July 29, 2008

Rice Stick Noodles- Stir fried

Did you have lunch yet? I just found out SOMEBODY had drunken noodle with out me today. :(

Well, this noodle dish is not from today, but from the past weekend. Usually during the week, my meals are only rice since it's always hot and ready in a rice pot.

But for weekends, I'd like to make noodles, whether soup noodles, stir fries, or (dry) tossed. The tossed is with vermicelli, chiffonade lettuce and herbs, grilled meats or fried lemongrass tofu, with a seasoned soy or fish sauce that you spoon in to your bowl. Then you toss it together!

This dish was just a stir fry of vegetables and fried tofu that I needed to use up before they go bad. Stir fries don't need to be complicated, where you follow a specific recipe. The only thing that you need to follow is the order of the ingredients you're going to cook... which one cooks quicker than another, so that it doesn't turn mushy. Mushy vegetables are bad bad!

Chicken Wings!

Have some!

O nom nom nom! ^-^

July 27, 2008

Braised Wintermelon and Tofu

For this dish, I pan fried the winter melon first and then braising it with tofu in a sweet bean sauce. I prefer using hoisin sauce with some soy sauce and water.

I peeled and cut the gourd into about 1/2-3/4 inch circles, then pan frying them. This adds flavor to the dish, and also help the gourd pieces stay together during the cooking. Then just add fried tofu (non-fried ones would fall apart easily in this dish), and cook together in the sauce for a while.

I like to eat it with red jasmine rice and some steamed veggies, like bok choy, chinese broccoli, green beans, or kale. Fresh crunchy cucumbers and lettuce would be good too.

Rosemary -Extra- Garlic Focaccia

* 3/4 whole wheat- 1/4 bread flour

* Chopped up rosemary mixed throughout the bread, not just planted on the top.

* Sea salt sprinkled on top, just completed the whole thing.

It was one of the rainy days last week I thought I'd make my dearrest a rosemary focaccia. One of the best things about this bread is the smell while baking it. I took the dough over to bake it there, so I can fill his place with carb-aroma too. But grrr! My plan was ruined when he decided to suprised me with making waffles. The waffle smell overtook my focaccia smell! Which was why I extra poked his bread (and extra slapped, and spanked, and tickled.) Mwuahaha!! (x_x)

The dough was split in half, one I made a small focaccia and one a small loaf.

July 26, 2008

Chinese Almond Cookies

Reach, Cat, Reach!!!!

Almost......! ^-^

These cookies are so yummy!
And buttery! But they're very good with a cup of tea. Fresh almond cookies are so much better than the hard kind from stores.


You can see the recipe here.

Or if you like this almond cookie recipe and more, try this link. It also has recipes for Pistachio Thumbprint Almond Cookies and for Spiced Coconut Brownies. Sounds good, so I'll be making them in the near future probably. ^-^*

I was lazy, so I omitted some steps like melting the butter instead of combining it with the almond flour in a food processor. Too lazy to dig out the big machine from the closet! So simplify what you can, and it'll still come out delicious.

Oatmeal Cookies!

The cat wants some cookies too!

Oatmeal Chocolate-chip Cookies

A -
1 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 and 1/2 cups rolled oats, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup fine granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup chocolate-chips (more or less, your preference)
1/2 cup walnuts (or more if you like)

** I used 1 chopped up Cadbury's bar and 3/4 cup chopped walnuts.

Method :

1. In a bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda and oatmeal (A). Set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl beat butter with sugar (brown and white), vanilla extract till light and fluffy. Beat in egg.
3. Add (A) mixture (flour and oatmeal) till well blended. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips.
4. Freeze till firm for about 15 minutes.
5. Drop by spoonful onto greased cookie pan*. Bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes or till edges turn light brown.

*Tip: Reynolds Release Nonstick aluminum is so much better than a greased cookie pan. No greasing and no sticking!

Adapted from:
Recipe Source : A Selection of Cakes and Pastries from the Phils. by Baby Santiago

July 23, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

There is nothing wrong with baking my own cake, and eating it too, darling!*

Filling: Fresh Champagne mangoes, and whipped cream.

Outside: Berries all around!


Sadly, I didn't have any small candles to put on the cake. (But maybe the cake is better without melted wax on it.) I also didn't have time to make icing to write my name on it. :(

July 21, 2008

Caramelized (Fresh) Pineapples

Mmm.. sweet and sour pineapples

Caramelizing them makes them tastier when cook in braising dishes, like with fish or tofu.

They're good eating just like that with plain rice too. I guess I like to eat simple things.

(No idea why I caramelized the pineapple cores too.)

Q: Where does the name pineapple come from?

A: The word first recorded in 1398, it was originally used to describes pine cones from conifer trees. When European explorers saw the tropical fruit (around 1664), they called them "pineapples" because they resembled what is now pine cones. Then in 1694, "pine cone" was first recorded to replace the original meaning of the term "pineapple".

Pineapple is a very good source of Vitamin C (94% DV in a one cup serving).

Seafood Noodles

:: Chinese broccoli

:: Crab sticks

:: Scallops (Pan fried first)

:: Shrimps

:: Carrots

:: Egg noodles

Stir-fried together!

July 20, 2008

Stir-Fried Flat Noodles w/ Greens

- Flat noodles

- Black wood ear mushrooms

- Green beans

- Zucchini

- Shitty chives

- Beancurd sticks

July 17, 2008

(Oven) BBQ Pork Ribs

Marinated Hana-Style ^-^

- With soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, garlic, and shallots. Marinate for about 1-2 hrs.

- Put in oven at 350F, for around 1 hr, and it'll fall off the bone.

- Turn on the broiler at the end and the meat will get a nice caramelized color.

- Don't forget the hot sauce!

MMmm... Hehe

July 13, 2008

Pork Noodle Soups!

To get a good broth for a noodle soup, simmer pork with roasted ginger, star anise, cinnamon, peppercorns, and and smashed garlic.

If you use the bones part, then the broth will be more flavorful. I used rib bones, but you can use beef bones- for beef noodle soups.

It is tedious, but to get a clear soup, you should skim all the visible foams and fats on top, or else the broth will be cloudy. I think cooking this is similar to making a consommé, where the resulting broth is clear, and has an amber color (for beef or veal consommé). The slow simmering makes the meat tender and just falls off the bone.

Ladle the broth and meats over your choice of noodles, and add the toppings you want- scallions, Sriracha, chilies, bean sprouts, basils, chilies...

July 10, 2008

A Mixed-Matched Noodle Salad

Uhh.. I have no idea what this dish is actually!

I guess those are some vermicelli, cucumber, sauteed jicama, herbs and nuts! Lightly tossed with a seasoned soy sauce dressing.

A refreshing summer dish.

July 7, 2008

Durian Cake!!!!

Looks like a good strawberry cake, right?? But this is a durian cake!

Two layers of light sponge cake, sandwiching together a layer of durian mousse.

I filled it with durian, but you can use any seasonal fruits you like. Sweet strawberries would be awesome, or mangoes and kiwis too! Frost the cake with fresh whipped cream!

Chiffon Cake Base:

A) 4 egg yolks, 1/4 tsp salt, 50g sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 150g cake flour, 3/4 tsp baking powder,

75ml (0.3 Cup) corn oil, 110ml (0.4 Cup) water

B) 4 egg whites, 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, 50g sugar (equaling 100g sugar total, about 1/2 cup)


1. Sieve cake flour, baking powder together.
2. Mix egg yolks, salt, 40g sugar, vanilla extract well with a hand mixer. Mix well until pale in color, and egg yolks leave a ribbon.
3. Add into egg mixture corn oil and water.
4. Clean the beaters of the hand mixer. Whip egg whites in a clean mixing bowl until big bubbles are formed. Add in the cream of tartar and whip until white in color. Add in sugar over 3 times and whip until egg whites are stiff.
5. Stir the sieved flour into yolk mixture. Then pour 1/2 whipped egg white into yolk mixture and blend well.
6. Pour yolk mixture into the remaining egg white mixture and blend well. But be careful, not to deflate the batter.
7. Pour batter into a baking pan lined with parchment paper and sprayed with oil. Bake at (375F) for 45 minutes or until cooked.
8. Invert cake on a cooling rack and leave to cool. Then cut cooled cake into 2 or 3 layers.

Note: One cake pan- you bake 45 mins. However, if you divide the batter in 2 pans, then bake for around 22-23 mins. Careful not to dry out the cake.

Also, if you leave the inverted cake to cool on rack, then the domed top will level out. You will have an even flat top for decorating.

July 4, 2008

Fresh Picked Strawberries!

Fresh picked strawberries! Yum! These are from Smolak Farms in North Andover.

They also have an annual strawberry festival, as well as hayrides, an ice cream shop (Treadwells), and a bake shop! So grab a coffee and a doughnut before you head over to pick them!

Picking your own berries is very fun, I really enjoyed it. Just remember to mark your calendar, and go around mid-June to enjoy the best.

I think it's better to go during a sunny week, rather than a rainy week, because the strawberries are filled with water (very juicy!) if there are rainy days. But either way, these are very fresh and smell amazing as you're filling up the basket.

July 2, 2008

Vietnamese Crepes- Banh Xeo

If you'd like to know what the word "xeo" mean, it means "sizzling". Hence, the name of this dish is Vietnamese Sizzling Crepes.

When the batter hits the hot pan, it has the sound 'xeo! Xeo! xeo!!' or 'sizzle! sizzle! zizzle!' in English. Well, that is what I hypothesize where the word xeo comes from. :D

If you cook these crepes, you should really chop all the ingredients into small pieces, even the shrimps. They'll be more evenly distributed.

Typical ingredients would be pork, shrimps, bean sprouts, mung beans, and green onions. Of course you can make it vegetarian like I did- tofu, jicama, bean sprouts, and mung beans! Mung beans, you have to cook separately and add to the batter, or else they're not going to cook thoroughly.

Crepes is a very quick cooking dish, so you'll burn it if you don't keep an eye on it! Burnt crepes are bad bad bad!!

And of course what's essential to this dish are good dipping sauce and good herbs! You have to eat it with soft lettuce, like a bib lettuce, and different herbs like mint, Vietnamese coriander, purple perilla, fish mint, spearmint, and VN balm.

What I also love to do is add a leaf or two of fresh mustard greens, which gives a different kind of spiciness to it. Mmm wasabi flavor!

A good lemony-spicy fish sauce or soy sauce for dipping is needed! To eat, cut a piece of the crepe, put it on a lettuce and add herbs you like, then wrap it up and dip in the fish sauce. It is kind of messy to eat, so most of the time, it's better to eat at home (get someone to make it for you!) rather than in a restaurant.

Green Mango and Chili Salt

One of my favorite snacks- eating crunchy mango with a chili salt mixture. It is sour-sweet-salty-crunchy- and spicy!

Although a better dipping sauce would be to dip Thai green mangoes in a thick sweet fish sauce. Simply add granulated sugar to fish sauce until the consistency is thick. Add some chilies if you like!

The green mango-salty sweet fish sauce snack combo is popular in Southeast Asian countries (Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines.) I'm not making this up! Look here!