Thursday, March 25, 2010

How a durian with your hands.

What is a durian?


A durian has a hard outer shell with many sharp spikes and have approximately 5 pods per fruit that's filled with 1 to 3 seeds per pod. A soft, creamy, and sweet flesh surrounds the brown seed. The durian is known for its distinct scent. To the fans, the durian has a sweet fragrant aroma, but to the unfamiliar, it has the scent of a gas leak.
Some are taught to open a durian with a knife, but a knife isn't necessary.

All you need are your handy dandy fingers. Before I begin, here are some important notes:

  • The riper the durian, the easier to open.
  • This method takes practice to perfect.
  • Good luck and have fun =)

Note: I apologize for the poor quality of the photos. Knowing me, I will probably update the photos when we get another durian.

Can you find the line?

First, take a good look at the durian.
Select a pod and look for the spikes that are going in opposite directions.

Aha! Open sesame!

You have found the "secret" opening.

Oooh yeaaaah. Let me see your insides.

Pull on the area and you'll find the durian slowly opening up.

Mmmmm. Yums.

Spoon out the flesh.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Brownie FAIL part 3.

I don't know why my brownies continue to fail me. The last couple of times I've made it, they either turned into a cake or a cookie. This time was no exception. A wonderful (not really) cake was born. whoooo *note: scarcasm*



and Here:

Kill me now~ so I can stop obsessing over brownies. (please)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gluten-Free Girl by Shauna James Ahern

I finally read Gluten-Free girl by Shauna James Ahern. I thought I would enjoy the book, but it wasn't captivating. I was bored. It felt repetitive. And if you're looking for recipes, don't bother. (There are only a few.)

Don't get me wrong, I think she's a great writer. However, if you follow her blog already, this book will bore you. Parts of the book are cut/pasted from the blog. yes. I am being serious.

Bottom line:
If you're looking for recipes, stick to her blog.
If you're new to gluten-free girl, read the book to get to know her, then head to the blog for recipes.
If you already follow her blog, don't read the book.

P.S. I admire her as an individual--her positive spirit and creativity when it comes to adapting recipes to be gluten-free. She is also an amazing photographer and writer.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Yahoooo! Tiramisu Success!


Remember the last Tiramisu I made, everyone raved about it. To me, it was a failure, because I wanted to produce a flawless creation on my first attempt. (Can you tell that I'm a perfectionist?) I was disappointed and it was driving me nuts that I messed up. Since I didn't want to inadvertently commit murder by clogging my family's arteries, I waited a couple of weeks before I attempted Tiramisu version 2.0.

This time around, the tiramisu looked gorgeous with the silky smooth mascarpone filling.


Despite my success with the filling, I made a minor error. I was stingy with the coffee syrup so the sponge cake wasn't soaked all the way through =( Wahhh.

Om nom nom nom.


  • 6 eggs, separated1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
  • 1 cup cake flour, sifted
  • Melted butter, for brushing pan
Mascarpone Cream:
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Marsala (I used 2 Tbsp dark rum, in place of both marsala and brandy.)
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 2 pounds mascarpone cheese
Espresso Syrup:
  • 1 cup espresso, hot
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (I omitted lemon juice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup grated bittersweet chocolate


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter a 12 by 16-inch baking tray. Line with parchment paper and brush again with butter.

In a mixing bowl, whip the egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar until ribbony and light in color. Reserve. In another mixing bowl, whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue to whip to medium peaks. Sift the flour again. With a rubber spatula, fold half of the flour mixture into the yolk mixture. Fold in 1/2 of the egg white mixture. Then fold in the remaining 1/2 flour mixture. Lastly, fold in the remaining 1/2 egg white mixture. Pour the batter into prepared baking tray and with an offset spatula, carefully spreading the batter to fill the tray. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until done and golden in color. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Use as needed. This can be made up to 2 weeks in advanced, wrapped in plastic wrap and foil and stored in the freezer.

Mascarpone Cream:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Add the Marsala and brandy. Place over a double-boiler and cook until mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Continue to cook mixture for another 5 minutes, until the mixture resembles a thick paste (this is a sabayon). Remove from the double-boiler and cool mixture over ice bath, until room temperature. Whip the mascarpone cheese to soft peaks. Fold into the cooled sabayon until well incorporated. Use as layers in the tiramisu or as needed. Can be made up to 4 hours ahead.

Espresso Syrup:

Brew fresh espresso. To 1 cup of hot espresso, add the brown sugar, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Stir until dissolved.


Divide the sheet of ladyfinger into 2 (8 by 10-inch) sheets. Divide espresso syrup into 2 portions. Divide the mascarpone cream into 3 portions. To assemble. spread the first portion of the mascarpone cream at the bottom of a deep (8 by 10-inch) mold topped with 1 sheet of ladyfinger. Pour 1 portion of espresso syrup on to layer of ladyfinger until soaked. Repeat process. Lastly, top with the remaining mascarpone cream and cover with grated chocolate. Cover mold and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Taste of Cranberries

When I was younger, I thought cranberries referred to the red pureed jelly that appeared every Thanksgiving. Then I was introduced to the dark intense red juice that was tangy and sweet. Another year, our family upgraded our cranberry sauce where actual chunks of cranberries were visible. This was seriously confusing for me. What are cranberries suppose to look like and taste? It didn't help that a couple of years later, my aunt gave me a packet of dried cranberries. I asked my mom what cranberries looked like. She didn't know. Talk about frustration.

As the years passed, I began to notice packages of fresh cranberries at supermarkets. Finally, this year, I decided to have some fun with them. I used the cranberries in an apple and cranberry crisp. Wow. The sour tang of the cranberries complimented the sweet fuji apples. The crispy sweet crust pulled everything together. Next year, I'm going have to make this again to celebrate autumn.

 Apple Cranberry Crisp.

I used my default recipe by Joy of Baking. The only thing I changed was substituting the apples with 1 16oz bag of cranberries, 2-3 fuji apples, and a whole lotta sugar.

Oooh, condensed milk.

The next morning, I drizzled some condensed milk to help soften the sour bite. The condensed milk added an extra layer of creamy sweetness that complimented the crisp well. I've been thinking that next time, I should drizzle some caramel on top. Mmmm....I can't wait.

The final verdict: JSB and I loved it. However, our parents found the crisp too sour and poor K (my other sis) missed out.

Food styling. Fail.


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