Aldi, my new found love

Oh Aldi, how can I only found out about you so late (2017)?

Ever since my first time there, I have been obsessed about it. Obviously as we already know, the price is really good. But what makes me really love this store is their variety of product, and the size of the store. It is down to earth, with just enough twist. No wonder they have been very successful and opened many stores in just a few years.

I will be posting some reviews of the items I purchased there in the next few posts. Stay tone!

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Planting updates

We decided to added some Perennials to our garden this year. We stopped by home Depot and pick up some nice plants. Hopefully they will stay alive.

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On the side:
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– Bugleweed x 4
– Garden Pinks “Everlast Lilac +Eye” x 6

In the front:
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Petunia (red, white and blue, 6 each)

Under the bushes:
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Creeping Myrtle x 9 as ground cover.

We got them all from Home Depot. Petunia is $15 for 18. Everything else is $5 for 1 gallon size.
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Spring 2012 Family Cruise Trip (Part 2)

Date: 4/14 – 4/21 2012

People: Dad, Mom, Eva and Sally

Ship: Carnival Liberty

Locations: Miami, St. Martin (Virgin Island), San Juan (Purto Rico), and Grand Turks Island

Our first family Cruise Trip to celebrate my parent’s 30th Anniversary:)

Day 4: Old San Juan, Purto Rico

Day 5: Grand Turks Island

 

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My sister’s Birthday cake: Gateau de Crepes

Few years ago, I have made the same cake for my sister. I remember she really like it, so I decided to make this for her again this year. Little did I remember how time consuming it is, it took me almost 3 hours to finish! However, I think it is all worth it!

I tried to follow the recipes as close as I can, except the following changes: I didn’t use vanilla bean; didn’t wait for overnight; I only prepared half the amount of the pastry cream; and I used rum.

I think I will definitely make this cake again, probably for J’s mom next time. I will also make 2/3 of the pastry cream instead of 1/2 next time.

 

 

My first owned cast iron pan

My first owned cast iron pan

 

 

Crepes

 

 

 

Crepe Cake

 

 

Crepes cooling down on wax paper

Crepes cooling down on wax paper

 

 

P1020234

 

 

P1020226

Gâteau de Crêpes

By
http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/9587/gateau-de-crepes.html)

For the crepe batter:

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 7 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch salt

For the vanilla pastry cream:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter

For the assembly:

  • Corn oil
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or more
  • 3 tablespoons Kirsch
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Preparation

1.
The day before, make the crepe batter and the pastry cream. Batter: In a small pan, cook the butter until brown like hazelnuts. Set aside. In another small pan, heat the milk until steaming; allow to cool for 10 minutes. In a mixer on medium-low speed, beat together the eggs, flour, sugar and salt. Slowly add the hot milk and browned butter. Pour into a container with a spout, cover and refrigerate overnight.
2.
Pastry cream: Bring the milk with the vanilla bean (and scrapings) to a boil, then set aside for 10 minutes; remove bean. Fill a large bowl with ice and set aside a small bowl that can hold the finished pastry cream and be placed in this ice bath.
3.
In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, then place pan over high heat and bring to a boil, whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes. Press the pastry cream through a fine-meshed sieve into the small bowl. Set the bowl in the ice bath and stir until the temperature reaches 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Stir in the butter. When completely cool, cover and refrigerate.
4.
Assemble the cake the next day: Bring the batter to room temperature. Place a nonstick or seasoned 9-inch crepe pan over medium heat. Swab the surface with the oil, then add about 3 tablespoons batter and swirl to cover the surface. Cook until the bottom just begins to brown, about 1 minute, then carefully lift an edge and flip the crepe with your fingers. Cook on the other side for no longer than 5 seconds. Flip the crepe onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Repeat until you have 20 perfect crepes.
5.
Pass the pastry cream through a sieve once more. Whip the heavy cream with the tablespoon sugar and the Kirsch. It won’t hold peaks. Fold it into the pastry cream.
6.
Lay 1 crepe on a cake plate. Using an icing spatula, completely cover with a thin layer of pastry cream (about 1/4 cup). Cover with a crepe and repeat to make a stack of 20, with the best-looking crepe on top. Chill for at least 2 hours. Set out for 30 minutes before serving. If you have a blowtorch for crème brûlée, sprinkle the top crepe with 2 tablespoons sugar and caramelize with the torch; otherwise, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Slice like a cake. Batter adapted from ”Joy of Cooking.” Pastry cream adapted from ”Desserts,” by Pierre Hermé and Dorie Greenspan.
YIELD
Serves 10
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Crêpes

Crêpes

  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, melted, or canola oil
  • 1/4 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. sugar pinch salt
  • extra oil, butter or nonstick spray for cooking

Pulse the milk, eggs and butter in a blender until foamy or whisk until well blended; add the remaining ingredients and pulse or whisk until smooth. Let the batter sit for half an hour.

When ready to cook, preheat a large skillet or griddle and brush it with butter or oil or spray it with nonstick spray. Pour about a quarter cup onto the skillet and tilt it around so that it runs into a circle. Cook until the top loses its gloss, which should only take a minute or two, then flip. The bottom should be golden. Cook the other side for about 30 seconds and then slide out onto a plate. Keep warm in a 250F oven or serve right away spread with butter, sugar and cinnamon, jam or Nutella, and folded or rolled up.

Makes about 8-10 crepes.

Recipe from http://blogs.babble.com/family-kitchen/2011/07/09/nutella-crepes-2/

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Hong kong Trip (Part 1)

Peking duck

Hot Pot

Peking Duck

Double Decker Bus

Egg Tart, one of my favorite food in HK

Fish Balls, another famous street food

Uncle getting reading for his daughter’s Big Day

Pre-Wedding Preparation

MTA

All Train station has double doors to prevent people falling into train track

Boneless chicken Feet w/ spicy and sour sauce

Dinner with My aunt and uncle (Joyce’s parent)

Thai Restaurant

Retangular Shaped Garlic bread, perfect match with Curry Crab

Tongiht’s Spot light: Thai Style Curry Crab!

charcoal grill pork

Aunt’s Orchard, give flowers every year

Wo Cheong Pawn shop, it is over 110 years old. Now become a trendy french restaurant

Pawn Store

chinese donut

Tea Restaurant, smallest sitting you can ever find

HK style milk Tea, something everyone should try at least once in their life time

Toast with butter and condense milk

Freshly baked Pineapple Bun (not realated to pineapple) with butter

Discus

Street market

Old meets New

Noodles

Dumplings

Hung Shing Temple (洪聖古廟)

Park in a busy city. Some how reminds me of Rome

 
 
Happy, my aunt’s cute Lab
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Nutella Cookies

Prep Time:
30 min
Inactive Prep Time:

Cook Time:
12 min

Serves:
20-30 cookies

Ingredients

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder                                                                                  1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In another medium bowl combine the butter, chocolate hazelnut spread, sugar, and brown sugar. Using an electric mixer, cream the ingredients together, about 4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Add the hazelnuts and stir until just combined.

Using a tablespoon measure, spoon out the cookie dough onto a cookie sheet, spacing the mounds about 4 inches apart. Use the tines of a fork to flatten the cookie dough. Bake until lightly golden around the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes. Use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

Recipe from Giada, Food network

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