Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bruschetta al Pomodoro (Bruschetta with tomato and basil)



This is a simple recipe and can be served as a great healthy appetiser. To prevent the bread slices from becoming soggy, I would recommend using Roma or Plum tomatoes as they are firmer in texture. Try to choose those tomatoes which are not too ripe. Enjoy the dish! Buon Appetito!

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices Baguette (French loaf) or Italian crusty bread
  • 4 Roma (Plum) tomato, seeded and diced
  • 6 to 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped (can substitute with dried basil leaves)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (to drizzle)
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Preparation:
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine tomatoes and chopped garlic together. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Add 2/3 of chopped basil and 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.
  2. On a baking sheet, drizzle both sides of bread slices with extra virgin olive oil. Lightly brown them in the oven.
  3. Remove the bread slices from the oven. Rub the bread slices with cut half of garlic clove.
  4. Spread the tomato mixture on each slice.
  5. Garnish with remaining 1/3 chopped basil. Ready to serve.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cream of Corn Soup



This is a very simple recipe for a quick lunch. You may serve it with plain biscuit or toast too. I'm sure kids will like it too. ^_^



Ingredients:

1 can (15 oz) cream style corn (I used Del Monte brand)
1/3 can (15 oz) sweet corn kernels
1.5 cups water
1/3 can cream of chicken (can substitute with 1/3 cup chicken stock and 1/4 cup milk)
1/4 onion, minced
1.5 Tbsp butter (about 20 gram)
2 Tbsp All-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
a pinch of salt or to taste


Preparation:
  1. In a saucepan, fry onions and butter on low heat, stirring constantly till onions are soft but not brown.
  2. Add flour and stir well for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add water and cream of chicken. Mix well and let it come to a boil. Turn heat to medium low and simmer for 3 minutes, stir occasionally.
  4. Add milk, cream style corn and sweet corn kernels. Continue to simmer for 5 to 6 minutes.
  5. Add salt to taste and continue to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or till soup is thicker.
  6. Turn off the heat. Ready to serve.

Potato Croquettes



This is a great recipe for leftover mashed potato. The trick to prevent it from falling apart is to chill the patties in refrigerator for an hour before cooking.

I used to order this dish whenever I visited Japanese restaurant. I like potato croquettes because it has crispy outer skin but soft filling. You may use pumpkin as filling instead of potato too. I will try it when the pumpkin is in season next time. : )

Ingredients:

2 cups mashed potato
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1 large egg, beaten
salt and pepper to season
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup panko (breadcrumb) for coating
1/4 cup green peas or corn kernels (optional)
1/4 cup ham, chopped (optional)


Preparation:

  1. To make Mashed Potato: Peel and cut 2 to 3 potatoes into medium chunks. Boil potatoes for 20 minutes or until soften. Drain and use fork to mash the potatoes. Set aside.
  2. Saute onion, ham, green peas and corn kernels in a skillet or pan for a few minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, mix mashed potatoes, onion, ham, green peas and corn kernels together. Season with salt and pepper and let it cool.
  4. Make mixture into flat and oval-shaped patties. Coat each piece with flour. Dip in beaten egg and coat with bread crumbs.
  5. Heat oil in the skillet or pan over medium high heat. Fry patties on both sides until golden brown.
  6. Ready to serve with mayonnaise and or barbecue sauce.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oreo Cheesecake




To bake a perfect cheesecake, first thing is to get good cream cheese. Although reduced fat cream cheese is healthier, its favor still can't compare to the original cream cheese which is more creamy and full of milky fragrant. So that's why it is called "sinful temptation". ^_^


Ingredients:

Crust:
  • 2 cup Oreo cookie crumbs (about 20 to 25 Oreo cookies), finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter

Filling:

  • 3 packets of 8oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 5 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (for the batter)
  • 8 to 10 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (for the topping)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C). Make sure all ingredients stay at room temperature.
  2. Prepare a 9 inch spring form pan. Line the pan with aluminium foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Lightly grease the bottom and the sides.
  3. To do the crust: mix melted butter with Oreo crumbs and press onto the bottom of the pan.
  4. In a big mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with low speed until fluffy. Slowly add sugar and mix well. All about 2 minutes.
  5. Add vanilla, salt, flour and cornstarch, beat until smooth and add sour cream.
  6. Add eggs one at a time. About 15 second after each addition.
  7. Stir in the coarsely chopped Oreo cookies.
  8. Pour mixture into the pan and place the coarsely chopped Oreo cookies on top.
  9. Wrap the bottom of the pan with extra layer of aluminium foil and place it in a larger pan with hot water, about 1 inch depth . (This is an extra step called water bath method which can allow cheesecake to cook evenly)
  10. Bake on the top rack of a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until center is set.
  11. After that, keep oven door open for a few inches and let the cheesecake stay in the oven for about 1 hour.
  12. Remove from oven and cool at room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Barbecue Baby Back Ribs


I'm amazed by how easy this recipe can be and the taste which is as delicious as you get in restaurant or better than that! The meat is tender and fall off the bones easily. The most important ingredient is a bottle of nice hickory barbecue sauce with smoky flavor. Alternatively, you can prepare your own barbecue sauce by using tomato sauce, cider vinegar, sugar and starch.

One thing good about using aluminium foil for this recipe is that I won't have to wash and scrub the baking tray after the cooking! It really save my time from cleaning. : )


Ingredients:

2 to 2.5 lb (1 kg) pork baby back ribs
1/2 bottle barbecue sauce (about 9 oz or 250 gm)


Preparation:

  1. Cut the ribs into 2 portion. Remove the membrane at the back or just use a fork or skewer to poke some holes in between the membrane.
  2. Prepare 2 pieces of aluminum foil which is big enough to wrap each portion of ribs. Spray each piece of foil with vegetable cooking spray. Place the ribs on the foil individually and brush both sides of the ribs with barbecue sauce. Wrap tightly and refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours.
  3. Bring out the ribs from the fridge 1 hour before cooking.
  4. Preheat oven to 300 degree F (150 degree C).
  5. Place extra piece of foil underneath and bake the ribs wrapped tightly in the foil for 2 1/2 hours.
  6. Open up the foil and brush more barbecue sauce on the ribs. Continue to bake with the foil open up or set to broil for additional 10 minutes.
  7. Ready to serve with mashed potato and or steamed vegetable.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pandan Chiffon Cake




Pandan chiffon cake is one of my comfort food from Malaysia and Singapore. It is so yummy ! The fragrance of pandan and softness of the cake will encourage you to savor every bite.

I have only learnt that pandan leaves are also known as screwpine leaves when I am in US. You can normally find them in Asian grocery stores. I managed to find them from a Vietnamese store near Argyle, Chicago.

I must admit that it is quite challenging to bake a chiffon cake. My first attempt resulted in a partial failure as I was not aware of the tricks in baking a chiffon cake. After doing some research on the recipes, I managed to find out what were the causes. The egg white was underbeat as I did not have a mixer and only used a whisk. You can imaging how tiring it would be to beat the egg white continuously for 10 minutes merely by hand. Besides, I also found out that cake flour is more suitable for chiffon cake. If you also cannot find cake flour, the substitution will be 1 cup of cake flour equal to 1 cup minus 2 Tablespoon of all purpose flour plus 2 Tablespoon of corn starch.

After getting a hand mixer and an improved recipe, my second attempt was considered successful except the colour was not green enough as I only use the pure pandan leaves juice without any artificial colouring.

Finally, I'm quite happy with the pandan chiffon cake from the third attempt. I managed to get the cake flour from a Japanese supermarket as well as green colouring from a nearby supermarket. The texture of the cake was really soft by using the cake flour.

I guess baking a chiffon cake is a trial and error process. You have to find the best combination of ingredients, right temperature and timing which suit your oven. Good luck! : )


Ingredients:

(A)
  • 2 cup of cake flour (can substitute with 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour and 1/4 cup corn starch)
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp of salt

(B)
  • 7 egg white
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp of cream of tartar

(C)
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup of flavorless vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp pandan juice or 1 tsp pandan essence

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degree F.
  2. For (A): Sift flour and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Add in sugar and salt. Mix until well combined.
  3. For (B): Place egg whites in a large, clean stainless or glass mixing bowl. Use mixer to whip egg whites until foamy (about 30 seconds) and add cream of tartar. Continue to whip the egg whites until opague, about 3 minutes. Add sugar gradually to the egg whites. Continue to whip until stiff and glossy. (e.g. it should not fall out when you turn the mixing bowl upside down quickly)
  4. For (C): Mix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until well blended.
  5. Make a well in the center of (A) dry ingredients. Add (C) yolk mixture and mix until batter is smooth.
  6. Fold 1/3 of the (B) egg whites mixture into the batter by using a spatula. Gently fold the remaining one third at a time.
  7. Gently pour batter into an ungreased 10 inch tube pan and bake for an hour or until a skewer comes out clean when tested.
  8. Invert the cake immediately onto the wire rack (or by using a bottle) and let the cake cool completely in the pan upside down.
  9. Loosen the outer and tube edge of the pan with a knife. Use a skewer to loosen the cake from the center tube. Remove cake from pan.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Gingerbread Man Cookies



Nothing says Christmas like a Gingerbread Man Cookie! It is fragrant with ground ginger, cinnamon, molasses and nutmeg. It is also fun to do your own decoration on the cookies by using the icing sugar.

Ingredients: Make 15 to 20 cookies

Cookies
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup dark-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Royal Icing

  • 1 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 1 cup confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

Preparation:
  1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter. Add sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy. Mix in egg, molasses and vanilla. Gradually add in the flour mixture and beat until a smooth dough forms.
  3. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm.
  4. Heat oven to 350 degree F. Place the dough in between two plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Use either a floured cookie cutter or a knife to cut into desired shapes.
  5. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are lightly brown. Remove from oven. Wait for 1 minute and transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate with royal icing.
 
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