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Archive for September, 2009

Cheesy, buttery and garlicky at the same time… Mmm, this is another easy recipe especially good for the party. Most of the work is about assembling the ingredients together, and the oven will do the cooking. Better yet it can be prepared ahead of time and baked near serving time. I always use Asiago cheese when I make this dish because the flavor is irresistible. A good substitute is grated Parmesan( I think Parmesan is saltier than Asiago). You can use Cheddar cheese too but the garlic bread will have a different flavor. I haven’t stepped into making artisan bread yet, so I bought the bread from the bakery… read the notes next to the ingredients for details.

Cheesy Garlic Bread

Cheesy Garlic Bread

Cheesy Garlic Bread Recipe (makes 1 loaf)

Ingredients:

1 loaf Pulgliese/Ciabatta/French bread– I prefer Pulgliese or Ciabatta because they are lighter as the bread has lots of holes in it. French bread is good too if you want to stuff  yourself with lots of bread dough.

5-6 cloves garlic

2 cups grated Asiago cheese– this cheese gives flavor but it doesn’t melt nicely because it’s dry cheese.

2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese– this mild cheese gives the melting cheese look on the bread.

butter– I use real or whipped butter, not margarine or spreadable “stuff”.

Method:

  1. Slice bread lengthwise and place on a baking tray (crust side down). Finely minced garlic. Set aside.
  2. Spread butter generously on the bread. Then spread minced garlic evenly. Sprinkle Asiago cheese evenly all over then top with Mozzarella cheese.
  3. Place garlic bread in cold oven then turn oven temperature to 400°F. When temperature reaches 400°F, check on the bread. If the cheese on the edge turns bubbly and golden brown the bread is ready. If not let it bake for another 5 minutes or so (depending on your oven). Remove from oven. Cool for few minutes on the pan before slicing. Serve hot.

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Believe it or not, even though with the huge Chinese population in the San Francisco Bay Area I still can’t find a good stewed duck tastes like those sold in Malaysia. One time I chanced upon the stewed duck photos and recipe on HoChiak! Delicious Asian Food and so I gave it a try– it turned out to be a keeper! However, I use duck legs instead of whole duck– I don’t have the skill and a strong knife to chop the whole duck, and the thought of sauce splashing everywhere on my kitchen always hesitates me.

Malaysian Stewed Duck 'Lor Ark'

Malaysian Stewed Duck 'Lor Ark'

Malaysian Stewed Duck ‘Lor Ark’ Recipe (original whole duck recipe from HoChiak! Delicious Asian Food)

Ingredients:
4 duck legs
4 garlic
5 shallots
1 inch galangal
2-3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp five-spice powder
4 cups hot water

Method:

  1. Clean duck legs and rinse. Rub 1 tbsp five-spice powder all over the legs and marinate for 1-2 hours.
  2. Pound, or smack using the side of a knife, garlic, shallots and galangal.
  3. Heat some oil in a wok and saute garlic, shallots and galangal until aromatic. Add dark soy sauce and sugar. Stir well.
  4. Add duck legs to the wok. Turn to coat evenly and cook until the meat shrinks slightly. Add in hot water and bring to a boil.
  5. Add remaining five-spice powder. Reduce heat to simmer until the meat is cooked. Turning a few times to prevent burning. Add salt to taste. Add water if sauce is drying out.
  6. Cut duck legs into pieces. Serve with stew gravy sauce (sifted) or chili garlic & vinegar dipping sauce (see below).

Chili Garlic & Vinegar Dipping Sauce:
4 cloves garlic
6 fresh red hot chili
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1-2 tsp sugar

Mince garlic and chili. Add rice vinegar and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add a little water and/or sugar if the vinegar taste is too strong.

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This is a very simple and easy recipe. The oven does most of the cooking, and the seasoning rub are commonly used stuff. The result is very rewarding– the meat is very tender and bones are really easily pulled apart… tastes just like those from the restaurant if not better. Make it for your party and see your guests wow…

Barbecue Baby Back Ribs

Barbecue Baby Back Ribs

Barbecue Baby Back Ribs Recipe

Ingredients:
2 lbs or 1 full slap baby back ribs
1 tbsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp granulated garlic
3 tsp packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Clean and rinse ribs. Pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Combine all seasoning in a bowl and mix well. Rub seasoning all over the ribs. Place ribs, meat side up, in a deep roasting pan (I used glass pan). Cover tightly with foil and marinate in the fridge overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 300°F. Roast ribs (in roasting pan covered with foil) for 1.5 hours. Reduce oven temperature to 280°F and continue roasting for another 1 hour. At this point the ribs should be very tender and meat easily pulls off the bones.
  4. Transfer ribs onto grill to char the surface, high heat about 5 minutes each side. Brush with your favorite BBQ sauce before removing from the grill. Serve immediately, or keep warm covered in low temperature oven for later serving.

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I don’t know why it is called XO sauce, but I can tell you it’s VERY good and I have been hooked ever since I first tasted it– full of flavors from scallops, garlic, shallots, hot peppers etc… I immediately requested recipe from my neighbor who gave it to me. Man, let me tell you that it’s A LOT OF work making it. When I made it the first time, I start from zero in the morning and worked my ass off the entire day– When I finished it was 7pm and my arms and hands hurt from the heat of chopping peppers and from the stove! (I was warned about the long procedure, but I thought since I was already making it so I figured I would make a bigger batch… now I know it’s a BIG mistake!). I learned my lessons. Now I divide the work into 2 days– 1 day preparing, 1 day frying; also I use food processor whenever I can.

Homemade XO Sauce-- see all that shredded dry scallops?

Homemade XO Sauce-- see all that shredded dry scallops?

This is a very versatile sauce– it can be used as a dipping sauce or in cooking dishes. You can even eat it just with a bowl of steam rice. Since the main ingredient, scallop is not cheap, XO sauce is quite expensive– a small jar is selling for $12 or more. With the homemade ones, you get a whole lot more with much better quality. Make it for Chinese New Year for own use or as a gift to relatives and friends. They’ll love it! XO sauce can be kept in the fridge for months as long as it is cooked thoroughly and away from moisture and heat. I usually keep one jar in the fridge and freeze the rest in several batches, to keep contamination to a minimum. However, if the sauce molds on the top, just discard the moldy part and re-fry the sauce in the wok on low to medium heat until the oil bubbles then remove from heat and cool completely. The scallops might turn crispy but the flavor is still as good.

Homemade XO Sauce

Homemade XO Sauce

Homemade XO Sauce Recipe

Ingredients:
1 lb dry scallops
1/2 lb dry shrimps
1/2 lb garlic
1/2 lb shallots
1/2 lb red hot chili peppers
1 pack thin sliced bacon
2-3 tbsp (1/2 small jar) Taiwan ‘sah-cha’ sauce
2-3 tbsp oyster sauce
rice cooking wine for soaking dry scallops and dry shrimp

oil for frying

Method:

  1. Rinse dry scallops. Remove any tiny dirty stuff using finger. Drain and put into a big container. Pour rice cooking wine onto to the scallops, covering completely plus 1 inch more from top surface. Cover the container and soak overnight in the fridge. Repeat the procedure with dry shrimps using another container.
  2. Put soaked scallops in a deep pan (include the rice wine) and steam on high heat for 2 hours. Remove from steamer and drain off any liquid. Reserve the liquid for other cooking use. Repeat the procedure with soaked dry shrimps.
  3. While the scallops and dry shrimps are steaming, finely chopped(separately) garlic, shallots. Alternatively, you can cut them into small pieces and use food processor to blend as well (small pieces will speed up blending without having liquid coming out from garlic/shallots). Set aside.
  4. Trim off the bacon fat and reserve for other use. Finely julienne the lean bacon meat. Finely chopped dry shrimps and red chili peppers separately(my food processor can’t blend the peppers to fine grade so I have to chop them on the board– Remember to wear gloves!). Set them aside.
  5. Heat up a deep wok. Pour enough cooking oil. When the wok is hot enough (test oil with chopstick), fry garlic on high heat, stirring constantly. Adding more oil if necessary. When garlic starts to turn light brown, turn the heat to medium and continue frying for few more minutes. Dish out and use a silicon spatula to scrap out all the oil from the wok.
  6. Repeat the frying procedure with shallots, bacon, dry shrimps, chili peppers and scallops. Always fry on high heat until the ingredients starts to turn light brown then turn down the heat to medium. Take care not to burn or the XO sauce will have a bitter taste. For shrimps and scallops, be sure to fry until they are aromatic and “dry” (not crispy).
  7. Return all ingredients back to the wok. Turn heat to medium and stir to combine. Add Taiwan ‘sah-cha’ sauce and oyster sauce to taste (starts with 1-2 tbsp). Continue stirring until the oil bubbles on the surface. Remove from heat. Cool COMPLETELY before transferring to jars. Store in the fridge or freezer.

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