Pineapple dip

When my friend Mayumi told me what exactly was in this dip, I’ll admit, I was slightly skeptical.  But one dip in and then I was addicted!  This is so easy and such a hit, I will make it over and over again–to no one’s chagrin.  Works with saltines or chips.  Probably pretzels too if they existed in Japan.  Savoury, sweet, SUPER!  Thanks to Richard (@ThePaperCup) for the photo.  Smashing!

pineapple dip tasty

tasty & addicting!

Pineapple dip

Prep time: 5 minutes                Cooking time: 0 minutes (a first on this blog)              Servings:  6 people

Budget for ingredients: ¥600

Equipment:
Big Bowl
Electric mixer or big spoon

Ingredients:

1 package cream cheese
1 can pineapple, chopped
1 T roasted onion
2T garlic puree

Directions:

  1. Mix everything together.  Then serve it.  BAM!!!!

 

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Custard crepe cake

I have never made crepes before and after seeing the milk crepe cake (ミルククレープ) around the kaiten sushi (the conveyer belt contraption that is also on the big Whole Foods in the LES) place I like, I decided to try it.  Crepes are pretty easy if you get the hang of it, and once again I have adapted a recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  Note that this is not a mix and it’s done kind of recipe.  It will take two days!  Everything that takes more time and effort has a bigger payoff right? RIGHT!  Many thanks to my older brother from another mother, Thian (find him here) for the great photo!

 

Crepe cake layers custard cream

Layers and layers!

Custard crepe cake

Prep time: 30 minutes                Cooking time: 1 hour            Servings: 10-16

Budget for ingredients: ¥1000

Equipment:

1 pan
1 big bowl
Electric mixer
Plastic container –  I use a ziploc one.
Spatula
Spoon

Ingredients:

For the crepe batter:
100 g butter
3 c milk
6 eggs
1 1/2 c flour
7 T sugar
Pinch salt

For the custardy cream:
2 c milk
1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
6 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c cornstarch
3 T butter

For assembly:
1 t butter
21 c cream

Directions:

  1. In your pan, cook the butter until brown like hazelnuts. It will be bubbling. Should take around 10 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Using the same pan, heat the milk until steaming, and also set that aside.
  3. Using your pot and mixer, beat together the eggs, flour, sugar and salt. Slowly add the hot milk and browned butter. Pour the mixture into your plastic container.  Refrigerate overnight.
  4. Time for the custardy cream!  Bring the milk with the vanilla bean (and scrapings) to a boil, then set aside for 10 minutes; remove the bean.
  5. In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, then place pan over high heat and bring to a boil, whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes.   The mixture is going to congeal.  Don’t worry! Let it cool to room temperature.  Then put it into the refrigerator overnight as well.
  6. The next day, take the batter out and bring to room temperature. Swab the frying pan with butter, and turn on the stove to the 4th notch, aka medium heat.
  7. Add about 3 tablespoons batter and swirl to cover the surface. Cook for 3 minutes, and then flip with your spatula to cook the other side for another minute.
  8. Place finished product on a plate.  Repeat until you have 20 pretty crepes.
  9. Whip the cream into the custard.
  10. Lay 1 crepe on a cake plate. Using your spatula, completely cover with a thin layer of pastry cream.  Repeat until you finish with a crepe.  Dust with powdered sugar if you would like.  Let the cake rest for 2 hours or so before slicing and serving.

Meatball subs

I got the idea of a meatball sub into my head recently(completely smitten kitchen‘s fault) and immediately started salivating like crazy.  It had literally been years since I’ve eaten one and wowie, did this turn out DELICIOUS or WHAT.  Italian food is so nice, homey, and simple.  Basic but perfection.  Just like this blog (JK!).  Must give great thanks to my friend Richard (find him @The Paper Cup) who so graciously took this photo.

Meatball subs cheese bread italian food

MEATY!

Meatball subs

Prep time: 20 minutes                Cooking time: 40-45 minutes              Servings: 5-6

Budget for ingredients: ¥1500

Equipment:
Big bowl
Frying pan

Ingredients:

Meatballs:
2 half loaves of the french bread…so really 1 loaf
500 g ground meat (I used the 50/50 of beef and pork)
1 package of parsley (パセリ <paseri>)
1/3 c powdered Parmesan
3/4 t salt
1/4 t paprika
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 t garlic puree
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg

Putting together the sub:
Olive oil
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/2 onion
1 c shredded cheese

Directions:

  1. Cut your rolls horizontally, leaving one side together.
  2. Pull out some of the bread white to make a little resting spot to nestle your meatballs into later.
  3. Rip the whitebread into minuscule bits. Set rolls aside until later.
  4. Put the bread in a large bowl with 3/4 cup warm water mix with all the meatball ingredients with a fork.  Use a spoon or wet hands to make 2-inch meatballs.  At this point, you can even freeze your meatballs individually for around 20 minutes, and then transfer into a freezer bag.  Or continue!
  5. Brown your meatballs in a frying pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  DO NOT touch them until they are actually brown, otherwise they will crumble in the pan!  Let them rest on paper towels and throw out the oil (aka soak it up with towels and discard in a trashcan).
  6. Using the same pan, heat up the tomato sauce.  Then lower to medium heat and add in the meatballs, cover and let cook for 30 minutes or so.
  7. Next, put the meatballs in the bread with sauce.  Add on some chopped onions and cheese, and pop it into the toaster oven until the cheese melts.  It took me 10 minutes at 160C.  Tada!  CHOMP.

Mexican Wedding Cakes

I made these cookies in December for a holiday nabe party.  Mexican wedding cakes, or Snowballs, are like a shortbread cookie, but covered in powdered sugar.  Very rich and definitely one of the culprits to those extra pounds we all put on during the holiday season.   And for those of you in Japan, look at the COLOR.  Indeed this dessert is white, hint hint!  In case you didn’t know, in Japan, Valentine’s day is only for the dudes to receive presents from their girlfriends/mothers/daughters.  A month later the girls get a payback on White day.   Nothing like a commercial holiday being extended another month!  Time for a fun fact:  yet ANOTHER month later in Korea there is black day, which is “Single Awareness Day”.  As tradition would have it, you are supposed to eat Jajangmyeon, noodles with black bean sauce derived from the Chinese Zha Jiang Mian.  Perhaps something to aim for next month?  We will see.  Adapted from Joy of Baking.

Mexican wedding cakes

Yummy

Mexican wedding cakes

Prep time: 20 minutes                Cooking time: 30-45 minutes              Servings: 10

Budget for ingredients: ¥1000

Equipment:

Spatula
Bowl
Toaster oven
Plate
Paper towels

Ingredients:

1 c toasted and chopped almonds
1 c butter
1/4 c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla extract
2 c flour
1/4 t salt

1 c powdered sugar (for topping)

Directions:

  1. Cream together the butter and sugar in the big bowl.
  2. Add in vanilla, flour, and salt.
  3. Mix in the chopped toasted nuts.
  4. Refrigerate for 1 hour or more.
  5. Shape the dough into balls by tablespoonfuls.
  6. Bake at 160C for 15 minutes.
  7. Let cookies rest on paper towels and cool down.
  8. Dust with powdered sugar.  出来上がり、完成! (dekiagari, kansei- aka VOILA! FINISHED!)

Egg tarts (蛋撻)

So, it was the 5000th Chinese New Year this year!  Great, I didn’t know either.  However, when I got invited to a Chinese New Year dinner at my friend’s house, how could I go empty-handed?  and HOW, could I not try and make a traditional Chinese dessert?  Thus, I began my very first time of making egg tarts, called danta, in the HK style.  Not too healthy but no worry, Chinese New Years is ALL ABOUT THE GLUTTONY.   Thanks to Greg again for the lovely photo.  Hopefully looking at this photo and comparing it to ones taken with my dinky digi will motivate me to put money towards a SLR! Or to just make more friends that are talented!!

Egg tarts Danta 蛋撻

新年快樂!!!

 

Egg tarts

Prep time: 20 minutes                Cooking time: 40-45 minutes              Servings: 12-15

Budget for ingredients: ¥1500

Equipment:
Big bowl
Fork
Cupcake tin (I already used these when I made Yorkshire puddings)
Whisk
Frying pan
Sieve

Ingredients:

1/2 c powdered sugar
3 c flour
1 c butter
1 egg, beaten
1 dash (~1/8 t) vanilla extract  

1/2 c white sugar
1  c water
5 eggs, beaten
1 dash vanilla extract
1/2 c evaporated milk

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, mix together the confectioners’ sugar and flour. Mix in butter with a fork  until it is in small crumbs. Stir in the egg and vanilla until the mixture forms a dough. The texture should be slightly moist. Add more butter if it is too dry, or more flour, if the dough seems greasy.
  2. Roll the dough with your hands into 1.5 inch ~2 inch balls.  Then, flatten it against the cups. 
  3. Combine the white sugar and water in a pan, and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and cool to room temperature. 
  4. Strain the beaten eggs through a sieve, and whisk into the sugar mixture.
  5. Stir in the evaporated milk and vanilla.
  6. Strain the filling through the sieve again, and fill the tart shells.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the oven at 200C until golden brown.

Cheesecake brownies

Brownies are few and far in-between, and so is good cheesecake (unless you read this blog).  So why not mix the two in a delicious combo?  Two years ago, when I got invited to a dinner party, I decided to make this recipe and I have to give it due credit for inspiring me to create this entire blog!  Everyone that I’ve met more than once has probably eaten this before and I still get requests for the recipe, more than a year later!  Props to smitten kitchen for the inspiration.  If it wasn’t for Deb I wouldn’t have known the delight that is a frozen brownie!

Cheesecake brownies

Rich and deliciously sweet

Cheesecake brownies

Prep time: 25 minutes                Cooking time: 20-25 minutes              Servings: 16 (2 inch blocks of goodness)

Budget for ingredients: ¥1000

Equipment:
Frying pan
Steamer stand
Glass bowl
Whisk
Spatula
Mixer
Butter knife
Square pan
Oven

Ingredients:

Brownie batter:
100 g butter, cut into pieces
120 g chocolate, chopped
1 c  sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 t vanilla
Pinch of salt
2/3 c  flour

Cheesecake batter:
225 g cream cheese, softened
1/3 c sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 t vanilla
1/2 c chocolate chips


Directions:

  1. Place butter and chocolate in the glass bowl.  It’s best to make a double boiler, aka put the steamer stand in water and the glass bowl on top.  Make sure the water doesn’t touch the glass bowl.  Heat over simmering water until it just melts.
  2. Take the bowl off of the steamer stand and add the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt.  Whisk until it’s all combined, and then add the flour.
  3. Spread in the baking pan.  It’s best to actually butter the sides of the pan first so it will slide out easily after baking.
  4. Wash out the bowl and with the mixer, mix all the ingredients for the cheesecake batter together.  Spread over the brownie batter with your spatula. 
  5. Using a butter knife you can make swirlies by bringing the chocolate batter from underneath up from the sides of the pan in a circular motion.  If you mess up on this part it’s ok!!!  It will still taste delicious.  Top with chocolate chips. 
  6. Bake at 170C for 20-25 minutes. 

I usually put these in the freezer and take them out ~30 minutes before serving to slice them.

GF Chocolate Cake

With Valentine’s day, that sappy, Hallmark-manufactured holiday, just around the corner, what could be better than sharing the ideal dessert?  In Japan, the tradition is that the girlfriend makes chocolates/cakes for her man.  NOTHING is received by the girl until the next month rolls around, aka White Day.  Either way, and for either gender, this is a definite crowd pleaser.  It also happens to be gluten-free, so if you have any friends with celiac, they can enjoy it two times if not three times as much.  This cake is adapted from Gluten Free Goddess.  Props to my friend Greg, a really talented photographer and budding film maker for the photo! 
 
Gluten free chocolate cake

Happy Valentine's Day!

 

GF Chocolate Cake

Prep time: 20 minutes                Cooking time: 40-45 minutes              Servings: 10

Budget for ingredients: ¥1500

Equipment:
Knife
Chopping board
Big bowl
Spatula
Whisk
Springform pan
Toaster oven

Ingredients:
500 g chocolate *
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
3/4 c HOT black coffee **
200 g butter, cut into pieces
2 T  cocoa powder
8 eggs
1 T vanilla extract

Optional:

1 package of strawberries
Powdered sugar

*Daiso is currently selling blocks of chocolate at a steal for 120 g for 105 yen!

** You can just buy the heated black coffee drink at your combini! 

Directions:

  1.  Chop the chocolate up and mix with the sugars in the big bowl.
  2. Add the coffee which will magically melt the chocolate!  If this doesn’t work off the bat, just set up a double boiler method (aka frying pan with water, steamer stand, and glass bowl) to melt it.
  3. Add the butter and chocolate powder.
  4. Mix in eggs one by one.  The mixture should definitely be wet and gloppy.
  5. Pour into springform pan and cover with foil.  Bake at 160C for 40-45 minutes. 
  6. If desired, add fruits and powdered sugar.  Tada!  ❤  True love at first bite.