Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Newest Creations

I have been SUPER SUPER busy for the past...I don't know how many months. I had midterm and final exams to deal with at school and had visitors over. My inlaws visited first for two weeks and then my parents visited for two weeks two days after my inlaws left. I had only one day in between to rest and clean up the house a bit before my parents came. It was the most busiest time of my life. Unlike my husband and I, both parents eat everything with rice about three times a day with a variety of side dishes and, of course, meat. With that said, I had to cook bigger portions and many things while doing homework, cleaning in between, and caring for Jensen. I was sleep deprived and took care of 4 other people. We also spent most of the day going sight seeing and touring Hawaii. By the time we come home, I have a few hours of doing homework, cook, clean, and shower before we all head to sleep. I'm truly thankful for the times my husband grilled and took care of some of the chores. I'm SO SO lucky to have such a great man and husband in my life. Truly blessed!!

Anywho, I won't be posting up any recipes for what these dishes. Mainly because I didn't write down any recipes. They were all from the top of my head and from previous experiments. Happy to say that they all turned out DELICIOUS!! Had so much compliments that I will be making these dishes again in the future and, hopefully, remember to jot down the recipes.

This is steamed shark in banana leaves. I first sauteed onion and red and green bell pepers with salt. I also sprinkled salt and pepper onto the shark. I then spoon out a small portion of the onion and pepper mixture onto banana leaves, laid the shark meat on top, drizzle with soy sauce, topped off with a slice of lemon, wrapped it up like an envelope, and steamed it for about 10 minutes.

Baked Flounder
This is baked sweet flounder. I sprinkled salt and pepper on the flounder. Laid a bed of thinly sliced tomatoes, chopped green onions, and chopped cilantro on foil. Laid the flounders on top. Drizzle with dark sweet soy sauce. I added slices of zucchini and eggplant for decorations. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. **Remember to clean out the fish gills and wash the flounders before cooking.

Hmong Cabbage Rolls
Cabbage rolls with hot, spicy pepper sauce....yummm!!
These are cabbage rolls. They're just like eggrolls but with cabbage as a wrap and steamed so it's healthier. The stuffing is the same stuffing as with eggrolls but with less ingredients. I only used ground pork, crushed garlic, salt and pepper, noodles, onions, and eggs. No need to over flavor. Take a head of cabbage and cut out the core. In a big pot, bring water to a boil and drop the head of cabbage in it. The boiling water will soften up the cabbage and make it easier for the cabbage leaves to fall apart. Once they have all fallen apart, dish them out one by one and let them cool. Then start filling them up with the stuffing, roll them like eggrolls, and place them in a steamer. No need to seal them up with any extra ingredients. Steam for about 30 minutes. Served best with a hot, spicy pepper dip.
By the way, these are my husband's favorite and my mother always makes it for him.

Pineapple Glazed Duck
For Thanksgiving this year, we celebrated it early so that we can have it with my parents. Instead of turkey, we used duck. My parents haven't had duck for a long time so they bought a duck for me to cook for Thanksgiving. I decided to make a pineapple glaze in honor of my dad who fell in love with Hawaii's pineapples. I first made a salt and pepper mixture with minced ginger and I smeared that all over the duck; in betweent he skin and inside the duck. I then made a pineapple reduction using honey, brown sugar, and pineapple juice. I can't remember how long I cooked the duck for but it was at 400 degrees. I covered it with foil and then took the foil off, glazed the duck with the pineapple glaze, and baked it again for 20 minutes. The picture DOES NOT do it justice. It came out golden brown and glossy. DELICIOUS!!
 In honor of my mom passing her citizen's test (took it 3 times) and finally becoming a U.S. citizen, I made her a strawberry layered white cake with mango curd on top. Almost forgot to take a picture so I took one quickly, but that was after my husband already had starting cutting the cake so that's why there's cake slices on the cake. I made a traditional white cake and saved the yolks to make the mango curd. I used mango nectar for the mango color and flavor. For the strawberry filling, I just cooked down some strawberries with sugar in apple juice. For the cream, I made a butter frosting with shortening for that white color and added walnuts around the sides for decorations. I didn't want the frosting to be so sweet because my mother doesn't like very sweet desserts so it wasn't as sweet. However, the mango curd and strawberry filling balanced it out very well. I am now a huge fan of white cake only because I can make other things with the yolks. It was definitely a great cake and the combination was perfect. SUCCESS!!

This cake was made for my inalws to welcome them to our home and to the island. It is a cream cheese layered red velvet cake with marshmallow fondant. I've always heard about marshmallow fondant being a better choice than regular fondant so I decided to try it for myself. It was definitely better. Making fondant is really easy but time consuming. So making the marshmallow was easy also but very sticky. I made it two days ahead and it stored very well in the frigde. I made a basic red velvet with the basic cream cheese frosting which was my husband's favorite cake. I then cover the cake with a thin layer of cream cheese and covered that up with a thin layer of fondant. I smooth out the sides and trim off the excess. The writings on the cakes says "Mom and Dad". I was constantly being bothered by my son so I couldn't make it look better since my husband had left to pick up his parents. I did what I could and that was the best I could do. As long as it's readable then it's good enough. It was a delicious cake and one that my inlaws love because of the marshmallow fondant. It wasn't as sweet as other frostings. Another SUCCESS!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fried Pickles

Fried Pickles!!
Fried pickles or pickle chips are super delicious!! If you never had one, you need to try one. They are similar to Lay's Dill Pickle chips, but made with real pickles that has been dipped in batter and deep fried. I've been told that Hooter's fried pickles are also very good, but I've never been to Hooter's before so I don't know. Plan to go to Hooter's soon. So I was on a craving for fried pickles and decided to make some since I had a whole jar of pickles in the fridge. But what kind of batter do I want? Welll, I wanted a fried pickle that tasted light even though it's deep fried and I didn't want a thick coating of batter. Also, most importantly, it had to have the crispy crunch. So I started to experiment. I experimented with two types of batter; one with flour and water and the other one with rice flour and carbonated water (similar to a tempura batter). I then experimented with flouring the pickles first before dipping them into the batter. Here are the recipes for both types and conclusion for each: 
Flour Batter

½ cup flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ cup corn starch
¾ cup carbonated water
Pinch salt

Lay out pickles on paper towels and pat them dry. This will ensure that the batter sticks on. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Dip the dry pickles in the batter or you can leave them in the batter until ready to fry. Heat up oil to 350 degrees and fry the battered pickles until golden brown. Once golden brown, scoop out the pickles onto paper towels to catch all the excess oil and serve with ranch or any dipping sauce.

Fried pickles with a flour batter. Crunchy and pickley but also greasy.
Conclusion: The flour batter was the typical basic batter used for any deep frying. It gave it a nice crunch and you can definitely taste the pickle. However, I felt that the batter was a bit thick and it tasted greasy even though I blotted the pickles with paper towels. It wasn't the batter that I was looking for, but if you are okay with the basic flour batter then this recipe is for you.
Tempura Batter

½ cup rice flour
½ tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt *optional
½ cup carbonated water

Lay out pickles on paper towels and pat them dry. Again, this is to ensure that the batter sticks on. Mix all the ingredients together and dip the pickles in the batter. You can also leave the pickles in the batter (they won't absorb the batter so don't worry). Heat up the oil to 350 degrees and fry the pickles until they're golden brown. Scoop out pickles onto paper towels. Serve and eat with ranch or other dipping sauce. 

Fried pickles with tempura batter. I was able to eat more of these than with the flour batter because it tasted lighter.

Conclusion: This batter was my favorite! It was very crispy and very light. I didn't taste the extra grease or had the thick coating of batter. It tasted light and airy. The texture is a lot more dense than the flour batter and had a crispier crunch to it than the flour batter. I loved this batter!

Fried pickles with tempura batter
As you can see, there's a thin coating of batter around the pickles. In fact, in some pickles, I was able to see the seeds inside the pickles which meant that this was a thin coat of batter. My favorite thing about this recipe is that you can taste all the pickle flavor without tasting the greasiness and it's made with rice flour so it's not a heavy batter. This was definitely a win-win for me, but if you prefer a flour batter then the first recipe is for you.

My last experiment, I decided to flour the pickles instead of laying them out on paper towels and patting them dry. I wanted to find an easier way to have the batter stick on nicely and one common way was to dip the pickles in flour first. You can use either recipe above, but lightly coat the pickles in flour first before dipping them in the batter.

Conclusion: Flouring the picles first instead of laying them on paper towels was a lot easier. However, it concluded in a thick batter no matter which batter recipe I used. This also meant that it was a lot greasier and tasted a lot heavier. Although the process was easier, I am going to skip this step for future reference.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

White Wine Tri-Mushroom Risotto with Scallops

In August, my husband and I celebrated our 7 year wedding anniversary. Every year, we cook something special instead of going out to eat. Last year was a picnic at the beach. This year, I wanted to cook something at home. I decided to make risotto with seared scallops. My husband loves scallops, but we don't always get them. He's also never had risotto so I wanted him to try some without spending a fortune at a restaurant. I decided to make three mushroom risotta using mushroom stock and three different kinds of mushroom. Risotto is not hard to make, but it does take patience and time. You can't rush it or else it won't be risotto. Risotta is suppose to be creamy and rice is suppose to be soft, but not chewy. If it's chewy, it's not fully cooked. If' it's too soft, you cooked it too long. I've made risotta a few times, but my husband was deployed so he didn't get to taste it. I love mushrooms and thought the pairing of mushrooms with scallops will be great. If you don't have wine or don't want to add wine, then leave it out.

**I did not write down the recipe so I'm not accurate with the measurements or directions***


Made for 2:

4 scallops
1 cup arborio rice, uncooked
1 container of chicken stock
white wine, about 1/2 cup
2 Tbsp butter
half onion, diced
1 garlice clove, minced
olive oil
dried shiitake mushrooms and choice of 2 other kinds of mushroom (fresh)
**You don't need a lot of mushrooms for 2 people, so about 2-4 mushrooms each should be fine**
grated parmesean cheese
salt and pepper

First, heat up the container of chicken stock in a pot and bring it to a boil. There is a possibility that you might use up quite a bit of stock so heat up all the stock just in case. When it comes to a boil, turn off the heat and add in 2-3 dried shiitake mushrooms. Cover and let sit for about one hour. Now you have your mushroom stock. After an hour, take the shiitake mushrooms out and dice them up. Wash and dice the rest of the mushrooms too.

Next, heat up a sautee pan with olive oil. Add in the minced garlic and diced onions. Sweat the onions and then add in the aroborio rice. Sautee the arborio rice, stirring constantly, until grains are lightly toasted. Add salt and pepper. Once the grains are toasted, add in the white wine or a ladle of chicken stock if you're not using the wine. Cook on medium low and stir constantly. When the liquid begins to disappear, add another ladle of chicken stock and stir. Keep following these steps until the grains are cooked. This will take some time, but you want to keep stirring to prevent the rice from burning. This process will take about 30-45 minutes on medium low heat. Be sure to not over-cook your risotto or under cook your risotto. When risotto is cooked, add in some grated parmesean cheese, 1 Tbsp of roughly chopped tarragon, and butter. Stir. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
**If you're unsure of when the risotto is cooked, taste it**
Perfect risotto should have a creamy texture with perfectly done rice; not chewy, but soft grains.

Meanwhile, heat up the chicken stock that was used to rehydrate the shiitake mushrooms to medium heat. Make sure you take out all the shiitake mushrooms. Then prepare the scallops to be seared. Make sure they're dried (pat them down with paper towel). I bought frozen scallops from my supermarket so I had to pat them down quite a bit since I thawed them out, but if you have fresh ones then you won't need to pat them down too much.  Heat up a sautee pan and drizzle a little bit of olive oil just enough to lightly coat the pan. Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper one both sides and sear them in the pan making sure the pan is hot in the first place. The process of searing is to form a nice crust on the sides so you will need a hot pan for that. Sear the scallops for about 2-3 minutes on both sides or until it forms a nice golden color. Serve ontop of the mushroom risotto and garnish with some tarragon leaves. Voila`! 
White Wine Tri-Mushroom Risotto With Seared Scallops

For our 7 year anniversary, we celebrated it for that whole week. We went out and had a picnic at the beach. I made bacon caprese sandwiches: basil leaves, tomato, mozzarella, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and bacon sandwiched between two toasted bagels. With sides of watermelons, chips and dips, blueberry danishes for desserts. My husband never had a caprese before (I know...he never tried a lot of things before lols) and I wanted something easy to make and pack so caprese it was! You can substitute the bacon for turky or chicken...pretty much anything or go meatless. We had a great anniversary week and we ended it with a nice, home-cooked meal. Happy 7 Yr Anniversary, Hubby!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Seafood Curry Soup

Soup is a great dish for a cold or horrible weather. Well, in Hawaii, you think the weather is always beautiful, but we do have rainy days. Although it does not rain badly in Hawaii, we recently had a few rainy and windy days combined. So I wanted soup, but not just any ordinary soup. I wanted fish soup. Sadly, we didn't have any fish, but we did have some shrimp and lobster tails. The tails were suppose to be for a special occassion, but we can always stock up later. So I decided to make a seafood curry soup. I'm not a big fan of soup only because I haven't found a soup that I really love, but I am a big fan of curry noodle soup. This is almost the same, but without the noodles. If you love khaub poob or thai red curry noodle soup then you'll love this. Serve with toasted bread and voila`!! It's a hearty asian soup.

4 lobster tails, cooked
4 potatoes, peeled
1 eggplant
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, sliced
package of crab imitation, bite size pieces
1 1/2 tsp karee curry paste (yellow curry)
1/2 - 1 tsp panang curry paste (red curry)
2 star anise
6 cloves
3 lime leaves
3 medallion slices fresh ginger
2-3 bay leaves
2 Tbsp oil
1 can coconut milk
Mint leaves
Toasted bread

First thing first: Cooked the lobster tails. I like to steam my lobster tails, but you can boil it if you like. The way how I steamed them, they come out looking beautiful like the lobster tails you would see at restaurants. I make a cut on the shell all the way to the tail. Then I pull out the lobster meat and let it sit on the shell. I then take a knife and make cuts on the meat half way down. I open up the meat and I repeat that step, but you can stop there if you'd like.

It's almost like butterflying chicken breast except it's lobster tails. This will make for a pretty presentation. If you're not into presentation, feel free to just steam the lobster tails in its shell.

Steam or boil for about 10 minutes. It doesn't take long to cook lobster so time may vary. I steamed it for about 6 minutes. It plumped up and turned out very pleasing to the eye.

This method of steaming allowed me to easily seperate the lobster meat from the shell. Whichever method is up to you. In the end, you want some cooked, chopped lobster tail meat.

I love to dip toasted bread in my soup and let it get soak up the soup. Delicious!!

Slice up some baguettes, drizzle with olive oil, and toast it until it is golden brown. Serve it with the soup and voila`!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Basic Swiss Meringues

Basic swiss meringue with whipped cream and berries.
I am not one to waste ingredients especially when a recipes calls for egg yolks only. While I was making my basic creme brulee, the first thing that came to my mind to use up the egg whites were meringues. Meringues are a dessert or cookie that is made up of egg whites and sugar. It's light and airy as well as crispy. I love meringues and they are so easy to make. I only make them when I make my  basic creme brulee that way I don't waste any eggs. I usually make them in mini sizes with a piping bag because I like to snack on them plain than top them with fruits. It's good either way.

3 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
Whipped cream
(I have a berry sauce recipe also)

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.
**I did everything by hand just because I wanted an arm workout, but feel free to use a mixer**
Let the egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. This will make it easier to fluff it up. With a wire whisk, begin whisking the egg whites in a circular motion at the fastest speed of your arm. Add vanilla and cream of tartar and keep whisking until soft peaks form. Switch arms if you need to. Gradually add in the sugar a little at a time while whisking. Keep whisking in circular motion to incorporate air into the egg whites (air creates the soft peaks in the egg whites). Keep whisking until all the sugar is dissolved and stiff glossy peaks are formed. This will take a while depending on how fast you are whisking. Very good workout!

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop balls of the "cloud" onto the baking sheet. You can definitely pipe it if you want. It'll be prettier that way, but why waste piping bags. Using the back of a spoon, create a well in the center. Be sure all meringues are about the same size to ensure even cooking. This is where the whipped cream and the berries will sit. Bake the meringues on the middle rack for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours or until the meringes are set and dry. Turn off the oven and leave the meringes in the hot oven for about 1 hour. This will ensure any uneven cooking. Cool on wire racks. Fill the shells with whipped cream and fresh berries. I made a berry sauce which was perfect! I also made the whipped cream by hand.

Simple Berry Sauce
My simple berry sauce for everything and anything
6-7 strawberries
6-7 black berries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup water
Combine all the ingredients in a pan and bring it to boil. Simmer until liquid has reduced to half which can take up to 30 mins to 1 hour. Depends on how saucey you want your sauce to be. Let it cool before using.

Notice the bowl of heavy cream sitting ontop of another bowl
filled with ice. This keeps the cream cold and makes it easier
to rotate the bowl.
Hand-made Whipped Cream

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp sugar

Place a bowl on top of another bowl that's filled with ice. Pour the ingredients into the top bowl that's sitting on ice. With a wire whisk, start whisking as fast as you can while rotating the bowl to keep the cool temperature. Be sure to incorporate lots of air into the heavy cream. Keep whisking until the mixture looks like whipped cream and forms soft peaks.

For the whipped cream, I used the leftover heavy cream from making my basic creme brulee which was the perfect amount. I've whipped heavy cream before by hand in my culinary class before so I knew how long it was going to take. However, I've gotten a lot faster since then. If you have never made it by hand before, DO TRY. It's a great arm workout. It's all about incorporating air into the cream. You'll be amaze at how easy it is to make home-made whipped cream and you can customize your own.

Basic swiss meringues with whipped cream and fresh berries

I've made all kinds of meringues, but I didn't start taking pictures of my food until this year. Meringues are easy to change. You can add food colorings and different flavors. Just substitute the vanilla extract. Be creative with this simple dish. The new Twix Truffle candybars are made with meringues. That's what gave it it's light, crispy texture.

I purposely made the mistake of topping my whipped cream and meringue with my hot berry sauce. It was still hot and it started to melt my whipped cream. But I don't regret it. I couldn't wait for the berry sauce to cool down so I ate it warm. It was delicious!! The warm sauce melting the whipped cream and softening my meringue, it was heaven for me. Plus, I love messy food and I loved the way the sauce and the whipped cream formed a pool around my cloud of goodness!

I thought I show you all how I come up with recipes and how I write them down. This is why it's hard for me to keep track of them and have an accurate recipe. I do lots of testing and experiments so I have lots of recipes thrown away because they did not turn out quite as good. I write all my recipes on scrap papers. Mostly from papers that I've printed for my online classes so they're a little scrunch up. I've been very busy lately so I try to do my best to experiment and post up some recipes every month. This is a recipe I've written down while making it. The top part is a recipe for my tortilla rolls which I will post up soon. The bottom part, as you can see, is my simple berry sauce. This is one of my many many handwritten recipes. Also, I only write down recipes when I remember to.

This was one of the nicer looking recipes that I wrote down...
the other recipes were barely legible

Basic Creme Brulee

Basic vanilla creme brulee
I had my first creme brulee when I was in the 10th grade. It was a green tea creme brulee and I fell in love. Great smooth custard texture and the flavor of the green tea with the carmalized sugar on top was the perfect balance of sweetness. My favorite part of the creme brulee was breaking the carmalized sugar on top. But now I love to torch the sugar. My husband has never had or heard of creme brulee and I wanted to make it for him. It's soooo much cheaper to do than ordering it at a restaurant. It's really not hard or difficult to do. My husband enjoyed the creme brulee. I made him an almond creme brulee topped with whipped cream and fresh berries. He's not into sweets, but he really enjoyed this dessert mostly because he got to use the torch. The ingredients are very simple and easy. I divided the ingredient list into sections so that it's easier for you to go along with.

***Don't throw away the egg whites!!! Make basic swiss meringues instead!!***
3 egg yolks
2 Tbsp sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pot of boiling water (4 cups)


First, preheat the oven to 325 degrees then combine the cream and the 2 Tbsp of sugar into a saucepan over medium to low heat. Constantly stir the mixture to prevent cream from scorching. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn off heat and add in the vanilla extract.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolk and 2 Tbsp sugar together until sugar has dissolved.
HERE'S THE TRICKY PART: You are now going to temper the eggs (this means slowly mixing the egg mixture with the cream mixture without making scrambled eggs). Sounds difficult but it's not.
You are going to keep the bowl of the egg mixture on the table. Hold a whisk in one hand while you are holding the hot pot of cream mixture in the other.  With the hand whisk, start whisking slowly and then begin pouring a little bit of the cream mixture at a time.  DON'T STOP WHISKING. Pour a little bit more cream mixutre and keep whisking. Pour a bit more until you know for sure that the egg and cream mixture are about the same temperature. If you're unsure, just keep whisking and pouring until all the cream are mixed with the egg. However, be sure that all the mixture are poured back into the pan so that it keeps the warm temperature. So in the end of this process, all the mixture (egg and cream) should be in the pan in which the cream mixture was in.
 ***For the last step, it's best if you place the baking pan in the oven first with the ramekins so that you would not need to place it in the oven after adding the hot water which will prevent spills***
Place ramekins in a deep baking pan to prepare it for the water bath. Pour the mixture evenly into ramekins. Pour the boiling water around the ramekins MAKING SURE NONE OF THE WATER GETS INTO THE RAMEKINS. Fill the baking pan to about 1 inch deep or until the water is half way up the ramekins.
Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the center is set. Let it cool on the counter and then refrigerate it for about 4 hours. After 4 hours, sprinkle the top with an even layer of sugar and torch it. PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH THE TORCH. If you don't have a torch, you may use the broiler (read the bottom) or eat it without the sugar crust. If you like a thick crunchy layer of sugar on top, feel free to sprinkle a lot but I find that it's great without all that sweets.

Make sure the sugar is spread out evenly

Torch the sugar using a right-to-left hand gesture until sugar is carmalized

**Broiler: After chilling the creme brulee, let it stand on room temperature for about 20 minutes before putting it in the broiler. Then place the ramekins on a baking sheet and broil it about 8 inches from the heat for about 5-8 minutes or until sugar is carmalized. Refrigerate it for 2-3 hours until firm and eat.***

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pork Stir Fry

Stir fry is a quick and easy way to use up a lot of vegetables and spend less time in the kitchen. That's why I do a lot of stir fry. This is a simple and tasty recipe that I came up with to cook something quick and easy on a busy day. I marinated the night before and cooked everything all in one pot. How can you go wrong with stir fry? You can't!

Chopped pork
2 red bell peppers, cut in strips
12 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion
2 pork chops, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 -1/2 cup soy sauce

Combine everything together in one big bowl. If you're not sure about the soy sauce, go with 1/4 cup first. If it comes out where it's not enough soy sauce to your taste, you can always add more on your plate. This is just for the marinating process. Mix everything well and let it sit over night or for 1 hour in the fridge.

Heat up a wok to high. Add in the beef mixture with the marinade. Turn the heat to medium high and stir. You will have to stir quite a bit if the heat is on medium high. If you'd like stir less, turn the heat to medium or medim low, but this will take longer to cook. Continuing stirring until pork is cooked all the way through. Lower the heat to medium low, if not already on medium low, and cook for an additional 30-40 minutes. Top with cilantro or just eat it as is with a bowl of rice.

Spicy Noodle Salad

Spicy noodle salad is amazing in the summer time. With my busy life schedule, I wanted something simple and refreshing to eat that will not required me to spend too much time in the kitchen or away from my school and son. My pantry is always stocked with noodles and my frigde is always stocked with peppers. This is a dish that I haven't made in a long time because my husband can't handle the heat as much as I do. However, since I was craving it so bad, I made it with less chilis. If you don't like shrimp and you're not a big fan of seafood, you can add shredded chicken or cold beef. I've done this recipe before with steamed pork which I prefer more than shrimp. You can find the steamed pork at any asian stores. I've also made this dish with fish balls which my husband prefers better than shrimp. They are all GREAT with this recipe. However, at the time, I only had shrimp which was still very tasty.

14 cooked shrimps
3 red Thai chili peppers, minced
1 tsp vinegar
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup water
Vermicelli noodles
cilantro, minced *optional*

Boiled the noodles as directed or boil the noodles until they're cooked as to how you like it. Once cooked, drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside and start the spicy dressing.

Combing all the ingredients together except the shrimps. Mix until the sugar has dissolved.

Single Servings:
Grab some noodles and place them in a bowl, add some shrimps on top, and add some spoonfuls of the spicy dressing. Add chopped cilantro, toss, and eat.

Big Servings: *Add as much noodles as you like, but you want to make sure that there's enough dressings to coat all the noodles*
Toss noodles, dressings, and shrimps all into one big bowl. Add chopped cilantro and serve!

*I find that it tastes best right after you mix it*

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fried Sesame Balls/Jin Dui

Finished fried sesame balls with red bean paste
Deep fried, chewy, and sweet...who doesn't love that combination! Fried sesame balls...my number one favorite. As a child, my mom would make these stuffed with mung beans (I don't like mung beans) and I would always throw away the stuffing. I love how it's chewy and has a thin crust on the outside. This is a little greasy, especially when you save it for later, but it's delicious! I love mines stuffed with red bean paste. Red bean paste is a little bit sweet, but goes great with the rice dough. The dough is made up of glutinous rice flour, rice flour, and tapioca flour. Very simple and easy to make. I can snack on these all day. I never knew what these were called, but found out that they are a chinese snack called Jin Dui. Living in Hawaii, I found them at a Zippy's/Napolean Bakery restaurant and was so excited to know that I don't always have to make them myself when I'm craving for them. Thank you Hawaii!!

I am currently coming up with different fillings so I will post up the main recipe along with the fillings once I'm done.
Before they were deep fried....filled with red bean paste

Pancakes with Preserved Duck Eggs

Breakfast is an essential meal to start they day off. For me, I'd rather have breakfast all day every day. I love breakfast. My favorites of breakfast meals have to be cereal, pancakes, waffles, eggs, bacon, and french toast. I don't really care for oatmeal, fruits, or coffee much. I want a hearty breakfast and I usually eat my pancakes and waffles with a little syrup. Not into so much sweets. This is my take on East meets West for breakfast. I decided to make pancakes with preserved duck eggs. Something a little sweet with something a little savory that will be both be fulfilling.

In China, preserved duck eggs or 1,000 year old eggs/century eggs are very popular as a snack or eaten with porridge for breakfast. I've always heard of preserved duck eggs and always seen them in boxes at the asian markets, but never wanted to actually spend the money to buy them (incase if they didn't taste good). A few years ago, our nice neighbor gave us our first preserved ducks eggs (our neighbors were chinese). He told us to dip it in a little vinegar and eat it just like that. We did it and it was actually pretty good. The smell was horrible, of course, and looking at it didn't make things better. BUT...I am a big foodie and I'm willing to try something different and so I did. TASTES LIKE EGGS!...plus the creamy, black egg yolk texture that 1,000 year old eggs have.

The outside part that would've been the egg whites where a bit tougher than normal boiled eggs and the yolk was a lot softer and creamier. However, if you close your eyes and don't breath it in, the taste is just like boiled eggs. My husband actually liked it a lot so we started buying them. The good thing about these eggs is that it's so easy to peel. I've added this to rice porridge, noodle soups, and stir fry. I'm not a big fan of porridge in the morning (I prefer porridge in mid day so I can have the patience for it to cook) so I decided to add it to pancakes. I ate it without syrup and it was just like eating pancakes with a side of scrambled eggs (it definitely smelled like it). My husband now preferes eating preserved duck eggs with pancakes and I do too.
Yes, it looks disgusting. It looks moldy and rotten and smells horrible. From this view, you're probably feeling sick to your stomach. Looks are decieving!! For those of you who have tried it before....GOOD FOR YOU!! For those of you who likes them...GOOD FOR YOU!! This is a must try...and if you don't like it then at least you can say you've tried it. The yolk actually tastes like scrambled eggs, but it has a creamy custard-like texture. That's my favorite part. I don't really like boiled eggs and if I have to eat it, I'll only eat the yolk part so, of course, I prefer the yolk part for preserved duck eggs too.

 Pancakes with Preserved Duck

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup whole milk
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 egg
1 Tbsp oil
3 Preserved Duck Eggs

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt with the milk and melted butter. Use a wire whisk and whisk the batter until little lumps are left. Then add the egg and oil. Mix with the wire whisk until there are barely any lumps.

Meanwhile, peel the preserved duck eggs. The shells should come off very easily. Then sliced them lengthwise. You can slice them very thin (if you can) or thick (if you really like them). Heat up the skillet and ladle a spoonful of the pancake batter onto the skillet. Add a few slices of preserved eggs. Flip the pancake with the bubbles form on the top. Serve while it's still hot.

Pancake with preserved duck eggs before flipping

Finished pancake with preserved duck eggs

I decided to make faces just for fun.

This one looks like Po from Kungfu Panda!

The Dragon Warrior!! haha
I ran out of preserved duck eggs and still had pancake batter left so I added some semi-chocolate chips and shredded coconut.
Preserved duck egg pancakes and chocolate chip coconut pancakes

Everything in this picture was delicious!
**If you're not a big fan of preserved eggs then diced them up and mix them in the batter. You can also lay a few slices of the preserved egg on the skillet to get a nice crust around the edges and then ladle a spoonful of pancake batter over the eggs. I find that forming a crust around the egg on the skillet makes them taste and smell like scrambled eggs.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chow Fun Stir Fry

Stir fry is the easiest dish to make. It's basically chopped up vegetables and meat with a sauce. Add noodles and it's a one pot wonder. I love stir fry noodles on a lazy day where I don't want to cook something big or spend too much time in the kitchen. Everyone who knows me knows that I love noodles. Today I made chow fun stir fry. It's basically stir fry with chow fun noodles. Chow fun noodles are basically rice noodles, but wider and a little bit thicker than regular rice noodles. Because of it's wideness and thickness, it's also a bit chewier than the regular rice noodles. However, chow fun is a noodle that everyone should at least try. It's sold in many asian markets. It comes dried or fresh.

Chow Fun Stir Fry
1 pkg fresh chow fun noodles (1 package contains 2 bags of fresh chow fun noodles)
1 cup chopped pork (amount is really up to you)
1 onion, sliced lengthwise
1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and cut in strips
2-3 stalks green onions, chopped
2 handfuls of mushrooms (amount is really up to you)
3 Tbsp dark sweet soy sauce
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce (if you really like hoisin sauce, add 3 Tbsp)
pinch of salt
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 - 1 cup water

**Can't find fresh chow fun? Use the dry ones but soak them ahead of time in hot water, drain, and then cook.**

 Heat up a wok or pan to medium heat and add the oil, garlic, and pork. Add a pinch of salt and cook. Cook the pork until it's fully cooked and add in the onions and mushrooms. Cook the onions and mushroom for about 3 minutes and then add in the rell bell peppers. Stir constantly if using a hot wok to prevent burning. Add the sweet soy sauce and hoisin sauce. Add in the chow fun noodles and 1/2 cup of water. Stir as much as you can to mix all the sauces with the noodles. If you like it more saucy then add the other 1/2 cup. Continue to stir until all the noodles are covered in the sauces. Add more salt to taste. Turn off the heat and add the green onions. Serve.

Cooking with a wok is really hard work. The wok heats up evenly and gets really hot quickly. The key is to constantly keep stirring to prevent burning. My arms were so sore after making this dish, but it was all worth it. I was short so I was on my tippy toes too.

This is a really simple dish. You don't even have to add meat. Substitute pork for chicken, beef, or just eggs. Add more vegetables if you like. Try with zucchini and eggplant. I added sriracha to my bowl and it was delish!
This is such a beautiful looking dish! This would be a great dish for Christmas because it has the Christmas color themes. Last year, instead of going with the traditional Christmas dishes, I went with dishes that has the Christmas colors; red and green. I think this dish will be on the Christmas menu this year.

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