Monthly Archives: August 2011

Japanese Black Sesame Ice Cream

This is one delicious nutty ice cream . The color of the ice cream might not be so inviting , but believe me , looks can be deceiving sometimes . I really think this has become my favourite ice cream , on the top list .. more than the vanilla ice cream !! It’s not hard to make , just make sure you watch it closely when you roast the sesame seed because it might get burnt easily since it’s black and you wouldn’t be able to tell . So anyway , here it is

You need :

1/2 cup of roasted black sesame seed

3/4 cup of sugar

4 egg yolks

1 cup of low fat milk

1 cup of heavy cream

1. In a bowl mix well the sugar and egg yolks until it’s creamy and pale .

2. Meanwhile , warm up the milk and cream , and then pour into the egg mixture ,while keep whisking . Return the mixture into the pot , and cook until it’s thick enough to cover the back of a spoon , do not boil or it will curdle .

3. Grind the sesame seed , and then pour into the mixture , let it chill in the fridge overnight , and churn in the ice cream machine the next day .

Carrot Cake

I have been looking for a better recipe of carrot cake . I used to have this recipe , that needs 3 sticks of butter to make a 2 layers of carrot cake . No i don’t have any complains about it , but the 3 sticks of butter plus another stick for the cream cheese icing ,doesn’t make me feel better about it . Luckily i found this one recipe that does not even require any butter !!  And it tasted so good , i don’t even bother to make it into a round cake , but i made it into cupcakes and loaf cake . And since i didn’t have plain yogurt on hand , i used whatever yogurt we had and the closest that i could think of was Orange Creme Yogurt .. and i was right , it turned out to be really good . So here is recipe ..

12 oz. of all purpose flour

12 oz. of grated carrot, i used about 4 medium size of carrots

1 tsp. of baking soda

1 tsp. of baking powder

1/2 tsp. of salt

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. all spice

10 oz. of sugar

2 oz of brown sugar

3 large eggs

6 oz of plain yogurt

6 oz of vegetable oil

1. In a small bowl , mix together all purpose flour , baking soda , baking powder and salt . Set aside .

2. Grate carrots in a large bowl , once it’s done , pour the flour mixture into the carrot , and toss until it’s mixed well .

3. In a food processor , mix well eggs , yogurt , sugar and brown sugar . Once it’s mixed well , drizzle the vegetable oil while it’s still running , and then pour this mixture into the grated carrot mixture . Stir until just combined .

4. Bake for cupcakes at 350 F about 15 minutes or for a loaf pan for 40 minutes .

Couscous au Poulet

Or you can always call it chicken couscous , either it’s  Tunisian dish or Moroccan dish .. not quite sure about it . But all i know is , that this dish was delicious . Despite that it’s not that hard to make . Me and my family love couscous , we really enjoy couscous every once in a while . And usually we pair it with some grilled chicken or some fish . Couscous au Poulet , was easy to make , it’s not really hard .. except you need some spices for sure . And if you have saffron , it would be even better , unfortunately i did not have saffron threads on hand .. ( saffron supposed to be very expensive , as expensive as gold !! LOL ) , so i skipped saffron , thankfully , the dish still turned out delicious !

You need :

1 package of whole chicken , or chicken thighs ( i used chicken thighs )

olive oil

2 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

3/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground turmeric

1/4 tsp. saffron thread

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

3 garlic cloves , minced

6 cups of chicken broth

2 carrots , cut about 2 inches

2 celery stalks , about 2 inches cut

1 medium turnip , quartered

2 leeks , half cut and cut into 2 inches

8 small white onions

1 1/2 cup of quick cooking couscous

1 zucchini

1 can of chick peas , rinsed and drained

In a dutch oven , heat up the olive oil , and then add the chicken , sprinkle with the spices mix all over . Turn the chicken and sprinkle on the other side too . Don’t have to brown the chicken , just cook few minutes , and then add the 6 cups of chicken broth , mix well . Then bring to boil , add the onions , carrot , celery , turnips , leeks , cook about 30 minutes , on simmer , til the chicken is done . Then add the zucchini and chickpeas , cook for extra 5 minutes . Then take out about 3 cups of the broth into a small pot , bring to boil , and then turn the heat off , and add the couscous and then cover and let it sit for 5 minutes .

Serve the couscous with vegetables and the chicken , and harrisa on the side .

Harissa recipe :

6 oz of bird eyes chilis

6 garlic cloves

1/2 tbsp. salt

1/2 tbsp. ground coriander

1/2 tbsp. cumin

1/4 cup of cilantro

Mix this all together in a bowl of food processor , add olive oil if it’s too dry , and mix until it’s mixed well . My harissa wasn’t quite the original harissa because i didn’t have enough birds eye chilis , i mixed the chilis with some of the jalapeno and also sweet pepper too , although it tasted really spicy and delicious !!

Hachi Parmentier

No no , this dish doesn’t have anything to do with dogs .. Maybe most of you heard and seen Hachi , a movie about dog , but this dish here , has nothing to do with dogs . I love dogs , i would rather starve to death than having to eat them . So anyway , let’s talk about hachi parmentier , it’s another french dish . It’s actually contained of meat and mashed potatoes , and baked . I guess you can call it French shepherds pie . Although my family loves it , i don’t really care for this dish that much . The taste was yummy , according to my husband and my son , but they both are beef and potatoes people , so that’s why they think this was a really delicious comfort food . To me , it was just okay , since i am not a potato person , i don’t like baked potatoes or mashed potatoes , the only potatoes i like would be french fries and chips .. LOL .. So , if you like shepherds pie , or pastel tutup ( another dish from indonesia contains mashed potatoes , and the fillings would be smoked tongue , ham , chicken , hot dog , with clear sauce , carrots , peas , glass noodles ) I guess you would really like this ..

You need :

1 lbs of cube steak , cut small sizes

2 carrots , cut 2 inches

2 celery talks , cut 2 inches

1 bay leaves

2 sprigs of fresh parsley

3 cloves of garlic , smashed

1 beef builon cube

1 small onion , sliced

6 cups of water

salt and pepper

In a pot , put all ingredients together , bring to boil , remove all the bubbles rising to the surface , then bring to simmer , cook for about 1.5 hours . Once it’s done , take the beef chunks out , and cut into very small pieces , i won’t suggest using of food processor , just use your knife and cut them into smaller pieces .Strain the broth , set aside .

For the filling :

1 lbs of sweet italian sausage

olive oil

1-2 tsp. of tomato paste

In a skillet , heat the olive oil , add the italian sausage , break into small pieces , cook until it’s just pink , add the beef and tomato paste and then add about 1 cup of the strained beef broth into the skillet . Bring to boil , and then simmer for few minutes until it’s done .

Butter a 2 quart dish , and pour the filling into the dish .Set aside ( you can make this ahead a time too , and put it in the fridge )

For the toppings :

2 lbs of russet potaotes

kosher salt

1/4 cup of heavy cream

1/2 cup of low fat milk

3 tbsp. unsalted butter and 1 more tbsp. cut into small bits

salt and pepper

1/2 cup of cheese ( i used colby jack )

1/4 cup of parmesan cheese , freshly grated

In a big pot , add water , add potatoes , add salt generously , then bring to boil . Then cook on low for about 25-30 minutes until it’s done . When it’s done , peel the potatoes , and use potato masher , mash them well . Warm up the milk and heavy cream , and pour into the mashed potato , mix well , add butter , salt and pepper . Spread this mashed potato on top of the beef , sausage mixture , all the way to the edges , spread evenly , then add cheese and sprinkle the butter bits all over the top . Bake at 400 F for 30 minutes , until the filling is bubbly .

Quiche Maraichere

This quiche is amazingly delicious , i thought it wasn’t going to have too much of taste since it’s all vegetables . Turned out it’s so good !! I can’t really say that’s it’s easy to make , it’s not bad , but it takes time . I started making the pate brisee yesterday . And then had to let it sit overnight . Tart isn’t hard to make , it’s like making any other pie crust . I used my food processor which makes the job a whole lot easier .. you can do it by hand too , but if you don’t have food processor , i suggest you to invest on one .

Here is a recipe for pate brissee :

1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour

6 tbsp. of unsalted butter

1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg

1 tbsp. of ice cold water

In a bowl of food processor , pulse flour , salt , until mixed . Then add butter ( cut butter into small pieces )  , pulse few times until coarse crumbs , then with it running , add egg-water mixture into 3-4 addition . The dough should not be shaped round into a ball around the blade , but crumbles , pinch the crumbled dough together and if it sticks together then your dough should be ready . Shape the crumbly dough into a ball , shape into a disk , refrigerate overnight up to 4 days .

To prebake the crust , preheat oven to 400 F , roll out the crust to 12 inch diameter , about 1/4 inch thickness , and butter / spray the quiche pan , carefully transfer the rolled out dough into the pan  Poke holes all over the dough using fork .Chill in the freezer for 1 hour .Then, when it’s ready .butter foil then press down onto the quiche tart ,and then add your pie weights . Bake for 20 minutes , and then take the foil and pie weights out , and continue baking extra 3-5 minutes .Cool completely .

The filling :

1 medium red pepper , small diced

2 celery stalks , small diced

2 leeks , quartered then sliced thin

2 small slender carrots , small diced

1 tbsp. butter

2/3 cup of heavy cream

2 egg yolks

1 egg white

some cheese of your choice , i used colby jack because that’s all i had on hand 😀

Melt the butter in a skillet , then add all the vegetables together , salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes or until veggies are soft .Cool completely . Preheat oven to 400 F , and transfer the filling into the tart . Mix the heavy cream , egg white and egg yolks , salt and pepper . Pour the custard carefully into the tart , all over . Bake for 20 minutes , then sprinkle the cheese , bake for 5 more minutes . Cool before cutting them .



Pain a l’ancienne Focaccia

I wanted to bake yesterday , everybody was busy with their own project and i decided to try to make Focaccia , the right way this time . The very first i made it , i used bread machine and basically i cheated and it also didn’t turn out as good . So yesterday .. i decided let’s do this the right way .. i used Peter Reinhart’s artisan bread book , and that’s where i found this recipe . It took time , but i just didn’t have the patient to let it sit overnight , and it seems from the recipe .. i can always pan it right away . Which i did .. and it turned out so good . I learned a new way to knead the dough by stretching it up and then fold it down into a ball . It’s interesting .. and then i also put herb topping for the focaccia , when it was baking , my house smells so delicious .. I think this focaccia would be good for pizza crust too . Anyway here it is ..

You need :

4 1/4 cup of bread flour

2 1/2 tsp. of kosher salt

1 1/4 tsp.of instant yeast

2 cups chilled water ( cold water from fridge )about 55 F

1 tbsp.  of olive oil , plus more for the pan

1. In a mixing bowl , mix together bread flour , kosher salt , yeast and chilled water . Use paddle attachment for about 1 minute on low , until well blended . The dough should be coarse and wet , let the dough rest for 5 minutes , to fully hydrate the flour .

2. Drizzle olive oil over the dough , then mixing on medium low speed using the paddle attchment , for about 1 minute . The dough should be smoother but still very soft sticky and wet . Transfer the dough into large bowl that has been oiled lightly , cover and let it rest for 10 minutes .

3. After 10 minutes , work on the dough , oil your hands , reach under the front end of the dough , and then stretch it out , fold it back onto the top of the dough . Do this from back end and then from each side , flip the dough over , and tuck it into a ball . Dough should be firmer , though still soft and fragile.  Then cover and let it sit for 10 minutes . Repeat this process 3 times within 30-40 minutes time frame . After the final stretch you can let it sit in the fridge overnight for up to 4 days or pan it right away .

4. To make large focaccia , line a 12×16 inch baking sheet line with parchment paper , and oil everywhere including the side of the pan . Move the dough on the baking sheet , drizzle 1 tbsp. olive oil , then work on the dough , spread it out ,make dimples as you stretch out the dough . It might be only able to cover half of the pan , do not try to cover the whole pan at this point . Then let it sit in the warm oven for 10 minutes , covered with plastic wrap . Then after 10 minutes , take it out , and make more dimples and stretch it out , at this point you should be able to cover the whole pan , if not , let it sit in the oven again for 10 minutes . After covering the whole pan with the dough , cover with plastic wrap , let it sit for 75 minutes , the dough should rise .

5. Then preheat oven to 500 F and then turn it down to 450 F , put the dough in , bake for 12 minutes , then turn it around , bake extra 10 minutes . If you use any toppings , before baking it , brush with the topping , if your topping includes cheese , wait til the last 2 minutes before adding the cheese .

Enjoy !!!!!!!!!!



Provençal Soup ( Soupe au Pistou )

This soup is similar to fresh vegetables soup that i usually make during summer month where we’re having lots of fresh vegetables . Both are delicious , although i think this one has a better taste , it could be that added the home made pesto into the soup changed the tastes to be a lot better than regular fresh vegetable soup . Soupe au Pistou is from Provençal area of France , and all it is just fresh vegetable soup , and when you serve it , you add pesto in it . At first i wasn’t too sure about adding pesto , but i am glad i did , since it tasted really good . I have the recipe for the pesto somewhere in this web too , but here is the recipe for the soupe au pistou

You need :

2 medium of chopped onions

4 garlic cloves , minced

8 cups of vegetable broth or water

3/4 tsp. of kosher salt

1/4 tsp. of black pepper

3 sprigs of parsley

2 sprigs of thyme

1 bay leaf

3 carrots, half moon cut

2 potatoes , quartered

1/2 cup of mini penne pasta

1/4 lb of green beans

1 cup of cannelini beans

1 medium zucchini

2 tomatoes

2 ears of corn


In a dutch oven or large stock pot , add olive oil , heat the oil under medium heat , add the onion and garlic , salt and pepper , cook until onions are tender , low heat about 10 minutes . Then add the 8 cups of vegetable broth or water , along with parsley , thyme , bay leaf , bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes . Then add carrots and potatoes , cook low for 10 minutes . Add mini penne , cook for 10 minutes low heat . Add zucchini , cannelini beans and green beans for 5 minutes . Then add the corn , tomatoes , cook for 3 minutes or so . Turn the heat off , remove from stove . Serve in a bowl top with home made pesto .

Pesto recipe :

1/4 cup of pine nuts

2 full cups of basil leaves , packed

2 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp. of salt

2/3 cup of olive oil

1/2 cup of fresh parmesan cheese

Mix the nuts , leaves and garlic , salt in a food processor until smooth , while it’s still running add olive oil . Remove from the processor once it’s smooth , and then add the cheese . Store in the fridge .

Red Velvet Cake

Southern speciality cake , red velvet cake is a deliciously moist cake with cream cheese icing as the frosting . I love the cake , but i don’t care too much for any kind of icing , esp. cream cheese icing . Even when i make carrot cake i scraped off the icing off my cake , i still make the cakes the right way of course , with the cream cheese icing , except when i have my own slice , i scrape it off 🙂 Anyway , this red velvet cake is quite easy to make , as any other layer cake , the consuming time is the waiting period , where you have to wait until the cakes are completely cool , before putting the frosting on , or else you will have a sliding cake LOL ..

You will need :

Sift together all the dry ingredients

2 1/4 cup of cake flour ( 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour plus 1/4 cup of cornstarch = 2 cups of cake flour )

2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp.baking powder

1 tsp.baking soda

1/2 tsp.salt

1 1/2 cup of sugar

Mix together the wet ingredients , except the eggs

1 cup of buttermilk

1 tbsp. red food coloring

1 tsp. white vinegar

1 stick of butter

2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 F , butter and line with parchment paper 2 =9 inch round pans .

1. Sift together the dry ingredients , mix together the wet ingredients except eggs .

2. In a mixing bowl , beat sugar and butter , until well mixed , add eggs one at a time . Add the flour , alternating with the buttermilk mixture , starts with flour and ends with flour . About 4 times flour and 3 times buttermilk .

3.Pour the batter into the prepared pans . Bake for 30 minutes , or until it’s done .

4. Cool on rack for 15 mins and take it out from the pan , let it sit to cool completely .

For the cream cheese icing :

2 -8oz cream cheese icing

1 stick of butter

1 tsp.vanilla

2 1/2 cup of powdered sugar .

1. Beat butter and cream cheese , both should be at room temperature . Add the vanilla , and powdered sugar , mix well . Spread on the cakes .



Poulet Basquaise & Gougère

Tonight was a french night at our household . Although i started cooking this really late , i think it’s perfectly worth to try ! Poulet Basquaise is Chicken Basquaise , it almost tastes like Chicken Cacciatore , without all the italian herbs . Instead we used a lot of vidalia onions , green and red pepper , enough tomatoes , thyme and bay leaves , i also added a little of mild peppers and chipotle chili powder .It turned out very yummy , it does take a little time to cook the ragout , which is onion , green and red pepper , tomatoes etc .. But once everything come together , it tastes really delicious . And i also made cheese puffs , the dough is the same way you make for the eclairs or profitoles , except , you added some cheese in there , i used Gruyere cheese , i know it’s a little costly , you can always replace it with Cheddar too .


You need :

2 vidalia onions

2 red bell pepper

2 green bell pepper

3 mild pepper

6 roma tomatoes

4 garlic cloves

2 sprigs of thyme

1 bay leaf

2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. sugar

black pepper

1/2 chipotle chili powder

In a dutch oven or heavy pot , heat 2 tbsp. olive oil , add onion , cook for 10 minutes on medium heat , add red and green and mild peppers , cook for 15 minutes , low heat , cover . Then add the tomatoes , garlic , thyme and bay leaf , salt , sugar and pepper , chili powder , cook on low for 20 minutes . Open the cover and let it simmer , for another 15 minutes . Set aside .

For the chicken :

1 package of thighs , or whole cut up chicken

salt and pepper

1 cup of white wine

Wash and pat dry the chicken , sprinkle with salt and pepper , brown on each side for 5 minutes . Set aside . Add the white wine , cook on high heat , scrape off the bits , and let it reduce by half . Add the chicken back in , and add the ragout ( peppers onion mix ) , and then bring to boil , then simmer , cover , cook for 40 minutes or until the chicken is done . Serve on white rice , sprinkle with basil on top.

This is the gruyere cheese that i got from our local grocery store , they’re a little expensive , about $8,00 , you can always replace it with extra sharp cheddar cheese too .

For the cheese puffs :

1/2 cup of milk

1/2 cup of water

1 stick of butter , unsalted

1/2 tsp. of salt

1 cup of flour

5 large eggs

8 oz of roughly grated gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 425 F

In a small pot , bring to rapid boil milk , water , salt and butter , then add the flour all at once . Cook for 2 minutes , then transfer to a mixer , using paddle attachment , then add eggs one at a time . Once it’s done , add the cheese , and drop by tablespoon on a parchment paper .

Once you slide it in , turn the oven down to 375 F , bake for 12 minutes then turn around and bake extra 12 more minutes until it’s done and puffy .

Basil Pesto

This is one my summer favourite , pesto , I grow my own basil during spring / summer , and i found out how easy to make pesto , especially during summer months , where i can just go out and get some fresh basil and turned them into a yummy delicious pesto ! You can use pesto for a lot of thing , but my favourite is to use pesto in a sandwich , i heard about pesto for pasta too . But never tried it before .. So here is my pesto recipe , the only down thing is that pine nuts are so expensive , if you can find a place that sell them in bulk it might be cheaper than buying at the regular grocery store , if not , well i guess stick with store bought pesto , since the pine nuts for 1 small bag , which is only 1/2 cup , costs almost $5.00 , the same price with a store bought pesto . But of course home made tastes a lot better and no preservatives .Picture below is , sandwich that i made , pesto , provolone , roasted maple ham and tomatoes , on a foccacia bread . Wrap with foil , bake at 400 F for about 15 minutes , until the cheese melted .

Basil pesto recipe :

2 cups , packed fresh basil leaves

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup of pine nuts

2/3 cup of olive oil

1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese , fresh

In a food processor , pulse the pine nuts and garlic and basil leaves , until smooth , add the olive oil as you pulse them , add salt and pepper to your preference . Once it’s done , pour in a bowl , and add the cheese , mix well .

Seafood Pot Au Feu

This is a very delicious french soup recipe . The broth is so delicious and rich in flavour , although the base of the soup only required a little ingredients . The combination of the seafood in this stew/soup will give the delicious flavour .I used mussels , sea scallops and salmon . I know all these ingredients are not cheap , well at least they’re not in my area , maybe if you live by the coast , all of those will be come cheaper . But let me assure you , this soup is worth to try . Not only they’re easy , they’re also super healthy . If there is any fat in there , it’ll be the good kind of fat . And the rest would be just fresh vegetables .

Here is also a tips to handle mussels . Because you do want live mussels , you do not want to buy a dead mussel to be cooked in this delicious soup . Your grocery store should carry them , and when you bring them home , open up the bag and remove the mussels in a big bowl and cover them up with a damp cloth . You can store this in the refrigerator if you do not cook it right away . I wouldn’t recommend to store it more than 1 day though . And then , once you’re ready to cook it , add fresh water into that bowl of mussels , and let it sit for 20-30 minutes , then remove the beard , and scrub them well . Put into a clean water bowl , and remove all the mussels that doesn’t clamp shut . If they stay opened when tapped , discard the mussel . You want ones that is clamped shut when tapped .

You need :

6 cups of chicken broth

1 cup of water

1 tsp. of minced ginger

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper

4-5 gold / red potatoes, quartered

2 large carrots , thick cut

1 leek , sliced

4 green onion , sliced

4-5 large mushrooms , sliced

1 bag of mussels

1 lb of sea scallops

1 lb of salmon

1/2 lb of snap peas

In a large dutch oven , heat up the chicken broth and water , bring to boil , simmer for 5 minutes , covered . Add the bay leaves and ginger , simmer for 5 minutes . Add in the potatoes , and covered , simmer for 5 minutes . Add the carrots , leek , green onions , cook simmer , covered for 5 minutes . Add the sliced mushroom and cook simmer , for another 5 minutes . Using slotted spoon , remove all the vegetables into a large bowl , set aside . With low heat , add the cleaned mussels , to be cooked . For about 3-4 minutes , cooked mussels , covered , once the shells starts opened , removed them into a large bowl . Once it’s cool enough to handle , remove the mussels from the shells . Add the salmon into the pot , cook low heat for 6 minutes , covered . Add the mussels with its juices from the bowl , scallops and the rest of the vegetables , along with snap peas , cook on low still for 5 more minutes .

Mint Chocolate Gelato

I bought this gelato and sorbetto book by Ciao Bella , i never even heard of the name before . But , i looked through the book , they have some great recipes , i decided to try one . Made the mixture the night before .. just like when i made other Gelato before , Zabaglione Gelato . So , this recipe is quite similar to that one ,

2 cups of milk

1 cup of heavy cream

2/3 cup of sugar

4 egg yolks

In a pot , heat the milk and heavy cream , while it’s heating , beat the egg yolks and sugar until it’s pale yellow . Slowly add the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks mixture , this is called tempering . And then pour the mixture back into the pot , and cook until it gets thicker enough to coat the back of a spoon , remove from heat . DO NOT BOIL . Chill in the fridge overnight .

The next morning , add 3/4 tsp. of peppermint extract , green food coloring ( gel paste ) and then add chocolate chunks . The chocolate chunks should be added during the last 5 minutes of churning .

Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker , and the last 5 minutes , add the chocolate chunks .

The flavour and coloring is endless with this gelato , you can add any kind of flavouring into the mixture to make your own creation .