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Butter Garlic Parmesan Shrimps with Penne Pasta

There was this butter garlic Parmesan shrimp clip showed up on my Facebook feed. It looked pretty easy so I decided to give it a try, and I also added pasta. The clip didn’t show ingredient measurement so I just came out with my own version (the fun part of cooking is you don’t have to follow recipe to the T!). The pasta turned out quite delicious and got family’s approval. Now we have one more choices for pasta dinner!

Butter Garlic Parmesan Shrimps with Penne Pasta (serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

1 lb shrimps (31-40ct, headless, shell-less, tail-on)
1 box penne pasta
4 tbsp unsalted butter
3-4 cloves garlic– minced
1/2 onion– diced
1 cup julienne sun dried tomatoes
2 handful baby spinach
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Add butter to melt.
  3. Sauté garlic and onion until aromatic. Add in sun dried tomatoes. Stir a few times.
  4. Add in shrimps. Stir until shrimps are partially cooked. Add in whipping cream and spinach. Cook until spinach are wilted.
  5. Add in drain pasta. Stir to coat sauce well. Add salt and pepper to taste. When the sauce thickens slightly, sprinkle in grated Parmesan cheese. Toss a few times then dish out. Serve immediately.

Regina’s Note:

  • Boiling pasta: I like to keep my cooked pasta in boiled pasta water to keep warm while I prepare the pasta sauce. But to avoid soggy pasta caused by soaking in boiled pasta water, I turn off the heat when pasta is half way cooked– this way the pasta will remain al dente when I add them to the sauce later.
  • Cheese: You can use combination of Parmesan cheese and Asiago cheese.
  • Want more garlicky? Feel free to add more garlic or granulated garlic
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This is a very easy condiment to prepare. In Malaysia, we always have this condiment for wonton noodles and flat noodles with gravy “Wah Tan Hor 滑蛋河”. Here in the States, you can also find this condiment in Thai restaurant and some Vietnamese restaurants. The pickled peppers sure will wake up your taste bud with its tangy and spicy taste, making all foods taste much better. If you want less spicy, use jalapeño peppers with round bottom tip (pointy tip ones are spicier).

Pickled Green Peppers 醃青辣椒

Pickled Green Peppers 醃青辣椒

Ingredients:

15 Serrano peppers– sliced
4 tbsp water
1/2 cup vinegar– see note below
1 tsp sugar– if needed

Method:

  1. Blanched sliced peppers quickly in boiling water (as soon as you drop them in water, scoop them up right away). Drain peppers and spread out to cool fast (I put them in fridge briefly to cool fast and stop cooking process, so the peppers will stay crunchy and not soft).
  2. Combine water and vinegar in a small sauce pan then bring to a quick boil. Taste the vinegar water, add sugar if it’s too sour, and stir to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  3. Combine peppers and vinegar water. Store in a glass jar, in the fridge. The peppers is ready the next day. It’s normal that the peppers turn yellowish color. Always use a clean dry spoon to take out peppers from the jar.

Regina’s Note:

  • Vinegar: Since I use sushi vinegar (which has added salt and sugar), I cut down on sugar. Also sushi vinegar is not as acid as rice vinegar. If you use vinegar that has stronger acid, adjust sugar accordingly.

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My family loves this Chinese soup, especially on a cold day. Ethan would always add LOTS of ground white pepper to his bowl of soup. We used to visit a local Chinese restaurant called Daimo, and we would order this soup almost every time. Too bad the restaurant changed ownership and the soup didn’t taste good. The restaurant even closed down later on. My kids are not fans of green onion and cilantro in general, but they like the green stuff in the soup!… This is good because this soup without lots of green onion and cilantro doesn’t taste right…

West Lake Beef Soup 西湖牛肉羹

West Lake Beef Soup 西湖牛肉羹

West Lake Beef Soup 西湖牛肉羹

Ingredients:

1 1/4 lb beef– chop into coarse ground with some slightly big pieces

Meat seasoning:
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp tapioca/corn starch
3 tbsp water

5 cups water
3 tbsp rice cooking wine
Starch water (mix 2 tbsp tapioca/corn starch with 1 tbsp water, stir well before use)
Salt and ground white pepper to taste
3 egg whites
2 stalks green onion– chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro– chopped

Method:

  1. Season beef with meat seasoning, mix well. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil on high heat. Add in beef, stir to loose up the meat. When the soup boils again add cooking wine, followed by starch water while stirring the soup.
  3. When the soup starts boiling again, add salt and ground white pepper to taste. Pour in egg whites while stirring the soup. Turn off heat and add in green onions and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Regina’s Note:

  • Egg White: Do not whisk egg white as it will create egg white bubbles in the soup.

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Why “Three-Cup”? It refers to one cup of sesame oil, one cup of soy sauce and one cup of rice wine. Of course, this amount is for cooking a lot of chicken. When you are cooking for less chicken, be sure to scale down these three ingredients to 1:1:1. Oh, and basil leaves is a MUST– the basil fragrance really enhances this dish.

Three-Cup Chicken 三杯鷄

Three-Cup Chicken 三杯鷄… Yum! The sauce is so finger licking good that you’ll want to refill your rice bowl.

Three-Cup Chicken 三杯鷄 (serves 2)

Ingredients:

12 chicken wing mid joints– cut into half — see note below
2 tsp salt
3 slices ginger– thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic– chopped
3 hot red peppers– chopped
2 tbsp sesame oil– see note below
3 tbsp rice wine
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
Handful of Thai basil leaves– see note below

Method:

  1. Wash mid joints and remove any tiny pieces of broken bones.  Season with salt for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a wok on high heat and pour in sesame oil. When the wok gets smoky, add in chicken pieces. Sauté on high heat until the chicken turns lightly brown and the meat is almost cooked.
  3. Add in ginger, garlic and pepper. Sauté until the aroma comes out.
  4. Stir in rice wine and soy sauce. Turn down the heat a little, and stir until the meat is cooked through and sauce thicken slightly (if your meat is more on the raw side, you can also cover with a lid at this step so the meat cooks faster).
  5. Add in basil leaves. Stir a few times until basil leaves soften. Dish out. Serve hot immediately with steamed rice.

Regina’s Note:

  • Chicken Mid Joints: I am not good at making big chop with my cleaver knife– the bones always never have a clean cut and the meat pieces are sometimes crumbly… and not to mention the raw meat juice splashing everywhere on my kitchen counter. So, my solution is chopping the wing mid joint when they half frozen, without washing– the process is much easier to manage and way less splashing. Wash the meat and remove any tiny broken bone pieces after chopping. Alternatively you can use boneless chicken thigh pieces, but I prefer bone-in for better flavor.
  • Sesame Oil: Typically the amount of sesame oil is same as rice wine and soy sauce, but I cut down to 2 tbsp (you can even use 1 tbsp) and use chicken fat rendered from high heat sautéing.
  • Thai basil leaves: After adding basil leaves to cooking, cook briefly until the leaves soften then dish out so the fragrance of the leaves stay with the meat.

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Chili Colorado

Chili Colorado

 

Mexican dinner at our house used to be marinated beef flap meat and chicken that Richard grill and then cut into pieces as make-your-own burritos fillings, serve along shredded lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, guacamole, sour cream,shredded cheese and tortilla. But here’s the thing: I don’t even marinate the meats– we always buy it pre-marinated from Mexican grocery. So it’s not really proudly from my kitchen… until I found this Chili Colorado recipe and try it out. It’s a process, but definitely worth the effort. I don’t follow the recipe exactly, so I don’t know if it’s authentic Mexican flavor. But the Chili Colorado is delicious and my family loves it~~ I am happy! 🙂 Ok, my next Mexican food challenge would be Spanish rice (I’ve been buying Spanish rice from Mexican restaurant… shhh!)

Chili Colorado (serve 6-8 people, adapted from David’s Free Recipes.com)

Ingredients:

4-5 lbs chuck roast or beef short rib chuck– see note below
Meat seasoning:
salt
fresh ground black pepper
granulated garlic/garlic powder

water to almost cover the meat
2 cups of Chili Colorado sauce– see below for recipe

Method:

  1. Trim off any excess fat of the meat, and cut into 1-2 inch chunks.
  2. Heat up a frying pan on medium high heat, add 1/2 tbsp cooking oil. When the frying pan starts to get smoky, add in some beef chunks (do not crowd the pan with too much meat, or it will not brown nicely), and sprinkle a (more less) thin layer of meat seasoning on top of meat. Flip the meat when the bottom is browned, and repeat witha thin layer of seasoning. Transfer cooked meat to a large stock pot. Repeat this meat searing process in several batches.
  3. Turn off heat and add 4 cups to the frying pan, use a spatula/ wooden spoon to scrap off any seasoning stucked to the pan. Add this water to the meat, and fill the pot with extra water to almost cover the meat.
  4. Turn on high heat to bring the pot to a boil, then lower heat to medium low, covered and simmer for 1 hour (you prepare Chili Colorado sauce during simmering if the sauce is not ready).
  5. Stir in Chili Colorado sauce to mix well. Covered, continue to cook on medium low heat for additional 1.5-2 hours. Stir occasionally. The meat will get more tender the longer it cooks, and the sauce will slightly thicken. Turn up the heat a little towards end of cooking time if the sauce is too watery (aka too much liquid), but be sure to stir often to prevent burn at the bottom. Add salt to taste. Serve hot with Spanish rice, beans, salad and warm tortillas.

Regina’s Note:

  • Meat choice: I prefer boneless beef short rib chuck. It’s a more expensive cut of meat, but the marbled fat makes the meat very tender and moist after cooking. Chuck roast is cheaper, but I find the meat is tender but on the dry side.
  • I always think Chili Colorado can be beef or pork version, but I have been wrong all these time~ Chili Colorado is for beef ONLY. The pork version is called Carne Adovado.

Chili Colorado Sauce Recipe (yields 2 batches, about 2 cups each batch– adapted from David’s Free Recipes.com)

Ingredients:
2oz. dry pasillo chilis (dry pablanos)
1 1/2oz. dry guajillo chilis (dry Anaheim chilis)
3 1/2 cup water
1 red bell pepper
2-3 jalapeno or Serrano peppers (adjust spicy level to your liking)
1 big onion
6-8 cloves fresh garlic
3 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Method for Chili Colorado sauce:

  1. Remove the stems of dry pasillo chilis and guajillo chilis. Cut into pieces and add in 3 1/2 cup water. Microwave for 2 minutes. Let chilis soak in water while you prepare other ingredients.
  2. Remove stems of red bell pepper and jalapeño/Serrano pepper. Cut into chunks. Cut onion into chunks too.
  3. Add softened chilis, red bell peppers, jalapeño/Serrano peppers, onion, and soaking water to a blender. Blend until smooth.
  4. Heat up a saucepan on medium high heat, add 1 tbsp cooking, blender mixture and seasonings. Stir constantly for 5 minutes (beware that the sauce at this liquid-ty stage will splash, by stirring constantly you can reduce splashing). Reduce heat to medium to medium low, continue stirring and cooking, until the liquid evaporates and sauce thickens to about 4 cups. The sauce is ready for use. Extra sauce can be frozen after cooling completely.

Regina’s Note:

  • Red bell pepper: original recipe uses green bell, but I prefer red bell because it brings out more of the beautiful reddish color of Chili Colorado sauce.

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I am not a fan of sandwiches. However, Crab Melt is a different story. The first time I had a crab Melt was on a family road trip north to Oregon. We stopped by a coastal town called Brookings (southern coast of Oregon) to have lunch at a marina that has seafood eateries. The family ordered some Crab Melt’s, fish n chips, grilled oysters and smoked salmon dip (best SS dip!) from two different stores. Everything was so fresh and good, and the whole family falls in love with Crab Melt ever since. Since the trip I have been trying to creat the same flavor of the sandwich that we had in Oregon. After a couple of recipe fine tuning I’m finally happy with the result.

Making Crab Melt is pretty much an easy assembly job. However, qualitied ingredient plays an important role to make it a good eat. Obviously you don’t want to waste Alaska King Crab meat on this sandwich, but please don’t use cheap crab or fake crab meat. Using some random cheese will throw the flavor off… etc. Please check out my note at the bottom for more details. Okay, let’s get started before the crab season is over!

Crab Melt

Crab Melt… from the buttery golden crunchy crust, to the generous amount of sweet crab meat and Asiago cheese in the filling, with just enough Mozarrella cheese to bind together. Mmmm… now this IS good eat!

Crab Melt (makes 5 sandwiches)

Ingredients:

1 Dungeness crab– pick out the meat– see note below
3/4 cup freshly shredded Asiago cheese– see note below
1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese– see note below
2/3 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese– see note below
10 big slices French bread– see note below

Butter to spread on bread

Method:

  1. Spread butter on one side of the bread. Lightly brown the bread slices (buttered side face down) on a sauté pan/skillet/griddle. Transfer bread to tray/plates with buttered side face up.
  2. Combine Asiago cheese and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle generous of cheese mixture on top of the bread, followed by Mozarrella cheese.
  3. Spoon generous amount of crab meat over Mozarrella cheese on 5 slices of the bread ONLY. Microwave all 10 slices about 1 minute until the cheese is slightly melted.
  4. Now find the bread partners– carefully flip over cheese slices over crab meat slices. Butter the top and bottom of the sandwiches, and grill on sauté pan/skillet/griddle until golden brown on both sides. Use a spatula to press down sandwiches to help bind the cheeses together. Serve fresh and hot.

Regina’s Note:

  • Crab meat: I like to use Dungeness crab meat but feel free to use any crab that is meaty and has a sweet taste. It’s best to use fresh crab (aka bought alive). Avoid using crab meat in a can or a tub as those are usually sourced in different country (different water, different taste…). Hand pick crab meta can take some time, but it can be done ahead of time and refrigerated (2-3 days) until ready to use.
  • Asiago/Parmesan cheese: I find the cheese flavor goes very well with crab meat. Gruyere cheese is a good choice too. Because these cheeses taste salty so you don’t need to add salt to crab Melt. Avoid using Cheddar/Fontina/Gouda these sort of cheeses as they are too salty and will over power the delicated mild flavor of crab meat.
  • Mozarrella cheese: I use this cheese only to bind the sandwich breads together. Don’t use too much Mozarrella cheese or you will have very cheesy sandwiches and won’t be able to taste the crab meat.
  • French bread: I prefer French bread but you can use any bread you like. Avoid breads that have big air pockets such Ciabatta and Pugliese (fillings will fall out), or baguette (unless you like the chewiness).

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Pickled Assorted Vegetables 涼拌什錦泡菜

Pickled Assorted Vegetables Recipe 涼拌什錦泡菜 

Ingredients:

1 chayote
1 kohlrabi
1/2 stick carrot
5 Persian cucumbers
1/4 stick daikon
3 gloves garlic– chopped
1-2 red hot peppers– chopped
sushi vinegar
sugar
water

Method:

  1. Prepare chayote: Peel off the skin and remove the core. Rinse to remove the sliminess of the chayote. Cut into small bite size. Put in a bowl and sprinkle some salt (no more than 1/4 tsp). Rub salt into chayote with your fingers. Set aside for it to draw out the liquid. Rinse with water , then squeeze out as much water as possible. Pat dry.
  2. Prepare kohlrabi: Remove the outer skin of kohlrabi, then cut into small thin size. Put in a bowl and sprinkle some salt (no more than 1/4 tsp). Rub salt into kohlrabi with your fingers. Set aside for it to draw out the liquid. Rinse with water , then squeeze out as much water as possible. Pat dry.
  3. Prepare carrot: Peel off the skin and remove both ends. Cut into small bite size. Put in a bowl and sprinkle some salt (no more than 1/4 tsp). Rub salt into carrot with your fingers. Set aside for it to draw out the liquid. Rinse with water , then squeeze out as much water as possible. Pat dry.
  4. Prepare cucumbers: Remove both ends and the core of cucumbers. Cut into small bite size. Put in a bowl and sprinkle some salt (no more than 1/4 tsp). Rub salt into cucumbers with your fingers. Set aside for it to draw out the liquid. Rinse with water , then squeeze out as much water as possible. Pat dry.
  5. Prepare daikon: Peel off the skin and remove both ends. Cut into small bite size. Put in a bowl and sprinkle some salt (no more than 1/4 tsp). Rub salt into daikon with your fingers. Set aside for it to draw out the liquid. Rinse with water , then squeeze out as much water as possible. Pat dry.
  6. Combine all vegetables, garlic and peppers in a large bowl (non metal, non plastic). Add enough sushi vinegar to cover half of the vegetables. Then add enough water to barely cover the top of vegetables. Add sugar to taste. Stir with a spoon until sugar dissolves. Cover and let it sit in the fridge for at least 1 day for the marinade to soak in. Stir the vegetables the next day and continue chilling in the fridge. Pickled vegetables last at least 2 weeks if kept well in fridge. Be sure to use a clean dry spoon to take out a portion for consumption.

Regina’s Note:

  • How to pick kohlrabi: Pick young kohlrabi that is more greenish rather than pale color, preferably with a little green leaves on the top. Old kohlrabi will have tough, chewy fibers/roots throughout the vegetables that make it impossible to use for making dishes.
  • How to pick cucumbers: Always pick cucumbers that are firm. There should not be any wrinkles on the skin or else it’s not fresh.
  • How to pick daikon: Pick daikon with smooth skin. Check the cut stems– they should look freshly cut. Put daikon in your hand and it should feel heavy to you. If it doesn’t feel heavy the daikon might be old or hollow inside.

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