Mini Lemon Cheesecakes

Mini Lemon Cheesecakes

Bryan and I love cheesecakes. But for the two of us, making a 9-inch full size cheesecake means endless eating. It is not only too much for us. It is also very unhealthy. Therefore, I love this mini version. These mini lemon cheesecakes are perfect little bites. The ratio between the cheese filling and the crust is just right. I also love the hint of tartness and the fragrant from the lemon. It tasted lighter than regular cheesecake.

I originally wanted to make these cheesecakes with Meyer lemons. However I couldn’t find any in store, I used regular lemons this time. I have tried both lemons. Meyer lemon ones were more fragrant and less tart. But they were both fantastic. Use whatever you can find.

These cheesecakes are good for parties. They are pretty looking and easy to eat. And they travel really well.

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Hambāgu Burger

Hambāgu Burger1

No, I didn’t make a spelling mistake. It is “Hambāgu”. Hambāgu is Japanese hamburger steak. It is like a Salisbury steak, but Hambāgu has onion and garlic mixed in with the meat. And the most special part has to be the tangy and sweet red wine sauce. Last year, I tried Nami’s (Just One Cookbook) Hambāgu recipe. Bryan and I absolutely love it, especially that sauce. One day, when we were enjoying burgers for dinner, Bryan said, “Nomm… This is good, but I think it will be even better with the Hambāgu’s sauce.” I can’t agree more. That is how this recipe came together.

For this Hambāgu burger, I used a mild cheese, Provolone, so it won’t be overpowering. The beef patty was juicy and moist. The buns were toasted and slightly sweet, which pair so well with that tangy red wine glaze. Everything came together nicely. It was a great burger! We served the burgers along with the Portobello mushroom fries. It was a satisfying meal. Hope you will try this burger, but don’t forget the napkins. It can get messy!

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Portobello Mushroom Fries

Portobello Mushroom Fries

I first had portobello fries when I was in a restaurant, Bottega Louie in Downtown Los Angeles. They were very good that I kept thinking about them. Thanks to food blogger Amy from uTry.it. She made an oven version portobello fries, which is even better. Easy and healthy. These fries were tasty and I know that I can make them any time I want now.

These fries are perfect substitute for regular fries. They are healthy, earthy, umami and filling. The flakey panko crust was crispy and light. These fries go so well with the creamy, garlicky and slightly sweet mayonnaise. Everything is just right. And they are super easy to make. Clean, cut, and roll. Put in the oven. Done! These fries are great as a side dish with burgers or steaks. Try this and you won’t be disappointed!

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Simple Poached Chicken

A couple of months ago, Bryan was home early from work. We were sitting in front of the TV. Out of nowhere, we realized that we were watching The Queen Latifah Show. That probably freaked Bryan out (LOL!) When we were about to change the channel, Graham Elliot (famous chef and judge from Master Chef) popped out. We were shocked to see the new Graham Elliot. He has lost A LOT OF weight. (If you haven’t seen it, google him.) Amazing! It is very good for him. Then he went on to cook this poached chicken on the show. At first, I wasn’t sure whether we would like that or not. I rarely make chicken breasts, because they are always dry and tough. We never like them. But then, when Chef Elliot finished the dish, the chicken looked moist and tasty. Bryan and I both agreed that we wanted to give this a try.

I am glad we did. This poached chicken was good. The vegetables poaching liquid gave the chicken more flavors. The tasty reduced jus was intense and earthy. It is the secret weapon to keep the chicken breast very flavorful and moist. This dish has changed my mind how chicken breast doesn’t have to be dry all the time. I hope you will enjoy the dish too!

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Chrysanthemum Tea

Chrysanthemum Tea

This maybe the easiest recipe that I have ever posted, but it is too good not to be shared with you. I grew up drinking this tea. My mom always made it for my sister and I during hot summer days. When we came home from school, it was really nice to have a cup of cold sweet tea.

Chrysanthemum tea is made with dried Chrysanthemum flowers, water and sugar. It is sweet with an amazing floral scent. Light and refreshing. It is a very common and popular tea within Chinese. It is said that the tea aids in the recovery from cold and flu. It is also a cooling herb which can reduce the body temperature, which is perfect for summer time. I don’t know if Chrysanthemum tea really have any medical benefits, but it sure is a nice tea to enjoy.

One interesting side story: When I first saw the word “Chrysanthemum”, I just didn’t know how to pronounce it. Bryan repeated the word again and again, but I still couldn’t remember it. Out of nowhere, I came to realize the word “Chrysanthemum” sounds a lot like “Chris and his mom”. When you say “Chris and his mom” really fast, it would sound like “Chrysanthemum”. Ever since then, I can pronounce this word perfectly. 🙂

Last but not least, I will be taking a break and traveling, so I won’t be blogging for 3 weeks. Please check back on the week of February 9th. Meanwhile, follow me (@missinglokness) on Instagram for the latest photo updates. Stay tune!

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Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread

Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread

Chinese New Year is going to be on Jan 31st this year. It is 3 weeks away. It is time to get things ready. But you may ask what shortbread cookies and Chinese New Year have anything to do with each other.

During Chinese New Year, people go around to visit relatives and friends. It is the perfect opportunity to spend time together. When you go to visit someone, you can’t go empty handed. You always need to bring a gift with you. Most common gifts are fruits, chocolates, and cookies. The popular gifts in Hong Kong are Ferreo Rocher and Kjeldsens Butter Cookies (I am not sure whether this is still true nowadays, but at least it was when I was living in HK.) And of course, homemade cookies would be even better.

This year, Bryan and I will be in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year. It has been 10 years since I celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. I am looking forward to seeing all my families and friends and showing Bryan everything about Chinese New Year.

I will be bringing these espresso-chocolate shortbread to my relatives. These cookies are buttery and crumbly. The espresso flavors definitely come through, but not overpowering. The espresso and chocolate make great balance and they make the traditional cookies more unique. Did I mention that these cookies are addicting? You really can’t just eat one! Enjoy! Wish you luck in the year of Horse!

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Roast Prime Rib with Thyme Au Jus

Roast Prime Rib with Thyme Au Jus

New year is almost here. To start off a fantastic year, it would be nice to make a feast for your family and friends. Prime rib would be the one. A juicy and tender piece of meat will sure impress your loved ones.

Making prime rib is not as intimating as it sounds. In fact, it is very easy to make and doesn’t require much skills as long as you have an instant meat thermometer to monitor the doneness of the meat. I have made this prime rib this year and last year. Both came out perfectly. No matter you are a super meat lover or not, you will sure fall in love with this dish.

Thanks for the sweet and kind supports this year. I look forward to bringing more excellent recipes to your all next year. Happy New Year!!! Have a wonderful 2014!

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Sweet Potato Polenta

Sweet Potato Polenta

I can’t believe Christmas is next week already. Since Thanksgiving was late this year, there definitely isn’t enough time to buy gifts and bake cookies. We just finished most of the shopping on Sunday. Later this week, I will be baking some more cookies. For Christmas dinner, I still haven’t figured out the menu. Oh man… I better start thinking now.

Back to the polenta, with sweet potatoes in season, I stumbled upon this recipe from Southern Boy Dishes. The polenta was simply amazing. It was thick, creamy and slightly sweet. With the sage and thyme, it was earthy and brought out some complex flavors. If you love polenta, you will absolutely fall in love with this. If you haven’t had polenta before, you are missing out. It is a great side dish and it goes so well with steak and seafood. Give this a try. 🙂

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European Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

The past weekend was kind of rough. Bryan’s car was broken into. His car was parked on the street overnight like normal. The next afternoon, we got in the car and realized the phone USB charger was missing. Then, we looked around and found out a few more things were gone. We got out of the car and saw the passenger’s side window was chipped and some of the car parts were broken. The car is barely 5 months old. No valuable things were visible before the incident. The thief only took away some non-valuable things, but the car repair will probably need about $400. It is heartbreaking. On the bright side, no one gets hurt and the car can be fixed easily. So all is good. But, Bryan and I definitely wouldn’t mind a cup of hot chocolate to make us feel better.

This hot chocolate is European style. It is really thick like a cup of melted chocolate. Smooth, creamy and warm. I swear that you will never go back to those hot chocolate packages after you try this! Now, go make a cup of hot chocolate and bundle up. 🙂

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Butternut Squash Soup with Leeks and Fennel

Butternut Squash Soup with Leeks and Fennel2

How was your Thanksgiving? Hope it went well! I hope you are not still munching on the leftover turkey. My dinner was a success. We didn’t make turkey. Since there were only 3 of us, we made cornish hens. The hens came out beautiful and moist. Thanks to the help of my sister. We pull off a great meal and we had a wonderful time!

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner: Cornish Hens, Green Beans with Tomatoes, Dinner Rolls, Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Dessert: Banana Pudding

Dessert: Banana Pudding

This week in Los Angeles is a cold week (40˚F – 60˚F). I know, I know…… Cold weather in LA is nothing to many of you (the folks who live in snow area), but it is cold for us the Angelenos. I am not complaining. I am just saying. But no matter what kind of cold weather it is, hot soup will definitely warm you up.

This butternut squash soup was creamy and slightly sweet with a few layers of flavors from the leeks, fennel, thyme and sage. The caramelized leeks and fennel also gave the soup some good bites. And who doesn’t love the fried leek strings? They were crispy which brought some great texture to the soup. This hot soup goes perfect with a savory grilled cheese sandwich. Enjoy and stay warm!

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