flaky mooncake

The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival was last Monday.  It’s sort of like the Chinese version of Thanksgiving — a time for reflection, giving, and family.

I celebrated in my own way by reflecting a little on this blog of mine.

Sometimes, I click the”older posts” arrow on my blog a bunch of times until I get back to freshman year.

Sometimes, I have this urge to delete all of my old blog posts and start fresh, so I can have one of those pristine, consistent blogs like Smitten Kitchen or Martha Stewart.
I want to erase all of the times that 14-year-old me gave embarrassing Instagram “lifestyle” posts, the times my pictures were taken with a Pentax point-and-shoot, the times I listed “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” as an ingredient, the times my font size was all wonky and I tried to sound like the Barefoot Contessa (and failed).
… but then there’d be nothing.  So I stop and restrain myself from pressing delete.
As tantalizing as the idea of a fresh start is, I don’t think I’ll ever do it.   There’s something endearing about those old recipes, and having them lined up all neatly in order chronicles my life all the way from ratatouille to flaky mooncakes. All the way from being awkward during my Freshman Orientation scavenger hunt to sitting here as a Senior in the library, tapping away at my college applications.  It’s my whole high school existence archived in buttercream, brownie batter, and banoffee banana bread.  It includes all of those milestones:  finding my blogging voice, learning how to get a DSLR, going to the emergency room while making layer cake, and getting butter inextricably wedged into the dials of my camera.
My backdrop has evolved from a leftover piece of poster-board from my 8th grade science fair project to the fancy-pants piece of marble that my dad got me for Christmas.
Yes, the perfectionist in me will surely look back at this time with this same sort of head-shaking disdain in a few months when I think I’ve got funnier stories, better backdrops, and tastier recipes than I do now.  But isn’t that the whole point of a blog?  We are moving onwards and upwards from here!
Here’s a tasty recipe for flaky mooncakes, traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival.  Something that hasn’t changed much since I started blogging is that I’ve still got to get this timing thing down so I can get you all these holiday recipes before the holiday happens.  Planning, someday it will happen.  Anyways, I was going to bring these into my Chinese class but ended up eating them all singlehandedly with my mom (sorry).  The flaky crust is surprisingly simple to make — using an oil and water dough technique (much less tedious than rolling puff pastry.  Give it a try!
With love,
Erica

Flaky Matcha Moon Cakes

Servings 4

Ingredients

water dough:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening or butter
  • 1/2 cup water

oil dough:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening or butter melted

filling:

  • -red bean paste
  • -lotus paste
  • -coconut paste recipe below

topping:

  • one egg for egg wash
  • sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. For the water dough, mix the flour, sugar, and shortening together roughly.  Pour all of the water in at once and knead to form a soft dough. Set aside.
  3. For the oil dough, mix the flour and melted shortening together to form dough.
  4. Dust the water dough with flour and roll into a 1/2 inch thick circle.  Roll the oil dough into a ball, place in the middle of the water dough, and seal it inside of the water dough.
  5. Roll out the new ball of dough (the oil dough wrapped in the water dough), into an oval shape.  Then, roll it up like a swiss roll.  Turn it lengthwise, and roll out into an oval again.  Roll up swiss roll-style once more, and roll out into a 1/2 inch thick oval once more.
  6. Cut the oval into four even sections, fill each section with filling of choice and seal.  Place seal side down on a baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining pastries.  Brush each pastry with egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Coconut paste:
  8. 1/2 cup cream of coconut or condensed milk
  9. 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla, matcha powder, or cocoa powder for flavoring (optional)
  11. Mix all the ingredients together into a paste.

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vegetarian hot and sour soup

When I’m sick, I crave hot and sour soup.  Since we’re smack in the middle of cold season, I am surely not the only one out there with a nasty bug — so it’s the perfect time for me to give you all this recipe for vegetarian hot and sour soup.

Traditionally, hot and sour soup has a pork or beef base; however, I feel as though earthy dried mushrooms and silky pieces of firm tofu make this soup “meaty” enough.  This soup did a fantastic job both in clearing my head and lifting my spirits.  The heat from the ginger and pepper cleared my head and sinuses like a charm!  It’s so easy to make that I could put it together easily even though I was still really drowsy from my cold medicine. Just a ton of veggies, some herbs and spices, and before I knew it, I was back in bed, all snuggled in blankets and slurping this yummy soup.  It was so good, I ate it for three meals in a row!

Now I feel super, this soup is not only delicious, but it’s overflowing with vitamins and antioxidants from all of the veggies.  Whether you’ve caught a bug or not, heat yourself up a big bowl of hot and sour soup tonight. 


With love,
Erica
 

Ingredients
1 oz. dried mixed mushrooms
8 cups water
3 tablespoons sherry cooking wine
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 pound extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Pure sesame oil, for serving

Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with 2 cups of boiling
water. Cover and allow to sit for at least 1/2 hour. While mushrooms
reconstitute, prepare the other ingredients.
Remove the mushrooms from the hot water and reserve the liquid for the soup. Slice the mushrooms thinly.
In a soup pot, combine the remaining 6 cups of water with the
reserved liquid from the mushrooms and the sliced mushrooms. Bring to a
gentle boil over medium-high heat. Add the sherry, vinegar, soy sauce,
salt, ginger and tofu. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer uncovered for about
10 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with about 3/4 cup of hot
broth from the soup pot until cornstarch is dissolved. Pour the mixture
back into the soup pot, stirring to distribute. The soup should thicken
slightly. While stirring constantly, drizzle the beaten eggs into the
hot soup. Add the scallions and white pepper and cook for another minute
or two.
Serve hot with a drizzle of sesame oil on top.