Fruit Tarts Recipe

Two months ago Williams-Sonoma had a 15% off sale on bakeware so my mother and I purchased a Tartlet Baking Set with the idea that we could make tarts for our Daughters of the American Revolution meetings & activities. So the baking of tartlets commenced!!! 

I used a basic tart dough recipe from Williams-Sonoma and found a basic custard recipe online. The tart came out suuuuper buttery tasting and the custard was not too sweet. The custard complimented the natural sweetness of the fruits I selected, which were limited by Ralph's seasonal selection and my wallet.

Fruit Tartlets

Makes ~28 tartlets

Fresh fruit
Lemon juice (to prevent fruit from browning)

For the dough:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
10 Tbs. or 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten with 1 Tbs. water

For the custard:
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract


In a food processor, process the flour, sugar, and salt by pulsing once. Add the butter and process for 20-25 seconds in short pulses until small crumbs form. While pulsing, add and process for 10-15 seconds, the egg yolk and water mixture until large, moist crumbs form.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a ball, and divide it in half. Shape each half into a 5" round, flat disk on plastic wrap. Cover the exposed side with more plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and flour until thick and pale. Heat the milk in a saucepan until almost boiling then remove from heat. Slowly drizzle the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking continuously, until all of the milk has been added. Return the custard to a pot and cook over medium-low heat until custard has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, approximately 5-7 minutes. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of custard to prevent a "skin" from forming and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate once cool. Custard can be made ahead of time or while the dough is "maturing."

Position a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to 400ºF. Working with one disk of dough at a time, roll the disk to 1/4" thickness. Use the tartlet dough cutter to cut 12 rounds out. Place each round into the tartlet pan and use the tartlet press to evenly spread the dough into the pan's fluted crevices. Bake until the tart shells are evenly golden and crisp, 10 to 14 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Remove the tart shells from the pan and cool to room temperature.

Cheung Yao Bang or Spring Onion Pancake Recipe

In the last post I wrote about making Chinese Onion Pancakes, or Cheung Yao Bang, so I wanted to follow up with the recipe. I got the recipe from a women who resembles my aunt and makes Youtube videos in Cantonese. I translated the recipe and directions into English and the U.S. measurement system.

Cheung Yao Bang = Spring Onion Pancake

Makes ~11 Pancakes

For the pancake dough:
225 gram = 8 oz. sieved all-purpose flour
150 ml = 5 fl. oz. warm water

For the onion filling:
2 spring onions, chopped
Some oil
Some salt

Put flour into a bowl & add 2/3 of the warm water. Stir the mixture and add the rest of warm water. If the dough is too dry add some more warm water in small portions. Cover the bowl with a plate and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Spread some flour onto a flat surface & roll the dough to form a rectangle that is approximately 1/4" thick. Spread some oil onto the dough. Sprinkle salt and the spring onion onto the dough. Roll the dough and cut it into pieces, much like how you would prepare cinnamon rolls. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten it. The size of each pancake is an individual preference.

Heat some oil in a pan on medium heat. Cook the flat pieces of dough in the pan until both sides are golden brown and crunchy. Add salt to flavor. 

*I recommend only cooking what you will actually eat. Microwaving or toasting the cooked pancakes doesn't do them justice. You must make them to order!*

Cultural exploration

My Chinese grandparents (Mama and Yehyeh) pretty much raised me while my parents went to work so I grew up eating a lot of Chinese food. Now that I'm older I don't really get to eat Chinese food all the time, except on weekends when I go home. Irvine has a huge asian population yet the Chinese food sucks and is a total ripoff. That's why I have proposed to several people to open an authentic and cheap restaurant, but that will probably never happen.  My conclusion to this problem is to learn to make all the different Chinese snacks and foods I enjoy. Cut to me a few weeks ago googling for recipes of Chinese cakes. In my quest for authentic recipes I found a woman on youtube who reminds me of my aunt. She makes all the Chinese foods that I love and she only speaks Cantonese which means she's legit. I started watching all her videos and translating some of the recipes to english for future use. Then 2 weeks ago I went on a crazy steaming binge and made 3 different desserts. I totally forgot to take pictures before devouring so I will post pictures when I make them for a second time, which is definitely going to happen in the next 2 or 3 weeks. I have finals next week so too bad.

The first dessert was "ma lai go" a yellow sponge cake. The taste was good but the texture wasn't right. I got the recipe from a Chinese woman speaking english so I probably should have expected the thing to turn out wrong. I'll try again using the youtube recipe from the dependable chinese auntie. 

The second dessert I made was  "leen go" a brown sugar jelly-like cake that you steam, dip in egg, and then fry in a pan. It came out perfectly. Once cooked it was nice and crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Perfection!

The third dessert I made was a coconut jelly-like cake. It's cooked the same away and eaten the same way as the leen go. My dad enjoyed this one the most.

This past Memorial Day weekend I decided to make "chung yao bang" or scallion pancakes. Note to self, don't put so many scallions in it next time. I had to add so much extra flour to accommodate the scallions moisture and collapse of my dough. Still everything came out perfect. 

Beach Pit Again - Tustin, CA

Can I just say that Beach Pit has the best food ever? It's reliable and not too expensive. Perfect place to go on a student's budget.

So this time George got beef ribs with mac n cheese. Yummy. Falling off the bone yummy! For $10.95 a half rack it was a steal. Would have been more of a steal if George got the full rack for $14.95. Since he only could eat 2 ribs due to our $1 frozen yogurt indulgence at IKEA right before, I think it was a good idea that he only got the half rack.

I got my same-old-same-old meal...pulled pork sandwich and french fries. Tender, juicy, tangy, salty, savory, and everything you would crave in a pulled pork sandwich. 

Food Truck Brigade, Irvine

It's been awhile, but I have a good excuse. School is crazzzy! Anyways, today was a wonderful day! Sunny, breezy, and easy. My roommate and I decided to head down to the Foodtruck Brigade on Teller near the intersection of Teller and Michelson off of Jamboree in Irvine. We got lost because I didn't make a left off Teller and ended up going towards the airport. Probably should have double checked the directions, but OH well. There were maybe 9 food trucks there and a LOT of people, mostly the business lunch crowd and some college students. My roommate and I tried out 3 of the trucks.

The first truck we stopped at was called Ranchan Ramen. Since it was so hot and sunny, we didn't really want ramen and decided to opt for the Shrimp Ball Yakitori which was $2 for one stick. WHAT A RIP OFF! It literally was a shrimp fish ball from 99 ranch or any asian market, put on a stick, and dumped on a grill. A pack of 10 shrimp balls costs $2 and they only put 3 on a stick! It tasted just as boring as it sounds.

The second truck we had was called Rancho A Go Go Barbeque. I ordered the Carolina Pulled Pork Sliders ($5) and my roommate ordered the BBQ Beef Sliders ($6). The truck advertised the pork was slow cooked for something like 12 hours, and indeed the pulled pork was sooo soft and tasty. It melted in my mouth... (that's what she said). The sauce was really sweet, just how I like it. 

The last truck we ate from was called The Lime Truck. I was between the Carnitas Fries ($7) and the Ultimate Taco ($3 each) but I ended up going for the Ultimate Taco (cue fire explosions and lightning bolts). I also got the Crispy Gnocchi with kale and Spicy Parmesan Sauce ($7). The guys at The Lime Truck are the BEST! First, my total was $10.87 so I handed the guy $11 but he gave back my dollar because he didn't want to deal with change. CHA-CHING! Then the guy manning the pick-up window gave my gnocchi to some other lady by accident. So he decided to give me 2 free Ultimate Tacos for his mistake and my waiting time. CHA-CHING CHA-CHING. So basically I paid $10 for food that should have cost $17!! The guy kept apologizing because he felt bad. A+ for service!
The tacos were the first thing I ate. They had a slight kick because there were peppers in the pulled pork and the slaw had a bit of paprika. I don't normally enjoy spicy foods, but this had the perfect amount of spice. YUM. I had a bit of the gnocchi but I saved the rest for dinner tonight. The gnocchi was so cheesy, garlic-y, and yummy. My boyfriend, George, would have loved it.

I didn't realize how many food trucks are based out of Orange County. Tonight at the Irvine Lanes there will be another food truck gathering. Then tomorrow in some business technology center there will be yet another food truck gathering.

There's a party in my tummy, so yummy, so yummy...

Where's Rigo?

Living in hipster city a.k.a. Los Angeles, George and I see some odd people. One odd person that we both love and adore is George's brother, Rigo. Lately there seems to be an increase in beard growing and mustaches. They've become trendy. This brings me back to Rigo. He has a large bushy beard and since more and more people are growing beards, George and I run into Rigo look-a-likes everywhere!!! So we've decided to start taking pictures of Rigo look-a-likes in honor of Rigo.

This photo was taken on 3/4/2011. My MacPro adapter died so I had to go into the Apple Store to exchange it for a new one. Thank goodness I paid for the AppleCare Protection Plan, otherwise I'd have had to fork over 79 clams + tax. Anyways, this guy was working the floor at the Apple Store. On a side note: How easy would it be to be an Apple Store salesperson or genius for Halloween?

More Where's Rigo pictures to come!

Worst Soda!

I was strolling through the aisles of my local Ralph's with George on Sunday when we came across this soda that was up for sale. 45 cents a bottle! Now I've tried some questionable sodas, but this by far is the worst one ever! I've had Cel-Ray, different asian sodas, and variations of cream soda among others.
My first issue with this soda is that it is called CHUBBY soda. Who call's their soda CHUBBY? On top of that, as if the name wasn't horrific enough, there's a graphic of a short and chubby boy under the word CHUBBY. Why would anyone want to buy a soda that advertises itself as being chubby and will probably make you chubby with 130 calories and 32 g of sugar per bottle. The name of the flavors was hilarious as well. I picked up purple power! Something a Powerpuff girl would say.

Another product I don't recommend is Tio Pepe's frozen churros. I microwaved them in the crisp wrap but it was disgusting. More stale than crispy with a weird cinnamon taste. Do not buy these! However, I do recommend Tina's frozen bean and cheese burrito. Pretty moist tortilla for being frozen. It's easy to make too! 40 seconds on each side right in the microwave!

On a side note, Itunes is offering the official Dwight Schrute music video for free! It is Schrute-tastic!
Saturday night, my boyfriend, George, and I got our Chinese chow-down on at Tasty Garden. We started our dinner with taro milkshakes. A bit too sweet for my taste, and I LOVE sweets. It came with a tasty roll/cracker thing though.

Then I ordered crunchy walnut favorite! However, at Tasty Garden they deep fry the shrimp in batter before tossing it in the tangy mayo sauce. Yummmmmy!

George ordered beef lo mein with the lo mein fried on both sides so that it's crunchy. The sauce was delicious and a lot thicker than the ones served at other chinese restaurants. Other restaurants tend to make the sauce runny, which I hate since I like the sauce to coat the noodles.


Yesterday my boyfriend and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary and Valentine's Day. He got me an AWESOME gift, which I can utilize for my blog, and took me to King's Fish House in Downtown Long Beach. My boyfriend hates seafood so we always go to King's Fish House on my birthday and our anniversary. Then on his birthday we go to a steak house.

For apps, I ordered a crunchy lobster roll. It had asparagus, imitation crab, lobster, and cucumber in it. Then it was topped with panko and a sweet eel sauce. I devoured it which is why I have no pictures of it. 

I've written about my craving for lobster before, and I finally got one last night! I ordered a 1.25 lb. steamed Maine lobster with a baked potato and macaroni and cheese as my "sidekicks". The lobster was very yummy. I've found that Maine lobsters aren't going to be as good as if I'm actually eating it in Maine, but this lobster was delicious for California. I ripped that lobster apart like it was the last one in the world. Mmmmm. Lobster smothered in butter. I believe it is the perfect pairing. I gave my mac n cheese to my boyfriend but I did eat my baked potato. It was really soft, almost as if they cooked the potato outside of the skins and dumped it in. However, I still had to scrape the potato off the skin and it had that soft texture. How do you mess up a baked potato??

My boyfriend, the non-seafood eater, ordered a medium well top sirloin. He doused it in A1 sauce, which I dislike, but I did get a taste of a non-sauced piece. It melted in my mouth. It had the perfect char and was cooked to perfection. My boyfriend went into a state of euphoria. 

Gnomeo O Gnomeo

This past Saturday I made a baby shower cake for my boyfriend's friend. I made a 3-layer cake. The middle was yellow cake and the two outer layers were white cake dyed baby blue accompanied by strawberry frosting. 

After the baby shower my boyfriend and I went to Phoenix Food Boutique. I ordered my  FAVORITE dish...shrimp with walnuts. Soooooo yummy. Pretty much it's shrimp tossed in a tangy mayo sauce and topped with candied walnuts. You cannot go wrong with this dish. The shrimp is perfectly fried so that you get a crunch when you bite but the shrimp is still moist inside. Phoenix sells this single-person portion for $6.95 which is a fair price for the quality and quantity. Usually a full size portion sells for $11.95 at most Chinese cafes/restaurants. 

I had been yearning to see "Gnomeo and Juliet" for a month so we finally saw it on Saturday night after eating at Phoenix. Overall the movie was cute, as expected, and there were many Elton John inspired songs and references. However, I wish the movie was longer (84 mins.) and it wasn't as funny as Pixar's animations. I do love me some James McAvoy though! 

Chinese New Year - Year of the Wabbit

Ahhh Chinese New Year! A time for eating Chinese food, getting together with my family, and receiving red envelopes ("lai see"). I just love the sound of extra money rustling in my pocket, ready to be spent on clothes and essentials but more likely to be spent on "Call of Duty Black Ops: First Strike" for PS3. On a side note: I'm fuzzywuzzy1213 for the PS3. 

Anyways, last Thursday was Chinese New Year, but it didn't make sense to have a family dinner during the week so we had one this past Friday. 

These candied walnuts are usually paired with shrimp smothered in mayo sauce....which sadly, is one of my favorite dishes. However, the one from this restaurant wasn't so yummy. It tasted like boiled shrimp tossed in the mayo sauce when it should have been fried shrimp. There's a certain level of crunchiness that it should have reached.

This dish is referred to as the "bird's nest." That's scallops on top with mushroom and other not-so-appetizing food items.

This was pork with vegetables. 

This is the Chinese equivalent of corn bread, but sweeter. I can't stand it, but my dad loves it.

Getting my lai cees! Gung hay fat choy!

Dessert was a combination of jello and red bean soup. Not a fan of the jello but I'm definitely a fan of the red bean soup. Slightly sweet, warm, and creamy.

Beach Pit Additions - Tustin, CA

Okay, so I stole some pictures form my dad to give a better idea of what Beach Pit is all about. My boyfriend's been begging to go back and get some more BBQ. I don't mind buy one get one free sandwiches at all! 

Simple menu with day specials written on the chalkboard.

Bar at the front of the restaurant.

Backside and parking.

Front entrance.

Bean sprout Monday

Every time I go to a Korean BBQ joint for several straight hours of meat consumption, these little Korean side dishes are served. Most of them are spicy, so I can't eat them. However, there is ONE dish I love so much that I end up asking for 10 refills of it in one sitting. It's this bean sprout dish that has the perfect amount of saltiness and crunch.

I was mentioning this dish to a Korean classmate, thinking I could score a recipe, but she told me it was really easy to make and that the basic ingredients of most Korean dishes are salt and sesame oil. So I googled and obtained a simple recipe. I followed all the instructions and left out the garlic and toasted sesame seeds since I didn't have any.

The dish turned out perfect. The best thing is that I made it in one big batch and can munch on a small serving whenever I feel like it. I paired my bean sprouts with some fried pork dumplings courtesy of Trader Joe's frozen asian food section. They are surprisingly tasty. I bought some dumplings from my local 99 Ranch Market and they tasted like crap. Just tasted rotten and old!  I'm sticking with the Trader Joe's dumplings!!!

Here's the bean sprout recipe:

Also, if you're looking for a good deal on KBBQ in Los Angeles, I recommend Sanya on Olympic Blvd. Note that I said good deal! For all you can eat (AYCE) KBBQ, it costs $9.99 per person. That is a steal! The service sucks and apparently they don't serve cold tea or normal tasting water, but for $9.99 per person this place is awesome.  They have huge tables to accommodate groups. There are also the standard Korean restaurant door bells on the tables.

Another place to try, if you're willing to fork out the cash, is O Dae San. For AYCE KBBQ it's $16.99 per person. This place is good for groups as well as germaphobes. The atmosphere is definitely geared towards non-Asians who take into account the cleanliness of a restaurant and the service. Some of the waitresses didn't speak very good English but they got the job done and I left with a full belly.  

Beach Pit - Tustin, CA

Tonight I was supposed to eat dinner at my sister's house, but I realllly reallly wanted BBQ and not something healthy. So I decided my boyfriend and I would go back to this place my sister introduced me to last week called Beach Pit. We called the order in and within 15 minutes our yummy BBQ was boxed and ready to pick up.

I ordered the pulled pork sandwich and fries. To my surprise it was buy one get one free sandwich day so I got a second one for tomorrow. YAY for me! My boyfriend ordered the 2 meat plate with turkey breast and beef brisket. So yuuuummmmy.

The prices were very reasonable and the staff was very nice. For two people the total was $22.17. There are many side options as well. Last time I went, my sister's husband ordered some blueberry cornbread. I usually can't stand cornbread but THIS cornbread was soooo good!

This was my boyfriend's mac n cheese, which he happily devoured. It was really tasty! SO tasty that by the time I snapped a picture of it, he had eaten 90% of it. 

Beef brisket and turkey breast.

My pulled pork sandwich and fries. The sauce was perfectly tart and sweet. The fries were nicely seasoned with the right amount of kick.

Epic yum.

Lobsta truck

Almost every year I go to Maine to visit my grandma, step-grandpa, and their kitties. We're usually there for a week, and every day of that week I have a lobster roll for lunch and a 1.5 lb. whole Maine lobster for dinner with New England clam chowder topped with a healthy serving of oyster crackers. I've been craving the perfect lobster roll lately so I scavenged the city and the internet. Los Angeles has no shortage of seafood restaurants. However, finding the perfect joint for authentic Maine lobster rolls has been a challenge. Then, one day out of the blue, the Lobsta Truck was born! Hoorrraaay!

So Friday night on my way to Philippe's for some french-dipped roast beef sandwiches, the Lobsta Truck burst out of nowhere to my excitement. I've been wanting to try it forever! So I checked online and found out it was going to be at the Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia on Saturday.

Cut to Saturday. I drove to Santa Anita Racetrack looking for the Lobsta truck, with a heavy hankering for a lobster roll and clam chowder, and it was GONE! It was supposed to be there until 4 p.m. and it WASN'T! Oh well, my quest for the Lobsta truck shall continue.......