Sunday, April 30, 2006

A Week of Experimenting with Chef's The Spicy Way Book

Books...books...books...I love books so much and lately I have been buying more and more recipe books to add to my collection. I lost count already on how many I have. While the new books are exciting because they are more challenging, I miss the simplicity from some of my old recipe books.

Everytime I went back to Taiwan to visit my in laws, I always bought between 10 to 20 recipe books with me. Not all of them I have tried, some of them I just look at the pictures.

So I just pick one book that I haven't tried before, it's called Chef's The Spicy Way Book. From a glance I found that the recipes are pretty easy with common enough ingredients. My kind of book!

Even though I wish I can maKe gorgeous food like some foodies, I found that I don't have the time or maybe the drive to spent hours in the kitchen when I have a newborn baby to take care and a little boy too!

I just like something simple but tasty. Since my husband loves hot spicy food, so I think this book will satisfy his taste. Off course I tame it down a little for the sake of my son....

So I made a shopping list for the ingredients, I am surprise that none of them are expensive or even close to exotic. Very common, and cheap, wow... this book is getting better by the minute!

So everyday I tried 2 or more dishes. Off course not all of them are to my liking, but some do and I am posting the pictures of the dishes that I will want to cook again next time.

TENDER TOFU WITH PORK IN GARLIC



CHILI DEEP-FRIED CHICKEN WINGS



Ingredients:
6 chickens wings
minced garlic as needed ( I use 4 cloves )
yam flour as needed ( I use cornstarch )

Seasonings:
1 Tbs cooking wine
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp
MSG as needed

Methods:
1. Rinse chicken wings, marinate in garlic and seasonings for 2 hrs.
2. Coat chicken wings with cornstarch ( or yam flour ), deep-fry in oil until
done, remove and drain. Ready to serve.

SQUID STRIPS WITH PEANUTS



Ingredients:
2/3 lb squid meat
2 red chilies
2 cloves garlic
1 scallion
1 Tbs garlic flavour peanuts (I don't have it so I substitute with roasted cashew)
1 Cup egg yolk powder -- I don't understand what it means so I use egg yolk to
marinade the squid then coat them in cornstarch.

Seasonings:
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
thick soy sauce as needed
MSG as needed

Methods:
1. Rinse squid, cut into long strips, coat with the egg yolk powder and deep-fry
in oil until done.
2. Cut red chilies into sections, slice garlic and cut scallion into sections, add
to wok and stir-fry with a little oil until fragrant, return squid strips, add
peanuts and seasonings, stir until well-mixed. Remove and ready to serve.


EGGPLANT WITH PORK INTESTINE



CHILI CUCUMBER WITH PEPPERCORN



Ingredients:
2 Chinese cucumbers ( I use English cucumbers )
1 fresh chili peppers
2 cloves garlic
peppercorns as needed

Seasonings:
1 tsp salt
MSG as needed -- this time you really need MSG to achieve the real taste like in
restaurant because the MSG that separate this dish from the usual
cucumber pickle

Methods:
1. Rinse cucumbers, remove inner flesh and cut into small sections, add 1 tsp
salt, let rest for a while to allow cucumbers to release their bitter liquid.
2. Cut chili peppers into sections and slice garlic; stir-fry peppercorns in wok with oil until fragrant, remove and discard, then add chili peppers and garlic, stir well and remove to let cool.
3 Rinse cucumbers under water to remove salt, remove, drain, add method (2), salt and MSG, mix well and chill in refrigerator for 2 hrs. Ready to serve.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

SAUTEED PORK CHOPS WITH GINGER-FUJI APPLE SAUCE



I have been Ming Tsai's fan for a while. I like him at first because I think he is so cute ( ehm... ). One time I need to impress my vegetarian mother in law but I didn't have any vegetarian recipe book so I download Ming Tsai's recipe and tried it for the first time. It turned out to be very good and my mother in law loved it. Even until now I still made it. Since then I know that he is not just good looking.... :)

So when I saw his book in my library, I have got to borrow it and try it. This book is his latest book. From first glance I like the idea right away because this book show you how to make many master sauce then how to use those master sauce into many dishes.

Today I tried one of the master sauce, which is Ginger-Fuji Apple Chutney. I always love that sweet and sour taste!

GINGER-FUJI APPLE CHUTNEY

Makes 4 cups
Last 1 week, refrigerated

4 cups Fuji or other non-mealy red apples ( 8-9 apples ), peeled, cored, and cut into 1 cm dice
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbs canola oil
2 medium onions, cut into 1 cm dice
2 Tbs peeled and minced fresh ginger
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup apple juice

In a large, non-reactive bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice

Heat a large, nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the onions and ginger and saute until the onions are soft, 3 to 4 minutes. add the apples and cook, stirring gently, for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the vinegar and apple juice and cook until the liquid is reduced by three quarters, about 30 minutes. Correct th seasoning and cool before lading into a tightly sealed jar.

Note: I made one changes, I add 1/4 cup of sugar since I like it sweeter.


With this master sauce, Ming Tsai teaches you to make several dishes but this time I only made half of that Chutney recipe and I use it for the pork chop recipe. originally his pork chops recipe has a maple sweet potatoes as the side dish, but when I check my sweet potatoes in my drawer, I found out that I forgot to take them out from the plastic bag and they has fungus growing all over them !!! So I could not use them.

Instead, I just bought a spaghetti squash that I really want to try for the first time. I always wonder why they name it Spaghetti, now I know why. I found out that when you either bake it or boil it, then you cut it in half. Get a fork and start scraping the inside. They will come out stringy like noodles! How cute! So first I cut the in half, then I put them on a cookie sheet facing down. Bake it on 350 F until it is soft and you can pierce it easily with a knife. Take it out, scrape it with fork. Put them in a bowl, add a bit of butter , salt and pepper. Then I add a little of parmesan cheese, maybe about 2 Tbs. I keep it simple.




SAUTEED PORK CHOPS WITH GINGER-FUJI APPLE SAUCE

4 (1/2-inch thick) loin pork chops
salt and pepper
1 cup of all purpose flour
2 Tbs oil
1 Cup Chicken broth
1 Cup white wine
1 1/2 cups ginger-Fuji Apple Chutney
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbs butter

Preheat the oven to 400F

Season the chops on both side with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour. Heat a large, heavy, ovenproof saute pan over high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the chops and sear on one side until brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the chops and transfer to the oven. Bake the chops until medium done, 8-10 minutes. Turn off the oven.

Transfer the chops to a heat-proof plate and allow to rest 5 minutes. Place the saute pan over high heat, add the broth and wine, and deglaze the pan, scrapping to incorporate any browned bits. Reduce the liquid by half, about 4 minutes and add the chutney and 1 tablespoon of butter. Add parsley and correct the seasoning.

Place the pork on a serving plate, then pour the sauce over and serve.















A child serving for my son ...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

CHEESE AND SAUSAGE BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

I am still in a quest of donating as many egg's shells as possible to my son's school for his art project. Think and think and think on what kind of dish should I cook so I can have as many egg's shells as possible.

I also want to use my old bread that I made 4 days ago. It such a rich bread, I feel bad wasting it. I made it with 3 eggs ( again for donating egg's shells ), milk, and half a cup of butter.

I also has lots of milk and cheese in my fridge and pork sausage in my freezer.

Then I came accross this recipe that using all of the ingredients that I happen to have! Viola! I found the perfect recipe to make today for my family's breakfast!

It taste pretty good and so easy to make! I absolutely love easy recipe!!!



CHEESE AND SAUSAGE BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

8 white bread slices, cut into cubes
1 pound bulk pork sausage, crumbled and cooked
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar
10 large eggs
2 cups milk (do not use lowfat or nonfat)-- in fact, I use 1.5 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of heavy cream.
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper

Grease 9x13-inch glass baking dish. Place bread in prepared dish. Top with sausage and cheese. Beat together eggs and next three ingredients. Season with pepper. Pour over sausage mixture. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Chill.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake casserole until puffed and center is set, about 50 minutes. Cut into squares.

Serves 8 to 10.

NOTE: To make it even taste more fantastic, I use fresh herbs, basil would be a great choice for this dish.

Friday, April 14, 2006

TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE

Every time my mom came to my home, she always make tuna salad. A simple recipe, basically you just brake the tuna apart ( she always use a can of tuna ), then mixed them with lemon or lime juice, add a little of salt. Then she will use this as the dressing for her salad. Why does she always makes this? Because this is the only salad she knows how to make from scratch! The problem is, she always buy several cans and she only use 1 or 2 cans. The rest she just left them for me, knowing that I seldom use can food.

Anyhow, I was thinking on how to use this tuna cans that she left in my cupboard. I search over the internet for some easy recipe that I don't have to buy too many thing just because I don't like to let this tuna can lying around in my cupboard. I found this simple, easy, cheap, and I happen to have all the other ingredients in my kitchen!

I think it taste pretty good too, maybe not spectacular, but hey... it's a comfort food, it may not look amazing, but it taste good!



Tuna Noodle Casserole


Active time: 1 hr Start to finish: 1 1/2 hr

1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 oz mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick (4 cups)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 cup Sherry ( I don't have Sherry, I substitute it with Chinese rice wine, it is still taste good)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (6-oz) can tuna in olive oil, drained
6 oz dried curly egg noodles (about 3 1/4 cups)
1 1/2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs (from 3 slices firm white sandwich bread)
4 oz coarsely grated Cheddar (1 cup)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish.

Cook onion in 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with a pinch of salt in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to moderately high and add mushrooms, then sauté, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms begin to give off liquid, about 2 minutes. Add soy sauce and continue to sauté mushrooms, stirring, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated. Add Sherry and boil, stirring occasionally, until evaporated. Remove from heat.

Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat and whisk in flour, then cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add broth in a stream, whisking, and bring to a boil, whisking. Whisk in milk and simmer sauce, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in mushroom mixture, lemon juice, and salt. Flake tuna into sauce and stir gently. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Cook noodles in a 5- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain noodles in a colander and return to pot. Add sauce and stir gently to combine. Transfer mixture to baking dish, spreading evenly.

Toss together bread crumbs and cheese in a bowl. Drizzle with oil and toss again, then sprinkle evenly over casserole. Bake until topping is crisp and sauce is bubbling, 20 to 30 minutes.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

From: Gourmet Magazine

Thursday, April 13, 2006

CHICKEN SALAD WITH APPLES, GRAPES, AND SPICY PECANS

When ever I roast chicken, I also made 2 chickens. One for that day's dinner and the other for some other day. It's always handy to have cooked chicken in your fridge or freezer. When you roast chickens it doesn't have to be complicated, you can even make a great roast chicken with just oil, salt, black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. You can certainly add herbs and garlic too. Onion also works well.
So I marinade the chicken first then when I roast the 2 chickens I like to add some potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic too. Cut them in big pieces because you need to cook them 1 hr together with the chicken. Coat them with a bit of oil then salt and black pepper. With this as foundation you can make 3 meals out of it.

First, you get a nice roast chicken with potatoes, carrots, onions ( you can certainly add other root vegetables too ) as your dinner.

Then if for some reason we can not finish the chicken, then I will pick the meats from the chicken, cut them up into small pieces or just tear them into strips. Then I made chicken soup for tomorrow lunch. Again, you can just make chicken noodle soup with those chicken left overs. You can use the bones for making chicken broth. Then again, you can always made fancier soup.

With the extra roast chicken I like to make a hearty chicken salad that can be eaten for 2 lunches if possible. I divide the meat that I pick from that extra roast chicken into 2 portion. But if your chicken is small, I guess you can only get 1 salad dish for your family. There are many salad dishes that use cold cooked chicken in it's recipes. This is one of them. I got this recipe from "Fresh Every Day" by Sara Foster.


CHICKEN SALAD WITH APPLES, GRAPES, AND SPICY PECANS

I often put fruits and nuts in salads; I love sweet and salty flavours together. This makes a nice picnic lunch on its own or a good sandwich with watercress on toasted multi-grain bread, or in a whole-wheat pita or flour tortilla.

Serves 4 to 6

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 cup fruit chutney ( I even use onion chutney and it still taste amazing )
4 cooked chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tart apples ( Granny smith )peeled, cored, and chopped
1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley ( I use curly parsley )
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup Spicy Pecans (recipe follows) or store-bought spicy pecans

Stir the mayonnaise, mustard, and chutney together in a medium bowl. Add the chicken, celery, apples, grapes, parsley, salt and pepper and toss gently. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Sprinkle the salad with the pecans just before serving.

SPICY PECANS

I know from experience that you will eat a handful of these pecans before they even see the salad, so I made this recipe for twice what they recipe calls for. You might want to double it again, since they are good thrown into just about any salad and also make a delicious cocktail snack.

Makes 2 cups.

2 cups pecan halves
3 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs dried rosemary
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Note: I also add 1 tsp of sugar.

Preheat the oven to 350F

Combine the pecans, vanilla, and olive oil in a medium bowl and toss to mix.

Stir the rosemary, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and cayenne together in a separate bowl. Sprinkle the spices evenly over the pecans and toss again.

Spread teh pecans in one layer on a baking sheet with sides and roast, stirring several times during the cooking process, until the nuts are crispy and brown. About 15 minutes. Let the pecans cool to room temperature on the baking sheet, stirring several times to prevent them from sticking together and to the pan. These will last for at least a week in a sealable bag. If you are storing them, make sure they completely cool before placing them in the bag; otherwise, they will soften in the bag.

Coddled Eggs with Bacon & Goat Cheese

If you read my previous blog, you will know that my son's school needs lots of egg's shells for the class project. So when today I went to pick up my son again, I asked Miss Linda if she still need more egg's shells and she said yes. So I search another easy egg recipe to try and I found this recipe. I made some adjustment though, first I did not bake it, instead I cover the ramekins with cling plastic, then I steam them for about 10 minutes with medium-high heat. I also substituted the goat cheese with other cheese that I know my son will like it more.

My son loves it so much that he told me when later he is coming home from school he wants to eat it again. So he has this egg dish for his breakfast, then for his afternoon snack, and he asked me to make it for tomorrow breakfast again.

Mission accomplished.



Coddled Eggs with Bacon & Goat Cheese

A gentle cooking technique, coddling produces soft-cooked eggs. They can be prepared simply, seasoned with salt and pepper, or embellished with cooked diced bacon or ham, cheese, and chopped scallions or fresh herbs, as we’ve done in this recipe. A bit of cream enriches the dish.

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. unsalted butter, at room
temperature
8 eggs
4 tsp. heavy cream
1/4 cup cooked diced bacon
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (chèvre) or
other cheese
4 tsp. scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
Salt and freshly cracked five pepper blend,
to taste
Toast for serving

Directions

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Have a pot of boiling water ready.

Butter the bottoms and sides of four 5.4-fl.-oz. Apilco ramekins with the 2 Tbs. butter. Put 1/2 tsp. butter in the bottom of each one. Break 2 eggs into each ramekin, then top each with 1 tsp. cream, one-fourth of the bacon and cheese, and 1 tsp. scallions. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the ramekins tightly with aluminum foil.

Place the ramekins in a baking dish and add boiling water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the whites are just set and the yolks are runny, 18 to 22 minutes; for set whites and hard yolks, bake for 22 to 30 minutes.

Remove the ramekins from the baking dish and remove the foil. Serve immediately with toast. Serves 4.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

SAUSAGE AND EGG CASSEROLE WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATOES AND MOZZARELLA

Today when I went to my son's school to pick him up, I was approached by his teacher, miss Linda. She told every parents to bring egg's shells to school, they can be broken in bits but they need to be washed first. They need as many egg's shells as possible for the school project. They are going to use broken egg's shells for painting! I have no idea how they are going to look like.

I was planning to cook this recipe for tomorrow brunch but because the school need egg shells, so I cook it today. This is my first time to try it. Just by reading the name of the recipe, I just know that it will taste yummy. What can be wrong when you use sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, and cheese? I was right. It taste amazing! I don't have Italian sausage on hand, so I just use pork sausage and it still taste so good, this is really a great recipe for sunday brunch or to invite friends over.

A satisfying, easy dish that's also versatile: Accompany with sliced melon and some assorted pastries for brunch, or with a green salad and warm focaccia for dinner.



SAUSAGE AND EGG CASSEROLE WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATOES AND MOZZARELLA

1 pound Italian sweet sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

5 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 cup half and half
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Sauté sausage in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat until brown and cooked through, breaking up with back of fork into small pieces, about 10 minutes. Add shallots and garlic and sauté 3 minutes. Add sun-dried tomatoes and 2 tablespoons parsley; stir 1 minute. Spread sausage mixture in prepared dish. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Whisk eggs, egg yolks, half and half, whipping cream, 1 1/2 cups cheese, and salt in large bowl to blend well. Pour egg mixture over sausage mixture in dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese and 2 tablespoons parsley over. Bake until top of casserole is golden brown and knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Dutch Apple Pancake

I love fruits pie, pretty much any fruit pies but as you know, making pies take time and you really need to know how to make them so that the crust will be flaky and the filing not to soggy. It needs patience and lots of practice. But some time when I need a shortcut for my fruit pies craving, I will make this recipe, the Dutch Apple Pancake. They are easy to make, doesn't need great skill to make them, but the taste is pretty close.

Just imagine eating it on Sunday morning with your cup of coffee.... heavenly...

But one thing you need to have is a good skillet that can put it in the oven. One more thing you need to always remember... don't touch that hot handle!!!! Jeez... I burn my palm once!!!

I found a covered made with silicon just like what they use for oven mittens now a days, but this one is special for covering that handle. If you saw this , buy it. Once the skillet comes out from the oven, there is chance that you may accidently touch the handle, so just cover it up with this silicon cover.


















Dutch Apple Pancake

Also known as a German, or puff, pancake, this pancake puffs up because of the addition of eggs. Enjoy it for breakfast or brunch, garnished with a dusting of confectioners' sugar.

Ingredients:

4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and cut into
1/2-inch slices
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Directions

Preheat an oven to 400ºF. Butter a 10-inch ovenproof braiser or fry pan.

In another fry pan over medium heat, melt 2 Tbs. of the butter. Add the apple, cinnamon and granulated sugar and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the apple begins to soften and brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Set aside.

In a bowl, using a whisk, beat the eggs. Add the milk and whisk until blended. Sift the flour and salt into the egg mixture and whisk until just blended. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the remaining 2 Tbs. butter. Add the butter to the egg mixture and whisk until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and arrange the apple slices evenly on top. Bake until the pancake is browned and puffed up, 25 to 30 minutes. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately. Serves 2 to 4.

Spice-Rubbed Salmon

















Spice-Rubbed Salmon

Toasting the spices in a dry fry pan before grinding intensifies their flavor. Keep a close eye on them and stir constantly so they don’t burn.

Ingredients:

1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1⁄2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 salmon fillets, each 6 to 8 oz., with skin intact,
pin bones removed
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Heat a small fry pan over medium-high heat. Put the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds in the pan and toast, stirring constantly, until golden brown and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the spices to a spice grinder or a mortar. Grind the spices using the grinder or a pestle. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the brown sugar and salt.

Place the salmon, skin side down, on a plate and rub the top of each fillet with the spice mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

In a large ovenproof fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until almost smoking. Place the salmon, skin side up, in the pan and sear for 2 minutes. Carefully turn the salmon over and transfer the pan to the oven. Cook until the fish is golden brown underneath and the flesh is opaque throughout, 5 to 6 minutes.

Transfer the salmon to warmed plates and serve immediately. Serves 2.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Pan-Seared Salmon with Pea Shoots and Watercress



Pan-Seared Salmon with Pea Shoots and Watercress

Once cooked, the salmon and its pan juices become a topping for a tangle of sprightly flavored greens dressed with a lemon vinaigrette. Pea shoots, the clippings from young pea plants, have a mild pealike flavor that blends well with the peppery watercress. They are sold in Asian markets, but if you can't find them, substitute baby arugula, spinach or lettuce. If you'd like, sear the salmon fillets over a fire in a grill instead of on the stovetop.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice, preferably from Meyer
lemons
3 shallots, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. sugar, if needed
5 cups watercress leaves
5 cups pea shoots

For the salmon:
1 1/2 tsp. salt
8 salmon fillets, each about 1/3 lb. and 1/2 inch
thick
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 Tbs. lemon juice, preferably from Meyer
lemons
4 Tbs. water

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, shallots, salt and pepper. Add the sugar if not using juice from Meyer lemons. Mix until well blended.

Add the watercress leaves and pea shoots to the dressing and turn gently to coat well. Divide the greens evenly among 8 individual plates.

To prepare the salmon, sprinkle the salt in a wide, heavy fry pan and place over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Add the salmon fillets and sear for 2 minutes on one side. Turn and sear for 1 minute on the other side. Season with the pepper. Reduce the heat to low, then pour in the white wine and 2 Tbs. of the lemon juice. Cover and cook until the juices are nearly absorbed and the fish is halfway cooked, about 3 minutes. Uncover and pour in 2 Tbs. of the lemon juice and 3 Tbs. of the water. Re-cover and cook just until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 3 minutes more. Most of the pan juices will have been absorbed.

Place a salmon fillet on each mound of greens. Increase the heat to high, add the remaining 4 Tbs. lemon juice and the remaining 1 Tbs. water, and deglaze the pan, stirring to dislodge any browned bits from the pan bottom. Pour the pan juices evenly over the fish and serve. Serves 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Casual Outdoor Dining, by Georgeanne Brennan (Time-Life Books, 1998).

Honey-Glazed Salmon with Roasted Corn Salsa



When I was pregnant with my daughter I read somewhere that it is very good for a pregnant woman to eat more Omega-3. I am not sure about how true that is but at least I know that there is no harm of eating more fish, right? The problem is, I don't really like to eat fish and more problem again, I don't like to eat cooked salmon. I am okay with salmon sashimi, partly because restaurants tend to overcooked their salmon. I never know that when you cook salmon just right, they are so juicy and flavourful. I found out about how to cook them just right by practice off course because every time you buy salmon, they do not come at the same thickness and the thicker they are they need longer time to cook and off course you need to adjust the temperature of your stove as well accordingly.

I got a lot of practice cooking salmon when I was pregnant. First, I search through many recipe website for their salmon recipes. I download them, I print them then I organize them in a folder file. How was that? Martha Stewart will be proud of me! Then every day I go through one recipe at a time. Not all of them are to my liking, but some do.

I choose Salmon for 2 reasons. One, they are full packed with Omega-3 and here in Vancouver, they are cheap and fresh!

This recipe combine 2 things that I love now. One is salmon, and the other is corn.

Honey-Glazed Salmon with Roasted Corn Salsa


Ingredients:


For the salsa:
3 ears of corn, shucked
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. Tabasco or other hot-pepper sauce, or
to taste
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the salmon:
1/2 cup honey
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. vegetable oil
6 center-cut salmon fillets with skin intact, each
6 to 8 oz.
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

To make the salsa, prepare a hot fire in a grill. Place the corn on the grill rack 5 to 6 inches from the fire and cook, turning often, until the kernels have softened and are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely, then cut off the kernels from each ear with a sharp knife, cutting the length of the ear and rotating it with each cut.

In a large bowl, combine the corn kernels, the tomatoes, onion, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and hot-pepper sauce. Stir well, then taste and adjust the seasonings. Cover and refrigerate. Stir in the parsley just before serving.

To prepare the salmon, in a small saucepan, stir together the honey, balsamic vinegar and the 1 Tbs. vegetable oil. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes.

In a heavy, large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 2 tsp. vegetable oil. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and place, skin side down, in the pan. Brush the tops generously with the honey mixture and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the salmon over and brush again with the honey mixture. Cook, turning occasionally and brushing with the honey mixture, until the salmon is glazed and opaque throughout, 5 to 7 minutes more. Transfer to warmed individual plates. Pass the salsa at the table. Serves 6.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

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This is a usefull recipe for people who live in Indonesia or somewhere else where ricotta is not widely available but they want to try to make recipes that use ricotta as an ingredient.

This is more delicate in flavor than any store-bought version and has a lovely dry curd. Some of us make it at home often because it takes just a few minutes of active time. Topped with honey and cinnamon, it's also great for dessert.

2 quarts whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Special equipment: large sieve, fine-mesh cheesecloth

Line a large sieve with a layer of heavy-duty (fine-mesh) cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl.

Slowly bring milk, cream, and salt to a rolling boil in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Add lemon juice, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture curdles, about 2 minutes.

Pour the mixture into the lined sieve and let it drain 1 hour. After discarding the liquid, chill the ricotta, covered; it will keep in the refrigerator 2 days.

Makes about 2 cups.

From: Epicurious.com

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Homemade Marshmallows

My father who is a chocoholic suddenly fall in love with marshmallows because one time he bought Purdy's marshmallow covered chocolate and one day, when we were in London Drug store, he wants to buy marshmallows but I told him not to because those kind of marshmallow are usually so chewy and tough unlike the one that Purdy has. So I have an idea to try a homemade marshmallow recipe. It was tough to decide which recipe to follow, Martha Stewart's or Ina Garten's (Barefoot Contessa). At the end I decide to use Ina's recipe.

I have been wanting to try this recipe for a long time but I thought it is so complicated so I always put it off.

It turn out to be so easy! But maybe because I have a powerful mixer to help me ( Heavy duty Kitchenaid ). For the photo, well, I am sorry to say that we ate the marshmallows so fast that I did not have the chance to take a picture of them! We just keep popping them into our mouth or drop them into our Godiva heavenly hot chocolate drink. Or even my coffee as a sweetener! I don't even have the chance to make S'mores! They are gone way too fast!

I really recommend this recipe, it's easy and boy are they good! Once you tried the homemade one, you won't want to buy the commercial one ever again!

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HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS

3 packages unflavoured gelatin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow it sit whileyou make the syrup.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves.Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degress on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thouroughly.

With a sieve, generously dust an 8x 12 inch nonmetal baking dish with confectioners' sugar. Pour the marhsmallow mixture into the pan, smooth the top, and dust with more confectioners' sugar. Allow to stand uncovered overnight until it dries out.

Turn the marshmallows onto a board and cut them in squares. Dust them with more confectioners' sugar.