I am so happy to be back in San Diego after a long weekend in San Jose. I flew to the bay area for a Medicare Part D/MTM event lead by the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy. It was wonderful to see so many underserved Vietnamese seniors helped this weekend. The pharmacy students answered questions about Medicare benefits and switched many seniors to more affordable prescription drug plans. A good number of seniors came out despite the rain and some even took the bus to get to the event. It was definitely a worthwhile trip. I also got a chance to visit my parents and brought home some goodies. I immediately put my mom’s red beans to good use and made “che dau do” or Vietnamese red beans dessert. When I was little, my mom would take me to the supermarket, and we would stop by a street vendor for “che dau do”. The beans are cooked for a long time and flavored with coconut milk, making it a very comforting dessert on a cold or rainy day. You can also eat it cold, but I prefer it hot, especially for a cold, rainy day like today.
1 cup Azuki red beans
5 cups of water
1 piece of orange peel
2/3 cup of brown sugar plus 1 tbps for the coconut milk
5.6 oz Chaokoh coconut milk (optional)
a pinch of salt
Soak the azuki beans in water overnight to soften.
In a medium saucepan, bring the water and orange peel to a boil. Turn the heat down, add the azuki beans and let simmer for 2-3 hours, until the beans are softened. Add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved.
In a separate sauce pan, bring the coconut milk to boil, add 1 tbps of sugar and a pinch of salt. Add the coconut milk to the red bean when ready to serve. (Or you can add the coconut milk directly to the pot of cooked beans.)
It was another beautiful day in sunny San Diego. Looking outside my window, I realized autumn is here and the leaves have changed to a range of red to yellow color. My favorite things in autumn are pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream from Baskin Robbins, apple cider, enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with the family, and Black Friday. My husband loves pumpkin pie, and I saw him eyeing it at Costco today. It would be hard for two people to finish the Costco pumpkin pie. You would end up sharing half of the pie with your co-workers. One of my favorite desserts is cheesecake so I decided to make pumpkin cheesecake, a compromise between my husband and me. Although I purposely made this cheesecake for two people, you can always scale the ingredients to serve 8-12 people for Thanksgiving dinner or any other occasions. When serving the cheesecake, don’t forget to add a touch of whip cream.
1/3 cup (or 1/2 cup if you like a thicker crust) graham cracker crumbs
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsps melted salted butter
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
8 oz pureed pumpkin
3 tbsps sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter.
Press down flat into a 4-inch springform pan.
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, egg, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Make sure you you blend all the ingredients very well otherwise your cheesecake will turn out chunky. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.
Pour into crust and bake for 1 hour. Notice how smooth the consistency is.
Remove from the oven and let sit it for 15 minutes. Refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.