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chinese cocktail buns

chinese cocktail buns

(gai mei bau)

Chinese Cocktail Buns

I’m still getting comments on my Hokkaido milk bread post, and I’m really pleased that’s working out for so many bread lovers! I was feeling hungry for some of that bread myself, so fitting that my next baking challenge used the milk bread recipe to make another Chinese bakery classic: Cocktail buns, or coconut buns, or gai mei bau.

Chinese Cocktail Buns

These are my very favorite item at the Chinese bakery, the standard I use to judge a new shop. My mom always has a bunch waiting for me when I visit her in Hong Kong. I suppose they’re like my Proustian madeline

: when I bite into one I’m ten years old again, standing in the Chinese bakery looking at a seemingly endless array of puffy golden buns with confusing names like “melon UFO” and “wife cake”. By comparison cocktail bun sounds perfectly normal and appetizing. The cocktail bun is soft, just slightly squishy because of the soft filling inside, and covered in two stripes of sweet frosting and a dash of sesame seeds.

I bite one end of the bun off and it always starts the quiver of anticipation because the end part never has any filling, so I’m waiting for the next bite that will reveal the interior, a curved rim of bread over a golden ball of sugary, coconut-flecked sweetness.

It’s almost too rich for me to finish but it’s so good I can’t stop, and it always ends only when there’s just crumbs left on my fingers.

some Chinese bakeries will sometimes have an item called “Coconut Cream Buns” which look like a long bun split in half and filled with whipped cream and coconut.

 

Apple Pie Ice Cream

Apple Pie Ice Cream

It’s just like eating apple pie with vanilla ice cream, but better because it’s all together.

Pie Crust:
1 package frozen, store-bought pie crust (or make your own if you feel adventurous)

Apples:
2 large Red Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and diced small
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Ice Cream Mix:
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon xanthan gum powder (optional)

Chill the mix to 40° F (5° C) or below and then churn in an ice cream machine. After removing the ice cream from the machine, fold in the apples and pie crust and harden the ice cream in the freezer.

Cook the apples in a pan over medium heat with the butter, sugar, and cinnamon until all of the excess water has cooked out. You should have about 1 1/3 cups of cut apples before cooking, and about 1 cup after. Remove the apples from the pan and chill them in the refrigerator.

Chicory

Chicory

Chicory In Season

Eat produce when it’s at its best.

Chicory

Identifying your strand of chicory can be almost as confusing as knowing how to eat it. Clarissa Hyman decodes the vegetable that’s brought bitterness to Europe for centuriesChicory is not an easy vegetable to love. Unless you’re Belgian. Or Italian. It presents a taste challenge as well as a semantic one. Bitterness is not a quality the British particularly appreciate except when it comes to beer, but to a greater or lesser degree it is a common characteristic within the varied and overlapping chicory family.Chicory, endive and escarole are terms often used interchangeably: confused? It’s hardly surprising. The best solution when identifying the type of chicory or endive to which you are referring would be to speak in Latin and have a degree in botany, but failing that you need to have a mental picture of the plant you intend to eat.Cooking witloof brings a surprising transformation. Once plunged into boiling water and blanched, the wilted bulbs become a touch chewy, a touch succulent and a whole lot sensuous. When braised in butter and a little sugar for a tart, they gain a sweet, caramelised edge.  One of the best-known cooked dishes is endives au jambon: parboiled witloof wrapped in ham, covered in Gruyère cheese-laced mornay sauce and baked.

Chicken Pot Pie Pizza

Chicken Pot Pie Pizza

until the crust is puffy, crisp and slightly blistered. Slice and enjoy hot!

How to Make Chicken Pot Pie Pizza

 

Bite-Sized! Bite-Sized is a recipe series that don’t have any deep and ponderous thoughts: they’re just yummy in my tummy and they can be yummy in yours too. They’re quick and easy recipes that I don’t have much to stay about, but I couldn’t go without sharing the deliciousness. I hope you give them a go!

View more bite-sized mains recipes

chicken pot pie pizza recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

I like making pizza in the winter because it’s doubly generous: heating up the oven warms up the house and eating a hearty pizza warms my soul. This chicken pot pie pizza is what happens when you don’t want to make a pie crust but have a major chicken pot pie craving. Maybe you magically have pizza dough at the ready: you’re are on a no-knead pizza kick or perhaps you just picked up some dough from the grocery store? No matter what, pizza on a cold night is a guaranteed way to have a cozy night in. A quick white sauce, shredded chicken, potatoes, onions, celery, and carrots on a crispy cheesy doughy base is everything you’d wish for on a cold, snowy night.

chicken pot pie pizza recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

chicken pot pie pizza recipe - www.iamafoodblog.comArrange a rack in middle of oven and preheat to its hottest setting, 500°F–550°F.

If you don’t have any cooked chicken and potatoes on hand, cook a small amount of chicken and shred it. Boil a couple of potatoes until tender and dice.In a small pan, heat up the butter over medium heat. When melted, sprinkle on the flour and stir until the flour is completely incorporated. Pour in the chicken stock in a thin stream while whisking. Whisk occasionally, on medium heat, until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat and let cool slightly.Lightly oil a cast iron pan or baking sheet. Shape dough into a circle, pushing gently until fairly thin. Spread the slightly cool béchamel evenly on the dough.

Japanese Inspired Avocado Toast Recipe

Japanese Inspired Avocado Toast Recipe

Top slices of toast with arugula, half a piece of laver, 2 avocado slices, sesame seed and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Sunday Brunch: Japanese Inspired Avocado Toast

 

 You know what that means: it’s time for Sunday Brunch. Why don’t you skip the line and make brunch at home this week? The coffee’s truly bottomless, the booze doesn’t have a crazy markup and you can chill out in your pajamas. Every Sunday I’ll post a brunch recipe. Soon you won’t be asking, where should we go for brunch – instead it’ll be, what should we make for brunch today?

I have a somewhat unhealthy relationship with avocados: I respect and love them, but I also find them incredibly annoying. They’re kind of finicky, those little dark green buggers. You can never (or at least I can never) just go to the store and pick up a perfectly ripe avocado. Once I tried and the poor little guy had a thumbprint sized bruise where someone had overzealously gave him a squeeze.

japanese avocado toast - www.iamafoodblog.com

Avocados seem most perfect when I pick them up green and rock hard. A couple of days of resting time out on the counter is just what they need to become ripe but not mushy, perfectly jade green without any hints of brown bruising. When I think they’re just about good, I like to flick off their little dry stem nubbin and take a look at what color it is underneath. If it’s bright green, I know it’s good to go. If the stem doesn’t want to budge, it means that it needs a bit more time. And if it’s gross and brown underneath, it’s basically time to cry, cut off the brown bits and make some sad not-quite-right guacamole.

japanese avocado toast - www.iamafoodblog.com

Sometimes I think if I could have a mundane superpower – you know, always being on time, always being able to find a parking spot, or always knowing when things are about to go on sale – I would pick being able to tell if an avocado is perfectly ripe and blemish free. I think that would be pretty awesome. Then again, knowing when things are going to go on sale would be pretty awesome too! What would yours be?

japanese avocado toast - www.iamafoodblog.com Twist half of the avocado off and remove. Place the remaining half (with the pit) on a dish towel and carefully tap your knife into the pit so that it wedges itself in. Twist the knife and remove the pit. Place the avocado, cut side down on to your cutting board and peel off the skin.

3 Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo

3 Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo

Serve immediately with freshly ground pepper.

 Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo

 

View more mains meat free noodles quickie recipes

The first time I even laid my eyes on fettuccine alfredo was in the lunch line in elementary school. I had my little orange plastic tray with the tiny cup of milk and a bun. At the end of the line there was a huge vat of noodles in what looked like a white sauce. The noodles were overcooked, the sauce was goopy, and it was a salt bomb. I LOVED it of course. I ate up that bowl of noodles like I hadn’t eaten in days. Afterwards, I turned towards my more worldly friend, and asked, “what was that?”

3 ingredient fettuccine alfredo recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

My friend tossed her shiny blonde hair over her shoulder and said, “they called it ‘fettuccine alfredo’ but it doesn’t taste as good as the fettuccine alfredo I’ve had with my parents.” Of course I had to ask her where to get the good stuff. In an ernest voice that only little kids can have, she answered me: the best fettuccine alfredo in the world is at Sizzler!

3 ingredient fettuccine alfredo recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

I’m pretty sure I would have agreed with her then, but nowadays, I’m betting that the best fettuccine alfredo in the world is the one you make at home to share with family, a couple of good friends, or maybe even just your best friend. The truth is, even though there are a multitude of recipes out there for alfredo that call for cream or milk, fettuccine alfredo really only needs three ingredients: pasta, butter and Parmesan cheese.

3 ingredient fettuccine alfredo recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

Since classic fettuccine alfredo is so simple, it’s key to have quality ingredients. First off, the pasta. Bonus points if you make your own pasta (as I did here), but if you’re in a pinch store bought fresh pasta or high end dried pastas will do the trick as well. After you source your pasta, you’ll need some butter. I’m partial to Icelandic butter, when I can get my hands on it. And, of course, the most important ingredient of all: Parmigiano-Reggiano. Three ingredients and you’ve got yourself a quick and delicious dinner!

Spicy Korean Deviled Eggs

Spicy Korean Deviled Eggs

Hope it’s egg-filled!

Deviled Eggs

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spicy korean deviled eggs - www.iamafoodblog.com

spicy korean deviled eggs - www.iamafoodblog.com

So…I heard you like eggs with your eggs. I certainly do! I couldn’t resist topping some spicy gochujang deviled eggs with even tinier eggs. Because, why not? Easter is all about the eggs, right? I’ve had a mild obsession with quail eggs for the past little while. To be honest, I’ve been always been obsessed with eggs, but lately I’ve been getting into more than just chicken eggs.

spicy korean deviled eggs - www.iamafoodblog.com

Quail eggs are a natural favorite, because they’re just so darn cute. They boil up quick as a flash and make for the prettiest sunny side ups you ever did see. Plus, their yolk to white ratio is bang on: their large yolks make them rich, but their tiny overall size makes them not overbearing.

spicy korean deviled eggs - www.iamafoodblog.com

Are you guys making deviled eggs for Easter? I’m going to a little Easter brunch tomorrow at Karen’s place and I’m going to be whipping up some quick deviled eggs and bloody ceasers (like a bloody mary, but with clamato instead of tomato juice – it’s a Canadian thing and it’s delicious!)

 

spicy korean deviled eggs - www.iamafoodblog.comMake crispy frico quail eggs. Heat up a non-stick pan over medium heat and add small piles of shredded cheese of choice (I used cheddar). Let melt and when cheese starts to look lacy, add the quail eggs on and fry until whites are firm and yolk is still sunny, 1-2 minutes.

How to Cut a Pineapple

How to Cut a Pineapple

Quarter the pineapple, lengthwise and then cut out the tough core. Cut into chunks or slices as you please!

How to Cut a Pineapple

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how to cut a pineapple - www.iamafoodblog.com

Today I’m going to be in Hawaii! It seems fitting that I should post something Hawaii related and lucky for me, I shot this pineapple before I left. I’m hoping Hawaii is everything I dream and more.

how to cut a pineapple - www.iamafoodblog.com

I’m definitely going to be eating my weight in pineapples. Everyone cuts their pineapples differently, but this is how my mom does it and how I do it too, when I’m not being lazy. I love the way the spiral cuts look so it’s worth the extra bit of effort because it looks so fancy.

how to cut a pineapple - www.iamafoodblog.com

But, before I teach you how to cut a pineapple, I need to teach you how to choose one. I don’t know where I learned this from (probably Mike) but the best way to find out if a pineapple is going to be sweet is to smell their butts. You know, the bottom part of the pineapple, opposite their towering green crown. Give it a good sniff (hee hee!) and if it smells sweet and pineapple-y, you’ve got a good one. You’ll be surprised at how many pineapples you smell that smell like nothing at all.

how to cut a pineapple - www.iamafoodblog.com

After you select your perfect pineapple, it’s just a quick lopping off of the top and bottom, then standing it up and slicing along the sides to take the skin off, following along the natural curve of the pineapple. Then, take a look at the eyes on the pineapple. Generally, the line up in a diagonal. Cut a little v-shape trench along the diagonal, taking out the eyes.

how to cut a pineapple - www.iamafoodblog.com

Alternatively, if you don’t mind the eyes or want to trim off a little bit of extra pineapple, you could try to slice the eyes out while you’re peeling, but when you do this you’re taking off quite a bit of fruit. It just so happens that the sweetest fruit is nearest to the skin, so I wouldn’t really recommend it.

how to cut a pineapple - www.iamafoodblog.com

Once you’re done spiral cutting the pineapple, stand it up on it’s end again and cut it into quarters. Or, keep it on it’s side and slice lengthwise into quarters.

Mini Corn Dogs

Mini Corn Dogs

Mini Corn Dogs

View more mains meat quickie recipes snacks

how to make mini corn dogs - www.iamafoodblog.com

Are you into corn dogs? Corn batter dipped deep fried deliciousness is totally my jam. So much so that once, on a camping trip, I brought along a box of frozen corn dogs so Mike and I could roast them over the fire. They were actually really, really good, especially once I slathered them in hot mustard and ketchup.

how to make mini corn dogs - www.iamafoodblog.com

I had a ton of fun making these little guys, mostly because it was kind of therapeutic to poke the little sticks into the dogs, dip them in batter, and deep fry. Generally I don’t mind deep frying – the only thing that bothers me about it is the splatter. But in this case, there was zero spatter. There’s just something about corn batter that makes it ideal for deep-frying.

how to make mini corn dogs - www.iamafoodblog.com

I tried to get a little fancy with these guys by putting them into this gold accented bowl. I think it adds just a touch of class! But, the truth is that the little sticks I used to poke inside the hot dogs are from Starbucks; the very nice barista said I could help myself. So, I guess in the end, I’m just not that classy of a girl because a classy girl would totally buy the sticks for her corn dogs. Also, I would totally pass these around as hors d’oeuvres at a black tie event. They bite sized and on a stick – what more could you want when in a fancy dress?

how to make mini corn dogs - www.iamafoodblog.com

PS – I couldn’t resist making an animal style, a la In-N-Out Burger, corndog. Think: crispy deep-fried mini corn dog, cheese, grilled onions, and thousand island dressing. So bad, but so good.

PPS – I’m still in Maui, having a blast. Yesterday I got lei’d for the first time and also had my first Hawaiian shave ice – it was super ono!

how to make mini corn dogs - www.iamafoodblog.com

8 Healthy Grilled Cheese Recipes That Will Make Your Mouth Water

8 Healthy Grilled Cheese Recipes That Will Make Your Mouth Water


More Cheese, Please

Today is National Grilled Cheese Day. It’s not like you really needed an excuse to celebrate, but what the heck—we’re giving you 10 delicious, gooey, cheesy, and healthy reasons to chow down on the classic sandwich. These healthy grilled cheese recipes need no special occasion—grill them up any day of the year and feel good about doing so. Plus, cheese is a rich source of bone-building calcium and muscle-recovering protein; choose wisely and cheese can be a part of any healthy diet—or even a weight-loss plan.

Sweet Potato and Kale Grilled Cheese

The name alone tells you this sammie is healthy. And the taste proves it’s delicious too. Sweet Potato and Kale Grilled Cheese only gets better when you add caramelized onions and fresh herbs to the pile. It’ll be your new go-to hand-held dinner.

Balsamic Blueberry Grilled Cheese

This Balsamic Blueberry Grilled Cheese Sandwich is almost too pretty to eat—almost. Frozen blueberries are reduced along with sugar and vinegar to create a jam-like spread that might warrant a bib to prevent stains but is totally worth it. (Actually, frozen fruits are one of the Packaged Foods That Are Surprisingly Healthy.) Get your greens in with a generous handful of baby spinach or arugula for a bite that’s bursting with flavor.

Avocado Tomato Grilled Cheese

What a difference two extra ingredients can make! Creamy avocado and juicy tomato add an extra punch of richness to regular ol’ grilled cheese and pump up the nutritional value with heart-healthy benefits in every crispy, gooey bite of this Avocado Tomato Grilled Cheese.

Green Goddess Grilled Cheese

There’s so much more to the world of healthy green eating than salads and smoothies. Green goddess, whether it’s in the form of dressing or this pestoGreen Goddess Grilled Cheese Recipe, is so yummy you might want to bathe in it (don’t.). Along with other favorite green foods like spinach and avocado, these ingredients make one healthy cheesy sandwich. (Want other unique ways to use pesto? Find a Healthy Pesto Recipe That Doesn’t Involve Pasta.)

Beet, Arugula, and Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese

Beets are a great root veggie to add to salads and sandwiches alike. In this Beet, Arugula, and Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese, they add rich color and nutrition. Beets have been shown to boost athletic performance, which could be Why Endurance Athletes Swear By Beet Juice. Smooth goat cheese and peppery arugula perfectly compliment this unique take on a classic.

Cauliflower Crust Grilled Cheese

You’ve tried cauliflower crust pizza, so it’s only natural you should transfer that healthy-swap concept to sandwiches, right? Right! White bread and artificial cheese food are the reason for grilled cheese’s bad rep, but when you use healthy veggie alternatives and real, rich cheddar—like in this Cauliflower Crust Grilled Cheese—the tables are turned in your favor.

Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese

All hail spinach, the original dark leafy green with a mega-dose of iron—one crucial nutrient responsible for maintaining strong energy levels. And don’t forget to praise feta—this is one crumbly, savory cheese that’s lower in fat and calories than most, meaning you can have more of it! Feta doesn’t melt very easily, so try a blend of stringy mozzarella and feta for the perfect, light Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese sandwich.