Miss Gioia

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Yum Coconut

It always cracks me up that the flour in Taiwan is marked DIY on the package. Either the "do it yourself" craze has gone a little too far here, or it is a commentary on the baking habits of the average Taipei household (none to speak of, really).

Some of Gioia's bananas were past their prime last night, so I made a quick batch of coconut banana bread from the B Clayton bread book. You toast the coconut in the oven for 15 minutes, and it gets all crispy and crunchy. Awesome.

It was a very nice recipe. Even Chris gave a favorable review. Well, what he actually said was: Hey, this is better than the last banana bread you made...

I count that as a success.

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Continuing Roll Saga

This recipe worked. Well, halfway. The recipe produces 24 rolls, but mine yielded 20. The first batch of 12 got a little too brown and I got really despondent. But the second batch, after they were watched very carefully as they cooked, were removed from my little oven at just the right time. That leaves eight rolls for Thanksgiving. One per guest. Not ideal, but it will do.

Three times a charm.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Rolls Take Two

Trying again. I borrowed a breadmaker this time to see if that was easier. I also used a true dinner roll recipe instead of just a plain ol' roll recipe (sweeter, more buttery). The rolls were good. A little heavy, but still fluffy and yummy.

My taste tester was not convinced, however.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Roasting Red Peppers

It is impossible to find roasted red peppers here in Taiwan, so I finally researched how to roast them at home. Very fun, actually. You have to hold the pepper over an open burner flame until the skin turns black and crispy. After it cools and rests in a paper bag for a bit, you can easily rub the blackened skin off of the pepper. A little oil and 30 minutes in a hot oven and voila. Roasted peppers.



Sunday, November 23, 2008

Company is Coming

Some friends are coming over for dinner tonight. I am not hosting Thanksgiving at my house this year, so this is kind of a little side celebration - a chance to have a glass of wine and relax in the company of people we hold dear.

The Menu

Green salad made with arugula from the balcony
Butternut squash soup
Twice baked potatoes (with goat cheese)
Stuffed and rolled chicken breasts made with kale (also from the balcony), a variation on this recipe
Apple, pear and cranberry crumble with vanilla ice cream

The soup, chicken and potatoes are made and waiting in the fridge until it is time for cooking/ reheating. I still need to make the green salad and slice the fruit for the crumble. But it is early yet, so I think I will just put my feet up and relax for a while.


Friday, November 21, 2008


The rolls became breakfast. I used a modification of this recipe from Gourmet.com. It was a little too bready. Gioia hated it, which is odd because she normally is a bread monster. No worries, Chris and I will eat it.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bread take 2

I was on a roll this weekend (ha ha) with the bread making. I tried the Egg Shell Rolls (also from the B Clayton book). After figuring out that the recipe needed 5.5 cups of flour instead of 4.5 to make a manageable dough, I got reasonable results. Oh, I also had to discover that I can only make one batch at a time in my mini, portable, table-top oven (on the bottom rack).

These rolls have a crispy outside (like an eggshell), but are chewy and fluffy inside. Would I make them again? Eh. They are nothing special. I think I will use these ones to make a breakfast strata. Not Thanksgiving-worthy for sure.

Verdict: Cornbread should be made, but rolls can be bought down the street.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Soup and Bread

One of the things I am responsible for bringing to our little expat group's Thanksgiving celebration is cornbread. I haven't made any for a while, so I decided to practice this weekend. Since I was cooking, I also whipped up some soup to make a full meal. Both recipes came from Bernard Clayton's book of breads and soups, which is actually two cookbooks in one.

Cream of broccoli soup. Yummy yummy. Mine wasn't so creamy because I didn't have any cream (substituted a little milk instead), but it was nice anyway. Lemony, tangy. Good.

The cornbread was good too. I need to try some more recipes from this book.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Super Baby Experiment One

Through a reference here, we discovered the Super Baby Food book. Basically, this book encourages people to feed their babies real food, not jarred Gerber stuff. The author claims making your own baby food is healthier and cheaper than store bought. Well, OK. That makes sense. She also claims that feeding your baby homemade food is easy. Hmmm... let's see.

The key to this process is pureeing a bunch of food at once and then freezing it in ice cube trays to create baby-sized portions. When baby needs food, you pull out a couple of cubes (i.e., servings) and feed her.

This is super baby food experiment #1 - papaya. I started with a ripe papaya from the grocery store. I washed it with warm water because it was not an organic papaya,* despite the fact that I spent a good thirty minutes at the grocery store looking for organic. Once clean, I sliced it in half and scooped out the pretty little black seeds.

The next step is to scoop out the flesh with a spoon and puree it in a blender. Like so.

Once blended, you pour the papaya "sauce" into ice cube trays. I bought three trays that came with their own little plastic lids to cover the baby food while freezing. One papaya filled almost all of the three trays (all but two cubes in the last tray).

Once they are frozen, I can remove the cubes from the trays and pop them into a labeled freezer bag. Then we are ready for when Miss G has a craving for papaya. Obviously, we will have to wait until we get back home with her until we can try this out. I am encouraged by the prep process, though. One papaya took 15 minutes, tops.

*According to the book, you can use cold water for washing organic veggies; supposedly cold water is better for preserving nutrients. However, non-organic veggies and fruit should be washed in warm water so that the pesticides wash off. Now you know why I tried so hard to find organic. Bleagh.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I met up with my dad in Bangkok this past weekend on my way to Singapore. We went to have dinner Saturday night at Celadon, which is in the Sukothai Hotel. Dad was a little bitchy about the whole experience because he really prefers to eat on the street, but he was swayed once we sat down with a tangy little Australian Shiraz.

The food was oh so good. I love Thai pomelo salad, don't you? The restaurant was nice and soothing. All diners eat surrounded by lily ponds and subtle, traditional live music. I thought the music was a recording until we stepped out into the foyer after our meal and saw this lady.

Yummy yummy. Must go back. Even Dad was pleased.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Din Tai Fung

The food here in Taipei is outstanding. Chris says that it is "how Chinese food in China ought to be prepared." On Sunday, my peeps and I went to the original Din Tai Fung, which is a famous dumpling house. I cannot, unfortunately, share the food with you. But I do have some pictures.

Here is a shot of everyone waiting outside for their turn to eat.

You order in advance, while you wait, so the food gets delivered almost immediately after you sit down.

When your number is called, you pass your order sheet to the hotstess and then climb up the stairs to your floor and tables. Then come the dumplings and the veggies and the soups....yum.

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