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.