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Start the Day Right

10 Dec

After a run last week, I felt like trying my hand at making eggs benedict for breakfast. I love eggs benedict, but the only other time I’ve made it, I curdled the sauce and broke several eggs before I could get them out of the water (slippery little buggers). Looks like I finally conquered this one though:

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Chicken Katsudon

6 Dec

It may look like katsudon takes hours to make, but it’s a surprisingly easy dinner dish that will be sure to impress anyone you serve it to. Click “Continue Reading” to see the recipe.

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The Way to The Heart

25 Nov

Lamb  with caramelized shallots and bread crumb topping, asparagus with orange sauce, and potato croquettes.

Happy Anniversary

Recipe: Caramelized Shallot Fondue

2 Nov

For my mom’s birthday this year, I tried making her something nice instead of buying her something. And in my vocabulary, nice also means yummy. We got a new fondue set that I’ve been dying to try out and I thought this Gruyere Caramelized Shallot fondue recipe would be perfect for its inaugural use.

The fondue turned out great. I definitely recommend getting good melting cheeses because they will enhance the flavor and outcome of the entire fondue.

Recipe from epicurious

1 tablespoon butter
1 1/4 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 6 ounces)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups (or more) dry white wine
14 ounces grated Gruy(re cheese (about 3 1/2 cups packed)
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Generous pinch of ground nutmeg

Note: I’m a cheese fanatic, so in addition to Gruyere, I used Swiss and Emmental cheeses. I did about 1C of each cheese for my version.

Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add thinly sliced shallots and sauté 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low; sprinkle shallots with sugar, salt and pepper. Sauté until shallots are caramelized, about 15 minutes. Transfer shallots to small bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups wine to skillet; boil 1 minute.


Trying out video and the “flippy chef thing” for the first time here!


Pour wine into heavy medium saucepan; set over medium-low heat. Toss cheese with flour in medium bowl to coat. Add half of caramelized shallots to wine; add cheese mixture by handfuls, stirring until cheese melts and is smooth before adding more. Thin with more wine if mixture is too thick. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.


Transfer cheese mixture to fondue pot. Set pot over candle or canned heat burner. Top fondue with remaining caramelized shallots.

I served my fondue with some simple dippers- baby carrots, broccoli and chunks of sour dough bread.

Cookie, Chocolate Caramel Cookie

8 Sep

James Bond would be proud of this chocolate cookie that carefully conceals the caramel center flavourbomb within. I’ve been baking this cookie ever since home ec in high school. Since then, this cookie has gone on espionage missions to cheer up heartbroken girl friends, impress boyfriend’s family and cure all my major chocolate cravings.

For the record, yes, I did get an A+ for these babies.

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

27 May

Instead of spending a ton of money for Mother’s Day this year, I decided to try making a batch of Red Velvet Cupcakes. For the first time. It was definitely a learning experience.

I used this recipe for Red Velvet Cake from AllRecipes.com:

Yields: 30 cupcakes

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup shortening (I substituted with 1 cup canola oil)
1 1/2 cups white sugar (I used 2 cups sugar)
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Make a paste with red food coloring and cocoa powder

  1. Grease two 9 inch round pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Make a paste of cocoa and food coloring. Set aside. (IJLF: BE Generous with the food coloring. My first batch had was brown on the outside, but red on the inside, indicating the cocoa hadn’t absorbed enough food coloring. If you finish a bottle or two of food coloring- it’s worth it. Trust me.)

    White batter + red cocoa = Red Velvet batter

  2. Combine the buttermilk, salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the oil and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the cocoa mixture. Beat in the buttermilk mixture alternately with the flour, mixing just until incorporated. Stir together baking soda and vinegar, then gently fold into the cake batter.Batter up!
  3. Pour batter into prepared pans (IJLF: don’t forget the baking cups!). Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes (IJLF: My cupcakes only took 15-20 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Almost done!

Cream Cheese Frosting

For my frosting, I decided to use a Cream Cheese based recipe, which I thought would provide the perfect decadent topper to this rich, chocolate cupcake.

Taken from AllRecipes.com again:

(sorry for the lack of pictures- camera started malfunctioning on me here)

Ingredients

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

Verdict

Once again, I’m sorry about the lack of pictures. I was in a rush to ice my cupcakes in time for Mother’s Day that I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. I know! I suck. But they pretty much looked like this:

So my first attempt had some flaws. I left it too long and it was a bit dry on the inside. The cupcake top was soft, but a bit too firm. Next time I make these, I’d add a bit more buttermilk and oil, and cut the baking time down to 15 minutes. Again, I’d add tons of red food coloring to make sure your red velvet cupcakes are REALLY READ. Of course, icing always helps and the icing really completed these cupcakes.

I got some rave reviews from the Mother’s..although being mom’s it may have been pity reviews..hmm. Haha! Well, I liked the cupcakes. Definitely edible, but I can do better next time 😉

Have you made a batch of your own before? What could you recommend I do differently for better cupcakes?

Recipe: Fish and Chips

24 Apr

I’ve never made fish and chips before for two reasons:

  1. Hot oil scares me- especially large batches of it
  2. It looks like it takes a long time to make

Let me tell you right now, it doesn’t take a long time to make at all! Two people can put together this recipe from Bobby Flay’s Fish and Chips Throwdown episode in under an hour for sure. (Hot oil still scares me, but that’s what guys are for lol).

Since there were only 2 of us, we did a half recipe instead. Here’s the full recipe:

Spicy Chips

Spicy Chips:

[we didn’t have ancho chili or chili de arbol powder, so we substituted with cayenne pepper instead, which worked just as well. If you like it really spice, throw in some hot pepper flakes and chop them up a bit to make them more fine and powdery]

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili de arbol powder
  • 4 large baking potatoes, like russets, about 3 pounds
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Chopped cilantro leaves

Whisk together the salt, ancho and chili de arbol powders in a bowl. Set aside.

Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices then cut each slice into 1/4-inch thick fries. Place fries in a large bowl of cold water.

Heat oil in a large, straight sided skillet to 325 degrees F. Drain fries in batches on paper towels. Fry each batch for 3 to 4 minutes until a pale blonde color forms and remove to a sheet pan lined with paper towels.

Just before serving, increase the heat of the oil to 375 degrees F and fry the potatoes again, in batches, until golden brown. Remove to a sheet pan lined with paper towels and season with the spices and chopped cilantro.

Prepping the fish

Fried Fish:

  • Canola or Peanut oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 cup for dredging
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups beer
  • 3 large egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks
  • 3 pounds cod or haddock, cut into 6-ounce pieces

Preheat a deep-fryer or a deep pot filled halfway with oil to 360 degrees F. Whisk together the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and beer in a large bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes. Fold in the egg whites.

Batter up! har har har

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Season the fish with salt and pepper, dredge in flour, tap off excess then dip the fish in the batter and fry in batches until golden brown on both sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.

Serve with chips and tartar sauce. Good for three servings per person.

Tartar Sauce

Tartar Sauce

For the tartar sauce, I didn’t use Bobby’s Lemon-Habanero flavor. I’ve always loved tartar sauce and wanted to see if I could make the traditional version myself. Here’s the recipe I used:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish (Karra: chopping up a dill pickle works just as well)
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, and minced onion. Stir in lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Verdict:

Ta Da!

This was definitely a lot easier than I expected it to be. The batter for the fish was extremely light and flavourful. I added a bit of sweet potato powder (which just happened to be in the kitchen at the time) for some added flavour. The taste of the beer comes through, so make sure you use a beer you like (we tried to pick one that wasn’t labeled ale or lager for our first try). Definitely let the batter rest for at least 10-20 minutes before adding in the egg whites for extra lightness. Oh, and use a whisk to make the batter. I used a fork, which was fine, but couldn’t get all the lumps out.

The chips came out great. We fried them up till they were golden brown, then moved them into the oven for extra crispiness. As for the tartar sauce, my best advice is to leave it in the fridge for a good 30 mins at least before using. The longer the flavours marry, the better the outcome. We threw in a little cayenne for some spice.

And that’s it! A delicious English pub staple right in your own home.