Thursday, April 29, 2010
At some point in my life I must have eaten a really dry and bad tasting chiffon cake because all this time I've thought that I hate chiffon cakes. Every time I see one, I think "Oh it looks so light and airy. Too bad it tastes like crap." . . . . And then I made this cake. I've obviously been missing out because I absolutely adore this cake.
I love all sorts of cakes and desserts, but I especially like chinese-style cakes that are found at chinese bakeries, as I grew up on those cake. I love the light flavor, spongy texture. I love chinese sponge cakes and chinese birthday cakes. This chiffon cake tastes just like the ones I buy at the chinese bakeries. I was so excited with how it turned out. My family loved it as well. I'm amazed I was able to make such a yummy tasting cake, and it wasn't too hard to make.
I've heard of a lot of disasters when it comes to making chiffon cakes, so I'm relieved I got it right on my first try, even though I did make one major error, which might be why the cake didn't rise perfectly.
I've seen recipes for pandan chiffon for a long while now, but I've never bothered to try because 1) I thought I hated chiffon cakes and 2) all the recipes required a lot of eggs. Usually somewhere between 6 and 10. Since I don't have a chicken farm, I rarely have that many eggs just sitting around.
Chiffon cakes are supposed to be made in a tube pan, the same pan used to make angel food cakes. You aren't supposed to grease the pan, so the top of my cake kind of stuck to the pan. I'm not crazy about the look of the chiffon cake, but I love the taste. I especially liked the pandan version because the cake was a pretty light green. The pandan flavor is really light in this cake for those who don't love pandan or find too much of it to be overwhelming.
I'm definitely going to experiment with other flavors, but I think this one is going to be one of my favorites. The recipe requires you to separate the eggs and fold in the egg whites, which helps the cake rise and be nice and fluffy. It sounds time consuming, but it really isn't that time consuming.
There were several recipes I found for pandan chiffon cake, but I ended up going with one on Little Corner of Mine I've used several of her recipes before and enjoyed them. She said she has tried several chiffon recipes and this one was the best one.
So as I mentioned before, my cake rose, but not perfectly. I think it's because I did make a mistake. I was supposed to beat in the cream of tartar with the egg whites, but I completely forgot to add it in. It wasn't until my batter was completely done and about to go in the oven that I realized my mistake. So then I added it into the batter at the end. Luckily my cake still rose, but you can see that near the top it got bunched up and dense and didn't rise properly.
Pandan Chiffon Cake (adapted from Little Corner of Mine)
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 Tbp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 tsp. pandan paste
6 egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350'F (175'C).
2. Combine (A) in a bowl. Stir well to blend. Add (B). Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
3. Beat (C) (egg whites and cream of tartar) in a separate bowl until moist peaks
formed. Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar, beating until stiff and shiny
peaks are formed. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolks
mixture, fold to mix and then add the rest of the egg whites. Fold
gently but thoroughly. Turn batter into ungreased 10" tube pan.
4. Bake for 60 mins or until a
toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Invert cake and cool
completely in pan. When cool, loosen the edges and shake pan to remove
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
4433 Convoy St
San Diego, Ca 92078
A few weeks ago, I had a quick meal at Chin's Convoy. I had a pretty good experience, and so I was surprised to hear negative reviews about Chin's, which I heard from several sources. I decided to pay Chin's another visit and try out more dishes to see if my first experience was a fluke.
We arrived for Saturday brunch, so we ordered both breakfast items as well as some regular menu items.
First to arrive was our salty soy milk. I was surprised that it had chili oil inside. I'm not used to it being spicy, or being cooked with chili oil. However, it tasted pretty good. It was only mildly spicy. The soy milk had pieces of fried cruller and soy bean curds. There were also some salty pickled vegetables at the bottom. I did think the bowl was a bit small. I think the Chin's at Miramar serves a bigger bowl for around the same price.
We also ordered a sweet soy milk.
We also ordered a fried silk bun. The silk bun, is a white steamed bun that is slightly sweet. Inside, the bun is broken up into pieces that look like "threads." You can order it steamed or fried. Since I usually eat it at home steamed, I opted to get the fried version at the restaurant.
There was a page of lunch specials, so we decided to try the spicy bean sauce fish. I was surprised with what arrived. I expected black beans, a darker sauce. Instead this one was heavy on garlic and didn't seem to have any beans. However, it was tasty. It just wasn't what I expected. The fish was really tender and the sauce was flavorful. Since it was a lunch portion, it was a bit smaller than a normal portion.
We also ordered a pork spare rib noodle soup. The soup bowl was really big. The dish looked very similar to the beef noodle soup we ordered last time, except for the fact that the meat was pork spare ribs and the soup was slightly sweet, which is how pork spare rib soup usually is. It was a little confusing though because it looked so much like beef noodle soup. Everyone at the table preferred beef noodle soup to this one, but I think it is more of a taste preference, rather than preparation.
We also ordered the fried cruller wrapped in a sesame bun. I often find that the sesame bun is too dry so I like to just east the cruller by itself. This version was really thin, but it wasn't too dry.
Finally, we ordered a tea smoked duck. I enjoy the tea smoked duck at Chin's on Miramar and was curious to try the version here. The version here was really good. The duck had a heavy smoked flavor and the duck was fairly meaty. It was odd that the duck was served with little steam buns, which you usually see with peking duck where you can wrap slices of the peking duck and crispy skin in the wrappers. Tea duck is not sliced that way, and every piece had bones attached, so it was not as easy to wrap the duck meat with the steamed buns. So I ended up just eating the buns separately.
We ended the meal with wine brew soup served with sesame rice balls. This tasted exactly like the one at Miramar. The broth was pretty sweet and I like the black sesame filled rice balls.
Like last time, we had really good service. Chin, the owner, was there as well and came by to say hi. He recognized Boyfriend and me. Baby Bro was so excited to meet Chin. I asked him for some recommendations and he told me to get the sauteed eel and the sauteed shrimp next time. He says the main chef is famous for those dishes.
All in all, I'm pretty satisfied with this Chin's. I think I like the Miramar slightly more. The portions are a bit bigger, prices a little less, and more dishes I like at Miramar, but this Chin's is a bit less crowded and tastes pretty good. Plus the service has been really great. I made sure to take pictures of the menu this time as well:
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
A while back, I made moffles. Moffles are a trendy new Japanese snack. Blocks of solid, white, unsweetened mochi (sold at Japanese supermarkets), are put into a waffle iron, creating a light airy, rice cake that is slightly chewy and usually topped with sweet items like red beans. You can read my full post on moffles here.
I've been wanting to try to make other versions of moffles. I decided to use my favorite strawberry mochi cake batter, which I thought would be thick enough to waffle in the waffle iron. Sure enough, these waffled up quite nicely. However, they didn't really harden/turn crispy. They remained soft and chewy. They tasted more like regular mochi, but in a waffle shape. They were chewier than mochi cake, which usually does develop a firmer crust.
I probably could tinker with the batter to make a firmer waffle, but I
like how chewy these are. They don't look that pretty because they are
so pale and a bit listless, almost like waffles that have been sitting
out, but they taste great. It's a quick and easy way to make some
mochi. I'll probably try making a firmer batter at some point.
- 16 oz mochiko rice flour (or can substitute for any brand of glutinous rice flour)
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 (12 ounce) can evaported milk
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, cut into small cubes
1. Cream the butter with sugar. It helps to melt the butter a little first.
2. Mix in the evaporated milk to the butter/sugar mixture.
3. Mix eggs into the mixture.
4. Mix in the rice flour, baking powder and vanilla.
5. Stir in the strawberries.
6. Heat up waffle iron. Put batter into all four sections of waffle iron.
7. Cook for approximately two minutes. My waffle iron lit up when the moffles were done.