Monthly Archives: July 2011

( Any meat ) and Vegetable Stir Fry

Yes , you can use any kind meat for your protein source when you’re making stir fry . Indonesian usually call this Cap Jay , ( Cap Jae ) , but most westerners call this Stir Fry .I love stir fry , it’s easy , quick and healthy . Yesterday i marinated pork chop that i cut thinly , and then just choose any vegetables you like , and you’re all set to cook it ! Stir fry has the best taste when they’re fresh , i wouldn’t recommend leftovers stir fry .. so don’t cook too much , just enough , because when you reheat them , the vegetable gets too mushy and it just doesn’t taste as good .

These are the vegetables i used , carrots , snowpeas , broccolis , oyster mushroom , enoki mushroom , onion and cabbage . I put more list of vegetables you can use in the recipe below . You can always pick the vegetables that you like and stick with them .

When i don’t feel like eating chicken or pork , i used fishballs as my protein source for the stir fry .

You need :

Meat .. any kind , then sliced them thinly , add 1 egg white , couple glugs of white wine , salt and pepper and couple tbsp. of cornstarch .

Let it sit for an hour in the fridge .

Vegetables , any kind of vegetables , i used cabbage , broccoli , carrots , snap peas , shiitake mushroom , you can also use edamame , red or yellow pepper , baby corn , straw mushrooms .. etc ..

Since the carrots take a while to cook , and stir fry is very quick .. i boil water and add the carrot , and boil it for about 5-7 minutes until the sliced carrots is a little tender , not too soft , you don’t want a mushy carrot . Then remove and set aside . For the broccoli , i also boil water , add some salt , and add the broccoli and blanch for 3-4 minutes , then remove from the pot .

Make sure you have 2 cups of chicken broth , you can buy it from a can or from your home made or from chicken bouillon cube. And then in a small bowl / cup , mix about 2 tbsp. cornstarch , with 2 tsp. sesame oil , 2 tbsp. mirin , and salt , pepper and sugar , if it’s too thick , add a little water , mix well set aside .

Okay , now heat vegetable oil in a big wok , brown your sliced marinated meat , ( under medium high heat ) , this shouldn’t take long at all , probably few minutes until the meat is done . Then remove and set aside . Clean the wok , add oil , then add sliced onion ( about 1 large onion ) and about 4-5 garlic cloves , and about 1-2 tsp. minced ginger ( or ground ginger ) , cook for 30 seconds , add scallions ( green onion , about 3 of them ) , and then add your vegetables , started with the longest one to cook .. maybe cabbage , then add your snap peas , cook for a little bit , and then add the rest of the vegetables , and meat , pour the chicken broth into the wok , and then cook until it boils , and add your thickener agent ( cornstarch , sesame oil , mirin mixture ) and keep stirring , then it will get thick and become the sauce for your stir fry . Sprinkle with sesame seed if you have it on hand , and serve !

French Macaroons

Never in my life had i so much trouble making cookies !! Seriously .. these little suckers are pretty , but they’re among the hardest cookies i ever had to make !! I remember the first time i made them was about a year ago , and that too took several attempts to get it right . I never had them ,  i never made them , they’re not so popular among the Midwest i guess .. unless you live in the city .. i know for sure the bakeries around the suburb don’t sell these kind of cookies LOL

So since yesterday i’ve been struggling with these cookies . I’ve got everything on hand , but then problem occured , obviously , because the ‘ feet ‘ the cookies supposed to have was never showed up . Okay there it went the first batch .. although it was edible , the first batch was gone within hours , snacked by my son . I also made it quite small , so it’s like 1 bite and it’s gone .

That night i decided to make another batch .. yes i was crazy . And this time , i broke my sifter .. LOL , had to run to the closest bed and beyond to get myself a new sifter . Okay .. so the 2nd batch , was slightly better .. i didn’t say it’s good , but i made an improvement , there was the feet .. and no cracks on the top shell . Although the feet wasn’t the one i really expected . This was how it looks like ..

I wasn’t quite satisfied with it , so i told myself , we’re making another batch tomorrow morning . Well i ran out of parchment paper , so i had to wait til afternoon , to make them . So this afternoon i made another batch .. and i was quite happy with the result , it could have been better , but .. the feet showed up and you can see it looks better than the 2nd batch . I am going to make another batch of these sometime this week again .. hopefully by then i will master this sucker !! My sister who is a pastry chef said that even the professional chef doesn’t always get it right .. That makes me feel better LOL ..

Alright .. so these are the 3rd batch and i think it’s almost perfect .. ALMOST .. not quite there yet ..

This is the recipe that i used :

200 grams of almond meal

200 grams of powdered sugar

200 grams of sugar

50 grams of water

150 grams egg whites , about 4 large eggs

1. Pulse together in a food processor almond meal and powdered sugar for few times . Then sift them . Set aside .

2. Beat 75 grams of egg whites in a mixer bowl , until soft peaks .Meanwhile , cook the sugar and water to  become syrup , about 245 F , and then once the syrup consistency is reached , pour into the mixer bowl with the egg whites , medium speed , keep beating until stiff peaks reached , about 10 minutes , should be glossy and stiff .

3. Add the other 75 gram of egg whites into the almond sugar mixture , mix well . Then add the meringue into the almond mixture . Fold it carefully , so it would not deflate .

4. Pour batter into the pastry bag and pipe onto parchment paper lined baking sheet , bake at 375 F for 1 minute then turn it down to 325 F for 10 minutes , rotating halfway through , bake 1 sheet at a time . ( Stack 2 baking sheet together )

Good luck !

Update , August 2nd

I made another attempt to perfect my macaroons , okay , the previous one , almost made it perfect , but that one used italian meringue technique , and tonight , i made it with french meringue technique , which less mess and i was almost sure , that it would turn out pretty this time .. Well .. half way t hrough the baking time , i realized i forgot to double the baking sheet .. causing the shells to crack .. although some of them have the feet , but not all of them , and ones that don’t have feet are cracking badly .. only 20% of the batch turned out pretty okay .. after i rushed and doubled the baking sheet when it was half way baking !!

Home made Chicken Taco w/ Guacamole

So here is a recipe for a yummy home made chicken taco , no you don’t need to get a packet of seasoning from the grocery store . Simply , mix all these ingredients together for a taco seasoning . And everything will come together perfectly !! I used hard shell because my son and i love the hard shell tacos , and i also made a guacamole to add to the taco , it’s up to you whether you want to add guacamole or not .

For taco seasoning , in a small bowl mix :

1 tbsp. of mexican chili powder

1 tbsp. of chipotle chili powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp.cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. smoked paprika

3 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. sea salt

2 tsp.ground pepper

Mix all these ingredients together , store in a tight container .

For the chicken taco :

3 splits chicken breast , baked at 375 F until it’s done , about 35 minutes , use meat thermometer so you don’t overcook chicken breasts . Shred the chicken once it’s done , and transfer to a skillet . Sprinkle with 2 tbsp. of taco seasoning , mix well , and cook on medium heat , keep stirring , then add 1 cup of chicken broth , bring to boil , mix well . In a small bowl , mix water and cornstarch to thicken the sauce . Pour into the skillet until it’s thick . Serve with the taco shell , shredded lettuce , cheese , salsa and guacamole .

For Guacamole recipe :

1 avocado , mashed

juice from lime , just a little bit , so t hat avocado doesn’t turn brown

1/4-1/2 tsp. salt ,

onion , chopped

1/2 roma tomato , chopped

cilantro , chopped

1 garlic cloves , minced

Mix all together and refrigerate for at least an hour .

Peach Cobbler w/ Vanilla Ice Cream

Never had a peach cobbler before , and lately i’ve been buying lots of peaches . I grilled them and it was delicious , last night i asked my husband if we should grill the peaches or try to make peach cobbler . He never had one either .. so he said why not trying something new . I did .. it was super easy and turned out to be delicious .. rich dessert .. and i happened to have french vanilla ice cream on hand . I made the ice cream the day before .. so it was perfect !!!

Unfortunately the picture doesn’t do any justice .. and you can hardly see the peaches .. but they’re good anyway . If you’d like to try , here is the recipe :

4 cups of sliced peaches

1 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of water

Put these ingredients in the small pot , mix well , and bring to boil , then simmer for 10 minutes .Meanwhile , preheat the oven to 350 F , and melt 1 stick of unsalted butter in a 3 qt dish into the oven . Mix :

1 1/2 cup of self rising flour ( every 1 cup of all purpose flour ,added 1 1/2 tsp. of baking powder and 1/4 tsp. salt makes 1 cup of self rising flour )

1 1/2 cup of milk

1 cup of sugar

Mix these ingredients well with a wire whisk , no clumps . Then pour into the dish with melted butter . DO NOT STIR , pour the mixture into the dish , then using slotted spoon , scatter the peaches on top , and slowly pour the syrup all over . Bake for 30-45 minutes .

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream

Pecan Crusted Rainbow Trout

Today’s dinner menu is another seafood , we chose rainbow trout fish . It was basically pretty easy to make , just a little mess . Instead of using panko bread crumbs to make it crunchy , the recipe calls for pecan , which tastes pretty good . I also had the fish with warm quinoa salad with toasted almond .

For the fish :

1.5 lbs of trout fish

1 eggs

1/4 cup of all purpose flour

1 tbsp. of lemon pepper

1 tsp. of garlic powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg

1 cup of pecan , chopped

1. Mix the flour and lemon pepper , salt together . Beat the egg , and place the pecan in a 3rd plate . Make a station for flour , egg and pecan . Dredge the fish to the flour , shake off the excess , dip into the egg , and cover the part without skin with the chopped pecan .

2. Heat up the oil , sear the fish for 2 minutes on each side . Put on the baking sheet and bake at 375 F , for 8 minutes .

For the Quinoa Salad with toasted almond

1 1/2 cup of quinoa salad

In  skillet , toast quinoa for 5 minutes on a medium heat , stirring . Then remove the quinoa to a small pot , and add :

2 1/2 cups of water

1/2 tsp. salt

Cook , bring to boil , and then simmer and cover for 17 minutes . Until all the water is absorbed .

In a small bowl , mix :

1 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. rice vinegar

1 tsp. sesame oil

3 chopped green onions

1/2 cup of toasted almond

Once the quinoa is done , mix with the sauce together , serve with almond on top .

Garlic Basil Shrimps and No Crust Apple Pie a la mode

Today , we had seafood and out choice of seafood is shrimp . This dish is very similar to Shrimp Scampi , minus the butter !! And not as lemony either . This is very quick fix dinner meals , in case you have to rush , or just don’t have enough time to cook something complicated . Super easy , healthy and delicious . It took me a while just because i had to thaw out the shrimp , i forgot to take it out from freezer , even that , didn’t take too long , shrimps is pretty quick to thaw , just use the water .

The shrimp is perfect with the garlic and roma tomatoes i used , along with the basil , it’s great , and i paired them with roasted asparagus and couscous .

For the dessert , we had no crust apple pie a la mode.

You need :

1 1/4 lbs of jumbo shrimps , peeled and deveined

2 tbsp. olive oil

3 cloves of garlic , minced

1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes

3/4 cup of dry white wine

1 cup of grape tomatoes , i used roma tomatoes , grapes would be great choice though

1/4 cup of basil , julienne

1.Heat up the olive oil , cook the shrimps about 2 minutes , just until cook through .. do not overcook or else it will be chewy .Using slotted spoon , remove and set aside .

2.. Heat up the olive oil , add the garlic and pepper flakes , cook about 30 seconds until fragrant , and then add the dry white wine , cook for 3 minutes , add the tomatoes and basil.

3. Return the shrimps into the skillet , and mix well . Serve with Orzo , or Couscous

Couscous recipe :

1 1/2 cup of couscous

3-4 shallots

3 cups of chicken broth

olive oil / vegetable oil

1. Heat up the oil , and cook the shallot for few minutes , add the chicken broth , bring to boil . add the couscous , salt and pepper . Turn the heat off , and cover for 10 minutes until it’s done .

For the Asparagus :

Just snap off the wooden hard part , lay them on the cookie sheet , sprinkle with sesame oil , garlic and onion and soy sauce and roast for 8 minutes at 425 F .

 

Curry Chicken Salad

I love chicken salad , this one is the lighter version of the chicken salad . It was quite delicious , especially with the added red grapes and toasted almond .I used rottiserie chicken from the store , since it’s a lot quicker that way , but you can always roast your own chicken breast , if you have enough time for this .

You need :

3 cups of chicken breast , diced

1 cup of halves red grapes

1/4 cup of toasted almond

In a bowl mix :

1/2 cup of plain fat free yogurt

2 tbsp. of mayonaisse

1 tsp. curry powder

salt and pepper

Just toss them together and lay the chicken salad on a bed of lettuce , and sprinkle with almond . Serve .

Grilled Peaches with cream

Yummy grilled peaches , so easy and delicious . I think it tastes really great even without the cream , but then again i am not a cream cheese person .

2 ripe peaches

2 tsp. canola oil

1 tbsp. of honey

4 oz cream cheese

1 tsp. lavender / rosemary

1 tsp. lemon juice

Toss the peaches with honey and oil , heat up the grill to medium hot , and grill the peaches . Mix the cream ingredients and refrigerate for an hour . Once done grilling , refrigerate the peaches for an hour  , and add the cream . Decorate with fresh mints .

Roasted Salmon with Blueberry BBQ Sauce

Another healthy recipe for our dinner tonight , we bought wild caught salmon , since we read a lot of bad things about farm raised salmon . Basically farm raised salmon is not good , so do your best to find wild caught salmon , we’re lucky enough our grocery store carry wild caught salmon , although they’re quite expensive , but all seafood are expensive anyway ..

So , this recipe was quite delicious , the blueberry BBQ sauce , to my surprise was quite easy and quick to make . And the fish doesn’t take long to be baked wither . I paired this fish with baked potatoes and corn on the cob for my husband and my son , and as for me , i skipped the potato , and instead i paired it with summer salad , which i literally can eat everyday with anything , and also had it with corn on the cob , another favourite of mine !

You need :

2 tbsp. of vegetable oil in a medium sauce pan , then add :

1/4 cup of chopped onion , and cook it for 2 minutes , and add :

2 cloves of garlic , minced , cook for another 2 minutes and add :

1/4 cup of ketchup

1/4 cup of white wine vinegar

4 tbsp. brown sugar

3 tbsp. dijon mustard

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Cook , and add 2 cups of fresh blueberry . And then bring to boil , simmer for 10 minutes , it should look like this

The blueberry probably will break open by then , and stir once in a while , and once it’s done . Transfer into the food processor , and pulse until it becomes very smooth . Set aside and let it cool .

Use the brush to apply the sauce on to the salmon , i used about 2 lbs of salmon fillet , and apply generously ( use parchment paper so it’s easy to clean ) . Bake at 400 F , about 5 minutes , then brush more BBQ sauce , Bake another 3-5 minutes , until fish is done. Serve warm .

 

Caprese Salad

For lunch i made this super easy , and refreshing salad , although i have to admit , it’s not my favourite , since i am not really a cheese person , and although this salad actually has fresh mozzarella cheese , i think i would do well without the cheese . But then again it wouldn’t have called caprese salad .. LOL .. All you have to do just slice 2-3 tomatoes , cucumbers , and fresh mozzarella , layered it on top of each other and made balsamic reduction . Balsamic reduction is only balsamic vinegar that’s been cooked for a little bit , until the amount of liquid is reduced into half of the original amount . So here it is .. Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

Chicken Breast with herb seasoning

So, this is one of my attempt to cook something yummy yet it’s healthy and nutritious . In my mind cooking healthy could be boring , since you can’t use too much oil , you can’t deep fry – as we all know , anything deep fry is delicious – , you can’t use flour , you can’t basically .. do too much of anything , except bake , grill , sautee and poach .

Today my first attempt is to do something with chicken breast , i thought , let’s make a paste , made from all the fresh herbs i grow in my garden . I decided to get thyme , oregano , parsley , basil and rosemary .

And then i chopped them , and added kosher salt , and olive oil , just enough to make a paste to marinate the chicken breasts . Once it’s well mixed , then i rubbed it all over the chicken and let it marinade for few hours . Turning it few times .

Then once you’re ready to cook it , heat up a little oil on the bottom of a skillet , on a high heat , sear the chicken breast , skin side down first , for about 3 minutes or 4 , and turned it , sear another 3 minutes . Then remove to a baking sheet , bake at 375 F , until meat is done , about 30-35 minutes , use a meat thermometer , set it to 160 F , and the meat should be nicely done . You do not want an overcook chicken breast !! You want a nice and juicy chicken breast . Do not cut the chicken right after you take it out from the oven , ,let it sit for 10-15 minutes , let it finished cooking , and let the juice distribute all over .

Sweet Bean Paste Chinese Pastry ( kue pia isi kacang hijau )

Back when i was small my mom bought these kind of snack quite a bit , the truth is the place that made this was a small home business , and it was only few blocks away from where we lived . So , she bought it quite a bit , and we loved eating this snack , it’s called kue pia isi kacang hijau , the famous brand over there was cap mangkuk ( bowl brand ) . Over the years , we grow to love this thing , but ever since i moved to US , i can’t seem to find this . I even bought some pastries from  bakeries in china town , but none of them has the right filling inside , most of them would be the right pastry but the inside was red bean paste , which i am not really accustom to .

So 2 nights ago i soaked the beans , to make the filling , did a lot of research about the chinese pastry that i thought might be the right one . I made the filling just fine , and i decided to try to make the dough for kue pia . I wasn’t sure if this was the correct ones , but boy was i glad that i did it .. because it was !! It was the right dough for kue pia , it has the amount of flakiness , and the sweet filling inside . It was just perfect . Living overseas , even though china town is only 30-45 minutes away , nothing can beat the sheer happiness that i finally made kue pia myself . My mom would have been so proud of me !!! Here it is ..

 

So here is the recipe . you need to make the bean paste first ..

1 cup of lima beans , soaked with water overnight , at least 12 hours , peel off the skin , then rinse with cold water . Put the beans in a heavy pot , add about 1 1/2 cup of water , cover and bring to boil , then simmer for 50 minutes , the beans should be very soft , and keep cooking until all the water evaporates , then , remove the beans into the food processor , pulse it until smooth , if you don’t have food processor , use your wooden spoon or potato masher , to mash it , food processor comes in handy though . Then return the beans into the pot , add 1/2 cup of sugar , 1 tsp.vanilla extract into the beans , low heat keep stirring , until the liquid evaporates and the beans get thick . It should get even thicker when it cools off . Set aside .You can make this few hours ahead too .

 

While the beans is cooling off .. make the dough , there is 2 doughs that you need to make separately .

Dough A , Water Shortening Dough :

150 grams of all purpose flour

75 grams of water

32.5 grams of shortening

Mix these ingredients together with wooden spoon or hand mixer ( more convenient ) , if it’s too runny , add more flour until it holds its shape . Set aside

Dough B Flaky Dough / Shortening Dough

112,5 grams of all purpose flour

55 grams of shortening

Mix all these ingredients together with wooden spoon or hand mixer , set aside .

 

Now , divide each doughs into 12 equals size balls , Then roll out the water shortening dough , and add 1 flaky dough in it and wrap it , make a ball .

 

Then roll out the dough into a thin dough , and fold into thirds , repeat this process 2 more times . Then roll out thing , add your sweet beans filling ( you can use red bean filling too , i like the sweet bean better here ), and wrap it into a ball and shape it , either oval or round , whatever you want .

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Do the same with the rest of the doughs . Brush with egg yolks , bake at 400 F for about 25 minutes or until the the color is golden brown .

 

Congratulations ! you’ve made your own chinese sweet bean pastry !! LOL

Tomato Basil Bruschetta

I love this appetizer , i can snack on these things more than just 1 or 2 pieces . They’re absolutely delight to our eyes because of the red , green and white color , and deliciously yummy in our mouth . Not to mention it’s super easy and quick to make , this would be a great choice if you have a lot of guests , and a very good appetizer . I happen to grow basil in my garden , and during summer time , i love making bruschetta , use roma / plum tomatoes , freshly chopped basil , and voila .. you have a yummy appetizer on your table .

You need :

About 6 plum / roma tomatoes , seeds removed and chopped

a bunch of fresh basil , chopped

2 garlic , minced

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup of olive oil

1/4  tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 french bread

mozzarella cheese

1. In a medium bowl , add tomatoes , garlic , balsamic vinegar , salt , pepper and oil and basil , Mix together and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or so .

2. Slice the french bread , thick enough , and then toast on the broiler for 1 minute or so , take them out . Add the tomato mixture on top , sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and broil for 3-4 minutes , until cheese melt ,have to watch it closely because the cheese is easily burnt .

Classic Potato Salad

Potato salad is one of american classic get together food , it is also one of my favourite salad . I am not a potato person , meaning , i hardly eat any potatoes , and if you serve me baked potatoes or mashed potatoes , i probably wouldn’t even finish 1 serving , that’s how much i dislike or care less about potatoes . But if you serve me , yummy delicious tasty potato salad , oh .. i would not be able to stop eating them !! I hardly make any potato salad at home , just because it would only be me who eats them , my husband doesn’t really care about it , but taste does change .. and he started eating egg salad too , who knows , he might love this potato salad . Classic potato salad is easy , the only thing that takes time is the prep , boiling the eggs , the potatoes , peeling the eggs , peeling the potatoes , chopping doesn’t really take much time , but waiting and peeling potatoes take time . Anyway this is a delicious recipe of potato salad .. very classic !Oh btw .. picture doesn’t do any justice though ..

You need :

About 6 medium size gold yukon potatoes

3 boiled eggs

1 celery stalk , chopped

3/4 medium onion , chopped

1/2 cup of relish

1/4 cup of mayonaisse ( i use hellman)

1 tbsp. of dijon mustard

1 tsp. of salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. heinz vinegar

1.In a large pot , add potatoes ( washed and scrubbed ) , make sure the potatoes submerge , turn the heat medium high , bring to boil , once it boils , turn it down to simmer , boil for 25 minutes .Test it with paring knife . Take it out , let it cool .

2. Mix the mayonaisse , dijon mustard , salt and pepper , and the vinegar . Mix well .

3. In a large bowl , mix all ingredients together , diced potatoes , onion , celery , relish and the dressing , mix well , adjust to taste . Refrigerate .

 

Louisiana Seafood Gumbo

Nothing to say about this delicious seafood stew/soup . I’ve never had gumbo before , why i wanted to try this today .. i have no clue. I guess i just wanted to make something different .. And i am glad i tried it .Although the ingredients seem like so much , but actually , i have most of them in my pantry and if you cook often , i think you have most of the ingredients in here as well . The only thing i had to run to the store to buy was the king crab legs to get the yummy crab meat . You have no idea how easy it was to cook crab legs !! LOL .. Anyway .. here is gumbo , served with rice on the bottom and french bread on the side .

You need :

1/2 lbs of king crab legs

Boil a big pot of water , add about 1 tbsp. salt , and once it boil , put the crab legs in there , simmer , for 5-7 minutes . Remove from the pot immediately , set aside to cool before taking the meat out from the shell .

1/4 c. of vegetable oil

6 tbsp. of all purpose flour

In a pot , heat the oil and add the flour , stir , keep stirring until the flour turns to light brown , then add :

1 green bell pepper , chopped

2 medium onions , chopped

2 stalks of celery , chopped

5-6 garlic cloves , minced

Keep stirring until it’s well mixed , cook about 3 minutes , then add slowly :

4 cups of chicken broth

1 tbsp. of chicken soup base

3 cups of water

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. basil

1 tsp. lemon pepper

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tsp. cajun bayou seasoning

2 tbsp . Worcestershire sauce

2 cups of fresh tomatoes ,chopped or 1 can of 14.5 oz diced tomatoes with basil , garlic and oregano

Mix them well with whisk , then add :

1 package of andouille sausage

2 ears of corn , scrapped

Cook , simmer for 1.5 hours , then add :

1 lb of bay scallops

the meat from the crab legs

1 1/2 lbs of shrimps

Cook for another 15 minutes , simmer . Remove from heat , serve with rice and french bread .