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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Revamped: Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

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this month's Beet 'n Squash battle is Napa Cabbage.

just do it, participate in this monthly food fight.

Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup
Original Post
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i changed some random ingredients, changed the method of cooking but the end result was pretty much the same: awesome.

1/2 lb lean ground pork
1 small shallot, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
shiitake mushrooms, chopped
half carrot, chopped for color
vermicelli noodles, rough chopped
fish sauce
oyster sauce to bind
**(all that chopping was done courtesy of my new food processor)
1 head of napa cabbage (i bought the smallest one i could find cus good grief, i am but one person)

essentially mix everything save the cabbage in a mixing bowl. i purposefully did not include exact measurements of the fish and oyster sauces because it's about taste preference. as for the other ingredients, again, it's up to what you like... if you want to scare off a vamp, throw in another clove of garlic. have at it.

lightly blanch the cabbage to make it easier to fold around the meat. i chopped off the ends, saving to eventually use to make veggie stock. i only used the leafy part.

in the center of the cabbage, add in about a teaspoon of the meat mixture (again, depending on how big the cabbage leaf is and how much meat you want to be chowing down on). roll the sides of the cabbage and roll so all sides are secure.

originally i cooked this in a broth. but because the rolls are light they moved in the broth and came slightly undone. this time around, i put the rolls in a casserole dish and poured about 2 ladles of the blanched water over it. i baked the rolls in a 350degree oven for about 20 minutes.

serve with rice or eat as is. i thought of making a tomato based sauce but they came out perfectly. the blanched water was actually seasoned quite nicely from the meat filling and cabbage leaves.



today's song: Leighton Meester Ft. Robin Thicke, Somebody to Love

i'm a little obsessed with this song and video right this second.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

.: Biltmore Bistro:

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artichoke dip

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steak atop a potato croquette and cream of spinach, topped with blue cheese and finished with a coffee glaze reduction



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mushroom ravioli

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chocolate tart

verdict:
excellent food, the waiter may have had an off day or he doesn't have a sense of humor. lovely scenery of the winery and really, lunch with nuria and kelcy... that's all that mattered.

Biltmore Bistro
1 Approach Road
Asheville, NC 28803

Friday, December 25, 2009

Candy Cane Hearts & Joy

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may your holiday be filled with heart and joy.

today's song: I wonder as I wander

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 2009 - Gingerbread House from Scratch

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

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nuria and i made the good housekeeping recipe.

hit the blogroll for more daring bakers' Gingerbread houses from scratch.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ravioli: Mushroom & Spaghetti Squash in Lemon Mushroom Sauce

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Ravioli: Mushroom and Spaghetti Squash, in a lemon mushroom sauce

Filling 1: Mushroom filling
mushroom stems, diced (i used white button and shiitake)
red wine
thyme
small onion, diced
olive oil

saute diced onion until soft/translucent. add in the stems. brown. throw in a dash of red wine and the thyme, allowing the flavors to get all merry. season to taste. set aside.

Filling 2: Spaghetti Squash
1 small spaghetti squash
garlic, minced
olive oil

halve squash and soften in 325F oven for 45 minutes. use a spoon to scrape the flesh from the skin, it should come out in shreds. meanwhile heat up oil and add garlic, being careful to not burn. throw in the spaghetti squash, being sure to coat with the fragrant oil and garlic. season to taste. set aside.

to make the ravioli, i used wonton skins. i boiled them gently in salted boiling water.

Lemon Mushroom Sauce:
caps of mushrooms, sliced (i used white button and shiitake)
garlic, minced
small onion, diced
thyme, minced
about 1/4 cup of stock
about 1/2 cup of milk
2 Tbl butter
bit of flour
juice of 1/2 lemon
olive oil

saute onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil, sweat onions until soft. add in the thyme, stock and milk, bringing to a gentle boil. meanwhile, add the butter and flour until it forms a paste. slowly whisk in the flour/butter until incorporated. simmer sauce until reduced, season with salt/pepper and lemon, being sure to stir constantly to not burn the bottom.

drizzle sauce over raviolis.

today's song: Anya Marina, Satellite Heart


Monday, December 14, 2009

:: blessings ::

"When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends." ~Japanese Proverb

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location: Abacrombie

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gift basket: rolled up socks in silcone cupcake liners, bath/shower love and...

apron


a @labuutique original - apron made of scraps and an old beach towel.

much appreciation to my love jason, cousins: buu, kimma kim, ken & zeke, as well as red headed slut roommate Nuria, without whom i would quite literally have nothing.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

.: Meli Patisserie & Bistro :.

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grilled chicken penne - crispy duck confit - chesapeake omelette - fresh herb omelette

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braise lamb hash

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vanilla napoleon

Meli
1636 THAMES STREET
HISTORIC FELLS POINT
BALTIMORE, MD 21231
410.534.6354

final thoughts:
service - not the best
dessert - pretty damn good
latte - too hot, nuria was not pleased
bathroom - too cold, what up with that?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rye Bread - November Recipes to Rival

Dear Fellow Recipes to Rival'ers,
um. this month's challenge was a failure for us, of epic proportions. alright, fine, i'm exaggerating. it still did suck tho. the first time, i had nuria do it. it was going to be her contribution to thanksgiving dinner. the presentation was beautiful, but it was heavy and solid as a rock. so i attempted to make it again over the weekend. while my attempt garnered less of a rock consistency, it still sucked. it poofed up so much during the 2nd rest period that the bake time got skewed. the inner most part of the bread was still raw.

so taste-wise, not my best offering. i will say that the smell was glorious. it was rich with the hint of chocolate. i love breads so it does break my heart that this was such a failure. i do have some rye flour left and i'm now on the search for the ultimate rye bread recipe. i'll get it eventually.

so till next month, keep your kitchen clean,
Angry Asian and Nuria

Thanks to Temperance for hosting this month! for more Rye outtakes, hit the blogroll.

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Old World Rye
A World of Breads by Dolores Casella, 1966

2 cups rye flour
1/4 cup cocoa
2 T yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup molasses
2 tsp salt
2 T caraway seed
2 T butter
2 1/2 cups white flour or whole wheat flour

Combine the rye flour and cocoa. do not sift.
Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.
Mix molasses, 1 cup warm water, salt, and caraway seed in large mixing bowl.
Add the rye/cocoa mix, the proofed yeast, the butter and 1 cup white flour or whole wheat flour.
Beat until the dough is smooth.
Spread the remaining flour on a breadboard and kneed it into the dough
Add more flour if necessary to make a firm dough that is smooth and elastic.
Place in buttered bowl and cover. Allow to rise until double (about 2 hours).
Punch dough down, shape into a round loaf and place on a buttered cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal.
Let rise about 50 minutes.
Bake at 375 for 35 to 40 minutes.

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today's song: La Roux, Bulletproof

Monday, November 30, 2009

butter & jam thumbprints

i haven't been baking much lately, it's a conscious decision on my part. i go thru so much flour and sugar, plus my hips just can't take it anymore. however, this past weekend, with all the savory goodness that thanksgiving brings, i had a craving for something sweet. i was not in charge of desserts this year so i quite literally had nothing sweet in the abode. after lamenting about it for a full 48 hours to Nuria, i finally got off my ass and threw together some cookies. the recipe is from the back package of some kitchen gadget, not sure which.

the cookies turned out ... ok. fresh out of the oven they were too sweet, crumbly and well, unimpressive. but there were 30 of them and i was not willing to throw them out. 24 hours later, while sipping some tea i grabbed one and the flavors had mellowed. it wasn't as sweet, and lawd, it hit the spot. i used homemade blackberry jam {as in i bought the jam from the cracker barrel}. if i ever make these again, i'd cut back the sugar or use my own jam where the sugar amount is more controlled.

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Butter & Jam Thumbprint

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2/3 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup jam

heat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. in another bowl, whip butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 5 minutes. beat in egg and vanilla until just combined. slowly beat in dry ingredients, in 2 additions, mixing just until incorporated.

scoop dough in 1" balls with a cookie or ice cream scoop, in in sugar. place about 2" apart on baking sheet. press a 1/2" deep thumbprint into cent of each ball. fill each print with about 3/4 tsp jam.

bake cookies until edges are golden, about 15 minutes. coooking baking sheets.

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Today's song: Stars, Going Going Gone




Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Purple Cauliflower & Apple Soup

a few weeks ago a friend offered up her weekly CSA stash since she was going out of town and didn't want it to go to waste. i jumped on that bandwagon like my life depended on it. i've always wanted to see what the fuss was about, plus, free groceries for the week? call me dorky but the process of just showing up on this random farm out in the county, picking fresh produce, everything so ... close to the earth ... i was quite euphoric. or just suffering from mad motion sickness, cus even when driving i can succumb to the damn thing.

anyway, one of the items i was most excited about was the purple cauliflower. rationally speaking, i know it tastes the same but i've always picked the white variety. i have a block with random colored food. blue stuff? no. unless it's blueberries. florescent orange potatoes? no. don't get me started on black food or red velvet cake. my fave yogurt is blueberry and i know it turns purple but that's the only purple food i dig. until now. cus i can dig purple cauliflower soup. added an apple in there for some sweetness. and mainly because it was hanging out forlorn on my counter. i think i'll continue to do that from now on because it lends such a natural sweetness. i may have hit something here, parents could totally get their kids to eat more apples if they just masked it well enough. just saying.

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Purple Cauliflower and Apple Soup

half a head of purple cauliflower, small florets
1 apple rough chopped
1 small onion, diced
veggie broth, or water
milk or cream
splash of olive oil
salt/pepper to taste, added between layers

seriously, this soup was so easy to make. heat up some oil in a pot, enough to coat bottom. add in the diced onion, sauteeing till soft/translucent. salt/pepper. next, throw in the chopped apple and allow to carmelize a bit. salt/pepper. last, put in the cauliflower, allowing them to mingle in there with the onions and apple. salt/pepper. add in enough broth or water to just over and allow to simmer till tender. using an immersion blender, blend till smooth at desired consistency. i added in a ladle full of milk for some creaminess. adjust seasoning.

today's song: The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Your Guardian Angel



Monday, November 23, 2009

Sunday Vegetable Soup

sunday is my favorite day of the week. nevermind that it's the day before Monday, the normal start of a work week. i use this day to start my week. typically, i get myself situated, kitchen stocked for the week and catching up with onDemand shows that i may have missed. it's actually a rather action packed day considering it's supposed to be a day of rest.

some sunday ago i made a trek to a phamily friend's house. H and her hubs R had baby O in june and tho i happened to be in the same hospital the day he was born and i snuck a peak at him, then seeing him briefly again a week later {i hold the distinct title of first and possibly only asian to have held him} i didn't see him again over the summer. that had to be remedied. anyone who knows me knows that i adore holding babies. plus, i had a fear that he was growing up entirely too fast and i needed to hold him again before he could run away from me. H hosted a mini gathering and bless her heart, did not require me to cook anything. sure she wanted to talk food and menu but really, i just showed up with a loaf of rosemary challah (2 hours late, let's just say any night out in dc causes for a painful sunday morning, favorite day be damned), she handed me Baby O and i was in heaven.

lunch turned into quite the food fest, H and R went all balls to the wall. grilled veggies, lemon-herb chicken and oh my, veggie soup. i dub it sunday vegetable soup because it holds all the flavors and essence of a favorite day of the week: warm and hearty, filling and satisfying, but easy to assemble, perfect to tuck into with friends around a crowded dining room table on an autumn sunday.

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Sunday Vegetable Soup
from H. she made this soup, with me underfoot holding baby O. i just showed up to chow.
there are no measurements, the way a perfect soup should be anyway, it's all about taste.

onions, celery and carrots, diced same size
chopped caulifower, small florets
Imagine Morrocan Chick-pea bisque
+ water to thin out just a bit
can of diced tomatoes (you can use fresh if you want)
chopped kale
corn, canned or fresh
cumin, red pepper flakes and coriander to taste

the following is the recipe in H's words.

- saute onions, carrots, celery and some red pepper flakes if you like spicy
- add chopped cauliflower (you want really small florets) and saute another few minutes
-add the stock which is the "Imagine" brand (whole foods sells it and other places I think) box soups- style is "Morrocan Chick-pea bisque) and I also add some water to thin out the stock. cook until carrots and cauliflower are soft. at some point in this process (like 15 minutes after the stock, add a can or two of dices tomatoes cook a little longer.
-Add chopped Kale- or some other green leefy veg.- let it wilt.
-About 10 minutes before serving, add either a can or fresh corn.
-Also, season with lots of cumin and some coriander. No need to salt.

today's song: Greg Laswell, What a Day

Monday, November 16, 2009

Candy Sushi & Individual Soft Center Chocolate Cakes

my friend Angela recently asked me to make some sweet treats for her daughter Natalie's 10th birthday party. naturally, since i had dressed up as Princess Jasmine and Pochahontas for Nat's birthdays in previous years, i jumped at the chance to participate again. This year they had an asian theme. the girls dressed up in either chinese or japanese dresses, fried rice and sesame chicken was served and i made the candy sushi. i also begged Angela to let me make the cake as well. Natalie is a huge fan of Applebee's chocolate lava cake so i found a recipe that mimics it. i made twelve individual ramikan size cakes for her friends to enjoy.

the night before the party, nuria and i sat side by side, sweatshop-style, in front of the tv and basically resisted the urge to chow the eff down on the candy. with just three simple ingredients to create the candy sushi, it was the ideal mindless creation while we watched Grey's Anatomy. the rice crispy treats were in thin sheets, the twizzler acted as the filling and the fruit roll up wrapped it all up in a tidy package. any leftover edges of the rice crispy treats were turned into nigiri sushi with swedish fish on top. SO CUTE!

for the birthday cake, i chose a very simple but sweet cake. i figured the individual servings for each girl would be a nice treat, the gooey middle a surprise and the ice cream to wash it all down. can i just say those girls were sugar happy?!

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Individual Soft Center Chocolate Cakes
from Ghirardelli
4 servings

8 Tbl unsalted butter
1 bar (4oz) Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet chocolate baking bar (i used semi-sweet)
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbl cake flour (i used AP flour)

Melt butter and chocolate in double boiler. Whip eggs, yolks, sugar and vanilla with a mixer for about 10 minutes on high speed. Fold melted choclate and butter into the egg mixture. Fold in the flour just until combined. Butter and sugar four 6oz ramekins then spoon even portion of mixture into each. Bake at 450F for about 9-10 minutes. The center will still be quite soft but the top and sides will be set. Let sit, out of the oven for baout 5 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

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for inspiration, i went here: How to Make Candy Sushi

Thursday, November 12, 2009

sunday supper - Baked Lemon Salt & Pepper Chicken

yes. i've been lazy lately. i haven't had much inclination to cook blog. i even boycotted twitter for 3 days. i just don't feel like being here. so without further ado, i present a dish i made sunday. it was a pretty day, warm and bright but i hadn't left my place all weekend. not even stepped out on my fire escape. i was feeling pretty damn anti-social, much like how i'm feeling right now about this here blog.

i chose wandering chopstick's Salt, Pepper, Lemon, Basic Baked Chicken recipe. what can i say, i jock the girl. i pretty much followed her recipe except i was an idiot and completely forgot to throw in the herb. she uses rosemary and i had a few sprigs of thyme hanging out and simply forgot until ... oh when i sat down to eat. yeah.

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the only modificationa tweeks somethings i made to this recipe was the accidental ix-nay of an herb and i used two quarter pieces of the chicken. despite the lack of herb, it was still a successful dish. next time around (i'll be making this again very soon with the bff in NC when we prepare for the twilight saga: new mooon premiere. yes, be jealous...) i will add an extra lemon. the citrus freshness was very subtle, too subtle and i'd like it to be more pronounced.

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Today's Song: Kings of Leon, Wasted Time

Friday, November 6, 2009

Volt - Ladies Lunch

i realize i have a separate blog that i devote to mainly restaurant reviews, trips etc. however, i have been lacking lately in going out much, or even taking trips. i could blame it on the economy but i won't. it's more that i can make (or attempt to) the food at home at a fraction of the cost. i could post this there but because i'm currently in the midst of vapidly following the Voltaggio brothers like a fangirl, i'll post it here.

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back in late August, during DC's Restaurant Week, i joined my cousins and nuria on a trip to Frederick, MD for lunch at Volt and some antiquing. now, i took some good pix but i couldn't even tell you what everything was. i can tell you that while the food was delicious, the service was spotty. for the large group, we had a separate, private room. (i think it's also because buu knows the hostess and is friends with Chef Bryan's wife... yeah, i totally name dropped, don't be jealous...) she enjoys that type of VIP service. for me, i would've preferred to be with the rest of the crowd, to see what they're eating, how their server compared to ours, that kind of thing. it's me judging. it's what i do.

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irregardless, it was a lovely sunday - warm, sunny, inviting, the perfect day for a simple lunch and strolling thru downtown frederick hunting up used goods that somebody didn't want anymore. buu, nuria and i went with the wine pairing. we figured why not? never mind that i'm not a wine connoisseur, i stick to pinot grigio or Riesling but whatever. i do recall that i had ordered the pork but somehow ended up with the steak, and even tho buu had also gotten the steak, she and i had different red wines. it seemed like such a hassle to tell the server the order was wrong (i can't think of a time, ever, that i've sent food back or caused a fuss.) i chalked it up to a busy service and for me, a learning experience: i'll return to Volt when it's not restaurant week.

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i will say that the beet salad was wonderful, it was around that time that i had first tasted beets, enjoyed the flavor so decided to see how the chef prepared it. yep, i made my beets fine since it tasted pretty much the same, altho they have me on presentation. there was some cold corn soup that was ok. the steak was nice, but my favorite was the dessert. it was like a chocolate plate. chocolate mousse, chocolate powder, chocolate squiggly thing, chocolate cookie... i loved it.

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at the time, i left feeling a little let down but i've come to realize that there's very few times i've gone to posh restaurants during Restaurant Week and left happy. something about the quality of service and food that goes down during restaurant week, it's rushed, harried -- not how it normally would be if you paid full price for everything. i suspect my feeling of wanting to give them a second chance has to do with the fact that Chef Bryan is kicking some major ass on Top Chef. whatever the case may be, buu and i have been trying to get resos for Table 21 and they are booked solid till the Spring. phooey.

Today's Song: Groove Theory, Tell Me



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Honey Mustard Pork Chops

do you remember that childhood book Charlotte's Web by EB White? i read the book in 3rd grade. i loved it. almost as much as Harriet the Spy. i liked the idea that animals talked to each other, that they had friendships formed, a daily routine that they stuck to. who knew that a rat could be helpful, or that the goose was such a snob? most importantly, it was beyond amazing to me that a spider could spell better than me. all for a pig named Wilbur. during the weeks that my class read this book, me skipping ahead of the class most nights to see what happened next, i never put the correlation between Wilbur, the pig in the book, to the pork we usually ate for dinner. pork was a fairly routine protein at the dinner table growing up, it's cheap and easily assessable. it never clicked that, whoa the pig i'm hoping is saved in the book may also be the pig i'm chowing down on (thịt kho anyone?) oh the innocence and idealism of a child.

i've cooked with pork before but not much. yes, i've made some pretty awesome pork loin dishes this summer found here and here, but pork chops... they were on sale recently, i grabbed the container and on sunday, while Nuria lazed about nursing a hangover, i busted them out for a quick and easy supper. luckily, i had a few crisp apples to pair with the other white meat, along with leftover kale. it's the personification of Autumn. poor charlotte may have saved her Wilbur but the pig on my plate sunday nite was luscious, cooked just thru and the added sweetness of the apples brought it all home for me.

what childhood books do you recall reading that stays with you still... from just the storyline or what the characters ate?

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Honey Mustard Pork Chops
adapted from The Everything Cooking for Two Cookbook

2 TBL olive oil
2 center cut bone in pork chops
salt and pepper to taste
2 TBL butter
2 apples, cored and cut into wedges
enough Dijon mustard to coat the chops
3 TBL honey

preheat oven to 450F. heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet on a medium high. season pork with salt and pepper, and brown well, about 2 minutes per side. take out of pan, set aside.

wipe out pan and add the butter. heat on medium until it stops bubbling, and add the apples. season with salt and pepper, sauteeing for about minutes or until the apples soften slightly and brown. remove the apples from the pan and keep warm.

mix together the honey and mustard and rub on top of the pork chops. place the chops on a baking sheet and roast for 6 minutes. let rest for a few minutes and serve with the apples on top. (i don't like my food touching so mine was served side by side)

for the kale, i used this recipe.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Recipes to Rival: French Onion Soup

Dear Recipe to Rivalers,
it took me 3 days to make this month's challenge dish. 3 days! i guess i could've done it all at the same time: making the broth from scratch, the french bread rise and rest time, and carmelizing the onions. that kind of multitasking is smart. it's working smart, not hard. however, i did none of that. nuria started the stock process early on a friday night and i babysat it till about 2am. when she came home from the bars that night i still wasn't done yet! skip saturday for some reason so sunday was hopefully going to be the day i could serve the soup. nope, i realized late that it takes 3 hours to caramelize the onions. yay. fine, monday night then. only, we started the french bread process late sunday evening thinking we could bake it monday when we got home from work. no. the rise and rest process said we could bake it on TUESDAY. awesome. moral of the story: buy the damn dish already made.

i will say that the soup had many layers to it : sweetness of the onions, richness of the stock, and overall presentation of it all. so fine, it's a labor intensive dish. my last gripe? i forgot my camera that housed pix of this dish at a friend's place and so i had to do a leftover pic that turned out eh. moral of the story: there is none. i've already kicked myself in the ass enough for leaving my camera.

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all bitchiness aside, i enjoyed the process of making the stock. even tho canned stock is cheap and less time consuming, there is just something about making your own stock to store in the freezer. currently, i have chicken, beef AND fish stock in my freezer, all tidied up in small containers to be used up for soups and stews.

till next month, stay warm and loosen up those belts, the holidays are a-coming,
Angry Asian and Nuria

french onion soup



for more French Onion Soup, hit the blogroll.

Thanks to Sara of I'm A Food Blog for hosting this month.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ode to Wandering Chopsticks: Ma Po Tofu


it's no secret that i harbor a food crush on Wandering Chopsticks, she's the Chị i never had. and i've been fortunate enough to have met her. don't be jealous. Chị WC, as i fondly call her, is wonderful - warm and effusive. i spent a lovely day with her in CA when i was in town for a phamily reunion. if you haven't visited her blog, you should. pretty much most of the things i've learned about blogging, i learned from her.

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so i was uber excited when i noticed that this month is WC appreciation month, or more formally, October Tried & Tasted: Wandering Chopsticks, hosted by the Recipe Center. if i don't hit up my grandmother, then i go to WC for my vietnamese food fix. she knows everything. you want to know about fish sauce, she's got something on it. you want to know how to properly wash and cook rice? she's got you. she's like a one stop shop... restaurant reviews, her brand of soy sauce preferences, recipes of many nationalities, gardening tips and basic all around awesomeness. i've already created a few of her creations, and i intend to still use her as a point of reference and inspiration, so this challenge wasn't really much of a stretch for me. i made her Ma Po Tofu, a dish i made some time ago but now i'll just use her recipe cus it is the SHIT. it's effing pure genius. she asked me if she needed to tweek it and i was like, WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?! translation: no, please don't, why mess with pure perfection?

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i actually had to make this dish twice in as many weeks. the first time turned out great but the camera that had the pix of such greatness was left at a friend's house and i wasn't about to trek 45 minutes to pick up said camera. my solution? to make the dish again, only this time, directing Nuria thru the process. the only change i made was the amount of spiciness and use of peppercorn. that's just a taste preference, everything else, it's all WC.

i've also been inspired by or made few dishes of WC's:



ma po tofu



Today's song: Charlotte Martin, Darkest Hour

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Daring Baker's Macaron

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern.

Dear Fellow Daring Bakers,
it was down to the wire for me. i baked these little suckers sunday night, with a wallop of a hang over. add to that mix, not much enthusiasm. i think the reason why i did this challenge so last minute is because i'm not a fan of macarons. i don't even know if i'm pronouncing it properly. is it "mack-a-RON" like the guy's name or "mack-a-roooooon" like how i think it should be pronounced, even tho it is missing an "O". actually. a macaroon is an entirely different sweet. this just proves my point that macarons are the devil.

they did not come out fluffy, more flat than anything and entirely too sweet for my palate. further, i was annoyed as shit when it had two bake temperatures! waiting for temps to go up and down, not my idea of how to nurse a hang over. so my results don't have the cute little feets and bodies that everyone else will, but that's ok.

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till next month, keep those ovens HOT!
Angry Asian
check out what the rest of the daring bakers came up with on the blogroll.

macaron
Ingredients:

Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.

2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.

3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.

4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.

5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).

6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.

7. Cool on a rack before filling.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Warm & Fuzzy ~ Lentil Soup

i'm not a naturally warm and fuzzy kind of person. i'm not a bad person but i certainly am not what one would call kind. i'm too practical. and i'm not fishing for compliments or anyone to contradict what i'm saying either. any of my close circle of friends will tell you that i'm not the go-to person for empathy. when i say i'm not naturally like that, that's not to say that i can't be like that. sure, i can do and say all the right things. you just broke up with your boyfriend, i will wail, burn his stuff with you and talk shit about him with you. you need a pick me up, i will be your cheerleader, saying all the right positive things you need and really want to hear. however, when you're sick my first instinct is to haul ass out of the room to avoid contamination. i will wish you luck, tell you to chug some nyquil and call me when you're feeling better. for me when i'm sick, i just want to dig a hole, climb in and wallow alone. i don't like being checked up on, i don't like having to check in, i just want to recover at my leisure, in peace... Alone.

however, i realize not everyone is like me. some people like being coddled, fawned over, taken care of. i get it. when Nuria was feeling under the weather recently, i threw together a lentil soup. apparently it doesn't get too cold in Spain and this schizophrenic changing weather of autumn is wreaking havoc on her system. i did throw in a dash of cayenne pepper, to bring some heat to the soup. whenever i was a sick as a kid, my grandparents would make me rice porridge and load up on the black pepper. used to make me sweat. personally, i didn't love the soup but nuria really dug into it. i'd like to say that i have magic cooking skills, strong enough to cure ailments. cus you know it's not cus of my kindness that is curing her! :)

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Lentil Soup
adapted from Almost Meatless by Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond

1 Tbl olive oil
4 oz bacon
1 small onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 small fennel bulb, diced
1 Tbl tomato paste
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of crushed tomatos
1 1/2 cups brown lentils
6 cups of water
1 bay leaf
dash of cayenne pepper
1 Tbl balsamic vinegar

heat up the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. add the bacon and cook till done. remove bacon and set aside. Add the onions, celery, carrots, fennel and salt. adjust the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for at least 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Add the tomato past, stirring well to coat the vegetables and cook for about 2 minutes to melt the paste. Add the garlic, tomatoes, lentils, bay leaf and water. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove and chuck bay leaf.

now, the recipes calls for pureeing, i ix-nayed that part. it's originally a cheesy soup, with the use of parmesan or romano cheese. i wasn't having any of that. i just served the soup as was, drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Risotto and Roasted Beets



for this month's beet n squash challenge, hosted by Leela of SheSimmers and Mel Bouchon For Two, i made a simple risotto, using up some leftover arborio rice from a few months ago. i thought of cooking the beets along with the risotto, because really, the damn thing takes forever to cook up. however, beets take forever and then some to soften. plus, the thought of the rice being dyed a pink kinda reddish hue freaked me out. it would've looked kinda human organ-like. just trust me, it's better the way i did it. not that what i did was very revolutionary, i cooked the arborio rice according to package instructions, for the 20some odd minutes, with some white wine and homemade stock. before that, for about 1.5 hours in the oven, the beets were roasting at 350degrees in their aluminum foil. prior to wrapping and then throwing them in the oven tho, i did drizzle a bit of evoo and sprinkled some rosemary and salt on it. you know, treating it like a potato, a bleeding one at that.

risotto and beets



right when the risotto was about done, i unwrapped the beets and cubed them. now, i guess i could've thrown them in with the risotto as i finished up but again, the bleeding thing, turning the pasta/rice red... it's a mental block, i tell you. just couldn't do it. so i used it more as a garnish, rather than an equal.

whatever, it worked. the risotta was still slightly al dente and the beets still had a bite to it. it worked tho, the contrast between the two ingredients.

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it can't be said that this dish really reflects my culture. i didn't grow up with risotto or beets, together or separately. however, in recent times, i've expanded my palate. and the way i decided to cook the beets is definitely indicative of my nature: lazy. i'm serious. i'm lazy by nature, i enjoy cooking yes, but holy shit, if there is a chance to cook lazily but the results come out looking like i slaved over it, i'm in.





Friday, October 16, 2009

Six Minute Chocolate Cake

chocolate cake

i found myself in an awful mood last friday. something about the coming cold weather, early sunset really puts me in a funk. it had been a busy day, needy phone calls, random errands and even tho there was a prospect of happy hour with some friends, the cloud over my head would not dissipate. i remember thinking that i shouldn't be so down, nothing can be that serious that i quite literally want to crawl into bed, pull my comforter over my head and ignore everyone. i also remember feeling bad for being in the dumps. now i know it's ok. i mean, it's been a rough week in general, but i've survived it, with a little help from my friends... and chocolate cake.

later that friday night, after Nuria left for an evening out, i found myself too restless to crochet, too preoccupied to pay attention to anything on tv. so i thought back to the one chocolate cake i remember Shannalee of Food Loves Writing made some time ago. {yes, my elephant memory remembers the most random things, but i think, the most important things...} with just a few ingredients that i always have on hand, the mixing was minimal. even tho i didn't actually dig into it until the next day, for breakfast, the aroma of the cake baking soothed something in me. it took me a few minutes to find the recipe, 6 minutes to mix, and at minute 12 of baking, the smell hit me. the cake came out soft, deliciously tacky, leaving a thin coat on my fingers, giving me cause to lick them, quite enthusiastically i might add. i also threw in a handful of reeses peanut butter chips.

Six Minute Chocolate Cake
from Food Loves Writing, from Carol Cutler’s The Six-Minute Souffle and Other Culinary Delights

1 cup sugar (i used 2/3 cup)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup oil
1 cup water
handful peanut butter chips (optional, it was handy and it tickled my fancy)

2 Tablespoons vinegar (i used just regular)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Select an 8 X 8 X 2 pan or a 9″ round cake pan. Add all ingredients, except the vinegar, to the pan. Stir with a fork or wire whisk until thoroughly blended.

Add vinegar and stir quickly to thoroughly blend in the vinegar, and immediately place in the hot oven. There must be no delay in baking after the vinegar is added.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the center is slightly puffed and the sides begin to pull away from the pan. Cool. Sprinkle top with confectioner’s sugar or frost with chocolate frosting.

Cooking ahead: Six-minute chocolate cake is better if allowed to mellow for a day.

Today's song: Paolo Nutini, Autumn

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Carrot Bread ~ Making Up For Lost Time

i started wearing glasses in the 5th grade. my (step)mother was horrified. i was already gawky and now this would be another blemish on my person, bad eyesight and having to wear wire rims. she got in her head that she would do what she could do to improve my eyesight. by forcing carrot juice down my throat everyday after school.

yes. 8oz of pulverized carrot juice everyday. my feelings for this particular vegetable was rocky, at best. correction. it was more like "fuck you carrots, damn you to Hell", if that is really a feeling and in my case, yes, it's a feeling.

however, recently, i decided to use up some carrots i had in the fridge, not enough for anything and truth be told, not really enough for the bread but somehow i figured i wouldn't be too heartbroken over it. the bread came out moist, fluffy, absolute perfection. Nuria had two slices right out the oven, and i had a slice everyday for breakfast. my eyesight still isn't great, the glasses are gone ... carrots are not going to save this blemish but at least now i can call a truce on the damn things.

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Carrot Bread
adapted from the Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

1.5 cups plus 1.5 Tbl AP flour
1/2 Tbl baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
3 large eggs
1/2 cup veggie oil
3/4 cup sugar, actually i put in just under that
2 cups finely grated carrots
1/8 tsp allspice
1/2 Tbl cumin

carrot bread

Preheat oven to 350F 20 minutes before baking.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice and cumin. In another bowl, mix together the eggs, oil and sugar until blended. Add the flour mixture and continue stirring/beating just until incorporated. add the carrots and continue mixing.

Scrape the batter into a bread pan (9X5" loaf pan, sprayed with nonstick oil or greased). Bake for about an hour, or until the top is golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. (mine went for about 50 minutes) Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes, then run a small spatula between the sides of the pan and unmold it onto an oiled wire rack. Wrap the loaf well in plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight to distribute the moisture. If you can't wait till the next day, it's fine, just be sure to allow the bread to cool completely before cutting.

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