Category Archives: By Type

Brown Sugar Coconut Nian Gao (From Scratch!) | 紅糖椰汁年糕

The Chinese character 糕 gao can be used on its own or in combination with other characters to mean, more or less, “fairly solid food somewhat like a cake but not always what would be considered a cake from a Western perspective”.  Examples include 蛋糕 dan gao, lit. “egg cake”, which refers to (for lack of a better term) normal cakes, and  雪糕 (xue gao in Mandarin, but it’s primarily a Cantonese term; lit. “snow cake”), which means “ice cream”.

So 年糕 nian gao, lit. “year cake”, is a difficult food to explain,  not least because there are several different types that can be served several different ways, like non-glutinous Shanghainese 年糕 nian gao that can be stir-fried with meat and vegetables for a savory dish or sprinkled with granulated sugar for dessert.  I prefer Cantonese 年糕 nian gao though – it can be served as a super-sticky pudding or cut into slices, dipped in egg and pan-fried.  The way I ended up getting people to eat it without being able to do a great translation was, “It’s, like, a glutinous rice cake?  Well, not really a cake, but – here, just try it.”

And then the 年糕 nian gao did its own talking.

Anyway, let’s start from the very beginning (a very good place to start).  Why did I have Cantonese 年糕 nian gao on hand, anyway?  Well, I decided that since it was Chinese New Year, it was a good time to undertake an overly ambitious dorm cooking project.  (I have been cooking a little since I got to college, but nothing I haven’t made before.)  I did the majority of the prep work in my room – my roommate’s hot water pot was a great help.

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Filed under By Ingredient, By Meal, By Type, Chinese, Dessert, Glutinous, Recipes

Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad | Working off the Backlog

I’ve spent every summer in San Francisco with my 公公 (gong gong, granddad) since I can remember.  (Don’t worry, this is the last post about my summer.  We can move on soon.)

I used to be braver.  I’d venture into his basement despite the albino spiders with unnatural numbers of eyes and go out the back door into the untended garden, only to encounter mutant bees that still buzzed around despite the freezing San Francisco summer. Continue reading

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Filed under Cheese, Lunch, Nuts, Recipes, Salad, Vegetables

Video: Ham, Egg and Cheese Crepes

Whew.  School’s over, exams are over, and all that remains is three glorious months of summery goodness.  (I’ll be posting pretty frequently for the next two months, hopefully at least once a week.  Next week’s video probably won’t be a recipe, so I won’t be posting it here.  I’ll do a traditional photo-and-comment type thing instead.)

I started it off with a new video over on The Codex Omnis:

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Filed under Breakfast, Cheese, Eggs, Ham, Lunch, Pancakes, Recipes, Video

Egg-free Banana Muffins | e to the power of i times pi

I love my math class so much that I made us all banana muffins for our Friday morning lesson.  That and everyone else is bringing breakfast stuff.

We had a super-ripe banana lying around, and just too many other ones.

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Filed under Banana, Breakfast, Dessert, Muffins, Recipes

Egg-Free Pancakes | Measuring Cups

(Jeez, you turn around and two weeks have passed already.  Oops!)

I find it curious how 2/3-cup measuring cups exist.  Oh well, they’re perfect for this recipe.

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Filed under Breakfast, Pancakes, Recipes


Thursdays are ‘cake days’ in my Chemistry class.  We don’t always bring in cake, but most Thursdays, somebody (sometimes our teacher) will bring in baked goods that we eat illicitly among jars of acids and organic solvents.  Part of my first introduction to chemistry was the Magic School Bus episode/book where they bake a birthday cake for Ms. Frizzle, so I always find Chem cake days pretty appropriate.

My contribution last week was a batch of mookies:  muffins that are still soft inside, but which have a crust so crunchy that they have to be known at least partly as cookies.  How did they come about, you ask?  I collated a bunch of different recipes to make a super awesome muffin, but neglected to factor in the fact that most of them called for wet fruits where I was using M&Ms.  Oops.

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Filed under Chocolate, Cookies, Dessert, Muffins, Oats, Recipes

Champignon Bourguignon | Lessons Learned

Last summer, I learned something at Bistro Jeanty in Napa (warning – music through the link):  daube de beouf, a.k.a. beouf bourguignon, is awesome.

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Filed under Dinner, Mushrooms, Recipes, Stew