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Showing posts from 2009

What's On Your Favorites?

I often wonder what is on another's person's Favorites. It's highly personal for sure, but I am highly curious nonetheless. Much like taking a peek into someone's fridge. By the way, if you love to look at someone's fridge, click away here at Fridge Fetish.

Ok, so here goes my list on my Favorites:

~ Food-related ~
E*Recipe (wonderful pictures of Japanese food, if only I could understand everything on it!)

Cookthink (good place to give you idea on what to cook with ingredients on hand)

Food Blog Search (a search engine working on a database of food blogs)

Foodgawker (feast with your eyes!)

English Muffins from King Arthur Flour website (something that I had been meaning to try but not done so)

NPR: Kitchen Window (I learned much later that this is actually the website of a national radio station of sorts; interesting articles on varied topics)

Traditional Oven: Cooking Converter (this is a life saver!)

SoShiok.com (this is some sort of our local version of Dining Section; go…

Learning About Myself

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At this ripe old age of 31, I am still learning things about myself. Geez ...

I learnt that I ...
(i) have a bottomless stomach when it comes to creamy mashed potatoes;
(ii) can live on zucchinni to the exclusion of all other vegetables; and
(iii) am obessed about thinking what I can tuck into these little rice balls (おにぎり - onigiri).

I'm quite sure that there's something else that I don't know about myself yet. But then it wouldn't be fun if the whole story is unfolded in Chapter One (more like Chapter Thirty-One).

I made these balls last night with flaked pan-fried salmon. Season the fish lightly and pan fry. Then flake the fish before filling them in the rice balls. I had wanted to make a batch stuffed with preserved plum (梅干 - umeboshi), but I realised that I ran out of rice. Sigh ...

If you would like to try your hands on making these balls, go down to your nearest Daiso and pick up any mould that strike your fancy and read this page from Just Hungry on how to make them.

Roasted Chestnut Soup

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During my last trip from Tokyo, I bought lots of roasted chestnuts. They were wonderfully big, sweet and utterly delicious. Unfortunately due to luggage space constraint, I wasn't able to lug more back. (-.-)
When I flipped through The Minimalist Cooks Dinner, this soup caught my eyes but I filed it away since I doubt I would be able to get around to peeling the chestnuts. Tough job. But when they come peeled, that's a different story. I'll be eternally gratefully to those who peeled mine.
The recipe is absurdly short and easy to follow, that's what The Minimalist is all about. In under an hour, you have a soothing and satisfying soup.
And please splash the soup with some olive oil. If not for the visual effect (which mine has none), just for the sake of a silken smoothness of the slurp.

Pasta Salad with Feta Cheese, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives

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Do you buy things that appears only on your shopping list? Or there are always some extras that get thrown in as well? That's me. I usually end up with 12 items when my list clearly only has 10.

So when we got home this afternoon, I realised that I need to re-fuel. My growled loud enough to make my princess jump. A quick raid on the fridge yielded very promising ingredients: avocado, cooked chicken, cooked pasta, feta cheese and capers. The feta cheese and avocado had never appeared in my shopping list before. Ever.

Flipped the Bon Appetit Cookbook and found this recipe, which I managed to put my version together in 15 mins (excluding washing the blender).

This is my first time trying feta cheese and I found it dense (in a good sort of way), creamy and quite salty. The pasta salad was a tad too tangy (read: sourish) to satisfy a growling stomach, but I would imagine that it would be quite nice as a picnic bring-along.

Braised Sole Provencal

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As the saying goes, "Can't have the cake and eat it". I managed to save these but lost the ones on my beef daube.
If you haven't tried sole fish, do so the next time you see it on any menu or market. Just beware of those few fine bones, yeah?
This is a recipe from The Best of America Test Kitchen 2007 which actually calls for cod fish, but I just can't bring myself to buy those freeze-and-thaw pieces. Sole fish makes a good substitution in my opinion. The flesh is delicate and it taste light. Best of all, it doesn't cost a fortune to eat it. 2 fillets cost me only $6+ and this is supermarket pricing, mind you.
I did some research into what it meant by cooking Provencal style and it seems to me that it has something to do with the cooking style of Provence (France) which is typically characterised by the use of tomatoes, onions, garlic and fennel, amongst the list. If you want to know more, click here to find an article "Can you cooking Provence style?&quo…

Photo-less

Something's wrong with my SD card. My laptop kept prompting me to format the card before using. Arghh ... I haven't backed up my photos yet!

Moral of the story: (a) Don't be lazy to back up photos; and (b) Technology is never 100% reliable.

Anyway, I had made Beef Daube on Tuesday night and Braised Sole Fish Provencal last night. The photos are all jammed in that unrealible SD card. I'll have to find a way to retrive them!

(*-*)

Hot and Sour Soup

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Still remember when I talked about making your own stock? Well, I am still trying to find a all-purpose stock for both Chinese and Western cooking. *flip, flip, flip ... *

Hot soups are the best cure for rainy evenings. Stop raining already! My long-suffering plants are drowning! Well, that's a bit far from the truth, but they are really feeling the effects of too much water. Unfortunately, I don't make much soup around here. Not those nourish cantonese soups that my mom churn out daily. That is one area of cooking which I have not take a serious crack at.

This hot and sour soup recipe was taken from Cook's Illustrated. Their photos are always much better than mine, but I am not complaining. Not really. The time taken from making the stock to finishing took me about 2.5 hours. I don't know why it took me so long, maybe I fell asleep on my feet.

To make the soup child friendly, portion some out before adding the vinegar and chilli oil.

This soup comes close to those served …

Big, Beautiful Muffins

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I didn't call them that. It would be too audacious. Cook's Illustrated did. Or at least that was what they hope their subscribers would churn out from the oven by using the recipe.

If I were to name it, maybe I would call it Even-Cranky-Kid-Can-Do Muffin. But that would be too long, won't it? Well, that was how this recipe won my respect. Princess didn't want to go down for her usual 3-hour nap, so I was desperate to try anything to keep her out of trouble (read: biting remote controller, pretending sofas are Mount Everest, etc). I had forgetten how much we can both learn from each other when baking with Princess. I got to hear what she did during the cookery lessons in her school and she got to see how I handle the batter, which she tried to imitate.

The muffins are delicious. Nice wonder crumbs resulting from the use of yogurt. I didn't use plain yogurt but lemon-lime cheesecake yogurt instead. I just can't follow instructions! So the muffins came out with a wo…

Skillet Chicken and Rice with Peas and Scallions

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Mention chicken and rice in a same breathe anywhere in this sunny spot on earth, people will refer you to either the nearest Five Star Hainanese Chicken Rice or Tian Tian Chicken Rice. Though I love a good roasted hainanese chicken rice as much as the next Singaporean, I wasn't prepared to deal with a whole chicken. Not on a weekday. Not by myself.

So instead, I tried out this recipe from America's Test Kitchen Favorites.


I think once a while I would turn into this healthy-conscious-freakish alter ego and will actually read the ingredient list of whatever that goes into the grocery basket. And yesterday was one of these days. I walked happily up the aisle well stocked with all sorts of canned and carton broth. When I was about to dunk a carton of my regular chicken broth into the basket, I just had to read the ingredient list. Shouldn't I be reading it when I first start buying it? Anyway ... I shelved the perfectly packaged carton of chicken broth and walked back to the mea…

Crab and Herb Fettucine

I spotted this recipe from Gourmet Today, and I wished that I haven't.

The dish was utter horrid. I didn't imagine that any of Gourmet's recipe would go down to that standard. 1/4 cup white wine vinegar was overpowering and the recipe calls for 170g of butter!

The recipe can be found here.

Gourmet Today is not going to find a spot on my cookbook shelf, despite what I had said earlier about getting a memorabilia. Perhaps I haven't graduated to that sort of cooking yet. But I doubt that I would go there anytime soon.

What I spent yesterday for the dish:
$10.90 - crab meat
$1.95 - tarragon
$1.95 - chives
$1.95 - Italian parsley
$7.95 - white wine vinegar
Total: $24.70

On the lookout for the next recipe to try ...

Family Portrait (An Artistic Impression)

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I always find it amazing to learn how a kid percieve the world. During one of her drawing sprees, she came up with this.
By the way, that triangluar thingy, it was suppose to be a yatch/cruise ship. Why she included that in? She said that she wanted to go for a ride on a ship.(-.-)

Garlic-Rosemary Roast Chicken with Potatoes

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Since the last time I made Baked Chicken with Fennel, Tomatoes and Olives, I had been hankering for another serving of it. Unfortunately, my nearest Cold Storage ran out of the two important ingredients: fennel and olives.

Not to be undone, I still went ahead to buy 4 slabs of the chicken breasts and dragged out my The New Best Recipe to fish out a recipe for it. And this recipe turned up and I had all the ingredients! A quick check on my rosemary plant, who seems very obliging to provide a few sprigs for my dinner experiment.

After brining for an hour in the fridge, the baked chicken was moist and tender. Although the dish was not as visually attractive as the Baked Chicken with Fennel, the taste was equally satisfying. We mopped up all the juices with lots of bread. (^.^)

Wonderful dish for entertaining.

Potato Salad with Olives, Scallions and Garden Herbs

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While packing my home office table, I found a copy of the Fine Cooking magazine lying around. It was bought by my sis when she was in L.A. last year. Flipping through the magazine, I got a glimpse of the photo of this recipe. A quick read of the ingredient list and realised that all was good to go. This is really a nice alternative to mayonnaise base potato salad. Recipe of the salad can be found here.

Baked Butternut Squash with Sausage and Apple Stuffing

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Butternut squash has been appearing in bigger and bigger quantities recently at the supermarket and I can't help but slip one half of the fleshy orange halves into my trolley.
By baking the whole squash, I didn't have to figure out a way to peel the skin which is one tricky task.
Another easy way to include fiber in the meal. Unfortunately, our little princess didn't quite like it.

Grilled Lemongrass Beef and Noodle Salad

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Thinking of what to cook for dinner on the way out of the office is the surest way to get yourself walking into a pillar. And that happened to me last Friday. Duh! Actually I wasn't thinking of what to cook per se, but whether I still that that piece of crumpled paper containing some recipes that I would like to try and rummaging through my handbag (yes, I have lots of such pieces of paper in my bag).

It was suppose to be a salad but I guess I added too much noodle and made it into a dry beef noodle dish instead. But it was delicious. Spicy, light and filling. My only complain was that the fragrance of the lemongrass didn't really come through in the meat. Perhaps it would be a good idea to up the amount in future.

The recipe can be found here.

Eating and Watching Ratatouille

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In a recent book sale near my office, I picked up the novelised version of Ratatouille produced by Disney in 2007. I can't remember when I first watched it, but when Hubby rented the DVD, I was just too happy to watch it again.
But then came the question: "Mommy, what is Ratatouille? Is that the name of the rat?"
The obivious reply was that the rat already has a name -Remy, but the not so obivious answer to the first part of the question: "What is ratatouille?" was mind boggling. Even the spelling looks foreign to me.
The only was way to find that out is to cook it. A flip of my JOC, and it is in there. The ingredient list looked simple but I had to make a substitution as I know the taste of red pepper would be too overwhelming for our little princess to try.
Once the cutting and chopping was done, the cooking was straight forward. It is easy to see why this was known as a pheasant's dish. Lots of textured vegetables to make up for the absence of meat.
I'…

Morning At The Beach

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Look at the clear blue sky. Only if those dreadry ugly tankers could park some where else!

When the heat gets too strong, you could always reach for an umbrella and strike a pose as this.

But when all else fails, just kick off your shoes and stand under the shade and then jiggle around to look busy.

Note to self: Don't ever picnic at East Coast Park again, unless sand is a required condiment with the food.

Baked Chicken with Fennel, Tomatoes, and Olives

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After my too-sweet-to-be-curry dinner, I felt obligated to redeem myself. So I chose this Baked Chicken with Fennel as my saving grace. I was quite hesistant initially as it featured a new-to-me ingredient. Heard of fennel? I can't say that I am 100% certain of what it is, but now I do.

Here's what it looks like:


They look quite ordinary, but when I slice into them, there was a mild lemony perfume. I bought 2 pieces for about $5.25, quite pricey but worth it. Marinating the chicken seemed to take forever, but it was worth it as it chicken turned out flavourful and juicy after baking. We ended up having dinner only at 9pm!

This is a really good dish that can be prep ahead of time to feed a crowd. There are a few other variation to this basic recipe which I am dying to try. Hope that my family won't be sick of eating chicken anytime soon.

Curry In A Hurry

For me cooking curry can never be done in a hurry. The long ingredient list for making the curry paste is already mind-boggling and simmering of the coconut/evaporated milk cannot be done over high heat.

But despite all the above, I made a curry in a hurry yesterday. But did it taste good? I would say yes and no. Yes, because all the essential flavours were there (too sweet for my taste though) but no because my evaporated milk curddled due to the high heat. It didn't look pretty.

Well, I still have some of the curry paste left and will attempt this recipe again. Just too good to let go. A hot simmering curry on a rainy day is the best thing to return home to.

30 Minute Cookbooks

I just got hold of a cookbook that promises put food on the table within 30 minutes. And then I realised that I hate it.

Why?

It is not a lousy book per se. It came from my favourite cookbook producers, America's Test Kitchen.

So what's the problem with it then?

2 things that get on my nerve.

First off, such books mocks at anyone who claims that they can't spare time to do cooking. I read from another good book (The End of Food) that as it stands now, the average family in US spends about 30 minutes a day cooking. So you can see why there are so many of such quick-fix cookbooks in the market. But over here, the economics are slightly different. When one can feed a family of four at an average cost of $3.50 (a decent plate of rice with 2 vegetable dishes and a meat dish) per head, we are looking at $14 a meal. So now tell me if your per hour rate is worth $28, assuming that you can produce the same meal in 30 minutes? The per hour rate gets worse when the family only consist …

Japanese Curry Chicken - チキンカレー

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Haven't got the chance to re-stock my fridge. So I am going on JIT (just-in-time) mode.

This dish is so easy to throw together that I felt confident enough not to bother with a recipe. Just head to the nearest decent grocer and pick up a S&B curry premix. They should have the English translation affixed at the back of the box for those sold here. Mine was from Japan, so I would be just guessing if I read the directions, which I didn't.

Although this curry is tasty, but I still very much prefer our Asian versions. Speaking of which, I have found a few curry recipes worth trying. *rubbing hands together in anticipation*

Teriyaki Chicken - 鳥の照り焼き

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I'm back and into the kitchen again! Oooh ... I didn't think that I would miss my kitchen very much, but I do! Craziness.

Anyway, I did a simple teriyaki chicken for our little princess last night. This version was slightly different from one which I had done previously cos I was trying out the recipe from another book. Tasty, nonetheless.


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Teriyaki Chicken - 鳥の照り焼き
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Marinate 2 deboned chicken thighs (with skin on) with 1 tbsp of sake, 1/2 tbsp of soy sauce and 1/2 tbsp of ginger juice. Let stand for 10 mins.

In a small bowl, stir together 3 tbsp of soy sauce, 2 tbsp of mirin and 1 tbsp of sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar completely.

Heat a frying pan with scant bit of oil. Pat dry the chicken with paper towels. Add the marinated chicken, skin side down. Fry until the skin has browned and flip over to cook the other side. When chicken has cooked through, add the soy sauce mixture. Let the mixture boil down slightly, about 5 m…

The Kitchen Is Closed

With the upcoming trip, the main focus now is to clear the fridge of leftovers. And we have plenty from the past week of cooking. I tried a few new recipes but I didn't want my hungry dinner guests to wait another minuter longer while I snap the photos. I've made Shepard's Pie, Spicy Chicken with Thai Basil and Swedish Meatballs.

I have always thought that trying new recipes would be an interesting way to learn new things about cooking and food, but I guess that is just me. Here's an interesting read for anyone who has yet to wet their feet in the kitchen to start thinking about daily cooking as a very real way to feed yourself in your twilight years, or even now.

Demise of Gourmet

Gourmet Magazine will stop its press machine after the last copy of their November issue leaves the print house. It's a sad news for foodies around the world.

Still remember I was sitting on the fence about getting The Gourmet Cookbook previously? Well, with this news, it seems to me that it is a sign for me to get it. Actually, get them, since they came out with Gourmet Today recently. It is something like getting a memorabilia, but not quite since they only contain recipes but not articles.

The foodie world has been a buzz with talks of this news, but I find that this article written by the editor of my favourite cookbooks in NYTimes most though evoking. Especially when the author wrote: "The world needs fewer opinions and more thoughtful expertise ...". No doubt that the Internet space is full of white noise, but there are gems to be found and there is no stopping people from sharing whatever that they wish to share. And this led me to consider what is the purpose of th…

What's In The Burger?

Came across this article about a girl who ate contaminated burger patties from The New York Times. If you are not interested to read the whole article, just see below which I lifted from the article.

" ... records show that the hamburgers were made from a mix of slaughterhouse trimmings and a mash-like product derived from scraps that were ground together at a plant ... that processes fatty trimmings and treats them with ammonia to kill bacteria."

Hamburger, anyone?

Mesh Mash Dinner

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Put together the leftover Thai-Style Tomato and Shrimp Salad and a grill slab of ribeye steak. The Cold Storage beef section is still having promotion and hence the steak. The steak was rubbed with a curry dry rub before grilling and the cheese sauce was from similar to the one made for my Grilled Ribeye Steak. Perfect combination of light/refreshing with heavy/satisfying.

Thai Green Curry Chicken

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If you haven't noticed, this blog has a fair share of spicy food post. We love all things spicy. The hotter, the better.

I made this last week when my mom came over, and this dish won her non-stop praising, which is something very rare since she is a fantastic cook herself.

The curry paste was easy to prep and the cooking can't be any simpler. This is definitely a good dish to impress a hungry crowd.

Latino-Style Chicken and Rice

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Some may know this dish by its native name: Arroz Con Pollo. Whatever its name, this dish is satisfying and easy to put together.
Here's a picture of what it ought to like if prepared according to directions, which needless to say that I didn't. I cooked this in a rice cooker instead of the oven and I used a whole chicken instead of just bone-in thighs. I had a few grains of uncooked rice, but I can live with that. The capsicum taste was slightly overwhelming, hence our little princess's scrunchy face when she tried it. Well, I guess this is just an adult-only dish for now.

Bento Boxes

Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples and Cider Cream Sauce

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I vaguely remembered that I have attempted a pork chops/apple combo before, but I can't find it here. Anyway, I also remembered that I'd burnt the raisins, so perhaps that was why I didn't blog about it.
Anyway, this recipe came from The Gourmet Cookbook (again!). The recipe calls for pork chops which I presume that it meant bone-in ones. As you can see from the photo, mine weren't as the supermarket didn't have any. But the good thing was that they cook realy quickly, and that was just what I needed to feed hungry mouths.
Pork and apples is a good combination and this dish can't really go wrong, except for the cream sauce, which I found it to lack body. Maybe I didn't reduce it sufficiently. The tang from the vinegar was a nice balance to the whole dish. Would I make it again? I doubt it. I would much prefer a wine sauce than this cream sauce.
However, one good thing came from this experiment: our little princess loves apples cooked in butter. Me too! Yum!

Main Course Salads: Thai-Style Tomato and Shrimp Salad

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I am still sampling the recipes from The Gourmet Cookbook, and today's random recipe turned out to be Thai-Style Tomato and Shrimp Salad. Salad always sounds more like a snack to me but I guess the addition of prawns, in this case, would qualify it as a light meal.

The prep work took me 45 mins but it salad components are chilling out in the fridge waiting to be tossed together. This is what I would call make-ahead!

I am still two minds about getting the cookbook. On one hand, I have bookmarked so many recipes that I would like to try, but on the other, my bookshelves are filling up fast. Yes, there is always the library, but I doubt that I would be able to get a copy of it again anytime soon since the library only has 3 copies in circulation.
Excuse me, while I go and agonise over this important matter.

Thai Red Beef Curry

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This was the only new recipe which I tried this week. (-.-)

Not authentic enough in my opinion but still tasted good. The best thing about this dish is that it comes together in less than 20min from scratch. Perfect weekday dinner.

The Dish That Became Something Else

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I had every intention on making Cold Poached Chicken with Ginger Scallion Oil from Gourmet Cookbook. But life got in the way, and my poached chicken became boiled chicken. Tough and rubber as it comes. *sigh*
I was about to dump the poaching liquid into the sink but it smelled good and tasted good. Now the next question was what to do with it.
I added some rice and boil to make chicken porridge. Add some shredded chicken and serve hot! Wonderful tummy warmer on a rainy day.

Rosemary Cuttings

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I think I am really bored with life. So bored that I am trying my hands are transplanting my rosemary plant! This is just after I killed by some mint off-shoots recently by transplanting them. I have black fingers, I think.
Not that I need another rosemary plant. I am just plain curious why some people here are able to root a cutting from a Cold Storage pack. It sounds so easy that it is absurdly unfair. Maybe it is just my lack of technique and common sense when it comes to plants.
Here's a link that I found helpful about transplanting rosemary.
Seems that the chances of success for my transplanted rosemary doesn't look high. I didn't dip it in rooting powder (!!??), I transplanted it in medium sized container, and the soil is of highly questionable source (don't ask).
Well, if the little fellow didn't make it, you will hear of it here soon.

Grilled Ribeye Steak with Mushrooms, Onion and Cheese Sauce

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While scrolling through my RSS feeds, this piece caught my attention. It was as if it was written for me! I quick mental check and I realised I have all the ingredients in my fridge, except that mine was herbed cream cheese instead of blue cheese.
No matter, the dish was plate-licking good.
Again, Hubby did the manly job of grilling the steaks. I think I will plan more grilled dinners from now on. I love grilled foods!

Korean Bulgogi

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Cold storage had some good discounts at their beef section last week and I came away with more packets of meat than I know what to do with.
One of the discounted cuts was their rib eye steaks. All beautiful and screaming "Take me home!", I tell you. So 3 of those steaks landed in my cart.
A quick Google on rib eye steaks and I found this beautiful picture that I know I must try to re-create in my kitchen. The preparations was done in no time at all. By the time Hubby came home for dinner, the meat was well marinated and ready to go. This is one of those dishes that comes with the excuse for him to fix his own dinner. *evil grin*
Since Hubby fixed his own dinner, he was too hungry and grouchy to wait for me to take a snap. *sigh*

Bento-ing Still?

The last time I blogged about bentos was in February. Did I stop making bentos? Yes and no. I have stopped packing bentos for our little princess for school lunches since she is eating in school, supposedly. All is not a bed of roses there, and I am racking my brains how to tackle that now. However, I do pack lunches with the occasional leftovers but morning rush hour is already making my head spin, I do not need to add the chore of pulling out the cammy for a snap.

I'll leave you with an article from New York Times about why people turn to bento making and useful links/resources for bento making.

Steak and Mushroom Pie (Filling?)

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With this dish, I nailed 3 new recipes last week that I had listed to try. This is just too much fun. The Sausage and Penne came out well and so did this dish, but the Swiss Steak from Joy of Cooking was not as great. This is the first recipe from Joy of Cooking which was not to my liking. Perhaps it was my fault for not following the instructions to bake it instead of improvising with my Shuttle Chef.
The steak and mushroom pie filling prep was much like any other stews that calls for browning the meat and then add onions and flour and pour wine over it to form the sauce. As this recipe calls for 2 cups of dry red wine, I had to look for a decent (and cheap) red wine to cook with. So now I know that whenever a recipe calls for dry red wine I should home in on these few: Cabernet Sauvigon, Bordeaux or Pinot Noir. For this dish, I picked up a Cabernet Sauvigon for S$16.90 (750ml bottle). When I poured it on and let the pan come to a simmer, I was shocked that my pan turned a dull shade …

Skillet Penne and Sausage Supper

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So after all the sausage making session, where did they go to?
Here ...
A picture of what it was suppose to look like, can be found here.
The dish cooked like a regular fried pasta which I think is not foreign to people living here. But then again, I must confess that I didn't follow the recipes entirely. I lost it somewhere 50 - 55% way through it (again, I have already confessed this many times that I don't follow instructions well and this is an America Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated recipe).
The dish is really simple to put together and really satisfying. I made the sausage in advance and just boil the pasta before I started cooking. Yes, I don't fancy having murky pasta water as sauce, thank you. The recipe instructed the penne to be cooked in both and cream, but I'll pass.
After cooking this dish, I have come to realise that I could put a pasta dish similar to this on a weekday dinner. Duh! I am officially declaring pasta as one of the weekday dinner menu!

Beef and Sausage Lasagne

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After getting hold of the copy of Gourmet from the library, I knew I want a copy of the book myself. But (there is always a "but"!) since space restriction is a big issue these days, I thought maybe it would be a wise idea to sample some of the recipes first before buying it. I did the same with JOC and never looked back since.
So I jotted down 4 recipes to try this week, and the first was this lasagne. The first thing I noticed when going through the recipe was that it calls for many ingredients, 14 actually, excluding salt and pepper (see below for the complete list). This was one of the sticking point raised by the reviewers of the book, and the other complaint being that this book tends to use ingredients that cost a bit more than the regular version.
A quick punching of the calculator shows this:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed - $5.34
1/2 pound ground beef chuck - $2.50
1/2 pound g…

Sausages

Our little princess loves sausages. Big love affair.

My grocery cart is never without a package of sausage and Cold Storage offers quite a selection: British Banger Sausage, Garlic & Herb Lamb Sausage, Irish Breakfast Sausage, Old English Sausage and Rosemary Lamb Sausage. But they don't come cheap, ranging from S$7.50 to $10.00 per 350g pack.

However, a closer look at the ingredient list and you will be able to see food additives and preservatives. Fancy that? No, thank you. So I started thinking (yes, I have been doing alot of that lately) that perhaps it is high time that I make my own.

Last night, I made my own sausage for Sasuage and Penne. Not too difficult since I bought minced pork to start with. The only difficult thing was to decide what seasoning to flavour the sausage with. I did mine with thyme, rosemary and garlic. The combination was good but our little princess's verdict was: "Taste different." Maybe optically it looks different from the usual links.

Rice Cooker Musing

Over at this part of the world, one could well expect that every household would have a rice cooker sitting somewhere in the house. Well, when we moved into our first house, we promptly bought ourselves one too, except that it sat in the store room for a good 3 years (!!!) before we finally took it out of its box. Those were the pre-baby days when cooking sessions was almost as prized as a vacations.

Now, my rice cooker is totally indispensable. Our little princess is a rice junkie. But after endless pots of fluffy rice, I am beginning to wonder if I can up the ante to cook a more complicated rice dish. I did Chicken Rice, Mushroom Rice and Meatball Rice, but had not venture much further that. I don't even want to dabble with baking a cake or cooking curry with it. I will stick to my oven and stovetop for those, thank you.

What do you cook in your rice cooker?

Pan-fried Salmon and Clams in White Wine Sauce

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This is the re-take version of the previous attempt.

Ahh ... *sigh* I love my cammy.

I have been meaning to cook clams for a while, but never had the guts to walk up to the wet fish counter at the supermarket, pick up the itcky looking mini shovel and scoop some clams with it. Well, I did it and lived to tell about it.

Cooking the clams was easy but the cleaning was not. All I knew was that they were suppose to soak in water until they spit out whatever sand they had accumulated within. That was what I did but just before I took the numerous lives, I hesistated and ran for my Joy of Cooking. A quick check and it asked for an additional step of scrubbing each clam individually. Oh gosh! I remembered I was very glad that I stayed my hand, for after the scrubbing, the whole bowl of soaking water was quite dirty looking! Imagine that in the sauce!!

Ahh ... *sigh* I love my Joy of Cooking.

The clams makes a wonder addition visually as well as in taste. To cook this just follow the recipe to Poi…

Pan-fried Salmon in White Wine Sauce

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Argh ... This photo looks even more pathetic here, but it was the only shot I managed from my handphone camera. Cammy's battery was totally juiced. Sigh ...
I had been excited to share this dish, but looking that the photo above, all the wind left me.
Suffice to say that: (a) I was inspired to try this dish after numerous dinners at Al Forno, which was the oven roasted version; (b) it was a simple to prepare but tasted elegant and delicious; and (c) it will be a good crowd impressing dish.
************************** Pan-fried Salmon in White Wine Sauce (adapted from Joy of Cooking - '97 ed.) ************************** Olive oil 450g salmon fillet, pat dry Salt and black pepper 2 tbsp plain flour 5 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup white wine 1/2 cup chicken stock Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat olive oil in pan until hot. 2. Combine salt, pepper and flour on a plate. 3. Dust the fillet with the flour mixture. 4. Add fillet to pan, skin side down. Turn over when brow…

Overdone?

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I know. I tend to have a tendency for overdoing.

I just made another dinner from Cooking Know-How. But you can hardly call twice overdoing, right?

Hey, it is not my fault that the photos in the book looked so delicious and so convenient that I can mix and match anything that I can dig out from the fridge.

Last night's dinner was Pork Chops with Zucchini and Asparagus.

Just like what the book said, it is really a weekday dinner. Fast, delicious and satisfying.

***************************** Pork Chops with Zucchini and Asparagas (adapted from Cooking Know-How) *****************************
2 tbsp olive oil 4 pieces of pork chops (about 150g each), tenderised Salt and pepper, to taste 1 med onion, chopped 1 zucchini, chopped 10-12 stalks asparagus, chopped 1 cup chicken stock Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper.
2. Heat oil in a pan and add the chops when oil is hot.
3. Brown the chops. When done, remove to a plate.
4. Add onion to the pan and cook until softened.
5.…

Playing Paper Doll in Cooking

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With all the herbs growing in the planter, I am hard pressed for what to do with them. Strange. This feels like the tail wagging the dog.

Finding a recipe which uses a combination of the herbs that I have proved to be an easy enough task. The answer: Beef Stew.

Not that I don't like my previous version of beef stew, but I am always happy to try new ways of cooking it.

Yesterday's beef stew came from Cooking Know-How. As I flip through the pages, I felt that this book was specially written for people like me who don't take well to instructions, especially cooking instructions. I always feel that cooking is more art than science, therefore it is okay to let some of my creative juice leach into my cooking. This book teaches a basic techinique and offers up many different combinations for you to pick and choose. Think of it as playing with paper dolls. The combination seems endless and the recipes made to be very accomodating.



But how does the stew tastes? It was delicious. Brown …

3 Weeks On ...

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In the 3 weeks since I bought those plants, I have been either busy with checking the soil, watering the plants or surfing the net the read up more about those babies sitting in the planter. And everyday, I seem to learn new facts about them and tips on how to care and maintain them. Well, like I always like to say: we learn as we go along.
After observing them for the past weeks, here are just some notes to remind myself.
MINT

* Heavy drinker and likes moist soil. * Grows fast, hence require agressive pruning. * It received direct morning sunlight for about 3 hours, and partial shade for the rest of day. This seems to be suit the plant fine, but I realised that the lower leaves tend to turn yellowish or dry out. But this could be due to my initial lack of watering. I am seeing new buds coming out from within. * It roots easily where the plant touches the soil.
BASIL

* Moderate to heavy drinker. Water when the soil dries out.
* Grows fast, hence require agressive pruning. * Seems to thrive wel…