Monday, November 24, 2014

Pumpkin Flan

This flan can be steamed in a large double boiler or baked in oven and even better it needs to be chilled out at least 6 hours or overnight.

3/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 can (15 ounces-weight)  pure pumpkin or cooked
1 can (12 ounces-fluid)  evaporated milk
1 can (14 ounces-weight)  sweetened condensed milk
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground clove
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract.
1/4 tsp salt
One 9 in round cake pan, or glass pie pan
One large roasting pan or large pan with deep side (about 2 inch)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 oF
  2. Heating sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir constantly until sugar melt completely and turn light brown color.  Keep stirring until a few shades lighter than caramel color.  Remove from heat, keep stirring until caramel color.  Carefully pour into a 9-inch round cake pan.   Using pot holder, tilt the pan to cover the bottom completely and partial of the sides.  Keep turning the pan until caramel cool and thick enough to coach the pan evenly.  Set aside. 
  3. In a blender or food processor, add all ingredients and blend until smooth set aside.  Or whisk eggs in a large bowl, add pumpkin, salt, spices and whisk until blended.  Whisk in  two milks, vanilla extract until smooth.  Pour in the prepared pan and set in a larger  pan  or a roaster.  Fill the larger pan with hot boiling water half way up the side of cake pan.
  4. Bake about 1 hours until the center is almost set and still jiggling when the pan is shaken gently. Remove from hot water and cool on wire rack for 1 hour.  Cover and chill until cold at least 6 hours or overnight in the fridge. 
  5. Running a knife around edges.  Inver a large platter with a lip over the pan.  Hold the platter and pan securely together and quickly invert the pan onto the platter over the sink to avoid caramel spillage.  May need to shake gently to release the flan.  Caramel will pour over and around the flan. Scrape remaining caramel sauce from the pan over flan.  Cut in wedges and serve with a dollop of whipped cream as desired. 
Whipped Cream (optional)
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powder sugar
Combine cream and sugar in a medium bowl.  Beat with low speed until thicken, and increase speed to high and keep beating until a firm peak form.  Use immediately.  

  •  If using double boiler, steam about 45 minutes.  Keep the water in the base about 1/4-1/3 full and boiling gently.  If the flan start getting puffy because too much heat/steam, lift the lid slightly and release the steam and close it back quickly. 
  • Adjust spices' amount and kinds as you preferred.  Some recipes used 1 tsp cinnamon or 1.5 tsp pumpkin spice, or a combination of 1/2 tsp cinnamon+1/4 tsp ground ginger+1/4 tsp ground clove, 
  • A pumpkin spice mix from Chef Travis Brust: is a bonus for the season.
               3 Tbs ground Cinnamon
               2 tsp ground Ginger
               2 tsp ground Nutmeg
               1½ tsp ground Clove
               1½ tsp ground Allspice

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Swiss roll with Pandan flavored Whipped Cream

It is fall season-wind swirls, leaf curls.  Well, we wish just that simple. On last saturday, wind storm hit our area.  Trees down and over thousand customers lost the power in Eugene and other areas but my area was ok.  
This swiss roll recipe is from the book "Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cooking Techniques" except pandan flavored whipped cream. It contains more sugar and less flour than Concord Grape Swiss roll.
4 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour, stir the flour briefly, scoop in a measuring cup and level
10"x15"x1" or 9"x13"x1" jelly roll pan
1 cup heavy whipped cream
3 Tbs powdered sugar
6 pandan leaves, fresh or frozen
Green  color (optional)
1/2 tsp gelatin powder

  1. Prepare the cake like Concord Grape Swiss Roll.
  2. For the filling, wash and dry panda leaves with kitchen/paper towel.  Thinly slide and put them in a blender with 1/4 cup heavy whipped cream.  Blend until the leaves finely ground.  May add more cream to help grinding process smoother.   Pass through a fine sieve and squeeze all the cream out.  Discard the solid mass.  Mix with remaining cream and keep cold in the fridge.  Whisk the cold pandan flavor cream and assemble the cake  as previous post. 

Swiss Roll with Concord Grape Jam and Whipped Cream

Weather is changing dramatically lately-Rainy, windy, cloudy, shiny.  Two days weekend was just enough for me to rest and save some extra for my sleeping bank.  This cake was made last week.  Its color and flavor is from concentrated homemade Concord Grape juice and jam.  The color is a little boring but it is matching the dreary weather quite well. I may add a few drops purple next time.

Rolled cake is one of my kids favorites. It is such a joy watching them eager to taste and devour these slices. It is a sponge/genoise cake baked in a shallow pan, filled with a thin layer of jam, fruit, whipped cream, buttercream, etc and rolled around the filling. It is called Roulade, Swiss roll, Jelly roll. Swiss /jelly roll in America is slightly different with extra baking powder to ensure the lift but I did not use it here.  Make sure to preheat oven early enough because the batter does not take long to made.

4 egg
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour, stir the flour briefly and spoon it into a measuring cup then level.
1/4 cup concentrated grape juice (being cooked down in half)
1 cup heavy whipped cream, cold
2 Tbs powdered sugar
1/2 tsp gelatin powder
1/3 cup Concord grape jam
10x15x1 inch jelly roll pan.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 oF.  Spread a little oil or butter at the corners help to keep liner paper in place.  Line the pan bottom  only and keep the side ungreased or extending the liner up to 1/2-1 inch above the rim.   If you do not have parchment paper, grease or oil and flour the pan bottom.  Make sure no blank spots at bottom or your cake will be stuck.  Do not worry about the side.
  2. Select a saucepan that can hold a large bowl without touching its bottom with 2 inch water in the pan. Bring it to a boil and keep simmering on low heat.  The hot water is used to speed up the thicken process.  
  3. Put eggs and sugar in the bowl, whisk briefly and vigorously to break the egg and start mixing them with sugar.  Put the bowl over simmering water, and whisk at high speed until  all sugar is dissolved and the mixture feels quite warm.  The whisk should hit the bottom and sides of the bowl. Rub a small amount of the warm egg mixture between your fingers and you should not feel any sugar crystal. Remove the bowl from hot water, wipe the bottom and continue whisking/beating at high speed until very thick and forming a ribbon trail on the surface when the whisk is lifted.      
  4. Sift 1/2 the flour  on the egg mixture  and fold in with a large flexible spatula.  Cut cleanly through (from the top to bottom and up to the side) to avoid knocking out the air while turning the bowl. Add 1/2 juice, fold it in  and repeat with remaining flour and juice.  Try folding quickly.  Pour batter into the prepared pan, spread evenly.  Tap the pan gently on the counter one or twice to even out the batter and to burp large air bubbles.  Bake at 375 oF until the top is nicely  brown and spring back when lightly touched in center. about 10-12 minutes.  Do not open oven before the minimum timing.  
  5. Loosen edges with a small knife, immediately cover the cake with a large piece of parchment/wax paper, and put another sheet pan, cooling wire rack on top and turn it over.  You can sprinkle powder sugar on a kitchen towel or a parchment and turn the cake onto it.  Peel off the lining paper. Start from the narrow end, roll up the cake in paper/towel.  Place on the cooling rack to cool completely
  6. Make the filling while waiting the cake cooling.  Put a medium bowl (with high side) and whisk/s in the freezer. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon gelatine powder over 1 tablespoons water in a small bowl and set aside about 5 minutes.  Melt gelatin by microwave it in 10-20 seconds or put the bowl in a small skillet filled with 1/2 inch of hot water.  Heat, stir constantly until  gelatin is clear and completely dissolved.  Let the mixture cool down to room temperature but still liquid.  If it becomes solid, reheat it again.  Whisk heavy cream and sugar in the cold bowl and whisk/s until start to thicken and form a soft peak.  Add cooled but still liquid gelatin in a slow steady stream while continuously whisking. Stop when a firm peak formed. 
  7. Assemble the cake:  Carefully unroll the cake but not completely flat.  The inner edge should remain curled.  Spread a thin layer of jam, start at the curled edge first, and top the jam with whipped cream. Spread it evenly over the rest of the cake as best as you can, leaving 1/2 inch border on the far side/edge.  Tuck the curled edge under and carefully roll up the cake, use the towel or parchment paper to guide.  Lift the towel/paper and continue rolling  Make sure the edge is underneath the roll.  Place the rolled cake on the platter.  Cover loosely with foil/wax paper or a cover and refrigerate up to 3 days.  The cake will be moister and more flavorful the next day. To get the nicest slices, let the cake rests at least 3-4 hours in the fridge.  If desired, sprinkle with powder sugar and serve. Cut into 8-10 slices.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Vietnamese Pickled Carrot and Daikon-Đồ Chua

A simple sweet and sour compliment in Bánh mì/Vietnamese sandwich, Rice noodle, Springroll, etc.or in daily meals. It is very easy to make and you can adjust the taste by altering the ratio of water, vinegar and sugar.  A cheap simple waving tool can be found at Oriental stores or mini cookie cutter, or a mandoline, coarse box grater may be used to make unique shapes but a knife is all you needed.

Daikon or daikon radish is shaped almost like a carrot with white color.  It has firm, crisp texture and  a sharp pungent, biting and slightly spicy flavor.  It is loaded with fiber, vitamin and minerals.  You can buy a small piece of daikon or a whole large one.  The remaining daikon can be used in making stock, broth, or soup.  Pickled daikon is best served after overnight in the fridge so the sharp pungent and spicy flavor would be tamed in the pickled solution.  I like to use 50:50 mix of carrot or daikon but we can just use carrot by itself.

This recipe is adapted from PokPok of Andy Ricky-The James Beard Foundation's best Northwest chef award winner.  It is served with his famous wings but I found its taste is very close to the pickled carrot and daikon from some Vietnamese sandwich shops so enjoy.  Add them to anything you like sandwich, salad, noodle/rice vermicelli salad, or next to your famous wings.

1 medium carrot
1/2 medium daikon
Pickled solution, about 1¾ cup:
   1 cup water
   1/2 cup sugar
   6 Tbs white vinegar
  1. Peel and slice daikon and carrot to 1/8 inch thick and 3 inch length and julienne (cut in strips) with a knife or use a mandoline, or mini cookie cutters.
  2. Mix carrot and daikon together and add to a clean container. Gently press them down and add water to barely cover them.  Measure the water volume and use it as a guide for pickled solution volume needed.
  3. Mix water, vinegar and sugar in a bowl.  Stir until sugar resolved and pour  into the carrot & daikon container.  Add more pickled solution to cover all carrot and daikon if needed. Cover and store in the fridge overnight, up to 2 weeks.  


  • Sometime, carrot and daikon is slightly sprinkled and tossed with a little salt and set aside 10-15 minutes.  Then gently squeeze to press most of the liquid out. Rinse with water and squeeze again before add to the pickled mixture.  
  • The pickled solution can has some salt and be bring to a boil and cool down before adding to the veggies. 
  • If you want to make a quick pickles, omit water in the pickle solution. Check here for quantity of ingredients.  
  • 1 cup=240 ml, 1 Tbs/tablespoon=15 ml

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Buffalo Wings-Canh Ga Chien kieu Buffalo

Buffalo wings, hot wings is considered America's favorite watching football-food.  It is invented a the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. 
Wings have become the most expensive part of the chicken and they usually ran out during the big holidays. Believe it or not? Do not wait until the last minutes to buy them.  Deep fried, baked, or steamed and deep fried but no breading.  Frank's original hot sauce is a processed cayenne pepper and vinegar mixture and it is not too spicy to my taste but you can increase butter amount up to 1/4 cup for less spicy sauce.

Make 4 appetizer servings
12 chicken wings, split at the joints, wings tips removed reserved for stock later, pat dry with paper towels
   1/4 cup your favorite hot sauce or Frank;s original hot sauce
   1 Tbs butter
  1 small garlic clove, finely minced
   1/2 tsp kosher salt
   Blue cheese dressing, homemade or store bought
  4 celery ribs
   Vegetable oil for deep fry

Cut celery in thin stick /2-3 inch long.  Soak in cold ice water to make it crisper if you want too.
Deep fry wings in 375o F oil (at least 1.5-2 inch deep oil ) in 2-3 batches until golden and crisp about 8-10 minutes.  Remove wings to a cooling wire rack or brown papers, or paper towels to drain.
Melt butter along with garlic in a large skillet, add hot sauce and salt. Mix well.  Add fried wings and toss to coat.
Serve warm or at room temperature with celery and dressing.

Notes:  I will try bake or steam-bake or grill the wings nextime.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Concord Grape Ice cream-Kem nho Concord

This recipe is based on Martha Stewart's Concord grape Swirl Ice Cream.
I adjust and use less ingredients because I have a small ice cream maker.

2 cups Concord grapes, rinsed and stemmed
6 egg yolks
3/4  and 1/3 cup sugar, divided
1 cup milk
1½ cups heavy cream 
2 tsp pure vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped.
1/4 tsp salt

  1. Mash grape and 1/3 cup sugar in a medium saucepan (just to separate the skin and pulp).  Bring it to a boil over medium high heat.  Reduce heat down to simmer  until the pulp turns opaque and start to burst about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat. Strain liquid through a fine or medium mesh sieve into a bowl about 1/2 cup.  Set the sieve over another bowl and press the grapes against the sieve to separate the pulp and the skin/seeds. We should have about 1/2 cup grape mixture.  Cover and refrigerate the liquid overnight.  Spread grape mixture in a metal disk and transfer it into the freezer until firm but not solid. It took me near 6 hours.  Next time I will freeze it  overnight in an airtight container.
  2. Whisk egg yolks with 6 Tbs sugar and salt in a bowl until pale yellow.  Combine milk and cream in a medium saucepan, add vanilla seeds and pot.  Bring it to a gentle boil over medium high heat. When the mixture start to rise up the side, remove from heat.  Gradually whisk 1/2 of hot milk mixture into the egg yolks mixture.  Pour egg-milk mixture back to the pan , cook over medium heat.  Stir constantly until thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon about 6-8 minutes. Pour custard through a fine sieve to a bowl. Stir occasionally until cool. Refrigerate overnight. 
  3. Mix grape juice with custard and strain through a fine sieve again. Discard solid. 
  4. Transfer custard mixture to an ice cream maker  and following the manufacture's the instruction .  When ice cream is done, transfer to a bowl and fold the grape mixture in.  Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and keep frozen until serve up to  a week. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Concord Grape Granita & Sorbet

Granita and sorbet is lighter than ice cream but just as flavorful and refreshing.  Granita is granulated ice crystals like shaved ice and sorbet is made by a ice cream machine and smoother texture.  Use homemade concord grape juice from previous post.

Concord grape granita
Make 4 servings

2 cups Concord grape juice
1/4 cup simple syrup or 1/4 cup water+1/4 cup sugar)
One 8-9 inch baking dish

Add sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium high heat.  Stir occasionally until sugar dissolved.  Set aside.

In 8-9 in baking square dish, combine grape juice and simple syrup.  Freeze for 1 hour, use a fork scrape any formed crystals into the center.  Repeat scraping every 30-45 minutes until the mixture is crystallized  about 4 hours total. Store in an airtight container in the freezer up to a week until serve.  Stirring occasionally once or twice a day to break up any clump ice crystal formed especially at the side.  Fluff and scrape ice crystals into a chilled cup to serve.

Concord grape Sorbet
Make 4 servings

2 cup Concord grape juice
1/2 cup sugar to taste

An ice cream maker

Stir or whisk sugar  in grape juice until dissolved, taste and add more if needed.  Refrigerate overnight.  Churn in a ice cream maker according to manufacture's instruction.  Transfer sorbet to an airtight container and store  in a freezer until firm at least 3-4 hours up to 2 weeks.