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.