Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bok Choy with Shiitake Mushrooms

Authentic Chinese cuisine is healthy, especially the vegetable dishes. We often combine different ingredients with veggies to create more favors. Bok choy and mushroom are one of my favorite ingredients. This dish is light and refreshing. It is vegetarian-friendly and very healthy.

Bok Choy with Shiitake Mushrooms
2-3 servings
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 5 mins

- 1/2 of baby bok choy, stems separated and washed. (If you can only find large bok choy, wash and chop them into 1-inch long pieces.)
- 4 dry Shiitake mushrooms (They can be found in Asian grocery store. You can also use other mushrooms instead. Dry Shiitake mushrooms have a strong flavor. So if you use fresh mushrooms, please use more to balance the flavor.)
- 1 tbsp potato starch or corn starch
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

- Hydrate the dry Shiitake mushrooms. Soak them in warm water in a bowl till they are soft. This can take a few minutes. Remove the stems. (Skip this step if you are using fresh mushrooms)
- In a skillet, heat up 2 tbsp of canola oil or olive oil. Add garlic, saute for 30 seconds.
- Add the cleaned bok choy. Saute for about 2 mins, season with salt and pepper. Plate bok choy and set them aside for now.
- Add the mushrooms in the skillet. Season with salt and pepper and even a little bit of light soy sauce. If the mushrooms are getting dry, add water while cooking them. 
- Place mushrooms in the center of the plate. 
- Dissolve potato starch in 1/4 cup of cold water. Cook the mixture in the same skillet till starting to form small bubbles. Pour the sauce over the plated bok choy and mushrooms.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Almond Lemon Shortbread Cookie

This recipe was made up one day. I was trying to do something different to the shortbread cookie that I usually bake. So I rolled in different ingredients and tried a different shape.  The new recipe turned out really delicious. The cookies are comparably thicker, hence more moist and soft inside. It has crushed almonds in the dough. If you are a fan of almond/lemon/shortbread cookie, it is worth a try!

Almond Lemon Shortbread Cookie
Serving: 25 cookies
Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 12 mins

- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup crushed sliced almond
- 1 tbsp grated lemon peel
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

- In a medium bowl, soften the butter. Use a electric mixer to mix together butter with sugar until smooth. 
- Mix in vanilla extract and flour. Gently knead the dough until it comes together.
Put sliced almonds in a closed zip-log bag, crush the almonds. Add the almonds to the dough. Knead the dough until the almonds are evenly distributed. 
- Roll the dough into 1 inch balls (I used a 1-tbsp measuring spoon to scoop out the dough, so the cookies have the same size).
- Place the dough balls on ungreased cookie sheets. Keep the distance between cookies about 2 inches.
- Put a sprinkle of crushed almonds on top of the dough for decoration.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Bake for 12-15 mins or until the edge of cookie is lightly brown.
- Cool off the cookies on a rack.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lemon Walnut Biscotti

This is the best biscotti recipe I tried so far.  By best, I mean I at least made 8 batches of biscottis with this recipe in the past 10 months.

I like making biscottis more than baking cookies. For some reason, the twice baking method reminds me more of cooking rather than baking.  The loaf of dough is baked first, cut in small pieces, then baked again. 

Yes, biscotti takes some time to make. But this recipe is absolutely worth it.  

Lemon Walnut Biscotti
(original recipe is from here)
Yields: about 40

Ingredients- 3 cups all purpose flour- 1 teaspoon salt- 1 teaspoon baking powder- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature- 1 1/3 cups sugar- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel- 2 large eggs
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
- 1 egg, beaten (for glaze)

- Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in medium bowl.

- Using electric mixer, beat butter, 1 1/3 cups sugar, and lemon peel in large bowl until blended. Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating just to blend after each addition. Beat in lemon juice, then flour mixture. Stir in walnuts and mix well.

- Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Place each piece on sheet of plastic wrap. Using plastic wrap as aid, form dough into 8-inch-long logs. Press logs slightly, flattening to 2 1/2-inch-wide logs. Enclose in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.

- Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 325°F. Line heavy large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Unwrap logs, leaving on plastic. Brush top of logs with egg glaze. Lift logs from plastic and transfer to prepared baking sheet, spacing evenly. Bake until golden brown and just firm to touch, about 40 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

- Line 2 heavy rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Using long serrated knife, carefully cut logs crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Arrange biscotti, cut side down, on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies until golden brown around edges, about 20 minutes. Cool completely (biscotti will crisp as they cool). 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Apricot Coffee Cake - Is It Summer Yet?

About a week ago, I saw fresh apricots first time this year at a local grocery store. It was like the first sign of summer. Then I was intrigued to make an apricot dessert.
Between fruit tart, cookies and other dessert ideas, coffee cake was chosen.

The original recipe came from here.

Apricot Coffee Cake
Prep time: 40 mins
Cooking time: 1 hr
Serves: 6-10

- 1 lb ripe apricots ( Make sure they smell good before you buy them), washed and quartered
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 10 tbsp butter, softened
- 1 dash of salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp sour cream
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 egg

- Preheat the oven to 360F and grease a 9"  springform cake pan.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and butter.
- Add in the sugar, mix well.
- Add in 1 egg and the milk. Mix until just combined.
- Move the batter into the pan. Spread the batter evenly in the pan. 
- Arrange the apricot slices on top in a circular pattern.

- In a small bowl, mix the topping ingredients: sour cream, sugar and egg. Beat the mix with a fork and pour evenly over the cake batter.

- Bake for 40 mins or until the edge is golden and apricots are tender.
- Turn off the oven and leave the cake in the over for 10-15 mins.

** The bottom of the cake is crusty and the center is moist. The tartness and freshness of apricots work perfectly with the dense and buttery cake. Definitely worth a try!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Rainbow Cookies

It's been a while since I updated the blog. I had a 2-week vacation in Asia in April, then was busy moving into the city. Now I am all settled down, it's time to write about food!

Spring time is the perfect season to make some rainbow cookies: colorful and delicious. It was my first time making rainbow cookies, and to be honest, I was a little intimidated when I was mixing the dough. The result was better than expected. Yes it requires some work, but it yields a lot of deliciousness.

This original recipe is from here.

Rainbow Cookies
Prep time: approx. 2 hrs (allow overnight for refrigeration)
Yields around 50 cookies

- 10 oz almond paste
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup white sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- red food coloring (4-6 drops)
- green food coloring (4-6 drops)
- 1/4 cup seedless red raspberry jam
- 1/4 cup apricot jam
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

- Separate egg whites and yolks.
- In a large bowl, break apart almond paste with a fork. Add in butter, sugar and egg yolks. Mix until fluffy and smooth. Stir in the flour. 
- In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Then fold egg whites in the dough mixture. 

- Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Mix one portion with red food coloring and one other with green food coloring. Gradually mix in the food coloring. (The amount of food coloring depends on the food coloring you are using.)
- Line three 9x13 inch baking pans with parchment paper.
- Spread each portion of dough on the baking pan.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Bake 10-12 mins until the edge is lightly browned.  Cool completely on wire racks. Be careful when moving the baked dough from the parchment paper to the cooling rack.
- Cut out a piece of plastic wrap large enough to wrap all three layers. Place the plastic wrap on top of a baking pan. Place green layer on  the plastic wrap. Spread raspberry jam on the green layer and place the uncolored layer on top. Spread with apricot jam and top with pink layer. 
- Wrap all three layers with plastic wrap. Place a heavy pan on top of the wrapped layers. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

- In a small pot, melt chocolate chips. Spread the melted chocolate on top of the layered cookie. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chocolate is firm.
- Cut the layered cookie sheet in small squares.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cauliflower with Water Chestnut and Black Olive

This cauliflower dish is very simple and mild in taste.  It is inspired by Momofuku Ko's skate dish. They used this cauliflower/olive/water chestnut combination as the side dish. I was blown away - the crispy texture of water chestnut works perfectly with the soft and earthy taste of the cauliflower.

Cauliflower with Water Chestnut and Black Olive
Prep time 5 mins
Cooking time 10 mins

- 1/2 cauliflower
- 1 small can of sliced black olives (3 oz)
- 1 can of sliced water chestnut (8 oz)
- 1 glove garlic, minced

- Cut the cauliflower into big chunks. Boil water in a medium pot, add 1 tsp of salt. Boil cauliflower for 2 mins then wash with cold water.
- Cut the cooked cauliflower into bite-size chunks.
- In a large skillet, drizzle some olive oil. Saute the garlic for 30 seconds.
- Cook cauliflower on high heat for 1 min. Add in olives and water chestnuts.
- Add 1/2 cup of broth or water. Cook on high heat until the liquid vaporizes.
- Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japanese Rice with Chicken and Vegetables - Takikomi Gohan

This rice dish is very easy. It is healthy and flavorful. I highly recommend it!

Serving size: 2
Cooking time: 45 mins
Prep time: 60 mins

- 1/2 cup Japanese short grain rice
- 2 skinless boneless chicken thigh (about 1/2 lb)
- 1 - 2 carrots
- 2 fresh Shiitake mushrooms (or hydrate dry Shiitake mushrooms)
- 3 oz oyster mushrooms
- 3 oz Buna-Shimeji mushrooms
- 1 tsp finely minced ginger
- 1 scallion, chopped

- 1/2 Dashi or chicken stock
- 1 tbsp Sake
- 1 tbsp Mirin
- 1 tbsp Usukuchi Shoyu (Light color soy sauce, can be replaced by regular all purpose soy sauce) 

- Rinse the rice for about 5 times until the water is clear.
- Let the rice soak in cold water for at least 1 hour.
- Cut the chicken thighs into 1/2-inch cubes.
- Cut the carrots in matchstick, about 1/2 cup.
- Thinly slice Shiitake mushrooms.
- Use your hands to break apart oyster mushrooms.
- Remove the stem of Buna-Shimeji mushrooms.
- In a bowl, mix sake + mirin + soy sauce + stock + a pinch of salt.
- Drain the rice, place the chicken on top of the rice. Then evenly spread mushrooms, carrots, ginger, scallion on top of the chicken. Do not mix.
- Pour the stock over the veggies.

a) Using a rice cooker
- Depends on the rice cooker, it took 40 mins to cook on my cooker.

b) Using a regular pot on the stove
- Bring the mixture to boil, cook for 3 mins on medium heat. Simmer for 20 mins or until cooked.

- Let the rice rest for 5 mins. Mix before serving.

The rice turns white from transparent after soaked in water.