Friday, December 31, 2010

Fried Chicken

You know that you are getting older when you feel relieved and actually happy that you are not going out on New Years. Porgy and I decided to take it easy this evening, but I thought that we should do something special to celebrate. So I decided to make some fried chicken using Kobe seasoning mix (just like what my Mom used to), drink some Champagne and watch Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window. Happy New Year 2011!

1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 package of Kobe seasoning flour mix
canola/palm oil for frying

  • Wash and pat the chicken pieces dry.
  • Season with salt, white pepper, paprika and a couple tablespoon of Kobe seasoning flour and marinade for an hour or so.
  • Pour enough oil to come just 1/8-inch up the side of a heavy frying pan and heat over medium heat. I don't have any oil/candy thermometer but I think the preferred temperature is ~325F.
  • Pour the rest of the seasoning flour on a plate and roll the chicken pieces in flour and shake off the excess.
  • Fry the chicken pieces a few at a time so not to crowd the pan, place them skin side down.
  • Cook until golden brown on each side, approximately 12 minutes per side.
  • Drain the cooked chicken pieces on a rack over a sheet pan.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms

Sometimes I think Arthur is just like Brussels sprouts – they are both bitter on the first bite when you first know them and definitely not for everybody but after spending more time with them, you can finally understand, appreciate and love them. Arthur is a handful, at times a bit too much such that he got returned several times before and believes me that we have thought about it before. But we decided to toughen up and stick with him, it’s a continuous process and we are hoping that he will realize that we really love him and are committed to him.

I love making this roasted Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms dish because they are simple to make, healthy and very delicious. Perfect for a side-dish of a meat or pasta course.

1 lb Brussels Sprouts
1 lb mixed mushroom (I used a mix of Shiitake and King Trumpet mushroom)
olive oil
salt & pepper

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels Sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves.
  • Clean the mushroom by wiping it using a dry paper towel. Do not wash them. Cut into halves if they are big.
  • Spread the sprouts and mushroom on a baking pan and drizzle with a couple tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 35-40 minutes until crisp on the outside.
  • Shake the pan a couple of time to brown the sprouts and mushrooms evenly.
  • Sprinkle with some more salt and pepper if needed.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hearty Tuscan Bean Soup

This year is definitely one of those roller-coaster years with lots of ups and downs. The day after I did my previous post, Arthur had a major setback in his separation anxiety training so we had to start somewhat from the beginning all over again, then Porgy had a horrible sore throat for 2 weeks and now I have cold with major sore throat (possibly strep throat) combo and lost my voice since Christmas eve.

While I was resting over the Christmas weekend, I saw an episode of America’s Test Kitchen where they shared a tip on how to make a delicious & hearty Tuscan Bean soup without having the beans fall apart at the end. (The secret is to brine the beans with salt water for overnight, rinse them well, cook them without salt over low heat in a 250F oven for a couple of hours!) I thought that it’s an appropriate dish to make since it’s been cold and rainy in the past few days in San Francisco and that it would make my throat feel somewhat better. Since I'm not a member of America's Test Kitchen, I followed a similar recipe that's available at

1 lb dried cannellini beans, rinsed and picked over (I used red kidney beans instead)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
6 ounces pancetta or bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (I used Merquez - spicy Moroccan style lamb sausage)
1 large onion, chopped medium
2 medium celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
1 bay leaves
1 bunch of kale, stems trimmed and leaves chopped into medium-sized pieces
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
1 sprig fresh rosemary
ground black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 250F.
  • Add 1/4 cup of salt to 4 qt water and stir until dissolved. Add the picked over, rinsed beans and leave them to soak overnight at room temperature.
  • In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat until hot and add the sausage (or pancetta/bacon) and cook 6-10 minutes, until the edges are crisp and browned. Remove the sausages.
  • In the same pan, add onion, celery and carrots and cook until very soft and a little browned, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minutes.
  • Drain water from beans and discard. Rinse well and add beans to the pot. Add broth, water and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer to a preheated 250°F oven and cook for 60 minutes.
  • Add kale, tomatoes and sausages to the pot. Re-cover and cook until beans are tender, about another 30 minutes.
  • Add rosemary sprig and submerge it in the soup. Let stand off heat for 15 minutes, then remove and discard rosemary and bay leaves.
  • Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with a nice pain epi or sliced baguette.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cranberry Lemon Scones

Wow... what crazy several months have been for me - dealing with Arthur, Porgy's new health issue, crazy obnoxious neighbors moving in upstairs AND trying to find a new (and better) job. Fortunately, things finally started to settle down in the past week so I decided to restart this cook-and-blog thingy again. And what could be a better way to get back to the swing of things than by making Ina Garten's Cranberry Scones. I've done them before and they turned out really well. This time, I decided to use lemon zest instead of orange zest and doubled the recipe to make 20 large scones because I wanted to give some to Mo-Fo's family.

4 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
zest of 2 lemons
3/4 pound (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 cup dried cranberries
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoonsmilk, for egg wash
1/8 cup raw (turbinado) sugar for sprinkling

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In the bowl, mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and the zest.
  • Add the cold butter and mix with a hand mixer until the butter is the size of peas.
  • Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture and mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy and sticky.
  • Add the dried cranberries to the dough, and fold in until blended. Careful not to over work the dough.
  • Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and knead the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough.
  • Roll the dough into a log and cut triangles of dough.
  • Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper or silpat.
  • Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with raw sugar, and bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked.
  • The scones will be firm to the touch.
PS: We used a loaner Nikon D80 SLR digital camera to take this picture and the quality is so much better than our Canon point and shoot camera.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Maple-Oatmeal Scones

It's Porgy's birthday this coming Thursday so I decided to be nice and make him some maple scones for mid-morning snack today and some to freeze so we can have them for breakfast each day this week. He used to buy them from Starbucks almost every day but I thought that fresh home-made ones would be so much better, specially since I used Ina's Maple-Oatmeal Scones recipe. After reading some of the reviews, I added 1 tablespoon sugar to make them a bit sweeter and I used heavy whipping cream instead because I did not have any buttermilk. The scones are super moist and buttery... I am so excited to have them for breakfast this week!

Before icing them...

The final result...


3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup quick-cooking (or old fashioned) oats
2 tablespoons baking powder
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk or water, for egg wash

For the glaze:
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt. Blend the cold butter in at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-size pieces.
  • Combine the heavy cream, maple syrup and eggs and add quickly to the flour-and-butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will be pretty sticky and there should be lumps of butter in the dough.
  • Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and be sure it is combined. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Cut into 3-inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter (I just use a small glass) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are crisp and the insides are done.
  • To make the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. When the scones are done, cool for 10 minutes and drizzle each scone with the glaze. The warmer the scones are when you glaze them, the thinner the glaze will be.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Roasted Corn Salad

I saw this Roasted Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette by Arnold Myint on the second episode of Top Chef Season 7 and thought that it would be a great dish to bring to Mo-Fo Duo's 4th of July BBQ because it looks pretty easy to make and it's a refreshing light side dish. However, I didn't get the chance to bring this dish to the party (or even make it) because I had a huge hangover from drinking too much the night before (yes... the curse of long weekend!)

So I decided to make it last weekend using my new Lodge stove-top cast-iron grill. Unfortunately, the corn kernels were not charred enough because I was too impatient so the charred/smokey flavor was missing. The dish still tasted really good though next time I would be more patient and take my time grilling the corn.

6 ears of corn, husked
3 limes, zested and juiced
2 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped
1 red onion, small diced
1 pkg grape tomatoes, halved
4 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons onion powder or 1 tablespoon garlic powder
salt, to taste
sugar, to taste

  • Mix together chili powder, onion/garlic powder, salt, and sugar.
  • Brush onto corn and grill until some kernels are burnt to a char.
  • Slice kernels off the cob.
  • Combine corn kernels with lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, red onion, and grape tomatoes in a mixing bowl.
  • Season to taste.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lunch at Il Cane Rosso

Taking advantage of the long 4th of July weekend, Porgy and I went to Il Cane Rosso at the Ferry Building for lunch. It was a beautiful sunny day so I was somewhat surprised that we were able to get a table outside overlooking the bay (not that I'm complaining...).

I had the Marin Sun Farm Meatloaf with Pancetta-Onion Gravy and Roasted Potatoes ($12.50) and a glass of Boony Doon Rose. I really loved the meatloaf flavor as it was not too ketchup-y or BBQ-y, it's my kind of meatloaf - savory with a hint of tomato sauce.

and Porgy had the Marin Sun Farm Roast Beef Sandwich with lemon aioli, spicy pickled red onions ($9).

PS: These pictures were taken using the new iPhone 4. Not bad huh?

Greek Zuchini and Herb Pie

Continuing my urge to bake this weekend, I made this Greek Zucchini and Herb Pie (another recipe from NYTimes!) using some leftover frozen phyllo dough and zucchini that I bought earlier in the week. To add extra flavor into the pie and to make it not too healthy, I added the leftover ham cubes that I used in Savory Ham and Gruyere Bread earlier.


2 1/2 pounds zucchini, ends trimmed
salt to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing the phyllo dough
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped ham
2 teaspoons dried dill
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped scallion
1 cup crumbled feta
3 eggs, beaten
freshly ground pepper
14 sheets phyllo dough

  • Grate the zucchini using a food processor or a hand grater. Place in a large colander, salt generously and let drain for 1 hour, pressing down on it occasionally to squeeze out liquid. After an hour, take up a couple handfuls and squeeze out moisture. Place in a bowl.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender about five minutes, then add the garlic and chopped ham. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about one minute. Add in the dill, parsley and scallion and cook for a few more minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the zucchini. Stir in the feta, eggs and pepper.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 10-inch pie pan. Line the pie dish with seven pieces of phyllo, lightly brushing each piece with oil and turning the dish after each addition so that the edges of the phyllo drape evenly over the pan.
  • Fill with the zucchini mixture. Fold the draped edges in over the filling, lightly brushing the folded sheets of phyllo, then layer the remaining pieces on top, brushing each piece with olive oil. Stuff the edges into the sides of the pan.
  • Make a few slashed in the top crust so that steam can escape as the pie bakes. Score in a few places with the tip of a knife, and brush with olive oil. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool for 15 to 30 minutes or to room temperature. Slice in wedges and serve.

Savory Ham and Gruyere Bread

Earlier this week, I saw this Savory Ham and Gruyere Bread recipe at NYTimes website and thought that it would be a good one to try this weekend. I was so intrigued by its description... "Cake salé is like a homey and crumbly equivalent of the delicate cheese puffs gougères: a salty, cheesy excuse to open a bottle of wine" because we are totally into trying anything that encourages us to drink more.

Since I did not have enough Gruyere cheese, I decided to add roughly chopped Capricious cheese. It was a good move because it adds extra cheesiness and crunchiness to the bread. Both Porgy and I think that this recipe is a keeper.

unsalted butter, softened, for brushing pan
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 large eggs
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup milk
6 ounces baked ham, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 ounces Gruyere, coarsely grate (about 1 cup)
2 ounces Capricious cheese, coarsely chopped

  • Center a rack in the oven and heat to 350 and generously brush a loaf pan with butter.
  • In a large bowl, whisk flour with baking powder, salt and pepper.
  • In a medium bowl, lightly whisk eggs, then whisk in milk and olive oil.
  • Using a rubber spatula, fold in wet ingredients into dry until barely mixed and then fold in ham and cheese.
  • Scrape batter into loaf pan and smooth top.
  • Bake loaf for 40 to 50 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached.
  • Transfer to a rack to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to release. Turn loaf onto rack to firm up before slicing, about 30 minutes.
  • Using a serrated knife, cut into 3/8-inch slices and then cut into halves or quarters.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Stir Fried Green Beans

I bought a couple of types of green beans at the Farmers Market last week - the French-style haricot-vert and the Chinese long bean because I was in the mood to have a simple stir-fried green beans specially the Asian-style, with some chili sauce and shrimp paste. Porgy helped me cleaned up the green beans and snapping off the ends and cut them into 2-inch sections while we're enjoying our Manhattans.


1 lb of haricot-vert (French green beans), cut into 2-inch sections
1 lb of Chinese long green bean, cut into 2-inch sections
4 shallots, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 inch of ginger, thinly sliced
3 dried red chili pepper
a small tip of shrimp paste (~1/16 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon of Sambal Oelek
vegetable oil
1/4 cup fried shallots (optional)

  • Heat up a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large wok (or stir-fry pan) over medium heat for a 1-2 minutes until hot.
  • Add in the green beans and stir fry for 5 minutes or so until they're just about to cook through. Set aside.
  • Heat up another 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in the wok over medium heat and add in the shallot, garlic and ginger slices along with the red chili pepper and shrimp paste. Cook for 2-3 minutes until fragrant and then add in the Sambal Oelek.
  • Add in the semi-cooked green beans, add 2 tablespoons of water, cover the wok and cook for 3 more minutes or until the green beans are all cooked through.
  • Add in the fried shallots, stir and transfer to a serving plate.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Last week Porgy and I celebrated our quasi anniversary by having dinner at Canteen. We used to go there for brunch regularly a few years ago but we had not been there in awhile, in fact the last time I went there was more than a year ago! Our friend, Jeremy, was kind of enough to babysit Arthur so we were able to enjoy dinner without having to worry about him. Things haven't changed much there - the food is deliciously well executed and the atmosphere is wonderfully casual.

Cherry with Blue Cheese and Cracked Pepper

Bigeye Tuna with green tomato, avocado, coriander and chili

Rabbit Salad - Crispy rabbit leg with fresh chickpeas, fava beans, mustard

Sea Bass with sweet corn, peppers, spring onion and scallions

Pork Shoulder Confit with lentils, braised bitter greens, paprika, bacon

Hazelnut Cake with fresh figs

Chocolate Croquettes with espresso sauce

Ike's Place

After hearing the positive raves about Ike's Place in the Castro and its ongoing legal battle with the landlord for the past few months, we decided to check it out a couple weeks ago. To avoid the long line and wait time, we called in the order first and picked it up 30 minutes later. I got the Name of Girl I'm Dating (Halal Chicken Breast, Honey Mustard, Avocado, PepperJack) on Dutch Crunch bread while Porgy got the Al Bundy (Salami, Ham, French Dressing, Avocado, Smoked Gouda) on Sourdough bread.

After eating the sandwich, we both were not sure whether we liked them or not. Yes, they were tasty and the breads (specially the Dutch Crunch one) were perfectly baked ... but at $9.99 per sandwich, I'd prefer the $3.50 Vietnamese BBQ Pork sandwich from Little Paris Coffee Shop in Chinatown.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dynamo Donuts

This morning ShunBun surprised Mo-Fo and I by bringing these delicious Dynamo donuts to our early morning coffee ritual at Blue Bottle Coffee. I have always been wanting to try them out since it first opened because of their interesting flavor combination and the hype surrounding its maple glazed bacon apple donut. After having my share of the donut, I was hooked and kept reaching over Mo-Fo to get the bacon bits that fell off from the donut. I also went nuts over the Spiced Chocolate donut because the chipotle dredge totally compliment the chocolate flavor in a nice way. It was a great way to start a week-day morning!

Lemon Thyme (donut made with lemon zest and fresh thyme and has a lemon honey glaze) and Maple Glazed Bacon Apple (studded with bacon and apple sauted in bacon fat maple glaze and crispy bacon):

Vanilla Bean (vanilla and orange zest donut with a vanilla bean glaze) and Spiced Chocolate (chocolate donut with cinnamon, sugar and chipotle dredge):

Monday, June 28, 2010

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yes, I was quite a busy bee in the kitchen this weekend. I even baked some chocolate chip cookies because Porgy was craving for something chocolaty ever since he saw Alex Guarnaschelli's Chocolate Pots de Creme episode on Food Network. I used my Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe and improvised a little bit by adding some Dutch cocoa powder and a little bit of chili powder.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened (at room temperature)
1 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup Dutch cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground coffee
8 oz of chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven at 300F
  • Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, chili pepper, cinnamon, ground coffee)
  • Cream butter and sugar until fluffy
  • Beat in egg and vanilla extract
  • Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture in 2 phases
  • Mix all together at slow speed
  • Add in chocolate chips and mix with spatula
  • Bake for 16 mins for more moist (chewier) cookies or 18 mins for crunchier ones

Poached Egg Breakfast

After a few days of cold summer weather in San Francisco, it felt so nice to wake up to a warm and sunny morning. This Sunday was one of those days and even Arthur was in a good mood.

I decided to make Poached Egg breakfast with breakfast sausages from Little City Market in North Beach and hash browns from Trader Joe's. Since I have never made poached eggs before, I went to Simply Recipes site because I know that Elise always has great step-by-step directions for her recipes.

Slowly frying the sausages...

Poaching the eggs (my pictures are not as good as Elise's) - even Arthur had one.

Our Sunday breakfast... yummy!

Eggplant and Minced Meat with Thai Peanut Butter Sauce

When I first started to cook this dish, I wanted to make stuffed eggplants with some kind of South East Asian flavored mince meat. However, when I made the stuffing, I noticed that the peanut butter sauce was too creamy to be used as stuffing so I improvised and cut up those eggplants into bite-size pieces and mix them with the mince meat. It turned out pretty good - though now I'm on a hunt for a good stuffed eggplant recipe!

3 eggplants, cut into half and then into 2-inch sections (I used Chinese eggplants)
1 lb ground pork
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 stalk lemon grass root, finely chopped
1 green chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 cup coconut cream
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped parsley

  • Heat up the oven to 400F degree and bake the eggplant slices in the oven for 25-30 minutes until cooked.
  • Mix the peanut butter, coconut cream, fish sauce and brown sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • In the mean time, stir fry the pork with a couple tablespoons of oil over medium high heat for a few minutes until well colored.
  • Add chopped garlic, shallot, lemon grass and green chili pepper and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Add in the peanut butter sauce mix and cook for several minutes until the mixture thickened.
  • Stir in the eggplant pieces and chopped parsley, adjust seasoning and serve over white rice.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Beef Tongseng

I'm back!!! Finally I'm not as crazy busy with work and Arthur. Yes... Arthur still has his moments from time to time but at least I don't have to keep worrying about him all the time because Porgy and I decided to put him in a doggie day care. We love this particular doggie day care because they also do trainings and long walks with their "customers".

Earlier this week, I met up with close family friends who were visiting from Indonesia. They brought an Indonesian cookbook for me from my sister and I've been going through the recipes in the past couple of days. Yesterday, I decided to make this Indonesian Beef in Spicy & Sweet Soy Sauce called Beef Tongseng. In Indonesia, you would make this dish with goat or lamb meat but I find that fatty beef meat can be a good substitute for them. I followed a recipe from Gramedia International's "Menu Sehari-hari" cookbook.


1 lb beef eye roast, cut into 1-inch cube
6 shallots, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
1 lemon grass stalk, bruised
1 tablespoon tamarind water
5 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
4 1/4 cups water
1/2 head of small cabbage, de-bone and roughly cut into thin strips
10 red chilli pepper, seeded and cut into strips
salt and sugar to taste
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon black peppercorn
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1/2 tablespoon minced galangal

  • Using mortar and pestle or food processor, grind the garlic, black peppercorns, coriander, ginger and galangal until they become a smooth paste.
  • Stir fry the shallots with 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat for 3 minutes or so until light yellow colored.
  • Add seasoning paste, bay leaves and lemon grass and cook for another couple of minutes until fragrant.
  • Add the meat, toss around and cook until the meat change color.
  • Add in the water, soy sauce and tamarind water. When the water boils, lower the heat and continue cooking until the meat is soft.
  • When the stock has reduced by half, add the chopped cabbage and chili pepper.
  • Adjust seasoning with salt and sugar according to taste.
  • Finish cooking when the stock/sauce boils again and serve over white rice.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies

What to do if you're craving for 2 types of cookies? Combine them together! I have been craving both Oatmeal Raisin and Chocolate Chip cookies so I decided to make this Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies. I used Smitten Kitchen's Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe for the base and substitute the chopped walnut with chocolate chips. Both Porgy and I really enjoyed the end product – the bitter sweet chocolate taste mixed with the chewiness of the oatmeal and the tart of the raisins... yum!


1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 oz) butter, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, raisins and chocolate chips.
  • Per Smitten Kitchen's suggestion, I chilled the dough for 30 minutes or so in the fridge to help the cookies maintain their 'thickness' and then scoop the cookies onto a baking sheet.
  • Bake them for 12 minutes or so until they are golden brown at the edges but still soft on top. Let them sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Otsu Soba

A couple weeks ago, I made this cold buckwheat soba salad with lightly fried tofu and ginger dressing called Otsu Soba because Porgy and I were craving for something light, refreshing and delicious. I used these two sites, WeHeartFood and DinnerWithJulie for my recipe source and according to one of you they are based on Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks (thanks for letting me know of another wonderful site!) Otsu Soba is a perfect left-over food for us since you don't need to warm it up and you can just eat it cold out of the fridge.

It was my first time cooking with Soba so I was pretty excited about that and now I can't wait to cook another Soba dish... wonder what's next. Maybe Zaru Soba – cold soba noodles with tsuyu dipping sauce?

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

12 ounces dried soba noodles
12 ounces extra-firm tofu
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 small handful of cilantro sprigs
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup shredded toasted Nori

  • Drain and press the tofu for 30 minutes or so, pat it dry, and cut it into 1-inch rectangles.
  • Make the dressing by combining the rice vinegar, soy sauce, cayenne, salt, grape seed oil, sesame oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, and ginger in a jar and shake vigorously until it's mixed well.
  • Cook the soba in plenty of rapidly boiling salted water just until tender according to the package direction then drain and rinse well under cold running water.
  • In a well-oiled saute pan, brown the tofu on all sides over medium high heat. It took me about 3-4 minutes of each side. Toss gently once and continue cooking for another minute or so until the tofu is firm, golden brown, and bouncy.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, tofu, 1/4 cup cilantro, green onions, cucumber and about half of the dressing. Toss gently until well combined.
  • Serve on individual serving bowls (or plates), garnish with more cilantro, toasted sesame seeds and shredded Nori. Add more dressing if needed.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Stir-Fried Beef with Broccolini and Shitake Mushroom

I was surprised to find Broccolini in the Farmers Market a couple weeks ago since I thought they are only available during the Winter and Spring time. Maybe I am wrong? Since it was an impulse purchase, I did not know what to use them for. After looking at the contents of my refrigerator and browsing some cookbooks, I made Stir-Fried Beef with Broccolini and Shitake Mushroom – with sauce that's similar to the Noodle with Red-braised Short Ribs and Asparagus post.

1 lb of Broccolini
1 lb of fresh Shitake mushroom, halved
0.5 lb of stir fry beef meat
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 garlic, smashed with skins removed
1-inch ginger, cut into julienne strips
4 green onions, cut into 1-inch sections
5 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons Shaoxing cooking wine
1 tablespoon Mirin
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup water

  • Marinate the beef with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine, 1 tablespoon Mirin and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch for 30 minutes.
  • Mix the rest of the sauce ingredients (soy sauce, Shaoxing cooking wine, sesame oil, sugar, salt, black pepper, cornstarch) in a bowl and set aside.
  • In a large pot, blanch the Broccolini for 1-2 minutes until the color turns bright green and plunge to cold ice bath to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or large saute pan until hot but not smoking.
  • Add the meat and stir with spatula until all pieces are coated with oil, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent sticking. Fry until the meat just cooked, set aside.
  • Add the rest of the oil and stir fry garlic, ginger and half of the green onions for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the sauce and mushroom, stir to blend and cover with lid, lower heat to a simmer and braise for 5-6 minutes.
  • Add the meat, Broccolini and the rest of the green onions into the pan, stir well until all is coated evenly with the sauce.
  • Adjust seasoning and transfer to a serving dish.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Spinach Twins

In the past couple of weeks, Porgy and I have been watching Julia Child's The French Chef DVDs that we checked out from the library. One of the episode on the 1st DVD is called Spinach Twins - where Julia Child and Simone Beck made a Frenchified Spinach, Mushroom and Ham Turnover.

Since there was no recipe on the DVD or on the PBS website and I could not find one anywhere online, I had to watch the episode a couple of time to make sure that I got the recipe down. At the end I decided to improvise a little bit since I did not want to have the cream sauce on the side and, since I dethawed both puff-pastry dough (by mistake), I doubled the ingredients and ended up with two very delicious Spinach Turnover.

2 16oz frozen chopped spinach, dethawed and drained well
4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 to 1.5 cup heavy cream
2 garlic, finely minced
8 oz Crimini mushroom, quartered
8 oz ham, cubed
1.5 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 egg

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Saute the garlic and mushroom with 2 tablespoons of butter for 8-10 minutes. Set aside.
  • Saute the ham with 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 5 minutes or so. Set aside.
  • Squeeze the water out of one handful of spinach at a time. Make sure the spinach is well drained so it won't make the puff pastry soggy. Set aside.
  • Saute the chopped onion with 2 tablespoons of butter for 8-10 minutes until a little bit caramelized.
  • Lower the heat, add in the flour and milk and stir vigorously with a wire-whisk. Keep mixing until the mixture is boiling and thicken up.
  • Add in the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix well.
  • Add in the heavy cream, a little at a time while whisking until the cream sauce is not too thick. I think I used about 1 cup of heavy cream.
  • Add the grated Gruyere cheese and mix well.
  • Stir in the spinach into the cream and cheese mixture. Set aside.
  • Roll the pastry dough into 1/4-inch thick on a floured surface.
  • Glaze the dough with an egg glaze (1 egg lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water).
  • Put about 4 tablespoons of spinach mixture on half of the dough, saving 1-inch border.
  • Add a layer of the saute mushroom and ham and then top again with the spinach mixture. Smooth the top with a spatula.
  • Fold the dough over to cover the spinach, mushroom and ham. Lightly press the side to seal it and use fork tighten it.
  • Glaze the top with with the egg glaze and make a diagonal pattern using the fork.
  • Repeat the process with the 2nd pastry dough (if you decide to make two of them). However, if you don't want to cook them right away, do not glaze the top with the egg glaze. You only glaze the top just before you bake them.
  • Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

White House Fruit and Oat Bars

Continuing my attempt to eat and snack healthier, I decided to make White House Fruit and Oat bars. They are perfect for mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks and definitely are better than opening up a bag of chips or candies.

9 tablespoons grapeseed oil, plus extra for brushing pan
3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup mixed seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower and sesame
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
pinch of salt
2 cups mixed dried fruit, such as raisins, cranberries, apricots, etc.
1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon or cardamom

  • Heat oven to 350 F, line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil, letting a few inches hang over side of pan. Brush with oil.
  • Spread oats and sees on another baking pan and toast in oven just until golden and fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes, shaking pan once.
  • In a saucepan, combine oil, honey, brown sugar, maple syrup and salt. Stir over medium heat until smooth and hot.
  • In a mixing bowl, toss together toasted oats and seeds, dried fruit and cinnamon (or cardamom. Pour hot sugar mixture over and stir until well combined.
  • While mixture is warm, transfer to prepared pan, pressing into pan evenly with an offset spatula.
  • Bake until brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack and let cool completely. Using the overhanging foil or paper, lift out of pan and place on a work surface. Cut into bars, about 1.5 inches by 3 inches.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Pasta and Asparagus in Mustard Sauce

I got the idea for this mustard sauce from a Julia Child's show where she made a simple salad dressing using mustard. After watching, I thought to myself that it probably make sense to tweak her mustard salad dressing to become a pasta sauce by adding some heavy cream. Since I didn't have any heavy cream, I had to use corn starch dissolved in water. Although it still tasted good, I think it would be so much better if I had used heavy cream.

1 package of dry Penne pasta
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1.5-inch sections
2 shallots, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 links of sausage, sliced
1/2 cup pitted French black olives, cut in halves
1/2 cup of dry white wine or Vermouth
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of corn starch dissolved in 3/4 cup of water
(or 3/4 cup heavy cream)
salt & pepper

  • Cook the Penne pasta according to the package's direction.
  • Two minutes before the pasta is cooked, add in the asparagus into the boiling water.
  • Drain well and rinse over cold water.
  • In a large pan, saute the minced shallot and garlic with olive oil until fragrant.
  • Add in the sausage and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in the black olive and the dry white wine and cook for another 3 minutes until the alcohol is cooked through.
  • Mix the mustard and the corn starch solution (or the heavy cream) in a small bowl and add it to the pan, cook until it boils again.
  • Return the pasta and asparagus to the pan and add in the chopped green onion.
  • Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Geesh... I can't believe that it's almost end of May already, time definitely flies by quickly. Although I had been cooking plenty of interesting dishes, I didn't have the time to blog them because I had been pretty busy with other things. Since I kind of feel bad about neglecting this blog (don't ask why), I promise that I'll try to be more diligent.

I had been thinking about Rawon (an Indonesian black beef soup) since I had a small portion of it a my sister's place in Indonesia a few months ago. Here is my family's version of this dish courtesy of my Mom.

2 lb beef stew meat
6 large garlic cloves
10 shallots
4 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
10 black nut (kluwek), rinsed and soaked in warm water
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
salt & pepper
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1-inch galangal, peeled and bruised
4 kaffir lime leaves, bruised
1 stalk lemongrass
2 bay leaves, torn in half
2 tablespoons palm sugar
1 red chili, cut into strips
vegetable oil
3 green onions, chopped
hard boiled eggs
bean sprouts

  • Cook the beef stew meat cubes in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes to help the meat becomes tender quickly without having to simmer the soup for hours.
  • Take out the meat cubes and save the strained beef broth.
  • Using a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic, shallot and coriander seeds in batches with some salt and white pepper. Put the mashed-up mixture into a food processor, add in the turmeric powder, kluwek meat, grated ginger and red chili flakes and grind/puree until smooth.
  • In a heavy bottom pan, heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil over a medium heat and stir fry the spice paste for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
  • Add in the galangal, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and torn bay leaves and stir fry some more for a couple of minutes or so.
  • Add in the cooked meat cubes, mix well so the cubes are coated with the spice paste and cook for a minute or two.
  • Add in enough strained beef stock (or water) to completely cover the meat plus an extra inch and cook until boil.
  • When the soup is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and let simmer for 30 minutes or so until the spice flavor is absorbed by the meat.
  • In the mean time, you can make several hard boiled eggs and blanch the beansprouts (optional).
  • Add the chopped green onions and red chili strips and adjust seasoning by adding salt, pepper or palm sugar accordingly.
  • Serve over rice with halved hard boiled eggs, blanched beansprouts and shrimp crackers (if you have any).

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Meatballs and Spaghetti

Since I have been nothing but Asian dishes in the past couple of weeks, I decided to be nice to Porgy and make him Meatballs and Spaghetti using Ina Garten's recipe. Instead of using a mix of ground beef, pork and veal, I used half ground pork and half breakfast sausage from Fatted Calf and added some chopped basil to the meatball mix and to the sauce.


For the meatballs:

1 pound ground pork
1 pound uncooked breakfast sausage
1 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For serving:
1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
Freshly grated Parmesan

  • Place the ground meats, bread crumbs, parsley, basil, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork.
  • Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 18-20 meatballs.
  • Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil.
  • Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don't crowd the meatballs.
  • Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don't clean the pan.
  • For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  • Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  • Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.
  • Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and top with grated Parmesan.

Sour Cream Banana Bread

Since I had a few very ripe bananas and some left over sour cream that needed to be used as soon as possible, I made this Sour Cream Banana Bread using a recipe from Although it is a little bit simpler than my previous banana bread post because it does not have any chopped toasted walnuts or brown sugar crumb toppings, it still tastes pretty darn delicious.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup sour cream

  • Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  • Coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with butter and dust it with flour, tapping out the excess.
  • Whisk together 2 1/4 cups flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl to aerate and break up any lumps. Set aside.
  • Place sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes.
  • Add bananas and sour cream and mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add flour mixture, and mix until just combined.
  • Turn batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, the top is golden brown, and the bread is pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 1 hour.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Slide a knife around the perimeter of the pan, invert to release the bread, and cool completely on the wire rack before serving.
  • Note: I used an additional 1/4 cup of flour than the original recipe because the mixture was a bit too liquid-y.