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.