Monthly Archives: February 2014

Amish Beef and Noodles

My husband was born and raised in Midwest , and beef and noodles is one of his favorite meal . I have only cooked beef and noodles a few times . But since we left Midwest couple of years ago , i never made them over here in South . Even back then , i hardly cooked beef and noodles . So , this weekend , he asked me if i would make him beef and noodles , and sure i said . After cooking so long , i was quite sure cooking beef and noodles shouldn’t be a hassle . It was pretty easy . And i was right .. it was easy even now . Beef and Noodles is a famous dish by the Amish people , according to my husband . I didn’t believe him , he said he was being serious , then i googled it and i believed it was true .

My beef and noodles turned out really good , since both my husband and my son said this should be a $40 dinner ! And it was so good , they both had the second plate on top of having the first place with home made dinner rolls . The beef that i picked was a good quality beef . And i do believe to make a good beef and nooldes , a good beef is required . And then it needs to be cooked slow and steady , and i simmered in the dutch oven for about 3 hours , the beef came out very tender , and one more key , not to be so cheap on the seasonings . Fresh black pepper , kosher salt , i even added red chili flakes . So anyway here is my beef and noodles

beef and noodles


Ingredients : 

2 lbs of beef boneless chuck roast

5 garlic cloves , minced

1 large onion , chopped

2 bay leaves

3 sprigs of thyme leaves

beef stock

home made noodles

1. Cut up the beef into smaller chunks , then sprinkle with fresh black pepper and kosher salt , mix well . Be generous with your seasonings .

2. Heat up olive oil , be ready to sear the beef , you don’t want to boil it , you want to sear them . After searing on all sides , remove and in the same pot , saute the onion until translucent , and then add garlic , bay leaves and thyme leaves . At this point you can add white wine if you would like to and scrape off the bottom .. or you can skip this wine , and continue by adding the meat back into the pot , with beef broth . I added about 4-5 cups of beef broth , enough to cover up the beef , then bring to boil , and then cover with the lid and simmer for 3 hours . Stirring once in a while .

3. When the beef is really tender , then you are ready to add in your home made noodles , make sure you have enough broth to cook the noodles , if not , add more water before cooking the noodles , and if you do add a lot of water you might have to adjust your seasonings .

4. After cooking the noodles , the broth should be thicken up , if it’s not thick enough ,  you can always add cornstarch to help to thickened it up . Chop some parsley and then sprinkle on the beef and noodles and serve with dinner rolls .

beef and noodles1

For home made noodles :

4 large eggs

2 tbsp. water

1/2 tsp. salt

3 1/2 cup of all purpose flour

If you don’t have pasta maker you still can make this home made noodles manually . Make a well in the center of the flour then add water salt and eggs , beat the eggs , then start mixing the flour into the eggs mixture until incorporated . Then knead the dough , let it sit for 20 minutes . Roll the dough with rolling pin until it’s quite thin but not too thin . Let the noodles dry and ready to be used when  your beef and noodles are done cooking .

noodles1 noodles2


Swiss Roll with Mocha Buttercream

So , i believe i had tried making this sponge cake a while back ago , few years ago to be exact . I didn’t think i was quite successful , mainly because the technique to fold the flour into the batter was wrong . And we all know that sponge cake batter is light and airy , and it’s because of the air in the batter , where we beat the eggs and sugar until it’s very light , white and creamy . Well , this morning i wanted to try it again .. it was sunday , we skipped church , and it was gloomy .. What better things to do than experimenting on a cake ?

There i was , with my dear hubby , helping me making the mocha buttercream , for the filling . I was thinking about strawberry jam , but i do not have any strawberry jam left . This time i was quite  sure that i will do it right , i learned from youtube for the technique how to fold the flour into the batter , and that’s all i need .

The funny thing though , my husband was helping me greasing the jelly roll pan , including adding parchment paper .. and then i said ” don’t worry about flouring them , i will do the flour later ”

Well .. i got too busy with the batter , and what do you know .. when it was ready to be poured , i didn’t even bother to look at the jelly roll pan , and i just poured it .. half way pouring it and i remembered .. i didn’t flour them !!! I was so worried it wouldn’t turn out .. but i am glad it did .. it came out just fine !!!

So here is my Mocha Swiss Roll

mocha swiss roll


Ingredients : 

100 grams of super fine sugar ( if you have regular sugar , just put them in coffee grinder and pulse few times , watch not to turn them into powdered sugar )

4 large eggs

100 grams of all purpose flour

1. Grease a jelly roll pan 9×13 , and line with parchment paper . Preheat oven to 400 F

2, In a mixer bowl , beat the eggs for a minute then add sugar , keep beating in high speed , for 10 minutes . The batter should be light , creamy and fluffy .

3. Sift flour into the batter , fold the flour into the batter with wooden spoon . Make sure you fold it carefully so you don’t lose air bubbles .

4. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 10-12 minutes . Let cool before inverting it .

To assemble : In a parchment paper , sprinkle some powdered sugar , then invert the cake carefully , peel off the parchment paper , spread the filling , either jam , preserves , or buttercream , roll carefully .

swiss roll

Citrus Braised Lamb Shank

I was on my facebok page when  i ran across this recipe from a company that sells lots of kitchen stuff . I thought that was interesting , i believed i never tried lamb shank , i did however tried veal shank for osso bucco not too long ago . So , i thought .. i’d like to try it . It wasn’t so hard , the smell was wonderful though , still next time i probably will try minus the citrus . The recipe calls for lemon , orange and lime , family of citrus into the sauce . However i do believe , just the flavor from garlic , onion , celery and carrot will be enough without the ctirus . It is different with citrus in lamb shank , if that’s what you’re looking for then i would suggest , go ahead , add the citrus .

citrus lamb shanks


Ingredients :

About 2 lbs of lamb shanks , ask the butcher to cut it

salt and pepper

In a large deep skillet , heat olive oil , until it’s really smoky hot . Salt and pepper the shanks generously , then sear the shanks on all side . Make sure you put it on a high heat , you don’t want to steam the shank , you want to sear them , until they have nice golden brown color on all side . Then remove to a plate . Do the same with the same with the rest , don’t overcrowd the skillet .

3 stalks of celery , chopped

1 large carrot , chopped

1 large onion , chopped

3 cloves of garlic , minced

2 bay leaves

3 sprigs of thyme

1 1/2 tbsp. of tomato paste

2 cups of white wine ( i didn’t have white so i used red )

1 cup of chicken broth

In the same skillet , after searing the shanks . Add little more olive oil , then saute the vegetables , carrot ,celery and onion about 5 minutes . Then add garlic , and the herbs in , stir about 1 minute . Add the tomato paste , stir for another minute . After that add the white wine along with the broth , and juice from lemon and lime . Bring to boil , and return the shanks into the deep skillet .

Cover and cook the shanks in the oven , at 250 F , for at least 2 1/2 hours . Turning the shanks every hour or so . After 2 1/2 hours , take the them out , and place the shanks in the platter . Pour the broth into a large pitcher , let it sit for a minute or so , the fat should rise up , using the turkey baster , take out the juice from the bottom , and place it in a medium sauce pan . Bring to boil to thicken , then add the juice from orange , adjust with the seasoning . Pour the sauce on top of the lamb shanks on the platter . Serve warm , with rice or orzo .

Beer Can Roasted Chicken

This one recipe is super easy and simple . I made this chicken in the oven instead of the grill . Meat thermometer helps if you have one , since you tend to overcook chicken and yet you don’t want to have an under cooked chicken on your plate . Make sure the thermometer reaches 165 F before taking the chicken out from the oven . And place the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken which is the thighs area and don’t hit the bone or else it will give you false temperature .

My chicken turned out with crispy skin the way i like it .. and very juice meat inside . I served them with home made mashed potatoes and seasoned blanched green beans

beer can chicken1

Ingredients :

1 whole chicken , i used about 4 lbs organic chicken

1 beer can

2-3 cloves of smashed garlic

dry rub mix :

1 tbsp. of chipotle chili powder

1 tbsp. of chili powder

4 tsp. of light brown sugar

1 tsp. of kosher salt

2 tsp. of cumin

2 tsp. of coriander

1/2 tsp. of fresh black pepper

1 tsp. of garlic and 1 tsp. of onion

mix all together , and use this dry rub to rub all over the chicken , including the cavity and underneath the skin .

Then place the chicken on the beer can , and bake at 450 F for 15 minutes then turn it down to 350 F , cook about 1.5 hours or so , or until the thermometer reach 165 F . Let the chicken sit a while before slicing it .

beer can chicken

Black Forest Cake

Black forest cake is my favorite cake . I remember the very first time i took a bite of this cake , i was only 11 years old , it was a cake that my sister , who happens to be 17 years older than me , made for me and my mom . That time , she made the cake to welcome us in her house . The cake was so yummy and delicious , chocolatey , and has certain thing that i can never figure out . Later i found out this cake was made with alcohol . Well you could make them into the US version , skipping all the soaking in brandy or kirsch , which is alcohol , and made them into a regular chocolate cake , but i can’t guarantee the taste will be the same .

So , fast forward years later , in 2004 , back when i was in Kansas , and just started to have interest in baking and cooking i attempted making my first black forest cake , my husband said it was very good , although the looks , not so much . Couple years later i made another one .. this time , the taste was lacking and although it looked better .. i guess few years in the kitchen gave me some knowledge about cake decorating although at the time , the taste wasn’t as good .

2014 .. Valentine’s week , i decided , it is time for me to make black forest cake , and i was pretty much determined that it is the cake i will be making for my family for Valentine’s . And thinking about my 9 years old son , he obviously can’t eat this cake , so i had planned it that i will put some batter into cupcakes , to make his version a cupcake virgin version . Well .. that never happened .. LOL

But i had everything on hand that day , i started on a day before Valentine’s , i knew this cake would be too much to tackle in just 1 day . I did my prepped for everything else but the cake and the chocolate mousse . Those 2 would be best to be made the next day anyway . I made my cherry filling , with the kirsch , which is a cherry brandy , next time i might try it with marsala wine and cognac . I am not saying it tastes bad with kirsch , it was still good , but i made ice cream with marsala wine and cognac and i loved the flavor , i wonder if it would be really good for this cake too .

black forest cake

black forest1

I did the sugar syrup at the same day making the cherry filling . The next morning i made the cake , being a sponge cake , it is quite thin so they don’t take long to totally cool off . Once it’s done cooling off , i made the chocolate mousse and the rest is just assembling the cake . I had fun decorating the cake , i used some chocolate writings , and did some chocolate curls . I have to say this time i am pretty happy with how it looks and how it tastes .