Sunday, January 31, 2010

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

Ever since I received Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris cookbook from Mo-Fo for my birthday, I've been checking out the recipes before I went to bed every night in the past week so I decided to make Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic today. It looks relatively easy and deliciously rich - a perfect dish to make on Sunday afternoon to be eaten for the rest of the week. I served the chicken with Moroccan Couscous, another wonderful recipe from her book. Here is the recipe with a tiny bit of tweaking since the alcohol selection in my kitchen is not as vast as hers. If you don't want to add any alcohol to the dish, you can use low sodium chicken stock instead.

3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves
5 pieces of whole legs, cut into drumsticks and thighs
2 pieces of half breasts, each cut into two
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons Sherry (or Cognac), divided
1.5 cups extra dry Vermouth (or dry white wine)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

  • Dry the chicken with paper towel and season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Marinade for at least a couple of hours in the refrigerator.
  • Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds. Drain the garlic and peel. Set aside.
  • Heat the butter and oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and saute the chicken in batches, skin side down first, until nicely browned for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Make sure to use tongs or spatula so not to pierce the skin with a fork. When a batch is done, transfer the chicken pieces to a plate and continue to saute all the chicken in batches.
  • After the last batch is done and transferred to the plate, add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat to a medium low and saute for 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of the Sherry and the Vermouth, return to a boil and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done. Remove the chicken pieces to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat to a medium, add the remaining tablespoon of Sherry and the cream, and boil for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour the sauce and garlic over the chicken, sprinkle with some chopped parsley and serve hot over the couscous.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Slanted Door

Last Friday, my "best friends" at work took me to Slanted Door, Charles Phan's Vietnamese restaurant at the Ferry Building, for lunch to celebrate my birthday the day before. It has been awhile since the last time I went there.

We started our lunch by sharing Daikon Rice Cakes with shiitake mushrooms and shallots and Spring Rolls with shrimp, pork, mint and peanut sauce. I really enjoyed the flavor and texture of the Daikon rice cakes, it's not like the typical daikon rice cake that I usually find at dim sum restaurants. And the sauce... I couldn't tell what in the sauce but it totally complimented the rice cake well.

Interestingly enough, all of us ordered noodles for our main courses: Crispy Egg Noodles with prawns, scallops, squid, carrots, broccoli, and shiitake mushrooms, Stir-fried Rice Noodle with chicken, shiitake mushrooms, brocolli, bean sprouts and egg, and Grilled Chicken Breast over rice noodle with imperial rool, cucumber and mint. Since Crispy Egg Noodle and Grilled Chicken Breast are staple Chinese Vietnamese food, they are good as usual. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the Stir-fried Rice Noodle. Although it looked bland (color-wise), we all agreed that it was really delicious and tasty. I guess the saying "we should not judge a book by its cover" also applies for food.

When we got back at the office, we enjoyed some yummy Sprinkles cupcakes (red velvet, chocolate, vanilla and carrot cake). I was super stuffed by the end of the day because all these goodies. Thank you my "best friends at work" for a wonderful and scrumptious birthday lunch.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Tonight for my birthday, Porgy took me to Frances, a two-month old restaurant in Castro serving modern and seasonal California cuisine from Melissa Perello. I was so excited because I had been wanting to try it out ever since I heard that she's opening her own restaurant.

Frances has an interesting concept with the custom-blended house wine served in marked carafe where it costs $1 per oz.

We started by sharing Applewood Smoked Bacon Beignets with Creme Fraiche & Chive Sauce and Roasted Chestnut Soup with Boccalone Pancetta and Cipollini Onion. I think the soup is super delicious... creamy yet somehow light and nicely balanced of saltiness and sweetness, it's perfect for a cold winter evening.

We had Caramelized Atlantic Scallops with Artichoke and Wild Mushroom Barigoule, Petaluma Chicken with Savory Bread Pudding, Sultana Raisin and Apple Relish and shared the Butter Bean Ragout with Parmesan and Porcini Butter. It's been a while since I had a scallop dish and these were cooked perfectly, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside and they rested on a refreshing broth.

We shared the Valrhona Ganache Tart with McEvoy Olive Oil Ice Cream by Humphry Slocombe. The tart is super rich but it's nicely balanced by the lemony olive oil ice cream. I think I'm going to stop by at Humphry Slocombe store soon to get a gallon of that yummy ice cream.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Berkshire Pigs in the Blanket

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of my Food4Wibowo blog. Woo hoo! It's interesting to read the all comments and suggestions that you all wrote and to remember what I cooked or ate just a few months ago. I want to thank everybody who ever read my blog and those who encouraged me to keep it going even when I was not up for it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Now I want to share with you the recipe of one of my favorite snacks introduced by Mo-Fo a few years ago - Pigs in the Blanket. Since it's a celebration, I decided to amp it up a little bit by using Berkshire little sausages instead of a regular hot dog, slathered some Dijon mustard on the dough, and simmer half of the sausages in a sweet ketchup sauce for 15 minutes or so.

16 Berkshire mini sausages
1 can (8oz) of Pillsbury's Crescent dinner roll
2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon of Hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of Worchestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of Vermouth

  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • In the meantime, simmer half of the sausages in a ketchup, Hoisin sauce, honey, soy sauce, Worchestershire and Vermouth mixture for 15 minutes.
  • Separate the dough into 16 triangles and brush the dough with Dijon mustard.
  • Wrap dough triangles around each sausage.
  • Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12-13 minutes until golden brown.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I cooked this delicious meaty and cheesy lasagna over the weekend. It was a perfect food for a rainy & cold San Francisco weather as the smell of the tomato sauce and the baked cheese totally warmed up my apartment. The original recipe that I got from my coworker (thank you, AMV!) required three pounds of ground meat but I decided to cut it in half since I added other ingredients like the ricotta cheese and extra vegetables into it. I also used the lasagna recipes at Closet Cooking and Simpy Recipes for inspiration.

1 medium onion, chopped
10 cloves of garlic, minced
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 lb each of ground beef, ground pork and sweet Italian sausage
1 lb of Crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 cans of 28oz San Marzano tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 package of Barilla lasagna noodles
1/2 lb of grated Mozarella cheese
1 15 oz Ricotta cheese
2 cups of grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt, sugar & pepper to taste

  • Saute the onion in olive oil in a deep sauce pan over a medium heat until browned, then add carrot, green bell pepper, garlic and the red chili pepper flakes and cook for another 10 minutes until all vegetables are soft. Set aside.
  • In the same pan, add another tablespoon of olive oil and saute the ground meat over medium high heat for 5 minutes or so until totally cooked. Set aside and drain off any excess oil from the meats.
  • Saute the sliced mushroom in the same pan with a sprinkle of garlic until cooked and then set aside.
  • For the Sauce: Return 3/4 of the vegetable mixture, 1/4 of the meat and 3/4 of the mushroom into the same pan and add the two cans of chopped tomatoes, dry oregano, cumin, cinnamon and half garlic powder. Add 1/4 cup of red wine and simmer the sauce for 60 to 90 minutes until it thickens. Add seasoning accordingly.
  • For the Meat Filling: In a large bowl, mix the rest of the vegetable mixture, meat, mushroom and seasoning with half of the grated Mozarella cheese. The cheese will melt and become stringy.
  • For Cheese Mixture: Mix the Ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and the two eggs in a bowl
Assembling the Lasagna:
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • If you are using Barilla lasagna noodles, you do not have to cook the pasta first. If not, cook the pasta according to the direction in the box.
  • Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
  • Place 4 lasagna noodles on top, overlapping a little one top of the other.
  • Place 1/2 of the Ricotta cheese mixture on top and layer with 1/2 of the meat filling and 1/3 of the tomato sauce.
  • Add another layer of lasagna noodles on top and then repeat with the rest of the Ricotta cheese mixture and meat filling and another 1/3 of the tomato sauce.
  • Add another layer of lasagna noodles on top and top everything with the rest of the tomato sauce.
  • Cover (tent) the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 50 minutes.
  • Take off the aluminum foil and add the remaining Mozarella cheese on top.
  • Return to oven uncovered for 10 minutes until the cheeses on top are melted and the edges are slightly browned.
  • Cool for 5 minutes before cutting.
  • If you have leftover meat mixture or sauce, you can always freeze and use them for pasta sauce in the future.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Kimchee Pajeon

I saw this Kimchee Pajeon recipe at Tastespotting and thought that it's easy enough for me to make on a lazy Sunday afternoon when I'm craving some spicy and sour snacks. It's not a heavy pancake and, since it's all vegetables, I assume that it's a pretty darn healthy snack. What do you think? Whatever it is, I'd like to thank A Table for Two for this delicious recipe.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Kimchee juice
1 cup cold water
1 egg
1.5 cup of napa cabbage Kimchee, roughly chopped
4 scallions, cut into 2-inch strips

  • Add flour, cold water and egg into a mixing bowl and stir until well mixed.
  • Add the Kimchee juice, scallions and Napa cabbage Kimchee into the flour and egg mixture and stir until well mixed. The mixture should be thick like a pancake mixture. If it's too watery, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until the right consistency.
  • Heat vegetable oil on a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Pour a cup of the batter into the pan using a ladle and spread it evenly across the pan.
  • Cook the pancake for 3-4 minutes until golden brown and crisp on one side, flip over and cook for another 3-4 minutes on the other side.
  • Repeat with the rest of the batter.
  • Cut into slices and serve it with a sprinkle of sea salt and scallion or more chopped Kimchee on top.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Namu at the Ferry Building

Today, I had lunch at Namu, a Korean food cart at the Ferry Building's Farmers Market, with Mo-Fo. It was a 'reward' lunch since we both went to the gym at 7 o'clock in the morning. When my coworker mentioned about their Kimchee Fried Rice yesterday, I knew that I had to try it soon. Yes, I'm still on a Kimchee kick...

Miso soup with wakame and tofu - perfect for the cold & gloomy San Francisco weather today.

Kimchee Fried Rice with fried egg - delicious, creamy (from the egg yolk) and spicy enough to warm me up from inside.

Korean Ssam Taco - love the succulent meat, sweetish flavor in the sauce and the nori wrap.

I can't wait to go back there again to try out the other stuff like their okonomiyaki and KFC (Korean Fried Chicken)!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Heaven's Dog

A couple months ago, Mo-Fo, ShunBun and I went to Heaven's Dog for lunch. It's one of Charles Phan's newer San Francisco restaurants that focuses on Northern Chinese cuisine. I forgot to blog my visit there until today after seeing these pictures on my iPhone.

The lunch started well as we had the Pisco Apricot Tropical and Bumble Bee Cocktail. Both of them were very well made, super refreshing and gave me a nice buzz.

We ordered Braised Pork Belly in Clam Shell Bun and Scallion Pancakes for appetizer. I love the crisp and salty scallion pancakes and their braised pork belly in clam shell bun was a close second to Momofuku's. I'm so happy that I can find these yummy buns here in San Francisco.

For the main course, I had the Shrimp Wonton Soup (with pork char siu, crackling, thin egg noodle) while Mo-Fo had the Beef Noodle Soup (slow cooked short rib, choy sum, wide rice noodle) and ShunBun had the Timmy's Beef (niman flank steak, ginger, scallion, jalapeno, wide egg noodle). Of course, I had a taste of their food and I enjoyed all of them.

Heaven's Dog is definitely a great place for lunch since it has high quality and delicious food with reasonable prices. I will definitely go back there some time in the near future and I will for sure bring my camera.

Asian-styled Pickled Cucumber

One of my favorite snacks/side dishes growing up was Asian-style pickled cucumber. It's lighter and sweeter than the American-style ones. I love having on the side of spicy Chinese or Indonesian food in a hot weather. There are so many variations of the recipe online - one with just salt and sugar; with or without any of these ingredients - rice vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, onions, and shallots. I decided to use this one from Town and Country Markets with a slight modification because it's so simple and sounds so refreshing.

2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin (Japanese rice wine)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • In a large bowl, sprinkle salt over cucumber slices and let sit for 20 minutes.
  • Drain and cover with remaining ingredients.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hour, or as long as overnight.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Gingerbread Boys

We ate a lot of cookies and sweets this holiday season but somehow I was still itching to bake cookies so I could decorate them. So this weekend, I decided to make Gingerbread Boys using a NYTimes recipe because their Gingerbread Boy picture was so cute.

We had so much fun decorating them though now we need to figure out what to do with those 50+ cookies. Hopefully people at the office are still up for some more sweets this week.

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup molasses
1 cup butter
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, more for rolling dough
confectioners' sugar
lemon juice

  • In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, molasses and butter. Place over medium-low heat and stir until the mixture is just melted and smooth. Remove from heat and mix in baking soda and 1/4 cup cold water. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Transfer the mixture into a bigger bowl and add egg, salt, baking powder, ginger and cinnamon; stir to mix well. Add 4 cups of flour and mix well, adding up to 1/2 cup more if the dough seems sticky. Shape into a ball, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 24 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness, and cut into gingerbread boy shapes using a cookie cutter. Arrange on baking sheets 1-inch apart, and bake until risen and no longer shiny, around 9 to 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow cookies to cool. And then the fun begins... decorate the cookies with icing.
  • Mix in 1 cup of confectioners' sugar with approximately 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (or water) to create a thick icing paste and use a Ziplock bag with a small cut on the tip as the piping bag.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Roasted Duck Breast

Happy New Year, everybody! Can't believe that 2009 is over already. To celebrate this special occasion, instead of eating out at a restaurant and paid a ridiculous price for a 'New Year's Evening special menu', we decided to eat in and have a roasted duck breast, something that I've never made before. I got this Asian-influenced recipe idea from A Series of Kitchen Experiments and NYTimes.

I should have followed Elaine's suggestion to rub the marinade only on the duck meat, instead of all over it because the marinade made the skin to be burned-like black when seared. Don't get me wrong, it still tasted wonderful but it would be prettier for the picture. I served this with a side of stir-fried kale cooked with duck-fat and roasted baby potatoes. It was a great meal to close out the year 2009.

2 Duck Breast, with skin intact
salt & pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon tamarind juice

Chinese Five Spiced Sauce:
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1/8 teaspoon star anise
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1/2 cup of chicken broth
2 teaspoon of duck fat, reserved from duck breast
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Salt to taste

  • Crush cumin with mortar and pestle until powdery fine. In a small bowl, mix well the cumin along with Chinese five-spice powder, honey, soy sauce and tamarind juice until it becomes a thick paste.
  • Make small diagonal slits on the duck skin, in a criss-cross pattern at one-inch intervals. Be careful not to cut through to the meat.
  • Season the duck breast with salt and pepper and rub the seasoning paste on the meat of the duck and not the skin. Let the duck breast marinate for at least one hour at room temperature or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  • Heat a large, heavy skillet on the stove until really hot. Place duck breasts in the skillet skin side down and sear for about five minutes, just until the skin is well browned. Remove the duck breasts from the skillet.
  • Reduced heat to medium and pour all the fat out of the skillet. Return the duck breasts to the skillet skin side up and cook for another five minutes.
  • Remove the duck breasts onto a cutting board and cover it with some aluminum foil to let it rest for 10 minutes.
  • In the same skillet, add two teaspoon of the duck fat and the crushed garlic. Saute until the oil is fragrant and then add in the chicken broth, star anise, brown sugar, five spiced powder and thyme. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pan for the duck bits & fat, let the sauce boil until it is reduced by half and then strain the sauce.
  • To serve, slice the duck breasts on an angle, into slices a quarter to a half-inch thick and serve with some sauce.