9 mins and let cool. They will harden as they cool.
  4. Mix the "glue": powdered sugar and peanut butter, Nutella and butter together and refrigerate for about 10 minutes
  5. Cut candy cane to about 3" tall. Put the glue all over it and stick on the cookies. It helps to create a base on the bottom so it stands and then scoop more glue and add the cookies. Add them more upright as you go along the "spine". You can cut the cookies smaller as you go to the top too. 
  6. Dust with powdered sugar!

11 December 2014

Macarons au chocolat et à la crème de Marrons {chocolate macarons + chestnut cream}

Oh look at me being all fancehhh. Who am I kidding? I learned French for 7 years and I still can't speak a lick of it, so I guess that makes me kind of useless :(. Although, I can say "I would like some fries" so I will be able to navigate at least in McDonald's in Paris ("ze fries, plz").  But!! I do make mean macarons and this super freaking deliciously creamy chestnut puree.  If this doesn't scream christmas, I don't know what does.

Bahhh, I can't wait for winter break already. My body is currently in lecture, but my mind has checked out a long time ago. Probably since thanksgiving, which is no bueno because I have 3 exams and a paper to look forward to until the sweet escape of Christmas and.. GIFTS!! The only thing that is worth getting this year is this Individual ice cream maker. It is almost like having ice cream on demand. Unless you can train your bf to do this, although this never happens, but I'm working on it (and he's not going to be happy reading this hahahaha).

Chocolate Macarons with Chestnut Cream

Chocolate Macarons
1/2 cup almond flour
1 cup powdered sugar
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 egg whites (aged 2 days in room temperature)
5 tbsp granulated sugar
pinch of cream of tartar

Chestnut Cream
1 cup heavy cream
200g roasted chestnut (I buy these in Asian supermarkets, roasted, shelled and ready to eat)
1.5 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1/2 tbsp cornstarch (if necessary)

Chestnut filling
  1. In a small pot, add all the ingredients except cornstarch and simmer on low for about 30 minutes, while stirring it from time to time to prevent burning. The cream will become quite thick and a layer will form on the top, but you can just stir that back in.
  2. Using an immersion blender, blend the paste until smooth, keep heating and stirring vigorously now until you reach desired consistency. It should be very thick, almost like the consistency of mashed potatoes (but not quite there). If not, add cornstarch.
  3. Let it cool and then transfer into a pastry bag and refrigerate. It will become more thick as it cools too. You will only need about 1/2 of the cream but this is SO delicious on toast

Detailed macaron making here
Chocolate Macaron Shells
  1. Prepare at least 2 baking trays lined with parchment paper or silicone and a pastry bag with a 1/2" tip 
  2. Pulse almond flour, powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a food processor until mixed and airy. Set aside.
  3. Whip egg whites on low speed until frothy looking and gradually add the granulated sugar on medium until soft peaks form. Add a pinch of cream of tartar and continue to whip on high speed just until the peaks are stiff and does not deflate/wilt under gravity when you hold it upright
  4. Add half of the dry mix and gently fold into the egg whites with a spatula. Once half incorporated, dump the rest of the dry ingredients and fold. Start to squish the batter on the sides of the bowl to squeeze out the air. You can be very rough with the batter now. Mix for about 50 turns or until a drizzle from your spatula disappears into the batter 
  5. Transfer batter into pastry bag and pipe out circles to your desired size. Rap the baking trays onto the counter to allow bubbles to pop from the batter. You can use a toothpick to pop the ones that didn't rise to the surface. Allow to dry for at least 1 hour or until the batter is dry to touch (timing depends on the weather)
  6. Preheat oven to 310F. Bake dried shell batter for 15-17 mins. I usually er to 16-17mins so that I don't get soggy shells. 
  7. Pipe filling onto cooled shells, sandwich and PUT IT IN THE FRIDGE in an airtight container. Literally, don't eat them on the first day. They don't taste as marvelous. These chocolate macarons especially taste so so so amazing when the chestnut cream has softened the macaron shells and imparted some flavor onto the shells.

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