Sunday, January 18, 2015

Recipe: Mama Yu's Turnip Cake

Over the weekend, mom and I made a bet on whether or not I had ever posted the recipe for her turnip cake, which reminded me that I had never posted the recipe for her turnip cake.

Two things:
1. Through this bet, I won the right to have lunch at P.F.Changs and I devoured a large portion of Honey Chicken (Yes, I realize the irony).
2. My mom's turnip cake is better than any turnip cake you've had in your life. Don't believe me? Ask Papa Yu, Liz, and Joe (yes, we're biased, but we're still right). Dim sum turnip cake will never be the same, you will insist on making it yourself (or if you're me, whine until mom does).

Quick warning: This requires an old school rice cooker. I have no idea if this turns out well in a non old school rice cooker. What's an old school rice cooker you ask? The kind that requires you add water to steam and makes rice perfect every time without burning the bottom. Bonus points if it's missing a stub leg (not really).

  • 1 T Dried Shrimp
  • 1-1 1/2 lbs. Daikon
  • 1 Thick Slice of Ham (1/4 in.) or 1 Link of Chinese Sausage (the latter is tastier)
  • 1 Package Rice Flour
  • 2-3 T Fried Scallion
  • 1/2 T Salt
  • 1/2 t Black Pepper
  • 1/2 T Sugar
Start by soaking your dried shrimp in some water, leave them for about 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of your ingredients. Once they're done soaking, give them a rough chop.

Cut your daikon into matchsticks and dice your ham/chinese sausage into small cubes.
A step-by-step on getting it right.
Did you do step 6? I did.
I only had ham, but if you can find chinese sausage, SUBSTITUTE!!!

Add 2 T of vegetable oil into a hot wok (or non-stick pan). Add dried shrimp. Once you can smell the shrimp, add the ham/chinese sausage, and then the daikon. Season with the salt, black pepper, and sugar. Then add the fried scallions.
I, too, would enjoy a bath in fried scallions and meat.
Found at most Chinese supermarkets. As always, the Yu family recommends that you buy "MADE IN TAIWAN"

Add 1 C. water (including the water the shrimp soaked in) to the mixture and cook for 7-9 minutes until the daikon is translucent.
Boom. Cooked through.
While the daikon is cooking, mix 4 1/2 cups off cold water with 1 package of rice flour until smooth.
This is a photo of mom from about 2 years ago. She hasn't aged a day. Literally, this is exactly what she looks like now.
This is what you're looking for. Also found at most Chinese grocery stores.
Mix your rice flour slurry into your daikons and start stirring and moving it around. It will thicken...A LOT. Keep moving until you really can't mix it anymore (will take about 15-20 minutes). Then put it into a greased rice cooker container. Press the mixture in well so there are no gaps of air.
If you stir you won't need to work out that day!
Add 2 1/2 rice cooker cups of water to the side of your rice cooker and place your turnip cake in and steam. Once done, leave until cool. Invert onto a plate. Now you can slice it up and crisp it up on each side.

Serve with soy paste, crushed garlic and chinese "chili" sauce. Posting that just made me hungry, good thing mom made me some this weekend and it's sitting in my fridge.

Note: Rice cooker cup is the cup that comes with your rice cooker.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Our Final Wedding of the Year: Craig & Elizabeth

Wedding 8 of 8: Craig Noyes and Elizabeth Borge
Immaculate Conception Church, Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth Harbor Events
November 15, 2014

Craig and Liz's wedding was a wonderful way to end our year of weddings. Not only do Joe and I love Portsmouth, they had a beautiful ceremony and a great reception full of good food and great dancing. I usually have pretty low expectation for wedding food (you just can't expect perfection when feeding 100+ people at the exact same time), but the food at this wedding was good and I was part of the clean plate club.

Lovely bride and father walking down the aisle.

Exchanging vows.

Ryan & Jess

Amanda and Laura looking stunning!

BC Couple #1!

BC Couple #2 (and obligatory wedding photo)
BC Couple #3

Beautiful and festive centerpiece. Very well done.

A romantic first dance.

With the bride and groom (aka BC Couple #4)!

I always try to get a roommate shot.

I present to you the RubyStreet Boys. or N'Ruby, or Ruby8 Degrees. [Insert boy band pun here.]
That's a wrap for weddings this year. Congratulations to all of our wonderful friends for getting hitched in 2014.

Now, back to your normal programming of food.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Off to P A for Nate and Amanda's Big Day

Wedding 7 of 8: Nate Ball & Amanda Hudome
St. Norbert Church, Paoli, PA
Spring Hollow Golf Club, Spring City, PA
November 2, 2014

After a brief break from weddings, we're back at it. Last weekend, Joe's roommate from his senior year got married. It was a beautiful church ceremony followed by a wonderfully fun reception at a gold club the bride's grandfather built! As a recent photo nerd - the lighting at the church was awesome!

Caught the ushers...who caught me...catching them...

The groom and the best man.

Praying together - what a beautiful moment.

Exchanging rings. Here's to forever.

It's official, welcome to the BC Alums who marry BC Alums club!

BC'08 + Friends

2 more weeks until these cuties get hitched!

Obligatory photo.

Ryan and Jess before they started boogying with the grandmas.

The first! (to get married). We're really all just copying them.

Ruby boys less Craig. Looking fly boys!

First dance. It was adorable.

Nate faking getting cake all over Amanda.

With the lovely bride and groom.

The boys, all together. 50% married to BC girls. By the end of the month we'll be at 67%.

Obviously, we need to get a Blue Steel photo.
One last BC photo for good measure.
A wonderful wedding with wonderful people. Ready to do it again in a couple weeks.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Recipe: Wontons

Sometimes I miss my mom, and when I can't get home to see her, I tend to make food that reminds me of home. Wontons were popular growing up, but usually served in soup. On my last trip to Flushing I discovered wontons in this style at White Bear and I've never looked back.

  • 3/4 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb shrimp
  • 1/2 head of medium sized napa cabbage
  • 1 T of minced ginger
  • 2 T of minced scallion
  • 2 t of sesame oil (if you like sesame oil like I do, add some extra)
  • 1 t of white pepper
  • 1 1/2 T of soy sauce
  • 2-3 T of sake
  • 1 package of wonton rappers
First, dice your cabbage finely. You can use a food processor if it's easier, but I find using a knife is faster for me. Add some salt to the cabbage, mix it, and let it sit - you want to release some of the water in the vegetable. 

Next you want to mince your scallion and ginger together. Then, you want to mince your shrimp (you basically want to chop it until it looks like ground shrimp). I like to chop the scallion and ginger right into the shrimp - I feel like I'm incorporating the ingredients better.

In a bowl mix together the ground pork, your shrimp mixture, the sesame oil, white pepper, soy sauce, and sake. Take your cabbage and squeeze it out over the sink to get out the extra moisture. Add the "dehydrated" cabbage into meat mixture. Mix like a crazy person until your filling looks uniform.

Now to make the wontons: I present to you my first ever video tutorial, filmed by Joe. I fold them this way, but you don't have to. Before you fold them - put some water on the stove to boil. By the time you have made enough for dinner, your water should be boiling (if not, you are fast or don't eat a lot).


When the water is boiling, add your wontons while stirring. Once they start floating I like to let them cook for another couple of minutes to ensure they are cooked through. I usually cut one open to make sure before I take them all out.

Once they're done I like to top them with the below hot oil and chili and fried garlic sauce. You can always have them in soup. If you're feeling aggressive you can fry them. I find them to be delicious with just some hot oil.

Go back for seconds - they're healthy. Sort of.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Restaurant Review: Blue Hills

A couple weeks back we went to Blue Hills as part of our Anniversary-thon (have to do it up big for the first one, right?)

I really enjoyed the place. I loved the ambiance, the attention to detail in each course, and the whimsical nature of the food served. Gags was much less impressed, and found the 4 oz. pours of his beer into a wine glass awkward, the course in the special room gimmicky, and he felt a little underwhelmed for the price tag.

If you're celebrating and want to feel like you've been transported to a different world, I'd recommend it. If you like meat, I wouldn't. It's one of those things, I would definitely do once (and maybe again), but it would have to be a special occasion.

The Meal

Vegetables from the garden.
Grilled nectarines wrapped in house cured prosciutto.
Weeds. Served with...
Charcoal mayo.
A trio of something with tomatoes.
Liver with chocolate.
Probably my favorite dish: tomato burger. Delicious.
Apparently this was a play on man and woman. Two different tomato shooters.
Heirloom tomato with basil seeds.
Tomatoes with some type of cheese...there were a lot of tomatoes...I'm guessing they were in season.
Oysters three ways. I think one was a BLT oyster.
Home made ricotta (which apparently is served year-round) served with...
Brioche toast. I love warm bread.
Fish tacos with kohlrabi as the shell. Superbly creative, but a little light on the fish.

Another favorite. Farm fresh egg with chorizo. 
The special course! Duck.

You get to have a course with just your date in the barn. Even though Gags found it gimmicky, I found it romantic.
Goat - usually I hate goat because I find it gamey, but this was actually pretty good.

First dessert course (kind of savory, kind of sweet). Corn ice cream and tomato sorbet were both refreshing.
Anniversary cake aka special occasion cake aka everyone got one.
I actually thought the white chocolate egg shells were actual eggs.
So as you can see, NY hasn't been good for my wallet, but I've found some great little joints as well that I will share soon!