Friday, September 28, 2007

Fruit appetizer salad dessert - tutti fruitti

Tutti-Frutti Salad
Ingredients: bananas, prunes, kiwis, black grapes, red globe grapes, green grapes

Tips for good sleep - Bananas are rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that is converted into the calming and sleep-inducing brain chemical serotonin. You can try a banana instead of a warm milk, when you find yourself tossing and turning the whole night, not being able to sleep tight.

Tips for storage - Banana is sensitive to ethylene gas, and spoils quickly if stored in the same areas as avocados, melons, and apples, which are ethylene producers. Get them segregated and make your bananas last longer.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Abalone Chicken Porridge or Congee

Abalone Chicken Porridge or Congee

Ingredients: chicken (leftover shredded, or wings), dried scallops, abalone cut into slices, rice for cooking porridge

Directions: Boil the chicken with dried scallops, set the chicken aside and keep the chicken stock. Use the chicken stock to boil and cook the rice to porridge (time depends on how you like your porridge). If you like it real gooey, you can cook it for a longer time.

When the rice porridge starts to cook, add in the chicken and the abalone "broth" and continue cooking. That's it, simple right?

Wanna a bowl ? I think I'm cooking this again - the same thing, same dish, using that last (and second) can of abalone. Reason: The photos did not turn out well the last time, so I hope I can prepare this again and take my last (also second) shot at this dish. REAL reason: I'm lazy to think of coming up with anything new. FACT: I just want to eat abalone porridge again! Whose ABS are ALONE ?

Baked Pasta with Spicy Italian Sausage

Makeover...because you can make Spicy Italian Sausage Pasta and warm(bake) it lasagna-style with that addition of melting cheese.

Baked Pasta with Spicy Italian Sausage

-1/2lb pasta, cooked according to instructions
-~4 cooked italian chicken sausages, cubed and cooked
-handfuls of baby spinach
-2cups marinara sauce, adjust amount accordingly while cooking
-red chilli pepper flakes, to taste
-black pepper, to taste
- mozzarella cheese or other melting cheese

1.Mix the cooked pasta, cooked sausage, spinach and rest of ingredients.
2.Add in some melting cheese, mix well and put in preheated oven for the cheese to melt.

The cheese just binds everything together...

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Garlic Cheese Bread

Garlic Cheese Bread
-slices of bread, cut to long strips or sticks
-1/2tbsp butter, softened
-2 slices of Pepper Jack Cheese (or use your favorite melting cheese)
-2 stalks scallions/spring onions
-3 cloves garlic, minced very finely
-sprinkles of red chilli flakes

Directions: ; Mix butter, cheese, scallions, garlic and chilli flakes in a bowl and blend well; slather on the mixture onto your bread; bake 395F for 10mins.

Now say "Cheese", will ya? :D

How about greens onions/scallions on breads ? Though I've added some greens onions or scallions in the Garlic Cheese Bread above, it was nothing as generous as the Green Onion Pork Floss bun I've got at the deli/bakery section in the Asian grocery store. I have a weak spot for savory breads among all buns and breads.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Almond buttered soba

Almond buttered soba
-1 serving soba, boiled 6-8mins and set aside
-1-2tbsp almond butter (mine is from Trader Joes. Substitute with peanut butter if you wish)

-1tsp crushed ginger
-drizzle of sesame oil
-cucumber, julienned
-1 stalk green or spring onions, chopped finely (save a "pinch" for garnish)
-sliced almonds

1.In a mixing bowl, add in all ingredients except the soba and tomatoes, mix well
2.Add in soba noodles and toss well
3.If too dry, add some water (Note: you could used the water used to boil the soba)
4. Garnish with sliced almond, and spring onions

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tiramisu - eggless recipe

Even if I make a cake-like dessert, it has to be tiramisu and nothing else (errr...except for the other no-bake cake I've attempted to make many years ago...the no-bake, freezer-"baked" made classic cheesecake :P ).

Tiramisu, eggless recipe (serves 4-5)
-1/3 espresso, strongly brewed (I used freshly brewed French Roast coffee)

Mascarpone Filling
-3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
-1/6 cup cane sugar
-1tsp vanilla extract
-8oz mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature
-1pack imported or domestic ladyfingers
-some cocoa powder

The cheese and lady/sponge fingers

1. Whip cream with sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.
2. Fold cream into softened mascarpone.

1. Place a layer of ladyfingers or sponge fingers at the bottom of a shallow baking dish or dessert bowls
2. Sprinkle with half the espresso
3. Spread with half the filling
4. Repeat with remaining ladyfingers or sponge fingers, espresso and filling, spreading the top smooth
5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before serving
6. Immediately before serving place cocoa in a fine strainer and shake a light coating on surface
(Note: Since I did not add any eggs, the tiramisu can keep longer in the fridge - my REAL intention was...since I wanted the tiramisu to keep longer in the fridge, I did not add eggs. :p)

The tiramisu still tasted "tiramisu" (even without the eggs) ~ mild and delicate flavor, moist, creamy. I did not say it. Mr. TF did.

Scoop it out from a baking dish; taking small bites from a dessert bowl, or like what I did - making a mini round of tiramisu on a plate like this - pick the "pick-me-up" up anyway you like.

Half gone! Halfway to pick-me-up! Mmmmm...nothing overpowers here. The flavors of coffee, cheese, whipping cream and cocoa powder balance just right. Yum!

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Steamed napa cabbage

Steamed napa cabbage
Ingredients: 1 napa cabbage - blanched in boiling water for less than 1 min, remove water and set aside; dried scallops(option); Canadian bacon (can be substituted with 2 slices of deli ham cut into strips); oyster sauce to taste; water or chicken broth

1. Heat 1tsp of oil in pan, lightly fry the bacon/ham; add water/chicken broth and some oyster sauce. Let the broth or gravy base simmer for 1 min.
2. Pour the broth onto the blanched napa cabbage and steam the entire dish for 15-mins or more, till the leaves soften
(Notes: Other uses of Canadian bacon - I made a bacon tower!)

Do not underestimate this simple way of cooking - it can be so flavor-packed

The sweetness of cabbage and the savory broth concocted from dried scallops, bacon, and oyster sauce, all became one tasty entity

You might find a similar dish - steamed napa cabbage in some Shanghai cuisine. They do it a bit differently though. Sometimes you find only heaps of napa cabbage, steamed with some "magic" (I don't know the secret, and don't know if it's MSG) broth that makes the dish so tasty. Whatever, with some oyster sauce and good-quality chicken broth, you can make magic too! :)

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Deep-fried seafood wonton or dumpling

Some of you were interested in those seafood dumplings or wontons, check below for the list of filling ingredients -

Seafood Dumpling, Deep Fried/Boiled
-1 fish fillet - use a good quality fish fillet (I use cod fillet)
-6-10 medium size prawns
-dashes of salt and pepper
-1tsp sesame oil
-less than 1tsp cooking wine
-1/2 cup mixed vegetables of peas and carrots, cooked and cooled, set aside
-1 egg white

Directions - chop the fish fillet to a fish paste consistency. Do the same with the prawns. Mix them in a mixing bowl and add in the cooked (cooled) vegetables and the marinade of salt and pepper, sesame oil and cooking wine. Then add in egg white and mix well. The final paste should not be too watery and just slightly sticky.

Use wonton wraps and fold in the fillings. If you are boiling for soups, you can fold them like this. For deep frying, just fold at the diagonal into triangles if you are using square wonton wraps.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Minced pork linguine - Bak Chor Mee with fish balls

Minced meat with linguine - Bak Chor Mee Pok with fish ball and spinach
Ingredients: Minced pork, dried mushrooms julienned, 1 glove minced garlic, 1 shallot sliced thinly, 1tbsp or more dark soy sauce- to taste, 1tsp oyster sauce, brown sugar to taste, salt and pepper to taste, 1tbsp or more black vinegar- adjust accordingly, water, frozen fish balls (option) - boil to cook, spinach-blanched.

Directions: Cook some linguine and set aside. Heat some oil in frying pan, fry the garlic till fragrant, then add pork and lightly fry till the pork is cooked (no more than 5mins so that the pork is not too chewy-tough). Dish out the pork and set aside. Add in the shallots and mushrooms and fry on low-medium heat for 6-8mins, till shallots turn translucent/golden brown. Add in dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar and water, allow the mixture to simmer for 10mins or more on low heat till entire mixture(of shallots and mushrooms) becomes soft. Add in the pork to the mixture and continue to simmer with some dashes of black vinegar.

Before serving, add in pasta and mix well with minced meat mixture (picture above). If you like more black vinegar, more dashes this time, and mix well with pasta.

Top pasta with more minced meat , serve with boiled fish balls and cooked spinach. ENJOY!

I always like black vinegar in my minced meat noodles - bak chor mee. How about you?

Why is that plate of Bak Chor Mee so difficult to reach?

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Seafood dumpling soup - fish and prawn wonton

Just can't get enough of wontons, dumplings. Made them the traditional way before. Then, "out-of-the-box" to have my spicy wontons was to change the soup base/broth by making it spicy . Now, it's a different wonton filling from the typical chicken/pork and/or prawns; it's seafood fish and prawns.

If you don't fancy poultry meat in your wontons/dumplings, I think you can try this at home. It's not so common to see such wontons/dumplings in eateries or restaurant, and I assure you...not because it is not tasty. It's (maybe) because the cost of ingredients (fish, prawns) are sometimes more expensive than poultry meat. Also, wontons/dumpling with poultry meat can be quite easily frozen (up to a period of 3- 6mths), but not those wontons/dumpling with fish/prawns fillings.

Do you need the recipe for the fish and prawn fillings that is going into the wontons/dumplings?

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Chicken nugget burger

Easy lunch, for the lazy one.

Chicken nugget mini burger
1.Reheat frozen chicken nuggets

2. Reheat english-style breakfast muffins (by the grill)

3. Ready meal, for the hungry me

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Green beans with five-spice tofu

Green beans contain vitamin A through their concentration of carotenoids of beta-carotene, and vitamin C. These two nutrients are important antioxidants that reduce free radicals in the body. Vitamin C as a water-soluble antioxidant and beta-carotene as a fat-soluble antioxidant.

The other ingredient I using for this salad is...Tofu.

Tofu - a soy protein that we might not know of specific antioxidants. But tofu does contain nutrients such as selenium, that is needed for the proper function of the antioxidant system, which works to reduce the levels of damaging free radicals in the body. The tofu used here is five spice dried tofu (五香豆腐, in Mandarin) - a kind of dried tofu pre-seasoned with special blends of spices - in this case, "five spice". In substitution of five spice, all-spice is sometimes used.

How nice to combine these two ingredients together. Green beans are versatile, tasty vegetables. Don't overcook them or they'll become limpy, limpy, limpy...nasty nasty nasty.

You can blanch the green beans and then toss in with the tofu that has been cut into strips. You can also stir fry the green beans and tofu with minced garlic.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Fusili with steamed shrimps/prawns and celery

You will find guided instructions on how to make this warm pasta salad as you read along. No stir frying or sauteing is required. But steaming may not be avoided. This warm pasta salad for Presto Pasta Night has a main trace of Asian flavors as a result of the marinade and ingredients used in steaming the prawns.

Fusili with steamed shrimps/prawns and celery
This warm pasta salad is

done by first shredding celery ; then steaming the shrimps or prawns in this recipe --> chinese-style - without the egg- whites and red chili but adding in spring onions/scallions; and preparing some tomato wedges.

While shredding the celery, boil the fusili or any other shell pasta. While the prawns are steaming, add the cooked pasta, tomato wedges, and celery strips into a big bowl or deep dish like this -

When the prawns are cooked (steaming takes about 8mins), dish and lay them on the serving bowl or deep dish -

Serve warm, as-is...

or toss them.

The natural "juices" of the steamed prawns/shrimps infuse so well with the fusili. And with the ginger, scallions, sesame oil and pepper that have gone into steaming the prawns/shrimps, you will taste of of that in your pasta.

Does that sound refreshing to you?

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Stir fry hairy gourd with glass noodles

Stir fry hairy gourd or little winter melon with mushrooms, and glass noodles

Ingredients: Hairy gourd peeled off skin and cut into thin strips, shitake mushrooms - julienned, 1 clove garlic-minced, Chinese dried shrimps(haebee) soaked in warm water for few mins then drain away water, glass noodles soaked in warm water till soften, chicken or veg broth (or water), 1-2tsp oyster sauce, pepper to taste.

1. Heat oil at low-medium in frying pan
2. Add garlic and chinese dried shrimps and fry till aromatic
3. Add in mushrooms and hairy gourd, lightly fry for 5mins, mixing well with garlic and dried shrimps.
4. When slightly softened, add in oyster sauce, then water/broth and slowly let simmer 6-8mins, or till hairy gourd is soft. Add in pepper to taste.
5. When almost ready, add in glass noodles and mix well

Thanks, Keropokman. I cooked this (from imagination) based on the key ingredients you mentioned - hairy gourd, mushrooms, glass noodles, and the picture you posted. I added some haebee though. Did your aunt use any other secret ingredient?

Very tasty and quite light. Love it!