Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sticky Toffee Pudding

For the cake

8 ounces (225g/generous 1 cup) chopped dates
½ pint (300ml/1¼ cups) brewed tea
4 ozs. (110g/1 stick) unsalted butter
6 ozs. (170g/scant 1 cup) castor (superfine) sugar
3 eggs
8 ozs. (225g/scant 1½ cups) self-rising flour
1 rounded teaspoon bread soda (baking soda)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon Espresso coffee or 2-3 teaspoons instant espresso

Hot toffee sauce

4 ozs. (100g/1 stick) butter
6 ozs. (170g/3/4 cup) dark brown sugar
4 ozs. (110g/generous ½ cup) granulated sugar
10 ozs (285g/3/4 cup) golden syrup
8 fl. ozs. (225 ml/1 cup) heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla essence

8-inch (20.5cm) spring form tin with removable base

Set the oven to 350 degrees.

Soak the dates in hot tea for 15 minutes. Brush the cake tin with oil, flour, then put oiled parchment on the base.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then mix in the sifted flour. Add the baking soda, vanilla essence and coffee to the date tea and stir this into the flour mixture. Pour into prepared pan, and cook for 1-1½ hours or until a cake tester comes out clean.

To make the sauce, put the butter, sugars and golden syrup into a heavy bottomed saucepan and melt gently on a low heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes, remove from heat, and gradually stir in the cream and vanilla. Put back on the heat for 2-3 minutes until the sauce is absolutely smooth.

To serve, pour some hot sauce around the cake and pour some additional sauce over the top. Put the remainder in a sauceboat, and serve with the pudding as well as softly whipped cream.

Nuoc Cham

Time: 15 minutes

1 serrano chili, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
5 tablespoons fish sauce.

Chop the chili, garlic and sugar together until fine. Transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Set aside for 10 minutes before serving.

Vietnamese Pork Kebabs

Adapted from Corinne Trang

Time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour chilling

2 pounds fatty ground pork, like shoulder
3 stalks lemon grass, tender white and pale green parts only, minced
4 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Whole lettuce leaves, fresh mint and cilantro sprigs, for serving
Nuoc cham, for serving.

Prepare kebabs or patties using procedure in beef kebab recipe. To serve, wrap a kebab in a lettuce leaf with herbs, then dip in nuoc cham.

Chinese Dumplings

4 leaves Bok Choy (Chinese cabbage)
4 dried Chinese mushrooms, rehydrated in boiled water for 20-30 minutes
1 clove garlic
1 in. fresh peeled ginger, grated
2/3 lb. ground pork
1 egg white
2 tsp. dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp. white ground pepper
1/8 tsp. Chinese chili powder
1 tsp. salt
About 2 cups flour
About 1/2 cup water


After washing Bok Choy leaves, break each leaf into thirds. Put into food processor with rehydrated mushrooms and garlic clove. Chop to fine in food processor. Place in medium mixing bowl. Grate ginger into Bok Choy mixture. Add ground meat, egg white, soy sauce, pepper, chili powder and salt to mixing bowl and mix all ingredients well. Once filling is mixed, make dumpling dough.

In another medium mixing bowl, combine 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup water. Knead together with hands, adding more water or flour as needed. Dough should be slightly sticky, yet firm and pliable.

Place finished dough on floured surface and roll with hands into a long, cylindrical shape (you might have to break dough into halves and roll out two separate cylinders), about 11/2 inches in diameter. Using a sharp knife, cut cylinder into 1-11/2 inch pieces, turning roll with each cut so that you don't squish the roll on one side. Press each dough piece with heel of hand to flatten, then with a floured rolling pin, roll each dough piece into a round flat shape. THIS PART IS TRIAL AND ERROR!! The rounds of dough should ideally be about 4-5 inches across and thickest in the middle.

Put a dollop of meat mixture in the center of each dough round (approx.1 1/2 tsp.). Seal the edges of the dough around the meat filling and place on floured surface. Place dumplings in steamer basket (NOT TOUCHING EACH OTHER!) for 20-25 minutes.

Cilantro rice

Cook rice as usual, with 1 tsp. salt per cup of rice.

For each cup of rice:

2/3 cup cilantro, loosely packed
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1 jalapeno (or to taste)
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp olive oil

Puree the above in a blender, add to the cooked rice, stir well.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lemon ricotta pancakes

3 cups pancake batter
zest of 2 lemons, 2 limes or 1 orange
2/3 cup fresh whole milk ricotta cheese
warm grade B maple syrup

Stir the pancake batter and citrus zest together in a bowl, Gently fold in ricotta cheese, taking care not to destroy the texture.

Drop the pancake batter on the griddle and cook for 2-3 minutes until bubbles appear on almost the entire surface

Turn andvery gently tap the pancakes with a metal spatula. Cook until 2nd side is gold. 2 Minutes.

Pancakes technique:

Heat pan really hot.

Add thin layer of oil.

Just before you drop pancake batter, put cold butter on the griddle.

Korean braised short ribs


* 2 pounds of either: 1/4 inch flanken cut beef short ribs or 1 inch cross cut beef short ribs, separated and butterflied.
* salt


* 1/2 cup natural brewed soy sauce
* 1 small onion
* 1 small Nashi (Asian) pear or semi sweet apple
* 6 cloves garlic
* 1 inch fresh ginger
* 2 tablespoons brown sugar or 3 tablespoons honey
* 4 spring/green onion
* 2 teaspoons pure toasted sesame seed oil
* 1 tablespoon rice wine
* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
* water as needed

Additional Ingredients for Galbi Ssanju Ssam

* 4 bunches red leaf lettuce
* “sticky” rice
* 6 cloves garlic
* 5 fresh jalapeño peppers


* 4 tablespoon of soybean paste (Korean-doenjang/Japanese-Miso)
* 4 tablespoon medium ground red chili powder
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 2 green/spring onion
* 4 cloves garlic
* 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
* 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil
* 1 tablespoon rice wine
* 1 tablespoon soy sauce
* water


1. Mix Marinade:
2. Cut onion, pear/apple, and ginger into small pieces and place in blender with garlic and just enough water to blend into a smooth pourable paste. Pour into medium mixing bowl.
3. Trim root and top 1/8 inch of green onion, rinse in cold water, and finely chop. Add to bowl.
4. Add all other ingredients. Mix well and let stand for at least fifteen minutes.Note: If marinade is very thick, you can thin it by adding water and soy sauce in a 1 to 1 ratio.

5. Prepare Meat:

1. 1/4 inch flanken cut: (L. A. Style)
Very lightly salt each slice on both sides and let stand for ten minutes.

2. 1 inch crosscut ribs:(Traditional Style)
If your meat counter can not butterfly the ribs;

Separate the ribs by slicing down the center between ribs.

Next, with a small thin knife, slice into the “meaty” side at the center of the rib section, stopping just before cutting through the membrane. Turn your knife 90º (perpendicular or flat to the bone) right and carefully slice the meat at roughly 1/8 inch thickness outward until just short of slicing through, roll the loosened flap of meat away from the knife, and continue slicing until again just short of slicing through.

Repeat until you reach the “end” of the meat. Do the same for the left side and repeat this with each rib section.

Very lightly salt each section on both sides and let stand for ten minutes.

3. Place meat into a bowl, pour in enough marinade to just cover the meat and mix well. (Any leftover marinade may be refrigerated for later use)
4. Cover and place in refrigerator. Let meat stand in marinade for at least one hour.Meat may now be placed in zip lock style bags and frozen for later use. If not freezing at this point, let stand in marinade for 6 to 24 hours.

5. Cooking:
Heat grill on high heat. Grill until well browned on both sides.(about two minutes per side)

Serve with steamed white rice and ban chan.

6. Kai Bi Sangjju Ssam (Kai Bi in loose leaf lettuce rolls)
Prepare Kai bi as above.

7. While marinating:
Mix the Ssam jang -

Finely chop the garlic and green onion. In a small mixing bowl, add all Ssam jang ingredients and mix well. Add a small amount of water if needed to maintain a mixable paste.

Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

8. Separate lettuce leaves, rinse, and drain. Gently pat dry and place on a serving plate.Thin slice the garlic and peppers, and place in separate small dishes.

9. Cook the kai bi as above.
Serve with one bowl of rice for each person.

10. How to Eat -
Put one leaf of lettuce in one hand, add a little rice, a piece of kai bi (cut from the bone), some sliced pepper and garlic, a bit of kimchi, and a bit of the Ssam jang.

Carefully close your hand, forming the lettuce into a ball around the “stuffing”, and eat the whole roll in one bite. A little practice may be needed to get that “one mouth full” size right.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 t vanilla
24 maraschino cherries (I had a 10-oz jar & had one cherry left)
1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips (I actually used a mix of semisweet & bittersweet)
1/4 c sweetened condensed milk (use the leftovers to make dulce de leche)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder & salt together, set aside.

In a mixer beat the butter until softened. Add the sugar & cream until like & fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the flour mixture & beat until well mixed.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls & place them 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheets. Use your thumb to make an indentation in the center of each cookie.

Drain the cherries reserving the juice. Remove the stems & cut the cherries in half. Place 1/2 of a cherry into the indentation in each cookie.

Put the chocolate chips & condensed milk in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until the chocolate is melted. Stir in 4 teaspoons of the cherry juice. Spoon 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of chocolate over the top of each cherry covering it completely. If the chocolate is too thick add a little more cherry juice.

Bake for 10 minutes & cool on a rack.

Makes 48 cookies

These cookies will freeze well. Individually freeze them on a cookie sheet. Once frozen place them in a box with wax paper between layers then back into the freezer.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cream Cheese Frosting


Makes about 2 cups.

* 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
* 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
* 1 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, soften cream cheese. Gradually add butter, and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Sift in confectioners' sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla, and stir to combine.

Cardmom Spiced Carrot Cake


* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 4 large eggs, at room temperature
* 2 cups granulated sugar
* 1 cup vegetable oil
* 1/3 cup well-shaken low-fat buttermilk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 pounds carrots, grated on the large holes of a box grater (about 6 cups)
* 1 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
* 2 Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting recipes


1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange the rack in the middle. Coat two 8-inch cake pans with butter and flour, and tap out any excess flour. Set aside.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, cardamom, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, and salt in a large bowl, and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps. Set aside.
3. Combine eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla in a large bowl, and whisk until eggs are broken up and mixture is thoroughly combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in flour mixture until just combined. Fold in carrots and walnuts until evenly mixed.
4. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes.
5. Remove cakes from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of each, and turn cakes out onto the rack to cool completely.
6. To frost, place a cake layer on an 8-inch cardboard round, a tart-pan bottom, or a cake plate. Evenly spread about 1/3 of the frosting over the top of the layer. Stack the second layer, and evenly spread another 1/3 of the frosting over the top and sides of the whole cake. (Don’t worry about looks at this point—this is just a basecoat, a.k.a. a crumb layer, and it will be covered up later.) Place in the refrigerator until frosting is set up and slightly hard, about 15 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and spread remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake, ensuring it’s as even as possible. Serve.

Eggplant Raita

1 big eggplant, 1 small onion,
3-4 green chilies,
1 1/2 cup yogurt,
coriander leaves,
and sugar(optional).

For tempering:
2 tsp oil,
1 tsp mustard seeds,
1/2 tsp asafoetida,


1. Rub some oil to the surface of the eggplant and roast eggplant over direct flame flipping the sides a couple of times for even roasting.

2. After half an hour, or when the skin of eggplant loosens up from the inner flesh, insert a knife and check if the inner portion of eggplant has turned soft. Remove eggplant from the fire.

3. Peel off the skin and take only the inner flesh of the eggplant. Scoop out black seeds, if any. Mash it with a spatula or grind coarsely in a chopper / grinder.

4. Chop chilies and beat the yogurt. Make vertical thin pieces of onion. Combine beaten yogurt, chopped onion, chopped chilies, salt, sugar and the mashed eggplant.

5. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add asafoetida. This is a tempering for the bharit.

4. Pour this tempering over the prepared mixture. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve fresh.

Tip: Tempering can be skipped.

Chinese Dumpling filling

For the filling, mix together: 1 lb ground pork, 1 cup shredded Napa cabbage, 2 tablespoons minced shallots, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 2 teaspoons salt or 1 tablespoon soy sauce, a pinch of ground pepper.

Egg wash: Gently beat 1 or 2 eggs

To fold dumplings correctly.

Spicy Wok-Fried Chicken with Chilis

Serves 4

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons yellow rice wine
2 teaspoons dark rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon chicken stock or water
1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 1/4 pounds chicken breast, diced
2 cups cornstarch
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cup peanut oil
8 to 10 driled red chilis
2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorn
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small piece ginger, minced

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together marinade ingredients: soy sauce, rice wine, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Marinate chicken in mixture for 15 to 20 minutes.

Mix together ingredients for the sauce: chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, chicken stock or water, and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a large bowl or plate, mix together cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Dredge chicken in cornstarch mixture and shake off excess cornstarch. Heat about 1 cup of oil in a wok over medium-high heat. When oil starts to smoke, work in batches and fry chicken until golden brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with remaining batches.

Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of oil, and keep wok heated over medium-high heat. Add chilis and Sichuan peppercorn and stir-fry until just fragrant and chilis start to blister, about 30 to 60 seconds. Add leeks, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Stir in sauce mixture and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Add fried chicken, toss to combine, and remove from heat. Serve immediately.

Mini Black & White Cookies

For cookies

* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
* 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1 large egg

For icings

* 2 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
* 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
* 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
* 4 to 6 tablespoons water
* 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

*Special equipment:a small offset spatula

Make cookies:

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 large baking sheets.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a cup.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and mixing just until smooth.

Drop rounded teaspoons of batter 1 inch apart onto baking sheets. Bake, switching positions of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed, edges are pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Make icing while cookies cool:

Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl until smooth. If icing is not easily spreadable, add more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Transfer half of icing to another bowl and stir in cocoa, adding more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to thin to same consistency as vanilla icing. Cover surface with a dampened paper towel, then cover bowl with plastic wrap.

Ice cookies:

With offset spatula, spread white icing over half of flat side of each cookie. Starting with cookies you iced first, spread chocolate icing over other half.

Cooks’ note: Once icing is dry, cookies keep, layered between sheets of wax paper or parchment, in an airtight container at room temperature 4 days.

Pecan Tassies

* 1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened slightly
* 3 ounces cream cheese, softened slightly
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 large egg
* 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
* 1/2 cup chopped pecans
* 1/8 teaspoon vanilla

In a bowl combine 1 stick of the butter and the cream cheese, stir in the flour, and form the dough into a ball. Divide the dough into 24 pieces and press the pieces into the bottom and up the sides of 24 small (2-tablespoon) muffin tins. In a small bowl beat the egg lightly with the brown sugar and stir in the pecans, the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, the vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Divide the filling among the pastry-lined tins, bake the tassies in a preheated 350° F. oven for 25 minutes, or until the filling is puffed slightly and the pastry is golden, and let them cool on a rack. Makes 24 confections.

Dutch Caramel Cashew Cookies

Make cashew praline: In a heavy skillet cook 1/2 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons water and a pinch of cream of tartar over moderately high heat, washing down any undissolved sugar that clings to the sides of the skillet with a brush dipped in cold water, until the mixture is a light caramel. Stir in quickly 1/2 cup finely chopped raw cashews. Pour the praline onto a buttered piece of foil and with a buttered spatula spread it into a thin sheet. Let it cool until it hardens and chop it coarsely.

In a bowl beat 1 stick or 1/2 cup butter with 1/3 cup sugar until it is creamy. Beat in 1 egg yolk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in 1 cup flour and two-thirds of the chopped praline and form the mixture into a dough. Form the dough into cylinders 2 1/2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide and put them about 2 inches apart on a lightly buttered cookie sheet. Sprinkle the cylinders with the remaining praline and bake them in a moderate oven (350° F.) for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are lightly browned. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for about 1 minute and with a spatula remove them to a rack to cool completely. Makes about 18 cookies.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Grilled and Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Gorgonzola

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
12 ounces turkey sausage, casings removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme leaves
2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano leaves
3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1 cup (4-ounces) Gorgonzola
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
6 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the turkey sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the mascarpone cheese. Add the thyme, oregano, bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of Gorgonzola, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir until all ingredients are combined.

Brush the mushrooms on both sides with the remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the mushrooms, stem side down, for 3 minutes. Turn the mushrooms over and grill for 2 minutes until tender. Fill each mushroom with the sausage mixture and top with the remaining Gorgonzola. Return the mushrooms to the grill and cook until the stuffing is warmed through and the Gorgonzola starts to melt, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Cook's Note: The assembled mushrooms can also be placed on a baking sheet and cooked under a preheated broiler until warmed through.

Krinkle cookies


3/4 cup whole, shelled, unsalted pistachios
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon golden rum
Grated zest of 1/2 a large orange
1 to 1 1/2 cups of confectioner's sugar for rolling

1. Using a sharp knife, coarsely chop the pistachios and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.

2. Melt the butter, but don't let it boil, and place it in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the cocoa powder and mix on medium speed to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Beat in the granulated sugar well, then beat in the egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then beat in the vanilla extract, rum and orange zest.

3. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture halfway, then add the pistachios, beating on low speed to combine the ingredients and form a soft dough. Switch to medium speed and beat for about 30 seconds to strengthen the dough and thoroughly incorporate the dry ingredients. Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic and wrap to form a neat package. Chill the dough for at least 4 hours or overnight.

4. When you are ready to bake the cookies, remove the dough from the refrigerator to slightly soften it while you preheat the oven to 325°F and position the racks to the center of the oven. Spray two cookie sheets or rimmed sheet pans lightly with non-stick cooking spray and line them with parchment paper. Place the confectioner's sugar in a shallow bowl.

5. Break off small pieces of dough and roll them in the palm of your hands to form 1/2 to 3/4-inch balls. You can dust your hands with a bit of confectioner's sugar if the dough sticks. Roll the balls in the confectioner's sugar to generously coat them. Place the cookies on the prepared pans, spacing them about an inch apart.

6. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Allow the cookies to cool on the sheets for about a minute to let them firm up, and then use a spatula to gently transfer them to rack to cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to a week.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mint Cream Brownies

Dark chocolate peppermint creams
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Spray with baking spray or grease and flour one 9 inch baking pan. In a saucepan, melt the butter, cocoa and chocolate together over low heat. Stir occasionally, and when the chocolate is nearly melted, remove from heat. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat together the brown sugar, sugar, eggs and vanilla until frothy. Slowly stream the chocolate mixture into the eggs and mix to combine. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients and mix until the batter is thick and glossy. Pour half into prepared pan. Top with peppermint patties, then top with remaining batter. Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pork Riblets Braised in Vietnamese Caramel Sauce

From Molly Stevens’ All About Braising
Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a starter

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup sliced shallots
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 slab baby back ribs (1.75 to 2 lbs)
sawed lengthwise in half

Spread the sugar in the bottom of a wide heavy-based skillet. Pour over 1/4 cup of the water and the lemon juice. Let it sit for a minute. Then heat over medium heat until the sugar begins to liquefy. Reduce the heat the medium low and let the caramel boil until it turns red.

Remove it from the heat and slowly pour 1/4 cup water and the fish sauce into the caramel. Return to the heat and stir. Let boil for a few minutes, until the sauce is smooth and a bit thick. Add the shallots and pepper and simmer for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Separate the pork ribs into individual riblets by cutting down between the bones. Add them to the caramel sauce, stir to coat, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cover and braise, stirring every 15 minutes with tongs, for 90 minutes. Don’t let the caramel sauce boil; if the heat is too high then use a diffuser. The ribs are done when they have become tender enough to pull easily away from the bone and are a deep mahogany colour. At this point, you can serve them or store them. If you want to store them, let them cool and then store in the fridge for 1 to 3 days. To reheat, pop them in an oven preheated to 180 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Filipino Bistek (Citrus Steak and Onions)

Serves 2 to 4

1 lb. sirloin beef, sliced thinly
1/4 cup kalamansi juice (or lemon juice)
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 Tablespoon oil
1 large onion, sliced into thin rings
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place the beef, kalamansi juice, soy sauce, and garlic in a large zip-top bag, or in a shallow dish, and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 mins.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the meat from the marinade (reserve marinade, do not discard marinade) and sear the meat on all sides, 4-5 minutes total. Remove meat from pan, place the meat in a bowl, and set aside. If the pan is dry, add a bit more oil. Add the onion rings to the pan and saute for 3 minutes.

Pour the reserved marinade into the pan with the onions, being sure to deglaze and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the black pepper to the sauce and taste for seasoning. If the sauce is too salty, or too sour, add 1/2 cup of water if necessary. You can also add water if you just want to have more sauce.

Add the meat back to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes. You can also thicken the sauce with cornstarch if desired. Serve with rice.

Bistek Tacos

Serves 2 to 4

1 lb. flank steak (leave whole, do not slice)
1/4 cup kalamansi juice (or lemon juice)
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 large onion
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil
Tortillas (flour or corn)
1/4 cup edam cheese, grated
Cilantro, for garnish

Place the beef, kalamansi juice, soy sauce, and garlic in a large zip-top bag, or in a shallow dish, and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Cut the onion into 1/4-inch slices, then place the onion slices on skewers so that they are easier to grill. Brush the onion slices with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Remove the meat from the marinade; reserve the marinade. Place the meat and onion skewers on a hot grill over high heat. Grill the meat and onions for 10-12 minutes total for medium-rare meat, brushing occasionally with the reserved marinade. Remove the steak and onions from the grill and allow the steak to rest for 10 minutes. Discard the leftover marinade.

Thinly slice the steak against the grain. Place the steak and onions in warmed tortillas, then top with cheese and cilantro.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chocolate Toffee Wedges

Origin: The Weekend Baker by Abigail Johnson Dodge
Yield: 8 wedges
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 10 minutes

● 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
● 3/4 cup granulated sugar
● 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate, (2 ounces) coarsely chopped
● 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
● 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
● 1/4 tsp baking powder
● 1/4 tsp table salt
● 1/3 cup canola oil
● 2 large eggs
● 1/2 cup toffee bits (you can substitute with nuts if you prefer)

Position an oven rack on the middle rung. Heat oven to 350℉. Lightly grease the bottom ands ides of a 9-inch pie plate (I used Pyrex).
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Add in the toffee bits and chocolate chunks. Whisk until blended.
In a separate bowl, mix together the oil and eggs with a fork until just blended. You can just measure the oil in a 2-cup Pyrex measure and then mix the egg right in the same cup to avoid dirtying another bowl. Pour the liquid over the flour mixture and mix with a rubber spatula until just blended. The batter will resemble a scone or other dry mixture but don’t worry. It’s not meant to be a wet dough.
Scrape the mixture in to the pie plate and spread evenly. You might have to press the mixture in to the sides if you are having trouble spreading with a spatula.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in to the center comes out with only a few gooey pieces clinging to it. Transfer the baking dish to a cooling rack and let cool. Cut pie in to 8 wedges.
To store wedges, cover the cooled wedges in the pie plate with plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days.
To freeze, allow the uncut pie to cool for about 20 minutes in the pie plate, then invert the pie onto a rack, let cool completely, and, still uncut, wrap tightly and freeze for up to one month.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Bacon, and Breadcrumbs

- serves 4 -

Adapted from Gourmet.

1 large head cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch pieces, thicker stems removed
3/4 lb dried orecchiette or cavatelli pasta
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 pound bacon or pancetta, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
Freshly grated Parmesan

1. Bring a large pot of salty water to boil for the pasta. In the meantime, prepare the cauliflower and grate bread for crumbs, if necessary.

2. In a large heavy skillet, heat 1 and a half tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, then add the bread crumbs. Toast, stirring often, until golden and slightly crisp. Remove to a small bowl and wipe the skillet clean.

3. Cook the bacon in the same skillet over medium-high heat a few minutes until the fat renders, then add the cauliflower pieces, garlic, and a good pinch of salt. Cook, stirring only very occasionally, until the bacon is crisp and the cauliflower is caramelized and golden.

4. In the meantime, cook the pasta until al dente, reserving a cup of pasta water. Drain and add pasta to the skillet, tossing to combine. Add olive oil and pasta water as needed to achieve a rich, slightly creamy consistency.

5. Serve with a shower of breadcrumbs, black pepper, and Parmesan cheese.

Salsa Verde

Combine in a small bowl:
1/3 cup coarsely chopped parsley (leaves and thin stems only)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 small garlic clove, chopped very fine or pounded into a puree
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed, drained, and coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh-ground black pepper to taste
½ cup olive oil

Mix well and taste for salt. Let the sauce sit for a while to develop the flavors.

Savory Bread Pudding

6 eggs
2 cups milk
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
4 cups gruyère, shredded
1 cup parmesan, grated
1/3 cup green onions, minced
1 lb bacon
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 heads broccoli, chopped and blanched
1 lb whole loaf of stale/old bread

Oven: 375F. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Set aside. Mix the cheeses and green onions in another bowl. Set aside. Cook the bacon and drain on paper towels. Chop or break the bacon into little pieces. Sauté the mushrooms in some oil (or a little bit of the bacon grease). Mix the bacon, mushrooms, and broccoli together in a bowl. Set aside. Rip or cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. In a large baking dish (9×13 ish) layer half of the bread. Then sprinkle half of the bacon mixture. Then spread half of the cheese mixture. Pour half of the egg mixture evenly over top. Repeat. Sprinkle any leftover cheese on top and press the pudding down. Bake for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ultimate Veggie Burger Recipe

These make great do-ahead meals, and you can store shaped, ready-to-cook patties in the refrigerator for a week's worth of work lunches. Sprouted garbanzos are becoming more readily available, but if you can't find them, canned or cooked garbanzos (chickpeas) will work great. Sprouting boosts their already fantastic nutritional value even more...

2 1/2 cups sprouted garbanzo beans (chickpeas) OR canned garbanzos, drained and rinsed
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 onion, chopped
Grated zest of one large lemon
1 cup micro sprouts, chopped (try brocolli, onion, or alfalfa sprouts - optional)
1 cup toasted (whole-grain) bread crumbs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (or clarified butter)

If you are using sprouted garbanzos, steam them until just tender, about 10 minutes. Most of you will be using canned beans, so jump right in and combine the garbanzos, eggs, and salt in a food processor. Puree until the mixture is the consistency of a very thick, slightly chunky hummus. Pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the cilantro, onion, zest, and sprouts. Add the breadcrumbs, stir, and let sit for a couple of minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. At this point, you should have a moist mixture that you can easily form into twelve 1 1/2-inch-thick patties. I err on the moist side here, because it makes for a nicely textured burger. You can always add more bread crumbs a bit at a time to firm up the dough if need be. Conversely, a bit of water or more egg can be used to moisten the batter.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium low, add 4 patties, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms begin to brown. Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes. Flip the patties and cook the second side for 7 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties. Carefully cut each patty in half, insert your favorite fillings, and enjoy immediately.

Makes 12 mini burgers.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Quinoa Salad With Lime Ginger Dressing and Shrimp

This salad, with its gingery lime dressing, scallions, cilantro and a little bit of heat, has Asian overtones. Serve it as a side dish or a light lunch or supper. Vegetarians will enjoy this without the shrimp, which garnish the top of the salad.

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon seasoned rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger (more to taste)

1 small garlic clove, minced

Salt to taste

Pinch of cayenne

2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil or walnut oil

1/4 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons buttermilk

For the salad:

3 cups cooked quinoa (3/4 cup uncooked)

4 scallions, white and light green parts, sliced thin

1 small cucumber, halved, seeded and thinly sliced on the diagonal

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

12 to 16 cooked medium shrimp, peeled

1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lime juice, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic, salt, cayenne, sesame oil, canola oil, and buttermilk.

2. In a salad bowl, combine the quinoa, scallions, cucumber, and cilantro. Toss with the dressing and divide among salad plates. Top each portion with 3 or 4 shrimp, and serve.

Yield: Serves 4

Advance preparation: The cooked quinoa will keep for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator. You can make the dressing and prep the ingredients for the salad a few hours ahead.

Filipino Barbecue Skewers


For the marinade:
1 cup Coke
1 cup brown sugar
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup ketchup
1/8 cup lemon juice
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 lbs of pork shoulder or chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes
Wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes before use.


1. Place all marinade ingredients in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

2. Place chicken or pork cubes in a large Ziploc bag and pour marinade all over. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible, and set in the refrigerator to marinate overnight, turning the bag over at least once during the process.

3. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals out evenly.

4. While the fire is lighting, thread meat onto the skewer. Each piece of meat should touch the next, but not pushed tightly together.

5. Grill directly over a hot fire, turning every 3 to 5 minutes until each side is nicely browned and the meat is cooked through.

Arroz Caldo


  • 4 chicken thighs (or drumsticks)
  • 2 cups of sticky rice or short-grain rice (uncooked)
  • 1 qt of chicken stock (fat free, sodium free)
  • 2 knobs of ginger (peeled, chopped 1/4 inches)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (chopped roughly)
  • 1 onion or 2 shallots
  • green onions
  • 2 tablespoons patis (fish sauce)
  • salt and pepper

Total comfort food and perfect for a loved one with a cold.

Arroz Caldo literally translates to "hot rice" and this was one of my favorite dishes growing up in the Philippines.

  1. Get a big pot hot and add some olive oil, and brown the chicken. This means don't move it until it has sufficiently browned on one side. Salt and pepper.

  2. When you flip over the chicken, add the chopped onion or shallots and let it sautee until the other side of the chicken browns.

  3. Add garlic, give a quick toss and add uncooked rice.

  4. Mix around the rice and add the patis (vietnamese fish sauce works well too). Add ginger. Mix around and add chicken stock.

  5. Cover and bring to simmer.

  6. When simmer, bring heat to medium and continue to stir. Making sure rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.

  7. Continue to check the tenderness of the rice (much like risotto). If mixture is getting too thick, loosen with tepid water.

  8. When rice is cooked just right, serve with chicken in a bowl and garnish with green onions and/or deep fried shallots and garlic and a grind of black pepper (white pepper works well too).

Halway through eating a bowl, squeeze a bit of lemon juice (or calamansi) on top of the hot rice to jazz things up again.

Also, this tastes much better with those big chinese soup spoons.

Adobong Na Manok


1 tablespoon canola oil
1 head of garlic, cloves crushed and skin removed
2 ounces fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 chicken
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy suace
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 fresh bay leaves


1. Cut up the chicken, separating the chicken into legs, thighs, and breasts. Cut each of these pieces in half, using a heavy knife.

2. Pour the oil into a large dutch oven or heavy pot. Turn the heat to medium-high. Toss in the garlic and ginger and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken, vinegar, soy sauce, peppercorns, bay leaves, and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes.

3. Remove the chicken pieces. Turn the heat to medium high and reduce the sauce for a few minutes. Toss the chicken back in, and stir until coated.

4. Serve with rice and season with salt to taste.

Arroz Caldo


Although White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford provided this recipe at a recent cooking demonstration held at TenPenh in downtown Washington, she said "there is no real recipe for how Filipinos eat arroz caldo." It's comfort food that is ubiquitous: made for breakfast, as an afternoon snack or late-night meal.

6 servings


  • • 2 1/8 cups canola oil
  • • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • • 12 medium cloves garlic, 6 of them finely minced
  • • 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger root
  • • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • • 1 cup uncooked jasmine rice or medium-grain rice
  • • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • • 1 tablespoon fish sauce, or to taste
  • • Salt
  • • Freshly ground black pepper
  • • 1 cup whole or low-fat milk
  • • Cayenne pepper
  • • Sea salt
  • • 3 tablespoons finely sliced scallions, white and light green parts
  • • 6 small calamansi or key limes, juiced
  • • Scallion oil, for garnish (optional)


In a large saucepan over medium-high to high heat, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of the oil until it shimmers. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, for about 7 minutes or until the chicken is lightly browned. Reduce the heat to medium and add the 6 cloves of minced garlic, the ginger and the onion. Cook, stirring, for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the mixture is fragrant and the onion becomes translucent. Add the rice and stir until well coated, then add the chicken broth and mix well. Cook, covered, for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender. Add the fish sauce; season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low.

Cut the remaining cloves of garlic into paper-thin slices and place in a small bowl. Add the milk and soak for 10 minutes, then transfer to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Drain, discarding the milk, and pat the garlic dry with paper towels.

Line a plate with paper towels. Heat the remaining 2 cups of oil in a medium pot to 350 degrees. Carefully add the garlic slices and cook for 1 minute, until crisp. Transfer to the paper towel-lined plate and dust with cayenne pepper and sea salt to taste.

To serve, ladle portions of the soup into individual bowls and garnish with the crisped garlic, scallions and calamansi or lime juice. Drizzle with scallion oil, if desired.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Winter Squash, Onion and Red Wine Panade

Serves 8 to 10

5 onions
2 pounds acorn or butternut squash
6 cloves garlic
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 bay leaves
12 sprigs thyme
1 cup red wine
2-3 quarts chicken stock
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
10 slices stale country-style bread
1 ounce Parmigiano
2 ounces Gruyere

1. Begin by stewing the onions, peeled and sliced thin, over medium heat, in about 1/4 cup of olive oil. When they have begun to soften, add the garlic cloves, also peeled and sliced thin; the bay leaves; and the thyme. Continue to cook the onions until they just begin to brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Add the red wine and reduce by half. Add the stock and simmer for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, peel and seed the squash and cut it into 1/8-inch-thick slices. In a sauté pan over medium heat, lightly brown the slices of bread in more olive oil.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and assemble the panade: Cover the bottom of a large casserole with half the bread slices and gently ladle in enough broth (including the onions) to cover. Make a single layer of the sliced squash on top and ladle in more of the broth and onions, to cover. Make a layer with the rest of the bread, add more broth and onions so that the top layer of bread is well soaked through, and finish by grating the cheeses over the top to cover lightly.

4. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes; then uncover and bake for about 45 minutes more, until well browned. To serve, scoop the panade into bowls and ladle more of the hot broth around it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bucatini All'Amatriciana with Spicy Smoked Mozzarella Meatballs

Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time:55 min
Serves: 4 to 6 servings
All'Amatriciana Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces pancetta, diced
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano


1 small (6-ounce) onion, grated
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1/4 cup
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup
1/3 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
1 large egg
2 tablespoons ketchup
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
8 ounces ground beef
8 ounces ground veal
2 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, cut into 16 (1/2-inch) cubes

1 pound bucatini or other long pasta

For the sauce: In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta and reserve. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and the cooked pancetta. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

For the meatballs: Position an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the onion, 1/2 cup parsley, 2/3 cup Parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the beef and veal. Using your hands, combine all ingredients gently but thoroughly. Shape the meat mixture into 16 (1 1/2-inch-diameter) meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Make a hole in the center of each meatball and place a cube of mozzarella inside. Reform the meatball so that the mozzarella is completely covered with the meat mixture. Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes until cooked through.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large serving bowl. Add the meatballs and sauce. Toss gently and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and Parmesan.

Lemony Chickpea Stir-fry


2 tablespoons ghee or extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion or a couple shallots, sliced
1 cup cooked chickpeas (canned is fine)
1 cup chopped kale, spinach, or other hearty green
1 red pepper, roasted, skinned, and chopped
2 small zucchini, cut into half moons
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon


1. In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of the olive oil or ghee over medium-high heat and stir in a good pinch of salt. Add the chickpeas and sauté until beginning to color, then add the onion or shallot. Continue cooking until the chickpeas are deeply golden. Add greens and cook until wilted, then remove everything in the skillet onto a large plate.

2. Heat the remaining oil or ghee in the same skillet over medium heat, and sauté the zucchini until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the pepper and cook for an additional minute, then add the chickpea mixture back in.

3. Mix well, taste for seasoning, and remove from the heat. Add the lemon zest and juice, and toss well. Serve with freshly cracked black pepper.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pasta with Cauliflower: Pasta Col Cavolofiore

  • Prep Time: 50 min
  • Inactive Prep Time:5 min
  • Cook Time:45 min
  • Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 head cauliflower, cored, cut into florets
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra as needed
    3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
    2 salted anchovies, (canned), rinsed and soaked for 4 to 6 hours
    1 tomato, skinned, seeded and finely chopped
    1 tablespoon raisins, soaked and drained
    1 tablespoon pine nuts, lightly toasted
    3 strands saffron
    1 pound dried ziti
    Chopped fresh parsley leaves
    Freshly grated caciocavallo
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring 6-quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Divide the cauliflower into florets. Blancy the cauliflower in the boiling water until half-cooked, about 10 minutes. Drain the cauliflower, reserving the cooking water for the ziti. Set the par-cooked cauliflower aside.

    Chop and mince anchovies.

    Dissolve the saffron strands in a few tablespoons of warm water.

    Toss fish, tomato and sliced garlic. In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan. Add the raisins, pine nuts, saffron tea, and the anchovies. Using a wooden stir and continue cooking over medium heat until the anchovies dissolve, about 7 minutes. Add half of the cooked cauliflower and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Cover and let cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 5 minutes.
    Lower heat to low and allow to cook, uncovered, while you prepare the ziti. Return the cauliflower water to a boil. Add the ziti and cook halfway, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Add the remaining cauliflower, cover and let stew over medium-low heat until the pasta and cauliflower are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Toss with extra-virgin olive oil, chopped parsley and caciocavallo. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

    Saturday, October 25, 2008

    Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

    2 cups all-purpose flour

    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

    1 teaspoon soda

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

    2 eggs

    1 cup sugar

    1/2 cup canola or corn oil

    1 cup canned pumpkin

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1 cup chocolate chips, or any chip you like

    Position a rack in the middle of the oven . Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and butter the paper.

    Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla until blended. Mix in the flour mixture to incorporate it. Mix in the chips.

    Using an ice cream scoop with a 1/4-cup capacity, scoop mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2 1/2-inches apart. You could also simply use a 1/4-cup measuring cup if you don’t have a scoop. Use a thin metal spatula to smooth and flatten the rounds.

    Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 16 minutes. Cool them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool cimpletely.

    Dust the cooled cookies lightly with powdered sugar. The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

    Sunday, October 19, 2008

    Hakka noodle stir-fry

    Have the ingredients assembled near the stove so you can cook the dish quickly. Make the vinegar sauce a day in advance and refrigerate it. Serve the noodles with the vinegar mixture and soy sauce. Serves 4.


    Hakka Noodles


    3tablespoons sesame oil or peanut oil
    1clove garlic, chopped
    1teaspoon crushed red pepper
    1teaspoon soy sauce
    1teaspoon sugar
    1bunch scallions (white part only), chopped
    1/4head green cabbage, shredded
    2carrots, thinly sliced into 2-inch strips
    1/2green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 2-inch strips
    1/4pound sugar snap peas, cut on the diagonal into fine strips

    Salt, to taste
    1. In a wok or large skillet over high heat, heat the oil. Cook the garlic and crushed red pepper, stirring constantly, for 10 seconds.

    2. Add the soy sauce and sugar and stir-fry for 5 seconds.

    3. Add the scallions and stir-fry for 10 seconds.

    4. Add the cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, and sugar snaps. Stir-fry for 2 minutes.

    5. Add the noodles and salt. Mix well and stir-fry for 2 minutes.


    1/2cup apple cider vinegar
    2teaspoons thinly sliced hot green chili peppers
    2scallions, thinly sliced
    2teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
    4wedges lime
    1/3cup soy sauce (for serving)
    1. In a bowl, combine the vinegar and chilies.

    2. Garnish the noodles with scallions and cilantro or parsley. Divide the mixture among 4 deep bowls and garnish each one with a wedge of lime. Serve with the vinegar sauce and soy sauce.

    chicken clay pot

    Epicurious | October 2005

    Chef Charles Phan
    Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA

    This recipe is part of a menu developed for Epicurious by Charles Phan, the chef-owner of San Francisco's The Slanted Door. Read more about Phan and Vietnamese food.

    Makes 4 servings.

    1/2 pound chicken breast, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
    1/2 pound chicken thigh meat, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    3 tablespoons soy sauce
    2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
    1/4 cup water
    2 tablespoons white vinegar
    1 teaspoon lemon juice
    1 teaspoon white sugar

    1 1/2 ounces "brown candy" sugar (found in most Asian grocery stores), broken into smaller pieces or 1/4 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
    3 tablespoons fish sauce

    1 or 2 Thai chiles, minced
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin strips

    Garnish: Two to three sprigs of cilantro

    Place the chicken cubes in a large bowl and add garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Cover and place in refrigerator. Combine the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, water, white vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar in a bowl and set aside.Heat a 4-quart saucepot or clay pot over low heat. Add brown candy pieces or brown sugar and melt slowly over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid sticking and burning. When sugar comes to a slow boil, carefully add fish sauce.

    Doughnut Muffins

    You don't have to bake all the muffins right away; the batter will keep, covered and chilled, for up to three days in the refrigerator.Yields about 24 medium muffins.


    For the muffins:
    12 oz. (24 Tbs.) unsalted butter, warmed to room temperature
    1-3/4 cups sugar
    4 large eggs
    1 lb. 11 oz. (6 cups) all-purpose flour
    1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1-3/4 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. ground nutmeg
    1-2/3 cups milk
    1/4 cup buttermilk
    For dipping:
    8 oz. (16 Tbs.) unsalted butter; more as needed
    2 cups sugar
    2 Tbs. ground cinnamon

    how to make

    To make the muffins

    Put a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. In a stand mixer or a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just mixed in. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Combine the milk and buttermilk. With a wooden spoon, mix a quarter of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Then mix in a third of the milk mixture. Continue mixing in the remaining dry and wet ingredients alternately, ending with the dry. Mix until well combined and smooth, but don't overmix. Grease and flour a standard-size muffin tin. Scoop enough batter into each tin so that the top of the batter is even with the rim of the cup, about 1/2 cup. (A #16 ice-cream scoop gives you the perfect amount.) Bake the muffins until firm to the touch, 30 to 35 min.


    To finish

    Melt the butter for the dipping mixture. Combine the sugar and cinnamon. When the muffins are just cool enough to handle, remove them from the tin, dip them into or brush them all over with the melted butter, and then roll them in the cinnamon sugar.

    Roasted Pumpkin Salad Recipe

    3 cups of pumpkin (or other winter squash), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
    extra-virgin olive oi
    fine grain sea salt

    12 tiny red onions or shallots, peeled (OR 3 medium red onions peeled and quartered)
    2 cups cooked wild rice*

    1/3 cup sunflower seeds
    1/3 cup olive oil
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon honey
    2 tablespoons warm water
    1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped

    Preheat oven to 375.
    Toss the pumpkin in a generous splash of olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt, and turn out onto a baking sheet. At the same time, toss the onions with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and turn out onto a separate baking sheet. Roast both for about 45 minutes, or until squash is brown and caramelized. The same goes for the onions, they should be deeply colored, caramelized, and soft throughout by the time they are done roasting. You'll need to flip both the squash and onion pieces once or twice along the way - so it's not just one side that is browning.

    In the meantime, make the dressing. With a hand blender or food processor puree the sunflower seeds, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and honey until creamy. You may need to add a few tablespoons of warm water to thin the dressing a bit. Stir in the cilantro, saving just a bit to garnish the final plate later. Taste and adjust seasonings (or flavors) to your liking - I usually need to add a touch more salt with this dressing.

    In a large bowl, toss the wild rice with a large dollop of the dressing. Add the onions, gently toss just once or twice. Turn the rice and onions out onto a platter and top with the roasted squash (I'll very gently toss with my hands here to disperse the pumpkin a bit). Finish with another drizzle of dressing and any remaining chopped cilantro.

    Serves 4.

    * To cook wild rice: Rinse 1 1/2 cups wild rice. In a medium sauce pan bring the rice and 4 1/2 cups salted water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 40 minutes or until rice is tender and splitting open, stirring occasionally. You'll have enough for this recipe and some leftover.

    Monday, October 13, 2008

    Dry Rubbed Rib Eye

    3 tablespoons salt
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 teaspoon pulverized crushed red pepper
    2 teaspoons pimenton (Smoked Spanish Paprika)
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    Oil, for brushing grill
    2 (22 to 24-ounce) bone-in rib-eye steaks
    Extra-virgin olive oil

    Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Use your fingers to make sure that all of the ingredients are evenly distributed. Rub the outside of each steak generously with the rub. Wrap each steak in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, 2 to 3 days is better. This will make the steak taste like it has been aged.

    Preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Brush and oil the grill to loosen and remove any crud. Remove the steaks from the refrigerator about 20 to 30 minutes before cooking. Right before cooking remove the plastic wrap and lightly oil the steaks. Place the steaks on a very hot grill to put a char on both sides of the steak. When both sides of the steak have become well charred move the steak to a cooler part of the grill to continue cooking for 6 to 7 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove the steak from the grill and let rest in a warm spot for 7 to 8 minutes. Cut the steak off the bone and slice on the bias across the grain. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve immediately.

    Sunday, October 12, 2008

    Soba with mushrooms and chicken livers

    Time: 45 minutes

    5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    1/2 cup panko

    4 ounces speck or smoky bacon, diced

    1/4 cup minced shallots

    1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps diced

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    1/2 pound well-trimmed chicken livers, in 1-inch pieces

    2 tablespoons flour

    1 cup, or slightly more, chicken stock

    1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

    12 ounces soba noodles

    2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves.

    1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet; add panko, and cook until golden. Remove from pan. Set aside. Wipe out pan. Add 2 more tablespoons oil, heat, and add the speck or bacon. Cook over medium heat until starting to brown. Remove to a bowl, leaving as much fat as possible in pan.

    2. Add shallots, and sauté until soft; add mushrooms, and cook until wilted and starting to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl with the speck. Toss livers with flour. Add remaining oil to pan, add livers, and cook, stirring gently, over medium heat, until firmed up, lightly browned but still pink inside. Transfer livers to a board and dice.

    3. Add stock to pan, and cook, stirring, until reduced by half; stir in vinegar and return mushroom mixture and livers to pan. Heat briefly and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

    4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for soba, cook about 6 minutes and drain, but not too thoroughly. Fold moist noodles into chicken liver mixture and heat gently, adding a little more chicken stock as needed. Serve, topping each portion with panko and cilantro.

    Yield: 4 servings.

    Saturday, October 4, 2008

    Hainanese Chicken Rice

    SERVES 4

    This dish, from the Chinese island of Hainan, has become a Singaporean standard.

    1 3-lb. chicken
    1 small piece ginger, peeled and crushed
    2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
    1 scallion, tied in a knot

    1 1⁄2 cups jasmine or other long-grain rice
    2 tbsp. vegetable oil
    3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
    5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

    1 cucumber, sliced
    1 tomato, sliced
    1 carrot, sliced
    Coriander leaves

    1. For the chicken and stock: Wash chicken and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt inside and out. Tuck ginger, garlic, and scallion into cavity of chicken, then tie legs together with kitchen string.

    2. Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Completely submerge chicken, breast-side-down. Bring to a boil again, cover pot, and turn heat down to very low. Simmer 30 minutes, turning chicken once and skimming any foam from stock. Remove chicken and set aside to cool; reserve stock, keeping it warm. Remove chicken skin; pull meat from bones and cut into thick slices.

    3. For the rice: Wash rice in a large bowl of cold water and drain. Repeat process until water is almost clear. Drain in colander and shake to remove as much remaining water as you can.

    4. Heat oil in a wok or medium skillet over high heat. Add shallots and garlic, and stir-fry 30 seconds. Add rice and stir-fry 1–2 minutes more. Pour in 3 cups chicken stock; season to taste with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat; cover and reduce heat to very low. Cook 20 minutes. Stir, cover, and let rest 5 minutes. Serve each person separate bowls of rice, chicken, and stock. Garnish with cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, and coriander leaves. Serve with Sweet Soy Sauce, Ginger Sauce, and Chile–Ginger Sambal.

    Mario Batali's Chicken

    That said, this is the easiest thing to watch and make. She takes 2 pounds of chicken drumsticks and thighs and removes the skin and sets them aside. Then she takes 3 pounds of husked tomatillos, 6 cloves garlic, and 2 serrano chiles and places them in boiling water for 2 minutes and then drains them. Still warm, she places them into the blender with the juice and zest of 3 limes and 1 bunch of cilantro and blends until just smooth. She seasons it with salt (a lot) and then puts the sauce in a pan with the raw chicken, bringing it to a boil and then simmering it for 25 minutes. After that, she finishes it with the juice of another lime and a handful of chopped scallions.

    Sunday, September 28, 2008

    Xiao long bao – Shanghai Soup Dumplings

    Aspic/Gelantized Stock

    1 pound chicken wings
    2 chicken backbones (carcasses from roast chicken will work too)
    1 pork trotter (foot) or a large piece of pork skin
    3 1/4 inch thick slices of ginger
    4 green onions
    1 star anise
    8 cups of water

    3 C all purpose flour
    1/3 C hot water
    2/3 C cold water
    Pinch of salt

    1 pound ground pork
    1 Tbsp soy sauce
    1 Tbsp rice wine
    1 tsp sesame oil
    1/2 tsp grated ginger
    1/2 tsp sugar
    2 C gelatin stock, chopped/mashed into small pieces

    Serve with
    Black vinegar
    Fresh ginger slivers

    Make the aspic
    When working with pork feet make sure to wash it well, then boil it twice in a change of water to get the smell, bacteria, and scum out. If you're using raw chicken wings and backbones, it's best to boil those once too to get any scum out. Add the pork feet to a pot (large saucepan, stock pot, Dutch oven whatever works) and cover them with water and bring it to a boil. Boil for a minute, drain, and rinse off any scum on the feet in cold water. Wash out the pot as well or use a new pot because there will be scum on the side. Return the pork feet, and the raw chicken wings and backbones to the pot and fill with cold water and bring back to a boil again and boil for a minute. Drain and rinse off any scum and wash the pot again

    Add 2 teaspoons of oil to your pot over medium heat. Smash the ginger slices and green onion with the side of a knife and add to the oil and until they are fragrant, then add boiled and rinsed off chicken wings and pork feet, 1 star anise, and 8 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil then simmer gently uncovered, skim any scum on the surface, for 6+ hours. Never let the soup boil again because it will cloud. The stock is ready when it can solidify at room temperature. Test the stocks gelling ability by spooning some of it into a small bowl and allow it to cool down to room temperature. If it solidifies then the stock is ready. Strain soup and season it with some salt. Set aside 2 cups for the dumpling filling. Save any excess for adding to sauces or soups. Let the soup cool to room temp then transfer it to the fridge. The soup can keep for up to 3 days in the fridge. You can scrape off any fat that solidifies on top or mix it into the filling, up to you.

    Make the dough
    In a large bowl, add 2 1/2 cups of flour. First add the 1/3 cup of very hot water and stir that into the flour. Then add the 2/3 cup of cold water and stir it into the dough. Bring the dough together and knead while incorporating additional flour if you need to, until the dough is not sticky. Don’t overknead or it will be too tough and gluteny to work with. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for an hour while you prepare the filling.

    Prepare the filling
    Mix the ground pork with all of the seasoning ingredients. Roughly chop the aspic then use a pastry blender or two forks to mash it into smaller pieces. Mix this into the ground pork mixture. Keep it in the fridge until the dough has finished resting.

    Wrapping the dumplings
    Divide the dough into 3 portions. Work with one portion and keep the other two covered. Roll the dough into a long snake. Then cut a small cylindrical piece off of the snake. Flatten with your palm and roll the dough out into a 2 1/2 inch diameter wrapper. The best rolling device for making Chinese wrappers is a small wooden dowel thats about 6 inches long and 3/4 inch in diameter.

    The first 4 pictures in the eating Chinese xiao long bao tutorial shows the process of making the dough and wrappers. You want the wrappers to be a bit thicker than wonton wrappers. If the wrappers are too thin, the soup will dissolve it and leak out.

    Place about 2 teaspoons of filling in the center of the wrapper. Hold the outer edge of the wrapper with the thumb and index finger of your dominant hand. Using the other thumb and index finger, hold the edge of the wrapper and bring it to your dominant hand to pleat. Pleat around the circumference of the entire wrapper, turning the dumpling as you go, and seal the tip to close. The third and fourth pictures in the third row of the eating Chinese xiao long bao tutorial gives a somewhat helpful guide. The hardest part for me was getting my thumb out of the inside of the dumpling and sealing the tip.

    Steam and serve
    Bring some water to a boil in a wok or large pot with a steamer insert. Line a bamboo or metal steaming basket with cabbage leaves or damp cheesecloth. Place the dumplings in the basket and steam on high for 5 – 7 minutes. (5 minutes was enough for my dumplings but make sure the filling is cooked all the way before eating)

    Serve hot with ginger slivers and black vinegar.

    Pasta with Turkish-Style Lamb, Eggplant and Yogurt Sauce

    Time: 45 minutes

    1 large eggplant, about 1 pound, in 1/2 -inch cubes

    5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, more to taste

    3 fat garlic cloves, minced

    1 large shallot, minced

    1 pound ground lamb

    1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, preferably Turkish or Aleppo (see note), more to taste

    Freshly ground black pepper

    1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or dill, more to taste

    1/2 pound bowtie or orecchiette pasta

    2 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, to taste

    2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt.

    1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Bring a pot of water to boil for pasta.

    2. Toss eggplant with 4 tablespoons oil and a large pinch of salt. Spread on a baking sheet, making sure there is room between pieces, and roast until crisp and brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

    3. In a large skillet, heat remaining tablespoon oil. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and the shallot and sauté until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add lamb, 1/2 teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper to taste. Sauté until lamb is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in mint or dill and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir eggplant into lamb. Taste and adjust seasonings.

    4. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter: the amount is to your taste. Let cook until it turns golden brown and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together yogurt, remaining garlic and a pinch of salt.

    5. Drain pasta and spread on a serving platter. Top with lamb-eggplant mixture, then with yogurt sauce. Pour melted butter over top. Sprinkle on additional red pepper and more mint or dill. Serve immediately.

    Yield: 2 to 3 servings.

    Note: Turkish or Aleppo (Syrian) red pepper flakes are sold at specialty markets and at You may also substitute ground chili powder. Do not use crushed red pepper flakes; they will be too hot for this dish.

    Filipino Longanisa

    - yields about 20 4-inch links -

    Adapted from Burnt Lumpia


    2 1/2 pounds boneless pork butt, cut into small cubes
    1/2 pound pork fatback, cut into small cubes
    2 tablespoons kosher salt
    1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    12 large cloves of garlic, minced
    2/3 cup chilled cider vinegar
    Hog casings, soaked for at least 30 minutes in warm water, then rinsed well inside and out


    1. Combine the cubed pork, fatback, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and garlic in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

    2. Grind the mixture through the large die of a meat grinder. Add the chilled vinegar and mix with your hands until just combined.

    3. Make a small patty of the sausage mixture and place the rest in the refrigerator. Pan fry patty in a skillet until cooked through. Taste test the patty and adjust seasoning of sausage mixture if necessary.

    4. Fit casings over sausage stuffing horn and tie off the end. Stuff all of the sausage into the casings and tie into 4-inch links. Refrigerate sausages until ready to use.

    5. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals out evenly. Grill sausages until cooked through, or when an instant read thermometer reads 150°F when inserted into the middle of the sausage. Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve.

    Saturday, September 27, 2008

    Brisket Recipe

    ake a heavy pot, put in in one packet of Knorr's Oxtail Soup mix. Beware - they call it tomato soup now and Oxtail is in parentheses. Add two cups of water, dissolve the soup mix (the flame is on at this point)). Then add about a 4-lb brisket - who cares which side is up. Bring it to a boil, cover it, turn the flame down, and simmer it for about an hour. During the last 20 minutes, add a box of dried pitted prunes. If you don't want to make tsimmes, just leave the prunes in there and they'll disintegrate as the brisket cooks some more and become part of the delectable gravy. By the way, this is easily made ahead of time, even frozen, and then reheated - it's even better then.

    Okay so let's say you want to make tsimmes. Take the prunes out after that 20 minutes, when they're soft. Add cooked sliced carrots, garlic powder, and honey. You got your tsimmes.

    For you, GG, a veggie tsimmes: Cook some barley until it's soft. Soak the dried prunes in hot water until they're soft, then mix together the cooked barley, the soaked soft prunes, and cooked sliced carrots. Add a healthy tablespoon of fake chicken soup mix (Osem or Elite are the best brands for this). Add some garlic powder and some Nyafat.

    Monday, September 22, 2008

    Armenian Rice Pilaf

    Recipe By :
    Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
    Categories : Pasta Rice
    Side Dish

    Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
    -------- ------------ --------------------------------
    4 Tbsp. butter
    1 cup basmati rice
    1/2 cup vermicelli crumbled into 1 inch long pieces
    1 1/2 cups chicken broth -- mixed with
    1/2 cup water
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper

    Melt butter in a deep, covered pan suitable for cooking rice, and and add vermicelli. Sauté until vermicelli is golden brown. Add rice, stirring until well coated, then add chicken broth and water and mix well. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for 15-25 minutes until rice is cooked and broth is absorbed.

    Turn heat off and let sit a few minutes. Stir the pilaf and serve.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 117 Calories; 12g Fat (91.6% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 31mg Cholesterol; 937mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 2 1/2 Fat.

    NOTES :
    * Rice pilaf should not be gummy or salty. It is a very subtle side dish, and is a compliment to poultry, fish, lamb and veal.

    Sunday, September 21, 2008

    Char Siu – Chinese BBQ Pork

    Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

    4 lbs pork boneless butt cut into slices about 1-in thick, or country style ribs
    1/4 C sugar
    1/2 C soy sauce
    1/4 C hoisin sauce
    1/4 C Shao Hsing rice wine, or dry sherry
    1/4 tsp white pepper
    1 tsp five spice powder
    2 tsp toasted sesame oil
    1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1/4 C ketchup
    1/4 C honey

    You will need an oven-safe wire rack and tray for this recipe.

    Whisk together all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Add the sesame oil, after you whisk everything together, otherwise the oil combines with the five spice and forms clumps that are hard to incorporate. Measure out 1/3 C of the marinade and set aside.

    Pierce the pieces of pork 10 – 12 times all over with a fork. Place in a large zipper lock bag or tray and pour the marinade over the pork. Make sure each piece of pork is coated sufficiently with the marinade. Marinate in the fridge for 3 – 5 hours.

    For the glaze, combine the reserved 1/3 C of marinade with the ketchup and honey. Cook over medium heat and reduce it until it’s syrupy, about 4 – 6 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Line a tray with foil and set the wire rack over the tray.

    Place the pork on the wire rack. Pour about 1/2 C (enough to cover the bottom) of hot water into the bottom of the tray and cover the tray tightly with foil. Roast on the middle rack for 20 minutes.

    Remove the foil and roast for another 40 to 45 minutes, until the edges of the meat start to brown.

    Turn on the broiler (keeping the rack on the middle rack), and broil the first side of the pork for about 5 minutes. Then brush the pork with half the glaze and broil for another 5 minutes, until the pork is a dark brownish red and evenly caramelized. Flip the meat over and broil the second side for 5 minutes, then brush on the glaze, and broil for another 5 minutes.

    Cool, then cut into slices and serve with rice. If you have extra, you can freeze it, add it to soup, ramen, or fried rice.

    Bombay Street Food: Vada Pav

    For the filling

    500g small potatoes, steamed with skin on
    150g sweet potato, steamed

    For the Masala

    1 small piece ginger, minced
    2 garlic clove, minced
    1 red onion, finely chopped
    2 green chilies, finely chopped
    1/2 cup coriander leaves, chopped

    For the tempering

    1 teaspoon turmeric powder
    5-8 curry leaves
    2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
    1 tablespoon oil or ghee

    For the batter

    1 1/2 cups gram flour (besan)
    1/2 cup rice flour
    approx. 2 cups water
    1 teaspoon turmeric powder
    ½ teaspoon chilli powder(optional)
    ½ teaspoon cumin powder
    ½ teaspoon coriander powder
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Peanut oil for frying

    Pita bread
    Tomatoes, sliced
    Onions, sliced in rings


    Peel and mash both sweet potatoes and potatoes with a potato masher. Depending on how you like it - either mash completely or coarsely allowing for some chunks. I like mine slightly chunky.

    Add ginger, garlic, onions and green chili paste, coriander leaves, and salt to the potatoes. Mix, preferably with your hands until everything is incorporated.

    Put 1 tablespoon oil or ghee in a pan and heat at medium heat. Add mustard seeds. Once they start splutter, add turmeric powder and curry leaves. Carefully pour this tempering over the mashed potatoes and stir in gently.

    Using your hands make small balls of mashed potato mixture. Traditionally Vadas are shaped into balls, I flatted them to make them into patties as they fit better into the pita bread.

    For the batter

    In a large bowl mix together both flours. Add salt, turmeric powder and all the spice powders. Gradually start adding water and keep mixing with a spoon or whisk. Remove the lumps and whisk into a smooth batter. The batter should not be too watery or too thick. If lifted by a spatula, it should flow in a ribbon like consistency, similar to pancake batter.

    Heat some peanut oil in a pan. Drop some batter in the oil to check if the oil is the right temperature. If the batter immediately floats on the surface of the oil, the oil is ready. The oil should not be too hot either, otherwise the vadas turn dark from the outside before they are actually done from the inside.

    Now dip each ball in the batter, letting the excess batter drip off. Gently and carefully add the vadas to the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan, or the temperature of the oil reduces which will slow down the frying process. In the simlar way, fry all the vadas until golden. Remove on a paper towel and drain.

    To assemble the Vada Pitta Pav warm the pita bread in the oven. Once warmed through slice off the tops and cut open. Spread generously with the sun-dried tomato and tamarind chutney, fill with onion rings, sliced tomatoes and rucola. Finally, add the vada. Enjoy warm

    Saturday, September 20, 2008

    Grilled Fish with Pimentón Aioli


    Time: 20 minutes

    2 teaspoons minced garlic

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    3 teaspoons pimentón

    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    2 swordfish or other fish steaks, about 1 1/2 pounds

    1/2 cup mayonnaise

    Lemon juice to taste.

    1. Start a grill or preheat broiler. Mix together all but 1/2 teaspoon garlic, some salt and pepper, half the pimentón and olive oil. Brush one side of fish steaks with this mixture (if you are broiling, brush both sides). Put on grill, sauced side down, and brush other side. Grill or broil, turning once, until done, 5 to 10 minutes.

    2. Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise with remaining garlic and pimentón; add a little lemon juice and whisk; taste and adjust seasoning. Serve fish with a dollop of aioli.

    Yield: 4 servings.

    Friday, September 19, 2008

    Lemon Olive Oil Cake

    - makes one 9-inch round cake, about 10 servings -

    Adapted from Olives & Oranges by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox.


    3/4 extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for the pan
    1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
    3 large eggs
    1 cup sugar
    3/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt
    Finely grated zest of 3 lemons


    1. Put oven rack in center position and heat oven to 325ºF. Lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan.

    2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

    3. With an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl on high speed for 5 minutes, or until pale and thick. Add yogurt zest; beat to combine. With mixer on medium speed, add oil in a quick steady stream. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture just until blended. Whisk batter by hand to make sure that all ingredients are incorporated.

    4. Pour batter into pan. Bake, rotating pan once, until cake is golden, center springs back to touch, and edges pull away from pan, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool for a minute or two on rack, then release from pan and cool completely before slicing.

    Sunday, September 14, 2008

    Bagna Cauda

    from Bon Appétit | December 1992

    Literally translated as "hot bath," this dipping sauce for vegetables often appears in many Italian homes as part of the Christmas Eve buffet. Although cardoons (an edible thistle related to the artichoke but resembling celery) are traditional, celery makes a fine substitute and any combination of vegetables will do. In Italy, the routine goes like this: Vegetable pieces are dipped into the sauce (a fondue-style fork will help) and then eaten, with a slice of bread held underneath to catch the drippings. Once the bread is soaked with sauce, it's eaten, too. Then everyone starts over. It's fun for a party appetizer no matter where you live.

    Serves 6.

    3/4 cup olive oil
    6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
    12 anchovy fillets
    6 large garlic cloves, chopped

    Assorted fresh vegetables, cut into bite-size pieces
    1 1-pound loaf crusty Italian or French bread, cutinto 2-inch sections

    Blend oil, butter, anchovies and garlic in processor until smooth. Transfer oil mixture to heavy medium saucepan. Cook over low heat 15 minutes, stirring, occasionally. (Sauce will separate.) Season with salt and pepper.

    Pour sauce into fondue pot or other flameproof casserole. Set pot over alcohol burner or gas table burner to keep warm. Serve with vegetables and bread.

    Sunday, September 7, 2008

    Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Adapted from Jacques Torres

    Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling

    2 cups minus 2 tablespoons

    (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour

    1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour

    1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

    1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

    2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter

    1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar

    1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar

    2 large eggs

    2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

    1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)

    Sea salt.

    1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

    2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

    3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

    4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

    Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

    Note: Disks are sold at Jacques Torres Chocolate; Valrhona fèves, oval-shaped chocolate pieces, are at Whole Foods.