Monday, November 14, 2011

Tuckahoe State Park - Eastern Shore of Maryland

We have passed Tuckahoe State Park many times, just driving by the road...until a couple days ago, we decided to hike around the wild trail and the lake there. I guess the timing when we were arrived was right for taking the pictures. The sun was great angle and the color was golden yellow....The temperature that day was nice.
I won't write long to describe, let the pictures just speak for themselves :)
PS: I always lose some of the rich colors when I upload to blogger. If anyone knows how to prevent this please  leave a  comment. It would be much appreciate ^_^

Monday, October 24, 2011

Vegetable dumplings - Chai Kue

Vegetable Dumplings
This is one of my favorite snacks. Chai kue or Choi Pan means vegetable cake. Basically, its stir fried vegetables  wrapped in thin dough. As the filling usually is jicama, Chinese chives, or yam.  The skin is slightly sticky but has a very nice chewy texture with a contrasting  crunchy  texture and delicious vegetables inside .
This time I made the jicama filling. I  prepare  dough by cooking it on stove.  And the result is pliable dough and not easy to tears. I found other method by mixing the hot water is too easy to break or tears.
Dough Ingredients

180 gr rice flour
25 gr tapioca flour + 50 gr
1/4 teaspoon salt
450 ml water + 200 ml


Mix all dough ingredients except  additional 50 gr tapioca and 200 ml water. Cook on medium heat on medium stock pot or wok until mixture start to thicken, then turn to low heat.

Keep stirring, this point  add additional 200 ml water a little at a time. Cook until the dough translucent.
Transfer to a big bowl add the 50 gr tapioca, mix. If the dough still sticky, add more tapioca. Just be careful do not adding to much  tapioca that can make  dough too chewy.
Use  a tortillas press to make thin dough. Place a tablespoon of cooked filling in the center of the dough. Fold it into half and gather the outer edge of the circle to form pleats, then pinch the edges together. Do the same for the rest of the dough pieces.

Place dumplings in a greased bamboo basket. Steam over rapid boiling water for 12-15 minutes.  Glaze with garlic oil after steaming.

Filling Ingredients

200 gr jicama, julienned
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon garlic oil
50 gr dried shrimp, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and white pepper to taste


Saute the dried shrimp with oil until fragrant. Stir in Jicama, sugar, salt and pepper cook until translucent. Add garlic oil stir to mix. Make sure to cook all the moisture up. The filling that too wet can ruin the wrapper.

Dipping Sauce

50gr chili paste ( I use Sambal cap jempol )
250 ml water
25 gr sugar
2 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, grated

Stir in all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shu Mai Dim Sum - Siomay

Shu Mai Dumpling - Siomay

Dumpling filling

1 package wonton wrapper
1/2 kg ground pork
1/2 kg shrimp , deveined and finely chopped
200 gr tapioca
2 green onion, white part only
2 eggs white
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated
11/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup Jicama or fresh water chestnut, chopped
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 carrot grated


Combine all ingredients except for the wrapper, mixing well.
Spoon a heaping teaspoon of the filling into the center of a wonton wrapper. Gather up the sides and squeezing it to form ripples, leaving the center open  leaving the filling exposed on top. Garnish with grated carrots on top. Repeat with the rest of the wrappers.

Line bamboo steamer with parchment paper or banana leaves and steam for about 10 - 12  minutes or until filling is firm to the touch. 
Served with spicy sweet and sour sauce.

Saute Snow peas with Mushroom

Saute Snow peas with Mushroom


1 ( 8 oz ) package snow peas
4 oz  shitake mushroom
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoon dry white wine
2 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons oil
2/3 teaspoon corn starch + 2 tablespoon water


In medium heat,  saute garlic with 2 tablespoons oil until fragrant. Stir in shitake and snow peas, add salt and pepper saute for a minute.
Add in chicken broth and dry white wine, cover and cook for 3 minutes. Uncover check for snow peas tenderness according to your likeness. I like mine cook until tender but still have the crunch.
Add corn starch stir until is thickened. Serve as a side dish.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pan Fried Turkey Liver

Pan Fried Turkey Liver
My mom used to cook liver deep fried, sauted or steamed with Chinese herbs. 
Here is another way to cook liver, also. This pan fried turkey recipe is delicious! One of my favorites.

 If your liver is cold, let it warm to room temperature before cooking. I like to cook them through but still creamy inside.
Turkey liver tastes better than chicken liver in my opinion. Try it for yourself and let me know...

4 turkey liver
2 teaspoons paprika
1 sweet onion
4 tablespoons butter
8 strips bacon
11/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup tablespoon  dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper


Marinate liver with salt, pepper and paprika. Set aside
Heat  2 tablespoon butter over medium heat and caramelize onion. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat stainless steel pan over medium heat.  Add bacon and cook until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towel to drain. Set aside.
Deglaze the pan by adding wine, balsamic vinegar and chicken broth to make sauce. Cook until the sauce reduces by half, stir in 1 tablespoon butter . Add salt and pepper to taste.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter over a  medium low heat. Pan fry the liver, cover 3-4 minutes on each side.  Serve liver with onion, bacon and the sauce.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Corn Fritters Recipe

Corn Fritters

I guess this was the last best sweet corn of the season. Ben got it today from the Amish market. I boiled some corn on the cob and it was so sweet. From the country I am came from we never have corn this fresh and this sweet...really...really sweet, like honey!
So with the rest of the corn I made these corn fritters...and they were gone so fast. It was the best corn fritter I ever ate! light crispy...crunchy and very sweet! One  important key to make these delicious corn fritters is use local fresh corn. Do not use can corn! I saw many recipes use canned corn and add sugar in the batter. But with the good fresh don't need that. Just follow the recipe below...I bet you won't regret!


16 oz  corn kernels, take 5 oz and put in  blender to mash.
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 egg
2 green onion,  chopped
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoon rice flour
1 teaspoon  kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Oil for frying


In medium bowl combine corn, minced shallots, garlic, green onion and egg . Mix in all purpose flour and rice flour. Add pepper, coriander, and salt .
Pour oil 1 inch deep on pan and preheat oil in medium heat for 5 minutes.  Drop the corn mixture by tablespoons, do not over crowd. Cook 2 minutes each side, or until golden brown.
Drain with  paper  towel and serve when its warm with spicy sauce (optional )

Cerely Root ( Celeriac) Soup

Celeriac Soup


4 cups celery root, diced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream (optional )
kosher salt and white pepper to taste


In a medium stock pot over medium low heat melt the butter. Add the onions and garlic along with a pinch of salt. Gently sweat until the onions are translucent.
Put in the celery root, continue cooking until softened.

Sprinkle in flour, stir to combine. Add the chicken broth and milk a little at a time and keep stirring until a smooth thick broth forms. Turn the heat up to medium and simmer. Watch carefully and stir often so  the bottom does not scorch. After the celeriac is cooked throughly season with salt and pepper.

Process the mixture with an immerse blender until smooth. Or let it cool and process with a regular blender.
Return to the pot and simmer. Add the heavy cream if you prefer the soup creamier.
Serve with some chopped green onions.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eggplants with Chopped Shrimp

eggplants recipe


3 medium eggplants
4  oz shrimp, chopped
2 glove garlic or 2 tablespoons fried garlic oil
1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
1/4 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste


Slice the eggplant half an inch thick, sprinkle both side of slices eggplant with salt to extract the bitter juice and let stand 10 minutes then rinse.
Preheat the electric grill, lay eggplant slices in and grill until tender.

In medium heat, saute shrimp with garlic for 1 minute. Add the grilled eggplant, soy sauce, salt and pepper and water. stir to mix and cook until the sauce absorbs into the eggplant.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Flowers and Vegetables Garden

Below is picture from one of my garden corner, you can spotted eggplants, watermelon, Italian sweet basils, green onions, Chinese celery, and Asian spinach among the flower. I build the raise bed from the tree trunks to give a dimension. At the spring time pink tulip emerged from the raise bed. When they die back, I filled the place  by some herbs and eggplants.

Flowers and the companion

Another angle below shows a Renier cherry tree, and some strawberries underneath the branches. Left side I planted Rose, daisy, mums, coral bells, and climbing tornless blackberry, hopefully will cover the sight of AC machine.
On the foreground Petunia and verbena are blooming all the time... which I like!

Petunia and verbena

I recenty harvested these eggplants...I planted them from seeds. I cooked them the way my Mom used to cook the eggplant with chopped shrimp. The texture of the eggplants were smooth and tender because I harvested them at a young age. I will post the recipe soon. More eggplants have formed in small bulbs now, I'm pretty satisfied.
As you can see I got some melons too. I picked one already and have 3 more on the ground. Hopefully all will ripe before the cold weather comes.

I'm not sure what is this..looks like Southern Belle Hibiscus but in really tiny form



Hybrid tea Rose- Royal Highness

Red Clover Flower



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fried Soft Crabs with Snow Peas - Kepiting Soka Goreng

Fried Soft Shell Crabs with Snow Peas

Ingredients for crispy soft shell crabs

6 soft shell crabs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 teaspoon  pepper
oil for frying


You can ask your soft shell crabs clean when you buy them.  Marinate the crabs with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Preheat the oil in medium fry pan.
Mix the flour with panko bread crumbs, salt, garlic powder and  pepper.
Dip crabs in milk, then coat them well in flour mix.
Fry the crabs 3 at the time for  2 - 3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towel.
Serve immediately with saute snow peas and drizzle with orange reduced sauce.

Saute snow pea and orange reduced sauce Ingredients

1 pack of snow peas, cleaned
2 gloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon oil for saute
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water or chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Directions Saute snow pea and orange reduced sauce

Saute the garlic in oil until fragrant. Add  snow peas  and salt saute a minute and add 1/4 cup water cover cook for another 4 minutes.
Reduce the orange juice in a small saucepan until turn thick or about 1/4 cup left.
Let it cool, whisk in the rice wine vinegar and slowly add the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Fresh Soft Shell Crabs

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Grilled Fish Cake recipe - Otak otak

Grilled Fish Cake recipe - otak otak

Grilled fish cake...yes! I can finish a whole plate on my own. This one is a popular food from Indonesia. We call it otak-otak .....grilled fish cake wrapped in banana leaves . Otak-otak is usually served as a snack or appetizer.  I was so happy I could make this food taste excactly like I remember. I had everything I needed for the dish in hand except for banana leaves... but finally I found the market that sells frozen banana leaves. The aroma from  grilled banana leaves creates a unique pleasent scent.
If you can't find fresh or frozen banana leaves, corn husk can be a substitute. I made it once when I craved for this snack but didn't have banana leaves to wrap. I enjoy both that have they own unique aroma. 


18 oz Spanish Mackarel or King Mackarel meat
2 1/2 tablespoons  sugar
1 teaspoons  salt
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 eggs white
2 cloves garlic, grated
3 oz tapioca flour
3 green onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Banana leaves


Combine mackarel meat, sugar, salt, coconut milk, egg white and garlic. Process together in food processor until smooth. Add tapioca, chopped green onion and white pepper, pulse to mix.

Cut banana leaves 4"x 8" spread 2 tablespoons of the fish mixture on the leaves and wrap.

Secure both ends with toothpicks.

Grill for 10 - 12 minutes. I used an electric grill here but best grilled with a charcoal grill when possible.

Peanut sauce ingredient

2 oz peanut, toasted or fried
1 tablespoon palm sugar or white sugar
10 dried red chili without seed
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/3 cup water


Combine all peanut sauce ingredients and use blender to mix until smooth. If you prefer the sauce to be thinner add more water by tablespoon.

Serve grilled fish cakes with peanut sauce. Enjoy your Otak otak.

Grilled Fish Cakes with peanut sauce - Otak otak

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Two Minutes Sketch


I sketched this nude at the Academy Art Museum around 2008. They have a group that gathers every Wednesday with a live model. Only member can participate. So I went there for the first time and created several sketches.

I attended a similar nude class when I was in art school but never did 2 minutes sketches. So you have to move fast because every 2 minutes the model will change her pose.  I sketched several but the picture at the top here is the one that I like most.

The sketches at the bottom are the ones I made during an innkeeper seminar.

I hope I can make it back to that two minutes sketch group again....soon.

Tomatillo Guacamole Recipe

Tomatillo Guacamole
This is the first time I bought tomatillo. All this time I thought they would taste just like green tomatoes.  Surprisingly they taste quite different. The texture is crunchier, more tart and mild fragrant that reminds me of water apple in Indonesia. I used to make guacamole with tomatoes but from now on I will just use tomatillo. For me, the combination is just so much better with tomatillo.


1 avocado,
1/2 of medium size tomatillo, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1/2 tablespoon chpped cilantro
dash of kosher salt


Combine all ingredient in a bowl and mix. Use a fork to mash the avocado. Chill before serving with you favorite chips.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Caramel sauce

Caramel Sauce with Ice Cream


1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavey cream, warmed to 100 F
1/4 cup creme fraiche
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or 1 tablespoon grand marnier
pinch of salt


In saucepan combine water, sugar and corn syrup  cook in medium heat , cover bring to a boil about 3 minutes. Uncover and lower the heat, cook until the mixture turn to brown color. Remove from the stove add remaining ingredients, whisk quickly.
Served with vanilla ice cream and banana.
The left over caramel sauce can keep for several week if store in airtight container and refrigerated.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gazpacho Soup Recipe

Gazpacho Soup


5 Roman tomatoes, peel,seeded
1 medium cucumber
3 cups chopped watermelon
1/2 cup sweet onion
3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
11/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 fresh jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon basil


In blender combine 2 tomatoes, half cucumber, 1 cup watermelon and pure. Strain to get the juice.
Combine the rest of tomatoes , cucumber, watermelon, onion, red wine vinegar, salt, and jalapeno pepper. Blend until well combined but still slightly chunky, add in basil. 
Chill at least 2 hours before serving.


Rotiboy - Sweet Coffee Bun recipe

Rotiboy-Sweet Crispy Coffee Bun Recipe

"Founded in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, Malaysia in 1998, the first Rotiboy was a neighbourhood bakery which baked fresh breads and loafs for household, kids to bring to school, cakes for birthdays celebrations, home-makers were our best friends. We've been growing ever since, and our brand has evolved into specialty stores and bakery cafe concept stores at over 150 stores throughout Asia. .."

We had this Rotiboy many times....and we bought it again  this winter at the Jakarta International Airport on the way home. They were so tasty.... crispy on the outside and soft inside.
I found this recipe online  that the buns turned out very close to the original. The Rotiboy consists of three yummy parts of filling, topping, and sweet dough. You can smell the coffee aroma while baking the is best to eat them warm from the oven. 

It is fine to make the filling and the topping ahead and store in refrigerator.


3 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
3 oz salted butter, room temperature
1 oz brown sugar


Butter filling
With an electric mixer,  mix butter and brown sugar for three minutes, pipe on a plate. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.


7 oz softened unsalted butter
7 oz castor sugar (fine grain)
3 eggs
2 tablespoon instant coffee dissolved with 1 tablespoon water
7 oz all purpose flour
a pinch of ground cinnamon


Beat with mixer on medium speed until butter and sugar are light and fluffy, around 5-8 minutes.
Gradually beat in eggs, beat for another 5 minutes. At this point make sure all the sugar has dissolved, if not beat couples more minutes.
Add in coffee mixture, sift in all purpose flour and mix on low speed.
Put in piping bag and refrigerate.

Sweet bun dough

4 1/2 cups bread flour
3 oz confection sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 packages  ( 1/4 ounce each )  active dry yeast
2 tablespoons bread improver ( vital wheat gluten )
1 egg
11/4 cup milk, warmed
2 oz softened unsalted butter


Mix 1/2 of the flour, confection sugar, yeast and salt in electric mixer with the beater on low speed for 1 minute.
Add egg and warm milk and mix on low speed for another minute.
Mix in butter and run on medium speed for 8 minutes until dough forms like spider web.
Change to dough hook and add the rest of the flour slowly.
Mix five minutes more on medium speed until soft, smooth and elastic (but not sticky) dough forms.

The dough should looks like this

Divide the dough into 2 oz  portions you will have 17 portions.  Roll each portion into a ball, use butter to grease your palm so it won't stick. Cover the balls of dough and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

To shape and fill the Rotiboy buns, flatten a ball of dough with the palm of your hand.
Place a ball of filling in the center of the sweet dough.

Gather the edges and pinch to seal. Make sure to seal well or the filling will come out during baking.
Pat into shape and place them on a greased foil on the baking tray.

Repeat with remaining portions of dough.
Place each bun about 3 inches apart on your baking trays. Cover and prove for 45 minutes in a warm place.

Preheat oven 390 F
Bring out Rotiboy topping and let in room temperature for several minutes before use. Pipe the topping on the buns in a spiral shape, starting from the center.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until its golden brown.... serve while warm....enjoy!