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Salade Nicoise - Eat Healthy, Happily!

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I'm sharing my version of salade nicoise. This hearty summer dish originates from the French city of Nice. Modern renditions commonly includes cooked eggs, green bean, potatoes, olives, all the good stuff you can think of. I'm making mine with a quick seared tuna steak, and some not-quite hard boiled eggs.

This looks like a lot of ingredients, but each one takes little time to prep, and with a little multi-threading, you can easily complete this in under 15 minutes. 

Obligatory disclaimer: this is not exactly traditional; will fail purity test. But it makes for a very enjoyable summertime meal. The briny olives and creamy eggs complements the tuna perfectly. The starchiness from the potatoes, freshness of the green bean, and little bite from the shallot, just all work so well together.

This is one healthy dinner that won't leave you feel remotely deprived!

Ingredients:

for the dressing:
1 shallot, minced
1 lemon, juiced
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp fresh grou…

10-minute Saag Aloo (Indian-Style Spanich & Potato Curry)

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This is my take on this Indian restaurant favorite. A vibrant green vegetable curry, so flavorful even a carnivore would love it. If you follow my channel or blog you might've guessed, this is yet another, quick shortcut recipe. Get some frozen naan or roti ready and dinner will be ready in 10 minutes!

Usual disclaimer: this is far from authentic, & no offense intended. I've made gnocchi with instant mashed potato mix, and soup dumpling with gelatin & pasta press. This is another one of those quick, easy, hacky fix for lazy foodies in quarantine. I'm microwaving the potato, wilting the spinach, and using jalapeno instead of whatever proper pepper I should've used but don't have easy access to.

Ingredients:
4 cups spinach
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 green chili pepper, chopped (I'm using jalapeno)
1 tsp chopped ginger
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp onion salt
1/2 tsp corriander powder
1/2 …

Tofu Dango, As Seen in Anime!

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We've all seen these in anime! Dangos are chewy rice balls on skewers. They can be sweet or savory, and prepped with a variety of ingredients. Some use a combination of short grain rice flour & sticky rice flour, some use hot water & kneading, all to achieve a good balance of texture. They should be soft but hold shape, chewy but not too sticky, bouncy and slightly al dente.

A shortcut to making these with minimum experience and effort is to use equal weight silken tofu and mochiko. It won't quite be the stuff you get at a Kyoto tea house, but will yield a pleasant, balanced result, without hand-kneading a steaming hot dough and trying not to get burned.

The dangos themselves are not strongly flavored. They rely on sauces & toppings for flavor. Sort of like fresh homemade pasta - taste great even with the simplest seasoning, but if you don't put anything at all on it, it won't be nearly as enjoyable on its own (think unsalted pasta). If you have access to …

Tomato Paste Pizza Sauce on a No-Knead Dough, Easiest Margherita!

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I was gifted a case of tomato paste (6oz cans). It had me hooked on pizza for a month (and ongoing). I will probably never bother to cook down tomato sauce again for pizza sauce. This almost-instant tomato paste pizza sauce is so delightful it's unfair (given how little work went into it). It's good for margherita, tomato pie, and good old classic cheese pizza. It is embarrassingly addicting, such that I had to roll up the edge of the pizza to accommodate the extra sauce too often requested. Happy accident - this yields an extra crispy edge, like a crusty Stromboli, so good that my dog no longer gets pizza crust from the table.

I'm cooking mine at a lower temperature than recommended by conventional recipes. Traditional Neapolitan pizza are cooked in 900 degree ovens, such that the dough is completely cooked before everything else is dried out. To mimic this effect, pizza recipes often call for heating the oven as high as it would go, and using a pizza stone for thermal m…

Stovetop Flan/Custard pudding

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Due to social distancing, making large portion decadent desserts no longer feels like a good idea. This is a delicate dessert that is light by nature. Flan has a silky smooth gelatin-like texture that resembles panna cotta, and a rich caramel flavor that resembles creme brulee. But unlike its fancy counterparts, flan requires no heavy cream - just plain milk will do. It is set purely by egg protein, so no gelatin & extended chilling required. When made stove top, it takes only 10 minutes to set (vs 40~60 minutes in the oven). I'm making single-serve for two (or two desserts for one if you aren't sharing). All this takes is one egg, less than a cup of milk, and a few spoonful of sugar. Very quarantine-friendly for those of us who try to avoid grocery shopping as much as possible, and don't have a lot of supplies at home.


Ingredients:


for the caramel: 2 tbsp sugar 1 tbsp water 1 tbsp hot water for the flan mixture: 1 egg 2/3 cup milk 2 tbsp sugar

Instruction

Mix 2 tbsp …

School Lunch Cheese Sticks - You know you miss them!

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School lunch cheese sticks were such childhood favorite, I still remember them all these years later, and the fact that we apparently can't buy them easily just makes me want them more. FYI, you can apparently buy max pizza sticks from amazon in bulk - but pack of 192 is bit too much for my freezer. As much as the serving size of 2 sticks at a time in school never felt enough, baking them half a dozen at a time is plenty for my household. My recipe will make at least 6 pizza sticks, with extra dough, that you can trim and make more cheese sticks or mini pizza.

Additionally, I'd like to share a few hacks for minimum-knead, easy same-day pizza dough. No sticky mess, no planning ahead required! First of all, let autolyse take care of most of the kneading for you. Resting a rough dough for at least 20 minutes will yield a dough that is softer, less sticky, and easier to knead to smooth stage, by allowing flour enzyme to work on the protein bond for you. One thing to keep in mind…

Shortcut Soup Dumpling with Gelatin, Pasta Roller, & Cake Ring!

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This is a hacky way of making my childhood favorite dim sum. My mother laughed at all my cop-out's, but was delighted at the result. Truth is, while xiaolongbao is an ubiquitous Shanghai specialty, a lot of locals have never actually made it themselves because the traditional way is quite time consuming.

In a nutshell, the soup was added to the dumplings by cooking down pork or chicken collagen until you get a thick enough broth that gelatinizes when cooled. The solid soup jelly is then chopped up and mixed into the meat, which is then wrapped into the dough. When steamed, the jelly dissolves into soup again at high temperature, and you have soup dumpling.

To save you hours of cooking and chilling, my shortcut is to add gelatin into store-bought broth. To further reduce chilling time, warm up only half of the broth needed, dissolve bloomed gelatin in it, and stir in the remaining cold broth into the mixture. This will cool down the mixture a lot faster. My broth was set in abou…