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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lạp Xưởng Pasta

after a long hard day at work, a simple dinner is all i can muster before crashing down on my favorite chair and settle in for an episode of NCIS. most nights, that's pretty much me. it makes me wonder how working parents do it with kids, work outs, homework, walking the dog, laundry and putting a balanced meal on the table in a timely manner. i don't have 4 of those duties and i still feel like i'm falling behind!

i try to be organized with my dinner menu, planning things ahead of time, even prepping the foods the night or weekend before. what i don't take into account tho is my mood. sometimes i just don't feel like having fish, or chicken or rice. last week i bought pumpkin to make monk soup but when it came time to put it together, i just was not in the mood for it. i wanted pasta. i also wanted chinese sausage. what a combo. and such a combo made me think of a pasta dish i made for taste & create last summer. it was simple and delicious. i used the same components as that dish. plus, nuria tried lạp xưởng for the first time.

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Lạp Xưởng Pasta
i made it up

4 lạp xưởng links, roughly chopped
2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked al dente
1 small onion, diced
1 glove of garlic, diced
2 cups pumpkin, diced
leftover spinach stuff from DB challenge

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i cooked the lạp xưởng first and then drained them. i sauteed the onions and garlic in the lạp xưởng oil leftover in the pan, until soft and fragrant. next, i threw in the diced pumpkin. i lowered the heat till medium and stirred the pan until pumpkin was nice and soft. the lạp xưởng was added in next. meanwhile, cook up the pasta according to package instructions, just shy of completely done tho. transfer pasta to pan and mix all together, along with the spinach concoction. season with salt and pepper.

seriously, it was really that simple.

chinese pasta



today's song: Shinedown, Second Chance

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sweet & Savory Strudel

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

Dear Fellow Daring Bakers,
I did this challenge twice this month. the first time was a complete failure of epic proportions. so much so that i ended up making it into a galette. i was bummed, not only because i was pressed for time this month but because having to friggin buy the ingredients again adds up. it seriously made me wonder if it's worth the effort and strain on wallet. i don't usually eat my desserts, a bite is more than enough. however, i do enjoy the challenge part and Nuria likes the eating dessert part. that makes it worthwhile. fine. i'll stick around.

my 2nd attempt i decided to make a savory strudel instead, using spinach and mozzarella cheese. i just threw A LOT of things together in a bowl: spinach, diced tomato, dash of salt&pepper, nutmeg, shredded mozzarella and binded it all together with an egg. Nuria actually put together the dough when she came home from work. by the time i arrived home, the dough had rested and was ready to be stretched. we tugged, spread and cussed our way thru the rolling process. finally. done. is it obvious that i won't be making this ever again?

till next month, keep your ovens clean and warm!
Angry Asian (and Nuria)

for actual non-epic fail apple strudel, hit the blog roll.

failed apple strudel

Apple Strudel
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

Preparation time
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes

15-20 min to make dough
30-90 min to let dough rest/to prepare the filling
20-30 min to roll out and stretch dough
10 min to fill and roll dough
30 min to bake
30 min to cool

2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)
1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)

1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.

3. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.

4. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.

5. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.

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Strudel dough
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).

3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.
Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.

4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it's about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.

Tips- Ingredients are cheap so we would recommend making a double batch of the dough, that way you can practice the pulling and stretching of the dough with the first batch and if it doesn't come out like it should you can use the second batch to give it another try;
- The tablecloth can be cotton or polyster;
- Before pulling and stretching the dough, remove your jewelry from hands and wrists, and wear short-sleeves;
- To make it easier to pull the dough, you can use your hip to secure the dough against the edge of the table;
- Few small holes in the dough is not a problem as the dough will be rolled, making (most of) the holes invisible.

spinach strudel




Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pollo Rebozado (Spanish Chicken Tenders)

would you believe i never had chicken tenders until college? i'd never even heard of "bar food" before. oh the wonders of having american dorm mates! :) living overseas definitely afforded me the opportunity to sample different cuisines, of the fancy to street fare variety. american "street fare" = bar food. fast and easy food, quickly made up and dressed, satisfying and belly filling and CHEAP! {that's what he said.}

my new roommate nuria has been the best sous chef for me. and it's been fun as hell trying new recipes with her but i have had a few dud days where i don't even want to set foot in the kitchen. i think we all go thru that? one night last week i was rushed for time, thinking about dinner and lunch the next day, as well as hauling ass to a kickball game (that was later cancelled just prior to the first inning due to rain...) like a team player, she stepped up to the plate. she tells me that this dish is something her mother used to make for her when she was younger. it was simple and quick. just how i like it. (that is NOT what he said!)

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Pollo Rbeozado (Spanish Chicken Tenders)
from Nuria

1 lb chicken tenders (more or less)
1 ½ cups of flour
2 eggs
1 ½ cups of lavender breadcrumb (*)
1 tsp salt

Whisk the eggs and add the salt. We can add a little of milk (1tps) to the whisked eggs to make the mixture more soft.

Coat the chicken tenders in batter (first the flour and second the eggs) and fry them in abundant hot olive oil on a low heat until the coat reaches a golden color. Once fried, the chicken tender must be put on kitchen paper to drain the excess of olive oil.

(*) After the coat in batter, we can “re”coat the chicken tenders in lavender breadcrumbs and fry them as above.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Bananas Foster

for my 3rd cooking class, the instructor took us to Louisiana. i wasn't too keen on making jambalaya, only because it was hot as hades and because Kim had given me a New Orleans cookbook and i'm sure there was a jambalaya recipe in there somewhere. however, there was bananas foster on the menu and FIRE was going to be used. deal.

i won't include the recipe for Jambalaya but if anyone is interested in it, let me know and i'll email it to you directly. something i didn't know: herbes de Provence was used and that got me all hot and bothered, i was all sorts of excited to mix together the spices. dorkus of me, i know.

herbes de provence



Bananas Foster
adapted from Alton Brown

1/2 stick of butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice (optional)
1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1/4 cup banana liqueur
4 bananas, cut in half lengthwise, then halved
1/4 cup run
Vanilla ice cream

bananas foster



In a medium sized skillet (do not use non-stick) melt the butter. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Stir until sugar is well dissolved in the butter.

Add the banana liqueur and bring to a simmer.

Add the bananas and cook one minute on each side, carefully spooning the sauce over them. Remove the bananas to a serving dish and set aside. Bring sauce back to a simmer. CAREFULLY add the rum. If very hot, it will ignite on it's ow. If not, light with a long handled match or fire starter. Cook until the flame goes out, 1-2 minutes.

Serve with a scoop of ice cream with bananas and the sauce.

Can garnish with chopped, toasted pecans or a twist of orange peel.






Thursday, May 14, 2009

Herb Roasted Onions

i realize i've been remiss in my posting. one can blame laziness, lack of inspiration, not enough hours in the day. take your pick. truthfully, i find my lackadaisical temperment to be annoying but also refreshing. i have a commitment to chronicle my culinary adventures, hopefully awe my friends into thinking that yes, i can put together a decent meal, and extol the virtues of being capable of recreating dishes i find on foodgawker and tastespotting. but i've hit a wall in that i make some of these dishes once and then forget about them, because i'm already moving ahead onto the next challenge. i'm not mastering these dishes, i find out that i can make them and then what next? so i'm taking a step back. i'll still troll the web for cooking challenges but i'm also going to do repeats, hopefully to better results. Ina Garten did it with her Back to Basics series, why can't i?

having said that, my cousin Kim came to visit this week. my roommate nuria and i made a dinner spread. nuria is so enthused with the prospect of cooking and baking, i have no qualms about giving her a recipe and letting her have at it in the kitchen. i picked up a container of korean bbq chicken to be grilled, made cold mashed potato salad, cà phê sữa đá panna cotta and nuria made the herb roasted onions. my twi-friend Carter started a new blog and naturally, one of her first posts sparked my interest. there were a few tweaks that i had to make to the recipe due to lack of ingredients but nuria handled it all like a champ. it turned out wonderful. depending upon a few things, i will be posting my roommate's kitchen adventures, too. they're too funny to not share. :)

herb roasted onions



Herb Roasted Onions
adapted from the Kitchenette and Ina Garten

2 onions, 1 each of white and red
2 Tbl lemon juice
1 tsp horseradish
1 tsp minced garlic (1-2 cloves, depending on size)
1/2 Tbl dried italian seasoning
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/8 cup olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut each onion into quarters or eighths, depending on the size of the onions. Ensure that the stem end is still intact so that the onions stay in wedges.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Pour the dressing over the onions and toss to coat. Transfer the onions to a baking dish or sheet pan.

Bake the onions for 30 to 45 minutes, until tender and browned at the edges. Toss the onions as necessary during cooking. Remove from the oven, and season to taste.

Serve hot, warm, room temperature, or cold.

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Today's song: The Airborne Toxic Event, Sometime Around Midnight



Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ma Po Tofu

a few weeks ago i had a severe hankering for tofu. just so you know, i hanker a lot. not just for food but for random stuff. and i usually hanker for long periods of time, gorging on whatever it is that i'm hankering until i no longer have that hanker. like that time in college when jewel was big and her song Foolish Games was out? i was talking to a boy who was on the track team and he loved the song too, so we would listen to it together, over and over again. how completely maudlin and self-indulgent, yes? it brings forth a smile and grimace when i hear this song now. that's how i feel about tofu. i know rationally speaking, it's good for you but it was pretty much shoved down my throat growing up. prepared properly, it's quite good. i'm sure my grandparents and parents made a variation of ma-po tofu, throwing in their spin on the dish. i can't recall it and i'm pretty sure if i could, i wouldn't have such conflicting feelings for tofu sometimes. any which way, i threw it out there on twitter for some tofu inspiration and wandering chopsticks offered up her ma-po tofu recipe. the recipes i saw online really much had tofu simmering in a spicy sauce, topped with meat and veggies. simple enough. i didn't follow a recipe, i used what i had available. i was satisfied. the hankering abated.

tofu love



Ma Po Tofu
it's not even a proper recipe because i didn't measure, nor was it spicy and szechuan-y

ground pork, probably about 1/2 pound
wood ear fungus, softened in warm water and julienned
black bean sauce, maybe 1 tbl
garlic chili paste, maybe 1 tsp
1 leek, cleaned and chopped (diced onions is fine, i just happened to have a lone leek in the fridge)
1 container of firm tofu

again, cooking this up is pretty much at your discretion. in a hot pan, brown the ground pork until cooked thru. add leeks and toss around with meat until reached desired softness. throw in the wood ear fungus, as well as the black bean sauce and garlic chili paste. adjust according to taste. i may have added a bit of fish sauce for added taste but it's really up to you. meanwhile, with the tofu, press down onto paper towels to get rid of the excess water. cut into cubes. gently add tofu to the meat mix and incorporate until warmed thru. garnish with spring onions. serve with rice.

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today's song: another nostalgic college angst song: Keith Sweat, Twisted

(can i just say, 1996-1997 represent!)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Recipes to Rival: Coq au Vin

Dear Fellow Recipes to Rival-ers,
i am a complete asshole. not only am i about 11 hours late in posting April's challenge, but i completely FAILED in making the dish. for this, i am sorry. i prepared this dish early too, in the hopes of having it for easter dinner. technically, i made it the day after easter but whatever. i'm not a red wine fan, in fact, i hate it. however, for you guys, i went to the wine store and purchased a bottle of red wine. it was actually a malbec, a Trapiche to be exact. i chose this wine because when i worked at the restaurant it was so popular, i figured it had to be good. long whiny story short, the end result was a mess. it was so unappetizingly UGLY that no matter how much lighting, plating and POST PROCESSING i did, it still looked like turd in a pretty bowl. AND. it was so ugly that i couldn't bear to eat it, even tho i had one bite and it was ... ok. i'm just saying.

Temperance was the fearless hostess (feel better soon!!!) and for actual beautiful pix of the Coq au Vin challenge, hit the blogroll.

i leave you with a pic of the beach in PR because it's pretty much the only thing i've uploaded to my flickr account lately, and that was still about 3 weeks ago. I KNOW!

till next month, keep the stove clean and hopping!
Angry Asian

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