Friday, May 24, 2013

Brussel Sprouts in Cream and Stir-Fried Kale

I heard about the coring the brussel sprouts if one is afraid to eat them because of the 'bitter' after taste.  So I tried it, and sure enough, I love them.  Because of the 'bitter' taste that I didn't care for, I have not eaten brussel sprouts for years.  Now, it's back in my menu.  Ingredients: Brussel Sprouts are cored, rinsed.  Placed in a bowl with a dab of butter, and some heavy cream.  Microwave them with a microwaveable splatter cover.  Add kosher salt and ground pepper to taste.  

Many preparation methods for Kale require cooking/braising the green to death.  Without knowing about it, I have been stir-frying them Chinese styles. They taste really great.  Ingredients:  butter + olive oil for stir-frying. 2 crushed garlic cloves.   One bunch Kale, washed and cut into 3 to 4 inch sizes.  Add kosher salt and ground pepper to taste.  Serve with nice bowl of rice.
Add butter+Olive oil into wok.  Add garlic cloves - 15 seconds, then, add Kale.
 The color of the Kale with change from bright green to wilted dark green. 

Texas Pecan Bars

This pecan bars recipe was tested in our American Regional Cooking class, and they are so amazingly delicious.  I thought there is another layer of batter mixture of some sort on the top, but to my surprise, it's the same ingredients as the rest that turned out crisp.

Polly's Crepes and Crepe Tool Making Adventures

 Test #1 using the flat electric griddle.
So, what can I say - I am interested in technologies and kitchen 'make your cooking life enjoyable' tools, and curious to find out if I make one myself.   After studying several photos online, I decided to make one myself out of cedar. 
The crepe recipe is from Jacques Pepin's.

  **The first few crepes are like mangled doughs until I got the hand of the crepe stick.  I also cheated and used the backside of this small ladle by running it over the batter in a circular motion, and it worked out just fine, too.  So,.... what's the big idea about the Crepe Stick?  I need to do some research and find out who even invented it.
 The Jacque Pepin's Crepe recipe is simple and turns out great.
Well, it was challenging the first few times to get the hang of spinning the crepe tool in a smooth circular motion.  I think I need to sand and smooth out with ultrafine sandpaper.  But the crepe recipe turned out a great tasting crepe.
Test #2 using the round Tortilla pan.

 I need more practice.  I watched some YouTube Crepe making video, and I am very impressed with their crepe cones. 

Will try to make the Crepe Cones, the next time.


For my potluck dish in a hurry, I made this plateful of MITARASHI DANGO to go.  Hmmm... It tasted great, but I like them on the sticks better.   Everyone liked it.

Gorgeous Fresh Water Chestnuts

This is fresh water chestnuts.  They look like a hard shelled flower tuber of some sort.  The first time I encountered it was back in South Viet-Nam.  The street Fruit vendor was selling an interesting strands of white round objects on a bamboo sticks.  Since I missed Japanese MITARASHI YAKI DANGO so much, I thought that was it!   Surprise! it was a crispy, sweet, fresh water chestnuts.  Yes, the good fresh water chestnuts, when peeled should be white, firm, and when bitten into, it is crispy and with some sandy texture like body.   Eat them fresh or chop them up and mix with ground pork to make sweet and sour meat balls or Lion Head meat balls, for example.  They will add a different dimension to the meat balls.  When you are peeling them with a pairing knife - in a round circular motion as though peeling apple, if there are any sign of 'yellow', cut that section off and discard.  After peeling them, chill them.  Eat them! 
So, Enjoy some chilled fresh water chestnuts during the summer. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Fresh Strawberries with Chantilly served with Buttermilk Biscuits

It's Strawberry season, and I find the fluffy buttermilk biscuits perfect for serving with it.
Buttermilk biscuit recipes:

Polly's Pandan Coconut Chiffon Cake

After several testings, the following flour measurement turned out the best chiffon cake with least collapsed structure during the cooling time.

7 large egg yolks           *eggs are Kirkland brand (COSTCO's) brown organic Large eggs

60 g Ultrafine sugar or regular granulated sugar

60 ml pandan juice, from 12 pandan leaves - Processed in juice processor and blender

125 ml thick coconut milk, from 1 grated coconut - Processed thru juice processor (View previous blog or video)

125 ml vegetable oil

***160 g Home made pastry flour
                 ****Shift first, then weigh it.  *See note at the bottom of this page.

7 large egg whites

1/4 tsp salt

110 g Ultrafine sugar or regular granulated sugar

In a bowl, whisk egg yolks, 60 g sugar, pandan juice, coconut milk, vegetable oil in a bowl just to incorporate them.   Add flour and mix well, but do not develop gluten.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 160'C or 325'F for 1 Chiffon.   (350'F for 2 Chiffons in the same gas oven.)

In a separate clean bowl, whip egg whites.
As it starts to foam, add salt.
Add 110 g sugar in slow stream and whip till stiff peak is formed - Medium speed - about 8 minutes.
Fold the egg whites into the egg mixtures in thirds.
Mix well with whisk then, spatula.
** Mix gently but thoroughly - the mixture should be shiny without any egg whites bits left.

Fill the Angel Food cake mold, tap down the cake pan firmly on a solid surface to release any trapped air bubbles.

Bake for about 50-55 minutes (depending on your oven's BTU) *Check at 45 min for color on the top and slight separation of the cake from the side of the pan and color.

*Be ware that Teflon coated Angel Food Cake pan would brown lot faster than the aluminum cake pan and takes less time to complete the baking.

"Wow! this one really puffed up!"
Remove from oven and gently tap the pan again once.    Immediately turn the pan upside-down - use cups or drinking glasses to elevate the pan, if necessary, or invert the cake pan over a baking sheet on cake pan's own footings and let cool completely.
( There will be some shrinkage.)

 When completely cooled, set it right side up and use a plastic knife to loosen the cake all around.
 Remove cake from the pan, slice and serve.   
This cake formula can be used to make various shaped cake and frosted.

185 g AP Flour + 90 g Cake Flour   Then measure 160 g and add to the mixture