Saturday, May 26, 2007

Italian Cooking Demo With Mr. Marco Anzani At Shangri-La Hotel



On May 26th, I went to take my first cooking lesson at Shangri-La Hotel. Today, I am going to learn to make some Italian dishes and what makes me want to take this class is because the teacher is an Italian chef. I always like food that is authentic to the bone more than fusion dishes so I am not going to miss this class by any chance.

The lesson itself is very basic like how to make fresh plain egg pasta ( Pasta All 'uovo ), and then use that fresh pasta to make Pasta Alla Carbonara ( Pasta with bacon / Pancetta egg and Parmesan / Parmigiano ). Then we learn to make Braised Lamb Shanks With Rosemary Polenta and last, we learn to make Biscotti With Lavender and Orange.

None of the recipes are fancy, well most of Italian dishes are not as fancy as French cuisine for example and I know already how to make all those dishes. Yet here I am , sitting alone because I was the first student to show up ( even though I was 5 minutes late! ) because I want to ask him some question regarding Italian food. It's not his recipes that I was looking forward to get but his more practical knowledge like why is it when I cook with wine, even though I already use decent wine it is still feel like hit and miss. Then what is the different between Biscotti and Cantucini because they look pretty the same to me. And even more importantly, I found out that some stores here like in Ranch99 and then Papaya sell dried lavender and also now plants stores start to sell not only rosemary plants but also sage and thyme and if I go to the mountain I can get almost all of fresh herbs that western food usually use. This is the primary reason on why I go to cooking class. To get the chance to see how professional use their skill to make certain dishes and those crucial information that usually only professional chefs knows . About who is their suppliers too. It is useless to have extensive recipe book library if I can not get the ingredients or I don't know the exact way to cook it that usually missing from the book.

Mr. Anzani is also a pretty good teacher. He kept his class on time and run at a schedule so it's not too tiring and his assistant is very informative because he is the one who told me where to get the ingredients. Mr. Anzani also said that he has taught Italian cooking class for 4 times and he is planning to come back on December to teach another class.

This class cost Rp.190.000 (US $ 19 ), by the end of the class you get to eat at all-you-can-eat-buffet at Jamoo so if you think about it, this class is not expensive because to eat at Jamoo can cost somewhere more than Rp 125.000 ( $ 13 ) a person already.

So after I learn to cook those dishes, I sit down with a new friend who took this class also and has a nice lunch together. This class is offered because right now at Jamoo, they spotlight Italian food so today when I ate at Jamoo, I ate mostly Italian food too. Like the pictures below here.





Biscotti With Lavender And Orange

Ingredients:

100g sugar
70g butter, softened
30g / 1 Tbs chopped fresh lavender leaves
5g / 1 tsp grated orange rind
5g / 1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
250g / 2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt
25g sliced almond, toasted
cooking spray

Methods:

Preheat oven to 170C

Beat the first 5 ingredients at medium speed of a mixer until well blended.
Beat in egg whites until you get a soft peak.
Then fold the first 5 ingredients mixture into the egg whites. Do this in 3 stages.
Stir in almonds and shape the biscotti dough into a log and then flatten it a little until it has a 3 cm thickness.
Put the biscotti dough onto a baking sheet and bake it for 30 minutes. Then take the pan out from the oven and let the dough sit first on the pan until it cool off because if you take it out right away it is going to break. When it is cool completely, you can slice diagonally into 1-cm thick of slice.
Place the slices on its side on a pan then bake it again at 170C for 15 minutes.
Remove from baking sheet; cool completely on wire rack.


Friday, May 25, 2007

My Sweet Honey Cake

I don't know since when do I start collecting honey. I think probably since I heard from Emeril about Lavender honey. About how fragrant it smell. Since then I have been on a quest to try every honey that I found interesting. Funny thing is, I don't like to use it on my drink at all. I prefer just plain sugar. Once in a while only when I feel like eating a toast, I like to eat it with creamed of honey. What I like about honey is the smell. I love it so much that I have been using honey soap and honey body lotion for few years now and I always buy from L'occitane because their honey soap smell just like honey and their body cream even have the same texture as creamed of honey.

I do use honey on my cooking but never as the focal point of the food. So now it is about time for me to find a recipe that will showcase the smell of a good honey.

I do some research. I come across to some Jewish honey cake that use strong brew coffee so I think that will kind of beat my goal to showcase the honey itself. After a while I finally found a recipe that is simple yet I think it will showcase the honey's smell.

I found this recipe from a book called Apples For Jam by Tessa Kiros. I bought this book at Chapter bookstore in Singapore just because I love the cover. Now, I love the recipes too because everything that Tessa Kiros wrote are always simple and she is not lying when she said her recipes as "Recipes For Life ". I like her recipes so much until I asked my cousin to buy another one of her recipe book for me from Singapore. She also wrote 2 other books. Falling Cloudberries and Twelve: A Tuscan Cook Book.

So far I only have 2 of her books and I am thinking now to buy her third book too after I made her honey cake and other things.

When I made her Honey cake, I have one concern only. I was worry that by adding rosemary into the cake it might overpowering the honey smell. But it turn out to be not at all. I think the rosemary in fact making the honey smell even stronger.

This cake is soooo easy to make, you don't even need to use fancy mixer at all. Just a bowl and a whisk and a small saucepan and you are good to go.

I have to warn you though that this cake is really sweet and after I finish putting the icing on the cake I smell strongly of honey and butter. Not a bad perfume at all if I may say.




Honey Cake

150gr (5 1/2 oz ) butter
115 gr (4 oz / 1/2 cup ) dark brown sugar
175gr ( 7 oz / 1/2 cup ) honey
200gr ( 7 oz / 1 2/3 cups ) plain ( all-purpose ) flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbs finely chopped rosemary leaves ( must be fresh!! )
2 eggs, beaten

Lemon Icing:
250gr (9 oz / 2 cups ) icing sugar ( confectioners' )
100gr ( 3 1/2 oz ) butter, softened
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 Tbs lemon juice

Grease and line the base of a 22 cm (8 1/2 inch ) spring form tin. Put the butter; brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan and add 1 Tbs of water. Heat gently, stirring once or twice, until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Leave to cool for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C ( 350F / gas 4 ).

Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl and add the rosemary. Add the honey mixture and eggs and beat until smooth.

Pour into the tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when you poke it into the centre. Leave in the tin to cool completely.

To make the lemon icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the butter, lemon zest and juice and 1 Tbs of water and beat until smooth. You might like to add a few more drops of lemon juice after tasting it. Spread over the top and side of the cake. The cake softens as it sits and will keep well for up to a week in a cake tin.

Cuts into 8 - 10 slices.

NOTE: If your rosemary plant has produce some of its flowers you can sprinkle some of that purple flowers on top of the cake just like the picture on the recipe book. Too bad my rosemary plant is still small. Now in Surabaya rosemary plants are for sale in almost every plants store on the road side everywhere.



The Simplest Artisan Bread Ever!


2 days ago I was browsing on internet looking for an idea to make bread and I come accros this No-Knead Bread from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery. I was blown away at how simple his technique is.

Few years ago I have been trying without any success to make artisan with large holes inside, chewy and crusty skin at the outside. I tried using ice cubes to create steam in my oven. I sprayed my dough with water few times during baking. Nothing seems to work.

This recipe is so easy that the creator boasted that a six year old can do it.

You don't believe me, watch...

This is his recipe:


No Knead Bread

3 cups of bread flour and more
1 1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of yeast
1 5/8 cup of water

Wheat bran or cornmeal as needed

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Now, if you take a look at my bread's picture. Will you believe me that this recipe is amazing? Even I can do it too!!! Go try making it now!!!




For Bonus, if you are getting crazy with making tons of this bread because it was so easy ( like I do ) and now you end up with so many great looking and taste breads in your hands, well.... I give you this video clip so that maybe it will give you an idea what to do with those lovely breads in your hands. I also include another video clip but I can put it here so you have to go to this website to see it. Both are Nigella Lawyson's video clips.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Indonesian Spice Cake ( Spekkoek )

Pic : My baby loves the smell of this cake!

I get this recipe from James Oseland's book called "Cradle Of Flavor" that I bought few months ago. I buy this book at first because the cover look good but then after I place it on my book racks I kind of forget about it for a while. Today while searching for a recipe to try I saw this book and after flipping through the pages of pictures, I saw this recipe for a spice cake. Actually I kind of thinking about making a spice cake for a while it just I really don't like my oven here that much because I am not use to oven that only have one heat source from the bottom of the oven. I tried several recipes that normally always give me a great result but somehow using my oven here everything that I made so far always comes out pretty bad. The cookies too soft, the bottom burn first, etc...

My father bought me 2 ovens from Italy when he is preparing for my coming home from Canada. One has upper and lower heat that has to be turn on separately, it also has a Celsius temperature setting. The other one is only half the size of the first one, it only allow me to choose to use one heat source. Bottom for roasting and upper for broiling and it has a 1 to 8 temperature setting.

For this recipe I use the smaller oven. This time I raise the rack one step higher than normal. With my fingers crossed I start mixing the batter....

To borrow a quote from the book here is what the book is saying about this cake ...

" This buttery-rich spice cake, flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and known as spekkoek ( the Dutch spelling ) or spekkuk, is an inheritance from Holland's four-century colonization of Indonesian... Spekkuk is a special-occasion cake. It deserves a splurge... Essentially a pound cake baked in a tube, or Bundt pan, it has golden, faintly crisp exterior and a shamelessly rich, velvety interior. There are few things more satisfying than eating a warm slice of spekkuk along with sweetened tea ( the traditional accompaniment ) or icy cold milk ( the author favorite accompaniment "

" Have all the ingredients at room temperature and this cake will go together easily. "

I do admit that I tweak the recipe a little due to my taste and the ingredients that I have here. For example. I think the butter that I have here has more water in it. So to tackle this I add a bit more flour, about 1/8 cup more than what the recipe is calling for. Another change that I made is at the type of sugar that I use for this recipe. The recipe is only calling for a regular white sugar. But I happen to have palm sugar that has more aroma than just plain sugar so I use this one instead and I add 2 tablespoons more of palm sugar into my recipe. I also increase the baking powder to 1 tsp instead of just a half teaspoon. I also simplify the procedures by whisking all the eggs for this recipe first then drizzle it slowly into the batter while the flat paddle is running on medium-high speed. But you don't have to follow my system off course. This recipe is amazing. It is pretty much foolproof and it taste so good that the cake is gone in one day! My son who is a picky eater even ask me to make it again on the same day. Try this also if you need to bring a cake for potluck and get ready to receive a lot of compliment from your friends. Bring some print out of this recipe too. I know your friends will ask for the recipe.

Indonesian Spice Cake
Spekkuk

Ingredients:

2 cups (8 1/4 ounces / 235 grams ) sifted cake flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
4 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups ( 12 ounces / 340 grams ) unsalted butter ( 3 sticks ), at room temperature, plus more for greasing
1 2/3 cups ( 13 ounces / 370 grams ) granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs powdered sugar ( optional )

Procedures:

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325F ( 165C ). Grease and lightly flour a 9-inch ( 23-centimeter ) tube pan with 3 1/2-inch ( 9 centimeter ) sides ( or my preference, use a non-stick pan of the same size but don't grease and flour it )
  2. Re sift the sifted flour along with the baking powder, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl. Now, re sift the flour mixture and then set it aside.
  3. In another bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the butter until it's soft and very pliant, about 1 minute ( or 4 to 6 minutes by hand with a wooded spoon ). Gradually add the granulated sugar and beat on high speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes ( or 6 to 8 minutes by hand ).
  4. One a time, add the 4 whole eggs and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes ( or 5 minutes by hand )
  5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 3 equal parts, beating on low speed or stirring with wooded spoon until the batter is smooth and the flour is well combined with the butter mixture. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and continue to beat or stir until they are well mixed into the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface. Place on middle oven rack and bake until a toothpick inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour ( though I'd recommend checking it after 45 minutes )
  7. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. If necessary, carefully run a thin knife around the perimeter and the inner rim of the cake to help loosen it from the pan. Invert the pan onto the rack and lift it off of the cake. Turn the cake right side up and let it cool on the rack.
  8. Transfer the cake to a serving platter. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the top with the powdered sugar, if desired.

NOTE: I can testify that this recipe is foolproof. One thing that I never mention on this blog is that I AM A KLUTZ. Can you believe that when I took this cake out from my oven I dropped it upside down on my kitchen table??? It just slide off from the pan like butter! And the cake can still look this amazing on picture ???? Now you know the secret on why many times I don't put my own food picture here. I have to confess. A lot of the pictures comes from the book or sometimes I went to restaurant, eat there, took the picture, then go home and start researching for the recipe to make that dish. When I make it, there are always some "accidents" happen and even though the food taste amazing but no way in hell I can say that they look pretty. Only once in a while I can make my food look good. Maybe God took pity on me that day.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Baby Food 101


I have been thinking about writing on baby food recipes for a while. I like talking about it but it just too lazy to get my camera and taking pictures of every single puree that I made for my daughter. I know that if I put them all together they will make a very good picture. It will have the color of the rainbow.

When I had my first baby I was too overwhelm to make home made baby food for him. I barely can survive with breastfeeding him at that time.

But now I am older, more experience, a little bit wiser, or maybe just a little bit more stingy to spent money on those Gerber and Heinz. So I bought several books about baby food and I found out that they are not that hard to make at all ( hey! those writers are not lying when they said it's going to be easy, cheap, and healthy ! ). I learn to freeze them. Later I enjoy more and more on experimenting making new batch after batch of baby food for my daughter. I even get smarter now that I can make for both children in one shot. The only different is my son will eat the chunky one and my daughter will eat the one that I processed into smoother texture ( she still refuse to eat chunky food ! ).

So here are the things that you may need to have in your kitchen to make baby food:

  • Strainer
  • Ziplock bags ( for keeping the already frozen baby food cubes so that you can use the tray for the new batch )
  • Handheld blender ( faster to clean because you can use it on your saucepan ) or blender or food processor.









  • Ice cube trays that has lids on them like this





  • When the baby grows bigger you can switch to bigger container like these



  • Pressure cooker for making home-made stock.
  • Reusing those baby food jars, but make sure you sterilize them first by boiling or dishwasher.

Some Ingredients that can be handy to have in your kitchen:

  • Quick cooked plain oatmeal
  • Any small pasta or you can even break spaghetti into smaller pieces too
  • Cooked rice
  • Any starchy vegetables such as potato, pumpkin, yam, etc.
  • Can chicken stock or beef stock
  • Baby cereals
  • baby formula / regular milk
Why do I suggest them? Because sometimes when you make the baby food you might make it too watery and it is going to be hard to feed your baby who keep turning her head left and right a soupy consistency food. It's going to get messy! So you need to thicken it up a bit and to do this, you can use those things I mention above. To make it tasty, you can always use home-made chicken/beef broth ( preferably ) or if you don't have it, you can always use can broth. This is also good to add if the food is too thick. You can use milk too for this purpose and baby formula is also very good for adding more nutrition in your batch.

Based on a lot of books that I read on when is the best time to give your baby solid food, on average they will tell you to give them when your baby can sit or 6 months old. You can even wait 1 -3 months longer, but some baby seems to be impatient to grow big and they can show you that they are already interested on trying to eat solid by the age of 5 months. Always ask your pediatrician first on when your baby is ready to eat solid.

Don't give your baby honey, strawberry, orange, egg white and maybe diary produce until they turn at least 1 year old. Those acidic fruits can cause your baby a lot of pain from diaper rash. Apple, pears, banana, peaches, are safer for them because they are less acidic.

Don't give your baby any nuts and shellfish, clams until they are a lot older, like at least 2 years old. I would wait until they are closer to 3 years old.

Try to give your baby all organic food if you can.

Don't be discourage if your baby face looks like mine when I gave her her first taste of solid food that I made. If you see her face on the pictures below you will think I must have fed her with something very awful but in fact I gave her a very sweet organic white peaches!


Pic: "Mommy...please stop feeding me that sweet-delicious-ripe-from-the-vine-white-peaches!!!"

Don't force them to eat solid if they are not ready. Keep on trying little by little. I know... I know... it does feel bad when you have to throw away those food because your baby still doesn't want to eat them. That is why I like using the hand held blender because I can do small batch like a trial size.

Start feeding your baby with white or yellow fruit or vegetables such as potato, yam, carrot, pumpkin ( baby love the sweet taste ), pears, apple, banana etc. Start with one flavour at a time for 3 days, that way if your baby has an allergic reaction to it you know exactly what cause that allergy reaction.

This is fairly easy to do. You can steam those white and yellow food, or boiled them in a little water. You don't even have to use recipe for this.

From white and yellow, you can graduate to green food that has stronger flavour like spinach and broccoli.

If you want to introduce meat to her/his diet, wait until she/he is at least 9 months old.

Don't add salt and sugar to the food yet. Let the baby learn to taste the real taste. Beside sugar and salt is too overwhelming or too harsh for the baby newly develop taste buds. This is why adults always think it is amazing how baby can like bland food. Well.. for them they are NOT bland at all!!

When you ran out of single food to introduce to your baby ( make sure you don't introduce the more complicated food before the right age to do it! ), you can start making combination food. Remember when you prepare the single food batch, you can keep them in the ice cube tray even when your baby is ready for more complicated food. You can just mix 2 different flavour of cubes like potato with with spinach, apple with pears, carrot with pumpkin, etc.

From 2 or 3 food batch, you can graduate to be even more complicated. Now .... this is the time when it is good if you invest your money on buying those baby food recipes or you can always do a little bit of research on Internet to get free recipes.

Before you know it, you will be an expert in making baby food! Your baby will be healthier, and you won't go bankrupt from buying those baby food jars. And you will be rewarded with this kind of face ....

Pic: My son enjoying his food. Notice that at that time I don't know how to make baby food yet so he is eating from the commercial baby food! My bad...

Here are some more complicated baby food recipes that I invented ...

Chicken With Leek, Potato, and Zucchini

1Tbs butter
1 Leek
2 Zucchinis
1 Medium size potato
150g ground chicken
3 cups of chicken broth ( preferably home made )
1/4 tsp of salt (optional)

To clean the leek, cut off the green part, then the root part. Then cut it into half lengthwise. While you clean it under running water, open the leek layer by layer because the dirt like to stay in between that layer. Clean it well!!!!

When it is already clean you can slice them thinly and saute it with butter on medium-low heat in a saucepan. Now you can add the ground chicken too, stir them so that you break apart the ground chicken into very small pieces.

Peel the zucchinis and cut them into small cubes. Then add the zucchinis into the leek and the ground chicken. Again stir them occasionally, and while you wait, you can start peeling the potatoes and cube them too. Add the potato to the saucepan.

Now add the broth and cook them on low heat while covered until the meat is cook and the potato is tender.

If you have 2 kids with different ages like mine, spoon some of this food into a bowl for the older kid first. You can season it with salt and pepper. Then you can put the rest of the food into blender or in my case I use my hand-held blender right on the stove and blend the food into a smooth consistency. If you are not sure if everything is truly smooth, this is when you can use a strainer to strain the food before you feed the food to the baby or before you pour this batch into the ice cube tray.

NOTE: If for some reason you think the food is too soupy, you can add more or less 2 Tbs of instant oatmeal into the soup and reheat the food few minutes longer to cook the oatmeal. This is after you remove some of the food for your older kid off course. If it is too thick, you can add more broth to thin it out a bit.

Spinach, Potato, and Onion

2 Tbs butter
1 small bag of frozen spinach
2 medium size potatoes, cube
1/4 onion, cut thinly
4 cups of broth
1/4 tsp of salt ( optional )
2 tsp of grated Parmesan cheese ( optional )

Saute the onion first, then add the spinach and the potato into the saucepan. Now you can add the broth and cook everything with low heat while covered until they are done.

Again, take out some of this food out for your older child first. Add salt and pepper and you can sprinkle some Parmesan on top. You can even add few slices of sausages on top of the soup. Use more soup for your older child.

With less soup, you put the rest of the food into your blender and blend everything into a smooth consistency for your baby. You can add some Parmesan too if he/she is older than 1 year old.

Pumpkin And Carrot

2 Tbs of butter
4 cups of pumpkin , cube
1 large carrot, cube
3 Cups of chicken broth (and more for later)
2 Tbs of heavy cream
a dash of cinnamon
1 tsp of sugar ( optional )
1/4 tsp of salt ( optional )

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add pumpkin and carrot to the butter. Add the broth and a dash of cinnamon . Cover the saucepan. Let it cook until they are tender. Add the cream.

Now this is the tricky part. I put the food into my blender or I use my hand held blender then I blend it until smooth. This time I transfer them to the ice cube tray first before I can proceed to make the rest into pumpkin soup for my older child.

After transfer a part of the food for the baby now I can begin to season the pumpkin-carrot puree to transform it into a soup for my son. I start adding a little sugar ,salt, and pepper. Maybe more of the chicken broth ( heat it up first in the microwave ) so that it resemble more like creamy soup. I can add a bit more of cream too.

Good Breakfast

2 Fuji Apples, cube
2 Cups of milk or you can mix the formula with water to make 2 cups of liquid
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
2 Tbs of oatmeal

Cook everything together and blend it in your blender until smooth. You can substitute the apple with pears, peaches, plum, mango, or even banana.

Chicken Soup My Way

2 Chicken thighs
4 Cups of water
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
1 medium size carrot, chopped
1/4 cup of chopped celery
a dash of dried thyme
1/4 tsp of salt ( optional )
2 medium potato, cube

This time is a good idea to take out your pressure cooker from your cabinet. I happen to have 2 different size. Small and large. I use my smaller one.

Blanch the chicken first in boiling water and then place the chicken in the pressure cooker pot with the water. Cook it first for an hour until the meat is falling off the bones. Take the bone out but leave the meat in the soup.

Add everything else into the soup and cook it without cover until they are tender and the liquid reduced until only 2 cups left.

Put the soup into blender and process it until smooth. Strain it first before you transfer it into the ice cube trays or before you serve it to your baby.

So yes... be creative but make sure be safe too for the sake of your love ones...

For bonus, I will added here 2 recipes from my favorite baby food recipe. This book is called: Blender Baby Food: Over 125 Recipes for Healthy Homemade Meals (Paperback)
by Nicole Young (Author), Nadine Day (Author)


Spinach and Tomatoes With Ricotta


1 tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes, with juice
2 cups trimmed spinach
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
2 tsp freshly squeeze lemon juice

  1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and tomatoes with juice; cook until garlic is fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook until completely wilted, about 3 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Transfer to blender and add ricotta and lemon juice; puree on high speed until smooth.

Fisherman's Pie

1 small Yukon gold potato, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup chopped onion
4 oz trout fillet ( skin removed )
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

  1. Place potato in a small saucepan of salted water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until potato is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add trout, browning on both sides. Stir in corn and broccoli; cover and cook until fish flakes easily when pierced with a fork and broccoli is tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Transfer to blender and add potatoes and cheese; puree on high speed to desired consistency.
NOTE: Substitute salmon for the trout.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Emeril's Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream


Emeril's Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

1 quart fresh strawberries, washed, stemmed and quartered
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 cups half-and-half
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half and scraped
6 egg yolks
  1. In a food processor or blender, combine the strawberries and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Process until smooth.
  2. In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine the half-and-half and sugar. Bring to a simmer.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Add 1 cup of the hot liquid to the egg yolks and whisk until smooth. Add the yolk mixture to the saucepan of liquid and whisk until incorporated. Bring the liquid back to simmer and continue to cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the strawberries. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour the mixture into a glass bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the mixture. This will prevent a skin from forming while cooling. Cool the mixture completely.
  5. Process the mixture according the ice cream machines instructions.

NOTE: Because there is NO guarantee everytime you make strawberry ice cream you will get the same quality of strawberries, the amount of sugar can be change accordingly. To make it has a bit more bite to it, I sometimes add lemon juice too. Once in a while when the only thing you have is frozen strawberries that maybe loose some color and maybe when you pick them they are not at their best. Well... you can always add few drops of red food coloring and use 1 tsp of strawberry essence to it. You just have to taste and taste and taste while you make. Don't forget that if you taste your mixture sweetness at room temperature happen to be just right, usually when it's frozen it taste not sweet enough. But when you taste it just slightly too sweet at room temperature, it will taste just right when it's frozen. At least that is what I experienced so far.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Martha Stewart's Apple Puffed Pancake

These past 2 days I am busy with making sweet thing. Yesterday I think I made few gallons of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Chocolate Ice cream and actually I plan to make Strawberry ice cream tomorrow too. I have to make ice cream in gallons because my father in one sitting can devour 1 pint of ice cream! His favorite is vanilla and he can give an honest testimony that my vanilla bean ice cream can beat Haggen Daz and Baskin Robbins. The secret is at my organic Mexican and Tahitian vanilla beans ( I bought the best grade ) that I imported straight from the growers. For my sources, you can read on my entry in here. I think they are cheap and good.

In my fridge this morning I found 3 lovely Fuji Apples. Since I want to make thing easy and quick I use this recipe that I downloaded from Marthastewart.com. It even have a video clip that you can watch too.

Apple Puffed Pancake

Ingredients

Serves 6

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk, preferably organic
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 apples, such as Gala or Red Delicious, peeled, quartered, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon light-brown sugar
  • Confectioners' sugar, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine eggs, milk, and vanilla in the jar of a blender. Blend until well combined. Add flour, granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Blend until dry ingredients are well incorporated; set aside.
  3. Place butter in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Transfer dish to oven and heat until butter has just melted. Carefully remove from oven and place apples in a single layer in baking dish. Return to oven and cook until butter begins to bubble, about 4 minutes.
  4. Pour batter over apples, sprinkle with brown sugar, and continue baking until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, if desired; serve immediately.

NOTE: If you happen to have all the ingredients, try this recipe, it's so easy. You just need to clean up your blender as your tool to make it. I did not put my own picture here is because I made a bad decision when I try this recipe, I use more sugar than what it calls so they are become too dark. But they still taste good. It taste even better with my vanilla bean ice cream a la mode ...yum!

Also today I went to try Siam Restaurant at Galaxy Mall for lunch with my whole family. Originally we were planning to watch Spiderman 3 but the tickets are sold out because today is holiday and more people going to the mall. I gave 2.5 stars for a 5 star rating for that restaurant. What I like best about it is they are cheap and when you have HSBC, they are even cheaper because you can get up to 50% discount on your meal! "It's a good thing" is what Martha Stewart might say maybe ....

Monday, May 14, 2007

Eating Singaporean Food At Prima Taste Kitchen

My dear sweet hubby invited my mom ( and my dad too ) to eat in a restaurant at her own choice for mother's day. This is her first time to celebrate Mother's day because in Indonesia, we don't really care about that important day ( shame on all of us!!! ). At first she kept telling us to pick the restaurant for her but we were quite adamant that she has to pick one up on her own. Her only requirement was a new restaurant that none of us has ever tried before. Luckily it was easy to pick one up with that requirement. At that time we happen to be at Galaxy Mall and at the newer building on the top level is their new designated restaurant area. After walking around and around, she finally make up her mind at this Singaporean franchise restaurant called Prima Taste Kitchen.

The menu is very familiar to us so we can order them with confidence. When the waitress gave us our table we were kind of worried, they look to small for us, but she insist that it's fine. I guess she doesn't know us yet ....

Soon enough after she took our loooonnggg order, she started to look worried but since we look settled in on our chairs, she did not say a word.

All I can say is that the food has to come in stages or we will need to put some plate on the neighboring table. Oo...yeah... we did that ....hahaha.... my father kept putting empty plates to the table next to him...hahaha...

How was the food you ask?

By the end of the meal we all agree that while some are good, for the rest, my cooking is better. For example the Hainan Chicken is too bland. The Bai Kut Teh is way to plain too. The fried rice is decent and I love their tea because they flavour the sugar syrup with pandan leaves...nice touch! Oh yeah... I have to give a credit for their bread. I wish I can make it that nice.


Pic: My hainan chicken rice


Pic: Baikut teh... do you agree with me that this looks bland?

Pic: Both hubby and daddy love this the most since they are noodle lover. They said it taste just like any other hokkian mie/noodle.

Pic: 2 different desserts and I think that is kangkong in the middle.

While researching for this story, I found out that Prima Taste originally famous for their ready to cook pastes. I wonder if the chefs in Surabaya's branch dilute it too much that is why they mostly taste bland? Except with their Prata bread since they can't dilute it, maybe they really have to follow it to the letter and I can see the result right away.

NOTE: I did not take pictures all of the food that we order .... :)) maybe if I did, I would have to walk back further to get a good zoom to our table... :)

For the restaurant information you can see it here:

Prima Taste Kitchen

Mall Galaxy Extension, 4 Floor, Unit 403,
Jl. Dharmahusada Indah Timur 35-37,
Surabaya 60115
Tel: 62 31 591 5909

Kimchee

On my entry at my other blog, I mention that I had the chance to asked a Korean mom at my son school on where to buy some Korean ingredients and she kindly gave me the ingredients for free and even her home-made kimchee too. So now I feel obligated to really try to make kimchee for the first time.

All this time I thought making kimchee is hard but actually it is not. It is because the whole proces is being stretch into 3 intervals. The first being preparing the cabbage by salting it first. Then the seasoning part and then the waiting period which can be varied from 5 days to 3 weeks!

In my library, I have about 5 books that contain recipe for making authentic kimchee. I don't know which one is best yet but after reading them, I choose this one because it is the easiest. Well... what do you expect. I like easy but tasty recipe!

Here is the recipe that I use ...


Kimchee


Ingredients:

3 heads Chinese cabbages ( 22 1/4 lbs, 10 kg )
14 oz ( 400g ) salt -- 4 % weight of cabbage
21 oz ( 600g ) daikon radish
1/5 oz ( 6 g ) salt ( 1 % weight of radish )

Marinade A:

1 1/3 cups dashi stock
2 Tbs flour ( I use 3 Tbs of rice flour )
2 Tbs salted opossum shrimp
2 Tbs anchovy suace

Marinade B :

2 bunches chives ( 1 3/4 oz, 50g ), cut into 1 1/2 in ( 4 cm ) length
7 oz ( 200g ) finely chopped green onion
5 1/4 oz ( 150g ) ground chili pepper
3 1/2 oz ( 100g ) sugar ( I use more, close to 200gr of sugar )
1 3/4 oz ( 50g ) grated ginger root
2 Tbs crushed garlic ( I use more, I use one whole bulb of garlic )
MSG or dashi-no-moto ( instant stock ) -- I strongly suggest that you use both MSG and a bit of dashi-no-moto too.

NOTE: Success of kimchee depends on the salting process. Temperature, weight and pickling time ar ethe important elements. So do it throughly and be patient.

How To Make Kimchee:

  1. Discard dead outer leaves. Cut in half.
  2. With the leaves still attached to the root, sprinkle some salt between leaves, heavily over root side.
  3. In a large container, place the cabbage, top with a light weight and let stand a whole day and night ( in summer time or in Surabaya's weather, over night is enough ), turning over several times for even salting. Rinse in water; drain and set aside 3- minutes. Peel daikon radish, shred and sprinkle with salt; squeeze out water gently.
  4. Prepare marinade . In a small pan heat (A) ingredients to boiling. Constantly stirring.
  5. Reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook stirring constantly to prevent burning. When forming a paste, remove from heat; cool. When completely cooled, add (B) and radish, mix.
  6. Between leaves, spread marinade paste. Grease you hand with sesame oil to prevent irritation caused by the chili pepper.
  7. Folding each section in two, pack in a container. Keep it in the fridge. Moisture comes out in 2 - 3 days, but do not take out at this point. Leave a further 7 days at least. Take out necessary amount, press down remainder to remove air.
NOTE: The ideal container is using glass material. But if you want to use plastic, just remember that the plastic will have a red stain after you use it to make kimchee.
The reason why I use more sugar is because of my taste preference is a bit sweeter, not to sour only. And the reason why I use 3 Tbs of rice flour is because on different recipe book, it calls mostly using rice flour and I like thicker sauce on my kimchee, not the runny type one. About the extra garlic that I use. Again, it is about taste.
The hardest part in term of finding the ingredients is the opposum shrimps. But I guarantee you, as long as you can find a Korean store nearby, you can find it because I don't think Koreans can live without eating their beloved kimchee on daily basis, hahaha... The salted opossum shrimps is 3/8 in ( 1cm) long, shrimp-like arthropod. It is salted and used as an essential ingredients of kimchee. When added to the salted vegetables in fermenting process, it producess, vitamin B12 and at the same time amino acid. So the sour taste that you get from eating kimchee DO NOT comes from vinegar. It comes from the fermentation that being generated by the opossum shrimp, remember that. So if people tell you that they can make authentic kimchee using vinegar, you can just forget about it. When you have difficulty to explain that you want to buy opossum shrimp to the store owner or store keeper ( I always have problem talking in English with them in the States , Canada even here too! ), you can just go straight to their freezer section and look for a bottle with this white looking shrimps. The other name of opossum shrimp is fermented shrimps . The Korean name is Saeujeot. Better write it down, it is too hard to remember I think ...

Trying New Korean Dishes

My husband and me both love to eat spicy food and here in Surabaya we found authentic Korean restaurant. What makes it authentic is because the owner is a Korean, so I guess he knows what the food suppose to taste like...

Normally, we like to order the usual stuff such as Bulgogi, Galbi, Jhampong ( Chinese style seafood noddle soup ) etc. But lately I tried to be more adventures and order dishes that I have never tried before. I am not disappointed with them. So far I have not find one that I don't like yet. So I would like to share the recipes on how to make these dishes with you ...


Korean Seasoned Raw Beef ( Yukwe )

This delicately seasoned beef dish is traditionally served with raw egg yolk.

Ingredients per serving:

1/4 lb ( 115g ) beef for tartar steak

1/2 pear
1/2 tsp pine nuts ( optional )
1 egg yolk ( it really taste better to eat this dish with egg yolk so I recommend you to use it! )

2 Tbs Barbecue Sauce A
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp freshly roasted sesame seed ( The emphasize is at the word "freshly roasted" ! )
crushed garlic or for people like me who doesn't like to eat raw garlic too much, you can just slice them thinly on the side.

Barbecue Sauce A:

This is the basic marinade sauce for Bulkogee and Bulkalbee, everything with beef that is. So it pays to make it in large amount, you can always keep them in your fridge and marinade you beef with this sauce and impress the heck out of your friends at your BBQ party! I tried already and I was impress with the result because it does taste like the dishes that I order from Korean Restaurants ( with "s" in plural ).

Ingredients: Makes 4 cups

1/2 medium apple, quartered and sliced ( I prefer Fuji apple )
1 oz ( 30g) ginger root, thinly sliced
1 oz ( 30g) garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups soy sauce
1/2 cup each sake and mirin
1/4 cup water
6 oz ( 170g ) sugar
1 tsp MSG --- this is if you want your dish to taste juuusssttt... like in the restaurant...

How to make the BBQ sauce A:

  • Combine all ingredients and cook over high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cook 15 minutes. Reduce heat again and simmer a further 15 minutes: Let stand to cool overnight.
  • When ready to use, strain the mixture and add (again) freshly roasted sesame seeds and chopped green onion.
  • This plain and mild sauce goes well with simple tasting meats such as beef or chicken.
  • Marinate meats no longer than 20 minutes, or they lose tenderness.

How to make Korean Seasoned Raw Beef ( Yukwe ) :

  1. Slice beef into 1/8 in ( 0.3 cm ) thickness, then into shreds working parallel to fibers or in other word, make them very thin!!!
  2. Toss shredded meat with BBQ sauce A.
  3. Cut the pears into fine julienne strips and place on the place. Then top with the meat. It is said that the pears prevent food poisoning when eaten with raw meat. But for me, the sweet taste of the pears does alleviate the sweet taste of the meat! So yes, you can always use more than 1/2 pear for one dish. Use the whole pear if you want ...
  4. Make a small heap of meat in center of the plate. Make a "well" on top and pour in egg yolk. You can decorate the yolk with pine nuts or skip it like I do. And if you don't like to eat too much raw garlic you can just use 1/2 tsp of crushed garlic when you mix the meat with the sauce and then thinly slice some garlic for the side.
  5. NOTE: Use lean beef such as round steak or sirloin tip. Make sure that it is absolutely fresh.
The other new dish that I tried is Cold Noodle Dish ( Naengmyeon ), what I like about this Korean Restaurant is that they know that Surabaya is soooo hot and everything that at first serve cold will soon turn into luke warm within minutes, so to make sure that the cold dish will stay cold until the last spoon, they make the soup into slushy texture. So for Surabaya's weather, this dish is perfect! Absolute refreshing dish! And if you happen to be pregnant and craving for sour food .... so much the better!!! This dish is sour and cold and not spicy at all. If you like spicier food you can order Korean Cold Noodles With Hot Sauce ( Bibimmyeon ). I tried also and I love it!

The hardest part of making Cold Noodle Dish ( Naengmyeon ) is when you make the broth. It has to be frequently skimmed, strain and then keep it cold first so that you can completely remove all fat! It is easier to just walk to a Korean Restaurant and order it isn't it??? But for you out there who willing to do it, here is the recipe ...

Cold Noodle Dish ( Naengmyeon )
Buckwheat noodles are particularly tasty and refreshing during the hot summer months. They are chewy too so it's fun to eat it.

For 4 serving
.

21 oz ( 600g ) dried Korean buckwheat noodles

SOUP:

14 oz (400g ) beef for soup ( Shank, brisket, etc )
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 oz ( 30g) ginger root, thinly sliced
2 green parts of green onion
1 chili pepper
3 Tbs vinegar
1 1/2 Tbs soy sauce
1/4 tsp peppercorns

1 cucumber
salt, 3% weight of cucumber
1 Tbs vinegar
MSG

1/4 daikon radish
Salt, 3% weight of daikon radish
1 Tbs vinegar
1/2 tsp ground chili pepper
1/3 tsp ginger juice
crushed garlic
dash of sugar

2 eggs, hard boiled
2 oz (60g) braised beef ( country style beef )
1/4 apple or pear

Seasoning for soup:

3 tbs vinegar
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp MSG
1 beef bouillon cube

How to make:

  1. In saucepan add soup ingredients and 3 quarts ( 3 L ) of water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer covered 3 hrs, frequently skimmed. For me, I will use pressure cooker to cut the cooking time in half.
  2. Strain through a fine strainer or you can strain the soup with a cloth. The soup has reduced to 7 cups. When it is cooler, keep it cold in the fridge, maybe overnight and then the next day you can take the harden fat out from the soup.
  3. Mix the seasonings for soup with the now cleared soup. Keep it very cold.
  4. Half the cucumber then slice diagonally and sprinkle some salt on the cucumber and let it stand for about 6 minutes then lightly rinse and squeeze out water. Mix in vinegar and MSG.
  5. Peel radish and cut into 1/8 in ( 0.3 cm ) thick rectangles. Sprinkle some salt too and let it stand for 6 minutes before you lightly rinse it and squeeze out the water. Then mix in with the remaining seasonings.
  6. Cut the apple/pear thinly. Cut the braised beef into 1/4 in ( 0.7cm ) thickness. Halve the hard boiled eggs.
  7. In boiling water cook noodles 2 - 3 minutes. Rinse in cold running water to remove gluten, drain. Keep it cold.
  8. In a chilled bowl, place noodles, apple, cucumber, daikon radish, sliced beef and boiled egg. Pour over chilled soup, serve with vinegar and mustard on the side if desired.
Information about the Korean Restaurant :

Myeong Ga Restaurant

Sea Master (Food Garden).
Jl. Mayjen Sungkono , Bundaran Tol. Surabaya
60189