Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cake toppers ready to roll!!!

My customized, hand made, hand painted (with tooth picks and a small brush) edible fondant cake toppers for my sister's wedding!

Please excuse the poor picture quality... I didn't have a decent camera on me, and this was from my phone!

Representing the Vancouver Canucks and the Montreal Canadiens!

Operation Cupcake due this weekend!!! YIKES!

So with operation cupcake due this weekend,  I will regret that I won't have time to post a picture up this week.  But here is a great recipe for the ground pork with shallots and garlic that you buy at Taiwanese bubble tea places also known as "Niu rou" rice or "Lo Yuk" rice in Cantonese.

Figurines for the cake are almost finished with the final design to be drawn on. Pictures will definitely be up later this week!

Taiwanese style Ground Pork with Shallots and Garlic Recipe
1 lb ground pork (recommended fatty pork, but lean pork is good too)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
4 tablespoons minced garlic
4 tablespoon fresh shallots, finely diced
3 – 4 whole dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked, and finely diced
2 cups water or beef broth (I even used chicken broth)
1/3 - 1/2 cup soy sauce (less soy sauce if less salty – may use combination of dark and light soy sauce for colour but total 1/3 – 1/2 cups.)
1 tablespoon sugar or rock sugar to taste
¼ cup Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 – 2 star anise
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cinnamon
steam rice

Brown pork in skillet until cooked; drain off oil and set aside.
Add vegetable oil in a pot over medium-high heat.
Saute shallots and garlic for 1 minute.
Add pork stir a few times.
Add water/broth and the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil. Adjust taste.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
Uncover and cook for 15 more minutes. Skim oil.

To make the eggs, I soft boiled a few eggs, than removed the shell, and put it in to boil with the pork.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Still in season: Asparagus!
Also: Sweet and Savory Maple Bacon Cupcakes with Candied Bacon

Happy Father's day to my beloved Dad, and also to my husband!

So asparagus is still in season! Now is the best time to get those long stems of green goodness.  Asparagus, as we know it at the supermarket, are actually the shoots of the plant as the stalk quickly grows woody making it too hard to eat as it matures.  Asparagus is low in calories and sodium, and is a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, and magnesium. Asparagus is also an EXCELLENT source of fiber, protein, vitamins A, C, E, and K, among other vitamins.  So why not load up on asparagus, throw them on the grill and get going?

Here is an easy recipe for asparagus, of which we had adopted from a good friend of ours in Ottawa: It's so good, that even Kasey can't resist! He loves those long green stalks (and the cheese of course)!

Photography  by Ian Cheung

Dijon Mustard Asparagus:

1 bunch of asparagus, thinner ones usually are easier to chew and less fibrous
2 tbsp     Dijon mustard
1 tbsp     Juice from a fresh lemon
1 tbsp     Olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup   sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

1. Marinade asparagus with Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and olive oil for 10 minutes (can be prepared overnight, or in advance).
2. Sprinkle on salt and pepper, grill over BBQ for 3 - 4 minutes or until desired tenderness.  You may also cook these over the stove under medium heat for 4 - 5 minutes, or until desired tenderness.  Save the Dijon mustard marinade as a sauce for the asparagus, no cooking required for the sauce.
3. Sprinkle on cheddar cheese.

Maple Bacon Cupcakes with Candied Bacon

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Early Father's Day

Surprise lunch of the day for the father of my child(ren)... made at home with love:

Photography by Ian Cheung

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A free weekend...

Finally, a free weekend!!! Not that I got anything for free this weekend, but my one-and-a-half year old son is in the beautiful city of Vancouver with grandma and his aunts, therefore, FREE weekend!

So, that means: INTO THE KITCHEN I GO! YAI!

There must be something in the raging hormones of the pregnant female body that has been enticing me to want to learn how to make everything now, before my schedule is over taken by two young kids at home.  As for the sex of the latest addition, we really haven't a clue and plan on keeping it that way.

As a child and even still, stepping into any Shanghainese restaurants my first order would be their Spicy Beef Noodle Soup.  Having grown up in Canada and unable to read or write Chinese (yes, shame on me... and something I still want to pick up), it had never dawned on me that I should learn to make it myself in fears that I would not be able to find the proper ingredients. Well, believe it or not, the push of the raging hormones and having one too many mediocre beef noodle soups, it was TIME.

Photography courtesy of Ian Cheung.   

Follow the jump to find the recipe!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Operation Cupcake full speed ahead!

It's the first day of June, which means... this month is CRUNCH TIME!

With my sister's wedding fast approaching in July, the test kitchen for Operation Cupcake should come in full bloom.  The last two cupcakes tested, Peanut Butter Chocolate Twist cupcakes, and Lemon Drop cupcakes were met with success, however based on needs of the guests at the reception, peanut probably wouldn't be a good idea.

So... suggestions for the next cupcake challenge?  Chocolate mint? Mocha? Hmm...