Friday, December 19, 2014

Salted Caramel Popcorn

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Tis' the season for caramel popcorn! These make a great, holiday gift item! These are quite addicting and I will tell you this...this caramel popcorn will be the sweetest thing that I ever make! I've tried fooling around with this recipe using less sugar, but it just doesn't taste the same. This is just one of those things where sweet and salty really takes the cake (or should I say, takes the popcorn?).

INGREDIENTS:

2 bags (3 ounces each) of unsalted popped microwavable popcorn

FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE:

2 sticks (4 ounces each) of salted REAL butter

2 cups of GOOD dark brown sugar

1/2 cup of light corn syrup

3/4 tsp of salt

1/8 tsp of cinnamon

1/8 tsp of ground nutmeg

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1 tsp of baking soda

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:

foil

wax paper


INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.

1. Take your popped, popcorn and place them evenly on two baking sheets. "Toast" them for about 5-7 minutes. Remove and then place all of your popcorn in a large mixing bowl.
2. While your popcorn is in the oven, begin making your caramel sauce. Place your butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon, into a medium sized saucepan. Stir well and allow it to come to a rolling boil for a full 5 minutes. Do not disturb it, or try to stir it during this point.
3. Remove from heat, and add in your vanilla extract and baking soda. GENTLY, stir. Be careful, because your caramel will begin to bubble, and that's why it's very important that your saucepan isn't too small.
4. Line your two baking sheets with foil.
5. Pour your caramel sauce over your popcorn and mix well.
6. Evenly distribute your caramel popcorn between your two baking sheets, and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, stir your caramel popcorn, rotate the pans, and then continue to bake for another 15 minutes.
7. Place popcorn on wax paper to dry for at least 1-2 hours.

NOTES:

- Use a medium size saucepan, to avoid any spillage or boiling over of your caramel sauce
- Use name brand dark brown sugar. I find that if I use a generic brand, sometimes the caramel sauce
seems gritty
- Use less sugar if it's too sweet to your liking

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chicken Penne Alfredo

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One of my daughter's favorite thing to eat is pasta with alfredo sauce. I mean, I don't really blame her...the sauce is creamy, smooth, and has a nice cheesy taste from the parmesan. I usually like to mix it up and use a total of 3 different types of cheeses (cream cheese, parmesan, and monterrey jack) but since I only had parmesan in my fridge, that's what I went with in the recipe. If I'm being honest, I'm actually not too fond of too much parmesan, but that's just my personal preference. You are more than welcome to use any cheese combination, you'd like!

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 pound of penne noodles (cooked according to the packaging)

5-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs

salt

black pepper

garlic powder

onion powder

Italian seasoning

FOR THE ALFREDO SAUCE:


1 stick (4 ounces) of unsalted butter

1 block (8 ounces) of softened/cubed cream cheese

1 pint of heavy cream

5 ounces of freshly grated parmesan

1/4 tsp of garlic powder

1/4 tsp of onion powder

1/4 tsp of sugar

salt

black pepper

white pepper

ADDITIONAL GARNISH:

cilantro


INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Cook your pasta according to the packaging. Drain well, and drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat.
2. Wash and pat dry your chicken. Season lightly with salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.
3. With a skillet on medium high heat, drizzle in some extra virgin olive oil. Carefully add in your chicken with the seasoned side, down. Season the other side of the chicken, cover (but leave a slight crack), turn down heat to medium, and cook for 5 minutes. Flip over chicken, slightly cover again, and cook for an additional 5 more minutes, or until done. Remove and allow to rest before slicing.
4. In a small saucepan on medium heat, add in your stick of butter. Once melted, add in your cream cheese. Stir using a wooden spoon, until it almost resembles cottage cheese.
5. Switch to a wire whisk, and pour in your heavy cream. Whisk until almost smooth and most of the cream cheese has melted. It should take a few minutes. (Do not let this mixture come to a hard boil.)
6. Add in your parmesan and whisk until smooth. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, white pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and sugar. Keep whisking until sauce is smooth and has thickened to liking.
7. Slice up your chicken.
8. Add some penne onto a plate (reheat in microwave if necessary), top with alfredo sauce, and top with your sliced chicken. Garnish with cilantro. ENJOY!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Caramelized Sugar and Fish Sauce Chicken

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I love quick and easy recipes that require no thinking...wouldn't you agree??

I love anything involving caramelizing sugar, so this recipe was a no brainer. It's slightly sweet, slightly salty, and pairs beautifully with some white rice and papaya salad!

INGREDIENTS:

5-6 chicken thighs with skin on and bone in

1 block (59 grams) of palm sugar (may sub for granulated sugar)

3 cloves of chopped garlic

1/4 cup of water

3 Tbsp of fish sauce

1/4 tsp of black pepper

1/4 tsp of onion powder

1/4 tsp of msg (optional)

pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS:


1. Wash you chicken and then pat them dry with paper towels. Place them into a large, shallow mixing bowl and add in your chopped garlic.
2. In a small separate mixing bowl, add in your water, fish sauce, salt, black pepper, onion powder, and msg (if using). Mix well and then pour this mixture all over your chicken.
3. Coat your chicken with the marinade and allow it to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
4. On medium heat, melt your palm sugar. Make sure you use a heavy bottom skillet or pan, or else your sugar will not caramelize properly. Do not disturb or attempt to stir your palm sugar, until most of it has melted.
5. Give your palm sugar a quick stir, turn up the heat to medium high, and then carefully add in your chicken SKIN SIDE DOWN. Do not add in the juices from the marinade, just yet.
6. Let your chicken cook for about 3 minutes.
7. Add in the juices from your chicken, and continue to cook for 2 more minutes.
8. Turn your chicken over, and continue to cook the other side for another 4-5 minutes.
9. Place your chicken into a baking dish, along with the juices, and bake in a preheated 425 degree F oven for about 25-30 minutes. Make sure to baste your chicken at least 2-3 times.
10. Serve immediately with rice and papaya salad! YUM!

NOTES: If you are using white granulated sugar instead of palm sugar, you may need to use a bit of water to get your sugar to caramelize.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rustic Apple Tart

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Who doesn't love fall?? It's probably one of my favorite seasons, EVER. I just love everything about it; fall leaves, rain, apples, and pumpkins.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

Today's recipe is an easy, rustic apple tart, packed with tons of flavor!

INGREDIENTS:

1 homemade pie crust (get the recipe here)

3 golden delicious apples, peeled and thinly sliced

1/3 cup of sugar

1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp of ground nutmeg

pinch of salt

the juice from half a lemon

1 Tbsp of cornstarch

For the egg wash:

1 egg white mixed with a bit of water

You will also need:


raw sugar/turbinado sugar

melted butter (you may use apple or apricot jelly, microwaved until spreadable)

apple_tart2

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

1. Place your apples into a mixing bowl. Add in your sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and salt. Gently, toss to coat.

2. Put your lemon juice into a small mixing bowl, along with your cornstarch. Whisk until smooth. Pour this mixture onto your sliced apples, and toss to coat. Set aside.

3. Remove your pie crust from the refrigerator, and place it on a large piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle a little flour over your pie crust, and also on your rolling pin. Using the rolling pin, give your pie crust a few whacks to soften it a bit. Start at the center of your dough, and then work your way outwards to the edge. Slightly rotate your crust, and begin the same process, again and again, until your pie crust is about a 16 inch circle, that's no more than 1/4 thick.

4. Transfer your parchment paper, along with the dough, onto a large baking sheet.

5. Arrange your apples onto your dough, making sure to leave a 1/2 inch border to allow for the folding over of the crust. (If you are taking the time to neatly assemble your apple slices, make sure to pour the juices from the apple mixture last, to prevent a soggy crust)

6. Fold the dough, up and over the apples to create a pie crust.

7. Brush the crust with your egg wash and sprinkle it some raw sugar.

8. Stir the juices from your apple mixture and pour it over your assembled apples.

9. Bake for about 45-50 minutes, rotating half way through, until your crust is golden brown.

10. Fresh out of the oven, brush some melted butter (or apricot jelly) over your apple tart.

11. Allow the apple tart to cool slightly on the baking sheet, and then place it on a wire rack to cool completely or serve warm with some ice cream and/or whipped cream.

Homemade Pie Crust

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Homemade pie crust is the most easiest thing to make on the planet! I bake A LOT during the fall months, and this recipe is a staple in my home.

I use this recipe for so many things; mini caramelized onion tarts, fruit pies, and chicken pot pies, just to name a few!

INGREDIENTS:


2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

1/4 tsp plus a pinch of salt

3 Tbsp of sugar

2 sticks (8 ounces total) of COLD cubed salted butter

1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of iced cold water

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cube your cold butter and place it into the freezer for about 15 minutes. Place your flour, sugar, and salt into your food processor. Throw in your cold, cubed butter and pulse for about 15-30 seconds until crumbly. Slowly stream in your ice cold water just until it starts to form a ball and pull away from the sides. On a lightly floured surface, form your dough into a flat disc (or divide in half and make two) and tightly wrap it with saran wrap. Chill in the fridge for an hour or in the freezer for 30 minutes.

*Don't have a food processor? You may do it all by hand by just using a fork to mash your cold butter into your flour mixture, or use a pastry cutter.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Raspberry Cheesecake

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This recipe was created to help celebrate Cinnamon Toast Crunch's 30th Birthday. I had the brilliant idea of using the cereal as the crust to my cheesecake, and well...the rest is history!

This cheesecake is creamy and not overly sweet, and the slight tang from the raspberry topping gives it the perfect balance of sweet and tang.


FOR THE CRUST:

3 cups of Cinnamon Toast Crunch

4 Tbsp of melted butter

1 tsp of sugar

FOR THE FILLING:

2 (8 ounce) packages of softened cream cheese

3/4 cup of caster sugar

2 Tbsp of sour cream

2 large egg yolks

1 tsp of vanilla extract

2 Tbsp of prepared gelatin (see below)

FOR THE GELATIN MIX:

1 1/2 tsp of unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup of hot water

FOR THE RASPBERRY TOPPING:

4 ounces of raspberries

1/4 cup of sugar

2 Tbsp of prepared gelatin

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INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

1. Grease a 6 inch pan with a removable bottom (or spring form pan) with baking spray. Set aside.
2. Place your cinnamon toast crunch and sugar into a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Add in your melted butter and pulse until combined.
3. Press mixture firmly onto the bottom of your pan.
4. Bake crust for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and allow it to cool slightly.
5. In a small bowl, mix your gelatin with hot water and stir until fully dissolved. Set aside.
6. Using a paddle attachment, beat your cream cheese and sugar until smooth and free of lumps. Add in your egg yolks, vanilla extract, sour cream, and 2 Tbsp of your prepared gelatin, and mix just until incorporated. DO NOT OVER MIX.
7. Pour the filling into your pan.
8. Set your cheesecake pan on top of a large piece of foil, and fold up the sides around it. Repeat steps with 2 more pieces of foil. (Using good foil is key)
9. Place your cheesecake pan in an oven safe roasting pan, and place it in your oven. Pour some boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about half way up the sides of the cheesecake pan.
10. Bake for about 55 minutes, or until the center has a slight jiggle.
11. Turn off oven, crack the door open, and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another hour.
12. Into a mini food processor, add in your raspberries, sugar, and your remaining gelatin mixture. Pulse until smooth. Strain. Place into fridge to thicken slightly.
13. Carefully remove your cheesecake from the roasting pan, discard water, and allow the cheesecake to cool down slightly before topping with your raspberry sauce.
14. Once cooled, top with your raspberry sauce, cover with saran wrap, and allow it to chill overnight (or at least 6 hours). Chilling sets the cheesecake and the raspberry layer.
15. Loosen the cake from the sides of the pan using a thin metal spatula around the inside of the rim. Transfer to a cake plate and serve!

NOTES: Check for any leakage after your cheesecake is done baking. If any water has seeped into the foil, carefully discard foil, remove and wipe down excess water, replace with new 3 layers of foil, and then place the pan back into the oven so it can finish cooling in the oven.

*This recipe was created in partnership with Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bean Dip

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It's football season, which means: FOOTBALL FOOD!

I'm not a die-hard football or anything, but I am a die-hard fan of good appetizers. And this one definitely hits the spot!


INGREDIENTS:

1 (30 ounce) can of refried beans

1/3 cup of finely chopped white onion

8 ounces of ground beef

2 Tbsp of taco seasoning

1-2 Tbsp of water

1 green onion finely chopped

4 ounces of softened cream cheese

2 Tbsp of mayo

3 Tbsp of sour cream

1/4 tsp of garlic powder

salt

black pepper

freshly grated cheddar (reserve some for the topping)



You will also need:

your favorite chips :)


INSTRUCTIONS:


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

1. Coat three small ramekins with baking spray and set aside. You may use an 8x8 baking dish as well.
2. Into a hot skillet, add in some extra virgin olive oil. Add in your onions, a pinch of salt, and cook until softened.
3. Add in your ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain your beef well, wipe down your skillet with a clean paper towel, and place your skillet back on the stove.
4. On medium high heat, add your browned beef back into your skillet. Add in your taco seasoning, and a little bit of water. Cook for 1 more minute and then set this aside.
5. Into a large mixing bowl, add in your refried beans, browned beef, softened cream cheese, cheddar cheese, sour cream, mayo, green onion, garlic powder, and black pepper. Mix well and taste check for seasoning. Add a pinch of salt if needed.
6. Evenly divide your bean dip into all 3 ramekins. Top with more cheese. Cover with saran wrap and place into freezer for later, or place into the oven and bake for 20 minutes (or until cheese has melted and is bubbly). Serve immediately with your favorite chips.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mini Caramelized Onion Tarts

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I kid you not...these mini onion tarts are REALLY addicting! ESPECIALLY hot out the oven! I can probably eat about a dozen of these in one sitting, but I wont...

Because I'm lactose intolerant.

But these are so good, that despite my intolerance, I often make these and like to shove a few in my face before they've even cooled down.

Besides, what's not to like??

Caramelized onions??

GOOD.

Pie crust??

GOOD.

David Beckham??

GOOD.

(That last one had nothing to do with the recipe, but let's face it..David Beckham is ALLLLLL GOOD.)

 

INGREDIENTS:


2 store bought pie crusts

1 whole white onion thinly sliced

2 Tbsp of butter

2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

1 green onion chopped

4 ounces of softened cream cheese

1 Tbsp of grated parmesan

4 ounces of freshly grated white cheddar (reserve some for topping)

2 Tbsp of sour cream

2 Tbsp of mayonnaise

1 egg yolk

garlic powder

salt

pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Into a skillet on medium heat, add in your butter and extra virgin olive oil. Once the butter has melted, throw in your onions. Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Turn the heat up to get a good sizzle, and reduce heat to medium low. Continue to cook (stirring frequently), until onions have caramelized, about 30-40 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
2. Into a bowl, add in your softened cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, cheeses, green onion, egg yolk, pinch of salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well. Set aside.
3. Onto a lightly floured surface, roll out your pie crusts and cut out your mini crusts, using a two inch biscuit cutter.
4. Grease your mini muffin tins.
5. Push your crusts, firmly into the bottom of your muffin tins (watch the video below, for my trick on how to do that).
6. Evenly distribute your filling into each tin, and then top with a little bit of shredded cheese.
7. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15-18 minutes, or until the cheese has melted, and the tops are slightly golden brown. SERVE IMMEDIATELY!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Asian Cucumber Salad

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If you love papaya salad, then you will most definitely, LOVE this cucumber salad! It's easy, fresh, and takes little time to prepare! It's a little salty, tangy, and suuuuper spicy! Of course, you can control just how spicy you like it, but I say...GO BIG, OR GO HOME.

INGREDIENTS:

2 large cucumbers sliced julienne (about 14 ounces)

2 small pieces of garlic

2-20 red Thai chili peppers

1/2 tsp of chili flakes

1/4 tsp of shrimp paste

1 Tbsp of liquid prahok

1 Tbsp of good fish sauce

1/2 Tbsp of sugar

1 whole lime PLUS a half

cherry tomatoes, halved

mortar and pestle

msg (optional)


INSTRUCTIONS:

Place your garlic cloves into your mortar and begin to smash them, just until you can easily remove the peel. Add in your chili peppers, chili flakes, and shrimp paste, and pound them until you've created a paste. Add in your tomatoes, and gently pound them until you've released most of the juices from them. Add in your prahok, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, and msg. Add in your cucumbers, and gently pound it, until combined. Adjust seasoning as needed. Serve immediately!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango and Coconut Sauce

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Once you try this dessert, you will absolutely FALL IN LOVE. It's beauty really comes from the simplicity of the recipe, which takes very little time to make. If I can get my hands on the perfect mango, I always make this easy and beautiful dessert. The coconut sauce pairs perfectly with the sticky rice and sweet mango. You get a little bit of sweet, a little bit of salty, with A LOT of satisfaction, when you dip into that first bite.

HAPPY EATING!


INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of Thai sweet sticky rice (or glutinous rice) soaked in water for 2-3 hours

steamer

cheese cloth

2 ataulfo mangos


FOR THE COCONUT SAUCE:


1 cup of coconut milk

1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 tsp of salt

FOR GARNISH:

1 Tbsp of split mung beans soaked in water for 2-3 hours (may sub for roasted sesame seeds)


DIRECTIONS:

1. Place your soaked glutinous rice into a strainer, and clean it a few times.
2. With your steamer on medium high heat, place your cheese cloth inside, and then place your drained rice on top. Make sure to flatten it, to make sure it cooks evenly. Steam for about 20-25 minutes or until done.
3. While your rice is cooking, dry roast your mung beans. Drain the liquid from your soaked mung beans, dry them well, and then cook them on medium heat until slightly roasted. Set this aside.
4. 5 minutes before your rice is done, make your coconut sauce. Place your coconut milk, sugar, and salt into a medium sauce pan and cook over medium high heat, just until it comes to a slight boil. Taste check. It should be slightly sweet and slightly salty. Turn off heat and wait for your rice to finish.
5. Place your cooked rice into a large bowl, and pour in 1/2 cup to 2/3 of your coconut milk. It should look like your rice is almost swimming in your coconut milk (don't worry, the rice will soak up all the liquid). Cover the bowl with saran wrap, and let it sit, undisturbed, for 30 minutes to an hour.
6. Slice up your mangos.
7. Place some of your sticky rice onto a pretty serving plate, add some sliced mangos, a drizzle of your coconut sauce, and then garnish with your roasted mung beans.

ENJOY!



NOTES: This dessert is best served at room temp and should be eaten in the same day, but you may make this dish a couple of hours in advance. Also, when purchasing the rice for this, the packaging will either say "Thai sweet sticky rice," or "glutinous rice," which is basically the same thing. You do not need to look for the words, "sweet" when purchasing the rice.

*UPDATE
I've been making this a lot lately, and today, I realized that when I let the coconut milk cool down to room temperature BEFORE pouring it into the HOT sticky rice, it gave me the texture that I like. This is just my personal preference, of course, but if you'd like, you can make the coconut sauce while you're letting your rice soak in the water for 2-3 hours. Just a tip. :)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Asian Fried Chicken

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Homemade fried chicken is the BUSINESS!!

Is there anything more glorious than a crispy batch of homemade fried chicken??

I THINK NOT.

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds of chicken wings, cleaned and patted completely dry

vegetable oil for frying

FOR THE MARINADE:

3 Tbsp of oyster sauce

2 tsp of fish sauce

1 tsp of sugar

black pepper

FOR THE FLOUR MIXTURE:


3 Tbsp of all purpose flour

3 Tbsp of potato starch

3 Tbsp of rice flour

1 Tbsp of cajun seasoning

2 tsp of garlic powder

2 tsp of onion powder

1/2 tsp of Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp of white pepper

1/4 tsp of black pepper

1/4 tsp of chili powder

2 pinches of salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Marinade your your chicken for at least 30 minutes (or overnight). Bring your chicken up to room temperature before you fry it.
2. In a shallow mixing bowl, add your flour/spices together, and stir to combine.
3. Dip your chicken pieces into your flour mixture, toss to coat, and tap off the excess.
4. Fry your chicken in batches until cooked through. It could take anywhere from 7-8 minutes.

NOTES: Make sure to coat the chicken with the flour mixture by hand, and not use the "place everything in a ziplock baggie, and shake", method. If you do it that way, most of your flour mixture will end up sticking to the inside of the bag, instead of on your chicken. Don't ask me why I know that.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Homemade Dinner Rolls

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These dinner rolls are to die for!

I would probably sell my first born for these...

Okay, I may be exaggerating just a TEENY bit, but you get what I mean.

Homemade dinner rolls that are soft and fluffy like these, are hard to come by. I will admit, that you do have to order one of the items in the ingredients list online at Kingarthurflour.com, but I promise you that I will make it worth your while. :)

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of warm water

7 grams (2 tsp) of active dry yeast

25 grams (2 Tbsp) of sugar

300 grams (2 1/2 cups) of all purpose flour plus more for kneading

19 grams (3 Tbsp) of Baker's Special Dry Milk

9 grams (1 Tbsp) of vital wheat gluten

8 grams (1+ 1/4 tsp) of salt

31 grams (2 Tbsp) of unsalted softened butter

You will also need:


An egg white beaten with some water

softened butter for the baking dish

melted butter for when they come out of the oven

a pastry brush

a food processor

vegetable oil

9x9 baking dish (preferably ceramic)

INSTRUCTIONS:


1. Sprinkle your yeast into your warm water (not too hot, you don't want to kill your yeast). Stir. Add in your sugar. Stir once more and set aside until foamy.
2. While you are waiting for your yeast to bloom, add your all purpose flour, baker's special dry milk powder, and vital wheat gluten into a mixing bowl. Mix to combine.
3. When your yeast is ready, give it a quick little stir to loosen up the sugar that has sunk to the bottom, and pour it into your dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix it until it starts to pull away from the sides.
4. Sprinkle in your salt and mix just until combined.
5. Add your dough into your food processor and pulse for 1 minute.
6. Flatten out your dough a bit, spread on your softened butter, and then make sure to cover the butter with your dough before you pulse again for 20-30 more seconds.
7. Place your dough onto a lightly floured surface and QUICKLY work it into a ball. It will seem tacky at first, but do not add anymore flour. As you start to work it, it will begin to form a ball (it doesn't have to be perfect).
8. Place your dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and wait for it to double in size. It may take 1 hour or more.
9. Generously, butter your baking dish with some softened butter.
10. Onto a lightly floured surface, shape your dough into a log (about 14 inches across), and then equally slice them into 12 pieces. Move them to the side, and keep them covered with a dish towel.
11. One by one (with quick hands), start forming your rolls. Add flour to your work surface as needed. (Please watch the tutorial below for a better idea on how to roll out your dinner rolls!) Once finished, place your dinner roll back under your dish towel, and proceed with the rest of them. Always keep them covered to prevent them from drying out.
12. Once you are finished with all 12 rolls, let them rest for 5 minutes to relax the gluten a bit.
13. Reshape them into dinner rolls AGAIN, but this time, place the finished rolls into your buttered baking dish.
14. Cover your finished rolls with saran wrap and let them rest until they have doubled in size. This can take anywhere from 1 hour to several hours, depending on how warm it is.
15. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
16. Gently brush an egg wash over your rolls and bake them for about 8-10 minutes. Once the tops look browned, TURN OFF YOUR OVEN, rotate your pan, and then leave them in there for an additional 5 more minutes. All oven times vary, depending on how hot your oven gets, so you have to watch them!
17. Fresh out of the oven, brush them with some melted butter, and wait at least 30 minutes before removing them from your baking dish.

NOTES: Your dinner rolls might look a little uneven in color when you first pull them out, but the tops will continue to brown while they are cooling in your baking dish. Once you serve them, they will look like perfect little clouds! Also, if you want your dinner rolls to stay nice and fluffy, you must leave them in the baking dish to cool down slightly before removing them onto a serving platter.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Prahok Ktiss (Spicy Pork Dipping Sauce)

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INGREDIENTS:

1 pound of ground pork

1 (13.5 fl. oz) can of coconut milk (you will not use all of it)

3 Tbsp of prepared kreung (lemongrass paste)

1 Tbsp of Korean hot pepper paste

1/2 tsp of tamarind powder

1 Tbsp of sugar

2 Tbsp of creamy prahok

3/4 cup of peas

3-4 Thai red chili peppers (optional)

hot chili oil

fish sauce to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:


1. Dry roast your peas (and peppers), and then set them aside.
2. Pour half a can of coconut milk into a hot skillet. When it bubbles, add in your kreung, hot pepper paste, and creamy prahok. Stir until smooth.
3. Add in your ground pork and cook until no longer pink.
4. Stir in your tamarind powder and sugar.
5. Once cooked, taste for seasoning, and then add in your fish sauce. Add more coconut milk if you wish. It should be slightly salty, sweet, and spicy!
6. Add in your dry roasted peas and chili peppers (if using).
7. Cook until liquid has reduced down to half.
8. Turn off heat. Allow to cool down slightly before placing in small serving bowl.
9. Finish off with a drizzle of hot chili oil and serve with your favorite assortment of fresh vegetables.

NOTES: The measurements given are approximate. Please adjust seasoning as needed. :)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Kreung (Lemongrass Paste)

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Kreung is probably one of the first things you learn how to make if you're Khmer. And if you've never learned before, well then...let me show you! :)

This lemongrass paste is at the heart of many Khmer dishes. The aroma from the fresh lemongrass, lime leaves, and galangal, make for an inviting dish, that'll surely bring back those childhood memories of your mom or pops, cooking away in the kitchen.

INGREDIENTS:

3 lemongrass stalks trimmed and finely chopped

1 small shallot finely chopped

2 large chili pods soaked in water for 2-3 hours until softened

6-10 lime leaves finely chopped

1 handful of galangal finely chopped (about 29 grams)

half a head of garlic peeled and crushed

1/4 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of turmeric

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. After your chili pods have softened, drain them, remove the stems and seeds, and then finely chop it.
2. Into a food processor, add in your lemongrass, lime leaves, and galangal. Pulse for 1 minute.
3. Add in your chopped chili and pulse for 30 more seconds.
4. Finally, add in your shallots and garlic and continue to pulse for 1 more minute.
5. Put your fresh lemongrass paste in an air tight container, and store it in the fridge. I recommend using it within 2 weeks.

NOTES:

If you are NOT using shallots, I recommend using a mortar and pestle for this recipe. Start by pulsing your lemongrass, lime leaves, and galangal in a food processor, and then dump the mixture into your mortar. Pound the lemongrass mixture until it creates a paste. Finally, add in your chopped chili and garlic cloves and continue to pound it, until done.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Beet Smoothie

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I officially became obsessed with beets after I started running. I hate exercising, but I realized that the older I get, the more healthier I want to become. And...it may, or may not, have something to do with the fact that my pants are getting a little snug around my mid section, if ya get my drift.

This smoothie is HEALTHY and equally delicious! I like my smoothies a little thicker, that way, it makes me feel a little fuller. Feel free to up the liquid in it, to make for a thinner consistency.

INGREDIENTS:

2/3 cup of coconut milk/almond milk/coconut water

1 beet steamed and then peeled

1 green apple

1 piece of kale cleaned with rib (stem) removed

1 frozen banana

1 carrot (or 3 ounces of carrot)

freshly grated ginger

juice from half a lemon

DIRECTIONS:

Put your milk into your blender and then add in your lemon juice. Add in the rest of your ingredients into your blender, and pulse until smooth. Pulse two or three times to make sure that all of the ingredients are mixed well. Check for consistency. Add more liquid if needed.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Bo Kho (Asian Beef Stew)

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My beef stew is literally FINGER LICKIN' GOOD!!

Make it.

Smell it.

Taste it.

Love it.

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds of beef shank

1/2 pound of tendon

a couple of carrots cut into large chunks(maybe 1/2 pound to 1 pd)

1 stalk of lemongrass trimmed, bruised, and cut in half

4 cloves of chopped garlic

half of an onion(chopped)

2 tomatoes(I used tomatoes still on the vine)

2 cups of coconut juice/soda(no pulp)

2 T of ketchup

2 cubes of Bo Kho Seasoning

1/2 T of sugar

1 tsp of salt

1/4 cup of fish sauce

8 cups of water (or you may use all fresh coconut juice or mix in some of the broth used to simmer your beef shanks and tendon)

olive oil

For the red food coloring:

1 T of annatto seeds cooked on very low heat in a few Tbsp of vegetable oil(you may omit this step and use paprika instead)

Serving suggestions:

Thick Rice Noodles(follow cooking directions according to packaging)

Over Rice

Freshly baked french bread

Garnishes:

cilantro

parsley

chili peppers

 

DIRECTIONS:


1. Clean and rinse off your beef shanks. Cut your beef shanks into large pieces(about 1 1/2 inches wide). Beef shanks are really tough so you need to boil it for some time to help make it more tender.
2. Put your beef shank and tendon into a pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium to medium high heat and continue to keep at a rolling boil for 1-1 1/2 hrs. Make sure to keep enough water in the pot to cover the meat and tendon, so you may need to add more water while it's boiling away.
3. While the meat and tendon are cooking, chop up your garlic and onion and set aside.
4. Chop up your tomatoes and place them in a bowl. Starting with clean hands, start squeezing and smashing the crap out of them! You want to bring all that juice out of them but don't throw it away. Later, you will add in the tomatoes along with their juices into the soup.
5. After the 1 1/2 hrs, turn the heat off , remove the tendon, and cut into medium size chunks and set aside along with the beef shanks. You may choose to reserve some of the water used to boil your beef shanks and add it into your soup stock later.
6. On medium-medium high heat, put some oil into a skillet and throw in your chopped onions and bruised lemongrass. After 2 minutes or so, add in your beef shank and just before completely browned, throw in your chopped garlic.
7. Once your meat has browned, add in the coconut juice. Add in the tomatoes in their juices, ketchup, salt, and sugar. Continue to cook on medium low heat for 20 minutes.
8. Add in your tendon, large chunks of carrot, 8 cups of water, fish sauce, and the bo kho seasoning cubes. Turn the heat up just to bring it to a quick rolling boil and turn heat down again to medium low. Put a lid on it but do not cover completely. Leave a little space so that the steam has somewhere to escape.
9. Continue to cook for an additional 2 hrs until the meat and tendon are deliciously tender and finger licking good, baby!! Remove bruised lemongrass once cooking is complete. Taste for additional seasonings if needed. I ended up adding a tad bit more salt to mine but that's just my own personal preference.

Notes: This stew tastes great spooned over some thick rice noodles, with rice, or some freshly baked french bread too! The possibilities are endless with this tasty dish. Usually, when my mother in law buys this stew from a Vietnamese deli, they tend to be more on the sweeter side, so if you want, you may omit the sugar at first and then gradually add some in as you go along.

Also you can find bo kho seasoning boxes in most Asian markets. The ones I buy come in these tiny small packaged boxes that contain 4 cubes of bo kho seasoning. If I had to guess, I would probably say that I used anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 T of the seasoning.

Okay, so enough reading already...GET YOUR LAZY BUTT UP, log off of Facebook, and get crackin' in that kitchen!! :)



Oh, and don't laugh at the video guys. It's old and I'm kind of embarrassed to watch it. LOL.

Asian Beef Salad (spicy beef larb)

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INGREDIENTS:

about 2 pounds of sirloin steak

2 green onions, finely chopped

1 whole small red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 shallot, thinly sliced

8-10 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped

1 stalk of lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped

2 slices of galangal, finely minced

12 sprigs of mint(or more)

12 sprigs of cilantro(or more)

8 sprigs of Vietnamese coriander

2-3 tsp of dried red pepper flakes

8-10 thai red chili, finely chopped(or to taste)

1/4 cup of good fish sauce(or to taste)

a pinch of salt

1/2 tsp of msg(optional)

3 large limes(more or less depending on preference)

Pahok or padek(optional)

1/4 cup of uncooked sticky or glutinous rice to make toasted rice powder(use 2-3 Tbsp in the recipe)

cooked, thinly sliced tripe(optional)


DIRECTIONS:

1. Take your uncooked sticky rice and place it in a small pan on medium to medium low heat. Dry roast your rice until browned, making sure to stir it occasionally. Once toasted, place into food processor or grinder until mostly fine. Set aside.
2. Wash and pat dry your sirloin steaks. Lightly salt and pepper them. Add a little oil into a large skillet and fry them only until medium rare. My steaks were thin so I only did 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove them from heat and allow them to cool completely before slicing into them. Once cooled, slice against the grain and once more to make them into tiny bite size pieces.
3. Add all of your above ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Add 2-3 Tbsp of the toasted rice powder last. Mix well using some food safe gloves and taste check. Adjust seasoning as needed. Serve same day along with some sliced cucumbers and fresh bean sprouts.

Notes: This recipe makes quite a bit so feel free to cut recipe in half!


Monday, May 19, 2014

Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

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Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce is one of my most favorite things to order, EVER. Something about the crisp texture when you bite down on it, mixed with the salty and sweet flavor from the oyster sauce, just really completes the ultimate dim sum experience for me.

INGREDIENTS:

1 bunch of Chinese broccoli cleaned

2-3 cloves of crushed garlic

vegetable oil

FOR THE SAUCE:


3 Tbsp of oyster sauce

1 tsp of sugar dissolved in 2 Tbsp of very hot water

1 tsp of soy sauce

1 tsp of sesame oil

1 tsp of hot chili oil

1/4 tsp of onion powder

DIRECTIONS:


1. Bring a big pot of water to a rolling boil.
2. In the meantime, trim and cut all of your Chinese broccoli. Cut the leaves from the middle stem and then cut the stem in half, right down the middle.
3. Make your sauce and then set this aside.
4. With your water at a rolling boil, add in all of your Chinese broccoli and cook until bright green, about 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook.
5. Place in colander and run under some cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well.
6. Place cooked broccoli onto a serving platter.
7. On medium heat, add some vegetable oil into your hot pan. Stir fry your garlic until golden brown and fragrant. Add in your prepared sauce, stir, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
8. Pour your garlic and oyster sauce mixture onto your cooked Chinese broccoli and serve immediately.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Salt and Pepper Prawns

IMG_9763

I don't think I've ever mentioned how much I looooooove shrimp. And if you are a shrimp lover like me, then you just HAVE to try this recipe. It's easy, and has the perfect balance of salty and spicy.

In my tutorial, I show you how to make heavily battered and lightly battered versions. If you prefer a thicker battered prawn, then make sure you double the flours, spices, and also the egg white.


INGREDIENTS:

1 pound of prawns (with shell on)


For the batter:

1/4 cup of all purpose flour

2 Tbsp of rice flour (may sub for cornstarch)

1/4 tsp of salt

1/4 tsp of black pepper

1/4 tsp of white pepper

1/4 tsp of onion powder

1/4 tsp of garlic powder

pinch of paprika

1 egg white lightly beaten


You will also need:

4 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 shallot chopped

2 green onions chopped

chili flakes to taste (optional)

pinch of salt


DIRECTIONS:

1. Rinse your prawns in a colander, underneath some very cold water. Pat it COMPLETELY DRY and place it in a mixing bowl.

2. Whisk your egg white(s) and pour it over your prawns. Toss to coat. If using 2 egg whites, save the other egg white for later.

3. In a shallow dish, mix together the ingredients for the batter. Remember, if you like your shrimp in a thicker batter, double the ingredients FOR THE BATTER ONLY.

4. Coat your prawns evenly with the batter and place it on a dish. For thicker batter, once done with the first layer of flour, go back and dip your prawns again in the other egg white, and then coat in the flour mixture, once more.

5. Heat a couple of cups of vegetable oil till hot.

6. Deep fry prawns until done--about 1 minute.

7. In a hot skillet, add a couple of Tablespoons of oil (same oil from deep frying), and add in your chopped shallots. Cook until softened.

8. Throw in your chili flakes and chopped garlic. Cook until fragrant or until garlic is crispy to your liking.

9. Add in your chopped green onions. Cook for 30 more seconds.

10. Add in all of your shrimp, add a pinch more of salt, and then toss to coat. Turn off heat and serve hot.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Green Tea Cake

IMG_0605

This green tea recipe was VERY highly requested over the past few years. I was at H Mart (a Korean store) and walked past some green tea flavored Kit Kat bars and thought, "oh man, that looks so good!" Suddenly, I was dying to have something homemade with green tea in it!

Later that day, I rummaged through my cupboards and found my Matcha green tea powder and got cracking in the kitchen.

And the rest is history….

This cake is soft in texture and has a strong green tea flavor. You are more than welcome to reduce the amount of green tea powder in it, or even up the sugar instead.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups of cake flour

1 cup of caster sugar plus 1 TBSP

2 tsp of baking powder

1 tsp of salt

1/4 tsp of cream of tartar

3 large egg whites at room temp

1 large egg yolk at room temp, lightly beaten

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup of sour cream + 1 TBSP

3 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup of milk

3 TBSP of Matcha green tea

1/4 cup of very hot water

green food coloring

FOR THE FROSTING:

Rich's ready made whipped topping or Pastry Pride

*you may choose to make your own frosting as well

OPTIONAL:

*add some strawberry slices as a garnish or layer it into the cake

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease the sides of a 9 inch aluminum pan with some softened butter and line the bottom with some parchment paper.

1. Into a large mixing bowl, sift together your cake flour, caster sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set this aside.

2. Take your hot water and mix it with your Matcha green tea powder. Mix until smooth.

3. Combine your vegetable oil, milk, sour cream, vanilla extract, and egg yolk. Mix well.

4. Add the above wet ingredients into your dry ingredients. Add your food coloring and green tea paste. Using a wire whisk, mix until just smooth. This should only take about 1 minute if you are hard whisking. DO NOT OVER MIX.

5. Add your cream of tartar with your egg whites and beat until stiff.

6. Using a flat spatula, carefully fold in your egg whites into the batter. Again, DO NOT OVER MIX. :)

7. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Use a toothpick to check for doneness. Do not over bake!

8. Once done, loosen up the sides of the cake with a knife and carefully slide your cake out onto a wire rack to allow to cool completely.

9. Frost and serve! :)

IMG_0670

NOTES:

*Bring all of your items to room temp before using

*Make sure you hand mix to prevent over mixing of the batter--if you over mix, your cake will be dry

Below are some products that I absolutely LOVE:







The tutorial for this cake is kind of long because I cook and converse with my kids in it, to celebrate my 100th video on Youtube.:)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Easy Fried Rice

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INGREDIENTS:

6 heaping cups of cold fried rice that has been brought back up to room temp.

2-3 cloves of chopped garlic

1 Chinese sausage diced(you may sub with a couple of slices of chopped bacon)

1/2 cup of diced Hillshire farms sausage (1 cup total of diced meat)

1 cup of veggies(I just use mixed frozen veggies that have been thawed)

2 eggs beaten with an 1/8 tsp of salt

2 T of oyster sauce(I like the Lee Kum Kee Premium oyster sauce)

1 tsp of good quality soy sauce

1 1/2 tsp of good fish sauce

2 very rounded tsp of sugar(more if you like it sweeter)

2 pinches of salt

peanut oil


INSTRUCTIONS:

In a small bowl, mix your oyster sauce, soy sauce, and fish sauce and set aside.

Add your diced Chinese sausage into your skillet and cook over medium-medium high heat until nice and crispy. DO NOT ADD ANY OIL TO PAN. The diced sausage will produce it's own oil for you to continue frying. Once done, use a slotted spoon to remove and set aside. Leave the remaining oil in pan.

Gently beat the eggs in small bowl and add in 1/8 tsp of salt. Pour eggs into your skillet and fry omelet style. Once it's cooked, gently flip over with a spatula and continue to cook until no longer runny. Remove and using a pizza slicer or knife, slice into tiny squares and set aside.

On medium high heat, add in some peanut oil. Add in your diced sausage. Fry for a minute and then add in your chopped garlic. Once meat is heated through, add in your thawed veggies. Add in 2 pinches of salt and 1 very full teaspoon of sugar. Stir to combine.

When your veggies are heated through, add in your rice. Pour in your oyster sauce mixture that you set aside from earlier. Mix to combine quickly, making sure that all the rice is well coated. Once all coated, add back in your Chinese sausage and diced eggs.

Happy Eating!!!

NOTES:

Never use warm or hot rice. The result will be soggy fried rice that isn't very tasty and appealing on the eyes. I like to take freshly made rice and refrigerate for 2 sometimes 3 days! Just make sure to take rice out of fridge and let come to room temp before frying. If your rice is already hard(lets say you didn't put enough water in your rice) you don't even need to refrigerate..just let it come to room temp before frying. If your rice is soggy to begin with(you put TOO much water in your rice) then its best to refrigerate for 2-3 days.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Papaya Salad

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Papaya salad is a staple amongst most Cambodian homes. There are many different ways to make it...it all boils down to taste and preference. Thai style has just the basics like fish sauce, lime, sugar, and chili peppers. Some people like to add peanuts, basil, or even use Chinese long beans.  Cambodian and Laos people like to add prahok or padek which is a fermented fish sauce that is used as the base of the salad. I have many different variations of prahok sauce that I make, where I combine many different types of fermented pastes. So feel free to experiment and use whatever you have in your pantry. The sauce can vary from dark in color to lighter depending on what brand I use, or how much water I add. Some people don't even cook their sauces before they make the salad and just add it straight into the papaya right away. My most favorite way to make it, is actually with pickled baby crab. Haha. You are either, one: completely grossed out by what I just mentioned or two: salivating at the thought of tiny crab legs poking out of the spicy and sour goodness. Lol. I can't get that locally but if you can find it, it's also a good addition to your papaya salad. Either way, this recipe is a great recipe for beginners...make sure to taste check and adjust seasoning as needed.

 

Ingredients:

10 ounces of shredded GREEN papaya(you may add in some carrots sliced julienne)

some cherry tomatos, halved

2 garlic cloves, peeled

Thai chili peppers

1 lime

1 1/2 tsp of sugar

1 Tbsp of Prahok sauce(recipe below)

1 1/2 Tbsp of good fish sauce

 

For the Prahok sauce:

1 Tbsp of shrimp paste

1/3 cup of fermented fish paste(mud fish/prahok)

1/4 cup of fermented fish paste(mud fish/prahok) boneless

1 cup of water

1/2 tsp of MSG(optional)

[caption id="attachment_1509" align="alignnone" width="640"]IMG_0176 Mmm...my papaya salad served with baked chicken wings, which is one of the most common pairings in Cambodian culture.[/caption]

 

Here is the link to my baked chicken wings recipe.

Combine in a saucepan, ingredients for the prahok sauce. Mix well. On medium heat, cook the prahok sauce, making sure to keep it a rolling boil for about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Set aside and allow to cool completely before using.

In a mortar and pestle, add in 2 garlic cloves along with some chili peppers. Just one or two if you do not like it spicy. Pound it well until almost like a paste. Add in your shredded papaya, prahok sauce, sugar, fish sauce, and half of a lime(including it's pulp). Pound again and use a spoon while your smashing it to help you incorporate all of your ingredients together. Taste check. Adjust seasonings as needed. Remove onto serving dish. Repeat process.

Serve immediately. If you have any leftover prahok sauce, make sure to put it in an airtight container. Keep in your refrigerator for up to one month. Papaya salad is also delicious with a side of green cabbage or water spinach(trokuon). Don't forget to check out my recipe for Asian baked bbq chicken(recipe can be found here)
which is my favorite thing to eat with papaya salad.

Here's the link to my kick-ass, julienne peeler: Kuhn Rikon Julienne Peeler (Google Affiliate Ad)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Asian Baked Chicken


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You will need:

3 pounds of chicken wings or you may use short ribs instead

1 tsp of black pepper

1 tsp of onion powder

1 and 1/4 tsp of garlic powder

2 1/2 T of fish sauce (preferably Three Crabs Brand) http://www.amazon.com/Three-Crabs-Brand-Fish-Sauce/dp/B0000CNU54

3 T of oyster sauce

3 T of hoisen sauce (preferably Koon Chun brand)http://www.amazon.com/Koon-Chun-Hoisin-Sauce-jar/dp/B000EIP6MA

Wash your chicken or beef short ribs and pat COMPLETELY dry before you marinade them. YOU MUST MARINADE OVERNIGHT.  If you have the time, you can also keep them for up to 2 days in your fridge before you bake or grill them. Bake chicken@425 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until deep golden brown. If you are baking a lot of chicken at once, you may need to bake them for longer. Also if you like them more charred, you can switch the oven to broil for a few minutes, just make sure that you watch them closely.

If you are using beef short ribs, grill them on medium to medium high heat for a few minutes on each side. You can also grill them in a large frying pan just remember to add a little bit of olive oil before you fry them.

[caption id="attachment_1509" align="alignnone" width="640"]IMG_0176 Mmm....my baked chicken with papaya salad! YUMMY!![/caption]

 

The link to my papaya salad can be found here.

NOTES: Obviously, if you have an Asian market near you, make sure you purchase your fish sauce and oyster sauce there. Some American food chains do carry the preferred items I listed above, but they are suuuuuuper expensive! Also when washing beef short ribs, please be thorough because when butchers are slicing the beef, shards of bone fragment get left on the meat. Nothing ruins your eating experience more then having to spit out tiny pieces of bone while chowing down. Unfortunately, I too, have been guilty of not washing them thoroughly...I'm so ashamed. :(

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fried Sesame Balls

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If you've never tried dim sum before (and believe me, I know a few people who haven't), man…you are truly missing out!

I am just so in love with all of the assortment of food that most places offer (both savory and sweet), and these sesame balls top my list for favorite dim sum dessert. It's also a very common Khmer and Vietnamese Dessert and like most, I grew up eating this stuff.

Today, I'm showing you guys how to make one of my favorite desserts called fried sesame balls. A fresh sesame ball is slightly crispy on the outside but has a softer, yet chewy interior. At the center of all of this AWESOMENESS holds this soft and slightly sweet mung bean and coconut filling that'll tickle your taste buds in ways you never knew existed!

INGREDIENTS:


For the *dough:

2 cups of warm water + 3 Tbsp more during kneading
16 ounce bag of glutinous rice flour
1 cup of rice flour
1 bag (about 2 Tbsp) of Alsa baking powder (you may try subbing for any baking powder)
1/4 tsp of salt
3/4 cup of sugar
2/3 cup of mashed potato flakes (any boxed brand works)
vegetable oil for frying
candy thermometer

*I found a recipe for the dough here, but I've modified the ingredients a bit and also used my own method for mixing.

For the filling:

8 ounces of split/peeled mung bean
2 cups of water
1 cup of sweetened coconut flakes
1/4 tsp + a pinch of salt
1/4 cup of *caster sugar

*to make caster sugar, just pulse white granulated sugar in a food processor until super fine and powdery.

Additional items needed:

white sesame seeds (placed in a large shallow dish)
some water

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Start off by making your filling. Place your mung bean into a rice pot and wash them until the water runs clear. Once done, drain all the water out, and pour 2 cups of water in. Steam in your rice cooker until done.

2. Once it's done steaming, add in your salt, caster sugar, and coconut flakes and mix until combined. It should resemble the texture of mashed potatoes.

3. Shape your filling into small balls and place them on a baking sheet. I prefer less filling, so I make mine smaller than usual. You may use a melon baller to save some time. Cover and place your filling in the fridge while you work on the dough.

4. To make your dough, place your glutinous rice flour, rice flour, salt, and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and mix to combine. Set this mixture aside.

5. In a separate mixing bowl, add in your sugar and 2 cups of warm water. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Add in your mashed potato flakes and stir to dissolve again.

6. Make a well in the center of your flour mixture and slowly pour in your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir to combine and then gradually switch to using your hands.

7. Add in a Tbsp of water at a time until you get a soft/workable consistency. I usually add an additional 2-3 Tbsp of water to the dough during the kneading process. Test out the dough by breaking off a tiny piece of dough (about a golfball size amount). Make a rounded ball out of it and then flatten it out. If it's SUPER crackly and dry, add in a bit more water.

8. Once your dough is of the proper consistency, form it all into a big ball and wrap it snuggly with a piece of saran wrap and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

9. Get a clean dish rag or paper towel ready.

10. Grab a golfball size of dough and shape it into a ball. Flatten it out with your thumbs and place a piece of filling in the middle. Pinch to seal. Roll into a smooth ball again and then add a few drops of water into your hand. Gently roll the dough around in your palms, making sure to moisten it well.

11. Drop your ball into your dish of sesame seeds.

12. DRY YOUR HANDS OFF.

13. Roll your dough around in the sesame seeds very well. I like to push the ball into the seeds as I'm rolling them around in the dish. Reshape your ball and then proceed with the rest.

14. Allow the sesame balls to rest for at least an hour. If you have several hours, that's great too. I leave mine out for about 2 hours, most of the time. Doing this allows the sesame seeds to adhere better and you'll notice that the dough hardens a bit while it sits out, which I think adds to the overall texture of the sesame balls.

15. Fry your sesame balls at 325 degrees F for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. The temp will probably drop to 300 degrees (which is okay too) but anything lower will cause them to be greasy. Keep close and constantly keep them moving using a pair of chopsticks (or whatever you have on hand).

16. Place them on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Allow to cool slightly before eating, as the filling will be hot. ENJOY!!

photo

 

NOTES:


* You must wait at least one hour before frying up your sesame balls. My recipe requires wetting your hands before rolling them in the sesame seeds, and if you try to fry up the sesame balls while they're still moist, they will EXPLODE in the oil. lol.

*Try not to forget to dry your hands BEFORE you roll your balls into the sesame seeds. If you forget that part, the sesame seeds will stick to your hand and it gets quite messy! You will have to wash your hands after you roll each and every ball and that can take up a lot of time!

*You may fill these with red bean paste or even palm sugar instead.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Che Thai (Asian Fruit Cocktail)

[caption id="attachment_1451" align="alignnone" width="640"]IMG_9905 Che Thai in wine glasses (because everything tastes better in a wine glass)[/caption]

 

This Asian dessert definitely tops my list of favorites! It's incredibly easy to make and very refreshing on a warm day. This dessert traditionally uses coconut milk as the base and has shaved ice in it as well, but you can skip all that and still have a tasty little treat on your hands. You may also use any assortment of canned fruit that you like! The ones that I used in my tutorial are some of my favorites! Some other popular ones are toddy palm seeds and longan.

I prefer all milk (maybe with a little bit of half and half) because coconut milk tends to separate, the longer you let it sit. In the recipe written below, I offer you two ways to serve Che Thai.

INGREDIENTS:

1 can of seedless lychee drained and then halved
1 can of rambutan drained and then halved
1 can of jackfruit drained and then cut into bite size strips (I prefer fresh)
2 small jars of pineapple jelly drained
1 can of Asian green jello cut into strips (or make your own, recipe below)
Half a gallon of milk ( I use lactose free milk)
2 cups of half and half
1/4 cup-1/2 cup of *caster sugar (sweeten to taste)
liquid red food coloring (optional)

*caster sugar is super fine sugar. Run some white granulated sugar in a food processor or blender for one minute to make your own.

FOR THE FAUX POMEGRANATE SEEDS (red rubies):


8 ounce can of sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped (not too fine)
tapioca starch
red food coloring
1 Tbsp of water
ice water bath

FOR THE HOMEMADE GREEN JELLO:

1 TBSP of agar agar powder
3 cups of hot water
1/4 cup of sugar
2 pinches of salt
1/2 tsp of *banana extract (optional)
*liquid green food coloring (or any color)

*You may sub the banana extract AND green food coloring for pandan extract. Pandan extract can be found in most Asian markets.

FOR THE COCONUT SAUCE (this option does not use any milk or half and half):


coconut milk (depending on how many servings you want, you're going to need a lot)
sugar and salt to taste

GARNISHES (optional):

shaved ice
coconut flakes
chia seeds

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Start off by making your jello. Add your agar agar powder and salt into a small saucepan and then pour in your hot water. Whisk until dissolved. Place your saucepan on the stove and turn to medium-medium high heat. Keep whisking and keep an eye on it as the mixture can boil over. Allow mixture to come to a quick rolling boil for 1 full minute, remove from heat and then add in your banana extract and a generous squeezing of green food coloring. Mix well. Pour mixture into a 9 inch pie dish (or something as shallow) and allow to cool slightly before moving jello into the fridge to firm completely. Once firm, cut into bite sized strips or cubes. You will not use all of the jello. Add a little or a lot depending on your preference.

2. If you are making the coconut sauce, make it now. Combine the above ingredients into a saucepan and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add sugar to taste with a touch of salt. Allow to cool before using.

3. Boil a pot of water.

4. Take your chopped water chestnuts and place them into a non staining mixing bowl. Add in 1 Tbsp of water and then add a generous amount of red food coloring. Mix well. Add in your tapioca starch. Start off with a little bit, mix, and then gradually add enough until most of the red is coated evenly with tapioca starch. You should have very little red peeking through at this point. LIGHTLY sift your water chestnuts.

5. Get your ice water bath ready.

6. With your water at a HARD boil, add in your coated water chestnuts and cook them for about 3 minutes or until they all float to the surface. Remove and place them in your ice water bath UNTIL READY TO USE. Taking them out too soon will cause them to clump together.

7. Add all of your prepared fruit, jello, and faux pomegranate seeds into a nice serving bowl. Add in your milk and/or half and half, caster sugar to taste, and finally a few tiny drops of red food coloring (to make it pink). Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Option # 2

1. If serving this in individual cups, layer your fruits, jello, and faux pomegranate seeds, add in your coconut sauce, and then top it with shaved ice, shredded coconuts (optional), and then chia seeds. Mix well with a spoon before indulging. :)

[caption id="attachment_1455" align="alignnone" width="569"]IMG_9829 Layered Che Thai with shaved ice and coconut sauce.[/caption]

 

NOTES:

* If you are using the coconut sauce as the base (and plan on using shaved ice), you must keep in mind that adding the ice will dilute the sauce so you will need to make the coconut sauce a little sweeter than you'd actually like.
* You may choose to save the syrup from the canned fruits and add them into your che thai as well. The syrup is very sweet though, so I would be very careful as to not overdo it when making this dessert. And if you plan on adding the canned syrup into a large serving bowl, keep in mind that with the syrup, the longer it sits in the milk, the sweeter it gets, especially when you get to the bottom of the bowl.
* The homemade jello in this doesn't pack a lot of flavor, but just enough so that it isn't too bland. You may choose to up the sugar if you wish, but in this dessert, the slightly sweetened milk will tie everything together.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Pulled Pork (crock pot recipe)

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No words can describe how easy and delicious this pulled pork is! Someone once told me that it's only pulled pork if you are using bbq sauce at the end?? Although I call it slow cooked pork in my video, I'm going to call it pulled pork for the recipe since it sounds more fitting for me. :)

The possibilities are endless with this recipe! You can make sandwiches, burritos, or eat it with rice like a good little Asian (like me, haha).


Ingredients:

2.5 pounds of pork butt/shoulder (just over 2 pounds is fine)
1 pkg of onion soup mix
2 1/4 cups of hot water
1/2 Tbsp of soy sauce (you may end up using another 1/2 Tbsp later)
2 Tbsp of brown sugar
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

For the open faced sandwiches:

French bread
cheese (optional)

For the bbq sauce (for open faced sandwiches):

1/2 cup of your favorite jarred bbq sauce
1/2 cup of the reserved juice from the pulled pork
black pepper
pinch of salt

Instructions:

1. Take your pork butt and make sure to wash and pat it dry COMPLETELY. Season it with salt and pepper on all sides.
2. With a cast iron on high heat (or any non stick pot) add in some olive oil. Brown your meat on all sides and then place it into your crock pot FAT SIDE UP and turn it to HIGH. Or turn it to low if you plan on cooking it for 8 hours instead.
3. In a small mixing bowl, add in your packet of onion soup mix, hot water, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder, and black pepper. Mix well and then pour this mixture into your crock pot.
4. Cover and allow it to cook for 4 hours. Remove lid and using a fork, start to tear off some huge chunks of pork making sure that most of it is submerged in the yummy pork juices.
5. Cover again, and allow it to cook for 1 more hour.
6. Serve immediately.

NOTES:

*To get rid of most of the fat, refrigerate the pulled pork in the crock pot, let the fat harden, and remove it using a spoon. The juice from the pulled pork is the most delicious part! Serve it over rice and you've got yourselves a meal, people!

*Placing your pork fat side up is very important! It allows the fat to render down into the rest of the meat and keeps it nice and moist during cooking! Try not to forget this part. You'll thank me later! :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Bread Pudding with the Best Vanilla Sauce

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In the past, whenever anyone mentioned bread pudding to me I thought, "wow, that sounds disgusting!" I always thought, "why would anyone want to eat soggy bread??"

That was before I actually got to try some...

And now...I AM OFFICIALLY HOOKED!

My husband said it was one of the best things that he ever put in his mouth...enough said.

INGREDIENTS:

4 stale croissants, cubed
2 1/4 cups of milk
3 eggs
1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
1/4 cup of white granulated sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
baking spray or softened butter

FOR THE BEST VANILLA SAUCE:


1 cup of milk
1 stick of salted butter, cubed
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla bean paste (may sub for vanilla extract)
1 Tbsp of cornstarch
*add in some rum or bourbon for a little kick :)

FOR GARNISH:


slices of banana
turbinado sugar (raw sugar)
whipped cream
vanilla ice cream
cocoa powder
fresh fruit
*you will also need a culinary torch or butane torch

INSTRUCTIONS:


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Spray some Pam or butter flavored cooking spray into a 9x9 baking dish. You may use some softened butter instead. Place your cubed, stale croissants into the baking dish and set aside.
2. Into your blender, add in your eggs, milk, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Pulse until combined. You may whisk this all by hand as well.
3. Pour your wet mix over your cubed croissants. Gently push the croissants down, making sure that all pieces have soaked up some of the milk mixture.
4. Bake for about 50 minutes or until bread pudding becomes puffy. Half way through, cover the pan lightly with some foil to prevent too much browning.
5. While your bread pudding is baking, start on the vanilla sauce. Into a small saucepan, add in your milk and sugar. Turn the heat to medium.
6. Whisk in your vanilla bean paste.
7. Take some of the hot milk and mix it well with your cornstarch to make a slurry. Add the slurry back into the saucepan. If using rum or bourbon, use that in place of the hot milk.
8. Let the mixture come to a quick rolling boil and then quickly reduce heat to a gentle simmer for about 5-7 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Make sure to constantly whisk!
9. Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in your butter until smooth. Taste check. Add more liquor if you so please. :)
10. Right before serving, take your banana slices and dip them into your turbinado sugar and caramelize them using your butane torch.

NOTES:

*You do not need to add parchment paper into your baking dish. I only used it in the video because it was easier for me to remove a nice piece of bread pudding for pictures. :)

*You may use any stale bread you'd like. Use enough bread to fill your 9x9 baking dish. My guess is anywhere from 8-10 pieces, if you are using sandwich bread.

*Using stale croissants give an amazing buttery taste to the bread pudding so if you're using something else, I would suggest adding some melted butter into the milk mixture.

*If your croissants are not stale, I would suggest cubing them first and then leaving them out to dry on a baking dish otherwise it gets really messy to cut because it's so dry.

*For best results, your bread needs to be stale before pouring in your milk mixture. If it's too soft, what will happen is you'll end up with portions of cooked egg on the bottom of your baking dish because your egg/milk mixture didn't properly soak into the bread pieces.

*With that being said, feel free to let your bread and milk mixture soak in the fridge for a couple of hours or even overnight if you did not use stale bread.

*You may use half and half instead of milk. I always have milk so that's what I usually end up using.

*The bread pudding itself isn't very sweet so feel free to up the amount of sugar or even add some cinnamon or nutmeg for an extra kick. The vanilla sauce in this recipe adds the extra sweetness that completes this dish!

*If your bread pudding does not get puffy during baking, that means that your bread was not dry enough. I leave my softened, cubed croissants out for at least 3-4 days before using.

*Make your caramelized bananas RIGHT BEFORE SERVING. After several minutes, the bananas will begin to sweat so they must be eaten right away.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Fruit Filled Sponge Cake

[caption id="attachment_1394" align="alignnone" width="640"]IMG_9367 1/2 sheet fruit filled sponge cake[/caption]

 

FOR THE SPONGE CAKE:


8 eggs separated plus 2 more egg whites(8 egg yolks plus 10 egg whites total)

*separate eggs when they are cold and then bring them to room temp.*

1 cup plus 2 T. of cake flour

1 cup of caster sugar

1/2 tsp of salt

1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

3/4 tsp of cream of tartar

2 T of orange juice(no pulp and not from concentrate) plus 3/4 T. of water

1/2 cup of vegetable oil(no substitutions)

2 UNGREASED aluminum layer cake pans OR 1 UNGREASED(2 piece) aluminum tube pan

 

FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING

*The following is not the same recipe as you've seen in the video. I've decided to omit the gelatin since so many people had problems with it.

3 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream

1 T. plus 2 tsp of vanilla extract

2/3 to 1 1/4 cup of powdered sugar(you control how sweet)

*REVISED*

So I've been making this cake A LOT lately and would like to share with you guys that I've finally discovered what that whipped cream frosting was that the bakeries use--it's called PASTRY PRIDE!! This is what I use now to fill and frost my cakes with!!

It's non dairy and ready to whip!! No need to add any additional flavorings, like vanilla extract or powdered sugar. There's also another one called "Frosting Pride" which is slightly thicker and sweeter but if you're looking for the "frosting" that tastes like whipped cream, than the Pastry Pride in the red box is the way to go. You can purchase these items at a Smart and Final store, Cash and Carry, and Costco sells them online although I'm unsure if they sell it in store. So, if you can find and purchase the Pastry Pride or Frosting Pride...I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU DO!

FOR THE SIMPLE SYRUP:

1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of water

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Into your chilled mixing bowl, add in your  heavy whipping cream. I have a shield that I can attach to my mixture so that it won't splash all over the place, but if your bowl isn't large enough or you don't have a shield, whip up in 2 separate batches. Just before your whipping cream starts to thicken, add in your vanilla extract and powdered sugar. I don't like it too sweet so you can adjust accordingly to your taste. Once done, put in fridge until ready to use. If you're using Pastry Pride, follow the instructions on the box.

2.Pour 1 cup of sugar into food processor and let it run for 30 seconds to create a fine granulated sugar. Set aside.

3. Take your cake flour and salt and sift over a large piece of parchment paper. Then, lift the parchment paper and pour it back into a sieve fitted over a large mixing bowl and sift again. Continue process 3 more times! Set aside.

4. Mix your oil/water/vanilla extract and orange juice together in a small bowl or measuring cup. Set aside.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

6. Beat your egg yolks with the caster sugar until it's pale yellow. Thick ribbon like streaks should be falling off of the beater back into your bowl. Set aside.

7. Beat your egg whites until foamy. Add in your cream of tartar. Continue beating until soft peaks. Switch to a balloon wire whisk and whisk by hand until stiff peaks.

8. Take your reserved oil mixture, give it a little stir, and then add it into your EGG YOLKS MIXTURE. Once mixed in, whisk in your flour mixture, a little at a time. Once thats fully incorporated, take a clean wire whisk and CAREFULLY fold in a little bit of your beaten egg whites and continue this with the rest of the egg whites. Work quickly and use as little strokes as possible. It's okay if you see tiny streaks of white. Don't waste too much time on that.

9. Pour into UNGREASED layer cake pans and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Once done, remove and invert cakes upside down to cool down on 2 racks fitted over two colanders.

10. In a small saucepan over medium high heat, boil 1/2 of water with 1/2 of sugar until it reduces to about half. It will start to thicken up slightly and it will change color. Pour mixture into a bowl over an ice bath and stir until thickened like syrup. The longer you leave it on there, the thicker it will get. Once to your liking, remove from ice bath and set in fridge until ready to use.

11. Chop up some fruit and divide them equally amongst 3 bowls and add in your reserved whipping cream into each bowl. Remember to leave a good amount for frosting the tops and sides of your cake!!

12. Once your cakes have cooled, take a serrated knife and cut into each one. Take your fruit filling and begin to assemble your cakes, one layer at a time. Frost the tops and sides and decorate with fresh fruit/berries of your choice. Drizzle tops with the simple syrup. Place in fridge until ready to indulge! Happy Eating!!

NOTES:

*I would highly recommend that you try the spongecake on it's own first before you attempt this cake. I actually prefer to eat this cake plain, with absolutely no other toppings, whatsoever! I like more cake then whipped cream, so if you wish, you may up the amt. of heavy whipping cream(just remember to adjust the amt. of powdered sugar/vanilla too). Remember, you have to use an ALUMINUM pan/angel food cake tube pan for this recipe. This spongecake contains no baking powder, so the batter needs something to cling on to while it's baking to help give it more height. If you use a non stick pan, your spongecake will not rise as much while baking. Once baking has complete, run a knife around the sides of pan, and also in the center of the pan to remove your cake.

*If you are baking this spongecake in an angel food cake tube pan, follow the same directions as stated in my video, except place batter in your tube pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
First, separate your egg yolks from egg whites while they are cold and bring them to room temp. I know there's some debate on whether or not it's safe to leave them out overnight, but I do anyways. :) Do the same with the orange juice.

BEFORE you attempt this cake, I recommend that you watch my video about what kind of pan to use and how to get a good crumb coat.:)







Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lemon and Rosemary Herbed Roasted Chicken

IMG_9746

You want a home cooked meal but don't want to spend hours slaying away in the kitchen?? Well, HELLO! No need to look any further! My roasted chicken will fill you up and takes only minutes to prep!

Ingredients:

5-5 1/2 pound whole chicken (washed and completely dried)
Extra virgin olive oil
one garlic bulb, cut in half
half of  a small onion
6 brussel sprouts halved
4-6 baby red potatoes halved
4  large carrots cut into 2 inch pieces
salt
black pepper
onion and garlic powder
2 Tbsp of softened unsalted butter
Kitchen twine

For the dry rub:

1 Tbsp of lemon pepper
2 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of dried rosemary
1/2 tsp of onion powder
1/4 tsp of herbs de provence
1/4 tsp of black pepper

 

Instructions: 

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Move your oven rack to the lowest rack possible (for the chicken) and have another rack on the second to highest rack (for the brussel sprouts).

1. Take a roasting pan or baking sheet and line it with foil for easy clean up. Set this aside.

2. Combine your ingredients for your dry rub into a small mixing bowl and then set aside.

3. Place your potatoes and carrots on your baking sheet fitted with the foil. Drizzle on some olive oil and then season with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder. Toss to coat and if using, place an oven rack right on top of the veggies.

4. Put your brussel sprouts on some foil (or baking sheet) and drizzle some olive oil. Season and toss to coat.

5. Get your chicken and rub some olive oil all over it, coating both sides. Take your dry rub and begin to evenly distribute the rub. Don't overly coat the wings. Remember there isn't a lot of meat on there, and you don't want to make it too salty. A pinch on both sides will suffice. If your chicken is smaller (less than 5 pounds, use 3/4 of the dry rub and put the rest in an air tight container).

6.  Using a butter knife, get under the skin and place some butter underneath. Do so, on both sides.

7. Stuff the cavity with your garlic and onion.

8. Using some kitchen twine, tie together the legs. Place your chicken over the carrots and potatoes BREAST SIDE DOWN.

9. Bake chicken for 45 minutes.

10. After 45 minutes, add your brussel sprouts and flip your chicken over and continue to bake for another 40 minutes.

11. Flip your brussel sprouts at least once during roasting. They should take about 20 minutes so make sure to keep an eye on them and remove them when they are ready.

12. After about 1 1/2  hours total, your chicken should be done ( or until a kitchen thermometer reads 165 degrees). I like to turn off the heat and then leave my chicken in there for another 10-15 minutes (depending on how large my chicken is).

13. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest on a cutting board for 20 minutes before slicing. Serve immediately with your vegetables.

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NOTES:  At home, we like to eat our chicken and roasted vegetables with a side of rice. My kids enjoy it with soy sauce while I enjoy it with my sweet and sour dipping sauce . You can find that recipe here.

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