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Friday, October 01, 2021

my kitchen: EASY HOMEMADE SOFT BAKED PRETZELS




Hi guys! I've been on a baking roll lately, looking for easy recipes and posting my favorite ones here for the next time. If you're impatient like me, we don't have the time to wait around for pretzels to rise for overnight or even a few hours. You want to be able to bake it, make it and eat it. I wanted to pick the least intimidating recipe for my first time making pretzels and I can attest that this pretzel recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction was spot on! Check out her video to see how she twists and turns the pretzel if it's your first time making pretzels. 

And the best part, the pretzel recipe only needs 10 minutes to rest!

I used to be really afraid of the step where you have to boil the pretzel in boiling water, but actually it wasn't that bad at all. The pretzels are at a size where they are manageable to take in and out and you can drop the heat so the water is hot but not boiling like crazy. Try this recipe!! There's nothing like fresh baked pretzels!!!! 

PS if you don't want to make pretzels, Auntie Anne's is finally in Taipei. and there's a place called TuuGuud in Tianmu that I've been meaning to try. Those are the main two places I can think of right now that have soft baked pretzels in Taipei, especially since the time I had one was at Beer and Cheese which closed years ago. They had good pretzels. 


EASY HOMEMADE SOFT BAKED PRETZELS
(thanks Sally's Baking Addiction) 

INGREDIENTS

PRETZELS 
- 1.5 cups (360ml) warm water (lukewarm– no need to take temperature but around 100°F (38°C) is great)
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (7ginstant or active dry yeast (NOTE: My instant yeast packets that I bought in Taipei were 3g each, I just used 2 packets for 6g and the pretzels turned out ok)
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar or granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cool
- 3 and 3/4-4 cups (469-500g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands and work surface
coarse salt or coarse sea salt for sprinkling

BAKING SODA BATH
1/2 cup (120g) baking soda
9 cups (2,160ml) water

1. Whisk the yeast into warm water. Allow to sit for 1 minute. Whisk in 1 teaspoon salt,  1 Tablespoon brown sugar, and 1 Tablespoon melted butter. 

2. Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon (or dough hook attached to stand mixer) until dough is thick. Add 3/4 cup more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If it is still sticky, add 1/4 – 1/2 cup more, as needed. Poke the dough with your finger – if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.

3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 3 minutes and shape into a ball. Cover lightly with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. (Meanwhile, prep the water + baking soda boiling as instructed in step 6.)


4. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Silicone baking mats are highly recommended over parchment paper. If using parchment paper, lightly spray with nonstick spray or grease with butter. Set aside. (NOTE: So I didn't line my cookie tray with parchment paper and the baking soda water discolored it. So I recommend still lining your baking tray with something)

5. With a sharp knife, cut dough into 12-16 slices. I recommend cutting in 4 pieces, then cutting each quarter into thirds or four. If you want bigger mall sized pretzels, then cut into thirds and roll the dough into 20-22 inch long ropes.



6. Take one slice and roll the dough into a long rope on a floured surface. The longer it is, the thinner it will be. I went for shorter, thicker pretzels. 

7. Take one end of the rope and cross it with the other end and twist the ends once, then lift the twisted side to cross the rounded side and press down for the pretzel shape. Don't worry if it's not perfect, it will look fine after it's baked. 



7. Bring baking soda and 9 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Drop 1-2 pretzels into the boiling water for 20-30 seconds. Any more than that and your pretzels will have a metallic taste. Using a slotted spatula, lift the pretzel out of the water and allow as much of the excess water to drip off. Place pretzel onto prepared baking sheet.



8. Sprinkle each with coarse sea salt. (NOTE: I didn't have coarse sea salt. so I used some flaky salt I had on hand. Where to find coarse salt in Taipei????) Repeat with remaining pretzels. 



9. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Congrats! You just made pretzels!! Enjoy one (or three) warm, even better with with cheese sauce or cinnamon sugar butter. 




Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels: Skip the coarse salt topping. Bake as directed in step 7. Meanwhile, melt 4 Tablespoons (60g) of butter. Brush the baked and warm pretzels with melted butter then dip the tops into a mix of cinnamon and sugar. Start with 3/4 cup (150g) of granulated sugar and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Cinnamon sugar pretzels are best served that day because due to the melted butter topping, they become soggy after a few hours.

Monday, September 13, 2021

my kitchen: EASY HONEY BUTTER BEER BREAD



hi. it's already September and we survived 3 months of Level 3 self quarantine and restaurants doing takeout/delivery only. 

After finishing 2 weeks of mandatory quarantine after returning from my first trip in a year and half, I saw this on Half Baked Harvest's instagram, and NEEDED to BAKE SOMETHING, and an hour later I was devouring freshly baked carbs. This recipe really is RIDICULOUSLY easy to make, with no complicated ingredients. I used a Apple Cider Pipsqueak from Little Creatures Taipei (thanks Ashley!), and I thought it went so well with the butter and honey. 

The texture is dense and spongy, and the crust is so crunchy, buttery and amazing. 

As always, there's so many more things I want to say and share, but I have to get over my own obstacles of feeling like things need to be perfect before I post them, to get that done and uploaded. So for now, enjoy the recipe and the warm carbs. 


EASY HONEY BUTTER BEER BREAD

(Thanks  Half Baked Harvest !) 


INGREDIENTS

- 3 cups all purpose flour

- 1 Tablespoon baking powder

- Pinch of salt

- 1 pint beer (12 ounces)

- 1/4 cup honey 

- 6 Tablespoons of cold salted butter, sliced into 8 slices


1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C / 375 degrees F. 

2.Add flour, baking powder, pinch of salt to mixing bowl. 


3. Pour in beer and add honey. Mix until just combined. 



4. Spoon batter into baking pan. Add slices of butter on top in two rows. 



5. Place loaf pan onto a rimmed baking pan (to catch splatter from butter). Bake for 45-55 minutes or until top of bread is lightly browned. Slice when cooled and enjoy! 


Friday, July 16, 2021

burger: I strongly recommend EVERYWHERE BURGER CLUB





EVERYWHERE BURGER CLUB 
No. 21號, Lane 420, Guangfu South Road, Da’an District, Taipei 
(02) 2704- 6825

MRT: SYS Memorial Hall

hours: 11:30AM - 3PM; 5PM - 10:30PM 

$$ 

 Visit reviewed: July 2021

Scanning their Instagram, it looks like Everywhere Burger Club has been around for awhile since 2016. Starting out as a food truck, they took their burgers, well, everywhere, around Taipei and so the name is fitting. I had heard about them for awhile, but hadn’t had a chance to try them until our months long lockdown and ordered a few for takeout when I couldn't get my usual spot on the phone. 

Their Classic Pickles comes with a layer of relish which gives the burger a refreshing bite. (I got mine without cheese and a double patty. I was also a little confused when I was ordering on the phone without a menu and when I ordered the hamburger, they said pickles in Chinese "huang gua"). I also had my eye on the Double Smash Burger with melted cheese. I did kind of miss the crunch of lettuce on the burgers, but the burgers look more consistent in photos and photograph really well. Luckily, they did taste as good as they looked. 

They were out of French fries that day (!?) so I just tried the burgers. But they also have mashed potatoes and sweet potato fries on the menu, as well as milkshakes. Can Everywhere Burger Club become a serious contender for best burger in Taipei? Based on the response on Instagram from just one photo, looks like everyone is still looking for burgers. 

Everywhere Burger Club also has a few unusual burger flavors- along with a vegetarian bean and edamame burger, there is also an almond bacon peanut butter (Peanut butter burgers were all the rage in Taipei maybe 10 years ago and now are a consistent option here, but I wonder if the almond is almond slivers or almond butter or where does the almond come in?), grilled garlic sour cream and mushroom, spicy jalapeño salsa, guacamole club (which sounds kind of good as long as they are using Haas avocados) and fried pineapple/grilled pineapple butter. I might have to try a few of those. 

And just to note, looks like their prices are slightly more on Ubereats than if you pick up yourself. 






Sunday, July 11, 2021

takeout: 8 NEW MUST EAT DESSERTS IN TAIPEI RIGHT NOW


Social distancing and staying at home the past few months can take a toll on us all. With the ban on dining in restaurants in Taipei extended to August, we could all use a little pick me up. 

There's always been plenty of places in Taipei to grab dessert, shaved ice or cakes, but these are the newest and best sweets that might be harder to find in Taipei that I've been telling my friends to try. Cherry galettes, boston cream pie, confetti cake - if you're like me, these words are music to my ears. (I added one after I posted! Never too many dessert options!)


8 MUST EAT DESSERTS TO TRY IN TAIPEI RIGHT NOW

1. CHERRY GALETTE by AVENUE TAIPEI



2. CONFETTI CAKE by SUGARPEA 



3. BASQUE CHEESECAKE by CAFE DE RIZ



4. BOSTON CREAM DONUTS by AVENUE TAIPEI 



5. CINNAMON ROLL BOX by SALT AND STONE



6. MULBERRY WAFFLE by BOTTLESS



7. MARSHMALLOW 5 SPICE BROWNIE by CHINOIS


8. PINEAPPLE PASSIONFRUIT CANELES by SAM LIU

Sunday, June 27, 2021

16 years!





16 years! Thanks for following! 

And how cute are these ice pops from Ice Monster. Super tasty too. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

hawaiian/taipei takeout: I strongly recommend KAME HOUSE



How do I have 157,930 photos on my phone? Every time I feel my phone struggle with the load of that many photos, I start deleting photos but then I wonder how do I delete photos from my phone without deleting them from the iCloud. The dilemmas of being tied to technology. 

But I know this is not why you came here. You came here to find out where to find legit poke in Taipei. Because when you search "poke in Taipei" online, an array of shops that show very not-poke-like-at-all-or-least-not-seen-ever-in-hawaii-or-LA poke bowls with toppings like corn, carrots, chicken, tomatoes, okra, and *shudder* raisins. They basically fill the need for build your own salads bowls in Taipei, but that's not what poke is.  I won't name names, but you can see for yourself and shake your head along with me. 

But this is not that. 

This is poke that reminds me of Foodlands or Alicia's Market in Honolulu- Hawaiian poke that is just marinated fresh, raw fish. 

The poke bowl (NT$400) here ahi tuna three ways- spicy mayo ahi poke with avocado, shoyu ahi poke and Hawaiian style ahi poke with macadamia nuts. A poke trifecta that's onolicious and so good over rice and side dishes (I usually pick salad or roasted veggies and fries). SO GOOD. 



Besides the poke bowl, my must orders are the garlic shrimp (NT$350), the spam musubi (which they don't usually have everyday but is on the takeout menu, 8 for NT$400) and the loco moco (NT$350). All the main dishes come with sides. Auntie's Fried Chicken is also tasty and they have teppanyaki fried rice with steak and seafood options (NT$599). The half lobster is also such a good deal!!! (NT$500). 

But if you could only pick one dish, try the poke. Hands down my FAVORITE poke bowl in Taipei. 

Kame House and its sister restaurant Kamekona are more known for their teppanyaki, but my favorites are from its a la carte menu. The reason why everything tastes as it should is because the  owners are from Hawaii so they've brought the taste of Hawaii to Taipei and making sure it stays true. (Did anyone else see how fast Eggs N Things in Taipei came and went?) They worked at teppanyaki restaurants in Hawaii and have also brought back the tricks and fiery displays that teppanyaki chefs do more often in the states than here. 

I've been a fan of Kame House since I first went over a year and half ago, though I always go for their poke (at least once a month) and have tried the teppanyaki only at Kamekona. Their shops have a cute Hawaiian vibe inside and the staff has always been so friendly and welcoming. They even sing and play ukulele when its your birthday. The owners also have donated meals to frontline workers during this last month during the pandemic. With two shops, it's been tough for teppanyaki and other restaurants to pivot and I want them to survive the pandemic, so that's why I'm sharing my secret favorite poke spot with you. Because life is too short to eat bad poke. 

KAME HOUSE 
No. 13號, Lane 32, Yixian Road, Xinyi District
台北市信義區逸仙路32巷13號
(02) 8786-9466

MRT: Taipei City Hall 

$$ 

Takeout reviewed: 5/2021

Poke bowl 




Spam musubi


Garlic shrimp


Loco Moco



Auntie's Fried Chicken


Teppanyaki Lobster


Teppanyaki Ribeye with fried rice 

Hawaiian feast at home in Taipei 

Kame House 


Kame House takeout menu during lockdown 2021



Monday, June 21, 2021

burgers: i recommend MOTHER FLIPPIN BURGERS




You cannot find it on Google maps or Instagram, but if you're lucky enough to be in delivery range, you can find it on Ubereats. This is the restaurant of the future, especially in Taipei- ghost kitchens that don't have to worry about servers, decor or space- just the food (and having enough delivery drivers to go around.) 

Tried this new burger in Taipei, Mother Flippin Burgers, last week- double patty, smashed, dripping with cheese and sauce over lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions- this burger is not for those wearing white shirts or afraid of a mess. 

Paired with all the fun fried sides (waffle fries, tater tots, onion rings, bbq wings, mozzarella sticks), it was a recipe for a food coma. 

The next time I get it, I will try switching out the Cheddar for the American cheese on the MF'n Classic (NT$168) or try the MF'n Jalapeño Cheddar since I prefer the way Cheddar melts over American. And get the fresh onion rings (NT$130) and wings. Drooling looking at these photos, and based on all the messages I got on Instagram, you guys were too! 

In case you missed it, here was my Best Burgers in Taipei round up from earlier this year.