Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chinese Tea eggs

Hi everyone!

I used to eat these eggs all the time when I was young. They were everywhere in China! Food vendors on every street would have a pot of tea eggs simmering away. Each egg used to something like 10 cents...and I would ride on the back of my mom's little scooter and munch away at these. I absolutely loved them and have always wanted to know how to make them. The tea flavor give a plain hard boiled egg a delicious edge, and it's super easy to make!

I found this recipe on Steamy Kitchen written by Jaden Hair, who in turn got it from Appetite for China, a fabulous blog written by Diana Kuan. After reading her blog, I was inspired to make more Asian foods around the house... I hope you give these eggs a try, they are so yummy and I am sure you will love them!

Here is what you will need:

6 eggs
3/4 cup soy sauce
2 star anise
2 tablespoons black tea (or 2 tea bags)
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorn (optional)
2 strips dried tangerine or mandarin orange peel (optional)

  1. Place the eggs in a medium pot and fill with water to cover the eggs by 1-inch or so.
  2. Bring the pot to a boil, lower the heat and let simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Remove the eggs (leaving the water in the pot) and cool the eggs in a ice bath or under running cool water.
  4. Use the back of a teaspoon, gently tap the eggshell to crack the shell all over. The more you tap, the more intricate the design.
  5. To the same pot with the boiling water, return the eggs and add in the remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil and immediately turn the heat to low.
  6. Simmer for 40 minutes, cover with lid and let eggs steep for a few hours to overnight.
  7. The longer you steep, the more flavorful the tea eggs will be. I was impatient and steeped it only for 3 hours, most people steep for 5+ hours, even overnight.
  8. When you peel the egg shell away, there will be this beautiful marbling on the egg and on the shells. SO COOL!

A picture of the marbled eggshell

Recipe adapted from Jaden Hair and Diana Kuan

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Good Old Butter Tart


Butter tarts are one of Derek's ultimate favorite comfort foods. I was leaving for the entire weekend last week, and so before I left, I made these for him at midnight!! Crazy, I know. I did not make my own tart dough (shameful), but there was no way that I was going to do that at 12AM. The raisins that I had were gigantic, organic, and super sweet, and i think that made the tarts very special.

12 unsweetened tart shells
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 egg
2 tbsp of butter or margarine
2 tsp vanilla
1tsp white vinegar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup raisins (the best raisins you have)
1/8 cup of chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 450 F
  2. Place shells on a baking sheet and place raisins and walnuts in the bottom of each shell
  3. Whisk all remaining 7 ingredients until well mixed. mixture should be thick and gooey
  4. poor mixture evenly in the shells & bake for 12 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE!
  5. Let tarts cool to room temp, the filling will set. ENJOY! We tried ours at 1 in the morning. Couldn't resist.
Interesting note: Used to prevent discoloration, sulfur dioxide is a common addition when processing dried fruit. The chemical destroys vitamin B-1 (a.k.a. thiamine)... If you want to get the most out of dried fruits, buy them organic and sulfur free. They may not look as pretty, but they are definitely the yummiest!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Red Bean Chili

Hello everyone,

I got this chili recipe from one of my favorite food blogs: Smitten Kitchen. I check up on this blog every week. Deb (the writer) always has fantastic dishes and beautiful pictures to show. This was the first dish that I tried from the blog, and it was very delicious! My horrendous picture here cannot justify the goodness of this chili... Check her blog out for better pictures!!

2 to 2 1/4 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup canned beef broth
1/3 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1 can diced tomatoes (14 1/2-ounce)
1- 1.5 cans kidney beans (15 1/2-ounce), drained
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Tabasco to taste

  1. Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the beef or turkey and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the onion, stirring well, and cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.
  3. Gradually add the broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of pan.
  4. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, cocoa and tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add the beans, salt, and vinegar, stirring well. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes more. Add Tabasco, if desired.
  5. Top with whatever you like (Deb recommended: cheddar, sour cream, and jalapeno). Serve hot!!
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen