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Archive for November, 2010

We got some blueberries yesterday and decided to make blueberry pancakes for today’s family breakfast. I searched internet, and quickly settled on this recipe before I got distracted with tons and millions of pancake recipes out there. Well, after the testimony this morning I think I have indeed found good pancake recipe. Unlike other recipes that use whole eggs, this recipe calls for folding whipped egg whites into egg yolk mixture, and thus producing light and fluffy pancakes. You can skip the blueberries for a plain version if you like.

Blueberry Pancakes

Blueberry Pancakes

Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes– adapted from preparedpantry.com (makes 10 pancakes)

12/5/10 update: I have increased ingredient portions to make 15 pancakes for my family as it wasn’t enough based on original version. The changes are written in bold blue color. Also, be sure to check out my notes below for some tips on made-ahead pancake batters.

Ingredients (bold blue is for making 15 pancakes):
(1 1/2 cup) 1 cup all-purpose flour
(4 tsp) 1/2 tbsp baking powder
(1/4 tsp) 1/8 tsp salt
(3) 2 egg yolks
(1 cup + 1 tbsp) 3/4 cup milk
(5 tbsp) 4 tbsp melted butter
(3) 2 egg whites
(2 1/2 tbsp) 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 cup fresh blueberries– rinsed

Method:

  1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. In a separate small bowl, mix egg yolks, 1/2 cup (or 3/4 cup if making for 15 pancakes) of milk and melted butter with a hand whisk until smooth.
  2. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour yolk mixture all at once, and use the hand whisk to stir just until combined. Over mixing will make for tough pancakes.
  3. Beat egg whites until fluffy. Add in sugar and continue beating until soft peak appears as for meringue. Fold in 1/3 of whipped egg whites into yolk mixture using a spatula. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites into the batter. Add in remaining milk and blueberries. Continue folding until all blended.
  4. Cook on low heat as you would with other pancakes.

Regina’s Notes– sharing with you some quick tips I learned from PreparedPantry.com:

  • Pancake and waffle batters made with baking powder can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight.  Since the baking powder may lose some of its potency overnight, add a little extra.  If the first pancake doesn’t rise enough, sift a little more over the batter and gently stir it in.  Alternatively, you can add an extra 25 to 50% when you make up the batter.
  • Pancake and waffle batters leavened with baking soda cannot be stored. The leavening go to work as soon as they are moistened and will lose their power overnight.
  • If the recipe calls for baking powder and egg whites, you can mix the batter the night before but wait till morning to fold in the egg whites.


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Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast Burrito

This was what I made for our Sunday family breakfast not long ago. It is so good, and the best part is it doesn’t take long to prepare. All I had to cook is scrambled eggs and spicy sausage, the rest is all about assembling.

This is what you need:
flour tortilla wraps
scrambled eggs
ham
spicy sausage
avocado slices
shredded cheese
your favorite salsa

Wrap up all ingredients (except avocado slices– put them in after warming up the burritos) and microwave until burrito is warm and cheese has melted.

 

 

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I saw this recipe on Spicy Delicacies 惹味香辣菜. The eggplants look so delicious on the picture, and I was determined to give it a try. This is by far the best eggplant dish I have ever made (anything fried and seasoned with salt pepper flavor is of course delicious! 🙂 ), and Richard gives it a thumbs up. However, it’s quite a process– first steaming, then frying and lastly toss in the wok… I don’t think I’ll be making it often, unless I’m desperately craving for it.

Salt Pepper Eggplant Layers 椒盐茄片

Salt Pepper Eggplant Layers 椒盐茄片

Salt Pepper Eggplant Layers 椒盐茄片–adapted from Spicy Delicacies 惹味香辣菜

Ingredients:
80 g shrimp paste— see note below
2 -3 eggplants
cornstarch
1 egg– beaten
coarse tapioca flour
oil for frying
4 cloves garlic– finely chopped
4 red hot peppers– chopped
3 stalks green onion– chopped
salt & ground white pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Slice eggplants horizontally into 1/2 inch thick. Soak in salt water to prevent discoloring. Drain and pat dry with paper towel.
  2. Sprinkle a little cornstarch on EACH cut side, spread some shrimp paste and layer with another slice of eggplant. Repeat with the remaining shrimp paste and eggplant slices.
  3. Steam eggplant sandwiches on high heat until cooked, about 5-8 minutes. Let cool, then slice into 1 inch thickness ( I used toothpicks to secure the eggplants before slicing).
  4. Coat eggplant sandwiches with beaten eggs then tapioca flour. Let eggplant sit for a few minutes to absorb tapioca flour (so less flour crumbs drop into the oil during frying). Deep fry over medium heat until golden brown. Set aside and drain.
  5. Heat oil in a pan. Saute garlic and red peppers until aromatic. Add eggplant sandwiches, green onion, salt and pepper. Stir fry quickly. Dish out and serve immediately.

Regina’s Note:

  • Shrimp paste: Instead of buying from store, I just used about 2 rice bowl full of shrimps, shelled and deveined, then blend in food processor (adding some salt, ground white pepper, cornstarch, cooking oil and a little egg white). It’s not the best shrimp paste, but salt and pepper flavor makes everything taste incredibly delicious!
  • To simplify the process, I should skip the steaming part next time (which means the eggplant will have to be pat dry really well to avoid oil splashing). This way it might help to retain the beautiful purple color of eggplant too… (unfortunately steaming takes away the purple color 😦

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What makes it double chocolate-y? It comes from the bread AND the custard. I made a batch (3 loaves to be exact) of chocolate bread last week for the first time, and didn’t put in enough water. Needless to say my breads turned out a bit dry (delicious though!)… I don’t want to waste all these loaves of bread, so I decided to make them into this dessert– and it tastes much better. The pudding is very moisted, rich and chocolate-y, but not very sweet at all. I added a lot of dried tart cherries to balance the richness and it turns out great. This recipe calls for a large 8x12x2 pan. We only had 1/3 of it and gave the rest to friends and neighbors.

Double Chocolate Bread Pudding

Double Chocolate Bread Pudding

Homemade Chocolate Bread.

Homemade Chocolate Bread.

Double Chocolate Bread Pudding (makes one 8x12x2 rectangular glass baking pan)– adapted from  Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups milk— see note below
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream— see note below
3/4 cup packed brown sugar— see note below
4 tbsp butter– cut into small pieces (optional)— see note below
8 oz bittersweet baking chocolate– break or chop into pieces— see note below
3 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp golden rum (optional, adjust to taste)
6 cups day-old Chocolate Bread– cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups dried tart cherries

Chopped toasted nuts (walnut, almond, hazelnut etc…) for sprinkling on top (optional)

Method:

  1. Add milk, whipping cream and sugar to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add chocolate (and butter if used) and whisk until chocolate melts. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  2. Arrange bread cubes and cherries in a 8x12x2 baking dish.
  3. Whisk together eggs and egg yolks in a bowl. Gradually add to the chocolate mixture. Whisk to blend well. Mix in vanilla extract and rum.
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture over the bread cubes and let it soak for 15 minutes. Push the bread down into the custard so the bread is well soaked.
  5. Cover loosely with foil, and poke several hole on the top to allow steam to evaporate. Bake in preheated 325°F oven for 50-60 minutes, until the center is firm to touch.
  6. Cool bread pudding for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle toasted nuts on the top and serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Regina’s Note:

  • Milk/heavy whipping cream: I happened to have heavy whipping cream on hand, but you can use all milk (2% is fine, which will be 3 cups total).
  • Brown sugar: This bread pudding is not very sweet because I used bittersweet baking chocolate. If you would like a sweeter version, increase brown sugar to 1 cup.
  • Butter: I used heavy whipping cream AND butter, and find the bread pudding is too rich. So I suggest opt out butter unless you use all milk.
  • Bittersweet baking chocolate: Feel free to use semi-sweet if you prefer, or combined bittersweet (4 oz) and semi-sweet(4 oz), which brings out nice balance.
  • For a orange chocolate bread pudding, replacing 1 cup of milk with orange juice and add in 1 tbsp orange zest maybe??

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My son Alexander loves pasta. He requested meatball spaghetti recently. Just when I was searching for a meatball recipe, my sister-in-law Rachel coincidentally posted a meatball recipe on her food blog. Needless to say, I tried her recipe but made some adjustment on the ingredients. If it’s not for the kids, I would have added some chili flakes in the meatballs. I always like to spice things up hehe… :).

Meatball Spaghetti

Meatball Spaghetti. This is not a good picture. I will take better photos next time :).

Meatball Spaghetti

Ingredients:
20-25 meatballs (recipe follows)
1 jar pasta sauce
1 can chicken broth
cooked spaghetti

Method:

Add meatballs(form 1 layer in the pot), pasta sauce and chicken broth in a pot, stir to combine. Bring to a boil then simmer over medium low heat for 45 minutes, or until meatballs are tender. Stir occasionally so meatballs won’t stick to the bottom. Cover the pot during cooking so the sauce will not splash everywhere. If the sauce thickens too soon, add more water. Serve with cooked spaghetti.

Meatball Ingredients (makes about 50 meatballs, 1.5 inch diameter each):
1.25 lb ground pork
1.25 lb ground beef (80/20)
1 cup Italian bread crumbs— should increase to 1 1/2 cup
1 cup grated Italian cheeses
6-8 cloves garlic– finely chopped— should increase to 10 cloves
2 tsp salt— should increase to 3 tsp
2 tsp ground black pepper–should increase to 3 tsp
1 egg

Method:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with your hands until well combined. Roll into size of 1.5 inch diameter balls.
  2. Pan fry meatballs on high heat until all sides are brown (I just stir them a few times so all sides are evenly browned). It’s okay if the meatballs are partially cooked, as they will continue cooking in the pasta sauce. Do not fry too long or the meatballs will be dry and  harder for the pasta sauce to penetrate. Drain on paper towel and they are ready to put into the pasta sauce. Got extras? Cool them completely then freeze for future use.

Regina’s Note:

  • Richard said the meatballs need more flavor… so will increase seasoning next time (see note in blue ink above).
  • I simmer the meatballs in the pasta sauce on the stove and tomato sauce splashed everywhere. Even I covered with lid, but whenever I open the lid to quick stirred the sauce managed to splash onto me too. It’s a very GOOD idea to wear an apron when you’re making this dish 😉
  • I didn’t simmer the meatballs long enough this time, and the meatballs were not quite tender  enough in the center. Next time I should try simmer them in a slow cooker over long period of time.
  • For a little kick on taste, feel free to add some chili flakes into the meatballs.

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My dad loves tofu, and so whenever we go to dine at a restaurant in Malaysia, claypot tofu is one of the frequently ordered dish for our family. I love to eat hot steamed rice with a scoop of the claypot tofu and gravy on the top… yes, it’s comfy food for me.

So, what else is in the claypot besides tofu? Well, it’s very versatile– mostly colorful vegetables (broccoli, snap peas, mushrooms, carrots, corn/baby corn, onion, Napa cabbage, Konyaku strings 芋丝,peppers if you opt for spicy version etc…), some pork/chicken slices and some shrimps.

This is a good way to use up your vegetables in the fridge (besides Vegetable Curry). It is also great for lazy/busy people–make it a one pot meal and serve with steam rice. Cook the food straight in the claypot, then you don’t even have to clean the wok and it tastes better!

 

Claypot Tofu 砂煲豆腐

Claypot Tofu 砂煲豆腐

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After my success with my basic artisan bread, I have decided to add flavors and started my “experiment”. Since I always love the combination of asiago cheese and bacon, I have to try it out this flavor– and it turns out delicious! And this is the best looking artisan loaf that I’ve made (sometimes I slit too deep and the breads look “exploded”, other times the loaves came out a little out of shape…)!

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf
Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf
Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf. Those big irregular holes indicates a good loaf.
Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf: Those big irregular holes indicates a good loaf.

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf  (makes 3 loaves)

Ingredients:

Basic Cheese Dough Mix:
6 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour– use 1 cup measuring cup and a knife to sweep flat. DO NOT use large 2-cup measuring cup.
4 tbsp grated asiago cheese
1 tbsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp dry yeast
3 cups lukewarm water

Sprinkles (for each loaf):
2 bacon strips– break into crumbs (see note below)
3 tbsp grated asiago cheese
freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Stir flour, salt and cheese to combine. Add lukewarm water and yeast into a 6-quart container, whisk to combine. Add flour mixture to the yeast water while stirring using a wooden spoon, until the dough is evenly moist. The dough will look very wet. This should take no more than 5 minutes.
  2. Cover loosely with a lid and let the dough rise at room temperature until the top collapse or flattens (it took me about 3 hours). Snap the lid on but pull up lid a little so the container is not air tight. Now the dough is ready put into the fridge (the dough is ready for baking after this initial rise but it’s easier to handle after chilling. The dough can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks).
  3. On baking day, sprinkle some cornmeal on a pizza peel (so the dough rests without sticking to the peel). Take out chilled dough, sprinkle some flour on top of the dough then use one hand to pull up some dough (about size of grapefruit) while use the other hand to cut the dough with serrated knife. With dough in you hand, gently pull stretch the surface of the dough and tuck in the bottom, giving it a quarter turn as you pull/stretch. Dust a little more flour to prevent dough sticks to you hand. This shaping process should not take more than 1 minute.
  4. Dust a rolling pin and the board with some flour, gently roll the dough out to a 1/2-inch thickness. Dust little more flour to prevent dough sticking.
  5. Sprinkle ground black pepper, asiago cheese and bacon crumbs on the dough. Then roll it up like a jelly roll. Fold up two ends on the seal side, and gently shape the dough to a long oval shape.
  6. Place shaped dough on pizza peel, rest uncovered at room temperature for no more than 2 hours (depending on the room temperature–see note below). 20 minutes before baking, place pizza stone on the middle rack and a shadow pan at the bottom rack. Then preheat oven temperature to 450°F.
  7. Dust the top of the dough with some flour (so the dough won’t stick to the knife when making slit on the top) and make two slits(1/4 inch deep) on the top. Quickly and carefully slide the dough onto the pizza stone. Pour 1 cup of water into the shadow pan then quickly close the oven door. (To prevent last minute ‘surprise’ of the dough sticking to the pizza peel and losing heat from the oven, I always move pizza peel back and forth to test slide the dough before open the oven door).
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the bread is golden and tap hollow at the bottom of bread. Remove bread  from oven and cool immediately on a rack. Cool completely before slicing (for a crusty bottom, bake bread on the stone for 28 minutes, then remove water pan and transfer bread to the bottom rack for another minutes).

Regina’s Note:

  • When we work on the dough, it will lose some of its air pockets trapped by the gluten (this is why the shaping should be quick and gentle). To compensate this, we let the dough rest for a longer time so the gluten can start working and trap more air, thus creating a light loaf with lots of big air pocket.
  • I used 2 bacon strips and the bacon is not very strong. If you want more bacon taste try 3 bacon strips.
  • You can also use cheddar or Parmesan cheese for a different flavor.

 

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf:... then sprinkle bacon crumbs. Opps, I almost forgot to take picture so I unrolled the dough a little...

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf: First, sprinkle ground black pepper and cheese...

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf:... then sprinkle bacon crumbs. Opps, I almost forgot to take picture so I unrolled the dough a little...

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf:... then sprinkle bacon crumbs. Opps, I almost forgot to take picture so I unrolled the dough a little...

 

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf: Shaping is done. The dough is now resting on pizza peel for no more than 2 hours.

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf: Shaping is done. The dough is now resting on pizza peel for no more than 2 hours.

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