Thursday, April 29, 2010

Asparagus and Chopped Eggs

In addition to the farm fresh eggs, I also got these asparagus at the Castro Farmers' Market to make a simple roasted asparagus and crumbled some chopped boiled eggs on top.

1 lb asparagus tips
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper
2 hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Wash and dry the asparagus
  • Toss with olive oil, spread on a baking sheet on a single layer, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, turn once while baking.
  • Sprinkle the chopped eggs on top and serve.

Asparagus on FoodistaAsparagus

Farm Fresh Eggs

One of the reasons I love living in San Francisco is the almost-daily Farmers' Market somewhere in the city. Yesterday, I went to the Castro Farmers' Market to get some vegetables and, while browsing the vendors, made an impulse purchase of Farm Fresh Eggs at Shelly's Garden.

I love the taste of fresh eggs... they are so much more delicious and sweeter (if that even makes sense) than eggs from those big grocery stores. Since these eggs were laid just a couple days ago, I woke up a little bit earlier this morning to make a simple breakfast – a couple of sunny side up eggs with a side of hashbrowns using my new Scanpan pan. Delicious!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chicken in Black Bean Sauce

One of my favorite lunch spots in San Francisco Financial District is the Henry's Hunan Restaurant on Sacramento Street. I go there at least once a month with MoFo and we usually always order the same food: Dumplings, Chicken with Black Bean Sauce and Chicken with Bean Curd. We used to be able to finish them all in one seating but sadly we can't do it anymore because we just can't eat that much anymore and we don't want to do a face plant onto our desks when we get back to the office. This dish is my attempt to make their Chicken with Black Bean Sauce and I think it's pretty darn good. I'm definitely looking forward to eat it for lunch for the next few days.

1 lb chicken meat (thigh or breast meat), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 head of cabbage, cut into quarters and then roughly sliced
2 carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch coins
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, cut into quarters and then roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
2 tablespoons Shaoxing cooking wine
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons Chinese Black Bean and Garlic sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup of roughly chopped basil leaves
1/2 cup of chopped green onion
1 teaspoon corn starch

  • Marinate the chicken meat in ginger, Shaoxing cooking wine and sesame oil for 30 minutes.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan until hot and then add the marinated chicken. Stir fry until it cooks through (about 5 minutes or so) and set aside.
  • Add in the chopped onion and garlic into the hot pan and stir fry until fragrant.
  • Add in the chopped cabbage, carrots, salt, white pepper and continue cooking on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add in the Black Bean and Garlic sauce and sugar, stir the mixture, lower the heat, cover the pan and continue cooking for another 5-7 minutes until the carrots starting to soften up.
  • In a small bowl, dissolve the corn starch with a little water.
  • Return the chicken meat into the pan, add the corn starch mixture, chopped green onion and basil leaves.
  • Adjust seasoning as needed, stir well and continue cooking for another minute or two until the sauce started to boil and thicken up.
  • Serve over rice.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vegetable and Tofu Soup

After eating plenty of cupcakes in the past few days, we both felt that we should eat better so I made this light yet very tasty Vegetable and Tofu Soup. It is another fantastic recipe from Periplus' Homestyle Chinese Cooking cookbook – I'm loving this cookbook more and more!

6 cups of water
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 lb fresh Shiitake mushrooms (or 8-10 dried Shiitake mushrooms)
1/2 lb of fresh bok choy or similar Chinese vegetables
1 package of firm or soft tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
5 slices ginger, cut into thin strips
2 teaspoons white pepper
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine
1 teaspoon Mirin
1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
2 green onions, finely chopped

  • If using dried Shiitake mushrooms, soak them in hot water for 15 minutes and drain.
  • Bring water to a boil in a large pot and then add salt.
  • Cut the mushroom stems and then cut each mushroom in half.
  • Wash and rinse the vegetables, removing any dirt, any tough or wilted stems, and separate the leaves.
  • Add the mushroom to the boiling water, and let the water return to boil, then add the tofu, ginger, white pepper, soy sauce, Shaoxing cooking wine and Mirin. Return to boil on medium flame, cover with lid and simmer for about 15 minutes (or 20 minutes if using dried mushrooms).
  • Add the vegetables and stir, let water return to boil and simmer for 1 more minutes.
  • Sprinkle chopped parsley and green onion prior to serving.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Car Bomb Cupcakes

In the past few weeks, I have been craving for cupcakes... specially those from Kara's Cupcakes. Although they were super duper delicious, I started to wonder if it made sense to spend $3 per cupcake – so I decided to make some myself. Since both Porgy and I are self-professed alcohol lovers, I used this Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes from Smitten Kitchen - it's an intepretation of the Car Bomb drink in a cupcake form. It was my first time EVER making cupcakes and I am not much of a baker so I followed her direction to the T.

However, if I ever make this again, I would cut the Ganache filling in half to avoid having too much leftover at the end or maybe substitute it with some Salted Caramel filling to cut the richness and add some saltiness. I also had some difficulties with the Bailey's Buttercream icing. Who knew that making icing was that hard... I think my mistake was that I didn't let the butter warmed up enough to the room temperature. And since I sucked big time with the piping works, I used a couple of small spoons to drop a dollop of icing on top of each cupcakes. I think they still look pretty darn cute, don't they?


The Guinness chocolate cupcakes:
1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache filling:
(already cut to half the amount in the original recipe)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (I like it strong)

Baileys frosting:
3 to 4 cups confections sugar (I used almost 3.5 cups)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons Baileys


Follow the direction at Smitten Kitchen since she's the pro.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dan Dan Noodles

A couple weeks ago, ShunBun made Dan Dan Noodles using Jamie Oliver's recipe. When he told me about it, I remembered reading a similar recipe at Appetite for China. They looked very appetizing so last weekend I decided to make it by combining both recipes together and substituting the Sichuan peppercorn with dried red chili pepper. Some people might think that this dish is not an authentic Sichuan dish because I didn't use any Sichuan peppercorn. I don't care because the result was a total success as each bite contains full punch of spicy, salty and crunchy goodness.

1 lb ground pork
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons peanut (or vegetable) oil
4 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons ginger, peeled and finely chopped
5 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons peanut butter
3 tablespoons chili oil
1.5 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon dry red chili pepper
8 oz chicken stock
1 pack dry spaghetti noodle
1/2 lb of Choy Sum (Chinese vegetable)
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped

  • Marinate the ground pork with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce of 1 teaspoon of salt for 30 minutes.
  • In a large skillet, stir fry the pork with 2 tablespoons of oil for 10-12 minutes until it's golden and crunchy. Pour away any excess fat, then add honey and toss until all the ground pork is nicely coated. Cook for another minute and then set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil (to be used to cook the noodle and blanch the vegetable).
  • Reheat the skillet and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and stir fry the garlic, ginger and onions until fragrant for about 2 minutes or so.
  • Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, chili oil, sesame oil, dry red chili pepper, salt and chicken stock and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  • Cook the noodles according to the direction (7-8 minutes). Add in the Choy Sum in the last minute to quickly boil them. Drain the noodles and vegetable well.
  • Return the noodles, vegetable, cooked meat and the peanut sauce into the pot.
  • Add in the chopped green onions and roasted peanuts and mix well.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Indian Mee

We still could not finish the Roast Leg of Lamb even after eating it for 5 days on and off so I had to figure out what to do with the rest of them. Flipping through my collection of cookbooks, I decided to make this Indian Mee recipe on a Primarasa's Hidangan Asia – an Indian-inspired Chinese noodle dish. The recipe called for fresh thick yellow noodle but I had to substitute it with dry Chinese egg noodles instead. It was not the best decision because the noodles were a bit too thin... so if you want to try it out, I recommend you to use spaghetti noddle instead.

1 lb of lamb meat, cubed
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
4 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoon ghee
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 half onion, sliced
1/2 package of fried yellow tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
12 oz dry Chinese egg noodles
1/2 lb Choy Sum (Chinese vegetable)
4 green onions, cut into 1-inch sections
2 eggs, beaten with a little bit of water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup fried shallot
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Curry sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 teaspoon tumeric powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon paprika powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt

  • Marinate the lamb meat with soy sauce, dark soy sauce and black pepper for 30 minutes or so.
  • Boil the dry egg noodle for 4-5 minutes or according to the direction. Add in the Choy Sum in the last minute to quickly boil them.
  • Heat up the ghee and 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok and stir fry the sliced onion until translucent.
  • Add in the curry sauce and stir well until fragrant.
  • Add in the lamb meat cubes and cook until they change color.
  • Add in the cooked noodle, stir until all is mixed well while adding the tofu and green onions.
  • Move the noodle mixture to the side of the wok, add in the rest of the vegetable oil in the center of the wok.
  • When the oil is hot, pour in the beaten egg. Let it sit for awhile until the egg started to harden and then stir a little to scramble it.
  • Move the noodle mixture back to the middle of the wok, add in the lemon juice, parsley and 1/2 cup of the fried shallots and mix well.
  • Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the rest of the fried shallots on top.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Stir-fried Sweet Peas and Mushrooms with Ginger and Spring Onions

I'm glad that spring is here because it means that I can get fresh peas (sweet peas, English peas, fava beans, etc.) at the Farmers Market and that I can finally try out this stir-fry recipe that I saw in Periplus' Homestyle Chinese Cooking cookbook. It says in the book that "snowpeas and mushrooms are a classic combination in Chinese cuisine because they harmonize opposite yin and yang qualities in three different ways: flavors (sweet and smokey), textures (crispy and mushy), colors (bright green and dark brown)" and I kind of agree with that. I used sweet peas instead of snow peas and added fried yellow tofu to add some meatiness to the dish. I really love this cookbook because it has a lot of great recipes that are not like the typical greasy Chinese food available at restaurants.

1 lb fresh sweet peas
1 lb fresh Shiitake mushrooms
1/2 package of fried yellow tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1-inch ginger, slice into fine shreds
4 green onions, cut into 1-inch sections
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons Shaoxing cooking wine
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sesame oil

  • Wash the sweet peas, snap off the tips and pull away the strings from each sides.
  • Clean the mushroom with damp cloth to remove any grit and dirt and cut in half
  • Combine the soy sauce, cooking wine, sugar, salt and sesame oil in a small bowl and set aside.
  • In a pot of boiling water, quickly blanch the sweet peas for 30 seconds and shock them in ice cold water to keep the bright green color.
  • Heat the oil in a saute pan until hot and then add in the mushroom and ginger slices, stir fry for 2 minutes.
  • Add the sauce and the tofu cubes and cook for another minute.
  • Add the blanched sweet peas and the green onion and stir fry for a couple more minutes.
  • Transfer to a serving dish.


This weekend I splurged on a few delicious goodies and skipped going to the gym (again!) I hope my food-craving trend does not continue on much longer because I'm freaking out thinking how much running I have to do to burn all these calories off so I can be prepared for the summer.

Kara's Cupcakes - Java, Fleur De Sel, Chocolate Velvet and Kara's Karrot cupcakes

Yum Yum Fish Sushi - Rainbow, Salmon Skin and Spicy Hamachi rolls and Unagi nigiri

and homemade Margaritas (thanks for the recipe, Liza!) – Yes, surprisingly enough I enjoyed drinking the Margaritas while having sushi or maybe I was already too sloshed up to care?

1.5 oz blue agave sweetener
2 oz sparkling water
4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
6 oz Tequila
0.5 oz Triple sSec

  • Pour all of the ingredients into a shaker.
  • Add a handful of ice cubes.
  • Shake vigorously.
  • Use the lime wedges to moisten tumbler glasses and coat with salt.
  • Pour the tequila mixture into the glass, add more ice cubes if necessary.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Chard and Feta Quiche

I made this Chard and Feta Quiche after getting tired of eating Roasted Leg of Lamb for both lunch and dinner for 3 days in a row. This recipe was similar to my other quiche recipes except that I used a couple bunched of rainbow chard and feta cheese. Since I used quite a bit of vegetables, I added one more egg and heavy cream and baked the whole thing in a deep gratin dish instead of a round pie dish.

We had a difficult time going back eating the lamb again after having this dish. It was a wonderful light(-ish compared to the lamb) dish to have with a side arugula salad and a glass of Pinot Gris because the weather was so nice last week. Now I need to figure out what to do with the rest of the roasted lamb meat.

1 frozen puff pastry sheet
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, cut into half and thinly sliced
2 bunches of Rainbow Chard, washed and roughly chopped
4 eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
Fresh ground pepper
Fresh ground nutmeg
1 package of feta cheese

  • Roll the puff pastry dough to fit the gratin dish and bake for 15 minutes at 400°F. After it's done, lower the oven temperature to 375°F and place the pie pan on a wire rack to cool.
  • Saute the onion and the chopped chard stem with olive oil over a medium heat for about 8 minutes or so until the onion is soft and starting to caramelize.
  • Add the chopped chard leaves, cook for 8 more minutes over a medium high heat until the liquid is evaporated.
  • Add a third of the cheese on the bottom of crust until it's all covered, top with the vegetable mixture and then cover with the remaining cheese.
  • Mix together the eggs with the heavy cream and season with freshly ground pepper and nutmeg.
  • Pour over the vegetable mixture and cheese.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes and cool on a wire rack for about 10-15 minutes before slicing.
Bookmark and  Share

Easter - Roast Leg of Lamb

For Easter this year, Porgy and I decided to have a mellow at-home dinner of Roasted Leg of Lamb that I got the day before from Little City Market in North Beach with some vegetables from the Farmers Market. The butcher at the market was nice enough to write down the direction how the lamb should be cooked (375 degree for 1 hour and 40 minutes) on the wrapping paper. I guess I would be that nice too if someone just spent $35 on a piece of meat. Well, this dish is better last for more than a couple of days.

3.5 lbs of boneless leg of lamb
3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons of finely chopped garlic
olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 onion, quartered
1 lb of fingerling potatoes, scrubbed clean
1 lb of baby carrots, scrubbed clean
0.5 lb of fresh Shiitake mushroom, sliced in half

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degree.
  • Mix the mustard, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper with a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl.
  • Rub the leg of lamb with the seasoning mix and let it sit for one hour at room temperature.
  • Put the lamb in a roasting pan and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Toss the potatoes, carrots and mushroom with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper and add in the vegetables into the pan.
  • Cook everything for another 30 minutes uncovered.
  • Cover the pan with the aluminum foil and cook for another 40 minutes.
  • Let the lamb meat rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Broccolini with Sausage and Shitake Mushroom

Here's a simple quick stir-fried vegetable dish that I made over the Easter weekend. It's delicious and healthy – just make sure to get young broccolini so it's not too tough or too stringy.

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1-inch ginger, finely chopped
1 lb broccolini
2 uncooked sausages
10 fresh Shiitake mushroom, destem and cut into slices
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine
2 tablespoons chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

  • In a large pan, quickly stir-fry the garlic, shallots and ginger with olive oil over a medium heat for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
  • Take the sausages out of the casing, crumble them into the pan and cook for 5 minutes until they are almost cooked.
  • Add in the sliced mushroom and cook for 3 more minutes.
  • And then add in the broccolini along with the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine and chicken broth.
  • Stir well, lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes or so until the broccolini is tender.
  • Adjust seasoning using salt and pepper.