Showing posts from 2020

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

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

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.


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


Mix 2 tbsp …

School Lunch Cheese Sticks - You know you miss them!

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!

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…

Easy Pao De Queijo (Brazilian cheese bread)

These little cheesy bread are the most unforgettable part of Brazilian Rodizio for me. Made from tapioca starch, it is accidentally gluten-free, with a unique, pleasantly chewy texture, that might lead your guest into thinking this is a lot more work than it is. In reality, these are bread you don't even need to kneed, that takes maybe 5 minutes to prepare and will be ready in half an hour.
Because they are best hot, I recommend making smaller portion that you can finish in a sitting. The recipe I give will fill 12 mini-muffin tins, good for 3~4 servings.

1 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/2~1 cup cheese (I use a mix of Parmigiano Reggiano & Cheddar Gruyere)

Heat milk, salt, and oil on stove until bubbling. Pour hot liquid into tapioca starch. Mix until a dough forms. Mix in a beaten egg. Fold in grated cheese. Fill the dough into a well greased mini muffin pan. Bake at 375F for ~25 minutes.

You can skip th…

Easy Instant Pot Pastrami from Corned Beef!

I could never miss a good sale. St Patrick's Day always comes with amazing deals on corned beef. If you'd ever want a change from the usual, crock pot boiled meat, give this super easy homemade pastrami a try!

Since corned beef is already cured, you're just one spice rub away from cooking it. Usually these need to be baked on relatively low heat in the oven for extended time. My inner hippie cringes at the thought of keeping the oven on for 6hrs. This is a short cut recipe using pressure cooker. I'm pressure steaming it in the Instant Pot, without submerging it in water so the flavor doesn't get too diluted. Then I double rub it in spice and finish it in the oven. Overall this is an easily manageable workday recipe, especially for those working from home this St Patrick's Day ;)


2lb corned beef brisket

2 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp mustard powder


French King Cake (Galette des Rois)

This is a popular January dessert, traditionally eaten for epiphany, but I make it all year round. It is a perfect last-minute dessert, for potluck, dinner guest, or work friend's birthday you almost forgot. It will look like more effort than you'd put in.

The whole dish comprises just two components: puff pastry, and frangipane. Egg-wash/decoration completely optional, but strongly recommended - for 30 seconds of effort, it'll look a lot more impressive!


2 sheets of puff pastry (~9-inch)
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup granulated sugar or 3/4 cup powdered sugar
6 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs


Cream butter with sugar just until mixed. Add eggs one at a time, then mix in almond meal and vanilla. Cut out 2 round puff pastry sheets by using a lid or plate as mold. Add the stuffing to the center and spread until there's ~1 inch margin. Brush the margin with egg whites to help the sheets stick. Fold the other sheet of pastry on top.…