Butter Garlic Parmesan Shrimps with Penne Pasta

There was this butter garlic Parmesan shrimp clip showed up on my Facebook feed. It looked pretty easy so I decided to give it a try, and I also added pasta. The clip didn’t show ingredient measurement so I just came out with my own version (the fun part of cooking is you don’t have to follow recipe to the T!). The pasta turned out quite delicious and got family’s approval. Now we have one more choices for pasta dinner!

Butter Garlic Parmesan Shrimps with Penne Pasta (serves 6-8)


1 lb shrimps (31-40ct, headless, shell-less, tail-on)
1 box penne pasta
4 tbsp unsalted butter
3-4 cloves garlic– minced
1/2 onion– diced
1 cup julienne sun dried tomatoes
2 handful baby spinach
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Add butter to melt.
  3. Sauté garlic and onion until aromatic. Add in sun dried tomatoes. Stir a few times.
  4. Add in shrimps. Stir until shrimps are partially cooked. Add in whipping cream and spinach. Cook until spinach are wilted.
  5. Add in drain pasta. Stir to coat sauce well. Add salt and pepper to taste. When the sauce thickens slightly, sprinkle in grated Parmesan cheese. Toss a few times then dish out. Serve immediately.

Regina’s Note:

  • Boiling pasta: I like to keep my cooked pasta in boiled pasta water to keep warm while I prepare the pasta sauce. But to avoid soggy pasta caused by soaking in boiled pasta water, I turn off the heat when pasta is half way cooked– this way the pasta will remain al dente when I add them to the sauce later.
  • Cheese: You can use combination of Parmesan cheese and Asiago cheese.
  • Want more garlicky? Feel free to add more garlic or granulated garlic

This is a very easy condiment to prepare. In Malaysia, we always have this condiment for wonton noodles and flat noodles with gravy “Wah Tan Hor 滑蛋河”. Here in the States, you can also find this condiment in Thai restaurant and some Vietnamese restaurants. The pickled peppers sure will wake up your taste bud with its tangy and spicy taste, making all foods taste much better. If you want less spicy, use jalapeño peppers with round bottom tip (pointy tip ones are spicier).

Pickled Green Peppers 醃青辣椒

Pickled Green Peppers 醃青辣椒


15 Serrano peppers– sliced
4 tbsp water
1/2 cup vinegar– see note below
1 tsp sugar– if needed


  1. Blanched sliced peppers quickly in boiling water (as soon as you drop them in water, scoop them up right away). Drain peppers and spread out to cool fast (I put them in fridge briefly to cool fast and stop cooking process, so the peppers will stay crunchy and not soft).
  2. Combine water and vinegar in a small sauce pan then bring to a quick boil. Taste the vinegar water, add sugar if it’s too sour, and stir to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  3. Combine peppers and vinegar water. Store in a glass jar, in the fridge. The peppers is ready the next day. It’s normal that the peppers turn yellowish color. Always use a clean dry spoon to take out peppers from the jar.

Regina’s Note:

  • Vinegar: Since I use sushi vinegar (which has added salt and sugar), I cut down on sugar. Also sushi vinegar is not as acid as rice vinegar. If you use vinegar that has stronger acid, adjust sugar accordingly.

65C Savory Wheat Loaf 65C湯種咸香麥片土司

I made wheat bread before using all wheat flour. It turned out denser than regular white loaf, but I would like it fluffier. The solution? Replace with some bread flour– 1.5 cup wheat flour/2.5 cup bread flour combination works for my large loaf recipe. This bread is marked savory but please don’t let it intimidate you– the savory is very subtle because the seasoning is very little and thin.

Chia seeds is a superfood, and I just bought a big bag from Costco (and wonder when am I gonna finish it) so why not add some to the bread… It turned out that chia seeds is a nice addition~ when the bread is toasted and buttered, it tastes just like the savory fried dough snack 咸煎餅 I had in Malaysia. The chia seeds resembles sesame seeds on the fried dough, adding a little texture to the bite …. mmm, the food memory…

By the way, 65C refers to the bread starter called TangZhong, which is cooked to 65C before adding to remaining ingredients. TangZhong bread starter makes the bread moist and soft that last for a longer period of time.

65C Savory Wheat Loaf 65C湯種咸香麥片土司

65C Savory Wheat Loaf 65C 湯種咸香麥片土司 (makes 1 large loaf)


Bread starter:
1/4 cup bread flour
250ml water

1 egg– beaten
6 tbsp milk, plus 2 tbsp
6 tbsp whipping cream
2 1/2 cup bread flour
1 1/2 cup wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp dry yeast
6 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp milk powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp chia seeds
4 tbsp unsalted butter– melted and cooled

Seasoning (to sprinkle/rub on dough before rolling up):
1 tsp oil
Dashes of sea salt
Dashes of ground white pepper
Dashes of five spice powder


1 Prepare bread starter: Combine bread flour and water in a small sauce pan. Blend well with a balloon whisk over medium low heat (whisk continuously). When the mixture thicken slightly, reduce to lowest heat setting while whisking continuously, until the mixture reaches 65 degree C. The consistency will be like condensed milk. Remove from heat and cool before using.

2 While bread starter is cooling, beat egg in a bowl, then add in 6 tbsp of milk and whipping cream. Mix well.

3 Combine bread flour and wheat flour. When measuring be sure to use a knife to scrap off extra flours so you have a leveled cup.

4 Pour in egg mixture to the bottom of bread machine loaf pan, followed by bread starter.

5 Add flours to loaf pan.  Make an indent in the middle, and add dry yeast to the indent. Add sugar, milk powder and salt to different corners of the loaf pan.

6 For Zojirushi bread maker (model Zojirushi BB-PAC20), press HOME MADE button and set timing as follow and press START: Rest: OFF–> Knead: 25 min –> Shape: OFF –> Rise 1: 45 min –> Rise 2: 30 min –> Rise 3: 1hour –> Bake: OFF –> Keep Warm: OFF

7 1-2 minutes after the knead cycle starts, add in 2 tbsp milk (the dough will be very wet– add more milk if needed). Add melted butter and chia seeds in 2-3 batches before knead cycle completes.

8 When the final rise cycle is completed, transfer bread dough to a lightly floured surface. Gently roll out to 15 x 13 rectangle. Gently rub oil over the surface. Dash a very thin layer of salt , ground white pepper and five spice powder. Gently rub all seasoning to coat evenly. Roll the dough up like a jelly roll, pinch the end to seal.

9 Transfer dough to a greased Pullman loaf pan (do not use lid), cover with plastic wrap and let it rise almost to the rim.

10 Brush top with whipping cream, and bake in preheated 350F oven, middle rack, for 45-50 minutes. Remove from the pan. The bread should be nice and brown, with a hollow sound when tap the bottom.

11 Cool bread completely on a rack before slicing. To keep bread moist for longer time, put bread in a Ziplog bag then inside bread box.

Regina’s Note:

  • When the bread is toasted and buttered, it really tastes like savory fried dough咸香餅. Chia seeds adds texture with its slightly crunch.

Years ago while I was searching online for muruku cookies (well if it ever exists), I stumped upon this interesting recipe on Epicurious.com. I saved it to my “baking adventure” list, but never really get to it until recently– when I was looking for new cookies ideas for my upcoming Chinese New Year bake.

This cookies is pretty easy and simple to make. The coriander flavor is mild but I can’t really taste curry flavor. Maybe next time I’ll increase the amount of both… I added curry leaves (I just love the aroma of curry leaves!) for more flavor. The texture is very similar to Chinese Walnut Cookies 核桃酥– very shorty. The savory flavor and bits of curry leaves does take away some richness of the typical shortbread cookies. Just like my other shortbread cookies, I made these cookies bite size due to its richness– perfect to go with a cup of tea! Don’t be fooled by its meh look– the flavor is a bomb and will get you hooked!

Curry Coriander Shortbread Cookies 咖喱芫茜籽酥餅Curry Coriander Shortbread Cookies 咖喱芫茜籽酥餅

Curry Coriander Shortbread Cookies 咖喱芫茜籽酥餅 (adapted from Epicurious.com– Curry Coriander Shortbread Cookies, makes 100 pieces)


2 tsp ground coriander– see note below
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
20 fresh curry leaves– very finely chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter– soften
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup flour

1 beaten egg for egg wash


  1. In a clean dry pan, toast ground coriander at medium heat with a spoon for a couple of minutes, until the aroma comes out. Remove from heat, and repeat the process with curry powder.
  2. Combine Coriander, curry powder and flour. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in salt, vanilla extract and curry leaves. Stir to blend well.
  4. Add flour mixture to butter mixture. Use a silicon spatula to blend well (mix and press down motion), until no visible dry crumbs and forms a soft dough.
  5. Take a small portion of the dough and roll to a ball of 1 inch diameter. Repeat with remaining dough.
  6. Place balls on a lined baking pan, 2 inches apart (Cookies will spread after baking). Press down the balls to form a disc of 1 1/2 inch diameter. Brush with egg wash.
  7. Bake at 350 F oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to cool on a rack. Store in air tight container.

Regina’s Note:

  • Coriander: if whole Coriander seeds is used, grind the seeds in coffee grinder or spice grinder before toasting in pan.
  • Flavor: the flavor of curry powder and coriander is mild. Increase the amount of both for stronger flavor. Next time try adding 1 tsp of toasted cumin seeds for layers of flavors.
  • Egg wash: to use up the egg wash, I brushed the cookies twice– first time before baking, and second time after 15 minutes in the oven.

My family loves this Chinese soup, especially on a cold day. Ethan would always add LOTS of ground white pepper to his bowl of soup. We used to visit a local Chinese restaurant called Daimo, and we would order this soup almost every time. Too bad the restaurant changed ownership and the soup didn’t taste good. The restaurant even closed down later on. My kids are not fans of green onion and cilantro in general, but they like the green stuff in the soup!… This is good because this soup without lots of green onion and cilantro doesn’t taste right…

West Lake Beef Soup 西湖牛肉羹

West Lake Beef Soup 西湖牛肉羹

West Lake Beef Soup 西湖牛肉羹


1 1/4 lb beef– chop into coarse ground with some slightly big pieces

Meat seasoning:
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp tapioca/corn starch
3 tbsp water

5 cups water
3 tbsp rice cooking wine
Starch water (mix 2 tbsp tapioca/corn starch with 1 tbsp water, stir well before use)
Salt and ground white pepper to taste
3 egg whites
2 stalks green onion– chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro– chopped


  1. Season beef with meat seasoning, mix well. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil on high heat. Add in beef, stir to loose up the meat. When the soup boils again add cooking wine, followed by starch water while stirring the soup.
  3. When the soup starts boiling again, add salt and ground white pepper to taste. Pour in egg whites while stirring the soup. Turn off heat and add in green onions and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Regina’s Note:

  • Egg White: Do not whisk egg white as it will create egg white bubbles in the soup.

We had a big bag of Bing cherries from our cherry U-pick back in last May, sitting at the bottom of my freezer. In an attempt to clean it out of my freezer in a glorious way, I had planned to make cherry pie as dessert, to go with Honey Baked Ham dinner on Christmas Day.

Perfect, right?


I got sick… (and never been happier that Walgreen is open on Christmas Day!)

Needless to say, no pie on Christmas Day.

And then my children were taking turn getting sick. My pie mood was fading away, just thinking about the hassles of making two pie crust, fitting into pie pan, seal the edge, slit the top… (and cross my fingers that bottom crust is not soggy when it’s baked)… All too much for just making a cherry pie.

Then I suddenly thought of ONE word: GALETTE– The easy, open face pie with a rustic look. Yes!

I walked to the kitchen, put on my apron, rolled up my sleeves…

Hours later, five happy satisfied faces walking out of the kitchen. Happy New Year!

Sweet Cherry Galette

Sweet Cherry Galette (yields 1 galette, 4-6 serving)


For the Crust:
1 1/2 cup flour
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter– dice into small cubes and freeze until ready to use
3-5 tbsp ice water

For the Filling:
4 cups Bing cherries, pitted (see note below)
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tbsp cornstarch

1 egg– beaten for egg wash
Turbinado sugar– for sprinkle on top


  1. Sift flour, sugar and salt into a mixing bowl. Add frozen butter. Use fingers to break butter apart and rub into flour, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Add just enough ice water, one tbsp at a time, until the dough just incorporated. Do not knead. Shape the dough into a disc. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap, chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  3. Combine all filling ingredients in a different bowl.
  4. Roll out chilled pie dough to 12-14 inch diameter. Piling cherries to the center of the dough using a spoon. Spoon in 1 tbsp of the juice if desired but not all, as it will flood the galette, thus higher chance of soggy crust. Use a paper towel to soak up the juice if it’s flowing out the dough.
  5. Fold in the edge of the dough. Apply egg wash over the edge and sprinkle turbinado sugar. Bake in preheated 425F oven for 35-45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

Regina’s Note:

  • Butter: To produce flaky baked goods like pies, scones and biscuits, butter needs to be chilled and worked quickly into flour (so it will remain cold). I like to dice my butter into small cubes then freeze it before use. I take the frozen butter cubes (straight from freezer) and break apart in the flour. The small cube size not only speeds up freezing time, but also makes it easy to break apart/rub in flour even just with fingers.
  • Cherries: If you use frozen cherries like I did, be sure to thaw the cherries first. Drain the juice really well, because when lemon juice and sugar were added later, more liquid will draw out.
  • Baking position: Although the bottom crust wasn’t soggy, it could be browned more. Next time I should try changing baking position– bake galette at lower rack for maybe 25 minutes to brown bottom crust, then switch to upper rack for remaining baking time to brown the top.

Blackberry Jam

If you’re into making jam, you’ll know the amount of sugar that goes into it… it’s CRAZY!! Even for low sugar recipes it’s still calls for too much sugar for my liking. I tried to cut down even more sugar with low sugar recipes, but then my jam won’t jell properly, producing a thin flowing spread… Other times the jam jelled too much and it’s s bit difficult to spread.

Well, no more of this hit or miss! While I was looking for liquid pectin (in hope to use pectin in a more flexible way for making very small batch of jam like 2-3 small jars), I stumbled upon Pomona’s Universal Pectin on an online forum. What’s so special about Pomona’s Pectin? Several things: it uses calcium instead of sugar to activate the jelling, which means way less sugar used and thus yielding a more fruity flavor. Honey or other sweetener can also be used instead of sugar. I can create my own jam recipes without worrying how much sugar to use to reach the jelling point, and not to mention small batch versatility. I ordered my Pomona’s Pectin on Amazon, but someone mentioned Whole Foods carries the product. Don’t be scared by its price, because one packet of Pomona’s can make A LOT of jam (22 eight-ounce jars)!

Enough talking. Here’s the verdict of my very first trial with Pomona’s Pectin:

1. Shape– the spread is nice and easy, not too thick not too thin.

2. Flavor– definitely more of the fruit flavor with light sweet taste. I used sweet blackberries this time so the jam is more on sweet rather than tangy side despite of lemon juice concentrate used. Depending what fruit you used and what additional flavor (tangy v. sweet, besides the fruit flavor), adjust the amount of lemon juice and sugar accordingly.

Blackberry Jam

Blackberry Jam (using Pomona’s Universal Pectin– makes 2 1/2 eight-ounce jars)


2 cups mashed sweet blackberries

1 tsp calcium water– prepare as directed per Pomona’s Pectin, see note below

2 tbsp lemon juice concentrate– see note below

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp Pomona’s Universal Pectin– see note below


Sterilize the jars– put jars, lids and rings in a pot filled with water to cover the parts. Bring to a boil then turn off heat. Keep the parts in hot water, this will prevent the glass jars from cracking when filling with hot jam later.

While the jars are sterilizing, make the jam– add mashed fruits, calcium water and lemon juice concentrate to a sauce pan. Stir to mix well. Bring to a full boil on high heat. Mix together sugar and pectin in a separate bowl. When the fruits mixture is boiling, pour in sugar mixture, and stir vigorously 1-2 minutes while it returns to full boil again. Turn off the heat.

Remove jars, lids and rings from hot water. Carefully spoon in jam into the jars, leaving about 1/2 inch space at the top. Wipe off any jam spills on the rim with a paper towel. Place the lids and rings on, loosely screw the rings (this allows air to escape during water bat