Friday, November 5, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ah... Seems like I haven't touched this in awhile ><. Well, it's because I have been busy with mainly school and a food club I started in my tiny apartment. Usually, I would be updating, but even I don't have time for that.

Anyways... Last week, my club made pumpkin desserts, and I thought to share with my readers (if any are left) my cheesecake recipe.

This cheesecake is not an ordinary cheesecake. It is extremely light, airy, and fluffy.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients for Filling
4 slabs of Cream Cheese (room temperature)
3 egg whites
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup Milk or Cream (depends on how healthy you want to be)
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Pumpkin Puree
2 teaspoons Ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Allspice
1 teaspoon Ground ginger
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Ingredients for Crust
1 package of Graham crackers
1 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Allspice
½ tsp Ground ginger
1 tbs Dark brown sugar
3/4 stick butter (room temperature)

Prep work Crust
1. Preheat oven 325F
2. Make sure butter is softened
3. Crush graham crackers coarsely
4. Line Bottom of springform pan with parchment paper
5. Mix all the dry ingredients together
6. Add dry ingredients and butter on the bottom of the pan evenly
to form the crust
7. Prepare a large and deep dish for a water bath by filling it with
8. Line bottom of the springform pan

Prep work Filling
1. Beat egg whites until soft peaks
2. In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, add the cream cheese
and whip on low speed for 3 minutes
3. Add egg yolks, milk, sugar and mix for 1 minute until everything
evenly incorporated in the mix
4. Slowly add the flour, allspice, ground ginger while mixing on low
5. Add vanilla extract and pumpkin puree and mix for about 2
minutes or until evenly incorporated. (Don’t forget to scrap the
edges of the bowl while your mixing).
6. Gently fold in egg whites.
7. Gently zig zag pour the batter into the springform pan.
8. Place pan in the water bath
9. Stick the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour
30 minutes.
10. Allow the cheesecake to sit in the oven for 30 minutes before
putting it in the fridge.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

La Vecchia Cucina: A review

My food club ventured out to Santa Monica for DineLA for our weekly meeting on Fridays. It was decided by vote that we would go to La Vecchia Cucina. The menu looked great on the DineLA website! Seafood, lobster, filet mignon, and tiramisu ... what's not to like about this restaurant.

The restaurant contains an open kitchen, where you can see Chef Mollica working away at his dishes and managing his staff. With a dark lit environment, large bar space, and many tables, La Vecchia is a great place for a social gathering. Everyone in the restaurant was happily chatting loudly, sipping on wine and cocktails.

The wine list is quite extensive, ranging from California wines from Nappa Valley to Italy. Because most of the dishes were seafood, the waiter recommended a bottle of 2008 Salviano Orvieto Classico (a white wine).

As for the food, our group ordered everything from the DineLA menu so that we can sample each dish.

The appetizers were perhaps one of the best dishes of the evening. The chef utilized one of the freshest mozzarella and tomatoes for a salad that I've ever tasted. In addition, balsamic vinegar that accompanied the salad was especially fragrant and tasteful. As for the seafood salad, consisting of calamari, lobster, shrimp, and green beans with a lemon dressing, it amazed my taste buds with a perfect amount of acidity and oil. The last appetizer on the menu was a spinach ravioli with pomodoro sauce. The ravioli was pretty decent and well seasoned, while the pomodoro sauce's texture and sweetness provided uniqueness to the dish.

Unfortunately, the entrees were not as exciting and tasteful as the appetizers. The three choices were lobster and asparagus pasta tossed in light white wine pomodoro sauce, sea bass with lemon oil herb sauce, and lastly, filet mignon with a port wine reduction sauce.

I'll start with the lobster pasta. This is perhaps on par with the pasta I ate at Covel Dining Hall... too salty and some of the pasta was undercooked. In addition, the pomodoro sauce was definitely not like the pomodoro sauce I tasted from the appetizers. Furthermore, parts of the asparagus were unpeeled, thus leaving a horrible texture in my mouth. The only thing I can find right about the dish was the lobster tail and other lobster bits. Unfortunately, I do not return dishes to the kitchen because that would be wasteful, but if I was Gordon Ramsey, I would have spat it out and lobbed the dish into the open kitchen's trash.

On the other hand, the sea bass was mediocre. One of my friends had to send it back to the kitchen after an initial bite and trade it for filet mignon. The reason? The sea bass was overcooked and the sauce had enough acidity to put in a hole in your tongue. Aside from that mishap, the sauce had a nice herby flavor and the mashed potatoes and spinach were quite delicious, but those are only side dishes and not the main attraction.

Lastly, the filet mignon. Is there anything that can go wrong with this dish? The other two were already two strikes. The third one means its out. Unfortunately, the filet mignon was a home run. Perhaps one of the best steaks I've ever tasted. The outside was nicely seared, leaving the inside medium rare. The port wine reduction sauce was an additional key to making this dish successful. The flavors were sweet, savory, and brilliant. I later asked the chef for the recipe. The key is in the homemade veal stock.

Now onto the desserts. Who doesn't like desserts? I guess no one dislikes desserts. The restaurant offered tiramisu, an espresso shot with vanilla gelato, and molten cake. I will skip the vanilla gelato and espresso shot because, well, it tasted like how it would sound ... pretty normal. The tiramisu was not too sweet and the coco powder did not overpower the overall cake. The lady fingers and mascarpone cream tasted like I was eating clouds. The chocolate molten cake was also brilliant. The hot cake had a perfect level of sweetness and provided a texture to die for.

Overall, I would give this restaurant a 6.5 / 10, where 10 is a 3 Michelin star restaurant, 5 as some place like the Cheesecake Factory, and 1 as a sushi place with fish that has gone rancid.

Unfortunately, no one brought a camera :(. No pictures : (

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Steak with Pomegranate Sauce

Guess what everyone?? Classes have started, and damn, is everything busy these days. On the other hand, I have unofficially started a club called Food at UCLA. Check out the blog: So far, I'm trying to keep the number of members down because my apartment is sooo small. Until the club can be an official club, it will be limited to 20 members :(.

To celebrate classes, I have made steak with pomegranate sauce. I never knew pomegranate can be used for so many things. It goes so well with the steak by bringing out the flavor of the meat through the sweet and sour taste.

Before I start, people have been asking me how I can tell how done my steak is. Well, I tell them to poke it. If it is very squishy like a sponge, then it is still raw and probably cold on the inside. If it is like the feeling of poking your cheeks, then it should be medium rare to medium. If it is like pushing into a thing of clay, your steak is definitely well done or overcooked. It is all based on experience.

Wine pairing: This goes well with a Syrah

Steak with Pomegranate Sauce

1 lb Ribeye steak
1 cup Pomegranate juice like POM
1/2 Orange
2 tbs White sugar
1/4 cup Golden brown sugar
2 Shallots
1 Bay leaf
1 tsp Orange zest

Prep and Cooking the sauce
1. Slice the shallots thinly
2. Bring pomegranate juice to a boil
3. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 orange into the pomegranate juice
4. Add both sugars into the pan and stir around making sure the bottom doesn't burn
5. Add bay leaf, shallots, and orange zest into the pan
6.Stir until reduced in half.

Cooking the steak
1. Heat a oil in a pan on high heat
2. Sear steak on both sides for 30 seconds each side
3. Turn over and turn heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 4 minutes
4. Turn over, cover, and cook for 4 minutes
5. It should be about medium to medium-rare, so take the steak and slice it into strips
6. Plate and drizzle sauce over the steak strips.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rib-eye Steak with Cheese Butter and Walla Walla Onion Rings

I have returned to America to find rib-eye on sale at Ralphs. Oh boy, I miss a big ole American steak. My recent trip to Taiwan has lacked a huge juicy steak. I've only had petite sized sirloins from Australia. Though I have to say, Australian beef is quite delicious.

To my surprise, I had two issues of bon appetit magazine welcoming me back from Taiwan. The front page of the September issue had a rib-eye steak with blue cheese, which sounds so amazing and fatty goodness. Also, this recipe had onion rings, which are one of my favorite food items.

Blue cheese has always been to mysterious. It has a crumbly texture and sharp taste that makes people like it or not.

Rib-eye Steak with Cheese Butter and Walla Walla Onion Rings
Courtesy of Bon Appetit Magazine September 2010

for the steak and blue cheese butter
1 lb Rib-eye steak
1 tbs Garlic powder
1 tbs Thyme powder
1 tbs Salt
1 tbs Ground pepper
3 tbs Unsalted butter
3 tbs Blue cheese
1 tbs Paprika

Prep work
1. Let butter and cheese set at room temperature
2. Mix the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and thyme powder.
3. Lightly sprinkle the mixture on both sides of the steak.
4. Mix the blue cheese and butter with the paprika.

Walla Walla Onion Rings

1 large Sweet onion
1 cup Cake flour
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
3/4 bottle Beer, about 3/4 cup (I used Blue Moon)
2 tbs Vodka

Prep work
1. Mix the cake flour, salt, and baking powder.
2. Add the vodka and beer and mix until pancake batter consistency. (add more beer if too thick).
3. Let the batter sit in the fridge up to a day.
4. Cut the onion into thick slices.
5. Dip the onion rings into the batter.

You can multi-task and cook both at the same time. Start on the steak first, then after 2 minutes you can start on the onion rings too.

the beef
1. Heat up the pan and add oil of choice
2. Sear both sides of the steak for 30 seconds each.
3. Turn on medium-low and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side for medium rare.
4. Put a tablespoon of the butter cheese on top of the steak and allow it to melt.

Cooking the onion rings
1. Heat up a lot of oil.
2. Shake off excess batter.
3. Gently drop the onion rings into the oil.
4. Fry until golden.
5. Place paper towels on a plate to soak up the oil.

Enjoy. The onion rings taste so good like tempura onions. The steak is also delicious with buttery cheesy goodness. School is in session!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Taiwan Culinary Exhibition 2010 - Day 1

Hello my readers! I am in Taiwan at the right time! This weekend is the Taiwan Culinary Exhibition at the Taiwan World Trade Center Exhibition hall 1. This exhibition features great talent from all over Taiwan. Personally, I believe that you can't find such skill back in the states.

I will be more to update when I have more time and internet ^_^.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Flaming B-52

Seems like I have been slacking on posting on this blog... I think summer has gotten to me and made me become lazy as hell. Oh well xD. On the other hand ... I'm going to Taiwan for a month and will be taking lots of food pictures and learning from great masters how to make Taiwanese goods.

Anyways... from my drink collection, my housemate, Victoria, and I have been experimenting with various types of mix drinks like bartenders. Today, I decided to be daring and play around with my blowtorch and lite my drink on fire.

Flaming B-52

.5 oz Coffee Liqueur
.5 oz Irish cream
.5 oz Grand Marnier (or Whiskey if you don't have Grand Marnier)
1 Shot glass

1. Carefully pour the coffee liqueur first, then the cream, then the Grand Marnier.
2. Take your blowtorch and go kaboom on the shot glass.

*I should have mentioned this to those dumbasses out there.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

21st Birthday

Now I am 21. My birthday was 3 days ago.

No big deal. I can buy alcohol to drink and cook with instead of asking my friends. I'm trying to figure out what I can make with all these bottles I got. It was also my housemate's birthday. She has the same birthday as me, so yea we got various types of alcohol as you see in the picture below ^_^.

List: Bacardi, Jack Daniels, Patrone, Kahlua, Malibu Mango flavor, Honeymoon

My favorite is still Honeymoon (Blue Moon summer edition).

Gneral Tso's Chicken (左宗棠雞)

Summer is still in progress ... Looks like I haven't been posting on this in awhile. I've been quite busy now that Starcraft 2 is released. Time to get my Asianfied gaming face on. Meanwhile, I still got to eat.

What does a typical gamer eat? I dunno ... cup noodle? Yea... I have been eating some Shin ramen on some days. On the other hand, I been making a lot of Chinese/Taiwanese foods. Right now I'm experimenting how to make the perfect meat bun (肉包). I find it quite difficult to make the dough properly unless there is the perfect temperature, but it has been too cold recently that the dough won't rise properly.

Anyways that is for another blog post.

On to the main topic.... I made some general tso's chicken because it is a popular dish in America. The origin of this dish is disputed. Some chef in Taiwan claimed he invented it, while other chefs in America claim so too.

General Tso's Chicken (左宗棠雞)

2 Chicken breasts
2 eggs
Corn Starch
1 tbs Brown sugar
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs Rice wine
3 tbs Soy sauce
1 tsp Ginger
2 Garlic cloves
1 Dry chili
1 Green onion

Prep work of Chinese American hybrid dish
1. Take about 1/2 inch ginger and slice
2. Smash garlic and peel
3. Slice green onion
3. Beat eggs
4. Mix wine, soy sauce, sugar, and 1 tsp corn starch together for the sauce
5. Dry chicken with paper towel
6. Cut chicken into bite size pieces
7. Dump enough corn starch to coat each chicken piece

1. Heat up pan and about 3 tbs of oil
2. Add chicken and fry until crispy (about 3 minutes)
3. Add garlic, chili pepper, and ginger and cook for 2 minutes
4. Add Sauce mix and let it reduce and coat the chicken pieces (2 minutes)
5. Add green onions for garnish

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Braised Daikon and Carrots

Here I go on another food adventure...

In the middle of the forest of vegetables in the country of Ralphs, I found a foreign plant that I have never handled before: the DAIKON RADISH! Though I know it was the middle of a mild summer, I was craving for them. I could not wait for winter to harvest these white roots*. I hurried to Ralphs' border and paid off the customs fees at the automated self-checkout for my flight back home.

*Note: Daikons are in season and sweetest in the winter or in colder weather. They will be slightly bitter out of season, but for this dish, the bitterness is eliminated by the sweetness of miso and soy sauce.

Braised Daikon and Carrots

1 Daikon radish
4 Organic carrots
3/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Soy sauce
1/4 cup Rice wine
1 tsp Rice vinegar
1 tbs White miso paste
1 tbs Rock sugar (about big enough to fit in a tablespoon)
Dash sesame oil

Prepwork of slashing vegetation
1. Peel daikon and carrots
2. Chop them into wedge chunks
3. Mix soy sauce, rice wine, and water together

1. Heat canola oil in a pot
2. Throw in daikon and carrots to brown, occasionally stirring (5-7 minutes)
3. Add in soy sauce mixture.
4. Wait until the mixture begins to boil and throw in rock sugar.
5. Stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
6. Add in miso paste, rice vinegar, and stir.
7. Turn heat on low to simmer.
8. Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until daikon is soft and the flavor has seeped in.
9. Finish by drizzling a little sesame oil on top.

Yea... this is my first time using daikon radishes in a dish. I see my aunts and parents make daikon radishes and carrots all the time with beef or some sort of meat. I guess I decided to be healthy today and leave out the meat.

Hong Kong Style Swiss Wings (瑞士雞翼)

At work, I was looking at different styles of Chinese cuisine and stumbled upon Swiss chicken wings. That has to be one of the weirdest names for a Chinese dish. Apparently, as rumors say, the name came from a Westerner interpreting "sweet chicken" as "Swiss chicken" from waiter/waitress at a restaurant in Hong Kong; thus the name stuck.

This style of chicken is one thing that I miss from Hong Kong. It is so delicious with a sweet aroma and hint of spiciness that dances on your tongue.

Hong Kong Style Swiss Wings (瑞士雞翼)

2-3 lbs Wings
1/2 cup Soy sauce
1 cup Water
5 Star anise
2 Red chili peppers
1 tbs Rice wine
2 tbs Rock sugar (about 1 1/2 inch diameter spherical chunk of rock)
3 Green onions
1 inch Ginger piece
Sesame oil
White pepper

1. Wash and pat dry wings
2. Remove wings from drumlets
3. Season with a little white pepper
4. Mix chicken with rice wine
5. Let the chicken marinate for 10 minutes
6. Slice ginger into 4 parts
7. Mix soy sauce and water

1. Heat up canola oil in a pot
2. Toss in chicken and lightly brown the skin of the chicken (about 5 minutes)
3. Add in ginger, break red chili peppers, and star anise into the pan and stir around for a minute or until slight aroma comes out
4. Add soy sauce mixture and rock sugar
5. Wait until the liquid boils and the rock sugar dissolves
6. Turn down heat to simmer, add in green onions and a dash of sesame oil on the wings.
7. Cover and cook for 30-45 minutes on low heat. (if the liquid does not fully cover the wings, remember to turn the wings over every 10 minutes)

You can store this overnight and reheat it on the stove again for even greater flavor.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup (牛肉麵 niu rou mian)

The other day, I was having a huge craving for Taiwanese beef noodle soup after I ordered a ticket for Taiwan, where I will be in August. With that being said, will anyone be in Taiwan August through September that wants to go eat yummies with me?

For my beef noodle soup, it takes quite a lot of time to make because I love lots of beef flavor from beef marrow bones and beef itself. The main component of this dish is beef shank, which gives the soup a meaty flavor and also it has a lot of meat. It's cheap and is only $2.49 per pound. You can ask the butcher at Whole Foods or at 99 Ranch for this cut of meat.

The bones were obtained at Whole Foods and can be found in the frozen meat section. I only trust Whole Foods for marrow bones and maybe Ralphs too because I had a horrible experience with the bones from 99 Ranch.

Taiwanese Beef Noodles Soup (牛肉麵 niu rou mian)

2 lbs Beef shank
1 lb Stew beef
2 lbs Beef marrow bones
2 tbs Chili bean paste (find in Asian markets)
3 cloves Garlic
2 large Onion (I used Maui Hawaiian onions from Trader Joes)
2 Roma Tomatoes
2 Organic carrots
1 inch Ginger
1/2 cup Soy sauce
1/4 cup Rice wine
1/4 cup Brown sugar
3 Star anise
1 tbs Rock sugar
Green onions
Baby bok choy

Prep work for the stock
1. Slice 1 onion in half
2. Slice 1/2 inch ginger and smash it with the blade of the knife
3. Heat oven for 400F.
4. Pat Bones dry and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until bones are brown.
5. Put bones, onion, ginger, and stew beef in a 6 Quart stock pot and fill up the pot almost to the top with water.
6. Bring to a boil and reduce heat.
7. Simmer the water for 5 hours covered.
8. Strain the stock and pick out the stew beef.
9. Chill until fat solidifies and remove the fat (I used the fat to brown the beef shank)

Prep work for the beef noodle soup
1. Peel and slice the carrots into three parts
2. Cut the tomatoes into quarters
3. Take the other 1/2 inch of the ginger and smash with the blade of the knife
4. Smash garlic and peel the skin off
5. Boil water in a large pot.
6. Throw in beef shank until it looks like the surface of the beef has been cooked (2-3 minutes)

1. Heat up a large pot so that it can support the whole beef shank.
2. Put in beef lard from the stock or 2 tbs of oil in the pot.
3. Brown the sides of the beef shank 2-3 minutes)
4. Add in brown sugar and chili bean paste to coat the beef shank and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
5. Add ginger, star anise, and garlic and stir around the beef shank and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
6. Add the rice wine and cover for 3-5 minutes.
7. Add the hot stock, including the stew beef, soy sauce, rock sugar, carrots, 1 onion, and tomatoes.
8. Simmer covered for 4-5 hours on low heat.
9. Taste the soup. It should be relatively spicy and sweet with a hint of soy flavor. If it is too salty, add a little more water. Not enough flavor, add a little bit of salt.
10. Take out the large beef shank
11. Wait until it cools then slice it into thin pieces. (These pieces can also be used for cold appetizer with greens onions, soy sauce, and sesame oil)
12. Cook some Asian wheat noodles or udon noodles according to instructions.
13. Cook baby bok choy in water.
14. Finely chop the green onion
15. Put noodles in a bowl and spoon soup into it.
16. Add slices of beef and the green onions.

I haven't had good beef noodle soup in awhile. I guess this will be my Taiwanese treat in America before I venture into Taiwan.

Also, one of the blogs I follow, Tasty Eats at Home, is giving away coconut oil. I hope I win it. Time to do lots of experimentation with this oil xD.

Taiwanese Braised Pork (滷肉)

This summer, I guess I am on a trend of making Chinese/Taiwanese food. Sometimes it is great to go back and cook food that is my culture, such as going back to play the original Starcraft for several hours. Not to mention, the food is beyond delicious.

When I am in Taiwan, braise pork (滷肉: lu rou) is found in many households and also severed in many lunchboxes. It is quite simple to make in a large quantity enough to last you for several years like how instant ramen can last an engineer for his 4-5 years as an undergrad.

Taiwanese Braised Pork (滷肉)

1 lb Ground pork
5 Shittake mushrooms
1/2 inch Ginger
2 Green onions
4 cloves Garlic
1/3 cup Fried shallots
1 tbs Rock sugar
1 tbs Dark brown sugar
1/3 cup Rice wine
1/2 cup Soy sauce
1 cup Water
1 tsp Asian five spice powder

Prep work of mass cutting
1. Dice garlic.
2. Dice mushrooms
3. Slice ginger into three pieces
4. Slice green onion stalks into 1 inch pieces

Cooking to make your apartment smell
1. Heat a pot with a little bit of oil.
2. Toss in the garlic, ginger, and ground pork.
3. Stir the meat until all sides look like it is about half cooked.
4. Add in fried shallots, five spice powder, and brown sugar and mix well to incorporate evenly
5. Cook for additional 1-2 minutes.
6. Add in the rest of the liquid components and rock sugar, and stir well.
7. Add enough water to cover the meat (should be about 1 cup or more).
8. Cook covered for 1-2 hours.
9. Taste to see if it is flavorful, add more soy sauce if there isn't enough flavor and more water if it is too salty.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rootbeer Baked Beans

For July 4th, there has to be sides for the BBQ. What is a BBQ without sides? It'll just be a giant meat fest that is unbalanced and super unhealthy for you (not saying that the sides are any healthier xD). I guess it'll be a balance of flavors.

Root Beer Baked Beans

6 slices Applewood-smoked bacon
2 1/2 cups Chopped onions
2 Garlic cloves
4 15 oz cans Cannellini (white kidney beans)
1 bottle Root beer (12 oz) or (1 1/2 cups) (I use Trader Joes brand)
3 tbs Rice vinegar
3 tbs Molasses
1 can Tomato paste
2 tbs Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp Chili powder
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven 400F.
2. Cook bacon in a large pot until crispy.
3. Remove bacon and add to paper towel to dry fat.
4. Add onions and cook until translucent.
5. Add garlic and cook for another 1 minute.
6. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.
7. Chop the bacon and add to the pot.
8. Stir occasionally until boil.
9. Bake uncovered until it thickens.

Enjoy this with meaty goodness.

All Purpose BBQ Sauce

I just love this BBQ sauce. I use it for everything from burgers to hotdogs to chicken to dipping my fries in it. For your next BBQ, you should add this sauce to your ingredients for marinating meat or a condiment.

All Purpose BBQ Sauce


1/2 cup Ketchup
2 tbs Molasses
2 tbs Brown sugar
1 tbs Cider vinegar
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs Soy sauce
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Liquid smoke
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Onion powder
1/2 cup Dark beer (like Blue Moon)

1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl
2. Put the mix in a saucepan and bring to a boil and stir occasionally.
3. Turn down the heat and simmer to reduce down to a about a cup or until sauce thick-like consistency.
4. Chill and store for up to a week.

Beef Ribs with Chipotle Cheery BBQ Sauce

I was reading through Bon Appetite magazine and saw a recipe for Dinosaur Bones with Chipotle-Cherry Barbecue Sauce and decided that this dish would be an excellent addition for my July 4th BBQ. What is a BBQ without something with BBQ sauce and of course ribs. I made a few changes to the Bon Appetite recipe because GOD DAMN the one they had is super spicy and unbalanced, sorry for whoever wrote that recipe.

Chipotle-Cheery Barbecue Sauce adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine July 2010

1 cup ketchup
3/4 cup Cheery preserves
2 tbs Fresh lemon juice
2 tbs Molasses
3 tbs Golden brown sugar
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs Soy sauce
1/2-1 can Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce and 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from can. (HOT HOT SPICY and I have a spicy tolerance of the sun)
1 tsp Liquid smoke (I found this at the top shelf at Ralphs after no one knew what I was talking about)
1 tsp Onion powder
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions of pretty simpleness
1. Mix everything in a bowl and bring to a simmer in a sauce pan and remember to stir occasionally.
2. Set aside and can be stored for a week in the fridge.

Beef Ribs with BBQ Sauce
3 lbs Beef rib rack
1/4 cup Paprika
1/4 cup Brown sugar
3 tbs Kosher salt
1 1/2 tbs Onion powder
1 1/2 tbs Garlic powder
1 1/2 tbs White pepper
1 1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon
1 tsp Cardamom
Cherry juice or apple cider enough to fill spray bottle

Prep work
1. Mix all the dry ingredients together
2. Rub spice mix on the ribs
3. Fill spray bottle with cherry juice or apple cider
4. Heat up grill and line grill rack with aluminum foil (beacuse I'm Asian and I like to save the trouble of cleaning)
5. Place ribs on top of the foil and cover grill
6. Turn ribs and spray with juice or cider
7. Grill ribs until browned and repeat spraying every 15 minutes. (Note: the meat will shrink away when cooking)
8. After 1 hour or so the ribs will be cooked.
9. Brush ribs with the BBQ sauce and turn ribs over to fire side
10.Heat ribs until the sauce will make it slightly charred.
11. Cut the ribs into individual pieces and serve.

Oven method
Something that Bon Appetite did not mention was an oven method. I also tried making these ribs with the oven.

1. Rub spice rub on the ribs
2. Heat oven to 325F and cook in the oven for 15 minutes
3. Take it out of the oven and spray with cherry juice or cider
4. Put back into the oven for 30 minutes and rotate
5. Repeat process of spraying every 30 minutes for 3 hours
6. Brush BBQ sauce on top of the ribs and cook for another 10 minutes
7. Rotate and brush with BBQ sauce again and cook for another 10 minutes
8. The ribs should be done by then.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sage Rosemary Burgers

Fourth of July was yesterday. Didn't really do much except had a decent sized BBQ party at my apartment. It was quite fun, but we didn't watch any fireworks because we were all too busy doing other stuff more fun and exciting than watching fireworks aka. manning the grill and keeping my guests entertained.

I made quite a lot of food. I will start with burgers, the true American food. No matter where you travel in the world, the word "burger" is associated with fat, greasy, American food. What a great way to celebrate America with hard core American food full of grease. Yes, this burger I made is pretty greasy, but it tastes so good!

Sage Rosemary Burgers
1 lb Ground sirloin
1 stick Butter at room temperature
2 tbs Freshly chopped sage
2 tbs Freshly chopped Italian parsley
2 tbs Freshly chopped rosemary
1/2 lemon
1 tbs sugar
Salt and peppers
Hamburger buns
Pepper jack cheese

Prep for things better than fireworks
1. Chop all the herbs using knife or food processor
2. Add to softened butter and mix well
3. Squeeze lemon juice into the butter and mix well
4. Wet hands with water and take a handful of meat and form into a ball
5. Form a thumb indent in the center of the ball and stuff enough butter in there
6. Then fold corners of the indent to fold inward and flatten to form patty
7. Slice onions, tomatoes just like how it is found in any American burger.
8. Spread remaining butter on burger buns

Grill work
1. Heat up grill to normal grill like manner
2. Put beef patty on top and grill on both sides for 5 minutes each
4. Put cheese on top
5. Toast burger buns on grill
6. Put together the burger the way you like it.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Moo Shu Pork (木樨肉)

My nice friend decided to make a 99 Ranch or Ranch 99 (however people want to call it) run to get me my Chinese specialty cuts of meat and various other Asian vegetables. I guess there was some misinterpretation or error in communication that can be calculated as 50% error because she missed half of what I said. Instead of getting pork bones from the shank, she got me pork shank without the bones.

Meh... What do I do with this giant chunk of meat and fatty goodness... I guess I had a craving for moo shu pork after eating it last week at The First Szechuan Wok in Westwood. The only decent Chinese restaurant in Westwood that caters American Chinese food.

Moo Shu Pork (木樨肉)

Pork portion
1 lb Pork shank (I would use tenderloin because it is easier to chop)
1/4 cup Corn starch
2 tbs Rice wine for the pork
3 tbs Soy Sauce
2 cups Cabbage
1 cup Carrots
1/2 inch Ginger
3 cloves Garlic
5 Shiitake mushrooms
3 Green onions (scallions)
1/3 cup Oyster sauce
1/4 cup Rice wine for the sauce
1 tbs Sugar
2 tsp Sesame oil
2 eggs
Hoison sauce
Green Onions for garnish

Prep work
1. Slice the pork into cubes after removing fat and skin
2. Add corn starch in a bowl and put pork in and lightly coat the pork in the corn starch
3. Add 3 tbs soy sauce and 2 tbs rice wine and mix with the pork
4. Marinate for 10-15 minutse
5. On a clean cutting board, shred the cabbage, carrots, and mushrooms
6. Peel and mince ginger and garlic
7. Julienne Green onions.
8. In a bowl, mix oyster sauce, 1/4 cup rice wine, sugar, and 2 tsp sesame oil for the sauce mix
9, Beat two eggs
10. Scramble the eggs in a pan and set aside

1. In a pan, heat about 2 tbs oil
2. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 20-30 seconds on medium high heat
3. Add pork in the pan and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally until pork is browned and almost cooked.
4. Add cabbage, scrambled, carrots, green onions, and mushrooms and stir until everything is well mixed for about 1-2 minutes.
5. Add sauce mix and scrambled eggs and mix well with everything
6. Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes
7. Taste for flavoring, if it is not enough flavor, add some more oyster sauce.
8. Garnish with green onions and serve with rice or Chinese pancakes

Friday, July 2, 2010

Red Bean Shaved Ice

It's summer. It's hot. It's boring. I'm being lazy. I decided to buy another kitchen toy, a shaved ice machine. Having shaved ice is the best thing ever invented. I am not talking about Hawaiian shaved ice with all that artificial crap. I am talking about Taiwanese shaved ice with mangoes or red beans etc. On a hot summer day, it is so refreshing to eat shaved ice, while baking the skin until cancer forms.

Red Bean Shaved Ice

12 oz pack Azuki red beans
2 tbs Brown sugar
5 tbs Granuated sugar
Condensed milk
Ice block
1 tbs corn starch
3/4 cup water

Cooking the red beans
1. Soak the red beans in cold water overnight
2. Wash and drain the red beans
3. Add enough water to cover the red beans in the pot and 4 inches more
4. Boil the red beans for 1 hour and add brown and granulated sugar
5. Boil for an additional 15-30 minutes until the red beans split open or are cooked.
6. Drain the liquid into another pot.
7. Reduce the liquid in half
8. In a separate container, mix corn starch and water
9. Add slurry mix to the red bean liquid
10. Add liquid to the red beans
11. Set in a cool place and move to the refrigerator to cool
12. After red bean is cooled, begin shaving the ice into fluffiness
13. Scoop red beans on top of the ice and add condensed milk

Enjoy some coolness xD

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Random Eggplant (Chinese style???) with bean sauce

So for those who are wondering what was that mushy mess next to the tomato and eggs in the previous post. That... my friends is eggplant with bean sauce with experimental sauce. I guess the other day, I was at Trader Joes and was wondering what I should cook. I closed my eyes and randomly choose an eggplant. I guess I would have to learn how to make good eggplant dishes sooner or later. There's no pictures with this because I have the picture in the previous post.

Random Eggplant Mystery with Bean Sauce

1 Eggplant (can be anything, I used a regular fat supermarket eggplant so its not the Chinese ones)
5 Cloves garlic
1/2 cup Chicken stock
2 tbs Broad bean sauce
2 tsp Sugar
2 tsp Soy sauce
4 Chinese chili peppers
1/2 cup Thai basil (loosely packed)

Preparation to enter a world of mysterious tastes
1. Cube the eggplant
2. Rinse the basil
3. Peel garlic by smashing with edge of the knife

1. Heat canola oil in a pan
2. Add the eggplant, red chilies, and garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally
3. Add chicken stock, bring to simmer and cover for 4-5 minutes until eggplant is about cooked.
4. Add bean paste, soy sauce, and sugar cook for about 1 minute stirring occasionally
5. Turn off heat and add Thai basil and cover.

Somehow this turned out quite alright for a mystery dish. I guess it can have some further improvements though.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chinese Egg and Tomato 炒雞蛋和西紅柿

During the past few summers, I have been in Taiwan doing various things from teaching English and working there as a slaving intern. While in Taiwan, no matter where I was, I always have the pleasure of getting a quick and cheap 100 NT (3 USD) cafeteria style lunch from various cafeteria style eateries. It is so filling and delicious. Also, every Chinese person should learn how to make this super easy and simple dish xD.

FYI: The picture is part of two dishes I am going to blog about in the next post. The top is egg and tomato. The bottom is eggplant with bean sauce.

Chinese Egg and Tomato (炒雞蛋和西紅柿)

4-5 Ripe tomatoes
5 Large eggs
2 tsp Soy sauce
1 tsp Sugar

Preparation of little lunch boxes
1. Dice tomatoes
2. Beat the eggs

1. Heat oil in a pan
2. Put eggs in the pan and scramble
3. Once eggs are almost cooked or almost all the eggy liquid is gone, scoot the egg off to the side to leave room on the pan for the tomatoes
4. Cook tomatoes for about 2-3 minutes until juices seep out
5. Mix with eggs with the tomatoes, add soy sauce and sugar and mix
6. Taste to see if needs more seasoning (salt or soy sauce)

Well that was simple enough!

Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken 三杯雞

Several times, people have asked me what real Chinese food is. Moreover, what is Taiwanese food? I guess that is quite difficult to decide what is Taiwanese food because the food of Taiwan incorporates Japanese and various Chinese regional influences upon its dishes. For the dish I am blogging about today is one of my favorites that my mom often makes. It is called san bei ji (literally 3 cup chicken). It is quite flavorful and can be eaten quickly with several hundred bowls of rice because it is so delicious. I doubt you can find this dish in many Chinese restaurants around America or find any Taiwanese restaurants in general except in California, Washington DC, and New York.

Also, I think people need to know how to tear apart a whole chicken. The other day, I went to Ralphs and chicken was on sale for about 50% off or more. The thing is ... I saw people ignore the whole chicken and proceeded to buy 2 chicken breasts for twice the price of a whole chicken -_-. So everyone just youtube quartering chicken, and there should be videos about how to do it. With some practice, you should be able to master it.

Three Cup Chicken 三杯雞

2 Chicken thigh and leg (from a quartered chicken)
1/4 cup Soy sauce
1/4 cup Rice wine
1/4 cup Sugar
5 Chinese red chili peppers (I like mine spicy)
Handful of Thai basil or 1/2 cup loosely packed (regular basil works too apparently)

Prep work
1. De-bone the meat from the chicken thigh and leg
2. Slice the chicken into strips or cubes
3. Place chicken in a bowl and mix enough corn starch to lightly coat the chicken (2 tbs)
4. In a cup, stir together the soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar

1. Heat pan
2. Add oil (1-2 tbs canola oil) enough to coat the pan.
3. Add chicken and cracked chili peppers to heated oil and cook around for about 4-5 minutes occasionally stirring.
4. Add sauce and cover pan for about 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked fully
5. Turn off heat and add basil and cover for 1 minute
6. Enjoy with several million bowls of rice

On a side note, you can reduce the spicy level by adding 0 or a little bit of chili peppers.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I seriously have a sweet tooth! I am always craving ice cream, cake, and etc. other stuff that is bad for you and me. Even though I have such an addiction to sweets, like Gin-san from Gintama (an anime series that you must watch), most of the time I refrain from buying sweets at Ralphs or Trader Joes.

I guess I had a good excuse to make sweet stuff today. I have never made cupcakes before. Ah, cupcakes, so small, sweet, and delicate. It is just the right serving size for dessert, and I don't think cupcakes are hated by anyone in the world. Well, if there are any out there, they are evil and I deem them an enemy of Earth!

Chocolate Cupcakes adapted from Food and Wine Magazine (makes 10-12)

100 g Cake flour (A MUST HAVE!)
25 g Unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 Large eggs separated
75 g Canola oil
100 g Sugar
2 tbs Water

Direction of sweet doom
1. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl
2. Mix well until everything is almost evenly distributed
3. In another bowl, add egg yolks, sugar (reserve 2 tbs), oil, and water, and mix well (I suggest using electric mixer with paddle attachment)
4. On low speed, slowly add the dry cake mixture to the liquid mixture until smooth
5. In another bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks (here's a tutorial that 101cookbooks explains about how to beat egg whites).
6. Add 2 tbs of reserved sugar to the egg whites and beat until stiff peaks.
7. Fold in 1/4 of the egg whites at a time into the cake mix until white streaks disappear
8. Preheat oven to 350F
9. Spoon cupcake mix into little cupcake holders
10. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes depending on the quality of your oven
11. Check with a toothpick to see if it will come out cleanly
12. Remove from the oven and set to cool on a rack
13. After cooled, add favorite frosting

Now onto the cream cheese frosting I had for this!
Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz Cream cheese softened
4 oz Unsalted butter softened
2 cups Powdered sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract

1. Cream butter and cream cheese with a whisk
2. Slowly mix and add powdered sugar to the mix until smooth and creamy
3. Add vanilla extract
4. Put on top of cupcakes

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Papaya Tilapia

I was watching Iron Chef America the other day, and I wonder why the American version sucks so much compared to the Japanese version. It seems like the iron chefs make the same variation of something they've made in the past. I also don't get why everyone is so obsessed with through in Asian influences here and there. "OH MY GOD! He added Sriracha. Now let's call that dish Asian fusion!"

Anyways, the secret ingredient was papaya. I saw some pretty ripe papayas at Trader Joes the other day and decided to buy a couple because I love waking up and making a papaya smoothie. When I saw it as the secret ingredient on Iron Chef America, the show gave me the idea of adding papaya to my main courses as a flavoring agent.

Papaya Tilapia

Ingredients for the fish
2 fillet Tilapia
1/2 Lemon
Salt and pepper
1 cup Papaya
Salt and pepper

1. Marinate the fish with lemon, salt, and pepper for at least 10 minutes
2. Move fish to steamer of this type.
3. Squeeze mashed up papaya on top of the fish
4. Follow instructions of how to use that steamer (I put 3/4 cup water into the steamer before loading the pot in)

Ingredients for papaya sauce
1/2 inch of Ginger
1 cup Papaya
1 cup Milk
1 tbs Brown sugar
Dash of salt

1. Blend everything
2. Strain and move to a sauce pan
3. Stir and reduce until sauce-like consistency
4. Add sauce to cooked fish and eat it xD

Fish Taco with Mango Salsa

Father's Day was this past weekend. I called home, and like every year, my family has a giant BBQ at my sister's house. This year my sister made some grilled mahi mahi with mango salsa. I figured that sounded quite delicious. I wish I could teleport back home like in one of those lame sci-fi shows and steal all the food that day and bring it back to California. Oh well, I guess I have to conjure up my own fish with mango salsa.

My mother suggested that I buy fish from Whole Foods because it is that awesome. Apparently, Whole Foods didn't have mahi mahi; thus, I proceeded to get tilapia for $9.99/lb. ZOMG! I am never buying meats or fish at whole foods again. It blew a nuclear bomb in my wallet! On the other hand, I guess the quality of the fish was way better than the one at Ralphs and made my meal quite delicious!

Fish Taco with Mango Salsa

Ingredients for Salsa (Can be prepared ahead of time)
1 ripe Mango (Should come up to be about 1 1/2 cups when cubed into 1 cm squares)
1/2 cup Sweet mini bell peppers (can be substituted with red, yellow, orange bell peppers)
1/2 cup Cherry tomatoes
1/2 small Yellow onion
1/2 Lime
1/2 Lemon
2 tbs Sugar
1 tsp Cayenne pepper powder (or more if you like spicy)
Cilantro ( I had about 1/4 cup, but you can add more or less depending on your preference to cilantro)
Dashes of salt

Prepwork of mass chopping
1. Peel and cube the mango
2. Place in a bowl and add the sugar until mangoes are evenly coated with sugar
3. Cube, onions, tomatoes, and peppers
4. Combine onions, tomatoes, peppers into the mango mixture
5. Add juice from the lime and lemon.
6. Finely chop the cilantro
7. Add cilantro, salt, and cayenne pepper powder into the mix
8. Stir around and taste.
9. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until chilled
If it is too sour, add a little bit more sugar
If it is salty, well that's just too bad. You can try to add more lime or lemon juice.

Ingredients for fish
3 Tilapia fillets
1 Lime
1 Lemon
1 tsp Cayenne pepper powder
Salt and pepper

1. Marinate the fish in lime and lemon juice for at least 10 minutse
2. Salt and pepper the fish

Cooking or decapitating the fillet in the pan
1. Heat oil in the pan
2. Add the fish when the oil gets hot
3. Cook the fish on both sides for 3 minutes each on medium
4. Shred the fish meat with a spatula or chop sticks (it also checks for doneness too)

Ingredients for taco sauce
1/2 cup Greek style plain yogurt
4-5 Cherry tomatoes
2 tbs chopped Cilantro
Salt and pepper
1/2 Lime

1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender
2. Process until smooth
3. Transfer to a pan and heat it up

Combo moves of Ultra killer taco!
1. In a pan, heat up taco skins
2. Spread sauce on the taco
3. Add fish
4. Add the salsa

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Steak Chunks and Peppers

The heat is definitely getting to me! I just want to sit inside and have my fan blowing in my fan, but unfortunately I hate sitting around. To conserve my energy, I decided to create a simple dish I learned from my mother awhile ago in high school. It is probably one of the simplest and most delicious dishes I've had. When you're in a hurry, instead of going to In-n-Out burger to get your greasy beef, try this dish. Only thing you have to do is samurai slice beef, peppers and onions. with lots of KIYAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Steak Chunks and Peppers

1 lb of Sirloin steak
1 Red pepper
1 Green pepper
1 Yellow onion
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Prepwork of choppy choppy
1. Peel and cube the onions into 1 inch squares
2. Remove seeds from the peppers
3. Chop the peppers into similar size as the onions
4. Cube the meat into bite size piecse

Cooking Time!
1. In one pan, dry heat it and throw in the peppers and onions and cook until onions are brown
2. In another pan, put about 1 tbs of olive oil in and throw in the beef when the oil is hot
3. Cook the beef for about 3-4 minutes for medium rare.
4. Combine peppers, onions, and beef into one pan and salt and pepper.
5. Serve with rice and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Apple Crumble 100th post!!!

Ah. Summertime summertime summertime ...
What a great way to relax and do nothing at all. Well, nothing for a week because summer classes are starting next week.

Yay! Summer classes this year due to fail at finding an internship : (. That's alright. I got a new guitar and amp. I shall be practicing some new songs and relax before I graduate next year. I guess this summer will be the last summer I'll have to relax before I enter the working world.

As for this blog... I am writing my 100th post! Have I really blogged this much? This is more usage of a blog than Xanga (if anyone still remembers what that is: sidenote*: I read my old Xanga posts from middle school and noticed how lame my middle school self was)

For this special post, I shall be baking a simple and sweet dessert. Why is baking something special?

To tell you the truth, I absolutely suck at baking, so I rarely attempt a disastrous nuke going off in my oven. Because this is the 100th post, I will give it my all and attempt apple crumble. I was inspired by all the apples in my refrigerator and my lack of any ingredients to make a cake.Let us begin this wonderful spiral into disaster.

Apple Crumble

Ingredients for a sweet tooth
Filling layer
5 Apples (I used Granny Smith)
1/4 cup Granulated sugar
1/5 cup Brown sugar
1/2 cup water
6 Rose petals (like the ones you put in tea, you can take out the water and substitute it for 1/4 cup of rose water)
1 tbs Cinamon
1 tsp Lemon juice

Crumble mix
1/2 cup Wheat flour (all purpose is good ... I'm going to try using bread flour next time)
1/3 cup Brown sugar
1/4 cup Oats (quick cook ones)
1 cup Butter - unsalted (1 stick or 8 tbs)
Preheat the oven for 400F

Directions of how I can possibly !@#%$ up
1. Peel and remove the core from the apples
2. Cut the apples into approximately 1/2 cm thick slices by 2 cm high shapes (like triangles)
3. In a bowl, put in brown sugar and mix apples in the bowl until the apples are coated (set aside for 5 minutes)
4. In a pan, boil the water and throw in the rose petals.
5. Reduce rose tea until 1/4 cup is left.
6. Strain the rose tea
7. In another pan, add the rose tea, apple mixture, cinnamon, and lemon juice.
8. Cook until the apples are slightly soft or until there is a syrupy texture of the liquid
9. Remove filling from the stove and put into baking dish.

Crumble part
1. In a bowl mix all the ingredients until crumbly
2. Place the crumble mix on top of the filling
3. Put into the oven for 30-45 minutes or until top is browned.

Well to my surprise ... it turned out pretty good. Why the rose? I thought it might go well with apples because rose apple tea is pretty good xD.

Here's a fresh out of the oven photo.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fried Chicken - Quick and easy

Finally summer is here xD!!! Now then ... my apartment is quite filthy. I guess it is time for another kitchen cleanup --> throw away moldy onions and garlic : /.

I have a lot of catching up to do on my blog. To start off break. I was in the mood for fried chicken and biscuits after watching an episode of Diner's Drive-ins and whatever that long show name is called. Guy went to a fried chicken joint in Oklahoma that has been serving fried chicken for quite some time. After watching a demonstration, I decided to give this mehod try.

To my surprise, this fried chicken recipe did not take long to create because it requires no marinade.

Fried Chicken - Quick Method

5 Drum sticks with skin on
1 cup Wheat flour
1/2 cup Corn meal
3 tbs Paprika
2 tbs Salt
1 tbs Sugar
1 tbs Garlic powder
1 tsp Red chili pepper powder
1 tsp Green peppercorn powder
1 tsp White pepper
1 tsp Baking powder

Directions of pre-grease
1. Mix all the dry ingredients well
2. Pat the chicken dry
3. Throw in the chicken into the dry mix and coat the chicken well

Frying directions
1. Make sure the oil is hot like 350F. I used canola oil.
2. Throw pieces of chicken into the deep fryer and cook for 10-15 minutes.
3. Remove from deep fryer and put on a tray lined with paper towels to soak up the oil.

I found this recipe to be just alright . The chicken was not the type of crispy I would find in fried chicken. I prefer the type of crispiness I find at Popeyes or KFC. It was quite flavorful though.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Quest for the Best Pad Thai

Ah! It's finals time! On this journey to the land of finals ... I shall find the best pad thai in Westwood! Including frozen foods from Trader Joes and Ralphs ..

So long !

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Good Ole Fashion Congee

If you feeling sick, down, or tired, some good ole congee shall make things feel better. When I was a kid, I would hate eating this when I was sick because it would give me some pretty bad stomachaches. Now, as a busy engineering student, I appreciate the texture and taste. I would call this somewhat, Chinese comfort food because it makes me feel like I'm at home again. In addition, this dish really makes people recover from colds.

Well, if your not sick, down, tired, this makes a quick and easy meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The only thing you need are the side dishes that go with congee, such as Chinese pickles, wheat gluten, shredded pork, hot sauce, etc...

Note: this is not the delicious congee with 1000 year old duck eggs. I will make this when I find a ride to 99 ranch or ranch 99. How would you call it ... there's this discrepancy between FOBs and ABCs about how to say it in English, but that is another story....

Good Ole Fashion Congee

Note: I had shredded pork and wheat gluten with peanuts
Also ... I let the congee sit for awhile, so the cognee above is a bit drier than most congees

3/4 cup glutenous rice
5 cups water
1 tbs Sesame oil

Prep directions
1. Wash the rice until the water is almost clear
2. In the same rice container, add the sesame oil
3. Mix well and allow the rice grains to soak the oil for 30 minutes
4. Add 2 cups of water into the container and transfer the rice and water to a blender
5. Use the remaining water to rinse any remaining rice grains of the container into the blender
6. Now, you should have a total of 4 cups of water and the rice in the blender.
7. Pulse the blender for 3o seconds, until the rice grains are in smaller pieces. You can use a food processor for better control. You do not want all the rice to disintegrate into the water.
8. Transfer rice to rice cooker or steamer. I use something like this
9. Follow the instructions to how you normally cook rice.
10. For the stove top cooks .... cook the rice on the stove on medium low heat until the rice resembles congee ...
11. Serve with your favorite stuff xD

Monday, May 24, 2010

Simply Red Kale

It seems as if I have not posted on this food blog in awhile... my bad. Well, you can blame Blizzard for not having adequate servers for Starcraft 2... I guess that is my own problem for having a somewhat gaming addiction to the best game ever created to attract Asians, especially that one country with delicious BBQ. I'll have you guessing what that country is.

Anyways. I found some red kale that was sitting leftover from the CSA box that I got a week ago. Tell you the truth, I had no clue what red kale was. It does not even look like regular kale. When I first saw red kale in "What's in a Box this Week", I was expecting to see a red version of kale. Instead, I found a brittle looking green bunch.

Since I did not know what to do with it, I decided to keep it simple and easy.

Simply Red Kale

(Does that look red to you??)

10 leaves Red Kale
2 cloves Garlic
1/2 Yellow onion
1 tbs Butter (yum heart attack!)
1 tsp Brown sugar
1 tsp Salt

1. Shred the red kale
2. Mince the garlic
3. Slice the onion

Cooking of simplicity
1. Melt the butter in a pan
2. Throw in garlic and onions and cook until onions are translucent
3. Toss in red kale and saute the kale for about 1-2 minutes
4. Add in brown sugar and salt and mix around until sugar dissolves

What can I say? There's quite an excellent aroma that comes out of the brown sugar and red kale combination. It tastes quite good for some odd reason. Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Beet Couscous with Fava Bean Cream

Oh man! It has already been a week with my box of delicious vegetables courtesy of the South Central Farmers. What I have left are the following: fava beans, beet greens, 1 golden beet, 2 red beets, and chard. Today, I shall knock down another beet, fava beans, and beet greens, just like how my group demolished a truss for my bridge design course.

I was talking to a couple friends about beets, and how much I detest them. Apparently, the beet greens taste pretty good. In addition, they suggested eating the beets cold in salad. The problem is .... I am not really a salad person. Another thing that I can't stand is eating salad. I find it not exciting putting vegetables together in a plate and mixing it with your favorite dressing.

For a side note .... the other day, I made balsamic beets. Today, I decided to try them cold, straight out of the fridge. They were pretty delicious. Somehow the coldness alters the density and probably reconfigures the flavor cells (made up science) of the beet into something quite yummy. It tastes similar to the pickled cucumbers that Chinese people put with their cognee.

Anyways, enough talking... Time to get to the main portion of this post. I decided to make a more complex dish with most of the remaining ingredients. The time it takes is about 1 hour to make it.

Beet Couscous with Fava Bean Cream

Ingredients for Couscous and Tofu
1 1/2 cup Couscous
2 cups Stock (vegetable, chicken, fish, your choice)
1 large Red beet
1 Yellow onion
1/2 cup White kidney beans
7 Beet greens
1 Bay leaf
4 oz Firm tofu
4 cloves Garlic
2 packs Raisins (about 2 oz)
Salt and pepper

Ingredients for Fava Bean Cream
1/2 cup Fava beans
1/2 cup Stock (vegetable, chicken etc.)
1/4 cup Half and half
1 tsp Thyme powder
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
Salt and pepper

Preparation and cooking <- important to read it all before you start if you want to cut time. This recipe requires a lot of management

1. Preheat oven to 370F
2. Begin to boil water in a pot
3. Cut tofu into cubes
3. Line sheet tray with parchment paper and line tofu onto the paper
4. Salt and pepper tofu
5. Toss in the oven and set bake time to 20 minutes
6. When the tofu is done, leave it in the oven to keep warm

Beet couscous and other misc prep work
1. Wash beet greens and shred them and place into a bowl
2. Dice onions and place into a bowl
3. Setup food processor
4. Your water should be boiling by now, throw in fava beans and cook for 6 minutes
5. Coarse chop the beets and throw into the food processor.
6. Operate food processor until the beets look like tiny pieces about 2 mm in size
7. Heat oil in a pan and toss in onions, bay leaf, raisins, and beets
8. Cook until onions are translucent on medium low heat. (1 minute)
9. Add in couscous and cook until couscous is lightly browned (2 minutes)
10. Add in stock, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Fava bean sauce process (10 minutes)
1. While the couscous is cooking, remove the fava beans and begin removing them from the shells (5 minutes)
2. Wash food processor and throw in the fava beans, half and half, chicken stock, thyme powder, and lemon juice.
3. Blend well and transfer to sauce pan (2 minutes)
4. Cook the sauce until it is hot and reduce until sauce-like consistency (3 minutes)
5. Salt and pepper to taste.

Beet Greens (3-5 minutes)
1. In another pan, add in oil and wait for it to get hot
2. Add in garlic, beet greens, white kidney beans, salt, and pepper
3. Cook for 2-3 minutes until leaves are tender

Assembling it all together!
Now, check up on your couscous to see if it is tender and firm to bite. If it isn't, add a little more stock if there is no more liquid left in the pan and cover to cook a little longer. REMEMBER TO KEEP STIRRING after every 3 or so minutes so you don't burn the bottom.

To plate:
1. Place sauce on the bottom of the bowl or plate.
2. Use a ring cutter and add couscous
3. Top with beet greens, beans, and tofu

Well, that was probably the longest post and probably one of the most complex things I've made. The whole combination of all these things is quite delicious. Enjoy trying to recreate this dish xD.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Beet chips with Spinach Artichoke Dip

One beet down, time to beat down another beet. During class, I was thinking about how to conquer another beet into a delicious dish. The other day, my friend Cynthia was talking about artichokes, which lead to a conversation with my co-workers about spinach and artichoke dip and how it goes well with chips. Then bam! That would knock out the spinach, artichoke, and another beet from the CSA box. The beets can be turned into chips. It's like a triple kill.

Because I only had one artichoke, I grabbed from artichokes from Trader Joes and steamed the hearts for 30 minutes.

Beet Chips with Spinach Artichoke Dip

Ingredients for the beets
1 beet
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Prep for slicing and slaughtering and cooking the beets
1. Preheat the oven for 370F
2. Peel the beets
3. Take a mandolin slicer or super ninja knife skills and slice the beets as thin as Lays potato chips
4. Line sheet tray with parchment paper
5. Lay sliced beets spaced apart on the tray
6. With a spray bottle, spray olive oil onto the beets
7. Bake the beets for 8-10 minutes.
8. Remove from the tray and cool in a bowl.

Creating Spinach and Artichoke Dip


5 Artichoke hearts
5 oz Spinach
2 oz Light cream cheese
2 oz Cheddar cheese
3 cloves Garlic
Salt and pepper

1. Cook spinach in water for 2-3 minutes.
2. Remove and dry the spinach
3. Coarsely chop the spinach with a knife.
4. In a food processor, add artichoke hearts, garlic, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese.
5. Pulse until artichoke hearts are well pureed with the rest of the ingredients
6. Mix with the spinach
7. Salt and pepper to taste
8. Place in the oven at 370F for 10-15 minutes or until bubbling.

Now enjoy this "healthy" snack while watching baseball or at a party for healthy people.

Carrot Muffins

I was browsing my Google Reader today and stumbled upon Cooking with Christine's Healthy Carrot Muffins. Because of the remaining carrots in my CSA box, I thought it would be a good idea to make a simple and easy breakfast item that is semi-healthy (sorry Christine, I sort of added more sugar and some butter xD). I also made mini muffins because oddly enough, I only have mini muffin trays.

Carrot Muffins
(Prep time: 5 minutes Bake time: 10-13 minutes)

(Mini muffins)

3/4 cup Grated carrots (about 3 carrots)
1/4 cup Carrots (food processor chopped coarsely, 1 carrot)
1 cup Quick cooked oats
1 cup Whole wheat flour (all purpose is fine too)
1/2 cup Brown sugar* (see note)
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Baking powder
2 tsp Honey
2 large Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 tbs Melted butter
1 cup Milk

1. Preheat the oven for 400F
2. Grate the carrots until there is 3/4 cup
3. In a food processor, chop the carrots until you have 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped carrots.
4. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
5. Beat the eggs well with the milk until some bubbles form
6. Add in honey and vanilla extract
7. Mix wet and ingredients together
8. Butter the insides of muffin tray
9. Place mix in muffin trays

1. Bake for 10-13 minutes in mini muffin trays, may take 20-25 minutes if you have large muffin trays
2. Cool on a rack and enjoy with a glass of milk

Notes: According to my friend Jeannie, these were not sweet enough, but I think they are just right. If you have a sweet tooth, like Jeannie, add about 1/4 cup more brown sugar.

Here's another picture:

Collard Greens Quiche

The other day, I went to Santa Monica with my friend Jessica to eat at a British tea house on Santa Monica and 2nd st called Tudor House. The restaurant offed various pies and afternoon tea menus. I saw that one of the specials was a quiche. I did not order it (shepherd's pie instead), but it inspired me to create a quiche over the weekend. Well, I decided to use the collard greens from the CSA box (click on the link if you don't know what CSA is). No it's not Chinese Student Association.

Collard Greens Quiche (for 6 in diameter baking dishes)

1/2 Basic pie dough (Approximately 1/2 lb)
2 Eggs
7 Stalks collard greens
2 tsp Garlic powder
3 oz Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup Milk
Pepper (Optional)

Prepwork and cooking
1. Preheat the oven for 375F
2. Finely chop collard greens into strips or pieces as seen in the picture
3. If you don't have shredded cheddar cheese, cut the cheese into 1 cm cubes
4. Beat the eggs with the milk.
5. Roll out the pie dough to fit your pie medium (I used a 6 in diameter Corningware dish because I don't have a tart mold or pie pan)
6. Fit the dough over the pie dish
7. Pre-bake the pie dough in the oven for about 10-13 minutes.
8. In a food processor, add the cheese and shred it finely.
9. Add cheese, eggs, garlic powder, black pepper (optional), and collard greens together and mix.
10. When 10-13 minutes is up, add the egg mixture into the pie dough to fill just about the crust edge of the pie as seen in the picture.
11. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the egg is firm.

Yum, this quiche is quite good. I never knew that collard greens would go so well with eggs and cheese. Well, I'll probably be making more quiches in the near future.

Basic Pie Dough (very fast)

Yummy! Pie is considered to be a favorite among many people. In addition, it is extremely versatile. It can be used to make apple pie, meat pie, quiche, etc and a whole lot of things where you can let your imagination run wild... well, not that wild ><. I shall share with you my very fast, quick, and easy pie dough that can be used immediately.

Basic Pie Dough
(makes about 1 lb)
Time it takes: 5 minutes with getting all the ingredients together and making it
1 cup Flour (all purpose or whole wheat, I used whole wheat cause it is healthier)
1/2 cup Butter (freezing cold)
1/4 cup Water (freezing cold)
1 tsp salt

Directions that are needed to be followed carefully
1. Cut butter into 1 cm cubes
2. Put in a bowl and toss in the freezer for 10 minutes
3. Meanwhile, put flour and salt in a food processor
4. Pulse for 20 seconds to mix well
5. After 10 minutes, take the butter and place in the food processor
6. Pulse on high for 30-45 seconds or until mix resembles small peas.
7. Transfer mix to a bowl
8. Slowly add freezing cold water about 1 tbs at a time and mix with the flour mix (you should be able to use almost 1/4 cup of it)
Note: if the dough becomes very sticky, add a little more flour (1 tbs at a time) until it can be workable.
9. Once dough forms and is semi-firm, you can throw it in the fridge to cool or roll it out for whatever your needs are.

Carrot Souffle with Balsamic Beets

Beets are my absolute worst enemy in cooking. I really do not know what to do with them. I hear that they are full of good carbohydrates, protein, and other healthy stuff, but man, they have some pretty weird aftertaste. Since I got it in the CSA box, I shall not be wasteful and throw it out. Here goes beet number 1 and 3 carrots....

Carrot Souffle with Balsamic Beets

(looks like a drink)

1 Beet
3 Carrots
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup flour
1 tbs Brown sugar
1 oz Light cream cheese
2 tbs Romano cheese
2 Egg whites
Batch of basil for garnish
Black pepper (a dash)

Prep and cook the carrot souffle!
1. Preheat the oven for 350F
2. Peel the carrots
3. Toss in a pot of boiling water until tender
4. Strain, dry, and chop until it can fit in your food processor
5. Puree the carrots with the cream cheese and Romano cheese
6. Beat egg whites until peaks form
7. Fold in carrots, sugar, pepper, and flour into the egg whites
8. Place souffle mixture into ramekins or ovenproof dish
9. Bake for 20-30 minutes until top is golden

Meanwhile ....

Prepwork for the beets
1. Peel and cube beets into 1 cm cubes
2. Shred the basil

Cooking process
1. Heat a little olive oil in a pan
2. Saute the beets for 2-3 minutes with salt and pepper
3. Add in balsamic vinegar and cover for 2 minutes or until beets are cooked.
4. Wait for the souffle to finish and then put balsamic sauce and beets over the souffle with basil garnish.

I got to say ... this is quite an interesting dish that could use some improvement. If you have any ideas of how to make this taste more interesting, let me know xD!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pesto with Kale and Beans

As mentioned before, I got a large box of random vegetables from the local Community Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) something something .... What I do with all these leafy items is going to be a mystery and quite a challenge.

To start off with my CSA Box of Random Vegetables, I decided to first use kale because I am pretty familiar with that vegetable.

I don't know why, but I have held off on making pesto for the longest time. I was never a big fan of pesto because of the amount of oil that pools over on the bottom of the plate after eating a big plate of noodles. Due to its simplicity, my love for Italian food, and request from people who are hungry.

Pesto with Kale and Beans

3 cups Basil
2 cloves Garlic
1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Pine nuts
1/4 cup Romano cheese (Finely grated, powdery one)
1/4 cup White kidney beans
4 leaves of Kale
1/2 lb Noodles

1. Put basil and garlic in the food processor
2. Blend nicely until basil leaves are finely chopped
3. Add in pine nuts and finely chop in the processor
4. Mix oil and cheese together
5. Slowly drizzle the oil and cheese mix while processor is running (most food processors have a liquid drip attachment at the top)
6. Coarsely chop kale

1. Throw in noodles in the boiling water
2. Remove noodles from water and throw kale into the water (cook kale for 4 minutes)
3. Heat up pan with a little oil and toss noodles in with pesto mix and kidney beans (cook for 5 minutes, constantly stirring)
5. Strain kale and mix with noodle and pesto mix.

Well enjoy! The pesto sauce can be made ahead of time and stored for about a week in the refrigerator.

Community Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Vegetables ... ew disgusting, meat should be the way to go! Haha ... as they say...
Last week, I ordered a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box for 15 dollars and was thinking that I must be crazy to spend money on such a big box of vegetables. It is organically grown from the local South Central Farmers ( Yay supporting local farming!

I heard about this through various friends, and they thought it would be an excellent challenge. So far, many of them have never used up all the vegetables because they always encounter two or three never seen before vegetables. They thought it would be a good idea to see what I can do with all these mystery vegetables.

So... I went to pick up my box of mystery on Wednesday from the local drop-off point (it's starting to sound like a detective story). My heart was beating as I carried it back to my apartment. What could be in this box? Is it peppers? Is it lettuce? Is it just a box of dirt? (side note: there was a lot of dirt coming from the bottom of the box <- yup freshness)

I slowly opened the box as if I were diffusing a mail bomb. To my surprise, there were several varieties of vegetables that I have used before. I shall list them:
Kale - 5 oz
Carrots - 11 oz
Spinach - 5 oz
Red kale- 11 oz
Red beets - 3
Yellow beets - 1
Artichoke - 1
Fava Beans - 6 oz
Broccoli - 8 oz
Red cabbage - 1
Collard greens - 7 leaves

Well, time to go crazy and head to my kitchen of experimentation... but before that, I must spend the time to wash all these dirty vegetables with small miniature protein still attached (bugs).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What are essential ingredients in my pantry?

The other day, my co-workers were interested in the essentials in my kitchen that I absolutely must have or else all hell will break loose. Well, below is an image of my giant spice cabinet, and no, you do not need every single one of those dried herbs and spices. Whatever is in there are items that I would maybe use once or twice or bought because I thought it was interesting and may save for some mysterious creation.

So... let me begin with flavoring agents that I must have....
1. Onions - ah the tears!
2. Garlic - scare vampires away
3. Wine - red and white cheap wines from Trader Joes
4. Garlic powder - in case im too lazy to mince my garlic
5. Soy sauce - every Asian requirement
6. Salt - for the high sodium content in your bloodstream
7. Pepper - for throwing at bad guys trying to get you
8. Red chili powder - just kicks up the flavor a notch
9. Corn starch or flour for thickening sauce
10. Butter - because it tastes so good!
11. Eggs - essential for quick meals or a snack.

With those items, well... you can make amazing things!

Curried Mustard Greens

Once again, I have another foreign ingredient from Ralphs. Once again, it is green and very leafy like all my other vegetables, but it has a distinct smell and texture to it. It was mustard greens, and I definitely did not know what to do with it.

I could have sauteed it in butter and garlic like what I typically do with all my vegetables and throw it as some sort of side dish, but for the mustard greens. I wanted to make it the star of my dinner.

My Indian friend told me that mustard greens can be combined with tomatoes and make some sort of curry with the right assortment of spices. He did not know exactly what those mysterious spices were. Instead, I thanked him for the idea and proceeded to start a mad science experiment with my spice cabinet.

Curried Mustard Greens

1 batch Collard greens (10 leafy goodness)
1/2 cup Plain yogurt
1/2 small Yellow onion
1/4 cup half and half
1 tbs Garam masala
1 tbs Curry powder
1 tbs Coriander powder
1 tsp Grated ginger
1 can Tomato paste
2 tbs Butter
3 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper

1. Boil water
2. Wash and finely chop the mustard greens
3. Finely dice the onion and garlic
4. Grate the ginger into a paste
5. Throw mustard greens in the boiling water for 5 minutes to allow it to cook
6. Drain the mustard greens

Instructions of mystery
1. Add butt into a pan
2. Toss in garlic, ginger, and onion and cook for about 1 minute or until onions are translucent.
3. Add tomato paste, half and half, and yogurt.
4. Mix well and add garam masala, coriander, and curry powder
5. Add in mustard greens and cook for 4 minutes

In those 6 simple steps, you make a great dish that might make your whole apartment smell like spices xD.

Bets served with my Asian favorite: rice ...