23 December 2009

o, xmas cookie, o xmas cookie...

if there ever was a healthy holiday cookie, this applesauce oatmeal one would be it: chewy, fibrous, made of real fruits, and topped with maple-flavoured love... or what love would taste like if it were made of maple icing and a pound and a half of butter.

(there's actually very little butter in these cookies, which makes it all the better).

triple the batch and give them away to people who need that extra poundage for the holidays. consider it a gift, you cheap bastards.

(recipe courtesy of martha).

happy holidays!

04 December 2009

sweet soups

chinese sweet soups are the weird dessert/snacks that most westerners don't understand – think of it as chocolate pudding, except minus the chocolate and milk; then replace them with ground nuts or sesame seeds and finely ground rice and then cooked to thicken it, and then delicately sweetened.

and then the big surprise in bowl are the tiny delicate glutinous rice dumpling-type balls filled with ground peanuts and sugar, called tong yuen (soup balls).

sometimes eaten therapeutically, these sweet soups are more or less a winter treat... read more and you'll see what i mean.

(this one is roasted walnut sweet soup with tong yuen; background is some sort of watermelon or strawberry ice cream with tong yuen and served cold [the sesame, hong hum, kowloon, HK])

beware of this this guy (frawley)... some call him the dessert monster. he can eat his giant bowl of almond sweet soup and then finish everyone else's when they aren't looking... see that grin on his face? you know he did something with that spoon that he shouldn't have:

(look at the hypoplasia on that guy!! so deviant...)

(background: almond sweet soup; foreground: black sesame sweet soup)

here's fat auntie's recipe for almond sweet soup:

6 oz (around 2/3 cup) almonds, skins left on*
1 oz (between 1/8 and 1/4 cup) rice (uncooked)
6 oz water (around 2/3 cup)
1/2 to 1 stick of block or rock sugar (about 4 to 6 oz). or use a simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water)
  1. make a sugar syrup: heat sugar in water until completely dissolved, stirring occasionally to ensure sugar completely dissolves. avoid boiling the mixture.
  2. don't burn yourself.
  3. remove from heat and soak the rice in the sugar syrup (a few hours to overnight).
  4. lightly toast the almonds at a low heat in a wok until fragrant (between 5 and 10 minutes). do not burn them nor yourself. let them cool down enough to handle.
  5. in a blender or food processor, finely grind the almonds with the sugar/rice mixture. this should take at least 20 minutes. the mixture should look fine like pancake batter, though it is not colloidal (it will separate eventually)
  6. filter the mix in a metal coffee filter to remove bits that didn't get ground.
  7. cook mixture it over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly (avoid boiling). serve warm. hopefully there aren't any leftovers that you need to refrigerate.
*almonds can be substituted for walnuts, white sesame, black sesame, cashews. you can also use chinese almonds (which are actually apricot kernels) and mix them with regular almonds.

tong yuen
recipe to come...

02 December 2009

Schweinshaxe und mich

Schweinshaxe is Deutsch for pig knuckles, ham hocks, pig trotters (or whatever you want to call them to make them sound more revolting) and actually make fantastic, hearty meals in a variety of styles of cuisine. disregard the fact that these used to be what a pig used to walk with. you will be convinced.

here's a traditional bavarian-style pork knuckle, great for warming you up on chilly late fall evenings and clogging your arteries with every little nibble!

in a large pot, boil some water. add the hocks to the water (flavour the water as you like with some celery, carrots, onions, garlic, caraway seeds, bay leaves, peppercorns and salt) for about half an hour or an hour. remove from water, reserving the vegetables and some of the liquid.

at this point you can use a knife to slice into the fat to so that it looks like knife wounds (don't cut all the way to the meat), or you can leave it the way it is.

grease an oven-proof pan (preferably) with rendered animal fat or shortening. bed the reserved vegetables and then place the cooked hocks hocks on top. sprinkle with a bit of beer (belgian style is a preference) and some of the cooking liquid you reserved.

bake at about 400F-425F about 30 to 45 minutes, until you get a crispiness you like. baste as often as you like with the cooking liquid and more beer, to make sure it doesn't dry out.

tip: bake potatoes in the same dish.

eat and enjoy. oink.

01 December 2009

when cakes go wrong...

not a big cake eater myself, but those who enjoy failblog and the ilk should definitely check out cake wrecks... it's a hoot!

(wtf is this?)

wedded bliss-take! (this looks like the couple was mauled by zombies...)

(not just high-larious cakes but also some amazing ones as well).