Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Something a little more simple

This recipe, courtesy of Mark Bittman, is a great date night treat. Maybe not the first date, as the mussels can get a bit messy, but definitely a second or third to show her your cooking chops.

Steamed Mussles
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 medium onion, roughly sliced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 4+ pounds large mussles, cleaned
1. In a large pot, heat oil and cook garlic and onion until onion softens.

2. Add wine, parsley, and mussels, cover pot, and turn heat to high. Steam, shaking the pot frequently, until mussels open, 8-10 minutes. Serve in bowl with crusty bread.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Memories from Indonesia

This is a dish from my childhood in Indonesia:

Beef Rendang
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless short ribs, cubed
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 stick cinnamon, 2 inches long
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 star anise
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 stick lemon grass, 4 inches long, pounded
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind pulp, soaked in warm water for the juice, discard seeds
  • 6 leaves kaffir lime, sliced very thinly
  • 6 tablespoons toasted coconut
  • 1 tablespoon plam sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • 10-12 dried chilies, soaked in warm water and seeded
  • 5 shallot
  • 1 inch galangal
  • 3 sticks lemongrass, white only
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger
1. Chop the spice paste ingredients and then blend it in a food processor until fine.

2. Heat the oil in a stew pot, add the spice paste, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and cardamom and stir-fry them until aromatic.

3. Add the beef and the pounded lemongrass and stir for 1 minute.

4. Add the coconut milk, tamarind juice, water, and simmer on medium heat, stirring frequently until the meat is almost cooked.

5. Add the kaffir lime leaves, kerisik (toasted coconut), sugar/palm sugar, stirring to blend well with the meat.

6. Lower the heat to low, cover the lid, and simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is really tender and the gravy has dried up.

7. Add salt to taste. If not sweet enough, add more sugar to taste.

8. Serve immediately with steamed rice and save some for overnight.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Our first recipe

I love this recipe because it's very versatile. To save time, you can use Gyoza or Jiaozi wrappers from your local Asian Market. All of your dried mushrooms will come from there as well. Typically I add in some green onion too. For another meal idea, try using this as a lettuce wrap filling.

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 4 large napa cabbage leaves, minced
  • 3 green onions, minced
  • 7 shitake mushrooms, minced
  • ½ cup bamboo shoots, minced
  • ¼ cup ginger, minced
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup warm water
Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly (I mix by clean hand). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the dough, Method 1: Place the flour in the work bowl of a food processor with the dough blade. Run the processor and pour the warm water in until incorporated. Pour the contents into a sturdy bowl or onto a work surface and knead until uniform and smooth. The dough should be firm and silky to the touch and not sticky.[Note: it’s better to have a moist dough and have to incorporate more flour than to have a dry and pilling dough and have to incorporate more water).

Make the dough, Method 2 (my mom’s instructions): In a large bowl mix flour with 1/4 cup of water and stir until water is absorbed. Continue adding water one teaspoon at a time and mixing thoroughly until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. We want a firm dough that is barely sticky to the touch.

Both dough methods: Knead the dough about twenty strokes then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers). With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side (see images above).

To boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add dumplings to pot. Boil the dumplings until they float.

To steam: Place dumplings on a single layer of napa cabbage leaves or on a well-greased surface and steam for about 6 minutes.

To pan fry (potstickers): Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

About me

Well if I am to take you on a culinary journey, I suppose you should know a little background about me. I grew up overseas so my exposure to different types of food began at a very young age. I lived in the Middle East as well as Asia, so those are both big influences on the cuisine I cook and flavors I utilize. I've worked in professional kitchens for 4 years now, across a wide variety of cuisines and service levels. Currently I'm doing an internship at the school I attend in our events center.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

First post

Welcome to my new blog. I'll be taking you on a tour of my culinary experiences.