Thursday, August 30, 2012

Asian Cola Chicken Wings

During one of our food escapades outside of Thousand Oaks, we ventured into Monterey Park to meet up with friends over dim sum. While the wait for a table of 14 people was horrendous (even though I was assured the wait won't be bad.. we waited for over an 1 hour, only to be split up into 2 tables) the good food made up for it.

One of the dishes that we had was "Cola" Chicken. I've never heard of it and was told that the chicken was cooked in (Coca?) Cola. I couldn't taste the soda in the sauce and thought it was ok. One of my friend though, thought that it was delicious and ordered 2 plates of it. I was determined to see if I can enhance the cola flavor in the sauce. I got some wings from the grocer, and looked up some recipe for the chicken. As I cook down the cola sauce, I find that the soda taste is no longer there... What was left was a nice sweet and salty syrupy sauce that coats the very tender wings ( the soda must have helped in tenderizing the chicken) so nicely. The chicken was very addictive. I made 12 pieces of wings and wished I made a little more! Here's the recipe!

  • 12 Chicken Wing Segments
  • 1 Tsp Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped Green Onions (Optional)
Marinade Ingredients
  • 2 Tsp Rice Wine
  • 2 Tsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tsp Sweet Dark Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tsp Sesame Oil
Sauce Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 Cup (Pepsi) Cola or Coca Cola
Mix all the marinate ingredients and chicken wings in a bowl and set aside for 30 minutes. Then, heat 2 tsp oil in a non stick frying pan over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, place the marinated chicken (do not pour in the marinade juice yet) into the pan and fry each side for about 1-2 minutes until you get a nice caramelization on the skin. Then add all the marinade juice, light soy sauce and the cola into the pan. Reduce the heat to medium, and cover the chicken. Let the chicken cook until the sauce becomes thick and syrupy. This should take about 25-30 minutes. Remove cover, quickly turn to coat the chicken in the syrupy sauce and transfer to a plate. Garnish with optional chopped green onions and serve immediately.


Simply June 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sausage and Mushroom Pinwheels

We were invited to celebrate A's surprise (belated) birthday at an art studio.  A's wife, C had planned and arranged for the few of us to gather at the art studio and do some painting. The owner of the studio allowed us to bring in some of our own food and drinks to enjoy while we painted. We had a lot of fun, the birthday boy was truly surprised and food was plentiful! I'll blog on that wonderful party in another post.

Anyway, as I hate going to parties empty handed and always try to make sure I have something in hand. I told C that I'll make some mushroom tartlets for the party even though she said we don't need to bring anything. On the day of the party (being a little disorganized),  I realized that I forgot a crucial ingredient for the tartlets; green onions. Not wanting to head out to the store again, I decided to go with making something else. Looking at what I had in the freezer and keeping in mind that I wanted to bring finger food... I decided to make some pinwheels. I'm glad I came out with this last minute idea as the birthday boy said it was delicious! Yay! The sprinkles of tomato in the pinwheel gave it a little pop of color. Here's the recipe.

*Makes 15 pieces

  • 1 Sheet Puff Pastry
  • 1 Fresh Sausage/Bratwurst, Casing Removed
  • 10 Oz Mushroom, Sliced
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Minced
  • Dash (or two) Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Tomato, Rib removed, Diced
  • 1 Tsp Fresh Chopped Parsley
  • 1/3 Cup Shredded Cheddar
  • 1/2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1-2 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
Preheat oven to 400F. In a pan over medium high heat, add bratwurst and butter. Break bratwurst apart into tiny pieces, then add mushroom slices and garlic. Sitr fry mixture until mushroom and sausage turns slightly golden brown. Remove from heat and add chopped parsley.

On a slightly floured surface, slightly roll out puff pastry with the short side closest to you. Spread the sausage and mushroom filling evenly. Start about 1 inch from the edge closest to you and stop about 2 inches from the edge furthest away from you. On both sides, make sure you leave about 1/3 inch "filling free". Then sprinkle chopped tomato and cheese adhering to the same guidelines for the sausage & mushroom spread.

Carefully using both hands, lift and roll the edge closest to you; making sure the roll is tight. Once you finished rolling, pinch both edges to keep the filling in. Then, cut the roll into about 15 pieces and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or foil).  Bake the pinwheels for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy it warm or at room temperature!

Simply June 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

20% Off at TGI Fridays

Hey guys! Here's a money saving coupon for your next meal at the nearest TGI Fridays! Click on the image or go to to be directed to the coupon to print. The coupon is just valid for US locations!

your friend their own coupon.
The coupon below is yours and can only be used one time.

I'm not affiliated with TGI Fridays in anyway, and merely just sharing a money saving coupon whenever I see them! I heart coupons! =)

Simply June 

Easy Dinner Rolls

Updated 3 Sept, 2012

Making bread is my nemesis. Well, perhaps patience is my problem in making bread or anything that involves yeast. Having to let the dough rise and rise and rise like there's no tomorrow so that you get soft and fluffy bread does test my patience. Therefore, the few times I tried to make bread and couldn't wait to let it rise more, I ended up with almost rock hard bread. Epic fail! Serve me right I guess. My main problem, is that I can't wait to get it baked and eat it right away. I "heart" bread. Just ask my husband, he knows how much bread I can eat in one seating, prior to dinner. Nice warm dinner rolls accompanied with rich creamy butter and I'm pretty much all set while waiting for the main course to arrive.

I had wanted to make dinner tolls again a couple months ago, and tried a recipe. It was a success.. as I let the dough rise and rise and rise. The result was nice and fluffy dinner rolls. The second time I used the recipe, I first forget to add sugar at the beginning of the process and I think that killed it. The dough did not rise properly. While it wasn't super hard... it wasn't great.

The third time, I tried the recipe, it was great.... I made myself busy so that I won't be tempted to bake the dinner rolls too soon. Result was soft and fluffy bread...... eat it warm with some butter! If it cools down, you'll need to reheat it again. Click here for the original recipe, mine is slightly tweaked with a longer resting time for the dough.

*Makes 12 dinner rolls

  • 2-2-1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Envelope Fleischmann's Rapid Rise Yeast
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1 Tsp Oil
  • 1 Egg Yolk, Beaten
  • 1/2 Tsp Sesame Seed (Optional)
Combine 3/4 Cup Flour, undissolved yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Heat milk, water and butter until very warm (About 120F - 130F). Add flour mixture. Using a electric mixer, beat mixtures at medium speed for 2 minutes, scarping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add 1/4 Cup of flour, and beat at high speed for 2 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Remove dough from bowl and knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic for about 8-10 minutes. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 pieces and shape them into balls. Grease a 8 inch round pan with oil, and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm draft free place for about 1 hour. The dough should double in size. 

Brush the egg yolk onto the dough and sprinkle with optional sesame seeds. Bake the dough in a preheated oven at 375F for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

June's Notes: You can stuff the little dinner rolls with some cheese, mini franks or sweet red bean paste, etc. Stuff the dough after you divide them into 12 pieces and let them rest per the recipe! =)

Simply June 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pulmuone Ja Jang Myun

Being in the land of Thousand Oaks, we are kind of deprived from Asian grocery stores and authentic Asian Food. The closest Asian grocery stores is about 50 minutes from us and a few weekends ago we finally ventured into the Northridge area where we were told there are some Asian grocery stores and restaurant there. We stumbled Galleria Market, a Korean grocery store which also has a food court in its premise. While the fresh vegetables/fish selection is not as impressive as H-Mart (at least in MA), it was  decent if you're desperate! 

Since we were also there, we decided to stock up on some Asian food, mainly Korean I guess. One of the items I got was a bag of Ja Jang Myun which is a kind of noodle dish, served with a thick black bean sauce. A bag serves 2 people and for less than $5 ( I think we paid less than $4) it's a pretty good deal. I like that it comes with fresh noodles ( 2 bags) and 2 bags of black bean sauce with some potato cubes I think. The preparation of the Ja Jang Myun is super easy; basically boiling the noodles until it's cooked and re-heating the bag of sauce.

I decided to fry up and egg and julienne some fresh cucumbers with my noodles. I wished there were a little more noodles in the bag as the sauce was plenty. The ja jang myun was overall ok. The sauce seem to be lacking some flavors. I'm not sure if this was because the one I had in the past has some pork in it or what but for $2 per bowl, I shouldn't complain much.  I do like that the noodles were fresh, and not the dehydrated ones! 

I might buy this again to have handy when I crave for some Ja Jang Myun. This company produces a few different kind of noodles that might be worth trying out. The noodles are usually found in the refrigerated section of the store and have a decent shelf life.

PS: This is my personal review, and I'm not affiliated with Pulmuone company for this product review.

Simply June 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Creamy Ranch Mashed Potatoes

Even though boxed mashed potatoes are super convenient, making your own mashed potatoes isn't that difficult. Plus, at least you know it's made from fresh potatoes and there's minimal to no preservative in that big bowl of creamy mashed potatoes.

I am not going to deny that I have used boxed mashed potatoes during my college years but ever since I saw how easy was it to make it on my own.. I never looked back!

For hubby's birthday, I decided to make him some Chicken Marsala and to go along it, some mashed potatoes. I wanted to just make the mash potatoes a little fancy and decided to add some ranch dressing to it. Here's the recipe!

*Serves 3-4

  • 1.5 lb Red Skin Potatoes (or your choice)
  • 1/2 Cup Half & Half
  • 1/4 Cup Ranch Dressing
  • 2-3 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Tsp Chopped Parsley
  • Salt 
  • Ground Black Pepper
Peel potatoes, cut them into halves ( or cubes for shorter cooking time) and place them into a medium pot. Fill pot with enough water to cover the potatoes and 2 tsp of salt. Let the potatoes boil over medium high heat and cook until potatoes are soft and fall apart when you stick a fork into it.

Drain potatoes, then add minced garlic, half & half, ranch dressing and butter. Mash the mixture together then add chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with your favorite meat.


June's Notes: If you have some left over mash potatoes (lets say maybe a little over 1/2 cup) like I did, turn them into some potato croquet appetizers the next day! All you need is some panko bread crumbs ( about 1/2 Cup), 1 egg beaten, and oil for shallow frying. All you need to do is to divide the mashed potatoes into 4 portions, roll them into ball and gently flatten them into a disk while making sure the edges are nice and smooth.  Then dip, the potato discs into the egg mixture, and then into the panko bread crumbs. Make sure the potato dics are well coated with the panko breadcrumbs. In a frying pan, heat oil enough for shallow frying over medium heat. Once oil is hot, place the potato croquettes into the pan and fry until golden brown before gently turning over the croquettes over to fry the other side. Remove once both sides are golden brown and serve warm! 

Simply June 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Nectarine Sorbet

From my "cooking" class where I tasted and took home a delicious nectarine galette recipe, I also took home a refreshing nectarine sorbet recipe. Stone fruits are in season now, so this was a perfect time to make something out of the fresh fruits. 

Recipe was simple, but the instructor's recipe was more than my ice cream maker could handle. I had to tweak Robert Wemischner's recipe stone fruit sorbet recipe a little to suit my taste and my ice cream maker. From the class, we were told that it's best to let the ice cream/sorbet base rest overnight before churning it so that you get a more intense flavor. I did the same, but I don't think leaving the base overnight did anything to my sorbet.

Grab some fresh stone fruits from the store and try this recipe out! Feel free to use peaches, apricots, plums, any very ripe stone fruit will do!

  • 4 Ripe Nectarines (about 2 Lbs)
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Water
  • Zest from 1/2 Large Lemon
  • Juice from 1 Large Lemon
In a small pot, bring to boil sugar and water to make simple syrup (This will give you about 1-1/2 Cup and you will only use part of it). Set syrup aside and let it cool. 

Cut nectarines (keep the skin) into wedges and discard pits. Place cut nectarines, 1 cup of simple syrup, lemon zest and juice into a food processor or a blender and let it process until smooth. Slowly pour the blended nectarines through a fine sieve into a clean container. You will need to pour a little at a time, to avoid overflow. You'll need to stir the mixture constantly to get as much liquid through. Discard the remnants in the sieve.

Now, you can either store the sieved puree in the fridge over night before churning it or churn it right away in your ice cream maker per the manufacturer's instruction. I used a cuisinart 1.5 quart ice cream maker and processed the sorbet for about 30-35 minutes.

Transfer the sorbet into a container and freeze for about 2-3 hours before serving! Enjoy!

Simply June 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Nectarine Galette

I went to a cooking class recently, well it was more about architectural desserts and some demo I guess. While I didn't really learn much about putting together a decorative dessert that I did not already know how to, I did bring home some awesome recipes and learnt a few tips. The 3 hour class I went was very packed, even though the demo on the recipes were pretty good, I wished it was a hands on class. I guess, I must have misread the class description and went in on different expectations.

Anyway........ the instructor made a delicious yet quite easy to make peach galette. It had some rosemary in the crust, which I thought was very interesting and gives you a little surprising flavor when you bite into the galette. With 2 very ripe nectarines sitting in my kitchen, I knew this was a great time to try out the recipe. The original recipe given to us at the class has a brown sugar crumb topping, I decided to use his online recipe as a reference that omitted the crumb topping.  Original recipe by Robert Wemischner can be found HERE, but here's my slightly tweaked version. The galette is overall not too sweet (all the sweetness will come from your fruit!), and the slightly savory crust makes it an awesome combination. Make it a nectarine galette ala mode or perhaps a drizzle or two of some yummy caramel sauce if you want to increase the level of sweetness.


Pastry Crust Ingredients
  • 2-1/2 Oz Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 2-1/2 Oz Cream Cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 Large Egg Yolk, mixed with 1-1/2 Oz Ice Water
  • 1 Tsp Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary
  • Zest form 1/2 Lemon 
  • 7 Oz All Purpose Flour + Extra for Rolling out dough
  • 3 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1/3 Tsp Salt
Nectarine Filling Ingredients
  • 4 Tbsp Unflavored Finely Ground Bread Crumbs
  • 2-3 Large Ripe Nectarines (or other ripe stone fruit in season)
  • 1 -1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice, mixed with 1 Tsp Ice Water
  • 1 Tbsp Apricot Jam
  • Egg Wash (1 Egg Yolk, mixed with 1 Tsp Water)


In a large bowl, cream butter and cream until smooth, scraping the sides and the bottom of the bowl occasionally. Add egg yolk mixture into bowl and mix until blended. Add rosemary, lemon zest, flour, sugar and salt, mixing just until dry ingredients disappear. Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl to be sure that all ingredients are well blended. Remove dough to a lightly floured surface and knead briefly to compress dough. Flatten the dough into a round disk and warp well in a plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge until firm, about one hour.

In the mean time, you can either peel the nectarines or leave it with skin on. Cut the nectarines into halves (pitt removed) and set them (cut side down) on a plate lined with some paper towel to soak extra juice. Gently brush the top of the nectarines with the lemon juice mixture and set the nectarines aside until ready to assemble.

Once the dough is firm, roll out the chilled dough into a sheet, about 1/3" thick on a lightly floured surface. Using a 5-6 inch round cookie cutter or a 5-6" bowl & knife, cut the dough into 4 circles and place on a parchment lined sheet pan. If not ready for use yet, chill the dough in the fridge.

Preheat oven at 375F. Sprinkle bread crumbs in the center of each dough leaving about 1-1/2" margin of dough uncovered. Place each half of the nectarines on top of the bread crumb, in the center of the dough. Fold the edge of the dough towards the nectarines, and pinch the dough at about 1" intervals, making a decorative pleat around the outside of the galette.

If the galette feels soft after pleating, refrigerate the galettes for about 15 minutes. Mix the apricot jam with the remaining lemon juice mixture (for a sweeter glaze, mix the jam with about 2 tsp of water instead of the lemon juice mixture) and brush the jam mixture on each nectarine halves.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Let the galettes cool down a little before serving with your favorite vanilla or caramel ice cream. You can also serve the galettes at room temperature.


June's Comments: Do not skip using the breadcrumbs, as odd as it sounds, it actually helps to absorb the juices the the fruit and prevent the crust from getting soggy. Also, when pleating the galette, pinch the dough tightly, if not you will end up having something ugly like this... =(

With the extra access of dough, I compiled them and roll it out into about 5-6" circle. With no nectarines left, I placed about 2 tbsp of blueberry jam in the middle of the dough (no need spread the jam, because as the galette cooks, the jam will spread out) leaving about 1-1/2" margin on the edge. Fold the edge of the dough and pinch the dough about 1/2" interval making a decorative pleat. Make a 3/4 inch "well" around the jam, so that the dough can contain the jam when cooking. Refrigerate the blueberry jam galette for about 15 minutes prior to baking. Brush the outer edge of the dough with egg wash and bake for about 30 minutes until the galette is golden brown. 

Not bad for one dough... 2 desserts, huh?

The desserts were so pretty, I couldn't help taking a couple more shots of them....Bon Appetit!

Simply June 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Banana Nut Muffin

I wanted to bake something for my friends and thought that banana nut muffin would be easy, delicious and a pretty healthy for snack. I've made banana crumb muffin from in Massachusetts and the muffin was a big hit with my colleagues. The cinnamon sugar crumb topping on the muffin was absolutely delicious. But since I'm now in the West Coast, and being in California everyone is sort of health conscious, I decided to tweak the recipe and make it a little more "California Friendly" I guess. Substituting some all purpose flour with whole wheat flour, and adding some nuts..little steps to make it semi healthy!

The original recipe with the sinful cinnamon crumb topping is found HERE. Here's my version of healthy banana nut muffin recipe:

*Makes about 12 standard size muffins


  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1/3 Cup Chopped Pecans/Walnuts
  • 4 Large Ripe Bananas, Mashed 
  • 3/4 Cup White Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg, Lightly Beaten
  • 1/2 Cup Butter, Melted
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 1 Banana, Sliced (Optional, for garnish only)

Preheat oven to 375F. In a large bowl, sift together all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. 

In another bowl, add mashed bananas, white sugar, brown sugar, egg, melted butter and vanilla essence and mix well. Pour banana mixture into the flour mixture, and stir well until combined. Scoop batter into pre-lined/greased standard muffin pan till about 3/4 full. Add the optional slices banana onto the muffin; one slice per muffin.

Bake in preheated oven for about 18-20 minutes. Do the toothpick test (inserting a toothpick into the muffin, and if toothpick comes out clean - muffin is done!) to determine doneness. 

Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea... or breakfast or as a snack!

Simply June 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Updated December 14, 2013

Hainanese Chicken Rice is one of the best Malaysian comfort food, and most ingredients are easily obtainable in the US. Hainanese Chicken Rice is very popular in Malaysian and Singapore and it is usually served with some cucumber, soy sauce, chili sauce and complimentary soup. To make it your own, it's pretty easy although there are many optional parts to make up the delicious comfort food.

Since the husband chose to have Hainanese Chicken Rice for dinner 2 days ago, I've decided it's the perfect time to note down the ingredients, method and all of how I make my Hainanese Chicken Rice.  I usually like to use chicken thigh instead of whole chicken, but in this recipe I'll be using chicken legs (thigh + drumsticks) as that was what I had in the freezer. I usually make the fragrant/flavored rice in a rice cooker, so if you do not have one.. it's ok.. you'll just need to adjust your cooking method a little. I don't have the instructions for cooking rice in a regular pot, as I'm pretty bad at it. =( I believe there are 2 ways to prepare the chicken; by steaming it or by boiling it. I've always cooked mine the latter.

I make chicken rice (via boiling method) very often but I've never written down the recipe and exact measurements. However, due to some requests for the recipe lately, I know that I needed to put everything down on paper...and after posting a picture of the HCR on Facebook and getting an overwhelming response of "likes" and comments, I was glad I took the time to write the ingredients and steps on paper that day. My friends have requested for the recipe and I have to say I had a success story when my friend was very thrilled with the way her HCR turned out based on my over the Facebook rough instructions. I can't take all the credit as she did the cooking and made the adjustments... I just told her what to do and what to use!

The Hainanese Chicken Rice in Malaysia does not come with the ginger garlic/scallion sauce.  I first fell in love with this sauce when I ate a steamed chicken from a Chinese restaurant in Chicago. This sauce is quite commonly served with steamed chicken in Asian restaurants. So, I now always make this dipping sauce every time I make Hainanese Chicken Rice and the husband loves it! For a guy who likes spicy food, he prefers the ginger garlic sauce over chili sauce when he eats his chicken rice. As for the chili dipping sauce, I've always just gotten them from the store; most bottled chili sauce (typically from Indonesia/Malaysia or Thailand) works for me.

Here's the lengthy instruction to make some Hainanese Chicken Rice. The list will look tremendously long and tedious, but it's really not that bad...and will be oh-so-worth it once you sit down and enjoy your meal. Here's the recipe!

*Serves 3-4

Part (A) - Hainanese Chicken 
  • 6-8 Chicken Thighs
  • 2-3 Inch Ginger, Sliced
  • 10 Cup Water
  • 1-1/2 Tsp Salt
  • Ice Water Bath
In a large pot, let 10 cups of water and ginger come to a boil over medium high heat. Trim the chicken to remove access chicken fat and skin. Gently score the meat closest to the bone to slightly detach it to ensure shorter cooking time. Do not completely remove the bone.

Once water is boiling slowly add chicken thighs and salt. Make sure water covers the chicken, if not add a little more water. Let the chicken boil for about 15 minutes over medium high heat. Using a ladle, gently remove as much of the "white foamy scum" and as much fat from the soup. Then, reduce heat to medium low and let chicken legs simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until chicken legs are cooked. To test wether the chicken is cooked, careful remove a piece of chicken, and poke the chicken (nearest to the bone). If the liquid runs clear, that means the chicken is cooked. If pink juice flows out, continue cooking for a few more minutes.

Once cooked, remove from heat and place immediately in a ice water bath for about 5-10 minutes. Then, remove from ice water bath, let it drain, slice chicken thighs (bone in or out) and set aside.

Do not discard the chicken broth from boiling the chicken as it will be used multiple times throughout the recipe.

Part (B) - (Chicken) Flavored Rice
  • 10 Cloves Garlic, Chopped (About 3 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Cups Uncooked Jasmine Rice, Washed
  • 2 Inch Ginger, Sliced
  • Chicken Broth (from Part A) sufficient to cook your rice.
  • 2-3 Pandan Leaves, Knotted
  • Pinch of Salt
In a frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp of Sesame Oil and 1 Tbsp of Vegetable Oil over medium heat. Add chopped garlic and sauté until garlic is golden brown. Remove fried garlic and set aside. Do not wash frying pan. 

Over medium high heat, add 2 tbsp of the fried garlic (and some garlic oil) into the same frying pan. Add sliced ginger and rice and stir fry the rice for about 5 minutes. Transfer "fried" rice into a rice cooker and add leftover chicken broth from Part A. Add pandan leaves, a pinch (or two) of salt, and turn on the rice cooker and let it work its magic. 

The remainder of the fried garlic (and oil) will be used in Part C for the Soy Dipping Sauce to go with the chicken rice.

June's Comments: Add sufficient liquid to the rice, as how you would usually cook plain rice. Don't make the rice too al dente, though. It needs to be soft, fluffy and fragrant. I've been using the pressure cooker to make my rice, and do not use as much liquid. Adding the extra chicken fat and skin from the broth when cooking the rice makes it extra fragrant!

Part (C) - Soy Dipping Sauce (for rice and chicken)
  • Fried Garlic + oil from (Part B)
  • 2 Tbsp Dark Sweet Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce 
  • 1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • 4 - 6 Tbsp Chicken Broth (from Part A)
Mix all ingredients listed above in a bowl and set aside till serving time. 

Part (D) - Ginger Garlic Dipping Sauce
  • 8-10 Garlic Cloves, Finely Minced (About 3 Tbsp)
  • 2 Stalk Green Onions/Scallion, Finely Chopped (About 3 Tbsp)
  • 2 Inch Ginger, Peeled & Finely Minced (About 3 Tbsp)
  • 8 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1-1/2 Tsp Salt
Mix all ingredients listed above in a bowl and set aside till serving time.

June's Comments: Must use fresh garlic. Do not use pre minced ones from the store. 

Part (E) - Optional Soup
  • Remaining chicken broth from Part (A)
  • 8-10 Fish Balls
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 Stalk Green Onion/Scallion, Chopped
  • Salt to tast
Heat remaining chicken broth from Part A over medium high heat. Add fish balls and let them cook until they are "floating" and slightly "bloated". Season with pepper and salt if needed and garnish with chopped green onion before serving.

Ahh... finally the serving and eating part. Community style would be easiest, that way everyone can take as much as they want. Drizzle some soy dipping sauce over the chicken thigh platter and serve with some sliced cucumbers. Serve rice warm, don't forget to bring out the tasty dipping sauces and simple soup! Enjoy!

*Sorry for the crappy picture. This was an older picture taken with my phone.

Simply June 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I was invited to a friend's party for her son's birthday some months ago and I offered to bring some desserts. I had only planned to bring one kind dessert; my (quite famous??) white chocolate cheesecake with fresh fruits and somehow I screwed up the recipe and instead of getting enough ingredients for 2 cheesecakes, I only had enough ingredients for one. Short of time and reluctant to head to the store again, I decided to check my pantry and worked with what I had. I didn't just want to bring brownies, I wanted to bring something a little special...especially since it was a birthday party after all. Googling and once again saved my life as I found a delicious Flourless Chocolate Cake  recipe. The cake was a big hit! It was perfect for some one who's allergic to gluten or just want to watch their weight? =) Very very rich, so a little piece for everyone was just perfect.

Good quality chocolate is very important when you make such a chocolaty dessert. If you can afford some Valrhona or Callebaut Chocolate, go for it! The next best thing in my opinion if you can't afford the brands I've just mentioned is my all-time favorite (at affordable price); Ghiradelli Chocolates which you could easily get at most grocery stores. I've tried different chocolate brands from the grocery stores and still prefer to use Ghirardelli even though they do cost a little more than the other brands like Nestle and Hershey. =) To me it's worth the extra buck or two.

Here's the recipe for the Flourless Chocolate Cake adapted from


  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 18 Oz Good Quality Bittersweet Chocolate
  • 2 Tsp Coffee Granules (Optional)
  • 1 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup Toasted Sliced Almonds (Optional)
  • 1/4 Cup Good Quality Cocoa Powder (Optional)

Preheat oven to 300 F. Grease one 10 inch round cake pan and set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine water, salt, sugar and optional coffee granules. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside. Either in the top half of a double boiler or in a microwave oven, melt the bittersweet chocolate. Pour the chocolate into the bowl of an electric mixer. Cut butter into pieces and beat the butter into the chocolate, 1 piece at a time. Beat in hot sugar mixture. Then slowly beat in eggs one at a time.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place in a water bath. Bake cake in the water bath at 300 F for 45-50 minutes. The center will still look wet. Chill cake overnight in the pan. To unfold, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for 10 seconds and invert onto a serving plate.

If your cake does not look too appealing at this point, sift some good quality cocoa powder over the top to cover the blemishes. You can also use the sliced almonds to cover the sides.

June's Comments: I had some problem removing the cake, so I used a thin knife to quickly go around the edge of the cake and had to soak the came a little longer than 10 seconds. Don't do it too long, as you will melt the cake. The almond slices and cocoa powder came in very handy to glamorize the cake and hid some imperfections!.

Simply June 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Afternoon Tea and a Cranberry Orange Scone Recipe

*Sorry for a crappy picture!

A couple weeks ago, I invited some of my Thousand Oaks friends over for some afternoon tea. Afternoon tea (according to wikipedia) is a snack eaten between 3-5pm and originated from England. Finger food like savory sandwiches and tasty desserts are served along with tea of course.

I've had afternoon tea twice in the US, but they don't compare to the ones my friends have had in Asia or other parts of the world. The spread of the afternoon tea and the trays of glorious food that was served was mouth watering and oh so tempting. So, I wanted to create that experience at my home. I baked/made a couple different items and bought a yummy petit four cake sampler from Trader Joe's to put together a spread of afternoon tea for 5 people. Here's what was served at tea; homemade Cranberry Orange Scones (recipe at the end of this post), Egg Salad Profiteroles, Salmon Cucumber Sandwich, Jam Thumbprint Cookies, Strawberry Cream Profiteroles, Trader Joe's petit four selection, Nokdujeon (Korean Savory Mung Bean Pancake) by my friend, some fresh fruits and of course tea!

How can I serve afternoon tea without scones?? So, I made some scones the day of the afternoon tea to make sure I serve the freshest batch of homemade scones to serve to my friends. As I was unable to find clotted cream/devonshire cream, I just served scones with some jam. I googled for a scone recipe and decided to go with one I found on all recipes and was utterly pleased with the results . Here's the recipe for some yummy Cranberry Orange Scones adapted from all recipes with just a minor tweak.


  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 8 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, Frozen
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1 Tsp Grated Orange Zest
  • 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1 Tsp Vanila
  • 2 Large Egg 
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat at 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Grate butter (using large hole box grater) into flour mixture and use your fingers to work in butter so that mixture resemble a coarse meal. Stir in cranberries and orange zest.

In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and 1 egg until smooth.  Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. The dough will be sticky in places and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.

Place dough on a lightly floured surface flight roll dough until it's about 3/4 inch thick. Using your favorite cookie cutter ( about 2-3 inch diameter), "cut" out the scones  and place on a cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper or foil) about 1 inch apart. Beat the remaining egg, and brush egg wash on the scones. Bake until golden brown for about 15-17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy! And don't forget a cuppa hot tea to go with it.

Simply June 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Egg & Chinese Sausage Fried Rice

Fried Rice is often associated with Chinese. The husband and I often joked that whenever we travel overseas, he needs to go to get his fix of Chinese Fried Rice....One reason being...he can never live without his rice and second reason being there's always a Chinese restaurant everywhere you go.. and sometimes in the least expected town out of no where.... you'll find a Chinese take out restaurant.

My fridge was getting empty and I'm still trying to maximize everything before I stock up at the grocery store. No, it's not that the grocery store is far from me, in fact I can easily walk there in 5 minutes! It's just being lazy and trying to make sure I utilize as much as I have first before buying more food.

Chinese Sausage is one thing that keeps pretty well, and it's something that I will usually have in my fridge. I love it in fried rice as well as dishes like Claypot Chicken Rice. Chinese Sausages (or more fondly known as Lap Cheong in Cantonese are like many western cured dry sausages like salami and chorizo. Lap Cheong is sweet and salty, and unlike Chorizo it's not spicy. I believe Chinese Sausages are mostly cooked before consuming unlike the salami where you can just sliced it up and munch it with some cheese and wine.

Combining my 2 favorite items; chinese sausage and eggs and a limited pantry, I made egg & chinese sausage fried rice. In this recipe, I cooked the egg separately as I prefer bigger chunks of scrambled egg. Overnight rice is the best option for fried rice, so that you do not get wet soggy fried rice. I planned ahead for this meal by cooking extra rice the night before so that I have extra rice for today's dinner menu. Here's the recipe!

*Serves 3-4


  • 4 Chinese Sausage, Casing Removed & Sausages Sliced Thinly
  • 3 Crabstick, Sliced (Optional)
  • 4 Large Eggs, Lightly Beaten with 1 Tsp Soy Sauce
  • 4 Cups Overnight Rice
  • 1 Cup Frozen Peas (or Frozen Mixed Vegetable)
  • 2-3 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 2 + 1 Tsp Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Premium Light Soy Sauce 
  • 2-3 Dash of White Pepper,  ( or To Taste)
  • 1 Stalk Green Onion, Chopped

Heat wok over medium high heat. Stir in sliced chinese sausage and let the fat render. Once the sausages are slightly brown, remove sausages from heat and place in a bowl. Do not clean the wok.

Add in 1 tsp of oil into the same work and add beaten eggs. Stir it occasionally and break the eggs into pieces. Continue cooking the egg until you get a dry scrambled egg consistency. Remove scrambled eggs from heat and place with the sausages. Do not clean the wok.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in the same wok over medium high heat Then add chopped garlic and sliced crabsticks and saute mixture until garlic is slightly brown. Add frozen peas and continue to stir mixture until peas are defrosted. Reduce heat to medium, then add overnight rice, chinese sausages, scrambled eggs, oyster sauce, light soy sauce and dashes of white pepper into the wok. Stir occasionally for about 4-5 minutes so that everything is mixed well. Serve immediately with sprinkles of chopped green onions.

June's Comments : As the chinese sausages are already salty, I try not to add too much sodium to the rice. If you eat every spoonful of fried rice with a piece ( or two) of the chinese sausages, that should give you enough sodium in every bite! 
You can get Chinese Sausages in most Asian grocery stores, and even some American grocery stores ( if there's a huge Asian population in the area). You can even get it on ( this is the brand I use).  

Simply June 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


This is another shout out to a friend's business. They just launched a pretty cool product that allows you to "change" the back cover of your iPhone to suit your outfit, mood and even activity.

To give you a better idea of the product, I picked up this description from their website, 
"iMoods stick to your iPhone with electrostatic forces instead of using any glue or adhesive.  That means when you remove a Mood from your iPhone to store it, it won't get all dirty and lose its ability to stick the next time you want to use it. You can carry all your Moods around with you and interchange whenever you feel like it, totally hassle-free."

Check out what iMoodFashion is and how you can customize your iPhone often as you like!

Head on to their website and check out the promotion that they are offering right now. They stock a variety of designs and I'm sure you'll be able to find out that you like! This is also an excellent product for fund raising to show school spirit or as a promotional product to put your brand name out there. . They are also on Facebook, so check them out and feel free to give them a "LIKE".

Simply June 
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