Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

Blueberry Oatmeal MuffinsIt's that time of the year when blueberries are in season. We've got lots of blueberries and I needed to make something with it. I figure muffins would be awesome since we almost never finish cakes or tarts in this house. While I'm at it, why not make them a little healthier and more filling with some oats, eh? ;)

It's not necessary to mix 2 tablespoons of the flour with the blueberries, but it helps to make the blueberries stay whole while they bake. If you don't care about that, then by all means, just leave out that step.

I really do like these muffins. They're not too sweet and that cinnamon sugar topping totally hits the spot.

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
(makes 1 dozen muffins or about 35 baby muffins)

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten and at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line muffin tins with liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all but 2 tablespoons of flour with the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, combine beaten egg, milk, canola oil and vanilla extract. Mix well. 
  4. Pour liquids into the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined. Set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, toss blueberries in remaining 2 tablespoons of flour. Gently fold into the batter. Spoon batter into muffin tins to the top. 
  6. In another small bowl, combine the sugar and ground cinnamon. Top each muffin with some of the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  7. Bake in the center rack for 10-15 minutes (for mini muffins) or 20-25 minutes (for regular muffins), or until a cake tester comes out clean when poked inside the middle.
  8. Serve with (a pat of butter and) coffee.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mom's Meat Sauce

Mom's Meat Sauce
Most people will probably think this is too sweet and it's sacrilege but it's a taste of childhood for my sibs and me. And man did we ever love our ketchup. This is definitely one way to have your kid have spaghetti and meat sauce if they love ketchup the way K does and the way my sis and I did as kids.

We used to have this as "sloppy joes" with buns, or with rice or with spaghetti (our fave way to eat it). I introduced this sauce to K last night and he had a healthy portion of it. Any way I can get him to have any meat, I'm happy. :)

Mom's Meat Sauce
(serves 4-5)

  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 10 3/4 oz (305g) can condensed tomato soup
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 - 1 Tbsp sugar
  • Salt, to taste

  1. Heat up a large pot (or in my mom's case, a wok) over medium high heat. When pot is hot, add beef and cook until no longer pink. Season with a pinch of salt.
  2. Once meat is cooked, stir in tomato soup, 1/2 cup of ketchup and a 1/2 tablespoon of sugar. Mix well until sauce is hot and bubbly. Taste and season with more ketchup, sugar and/or salt, if needed.
  3. Serve over spaghetti, rice or use as a "sloppy Joe" filling.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Coconut Tapioca Dessert Soup

Coconut Tapioca Dessert SoupThis is one of Hubby's favorite desserts in the summer to have chilled. I love it too. Most people make this with taro root but we don't particularly care for it so I never put any in there; we just add more water. Hence my recipe does not call for it.

You can make it more coconutty by adding another can of coconut milk instead of as much water but we like it this way just fine.

Soaking the tapioca pearls is really optional. If you don't, then it'll just take longer to cook. The starch from the tapioca pearls will make the mixture like a jelly. It's really kind of cool.

Coconut Tapioca Dessert Soup
(serves 10-12)

  • 8-10 cups water, divided plus more for soaking
  • 1 13.5oz can coconut milk
  • 1 cup tapioca pearls
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Ice (optional)

  1. (Optional) In a small bowl, soak tapioca pearls in water for 30 minutes. Drain. 
  2. In a large pot, bring 6 cups of water to boil. Whisk in tapioca pearls. Keep whisking occassionally so they don't stick together and on the bottom of the pot. 
  3. Once the pearls are mostly translucent and you only see tiny white dots (about the size of a millimeter) in the middle of some pearls, add sugar and coconut milk.
  4. Bring to a gentle boil. Take off heat and let the pearls cook in the residual heat until pearls are completely translucent (I just leave the pot on the stove for a couple of hours while I nap or do something else). The mixture will thicken up as the pearls finish cooking.
  5. Stir in enough water/ice to thin out mixture to your liking. I ended up using another 2 cups of water and 3 cups of ice.
  6. Serve warm or chill in the fridge overnight (after the soup comes down to room temperature). 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Asian Beef Wrap

Asian Beef Wrap Filling
My sister does not eat onions, nor green onions. Surprisingly she ate this though. And she ate more than one wrap so she's gotta like this. I know I do, cuz I ate until I was stuffed. :P

You can wrap everything yourself and then serve it, or just place the skillet on the dinner table and have everyone make their own wraps. This is essentially what I did. It's more like a family meal this way.

Asian Beef Wrap
(serves 4-6)

  • 8-12 10" flour tortillas
  • 1 head of green lettuce, leaves washed and dried
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 green onion stalks, finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsps oyster sauce
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sriracha

  1. Heat up a large skillet over medium high heat. When the skillet is very hot (a water droplet would bounce and sizzle away), add ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until beef is no longer pink.
  2. Toss in bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms. Cook until onions start getting soft.
  3. Add garlic and soy sauce. Cook until garlic is fragrant.
  4. Stir in oyster sauce and green onions. Turn off heat. Season with more salt and pepper, if necessary.
  5. To assemble, lay a thin layer of lettuce leaves on a tortilla. Spoon about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of beef mixture into the middle. Top with as much hoisin sauce and Sriracha as you like. Fold opposite ends and roll into a small/medium wrap. Repeat with remaining filling.
  6. Enjoy with a cold glass of limeade or strawberry lemonade.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Easy Mini Cinnamon Buns

Easy Mini Cinnamon Buns
These are probably the easiest cinnamon buns I've ever made. I like them mini, so I could finish one in 2-3 bites. You can always make them normal sized by not cutting the dough in half before rolling. :)

It's important to use pasteurized milk, otherwise the bacteria will likely kill the yeast. Although I wouldn't worry about it, since most milk is pasteurized these days.

Definitely eat these while they're hot. Otherwise I'd just nuke them in the microwave for about 5 seconds to warm them up if eaten after they've cooled down.

Easy Mini Cinnamon Buns
(serves 4-6)

  • 2 1/4 tsps (or 1 packet) instant yeast
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (semi-)melted butter, divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 Tbsp sugars, divided
  • Canola oil, for greasing bowl
  • About 1 cup cream cheese frosting (1/4 of this recipe's frosting is good enough)

  1. Heat up milk and 3 tablespoons of butter until the temperature reaches about 110F (the temperature of bath water/just a bit warmer than your body temperature), either in a small sauce pan over medium heat or in a 2 cup measuring cup in the microwave.
  2. Transfer butter and milk mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add yeast, 1 tablespoon of sugar and salt. Mix well.
  3. Add 2 cups of flour to the liquid mixture. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to mix dough until it gets sticky and a ball of dough starts to form. Roll it out onto a floured surface and knead, adding flour as needed, until the dough is just tacky and no longer sticky (usually about 2 1/2 of flour and 5 minutes of kneading will do). Form the dough into a ball. Grease the mixing bowl with canola oil and place the ball of dough in it, rolling it in the bowl to get it greased up.
  4. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave it in the microwave for 1 hour, or until the dough doubles in size. Do NOT turn on the microwave. It's the best place to let the dough rise.
  5. Line a 8" x 8" pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a thin rectangle. Brush with 3 tablespoons of butter. Sprinkle 1/4 of sugar on top and then with the cinnamon. Use a knife or pastry cutter to cut the rectangle lengthwise (to make 2 long rectangles).
  7. Starting at one end, tightly roll up the dough and situate seam side down. Repeat with the other rectangle. Using the same knife or pastry cutter, cut the dough into 1 1/2 - 2 inch long pieces.
  8. Place the cinnamon buns into the parchment lined pan. Spread remaining butter over the tops of the cinnamon buns.
  9. Place the pan on top of the oven to rise while the oven preheats. Preheat to 350F. Bake in the middle rack for 25-30 minutes, or until slightly golden brown. While the cinnamon buns are baking, make your cream cheese frosting.
  10. Spread the frosting over the hot cinnamon buns. Let cool for a couple of minutes before serving with milk or coffee.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tofu Kimchi Soup

Tofu Kimchi Soup
I've been meaning to make this for so long, but Hubby doesn't like kimchi, so it didn't make sense to make it when he was home. Luckily we have friends visiting and he's been out with them lots so I got to make foods that I like to eat without having to make separate meals for him; and this was one of those meals. WAHAHAHAH! :D

Tofu Kimchi Soup
(serves 4-6)

  • 700g package smooth tofu, cut into bite size pieces, or sliced into 1/2" x 2" pieces
  • 3 cups kimchi, with juices
  • 3 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 lb fish tofu/pork belly/pork shoulder
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 green onion, cut into 2 inch long pieces
  • 1 Tbsp gochujang
  • 1 Tbsp sugar

  1. Heat up a large pot over medium high heat. Add kimchi, mushrooms, fish tofu/pork, water, gochujang and sugar. Mix well and bring to a boil. Boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  2. Add tofu and green onion. Lower heat to medium low and cook for another 10 minutes. 
  3. Serve with rice and a fried egg (and other side dishes).

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Baked Blueberry Cinnamon Croissant French Toast

Baked Blueberry Cinnamon Croissant French ToastI bought all these little micro croissants cuz I just really wanted some. I had a feeling I'd have leftovers and wouldn't know what to do with them and man was I right. Luckily I have some guests over so they can be guinea pigs for this dish. I had considered just making French toast out of them, but then decided to bake it so it'd be ready for everyone at the same time without needing to keep the earlier cooked ones in the oven.

Baked Blueberry Cinnamon Croissant French Toast
(serves 4)

  • 14 micro croissants (or 4 large croissants)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

  1. Place croissants in a 8" x 8" square glass pan, squishing them all in one layer. Set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt. Gently mix in blueberries.
  3. Pour mixture over croissants. Place a plate on top of the croissants and press down so that they're fully submerged in the custard. Chill in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350F. Lift the plate off of the croissants and bake for 30-45 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.
  5. Serve with maple syrup or whipped cream, etc. and coffee.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Danish Pancake Balls

Danish Pancake Balls
I just got myself a new takoyaki pan so I'm super happy. Although I'm all takoyaki'd out, I wanted to use it to make other foods. It just so happens that this pan is similar to the ones used for Danish pancake balls. So I decided to make some. :D

They turned out pretty good. Everyone loves them, so that's pretty darn awesome. I probably would've liked them more with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. But I didn't have any, so I just stuffed them with some chocolate chips and drenched them in maple syrup. :P

Danish Pancake Balls
(makes 60-64 balls)

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 6 Tbsps sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • Canola oil for greasing pan

  1. Place an aebleskiver or takoyaki pan over medium-low heat. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a smaller bowl, mix together eggs, milk and butter. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. 
  4. When pan is hot enough to make a drop of water dance, brush holes with canola oil and fill each to slightly below the rim with batter. Drop a couple of chocolate chips in the center. Using knitting needles, picks, chopsticks, takoyaki picks, or your fingers, move some of the batter so that the chocolate chips are covered.
  5. Cook for another minute or so, until golden brown and you can use a skewer/takoyaki pick/chopstick to break the contact between the pancake ball and pan. Using the pick, turn/flip the pancake over to the other side, while stuffing the batter that overflows over the edges/from the turning ball into itself using another takoyaki pick (1 per hand!).
  6. Cook until golden brown, crispy on the outside and the pick comes out clean when pierced into the pancake ball. Transfer balls to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter, re-greasing the pan each time.
  7. Serve with maple syrup, powdered sugar, whipped cream, fresh fruits, etc. and coffee.

Friday, July 4, 2014


I LOVE these things. I will usually go to the Summer International Night Market just for these. Sure there are other foods, but there was always this one vendor who did these really awesomely. No one has ever done them as nice so I go less often. Maybe once a year now...

The other day I was totally craving these, so I decided to borrow a pan and make some. Now I have my own pan (yay!) so I'll make these another time. I overloaded myself last time so YEAH...Hubby and I can polish off a batch of this and we'd be stuffed (and I had made two batches...yikes!), so you probably can serve about 4-5 people as appetizers.

(makes 24-30 balls)

  • 2 cups dashi (I use instant and then cool it down to room temperature before using)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2-3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp pickled ginger, chopped
  • 180g cooked octopus or 7-8 baby octopus, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • Canola oil (for greasing pan)
  • Okonomi sauce
  • Japanese mayo
  • Bonito flakes/some sort of furikake
  • Dried seaweed flakes (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, mix together dashi, eggs and soy sauce. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour and salt. Whisk in the wet contents from the small bowl until the batter is no longer clumpy.
  3. Heat your takoyaki pan over medium high heat. Using a napkin or a brush, generously grease the pan well. When the pan starts to smoke, carefully fill the holes in the pan with batter. 
  4. (If you need to do this in a couple of batches, then portion out your octopus, green onion and pickled ginger accordingly.) Drop a piece of octopus in the center of each hole. Sprinkle with green onion and and pickled ginger. 
  5. Lower heat to medium and cook for another minute or two, until golden brown and you can use a skewer/takoyaki pick/chopstick to break the contact between the takoyaki and pan. Using the pick, turn/flip the takoyaki over to the other side, while stuffing the batter that overflows over the edges/from the turning ball into itself using another takoyaki pick (1 per hand!).
  6. Cook until golden brown, crispy on the outside and they turn easily in their holes. Transfer balls to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter, if necessary.
  7. Drizzle okonomi sauce, then Japanese mayo, then bonito flakes/furikake and seaweed flakes (if using) over the takoyaki. Serve hot, but be careful because the inside is super hot.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summertime Orzo

Summertime Orzo
I love orzo in the summer. I can stuff so much veggies in it and it'll taste refreshing. Even though I'm having pasta. WAHAHAHA.

This is a pretty awesome dish. A little goes a long way and you can serve it with any grilled protein or any pan fried fish fillet. We had it with pan fried halibut the other night. Darn yummy.

Summertime Orzo
(serves 4-6)

  • 2 cups dry orzo
  • 1 cup snap peas, sliced on a bias
  • 1 bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • Herb butter (optional)

  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil. Cook orzo until al dente. Drain.
  2. Heat up a skillet over medium high heat. Add oil. Once it's shimmery, add mushrooms and cook until they start getting some colour. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook for a minute or so until the onion starts to soften and garlic is fragrant.
  3. Toss in peas and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Mix in orzo until well combined. Add more salt and pepper if needed. 
  5. Serve with grilled protein and top with a pat of herb butter.