Sunday, January 19

My Take on a Polynesian Dessert—Purple Yam Rolls with Coconut Cream Glaze

Okay, due to popular demand, today's blog entry is about a recipe. Yes, I'm going to share with everyone this delicious recipe I just made the other day. Drum roll, please! It's my newly invented yam rolls with coconut milk sauce. First of all, having lived in Hawaii for almost six years (my past is filled with adventures, yes), I've learned to appreciate and enjoy some Polynesian delicacies. One of my favorites is the pane po po, soft rolls drenched in coconut sauce. It's something to die for, well, at least it is for me.

So, my wife recently brought home some purple yam (I have no idea what to really call it, so purple yam it is), and I decided to be inventive and do something with it—I baked rolls with it, kinda like a sweet potato rolls, but with purple yam. The result was soft, fluffy rolls. Then, the creative that I am, I decided to kick things up a notch and glaze them with a thick layer or coconut cream sauce, and it was literally food for the gods. So, without much ado, here's the recipe.

Mix 1/4 cup of warm water with 2.5 tsp of instant yeast.
Preheat oven to 400 F.

Boil/scald the following over medium heat:
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1.5 tsp salt
5 tbs butter

Mash the following:
Boiled purple yam; you'll only need 2 cups of the mashed yam.

Now mix the following until smooth:
The scalded milk mixture
The mash yam
1 tsp lemon juice
1 egg slightly beaten

In a mixing bowl (I use a Kitchen Aid mixing bowl with a dough hook), knead in the following until they form an elastic, smooth, and moist dough:
The yam/milk concoction
5 cups bread flour
The yeast mixture

Cover and let proof for about an hour, or until double its size. Then punch down and form into rolls and place them onto a greased cookie sheet. This recipe should yield 30 rolls. Now, I use baking paper instead of greasing the pan for easy cleaning, and it is also quite the professional way of doing things. Anyway, leave the rolls covered and proof until they double their size again. Then plop them into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.

Once the rolls are cooked, leave them out to cool, and while they are cooling, do the following:
Mix one can of coconut milk, 2/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbs flour in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until it boils. Remove from heat.

Transfer your rolls into a Pyrex baking pan (I use a 9 x 13 in. pan) and pour the coconut cream all over the rolls. Let the whole thing cool for a few minutes. To keep the rolls fresh, just cover and seal the pan with Saran wrap (cling film). So there, delicious rolls with very little effort.

Enjoy, and let me know if this recipe works for you. Comment below :) Until next time, have a great week!

Sunday, January 12

Valuable Lessons I Learned in 2013

Surprise, surprise! It's me, yes, 'tis true. I have returned. But enough about me. How is everyone doing this year so far? Good? Working on your new year resolution? Or not? Whatever you are up to, I hope you are all doing real fine. This year I will try to blog more regularly and tell you all about the crazy things happening in my life, good and bad. Mostly good, of course!

2013 was an amazing year—loads of roller coaster rides and adrenaline rushes, but through it all, I've learned valuable lessons that made me stronger and more confident about this new year. First of all, I have a dream job I am in love with. I wear many hats, but I absolutely love what what I do. My family is happy, and I enjoy every minute with them, and that's all that matters. That said, here I am in my pajamas, bed hair and all, writing you my first blog while my pumpkin cake bakes in the oven. It smells heavenly in my house right now, and the kitchen is spotless. Now, that's what I call a home. Okay, I digress again—and you'll see segues such as this a lot as you continue to follow my oh-so-exciting-blog.

Anyway, before I start sidetracking about something else unrelated to the original subject at hand, here are the a few valuable lessons I learned in 2013, and I hope they will also help you deal with life's challenges (and triumphs).

Optimism begats positivity; positivity equals success. Positive people are always successful. They may not always be the richest people in the world, but they are the happiest, because when you believe all things are possible, you are already on the right track. Self-doubt and looking at the cons of everything does not make the situation better. Instead, when you look at the positive side and adopt an optimistic attitude, suddenly, the solutions to your problems start showing up. On a similar note, when you start looking at the good side of a person you normally do not like, you'll slowly find it easier to love that someone. Am I not right?

You can't do it alone. 'Tis true. Big accomplishments are always achieved by team efforts. The smart way to go through life happy and successful is to associate yourself with people who will support and empower you, which leads me to the next lesson . . .

Surround yourself with great friends and people. Just as an employer depends on her employees to grow her business, we depend on friends and families to reach our goals. We can never do it all alone. And that also means you will also need to be the supporter and the friend everyone is looking for. Love and empowerment work both ways. If anything, be the best friend you can ever want and have.

Appreciate everything around you; be grateful and thankful. When you start to feel thankful for everything you have, life is going to smooth-sail through anything. This is because when you are thankful, you don't take things for granted, and when you don't take things for granted, you are more inclined to be kind, loving, and polite. And a kind soul is what the world really needs now. From my experience, when you are thankful, people are also more inclined to treat you better; they are happier to do you favors. And when you have people doing you favors all the time, you are the luckiest star in the sky. Am I not right?

Always know what you want and do it. Focus and work hard. Those are my ultimate mottos in life. When I want something, nothing can stop me from doing everything I can to get it. And I always get what I want. Not because I am privilege in any way, but because I am focused. I sprint-run toward my goals. I am committed, and I am stubborn. Nothing is ever easy and quick, but it is all worth it.

Stay healthy, stay young. Health is so important in my life. I am not perfect at it, but I am trying. I watch what I eat, trying (very hard) to avoid eating out if at all possible. And I find that the simple habit of cooking at home can yield very satisfying results. Staying mentally healthy is equally important. Read to broaden your horizon. Stay abreast with technology, and learn new skills. Just this past week alone, I have learned to cook from three different recipes I was too intimidated to try in the past. And now that I've tried, I'm glad I did. Remember to smile always, as well, which brings me to my last lesson . . .

Be happy, for life is too short to be sad.

And that pretty much sums up everything for me today. Until the next blog entry, remember to smile and believe you can accomplish everything you put your mind to. I've done it, and so can you. Ciao for now!