Monthly Archives: June 2013


I have never made braciole before , and i’ve known braciole is an italian dish . But i had no clue what it actually was , even though i heard the name braciole a lot from tv show , Everybody Loves Raymond . Where Ray’s favorite dish was braciole , the one that his mom always makes for him . It’s a good sitcom by the way .

Anyway , today was my first time making braciole . After googling , what it actually was , turned out it’s a rolled up beef with fillings . So after reading and doing my research about the dish , i mixed up my own filling , and they turned out to be delicious . Oh and do use your own home made marinara sauce if you could , the sauce is super easy and really worth it .


Direction : 

1 1/2 lb of flank steak , pounded thin about 3/4 inch thick

1/2 cup of italian bread crumbs

4 slices of pancetta  chopped roughly

2 garlic , minced

1/2 medium onion , diced

bunch of chopped fresh parsley

1/2 cup of fresh grated parmesan

2 tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper

kitchen twine

1. Pound the flank steak until it’s about 1/2 or 3/4 inch thick

2. Cook the onion , garlic and pancetta until they become caramelized . Set aside in a bowl . Then add bread crumbs , parmesan , parsley , salt , pepper and olive oil . Mix well .

3. Spread the filling on the meat evenly . Start rolling , tightly , and then secure with kitchen twine.

4. Heat up olive oil on a heat proof skillet , sear the meat all over , for a total of 8 minutes . Add 1 cup of white wine and scrape off the bits .

5. Add about 3-4 cups of the marinara sauce on the skillet . Then place the skillet in the oven , bake for total of 2 hours , at 350 F , basting every 30 minutes . And cover up with foil , the last 30 mins take the foil off .

For the marinara sauce : 

4 garlic cloves , minced

bunch of basil , chopped

2 sprigs of oregano , chopped

2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes with the juice

salt , pepper , sugar

1. Heat up olive oil in a pot , then add the garlic , basil , oregano and chopped chili ( optional ) , for a minute or so until fragrant . Then add the tomatoes . Bring to boil , simmer for an hour . Add salt , pepper and sugar if necessary to tone down the acidity .

2. Mash up the tomatoes , or you can use immersion blender to make the sauce super smooth of chunky .



I got this bagels recipe from one of my bread baking favorite book by Peter Reinhart . I have made different kinds of bread from his book , and bagels is the newest one i wanted to try .

So my bagels making started last night . I mixed the dough together , and let it proof for an hour before shaping them and letting it sit overnight . Then this morning i took the bagels out from the fridge right before i went working out . By the time i got back , the bagels were ready to be handled .

I have to say , i expected more from this bagels , although it tasted good , and chewy in the inside , the outside isn’t as smooth and satin look like the store bought bagels . Maybe because i didn’t roll the dough into ball to smooth the surface long enough and i was hurrying to shape it , next time , i will def. take my time to roll them into a ball before making a rope and shaping the bagels .

All and all , it was quite interesting making the bagels , i had no idea that you poached bagels before baking them into a very hot oven . It was a good experience 🙂

Direction for the dough : 

1 cup and 2 Tbsp. of lukewarm water

1 tbsp. of honey

1 tsp. yeast

1 1/2 tsp. salt

3 1/2 cups of bread flour

1. In a measuring cup combine the water , honey , salt and instant yeast , stir until everything dissolves . Let it sit for 5 minutes . In a large bowl , add the flour . Then pour the liquid into the flour , mix with wooden spoon for about 3 minutes . Then let it sit for 5 minutes .

2. After 5 minutes , take it out , and knead for about 5 more minutes on a very lightly floured surface . The dough should be smooth and stiff yet supple , barely tacky feel.

3. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl , cover with plastic let it rise for an hour in room temperature .

4. You can let it sit in the fridge overnight or moving on with shaping the dough .

5. Divide the dough into 6 or 8 small balls , then roll each piece into round balls , until smooth , then make into 8 inched long rope . Then place 1 end of the dough in the palm of your hand and wrap the rope around your hand to complete the circle , going between the thumb and forefinger and then all the way around . The ends should overlap by about 2 inches . Squeeze the overlapping with your hand then press the seam into work suface , rolling it back and forth a few times to seal . Remove the dough from your hand and squeeze it to to over out the thickness and creating a hole about 2 inches in diameter .

6. Place the dough into lightly brushed with oil parchment paper , and cover with plastic and store in the fridge up to 2 days .


7. On the baking day , take it out about 60-90 minutes before handling them . The dough should getting its final proof .



8. After 90 minutes , get a small bowl with cold water to test the bagels . Drop 1 bagels gently into the cold water bowl , if the dough floats , then the bagels are ready for the next step , if not , take the dough out and let it sit for extra 20 minutes or more .


9. Bring about 2-3 quarts of water to a boil with 1 tbsp. of baking soda , 1 tbsp. of honey and 1/2 tsp. of salt . Then once it’s boiled , bring the heat down to simmer , and drop as many bagels as you can fit into the pot , the bagels should be floating after 15 seconds , and then let it poach for 1 minute before turning it and poach it for another minute . Then , take it out and place the dough into lightly oiled parchment paper , ready to be baked .



10. Preheat oven to 500 F , and put the bagels into the oven , bring temperature down to 450 F and bake for 8 minutes , then turning it once and bake another 8 minutes .



11. Bagels are done when they’re golden brown on top bagels

Sandwich Bread

This afternoon i decided to make sandwich bread , the dough was also called milk dough , other ingredients are pretty much normal , in your pantry ingredients . It turns out really good as home made bread usually are , better than store bought obviously it’s chemical free , since there is no preservatives in the bread itself . I also used honey instead of sugar , the bread turns out really delicious ! This might take a little time to make , but really it’s not bad at all , consider it a good workout for your hand if you don’t use the mixer . You can always use your standing mixer to do this for you but i would rather do it by hand because with mixer you tend to add too much flour , and as a result you will have a very dry bread instead of soft .

sandwich bread


Directions : 

1/2 Tbsp. of active dry yeast

2 1/4 cups plus 1 Tbsp. of warm milk , about 95 F temperature

3 1/8 cup of bread flour

1/2 Tbsp. of kosher salt

1/8 cup of honey or 2 1/4 tbsp. of sugar

3 Tbsp. of melted butter or vegetable oil

1 whole egg

1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk , whisk , and let it sit about 5 minutes .

2. In a large bowl , combine the rest of the ingredients , then make a well in the center and pour the milk yeast mixture into the flour mixture . Stir with wooden spoon , or you can use your mixer to do this for you , and switch to dough hook when the dough gets too heavy to be mixed with the paddle attachment . I used wooden spoon , and after a while it gets heavy and i used my hand to mix the dough . Keep mixing the dough and kneading the dough until it cleans the sides of the bowl .

3. Knead the dough 5 more minutes on a lightly floured surface until the dough is tacky , soft and elastic . Then return the dough into lightly buttered bowl , and cover with plastic , let it rise overnight in the fridge or , let it rise in warm temperature for 90 minutes .

4. Once it’s done rising , take it out from the bowl , if it was in the fridge overnight , take it out , let it sit on the counter for 2 hours before handling it . Then pat down the dough into rectangle 5×8 inch , then start from the 5 inches , fold the dough to the center , then roll it up like a towel . Place in a baking dish lined with parchment paper . Let it rise for 40 more minutes , then bake at 350 F for 20 minutes then turn and bake another 20 minutes .


Mountain Meatballs

Made these yummy meatballs from Jamie Oliver’s cookbook , one of my favorite chef . Seems like everything that i cooked from his recipes always turned out yummy . This was not exception , although i have to admit , i wasn’t sure about adding more than a cup of coffee into the sauce making . As it turned out , it was really good and i couldn’t even tell there was coffee mix in there !!

The meatballs were a breeze to put together , they’re easy and since they’re humongous , they didn’t take much time to make at all . Unlike swedish meatballs , they’re tiny and it took a while to make 40-50 small meatballs . These were not like that .. they’re huge !! Out of 2 lbs of meat that i used , i made only 10 meatballs . Yes , they’re big !! I also used mixture of extra lean beef and pork . This dish probably took about an hour or so to make , so it’s quite reasonable .

 mountain meatballs2


Direction : 

2 lbs of mixture of ground beef and ground pork ( i used extra lean ground beef 96%)

2 red onions , chopped

2 large eggs

2 handfuls of bread crumbs ( i used whatever i had on hand and it happened to be panko breadcrumbs )

kosher salt and fresh black pepper

pinch of cumin

1 tsp of coriander

1/2 tsp. of dried oregano

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F . Heat olive oil in a large skillet , then cook the onion about 10 minutes until it’s started to caramelize and soft . Set aside , let it cool before adding into the meat mixture . Once it’s cool , add to the meat mixture , using hand , combine everything , then divide into 10 , and shape into meatballs .

2. In a roasting pan or dutch oven , add little bit of olive oil , and place the meatballs in it , then sprinkle some more olive oil on top of the meatballs . Bake the meatballs in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 F .

For the sauce :

1 large red onion

1 each of red pepper and yellow pepper

2 hot chili , minced , seeded or not , it’s  up to you

10 cloves of garlic , thinly slice

1/2 tsp. of smoked paprika

1/3 cup of dark brown sugar or molasses

1/3 cup of ketchup , heaping

1/3 cup of Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp. dijon mustard

1 2/3 cup of coffee


3 roma tomatoes , quartered


1. In the same skillet you use for the onion , add little olive oil and then add the onion , garlic , yellow and red pepper , along with the smoked paprika . Cook for 15 minutes on medium low , stirring often .

2. Then add the Worcestershire sauce , brown sugar , ketchup and dijon mustard , along with the coffee , tomatoes , bring to boil . Then simmer for 20 minutes until it’s thicken . If it’s not quite thicken to your preference , cook longer and turn the heat up .

3. By this time , your meatballs should be done , and remove all the fat from the roasting pan , then pour the sauce into the pan , place the pan back into the oven for 5 minutes . Serve warm with mashed potatoes or white rice .

Meatballs before being cooked



Cooking the sauce



Meatballs after being cooked and removing the fat from the pan



Meatballs and the sauce are done !


mountain meatballs1

Lemon Birthday Cake

It’s no secret that anything to do with lemons , are my husband’s favorite . That includes , lemon rice soup , lemon pie , lemon meringue pie , lemon yogurt cake .. anything lemon he loves ! Me ? not so much .. it’s okay .. it’s not my favorite thing . So being a good wife that i am , i asked him , what kind of cake should i make for his birthday ? I imagined he’d say chocolate cake .. anything that has birthday in my mind .. i always picture it with chocolate .. Well i was surprised when he said ” Lemon cake ”

I never made lemon cake for a birthday cake . Lemon yogurt cake yes .. but i wasn’t planning to make a simple lemon yogurt cake for his birthday .. So i finally made up my mind , and yes , we’re going to make a cake with lemon curd filling and lemon icing . So .. maybe 12 lemons , would be enough ? Thank goodness i picked up 12 .. because that’s what i used !!

It was probably a little bit of work , but nothing unusual .. just like assembling any other cake , it does take time . It was about 4 hours .. or probably more if i were patient enough to let my lemon curd to be totally cold . Anyway .. make sure you have lemon juicer or your hand will be tired from juicing lemons LOL ..

lemon cake with lemon curd filling


lemon cake



Direction for cakes :

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter

1 1/4 cups white sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp. of sour cream

1. In a mixer bowl , beat the sugar and the butter until light and fluffy about 5 minutes . Then beat the eggs in , one by one until blended . Then add the flour mixture with baking powder and salt , alternating with the milk mixture with vanilla extract . Until well blended .

2. Preheat oven to 350 F , line 8 inch round baking pan with parchment paper , then pour the batter into 2 pans . Bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes or so . Once it’s done , let it cool before removing from the pan .. let it cool totally before frosting . At this point you can always put them in the freezer for half an hour for easy frosting later on .

Direction for the Lemon Curd filling : 

1 tbsp. of lemon zest

1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch

6 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup white sugar

4 egg yolks, beaten

1.Mix the lemon zest , lemon juice and cornstarch together . Then mix in the butter and the sugar , melt the butter and sugar . Beat the eggs yolks , then start tempering the eggs yolks by adding the warm lemon juice butter mixture to the egg yolks while whisking , then pour the eggs mixture back into the lemon mixture , while whisking non stop , keep whisking about 5 minutes until the mixture thicken and covers the back of the spoon . Then refrigerate for 3 hours .

Direction for lemon icing : 

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons milk

Mix all ingredients together until smooth frosting reached . If it’s too thick add more milk .

Assembling the cake : 

1. Once the cakes are totally cool , slice the cake in half , then add the lemon curd filling , top with 1 layer of cake , then frost the cake with lemon icing , top with one layer , add the curd , add another layer and finally top with the last layer of the cake and frost all over .

Smothered Porkchops

Very easy recipe , and really quick to make . I love pork chops , they’re yummy and easy to fix . You don’t want to overcook pork chop or else you will end up with tough chops .. but if you cook it just right , they are really tasty . This recipe is easy and probably just need about 30 minutes to get it done .All the ingredients are pretty much on your pantry already , there is no special ingredients here .

Next time i would add mushrooms in there , i think it will taste yummy too . I served this with rice , but i imagine baked potatoes with steamed vegetable on the side would make an awesome dinner .

smothered porkchop


Directions : 

About 6 pork chops , 1/2 inch thick or 1 inch

1 cup of self rising flour

2 tsp. of kosher salt

2 tsp. of fresh ground black pepper

2 tsp. of smoked paprika

4 tsp. of garlic powder

1 tsp. of onion powder

4 sprigs of thyme

olive oil

1 sweet onion , sliced

4 cloves of garlic , minced

2 cups of chicken broth

2 cups of beef broth

4 tbsp. of flour

1. Mix the dry spices together , then rub the chops all over . Dump the rest of the dry spices into the flour , mix well .

2. Dredge the chops into the flour , shake off excess flour . Heat olive oil until it’s very hot , sear the chops about 90 seconds on each side ( if your chops are 1 inch thick .. probably sear about 2 minutes ) , then flip and do the same . Set aside . Do the same with the rest of them .

3. Add the sweet onion , garlic and thyme , cook about 3 minutes , then add the flour , and cook about couple minutes .. add the broth while whisking so it won’t be lumpy . Place the chops back into the skillet , and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes til chops are done .