Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Butter Price War

Butter. Butter. Butter everywhere for the Holidays. Butter for the pastries. Butter for roux. Butter for cakes, pies and cookies. Butter for roasted turkey. Butter on your toasts at breakfast. Go Butter!

Generic Store Brand at Kroger during Thanksgiving sale.
Did you know Americans use more butter during the holidays in a typical kitchen? November and December time is the best time to stock up this commodity.

Land of Lakes butter at Kroger during 1st 2 weeks in November.
Just watch. After Christmas, these prices will go back to normal at about $4-5 a pound. Best way to shop is buy enough for next few months and keep them in the freezer. Beware of expiration date, tho.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Brewing a Perfect Herbal Medicine

This is about how to brew Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) with 啞巴媳婦 Medicine Brewing Pot. It's sold at any Chinese grocery stores. The pot has standard shape and simple instructions. Mine happened to be an used one. I don't have any instructional manual.

Here is my instruction for what I learned by trials and errors.

  1. Empty the herbs into the pot
  2. Add enough water to cover the herbs. At least 3 cups, it depends on the amount of ingredient. I normally add half cup extra to the soaking process in the first brew.
  3. Soak for 30 minutes. 
  4. Plug the power cord into the electrical outlet. 
  5. I place it on my patio because it can get a little stinky during brewing. 
  6. It depends on the herbs, it may take up to 2 hours to finish brewing.
  7. When it's done, ready light should be lit (green). Don't let it sit on warm cycle too long.
  8. Unplug the power cord and let the pot cool down before pouring the liquid into a bowl.
  9. Each package must be brewed twice, unless your herbalist says otherwise.
  10. There should be a 30-minute cooling time between brewing. Otherwise, the pot may crack.

Tips: I mix both brews and separate it into 2 doses for even flavor.

Some medicines can be bitter than others. I'd cool it in refrigerator to reduce bitterness. But herbalist would suggest taking them with candy or add sugar to improve the taste.

From measuring to brewing, it has been the tradition for centuries.

Originally from Wu Ja web page.
  1. 先放入藥材於葯壺內
  2. 再放水於葯壺內
  3. 水量約3碗半至4碗(但須看藥材多與少)
  4. 水量需超過中間發熱體與藥材
  5. 建議可以的話,浸泡20分鐘


煎葯壺;煎煮注正常大帖葯,會超過中間發熱體,若是無法超過中間的發熱體,表示是小帖葯,煎煮出來 有可能葯液量會比較多解決方法

  1. 若1.2碗時:可以放置磁製湯匙1至2支來增加藥材容量
  2. 若1.5碗至2碗時,可以葯頭與葯尾一起煎煮,(放6碗水,煎出來時分兩次喝)

  1. 中間內膽一定要每次刷洗因為水有水垢,加上有粘性的藥材會產生藥垢,附著在內膽,會影響煎煮的準確度
  2. 煎煮藥頭不能馬上煎煮藥尾中間一定要間格15分鐘以上,否則有可能不穩定亂跳的情況
  3. 煎煮出來的藥液量,會因為藥材的多寡或吸水性,而產生不同的藥液量基本上以7分至1.2碗(175cc至300cc)均屬正常範圍

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Twist'n Shout Rolls

Dinner rolls are the essential item at a Thanksgiving dinner. I hate to buy the ones in the grocery store that have been prepared weeks ago. One day, out of nowhere, I thought to make our own rolls by hand. It was a lot of fun. But so much work. The benefit of baking my own bread is that I can control what goes on top and how it shows.


1 envelope Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tbsp sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp butter, softened

Egg White, Sesame Seeds, Coarse Sea Salt


Proofing & Mixing:
  1. Dissolve Active Dry yeast in warm water with sugar in a small bowl. Let stand until the foam doubles the size
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, milk and butter. 
  3. Beat 2 min at medium speed of electric mixer. 
  4. Add proofed yeast liquid and 1 more cup flour gradually; beat on high speed of mixer for 2 min. 
  5. Add in additional flour to make a soft dough. 
  6. Knead the dough in the bowl to form the correct consistence.

  1. Place dough in the greased pans, turning once to coat. 
  2. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 30 minutes or until doubled.
  3. Punch dough down and divide dough into 12 equal pieces. 
  4. Shape into balls. Place in greased 8-inch round pan. Cover with moist warm towels.
  5. Leave the dough on a cooking stove near a heated source. (not touching the dough).
  6. Let rise 30 minutes or until doubled for the last time.

French Curl:
  1. Prepare 2 equal amount of dough and form the dough into string shape of 8 inch length.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, pinch 1 end of both strings together and twist them into a zigzag. Pinch the other end.
  3. Brush egg white and sprinkle raw sesame seeds and salt crystals.

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. 
  2. Bake rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, or until done. 
  3. Remove from pan. Serve warm.
Adopted from Fleischmann's Recipe #662
Originally posted December 26, 2013.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Aromatic Tea Eggs

Egg prices went down recently in Houston. It's time for some delicious, low-cost tea eggs. When I was growing up in Taiwan, my mom made a pot of tea eggs and I could eat 7 of them in a single setting. Why not 8? No one wants to be 王八蛋 - a foul language in Chinese .

I don't add soy sauce to my tea egg recipe. It kills the aromas from tea and spices. Don't add salt until soaking cycle. (step 6)
Mmm... yummy to marble pattern.

1 1/2 doz of eggs
1/2 cup of green tea leaves
6 star anise (Chinese Five Spices)
2 cinnamon sticks, 3 inch size
8 cups water, depends on the size of your pot (see step 4)


  1. Boil eggs until hard, about 5 minutes. Don't over boil.
  2. Remove from heat. Soak in cool water.
  3. Lightly tap the shells with a metal spoon, but not to crack open.
  4. Fill water to slightly cover the eggs, put all ingredients in liquid.
  5. Heat to boil, then reduce to simmer. Constantly pouring liquid to top the eggs.
  6. Cook until egg shells turn brown. 
  7. Turn off heat, top the lid and let soak overnight.
Originally posted on Pbase.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Colorful Bean Soup

This is a time-saving recipe in total time spent, not fast cooking. For the proper flavor, Trinity is required. This recipe eliminated over-night soaking of dry beans and constantly watching over cooking of beans. 
Colorful combination in Midea Pressure Cooker.

1 cup mixed beans from Whole Foods Bulk Bin #6721
1/2 cup pinto beans
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/3 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/4 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 medium ham hock
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 medium bay leaves, crushed
6 cups water


  1. Make the Trinity in a pan - sauté all vegetables in 1 tbsp of Olive Oil over medium heat until onion turns translucent. Not in the Midea pot, because it would make it bottom really sticky and hard to clean.
  2. Rinse dried beans, no soaking required. 
  3. Place Trinity in Midea Pressure Cooker with ham hock, rinsed beans, spices and 6 cups of water. Watch the level on the pot, make sure it is below Max line. 
  4. Follow the instruction and set to cook 40 minutes on Bean/Chili setting.
  5. When ready, remove contents from pot. 
  6. Season with sea salt. I put 1 tsp because ham hock is already salted.

This is one delicious and healthy high-fiber soup, great for people with diabetes.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Pot of Greens

I love collard greens. But constantly checking on the pot over long period of 2 hour became annoying. My recent discovery with Midea Pressure Cooker saved me time and energy.
Easy greens as 1-2-3.

1 bunch of collard greens, cleaned
1/2 can of chicken broth, low sodium
1 ham hock
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 poblano or green bell pepper,  chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 okra, chopped

  1. Break the collard leaves from the stems and tear leaves by hand, not knife.
  2. Put all ingredients into the Midea pot and follow the safety instructions. 
  3. Set to steam for 30 minutes. 
  4. When ready, release the pressure and open the lid.
  5. Season with salt and dashes of Tabasco  hot sauce.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Chinese Summer Tonic Soup

All dried ingredients lined up neatly
This is a lazy way to cook a pot of 桂圓紅棗枸杞白木耳甜湯 red dates longan goji snow fungus soup with Midea Pressure Cooker. Why summer? Because of its ingredients are suitable for hot summer days. But it can be consumed any time of the year. There are several locations sell these ingredients in Chinatown: Hong Kong Seafood CityYin Wall CityViet Hoa Market.

1 cup lotus seeds 蓮子
1 cup split jujubes, dried 紅棗
2 tbs goji berries, dried 枸杞
3 tbs longan meat, dried 桂圓
1 head snow fungus 銀耳
2 oz rock sugar or brown sugar

  1. Soak white fungus in warm water until expanded. Trim off yellow part on the base. This may be bitter or sour.
  2. Rinse all ingredients well. 
  3. Place in the pot. 
  4. Add water to level 6.
  5. Set to SOUP in Midea Pressure Cooker for 30 minutes. 
  6. When done, add desired sweetness to the soup. I prefer plain because longan is naturally sweet.
  7. Remove from pot and store in a gallon container.
  8. Try to consume the soup in a week at any temperature. 
Brown sugar will turn the soup dark.
The effects of rock sugar is purity.

Nutritional Values:

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Hot Wings on the Fly

It's Super Bowl Sunday. OMG, I haven't started my potluck dish yet. No worry. Hot Wings on the Fly to the rescue. Here is my simple recipe I created by accident.

Can't find my photo for this recipe

16 wing pieces (uncooked)
1/2 cup your favorite hot sauce
1/3 cup butter (nothing imitation)

Rinse and pat dry the wing pieces.
Bake the wings until cooked (about 25 min) at 450 degrees. They should be crispy, so the sauce will stick.
Melt butter and mix in hot sauce in a large mixing bowl.
Toss the baked wings in the wet mix. Make sure they are evenly coated.
Serve with your favorite veggie sticks with Ranch dressing

Friday, January 29, 2016

Simple Chicken Broth

Chicken was on sale at 59¢ a pound. I bought several. After removing the meat from the bones, I decided to cook these bones for clear chicken broth.

1 set of chicken back and breast cage
2 stalks of celery
3 skinny carrots
half onion
4 cups water

Set to SLOW COOKER mode. It will automatically cook for 8 hours.

This is a base for a lot of soups. You can modify the vegetables as you see fit. Discard the vegetables and season the broth with salt and pepper if necessary.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Just Rice

Nothing fancy. Just trying on steamed rice with half white, half brown in this Midea Electric Pressure Cooker.

Follow the usual rice cooker instructions:
1 cup Jasmine brown rice
1 cup Jasmine rice
3 cups water

Set to BROWN RICE and wait til it's done.

Steamed rice close up.
Comparing to the conventional rice cooker, the texture was perfect on the day of cooking. However, the quality degrade faster to hard to chew on 6th day. I don't like to haul around a large pot just to cook rice. So, my conclusion is to continue using my mini rice cooker. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

BBQ Beef Ribs with Midea

Trying to cook my first beef ribs with Midea Pressure Cooker.
Ingredient lineup.
3-4 lb. Beef Ribs
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 cup dry rub
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 cup BBQ sauce

  1. Rinse the ribs and pat dry.
  2. Lay on a tray for dry rub. Pat down the seasoning well on all surfaces. 
  3. Stack the rib pieces like a teepee. 
  4. Pour broth mixed with liquid smoke in the inner pot. 
  5. Lock the lid and set to STEAM for 30 min. 
  6. Preheat oven to 450 when Midea says OH (done).
  7. Arrange the ribs on a roasting tray and brush bbq sauce on the ribs. Bake for 10 min, then flip the side and brush on each piece. Bake for another 10 min.

Before & After of Steamed Beef Ribs. Meat felt off the bones easily.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Chicken Soup Made of Scraps

It's cold outside. My favorite comfort food is soup. Instead of spending money at the restaurants, I decided to make my own chicken soup. After learning from Ziad at Eatwell Bakery Cafe , I want to try his "nothing but chicken" recipe. Well, I had to clean up my refrigerator last night. I added some other stuff.

I striped this chicken to bones only. I used other parts for entree.
1 Chicken back and bones from breast part. Don't remove skin. That's for flavoring.
2 Carrots, medium size
1 Celery, stalk
1 Cucumber (I hate to waste a freeze-burnt veggie.)
1/2 Onion
1 piece American Ginseng (optional)
1-3 tbsp Salt, after the soup is done


  1. Put everything in the pot and fill with water to cover the ingredients.
  2. Set Midea Electrical Pressure Cooker to SOUP setting for 33 minutes.
  3. Follow instruction to start the process.
  4. When done, release pressure and discard all vegetable solids. 
  5. Remove soup and meat from the pot, season with 1 tbsp salt to taste.

Fresh chicken is on sale 58¢ per pound at H-E-B on Beechnut. Time to make some good soup at home and save my money for Houston Rodeo next month.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Beef Stew from Midea Cooker

I thought to give this piece of chuck roast a try after I found a recipe online. I modified to my Midea cooker's requirement. It's easy to follow and delicious.
One-pot cooking. Enjoy it with steamed rice.
Stuff you need:
2 - 3 lb boneless chuck roast. (the marble ones are tender)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup olive oil or cooking oil
1 cup onion, chopped 
1/2 cup celery, chopped 
1/2 cup carrots, diced
2 cups potatoes, cubed
2 tbsp garlic, sliced
5 cups water (just enough to cover the meat)
1 package Beef Stew Seasoning Mix
Do you have these ingredients in your refrigerator?

  1. Cut the meat into 1 inch cube. It's easier to cut when halfway defrosted.
  2. Place flour and cubed meat in a zip lock back and vigorously shake the bag to coat all pieces.
  3. Prepare a separate pan or pot to sear the meat 
  4. Add oil to medium heated pan. Add meat pieces and turn frequently until all sides are seared.
  5. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic into the pan. Toss until onion is translucent. 
  6. Transfer everything from pan to the pressure cooker's inner pot.
  7. Fill with potatoes and water. Don't overfill and watch the maximum line. 
  8. Cover and set to SOUP for 25 minutes.
  9. Follow the standard procedure during and after cooking. 
  10. Let stand for a least 30 minutes while release pressure.
  11. Uncover and stir thoroughly. Season to taste with hot sauce or pepper.
Some recipes want you to sautée in the inner pot. But that would ruin the pot's luster. I prefer to use a separate pan, because I used so much oil and trying to cook in a small pot on my first try.