Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Blueberry Bread Pudding

Bread pudding is one of those staple comfort foods that everyone loves. Carbs + Milk + Eggs? Yes please! It's hard to believe that this dish used to be poor man's food. Back in the day it was just a means to use up stale bread and it still is today but one of the major differences is that instead of soaking the break in water, we use milk. And it doesn't suck. Nowadays the dish can actually be quite decadent and rich. On the one hand summer is here so I opted to make a lighter bread pudding. The beauty of this recipe is that because it is so light, it's good both as a breakfast dish and dessert. Bon app├ętit!

Blueberry Bread Pudding
1 pound white bread cubed (I used Asian bread)
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons of melted butter cooled
1 can 12 oz evaporated milk
2 cups milk
zest of half a lemon
1 cup blueberries (do add more if you like)
sliced almonds for garnish
powdered sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
2. In a mixer whip eggs and sugar on high speed for about 5 minutes or until mixture forms a ribbon when the wire whip is lifted, the color should be pale yellow.
3. Beat in vanilla extract, spices, and lemon zest. Then beat in melted butter, evaporated milk and milk.
4. Place cubed bread and blueberries in baking pan lined with parchment paper or cupcake pan lined with foil cupcake liners. (I made a dozen bread pudding cupcakes and one 9 by 9 pan.)
5. Careful ladle prepared custard over bread until completely covered. Press down on the bread cubes so the bread pieces absorb the liquid completely. Sprinkle with almond slices.
6. Prepare a water bath. Carefully pour in enough hot water until the water is halfway up the sides of the pans. Bake cupcakes approximately 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Pans take about an hour to cook through. Remove the bread pudding from the water bath and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Serve chilled or still warm with fresh fruit, nuts, whipped cream, ice cream, or any combination of the above!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Springtime Lunch ft. Sachiko Studios & Drifting Pretty

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to cater for the very first time for the ladies of Drifting Pretty. Needless to say the day before and the actual date was hectic but the event turned out better than expected. I'm kind of surprised because this was the first time I attempted these recipes. Heh... shame on my for being such a procrastinator but luckily my foody senses are pretty good. To make the experience even more memorable, Nadine of Sachiko Studios was kind enough to do a photoshoot for my blog. The theme for the shoot was spring and because of my natural affinity for all things Japanesey I chose to do a Japanese fusion kind of menu. The experience was awesome; you can never go wrong with good food and good company although I certainly won't mind having an assistant the next time! Apologies for not updating my site for awhile but I hope you enjoy this super epic post featuring the photography from Sachiko Studios (check out her blog here), the ladies of Drifting Pretty (check out the cool things we do here), and of course yours truly, CHIBI CHOMPS. Please enjoy my recipes for kabocha pumpkin croquettes, chashu pulled pork, and lotus root chips. We're hitting three birds with one stone in this post!

Kabocha Pumpkin Croquettes

Chashu Pulled Pork Sandwich with Lotus Chips. 
Perfect cook book cover? (;

Drifting Pretty gals. (;

P.S. I'd like to thank Nadine and Mark for taking these awesome pictures and of course my helpers during plating! 

Chashu Pulled Pork Sandwiches
6 pounds pork (boston butt with bone)
3 cups water
1 cup soy sauce
2 cups sake
2 cups mirin
1 cups sugar
12 scallions
12 garlic cloves
2 medium shallots
6 inches of ginger
Spring veggie salad mix or vegetables of choice
Sesame Seeds for garnish

1. Place all ingredients save the pork in a crock pot and bring to boil.
2. When the mixture is simmering, place the pork in the crock pot, set a timer, and relax. (Cooking time may vary depending on the crock pot but I cooked my pork for 12+ hours and it was fall off fork tender.)
3. Remove pork from the slow cooker and allow meat to rest.
4. Take the left over juices from slow cooker and simmer to reduce the liquid. When the sauce is thickened, ladle onto the pork for extra deliciousness. (I added the sauce after assembling the sandwich so the bread absorbed the extra liquid.)
5. Assemble the sandwich and enjoy.

Lotus Root Chips
Recipe inspired by Spirit House Bar. 
6 pounds of lotus root
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
oil for frying

1. Heat oil to 340°F.
2. Slice the lotus root to 2-3mm in thickness.
3. To make glaze, mix the powdered sugar and water together until smooth.
4. Fry the lotus root slices in the oil until golden brown and place on a wrack to drain the excess oil.
5. While the fried pieces are still hot, brush the chips with glaze then sprinkle with salt and furikake.

Kabocha Pumpkin Croquettes
4 pounds kabocha pumpkin
6 hard boiled eggs
1 large brown onion
2 tablespoon butter
1 can corn
2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch pepper
panko bread crumbs
2 beaten eggs

1. Cook hard boiled eggs, set aside the yolk, and roughly mince the egg whites.
2. Cut the kabocha pumpkin into medium sized chunks (leave the skin on) and boil in salted water until soft. (You should easily skewer a chopstick through it.) Drain and mash the pumpkin while still hot. To further evaporate excess liquid, mash over low heat. When most of the moisture has evaporated, mash in the egg yolks.
3. Mince and saute onion in melted butter until soft. Season with salt, nutmeg and pepper.
4. In the pot of mashed pumpkin, mix in the egg whites, corn (drained), and onion.
5. Divide mixture into 24 equal portions. (You can make smaller ones if you like.)
6. Make flat and oval shaped patties with the mixture. Coat each piece with flour, dip in the beaten egg, and coat with panko bread crumbs.
7. Optional: Place the finished pieces in the fridge for 30 minutes prior to frying to decrease the chances of the croquette falling apart.
8. Fry the croquettes in 340°F oil until golden brown.
9. Serve the croquettes with bulldog sauce, ketchup, or mayonnaise if desired, and garnish with vegetables of your choice. (Typically Japanese croquettes are served with finely sliced cabbage.)