Friday, February 24, 2012

[Indonesian] Rendang Ayam (Chicken Rendang)

  • 10 to 20 fresh red chili peppers (the amount can be adjusted to your preferred spiciness)
  • 10 red shallots
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1-inch fresh ginger (or 1 teaspoon ginger powder)
  • 10 candle nuts 
  • 1-inch fresh galangal
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, white part only, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 8 pieces of chicken thighs (I used about 20 pieces chicken wings, as shown in picture)
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 salam leaves (Indian/Asian bay leaves)
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • salt to taste
  • Put the first 10 ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until they form spice paste. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and stir fry the spice paste until fragrant. Pour in coconut milk and chicken stock into the saucepan. Add chicken pieces, salam leaves, cloves and tamarind pulp, mix well and bring to boil.
  • Reduce the heat, cover the saucepan and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the sauce becomes very thick and oily, about 1 hour. Season with salt. Serve hot with steamed white or brown rice.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mango Passion Fruit Popsicles

I understand that it's still February. Many parts of the country still have snow. But yesterday the temperature reached 78 degrees F here in sunny California and my son was asking for some popsicles. I had ripe mangoes and I had passion fruit juice, so here is what we came up with.

  • 4 ripe large mangoes, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups passion fruit juice
In a blender, whip the mangoes until smooth, stir in passion fruit juice and pour into popsicle molds. Press on the lids and transfer to the freezer for several hours until well frozen.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chocolate Glazed Cake Donuts

  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 quarts oil for deep frying
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate morsels or chips for glazing
  • In a large bowl. stir together the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg, butter and vanilla. Mix until blended. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Heat oil in a deep heavy skillet to 370 degrees F. On a floured board, roll chill dough out to 1/2-inch thickness. Use a 3 inch round cutter to cut out the donuts. Use smaller cutter to cut the holes from center.
  • Fry donuts in hot oil until golden brown, turning once. Remove from oil to drain on paper towel. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in microwave or double boiler. Glaze the top of the donuts with the chocolate.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Roasted Cornish Hens with Vegetables

  • 3 (1 1/2-pounds) Cornish Hens
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • 1 pound small roasting potatoes (new potatoes or fingerling), washed and unpeeled
  • 1 pound brussel sprouts, washed and halved
  • 1/2 pound pearls onions
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a small bowl, stir together oil, salt, pepper and cayenne. Rinse the hens and pat dry. Remove excess fat and season the cavity with some salt and pepper. Stuff each hen with a sprig of rosemary and 4 garlic cloves. Tie the legs together if desired. Brush the hens thoroughly with spiced oil. Toss vegetables with fennel seeds and the remaining of spiced oil until well mixed, then transfer to roasting pan.
  • Bake the vegetables uncovered in the oven for about 20 minutes. Stir vegetables and arrange hens, placing them on top of the vegetables, breast side up. Roast for another 30 minutes, stir the vegetables and baste the hens with the juice. Continue roasting until the meat thermometer inserted in  fleshy part of the thigh registers 170 degrees F. 
  • Transfer the hens to the carving board, remove garlics and rosemary from the cavities, and halve each lengthwise along backbones. Serve with the roasted vegetables and drizzle with more juice.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chili Lime Taro Fries

A hundred times better than French Fries. More flavor, more crunch and more satisfying :)

  • 1 large Taro root, peeled and cut into fries size
  • cooking oil for frying
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ancho chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

In a large skillet, heat the cooking oil over medium-high heat. Make sure you have enough oil to completely submerge the fries. Fry the taro root until they turn golden brown. 
Using a strainer, transfer the fries into a large bowl. 
Sprinkle immediately with salt and Ancho chili powder, and drizzle with lime juice. Toss all the ingredients together using large spoon until the spices are well distributed. Serve hot.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pig Buns

Last Saturday my 9 year old son wanted to have some chocolate buns (again!). But this time, it came with the instruction that they should not be in porcupine shapes (Porcupines are boring! Yawn....!). 
So here they are; introducing..the pigs!
I used the same recipe as the porcupine chocolate buns, omit the currant for the eyes, and replacing them with chocolate morsels.

Ruby Red Grapefruit Marmalade

3 ingredients, (roughly) 3 hours, some stirring, a dash of love, and one heck of delicious grapefruit marmalade!

  • 2 ruby red grapefruits
  • 2 pounds granulated sugar
  • juice from 1 lemons (about 3 tablespoons)
  • In a large pot, place the two grapefruits in just enough water to make them float freely. Bring to boil over medium heat, continue cooking for about 2 hours (add more water if needed). Drain the grapefruit, discard the water and let the grapefruits to cool down.
  • Slice the grapefruits as thinly as possible, chop a bit (or you can use the food processor to do the job).  Return the chopped grapefruits into the pot, add sugar and lemon juice. Dissolve the sugar over low heat, stirring frequently. Bring to boil and let bubble until you reach the jell point (about 15-30 minutes). Transfer to clean and sterilized jars and soak in hot water for 10 minutes.

Note: Recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson's grapefruit marmalade recipe

Friday, February 10, 2012

Stir Fried Garlic Chives, Beef, and Tofu with Szechuan Peppercorns

  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 big bunch of flowering garlic chives, cut into 1 1/2-inch length
  • 2 pieces of fried tofu, cut into strips
  • 1/4 pounds beef, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch or corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely grounded Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sambal Oelek/ Asian hot chili sauce (optional)

  • Mix beef and tapioca starch in a large bowl until the beef is all coated in starch. In a large wok or skillet, heat the cooking oil over high heat. Put garlic and beef into the wok, stir and cook until the beef is cooked throughly and no longer pink.
  • Toss the garlic chives and tofu into the wok, season with oyster sauce, soy sauce and Szechuan peppercorns (add chili sauce if you like). Continue cooking and stirring for another minute or two. Remove from the heat. Serve with steamed rice.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Porcupine Chocolate Buns

How do you pet a porcupine?
With that hair a fright?
How do you pet a porcupine?
Without a painful bite
How do you pet those needles?
Without your hand going through it.
The answer is quite simple…
Get your sister to do it.

By Evan James Griffin

  • 1 pack (2 1/4 teaspoons) dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (105 - 115 degree F)
  • 1 cup warm milk (105 - 115 degree F)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 12 pieces dried currants, halved (for eyes)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine milk, water, yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Let sit for about 5 - 10 minutes, or until foamy. Add salt, olive oil, the remaining of sugar, and 3 cups of flour; knead until smooth. Stir in just enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. 
  • Continue kneading for about 6-8 minutes (dough will be sticky). Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover with kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Punch down dough, then turn onto a floured surface; divide the dough into 24 pieces. Place a tablespoon of chocolate morsels in a center of each bun, seal the edges together by pressing. Shape the chocolate filled buns into oval shapes, and snip the quills using the tips of a scissor, leaving just enough space on one end for the face. Place pieces of dried currant for eyes and transfer the buns onto greased baking sheets, about 2-inches apart. Let sit to rise for about 30 minutes. 
  • Bake at 375 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately brush the tops with melted butter.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Meatballs - Two Ways

Old fashioned meatballs dressed in Spicy Chipotle Sauce (Mexican) and Saffron Wine Sauce (Spanish).

For the meatballs:
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degree F. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the ingredients using your hands (or wooden spoon) until well incorporated. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds, about 1-inch in diameter each. Place meatballs on the baking sheet (or individual mini muffin pan) and bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove meatballs from the pan and cool down. 

For the Spicy Chipotle Sauce:
  • 1 (28 ounces) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice
  • 1 or 2 chipotle chilies in Adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • In a blender, process tomatoes and chipotle chilies until smooth. Transfer the sauce to large saucepan, heat over medium heat and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, add spices to the chipotle sauce, stirring occasionally.
  • Add meatballs to the sauce, cover and simmer for another 30 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Transfer to plates. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro, if desired.

For Saffron Wine Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crumbles saffron, soaked in about 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, for garnish
  • In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. Add wine and continue cooking until the wine starts to evaporate. Pour in chicken stock, saffron water and spices. Reduce the heat to simmer.
  • Add meatballs to the sauce, cover and simmer for another 30 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Transfer to plates. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Is it so wrong that I love Starbucks' cranberry bliss bars so much that I felt inspired to bake some myself?

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 6 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pack (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 6 ounces white baking chocolate, melted

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. In a microwave, melt butter, stir in brown sugar. Transfer to a large bowl, cool to room temperature. Beat  in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon, gradually add to butter mixture. Stir in cranberries and chopped chocolate (batter will be thick).
  • Spread into 9x13-inch baking pan. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (do not over bake). Cool on the wire rack.
  • To make frosting; In a large bowl, beat in cream cheese, sugar, orange peel and lemon juice until well blended. Gradually add half of the melted chocolate into the mixture and mix well. Frost brownies. Sprinkle with dried cranberries and drizzle with the remaining melted chocolate. Cut into bars and refrigerate. 

Note: Recipe is taken from Taste Of Home website. Tweaked just a little bit by me.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Thai Green Curry Chicken

  • 6 tablespoons of green curry paste (click here for recipe)
  • 4 boneless chicken breast, cubed or thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced bamboo shoots
  • 1 cup cubed eggplant (I used 1/2 cup of frozen green peas, but you can use any vegetable you like)
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh whole basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and ground white pepper

  • In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Fry the spice paste and kaffir lime leaves unit fragrant, then add coconut milk and chicken stock. Mix until blended and bring to boil. Put chicken pieces into the sauce. Reduce the heat to simmer, cook the chicken covered for about 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is done and no longer pink, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the vegetables and basil leaves to the curry. Cook for an additional 10 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through and the sauce is reduced. Season the curry with fish sauce, sugar, salt and white pepper. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tuna Potato Turnovers

One spectacular dish from my mystery recipe collection (read: recipes of unknown origins I had written down many years ago and lost in the piles of cookbooks and clippings, only to be rediscovered and begging for some sweet attention!).

  • 2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 large hard boiled eggs
  • 1 6-ounce can tuna packed in oil, drained, reserve 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pack thawed puff pastry (I made my own puff pastry, recipe and instructions can be found here. But store bought puff pastry works just fine, too)
  • 1 beaten egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of milk (mixed together) for the egg was

  • Place potatoes in a medium sized pan and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to simmer over medium heat for about 25-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender, but not mushy. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Cube potatoes and eggs, about 1/4 inch in size, toss in tuna, capers, chopped parsley and reserved tuna oil, season with salt and pepper. Mix all ingredients until well blended and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degree F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Using sharp knife, cut puff pastry sheet into 5" x 5" squares. Take a heaping tablespoon of tuna filling and place it in the center of the puff pastry, brush the edges with a little bit of water. Fold pastry to form a triangle, and transfer to lined baking sheet. Continue the process with the remaining ingredients. You should be able to get somewhere between 18-20 turnovers.
  • Brush the top of the turnovers with the prepared egg wash. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until they turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool down on the rack. Serve warm.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Bye-bye McDonald's chicken nuggets!

  • 4 boneless chicken breast, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fine bread crumbs
  • oil for deep frying

  • Place cubed chicken breasts into a food processor and blend until it forms a smooth paste. Transfer to a medium bowl and add parsley, onion powder, garlic powder , salt and pepper. Mix well. Put the flour in a bowl, season with salt and pepper. Put beaten eggs in another bowl and breadcrumbs in a different bowl. Place those 3 bowls close to the chicken mixture, to make it easier to work with. 
  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Roll out the chicken into small balls, about 1 tablespoon each, and flatten them using the palms of your hands to form the nugget shapes. Cover each nugget with flour, then dip into the egg, and cover with breadcrumbs. Repeat the process with the remaining nuggets. 
  • Fry the nuggets in hot oil, until the chicken is cooked through and turn golden brown (about 4 minutes per side). Remove from the oil and drain the excess grease using paper towel. Serve warm.