Archive | February 2013

Peanutbutter Popcorn


My kids love popcorn, I’m sure yours do too.  I make my own – because it’s easy, and most popcorn sold in Taiwan is sweet.  Strangely enough I grew up in another culture that liked sweet popcorn.  Still haven’t gotten around to enjoying sugar on my popcorn yet.  But this is honey, so it doesn’t count 🙂

1.  Pop your popcorn however you do… I use a soup pot, some oil and about 1/3- 1/2 c. popcorn kernels.  Once popped, I’m not sure how many cups that is.

2.  Melt 2 TB butter with 1/4 c. honey and 1/4 c. peanut butter (I used natural peanut butter ground up by my sister in law 謝謝!)

3.  Let it bubble a bit, but stir it well so it doesn’t burn.  Take it off the heat once it thickens up a bit.

4.  Pour the mixture over your popcorn, and give it a good mix.

5.  Spread your popcorn on cookie sheets (for me that was 2 because I use a toaster oven) Sprinkle with salt.  I really like how the salt cuts through the sweet honey so I use about 1/2 tsp.

6.  Bake for 5-10 minutes at 375 until brown – not burnt!

Let cool and enjoy.


Chocolate Hearts For Your Valentine


A quick Valentine’s Day post, since it’s 7:30pm on 14th as we speak, and I’m waiting for the kids to go to bed…

Chocolate Hearts without all the fancy equipment.

You’ll need the following:

DSCN25771.  8 or more aluminium 1 1/2″ baking cups

2.  Silken tofu, 300 g. about 12 oz.

3.  Melting chocolate – I like Aijia Chocolate, it’s cheap and not nasty(don’t get me started on the quality of chocolate sold here)

4.  Good quality chocolate, 1.75 oz dark 80% cocoa

5.  Ditch the white chocolate chips, they didn’t work out here…

Step One:  In a double boiler, bring the water to boil, then turn off the heat.  Add your cheap melting chocolate.  Let sit 5 minutes.  Stir.

Step Two:  While your chocolate is melting, bend your aluminium cups into heart shapes.  Keep the bottoms flat and the shape as heart-like as possible.

Step Three:  Using a small spoon, scoop out some melted chocolate (about 2 tsp), pour into the heart cups, and tilt it around until all the sides are coated.  Do this until all the cups are coated (as a reminder, I just used 8 cups).  Refrigerate 5 minutes.

Step Four:  Pull your cups out of the refrige, and re-coat the inside walls.  The walls will be the thinnest, so they need an extra coating.  Return to the refrige when done.

Step Five:  Melt your good 80% cocoa chocolate now, using the same bowl if you want.  Use the same method as before – heat the water to boiling, turn off the heat and then add the chocolate.  Let sit 5 minutes until melted.

Step Six:  In your blender, blend the tofu until smooth.  While the motor is running, slowly pour in your melted chocolate, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary.  Add 1 tsp. vanilla and about 1/4 c. of molasses. (a simple syrup would work fine as well)

Step Seven:  Unmould your chocolate cups.  At the tip of the heart, using a scissors, carefully cut the rim off both sides until you get to the top of the heart.  Return to the tip, cut or gently pull off the aluminium walls of the cup.  Keep in mind that the walls are the thinnest, and crumble easily.  Hold the cup by its base.  Pull off the aluminium base last and then pull out the section stuck between the humps at the top of the heart.  Maybe this is confusing.  See the picture below.  Don’t get bent out of shape if it crumbles or is all lopsided.  You can fix the lopsidedness.


Step Eight:  Heat a ceramic or glass plate in your microwave until warm, and set it on the counter.  Pick up your chocolate hearts carefully, and upend it gently on the plate, apply slight pressure on the base, moving it around while it melts off the sections that are uneven.  If you just leave it on the plate (as I did while taking pictures) it will melt away to oblivion, so be careful.  After finishing all of them, refrigerate for 5 minutes.

Step Nine:  Pour your pudding/mousse into your chocolate cups, filling each one to the top.  You’ll have a lot of left over pudding that you can save for later or for some other use.  Refrigerate chocolate hearts until firm, about 2 hours.


新年快樂! Happy Chinese New Year


Chinese New Year is my favorite time of year here in Taiwan.  Everyone leaves the city to visit another city, or relatives in the country.  The world is QUIET.  In a city of 2.6 million people, I can’t hear a thing.  It’s wonderous.  Which brings me to choosing oranges and tangerines, this season’s finest.  I haven’t gotten pictures of all the oranges offered here yet, but let me tell you there are quite a few.  Pictured above is a tangerine with loose skin.  It’s so sweet you’d think they added extra sugar 🙂  My favorite at the moment.  These tangerines are 4-5 in. in diameter, and you want to choose one with no soft spots/discolored spots.  The skin should not be tight to the fruit, but slightly loose.  You’ll see what I mean if you feel a couple.  新年快樂!  Enjoy the silence with some tangerines.

Great Aunt Lydia’s Lemon Meringue Pie


Apparently my Great Aunt Lydia made wonderful lemon meringue pie.  For some reason I was drawn to making it as well.  Lemons are just so delicious.  I heard a story once about how during the depression she would offer wandering hobos a day of work in exchange for food.  I’m sure she served this pie to more than one lucky man.  I love making this pie – however gluten free is a bit of a challenge because of that pesky crust.  It resists rolling out and pressing into pie pans.  When I feel extra patient I do make a pie crust for this pie.  Patience is a virtue that does not come around often lately.

Yesterday I made lemon meringue cups.  Much simpler, and no messing with GF pie crust.

Great Aunt Lydia’s Lemon Meringue Pie (Cups)

Preheat your oven to 325

In a double boiled combine:

1 1/2 c. water

2/3 c. sugar

1/4 c. cornstarch

Before you starting cooking this, finish the following steps:

Separate 3 eggs.  Place the yolks in a small bowl – set a spoon beside it.  Place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl.  Add a pinch of salt, and a dash or two of cream of tarter.

Juice 3 lemons or limes.  Enough to make 1/3 c. juice.  Set aside also.

Now start cooking the ingredients in the double boiler.  Whisk slowly until it thickens and turns almost translucent.  Take off the heat.  Scoop out some pudding, and mix it into the bowl of egg yolks.  Do this 3-4 times, then pour the whole bowl of egg yolks into your pudding.  Whisk until incorporated well.  The hot pudding will cook the eggyolks.

Next, slowly add in your lemon juice.  Whisk until smooth.

Add 2-3 TB butter, whisk until smooth. (I don’t always add butter, but it helps the pie set up, and it sure makes it taste good!)

Pour the pudding into 4 clear glass mugs or cups.  Set aside.

Find your egg whites, beat on high until fluffy and peaked.  Slowly beat in 1/3 c. sugar.  Scoop it on top of the pudding, making sure to even it out between the 4 cups.

Place your cups on an oven tray, slide it into the oven for about 10 minutes.  The tops should brown nicely.  Cool and refrigerate 2-3 hours until you can’t wait any more 🙂

Oh- if you’re making a pie crust, cook the crust for 10-15 min. at 350 before filling.  Remember to reduce the oven temp to 325 before cooking the meringue topping.

Pepperoni Danbings (Wraps)

pepperoni wrap

If you remember my post on dosas, long ago, this is a spin off that.  And a rather delicious one I may say.  Although really, anything with pepperoni is tasty.

Step one:  Soak your beans and rice.  I used 1/2 c. brown rice and 1/2 c. red beans.  Soak for 4 hours or overnight is best.

Step two:  Drain and rinse the beans & rice, grind with just as much water as you need to make your grinder work.  Add 1/2 tsp. salt.

Step three:  Lightly fry your pepperoni, I used about 10 per wrap.  Set aside on paper towels to drain.

Step four:  On med. heat, fry one dosa, using a ladle, scoop out 1 ladle of batter, and spread it around the skillet using your ladle or your spatula.  You want it to be thin-ish.DSCN1862

Step five:  Flip your dosa to cook the other side.  Break 1 egg into a small bowl, beat and pour over your still cooking dosa.DSCN1864

Step six:  While the egg cooks, sprinkle it with garlic granules.  Place your pepperoni on it in a row of two.  Sprinkle with parmesan.DSCN1865

Step seven:  Wait until your egg has set, start folding up your wrap in 1/3.  Set aside and cool.DSCN1866

Step eight:  Enjoy!  I liked mine with some Louisiana hot sauce I found at Finga’s.

This recipe makes about 6 dosas.  Keep in the refrige and fry as needed, or fry them all if you’re serving guests.