Wednesday, April 16, 2008


They are made by a Chinese coffee artist (老三)in New York.

See more of his creations

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

No boundaries For Food

Beijing Olympics is here!! I got so busy these days that I hardly pay any attention to my food anymore!
But I am still me. :) If the food is not exellent, I'd rather starve myself.
Honestly I don't care if the french president is going to the opening ceremony, ah, he thinks French people are the GREATEST, he thinks!
Half-baked salmon with mussels and frisee
When you get a great piece of salmon, sashimi is the way to go. Or like Jean-Georges, who just baked the salmon gently at 300F for 12 minutes. It's very moist and tender--a great way to enjoy salmon!

salmon sashimi with fat sushi

My first time with sushi wasn't a big success. I rolled it the wrong way so they look XXlarge. :( And be careful, nori has two sides and the shiny side should be down when you put rice on it. I did that wrong too. :( :( Anyway, they taste fantastic!

Secret? Mix perfectly cooked sushi rice with mirin, rice vinegar and sugar(1:8:2) Use a spatula to break the rice up gently, using a sliding motion.

I am surprised how much pure flavor rice can have! Folks, eating sushi isn't a way to lose weight--a cup of rice (640 Cal only makes about 2 sushi rolls)

Morimoto's tofu cheesecake with Rose sugar

Morimoto's signature dessert with my own twist--rose sugar. It's so heavenly! Feather light, with just a touch of elegant sweetness.
Oxtail with star anise

Oxtail is perfect for slow-cooking and the aroma is incredible! When you wait, be sure to tie yourself to a chair, or you will not be able to resist and end up burning your tongue!


  • 12 (2- to 2 1/2-inch-thick) oxtail pieces (about 4 1/2 pounds), fat trimmed
  • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth1 large onion, halved, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce8 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 8 whole star anise*
  • 6 (1/4-inch-thick) rounds fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese brown bean sauce (not ground)**
  • 12 to 18 yu choy, baby choy sum, or baby bok choyChopped green onions

*Brown star-shaped seedpods; available in the spice section of some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and Asian markets.**Available at Asian markets.

  1. Arrange oxtails in single layer in heavy large pot. Add next 8 ingredients, then enough water to cover oxtails by 1/2 inch; bring to boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer until very tender, adding more water by 1/2 cupfuls as needed to keep oxtails covered, about 3 hours. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled at least 1 day and up to 3 days.
  3. Spoon off and discard fat from sauce. Rewarm oxtails over low heat. Transfer oxtails to large plate. Boil sauce just until reduced enough to coat spoon thinly (do not reduce too much or sauce may become salty). Discard ginger slices and star anise.Meanwhile, cook yu choy in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain well. Divide yu choy among shallow bowls. Top with oxtails and sauce and sprinkle with green onions.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Peanut soup with tomatoes

I was cleaning up my apartment some days ago, when I found some leftover peanut butter sitting alone at the back of my fridge. It's been a while since I had a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast, so I decided to use it up before the expiration date comes.
The result is this delicious dish inspired by the African peanut soup. :) Yummy!

2 tablespoons roasted peanut or vegetable oil
2 large onions, diced
2 large bell peppers, 1 red and 1 green, diced into 1/2-inch chunks
2 teaspoons chopped ginger
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes, or more to taste
2 cups crushed tomatoes in sauce
5 cups water, or chicken stock, or vegetable stock
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 box or 1/2 carton tofu, preferably soft
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup sliced scallions, including the firm green。

1. Warm the oil in a wide soup pot set over high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, ginger, and sweet potatoes, and saute, stirring frequently until the onions have begun to color, 8 to 10 minutes, adding the garlic after the first 5 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt, several good twists of the pepper mill, and the cayenne to taste, and cook a few minutes longer.

2.Add the tomatoes and scrape the pot to lift up any brown bits from the bottom. Add the water or stock, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.

3.Add the peanut butter and cook, stirring, until it has dissolved

4.Remove 2 cups of the soup and purée with the tofu until perfectly smooth. Return this mixture to the soup. (If you wish, purée the entire soup.) Taste for salt and for the heat level, adding more cayenne if desired.

5.Serve with 1/3 cup rice mounded in each bowl and plenty of scallions scattered over the top.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

St Petersburg--an orange city

I have never seen a city so proud of their specialty fruit like St Petersburg!! Everywhere I went, I saw oranges. In my hotel, they provided free oranges and orange mint water for the guests, and the mamalade is of course orange too!
This restaurant is called "Tangerine",and they really mean it--orange decor, orange napkins, and oranges in every dish!

My appetizer was tapenade with oranges. Emm, they were really good with bread sticks!

The main course was seafood skewers with oranges. The scallops were huge, almost the size of my palm, and they were super fresh. That is sooo memorable!

I had my lunch at "Banbu", a restaurant with an interesting concept. You choose your own ingredients and sauces, they only cook it. You really can't complain if you choose the wrong sauce for your food! Luckily mine turned out great.

They have a big and impressive stadium-like cooking center. Their chef was kind enough to let me take pictures.

I couldn't believe that I only spent $10 for lunch (tips included). A great deal!

I tried the fresh catch at the pier, but their chef was terrible--they can even make the freshest swordfish taste like "s**t". In order to cheer myself up, I ordered a crepe suzette at a french cafe. Amazing! Their chef even poured the flaming Grand Marnier on the crepe right in front of me. Quite a performance! I didn't have a chance to catch that, but I did have a photo of their beautiful ice tea--simple but very elegant.

At the beautiful beach, we chose a very popular restaurant--Hurricane. But their food is just OK. I guess American people don't really care about the delicate balance of food here.
The black liquid is Mexican coffee, made with tequila and coffe liquer. Very bitter and strong.

Another funny thing is, the sushi chef at a Japanese restaurant recommended " Atomic Bomb Roll " to me! I guess he didn't really know much about the history. :)
I also went to many bars with my friends. One of them specialize in tapas. They are just OK, but the purpose of going to bars is to get drunk, right? So no complain and no pictures( too dark in the bars). I am happy~
St Petersburg is indeed a good place to relax. But I am not old yet. :) I still like the vibe in philly and I am glad that I am back!

Monday, March 10, 2008

My bread basket--Baguette

I couldn't believe that I got this baguette right the very first time I tried it!! Some people call it "beginners' luck", but I think it's not luck, it's the extra care every beginner takes to learn a new recipe.
For example, the recipe calls for a 12 hour "poof" time. I waited till a weekend to set it up and carefully compared every step to the textbook. If this couldn't guarantee a success, I don't know what does. :)
So please read the step-by-step instruction and try to understand the rationale behind it. These heavenly home-made baguettes are just hours away!!
The crispy skin can sing right out of the oven!

Yet it's soft inside. Those evenly distributed holes are an indication of success.

That's why I love King Arthur. Not only do they have great products, they also have great education resources for a new baker like me! Please click here to see the detailed instructions.