Archive | October, 2009

fall eats

12 Oct

and just like that it’s fall again. the weather’s becoming chilly and the school work is piling up. (at least for christine, not for me XD) so what else can you do but cook something warm and put off those psets!

to start, i made more hearty stew. this is still basically take what you have the the freezer, chop it up and put it in water to boil. and with the drop in temperature, having a nice rich brothy stew to drink is wonderful.

soup 12

beef and pork stew with hearty vegetables

1 lb of beef or pork shoulder for stewing, bone in
1/2 celery heart
1 large size potato
1 cup baby carrots
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
garlic powder

Start 6 cups of water to heat in a wok or pot. Place lid on for faster heating. When water starts to boil, put in the meat. Make sure you have enough water to cover the meat. Toss in bay leaves and reduce to a simmer.

Cut potato, celery, and carrots to bite size chunks. After meat has been in the water for 3 minutes, toss in the vegetables. Also add in the salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder to taste.

Let the stew simmer for 20 minutes, occasionally stirring and flipping the meat. When carrots are tender, the soup is ready to serve.

Wow, I realized that the directions really didn’t teach you anything. Mostly, it’s me with a pot of water, leftovers from the fridge, and a collection of spices. I think experimentation is important, and as long as you don’t add too much of anything, a meat stew will always come out smelling and tasting great.

For christine, we also made a veggie stew and appetizer. Since she’s competing at the MIT tournament in a week. we kept it low calorie by using a lot of tofu and veggies.

Tofu slices with sesame seasoning

soup 17

1/2 block tofu, firm or soft
furikake (rice seasoning)
sesame oil

Slice the tofu into small, thin slices. Arrange the slices onto a plate for serving. Drizzle sesame oil lightly over the tofu, then sprinkle furikake generously.

Tofu and seaweed soup with soy noodles

1/2 block tofu, firm
1/2 cup baby carrots
1/2 celery heart (about 4 stalks)
1 packet seaweed soup seasoning
1 packet soy protein noodles (or rice noodles)

Bring water to a simmer in a pot. White water is heating up, slice carrots and celery heart into small chunks. Toss the vegetables into the water and let cook until celery is soft. Cut tofu into small cubes.

soup 24

Add in seaweed seasoning. (Seasoning can be made just from 1 sheet of sushi seaweed and 1 shitake mushroom, diced.) Add in the tofu cubes, and flavor with salt and pepper to taste. Add in the noodles, and let the soup simmer until the noodles are the desired softness.

soup 25

Length of procrastination: 30 minutes per soup
Ways to prolong procrastination: sit and enjoy the soup!

Taiwanese pastries tasty and sweet…

3 Oct

This post is for Shen, who gave me the recipe for these pastries and who had a hilarious “OMGSH” moment this past summer as to who Bobby and I were. It is also several months tardy. Sorry for falling off the face of this earth, guys.


MIT’s Association of Taiwanese Students (aka my life and love) is known campus-wide for our monthly pastry sales. We wake up obscenely early to make a trek out to Chinatown and bring boxes and boxes of fresh pastries back to campus. Back in July, I thought I’d try making my own.

The pastries were absolutely delicious and a big hit with both my housemates and Bobby. I made custard and scallion buns, but I’m definitely going to try making red bean and hot dog (I have some excellent veggie meat) in the future.  This time, the crust was a bit crunchy and the inside rather tough, probably because of the high gluten content of the all purpose flour. I’ve found some pastry flour since, and am looking forward to trying this recipe again.

Taiwanese Pastry Buns
Recipe from the illustrious Shenwen who adapted it from House of Annie

1.25 cup warm water (300 mL)
4 tsp active dry yeast
5 to 6 cups all purpose flour (600 g)
0.5 cup + 1 tbsp sugar (110g)
1.5 tsp salt (10g)
2 tbsp + 2 tsp milk powder (20g)
1 egg
4 tbsp butter (60 g)

Mix the dry yeast with the warm water. Add a pinch of sugar. Let the yeast activate for 10 minutes.

Mix together 4 cups flour, sugar, salt, and milk powder. Add the egg, then the water and yeast mixture, and knead until it forms a dough. Add more flour as needed. I used roughly 4.5 cups of flour. Add the butter and continue kneading to form a smooth and elastic dough. Dough is ready it passes the windowpane test.


Gather dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Flip dough around to oil the entire dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest until it doubles in size, preferably in a warm place, where it will double faster. I microwaved a cup of water for about a minute to steam up the inside, then stuck the dough in and closed the door.

After the dough has risen, divide it into small balls – one batch will make 18-24 buns, depending on the size you want your buns to be. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes (often your first balls are done by the time you finish the last ones), then shape (see recipe for fillings below).

When all the buns are done, cover loosely and let it rise a second time until doubled in size again. Then, brush the buns on the top with eggwash gently. Bake buns at 350°F for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown on top.

custard bun

Custard Filling

1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp corn starch
4 large egg yolks
4/3 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat the sugar, flour, cornstarch, and egg yolks until thick and yellow (~2 minutes with a mixer on high speed). Meanwhile, heat milk and vanilla over medium heat.

Gradually add 1/3 of the milk to the egg mixture to temper the eggs; mix well. Add the egg/milk mixture back to the pan and the rest of the milk. Cook, whisking constantly. Make sure you scrape the corners and bottom to prevent scorching. After the custard starts to thicken, cook for another 45-60 seconds.

Pour the custard into a clean bowl and cover. Refrigerate until cold; custard may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

To make the bun, flatten each ball of dough and put 1-2 tsp custard in the center. Be careful not to overfill, or they filling will spill out while baking. Bring the edges around and pinch closed all the way around. Place the buns pinch-side down on a baking sheet.


Scallion Topping

scallions, roughly chopped
2 tbsp oil

Lightly fry the scallions with oil, salt, and pepper.

Shape the buns into slightly elongated spheres let rise. Brush the tops with eggwash and sprinkle scallions on top. Place on baking sheet.

Length of procrastination: 3 hours (total, including rise time)
Ways to prolong procrastination: Make more flavors of buns! Nom nom nom nom…

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