Archive for April, 2011

April 24, 2011

Easter Egg Hunt

Happy Easter! Yesterday, we went to my friend, Wendy’s birthday/Easter party. We had an Easter Egg hunt for adults. The little girls from across the street helped to hide the eggs, while us older people searched. To make the hunting more difficult, some eggs were spray painted brown and they camouflaged really well in the garden. It was not easy to find. I don’t know how Bodie, Wendy’s dog found 2 eggs even before the game started. After the egg hunt, we sure worked up an appetite.

Delicious dinner with ham, butternut squash, potato salad, grilled veggies, potsticker, and green jello. My favorite part, dessert! Rocky road chocolate cake, Blackberry polenta cake, Strawberry & rhubarb pie :P

Bodie, the 11 years old Anatolian dog with bunny ears and happy smiles.

Someone left their Easter egg treats and I got stuck taking home the candies:) Well, I ended up getting a few extra chickies for my cat to play with.

April 13, 2011

Steamed Custard Bun – Pig Bun Version

It’s the middle of the week and I have a craving for bao, steamed bun. My boyfriend replied, “Ok, we’ll go to the city on Friday, yea?” Living in a small town with no Chinese bakery, we have to trek a long way to get some of our favorite food. It can be quite inconvenient when one of us gets a craving. After work that day, my boyfriend brought me some pretty croissant and danish pastries. They were wonderful, but I still wanted to taste soft fluffy bun. So I decided to do some research and found some potential recipes…BUT the ingredients can not be found in our local supermarket. On top of that, I was inspired to make them into a shaped of a pig after going to the Pig Day event at my Farmer’s Market.

After some delayed, here is my recipe for steamed custard bun (奶黄包 / nai wong bao).

Steamed custard bun (奶黄包)
Recipes adapted from the following websites: Lydia Teh’s My Kitchen and Jo’s Deli & Bakery

Bun
2¼ tsp instant dry yeast
2/3 cup lukewarm water
(Optional: ½ tsp white vinegar or lemon juice)

2¼ cup cake flour
3/4 cup wheat starch
3/4 cup icing sugar
2 tb shortening or vegetable oil

2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cold water

Custard Filling
1 tb + 1 tsp custard powder
1/2 cup wheat starch
3 tb castor sugar
1/2 cup milk
3½ tb butter
1 large egg, slightly beaten
_____________________________________________________________________________________
Making bun:
1. Sift together flour, wheat starch and icing sugar. Place flour mixture in a large bowl and make a well in the middle.
2. Fill well with lukewarm water, vinegar and yeast. Gently stir water to dissolve the yeast, then slowly bring together flour mixture.
3. Add in shortening or oil and knead for 10-15 minutes until a soft dough is formed.
4. Cover dough with damp cloth and let it rise for 30 minutes or until it doubles in size.

Meanwhile…
Making custard filling:
5. Combine custard powder, wheat starch, and castor sugar in a nonstick pot.
6. Add in milk and stir mixture over low heat until mixed.
7. Add butter and dissolve in mixture.
8. Add egg and turn off heat. Keep stirring to form custard paste.
9. Divide filling into 12 portions and shape into balls.

Continue making custard bun:
10. Dissolve baking powder in cold water, sprinkle over dough and knead until well combined.
11. Divide dough into 12 portions. Roll a ball into a flat circle where edges are thinner than the center.
12. Place custard filling in the middle, and wrap to form a bun.
13. Place bun on parchment paper, and repeat for the other.
14. Prove for 10 min. and preheat steamer.
15. Arrange buns in a steamer with 1″ gap in between each bun. Steam on high heat for 15 mins.

To assemble pig, add the following steps to the recipe:
11a. Reserve one dough ball and color it pink with a few drops of red food coloring. (I didn’t have any food coloring, so I ground the closest red item I have, which is Haw Flakes.)
11b. Roll out the pink dough and shape little rectangles for noses and triangles for ears.
12a. Adhered nose and ears onto formed bun with a little water. Use a chopstick to poke nose holes.
12b. Eyes can be made with black sesame or raisins. Be creative! I used sushi seaweed and cut out different shape eyes to give my pig buns some expressions.

Notes:
-My custard powder and wheat starch was found in a small Chinese grocery.
-Original recipe uses low-protein flour aka Hong Kong flour. I haven’t been able to find it, so I used cake flour instead.
-For whiter buns, add a few drops of vinegar into steaming water.
-DO NOT open the lid during the steaming process.
-If there are yellowish spots on the steamed buns, it means the baking powder has not fully dissolved.

Beautiful yellow custard and my secret ingredient, Haw Flakes.

It’s coming to life!

It was funny lifting the lid after the buns finished steaming, and seeing the pain expression “(>_<)” on one of my piggies.

April 4, 2011

Davis Farmer’s Market – Pig Day Out

Recently, I have an obsession with pigs due to my local farmer’s market celebration of National Pig Day. Every year in March, Davis Farmer’s Market throws a pig theme party. There are pig shaped bake goods such as sweet bread and cookies. Also plenty of pig relates food for sale like bbq ribs, pigs in a blanket, pulled-pork sandwiches, and mmm mmm BACON. For children, there are craft tables where they can make themselves pink pig noses and girls can get their hair braided in cute pigtails. Oh and I can’t forget, the little piggy petting zoo:) It’s a fun activity for family and friends to meet up for a picnic in the park.

Taking a pig balloon back home to enjoy. Stay tuned for my recipe for sweet pig shaped buns.

April 1, 2011

My Cat’s Birthday

Today is my cat Bumbe’s birthday. He is 6 years old. We adopted Bumbe at the SPCA when he was 6 months old. I fell in love with his big eyes and his chubby figure. This silly cat just made us laugh. He is a timid cat, but is the most affectionate once you gain his trust. All in all, Bumbe is very special to me. So on his birthday, I like to do something to spark up his normal sleep, eat, sleep, eat routine.

Every year on his birthday, I make him a birthday cone hat and throw him a little birthday party. Yeah I know…crazy cat lady! Hey, I get an excuse to eat dessert. Plus Bumbe has a guest of honor, my other cat Yun Yun. Kitten party, isn’t that a cute affair:)

To catch you up on the birthday boy, here’s a time line of his birthday portrait from age 1 to 5:

Today, 6 years old Bumbe, in a piggy theme birthday hat:

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