Fried chicken bao

Bao recipe and spicy fried chicken inspiration – we used our own fried chicken recipe.

Okay, not beautiful but good. We ate the bao with mayo and gochujang.

I presume the dough recipe is good for other bao dishes.

Bay Area adventures with my dad!

My dad visited J and me this past fall in California. Unfortunately, he bowed out of staying with us, and didn’t get to experience that studio life!! But we did a number of other fun activities.

Fixing the sofa with dental floss was just one part of getting ready for the visit.
Indian pizza with my dad and friend A.
Peach Dutch baby (fondly called “the big pancake” in my family) for breakfast, recipe courtesy of my mom. We were too ambitious with the peaches – these are supposed to puff a lot more than this usually… I’ll post the recipe on here sometime and y’all can try it out.
Hangar One, completed in 1933, at the Moffett Field Historical Society Museum. Lots of airplanes, old military uniforms, scale models of stuff, etc. There were a lot of interesting older buildings at the airfield. With more time, it would’ve been fun to walk around. Mysteriously, Carnegie Mellon also has an outpost here.
The underside of the Golden Gate bridge!! As seen from Fort Point.
Lighthouse!
Fancy dim sum restaurant! This is Koi Palace in Daly City. J heard about it from… somewhere. It’s supposed to be really good. We got there pretty early in the morning and briefly had to wait in line.
Some hiking~
We got rid of some bad lamps at Goodwill and picked up a new-to-us one! It’s made by Stiffel, my dad’s favorite lamp company. Apparently they’re normally quite expensive ($300) – we got this one for $25!
We also saw this cute replacement shade 🙂
Ate at Original Joe’s, a kinda fancy Italian place in SF.

We went to Santa Cruz and saw some old mission buildings. The actual mission was partially destroyed in a mid-1800s earthquake and replaced by another church. A replica was built in 1931. The only original building was used as housing for Native Americans.

Chocolate-walnut cookies

J and I, lacking chocolate chips, made a variation of the Levain cookie recipe. We used the same amount of walnuts, but left out the chocolate chips and added 1/2 cup of cocoa powder in place of 1/2 cup of flour. Maybe use only 1/4 cup of cocoa powder or bake less time – these were a little dry.

Mock-Levain chocolate chip cookies

So there’s this trendy bakery in New York City that is known for huge, rich cookies (the crowd favorite is chocolate chip-walnut). The problem is that the line is really long and the cookies are expensive.

So, J and I have been making our own versions of these cookies! There are a lot of copycat recipes online. This is the result of combining a few of them. The Brown-Eyed Baker one was a major contributor, but doesn’t have enough walnuts or chocolate chips in it and mysteriously calls for baking soda despite no acid in the other ingredients.

Chocolate chip walnut cookies

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp cornstarch (or other refined cooking starch)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4-1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
  1. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients. Add to the butter-sugar mixture. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts.
  3. Bake cookies 10 min at 375°F (small cookies will be done, large cookies will be gooey).

Substitutions

  • The sugar together with the chocolate chips can make the cookies too sweet. You might consider reducing the amount of sugar in subsequent batches.
  • But don’t reduce the sugar if leaving out the chocolate chips.
  • Try leaving out the baking soda or powder. Another recipe we used only called for soda, which seems wrong.
  • Type of flour called for also varies by recipe. One reference called for all bread flour, and another half cake and half all-purpose.

Easy ciabatta

I’m going through old draft posts to see if any are still relevant. I think this was going to be a recipe, but I can’t for the life of me remember where it is from! Here’s one from Cook’s Illustrated, it’s probably fine…

We can never remember to take the picture before taking a bite 😬

Successful sourdough attempt

What with the yeast shortage, I decided to attempt sourdough again! The last time J and I tried, we managed to make an acceptable loaf of bread, but we baked all of the starter into it D’:

Cook’s Illustrated has starter instructions, and we used this sourdough recipe.

The final starter! It only took 2 or 3 weeks to get to this point… Apparently you know it’s done when the bubbles have the appearance of those in a root beer float 🙂
Bread!! I made the cuts with a straight razor and even remembered to reserve some starter.

We’ve made 2 loaves and 2 pizzas with this recipe so far with local, mostly-whole wheat flour! In a fit of emergency food-buying, we got a bunch of flour from Castle Valley Mill, a local historical flour mill (located in Pennsylvania, about 100 miles from NYC). Their bolted (big pieces of bran sifted out) hard wheat flour is amazing for making bread – lots of gluten!

Sourdough-bacon-onion-cheddar pizza!

Bagels!

During social isolation, J and I have been cooking a lot. We’ve been trying to make more unusual dishes, since we can’t get cravings satisfied at restaurants or work.

J’s been eating bagels for breakfast, but we forgot to get them last grocery order, so we made them! We have a ton of cream cheese and lox, so it was either this or cheesecake (that might still happen 🙂 We used the bagel recipe from ChefSteps.com (which seems to be a teach-you-to-cook website).

Gotta boil the bagels first! There’s baking soda and honey in the water.
Very flat bagels. They taste like pretzels, though 🙂

Improvements to the recipe:

  • Put flour or cornmeal on the bagel bottoms. They stick really badly!
  • Oil the tops before covering with plastic wrap. They stick moderately badly…
  • Try the rope + roll method of shaping.

White wine mushroom cream sauce

Another way to use up lingering wine. Eat with pasta, omelette, crepes, toast, etc.

Recipe

  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Parsley to taste
  1. Cook onion and garlic in butter until translucent.
  2. Add mushrooms and cook until they release liquid. Add salt and spices.
  3. Add white wine and cream, and reduce by half.

We didn’t have cream on hand, so we substituted macadamia nut butter mixed with water, which worked quite well! Macadamia nuts are super oily, so the richness was a good replacement for the cream.