April 26, 2008

The glorification of Sriracha...

comes in many forms—drenching every meal in my beloved hot sauce, keeping a precious bottle in my room allowing easy access with the swipe of a hand, and incorporating it into my recipes. I particularly love spicy foods in the upcoming warm weather; there’s just something so seductive and passionate about playing with fire. For a dinner with Mickey, I fed the fire with fire and made Spicy Shrimp and Corn Fritters, Chili Bean Paste Toast, and Lychee Mango Mascarpone Cream (to put out the fire).

Fritter mix in the raw.

Spicy Shrimp and Corn Fritters

1/2 cup canned corn
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp Sriracha
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp white pepper

1/2 cup chopped shrimp
1 egg
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp water

Vegetable oil

Place corn, green onions, chili powder, shrimp, sriracha, garlic, white pepper, salt and egg in a bowl. Add flour, baking powder, and water and mix until just combined. Heat a large pot with 1/8th inch of oil in the bottom.
When the oil is hot, put a large spoonful of batter in the pot. Use a spoon to form little balls. Cook over medium heat just until the bottoms are well colored (4-5minutes). Turn and cook the other side until golden. Serve with Sweet and Spicy Sauce.

Holes filled with egg yolk.

Chili Bean Paste Toast

4 minced garlic cloves
1 Tbsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp Sriracha
1 Tbsp bean paste
1/4 cup chopped portobello
4 sliced potato bread
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup shredded cheddar

Heat skillet on high and quickly cook Portobello in oil. Stir in 1/2 of the chili bean paste.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly spray baking pan. Cut potato bread into a circular shape. Stack two slices of bread together. Hollow out an indentation in each bread slice large enough to hold an egg yolk. Leave a sufficient cushion of bread surrounding the indentation to avoid leakage. Place the bread on prepared baking sheet. Place two egg yolks in each bread indentation. Place the shredded cheddar and spread chili bean paste over the entire slice of bread. Place the bread in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and, using a spatula, place each bread slice on an individual serving plate. Sprinkle the top with scallion garnish.

Lychee Mango Mascarpone Cream

8 ounces mascarpone
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup lychee syrup
1 can lychee
1 cubed mango

Beat mascarpone, sugar, and cream until a nice whipped cream forms. Add in syrup and continue beating until thick. Spoon lychee cream into dishes and top with lychee slivers and cubed mango. Place in refrigerator for about an hour before serving.

This jokester did not enjoy my mascarpone.

Good thing he brought a present. Thanks.

April 25, 2008

Triumph can...

come from failures as demonstrated by a cranberry fudge turned cranberry-coconut chocolate bread pudding. Surprised much? I was. After I completely bombed a simple fudge recipe, I felt annoyed, no, more like furious. So to compensate, I had to out do myself by making something comforting. And seriously, what is a better comfort food than bread pudding? I guess mother's Chinese food, but still, Southern comfort trumps all.

Soakin' up the sun...

Chocolate Cranberry Bread Pudding

1/2 loaf cubed potato bread
1 cup chocolate fudge sauce
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 beaten eggs
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup shredded coconut

Messed up Fudge Sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cups sugar
12 ounces evaporated milk
12 oz semisweet chocolate
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup strong coffee

Tear bread into bite-sized chunks and place in a casserole dish. Combine the chocolate cream and buttermilk in a medium saucepan and heat until the mixture bubbles at the edges and remove from heat to cool. Mix cream mixture with eggs and cranberries until combined. Pour the liquid mixture into the dish with the potato bread. Toss to combine and top with more cranberries and shredded coconut. Place the baking pan into the oven and let bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees F. The mixture will puff a bit and the edges will brown when the pudding is done.

Just one more bite.

April 22, 2008

This Texan has got to eat…

cornbread once in awhile. The Northeast just never produces quality cornbread and passes off stale, crusty, yellow heaps of who knows what as this Southern dinner table nibbler. All I know is that I love corn especially creamed corn. Corn soup with a touch of egg was always my soup of choice when mother cooked. There is no barbeque today, but the dry heat and sunshine reminded me of home. As a welcoming of warm weather, I shall munch on my cornbread as a snack. Yum.

Tossing all the dry ingredients together.

Cheddar and fresh jalapeños.

Sliced but beautiful nonetheless.

Can't wait to dig in.

Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Bread

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup canned creamed corn
1 egg
1 cup extra-sharp cheddar
Sliced jalapeños

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix the creamed corn and egg into the buttermilk. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients, combining well. Mix in cheddar and top with jalapeños before pouring batter into pan. Pour the batter into the butter, smooth out the top if necessary, and place in the oven. Bake about 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown and the sides have pulled away from the pan; a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean. Serve hot! (Adapted from Homesick Texan)

April 20, 2008

Nothing beats classy...

lady fingers for a traditional Italian dinner of Pine Nut Shrimp Scampi and a Tiramisu Sandwich.

Layer of coffee dipped lady fingers with fresh mascarpone cream.

Tiramisu Sandwich

1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 package lady fingers
1 cups strong coffee
1/2 cup cocoa powder

Beat sugar and egg yolks together until mixture is pale yellow. Add in mascarpone cheese until mixture is smooth and combined. Beat egg whites until thick and stiff and mix into mascarpone mixture. Dip lady fingers into coffee and arrange them inside a flat dish. Cover cookies layer with cream mixture and continue layering. Dust cocoa powder on top of cream. Refrigerate for at least four hours.

Shrimp Scampi

8 ounces shrimp
1 tsp minced shallots
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 lemon (juice and zest)
1/4 cup white wine
2 Tbsp parsley
2 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tsp red pepper flakes
8 oz. linguini

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and cook the shrimp until they turn opaque and just pink, about 30 seconds to a minute or so each side. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Return the pan to the stove and add 1 tbsp of butter and the shallots. Cook over medium heat until the shallots are fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the white wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up the brown bits from the pan, then add the lemon juice, bring it to a boil then take off heat. Off heat, whisk in the remaining tbsp of butter, lemon zest, parsley, pine nuts and red pepper. Add the shrimp and pasta, toss to combine and serve immediately. (Adapted from Food Network).


April 16, 2008

What makes a delicious...

chocolate cake? Try red velvet with cocoa powder and vinegar! In celebration of Kathy's birthday, her requested cake was topped with signs of spring (Gerber Daisies)!

Kathy: I hope you enjoyed your birthday despite the 45 minute apartment oven melt-down (almost). OOPS. We shall continue eating old-fashioned cakes.

Raspberry center, fresh and ready to please.

The finished product surrounded in lady fingers.

Moist, chocolatey, and packed with blueberries.

We lit her a ceremony!

I <3 you.

April 15, 2008

Time to get down...

and dirty, using your hands as the weapon of choice, to make a traditional Texan treat known as the Hello Dolly Bar.

Imagine how excited I was when I found cajeta at Wegmans!

Crumbled graham cracker layer.

Chocolate chip layer.

Shredded coconut, yummm.

Chopped pecans with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Emptied cans of cajeta and condensed milk!

Melted cajeta milk mixture over layers of sweetness.

Hello Dolly Bars

1/2 cup of butter
2 cups crushed graham crackers
2 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
2 tsp cinnamon
1 13.4 ounce can Mexican cajeta
1 14 ounce can condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Pour melted butter into a flat pan. Crush graham crackers with fingers until they resemble a coarse corn meal. Toss graham cracker crumbs into pan, and mix well with melted butter to form a crust. Layer the chocolate chips, coconut, pecans, and cinnamon over graham cracker crust. Melt cajeta and condensed milk over medium heat until fully incorporated and smooth. Pour cajeta-milk mixture over the top of prepared bar. Bake in oven for 25 to 30 minutes, top should be light brown. Let cool in pan for at least half an hour, cut into bars and serve. (Adapted from Homesick Texan).

The calories of these home baked goodies are over and beyond the cap, but once in awhile, we must all indulge. And you wonder why everything is bigger in Texas...


April 13, 2008

My recent realization...

that I derive happiness from seeing the corners of lips turn up into a smile when tasting my recipes means that I shall continue inviting friends over for home cooked creations. On this occasion, Adam & Beka came for a long, overdue meal. I used them as my guinea pigs for Thai Tamarind Salmon, Vegetable Curry Wontons, and Condensed Milk Pound Cake with Green Tea Cream.

Thai Tamarind Salmon

Tamarind Sauce

1/4 cup tamarind paste
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp chili powder

Melt all ingredients in a sauce pan and let simmer on low heat.

Salmon Fillets

2 cups bean sprouts
1 tsp seafood broth base
1/4 cup crushed peanuts
1/4 cup sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to broil. Wrap a broiler pan with foil. Make Tamarind Sauce and Thai Chili Lime Sauce. Place salmon in dish with Tamarind Sauce and turn to coat on both sides. Place salmon in the broiler pan skin side down. Bake salmon at 425 degrees F for about 12 minutes. Pour Thai Chili Lime Sauce over salmon before serving. Sautee bean sprouts in seafood broth until slightly soft. Place salmon on top of bean sprouts and add crushed peanuts and sesame seeds to the top of salmon.

Vegetable Curry Wontons

1 can sliced carrots
1 cup cut potatoes
1 cup water
2 blocks Japanese Curry Mix
1 package wonton wrappers

Boil potatoes in water until soft enough to mash. Heat oil in a skillet and toss in carrots and potatoes. Add water and let pan come to a boil. Allow carrots and potatoes to cook through before adding curry mix. While vegetables cook, use fork to mash into small pieces. Remove mashed curry from heat and allow it to cool before making wontons. Heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Fry wontons a few at a time turning them in pan until golden and lightly browned. Place on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb extra oil.

Thai Chili Lime Sauce

2 tsp red chili flakes
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp Sriracha
1 tsp sweet and spicy sauce
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp fish sauce

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Condensed Milk Pound Cake with Green Tea Cream

Thanks to Ian, I have my very own autographed copy of Pichet Ong's The Sweet Spot. I am thrilled/grateful and promise to memorize every inch of this dessert book. Quiz me later?


April 7, 2008

I may be unable...

to stomach more food after the continual shoving food down my throat, but I promised a recipe. So, recipe I shall!

The unadulterated cupcake topped with shreds of coconut.

Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes


1 cup cake flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
8 ounces cream cheese
1 stick butter
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line muffin pan with paper cups. Sift cake flour, baking soda and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Cream butter and cream cheese until mixture is light and creamy. Add sugar and continue to mix until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and stir in lemon juice. Fold in dry mixture into wet mixture. Divide batter evenly into paper cups. Bake for 10-15 minutes and let cupcakes cool before icing. (Adapted from Amanda Lee).

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

1 stick butter
2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp heavy cream
Food coloring

Cream butter until smooth and add lemon juice. Slowly mix in powdered sugar and heavy cream until frosting forms. Mix in food coloring until well blended.

Perfect for Spring, ready to soak up the sun.

April 6, 2008

Where do I...

even begin detailing the massive montage of food and munchies this weekend? I love senior reunions that rekindle friendships; we are so ridiculously awesome/cute.

Assorted French Macarons from Au Pain Dore have chewy almond exteriors with a center of ganache spread to the edges of the cookie. I could seriously eat these mini treats non-stop. What a shame...

Kathy and I fear admitting New York City's defeat in crafting the best cupcakes in the world, but I must commend Le Glaceurs for these moist, perfectly sweetened, cupcakes.

Before digging into my Banana Walnut cupcake, I just want to point out the tiny marzipan banana decoration and the gorgeous swirls of banana cream cheese frosting.

Looks can be deceiving. Upon first glance, the Shoulder of Lamb from Alexandre looks like a pile of who knows what, but the slow-braised, tender hunk of meat sits on a potato mush soaking up apple glaze.

After those cupcakes, I am too ashamed to post the recipe and pictures of my humble little lemon cream cheese cupcakes. It shall be saved for a later post.

April 1, 2008

You would think...

stir-frying a bunch of noodles seems easy enough, but it has been my biggest cooking challenge yet. The thought of so many exotic ingredients in Asian cooking somehow prevents me from exploring these dishes, but I'm happy to finally dip my toe in the water. A dinner with Ann, Cathy, Kathy, & Jen meant Pad Thai with Thai Chili Lime Sauce, Sweet Potato Cobbler & Coconut Ice Cream.

Pad Thai with Thai Chili Lime Sauce

Rice Stick Noodles
4 ounces sliced firm tofu
1 tsp minced garlic
1 egg
1 bundle green onion
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup crushed peanuts

Soak a bag of rice stick noodles until pliable and not soft. Heat a pan on high heat and add a generous amount of oil. Add tofu, garlic, and some tamarind sauce into the pan and let tofu brown. Stir in noodles and add in more sauce. Sprinkle noodles with water to prevent sticking. Crack an egg to the side of pan and mix with the noodles. Toss in slice green onions and bean sprouts. Top with crushed roasted peanuts and sesame seeds. (Adapted from Chez Pim).

Tamarind Sauce

1/4 cup tamarind paste
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp chili powder

Melt all ingredients in a sauce pan and let simmer on low heat.

Thai Chili Lime Sauce

2 tsp red chili flakes
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp Sriracha
1 tsp sweet and spicy sauce
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp fish sauce

Coconut Ice Cream

1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup heavy cream

Combine coconut milk with powdered sugar and whisk to dissolve. Whisk in the cream and keep whisking until soft peaks form a whipped cream. Spoon and smooth the ice cream into a large plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Sweet Potato Cobbler


1 can sweet potato
1/4 cup brown sugar


1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp cold margarine
1 egg
1 Tbsp heavy cream
1/4 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Toss mashed sweet potato and brown sugar together. In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add sliced margarine and mix until a crumble forms. Combine the egg and cream and add the egg mixture to the flour mixture until combined. Spoon peach mixture into a cake pan and drop topping mixture by over the peaches. Bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with shredded coconut and bake for another 15 minutes. Serve warm with coconut ice cream.

I also went on a spontaneous baking spree.

Walnut Chocolate Brownies

1 stick margarine
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 egg beater’s egg whites
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the margarine and sugar in a double boiler until fully melted. Stir in unsweetened cocoa power, salt, and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Remove the bowl and set aside briefly until the mixture cools. Add the egg whites stirring to combine until batter is runny. Slowly mix in flour a little at a time until batter is shiny, thick, and fully incorporated. Mix in 1/2 cup of the walnuts and chocolate chips. Top with the rest of the walnuts. Spread evenly in the foil lined pan. Bake for 25 minutes until center is moist but not runny.

Mint Chocolate Truffles

6 ouches semisweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp mint extract

In a double boiler, melt chocolate and heavy cream on medium heat until a smooth ganache forms. Add in mint extract and stir to combine. Remove mixture from heat and let cool before rolling into balls. Roll chocolate into balls with palms and dip into sprinkles. Place truffles on parchment paper and refrigerate until cooled.


Vegetable Frittata

1 egg
1 egg white
1/4 cup roasted red pepper
1/2 cup diced broccoli
1 Tbsp pine nuts
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp oregano
Salt & Pepper
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine all egg and vegetable ingredients in a mixing bowl. Heat skillet on medium high heat and cook garlic until fragrant. Pour egg mixture into pan and top with shredded cheeses. Fry frittata for a minute before placing skillet in oven for 5 minutes. Remove frittata from oven when the top turns brown and sprinkle with some herbs before serving.

Satisfied. All in a week. http://www.tastespotting.com/post/11217/