Food & Drink

Crispy Waffles

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Has this ever happened to you?  You get up in the morning and you are pumped to make a batch of waffles.  But by the time you’ve finished making them, they’re all soggy and soft.  BOO!  I recently had a Bob Ross moment where I discovered a “happy accident” when I was making waffles but ran out of milk.  I had some heavy cream on hand to use and omg, it was the crispiest waffles I’ve ever had.  Who would’ve thunk more fat can make waffles crispy? (lol)

Crispy Waffles

  • Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tb granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tb & 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • Optional: 3/4 cup of add-ins (chocolate chips, blueberries, etc.)

Method

  1. Preheat waffle iron.  In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and fluffy.  Beat in the remaining ingredients (except for add-ins) for 2 minutes.  Fold in add-ins, if desired.
  2. In preheated waffle iron, pour mix in and cook until ready.  (In a standard waffle iron, it is about 1/3 cup mix per waffle).
  3. Place finished waffles on a cooling rack to release steam or on a baking sheet and place in an oven set at 200°F.

Food & Drink

Taiwanese Breakfast Crêpes

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Who else likes breakfast for dinner?  Growing up in Taiwan, a lot of times, we would go out for breakfast on weekends and busy mornings.  Taiwanese breakfast joints are not like the swanky brunch places where you’d have a glass of mimosa.  On the contrary, they are often hole-in-the-wall places where you run in, devour your food in less than 5 minutes, and hop on your moped and be on your way.

I absolutely love all Taiwanese breakfast choices, but the one that I love the most is called dan bing 蛋餅, which roughly translates to egg-pastry.  The closest thing that resembles a dan bing is probably the crêpe, although dan bing has a little bit more chewiness in the batter.  The process for making dan bing is also very similar to a crêpe as well.  The batter is very liquidy, and you pour it on a skillet and then top with the toppings.  In this case, the toppings is an egg mixture that resembles an omelette.  This comes together so quickly that I find myself making this as emergency meals.

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Taiwanese Breakfast Crêpes

  • Servings: 3-4
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 stalks scallions, thinly chopped
  • Oil for cooking

Method

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, water, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, scallions, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt.
  3. In a nonstick skillet, heat a tsp of oil over medium heat.  Pour about 1/2 cup of crêpe batter and swirl on the skillet until it coats the bottom of the skillet in a thin layer.  When the tops look set, gently flip the crêpe over.  Pour 1/4 cup of egg mixture on top of the crêpe and swirl the pan to coat the egg mixture all over the base.  When the egg mixture has adhered, flip the whole thing over and cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until the egg is cooked through.
  4. Roll up the crêpe and repeat with remaining batter.  Drizzle with soy paste and top with scallions to garnish, if desired.

Recipe notes:

  • Soy paste is a type of soy sauce that is thicker, less salty, and quite sweet.  You should be able to find it in your Asian grocery aisle.  If you don’t have it, soy sauce is a fine substitute, just use it sparingly.

Food & Drink

Instant Pot Soymilk

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You guys – since Instant Pot came into my life in fall 2016, life has not been the same.  Although most people praise the Instant Pot to cook tender meats or one-pot meals, I personally think it shines in cooking beans and legumes.  It seriously has changed the game for me.  It takes out so much guesswork in cooking beans and I no longer have to stand over a boiling pot of water waiting for things to cook.

I spent the better part of my childhood in Taiwan.  So it’s fair to say that I’ve drunk my fair share of soymilk.  So when I moved to the states, my mom was surprised to find that the products available in the U.S. were not at all like the ones back in Taiwan.  They were often laced with additional flavors, such as vanilla, which is something we never put in our soymilk.  We also sampled Asian grocery stores but found that the soymilk available there, although more authentic tasting, was overwhelmingly sweet.  After many fruitless soymilk hunts, my mom began making soymilk at home.

Traditional soymilk isn’t hard to make, but there’s a lot of steps and is quite consuming.  When I first moved away from home, soymilk became an elusive drink that I only have when I visit my parents.  So when I got my InstantPot and discovered that you can use it to make soymilk, GAME CHANGER!  Typical storebought soymilk costs around $2-3 for a quart carton.  I also did the math – 1 cup of soybeans in the bulk aisle is around 50 cents.  This recipe makes around 1/2 gallon, or 2 quarts.  So compared to storebought soymilk, which is around $2-3, 1 quart of homemade soymilk is only 25 cents!

Instant Pot Soymilk

  • Servings: 8 cups
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup organic soybeans
  • 8 cups water
  • Sugar, to taste

Method

  1. Soak the soybeans overnight in a bowl with 4 cups of water.
  2. Drain and rinse soaked soybeans.  In a blender or food processor, blend soybeans with 2-3 cups of water (subtract from the 8 cups of water), until you get a grainy paste (does not need to be super smooth).
  3. Pour blended soybeans and the remaining 5-6 cups of water into the Instant Pot.  Put the lid on and switch the pressure value to lock.  Manual cook for 10 minutes and natural release.
  4. Using a sieve, strain the finished soymilk.  Stir in sugar, if desired.  I typically add 1/4 cup sugar, but I recommend starting with 2 tablespoons and increase from there.

Food & Drink

Spinach & Mango Smoothie

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Spring is here and that means fruits and vegetables are about to get super affordable.  If you’re like me, you like to drink your vegetables.  This is horrible, but I sometimes convince myself that if I get 5 servings of fruits and vegetables out of the way in the morning, that gives me license to eat like garbage for the rest of the day.

I don’t have one of those fancy Vitamix of Blendtec blenders, which is a shame because those blenders can make anything ridiculously smooth.  The worst smoothie you can make is the one that is gritty and chunky in all the wrong places.  I just use a small personal blender and it has worked for me time after time.  The secret is a frozen banana.  The frozen banana will do 2 things – it will make your beverage colder and thus eliminating the need to add ice to your smoothie, also, it creates a velvety texture as you blend eliminates chunky smoothies.

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Spinach & Mango Smoothie

  • Servings: 1-2
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Ingredients

  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 cup packed spinach
  • 1/2 cup packed kale
  • 1 mango, peeled, seeded, and chopped (approximately 3/4 cup fruit)
  • 1 cup milk (or dairy-free alternative)

Method

  1. Put all ingredients in a blender.  Blend for 30 seconds, or until smooth and you can’t see flecks from spinach and kale.

Food & Drink

Crispy Baked Tofu with Soy Ginger Sauce

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I eat a lot of tofu.  In fact, I can devour an entire plate in one sitting.

The thing is, I don’t discriminate when it comes to soy products – silken, extra firm, beancurd, soymilk, I’ll eat them all.  It’s funny, when Ian and I first started dating and my mom made Chinese food with tofu in it, Ian slowly pick at it as to not offend my family.  So I had no idea that he abhors tofu.  Now that I know that he actually cannot stand tofu, I’m thinking “great, more for me.”

I personally will eat tofu in any shape or form.  But lately, I’ve been getting into baking them.  They taste great as a vegetarian protein alternative in salads and stir-frys.  Personally, I like tossing them in the soy ginger sauce and snack on them throughout the day.  Seriously, it’s that addictive.

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Crispy Baked Tofu with Soy Singer Sauce

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients

Baked Tofu

  • 1 block extra firm tofu (firm is okay too)
  • 1 Tb vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp five spice powder
  • Sesame seeds
  • Green onions

Soy Ginger Sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 inch nob ginger, minced
  • 1 Tb cornstarch

Method

  1. Wrap tofu in 2 kitchen towels.  Place on a plate and weigh it down with a heavy pot or pan for roughly 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F.  In a medium bowl, combine cornstarch, white pepper, salt, and five-spice powder.
  3. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes.  Toss tofu in vegetable oil and then toss in the cornstarch mixture.  Shake off excess.  Place tofu on a baking sheet, making sure they don’t touch.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, flipping the tofu cubes halfway.
  5. In a small saucepan, combine soy sauce, honey, garlic and ginger and bring to a gentle boil over medium-low heat.  In a small bowl, combine cornstarch with 1/4 cup water.  Stir into sauce and cook until thickened to desired consistency.  Toss with baked tofu.  Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions, if desired.

Recipe notes

  • You should be able to find white pepper and five-spice powder at your local Asian grocery store in the spice section.
  • If you want to use this crispy baked tofu for salads or stir-frys, simply bake, skip the sauce, and use directly in whatever recipe you are using.

 

 

Food & Drink

Deviled Eggs 3 Ways

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When I was in college, I ate my fair share of deviled eggs.  As music majors, part of giving our junior and senior recitals included hosting the reception.  But with the whole “broke college student” struggle, preparing crowd-pleasing appetizers and desserts on a budget can be really hard.  Enter – deviled eggs.  One year, my friend asked me to prepare a reception dish for her recital.  She gave me a budget of $10 and it had to have close to 100 servings.  I seriously considered just putting Famous Amos cookies on a platter and calling it a day.  But I thought – wait, eggs are cheap, mayonnaise is cheap, salt is cheap.  Folks, we’ve got an appetizer!

Since college, the amount of deviled eggs I consume has drastically dropped.  But when I do whip these out for a crowd, I do like to mix it up and experiment with fun flavors.  Today, I will share 3 of my favorite ways to prepare deviled eggs – classic, southern-style, and curried.

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Deviled Eggs

  • Servings: 12
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Ingredients

Classic Deviled Eggs

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, cut lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard (or yellow mustard)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Southern Style Deviled Eggs

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, cut lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard (or yellow mustard)
  • 1 Tbs sweet pickle relish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Curried Deviled Eggs

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, cut lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard (or yellow mustard)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Garnish ideas

  • Paprika
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Scallions

Method

  1. Scoop out the egg yolks and place in a medium mixing bowl.  Use a fork to mash the egg yolks.  Combine the rest of the ingredients.
  2. In a piping bag, pipe the egg yolk mixture into the hollowed egg whites.  Top with garnish of choice.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe notes

  • In my opinion, the easiest way to boil eggs is by using the Instant Pot!  I put my eggs on the trivet in the pot.  Pour 1 cup of water in the pot.  Manual pressure HIGH for 5 minutes.  Natural release 5 minutes, and then manual release the rest of the pressure.
  • If using the stovetop to boil eggs, place eggs in a large saucepan.  Cover the eggs with about 1 inch of water.  Bring water to a boil.  Remove from heat and cover the saucepan.  Set timer for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, drain and rinse the eggs.

 

Food & Drink

Instant Pot Mac & Cheese

HELLLLLOOOOO triumphant return! Typing this is so surreal. I guess I should rewind and take you back to the beginning. Blogging, especially blogging about food, is not new to me. I started blogging in 2014 as a stress relief when I was in grad school. It was my way of channeling my creative energy in a non-academic way. I kept at it off-and-on after I graduated, and in 2017, I stopped. I went back to school and did another graduate program at the University of Pennsylvania. Guess what? They make you earn that Ivy League diploma. I basically had no time to do anything creative. Did it drive me insane? Absolutely. Now, I’m on the cusp of starting my career, so I thought this is the perfect time to start over. Thanks for joining me :) Now let’s get to the good stuff.

If I got $1 for every time I tell someone to buy an Instant Pot, I wouldn’t need to rely on the lottery to win big. I love my Instant Pot so much (almost as much as my husband and my dog, combined). This past summer, it got insanely hot here in Philadelphia, so I cooked the majority of our meals in the Instant Pot. (I’m sorry, but I just can’t eat cold salads all day every day).

Now that fall is officially here and it’s sweater weather, I thought it is high time to reintroduce the mac and cheese, Instant Pot edition.

Since I’m “adulting”, I really shouldn’t rely on Kraft Mac & Cheese when I want a warm bowl of gooey cheesy goodness (although if you made some for me, I’d eat the whole thing). I really love this recipe because there’s nothing I hate more than standing over a hot boiling pot of pasta. The Instant Pot can perfectly cook my pasta. When it is done, mix in cheese and milk, tada! Dinner is served (or breakfast, lunch, and dessert. It’s that good).

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Instant Pot Mac & Cheese

  • Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb pasta (I used small elbow macaroni, but you can use whatever you have!)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz mild cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 2 oz parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 cup milk (or half & half)

Method

  1. Turn IP on to ‘Sauté’ function. Melt butter and sauté garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Turn off IP.
  2. Add water and salt. Make sure the water just covers the pasta. If it doesn’t, add more water until all the pasta is covered. Set IP to Manuel (high) for 4 minutes. (Do 5 minutes if you are using a larger pasta, like penne).
  3. Do a quick release when pasta is finished cooking. Drain if there is excess water. Stir in cheese and milk until pasta is thick and creamy.