Asian Bakery Cake for a New Year Birthday

My dad’s birthday is 1/1/1958. His brother’s is on 1/1/1956. Both of their names end in yuan, meaning New Year.

The past few years, we’ve been apart for his birthday, so this time I decided to do something special for this guy who doesn’t want presents. Dad is a human dustbin, but my mom is very picky about food. She loves the slightly sweet cakes at Chinese bakeries so I found the best looking recipe online, and tried out my first birthday cake.┬áIt’s good, but not as soft and fragrant as the real deal (the price you pay for not using artificial flavors and emulsifiers) I have at least five other variations to try, so we probably won’t see this one again.

See the rough crumb? I was trying to avoid that.

Although they looked and smelled great fresh out of the oven.

Here's the very simple recipe I followed. Other than that, I just whipped some cream and sugar and pureed strawberries to top it.

Even though it wasn’t perfect, this cake is full of eggy flavor and sturdy enough to pair with anything from chocolate ganache to custard filling to shredded coconut. The best part is that I can control how much sugar goes in. The worst part is that there aren’t enough people around to eat it while it’s fresh. I might have to freeze some.

Happy New Year!


Mental for Lentils

I’ve never had Sloppy Joes before, but hundreds of vegans agree that the PPK version is uncanny. I had the night off for once, and really wanted to cook something despite having eaten dinner. A recipe like this would continue to get better overnight, so I had to try it out (with a few adjustments to the original). I’m not delusional enough to believe that lentils are anywhere near the same neighborhood of flavor as beef, but luckily, I like lentils. I’d probably choose soy or beans on most days, but the lentil’s health benefits make it a worthy addition to my kitchen.

Speaking of which, here is a brief tour of the new avo a-go-go digs before we get on to the recipe.


Upon entering, we have the living area. The futon is very comfortable--now ya'll have no excuse not to visit! Like the decor? Way more where that came from.



Huge $10 TV. I keep the door open a lot because it's so hot this month.



Welcome to the kitch. The dining area is on the left but if i remember correctly it was extremely messy when I took photos.


Snobby Joes turned Lentil Soup

1 can lentils
1 dash olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced small
1 green pepper, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 T chili flakes
2 t Italian seasoning
1 t salt
10 oz tomato sauce
1 T honey
1 T yellow mustard

Saute onion and pepper in oil until softened.
Add garlic and saute a minute more.
Add lentils, chili flakes, Italian seasoning, salt, tomato sauce and mix.
Cook for about 10 minutes.
Add honey and mustard and heat through.


I found all the ingredients without having to go to the store!



The humble little onion is one of my favorite veggies.



Finished, and smelling nothing like the Sloppy Joes my elementary school used to serve.


I have a heavy hand with it comes to tomato sauces/pastes/ketchup (must be that delicious lycopene) so this turned out a little runnier, like a thick soup. I’m all about putting some avocado on it and eating it that way.

The health freak in me has a couple things to add:
This stew is a great way to get in your iron, protein, and calcium. I had a conversation with a long-time vegetarian who recently started eating meat again because her body craved it and her doctor said people with O blood types (holla) thrive on veggies and meat. I’m still convinced most cravings and deficiencies can be avoided if you get in enough protein, iron and vitamin B, so I’m making sure they’re included in every single meal I eat. The verdict is still out on the risks of massive soy consumption (Bummer. I could eat soy all day every day) so I try to squeeze legumes in at least one meal. With more protein, I haven’t been feeling as ravenous before meals and don’t want nearly as much sweets.
End of spiel.