Hodge Podge Kitchen

Thursday, September 22, 2005


I know I'm a little late with the mooncake post, since Harvest Moon festival was Sunday. But I had to wait for Alan to sent me the photo. The mooncake pictured above is not the traditional sweet ones with lotus seed paste. No no, this is one choke full of marcademia nuts, melon seeds, dried ham, and egg yolk. This is the craze in San Francisco the past few years from the Golden Gate Bakery on Grant Ave in San Francisco Chinatown. For the past few years, these little cakes have been flying out of the bakery. The price have been going up from $22 to now close to $30 for a box of four. I've tried to stand in line to get a box this year. I left after standing there for half an hour with no movement in the line except for the couple of people who gave up. I was even there when a fresh batch of mooncakes are out of the oven, you think the line would move then? Nope, seems like the whole batch have already been sold to the people what have prepaid in the store. Did I mention this was in the middle of the afternoon on a Wednesday??? Pure madness. Oh, how did I manage to take a photo of it? My cousin brought a box for my grandmother that included two of these. They are good, in case you're wondering. It's nothing like a regular mooncake since it's not sweet. But I won't say it's savory either. It's exactly what you would expect eating a bunch of nuts with a little ham and egg would taste like. Whether they are worth the wait and trouble is a totally different story...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Zucchini Bread

What do you do with mutant zucchinis?

Big Zucchini

You make zucchini bread!

I once knew a girl that told me that she made the best zucchini bread. I was young and didn't know any better so I thought that zucchini bread was kind of a weird concept. Anyway I never sampled this infamous zucchini bread and had been curious ever since...

At work one day I happened upon a box of mutant cooking squashes in the break room, courtesy of the senior partner of the law firm where I work. I took one home with no plans for it until I thought back to those stories of delicious zucchini bread, so I set out to make my own....

The usual drill: simple as possible. Zucchini bread apparently has nuts usually and occasionally raisins. I had neither of those on hand so I made mine "pure". It was moist, it was sweet, it had a bit of zucchini-esque. My sister says there is a savory version as well, so maybe if she can pass the recipe along I will give it a try....I still have a half of that mutant left....

(Note: Also appreciated the fact that I now know how to spell zucchini. Spelling Bee Championship here I come!)

Zucchini Bread

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 cups of flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups finely grated zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine sugars, oil, and eggs and mix. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add wet to dry and mix until moisten. Divide mixture into 2 lightly greased loaf pans. Bake for about 60 mins or until done.

Zucchini Bread

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Chocolate Lava Cake

Don't get me wrong, I would NEVER complain about my husband cooking/baking in the kitchen. It's just that he tends to like making dessert and the stuff he likes to try aren't exactly healthy. He have been saying how almost every restaurants have a chocolate lava/molten cake on their dessert menu, some are good and some are not so good. He decided to find out how difficult it really is. He found a recipe for it in his favorite cookbook, In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley. He also had me order ramekins that are the right size. Finally, we needed an occasion to actually make it. The recipe serves 8, there's no way that the two of us is going to eat the whole thing. My brother Alan was nice enough to come over last week to help move our huge and heavy desk from our condo to the dump, so what better way to say thank you than a decadent dessert? What a shock it was for me to find out exactly what goes in these yummy treats! Almost 3 sticks of butter with 6 whole eggs and another 6 egg yolks?!?!? Yikes. Thank goodness I'm not on any diets. As to the level of difficulty, it was pretty hard to bake it just enough to have the right balance of cake that have set and the lovely, thick sauce inside. The first few came out too early, so it's more like a chocolate pudding. (No complains from my nieces though.) The one pictured above came out the best, which ended up being double the time the recipe actually called for. We even have 2 leftovers that we send home with Alan to make for his wife since she couldn't join us due to work. Which reminds me, I still need to ask him how it turned out when he tries it at home...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Shrimp and Vegetable Fettucini Alfredo

My wife was sick recently and when she felt better asked for fettucini alfredo. I always have enjoyed the cream sauce and heard that you wouldn't want to make it yourself because you would realize what was in it and die of a heart attack right there. I was intrigued and wanted to treat my wife so I tried it out....

Fettucini Alfredo

Yeah, this stuff will clog arteries, but it's also why it's so delicious. I saw some recipes that substitutes the cream and butter with half and half and chicken broth and margarine. Maybe I will try it sometimes as an alternative, but I have to try the real thing first. Not much to the recipe. Add the butter slowly to let it melt, then add the cheese even slower and whisk until smooth so it will stay creamy. I sauteed some shrimp and vegetables on hand and stirred it into the sauce last, than added the cooked fettucini and tossed to coat. One dish simplicity, and heart-stoppingly good.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Ingredient: Portobello Mushroom

Somehow I've never cooked with potobello mushrooms before. I've had them many times in resturants, seen them many times in the market too. So I do'nt know why I waited so long. This was easy to make, just saute some sliced portobello mushrooms in butter and olive oil. Add the cooked gnocchi to the mushrooms and pour in about 2-3 oz of gorgonzola cheese and 1/4-1/2 cup of milk. Stir until everything is melted. Sprinkle with parsley. The only complain is that the portobello mushrooms made the whole thing a muddy color. So maybe plain white mushrooms would work better for this. Still tasty though.