Archives for Miscellaneous (Cooking) category

Cod with Spicy crab crust

I love Fish. Every time I visit restaurant, I tend to order fish dish more than steak.

Interesting thing is that, I used to hate fish as a kid but my mother has  tried cooking up variety of fish, and also she has tried cooking it up with different kinds of sauce, different cooking method and, here I am enjoying the fish a lot more than steak:-)

I think my mother did great job helping me to overcome my dislikes and, I am appreciated for that.

When it comes to fish, fish needs TLC for cooking and not many restaurants serve the perfect moist fish dish. My favorite place to enjoy the fish is at Bonefish Grill. They always cook the fish right and spot on and I always enjoy perfectly cooked fish there.

In the past, I have cooked Cod with spicy crab crust and it came out great and I would like to share the recipe with you here.

Fish generally do not need long time to cook and the recipe tends to be simple with much less ingredients. Therefore, for busy moms to cook up the dinner for the family.

Cod wirth spicy crab crust

Cod with spicy crab crust….

Ingredients for the crab crust;

* 3 oz snow crab meat from snow crab legs
* 3 tbs Italian bread crumbs
* 4.5 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
* 2 tbs shredded low moisture mozzarella cheese
* 3 tbs chopped red pepper
* 2.5 tbs chopped  green pepper
* 1.5 tbs chopped yellow pepper
* 1/4 tsp chopped hot Italian cherry pepper
* 1/2 tsp lemon zest from fresh lemon
* 4 tbs butter melted
* dash of old bay seasoning
* dash of Morton’s Natures Seasons
* 1 clove garlic grated

1. Mix all ingredients in bowl and set it aside.

Ingredients for cod with spicy crab crust;

5 oz cod fillet per person

1. Set the 5 oz cod on non stick foil lined baking sheet, and smear the crab topping on top of the cod fillet

2. Broil HI for about 8 -10 minutes

3. Enjoy!

Makes: topping is enough for 2-3 fillet


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May 26, 2015 | 0 | Miscellaneous (Cooking)

Jamaican cooking: Jamaican bean and rice (Jamaica coat of arms)

When you start making weekly menu plan with something you already have in your pantry, you will see the dramatic decrease in your grocery bill.

I like to cook,and I like to cook variety of cuisine using wide variety of fresh produce,herb, and cheese etc.. and I used to plan weekly menu based on what I like to cook as opposed to what I can cook with what I already have in our pantry.

Now, my way of planning method has changed, we will see about 34% less grocery bill every week in average. It is a lot of savings that we can spend more on quality meat for special day such as wedding anniversary or birthdays.

Even though I plan the menu with something we already have, I still try planning meal with variety of protein source and, I do not plan chicken dish all the way in a week, for example.

With that in mind, I thought, in this entry, I would share the quick and easy recipe with something your pantry would most likely have most of the ingredients.

One night in a week,I have planned to make black bean and rice. Then, I was talking about the dish on Facebook;I have asked people on there for the authentic black bean and rice and variety of bean and rice dish you could make.

Interesting stuff that I noticed is that, there are so many variation of bean and rice recipes in the world;for example, in Japan, you will use glutinous rice (mo-chi-go-me) that is used to make mochi (rice cake with) is used,and cooked with sweet azuki beans.It is then served on the days to cerebrate something special;such as wedding.Japanese bean and rice;o-ko-wa is very simple and it got no meat in it. If you make Chinese o-ko-wa dish,then you would often find chicken and other vegetables in them.

Anyway, during the bean and rice dish conversation, Renee from Missouri has mentioned about Jamaican bean and rice recipe (technically, it is rice and peas dish called ” Jamaica coat of arms”) and it looked interesting so, I used her recipe as core and arranged some so we can have it one dish as entree as opposed to side rice dish. I just simply call it “Jamaican bean and rice”.

When I made it and tasted it,it came out great. Therefore, I thought I would share the recipe with you here.

I think many of you probably have most of the ingredients needed for this dish in your pantry. This is my version of Jamaican bean and rice recipe.Renee’s original recipe can be found below my recipe so you can try her version as well.

Jamaican bean and rice
Jamaican bean and rice..

Ingredients for Jamaican bean and rice;

Extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic chopped
1/16 sweet onion chopped
1/8 red pepper chopped
1/8 green pepper
1/2 can of 15.5 oz red kidney beans
1C Jasmine rice*
(recommends Dynasty brand Jasmine rice. You can find it at International aisle)

1 2/3C unsweetened coconut milk (1 can 13.66 fl oz)
pinch of dried thyme leaves
dash of red cayenne pepper
pinch of kosher salt
2 stalks green onion
3 bacon strips cut to bits and pieces

  <Jamaican bean and rice>

1. In the sauce pan, drizzle Extra virgin olive oil and add 2 cloves of garlic chopped, and stir

2. When it got fragrant, add 1/16 sweet onion chopped,1/8 red pepper chopped, 1/8 green pepper chopped and stir

3. Add 1 Can Unsweetened Coconut milk,  1/2 can of 14 oz can red kidney beans, 1C uncooked Jasmine rice and stir

4.  Add pinch of dried thyme leaves, dash of red cayenne pepper,pinch of kosher salt and stir

5. Bring it to boil and once boiled,stir and cover with lid on, and lower the heat to medium low. Cook it for 10 minutes

6. After 10 minutes of cooking, lower the heat to simmer,and cook for 10 more minutes

7. Once rice is done, fluff the rice with wooden spoon and taste the rice and adjust the seasoning if necessary

8. Chop 2 stalk of green onion and mix it in

9. When serve the meal, cook the bacon to crisp, and let it rest on the paper oil to drain off the excess oil from bacon.Then, cut the bacon into small bits to garnish the dish

10. Enjoy!

Makes; 3 servings

<Renee’s Rice and peas;Jamaica coat of arms>

3 cups rice
1 cup red kidney beans
a few springs thyme
1 medium size coconut
salt per taste
1 clove garlic
2 stalks scallion or leeks
1/4tsp black pepper
1 quart hot water

1. Grate coconut. using the quart of hot water, express the milk by adding two cups of water at a time and squeezing the milk through a sieve after each addition, until the water is finished.

2. Place red kidney beans in a saucepan with the coconut milk and add the clove of garlic, slightly bruised. Cook until peas [beans] are tender, but not overcooked.

3. Add scallions or leeks, thyme, salt, black pepper and rice, adding more water if necessary in order to boil rice properly.

4. Cook over medium heat, covered, stirring once or twice until rice is well cooked.

Note from Renee: A very small bit of salt pork is sometimes added after the peas [beans] have been boiled. Do NOT add salt to beans before they are cooked. ~~~ I served rice and peas with grilled kebabs of shrimp and beef.

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Jan 17, 2015 | Comments are off | Miscellaneous (Cooking)

Clover Dinner Rolls

If you have been reading food/cooking entries from the past, you would notice that I love to cook/bake and, I like to make pizza/bread now and then.

Since I was a pregnant,then became mother to a newborn son, I have been busy and rarely have time to make things like bread but, I do love bread baking.

For me, bread baking is like comforting in many ways from kneading the dough, aroma while bread is being proofed or being baked,sound of crust when you slice into the bread.. There is something about bread baking that makes the whole experience special.

When I started baking bread,I got myself a book for bread baking,and I tried one type of recipe for French bread (Baguette) over and over until I get satisfied result from making one. I made so many French bread to learn the basic technique,and get to know more about bread baking in general.

I find that making artisan bread has depth in learning and more technique,and I have got a lot more to learn about it.

In the past, I have made a Clover dinner roll.This one is without pre-fermented dough or sponge. It came out good; buttery,soft roll and it was good. So, I thought I would share how to make it with you.

Homemade Clover dinner roll 2

Clover dinner roll…

Ingredients for Clover Dinner roll

1C    milk
4tbs butter
1/8C white sugar
1 /2   whole egg lightly beaten
2 tsp active dry yeast
4/3tsp salt
1 3/8C unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/8C unbleached bread flour

0. Preheat the oven at 200F and when it reached to 200F,turn the oven off

1. In the sauce pan, pour 1C milk and let it come to luke warm (110F-115F)

2. Remove the sauce pan from the heat and mix in the 4 tbs butter, 1/8C sugar and stir until melted

3. Pour the milk mixture into a large bowl

4. Add lightly beaten 1/2 whole egg and 2 tsp dry yeast ,1 3/8C unbleached all purpose flour,3/4tsp salt, and mix

** If you use jar of dry yeast, make sure the yeast is at room temperature. Cold yeast would not make your dough rise properly.

** Milk temperature to rise the dough (proof the dough) should be at 110F-115F. Lower temperature milk would not proof the dough properly, and higher temperature Milk would kill the yeast and would not proof the dough
properly.

5. Add 1 3/8C unbleached bread flour and mix well

6
. When dough came together,sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter to begin kneading the dough until the dough is smooth,elastic dough about 6-8 minutes

** Using silpat mat is easy to work with

7.You can test your dough to see if you knead it more. Do the Windowpane test.

What is windowpane test??

Windowpane test is the test the gluten development in the dough.

What you do is to cut off small piece of dough,and gently stretch out/pulling to see if it will hold a paper-thin membrane.If it tore apart,you would knead a bit more and do the test again.

8. When dough becomes supple,smooth,elastic dough, drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil onto empty bowl and smear it around side and inside bottom to make easy for you to take the dough out later

9. Place the dough into the bowl,drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the dough and smear the olive oil all around the dough

10. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place the dough in the oven,set the timer for 90 minutes

11. 90 minutes later, dough will be larger size in volume

12. Once the dough gets nearly double in volume, take the dough out from the bowl onto the silpat mat/slightly floured surface

13. Divide the dough into 18 small round pieces of the dough and form the dough into small ball

** How to make round dinner roll shape**

1. Swift off any flour left on the counter and swipe the counter with wet cloth for the better frisction

2. For your hand into a cup,holding the small piece of dough,and flip your hand over so the roll is under your hand

3. Firmly press the dough onto the counter while you are rotating your hand in the circular motion over the counter

4. The roll will be shaped like a tight roll

**********************************************************

14. Place them clover shape;3 round rolls piece together onto pan sheet where you sprinkle yellow cornmeal over non stick foil

clover roll dough 1

Clover roll dough on the pan sheet..

15. Cover the pan with plastic wrap loosely over the roll,and put it back into oven for another 30-45 minutes until dough gets nearly double in volume

14. Prepare for baking

15. Preheat the oven at 375F

16. Brush the dough top with milk, and bake them for about 15-20 minutes until golden

** Color should be golden

** Bread temperature should be at 205F in the center

(Put the meat thermometer on back of the bread and read the temperature)

** This recipe can yield about 6 clover rolls or 18 small round rolls

** You can also shape the dough into burger bun or hot dog buns

Enjoy!


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Oct 29, 2014 | 0 | Miscellaneous (Cooking)

Greek cooking:Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

I love Greek Food from Gyros, souviaki, Spanakopita (Greek Spinach pie) to green beans simmered in the tomato sauce etc… They are very delicious.

Back home in Japan, I had never had Greek food. It is something I have tried here in the states and came to like them.

Very first Greek dish I have tried making was Spanakopita.

Spanakopita is the pie made with spinach and feta cheese filling and, they are wrapped by phyllo dough and , shaped into triangle shape or crescent shape and baked in the oven.

Handling the phyllo dough was a little intimidating, but once you learn how to handle such a delicate phyllo dough, I could handle the delicate phyllo dough better.

Unfortunately, since I am an expecting mom, I cannot make them now, but I really like these.

Once I tried making them myself and done good, I have made it again for my in law family gathering and they loved them too.

Therefore, I thought I will share the recipe with you here. My version has 2 kinds of cheese; fresh feta cheese and shredded mozzarella cheese. Traditionally, only feta cheese is used.

Before going in to the detail of how to make the dish, it is best to learn the important handling tips on delicate phyllo dough.

Phyllo dough handling tips..

** A day before you plan to make this dish, take the phyllo dough box out from the freezer and thaw it in the fridge.

** I also find that if you take the thawed phyllo dough box on the counter when you are making the filling to come to room temperature, it bakes well.

** Also, when you are not ready to wrap the filling, and still making the filling, then, it is wise to keep the box closed so the phyllo dough would not dried out while you are making the filling.

** Personally, I like to make my working section and, I like to unroll the phyllo dough on far left, and I like to place silpat mat to work on the shaping the filled phyllo dough and I like to place big clean dry plate on my far right so I can put wrapped pie on them. I like to cover the shaped pie under the wet cloth as well while working on filling,wrapping,shaping to make the pie so it would not dried out.

** Unlike other type of dough such as pastry dough, these phyllo dough is paper thin dough and, when it gets dried out, it gets broken very easily and, you would want to cover the unused phyllo dough under the wet clean cloth to keep them moist,preventing them from drying out.

** Another thing is that, the dough gets dried out very quickly, you would want to cover the unused dough under the wet cloth every time you take one phyllo dough from the pile.

** Once all the pies are made and if you had leftover phyllo dough, roll it up right away and, I usually like to wrap the roll with plastic wrap to make sure it is air tight in the box.

Spanakopita

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach pie)..

Ingredients for Spanakopita;

1/8C chopped green onion
4 oz feta cheese crumbled (I like seasoned one too)
4 oz Chopped steamed fresh spinach
1 whole egg lightly beaten
1 tbs chopped fresh dill
2 oz low moisture shredded mozzarella cheese
pinch of ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Melted butter
8 sheets Phyllo dough (1 sheet per pie)

<Spanakopita>

1. In the medium size bowl, add 1/8C chopped green onion, 4 oz feta cheese crumbled (I like seasoned one too), Chopped steamed fresh spinach 4 oz, 1 whole egg lightly beaten, 1 tbs chopped fresh dill, 2 oz low moisture shredded mozzarella cheese, pinch of ground black pepper and stir

** Make sure to squeeze out the water from the steamed spinach very well

2. Wrap the filling with phyllo dough and shape it into triangle as the picture shows.

** How to shape the pie into triangle shape

1. Unroll the phyllo dough

2. Cover the dough with wet cloth

3. Place silpat to work on the wrapping the filing, and shaping

4. Place the clean large dry plate on your right so you can put the filled pie there. Make sure to cover the wrapped pie under the wet cloth so it would not dry out

5. Take 1 sheet of phyllo dough from the pile and brush the dough gently with Extra virgin olive oil and then, fold them into half to make rectangle shape,and rotate it so the most closest part of the phyllo dough is short side.

spanakopita wrap step 1

6. Brush the dough with extra virgin olive oil and,place the filling on the very bottom of the rectangle sheet and wrap it up as followings.

a.

spanakopita wrap step 2

b.

spanakopita wrap step 3

Fold the left corner over the filling..

c.

spanakopita wrap step 4

fold it up..

d.

spanakopita wrap step 5

Fold it to side..

e.

spanakopita wrap step 6

Fold it up..

f.

spanakopita wrap step7

Fold it to side..

7. Place all the filled pie on the non stick foil lined baking sheet

8. Brush the melted butter on the each pie

9. Bake the pie at 375F for 20-25 minutes or until top gets golden

Makes: 8 pies with the amount of filling. Use 1 phyllo dough sheet per pie.

Enjoy!


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Jul 08, 2014 | 0 | Miscellaneous (Cooking)

Zesty Lobster roll

I love seafood. I do not eat lobster frequently, but I like them a lot.When the summer comes around the corner,I get excited for the restaurant’s menu such as lobster rolls.

 It is something that I had never eaten before back home in Japan.It is something that came to love here in the states and I love them very much.

 Last month, my father came visit us in the states and, since Japan does not have “lobster”,I thought I would make Lobster roll for him to enjoy. He told me he would love to eat something he would not be able to eat back home. Therefore, lobster dish was the perfect choice for me to serve and let him try with.

 He loved the roll and commented that the crunch in the filling from onion and celery are real good and lobster tastes so good and, he was eating with big smile and, I was very happy with it.

 Therefore, I thought I will share the recipe with you here.

 If you love lobster, you would also like the recipes I have shared with you in the past.

 Here is “creamy lobster risotto” recipe.

Here is “Lobster bisque” recipe.

 Here is “Lobster risotto” recipe.

Lobster roll blog

Zesty Lobster roll..

Ingredients for zesty lobster roll;

1 steamed lobster (20 oz wt) or 6 oz cooked lobster meat
2 oz chopped red onion
1 oz chopped Celery
2 tsp chopped chive
1/4C mayonnaise
1 tsp horse radish mustard
2 tsp prepared horseradish
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbs butter
1 boston lettuce leaf per roll
New England roll
1 Lemon wedge per roll

<Zesty Lobster roll>

0. Purchase steamed lobster,and remove all the meat from the shell.

** 20 oz wt lobster yield 6 oz lobster meat

1. In the large bowl, mix 6 oz cooked lobster meat, 2 oz chopped red onion, 1 oz chopped Celery, 2 tsp chopped chive, 1/4C mayonnaise, 1 tsp horse radish mustard, 2 tsp prepared horseradish,1/4 tsp kosher salt, 1/8 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp lemon juice and mix well

2.  Melt 1 tbs butter in the measuring cup in the microwave (15-20 seconds)

3. Brush the butter on the outside of the New England roll

4. In the skillet on medium heat, place the buttered New England roll to brown the both sides

5. When browned a bit, open the roll in the middle, lay one Boston lettuce leaf, put the lobster salad (filling), and serve with lemon wedge

Makes:3-4 serving

Enjoy!


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Jun 24, 2014 | 0 | Miscellaneous (Cooking)

Italian cooking: Creamy lobster risotto

 I love seafood. I do not eat lobster frequently, but I like them a lot.

 One of my favorite lobster dishes is lobster bisque;creamy tomato base
soup often times cooked with sherry or brandy. Very flavorful soup.

 The other day, I saw cold water lobster tail at the grocery store, and I
thought I would like to make another version of lobster risotto with it.

 My husband loves risotto and, I make them quite bit of variety.

 My father living in Japan does not get to taste risotto as often as we do, but he does like them. So, I am thinking that I would make this version 2 lobster risotto when he comes over in coming May.

 If you have not made risotto,try make one. It is one pot dish and, they
are 30 minutes meal and great for those who has pressed time and would
like to spend less time cooking.

 Plus,you can put whatever in the fridge/freezer using the same base,
and you can be creative and make your own risotto and have fun with it.

 This lobster risotto is quite tasty and, I think you would love them too.

 Therefore,I will share the recipe with you here.

 If you had leftover risotto, add mozzarella cheese to the leftover risotto,make a meat ball size ball,and dip it in flour, then dip it in lightly beaten egg, then, coat the ball with panko bread crumbs then fry them.

 You can have it with good marinara sauce and it is tasty

 You can of course use shrimp instead. Put the grilled shrimp on top of the risotto would look pretty.

Creamy lobster risotto..

Ingredients for Creamy lobster risotto;

2 lobster tail
2
cloves of garlic chopped
1/8 C brandy for the seared tail, 1/4C brandy for the risotto making
1 shallot chopped
1/4 red pepper chopped
1/8 green pepper chopped
1.5C Arborio rice
4 1/2C chicken broth
1/2 tsp dry thyme
3 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tbs butter
1 tbs frozen green peas
1/4C heavy cream
Extra virgin olive oil
Morton’s Natures Seasons

<Creamy lobster risotto>

0.Prepare lobster tail

** Cut the lobster tail into half length wise, and remove vein if you see them,and rinse under the running water

1. Season the lobster tail with Morton’s Natures Seasons

1.  To the skillet, add 1 tbs butter and let it melt and bubbles a bit

2. When you started see the bubble, add 2 cloves of garlic chopped,and wait till it gets fragrant

3. When fragrant, place lobster tails halves,meat side down and let it sear,and flip
when its meat was nicely seared (about a few minutes later)

4. Stir and cook until shell turns bright red color, and started to curl, meat is firm enough to touch and opaque color

**
Just like shrimp gets curled up when cooked through, lobster tail gets a
little curled ,and shell color turns to very bright red when cooked.
All you need to do then, is to check the color of the meat being
opaque,not translucent and firm to touch.

5. Just before the lobster tail is done, add 1/8C brandy and let it evaporate and take the tail out and set it aside on small container to cool enough to handle.

 When cool enough to handle, take the meat out,chop it into 1/2″ chunks

6. To the skillet lobster tail was cooked on, add 1C chicken broth and stir,and let it simmer on side

7. In the large surface pan, drizzle Extra virgin olive oil, and add 1 shallot chopped fine, and stir

8. Add 1/4 red pepper chopped, 1/8
green pepper chopped, and season it with Morton’s Natures seasons and add lobster tail shell (meat removed) back in, and stir

9. Add 1.5C Arborio rice and stir

10. Add 1/4 C brandy and stir

11. Add mixture of 1/8C brandy plus 1C chicken broth that was simmering in the skillet that lobster tail was cooked on, to the Arborio rice mixture in the large surface pan and stir

12. Add 1/2 tsp dried thyme and stir

13. Add 1C chicken broth and stir

14. Keep stiring until broth is well absorbed

15. Add another 1C chicken broth and stir

16. Keep stirring

17.  When the rice is almost done, add 1 tbs frozen green peas, 1/4C heavy cream and stir, and take the pan off from the heat

** Taste the arborio rice to see it is cooked to al dente (has still slight bite to the rice,not too mushy),

18. When the rice is done,add 3 tbs grated parmesan cheese,1/2 tbs butter and stir

19. Taste and adjust the seasoning,and take the lobster tail shell out

20. Plate them up and top it with chopped lobster meat

Makes:3-4 serving

** When
you make risotto, one thing to keep in mind is that you must keep
stiring and add liquid 1C or so at a time and wait till liquid is
absorbed and then another 1 cup of liquid is added.

 Usually rice becomes al dente in about 18-20 minutes.

 Since we
are using the tail shell in its cooking, the chicken broth is infused
with intense lobster flavor and, I really like the way it came out.

 If you make Shrimp risotto, here is one secret you can use for your shrimp preparation.

<How to make tender shrimp>

1. In the small container, mix 1/4 tsp Kosher salt, 1 tbs corn starch, 1 tsp sake, 1/4tsp Baking soda,3 tbs water well.

2. Add peeled,deveined shrimp and stir and put the lid on and keep in the fridge for 4-6 hours

3. Rinse the shrimp well under cold running water and pat them dry with
paper towel and follow the recipe. To cook the marinaded shrimp, it is
best to cook on the  hot skillet and be careful not to overcook them.

** I usually make this marinade for 10 count of medium size shrimp.

** You can use this marinade for scallop as well to make them tender.

Enjoy!


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Mar 30, 2014 | 0 | Miscellaneous (Cooking)

Mexican cooking: Grilled Mexican Flank steak with Mexican red rice

 If you ask my
husband what kinds of steaks he likes best, answer will be grilled
steak. It is either thick cut of juicy medium rare fillet, or thinly
sliced flavorful flank steak.

 Flank steak is budget friendly cut of meat, and 2 lb of Flank steak can feed plenty of people and, you can marinade them in many types of marinade to enjoy.

Tips for cooking a great steak..

 1. Make sure to pick the even cut steak. Do not pick up the stake one side is thicker than the other.
 

 Even thickness ensure the same cooking time and,you would less likely
to overcook one of the steaks, or uneven cooking with the same steak
(one side of the steak is over cooked).

 2. If you cook up rib eyes etc.. ,pick up the steak with nice pink-red color.

 You may sometime find packaged meat with greyish color in the steak at
the grocery store. As time passes by, since meat is exposed to air for
so long, it changes its color to grey from pink-red,and sometimes, you
will find accumulated blood in the package.

 If you see discolored steak with accumulated blood in the package,it means,it is the old package.

 
3. Marbling should be thin streaks line of fat,and it should be
distributed evenly. You would find thick line of fat in the steak
sometimes and they are connective tissue and the steak will be tough and
chewy.

 
4. Make sure to cook the steak that are at room temperature,not the steak straight out from the fridge

 5. Cook the steak with the skillet that are screaming hot so steak can have a good sear on the side

 6. After cooking the steak, make sure to let it rest for good 10-15 minutes

 If you slice the steak right away, the juice will be running all over the cutting board and you will be left with dry steak

 If you are in hurry, you can also slice Flank steak as thinly as possible and, if you were to use for stir fry, you can soak them in 1 tsp of baking soder with bit of water/soy sauce to tenderize the meat first.

 Then, you can rinse off the baking soda under running cold water ,pat them dry and season them as you want and cook them through.It will give you very tender piece of meat in the skillet dish.

 If you have good marinade, and if you were in hurry, you can slice the Flank steak as thinly as possible and marinade the sliced steak in the marinade for at least good 20-30 minutes before the cooking time.

 Thin cut slice of meat cooks up first and, you can enjoy flavorful piece of steak that way.

 Recently,I made Grilled Mexican steak with Mexican red rice  and my husband gave me thumbs up. It was with my made up rice recipe, made up marinade but all came out tasty.

 Since it was a hit,I thought I would share the recipe with you.

 
I wanted to add a little bit of “fresh” factor into the red rice, my red rice will be a little different from others you would find on the internet.

 If you have green salsa verde to drizzle over beef, it might go well with the dish as well.

 

Grilled Mexican Flank steak with Mexican red rice..

Ingredients for grilled Mexican flank steaks:

1 lb Beef Flank steak
1 tsp ground cumin seed
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs lime juice freshly squeezed plus 1 tbs more for finishing touch
1/8 tsp
ground Anchoi chili powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt plus 1/8 tsp more for finishing touch
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
chopped Cilantro for garnish

Ingredients for Mexican red rice:

1C Jasmine rice
1 2/3C water
3/4 chicken bullion cube
1/2 tbs butter
1/8 chopped jarapano
1/2 tsp Sazon with annato (recommend goya brand)
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp tomato paste

1
vine tomato seeded and chopped to about 1/4″ chunks
1/8 red onion
chopped
1 tbs lime juice freshly squeezed
1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp chopped cilantro leaves

<Grilled Mexican Flank steak>

1. 1 hour before the actual cooking time, take the meat out to let it come to the room temperature

2. Pat the steak dry with paper towel and, poke the meat with fork

** Wet/Cold steak would not make nice sear on the steak

3. In the small container, make a rub by mixing 1 tsp ground cumin seed, 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, 1 tbs lime juice freshly squeazed, 1/8 tsp ground Anchoi chili powder, 1/4 tsp kosher salt, 1/8 tsp ground black pepper,1/2 tsp Mexican chili powder

4. Rub it on the steak, and put it into freezer bag and let it marinade over night or at least 1 hour

5. On the skillet, drizzle extra virgin olive oil,and when you see the
steam coming off from the skillet, put the steak on the skillet

** You would need screaming hot skillet for the nice good sear on the steak

** Stay back and do not move the steak around

5. Cook 4 minutes,flip and cook 5 more minutes or so

6. Take the temperature of the steak

** For medium rare steak, take the steak out from the skillet when your meat thermometer reads 125F to 130F

** For medium,130F-135F is the temperature to take the steak out from the skillet.

** Temperature of the steak continues to rise while steak is rested about 5F-10F more

7. Right before steak is being taken out from the skillet, add mixture of 1 tbs lime juice and 1/8 tsp kosher salt and let it evaporate and then take off the steak from the skillet

8. Put steak onto the plate and cover it with foil.Let steak rest for 15 minutes.

** If you slice steak without it being rested, you will have very dry steak

9. Slice the steak thin,against the grain

10. Serve

Makes:2 -4 servings

<Mexican Red rice>

1. In the sauce pan, add 1C Jasmine rice, 1 2/3C water, 3/4 chicken buillion cubes, 1/2 tbs butter, 1/8 chopped jarapano, 1/2 tsp Sazon with coriander and annato, 1/8 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp tomato paste, and stir

** Sazon is seasoning powder in Latin/Mexican flavor. Often times, Sazon is flavored with Achiote tree seed (annato), coriander, tomato,garlic etc..

I like to use the one with Annato (achiote tree seed) for this dish for the authentic look to it. This annato in the powder is what makes rice orange-ish hue just like tumeric makes rice yellow color.

You can use “Sazon with coriander” without annato as well in place of “Sazon with coriander and annato”.

2. When the water started ripple, cover the lid on, lower the heat to medium low and let it cook for 10 minutes,and when 10 minutes is up, lower the heat to simmer and let it cook for another 10 minutes

3. While rice is cooking, in the small container, add 1 vine tomato seeded and chopped to about 1/4″ chunks, 1/8 red onion chopped, 1 tbs lime juice freshly squeezed, 1/4 tsp kosher salt, and let it sit

4. When rice is done, take the pan off the heat, add the fresh ingredients mix;tomato-lime-red onion-salt mixture into the rice and stir and cover the lid on, and let it steam the fresh ingredient mixture in the pan without heat for another 5 minutes

5. Mix in the 1 tsp chopped cilantro leaves and stir

6. taste and adjust the seasoning if needed

7. Serve

Enjoy!

Makes: 3-4 servings


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Mar 02, 2014 | 0 | Miscellaneous (Cooking)

Grilled steak with Garlic Cracked black peppercorn sauce

 If you ask my husband what kinds of steaks he likes best, answer will be grilled steak. It is either thick cut of juicy medium rare fillet, or thinly sliced flavorful flank steak.

 I cannot cook up fillet all the time but,when I do,my husband gets very excited and enjoys every bite of it.

 Needless to say, Palette gets excited thinking she might get tiny tiny nibbles out of it.

Tips for cooking a great steak..

 1. Make sure to pick the even cut steak. Do not pick up the stake one side is thicker than the other.

Even thickness ensure the same cooking time and,you would less likely to overcook one of the steaks, or uneven cooking with the same steak (one side of the steak is over cooked).

 2. If you cook up rib eyes etc.. ,pick up the steak with nice pink-red color.

 You may sometime find packaged meat with greyish color in the steak at the grocery store. As time passes by, since meat is exposed to air for so long, it changes its color to grey from pink-red,and sometimes, you
will find accumulated blood in the package.

 If you see discolored steak with accumulated blood in the package,it means,it is the old package.

3. Marbling should be thin streaks line of fat,and it should be distributed evenly. You would find thick line of fat in the steak sometimes and they are connective tissue and the steak will be tough and chewy.

 4. Make sure to cook the steak that are at room temperature,not the steak straight out from the fridge

 5. Cook the steak with the skillet that are screaming hot so steak can have a good sear on the side

 6. After cooking the steak, make sure to let it rest for good 10-15 minutes

 If you slice the steak right away, the juice will be running all over the cutting board and you will be left with dry steak

 Recently,I made Grilled steak with garlic cracked black peppercorn sauce, and my husband gave me thumbs up. He was very very quiet when he was eating the steak. All I heard was “Hmm,Hmm.”.

 Since it was such a huge hit,I thought I would share the recipe with you.

 The steak sauce gives you a good amount of pepper taste and, to balance out the peppery taste,I baked sweet potato in the oven and made the vegetable medley and served it with the steak.

 The sweet potato is already naturally sweet and we needed nothing added to it and it went very well with the steak.

Grilled steak with garlic cracked black peppercorn sauce..

Ingredients for grilled steaks:

2 Beef tenderloin steak (Fillet)
Extra virgin olive oil
McCormick Grill mate Steak seasoning
chopped Italian flat leaf parsley for garnish

Ingredients for Garlic cracked black peppercorn sauce:

1/2 tbs butter
1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 shallot chopped fine
1 clove of garlic chopped fine

1/4C Cognac (brandy;VSOP)
1C beef broth
1 tsp black peppercorn crushed fine
1/8C heavy cream

<Grilled steak>

1. 1 hour before the actual cooking time, take the meat out to let it come to the room temperature

2. Pat the steak dry with paper towel and,sprinkle steak seasoning both sides

** Wet/Cold steak would not make nice sear on the steak

3. On the skillet, drizzle extra virgin olive oil,and when you see the steam coming off from the skillet, put the steak on the skillet

** You would need screaming hot skillet for the nice good sear on the steak

** Stay back and do not move the steak around

5. Cook 5 minutes,flip and cook 5-6 more minutes for steak that are about 1.5″ or so

6. Take the temperature of the steak

** For medium rare steak, take the steak out from the skillet when your meat thermometer reads 125F to 130F

** For medium,130F-135F is the temperature to take the steak out from the skillet.

** Temperature of the steak continues to rise while steak is rested about 5F-10F more

7. Put steak onto the plate and cover it with foil.Let steak rest for 15 minutes.

** If you slice steak without it being rested, you will have very dry steak

8. Place steak on the plate and drizzle garlic cracked black peppercorn sauce (recipe follows), and garnish with chopped parsley and serve

Makes:2 servings

<Garlic cracked black peppercorn sauce>

0. While steak is resting,make the sauce

1. In the same skillet you cooked steak with, add 1/2 tbs butter,1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 shallot chopped fine, and 1 clove of garlic chopped fine and stir

2. When garlic gives off fragrant smell, and shallots started to translucent in color, add 1/4C Cognac and stir

3. When it gets thicker enough for you to be able to draw line in the skillet, add 1C beef broth, 1 tsp black peppercorn crushed fine,and let it come to boil

4. Let it reduce the sauce to about half

5. Add 1/8C Heavy cream and let it thicken

6. When it became a little looser than gravy but thicker than broth, the sauce is done

Makes: Enough sauce for 3-4 steaks

Enjoy!


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Feb 17, 2014 | 0 | Miscellaneous (Cooking)

Caesar Salad

 When you go to restaurants, most restaurants have “Caesar Salad” in the menu. Up until recently,I had never had it before and, once tried it, I became a big fan of it and started ordering the Caesar salad at almost every restaurants we go to if the dish was in their menu.

 Trying many restaurants’ Caesar salad is fun,because it is a little different from each other. I sometimes find interesting twist in the dish by doing so.

 Among the restaurants that I had Caesar Salad at, I like the one at Bonefish Grill one best. Initially, I was not so much liking theirs because lettuce was watery (possibly not patted dry well before dressing them), and could not taste the dressing well. However, when I tried again, it was no more watery salad and, dish seemed to be improved, and I liked theirs very much.

 Not over dressed, good taste in the dressing, good ratio of croutons vs lettuce, size of chopped lettuce are at good size (not too big to eat or too small),and not drowned in the sprinkled cheese.

 Some restaurants’ Caesar salad had only 3-4 count of 1/4″ chunk of croutons in the salad, some restaurants’ salad was over dressed, too much Parmesan cheese on the dish, some restaurants croutons came quite soggy…

 #2 restaurants for the Caesar salad is Firebirds Wood  fired Grill. Theirs is interesting. Their croutons are somewhat kicks to it because they coat their croutons with chile, and the cheese they use is shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Theirs comes more dressing in the salad although I do not categorize theirs “over dressed” but it comes touch more than I would want.

 What is nice about their salad is seasoned croutons and nice shaved Parmegiano Reggiano cheese in the dish plus the salad plate is cold so the salad stays cold. I think it is nice touch for the service.

 I have had salad at the other restaurants and I had some occasions that the plate was warm to touch, and salad itself was at room temperature.

 Certainly, salad tastes better cold on the cold plate.

 Because I love Caesar Salad so much, the other day,I looked through the fridge to see if I got enough ingredients to make one myself.

 Since I had everything I need, I decided to make one for part of my lunch. Since dressing, croutons etc are also made from scratch, nothing artificial,sweetener etc are not in the dish. All fresh

 Store bought salad dressing is handy but if you look at the ingredients list, you can see most cases, oil comes within top 5 ingredients in the list.

 For example, take a look at this Caesar salad dressing ingredients list:

SOYBEAN
OIL
, WATER, EGG YOLK, SALT, WHITE WINE AND DISTILLED VINEGARS, LEMON

JUICE CONCENTRATE, SPICES (INCLUDING MUSTARD SEED), PARMESAN CHEESE
(PART SKIM MILK, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, ENZYMES), GARLIC*, ONION*, OLIVE
OIL
, XANTHAN GUM, MOLASSES, CORN SYRUP, ROSEMARY EXTRACT, CARAMEL COLOR,

SUGAR , ANCHOVIES, TAMARIND, NATURAL FLAVORS. *DEHYDRATED

When I make the salad dressing, I do not like to dilute the ingredients so much with oil and I do not think I would need so much sugar or any other sweetener so, I use much much less amount of oil and no sugar for the Caesar dressing. Therefore, mine is much healthier salad dressing you could whip up every time you need.

 Since the one I made the other day came out great,I thought I would share the recipe with you. I really liked the idea of making spiced croutons and, I used chile too for the croutons just like Firebirds Wood Fired Grill restaurant.

Cesar salad

Caesar salad..

Ingredients for Caesar Salad dressing:

2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbs mayonnaise

1 tbs Extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients for Spiced croutons:

3 oz Italian bread cut to 1/2″ chunk
Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/16 tsp paprika
1/32 tsp Ancho chile powder
>

Ingredients for Caesar salad:

3-4 leaves of Romaine Lettuce patted dry and chopped
spiced croutons (recipe follows)
Caesar salad dressing (recipe follows)
Grated Parmesan cheese
Ground black pepper

<Caesar Salad dressing>

1. Chop 2 cloves of garlic and mix it with 1/4 tsp kosher salt to make garlic paste.

2. By running the edge of the knife back and forth against chopped garlic and kosher salt on the cutting board, and chopping across the smeared garlic-salt mixture, make the garlic paste.

Here is the good youtube video to show you how you can make Garlic paste.

How to make garlic paste


3. Put the garlic paste in the bowl, add 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tbs mayonnaise, and start whisking

4. Once everything got cooperated, slowly drizzle 1 tbs Extra virgin olive oil into the garlic-lemon juice-mayonnaise mixture and keep whisking to combine

<Spiced croutons>

1. Preheat oven at 450F

2. Cut the 3 oz wt Italian bread into 1/2 chunks

3. Put the chopped bread in the bowl,and drizzle extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat

4. In the small container, mix 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp grated Parmesan cheese, 1/16 tsp paprika, 1/32 tsp Ancho chile powder and mix well

5. Pour the spice mixture onto the croutons and toss to coat

6. Sprinkle pinch of kosher salt, pinch of ground black pepper and toss to coat

7. Spread the croutons onto the non stick foil lined baking sheet single layer and bake them for 5 minutes, and take it out to toss it around,and put it back gain for another 4-5 minutes til golden

 <Assembling salad>

1. Wash the 3-4 leaves of Romaine lettuce,and pat it to dry with paper towel,and chop the Romaine lettuce into bite size pieces,and keep in the fridge til it gets chilled

2. Put the chopped lettuce into the bowl,add cooled spiced croutons, and pour the Caesar salad dressing and toss to coat

3. Plate it up, and sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese and ground black pepper to taste

Makes: 1-2 servings

Enjoy!


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Jan 26, 2014 | 0 | Miscellaneous (Cooking)

Paczki;Polish donuts with limoncello custard cream/Mocha cream

 Now and then, when you are watching TV and see very delicious looking food, wouldn’t you have a moment that makes you go “Hmm,that looks good.I would like to make one!”.

 When I was watching last season of Amazing race, there was a segment that teams visited Poland and one of the tasks they needed to complete was to knocking on the door in the world’s longest apartment complex in Poland using the list of residential number provided and they get invited to dine in “Paczki”;Polish donuts, and they must find the correct flavor of the Paczki.

 According to the show, the apartment complex has over 6,000 residents in there and it is over half a mile long.

 You can watch the Amazing race Season 23 Episode #5 Paczki challenge at CBS website here.
 
 The Challenge segments start around 25 minutes mark in the video.

 After watching the episode, I wanted to make my own Paczki and,I made 2 flavors;limoncello cream filling and mocha cream filling and it was super good!

 My husband brought some to workplace as well and it seemed it was a hit there too.

 Traditionally, the donuts are deep fried but I baked them,and I made lighter version of Paczki.

 It was pillow soft dough, and the filling I made go well together and I loved them.

 In this entry, I thought I would share the Polish donuts “Paczki” recipe with you.

Paczki;before being filled with cream…

 Ingredients for donuts dough

1.5 C unbleached all purpose flour
1/4C white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp rapid rise dry yeast
2/3C 120F milk
3 tbs vegetable oil
2 Egg yolks
1/4 tsp kahula
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

 Ingredients for limoncello custard cream

2.5 tsp unbleached all purpose flour
2 tsp corn starch
1C milk
2 Egg yolks
1/4C white sugar
1 tbs limoncello (Italian lemon
flavored liqueur)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4tsp fresh lemon zest

 Ingredients for Mocha cream

1
tsp espresso powder
1 tbs kahula (Coffee liqueur)
4 oz Mascarpone cheese
1 tbs white sugar
1 tsp milk

<Plain Donuts dough>

0. Preheat the oven at 375F

1. In the large bowl, add 1.5 C unbleached all purpose flour,1/4C white sugar, 1/4 tsp salt,and 2 1/4 tsp rapid rise dry yeast) and mix well

2. In the mixer bowl, add 2/3C 120F milk, 3 tbs vegetable oil, 2 Egg yolks,1/4 tsp kahula, 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract, and beat the egg mixture on high speed for about 2 minutes or until everything gets cooperated.

3. To the beaten  egg mixture, add flour mixture about 1/4C at a time and stir

** The dough is quite wet and just enough to hold together

4. On the lightly floured surface, knead the dough a bit and wrap the dough with plastic wrap and rest for 10 minutes

5. After 10 minutes resting, roll the dough out on the floured surface to 1/2″ thick and cut out the dough with round cookie cutter,and place them on non stick foil lined baking sheet

6. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise for another 60 -90 minutes until it gets puffed  up a bit

7. Bake the Paczki for 10 minutes.

** Each cut out dough will be about 3.5″ diameter

8. Melt 1 tbs butter and brush it on top of Paczki and sprinkle white sugar through kitchen sieve over the donuts

9. Make a hole using back of chopstick on side and fill the donuts with your preferred cream filling

Makes;11 donuts

Paczki with limoncello custard cream..

<Limoncello custard cream>

1. In the small container, mix 2.5 tsp unbleached all purpose flour and 2 tsp corn starch

2. In the bowl, add2 tbs or so of milk, flour mixture and mix well

3. Add 2 Egg yolks and stir

4. Warm the rest of Milk (1C milk minus 2 tbs milk) in the pan, and add 1/4C white sugar, and let it dissolve the sugar

5. When sugar is all dissolved, add small amount of milk-sugar mixture into egg yolk mixture and stir

6. Pour it back into the sauce pan

7. Heat the mixture at low heat until it gets thicken

8. When it got thicken, turn off the heat, add 1 tbs limoncello (Italian lemon flavored liqueur) and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract,3/4 tsp lemon zest from fresh lemon and mix well

9. Pour it into container and place plastic wrap over to avoid getting skin on the surface and cool it down

Makes: 6 oz wt Limoncello custard cream

Paczki with Mocha cream filling..

<Mocha cream>

1. Mix 1 tsp espresso powder and 1 tbs kahula (Coffee liqueur) in the microwave safe container and microwave it for 15 seconds to dissolve the powder into the liqueur

2. Mix 4 oz Mascarpone cheese, 1 tbs white sugar, and espresso powder mixture,1 tsp milk and mix till smooth texture

Makes: about 4 oz Mocha cream

Enjoy!


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Jan 05, 2014 | 0 | Miscellaneous (Cooking)