Saturday, October 27, 2012

SELLING MACARONS & Making Pumpkin Bread Sandwiches

It was a hella long week full of work and macarons. After work on Wednesday, I decided to post some macarons photos on Facebook. I was hoping for one or two requests, but no I got 6 on the first night. Everyone ordered at least a box of macarons. It was half past three in the morning till I realize I need to get some sleep. I went to bed with a sore arm and a happy smile =)

If you're in LA and would love to try some macarons leave me a message or find Chez Ma Cuisine on Facebook!

Besides macarons, I have a recipe to share. It is almost Halloween and less than a month away from Thanksgiving! My favorite ingredient in the fall is squash--let it be butternut squash or pumpkin. I love them in ravioli and pureed in a bowl of creamy soup. Of course, all Thanksgiving feast must end with two slice of pumpkin pie.

I recently discovered a new way to enjoy pumpkin. I made two loaves of pumpkin bread, which I sliced up into thick, luscious slices and made a turkey sandwich. When I was assembling the sandwich, I simply buttered a thin layer of cream cheese, topped with turkey slices and a handful of spinach. There's no need for butter or mayo as the bread is moist enough. Let your Thanksgiving imagination create the perfect lunch!
Pumpkin Bread
Makes 2 loaves
3 eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
15oz or 1 cane of pumpkin puree
3 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and dust some flour into two loaf pans. 

Prepare two large bowls. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in one bowl. In the other bowl, break the eggs and mix well with the oil, sugar, salt and pumpkin puree. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the bowl holding the dry ingredients. Use a wooden spoon and incorporate the flour into the wet ingredients until the whiteness of the flour just disappears.

Pour half the batter into one pan and the rest in the other pan. Bake for 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

無花果 果醬

Recently I got some requests for translation of my macaron and figgy black jam recipes. I stopped blogging on Wa Ye Zao Ka--the Mandarin version of Chez Ma Cuisine. It was time consuming to keep both blogs running. They reached different regional audience and required me to reach out to a broad number of foodie sites. But no fret, I'll share some of my recipes in Mandarin here as I made Wa Ye Zao Ka invisible for the moment.

最近收到一些朋友的要求,請我分享馬可龍和果醬的做法。因為實在忙不過來我把灶哈關掉了。如果你看到一些英文食譜需要我翻譯,只要在Chez Ma Cuisine 上留言,我一定會找時間些一篇中文食譜。畢竟食物無國界!



1磅 無花果
6昂司 覆盆子
6昂司 黑莓
2杯 糖
1杯 無糖石榴汁
1顆 檸檬

無花果去蒂切小塊 (跟覆盆子一樣大小)。取一個大碗,倒入所有材料拌勻。蓋上包鮮膜放入冰箱。







Thursday, October 18, 2012

Plum and Ginger Jam

Fortunately in California stone fruits are still visible in farmers markets and grocer stores. Before they disappear completely, I gathered a few plums and bought a handful of candied ginger from the bulk bin. I love how simple jam ingredients are...fruits + sugar!

When picking for plums, choose the soft and dark ones. It's okay if they're over ripe because they will give out more flavor in the cooking process. If you love love love ginger (which I don't), add shred some fresh ginger along with the candied ones.

Plum & Ginger Jam
fills 3 8oz jars

6 plums about 850g
sugar 350g
1 lemon
candied ginger 120g

On the first day, cut the plums in half, twist softly to separate the plums. Remove the cores and save them for later. Dice plums into half a inch long pieces. Cut candied ginger into similar size as your plums. Take a big bowl and mix in the plums, cores, and ginger. Squeeze 1 lemon then sprinkle sugar all over. Use a wooden spoon to make sure every piece of fruit is covered in sugar. Let macerate in the fridge over night.

Before cooking fruit, sterilize 4 jars and lids (you never know if you will get more or less jam). Boil a large pot of water on the side.

Using a non-reactive pot, boil fruits and juice. Remember to remove the white foam that rise to the surface as the fruits cook. Stir occasionally to make sure the bottom of the jam doesn't burn. Turn fire off when you get double drip.

Let the hot jam settles in the pan before filling the jars. Immerse jars in boiling water and let boil for 5-10 minutes. Remove from boiling water and let sit in room temperature till it's cool enough to handle and store in a cool place.

I never realized how much I love jam till I start looking forward to my Seattle trip! I found an amazing tayberry jam at the Pike Market last spring. Maybe it was two springs ago....geez time fly. Nevertheless, I am going back to my favorite gloomy city! I don't mind the cold, the wind, and the rain so much when there are so many great coffee shops to visit in Seattle. I am also looking forward to a cookbook book shop called Book Larder =) I'll update my gloomy and happy trip to Seattle early November! For now catch the tail of summer with this plum and ginger jam.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Matcha Cookie Update

Remember my matcha cookie post a few weeks ago? I was craving for a heavier matcha flavor. Some where on my tongue the chocolate chips also stole the spotlight away from matcha. This weekend I modified the recipe and made matcha the star ingredient. There is no chocolate chip, and guess what! I didn't use more matcha powder either. I made a matcha paste instead of sprinkling matcha powder on the batter.

Matcha Shortbread
yields approximately 40 cookies

150g unsalted butter, room temperature
115g confectioner sugar
2 egg yolks
15g matcha powder + 2 tablespoon hot water
240g all purpose flour

Cream the butter till pale and fluffy. Add sugar and mix together till you get a velvety batter. Add the egg yolks and mix well. In a small bowl, add hot water and matcha powder together and whip them together to get a thick green paste. Add the paste to the butter mixture. Use a spatula to distribute the matcha paste evening. Last, add the flour and combine everything together till there is no trace of flour.

Divide cookie batter into two equal balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and shape into a 3-in thick log. Store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350F. Slice logs into quarter inch thick cookies. Bake for 15 minutes and let cool on a rack after baking.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pan Fried Chicken Breast Stuffed With Parsley-Walnut Pesto

If I were a Stepford wife, this would be the dish I make for my family in the evening. Even if you don't have a family to feed--I obviously don't have anyone to feed except my sweet tooth and always hungry stomach. You can just cook one chicken breast and half the ingredients for the pesto. I find the pesto a delicious compliment to turkey slices in sandwiches or with a little mayo between bagel.

I am usually not a big fan of chicken breast because they're so tough in chicken soups or as fried chicken. My friend, this is different. This pan fried chicken breast is tender and juicy with a crunchy skin on the top. You don't need to cook this meat till it's leather sole--just enough to get the meat cooked through. Even if you overcook the meat, let the parsley-walnut pesto rejuvenate the chicken breast. In between slices I stuffed a spoonful of parsley-walnut pesto.

You don't need a lot of preparation before hand, although preparing the pesto ahead of time and rubbing the chicken breast with salt and pepper makes dinner preparation much much easier.

Chicken dinner for two

For the pesto
1 medium bunch of parsley
1/2 cup walnuts
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

For the chicken
2 chicken breasts with skin
vegetable oil
salt & pepper

Rub some coarse sea salt and pepper on the chicken and set aside.

In a food processor, blend parsley and walnuts together till you get a coarse meal. While the motor is on slow speed, slowly drizzle olive oil till the food processor begin churning everything into a thick paste. Season with salt & pepper.

Heat oven to 200F. Place a large frying pan on medium-high heat, drizzle a spoonful of oil into the hot pan. When the oil is hot, place one chicken breast skin down. Let chicken cook for 5 minutes or lift one side of the chicken up to check if you get a crispy skin. Turn chicken around and cook the other side for 10 minutes. Place the cooked chicken breast on a baking sheet and let it stay warm in the preheated oven. Cook the second chicken breast following the same steps.

When the second chicken is done, turn the fire off and let the chicken stay in the pot while you take the first breast out. Carefully slice the first breast into diagonal slices, quarter inch thick. Last, stuff some pesto between slices before serving.

I had one chicken breast to myself for lunch, and it was a tad much. I would recommend serving one chicken breast for two if you and your partner in crime aren't big eaters (or if you are saving room for dessert). Definitely make a large batch of pesto because you will love love love the flavor combination of parsley and walnut. For a stronger walnut flavor, substitute olive oil with walnut oil.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Today I'm sharing a simple snack made of orange peels and chocolate. I like to store it in the freezer and sneak out a piece or two in the middle of the night or whenever I'm craving for sweets.


3 navel oranges
8oz sugar
8oz water
8oz bittersweet chocolate

Boil a pot of water. Meanwhile, cut the tips of the oranges off so they are flat on either sides. Cut long strips across the orange, then use your fingers to remove the strips. Thick strips make chewier candy and thin ones melt in your mouth.

Blanch the orange peels in boiling water for several minutes. In another pot, combine sugar and water and stir till sugar is dissolved. Throw in the blanched peels and simmer for 1 hour.

Drain peels from sugar water and let dry on a wire rack.

Melt chocolate in a deep bowl and dip an orange peel in the melted chocolate or simply throw in the peels and let them be covered in chocolate. Let them dry on parchment paper and store in the freezer.

Good time to use my dried up orange

Candied orange peel

Bitter, sweet, and fragrant

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dashi Risotto

Please excuse this ugly photo. I just made an incredible risotto and there was no time to take a proper picture. I can't wait to share with you. The ingredients list is incredibly simple: onion, arborio rice, mirin, and dashi stock.

What is dashi stock? It is a Japanese fish stock made of kombu (seawdeed) and bonito flakes. You can find both of these in a Chinese or Japanese supermarket.

How to make dashi stock? You start with a quart of water and a slice of kombu the length of your hand. Soak the kombu in the water for a couple of hours or overnight. Then boil the water, just before the water boils over remove the kombu and sprinkle two handfuls of bonito flakes into the water. Let everything boil for 30 minutes, strain the stock, store or use immediately.

Now that you got dashi stock, we're ready for risotto....

Dashi Risotto
Serves two
2 cups dashi stock
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup mirin

On low heat, keep dashi stock warm. Heat another pot on medium heat with oil and sautee onion till translucent, about 3 minutes. Add rice, mix well with onion. When you hear the rice popping up against the pot add mirin. When the alcohol is almost cooked through, add two ladles of dashi stock over the rice. Stir occasionally to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom or the side of the pot. When there is barely any stock left, ladle another spoonful of stock over the rice. Repeat stirring, adding stock, and stirring until rice becomes plump and stocks are used up. Add salt and pepper any time in the cooking process. When you're down to the last ladle, watch the rice. You don't want all the liquid gone because as risotto cools it draws in more moisture.

Before serving sprinkle some bonito flakes on top. Enjoy right away--don't wait!