November 29, 2008

Dried Bamboo Shoots Soup

You can actually eat this with either noodles or rice. I prefer noodles. Good with egg noodles, big flat noodles, or thin rice noodles. There are few ingredients in this soup, only dried bamboo shoots, soft tofu, and scallions.

November 28, 2008

Masala Chickpea Burger

What should I cook? What should I cook?? I want to make chana masala, but I'm also in the mood for a veggie burger too!

Let's combine the two together, and make a very spicy masala chickpea burger! I used all the spices that'd go into a chana masala- coriander, ginger, turmeric, chillies, chili flakes, garam masala, cumin, garlic, paprika, and amchoor powder! Wow! That is a lot of spice. You can make this if you have the spices available already in your/your friend's cabinet. ^-^

Spicy Chickpeas Masala Burger

1 (15 oz) can of chickpeas (TJ's brand or any kind)
1/2 cup of chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup small diced celery
1 egg
1/2 red onion, diced
1 inch of ginger- minced/small diced
1 or 2 toasted bread slices (whole wheat) OR 3/4 cup toasted bread crumbs

Spices: salt, pepper, chili flakes chopped green chilies a splash of olive oil 2 tsp garlic powder a little coriander, 2-3 tsp of cumin 1 tsp turmeric 1 1/2 amchoor powder 2 tsp paprika garam masala- to taste- i put a lot, and didn't measure.

poppy seeds
buns/bread slices

Topping ideas: Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced onions, Sriracha, hummus

1. Put the following in a blender/food processor: chickpeas, bread crumbs, egg, splash of olive oil and all the spices. Blend together until it is a chunky hummus. (Be careful not to over blend, like I did.)*

2. Scoop out chickpea mixture into a big bowl and stir in chopped parsley, celery, ginger, and onion.

3. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and also put some poppy seeds out on a large plate. Then divide the chickpea mixture into burger-size portions and form into patties. Put the patties on the poppy seeds and encrust both sides with the seeds before frying in a pan.

4. Cook for about 6-8 minutes on each side, until the chickpea burgers brown. Check occasionally. Slide out on a plate. Toast up buns and spread them with a tangy hummus. Add the chickpea burger and top each with sliced onions and tomatoes, or anything you like.

5. Enjoy immediately :D

November 17, 2008

Dinner: Braised Smelt and Stir Fried Gai-lan

Braised smelt in caramel sauce.

This is a savory caramel sauce, not the sweet kind that you usually associate with. The caramel adds a depth of flavor to any Vietnamese braised meat or fish dishes. I don't like smelt, because the fish breaks up too easily during cooking and there's too many tiny bones in it to eat. These were cooked with ginger, garlic, chili and fish sauce too. And you eat these with rice!

Pork and gai-lan stir fried.

November 14, 2008

Milky Adzuki Bean Dessert

Adzuki beans with seaweed and red jujubes in lightly sweetened soymilk. I heart adzuki bean desserts.

November 13, 2008

Braised Bitter Melon, Tofu, and Plantains(!)

I love bitter melon, I love tofu, and I love plantains! So, why not the three together in a pot?

It's actually very good, with the right seasonings, by yours truly. :D The key is to choose a slightly ripe, but not too ripe, plantain. This way, it'll not be mushy in the pot.

Critusy Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This wasn't a cake I set out to make. I just happened to have a large amount of fresh pineapple at home. Never having a pineapple upside-down cake before, I don't really know which recipes are good and which are not. I found one on the Epicurious website that look pretty good. And what's exxtrrraa good about it is that Smitten Kitchen also did the same thing. I can see how other people like it then.

I know I don't like the cake very sweet, so I reduced the amount from one cup to a half cup, and it was really perfect for me. And since I don't have any cardamon on hand, I substituted it a teaspoon of cinnamon. It was silly of me, because after mixing in the cinnamon and being busy with other things, I saw brown specks in my flour and wonder what they are. Cinnamon!

However, I figured, cinnamon alone might be a bit boring. Hence, I added the zest of an orange and it really made this cake flavorful and fresh.

The pineapple pieces are caramelized in a pan with some sugar and a teeny bit of water separately before arranging in the cake pan. That's why it's more of a golden color, and this also avoided using lots of butter too. Sweet and sour, and so good. ^-^

Oh yeah, no rum in this cake. (-___-)Booooo. The kids have to eat too.

November 11, 2008

Crispy Warm Beans and Spinach

One of the simpliest, and best side dishes ever. All you have to do is boil some beans until soft (ahead of time), drain them, and crispy them up in a pan with a bit of olive oil. This recipe is versatile too! Use any greens you like. The original recipe called for kale, but I only had baby spinach on hand.

I like to season it a bit- with garlic powder (or fresh garlic in hot oil), salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Just don't add any sauce of any kind. That would make the beans soggy. You can add an herb too, if you like. But it's sooooo good simply with some rice, and maybe a fried egg? ^-^

It is the texture that make this dish good. The beans become crispy on the outside, yet warm and soft on the inside. Crispy bits of beans also break off and cling on to the spinach. I think a drizzling of toasted sesame seed oil at the end would make it good too, but I didn't do that last time. Try it out!

November 10, 2008

Three Humps Bread

Whole wheat bread studded with sunflower seeds throughout and sesame seeds on top.
(This whole wheat is not a hard doorstop. Yay!)

Bread proofing up before the bake.

I think this a good bread, except it's a little too big to fit in someone's Pop-Up Toaster. :-( It's fine in my toaster oven. :D

When I'm done with this bag of sunflower seeds I have, I'll make walnut bread! That is, if the walnuts don't end up in my banana bread again. Or, perhaps a walnut cookie request from someone?

November 9, 2008

Soft Pretzels


I love pretzels! Yes, these may look like some weird twisted buns, but this was my first attempt at making pretzels! Yay! I'll have to practice my rolling skills. The ones above are scallion-ginger pretzels (in the dough, as well as on top of the dough itself.) I topped some with chili flakes, hoping for a spicy kick, but I guess I need to dip them in mustard or Sriracha to taste something spicy.I also made some miniature normal pretzels too, below. These have an egg wash and then topped with sea salt. I think I may have sprinkled on the salt too much, because I scrapped off some on top when eating. These are good chewy soft pretzels- definitely a recipe keeper. What I would change is using less baking soda in the poaching water.

Since I also tested a few pretzels with cinnamon sugar on top, I learned a very important matter... that is to put the cinnamon-sugar after the baking, after brushing on yummy melted butter. Because my sugar was almost burnt. ( ̄〜 ̄) Hehe
So if you have a free afternoon, make some pretzels! I made the dough a night ahead, and kept refrigerated. One thing you need to remember is to use less yeast. Because the yeast would eat up all the food and wouldn't make your dough rise the next day. I'd say, use 1/2 of the yeast called for, and stick the dough in the fridge. The long fermentation would actually make the dough taste better.

I wish I have some pretzels now, but I gave them all away. (` - _ -` )

November 8, 2008

Squared Quinoa Bread

I don't think my family like quinoa. Yes, it's very healthy and has a complete set of protein and all that. But I bought a small box of the stuff since last year, and we haven't touched it much. So where is it gonna end up? In my bread! Quinoa Bread!

As you can see, there is that same reincarnation of sunflower seeds in this bread. Well, only sprinkled on top. I have a whole bagful of sunflower seeds left. ^_^ The inside is whole wheat flour and cooked quinoa.
I was going to buy a pullman loaf pan, to make perfectly squared bread, but this one came out that way. Almost squared though. That's because the quinoa caused it to be dense and didn't rise much. Next time, I'll soak the grains and add it to the bread uncooked.

The bread tasted fine, after toasting up and with a good slathering of hummus. (+_+)

November 6, 2008

Turtle Bread!

100% Whole wheat turtle bread. I used dried currants for the eyes, because they're smaller and cuter as eyes than raisins. ^_^ But I need a sharper razor to score the lines for the shell. It didn't come out very well.

November 5, 2008

Braised Pork, Pork Belly, More Pork, and Eggs

Another go at the braised pork in coconut juice for dinner! Well, it's been a while since I made this again. Partly, because I've been busy and lazy. You have to simmer for a very long time for the flavors to come together, and the meat to be very tender. The pork is braised in coconut juice with spices like star anise, chinese five spice powder, garlic, and ginger. The eggs go in the pot towards the end, and will take on a caramelized color. You eat this with rice and a crisp salad (lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and mints).

November 2, 2008

Too Cheesy??

The Spicy 'Chi Heart Pizza- Kimchi Pizza!

Heart shaped is kinda cheesy, but I liked it! I've read a lot on the internet, and apparently, a great combination is pepperoni and kimchi on pizza. Pork goes with everything! :-(

Instead of kimchi alone, I put some crispy veggie ham and sauteed onions to give the pizza more flavor. The sauce is mixture of several different HOT hot sauces and some tomato sauce. However, thinking it over the next day, I thought it might be good to have some pickles on it. Weird, but it needs a sour or salty taste to go along with the spiciness. And some more herbs too. A kimchi pizza do over is in order, I guess!
Breakfast Egg Pizza

Second pizza that night- runny eggs, red bell peppers, chile flakes, corn, cheese, and green onions.

This is my favorite out of the two! Maybe it could use some more eggs. Maybe the kimchi pizza could have used an egg or two, too.^o^