40 dried lily buds (about 1/2 ounce)*
1 tablespoon dried wood ear mushrooms
1/3 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
5 cups chicken stock, low-sodium (do not substitute vegetable or mushroom broth)
1/2 cup drained canned bamboo shoots, rinsed and julienned
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
2 cups Napa cabbage, chopped
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cold water
1 large egg, beaten
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
4 ounces firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar*
1 teaspoon white pepper powder
*Note: these items are very hard to find. Do not use substitutes. Best to order ahead of time online.
Place lily buds and mushrooms in a small bowl, and add very hot water to cover by 1 inch. Let soak until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Trim and discard tough ends from buds, and cut in half crosswise. Thinly slice mushrooms.
Stir together lily buds, mushrooms, chicken stock, bamboo shoots, and ginger in a large saucepan over high. When the soup starts to simmer, add Napa cabbage and turn to medium-low heat. Cook until the Napa cabbage turns tender, 5 to 8 minutes.
Whisk together cornstarch and 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Whisk cornstarch mixture into chicken stock mixture in a slow, steady stream; cook 1 minute. Pour beaten egg into chicken stock mixture in a slow, steady stream, stirring gently.
Stir in tofu, soy sauce, and sesame oil, and cook another 2 minutes.
In small bowl, add the vinegar and pepper. Whisk to blend thoroughly. Stir into soup mixture and serve immediately.
2 pounds salmon
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
juice of one lemon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking dish with aluminum foil. Fold up the sides of the aluminum foil around the salmon.
In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, and lemon juice. Pour the glaze over the salmon. Top the salmon with aluminum foil and seal.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until salmon is cooked throughout.
Take the foil off of the top and baste the salmon with the sauce in the foil. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until brown and caramelized.
1 1/3 cups warm water
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/3 cups whole wheat bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flax seeds*, ground (you can grind them in a coffee grinder)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, unsalted
2 tablespoons butter, softened
In a small bowl, combine the warm water with honey and yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together together the flour, salt and ground flax seeds in a large bowl. Stir in the sunflower seeds, butter and the yeast mixture.
Combine well and then knead the dough for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth.
Set to rise in greased bowl for 1.5 hours or until doubled in size. Punch it down, then transfer the dough to a greased bread pan. Cover and let rise again for 30 to 45 minutes.
Bake in a 375 oven for about 30 minutes or until lightly brown.
* Note: The flax seed flavor is strong in this bread. Might want to try a substitute – chia seeds, oatmeal and/or potato?
10 cups of water
8 packets of Sweet & Low
4 tea bags of mint tea
1) Add 4 packets Sweet & Low to 2 cups of water. Heat in microwave for 3.5 minutes or just until it boils. (Note: if making iced tea without the lemon, only use two packets of Sweet & Low per 2 cups of water.)
2) Remove from heat. Add to water 2 tea bags of mint tea. Steep for 5 minutes.
3) Transfer tea to pitcher.
4) Repeat steps 1 through 3.
5) To pitcher, add the juice of one lemon.
6) Add 6 cups of tap water.
Wash sweet potato.
Rub skin with olive oil (makes it easy to peel off when baked).
Pierce potato with fork in several places (ensures even cooking).
Bake at 425 F for 45 to 60 minutes.
Note: baked sweet potatoes taste better than boiled or microwaved potatoes.
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2¼ sticks) salted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
½ cup sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2¼ cups flour
6 ounces semi- or bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
1 egg, beaten
Demerara* sugar, for rolling
flaky sea salt, such as Jacobsen, for sprinkling
* Demerara is a type of raw cane sugar that has a large grain, crunchy texture, and pale brown color. It will give the cookies delicious crispy edges. If you don’t want to buy special sugar, you can substitute regular light brown sugar.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using an electric mixer and a medium bowl or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, both sugars, and vanilla on medium-high till it’s light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and, with the mixer on low, slowly add the flour, followed by the chocolate chunks, and beat just to blend.
- Divide the dough in half, placing each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. Fold the plastic over so that it covers the dough to protect your hands from getting all sticky. Using your hands (just like you’re playing with clay), form the dough into a log shape. Each half should form two logs, 2 inches in diameter.
- Chill until totally firm, about 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Brush the outside of the logs with the beaten egg and roll them in the Demerara sugar.
- Slice each log into ½-inch-thick rounds, place them on the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart, and sprinkle with flaky salt. Bake until the edges are just beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, at room temperature
2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 cups unsweetened applesauce
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup salted caramel sauce
salted caramel sauce
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with a round of parchment paper, grease the parchment, then flour the pans, tapping out any excess.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice and cloves.
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until creamy, about 4 minutes.
- Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the eggs and beat until combined.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl in three parts, alternating with the applesauce, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix on low for an additional 30 seconds to combine.
- Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and smooth the tops.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time.
- Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes.
- Turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the parchment, and allow to cool completely.
- In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together.
- Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixtures comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the speed to low and add the butter and vanilla; mix until thoroughly incorporated.
- Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. (It might seem like it won’t get to the fluffy point, but stick with it, it’ll get there!)
- Add the salted caramel sauce and continue mixing until combined and fluffy. (If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it reaches a fluffy consistency.)
Assemble the Cake: If any of the cake layers are domed on top, trim the top off to create flat surfaces. Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread 1¼ cups of the frosting on top. Add the next layer and top with 1¼ cups of the frosting. Add the third layer on top and spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, until firm. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Drizzle some additional salted caramel sauce on top and sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Return to the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes prior to serving.
Store the cake in the refrigerator. Allow it to sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
1-1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup cream
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup shelled roasted and salted pistachios
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1-3/4 cups sugar
1 whole egg
1 tablespoons vanilla
1-1/2 cups milk
3 eggs whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
Frosting Directions, Part 1:
- Mix sugar and flour together in a sauce pan and then whisk in milk and cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thick and begins to boil (about 15 minutes start to finish, should be considerably thick).
- Pour into a bowl or Tupperware, cover with plastic wrap pressing it against the mixture, and then place in the fridge until no longer warm (if you leave it in overnight, let it come to room temperature).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if using a dark colored pan, preheat to 325 degrees F).
- Grease the bottom and sides of 3 (8-inch) cake pans with shortening and then dust with flour.
- In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Puree pistachios in a food processor or blender until coarsely chopped and then take 2 tablespoons and add it to the dry ingredients.
- Continue to puree the rest of the nuts until it becomes a powder. Mix into the dry ingredients.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, whip the butter for 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Mix in the whole egg and the vanilla until just combined.
- In 3 batches, alternate mixing the dry ingredients and milk into the butter. Mix completely before adding each additional batch. Scrape down the sides as needed.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whip egg whites and cream of tartar until it reaches soft peaks.
- Fold the whipped egg whites into the batter until combined.
- Pour batter into 3 cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 28-32 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing and cooling completely on a wire rack.
Frosting Directions, Part 2:
- Place cold frosting mixture in the bowl of a standing mixer and beat on low speed using the paddle attachment.
- Add butter a tablespoon at a time and then cream cheese an ounce at a time.
Turn up the speed and beat until smooth.
- Mix in the honey and vanilla until combined.
Assembling the Cake:
- Using a large serrated knife, cut off the tops of cakes to make them evenly flat.
- Place one cake round on a plate or cake platter and then frost the top of it.
- Top with another cake round and frost again.
- Add the last cake round and then add a thin layer of frosting (crumb coat) to the top and sides of the cake.
- Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes and then frost the cake with the remaining frosting (save some of the frosting in a piping bag if you wish to decorate with frosting).
- Garnish with extra frosting, pistachios, and/or berries as desired.
- Store cake in the fridge until ready to serve.
2-1/2 cups sifted cake flour (Do not use all-purpose flour.)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 pound fresh strawberries (to make 1/2 cup reduced strawberry puree. See directions below.)
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup freeze-dried strawberries (in the grocery store dried fruit aisle. Do not use the chewy/gummy dried strawberries. You need FREEZE-dried strawberries which grind into a powder.)
one 8-ounce block full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
salt, to taste
Strawberry Puree Directions:
- In a blender, puree 1 pound of strawberries. You should have a little over 1 cup.
- Stirring occasionally, simmer the puree over low-medium heat for 25-30 minutes until you’re left with 1/2 cup or a little over 1/2 cup.
- Allow to cool completely before using in cake batter. I always make the reduced puree the day before so it has plenty of time to cool down. I cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. Use 1/2 cup in the cake. Discard any leftovers or spoon on ice cream/yogurt/add to smoothie.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch cake pans.
- Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamed, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the egg whites on high speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Then beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated.
- With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the milk just until combined. Do not overmix.
- Whisk in 1/2 cup of reduced strawberry puree, making sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick.
- Pour batter evenly into cake pans. Bake for around 24-25 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
- Using a blender or food processor, process the freeze-dried strawberries into a powdery crumb. You should have around 1/2 cup. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese for 1 minute on high speed until completely smooth and creamy. Beat in the butter until combined.
- Add the confectioners’ sugar, strawberry powder, 1 Tablespoon milk, and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until combined and creamy. Add 1 more Tablespoon of milk to slightly thin out, if desired. Taste, then add a pinch of salt if needed.
Assemble and frost: First, using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Discard (or crumble over ice cream!). Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd layer and spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before slicing. This helps the cake keep its shape when cutting– it could slightly fall apart without time in the fridge.
Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days.
Make ahead tip: The cake layers can be baked, cooled, and covered tightly at room temperature overnight. Likewise, the frosting can be prepared then covered and refrigerated overnight. Light it sit at room temperature to slightly soften for 10 minutes before assembling and frosting. Frosted cake can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.
Sheet cake: Pour the batter into a greased and lightly floured 9×13 pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cupcakes: Fill cupcake pans 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Makes 2 and 1/2 dozen cupcakes.
4 cups milk
5 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
4 cups light cream
1 teaspoon rum extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Combine milk, cloves, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes. Slowly bring milk mixture to a boil.
In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until fluffy. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, or until thick. Do not allow mixture to boil*. Strain to remove cloves, and let cool for about an hour.
Stir in rum, cream, 2 teaspoon vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight before serving.
* If the eggs curdle, place the mixture in a bowl on top of a large bowl of ice water and beat rapidly with an electric mixture.
Reduced recipe for singles:
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup light cream
1/4 teaspoon rum extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of ground allspice
Follow directions for main recipe above.