Wednesday, February 18, 2015

tomorrow is a new year

My brother bought this incredible egg waffle maker from Williams Sonoma, and was eager to test to see if the recipe that came with the product would be similar to the popular Chinese "Eggette" (otherwise known as "egg pops" or  "egg waffles").  With Chinese (Lunar) New Year tomorrow, I thought I'd try this recipe...with a twist.

Using a cake pop maker (a previous Christmas gift he gave to my daughter), I made these little cake "pops" that are reminiscient of the street food, "Hong Kong Egg Waffles" that are sold by street vendors.

Not exactly the same in presentation... these are more round than in the shape of little flat "eggs" of the original version, and the egg waffles in HK are attached to each other to form a waffle.  However, this is the closest that I was able to get without running out to buy yet another kitchen gadget or to the local Chinese market (although I encourage anyone to try these at the market at least once!).  They're soooo good.

Cheers to my family and friends.

Happy Chinese (Lunar) New Year!

Hong Kong Egg Waffle Inspired Cake Bites
(Makes 24 bites)
Adapted from: Ginger & Scotch

  • 1 cup (4 oz or 120 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch with 1 tsp. vanilla extract (to replicate custard powder)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tbsp. almond extract
  • Melt the butter in a mixing bowl.
  • Stir in almond extract, condensed milk and eggs.
  • Add the sugar, vanilla extract and cornstarch.
  • Stir until mixed.
  • Stir in the baking powder, then the flour (slowly).
  • Spray the cake pop maker with oil.
  • Pour batter into each of the cake pop holes, only filling half way.
  • Close lid and let it bake for approximately 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove and let cool.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

the simple five: slow cooker cheese potato soup

Nothing is better than spending a full day outdoors enjoying winter activities, and then being welcomed to a home filled with comforting aromas indicating that dinner is ready and waiting for you. I love using my slow cooker, and this particular recipe is a nice hearty soup, especially if you're feeding a crowd.  Fun to serve in bread bowls, and perfect to feed a large group or family (maybe for Family Day this weekend?)

This recipe makes a large batch but can be halved if you're not consuming this all in one night. Half can be served right away, and the other half placed in a container (once the soup is cooled) and frozen for up to 3 months. This recipe is quite adaptable, and you can replace the green onions with caramelized onions, roasted garlic, dill or shallots.  I've even used left over Garlic Roasted Cauliflower with good results.


Slow Cooker Cheese Potato Soup (for a crowd)
(makes approximately12 servings).

  • 4 cups of stock (chicken, vegetable or beef.... I generally use chicken or vegetable, but have used beef stock when I'm not adding crumbled bacon as a topping).
  • 8-10 russet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 stalk green onion, (thinly sliced green and white parts)
  • 1-2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (depending on taste).
  • 2+ cups of milk or heavy cream.
  • Place potatoes in an 8 quart crock pot.  Add stock until it just covers the potatoes, approximately 4 cups or so.
  • Add green onion.
  • Cook on low for about 8 hours or high for 4.
  • Turn slow cooker off.
  • Using an immersion blender, puree the contents in the crock pot until it has the consistency of very thick soup (or place contents in batches, in a blender).
  • Add the cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese is melted.  (I used about 1 ½ cups of cheese).
  • Add milk or cream until the soup thickness is to your liking (I use about 2 ½ cups of milk...use more if you want a thinner consistency).
Garnish with sour cream, crumbled bacon, chopped green onions, or dill, if desired.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

soaking up the sweet

This past week an expected storm resulted in a snow day.  School was closed and the kids were cheerfully home.  We took this extra day as an opportunity to pack, prepare and finalize any school work before our son was going to embark on a snow adventure for an overnight school trip.   

It's amazing what a year of maturity can bring, as he demonstrated by packing his bags wisely, not just according to the weather, but also in an orderly fashion based on his travel habits.  Daily items in an easy access backpack. Extra snow gear at the bottom of the bag.  Everything placed according to how he's accustomed to travelling. After packing, we spent time chatting while shovelling the driveway, then he took a break and basked in the emerging sunshine.  Work is done!

I guess our family trips have surprisingly taught him lessons beyond cultural and geographical ones.  Although I am often frustrated (like any parent has experienced) when he loses or carelessly forgets his belongings, it seems like he has transformed overnight into a young adult....self aware of his own habits and abilities.  

On the morning of his trip, we woke up early to ensure we were prepared. As I anxiously went through his packing list one more time before we left, he smiled his big warm smile and reassured me that everything was "in the bag" (figuratively speaking).  

He was right (and for a brief moment I realized we were having a parent/child role reversal moment). I stopped micromanaging and let him take charge. It's a lesson to remember at times like these, to stop and see his warm smile and like this bread pudding recipe below, soak up as much of his child-like sweetness for as long as I can. For it will not be long before my young boy will be transformed seemingly overnight again, into an amazing, reassuring, sweet young man. 

Apple Crumble Raisin Bread Pudding
(makes approximately 12 servings)

This recipe combines the traditional tastes of bread pudding combined with the sweet as pie tastes of apple crumble on top.

  • 8 slices of raisin bread, cubed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½  cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 apples, peeled and sliced
For the Crumble topping
  • ½  cup of flour
  • ¼ cup of oats
  • ⅓ cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon or nutmeg (to taste)
  • 6 tbsp. butter, cubed.
  • In a small bowl, mix the flour and oats.  Add the sugar and cinnamon. Add the cubed butter, and mix with a pastry cutter or fork until it resembles crumbles (the size of peas).
  • Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, scramble the eggs
  • Add the vanilla and half and half.  Mix well.
  • Add the cubed bread and mix until bread soaks up the egg mixture.
  • Press bread mixture into an 8x8 square pan
  • Layer the sliced apples on top.
  • Sprinkle the crumble topping (recipe below).
  • Cover with aluminum foil.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes more.
Top with ice cream, caramel syrup or enjoy on it's own.