Posts

Jamaican Beef Patties!

Image
These bright yellow meat pies are among my favorite items from the frozen aisles in the supermarket. They're often sold in box of 2, probably so you don't notice you're paying ~$2/patty - which doesn't sound too bad, if they weren't so addictive. They're like Doritos, it's very hard to stop at one, not to mention my husband often scarf down my share. So I resolved to making a satisfying batch myself - eat until everyone's full, on the cheap! This is mostly a copycat of the Golden Krust beef patties , with the preservatives and stablizers left out, and replaced with some classic Jamaican patties components. The main ingredients I gathered from Golden Krust's official list are: Ground beef, bread crumbs, msg, sugar, garlic powder, dehydrated onion, paprika, hot peppers, beef base, soy sauce, and thyme. I'm using ketchup in place of the sugar and the msg (tomato is a natural source of glutamate), and scotch bonnet pepper sauce in place of the actual

Easiest Creme Brulee Ever! 1min prep, No Bake!

Image
  I am confident this is the easiest, quickest creme brûlée recipe of our time. At just 1-minute prep, 15-minute start-to-finish, this recipe bypasses the hour long oven baking and the overnight chilling, with no deterioration in quality. The result is a perfectly silky smooth custard, that takes no backseat to those made through the traditional method.  The gist of all the trickery: water is a better conductor of heat than air. That's why steaming on the stove top takes a fraction of the time as oven baking, and that's why chilling in an ice water bath will get your custard ready in no time. - This works on ice cream batter as well, btw. I have personally never chilled ice cream batter overnight. Waiting for dessert is unamerican.  If you've tried my 1-eggwhite-for-20 copycat Milano cookies,   and are now stuck with that extra yolk you don't know what to do with, the perfect answer is to make 2 creme brûlées! - 3 if you underfill your ramekins a little (which will make

Langue de chat (cat's tongue) - Sounds fancy, looks fancy, super easy!

Image
  Langue de chat ("cat's tongue") looks like something out of a fancy European bakery. These thin butter cookies have the rich flavor of a good shortbread, with a much lighter, more delicate texture, almost like the ice cream cones at a really good gelato place, that they definitely charge you extra for.   Truth is they're neither expensive nor difficult to make. In fact they're the perfect way to use up extra egg whites from other recipes, that you don't know what to with. Everyday recipes like cookies, custard, chocolate pudding, etc, often call for extra egg yolk for richness. If you're ever left with 1~3 extra egg white(s) that you feel bad wasting but just don't want to deal with, because scrambled feels too healthy and meringue feels too unhealthy, this is your perfect in-between. I'm sharing a small portion recipe that uses only 1 egg white, along with ~2tbsp of butter, flour, ground almond, and sugar. Feel free to scale up, but even this sm

Fondue for Two

Image
It's getting cold again. That means it's fondue season again! Swiss fondue is the ultimate winter comfort food. Usually this dish is best served with a larger group of people. That's why every fondue set you buy have so many little forks. It's such a fun social dish, I always think of it as European hot pot. Unfortunately it's social distancing season again, so I have to scale it down to, let's call it romantic dinner for two. It's boozy. It's intimate. It's great served with more booze.  Rule of thumb for cheese fondue: start with a good amount of white wine, that's about 1/3 of the weight of the cheese. For the cheese, usually it calls for a mix of 3~4 cheese, for some complexity. You're technically supposed to use alpine cheese here. A mix of Gruyere, Comte, Emmental, and Appenzeller would be lovely - but could get expensive depending on where you live.  I found that as long as you include at least one sharp, aged alpine cheese, you can us

2-Minute Panna Cotta

Image
    Panna cotta is perhaps the simplest fancy dessert to make at home. This Italian "cooked cream" is just sweetened cream thickened with gelatin. Like sweet cream ( fior di latte ) gelato, it celebrates dairy in the purest form and involves very few ingredients.  No eggs, no whipping, no simmering until things coat the back of a spoon. This is as easy to make as boxed jello. With a few small hacks for quick cooling, you can spend 2 minutes making it before dinner and have dessert ready after dinner!  I really prefer panna cotta made with pure cream and not milk or half & half. I make mine in 4oz mason jars. In addition to being great for portion control & easy to store, they also chill faster and set more quickly. I fill each jar up most of the way, to about 3oz, and each recipe will make 3 little jars. You have room for topping them with fruits/jam after they set, and they're easier to unmold if you prefer serving them on a plate. You'd think the serving siz

No-Lump Cacio e Pepe - Explaining Common Failures and the Fix

Image
  If you've been to Rome, and came back and tried this out based on the instruction you've heard from Rome, odds are you've had a couple batches that looked nothing like the creamy, smooth, luscious goodness that allegedly was achievable with just cheese and pasta water, with no cream or butter.  Nothing says "simple does not equal easy" as loudly as Cacio e Pepe. Not even the infamously temperamental soft scrambled eggs, because honestly, slightly over cooked eggs are still pretty tasty if you're not being snooty, but lumpy, unemulsified Cacio e Pepe is genuinely not enjoyable, aside from being entirely not presentable.    To avoid wasting food, I've "cheated" with butter, oil, cream, even a béchamel sauce to salvage the lumpy pasta. But a tasty mac and cheese is no Cacio e Pepe. The taste of Rome can only be achieved with the traditional simple ingredients the recipe calls for: pecorino, pepper, pasta, plus salt & water that the pasta is co

Sous Vide Duck Confit, in a Slow Cooker! No additional fat or special gadget needed!

Image
  As with many French classic dishes, duck confit ( confit de canard ) is an incredibly decadent treat that is unfortunately a huge hassle to make. Confit means to cure in salt & cook in its own fat (or in its literal definition, "to preserve"). Duck confit are traditionally made by curing duck legs in salt & spice and submerging them in large amount of duck fat, slow cook in fat & aromatics at below boiling temperature for extended period of time, for a soft, buttery texture. It's like oil poaching on steroid. The dish generally needs to be then chilled over night so that the falling-apart tender meat would firm up enough for that final sear, for that signature crispy skin that really makes the dish perfect.  Time consuming aside, what makes this dish borderline prohibitive for home cooking is that duck fat isn't easily accessible, and even when you can find them, they aren't cheap. Naturally this makes the sous vide method an appealing alternative. B