Archive | DIY

Madame Huang’s Bunny and Hedgehog Buns



Meet Carolyn Phillips (aka Madame Huang), the author of All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China. Watch her make Chinese steamed buns in the shapes of bunnies and hedgehogs.

Makes 16 buns

1 recipe Fast Mantou (below)
1 recipe Red Bean Paste with Walnuts (below)
For decorating: red food coloring, cocoa powder, egg white, and black sesame seeds
Equipment: basket steamers, toothpicks, sharp kitchen shears
Fast Mantou (fast steamed bread)

For a long time, this was my go-to recipe for steamed bread. And it is pretty darned good, if I do say so myself. My ample pride in this recipe was corroborated by the unexpected praise I received from the daughter of a famous northern warlord: When she came over for dinner a long time ago, I served her these breads shaped into flower rolls alongside a big plate of Beijing-style smoked chicken. Delighted at their taste, she asked for the recipe, and I can’t think of higher praise than that.

Note: These rolls can be prepared up to 3 days in advance if they are refrigerated after steaming, or up to a few weeks in advance if frozen.

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water
3 cups Chinese flour, plus more for kneading (see Tip)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Peanut or vegetable oil for bowl and dough
2 teaspoons baking powder
Spray oil, optional

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water.… Read More

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DASHAL’S Body Butter and Lip Gloss

From DIY: Do It For the Bees

As a bartender at Bull Valley Roadhouse and Boot and Shoe Service, Dashal Moore nurtured patrons with good spirits and her warm wit. Fascinated by how folks carry what ails them on their bodies, she put herself through Chinese medicine school and now plies good spirits by applying needles, brewing tinctures, and cooking up healing salves at her new Berkeley accupuncture clinic. That said, this ex-bartender suggests that those more fleeting remedies from the bar will always have their place.

Beeswax Body Butter


Photos by Erin Scott

A little of this luxurious body butter goes a long way.

Makes about 13 ounces

200 grams shea butter
200 grams jojoba, sweet almond oil, or a mix
25 grams shaved beeswax (or beeswax pastilles)
2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
20-40 drops essential oils (I like rosemary and calendula)

In a double boiler or a heatproof bowl sitting on a pan of simmering water, heat all ingredients (except essential oils) until melted, then remove from heat and let mixture cool just until it becomes opaque. Before it has cooled completely, add essential oils and whip mixture with an immersion blender or a stand mixer until it’s light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to small containers and store in a cool place.… Read More

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EARL’S Tartlet Votives

From DIY: Do It For the Bees

One of the great joys of beekeeping for Earl Flewellen is having fresh, fragrant beeswax on hand for making candles. Given as gifts, the candles reliably cause the happy recipients to go straight to smelling them. The laborious process of rendering beeswax from raw comb cappings is described in the online version of this magazine so we can go straight to the fun . . .


Photo by Erin Scott

Makes about 8 to 12 candles, depending on size of molds

1-pound brick beeswax*
Small crimped mini tartlet baking cups (Available at Sur La Table)
Premade 1¼- to 1½-inch votive wicks*
Metal steaming pitcher or ladle with spout

Melt beeswax in a double boiler or a crockpot. Heat beeswax to 145–150°. (If heated to 185° it will discolor and at 400° it may ignite.)
While the wax is melting, prepare work area by covering with tin foil or craft paper to protect surfaces from wax spillage. 

Prepare molds (tartlett cups) by lightly brushing the interiors with vegetable oil using a small basting brush or paintbrush to get oil down into the crimps and corners. (If you don’t mind leaving the votives in the cups, you can omit this step.)

Place pre-made wicks in the molds, centering them in the bottom.… Read More

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WENDY’S Gilt Beeswax Leaves


From DIY: Do It For the Bees

Photo by Erin Scott

Photo by Erin Scott

When she’s not scouring the countryside for lost treasures of the extinct mercantile age, Wendy Addison can be found in her Port Costa studio and storefront, the Theater of Dreams, where she spins her nostalgic magic with authentic letterpress and vintage-style paper goods. Incorporating a bewildering array of raw materials and found objects, be it wire, clockworks, mushrooms, moss, glass, glitter, porcelain, antique tinsel, or beeswax, whatever she touches literally turns to gold.

1 pound beeswax* (or more, as desired)
Leaves (Pick broad flat leaves with interesting shapes.) 
Gold or artificial gold leaf*
Soft bristle brush

Melt beeswax in a small crockpot or double boiler. Dip leaves into the molten wax, then remove, letting excess wax drip off. Allow leaves to cool for 10 to 20 seconds until wax is still warm but no longer runny. Press each leaf down onto a sheet of gold leaf firmly enough to make complete contact. Lift from the gold leaf, and using a large soft-bristle brush, carefully brush off the excess gold leaf, and then burnish the gold with your finger, pressing and rubbing the leaf into the wax. Voila!

*Find beeswax at Bee Healthy Honey Shop in Oakland and MarElla Honey Bees in Concord.… Read More

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