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Showing posts from September, 2009

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?