Posts under ‘Food & cooking’

B没che de No毛l

Continuing to brag about my holiday baking 馃檪 : I made a b没che de No毛l, a.k.a a Yule log to bring to the holiday dinner at my cousin鈥檚 house. I was overjoyed at how it turned out since it was the first time that I attempted many of the elements and techniques in making it: […]

Apple gingerbread cake

For the holidays, I attempted to bake a couple of things, an activity I engage in a few times a year, always fueled by a wildly optimistic and delusional valuation of my baking skills. I made a Apple Gingerbread Cake. (I also made a B没che de No毛l, but that is a post for another day.) […]

Vietnamese Red-Cooked Baby Back Ribs

Red cooking is billed as 鈥淐hinese stewing鈥, but there is nothing specifically Chinese about it. It is also one of the more major cooking techniques in Vietnamese cuisine. I would not be surprised if the technique is also prominent in other Asian cuisines. In Vietnamese cuisine, the technique is called 鈥渒ho鈥. There are variations of […]

Vegan bacon?!

I recently made some new friends who are vegans. That may sound like 鈥渕aking friends with collectors of dryer lint鈥 but I assure you that they are actually pretty cool people. As I love to cook for friends, I tried my hands at vegan cuisine. I鈥檓 not a vegan, but tackling vegan cuisine is akin […]

Precision is overrated! :)

Baking fish or seafood en papillote is one of my favorite quick-meal methods. I can be as fancy as I want, or as slap dash as I need to be. I can saut茅e the aromatics like onions, shallots, or garlic beforehand, perhaps with spicy marinated olives, to bring out more flavor. Or if I鈥檓 in […]

Endives With Apricots, Blue Cheese, Walnut

For a recent fundraiser dinner, I did endive with roasted figs, blue cheese and candied pecans appetizer. It鈥檚 a great combination, as cheese and something sweet always is. It was the first thing to disappear from the buffet! It could have been better though. The roasted figs were sweet enough but they were a bit […]

Weird baked pasta trick! :)

I used to use a metal measuring cup turned upside down on top of a lasagna to 鈥渢ent鈥 the aluminum foil cover so it won鈥檛 stick to the melty mozarella. However, I don鈥檛 like the way the cup leaves a ring in the cheese top of the finished lasagna. Also, when I remove the cup, […]

Blue Cheese & Honey!

Cheese paired with a sweet something is one of culinary鈥檚 classic and enduring combinations: gouda and apple, cheddar and honey, manchego and dried figs, Swiss and a dollop of fruit preserve, etc. A quick way to make a simple, quick, and very tasty treat is to sprinkle blue cheese crumbles on slices of French bread, […]

Keeping track of eggs’ age

We don鈥檛 use many eggs. We don鈥檛 bake many desserts. We don鈥檛 have eggs for breakfast. About the only thing we use eggs for regularly are omelets, e.g. this recent Sunday lunch of an omelet of scallions, cherry tomatoes, and blue cheese: We buy eggs only half dozens at a time and usually have some […]

Using tea ball infuser for spices in ph峄

As you may know from my chicken ph峄 recipe, I use a tea ball infuser for the spices. One problem with using a tea ball infuser is that if I have a large amount of spices, it鈥檚 challenging to close one half of the ball over the other without spilling some spices since one side […]

Crispy Pig Ear!

We had a great dinner at one of Austin鈥檚 new restaurants, Juniper. Both the chef/owner and the executive chef used to work at Uchi/Uchiko, Tyson Cole鈥檚 amazing 鈥渕odern Japanese鈥 Austin sushi places. Being adventurous eaters, we tried the 鈥淪haped Pasta With Crispy Pig Ear鈥: It鈥檚 orecchiette pasta in a light cream sauce, with strips of […]

Grapefruit with sea salt and black pepper

I had some grapefruit with Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper. The black pepper is an idea from chef Tyson Cole of Uchi/Uchiko. Putting salt on tart or sour fruits is an Asian thing. Salt turns the sour or tart taste into a taste resembling sweet, but much more pleasant, in my opinion. For […]

Salmon en papillote with tangerinequat

I did another version of fish en papillote, this time with salmon, and tangerinequat instead of my usual Meyer lemon. I like this version better, as the tangerinequat is a little sweeter and the rind and flavor is more orange-y. I used my usual method: caramelized one thinly sliced shallots, add marinated spicy olives mix, […]

Worthless without a pic :)

So I should have snapped a pic when I did chicken skin cracklings so you鈥檇 have an idea how the end result looks. I mean, in these days of 16 megapixel phone cameras, what鈥檚 my excuse?! So, here it is, cracklings that I made yesterday. They should be called crackling crack because they鈥檙e so addictive!

Chicken Skin Cracklings

A really quick and convenient way to make yummy cracklings from chicken skin is to render it in the microwave. I especially like to do this with roasted chicken skin or skin that has been otherwise cooked. Sprinkle with salt, put between sheets of paper towel and microwave for short periods of time until crisp.

Extra cilantro and flat leaf parsley?

I can never buy cilantro and flat leaf parsley in small enough quantities. They鈥檙e sold in fairly big bunches, but I generally use them only for garnishing, rarely as one of the main ingredients. I always have a large amount left over and cannot use them all before they rot. (I keep them, washed, wrapped […]

Rice flour in Vietnamese baguettes?

On a lark, I went and Google鈥檇 鈥淰ietnamese baguette recipes鈥. All of the links on the first page of search results either have no mention of rice flour or explicitly advise against using it. The reasons range from 鈥渋t doesn鈥檛 work鈥 to 鈥渋t weighs the dough down鈥 to 鈥渞ice flour has no gluten鈥. In my […]


We were up at my brother鈥檚 up in Dutchess County, NY enjoying 鈥渢he full Norman Rockwell鈥, as my brother put it, of a snowy Thanksgiving. We had turkey and in the aftermath, turkey soup. The twist was that my sister-in-law made pistou, a 鈥淧roven莽al cold sauce made from cloves of garlic, fresh basil, and olive […]

Knife sharpening hack

Just about every ceramic cup/bowl that I have has a ring of unglazed area underneath. This is where the thing contacts the kiln while the glaze is being fired. The unglazed area makes an excellent sharpening stone/hone. It鈥檚 the same idea as a ceramic steel. It feels a lot more abrasive than the metal steel […]

How I bake cheesecake

When I baked my pumpkin cheesecake with three-chili powder for my company鈥檚 Thanksgiving potluck lunch, I baked at 325 掳 and baked until it reached an internal temperature of 150 掳. I put the filled 9鈥 springform mold into a big baking tray then put some hot water into the tray. (I wrapped the bottom […]