Monthly Archives: March 2012

Dungeness Crab with Sweet and Sour Sauce

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

2 shallots

sugar

salt

pepper

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

vegetable oil

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 !!

Simple Spaghetti and Meatballs

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

1 egg

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 .

Teriyaki Pork Chops with Bell Peppers and Pineapple

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 .

 

Egg Salad Sandwich

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 :

8 eggs

           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 .

Boiled Crawfish

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 !!

Chinese Buffet Style Doughnuts

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 !!!

 

 

Jay’s favourite Oven Baked Fried Chicken

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

margarine

milk

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 !

Mixed Vegetables with Rice

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 :

cooked rice

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 egg

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 !

 

How to make Caramel for Flan

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 !

 

Fluffy Cinnamon Pancakes

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 .

Sweet Vanilla Bowknots

This recipe calls for a vanilla beans , except i didn’t have them on hand . As a result , i replaced it with 2 Tbsp. of vanilla extract , and it tasted really vanilla-y !

I love making bread , they make your house smells so good . I made these buns last night , it didn’t take me long to make the bread dough . Instead the regular use of my standing kitchenaid mixer , i ended up using food processor for this . Still i had to finish up to knead the dough manually , since the food processor gets hot too quick . Like i mentioned in the previous entry about making bread dough in the food processor , you want to make sure that all your ingredients are chilled . Not warm like when you make them with standing mixer .

I guess you could always make this with the mixer , but the process of the dough here is only for food processor .

Basic Sweet Dough Recipe :

2/3 cup of milk

2 large eggs

1 tbsp. of sugar

Mix these ingredients together in a small bowl . Then set aside

2 3/4 cup of bread flour

1 3/4 tsp. of active dry yeast

4 tbsp. of sugar

a pinch of salt

In a food processor , pulse these ingredients together until blended .

Keep pulsing and pour the egg milk mixtures into the food processor until it’s blended . Then add 6-8 tbsp. of softened butter . If your processor can handle this , keep pulsing until the mixture becomes glossy , add flour as needed if it’s too sticky . If for some reason your processor stopped and wouldn’t run because of overheated , take the dough out , and finish kneading manually ( adding flour as needed ) for about 5 minutes . Then butter your bowl , let your dough rest in the bowl , cover loosely with plastic wrap . Let it rise for about 1 hour to 1.5 hours in a warm room .

That’s your basic sweet dough recipe , if you want to want to make vanilla bowknots , in the egg milk mixture in the basic sweet dough recipe , add 2 tbsp. vanilla extract or scrape off from 1 vanilla beans . ( vanilla beans would be a great choice )

After 1.5 hours of resting , the dough should rise , and it should look like this

Contrary of what they say to punch the dough down , from what read , you shouldn’t do that , instead you should just take the dough out and flatten it out to rest couple of minutes .

Flatten it out , and then roll them into a log

Then , using your own hand , cut the dough into 4 small portions , and then cut each portions into 2 small balls .

Working on each small ball , roll it into snake

Time to shape it into bowknots , do the rest with others

Do the same with the rest of the doughs , and put them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper

Once you’re done making these bowknots , cover with kitchen towel or plastic wrap , and let it rise , double in size . About 1 hour or so 

They should be bigger than the original size , preheat your oven to 375 F and brush the bowknots with milk , and then sprinkle with sugar all over . Bake for about 15 minutes .

 

Chicken and Beans Stew

I found this recipe online , and after some alteration , i thought this stew was really delicious . Not to mention it’s easy and quick with the rotisserie chicken . If you feel like it , you can always roast the chicken yourself instead of buying the rotisserie chicken from the store . I think the rotisserie chicken from the store really helps a lot when you don’t have much time , this is a great dish for weekdays .

As far as the ingredients , basically you have everything on hand , nothing that is out of ordinary . The only spices i used here is cumin , which can be found easily at the grocery store too . You can also substitute the red beans with other kind of beans that you like . I don’t really care for black beans , so i stick with red beans , i think pinto beans should be good for this too .

You need :

1 tbsp. of red pepper flakes

5 cloves of garlic ,  minced

8 oz of andouille sausage

1 onion , chopped

3 ribs of celery , chopped

2-3 jalapeno , seeds removed , chopped

1-2 thai pepper , chopped ( i love spicy food , so this is optional if you don’t like spicy stuff )

1/4 cup of all purpose flour

4 cups of chicken stock

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tbsp. of salt

black pepper

1/4 cup of light brown sugar

2 , 15 oz can of red kidney beans

3 cups of shredded chicken

1. In a dutch oven or soup pot , heat up 4 tbsp. olive oil , then add red pepper flakes and garlic , garlic cook very fast , don’t let it burn . Add your sausages ( diced sausages ) , then cook until brown about 3-4 minutes .

2. Then add your celery , jalapenos , thai pepper and onion into the pot , cook about 5 minutes or so . Then add your flour , cook about a minute or so .

3. With whisk , get ready to pout the chicken stock into the pot with roux , whisking as you pouring it little at a time to prevent clumps . Then add bay leaves , cumin , salt , and pepper .

4. Add your chicken and red kidney beans , and bring to boil then simmer for 10 minutes .

Serve with rice .

 

Cocoa Coffee Brownies

I was enjoying our afternoon by the pool , when i thought , let’s make some brownies . Mind you , i’ve baked a lot of stuff , but as far as i remember i only baked brownies from scratch once before this . And it’s been couple of years i believe , so i wanted to make them again , from scratch . I don’t really like brownies mix from the box because they tend to be too sweet for my taste .

This recipe below is for you chocolate lover , and especially if you like dark chocolate , i can guarantee you like this brownie . I added a tablespoon of coffee granules in there and it brings out the chocolate flavour even more . I would try adding Kahlua next time .

You need :

4 large eggs

In a large bowl , beat the eggs about 5-6 minutes if you use handmixer , and if you use standing kitchen , use your paddle attachment , and 2-3 minutes on medium high speed should be enough to make the eggs fluffy and light yellow .

Then sift together :

2 1/2 oz. of all purpose flour

5 3/4 oz. of cocoa powder , not dutch process

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. coffee granules

And then add

7 oz. of sugar

6 oz. of light brown sugar

Add all these mixture slowly into the egg mixture , until combine , then add :

2 sticks of unsalted butter , melted

2 tsp. vanilla

Mix the batter until it’s smooth and gooey . Bake on 8 inch square pan , lined with parchment paper , for about 50 minutes . It should be done if the tooth pick comes out clean . Cut the brownies when it’s already mostly cool .Serve with vanilla ice cream or as is .

 

Soft Boiled Eggs & Toasts

When i was younger , i remember that my mom loved making this for my breakfast . Eggs are healthy , you can either make sunny side eggs , scrambled eggs ,omelette or hard boiled and soft boiled eggs . I hardly had hard boiled eggs , i don’t know why , but i guess my mom thinks it wasn’t the yummiest to eat it alone . My husband loves hard boiled eggs , the only bad thing about hard boiled eggs , you have to add at least butter / margarine on top , to make it yummy and sprinkle a little salt . While soft boiled eggs , you can skip the butter / margarine altogether and just sprinkle little salt , you can do without also . Then , also add some toast on the side to dip it into . The toasts thing i found out recently , because back in Indonesia , bread isn’t something that we always have in the pantry . Bread isn’t main food , rice is ! So , we have bread occasionally , but my mom didn’t own any toaster either , so i guess no sense buying bread and trying to make toasts to be dipped into the soft boiled eggs .

Just recently , i started missing these soft boiled eggs , and when i introduced them to my son , he loved it instantly . He normally had hard boiled eggs in the busy morning . But he loves soft boiled eggs too . Just this morning i introduced him the toasts to be dipped into the soft boiled eggs . And guess what ? He loves it too .

Soft boiled eggs are super easy to make , just bring water to almost boil , where you can see tiny little bubbles started to come out , and then drop your eggs one at a time carefully . If the water is rolling boil , your eggs will crack when you drop them in . So probably would be best to bring the egg slightly to room temperature , before you start boiling the water , take the eggs out from the fridge .

And once you drop the eggs in the pot full of water , cover with the lid and shut the heat off . Let it sit for 8-9 minutes . And once it’s done , run under cold water to stop the cooking process . And serve with toasts .

Bakso Sapi ( Indonesian Meatballs )

When i was younger , we used to live in a street where a lot of street vendor would pass by and making noises so that all the neighbourhood would be aware of them , well they’re trying to sell their product , right ? Those street vendors include people who sells meatball ( bakso ) , also people who sell chicken satay ( sate ayam ) , rujak ( fruit salad with peanut sauce ) , angsle and ronde ( rice balls with peanut fillings and ginger syrup ) . You will never be hungry if you live in Indonesia .. these men were always out there on the street selling food .

So one of them was bakso sapi , i haven’t had these meatballs ever since i moved to US , almost 12 years ago . I liked them , but it’s not like i couldn’t live without it . I guess i was really never cared about having it or not . Until the other day , we went shopping at H Mart , and my son saw this lady , cooking meatballs , of course they’re trying to lure you to try it and hoping you would buy the product . My son tried the meatballs , the one made from beef , though they had others made from cuttlefish and lobster also . My son loved it !!I thought .. that wasn’t really fair for him , i’ve had these kind of food when i was younger and why wouldn’t i try making them , so that he can have a taste of it too ?

So there goes the story .. i decided to try to make bakso sapi , how hard can a meatball be anyway ? It shouldn’t be too hard i thought .. i’ve made italian meatballs all the time , chinese meatballs .. it’s time to try to make indonesian meatballs .You don’t want them to be hard , you want them to be springy , bouncy some people describe it that way , in order to get that kind of meatballs , make sure you let your meatballs dough sit overnight or at least 6 hours in the fridge . BUT , if you’ve been thawing your meat in the fridge from the freezer , i don’t think it’s necessary to let it chill for 6 hours again in the fridge . So if i were you , i would thaw our my meat from the freezer , in the fridge overnight , and by the time you grind and mix your meat , it will be all cold still .

You need :

2 lbs of ground lean beef , i used extra lean 96% lean ground beef .

2 tbsp. of tapioca starch

2 tsp. of sugar

4 tsp. of salt

1 tsp. pepper

2 -3 garlic cloves

8 tbsp. of ice cold water

In a food processor , grind the meat with the sugar , salt , pepper and the garlic too . Grind until the meat looks like paste , unless you like the meat with texture , you can pulse it until you reach the texture you like . Usually indonesian meatballs are very smooth looking , mine wasn’t really perfectly smooth , but it’s smooth enough for me . Then while the food processor is still running add the ice cold water , keep pulsing until it’s blended well and smooth . Chill at least 6 hours , or if it’s cold enough , just start bring water to boil , not rolling boil , but just started to boil ,drop your meatballs into the pot , cook for about 10 minutes , don’t let the water boil too hard or your meatballs will crack .Once it’s done take the balls out of the pot , drop into the pot filled with cold water .

To serve : Make about 4 cups of water , add 2 chicken bouillon cube , and add salt pepper to your taste , add lots of chopped green onion . Add your meatballs , serve hot in a bowl .

This picture below , the meatballs are served with vermicelli rice noodles . Just boil the noodles according to the direction and serve the meatballs with it .

Chicken Porridge ( Bubur Ayam )

Chicken porridge is something that i ate a lot when i was younger . On the days that i was sick , my mom would make me chicken porridge , sometimes we also had chicken porridge from the street vendor too just because we feel like eating chicken porridge . They’re delicious , usually they have few condiments served with the chicken porridge , like cakwe ( it’s like a chinese donuts , the texture is almost like french crueller ) and then green onions , fried onions , hard boiled eggs , and of course the chicken itself , with soy sauce on the side .

My version of chicken porridge is going to be a very simple chicken porridge . Super easy and guarantee you have everything on hand . Here is my Bubur ayam ( Chicken Porridge )

You need :

1 whole chicken , not too big

about 3-4 head of garlic , peeled

about 3-4 quarts of water , make sure the chicken is submerged

1 tbsp. of salt

3 stalks of green onions

hard boiled eggs

fried onions

chinese doughnuts or cakwe , it’s also called youtiao .

1 1/2 cup of long grain rice , soaked for an hour

In a big pot , add your whole chicken , with 3-4 quarts of water and 3-4 heads of garlic . Cover and boil for 40 minutes , medium high heat . Then turn the heat down , to low , add your rice without the water of course , into the pot . Cover , and cook 30 minutes on low , stir often to prevent burning on the bottom . Then add your green onion , and salt . Take chicken out , shred the chicken , and serve the porridge with chicken on top , sliced chinese doughnuts , fried onions , hard boiled eggs . Serve warm .

The Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie

 

I’ve been longing for the perfect lemon meringue pie . This pie is my husband’s favourite pie , so of course , being a good wife that i am , i really wanted to make one that is perfect . I’ve made lemon meringue pie 2 times in the past few weeks , both times , there was always something that went wrong .. whether the filling isn’t thick enough , or maybe the meringue shrunk , or not enough filling ..

So .. last night , i decided let’s try to make it again , and this time , make it RIGHT !!

Well i think i did !! NO no .. i know i did well !!! So below is a somewhat a tutorial of how to make the perfect lemon meringue pie .

The Pie Crust , make this ahead , you need :

1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour

1 stick of COLD unsalted butter

pinch of salt

1 tbsp. of sugar

2 tbsp. of ICE COLD water ( you might need more just add by tsp. until you reach the right consistency )

I am using food processor for this , it saves me a lot of time , i am sure you can do it manually too . Mix the flour , sugar and salt , pulse until it blends well . . Then , add the butter ( cut in cubes before adding in ) pulse few more times until they mix , and resembles coarsed peas . Then add the cold water while keeping the processor running .Don’t overmix it , if it’s too dry add more water , don’t add too much or it will become too sticky .

Once they look like this , it’s time to stop pulsing . And form into a ball , flatten into a disk , wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes . You can do this a day ahead too .

 

When you’re ready , roll out your crust with rolling pin , transfer to the pie pan . Poke holes everywhere with fork , add parchment paper and then pie weights . Or used buttered foil , before adding pie weights .

For more details about the pie crust , go to my other recipe Pecan Pie , that has more details picture to make the crust . Bake the crust at 400 F , about 20 minutes then take out the pie weights , and bake extra 15 minutes . Take them out and let it cool .

For the Lemon Filling , you need :

1 1/3 cups of lemon juice , about 15-16 small lemons

2 cups of sugar

8 tbsp. of cornstarch

8 eggs (reserved the egg whites for the meringue )

In a small pot , whisk together the sugar and cornstarch . Then slowly pour the lemon juice , keep whisking until it’s all mixed well . Start cooking them , medium low heat . Beat the 8 eggs , on a small bowl , then start tempering the eggs . ( Add little bit of lemon juice sugar mixture that started to warm , and mix with the eggs , then pour the tempered eggs mixture into the pot , while keep whisking to prevent scrambling the eggs )This probably takes about 10 minutes , the mixture should be very thick . Remove from the heat , throughout the whole process try to keep whisking .

1, Mix the 2 cups of sugar and 8 tbsp. of cornstarch . Mix well .

2. Pour 1 1/3 cup of lemon juice into the mixture .

3. On medium low heat , keep whisking the mixture . Then beat 8 egg yolks , and temper the eggs to prevent scrambling . Then add the tempered eggs mixture into the lemon juice mixture . And keep whisking until the mixture becomes thick .

4. After 10 minutes your mixture should be thick enough and look like this . Remove from the heat .

After the pie crust has been cooling , immediately add the lemon filing in . If you stop at this step , it will be called Lemon Pie .

Now time to make the meringue .

For the meringue , you need :

8 egg whites , reserved from egg yolks earlier .

1./2 tsp. cream of tartar

12 tbsp. powdered sugar

In a large stainless steel bowl , make sure everything is dry , the bowl , the mixer , then start beating the egg whites and cream of tartar until it’s foamy .Add the powdered sugar little at a time , keep beating until stiff peak reached .

1.Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar til it’s foamy then add your powdered sugar little at a time .

2. This is when you want to stop beating them , this is what they call stiff peak , when you pull out your mixer and the tip stayed up straight . Do not overbeat .

Now , it’s time to add your meringue to the lemon pie .Spread your meringue , ALL THE WAY to cover up the crust , ( if you don’t cover all the edges of the crust your meringue will shrink later on )

Use the mixer pull the meringue lightly before baking them at 325 F about 25 minutes .

This is how it looks when it’s done.

 

 

 

Banana Foster Crepes

Banana Foster crepe is so easy to make . As long as you have the idea how to make basic crepes , then you can play around with any kind of filling you want . I’ve used Hazelnut spread such as Nutella before , and it tasted wonderful , i guess you can use strawberry jam too . This time i used Banana Foster and if you happen to have rum , go ahead use it , but be careful because it ignites the flame ( the part i like ) . This one right here , didn’t use any rum , i didn’t have them on hand . Still it tastes delicious !!

Basic Crepes :

1 cup of all purpose flour

1 egg

1/2 cup of milk

1/2 cup of water

pinch of salt

2 tbsp. melted unsalted butter

Mix these ingredients together . Eggs and flour first then , add the liquid a little bit at a time , then add salt and butter . In a non stick skillet pour 1/4 cup of the batter and swirl , cook on medium low heat for 1 minute , then turn it over and cook for another 45 second . Slide them out from the skillet , and add your filling .

Banana Foster filling

2-3 ripe banana

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 cup of light brown sugar

pinch of salt

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

In a skillet , melt the butter , add the ground cinnamon , salt and light brown sugar , til it melts . Add your banana and let it cook for a minute or so . Add rum if you have rum if you don’t that’s fine too .

 

Crepes

I happened to make indonesian spring rolls wrapper when i thought about crepes . How similar they are , and i thought shouldn’t be much difference in the ingredients . Lumpia wrapper is exactly like crepes , but i think crepes is slightly thicker than the lumpia .

So using the same ingredients i used for lumpia , with added a little sugar , i made crepe wrapper . Next time i will try to make it the right way , with milk and butter . Thought i found nothing wrong without any milk or butter . I used hazelnut as the filling for this crepe , it also reminds me when i was younger , there used to be a shop that sells traditional snack , they sold this kind of crepe , folded this way but they used vanilla custard as it’s filling , and i thought that would be a great mid-afternoon , after school snack too . For now , this is my simple no fancy smancy hazelnut crepe

Ingredients :

Flour , pinch of salt , mix together . Add 1 egg , add water until the batter is thin enough for you to be able to swirl it around the non stick skillet . Cook for 1 minute under low medium heat . Add your fillings .

Lumpia Basah ( Indonesian Spring Rolls )

Lumpia basah is one of indonesian snack . It’s yummy and light enough , i remember when i was small , on our way home from church every sunday , me and my mom always stopped by this shop , they sold snacks , one of our favourite was lumpia basah . How do i explain lumpia basah for westerners ? I guess it is almost like spring rolls , except , it’s healthier since it’s not deep fried . The wrapper, isn’t the same with spring rolls , where you have to deep fry to let it all cooked . It is similar to crepe . Only needed to use flour , egg and water to make the wrapper . In a way it’s almost like pancake batter too , except it is very thin so that you can swirl it around the non stick skillet to make the wrapper . The filling , i guess it is similar to spring rolls , i used bamboo shoot , mung beans , carrots , chicken breast . You can always make it as meaty as you want with shrimp etc , or as vegetarian as you can .. such as skip all the meat and just use vegies . Do however you want it . It is a little time consuming with the wrapper making , but i guess once in a while it’s all worth it .

In Indonesia , we usually serve this with bird eye chili with tao co ( maybe somekind of soy bean sauce ) , and green onions on the side . Well .. living overseas , i don’t always have access to bird eye chili or tao co either .. so i do just fine with just the green onions , with or without it .

My mom in heaven probably is smiling right now , her daughter who rejected to be taught how to cook a long time ago , now is making home made lumpia basah !! Even back then my mom never made lumpia basah on her own .. she always bought it LOL .. I miss you mom !!

To make the filling :

1 chicken breast ( i used boneless ) , diced and then chopped or you can always use ground turkey too

1 carrot , minced

1 green onion , chopped

1/4 cup of bean sprout ( mung beans )

1 small can of bamboo shoot ( if you have fresh , that’s even better )

3 shallots , chopped

2 cloves of garlic , minced

salt , pepper , water , soy sauce and sweet soy sauce ( if you don’t have sweet soy sauce , you can use sugar )

In a skillet , heat up the oil , saute shallot , garlic and green onion for a minute , then add the chicken , carrot , cook for few minutes , then add the bamboo shoot and bean sprouts , water , salt , pepper , soy sauce and sweet soy sauce , stir well , and then cook until all the water evaporates ( don’t put too much water , just enough to cover a little bit , we’re not making soup here ) . Add more salt , pepper if it’s needed . Set aside , let it cool , you can always make this a day ahead .

 

For the wrapper :

300 grams of all purpose flour

about 2 cups to 2 1/4 cups of water , add little more if it’s not thin enough

1 egg

pinch of salt

3 tbsp. of vegetable oil

In a large bowl , add the flour and salt , mix well . Make a well in the middle , add your egg , whisk it , starting with the center , and then add water a little bit at a time to make the batter . Add the vegetable oil , mix well . The batter should be very thin , not thick like pancake batter , but it should be thin enough for you to be able to swirl it around the skillet .

Heat up a small skillet , medium heat , and then add about 1/4 cup batter into the skillet , swirl right away , let it cook , you have to watch it , once it’s bubbling up , it should be done . About 1 minute , using spatula , turn it over , cook about30-45 seconds , and place it on the plate , transfer to parchment paper to cool and be ready to wrap them .

This is how your wrapper looks like from 1 side, smooth

Turn it over and this is where you put your fillings and starts wrapping them , don’t put too much filling or you will break the wrapper

Add your filing

Fold both side towards the center , then roll it up . Make sure seam side down when you place it on the plate .


And you’re done , this recipe makes about 15-16 lumpia .