Valentine’s French Toast Breakfast Sandwich

Valentines-Day-Breakfast-sandwiches

You know, I used to hate Valentine’s Day. This so-called Hallmark holiday fabricated to get people to buy heart-shaped paraphernalia and Valentine cards—I thought it was all rubbish.

At the same time, I had never been in love until I met Mr. Williams. In fact, he was my first Valentine. Now I get what all the hype is about. It’s nice to spend a day celebrating each other’s love for one another. Well actually, I think I like Valentine’s Day more because it gives me an excuse to dress up and go out to a nice dinner. I mean, come on, how many occasions out of the year can I wear my fancy Rachel Roy romper?

Valentines-Day-French-Toast-Breakfast-Sandwiches-in-bed

This year the world is fortunate enough to have Valentine’s Day fall on a Saturday—meaning the celebration doesn’t have to only begin after work when we’re all tired and feeling gross from sitting in a cubicle all day. I mean, wouldn’t it be nice to wake up to a romantic breakfast in bed? The answer is yes, which is precisely why I came up with these Valentine’s French Toast Breakfast Sandwiches.

French-Toast-Breakfast-Sandwich-Egg-Yolk Breakfast-Sandwich-Egg-Bacon

For starters, we love breakfast sandwiches. But for Valentine’s day I wanted to crank things up a notch—thus, the French toast. Yes, they are heart-shaped. And yes, you can still make these if you are single. Continue reading

Taro Hokkaido Milk Bread

Hokkaido Milk Bread

I am absolutely obsessed with this Hokkaido Milk bread. After making the same recipe repeatedly, I’ve decided to mix things up a little bit. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the raisins are a classic addition. But what’s something else that’s equally as classic? Matcha? Red bean? No no  no…there must be something better.

How about Taro Hokkaido Milk bread?…

Taro Swirl Hokkaido Milk BreadTaro Swirl Hokkaido Milk Bread

Yes! Taro swirl, to be exact. My favorite breads and pastries from the Chinese bakeries I frequented every week growing up, always involved some sort of creamy taro filling. As I’m writing this post, I can almost smell the sweet aroma of freshly baked taro buns, warm out of the oven. Even in college, I found every opportunity I could get to make the drive from Westwood all the way to Irvine to get my hands on those famous oh-so-soft taro swirl buns, a cult favorite from 85C Bakery.

Hokkaido Milk Bread Loaf

Taro-Hokkaido-Milk-Bread

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A Guide to Perfect Pesto + Garlic Shrimp Pesto Pasta

Garlic Shrimp Pasta with Pesto

Pesto is and will always be my favorite sauce/condiment/flavor in the world. It’s so versatile. From pesto pasta (see recipe below), to pesto pizza, to even using it as a salad dressing, pesto just goes with anything.

If you checked out my blog post last week, where I made a Pumpkin Cilantro Pesto, you know that I’ve been looking for creative ways to amp up my pesto game. And there are so many ways to do it! From using dandelion greens to kale, and from using traditional pine-nuts to almonds, it’s easy to create a gourmet pesto if you follow the right greens to cheese to nuts ratio.

This is why I’ve created my Perfect Pesto Guide to help all you pesto Shefs out there get the right proportions down when it comes to swapping out ingredients to make that signature creative pesto of yours.Basic Recipe Guide for the perfect pesto

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Pumpkin Seed Cilantro Pesto

Pumpkin Seed Cilantro Pesto Ingredients

My pantry is taking over my life. Each time I open my pantry doors, I anticipate something to fall out and spill all over my kitchen floor. What will it be this time? The high-mountain green tea my Mom brought me from Taiwan? Or the canister of Greek olive oil from Santorini that I carried with me for a whole month while backpacking through Europe?

I really need to start organizing my life and use up all these ingredients. One thing about being an avid cook is that the ingredients really do pile up. For example, I have a hefty 1 lb bag of pumpkin seeds that’s been sitting in there for quite a while, from which I’ve only used a few cups worth for my 7 Ingredient pumpkin spice granola. Living in a tiny studio apartment, space becomes real precious. Time to use up those pumpkin seeds!

Pumpkin Seed Cilantro Pesto I’ve actually been fiending for pesto lately. But I wanted to make something creative, not just the usual basil and pine nuts combo. Recently, I had an amazing pumpkin seed salsa from my favorite vegan restaurant in San Francisco. The flavor in this thing was pure umami. The salsa was indescribably nutty, deep, slightly smoky, and creamy. I never knew that pumpkin seeds could taste like that! Thus, I was inspired. Rummaging through my fridge I search for what I could use as the green part of the pesto. To my surprise, I find a huge bunch of cilantro that I’d completely forgotten to use for a Spanish Chicken dish I made for supper on Sunday. Don’t you hate when that happens? Luckily, it inspired me to make this Pumpkin Seed Cilantro Pesto. Continue reading

Soft Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze

I feel like my life right now is a cinnamon roll. Within every layer of dough is a sweet filling that makes the cinnamon roll what it is. It’s been nearly two years since I’ve moved here to San Francisco, and after four jobs, I’m still trying to dig through the layers to find that sweet spot.

Soft Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

I’d been eyeing this pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe for quite some time. One year and a few attempts later, I’ve decided to confidently post it here on Shef Sherry. I love this recipe because the dough is nice and yeasty and pillowy soft.

SO. SOFT.

There’s nothing that peeves me more than a hard, dry cinnamon roll. Ew.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls Proofing Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

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How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds in 3 Easy Steps

Pumpkin spice roasted sweet and salty pumpkin seeds

The following is a PSA announcement:

DO  NOT THROW AWAY THOSE PUMPKIN SEEDS!

Pumpkin season is in full swing. And whether you’re using that pumpkin to make soup, bread, cheesecake, or curry, one thing is for sure, you’ve probably been ending up with lots of seeds than you know what to do with. The answer–Roast them!

raw pumpkin seeds kabocha squash

Did you know that 1 cup of pumpkin seeds contains about 12 grams of fiber? That’s ridiculous! Not only are these pumpkin seeds tasty, they make a great on-the-go snack when you’re on the run. Pack a bag and carry it in your purse, keep some at your desk and snack on them throughout your day. They’ll curb your hunger and keep you from gravitating towards that tray of holiday cookies that’s been staring at you from the office break room.

Sweet and salty candied pumpkin seeds Continue reading

Pumpkin Thai Red Curry

Pumpkin Red Curry with Kabocha Squash

It’s been rather chilly here in the Bay recently, and there’s nothing that will warm you up better than a bowl of warm curry. Especially, some spicy red pumpkin curry.

My pumpkin of choice is the Kabocha squash—also known as a Japanese pumpkin. It’s that dark green, squat shaped melon-like thing you’ve been seeing at the grocery store. It’s delicious. It’s flavor is much like a butternut squash, but 10x sweeter and much creamier in texture.

Peeling Kabocha Squash

It works magically in this curry recipe because as the curry simmers, the pumpkin sort of melts away and breaks down and thickens the sauce. No cornstarch needed here.

I threw some cauliflower into the mix to add some crunchy texture amidst the rich creaminess of the overall dish. I also threw in a few red jalapenos as well, for a pop of color, and also because I like things to be nice and spicy. This curry is packed with flavor, mostly because I didn’t skimp on the aromatics—ginger, lemongrass, and chili. No I didn’t use the dried stuff, it is pertinent here to use fresh. And although you will end up with more lemongrass stalks than you can think of ways to use, the flavor is incomparable and totally worth it.

Pumpkin Curry Lemongrass Red Curry Paste Ingredients

By the way, anyone have some lemongrass recipes for me? Continue reading

San Francisco Eats: Gracias Madre

Gracias Madre vegan restaurant san francisco Mission

Something has always eluded me about Gracias Madre. From the name alone, I knew it was a Mexican restaurant, but then I started hearing that it was actually a vegan spot. A vegan Mexican restaurant? Well, that’s just unheard of.

How can Mexican food be Mexican, without carne asada, pollo asado, and my favorite, lengua? These are the flavors that I’ve associated with real Mexican food growing up in various parts of Los Angeles and San Diego, where there are taquerias on every street corner filling the air with aromas of roasted carnitas.

Needless to say, I had my doubts. It didn’t really help that this seemingly “pseudo-Mexican-vegan-hippie place” was established in the Mission—home of the hipsters. Therefore, it took me about one year of passing by this place numerous times, to finally walk-in and give it a chance. I also had to stop hating on this place because my good friend now works there.

Well, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.

Gracias Madre vegan dining

First off, the ambiance is intimately festive and inviting. The warm tones of natural wood from floor to ceiling really make this place feel cozy. The handpainted Mexican tiles along the walls and floor, add just the right touch of color and festivity without being tacky. It’s as if you are walking into your abuelita’s house for dinner, where she’s been spending all day cooking a fulfilling meal just for you. The kitchen is open, and I love it when restaurants are set up this way. I love being able to have full visibility of how my food is being prepared. It adds another level of feeling connected to what you are about to put into your body, and another level of trust that is established with the people that are feeding you.

As my crew and I sit down, the first order of business is of course, drinks. Here, they offer a small, yet wonderful selection of organic wines and locally-crafted beers, as well as a variety of craft cocktails spiked with Soju. You won’t find hard liquor here. They even have a wine made from the grapes harvested from the restaurants’ farm in Sonoma. I end up ordering the El Burro–a Moscow mule type of drink with house-made ginger beer, mint, and Soju.

Gracias Madre Vegan Restaurant Mission San Francisco

Yes. Gracias Madre has their own bio-dynamic farm, the Be Love Farm, where they source most of the ingredients they use in the kitchen. They even make their own tortillas from non-GMO corn grown on the farm. This place isn’t just riding on the trend of sourcing local organic ingredients, they’re really embodying the philosophy. This is really as local as it can get.

You’d be surprised at how many places in the city can claim to be using local ingredients, when they’re really not, considering that a dinner in the city can cost an arm and a leg these days. As someone who used to work in the kitchen of a top restaurant in the city, it’s easy to play the part when the customer already assumes that they are eating local; especially in the Bay Area where the best produce in the nation comes from.

Anyways, where were we? Yes, the food.

I always love trying new restaurants with a group of people, so that you can order a bunch and try everything. I’ll go over the dishes here one by one:

Gracias Madre Kale and Orange salad in a chipotle dressing

Ensalada de Cole Rizada

Kale salad with orange slices, shredded jicama, carrots and toasted almonds dressed in a smoky yet light chipotle vinaigrette

An explosion of flavor, yet refreshing and light. The crunchy textural elements played nicely with the tender kale. The tartness from the flavorful vinaigrette really gets the salivation going in preparation for the following dishes. A great starter to the evening.

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5 Shocking Facts About Pesticides Used on Food

In the light of the recent elections to mandate GMO labeling (which sadly did not pass), I decided to educate myself more about the mysteries of America’s agricultural industry. So I decided to turn my romantic chick flick movie night, into an educational one and watched Our Daily Poisona documentary by Marie Monique-Robin, author of “The World According to Monsanto.”

Organic Farmers Market Produce

Organic Farmers Market Veggies

This film blew my mind. It seems that the general population was much more alarmed by the use of pesticides in our food back in the 1960s, when these chemicals were first introduced into our food chain. More than 50 years later, these efforts have long died out and we seem to have accepted that using pesticides on our food is actually quite normal. This film makes it apparent that the government, not just within the US, but international committees as well, including the World Health Organization, has not done a very good job in being transparent when it comes to the reporting and monitoring of these poisons and their harmful effects on humans.

organic dry farmed tomatoes summer

Organic Dry Farmed Tomatoes

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Calling All Shefs!

Hey friends, I want to hear from you!

Fresh Berry Cheesecake Tart

Dinner Party Cheesecake Tart

I spend a lot of time researching recipes and thinking of what to make next. Sometimes these ideas come easily to me, and sometimes I get “recipe-block” and end up scouring the web and flipping through my cookbooks for hours.Pumpkin Ginger Cupcake Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetcornbread, muffin, honey butter, fluffy

My goal on Shef Sherry is to come up with recipes that all of you will find delicious and can relate to. Perhaps the (oh so soft) cornbread recipe I posted last fall reminds you of Thanksgiving dinner at home. I want to know what your favorite foods and recipes are, and what makes them so special to you. It could be your everyday morning breakfast smoothie, or that Taiwanese meat stew that your mom makes for you every time you come home.

I want to try it all.

The idea here is that after I receive your recipes, I will attempt to make the recipe at home. If I manage to do this successfully, I will post your recipe (equipped with pretty pictures) and your story on Shef Sherry so that not only can you share it with all of your friends, but the world!

Heirloom Potato SaladI know I’m not the only one who can cook, so click on the “Whatchu Got?” tab on the menu above to submit your recipe today.