Sunday, January 27, 2013

Do Chua (Vietnamese Pickled Carrot and Daikon Radish)

  • 1/2 pound carrots, julienned or cut into match-like strips
  • 1/2 pound daikon radish, julienned or cut into match-like strips
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • In a large bowl, mix water, sugar and salt. Stir until sugar and salt completely dissolved. 
  • Add carrot and daikon strips into the bowl and mix well.
  • Transfer to sterilized jars. Seal and refrigerate for at least overnight before consuming. It should last about 1 month in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Herbed Salami and Cheese Rolls

  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg (+1 egg for egg wash)
  • 1/2 cup warm milk (100-110 degrees F)
  • 120 grams water roux/Tangzhong (recipe below)
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar 
  • 1/2 cup chopped salami
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped


  • Combine warm milk and yeast in a small bowl, and let sit for about 5-10 minutes, or until foamy. Mix flour, salt and sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer. Make well in the center. Add wet ingredients (yeast mixture, egg, and water roux) to the bowl. Fit the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer and begin mixing on medium speed. Knead until the dough comes together. Add butter and continue kneading until the dough is smooth, not too sticky on the surface and elastic, about 20 minutes with mixer.
  • When the dough is ready, you should be able to take a chunk and stretch it to a very thin membrane before it breaks. When it does break, the break should form a circle.
  • Take the dough out of the mixing bowl and transfer onto lightly floured surface. Add basil, oregano, cheese and salami. Knead the dough using your hand until all of the ingredients is well mixed and distributed. Shape the dough into a ball. Take a large bowl and grease with oil. Place dough into the bowl and cover with wet towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it's doubled in size.
  • Transfer to a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 8 equal portions. Cover with plastic wrap, let rest for 15 minutes. 
  • Grease and flour a rectangular casserole dish. Take one portion of the dough, flatten it with rolling pin, roll up the dough and shape into small ball, sealing up the edges. Repeat the process with the remaining portions. Transfer the rolls to the casserole dish, cover with cling wrap and let rise for another 40 minutes, until they double in size. 
  • Preheat the oven to 330 degrees F. Beat one egg and brush over the top of the rolls. Bake int he oven for 30 minutes until they turn golden brown.

Water roux ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup water

Mix flour and water in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon or spatula. The mixture will become thicker and thicker. Use the thermometer to check the temperature. When it reaches 65 degrees C (149-150 degrees F), remove the saucepan from the stove. Set aside and cool down.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Chips

  • 2 large Red/Golden Delicious apples
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon until well blended. Using a mandolin, slice the apples to 1/8 inch thickness. 
  • Lay apple sliced side by side on the parchment paper, in a single layer. Sprinkle apple slices with cinnamon sugar. Bake in the oven for 1 hour, then take out the baking sheets and flip over the apple slices. Bake for another 1 hour, then turn off the oven. Leave the baking sheets in the oven until the chips cool completely (I like to leave them in the oven overnight). Remove from baking sheet and enjoy. Or store in an airtight container for later consumption.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Confetti Dirty Rice

As we all know, what makes dirty rice 'dirty' is the puréed chicken liver.
And while I do not mind chicken liver part a bit, a lot people, including those in my own household, do not care much for chicken liver. 
But don't worry.
By substituting chicken liver with dark roux, we can all enjoy our dirty rice (that's still dirty) without anybody complaining.
Bright colored bell peppers also add some festivity to the dish.

  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 Jalapeño peppers, seeded, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and soft membrane removed, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and soft membrane removed, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and soft membrane removed, diced
  • 4 links smoked Andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 5 cups cooked long-grain rice
  • 4 stalks green onion, white parts only, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried Oregano
  • Salt and pepper

  • In a large heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add flour, a little bit at a time, and stir using wooden spatula or whisk, until well blended. Continue cooking and stirring, until the roux turn dark copper in color. Transfer the roux into a bowl, scraping it from the skillet using rubber spatula.
  • Add oil into the same skillet, place on the stove over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook until soft and translucent. Add Jalapeño, diced bell peppers, sliced Andouille and 1/4 cup of chicken broth,  cook until the broth evaporates and the vegetables are softer and charred.
  • Add the rice and the remaining of chicken broth into the skillet along with roux, Cajun seasoning, Oregano and chopped green onions. Season with salt and pepper. Mix all of the ingredients together until well blended. Continue cooking until the liquid is all absorbed and the rice is cooked through. Remove from the stove and transfer to individual plates. Serve hot. 

Serves 6 as main dish

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Breakfast Granola Muffins

  • 1 cup granola
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 cup golden raisin
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, or plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F with a rack in the middle. Oil 12 muffin cups. Combine granola and milk in a bowl and let sit for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cover the raisin with hot water and soak for 15 minutes. Drain and soak with paper towels.
  • Sift together whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In medium bowl, beat together the eggs, honey, buttermilk or yogurt, canola oil and vanilla. Quickly whisk in the flour, then fold in the granola and raisins. Combine well.
  • Spoon into muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool in the tins for about 10 minutes, then un-mold and cool on the rack

Makes 12 regular size muffins.
Recipe is taken from New York Times, published 12/07/2009

Saturday, January 12, 2013


  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar + 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder for dusting
  • oil for frying
  • Place water, butter, and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a heavy saucepan, cook over medium heat and bring to boil. Add flour into the saucepan, stir with wooden spatula until the mixture clumps together into a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat.
  • Transfer dough into a mixing bowl, add vanilla extract and 3 eggs (one at the time) while stirring with spatula. The dough should look soft and shiny but still sticking to the spatula. If not, add one more egg. Place dough in a pastry bag with star tip. Pipe lines of dough onto cookie sheet lined with wax paper, about 5 inches each. Store the cookie sheet in a freezer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the dough turn firm.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan to 375 degrees F. Work in batches, fry the churros in the oil, about 2 minutes for each side, until they are golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.
  • Mix sugar and cinnamon powder in a large plate. Roll warm churros in the sugar mixture until completely coated.

Makes about 20 5-inch Churros

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hot Italian Sausage, Roasted Red Pepper, and Tomato Sauce

The Indonesian in me does not like skiing. 
We like warm weather. We do not like wearing big heavy bulky clothing. We like things (and ourselves) to move at a slower pace. And we certainly do not like to crash land on our behind going downhill at 40 mph on a slippery slope. 
And to do it all when you're 'not as young as you used to be' certainly makes the whole experience a lot more excruciating.

Last week, the whole family decided that a ski trip was called for.
And while we as a family, had so much fun, I (whose skiing skills are nothing to write home about) suffered most pain and bruises from all of the falling and tumbling.
So here I am, a few days after the fact, sore muscles and bruised ego still linger, trying to get back to my regular schedule.
Kids are back to school, and family still needs to be fed. It's time to whip up one of my 'quick, easy but delicious' meals.

The sauce is absolutely wonderful mixed with cooked pasta and grated parmesan cheese. Double or triple the recipe to make a big batch, store in an airtight container and freeze up to one month for later use.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 large sweet red peppers
  • 4 links Italian sausages, casing removed
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Half the red peppers lengthwise, remove the seeds from the cavities. Line a baking sheet with a piece of aluminum foil, place the peppers on the baking sheet facing up. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes. Flip over the peppers and continue roasting for another 15 minutes, or until the peppers are soft and nicely charred. Remove from the oven and cool down.
  • Place the roasted peppers in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a heavy pot, heat the remaining of olive oil over medium heat. Add loose sausage and cook until golden brown, breaking them up with the spatula. Add minced garlic and chili flakes, mix and continue cooking for another 3 minutes.
  • Add canned tomatoes, red pepper puree, basil and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with lid, and continue cooking for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013!

2012 flew by so fast. Lots of fun and exciting things happened to us in 2012. 
A new addition to our family (puppy), summer vacation (Puerto Rico), J's new job, and my short trip to Jakarta to see family and friends. We took bread making classes in San Francisco, watched a couple of touring Broadway shows, and shared some wonderful and memorable meals with family and friends.
All in all, 2012 was a great year.

So, on this first day of 2013, please allow me to wish you all a joyous and happy new year. May this new year brings immense happiness in all you do, the creativity and passion to cook and to try new things, and may we will never gain weight from all the cooking and eating we'll do in upcoming year.

Artichoke Lemon Pesto
  • 1 can quartered artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf Italian Parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon rind
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Note: Artichoke lemon pesto is great for dip, or spread, or mix with pasta (mix hot cooked pasta with some pesto, sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese)