Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Olive Fried Rice

I was looking at the photos from my vacation to Singapore and Indonesia a few years ago and was reminded of my first Olive Fried Rice and all its briny and saltiness goodness. After Googling around the web, I noticed that almost all of the recipes use salted Chinese olives. Since I could not find it in San Francisco Chinatown, I had to use chopped black Mediterranean olives and added a mixture of soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil instead.

3 garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 lb ground pork
3 Chinese sausage, sliced
1 8oz can of black olives, chopped
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
6 cups of cooked rice (preferably a day old and on the drier side)
1 16oz frozen spinach, dethawed, squeezed and drained
a small bunch of parsley, chopped
3 green onion, chopped
4 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

  • Mix the chopped olive with the sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce and fish sauce in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Make a thin omellete using the 4 eggs. After it's done, cut into thin strips. Set aside.
  • In a large wok or pan, stir fry the garlic and onion over medium high heat with 2 tablespoon of olive oil until fragrant.
  • Add in the ground pork, stir occasionally until the meat is cooked.
  • Add in the sliced Chinese sausages, spinach and the olive mixture. Cook for another minute or two.
  • Try to loosen the grains of the day-old rice before adding it into the pan. Mix the rice well with the olive mixture and cook for several minutes until the rice is heated through.
  • Add in the chopped parsley and green onion.
  • Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and with any of the sauces.
  • Serve fried rice with thin strips of egg omelette on top.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Italian Sausage with Beans in Cream Sauce

Yeay... I found out today that I have more than 10,000 unique visitors to my blog. Thanks everyone, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I do.

I love making food spontaneously based on what I have in my kitchen and without following any recipes, especially after making multiple dishes over the weekend. It enables me to be more creative and to try out new combination of flavors. The only difficult part for me was naming the dish.

1 package of uncooked sweet Italian breakfast sausages (take them out from the casing and crumbled)
1 clove of garlic
1 bunch of basil leaves, chopped
1 can of red kidney bean
1 can of garbanzo bean
1/4 cup cream
1 tablespoon of mirin
salt & pepper to taste

  • In a large pan, cook the garlic over a low heat with 3 tablespoon of oil until fragrant.
  • Increase the heat to medium, add in the crumbled sausage and cook thoroughly.
  • Add in basil leaves, the beans and mirin.
  • Mix well, cover and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Uncover, add in the cream and cook for another 2 minutes.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Another dish that I served at my Mad Men Season 3 Premiere party was Spanakopita. I spent most of my Sunday afternoon in the kitchen making Bruschetta, Curried Chicken Wings, Ham and Chard Quiche (similar to this one that I made a couple months ago), and Spanakopita. I got the Spanakopita recipe from Closet Cooking and I decided to follow his directions completely because it was my first attempt using phyllo dough. Since I do not have an 8x8 inch baking pan, I used my 9x13 inch baking pan. I should have increased my spinach filling quantity so my Spanakopita was not as thick as it should be but it still tasted darn good.

Note: I stacked a couple slices of the Spanakopita to create height in the picture below.

2 pounds spinach (steamed, drained, squeezed well and chopped)
6 oz feta (crumbled)
1/4 cup dill (chopped)
1/4 cup parsley (chopped)
3 green onions (sliced)
3 eggs (lightly beaten)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
phyllo dough

  • Mix the spinach, feta, dill, parsley, green onions, eggs, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Brush the bottom of 8x8 inch (or in my case 9x13 inch) baking pan with olive oil.
  • Cut the phyllo dough to fit the pan and lay a sheet of phyllo dough on the pan.
  • Brush the top with olive oil, and lay another sheet on top. Repeat until you have 6-9 layers.
  • Place the spinach mixture on top of the phyllo dough.
  • Repeat layering with phyllo dough until you have 6-9 layers.
  • Bake in a preheated 350F oven until golden brown (about 30-40 minutes)

Caramel Chocolate Mousse

I made a Chocolate Mousse last Saturday for my Mad Men party on Sunday. I had been thinking about this recipe since I saw it on Pastry Pal a couple weeks ago. The idea of having creamy caramel chocolate mousse and sipping champagne while watching Mad Men Season 3 Premiere sounded really good to me.

I really appreciated Pastry Pal's instruction on how to make caramel and the step-by-step pictures. I used a bit more chocolate than her recipe and increased the quantity by about 15% so my mousse was not as airy and light looking as hers. It tasted really rich and creamy. I think I will stick to her measurement ratio next time.

Ingredients (adjusted to 10 servings):
4.2 oz sugar
5 tablespoons butter
2.5 cup heavy whipping cream
8 oz high quality dark (or milk) chocolate

  • Follow the directions at Pastry Pal - it's as clear, simple and good as it gets!

Monday, August 10, 2009


This past weekend, I was inspired to make Ratatouille using Julia Child's recipe after watching Ratatouille and Julie & Julia. Instead of using strips of eggplant and zucchini, I used circular slices. Porgy cut the eggplants and zucchinis, took a power nap, and laid the slices onto the pan. Using an idea from NYTimes, I decided to add a couple of eggs before finishing the dish in the oven. Here is the the recipe with my changes.

3 medium sized eggplants, cut into circular slices
4 zucchinis, cut into circular slices
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 onion, cut into slices
4 tomatoes, separate the seeds and cut into cubes
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon of Herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

  • In a stainless steel bowl, toss the eggplant slices with 1 teaspoon of salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. Rinse, drain and dry well. Do the same for the zucchini slices.
  • In a large saute pan over a medium heat, pan fry the eggplant and then zucchini slices with olive oil one layer at a time for 1-2 minutes per side until brown very lightly. Remove to a side dish.
  • In the same skillet, cook the onion and peppers slowly in olive oil for about 10 minutes, until tender but not browned. Stir in the garlic and season to taste.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, tomato pulps, sugar, herbes de provence and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the skillet and cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until tomatoes have begun to render their juice. Uncover, baste the tomatoes with the juices, raise the heat and boil for a couple minutes until the juice is reduced by half. Set aside to a bowl.
  • Using the same skillet, put half of the tomato mixture in the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of parsley. Arrange half of the eggplant and zucchini slices on top in a circular pattern, then the remaining tomato mixture and parsley. Put in the rest of the eggplant and zucchini on top, again in a circular pattern.
  • Cover the skillet and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Uncover, tip skillet and baste with the rendered juice and cook for another 15 minutes. By this time, most of the juices will be evaporated.
  • We decided save the ratatouille until the next day as it seems to gain flavor when reheated (according to Julia). Using the back of a soup spoon (or a laddle), make a couple of identation wells in the vegetable mixture and break an egg into each well. Cover the pan and put the skillet into a 400F oven for six to eight minutes (until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny).

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mark Bittman's Chicken Adobo

I came across another recipe that peaked my interest from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. Usually I make Chicken Adobo with soy sauce and rice vinegar only but he suggested adding coconut milk to add richness to the dish and then broiling or grilling the chicken afterwards. Below is the recipe with my changes.

1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces (I used 5 thighs and 5 drumsticks)

  • Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, pepper, 1 cup water and half the coconut milk in a large pan big enough to hold the chicken in one layer and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Add the chicken, reduce the heat to medium low and cook, covered, turning once or twice, until the chicken is almost done, about 25 minutes.
  • At this point, you can refrigerate the chicken in the liquid for up to a day before preceeding; skim the fat before reheating.
  • Remove the chicken pieces from the liquid and dry them gently with paper towels, and then broil the chicken until hot, brown and crisp, turning as necessary.
  • In the mean time, boil the sauce along with the remaining coconut milk over high heat until it is reduced to about 1 cup
  • Serve the chicken with the sauce.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Porgy's Birthday Brunch and Dinner

I took last Wednesday off to celebrate Porgy's Golden birthday. It was nice to have a day off in the middle of the week and it's even better to spend it relaxing and eating good food.

We started the day by having brunch at Brenda's French Soul Food near the City Hall. We went there a month ago and we decided to go back again this time because their food is so tasty. Of course, we started our brunch with an order of Beignets to share and Sweet Watermelon Ice Tea for each of us. Porgy had the Buttermilk Pancakes while I ordered the Grillades and Grits (Beef cutlets braised in spicy Creole gravy served over grits with two eggs any style and a biscuit). The Grillades and Grits was so Creole-y good and tasty!

After going all over the city and taking a nap at home, we met up with Mo-Fo for a wine tasting at Press Club before heading to Delfina for dinner. I've been wanting to try out Delfina in years but I was always to lazy to make the reservation. We started with Beef Carpacio and Tripa alla Fiorentina to share, followed by Gnocchi with Rabbit Ragu for Porgy and Shortribs Stracotto for me. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera so we had to use our iPhone.

We capped off the night by crossing the street to Bi-Rite Creamery to get a pint of each Balsamic Strawberry and Coffee Toffee to enjoy at home. What a wonderful day and evening with Porgy.

Penne Pasta with Chorizo in Tomato Sauce

Tonight, Porgy made a simple and delicious dish of Penne Pasta with Chorizo in Tomato Sauce for me. It was a special treat because he usually just drinks wine (or any other alcoholic drinks) while watching me cook. Maybe I can persuade him to cook for me more often? We'll see...

1 Package of Penne Pasta
Uncooked chorizo (take out from the casing)
Half onion, chopped
3 Garlic, finelly chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped Rosemary
1 can of Whole Tomatoes, cut into smaller pieces
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of Vodka (or any dry alcohol)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup chopped Parsley
Pecorino cheese, grated
Salt & pepper to taste

  • Cook the penne pasta according to its instruction. I like to substract a couple of minutes from the cooking time since I will cook the pasta again with the sauce later on.
  • In a large pan, cook the Chorizo over a medium high heat with the olive oil.
  • When it starts getting browned, add in the onion, garlic and rosemary. Cook for 5 minutes or so until the onion softened.
  • Add in the tomatoes along with the juice, cumin, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, sugar and the vodka. Lower the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes until the liquid reduced by half.
  • Add the pasta back into the pan along with the chopped parsley and grated Pecorino cheese and mix carefully.
  • Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with some more grated Pecorino cheese on top.