Friday, October 26, 2012

Cranberry Orange Scones

Made cranberry orange scones past Saturday using a recipe a friend sent me...
They're really good!
They were the best on the first day!   Crunchy on the outside... Moist and soft on the inside...  Yummy!

Cranberry Orange Scones

(recipe from NPR)

Makes 8 very large scones

2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup fresh or dried cranberries
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 to 10 pieces
1/2 cup cold nonfat buttermilk
1/2 cup cold creme fraiche
1 cold large egg
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees .

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a hand-held mixer), mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar and cranberries on low speed for 10 to 15 seconds, or until combined. Scatter the butter over the top and beat on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until the butter is somewhat broken down and grape-size pieces are still visible.

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, creme fraiche and whole egg until thoroughly mixed. On low speed, pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour-butter mixture and beat for 20 to 30 seconds, or just until the dough comes together. There will still be a little loose flour mixture at the bottom of the bowl.
Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. Gather and lift the dough with your hands and turn it over in the bowl, so that it starts to pick up the loose flour at the bottom. Turn over the dough several times until all of the loose flour is mixed in.

Dump the dough onto a baking sheet and pat it into an 8-inch circle about 1 inch thick. Brush the egg yolk evenly over the entire top of the dough circle. Sprinkle the sanding sugar evenly over the top, then cut the circle into 8 wedges, as if cutting a pizza. (At this point, the unbaked scones can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 week. Proceed as directed, baking directly from the freezer and adding 5 to 10 minutes to the baking time.)

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the entire circle is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes, then cut into the prescored wedges (the cuts will be visible but will have baked together) and serve.

The scones taste best on the day they are baked, but they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you keep them for longer than 1 day, refresh them in a 300-degree oven for 4 to 5 minutes. Or, you can freeze them, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 1 week. Reheat, directly from the freezer, in a 300-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

I also have a lot of fun with the photos I took from iPhone... ;)

And more fun....

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Word Clouds

What is Word Cloud?
It's basically a visual representation of words and their frequencies.  The more a particular word appears within a context, the bigger the word is.

I wanted to see what kind of words appear in my blog most often.
So, I looked around for a free online word cloud generator and found 2 that I think are the best:
  1. Wordle
  2. Word It Out
(I didn't spend a lot of time on my search so there could be other better ones.)

When I enter my blog address to generate word cloud, both site give me different results. 
According to Wordle, the most frequent words are teaspoon, onion, recipe, etc.
According to Word It Out, the most frequent words are went, like, lake, teaspoon, etc.
I wonder how each site look for words.
Anyway, I think Word It Out is closer to what I think is the word frequencies in my blog.
However, Wordle has a nicer graphical representation of words.

My site from Wordle:

My site from Word It Out:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ada's Mini Slaw

I really like the Singapore Slaw dish at Susur Lee's Lee restaurant.
After searching on the web, I've found his recipe.
However, it contains too many ingredients that are not easily available in average grocery stores.  It also needs a lot of work.
So, I've came up with my own little Mini Slaw using ingredients that can be easily found.
If I want the full version, I can eat that at Lee.  ;)

Ada's Mini Slaw

Serves 4-6

Pickled Red Onions (see recipe below)
Salted Apricot Dressing (see recipe below)
1 large English cucumber, julienned
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
2 large Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
4 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 bag of Terra Veggie Stix

To serve:
  1. Mix cucumber, carrot and tomatoes in a big bowl
  2. Divide the veggie mixture between plates
  3. Use a small colander to drain the pickled red onions and put them on top of the veggie mixture
  4. Add 1 cup of Terra Stix per plate around the veggie mixture. 
  5. Serve with Salted Apricot Dressing alongside
Depending on each person's taste, they can add different amount of dressing.
For me, I like to add approx. 4 teaspoon of dressing per 750 ml of salad.

Pickled Red Onion

2 small red onions
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black peppers
1/4 teaspoon thyme

  1. Peel and julienne red onion and set aside in a medium bowl. 
  2. In small saucepan, bring vinegar, water, salt, black peppers, and thyme to a boil. 
  3. Add onion into the small saucepan and stirr occassionally until it boils. (You'll see bubbles from the sauce and smoke coming out.)
  4. Turn off the heat, cover the saucepan, and let it sit for 30 mins.
Note: I like my onions cooked.  If you like your onion more raw, then turn off the heat after adding onions and let it sit for 1 hour.

Salted Apricot Dressing

1/4 cup ume (plum) paste 
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon mirin 
1 teaspoon dashi
2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grinded ginger
A pinch of sea salt (approx. 1/8 teaspoon)

(Ume paste can easily be found in any Japanese store.  Mirin and dashi can easily be found in any Chinese or Japanese store.)

  1. Mix ume paste, vinegar, mirin, dashi, olive oil, sugar, ginger, and salt in a bowl until it is well mixed.
Note:  If you like your dressing to be less sour, you can add less rice wine vinegar.

Here is Susur Lee's Singapore Slaw recipe from New Asian Cuisine:

Singapore Slaw

By Susur Lee, Author of Susur: A Culinary Life

Serves 4

1 Pickled Red Onion (see recipe below)
1 1/2 cups Salted Apricot Dressing (see recipe below)
2 green onions, both white and green parts, julienned
2 ounces rice vermicelli, broken into 3 pieces
1 large English cucumber, julienned
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
1 small jicama, peeled and julienned
2 large Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
4 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
6 teaspoons crushed roasted peanuts
4 teaspoons edible flower petals
4 teaspoons fennel seedlings
4 teaspoons purple basil seedlings
4 teaspoons daikon sprouts
4 teaspoons fried shallots

Pickled Red Onion
1 red onion
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme

Salted Apricot Dressing
1 cup salted apricot (ume) paste
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon mirin
1 teaspoon dashi
1 1/2 tablespoon onion oil
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

For Pickled Red Onion:
Peel and julienne red onion and set aside in a medium bowl. In small saucepan, bring vinegar and water to a boil. Season with salt, peppercorns, fennel seeds, bay leaf and thyme; continue boiling for another 5 minutes. Pour mixture over onion while hot and let sit for 1 hour.

For Salted Apricot Dressing:

In blender, combine apricot paste, vinegar, mirin, Dashi, Onion Oil, sugar, ginger, and salt. Puree until smooth.

For Singapore Slaw Salad:
Soak green onion in very cold water to keep crisp. Meanwhile, heat large pot of oil. When temperature reaches 400°F, deep fry taro root, half the amount at a time, for 2 minutes until crisp and light gold in color. Remove slices from oil, place on paper towel, and lightly salt. At same temperature, quickly deep fry vermicelli, half at a time, for 2 seconds, or until they curl. Remove vermicelli from oil, place on paper towel, and lightly salt.

To serve:

Remove julienned green onion from bowl and drain. Divide vermicelli equally between 4 plates and arrange green onion, cucumber, carrot, jicama, tomatoes, and pickled red onion around noodles. Top with fried taro root. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and crushed peanuts over each salad. In small bowl, combine edible flower petals, seedlings, sprouts, and fried shallots. Sprinkle flower-sprout-shallot mixture on salad and serve with Salted Apricot Dressing alongside.