Cheesecake and Wasabi

June 28, 2010 § 16 Comments

Don’t worry, I’m not that crazy as putting the both together!

Like I promised from yesterday’s post, I will be revealing what I baked yesterday!

Japanese-style Light Cheesecake

The main difference between this light cheesecake and your regular New York style Cheesecyake is that this version is lighter, fluffier, with a melt-in-mouth texture. This is achieved by beating the heck out of the egg whites (till soft peak forms), then folding that egg white mixture into your yolk mixture. This cheesecake also usually doesn’t come with a crust, and utilizes milk instead of whipping cream.

It’s a popular cake in Taiwan and other East Asian countries since it’s not as heavy and doesn’t make you feel “weighed down” after eating a slice. I promise you can still taste the cream cheese though! My boyfriend, a cheesecake fanatic, has given his approval. 😀

The recipe is adapted from a Taiwanese blog, so I’ll be your translator for tonight!

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JAPANESE-STYLE LIGHT CHEESECAKE

Makes 4 6-inch, 2 8-inch, or one 9-inch round springform pans.

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Yolk mixture:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
  • 50 g butter (1/4 cup)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 6 yolks, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp cake flour (or all-purpose flour if you don’t have any)
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/8 tsp salt

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter, milk, and cream cheese at low heat till melted. Remove from stove and let it cool and sit while you prepare the other materials.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add the yolks, 2 at a time, stirring and mixing in between each addition. Add the lemon juice when all the yolk is incorporated into the flour mixture.

Pour the cream cheese mixture in. Make sure that it has cooled enough so that it doesn’t cook the egg yolk! Blend with electric mixer till smooth and no chunks can be seen.

Egg white mixture:

  • 6 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3/4-1 cup granulated sugar

Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a separate, clean bowl. This is very important! If there’s any yolk residues or water mixed in with the egg whites, the egg whites won’t fluff up!

With a clean mixer, blend and whip the thing till bubbly.

Add the sugar in 3-4 parts, beating and whipping till soft peak forms.

Now stir the egg whites mixture in 3 parts into the yolk mixture, stirring quickly and lightly in between to combine.

Wrap your springform pans with aluminum foil to prevent water from leaking in.

Line the pan with parchment paper (you can cut out the shapes), then pour the mixture in. Drop the pan a few times from half foot a one foot up onto the table to get rid of the excess air trapped inside the mixture.

Fill a shallow baking pan halfway with water and submerge the cake pan into the water. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then lower heat to 300 degrees and bake for another hour. During this hour, make sure to open the oven door every 10 minutes or so to let out some heat and prevent the cake from cracking!

If the top is browning too much during the baking process, you can cover the top with aluminum foil.

When done baking, let cool for a few minutes. Release the springform and peel off the parchment paper. When completely cool, let sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

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I tried the cake 2-hr after and the morning after. They taste sooo different! The 2-hr after cake was definitely more spongey, airy, and had more of that melt-in-your-mouth texture. The cake the morning after is slightly denser, but still velvety! I love both kinds of flavors and textures!

Obviously I didn’t know how to follow instructions and poured in the hot cream cheese mixture into my yolk mixture way too soon. Specks of yellow = cooked eggs 😦

Does anyone have any idea how to get rid of the flashlight spots? I use a digital SLR.

Between the two of us (Dmitri and I) in the last 24 hours (although he ate most of it..haha). Owning and still going!!!

I also tackled this guy today:

Wasabi peas!

We’ve been having this long and ongoing conversation about wasabi peas in the lab since the start of summer (you can tell we talk about food all the time in my lab, probably more than we talk about science ;-)). I suggested that we keep a couple of bags of those so that we can stuff them into our mouths whenever we need a sinus-clearing wake-up call (or for the purpose of a congested sinus if you will).

So finally this past weekend my research advisor stopped by an Asian market (99 ranch) and got the wasabi peas, Taiwan brand! I stuffed all 10 or so of those little peas pictured in my hand into my mouth all at once…

I had forgotten how tear-jerking, sinus-clearing those were.

I ate one or at most two at once for the remainder of the day.

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+ Are you a fan of wasabi? Love that stuff! I like to mix alot of it into my soy sauce for some sushi-dippage!

Nights of deliciousness

June 9, 2010 § 15 Comments

Once again I have lots to update here! A lot has happened since I tinkered around in my bloggie world on Monday afternoon. So, chop chop!

Monday evening I received a nice little surprise: a package! You all know how much I love getting packages in the mail. And so I was super excited when I saw that I had received the Buddha Bowls I ordered from Kath’s OpenSky shop. I’ve been seeing them popping up everywhere on Kath’s blog for her to put oatmeals in or make SIAB. So when I saw that she was giving her blog readers a discount, I jumped right in!

Lovely aren’t they?

Better yet, they came in these adorable boxes!

MONDAY DINNER

Happy with my surprises, I got to work on a Mediterranean fare. Of course I’m not just going to let the pita breads I made on Sunday be just another batch of bread forgotten in the freezer. Not after slaving away for hours in the kitchen that evening! So with the pita breads on hand, and this baby…

Mix with water…

…then broil for about 5 minutes on each side…

…you’d get falafels!

They look like cookies! They turned out kind of dry. Maybe because I baked instead of fried them? Not enough water when mixing? This box of falafel mix was actually from months and months ago. Recently I saw Brandi’s sweet potato falafels, and I think I’ll give them a try next time!

Continuing with dinner, on the side I prepped:

Finely chopped cucumber + Plain nonfat yogurt + dash of cumin + drizzle of honey = amazing yogurt dressing!

The feast. ❤ Mediterranean food!

TUESDAY BREAKFAST

The following morning, I put my Buddha bowl to good use.

SIAB! I started out making a banana-strawberry smoothie because I thought the pink color would complement better with the bowl and make prettier pictures. However, I couldn’t resist throwing in a cup full of frozen spinach into my smoothie and reblend them for a green monster. I really needed the extra energy boost that day! I topped my smoothie with sliced bananas and Swedish muesli that I got from Ikea.

Tuesday, 6/8, is also my boyfriend’s birthday! So what did I do?

First, I took the afternoon off from work (he thought I was in lab the entire day!).

I came home around noon, and fixed myself a quick and simple lunch, featuring leftovers from the mediterranean fare.

On a bed of arugula, I had sliced tomatoes, 1 hard boiled egg, 2 falafel patties, finely chopped cucumbers, all of that topped with generous amounts of the yogurt-cucumber dressing, homemade hummus, and salt & pepper. Can I hear someone yell delicious?!

With a satisfied tummy, I got to work on the Frozen Pink Cheesecake from Green Kitchen Stories that I knew it’d be the perfect birthday cake for Dmitri the moment I set my eyes on it. Dmitri is a cheesecake lover after all! 😀

All stirred up nicely with mascarpone and 9 parts ricotta + 1 part sour cream to sub for the quark. Poured onto the almond-date crust and ready to be frozen.

Well, all that stirring + mixing sure got me hungry! I made myself a veggie-galore snack plate with zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, more yogurt dressing, and a dollop of homemade hummus.

I felt like I needed some carbs since I didn’t get much for my lunch. So here came pumpkin cheesecake! Lol not really.

Half a toasted whole wheat bread, heaping spoonfuls of homemade pumpkin butter, topped with cottage cheese and muchos cinnamon + pumpkin pie spice. It was love at first bite for sure!

I’m really enjoying eating my homemade stuff (e.g., pumpkin butter, hummus, yogurt dressing, pita bread), because I know exactly what went into making those. No artificial ingredients, no preservatives, all freshly made. And doesn’t food just taste so much better when it’s homemade? Okay, so the hummus didn’t exactly turn out the way it was supposed to be, but I still ate them happily. Why? Because I made them. When you put a little love and effort in the kitchen, you’d get tasty results no matter what. It’s the same deal with traveling and living in grand hotels. However luxurious the beds, breakfasts, and bathrooms are in those hotels, nothing makes you happier than returning home to cozy up on your slightly shabby couch, or sleep on your a little creaky bed.

And that is why I continued with hand-made gifts for Dmitri’s birthday.

Hehehe coupons! 😀

And a store-bought card…:-P

His entire present set:

Annnnnnnnndddd…don’t forget the frozen pink cheesecake in the freezer! After ~2 hours…

Ta-daa! 🙂

The birthday boy enjoyed a large portion of Italian family-style dinner at Buca di Beppo, with the company of his friends.

And got a little brownie surprise from Buca di Beppo, while they sang & clapped away with their Buca di Beppo birthday song.

And of course, the night ended with more sweets from yours truly. The cheesecake actually turned out really good, and tasted more like strawberry ice cream cake than an actual cheesecake. They all raved about the almond crust, and how wonderfully creamy it was. Little did they know the cake was totally made out of all natural ingredients, and no sugar at all! SCORE!!!

After a night of cheesy ravioli’s, superb breaded eggplant parmesan, gnocchi in cream + garlic marinara, and butt loads of apple gorgonzola salad, a few bites of brownie + vanilla ice cream, and a generous slice of frozen pink cheesecake, my body was more than happy to be back to a normal, healthy eating routine. This morning, my tongue was still reminiscing the pink cheesecake from last night, and of course I gave my body what it craved: a healthified strawberry cheesecake.

I present to you…

Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie!

This is very much like the strawberry yogurt dessert I made the other night. In the blender went:

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 frozen bananas
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup kefir
  • 2 rounded Tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 1/2 tsp xanthum gum

Blend, blend, blend, and you’ll get the perfect pink breakfast!

Lunch today was a repeat of yesterday’s lunch, finishing up the last bit of my cucumber yogurt dressing. I love that dressing! Did I say that already? Let me repeat…I ❤ cucumber yogurt dressing!!!

Returning home late from work meant getting dinner quickly on the table for devouring.

Roasted broc, zucchini, baked sweet potato rounds with cinnamon, and my leftover sandwich from lunch today. I got filled right up with my huge salad with falafels and tons of yogurt dressing, so I only ate half of that sandwich for lunch. The sandwich was again the pumpkin butter + cottage cheese + cinnamon + pumpkin spice combo. I popped it in the toaster oven while prepping my dinner, and the cottage cheese got all gooey and cheesy! I approve! 🙂

Anyways, off to do some laundry (I’m all out of underwear…)!

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+ What would you like to receive on your next birthday? My birthday is coming in 3 months! Hmm..this is a tough question for me. I gotta get back to you on that 😉

+ Do you like cheesecake? I used to hate cheesecake when I was little, but now they’re listed in one of my top five desserts of all times, along with tiramisu, apple crumble/cobbler, warm chocolate brownie, and creme brulee.

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