Scallion and Steak Rice Cakes

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Chinese cooking is usually very simple to make with the key ingredients on hand and is cooked in just minutes in a very hot wok. We don’t eat very much beef in our home, but this dish is one that brings me back to my childhood. Several versions of this has been kept in our rotation of regular dishes whether it be scallions and beef with flat rice noodles, over rice, or in this case, with rice cakes. It just takes minutes to prepare and the outcome tastes like Chinese takeout.

I like using rice cakes when I’m feeling extra hungry. They’re more dense and filling than flat rice noodles, and I just really enjoy its bouncy chewy texture! You can find these in the refrigerator section of any Asian market. Sometimes it can also be found fresh wrapped in flat trays – I’ve seen this at my local Korean market.

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Anyways, let’s get started cause I’m getting hungry and can’t wait much longer. Good thing the cooking time is under 10 minutes! Have everything already prepared.

Scallion and Beef Rice Cakes
Servings: 4

About 1 lb. sirloin steak, sliced. Don’t use anymore than 1 lb or you’ll have ALOT of beef.
2 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. canola oil + more for cooking.
6 scallions, cut into 2-3 inch pieces.
1 half in slice of ginger
1 lb rice cakes (I used the flat oval shaped rice cakes)
2 Tsp. shaoxing wine

Sauce:
1 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. sambal olek, optional)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Put your thinly sliced steak in a medium sized bowl and add the low sodium soy sauce, corn starch and canola oil. Mix and massage soy sauce, corn starch, and oil into the beef using your fingers or a spoon. Set aside for about 30 minutes.

2. In a separate small bowl, add the ingredients for the sauce and stiry. Set aside.

3. In a wok or a large thick frying pan over high heat, add a couple of tablespoons of oil and heat until the oil is hot. Add the beef and cook until the beef just turns brown, about 1 minute, and set aside in a bowl.

4. Now add the slice of ginger and scallions. Toss and stir in the pan for about a minute.

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5. Quickly add the rice cakes and stir fry for another minute. Add the shaoxing wine around the perimeter of the wok or pan. Cover with a lid and cooke for about 1 minute. The rice cakes should now be pliable and is starting to get soft.

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6. Add the beef and stir to evenly mix the beef in with the rice cakes. Pour the sauce into the wok or pan and stir fry until all of the rice cakes are covered with sauce. If the rice cakes aren’t chewy at this point, cook for a bit longer until they are.

7. Lastly, find that piece of ginger and remove it! Nobody enjoys biting into a whole piece of ginger!

Serve immediately!

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Matcha White Chocolate Rice Crispies – MATCHA GIVEAWAY

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Are you as much of a matcha lover as I am?! Well, you’ve come to the right place! These matcha white chocolate rice crispies aren’t for the matcha noobs (no offense). Purposefully, a good amount of matcha powder is used and the bitterness of the matcha is balanced with the sweet white chocolate chips and a creaminess factor comes from both the matcha and white chocolate chips mixed with the marshmallow.

Now let’s talk about this matcha giveaway that’s happening. Motion Matcha is hosting this FABULOUS giveaway where you get ONE YEARS worth of matcha. That’s a matcha lovers dream come true. That’s kind of why you’re here right? So.. while you’re munching on these addicting matcha white chocolate rice crispies, go and enter this giveaway!

Before starting, make sure you have ALL ingredients handy as this will all come together in the blink of an eye. You’ll have to move quickly because you want to add everything as soon as the marshmallows melt. I’ve found that the less time you have the marshmallows over heat, the softer the marshmallows stay. Crunchy rice crispies that feel like you’ll crack a tooth while taking a bite is never pleasant.

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Matcha White Chocolate Rice Crispies
Servings: 9 large squares

1/2 C. (1 stick) of unsalted butter
1-10 oz. bag of marshmallows
2 Tbsp. matcha powder
1/2 C. white chocolate chips (I used ghiradelli)
5 C. rice crispy cereal

Things you’ll need:
One large pot
Parchment paper
8″x8″ pan
Wooden spoon or any large spoon

1. Line a 8″x8″ pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. In a large pot, melt the butter. Keep the butter over medium heat constantly stirring until the butter starts to smell nutty and turns into a caramel color. This is now browned butter (YUM).

3. Immediately add the marshmallows into the browned butter and constantly stir until all of the marshmallows have melted.

4. Turn off the stove and quickly add the matcha powder and stir incorporating the matcha powder with the marshmallow. At this stage, your pot of marshmallows should be ninja turtle green.

5. Pour in the white chocolate chips and rice crispy cereal into the pot. Using a wooden spoon, stir everything together until all the cereal is coated with the marshmallow mixture. Some of the white chocolate chips will have melted, but this is totally fine and you actually want that.

6. Pour everything into your lined baking pan and quickly push the mixture evenly into the pan (don’t forget the corners) so that the top is flat.

7. Let rest for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares.

These can be stored in a sealed tight container for up to three (3) days.

Zero Zero SF

Can we just talk about cheat meals real quick? Whenever I get the chance, I like to end the work week replacing all my sorrows with carbs. Carbs in the form of pizza to be exact. If I really got to choose one food to eat for the rest of my life, it’d be pizza. No joke. I mean, isn’t pizza a food group? OK, maybe just in my dreams. What are some of your cheat meal indulgences?

This time around, I got to eat my sorrows away at Zero Zero SF where they fed me some brussel sprouts (in fried form), hamachi poke, pastas, pizzas, and even some soft serve. Of course a couple salads appeared on the table, but those were cleared away quickly once the ‘heavier’ dishes came along. On a serious note though, Zero Zero’s caesar salad is something to remember.

Anyways, here are some highlights of the night.

Taleggio stuffed arancini with black garlic aioli – tasted like cheesy risotto balls fried to crisp perfection. I could have eaten two orders of these, but I had to share and didn’t want to be greedy…

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We had a number of pastas to choose from including spaghetti amatriciana, which is your classic spaghetti with spicy tomato sauce and pancetta and also gnocchi cooked in a pork belly ragu. I’m not big on red sauce as it can sometimes be too heavy and I’ve always been team white sauce so naturally, my fave of the night was the fettuccini. Look at this bowl of beauty – carbs, dungeness crab, BUTTER, garlic, and lemon.

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Then low and behold, the leaning tower of pizza appeared before my eyes. If you can only see the excitement on my face.

From top to bottom: Castro Pizza (Sopressata, housemate sausage, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and Basil), Seasonal Pizza (reserved lemon panda, roasted garlic, grilled asparagus, broccoli spigarello, mozzarella, and a bunch of other ingredients), Fillmore pizza (mushrooms, leeks, a variety of cheese, garlic, and thyme). The Seasonal Pizza was my fave. The vegetables themselves were perfectly seasoned and had a wonderful grill flavor.

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THEN, as if there wasn’t already enough food, we had some DIY sundaes. Don’t you love it when you get to be hands-on and be creative with your food?

Chocolate and vanilla swirl soft serve with topping choices of warm ricotta doughnuts, flourless chocolate brownie, caramel, hot fudge, chile caramel, and citrus (satsuma mandarins and orange agrumato)
The ricotta doughnuts were amaaaaziinnnggg on their own. Now just imagine the warm sugary doughnuts with the cold soft serve. UGH.
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Big thanks to Emily MartinΒ and Zero Zero for hosting such a delicious event!

——-

Zero Zero
826 Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA 94107

JANE the Bakery

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If you’re located in San Francisco and is a pastry junky/coffee connoissuer like I am who is constantly searching for the next bakery + cafe, I’ve got one for ya. If you don’t already know about Jane on Fillmore and Jane on Larkin,you’re missing out. A third location has opened, JANE the Bakery, located on Geary. You’ve really gotta visit. They’ve got coffee, pastries, sandwiches, loaves of bread, and toasts – Pretty much a one stop shop.

I had the privilege of meeting Amanda, the owner of JANE, who was just as sweet as the pastries. I always assumed “Jane” was the name of the owner, but turns out she named the stores after her daughter. Amanda allowed me to step into the kitchen where I got to see everyone in action and gave me a stronger appreciation for all the bakers around the world creating such beautiful edible art.

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Compared to the other two locations, this location has a long display case of pastries followed by a shelf of deliciously baked bread. These are just a few of the bread options Jane offers.
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I’m telling you, this is a carb lovers dream come true or maybe a new item to add onto the list of “1000 Ways to Die”: Death by carbs. Anyways, you’re probably more interested in the items Jane has to offer. Here are just a few things I sampled…

CHEDDAR CHIVE BISCUIT: lots of cheese throughout the entire biscuit. Flakey on the inside, crisp on the outside. Enjoy heated with a pad of butter.
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PIZZETTE with artichoke, pine nuts, pesto, and roasted red peppers.
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THREE CHEESE & ROSEMARY BREAD WITH A POLENTA CRUST: For all the rosemary fans out there. Ain’t she a beauty?!
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TURKEY + BRIE SANDWICH: So simple yet so tasty
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AVOCADO MASH: perfectly seasoned smashed avocadoes with pickled jalapenos and red onions all on top of a heftly slab of sourdough. So good.
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And last but not least…

CARDAMOM LATTICE BUN: The inside of the bun has this dreamy cardamom pastry cream. I’d take a bath in it. I mean. uhh.. nevermind.
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Ultimate Blueberry Muffins With Lemon Sugar Crunch

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I guess it’s lemon season? Good thing because I’ve been getting sick often these days and nothing soothes a sore throat than a piping hot cup of water with a squeeze of lemon. Not only does lemon seem to work miracles on one who’s sick, but it makes amazing baked goods, such as this blueberry muffin recipe I came across from Cook’s Illustrated. What stood out about this recipe was that the actual ingredient of lemon wasn’t included in the batter, but was a part of a sugar crumb sprinkled on top of the muffin at the last second before baking.

These muffins have the perfect amount of sweetness from the blueberry “syrup” and remind me of a summer day from the brightness of the lemon. These are AMAZING right out of the oven while the sugar crunch is still warm and crispy. I’ve thrown all other blueberry muffins into the very back of the archives (sorry, blueberry muffins).

Seriously, look at that crunchy topping.

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Β 

Ultimate Blueberry Muffins With Lemon Sugar Crunch
Yield: 12 muffins

Sugar Crunch:

1/3 C. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest or zest from 1 lemon

Blueberry syrup:
1 tsp. sugar
1 C. fresh blueberries

Muffins:
2 1/2 C. all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/8 C. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 C. canola oil
1 C. buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 C. fresh blueberries

1. For the sugar crunch, combine sugar and lemon zest and mix to combine. Set aside and let sit so that the sugar absorbs the lemon flavor.

2. For the blueberry syrup, combine sugar and blueberries in a small pot and heat over medium heat. Stir frequently. As the blueberries heat up, they’ll start to plump up. Start smashing the blueberries to create a syrup. Turn the heat on low and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the mixture reduces to about 1/4 cup. Turn the heat off and set aside.

To make the muffins:

3. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners.
4. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Mix to combine and set aside.
5. In another large bowl, beat sugar and eggs together until the mixture turns pale yellow – about 3 minutes.
6. To the sugar and egg mixture, stir in melted butter and oil. Next, add the buttermilk and vanilla extract. Mix to combine.
7. Now, add the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry mixture and mix until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX.
8. Fold in blueberries with a rubber spatula.
9. Divide the muffin batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups.
10. For each cup, spoon about a teaspoon of the blueberry syrup onto the top and use a toothpick to swirl the syrup in with the muffin batter.
11. Next, evenly divide the lemon sugar mixture onto the top of the muffins.
12. Bake in the oven for 16-19 minutes, turning the pan 180 degrees once.
13. Poke a clean toothpick into the middle of a muffin. When the toothpick comes out clean, the muffins are fully baked.
14. Remove the muffins from the oven and set on a cooling rack to cool. Wait about 5 minutes before removing the muffins from the tin.
15. ENJOY!

Wonderful Saturday at CIA Copia

A couple of Saturdays ago, I had the opportunity to go to Napa to visit the newly opened Culinary Institute of America, CIA at Copia. CIA at Copia was previously a culinary museum before closing in 2008, but has now reopened as a center for food, wine, and art offering cooking demonstrations and wine tastings. During the reopening, I got to taste several wines from a variety of places, witnessed the 21 bottle salute for the re-grand opening of Copia, and tried some delicious cheeses. What I was most excited about was taking a cheese class! You better brie-lieve I had a gouda time! Excuse my cheesiness.

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The newly opened CIA at Copia offers a number of classes everyday, whether it be a demonstration or a hands-on class. Some demonstrations offered are how to make chocolate eclairs, fresh pasta, and mac n cheese (seriously? Someone sign me up!). Like I mentioned earlier, I took a cheese demonstration class, and let me just say… I’ll never buy my own ricotta or mozzarella again! Classes are really affordable and informative. My friends told me they had taken a cheese class where they also had learned how to make ricotta and mozzarella. They paid $125. The class that day Copia was $30, but you can double check prices on Copia’s website here. THIRTY DOLLARS to never buy those cheeses again from a store and make my own fresh batch at home? Um. Hell yes.

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Aside from classes, the venue is a beautiful place. A grass area in the back looks like a perfect place for a wedding and private rooms are also available to have a gathering. Tables are setup beautifully for any event.

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Before the day ended, I was able to pair some cheeses with some wines. Here’s another picture of the cheese plate. Ain’t it pretty? The cheeses included were pecorino toscano, cypress grove midnight moon (made with goat’s milk), fiscalini bandage wrapped cheddar, and Cowgirl Creamery red hawk (this was my fave). The almonds were delicious too!

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I’d definitely plan a day trip or maybe even a weekend in Napa and schedule a visit to the new CIA at Copia. Napa is a beautiful place to plan a special weekend with your significant other and I’d be elated if my boyfriend booked a hands-on class to attend together. AHEM!

Oh, on top of all that, CIA at Copia also has a restaurant. I didn’t get a chance to try anything on their menu, but I did get a glance of a really delicious looking burger as it was passing by under my nose…

Honey Matcha Caramels

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Hope everyone enjoyed your holiday weekend and spent quality time with your loved ones! The holidays came and went so quick! I don’t know about you, but I’m trying to keep the “holiday feels” for as long as possible. One way is to keep the kitchen table stocked with candies and other sweets. I’ve recently found my candy thermometer and it’s time to actually put use to it. Do you also have a drawer full of kitchen gadgets that have gotten lost and forgotten?

I’ve made brittles and toffee in the past and wanted to try making caramels. Having Christmas being this past weekend, it was the perfect opportunity to practice on making batches of different caramels without having hundreds of pieces to eat on my own. Out of the different recipes I’ve tried, this one was my favorite so I’d like to share the recipe with you!

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These caramels have a really nice texture and the slightly bitter/earthy flavor from the matcha really balances out the sweetness from the sugar. I highly recommend making these if you’re a fan of soft chewy caramels and what I really like about this recipe is that one batch doesn’t make a ridiculous amount. Again, I used matcha from MotionMatcha and honestly, I think the flavor from MotionMatcha really made the flavor of these caramels better! Often times with other brands, I have to use extra matcha just to really taste the flavor, but the flavors from MotionMatcha is quite concentrated.

Before starting, make sure to have everything prepared as caramels are VERY quick to make and you don’t want the sugar. Also, make sure to keep your eyes on the thermometer. If the temperature goes too high, you’ll end up with brittle or crunchy sugar versus a soft luscious caramel.

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Honey Matcha Caramels
Adapted from Snixy Kicthen

3/4 C. sugar
2 tsp. matcha powder
5/6 heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. honey
1 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1. Prepare a 8″x4″ pan by lining the inside with parchment paper. I ended up using a Pyrex container.

2. In a small bowl, combine matcha powder and about 1/4 C. heavy whipping cream. Using a whisk or a fork, mix the matcha powder and heaving whipping cream until there are no more lumps of matcha powder. Add this into a small pot and add the rest of the heavy whipping cream to the pot. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until small bubbles form on the sides of the pot. Make sure the cream mixture doesn’t burn. Set aside

3. In another small pot, add the sugar and honey and heat over medium high heat and stir continuously until the sugar and honey completely melt.

4. Clip the candy thermometer to the side of the pot so that the bottom of the thermometer is completely submerged in the sugar. Heat the sugar honey mixture until the temperature reaches 302 F without stirring at all.

5. Now add the butter and kosher salt and slowly stir in the warm whipping cream. WARNING: The sugar will sizzle as you add the whipping cream so be careful. As the cream is added, the sugar mixture temperature will lower.

6. Continuously stir the mixture until the temperature reaches 248 F. Immediately pour the hot caramel into your prepared pan. Don’t scrape the excess caramel from the sides of the pan otherwise you’ll get hard bits of sugar in your caramels.

7. Let the caramels cool for at least five hours before cutting into it.

8. When the caramels are completely cooled, cut caramels into small pieces with a sharp heavy knife and wrap each piece in a piece of parchment or wax paper.