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Asiago Bacon Muffins

Asiago Bacon Muffins

Asiago Bacon Muffins

Asiago Bacon Muffin Recipe (makes 12 Muffins)

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
7 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup (8 tbsp) finely shredded Asiago cheese
1/2 cup bacon crumbs– microwave to crisp up slightly
2 stalks green onions– chopped
1 clove garlic– minced
1 cup (one 8oz tub) sour cream
2 eggs– room temperature
2 tbsp milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter– melted

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line muffin pan with muffin cup liners.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar to a large bowl.
  3. Add cheese, bacon, green onions and garlic to flour mixture. Mix well.
  1. In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and milk. Whisk to blend well.
  2. Pour melted butter and cream mixture to flour mixture. Gently fold in the batter until all incorporated. Spoon batter into muffin cups.
  3. Bake at 375F oven for 25 minutes, until muffins spring back when pressed (or toothpick inserted comes out clean). Remove from muffin pan and cool on a rack.

Regina’s Note:

  • You can always add in 1/4 cups of walnuts if preferred.
  • Cheese: You can use other cheese like Parmesan or Cheddar, but the flavor would be different.
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Banana Nut Bread

Six over ripe bananas plus a tight schedule means I had to find a quick and easy recipe to make banana-something for our breakfast tomorrow. Luckily I didn’t have to look for long– this recipe has over 5K 5-star reviews! One review comment even says it’s the best banana bread in over 40 years of her baking! I had all the ingredients (except for sour cream which I was a bit short), the steps were pretty simple to follow… so let’s give it try… It takes an hour to bake. I timed it to pop in the oven before picking up my kids from three schools. When we came back the house smelled so wonderfully banana heaven…

The results? Moist, fluffy, and full of banana goodness. I cut down the sugar so the sweetness was just right for our taste. I’m not a quick bread person but I like this one. No wonder it has over 5K reviews with 5 stars… The bread freeze well so why not bake two loaves, and keep one for another time…

Banana Nut Bread

Banana Nut Bread

Banana Nut Bread Recipe-– adapted from Janet’s Rich Banana Bread (yields 1 loaf)

Ingredients:

3 ripe bananas– mashed
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs– room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream– see note below
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Spray loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. Melt butter in a large bowl in microwave. When butter is still warm, whisk in sugar until sugar dissolves. Let cool slightly.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla extract, mix to blend well.
  5. Sift in flour mixture, in two batches, to butter mixture. Mix well after each time. The batter will become stiff like a cookie dough.
  6. Fold in sour cream, then fold in mashed bananas and walnuts.
  7. Bake in preheated 350F oven for 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Regina’s Note:

  • Sugar: Original recipe calls for 1/2 cup sugar but I cut down to 1/3 cup, and it turned out just nice. I also whisk to melt sugar in warm melted butter.
  • Sour cream: I only had 1/4 cup sour cream remaining in the fridge, so I used heavy whipping to fill to 1/2 cup. The bread turned out moist and fluffy. Alternatively you can also use yogurt.
  • The bread freeze well. Keep it in a closed bag. Reheat in low temperature oven until warm if desired.

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)

Ingredients:

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

Method:

  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

Ingredients:

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

Method:

  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)

Ingredients:

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

Method:

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)

Ingredients:

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

Method:

  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

Ingredients:

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

Method:

  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.