Category: Food

Homemade fruit rollups

fruitrollup

I tried making homemade fruit rollups with part of our first peach harvest!

There are several recipes out there, but I went with a simple no-fuss approach:

  1. Started with lots of peaches (maybe a dozen small ones, with the bad parts cut out), peel still on, cut into chunks, cooked until soft
  2. Squeezed juice from one orange into pan, mixed
  3. Pureed everything in the food processor
  4. Spread on parchment paper, stuck in oven overnight, set on lowest possible temperature.

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I ended up leaving the pan in there for half of the next day, too, because some parts were really thick and didn’t seem very dried out. Then I peeled it off.

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Some parts stuck to the parchment.

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I got a clean piece of parchment paper to roll up the fruit leather.

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Then, I got a roll of scotch tape and stickers. I put the sticker UNDER the end of the tape.

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Pulling out enough tape to wrap around the cylinder-of-fruit-leather, I stuck the other end of the tape to the parchment paper to go in the same direction as the “roll.” This way, when the sticker gets peeled off, the fruit rollup can unroll naturally. See picture below:

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The tape has to be long enough to stick to itself, otherwise it will just fall off the parchment paper.

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Then, using a pair of sturdy kitchen shears and brute force, I cut off the end to form a fruit-rollup-sized piece, while holding on tightly to the rest of the cylinder so that it didn’t unroll.

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Ta-da! Store in an airtight container, although they won’t last that long. The kids love them; I personally would try extra-hard to spread everything evenly next time (the edges were more crispy than leathery) and perhaps add some honey to make it a little sweeter.

3 week meal prep

From SharePoint to slow-cooking… this blog is certainly a mishmash of topics!

I just attempted my first three-week menu-planning one-day-prep-cooking and I’ve survived! Menu-planning is a personal thing to me – even though there’s tons of plans out there, I always want to tweak them with things that our family will actually eat. But hey, I’ll throw this out there, in case you find some of the recipes and techniques helpful.

Here’s what I’ve got:

The menu

Week 1: (slightly more intensive cooking because it’s a holiday week!)

  • Sunday – shopping and prep day! Good day for takeout!
  • Monday – Slow cooker ham, mashed cauliflower, sautéed spinach
  • Tuesday – Stuffed cabbage rolls, cauliflower “rice,” rice (for kids)
  • Wednesday – pasties
  • Thursday (Thanksgiving potluck) – pretzel bites
  • Friday (Thanksgiving potluck) – pumpkin pie, Texas roadhouse rolls
  • Saturday – leftovers

Week 2: (back to work… quick dinners and slow-cooker meals!)

  • Sunday (potluck) – Arkansas green beans
  • Monday – Korean beef over cauliflower “rice” (with regular rice for kids)
  • Tuesday – Toasted sesame ginger salmon, bok choy
  • Wednesday – Slow cooker white bean soup with ham, fresh salad
  • Thursday – Slow cooker pulled pork, Hawaiian rolls, fresh salad
  • Friday – leftovers
  • Saturday – dinner with friends

Week 3: (even more slow-cooker and already-prepped meals!)

  • Sunday: Slow cooker Hawaiian style short ribs, steamed broccoli, cauliflower “rice”, rice (for kids)
  • Monday: leftovers or eat out
  • Tuesday: Slow cooker balsamic chicken with veggies, “cauliflower” rice (with regular rice for kids)
  • Wednesday: Pasties
  • Thursday: Slow cooker red lentil coconut soup
  • Friday: Slow cooker beef and tomato stew
  • Saturday: leftovers

(Extra in the freezer: Slow cooker kalua pork, several servings of broccoli)

Keep going past the jump for full shopping list and plan… as well as some tips on how to make your own menu plan.

Continue reading “3 week meal prep”

Making homemade yogurt

I made yogurt for the first time this weekend and it was surprisingly easy! I used the recipe at A Year of Slow Cooking.

Then I made a video of it to submit to Get Rich Slowly’s video contest. That part was fun, too!

The hardest part was really getting the fruit to taste the way you like it. It took a few tries to figure out the optimal ratio of pureed peaches to yogurt (I went with 1 part peaches, 2 parts yogurt) and only after adding a tiny drizzle of honey did it taste as sweet as we like it.

I used GarageBand (on the Mac) to edit the music down to less than two minutes and iMovie to produce the movie using its built-in transitions and text effects.

UPDATE: Oh yeah. The receipt shows the yogurt at $0.79 but I listed $1.00 in my calculations. That particular receipt that I scrounged up listed non-organic yogurt on sale. $1.00 seemed to be the average at my local store for organic yogurt.

Thanksgiving meat cake

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I first saw the Thanksgiving meat layer cake concept on David Seah’s blog and finally remembered to make it for Thanksgiving this year! The cake is basically two round meatloafs, layered with some kind of filling (Dave used stuffing in his, but I went with cranberry sauce) and frosted with mashed potatoes. The result is a beautiful cake that looks scarily like a “real” frosted layer cake. I was afraid that the cake would look pretty but not really be edible, or be too much meatloaf for refined palettes, but it turned out surprisingly delicious and the leftovers were great, too.

I started with a basic meatloaf recipe. I wasn’t exactly sure how much meatloaf I would need to fill my two 9″ round cake pans, so I decided to just make a lot and then use leftovers for meatballs or something similar. As it turned out, I serendipitously had just enough to fill both cake pans to the brim. Although I didn’t really measure per se, here’s what I roughly did to make the meatloaf:

Meatloaf for Thanksgiving Meat Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tsp mustard
  • 4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 packages ground turkey (I think they were about 1 lb each)
  • 1 lb. ground beef (for more meaty flavor)
  • about .75 or 1 lb ground pork (just because I had some and I thought it would help loosen up the mixture and add some yummy pork fat flavor)
  • 3-4 cups fresh breadcrumbs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium or medium-high heat until shimmering, cook onion until softened.
  3. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook for a few seconds.
  4. Mix the eggs, milk, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper in a small bowl or large liquid measuring cup.
  5. Mix the meat, wet mixture, onion mixture, and breadcrumbs together.
  6. Pat the mixture into two round cake pans, slightly indenting the middle of the loaf.
  7. Bake until the center of the loaf is at 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. (I started checking at about 45 minutes but I think it took about an hour total.)
  8. If you need to, gently tip the pans and drain the juices, then let the layers cool.

I had already made the cranberry sauce that morning, making plenty extra to have on the side….

Homemade cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving Meat Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 lb. cranberries

Directions

  1. Boil the sugar, water, and salt in a nonstick saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Add the cranberries and simmer until the cranberries pop open and the liquid thickens slightly.
  3. Cool to room temperature (about an hour). The sauce will become the right consistency.

While the cake cooled, I made the mashed potatoes:

Mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving Meat Cake

Ingredients

  • lots of potatoes (I think I had 6 large potatoes, but I was making extra potatoes for a side dish)
  • a stick or two of butter
  • a cup or two of heavy whipping cream
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Peel potatoes and cut into large chunks.
  2. Put potatoes in a pot and cover with water.
  3. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are tender.
  4. Scoop potatoes into a standing mixer bowl, mashing roughly with spoon as you do so.
  5. Put the mixer on low/stirring speed. Cut in a generous amount of butter as it stirs.
  6. Add the heavy cream while it stirs until the potatoes are a good frosting-like consistency.
  7. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Now for the assembly!

I used nonstick cake pans so getting the meatloaf out and onto a plate was really easy. I spread a layer of cranberry sauce over the first layer, keeping it away from the edges so that it wouldn’t spill out.

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Using my fingers, I made a ring of mashed potatoes around the cranberry sauce to help contain it (it probably would’ve been easier if I had done the potatoes first).

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Placing the second layer on top, I spread a quick layer of potatoes over everything as the “sealing” layer.

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Then, I piled on the potatoes and used a metal spatula to smooth it down. I also scooped potatoes into a pastry bag, cut off the tip, and did a very basic decorative edge around the top and bottom of the cake. Finally, I added a few cranberries (pulled out from the sauce) on top.

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The cake held together nicely when cut with a sharp knife. Because I’d made this earlier in the day, we had to heat up the individual slices in the microwave before serving. With extra cranberry sauce spooned over each slice, it was delicious!!

Making mozzarella

For my nephew’s birthday, I got him a Davis Co-op cooking class about how to make mozzarella! He’s a bit of a foodie so I knew he’d enjoy it.

Once again I got permission to take photos, so here’s how it went…

First, our teacher, Sacha Laurin, gave a disclaimer that while mozzarella is the fastest cheese to make (we’d be making two batches – once as a demo that we would all eat and then again in smaller groups to have a few pieces to take home), she hasn’t been able to make any that taste as good as store-bought fresh mozzarella. She said that most mozzarella is made from water buffalo milk, which has a higher fat content than cow’s milk, and perhaps that’s partly why. She also warned us that we wouldn’t be making very much to take home, so that the amount we made might be kind of disappointing.

On to the demo.

First, you MUST use Straus Organic Whole Milk (or raw whole milk). She said that she’d tried every other kind of milk and nothing else was worth it (not even Clover Organic). So right away, making mozzarella is a bit of an expensive enterprise.

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After breaking up the cream top with the milk in a large bowl, you dissolve 1.5 teaspoons (per gallon of milk) of citric acid powder (which can be bought in the bulk food section of the Co-op) in 1/4 cup water, then add it to the milk and stir vigorously.

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Now you heat the milk to 90 degrees F (instant-read thermometer is essential). It’s probably best to turn the heat off when the temperature is 89-ish.

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Vegetable rennet drops can also be bought at the Co-op (you have to ask for it at the cheese counter, for now). Add 45 drops to a small amount of cool, non-chlorinated water.

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Slowly stir in the rennet solution for about 30 seconds. You might see curds starting to separate earlier, at which point you should stop. Leave the pot undisturbed for 5-10 minutes (you can cover it).

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The curd will look like custard, with a clear separation between the curd and the whey (see above for what it looked like when it was just sitting in the pot, and below for what it looked like when we tilted the pot). If necessary, let it set for a few more minutes.

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Now, heat the pot back up so that the temperature is 110 degrees F. Take it off the heat and pour off as much of the whey as you can, rotating the pot so that the mozzarella doesn’t fall out. (Note: Someone in the class said that chickens love eating the whey. Sacha also said that one of the main authors about cheesemaking suggests that you make riccota out of the whey, but Sacha said that she never had any luck trying to do that.)

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Gently tip the drained mozzarella into a small colander. You should have a large pot of water simmering at 185 degrees F. Dip the curds (in the colander) into the water and keep taking its temperature. When the curd temperature reaches 135 degrees, it will become stretchable. See?

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At that point, remove the curd from the water, don plastic gloves (to protect yourself from the heat), and pull off little balls.

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Working quickly (the more you work the cheese, the tougher it will become), roll the cheese in your palms or turn/fold it like you’re shaping a bread round (tucking in the edges) to get a smooth, shiny ball of mozzarella. Drop it into brine (2 tsp salt to 1 pint of water) and keep making little mozzarella balls.

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Leave it for 10 minutes, which will cool the cheese and allow it to maintain its shape, then eat!

After the demo batch, we spit up into teams of three to make a half-batch. Here’s what our curd/whey looked like:

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We had small, makeshift colanders to work with:

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Daniel shaping mozzarella:

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After rescuing our mozzarella from the brine, some of them were distinctly softer and lumpier than others. The softer ones tasted better because they absorbed more of the brine, while the smoother ones were harder, less flavorful, but closer to “normal” mozzarella texture. They probably got worked a bit more than the lumpy ones.

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We enjoyed the demo batch of mozzarella with delicious tomatoes, basil, bread, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and pepper!!

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I need to price-check fresh mozzarella to see if it’s more expensive to make your own at home! 🙂 The Straus organic milk comes at $5/half-gallon, so I think it might be a wash. But it’s pretty fun and I could see myself doing it at home, especially since I have access to all the ingredients. Sacha was a wonderful, encouraging teacher, and I’m hoping I can find some fun money to spend on some of her other cheesemaking classes in the future.

Chickens!

For those of you who don’t follow my boring daily life personal blog, one of the big things this spring/summer is that we got chickens! We designed and built our own chicken coop after perusing lots of examples online, special-ordered some vaccinated chicks from a local feed store (an Australorp, Rhode Island Red, and Black Sex Link), and jumped feet-first into the world of urban chicken owners.

Here’s the link to my chicken flickr set, but I’m posting some of the better photos below…

My original sketch:

The framed coop, below. Not all the walls were quite square, but you can’t really tell in the photo how much frustration was involved in trying to get them kind of square.

The framed pen, which juts out at an angle away from the house wall because of some uneven ground next to the house. We didn’t think about how this might cause problems when it came to putting on the roofing material…

First day with the chicks! We named them Mrs. Jones (top black), Ela (“Egg Laying Animal, bottom black with white patch), and Tamale (brown).

The completed coop and run, after much sweat, tense moments, and bruised fingers (but no blood):

Our two-month old chickens enjoying their “range”:

After many months, I finally sat down to tally up our Very Expensive Chicken Coop. I can’t find the receipts for the 5 gallon and 1 qt of paint, but I don’t care too much about that because we barely used up any of the paint!

28 2x4s $77.04
9 discount 2x4s $4.99
2 siding panels $40.11
2 1x4s $7.70
4 1×3 trim $13.60
3 OSB $20.80
fiberglass roofing material $96.33
poultry netting $15.59
nails $36.90
screws $9.07
corner braces $6.05
wire staples $3.24
hinge hasp $3.69
t-hinge $8.68
t-hinge $8.68
hinges $16.29
hinges $15.20
sliding bolt $5.75
door pull $3.03
door pull $3.03
gate hook/eye $1.62
gate latch $7.06
gate latch $5.75
paint – red and white ?
painter tape $4.34
Chicken Coop Costs
$414.56
thermometer $3.58
heat lamp $12.95
heat lamp bulb $7.53
shavings $6.34
poultry feeder $3.79
chick waterer $3.24
chick waterer base $3.24
chick starter feed $15.39
chicks $9.59
Chicken Starter Costs
$65.66
Total Cost $480.21

Whew! That’s a lot. We went $180.21 over my original $300 budget. This wasn’t exactly an exercise in thriftiness — we didn’t scrounge for material, didn’t have much on-hand to use other than a couple 2×4’s in our garage, and didn’t shop around. It was more of a training exercise for Steve (he practiced his newly learned framing skills) and a marriage-building exercise for both of us (working on communication and patience). Plus I learned how to use a Skilsaw and other fun power tools.

Let’s set the price of free range eggs at $5/dozen, which means (if my math is correct) we’ll “break even” after we get 1152 eggs from our chickens. (Well — probably more in the 1300 range, because every bag of feed is another 28 eggs or so.) Let’s hope our chicken-keeping experience is more long-term than short-term!

Jam-making class

The Davis Food Co-op, a local food cooperative that I do most of my food shopping at, holds cooking classes which always look fun. I finally signed up for the jam-making class, lined up some last-minute babysitting, and went off for a fun experience!

I arrived at the teaching kitchen, which was a residential house across the street from the Co-op converted into a demo-type kitchen (imagine a cooking show set-up with a wall of sinks and appliances and an island with stove and counter space with a large area for chairs or tables). There was a row of chairs set up facing the island and I joined the other six women who were there.

The teacher, Dennis, showed us an easy, quick technique for making jam by using six cups of chopped apricots, two cups of sugar, and an envelope of pectin (although he pointed out that there was a no-sugar pectin available now if you wanted sugar-free jam). Here are the photos that I took during the session…

We did not use the sugar-free pectin, but he passed around a box for us to look at: Correction: We DID use a sugar-free pectin recipe but added 2 cups of sugar for taste.

First step – heating up a big pot of water with the jars inside — the water should be 1-2 inches over the top of the jars. Dennis forgot a rack to put inside the pot so he improvised with cookie cutters! This photo was taken before we put the jars in. I forgot to take a photo of the lids (the flat metal disc that seals in the jam, not to be confused with the “ring” that screws onto the jar), but they were in a small pan on low heat. You want to heat the lids so that the rubber seals get flexible but you don’t want to boil the lids and have the rubber come off. (Another person in the class suggested taking boiling water and pouring them over the lids in a bowl, then letting them sit. She seemed to have experience with canning so I’m not sure why she was taking the class!)

As a side note, I learned that you cannot reuse lids — you have to buy new ones each time.

While the water was heating up, we all helped to slice up the apricots (approximately 6 lbs of fruit ,I think). Even slightly brown apricots were okay to use — we threw out the obviously rotton or moldy ones.

Pits and yucky apricots went into a bowl to be composted later:

Dennis measured out the apricots, using the amount specified on the package of pectin — in this case, 6 cups of fruit.

The fruit was cooked and mashed with a potato masher until nice and smooshy. Because the fruit wasn’t very juicy, we added a cup of water (grape juice or apple juice are typically suggested, but water is fine, too). Dennis warned that fruit expands when boiling — especially strawberries, which get really foamy and can more than double in size — so you want to use a really big pot.

When the fruit started bubbling and boiling, we added the sugar.

More stirring and mashing. When the stuff came to a hard boil — i.e., you can’t stir down the bubbles — Dennis slowly added in the pectin. He’d sprinkle some, stir and talk, sprinkle more, stir and talk, so it took longer than I thought it would.

While the fruit was heating up again to get to a boil, Dennis explained the gear.

Sample jar (the ones we were using were in the pot boiling) and rings. The actual lid is the flat metal part that actually seals to the jar — the rings are to keep the lid in place while you boil the filled jars.

This thing here is what you use to lift the jar out of the boiling water. You can also see the plastic wand (laying down beside cutting board) with has a magnet on the end – handy for getting the lid out of the warm water.

By this time, the fruit had come back to a boil so we cooked it at a boil for one or two minutes. Then we turned down the heat and it was time to can!

Pull out a jar (empty out the water)… The jars were boiling in a special canning pressure cooker (very expensive) which is used for canning veggies (to get them cooking at a higher heat). For acidic food — i.e., fruit and tomatoes — you don’t need a pressure cooker. Dennis just used it because it’s a nice big pot and he wanted to show us what it looked like.

Put the jar on a wooden cutting board or towel — NOT directly on a cold counter surface which might crack the jar. Fill it up to the first “line” – you want about 1/2″ of “headspace” between the jam and lid. Note — if you have extra fruit left over that won’t fill a jar all the way, don’t try to can it, just eat it with ice cream later that day! It’s important to fill a jar to the right amount because that ensures that the jam gets properly sterilized.

Slide the handle of a wooden spoon gently around the sides of the jar to get out air bubbles that might be trapped against the sides of the jar. (Don’t stir it vigorously like one woman did, which may create air bubbles.)

Wipe the edges clean with a damp paper towel or clean rag.

Using the magnetic wand, pull a lid out of the warm water and gently place it on top, then put the ring over and screw it on. You want to screw it to a point just past when you begin to feel it tighten — but not all the way tight, because the jar might crack.

Lift the jar with the jar tongs and keeping it level, put it back into the boiling water.

Some of us asked questions and found out that: The jars heat up in the water mainly to warm them so that they don’t crack when you add the hot jam mixture. Getting them to a boil helps sterilize them, too, but for this particular recipe, it’s actually not necessary to fully sterilize them by boiling them for 10 minutes because the recipe itself calls for “processing” the canned fruit (boiling them after they are filled) for ten minutes, which is enough to sterilize the jars from the inside out. Other recipes might call for a processing less than ten minutes (like five minutes) in which case you WILL want to boil the jars for ten minutes first to sterilize them.

As the boiling water heats up the jars and the jam inside, the jam and the insides of the bottle get sterilized and air escapes from the jar.

But you have to make sure the water is at a ROLLING boil before starting your ten-minute count. And though you might be tempted to turn the heat down — don’t.

After the ten minutes, pull the jars out with the jar tongs. With the air pressure outside now greater than what’s inside the jar, the floating lids are sealed tightly to the jar. If you’re lucky, you might hear a “ping” sound as the lid indentation gets pushed down by the outside air pressure. Dennis assured us that we might not hear a ping immediately but it was okay — basically you only really know if you have a good seal after 24 hours of letting it cool all the way down and then testing it.

Some ways to test it — AFTER the jar is completely cooled (about 24 hours), push on the top of it where the indentation is. If it’s not sealed, you can push it in and it will pop back out. If it is sealed, the lid will feel completely solid. Or, you can thunk the top with a metal spoon. Sealed jars will “thunk.” Unsealed jars will sound different (try it out on an unsealed jar first). Finally, remove the ring (clean and dry well to avoid rusting). Dennis said that he stores all his jams without the ring — just the lid — so that he can easily see if one has a lid that comes off.

For those worried about botulism, Dennis assured that fruit preserves are very safe because if there’s something wrong, you’ll smell it or see it! Not so with veggies, which is why you want to can them at a higher temperature to be safe.

We walked away with a small jar of apricot jam and an informative handout that included some recipe notes, lists of gear and resources, specific steps to remember, and tips.

Overall, this was quite a fun and informative beginning jam-making class and took out a lot of the mystery and intimidation factor for me. I’m going to shoot to find cheap jam-making gear over the next year and be ready for canning my own stuff next summer!

Cheater’s char siu bao – Chinese BBQ pork steamed buns

I love Chinese BBQ pork steamed buns (as well as the baked version, which is like bread stuffed with tasty bits of meat with a sticky-sweet glaze on top). Since I know how to make steamed pork buns and I recently found a great recipe for homemade char siu, I thought I’d concoct my own version of a BBQ pork steamed bun.

I’m not sure if it’s entirely ethical to write out the recipe I used from The Best International Recipe which involved a simple marinade (for at least 4 hours or overnight) for pork (I used strips of country-style pork ribs instead of the recommended pork butt), which was roasted in the oven, then broiled while brushing a honey/ketchup/marinade glaze on top. So instead, I’ll link to the Chinese Barbequed Pork recipe on cooksillustrated.com and let you decide if you want to try it for free for a few days to get that recipe or look up the cookbook next time you’re in a library or book store. (Or you can try one of the many recipes out there on the web.)

After enjoying your delicious hunks of meat over rice with some steamed or stir-fried veggies on the side, reserve some of the meat for your steamed pork buns. I ended up using two and a half country-style pork ribs for the filling; unfortunately, I have no idea how much that translates to weight, but it resulted in probably 3-4 cups of filling after I ran it through the food processor.

Which leads me to the “cheater’s” portion of this recipe. More authentic recipes have you stir fry the cubed or chopped pork with mushrooms, green onions, bamboo shoots, and extra seasonings. I wanted a meatier bun, so I cut the pork into food-processor-sized chunks and pulsed it until the pork was minced up, then mixed some of the yummy leftover meat juice/marinade with the minced pork to make it more “pasty.”

I made the dough according to my basic steamed pork bun recipe, filled up the pieces of dough with spoonfuls of filling, steamed the buns, and ate. Yum

Maui Memory Pizza

I love Round Table’s Maui Zaui pizza. I haven’t had it in months and we’ve already blown our “fun” budget for September, so I decided to try to make my own. After some unsuccessful attempts to find a copycat recipe online, I made my own version from memory. One of these days I’ll compare it with the real thing, but for now, you may enjoy my “Maui Memory” pizza recipe, which features a sweet-and-sour pizza sauce with pineapple, chopped ham, red onions, mozzarella, bacon, and green onions on top.

All amounts are approximated… I didn’t do much measuring when I was making this!

Makes 1 rectangular pizza, approximately 9″x13″. Serves 2, 3 if you have salad or other side dishes.

Ingredients

Crust (adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

  • 2 c bread flour
  • 1/2 envelope of active dry yeast (1 1/8 teaspoons)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 7/8 cup warm water

Sauce

  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Toppings

  • 4-6 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 4 slices canadian bacon or similar-sized ham, chopped
  • 2-3 slices pineapple, chopped
  • 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 green onion, chopped

Combine dry ingredients in a standing mixer with a dough hook, then slowly add the olive oil and water as the machine is running. Mix until the dough comes together and all flour is incorporated, let it rest for 2 minutes, then run the machine again for 5-8 minutes, adding up to 1/4 c of flour until the dough forms a smooth ball. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (takes about an hour for me).

Turn the dough out and shape into a rough rectangular shape. Cover with the plastic wrap and let it rest for 20-30 minutes. Turn on the oven to 400 degrees and heat a baking stone. (If you don’t have a baking stone, you can preheat a rimless baking sheet, but not for as long.)

While the dough is resting, cook the bacon in a frying pan until crisp, stirring occasionally to allow the bacon to cook evenly. Drain.

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until simmering, then turn the heat down and simmer until reduced – about 15-20 minutes.

While the bacon is cooking and the sauce is simmering, you can prep the rest of the ingredients, if you haven’t already.

Stretch the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper (approximately 9″x13″) to form a rectangular shape. Smear the pizza sauce over the dough, then sprinkle the chopped ham, pineapple, and red onions over the sauce. Top with shredded mozzarella, then sprinkle bacon on top.

Slide the parchment paper and pizza onto the baking stone (using another rimless baking sheet makes this easier). Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and starting to brown and the edges of the dough are starting to brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with green onions.

Let the pizza cool for a few minutes to let the cheese set before slicing and serving

Double chocolate cookies with ice cream

Double chocolate cookie with ice cream

I’ve been eating this dessert practically every day for the past week! (Before that, I was eating ice cream sandwiches made with Eggo waffles.) I had to make a second batch of cookies after we ran out of the first batch because I was addicted to the lovely combination of vanilla ice cream and soft chocolate cookie.

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup baking cocoa powder (I’ve been using sweetened cocoa powder and reducing the sugar, which seems to work nicely, too.)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat softened butter, sugar, and eggs together until fluffy.
  3. Add dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt) and mix well.
  4. Add chocolate chips and mix in.
  5. Drop batter onto cookie sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes until the centers are just set. I make generous-sized cookies — probably about 3 tablespoons of batter for each cookie.
  6. Cool on a wire rack. (If the centers look gooey but you don’t want to overbake the cookies, leave it on the cookie sheet and cool.)