Monthly Archives: March 2012
When i was younger , my grandma used to cook lots of crabs . But my mom never really cooked them , my grandma used to cook them with coconut milk , but unfortunately i never knew how to cook it the way she used to . And since both of them are no longer in this world , i have nobody to ask to .
So , this morning i decided to buy a live dungeness crab at the Korean Supermarket . They’re alive , of course , because you don’t want to buy a dead crab . Did you know that a dead crab releases somekind of really bad chemical to eat the body that is already decomposing ? And not only that , if you have more than just 1 crab in a basket and 1 is dead , you have to throw away the other one too . So it’s only make sense that they sell a live crab and you DO want to buy a LIVE crab . We bought just 1 crab , since it’s my first time dealing with it , like many other things , i don’t feel comfortable buying too much things esp. if it’s my first time cooking it . On the way home , we didn’t put the crab in the trunk , because we don’t want it to be dead , esp. that we’re about 45 minutes away from the grocery store .
When we got home , we took the crab out and fill up a sink with cold water and added ice cubes in there to keep him alive UNTIL you’re ready to cook .
About an hour later , i was ready to cook the crab ,one of the website said if you’re a softie , then you can pick up the crab , and pet the head of the crab to make it falling asleep before dropping them into the boiling water . And NOPE .. i didn’t do that . I picked up the crab and slowly head first , dropping him into the boiling water . Don’t forget to add salt into the water .Bring the water back to boil , then cook the crab about 18 minutes . And then take the crab out and here it is ..
Now it’s time to make the sauce , i would suggest to cut the crab into 2 , just cut right in the middle , and if you want , you can smash the claws to make eating them a lot easier . I didn’t do that earlier , as a result , my husband was complaining because the claws were too slippery . LOL Anyway if you see some yellow gooey stuff coming out after you cut them , that’s the liver , i personally don’t want to eat it , although some people would .
For the sauce :
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 of medium onion , sliced
14 oz of tomato sauce
1/2 can of crab stock ( the water from where you boil the crab earlier , save it , this makes a good seafood stock )
about 5 tbsp. oyster sauce
1 green pepper , sliced thin
1 inch of ginger , smashed
5-6 bird eye’s chilis
1. In a pot , heat the vegetable oil , then add onion and ginger , and garlic , cook for few minutes , add green pepper , cook few more minutes . Add salt and pepper and chilis .
2. Add tomato sauce , oyster sauce , crab stock and sugar , adjust to your taste since the tomato is pretty acidic .
3. If it’s too runny , add cornstarch mixed with a little water , to make it thicker . Then add your crab , and let it simmer for about 7 minutes or so . Serve with warm jasmine rice .
Now you’re ready to eat your dungeness crab and make sure wash your hand before eating , because you will need your hand , and it’ll be very messy !!! Enjoy !!
I usually take the time to make a home made spaghetti and meatballs , which means i make my own spaghetti sauce .A long time ago i had to admit that i used store bought spaghetti sauce , i guess i didn’t know any better LOL . But i do now !!! I don’t know why i put up with nasty store bought sauce . Knowing how easy to make your own sauce , well you can do a complicated one , or simple one , it’s really your choice . I have few pasta sauce recipe that you can choose , but this is by far the simplest and the quickest one . You don’t need any other equipment such as immersion blender , ( i would need that for my other 2 recipes to mash up the tomatoes ) , and you don’t need to peel and roast garlic ( peeling and roasting garlic isn’t fun , though it makes your house smells so good !! ) . So anyway , if you need a quick spaghetti and meatballs recipe , this is your choice .
For the meatballs :
1 lbs of extra lean ground beef
1 lbs of ground pork
1/2 c – 3/4 c of bread crumbs ( made from bread , whether wheat or bread , pulse it few times in food processor , add little garlic powder and italian seasonings )
1/2 cup of milk
kosher salt and pepper
1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
chopped fresh parsley
1. In a large bowl , mix the beef and pork , with bread crumbs , eggs , milk and salt and pepper , parmesan cheese and parsley . Mix with your hand . Then shape into balls , made about 15-16 meatballs .
2. In a skillet , heat 2 tbsp. olive oil , cook the meatballs , about 10 minutes total ( it will be cooked again later with the sauce , don’t worry about the inside if it’s not cooked through yet )
3. Set aside
For the sauce :
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic , minced
1/2 cup of good red wine ( try chianti )
28 oz can crushed tomato
salt and pepper , little sugar to tone down the acidity
1. In the same skillet with leftover oil , cook the onion about 5 minutes , then add the garlic .
2. Cook for a minute or so , then add your red wine , let it evaporates . Then add the crushed tomato , salt and pepper , sugar . Bring to boil , then turn the heat down , add the meatballs back into the skillet with the sauce . Simmer for 30 minutes until meatballs cooked through . Cook your pasta according to the direction on the box .
I like pork chops , the only thing you want to make sure when you cook pork chops is , that you DON’T want to overcook it . Or it will be tough and chewy . Surprisingly , pork chops don’t take long to cook , especially if you get a thin one , or already tenderized ones . This recipe below , you can always use a thick one or tenderized one . Just it’s up to you whichever one you use . This dish is pretty quick to make , i like using red bell pepper more than the green ones . The red always have better taste , i guess you can use orange , yellow pepper too , except , it’s expensive .. so i chose the red only and skipped orange or yellow
You will need :
4 pork chops , thick cut or tenderized
red bell pepper , orange , and green bell pepper
4-5 shiitake mushroom
half a can of chunk pineapple
salt and pepper
1/2 cup of teriyaki sauce
1 cup of chicken broth
3 tbsp. of honey
1. Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper , heat 3 tbsp. of oil in the skillet . Cook the pork chops about 3-4 minutes on each side , it depends on how thick , if it’s really thick then probably 5 minutes on each side , the thinner the pork chop , the faster it cook , maybe 3 minutes something . Don’t over cook , then take it out from the skillet , Set aside
2. In a skillet , add oil again , cook the bell peppers , ( bite size ) , mushroom and pineapple , about 6-8 minutes until pineapple starts to caramelize . Then remove from the skillet .
3. In a skillet , pour the chicken broth , then add teriyaki sauce , honey and cook for 5 minutes . Thicken the sauce with cornstarch . Put the pork chop back in there , with the vegetables . Serve over rice , topped with sliced green onion .
I haven’t had egg salad sandwich for a long time ! So this morning , since we got out from church quite early , i decided to make some . Egg salad is not something that you want to make often , because of the mayonaise in there They’re quite high in calories . Once in a while is okay , i guess it’s like everything else , you just have to eat them in moderation . I am not against eggs , in fact , our family consume egg daily , my son eats soft or hard boiled eggs every morning before school , they’re pretty nutritious . The only time that it’s not as good for you , when it’s mixed with lots of other things like mayonaise . But oh well .. anyway we enjoyed our egg salad sandwich for our lunch !!!
You need :
1/4 – 1/2 cup mayonnaise , depends on your taste , if you think 1/4 is enough then it should be good then , if it’s too dry then add little bit more , i wouldn’t use more than 1/2 cup though for sure .
1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. of smoked paprika
1. Bring water to boil , then boil your eggs for 12 minutes . Then remove and soak in cold water to stop the cooking process . Peel off the shells and set aside .
2. In a medium bowl , mix the mayonaise , dijon mustard , salt , pepper , green onion and smoked paprika . Mix them well .
3. Add your egg and start chopping them with knifes in the bowl , and mix them well . Taste it , if you need any salt then add little bit more to suit your taste .
4. Serve with lettuce on a toasted bun , or croissant sandwich .
Crawfish , i call these little water bugs , yes they’re bugs , i call them miniature lobster LOL . They look exactly like lobster !
Me and my family never had crawfish before . I think it’s a southern thing , mostly Lousiana . Now that we’re in Texas , we see it every weekend the local grocery store , always have live crawfish for sale . Not only that , there are plenty of restaurant down here that serve crawfish . Every weekend that we see live crawfish for sale , people are buying it . They also have a stand in front of the grocery store where you can buy them already cooked ! So , we were wondering , how do they taste like ? Why do these people buy a lot of crawfish ? Yes i’ve seen some people that would buy a huge sack of crawfish , i am not talking 5 lbs , i am talking about 30-40 lbs sack !! Finally , we decided let’s buy it , and let’s try to cook it .
The crawfish was located by the seafood in a huge cart , where they provide tongs , to choose and they also provide a plastic bag where you can put your crawfish in . They’re almost look like creepy crawly .. LOL.. they’re crawling here and there , with their claws , and you don’t want to get pinched though , although they’re not as big as lobster , but just imagine a miniature lobster .. you still need to be careful , right ?
We took couple of these guys out of the bag when we got home ..
And we also bought the seasoning for cooking these guys , it’s like a spices in a bag , where you can just drop the bag in the big pot where you boil your seafood , and i see lots and lots of coriander in there .. but the rest of the spices i can’t really tell . Although when the water starts boiling with the spices bag in there , it started smelling like indonesian herbs as a traditional medicine !!The seasoning was for 4 lbs of seafood , but i only had 1 lb and it still worked just fine .
So , while i added enough water in a big pot ( and bring them to boil ) , my husband helped me washing the crawfish . He put them in a large bowl , and add cold water in there , and then throw the water out , it was just a quick rinse for the crawfish . In the boiling water i added half of a lemon , and then i added about 1 tsp. of cayenne pepper and 4 tsp. of salt , along with the spices bag from that box above . Then i put the crawfish in the water , made sure all the ones going into the boiling water , were alive still . THROW AWAY the dead ones . Don’t ask me why , but just throw them away ..
Then bring the water back to boil again , and then let it cook for 15 minutes and after 15 minutes , turn the heat off and soak for 5 more minutes in the pot before taking them out .
After boiling 15 minutes and soaking for 5 more minutes . Take the crawfish out , and just put them on the colander and put them on a plate . You’re done !!!
How do you eat it crawfish ?
Hold the tail in 1 hand , and the head on the other hand , and twist the head off . Throw it away . And crack the shell open on the body part , and remove the vein , if you’re cracking them right , the vein should just pull out . That’s it !
This is how serious my son’s look when he tried to crack opened the shell himself and to my surprised , he loved the crawfish .. in fact he ate most of them !!
I am sure most of you been to those chinese buffet . It’s everywhere in US . And i know they’re not the healthiest choice of meal , but like i said once in a while probably you end up going there just because that’s the only place that pops in your mind , or just you’re hungry for chinese food . So , every chinese buffet that i’ve been to ( probably about 3 times i went to different ones of buffet the past 5 years ) , they always have these doughnuts . I don’t really think they’re supposed to be dessert , since they’re not in the dessert aisle .. LOL , but whatever it is .. i thought it was yummy and addicting . Of course , they’re deep fried just like american doughnuts , and anything deep fried is always good , though it’s not healthy , like i said before .
And to my surprise , these things are amazingly easy . I knew they’re not going to spend time making yeast doughnuts , and spent a lot of money on it .. the yeast , the bread flour etc .. I knew there had to be something , somekind of a shortcut that they did .. to make these doughnuts . After all .. it’s a buffet , and supposed to be cheap . So i thought .. maybe we can use refrigerated biscuit , those pillsbury doughboy biscuit , instead of baking them , why not deep frying them . Boy was i right !!! I picked up the cheapest , store brand biscuit , and then i deep fry them for few minutes til they turn golden brown . And sprinkle sugar .. and voila .. there you go , you’ve got chinese buffet style doughnuts !!!
I am sure nobody hates fried chicken , am i right ? I love fried chicken , and plus like what they say , everything fried is always yummy . The only bad thing is , it’s not good for our health . This recipe below , doesn’t need oil , no need to deep fry , and you don’t have to feel guilty about it . Well except for the mashed potatoes ( although i don’t use heavy cream either , just 1% milk and margarine ) . My husband loves LOVES this fried chicken , it’s crispy and flavourful , not like those fast food fried chicken that usually tastes basically salty .. LOL. I serve the fried chicken with mashed potatoes , i added some garlic while boiling the potatoes , sometimes i include the potato skin , usually i do that when i use the red potatoes , but this was gold yukon , so it’s not going to add any color whatsoever , but you can always skip peeling and boil it like that.
Anyway .. here is the recipe for oven baked fried chicken
For the oven baked fried chicken :
8 pieces of chicken thigh bone- in or 8 chicken legs ( or whatever part of meat you like , i love dark meat )
3/4 cups of all purpose flour
3/4 cups of buttermilk ( if you don’t have buttermilk on hand , use 3/4 cup of milk mix with 3 tsp. of vinegar )
2 tbsp. of honey dijon mustard ( or just dijon mustard and add some honey later on , whatever you have on hand will work just fine )
1 1/2 tsp . of smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 cups of cornflakes ( put it in the big resealable plastic bag , using a rolling pin , crunch them until it’s crumbly or use the food processor to make it a lot faster )
Preheat oven to 425 F
1. Wash the chicken thighs , pat dry . Dredge the chicken into the flour , shake the excess flour .
2. Dip the chicken into the buttermilk mixture ( buttermilk , dijon mustard . smoked paprika and cayenne pepper , mix well ) generously .
3. Roll the chicken into the cornflakes.
4. Arrange the chicken on the rack and bake for 20 minutes , then turn the oven down to 375 F , bake another 25 minutes or until juices run clear .
For the mashed potatoes :
5 potatoes ( yukon or red potatoes )
3 cloves of garlic
1 green onion , chopped
Boil the potatoes ( cut it in same size if you can ) , peel the garlic and boil together with the potatoes . After 10-15 minutes check if it’s done or not , use fork to check it , if it’s easily poked , then it’s done . Drain , then put it back in the pot ( including the garlic too ) , and add margarine and start smashing , or if you have hand mixer , use it , and add milk until it’s creamy . Add the chopped green onion and mix well . Add salt to your preference . Serve !
Or in Korean , you can call it Bibimbap . In my opinion , Bibimbap needs a little work , chopping , slicing , etc . And cooking them separately , but i think it really worth the time . It is delicious , and not only that , it’s very healthy too , since it has lots of vegetables and you can always pick the protein of your choice , fish , beef , chicken , pork or even just egg . One thing you need for sure is the hot pepper paste . I don’t think you can find this in regular grocer , you have to get it from the Korean market .
Anyway , i learned a lot of Korean cooking fromthis website . She has tons of wonderful recipes and super easy to follow , and i adjust it to my personal taste .I love spicy food , so if you are a spicy food lover , i think you will like korean food too .
When i make this bibimbap , i used the earthen ware , it’s a bowl , where you can use for cooking on the stove and it keeps food warm / hot for a long time . If you don’t have it , you can use regular bowl , but i would cook the egg first , at least poach it or something , if you do have an earthenware , then i think it’ll be okay to put raw egg in there cos the bowl will be hot , assuming you will put the bowl on the stove , and it gets really hot , with hot rice etc , and mix them all up , it’ll be cooked enough .
You need :
1 carrot, cooked , add pinch of salt , cook about a minute or so
2 cups worth of mixed white and shiitake mushroom, add sugar , soy sauce
1 zucchini , add pinch of salt , cook for a minute or two
2 cups worth of soybean sprout , boiled for 10 minutes , then add garlic , soy sauce
bunch of spinach , boiled for a minute , then add garlic and soy sauce
1 lb of ground beef , extra lean , add bulgogi sauce , garlic
Add sesame oil on your bowl , then add hot rice in it , add the rest vegetable like the picture and 1-2 tbsp. of hot pepper paste and mix !
Here is a little step by step of how to make the caramel for flan . The only intimidating part of making flan is to make the caramel sugar . If you get this done right , the custard shouldn’t be a problem . In the beginning i wasn’t too sure about making it either . It’s like making candy , you need a thermometer and stuff , but i don’t have any candy thermometer . Probably if you do have them on hand , that would make it a lot easier instead of guessing game .
There are 2 methods to make caramel sugar , either you do the wet method by adding few tablespoon in the sugar , or you can do the dry method . This pictures below are about the dry method , i didn’t add any drop of water . Make sure you have a heavy bottom small pot .
Put the sugar in a small / medium ( depending how much sugar you have , i used 2/3 cup and used a small pot ) , turn the heat to medium .
No matter what , do not stir this sugar with spoon , it will crystalize really quick and your sugar will be wasted .Be patient , and swirl the pot to make sure the sugar on the bottom doesn’t get burned . After few minutes , it will turn to be like this
Keep swirling the pot , to make sure all the sugar melt and start to caramelize , it will all be melted like this , you have to keep watching it and swirling very often
Next , your sugar will turn to this color , we’re almost there , keep swirling
Once it turns to dark amber , like this picture below , it’s time to shut off the heat and pour the caramel sugar into the ramekins
Pour them into the ramekins , if you do it right , your caramel will starts harden on the ramekins within seconds , like this
Place all the ramekins in the roasting pan , filled with hot ( not boiling ) water , half way up
These are the ingredients for the flan , mix them all together with a blender , or mixer , remove the foam from the custard mixture before pouring them into the prepared ramekins .
Bake at 325 F , for almost an hour . To make sure it’s done , try to check it with the tip of a knife , if it comes out clear then it’s done even if it’s still super jiggly .
Let sit in water bath for another 5-10 minutes , then remove the ramekins and chill it in fridge for at least 4 hours , overnight would be even better . And when you’re ready to serve it , let the ramekin sit in warm water for 2 minutes then loosen the edges with sharp knife and turn it upside down , don’t waste the caramel sauce , it’s the best part !
Ever been to one of those chain restaurant that serves breakfast all day ? Yeah , like Cracker Barrel , Ihop , those kind of places , those places do serve a really yummy fluffy pancakes . I usually make banana pancakes , but on the days i don’t have bananas on hand , i just make regular pancakes . This recipe below is for fluffy pancakes , they’re really good . But they do soak up the syrup , just don’t flood your pancakes with syrup though
You need :
3/4 cup of milk
2 tbsp. of white vinegar
Mix these together to make buttermilk , or just if you have buttermilk on hand , you can skip this step .
1 large egg
1 cup of all purpose flour
3 tbsp . of sugar
1 tsp. of baking powder
1/2 tsp. of baking soda
2 tbsp. of margarine
1 tsp. of ground cinnamon (optional )
1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract
1. Whisk the egg in the buttermilk . Mix the dry ingredients well together . Melt the margarine .
2. Whisk in the dry ingredients into the buttermilk egg mixture , until no more lumps . Add the cinnamon if using and vanilla extract . Then add the melted margarine .
3. Heat a skillet , up to a low med heat , spray with cooking spray , use about 1/4 cup of batter pour into the skillet . Cook about 1 minute or so on each side , the surface should be bubbly before you turn it over on the other side .