Monday, February 27, 2012

Photo Card

Butterflies Baby Girl Baby Announcements
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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Stationery card

Cover Girl Birth Announcement
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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Pork Lomein

I usually do not expect much from a recipe if it is produced by someone of another ethnicity/culture. When I look for recipes online, I tend to try those that are originated from the region or country. However, I know for a fact that the recipes featured in Cooks Illustrated usually yield good results, and this recipe is/was featured in their top ten, so I have to try it. And it did not disappoint! I will not say that is it authentic, because I have not had any Lo Mein like this in Singapore, but this is two-or-three-servings-in-a-row good.

This is the second time I use this recipe, for some reason, it doesn't taste as fantastic as the first. Some reason might be:
1) different noodles
2) different cabbage (I used Napa the first time, it wilted to nothing but taste sweeter)
3) different pan

The ingredients:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon 5-spice powder
1 pound country-style pork ribs, sliced to 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional, I omitted this)
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 medium garlic cloves, minced, about 2 teaspoons
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
4.5 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons shao-xing wine
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stem trimmed, and halved
2 bunches scallions, white thinly sliced, greens cut to 1-inch length (about 2 cups)
1 small head Napa or Chinese Cabbage, halved, cored, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch strips (about 4 cups)
12 ounces Chinese egg noodles (fresh) or 8 ounce dried linguine
1 tablespoon Asian chile garlic sauce

  1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat.

  2. Whisk soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and five-spice powder together in medium bowl. Place 3 tablespoons soy sauce mixture in large zipper-lock bag; add pork and liquid smoke, if using. Press out as much air as possible and seal bag, making sure that all pieces are coated with marinade. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour. Whisk broth and cornstarch into remaining soy sauce mixture in medium bowl. In separate small bowl, mix garlic and ginger with 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil; set aside.

  3. Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in 12-inch cast-iron or nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add half of pork in single layer, breaking up clumps with wooden spoon. Cook, without stirring, 1 minute. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons wine to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is reduced and pork is well coated, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer pork to medium bowl and repeat with remaining pork, 1 teaspoon oil, and remaining 2 tablespoons wine. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels.

  4. Return skillet to high heat, add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, and heat until just smoking. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add scallions and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until scallions are wilted, 2 to 3 minutes longer; transfer vegetables to bowl with pork.

  5. Add remaining teaspoon vegetable oil and cabbage to now-empty skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Clear center of skillet; add garlic-ginger mixture and cook, mashing mixture with spoon, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir garlic mixture into cabbage; return pork-vegetable mixture and chicken broth-soy mixture to skillet; simmer until thickened and ingredients are well incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.

  6. While cabbage is cooking, stir noodles into boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender, 3 to 4 minutes for fresh Chinese noodles or 10 minutes for dried linguine. Drain noodles and transfer back to Dutch oven; add cooked stir-fry mixture and garlic-chili sauce, tossing noodles constantly, until sauce coats noodles. Serve immediately.

This is the second time I use this recipe, for some reason, it doesn't taste as fantastic as the first. Some reason might be:
1) different noodles
2) different cabbage (I used Napa the first time, it wilted to nothing but taste sweeter)
3) different pan

---Some updates---

Mr (in blue shirt and red shorts) ran and finished his first marathon on Sunday! We went out to cheer him on, and it upset Yoyo that Mr kept on running away from him.

And someone got a haircut yesterday, and is looking very cute at the moment. It doesn't last very long so I whipped out the camera to take some beauty shots. I know the (free) bandana is girlish, I wish Petco grooming service stock something more macho for a stud like Yoyo.

Yoyo has a couple of missing teeth, you can see the gap in this picture.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday's Coffee Cake

I love baked goods, especially with black coffee, to me the sweet and the bitter just come together so wonderfully I will take alternate the drink and the donuts/cookies/cake/scones...

So this is Sunday, March 20th (HaPPie BiRthDaY SiS!), and I am home so I've planned to try making CI's Cream Cheese Coffee Cake AGAIN. Again because the first time was a flop, while the cake was too dense it has good flavor, and we ate it all. It turned out that I didn't write the right measurements of baking soda and baking powder while I was watching the episode online.

So to make sure that I have the same cake that they showed on TV, I measured all my ingredients before I started mixing them together, my first time. I have always measure the ingredients as I read the directions.

So with all the ingredient measured out, and having made one before, I started to dumped ALL the sugar and butter in the mixer to start creaming but it just wouldn't. Reread the recipe, sad, contemplated to continue with the mistake, sad, dumped the mix, uber sad, and remeasured my butter and sugar.

I was glad that I did not keep the mistake, as the coffee cake is all raised almost 50% more than the first attempt and taste great. The cream cheese and the lemon compliment each other, the almonds/sugar/lemon zest is heavenly, the texture of the cake is airy, even better than my favorite blueberry coffee cake.

I am still thinking what I could have done with that pile of sugar and butter although it's sitting in the trash.

Yoyo waiting for his dad to come home from his run.

Almond/Lemon/Sugar topping
1/4 cup sugar, (I used turbinade sugar)
1 1/2 grated lemon zest
1/2 cup sliced almonds

2 1/4 cups (11.25 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/8 teasppons baking powder
1 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salk
10 tablesoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 cup 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated zest
4 large eggs
4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream

cream cheese mixture
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. FOR THE TOPPING: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined and sugar is moistened. Stir in almonds; set aside.

  2. FOR THE CAKE: Spray 10-inch tube pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside. In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and lemon zest at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, about 20 seconds, and scraping down beater and sides of bowl as necessary. Add 4 teaspoons vanilla and mix to combine. Reduce speed to low and add one-third flour mixture, followed by half of sour cream, mixing until incorporated after each addition, 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat, using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining sour cream. Scrape bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour.

  3. Reserve 1¼ cups batter and set aside. Spoon remaining batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Return now-empty bowl to mixer and beat cream cheese, remaining 5 tablespoons sugar, lemon juice, and remaining teaspoon vanilla on medium speed until smooth and slightly lightened, about 1 minute. Add ¼ cup reserved batter and mix until incorporated. Spoon cheese filling mixture evenly over batter, keeping filling about 1 inch from edges of pan; smooth top. Spread remaining cup reserved batter over filling and smooth top. With butter knife or offset spatula, gently swirl filling into batter using figure-8 motion, being careful to not drag filling to bottom or edges of pan. Firmly tap pan on counter 2 or 3 times to dislodge any bubbles. Sprinkle lemon sugar-almond topping evenly over batter and gently press into batter to adhere.

  4. Bake until top is golden and just firm, and long skewer inserted into cake comes out clean (skewer will be wet if inserted into cheese filling), 45 to 50 minutes. Remove pan from oven and firmly tap on counter 2 or 3 times (top of cake may sink slightly). Cool cake in pan on wire rack 1 hour. Gently invert cake onto rimmed baking sheet (cake will be topping-side down); remove tube pan, place wire rack on top of cake, and invert cake sugar-side up. Cool to room temperature, about 1½ hours. Cut into slices and serve.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Knitting mojo

I have a few hobbies, knitting, cooking, baking, etc. Some times they slowly losses my favor and other times I finding myself loving them again. The quickest way for them to be in the cold chamber is to bore, frustrate, or be uninspiring. I know it's not their fault, but that of the maker, which is me in this case. I have knit a few things that didn't do it for me, they are currently in hiberation, but they and I know that they are going to be in the bag/box/container in the basement for a long time since their presence is like having spouse who constantly nags at you to change the lightbulb.

I have knit on and off since the last blog post on knitting. There are quite a few pair of socks, many of them are worn out at the heels because I wear them so often. They are now taking up space in my socks drawer because I don't have the heart to throw them away since I spent so much time making them and yet I don't know and don't bother to learn how to repair them. Once in a while, I will take them out to wear the holey socks thinking they are fine to wear only to regret my decision because I dislike the feeling of bare heel to sole of shoes. And then there are the knits that caused me to leave the needles, I won't name names here, but if you reaaly want to know i have listed some of them in my ravelry account.

But I got my knitting mojo back, I knit 2 tops in 2 weeks! How did I get it back you might ask. Well, it started when I was chatting with a friend online, he mentioned me that his wife has picked up knitting, that leads to me adding his wife to my Ravelry's friend list (my user name is hooney) and looking at beautiful work other members have done have inspired me to pick up my needles and spend my money on yarn and patterns again. However, I have yarn stash that can possibly last me for a year if I knit daily, so I decide to seriously destash before I can buy any more yarn, I even told Mr. K about it (that shows you how determine I am).

So this is my first knit of the year, it's a improvised top from the pattern Shalom Cardigan by Meghan McFarlane. I have seen this many times and liked it, but didn't think it will work with my figure until I saw the version by Nordly. I chose to use Rowan Cotton Tape because it has the same weight as the yarn used in the pattern, and I want a top that I can wear in the summer. This is a quick and simple knit because of the gauge.

Needle: US 11 -8.0mm circular
Yarn: 7 Skeins (497 yards) Rowan Cotton Tape (Discontinued) in Color way 557

These are the few changes I made:
1) I knit the last 5 stitches of the each side together (the garter border) together at the start of the body so that it won't look wonky when I button them up, that is after I sew the buttons on;
2) I bind off 5 stitches on each side on each armhole to make the armhole smaller;
3) I did not do any shaping of the waistline.

If I were to make this again, I would:
1) knit the body with a smaller needle, maybe a 6mm needles, to get a tighter fit and make it less holey so that I don't have to wear a top underneath;
2) have waist shaping like what is in the pattern.

Just want to show you a picture of my dog before i cut his hair . My initial intention was to have a after-shot but I gave him a diseased look. I don't think he would forgive me if I post his new look on the world wide web.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Chewy Sugar Cookies

While Mr. was out training for marathon, I decided to make something, something to reward (or sabotage?) his effort. Although sugar cookies are not our favorite, I decided to make them instead of baking the some cookies over and over again. Knowing my husband, he eats anything sweet, knowing my dog, he will eat anything that has plenty of butter.


This is my first time making sugar cookies, and I used the weight of the ingredients instead of measuring cups. It turns out that amount of ingredients using the scale is much less than if I use the measuring cup, thus, the cookie dough was really soft and tad hard to handle. I wish I have a portion scoop because I got I made 2o bigger cookies instead of the 24 stated in the recipe, and the cookies merged together while they were baking. That's alright, as they are so yummy that they will all be in our tummies in no time.


Chewy Sugar Cookies from CI, makes 2 dozen cookies

The final dough will be slightly softer than most cookie dough. For the best results, handle the dough as briefly and gently as possible when shaping the cookies. Overworking the dough will result in flatter cookies.


2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar, plus 1/2 cup for rolling
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. Set aside.

  2. Place 1½ cups sugar and cream cheese in large bowl. Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside. Pour warm butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine (some small lumps of cream cheese will remain but will smooth out later). Whisk in oil until incorporated. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; continue to whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix with rubber spatula until soft homogeneous dough forms.

  3. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces, about 2 tablespoons each (or use #40 portion scoop). Using hands, roll dough into balls. Working in batches, roll balls in reserved sugar to coat and evenly space on prepared baking sheet, 12 dough balls per sheet. Using bottom of drinking glass, flatten dough balls until 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle tops evenly with 4 teaspoons of sugar remaining in shallow dish (2 teaspoons per tray), discarding any remaining sugar.

  4. Bake, 1 tray at a time, until edges are set and just beginning to brown, 11 to 13 minutes, rotating tray after 7 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes. Using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.