Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ragu Alla Bolognese


  • 1/3 oz. dried porcini muchroom, washed and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium size carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 2/3 cup pancetta (can also use prosciutto)
  • 1/3 cup Marsala or dry red wine
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 10 oz. pasta, preferably tagliatelle, freshly cooked
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • Fresh shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano


  • Put Porcini in a bowl, cover with boiling water and set aside 20 minutes until softened
  • Heat the oil in the large saucepan, add pancetta, onion, carrots and celeries, cook for 2 minutes. Add ground beef  and cook until evenly browned
  • Drain the porcini and discard the soaking water. Chop the porcini, then add to the pan with Marsala, milk and crushed tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally until rich and dark. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Divide the pasta into 4 serving plates. Put Ragu into 4 individual bowls, top with parmigiano-reggiano shavings. Serve with pasta.

Feijoada (Brazilian Black Bean Stew)


1 (12 ounce) package dry black beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion, divided
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 smoked ham hocks
  • 8 ounces diced ham
  • 1/4 pound thickly sliced bacon, diced
  • 1/2 pound smoked Portuguese Chorizo, sliced into 1/2-inch thick
1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves, crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)

  • Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add 3/4 cup of chopped onion, green onions, and garlic; cook and stir until softened, about 4 minutes. Pour in the soaked beans and fill with enough water to cover beans by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer uncovered for 2 hours, or until tender.
  2. While beans are cooking, place ham hocks in smaller pot with 1/4 cup of the chopped onion. Cover with water and simmer, until meat pulls off of the bone easily, about 1 hour. Drain and add to the beans.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place ham, bacon, and remaining onion in a baking dish. Bake 15 minutes or until mixture is crispy.
  4. Drain the bacon and ham mixture, and add to the beans. Add sliced Chorizo. Season with bay leaves, coriander, salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered 30 minutes more. Stir in chopped cilantro and parsley just before serving.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dadar Gulung (Indonesian Caramel Coconut Filled Crepes)


Coconut filling:
2 cups grated coconut
10 tbsp grated gula jawa (Javanese dark brown palm sugar)
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 3-inch stick of cinnamon, broken in halves
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1 3/4 cups coconut milk (about 300 ml)
1 egg
1 tsp pandan leaf essence/paste (can be substituted with 3 drops of green food coloring)
1/2 tsp salt


Coconut filling:

  • Mix grated coconut, grated palm sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and salt together in a frying pan
  • Cook over medium heat, constantly stirred until all of the moisture is absorbed.
  • Remove the cinnamon stick, set aside and cool it down.

  • Mix flour, rice flour,coconut milk, egg, pandan leaf paste and salt. Whisk until form smooth batter.
  • Lightly oil an 8-inch frying pan, pour 3 tbsp of the batter into the pan. Make sure that the pan is covered with the batter so it becomes a thin layer of crepe. Fry for one minute, turn the crepe over and fry for another one minute. Remove and set aside to cool down.
  • Repeat with the remaining batter.
  • Place 2 tbsp of the coconut filling in the center of the crepe. Fold the top, then tuck in left and right sides and fold over once more.
  • Serve at room temperature.

Monday, April 25, 2011



  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced potatoes
  • 1 cup thinly sliced beets
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped red cabbage
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh dill weed
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • sour cream, for topping
  • chopped tomatoes, for garnish

  • Directions
  1. Place sliced potatoes and beets in a medium saucepan over high heat; cover with stock, and boil until vegetables are tender. Remove potatoes and beets with a slotted spoon, and reserve stock.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions, caraway seeds, and salt; cook until onions become soft and translucent. Then stir in celery, carrots, and cabbage. Mix in reserved stock; cook, covered, until all vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add potatoes and beets to the skillet. Season with black pepper and dill weed. Stir in cider vinegar, honey, and tomato puree. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer at least 30 minutes. Serve topped with sour cream, extra dill weed, and chopped fresh tomatoes.

Note: For low calorie option, I like to put chopped onion directly into the stock (without sauteeing it first in butter). Also use low fat or light sour cream.

Lavender Cookies


  • 5/8 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon lavender flowers
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup colored sugar for decoration (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lavender flowers

  • Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat the egg, and blend into the butter and sugar. Mix in the lavender flowers, baking powder, vanilla, salt and the flour. Drop batter by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Remove cookies to cooling racks, and sprinkle with decorative sugar and additional lavender flowers if desired.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lemon Vanilla Cupcake With Cream Cheese Icing

Lemon Vanilla Cupcake Recipe:

Yield: 12 servings

2 1/4 cups (250 grams) cake flour, sifted
3/4 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (335 grams) sugar
Grated zest of 3 lemons or 2 oranges
1 tbsp vanilla extract5 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup (165 grams) crème fraîche, homemade or storebought, or heavy cream, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (30 grams) dark rum (for the lemon cake) or Grand Marnier (for the orange cake)
7 1/2 tablespoons (3 3/4 ounces; 110 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour a 9 x 5 x 3-inch (22.5 x 12.5 x 7.5-cm) loaf pan, dust the interior with flour, and tap out the excess. Put the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two stacked regular baking sheets and set aside.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together and keep close at hand. Toss the sugar and zest together in a large bowl and rub them together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, beating until the mixture is pale and foamy, then whisk in the crème fraîche and rum. Switch to a large rubber spatula and gently stir the sifted flour mixture into the batter in three or four additions—the batter should be thick and smooth. Finally, fold in the cooled melted butter in two or three additions.
3. Immediately spoon the batter into the pan and slide the baking sheet(s) into the oven. Bake for 1 hour and 25 to 30 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out dry and free of crumbs. (Check the cake at the 40-minute mark. If it is browning quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent for the remainder of the baking period.) Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes on a cooling rack before turning it out of the pan; invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

Cream Cheese Icing Recipe:


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • 8 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (about 2 lbs.)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest


About 5 1/2 cups of icing.
In medium mixer bowl, cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add sugar one cup at a time and milk. Mix well. Beat on high until smooth (only 30 seconds to 1 minute). Thin to ice cake smooth; use full strength for piping borders.
NOTE: Do not use light cream cheese or butter substitute. If margarine is used, icing will be softer.