Monday, February 20, 2012

Bubble Tea

I LOVE bubble tea or should I say pearl milk tea as what most Americans think of as "bubble tea" is actually pearl milk tea. Bubble tea is actually the mix with the bubbles in it, find more info about it (here).
Anyways, I digress, I LOVE this stuff but my wallet really cant afford for me to buy it from the bubble tea/boba restaurant all the time.  So on one of my (weekly?) trips to the asian market last year I found this mix for bubble tea and the boba pearls to go with.  Since then I have been in love with the fact that I can make myself bubble tea any time I want for less than a fraction of the cost!

Seriously, bubble tea costs on average $4 per drink, estimated with 12 oz tea with 2-4 oz bubbles.  Mix costs $19, makes aprox. 34- 12oz teas; the tapioca pearls cost $2 per container, make aprox 5- 1/3 cup (2-2/3 oz) servings.  So lets do the math, 1 bag of mix- $19, plus 6 bags of pearls- $12; so $31, for roughly 30 teas I make at home.  If I bought those 30 teas at the store it would cost me $120.

In the picture I am using Possmei's Bubble Tea Mix, Green Tea All in 1 Instant Powder, I am giving directions as to their mix which is used in all Possmei's bubble tea restaurants.  My Tapioca pearls are from WuFuYuan, I'm using the basic pearls, there are multiple types and flavors, I will be using their directions, their tapioca pearls are ready in 5 min. I however do make my pearls in sugar water to make them sweeter. (1/2 cup sugar per 3 cups water) if you so choose.  This recipe makes 1, but is easily upscaled.

Ingredients
For tea:
4 Tbsp (2oz) Bubble Tea mix
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup ice

For Tapioca Pearls:
3 cups water
1/3 cup pearls

Directions:
For Tea:
Dissolve Bubble tea mix in hot water, then add ice and pearls, stir to dissolve ice.

For a frozen drink in blender, combine mix and liquid substituting hot water for milk or cold water. Blend until smooth. Pour into glass and add pearls if desired.

For Tapioca Pearls:
  1. Bring water to a rolling boil on high, pour the tapioca pearls into the water slowly. Stir softly. 
  2. After the Tapioca becomes plump (it will rise to the surface), turn heat down to medium and cover for 5 minutes. 
  3. After 5 minutes scoop the pearls out and they are ready to serve.  
  4. To make pearls sweeter, you can cover the pearls in sugar or honey.
  5. Pour desired amount into drink and enjoy

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Ham and Cheese Crescent Roll-Ups

Lets face it, I have nights when I really don't feel like cooking.  On those nights I try to find something quick and simple to make, these usually fit the bill.  I probably take longer to make them than I should because instead of using pre-sliced cheese, I slice my own... and add three times as much meat and cheese that the recipe calls for.  One or two of these and a salad fills up my whole family.  Not bad I think! I use about 2-3 oz of cheese and 3-4 slices of ham each roll, and use the BIG crescent rolls (12 oz can) instead of the smaller ones that the recipe calls for.

 Ham and Cheese Crescent Roll-Ups
recipe from www.pillsbury.com


Ingredients

1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
8 thin slices cooked ham (8 oz)
4 thin slices Cheddar cheese (4 oz), each cut into 4 strips

Directions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Separate dough into 8 triangles. Place 1 piece of ham on each triangle; place 2 strips of cheese down center of ham. Fold in edges of ham to match shape of dough triangle. 
  2. Roll up each crescent, ending at tip of triangle. Place with tips down on ungreased cookie sheet.  
  3. Bake 15 to 19 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.
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Rice Pudding

I LOVE rice pudding, as a child my neighborhood was a very open place, where everyone knew everyone.  In one of my Grandpa's apartments lived this old woman who made the best rice pudding ever, but only spoke about 5 words in English that I clearly remember.  "You, come, sit, eat" and "now" are the only words that I ever remember her saying to me.  But believe me I always listened, she made some of the best Hispanic foods that I have ever had.  So some days when I'm longing for a connection to my past I cook up some rice pudding.
My husband, is always excited whenever I make Hispanic foods that remind him of his childhood, coming from a mixed family he grew up with a grandmother who still makes a lot of her foods from scratch, rice pudding being one of them.  Since I'm still waiting on the mail to come in with her recipe for rice pudding I make this one, but this one is quite good in its own right.  Because it uses leftover rice, I make double rice the night before I plan on making it.

Rice Pudding

Ingredients
1 C cooked rice
2 C milk
1/4 t salt
1 or 2 eggs, separated
1/2 C sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t cinnamon
Raisins (optional)

Directions:
  1. Scald the milk with rice. Beat egg yolks with the salt and sugar in the top of a double boiler.
  2. Temper the egg yolk mixture with a little bit of the milk mixture, then slowly add the remaining milk mixture to the yolk mixture while stirring. 
  3. Cook in top part of double boiler over simmering water until thick. While your mixture is simmering beat your egg whites until stiff.
    After the milk mixture has thickened, remove from heat and flavor with 1/2 t vanilla. 
  4. Take 1/4 of your egg whites and incorporate them into the milk/rice mixture.  Doing this adds lightens the mixture so that the remaining egg whites can be incorporated without losing the meringue like texture of the beaten egg whites.
  5. Once you have incorporated the first section of egg whites slowly and gently fold in the remaining egg whites in three batches.  The remaining heat of the pudding should cook the egg whites through without worry of salmonella, but if you prefer them well cooked you can place the whole batch into a 350*f oven for 10-20 min. 
    Pudding will continue to set as you bake, and then cool the pudding.  If you don't cool the pudding the pudding will be at final consistency after the addition of the egg whites.
  6. Gently mix in raisins if desired.  I prefer mine without.

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Basics: Hard Boiled Eggs


Now I would think that this would be a pretty simple thing to master, but to my surprise boiling eggs is harder than it would seem.  Well, until you get some secrets handed down from your mom or great Aunt Sue.  In my case, my mom always had a super cool egg thermometer that you would put in the water with your eggs. So, in other words, I never learned how to boil eggs until I left home.  Go me!
This awesome timer (that my mom has at her house and wont let me steal), can be bought at crate and barrel for $5. (Ya, I know I'm cheap)
For those of you, like me who don't own a really awesome egg timer like my mom, here's a simple way to make perfect HARD boiled eggs.  I have found that boiled eggs peel best when either A. Scalding hot and burn off your fingertips or B. were cooled off properly and are now ice cold.

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

Ingredients:
Eggs
Water
Salt (optional)


Directions:
  1. Put the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan, covered by at least an inch or two of cold water. Starting with cold water and gently bringing the eggs to a boil will help keep them from cracking.
    Adding a half teaspoon of salt is thought to help both with the preventing of cracking and making the eggs easier to peel.
    Put the burner on high and bring the eggs to a boil. As soon as the water starts to boil, remove the pan from the heat for a few seconds.
  2. Reduce the heat to low, return the pan to the burner. Let simmer for one minute. Note: If you are using an electric stove with a coil element, you can just turn off the heat. There is enough residual heat in the coil to keep the eggs simmering for a minute.
  3. After a minute, remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 12 minutes.
    The eggs should be done perfectly at 10 minutes, but sometimes, it can take a few minutes more. When you find the right time that works for you given your pan, the size of eggs you usually buy, the type of stove top you have, stick with it.
    I find that it is very hard to overcook eggs using this method. I can let the eggs sit, covered, for up to 15-20 minutes without the eggs getting overcooked.
  4. Either remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place them into a bowl of ice water OR strain out the water from the pan, fill the pan with cold water, strain again, fill again, until the eggs cool down a bit. Once cooled, strain the water from the eggs. Store the eggs in a covered container (eggs can release odors) in the refrigerator. They should be eaten within 5 days.

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