Posts tagged ‘pig’

March 3, 2012

Sweet & Sour Pork

This weekend, we are celebrating National Pig Day. It is my favorite event that my local farmer’s market organizes, where there are many pig theme decors, activities and yep food too! In the spirit, I’ll share this sweet and sour pork recipe, which I learned from my recent trip.

During my trip to Hong Kong, I managed to peek into Yip’s mom’s kitchen to see her secret in master cooking. This recipe was said to be passed from grandma to her and now to me. This is merely based on observation. I had to come up with the measurements as I cooked it myself when I returned home. All the ingredients are the same, but somehow food always taste better when mom cooks. This is not a dish we eat often at home, due to it’s popularity in take out and cumbersome steps. It is sure impressive for guests and colorful too. I feel happy knowing how it is prepared and cooking a tasty dish on my own.

Sweet and Sour Pork
(makes about 4 servings)

1 boneless pork chop (cubed)
1/4 of green and red bell pepper (chopped)
1/4 of onion (chopped)
3/4 cup pineapple (cubed)
1 egg
flour
oil for frying

Sauce
3 tb ketchup
2 tb vinegar (white/rice)
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 tb water
1/2 tb cornstarch

Directions:
1. Chop pork chop into 1/2 inch cubes and marinate for 1 hour or overnight with salt, sugar, and cornstarch.

2. Making the sauce:
Add ketchup, vinegar, worcestershire sauce, sugar, and water in a pot, cooking in medium heat. Stir to mix and adjusting the taste to your liking. (Example: needing more sour, add vinegar.) In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and a little water together. Add to your sweet and sour sauce to thicken it. Put sauce aside.

3. Frying pork:
Coat pork with egg wash and then flour to fry in oil. Take crispy pork out when golden brown and drain on paper towels. Put aside to cool. Refry pork to get it more crispy. Drain on paper towels to soak up oil.

4. In a wok, stir fry bell pepper, onion, pineapple. Don’t over cook. Add pork and sauce.

Hopefully, next time I go back to Hong Kong, I will learn more cooking. I know the bf will like that:)

July 18, 2011

California State Fair 2011

California State Fair is here! Our schedule has been quite busy lately and there are so much activities and editing to do. We were contemplating whether we should go or not, and I’m so glad we did! The weather this week is in its 80s, sunny and a little breezy, which is perfect for walking outdoors. What I like about the state fair in comparison to other theme parks is the variety of attractions, such as animals, rides, exhibits, live shows, competitions, and yep the FOOD! Everything is deep fried and on a stick! And there are many interesting creations too like raccoon on a stick?! By far the most scary sign I saw was “Deep Fried Butter”! Aside from the weird stuff, we saw a lot of typical carnival food like funnel cakes, cotton candy, and corn dogs. We went Friday after work and I was pretty tired from the day. But once we arrived, I was so excited about our fantastic unhealthy dinner! I got the energy to last through the night!

A very popular item at the fair is the Turkey Leg. This is a huge smoked turkey leg smothered with bbq sauce. Definitely the tastiest thing we ate at the fair: cooked perfectly, fresh, moist, and big!

I also like the Catfish on a Stick and deep-fried artichoke hearts. The Giant Blooming Onion looked like a lot of fun, but it was too greasy and there was not enough dressing.

Here’s our Cherry Icee to wash everything down!

We were pretty full and grease out, so we explored other parts of the fair. The farm animals are so cute and you can get really close up to them. People bring their best animals to the state fair for prizes.

Before we knew it, the sun was beginning to set. We spent some time at the ferris wheel, games and rides section. I love looking at  all the lights and design of the rides. Given that there was no peer pressure, I opted out on participating in being locked up in any torture spinning and scary height dropping machines. Yep I’m chicken >_<!

One thing I recommend seeing at the state fair this year is the Big Bug Exhibit. Very cool giant robotic bugs!

Even though we were having fun and relaxing on our day off, Yip wanted to do some filming. So stay tuned for some short clips!

We ended the night watching fireworks before the state fair closed.  Overall, I enjoyed all the novelties of the carnival. Food was overpriced, but expected. Had more fun this time than few years ago. Didn’t have enough time to see everything, but I’m extremely happy spending date night with my sweetie. What a fun-filled Friday night and a great start to the rest my weekend!

There is still time to go! The California State Fair runs from July 14-31, 10am-10pm at the Cal Expo in Sacramento. $12 general admission + $10 parking.

May 6, 2011

Macarons

For a week, I’ve been learning to make macarons. After work, I announced that I’m making macaron again and the bf replied, “Macaron, macaron, my face is going to turn into a macaron. ” Well, that’s because he eats all of my creations:) Macarons are so small and delicate, you don’t realized how many you pop into your mouth. They are made with only 4 ingredients: egg whites, ground almonds, powdered sugar and granulated sugar. That’s it.

However, the results of my effort are not great and I even went out to buy a Silpat mat and piping tools to make them right. I started with deflated ones, then burnt ones, overly sweet, and lastly, ones that cracked. To my surprise, I’ve used up my bag of powdered sugar, an ingredient that usually stay in the cupboard for too long. So, I think it is time to stop for awhile and bake something else. If anyone have any tips or easy recipes for macarons, let me know!

I came across this raspberricupcakes\’ piggy macarons and they are so cute! When I’m more experience, I will try her recipe. I only followed her method in assembling the pig. Luckily, I got one shell that looked like a pig. Macarons are very tricky…sigh

I savaged the few macarons that looked good enough for a photo shoot and let my bf eat all the defected ones.

My cat Yun Yun loves to hang out in the kitchen with me:)

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.

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